Heartfelt Thank You on Memorial Day

1285082_19719921I’m grateful for the American men and women in uniform who made the ultimate sacrifice to establish our nation and keep us free, in wars and skirmishes and secret missions around the globe over the past few centuries. I’m grateful every day that I get to live in America and enjoy the fruits of being an American, thanks in no small part to those who died on behalf of our country. Memorial Day is an opportunity to offer extra thanks, to show more visible appreciation of those who perished at Bunker Hill, on Iwo Jima, in the skies over Europe, under the ocean, in the jungles of Vietnam, on the sands of Iraq or in the mountains of Afghanistan and everywhere else that our nation has had to send men and women to defend itself and our allies.

As a writer, I always wonder about the unfinished lives, the untold stories each of those sacrifices represents. What would that individual have gone on to do with their life, if given the chance? What effect did their gallant death have on all those who loved them, or who would have loved them?  What would their never-to-be-born children and grandchildren have brought to the world? We’ll never know. The best we can do is honor the sacrifices made for us by doing the best we can do with our lives, leaving the world a better, stronger place.

And never ever forgetting the debt we owe for our freedom. Thank you.

“Soldiers, when committed to a task, can’t compromise. It’s unrelenting devotion to the standards of duty and courage, absolute loyalty to others, not letting the task go until it’s been done.” John Keegan

“Soldiers are dreamers; when the guns begin they think of firelit homes, clean beds, and wives.” Siegfried Sassoon


Weekend Writing Warriors Who Was Here?

better wewriwaI hate to say it but we really do have to leave Nadelma’s kitchen this week and move forward in the unedited Shifter & Girl-With-A- Secret paranormal story I’ve been excerpting…but thank you again to everyone for the kind words about the Cook! Caitlyn has left the kitchen herself and is going about her assigned duties when…

She felt a shift in the air, a perturbation in the currents of magic swirling around the Witch Queen’s palace. Seized by a compulsion to hurry, she followed the invisible thread to the throne room. Standing on the threshold of the deserted chamber, Caitlyn furrowed her brow – why had her instincts brought her here? But the otherness of the magic that had called to her echoed in the room.

“The audience is done, girl,” said a gruff voice behind her. “If you wanted to see them, they’re already gone. A fine sight they were though, I must say.” 

Turning, she bumped into Quarl, sergeant of the guards. “See who? Who was here?”

Leaning on his spear, he whispered, “Shapeshifters, from the north.”


 I  love and appreciate your comments and feedback! Go here  to find all the other Weekend Writing Warriors and read  an amazing variety of  terrific excerpts…

The Dialogue’s The Thing

We were doing a series on how to use dialogue tags over at Word Whores last week, “He Said, She Said” and while I was researching my contribution (which you can read here if you’d like), I found all these great quotes about dialogue, from actors and writers. I didn’t use any of them but I hate to let fun quotes go to waste, so here they are for your pleasure:

hitchcockDialogue should simply be a sound among other sounds, just something that comes out of the mouths of people whose eyes tell the story in visual terms.
Alfred Hitchcock

A conversation is a dialogue, not a monologue. That’s why there are so few good conversations: due to scarcity, two intelligent talkers seldom meet.
Truman Capote

A good film script should be able to do completely without dialogue. David Mamet

In every movie I do have a dialogue.
Jackie Chan

I landed a job with Roger Corman. The job was to write the English dialogue for a Russian science fiction picture. I didn’t speak any Russian. He didn’t care whether I could understand what they were saying; he wanted me to make up dialogue.
Francis Ford Coppola

Composers dialogue – and obsessively, bitterly argue – with other composers, often over the span of several centuries.
Brian Ferneyhough

To this day, I get rewrite offers where they say: ‘We feel this script needs work with character, dialogue, plot and tone,’ and when you ask what’s left, they say: ‘Well, the typing is very good.’
John Sayles

What I find interesting about folklore is the dialogue it gives us with storytellers from centuries past.
Terri Windling

