Sunday, 13 June 2021

Finding Mr. Right by YA Author Leigh Goff...



How do you know he’s the one? I’m a firm believer in one’s intuition. It’s the hidden sense that isn’t based on logic, but comes to us in rare moments of need. Call it a gut-feeling that many of us have had. It’s an understanding that comes from within and there’s no need to question it. I’m speaking from experience so when your inner voice says he’s a good guy, it might be worth listening.

In my latest novel, Koush Hollow, Jenna fall for the local bad boy, but he isn’t so bad once she gets to see him more clearly. He’s passionate about the bayou, he cares about Jenna because he see beyond her troubling environment, and he’s honest in how he speaks. Ultimately, he makes Jenna want to be a better person and to strive to be more than a Pearl in her mom’s superficial social club.

Here are my top five signs that he’s the one for you and if these signs aren’t obvious and your intuition isn’t talking, I’ll try to explain.

1- He’s interested. He makes romantic gestures to let you know he’s into you. He sends you a bouquet of your favorite flowers. He leaves notes on your car windshield to cheer you up. He holds your hand when he senses you’re nervous. This means he isn’t afraid to show you that he wants more time with you. 

2- He makes you laugh. Laughter is one of life’s simple pleasures. It could be a funny comment he makes when you wake up, or a silly joke he tells your friends over pizza. He’s a funny guy and he looks at life with a great sense of humor. He makes you want to spend time with him. It’s another sign that he’s interested in you. What’s not to like about that?

3- He remembers what you like. This is a gimme. You mentioned your favorite flavor of ice cream months ago at a Christmas party, surrounded by friends and loud music. You didn’t even know he heard you. Then, when you least expect it and you’re hiding at home with a terrible sore throat, he shows up with a pint of blueberry cheesecake gelato and you know this guy is something special.

4- He’s a good communicator. He makes good eye contact, he listens, and he asks questions. He doesn’t let you walk away from an argument without resolution. He knows it’s healthy to have different opinions, but it’s really healthy to talk them through and meet somewhere in the middle, and if that’s not possible, he’s okay to agree to disagree. Life gets tough and you need someone with good communication skills.

5- He makes you want to be a better person. You watch how he interacts with children, animals, and waiters and his kindness inspires you to be a bit more patient, smile more, or give a bigger tip, if you can afford it. He makes the world a better place to live in and you want to be by his side doing the same thing. 

Here is my Hope Chest Recipe just so you're ready when the right he walks into your life.

Mr. Right’s Chicken Dinner
1 Whole chicken plus 2 chicken breasts
1 Pepperidge Farm Herb Seasoned Classic Stuffing
1 stick of butter
1 can of Campbell’s Cream of Chicken
1 can of Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom
2 cans of chicken broth

Preheat oven to 350° F.

Boil chicken and breasts for 20-30 minutes. Shred meat from the bone. 

Melt butter in a pot, then add stuffing mix. 

In a separate pot, add soups and broth and heat. 

Use a 9 x 13 dish to layer half the stuffing on bottom, shredded chicken, soup and finally the remaining stuffing. 

Cover dish with foil and then bake 20 minutes. Uncover and bake an additional 20 minutes.


As Koush Hollow is set outside of New Orleans in a place where bayou magic abounds, dreams are frightening, and beauty masks the real monsters, it’s a well-suited title. Here's a little to intrigue you.
Koush Hollow
Where bayou magic abounds and all that glitters... is deadly.

After her father’s untimely death, Jenna Ashby moves to Koush Hollow, a bayou town outside of New Orleans, dreading life with her wealthy mother.

As the sixteen-year-old eco-warrior is introduced to the Diamonds & Pearls, her mother’s exclusive social club, she comes to the troubling realization that secrets are a way of life in Koush Hollow.

 How do the Diamonds & Pearls look so young, where does their money come from, and why is life along the bayou disappearing?

As Jenna is drawn into their seductive world, her curiosity and concerns beg her to uncover the truth. However, in this town where mysticism abounds and secrets are deadly, the truth is not what Jenna could have ever imagined.

Leigh Goff is a young adult author with type 1 diabetes who is inspired by caffeine, enchanted spells, and unforgettable, star-crossed fates.

 Although she’s terrible at casting any magic of her own, she is descended from the accused witch, Elizabeth Duncan of Virginia, who went to trial in 1695 for charges including bewitching livestock and causing birds to fall from the sky. 

