The other “The End”

Today is the anniversary of my beloved sister, Jan O’Brien’s, death six years ago.

july 4

She was diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung cancer on Memorial Day and was dead before Labor Day. And not a single day goes by that I don’t think of her, wish I could call her, and miss her like hell.

Those 3.5 months of impending death were spent fighting an all-out war that couldn’t be won. Hell, we never had a chance. But Jan wanted to fight…until she didn’t any more. The end wasn’t kind, gentle, or peaceful. The process of dying was long and difficult and grueling for everyone who loved her. My only hope is that her true spirit took flight, unfettered by her physical body, which didn’t get the memo.

I bring this up because this past week I learned of another amazing woman dealing with end-of-life matters. Her names is Meg, and, although we weren’t close friends, as writers and fellow creatives, our circles overlapped. She impressed me as a no-bull woman, smart and involved. She lived a good mountain-loving life, ate healthy foods and treated her body well, but cancer took hold and did was it does best.

Hospice is involved, as it was with my sister. I have mixed feelings about this “service.” But my concerns over the monetization of death are paltry compared to my contempt for those in the medical profession who examine patients, but fail to see people.

This account comes to me second-hand, but from a trusted source. When Meg was hospitalized for a cancer-related problem a week or so ago, her doctor had this to say: “Doesn’t look like this organic, healthy lifestyle helped you much, did it?”

Meg was alone in the room at the time, vulnerable.

Meg is being cared for by friends who love and respect her and treat her with dignity. The end will come when the body is done. Hopefully, her soul will have flown to a splendid vantage point long before that last breath. Maybe Jan will be there to greet her.

One can only hope.


BTW, I will be hiking to the splendid high country next week. I’m posting some pics for you from our recon hike, but I won’t be back to reply to comments until after Labor Day. Have a good one!


Wrapping It Up (Tara Taylor Quinn)

I’m all about cooking these days.  As busy as I am, the busier I get, I take more and more comfort from preparing food in my own kitchen.  I’m a ‘plain’ eater so the dishes aren’t gourmet amazing.  I’m also not all that big on eating.  I’d rather not eat at all then eat something I don’t care for.  But cooking makes me feel good.

I’ve been doing a lot of wraps.  And have a collection of them now.  I don’t use recipes.  I just read about foods and spices and what things do what and what compliments what and then I set out to create.  Today, while I’m busy at my computer trying desperately to get to the wrapping up stage of a book that’s due next week (book nine in the Where Secrets Are Safe series) I thought I’d share a couple of my wrap dishes with you.  They both use the same sauce and I’ll explain that once, at the end.  One is a breakfast wrap and one is a cucumber wrap.  Both are extremely easy.  And good enough that I’ve been asked for the recipe!  So here goes:

ttq Breakfast Wrap:

6 eggs

6 tbs milk

1/4 onion finally chopped

ham or bacon or both

potatoes, chopped

olive oil

Heat oil in pan.  Add potatoes.  Cover and cook on medium low for twenty minutes or so, until browned, turning once or twice as needed.  Remove from pan and set aside.  Add meat and onion to same pan.  Saute until onion is cooked.  Crack eggs over top.  Add milk and scramble.  When eggs are scrambled to your liking, add the potatoes back in.  You can also add shredded cheese at this stage if you’d like.  I usually do not.

ttq Cucumber Wrap:

Two boneless chicken breasts or thighs

One Cucumber

One Onion

Finely chop cucumber and onion.  Put together in bowl, stir and let them sit, flavoring each other.

Grill chicken breasts.  You can prepare however you want as long as they’re cooked, but I always use grilled as I love the flavor.  Then finely chop them, adding them to the onion and cucumber mixture.


3/4 C Miracle Whip

1 Tbsp. vinegar

1 tsp. prepared mustard

2 Tbsp. sugar

I lightly heat the wraps to make them easier to roll, but if you heat them even a tiny bit too much they’ll harden around the edges and will split.

