Yes, Beth Trissel is having her first contest. Help me celebrate my upcoming fall release of Somewhere My Love by entering my contest. Count the leaves hidden around my website and find the name of My family's old Virginia home. Send both answers to me at email@example.com with Contest in the subject line. I will award a five dollar gift certificate to The Wild Rose Press to the first three readers who answer correctly. Also, for that lucky visitor who can name the ghost that's haunting Shirley Plantation, I will throw in a gorgeous Through the Fire T-shirt.
In the first place, I didn't intend to write a Western, nor to have it made into an audio book.
It just happened.
It came about like this; I was dating a guy who didn't like science fiction. "Write a Western," he told me. "They always sell."
So, I did.
I didn't consider it much of a "Western"; okay, so it was set in Nebraska and there were cowboys and Indians; to me it was a Romance, because it was about love, betrayal, and revenge. And it was short--only about 110 pages. He read it, supplied a couple of corrections as a Western novel reader, and pronounced it "Great."
Well, Time marched on and so did the boyfriend but I was left with the story. I set it aside and went back to my science fiction but it kept niggling in my memory. I had this novella, I had spent time writing it, so I should do something with it. The problem was, not many publishers accepted book manuscripts of that length. Finally, I sat down with my Novel & Short Story Writers Market and went through it page-by-page, looking for publishers who handled novellas. There weren't many and most of the ones there were didn't want Westerns. Finally, I came upon Books in Motion, an audio book company. They wanted stories specifically not more than 110 pages and they accepted Westerns. So, I wrote a synopsis and a cover letter, included an SASE, and sent my little manuscript on its merry way...
...and promptly forgot about it--as I am prone to do--ask Linda or MM!
Time trotted onward some more and I had other things to think about. I was scheduled for hip surgery; the prosthesis I had been given in 1973 needing replacement--the teflon covering on the socket had disintegrated, making seven holes in what was left of my hip socket. A week before my admission, a letter came from Books in Motion, thanking me for my submission, telling me they had changed their requirements and now wanted full-sized manuscripts, so, though they liked my story, they were returning it. I stared at the letter, perplexed. Walk the Shadow Trail--that was my title, all right, but when had I sent the manuscript? I couldn't remember. Going to my Submissions Log, I started checking the entries. Sure enough, there it was-April, 1996-a year before! I reread the letter, decided I wasn't going to let a little thing like a lack of length stop me; after all, they liked the story, didn't they? Keeping my fingers crossed to invalidate the lie, I whipped off a quick letter informing them that originally the manuscript had been longer, but at some anonymous person's suggestion, I had shortened it and if they liked, I'd put the deleted chapters back and would they reconsider it then?
So, I wrote the non-existent chapters, bundled the whole thing together and returned it for their approval.
In a few weeks--while recovering from my surgery--I received another second letter from Books in Motion.
A contract. What a get-well card!
And the rest, as they say, is history....
(The above picture courtesy of fotolia.com. Walk the Shadow Trail has since been made into an e-book, a print edition, and is available on Kindle from amazon.com.)
Sir Geoffrey cleared his throat and pierced the silence. “We escorted you without delay, as Lord Colchester commanded.”
“’Tis the reason why we were kidnapped?” Earl or no earl, wrath burned through her, heating the last coils of her control. Squirming in his grasp, she twisted around to glare at him. “Without delay? Because of your selfish whims, Yolanda and I did not finish placing stones around our mother’s deathbed. Because of your arrogance, we were unable to destroy our mother’s possessions, a grievous offence for all Romany. And because of you . . . ” she glowered into his exasperated eyes, “ . . . we were unable to complete our mother’s burial ritual.” Her breath hitched, stinging her lungs.
The earl can kill me for speaking to him this way.
She tossed her hair back. Te les o beng. Devil curse him. Let him try.
His muscles went rigid against her. He scowled at Sir Geoffrey, then back at her. “I am unaware of your gypsy ways. I am sorry about your mother’s death, but you are required here.”
“Because your needs are more important than ours?” Reckless, the challenge raised her spirit. “Because your life is more important than her death?”
With a regretful sigh, he dropped his hands.
The realization he had little sympathy for her mother’s death snapped Valentina’s mind into action. Men like the earl were only interested in themselves. But this heartless noble would pay for his callousness. Ripping her mother’s double-edged dagger from the cord along her gown’s inside seam, Valentina tore off the sheath and raised the weapon.
(continued from June)
“Lord Colchester summoned you to his country estate to read his fortune,” Sir Geoffrey intoned.
The statement startled her, so ludicrous Valentina allowed herself to laugh, certain she lost her mind. A hysterical peal of a voice she hardly recognized rang through the hollow chamber.
“Surely you jest,” she said in disbelief. “No one would go to such lengths to capture me.”
Her eyes came up to study the earl’s face. His expression was a mask, one of pained tolerance.
The sensation of falling into a bottomless abyss made her lean against him, her kidnapper.
Her breathing slowed, except for a low keen of distress to summon the spirits. A plea to return to the caravan and her home.
Gradually, she added deep breaths to steady her balance and calm her nerves.
He might not be jesting. This might not be a misunderstanding. In any case, her life was not a bauble for his amusement.
Her chin came up.
After the initial shock, I waited to be referred to a surgeon. Apparently, my doctor didn't know one, for a week went by, then two, then three, and my calls to his office were fended away by the receptionist. I waited one more week, then did the only thing I could think of--I called the American Cancer Society and allowed myself to have a Good Cry, sobbing out my predicament and fear. Within a day, I had been referred to a local representative, who took care of the paperwork to get me on Medi-Cal. Three days after that, I had an appointment with a surgeon and two days later, found myself on a gurney, at Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center in Mission Viejo, California, draped and prepped and waiting to be wheeled into the operating room for a lumpectomy.
I was going to be in no condition to drive myself home, I'd been told, so one of my sorority sisters volunteered to be chauffeur. She was there to hold my hand as we waited, making inconsequential conversation the way people do, skirting around the fear that sat on the gurney with me.
Afterward--after I was awake and lucid enough to speak two consecutive sentences, she drove me home. No sooner had I walked into the apartment, still groggy from the anesthetic, than the phone rang. It was the surgeon's nurse. I needed to return to the hospital. They had to do a second lumpectomy, to "get the perimeter."
My driver good-naturedly agreed to take me back. This time, they got it all, the surgeon told me at my next visit, and he felt confident it wouldn't return, but I wasn't out of the woods yet. Now, my regimen of Tamoxifen chemotherapy began, coordinated with six weeks of radiation.
First, I had to meet with the radiologist and get my "tattoos." Nothing that said "Mother" or a big red heart with a dagger embedded in it, but three marks looking like nothing more than lead pencil periods; each under the skin, connected to the others to form a triangle with the area to be treated in the center.
Every morning at 7:00 AM, I drove myself to the radiology department where I lay on a table while the x-ray equipment hissed and rattled and boomed above me, reminding me of every mad scientist movie I'd ever seen--only this time, I was the Bride of Frankenstein who would rise from the slab, announcing triumphantly, "I'm alive! Alive!"
