Thursday Thoughts: Universal Cheshire Cat

I found this message from the Universe tucked waaay back in my draft file. I’m not sure why it got buried. In hindsight, I find it interesting because the first series of books I sold (to Wild Rose Press) were all about time travel and reincarnation. I happen to believe very strongly that if you don’t learn from history, it’s bound to repeat itself. I also happen to believe in reincarnation. I was part of a psychology study MANY years ago and as a study subject, I underwent regression hypnosis. Since I was convinced that I couldn’t be hypnotized, imagine my surprise when several different past lives came to light during the study. None of them were famous, though one was a minor lady-in-waiting to Anne Boleyn. As a student of history, I researched all and yeah, women with those names actually existed. Weird. Anyway, I think that experience laid the groundwork, many years later, for the Faerie Reign books–FAERIE FATE, FAERIE FIRE, FAERIE FOOL, and FAERIE FAITH.**

Of all your lifetimes, Silver, do you know which ones you’ll look back on with the fondest memories, the most pride, and the widest grin?

The ones where in spite of challenges, no matter how daunting, difficult, or painful, you pressed on.

Like a Cheshire Cat,
The Universe
© http://www.tut.com ®

Silver, you utterly fascinate us.

So, y’all know I try to incorporate a bit of writing craft in these musings. I tied it into my first series but the point is, look at your own life–this one or a previous one. Find the interesting bits. Find the off-beat bits. Find the hidden treasures tucked away in your memory. Use them to create realism in your writing. Tap into your emotions. Tap into the humor. Or the anger. Or the hurt. Use the whimsy and love and the warm fuzzies. When we infuse our words with those things, we touch our readers. And isn’t that the whole point?

**If you aren’t familiar with these books and would like more info, check out the series page on this site. Just CLICK HERE. Or you can click on the title for the ‘Zon buy link.

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Wednesday Words: To Fall or Not to Fall

This is the last Wednesday in September. The last quarter of the year starts Saturday. Where have the days gone?!?! I have new words today. Not many but I don’t want to give too much away with today’s snippet. What’s our inspiration today? For #1lineWed it’s: **TO ** with these suggesntions: Your good healt. The stars. Absent friends. Our #ThursdayThreads prompt was “I can’t let you fall alone.” Totally inspired by the following, I went back and revampted the prologue. I don’t often do that but this time? Yeah. I knew there was some underlying stuff for our hero, Kin. Now that I have a good handle on it, I’ll lace it in when I do edits and revisions. Yay! Anyway, random scene at random point in story.
****
Petro pushed his chair back from the table, the legs scraping the floor. Raising his glass, he saluted each of the men on the Hard Target team. “To your good health. To the stars for guiding us to safety.” Lines appeared around his eyes as his expression sobered. His voice grave and echoing with sadness, he added one last toast. “To absent friends.”

The men from Hard Target all stood, their glasses raised as they echoed that last sentiment. “To absent friends.”

As they all settled in their seats again, Corey placed her hand on Duke’s forearm. “It’s okay, love. They’re gone, but they aren’t forgotten.” Her voice carried a trace of guilt. Duke, Tank, and Dalton had been the only members of SEAL Team Atlantis to survive her rescue.

Meg watched Kin closely. The shadows in his eyes were cause for concern. She knew so little about this man who had claimed her heart. She leaned closer until their shoulders brushed and she whispered in his ear. “Who?” she asked. “Who did you lose?” Part of her was terrified it was a former lover or worse. A wife.

“I can’t let you fall alone.” The words came back to haunt him. He’d let his brother down. He’d let him fall. Alone. Warm lips touched the skin of his face. He blinked. Focused. All eyes watched him. He shifted, put his arm across Meg’s shoulders. “A brother,” he said. “Who fell into darkness.”

