Thursday, October 29, 2015

Read the 1st Chapter of Clay More's "Guilty As Sinned" RIGHT NOW!!!!!!

“Just squeeze the arms of that chair as hard as you can. I assure you; it will only hurt for a moment.”
She looked up at him, her eyes showing no trace of fear. If anything there seemed to be a glint of amusement in them. And then she quite deliberately winked at him.
That wink flummoxed him for a moment. It made him think of another pair of hazel eyes, just as beautiful as these, regarding him over the rim of a teacup. There had been the same look of amusement, and almost exactly the same wink.
He forced the image from his mind as he took a firm grip on her lower jaw and inserted his ebony handled toothkey into her mouth. He maneuvered the hook around the loose tooth and, momentarily releasing her jaw, he swung the swivel device so that he had a firm grip upon it. Then he took hold of her jaw again and smiled reassuringly.
“I am going to count to three, Angelica, then I’ll pull. Are you ready?”
She winked again.
He then suddenly rotated the instrument, back and forth in three swift movements then pulled. Long experience had taught him that if you performed the maneuver swiftly, a moment before the patient was expecting it, then the extraction went well with the minimum of pain.
And although he tended to use forceps in most cases, there were still occasions such as this when the good old dental toothkey was still a useful instrument.
“Wow! You cheated on me a bit, didn’t you, Doctor Quigley! Let me have one last look at that tooth, if you don’t mind.”
Marcus Quigley held up the toothkey with the pearly white tooth still ensnared in the hook and swivel plate. “It was a healthy tooth, I am afraid,” he explained with a sorrowful shake of his head. “But it had to come out. Whoever gave you that punch in the face knocked it so loose that there was no way I could save it.”
Angelica Queen turned and as delicately as she could, spat blood into the spittoon at the side of the dental chair.
“Sorry, Doc, that isn’t very lady-like,” she said, gingerly feeling her jaw. Then she smiled. “But not many people have ever thought of me as much of a lady.”
Marcus smiled at the woman’s brashness. He had met her a couple of times before when he had last visited Sage Fork on one of his regular stop-overs every two or three months. Hank Greville the barber would rent out his back room, complete with a barber’s chair so that he could set up a temporary dental surgery.

Angelica was one of the town’s prettier doves. She was cheerful and brash and but for some better luck in life, Marcus could have imagined her as an actress or artist’s model, rather than a calico queen in some of the less salubrious establishments in town.
He had first seen her at the Four Aces Saloon when she had offered to sit and drink with him to bring him luck before he drew up a chair to play poker. So they sat and drank and then he played and won. That was the extent of their relationship. It was purely a business transaction. He bought her a drink and she brought him luck. It had also worked on the second occasion, on his second trip to town.
Marcus dropped the tooth into a zinc basin and then washed the toothkey before wiping it clean and placing it on the side table with his other instruments. “I hope that you got the law onto whoever did that to you, Angelica? By the size of the bruise, I’d say that was a man’s fist.”
She gave a hollow laugh. “The law? The law has no use for girls like me, Doc. But don’t you worry, because I am going to get even with the cur that did this to me. I am going to hurt him more than he would believe possible.”
“You know who did it, then?”
“What sort of a girl do you take me for, Doc? Of course I know, and soon everyone around here will know about him. And I don’t just mean about what he did to me. It will destroy him!”
Marcus stroked his neatly clipped mustache with the back of his forefinger. “Revenge can be a powerful emotion that can eat into you, Angelica. Be careful.”
And as he said it his mind flashed up the image of those beautiful hazel eyes that had winked at him all those years before. The recollection brought with it that familiar stab of guilt, for he had failed to protect her. He had not been there when he should have been and she had been the one who had suffered.
Once again he forced the thought from his mind.
“So that will be a dollar for the extraction, Angelica.”
She sat back and pouted at him. “A whole dollar, Doc.” She winked at him again and swayed her legs back and forth so that her dress rustled. “Couldn’t we come to some arrangement?”
Marcus sighed. He liked Angelica, but until he had settled a score for a death that weighed heavily on his mind, he was determined not to allow anyone to get close to him.
“It is just a dollar, Angelica.”
With good humor she stood up and opened the strings on her purse.

“You can’t blame a girl for trying, Doc. Maybe I can bring you luck at the Four Aces sometime soon.” Then her expression went serious. “But you mark my words, the worthless cur who slapped me around is going to have a serious change of fortune. Their luck will have run out by tomorrow. I am going to take everything that they hold dear. I am going to destroy all of their precious plans.”
Marcus held the door open for her and watched as she walked coquettishly past all of the men waiting for Hank Greville to cut their hair or give them a shave. All of them were drawn to the provocative sway of her hips as she walked.
He wondered if whoever had hit her realized that a dove’s retribution was soon about to change their life.

CLAY MORE is the western pen-name of Keith Souter, part doctor, medical journalist and novelist. He is a member of the Western Writers of America and is the current Vice President of Western Fictioneers.

He has also written a collection of short stories entitled The Adventures of Doctor Marcus Quigley published by High Noon Press in both paperback and ebook. Doctor Marcus Quigley is a dentist, gambler and occasional bounty hunter who is on a mission to find the the man who murdered his benefactress.

He is also one of the authors of the Remington Colt Wells Fargo series by High Noon Press.

Check out Clay's blog MORE ON THE RANGE

FIVE more Questions with Joseph Max Lewis!!!!!!

-If you could be a Superhero what would your powers be and why?

Mind Control. Figure out why for yourself but understand this, peasants, the Pittsburgh Steelers would never lose a football game as a result of all the crappy calls made against them and the Patriots would never have won some of those allegedly bogus Superbowls, though they did get screwed over by the Oakland Raiders in that playoff game the year the Raiders "won" it all . . . which would not have happened if I had mind control either. Just sayin.

-Does your Faith influence your writing and if so in what way?

Yes. Truth exists. Often its hard to find and when it is found demands we make difficult choices. Some of those choices don’t "feel" Christian or "tolerant." That reality underlies all my writing and each of my stories. It is counter cultural and, believe it or not, not just in the secular world, but increasingly among Christians, especially "well" educated (ie indoctrinated) ones.

-What was your worst part-time/summer job experience?

After three years in Army Special Forces, a year in a steel mill, and four years of college, at the end of my first year of law school I was low on money, so I took a job making sandwiches at a Pittsburgh sandwich shop. It was hot, most of my classmates were rich kids off to Europe or someplace for the summer and my boss was a pimply faced 19 year old asst. manager. So after 3 or 4 corrections by him on the proper way to cut and stuff the meat into the bun (he was right) I finally got the hang of it and my future was assured. "You know," he said, watching me, "that’s pretty dang good. Keep that up and I’m going to promote you to ‘grill man.’"

