Tuesday Tales: From the word STRAP

badge-for-tt-very-small-1Welcome to this week’s Tuesday Tales, the blog hop featuring an excerpt from a work in progress based on a word or picture prompt. Last week’s tease was based on a picture and left everyone guessing. What did the mermaid give her? This week’s word is STRAP. Enjoy!

“But she must have given you a gift. If she takes something, then she must return to you something of hers of equal value. Have you checked your pockets? Sometimes, the sirène leaves her gift for you to find. The one who rescued my grandfather all those years ago took his gold hoop earring and gave him a beautiful abalone shell comb in return. It is one of my family’s prized heirlooms.”

Reaching for the strap of the bag she’d dropped at her feet, MJ pulled it onto her lap and opened it to remove the shorts she’d been wearing. In one pocket she found the three soggy ten-dollar-bills she’d put there. In the other, there was a small round disk. She held it up for Paul and Lucette to see.

gold coinThe object was a thin, circular, gold coin about the size of a silver dollar. The outer rim was about a quarter inch wide and solid, while the inside of the circle resembled netting yet was made of gold with tiny holes pierced into it. In the very center was a small, oval, turquoise stone. There were no other markings on the object, its reverse side identical to the top one, minus the gemstone.

“It’s beautiful,” MJ said, examining the coin. “But what is it?”

Lucette shook her head. “I do not know. I have never seen anything like it.”

“Can I see that?” Mark asked eagerly, stepping closer to them. He’d been waiting to get Lucette’s attention. How much had he overheard? His eyes were bright, his eyebrows raised, the tip of his tongue sticking out slightly between his lips. He reminded MJ of a kid looking in a candy store window. Why would this interest him? Bill stood next to him.

Looking around the room, MJ noticed Melena and Christy sitting on the far side of the lounge. Melena’s color was back to normal.

MJ frowned, but unless she wanted to be rude, she had no choice but to hand the coin to Mark.

“Where did you say you found this?” he asked, his face more animated than she’d ever seen it. His eyes glowed and his jaw hung open. He licked his lips.

He was salivating? Over a coin? What the hell was it?

“I didn’t say,” MJ answered, not sure she wanted to share this discovery with him. He might be able to use her slow-wittedness to argue that she had indeed given him the vacation.

Schooling his features, Mark handed it back to her. “Nice forgery.”

Paul moved closer to them. “A forgery of what?”

“Just some old Incan money. The producers must’ve dropped all kinds of it around to lure us in. Where did you get this particular piece?”

“She found it near the tip of the island yesterday afternoon,” Paul lied before she could answer.

Frowning, she glanced at Paul’s frown, and in her peripheral vision, saw Lucette shake her head. Instead of correcting Paul, she finished her juice and stood, putting the strap of her bag over her shoulder.

“I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve had enough excitement and adventure to last me for some time. I’m kind of tired, too. It must be that unexpected dip in the ocean combined with last night’s storm. I’m going to lie down before dinner.”

Paul rose. “You never have to ask me twice to take you to bed.” He winked.

MJ’s cheeks burned, but she smiled.

“Wait,” Mark said, biting the inside of his cheek, the muscle in his jaw jumping. “Why don’t you leave the coin with us, and we’ll look it up online?”

Paul smiled. “Have you got your phone?”

Mark frowned. “Yeah.”

“Then here, take a picture. Take two, front and back, but I don’t think MJ is going to part with her good luck piece, are you honey?”

“Nope. It kept me alive today. I’m not going anywhere without it.”

That’s it for this week! Don’t forget to check out all the other posts on  Tuesday Tales.


Living the Dream
Topics: books, authors, romance. life, you name it!

