An open letter to my eight-legged neighbors

(Warning: spider pictures ahead)

Hello critters

It’s me, that two-legged large being that puts a hand through your webs all too often.

It’s not that I mean to; after all, it’s not a pleasant sensation. I know how much time and effort it takes to make that web, and that you’re probably pretty tired after finishing it. However…you are in my garden, and sometimes you have built your home across the tomatoes that I have grown.  I try to work around you, but it doesn’t always work out.

I don’t know what your realtor told you about me when you took up residence, but he was lying if he told you that folks like me didn’t exist. Don’t feel bad–mine lied to me too.

Me: Any poisonous spiders in this area?

Realtor: Nope, not at all.



Brown recluse














spider3 Wolf Spider







spider2  Black Widow

spider1 Garden spider



Okay, I think I can come up with a plan that is mutually agreeable. Especially where these poisonous ones are concerned.

I will keep an eye out for you and your webs, and try to keep from walking through them. You, for your part, have to keep your webs out of areas where I normally walk. You have eight eyes–use them! Putting up webs across my path is just not a good idea. I won’t see them–they’re pretty transparent. If they weren’t, I don’t think you’d be a successful prey creature. Bright blue or rainbow would be just dumb, on your part.

I know you’re out there. Chances are good that I am never more than four feet from a spider in any situation. Dropping down in front of me or climbing any of my appendages would only lead to tears–and not for me. Your plans for that day could come to a very tragic end. A surprised human is not a pleasant thing for a tiny arachnid like yourself.

In other words, don’t draw my attention.

I will allow you in my home – that’s the big covered thing with all those delicious silverfish in it – as long as you don’t multiply into too large a population. If this happens, I do have to cull the herd. Keep your seed to yourself.

And the poop you leave under your web–that has to stop. Don’t be surprised that I spray your leavings with foul-smelling cleaner. You’ve been warned. Get a diaper.

By the way, the tolerance for your existence in the house goes only as far as me. Stay out of sight, and the other members of the house will not suck you up with a vacuum or swat you with paper. Tragic ending for you–makes no never mind to me. Sorry–but this is your warning, after all.

Eat silverfish, not humans. No biting.

If you see someone outside spraying around the house, make as fast a trip to the center of the yard that your legs can take you. He won’t spray there. You’ll last another day.

Okay–a lot to remember. But it would be worth your while. Keep this where all of your friends and neighbors can see it.

A last word: if you skitter across my bed or hang out inside my bathtub, that breaks all bargains.

Thank you for your attention to this matter.

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A summer trip to Ireland with author Claire Fullerton



Céad míle fáilte!

That’s the Irish for “A thousand welcomes!” Don’t ask me to pronounce it…

Anyone who has ever been to Ireland knows just how wonderful the land and the people are. Being of Irish descent, I have to admit a certain prejudice toward the Emerald Isle.

Claire Fullerton sets her story in this beautiful country, peopled with colorful characters that will be unforgettable, I am sure.

So let’s have a look, shall we?


Twenty five year old Hailey Crossan takes a trip to Ireland during a sabbatical from her job in the LA record business. While there, she’s offered a job too good to turn down, so she stays.

Although Hailey works in Galway, she lives in the countryside of Connemara, a rural area famous for its Irish traditional music.  When Hailey meets local musician, Liam Hennessey, a confusing relationship begins, which Hailey thinks is the result of differing cultures, for Liam is married to the music, and so unbalanced at the prospect of love, he won’t come closer nor completely go away.

And so begins the dance of attraction that Hailey struggles to decipher. Thankfully, a handful of vibrant local friends come to her aid, and Hailey learns to love a land and its people, both with more charm than she ever imagined.


I can almost feel the sun on my shoulders and the cobbles beneath my feet…

Let’s find out more about Ms. Fullerton…




Claire Fullerton is an award winning essayist, a magazine contributor, a former newspaper columnist, and a four time contributor to the “Chicken Soup for the Soul” book series. She hails from Memphis, Tn. and now lives in Malibu California. “Dancing to an Irish Reel” is her second novel.

Make sure to check out her pages.


Lovely! Doesn’t she look like the ultimate Irish lass too?

Now for the best part of the blog, in my opinion. I love reading excerpts, don’t you?


I walked into Taaffes a few minutes after five and saw Liam sitting at the bar talking to the bartender. I sat down on the stool beside him and accepted the half-pint of Guinness the bartender placed before me as if he read my mind.

“Well, now I’ve seen where you work,” Liam said.

“You have,” I nodded. “Thanks for coming by.”

“Glad to do it. My brother Anthony will be here in a minute. He and his friend Eamon are playing here tonight.”

“Anthony plays guitar, right?” I asked. “I think I saw him playing guitar in Hughes, didn’t I?”

“He does. He sings as well, not very well, mind you, but he tries.”

“So, what’s he sing?” I asked.

“Songs from American songwriters mostly, people like James Taylor and John Denver,” he said.

It’s amazing the things that make it over here, I thought. I don’t know anybody who takes John Denver seriously in America.

“Do you have any other brothers besides Anthony?” I asked.

“No, but I have a sister,” he said. “People say we look exactly alike.”

“What’s her name?” I asked, thinking if she looked anything like Liam, she must be absolutely beautiful.

“Nula,” he said.

“Named after your mother or grandmother?”

“My grandmother,” he said.

“On your mother’s side?” I asked.

“Yes, did I tell you that before?”

“I don’t think so.”

“Then how did you know?”

“I didn’t, I was just guessing,” I said. Since most names in Ireland are family names, it wasn’t that big of a stretch.

“So, you’re a psychic then!”

“I’m not a psychic, Liam. Please,” I said.

Liam’s brother came bursting into the pub and headed straight for us, coming to a smiling stop and looking me in the eyes as Liam turned to me saying, “You remember Anthony, yah?”

Anthony stood looking me over with eyes suggesting he had all the facts. He was older than Liam, and was his complete physical opposite. Where Liam was dark, Anthony was light; where Liam looked mysterious and withdrawn, Anthony had a wide-open freckled face, big blue eyes and an eager manner. “Hi-ya,” Anthony sang, beaming at me.

