Throwback Thursday: Mother- Daughter Night

Good morning! I’m up early because 11182058_10155515535345015_2390888850242929111_nI have a big day planned!  Tonight I will be attending the annual Mother-Daughter dinner at the Ramada with my natural daughter, Angela, the blonde in the photo, and my “chosen” daughter, Michelle, the brunette. The dinner is a fundraiser for Breast Cancer Research, and each year, my wonderful husband, John,  purchases the tickets for us.

Angela and Michelle may not be sisters by blood, but they are sisters in every way that truly matters. They’ve supported one another through thick and thin ever since they met about twenty-five years ago. When we go camping together, we are quite the army since they have eight children between them now, and six of those are boys. Ages range from 16 to Mother-daughter dinner 2016almost 8. How time has flown!

The Mother-Daughter evening includes cocktails, a silent auction, incredible meals, wine and dessert. The money raised over the years has been substantial and when matched by Scotiabank, it goes a long way toward breast cancer research.

Here we are in 2016 when the theme was black and white. This year, it’s spring fling, even though we haven’t seen much spring here yet. So, for today, it’s hair, nails,  and getting ready for a little me time. How about you? What’s on your agenda today?

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Midweek Tease: More From Sworn to Protect

THERE ARE 2 POSTS TODAY. IF YOU ARE LOOKING FOR THE INSECURE WRITER’S POST, PLEASE SCROLL DOWN! FEEL FREE TO READ THIS TOO!

mwtease15Hello again.  Thanks go out to Angelica Dawson and all the other fine authors who make this blog possible each week and include me in their midst. Reading their varied posts is a wonderful learning experience.

This week, I’m focusing again on my Kindle Scout campaign to get Sworn to Protect published. The novel is a romance suspense, currently seeking nominations for possible publication with Amazon. By clicking on the link, you can read the link, you can read the beginning of the book. https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/2SRDO9I5ANVW7

Here is the full blurb:

Sworn to ProtectSworn to Protect

Four years ago, a car accident robbed Nancy Frost of her child and her mother, taking what was left of her marriage with it in the process. When US Marshal Neil Copeland discovers his wife is the victim of a terrorist attack at a Baltimore restaurant, he rushes to her side, determined not to let her down again. As the police investigate, evidence suggests the attack was a ploy to hide a hit, and when a professional assassin tries to kill Nancy a second time, it’s clear whatever’s going on is a lot more complicated than they think.

Matters become even more complex when Nancy awakens from her coma, with retrograde amnesia and has lost the last six years of her life. Now, Neil must protect his wife from the unknown person who wants her dead and bring her up to date, including dredging up all the sorrow that tore them apart in the first place, hoping something jars her memory.

As he races against time to find a safe place for her, can he save her from an assassin, rekindle the love they once shared, and show her what they had once is worth having again?

Here is your Tease:

Two hours later, Neil entered the living room once more. The muted television continued to show the live feed from downtown. Although he’d showered, he didn’t feel any more alert than he had earlier. He’d tried to sleep, but worry over Nancy and the fact she didn’t answer his calls had him frustrated and angry. No matter what had come between them, she’d always had the decency to reply. Staring at the leftover pizza in the box, he decided against another piece.

Todd and Mac were in the kitchen packing up the last of the food for transport and arguing over who made the best ribs in Baltimore. Fred was upstairs packing. He’d finally finished answering questions, but Neil got the impression the men who’d interrogated him were no more satisfied with their guest than he was. A cellphone rang.

“Neil, that must be yours,” Tom shouted from the kitchen.

“Seriously?” Neil reached for the Smartphone on the table, stared at the call display, and frowned. He didn’t recognize the Baltimore number. Had the techs made a mistake and given him someone else’s phone? It wouldn’t be the first mistake on assignment, nor was it likely to be the last.

“Hello?”

“Is this Neil Copeland?” The woman’s voice was clipped and professional.

“It is,” he answered, his brow furrowed. “Who’s this?”

“Inspector Copeland, I’m Detective Elise Sanders with BPD. Director Anderson wouldn’t give us your location, just this number.”

Neil stared at the phone. Baltimore PD? What could they possibly want with him?

“You’re wife’s been in an accident,” the voice said, as if her words weren’t cutting him to the quick.

The air was sucked out of the room, and Neil struggled to breathe, almost brought to his knees by the agony that filled him.

“My wife?” The question erupted from his mouth. The acid in his stomach churned, making him regret he’d had lunch.

“According to the information we have, Nancy Frost has been seriously injured. You’re listed as her husband and next of kin. Is that incorrect?”

