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Posts Tagged ‘Women’s Fiction’

Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

Anne Montgomery who shares her thoughts about how Star Trek addressed sociological issues.

Fifty-five years ago, the original Star Trek TV series was launched. The show survived just three seasons, still that does nothing to diminish the impact the program had. If you don’t believe me, take a look at your cellphone. Then, glance at Captain James T. Kirk as he flips open his communicator. Looks familiar, doesn’t it?

Captain Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise traveled the galaxy in the hope of doing good.

Kirk and his crew were tasked with exploring the universe. The opening voiceover still gives me chills. Space: the final frontier; These are the voyages of the Starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To boldly go where no man has gone before!

While I was just a kid at the time the series came out, I was enthralled by the situations the Enterprise crew endured. I know what you’re thinking. The show today looks cheesy, with sometimes silly special effects and actors routinely chewing scenery. But back in the mid-1960s it was mesmerizing. And often the stories had deep sociological meaning.

While there are several episodes dealing with planetary pandemics, I will skip those since I, at least, need some rest from that particular subject. Instead, the one that sticks in my head is “Let That Be Your Last Battlefield.” The story centers around the planet Cheron whose people have been fighting a civil war for 50,000 years. Kirk and his crew attempt to negotiate a peace with two ambassadors who are so embittered by their hatred toward one another that no one on the Enterprise can get through to them.

Commander Spock and Captain Kirk struggled with the prejudice of the people on Cheron who’d been entangled in a race war for 50,000 years.

The ambassadors insist that their people are too different to get along. Finally, Spock—Kirk’s Vulcan second-in-command—points out, “The obvious visual evidence, Commissioner, is that he is of the same breed as yourself.” What Spock is alluding to is the fact that all the people of Cheron are black on one side and white on the other.

I was 14 when this episode aired in 1969. Race riots had plagued the US for several years, including those in Newark, New Jersey, not far from where I lived. The TV images of the anger and destruction were frightening. Though I will admit here that I was raised in a predominately white suburb, I camped every summer with girls of all kinds—black, white, brown. We spent our days together, slept in the same tents every night, and never gave it a second thought. So, the violence I watched on the news was confusing.

Kirk has no idea why the ambassadors of Cheron hate one another. Finally, in exasperation, he looks at them and says, “You’re black on one side and white on the other.”

One man puffs up his chest. “I am black on the right side.”

When I heard that line, something clicked in my brain. I now understood the idiocy of racism. And—don’t laugh—I truly believed that soon everyone would realize the stupidity of demeaning others because of what they looked like. In my misguided innocence, I thought that very soon racism would be relegated to the past and that we would all get along. Cue “Kumbaya”.

Of course, that didn’t happen. Today, at 65, I wonder what went wrong? How did so many people of my generation not get the message?

I’d like to think we can still repair the damage we’ve done to one another, but maybe we can’t. Perhaps, if we’re not careful, we’ll end up like the people of Cheron, who annihilated themselves and destroyed their planet because of their hate. My 14-year-old self found it hard to feel sorry for them. After all, they were the instrument of their own destruction.

We might be too.

Here’s hoping we come to our senses in time.

Allow me to offer you a glimpse at my latest women’s fiction novel for you reading pleasure.

The past and present collide when a tenacious reporter seeks information on an eleventh century magician…and uncovers more than she bargained for.

In 1939, archaeologists uncovered a tomb at the Northern Arizona site called Ridge Ruin. The man, bedecked in fine turquoise jewelry and intricate beadwork, was surrounded by wooden swords with handles carved into animal hooves and human hands. The Hopi workers stepped back from the grave, knowing what the Moochiwimi sticks meant. This man, buried nine-hundred years earlier, was a magician.

Former television journalist Kate Butler hangs on to her investigative reporting career by writing freelance magazine articles. Her research on The Magician shows he bore some European facial characteristics and physical qualities that made him different from the people who buried him. Her quest to discover The Magician’s origin carries her back to a time when the high desert world was shattered by the birth of a volcano and into the present-day dangers of archaeological looting where black market sales of antiquities can lead to murder.

AMAZON BUY LINK

Anne Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, amateur baseball umpire, and high school football referee. She worked at WRBL‐TV in Columbus, Georgia, WROC‐TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP‐TV in Phoenix, Arizona, ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award‐winning SportsCenter, and ASPN-TV as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Montgomery has been a freelance and staff writer for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archeological pieces.

When she can, Anne indulges in her passions: rock collecting, scuba diving, football refereeing, and playing her guitar.

Learn more about Anne Montgomery on her website and Wikipedia. Stay connected on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.

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Friday Features’

Guest talks about

Really, it was all my idea

by

Anne Montgomery

I became a sports official to learn about the games so that I might become a competent sportscaster. It seemed like a good idea, and yet, during my 15-year reporting career, I never met any other officials who became broadcasters.

A long time ago, back when I hoped to earn a paycheck in front of a TV camera, I had what I thought was a moment of brilliance. Why, I opined, wouldn’t TV networks want to hire sports officials and put them in the broadcast booth? The idea seemed like a win-win.

Of course, I was a tad biased. I had taken five years and learned to officiate five sports: football, baseball, ice hockey, soccer, and basketball. All with the hope that my new-found on-field expertise might wrangle me a job as a sportscaster. While blowing whistles and calling balls and strikes did eventually help me get my foot in the sports journalism world, I never in 15 years as a reporter meet any other broadcasters from the officiating ranks.

