Best book this week – A Noble Masquerade Kristi Ann Hunter

A Noble Masquerade was my favorite this week, but really, all of the books in this list were top notch. I think maybe it was the humor that put this one ahead of the rest, probably because I needed a laugh right about now.

A Noble Masquerade  Hawthorne House Series – A Noble Masquerade book 1 – Kristi Ann Hunter …..  This one was my favorite, it was so good I had to tear myself away from it when duty called (read that – when caught reading while neglecting responsibilities).

One of the best things was the dry humor, some scenes almost had me rolling on the floor, it was great. Humor wasn’t intended to be the main attraction though, just an added bonus. The unconventional characters and unexpected plot twists were the main attraction.

This book has intrigue, romance, sibling rivalry, and most importantly –  lessons in deportment. 😉 It was a fun read, I loved it.

 

murder in mind  Sloane Monroe Mystery – Murder in Mind book 2 – Cheryl Bradshaw ….. A thriller…. the body of a woman has turned up in a super market parking lot, and inestigators are convinced evidence points to the reemergence of a serial  killer.

Sloane has solved all of her previous cases but one, that of her sister’s murder, and this one looks like it was committed by her sister’s killer, he’s back.  He is brilliant, meticulous, leaving no clues. Can she rise to the challenge and outsmart him.

This book was a page turner. Another favorite.

Unintended Consequesnces  A Jack Turner Suspense Novel – Unintended Consequences book 3 – Dan Walsh ….. Jack and Rachel planned to spend a few days of their honeymoon visiting his grandmother who has never met Rachel. Jack is called away with emergency work obligations but leaves Rachel behind because he wants her to hear the incredible family story his grandmother has to tell.

It  all happened during the second world war and it’s a miracle any of them lived through it.

These days there seem to be many books written around the theme of WWII, and you would think there would be a sameness about them all, but there isn’t. Probably because there are as many unique stories as there are people in the world and the difference in detail adds a freshness. Authors have done an admirable job of finding something that would set their work apart from all the rest.

This story was worth every moment of reading time. Lest we forget.

Beneath Copper Falls   Rock Harbor Series – Beneath Copper Falls – Colleen Coble ….. This is one of Colleen’s latest releases and it is an excellent book. All of her books are, actually. Colleen is a successful and prolific writer with nearly 4 million books sold. I’m thinking most of you must have read at least one or two of her books, if you haven’t  – I hope you will.

A book description for this story would sound much like others I’ve mentioned recently; escape an abusive husband – relocate and hope to start life over in a safer place. The outlines sound the same but the details are as different and unique as any of our personal stories. Colleen’s stories are always well thought out with a depth that makes them worth reading and this one is a good example of that.

 

The Keeper of the Ring SeriesThe Keepers of the Ring Series – Angela Hunt ….. Angela is another prolific and successful author, on a par with Colleen Coble, both selling in the millions of books. You have probably been exposed to her books as well, but if not I hope you will read some of these too. Their styles are different, so you would enjoy both authors. They both write in several different genres as well, reading their work doesn’t get old.

Angela has a number of historical series, The Keeper of the Ring is one of them. The time frame for this series is the settling of North America, before Columbus. The theory is that he was not the first one to arrive on our shores. There were others before him. This series sets out how that could have happened.

Roanoke, the Lost Colony book 1 …. this is the beginning, with a small number of settlers landing on a inhospitable piece of shoreline. Things do not go well and three children are all that’s left of them. They manage to escape but each of the three are captured by a different group and they don’t see each other again for many years.

Jamestown book 2 ….. the children have become adults, inspite of difficult and unfriendly circumstances. This will be a time of discovery as they cross paths again. This contact revives buried memories of families they once had. Others have come now to join the first settlers and have been a mixed blessing, some more hindrance than help. This book follows the continued journey of the three, their joys and their sorrows.

There are three more to go yet on this so I will be getting back to you with them.

 

The Treacherous Journey  Heart of the Mountains – This Treacherous Journey book 1 – Misty M Beller …. Emma, expecting a baby and afraid she may be arrested. is fleeing with her twin brother after the hanging of her husband for fraud. They are travelling on horseback through treacherous mountain passes when Joseph’s horse loses it’s footng and falls, injuring his rider.

Simeon lives a solitary and primitive life, hiding out in his grief, and is not prepared to receive visitors in need of help, especially with one of them an expectant female. It brings back too many painful memories.

Joseph and Emma are trying to make it to Canada where they feel they will be safe from the possibility of arrest, but with Joseph’s injuries they need Simeon’s help to make the journey. Winter will be settling in soon and time is running out. That’s what Simeon is afraid of, time running out.


I hope there is somehing here to inspire you. Be sure to check out these authors if they are new to you. Or, even if they’re not.

Happy Reading!

