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Sunday, November 24, 2019

Guest Post: Lisa Lickel and CRAZY CREEK CHRISTMAS

My guest today is Lisa Lickel. A Wisconsin author who loves books and dragons, she writes inspiring fiction. Besides writing inspiring fiction, she also writes short stories, feature articles, and radio theater, and loves to encourage new authors through mentoring, speaking, and leading workshops. She is an avid book reviewer and blogger, and a freelance editor. Find more at LisaLickel.com.

Lisa's latest release is Crazy Creek Christmas. The story is about a town that saves Leah Hanes's life. Running on fumes and bald tires, she thanks heaven for Cookie and Jeanette Wimmer who send her to the Rocking J Ranch as a winter cook. Leah arrives to discover the ranch and the people need more than a cook.

Noel Johansen, heir of the Rocking J, happily left for the big city years ago. When he loses his family in a terrible accident, the best thing for everyone is to sell the place, ditch the memories, and move on. But his brother-in-law has other plans, and the beautiful new cook they've hired for the season threatens Noel's desire to remain detached.

The ranch represents Noel's future and selling it becomes more important than ever when one more tragedy leaves him with nothing. But memories can't be bought and sold, nor can a broken conscience heal itself. Home, heart, and future are irrevocably tied in Crazy Creek.


And now for a bit of an excerpt to tempt you:

Noel pushed through the passage into his mother’s dining area.

“Did that woman get here yet? I don’t want to have to haul someone’s…”

It was Gil’s voice Noel heard, but definitely not Gil’s face across the big table. Noel amended his language and raised his arms to brace himself against the sides of the doorway. 

“Ah…vehicle…out of the ditch.” 

Cupcake was a liar. 

The vision before him was not some hardened woman used to ranch life and the lonely, harsh conditions of a Wyoming winter.

Jeanette and Cupcake sent a woman several years younger than himself, younger even than his sister. How could she have experience cooking? Noel stared. She was very pretty in a pinched, inexperienced way, with dark blonde hair pulled back from her face in a loose ponytail. She seemed startled, maybe even confused. The opposite of Carolyn in every way. 

The folder with the contract was on the table. To one side, Marty rested on the table. To the girl’s other side, Gil huddled in his wheelchair. He’d obviously slid downhill since coming home from rehab last month. It didn’t look as if he’d done anything to keep himself or the place up in the weeks since Noel brought him home. Marty had been sick, Noel knew, but a visiting nurse was supposed to check in on them. 

Mom would never have allowed this. Jeanette should have known better. What had she been thinking? The situation had clearly gotten out of control.

“I wasn’t expecting you,” Gil said.

“Clearly.” Noel snapped himself upright and walked in. “What’s going on? The place looks like it’s falling apart. I only left a few weeks ago.” 

Gil gave a sideways eye-roll toward the young lady. “What are you doing here?” 

“Jeanette and Cupcake sent a message.” Noel hedged. “Where’s the nurse?”

“After the first two weeks I told her she didn’t have to come back,” Gil said. 

The young lady turned her face from their 1 exchange. Noel set his hands on his hips. “Excuse me. You’re…you’re Lady…Laney…La-something?” 

The woman raised a brow at Gil, who had turned red. 

“This is Leah Hanes. Leah, meet my brother-in-law."

*******

Buy links:

Barnes and Noble https://bit.ly/2BpBRfl





Thursday, November 21, 2019

Guest Post: Lillian Duncan and ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS JOHNNY ROCKER DEAD

My guest today is Lillian Duncan. She has a new release coming up which is part of the Pelican Book Group Christmas Holiday Extravaganza. Hers is a bit different though. I love the subtitle, "A Rock 'n' Roll Romantic Suspense." Doesn't that grab you? It really grabbed me. 😊 


This is Lillian Duncan…turning faith into fiction. 

Even though her books cross genres, they have one thing in common, faith-based stories that show God’s love—and lots of action. OK—that’s two things. She believes in the power of words to change lives, especially God’s Word.