-What is your Favorite TV Series and what character would you play in it?

I don’t watch TV, only movies, news and the novelty channels like Discovery, History, etc.

-If you had to choose a "Last Meal", what would it be?

- Turkey with stuffing (in the bird, no bread crumbs in casserole dishes, please!), mashed potatoes, gravy (both real), corn, cranberries, hot rolls. If you want desert, you haven’t eaten enough.

-What are your Top 5 Favorite Books and/or Characters?

Lord of the Rings-Faramir, The Gunslinger-Roland, or maybe Oy. The Forever War, The Cross of Iron, First Blood.

-What is your go to Social Media platform –Facebook,Twitter,Pinterest,Blog/Website-and why?

Goodreads is my favorite. GR not only has great technology, platforms and apps specifically designed for writers and readers, it is nothing but a community of readers and writers. I can blog, receive and respond to an email from one of my readers, read rankings and reviews of my books, schedule events and post my own opinion of books. It’s a great place for a reader or writer to be.

Drop by Joseph Max Lewis website to keep up with all of the latest and greatest news:

What's next for "Sweetland Christmas Reflections"? Sue Badeau's "Hockey Santa"!

When Elaine, "Lainey" Evers breaks her ankle just before Christmas she knows she can count on her brother Homer for support. He invites her to his home in Sweetland and hopes she can rest and recuperate amidst the boisterous holiday chaos a family with six kids ensures. When Homer is asked to serve as Santa for a town Christmas party Lainey reminds him of a special Christmas they shared as children. With faith, creativity, re-lived memories and the power of sibling relationships can they recreate the magic of that "hockey Santa" for Sweetland's foster children?

Love children (mom to 22, grand mom to 35, great grandmom to 7!) chocolate, camping, road-trips, writing, reading mysteries and more, standing up and speaking up for those without a voice. I have worked in children's services, policy and advocacy for 35 years. Married to my best friend, I divide my time between my home and kids in Philadelphia and traveling to speak and teach on the topics I am passionate about - healing and hope for children who have experienced trauma, foster care, adoption, permanent families for all kids, and more. My faith is my rock. After the 3rd of our 3 terminally ill children passed away in 2012 we decided the time had come to write our story and so we are proud and excited to share "Are We There Yet? The Ultimate Road Trip Adopting & Raising 22 Kids" with you all!

Drop by Sue's Amazon Author Page:

If you want to start the series with the first story,grab Anne Baxter Campbell's on Kindle,Nook, or Kobo: #NewRelease #Amazon Anne Baxter Campbell@Anne_Baxter_C "Sweetland #Christmas Reflections-V1-A Gift For Arlene" #NewRelease #Kobo Anne Baxter Campbell@Anne_Baxter_C "Sweetland #Christmas Reflections-V1-A Gift For Arlene" #CR4U #NewRelease #Nook Anne Baxter Campbell@Anne_Baxter_C "Sweetland #Christmas Reflections-V1-A Gift For Arlene" #CR4U

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

PLEASE help the Author Team of "Sweetland Christmas Reflections" choose a cover for their soon to be released,10/29, series!

Arlene Smith looked up from the picture album she held in her hands and breathed a happy sigh. Even if it hadn’t started out so great, that had to be the most memorable Christmas since the beginning of time. Or at least the beginning of her time. And really? It had seemed like the end, but it had been just the beginning.
Things had been so different then. She’d only been seventeen—nearly forty years ago. She been Arlene Billings then.
Had she had any kind of premonition that Tuesday morning when it all started? If she did, she didn’t remember. Probably got up that late November morning and put on a pair of bell bottoms and a top. Maybe the turquoise blue pants and the bright pink sweater. The knit blouse was just a teeny bit too snug, but if she had a coat on, maybe Mom wouldn’t notice. She had to get some tape to get the cat hair off the clothes. Just couldn’t get away from Morris’s orange hair all over everything, but she loved her big furry friend.
The new guy, Jeff Collier. Dark wavy hair, deep obsidian eyes, and a motorcycle. Maybe that day he would look at her instead of Nancy Cole.
Arlene shook her head. I know, God. Vanity. Nancy Bowen was the prettiest girl in school. With her perfect figure and beautiful long blonde hair—never mind that it came from a bottle—all the guys looked at her. What hope could plain ol’ shy Arlene have in snagging a good-looking guy like Jeff Collier?
She had to admit the sweater looked good on her, though. Maybe…. She snuck some mascara and eye shadow into her purse. She’d put them on at school. Usually Arlene only wore some if she went out on a date. But if she just looked like her usual mousy self, Jeff Collier would never notice her among all the Sweetland high school girls. Why couldn’t she have had sandy-orange curly hair like Carolyn or blonde wavy hair like Nancy? Brown and straight was pretty much uninspiring.
It only took five minutes to walk to the school, and ten minutes to apply the makeup. She hurried out of the restroom and nearly tripped over the feet of the boy she’d primped for.
He grabbed her shoulders to keep her from dropping to the floor, and he grinned. “Falling for me, foxy girl?”
Foxy? He thought she was foxy! Her face burned, and she stammered out something stupid, she didn’t remember what.
He reached down and picked up the pink checked compact case she’d dropped. He tossed it up and caught it a few times. “Put on makeup in the school restroom all the time, or did you just do it today?”
“Just today,” Arlene managed to squeak. She fought the urge to feel if her hair had been messed up.
She held out her hand for her kit, but he kept hold of it. “Come on. I’ll walk you to your class.”
She beamed at him, but couldn’t say a word. He didn’t seem to mind.
“Which way?” he asked.
She pointed, and they walked down the hall together. Her heart felt as though it would pound right out of her chest.
“What are you doing after school? Want to go for a ride on my murder-cycle with me?”
He laughed, dark eyes not laughing. “It’s the present your folks buy you when they want to get rid of you.”
“Oh no! That can’t be true.”
“Can’t it? My mom and her newest husband shipped me off to my dad here, and he’s talking military schools. Nobody wants me. So what do they do? Buy me a motorcycle. For my eighteenth birthday.”

Which cover would you choose and why? What did you think of the reading sample for Volume One by Anne Baxter Campbell? Please leave a comment here on the blogpost or use the "Contact Form" on the sidebar! Thank you!

READ the 1st CHAPTER of Larry Peterson's "Leave Abadon or Die" RIGHT NOW!!!!!!