Some things need to be talked about

I am convinced there are some things that need to be talked about. There could be a number of reasons for this. Maybe someone shares a similar experience and needs encouragement. Maybe  someone feels lumped in with the abusers and needs reassurance. Maybe someone has the false impression that all abused women hate men and need to know that’s not true. Or, maybe it’s just to help me figure out some things. It could be for any number of reasons that haven’t even occurred to me yet. Whatever the reason, I feel pretty confident there will be some good come out of a discussion.

This post is a continuation of some things I have shared recently, regarding men and my trust issues. Men have been both a blessing and a curse in my life. In spite of the good, I’m still left with trust issues that creep up on me in a way that makes no sense sometimes. Although, maybe it would make sense if I could uncover the old memories triggering these reactions and deal with them somehow.

Today was one of those days. My niece has the sweetest young husband and I met him for the first time. They stayed over night with me as they are travelling back to Western Canada, they were easy to have around. We found lots of interesting things to talk about, it was a great visit. In the morning though, when it was time for them to leave, it was awkward. I wanted to hug them both good bye but I just couldn’t bring myself to initiate a hug with him. I cannot explain to you why that was, there was just something holding me back.

I am still beating myself up over it.

He could have hugged me and I would have responded, but he didn’t know that.

This is an ongoing issue with me, it happens all the time with my son-in-law, whom I love dearly. I want to hug him like I do the rest of the family, but I just can’t. He could hug me but I sense he has some of the same trust issues I do. It seems we end up hugging with a look.

So, getting back to the initial thinking behind this new post.

There is a question I have been asking myself for the last couple of weeks – how can I have empathy and distrust all at the same time? It seems like it should one or the other. Black or white.

For a short while, I was worried there was something emotionally wrong with  me, and that was distressing because I didn’t want it to be true. The concern over this idea was quickly relieved when someone shared a video on Facebook about a five year old brother comforting his little sister. In a flash, it struck a deep cord with me. I realize I learned to love at a very early age, even while I was learning to distrust.

I am the oldest of three with two brothers. There are five years between the oldest and the youngest and there has always been a strong bond between us.  Until now I have never really questioned why that is. I can see that I need to start asking more questions.

When I was thirteen or fourteen, living with my grandparents, I was asked to babysit, briefly, for several families with young babies. These were people I had never met. At the time I wondered why they would consider me, but it didn’t occur to me to question why I felt like I could do the job. Now it occurs to me to ask the question.

Why did I feel confident I could comfort a crying baby or change a dirty diaper? Why did  Grandma have enough confidence to allow me to take the job? There were no babies in our life with her, any experience I had with them would have come from another time.

At this point, looking back on our family dynamics, I can see my mother pressing me into service with my youngest brother. I’m sure Grandma would have been aware of this fact. I have no memory of any of it, but then, I don’t remember a lot of things. It turned out I did indeed know how. I still do.

me and Jax may 2017 WPG

My youngest brother’s great grandson Jax. We’ve just met for the first time (a year ago). His mother took this picture.

There’s more….

Lately, I have been having conversations with my older brother about our life in the early years. He remembers some things I don’t (my mind has buried all of the painful parts) and hearing what he had to say tells me – life was even worse than I imagined. Among other things, he said Dad was not a nice man.

He told me a number of things about those days but there was one story that shook me.

It was about Dad driving on the railroad tracks running behind our property, he was playing chicken with oncoming trains. I had heard these stories for years  and used to laugh, thinking it was something my crazy risk taking father would do. What I didn’t  realize at the time – my brother was with him, scared out of his mind. That’s one of the reasons why Dad did it, it was his perverse way of trying to force this kid to grow some courage. It finally stopped  when my 10 year old brother made up his mind he wasn’t going to let his fear show anymore. I’m horrified Dad would do that to a kid.

We also talked about another time I do remember. It was Dad beating my brother with a piece of hose, in front of all of us. A tool was missing from his work shop and he was convinced it was my brother’s  fault. I can still remember the distress of watching this happen. I could never understand why Mom did nothing to stop it.

One thing I’ve learned, by first hand experience, boys suffer from abuse as deeply as girls. That is the genesis of my soft heart for men, surviving life alongside my brothers, recognizing the pain in their life.

My oldest brother is the reason I’ve left denial behind and have taken ownership of the abusive early years in my life. He adamantly insisted that I must, even if the memories were shadowy and I couldn’t remember the actual events. He wanted to know why I thought I would be the favoured one, to escape abuse.

All three of us have blocked painful memories, but deep inside, we will never forget.

Our story does have a happy ending in spite of the terrible years. All three of us have grown into well adjusted, productive, loving people. We’ve left behind the bitterness and rage. A miracle, really.

One thing I’ve loved about this process of discovery – the heavy load of old baggage seems to grow lighter with each breakthrough experience.

 

 

The ones you hang out with

We were just talking about this today… how easy it is to begin sounding like the people  we hang out with. One of my nieces, and her husband, spent a school year in the Canadian Maritimes where there are regional differences in the way certain words and  letters are pronounced. They were commenting on how, in that short time, they found themselves starting to sound like the locals.

