Friday, September 16, 2016

To Everything There is a Season

My life right now is going in about 360 different directions. Everything is in an upheaval and all I really want to do is run away and change my identity. Of course that isn't possible, so I guess I'll try to power through, with help from the heavens and my family and friends.

In seventh grade, long long ago when teacher still made you learn cursive writing and recess was an hour of kick ball and jumping rope, we were made to learn a poem; Robert Frost's "The Road Not Taken". Even now it stirs of feelings of where did I make the wrong turn, whose council did I miss?

As we fly rapidly through these last days of summer, think not of things ending, but of things returning. For everything is a circle, there is a time to every purpose.  Enjoy my friends.

The Road Not Taken
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

Robert Frost

Have a safe weekend everyone. See you in the fall!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Life Happened...

I looked at my blog to see what my last post was about and realized, I've let the whole summer go by without keeping up. That happens sometimes. I have a habit of letting life interrupt my writing. I wish I were as prolific as some of my friends. They can turn out a book a month, while my current pace is one a year.

I wish I didn't judge myself against other writers, but I think that is human nature. We start looking at others to inspire ourselves, and then allow their accomplishments to sink our own ambitions instead of driving us to work harder.

Summer is almost gone, and I've written very little since May. Sure I've edited a couple of books for friends, and we've had three family members pass away, but nothing new on paper for several weeks. In short, I feel empty.

The people are still in my head, the stories are still percolating but opening the file never seems to happen. Even now, as I complain about me I'm watching the Olympics and surfing You Tube. The icon for my word processor mocks me every time I stare at the screen.

Am I being too hard on myself? After all it's hard to write in the summer, what with the longer days making everyone miserable. Or am I letting dissatisfaction in other areas of my life to take control. Maybe my mid-life crisis is starting now, since people are living longer it's a thought.

One I thing I do know is I cannot force myself to write. The children do not like to be forced. The last time that happened, I killed off one of my favorite characters. I buried that chapter and promised everyone I'd never fail them again. But here I go, failing.

Everyone has a pity party once in a while, and this appears to be mine. I promise not to let it last too long. There's the promo to gear up for my next release - "Welcome to the Family", and sequels to write and new characters to explore.

I just think I'll wait until the temps drop below 80.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Things My Father Taught Me

My father passed away when I was only 29. My son has few memories of him, and my daughter has none but I tell them his stories every chance I get. My father was a unique individual, and I miss him more every thing I thing about how long he has been gone.

Walter was born in Allentown, New Jersey in August 1923. He grew up on our family's farm until going away to college in St. Louis at the age of 16. After receiving his degree in Aeronautic Engineering he joined the Army Air Corp, forerunner of the Air Force.

My dad was a man of many talents. He was a math genius who shook his head at my inability to grasp the concept of word problems. None of us inherited our parent's math talents, much to his never ending amusement. His voice was beautiful, a pure baritone and he taught me how to sing harmony before melody, a skill which I have treasured throughout the years.

He sang with a Barbershop Quartet, and loved to act on stage. That's how he met my mother, through a play production. They met in April and married in July. It was 1944, and they married on the army base in Lubbock Texas in a heat wave that waiver daily over 100 degrees. My mother and grandmother walked from the front gate to the chapel (about one mile) in heels and a linen suit. Their wedding dinner was an all you can eat spaghetti dinner at the hotel in town.

After the war he went to work for Capital Air Lines. In those heady first days of aviation, at the smaller markets where he started, Daddy would write your ticket, check in your luggage, direct the plane to the gate, push up the stairs, unseal the door, help people deplane, unload the luggage on the arriving plane, load the departing luggage, check you in at the gate, assist with boarding, seal the door, remove the steps and help push the plane from the gate. Those were the days.