When I was a SportsCenter anchor at ESPN, I suggested it might be a good idea to put former officials in the broadcast booth. My colleagues thought I was crazy.

Fast forward to today, where former officials are now miced up and sharing their thoughts on calls with the viewing public. That makes me want to hop into Mr. Peabody’s Wayback Machine and confront my old colleagues at ESPN.

“It would be great,” I explained in the newsroom back in 1990. “You could put officials in the booth and they could explain why certain calls were made.”

Crickets.

“You know, clear up confusion for the viewers.”

My remarks, as I recall, were met by head shakes indicating that I was certainly out of my mind. Who would ever want to listen to sports officials speak? They intimated.

Fast forward thirty years and there they are, with the NFL leading the way. Former officials and now rules analysts Mike Pereira, Dean Blandino, and Terry McAulay, among others. Then there’s Gene Steratore, who along with his 15-year NFL career spent 20 years calling college basketball games and is now an analyst for both sports.

The question is, what took the networks so long? Sports rules are complicated. Don’t believe me? Ask someone to explain what constitutes a catch is in football. Or the reasoning behind and execution of an infield fly in baseball. Or the difference between a foul ball and a foul tip. Or when icing is waved off in hockey. Or how to tell a charge from a block in basketball. Or what constitutes traveling. Oh, wait. No one calls that anymore.

While fans might better understand their favorite sports by listening to former officials in the booth, maybe they’re happier just arguing about the rules.

Anyway, if you don’t believe me, pick up a rule book. Just read one page. I dare you. Rules and their corresponding diagrams can sometimes look like hieroglyphics with descriptions written by folks from MENSA. So why not hire people who study those books for a living? Then they can dumb down the rules to make them more digestible to the viewing public.

Then again, many fans thrive on controversy and arguing about calls is high on their list of entertaining things to do. Maybe if they actually understood the rules, some of the fun might be drained out of sports fandom.

As a purist, I think it’s better to truly understand the rules, but since I spent four decades as an amateur official, I’m clearly more than a little biased.

Here is a peek at one of my women’s fiction novels. I hope you enjoy it.

A woman flees an abusive husband and finds hope in the wilds of the Arizona dessert.

Rebecca Quinn escapes her controlling husband and, with nowhere else to go, hops the red-eye to Arizona. There, Gaby Strand – her aunt’s college roommate – gives her shelter at the Salt River Inn, a 1930’s guesthouse located in the wildly beautiful Tonto National Forest.

Becca struggles with post-traumatic stress, but is enthralled by the splendor and fragility of the Sonoran Desert. The once aspiring artist meets Noah Tanner, a cattle rancher and beekeeper, Oscar Billingsley, a retired psychiatrist and avid birder, and a blacksmith named Walt. Thanks to her new friends and a small band of wild horses, Becca adjusts to life in the desert and rekindles her love of art.

Then, Becca’s husband tracks her down, forcing her to summon all her strength. But can she finally stop running away?

Amazon Buy Links

Anne Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, amateur baseball umpire, and high school football referee. She worked at WRBL‐TV in Columbus, Georgia, WROC‐TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP‐TV in Phoenix, Arizona, ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award‐winning SportsCenter, and ASPN-TV as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Montgomery has been a freelance and staff writer for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archeological pieces.

When she can, Anne indulges in her passions: rock collecting, scuba diving, football refereeing, and playing her guitar.

Learn more about Anne Montgomery on her website and Wikipedia. Stay connected on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.

Read Full Post »

Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shines On

The thoughtful Anne Montgomery who brings us her take on White Chocolate: a Sweet Faux Pas.

I love chocolate, which does not make me special. Americans consume roughly 18% of the world’s chocolate stash, spending over $18 billion annually on the rich, creamy confection.

As a child, my mother fretted constantly about my waistline and hid sweets from me. In retaliation, I’d scour my dad’s Brooks Brothers suit-coat pockets for change and trundle through the woods to Ben’s Diner, which had a long, glorious rack of candy. Ben, a big man with a giant stomach encased in a white apron, never questioned my daily haul of candy bars – which were big suckers back then.

I’d sit by the brook with my collie Betsy and eat that candy – Snickers, Milky Way, Baby Ruth, Chunky, 100 Grand Bar, M&Ms, Heath Bar – every day.

My mom, exasperated by my girth, would defend herself to strangers. “It’s not my fault,” she’d tell people when she thought they were staring at me. “I feed her baked fish and salad with no dressing.”

I always wanted to say, “I’m fat, Mom, not deaf. I can hear what you’re saying.” But I never did.

The point is, I love chocolate, which brings me to the abomination: white chocolate.

I realize some people like that creepy colorless confection. I also know that, lately, fancy chocolatiers have been experimenting with it in an effort to make it more hip. Still, the fact that white chocolate includes cocoa butter, which is derived from cocoa beans, does not make the substance chocolate. One needs cocoa solids to make actual chocolate. (Yes, I know the FDA claims white chocolate made to their standards is considered chocolate, but I’m not having it.)

White chocolate was first unveiled in the 1930s, a product of the Nestlé company in Switzerland. The theory goes that the substance was invented to utilize excess cocoa butter, but no one is really sure.

The Maya, who were the first people to cultivate cacao trees, probably would be stupefied to learn that their prized chocolate – the beans of which they used as a form of currency – is now offered in this pale, unrecognizable form.

And, even worse, those trendy chocolatiers are doing unspeakable things to this white sweet. You can now purchase organic kale with mustard mixed into your white chocolate. And salted almonds with broccoli. Clearly, there are maniacal minds at work here. Confectioners who make Gene Wilder’s Willy Wonka appear quite sane.

