Troubles, troubles (Pat)

Sorry to have been missing lately, but at the same time my newest book, “The Seal’s Return,” was released in early February, my house flooded due to a leak in a water pipe.    Four weeks later, I’m still involved in the clean-up.

I have, in the interim, discovered many new facts.   There are some plumbers who know nothing about faucets.   There is one man in the Memphis area who knows how to detect where a leak has occurred (I call him the leak diviner as opposed to a water diviner) and he charges $500 for ten minutes work and won’t allow  another plumber within a block for fear his secret might be learned,  and that neighbors are wonderful people.  (Did you know that you can attach a neighbor’s outside faucet to your outside faucet by a hose and get water to your house?   It even goes through the hot water heater).   I’ve discovered that most plumbers do not know this very valuable tip.   The fact is I have a wonderful neighbor and lived off his water for three weeks.  (I could do everything but drink it.  Neither could my two dogs).

I also learned that carpet layers, carpenters and painters come on time.    Plumbers do not.   I learned that someone who pulls up a tree, including roots, does not necessarily feel bound to cut it up and cart it off.  Rather, they leave a twenty foot plus tree on one’s sidewalk.   The neighbors were not amused.  I also learned never plant a Magnolia or Crape Myrtle tree over a water line (I didn’t, but the previous owner did).   I was warned, too late, by several of the plumbers who visited.

I also discovered that if a leak is outside the house on a narrow strip between the house and driveway but  NOT under the drive pavement, the house owner is responsible for the cost of repairing said leak, although if it WAS under the pavement the insurance would cover it..

In addition, I also learned after packing a thousand books or so in cartons that the people who move furniture would do it in one-tenth the time and it WAS covered by insurance.

I have learned lots of things, and my only satisfaction is that they will all appear in a  future book some day in the future.

In the meantime, four weeks after the leak, I am nearing the end of repairs.  I have suffered through bare cement floors (after the wet carpet was carted off) and minimal furniture for three weeks, without water to drink from the faucet for two weeks although, thanks to my neighbor, I had water for the bathroom and washing machine.   (I was offered a hotel room but I had two dogs, including an elderly girt who needs frequent trips outside).   I was not going to leave her in the kennel.

Needless to say that with people tramping in and out on a regular and irregular basis, I didn’t get much writing done, nor promotion for my latest Covenant Falls tale.

One positive note: I had to clean out my closets and Good Will is a very happy organization.

I hope to do better in communicating this week.

Hi there! (Pat)

Hi,

 

This will be short because I have a deadline on the first three chapters of a fifth book in the Covenant Falls series and I’m way behind.   It will be the story of news correspondent JennyTalbot and Ranger Captain  Cole Hammond..

This has been a hectic week.   I/m still engaged in cleaning up after my house was flooded by a water leak.  It took eight days to find the leak and get it fixed, but now all the carpet on the ground floor of my house has to be replaced and I have books, books and more books to be moved.   The advance man for the carpet firm came into my house and blanched.   I’ve been trying to help by loading boxes with books and willowing out some to donate to the local library.  Not much luck.  They are all to precious, and I know I’ll want to read them again.

I’m also doing publicity for my new book, “”The Seal’s Return.”   You can find out all about it on http://prismbooktours.blogspot.com/     It includes several reviews and five different blogs about the book.  You can also enter a contest for a $25.00 Amazon gift card or a e-copy of my first Covenant Falls book.

Have a wonderful week ahead.

 

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Creating the Perfect Couple/Pat

 

My newest book, The SEAL’s Return, is now available in e-book and large print paperback.   It’s the fourth in the Covenant Falls series.

I thought I would take the opportunity here to  tell you a little about my particular writing process.    I like to create the perfect couple by creating the two people who are decidedly imperfect for each other.

When I start a book, I usually have a hero – or heroine – in mind and then visualize the polar opposite of that person. . My new book is a perfect example.  I hope readers will wonder how former SEAL Jubal Pierce and ambitious Dr. Lisa  Redding can ever resolve their differences.

I started with my hero (I usually do).  . He had to be an ex Navy SEAL. I’ve wanted to write a story about one for years. But I never quite had the right heroine.   Jubal Pierce has been a SEAL for eighteen years but during a mission gone wrong, he’s captured by group of terrorists who believe he’s a doctor and hold him prisoner to take care of their group. The experience has resulted in permanent injuries that keep him from rejoining the SEALs.