For the breakfast wraps, I spread the sauce on the wrap after adding the potatoes to the egg mixture in the pan.  I then add the egg mixture to the wrap and roll.

For the cucumber wraps, I add the sauce to the cucumber, onion and chicken mixture and stir until all is completely and well coated.  I then spread the mixture on the wrap and roll.

Happy Eating!!




The Puzzle Mentality – Carolyn

I cheat at solitaire. I would never cheat at bridge or poker or any game with more than one person. It’s next to impossible to cheat at bridge. Cheating at poker can get you shot.

But I don’t mind taking advantage of myself. I guess that’s because I do not have the puzzle mentality. One of my critique partners can do Sudoku in pen in the middle of a meeting. I do crossword puzzles so long as they aren’t giving me clues like ‘the undersecretary of state under Millard Filmore.’ Who on earth knows that? Nor cares?

In this country our crosswords are relatively straightforward. In England, however, their clues are so convoluted that half the time I don’t understand the solution when I read it. I can do the New York Times puzzle most of the time, but seldom on Sunday. There are places on the Internet that actually publish the solution for specific clues, but frankly, that kind of cheating I won’t do. I realize admitting that I get frustrated and am not a genius (I used to be one at least according to the IQ tests. Haven’t had one of the tests in years, but I suspect I no longer qualify for Mensa. )

I have, however, found a puzzle on the net that I enjoy. It’s called Cross Fingers.

It’s basically a spatial awareness puzzle in which you arrange shapes into other shapes in the shortest time possible. I’m actually not too bad at it. I can’t cheat. I am fighting to shorten the time that it takes me to complete one of the puzzles, and therefore each attempt in which I better my time feels like a win. There are different levels ranging from Baby through Easy, Hard, Pro, Genius and eventually Insane. I may be Insane, but the Genius level tends to frustrate me. I don’t do frustration well.

I have worked through the entire group of puzzles. Now I am thrown back on merely beating my previous times. I am considering writing the company and asking them to develop a whole new set. I have attempted other puzzles, but most of them bore me stupid, or possibly stupider.

Now, the answer to my problem is simply to stop doing the puzzles and GO TO WORK. I have a book to finish, ghost stories to edit, and all sorts of social media that I am supposed to keep up with and don’t. One of the newscasters yesterday said that this is the generation that is totally connected all the time, but without actually knowing anyone. Too right, they are!

It seems to me that shared drivel is still drivel. I don’t even particularly enjoy chatting on my cell phone. I do not walk around in the grocery store talking with some invisible BFF on my headphones. That’s entirely too much like chatting with my imaginary friend in public. I stopped doing that when I was six.

A while back I was behind a lady in the checkout line who was having a high old time talking (not whispering) and laughing at length to her headphones, when suddenly she stopped and said, “Who IS this?”

So maybe my solitary time with my sill puzzle is not so bad after all. At least I know who I’m playing against. Me.


A New Passion (Pat)

I’ve just discovered Pinterest, thanks to fellow bogger Tara.

I’ve become an addict.   I can’t tell you how many hours I’ve spent there, building boards and indulging in all my interests.

I don’t know if you’ve tried it but, if not, take a look.    Like cooking?  There’s thousands of recipes to be found.    Like animals?   You can find some of the most  charming photos of them.   Like  travel?   You can go any place through photos and, if you’re planning to take a trip, you can find tips for any location.

Have any hobbies?   There’s instructions for practically  everything and you can share your own tips or projects with friends.

One of my boards involves writing tips.  I’ve just started, but I hope to make it valuable to both budding and experienced writers.   It’s a work in progress.

I now have twenty boards available on my site,   They include travel, great quotes,  photos of dogs, another of horses and other animals,  Friendship (photo and quotes) which was started by Tara; music I write by (just starting that one), food (recipes) and history.

I’m now finding other friends on Pinterest or boards of people who are looking in on mine.   I visit them and up pops a topic that immediately grabs me.   Another board in the making..  You can steal ideas with inpunity.  Not only inpunity but with the encouragement of the creator of that particularly board.   I love it.