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Friday Feature Artist: Textile Artist Esther Bryan and the Quilt of Belonging

quiltAs authors, we create beauty with the written word. Esther Bryan and her many helpers use a variety of media to create lasting works of art like the Quilt of Belonging. But the Quilt of Belonging is more than an art project; it is the story of all the different ethnic groups who make up the mosaic of Canadian society. Visit the website to learn more. https://www.quiltofbelonging.ca/

historyThe Quilt of Belonging project started in the fall of 1998 by artist Esther Bryan. After visiting Slovakia with her parents in 1995, a place her father had left 43 years earlier, she dreamt of creating a piece of art that would allow every group and culture to tell its own unique story. In her creation, visitors can see that there is “A Place for All”.

squareI first got involved with the Quilt of Belonging project when a close friend and fellow teacher lost her teenage daughter suddenly. Those of us who worked with her wanted to do something special and so I contacted Esther and supported the construction of one of the blocks in Sarah Meyer’s memory. The block chosen was the one dedicated to the small country of San Marino, the world’s oldest surviving republic, only 60.5 sq km in size, founded in 321, AD.

Today, the quilt is 120 feet long and 10 feet high, with 263 squares representing 71 aboriginal groups and the 192 immigrant nationalities found in Canada. Each block is unique, designed and created by hand incorporating a number of different media ranging from abalone shell, to porcupine quills, bobbin lace to worry dolls. It must be seen to be truly appreciated and I had the opportunity to see it last night at a reception at Ottawa City Hall hosted by the Slovakian ambassador to Canada.


costumeIt was an incredible thing to see all of the people there.  Some wore national dress. I had a conversation with a woman from Slovakia, sampled their cheese and sausage, ass well as their wines. My husband John met an up-and-coming aboriginal artist who recognized the Star Trek insignia on his shirt.  As Dr, Seuss once said, “it’s amazing the people you’ll meet.”

John and Norman

Canada officially turns 150 years old on July 1, 2017. My country has a proud heritage that goes back much farther than that, but we are a wonderful nation with people who believe in the dignity of all.

I am proud to be a Canadian, proud of my country, its rich heritage and all of those who contributed–past and present–to making it the place it is today.

Happy Birthday, Canada. You look great for your age!

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Midweek Tease: Sworn to Protect


New midweek tease imageWell, it’s officially summer! Yay! Now, if Mother Nature got the memo and stayed consistent for a few weeks, that would be awesome.

Welcome to this week’s Midweek Tease made possible by Angelica Dawson. If you’ll recall, last week, Neil had just learned the extent of his wife’s injuries.

Here’s this week’s tease:

Sworn to ProtectThe sound of the nurse’s phone brought Neil back to the present.

“You don’t have to stay.” Neil turned to Todd. “I’ll be okay. You can go back to work.”

His partner shrugged his shoulders. “I told you before, I’m not going anywhere, and Anderson knows it. Mac made some calls. We’re covered.”

He nodded, moved again by the way everyone was being supportive.

They sat side by side in silence, listening to the clock ticking away the minutes of Nancy’s life. After an eternity, the waiting room door opened, and a woman in OR greens came in. Neil looked up, and his heart plummeted. He knew from her face the news wasn’t good. He hoped she wasn’t there about Nancy and felt guilty for doing so.

“Mr. Michael Levinstein?”

The man with the newborn stood. “That’s me. Is Hilary going to be okay? She only went back to work today.” The doctor bowed her head and slowly shook it side to side.

“No! Oh God, no.” He collapsed to his knees beside the infant seat. His sobs filled the room and pulled at Neil’s aching heart.

“I’m sorry. We did everything we could.”

His companion dropped down beside him, taking the broken man into his arms. The man wept bitter tears onto his friend’s shoulder. There was no consoling him, and as if the infant understood what she’d lost, she started to cry, too. The father turned his tear-stained face to his daughter and picked her up. The doctor spoke to the man’s companion who nodded and then she turned, her own eyes filled with tears, and left. The man, his baby girl clutched to his chest, and his companion, carrying the empty infant seat, followed the doctor out of the room.