“Hi Anthony,” I said, as if I knew him. “Does anyone ever call you Tony?”

“Ah, good question from an American,” he said, “I’ve heard that one before. We don’t pronounce the letter “H” over here. Naw, I’m not a Tony, just an An-Tony.”

“Very good, I got it. What time are you on tonight?”

“Not until eight,” he said. “We’re just here to set up. If you miss it, you won’t be missing much from me; Liam’s the real singer in the family.”

Surprised, I looked at Liam. “You sing?” I asked.

“I don’t,” he said quickly. “At least not in public.”

“He should sing in public, but he never will,” Anthony sang his brother’s praise.

“All right, if you were to sing, what would you sing? What kind of music do you listen to?”

“He likes Sting and Chris De Burgh. He has all of Chris De Burgh’s records,” Anthony answered for him. “You’re familiar with Chris De Burgh, yah? ‘The Lady in Red?’ Liam loves that song.”

“I know the song,” I said.

“Chris De Burgh is Irish, did you know that?

“No, I had no idea,” I said.

“Oh yah, and Liam can sing just like him,” Jimmy said. “You should hear him.”

Liam seemed embarrassed during this exchange while his brother did the talking for him. “Liam is known all over Ireland as one of the best box players around, but the truth is he’s good at everything: he composes, arranges, sings and teaches — he can do everything and do it well,” Anthony said, just as a stout young man wearing a waxed jacket joined us. “You ready?” Anthony turned to the young man.

“I am, yah.”

“This is Hailey; she’s an American.” Anthony clapped a proprietorial hand on my shoulder. “This is Eamon,” he said. Eamon made no pretense of hiding his newcomer’s once-over.

“Let’s do this,” Anthony directed, and the two retreated to set up the stage.

“Are you and Anthony close?” I turned to Liam.

“Not really. I guess we’re about as close as I am to anyone,” he answered vaguely.

I don’t know why, but I thought Liam’s quick response was kind of odd, or maybe it was just telling. You have to watch people when you’re first getting to know them because they send out clues when you least expect it, and you’d be doing very well to pay attention. I wondered if this was an insight into Liam’s character. Was he telling me he’d never had the desire to be close to anyone? Was he indicating he wasn’t capable of closeness? What was he doing sitting here with me if that were the case? I decided to keep an eye on it and just let time tell.

What time told in the days and nights that followed was that Liam Hennessey was on the case and everything ran together in one exhaustive blur. Two weeks after Liam appeared at the Centre, I sat in my porch writing in my journal, documenting how much had evolved in such a short amount of time, feeling as though I’d been thrust into a new set of circumstances from the singular event of Liam’s entrance in my life. At some point, I began to expect the sound of my sliding glass door sweeping heavily aside, followed by a knock on my living room door. I never knew when it would come, but I began to listen for it right around the time the sun set. Sometimes Liam would have a plan in mind, other times he just came to sit and talk. I never knew which it was going to be, and it didn’t much matter; I was just happy to have him around. Some nights, we walked through the fields to the sea, sitting down in that place at the land’s end where two gigantic boulders sat side by side on an elevated patch hovering over the Atlantic. The first time I took him there, Liam turned to me and said, “You discovered this place on your own, yah? Is this an initiation?” Humoring him, I assured him that it was.

“It’s not just anybody I would take here,” I said, much to his approval.

“Ah, then, this is your way of chasing new romance!”

I stopped and considered: the thing about new romance is there’s an unbalancing undercurrent in its heated thrall. You’re never quite sure where you stand in the other’s eyes until the subject is broached or some overt gesture is made. It is ambiguous guesswork until then; the air is thick with it. Maybe I was chasing new romance, but I wasn’t sure what I was getting in return.


Fantastic! Just from this excerpt, I can tell that this would be a book that is well worth the read. I know I would love to escape to Ireland through Ms. Fullerton’s words.

Speaking of escapes and vehicles–here’s another vehicle:


a Rafflecopter giveaway


And do stop by all of these other blogs too–after all, there will be something different on each one, and I’m sure every one of them will be enjoyable!


Official Event Page:

July 22

July 23

July 24

July 25

July 26

July 27

July 28


That was fun! Please come by again soon.


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New murder mystery series: “Death Unscripted”, a Trudy Genova mystery


Another fine book blog, courtesy of Loving the Book Blog Tours!

I love all kinds of books, as long as they don’t have word problems and beastly number thingies in them. But mysteries are my all-time favorite. It is always fun to host this genre.


Well, alrighty then. Looks like my part of the tour is starting. Here’s what the book’s about, in short:

Trudy Genova has the best nursing job, working as an onset and script medical consultant for a Manhattan movie studio. No more uniforms, night shifts, or real emergencies. That is, until a soap opera actor Trudy has a tense relationship with dies suddenly while taping a hospital scene—but not before pointing his finger accusingly at Trudy.

Detectives Ned O’Malley and Tony Borelli view Trudy as a suspect, and in an effort to prove them wrong, Trudy interferes with their investigation. Then a second actor dies, and Trudy realizes she’s put herself right into the path of a killer.

Bridle Path Press:


Oh yeah–the good old-fashioned murder mystery. Love it!


OK–I wasn’t sure if I was through blathering, but obviously the banners are in charge tonight…

OK–author time!!


Marni Graff had a successful career as a registered nurse who wrote on the side before writing full time. She has a degree in English Lit and studied Gothic Mystery at Oxford University in England. She also wrote articles for Mystery Review magazine, where she interviewed many of the authors whose work she admired.

Marni is the award-winning author of The Nora Tierney Mysteries, set in England. The Blue Virgin introduces Nora, an American writer living in Oxford. The Green Remains and The Scarlet Wench trace Nora’s move to the Lake District where murder follows her.  In process is The Golden Hour, set in Bath, England. Premiering in the next few months (blogger’s note–that’s now…) will be Graff’s new Manhattan series, Death Unscripted, featuring nurse Trudy Genova, a medical consultant for a New York movie studio. This new series is based on Marni’s favorite nursing job in real life.