Learn more about Leigh Goff on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Goodreads.

Sunday, 6 June 2021

What Writers Can Learn from Practicing Wu Wei…


I have to be honest. I haven’t been writing fresh content for my blog lately. I can blame Covid-19. I can blame not feeling like it. I can blame laziness. Truth is, after the world closed up for a few months in 2020, I found that I was burned out. Disenchanted with my publishing career came a close second (a.k.a. overworked and underpaid). So I knew it was time for a reevaluation. This put everything into perspective for me, and has taught me how to relax and be calm. One major lesson I learned during the pandemic was to embrace the concept of Wu Wei. In its purest meaning, Wu Wei reminds us to align with the present, and accept the flow and course of nature. Simply put, ‘go with the flow’. Easy said. Not so easy done.

Wu Wei means—in Chinese—non-doing or ‘doing nothing’. It sounds like a pleasant invitation to relax or worse, fall into laziness or apathy. Yet this concept is key to the noblest kind of action according to the philosophy of Daoism—and is at the heart of what it means to follow Dao or The Way. According to the central text of Daoism, the Dao De Jing: ‘The Way never acts yet nothing is left undone’. Huh? How’s that possible when it comes to writing your magnum opus? Or even your mini opus? This is the paradox of Wu Wei. It doesn’t mean not acting, it means ‘effortless action’ or ‘actionless action’. It means being at peace while engaged in the most frenetic tasks (insert anything creative here) so that one can carry these out with maximum skill and efficiency. Ever heard of being ‘in the zone’? That’s Wu Wei. Being at one with what we are doing, in a state of profound concentration and flow. Got it?

The hustle and bustle of the pre-Covid-19 world was getting to me. Too scheduled (my fault). Too many plans and not enough time to enforce them (also my fault). Too much pressure to be the perfect author/writer (more of a wake-up call). Too much ‘keeping up with the Joneses’. So when the world stopped in March 2020, so did I. What a breath of fresh air! No commitments. No obligations. Just a pause, a break, a respite. That’s when I found that Wu Wei was the prescription that I (and I believe the world) needed so desperately.

You can find evidence of Wu Wei everywhere in nature: in the tree that bends in the wind, then adjusts itself back into its original shape, and in a flowing stream—submissive and weak—until the water has gradually eroded the rocks to cut a path. Wu Wei involves letting go of ideals that we may otherwise try to force too violently onto things (or ourselves), and invites us instead to respond to the true demands of situations, which tend only to be noticed when we put our own ego-driven plans aside. What can follow is a loss of self-consciousness, a new unity between the self and its environment, which releases an energy that is normally held back by an aggressive, willful style of thinking. Try writing when anxiety is knocking at the door or you’re pushing against deadlines or the demands of the day. Doesn’t work, does it?

A good life could not be attained by Wu Wei alone—but this Daoist concept captures a distinctive wisdom we may be in desperate need of, especially in these post pandemic times. We are in danger of damaging ourselves through old patterns and belief systems that do not serve us anymore. Change is happening at a fast rate, and writers need to adapt if they want to survive in the publishing world. So the next time you find yourself staring at a blank page or screen, get up and go for a walk or make some tea. That way you’ll be swimming with the current of creativity, instead of wallowing in a pool of despair.

Have you heard of Wu Wei? If so, do you mindfully practice it? If not, are you willing to give it a try? Trust me, this concept will change your life. Either way, I’d love you to share your comments. Cheers, and thanks so much for reading my blog!

Sunday, 30 May 2021

A Unified Writing Career by C.D. Hersh...

 

Over the years while promoting our series, The Turning Stone Chronicles, and appeared on different blogs or radio interviews we’ve encountered many questions. Today, we are sharing a few of those questions and answers.

Who had the greatest influence on your writing careers?

At Donald’s uncle’s 90th birthday party, when we were talking with him about writing when Donald retired, he said we should just go for it now. We took his advice and the rest is history. He died a year later and really didn’t get to see that we got published.

Where’s the most romantic vacation spot you’ve been together?

Wawasee Lake in Indiana, where you can see a full sky of stars on an evening stroll arm-in-arm along the lake, listening to the sounds of the evening.

Are you a morning writer, afternoon writer, evening writer, or midnight oil writer?