Now they are on their way back home to Western Canada, it will be interesting to see if the changes stick or if they revert back to the old ways. I’m betting on the old ways.

I’m convinced the same thing happens when we read…. we begin to sound like the writers we hang out with. That’s why I like to hang out with the best books I can find. I need all the help and positive influence I can get. Hmmm…. I wonder if it’s possible to learn good grammar by osmosis? Wouldn’t that be nice. 🙂


 

Saving Grace  Fleetwood and Shiels – Saving Grace book 2 – Simon Wood …..  the kidnapper, consumed with teaching parents to take better care of their children, zeros in on a young girl whose family is focused more on the tourist attraction than on her. He has had practice, and with his perfectly executed plan, they leave and no one even notices anything wrong.

When the ransom call comes it goes to a local, struggling, newspaper. The person he asks to speak to is Scott, a reporter who no longer works there because of a previous kidnapping gone wrong. Scott’s family is still recovering from their own trauma, how can he get involved with another one? And why would they ask for him anyway?

 

Lady at Arms  Lady at Arms: a Medieval Romance – Tamara Leigh …. Lizanne Balmaine managed to escape her abuser and run for her life. Now, years later, when she spies her enemy at a neighboring castle, made bold by her new skills and an  overpowering need for revenge, she captures him and locks him in her dungeon. There is something a little off about all of this though, he isn’t exactly as remembered, and the difference escapes her.

Ranulf Randieu is furious at finding himself stripped and chained up in a dungeon, accused of offenses he has no memory of; and the lady refuses to enlighten him. With patience, he manages to turn the tables on her, in this game they are playing, and now she is the captive headed for his castle.

What will her over protective brother do when he comes home to find his sister gone? Has she made a fatal mistake with her rash decision to attempt revenge on her enemy?

 

Homecoming   Sweet Hearts of Sweet Creek – HomeComing – Carolyne Aarsen …. Mark is on a mission to find his partner’s sister for him, he doesn’t know much about her except that she hasn’t been home in years. Things begin to go a little wrong when he tracks her to a bar and his attempt to talk to her enrages her boss. It goes from bad to worse and she finds herself without a job she desperately needs.

Sheryl tries but can’t place Mark in her memory and she isn’t about to trust him or go anywhere with him. Especially not back to the place of bad memories. And she doesn’t even want to know why he is here.

Mark has made a promise that he doesn’t understand but feels compelled to keep. He needs to convince her to go home, even for a few days.

 

Blackstone and the Rendezvous  The Blackstone Detective Series – Blackstone and the Rendezvous with Death book 1 – Sally Spencer/Alan Rustage …. a shabbily dressed young man hurries through the streets realizing  he should have left for home hours ago. It will soon be too dark to find his way and there are footsteps following him. This cannot mean anything good in this part of town.

Inspector Blackstone frowns when he sees a body with the face of a gentleman dressed in the rags of a commoner. Who is he, why is he dressed like this, what could possibly  cause him to be in this part of the city; and why has no one listed him as missing. The handling of this will require special care to find the answers, and Blackstone is out of his element, dealing with gentry.

He gets a break when a young lady comes to his office, concerned about the disappearance of her brother. Now he has to find a way to discretely meet with her high powered family, to discover their secrets.

 

Death of a Dead Man   Juniper Grove Cozy Mystery Death of a Dead Man book 1 – Karin Kaufman …. Rachael is new to town and hasn’t learned all the secrets yet but that is about to change when Julia, her neighbour, crosses the yard to show her the latest headlines in the local newspaper. Julia is upset because the editor is out to get her and doesn’t play fair. Rachel reads the headline George Foster officially declared dead and now she’s puzzled, she was under the impression he was dead. She will be even more puzzled when the man in question suddenly shows up dead in her back yard, and his wife is the prime suspect.

 

Cozy Mysteries Collection  Cozy Mysteries Collection – Home for the Holidays , Road to Savannah, Suite Revenge, Winds of Deception, Lethal Lobster, Magnolia Mansion Mysteries – Hope Callaghan …… This was a fun read. Six books pulled from four of Hope Callaghan’s series, one of them on board a cruise ship. They aren’t book 1 of each series either, which means the reader gets a taste of story progression well into the series. Some are holiday, and some are home themed. They were all good.

Happy Reading! I hope you are finding many good books to hang out with.

 

It’s time to talk about some books

Spring has arrived, the snow is gone, and that means dreaded yard cleanup.  Some of my friends love gardening but for me? ….. I wouldn’t go so far as to use the word love. I do love having pretty gardens though. And I love the feeling of accomplishment when full  garbage bags pile up and clean looks so good.  I love the strength returning to muscles that have had the winter off too. Over all, it’s a win/win situation.

Maintenance I can handle. The hard part is knowing what looks good, when new plants are needed. Manitoba Hydro came through last fall and took out two tall blue spruce trees that were the focal point of my back yard. Now they have to be replaced, but with what? That’s the challenge. Maybe I will learn to like this aspect of gardening too, it could happen.