They immediately jumped up and headed out the door. The TV was still on and Eleanor went over and turned it off. As she headed for the door a deep, guttural sound came from behind her. It was almost as if a wild animal was beginning to growl. Eleanor felt herself go cold as a chill ran from the top of her head down and out the toes of her feet.
She turned and stared at the TV screen. Two, dark red, almond shaped lights each having a black dot in the center seemed to be staring back at her from the screen. She knew she wasn't a crazy woman or someone who heard strange voices. No, she was normal. So were Joey and Bobby even though they were children with vivid imaginations. Even Charlie had been frightened by a strange figure on Hemlock Road. Something was happening and it was out of the ordinary. What was going on? She closed her eyes, instinctively prayed a 'Hail Mary', and reopened them. As was with the shadow near the porch, the red lights were gone and the screen was black.
As she started to leave the room, the shadow of a person passed by the door, seemingly going to the stairway. Startled, Eleanor gasped and placed her hand over her mouth. She looked out into the hallway and no one was there. Desperately wanting to be with her husband and the boys, she hurried downstairs. But first she went to the living room and walked over to the fireplace. On the mantle were rosary beads. She picked them up, kissed the crucifix attached to them, and hung them around her neck like a necklace. She knew that a set of rosary beads was not to be used as a talisman but she did not care. Instantly she felt a bit more secure.
Charlie and the boys were out on the deck, sitting at the picnic table, chatting. Eleanor, relieved to be with them, noticed how attentive Bobby and Joey were being and was curious. “Hey guys,” she said. “So, what are you talking about?”
Joey quickly answered, “Jacob.”
“Oh, I see. He sure is an interesting young man.”
Bobby said, “He is the strangest kid I ever seen. He don't even know how old he is.”
Aunt Eleanor said, “Bobby, how come you and Joey both know how old you are?”
Bobby smiled and began to speak. He paused and his expression turned serious. Then he said, “I guess someone told us because how would we know. Maybe no one ever told Jacob? Is that what you mean?”
“Yes Bobby, that's exactly what I mean. I hope Jacob comes back soon. I really would like to get to know him better.”
“We better be careful Ellie. We don't know anything about the boy or his father. I would like to talk to the man before anything else strange happens. Know what I mean?”
“Yes Charlie, I know what you mean and maybe you’re right. But I have a feeling that Jacob has come into our lives for a reason. I don't really care if we talk to his father or not. So, I would ask you all to do one thing for me before this day is over.”
Charlie said, “You name it sweetie.”
Bobby and Joey waited to hear what the request was. Charlie smiled because he instinctively knew. Eleanor said, “After supper I would like all of us to pray a rosary for Jacob, okay?”
Eleanor Winters loved her Catholic faith but did not “wear it on her sleeve”. Charlie, was just plain indifferent. If it were not for his wife insisting that he go to Mass with her on Sunday he might not have went at all. However, they were both kind, caring people who did their best to live by the golden rule of L-Y-N. Charlie figured that was good enough for the “Man upstairs”.
They had dinner and it was around 8 p.m. when they gathered in the living room to say the rosary. Bobby said, “I can remember my mom having us say the rosary together. Sometimes Dancer and me would start to giggle and we would get in trouble because we couldn't stop.”
“Sounds like you had a wonderful mom.”
“Joey said, “I can't remember anything about my mom except she laughed very loud one time when I peed on Pops by accident. When I think about it I can hear her laughing.”
“Well,” Charlie said. “That's a real nice memory to have. Real nice. What about you Bobby? You have memories like that too?”
Bobby remained silent and his lips tightened as an overwhelming feeling of loss grabbed hold of him. His eyes filled with tears and he began to cry. Eleanor hurried over to him and put her arm around him pulling his head next to her chest. “Oh Bobby, that's okay. That's okay. We understand. You boys have lost an awful lot at a very young age. It's okay.”
Things settled down and they began to say the rosary together. Dusk was shrouding out the day's light and, besides the sounds of their voices joined in prayer for Jacob Lightfoot, a sense of tranquility embraced them.

What do think? Larry would LOVE to hear from you! Please leave a comment here on the blogpost or use the "Contact Form" on the sidebar.

If you want to start Larry's series from the beginning here is the Amazon Kindle link for the Volume One:

Friday, October 16, 2015

Please meet TRISH HORNER Co-narrator with George Taylor for "The Roman’s Quest"!

I've been blessed to play many roles in my life - theatrically, professionally, personally. Marion the librarian (The Music Man), Fruma Sara (Fiddler on the Roof), Vera (Smoke on the Mountain), Reuben's wife (Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat), teacher, therapist, daughter, wife, mother. But the role I have been the most blessed to play has been that of daughter of the King, younger sister of Jesus of Nazareth. When George asked me to be a part of this project, I could never have foreseen the blessings available, not only for me, but for all those who hear it. As you listen, it is my prayer that Adonai bless & keep you, make His face to shine upon you, be gracious to you & give you His peace.

About Anne Baxter Campbell's "The Roman's Quest":
Centurion Julius has eyes for a young Jewish woman, but a Roman is not what her father intends for her. Miriam is a pious Jewish girl, determined to do the right thing by her God and her parents, and she bows to her father’s wishes to betroth her to a Jewish fisherman, James ben Zebedee. Her heart yearns for the Roman, but their love is impossible. Miriam’s mother lies close to death, and her last wish is to see her daughter wed. The marriage has to take place before it’s too late.
Anne Baxter Campbell is a wife, mother, and grandmother who loves her Lord, her family, and writing. She and her husband, one very small dog, and one overweight cat live in north central California .

This novel is broken up into 10 audiobooks!
Audiobook #1 and #2 are now available in the HHP Store,they are $2.99 each:

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Read the 1st Chapter of Flora Reigada's "Love's Sweetest Revenge" RIGHT NOW!!!!!!