So, what are we to do with this sweet faux pas? Despite my misgivings, I don’t mind a bit of white as a decoration. After all, it’s pretty. But as a real chocolate substitute? Never!

So give me a dab of white chocolate, if you must, but please … hold the broccoli.

Here’s a little from my latest women’s fiction book. I hope you enjoy it.

A woman flees an abusive husband and finds hope in the wilds of the Arizona desert.

Rebecca Quinn escapes her controlling husband and, with nowhere else to go, hops the red-eye to Arizona. There, Gaby Strand – her aunt’s college roommate – gives her shelter at the Salt River Inn, a 1930’s guesthouse located in the wildly beautiful Tonto National Forest.

Becca struggles with post-traumatic stress, but is enthralled by the splendor and fragility of the Sonoran Desert. The once aspiring artist meets Noah Tanner, a cattle rancher and beekeeper, Oscar Billingsley, a retired psychiatrist and avid birder, and a blacksmith named Walt. Thanks to her new friends and a small band of wild horses, Becca adjusts to life in the desert and rekindles her love of art.

Then, Becca’s husband tracks her down, forcing her to summon all her strength. But can she finally stop running away?

Amazon Buy Links

Anne Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, amateur baseball umpire, and high school football referee. She worked at WRBL‐TV in Columbus, Georgia, WROC‐TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP‐TV in Phoenix, Arizona, ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award‐winning SportsCenter, and ASPN-TV as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Montgomery has been a freelance and staff writer for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archeological pieces.

When she can, Anne indulges in her passions: rock collecting, scuba diving, football refereeing, and playing her guitar.

Learn more about Anne Montgomery on her website and Wikipedia. Stay connected on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.

Read Full Post »

Friday Features’

Guest talks about

Sports casting and word meanings.

by

Anne Montgomery

In a perfect world, sportscasters would get long leisurely looks at the highlights they use in their live broadcasts. They’d get to rehearse a few times, using their own verbiage to describe a sweet double play or a long touchdown run.

But in the real world, there are times when sportscasters don’t get to view the video prior to a broadcast. Imagine trying to look pleasant, sound authoritative and knowledgeable, and having to describe a previously-unseen set of highlights, while someone is yelling in your ear. Now, try to do it when the highlights are poorly written.

At ESPN, there was a group of workers called PAs: production assistants who spent almost all their time observing games and picking plays for SportsCenter broadcasts. I’m sure to rabid sports fans the gig sounds like having one foot in heaven. A PA would be assigned a game, they’d sit back, watch, and pick three or four highlights. All they had to do was get the plays edited and write a script explaining what was happening in the shots they chose. A final score would then be added. That was it.

Generally, the PAs would appear at the anchor’s newsroom desk before the show and hand over their version of the script. I would always go view the video, make my own additions to the copy, and thank the PA. Beautiful.

However, sometimes there were late games that were still in progress during the SportsCenter broadcast. It was one of these contests and a subsequent set of highlights I received that got me into a bit of a pickle.

One evening, a sheet of game highlights was slipped onto my desk just as the crimson camera light blinked on. I smiled and read the intro. Then, as the video rolled, I eyed the script with my left eye and focused on my desk monitor with my right. (Not really, but it sort of feels that way.) And there it was, a screaming line drive hit into the first row seats, beaning a spectator squarely on the noggin. I read the script and immediately knew there’d been a mistake. The copy read that the fan had been hit by a foul tip. I knew this was impossible, but the next play quickly appeared and I had no time to right the wrong.

It wouldn’t be until the postmortem – the meeting that followed each show, a time during which errors were discussed by everyone involved in the broadcast – that I would get the chance to point out the obvious problem.

“Rich,” I said to the PA, who like all of his ilk was just out of college, sans any previous TV experience, and while they were sometimes treated like slave labor, were willing to do almost anything to get into the business. “Here,” I said, pushing the highlight sheet across the conference table. “Look at the first play.”

“The one where the guy gets hit with the foul tip?” He asked without looking at the page.

“That’s the one.” I smiled. “You don’t want to do that again.”

“Do what?” Rich squinted.

PAs lived in fear of making a mistake, knowing there was a long list of kids who’d do anything to get into ESPN. They worked without contracts for so little pay three or four of them often rented tiny apartments together, and they could be terminated without cause. Still, they lined up in droves to work at the network.

“It wasn’t a foul tip that hit the guy, Rich. It was a foul ball.”

“What’s the difference? The producer asked, palms up.

I looked around the table, finding it odd that no one else seemed to understand. “A foul ball is one that goes out of the playing area in foul territory. It’s a dead ball. Nothing can happen on the field. A foul tip, however, is a ball that generally goes directly from the bat to the catcher’s glove and is legally caught. A foul tip is always a strike and, unlike a foul ball, can result in strike three.”

“So?” Rich said defensively.

“A foul tip is a live ball.” I paused, waiting to see the light bulbs go off in the brains of my SportsCenter peers, but they just stared at me. “If there are runners on base, they can steal at their own risk,” I went on. “That makes it impossible for a fan to be hit with a foul tip. It was a foul ball.”

“It’s the same thing,” Rich insisted.

“No, it’s not.”

“Why do you care?” The PA said, sounding petulant now. “No one else does.”

I looked around the room. None of the other members of the crew had chimed in. Generally, in these meetings, everyone had an opinion and no one was timid about sharing.

