Monday, February 28, 2011

Award Shows

I used to love award season. Mom and I would watch the Golden Globes and Oscars together, and see who could pick the winners. She didn't care for the Grammies, so I'd usually watch it alone.

Last night, I discovered one of my friends was holding an 'Oscar Party' on Facebook, and inviting comments on everything. I convinced my SU to hook up our wifi, so I could join in.

Wifi threw a tantrum, so I brought out my laptop and opened a document, so I could keep a running commentary to post later. This brought laughter from my daughter...but when I explained what I was doing and why, she found an unsecured network we could access with the laptop, and I was able to join the party halfway through.

I kept my document, however, and posted it. Some of my comments are snarky; others are in praise of the winners.

But one thing stood out: They finished ON TIME! I was in bed by midnight, and there wasn't a lot of 'fluff'. I liked that. Others didn't, calling it 'booooorrrring!!!'

Take the Grammies. I wasn't particularly impressed this year. Too many performances, not enough awards. My kids and I laughed at the one, maybe ten or so years ago, when it seemed if you performed, you won the next award. That show was both funny and predictable after an hour or so. And for a while, every year there was a 'breakout' star. One year it was Ricky Martin; the next, Big and Rich. This year...I couldn't even tell you if there was any. I did enjoy Lady Gaga's performances both this year and when she performed Paparazzi (MTV awards???) Last year, my daughter DVR'd the awards, but didn't get them all. I had to watch both the news and Entertainment Tonight to see Lady Gaga's 'meat' costume, and her outrageously high heels. Seriously, who can walk in 10" heels? Insane. I tried on a pair of 3" stilettos once and knew if I wore them, it would only be to get me into the club, and then be barefoot the rest of the night. I go for comfort over fashion. Sorry!

Anyway, back to Oscar. Yes, some of the jokes fell flat for me, and some presenters seem to be trying too hard.

And I discovered I have bad fashion-sense: I liked Melissa Leo's dress; it got a 'Worst' nod from the expert this morning. Let's see what CoJo says tonight on ET.

As far as the awards went, I was thrilled when Colin Firth and King's Speech won for Best Actor and Picture. Natalie Portman for Best Actress. The only songs I even liked were from Toy Story 3 and Tangled, so I was happy in that category. The only one I disagreed with was Best Animated Feature: I think How To Train Your Dragon was better than TS3. But I own both, so kudos to the winner. Oh, and I was disappointed Haley Seinfeld (is that her name??) didn't get Best Supporting Actress, and I was also hoping Geoffrey Rush would win Best Supporting Actor. But there were no 'sweeps', so that shows talent across the board, imho!

What's your take? Watch them or hate them? Boring or good?

Bring back Billy Crystal as host!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Saturday's Stupid Saying

On We Don't Want To Know What Prompted This Warning Label!

Warning: Not For Internal Use!
Warning label on curling iron

Does anyone else find this one a 'head scratch, huh???' kind of warning? Although, I'm sure someone somewhere thought it would be better used as something else....(shudder) I just hope they let it cool down first!

Have a good day! We are heading to Terre Haute tonight for a nice dinner at the Outback Steakhouse and to meet the grandparents and my oldest. What's the occasion? Our youngling turns seven next Tuesday, and today fits with everyone's schedules.

Amber, I'm sooooo sorry our snowstorm the other day found its way to you and ruined your kid-free weekend! I'll let you know when milder temps are heading your way:)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Flashback Friday and A Miracle:)

Feb 2001:

Valentine's Day arrived before the tax refund did, so we celebrated it at home, and in a quiet manner. I fixed a three pound pork loin; mashed potatoes; carrots; hot rolls; salad....and baked a red velvet cake.

I also went with a friend to pay for her new living room set with her tax refund, and the salesman heard me talking about my planned dinner:

"Wow...can I be your Valentine?"

Ha Ha:)

He's Back!
Last night, as we were relaxing before dinner when S heard a meowing. At first she thought it was on the television program, but when she muted the TV, the sound continued. She looked out on the porch and there, looking skinny and rather frantic, was Oreo the missing cat!

She let him in, calling "Oreoz is back! Where have you been, boy?"

He ran straight for his food bowl in the bathroom and curled around my legs in appreciation as I filled it. Afterward, he joined me on the bed and underwent an intensive 'purring and lovefest' by myself, the SU, and S. The youngling had been invited to a friend's house after school, and we thought how happy my little guy was going to be when he arrived home.

An hour later, S and I left for Thursday Church, and the SU filled us in on the happy reunion two hours later:

"I opened the basement door and called to the youngling. He saw Oreo's tail disappear under the table, and yelled his name, crawling under the table to pick him up. They stayed under the table for several minutes; youngling exclaiming over and over, 'You're back! My kitty came back!' I'm surprised the cat put up with it that long."

"He missed us."

As I said, he's lost quite a bit of weight; wherever he was the past three weeks, he wasn't getting a lot of food. I'm glad we weren't in any hurry to get rid of the litterbox or the full bag of cat food we'd just bought before he disappeared! Youngling's 7th birthday is next Tuesday, so this was a nice 'early birthday' present.

Currently Reading: Finished Access Denied last night, and it was as wonderful as I'd remembered:) I'd forgotten some minor details as to the explanation of Leah's character, but this book is definitely a Recommended Read! Next up: Blood Bought by Brynn Paulin:)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Terrific Thursday with Marian Allen:)

Welcome! Please introduce yourself and tell us about your latest release.

For as long as I can remember, I've loved telling and being told stories. I enjoy connecting and reconnecting with people, meeting new friends and keeping in touch with the friends I already have.

My writing reflects this love of network. No one exists in total isolation, but in a web of connections to family, friends, colleagues, self at former stages of maturity, perceptions and self-images. Most of my work is fantasy, science fiction and/or mystery, though I write horror, humor, romance, mainstream or anything else that suits the story and character.

Professionally, I'm a member of Southern Indiana Writers, Writing and Promotion (WRaP), and Green River Writers.

My latest release is EEL'S REVERENCE, a fantasy/sf novel about a world in which mermayds are part of the natural order. When "Aunt" Libby, an elderly human priest of Micah, wanders into a coastal area where religion has been taken over by brutal, mercenary "reaver" priests, she and the resident mermayds become pawns in a power game between the priests and the merchants.

Have you ever had an idea for a story which scared you after you began writing it?

Yes. "Nightchild", a horror story which appeared in Issue 48 of Marion Zimmer Bradley's FANTASY magazine, still creeps me out. Ick.

Have you incorporated actual events from your own life into your books?

Oh, all the time! They seldom play out in the books the same way they did in real life, but I use actual events from my life and the lives of anyone unwise enough to share stories with me. ~grin~ My husband's aunt (now departed, bless her) told me about a car that blundered onto the train tracks one night and killed the occupants, and I wrote "I'll Fly Away", which was in the Southern Indiana Writers Group's anthology, MOST WANTED.

