I'm having challenges.

As if ragweed season isn't enough to battle with major allergies and being a 'lifer' on the shots, I got sick on top of this infamous time of year. Came down with sinus, bronchitis, and bronchial spasms, so I'm back on the inhaler and an antibiotic. Herbal remedies failed me. Sigh. Unless I would have been that much worse without them. Like dead.

It's hard to write when you're blowing and coughing your head off. Inspiration fades and there's no snap, crackle, and pop (except in my chest). This is when I long for the writing elves to come and work on my novel while I doze in between bouts of hacking. An insightful dream would be most welcome, but mine are weird, cold med induced hallucinations. Nothing useful. 

I'll just have to make something up, I tell myself. Which probably sounds odd because that's what most people assume authors do. Actually, I don't. I have this deep sense of the story and of being led in its creation. Just making stuff up doesn't happen with me. The characters speak, if I can hear them over the honking.

Meanwhile, I have good news to share. My latest historical romance novel, Traitor's Legacy, is out this month. Published by the Wild Rose Press. A big book signing event is in the works for Historic Halifax, NC in October. The bulk of the story is set in that area. The event coordinator tells me the interview I had with the editor of North Carolina's Eastern Living Magazine is out, and he did a fabulous job with it. I'm waiting for my copies to come in the mail. The story I'm struggling with is the sequel to Traitor's Legacy, entitled Traitor's Curse

I was sailing along. Then my grandbabies found two abandoned kittens for me to care for, which I undertook with exhausting devotion. Resulting in a lack of sleep, which may have led to my hack, sniffle, honk derailment. But the kittens are doing well. I've named the buddy brothers 'Peaches and Cream'. Perhaps they will inspire me. Possibly show up in the novel. I don't know when readers will pick up on this, but I have an orange tabby cat in nearly everyone of my stories, unless the characters are on the run in the frontier and can't take care of a cat. The orange tabby makes an appearance in Traitor's Legacy, in the wonderful old home featured in the story called Thornton Hall.

“A kitten is the delight of a household. All day long a comedy is played out by an incomparable actor.”
― ChampfleuryThe Cat Past and Present

Two kittens, double the delight. And the work.

“A kitten is, in the animal world, what a rosebud is in the garden.”
― Robert Sowthey

Yep, you're getting kitten quotes. Because this is a random post.

“The only thing a cat worries about is what’s happening right now. As we tell the kittens, you can only wash one paw at a time.”― Lloyd AlexanderTime Cat

Stray cats? I don't think so...

Posted by debjulienne | 5:36 PM | 8 comments »

Yesterday, a friend sent me a text that included this adorable picture of her new tabby kitten. Friends are always posting the stray pets they've recently acquired.

And there's me...my kids idea of a stray pet as you can see from the pictures below run along the lines of a tad different scale.

My kids love all kinds of animals. We've had chicken, ducks, quail, turkeys, rabbits, goats, sheep.

Now it's time to introduce you to our latest addition.

Meet "Root Beer". "Root Beer Pulled Pork" to be precise, a wild boar.

By far, the most awesome was Buck the Barbados Sheep.

My favorite, however, was the fainting goats: Stinky, June, Jenny, and the twins Tinkerbell as seen with my granddaughter and Tiger Lily as seen with my grandson.

And that's not including the deer, bobcats, and bears that like to wander across our property. We've had a few harrowing incidents in the past, that's for sure.

I love living in the forest, the peace and quiet, the trees, the animals...I guess that's why these strays don't seem to bother me, well all except for the turkey...never again...talk about messy!

That said...what's the coolest stray you've ever run across? I'd love to hear about it.

Have a great day.


Posted by Mary Marvella | 11:17 PM | , , | 7 comments »

My Brain Just Ain’t Big Enough
Mary Ricksen

I admire people who can write a lot of books and even though they are prolific, their talent shines in every story they write. Some people, like me, however, take a while. It’s not that I don’t have time. I used to blame that on everything. Well, it was true when I was working. Now it’s life that holds me back.