By half past ten, the waiting room had emptied as one by one, the families had received either the news they’d prayed for or the one they’d dreaded. Two others hadn’t made it through surgery. The television in the lounge was fixed on CNN which continued to report on the bloodbath. The body count stood at twenty six including the two people who’d been killed on the street. The city was on lockdown. The mayor had asked the president to send in the National Guard to support the police. The hospital itself was under heavy guard. There were still four people in critical condition, including Snakebite, and no word on Nancy. The last time he’d approached the nurse, she’d called and confirmed Nancy was still in surgery. She wouldn’t or couldn’t tell him anything else.

The door opened. He looked up and the frazzled, tearful woman standing next to his partner ran over to him.

“Any word?” Meredith asked.

He shook his head. Todd handed him another cup of coffee. It was the last thing he needed, but the only thing keeping him on his feet.

Meredith collapsed into the chair next to him, and Neil realized what a toll this had taken on her. The larger than life woman seemed to have imploded and looked older than forty-six. Her pale skin was translucent, tears had smudged her mascara, and her gray eyes were shadowed. Her short, spiky, dark brown hair clearly showed the tracks her fingers had worn through it. Wishing he could offer some consolation, he squeezed her hand, but as each second ticked by, he moved closer and closer to despair. A head wound and eight hours in surgery. How could she possibly survive?

The Blurb:

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. A forensic accountant, she agrees to look at a company’s books in a divorce case, trying to find hidden assets, but her meeting with the lawyer goes terribly wrong when the restaurant is attacked.

The moment US Marshal Neil Copeland discovers his wife has been shot in 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 specific hit. When a professional assassin tries to kill Nancy a second time, it’s clear that she was the target and whatever’s going on is a lot more complicated than they think.

When Nancy awakes after a month in an induced coma, not only does she not remember the attack on the restaurant, she doesn’t remember marrying Neil.

Faced with the challenge of protecting his wife from a powerful, faceless enemy, Neil must bring her up to date, dredging up all the sorrow that tore them apart in the first place, hoping something will jar her memory.

As he races against time, can he save her from an unknown assassin and convince her to give the love they once had a second chance?


Please check out the rest of this week’s teasers. Remember. This is a blog hop.

#MidWeekTease June 21, 2017

This is a Blog Hop!

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Happy Release Day!

Anaiah Press

We’re so excited to finally welcome HIGH COUNTRY DILEMMA and A FURROW SO DEEP into the world! These two new romances are sweet, fun, and heartwarming. You won’t want to miss these!


high country dilemma 1600x2400Fallon Hart has landed her dream job—directing the annual melodrama, Miss May’s Dilemma. But when Fallon arrives in Pine Ridge, Colorado, she finds her new apartment in flames. To make matters worse, her manager wants her to sing an impossible solo. Her family wants her to give up the theater and join the family jewelry business. And her selfish, controlling ex-fiancé wants her back. The biggest dilemma of all, though, is trying to make everyone happy.

Handsome firefighter, Lucas O’Farrell, is searching for his soul-mate, a lady who’ll share his love of the mountains, small-town living, and kids. He knows exactly what he doesn’t want: a sophisticated city girl like Fallon…

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Tuesday Tales: Picture Prompt Time

badge-for-tt-very-small-1Welcome to this week’s edition of Tuesday Tales. Usually we post an excerpt based on a word. This week, we have a picture and a 300 word limit. I was going to start something new, but I’ll post a couple more from Wedding Bell Blues and begin a new book after my camping holiday in July. It’s a good time to start something fresh!

So, here is the image I chose:


And here’s this week’s Tuesday Tale.

Paul led MJ into the bar, remodeled to resemble the interior of an old ship. A rough wooden plank replaced the smooth granite top.

“I heard about your miracle,” Lucette said, her eyes aglow, placing a glass of scotch on the bar for Paul. The bottle slipped from her hand, and lay on its side, drops of liquor saturating the wood.

Excusez-moi,” the bartender added, handing MJ a glass of juice. “I have never met anyone who has seen la sirène.”

MJ’s fingers traced the uneven grain of the dark wood. She frowned. “What’s a sirène?” She mangled the word in her attempt to say it.