The up side of stiff muscles from yard cleanup? Extra reading time. When it comes to reading, any excuse works for me.

It has been an excellent week, with many books of the hard to put down variety.

 

Tomorrow's Lullaby Chasing Tomorrow – Tomorrow’s Lullaby book 2 – Lindzee Armstrong ….. Sienna is back in college pursuing music and an entrance into Juilliard, a dream side tracked by an  inopportune pregnancy. Giving her son up for adoption was one of the hardest things she had ever done.

Aaron is conflicted over his place in the family, feeling like an outsider most of the time. Forced Spanish lessons, meant to help him connect with his roots, have only served to widen the gap, also leaving him with a negative attitude toward the birth mother who put him in this uncomfortable position.

Sienna has a secret and Aaron has emotional baggage. Is it possible for their attraction to survive any of this?

Bitter Roots  Bitter Root Mysteries – Bitter Roots book 1 – C.J. Carmichael …… A dead woman has been found on the walkway to the local clinic and after a quick look at the crime scene, the sheriff decides the blame belongs to an unknown outsider.

Zak has taken the job of dispatcher by choice, even though he is underutilized in that position. He has his reasons. And besides, one of the perks of dispatcher – he’s privy to  information he would never see in any other role.

Deputy Black cannot understand his reluctance to take a deputy position. She recognizes his talent and is quick to enlist his help when she sees him taking an interest in some of the areas the Sheriff has bypassed. They hope to uncover the truth. Is this woman dead at the hands of an outsider, or is she dead because of harboured small town secrets? Is the sheriff trying to cover for someone?

Charming the Trouble Maker  Mitchell’s Crossroads – Charming the Trouble Maker book 2 – Pepper Basham …. Dr. Alex Murdoch is demoted to a small town university and he doesn’t expect to have reason to stay any longer than necessary. His natural charming ways come out when he catches a glimpse of beautiful Rainey Mitchell and he thinks this small town job may work out better than he thought.

For her part, the last thing Rainey needs is an arrogant flirt in her life and she tries to put as much distance between them as possible. It sort of works until cutbacks threaten her special program and it seems Alex is the one with the needed skills and connections to help save the project,

Forgotten Coast 1 to 4 Forgotten Coast Florida Suspense Series was my favorite read this week. I liked it because the  characters are complex and well developed, the plot is interesting and unpredictable, and the story doesn’t remind me of any other book I’ve read. The quality of writing is high too. I was hooked and stayed with it until I’d read all four books. The fifth one is from 2016

 

Low Tide Low Tide book 1….. a dead body is discovered on St George’s Island and Lt Maggie Redmond  is distressed to find it’s someone with a past connection to her. It’s been ruled a suicide and she is confident no one, including her boss, knows her secret but she is still worried someone will accuse her of murder. When Gregory’s rich and infamous uncle views her with a sudden and inexplicable interest, the worry increases.

Riptide  Riptide book 2 …. Before Lt Redmond has a chance to solve the cause of death for Gregory Boudreaux the foot of his best friend shows up in a fisherman’s net. It’s looking more and more like Bennett Boudreaux – Gregory’s uncle and the town villain – could be responsible somehow. Maggie is conflicted with this development because, against her better judgement, she is starting to like Bennett. This increases the angst she feels about keeping secrets from the boss she is also starting to like. Sheriff Wyatt Hamilton likes her too and is not happy about her meetings with Boudreaux and the unhealthy rumors they are causing.

what washes up  What Washes Up book 3 ….. Multiple bodies have washed on the beach, appearing to be those of families attempting to reach US shores. The first two murders have yet to be solved and now there are two more murder cases. The second new murder is the body of a man found tied to the mast of a burning boat. The whole situation has turned out to be much bigger than the death of a man and his best friend. The feds have gotten involved and the residents of Apalach are outraged at the thought of all these deaths. Has all of this been part of a bigger Bennett Boudreaux scheme all along?

Ladfall  Landfall book 4. …. Maggie is getting ready to leave town before the hurricane hits, because someone is threatening her family and she is trying to keep them safe. What she doesn’t know is that the threat is coming from an unexpected source and when a stranger shows up at her door she is stunned to find herself and her family hostages of a madman. Even worse, no one will know they are in trouble. They are expected to be on the road already.

In the middle of the madness and her attempts to free herself, the hurricane hits with a vengeance and everything goes sideways. Help in an unexpected form shows up but even that doesn’t go well. Will they be able to survive, or is this the end for them all?

These four books form the foundation for the rest of the series and are best read in sequence. After that, the following books can be read as standalone.

Book 5 showed up on my radar in 2016, I liked it then, too.