Marni is also co-author of Writing in a Changing World, a primer on writing groups and critique techniques. She writes crime book reviews at Auntie M Writes and is Managing Editor of Bridle Path Press, an author’s cooperative. A member of Sisters in Crime, Marni runs the NC Writers Read program in Belhaven which allows writers experience reading their work out loud and getting immediate feedback.

Twitter: @GraffMarni




Oh boy–she had me at “Gothic”…

I get to post an excerpt, which I can hardly wait to get to! So without further ado, here it is:


Inside, the windowless room held a few tables and folding chairs. Nikki Olivier, the star who played Vikki Starr and was the big draw of Thornfield Place, was stirring a cup of tea, her wet hair wrapped in a towel. The star had the uncanny ability to ignore people she knew well if the mood struck her, but I’d learned to read her moods and stayed out of her way, so we’d always gotten along well. On the show for almost twenty years, the blonde had a shelf of Emmy statues at home and over that time had probably suffered every known ailment and accident the writers could conceive, including a split personality and demonic possession. It was amazing what viewers would tolerate if they liked the actor. Suspension of belief, and all that jazz.

Beside Nikki sat my nemesis, Griff Kennedy, but with Nikki present, I didn’t have to worry about him taking liberties again.

“C’mere gorgeous,” he stage whispered in Nikki’s ear and threw his arm over her shoulder. Griff sipped from his ever-present plastic Emmy cup, a relic from the one time he’d been a presenter. Covered with a plastic lid, its contents were usually some variation of adult beverage, a grownup’s sippy cup. The burly, hard-drinking actor had been a stage star in his younger days, a fact everyone he met was made aware of in the first three minutes. I know I should feel sorry for him, with his star over the horizon and all that. But after his third attempt to put a check mark by my name on his conquest list, there had been that knee incident and I’d been decidedly cold toward him. His hair-transplant plugs are obvious, his gut straining at his belt, and the thought of coupling with him, of anyone coupling with him, gives me the willies.

“Hello, Trudy.” Nikki deigned to be polite today and nudged Griff, who added his own “Hi there” without meeting my eyes.

I murmured my own greetings and read the yellow pages over–nothing I couldn’t handle—and flicked my eyes to take in Nikki and Griff’s cooing.

In real life Griff and Nikki are divorced, but rumor has it they are still lovers off and on. On the show, the number of times they’ve been married and divorced was too numerous to count. Today my job was to teach Griff how to fake a heart attack while the computer worked its magic to reflect a myocardial infarction on his hospital monitor.

Ron Dowling entered and arranged three folding chairs side-by-side into a makeshift bed, motioning Griff into position. The short, intense director scowls entirely too often and has a cocky attitude. I’m short—although I prefer petite—and too often we meet eye-to-eye when disagreeing. He likes to call me “Nurse Nancy.” After more than two years of working with him and other directors who are far nicer, I decided this is his attempt to keep me in my place, directly beneath his tiny, Birkenstock-shod feet. I tend to get touchy over men with attitudes, in positions of power or not, and have my own way of letting them know that.

A king to his subjects, Dowling pretended to look around the small room for me. “Nancy?” He beckoned me closer.

“Trudy,” I corrected for the umpteenth time, taking my place near Griff. I took his cup and placed it on a nearby shelf while he slid carefully down across the chairs.

“Whatever,” Dowling answered. “We’ve decided to go for a situation where Griff first feels his chest pain in the bed, stumbles out of it to the window as the symptoms progress, and we insert voice-overs with Nikki. Then he realizes he’s in trouble, turns back to reach for the call bell, but falls short of it to the floor. Alarm bells ring as the scene closes.”

They sure weren’t going for reality today. “What about his monitor?” I reminded Dowling. “You had him hooked up to a heart monitor in Friday’s scene and it has to show a change in heart rhythm.” Part of my job is to stay on top of this stuff. Viewers hate to see reality thrust at them by a loss of continuity. The phone calls and emails arrive in droves to PBJ when that happens.

Dowling scowled but quickly recovered. “He disconnects it when he gets out of bed.”

I squashed that one immediately. “The alarm would go off and staff would rush in.”

Dowling crossed his arms over his chest. This was going to be a battle of the wills and he was determined “Nancy” was not going to win. “The doctor comes in earlier and tells him he’s getting better and disconnects it then.”

Over to me; I shook my head. “If he was that much better, he wouldn’t be in ICU. He’d have been moved to a step-down unit–it’s a protocol matter.” I shrugged my shoulders.

Dowling crushed the pages of his notes while I watched his crooked toes curl in his sandals. I firmly believe someone with toes like that has no business wearing sandals without socks unless they’re playing a Hobbit in a Lord of the Rings movie.

Griff, who had started to doze on his makeshift bed, mumbled: “Move the bed closer to the window.”


Oh wow–this sounds terrific! That room is just full of suspects, isn’t it? Motives galore!

Bet none of them has ever ridden a rafflecopter, though. Have you? Well, here’s your chance:


a Rafflecopter giveaway

And there’s even more fun to be had on this event page–check it out!

Official Event Page:

The fetivities are just beginning! Here is the schedule–every blog will be different, I am sure. Snippets, guest interviews–all sorts of stuff:


July 20

July 21

July 22

July 23

July 24

July 25

July 26


Okay, that’s it for this time. See you again!




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“In the Land of Shiva: A Memoir” by James O’Hara

Shiva Front Cover

From the moment I first read what this book was about, I was hooked. And why? I think I will let you see for yourself:


When Brother Jim leaves his comfortable life teaching in Catholic high schools and travels to India, he finds himself unprepared for the challenges he faces.

His assigned task is to start his religious order in that country, but as he immerses himself in a land of unfamiliar customs and ancient religious traditions, he soon discovers that his mission has become deeply personal. Brother Jim questions not only all his vows, but his deepest beliefs.

As he travels across India and encounters holy men, thieves, rabid monkeys, and genuinely good-hearted people of all backgrounds, he realizes that the religion of his upbringing is but one of many paths to spirituality, and a sometimes oppressive one at that. On the eve of celebrating twenty-five years as a brother, Jim must decide what he truly holds as important and how he wants to live the rest of his life.

India and Nepal, with all their clamor, fascination, and surprises, come alive on every page in this unusual memoir set in the ‘80s.