220px-Robert_mitchumI kept the same suit for six years and the same dialogue. They just changed the title of the picture and the leading lady.
Robert Mitchum

There are things that Scotsmen get and other people don’t get in the dialogue. Scottish characters can be pinpointed by a phrase, targeted very quickly.
Bill Forsyth

I listen to music two ways: As a person, you have an instinctive, personal, emotional response. But as a music supervisor, you have a secondary response, which is, ‘Will this sit well under dialogue?’ ‘Can people die to this?’ ‘Can people kiss to this?’
Alexandra Patsavas

It really just gives you a sense of when you need to have dialogue and when you don’t, and if your pictures are telling the story, you don’t need to have all this talking.
Craig McCracken

Happy Monday!


Weekend Writing Warriors More From the Cook

better wewriwaSince people were enjoying the character of Nadelma the cook in my unedited Shifter and the Girl-With-A-Secret paranormal novel, here is another excerpt from the scene in the kitchen where Caitlyn has gone to ask for a special meal to help Kyle recover. Nadelma has vowed to make a proper breakfast for a warrior.

 There was a rare steak, an omelet bursting with cheese, crisp bacon piled high, country potatoes and freshly baked bread for dunking in a steaming fish chowder.

“Just one thing missing,” Nadelma said, pointing at the nearest kitchen maid, “Fetch me a glass of the fresh milk.”

“Milk?” Caitlyn choked back a laugh. “For Kyle? He’s a grown man, not a boy.”

Nadelma winked at her. “He once told me he runs as a cat. Or am I wrong?”

Caitlyn looked over to where the kitchen cat was lapping up a bowl of milk. As a vivid mental picture of the ferocious leopard with milk dotting its muzzle came to her, she laughed. “You’re right, I never would have thought of that.”

“Which is why I am head cook in this palace.”



 I  love and appreciate your comments and feedback! Go here  to find all the other Weekend Writing Warriors and read  an amazing variety of  terrific excerpts…


(Photo from SXC by kris69)



WHY Do I Dream of Junior High School???

“Dreams are today’s answers to tomorrow’s questions,” said Edgar Cayce, the great psychic and seer. And I’ve had my own psychic dreams on occasion (no winning lotto numbers but no great catastrophes either, thank goodness.) BUT why do I periodically dream I’m back in junior high school? Not high school, not elementary school, never college…only good old junior high.

To my knowledge I have no unfinished business about junior high. In those days we went 7th through 9th grades and it wasn’t the worst of times nor the best of times but pretty much ok. I was never bullied. I wasn’t wildly popular although moving in from out of state in 7th grade had a certain amount of cachet that I didn’t really understand how to use so it drifted away. (Late bloomer here.) I was a homecoming princess, I was on the pep squad (not a cheerleader which even then required a level of physical co-ordination I didn’t have and it does help to know left from right LOL). I did my first dating, which didn’t go too badly although in the 9th grade  my supposed boyfriend broke up with me by informing our entire Alabama History Class he was moving to Florida forever the next week. No, I don’t think his family moved to escape me – they still send cards at the holidays.

We had the future founder of a famous cable TV channel in our class (all the way through high school actually) but at that time we had no idea he was going to be so cool, although he was a big man on campus in football, which was all we cared aboutAnd I wasn’t in his social circle…

In the 8th grade I had no out of state cachet left but I had good friends and I got my American history teacher to second place in the citywide Most Popular Teacher contest run by a radio station, which the school administration wasn’t sure they appreciated because maybe the other teachers felt slighted. My only time in the Principal’s office! In the 9th grade I mostly remember being happy and my volleyball team winning the tournament between the PE classes through some temporary miracle of me being able to hit the ball for about 6 weeks. Never to be repeated and I was NOT on performance enhancing substances LOL.