“I care, Rich. I’m an umpire. And there are people out there who know that. It embarrasses me to make that kind of mistake.”

Rich’s face turned bright red. “You’re just being a picky bitch!” Then he got up and left the room.

The next day, I was called into my boss’s office. He had been apprised of my comments and insisted that I apologize to Rich.

“But he was wrong,” I said. “I never raised my voice or got defensive. I simply explained that he’d made a mistake.”

My boss was unswayed. That the young PA called me a bitch did not seem to matter. I was forced to apologize.

And all these years later, it still rankles.

Here’s a little from my latest women’s fiction book. I hope you enjoy it.

A woman flees an abusive husband and finds hope in the wilds of the Arizona desert.

Rebecca Quinn escapes her controlling husband and, with nowhere else to go, hops the red-eye to Arizona. There, Gaby Strand – her aunt’s college roommate – gives her shelter at the Salt River Inn, a 1930’s guesthouse located in the wildly beautiful Tonto National Forest.

Becca struggles with post-traumatic stress, but is enthralled by the splendor and fragility of the Sonoran Desert. The once aspiring artist meets Noah Tanner, a cattle rancher and beekeeper, Oscar Billingsley, a retired psychiatrist and avid birder, and a blacksmith named Walt. Thanks to her new friends and a small band of wild horses, Becca adjusts to life in the desert and rekindles her love of art.

Then, Becca’s husband tracks her down, forcing her to summon all her strength. But can she finally stop running away?

Amazon Buy Links

Anne Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, amateur baseball umpire, and high school football referee. She worked at WRBL‐TV in Columbus, Georgia, WROC‐TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP‐TV in Phoenix, Arizona, ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award‐winning SportsCenter, and ASPN-TV as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Montgomery has been a freelance and staff writer for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archeological pieces.

When she can, Anne indulges in her passions: rock collecting, scuba diving, football refereeing, and playing her guitar.

Learn more about Anne Montgomery on her website and Wikipedia. Stay connected on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.

Read Full Post »

Friday Features’

Guest talks about

What are you afraid of?

by

Anne Montgomery

Most people are afraid of something. For me it’s tight spaces. I’m not sure when I first fell victim to this phobia, but it might have been on a high school Friday night when a bunch of us were going to a drive-in movie. (Remember those?) I was encouraged to get into the trunk of a car before we drove through the gates – something about too many kids in a car. In any case, I freaked, and clawed the underside of the hood and yelled until they let me out.

So, I’m claustrophobic, a malady that smacked me in the head one day when I was one hundred feet below the surface of the sea staring at a hole in the ocean floor.

I’d been told about the lava tube we would encounter. I glimpsed the small opening as another diver’s fins disappeared into the darkness. I paused, sizing up the mouth of the cave. It was not much wider than my wingspan and perhaps three-feet tall.

I turned to my sweetie pie, who was hovering by a woman who was uncomfortable diving. I pointed to the mouth of the cave and he shook his head. Then he took the woman by the hand and helped her swim above the tube.

I stared at that hole and wanted nothing to do with it. It looked so small and dark, but then I saw a light flickering inside and, without thinking, I swam to the opening and ducked inside. White sand flowed along the cave floor. I saw fins in front of me and followed. Then, suddenly, the fins and the light vanished, leaving me in total darkness.

I stopped abruptly. Then panicked and considered backing out, but turning around in that narrow space in complete darkness was problematic. The back of my tank caught on the top of the tube. The contact was slight, but was enough to make me sick to my stomach. I dropped to the floor and dug my hands into the sand in an effort to calm myself. I started sucking air, which was bad. The compressed air in a scuba tank is used up quickly on a deep dive. I had to move forward soon, but was frozen.

I raised my head and stared into the darkness. I held one hand before me but could see nothing. I dug my free hand into the sand and lifted the other, pulling myself forward, gripping the sand so hard my hands hurt. Slowly, I moved forward and down. The tube descended beneath the sea floor, angling deeper as I went.

Why had I not brought a light? And why had I been dumb enough to go in without such an important piece of equipment? I continued inching forward. How long was the tunnel? Why had I not asked? The questions swirled. I was tempted to reach to the side to see how wide the tube was, but was afraid to know the truth.

Sometime later, I caught a glimmer piercing the top of the tube, a broken spot in the ceiling that glowed with soothing blue light. I rounded a bend and was graced with an opening. Dim light flooded the cave, illuminating walls that were startling close. I kicked hard and exited. My sweetie pie was overhead. He knew how I felt about small places, so he was concerned.

Later, after a hot shower and a strong, grown-up beverage, we talked about that deep, dark, watery hole.

Yes, I’m glad I tried to conquer my fear, still I don’t think I’ll do anything like that ever again.

Here’s a little from my latest women’s fiction book. I hope you enjoy it.

A woman flees an abusive husband and finds hope in the wilds of the Arizona desert.

Rebecca Quinn escapes her controlling husband and, with nowhere else to go, hops the red-eye to Arizona. There, Gaby Strand – her aunt’s college roommate – gives her shelter at the Salt River Inn, a 1930’s guesthouse located in the wildly beautiful Tonto National Forest.

Becca struggles with post-traumatic stress, but is enthralled by the splendor and fragility of the Sonoran Desert. The once aspiring artist meets Noah Tanner, a cattle rancher and beekeeper, Oscar Billingsley, a retired psychiatrist and avid birder, and a blacksmith named Walt. Thanks to her new friends and a small band of wild horses, Becca adjusts to life in the desert and rekindles her love of art.

