Wednesday Writers–Interview with Denise Weimer

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Welcome to Wednesday Writers!

Today’s Wednesday Writer’s guest is Denise Weimer. She’ll be answering a few interview questions and providing us with an excerpt of her book The Witness Tree. Welcome, Denise!

 Please tell the readers about the release that is being showcased today.

The Witness Tree released just this past Monday with Smitten Historical Romance. It’s about a dangerous assignment in 1805 Cherokee Territory that calls for a Moravian marriage of convenience.

How did you come up with the concept for this book?

Before I came to work for Smitten Historical Romance as a managing editor, I wanted to write a book for them. I’d been watching the growth of the imprint, and their quality and values impressed me.

So far, all of my published novels have been set in my home state of Georgia. I love exploring its hidden history and lore. I needed a new location and focus for my Smitten novel. A bit of internet research turned up the intriguing fact that the Moravians came down from Salem, North Carolina (a town much like Williamsburg), to build a mission school on the plantation of Cherokee Chief James Vann, a historic site I’d visited as a child. I already found the Moravians, as a little-known sect of the plain people, fascinating. There was also the little-known fact that up until the early 1800s, many Cherokees were violently opposed to their language being recorded.

Wala, I had a story idea! However, I’d assigned myself a huge challenge in combining two very different people groups with diverse customs and languages into a story—and in a time period in which I’d never written.

What are you working on now? Do you have a release date for this book?

Earlier this year, I finished a novel that is slated to be part of The Native Patriots Series, stories about Native Americans who fought for our nation in different wars. To my delight, I could link this novel, working title Bent Tree Bride, to The Witness Tree. Sam Hicks is one of the children at the mission school in The Witness Tree, and he becomes the hero of Bent Tree Bride, a captain in the Cherokee Regiment that helped turn the battle against the Red Stick Creeks in 1814, part of The War of 1812. Sam falls in love with his colonel’s daughter, but they both have a surprise in store. She thinks he is white. He thinks she is Cherokee. They were both wrong.

My agent is currently shopping this series. I have another collection proposal set in Gilded Age Florida with a publisher, but until I hear back on that, I’m deeply invested in marketing The Witness Tree and my contemporary renovation romance, Fall Flip, which also released this month. I have two more contemporaries coming with Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas imprints in March—athletic romance Spring Splash and romantic techno-suspense Traces.

I tend to write in stages: dialogue first, then go back and put in the different layers—sensory, visceral, emotional, settings. What is does your writing process look like?

 As a former living historian and a visual learner, I always start with research. Computer research serves as my springboard, but then I order books from Amazon and my library to make sure I’m using accurate information. I begin to compile a historical timeline that includes everything from military history or local events to weather and fashion. Among that, I weave my fictional story. Often, the real historical events serve as plot shapers. I also always use maps, whether a simple city map for a contemporary novel, or period maps that show forts, rivers, and towns for a historical.

Then I schedule trips to historical sites, living histories, and the locations where my stories are set. I comb through museums and microfilm of old newspapers. I make notes about the flora and fauna, the sights and smells of the setting.

Once I start writing, I write entire scenes with all the details included, in order. My editing training has taught me to semi-self-edit as I go. At the end of each chapter, I stop and go back for a general edit. When the story is finished, I go over it again, then read it aloud to my husband to help catch errors. After that, it’s on to beta readers and then my agent.

What’s the first book, in the genre you write in, that you remember reading?

I’m not sure which came first, Gone With the Wind or the Eugenia Price novels. Note: learning to write in active voice, deep point of view was quite a challenge when you were raised on very verbose, Southern literary fiction. My Georgia Gold Series (my first published novels) is more Eugenia Price-style.

Do you have an all-time favorite movie that has stuck in your mind or that you’d watch over and over?

Last of the Mohicans

 We like to travel. What is the most historic place you’ve visited?

Rome, Italy

Name three interesting things most people don’t know about you.

How about one? I mentioned it above, but I spent many years involved in living history events. My husband and I directed a mid-1800s dance group that performed locally. The takeaway from that is, I can accurately describe for my novels not only ballroom dancing but what it feels like when your corset pinches you while you are waltzing. LOL

It’s been a pleasure having you here today. As you say goodbye, can you leave the readers with an encapsulation of your life’s philosophy? (a quote, a Bible verse, a precept you live by or have tried to instill in your children?)