I spend an inordinate amount of time worrying. My worry, gene came from my mother, who at 86 can still find more things to have angst over then any one I have ever known. So your cousin, who was a sweet, darling girl, is dating a meth addict she met on line after watching the TV show intervention. My cousin prefers women, not that she didn’t give men a try.  So far she hasn’t had much luck.

One of my sister’s has an autistic daughter who is incommunicative and keeps having seizures. The list is endless.  I find myself doing things that take my mind away rather then let me use it. Reading, is a great escape. My favorite!
So, I’d say maybe that takes up at least a quarter of my brain. Then there is the half of brain I use to run my body. You know, like breathing, blood flow, living. That leaves a measly one quarter to work with. 

Now out of that quarter brain I have to at least use half to handle my husband. He is a job, let me tell you.

So I am left with one eighth of a brain for learning and writing. Which brings me to the point of this blog-- I have a lot to learn, still… I was so proud when I remembered the difference between an em-dash and an en-dash, and darn if I am not proud to remember what an ellipse is! And yes, I know when to use it.

But, I learned one the other day from an editor which kind of throws out all they say about using the word had. It’s called past plu-perfect tense. Yes, I kid you not, there is really such a thing. It kinda threw me. What? I’ve heard of past perfect, which I still confuse, and then someone mentioned past plu-perfect, well I almost had a brain freeze. I get those periodically, when I least expect it. And usually at the very worst time!

You see, you have to use the right words, to remember a past event that is kinda like earlier then another past event. Yeah, you heard me—(See!)
Wikopedia defines it as follows. The pluperfect (from Latin plus quam perfectum more than perfect), also called past perfect in English, is a grammatical combination of past tense with the perfect, itself a combination of tense and aspect, that exists in most Indo-European languages though there is not one in Irish. It is used to refer to an event that had continuing relevance to a past time.[dubious ] Comrie[1]:p.64 classifies the pluperfect as an absolute-relative tense because it absolutely (not by context) establishes a deixis (the past event) and places the action relative to the deixis (before it).

I am still gonna have to remember when it’s correct to use it. I was told by a talented editor; especially if I am gonna write time travel stories. Uh Oh!  

Lord knows what else I don’t know that I should by now! Does a writer ever stop learning? Not if they want to be successful in any way. I’ve been thinking of writing a shape-shifter story…

What if my brain runs outta space!! AAHHHH!

 Connie Gillam stopped by to share a review of a book she read. You might want to add it to your list.    
       Murder in Thrall

I’m a mystery writer, and I love finding well written mystery or suspense books. Today I’m spotlighting, Murder in Thrall by Anne Cleeland. I enjoyed this book immensely because it was a great blend of character, mystery and love story.

Published by Kensington Press, Murder in Thrall is a new Scotland Yard series. The main characters are a rookie DC (Detective Constable) Kathleen Doyle and DCI (Detective Chief Inspector) Michael Sinclair. Doyle is of humble Irish ancestry (with an accent as thick as cream) and Sinclair, Lord Acton, is of the English aristocracy. 

Because I have limited time to read, I listen to audible books while I drive to and from work. The book’s premise sounded promising, and when I heard the sample audio, it sealed the deal. The actress’s command of the Irish dialect was dead on. The actress’s performance combined with the author’s plot and mastery of character made the experience very enjoyable.

Doyle catches the eye of Sinclair, a brilliant Inspector who has lost his joy of life (if he ever had it). He’s great at his job (the other constables call him Holmes) but there’s nothing outside of his work. He drinks heavily and the reader wonders (at least this one did) how long it will be before he “eats his service revolver.” 

Then along comes Doyle. Sinclair is fascinated by her freshness, her dedication to the job and her intuitiveness. They’re both closed off and reserved individuals who, because of their similar natures, work well together.

 Because she’s fey, she senses others' feelings. The constant bombardment of others' emotions is draining, so she doesn’t allow anyone to get too close. Sinclair, heir to a vast fortune and brought up in an unloving, “stiff upper lip” English household is unable and unwilling to open himself up to others.

He’s obsessed with Doyle and manipulates the system to get her assigned to work with him. He has no idea at the beginning how good she is at her job. The two prove to be an unbeatable team.