And here's Lillian's latest release--just in time for Christmas!




Johnny Rocker believes he's doesn't need anyone or anything—especially God because after all he is a rock & roll god. When the floor beneath his feet crumbles—literally—he hurtles toward a different truth.

Since the death of Maddie's family, she's run from life and love and become the best bodyguard she can be. But, with God's help, she's ready to step out of her comfort zone and into a different life. When her boss asks—no begs—her to take on one last job, she finds it hard to refuse. Someone is trying to kill mega-star Johnny Rocker. It's Maddie Cotton's job to make sure that doesn't happen.

Even under Maddie's protection the threats continue. As Christmas approaches the danger escalates—someone doesn't want Johnny Rocker to see the new year, and they are willing to kill Maddie as well. Johnny and Maddie will have to set aside their differences and learn to lean on each other and God if they want to see Christmas day.


 Murder, Mayhem & Christmas?

Murder, Mayhem & Christmas? Really? 
On the surface, it may seem that murder and mayhem doesn’t necessarily go with Christmas, but I love weaving a Christmas story in with suspense and romance. I have several Christmas stories available—The Christmas Stalking; The Christmas Angel Thief; No Home for the Holidays; and A Christmas Stolen.
My new Christmas novella is ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS IS JOHNNY ROCKER DEAD! How’s that for a title filled with murder, mayhem, & Christmas? 
I won’t tell you the plot but I will tell you the story is about how much God loves each of us—no matter what we’ve done. And isn’t that what Christmas is really all about?
Speaking of Christmas, one of the things my husband and I do every Christmas is to clear out our enclosed porch and then we put up Christmas trees. Yes, I said trees as in many trees. 
Last year, we had 14 or 15 trees up. In all sizes and shapes— even a snowman tree. We don’t have any young children or grandchildren around, but that doesn’t stop us from celebrating the season and honoring Jesus’s birthday.
Merry Christmas to all!

Download the book now at Amazon, Barnes&Noble, Kobo, Google Books, and Apple.

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Release Day for CLEAR AS ICE--November 20, 2019

 

At last, CLEAR AS ICE is available. You can download it and start reading immediately! I had such fun writing this book. One of the secondary characters is a dog, Rufus, who belongs to the hero. Rufus is quite a matchmaker. 

The inspiration for Rufus came to me from my granddog, who is almost as amazing as the dog in the book. Like Rufus, my granddog was a rescue. My daughter had his DNA checked. His heritage is quite mixed, but he looks like a Labrador--for the most part. He's not small and dainty. He's large. However, if you have a lap, he'll be happy to pretend he's a lap dog. 😉 Sometimes he chews on sticks, but most of the time he loves treats and is very willing to learn new things for a tasty morsel. 



You can read an excerpt from the first chapter of CLEAR AS ICE at Pelican Book Group's website right HERE. It's where the heroine meets Rufus and his owner. 

The book is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Google Books, and Apple Books, too. So easy to find! 




Saturday, November 16, 2019

Book Review: WALTZING MATILDA

Christmas is the top holiday of the year. It's a time when families get together, parties are planned, and there are cookies--lots and lots of cookies. So here's another book from Pelican Book Group's Christmas Holiday Extravaganza that you don't want to miss. This one is set in England. It's WALTZING MATILDA, by Clare Revell. It's available for pre-order now and will be released on November 20, 2019. Check out the page at Amazon: Waltzing Matilda by Clare Revell

My rating on this book is 💖💖💖💖💖.


Waltzing Matilda caught my interest right away. Beleaguered Councillor Tilly is near her wit’s end when a fire destroys the venue for the town’s famous Christmas ball. With only four days left, she searches for a suitable replacement venue but there are no places to be had except for Addington Hall. However, Leo, who is a virtual recluse, won’t even speak to Tilly on the phone. Refusing to give up, she drives to the hall. A horrendous storm comes to town, which ruins Tilly’s apartment, her car, and the grand ballroom which could have been used for the ball. Tilly is stuck at Addington Hall with Leo, his formidable aunt, and his sister. While Tilly may not be formidable, she is practical and sensible and offers her wise advice to Leo. She also makes great biscuits—and the recipe is at the end of the book. A very enjoyable romance and well worth reading.