Elizabeth Bertelli always loved springtime in central New York State. Wearing a jacket over relaxed jeans and T-shirt, she stepped off the back porch of her home to head out for her morning walk. Having left her phone and all communication behind, she felt unencumbered by life’s demands. She inhaled the country air, wishing she could bottle the earthy perfume that even in April, kissed her face with remnants of winter’s chill.
Usually, Liz (as everyone called her) walked along the rural road with her friend, Rosa. But this day, the singing birds and golden daffodils drew her toward the meadow and woods beyond her home. She thought of painting the scene. Although her work had sold and won awards, it had been far too long since she had picked up her paintbrush.
Pulling her jacket tighter, Liz wished she could leave her sorrows behind. Steve was gone and there was nothing she could do about it. Even the rugged beauty of the area, where he enjoyed hiking and fishing, could not keep him; nor could the rambling old farmhouse Steve's wealthy parents had given them as a wedding gift.
He and Liz were only in their teens when she got pregnant with their twin sons. She gave birth to the boys at 15 and despite her youth, motherhood came as naturally as breathing. But marriage to Steve always felt like a bad fit, as if she were struggling to walk with tight shoes on the wrong feet. Still in her thirties, Liz felt unattractive and alone.
She couldn't go home to her parents, since they had recently passed away. Liz recalled their anger when they discovered her pregnancy. They pressured her to have an abortion or give the baby up for adoption, rather than marry Steve.
We don't like him. He's selfish and immature and we don't want to be saddled with his responsibilities.
Liz dismissed their warnings. She was the accident her parents had in their late forties, when they never wanted children. She always felt like an intruder.
Steve and I love each other, she yelled. I'm not killing our baby or giving it to strangers. If you try to make me, I'll run away and you'll never see your grandchild.
Seeing Liz's determination, her parents relented and grudgingly accepted her pregnancy, but they never liked or accepted Steve.
In those early days, he would run his fingers through Liz's flowing chocolate curls, compliment her golden-brown eyes, accentuated by a hint of makeup and call her his curvaceous cutie. But the chocolate curls had since been shorn and the warmth had faded from eyes that now reflected only sadness. Liz still had her curves; however, they had become a bit more rounded.
Toward the end of their marriage, Steve would not let her forget that. His icy blue eyes would view her with contempt, while his words stabbed at her heart. I wasted my youth on you. You've let yourself go. Look at you! I don't even want you anymore.
Liz's anger simmered. What right does he have to criticize my appearance? Steve's no Adonis.
Though athletic and muscular when they married, he had packed on the pounds over the years.
I should have suspected something when he began exercising again and losing weight.
Liz didn’t see how she could ever forgive him for what he had done. Her mind raged at the memory. How could I even think about him after he left me for that slut?
He and twenty-three-year-old Gloria Hamilton had met at a business convention in the Daytona Beach, Florida, hotel where she oversees social events. Steve had moved to Florida and they were now living together in an oceanfront condominium.
It gave Liz some satisfaction to shed her married name of Cavanaugh for her maiden name, recalling her Italian heritage. Even though her twin sons would always be Cavanaughs, to Liz, the name change was rejecting a part of Steve for the way he had rejected her. The boys also were gone, only they to pursue their individuality and lives.
Liz's heart always swelled with pride when she thought of her tall, lean sons. She could see Steve in their faces, but there was not a hint of his deceitful ways.
A recent law school graduate, Steve Jr. (Stevie) had graduated summa cum laude—the youngest in his class. After the prodigy breezed through his bar exam, he was quickly picked up by a law firm. Tony (named after Liz's late father, Antonio) followed in his father's footsteps as a chef. He and his wife, Stephanie (Steph) managed a restaurant and had given Liz her only grandchild, Ashley. Each of Liz's sons held an equal place in her heart.
However, the boys lived hundreds of miles away in the Washington D.C. area. That seemed so far, especially after Steve left. To Liz, that is how God seemed too, but also occupied with things far more important than herself, much like her late father, who was usually out of reach at the office or in front of the television.
When their sons were growing up, Liz and Steve brought them to church whenever they could, especially on Christmas and Easter. When her boys asked if she believed in God, Liz said "yes," but her heart was filled with doubt.
These days it was just Liz and King, the young Rottweiler she had gotten for protection in the house, now too empty and creaky. Thinking of her affectionate pet, she had to smile. Despite his menacing appearance and bark, Liz had often said if a burglar broke into the house, King would probably lick rather than bite. Liz guessed he was less aggressive because she had him neutered.
She looked toward the house, wondering if she should go back for him. But he was sleeping after recent surgery to correct elbow dysplasia, thankfully discovered early in his life. Deciding to let him rest, she continued on her way, occasionally pausing to admire the grassy carpet, speckled with wildflowers, such as blue flax and yellow dandelion.
As the house grew distant and the shadows of the woods began to creep over her, it struck Liz that in the twenty years she’d lived there, she had never ventured into the forest alone. An uneasy feeling invaded her thoughts—unknown eyes seemed to be watching.

What do you think? Flora would love your feedback on both her cover options and the story sample.Please leave a comment at the bottom of this post or use the "Contact Form" on the sidebar of the blog.Thank you!!!!!!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

PLEASE help Flora Reigada choose the cover of her soon to released Romance novel!!!!!!

We never know when a minor change in our daily routine will alter the course of our lives. Thirty-something Liz Bertelli had other things on her mind that fateful day she wandered from her usual walking path in rural New York State. Venturing into the forest behind her home, she follows one of the many centuries-old stone walls winding through the woods.
But not even the forest's beauty and April's pine-scented breath, could keep the tears from her sad brown eyes.
Her husband, Steve, had left for a plaything in her twenties and it had been far too long since Liz, an award-winning artist, had picked up her paintbrush.
Hearing of her dilemma, a kindly neighbor suggested she might find comfort in prayer.
"Thanks," she replied. "But me and God haven't exactly been on speaking terms—just like me and Steve."
Liz recalled the day he left. Before he took off down the road, his tires squealing, the couple argued bitterly. He paused for a final dig.
"You won't be needing your wedding dress, will you? It's about Gloria's size and you'll never fit into it again."
"Get out!" Liz yelled. "I'll wash the car with that dress before I give it to you and that whore."
Mulling over these things while wandering deeper into the forest, Liz doesn't see the mother bear with cubs until it is too late.
When the bear charges, Liz runs in blind panic, falling and striking her head against the old wall, knocking herself unconscious. After a while, she becomes aware of her head throbbing and of being face down in the dirt, its grit in her mouth. At first, she lay still, playing dead in case the bear was nearby.
Hearing only the rustling wind and her heart pounding in her temples, Liz gathers the courage to look around. Relieved the bear is nowhere in sight, she struggles to her feet spewing dirt. Just then, she catches a glimpse of a shiny object wedged between two stones in the wall.
She reaches for the object and discovering it stuck, pulls it free. A tarnished silver locket is soon in her hand. But with her head oozing blood, she shoves the find into her jacket pocket and stumbles home, forgetting it.
Liz alerts best friend and neighbor, Rosa Ramirez, who rushes to her aid. The fiery young widow, with a beautiful smile and big heart, drives Liz to an urgent care center. After the wound is sutured and doctors determine there is no concussion, Liz is released into Rosa's care. They return to Liz's home, where Rosa nourishes her friend with homemade vegetable soup and ginger tea. Liz savors the flavors and fragrance.
Later, while tidying the house, Rosa picks up Liz's jacket and the locket tumbles out. The friends open it, lifting a cryptic love letter from its resting place.
Uncovering the secrets takes Liz and Rosa to a castle (the Castillo de San Marcos) and legendary Love Tree in the romantic city of St. Augustine, Florida.
More clues bring the friends to an elegant but abandoned Victorian home. In its dust, the locket's secrets begin to unfold, along with stirrings of romance with handsome Latino brothers, Carlos and Jack (Jacques) Martín.
Sparks fly between Liz and Carlos, a former presidential aide and international playboy, who has flown aboard Air Force One.
Jack, a rugged Army hero, roars into Rosa's life on a gleaming Harley Davidson motorcycle.
But can Liz, embittered by her husband's betrayal, trust Carlos when he says, "You're beautiful. I care for you and I think you care for me. Will you join me on a great adventure wherever that takes us?"
And can Rosa, still grieving her husband's untimely passing, climb behind Jack on his motorcycle and hold on tight for an adventure of their own?
Answers, even glimmers of faith, come on a snowy Christmas day in New York State, when a bone-chilling trek through the frigid forest leads to another surprise hidden in the old stone wall.