How much research do you do? Do you research first and then write, or do you write first, then research as needed?

I love to research! I should say I love to rummage around and find out details about things. Sometimes a story grows out of what I'm rummaging around in, sometimes I know--or have a general feeling for--some element of the story I want to write and I research that particularly before I start. I often come to places where I think, "What sort of clothes would they be wearing?" and I look into it. For EEL'S REVERENCE, I researched natural dyes, so I could dress the rich people in expensive, difficult-to-acheive colors and poor and/or humble people in cheap, quick, easy colors.

Is there any message you want readers to take from reading your work?

Yes, and it's this: If the question is, "Am I my brother's keeper?" the answer is, "Yes."

Are you a plotter or a pantser? And have you ever had a story take on a life of its own?

I'm a pantser by inclination, but I tend to write myself into a corner without some idea of a plot. I'm trying to train myself to do more plotting before I start writing, so I won't spend so much down-time figuring out how to get from where I am to someplace worth going. As for a story taking on a life of its own, "Home on the Range", in the SIW anthology IT'S ALWAYS SOMETHING, was chugging along satisfactorily when suddenly it went sideways. I should have cut the chugging part, but I didn't, so it sort of jumps out at the reader the way it did me.

How long did it take for you to be published?

Well.... I started making up stories when I was little--probably pre-school. I had poems and stories published in the high school literary magazine. About twenty years ago, the SIW formed and started publishing an annual anthology, and I've always been in those. My first paid publication was "Caffeine High", in an online magazine no longer with us: Bovine Free Wyoming. My first major publication was "Nightchild" in MZB; that was in 2000. EEL'S REVERENCE was first published--also in e-formats--in 1992 and was reissued by Echelon Press in 2010. Take your pick. ;)

If you could go back and tell yourself anything when you first began your writing career, what would you say?

I would tell myself anything. I'm very happy with where I am and where I've been and all the people I've met along the way. Okay, maybe this: A soft answer turneth away wrath.

Laptop or pen and ink? What are your ‘must-haves’ when writing?

Coffee. Must. Have. Coffee. I usually write on the laptop or the desktop but, if I get to a knotty place, or if I'm having trouble getting started, I like to break out the digital word processor to get going again.

Who are your favorite authors? Who would you say influenced you the most?

Growing up? Walter R. Brooks. Walter Farley. Albert Payson Terhune. Willard Price. Andrew Lang's Rainbow Fairy Books.

Favorite authors now? Too many to list! I find new ones every day!

What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?

I don't know if they'd be more surprised to know one of my nicknames is MomGoth or that I adore Hello Kitty. Or that I'm a regular church-goer. Or that I think Wicca is way cool.

For Fun:

What is your favorite love scene to write or read? (ie: First kiss, passion after a fight, reunion)

Understated strong emotion.

What is your favorite Valentine’s Day memory?

The kids making us valentines with glitter everywhere. :)

Sweetest gift ever given to you?

Anything. Seriously, knowing someone else holds you in his or her heart and mind is the sweetest gift.

Thank you for being here today! Please tell us where we can find your books.



OmniLit (which includes both Kindle and Nook formats)

Free short stories, excerpts and links to collections

Marian Allen web site

Thank you so much for letting me visit with you! If your readers have any questions or comments, I'll be dropping by throughout the next couple of days to read them and reply.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Two Interviews:)

Kenzie's the guest blogger over at Fiona McGier's blog, talking about 'The rest of the story'. Go over and leave her a comment, please? And there's a humorous game of To Tell The Truth over at Kenzie's Place. Let her know if she's suffering from MPD?

Sang Karaoke for only the second time last night....and discovered two things:
a) Never choose a song 'because I love it'; it might sound perfectly fine as you're singing along in your car, with the music cranked up, but just you, a microphone, and the background music? It may be waaaaaaaayyyy out of your singing range!

b) I used to be a high soprano, but Sheryl Crow is now too high. Or maybe I hadn't properly 'warmed up.'

At any rate, I attempted 'Careless Whisper' (waaaaayyyy too low for me!) and then was roped into singing 'Picture' with one of the other patrons (too high!) I guess I should have taken Kid Rock's part!

Even so, I've been invited back, and I think what I'm going to do is just try out a variety of songs until I find some which match my rusty singing skills! I've always wanted to sing karaoke, but was too chicken to try it. But now, surrounded by friends who don't care if my voice cracks, it's all in good fun:) And, I get to pretend I'm a rock star:)

What about you? Ever tried karaoke? Or is your singing confined to the shower or your car?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Terrific Tuesday with Fiona McGier:)

Welcome! Please introduce yourself and tell us about your latest release.

Hi, my name is Fiona McGier and I write contemporary erotic romance books, specializing in alpha heroines and very hot and determined heroes.

Have you ever had an idea for a story which scared you after you began writing it?

Yes, but I don't have much of it written often happens, it was a dream I woke up with, and the story arc is still "percolating" in my brain. But it involves aliens and genetic research, and if it could be true, it would be really frightening!

Have you incorporated actual events from your own life into your books?

Um...actually...can I say "no comment" here? Though my husband knows what I was like before he married me, we've been happily-married for almost 30 years, and I'd like to keep it that way! ;-D

How much research do you do? Do you research first and then write, or do you write first, then research as needed?

I write first, then when I get to the editing I do before I submit it, that's when I do any research I may need to do.

Is there any message you want readers to take from reading your work?

Just that falling in love doesn't have to involve abandoning your brain. My alpha heroines are not looking for a man to complete them, they just enjoy hot sex with gorgeous men. The heroes really need to work to prove to them that their lives need to be intertwined from then on.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? And have you ever had a story take on a life of its own?

I usually try to think through the story arc, and some scenes, then I just start writing...and yes, often the characters take the action in a direction I hadn't anticipated until the words came out on my monitor!

How long did it take for you to be published?

Two years of submitting stuff and getting many, many rejection letters from the bigger publishers. Then I discovered the world of indy publishers and eBooks, and danced in the street when I got my first contract. I still feel that way each time a publisher lets me know that my story has captured interest.

If you could go back and tell yourself anything when you first began your writing career, what would you say?

Get a second job now...writing may be your passion, but it's going to be a long haul to ever making enough for the IRS to call it more than a "hobby".

Laptop or pen and ink? What are your ‘must-haves’ when writing?

I have terrible handwriting, and clutch the writing implement so tightly that I get cramps in my hand after a short while. So laptop it is...I have an ergonomic chair and a comfy nook in the lower level of our house...I LOVE my laptop! I also like to have an alcoholic beverage nearby, for inspiration! Or coffee if it is early in the day, but usually I can only carve out writing time very late at night when coffee would be apt to interfere with my 4-5 hours of sleep per night.