As a team we tend to be afternoon and evening writers, although Catherine has been known to be a midnight oil writer when she is working with the first draft.

When did you first realize you were a good writing team?

Our first experience as a writing team came when we were writing drama scripts for our church. We had so much fun doing it and people seemed to really like what we wrote, that on a business trip Donald took, we wrote a three-act play called Adam and Eve on a Raft. After that we were hooked on writing things longer than two-minute skits. Then on another business trip we were discussing writing a book, to pass the time and keep awake, and the paranormal series was born.

In your Turning Stone Chronicles, you have a unique take on shape-shifters. Can you talk a little bit about that?

As we developed the book concept, we decided that we wanted something different than the normal were-shape shifters. In reality, we can thank Donald’s psychology courses for the idea of the various forms of shifting. One of the psyche theories is that we all have three parts to our psyche, commonly called id, ego and super-ego. We added a twist to that theory using male, female, and animal egos, and a magic ring that could tap the various forms.

What is your favorite sentence or quote in The Promised One?

We have several but probably the best is: “Grief is a midnight indulgence when no one else can hear.”

Who do you envision as your lead characters?

Alexi Jordan and Rhys Temple are the heroine and hero of The Promised One. Their story line runs through all the books, although the lead characters will change in each book.

In The Promised One, the partnership between Rhys and Alexi is extremely powerful and hits you immediately from the beginning of the book. Do you think this is a reflection of the strength within your own relationship together?

We’re laughing out loud here as we read this question. It’s not something we intended, but since our daughter said she could see us in the characters, we guess it does reflect our relationship, minus the shifting, of course. We suppose a bit of self comes out in all writers’ writing, at some point.

Since we’ve commented about Rhys and Alexi’s relationship, we thought we’d give you a brief look at those characters.

Tucking his gift under her arm, she started to leave.

“Hey.” He pointed at the other gifts. “Aren’t you going to add yours?”

“Nope. I’ll give it to you later, when we’re alone.”

“Ooh. Something special. Mineral or animal?” His right eyebrow raised, his smile growing.

Alexi laughed. “Just embarrassing.”

“For you or for me?”

“I’m not telling.”

Sidling close to her, he backed her against the wall. “Come on. Just a hint,” he said, a purr in his tone as he placed his hand on the wall next to her shoulder and moved into her personal space with the ease of a lover. One of his famous melt-the-girl looks smoldered in his gaze. The golden flecks in his green eyes lit up like fireworks. Hot fireworks.

Enjoying his closeness and the raw sensuality emanating from him, she lingered for a minute, then slowly moved away. Standing this close she could get burned, and she wasn’t ready to play with fire . . . not yet. She shook her head. “Not a chance.”

He crossed his arms, obviously irked that she hadn’t succumbed. “My irresistible charms work on everyone else. Why not you?”

Oh, if you only knew. She had to fight to resist him. She flashed him a smile. “Because I’m special. And I’m your partner. Keeping your back safe is more important than getting you on your back.”

He laughed, a deep, throaty, and utterly sexy sound.

She locked her knees to keep from melting into a puddle.

“I like the sound of that.”

Of course you would. She felt her face flame.


The Promised One (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 1)

Blood Brothers (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 2)

Son of the Moonless Night (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 3)


The Mercenary and the Shifters (The Turning Stone Chronicles Book 4)


C.D. Hersh–Two hearts creating everlasting love stories.
Putting words and stories on paper is second nature to co-authors C.D. Hersh. They’ve written separately since they were teenagers and discovered their unique, collaborative abilities in the mid-90s. As high school sweethearts and husband and wife, Catherine and Donald believe in true love and happily ever after.

They have a short Christmas story, Kissing Santa, in a Christmas anthology titled Sizzle in the Snow: Soul Mate Christmas Collection, with seven other authors.

They are looking forward to many years of co-authoring and book sales, and a lifetime of happily-ever-after endings on the page and in real life.

Social Media Info:

Sunday, 23 May 2021

Pretzel Crack – the Addictive Snack!


Looking for a great family snack that’s easy to make and soooo addictively wicked for the Victoria or Memorial Day weekends? Then look no more. Seriously. You’ll be hooked with your first nibble. Trust me, you’ll need to lock these ranch-dressed, salty bites under lock and key if you want to make them last until the next holiday weekend or movie night. It’s the perfect snack to serve at the cottage or camping or on your patio while hanging with family or friends.