Book Genre: Memoir

Publisher: Leandros Publishing

Release Date: June 10, 2014

Buy Links:


Mr. O’Hara has a few things to say concerning memoirs, and has been kind enough to share his thoughts with us. So, without further delay, I give the floor to our esteemed author:

My Memoir is 100% Truth and 90% Fact – And Yours Can Be That Too

“I have exercised the storyteller’s device of telescoping time in order to bring events into focus, as well as creating and rendering dialogue which, though not necessarily verbatim, conveys my recollection of the event and my perception of the speaker’s personality.”

The above quote is from the Author’s Note in my memoir In The Land Of Shiva.

A truth for many Westerners living in India and Nepal for a significant period of time (seven years in my case) is the recurring issue of health problems. However, believe me, you would not want to read in every other chapter of any book a sad tale of amoebic dysentery. So, in order to convey the constant assault on the body that the Indian subcontinent can produce, I put into one single chapter a reference to dysentery followed by scurvy followed by shingles.

Yes, all of these health issues truly did happen but, fact, not within the several week time frame of that chapter. But condensing the time frame conveys the true intensity of the very real and ongoing health challenges that life in a foreign country can provide.

Dialogue doesn’t have to be verbatim (how could it?) but it needs to be realistic and as honest an interpretation of the person and scene as the memoirist can muster. When my book came out I wrote to many of the main characters in the book and gave them the above quote about rendering dialogue. I also said, “Yes, I have put words into your mouth. Apologies where appropriate.” All said they were delighted by the book (even those with whom I had had conflict) and no one said anything about dialogue that I had ascribed to them.

Marion Roach Smith, author of the wonderful The Memoir Project says this: “If there is a moral responsibility in writing nonfiction, it favors the intent of life’s actual circumstances.” (Emphasis mine.)

So, go for the truth of your life as best you understand it, and write that memoir!

James O’Hara

Author, In The Land Of Shiva – A Memoir


Terrific advice!

Let’s learn a bit about the author himself now:

Author Ohara s

Born in Milwaukee, WI, at age 18 O’Hara joined the Catholic order of Brothers who taught at his high school.  As a Brother for almost 30 years, O’Hara taught math at both the secondary and college levels, and in his late ‘30s volunteered to travel to India to establish a branch of his religious order there.  After seven years in India and Nepal, he returned to the States, left the Brothers, and became a massage therapist and massage instructor.  In addition to doing bodywork, he has also become a certified dream worker.  He makes his home in Berkeley, CA. His time in India and Nepal took him from immersion in religion to a place “beyond religion.”

Author Links


Thank you, sir, for stopping by. And thank you, dear readers, for joining me today. I shall return another day with another wonderful book for your perusal.

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The Future is Here! “The Seed” – Book One in the “Future’s Edge” Trilogy

There’s nothing like seeing the gas/petrol prices creep up to make someone wish there was another way. As we will see from the following “blog-of-the-day”, sometimes those other ways can be a bit, er, troublesome too.

FuturesEdge book cover

***************Book Description******************

Most people do not carry the fate of the world on their shoulders. Sam Greenhut does.

By the year 2230, the world is no longer dependent on fossil fuels. All power is harnessed directly from the Earth’s core. A clever integration of neural technology and wireless energy gives rise to the Global Network (GNET), revolutionizing society. Diverse industries operate efficiently under the umbrella of a neurally connected world economy, powered by an unlimited geothermal fuel supply controlled not by Presidents, Sheikhs nor Monarchs, but by a Corporate Federation run by seven individuals.

This is the state of the world when the Corporate Federation charges Sam Greenhut with ensuring GNET’s unquestioned reliability and integrity.

Sam sees a world whose population is totally dependent on GNET, as if the previously admired trait of self-reliance was weaned from the gene pool. Inevitably, the insatiable demand for energy prompts a reckless decision by Corporate Federation board members to expand the geothermal energy lattices. Despite Sam’s protest, the choice to exceed the cautionary “Greenhut Limits” precipitate a string of earthquakes that destroy GNET and plunges the planet into the chaos known as “The Upheaval.”

What happens next fundamentally alters the destiny of the planet and catapults Sam into the center of The Seed – book one in my science fiction trilogy, Future’s Edge.


I like that whole neural-net idea. Makes you wonder just how the world’s population will react…or survive.

So let’s meet up with the author of this sure-to-be-a-thriller trilogy, Mort Herman:

MortHerman Bio picture

Born and raised in Brooklyn, NY, Mort Herman has a Master’s degrees in Electrical Engineering. Holder of six patents, he worked at several companies including IBM, Texas Instruments, AT&T and Lucent Technologies where his specialty was semiconductor electronics, systems design, and marketing.

Mort lives on the Jersey shore with his mate Mary Ann. When he’s not writing, Mort is an avid sailor, a wood sculptor, and a charter member of the Arts Society of Keyport. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, he added his technical, artistic, and project management skills to the design and implementation of three, free form concrete sculptures that replaced destroyed public art in the town of Keyport, NJ.


Sounds like Mr. Herman has a full life! If you want to know more about him and his work, please visit him at his links:






There’s much more to come, from many and varied blog hosts, on this blog tour. Please visit them as the days go by, and see what I mean:


June 10 – Spotlight at Urania’s Distractions
June 12 – Spotlight at Paranormal Romance And Authors That Rock
June 15 – Spotlight at The Voluptuous Book Diva 

June 15 – Spotlight at eBook Review Gal
June 15 – Review & Guest Blog at There Will Be Another Sunrise
June 17 – Spotlight at XOXO Book Blog
June 17 – Reviewed at Deal Sharing Aunt
June 17 – Reviewed at My Life Loves and Passions
June 17 – Spotlight at My Book Tour

Now, before I finish here, I have one more thing to add, and that is a


<a class=”rcptr” href=”” rel=”nofollow” data-raflid=”1d8dec70232″ data-theme=”classic” data-template=”” id=”rcwidget_5wgqdhk7″>a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>

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I hope you’ve enjoyed visiting, and I look forward to writing at you in the future!


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Pirates, murder, and magic!

