Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Those Birthday Numbers

This is how old I am today.
I have never been bothered by my birthday. Ever. Thirty and forty were kind of awesome, actually. Being bothered by progression of the calendar is so pointless. And everyone does it, and I always have been one who doesn't like to do what everyone does. I hate generalizations. All of them. ;)

So I don't know why today's number strikes so hard. Not in a bad way, really, except that it's an odd number. I realized I hate odd-number ages four years ago. I was interviewed as part of an article in the local newspaper's Sunday magazine. When I read "Natalie J. Damschroder, age 41," something squirmed hard inside me. I did NOT like seeing that number in print.

But it wasn't because OMG I was getting old. It was because it was an odd number. I freaking LOVED being 42. (Also, it amused me that the magazine, NEXT, was for retired readers.)

But I don't like 45.

I get super-annoyed whenever my body betrays my sense of uniqueness and makes me cliché. Like when everyone told me your body starts to fall apart after you turn 30. I scoffed, of course. Like my body knows our arbitrary numbering system and has any clue what date it is. And then of course things started going wrong. Slip on ice and slam my knee to the pavement...and still can't kneel six months later. Tear a labrum in my shoulder that gives me horrendous headaches for two years until I figure out what's wrong and avoid things like carrying diaper bags on that shoulder.

So what does 45 mean? When I look at it this way, it's pretty neutral. I'm the age my mother was when my daughter was born. I'm 10 years away from a senior citizen discount. It would be really hard to get pregnant right now, unless I desperately did not want to, and then it would probably happen in a snap. (It can't, but I did know a woman who got pregnant at 48.) I'm a very analytical person, and I can't analyze this feeling.

OH! I just figured it out. I am no longer "in the demo." You know, the most important people in the world to those who measure consumption. Mostly of entertainment, but also of other products. The upper number is a little fluid. In fact, for TV ratings I think it's 49 now. But you know how when you take a survey and they do an age breakdown at the end to measure demographic data? One of them typically ends in 44.

THAT'S why 45 bothers me. That and it's odd. So no one be surprised if I start accidentally saying I'm 46. (I did that when I was 43, so that made me 44 for two years, but in the opposite of the way people usually do it.)

I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Friday, December 04, 2015

I Don't Know Why They Would Steal the Scanner

Dreams are weird. We all know this. Sometimes they're weird in a make-sense kind of way, or we at least know their influences. Like, Wednesday night I dreamed I was part of the Flarrow team (you know, from this week's The Flash/Arrow crossover). Dreaming about Oliver Queen requires no analysis.

This morning, right before I woke up, I had a head-scratcher.

I was shopping in Kmart. (I never shop in Kmart.)

I was at the checkout, using the self-checkout. (I do always use the self-checkout.)

The scanner unit had a small flatbed scanner as part of it. You know, the kind for home use. That's a little weird, right? I didn't need to use that, though. I was just scanning and bagging stuff. But I'd set a folder and something else, maybe a pad or something, on top of the flatbed scanner part because it was convenient.

At first, the checkout area was quiet, and no one was waiting for me, so I wasn't rushed. (I'm always rushing, though. I don't like to do things slowly.)

This family comes up, and then the lines all fill up around us. The wife shoves my stuff off the scanner. Sends it flying. I'm like, "What the hell are you doing? I'm using this." She gets all belligerent.

So then the father and mother start scanning their stuff while I'm trying to finish scanning mine. The kid is like 10, just hanging around. The guy was short (my height, which is very short) and balding and the wife is dumpy with a bad haircut and a screechy voice. I'm trying to get them to stop and yelling for security. They're all up in my face and aggressive. Finally, I find the help button on the checkout and a manager comes over.

So I tell her what's happening, a couple of women in line say they were witnesses and what I was saying is absolutely true. A couple of other employees come over. They take my stuff and the receipt unit and tell the witnesses to come back to the office with them. They don't say anything to me, the person being robbed or whatever you'd call it.

When I'm like, "why her?" I realize the witness-woman is woozy and they want to let her sit down. I collect other stuff and realize the family is not only gone, they took the flatbed scanner.

Ohhh....kay.

We're all back in the office, and the manager is praising me for not laying down and taking it, and I'm  saying how I hate confrontation but sometimes you just have to do it—and thinking about how the situation will make a topic to blog about later—when I wake up.

WTH was that?!

Thursday, December 03, 2015

An Interview with Madeline from Chasing the Painted Skies by Ryan Jo Summers

Welcome to today's guest, Ryan Jo Summers! She's giving away a free pdf copy of her book to one lucky commenter, so be sure to leave your name!


by Ryan Jo Summers
Buy Link

Raven Koynes is a woman in hiding. Years ago she escaped to remote Gull Island Light Station, nestled far away in Lake Superior. She has carved out a life of peace and solitude for herself. Until famed nature photographer Sebastian Knight arrives--in the height of a nor'easter storm--to document the beauty of Gull Island. Unsavory treasure hunters also blow in with the storm, determined to find missing cargo from a sunken ship. And they are positive Raven knows where it's stashed. A power outage from the storm traps everyone at her keeper's cottage, fellow prisoners of the storm.

Between her attraction to handsome Sebastian and the unwelcome advances and threats of the hunters, Raven is pushed to her limit. Help arrives in the form of a stray German Shepherd Dog, who takes an immediate protective interest in Raven. He becomes her constant shadow and listening ear as she sorts out her growing--and conflicting--feelings for Sebastian.

Meanwhile, Sebastian came to the island looking for treasure as well, in the form of photographs. While he isn't so sure about missing cargo, he only needs to look at Raven Koynes to know he's found his own valuable treasure. One he hopes he can hang on to if she learns about his mysterious secret.

Now that Madeline the resident ghost has found out, it's probably just a matter of time until Raven does too. And with the storm and power outage, no one is going anywhere any time soon.

Interview with Madeline Jane Bissette

What is your full name? And what can you tell us about yourself?

Madeline Jane Bissette. I am seventeen years old, born August 1854 and died February 1871.

Did you just say you died in 1871?

Yes, my youngster sister, Constance, and I were playing up in the light tower. Papa used to get angry with us, but sometimes we didn't care. It was a beautiful day to be up there. Mama had wanted me to milk the cow as my brother, Jacob, who usually handled that, had gone off with Papa and my other brothers to gather more wood. It had been an especially hard winter. It must have been getting late as we heard Mama come out calling for us. Constance raced for the stairs, slipping on the ice on the widow's walk. I grabbed her, but slipped too. She did manage to grab the railing, but I hit an icy section and fell over the edge. (dusts off hem of gown) And that was that.