And guess what? No baking is required. Even your kids can help with this recipe.

What You Need:

32 ounce bag of pretzels

16 ounce bottle of Orville Redenbacher’s Buttery Flavor popcorn oil

1 package of Hidden Valley Ranch dressing mix (dry)

1 teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon onion powder

2 tablespoon dill weed

1 deep foil tray (from dollar store)

What You Do:

1.      Mix all dry ingredients in a medium size bowl.

2.      Mix in the popcorn oil.

3.      Coat pretzels evenly, then spoon out onto a deep foil tray.

4.      Air dry pretzels in foil tray, stirring every 15 minutes until dry (approximately 1-2 hours).

Store your freshly made pretzel crack in freezer bags. Voila. Done. Ready for consumption.

Warning: If you find that you or a family member eats a whole bag in one sitting, it’s time for an intervention. Do what you must, but make sure the appropriate treatment is enforced. Then, go ahead and make some more.

While waiting for the pretzel crack to dry, might I suggest a visit to Fairy Falls, or if you’re feeling really adventurous, a trip back in time with The Last Timekeepers? Whichever you choose, either series allows you to escape into another time and place, leaving the craziness of the real world far behind.

Here’s a glimpse of the premises of both my young adult series:

Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mysteries…

Imagine a teenager possessing a psychic ability and struggling to cope with this freakish power. There’s no hope for a normal life, and no one who understands. Now, imagine being uprooted and forced to live in a small tourist town where nothing much ever happens. It’s bores-ville from the get-go.

Welcome to Fairy Falls. Expect the unexpected.

The Last Timekeepers Time Travel Adventures…

Chosen by an Atlantean Magus to be Timekeepers—legendary time travelers sworn to keep history safe from the evil Belial—five classmates are sent into the past to restore balance, and bring order back into the world, one mission at a time.

Children are the keys to our future. And now, children are the only hope for our past.

The Last Timekeepers Time Travel Adventure Series:

The Last Timekeepers and the Dark Secret, Book #2 Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

The Last Timekeepers and the Arch of Atlantis, Book #1 Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

Legend of the Timekeepers, prequel Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls Teen Psychic Mystery Series:

Lost and Found, Book One Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

Blackflies and Blueberries, Book Two Buy Links:

MIRROR WORLD PUBLISHING ׀ AMAZON ׀ BARNES & NOBLE ׀

Sunday, 16 May 2021

Wake Up and Start Planning Your Dream Garden by Author Emma Lane...

Spring Planting. That's exactly what I need as I look out at the dreary weather and hear the improved, but still sad news, on the pandemic. It all makes me want to indulge in either beautiful memories or fantasies of great things to come. How about you?

Gardening catalogs spark the dreams of the future. You can google the addresses for online shopping. OR order one catalog and the rest will find you. I like Johnny’s especially for cut flowers and veggies. Park Seed is another favorite. Totally Tomatoes is great for, you guessed it, tomatoes. I receive stacks of catalogs after years of ordering my seeds. I wouldn’t toss a single one of them. It’s great fun to “read” them. Almost like taking a trip to some new place. I love the one that is totally wild flowers.

Yellow…is a primary color that can perk up the dullest day or month. It can be seen from the back of the yard or calling attention to your beautiful front steps.

Rudbeckia is the fancy name for black eyed Susie’s. I have a wild volunteer that grows by the old chicken coop. I have to constantly remind workers to not pull it up as a weed. As summer wanes, it will become filled with many little ‘Susie’s.’ Problem is it decides where it will grow. Not me. I pick a few; I can’t resist. But I leave most to reseed. I am then am surprised where it will pop up next. I feel so favored to have this perennial wildflower. There are lots of choices of cultivated Rudbeckias. They grow readily from seed.


Red zinnias are a winner. I love Benary Giants for cut flowers. 








My choice for short ones is called ‘Profusion.’ Delightful plant. It’s draught resistant and doesn’t need deadheading. Terrific bloomer. Use liberally to perk up your perennial bed. 

Crocosmia is a lovely perennial. I’m located in agricultural zone 5 so I stick with the one called ‘Lucifer.’ Hardy, it produces lovely arching fiery red blooms that last a long time. Order small bulbs and you’ll have it forever. Its foliage is tall so plant accordingly. 