I never failed a test, never failed to do my homework, was never publicly embarrassed (well except for that one issue with my boyfriend!), had a tight circle of girlfriends (some of whom I still am close to), went to dances, had parties…so WHY do I every so often dream I’m back there? It’s never quite the same dream. For one thing, I’m an adult in the dream usually but not always and there’s never anyone in the dream that I know. The school is usually full of people, sometimes I’m driving through the parking lot and can’t find an empty space. More often I’m in the entrance hall and I’m supposed to be in a certain class or I’m looking for a certain teacher (never by name) and then I wander the halls, which seem familiar but…not…quite…and I NEVER do find the right room. But  I’m not distressed by this in the dream. I just keep wandering. I’m always in the 7th grade halls, by the way, rarely anywhere else.

Once I was out on the PE field, quelle horreur! ( HATED PE in the hot, humid Alabama weather with a wild passion and please remember my lack of co-ordination). But even in that dream I was searching for a certain teacher, not running laps thank goodness.

I met my late husband in high school, not junior high, so if anything you’d think I might dream of searching for him at high school.

But apparently if I was Peggy Sue from the movie “Peggy Sue Got Married” I’d find myself right back there in junior high, trying to solve….something. I wish I knew what my subconscious feels I missed out on, so long ago!

Do you have a recurring dream like mine?

Here’s the trailer to “Peggy Sue” – I would like to point out I did NOT go to junior high in the 1950’s however!

New from Shona Husk RUBY’S GHOST

Today I’m very pleased to have Shona Husk as my guest, talking about her newest book, RUBY’S GHOST, out from Samhain Publishing today as a matter of fact. I’ve been hooked on Shona’s novels since THE GOBLIN KING in 2011, so a new story from her is always cause for celebration on my part. Now I’ll gracefully sit down and let Shona have the floor LOL:

RubysCaught between two worlds

I didn’t set out to write a New Adult ghost romance, but I wanted someone who was caught between life and death. Echoing that transition from teen to adult seemed to fit with the story and the characters. There are choices to be made, friendships are kept or broken and not everyone grows up at the same pace. Sometimes you out grow people and you drift apart.

Tate, the hero of Ruby’s Ghost, realizes this at the start of the story. He also realizes that he is no longer in love with his girlfriend Ruby and hasn’t been for months. They’d stayed together because it was safe and familiar, but he wants out.

Unfortunately she doesn’t.

One accident changes what might have been a messy break up into a battle that crosses life and death and Tate is literally caught between two worlds. If he screws up and makes the wrong the wrong choice, he’ll die.

While Tate is fighting for life, Ruby, who died in the accident, is fighting to hold onto what she knows. Which is Tate. It takes her a long time to realize that she is better off without him if he doesn’t love her. She held on too long.

But Ruby isn’t the heroine of the story, Eloise is. Eloise is young and alive and busy moving on with her life, getting mixed up in Tate and Ruby’s dilemma was unplanned, but she is stable and becomes a focus point for Tate. However does she really want to get involved with a guy who might never wake up, and who may not remember her if he does?

Is it a love triangle when Tate has to choose between Ruby and Eloise, when one is life and the other is death?

I don’t think so, as his relationship with Ruby was over in his heart and mind. It is her that won’t let go as she remains in limbo unable to cross over and unable to live again. The story is as much about Tate trying to survive as it is about Ruby learning to let go.

And Eloise?

She has to learn to take a chance and stop playing it safe.

Do you hold on when you should let go like Ruby, or are you more like Eloise and needing to take a chance?

Here’s the story synopsis for Ruby’s Ghost:

Breaking up is hard to survive.

One moment, Tate Cooper is giving his ex-girlfriend a lift home on his motorcycle. The next, his soul is suspended between life and death, wandering in confusion between the accident scene and the house he grew up in.

Except it’s not his home anymore. In his old bedroom sleeps a beautiful young woman, the only person who can see him. And the only person who can keep him from succumbing to the temptation to escape the horrific pain awaiting him in his mortal body.

Eloise Jones should be studying for her college exams, but it’s tough to stay focused when a lost soul keeps appearing in her room. She figures it must have something to do with sirens she heard screaming in the night, but she’s helpless to assist—and helpless to resist.