Being a SEAL is Jubal’s identity. His life. His family.  His father – a rodeo rider – died when he was seven and he blamed his mother for his death and has not seen her in years. The only relationships he’s had is within the SEAL family.   After his discharge, he’s rudderless and aimless until he stops for a few days to visit a friend in Covenant Falls.

Dr. Lisa Redding has worked most of her life towards being a doctor.
She is the adopted daughter of a couple who were told they could never have children, then twelve years later had first a son, then a daughter.   Now she has achieved her goal: a prestigious fellowship in pediatric surgery at a prestigious Chicago hospital. But those plans are destroyed when both parents die, and she is sole guardian of her brother, Gordon, and sister, Kerry, both of whom feel she hadn’t been there for them when their mother died of cancer.  Her life is turned upside down when her brother, now sixteen, is arrested as an accessory in car theft and drug possession.

She gives up the fellowship and takes a temporary job at a medical clinic in Covenant Falls to take her brother, Gordon who is on probation, away from temptation. Her siblings are decidedly unhappy and on the first night in Covenant Falls, Gordon starts a fire on the property occupied by newcomer Jubal Pierce. Wrong guy. He sees too much of himself in the kid and decides to straighten him…

Jubal is everything Lisa fears as an example for Gordon. He’s a warrior and she’s a healer who has seen too much violence in the emergency room of the hospital.
What’s more she has a fine future ahead of her after this one year in Covenant Falls, and Jubal is headed in the opposite direction.   He has no idea what he wants.  Although attracted to him, she’s repelled by his past and suspicious of the hold he seems to have on her brother. As for Jubal, he feels she’s doing everything wrong with her brother.

It wasn’t easy to get them together. It takes a few miracles for each of them. But then Covenant Falls is full of them.

You can read a excerpt at Amazon.  Just go to Amazon/Kindle/The SEAL’s Return.

I hope you like Jubal and Lisa as much as I enjoyed  creating them.

It Is What It Is!/Pat

On sale now!

On sale now!

Now I know what the expression — It is what it is — means.

Just in the midst of trying to promote The SEAL’s Return and start a new Covenant Falls book, disaster fell.

I went to my bathroom Thursday (it seems a year ago) to change clothes for a visit  with an eye doctor when my bare foot sank into the carpet and water bubbled up around it.   .

Another step and more more water.   A few more steps and I felt as if I were wading in a kiddy pool.     Several minutes later, the wetness spread, covering the entire bathroom and most of my adjoining bedroom.    It had been dry an hour earlier.

I know enough to cut off the water, but the valve  was stuck tight.    I called  my plumber who was out of town and went neighbor to neighbor trying to find someone with steadier and stronger hands.    Finally found a helpful soul at home and she tried to shut the valve to no avail.   I called my friendly neighborhood handyman.  He was on the other side of town.   Then a  second neighbor arrived and managed  to cut off the  water  in the house.

This was just the beginning.    Water suddenly  poured out from underneath the house down the driveway to  the street.    Called the water company to turn off  the water from the street to the house.

Called the insurance company and, to their credit, they had plumbers out in thirty minutes.  They found what they thought was THE leak in the bathroom.  Tore up the carpet. to get to it.  By then the water was three inches high in the bathroom and it was spreading to the hallway.     They made  a temporary patch and, said  they would return in the morning with a jackhammer to make a permanent fix.

Just as they were leaving,, two more men appeared at the door.    They took all the clothes from the closet and dumped them on my bed and, tossed  the wet items in big black bags.   They then  pulled  up all the carpet in the bathroom and  half in the bedroom.  Just as they left, two additional guys appeared  and brought in  giant blowers to dry everything out for the plumbers  the next day.

Okay. my dogs and I could survive a night in the tiny guest bedroom that was also nearly filled with stuff from the bedroom.   Problem was there was no water.   I figured I could survive until the next morning when the plumbers would fix the leak.

The plumbers arrived the next day as promised, jackhammered a huge hole in my bathroom  floor and turned the water back on.   No more water bubbled up from that leak, but water rushed from under the house toward the street.