Though he walked away from the farming life our family lived since they came to America in 1600s, he never stopped putting his hands in the dirt. He always planted a garden and working outside in our family was not optional. From when I was small and picked up sticks and pine cones until I left home at 18 for college, if it was Saturday morning, we were in the yard. I even graduated to using the lawn mower when I was 14. Yay.

He contracted a staph infection in his blood in 1982 and spent 9 months in intensive care in a coma. He came home a changed man, and the next nine years were a mixture of thankfulness for the time we were given, and grief for the strong protector I knew as my father. His body failed him on a daily basis but his mind never ceased its keen wit or treasure-trove of trivia.  He still did crossword puzzles, but in large print. He watched cooking show after cooking show, especially when on a feeding tube, so he would know what he wanted my mother to cook.

He watched from the window in his room as my sister married in the waiting room of ICU, and sat in his wheelchair in our living room four years later when I married my hubby. He held all of his grandchildren save my youngest, who I think he sent to me as a gift. She's so much like him.

On this Father's Day I miss his strength. I miss his laughter. I miss his humor and the million small things we used to laugh over in those wee small hours of the morning when we would both arrive home from work. I miss our political discussions and often wonder what he would think about the state of things today.

I miss him everyday, and wish I could discuss things like we used to But as long as I remember, and pass that along to the new generations, he's still with us.

Happy Father's day everyone.

Monday, May 16, 2016

POETRY MONDAY - A New Way to Start the Week!

Good Monday everyone!

Have you ever awoken with a song or piece of literature running through your mind, even though you may not understand why?
That's how I felt this morning when T. S. Eliot's poem, "The Love Song of Alfred J. Prufrock" spinning circle in my head. I haven't read this poem since high school (maybe college) and I cannot at this moment figure why it is here.
But until I do, I designate this as Poetry Monday, and here is my first offering:

The Love Song of Alfred J. Prufrock"
by T. S. Eliot

Let us go then, you and I, 
When the evening is spread out against the sky 
Like a patient etherized upon a table; 
Let us go, through certain half-deserted streets, 
The muttering retreats 
Of restless nights in one-night cheap hotels 
And sawdust restaurants with oyster-shells: 
Streets that follow like a tedious argument 
Of insidious intent 
To lead you to an overwhelming question ... 
Oh, do not ask, “What is it?” 
Let us go and make our visit. 

In the room the women come and go 
Talking of Michelangelo. 

The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes, 
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes, 
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening, 
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains, 
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys, 
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap, 
And seeing that it was a soft October night, 
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep. 

And indeed there will be time 
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street, 
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes; 
There will be time, there will be time 
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet; 
There will be time to murder and create, 
And time for all the works and days of hands 
That lift and drop a question on your plate; 
Time for you and time for me, 
And time yet for a hundred indecisions, 
And for a hundred visions and revisions, 
Before the taking of a toast and tea. 

In the room the women come and go 
Talking of Michelangelo. 

And indeed there will be time 
To wonder, “Do I dare?” and, “Do I dare?” 
Time to turn back and descend the stair, 
With a bald spot in the middle of my hair — 
(They will say: “How his hair is growing thin!”) 
My morning coat, my collar mounting firmly to the chin, 
My necktie rich and modest, but asserted by a simple pin — 
(They will say: “But how his arms and legs are thin!”) 
Do I dare 
Disturb the universe? 
In a minute there is time 
For decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse. 

For I have known them all already, known them all: 
Have known the evenings, mornings, afternoons, 
I have measured out my life with coffee spoons; 
I know the voices dying with a dying fall 
Beneath the music from a farther room. 
               So how should I presume? 

And I have known the eyes already, known them all— 
The eyes that fix you in a formulated phrase, 
And when I am formulated, sprawling on a pin, 
When I am pinned and wriggling on the wall, 
Then how should I begin 
To spit out all the butt-ends of my days and ways? 
               And how should I presume? 