Alive--maybe--but not looking in any mirror that would allow a view of anything below my neck.
The following year, I began the first of my surgeries for breast reconstruction.
It was April 1. When my plastic surgeon and her nurse arrived, I greeted them enthusiastically. I was ready to meet this surgery head on--let's get this show on the road! When she said, "There's a problem. The company didn't send your implants." I waited for everyone to start laughing and shout, "April Fool!"
The company had forgotten to send the implants! A phone call was in to them rescheduling the delivery. Two days later, I returned for Step One of a breast reconstruction.
After the surgery, I was given a card to carry in my wallet, identifying me as a member of the McGhan Medical Corporation's Implant Registry. If I happen to get killed and can't be identified, they can remove my implants and the Registry will be able to tell them that #PL7716 belongs to Toni V. Sweeney. Isn't that a comforting thought?
As a member of the Registry, I will be also be monitored for the rest of my life, and notified if any problems arise concerning the implants.
Now that I had two breasts again, there were several adjustments I had to make--some of them hilarious, some of them painful--I found I couldn't roll over in bed without pain because my breasts bumped against each other and had to sleep with a pillow between each one. More accustomed to being a 32A, I kept dropping crackers and peanuts down my now 38C cleavage. My breasts were numb and wearing a tube top became embarrassing when it slid down around my waist and I didn't realize that because I couldn't feel it....
In 2002, my surgeon dropped out of the program and I was referred to UCI Medical Center in Orange, California. In 2003, I underwent a Z-plasty to release my lumpectomy scar and my next surgery--the skin flap transplant--was scheduled for Christmas, 2004.
The next surgery never happened. MY surgeon was too swamped for me to get an appointment for a follow-up. As a Welfare patient, I was unable to find another doctor to take his place. After three tries, I was told to wait a while and try again. Eventually, I gave up hope of completing my surgery, consoling myself that I had enough up top to be able to wear a low-cut neckline.
I had graduated from monthly visits with my oncologist to check-ups every six months with a mammogram and accompanying blood work. I did monthly self-exams, took vitamins, and followed my doctor's orders.
In 2006, I was dismissed from treatment--feeling like a Work in Progress...slightly unfinished...with 1 2/3 breasts...with 60 extra pounds from my chemo...and a nearly complete lack of bodyhair... but I'm alive.
Recently, I read a newspaper article stating that research has shown self-exams don't aid in preventing death by breast cancer. All I have to say is: Ignore that! See your doctor, have a yearly mammogram--and do those monthly self-exams!
Newspaper stories notwithstanding--the life you save will be your own!
*This is one of my absolute favorite recipes. A week in the summer never goes by without me making this, as fruit is inexpensive and abundant. For those on any weight-watching program, it is very low-calorie.
3 cups of berries---raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, (or a mixture)
1/4 cup of equal or splenda
1 cup bisquick (I use reduced fat)
1 tablespoon of soft butter (I use a low-fat spread)
1/3 cup skim milk
2 tablespoons of equal or splenda
Preheat oven to 350. Combine the berries and the 1/4 cup splenda in a pie plate.
Separately, combine the other ingredients to form a dough.
Drop by tablespoons over the berries evenly---it will not be enough to cover all the berries.
Bake for 30 minutes or until brown.
*This recipe is adapted from a WW recipe.
As promised, The Proposal and the Wedding. The picutre isn't Babs as our hero and heroine never sent me a photo as requested! I hope you enjoy the final installment.
Again, in his own write, John Macrae-Hall, RAF pilot:
The Hunter 7 two-seat trainer was not in service at this point and the new pilots landings could only be monitored from the ground. To aid this endeavour a Duty Instructor was installed in the Runway Caravan to fill a similar role as the Deck Landing officer on an Aircraft Carrier. One fine day I found myself so employed. One sat high up in the little greenhouse on top of the caravan with a 360-degree vista and was accompanied by the normal Runway controller. The Flt Sgt on duty this day was a rather excitable Irish gentleman. He had descended into the body of the caravan, to brew tea, leaving me with the Very pistol "On watch'. One aircraft had reported a red undercarriage light so I had a Red Very Cartridge loaded, ready for action, with the safety "off ". Poised for action, with my elbow resting on the ledge and the window open, I monitored the scene.
Down below, behind the Night Flying Curtain the Sgt dropped the teapot. My hand slipped from the supporting framework, my elbow remained elevated, my finger, on the trigger, jerked and the gun fired with an almighty bang! The Very Cartridge Flare is a large piece of Ordnance and in a confined space quite alarming. It struck me on the knee and then bounced around the interior issuing forth dense clouds of Red Smoke, in the process, setting fire to the curtain and scorching my trousers. In the ensuing confusion I jumped down from the high stool and dashed for the door. The Sgt. passed me going back toward the greenhouse where he had left his Fags! Outside, bleeding extensively from the knee and with smouldering trousers, I surveyed the scene. Atop the smoking caravan, leaping about like a Dervish, was the frantic Irishman screaming that the IRA were upon us! The Fire and Rescue crew, who arrived at that point, simply fell about laughing. The Flt Sgt was later sent away for Re-habilitation. I paid yet another visit to my Tailor.
Proposal and The Wedding
As time passed I found that I was in that strange human condition, a state of "Being in Love", which effects us all at some time. Accordingly I determined to ask Babs to many me. DD was U/S at the time and I pleaded with Curly Smith to lend me his Standard 10 Coupe for the trip to Solva. With some misgivings he very kindly did so, touched by the romance of it all, if only for a moment! On my way down, passing through the hamlet of Newgale, one is confronted by a very formidable hill. Half way up, the engine died. I then peered at the fuel gauge, reading empty.
These were the days of post Suez petrol rationing, and very little traffic was about. Recalling other Auto-fuel systems I thought I'd try reversing up the hill. Just behind me was a convenient farm entrance, into which I rolled back. Then, rolled out again, pointing nose downhill. As the car accelerated gently, the engine burst into life. I reversed back for the remainder of the climb. At the summit I made another reversal. The rest of the trip to Solva was mainly downhill and on the final descent into the village the engine died once more and I rolled to a stop with dry tank just outside the garage in the main street.
Upon my return, Curly, some while later, complained that he didn't mind me borrowing his car, but he did object to me eating all his Mintos! Oh yes, by the way, the love of my life did accept my proposal and we were now officially engaged.
After all the adventures and ensuing excitement Babs and I decided we should marry in June, and on Wednesday, June the fifth, 1957 we did so, in St Aidans Church, Solva. A great crowd of my family, friends and relatives descended upon the village the previous weekend, and commenced a weeklong party in which the whole village enthusiastically took part. It is remembered to this day!
Appointed time of 11 o'clock, as I anxiously waited at the Altar, the only missing component was Herself and her Father! Of course it is a Bride's privilege to be a trifle late and some 8 minutes later, they arrived and the ceremony commenced. Just as she said, "I do", with a deafening crash and thunder, Four Hunters in close formation flew over the church at about 50 feet and 500 knots. Roy Watson, my flight commander, and some of the lads had timed the fly past to take place as we left the church, but because of our delay, the timing didn't work. However everyone thought it was marvellous!