“A mermaid, like Manman Dlo. I can’t wait to hear about her. Only a handful of people have seen one, and most of them are dead now. My grandfather’s father was rescued by a blue one. Those who see them are blessed.”

MJ licked her lips. “Not sure I feel blessed, more like scared to death now, but the creature I saw didn’t look like the statue. She had dark hair down to her waist, and these incredible purple scales and a marvelous tail—all shiny and reflective. She didn’t speak, just held up her hand and when I touched it, I was suddenly in the water, breathing under it. I saw Paul swimming to me and she left. When she did, I couldn’t breathe and my mouth filled with water …”

“I saw a purple shadow under you,” he admitted, his forehead creased more deeply than ever. “When it vanished, and the water entered your mouth … I never want to see anything like that again.”

MJ’s cheeks heated at the intensity of his gaze.

Before she could comment, Lucette spoke. “What did she give you?”

“Nothing, why?”

“But there must be a gift.”

That’s it for this week! Don’t forget to check out all the other posts on  Tuesday Tales.


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Monday Morning Musings: Fates and Furies Blog Tour

It’s a pleasure this morning to be part of the Fates and Furies Blog Tour.

The Olympian gods have caused Hope nothing but chaos…

Hope escaped the Underworld with her life, but her memories are as blank as the Book of the Fates she brought back. Still determined to break the curse, she and Xan take an offering to the Olympian temple to solicit the goddess Artemis for aid. But the petition has disastrous results, and now the gods are hunting her.

Athan sacrificed everything for Hope, but she’s leaving him behind to travel with Xan to Mount Olympus. But the closer they get, the more Athan’s mortality becomes a liability. Forced to seek refuge in mists and darkness, Athan tangles with deities that weave the very threads of fate. But these goddesses also wield the immortal blades that lay ruin to destinies.

With everyone she loves damaged or destroyed by the blood of Olympus, Hope must face the power of the past to change the fate of her future.


Raye Wagner writes young adult urban fantasy with a Greek mythology twist. She’s a big fan of both the Percy Jackson series (shocker) and the Twilight saga (gasp), and those two series *might* have led her to pursue her dream of writing teen fiction.Raye’s a big believer in realistic characters and draws on her background in healthcare to ensure that her strong protagonists are believably flawed and act rationally. She loves reading YA romantic fantasy so there’s bound to be some kissing in her books. That being said, Raye writes for all ages, so it’s clean romance. 😉 Raye also relies heavily on her martial arts training to pen realistic fight scenes (3rd degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do) with believable consequences.

Raye loves to hear from readers. You can connect with her via Facebook (Raye Wagner), Twitter (@rayewagner), Instagram (rayewagnerauthor), or her website: rayewagner.com


Best of luck with your books!
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Saturday Special! Show No Weakness.

Meet fellow Canadian author Joyce Holmes and her new book, Show No Weakness

SnW Email Siggie


She’s a tenderhearted social worker, looking for her Happy-Ever-After. He’s a distrustful RCMP Corporal who’s sworn off relationships. Factor in a surly teen heading for delinquency, and you have a case of passion and turmoil too explosive to handle.

As a defense mechanism to deal with his guilt and grief over his daughter’s death, Cole Dennison has become an expert at compartmentalizing his feelings. He keeps his personal life private, while making it his professional mission to rescue children in peril.

Joely Sinclair is fiercely protective and openly compassionate. When she meets Cole Dennison, she falls hard. He’s everything she admires in a man, and because she wears her heart on her sleeve, she can’t understand how or why Cole keeps all his emotions to himself.

As much as Cole resents his interest in Joely, with her inquisitive and caring nature, he can’t deny her appeal. Against his better judgment, he becomes involved in both her and her son’s lives. Taylor is in desperate need of a positive male role model, and Cole can’t turn his back on the boy. But when Joely starts talking love, Cole’s inability to commit puts an end to their relationship—until a dangerous situation throws them back together.

When given a second chance at love, will Cole risk letting Joely into his battered heart?