I also have a board with all my currently available e-books.   Just tap on one and it will send you to Amazon where you can find a  synopsis and  the reader ratings.

I can tell you, though, it is addictive.   I’m just building my site,and I’ve spent at least twenty hours this week.    But it’s so much fun.

Don’t be afraid to try it.   Believe me, I’m an electronic dunce and if I can find my way to and through the site, anyone can.   It can give you hours of  enjoyment.

To find me there, go to .

Hope to see you there.


Beach, BookBub and Book Club

Oh, what a weekend it was!

First, you should know that I live in close proximity to the Central Valley of California. Native Americans knew perfectly well the only way to survive a summer in the Central Valley was to pack up and head either to the mountains or the coast.

I chose the coast. Take a look at this sunset and you’ll see why.

sunset 81515

All-in-all, it was the delightful respite I longed for, except for one salient fact: my book, MONTANA COWBOY, came out in a BookBub ad on Saturday.

BookBub is one of the most popular and effective newsletters in the reading world. Typically, a BookBub ad can do wonders for getting your book into the hands/Kindles of new readers. Because of its reach and popularity, getting your book accepted can take months of trying (four attempts by my wonderful marketing exec at Tule Publishing) and these ads don’t come cheap. So, when you are accepted, it’s a joyous moment–and one that probably works better if you have access to WiFi.

Oops. No WiFi for me.

But, luckily, I have good friends who followed my book’s climb up the Amazon Best Seller List as attentively as I would have if I’d been home. My wonderful pal, Eve Gaddy, sent me this:


Amazon FREE bestseller big

Naturally, I was happy-dancing in the sand on the beach to the amusement of tourists and their dogs. Champagne and gorgeous sunset to follow (see above photo).

Knowing that the temperatures in the Valley were supposed to reach 110-F this week made us consider playing hooky from life. But, I had a meeting of the Wine, Women & Words Book Club to attend, so…we headed inland, watching the outside temp soar.

Our Book Club meeting was at the beautiful home of my friend, Donna. It’s an oasis, actually, with a gorgeous pool. We swam, snacked, enjoyed a “taco bar” (brilliant idea for summer potluck, by the way) and discussed women’s rights and roles in society and cultural inequalities as brought to light by the book: The Pearl That Broke Its Shell.

18505784 Really interesting discussion and a provocative read. Here’s another insight on this topic, if you’re interested.

All in all, it was a fabulous weekend I won’t soon forget…because I brought home a little reminder–from the heart of the sea.



Here’s hoping your coming weekend is just as memorable!



The ghosts of LaGrange

Those of us who are writing ghost stories for our Malice in Memphis anthology are responsible for furnishing our artist, wonderful Ann Smith, with a photograph of our venue that she can use for her line drawings.

Since two of my stories take place in ante-bellum cottages around LaGrange, Tennessee, my carriage-driving friend Beverly and I drove the thirty or so miles out to LaGrange on Friday, camera in hand (her hand, not mine—I don’t do photographs very well) to take some pictures.

LaGrange is a village too small even to have it’s own mom and pop grocery. It is comprised largely of cottages and mansions that were constructed from 1820 or so up through the Civil War.

LaGrange survived unburnt because it had no military significance, and a lot of Union generals stayed there. By the nineteen fifties and sixties, the great old homes were in desperate need of renovation. Enter Federal Express and Delta. Pilots, who didn’t have to brave traffic into downtown Memphis every day, bought up the moribund houses and restored them and the town. They were joined by other families happy to drive twenty miles to the grocery for the sheer peace and beauty of the place.

The small Episcopal church is the oldest in Tennessee, and beautifully redone.

Beverly and I took tons of pictures of the historic houses, the church, and the graveyard (always good for ghost stories). I’ll have more than enough to send Ann.