What the hell was Nancy doing in Baltimore? Cold filled him just as it had four years ago, but this time he wasn’t going to stand by. Nothing, not even Fred upstairs, was going to stop him from going to her. They could get along without him for a while, and if they couldn’t then he’d quit, but no matter what, he wasn’t going to let Nancy down again. He plopped into the chair and the sound of it brought Todd and Makenzie into the room.

“No. It’s correct.” She might not want him to be her husband, but until the decree was finalized he was. “What happened?”

“You may have heard there’s been a mass shooting downtown. Your wife was one of the victims—”

Pain seared him. “Is Nancy dead?”

“No, sir, at least not as far as I know. She’s in critical condition and has been taken to Johns Hopkins.” He could hear the sympathy in the woman’s voice now. What had he thought earlier? Shot at close range with a high velocity weapon? The odds weren’t good.

“I’m on my way.” He ended the call and reached for his coat. “I don’t know why she was there, but Nancy was a victim in that restaurant shooting we saw earlier. Call Anderson and get him to find someone else to babysit this guy.”

He stared at the two marshals, their shock and dismay clearly evident. His face had to be as white as the shirt he wore while his stomach was a seething cesspool. Where did all the blood go when it left your face? The thought of Nancy’s blood pooling on a restaurant floor spurred him to action.

“Don’t even think of trying to stop me.” His voice was hard, clearly demonstrating his determination, daring someone to say he couldn’t go. It would take physical restraints to keep him here, more than either of these two had.

“Wouldn’t dare,” answered Todd, grabbing another piece of cheese pizza and shoving it in his mouth. His partner always ate when he was upset.

“Where are the car keys?” Neil’s hands fisted at his side.

“Right here. I’ll drive.” Todd reached for his jacket.

Makenzie came over to Neil and touched his arm. “Go. Chuck and I have this. I’ll talk to Anderson. I know a couple of retired guys who won’t mind filling in as long as it takes. Call when you can.”

He nodded and followed Todd out to the SUV.

If you’ve nominated the book, you have my thanks. If you haven’t please consider doing so. https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/2SRDO9I5ANVW7

Now, please take time to check out the rest of this week’s bloggers.

#MidWeekTease May 3, 2017

This is a Blog Hop!


Insecure Writer’s Support Group Blog Post May 3, 2017

Insecure Writers Support Group BadgeHello. This is my first post in this monthly blog. I learned about it during this year’s A to Z Challenge Blog from a couple of bloggers when they posted their entries last month on April 5.

When I signed up, I noticed quite a few blog names I recognized, some I already follow, so I’m really looking forward to being part of this. The blog is posted on the first Wednesday of the month. Each month, there’s a question to answer. This month, that question is:  What is the weirdest/coolest thing you ever had to research for your story?

Harvester sagaThe first thing I have to say is that if anyone from the government ever decided to look at my search history, they would be hauling me away in cuffs in no time. While I write many subgenres of romance, I tend to prefer romantic suspense. I’ve researched arson, hypothermia, poison, guns, homemade bombs, cults, terrorism, you name it, but probably the weirdest research I did involved the last book of The Harvester Saga, The White Iris when I researched viruses, specifically the flu virus, H1N1, the one we call the Swine flu, the one that is best remembered as the Spanish flu that killed 3 to 5 percent of the world’s population in 1918. The weirdest thing I learned was that it wasn’t the sick who succumbed to the disease, but the healthy whose bodies overproduced antibodies–cytokines and white blood cells that basically went to war with one another.  The information below is taken from Wikipedia, not because it’s the best source, but it’s the least technical and easier to understand.

It is believed that cytokine storms were responsible for the disproportionate number of healthy young adult deaths during the 1918 influenza pandemic, which killed 50 to 100 million people.[1] In this case, a healthy immune system may have been a liability rather than an asset. Preliminary research results from Hong Kong also indicated this as the probable reason for many deaths during the SARS epidemic in 2003.[8] Human deaths from the bird flu H5N1 usually involve cytokine storms as well.[9] Reports of high mortality among healthy young adults in the 2009 swine flu outbreak has led to speculation that cytokine storms could be responsible for these deaths, since the Swine Flu results from the same influenza strain as the 1918 pandemic.[10] However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has indicated that symptoms reported from this strain are similar to those of normal seasonal flu,[11] with the CDC stating that there is “insufficient information to date about clinical complications of this variant of swine-origin influenza A (H1N1) virus infection.”[11] Cytokine storm has also been implicated in hantavirus pulmonary syndrome.[12]

I’ve learned many intriguing facts in my research, but this has stayed with me. The first thing I did after my research was go and get my flu shot! Not that I’m super healthy or anything, but why take the chance? From now on, I won’t miss a year.