Who are your favorite authors? Who would you say influenced you the most?

I don't really read much contemporary romance, I just write it. I love to read paranormal romance. I have enjoyed Mary Janice Davison's books for her cheeky heroines. Laurel Hamilton writes strong heroines as well, and very hot men. So does Angela Knight, and Kate Douglas.

What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?

I have 10 tattoos and have dated bikers. See question # 3!

For Fun:

What is your favorite love scene to write or read? (ie: First kiss, passion after a fight, reunion)

I love to write about when 2 very turned-on people are first exploring each others' bodies and desires. If done right, a hot episode like that can ensure they spend the rest of their lives together, sharing that magic.

What is your favorite Valentine’s Day memory?

When our 4 kids were very young, my husband once saved up his gas money to buy me a card and a single rose, because that was all he could afford. The gum-cracking girl in the grocery store insulted him, insinuating that he was cheap. He was almost in tears when he gave it to me, and watched anxiously for my reaction. I cried tears of happiness because I had just had our 4th baby in 5 years, and I felt fat and unattractive. I was so glad he still loved me, that my reaction assured him that the checker knew nothing, and all was right in our world.

Sweetest gift ever given to you?

My first laptop, then the second one when the first one was acting up. Husband has the computer acumen, and wanted to show me how much he supports my writing efforts.

Thank you for being here today! Please tell us where we can find your books.

My website is:, and the first page is my blog.

My latest book is Secret Love, and it is available at:

You can also find my books at Amazon and All-Romance eBooks.


Sheena has spent 12 years working for a government agency so secret that she didn't even learn what it was called for a year! She enjoys the work, but is getting bored. She tries her usual cure; a new man. But something about this one is different; she develops feelings. And in her world, even having feelings is dangerous. Indulging them by falling in love can be deadly

In this scene, Sheena has some time off in-between assignments, and she is staying in a "safe house" apartment above a bar in which even spies can feel relaxed. In walks an internationally famous star of action movies, and takes her breath away. He has indicated he is also what?

Finding it hard to think, Lenora wondered if it would be safe to take him upstairs. She felt his hands now moving on her, and realized that at this particular moment she didn’t care any more. She had to have this man in her bed, and soon. And her apartment was the closest and safest place to do that.

“I’m staying in a company apartment, right upstairs,” she told him, “So all we have to do is lose your muscle-men, and we can head up there.”

“Give me a moment to do that, while I still have enough blood in my brain to remember how to talk,” he said, moving off of his barstool to walk over to what appeared to be the head of his security detail.

Sheena didn’t even bother to hide her desire as she watched his well-shaped body move. He was taller than she’d imagined, and had an athlete’s build with muscles rippling visibly even under his clothes.

His head of security was very unhappy with what he was being told, and she heard words like high-class hooker, and thief being thrown around, but she also heard Cory asserting his client privileges, threatening to find other security guys if these ones didn’t want the job anymore.

She finished her drink while watching them argue. Harry leaned over the bar, wiping the surface with a towel, while he spoke in a low voice.

“He’d better be worth it, girl. You know upstairs guests are supposed to be vetted ahead of time. He’s not the only one taking a huge risk here.”

She smiled tightly at Harry.

“I know what I’m doing. I’m not worried.”

“I hope you’re right,” he said, moving away as Cory turned back to her.

“So?” she asked him.

She was struck anew by just how good-looking he was as he walked back to her. His straight, black hair was longer than most men wore it these days, and his skin was a bronze color…she remembered reading somewhere that his father was a Native American, and his mother was an heiress. His eyes were so dark they were almost black, and he carried himself as if he expected to get his way. She respected that in a man. Not that she wanted to be ordered around, but it was always more fun to get men like that so aroused that they were willing to do anything she might desire; they were more of a challenge when they were so confident to begin with.

For his answer he pulled her up to stand on the ledge of her chair, and he wrapped one hand in her hair, to crush her lips in a kiss that forced a response out of her, her mouth opening to duel with his tongue, her breath racing…her heart pounding. His other hand was busy learning all of the intricacies of her curves, finally resting on her lower back, to press her closer to his erection, which held great promise for the rest of the night.

She gasped, when he freed her mouth to allow them both to breathe.

“Let’s get upstairs now!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Indie Vs Agent

Currently Reading: I'm on the last Jodi Picoult book, Second Glance. At first, I wasn't sure I was going to like it, due to the fact it begins with ghost hunters. But I kept going, and have enjoyed seeing some of my hunches come true, and being surprised with other twists to the story! This is one I don't own, but I would like to in the future. Library books are due back today, and I only have about 30 pages left. I'm also still reading Access Denied:)

A friend accidentally sparked a firestorm of controversy last week on FaceBook, when the conversation turned from query letters to whether or not agents (and publishing companies) are really needed.

There were several debates on issues such as...
-Since we can now go through CreateSpace, do we need a publisher?
-Are agents needed, since the technology exists to upload our own work and even design our own covers and book trailers?
-Can word-of-mouth followers on Twitter help 'get the word out'?

The conversation was so volatile, the writer of the post went on several times to beg for politeness and state, again, she was only trying to get an opinion on her query letter.

But now, one of the posters is writing a self-help book titled, "How NOT to Get Screwed By Publishing Companies", and some of the material includes:
- examples of how authors get 'ripped' off when they use their services
-why people think agents are beneficial.

For my part, I like having a publisher because:
-I like having an editor!
-I like knowing I'll get a professional document put together by people who have done this for YEARS.

I would also like to have an agent, because they will shop the book around for me and leave me more time to write. Yes, I had one who scammed me, but I've learned my lesson and would now like a more reputable one. Several of my blogmates can attest that having an agent makes life somewhat easier on the author (correct me if I'm wrong, Cindy...Mia...Travis!).

So what's YOUR take?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Saturday's Stupid Saying

Family Feud host: Now for the win. Name something associated with Niagara Falls.

Contestant: I hope this is right. Utah. The state of Utah.

Have a good weekend! Today's my usual day over at Romance Books R Us, some come on over and sat hi:)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Flashback Friday Catch Up

I know; I've missed a couple of weeks.

1971: I had only been five for two months. Who knows what was going on, other than playing in the snow and trying to play with a four-month-old baby sister?

1981: My Cheesy Valentine: I walked up to my crush, asked "You want a kiss?"

He looked startled, and said no.

"Too bad; I've got an entire bag of them." And held up a Hershey's Kiss!

He visibly relaxed and took one. I was thrilled I had been so bold as to actually go through with the dare from my friend Christy!

1991: D and I had been 'officially' dating now for two months. He got me a solid Hershey's Kiss, which came in a clear plastic container. The top broke several months later, but the base became a nice shallow container for stray paperclips and push pins. I have no idea if I got him anything or not. We also went out to dinner at the Olive Garden.