Flintlock: Book Three of The Cutlass Trilogy


We are thrilled to be bringing back this fantastic author, Ashley Nixon! Her first book in the Cutlass Trilogy was absolutely loved by our followers and we know that this book will be to! So first lets get to know a bit more about her:



flintlock1Ashley was born and raised in Oklahoma, where the wind really does sweep down the plains, and horses and carriages aren’t used as much as she’d like. She has a Bachelor’s in English Writing and a Master’s in Library Science and Information Technology. When she’s not writing she’s either working out or pretending she’s Sherlock Holmes. Her obsession with writing began after reading the Lord of the Rings in the eighth grade. Since then, she’s loved everything Fantasy–resulting in an unhealthy obsession with the ‘geek’ tab on Pinterest, where all things awesome go.

Links to social media:






Ashley Nixon’s news letter



Flintlock is the second book in the Cutlass Trilogy. It continues Barren and his crew’s story.



Barren Reed hopes to protect the Orient from his tyrant uncle, but his plans to make the King’s life a living hell aren’t supported by the Elders of the pirate community. As it stands, Barren has earned the Elders’ disdain for his carelessness, and they threaten him into exile if he makes one more mistake.

Barren’s not the only one feeling the Elders’ wrath—they don’t trust Larkin either. Worse, Barren can’t comprehend Larkin’s wish to have a relationship with her father, and the secrets she’s forced to keep create a tension that may pull them apart forever.

When the Pirates of Silver Crest begin to die, bullets laced with dark magic are to blame. With more and more of these weapons infiltrating the Underground, discovering who’s behind the dissemination is no easy feat. As fear and tension mount among the people of the Orient, Barren and his crew find themselves in a race against time to stop the spread of dark magic before the world of Mariana spirals into collapse.

Links to where book is sold:




Cove saw the torchlight first, scattered across the landscape, then he heard the cries and clamor. Several people crowded into the courtyard, others looked down from their windows far above, but they all joined in to rise in discord and demand justice for the display before them. And a display it was. Five bodies hung by the neck upon the gallows that rose like a dark shadow at the very center of the yard. The bodies had been frightening when Cove first found them, but now, between their wounds and the decay, they were horrific. Before the bodies stood Ben Willow and at his feet was Dr. Newell, who rested on his knees, bent over at his waist as if he’d been hit. His thinning gray hair fell over his face, hiding it from view.

“Stop the carriage!” Cove ordered as they came upon the mob. Cove climbed out of the carriage followed by Hollow. They stood for a moment, only a few feet from the crowd. He could feel the hostility in the air and it sprouted from one thing, fear.

He scanned the crowd. It took a moment, but his eyes finally found the men and women he had been searching for. Jonas had succeeded; members of his crew and network stood at the brink of the throng, waiting. Ainsley, Ean, Maddox, Sayida, and Jeanna. They all nodded, and as Cove made the first break in the crowd, they followed.

There was resistance at first, and the wave of the crowd made him dizzy. There was nothing calm or nice about how Cove moved through the bodies, elbowing, thrashing, demanding entrance. And soon there was no struggle, for the men and women began to move aside, creating a path for him. He walked forward, drawing closer to the gallows. Silence descended, and now Cove could hear Ben’s voice.

“If you refuse to speak of what befell these men, how are we to believe you aren’t responsible for their deaths?”

He had not yet realized why the crowd had suddenly gone so quiet. Ben bent to grab a handful of Doctor Newell’s hair, forcing his head back so that his neck was exposed. Cove saw that the old man’s face was bruised and bloodied. A dagger flashed in Ben’s hand, and panic overtook Cove. He broke through the front of the crowd.

“This is madness!” the ambassador seethed. “Stop! I demand you stop!”

Ben straightened, letting go of Dr. Newell, who sagged to the floor of the gallows with exhaustion.

“Ambassador Rowell,” Ben drawled. He didn’t seem surprised to see Cove here. “You would halt the punishment of a man who has killed five men?”

The crowd reacted, shouting and throwing garbage at the stage, intent on hitting Dr. Newell. Cove moved, holding his side. His skin felt clammy and he was dizzy, but he maintained his focus. “Has this man had a trial? Has he been convicted of murder?” the ambassador challenged.

“This is all the jury Dr. Newell needs, and they have declared his guilt!”

The crowd cheered and the fire of the torches in the crowd swayed with agreement.

“What is going on here?” the voice boomed, but not in its normally cheerful manner. It was Matthew Dulcemer, the governor of Arcarum. The crowd parted even further for his large form.

“Governor,” said Ben stepping forward.

“Is this your crowd, Mr. Willow?”

The man hesitated. “They’re here for answers, Governor. These men were found in Dr. Newell’s office. You will see that their wounds are…rather unnatural.”

The governor’s eyes moved to the men for a moment, and he studied them. Then his eyes slid back to Ben. “What is to fear of a dead man?”

Ben set his jaw. “And what of you, ambassador? Can you argue with the men behind you? Surely even you must agree that such an evil must be stopped.”

“I do agree,” said Cove. “Which is why I brought the bodies to Dr. Newell in the first place.”

Ben smiled, his eyes alight with pleasure. Gasps escaped from the crowd. The air around them was thick with the smell of rain, and lightning began to flash in the sky. Cove wanted it to pour and douse the sick flames that had begun this panic.

“Say that again,” Ben demanded.

“He said,” Matthew’s voice boomed. “That Dr. Newell was only doing what he was instructed, and you, Mr. Willow, should also know that I was aware of this agreement.”

Cove was careful not to look surprised, but he felt it. Matthew had not been aware of such a thing.

Ben narrowed his eyes. “Why keep this a secret? Did you not feel the people of Arcarum had a right to know about this?” Some voices rose in agreement.

“The men were not found in Arcarum. They were found at sea,” said Cove. “Besides, we cannot infer anything from what we have here, and we should not spread fear needlessly.”

“But this is to be feared!” Ben argued, pointing at the men. “This is fear!”

“The only thing I see to be feared here is your disregard for what is right,” said Matthew. Ben didn’t look at Matthew. His eyes were on Cove, menacing and dark. Cove stepped forward to help Dr. Newell to his feet. He took a knife from his boot and cut the bonds from the doctor’s hands.

“Are you okay, John?”