After the usual pause for Photo ops, Babs and I departed for the Reception at the Ship Inn. Upon arrival, Babs tripped in the doorway and fell into the arms of Officers Colston, Gribble and Bowley, clad in best Blue's and already well into the Champers!
It would seem the party, which ensued, was monumental. Babs and I departed for the
Lake District early in the afternoon, while the going was good. The village street outside the Ship took on a surrealist aspect as we made our getaway.
In the small hours of the night the Gallant Officers from Pembrey lurched back to Base with only one minor mishap en-route. Passing through Carmarthen a sudden stop was called for and the sleeping Officer Gribble on the rear seat, slid forward, catching his arm on the door handle. The door opened and he fell out onto the roadway. Startled but unharmed. That so amused and enlivened the others it kept them awake for the remainder of the journey!
“Are you keeping up with your mammograms?” Jim asked.
We were watching television, a commercial for breast cancer prevention. There was a diagram on the screen showing the various sizes of tumors and the percentages of survival with each size. At that moment, the tumor being shown was the size of a garden pea and the voice-over stated the chances of survival at 99-100%.
“Yes,” I answered. “I had a check-up two months ago.”
I have fibrocystic disease and was very careful to have my annual check-ups and mammograms. I also have a family history of cancer, having lost five members of my immediate family to the disease--a double whammy--and because of that I was more closely-watched. My last mammo has been “suspicious” and had to be repeated.
I was told it was all right. “You probably just moved a little,” they told me.
I remembered how relieved I’d felt as I left the doctor’s office.
I was okay. Go home. Forget about it.
“Well, you be sure you keep doing that,” he went on.
“Don’t worry,” I was quick to reassure him. “I will.”
Fast forward twelve months. A new century. A new state. A new life for me.
Now, I was living in California, recovering from the grief of Jim’s death and the culture-shock of moving from snow-laden Nebraska to a land of palm trees. In the hustle and bustle of settling in, I let the self-exams slide.
In Nebraska, I had been a member of Every Woman Matters, a nationwide organization which provided women, without regard to age and financial status, with mammograms and Pap smears. Every year, I got a postcard reminding me when it was time, and I‘d come to rely on that little card
When I moved, I didn’t get my reminder and--I’ll admit it--I simply forgot.
In March, 2001, I abruptly remembered I’d neglected my self-exams. When I did one, I didn’t like what I found. A lump. A tiny lump, to be sure--perhaps just the size of the garden pea in that commercial, but a lump, nevertheless.
Still, I wasn’t too worried. I’d had lumps before. Didn’t I have fibrocystic disease? Lumps were to be expected. I’d even had several biopsies and they’d all been benign. As for familial cancer--hey, I was one of the lucky ones. It always passed me by…didn’t it?
I did the same thing I always did--checked the other breast for a corresponding thickening. If I found one, that would mean that my “lump” was simply a gland. This time, there wasn’t one. Okay, I’ll call the doctor. I’m overdue for a mammo, anyway.
Accordingly, I found myself in an exam room where the doctor checked my breast, agreed that yes, I did indeed have a lump, and yes, I needed a biopsy. At that point, the routine took an unexpected turn; he didn’t order an aspiration but sent me to a pathologist for a core needle biopsy.
Even the description didn’t sound good.
Okay, time to worry a little. Things weren’t going according to plan. My four previous biopsies had been a snap; three were aspirations--the surgeon simply inserted a hypodermic needle into the cyst and drained it. The fourth was surgical; I’d awakened hearing his voice telling me everything was all right.
But this time….
A few days later, I was laying face down on a table at the pathologist’s clinic, my right breast dangling through an opening at the head of the table. (Now that was embarrassing!)
As she helped me settle on the table, a nurse explained the procedure: the table would be raised and the doctor would perform the biopsy from underneath, using a scalpel shaped like a long, thin potato peeler. This instrument would be inserted into my breast and rotated, slicing off sections of the tumor for analysis. He would then place a wire near the tumor as a guide, if surgery became necessary.
My breast had been injected with local anesthetic, so it would be painless, she assured me.
An hour later, gauzed and bandaged, I left the office, reassuring myself that things were fine now. The doctor would check the tissue samples. He’d call me back and tell me everything was A-okay.
He didn’t.The phone call I got wasn’t what I wanted to hear. The sample was malignant. Malignant--is there an uglier word in the English language?--black and deadly and fear-inspiring.
Please welcome Karin Tabke as our guest blogger. Karin was honored by the Pros at RWA National in San Francisco. What a mentor she has been!
Thank you Pink Fuzzy goils for inviting me to hang out today! I have a signed copy of SKIN for a lucky commenter to be picked at the end of the day!
Why do you write?
It completes me. Simple but true.
How do you write?
I sit my ass in the chair and put my fingers to the keyboard, close my eyes, conjure up my characters and their passion for one another in my imagination, take a big deep breath, and let my mind play out in the form of words.
What is a common theme in your stories?
Love, baby. Passionate, heart-stopping, no-holds-barred love! I love the queasy feeling in my belly when my hero and heroine meet for the first time. Then the first touch followed by that oh so passionate first kiss. The sensation of passion, of wanting something so badly it takes over our every waking thought, our every movement, our every breath we take. Yeah, that’s why I write romance.
Do you write what you know?
Yep. My love affair with my husband has lasted more than 25 years. We’ve had our share of roller coaster rides and we’re still together after all of these years. He is as much a part of me as my heart and soul. We laugh, we cry, we fight, we make up, and we live each day with passion. Our children live the same way.
What about your hot cops?
☺ I love those guys! Talk about writing what I know! Hubby was a cop for a lot of years before he retired due to an injury. He has been my go-to guy, my cop thesaurus, cop dictionary, cop Encyclopedia Brittanica and my cop wikipedia all wrapped up into one. I could not have written the hot cops books without his experience, and having lived that life for so many years it kind of rubbed off on me, too. I’m always amazed when someone says, “Cops don’t do that!” Au, contraire, mon amie. If I wrote some of the real life sex/escapades of those guys and dolls no one would believe me! Cops are emotional beings. They react, they respond and they make mistakes born of love, lust and passion just like the next person. Probably more, since they are in such a high octane occupation. Never say, never. It will always come back to bite you in the ass. ☺
So, tell us about your hot knights!
I love them as much as my hot cops. I make no excuses for them. The Blood Swords are kind of like what today is an elite team of soldiers. You know, Seals, Rangers, only one thousand years ago. They lived in a brutal tempestuous time and their lives and actions reflect that. I make no excuses for their choices. They do what they have to do to survive. Period. I had a reader email me not to long ago and she said, “I started off hating Rohan but soon found myself falling as deeply in love with him as Isabel.” That made my day.
My girls are tough. No damsels in distress here. They stand up to these men who move them in a way no other man has. It’s raw, edgy and the passion abounds in all that they do. Book one, MASTER OF SURRENDER, starts off the series with The Blood Swords hitting town and doing what hot conquering knights do best. ;)
What’s next for you?