Does her love have the power to heal this wounded man?


“By the time I turned sixteen, I was pregnant. I became a child bride at seventeen, married to an adult-sized infant with chest hair, with a real live baby doll to take care of, as well. That marriage was the biggest mistake I’ve ever made. Before I hit twenty-one, it was over.” She heard the bitterness in her voice and stopped talking.

“That had to be rough, but isn’t it time to stop beating yourself up about it? At least you had enough sense to get out.”

The compassion, the offer of understanding in his voice almost overwhelmed Joely. She wondered if he’d be as sympathetic if he knew she had left her precious little boy with her alcoholic husband while she worked. And it took four years and a serious injury before she clued in to the fact her toddler didn’t get all his bruises from being overactive and clumsy.

No, Cole had it wrong; she didn’t have a whole lot of sense when she was younger.

He pushed his coffee cup aside and leaned forward in his chair to stare sharply at her. She realized he must be very good at his investigative work. Those dark penetrating eyes would intimidate anyone into telling the truth when they flashed as fiercely as they were right now.

“You’re upset. I didn’t mean to do that,” he apologized. “I wanted to make you feel better.”

“Oh no, hey, I’m not upset with you. I actually appreciate your effort. I can’t remember the last time I had a conversation with a man who cared how I felt about myself. Men are usually much more concerned about how I feel about them.”

“You already told me you didn’t like me.” He smiled brilliantly, his eyes crinkling. “Whaddaya say to giving me a chance to change your mind?”

For just a moment, Joely saw beneath the laughing, self-confident grin to the flicker of loneliness in his eyes. He was new to the area, she remembered. He probably didn’t know many people, and here she was monopolizing the conversation. She ignored his question and posed one of her own.

“Why did you choose law enforcement for your career?”

His gaze unexpectedly turned cold. His features revealed no emotion, nothing to indicate why he suddenly shut down. The pause grew a little too long, giving Joely the impression he preferred not to answer.

“I take a lot of satisfaction out of my job, especially working with the kids,” he eventually replied, his voice back to that aggravatingly polite, neutral tone. “But it wasn’t a matter of choice so much as of doing what was expected.”

“Your parents said you had to become a cop?” Joely wanted to keep her mouth shut and let him do the talking, but stunned disbelief made her blurt it out before she could stop herself.

Cole smiled tightly. “My grandfather was a cop, same with my father. As far as they were concerned, there was no other suitable job for a Dennison, and they presumed I’d follow their lead. My mom didn’t get a say; she died when I was five.”

Joely let out an involuntary gasp of sympathy. “Oh, I’m sorry. How sad for you to grow up without a mother.” Not having a father had left a gaping hole in her childhood and even though her mom would’ve never won mother-of-the-year, she’d always given freely of her hugs and kisses. She was important to Joely, and Joely couldn’t imagine growing up without her.

Cole lifted a shoulder casually. “I survived. You don’t miss what you never really had.”

“Yes, you do,” she replied fiercely. “You miss it and you want it terribly. At least I did. I wanted a father more than I wanted anything else. It was the defining reality of my childhood. How can you say you didn’t miss your mother?”

Something hard and acrid flashed in his eyes, and he didn’t acknowledge her words. He pushed out of his chair abruptly. “We should get back to the detachment. Your son’s waited long enough.”

Buy Links

Roane Publishing: https://www.roanepublishing.com/product-p/snw-01.htm

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/show-no-weakness-joyce-holmes/1111384269

Kobo:  https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/show-no-weakness

Amazon.com: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06Y6JT6Q5/

Amazon.ca: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B06Y6JT6Q5/

Holmes 1.5x2.25Author Bio:

Joyce Holmes lives with her husband and very small dog in the beautiful Okanagan region of British Columbia. Photography and blogging about her travels are two of her passions, along with visiting her kids and grandkids. When she’s not dreaming up stories in her head or planning her next great adventure, she’s off enjoying the great outdoors.

Author Links:





Twitter @Joyce_Holmes

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