Dead Wake Forgotten Coast Florida Suspense Series – Dead Wake book 5 – Dawn Lee McKenna …. Local florists, William and Robert, are not happy about   tearing their shop apart after a flood only to find a dead body bricked up behind the dry wall. it’s bad for business in a resort town. They don’t want the whole town in on the news so instead of 911 they call Lt Maggie Redmond at home. She doesn’t want to deal with this alone so she drags her boss, Sheriff Wyatt Hamilton, along. She already knows the victim is someone declared missing decades ago so the big question is –  how and why  did he turn up in the wall of the florist shop?

What well kept town secrets will be uncovered this time?

Happy reading for you this week too.

I want to tell you a story

I want to tell you a story, hopefully, one that will build on my last post, and clear up some misconceptions.

It’s about one of my cats. Kitty (as I called him – mainly because my landlord called him Sylvester, a name I didn’t like and didn’t have the courage to try to change), Kitty had been someone’s pet, an abused pet, one who learned to be terrified of all things human.

We discovered him living in the bushes across the back alley, wild and hungry. He could be coaxed out with food, if it was placed somewhere he considered safe, so we fed him.

I found it hard to see him in such distress and set out to woo him into trusting me. It worked, gradually his trust grew to the point that he was eating inside, then living inside – sleeping on the furniture, and finally, on my lap. His trust grew to extend beyond me to my husband, and to our landlord.

Kitty learned to trust the three of us but that was as far as it ever went. He was gone in a flash if anyone else came around, and he was like that for as long as we had him.

The thing is, he didn’t stop to make a judgement call. He had no idea if encountered humans were good or bad, and he didn’t care, he wasn’t taking any chances.

His fear was the result of what had been done to him in the past and had nothing whatever to do with anyone in the present.

That’s the spot I find myself in today. My trust issues and panic attacks are the result of what’s been done to me in the past. The present can inadvertently act as a trigger but other than that, it has no bearing on anything.

Triggers aren’t restricted to strangers, either, they often happen in the presence of people I know and trust, they can even happen when I am alone, maybe reading, thinking, listening to the news, any other activity, really. On top of all that, most of the time I have no idea why.

So, when my talk of trust issues has you worried you are being labelled as a bad guy, please, let that worry go. I don’t stop to make assessments and then act on my findings. Triggers happen when they happen, for reasons all of their own, and they create awkward moments.

Like the one that happened on a day when I was hurrying across a lobby. I spotted a man standing by the door and stopped dead in my tracks. I have no idea what that was about. I had to do some quick, and tough, self talk….don’t just stand there, keep walking.

I can tell you, there were no assessments made that day. He could have been a very good guy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Man He Never Was: A Modern Reimagining of Jekyll and Hyde

I have been thinking a lot, this week, about the good men in my life. I’ve never thought like this before, not really. It seems like the after-effects of the bad men in my life have completely taken over; you can tell this because I’ve mentioned them to you more than once with nary a word about any of the good guys.

I’ve never before thought to question how I knew from an early age that not all men  were bad. Now, I realize there has to be experience behind the knowledge, it doesn’t just happen.

There are very few childhood memories left to give me clues, however, I do have adult memories of Mom’s stories. She talked often about leaving us with Aunt Jenny and Uncle Donald. Uncle Donald was Grandpa’s brother. He was kind, smiled a lot, and cared about kids. I have teenage memories of him and can see how the little me would have loved being with him.  Grandpa was reserved and didn’t smile a lot but I felt safe with him too. I could let down my guard, and did, when we lived with him as young teens.

There were two separate camps in my early life. The good guys, and the bad guys. Now. as I take the time to think about it, I realize how blessed I was. Not everyone has the privilege of experiencing the good with the bad.

Since then, there have been other good guys in my life, too,  and I treasure them all.


I am going to leave you with just one book this time.

James L Rubart is a favorite author and I hope to do a feature on him soon. There are a number of his books in my kindle collection and I need to tell you about them sometime.

He has a unique style of writing but is not alone in it as there are several others sharing a similar style. Frank Peretti is one of them. There is always a bit of fantasy in his stories.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

the man he never was  The Man He Never Was  – James L Rubart….. Toren Daniels wakes up one day and feels like a different person. And has no idea why.

He was a professional football player with a raging temper that finally got him kicked out of the league. Without the usual outlet, his family bore the brunt of his temper tantrums and they were about to kick him out too.

Toren disappeared one day, was gone so long everyone thought he was dead, and his family moved on with a feeling of relief. They were not happy to see him on the doorstep eight months later.

Now, he has two things to figure out:

  • Where was he for eight months and what has been done to him?
  • How does he convince his family he has changed, so he can get them back?

A story well worth the time.

Happy reading!

I hope you have some good people in your life too.

 

 

Staci Stallings Part 2

This will be Staci Stallings books in my-Kindle-collection part two, but first……. I have pressure building up from a major frustration and need to vent before I explode.

Please, please, please,  rewrite as many times as it takes before you publish.

Do you know how disappointing it is to read a book that could be great if it wasn’t so full of typos, mistakes, murky paragraphs, and conversations in need of tweaking?

Rewrites would help expose many of these problem areas, even if grammar is not your strong suit.