The bucolic looks of the place belie some of its history. When Memphis was attacked by yellow fever in August, 1878, its population dropped overnight from 25,000 to just under 8,000 as people dashed for safety on the Memphis and Charleston railroad that ran through LaGrange. Since no one had a clue what caused yellow fever, or whether it could be passed from person to person, all along the railroad line mobs of armed citizens kept the refugees on the trains—men, women and children—from getting off even for water. Nor did the natives of LaGrange and its neighbors bring water and food to the trains where the refugees could get it themselves.

Memphis in August is horribly hot and humid, and there was no air conditioning. The people on the trains were forced to keep the train windows closed or risk being shot by the farmers who waited on the tracks. Several men who tried to sneak off the trains were indeed shot in cold blood. Nobody was arrested for murder.

Eventually, the frost came and put an end to that summer’s epidemic. Until 1879. It was never that bad again, but west Tennessee has never truly recovered from 1878.

None of that fear and violence shows under the gracious magnolias that line the lanes and allees that wind through LaGrange today. Come fall, our carriage driving group will spend a day driving through LaGrange, then meeting for a picnic at the old church.

I strongly suspect the ghosts will join us whether we see them or not.



It’s Elvis Time Again in Memphis (Pat)

Living in Memphis is sometimes like living in a time warp.

Not just sometimes, but annually.   It is now the anniversary week of Elvis’s death (1977), and Memphis is seized by Elvis fever.   Visitors come from throughout the world to pay their respects.   Young, middle aged and senior citizens from places as far as Australia and China.  The young and middle aged who were not alive or very young during those years come in respect to their parents’ devotion to The King.

Hotels fill.   Restaurants all feature “Elvis’s favorites,”  mainly anything to do with peanut butter and bananas.  For instance, one restaurant is advertising Nutter Butter cookies and sliced bananas, dipped in a maple waffle batter and deep fried.   You dip them in butterscotch banana cream.   Or you can go to another, a place called Marlowe’s, where you can find a Hunka hunka burger, an Elvis Burger or The King steak.  It’s a favorite of Elvis fans.   A candy store offers chocolate peanut butter and banana popcorn.

At a bar, you can find bacon added to the peanut butter and banana sandwich while ordering a Jailhouse on the Rocks, made with Zaya rum and Mexican Coke.  Or you can go to the Zebra Lounge piano bar for an Aloha Elvis Cocktail while listening to Elvis tunes.

I could go on a lot longer because nearly every restaurant in town has some kind of Elvis treat, but you get the picture.   There is no end to what you can do with peanut butter and bananas.   Or meatloaf, his other favorite food.

I know about this because my local daily newspaper devoted two whole tabloid size papers to the subject.

There are also five more pages devoted to “The 50 Best Elvis Songs.”   Among the favorites — and mine — are “Love Me Tender” and “Can’t Help Falling In Love With You.”   The fifty also included some I hadn’t heard which surprises me since Memphis is all things Elvis.

The Memphis Symphony has created a program featuring Elvis music, and one of the highlights of Elvis Week is a contest of Elvis inpersonators that draws contestants from throughout the world.

There are numerous smaller events during the week, but the highlight is always the annual Candlelight Vigil tonight which commemorates the 38th anniversary of the death of Elvis Presley.  The streets around Graceland are closed as tens of thousands of people from dozens of country play homage.   Candles are in short supply during the week.

Memphis was a relative small city in the sixties and seventies.   I was in Atlanta at the time but my brother lived in Memphis, not far from Gracie mansion.   When I arrived to take up residence in 1991, I discovered  that Elvis was everyhwere.   Nearly everyone I met had come in contact with Elvis.   A writer firend was a second cousin.   My brother was one of his doctors, my next door neighbor was a distrant relative,   I want to a party at the mayor’s house and everyone there had a personal Elvis story.   I was the only one who had never met him.

Graceland, his home here, is one of the nation’s most visited attractions.   I resisted going for years.   Too much hype.   Seemed rather cheezy to me.  But when a friend visited from Atlanta, the one place she wanted to go was Graceland.   Relunctantly, I agreed to to go.   I ended up fascinated.   There were many sides to Elvis, including a very humanitarian side.