Scripture teaches us that we each have value and purpose as God’s child (Ephesians 2:10, Jeremiah 29:11). God’s plan for our lives is the best one available and uses our gifts and talents for His glory and His kingdom. Why wouldn’t we want to seek that with all our hearts? You will know by the peace given by the Holy Spirit when you’re walking in that will.

And now for a peek at Denise’s book The Witness Tree available at Amazon

Past betrayal has turned John Kliest’s passion to his work as a builder and surveyor in the Moravian town of Salem, North Carolina. Now, to satisfy the elders’ edict and fulfill his mission in Cherokee Territory, he needs a bride. But the one woman qualified to record the Cherokee language longs for a future with his younger brother.

Clarissa Vogler’s dream of a life with Daniel Kliest is shattered when she is chosen by lot to marry his older brother and venture into the uncharted frontier. Can she learn to love this stoic man who is now her husband? Her survival hinges on being able to trust him—but they both harbor secrets.

 

Excerpt from The Witness Tree

At the top of the hill, a line of evergreens separated travelers from God’s Acre, where the departed Moravian faithful of Salem lay under flat stone slabs. Above the cemetery, Church Street intersected the east-west road that ran north of town. The witness tree stood at the juncture of this road and another lane that looped south. Some forty years earlier, Frederick Kliest’s axe had marked it as such with three slashes on its trunk. That and the knot on the back had made it a perfect place for Daniel to leave Clarissa messages.

Even more shocking than John’s proposal had been the news that followed it. Susanna had also revealed that Daniel had left town. The burning ache in Clarissa’s chest told her Susanna must have been mistaken. She hurried forward, sped by the sure knowledge that Daniel would not have abandoned her. Not now. At least not permanently. Not without communicating his plan.

As the tree came into view, so did a figure. Clarissa froze, palm returning to her chest. Daniel?

No. The man walking toward her was taller, more solid, his closely-trimmed, dark beard speckled with gray that somehow did not make him look older. John Kliest. He might be a good ten years ahead of Daniel, having passed thirty, she guessed, but his unlined face and intense blue eyes indicated an untamed energy that Daniel, even while painting, had not possessed.

He recognized her a second later, for he, too, stopped and stared. “Sister Vogler.”

His first words spoken to her. He bowed. None of the heat that seemed to be affecting Clarissa colored his face.

“Br-brother Kliest.” Now she was stammering too?

Laugh lines danced around his mouth. He took a step toward her, watching her as one watches a doe in the woods. In fact, he clutched the tiger-striped maple stock of the Rowan long rifle he’d commissioned her father to make some years ago. He was probably the only man in their pacifist community to own such a gun—presumably as protection from wild animals when he was off surveying. But he did not carry his surveying instruments today. Had he been hunting, perchance?

“Headed to your father’s?”

“Yes.”

John’s gaze darted to a spiral of the blonde hair she found so hard to keep under her cap. “Might I accompany you? This isn’t the best path for sisters to travel alone, being outside of town.” His narrowing eyes questioned why she did not take the usual route between the Single Sisters’ House and the gunsmith’s.

“My parents might be more alarmed if I arrived in your company.”

“I don’t think so, Miss Vogler.”

The way his tone dropped sent tingles to her toes. And he called her “miss,” not the more proper “sister.”

He studied her reaction as if gauging whether she’d yet been told of his proposal. A dozen unasked questions jockeyed in her throat. Why did you ask to marry me? Was it only because twenty years ago, Father visited the Cherokees himself and convinced the congregation to set up a mission? So now you have some thum—stupididea that I should go as well? What about Daniel? Where is he, and did you know of his intentions toward me? Did you push him out of your way?

But these were not things a Moravian lady asked a bachelor, marriage proposal or no. These were things Clarissa must learn from others. She would give nothing away until she knew more. And she couldn’t check that tree until John was gone.

She clasped her hands together. “Such things are not done, Brother Kliest. But I thank you and bid you a good day.”

That smile danced around his lips again. He tipped his hat. “Until next time, Sister Vogler.”

