Welcome Sophie Littlefield! After reading A Bad Day for Sorry I had to get you here to blog for us. Your unlikely heroine made me smile an awful lot.




Average And Then Some



I’m an average American woman in many ways. I’m from the heartland – Missouri to be specific – and while I’ve lived on both coasts I think I’m pretty solidly Midwestern at the core. I’m a size 12, which is just about the average. I have two children, only slightly higher than the current national average of 1.9.


I’m middle aged, at 46 smack in the middle of life. And until recently I followed a fairly average path, which could have been taken right out of the “Mid-Life” chapter of the Ordinary Housewife Handbook, if something like that existed.


Raise the kids? Check. Volunteer in school, church, and community? Check. Get the house painted, the tires rotated, the dog’s teeth cleaned…the mammogram, the high fiber cereal, the reading glasses, the sensible shoes? Check, check, and triple-check.


I did all these things and more, not just for myself but for my loved ones, day in and day out, year in and year out. And then one day I looked around and thought to myself:


“Wait a minute – that’s it?”


I had arrived at what I have come to think of as the Average American Woman’s Mid-Life Crisis. In some ways, it’s not so different from they guys’ version – it has to do with accomplishing everything society demands of us and suddenly realizing it’s not enough, that something is missing, that we yearn for something more. More meaning, more satisfaction, more excitement, more sense of accomplishment.


Unlike some of our male counterparts, we women don’t typically buy sports cars or take up with waitresses…we tend to go inward. I think a lot of us wonder where we went wrong, what we did or failed to do, what cues we missed or what rules we accidentally broke. When our needs start to make themselves known, we reject them at first as being unseemly, unacceptable, untoward….un-something.


And, tragically, a lot of us stop right there. We assume we’re the problem, and we try to suppress and contort ourselves into the box we’ve outgrown. If you ask me, a lot of the pissed-off old ladies in the world are just really really uncomfortable from having ignored the cues that it was time to break free, to pick out a whole new box – or put the box aside entirely.


It’s not for me to say what middle age ought to look like, but it does seem clear that we’re meant to do a little reinvention. The things that occupied us in our twenties don’t necessarily satisfy us two decades later. And that’s not a bad thing – we’re wonderfully complex, capable, sturdy, unique beings. One size emphatically does not fit all when it comes to deciding what our mature years should bring, what our work and relationships and leisure ought to look like. And guess what: we’re allowed to change our minds. Shall I say it again? We are allowed to change our minds! It may feel as though we are locked into contracts that we signed as new brides or new employees or new mothers, but those contracts are not binding. They’re not even real.


Change is hard. It’s terrifying and uncomfortable and our loved ones generally hate the idea. They like us the way we used to be – there’s no guarantee they’ll like the new us. But for some women, the need to grow will not be contained. The little voices get louder and louder, the zest for life chokes out the resistance until one day – BAM. Grown-up woman on the loose.


At its core, this is what my mystery series is all about. My heroine, Stella Hardesty, kills her husband and does a variety of other dramatic things once she hits fifty, but the way I see it, she’s just a woman figuring out who she really is at the mid-point of life. And like most of the fascinating and inspiring middle-aged women I know, she does it by making a lot of mistakes – and picking herself up and trying again and again.


There’s a line in A BAD DAY FOR PRETTY, a saying that Stella is considering putting on a sign to hang out front of her shop:


“The less a woman has to lose, the quicker you better get out of her way.”

That’s what middle age feels like to me, lately. I’m still average in many ways, but I’ve got a wonderful new career, and a host of fascinating people in my life – and my kids are proud of me. No way I’m going to stop now. What have I got to lose?


Join the discussion! Tell me what wonderful new things you’re discovering about yourself – at any age – and I’ll choose a random commenter to receive a signed copy of the paperback version of A BAD DAY FOR SORRY, which just came out last week.

www.sophielittlefield.com

Alone, without reference to his neighbors, without any inference, the artist can fashion a beautiful thing; and if he does not do it for his own pleasure, he is not an artist at all.

Oscar Wilde.

Lately, I have been locked down in my writing, trying to edit as I go along, and not enjoying the creative process. I think the above, from a writer whose words still echo in literature, is good advice to a wordsmith or a painter.

I remember lying in the hospital years ago, looking around at the ward full of beds filled only by a few. I wondered if the Army really thought there were so many pregnant women on this base that they needed all these beds.

I was young and naïve. Two years prior we saw the end of the Vietnam War.

My husband was on assignment. I had just had my first child, a boy, and I felt so alone. I was a thousand miles away from home and family. Not a long distance now days, but in the seventies I might’ve well been across the globe. There was no instant communications. No pictures sent across cyber-space. No text messges saying I love you, miss you, take care coming at me in an instant.

The walls of the ward were not decorated with funny characters, but were clean stark. There were no televisions in the ward. No radios. My meals were not served to me in bed, but rather placed on a long table in the center of the room where my trio of fellow new-mothers gathered to eat whatever was served in the mess hall that day. Strangely, I felt comfortable. I was an ARMY BRAT. My son was now an ARMY BRAT—born into the 101st Airborne.

With nothing but time to heal, I stared at the empty beds and wondered how many men had been treated here? My pain was nothing compared to what they must felt. Some had died in this very room.

In that defining moment, I grew. A sense of pride like I’d never felt before welled through me as a melody of taps wafted the air on base. I still get choke-up every time I hear the woeful tune.

The nurse handed my baby. I stared at his innocence while his tiny fingers curled around mine and I thanked all the souls that had given so much so that my son would know freedom like none other in the world.

Please take a few moments this holiday weekend and remember the women and men who gave so much of themselves for your and your children's way of life.

Ps: Be proud. List the branch and division of any family heros who’ve served or are serving our beautiful country listed in your post.

Sharing a Sentimental Moment

Posted by Judy | 8:02 AM | 10 comments »

I was sitting at my desk yesterday morning, when two sonic booms brought me to my feet. The dog barked and I ran to the window, knowing immediately what it was. I raced outdoors and heard the steady sound of the shuttle coming in for a landing. I hurried to the TV and watched as the Challenger came in for a smooth landing for the last time after twenty-five years of work. The announcer’s voice faltered and tears slid down my cheeks at the realization. I always get squishy and teary when I see a shuttle or rocket take off or glide in for a landing. It’s us, America, reaching for the stars. Part of me is reaching, too.

I don’t want to get into the political arena with my sharing except to say that we cannot put aside all the space program has done for us, intellectually and culturally. I distinctly remember when John Glenn made his trip many years ago. It was a beginning. I can tell you exactly where I was, who I was with, etc. because it made such a strong impression on me.