Yes,...er...I suppose it would be. How tragic. So what have you done since then? Since 1871? It has been a while.

Mainly I just stay out of the way. The people who have come and gone at the house don't interest me much. Not anymore. I like the one who calls herself Raven. She reminds me a lot of Mama. I tried to be her friend and tell her about my mama and sisters, but I don't think she really understood.

What are your thoughts on Sebastian?

He is a handsome man. (smiles wistfully) Chester Douglas—he used come over sometimes from the mainland to help Papa—was handsome like that. When I was younger, he'd bring me penny candy. Then one summer he brought me flowers. Papa wasn't too happy about that, but Mama said it was all right. Then Chester started finding all sorts of reasons to come over that had nothing to do with Papa. (giggles) He'd make my tummy feel like it had butterflies all inside of it. Mama said that was all right for a boy to do. We'd go off into the woods or behind the barn and kiss. After Sebastian arrived, I could tell Raven wanted to kiss him just as I used to like kissing Chester. Sebastian made my tummy feel like it had butterflies in it, even though he was older than Chester, and I could tell Raven felt the same way. And he protected her from those bad people. He tried to at least, doing the best he could.

Yes, Madeline, tell us about the bad people.

Well, they were not the first people to come to Gull Island with bad intentions. Mama had a word for people like that: miscreant malefactors. Mama always liked to use two names for describing people. It was sad and lonely when she and Papa and my sisters and brothers all left our home and Gull Island later in 1871.

However, when these three showed up looking for the ship's cargo by tearing up my island home and getting nasty with Raven, I knew I had to get involved. Sebastian had his own ideas on keeping Raven safe, so I was just helping him actually. Letting him know I was in his corner. (gives big sigh) But I'm not sure he understood that. As much as I liked Raven and Sebastian, I never felt they really understood me. Not until later on, when I really had to work to get their understanding. (gives another wistful sigh) Sometimes adults can be so...dim at times.

Okay, Madeline, our time is closing out. Thank you for sharing your thoughts today. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Just this—it's lonely being what I am; ghost, spook or any of the other names I've been called. I would have liked to spend more time with Chester and maybe take a picnic or boat ride off the island one day. But I never had that chance. (pauses, with somber, faraway expression) I imagine being with someone all the time that made those butterflies in your tummy would be a lovely experience. That is my wish now, for everyone to find that special person, like my Chester, who puts those tickly feelings there and makes you want to smile all the time, and spend their life with them.