After a conference, they decided the leak in the bathroom was the result of a more major pipe leak somewhere under the house.   They searched for five hours to find the main leak.   No luck.

More people arrived but they were puzzled as well.    The only thing they could suggest, was employing an expert who was said to be very good in locating busted pipes under houses..  There was only one problem.   He was booked up until Wednesday at 1 p.m., and he apparently was the only person who had this particular talent.

Meanwhile there would be no water for the duration.  The insurance company offered a hotel room, but that wouldn’t work.  I have two dogs, one of which is old and sick and  on steroids which means she has to go out every two or three hours.   I have puppy pads all over my house just in case  of an accident.    I don’t think a hotel would be as understanding as her owner..   And no way would I leave her in a kennel.

I also have a lot of writing to do.    I do not write well away from my work station, which is a desktop with research books and notes scattered  around me.

But there would be no water.  No baths.   No washing of dishes or clothes.    None at all for at least five more days and quite possibly longer..

A helpful plummer asked whether I had a friendly neighbor.   I happen to have a very wonderful one.   He suggested connecting  two hoses and connecting them to the outside faucet of my house to the outside faucet of my neighbors.   When both are turned on, water flows from the neighbor’s house to mine    It even goes to the hot water heater.  He didn’t advise drinking it,  but said I could use it for every other purpose.  My neighbor readily agreed.    (My mind immediately went to a great scene when I want the hero and heroine together in some unique way, but I digress).. .

It worked, until the the hoses froze.

But today at noon, they thawed out.  I have water again.  Of sorts.

The last two days, of course, were lost, work-wise.   So will much of  next week, even if they do find the  errant pipe.    Giant blowers are still blowing in my bath and master bedroom. The guest bedroom is so full of stuff from the other two rooms that my dogs and I can barely wriggle through to the bed.

But it is what it is.   Great summation..   Nothing you can do about it.

And there is one bright spot.  I have a great scene building in my writer’s mental file cabinet.

I’ll keep you posted.

 

 

 

HORSES AND VETS (Pat)

As I mentioned last week, my newest book in the Covenant Falls series, The Seal’s Return, will be available Wednesday, February Ist in both e-book and large print paperback format which means I’m in launch mode at the moment.   In other words, I’m trying to spread the word as far as I possibly can.  To order, just go to Amazon/Patricia Potter/The SEAL’s Return.

In other books in the series, dogs  – mostly rescue dogs — have been characters in the stories.   In The SEAL’s Return,  my SEAL chose a horse instead.   It wasn’t planned in the beginning, but one day he was out running when he passed a pasture and spied several horses.  One, a Buckskin named Jacko, trotted to the fence, and memories flooded back from early childhood.   The entire plotted story abruptly changed.   (I love it when that  happens).

Jacko changes everything for SEAL Jubal Pierce and inspired  a new plot line that will persist through the next two Covenant Falls novels and possibly more. It took me to websites about the therapeutic value of horses for vets.  I was amazed at the growing number of horse therapeutic programs for vets, including one here in Tennessee.

One of the most successful programs was started by a SEAL himself.  It’s called Heroes and Horses and is located in the heart of Montana Wilderness.   According to founder and former SEAL Micah Fink, the program is on a mission “to inspire and challenge a generation of soldiers struggling to cope with the trauma of war.   Veterans who come to Heroes and Horses have been shot, burned, blown up.  They are wrestling with physical and emotional scars.  Many feel isolated and untethered.”  Micah Fink believes that “undergoing a rough program can go a long way to restore shattered notions of self-worth.”

Some other programs train veterans for jobs in the equine field.    Some include families.  Some, like the Montana programs, involves fairly long stays.   Others may include shorter periods.  Most are free for veterans.   The search not only gave me information to help Jubal but inspired me to continue the plot line into the next several Covenant Falls books.   (f you’re interested in reading more about them such programs, just google Heroes and Horses).

In “The SEAL’s Return,” there is no such program yet in Covenant Falls, but the connection between my hero Jubal Pierce and Jacko is leading to the founding of one in the next book.

Part of the joy of writing is the sudden appearance of an unplanned story line.  It always come from the characters themselves, not the author.   It comes from the growth of these characters and they often turn in directions the author never anticipated.   When I reread some of my older books, I  wonder how some secondary characters elbowed his way into becoming a major character in a subsequent book.    I can honestly say that none of my books have followed the initial proposal.

