Bear sighting – Carolyn

The local newspaper has reported for the last several days that there is a black bear in Frayser, a subdivision of Memphis. This is about the same as meeting an aardvark in Central Park—and I’m not talking the zoo. The local wildlife people are telling everyone that if they spot it, they should leave it the heck alone. Apparently it is a young bear, probably male because there are no cubs with it. They say it’s traveling west, which is fine except that the Mississippi River is west. If it is trying to get across to the Ozarks, it’s going to be highly annoyed to discover this impassable (for a bear) body of water between it and where it plans to go. I just hope that wherever it goes, it gets there safely without some idiot’s shooting it.

I know for a fact that we have what the farmers call ‘painters’ here. That is the southern designation for a panther—puma, cougar. My horse trainer had one cross the road in front of her several years ago, and another was noted in the edges of Collierville, the town my farm is closest to. I live close to the Wolf River and its bottoms, a wildlife (and I do mean wild) wetland area just down the hill from me. I have friends who kayak and canoe down there regularly. Even if I kayaked—which I do not—I wouldn’t do it on that stretch of the Wolf. I have been told the water moccasins hang in the branches of trees and have been known to drop into the boats that go under the limbs they are stretched on. I don’t swim all that well any longer, but I would decant myself right out of the kayak and into the river the same instant the snake decided to join me in the boat.

This morning while I was out in the barn feeding the horses, I looked back to the house to see a very large hare sitting outside my bedroom door watching me. I froze. He froze. We regarded one another silently for some time until he lollopped off. He was not in the last disturbed by my presence. Although I was surprised he was so close to the house, I wasn’t bothered by him. When we first moved out here, we had lots of rabbits and lots of quail. That was before the coyotes moved in. The coyotes do not bother the horses. They have better sense. The horses do not like them and will go to great lengths to kick, bite and stomp them. The coyotes make certain they never get the chance.

Now we have an owl. Full grown screech variety. He’s very large. Since he’s nocturnal I seldom see him, but I hear him all right. We have several red tail and Cooper’s hawks that sit on the telephone wires watching for mice, and several more turkey buzzards who sit in a dead tree and clean up any road kill down on the road. Thank heaven for them. Pretty they are not. Effective they are.

I hope that they figure we can coexist, but they probably think I am an interloper in their territory, and a scary one at that. Isn’t that a pity?

 

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Happy Earth Day!

We watched HIDDEN FIGURES last night and seeing the Earth through John Glenn’s tiny window was so beautiful and moving. No matter what the politicians say, we have to take of our home–it’s the only one we’ve got.

the-earth-has-its-music-for-those-who-will-listen-george-santayana

I’m a day late posting this blog because, believe it or not, my brand new Internet service wasn’t set up until 6 PM last evening. By then, I was a basket case and in need of adult beverages. ;-) And I’m glad I waited because once I waded through my million or so emails, I discovered this GREAT DEAL from KOBO.

You know you don’t need a KOBO reader to download a free KOBO app, right? I love KOBO and I stock up when they have a special deal, like this one: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/p/inheritanceUS

The+Inheritance+Kobo+Teaser

My book is lucky #13. :-) And it’s been getting great reviews. If you like a little mystery and suspense with your romance, this might be the book for you.

LEGACY REVIEWS Bernadette

But you can’t go wrong with any of the titles from 12 of my favorite authors. This great deal ends April 30th, so grab a freebie while you can!

And have a wonderful Earth Day–love your mother…Earth.

Deb

Love your mother...Earth

Ends April 30th

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Happy Horns – Carolyn

Happy Easter!

Well, I have finally done it. Somehow I managed to copy over my blog with something completely different.

Bound to happen sooner or later. Since I’ve been working on three stories and one novel at once and planning for two more books, my confusion level obviously reached critical mass. So I am reconstructing. As is general in such a case, this version will probably make more sense than the first offering. Let’s hope so, at any rate.