Then, Becca’s husband tracks her down, forcing her to summon all her strength. But can she finally stop running away?

Amazon Buy Links

Anne Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, amateur baseball umpire, and high school football referee. She worked at WRBL‐TV in Columbus, Georgia, WROC‐TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP‐TV in Phoenix, Arizona, ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award‐winning SportsCenter, and ASPN-TV as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Montgomery has been a freelance and staff writer for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archeological pieces.

When she can, Anne indulges in her passions: rock collecting, scuba diving, football refereeing, and playing her guitar.

Learn more about Anne Montgomery on her website and Wikipedia. Stay connected on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.

Read Full Post »

Friday Features’

Guest talks about

her unruly book September’s Song

by

Ryan Jo Summers

September’s Song was a problem child from the very start. The inspiration for this book came from a photo (aren’t many stories rooted in a picture? Mine tend to be.) A friend had emailed me a series of loosely connected pictures many years ago. There was one photo, showing the back view of a young boy offering a Styrofoam box to a man huddled against the cold. It appeared the man might be a homeless vet, and he seemed genuinely puzzled why the boy was offering him the box. For reasons unknown, that photo resonated with me and I buried it in the back of my mind.

My hobby is word find puzzles. Years later I was working a puzzle themed Sinatra songs. There was one called “September Song”. I remembered the photo of the boy and man and inspiration struck. The very rough bones of the story came to be, and I modified the name of the story to be “September’s Song”.

My research led me down so many rabbit holes, and much of what I learned I never used. I had about three original ideas of where I wanted the story to go, what it should be. The characters would have not none of it. I would sit down to write, and it was like opening a gift each time; and never knowing what to expect.

My plotter personality of writing went out the window. I followed no outline. I wrote, usually without having a clue where I was going. I ended up in so many corners. I was almost through writing the story before I even knew what genre to call it! Characters came and went, without much input from me. The one character I fell in love with—besides the hero!—was Father Patrick. Everyone needs a Father Patrick in their life!

It took about three years to finish the story that defied me at every stage. US Review of Books gave it a Silver Seal of Recommendation, InD’tale Magazine gave it a 4 ½ out of 5-star review and it was a finalist for the RONE award.

Like the problem child who frustrated their parents and end up graduating Valedictorian, I could not be prouder of how “September’s Song” turned out. I decided to self-publish it on my 48th birthday as a present to myself.

Genre: Women’s Fiction/ metaphysical

Blurb:

Ivey London was told her military husband died on a mission overseas. She buried him as a war hero and tried to move on with her life by raising their young son, dealing with her vengeful brother, and coping with her mother’s Alzheimer’s. Five years go by and one day she learns of a secret underground chamber were special soldiers are imprisoned to recover. Further, one amnesiac soldier managed to escape. When her son begins to display unusual behaviors, she goes to investigate. All evidence points to finding her late husband. If it is him, back from the dead, Ivey refuses to give him up again.

Keegan London awoke in a hospital cell with no memories. Fleeing, he finds himself in a strange, unknown world, with no one to turn to. Until he finds a friendly Priest who runs a homeless shelter and he stumbles across the woman who claims to be his wife. While she can fill some gaps in his lost memories, she cannot explain his curious abilities. Pursued by someone determined to get him back, Keegan has few options but to trust the woman who makes his heart fire like a cannon. Ivey has dibs on him, but first they have to uncover who—and what–Keegan really is before they can recover what they had.

Excerpt

“No, that’s okay. I can do this by myself.” She spun around, blinking. Picking up the paring knife again, she began peeling. She gasped as his arms gently encircled her waist and his breath fanned her bare neck. His lips nuzzled her ear and she closed her eyes. His hand took the knife from her fingers and she leaned into his touch.

“Keegan,” his name came out in a throaty rumble as her eyes slid closed.

“I don’t know what we used to do, Ivey, but I can tell you miss it bad. I’m willing to try and be your husband again, if you’ll help me.”

Hot tears stung her eyes. She swallowed hard. “So many times you said I was unforgettable. I…I guess–.”

The comment died unfinished, and his fingers reached down and caressed her back. Electric jolts shivered along her spine.

“Don’t push me away, Ivey. Let me be in each part of your life.”

Her breath hitched. This should be easy. Just tell him how they used to cook, what his favorite foods were, what they shared, how they made wonderful love. And miraculously all his memories will reappear. Except it hadn’t worked yet.

From the distant reaches of her mind, Ivey heard the phone ringing. Before she could pull herself away from the counter, it stopped. Assuming Jory answered it, the whole episode passed from her mind. Right now, Keegan took all her focus.

His fingertips trailed lazily up and down her back, igniting tiny fires in their wake.

“Keegan….I….” Words failed her. Heart beating frantically like a wild bird locked in a cage, her mind surrendered.

He gently turned her around, cupping her chin and tilting her up. Drawing a husky breath, he lowered his lips to hers, winding his fingers in the tangle of her hair. Her arms moved to encircle his waist, slipping under his shirt to feel the raised scars and corded muscles. A guttural moan escaped her.

Finally, having lost all concept of time, she pulled apart. Noble, he would not go further with a woman he did not remember making love to. She might respect his intention and restraint, but the unmet need was also killing her. Pulling in a shaky breath, she ended the kiss, stepping away and picking up the paring knife again.

She ran her tongue over her lips, more to steady herself, and rested one hand on the counter for balance. “I can work on this if you want to go see what Jory and Mom are doing.”