What's Your Opinion?
I've now heard both sides of this argument....go over to BC Brown's blog and see if the law of supply and demand works for authors.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

The Return of Self-Doubt

Currently Reading: Wow, how long has it been since you've seen THIS feature on my blog, LOL? I'm rereading a few Jodi Picoult books, and right now, I'm heavily into Vanishing Act. I also read Confessions of a Prairie Bitch by Alison "Nellie Olson" Arngrim (loved it! If you grew up watching Little House on the Prairie, you'll enjoy this!) and Anne of the Island and Anne of Windy Poplars by L.M. Montgomery. I own Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, and Anne's House of Dreams. And I've caught bits and pieces of the PBS movies. So it's nice to be able to 'fill in the blanks':)

What E-books have I read lately?
-Cherished Destinies, Love Never Ending, and Blue Paradise by Anny Cook, all Recommended Reads:)
-Mistletow Studs by Amber Skyze, interesting and fun:)
-Brynn Paulin's Cress Brother books. Gentle Control is still my fave:)

Next TBR e-books:
-Yuletide Greetings, Fallen, Blood Bought, and Blood of the Wolf by Brynn Paulin.
-FU by Mia Watts.
-I also plan to reread Access Denied by Jae Roth. And I really wish I had Through Shattered Light by Tielle St. Claire. This is another book which disappeared from my flash drive, and I guess I'm going to have to wait until I get the money to re-buy it. Unfortunately, I do not have an online friendship with the author.


I has it in spades.


Twenty years ago, I worked in a service agency for nine months and vowed never to do it again; too stressful.

But now, I feel as if I'm being called to return.

Over the years, I've learned to listen to my inner voice and to see clues/signs I'm on the right path. Something I want dearly but obstacle after obstacle occurs? Maybe it's not meant to be. A decision which all the pieces fall into place and action occurs? Yup....on the right path.

But sometimes I don't want to acknowledge the signs. I don't know if I'm up to the challenge. I like my comfort zone. Going back would mean increased responsibility; giving up certain pleasures; and possible failure. But if it turns out I'm good at it, it would bring economic gain and medical benefits.

Am I letting self-doubt and insecurity cloud my judgment? Investigating this new challenge posed the question about strengths and weaknesses. Twenty years ago, I was too shy to even speak up when my time card was overlooked until payday. Fortunately, once the oversight was noticed, I'd written down my hours, and was paid. Today, I'm not afraid of meeting potential readers and trying to sell my books. I walk into a conference room full of strangers, and pray I'll recognize someone. I can generally bond with anyone at the food table, to break the ice. Last Saturday, I even dared to stand up and read some of my poetry in front of five friends and four strangers. But yet, I still call myself 'shy', and a friend who was with me burst out laughing. Yeah, I tend to dominate conversations at week, I'm going to try being quiet. I guess this tendency comes from never being able to get a word in edgewise while growing up. I interrupt at times, due to the fact if I wanted to say anything, I had to wait until a family member paused for a breath.

I know leadership is one of my weaknesses. I'm not a 'take charge' person. I communicate better in writing than with my mouth. I don't know if this will be an issue or not.

I wonder if they'd let me job shadow for a week? If I knew exactly what was expected of the position, maybe my confidence in myself would return?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Terrific Tuesday with Dyanne/F.D. Davis:)

Welcome! Please introduce yourself and tell us about your latest release.

Dyanne: Hi Molly, thank you for the opportunity to connect with your readers.. My name is Dyanne Davis. I write romance as Dyanne and paranormal as F.D. Davis. I’m debating whether to tell you about the latest release that came out a couple of months ago or about the one that’s coming out a couple of weeks from this interview. J I’ve decided to go with, To Live Again. This one is an F.D. Davis book.

The story is part paranormal part romance. It’s a story about reincarnation and the possibilities. When a married woman who has heard voices her entire life and dreamt of a husband and son comes face to face with the husband from her past many lives are thrown into turmoil.

This is the first and only novel I’ve ever written in first person. It was almost a book that was never completed because I found it sad, dark and emotional. One of my critique partners loved it and helped me to figure out that the first person pov was what was causing such an emotional response within me. When my editor who is definitely intone with me loved the book and said that readers would love it and would be getting two romances in one I was relieved. If I may I’d like to publicly thank my friend and fellow author Wendy Byrne for inspiring me to continue with the story. Actually this book turned into a trilogy. The other two were much lighter and easier to write.

Have you ever had an idea for a story which scared you after you began writing it?

Dyanne: LOL. I’d have to answer yes to that. The first book in my vampire series, In The Beginning, Adam Omega my anti-hero I didn’t want to romanticize him, so intentionally made him evil. I had nightmares. I knew as much as I was loving the book in the daylight that I would have to write a romance in-between so the darkness wouldn’t overwhelm me.

Have you incorporated actual events from your own life into your books?

Dyanne: All the time. It’s never intended but snippets work their way in. I either rework history or tell it straight.

How much research do you do? Do you research first and then write, or do you write first, then research as needed?

Dyanne: The amount of research I do depend on the book I’m writing. Full Circle is the last of the Trilogy of the book I mentioned in the first question. With that book I did a ton of research because most of the book took place in India. I had to research everything from custom, mode of transportation, sanitation, Doctors without Borders, everything. I also used the Runes to write that book. Everyday I would pull a stone and would take the message it gave for that day’s scene. With that book I seriously felt as though the story was meant to be told and I was merely taking dictation. I didn’t know the answers to a lot of the things that happened in, To Live Again, until I was done writing, Full Circle. Then it all came together. With, “Let’s Get It On” part of the book took place in Pakistan so again a lot of research was required. I write first then do the research.

Is there any message you want readers to take from reading your work?

Dyanne: I want readers to know that I’m trying to the story of characters that may or may not be likeable. I will always do my best to deliver a well written story. My editor will make sure it’s well edited. I don’t necessarily write characters that are likeable. I just tell their stories. Maybe in this I’m writing a little about people I know who don’t behave in a likeable manner.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? And have you ever had a story take on a life of its own?

Dyanne: I am a definite pantser. I never know where the story is gong and I’m always surprised. That’s the part I love most about being a writer. “Full Circle took on a life without me. If I told you the whole of it, you’d want to call my husband to have me committed. J

How long did it take for you to be published?

Dyanne: I could answer that by saying forty-three years. But I took a lot of detours from my desire to be a published author, marriage, being a mother, becoming a nurse. When I took a break from nursing for two years on the suggestion of Bill, (my husband) that I give writing a real try it took about three years before I became published. But I will admit I had been sending out mss and collecting rejections for about five years before that..

If you could go back and tell yourself anything when you first began your writing career, what would you say?