Blue is a color best planted close. It disappears if you plant it far away. Tuck it close to where you’ll sit in the garden. One of my favorites for long term blooms is ‘Nepeta’ or cat mint. Not a spreader except for seeding and cats don’t really like it. They love catnip not catmint.






Delphinium is great but needs a but of fuss. Gorgeous against any fence. Holly hocks are great for that too.        








Reading your spring catalogs is a great way to learn all about plants. I’ve also learned I can ‘google’ a plant for research. I’m impressed with the amount of information available online.  

Here is a little about the first of the Abby and Adam Adventures. It was my love affair with nature that encouraged me. I only sort of wrote a story to go with it. There I have confessed. Actually, I created a nature photographer and a park ranger who allowed me to follow them around as they lived out their lives in Middle Florida. Who knew we could all have so much fun? It is a romance and a mystery as well. If I have tickled your curiosity regarding the environment, I am pleased. If you enjoy the story as well, I am ecstatic.

Abby Naycomb, wildlife photographer, found more than scintillating images of the birds of Central Florida. A handsome park ranger turns her world upside down even as a criminal stalker seeks to threaten her life.

Who knew trespassing in the restrictive area of a Florida State Park to get the perfect shot of the sand hill crane family would wind up with Abby Naycomb, wildlife photographer extraordinaire, meeting the most handsome park ranger in the world? Mating/nesting birds were the subject of her quest but finding those intense blue eyes in the lens of her camera was distracting and hormone inciting.

Adam Rawlings, millionaire park ranger, was as shocked as Abby when she accidentally discovered a murdered man buried in a shallow grave in the sand.
Face to face with an exciting relationship with Adam, the perfect man, leaves her no excuse for backing away from a growing intimacy. Vagabond Abby must consider relocating if she wants to continue an invaluable relationship with Adam, the original home town hero.

Abby struggles as she continues to work deep in the breathtaking wilds of Central Florida while trying to ignore the menace of a serious and threatening stalker. Her task was to reexamine long held premises and prejudices while admiring the southern flora and fauna through the lens of her camera. Bird and nature lovers alert.

SHORT TEASER
Busted in Bird land. Still...what a calendar he would make with that uniform, that smile, those shoulders. She stifled a sigh of pure visual pleasure.

You had better stop it, Miss Smarty. He has the authority to fine and kick you out of the park permanently if he so chooses. Holy Moly-- love a uniformed hunk!

Stoppit!


She stifled a giggle which was riotously rolling around deep inside her, threatening to break out. He continued to loom, gazing thoughtfully while she fidgeted in her warm nest sheltered by the dune. Surrounding them, the sporadic wind blew the smell of something baking in the sun. With her face turned upward and her eyes half-closed against the glare, she awaited her fate. She offered a weak smile while trying to bring into focus his face which was back lit by the bright sunlight. It couldn't hurt, she thought, and tried for puppy dog eyes pleading for mercy.

"Leave this area, and I'll forget your lapse of good manners--this time. Don't let me catch you trespassing on restricted lands again. This is a nature preserve. Visitors may not wander about-- especially during nesting season," he added giving her a stern look. "And that goes for well-meaning, good-looking, lady photographers as well."


Janis Lane is the pen-name for gifted author Emma Lane who writes cozy mysteries as Janis, Regency as Emma, and spice as Sunny Lane.

She lives in Western New York where winter is snowy, spring arrives with rave reviews, summer days are long and velvet, and fall leaves are riotous in color. At long last she enjoys the perfect bow window for her desk where she is treated to a year-round panoramic view of nature. Her computer opens up a fourth fascinating window to the world. Her patient husband is always available to help with a plot twist and encourage Emma to never quit. Her day job is working with flowers at Herbtique and Plant Nursery, the nursery she and her son own.

Look for information about writing and plants on Emma's new website. Leave a comment or a gardening question and put a smile on Emma's face.

Stay connected to Emma on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to check out the things that make Emma smile on Pinterest.

Sunday, 9 May 2021

A Healthy Snack and Romantic Read by Author-Artist Linda Lee Greene...

At my advanced age, a ‘mushy’ bottom pretty much comes with the territory. But to save your baked-goods from the same fate, there is a little trick you can use as a deterrent. Keep reading to find it.