Keegan stiffened, hesitated and studied her. For a chilling moment, she hoped he ignored her request and lifted her bodily to carry her away to the bedroom. Then a darkness entered his eyes, a sadness that cut into her chest.

“Yes. Of course.” Spinning, he exited, leaving her alone with the ghosts of what had been.

Damn, damn, damn.

Buy Links (paperback and ebook)

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Ryan Jo Summers writes romances that blur the lines of subgenres. She mixes contemporary with time travel, Christian, suspense, sweet, and paranormal like blending a fruit and yogurt smoothie. Her non-fiction works have appeared in numerous trade journals and magazines including ‘WNC Woman Magazine’, ‘Critter Magazine’, ‘Journey Devotions’, and ‘Vet Tech Journal’. She is a regular contributing author for the ‘Asheville Pet Gazette’.

Her hobbies include baking, crafts, gardening, enjoying nature, and chess/mah-jongg/word-find puzzles. She pet sits/dog walks when she’s not busy writing and she fosters homeless pets for area animal rescues.

She lives in a century-old cottage in North Carolina with her own menagerie of rescued pets and way too many houseplants. “September’s Song” is her second self-published work, the first one being the chronicles of the first two years with her adopted PTSD rescue collie.

Where to find Ryan Jo:

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Friday Features’

Straight from Carpenter Country

An Exciting new book

by

HL Carpenter

This intriguing cozy mystery keeps you engrossed and is sure to deliver reader satisfaction. It’s an ideal holiday gift for everyone on your Kindle list.

A letter from beyond the grave brings accountant Fae Childers face to face with murder, embezzlement, romance, and a hidden family legacy.

Certified public accountant Fae Childers is not an embezzler, despite the belief of the accounting firm that fires her for stealing. But proving her innocence is harder than convincing an IRS agent to allow a deduction. She’s lost her mother, her job, her fiancé, and her self-respect. She’s running out of money and the lease is about to expire on her apartment.

Then the fortune-telling grandmother Fae never knew existed, whose name and psychic abilities she now learns are also hers, issues a challenge from beyond the grave—a challenge that brings Fae face to face with murder, embezzlement, romance, and a hidden family legacy.

When the mystery of Fae’s past collides with the troubles of her present, the situation veers out of control. Her very life is threatened. Who can she trust? The man she’s falling in love with? The former fiancé who has already betrayed her once? Or only herself?

With justice, romance, and her future at stake, Fae must overcome personal and professional obstacles to save herself and those she loves. And she’s going to have to do it fast, before someone else dies.

EXCERPT
The letter arrived on the last Thursday in April, two weeks to the day after I got fired from the accounting firm where I worked for the past decade. August Palmer, my landlord, hand-delivered the letter in person, saying, “The mail carrier stuck this in my box by mistake, Fae.”

I took the envelope without bothering to look at it and glanced past Gus, at the patch of brilliant cloudless blue sky framing his shoulders.

Tampa, Florida on the cusp of summer, full of birdsong and the scent of warming pavement.

“Beautiful morning,” I said, as if I cared.

“Afternoon,” Gus said, his voice a low rumbly growl, the product of too many cigarettes and whiskeys in his happily misspent youth. He stood outside the tiny apartment my mother and I rented from him for the past two years and eyed me. “Still mopin’, girl?”

He had shown up on my doorstep every day since the firing with the same question.

Adhering to our new routine, I answered the same way I always did, except this time I didn’t bother pasting on a fake smile to accompany the words.

“Nope. Not my style.”

“‘Scuse me.” His tone was as dry as the month he was named for. “Forgot you’ve been hidin’ in the apartment, tap dancing with glee.”

I met his gaze. “For hours at a time. Any complaints about the noise?”

He clicked a nicotine pellet against tobacco stained teeth and kept his silence. I regretted my sarcasm. In my forbidden childhood game of describing people in colors, I would have painted Gus early-morning-yellow, the shade of the summer sun before the friendly sheltering coolness of night gave way to the brutal heat of day.

The description would have horrified him.

“How are the treatments going?”

He grunted. “They tell me I ain’t gonna croak this week.”

“Glad to hear it. You might want to keep your distance from me, though. I’m jinxed.”

Gus shook his head. “You gotta get over them fools, girl.”

“That’s no way to talk about my former bosses.” Especially since I looked at the real fool in the mirror each morning. I had believed dedication, loyalty, and hard work were appreciated by the partners of Slezia + Fyne, CPA, PA.

Ha, ha.

“Anyway, I am over them. Way over.”

“Yeah?” He was not convinced. “You over the suit, too?”

“Sure am.” Once again, I stuck with our new routine and gave him the same answer I always did. “I have moved on.”

Once again, the lie carried the bitter taste of betrayal. The suit was Scott Piper, former co-worker, fiancé, and man of my dreams. The suit dumped me the day of the firing.

Gus snorted. “Funny how much movin’ on resembles standing around feeling sorry for yourself.”

In my opinion, wallowing in self-pity was marginally more mature than throwing a temper tantrum. Even if it hadn’t been, I didn’t have the energy for a tantrum. I barely had the energy to maintain my half of the daily conversation with Gus.

“Have you been watching that big bald guy on television again?”

He stuck out his chin. “Don’t get smart. You know I’m right. You’re mopin’.”

“Only because I can’t tap dance.”

He was right. In the eight months since my mother’s death, I had slogged through an ever-darkening morass of the malady Gus called moping, and what his favorite celebrity psychologist might consider the early stages of depression. The firing and the accompanying fallout shoved me even closer to the edge of a black abyss.