Next time?

Biting her lip, Clarissa hurried past him, indignation sweeping her.

He was confident he would be accepted. Because he’d achieved status in the community? Because the nobility of his calling to be among the Pilger- und Streitersache—the church’s pilgrims and militants for Christ—would trump anything his younger brother offered?

As soon as John disappeared from sight, Clarissa crumpled on a fallen log. She loosened the strings of her bonnet in an attempt to calm her panicked breathing. She looked back at the witness tree. She already knew the knot would be empty.

The elders had agreed with John’s plans, and the lot had been consulted. It must have said yes, or the proposal would not have been made. And a proper lady never refused a positive answer from the lot, because even though she could do so, the lot represented the will of God.

 

About the Author:

Denise Weimer writes historical and contemporary romance and romantic suspense set in her home state of Georgia. She’s authored over nine novels (including her contemporary story, Fall Flip, new with Candlelight Romance in September 2019!) and a number of novellas. As a managing editor at Smitten Romance, Lighthouse Publishing of the Carolinas, she also helps others reach their publishing dreams. A wife and mother of two daughters, Denise always pauses for coffee, chocolate, and old houses.  Connect with Denise her  Website   Facebook    Twitter

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Tasty Tuesdays–Tina Griffith’s Tasty Carrots

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The season for fruits and vegetables to go into jars, cans, or the freezer, is almost upon us. This is what I do with fresh carrots. The method is easy and the carrots are tasty! I’m sure you’ll like them.

Tina’s Tasty Carrots

1 lb. carrots, scrapped and trimmed
2 gloves garlic, diced
8 tbsp. butter, cut into pieces
2 – 3 tbsp. dried cilantro*

Cut carrots in half if long and wash them under cool water. Drop them into a pot of water, cover, and bring the pot to a boil. Boil 5 minutes, this is called parboiling. Works great with all root vegetables.

Warm garlic, butter, and cilantro in a frying pan on medium heat. *I use cilantro because my husband is from Costa Rica, but you can use Italian or regular parsley if that’s better for you.

Add carrots. Allow them to simmer for a minute or two on each side, and then remove them to a cool dish. Be sure to scrape all the sauce over them.

After they are room temperature, I add them into medium-size freezer bags, making sure they lay flat. I also make sure to put two servings into each bag – one for my husband and one for me.

I want to stress the fact that the carrots need to lay flat when you put them into the freezer baggies. This helps them to get to the same temperature at the same time. Maybe it doesn’t matter to everyone, but I have OCD and it’s important for food safety.

The day you want to use the carrots, remove them from the plastic bag and place them into an ovenproof dish. Turn the oven on 350° F, and then prepare the rest of your meal. When dinner is ready to serve, so are your carrots.

About the Cook:

Tina Griffith, who also wrote twenty-seven children’s books as Tina Ruiz, was born in Germany, but her family moved to Canada when she was in grammar school.

After her husband of 25 years passed away, she wrote romance novels to keep the love inside her heart. Tina now has eleven romance novels on Amazon, and while all of them have undertones of a love story, they are different genres; murder, mystery, whimsical, witches, ghosts, suspense, adventure, and her sister’s scary biography.

Tina has worked in television and radio as well as being a professional clown at the Children’s Hospital. She lives in Calgary with her second husband who encourages her to write her passion be it high-quality children’s books or intriguing romance.

Stay connected with Tina (Griffith) Ruiz on her Facebook group Tina Speaks Out.

Musings from a Writer’s Brain with Gail Kittleson

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Using Real-life Experiences in Our Writing . . . Or Not!

by Gail Kittleson

Sometimes we can use our real-life experiences in our manuscripts. Often, something you’ve experienced fits right into your story—you know the emotional reactions by heart because you’ve lived them. But it would be a mistake to think that everything we go through in life qualifies as novel fodder.

My husband and I recently spent a week with our church youth group as they traveled to Arizona to work for Habitat for Humanity, help out at a food bank, and see some of the area’s sights.