And I have known the arms already, known them all— 
Arms that are braceleted and white and bare 
(But in the lamplight, downed with light brown hair!) 
Is it perfume from a dress 
That makes me so digress? 
Arms that lie along a table, or wrap about a shawl. 
               And should I then presume? 
               And how should I begin? 

Shall I say, I have gone at dusk through narrow streets 
And watched the smoke that rises from the pipes 
Of lonely men in shirt-sleeves, leaning out of windows? ... 

I should have been a pair of ragged claws 
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas. 

And the afternoon, the evening, sleeps so peacefully! 
Smoothed by long fingers, 
Asleep ... tired ... or it malingers, 
Stretched on the floor, here beside you and me. 
Should I, after tea and cakes and ices, 
Have the strength to force the moment to its crisis? 
But though I have wept and fasted, wept and prayed, 
Though I have seen my head (grown slightly bald) brought in upon a platter, 
I am no prophet — and here’s no great matter; 
I have seen the moment of my greatness flicker, 
And I have seen the eternal Footman hold my coat, and snicker, 
And in short, I was afraid. 

And would it have been worth it, after all, 
After the cups, the marmalade, the tea, 
Among the porcelain, among some talk of you and me, 
Would it have been worth while, 
To have bitten off the matter with a smile, 
To have squeezed the universe into a ball 
To roll it towards some overwhelming question, 
To say: “I am Lazarus, come from the dead, 
Come back to tell you all, I shall tell you all”— 
If one, settling a pillow by her head 
               Should say: “That is not what I meant at all; 
               That is not it, at all.” 

And would it have been worth it, after all, 
Would it have been worth while, 
After the sunsets and the dooryards and the sprinkled streets, 
After the novels, after the teacups, after the skirts that trail along the floor— 
And this, and so much more?— 
It is impossible to say just what I mean! 
But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen: 
Would it have been worth while 
If one, settling a pillow or throwing off a shawl, 
And turning toward the window, should say: 
               “That is not it at all, 
               That is not what I meant, at all.” 

No! I am not Prince Hamlet, nor was meant to be; 
Am an attendant lord, one that will do 
To swell a progress, start a scene or two, 
Advise the prince; no doubt, an easy tool, 
Deferential, glad to be of use, 
Politic, cautious, and meticulous; 
Full of high sentence, but a bit obtuse; 
At times, indeed, almost ridiculous— 
Almost, at times, the Fool. 

I grow old ... I grow old ... 
I shall wear the bottoms of my trousers rolled. 

Shall I part my hair behind?   Do I dare to eat a peach? 
I shall wear white flannel trousers, and walk upon the beach. 
I have heard the mermaids singing, each to each. 

I do not think that they will sing to me. 

I have seen them riding seaward on the waves 
Combing the white hair of the waves blown back 
When the wind blows the water white and black. 
We have lingered in the chambers of the sea 
By sea-girls wreathed with seaweed red and brown 
Till human voices wake us, and we drown.

Enjoy the rest of your week, and I will have a new poem for next Monday. Until then, Wear the bottoms of your trousers rolled!

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Cover Reveal - Welcome to the Family

I'm very proud to present the cover of my newest book
Published by the Wild Rose Press

Available Soon!

Raised in a dysfunctional family, Cassandra Devlyn Ferguson has tried to leave the past behind and carve out a new life with her husband, former Black Ops specialist, Sean Ferguson. Her family’s shady business dealings never involved her, and she intends to keep it that way.Sean wants nothing more than to be a devoted, loving husband. But his new job sends him to the frontlines at some of the world’s most dangerous spots. For years he’s blamed his Irish wanderlust for the risks, but the truth is – he enjoys the rush of adrenaline danger brings. When the Devlyn family’s mistakes come looking for Cassie, it’s up to Sean to bring her home safely. The one positive? Cassie knows all about her family’s true nature and is willing to walk away from everything to stay with him. The negative? Someone wants them dead and will stop at nothing to keep all the skeletons in the closet

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Authors After Dark 2016 - Savannah Georgia

This August, if you love romance in all its many genre, Savannah is the place to be! Not only will there be a plethora of amazing authors all hanging around, sharing about their books via readings and panels, as well as hosting some of the funnest games and parties you could every want to partake of.