My moping was self-absorbed, given the burdens others faced, but what could I say? One woman’s detour was another’s stop sign.

“You ought to call your girl pal, that one you worked with. What’s her name? Sarah? Have you heard from her?”

No. And I didn’t want to hear from her, much less call her.

I shook my head.

“Your ma would have been annoyed with you.”

A lump in my throat closed off my voice and I could only nod. He was right about that too. My irrepressible mother believed in taking the positive approach to life. To her, saying negative words or thinking negative thoughts was the same as asking them to come true. She had little patience for pity parties.

Focus on your strengths, Fae, and always keep moving.

My ability to follow her advice vanished with her death. I was slowly turning into the type of recluse the Japanese call hikikomori. Even the simple task of cleaning out Mom’s bedroom was beyond me.

“So? You gonna open the letter?” Gus asked.

I turned over the envelope in my hand.

Heavy, officious, dirty white, and mildly threatening, the envelope shrieked of the intimidation perfected by lawyers and the Internal Revenue Service and jolted me right out of my apathy. My breath hitched in my throat.

Had Gary Slezia and Richard Fyne gone back on their word? Had they decided to forego their distaste for publicity and press charges against me?


Mother/daughter author duo HL Carpenter write family-friendly fiction from their studios in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like their stories, is unreal but not untrue. When they’re not writing, they enjoy exploring the Land of What-If and practicing the fine art of Curiosity. Visit their website to enjoy gift reads and excerpts and to find out what’s happeni
ng in Carpenter Country.

Stay connected on Twitter, Pinterest, Linkedin, Google+, GoodReads,
and their Amazon Author Page.

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Wednesday Special Spotlight

Shares

Maggie’s Montana

Blurb:

Maggie Abernathy, best friend Judy, and Judy’s two young sons travel cross country to visit John McIntyre and daughter Chloe at their Montana ranch. Maggie’s convinced herself that she’s only making the trip to fulfill her promise to visit Chloe, but once there she can’t help but fall in love with the horses, the land, the ranch, and the Montana ways of life. With Chloe’s loving antics, Winston’s gift, and a handful of wranglers showing her the ropes, will Maggie have the heart to say goodbye?

 Maggie’s Montana Praise:

“Guaranteed to touch your heart. . .Maggie’s Montana is a must read for women’s fiction lovers. Linda Bradley’s writing sings in this beautifully crafted, warm and funny story about the bonds of love and friendship.”Kim Boykin, author of The Wisdom of Hair and Palmetto Moon

“Linda Bradley’s distinct voice draws you in as her misfit cast of characters wrap around your heart and take you home.”Roni Hall, author of Montana Wild

Maggie's Montana cover

 

Excerpt: Chapter 2

(Maggie and best friend, Judy and Judy’s two boys have just arrived at the 617 Ranch to see eight year-old Chloe McIntyre, her father, John and grandfather, Winston.)

Judy sat beside me on the porch.

“I can’t believe how beautiful Montana is. So worth the drive.” Judy rolled up the sleeves of her T-shirt. “Don’t need a farmer’s tan.”

Smirking at my goofy friend, I sat in awe of the land’s grandeur. This was God’s country. Lazy mares grazed near the pond. A river flowed along the property line in the distance. The babbling creek near the house swept my thoughts away. Leaning back in my chair, I took a deep breath. “Thanks for coming with me,” I said. “I love your boys.”

“Thanks for letting me tag along. This is an incredible opportunity for the kids. Besides, I want to see how things pan out with you and John.”

Judy’s smirk was incorrigible as I stared at her from under my lashes. “You’re supposed to be my friend.”

“I am.” She put up her hands like she was surrendering. “I’m just saying. You two go together like peanut butter and jelly. Everyone can see it except you two.”

Exhaling, I raised my eyebrow at her. John’s dad walked toward us. Chloe was right. Winston Ludlow McIntyre had the perfect name for this kind of living. His moustache twitched as our gazes met, his love for his ranch flickered in his eyes. He clapped his leather gloves together as he approached. He was all cowboy, tall, broad, and stealth. “Hi there.” I gave a little wave, my eyes peering past him at the kids who were tossing pebbles into the creek. Walter’s curly black mop-top held my attention.

“Glad you made it.” Winston gave a nod. “Nice to see you again,” he said to Judy.

“Likewise,” she responded. “Thank you for letting us stay with you. You have an incredible place here.”

The corner of his mouth lifted. “Wasn’t always like this. Wish John’s mother was here to see the place now.”

Winston’s expression reminded me of a story John had told about his mom one night while we nursed beers in the moonlight before he and Chloe left for the ranch. Her love for the land and the animals ran just as deep as his father’s. A chill ran down my spine. “I’m sure she’s proud.”

“Did John show you ladies around?” Winston asked.

“Yes,” Judy answered. “We met Chloe’s lame bird, Frankie and I believe we were introduced to a pony named Huckleberry.”

Winston chuckled as he stepped onto the porch. The fringe of his chaps swayed with his stride. “She’s pretty attached to that bird. She’s going to wake up some morning and it’s gonna be gone.”

“You think it’ll fly away?” I asked.

“Either that or it’ll be dinner for some critter that finds its way into the barn.”

I grimaced. “Didn’t think about that.”