Check out more books from the Christmas Holiday Extravaganza at Amazon!

Friday, November 15, 2019

Book Review: SUGAR COOKIES & STREET LAMPS

Christmas is coming and plenty of holiday stories are on the way, too. It's almost time for Pelican Book Group's annual Christmas Holiday Extravaganza. I'm doing my best to keep up with this year's offerings, which is a great way to get into the spirit of the season. The first book I read was SUGAR COOKIES & STREET LAMPS by Susan M. Baganz. It's available for pre-order right now and will be released on November 20, 2019 at SUGAR COOKIES & STREET LAMPS, by Susan M. Baganz


I give this book 💖💖💖💖💖. 

This grace-filled romance about an event planner and the man who hires her was a delicious treat. The plot centered on whether Noelle, a non-believer, will accept the great gift of faith. The Christmas event she takes on is a huge job—the biggest one she’s ever tackled. She’s apprehensive, but realizes it could be the stepping stone to better things. Rudy, who hired her, is willing to help out, but he is concerned about her eternal salvation. Even more so, because he likes her. As their relationship proceeds forward, it is as sweet as the recipe for sugar cookies at the end of the story. Don’t miss this gentle reminder about the reason for the season.

Be sure to check out the other books coming out in the Christmas Holiday Extravaganza at Amazon.





Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Guest Post: Carol James with THE UNEXPECTED CHRISTMAS GIFT

This year Pelican Book Group is having another Christmas Holiday Extravaganza featuring sweet, short Christmas stories that are just right for warming your holidays no matter what the weather is like outside. I'll be featuring some of the authors of those stories on this blog. Today's special guest is Carol James.


     Carol James is an author of inspirational fiction. She lives in Lilburn, Georgia, a small town outside of Atlanta, with her husband, Jim, and a perky Jack Russell “Terrorist,” Zoe.
      Having always loved intriguing stories with happy endings, she was moved to begin writing to encourage others as she'd been encouraged by the works of other authors of inspirational fiction.
      Her debut novel, Rescuing Faith, has been a number one best seller on Amazon. Her second novel, The Waiting, and her Christmas novellas, Mary’s Christmas Surprise and The Unexpected Christmas Gift are currently available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and the Pelican Book Group website. Her newest novel, Season of Hope, will be available in the summer of 2020.  
     Carol enjoys spending time with her husband, children, and grandchildren, traveling with friends, and serving in the production department at her church. And most days, in the late hours of the night or the wee hours of the morning, she can be found bringing her newest novel to life.

What's the story about?

     Eli Walker is a fun-loving entrepreneur. His job is to advise and restructure struggling companies. Holly's mission is to save the company she works for by finding new customers at a trade show in Dusseldorf.
     But when she fulfills her promise to her boss to visit the cathedral in Cologne, her quest changes.
     Filled with twinkling lights and snowflakes, Christmas markets and a romantic Ferris wheel, Eli and Holly's time together in Germany is an unexpected gift. But when they return home, Eli must make a decision that could cost him what he wants most in life…Holly.