Please take the time to visit at least 12 of the other Insecure Authors blogging today.

 

Tuesday Tales: From the Word CRY

I wanted to make sure you didn’t miss this this morning! Time for this week’s Tuesday Tales.

Living the Dream

badge-for-tt-very-small-1Welcome to this week’s edition of Tuesday Tales, the blog made possible by Jean joachim and some very talented authors. Each week, we blog a scene from a work in progress based on a particular word. Once a month, we work with a image instead.

I’m back with Paul and MJ and Wedding Bell Blues, my contemporary romance. The plot is winding down, so I’m sure there aren’t any more than three or four posts left from it. Since it’s my full time writing project at the moment, it may be even fewer than that. This week’s offering is spicier than what I normally post, so I hope I won’t offend anyone.  The word this week is CRY.

This picks up with Paul and MJ making love for the first time.

Paul felt his heart swell. The look of trust in her eyes was more than he’d ever expected. Gently, as…

View original post 1,272 more words

Monday, Monday: Thoughts on the Day

daffodilsWell, the month of April was a busy and exciting one, and for me. Mother Nature’s been as erratic as ever and May doesn’t look to be a whole lot quieter. In essence the weatherman is calling for twelve straight days of rain. I know we need it, but couldn’t she spread it out a little? How about rain at night and sun during the day. That would work. But seriously, my arthritis and I would appreciate some consistency in the temperature. I’ll even welcome the pollen if I can have temperatures over 70F!

So with the A to Z blog, what’s next for me? I have a few fun events coming up this month–a Mother-Daughter banquet on Thursday, a Comedy Show Saturday, a visit to Toronto Sunday to see my middle son in the country for a week, a surprise 65th birthday party and Lobsterfest–my only chance to eat fresh lobster this year. This will be a busy month for me socially. Hey, everyone has to be with people sooner or later.

Sworn to ProtectAs far as writing goes, I  have my Kindle Scout campaign to worry about for Sworn to Protect. I’m really not good at tooting my own horn. Here’s the link if you haven’t nominated it yet. Don’t forget. You can nominate three different book. https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/2SRDO9I5ANVW7

Here’s the rest of the last scene  in the Scout preview. 

Nancy picked up the menu, but the words danced before her eyes. “He called today,” she said, even though she’d intended to keep that bit of information to herself.

Meredith sat up straight and put down her menu. “And?”

“And, nothing.” Nancy shrugged. “He left a message on the machine saying he wanted to talk to me. I didn’t return his call.”

“Why not? No matter what you say, I know you’re still in love with him, and I’m pretty sure he loves you, too.”

Nancy sipped her drink and stared into the frothy pink liquid as if it held the answer to all the mysteries of life.

“Sometimes love isn’t enough, Meredith,” she admitted, unable to squelch the sorrow in her voice. “I’ll love Neil Copeland for the rest of my life, but some things can’t be reconciled. His job has a death grip on him which’ll never go away, and I can’t be second—not again. That may sound selfish, but it is what it is.”

Meredith frowned. “It isn’t that simple, and you know it. There were extenuating circumstances.”

“That may be, but I can’t get passed it. I never wanted to fall for a man like my father who put work first, but that’s exactly what I did.”

“Sugar, you’ve got this all wrong.” Meredith reached across the table and touched Nancy’s hand. “You aren’t being fair to Neil. That man would put you first if the choice was his, but as a U.S. marshal, it rarely is. People won’t testify against the mob, drug dealers, and other assorted dirt bags unless they know they and their families can be protected.”

“I know, but I want a full-time husband, not a part-time hero. When I needed him most, he chose the job over me, and you know it. The kid who hit us will spend the next fifteen years in jail, as if that can somehow make up for what I’ve lost. Well, I’ve been in a prison of my own long enough. If I don’t return Neil’s call, he’ll stop calling.”

“You’re wrong, and deep down you know it. The Neil Copeland I know won’t quit unless it’s his decision. You two were made for each other. Love’s too precious to throw away.”

Nancy shook her head. “I didn’t throw it away. He did.”

Meredith frowned, and Nancy expected her to keep arguing, but she didn’t.

“I had a quick look at your friend’s case this afternoon after I got back,” Nancy said, changing the topic.

“I knew I could count on you.” Meredith grinned. “Did you find anything?”