I go to a smallish church that is pretty casual as a general rule. But on Easter we bring in what I call The Holy Horns to supplement our extraordinary organist. There are two trumpets, one French Horn (known as ‘the ill wind that nobody blows good.’), a tuba, and a trombone. Combined, they can blow the roof off the church. At our Mardi Gras Party they spent the evening playing Zydeco and New Orleans jazz. Talk about making a joyful noise!

I love horns anyway—like The Canadian Brass and several other totally brass ensembles. When my first husband (a bass-baritone) was in the Army chorus, I heard the army herald trumpets frequently. Combined with five or six howitzers blowing off blanks, they make Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture more visceral than intellectual. At the end, there’s a great ‘Take That, Napoleon!’ moment.

Along the same line, I listened to the Metropolitan Opera’s latest production of Aida yesterday. During the intermission, several of the horn players from the Met Orchestra were interviewed about actually being in make-up and costume and playing on stage during Rhadames’s triumphal entry. They are split into two groups, one on each side of the stage, on platforms high over where the parade is going on. Not only are they up there in full view of the audience; they are on a platform that has no guardrail! One wrong step, and they wind up in the middle of the camels. I don’t know whether they still use camels in the scene, but they used to. I saw one production in which the camels—who do not sound like sopranos—joined in at the top of their lungs.

I couldn’t do it. I am terrified of heights. When I stand on top of a mountain—a position I try to avoid if at all possible—I can hear the void calling to me. At the falls in Yellowstone Park, I strode right out into the largish viewing platform, took one look at the gorge and dropped to my hands and knees. In public. Surrounded by other tourists. I had to duck walk to get to a tree I could hold onto. My family acted as though I had no connection with them. I can manage one of those two-step kitchen ladders, but only if I can hang on to something. Makes changing light bulbs problematic. I generally get my long-suffering son-in-law to do it.

Anyway, I have had my horn fix for the day. Now let’s hope I didn’t overwrite something else important.

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If your WIFI goes out and you can’t get online, are you still alive?

My Internet provider provided me with a modem, which apparently left itself open to malicious hackers. On Monday afternoon 2,000 people in this service area lost Internet connection for five very long days. Thanks to my phone, I was able to track the company’s progress (or lack of it) in fixing the problem. My old router–with its new, invisible bandage–was returned to me late yesterday afternoon. Several thousand emails are on my ToDo list today.

The FaceBook response to this problem ranged from furious to frivolous. Yes, I would love to read instead of working, but I forgot to update my book list on my Kindle and it doesn’t load without WIFI. Grrr.

My takeaway from this experience? I am much too dependent on the Internet where my work is concerned. I have a new book releasing on Tuesday, and some of the joy and excitement a new release normally brings fell by the wayside when I couldn’t create new memes, update my website or send guest blogs to the friends who generously scheduled me on their sites. Frustration is not fun.

But today IS Good Friday. And I am very relieved to be back online so I can write this blog because I want to wish everyone a Happy Easter and wonderful Spring Break.

And, if you’re looking for a new romantic-suspense to take with you on your travels, this book will be live on Tuesday.

The final book is here-Nothing like an unconscious doppelgänger to ruin a perfectly good day at the Mystery Spot.

 Robyn Craine has two loves: her Harley and the Mystery Spot, the Black Hills tourist attraction she bought with funds from her late mother’s estate, an inheritance that included a generous gift from billionaire Harold Hopewell. With a chance-of-a-lifetime expansion in the works, Robyn doesn’t have time to babysit the handsome Sentinel Passtime actor who shows up to do “research”–especially when she figures out his connection to the wealthy businessman/politician trying to sabotage her new project.

 Liam Temple has no intention of falling for a Black Hills local. His agent has Liam’s breakout, big budget movie deal lined up. Even though Liam likes his current Sentinel Passtime gig, he promised his late sister he’d win a Golden Globe by thirty-five. The last thing he needs is the distraction of a feisty, Harley-riding tourist trap owner caught in Liam’s father’s crosshairs for buying a hunk of land Richard Marston thinks belongs to him. But when Robyn’s stunt double is attacked, Liam recognizes his father’s MO and Liam makes keeping Robyn safe his first priority.