Although Memphis has grown much larger, I still run into Elvis connections.   I was doing a booksigning at the library and another signer had been a close friend of Elvis’s and had written about those years.   The stories remain endless.   Memphis will always be Elvis’s town.

And now I’m off to play my sentimental Elvis CD while writing a romantic scene in my new book.   Thank you, Elvis.


Who’s Your Hero?

What defines a hero-

My new Big Sky Mavericks story is releasing today. As you can tell from the title, the meaning of the word “hero” comes up from time to time in this book. For me, the definition of the word goes well beyond the narrow parameters most people tend to attribute to it.

Yes, acting heroically is spectacular and important and good. Running toward a catastrophe instead of away is very brave and deserves recognition and reward. But, sometimes, the small, nearly obscure challenges — like a single mom doing the best she can without a lot of support — can require a huge dose of bravery without any hope of recognition.

I tossed out this question on my Facebook page a few days ago: “Who’s your hero?” I was going to pick out a few answers from the 100+ to share, but when I started reading them, I realized each is the TRUTH for that person, and each answered my question. Some are very touching. (If you don’t have time to read them all, please scroll to the bottom to see a wallhanging a friend made for me. :-)

Bonnie Jackman Gonzales Just finished Montana Hero, soooooo good. You didn’t say book hero, so my Granddaughter Cassie she saved her husbands life when he had an accident with a high powered firework. she keep it together and got him to the emergency room faster than an ambulance coming for him would have been, he would have bleed out if they had waited.