Amazon Author Page:

What do you think? Flora would love your feedback! Please leave a comment here on the blogpost or use the "Contact Form" on the sidebar of the blog. THANK YOU!!!!!!

George Taylor's new Podcast examines five hard questions that people may ask you about God!

Last week’s podcast challenged us to be a BLESS-ing by sharing how Jesus’ intersects our story. When we rise to that challenge, we’ll hear questions. Some easy. Some hard. Beginning with this episode, we examine five hard questions that people may ask you about God. How should you answer? Listen for some help with this question.

To listen in on the Podcast just click the link and enjoy:

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The "Pen and Prayer Writing Ministry" - Flora Reigada

Welcoming smiles and tasty cookies greeted members of the newly formed Pen and Prayer Writing Ministry at Park Avenue Baptist Church in Titusville, Florida.
As we sat around a table, our group leader, Sonia Banks asked us to introduce ourselves and answer the following: "What do you write and what is your motivating passion?"
Our members responded:
Sonia Banks: The two loves of Sonia's life are Christ and writing. She writes for new believers. "So, you're a Christian? Now what?" Another work views the Garden of Eden from Eve's perspective. What was it like to be her? Through her gift, Sonia wants to shine the spotlight on her Lord.

Stephanie Booth: The Women's Ministry Director at Merritt Assembly in Merritt Island, Florida, Stephanie wants to see women rise up to be all God calls them to be. She is writing a resource book for women ministry leaders. Find out more on Stephanie's blog:

Rhiannon Haga: Believing God accepts us right where we are, Rhiannon endeavors to help others accept themselves, understand their purpose, and grow in their self-discovery.
Martha Larchar: Martha has written children's picture books and magazine articles. Her motivating passion is a love of great literature, in which well-chosen words breathe life into a character or description. By emulating such writings, she desires to convey God's truth.

Donna Long: Inspired by her grandchildren's excitement over her bedtime stories, Donna wants to write stories of purpose for children who are hurting. Her story about a cricket that could not chirp, but found a new way and a new sound, caused a grandson to proclaim, "Nana! That is so good!"

Flora Reigada: Through the "Where Your Heart Meets God's" devotional books and "Castle in the Sun" romance series she authors for Helping Hands Press, Flora seeks to reassure each woman God is whispering her name and that broken hearts can again, love and be loved.
Wanda Rogers: A nurse and nurturer, Wanda writes skits, devotions and children's books. She strives to influence her family, her prayer group and encourage young wives and mothers.

Triana Troili: Writing and "practicing" comedy, Triana says, "Some of the experiences I have had are so humorous they don't seem real." She enjoys "testing" her comedy on the public, such as a supermarket cashier who needed some cheering.
Sonia's questions apply to us all. What do you write, paint, teach, build or create—and what is your motivating passion?

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Realty Reality-Anne Baxter Campbell

Well—today (September 15) we will close on the loan for our new house (knock on wood!), a process that began May 27, the day when I made the first contact to begin the process. The loan officer told me if I wanted the close of escrow to be the end of August I should begin the loan submittals on July 1. It apparently usually takes about two months. July 1 on the nose I sent them an email telling them what I wanted and asking what I should send them.

I thought it would be pretty simple (silly girl) because I thought I could refinance my seaside house that is nearly paid off and is currently rented out. Turns out they didn’t to lend under that circumstance.

So then I contacted another mortgage company, hoping that a different outfit might have different laws. My contact there left on vacation without breathing a word to her new client (me). Goodness—I didn’t forget to take a shower, did I?
So—one more try. By now it’s July 10, and I’m feeling just a teeny frustrated. So this new contact person starts telling me what all they will need to start the process. One ream of paper, nearly! I can’t scan to send that much on my computer! It would be umpty-billion megs, and the internet would definitely crash!

Fortunately, there’s a place I can go to fax it. Unfortunately, their fax machine goes nuts and throws the papers on the floor in a jumbled heap. It only takes an hour or two to sort stuff again.
Soon Milly (not her real name) calls me. Evidently what I sent generated more questions, because now I need to send another stack or two.

So I gather the stuff, tap it straight at the top because the papers aren’t all the same size, and carefully clip it (also at the top). I take it to the place that will fax it, and the not-much-more-than-teenage guy who takes it promptly starts to tap it from the bottom. Shrieking like a madwoman, I grab the stack and tap it this way and that until it again aligns at the top edge, explaining all the while about the different sizes. He nods sagely in understanding—and promptly sticks it into the fax machine feeding from the bottom edge.
The file grows thicker over the next month or so. I get occasional calls and emails for something else, but usually not more than my scanner and internet can handle.
Meanwhile, escrow dates come and go. I’m thinking we may take the prize for the most-often-delayed closing. I’ll have to ask them when we meet at the title company today.

I could give mortgage companies a few hints, speaking from the client side of things. There are basically two questions that need to be answered: Can I make the loan payments; and, Will I pay them?
The first could be answered by looking at my bank statements; the second by looking at my credit history.
And they’d need to know if my income sources are reliable and consistent. W-2s and 1099s should take care of that.
Now, honestly, why do they need the other three reams of stuff?

I have to say, Milly was very patient with my impatience. We even chuckled together over the form they insisted I had to sign that made no sense and wasn’t accurate anyway. But the closing folks insisted they needed it just as it was. Okay, whatever.
I fully expect someone to call before I leave for the closing today saying they need one more thing. By this time, I would even sign a statement saying Meggie Wigglesworth (my little dog) has had her measles, mumps, and cauliflower shots before entering kindergarten.