Well said, Madeline, and thank you.

~~~~~~~~~~~
About the Author:

Ryan Jo Summers is a North Carolina author who specializes in writing romances with a twist. Love stories blended with inspirational, paranormal, suspense or time travel—or several at once. She also writes non-fiction for regional periodicals. Ryan's dad is a songwriter and his aunt wrote poetry, so she claims she came by her writing skill honestly. Apparently it's in the genes.

Her hobbies include bird-watching, houseplants, poetry and yard work. She loves to gather with friends, hike in the forest with her dog, paint ceramics and canvas, and work on wiggly word find puzzles. She lives in a 1920 cottage with a menagerie of pets. Living in the mountains, she dreams of the shore and frequently uses the water as scenes for her stories. More about Ryan Jo can be discovered at her website or her blog.

Website
Blog
Facebook

What inspired you to write this story?

In 1989 I found a photo in a calendar that resonated with me. It was just a rocky outcropping with an old tree and lots of fog. It was probably taken in the fall, around Minnesota or someplace on the Great Lakes. I still have that photo, matted and framed. Eleven years ago I moved from the Great Lakes to the mountains and yearn for the water. Inspired by that photo, this book was written, over years, in stages, with new parts added with each rewrite. The treasure hunt was added last, about 2 or 3 years ago after I spotted a van at a stop light reading Coynes Plumbing on the side. Koynes=treasure. So the heroine's last name was changed to incorporate the treasure idea.

What are you working on now?

My problem child that I've been working on steadily for two years. It's a whole lot of things, or as I refer to it, a hot mess, Romance, quantum fiction, women's lit. The other thing I am itching to start is a short novella about meeting and falling in love at a dog park. It's going to be a humorous short story.

Typical day?

Up early (I have pets, there is no sleeping in with hungry beasties), work on writing stuff/marketing stuff until early afternoon, then go to "day job," which is a second shift thing. Come home, catch up on emails from the day and things that require immediate attention. Repeat next day. Not a lot of variety in my life, which is okay. For a change of pace, I take my dog to the dog park or go see friends.

Personal question—favorite music?

Lots of stuff. Country, old stuff and traditional mostly, Christian. Orchestra. Jazz is okay too. Old rock on occasion. I don't care for rap or head-banging screaming stuff.

Favorite drink?

Coffee. Herbal tea when it's cold out. Milk, especially chocolate.

Favorite flower and color?

Lilacs and blue. Three of the rooms in my house are painted shades of blue. And I have several lilacs planted about the place.

Thanks again, Ryan Jo, for being my guest today! Remember, one lucky commenter will win a pdf copy of the book. So don't forget to say hi!

Saturday, November 28, 2015

The Incredible Shrinking TBR Pile

This is not my TBR pile. It's just a picture
of books. I didn't feel like getting my camera
and taking new pictures. #lazy
When I started writing, back in the early 90s, I was targeting Harlequin series romances. But to decide which series I really wanted to write for, I subscribed to several of them. I couldn't read as fast as I received them, so the piles grew and grew.

Eventually I narrowed it down and canceled some of the subscriptions. Then I started attending conferences, where you get free books (and in the case of the RWA National conference, LOTS AND LOTS of free books) and buy books at special booksignings.

And my TBR pile has been massive ever since. Because I keep going to conferences, but also because I don't stop buying books. Authors I love, stuff that sounds interesting...if I have an addiction, it's books.

Every so often, I weed out my TBR pile. Books I got free or even bought to help someone out but aren't things I like to read. (Historicals are the first to be weeded, for example.)

I'll also go on binges where I'll try all the books that I've had lingering because I don't think I'll like them. Sometimes I'm surprised, which is awesome. Sometimes there are personal triggers that override good writing—storylines or characters that I don't care for. So these binges can end up pulling a bunch of books off my TBR.

And then there are the very rare binge-reading-sessions where I plow through book after book because that's my main relaxation activity. I had one of those recently, and it led me to a scary place: a small TBR pile.

My Kindle used to have 6 pages in the "To Read" folder. I'm down to two! That's, like, 10 books! It almost started a panic attack, except I turned to my print TBR shelf and I've been concentrating on that lately. I got a little caught up in the ease of reading on the Kindle. So I have a couple dozen print books, which makes me breathe a bit easier.

But let me tell you, I cannot WAIT for my birthday. After insisting that I don't want anything and being badgered for a while, I give in and say to just get me an Amazon gift card. That's all I need! My wish list has over 40 books on it. I'm also paying a little more attention to the books being promoted all over my social media and stuff.

Top of my "yes, please" list is romantic adventure and paranormal YA (no vamps or shifters, though). So if anyone has any suggestions, please post them in the comments!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Meet the Characters from This Week's Select Contemporary Releases!



My Christmas-reunion-military-hero-small-town-heroine novella got a new cover and blurb for this week's re-release. Most of you who'd be interested in such a story probably already read it. (If you haven't, check it out here!)

So please let me introduce you to my fellow releasees this week! Below, we introduce the characters with some Dating-Game-style questions. You can read the tables turned in my newsletter and see how the guys answer their heroines.

We're also having a Facebook party Thursday evening. Come chat with us and comment to win prizes!








How to Fall
by Rebecca Brooks

Chicago math teacher Julia Evans has always played it safe, but when an impulse trip to southern Brazil introduces her to a gorgeous Australian traveler, she’ll risk her heart for a week in his arms—if his secrets don’t tear them apart.

Blake: If you could incorporate any fantasy into your real life, so you could have it whenever you wanted to, what would it be?

Julia: We come in from outside. We've been swimming, and you smell like salt water and sun. We have places to be—we're supposed to meet friends, or your production team, or whatever. But you don't care. You lay me down on the bed. Do you remember that first time we were in an actual bed, in the hotel in Rio? You kissed me like you'd never been so hungry. As your tongue slid down, you stopped to look up at me and that's the fantasy—the real-life fantasy—that gets me every time. It's the look in your eyes when you know I'm about to be screaming your name.



Second Chance Christmas
by Ellen Butler

Prominent DC attorney Emma Taylor is pulled away from a promising date the week before Christmas to pick up her ex-fiance from the ER after a bar fight. She’s in no mood to re-open old wounds, but it’s Christmas and she can’t just leave him alone and injured.

Colton to Emma:
"All of your suits are at the cleaners, and you have to meet with a new client on the weekend. What do you wear?"
"Seriously Colton, all off my suits are at the cleaners?"
"Yes, all the suits are at the cleaners. What do you wear?"
"Why are all of my suits at the cleaners? I'd never be that disorgainzed, you know that."
"Emma, it's just a game. Answer the question."
"Nope. The question is silly. It would never happen."
Colton rolls his eyes. "Fine, the house burned down. All of your clothes are now ashes. What do you wear?"
"Why did the house burn down? Did you leave the coffee pot on again?" Emma points an accusing finger at him.
"Emma!"
"Okay, okay, I'd call up Linda, my personal shopper at Nordstroms and tell her to put aside a suit, two blouses and shoes. I'd pick it up on the way to the office and change when I got there. Satisfied?"
"You're such a lawyer." Colton sighs.
"I know, but you still love me." Emma gives him a big smacking kiss on the cheek and a satisfied grin spreads across his face.