In October, HAVE YOURSELF A NAUGHTY LITTLE SANTA, hot cop Ricco Maza’s story, hits the bookshelves. It’s lighter then the previous hot cop books, but it’s a wonderful sexy love story. Roughly based on the Grinch storyline with the heroine, Kimberly Michaels the Grinch, who tries really hard to steal not only Ricco’s Christmas but the town where his family lives as well. I loved writing Kim. She just can’t help herself around hunky Ricco, and hot Latino cop that he is who loves women as much as they love him, finds himself between a rock and the hard spot that keeps popping up when Kim is around.
The last week of November book two of the Blood Sword Legacy, MASTER OF TORMENT, releases. It picks up several months after MASTER OF SURRENDER ends, and it most definitely the most angsty book I have written to date. I’m really enjoying writing this series.
www.KarinTabke.com (Karin has a wonderful website with pithy blogs!
Thank you again, Ladies for the invite to hang out here today. If anyone has a question I will do my best to answer it!
In December 1956, Hunters of the Hawker variety made their appearance at Pembrey. These were the Mkl, the first of long line of variants of latter-day fame and much loved by everyone who flew them. They became a legend. I very often did the early morning "weather check". To the west lay the Royal Navy at Brawdy with their Sea Hawks. The west also was where the weather generally came from. So it followed, we met!
First morning it was a lone Sea Hawk, dispatched with ease. I took some good tine camera footage of it squarely in the gun sight. By way of a gesture to our Naval brethren I sent them the film. A few days later they put up a section of two Sea Hawks to greet me. The Hunter dealt with them with almost contemptuous ease. The Navy did not give up easily, on my next foray the following day a flight of four lay in wait at 30,000ft. However I spotted them, well below me, from my "perch" at 45,000. A few "Yo Yo's" later I managed to capture each one on film. Tiy as they might, the Hunter, with its superior performance, eluded them. The photographic evidence was duly dispatched.
The following weekend I journeyed down to Solva to see Babs. In the Ship Inn I overheard two Naval gentlemen discussing the offending Hunter. Obviously I had caused some considerable distress and misgivings in their ranks! One of the local gentlemen, also listened to their dialogue and piped up "If you want to know who had you, talk to that Bloke over there", pointing at me) as he spoke! They sallied over and several drinks later we called a truce. The locals of Solva were joy-filled as the Legend of the Naval defeat rapidly spread, amply embellished with great Celtic hyperbole, fervour and enormous glee.
In those early days of the Hunter, in common with most aircraft, it had some imperfections. One such problem I can remember well. Two Hunters, elsewhere, had lost their Canopies shortly after takeoff. On both occasions the aircraft had crashed and the pilots, who had not ejected, were killed. The "Bubble" cockpit canopy slid To and Fro on rails attached to the Fuselage by 4 catches, one forward and one rear, on each side. The rear catches could only be checked for correct locking by standing on the entry ladder and peering behind the ejector seat. This was an item on the pre-flight check and was carried out religiously by all pilots.
On the 24th April 1956 the Wingco, "Ching" Coulthard led a practice formation aerobatic sortie in practice for an Air Display. Jock Colston was number two and I was number three. Very shortly after takeoff, at about 400 ft and accelerating through 350kts, my canopy parted company. I was struck by assorted debris and recollect little of the events that followed. It seems that I slid under the formation toward Jock who had seen it all, then my aircraft started down toward the sea below. Jock apparently was yelling, "Pull up Johnny! !" and I did so as the aircraft almost became a seaplane. Somehow I staggered back to the Airfield and landed and taxied back to the flight line where a crowd of rescuer's awaited. My "Bone Dome" (manufactured by Cromwell & Co. whom I wrote to later with thanks) had sustained severe damage and I only sustained a bit of a scalp wound needing a few stitches. However, scalp wounds bleed profusely and I had leaked quite a lot. The slipstream had spread it around effectively. I was later told that the poor Airman, who mounted the ladder to assist me, took one look at my face, fainted and fell off the ladder, breaking his arm in the process! I woke up in sick quarters the next day!
Determined to discover the reason for the accident and aware that the two previous losses had been attributed to "Pilot Error" I went out onto the beach below the take off flight path and actually found the detached canopy right hand rail.
The Hawker Field representative was "Mac" McKay. He removed the right hand rear catch from the Aircraft and discovered that with a hard tap it would release. Furthermore, the latch had some free movement on the rail pin. One taxied the Hunter with the canopy open. On a bumpy taxiway, with high-pressure tires, the aircraft shook considerably and the rear catches could unlatch. Of course the pilot had no way of seeing them at this stage. As one lined up for take off, the canopy was closed and the take off commenced. After lift off the undercarriage was retracted and the cockpit pressurized. As airspeed increased, aerodynamic lifting on the canopy took effect. This, combined with the pressurization build up, blew the canopy away from the released latch, shattering the canopy and hitting the pilot in the process. To this point no one had survived to tell the tale and the deceased Pilots were blamed for the accidents. As a result of my incident a modification took place. The front and rear latches were joined by a rod. Some of the covering panelling cut away, exposing part of the front latches. Suitable red and yellow markings were painted on. This effectively took care of the problem.
Today, I was to post the 3rd in my Posted to Pembrey installments written by John Macrae-Hall. Since I didn't have it ready, I thought a laugh might suffice! And maybe a quote as well.
Please drop by tomorrow for the final part of Posted to Pembrey and scroll down for the previous two.
Smile. It's Tuesday!
Please join me in welcoming our special guest blogger, Haywood Smith. (We need an announcer's voice here.)
First, thanks to Mary and the Pink Fuzzies for this chance to e-meet new readers and writers.
How I got here.
For those of you who think it’s too late to pursue a dream, I’m living proof that it’s not. I don’t go to Plan B very easily, so it took me a lot longer than it should have to realize God didn’t want me to be a residential real estate broker/associate and appraiser. First, He sent me mostly psychotic buyers and sellers—with a few wonderful exceptions—then He allowed me to be assigned to a subdivision sales trailer with no bathroom and a partner who propositioned my teen-aged son. Then He topped it off with a real estate recession and 14% interest rates.
But the son thing was what tore it. So I called my precious friend Carolyn Stovall and asked her, “What can I do? I don’t have a college degree. All my experience is in real estate. My arthritis is so bad, I can’t even get a job as a greeter at WalMart for the benefits, because I can’t stand on the concrete. And I’m so numerically challenged that one of my personal bankers gave me two boxes of promotional candy to take if I let my checking account die a natural death, then open the new one with their competition!” (Scout’s honor.) “If I tried to run a cash register, I’d probably end up arrested as a felon.”
She responded by asking, “If somebody told you you were going to die in two years, what would you do?”
I heard my voice say, “I’d write a book and try to get it published,” and the minute I heard it, I realized I finally know what I wanted to be when I grew up!
They say, “Write what you love to read,” and I loved to read accurate historical novels. But, being a businesswoman, I looked into it and found out my best chance of getting published was in the romance genre, so I joined Georgia Romance Writers and learned all about the art, craft, and business of writing Historical romances. It took me five years, but my first historical, Shadows in Velvet, was nominated for four national awards. I was forty-seven before I saw my name on a book, but it was well worth the wait.