Now that I live on the Space Coast of Florida, I’m very aware of the people, the brains, the work ethic behind the Space Program. I’m not sure where politics will take us in this arena, but wanted to share a moment that touched my heart.

May our children and our grandchildren never stop reaching for the stars!

  Out today May 26th At The Wild Rose Press!

Scottish Highlands pass at GlencoeCertainly, I was influenced in writing this story by my beloved C S Lewis in his Chronicles of Narnia that I grew up reading.  I’m still looking for Narnia.  Isn’t everyone? Not to mention, movies like Back to the Future and Timeline, but I like to think, and my editor assures me, that I’ve achieved an original take on the oft visited time travel theme.  And no, I’ve not read author Diane Gabledon or other Scottish time travels so cannot be accused of those influences. I read little romance, investing much of my time in research and non-fiction.
The release date for SOMEWHERE MY LASS is upon me!  I know some of you have been counting the days until the next installment in my ‘SOMEWHERE’ series.  SOMEWHERE MY LASS was an intriguing tale to weave and will not, I trust,  disappoint.  I did my usual obsessive research, but I love gleaning more about the past, so that’s all good.  The hero and heroine, Neil and Mora, were vivid in my mind and a lot of fun to write.  The romance between them is one of the best I’ve ever written.  The chemistry just took off.

Interestingly enough, that’s not always the case.  Sometimes my H&H dislike each other intensely, or one resents the other.  Either I write my way through it until I uncover the live coals simmering beneath the ashes of their contempt, or seek out a different heroine.  Usually, I”m pretty set on the hero.  In the story I’m  working on now, he was dead set against the heroine until I dug a little deeper and realized she wasn’t who she seemed to be. :)

Maybe this inner dialogue writers have with their characters contributes to the reputation of our being rather eccentric, or shall we say crazy.  Those of you not given to this particular madness may assume I simply create my characters and have control over them.  No way.  I discover them, and get to know their likes and dislikes, what they would and wouldn’t do, all those quirks and foibles that make us unique human beings.  I offer direction and reason with them as to why the story needs to go a certain way, but have learned that the flow is much better, certainly more natural,  if I listen well to what they’re telling me.  And so, I talk amongst ‘myselves,’ which worries my mother a trifle.  But it’s an essential part of the creative process.  At least, for me.
Regarding my settings, up until SOMEWHERE MY LASS I’ve set all my stories in America, past and present.  This departure to Scotland was a challenge, but I drew deeply on my English Scots-Irish roots, which I’ve been doing all along.  Apart from the prominent Native American heroes and characters in my work, (Through the Fire, Red Bird’s Song, Daughter of the Wind) the others are all of English/ Scots-Irish backgrounds, with a smidgen of French.  My ancestors, too, have a smidgen of French in the meld.  Being a history buff I’ve read up on and watched numerous programs set in the British Isles, a favorite of mine.  I’m a British junkie, an anglophile, while equally preoccupied with early America.  But then America and Great Britain are both tied together, and were especially  linked in the colonial time period.

I’ve learned a great deal from my journey back to Bonnie Old Scotland and am pondering a sequel.  My editor assures me there must be one (or two).  I fell in love with the characters and new ones nudge at my mind.  After you read SOMEWHERE MY LASS you will guess who I am likely to feature.  :)   Hint, his name begins with an F.
First though I must finish my WIP, my first historical romance set in England.  Again, an adventure to write and I’m learning a lot about England and France in 1789, the break out (big time!) of the French Revolution.  Heads weren’t rolling yet but the country was aflame and aristocrats fleeing or fighting to hold onto their estates.  No Scarlet Pimpernel on the scene yet, but I’ve always been fascinated with Sir Percy Blakeney.  We have a noble gray tabby named Percy.
A little more about the inspiration behind SOMEWHERE MY LASS.
As is often the case, the opening of light paranormal romance  

SOMEWHERE MY LASS was inspired by a dream, one that grabbed my attention and made me wonder where in the world do I go from here?  Inquiring minds like mine want to know the rest of the story and so I delved and plotted.  Even lay awake nights trying to recapture that dream.  Ultimately, this suspenseful time travel evolved from years of research into my distant Scottish roots and a long held fascination with the idea of actually being transported to the past, with a proviso that I can return to the present whenever the thrill wears off.   Say, by teatime. My characters are more adventurous than I am.

Of course, my love for old castles and the Scottish highlands also lent inspiration. Many of the early Scots-Irish settlers to the Shenandoah Valley, my ancestors among them, chose to live here because of the resemblance the valley and mountains bore to Scotland & Ireland.  As near to home as they were likely to find in the New World.

The concept behind my SOMEWHERE series is that the story opens in modern day, so far my homestate of Virginia and I don’t see that changing, and then transports the reader SOMEWHERE else.  Either back to an earlier time in the same house, as in SOMEWHERE MY LOVE, or another place altogether, as in SOMEWHERE MY LASS.  Sounds simple enough, right?  But writing these stories isn’t.  I thought I’d never make it through ‘Lass’ but am thrilled that I did.   I hope you will be too.
Joshua Wilton House in Harrisonburg, VAhttp://joshuawilton.com/
“The Joshua Wilton House…is a superbsmall inn and restaurant” – The Sunday New York Times
“Joshua Wilton House offers guests an oasis of quiet charm and gracious living in the heart of the Shenandoah Valley.  In an elegantly restored Victorian home, Joshua Wilton House occupies a corner in the historic “Old Town” district of Harrisonburg, Virginia.”

I love this beautiful old home, part of the inspiration behind SOMEWHERE MY LASS I used a compilation of Victorian era Virginia homes, some of which I’ve lived in, for the mysterious house in historic Staunton Virginia where the story begins~
****
Blurb:
Neil MacKenzie’s well ordered life turns to chaos when Mora Campbell shows up claiming he’s her fiancé from 1602 Scotland. Her avowal that she was chased to the future by clan chieftain, Red MacDonald, is utter nonsense, and Neil must convince her that she is just addled from a blow to her head–or so he believes until the MacDonald himself shows up wanting blood.

Mora knows the Neil of the future is truly her beloved Niall who disappeared from the past. Although her kinsmen believe he’s dead, and she is now destined to marry Niall’s brother, she’s convinced that if she and Neil return to the past, all will be right. The only problem is how to get back to 1602 before it’s too late. The balance of the present and future are in peril if she marries another, and the Neil of the present will cease to exist. An ancient relic and a few good friends in the future help pave the way back to the past, but will Mora and Neil be too late to save a love that began centuries before?
****
*The door to nowhere (or so Neil MacKenzie thought).