Read your book out loud, you would be amazed at how many things will pop out at you, begging for a fix.

Ask someone to edit your book. Make sure it’s someone proficient in the craft. A well intentioned friend won’t help you succeed unless they really are good at the job.

In this micro-wave world of instant gratification, don’t be in such a hurry to publish. I’ve heard some of the most widely read authors say they rewrite more than a dozen times. And, when they think they are ready to publish they put it in a drawer for three months to a year (if possible) so they can read it again with fresh eyes, to do a final rewrite.

If you want your books to be widely read, follow their example and do the rewrites.

If you want to publish many books in a year, start filling up the drawers.

OK, I feel better now. I truly hope you will take this to heart and do whatever it takes to be the best you can be.


Now on to Staci Stallings, and some good examples of fine writing.

And the Greatest of These is Love A Novel – And the Greatest of These is Love …….. Gabi had no idea the community centre was in this much financial trouble, and she is determined to find a way to keep things going. These kids have no where else to go.

Andrew has been working on the biggest breaking story of his career, and now that it is published – he is not happy about his editor demanding he take a day away from it, to do a piece on the financially strapped community center located in a slum area. When he walks in and discovers he has found the beautiful girl from the baseball field, the one invading his dreams, everything changes.

 

The Long Way Home A Novel – The Long Way Home …..  Jaxton is more than a little upset his parents have ordered him to abandon his high powered clients and visit the ailing grandfather he hasn’t seen in fifteen years. The whole idea of this visit is distasteful.

Ami is surprised to find a stranger in her yard, especially one who looks as out of place as this lost city boy. She’d handled his condescending tone just fine until it dawned on her, he was Clarence’s absentee grandson. Now, she sees red as she thinks about Clarence and his family’s neglect after his recent heart attack. Jaxton is seeing red himself, at her attitude, who does she think she is, treating him like this?

Coming Undone  A Novel – Coming Undone …… Ben is revelling in the single life; few responsibilities, weekly card games with his buddies, parties on the weekends. He is totally unprepared for the call asking him to step up and be next-of-kin, the one making the  hard decisions.

Kathryn struggles with singleness, hyper aware of the years slipping by, with little hope  of ever meeting Mr. Right. Fortunately for her, she finds fulfillment in her hospice role, helping families navigate the distress of final days. Ben, faced with his father’s imminent death, looks completely undone and desperately in need of help.

Lucky Harmony series The Harmony Series – Lucky book 2 …. One terrible moment and everything Danae believes to be true is exposed as a lie, and she’s left in a puddle of grief, with no way of getting home from the wedding.

Kalin, trying to rebuild his life after the devastation of bad choices, has taken a job with a band playing the wedding. From his place on the stage, he couldn’t help but notice the beautiful bridesmaid as she flitted about taking care of details, or the groomsman she  was obviously with.  The last thing he expected to find, as he left to go home, her, crying  alone, huddled against the side of a car in a muddy parking lot.

Happy reading!

 

Featuring Staci Stallings…Part 1

Out of curiosity, after downloading yet another Staci Stallings book, I searched my downloads to see how many other Stallings books are in my Kindle collection. There have been nineteen since 2012, and only three have been mentioned in this blog. It’s time to change all that.

As an encouragement to writers out there, Staci’s website tells the story of beating the odds while breaking the rules of formula writing. She was also a pioneer in self publishing, before self publishing was even a thing.

Formula writing includes external conflict, Staci’s writing uses internal conflict. That makes her writing a blessing to many because as readers we can relate to characters facing many of the same hurdles we do.

So, without further ado, here is the list, or at least part 1 of the list.

More Than This  A Novel – More Than This …… Jake likes the anonymity of the dark corner of the coffee shop, a quiet place to sit with his laptop writing the novel that will have his name in lights. At least he’s hoping it will.

Liz and Mia make a game out of examining customers, trying to guess who they are and what they are about. They think the mysterious Jake could be clandestine CIA or something equally exotic. In an attempt to find clues about him Liz makes excuses to refill his coffee cup, succeeding only in breaking his concentration.

A Work in Progress Faith series The Faith Series – A Work in Progress book 1 … Rebecca has never been one of the beautiful people, instead she finds herself forever doing the alone thing, watching the beautiful people enjoying relationships, wondering how they do it.

Eric is drifting through college, not really settled on anything, looking at relationships as something to give him credibility with the world in general. Rebecca notices him after a disastrous meeting involving spilled hot chocolate, he’s cute, quirky, and interested in her roommate.

 

To Serve and Protect The Courage Series – To Protect & Serve book 1 …. Jeff endures much good natured  teasing from his friends over his inability to strike up a conversation with a pretty woman. Reluctantly, he joins a celebratory night out on the town after graduation at the fire academy.

Lisa is buried under piles of work in her ad agency and does her best to avoid the  awkward situation that will be her sister’s bachelorette party. Things are even worse when the girls move over to join the firemen’s table.