Stop by and visit Anne at her Website:

FIVE Questions with Cindy Koepp!!!!!!

- What has inspired your writing?
My inspiration comes from all kinds of wild places. Sometimes, I'm watching a movie or reading a book and think, hmm... What if ___ happened instead? Sometimes the events in my life lead to story ideas. Sometimes, the idea just sort of shows up in the mental voicemail box with no hint of the sender or forwarding information.

-Do you have any pets? If so what?
I currently have an African Grey named Masika. She is a rescue baby, and I'm owner #4. We (me and Owner #3) think she's about 30ish years old, but no one is entirely sure how long she was in her original, not-friendly-to-living-creatures situation, so that's just a rough guess. Masika is very nervous around people and other critters. Getting her to trust me enough to step onto the back of my hand took 5 years, and now, 2 years later, she will actually let me move with her on my hand if I go slowly and don't go too far.

Although African Greys are known for the phenomenal talking ability, she is not fond of talking. She has a few phrases she's really good at like "Hello!" in about four different voices including a couple different pitches of a near-Cockney accent ("'Allo! 'I there!'). For the most part, though, she is a sound effect machine. I've tried teaching her specific sounds and phrases, but if she's not interested, she won't repeat them. Sometimes she learns sounds I'd've rather she'd taken a miss on.

For example, one summer, the batteries in my smoke alarms decided to go out. Naturally, this happened at 3 in the morning on 2 different nights because they couldn't both go out at once during daylight hours. I think that's a corollary to Murphy's Law or something. A couple days later, I heard "BEEEP... BEEEP... BEEEP!" spaced out about a minute or two between beeps. I thought it was another alarm losing its battery, but as I wondered around the house trying to figure out which was the offending alarm, I tracked the beep to the bird. She continued that beep now and then.

My folks were here one day and the bird started her BEEEP... BEEEP routine. Pa came into the bird's room, where I was doing school work, and asked if I knew which alarm was going off. I pointed to Masika. Right then, she cut loose with another BEEEP. Pa rolled his eyes and went back to the living room to watch TV.

Fortunately, she doesn't do that too often these days.

-How did you get started as an author?
I don't remember, actually. My mother has a pile of short stories I wrote when I was in school, but I don't have clear memories for anything that happened before I was 12. Really, I don't think I was there. (There is a reason, but it's not very interesting, so I'll avoid boring you with the details).

When I was a teenager, I wrote (really bad) fanfic based on the comic books my friends and I read. Toward the end of high school, I decided to try my hand and writing up my own brilliant ideas. The first few were some of the better fanfic tales reworked to remove the references to the comics. Eventually, though, I started doing original ideas. The first of those was a set of short stories inspired by a GURPS Space RPG some pals and I played through. Those stories -- after many, many mutations -- became my first published novel, Remnant in the Stars.

-What are your musical tastes? Do you write to music?
I listen to a variety of different musical groups, but it really is group-specific, rather than by genre. I listen to Kansas, Yes, Thousand Foot Krutch, Pillar, Red, Mozart, Ravel, Mussorgsky, Apologetix, Weird Al, and a few others.

Most of my music-listening is in the car or when I'm doing something around the house that would benefit from a little extra noise but no specific focus. I require no noise when I write. Well, you never have complete quiet when you have a parrot, but as close as I can get will do.

-Name your Top 5 Favorite Movies.
OOOoooo... There are so many!
Let's see. In no particular order...
1. Star Wars (all 6 of them ... Yes, including the more recent trilogy, which I like better than the original trilogy).
2. X-Men: First Class
3. The Princess Bride
4. Ladyhawke
5. Agatha Christie: Poirot (with David Suchet, pretty much all the ones I've seen).

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FIVE Questions with Flora Reigada!!!!!

How did you get started as an author?
The Florida Christian Writers Conference was a major factor in helping to establish my writing career. It involved taking classes, meeting with editors and fellow writers, as well as getting manuscripts critiqued—ouch!
One day I hurried home to "show off" my first contract, displaying it on the kitchen table for everyone to see. I only needed to sign and return it to an editor at the conference.
Something distracted me as my children sat down to eat. A while later, I made a horrifying discovery. Among the dirty dishes, crumpled napkins and spills, was my first writing contract, smeared in spaghetti. Tears burned in my eyes as I imagined what a poor impression I would make, returning the contract in that condition. I handed it to the editor with an apology, fully expecting her to tear it up. Instead, she looked at me with a big smile. Turns out the mom of six understood completely and my writing career was on its way—fueled by spaghetti sauce.

What are your musical tastes? Do you write to music?
Although "soaking" worship music such as that of John Michael Talbot and Kimberly and Alberto Rivera, inspires me to write, I work best in undistracted silence. When this was hard to find in my busy home, I escaped to the blessed solitude of my bathroom and locked myself in to write for an hour or so each day. Hearing of this, a friend presented me with a 14-karat gold toilet brush charm, which she actually paid a jeweler to craft. To this day many years later, that bathroom still serves as my "writing retreat." Thankfully, our family has another down the hall.

If you had to choose a "Last Meal," what would it be?
I would board the "time machine" for my childhood and Thanksgiving dinner at my grandparents' beautiful Victorian home on Staten Island, New York. Our extended family would gather in this spacious house with its four floors, grand stairway and five fireplaces. Seated around the dining room table, we'd feast on turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, turnips, cranberries, pumpkin pie and more. These delights were accompanied by laughter and political banter, with one uncle arguing the liberal viewpoint and another uncle, the conservative. Best of all, I would not have to cook the meal, then clean up afterwards, as I do now.

Does your faith influence your writing and if so, in what way?
Absolutely. I think of the reader as a friend, sipping coffee or tea with me in a warm, welcoming kitchen, where I share my faith through the medium of story.

Name your top 5 favorite movies.
1. The Staircase with William Petersen and Barbara Hershey. (1998)
I love this movie about a miraculously built spiral staircase at the Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
2. City of Angels with Nicolas Cage and Meg Ryan. (1998)
Nicolas Cage did an outstanding job capturing the guilelessness of an angel, even though he did eventually "fall."
3. Spellbound: This 1945 classic with Ingrid Bergman and Gregory Peck, comes complete with a haunting musical theme.
4. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. (2005)
Based on the enduring tale by C.S. Lewis, this movie expresses the potential "Narnia" inside every one of us.
5. Any of the Jurassic Park movies: Just because I'm fascinated by dinosaurs.

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Friday, October 2, 2015

FIVE Questions with Diane Huff Pitts!!!!!