In the next five years I wrote five more single title historicals (Secrets in Satin, Damask Rose, Dangerous Gifts, Highland Princess, and Border Lord), which all won critical and reader approval. Each one featured a strong heroine, a hero who was a real man, great love scenes between husband and wife, and accurate history. And in each one, I tried to focus on timeless women’s issues that I and my friends were facing, like abuse and loss and senile parents, so my readers could relate personally to the stories. I also included a strong dose of humor with the drama, because that’s what I like to read. All my historicals end with positive resolutions because life gives me plenty of grief for free, so I don’t want to spend money or precious time finishing a book and saying, “Bummer.” (Can we say, Oprah’s book club?)
How I changed from historical romances to hardback women’s fiction.
Then, after thirty years of marriage, I found out Prince Charming was a toad. I was devastated and destitute—totally on my own financially for the first time in my life. I loved my historicals, but that genre didn’t pay enough for somebody like me with chronic health issues to maintain insurance, so I decided to switch to humorous women’s fiction for Baby Boom women, using my divorce as the inspiration for Queen Bee of Mimosa Branch, a fictional story about a woman who loses everything after being married to the same man for most of her life, but becomes whole and joyous on her own.
So the worst thing in my life (besides my only son’s having liver cancer) ended up sowing the seeds of my success. Only after the fact did I realize that God didn’t want me living in danger and deception, and now I’m happily living across the street from my son, his wonderful wife, and my three grandbabies.
Though reality might inspire me with ideas for characters and stories, all my characters and stories are fictional, including Lin in Queen Bee of Mimosa Branch. I let her do everything I would never dream of doing (including cussing the worst word in the English language, in quadruplicate). Well, I actually did climb up in God’s lap, beat on His chest, tell Him I hurt, and cussed the air blue. But I outgrew it, and He was big enough to take it.
And, ironic as it may seem, my heroine—who came from my own subconscious—was further along in the healing process than I was, so she became my guide to recovery. I threw in thirty years’ worth of lies, damned lies, gossip, and innuendo from eight small towns in my area, and voila! My first hardback women’s fiction novel was a hit!
Queen Bee sure was cathartic, not just for me, but for so many of my readers who’d had to put the pieces back together, themselves. It’s so humbling to read their e-mails sharing their own challenges.
When that book did well, I decided I wanted to do a girlfriend book about Baby Boomers, so, inspired by Jenny Josephs’ wonderful poem “Warning” and my own high school experiences in Atlanta during the sixties, I wrote The Red Hat Club about a group of “girls,” friends since high school, who help one of them get the goods on her cheatin’, lyin’ lawyer husband. Instead of going after the mistress, the wife gets all the financial ammo she needs, then packs her husband’s things, takes them to the secret condo where he’s stashed his mistress, who’s thrilled to hear the wife hand over her husband to marry the mistress. Which, of course, is the last thing the husband wants to do. Can we say, seriously unhappy ex . . . and alimony for life, whether she remarries or not? Grin, grin.
I didn’t find out about the Red Hat Society (inspired by the same poem) till I was halfway through the book, but I thank the Good Lord for the Society. I joined immediately and love to go speak at their regional get-togethers, which are always a hoot. I’m now Queen Mother of two chapters.
The Red Hat Club did so well that my editor tabled Ladies of the Lake, a sisters book I had written, and asked me to do a sequel to The Red Hat Club, so I wrote The Red Hat Club Rides Again, in which the prodigal, Pru, falls off the wagon with a 9 on the Richter Scale, so the girls have to stage an intervention in Vegas, then act as her family in rehab whether she likes it or not. To celebrate her return to sobriety, the rich one takes them all on a month-long, carte blanche plastic surgery cruise!
No, there’s no such thing. Don’t ask me where I get this stuff. I’ve always had a seriously overactive imagination, the only difference now is, everybody knows about it.
Rides Again did so well, I wrote Wedding Belles—a romp about mothers and daughters, weddings, unsuitable suitors, and having or becoming mothers-in-law—which is available September 2, 2008, in hardback and CD. My editor cut the flashbacks to each Red Hat Club member’s wedding from the final edit, so I’m posting those as a special exclusive for visitors to my web site, haywoodsmith.net.
Right now, I’m just finishing up a complete revamp of Ladies of the Lake, about four sisters from Atlanta who have to spend ninety days without families or friends in their grandmother’s derelict house on a remote lake in the North Georgia mountains (Can we say, mommy camp?), so they can inherit and sell the valuable land. Since it’s a comedy, they find two mummified bodies (one in a WWI doughboy’s uniform) sitting in great-grandpa’s masterpiece hand-carved chairs, with a moonshine still, in the walled-up root cellar. It will be out next fall. Check out my web site at haywoodsmith.net for more about that.
What’s great about writing and what’s not.
What I love most about writing is hearing from or meeting readers whose lives my books have brightened.
What I don’t love about writing is rewrites and not having the time (or brain cells) to read for pleasure anymore. And I never read the genre I’m writing, for fear that I might inadvertently imitate another author.
How I do it.
Since writing is my livelihood, I approach it like a business and work at least forty hours a week (usually a lot more) on business chores, marketing, or writing.
Some of my wonderful writer friends (Patti Callahan Henry, for one) can sit down and do a complete rough draft in a few weeks. But I’m a real plotter, so I plan my books out completely before I write the first word, and I talk to my editor while I’m planning, so we’re both on the same page. I usually get serious about that about halfway through the current book I’m writing, which gives me a great incentive to finish, so I can get to my new story. I’m currently working out four specific high-concept story ideas for my next four novels.
As for planning, first, I come up with a concept. Then I think a lot about my characters and the conflicts. Then I fill out a twelve-page character analysis questionnaire I developed, one for each main character. These include the psychological profile for each character, which provides believable motive for their actions. Then I do a “tell sheet” that provides verbal and visual cues into each character’s state of mind. I print all that out, then summarize the key info (description, husband(s), kids, schooling, birthday, etc.) onto one page for quick reference while I’m writing, with the detailed info behind it.
For Ladies of the Lake, I tried using a big 3-ring notebook with subject dividers (for each character, the synopsis, the outline, reference material, etc.), and it was a whole lot easier than constantly shuffling through a giant accordion file, so I’ll be using that for future projects, too.
After firming up the characters, I use color-coded cards for each main element in the story, including only what the editor has to know, in brief, punchy sentences. Then I put them all together. Typed up, that’s my synopsis. It’s not a blow-by-blow, but a brief discussion of the high concept, conflicts, and resolutions.
Only then do I use 4” x 6” index cards like a movie storyboard, briefly writing down what’s going to happen in each chapter and scene, what the objectives of that scene are, and any secondary elements (like metaphors) I want to use for enrichment. My final question before recording that is “How can I make it funny?” or “How can I make it touching?” Then I transfer that to my computer and print it out as a chapter-by-chapter outline. That way, I stay focused, and every scene is already vivid in my mind, but the characters have leeway to do what my imagination might add in when I sit down to write.