Several months ago, I learned that victims of thyroid disorder, which I have been since the age of 16, should adopt a gluten-free diet. Carbs are also a problem for me. I looked around for a nutrition plan that would best suit my needs. I found it in the Keto Diet. A side benefit is that I am losing weight on this easy diet plan. Now when I look in the mirror, I see promise of the svelte and fit creature I was when young. It is a tremendous incentive to keep on keeping on.

A favorite gluten-free, low calorie, low carbs, high protein dessert that I stumbled upon by fooling with a recipe in Keto in 30 Minutes, edited by Jen Fisch of Ketointhecity.com, is one I call ‘Blueberry-Blackberry Cobbler’. I treat myself to a filling and satisfying 2-inch square of it drenched in icy-cold, Aldis’s Friendly Farms Original 30 calories per cup almond milk on many late evenings. Blue Diamond almond milk is also a good one. Neither of them is thick and greasy like Silk almond milk. Coconut milk works, if it is your preference. And no, this dessert will not go to your hips, unless of course, you gobble down the whole thing in one sitting. 
 
Blueberry-Blackberry Cobbler

¼ cup gluten-cholesterol-sugar-free coconut flour
4 large eggs
4 oz. cream cheese, softened, I prefer Neufchatel, it contains less fat and has a tangy bite to it
1½ tsp. baking powder
¼ cup Erythritol or three packets of Stevia, plant-based, sugar-free sweeteners
1 tsp. vanilla extract (organic, if possible)
1 tbsp. lemon zest (I use four drops of ‘Young Living’ essential lemon oil)
Nonstick butter cooking spray
4 pats butter
¼ cup blueberries
¼ cup blackberries

Pre-heat oven to 425ยบ F.

Combine all ingredients before cooking spray together in a mixing bowl.

Coat the sides and bottom of an 8-inch. x 8-inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Place a thin pat of butter in each corner of the baking dish. Set dish in the oven until butter melt, about 2 – 3 minutes.

The thick batter spoons nicely into the warm baking dish. Now here is the trick to avoid turning your cobbler into a ‘mushy-bottomed-mess.’ Rather than mix your fruit into the batter, spoon blueberries and blackberries onto the top of the batter. You can use any fruit you choose, but be careful, most fruits outside the berry family are high in carbs and will go to your hips.

Bake about 20 minutes.

I whip up this delicious dessert in the evening so I can cut myself a warm square of it right out of the oven. It is a yummy soother to a gnarling, late-night tummy.

While your cobbler is baking, how about taking a peek at my latest romance/crime-thriller?

 
Amid the seductions of Las Vegas, Nevada and an idyllic coffee plantation on Hawai’i’s Big Island, a sextet of opposites converge within a shared fate: a glamorous movie-star courting distractions from her troubled past; her shell-shocked bodyguards clutching handholds out of their hardscrabble lives; a dropout Hawaiian nuclear physicist gambling his way back home; a Navajo rancher seeking cleansing for harming Mother Earth; and from its lofty perch, the Hawaiian’s guardian spirit conjured as his pet raven, conducting this symphony of soul odysseys.

Was it chance or destiny’s hand behind the movie-star and gambler’s curious encounter at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas? The cards fold, their hearts open, and a match strikes, flames that sizzle their hearts and souls. Can they have the moon and the stars, too? Or is she too dangerous? Is he? Can their love withstand betrayal? Can it endure murder?

While the cards at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas fail to distract them from their troubled pasts, on the side, the actress and the gambler play a game of ‘will they won’t they’ romance. Meanwhile, an otherworldly hand also has a big stake in the game. Unexpected secrets unfold brimming with dangerous consequences, and finally, a strange brand of salvation.
 
Amazon Buy Links Paperback - Kindle

Multi-award-winning author and artist Linda Lee Greene describes her life as a telescope that when trained on her past reveals how each piece of it, whether good or bad or in-between, was necessary in the unfoldment of her fine art and literary paths.

Greene moved from farm-girl to city-girl; dance instructor to wife, mother, and homemaker; divorcee to single-working-mom and adult-college-student; and interior designer to multi-award-winning artist and author, essayist, and blogger. It was decades of challenging life experiences and debilitating, chronic illness that gave birth to her dormant flair for art and writing. Greene was three days shy of her fifty-seventh birthday when her creative spirit took a hold of her.