Here's a short excerpt:

     The Ferris wheel stopped at its apex. Holly turned back toward Eli, but he was facing the market, his back to her.
            “Holly, come see.”
            She stepped across the pod to the side that overlooked the market and slipped into the seat beside him. 
            “It looks like a…galaxy.” 
            He was right. Lights draping from the giant, central tree out to the edges of the market were woven together with masses of twinkling lights strung from the roofs of the Old Town buildings and blanketing the entire market with a golden glow. She scooted closer and rested her head on his shoulder. “Thank you.”
            “Thank you for coming.”
            “That’s not what I meant. The train. The prayer. Thank you.”
            He wrapped an arm around her and drew her closer. “I’d be honored to pray for you any place, any time.” He placed his free hand under her chin and lifted her face toward his. “About anything.”
            The butterflies from the other day returned in full force. His coffee eyes looked deep into her soul. He was going to kiss her. A part of her wanted to let him. But she hardly knew him. Yet what she knew, she loved. 
            He bent nearer. She leaned in and closed her eyes. His breath was warm on her lips. 
            She couldn’t do it. Chad. What about Chad? He’d been her first, last, her only love. Forgetting him, replacing him would be so unfair. Her eyes filled as she drew away. All she could manage was a whisper. “Eli, no. I can’t. I can’t.”

THE UNEXPECTED CHRISTMAS GIFT is already available for pre-order and will be released on November 20, 2019. Click on the link below the book cover for more information. Check out Carol James's other fine books, too. 

The Unexpected Christmas Gift
Mary's Christmas Surprise

The Waiting





Rescuing Faith

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Make the World More Beautiful



One of the best homilies I ever heard at Mass was given by Father Griswold at St. Mary's church in Colts Neck, N.J. on the Sunday after the horrible shooting at Columbine High School in Colorado. Instead of standing at the pulpit, Father Griswold asked all the children to come up to the front and sit around him. 

Then he read a children's picture book, Miss Rumphius, by Barbara Cooney. 

The children listened attentively to the beautiful story and a sense of calm fell over everyone. As an early childhood educator, I have always appreciated picture books for their simple, but focused messages. In the wake of the Columbine tragedy, the story of Miss Rumphius transcended the horror and offered a positive path. 

Since Columbine, our country has gone through too many mass shootings. Still, like Miss Rumphius in the story, all of us can do something to make the world more beautiful. We just have to give it some thought. 


Thursday, October 24, 2019

Skating and Me

That's me on the frozen lake behind the house where I grew up. I loved to ice skate. I used to go backward and twirl around until I was dizzy. However, I never jumped. I never took lessons. I just watched other people and then I would imitate their moves. Maybe if an Olympic ice skating star lived in the neighborhood, I could have been a better skater. Nevertheless, I couldn't wait for the lake to freeze over so I could tie on my skates and glide smoothly around the ice as I hummed "The Skater's Waltz."

My mother made platters of homemade doughnuts for the entire neighborhood as well as homemade hot chocolate. My father put a floodlight on the back of the house and directed the beam of light on the ice so we could skate in the long, dark winter evenings. Everyone skated. Everyone was outdoors in the cold weather. The internet had not been invented yet--nor had cable TV come about. We had time to play outdoors--after we finished our homework and our chores.

I grew up, got married and moved twelve miles away from home. I still loved skating. Whenever the lake froze over, I packed up the kids and went to my parents' house to skate. I am guessing I'm in my late thirties in the photo above. (No date on the back of the picture, but I remember the coat.) My daughters went skating, too. Hubby went with us but he never liked it. He was afraid he would fall.

I fell millions of times. I probably fell at least once every time I was out on the ice. It never bothered me--until several years ago when the doctor told me I have osteopenia, the precursor of osteoporsis. Then I also wound up with wonky knees. No fun!

So now I don't skate because I'm afraid I'll fall and break a bone, which is really sad. But I do have memories and I can still hum "The Skater's Waltz," so if I close my eyes I can pretend I'm twirling around on the ice.

It's also the reason I decided to write Clear as Ice. The heroine in the book was once an Olympic skater. The setting is that little lake back home where sometimes the ice freezes so clear you can see the turtles resting in suspended animation beneath the ice. It's rather magical--or at least, I think so.


Pre-Order it now at Amazon!

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Pre-order CLEAR AS ICE!


CLEAR AS ICE, which will be released on November 20, 2019, can now be pre-ordered! Warm your holiday season with this wintry tale. Go to https://www.amazon.com/Clear-Ice-Christmas-Holiday-Extravaganza-ebook/dp/B07YSXW85Q/

Read about it below!