“I’ll never let you fall,” Meg promised.
****
There you have it. Writers, take the prompts and run if you wish. Readers, what book have you fallen for lately? Sadly, while I’ve enjoyed most of the books I’ve read lately, none of them have given me a book hangover. I need to read more! 😉

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Tuesday Treats & Titles: SEAL Po-Boys

I almost did an Italian recipe for today because due to circumstances and on account of because, SEAL MOON went live on Amazon as the Italian Edition. FYI, there is NO Italian edition. That’s been fixed now on the ‘Zon site and it’s slowly going live in other on-line stores. I also had the dilemma of my two main characters in SEAL MOON. Our intrepid heroine is Taylor Dagny. Rich family. Focused and driven to cxcel, cooking is not in her lexicon. Our hero, Riley “Speed” O’Brien, was a SEAL. He ate MREs when on a mission, in the mess when on duty, and fast food or in a restaurant off base. The same applied when he went to work on the platforms. What to feature? Well, since the crews for the Delta Trident are based out of New Orleans, I picked shrimp po-boys because that’s a favorite aroud here too. Plus, they are easy to make.

Ingredients
Breaded popcorn shrimp (bake in the oven kind) – 1 serving for each sandwich
Hoagie rolls or French bread rolls – 1 is usually enough, unless you’re a former SpecOps dude
Shredded lettuce
Louisiana-style romoulade (red) fish sauce
*sliced or chopped tomatoes and/or dill pickles are optional

Fix It
1 – Bake shrimp according to package instructions (usually around 450 for 10-12 minutes)
2 – Open rolls and “grill” in butter (I use a griddle, melt the butter on it, slap the rolls on “open face” down and let them toast a little.
3 – “Build” your po-boy. Layer ingredients however you like. Around here, it’s just shrimp, lettuce, and sauce, so that’s how we stack it up.)
4 – Enjoy with chips, fries, and/or cole slaw.

Around here, we don’t do tomatoes as a rule. I’m allergic, LG can take ’em or leave ’em on a sandwich.True New Orleans style po-boys have tomatoes and pickles. You do want to use a denser roll for these, rather than a hot dog bun. Riley can eat several of these in a sittinng and he introduced Taylor to them, muffalettas, and NOLA style bread pudding, all favorites of mine. If you want to find out how they got from the Delta Trident, a drilling platform in the middle of the Gulf of Mexico, to a deserted island that’s not on any maps to New Orleans, grab the newly re-released SEAL MOON. It’s been updated and expanded. You can click either pic that shows the cover or any of the titles to head to the universal link on Books2Read link (or click on it! 😉 ) to find the stores where it’s currently available. It will keep going live lots of places as this week goes by. What’s your favorite “fancy” sandwich?

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Monday Memo

Note to self: Always upload to Amazon first to find typos so you can fix them before uploading to D2D. And yes, I had 3 weird typos that I missed in SEAL MOON. That said, I also fixed a bunch during the fnal proof. I suspect that by the time you are reading this, the updated version of the book will be live on the ‘Zon. It’ll take a few days to start populating other stores. At least it’s published! And yes, it’ll be featured in tomorrows Treats & Titles with links. In other publishing news, I hope to have ASSASSIN’S MOON uploaded for release on next Monday–again with no preorder period. I’ll start the proofing process when I get back from Wallyworld this morning.

In sports news, my Cards ran hot and cold. The good news is, Albert Pujols hit 700 home runs! He’s now in a very exclusive club and it’s sooo cool that he’s there. The Cards beat the Dodgers 11-0 in the game. The other games? Yeah…bats went mostly cold. It happens. I’m hoping they’ll peak again for the post season!

Another memo to self: Double check language when uploading to the ‘Zon. SEAL MOON went live yesterday–ITALIAN EDITION. There IS no Italian edition. 🤦🏼‍♀️ Since it was live, I could pull up the detail page and change it back to English. Don’t ask me how Italian popped up. And don’t ask me if that Italian edition will disappear once the English one updates.

Okay, moving on. Except there’s not much else to move on to. 🙄 In reading/listening, I’m currelntly 10 books ahead of my Goodreads book challenge. I’m in the middle of a marathon relisten to Jayne Castle’s Ghost Hunter/Harmony series. These books combine SciFi with paranormal romantic suspense. And there are dust bunnies!

There was soccer Satruday. Stormy scored the winning goal so there’s a bit of grandparental glow going on. It’s amazing how much progress the kids have made since the beginning of the league. They are figuring out how not to “swarm” the ball and spread out so they can pass to each other. It’s fun to watch.