 

Eternity friendship series The Friendship Series – Eternity book 1…. Aaron has given up on life and girls since the love of his life left him for someone else. He’s stuck in a job he hates and the only bright spot at work is Harmony, a friend who has always been there for him. Unfortunately for Harmony, she loves Aaron but doesn’t expect he will ever feel the same way about her.

Aaron has a new roommate, Drew, a talented landscape artist who would like to start his own company and Aaron can see he would be great at it.  Drew has met someone special and is on a hot date. I have a feeling I know who that someone will be, and Aaron won’t be happy.

 

Deep in the Heart  A Novel – Deep in the Heart…… Maggie has successfully applied for a nanny position she desperately needs. What she doesn’t know – the strict house rules have been responsible for the short tenure of the all previous nannies, and there are bets she won’t last either. In the meantime, the children are starved for simple connection   and there is something about her that causes them to cling to her.

One other thing she doesn’t know – the handsome hired hand, who does funny things to her heart…. he’s actually part of the family… and he’s engaged.

 

Cowboy - Harmony series The Harmony Series – Cowboy book 1 ….. Beth is struggling to make a life for her little daughter, stuck in a diner trying to make ends meet, flooded with grief after the death of her husband.

Ashton’s life has been destroyed by the death of his best friend and biggest fan. Tempted to end it all on a rain soaked road, he stops at a diner for a cup of coffee. What he doesn’t expect, as he sits in his misery, is a perceptive waitress wanting nothing from him but the unburdening of his broken heart. She remembers the pain of running to escape and wanting it all to end.

It’s complicated…but I feel better now

It really is complicated, and it’s causing discomfort – like a pebble in my shoe. The pebble moves around a bit and there are periods of relief, but lately it’s been sitting in a tender spot and doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to move on.

This latest state of discomfort started with a conversation back in December, just before I left on my winter road trip to British Columbia to spend Christmas with family.

I was telling a friend about some of the people I hoped to see along the way, including some of my work clients I’ve never met in person. I was startled by her quick response – but you are still married.

My instant reaction was an emotional – what’s that got to do with anything? I felt like I was being wrongly accused of something.

I haven’t been able to get this conversation out of my mind and it has become the proverbial pebble in my shoe.

There are two things troubling me about the conversation – the thought patterns behind her comment, and the trigger behind my reactive response.

My weak and ailing marriage fractured more than two decades ago and I have been on my own for at least half that time. The relationship is dead and buried. Divorce is not a reality only because I have been reluctant to address it, (the reasons behind that need to be explored, another day) so I am not sure why she thinks the lack of a divorce is a relevant issue.

Also, as I’ve shared in other posts, I have major trust issues with men and have been actively avoiding any chance of another relationship. My friend knows this too, so – where is her thinking coming from?

I feel bad about my reaction to her because it is not one she has ever seen from me. I expect she felt a little like she’d been punched. That’s the trouble with triggers, reactions to them are unpredictable and often painful to the person on the receiving end.

As I think about all of this, I am reminded of similar conversations with other people in other settings. Conversations that were distressingly perplexing because I couldn’t figure out the reasoning or motivation behind them. In every instance I felt like I was being wrongfully accused of something. And, in some cases the conversations became quite emotional.

Maybe that’s the trigger, feeling wrongfully accused. I will have to think some more on this, at a later date.

Now, after a week of letting all of these thoughts simmer, I expect my friend has moved on and forgotten all about this brief conversation, and I need to do the same.

The exercise of thinking and writing my way through this issue has been more than beneficial. The proverbial pebble in my shoe has ceased to be a bother. My original thoughts on this subject have been replaced by today’s much more coherent offering and I am left with new, and healing,  insights into both sides of the conversation.

It occurs to me that the thoughts expressed by the other party in these conversations may have stemmed from the space they are in personally, and had little to do with me at all. Maybe I need to stop making everything about me. Maybe I need to pay more attention to the pain of others and give greater consideration to things going on in their lives.

The benefits of understanding have also been reinforced. Understanding why seems to take the heat out of certain thoughts and emotions and allows me to move on to a healthier place.

This has been a productive exercise. It looks like I will be doing it again soon.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Variety in good books

This has been another week of good books.

One of them was so good it kept me up all night reading. I love it when that happens….. even if I  do regret it the next day when I have to get up for work. You’d think I could plan things a bit better wouldn’t you, but how can you predict an ambush.

And, like someone said …. once I open it, how can I be expected to put it down.

Exactly!

When I looked at the clock and it said 5 AM… I figured… might as well finish it. 🙂

The thing I liked most about this selection of books was variety. Different genres,  different eras, different countries, different social strata. Reading doesn’t get old with that much variety.

I’d say it was fun, but not in a light hearted way. They weren’t so much dark as they were intense. Some less so than others, which was helpful. We need lighter somewhere in the mix.

The darkest ones would have been the Jess Williams Trilogy and Digital Winter.