Check out this book by Constance.

Lakota Dreaming

Fired from her job as editor-in-chief of a New York fashion magazine, Zora Hughes makes a desperate trip to an Indian Reservation. She hopes to find answers to lifelong dreams her psychiatrist calls genetic memories.  Zora dreams of a female ancestor who fled life as a slave and was aided in her journey to freedom by a Sioux warrior who would become her husband.
On the reservation, Zora meets Sheriff John Iron Hawk who aids and sometimes hinders her in her quest to finds answers to the murder of her forebearer. Zora sees the parallel between her life and that of her long dead loving John Iron Hawk, a contemporary Sioux warrior. But someone will do anything, including murder, to stop Zora from digging up the past.
Connie has worn many professional hats in her working career-from phlebotomist to Life and Health Underwriter but none she’s enjoyed more than being a writer.
Connie Gillam writes mystery and suspense for both adults and teens. Her current book is Lakota Dreaming, a contemporary romantic mystery set on an Indian Reservation.Connie resides outside of Atlanta, Georgia with her husband.

Barnes and Noble: http://tinyurl.com/oe37hlc
Look for a yet untitled historical prequel novella to Lakota Dreaming coming in October 2014.

Last weekend, I attended the Indie Mashup Book Signing in Houston though I only have one self-published novella, The Night Before Doomsday ($.99 on Amazon).  I had been to another large book signing in January and was prepared to have a great time and sell a lot of books.  I wasn’t prepared to have to go alone and haul my Smart Cart of books and goodies up two flights of a steep ramp because the elevator had yet to be turned on.  But I made it!

Then the problem became getting the books out of the cart.  Since I suffered a back injury in a fall from a horse in late April, I gingerly struggled them out and set up my table.  One young man came by and took a picture of my table saying it was the best one in the signing.  That pleased me enough that I forgot the troubles of getting to the signing.

However, I was destined for another disappointment.   My tablemate and the author sitting at the table on my left were self published and could sell their books for far less than my print books’ prices.  I watched them selling book after book.  They were both writing about angels, and I gritted my teeth that no one had yet published my angel book, Redemption.   Onward and upward, a reader stopped by and said she’d seen my Facebook posts on Sinners’ Opera and bought a copy.   Every one of my signed cover postcards went.  I also had scented candles wrapped in netting with a Sinners’ Opera cover card stapled to the ribbon and, of course, chocolate.  I also took my new banner from VistaPrint.

I’d like to say that it was a wildly fun and successful day, but I’d be lying.  I resolved next signing to be sure I had a friend to take along to while away the time between visitors.   I have signed up for another big book signing in November.   By then, Sinners’ Obsession will be in print.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Here is the cover to my latest release, Sinners' Obsession, sequel to Sinners' Opera, and  Book #2 in the Obsession Series (to be followed by a prequel called Sinners' Waltz).   All my books are available on Amazon and at Double Dragon Publishing.

Thought I'd also share the book video for Sinners' Opera:


This summer whizzed by faster than I could ever imagine. It seems that I haven’t accomplished anything. Yet I entertained many guests.

Young guests like my precious grandchildren, adorable kids way too active and noisy, had me collapse on my bed by nine o’clock, delighted and exhausted after a day at the beach and the pool.

David surfing 2

Older guests wanted to hit the stores and take advantage of special sales. With them I discovered interesting places and new bargains. Believe me, shopping with a nineteen-year-old teenager was a tiring but lovely experience. She reminded me of my daughter. Memories of  the long hours spent in fitting rooms with my daughter when she prepared for college brought smiles and tears to my eyes.

So that was my summer: two weeks with one set of grandchildren, two weeks with my cousin and family, two weeks with the other set of grandchildren, and two weeks helping my daughter moved back.

Side effect: I am very nicely tanned.
But I didn’t write a single line.

However I participated in two multi-authors boxes.



So how was your summer?