When Ethan's prayers for his mother's life go unanswered, he abandons his faith, tossing it out with his mother's Christmas ornaments. The loss of his hope leaves him empty and he begins to shy away from relationships, but when his dog Rufus, a rescue from a shelter, develops a fondness for a woman skating on the frozen lake behind his house, he's annoyed. Not only does he resent her using his pond, he doesn't understand her fear of dogs. 
Haylie, once an Olympic figure skater, is afraid of more than just Ethan's dog. She lives in constant fear due to threats from a stalker, but one day Ethan's dog chases the danger away, so Haylie decides to try to lose her fear of dogs...But then the stalker's plans expand to include revenge toward Ethan as well. If they are to remain safe and live to see a happily-ever-after, Haylie and Ethan must put aside differences and learn to trust each other. This Christmas season promises to be the most challenging and the most meaningful of their lives.


Thursday, October 10, 2019

Playing with GIFs


My iPad decided it needed an update. It does that sort of thing on a regular basis. One of the lovely benefits that came along with the update was a simple shortcut to make a gif. This is fun and useful. I can now easily put together elaborate gifs to help in advertising my books. After all, it seems moving images are best at capturing people’s attention. But for now I decided to upload some of my short illustrated Scripture quotes. I take many photos, but every once in a while I get lucky and wind up with a photo featuring a good amount of fantastic sky or a wide expanse of wonderful water. To me, pictures like that beg for a quote. 

I have a collection of these illustrated Bible quotes at my Pinterest page. You can see all of them at https://pin.it/6cwhwyoik2xt6k — along with some I saved from other folks’ collections. Check them out! 

Thursday, October 03, 2019

Potholes


One of my favorite poems by Robert Frost is "The Road Not Taken." (You can read it HERE.) This past weekend, I had the opportunity to test my driving skill on a road full of potholes. It was a road I would never have imagined to be so hazardous. Some of the potholes were more like craters. The photo above doesn't even hint at what that road was like. It looks all nice and peaceful and smooth. Ha!

It might have become my own road not taken. However, at the end of that road was the Bridge to Nowhere, which sounded rather intriguing. (Could there be a plot in there somewhere?) So I dared to ease the car through the obstacle course to reach the goal, coached by the calm voice of Daughter #2 who also wanted to reach the Bridge to Nowhere. She suggested walking at one point, but I didn't know how far that walk would be and whether my old knees were up to the journey. On the other hand, the car might easily have sunk into one of the craters, but it didn't.

We were fortunate, reached our goal, and took lots of photos. Even the photo above might make a nice painting.😀

It was quite an adventure. But maybe next time, we'll take the bicycles.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

Filet Crochet Prayer Square Cross


I enjoy making prayer squares. They are small and I can easily carry them anywhere with me. I pray for the recipient of the square while I work. Our prayer shawl ministry usually hands out bunches of these during the Christmas bazaar at our church.

I have many different patterns but I decided it would be nice to try one in a filet crochet pattern. However, I couldn't find the sort of pattern I wanted. So I made up my own. It may not be written in proper crochet lingo, but it's free for anyone who wants it. Have fun!

FILET CROCHET PRAYER SQUARE CROSS

Using a number 11 crochet hook (you can use a larger hook but the square will be larger), and crochet cotton thread size 10, chain 31.

Row 1: Dc in 7th chain from the hook. (This makes your first square.) Ch 1. Skip 1 space. Dc in next chain. Ch 1. Repeat until you get to the original ch 7 box, dc in the 2nd chain from the hook. You should have a total of 13 boxes. At the end of the row, ch 4 and turn.

Row 2: DC at top of the first Dc. *Ch 1. Skip one ch. Dc in next dc.* Repeat that to the end of the row, where again you dc in the 2nd chain from the hook. You now have two rows of 13 boxes each. Chain 4, turn.