The Jess Williams trilogy really did have a take-no-prisoner mentality, and there were many burials in each book. In spite of that though, it wasn’t as dark as you might think- there was a bit of a Robin Hood quality to it.  Jess was a man with a soft heart underneath the tough exterior, and he was out to bring justice, and protection, to those who needed it most.

Digital Winter was dark because it was easy to visualize battles for power happening in our present digital world. And that’s scary. On the other hand though, it’s good to be scared a little, maybe it will spur us on to be mentally prepared for  the possibility of such a disaster.

I managed to carve out time for a 4 day binge and it was great! Loved spending time with these books.

Marrying Miss Marshall  Wild Wyoming Hearts – Marrying Miss Marshal book 1 –  Lacy Williams …..  Dana Carpenter, the town marshal, with abilities unrecognized by local citizens, has to work alone because no one is willing to work with her.

Chas O’Grady is caught in a cattle stampede and Dana’s sense of responsibility compels her to risk her own life to rescue the greenhorn from certain death. Not a good first impression to make when you are coming to town hoping to enlist the help of the local marshal. He has the skills and might be willing to be deputized and work with her, but she’s not willing to work with him. Until powers-that-be leave her no choice.

 

Remember to Forget Clayburn Novels – Remember to Forget – Deborah Raney …. Maggie Anderson has been living under her boyfriend’s tyranny for two years, but circumstances change with a carjacking on the middle of the night run to pick up his whiskey.

Trevor Ashlock has been locked in grief and burying himself in work, until a beautiful stranger comes to town. The suspicious circumstances of her appearance leaves them both on edge trying to protect secrets. Will Maggie’s abusive boyfriend find her? Will Trevor be able to admit to his loss?

 

Heart of a Prince Crowns and Courtships – Heart of a Prince book 1 – Carol Moncado ….  Vacationing Jordan Haines has been on the water longer than he should have. Needing a rest, he spies an empty secluded private beach.

Crown Princess Astrid of San Majoria, doesn’t expect to find her personal sanctuary breached by someone using her beach chair. She would have ordered him off the property but he seems to have no idea who she is…. and there is something about him that feels safe somehow.

 

A Soldier's Promise Crystal Lake Series –  A Soldier’s Promise book 2 – Laura Scott…. Julie Crain has a soft heart for people in need but doesn’t want to get involved this time. Not after the  last attempt to help turned into a relationship that ended badly.

Derek Ryerson and his young daughter need a place to recuperate from a serious car accident but there are no rooms available on this July 4th weekend. Julie has the room but is this a man she can trust? Derek needs help but can he trust her if his secret is exposed.

 

the Jess Williams Trilogy The Jess Williams Trilogy books 1 – 3  – Robert J Thomas – This is a Western thriller series with a take-no-prisoner outlook on life.

The Reckoning …. Jess Williams is eleven when he comes home from town to find his parents and sister brutally murdered, and he knows who did it. In that moment he vows revenge on the three men and plans relentless practice with his dad’s Colt .45 until he can shoot better than anyone else. The sudden and mysterious appearance of a new and unique pistol with holster make that goal possible in a way never seen before.

Brothers Keeper …. Jess returns from his successful mission to find himself in the middle of a bloody war with a father bent on revenge for the death of his only son, an evil man   who clearly deserved to die. His mission after winning this war is to find the brother he never knew he had.

Sins of the Father …. Jess has been hunting his birth father for two years and has him in his sights when a friend needs his help. A range war has broken out between two cattle  barons and everything, including the town, is about to taken over by one powerful greedy man.  Jess arrives and men are dying one by one.

 

Molly book 3  Women and War Series – Molly book 3 – Ellie Keaton …. Molly wants to join the war effort as a pilot but the US Air Force is not admitting female pilots, yet. Britain on the other hand is desperate for pilots. Travelling by ship, Molly and her friends face the threat of U-boats and other perils before they even set foot in Britain. The man she loves is over there somewhere too, as a fighter pilot, and it has been two years since she last heard from him.

 

Goodbye, Magnolia Cornerstone series – Goodbye, Magnolia book 1 – Krista Noorman … Maggie is secure in the smooth operation of her successful wedding photography business, until uncertainty shows up in the form of an old, and unloved, classmate. Forced by circumstances to form an alliance with a man she considers the enemy, she has to face up to her fears, and incorrect assumptions.

 

Digital Winter  8 Minutes to… Digital Winter – Mark Hitchcock and Alton Gansky … a twenty-two year old savant, with physical limitations, spends all of his time on his computer, creating a virus capable of taking out power grids everywhere. Aided by a shadowy companion he sends out the virus causing world wide blackouts, everywhere but in his New York apartment. Government agencies scramble to figure out who is behind all this, and his parents wonder at the power they have while others around them don’t.


Happy reading in your part of the world.

Here’s to finding more great books!

I’m calling time on rewrites so hope there are no glaring pot holes left over after the latest rearranges. If there are I apologize 🙂