What a great bunch of Iowa youth—they set out determined to maintain cheerful attitudes and make a difference in this needy world. Every time we’ve taken a youth group to do work like this, people are surprised at how much they accomplish and how fast they complete the jobs. Without fail, supervisors wish they’d prepared more for them to do. It’s ten a.m. of the first morning, and they’ve already finished a full day’s tasks.

This time, I was recovering from a stem cell procedure on my hip, so that limited my involvement. But I made myself available to play Scrabble or a card game in the evenings, and helped make sure the food supply remained adequate.

One evening, the array of healing supplements I was taking for my condition caught up with my gastrointestinal tract. After dinner, some of the adults were sitting around discussing the beautiful weather and the abundant wildlife all around us. A few elk appeared on the property, and the youth went out for a closer look.

That’s when the warning signs occurred. Unmistakable rumblings and gurgling. Yep, diarrhea had showed up. You know how sneaky it can be, and how quickly one needs to hurry to the closest bathroom.

Fortunately, it wasn’t far away, and I got there in time. Relief! But at the same time, concern overwhelmed me. How could I heal if I couldn’t handle taking the required supplements?

I uttered something like, “Good grief—I really need help!” After cleaning up the area, I headed back into the hallway.

Just then, two of our teenagers almost ran into me and asked, “Have you seen Mellie? We’re playing hide and seek and haven’t been able to find her for a long time.”

“No . . .”

Suddenly a teen careened from the small bathroom I’d just exited. She looked a little pale —a greenish cast to her skin. A little sick.

“Mellie? Where were you? We’ve been hunting all over.”

“In there,” she gasped. “I was hiding in the shower.”

“You’ve been in there this whole time?”

“Yeah, but somebody just came in and . . .”

Now I must have looked sick.

“Oh no!” I blurted. “I’m so sorry—it must smell just awful in there.”

One of the other girls took a whiff and confirmed the truth. Then she bent double with laughter and the other two girls joined her.

I hope Mellie isn’t traumatized for life.

We never know when life will surprise us, or how. At times like this, keeping our composure offers the greatest challenge of all. I wonder if Mellie and I will ever be able to look each other in the eye again without bursting into laughter.

I’ve also been trying to think how this scene might work for one of my characters someday, but so far, nothing has come to mind. When you’re dealing with life and death situations in wartime, a bout of diarrhea and a little embarrassment don’t even compare.

About the Author:

An Iowa “baby boomer,” Gail Kittleson became addicted to books at an early age and spent as much time in the town library as possible. After earning her M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language and some missionary work in North Africa, she instructed college writing and ESL courses. Years later, she penned a memoir. Soon after that publication, the fiction bug bit her HARD, so she writes World War women’s fiction and facilitates writing workshops and retreats. She and her husband, a retired Army Chaplain, enjoy gardening and grandchildren in northern Iowa, and the amazing Ponderosa forest under Arizona’s Mogollon Rim in winter.

Connect with Gail at http://www.gailkittleson.com/

www.facebook.com/GailKittlesonAuthor

http://amazon.com/author/gailkittleson

Until Then

by Gail Kittleson

March 3, 1943

Bethnal Green, London’s East End

Shortly after a quarter past eight, a siren split the air. Marian Williams lifted her sleeping daughter from her bed and darted down the stairs. Her mother and father-in-law, off on air warden duty, had left the front door unlocked.

She hugged her youngest child close. The blackout made the going difficult, but her husband’s instructions echoed in her brain: “Whatever you do, get down inside the station fast as you can.”

She hoped for a spot near the canteen, with access to milk. Uneven light shone over the paved steps. Then she tripped. Her knee hit the concrete, then something bashed her left side. Someone cried out. Another blow scraped her arm on the landing floor. Where was her baby? She attempted to get up, but an even heavier weight slammed her face down. A crushing burden descended, then all went black.

Riding in the backs of Army trucks across North Africa, throughout the Sicily campaign, up the boot of Italy, and northward through France into Germany, Dorothy Woebbeking served as a surgical nurse with the 11th Evacuation Hospital.

During World War II, US Army nurses worked and slept in tents through horrific weather, endured enemy fire, and even the disdain of their own superior officers, who believed women had no place in war. But Dorothy and her comrades persevered, and their skills and upbeat attitude made a huge difference in the lives of thousands of wounded soldiers.