Where do I get my ideas?
As for inspirations, I find them everywhere. People think their lives are unique (including me), but the truth is, there are no new stories. The costumes and the props might change, but basic archetypal characters and stories have resounded through the drama and history of every culture and religion. For me, writing is like making a colorful quilt. I didn’t weave or dye the material, but I can choose what to use, cut it out, and put it together into something that’s unique to me.
For information about my teaching seminars and workshops and appearances, please check out my web site at haywoodsmith.net.
I’d be happy to answer any questions that would be of interest to readers or other writers, but time doesn’t permit me to go into details about specific projects. At this time, I cannot read or critique material from other authors, though if I could clone myself, I’d be glad to do that, too!
My answers are based on my own experiences, so if they don’t jive with your needs or experiences, please feel free to disregard them.
My direct e-mail is firstname.lastname@example.org. Please reference BLOG in the subject line. I’m looking forward to e-meeting you all.
This is a picture of one of the characters in my book "Tripping Through Time". His name is Junior, and he is a German Shepherd now eight years old.
He plays a major role in my book, which takes place on the Lake Champlain Islands, in Vermont. The setting a beautiful place where I spent a good portion of my childhood. It is a time travel romance, where the heroine travels back from 1969 to 1869 to find love. There is everything from mountain lions to barnyard animals, and from Abenaki Indians to Irish immigrants. I don't have a final publish date, but I've been told by my editor it should be in ebook format sometime in October.
Who can resist a doggy face like that?
In honor of the first anniversay of the Pink Fuzzy Slipper Writers, here is the first recipe I posted:
Sherry's Neapolitan Cookies
1 Pkg or Can (7 to 8 oz) Almond Paste
1 1/2 Cup (3 sticks) Butter
1 Cup Sugar
4 Large Eggs, Separated
1 Teaspoon Almond Extract
2 Cups Unsifted All-purpose Flour
Red and Green Food Coloring
1/4 Cup Raspberry Jam
1/4 Cup Apricot Preserves
1 Pkg (6 oz) Semisweet-Chocolate Pieces
Preheat oven to 350°. Grease bottom and sides of three cookie sheets; line with waxed paper; grease waxed paper.
In large bowl, with electric mixer, beat almond paste, butter, sugar, egg yolks and almond extract until fluffy; stir in flour.
In small bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form; stir into almond-paste mixture.
Place 1 1/3 cups of the batter in each of two small bowls. Add red food color to one and green food color to the other. Spread red batter in one cookie sheet. Spread green batter in second cookie sheet. Spread plain batter in third cookie sheet. Bake each for 15 minutes at 350°; Remove from oven and cool completely.
On large cutting board or additional cookie sheet, invert green layer; spread with raspberry jam. Add plain layer; spread with apricot preserves. Top with red layer; cover with wax paper or plastic wrap; set heavy pan on top; refrigerate overnight.
The next day, in small glass bowl, microwave chocolate pieces on HIGH 3 minutes, stirring once; spread over red layer; trim edges. Let chocolate set slightly; cut crosswise into 1/2 inch strips; cut each into four pieces.
Makes about 8 Dozen.
I have tweaked this recipe to perfection. My 14-year-old just made them and they were by far the most delicious cookies we've ever enjoyed-- even better than Neapolitans from the Mr. Cookie bakery in New York. These cookies require two days of hard work. The almond paste is hard to find and costs about $5.00, but my oh my are they worth it. I highly recommend them to everyone, especially if you have a special occasion where you want to impress and spoil people.
The sun was low in the sky and the woods dusky as my husband and I hiked the Milam’s Gap trail in the
Milam’s Gap apple trees are far removed from the modern day dwarfs. These relics from the past were planted by the mountain people who once lived here and were coveted as the apples for cider and apple butter making. An old mountain woman told me. The ridges and hollows still bear the names of these stalwart souls, like Lewis and
More menacing names, Rattlesnake Point, Dark Hollow and
I envisioned the women and girls in calico dresses, the men and boys in worn pants and overalls, gathering chestnuts, hazelnuts and wild berries, clearing patches of ground to grow corn and vegetable gardens, sorghum for molasses, struggling to keep a few pigs, chickens, and cows alive. A bear snatching the pig the family had been fattening to supplement their winter diet must have been quite a loss.
Trips to town would have been arduous and rare, the supplies purchased slim: perhaps flour, sugar, salt and cornflakes for a special treat, cloth, gun powder and shot for hunting. Timber, orchards, livestock and the lucrative moonshine trade helped to supplement what was quite a self-sufficient lifestyle.
Doctors were hard to come by and the people often doctored themselves. Anyone who was a healer, whether with plants, charms or incantations, would have been highly sought after. Some healers specialized in one thing, like wart removal, or in the stopping of blood from a gushing wound. Others claimed to have special stones called mad stones to cure the dreaded bite of a rabid animal. We can only imagine this long gone time.
In honor of The Pink Fuzzy Slipper Writers one year anniversary I'm reposting my first post on this blog.
The OCU was initially equipped with Vampires and included a Target Towing flight equipped with Mosquitos, Tempests Vs, a Balliol, a Chipmunk and the last Oxford in the RAF. I had previously flown the "Mossie" at Sylt and lost no time in getting checked out on the Balliol, Tempest & Oxford. Soon after arrival I acquired a young Labrador Pup and a 1927 Austin 7 "Chummy" for a set of wheels. The Dog was named Pernod and the car, painted yellow and black, became "DD". I normally carried a case of Double Diamond around to prop up the passenger seat back rest, and in case of dire emergency on a Sunday (the pubs in Wales did not open on Sundays in those days).
Whilst waiting for our slot in the programme two events took place. A Naval Aircraft doing its thing suffered a lapse of judgement and ploughed in. Strangely enough it didn't appear to be very serious, just a cloud of dust and a small amount of smoke. The Announcer/ Commentator paused for a moment and then, after an obvious prompt from Winkle, said "We shall now have a demonstration by our Fire fighting and Crash Crew"!
After landing I dashed over, only to find her gone. In desperation I ran over to the control tower nearby and persuaded the announcer to broadcast an appeal to the crowd for "The young lady with red hair and wearing a yellow dress to report to the Control Tower for a very urgent message". She appeared soon after and I stumbled an apology, and asked if I could meet her that coming Weekend. And so I met my future wife, Babs.
"DD" was on her best behaviour and sprang into life. Determined to make a stylish departure I slipped into 1st gear. Now the Austin Seven had a "sudden death" clutch action with all of a quarter of an inch engagement travel. In my nervous condition my foot slipped and DD shot forward like a thing demented. To my horror my lovely passenger was rapidly rotated backwards as her seat back collapsed. She was wearing, that day, the then current fashionable Dirndl skirt and frilly petticoat beneath. I remember, very clearly, the vision of a beautiful pair of legs up in the air, terminating in lacy white panties.