You can start reading for Free on my website: LEGACY.

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/black-hills-legacy-inheritance/id1114674932?mt=11

KOBO: https://store.kobobooks.com/en-us/ebook/black-hills-legacy-the-inheritance

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06Y2JZ7KR

Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B06Y2JZ7KR

Amazon CA: https://www.amazon.ca/dp/B06Y2JZ7KR

Amazon AU: https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B06Y2JZ7KR

BN: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/black-hills-legacy-debra-salonen/1126170910

Google: https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=05abDgAAQBAJ

Have a lovely weekend, my lovelies. May the bunny bring you oodles of chocolate.

Deb

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Brand New Where Secrets Are Safe Book! (Tara Taylor Quinn)

Out May 1st! Click to Pre-Order Now!Teaser - The Fireman's Son

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Learning New Things – Carolyn

Yesterday was our monthly Malice in Memphis meeting. We had a marvelous update on our fourth Malice in Memphis short story anthology. This time it revolves around Elmwood Cemetery, a historical old cemetery from the earliest days of Memphis, all through the yellow fever years and beyond. It is still in operation today.

Our president, Kristi, got everyone to vote on having a proposal for a short story in the April 1. The amazing thing is that most people met the deadline. We already have enough proposals to fill the anthology. When I recall how difficult it was to get anyone to commit to our first anthology, Bluff City Mysteries, it seems members have become not only better writers but more secure in their creative abilities.

As for me, I wrote my story. Didn’t like the ending. Yesterday morning at 6:00 a.m. the final kicker came to me. I didn’t exactly vault out of bed, but I did get up right that minute, go to my computer and rewrite the ending. Now it works. I also have stories from two of my critique members edited and done. It helps that this time we know what we’re doing.

Our speaker yesterday was fabulous! Tony Kail is a cultural anthropologist, ethnologist and writer with a list of publications considerably longer than my arm. His newest book, The secret History of Memphis Hoodoo, I plan to read this afternoon. He certainly is a fascinating and knowledgeable speaker. I must admit I thought Hoodoo was simply a corruption of voodoo (as in New Orleans). Not so. He’s written a very scholarly, but nonetheless entertaining book. Not only did he give us a history of the types of hoodoo, which is very involved with potions—love, accrual of money, even revenge, but he had samples of some of the herbs and potions he has collected over the years. All of this was right outside of my experience, as it was to most of the members at the meeting.

The entire sub-culture is riveting. And not obsolete. Apparently, it all goes on today, and Memphis is one of the focal points.

Several years ago at Bouchercon, we had a double session on poisons given by a nurse practitioner whose hobby was collecting actual poisons that she found in old pharmacies and even in antique stores. She brought in a large jar of prussic acid she had discovered casually sitting on the bottom shelf of a small pharmacy in Kansas. Several of the samples she had acquired were so dangerous (cyanide, for example), that she had them encased in blocks of acrylic. I’ve done quite a bit of research on poison for my mysteries, but I don’t mess with actual samples. Amazing how naïve most of us are, even when we think we’re not.

 

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New Book Underway (Pat)

hi all . . .

 

Sorry to have been absent so much.   The last three months have been traumatic.    I mentioned that my house was flooded by a leak in the water pipes.  It took four weeks to have everything back to nearly normal.   I still have boxes full of clothes, books and shoes to unpack.

While emptying bpx, my foot caught another, and down I went for the second fall in three months.  This time I sprained  my left hand and wrist and ended up in an emergency room for the second time this year.  They added a hand splint to my wardrobe.   Not so easy to type.  My entire writing schedule became more and more behind.

But I’m back at it now.   Finished five chapters of my new, as yet untitled, book about another wounded vet finding a home in Covenant Falls.   It will be the fifth book in the Covenant Falls series.    I’m extremely excited about my heroine, Jenny Talbot, a roaming foreign correspondent and a free spirit who never, ever, wants to be tied down.