Dorothy and Marian’s stories converge on a simple, hand stitched handkerchief.

My heroine and her real-life nurse buddies during the war.

 

A Writer’s Garden–Shakespeare in the Garden by Catherine Castle

Welcome to A Writer’s Garden where writers who are gardeners or just love gardens will be sharing their garden and flower stories, as well as a bit about their writing.

Today, I’m sharing Shakespeare in the Garden and some photos of the Disney World Shakespeare garden I saw a couple of years ago during their annual garden celebration. I’ll tell you how you can honor the bard in your garden should you be so inclined.

 

Shakespeare in the Garden

 

You may not be aware of this, but Shakespeare talked a lot about gardens in his plays. There isn’t a lot of historical information about Shakespeare outside of his life in London, but his references to so many garden plants leads us to believe that he knew a lot about plants. His detailed descriptions about the plants–from the way they smelled to their myths, meanings and special powers–are evident in the lines from his plays. It’s even believed that he may have taken poetic liberties with the climates where the plants grew and even created new plants much like he created new words.

Take a look at some of the flowery lines from Shakespeare’s plays and some pictures from Disney World’s Shakespeare Garden featured in 2013 Garden Show and you’ll see what I mean.

Rosemary

  • “There’s rosemary, that’s for remembrance, pray you, love, remember.” Spoken by Ophelia in Hamlet to remind her brother of their father’s murder. Rosemary was also placed in Juliet’s tomb, in the sad love story of Romeo and Juliet.
  • Roses
  • “What’s in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” Said in Romeo and Juliet by Juliet to Romeo when explaining that his family, not he, was her enemy.
  • “Of all the flowers, methinks the rose in best.” Said by Emilia in Two Noble Kinsmen.

Violets in the knot garden (lower center)

“I know a bank where the wild thyme blows, where oxlips and the nodding violet grows, quite over-canopied with luscious woodbine, with sweet musk roses and eglantine: There sleeps Titania sometime of the night, Lull’d in these flowers with dances and delight.” A Midsummer Night’s Dream

Marigolds

  • “Here’s flowers for you: Hot lavender, mints, savoury, marjoram; The marigold, that goes to bed with the sun And with him rises weeping: these are the flowers of middle summer, and I think they are given to men of middle age.” A Winter’s Tale.
  • “And there is pansies—that’s for thoughts.” Ophelia, in Hamlet.
  • In the Taming of the Shrew, Lucentio calls the pansy by another name, Love-in-idleness, which signifies love in vain and would have been known to Shakespeare’s audience. “But, see, while idly I stood looking on, I found the effect of Love-in-idleness.”

So what would you need if you wanted to make a Shakespeare garden?

Start with a bust of the bard. If you want to add a tree, consider a white mulberry. The playwright planted one in 1602 in his Stratford-upon-Avon Garden. Add the flowers and herbs mentioned above or choose from any of the flowers Shakespeare mentioned in his plays. You can reread his works or do an internet search. Shrubs played an important part in 16th century gardens of his day, so consider ringing your flowerbeds with a low growing shrub like that pictured in the first photo in the blog or add some on the perimeter of the garden.

For those of you who don’t want to explore Shakespeare, here are some herbs and flowers you can choose from that Shakespeare mention in his plays:

Herbs:

  • Rue
  • Fennel
  • Thyme
  • Savory
  • Marjoram
  • Mint
  • Lavender
  • Bay
  • Chamomile
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Rosemary

Flowers:

  • Roses- Essential since the bard mentioned this flower the most
  • Violets
  • Daises
  • Daffodils
  • Carnations
  • Primroses
  • Columbine
  • Buttercups
  • Irises
  • Pansies
  • Lilly
  • Marigolds

Shrubs and Trees:

  • Hawthorn
  • Hazel Nut
  • Gooseberry
  • Holly
  • Honeysuckle
  • Apple
  • Lemon

And if a few weeds creep in, don’t worry. Shakespeare mentioned them in his plays, too. Just follow his advice on what to do:

Dandelions in the phlox (in my garden)

“Now this is the spring, and weeds are shallow rooted. Suffer them now, and they’ll o’er grow the garden and choke the herbs for want of husbandry.” Queen Margaret Mary in Henry the Sixth, Part III.