But I’m  wandering off topic.   I just wanted you to know about the programs because the seed begins in “The SEALs Return,” and will grow in the next several Covenant Falls  books.

I hope you’ll join me on this ongoing journey.  Even I don’t know what will happen next.TheSEALsReturn_PatriciaPotter_cover

About Books, New and To Come (Pat)

 

 

First of all, I want to apologize for being missing in action for the past few weeks.

Life got in the way:   Flu, a bad fall the Monday before Christmas, the holidays, a birthday, and visiting friends and relatives all conspired against my fulfilling my weekly visit with you.  I promise to do better in the future.

Christmas was good, even with a black eye and injured knee, and then the holidays were brightened when Tara Taylor Quinn and husband Tim visited me on New Year’s Day which also happened to be my birthday.   It was a great present,    Tara and I have been close friends since serving together on the board of Romance Writers of America.    Both of us writing for Harlequin Super Romance only deepens the bond.

But now it’s back to business!

The good news is my fourth Covenant Falls Book,The Seal’s Return, will be available  February lst, and I’m trying to catch up on promotion efforts.   I’m far behind, but I’m spending this week and next trying to make up for it.   Just go to Amazon/Patricia Potter/The Seal’s Return to per-order the e-book version or large print paperback.

More good news!!!!  I just received the go ahead for three additional Covenant Falls adventures which will make a total of seven.   I love my quirky town of Covenant Falls that seems to have a magical healing affect on returning veterans.  I’m thrilled to tell more of their stories.

But now more about my February release.

The SEAL’s Return tells the story of former Navy SEAL Jubal Pierce and Dr. Lisa Redding.   Both are newcomers to Covenant Falls.  Jubal plans to stay a day or two to visit old friend Chris Manning from the second book in the Home To Covenant Falls series.   After a mission gone wrong with resulting permanent injuries, Jubal is rootless when he leaves the SEALS.   He has no family, no goal, no plans.    His life, quite simply, is a mess.

Dr. Lisa Redding’s life, on the other hand, is just taking off.  She has received a coveted   Fellowship in Pediatric Surgery at a major Chicago hospital.  But her path takes a detour after her mother’s death, and her teenage brother and sister become her responsibility.   When her deeply troubled brother is arrested for drug possession and auto theft, she reluctantly gives up the fellowship which would consume all her time and takes a temporary position with the Covenant Falls Medical Clinic.    It wouldn’t be easy for her brother to get into trouble in the peaceful community, or so she hoped, and she could reclaim the fellowship the next year..

I knew I was asking for trouble with these two.   There could rarely be a worse match. Lisa is a healer who has witnessed  the horrible results of violence at her hospital, and she doesn’t like it at all when a foot loose former warrior takes an interest in her brother.   She’s sacrificing her career to keep Gordon away from exactly that.

Jubal is none too happy with her, either.   He hadn’t planned to stay even a few days in Covenant Falls, but when he finds a kid starting a fire on the property where he’s staying,  he thinks a lesson needs to be taught and, darn it, the kid reminds him of his own rough teenage years.  While there’s immediate physical attraction between Jubal and Lisa, they both are dismayed and determined not to let it develop.

Their lives are going in different directions.   He feels the meaningful part of  his is over, and hers as a surgeon is just beginning. It takes the birth of a colt for him, and the premature birth of a baby for her that help them discover they have far more in common than either believed.

I might add that neither of the above events were planned when I started writing The Seal’s Return.   In Chapter Four, Lisa and Jubal took over and wrote their own story.   That’s the joy of writing.   At some point in the process, I have to throw out the initial proposal and just tag along as the characters go their way.    That’s the most wonderful  aspect of writing fiction.  I’m constantly amazed at what happens.

I hope you love Jubal and Lisa as much as I do.  You can pre-order the e-book or large print paperback now for a February 1st delivery.

And a late Happy New Year to all!!!!

 

It’s Christmas Baking Time!!!!

Christmas is baking time for me.

Years ago, I bought some salted  baked pecans at a store while traveling.  I was instantly in love.   I couldn’t find them anywhere else, at least none that came close to those in a wayside diner/store.