She found her way to her lonely easel soon thereafter. Since then Greene has accepted commissions and displayed her artwork in shows and galleries in and around the USA. She is also a member of artist and writer associations.

Visit Linda at her online art gallery and join her on Facebook. Linda loves to hear from readers so feel free to email her.

Sunday, 2 May 2021

For the Love of Dogs by Alicia Joseph...

Last July my dog, Phil, suffered from liver failure. The situation was touch and go for a horrible two weeks. But, against the vet's grave prognosis, my baby survived. He's twelve, and though I know he won't live forever, I was completely unprepared for losing my dog. My baby. My sidekick. The face that makes me smile even when I want to cry. The eyes that watch my every move, because his world revolves around me as much as my world revolves around him, maybe even more so. 

During that miserable time of not knowing whether or not Phil would turn that miraculous corner to recovery, I was consumed with the idea of losing him. I didn't eat. I cried when I held him and buried my tears in his fur. He seemed to know his precarious situation, but never gave up.  I love him so much for that. 

But all through that time and after, I only considered my loss of losing him. What I would have done. What my life would be like, while never considering his loss should something happen to me. I know he waits for me when I leave the house, as all dogs do, but how would they feel, how would they react, if we never make it back home to them? 

I've been thinking about this a lot since last month, when a neighbor passed away suddenly. She had a dog, Ricky. We used to walk our dogs together, along with another neighbor and her little dog. The woman's parents could not take Ricky, he didn't get along with their own dog. This woman had no brothers or sisters. They didn't know a lot of people who could, or would, take Ricky in. He went with a family friend, but that didn't work out. 

I volunteer at a shelter. I've seen many dogs come to the shelter in the way of Ricky's predicament. Through no fault of their own, they lose their owners to death, and there is no one to take them in. So these dogs, used to living in a home filled with stability, love, security, now come to a shelter filled with loud chaos and uncertainty. Even the best shelters are a scary place to a dog who has only known a house as a home. 

Luckily, Ricky didn't have to meet that fate. My neighbor with the small dog took him in. She had the intention of keeping him, but two dogs were a bit too much for her. But she was determined to keep him until she could find a home for him, which wasn't hard at all because Ricky is adorable. 

Last week, Ricky went to his third home in less than a month. This was a friend of a friend, so my neighbor passed Ricky off confident he would be well-taken care of. I often wondered for those weeks that my neighbor had him what he was thinking. Did he think his mommy would come for him soon? Was he waiting for her? Did he miss his home and wonder why he was moving to different places? We avoided walking Ricky down the street he used to live. We didn't want to confuse him.  

But then on the day he was leaving, I took Ricky for a walk and thought maybe it was the right time for him to say goodbye to his old home. We walked down his street. He definitely knew where he was. He led me straight to the familiar place, sat down in the driveway, and stared at the house. He didn't try to pull me to the door, which I was glad for.

Ricky's mom's name was Tracy. She didn't die at home, but if spirits find their way back home no matter where we pass, maybe she was there to see him one last time.

I hope so.

I thought about Phil, remembering what I went through when I thought I was losing him, but we need to consider what our furbabies go through when they lose us. Luckily, I don't have to worry about Phil going to a shelter or being shuffled to three different houses. He has an uncle and aunties who love him, and who he loves, especially his uncle.

Uncle is his favorite. 




Here is a glimpse into one of my books. I hope you enjoy it. 

“When a train runs over a penny, the penny changes form, but it can still be a penny if I want it to be. Or, I can make it be something else.”

Lyssa and her best friend Abbey discover a hideout near the train tracks and spend the summer before sixth grade hanging out and finding freedom from issues at home. Their childhood innocence shatters when the hideout becomes the scene of a tragic death.

As they’re about to graduate from high school, Abbey’s family life spirals out of control while Lyssa is feeling guilty for deceiving Abbey about her sexuality.

After another tragic loss, Lyssa finds out that a penny on the track is sometimes a huge price to pay for the truth.

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Alicia Joseph grew up in Westchester, Illinois. She has many works-in-progress that she hopes to finish soon. Life permitting.

When she is not writing, Alicia enjoys volunteering with animals, rooting for her favorite sports teams, and playing “awesome aunt” to her nine nieces and nephews.

Learn more about Alicia Joseph on her blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Twitter.