One last memo: Self, be sure to update the book page on this site with links because Books2Read now has SEAL MOON listed. Just click on that link to see where it’s currently available.

And that pretty much sums up my world.Nothing exciting but some progress at least. That beats the alternative. How’s your world?

 

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Friday Sinema: Southern Fall

Fall arrived yesterday. Technically it was last night at 8:06 p.m. central time. Don’t ask me if it’s CDT or CST time because I no longer keep track of the time change. It just pisses me off. Anyway, we had a front come through just in time for the Autumnal Equinox (First Day of Fall). When I woke up, it was 65 instead of 75. And we hit a high of 79. Today? Summer is back with a projected high of 94. Which is why I totally cracked up over this video. You might have to live in the South to get it, but maybe you people up north and out west can get a giggle out of it. Anyway, happy fall, y’all.

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Thursday Thoughts: Universal Inspiration

I know I’ve discussed inspiration before. In fact, I’ve done it often. Because, as a writer, I get asked about it a lot. We all do. Right? Writers, artists, musicians–anyone that uses their imaginations to create. That includes a parent telling their child a bedtime story. Sometimes, we start with a glimmer of an idea. And those of us who are mostly pantsers, we start creating and if we’re lucky, something very cool takes shape. I’m all about the cool. When this popped into my inbox, I found myself nodded in agreement, because this happens too. Often.

The odd thing about inspiration, Silver, is that it often comes after, not before, a new journey is started.

Yippee ki-yay!
The Universe
© http://www.tut.com ®

So go on, Silver, break the ice! Put on that tutu, spin a whirly, clutch the sky, and you’ll have them quivering in their boots in no time at all… or am I thinking of someone else?

I’ve often mentioned that my characters take on form and personalities and I often find myself carrying on conversations with them. When I finally get them to open up about themselves, I’m often surprised by the secrets they spill. In the sace of Hawk Greenwood, the hero of RESCUE MOON, it was his grandmother who spilled the beans. Here’s this big tough “water-walking” SpecOps soldier and what’s his favorite dessert? Grape dumplings. As was shared this past Tuesday. I grin whenever I think about it because he is so stoic and such a Wolf and yet his grandmother makes him grape dumplings whenever he comes home for a visit. Who knew? And where did that inspiration come from? A trip to the Chickasaw Herigage Center and a boswl of the darn things from the cafe there. While I was writing RESCUE MOON. And I knew, in 20-20 hindsight, that Hawk considered this treat his comfort food.

And yes, this is, in my own weird way, an attempt to market the new release of RESCUE MOON because I totally suck at marketing. Have you had an inspirational moment lately?

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Wednesday Words: Persistent Fall

Whoa! Lots to inpire us writers today! Believe it or not, this scene with 250 words. And it grew like the Green Giant’s magic bean vine. Our prompts this week include the #1lineWed. theme **PERSIST: Hold the fort, stay the course, die hard.** And from #ThursdayThreads, we have this line: “Maybe I was falling for her.” As for context, I don’t know if this belongs in a future Hard Target book or it it’ll be part of the epilogue in CROSSFIRE. We’ll see when I get to that point. In the meantime, I enjoyed the hell out of sitting down and whipping out over 700  words. And usuable words at that!
****
The crowd in Mother Goose’s was mellow. Something country played on the juke box but not loud enough to intrude. The entire Hard Target team, along with Corey and Meg occupied one corner. The men had pushed several tables together and the women laughed as all those alpha males jockeyed for the prime seats—those against the wall so they could see all the exits and no one could come up behind them. Duke, Tank, Kin, and Loch won. Everyone shuffled into seats. Tank and Lock sat at each end while Duke, Corey, Meg, and Kin sat along the wall. Uri sat next to Loch, then Brady, Shane, Dalton—stuck in the middle facing the women—then Bo and Dom.