Joanne--Deals of the Day

Posted by Josie | 8:26 AM | 4 comments »

Hi everyone,
Lots of deals to be had today--borrowed from several money-saving forums.

First, the freebies:

Writers needs to be healthy, and Naturemade.com
Sign up for free samples--including fish oil and vitamin D

Writers are creative, so check out scrapbook.com
Sign up today only for the free online Learn to scrapbook class, a $23.95 value.

Another way to stay healthy is to work out. Check out:
Rewards Gold
Today only a one year subscription to Shape magazine is free

Rent a romantic movie at:
Blockbuster Express movie rental
Use code GL14A for a free rental

Not as free, but still good deals:
I love the soothing sound of a fountain and
Brylanehome.com
Code BHK30PX saves 30% on a Buddha fountain. Final cost $55.99

How do we manage our money after our great book contracts come in?
Bestdealmagazines.com is offering a great deal on Smart Money magazine. 1 year-12 issues
Use code PXSS530 for total cost of $8.06

Happy shopping!

Favorite quote: "I can't afford to save any more money."

Joanne--Deals of the Day

Posted by Josie | 9:20 AM | 3 comments »

Hello everyone,
There are great deals to be had on this lovely Monday morning, several borrowed from other money-saving forums.

Kodak 9.2 megapixel silver zoom digital camera. Regularly $59.99, on sale for $44.99 at Best Buy outlet online with free shipping.

Do you subscribe to All You magazine? This Wal-mart magazine comes out monthly and usually has at least $100.00 worth of coupons. One of the best places to purchase a subscription is on Amazon.com. The price fluctuates between $15.00-$20.00 per year--well worth the money in savings.

Wal-mart.com also offers free samples. Currently Crest Whitestrips and Pantene are featured.

And, let's not forget our wonderful fellow author Brenda Novak and her auction for Diabetes. Today Brenda is offering double points on bidding.

Happy shopping!

"I can't afford to save any more money." --Favorite quote

Joanne--Deals of the Day

Posted by Josie | 2:12 PM | 5 comments »

Hi Everyone,
There are some great deals today!

Tanga.com is offering Rachel Ray magazine, one of my favorites, at the amazing price of $3.99 for a full year subscription. Use coupon code: everyday

Any Batman fans out there? 1saleaday.com has "The Dark Knight" 2 disc DVD set for FREE. It includes case and mask. Shipping is $5.99.

Crocs are one of the only shoes I can wear and Crocs.com currently is offering free shipping. Check out the Prepair style and use coupon code PREPAIRCS to bring the price down to $14.99. Don't forget to go through Mypoints.com to accumulate your points.

I love free and Amazon.com is offering a Free MP3 sampler album for downloading. Look for the Jazz classics remasters sampler.
Happy Sunday shopping!

"I can't afford to save any more money." --Favorite quote

Mary Is Lost Until Tomorrow!

Posted by Mary Ricksen | 7:21 PM | , , , , | 12 comments »

Tv Programs Comments
I know you are all laughing at me. You snicker and think, she's so silly. You closet LOST watchers you! Tell me that Sawyer doesn't just ring your bell. What a perfect character for a romance novel. Bad boy, reforms, while still retaining the sexy, endearing, facade that just turns me on! Oh. I digress, there still his Jack,Mmmm keeper, Sayid, well you get the picture. there is eye candy for both sexes.

I'll admit I am addicted to lost. I have to know what happens and I am out of the closet! I love the show. I love Sawyer, he keeps getting better. I know there are some Jack lovers, but not me. Kate get outta my way.

Free GraphicsFree Graphics
Free GraphicsClare take Charlie, get it over with, Juliet you belong with Jack. Hurley that leaves you Kate, you are such a nice guy, she doesn't deserve him. He has a very big heart.

Free GraphicsNow I know Richard has strong emotions and would protect his woman. Locke, aka, smoke monster. He doesn't do it for me. But my Mom says he's like the movie star from The King And I, but she forgets his name.
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Desmond he would be choice number two. If Penny doesn't try to kill me. She won't let me have him. Okay, I really do want Sawyer.


Did you know the Sawyer is a cop in his alternate life line. I like him better, I hate the visiting in jail thing. So this is much better.He can help me with tickets too, well unless we are on the back of his motorcycle, then he drives and I hug and sniff. Know what I mean??

As far as what they are aiming for, I have no clue what they are doing. I have to admit they do a great job of adding mystery, mythery, magic and monsters. Enough to make me watch it and yes, I escape. If my DH will shut up and let me watch it! Honestly he'd talk through the whole thing if I let him. But put on World At War and he goes into a trance. Even my talking doesn't phase him. I have yet to figure that one out.
Free GraphicsBut I am anxiously and sadly awaiting the end of the series Lost. I will every evening until something better comes up, before I got to sleep, do a day dream about Lost. Sawyer is mine, I am hotter then Kate or Juliet combined! I am the hottie on the Island and very desirable. I am also one of the candidates because I am willing to setter for Jacob any day.
Any other fools eagerly anticipating, watching spoilers, have any secret predictions, anything????
Am I the only one?
Is Mary lost???
Free Graphics


Forget Ben, he's just too creepy for me.
Now if you like the show and you're confused and don't care. You think Sawyer has aged well, he has!
And in my evening dreams before I fall asleep.
...There he is! In my mind, in all his glory. And the cage, oh goodness yes, the cage
I remember him and Kate, but unfortunately he's mine now. And I will see him in my predreams if not my dreams.

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Any other Lost addicts out there? Come on out and show yourselves and admit it. You're hooked on Lost!







My guest today is fellow Dorchester author Marie-Claude Bourque, whose debut paranormal romance Ancient Whispers comes out next week. I saw bits of this story when it finaled -- and won! -- the American Title V contest. I can't wait to read the whole thing. In fact, I'm counting the days....

Take it away, Marie-Claude!


We all start in life with big dreams. We leave home for work or college, our head filled with the great things we will accomplish, the great life we’ll lead.

Then one day we have children and slowly but surely, we set aside our dreams and instead, daydream about what our children will do (I know my own crazy thoughts involved scholarships to Yale or Harvard once my boys started kindergarten).

It’s not that we don’t want things for ourselves, but face it, as mothers, as soon as we hold that infant in our arms, we just get so busy.

We put out the fires, cater to every little thing our children need, one after another, and set our dreams aside, for now. Then they go to school and even if we do have a daytime job, we tend to be less hungry for more. Day by day, we just slowly go through the routine and focus on our family needs.