"Dogs are for outside, not inside,” I heard my parents say as well as my husband. Outside, until a certain Schnoodle (Schnauzer/Poodle mix) wandered blissfully into our lives. The dog is now inside. And queen of the house.

And then there were two dogs.

i thought Dixie the Schnoodle was lonesome. (Maybe I should have asked her.) My remedy to her imagined woes was a Yorkiepoo whose antics resemble a kangaroo.

Dixie and Mia don’t exactly hit it off.

Two insiders? We like it. Small, don’t shed, hypoallergenic. And most of all they love us just as we are. it’s can’t get much better than that.

Musical tastes

I enjoy Rascal Flatts, Barbra Streisand, Il Divo, Eagles, Thomas Bergersen (orchestral), John Denver, Bach, the Gettys, Frank Sinatra.

The choice depends on the mood or task.

Nostalgic? Big band or Frank Sinatra if I’m with my 90- year- old mother.
Eagles or John Denver if I’m daydreaming back to the 70s.

Need writing music? Thomas Bergersen, hands down. Talented with a capital T (for Thomas, of course).

Top Five Books(or essays, poetry):

Is there a harder topic? For a writer, probably not.

My answers might surprise you.

When I was in grade school. In the summer time, “The Little Maid”series entertained me. I loaded up every week when my mom took me to the downtown library. The turning carousel squeaked as I picked four or five for my take home stack. What little girl would appear to help George Washington or Robert E Lee? Those books fueled an early love of history.

Again in grade school, I fell in love with the “Golden Book Encyclopedia.” The pictures, the topics pulled me like a magnet, driving me to learn about anything and everything from space to presidents.

In high school the writings of Bertrand Russell made me weep. I couldn’t understands how anyone could be an atheist. The stark contrast was his mother-in-law Hannah Whitehall Smith, the Quaker. The Christians’ Secret of a Happy Life.
I’ll let you figure out who influenced who.

The poetry of Emily Dickinson and Edna St. Vincent Millay.

Epic: Gone with the Wind.

Current writers: Anything by Ann Tatlock or Liz Curtis Higgs. Why? Because Ann Tatlock is a thematic writer who injects plot twists and plumbs the depths of character development. Higgs? She makes me bleed Scotland.

Worst Part-Time Summer Job

When I was 14 I worked as a teacher aide for a reading program. The children were out of control, and I was a shy teen. My stomach ached and rebelled every morning. I watched the clock every day for six weeks until my sentence was over. Worst ever!

Favorite Season

I will always love fall because it calls to me.
Of putting aside the old.
Taking time to reflect.
Believing the spring will come.
And feeling the breathe of refreshing breeze after humid, scorching Southern summer.

Stop by by Diane's Website:

Read the 1st Chapter of Joseph Max Lewis' "Separation of Church and State" RIGHT NOW!!!!!!

Tim Lewis is an up and coming young journalist, a protégé of powerful news executive Anthony Merkel and guest host of the award winning program, Law for Lunch. When Lewis unwittingly records one of Merkel’s private conversations, he discovers his boss is a secret member of the murderous Society for Human Enlightenment and party to a plot to assassinate Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Kahn. Kahn’s elimination is planned as a prelude to the kind of slaughter not seen since the holocaust.
Lewis is discovered, but saves the recording and runs, pursued by the relentless Alan Williams and several of the Society’s feared operational security teams. The Fellowship of the Essentials mobilizes Team Leader Ted Kehr and such men as they have, but Lewis trusts no one. In the end, Lewis is the only one standing between the Society and genocide. His only hope is to return to the woman he loves, but knows betrayed him years ago.

Chapter 1

“If what you say is true, American elections are a hoax,” Cardinal Thomas Guzetti said. “Why bother to vote? Congress and the Presidency? Nothing more than advisory boards, a pretty facade to placate the citizenry.”
The hot glare of stage lights chased away every shadow and illuminated the handsome face of guest moderator Tim Lewis. Tim tried to decide if he should interrupt Guzetti. He wanted to be fair, but knew his own performance had to be perfect. New York City’s flu epidemic had knocked out the regular host of Real Reliable News’ Network’s award winning “Law for Lunch” public affairs broadcast, giving Tim, fresh out of journalism school, an opportunity most of his peers would literally kill for. Before Tim decided, Guzetti’s debate opponent intervened.
Harvard Law Professor Morris Liebowitz faced the camera with a dismissive smile before responding. “I’ve come to expect that kind of fear mongering from the Christian Right, Cardinal, but you’re a Harvard educated lawyer.” Liebowitz shook his head. “We’ve always had a living constitution.”
“Cardinal Guzetti,” Tim said, “doesn’t Professor Liebowitz have a point? It does seem a bit extreme to suggest our democratic process is a sham because we have a Supreme Court.” Tim felt a twinge of guilt for “sculpting” Guzetti’s words, but it was a part of the job. The R.R.N. management and newsroom had little tolerance for Christian viewpoints. If the Cardinal didn’t lose the debate, and look out of touch while doing so, Tim’s career would suffer.
“Hardly extreme, Mr. Lewis,” Guzetti replied with a smile. With his plain black suit and Roman collar, he looked like everyone’s favorite neighborhood Priest. “It's a matter of simple logic,” Guzetti said, “not because of the Supreme Court as an institution, but because some are claiming we have a “Living Constitution.”
“Of course we have a Living Constitution,” Liebowitz said.
“Please Professor Liebowitz,” Guzetti continued, “let me make my case.”
It was the moderator’s decision and a tricky one. Guzetti wasn’t what Tim expected. He found himself liking the Cardinal and that was dangerous. Mishandling Guzetti could ruin his career. Tim decided to let Guzetti speak, trusting Liebowitz to trip him up. Few people were a match for the brilliant Harvard Law Professor. Tim could feel the sweat beading up underneath his thick TV makeup.