Dyanne: I would say: Dyanne, not everyone is going to love what you write. You must develop a think skin, you must learn marketing, you really, really, really have to learn how to sell yourself. And most important, Dyanne, you will retain the joy of writing even when it turns into a business.

Laptop or pen and ink? What are your ‘must-haves’ when writing?

Dyanne: Both. There are no hard and fast must- haves’ for me. A peaceful center is what I work best in. But I’ve learned to work past the times of unrest until my soul finds the peace.

Who are your favorite authors? Who would you say influenced you the most?

Dyanne: I don’t generally answer this or I’ll say too many to name. Today I’ll say, All of the RWA Windy City authors, L.A. Banks and my all time favorite Anne Rice. Considering the Bible is my all time favorite books and has given me many years of internal debate I’d have to throw all those authors in for good measure.

What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?

Dyanne: I think my readers might be surprised that in order of importance my writing takes between 6-7 place. My family will always retain top billing.

For Fun:

What is your favorite love scene to write or read? (ie: First kiss, passion after a fight, reunion)

Dyanne: Hmm, I think my favorite love scene would be passion after a fight. Ooooh, GOOD one!

What is your favorite Valentine’s Day memory?

Dyanne: If, Giving It Up makes it out as it’s supposed to this Valentine’s Day that will be my favorite memory. If not I guess I’ll have to say, Bill giving me flowers, candy and balloons one year.

Sweetest gift ever given to you?

Dyanne: The sweetest gift ever given to me was God giving me the gift of life. Okay, I’m not playing fair. This still may not be playing fair, but I think having Bill and the way our relationship just keeps getting better after forty years of marriage is indeed my greatest gift.

I’ll behave and give you a more expected answer. About thirty-six years ago when we bought our home, Bill, had purchased a push lawn mower. My in-laws came to visit. My father-in-law took one look at Bill cutting the grass, left and went and bought him (us) our first gas mower. The thing of it was it was totally unexpected. We could have afforded to get one on our own but this was what Bill said he wanted at the time. As a married coupe we’d not been accustomed to anyone giving or doing anything for us. I have always loved him for that and even though he’s no longer with us, I think of him often and with love.

Thank you for being here today! Please tell us where we can find your books.

Dyanne: Again Molly, thank you for having me. All of my books can be found at Amazon, Barnes & Nobel , Most of my books are available at any bookstores, some are now on Kindle and eformat.


One woman. Two men. Both claim marital rights. When a past life collides with the present, chaos ensues. The result, an affair that unravels three lives. Her heart now torn, Michelle Powers must choose between husbands. Chance Morgan, Or Larry Powers. The time has come To Live Again.


I met Chance when I was shopping for my husband’s dinner. Can you imagine the irony in that? In his name? Anyway, when I could malinger no longer, I at last paid for my groceries and made my way toward the exit.

The sky had been a beautiful cerulean blue when I went in, but now it was an angry gray. Fat drops of water began to plop down as I left the store and by the time I was halfway to my car, the rain was pouring down in buckets. The paper bag I’d opted for in the store quickly became saturated and collapsed, spilling my groceries under cars and into the greasy puddles.

I stood for a moment, soaked to the bone, watching my dinner scatter like so many pearls from a broken strand. I started to cry. It wasn’t so much the food or the wasted money, but in that moment those scattering groceries represented my life and my emotions.

I saw tomato sauce flying in the air, eggs breaking, though I had bought neither. I could no more escape my feelings of guilt for not going to see Viola than I could escape my own flesh.

So I did the only thing I could. I cried harder than I ever had in my life, in the rain, in the parking lot, my arms outstretched to the heavens. At first I didn’t notice the man retrieving my items and placing them in a double plastic bag.

When he handed the plastic bag filled with my groceries back to me, I saw sympathy in his face and his eyes and cried harder. For a moment he looked confused. Then he put his arms around me and held me, pressing my head into his chest.

I held on to him as if my very life depended on it. Despite the cold rain, I felt an electrical energy emanating from his body and twining around me. I felt as if I had come home at last. Strange, but it was how I felt.

For long minutes the rain poured down over us. I truly wanted to stop crying, but the fact that I was crying in the rain, in the parking lot, with a strange man comforting me, made me cry more.

At last I gained control and lifted my head from his chest and looked at him. There was an expression of awe on his face, of wonderment. “Do I know you?” I attempted to smile, but the intensity of his look prevented it.

“I’m sorry about this.” I waved my hand around attempting to convey to him that I was not usually a woman given to hysterics.

“Are you better now?” he asked.

“I think so, but I don’t want to be alone.”

I forced myself to look, really look, at the man standing in front of me. He was tall, almost as tall as Larry. That would make him close to six feet.

His hair was jet black, like a raven’s, and had the tiniest sprinkling of gray around the temples. The rain had plastered his shirt flat against his chest and abdomen, revealing that he was lean and muscular.

I examined his face. Strong chin, a mouth that was firm and inviting, tiny laugh lines etched into the contours.

But it was his eyes that gave me pause. I’d been attracted to Larry because of the beauty of his golden brown eyes. This man standing before me possessed without a doubt the most captivating blue eyes God had ever bestowed on a human. I’d never seen that particular color on any living being. I gazed into their depths and became lost. I pulled back to get a better look at the total man. His skin was the color of heated gold from his obvious tan. In spite of the cold rain his touch was hot and inviting. But none of those things were the reason behind my actions. There was something familiar about him and it frightened me.

I closed my eyes against the rush of unexpected emotions. I knew I needed to get a grip, yet my head was spinning and for no known reason, I felt a surge of pure joy overtake me. I was relieved when he spoke.

“You look as if you could use some company. Would you like to go somewhere and have a cup of coffee…maybe talk…a little?”

Saturday, February 12, 2011

"No, I Did Not Drop Off The Planet!"

Happy Valentine's Day!!! Kenzie's having a conversation with herself over at Kenzie's Place, as well as being interviewed over at 9 Clouds Book Marketing. Scroll down; interview is at the end:)

I'm back:)

Didja miss me?

(Tackle hug) "Where the HELL have you been?"

(Molly picks herself up) "Watch the new laptop!! Let me catch my breath and I'll TELL you!"

It's very simple: No money + bills = priorities.

We had zero income the second week of December, and it wasn't until Dec 20th that it slowly began to trickle in again. First it was $200 on the 20th, then $50 on the 22nd, and finally, $500 on the 24th. We could now get to my parents house for Christmas...or so we thought.

The van refused to start. I went to calmly make the phone call when my pent up emotions blew. Alarmed at the sight of Mom in tears, the kids scrambled and agreed to give up some comfort, and we squeezed into our small car and my son's truck.

But while we were in the process of packing, the phone company decided they'd waited long enough for their money and pulled the plug. We no longer had TV access, either.