As Eloise tries to help Tate unravel the tangled facts surrounding the accident, longing and desire grow into an almost tangible bond between them. But then a second spirit appears, one with a darker intent that could separate them before love draws its first breath…

Warning: Contains a vengeful ex and a romance that crosses the boundary between life and death.

Buy links:

<a href=”http://www.amazon.com/Shona-Husk/e/B003O781E8/” target=”_blank”>Amazon</a> |

<a href=”https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/rubys-ghost/id592680366?mt=11″ target=”_blank”>iTunes</a> |

<a href=”http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/rubys-ghost-shona-husk/1114192609?ean=9781619214408″>Barnes & Noble</a>

A little bit about Shona herself:

Three time ARRA finalist Shona Husk lives in Western Australia at the edge of the Indian Ocean. Blessed with a lively imagination she spent most of her childhood making up stories. As an adult she discovered romance novels and hasn’t looked back. Drawing on history and myth, she weaves new worlds and writes heroes who aren’t afraid to get hurt while falling in love.

With stories ranging from sensual to scorching, she is published with Carina Press, Ellora’s Cave, Samhain Publishing and Sourcebooks. You can find out more at www.shonahusk.com



Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/lySiD

If Not Me Who Would I Like To Be?

Recently read a magazine interview where they asked some actresses who they’d like to be for a day if they could be anyone. Most picked another actress (Angelina Jolie was a popular choice) and one wanted to be Lady Gaga, I believe.

Started me thinking though. I find it too limiting to be just one other woman for an entire day (maybe because I’m not a busy actress LOL). So here are my choices, one day as each:

saldana pineModern Day Actress: Zoe Saldana. She gets interesting roles, she looks great in clothes, she seems very sensible…can I have one day on the set of Star Trek with Chris Pine…?

Golden Age Actress:  Lauren Bacall.  A woman who takes no nonsense…and that voice – wow. Or Elizabeth  Taylor – her life was pretty fascinating,  Richard Burton, jewels….ok, one day on the set of “Cleopatra,” after she’s fallen in love with Burton of course.

Dancing With The Stars Dancer: Chellsie Hightower. That girl is strong! And a wonderful dancer…although I’m pretty fond of Anna Trebunskaya too…I want to dance the paso. Or maybe the quickstep. NOT the waltz.

Science Fiction Novel Character: Lessa of Pern, by Anne McCaffrey. She’s always my choice – I crave a golden dragon and also a hunky bronze dragonrider for my very own, not to mention the adventures that woman had!  ANY day as her, after she’s become Weyrwoman.

ripley hicksScience Fiction Movie Character: Ripley of Alien and Aliens – they lost me with Aliens 3. MY concept of the alien universe involves Ripley and Hicks having a future together, however dangerous…or maybe I’d be Sarah Connor of the Terminator series, any version. She was so strong and she had that one lifetime’s worth of love in a single night with Kyle Reese. (Hmmm, Michael Biehn again – I sense a trend here.)

Regency Heroine: I’d kinda like to be one of Elsie Lee’s ingénues who blithely sailed through Regency times making everything work out for herself and all those around her…but I think I’d begin to annoy myself LOL. I love Mary in Georgette Heyer’s “Devil’s Cub”, but she’s a bit too high minded. Hmmm. Maybe I’d have been Frederica in the Heyer book of the same name. To be able to fling the witty repartee and waltz…

Hatshepsut_1 Real Life Queen: Hatshepsut, who ruled Egypt as a Pharaoh about 3500 years ago. I’ve never much liked her, probably because I loved the novel “Mara, Daughter of the Nile” and Hatshepsut was portrayed as being so evil…but you just have to wonder what she was like as a person, to seize the throne and hold it for so many years. And remember, I’m only staying a day in each of these ladies’ lives! So maybe a day in the middle of her reign, when things were going well. And if there was a hunky guard she expecially trusted….

First Lady: Can I be Dolley Madison?  She didn’t have quite as much to deal with as some First Dolley-madisonLadies, although the White House got burnt on her watch and there was the War of 1812…so the day she rescued the famous painting of George Washington from the fires…

I could do a day as Jane Austen, couldn’t you? Just to feel what she felt as she wrote? Or Louisa May Alcott?