From chemistry in the lab to chemistry between people. 
Mona Risk left a scientific career to share with readers the many stories brewing in her head. Her books won Best Romance Novel of the Year at Preditors & Editors; Best Contemporary Romances at Readers Favorite; EPPICON Award Finalists; and many stellar reviews, and are Amazon Bestsellers. She received the 2013 OUTSTANDING ACHIEVER Award at Affaire de Coeur Magazine for her "Wonderfully written books about true love." ~ Happyly Ever After Reviews

Do you have a list of things you plan to do when you have plenty of money?

 One thing I will do is restore my first car, my 64 1/2 Mustang. It was the first car I would drive and I bought it so I could drive to work out in the country near Lawrenceville, Ga. 

I still have it!  It took me to Boston, Mass and Mexico, Missouri and back to Georgia!

It was called prairie bronze and this is close to the real color. Toni Sweeney saw it when it was newer and beautiful!

What will you do when you have plenty of money?

TraitorsLegacy_w8945_med.jpg (official cover) (2)Traitor’s Legacy, the sequel to award-winning historical romance novel, Enemy of the King, is finally out in eBook and print!
Journey back to the drama, intrigue, and romance of the American Revolution, where spies can be anyone and trust may prove deadly.
Traitor’s Legacy Blurb:
1781. On opposite sides of the War of Independence, British Captain Jacob Vaughan and Claire Monroe find themselves thrust together by chance and expediency.
Captain Vaughan comes to a stately North Carolina manor to catch a spy. Instead, he finds himself in bedlam: the head of the household is an old man ravaged by madness, the one sane male of the family is the very man he is hunting, and the household is overseen by his beguiling sister Claire.
Torn between duty, love, and allegiances, yearning desperately for peace, will Captain Vaughan and Claire Monroe forge a peace of their own against the vagaries of war and the betrayal of false friends?
Traitor’s Legacy is available at AmazonThe Wild Rose PressBarnes & Noble, and other online booksellers.

What a fabulous cover, Jill Hughey!


Eruption: Yellowblown Series Book One

Author: J. Hughey

Today is cover reveal day for J.Hughey’s New Adult romance, Eruption, first in the Yellowblown™ Series that follows a college sophomore from her perfect semester through the life-changing disruptions caused when the Yellowstone volcano erupts. Eruption will be released on September 13.

Contest! All new subscribers to the J. Hughey’s newsletter between August 12 and August 19 will be entered to win some Eruption cover swag. You’ll have your choice of a necklace, bracelet, or bookmark decorated with the Eruption cover and the Yellowblown Series charms. Subscribe here http://www.jillhughey.com/contact. A winner or winners will be chosen using the number generator at random.org, and contacted via the email address given in the subscription.

Here’s the blurb to go with this eye-catching cover:
The perfect semester for Violet Perch starts with an awesome roomie and a freshman crush intent on becoming a sophomore reality. Yay! With everything going right, it only makes sense for the Yellowstone caldera to erupt for the first time in 630,000 years.

Violet struggles to maintain her new perfect normal as devastation in the west combines with the volcano’s ash to muck up the works all over North America. Her deny-deny-deny strategy does the trick…until college closes.

Hitching a ride home to Indiana with her hopeful boyfriend softens the blow of saying good bye to her roomie, Mia, even if it does mean Boone will be exposed to her family in apocalyptic prepper mode. When his parents warn him to stay away from their ash-pelted Nebraska ranch, Violet buys more precious time with the all-American guy she’s admired from afar for a year.

Having Hotness within arm’s reach definitely makes a global disaster more palatable. But a man with Boone’s sense of responsibility won’t stay away from his family for long, which will leave Violet where? Exiled at home with her parents, separated from Boone and Mia, lonely and single forever. Though forever might not be a long time if the eruption continues.

Eruption is book one in a series. While no major characters are left hanging from their fingernails on the last page, there’s definitely more to come.

In a unique bite J.Hughey pulled from the book, just for this blog, in a nice moment with Boone and Violet:
The perfect kiss, with the grass and sun and sweetness of chocolate chip cookie on our lips, made me smile against his mouth.

J. Hughey knows what a girl wants. Independence. One or two no-matter-what-happens friends. A smokin’ hot romance. A basic understanding of geological concepts. Huh? Okay, maybe not every girl is into geology, but J. Hughey is, and in the Yellowblown series she combines her passion for a timeless love story with her interest in geeky stuff to help Violet Perch get a life, despite an ongoing global catastrophe.