Authors After Dark is presented by Stella Price and her fabulous team at Romance Ink, Inc. More than 40 authors (best selling as well as debut) are attending AND Best Selling Author Sherrilyn Kenyon will be releasing her newest novel during the event!

We are planning water park trips, a trampoline park, shopping trip, field trip to our charity shelter in nearby Beaufort SC, readings in dozens of genres, discussion panels - the list goes on and on. Not mention luncheons and dinners, including a Fantasy Bell on Saturday night.

There are more events than I have listed here, but honestly? I cannot remember them all. Looking for a fun vacation in a great location with some amazing people? Check it out!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

A Sneak Preview of "Welcome to the Family"

Soon, I will be revealing (and hopefully releasing!) my newest novel, Welcome to the Family, the first book in the Family Devlyn series. I've been working on this book for a while, and am so pleased with the way it ended up. The characters are amazing to work with, and book two is already lining up quite well.

WELCOME TO THE FAMILY is published by The Wild Rose Press, to whom I am immensely indebted. 

Kidnapping, murder, extortion - it's just another Thanksgiving to the Devlyn family


Raised in a dysfunctional family, Cassandra Devlyn Ferguson has tried to leave the past behind and carve out a new life with her husband, former Black Ops specialist, Sean Ferguson. Her family’s shady business dealings never involved her, and she intends to keep it that way.Sean wants nothing more than to be a devoted, loving husband. But his new job sends him to the front lines at some of the world’s most dangerous spots. For years he’s blamed his Irish wanderlust for the risks, but the truth is – he enjoys the rush of adrenaline danger brings. When the Devlyn family’s mistakes come looking for Cassie, it’s up to Sean to bring her home safely. The one positive? Cassie knows all about her family’s true nature and is willing to walk away from everything to stay with him. The negative? Someone wants them dead and will stop at nothing to keep all the skeletons in the closet.