So New Year's Eve found me watching Prancer instead of the ball dropping. Phase #1 of my daughter's rebellion occurred, so there was also tension in the house.

January brought snow, ice, and frigid temps. The bookstore wasn't open, because no one in their RIGHT MIND would be out in that weather, unless it was to buy food, take kids to school, or struggle out for food cooked by someone else for a change, and to stave off cabin fever. We scraped the money together to get Dish Network hooked up, so we could find out what was going on outside our town. The few times I did make it to an internet hookup was spent wading through 200 + emails, setting up my scheduled interviews on here, and keeping up with my Facebook page.

Finally, February came. We filed our taxes and thankfully the money deposited in our account in time to ensure our Super Bowl party was more than simply chili and chips. Unfortunately, Phase #2 of daughter's rebellion hit, and we're still dealing with the drama of teenage angst/first love/tough love/death threats by an unmedicated individual. Believe me, you DON'T want to be in my shoes at the moment.

The good note? The groundhog did NOT see his shadow; this week the temps have steadily gotten warmer (15 on Tues; 20 on Wed; 29 on Thurs; 32 yesterday; 40's today through next Tues; we're supposed to hit 50 by next Wed!!!!!); and hubby bought me a new laptop. I'll hopefully get a picture of it up next week. And yesterday, we had our DSL reinstalled, so the home internet is back on, and I'll be posting more than once a week again:)

The bad news: Refund was NOT large, but I can at least pay off the dentist. Daughter is currently cooperating, but isn't happy about what's about to happen next week. So I'm bracing for what may end up being Phase #3. Just keep us in your prayers, please??? I never dreamed my sweet baby girl, who was my 'stepford child' until age 12, would ever rebel in this manner.

Also, sadly, I'm losing my job. After six months, the book store is closing, due to decreased sales and personal issues all around. How I wish I could be independently wealthy so I could foot the rent!!! I've jokingly called this place my 'Sanity Zone/Haven'. Maybe in a year or two, the opportunity will come around again??

So right now, I'm playing catch-up. I did learn a valuable lesson through all this: I do NOT need to be online 24/7, or at least 18 hours per day. My readers are patient, and will wait for returned email. And yes, this may come as a shock, but housework didn't kill me pre-internet, and it won't kill me now! And I've made close to 50 dozen chocolate chip cookies since Christmas, twelve dozen yesterday to coincide with my son's return home. He had wanted me to send him some cookies, so I made more last night so he could gorge himself and still have a bucket of them to take back to Purdue on Sunday. See? Even during this hell-week, I still have time for my other kids:)

Anyway, that's where I was; this is where I am; and hopefully next week I'll have some good news about where I'll be headed in the future!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Terrific Tuesday with Chelle Cordero:)

Welcome! Please introduce yourself and tell us about your latest release.

I’m a dreamer, a hopeless romantic, and a freelance writer since 1981. Although I’ve had many newspaper and magazine articles published throughout the USA and Canada, my dream of being a novelist finally came true in 2008 when small press Vanilla Heart Publishing produced my first novel Bartlett’s Rule.

Since then I have had eight novels published with Vanilla Heart and have had short stories in 5 anthologies (publishers Vanilla Heart and Mandimam Press). This past fall anthology Passionate Hearts from Vanilla Heart featured my story The Vacation and anthology Forever Travels from Mandimam Press featured my story Stormy Weather. I also author an Amazon Kindle blog Living, Writing Breathing (; that offers a weekly writing lesson and VHP produced an ebook based on the blog that includes 30 days of lessons.

I was just recently informed that both anthologies placed in the Top Ten in categories in the 2010 Preditors and Editors Readers’ Poll.

Have you ever had an idea for a story which scared you after you began writing it?

Final Sin gave me nightmares! I based the opening scene on an actual crime that was discovered within walking distance from my home, but that was where the similarity ended. My protagonist was mentally deranged and I did a lot of research into the psychology of serial killers and obsessions. It was really scary stuff.

Have you incorporated actual events from your own life into your books?

As I stated previously, I have based some scenes on actual events. Most of my story content, even if inspired by real incidents, really comes from a very vivid and unrestrained imagination. While a particular event may make it into a story, the outcome is often the result of “What if?” this or that had happened?

The closest to actual events might be found in Final Sin. I am a NYS Emergency Medical Technician for the past 24 years (volunteer) and my heroine was a NYS Paramedic. I borrowed several real calls (my own and stories from others) to add a dose of reality to the heroine’s work day.

How much research do you do? Do you research first and then write, or do you write first, then research as needed?

Most of my writing is done first and then researched as needed. The as needed may come early in the writing process. In my current work-in-progress my heroine is a Pakistani immigrant; in order to make her authentic I did a lot of research into the Pakistani culture and her Muslim faith.

Is there any message you want readers to take from reading your work?

I want my readers to take away a need to think. No person is entirely good or entirely bad no matter what their profession, lifestyle or crimes. I want my readers to take away the feeling how different things might have been if my characters had allowed different influences to rule their decisions. Very little in life is really “black and white” there are many grey areas. I would like to think that people will have a greater understanding of “where” people come from when they make choices and might apply that to real life.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? And have you ever had a story take on a life of its own?

I am definitely a pantser. I like to create a situation and create characters, then I tend to let my characters write their own stories by actually reacting to the roadblocks I throw at them.

How long did it take for you to be published?

If you count my non-fiction work, I was very fortunate to be published the first time I ever submitted something. I was 19 years old and was asked by an organization I was a member of to submit a news article about a young man who had lost his life when he came to the aid of a subway mugging victim.

I began freelance writing as a profession in 1981 and again, fortunately, it didn’t take long for me to see my byline appear in local publications. In the 1990’s I decided to pursue my dream of writing a novel and started submitting late in that decade. I connected with Vanilla Heart late in 2007 and my first book came out in April 2008.

If you could go back and tell yourself anything when you first began your writing career, what would you say?

I think I would tell myself to get serious about writing as a career much earlier in life.

Laptop or pen and ink? What are your ‘must-haves’ when writing?

Laptops are certainly the greatest aid to my writing style. I love the fact that I can edit without having to retype everything! My first writing was done pen and ink and then typed (using carbon paper for copies!) so corrections were really a hassle. I finally had an electric typewriter with a mini word processor (2 lines at a time, at least it helped eliminate typos). Full word processing programs really made my life easier.

Next came the advent of electronic submissions (yay!). I ran the gamut of mailed in and in-person hard copy submissions and then being able to fax my finished work in and in some cases using FTP. I love the fact, and the ease, of being able to attach my work to an email, or including it in the body. So even though I realize how spoiled I sound, my “must-haves” include an internet connection and laptop or desk PC.

Who are your favorite authors? Who would you say influenced you the most?