To be very fair, Babs took it all very well as I stumbled my tortured apologies. In order to create a good impression I had removed the usual case of beer that supported the passenger seat back and substituted it with a metal tube. The sudden acceleration had caused the bar to slip out of place, allowing the seat back to assume the fully reclined position! Full credit to Babs, she maintained her composure throughout, in fact a wee while later she was laughing about it. Later in our lives our friend, the poet Sean McCarthy, always referred to Babs as "The beautiful Welsh princess". He was not wrong!
145 Squadron, had been the most wonderful tour a young and enthusiastic Fighter Pilot could have wished for. Having had the honour to serve on the Squadron since September 1952. on Feb.15th 1955, I completed my last flight in Venom "S". On my dparture from Celle on the rather tedious trek to UK upon the "Blue" train and the ferry to Harwich, I pondered my wisdom in turning down a posting to Sylt as a Staff Gunnery instructor. Perhaps some strange instinct told me that my abused liver would not hold up to the continuous partying environment of Westerland. Ahead lay "Postings" at Air Ministry.
Upon entering the room wherein awaited my future, I was met with a very hearty gentleman who informed me that my presence was urgently needed at the OCU at Pembrey. I was to be an instructor there and furthermore he added with a knowing wink "You'll be going onto the Hunter Flight - When they get them!". Little did I know then that eventually that flight was to become 145 Reserve Squadron prior to Pembrey closing and the Squadron moving to Chivenor where I was to serve as an instructor on the Hunter Simulator unit.
All this lay before me in the unknown future, more to my immediate interest leave lay ahead with a bit of the late Hunting season in the Midlands complete with its parties, banquets and balls! What a Life! I felt on top of the world.
The 7th of March 1955 was a cold, dark Sunday evening, raining heavily as the local stopping train pulled up to the lone platform at Pembrey/Kidwelly halt at about 7 o'clock. I disembarked with two large suitcases, the lone passenger. A small shelter and one flickering Gas Light formed the total passenger amenities, nothing more.
As the tail light of the train receded toward Kidwelly my spirits sank, the rain was coming down sideways. Save for the lone flickering lamp, there was no sign of any other habitation, no friendly red telephone box, no Taxi, nothing but darkness, wind and rain! I stood for a while in the lee of the shelter assessing my situation. This had to be the proverbial end of the earth. Had I actually been mad enough to pass up a posting as a Staff P.A.I. at RAF Sylt to come to this Godforsaken place?
After some 15 minutes of pondering my situation the headlights of a car wove into sight, turned toward the platform. Salvation had arrived in the form of a RAF Standard Vanguard and Driver. A short drive later the camp gate came into view, passing through we turned first left and pulled up in front of an old Wartime wooden building, the Officers Mess no less. The whole setting resembled nothing less than a scene from a bad movie about a prison camp!
I'm Sammie Jo Moresca, the American housewife also known as Sherry Morris. But not the Australian Sherry Morris who writes inspriationals. And not the beautiful Christian singer Sherry Morris.
I've been writing since the turn of the century. Within the last three years, I've had fourteen books published with small presses. My obscure Cerridwen Press eBook, IMMACULATE DECEPTION, won a Romantic Times Reviewers' Choice Award. My Phaze eBook SMOLDER, which is now in print, was the debut book-of-the-month selection at All Romance eBooks. Every story I've written has been published.
In September, my steady selling novella, DIET ANOTHER DAY, will come out in a Big Beautiful Woman romantic comedy print anthology titled MORE, MORE, MORE! published by Phaze Books.
At Christmastime, Phaze will publish WISH UPON A DJINN, a fantasy Chrismas story about a harried married couple who renew their love.
Next Spring, Mundania Press will publish FIGHT DIRTY FOR ME, a 1945 era romantic suspense. It will release in eBook and print simultaneously. This is a sequel to HUNDRED DOLLAR BILL.
I have completed a chick lit mystery, INAPPROPRIATE, which I will place with a literary agent and sell to a large New York publisher. This is the first story my critique partners seemed to enjoy. They giggled as I read every chapter.
I'm so happy to be here with the Pink Fuzzy Slipper Writers and look forward to sharing my kooky views of the world with everyone.
Sammie Jo's Website
Sammie Jo's Blog
The opening ceremony was amazing. All the regalia, the perfect coordination, the show of historical and contemporary China. It was impressive. I can’t believe the amount of work and discipline necessary to produce that incredible result. The little hero from the earthquake was adorable walking next to the tallest (7.6 ft) flag bearer.
Is it a proof that if we put a lot of work, a lot of effort, a lot of discipline we should garner successful results?
Is it a proof that if we don’t succeed, it’s maybe because we haven’t put enough effort?
Our TV is running non-stop while I work on my computer and my husband on his laptop. We watch from time to time and exchange comments. Of course, we followed carefully the tennis matches and applauded Federer. Tennis is as important as eating for my husband who complains I spend too much time sitting in front of my computer and no time at all exercising or walking. He gave up on my tennis long ago.
Americans won gold and silver for swimming. I am looking at the winners now as they stand straight listening to the Star Spangled Banner. Early in the afternoon I applauded the gymnastic show, my favorite part. Is watching gymnastic considered exercise?
What's your favorite exercise?
I was just talking above about hard work bringing reward. It’s true. Honestly. I just saw a review for my romantic suspense, French Peril.
Reviewed by Anne Boling for ReviewYourBook.com
Mona Risk, author of French Peril, offers her fans another great read. In French Peril, she creates a swirling air of mystery around the excavation of a chapel ruin. Murder, mystery, and intrigue seem to follow Cheryl as she assists Francois on his project. She finds his presence gives her a sense of security, but she also senses that he does not trust her expertise. Francois is attracted to the beautiful American and soon finds he is in love with her. Risk has a talent for character development. Cheryl is a multitalented, impetuous person. Francois is harder to define. He is romantic, determined, and very protective. French Peril is a great contemporary romantic read.
I like flowers, all kinds, big or small, fragrant or not, perennial or annual, I like them all but I don't like pulling out the weeds.
I like Josh Groban, he makes me cry when he sings, but I don't like Neil Diamond.
I like the smell outdoors after a refreshing rain, but I don't like hurricanes.
I like the mountains and the click and rustle of autumn leaves, but I don't like humidity.
I like kind and generous people, but I don't like cheaters.
I like dogs and cats and all kinds of pets or animals, but I don't like spiders.
I like Maple Syrup, but I don't like imitation syrups like in the pancake house.
I like snow, but I don't like six months of it.
I like writing, but I don't like promoting.
I like CSI Miami, but I don't the red headed guy.
I like Oprah, but I don't like degrading shows like Jerry Springer
I like making new friends, but I don't like liars.
I like tea, but I don't like coffee.
I like Letterman, but I don't like Leno
I like clean 1000 count cotton sheets on my bed, but I don't like doing laundry.
I like a spanking clean house, but I don't like housework.
I like to hear my canary sing, but I don't like cleaning bird doo.
I like pet mice, but I don't like snakes.
I like broccoli, but I don't like liver.
I like movies, but I don't like movie theater seats and sticky floors.
I like Lost and the men on lost, sigh, but I don't like that I am lost when I watch it.