“Yes,” he wheezed, leaning into Cove. “Thank you.”

“You’re bleeding, ambassador,” Ben said. Cove didn’t look at his shirt. He still felt lightheaded from the wound.

Matthew’s voice rose. “Go to your homes! You should all be ashamed!”

The crowd broke away slowly, and Cove helped Dr. Newell down from the gallows. Those who had come with Cove wandered to him.

“Take the bodies to the church. Alaster will know what to do,” he ordered. As they obeyed, Ben’s voice rose, catching the attention of those who remained in the courtyard.

“These are the bodies of pirates, are they not, ambassador?”

Cove paused and turned with Dr. Newell. “If they swore by the mark, we will never know,” he said. And they wouldn’t. The wound over their hearts had erased any traces of the tattoo. “We cannot make assumptions about things we do not know…that’s how people die.”

And he meant that as a threat.

Then he turned, moving past what remained of the crowd. He felt Matthew following close behind, like a thought he didn’t want to recall. Matthew was reminding Cove that he still wanted answers.

As Cove helped Dr. Newell onto the carriage, he turned to face Matthew. The governor didn’t look severe, but he didn’t look jolly either. No, the look in his eyes made Cove’s chest tighten up. It was a mix of fear and sadness. This was what it was like to be on the brink of losing.

“I expect a visit,” said Matthew. “And soon.”

Cove nodded, and while he was indebted to Matthew for what he’d done, he knew there was a profound change between them. Tonight had ensured that a seed had been planted in Matthew, in the people of Arcarum. Cove Rowell was not to be trusted.


Wow–that was terrific!

Want more? Here’s where to find it:


Official Event Page:

May 26


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May 29



May 30


May 31


And, last but not least:



a Rafflecopter giveaway



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Just one of those days, I guess…

Ever have one of those days that just leaves you dry? That was today for me–although it was just one incident. However, I’m still shaking my head about it. Which makes it hard to write…all that head-shaking…

“Come to the point!” you say.


Well, alright.

I had an appointment with a temp agency today. Not just some new place; I’d worked faithfully and tirelessly at pretty much the same place for this company for eight years. Their office used to be a mile from home, and I got to where I recognized the office people–at least while they were in the office. Out somewhere else, I probably wouldn’t know them from Adam’s off ox. It was that type of recognition.

However, they closed this office and moved to a place a half-hour drive (on a good day) from home at about the same time I got the ax at the place where I’d been working. When they left, it was like the entire company up and moved to a galaxy far, far away. I didn’t hear from them, and soon I forgot to even contact them any more.

Lately I’ve gotten in touch with that office, and was thrilled to hear that all of my e-mails were ending up in someone’s junk-mail folder. I was advised recently that I should make an appointment to come in and talk to “the new team”.

Uh-huh. The Sword of Damocles had just laid some more employees out–at an employment agency. I just feel so – warm and cozy…

Okay, I finally made the appointment, which for me was A Big Deal, because I do not like using phones, and making a call takes a lot of resolve.

I talked to the new gal, H., and made an appointment for 1:00pm today. I wrote it down, reminded myself incessantly, and still almost forgot it.

I was sitting at this very spot this morning, trying to keep life going on a Facebook event, when I realized that I had 45 minutes to get dressed and drive out to the hinterlands for that interview.

“Oh, dear,” I said. Although I think the words were probably a little stronger, and might have been a teensy bit louder, judging from the fact that it took me five minutes to extricate the cat from the ceiling.

I roared up the stairs, as fast as these legs move after having been plugged into a chair for three hours. So…not roarish so much. “Plod” works…

I have gained a bit of weight, so finding something that didn’t look like poo on me was a little difficult. My usual Sunday-go-to-meeting clothes were pretty much my fallback, and I found something useful, but not everything was going to work. An overjacket is still strewn on the kitchen counter…

Shoes? My every-day athletic shoes. My ability to work does not depend on what is on my feet. I have foot issues, and will not kowtow to someone else’s idea as to what is the proper shoe to wear. Deal with it.

I finally got out the door, grateful that I no longer park in the garage and have to deal with that stupid automatic door thing. The machine is fine–but the door is buckled in several places, and it takes the throwing of heavy objects at it to get it to close completely. Well, in my mind anyway.

To get to the office I had to take three of the four busiest highways in the Portland Metro area, which were not too bad today. However, I did have the privilege of driving behind members of the “How Slow Can You Go?” automobile club. This made the trip even more fun, and I really did feel like waving merrily at them as I drove past. But I have a mother-in-law at these drivers’ ages, so I behaved myself.

I got to the office with two minutes to spare, a miracle in itself.

Where I was told that H. was out of the office…a practically empty office, I might add.

One of the gals, after glancing over at her compadre–the only other person at the front of the office–said she would help me. So I sat down and answered her questions. Being me, I did try to engage her in casual banter. It’s just who I am. She was less than cooperative. Not cold, but just…all business. No responses to my comments. Not fun.

The whole process took five minutes. And there wasn’t one word, one question, that couldn’t have been answered over the phone or online. I walked out of there thinking, “For this I got dressed up?”

A half hour later, and I was home. The whole thing took less than 90 minutes, only five of which had anything to do with employment.

Dry…puzzled…still shaking my head.

Well, at least I got dressed…

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“Deadly Portfolio – A Killing in Hedge Funds” – freshly-pressed and ready for reading


Some time ago, I blogged the cover reveal for this book, and I certainly hope that you are ready for the Great Launch of this terrific murder mystery.

In case you missed it, here is a recap of what the book is about:


July 2008. Four families are riding high on heady market returns, until the body of Rene McAllister, wife of multi-millionaire Alan “Mac” McAllister, washes up on the beach after a daylong Fourth-of-July bash at the home of stockbroker, Matthew Wirth. Eager to avoid publicity, authorities dismiss her death as an accident. Days later, when the body of college drop out, Jamie Sherman, a neighbor to Wirth, is discovered adrift in his fishing skiff, investigators suspect foul play, but the Medical Examiner reports that the youth died of a drug overdose. Only Detective James Raker, upon hearing McAllister’s complaints of unauthorized trading in his deceased wife’s account, suspects the two deaths are related. Bucking his superiors, Raker plunges into an investigation and quickly discovers that at least four members of the affluent lakeside community had motive and opportunity in either one or both of the deaths. Raker’s pursuit slams headlong into an investigation being conducted by the State Bureau of Investigation (SBI) who were closing in on Jamie Sherman’s drug dealings in the affluent neighborhood.