I was never a foreign correspondent, but I was a reporter on The Atlanta Journal covering the state legislature, federal court, trials and city hall  and one exceedingly brutal murder.   I wrote my share of investigative reporting series and general interest features.   My proudest accomplishment was writing a series on Georgia’s lack of facilities for kids with autism.

I loved being a reporter, and I’m reliving that excitement in Jenny.   I know how a story can take over your life, and so it is with Jenny.   I can’t wait to share her with you.

I’m also sharing her with Captain Cole Hammond, a wounded Ranger Captain who’s trying to decide whether to take army desk job or find a new occupation.   Neither appeal to him.  It takes a short stay in Covenant Falls to make him believe there’s a life away from war, but can he ever tame Jenny’s roving spirit?.

Thanks to all of you who bought “The SEAL’s Return.”   It did extraordinarily well and I appreciate every one of you.

I also wanted to remind you that all my back list is now available at Amazon.  It includes westerns, romantic suspense, Scottish historicals, American Revolution tales, and my favorite, “Island of Dreams,”  a World War II/60′s story.  It was published by Harper Collins  and won the Maggie Award.  It was also a RITA finalist.   All reviewers at Amazon gave it a five-star rating.   It’s free to those with Amazon Unlimited and only $2.99 to others.

Just go to Amazon/Patricia Potter/Island of Dreams.  .

 

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Rain and Pouring – Carolyn

I am remembering that old saw, “Be careful what you wish for.” I haven’t had a contract for a new book since my husband died three years ago. Then in very short order I got a great new agent, a three book contract for a new series, a deadline for my new short story in the Malice in Memphis anthology series, plus editing duties for all the stories, and on Friday the editor of the Mossy Creek series from Belle Books called to say that the last two books of the series are actually going to be written. Would I please I have my two new stories to them ASAP. Unfortunately, it’s been so long since the last Mossy Creek book that I cannot remember much about them. I had to stop and think what were the names of the two characters that I am responsible for writing.

Of course, I always have a problem with names of my characters. I forget them as soon as the book is published. I generally keep a list on my desk of at least the main characters in my current book and refer to it often. Several years ago I asked a good friend what she was reading. She told me she was reading a book about a heroine (and gave me her name) and a hero (she gave me his name.).

I asked her who wrote it. She told me, “You did, fool.” Once she reminded me, I did remember, but I didn’t remember much about them except the conflict they had that threatened to keep them apart.

Fortunately, I have most of my short story for the Malice in Memphis anthology finished and the synopsis submitted. I also have over a hundred pages of the first book in my contract with Harlequin done. Mossy Creek? Haven’t a clue what I’ll write, although I have at least a couple of ideas. I always say I write better under pressure. Well, here’s my chance to prove it.

Saturday evening I attended an evening at the Germantown Performing Arts Center of a modern dance group called Momix with two of my buddies. If you have ever seen or heard of Pilobolus, this is in the same vein, but much more dance and less pure construction. Although we were a little uncertain whether we’d like it or not during the first five minutes, once the group got rolling, it was a knockout. Around here we tend to give a standing ovation to on stage garbage collection. This group, however, deserved the standing ovation and multiple curtain calls they received. I don’t believe that human beings can actually do that sort of thing with their bodies. I wasn’t that flexible or muscular when I was fifteen. If you get a chance to see them, for heaven’s sake do it. And take your children. I’ll bet you have a great evening. We certainly did.

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Darrell and MidSouth Con – Carolyn

Phyllis Appleby and I spent Saturday afternoon and evening at the local Hilton Hotel for the first day of MidSouthCon35, the local fantasy/sci/fy convention. She and I were both nominated as finalists in their contest for the Darrell award in the short story category, and as such were on a panel with the other finalists for novels and novellas. The con was orderly chaos, although the panel went really well. Those who attended seemed to enjoy it.

I worried about what to wear since we would be going from doing the con stuff during the day to the awards banquet at night. I needn’t have worried. Half the people there were in costume as everything from Jedi knights to vampires to fairies and elves to you-name-it because–I-have-no idea-what-you-represent. It is a giant con that runs from Friday night through Sunday afternoon with merchandise that runs from very expensive art to very inexpensive chochkes. Everyone seemed to be having a blast.