If a small dream we had crosses our mind, say write that novel, visit Ireland, learn to play the piano, we just set it aside. It’s foolish really to think we should take time for that. We had our chance, and now it’s their chance. Our kids need to fulfill their dreams and sometimes at the expense of ours.

But why is that? Who took our permission to dream away? Don’t we also have the right to be happy? As mothers we sometimes take that permission away ourselves. Our kids didn’t ask us to disappear as a person to make them happy. In fact, won’t seeing their mother work hard to achieve something she really cares about be a lesson in itself?

If mom never takes care of herself, what kind of lesson is she teaching her children? That once you are a parent, you cease to exist?

There are many ways to balance the needs our kids have of us while refueling that well to do things just for us. Let us teach our children that it is okay to still have dreams, that it is okay to work hard for something that matters to us.

My own grandmother tirelessly took care of her family but always took time to do things she enjoyed until her death at 91. Yoga, travelling abroad, gardening, collecting recipes and herbal remedies of all kind, she never stopped. And although she was very devoted to her family, she was always stubborn about the things she wanted to do for herself. She was a true role model to me and I know she would be proud that her granddaughter carved some time in her life to follow her dream of becoming an author.

Let’s stop the guilt and go for it. Let the kids find their own socks, let them play in the backyard on their own for a change instead of driving them everywhere, let the house get a little messy and give yourself that permission: do an activity that means something special to you, something aligned with that dream in the back in your mind that you keep pushing away….

That’s okay, just do it!

And if you have a chance, tell me one thing you have always dreamed of doing, but haven’t had a chance yet. I’d like to send a signed copy of ANCIENT WHISPERS to one lucky commenter!


 
Marie-Claude Bourque is the American Title V winner and author of ANCIENT WHISPERS, a sensual gothic paranormal romance filled with sorcerers and Celtic priestesses in search for eternal love in modern time. She worked as a climate research scientist, a scientific translator and a fitness expert until she turned to fiction writing. She draws her inspiration from the French legends of her childhood and a fascination for dark fantasy. ANCIENT WHISPERS will be released by Dorchester-Love Spell on May 25. Find more at www.mcbourque.com


Those pesky blood suckers haunt my dreams.  I’ve tried bringing in a sharp shooter (not effective) getting them to gang up on each other (better) even enlisted several as allies, however, my supporters weren’t the dominant male or female vampire…and so on it goes every night now in my sleep.  Probably because last week, after a number of tests, the hematologist informed me that I have a low-grade chronic leukemia, likely had it for several years and that I could go on as I am for many more without need of treatment.  It manifests itself in anemia, fatigue, and some fibromyalgia, which has already improved following medication adjustments the doctor made.  It seems certain meds can lower red blood cell count and I was on several that did without anyone realizing.

The official name of this leukemia is T-Cell LGL. There are various forms and I’m extremely fortunate to have the milder kind with none of the autoimmune diseases (lupus, rheumatoid arthritis, and lymphoma)  that can accompany this variety and none of the feared organ damage.  Thank God.  Good news considering this diagnosis has the dreaded L word in it.  But now, I’m besieged by vampires at night.  There’s also a monster under my bed that I’m beating back.
My goal is to remain as healthy as possible while hanging in there hoping for a cure.  There isn’t one yet, but I’ve come across a number of promising treatments and possible cures on the horizon for various cancers, including leukemia, and autoimmune so keep the faith. Meanwhile, as the doctor refers to my condition as low-grade autoimmune, I’m seeking foods that support the immune system.  I’ve spent hours and hours reading up on nutrition and discovered the absolute best foods and supplements to boost immunity and help fight cancer.  Eating healthy isn’t a new practice for me. I’m just more strongly inclined now.

We’ve had our own garden for years and our community is blessed with fresh produce stands and a thriving farmer’s market.  If you don’t have any room for a garden, consider scouting out produce stands.  If you can’t find organic foods then wash the fruits and vegetables well.  If possible, at least plant a little salad garden that will supply you with leafy greens, maybe a tomato and pepper plant or two, and some carrots, radishes, beets, parsley, rosemary…lots of good vegetables and herbs can be grown in a fairly small space or in a container garden.
There is no one magic bullet, but some foods and supplements certainly standout. Probiotics are essential. A link to the Mayo Clinic provides more information about the benefits of probiotics found in such foods as, “yogurt, fermented and unfermented milk, miso, and some juices and soy drinks. Read product labels carefully, looking for a statement that the product contains “live and active cultures,” such as lactobacillus.”
I’m now taking a probiotic I got at the health food store that needs refrigeration to perform at its best. I also suffer from IBS and it’s helping with that. (If you don’t know what IBS is, then you probably don’t have it and we’ll move on :)   Yogurt is a fabulous probiotic.  Buy the plain or vanilla kinds and avoid the ones made with splenda or other artificial sweetener.  Bad for you stuff.  Better to use plain sugar than the artificial stuff.

Stevia is a natural sweetener made from a plant.  Raw sugar is better than processed.  Unpasteurized honey, preferably made from local wildflowers, is good for you while helping you fight allergies.  I am the allergy queen, have gotten shots for eons, and for the past several months have been substituting locally grown unpasteurized wildflower  honey.  My allergies are better this spring and it was a bad pollen season this year.  *Pure, quality maple syrup is also better for you as a sweetener than sugar or artificial stuff.

Green Tea is amazingly healthful.  From this site (Amazing Green Tea): “The secret of green tea lies in the fact it is rich in catechin polyphenols, particularly epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG). EGCG is a powerful anti-oxidant: besides inhibiting the growth of cancer cells, it kills cancer cells without harming healthy tissue. It has also been effective in lowering LDL cholesterol levels, and inhibiting the abnormal formation of blood clots. The latter takes on added importance when you consider that thrombosis (the formation of abnormal blood clots) is the leading cause of heart attacks and stroke.”


There are an overwhelming array of green teas which made me wonder which is best.  According to Amazing Green Tea, the bottled kinds are not good for you.  Nix the instant green tea mix as well.  Decaffeinated green tea doesn’t have the full beneficial properties of regular, so maybe just drink the caffeinated kind earlier in the day.  Loose leaf green tea has more of the  catechins that give green tea its health benefits than those in bags. You don’t even want to ‘go there’ with the flavored green teas.  According to this site, “How a tea tastes is an indicator of its quality, and how much catechin and EGCG it has. When you buy an unflavored tea, you can judge its quality by how it tastes. You can always add your own honey, lemon or ginseng later if you so wish.”