I started experimenting and finally baked something that came close to the pecans that became an obsession.  I started taking them to family events, then moved into baking tins full for individual members  – mostly guys — at Christmas.

The list grew.  Everyone wanted pecans: my extended family, my neighbors, my critique group members, other friends.   I now bake more than forty pounds ever Christmas, two pounds per recipient.   Thank the heavens for Costco  and their endless supply of pecans.

I have it down to a science.   I start three weeks in advance (they keep well).  I try to bake two portions every day.   Each one takes six to seven hours.

I thought I would share the recipe with you today.   It’s simple.   Ingredients are pecans, butter and salt.   The problem is time.   And patience.

I use an  oblong baking pan.   I spread out the pecans about four or five deep and distribute a stick of butter strategically among them.   I bake them at 200 degrees for about twenty minutes, then remove the pan and  distribute the pecans around until they are all coated.   Then I add a  fourth of a stick of butter,  sprinkle the pecans with salt, then put them back into the oven.   I  repeat the process thirty minutes later., I move the pecans around to make sure they are all covered with butter and salt, then reduce the heat to warm for four or five hours..   I  check them every twenty to  thirty minutes to sprinkle a little more salt and  allow the butter and salt to slowly bake into the pecans.   Sometimes I add more butter, sometimes not.  It all depends on the test test.

Did I warn you about the taste test?   The recipe requires frequent tastings to make sure all the pecans are coated and the butter baked into them    Be sure to take note that larger clothes may be required after Christmas.

I’ve now completed — and mailed — ten tins of Christmas pecans.   Only twelve more to go for local folks.

Excuse me, I’m due for another taste test.

Have a great week before Christmas!

 

A Mighty Good Feeling (Pat)

I just finished shopping for a stranger and wow, did I have a good time!!!!

For years I’ve been wanting to ‘adopt’ a disadvantaged  child from cards hung on Christmas trees stationed in shopping centers.   But I’ve usually been in the throes of deadlines, and when I managed to make my way to a tree, it was too late.  This year, I made sure I was there in time.

I selected an eight-year old who wanted a Baby Doll Alive,  a plain baby doll and stroller and something called Shopkins which completely befuddled me.

I have often bought presents for young ‘uns in my family, but those were individual gifts and usually centered on stuffed dogs and Teddy Bears.  I knew nothing about current trends in juvenile amusement.

But always game, I entered a toy store for one of my very rare visits and asked what in the heck are Shopkins and Baby Doll Alive.   I found myself  surrounded by young mothers buying all sorts of strange things, including cats that had kittens inside them.   I finally flagged down a store clerk who guided me over to a section that contained rows and rows of plastic packages that encased tiny half-people and even tinier objects.   I stared at them with consternation.   What do you do with them? I asked.   He shrugged.

I thought how horrified a parent must be to handle hundreds of very small  objects, but  that wasn’t my problem, and it was on the  ‘wanted’ list.  I tossed a couple of plastic packages in my basket and added the Baby Doll Alive which I discovered does all the things that are usually considered work for a grown up mother.   A baby stroller was added.    I was on my way out when I spied this beautiful stand-up , well-tailored young lady doll.  Into the basket.

Okay.   So much for the toys.   Off to my wonderful Costcos for something more practical like a warm, stylish coat.   But what size?  The card said a children’s Size 12, but the size 12 on the table looked mighty small.   So I accosted every woman in the store for their opinion.   Should I get the 12 or go up a size?   Decisions.   Decisions.   Everyone had a different idea.  I finally decided on the larger one.   Now a scarf. to go with it . . ..

And, of course, a stuffed dog.

I  finally finished with two huge bags.  I learned a lot about today’s trends in children’s toys, and It might be helpful in a new book, but then I suspect this year’s Shopkins will be out of favor.  What mother in her right mind would not declare war against these fiendish tiny objects?

I had a delightful time.  I enjoyed every moment.

And now I can’t wait until next year.

Creating a Character (Pat)

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving and beginning of the holiday season.

My entry into a merry season is somewhat hating.   Thanksgiving was great, but on Monday I came down with one whopper of a cold, and I’ve been nursing it since.    I take great pride in rarely being sick.   I sometimes even brag about it.   Bad move.   I  evidently challenged those little devil germs and they pounced.