Rows 3 to 9: For the next 7 rows *dc in the top of the dc, chain 1, skip one space, dc in next dc* 4 times. Then dc in the next 7 stitches. From there ch1, dc 4 times, until the last loop where you dc in the 2nd ch from the hook. Ch 4 and turn.

Rows: 10 to 12: For the next 3 rows, dc in the top of the dc, chain 1, skip 1, dc in next dc. (Two empty boxes) Then dc in 19 stitches. Ch1, sk1, dc, ch1, dc in 2nd ch from hook.

Rows 13 to 15: The following 3 rows are exactly like the rows 3 through 9.

Rows 16 to 17: The last two rows are the same as the first two rows.

To finish, single crochet all around the edge.

For the final picot row: Ch 5, slip stitch in 3rd ch, ch 2, skip 2 chains, slip stitch in the next. Repeat all around. Finish off.



Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Because we have to.

I'm giving a presentation at the library about formatting a book to upload it to Smashwords and Kindle. It was something I learned to do because some of my books became orphans. Either the publisher who held the rights went out of business or they had too many books and returned the rights to me. It has happened to other writers as well. Publishing is a tough business. 

I wanted to offer something hopeful at the end of my talk. I browsed through Pinterest and found the quote below. It was not a clear image so I went to Canva and sharpened it. 

The quote comes from Dani Shapiro from a blog post she wrote on June 21, 2012. You can read the entire post here.


Thursday, September 12, 2019

Aunt Grace's Instructions On How To Catch A Man

This is a photo of Aunt Grace, my favorite aunt. Intelligent and out-spoken, she was my mother's sister and one year older than Mom. Aunt Grace suffered with a heart problem all her life, but that did not stop her from keeping up lively conversations.

An inveterate letter-writer, her letters were treasured by all. Of course, she always gave advice, whether anyone asked for it or not. Once, Aunt Grace wrote a letter to my mother concerning one of my sisters. Aunt Grace firmly believed it would be easy for my sister to catch a man using this technique.
Tell her to get a baby tiger, put it on a leash and walk down the streets of New York, or the boardwalk at Atlantic City. I guarantee if she does it every day she'll get plenty of attention. Tell her to wear an Angora sweater, a skirt with a slit up the back, highheeled slip-on shoes. Hair tousled "casually". Or maybe a little Corgi, a long red, or tartan cape, black stockings, a large red velvet beret, and a heavy upholstery fabric peasant skirt (I like this better--dramatic, yet with flair, and just right for her outdoors image). The floppy hat would work well with this second outfit. Then, of course, how about the long cape, a short tousled haircut highlighted with gold or titian, long earrings the color of her eyes, with matching junk jewelry. The cape over a bright blue leotard matching the earrings. Nothing under the cape, of course, but the leotard. 
I think I like this last idea best of all! What drama. This time she can forget the tiger or dog, and carry a knobby cane--the better to hit them with if they try to mug her. Again, locale is Atlantic City, or maybe Southhampton, or Harvey Cedars on Long Beach Island. There is money, big bucks in all those places. Of course in Atlantic City she'll have to take herself and her costume into a casino, and see if she can get eyes riveted on dice or the roulette wheel riveted on her. But, it seems like a good way to spend a couple of weekends. You can chaperone her from the rear just in case weirdos are attracted to these outfits. Frankly, I think she could carry all this off very well. It's a change from her job.
Now why didn't I do all this when I was young? I settled for turtleneck shirts. I'm so conservative in my dress today it's just plain disgusting. If something will be out of style in twenty years I don't buy it. Hence I have lots of clothing that dates back 25 years. Honestly.


Aunt Grace had a fantastic imagination! I miss her, but she left us a wonderful legacy in her letters.

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Guest Post: Valerie Goree with DAY OF RECKONING

My guest today is Valerie Massey Goree, an American Christian Fiction Writers Genesis Award winner. She resides with her husband on the beautiful Olympic Peninsula of Washington State.