Walter skipped over to the porch.
“Howdy partner,” Winston said, giving him a tap on the shoulder.
Walter waved as he looked up into Winston’s eyes, then he fluffed the fringe on Winston’s chaps. “You sure are big. Thanks for letting me come to your ranch. It’s cool.” He shaded his eyes from the sun and smiled a thin, irresistible grin before climbing into his momma’s lap.

“We don’t get many visitors. Just glad you could make it.”

Walter gave Winston a thumbs-up. Judy wrapped her arms around her son and held him close. Bradley’d been a momma’s boy growing up, too. It seemed like yesterday that I’d held him like Judy held Walter. Walter closed his eyes and whispered, “Do you think I’m a baby?”

“No.” Judy stroked his hair.

“Will you tell Harry I’m not a baby? Please?” Walter rested his hand on Judy’s arm, their dark summer skin tan and smooth.

“Yes, darling. I will.” Walter smiled and nodded off.

“He’s pooped,” Judy said. “Me, too.”

“We could have flown,” I said, taking a deep breath.

Judy chimed in. “And miss out on seeing the country. No way.”

The airline ticket that Winston slid into my mail slot last spring sat on my dresser, back home. A twinge of guilt nudged me. Now that we’d driven, what was I going to do with his generous gift? By the expression on his face, he didn’t seem to mind that I hadn’t cashed it in.

“It’s important for kids to see the country, their country.” Winston settled into the rocking chair next to mine. It creaked as he rocked back and forth. “Chloe’s been giving her daddy a fuss about not wanting to move, but she sure does fit here.” Winston focused on his granddaughter in the distance as he rubbed his whiskery chin.

I studied Winston’s profile, thinking he was a man contemplating a future with an eight-year-old on his heels. “She sure does look like she’s having fun.” I glanced over to Judy. Her eyes closed as she rocked Walter. It’d been a long haul. The corner of my lip curled up as Chloe held one of the barn cats, its legs flopped, its ears back, and their noses touching. She sauntered across the lawn and up the stairs to the porch.

 

Links:

Amazon Link to Montana Bound Series: http://amzn.to/2dfXPTK

Linda Bradley Website: http://www.lindabradleyauthor.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/LBradleyAuthor/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LBradleyAuthor

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6498473.Linda_Bradley

 

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Friday Features

Welcomes

Linda Bradley

Author of

Maggie’s Way

 

Linda Bradley shares with us a little behind the story, story. Take it away Linda:

When Maggie and Chloe came to life, so did I. It was the year I found my voice, determined to share their story. It was the year I battled cancer, began a new marriage, and discovered that with a little faith dreams can come true. I met Debby Gilbert, owner and editor at Soul Mate Publishing at a Greater Detroit Romance Writers meeting. When she heard my pitch for Maggie’s Way, her words stayed with me. This one will speaker to readers. –Debby Gilbert

This whole process has been one big circle of Karma. Everything from Jane Porter emails, sending notes back and forth with Claire Cook, then meeting Lori Nelson Spielman and discovering quite by accident we have a most beloved mutual friend has been a whirlwind.

An inspirational card that hangs near my desk reminds me to persevere as I read, hammer out ideas, make connections, and start over, again, and again. The author is unknown, but it reads, If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it. 

I believe!

Linda Bradley

20150605 LB_MaggiesWay_400x600 (1) (1)

Maggie’s Way: Women’s Fiction

 

Blurb:

Middle-aged, Maggie Abernathy just wants to recuperate from cancer during the solitude of summer vacation after a tiresome year of teaching second grade. Maggie’s plans are foiled when precocious seven-year-old, Chloe McIntyre moves in next door with her dad, John. Maggie’s life changes in a way she could never imagine when the pesky new neighbors steal her heart. With Maggie’s grown son away, her ex-husband in the shadows, her meddling mother’s unannounced visits, and Chloe McIntyre on her heels, somehow Maggie’s empty house becomes home again.

Tag Line: “Sometimes you have to lose your way to find yourself.” –L. Bradley

Cover quotes:

“Linda Bradley’s fresh voice will keep readers riveted from beginning to end. Bradley delivers a heart-warming story full of disarming honesty and beautiful drama…This one stands out!” –Jane Porter  New York Times and USA Today best selling author

Author Review:

“Maggie’s Way is a heart-warming tale of love and loss, fear and friendship. With charming characters and a moving plot, Linda Bradley’s lovely debut gently reminds is that it’s never too late for second chances.” –Lori Nelson Spielman, International Best Seller, Author of “The Love List” and “Sweet Forgiveness”

Bio:

Linda BradleyLinda’s inspiration comes from her favorite authors and life itself. Her women’s fiction highlights characters that peel away outer layers of life to discover the heart of their dreams with some unexpected twists and turns along the way. Her writing integrates humor found in everyday situations, as well as touching moments that make readers connect with her characters. Maggie’s Way is her debut novel, in her Montana Bound Series. She is currently working on Maggie’s Fork in the Road and Maggie’s Montana.

Linda has an Associates Degree in Interior Design and a Master’s Degree in Reading and Language Arts with undergraduate work in Elementary Education and Fine Arts. She wrote and illustrated a children’s book titled, The Hunter for her Master’s Degree. Linda is a member of RWA, as well as the Greater Detroit Chapter of RWA.

Linda has two grown sons, lives with her husband, and rescue dog in Royal Oak, Michigan.

 

You can follow her on:

Twitter: @LBradleyAuthor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Linda-Bradley/389688594534105

Website: http://www.lindabradleyauthor.com/

Buy Link now available:

http://amzn.com/B00ZSOX4BA

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