I like vacations, but I don't like the traveling to get there part.
I like Democratic ideals, but I don't Republicans pretending to get it.
I could go on and on. There are always reasons to like or dislike. So tell me what do you like and what don't you like.
I had intended to post a most romantic true life love story today. John Macrae-Hall of the 145th Squadron of the Royal Air Force gave me permission to post the story of how he met Babs, his wife in 1955. BUT I had to type the story (which I will do) and time ran away from me---again.
SO I am posting an excerpt from a companion novella to my WIP.
I, Azazel, of the Order of Grigori, am fallen.
I am not evil.
Look for me. Sitting at the bar beside you. You will know me by my long, fair hair and charismatic smile. My countenance hints at mystery.
My art is, and has always been, the science of seduction.
Saturday morning, seven o’clock, I woke up horny with no remedy in the house but relief was only a phone call away. By ten, I'd gotten laid, kissed sweet Maggie goodbye and stood gazing out the glass wall overlooking the neon splendor of Las Vegas. My white-on-white home built on a hill outside the city was angular, ultra-modern but the furnishings antique.
Young on the outside, old on the inside—like me.
I’d lived in this neoteric garden long enough to imitate the livestock. Sin City suited me. Normally, I'm an easy-going, cheerful even loving fellow. At the moment, however, absolutely nothing suited me. I wished I’d asked Maggie to stay instead of hurrying her on her way. If this ungodly restlessness survived a day in bed with Maggie, I’d require the help of my old friend Bombay Sterling, grinning at me from the liquor cabinet. Another of their habits I'd adopted—
when memories came creeping back. I was wondering if I wanted a martini or a gin-and-tonic when a sharp pain cramped my hand into a fist. Never one for profanity, I exhaled an archaic curse, opened my hand and forgot all about Bombay, Maggie and the heebie-jeebies.
The symbol in my palm bulged blood-red.... as it had on the day my punishment began. The strange figure had been the subject of many short discussions with mortals who asked if it was a birthmark. I'd nod, smile and change the subject. If only they knew....
At creation, each angel was given an individual sigil. For millennia my heavenly tattoo had been merely a silvery-white scar in my right palm, a sad reminder of what I’d given up. Another razor of pain sliced along the ulner nerve to my elbow, sending a thousand bells ringing in my ears as my vibration soared from the slower corporeal hum to the high pitch of pure Spirit. My hand paled to transparent. Any moment, my mortal pretense would dissolve. Then what?
Something was desperately wrong and I feared I knew what it was, at long last, Retribution coming to call.
And the winners are(drum roll and the sound of Mary opening a sealed envelop)
Thanks to Cyndi, our guest blogger, and everyone who visited our blog. A special thanks to the folks who left comments.
"Y'all come back, ya hear?" Mama Mary Marvella
Welcome back, readers. Here's Cyndi!
Thanks for joining in again today. Hard to believe, but my story isn't over.
I want to once again THANK the Pink Fuzzy Slipper Writers for inviting me here.
I also want to thank Maureen Child for donating books to the cause and for being so supportive of me as a writer.
Yesterday and today, I'm giving away copies of Maureen's latest Silhouette Desire HIGH SOCIETY SECRET PREGNANCY.
While I've got your attention, I'll also recommend her King Series (also from Silhouette Desire) and Demon Dusters Series.
I've also a couple of ink pens as surprise gifts for the WORST travel story from yesterday and today.
The plane was late arriving in Dallas (sound familiar?) so we’re late boarding. Didn’t care. I had a seat. The plane configuration was 3 seats across 18 rows for a total of 54 passengers. There were 53 of us and I had a row to myself. Great or what?
We were sitting on the tarmac when the Captain came wandering down the aisle talking to people. Not a good sign. “Why isn’t his fanny in the driver’s seat,” I asked myself. He was personally telling each person that the warning light on one of the brakes was showing excessive wear and not suitable for landing. We could get in the air just fine. There could be a problem stopping on the landing. Not a good thing, I thought.
Maintenance came and confirmed that the brake had to be replaced and that would take 90 minutes. So to save time (ha ha), American Airlines brought in another plane for us. We all disembarked and found seats in the original boarding area, B-9. However, on the overhead speaker, the gate attendant informed us that all Savannah passengers should move to Gate B-8. So once again the luggage-wheeling horde rose in mass and scurried to the next gate. There, we were told it would be at least 20 minutes, so given my experiences so far, I decided it would be wise to check on my condo reservations and, while I have the phone out, check with ALAMO to see where I would pick up my car.
The call to the condo was fine. Someone would be there until 9 p.m. to check me in, but I could make arrangements if I would be late. I told her no, that I should be there about 5, which was later than scheduled on the “new earlier flight” but still earlier than my original sucky schedule.
I finally found a telephone number to call ALAMO. When I gave the nice lady my confirmation number, she informed me that my reservation was for Sunday February 26, not Tuesday February 28. I frantically scanned my reservation confirmation, and she was right. I made my car reservation before I finalized my flight arrangements. American Airlines could only fly me on the 28th and I forgot to redo the car. So, I asked her to make another reservation for today. It cost me about $15 more, but, what could I do?
Shortly after I completed the new (and improved) car reservation, we were called to re-board our new and improved aircraft. Since I was on the last row and hauling a laptop and all kinds of stuff for this retreat, I got on early and straggled to my seat. We finally taxied out for take-off only 90 minutes late. The Captain announced that we were third to take off and we got in line. I noticed that the plane began to turn in a direction that would return it to the terminal. No way. We couldn’t be going back. But, WE WERE.
It seemed that when the pilot turned on the #2 engine for take-off, the oil gauge showed only 6 quarts (or liters, I forget) and we had to have 8 for lift-off. We were returning to the terminal so maintenance could put oil in engine #2.
As we sat in a hot airplane watching a service truck pump oil, a couple of the passengers asked for something to drink (i.e. booze). Sorry, American Airlines didn’t have liquor on planes that size. Another passenger asked for a pillow or blanket. Sorry. American Airlines took all the pillows and blankets off the planes.
On the original “new and improved early schedule”, I should have landed in Savannah a little after 4 p.m. As we pulled away from the gate after our oil fill, it was now 5 p.m. CST, 6 p.m. EST. I finally landed a little after 10 p.m., right when my original scheduled would have put me in Savannah. At least ALAMO had a car for me.
I woke at 5 a.m. on Monday and got to the airport so I could throw myself on the mercy of the AA desk to get me home. There was only one guy in line, so I jumped behind him. The lady at the terminal was not an AA employee. She was with another (and unnamed) airline but she knew how to use the system. Bless her. She gave me the last seat on the plane and swore me to secrecy! No one here will tell, right? The flight home was blessedly uneventful. Anyone else have a good travel story?
Tell me about it and you could win a free book from USA Today Best Selling author Maureen Child (www.maureenchild.com). . I’ll choose two winners from people who comment to this post. If you haven’t read Maureen’s books, you’re in for a treat! Not only is she a wonderful person, she’s a wonderful author. I highly recommend her for your TBR list
Let the stories commence!
Cyndi Cynthia D'Alba