After serving as missionaries in her home country of Zimbabwe and raising two children, Valerie and her husband moved to Texas. She worked in the public school system for many years, focusing on students with special needs. Now retired, Valerie spends her time writing, and spoiling her grandchildren. 

Her other novels include: Deceive Me Once, Colors of Deceit, Weep in the Night, and Day of Reckoning. The sequel to Weep in the Night, will be released August 30, 2019. 

Check Valerie’s website to learn more about her books: www.valeriegoreeauthor.com

Valerie loves to hear from her readers.

The exciting plot for DAY OF RECKONING:

International Retrieval Organization Agent Lela Ortiz is assigned the kidnapping case of businessman, Chuck Davenport. When her boss allows Jay Vashon, Chuck’s brother-in-law to assist, Lela accepts the help with reservations, especially when Jay prays at the most inopportune times.

Jay would do anything to help bring Chuck home, even work with feisty Agent Ortiz. As Jay and Lela decipher clues Chuck sends to his son with special needs, they are forced to work in close proximity. 

Can Jay break through the barrier Lela has constructed around her heart? Will Lela be able to overcome her distrust of men and God?

And Chuck? Can the pair locate him before the ransom deadline? 




And now for an excerpt!

Three shadowy figures closed in on Lela’s position. She held still as death. If the men found her, they wouldn’t hesitate to shoot. Her scars itched, but she couldn’t rub them. Instead, she mentally repeated the words that sustained her in dangerous situations. I am in control. He can never hurt me again. I have the skills to keep myself safe.The quivering in her leg muscles subsided.

One of the men stopped. Lela edged sideways behind the stout trunk of a human-sized cactus. Too close. Efficient as a scalpel, the stiff spines drew drops of blood that oozed down to her wrist. She bit her lip and made a fist.

A gravelly voice whispered, “Shoulda brought a flashlight.”

Heavy footsteps slowed. 

Sweat beads stung Lela’s eyes. She dared not wipe them away.

Another voice. “Are you sure you saw something suspicious?”

“Yeah.” 

“You need glasses, ’cause all I hear is night critters. Come on. Let’s get back to the house.” 

Seconds stretched into minutes before the men shuffled away. Their muffled voices faded into the warm, starless night. Lela’s jaw ached. She relaxed her clenched teeth and peeked out. A dim light silhouetted three bulky shapes on the front porch of the ranch house. One man circled to the rear while the others entered the house and lights popped on in the side windows. 

Links:





Facebook author page:


Thursday, August 29, 2019

Indomitable

Lilyturf
My sister, the horticulturist, has given me many, many plants over the years. Her yard is lovely. Of course, she waters her flowers regularly and pulls out the weeds.

I am a bad plant mom and hope for rain so I don't have to water the flowers. I weed a bit when it's not too hot. I struggle with the over-abundance of hungry deer who eat everything I attempt to grow—even the plants that are poisonous. And yet, the deer don't always win because some of the plants are indomitable.

Echinacea
 In the top photo, you can see where the deer nibbled away at the green leaves of the Lilyturf. I was surprised when the flowers appeared despite the leaves getting chopped off.

The deer nibbled the echinacea down to about three inches. But while the flower isn't as lush as it could be, it bloomed anyway.

My sister had given me seeds for brown-eyed susans years ago. For a while, I had lots of those bright flowers. But the deer enjoyed the taste of them as well, leaving me no seeds to gather.

Or so I thought.

Brown Eyed Susans
One brown-eyed susan plant came up this year between the blacktop and the edging beneath the hedges. I left it there and surprisingly it bloomed.

Montauk Daisies
Then there are the Montauk daisies. I bought root hormone and nurtured the baby plants and when the roots appeared I put the small plants into the ground. The deer came along and bit them down to the dirt.

So I figured that was it. Then after one rainy week, I noticed the plants were doing their best to recover from being pruned by the deer.

There's hope.

Maybe next year I'll have more flowers.

💖