Don’t forget to subscribe to the Jill Hughey Romance newsletter at http://www.jillhughey.com/contact for your chance to win some swag! And tell us what you think of the cover in our comments.

Lovely swag!

When I first moved to Florida, I thought I'd love it. No more six months of snow. crazy New York drivers where I moved from.. Less expenses, cheaper houses, and that well known Southern hospitality. Palm trees and snorkeling, aqua ocean waters and wearing that new bathing suit I thought I looked so hot in.

When I drove into West Palm Beach, it was January 4th. The temperature was a humid eighty five degrees and we didn't have an air conditioned car. Little feelers of anxiety started that day. We were lucky enough to have friends to stay with until our first apartment came through. Let's just say, I borrowed the neighbors cat to catch the mice that arrived by way of under the refrigerator somehow.

That was something I was not used to, but hey it beats the hell out of a palmetto bug. Monster cockroaches...My  neighbor said that you are only a real Floridian when you can stomp one with your bare foot. I remain a Vermonter at heart, that's home, and I will never stomp one of those four inch nightmares with my bare foot.

No one ever told me how hot it was here. So hot that by the time you get from your front door to your car, you look as if you'd just bathed and forgot to towel dry.

Then I got a look at some of the older people who'd spent so much time tanning to look just like they'd spent their time in paradise, soaking up the sun. They had the wrinkles to prove it. Really bad wrinkles, like that old Indian Dustin Hoffman portrayed in a movie I can't remember the name of. No one warned me that if I waved hello like we did in Vermont. That people would act as if I was a nut. But the thing that bothered me the most was gardening. I loved my vegetable garden up North. I even used to sell my organic, luscious, tomatoes, to a health food store. I figured if most of the tomatoes in winter were grown in Florida. I would have bumper crops. Unfortunately, no matter when I planted, or what I did, they just never flourished for me. Tomatoes from Florida just ain't the same as the ones I used to grow.
I have a yard that is a jungle of Palm trees, Bromiliads, ferns, and all the plants that
used to be in my living room up North. They are just as beautiful, but in a different way.
Could there be nothing I could grow, that would feel like home?

One day I happened upon a local place that grew peach trees. Yeah right I thought,
The guy assured me it would grow. The peaches would be smaller, but they would
come. That was about eight years ago. I tended and watered the plant, talking to it,
watching it grow into a tree, a tree with no peaches.

One day while I was checking for bugs, which are a big problem here, I saw them
above me. I blinked my eyes, maybe I was seeing things? But, there they were, real peaches, small, but there! I picked one it felt ripe, and the juices ran down my chin as I ate the three bite fruit and held a small pit in my hand.

Real peaches! Wow! And that day I felt at home, not as at home as in Vermont, but home nonetheless. Who woulda thought it, that a simple thing like a small fruit could make me get it.Home is were peaches grow. And peaches grow in Florida...


Retirement is tiring. I've been on the run since the day I left teaching. First was a trip to Key West to the Mystery Writers Conference. Heather Graham was on several panels.

Mary Marvella rode shotgun on that trip.

We had a ball. We ate great seafood!

We signed our books.

 A Matter of Trust
http://amzn.com/B00FDWOL3C A bit of self-promotion here, if you haven't read A Matter of Trust, please download, read and review. It's lonely over on Amazon.

We went on a bar crawl!

Then back home and to Atlanta for a GRW meeting and a girl's night out before the meeting.

Well, this was still Key West, but you get the idea!

In July we were on the road again, well actually in the air. We flew to San Antonio for RWA National.

Then I had to go back to school shopping for my granddaughter who is starting her first year in high school.

We have many more plans. Weekly critique meetings, a monthly writer's retreat and another road trip in September. Whew, I'm tired. I might have to go back to work to get some rest.

Sinners’ Obsession is the sequel to Sinners’ Opera (check out the Amazon reviews)—and here’s the book video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wwsE3PvjFTk


Sinners’ Obsession, Book 2 of the Obsession Series:

A frantic mother researches her daughter's flawed DNA in a race against time, suffering disappointment after disappointment in her search for a cure.