I wish.   OK, so who has the best green tea?
“The size (age) of the leaves is actually the main criterion for grading green tea, and unlike black tea, green tea quality is directly related to the grading. Teas made of the youngest leaves and the bud are the most expensive…high quality tea tastes sweet and rich rather than tannic.”
So, I have to shell out the big bucks for decent green tea? Hmmmm…I read on. “The highest grade Longjing tea are made from youngest tea shoots. They contain nutritious compounds such as theanine (a relaxant), EGCG (most potent antioxidant), caffeine (stimulant) and gallic acid (antioxidant).”

In conclusion, Longjing is supposedly the best green tea.  But it’s pricey.  Celestial Seasoning Authentic Green Tea came out near the top of the more commonly available kinds and is far more affordable.  I haven’t tried it yet but do like many of their teas, especially Peppermint.  I’m not a big fan of green tea, am an Earl Grey gal, but I like one green variety I’ve discovered from The Republic of Tea. It’s available locally in small tins with natural non chlorinated teabags. I can manage a cup or two a day. That company also has really good Earl Grey,  which is also full of antioxidants.  I drink mine hot with a little milk and sweetened with honey, both the regular and decaff varieties.  No caffeine past mid-afternoon for me, sooner if you’re really sensitive.

Fish Oil. Yes, the good kind is highly beneficial to your health for a variety of reasons.  High quality fish oil ranks at or near the top of recommended supplements.  But not all fish oils are equal. The site I’ve featured is extremely informative, written by a man who spent years researching fish oil and  suggests which variety is best.  I’ve ordered it, so we shall see.

I'm not a big fan of fish and cannot get enough of the oil that way.  I do like tuna and have learned that the lighter varieties have less mercury in them.  All fish have trace amounts, but some contain far more than others.  Quality fish oil is screened for mercury.  If you want to go the route of eating fish rather than taking the supplements, the healthiest choices are: Anchovies, Catfish, Clam, Crab, Crawfish, Flounder, Haddock, Herring, Mackerel, Mullet, Oyster, Perch, Pollock, Salmon, Sardine, Scallop, Shrimp, Sole, Squid, Tilapia, Trout, Whitefish. Eat 2-3 servings a week (pregnant women and small children should not eat more than 12 ounces (2 servings).
From The Cancer Cure Foundation, a non-profit organization. “The National Cancer Institute estimates that roughly one-third of all cancer deaths may be diet related. What you eat can hurt you, but it can also help you. Many of the common foods found in grocery stores or organic markets contain cancer-fighting properties, from the antioxidants that neutralize the damage caused by free radicals to the powerful phytochemicals that scientists are just beginning to explore. There isn’t a single element in a particular food that does all the work: The best thing to do is eat a variety of foods.
The following foods have the ability to help stave off cancer and some can even help inhibit cancer cell growth or reduce tumor size:”
Avocados, Broccoli, cabbage, and cauliflower, Kale, that whole cruciferous vegetable family, Carrots, Chili peppers and jalapenos (no way I’m eating those) Figs, Flax (ground is best) Garlic, Grapefruits (pink is best) and other citrus fruits, squeeze lemon in your water and drinking more water is also advised, Grapes, red or the dark purple are best, green and yellow leafy vegetables (such as spinach, raw, steamed or stir-fried) Mushrooms (Shiitake, maitake, reishi, Agaricus blazei Murill, and Coriolus Versicolor)
Raw Nuts like almonds (or a selenium supplement), Licorice root (may help limit the spread of prostate cancer, but don’t go overboard as it can elevate blood pressure) Papayas, Raspberries (black are the most effective) Strawberries and Blueberries, the whole berry family is a good one, Red wine (like a glass a day of a kind that doesn’t have sulfites) Rosemary, Seaweed and other sea vegetables, Soy products like tofu,Sweet potatoes, Tapioca, Tomatoes (more effective cooked) Red Peppers, Watermelon, Tumeric…
 
This is by no means a complete list, but an excellent start.  There are many helpful books on this subject as well as better eating for autoimmune.  One suggestion is Vern Verona’s book on Cancer Fighting Foods. The one I am currently reading is  called Foundations for Healing by Richard L. Becker that addresses a wide array of health issues and well being in general.  I am trying a modified diet based on his and other recommendations.

My mom was recently diagnosed with breast cancer.  She has this to say: Last February I had a mammogram that was reportedly clear of cancer, no problems. Well, three weeks later, I was reading a book about the doctor who signed up to spend a year at the South Pole and found a lump in her breast. She did what she could, taking the meds she had on hand, but unable to get surgery til the weather warmed up and a plane could land. While reading, I reached up and felt my left breast. There was a small lump beside the nipple that wasn’t present in the other breast. As soon as I could set things in motion, I did. If you’ve had this problem, you know the scans and further mammograms, biopsy, excruciatingly painful needle insertion, and then the lumpectomy.

I haven’t yet decided on radiation. Those appointments are in two weeks. This is my first time, (at 77 years of age), and I have been feeling kind of besieged. I’d been responsible and had a mammogram. What was this all about? A doctor checked the lymph nodes and they were clear, Even so, the surgeon removed two of them, just for safety’s sake.

A friend lent me a book Anti Cancer: A new way of life by David Servan Schreiber, MD, PhD. In it he describes how his brain tumor was discovered and what he has learned that can lessen one’s chances of having it recur. For various kinds of cancers he recommends probiotics, pomegranate juice, berries, grated citrus fruit skins (organic), several ounces of red wine, grated flax seeds, seaweed (probably not something any of us are used to eating), bitter melon (probably inedible except in extract form). Maitake mushrooms “probably have the most pronounced effect on the immune system.”

Rosemary, thyme, oregano, basil, mint, turmeric and curry are all helpful. Dr Servan Schreiber recommends, “Mix 1/4 teaspoon of turmeric powder with 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil and a generous pinch of black pepper. Add to vegetables, soups, and salad dressings.” He also recommends adding grated ginger to vegetables. Those which contain powerful anticancer molecules are “cabbages, brussel sprouts, bok choy, Chinese cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower etc.” Garlic is also high on his list of recommendation foods.