Ignoring the orders to drop his investigation, Raker fears that the killer will attack again and races to prevent it. The killer does strike for a third time but, tragically, claims the wrong victim. The story is set in the fictitious bedroom community on Heron Lake, NC, a short commute from Charles City, a metropolitan area of more than 1,000,000 and the financial center of the state.


See what I mean?

Oh, so you want more, do you? Okay–

~~~~~~~Deadly Portfolio Excerpt~~~~~~~

“Hello,” McAllister said, his voice weak and raspy on the other end of the line.

“Mac, this is Matthew. Mac . . . ah . . . we have something to tell you. It’s about Rene, Mac. Ah . . . do you have anyone there with you now?”

“No. Why? Did she finally show up?”

“She’s dead, Mac. She drowned sometime last night. Shirley found her body this morning down by the Sherman dock.”

“Dead? You’re sure it’s her?”

“It’s her, Mac. No mistake. Do you want me to come get you?”

“At your place?”

“Yes. Well . . . no, actually . . . down next to Sherman’s dock. The police and EMS people are here right now. Do you want me to come get you?”

“Oh . . . no! My God . . . no. I’m OK. I’ll be right there.”

“Come to our house first.”

“Right. Your house. I will.”

Matthew heard McAllister pull up and went out to meet him. “Do you want to come into the house?” he asked.

“No. I want to see Rene.”

“She’s dead, Mac. There’s nothing to see. Nothing you’d want to see.”

“No. I want to see her.”

“You need to prepare yourself. She’s . . . she’s all covered with sand and wet and . . . well . . . she looks pretty bad.” McAllister peered over Matthew’s shoulder to catch a glimpse of what was going on at the lakeshore. “Come on then. I’ll go with you.”

The police cordoned off the area of the beach where Rene’s body was found with yellow and black ribbon. The crowd continued to collect and gawk at the EMS and police. Matthew and McAllister pushed their way through the people toward the beach. Matthew was surprised at the size of the area that the police isolated. The ribbon stretched from the Sherman dock, up into the yard to a folding chair, and then at an angle to a tree on the lot line between the Sherman property and Clay’s. Officer Fletcher was walking the length of the Sherman dock with the roll of ribbon closing the area at the end of the dock so that the water immediately in front of the body would be in the restricted zone. Detective Raker looked up as Matthew and McAllister approached.

“You need to respect that barrier,” Raker called out.

“That’s my wife.”

Raker rose to his feet immediately and walked over to confront McAllister. “You’re McAllister?” he asked.

“Yes. Alan McAllister. Can I see her?”

“At the moment, no, sir. I’m sorry. We need to make certain we can move her without disturbing the scene . . . so it will not be compromised. It won’t take long,” Raker explained. “I’m sorry. Your wife’s been dead for several hours, apparently from drowning. Why don’t you and your friend go back to the house. When we’re through here, we’ll let you know. You can view your wife’s body before we take it to the medical examiner.”

McAllister strained to see Rene’s body that lay more than 50 feet away in the sand. “This is an accident, isn’t it? Why the police?”

“Just routine,” Raker replied. “Please, the quicker we can get on with it, the better. I’ll want to talk to you in a few minutes.” Matthew put his hand on McAllister’s shoulder and nudged him to turn. Mac conceded reluctantly, and the two men trudged back to the deck where Shirley was standing. She had been joined by Joyce Sherman. “Have you had breakfast or anything?” Matthew asked.

“No. I’m not hungry.”

“Well, come sit down. A cup of coffee, maybe?”


“I’m so sorry,” Joyce whispered as he stepped onto the deck. “I’m so very sorry.” McAllister walked over to a chair and sat down. Moments later, Shirley reappeared on the deck with two steaming cups of coffee. The four sat silently for several minutes.

“So she wasn’t breathing or anything . . . when you found her?” McAllister asked.

“No,” Matthew replied.

“How did you find her?”

“I found her, Mac,” Shirley said. “I was up early taking a walk along the shore. At first, I didn’t know what I was seeing. She was lying face down in the water just a few feet out where it’s shallow. I thought it was a sail or something from a boat . . . something from all the traffic on the lake yesterday . . . but as I drew closer, I recognized Rene’s dress.” Shirley words were becoming more difficult. Tears welled up in her eyes. “My heart just stopped. But I had to see . . . and I walked right up to the water’s edge. Then . . . then I knew, and I called for Matthew right away.”

“We dragged her up on the beach,” Matthew said. “I could see that she was dead, Mac. Her lips were blue. She wasn’t breathing. He skin was all pasty . . . like it had been under water for a long time. We called 911 . . . and then I called you.”

“My God, who would’ve thought?” McAllister groaned. “I mean . . . I thought she’d gone off somewhere. That I’d find her at home . . . or near the house. I went out looking for her, but I never thought anything like this would . . .” Mac said as his voice trailed off.

“Everybody did everything they could to find her last night,” Joyce said. “We looked everywhere.”

McAllister waved off her remarks. “I just can’t bring myself to believe it. I know that’s her down there . . . but somehow . . . I don’t know . . . I just can’t quite get around it. What’s the matter with me?” he said looking up at Matthew.

“You need time is all,” Matthew responded. “More time.”

“You know . . . we didn’t get along well these last few years . . . but I never would’ve wished this on her. She was pretty drunk last night, wasn’t she?” Matthew, Shirley and Joyce looked at one another, surprised by Mac’s apparent indifference to what was happening.

“Very,” Matthew replied softly.

“I wonder if she suffered,” McAllister said.

From the deck the activities of the police and EMS team could be seen over the heads of the onlookers. Matthew noticed that the two EMS attendants had eased Rene’s body into a black body bag, zipped it shut, and lifted it onto a gurney.

“I’ve always heard drowning is a very peaceful death,” Joyce offered.

“Not one I’d choose,” McAllister growled. “What’s going on down there?” he asked and stood up to see for himself. Detective Raker was holding the black and yellow ribbon high above his head so that the EMS attendants could roll the gurney underneath it. They headed for the ambulance, pushing their way through the crowd toward the deck. When they reached the house, Raker had them stop, came up on the deck, walked over to McAllister, and asked him quietly if he still wanted to see the body.

“Yes,” McAllister said and followed Raker off of the deck to the gurney.