Apparently I don’t want to be bored (which IS an absolute rule of my life) and ideally I want there to be a hunky guy involved (how hunky was James Madison by the way?) but that’s not a total deal breaker…who would you be, if you could be anyone for a day?


Photo Credits: Wikimedia

Dolley Madison: “Courtesy of the University of Texas Libraries, The University of Texas at Austin.”

Hatshepsut:  Attribution: Postdlf from w

Weekend Writing Warriors Don’t Displease the Cook

better wewriwaHappy Mother’s Day! I don’t have anything about mothers to excerpt for today so I went with a snippet about the Cook in the Witch Queen’s palace, because she’s the closest thing to a motherly person in this unedited WIP about a shifter and a Girl With A Secret LOL.

Kyle is having a hard time recovering from the most recent spell casting, where the Witch Queen pulled even more of his magic to fuel her spells. The palace physician (who is also a witch) has ordered a bland diet suitable for an invalid. Caitlyn goes to the kitchen to ask for a proper meal for predator in need of strength. Nadelma the Cook is speaking.

“Strange times we’re in, with the poor shifter caught in the middle. He carved me a special wooden spoon last year for the winter festival, you know – all my favorite flowers and fruits on the handle. It’s far too beautiful to cook with and so I told him.”

Caitlyn felt the kitchen cat rubbing against her ankles. Bending down, she stroked the soft gray fur, thinking sadly how dull and matted the leopard’s fur had been. “So you’ll allow me to make something proper for Kyle to eat?”

Nadelma hoisted herself from her chair with an alarming amount of effort and said, “I’ll fix him a breakfast suitable for a warrior with my own hands and we’ll just see if that doesn’t do him more good that what the high and mighty ordered. They do their magic, I do mine.”


 I  love and appreciate your comments and feedback! Go here  to find all the other Weekend Writing Warriors and read  an amazing variety of  terrific excerpts…

(Photo from SXC by domus71)

Five Things I Got From My Mother

???????????????????????????????In honor of Mother’s Day coming up this next weekend, I thought I’d write a blog about five of my favorite things, ???????????????????????????????which I learned to love because my Mother loved them:

Birds! And adding new birds to my Life List, and feeding the birds…

Beatrix Potter! Such charming tales, with the most wonderful illustrations…here are a few of the figurines from my collection (yes, perhaps some Brambly Hedge and Bunnykins have crept in but there’s room for all…) My Mother’s favorite character was Mrs. Tiggywinkle, the hedgehog laundress. Mine would probably be one of the Cats (or maybe Lady Mouse) BUT my favorite figurine is Timmie Willie Sleeping, which you can see at the front of photo. My mother got her love of Beatrix Potter from her mother, my oh-so-stern Gramma Lucy, who must have had her lighter moments, as she and her sister were affectionately known as Flopsy and Mopsy as children. Hmm, that means my greatgrandmother must have  enjoyed Ms. Potter’s Tales as well.

???????????????????????????????Cats! Which doesn’t always go so well with my love of birds and other small creatures…

Tea! Actually my mother was the Compleat Anglophile and loved all things English. ???????????????????????????????British? I think if you’d given her the chance to go back in time and live, she’d have thought herself in Paradise if she could have lived in the Victorian Age and been married to a Duke (waltzing optional). (Yes, that is the Queen Mother on my tea cup, not my actual Mother, just to clear up any confusion LOL.)

Tap Dancing! Which extended to a love of all movie musicals on my part…somehow I never got her adoration of “Gone With The Wind” or Dr. Zhivago. I require an ironclad Happily Ever After to love a movie. Here are the links to three of my all time favorite tap dancing sequences, from Fred Astaire the Master (he and Eleanor Powell appear at :56), Gene Kelly (song starts at 1:09), and the incomparable Sutton Foster with a stage full of sexy sailors (need I say more LOL?)…

But the most important thing I got from my Mother was the love of being a mother myself, to my own two daughters. Happy Mother’s Day!