He believes strongly that, if we want to help ourselves, even though not much thought is given to diet yet in connection with cancer, we need to be aware of what not to eat (the usual list of sugars, fatty meats, white bread, cheese and what makes up many of our subsistence food at the fast food restaurants).
I will say, in my own defense, that I have tried to eat well for many years. We spent three years on Taiwan and one year in China and like Oriental food, not the fatty, greasy over-cooked stuff found in many US restaurants, but stir-fried vegetables with bean curd and maybe a little meat. I remember the Chinese downing gigantic quantities of garlic. Maybe that’s the answer. According to articles on the internet it is thought to have curative qualities that bring about well being and ward off diseases. With a prayer for your good health and continued curiosity in what might make it better. ~Pat Churchman

My mom is also in remission from Rheumatoid Arthritis after she underwent an unconventional treatment based on a low dose antibiotic regimen.  She has been in remission for years.  She tried the conventional treatments but at that time they were more harmful than helpful.  The diet for boosting your immune system and helping to fight autoimmune is similar to the one for cancer, but limits or excludes the nightshade family, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and potatoes, as it can worsen joint pain and fibromyalgia.  Here’s an interesting post on that subject at Garden Web.
From what I’ve gathered we should all be eating far less of the pre-prepared, processed foods and change our diets to include more simple foods, and those made with fewer ingredients. Choose whole grains wherever possible and more and more are available these days.  Look for whole grain pastas and brown rice, rather then white.  Whole rolled oats are a big health food.  Pepperidge Farm has healthy whole grain and oatmeal breads, just check the label to be certain because they still carry some of the not so good varieties.

Get rid of products with hydrogenated vegetable oils and corn syrup.  Very bad for you.  As are soft drinks.  Limit or eliminate sodas.  I still have a little Gingerale for my stomach.  Jiff has come out with a good tasting and far better for you peanut butter which has caused much rejoicing in this house.  Called Jiff Natural. You don’t have to stir up all that oil that rises to the top and keep it refrigerated like the other more healthful brands and my family will actually eat it without noticing its better for them. The low fat version of Triscuits have only a few healthful ingredients and seem to be a much healthier choice than most crackers and are readily available.  Become a label reader and shop the perimeter of the grocery store where the fresh fruits and vegetable and dairy products, etc, are located.

Only roam the interior if you really need a particular product.  Invest more of your food budget in fresh produce and look for what’s in season as it will be less expensive.  And, of course, if possible put in at least a small garden.  Go organic.  Then you know for sure what’s in your food.  Just be careful not to plant edible plants near any kind of wood that has heavy metals.  Don’t use old railroad ties or treated lumber for making raised beds.  Use naturally weather resistant woods like cedar.

Last but not least, Dark Chocolate is good for you!  And the daily treat I allow myself.  From Chocolate and Health: “It’s more than wishful thinking—chocolate can be good for you. Studies show that eating chocolate, primarily dark chocolate, may contribute to improved cardiovascular health. Packed with natural antioxidants, dark chocolate and cocoa sit in the same good-for-you category as green tea and blueberries. That’s because chocolate comes from cacao beans (or cocoa beans), which grow on the cacao tree and are full of natural plant nutrients. Most of the studies to date highlight dark chocolate’s health values because it has the highest percentage of cocoa solids, therefore more flavanol antioxidants.” My favorite and one of the best varieties of Dark chocolate is Green and Black Organic Dark 70% cocoa. This link is for the economy pack at Amazon. :)

Regarding supplements, women especially need to be certain to take Vitamin D supplements as most of us do not get enough.  Also Vitamin E, the natural kind, Vitamin C, Calcium, and magnesium, another one we don’t tend to get enough of.  Citracal Plus with the added vitamins and minerals has most of these.  But don’t overdo the vitamins and try to get many of them from actual food.  I know, bizarre.

OK, I’ve given you and me enough to consider for now.  Onward and upward.  If you have any suggestions please feel free to comment and share them with me and my readers.  Hold hands, stay together and help each other is my philosophy and God bless us everyone.

"Robin Hood, Robin Hood, riding through the glen,
Robin Hood, Robin Hood, with his band of men,

Feared by the bad, Loved by the good,

Robin Hood, Robin Hood, Robin Hood..."


---theme from the television series The Adventures of Robin Hood, starring Richard Greene (1955)

Robin Hood…Hobby Hode…The Rogue of Sherwood Forest… Whatever you want to call him, Robin Hood has been with us a long time, and the question is always rising: Was he an actual person or was he fictitious?

Records show there was an outlaw called “Robert Hode” from Nottinghamshire who escaped to the forest after a quarrel with the bishop there. He is also listed as “Robyn or Hobby Hood.”. In a 9-year period in the late 13th and early 14th centuries, there were 9 references on the Yorkshire Pipe Rolls (records of the audits of the sheriffs’ accounts) to a man called “Robin or Hobbehod” who had been outlawed, though his particular criminal specialty isn’t mentioned. In 1260, another outlaw, Robert LeFevre, is also stated as being known as “Hobby Hood.” Since there are many references after this throughout the years, it would lead one to think this might simply have become an alias used by captured thieves. In fact, in later centuries, this name was given to any felon. Guy Fawkes and the men who attempted to blow up Parliament in 1605 were termed “Robin Hoods” by the 1st Earl of Salisbury. This epithet still holds true—in our own modern day culture, we speak of “hoods” and “hoodlums” to mean criminals.

The oldest tale of Robin is Robin Hood and the Monk, a manuscript now at Cambridge University. It was written around 1450 and involves a story which could in actuality be based on Robert Hode’s altercation with the bishop preceding his flight. The first printed version A Gest of Robyn Hode is a group of short stories made into a single narrative. Here “gest” means “history.” The first literary mention of Robin Hood comes in the play Piers Plowman, written in the late 14th century, when a character is asked if he knows his prayers. The character states that he doesn’t know his Pater Noster, but he does know the rhymes of Robin Hood!

(I remember reading Piers Plowman in Freshman English in college, but apparently the Robin Hood reference didn’t make a dint in my memory.)

In the earlier versions, Robin is a yeoman/commoner; in the later, he is a nobleman, Robert of Lockley, the Earl of Huntingdon. A commoner isn’t to be confused with a peasant, but is actually someone from what could now be called the middle class, which didn’t exist back then. A yeoman was “neither a knight nor a peasant… but something in between”. Though the county of Yorkshire lays claim to Robin because the area of Loxley exists there, all the tales, agree on where he lived, with the very first recorded rhyme in the 15th century stating: “Robyn hode in scherewode stod." (Robin Hood in Sherwood stood).

The first semi-historical mention of Robin is in Orygynale Chronicle by Andrew of Wyntoun, written around 1420 and referring to events in 1283. The next is in the Scotichronicon, (1377) in which Robin is named a supporter of Simon de Montford and described thus: “…Then arose the famous murderer, Robert Hood, as well as Little John, together with their accomplices from among the disinherited,” though “murderer” here could mean not a hired killer but merely someone who uses a knife as a weapon.