“God,” McAllister moaned. Sand still covered much of her face, and her hair remained plastered to her forehead. “God, it hardly looks like her.” He looked again. It was she. Rene. His wife. Dead.

He could not look at her any more. He stepped back and nodded to Detective Raker who, in turn, nodded to the EMS attendants. One of them stepped forward and pulled the zipper up the front of the bag and closing it over Rene’s face. McAllister felt Matthew’s hand on his shoulder.

“Come on, ol’ man,” Matthew said. “Let’s go sit down.” Back on the deck, they heard the ambulance doors slamming closed and the vehicle’s engine fire up. As they heard it accelerate down the street, they—Mac most of all—felt themselves surrendering Rene out of their care. A finality overtook them. McAllister drew a deep breath and slumped back into his chair.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~0 0 0~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


I don’t know about you, but I am very intrigued.

Here’s where to go to get more info, and your own copy of the book:


Amazon (paperback)

Amazon Kindle

And on that note, I shall take my leave. Enjoy the rest of your day!



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New book – big trouble


Presenting the Book of the Day: “How I Became a Teenage Survivalist”, written by Julia L. Casey.

One of my favorite genres!! I read the blurb and knew I had to get involved with this book blitz!

Okay, okay, I’ll share:


Bracken is a typical teenage boy, more interested in the angles of the girl’s exposed back teasing him from the seat ahead of him than in anything the geometry teacher could present. His life is filled with school, video games, and thoughts of girls, not necessarily in that order. Life just flows along uneventfully and unacknowledged, like the electricity that courses through the power lines — until PF (Power Failure) Day. On PF Day, the sun strikes Bracken’s world with an unseen surge of electromagnetic fury, which cripples power stations and burns transformers to crispy nuggets of regret.

No one in Bracken’s world had ever thought about how much they depended on electrical power, but now, without it, they are plunged into survival mode. Bracken soon realizes how lucky he is to live on a farm in the Midwest. What seemed like a dull and backwards life before is now the greatest chance for survival in what seems like a powerless world. Food, water, and heat are readily available, although hard work is required to make use of them. Bracken and his family must learn to survive like their ancestors, who settled their land.


Dystopia! Survival! Beating the odds! What’s not to love? And perhaps we could all learn a lesson or two…




The book is sold on Amazon:




And the author herself? Why, she’s right here–in words and pictures anyway:




Julie L. Casey lives in a rural area near St. Joseph, Missouri, with her husband, Jonn Casey, a science teacher, and their three youngest sons. After teaching preschool for fifteen years, she has been homeschooling her four sons for ten years. Julie has bachelor of science degrees in education and computer programming and has written five books, including How I Became a Teenage Survivalist, Time Lost: Teenage Survivalist II, Stop Beating the Dead Horse, In Daddy’s Hands, and Guardians of Holt. She is currently working on the third book in the Teenage Survivalist series, titled Ice Queen: Teenage Survivalist III. She enjoys historical reenacting, wildlife rehabilitation, teaching her children, and writing books that capture the imaginations of young people.


Sounds like someone I’d like to get to know. Just from reading the info above, I can see that we have a lot of interests in common. She sure keeps busy, doesn’t she?

Here’s where we can all learn more about Ms. Casey and her works:


Twitter: @JulieLCasey

Goodreads Author Page:

Amazon Author Page:

There are quite a few of us hosting this book today–to see what others have to say (some have done reviews, others excerpts, etc.), check these blogsites out:


And follow along on the event page.


And last, but not least, the


<a class=”rcptr” href=”” rel=”nofollow” data-raflid=”330006f861″ data-theme=”classic” data-template=”” id=”rcwidget_kf69h91w”>a Rafflecopter giveaway</a>

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Thanks for stopping by today. Be sure to visit our featured author and show her some love!

‘Til next time….


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Molly Malone can keep ’em.

In Dublin’s fair city, Where the girls are so pretty,

I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone,

As she wheeled her wheel-barrow, Through streets broad and narrow,

Crying, “Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh!”

“Alive, alive, oh,
Alive, alive, oh,”

Crying “Cockles and mussels, alive, alive, oh”.


My husband decided to make seafood cioppino tonight. I really tried to find someplace else to be, but I couldn’t come up with a good enough excuse.

Don’t get me wrong–my husband is a fantastic cook. However, seafood and I don’t get along all that well. It’s not that I’m allergic–I just can’t stand the stuff.

He went out and bought all the ingredients he needed–and shared with Daughter Dearest and me that he could hear the little critters clicking and moving about as he drove home with them. It almost made me feel an affinity for the outlook of vegetarians.

Now, I love beef–ask anyone who has ever asked me “How do you want that cooked?” My usual answer is, “Bring that critter out here and let me chase it around until it gets tired.” But to hear things chittering in the grocery bag – that’s different for some reason. I imagine it’s the sound of them writing their last wills, saying good-bye to their friends, getting Last Rites, whatever.

Hubby put these clams and mussels, in all their shelled glory, on a plate in the fridge. Uncovered.

Now the refrigerator smells like Pier 39. Or maybe like this:

I had a really hard time opening that door to put away the groceries I’d just bought. So, like any red-blooded denizen of the Pacific Northwest (who can’t stand seafood), I opened a large bottle of bravery and waited for the inevitable request for help from my dear spouse.

Now, I knew that I would be called on to clean the shrimp. I had no problem with that, since those suckers had been dead and frozen for, like, two years. Zip, zap, done.

Then came the words that caused me to step back and stare, uncomprehending:

“Could you get the beards and other unnecessary stuff off the mussels?”

Do what to who now??? I was really hoping to avoid touching them. I’d dissected clams for biology class in high school, and really didn’t have much interest in looking at them ever again.

“I’ll buy you a beer later…”

Well, alrighty then…





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