Hidden Away
by Jennie Marts

The only one on Cherry’s side is the sexy sheriff, Taylor Johnson—but she’s been hiding a secret that could rip their new family apart…
…and secrets have a way of revealing themselves.

Taylor:

What is something no one knows about you that would be a surprise to the people who know you best?

Cherry:
I love to read romance novels. I know I can come across as tough and sarcastic, but inside I'm just a ball of mush when it comes to romantic gestures. I know I've made plenty of mistakes in my life, and I love to read romance stories about second chances, because I really believe everyone deserves a second chance at finding love and happiness.



Priya in Heels 
by Ayesha Patel

Medical resident Priya lives life by cultural expectation, but when she falls for an American heartthrob named Tyler, her entire world unravels, leaving both wondering if love truly can conquer everything.

Priya Patel strives to be the perfect daughter for her traditional Indian parents. With her medical residency underway, she faces the inevitable pressures to marry an Indian man of her parents' choosing. She's perfectly content to do so until the Irish-American musician down the hall gets her attention and destroys everything she has worked so hard to build.

Tyler O'Conner can't stop thinking about the beautiful doctor who treated his sprained ankle in the ER. But between weekend band gigs, an intense workload at NASA, and trying to lower Priya's barriers, he doesn't expect to fall in love...with a woman who is meant to marry another man.

Priya struggles to maintain her relationship with her parents, to be their source of happiness, but falling for an American might be the one thing that unravels their world and leaves her in tattered pieces.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Remembering the Dream

I have been in this business—novel writing, specifically, but all the stuff that goes with writing and publication—for a really long time. Decades. I've written a lot of books, and lived through all the ups and downs of being a published author, with lots and lots of industry changes along the way.

I've also had the opportunity, through my services as an editor, copyeditor, and proofreader, to work with someone special. And I'm so excited that his book is now available for purchase.

Being immersed in the world of romance writing, I've met, mentored, and been mentored by a LOT of authors. Being a part of a community like that makes you feel like anything is possible. And it makes anything possible. It also makes it hard to realize that there are people out there who would love to write but don't have the community. The structured support. The education that seeps into you even when you're not looking for it.

That's why working with Dave has been special. He knew nothing about writing or publishing when we met, and was an absolute sponge. It was so much fun to see his work deepen and strengthen, and to share his journey over the years.

Dave has amazingly unique story ideas, and he has trusted me to give him advice on craft and business as we worked together on five books. His dream has been to share those stories and characters with others, and now he can do that with Diana's Magic, which is now available for purchase.

It's been a long time since I first held a book with my name on it and knew the words inside came from me. It's almost as exciting to share that with someone experiencing it for the first time. :)

I hope you'll check it out!

About the Book
Seeking to inspire problem students and build character, new elementary teacher Sarah Carter seizes upon an innovative class project for the school’s annual spring art show. At the same time, she struggles with a private personal tragedy. While coping with bullies, introverts, vampires, and school bureaucrats, Sarah strives to complete the project, support the encouraging growth of her students, and achieve closure with her impending loss. But the outcome is far different from anything she could have anticipated.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Spotlight: Death in the Family by Maggie Mundy

About the Book:
A Death in the Family is a 1920s murder mystery with a paranormal twist.

Finding out who killed her aunt means socialite Annabel Larch must give up her decadent life. She needs help from the mysterious Isaac Pennington, who carries physical and mental scars from World War 1 and for all she knows may be the perpetrator.


This thriller involves Brazilian artifacts, heroin dens and cult worship. Isaac and Annabel have to trust each other and sort through the clues to find out who slew her aunt and try not to get murdered themselves.


Why a Murder Mystery?
I have always written stories with the odd dead body turning up, but this was my first attempt at a murder mystery. I am not sure if there is a right or a wrong way to write one, but I didn’t know who the killer was when I started out. It was great fun to write and find out who was the culprit. I loved reading the old Agatha Christie novels and was always amazed by all the red herrings she would put in and hope I did the same.

I really enjoyed researching the time and was fascinated by how advanced criminal investigation was even back in the 1920s. I am in the process of working on a second book with The Larch Detective agency called A Death at the Theater.


Excerpt

“Get out of my way,” Annabel yelled, her headdress swiped aside and crushed underfoot as she reached Gwen. She fell to her knees as a groan of pain left her lips seeing her beautiful aunt’s neck bent at a strange angle. Annabel’s head kept shaking as if it was untrue, but her heart knew better. Her eyes knew better.

“No,” she screamed. The sound could never be loud enough or long enough to cover the loss. People moved away fearing the ferocity of her grief.

Gwen’s Cleopatra wig still covered her face. Annabel stared as if it was a picture she was trying to absorb but stay separate from. It didn’t work. She pulled Gwen in her arms as if hugging her would bring back life into the still body. It didn’t. The agony of loss cleaved through her body as if it was being drained of all energy. Rocking back and forth, her tears flowed down her cheeks as gut wrenching cries were drawn from her throat leaving it raw. This couldn’t be possible, her strength, her world had gone.

Now do stop that crying dear. You’ll need to find out who killed me. 

The world stopped. Annabel’s breath stopped. Who had spoken? It was Gwen’s voice but her lifeless form lay still in her arms. Annabel brushed the hair of the wig back from her aunt’s face. People were gawking at her, she didn’t care, but she didn’t want anyone to see Gwen like this. She wanted them gone. 

As Annabel breath left her mouth it misted as if she were outside. It was midwinter in Bath and you would expect it out there, but not in here. 

A blast of cold air blew across the back of her neck causing her body to shiver and brought goose bumps up on her arms. Annabel took a deep breath as she slowly turned towards where the cool air had come from. 

The scream left her lungs as she saw Gwen standing next to her. Only this Gwen was see-through. No one else screamed. They all stood around her ogling as if she was the ogre prizing its victim in its arms. They sickened her. It didn’t matter to them; they just continued to stare at the dead body in her arms.

Someone pushed me darling. There seems to be a knife in my back. I really do look a mess don’t I, and I had gone to so much effort this evening.


About the Author:
Maggie Mundy lives in Adelaide, Australia, and is a member of Romance Writers of Australia and the local chapter SARA (South Australian Romance Authors). She recently completed a Bachelor of Arts in Drama and English at Flinders University. She has four books out with Rogue Phoenix Press: Two erotic novellas called Blood Scent and Blood Oath and two paranormal romances called World Change and World Apart. She also has a supernatural thriller out with Soul Mate Publishing called Hidden Mortality and paranormal romance called Unknown Protector. A Death in the Family is her first self-published title.

She has also performed for many years in corporate entertainment for which she wrote her own sketches, which probably explains why her head is so full of characters. She loves writing romance but thinks falling in love can be scary, especially in her stories where creatures of the night really exist.