“There’s something there, but I can’t put my finger on it. Those books are too neat and tidy. My guess is that Paxton’s been playing a shell game, moving things here and there until they disappear. There’s a meeting with Pratt and his client on Tuesday. By the way, why didn’t you tell me the man’s lawyer was Pratt? I would’ve agreed to do this for free.”

“You don’t have a job, remember? You can’t afford to give away freebies, although I’ll sue OJM for you the minute you say so. I’d forgotten you knew Benjamin James Pratt. He’s the kind of man that has me agreeing with Shakespeare’s King Henry VI when he says, ‘Let’s kill all the lawyers,’ and I’m one of them. If I thought I was the least little bit like him, I’d give up practicing law and get a job serving coffee in a donut shop.”

“Forget suing. Getting out of there will be good for me. One of these days, that slime ball will get exactly what’s coming to him, and karma’s a bitch. As far as giving up law, that would be a little drastic, don’t you think? You would drink more coffee than you would serve, and the donuts wouldn’t stand a chance either.”

Meredith laughed. “You know me too well. I’d probably end up as wide as I’m tall. I love my java and sweets.”

“You’re a great lawyer, Merry,” Nancy said and smiled. “Don’t even think of putting yourself in the same category as Pratt. There are slime balls in every profession. Clive Connors came to mind once more. “I know a few accountants I don’t trust. When it comes to lawyers, Pratt happens to be one of the worse. The law needs people willing to protect the innocent and see that justice is served. People like you who actually care and want to see people treated fairly even in a divorce settlement.”

Nancy sipped her margarita. Another reason she’d chosen Lucifer’s for their dinner out was because it had been where Neil had proposed—a fitting place for the end of everything.

“I’m going to ask Larry to get a Duces Tecum subpoena on Monday and go to Baltimore to have a look at the paper trail and attend that meeting Tuesday. By the time I’m finished, I’ll know where to find every last dime Paxton has or doesn’t have. Have you heard of Claymore Investments?”

“No,” Meredith said. “Why? Are you thinking of moving stuff around?”

“Uh-uh, not that I have much to move even if I wanted to, but Paxton’s seems to have a lot of his eggs in that basket—never a good idea in this kind of economy. The name’s familiar. I’ve seen it recently. There must’ve been clients at OJM with investments there. I’ll have a closer look at the documents Larry sent me tomorrow. For now, let’s eat, drink, and be merry. Who knows what the future will bring? Hopefully good things for all of us.”

But she didn’t believe it for a minute.

Hope you’ll take the time to nominate it and spread the word. As the song says, “I’ll get by with a little help from my friends!

 

 

Tuesday Tales: From the Word CRY

badge-for-tt-very-small-1Welcome to this week’s edition of Tuesday Tales, the blog made possible by Jean joachim and some very talented authors. Each week, we blog a scene from a work in progress based on a particular word. Once a month, we work with a image instead.

I’m back with Paul and MJ and Wedding Bell Blues, my contemporary romance. The plot is winding down, so I’m sure there aren’t any more than three or four posts left from it. Since it’s my full time writing project at the moment, it may be even fewer than that. This week’s offering is spicier than what I normally post, so I hope I won’t offend anyone.  The word this week is CRY.

This picks up with Paul and MJ making love for the first time.

Paul felt his heart swell. The look of trust in her eyes was more than he’d ever expected. Gently, as if he were opening a precious, rare gift, he spread her legs and gradually buried himself inside her. As he moved, she clenched around him and held him tightly. Soft yet firm, her sweat-slicked body was everything he expected and more, fitted to him in every way possible despite their difference in size. He wouldn’t last long, but it didn’t matter. She was on the verge of shattering and with one deep thrust, her cry of ecstasy brought on his release. Together, they climbed to Heaven and slowly free-fell to Earth.

Chest heaving, Paul rolled off MJ, not wanting his weight to crush her, turned on his side, and pulled her to him. Outside, the wind continued to howl, the rain lashed the windows, but for the first time in years, he was content and at peace. He kissed the side of her neck, and she snuggled into his arms. Words weren’t necessary. They’d crossed a bridge and burned it behind them. There was no going back to the way things had been, and they would have to carve a new path together. He closed his eyes and let sleep claim him.

A gentle shove in the ribs woke him.

“Come on, sleepy head. Release the death grip,” MJ said and chuckled. “I need to go, but I promise to come right back.”

Paul grunted—it seemed the best thing to say—and let go of her. She was cheerful, but once she realized the implications of last night, she might not feel the same way. After what had happened between them, there would be no annulment.