  •  Misty Garoutte Clarkson I like all heros men women and animals alike just finished a book where a dog saved a little girl right before his heart gave out
  • Jenelle Reyes Liked and shared! My sister Kat is my hero! She’s the strongest person I know. She’s been through so much with her health and keeps fighting!
  • Melissa Tippie My hubby is my Hero ~ He’s a volunteer fire-fighter & EMT smile emoticon
  • Callie Barbara Cuddy It used to be my husband, but he’s leaving me, so I guess I’ll have to be my own hero.
  • Carrie Porter Evans All veterans, especially my friends and family and my Mom.
  • Jennifer Schultheis My husband is my biggest hero. He is exactly the kind of guy I want my son to grow up to be. Honest, loyal and hardworking. Thank you for the chance. Sharing! 
  • Shannon L Schoolcraft Its a mix between my dad and my mom. They both have been through a lot and i look up to them. They are the strongest people that I know. 
  • Pamela Lowery My mom is my hero, we lost dad 2 years ago, and she has become our rock and glue and has held the family together. They were married 52 years and had never spent a whole day apart.
  • Casandra Kluber My mother is my hero!
  • Connie Kline Fischer I love my husband but I have to say my sons share this. They make me so proud every day of my life. Mike and Matt: you guys are the best! heart emoticon heart emoticon
  • Jackie Hammond My daughter. She is a wonderful mom and a beautiful person. She has taught me so much over the years.
  • Jeanne Sheats No particular person – the everyday people that help others.
  • Lourie Staib Both of my parents, they both fought like crazy to stay alive for my benefit & in the end their health failed them both.
  • Linda Rimer-Como My mom is my biggest hero, she us there for me no matter what.
  • Linda Henderson My daughter. She is an amazing mother. Her 12 year old son has aspergers and a he is his biggest advocate. She’s amazing.
  • Linda White My Daddy is my biggest hero, he has endured the loss of my mama, survived lung cancer and other related illnesses and has kept a positive outlook through it all!
  • Suzie Gaspard Quebedeaux My grandmother! I called her Granny. She passed away on my 35th birthday but she is still a hero to me. She had 12 children (the youngest had Down’s Syndrome), had 60+ granchildren. She had the patience of a saint. I NEVER heard her raise her voice or say a bad word about one person.
  • Morse Dawn My mom
  • Janine Rowe My husband who always stands up for me even when I do something questionable.
  • Jackie Maxwell Awesome socks. And your books, of course! I have five heroes-Nick, Joe, Beej, Danny, and Molly
  • Dawn Cripps My husband he kills spiders for me and I have never felt safer with anyone in my life
  • Judy Thomas My biggest hero is my daughter.
  • Angelina M Linan I would say my kids because without them i don’t think I would work as hard.
  • Lynn Clayton my son
  • Dawn Anderson My mom and grandma
  • Crystal Holloway My biggest hero is my dad.
  • Shari Drehs Bartholomew My biggest hero is my husband.
  • Carol Schwartz My mom who passed in 2012
  • Jennifer Matusik Ingman My youngest daughter is my hero. She has endured a lot medically, yet she never lets is keep her down!
  • Dana Wintch Tillack My mother!!!
  • Judy Pflueger My sister, Sheila.
  • Carole Fiore my cousin Joanne for she fought cancer twice and she’s doing great!
  • Judy Stephens Burr Too many to name ! 
  • Brianna Birch The Veterans who don’t come home! Especially one of my husband’s friends named Benjamin who we named our son after. Thank you for the opportunity! Liked and shared
  • Susan Newkirk My hero is my son – who is small – but never let’s anything stop him !!! Congrats on your new release !!
  •  Taylor Lynn Hanagan My grandmother who recently passed away. Always so loving. So positive. Saw the good in every situation. Put herself last no matter who or what it came to. 
    True definition of an angel. heart emoticon
  • Alexis Sapphire Liked and shared ty my hero’s are my kids 
  • Lorie Sullins Payne My cousin who survived cancer but daily deals with problems with her arm and shoulder while working as a nurse
  • Eileen Aberman Wells Liked & shared!! Can’t wait to read it!! One of my heros is my younger son who has overcome many obstacles in his life to become the awesome person he is now. Another is my younger daughter who is a trauma nurse. My other two kids aren’t bad either.
  • Kathleen Elliott Clark My husband who fought a battle against kidney cancer, but lost. he was the strongest person I know And I miss him every day. He passed away in 2012 at the young age of 64.
  • Deborah Favorito My hero is all the veterans, soldiers and all the men and women who have lost their lives to protect ours.
  • Judith Voss My mother, who in 1950, left China at the age of 20 to travel to French Guiana to an arranged marriage to a man she had never met. She spoke no English. Eight years later she was widowed with five children between the ages of 7 and 1 to provide for.