Monday, November 02, 2015

An Interview with Linda Bradley

Today's guest, Linda Bradley, is giving away a digital copy of her book to one lucky commenter! The winner will be chosen at the end of the week. Thanks for coming today, Linda!


1. When did you decide you wanted to write a book?

I always thought I’d publish children’s books, but when I started reading women’s fiction in healthy doses, I realized I wanted to write books for women about women. When Maggie and Chloe popped into my head, they stayed, and that’s when I found my voice. Maggie’s Way is my debut women’s fiction novel.

2. What inspired you to write this story?

I had been thinking about the story line, but it was filed in the back of my brain with a clutter of other ideas. After seven weeks of radiation treatment for breast cancer, I decided it was time to start fresh so with a new plan to keep myself organized, I connected with my characters and started writing.

3. Do you work on projects simultaneously?

This past year I did because I wanted to enter a short story contest and I had another idea for a women’s fiction book with magical elements, completely not related to the Montana Bound Series. That project gnawed at the edges of my mind until I just had to stop what I was doing and get it on paper.

4. What was the rest of your life like while you were writing Maggie’s Way?

Well, I was recuperating from cancer and I am happy to say, I have a clean bill of health. I was planning my wedding, teaching full time, working at a clothing store a few hours a week and raising two boys. My youngest was away at Michigan State and my oldest was at home working and going to school. It was crazy, but somehow the busy schedule forced me to buckle down and focus on getting the words on the page.

5. What are some of your favorite quotes from Maggie’s Way?

“It was easier to blame myself for ignoring my instincts and playing the game. Beckett had finally understood who he was, now I was left to my own devices to figure out who I was going to be.”—Maggie

“Looking west, the sun filled the sky with streaks the color of summer sherbet.”—Maggie

“We were victims of our own expectations.”—Maggie

“When you are ready to accept those things that only loved ones can give you, your heart will be whole again. You do not choose life. Life chooses you.”—Glad (Maggie’s mother)

6. What were some of the reactions from Maggie’s Way readers that brought you joy?

The reviews had started coming in and I was doing my best to stay focused on planning my return trip to Montana to do more research, more riding, and capture the magic that inspired my vision. One day, the phone rang and it was my girlfriend’s husband. I was surprised he was calling. He then explained the reason for the call. He told me that he started reading Maggie’s Way and was prepared for a chick lit read, but to his surprise he was hooked and wanted to know when the next book was coming out. He told me that he’d be reading the rest of the series. It was a huge compliment, especially coming from a male reader. He was pleased to report that Maggie’s Way had something for everybody.

I received another unexpected phone call. I recognized the number and wasn’t quite sure why the Cancer Center was calling. The woman on the other end of the phone identified herself as the receptionist and told me that I owed her a large cup of coffee and a tube of eyeliner for her tired eyes because she was up all night reading Maggie’s Way, that she couldn’t put it down. She asked what she could do to help spread the word about my debut novel.

When I met with the Literary Goddesses, a book club in Lansing, Michigan, I sat next to a reader that said, she had finished the book just before coming to dinner. She told me it wasn’t that she couldn’t get to it. She had delayed reading the last chapter because she didn’t want it to end.

One Amazon reviewer wrote, “When I laugh out loud and need a box of tissues, I know I'm reading a good book!”

I am touched that my characters have connected with my readers. It truly is a book filled with a cast of misfits waiting to steal your heart.

Linda, those are amazing reactions, and so deserving! Congratulations on your clean bill of health and your new release! Readers, continue below for information on the book and Linda, and don't forget to comment to be entered to win a copy! The winner will be chosen at the end of the week.

Maggie's Way
by Linda Bradley

Sometimes you have to lose your way to find yourself.

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.


"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

About the Author:

Linda’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, the first in her Montana Bound Series. She is currently working on Maggie’s Fork in the Road and Maggie’s Montana.

Linda has an associate's 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, The Hunter, for her master’s degree. Linda is a member of RWA as well as the Greater Detroit Chapter of RWA. You can follow her on TwitterFacebook and LindaBradleyAuthor.com.

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

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Reticule Dump by Guest Blogger Alina K. Field

Everyone, please welcome today's guest, Alina K. Field! Thanks so much for visiting today, Alina!

I’m riffing today on a theme my friend, author Collette Cameron, blogs about: the Purse Dump. And, since the heroine of my latest novella, Liliana’s Letter, is a proper Regency lady, she didn’t carry a purse, she carried a reticule, a tiny little bag with about as much capacity as a contemporary evening bag.

What is Liliana carrying in her reticule? 

1. Money, as in coins, mostly pence, and not a lot. For one thing, a lady out walking could quickly find herself in an unsavory neighborhood. London still had no police force, and cutpurses worked the streets. Also, Liliana is putting money aside to bring her brother back to England. She’ll carry a bit more only when she needs to travel into the City to visit her solicitor.

2. Vinaigrette—not that she herself suffers the vapors. Never! And Katie, the heiress she is bringing out into society, has as yet never fainted, but a good hired companion must be prepared.

3. A tiny tin of Rose Lip Salve to ward off chapping from the cold damp weather.

4. A paper of pins. Since some parts of lady’s dresses were literally pinned together, one must always be prepared for a wardrobe failure.

5. Crisp white calling cards. She and Katie are making the social rounds, paying morning calls on old and new acquaintances.

6. A handkerchief—for the occasional weather-related sniffle, not for tears. A lady does not make a spectacle of her emotions; well, except perhaps when her solicitor presents her with a most disappointing letter from her brother.

Oh, all right, her hanky is quite the rumpled mess.

7. That infuriating letter from her brother, crumpled and tear-stained.

What’s not in her reticule? 

House keys—the footman on duty will open the door.

A driver’s license—only the coachman drives, and of course, there was no police force requiring licenses.

An ink pen—the inkpot would leak.

A comb—not enough room, and anyway, her hair is done up and stuffed under a bonnet.

Liliana’s Letter
by Alina K. Field

The Matchmaker

Lord Grigsby wants nothing more than to retreat to his study, but a promise to his long-dead sister has forced him back into society to broker the marriage of his nephew to the heiress whose money can save the young man’s earldom. If only the young lady’s starchy hired companion would move out of the way. 

The Matchbreaker

Hired to launch an heiress’s society debut, seemingly straitlaced spinster Liliana Ashford’s future as a professional chaperone depends on the girl’s successful marriage. But Liliana had her own close encounter with a scoundrel years ago, and she won’t let her charge be forced into marriage to the same kind of rogue, no matter how hard the man’s widowed uncle tries to woo Liliana around to the match.

Secrets and a Scandalous Murder


A shadow from Liliana’s past appears bearing an unfortunate letter she wrote long ago, and then the earl is murdered, evoking the scandal of the season. While she scrambles to make a respectable match for her charge before her own past can be exposed, Grigsby sets about finding his nephew’s killer—and Liliana’s secrets.  