I have never been to one before. I’ve been to a bunch of writers’ conventions, of course, but nothing like this. I have never before had to duck under lit light sabers to reach the ladies’ room, nor narrowly miss stepping on the White Rabbit’s paws. I’ve never seen so many BatMans—or Bat Men—in one place, and all wearing what looked like real Hollywood quality costumes. I decided not to buy a set of elf ears. You have to attach them with spirit gum which a. smells, and b. hurts when you pull it off.

Anyway, it was great fun. It’s always fun to talk about writing. It’s also good to know that whether through Kindle or Nooks or through printed books, there are still plenty of people out there reading.

I do not normally read sify or Steam Punk. I simply don’t know much about it. I do, however, like witches and magic and vampires. I do not do zombies—except for Sean of the Dead, which hardly counts. I think I’m going to be forced to broaden my horizons since the books of the other Darrell finalists on our panel sounded truly interesting.

Phyllis Appleby and I were the two finalists in the short story category. Both stories came from the Malice in Memphis Ghost Story anthology. We didn’t even know our publisher, Dark Oak Press, had submitted them to the contest. It really is extremely cool to be nominated whatever the outcome. In this case, however, the outcome was great. Phyllis took second place, and I won. I hope that Dark Oak Press is pleased with us.

Small presses are really doing wonderful work keeping new authors and new topics out there for the reading public. Large publishers tend to stick to publishing safe books that they hope are slam dunks for the New York Times bestseller lists. That’s pretty limiting. And it doesn’t work. A whole lot of publishers turned down the Harry Potter books, and there are a bunch of other books that almost never saw the light of day except for a gutsy publisher who took a chance.

Anyway, I am grateful to Dark Oak Press for backing our Malice in Memphis anthologies, and to the other small and large presses who continue to take chances. Long may they print.

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To Grandmother’s house I go…

In 1989, when my husband and I bought a five-acre parcel in the Sierra foothills not far from Yosemite National Park, my mother, who had been a widow for two years, decided she wanted to be closer to family so she bought the five-acre parcel next door. My hubby, a general contractor, built her a sweet little two-bedroom two-bath home as soon as he finished our big house.

“Grandma’s” was a favorite spot for kids and grandkids. Mom enjoyed it for many years, until she stopped driving. Then the country became a bit too isolated. We helped her rent the house and move into a Senior Living center. Eventually, we bought the house and built my husband a new shop on the property. Our son and his family lived in it for ten years. But in January, Jon-Paul bought his first home in nearby Mariposa–a fixer-upper that his dad helped remodel. We are celebrating that wonderful accomplishment at his HOUSEWARMING tomorrow!

With Mom’s house empty, I saw my chance to DOWNSIZE! New paint, new flooring, recessed cans…my poor hubby went from one remodeling project to another. But he’s a great sport and he loves me and this house is closer to his shop… ;-)

Here are a couple of BEFORE shots. Next Friday (if I’m done moving), I’ll send you the AFTER.

Before

In addition to this move, I just typed THE END on my NEW book, BLACK HILLS LEGACY: The Inheritance.

BlackHillsLegacy_3DBook

I’m so excited about this book. It was great to re-visit my Black Hills series and reconnect with some of my favorite characters. I can’t wait to share this with you. Release date: April 18. I’ll have all the preorder information next week, along with a sneak peek excerpt.

On another fun note, the creative geniuses at Tule have helped to shine the spotlight on three books that sort of fell off the Big Sky Mavericks series flagship. We’ve rebranded these titles and given them their own series flash: Love, Montana. More about this later, too.

Love, Montana

Click on the image to check out these great new covers.

There’s paint to watch dry, boxes to pack and a new Love at the Chocolate Shop book to write, so…it’s off to Grandma’s house I go.

Have a great weekend, my friends! Happy reading!

Deb

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