Thanksgiving, 6:00 a.m. - London

The phone rang, its incessant chirp interrupting Sean Ferguson’s restless sleep. Opening one bleary eye, he managed to focus on the bedside clock. Six a.m. The cheerful red numbers blazed into his brain, as the phone ceased its happy trill, unaware of the king-sized hangover Sean was discovering, courtesy of a night spent drinking through heavy denial. The cell sounded off again. Someone wanted him urgently enough to risk breaking his number one rule: never call twice. Leave a friggin’ voice mail like the rest of the world.
Angrily he stabbed at the answer button. “This had better be important,” he hissed into the phone. His head pounded with a heartbeat of its own and his mouth tasted like a sewer had backed up into it. Swallowing hard he focused on the voice wafting out of the speaker.
“Trust me, I wouldn’t bother you unless I had no other option. And a Good Morning to you too, asshole,” a familiar voice answered immediately. “Cassie is missing, kidnapped last night in Atlanta. The family wants to use your team to bring her home with as little attention as possible.”
Sean rolled onto his back as his bloodshot red eyes attempted to focus on the ceiling. His heart pounded with fear, which he tried to calm with controlled breathing. “Details, Kevin, I need details.”
Kevin Devlyn, his former military training showing in the precise clipped tone with which he recited what was known, laid down the kidnapping as the police had determined, “Midnight in Atlanta. Cassie was headed home from an event at the Artmore Hotel near Midtown. Witnesses saw her enter the Arts Center train station to catch a MARTA train home. She never made it to ya’ll’s apartment near Georgia Tech. The security system hasn’t been disarmed since Wednesday afternoon when Cassie arrived from the lab. Security video from the building’s lobby shows her leave at seven, dressed to go out. Since then, silence, other than what the security cameras at the MARTA station caught. The film is at the police station. They haven’t released anything to us, but everyone’s certain it was a kidnapping. They left a fracking wall-sized ransom note, we do know that. Whoever did it, they’re pros.”
“Send me everything,” Sean demanded. “Book the corporate jet from Heathrow to Atlanta and I’ll have my firm make sure a car is waiting. We should arrive to the house by lunch your time.”
“Thanks for this. You know I wouldn’t have asked if it wasn’t Cassie.” Kevin’s words sounded earnest, but Sean learned a long time ago that the truth and Kevin Devlyn were not always acquainted with one another.
“No problem mate, just keep me in the loop while I’m in the air. I hate landing to bad news.” Sean clicked off and jumped out of bed, only to be blinded as his hangover caught up with him at last. Grimacing, he stomped to the kitchen, opened the small refrigerator and grabbed a bottle of water. This wasn’t at all the way he planned to spend the American holiday. Hiding out in London, where Thanksgiving was a quaint celebration, it didn’t bother him too much to be alone. To know Cassie was taken from a night out in Atlanta smacked pain deep inside his gut. She’d been at home. Their home. And he hadn’t known.
But now, she was kidnapped and her family wanted him to get her back. Pretty damn funny considering the big bucks they’d offered him a year ago to sign the damn divorce papers and go away. As if money was ever his motivator. He and Cassie made a deal and Sean always honored his side, even when it seemed his lovely bride went out of her way to avoid him. That was neither here or there. It wasn’t his fault the rest of the world had a problem with their marriage arrangements.
Shaking off the cobwebs, he ran through his mental checklist – passports, briefcase or overnight case? Better take the beige duffle; it had the full med kit. Flying international meant no guns, but they could run out to the Glock offices and see what they had new and untraceable. Of course, he could also run by the condo/office downtown that comprised the American headquarters of Ferguson/Callahan Security, Ltd. The gun room there was fully stocked with many of his personal favorites.
After running through the shower, Sean grabbed his satellite phone and pressed speed dial two, the letter ‘C’. One ring and the call went straight to voice mail. Her voice, that sensual alto with the genteel, debutant, Southern Belle accent reached out to snare him again more than four thousand miles away. “This is Dr. Cassandra Devlyn Ferguson. I’m away from my phone right now, or busy in the lab. Please leave your name, number, and a brief message and I’ll return your call soon. If this is Sean,  Tá mo chroí istigh ionat.” 
My heart is within yours, their favorite way of saying goodbye. 
Even now, thinking about those blissful wintery days spent at his loft apartment in Shannon brought a grin to his lips. Watching the rain outside turn to snow, drinking whiskey, making love and trying to teach her Gaelic, the memories were priceless. Her southern accent somehow managed to make the rough Irish tongue sound sexy. He leaned his forehead against the window overlooking Hyde Park, swearing revenge on whatever idiot thought kidnapping the wife of an international mercenary was a good idea.