Amazon | Kobo | iBooks | Nook

The woman at Grigsby's side was like a lightning rod expecting a bolt to strike, or like a Fury about to deliver one. This close, scent wafted from her, roses and lemon, he'd guess. Tall, straight, and stiff, underneath her self-possession was a temper ready to unleash. He would bet on it.

Intriguing. He dared to poke her ire. "You clearly don't approve of the match. Do you intend to openly oppose it?"

Her head whipped around, and she glared. "It's not for me to approve or disapprove. Katie—Miss Mercer—will decide."

Passion flashed in her eyes, sending an answering spark through him. She was magnificent—though so very mistaken. "Really? Then her father is more liberal than I expected."

She looked him over more closely. "What do you know of this matter?"

I might ask you the same question. Her tone had been stiff, like the crystallized dome covering bubbling lava. He fixed her with his sternest glare, not entirely surprised at her cheek.

His glower didn't impress her. She lifted her shoulders higher. Stood a little taller, proud, lovely, and filled with indignation.

Quite righteous indignation. He gave into an unmanly sigh, truly weary of his responsibility for Thomas. "I know a good deal, Miss Ashford. I have been negotiating for these nuptials. The arrangement is my doing as much as Mr. Mercer's. Much more than it is my nephew's. He is probably the least culpable, except for his abominable behavior."

She clenched her hands tightly. "I see."

"Thomas's mother was my older sister. I made a promise to her that I would look after him." Her gaze softened, and she bit her lip in a way that made him want to taste the part that she was nipping.

And where had that thought come from?

"And your nephew needs money and an heir."

He nodded. As a woman of the ton, of course she would understand how marriage worked. Marriage wasn’t about love, or the bride’s approval, or a plump lower lip that begged to be kissed.

"He needs money most of all. He has a younger brother in the army who would make a far more dutiful earl."

He covered his mouth with his hand. The words had rolled out, shocking him. He rarely spoke this frankly with any woman.

Very well, he never spoke this frankly with any woman.

She released a soft breath. "And there is the matter of the ore."

His mouth gaped and he quickly closed it. Mr. Mercer had shared that information? Well. "That part of the county is rich with newly discovered veins of iron."

That information brought her up straighter. She looked away, gazing intently at a thick, dark spot of foliage, making him want to pry into that sharp mind.

"I see,” she said. “I believe we should go back in now."

Not yet. He tucked her hand over his arm but did not move. "I had hoped we were not finished talking. I've learned your Christian name is Liliana, but I don't know anything else about you. I don’t know where you're from or anything about your family."

He sensed her bristling, and waited for some reaction, perhaps a slap, verbal, or, with a woman of her passion, even a physical one. Strictly speaking, he was importuning her, and damn if he wasn't enjoying the nerves rippling through her. 

About the Author:
Award-winning author Alina K. Field earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in English and German literature, but she found her true passion in reading and writing romance. Though her roots are in the Midwest, after six very, very, very cold years in Chicago, she moved to Southern California and hasn’t looked back. She shares a midcentury home with her husband and a blue-eyed cat who conned his way in for dinner one day and decided the food was too good to leave.

She is the author of the 2014 Book Buyer’s Best winner in the novella category, Rosalyn’s Ring, a Regency novella; and the novel-length sequel, a 2015 RONE Award finalist, Bella’s Band, both Soul Mate Publishing releases. 

Visit her at her website, Facebook, Twitter, or Goodreads.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Welcome Guest Blogger Anne B. Cole, Author of Souls Estranged

Thank you, Natalie for hosting my new release, Souls Estranged!

Since Souls Estranged is book two of a trilogy, I thought I’d talk a little about a supporting character who appears in all three books.

My heart belongs to my hero and heroine, Sam and Gretta, but in Souls Estranged, I have to choose Katarina as my favorite supporting character.

Sam's ancestral grandmother, Katarina has her spirit entwined within Ruby, an elderly nurse who befriends Sam and helps him throughout the story. Katarina also entwines within a terrorist in order to enter Tartarus in an attempt to rescue her daughter. And finally, she entwines within a squirrel to keep an eye on Gretta.

Katarina's fiesty determination to break the curse and protect Sam and Gretta is emotionally touching and adds a bit of humor to the story.

The squirrel in this picture often visits my peach tree. As I edited Souls Estranged, she began stealing peaches before they were ripe. I watched her from my writing spot and quickly grabbed my camera. She was kind enough to pose so I wrote her (and the peach) into my story.



Thanks, Natalie for hosting me today.

Souls Estranged (Book 2 of The Souls Trilogy)
by Anne B. Cole

Back from their adventures in Souls Entwined, Sam Daggett begins a new relationship with Gretta Dobbs, whose memories of their time-traveling experience have been erased. Determined to never leave her again, Sam vows to help Gretta, despite the bad luck curse on her heirloom ring. Within hours of their return, tragedy strikes. As Sam becomes the third victim of the bad luck curse, Gretta’s memories of her time spent in the past begin to return. Unable to remember more than snippets, she realizes that anyone close to her is in grave danger. In order to keep Sam and her family safe, she flees in the middle of the night. Finding the perfect summer job in the back hills of Virginia, Gretta unknowingly crosses paths with a serial killer. With guidance from their ancestral spirits, Roxana and Katarina, Sam desperately attempts to find Gretta before the curse strikes again.


Buy now from Amazon 

Also get Souls Entwined, book 1

About the Author:
Anne B. Cole is a genre-bending author who enjoys combining supernatural suspense, time travel, and sweet romance with a touch of magical realism in her books. Anne lives in Indiana with her husband and three teenage children. She teaches preschool and makes time to run so she can eat ice cream and doughnuts. Anne is currently working on Souls Endure, the final book of The Souls Trilogy. Find Anne at her website, blog, Twitter, or Facebook.


Excerpt:
Prologue
Sunday

Sam
In the dim morning light of the hospital room, Sam Daggett watched the little cat stretch its front paws before zeroing intense green eyes on him.

“Roxana?” He scrutinized the feline for the slightest twitch of recognition.

Nothing.

Doubting Roxana’s spirit remained entwined within the gray and white cat, he moved his focus to Gretta Dobbs. She slept peacefully with her hand nestled in his. Neither of their families had returned to the hospital. Her garnet ring caught his attention and immediately a sense of foreboding crept up his spine.

His heart sped as images of his time traveling, out-of-body adventure with Gretta flashed through his mind. Roxana, Gretta’s long-dead ancestor, enabled their souls to entwine within nineteenth-century lovers in order to gather information on the cursed ring. Pride, determination, and fear filled him.

“I’m so sorry we didn’t find all of the answers we needed,” Sam whispered as he lifted her hand to his lips. He watched her eyes and listened for the beep of the heart monitor to quicken, satisfied she remained in dreamland. “I know you don’t remember our time together or what we’ve been through.”

He shuddered at the memories. His gaze fell back to the ring. Frustration filled him. The urge to rip it off her hand pounded through him, but he remembered she remained cursed with or without the ring.

Control. I must control my emotions.

He refocused his thoughts on the present and relished in the gratitude of simply being in the same room with her.

A soft sigh escaped her lips and she squeezed his hand before slipping into a deeper slumber.