He opened his eyes and rolled over, noting his body was still eager for his bride, but maybe he needed to slow things down just a little. Last night, neither of them had considered protection. While he wanted MJ in his life for however many days the Good Lord gave him, he couldn’t see himself as a father, but he didn’t shoot blanks. MJ could be on the pill, but if she’d broken her engagement in January … He’d noticed boxes of condoms in the resort’s store. He would have to find a way to discreetly pick some up today, because if MJ was willing to continue the physical side of their relationship, he was more than ready and able to do so.

The only sound in the bungalow was the water running in the bathroom. After last night’s gale, the silence was eerie. Getting up, he pulled on his underwear and walked over to the window, pulling open the drapes. In front of him, the lagoon was strewn with floating debris. The chairs and tables that had been on the deck were gone. Put away by the staff last night before the storm, or blown away? He wasn’t sure which was correct.

“Oh my God,” MJ said, coming to stand beside him. “Where is everything?”

“I don’t know,” he answered, turning to pull her into his arms, pleased when she didn’t resist. “Good morning.”

“Good morning,” she said shyly and stood on tiptoe to kiss him. He met her halfway. The moment their lips met, it rekindled his need for her. Sweeping her off her feet, he carried her to the bed, shed his underwear, and removed the t-shirt she’d put on.

“I don’t think I will ever get enough of you,” he mumbled into her neck before losing himself in her once more.

* * *

MJ turned her back to Paul in the shower and allowed him to soap her body. They’d made love twice, and each time was more magical than before. Even now, she could feel his erection as he moved his hands from her back to her chest to soap her breasts. He was insatiable, but then so was she. She’d never been this wanton and giving in bed before, and as Carla had put it, Mark had never rung her bells, but with Paul, she had a whole damn carillon going on. The touch of his hands set her body on fire, and she turned to him anxious for more.

It was several minutes later before sated and finally clean, Paul turned off the water in the double shower. No words of love had been spoken, but she was fine with that for now. Baby steps. He’d already given in to his physical need for her. It was someplace to start.

Her stomach grumbled loudly.

Paul laughed. “Does someone need to be fed?”

“I do. All this exercise has left me starving,” she said, wrapping herself in one of the two white robes on the back of the door and walking over to the counter where he’d made coffee. She grabbed a banana from the fruit bowl. “What’s for breakfast?”

“I know what I’d like to eat, but maybe something else would be in order. Let me call the kitchen and see what I can do.” He picked up the receiver, but the line was dead. He frowned. “The phones are down. It looks like we’re going to have to go to the lounge for breakfast. It’s just after nine, but I’m sure we’ll be able to get something there.”

“At least we have power. It went out during the night,” she commented, going to the drawer to select some of the sexy underwear Carla had insisted she buy, grateful she’d agreed.

“Probably working off a backup generator. If the phone lines are down, the main power lines probably are, too. Let’s go see how much damage the storm has done. It might shake up planned activities.”

“You mean the treasure hunt?” she asked, getting the rest of her clothes out of the drawers.

“That, too.” He grabbed a pair of underwear and started to dress. The domesticity of the scene warmed her. There was no awkwardness between them. Things had changed, but he seemed okay with that.

Ten minutes later, dressed in white crop pants and a turquoise tube top, the turquoise pendant Carla had given her once more around her neck, MJ slipped her feet into white sandals. Paul had applied sunscreen to her shoulders and she’d opted to leave her hat here. After all, they were just going to the lounge.

When Paul opened the door, she couldn’t stifle her cry of dismay. All around them, branches from palm trees and other tropical plants littered the wharf and the water. Near the beach, two of the majestic Roystonea trees, better known as royal palms, had been uprooted and blocked the path leading to the hotel.

“I was doing some reading while I was waiting for you yesterday,” Paul said, holding her hand as he led her along the wharf. “Apparently, there was a huge storm the night La Corneille’s ship sank.”

“If there was,” she said, eying the tree trunks in their way, “maybe whatever was lost surfaced again. Even if it didn’t, I’ll bet there are all kinds of neat things thrown up on the ocean side.”

Paul smiled. “Ever the optimist, aren’t you?” He kissed the tip of her nose. “But you’re right. There should be some interesting stuff blown ashore. Here, let me help you.”

He picked her up and stepped over the trees. Other than leaves and smaller branches, nothing blocked the rest of the way to the main building.

“Looks like the iguanas are having a feast,” she said, nodding toward at a couple of the reptiles munching away at the heads of the trees. “If they get to eat like this after every storm, no wonder they’re the size of dinosaurs.”

Don’t forget to check out all the other posts on  Tuesday Tales.