Bear manned the bar and at the moment, the two waitresses were perched on barstools taking a break. They’d already delivered drinks and bar food to the group. Corey snagged the basket of fried mushrooms and placed it conspicuously between her and Meg. Dalton pushed all the little bowls of ranch dressing in their direction. The men savaged the mozzarella sticks, marinara, and the loaded nachos. Most of the team had frosty mugs of beer. Lock and Kin had tall glasses filled with dark Guinness ale. Corey sipped a wine spritzer and Meg went hard core—a margarita on the rocks.

Corey studied Dalton, who only played with the mozzarella stick on the plate in front of him. He’d also ignored his beer. The last few days, he’d been noticeably absent. When she’d commented to Duke about it, he’d told her to leave it alone. But she was worried about the good-hearted surfer boy and despites Duke’s warning, she waded in. “So what’s going on with you, Dalton?”

He took a bite of the fried cheese and made a show of chewing. When he finally swallowed, he said,

“Nothing.”

“You’ve been moping around lately.”

“I don’t mope.”

“Then what would you call your behavior?”

Meg jumped in. “And where’s that pretty girl you were hanging out with. I haven’t seen her around.”

Dalton took another bite. The women glanced at each other as Dalton swiveled around and yelled, “Yo, Bear! Can we get some more cheese sticks?”

“Dalton.” Corey used her mom voice, drawing out his name and using a warning tone. “So what’s up.”

“Inflation. The price of gas. You name it.”

Duke pulled Corey’s chair closer and draped his arm over the back. “Corey,” he cautioned.

In spite of Duke’s actions warning her off, she continued. “Why do you persist in this?”

“In this what?”

“In everything you are doing right now.”

He flashed his winsome grin and shrugged. “What does that even mean?”

“Persist, Dalton. It’s in the dictionary. It means to stay the course.”

“Hold the fort,” Brady suggested.

Tank looked up. “Die hard.”

Corey made a face. “Die hard? Seriously? What does dying hard have to do with persistence?””

“Yeah, seriously. “Die Hard.’ John McClain. You know, the movies? Now he was a persistent sonavabitch.”

All the men nodded and made sounds of agreement. Corey considered performing a head slap. “You’re doing it again, Dalton.”

“Doing what?”

“This!” She let her frustration leak into her voice. “Every time. You’re deflecting.”

Duke took her hand. “Princess, has it occurred to you that he might not want to talk about it?”

“Yeah,” Dom agreed. “ We’re manly men. We don’t talk about feelings.”

Meg jabbed Kin in the side with her elbow before he could agree. “Well, it’s true, lass, we don’t,” he grumbled.

“I call BS. Right, Corey?”

“Look, just because you two are happily married, that doesn’t mean the rest of us need to go all girly.” Dom didn’t know when to quit.

Both women stared at Dalton. He looked away first, much to his consternation. He loved both of them like the sisters he never had but they had his number and he knew it. And now that there was two of them in the fold, they had the tendency to gang up on a guy.

“It’s no big deal,” he said quietly. “She left. End of story.”

Corey and Meg exchanged a long look and the men who understood their expressions physically braced.

“You really liked her.”

“Yeah, okay. Maybe I was falling for her.” And he had. Hard.
****
Writers, you know the drill. Pick one, both, or all and do some free writing. Readers, this is a serious question because the season isn’t too far away. IS “Die Hard” a Christmas movie?

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Tuesday Treats & Titles: Rescue the Dumplings!

Look! Back to the original version! Old recipe (still yummy!) but new (sort of) book! RESCUE MOON went live yesterday. And being the doofus I am, I totally blanked on that fact. Otherwise, I would have made a big deal of it in yesterday’s blog. 🤦🏼‍♀️

Moving on, this is a truly a comfort food, and traditional in several of the Five Tribes. While harvesting and cooking “possum grapes” was the old way, modern tribal cooks have updated the recipe to make it easy and still just as delicious. There comfort in tradttions and this recipe is an old one handed down generation to generation.

GRAPE DUMPLINGS RECIPE
Ingredients

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 egg
1¼ cups water
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
64 ounces grape juice
Sugar to taste

Let’s Make It

Place flour in a bowl. Make a well in center of flour and crack an egg into center. Using your fingers, begin mixing the egg into the flour and add water as you go. Form the dough into a ball and roll out very thin. Cut into 1-inch squares.