  • Kelli Jo Calvert Jo Rowling!
  • Melinda Garza My Dad!!!
  • Deanne Patterson My biggest heroes are my 12 kids . They mean the world to Me 
  • Connie Heim Reynolds My biggest hero is my hubby. He quit his job to take care of me when I had breast cancer. A side effect of the medicine is I have memory problems. He patiently waits while I search for a word.
  • Sharon Baker My youngest brother who has passed away. I miss him.
  • Marie Cassini My dad, and my husband.
  • Charish Otte Liked and shared!!! My dad is my hero!!!
  • Aisha Panjwaneey Just finished it today. Loved it. My 13 year old nephew is autistic and he’s brilliant. At music, at art, at math. He can emulate just about every accent he’s ever heard. And he’s obsessed with planes of every kind, commercial, Air Force, military you See More
  • Audra Holtwick My family are my heroes because they put up with me
  • Diane Blaser My biggest hero is my 91 year old father who is the very best man I know (my husband is second best). My father and I have grown so much closer since my mother died 23 years ago and I married my husband because he was so much like the man my father is. Liked and shared! Thank you!
  • Marlene Roberts Engel My daughter who was totally blind and passed from cancer at the age of 13 is my hero.
  •  Suzanne Smith Congratulations, that’s wonderful! My biggest hero is my husband who has stood by me, saved my life and is my soulmate heart emoticon 
  • Tanya Jayne Phillips My biggest Hero is my husband who is amazing before and especially since becoming disabled. Supporting and caring for me and my girls. My daughters are my heroes too along with my parents and in laws. I know that’s a lot but it’s true. 
  • Dawn Schlauderaff My daughter working full time and going to school full time to become a nurse this fall.♡
  • Mai Tran mom is the biggest hero of mine
  • Tina Peterson Our Soldiers, I have a lot of family in the military, or were in the military and they deserve to be my heroes… they risk/risked everything to give us freedom and peace of mind. They are the best of the best.
  • Debbie Adams-Rice My hubby Vietnam vet has overcome a lot thank you for the chance liked and shared
  • Jennifer Roberts Bernard Liked and shared. My hero is not one person but, the men and women who fight to protect me. I know they give up everything for me!
  • Marcy Shuler Military personnel and first responders are my heroes.
    • Debra Salonen, author This book is dedicated to the men and women on the front lines of the wildfires. Too much of that around California right now.
  • Michele Gray My dad. A survivor of colon cancer and all the suffering he endured and prevailed.
  • Ria Alemina My dad is my biggest hero, he can do many things, men job, women job, you name it and he can do all! He’s so talented in many things! I’m so proud of him!
  • Melissa Adkins Jesus Christ. He has blessed me very well.
  • Jill Steinberg-Bieber Liked and my father who worked his whole life put me into business took care of my two boys from the time they were born a man that loves without condition and is always doing something special for me. A thoughtful man who takes a cooking class and wants me to be part of it a father that just calls to go to lunch And a movie I’m truly blessed and jack is my hero
  • Sara Zehr My grandparents!!
  • Milica Jovanovic My dad. 
  • Lilian Gamble Liked and shared, my mom
  • Maria Colon My husband… Who is an amazing husband, veteran(22 yrs) and father.
  • Shelagh Merlin My daughter is my hero. She’s just amazing and despite life kicking her in the guts really hard once or twice she ALWAYS has a positive attitude and a warm smile. And she’s a fantastic mother too!
  • Debbie Ward My Kids & Grandkids are my Heros!
  • Mary Goodman My biggest hero is my brother who took care of me and my sister when we were little but better than that we are still close
  • Magdica Duvnjak Liked and shared, my husband heart emoticon
    Like · Reply · 7 hrs
  • Hina Tabassum Khatri My Parents. They have educated us, my siblings and I, even when that wasn’t the norm in the community.
  • Beatrice Banda My Daddy is my hero
  • Kelly Ballenger My Grandpa. He was always there when I needed him and was a hoot to be around. I have some great memories.
  • Terri Walsh My husband is my hero! 
  • Sheri Carter Biggs Ŧ My hero first and foremost is my Savior Jesus Christ and secondly is my 80 year old daddy who still gets up EVERY day to go to work as the School District mail man and helps take care of my sweet mama and me.
  • Melissa Keith My hubby. He’s in the Navy.
  • Sue Peace In real life my father, in fiction Eve and Roarke smile emoticon
  • Peggy Clayton my real father always has been
  • Kelly Iliakis my boyfriend rob is my hero! love these contests!