Though Robin’s cohorts—Little John and Will Scarlet—are there almost from the beginning, Maid Marian, Friar Tuck, and Alan-A-Dale the minstrel, show up much, much later. Little John appears to be Robin’s second-in-command, a giant of a man called John Little whose name is reversed ironically because of his size. Will Scarlet was originally called Will Scatlock, and possibly he was a burglar, because he could “scat” or break locks. An interesting note is that A Gest of Robin Hood, one of the earliest compilations, named the king Robin is loyal to as “Edward” rather than Richard. There was a Robyn Hode employed by Edward II but this may also be a reference to Roger Godberd who was a supporter of Simon de Montford and whose life parallels Robin’s to some extent. Godberd has been called the “prototypical Robin Hood.”

Finding the real Robin Hood is difficult because “Robert” and its diminutive “Robin” were common names in medieval England as was the surname “Hode” (“of the Hood”) because a hood was a common head-covering; the fact that a number of men with that name ran afoul of the law doesn’t help. Calling a man “Robin Hode” when he was declared an outlaw seems to have been a common practice from the 13th century on.

Robin Hood supposedly died at Kirklees Priory, Mirfield in West Yorkshire. There is a grave with an elaborate headstone there with an inscription.

My Opinion? There really was a Robin Hood, some commoner back in England’s dim and distant past who found himself—for one reason or another—“outside the Law,” taking refuge in that vast tract of land called Sherwood Forest where others likewise disenfranchised, may have joined him. But, like King Arthur, Dracula, Jesse James, Billy the Kid, and other real personages who’ve since been romanticized into legend, he was made into a character heroic in song and fiction, given a past and a heritage not his own so he became a man whose exploits would be told around campfires at night…of derring-do, of trickery and bravery, of love and death…to entertain and give hope. It is a story which has lasted almost eight hundred years so far, repeated and embellished with each re-telling.

The real Hobby Hode would probably be astounded and aghast and possibly disbelieving if he knew just what he started.

As the Gest concludes:

…he was a good outlawe,
And dyde pore men moch god
...”



(This blog was written using material from Wikipedia and information from the International Movie Data Base and the History Channel’s two shows on Robin Hood, one following Kevin Costner’s film, the other Russell Crowe’s upcoming movie.)


It's so great to be back and blogging regularly at the Pink Fuzzy Slipper Writers. Life has been hectic and full to bursting since I last posted. I thought I'd take the easy way out and begin today with an excerpt from my latest book, Valentine Voodoo. I must admit to giving into temptation and naming the hero of this book after one of my favorite football players although the poor fella had a baaad year in 2009. Go Eli!

Eli and Stephanie didn't speak as they made their way back to the main lobby, but the silence between them this time proved neither oppressive nor uncomfortable.

A hypnotic, rhythmic drumming vibrated through the wooden floor and the walls and traveled through his veins to throb low in his stomach. The cadence escalated, the beat acquiring a tempo that accelerated his heart and provoked sinister images of the little boy riding the tricycle in the movie The Shining rounding corner after corner, and Jack Nicholson's spine-tingling cry of “Heeeeere's Johnny.”

They rounded a corner and halted.

Incense and the aroma of coconut oil smeared the smoke-filled room.

A man the size and height of an NBA player and dressed in African garb—a long, flowing robe of scarlet and onyx—dominated the center of the room. He wore a red Kufi cap on his bald skull. Arms lifted to the carved ceiling, he brandished a massive ruby heart that pulsed rhythmically, a deep rumble vibrating through the room as the numerous tiny veins entwining pink tissue clamped and pulsated when the organ contracted.

Five women in similar dress, all topping six feet, circled the man. They wore their hair in spectacular cornrowed weaves intertwined with tiny green beads, and sported numerous strands of necklaces of the same hue and texture around their necks.

“What the hell?”

“Banda drumming,” Stephanie explained. “It's part of a voodoo ceremony. There are different types of drums and beats associated with different spirits. Banda drumming is associated with Baron Samedi.”

“Who?”

“Did you see Live and Let Die?”

“Is that the Roger Moore Bond with Jane Seymour that begins with the funeral in New Orleans?” The slithery sensation at the back of his neck intensified. Eli massaged the knotted tendons, to no effect.

“Baron Samedi is the evil guy in the cemetery at the end,” Stephanie stated.

“That guy holding the heart's supposed to be Baron Samedi?”

“Maybe not Samedi himself, but he's a houngan asogwe, a high priest,” Stephanie hissed as she shuffled closer. “That's a voodoo heart.” Her fingers clamped his forearm, the nails digging into his skin. “Those women are priestesses, or mambos.”

His gut's alarm bells clanged, and some primordial instinct Eli couldn't control had him hankering to hurry Stephanie out of the room, to whisk her back to the safety of the city and the hotel. He gritted his teeth.

Stow it, Gallagher; stop the melodramatic overprotectiveness.

Which idiot in marketing conjured this sure-to-backfire publicity stunt?

“Promo,” he murmured, curling an arm around her waist. “The title of the film is Valentine Voodoo.”

“The movie's strictly PG, Eli. It's meant for the under-ten crowd. Our hearts are friendly and cute. That isn't,” she retorted, angling a chin at the houngan. “The visuals are incredible, though. I want to take a closer look. What are those women holding?” she asked, squinting and peering at the nearest voodoo female.

"Cloth dolls with our faces," he answered.

I hope you enjoyed the excerpt!

Cheers,

Jianne Carlo

Every one in awhile you come across a story that scares you, yet you can't put it down. That is what Sharon Donovan has done. Scare me to death!
Imagine if you found out you had just married a serial killer. What would you do?????


How would you feel if you realized you had just married a serial killer?

I would like to explore some of the most famous serial killers of our time and their psychological backgrounds. Serial killers are deeply disturbed individuals. What do Charlie Manson, Ted Bundy and Jeffery Dahmer have in common? Childhood abuse seems to play a significant role in the destruction of their psyche. According to psychologists, if a child is traumatized before the age of twelve, it can cause irreparable damage. Even though a child that has been abused may block it out by dissociating, the trauma festers in the darkest recesses of the mind and can cause the mind to corrupt and can create the very horror we know as a serial killer.

Who could forget Charlie Manson and the Manson murders? The book Helter Skelter still gives me the wee willies. What could have caused this monster to orchestrate such a string of violence that still shocks and horrifies society several decades later? He was neglected as a child and did not know who his biological father was and suffered from severe psychological problems as a result. During a prison interview, Manson said that his mother beat him up and stole money from him, and he in turn, beat her back.