“With you, nothing is impossible.” Careful not to bump his broken collarbone, Sam leaned closer and murmured, inches from her ear, “Brave and beautiful. Ready and willing to face pirates, spirits, and the horrors of the purgatories to end the family curse.” His heart hammered in his chest as memories of seeking treasure, falling in love, and losing it all flashed within his mind.

“I love you, Gretta. I’ll do everything in my power to earn your love.”

Tracing his fingers over the back of her hand, he touched the face of the ring’s oval red stone. He remembered every moment of their time together, while Gretta’s memories had been erased. No matter how hard he tried, he couldn’t prevent his thoughts from wandering. Concern prickled his skin as he recalled their quest to understand the ring’s curses.

The most dangerous one, a curse of bad luck, remained a mystery.

He inhaled and pushed his failures away. “Katarina told me to keep my distance from you because of potential tragedy. Nothing will keep me away. I vow to protect and love you forever.”

Gretta’s grip on his fingers tightened. With her hand remaining in his, he brushed a stray lock of hair off her cheek. She released his fingers and nuzzled into his palm with a tiny sigh. He closed his eyes, content to be back in his own body and time with her.


Yet uneasiness crept deep within and the dreadful feeling of impending tragedy grew stronger with every passing minute.

Friday, October 16, 2015

New Scottish Historical Release by Madelyn Hill

Heather in the Mist
by Madelyn Hill

Forced to wed to save her clan, Lady Rogan Cameron agrees to wed without love. 


What her father doesn’t know is Lady Rogan has plans of her own—plans to keep her from a loveless marriage. Can she save the clan before she has to say “I do?” 

Ian Albright abolished all ties to Scotland after his family betrayed him and he is now nursing a wounded ego due to an unfaithful fiancée. He pledges never to return to his home until the fateful day he accepts an invitation to his dear cousin’s wedding. The minute he sees his cousin’s betrothed, his heart is captured. If only she didn’t belong to another . . . 

Lady Rogan and Ian have known each other since they were young and bent on vexing each other. Now, the only thing they find vexing is the fact Rogan is betrothed to another. Together they fight their growing attraction while investigating the forces bedeviling the clan. Yet at every turn their foe appears and wreaks havoc. When tragedy strikes, their hopes are dashed again. 

Can Lady Rogan and Ian’s love win when fate seems determined to keep them apart?


About the Author:
Madelyn Hill has always loved the written word. From the time she could read and all through her school years, she'd sneak books into her textbooks during school. And she devoured books daily. At the age of 10 she proclaimed she wanted to be a writer. After being a "closet" writer for several years, she sent her manuscripts out there and is now published with Soul Mate Publishing. And she couldn't be happier!

A resident of Western New York, she moved from one Rochester to another Rochester to be with the love of her life. They now have 3 children and keep busy cooking, watching their children's sporting events, and of course reading!

As she rounded the stables, she halted at the sight of William embracing the strangers. His exuberance told her of their identity. She approached slowly, allowing the men privacy.

Without warning, the dark-haired giant turned in her direction. Her breath caught in her throat as her heart raced. She placed her hand on her stomach to quell the flutters.

Ian Albright.

William’s cousin was not the lad she remembered. Granted, it had been years since she’d seen him. When had Ian changed from a scruffy nuisance into a ruggedly handsome man?

She blinked.

Broad shoulders tapered to slim hips and strong legs, encased in taupe breeches. Thick black hair curled to his shoulders.

Aye, there was a presence about him—controlled power and confidence at the same time. Tingly awareness shot through her body.

And his piercing blue eyes were both vibrant and intrusive at the same time. Those eyes watched her as she approached and she couldn’t help but feel if she were being weighed.

Recovering her composure, she straightened her shoulders and walked to William’s side. His ear was occupied by an excited older gentleman. Their conversation was lost to her, but William obviously kenned the man. William and the older gentleman moved to the carriage and began unloading it.

Someone snapped their fingers.

Aghast, she turned and faced Ian Albright. “I will have you know, I am La—”

“We are tired and covered with dust. The lady of the keep need not worry about me, my man will see to everything.” Ian’s voice was low, with a touch of gravel. And too commanding for her taste. Just who did he think he was ordering her about? Then it struck her.

He doesn’t recognize me.

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Linda O'Connor and Her Book Club

Please welcome today's guest, Linda O'Connor!

Natalie - thank you so much for inviting me to visit!

Normally reading is a solitary activity, but for me, one of the best social activities has come from my love of reading! Many years ago, when I still had little ones at home, I craved adult company and more, suggestions for what to read. So I invited 6 friends to start a book club.

We’ve been meeting once a month ever since and take turns hosting. Initially, we served a healthy hors d’oeuvre followed by dessert. Then we thought, who are we kidding, we only want dessert! So it evolved into a lovely evening with a sweet indulgence.

We all read the same book and spend time discussing it – mostly (it competes with catching up with each other)! It’s been fun to see a book from other perspectives – from appreciating lyrical prose, to understanding deeper meaning or metaphor, to laughing at different parts, or sharing what we’ve read about the author.

We’ve had special evenings when an author has joined us. Diane Schoemperlen, author of Forms of Devotion, graciously spent an evening with us. Rules of Thumb: An Alphabet of Imperatives, one of her short stories, is a tongue-in-cheek guide to behaviour. It included the following advice about how to dress: “Under no circumstances whatsoever is it permissible to [wear] anything in lime green, hot pink, or fluorescent orange.” So we all went out and bought lime green, hot pink, and fluorescent orange clothes at the thrift store and wore them that evening. And “Never serve pretzels as an hors d’oeuvre.” So that’s what we served. It was a lot of fun. Of course, Diane was very diplomatic – when we asked if she noticed our colourful attire, she said she did, but wasn’t sure if that was our norm!

We’ve read a wide range of books from every genre over the years and some of the members have changed. But I’ve loved the constant of sharing the gift of reading with a wonderful group of friends.

Here's the book that I've written - our next book club book :D!

perfectly reasonable coverPerfectly Reasonable (Book 2, Perfectly Series)

Love what you do and do what you love. Sounds perfectly reasonable, but chances are, you’ll find your passion in the last place you look . . .

Margo MacMillan finished medical school, but in the process, her self-confidence and self-esteem took a beating. So for the sake of self-preservation, she’s stepped away from medicine to re-group. In the meantime, painting soothes her soul and pays the bills.

Trace Bennett set his sights on a medical degree and has to prepare the perfect medical school application. His big plan is to paint his condo for a little feng shui divine luck. When Margo shows up to paint, he realizes he’s found exactly what he’s looking for. He just has to convince Margo to share more than the art of medicine.

She’s got it. He wants it. It’s Perfectly Reasonable.

Buy the book here!







Linda O'ConnorMeet Linda O’Connor ~

Linda started writing a few years ago when she needed a creative outlet other than subtly rearranging the displays at HomeSense. It turns out she loved writing romantic comedies and has a few more stories to tell. When not writing she’s a physician (well, even when she is writing she’s a physician and it shows up in her stories) but otherwise she’s working at an Urgent Care Clinic or even better, dancing in a Zumba class (where they say there are no mistakes, only unexpected solos).

Laugh every day. Love every minute.

Linda loves connecting with readers:

Website
Facebook
Twitter
Amazon Author Page

Friday, October 09, 2015

Visiting Casablanca with Linda Bennett Pennell

Everyone, please welcome today's guest blogger, Linda Bennett Pennell!

I have always been interested in World War II. When I originally started work on what is now Casablanca: Appointment at Dawn, it was entitled Wings and was set in Hialeah, Florida. It was to feature a 90-day wonder, as WWII pilots in training were known, and an army nurse. It just wasn’t working for me.

During communication with a former WWII pilot, he mentioned a friend who had been stationed in Casablanca. That sparked my interest. A bit of research into the First Allied Conference, which took place in Casablanca at the Anfa Hotel, and my pilot evolved into an OSS officer from Texas who speaks perfectly unaccented German and looks like a poster boy for Himmler’s SS. The Army nurse remains but she has transferred from Florida to Morocco.

The details of the Casablanca Conference are particularly interesting. It was at this meeting that Roosevelt prevailed upon Churchill, Charles de Gaulle, and Henri Giraud to formulate the policy of unconditional surrender by the Axis powers. Many in the German military and High Command hoped for very different terms of surrender if the unthinkable happened and Germany lost the war.

Spying and communications interception being what they were at the time, Hitler knew the conference was to take place and its approximate date. What he did not know was the correct location. The translator of the intercepted Allied communication made a significant error. He translated Casablanca correctly as "white house," but assumed incorrectly that the conference was to take place at the White House in Washington, D.C., not the city in Morocco. The error was eventually discovered, but not in time for the Germans to take action.

While all the above are historical facts, I am an author of historical fiction. The great fun in writing fiction is permission to play around with the facts. Let’s begin with spies, double agents, and a most unusual top-secret mission from which there is only slight chance of returning. Add two strangers sucked into a vortex of danger and intrigue who must learn to trust each other in order to survive. Next, spice the mixture with the fact that neither of them wants to fall in love. Top it all off with a question. Will seven days be enough to save the Allied war effort and the girl he loves? Casablanca: Appointment at Dawn has the answer.

Casablanca: Appointment at Dawn
By Linda Bennett Pennell

Casablanca, 1943: a viper’s nest of double agents and spies where OSS Officer Kurt Heinz finds his skill in covert operations pushed to the limit. Allied success in North Africa and the fate of the First Allied Conference—perhaps the outcome of the war—hang on Kurt’s next mission. The nature of his work makes relationships impossible. Nonetheless, he is increasingly torn between duty and the beautiful girl who desperately needs his protection and help.

Sarah Barrett, U.S. Army R.N., is finished with wartime romance. Determined to protect her recently broken heart, she throws all of her time and energy into caring for her patients, but when she is given a coded message by a mysterious dying civilian, she is sucked into a vortex of danger and intrigue that threatens her very survival. The one person who can help Sarah is Kurt, a man with too many secrets to be trusted.



Excerpt

“I’m Heinz. What do you want?”

“Oh. It’s you.”

“Yeah?”

“From the restaurant on New Year’s Eve.”

Kurt was silent for a moment, then it came back to him. “I remember. Sarah, right? You’re the girl who refused to dance with me.”

A red flush crawled from her throat onto the apples of her cheeks. “Yes. I’m sorry if I was rude.”

“I’ve been cut dead before. I got over it.”

The girl’s eyes glittered. “I’m sure you did. Are you going to keep me standing here on the doorstep for everyone to see?”

“Why? I’m not expecting company. Would it be a problem?”

“It certainly might if the people who tore my apartment apart followed me here.”

Kurt looked into her eyes with complete attention for the first time since opening the door. Whatever had happened to this girl, she looked terrified and angry. Not a particularly good combination for the covert activities he and Phelps were up to.

Kurt made a quick decision. He stepped back and pulled the door wide while raising his voice. “You better come inside and tell me why you think what happened to your apartment has anything to do with me.”

When they stepped into the living area, Phelps had disappeared. Kurt gestured toward the sofa and the girl sat down.

Propping himself on the sofa’s arm, he looked down into her frightened eyes.

“Now tell me how I can help you, Miss, uh…”

“Barrett, Sarah. US Army. RN.”

“Well, Nurse Barrett, what can I do for you?”

The girl stuck her hand in her coat pocket and whipped out a scrap of paper that she waved in his face. “By telling me what’s on this paper and why it’s so important that somebody took a knife to my furniture.”

About the Author:
Linda Bennett Pennell has been in love with the past for as long as she can remember. Anything with a history, whether shabby or majestic, recent or ancient, instantly draws her in. She supposes it comes from being part of a large extended family that spanned several generations. Long summer afternoons on her grandmother's porch or winter evenings gathered around her fireplace were filled with stories both entertaining and poignant. Of course being set in the American South, those stories were also peopled by some very interesting characters, some of whom have found their way into Linda's work.

As for her venture in writing, it has allowed her to reinvent herself. We humans are truly multifaceted creatures, but unfortunately we tend to sort and categorize each other into neat, easily understood packages that rarely reveal the whole person. Perhaps you, too, want to step out of the box in which you find yourself. Linda encourages you to look at the possibilities and imagine. Be filled with childlike wonder in your mental wanderings. Envision what might be, not simply what is. Let us never forget, all good fiction begins when someone says to her or himself, "Let's pretend."

Linda resides in the Houston area with one sweet husband and one adorable German Shorthaired Pointer who is quite certain she’s a little girl. Favorite quote regarding her professional passion: "History is filled with the sound of silken slippers going downstairs and wooden shoes coming up."

Friday, September 18, 2015

I'd Like to Punt-Kick Mercury Out of the Galaxy

Mercury, courtesy of NASA
I have a fairly moderate perspective on things that are non-scientific. Like astrology, numerology, tarot, etc. I find them interesting, and I believe there are plenty of influences we can't measure or truly understand. But I'm not a "believer" in the sense that I give such things much thought in my day-to-day life.

Except for Mercury.

Specifically, Mercury retrograde.

Once someone brought the phenomenon to my attention, it became very clear that this is A Thing. Did you have a misunderstanding with someone, and then you car broke down, followed by your dishwasher, and your e-mail is acting weird and the printer won't stop jamming for no reason? Check the dates. It's probably Mercury.

It amazes me how many people know what I'm talking about when I mention this, and believe in it. My husband thinks I'm insane, and my business colleague has been poking at me about it, but seriously. Every day this week has had multiple mechanical, electronic, and communication problems. People arguing about what a sentence means, when it's interpreted differently by different people. An e-mail in my inbox that made all the other e-mails unreadable until I deleted it. E-mails not sending. Malwarebytes warning me every other day that Facebook has been blocked as a malicious website, alternating with Chrome and Skype. Projects being done by committee (via e-mail, no less) where nothing can be completed because every time we get close to done, someone has a new idea that completely contradicts everyone else's ideas.

It's enough of A Thing that International Business Times did an article on it this week.

I'm sure kicking Mercury out of the galaxy would just make things worse, but ugh. How is Mercury affecting your life this week?