I really enjoy books by Danielle Steele, John Kellerman, Faye Kellerman, and Dean Koontz. In the past several years I’ve learned to look at many of the small presses for terrific writers and great stories as well; Vanilla Heart Publishing has a slew of terrific authors like Charmaine Gordon, Janet Walters, Sandy Nicks, Vila Spiderhawk, Smoky Trudeau, Malcolm Campbell, Victoria Howard, and several others.

What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?

I always tell folks that “I’ve lived many lives”; I had a variety of interesting jobs working my way through school including undercover retail investigation, acting and stage lighting design, public relations for a major magazine, jewelry sales clerk, and traffic router for a major department store. In addition, I volunteered as a NYC Auxiliary Police Officer and NYS EMT. In my single years I dated cops, firefighters, soldiers, computer programmers, actors and even someone in the FBI! Combined with my overactive imagination, I have a lot of stories!

For Fun:
What is your favorite love scene to write or read? (ie: First kiss, passion after a fight, reunion)

I love reunion love scenes – there is a familiarity and yet a newness to the lovemaking. It’s very special and romantic when a lover remembers particular favorites to please their partner. It’s also exhilarating when “two bodies” that seem made for each other come together, it’s a feeling of belonging and discovery at the same time.

What is your favorite Valentine’s Day memory?

The first Valentine’s Day I was married I baked my husband a heart shaped cake, it was devil’s food with green mint icing (his favorite). He acted as if I had moved a mountain for him and made me feel so wonderful. We’ve exchanged several sentimental and loving gifts through the years, but the way he made me feel for my effort was absolutely breathtaking. (PS, we’ve been married for 35 years) Congratulations! These days, that is a major accomplishment:)

Sweetest gift ever given to you?

Mark and I got engaged without a ring (we were only dating 2 weeks!). Neither of us came from great financial backgrounds so I wasn’t in a hurry for him to go out and buy me a diamond ring. Mark wanted me to have a ring though so he took me into a small store, the equivalent of one of the old five-and-dime stores, and purchased a piece of costume jewelry that looked like an emerald-cut diamond. I wore that until he saved up for a real diamond ring. I still have that inexpensive ring and it will always be very special to me.

Thank you for being here today! Please tell us where we can find your books.

Thank you for allowing me the spotlight!

People can find out more about me and my books at my website;
or Smashwords;
You can also read free samples of my books and see more buy links at;

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Terrific Tuesday with Carol McPhee:)

Welcome! Please introduce yourself and tell us about your latest release.

Hi there; I’m Carol McPhee from Nova Scotia, Canada. I’ve been writing contemporary romance and romantic suspense for about fifteen years. All of my fourteen finished manuscripts have been published by either Wings ePress or Champagne Books.

Have you ever had an idea for a story which scared you after you began writing it?

The only idea that scares me is the thought I might not have enough imagination to fill a novel-length story.

Have you incorporated actual events from your own life into your books?

Many times I’ve incorporated my own experiences into the setting or plot line. Be Still, My Heart! is a case in point. It’s the story of a dedicated but arrogant cardiac surgeon. Accustomed to relying on his skills, he learns a less invasive way to mend a dietitian's broken heart. I was a dietitian in my non-writing life and drew on my experiences. In Means To An End the setting is drawn from a resort my husband and I like to visit each summer.

How much research do you do? Do you research first and then write, or do you write first, then research as needed?

I research as I write, usually by calling on experts in their field. For instance, I wanted to know the true color (red or orange) of J-Hawk helicopters for Retreat To Danger so I called the Coast Guard in Norfolk, Virginia and spoke with an admiral. He laughed and went to look out his office window to be sure.

Is there any message you want readers to take from reading your work?

I want my readers to understand that I consider the underlying story is the most important element in my work. Although I love my characters, my sole aim is to lift the reader away from the misfortunes of today’s world.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? And have you ever had a story take on a life of its own?

All of my stories take on lives of their own since I’m a pantser. Although I may plot the final two chapters, once my characters are established, I give them the lead through the entire manuscript.

How long did it take for you to be published?

It took me approximately three years to be published. I never stopped writing in-between rejections, and so I had a stockpile of five manuscripts that became published after Something About That Lady found a home publisher. That novel is still my favorite and Jed Cameron is the hero I adore most to this day.

If you could go back and tell yourself anything when you first began your writing career, what would you say?

Hmm. I had to think awhile on this one. I would tell myself that a manuscript doesn’t get accepted as easily or as quickly as I first expected. Persistence is the key to getting a good story published.

Laptop or pen and ink? What are your ‘must-haves’ when writing?

I started out with paper and pen for my first story, but at my husband’s insistence I learned to use a computer. Now I don’t need anything else.

Who are your favorite authors? Who would you say influenced you the most?

My favorite authors are the ones I critique who have yet to be published. Deborah Hale who writes for Harlequin influenced me the most. Her encouragement and generosity gave me the stimulation to keep writing.

What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?

Probably my age. Lol.

For Fun:


What is your favorite love scene to write or read? (ie: First kiss, passion after a fight, reunion)

My favorite love scene to write would be the surprise reaction from the characters in a first love-making session.

What is your favorite Valentine’s Day memory?

One Valentine’s Day we started out to a restaurant with another couple, but the lineup was horrendous as it was with every other restaurant we approached in our small town. We ended up eating at a Tim Hortons coffee shop, not the most romantic place to be, but it’s the only one I remember. The moral is that anyplace can be enjoyable if with good company.

Thank you for being here today! Please tell us where we can find your books.

Thank you for having me and asking such thought-provoking questions. My books are available at and Please visit me at


As an amnesia victim struggles to regain her memory, she must deal with the pressure of knowing her life is in danger. Dare she trust the offensive stranger who killed her attacker with his bare hands?

An amnesia victim seeks to regain her memory, but an unsavory stranger holds the key.



A series of stills flashes before Maddie’s eyes. The face of the beast bearing down on her is grotesque with its bared teeth and snarling fury. Free-flowing moisture drips from her hands’ protective shield onto her new T-shirt. Strange she should think of her recent purchase when her legs are crumpling beneath her.

Maddie shivered in fear and peered through slitted eyes. Surprised by her narrowed vision, she struggled to clear her senses and escape the mist blocking coherent thought. Frantic, she looked around, raising her hand to examine the item pinching her left index finger. The task proved beyond her capability. She glanced down to check the cause and noted to her dismay, both wrists were strapped to the steel side rails of a bed. Her hands swaddled in bandaging, only her left thumb and index finger remained free. Recognizing the pulse oximeter and its function to measure blood oxygen levels, she didn’t know why she lay helpless in some kind of medical facility. She trembled. Where am I?

Partially open white-and-green curtains hung from a curved overhead rod and circumscribed the area in which she lay. A cacophony of bleeps, buzzers, and moans drilled into her brain. Suddenly a flash of color shot into the draped opening. It stopped with startling agility, backed into full view and entered her room. “Oh, you’re awake. Good.”