Ted Bundy was plagued with fear and self-doubt from the sixth grade into high school and college. He was a very disturbed individual, and evidence suggests his trauma began when he learned his sister was his mother. The aura surrounding Ted Bundy is still a mystery to this day. How could he lead such a double life? A family man and a demented killer?

Then there is Jeffery Dohmer. He had parents that loved him yet he still grew up to be one of the most repulsive killers of our time. Why? What would cause a seemingly normal child to become so violent? What would cause him to do unspeakable things to his victims yet show no shame or remorse?

For whatever reason, morbid curiosity or wanting to figure out the puzzle, serial killers draw us in. We want to read about them, talk about them, study them. I am no exception. The mind fascinates me. It’s a tricky faux. It can bend. It can break. It can snap. I took psychology classes for this very reason, to get into the mind of a killer. And once I had all my research and notes in short order, I created my most complex character to date. Michael DeVeccio is a cold-blooded killer in my newly released novel Mask of the Betrayer. In this psychological thriller, I take the reader on an incredible journey of one man’s life and the destruction of his psyche. What could have caused an innocent blue-eyed boy to grow up to become the most chilling serial killer of his time?

Michael DeVeccio is a sociopath. He is highly intelligent, devastatingly handsome and charismatic. He is sole beneficiary to a billion dollar dynasty and rules the world with absolute power. Yet if anyone dares and betrays him, he will kill them with a sword and shroud their corpse in a macabre skull mask with no remorse. He has the right to decide who will live and who will die. Something so traumatic happened in Michael’s life at the age of twelve, causing him to totally dissociate and lose his identity. Michael fell victim to a domineering uncle, a feared and revered leader of organized crime who trained his nephew to be his number one assassin. I hope you will enjoy reading Mask of the Betrayer as much as I enjoyed writing it. Here is a blurb and excerpt.


Mask of the Betrayer
Sharon Donovan

Gothic Comments
Fiction-Psychological thriller/suspense
Whimsical Publications,
LLC/paperback 282 pages
April 2010
$13.95
ISBN-13: 978-1-936167-06-7

Blurb
When the whispers in the night, the whispers of her lover, are the whispers of a killer, will Margot escape before she becomes the next victim? Deep in the foothills of Red Rock Canyon, a serial killer stalks. He leaves his signature—a skull mask on the corpse. But when the homicide cop realizes the crimes are the reenactment of a case never solved ten years ago--all fingers point to Michael DeVeccio. And when Margot realizes she is married to the killer, her life becomes a living nightmare. Suspecting her affair with Carlos, he had surveillance equipment installed all over the mansion. Once he showed her the very graphic video of her and his uncle going a tit in the satin-lined coffin, he’d used it to his advantage.
Michael suspected his uncle knew more about his parents’ accident than he’d let on, but couldn’t prove a thing. Desperate to uncover the truth, Michael blackmailed Candace into getting Carlos to confess on tape. If she failed, she’d be killed. Stuck between a rock and a hard spot, Candace had done things to the old coot that disgusted even her. But those things had made the old man sing like a canary and the taped confession had saved her life. After her mission was a done deal, Michael kicked her out of Vegas and told her if she ever returned, he would rip her lungs out.

Monsters Comments

Excerpt
Reaching Carlos DeVeccio’s bedroom, she got a little thrill as old memories surfaced.
Just a few more seconds and she’d fall into the arms of her lover. She smiled to herself. She had returned to Vegas for a reason. She was flat broke. But after tonight, Michael would be her ticket back into the world of luxury. Then she’d be mistress of the manor once more. And more to the point, she’d have access to his billion dollar bank roll. With a devious smile, she pushed her way through the heavy mahogany door.
Crossing the threshold, she entered the house of horrors. Carlos DeVeccio had been a real nut, one straight out of the books. But with her fetish for face masks, she loved his collection and had often come into his wing just to admire them. What a thrill it had been to have sex in the coffin, howling along with the werewolf. Some might think it a bit kinky, but they didn’t know what they were missing. Calling out to her lover, her pulse quickened a beat. “Michael? Are you here yet, darling?”That’s when she heard it, manic laughter from the final circle of hell. A slither of fear trickled down her spine, releasing a wild rush of adrenaline. Carlos? She thought about the death of Lacy Diamond. Two Ninja assassinations were no coincidence. Sensing danger, she felt for her sword. It was gone. Panic soared through her. Where the hell was it? The laughter got louder and louder, moving in closer and closer. It seemed to be bouncing off the walls. She couldn’t tell from which direction it was coming. Just then, the bell in the tower gonged, thundering off the walls like canon balls. Instinctively, she covered her ears with her hands. Where the hell was Michael?
Evil eyes from the face masks followed her every move. She had to escape this hell before it was too late. She couldn’t think over the gonging of the bell. Every few seconds, the werewolf howled at the moon. She screamed, even though she knew no one would ever hear her. Floundering in wild disarray, disoriented by the darkness and relentless gonging, she searched in vain for the door. Her arms swam in mid-air, like a person drowning, desperate for an anchor, something to hold onto. She reached out and grabbed at nothing. She had to find a way out of this mausoleum of the living dead before it was too late. Where the hell was Michael?
The laughter got closer. Perspiration drenched her skin. The chilling laughter echoed in her ears, louder and louder, closer and closer. The bell in the bell tower broke through the thin filament of sanity she had left. The werewolf open his mouth and howled at the moon. Where was Michael? He’d know what to do. He was a master. His fencing skills were extraordinary. He could wield a Ninja star with his eyes closed and hit the mark. Where was he?
Blood thundered in her ears, but not loud enough to block out the manic laughter. It was close but she couldn’t see a thing. She wished she had her sword. She turned to run; it was too late. She heard a distinct click. The killer had just depressed the button on her Zorro sword, releasing the thirty-seven inch blade. His psychotic laughter reached an ear-splitting crescendo just as the bell in the tower gonged out its last chime. From the dark shadows, Valentino pounced, her Zorro sword gleaming in the moonlight.
“Surprise!” he thrust the sword into her heart. “I promised to make you scream, darling Candace. Let me hear you scream.”

Thanks for a great preview Sharon welcome to the Pink Fuzzy Slipper Writers Blog, we are so proud to have you here.
We hope you have the best of luck with a wonderful tale. Just don't shut out the lights please!!
Monsters Comments


MASK OF THE BETRAYER
AVAILABLE NOW!
Whimsical Publications, LLC
www.whimsicalpublications.com

Gothic Comments
BUY LINK:
http://www.whimsicalpublications.com/sharon_donovan/mask_of_the_betrayer.html

print and ebook once it's available:
http://www.whimsicalpublications.com/books.html