“As many people know,” Guzetti said, “if Congress or a State passes a law that violates the Constitution, the Court can and should declare the law null and void. It’s ‘Unconstitutional,’ we say. So let’s think this through, a ‘living’ Constitution means the Constitution changes when five Justices decide it changes, isn’t that correct Professor Liebowitz?”
“No it’s not.” Liebowitz’ bushy eyebrows quivered. “As community standards evolve, the Constitution evolves. Do you think America still allows people to be placed in stocks for petty offenses?”
“I stand corrected. The Constitution evolves when community standards change. But who decides whether our standards have changed? Not our citizens. Five Justices make that decision, don’t they? No one else gets a vote. Therefore anytime the American people want a change in the law and elect Congressmen who pass a law making the change, if five Justices don’t like it, all they have to do is say it's ‘unconstitutional’ because we’ve ‘evolved’.”
“Extremist nonsense,” Liebowitz said.
The Law Professor looked delighted, but for some reason Tim felt uneasy.
“Our country has had judicial review since its inception, since Marbury vs. Madison,” Liebowitz said. “Any two hundred year-old document, no matter how brilliantly drafted, must be interpreted in light of subsequent developments. Since the ratification of our Constitution we’ve developed automobiles, wiretaps, contraception and the internet. Surely Cardinal, even the Catholic Church has heard of these things.”
The Cardinal smiled, allowing Tim and Liebowitz a laugh at his and his Church’s expense. Tim felt better, Liebowitz looked smug.
“Of course judicial review has always existed and the Court does have the power to strike down laws,” the Cardinal said. “But only if they’re unconstitutional. That’s why judicial power must be dependent upon what’s actually written in the Constitution. Otherwise, the Court can do whatever it wants. As I said, all five Justices on the Supreme Court have to do is declare a law unconstitutional, when really they just don’t like the law and think they’re smarter than the rest of us.”
“Cardinal, really,” Liebowitz said. “As we already proved, interpretation must occur to accommodate changes in society. Where does it say ‘telephone’ in the Constitution? It doesn’t, but do we want the Government listening in on our phone calls just because telephones weren’t invented at the time of the Constitution and you Christians are paranoid?”
“Did you really prove interpretation is what’s at issue here?” The Cardinal took a moment, steepled his fingers, and then continued. “I’m afraid I’m not convinced and an old joke helps to explain why.” Guzetti looked over at Tim. “I am afraid it’s a bit risqué though.”

Tim couldn’t resist the potential for controversy. If the Cardinal actually told an off color joke on national television . . . He gestured permission to Guzetti.
“An old Priest from New York always wanted to go to Paris,” Guzetti said. “When the day finally arrived, he decided to take along an interpreter. After they landed in Paris and checked into their hotel, he told the interpreter to ask for directions to a famous cathedral. In turn, the interpreter approached a local citizen and seemed to relay the Priest’s request by interpreting it into French.”

The Amazon link for ebook or paperback of "Separation" is:

Praise for the writing of Joseph Max Lewis
The Diaries of Pontius Pilate
"Lewis has written a nail-biting thriller that jumps into action on page 1 and doesn't stop until you reach the back cover. Don't open this book unless you're sitting in a comfortable chair with good reading light, because you won't want to move." - Thom Lemmons, Christy award winning author of Jabez: A Novel, and Blameless.

Just Verdicts – Literary short stories
"Amazing! Three stories that are so real, so heart-breaking...reads like ripped from the headlines. Very good . . . The author's background sizzles and if you don't know him, you'll want to acquaint yourself promptly.” - Lisa J. Lickel, editor in chief of Creative Wisconsin, the literary magazine of Wisconsin Writers Association.

Joseph Max Lewis served as a member of an Operational Detachment in the U.S. Army's Seventh Special Forces Group, the storied Green Berets. During his service Lewis received antiterrorist training and his detachment was tasked to "Special Projects." Afterward, he served as an instructor at the Special Forces Qualification Course. Lewis attended the Pennsylvania State University, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa, the University of Tel Aviv in Israel, and the University of Pittsburgh, receiving degrees in International Politics and Law while being certified in Middle East Studies. After living and studying abroad, first in the Middle East and then Southeast Asia, Lewis returned home to practice law. He’s a columnist in the New Bethlehem Leader-Vindicator and currently lives, writes, and practices law in and around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.


"I wasted my youth on you. You've let yourself go. Look at you! I don't even want you anymore!"

That's what Steve Cavanaugh said to his wife, Liz, before leaving her for Gloria, a plaything in her twenties. Seeing the anger in Liz's eyes, he bolts for the door as she hurls a vase at him. Barely missing his head, the vase crashes into the wall.
He mocks her. "You broke it! I was going to give that to Gloria."

This fictional scenario sets the stage for "Love's Sweetest Revenge," the upcoming first book in my "Castle in the Sun" romance series.
Although Steve has some redeeming qualities, such as being a good father and provider for the twin sons he had with Liz, he says and does many detestable things. This continues even after Liz begins a relationship with Carlos Martín, a brilliant, sophisticated and of course, handsome Presidential aide. But Steve just cannot bear to see Liz happy, especially with someone so accomplished.

When I started the series, I didn't expect Steve to play a major role. He was supposed to be a background character, the ex-husband referred to in passing.

As I wrote, however, Steve kept stepping out from the shadows and I realized he has an important role. He is the antagonist or villain essential to every story. He represents the challenges we all need to overcome.
Who can better appreciate home's warmth than one who has struggled through the wind and rain?
Whatever they are, the "Steves" in our lives test us, just as the character in my book tests Liz and Carlos' relationship. These people and problems can embitter us or make us flex our mental and spiritual muscles to grow stronger.
A friend who reviewed my book had her own take on Steve. "He's a control freak, wanting to manipulate Liz and Carlos like puppets on a string."

Here is what Steve said to Carlos after learning about the motorcycle accident that nearly killed him. "Too bad about the Harley. Maybe it was just too much bike for you."
So where did I get the dialogue for this character? Much of it came from my mild-mannered husband, Dan. Might there be a little bit of Steve inside every one of us?

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Check out this YOU TUBE Video of Patti J. Smith's Parrot "DERBY" IN A CHATTY MOOD

My husband and I welcomed our Lilac Crown Amazon Parrot into the family in 2004. Derby was a mere eight years old, just a baby in parrot years.
We were not shopping around for a parrot, having two dogs and a cockatiel … a large enough menagerie for one household, but we got an offer we couldn’t refuse. Our parents had a friend who sold parrots, and they found out about a parrot that was living in an abusive home. Somehow they rescued our Derby and wanted to find him a loving family. Of course, my parents recommended Michael and me. They not only gave him to us, but they also provided the cage! What a blessing.
When we picked him up, he was a little skittish and had a scar on his head from being thrown against a wall. It broke my heart to think someone could be that cruel to a defenseless creature. Thankfully, it didn’t take much time before he was crawling all over me (and doing his duty down my shirt). He now chats up a storm (as you can hear in the video) and loves to “moonwalk” on the carpet. He mimicks the phone and we’ve actually answered and does a creaky door and microwave beeps as well. What surprised me the most was he turned out to be a bigger begger than our two dogs. Whenever we eat something, he screeches until we share. His favorite foods are chicken (his relatives??), pork chops, and popcorn, but he’ll try anything….
Hope you enjoy his little show!