In a large pot place grape juice and sugar to taste. Bring to a rolling boil. Drop dumplings into boiling grape juice. Mix 1 Tablespoon cornstarch in 1 cup water. Add to hot grape juice. Cook for a few minutes so it thickens a bit and serve hot.

Kitchen Tip:

There are two different versions I’ve seen. One uses water for the dough. They other uses grape juice. Next time I make them I’ll be trying it with the juice!

Serve warm in a bowl. You can top with whipped cream or ice cream or just eat them plain.

This is one of Hawkins “Hawk” Greenwood’s favorite treats and his grandmother teaches Dana Peterson how to make them in the book. While Hawk is Choctaw, I’ll admit to finding a video of how to make these on Chickasaw-TV. THIS VERSION uses grape juice to make the recipe. You should check out the video just to hear the wonderful reminiscenses by the tribal elder. She’s all kinds of awesome! And I’ll admit that she rather reminds me Mariam Greenwood, Hawk’s ipokni, which means grandmother in the Choctaw language. If you want to read Hawk and Dana’s updated and revised story–including a kidnapping, rescue, and a road trip full of bikers–grab a copy of RESCUE MOON from your favorite online book seller. It should be wide almost everywhere now. Check out BOOKS2READ for the link to your fave store or click on either cover photos to get there.

I have to admit, now I’m hungry for these. Too bad I’ve already made my grocery run for the week. Maybe I’ll add grape juice to my list for next week. What about y’all? What’s your favorite dessert?

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Just Another Monday

There’s not much going on around here. It’s just another Monday. A run to Wallyworld, a stop at Starbucks on the way home, and then the last little bit of work on SEAL MOON and getting it uploaded for preorder. I hope. 🤞🏼

There was a weekend. And last week. Not much happened last week either. This weekend was all about the sports. Stormy had back-to-back soccer games. His team won the first match and lost the second by one goal–one made by a teammate into their own goal. Oops. Hey, they are 8. And learning the game. Then there was lots of baseball–a game Friday night, a double-header on Saturday and an afternoon game on Sunday. They took the series against the Reds and are headed to San Diego for a game tomoorw night. There was also college football. I don’t do NFL. The league pretty much pissed me off for…reasons. Anyway, OU beat Nebraska and my OSU Cowboys took it to Arkansas State at Pine Bluff. They still managed to slide a spot in the polls. WTF? Anyway…

I got back on reading track. I finally got through the latest JD Robb In Death book, DESPERATION IN DEATH. It was slow going at first but I eventually got into the story. It was pretty good. Then I did a quick-turnaroiud on a series I listened to back in June because another new release is out. If you like down-and-dirty sexy times with quirky shifter characters, Suzanne Wright’s paranormal shifter series (there are 3, all intertwined) might be your catnip. I’m currently listening to WHEN HE IS RUTHLESS, the latest release in the Olympus Pride series.

And that’s the sum of my week. I did catch a possum scare a skunk on the Ring doorbell. It was pretty funny. There also might have been a glitch in the matrix when I though I saw Pete, the garage cat, out in the flowerbed outside my office window. Excpet Pet was in the garage getting pets from LG. 🤯 And then there were a few nights of weird dreams. SERIOUSLY weird dreams. I mean like Twilight Zone/Stranger Things type dreams. Except I’ve never actually watched “Stranger Things.”  Ah well.

What about y’all? What news do you have to share? Good stuff? Bad stuff? Weird stuff? Inquiring inds–MINE–wants to know!

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Friday Sinema: Small , Odd Bites

Okay. To be honest, I was looking for something short, entertaining, and maybe musical. Somehow, my YouTube “autonplay next”(or whatever it’s called) button was on. And this popped up. Now, I’m not a huge fan (or much of a fan at all) of AGT. It’s 35 minutes long. But in segments. You can sit and watch it all, or take small bites. There’s some jaw-dropping stuff in the first half and some total silliness in the last half (which is “behind-the-scenes stuff from AGT, BGT, and American Idol.) Anyway, I’m sending you into the weekend with a smile. I hope. I was gigglesnorting at some of it and gobsmacked at the other. Have a great weekend!

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