 

About the Writer/Gardener:

Multi-award winning author Catherine Castle loves writing and flowers. You’ll find plants in many of her books. Her romantic comedy with a touch of drama A Groom for Mama features flowers in several scenes.

Before beginning her career as a romance writer she worked part-time as a freelance writer. She has over 600 articles and photographs to her credit, under her real name, in the Christian and secular market. She also lays claim to over 300 internet articles written on a variety of subjects and several hundred poems. In addition to writing she loves reading, traveling, singing, theatre, quilting and gardening. She’s a passionate gardener whose garden won a “Best Hillside Garden” award from the local gardening club. She writes sweet and inspirational romances. You can find her award-winning Soul Mate books The Nun and the Narc and A Groom for Mama, on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

Follow her on Twitter @AuthorCCastle, FB or her blog.

Flowers and gardens play a part in Catherine’s award-winning romantic comedy with a touch of drama A Groom for Mama. Take a peek at the blurb, then hop on over to Amazon for a sample read or just buy the book.

 

A Groom for Mama

By Catherine Castle

 

Beverly Walters is dying, and before she goes she has one wish—to find a groom for her daughter. To get the deed done, Mama enlists the dating service of Jack Somerset, Allison’s former boyfriend.

The last thing corporate-climbing Allison wants is a husband. Furious with Mama’s meddling, and a bit more interested in Jack than she wants to admit, Allison agrees to the scheme as long as Mama promises to search for a cure for her terminal illness.

A cross-country trip from Nevada to Ohio ensues, with a string of disastrous dates along the way, as the trio hunts for treatment and A Groom For Mama.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday Writers–Theresa’s Secret Legacy by Ray McGinley

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Today’s Wednesday Writers guest is Ray McGinley, author of the political suspense Theresa’s Secret Legacy. Ray has an excerpt and a giveaway today, so read on to find out more about this author and his book. Welcome Ray!

 

Greetings, readers. We’ve all seen casinos popping up, and now there are over 500 casinos operated by 200 different tribes. But in one particular case an Arizona tribe attempted to build a new casino far from their reservation, encroaching on the territory of other tribes. The political maelstrom which ensued became the back story of “Theresa’s Secret Legacy.” By the way, this part of the novel is true.

I’ve always thought that learning things about someone after their death has the makings of a good yarn. This became the second ingredient of the novel: a religious, charitable, salt of the earth family struggles to turn tragedy and a startling discovery into an opportunity for grace. As the mystery unfolds, I hope you might even find yourself identifying with members of the Brennan family.

Theresa’s Secret Legacy

by Ray McGinley

A knock on the door and Chris Brennan is informed by the police that his sister Theresa is dead. The police at the scene find alcohol and an antidepressant drug, and suicide is suspected. But why was she depressed? Theresa, a Catholic woman known for her charity work, was a successful court reporter working for a federal judge on a high profile case deliberating an Arizona Native American tribe’s right to build a new casino – even though legislation in place seemed to prohibit any new casinos. The high stakes casino venture has the ingredients of a fascinating tale of money and power: tribe versus tribe, Indian sovereignty versus states’ rights, and even Congress versus the White House. Chris travels to Phoenix to investigate Theresa’s death, and as he unravels Theresa’s secrets, he encounters the forces that influenced Theresa’s life. His life is threatened and he prays for God’s help as he seeks to leave an enduring legacy for his departed sister and strives to make a positive impact on a pregnant American Indian teenager. The novel was selected as a finalist in the Christian Writers of the West Rattlers contest.

Excerpt

“A personal representative is one kind of fiduciary—an individual whom another has trusted to manage her property and money.” [The Free Dictionary.com]

************

Not far from the federal court building where the late Theresa Brennan worked, a secret meeting was just beginning in a state government office building specifically chosen because it was presently unoccupied.

[After the business with the government officials was concluded,] the room was cleared and the lobbyist addressed the tribal members. “I have learned that a senior clerk in the Ninth Circuit is considering running for Congress and I have reason to believe that he is sympathetic to our cause. I know we’ve made donations to the incumbent members of Congress, but I propose we consider supporting his campaign. His name is Matthew Mellon and he is the senior clerk to Judge Eduardo Dominguez.”