A friend gave us this piece of art a few years ago. It hangs by my door as a reminder. We are EACH the hero of our own lives. If life gets you down, give yourself a hug then “try again tomorrow.”

With love and gratitude,


PS: If you’d like to read MONTANA HERO, here are some links. Or you can read the first chapter at TULE PUBLISHING. The initial reviews are great! I’m so delighted.


Amazon     iTunes     KOBO     Google Play     Amazon UK


Resolution (Tara Taylor Quinn)

I’ve come to a conclusion.  The best way to resolve conflict, to be understood, is to listen.  To look, not for how you were wronged, or how someone did something that was wrong or upset you, but to look for what you might have done wrong.

Yes, I said it.  You might be in the wrong, too.  You might have done something that prompted a negative reaction.  I’m a survivor of intimate partner abuse.  I had to fight long and hard to understand that it wasn’t my fault.  That he was ‘sick’ and what he did to me was wrong.  But that doesn’t give me a blanket excuse to never look at what I do wrong.  Because sometimes I AM wrong.  We all are.  Sometimes.  Sometimes I do things – inadvertantly even – that hurt people’s feelings.  What they do in return might be considerably worse, and I am not responsible for those actions, but I still need to fix what I did that was wrong.

I’ve been paying attention to conflicts.  (Part of being a writer.  You have to understand all parts of relationships.)  It’s interesting to me that when people get upset it’s almost always about blaming the other.  But if both parties could just look at themselves, they’d each find something to fix.  Every single instance I’ve listened to lately has been that way.  Acknowledgement then is the key to resolution.

Funny, really, because it goes back to the Bible.  Something about before you talk about the stick in your neighbor’s eye remove the log from your own.  You’ll still have those who, when you approach the conflict from the standpoint of acknowledging what you did wrong, will just use that to continue to blast you.  The person who will just agree, yes you did, and continue to tell you how wrong you are.  The person who won’t then look to himself and offer his own acknowledgements.  That is the person who might not be ready for a healthy relationship.  And you might not want to keep giving him the log in your eye if he’s only going to use it to stab you with it.

Nothing in life is black and white.  Very little works every time, for every situation or for every person.  But my take this week remains solid.  If you find yourself in a conflict.  Try stepping back long enough to get over what the other person did to you (even when it’s a real and valid wrong doing) and look to what you might have done.  Really look.  Not to justify.  Or defend.  Not to list all of the things you’ve done right.  But to look for the one thing you might have done wrong.  Then have the courage and strength to acknowledge that wrong.  If nothing else, you’ve had a great lesson in self awareness.  Which is emotional protein all the way!



Can I or can’t I? Carolyn

My driving friend and I have been attempting to find a time to drive Zoe to her carriage for three weeks now. Every time we find a time when neither of us is working, the weather does something ridiculous. Of course, since Zoe is a horse, she doesn’t mind in the least that all she has to do these days is stand in the stable under a big fan or wander around the lush pastures grazing herself into pudgiedom. Substitute curling up in the air conditioning in my big chair reading mysteries and eating myself stupid, and that’s me as well.

Another month or so, and this nasty summer may ameliorate. I am ready.

Most of the ghost stories slated for our Malice in Memphis ghost story anthology are in final revision stage. Now, we have to get together the photographs that our artist, wonderful writer Ann Smith, will make into line drawings for the beginning of each story. This anthology will range a bit farther afield than our first. Bluff City Mysteries, set stories in well-known places in Memphis. The ghost stories will all take place in west Tennessee or right across the river in Arkansas. Each writer is responsible for furnishing a usable photo of whatever venue we’re using for the story. Easy peasy, right?

Not necessarily. One of my stories takes place in a wonderful pseudo-castle called Ashlar Hall which has been through several incarnations in the last hundred years. At the moment, it is being redone as a restaurant. With a great many changes to its architecture as I have used it in parts of the story. So, should I go with an old photo? Or take a new one that doesn’t match the story? And are buildings that weren’t private in the past but are private at the moment free to use without the new owner’s permission? Or do I scrap the story?

One of the stories takes place in the ancient storm sewers under the city. It’s not my story, thank heaven, because I have no intention of braving that area (snakes and rats) with a camera. Unfortunately, the author of the story isn’t too keen either.

Two of my stories take place in the country outside of Memphis in old farmhouses. So Friday I am driving up to LaGrange, Tennessee, to take photos of some of the great old houses that survived the Civil War.

And this afternoon I am attempting to photograph a great steamboat gothic house a few miles away. I don’t know the people who currently own it. Do I sit in the road and try to catch a photograph through the trees? Or walk up their driveway and chance getting shot?

I once asked Don Donaldson (wonderful mystery writer), whose stories are set in New Orleans, about using real places. He said that so long as he didn’t have a character come down with food poisoning in Antoine’s, he was okay. Another writer friend, a journalist, gave me the standard journalistic reply. “If your mother says she loves you, check it out.” So I’m going to attempt to get permission from somebody in charge of the private property I want to use. If I can’t, I guess I’ll keep hunting until I do.

And no sewers.