I am surviving but only through gallons of orange juice.    It usually works.   This time, not so much.

But a new book is calling and I can’t deny it any longer. It will be the fifth in the Covenant Falls series.   I always start with one character.    He — or she — usually charges into the mind and soul like a medieval  knight or lady.  It’s only until we become intimately acquainted can I move on to other characters, particularly his — or her –counterpart in the book.

In this case it’s the lady.  She’s Jennifer — Jenny –Talbot, a free lance war reporter who has been wounded while covering the civilian disaster in Syria.     She’s not one to stay still long, even while recovering with her family in Denver.  They are driving her crazy.   Why can’t she be like other women?   Mainly, why doesn’t she marry and have children like her sister?   Why must she roam the world and put herself in danger?

Maybe because she loves it.  She’s never met a man who gave her the same rush as a good news story.  Now she’s stuck for a few months while undergoing therapy     She can’t drive or carry cameras.   But then, while scanning every newspaper she can access, she reads a short story about  a horse therapy program for veterans that’s only a a four-or-five-hour drive away.   She can get there one way or another.    Maybe she can make a story out of that.   Keep her name in print.  She’s certainly acquainted with the trauma many soldiers suffer.    She’s experienced the same flashbacks and nightmares.   The one thing she knows, though, is she is never  going to give up her independence, her lust for the next story wherever it may be.

I instantly understood Jenny.   I’m a former reporter and know the call of a good story and desire for independence.   I can’t wait to go on her journey.

The only problem now is to find a man who can match her.

Maybe I can do it next week.   After another glass of orange juice.  Or a gallon.

.

Having met so many s.  It’s only a few hundred miles away.    t she sees , carry camerasHaving been a reporter myself, I understand Jennifer     in antoher lifeBut she can’t drive yet and is still undergoing therapy .yShe can’t drive yet but she sees an aarticle in artical aticlean  . women,witbnot oneoRecuperating at h Home to Hopes

 

.

Back Again (Pat)

I’m back again after what seems like months rather than weeks.

It’s been a hectic falls.  I finished the fourth in the “Home To Covenant Falls Series” and wrote proposals for several more.   I have fallen in love with Covenant Falls and just can’t seem to leave.

This time I’m telling the story of former SEAL Jubal Pierce who is medically discharged after being imprisoned and tortured by a terrorist group in Africa for two years after a humanitarian mission went bad..    He has lost muscle and bone strength and no longer qualifies as an active SEAL.

He’s at loose ends, not sure where to go or what to do, but he thinks a car trip across the country might help him find a future.  But first he plans to stop for a night or two with old friend, former Chopper Pilot Clint Morgan, in Covenant Falls.   He certainly has no intention of staying longer until he catches a  teenager trying to burn down the dock of a cabin where he’s staying.   He sees himself in the young man and, despite his better judgment, decides to stay a few days to teach the kid a lesson.

Lisa Redding is a doctor who gives up a coveted fellowship in a Chicago  hospital when her teenage brother is arrested for drug possession.   Their mother died a year earlier which sent her brother and sister in a downward cycle..   She’s their guardian and realizes  she cannot  look after them if she accepts the hospital position.    Her brother is embittered both because she wasn’t  at home when needed and, as a doctor, she should have been able to save their mother.    The supervising doctor at the hospital suggests she accepts a one year position in Covenant Falls, filling in for the town doctor who has suffered a heart attack.   He will try to restore the fellowship the following year.

She has never lived in a small town.   She’s a big city girl and so are her siblings.   They’re not happy at all with the move, and neither is she.   But  Covenant Falls has a way of embracing its new residents, even if she is suspicious of another newcomer’s interest in her son, particularly one who has spent his adult life engaged in war and violence.

It was a fun story to write, full of emotion on the parts of both Lisa and Jubal.   He has no one and  doesn’t want anyone, and yet he is drawn into the warm circle of Covenant Falls. A pinto horse,  assisting in the birth of a foal,  a troubled teenager  and  a testy lady doc make it increasingly difficult to leave.   And Lisa?  Is she ready to give up her lifelong dream of being a pediatric surgeon for a burned out warrior?.

The book will be out  the first of February and can be purchased in advance at Amazon.   I hope you will love Jubal as much as I do.

Have a great week!