In this sequel to Sinners' Opera, Morgan D'Arcy, English lord, classical pianist and vampire, finally wins his Isabeau. Six months of painful separation have eroded Isabeau's need to remain true to her wicked bargain with the most powerful vampire in the world, Lucien St. Albans. During their estrangement, Isabeau gives birth to Morgan's daughter, Eroica—a DarkeChilde, half-human and half-vampire, outlawed by the Vampyre Code. She loves Morgan too much to live without him and relents to his enticing pursuit, but a dangerous confession nearly shatters their idyllic existence. In a dark moment, Morgan tells Isabeau their child carries a defective gene that will cause Eroica to go mad at puberty.

Eroica D'Arcy is the subject of Isabeau's deal with the devil. When their beautiful blonde daughter reaches her twentieth birthday, she is promised to the Dark Prince of vampires, Lucien St. Albans.


Sinners’ Opera, the book of my heart, was the first one I wrote, and it was years in the making and editing from over 1,000 pages to 171 published in 2013 by Double Dragon Publishing, a Canadian publisher.   My editor at DDP asked for a sequel, and Sinners’ Obsession was born.  I had already begun a prequel, Sinners’ Waltz.  In that long ago beginning, I didn’t anticipate writing a series, but I seem to have done so!  So, I needed a name for the series and, very originally, I have called the Morgan trilogy, the Obsession Series.
Morgan D’Arcy, the hero, is an English lord, a classical pianist and … a vampire.   Sinners’ Opera is Isabeau’s and Morgan’s story.  Sinners' Obsession is Lucien's and Eroica's story.
For a free Morgan story, visit my website at: http://www.lindanightingale.com
Happy Friday!

Nobody ever said life was going to be fair...boy ain't that the truth!

I've never wanted riches, just to be happy.

Happiness these days changes from day-to-day.

Last week, happiness was as simple as having a job I love, working with the best bunch of people I've ever had the pleasure to meet, love of family: happy, healthy, and safe, food on the table and a roof above us.

Today it's something else...simply trying to breath.

They say what doesn't kill you makes you stronger...well then...today I should have the strength of Hercules, the wisdom of the Goddess Athena, and the patience of Job.

Oh, I'll survive it, I'll come out on top, and I'll go on. Why? Because I said so...gads...shades of my mother just slipped out of my mouth. ;-) But in this case it's true. Is it easy? No way.

A friend said, "Realize it's out of your hands."

No greater words have been spoken and it's true, thank you my friend for your wisdom and strength.

In the meantime, I go on...one breath at a time, one step at a time, one day at a time.

Having a tough day...this too shall pass.

May we all find our own happiness, treasure it while we can, and appreciate it for as long as we have it.

Find your inner strength and don't be afraid to use it.


Good Monday morning,  I figured I'd share a personal topic, my daughter's second marriage. The first wedding was a lovely church wedding with a hotel reception. It rocked and looked more expensive than it was. My kid is a photographer and she knows how to barter. She didn't need my help planning it until the last minute.

The second marriage is the kind of second chance story we love. My daughter has health issues I won't name today. The beautiful thing is that this new man in her life understands she isn't perfect and doesn't care! I think he meant "In sickness and in health." 

Of course Mama Mary forgot her camera and had to use her NEW smart phone that is smarter than she is. This time we all pitched in. Her daddy, step mom, friends of the bride and groom, and Mama Mary.  I got to add sand to small bags so the little battery operated candles could light the stairs. I then put them out so someone could turn them on as dusk approached.

 I'll share great photos when she gets the images retouched to her satisfaction. Meanwhile, here are some I took! More will be on www.MaryMarvella.com. 

My kid has been posing from infancy. 

What a romantic kiss! Big sigh!
With May breezes blowing and waves kissing the shore, what more could we have asked?  ONCE AGAIN I HAVE THE GIFT AND FOREVER LOVE FREE AT SMASHWORDS.COM AND WILL SHARE COUPON INFO.



Twitter  Mary Marvella@mmarvellab