Staring down at her stood a fantasy of multi-colored flowers, each bloom seeming to compete for space on the fabric of the scrubs. The long name on the woman’s identification pin wasn’t easy to read in such a hazy state, but Recovery Room Nurse and the name Annie were strong possibilities.

“You’re in the hospital in Kingston, Ontario, hon. Two days ago, you had an unfortunate mishap and needed surgery. You’ve been in and out of consciousness ever since. Do you remember the incident?”

Maddie tried to think, but thinking hurt. She shook her head with care. “Do you remember your name, hon?”

Tears came to Maddie’s eyes. “No.”

“We think it might be Maddie.”

“Maddie?” The gritty sound of her own voice surprised her.

“That’s the name engraved on the bracelet you wore.” The nurse retrieved a sealed envelope from her breast pocket. “This has been in the floor safe. Want me to open it for you?”


Annie removed the sterling silver jewelry from the packet and dangled an exquisite chain in front of Maddie’s eyes.

Maddie blinked several times, pleased to see her vision clear. The nurse let her examine the intricate scroll on the small bar, then flipped it over to the backside. The initials, C.M. meant nothing, either.

“Don’t you recognize this?” Annie asked.


“Since the bracelet must be yours, why don’t I fasten it on your wrist, the one that doesn’t carry our hospital identification tag?”

Maddie nodded.

After the nurse closed the clasp to secure it, she touched the right wrist’s Velcro strap. “You’re restrained because we didn’t want you to thrash around and hurt yourself.”

An unbidden groan escaped Maddie’s lips. I’m a prisoner.

The image of a prison plowed into her thoughts--gray limestone walls guarded by a large central tower, four corner turrets, and a closed massive front gate. She rolled her eyes off to the side with caution. The mirage had disappeared when she looked back. “What incident?”

“The doctor will explain. Your throat might feel dry and scratchy from the tube inserted for surgery.”

My throat does feel irritated.

“I’ll rub ice chips across your mouth and slide one or two onto your tongue.” The offer flowed with the lyrical resonance of a fairy godmother.

Maddie inched upward the fog-saturated object that used to be her head. Dizzied by the movement, she lowered it back to the pillow. With the compassion of a Mother Teresa protégée, Annie stepped closer to cool and dampen Maddie’s lips. Desperate to rid her mouth of its furry sensation, she sucked on the chips and swallowed.

“The doctor will be in to see you soon.” Annie brushed a lock of hair back off Maddie’s forehead. “Ah, here’s Dr. Whitlow now. He’s the neurosurgeon who operated.”


A stethoscope dangled around the navy suit collar of the short stocky man entering Maddie’s room. “Hello, young lady. I see you’ve decided to join us.” He plucked a penlight from his vest pocket, snapped it on and peered into her eyes.

Doesn’t a white light appear just before one passes into eternity?

When the doctor exhaled, he filled the confined space with the pleasant scent of wintergreen. Maddie inhaled, preferring the doctor’s breath to the smell of disinfectant in the air. Annie handed him Maddie’s chart from its holder at the end of her bed. Dr. Whitlow scanned the report, and checked the heart monitor and blood pressure reading. “Hmm; 142 over 94 is a little high for blood pressure, but it’s understandable--you’re upset about your situation.”

His words reverberated against the walls of Maddie’s dulled mind. When he released the Velcro restraints, the restriction hampering her freedom vanished. “Thank--” She stopped speaking; speech not only hurt her throat, it slashed at her facial muscles.

A quiet scrape accompanied the doctor’s shift of a chrome chair to her bedside. She squirmed under his scrutiny, then focused back on him. The lines in his face testified to a lifetime of experience. In some shadowed recess of her mind, she believed his seniority would stand her in good stead.

“Let me explain what has happened, my dear. You were brought to Kingston General yesterday morning after an encounter with a vicious dog. A Doberman Pinscher, I believe.” The doctor’s eyes roamed her face. “The police haven’t been able to track down the dog’s owner to see if his shots were up to date. The lab is testing its brain for rabies. The paramedics said there was no froth around his mouth, so that’s promising.”

He’s dead?

Aware facial expression would be painful, even awkward, she guarded against any show of emotion.

“More good news--we were able to treat the animal’s scratches to your face, leaving minimal chance of infection and no scarring stitches.”

This doctor is an optimist.

“The dog knocked you over and, when you fell, your head hit the pavement, causing a concussion.” The doctor’s eyes filled with compassion. His pause allowed her to process the information. He leaned closer, fixated on her face. She tipped her head to show her understanding and silently pleaded for him to continue. She needed his enlightenment, his specialized attention, his warmth.

Dr. Whitlow smiled and reached for her wrists again, holding them up where she could see her hands better. “Your palms and fingers needed sutures from the deep bites you received fighting off the animal. The antibiotics in your IV should prevent infection. At least you have grasping ability on your left hand.”

Maddie concentrated on the taped gauze packages in front of her. This padding would do a boxer proud, but I’m in no shape to get into a ring. Her nonsensical thought amused her. Did she have a sense of humor in her real life?

The doctor lifted his brow. She realized her mouth had curved into a slight smile at her own joke. Maybe he assumed she was still under the effects of anesthesia.

He continued, “The paramedics said if it hadn’t been for a bystander’s intrusion, you might not be alive. The man didn’t stay around to give his name.” Dr. Whitlow paused again, this time frowning. “I see panic in your eyes. Do you recall the attack?”

“No.” Her throat’s rasp startled her.

“Perhaps that’s for the best.”

The tears that threatened from the doctor’s first pronouncement now trickled from her eyes, hiding him behind the blur. She wanted to complain about the dull ache in her head, but she couldn’t find the strength or stability to trust herself not to break down to a mass of self-pity. Why was it so important she maintain decorum?

Perhaps, if she widened her eyes, he would catch on. Her eyelids hardly moved. It now registered: they were puffy and not responding to her command. The damn dog came close to scratching out my eyes.

Annie gently dabbed a tissue at the moisture itching Maddie’s cheeks.

“Do you know if you have any allergies?” Dr. Whitlow’s face didn’t betray concern.

Her mind blanked. “No clue.”

“Who could we contact?” he asked.

Maddie’s heart raced. “I have no idea.”

Dr. Winslow checked the heart monitor, then spoke slowly. “I realize you’re confused, and no doubt frightened, but we’ll take good care of you.”

The word frightened didn’t come close to the panic rocking her insides. She glanced at Annie, appreciating her pleasant smile.

New release: Shadowed Pursuit

Now available at:

Carol McPhee:
Multi-Published, Award-Winning Romance Novelist

Strong, smart, sensuous heroines; heroes to die for.