His next call was to his business associate in Atlanta. Joseph Callahan grew up in the city’s West End section, in those fading days of glory between when the neighborhood was a desirable place to live, and the decay which seemed to pervade so much of that area now. After graduating magna cum laude from Morehouse College, a tour of duty in Iraq left Callahan with talents that didn’t exactly translate well to civilian life: munitions expert, explosives, sniper. Sean met Joe one night at a bar in Miami. Each had been hired through a mutual friend to guard the same big wheel. The night ended with the two partnering up. Sean provided the clients. Joe hired the muscle and ran operations from their Atlanta downtown office/penthouse while finishing his law degree at Emory University.
Callahan answered the call at once. “Sean, I’ve had a very interesting phone call from your brother-in-law. Am I to assume you also had the same interesting discussion?”
“Indeed, my brother, indeed.” Sean grimaced. “What time does the jet leave for the States?”
“An hour and a half.” Joe’s voice was efficient, determined. “The driver will be there for you in twenty minutes. Anything you need other than a passport, we have on this end, so don’t worry about traveling light.”
“Excellent. What about weapons? Will it be possible to bring my case along?” Sean finished throwing socks, underwear and jeans into an overnight duffle bag. He opened one inside pocket to pull out a locked titanium ring box. It was there, just where it always traveled. He replaced it gingerly. Their wedding rings, which he had possession of, were always in his duffle when they were on a down slide. Cassie was notorious for losing things.
“I’ve managed to stockpile some of your favorites, boss. I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Reservations at the Ritz as usual?” Joe always thought one step ahead. Sean liked that. It increased the odds both of them would stay alive.
“I suppose, I’m not sure where the trail will lead us but the Ritz is always a good place to start. See you soon, brother!” Sean clicked off and finished dressing.
Within two hours, he was winging his way over the Atlantic. Repeated calls to Cassie’s phone still went straight to voice mail but at seven am, Atlanta time, Sean left a message at last.
“This is Ferguson. You have our attention. I don’t know why you took her, and as long as she isn’t harmed I don’t care. But you injure one hair on her head, and you will never be able to run far enough away from me.”
Sitting on the Devlyn jet, Sean closed his eyes and tried to get a nap before landing. He’d no idea what type of shit he was walking into, both from the kidnappers as well as the cesspool of idiots that passed for his wife’s family. He groaned to himself as he drifted off to sleep, frustrated with his in-laws, and wondering what was coming next. If he’d only known what he was getting into that first night they met. He could still picture that Memorial Day seven years ago, when he’d met Kevin Devlyn while consulting on a communication project with the Navy. At the annual officer’s barbecue and dance at the Pensacola Air station, feeling very left out and a little homesick for his native Ireland, Sean spotted a beautiful girl talking with the base commander. She must have felt him staring, because as he gaped at her, she lifted her head and stared right back.
The instant their eyes locked, a zing ran up Sean’s spine and straight to his heart. She was breathtakingly beautiful. Medium height, with long black hair and deep, cornflower blue eyes, almond shaped and intelligent, she met his frank stare with a touch of humor in her expression. In that instant, the hardened soldier melted. Making his way across the commander’s back yard, Sean grabbed an extra glass of white wine.
He approached Cassie as she turned to leave. “I’ve heard ‘Wine brings great pleasure, and all pleasure is good.’ Or so sayeth Samuel Johnson. So, take your pleasure, my lovely lady.”
Taking the proffered glass, she tried so hard to keep a straight face. “Is that an Irish accent I detect? Because I must confess, it sounds like blarney of the highest sort. Thank you so much Mr. …?”
“Ferguson. The name’s Sean Ferguson.” He took her right hand and brought it up to his lips. “It is indeed a pleasure to meet you, Miss Devlyn.” His skin tingled where they were connected.
She cocked her head to one side. “How did you know who I am?”
With a straight face, Sean looked her in the eyes. “For one thing, my dear Miss Devlyn, I know your brother, Kevin. He’s informed me on more than one occasion that his sister is the most beautiful creature on earth. Who else would that be, except you?”
Her peals of laughter told him he had a chance. They spent the rest of the evening talking. When the sun rose the next day and found them standing beside her car in the parking lot still together, both admitted it was more than coincidence. They spent the entire day testing this new dynamic and by the next morning they vowed to never be apart.

It was her smile; he’d decided long ago. When she smiled, he saw a future with a wife and beautiful dark haired children riding fat ponies across the Irish countryside, the same way he and his sisters had done. Those lives didn’t always exist in his line of work. At that time in his life, Sean was Special Forces, a trained mercenary sent traveling wherever he was needed to manage mayhem and chaos. When the project in Florida was through, Sean took a leave of absence from his post to explore this new life with Cassie.

Sounds great, right! I think everyone will love this story. Set in contemporary Atlanta and Seattle areas, I will be running a contest when this one releases.