“But Judge Dominguez is the one who’s been ruling in favor of the Tohonos, right?” asked one of the tribal members.

“Yes, so it might be helpful to have a friend on the inside.”

“How do you know he is with us?” someone asked.

“I would rather not answer that,” the lobbyist said.

“How large a campaign contribution do you propose?” asked the female representative from the Salt River tribes.

“Enough to put us at the top of his list,” replied the lobbyist. “I suggest you make it in cash, not check. And if you choose to report it, please do so incrementally so the amount does not attract attention.”

“Consider it done,” said the woman.

The lobbyist regarded her with a new-found respect, and he wondered about her position in the tribal hierarchy. He was curious to see the amount the tribes would contribute to the Mellon campaign. It would give him an idea of how much he might be paid if he could block the Tohono’s plan [for a new casino off their reservation]. If he can get enough money in the right hands, he thought to himself, he just might pull it off.

As everyone was leaving the lobbyist approached the woman.

“I feel I should know you,” he said, extending his hand.

She paused, then reluctantly offered her hand. The lobbyist studied her face and decided she would be beautiful if it were not for a crooked nose.

“My name is Winona Hawk. You can contact me if you need anything.”

“Do you have a way to deliver the money to our candidate, or do you need me to arrange it?”

“I can manage. My brother is adept at such things.”

“Winona, may I ask your position in the tribe?”

“It’s better for you not to know too much. You will be sent a message after the olive branch has been extended to the candidate. Further instructions will come later. Goodbye.”

Winona’s long hair swayed rhythmically as she walked away, but her femininity was diminished by the stomping of her boots on the wood floor.

Giveaway       

If you would like a free paperback or ebook version of “Theresa’s Secret Legacy” simply visit my website: https://authorray.com/ and select the tab for the Catherine Castle Blog Giveaway. I will select two winners for paperbacks and three winners for ebooks. Winners will be gravely announced by Halloween.

About the Author:

Ray McGinley is a retired electrical engineer having spent thirty-five years with Honeywell Aerospace where he received the prestigious Lifetime Achievement Award. He grew up in northeast Philadelphia, attended LaSalle High School, and received a BS degree from Drexel University. He holds several patents related to aircraft electrical power systems. Before relocating to Arizona in 1974, he was a member of the Big Brothers Association and was a company clerk in the US Army Reserve. He has been married to Kathleen (nee Flanagan) since 1972; they have six children and thirteen grandchildren. Two of his short stories have been published in Liguorian magazine.

Where can readers purchase my books?

Available in paperback or ebook at Amazon, BookLocker, or contact me by email: authormcginley@gmail.com

Where can readers find Ray online?

Ray’s website is https://authorray.com/

 

 

Tasty Tuesdays–Fast and Easy Fruit Pudding from Emma Lane

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Today Emma Lane visits Tasty Tuesday’s virtual kitchen with a quick fruit pudding that can be adjusted to the tastebuds of any fruit lover. Welcome, Emma!

Thanks, Catherine.

I love this recipe for its ease of variations on a theme. I think you will, too.

Fast and Easy Fruit Pudding

1 qt. fresh or canned fruit, drained
2½ tbsp. sugar or sweeten to taste
1 cup flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 egg, lightly beaten
½ cup milk
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 tsp. vanilla flavoring

Preheat oven to 400° F.

Place fruit in glass baking dish. Sweeten if preferred.

Combine flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.

Stir together egg, milk, oil, and vanilla in a small bowl. Add to flour mixture. Stir to mix only, do not beat.

Pour mixture over fruit. Bake 30 minutes.

Use your imagination and have fun to vary this Fruit Pudding such as:
Country Peach – add a ½ tsp. nutmeg to liquid mixture.
Spicy Apple – use 1 tsp. cinnamon or premixed apple spice mix.
Hawaiian Delight – combine pineapple, apricot, and banana to make one qt. fruit. Sprinkle lightly with coconut after baking. Top each serving with a maraschino cherry.

My latest Cozy Mystery is a novel that introduces you to Detective Kevin Fowler and the intriguing murders which infect this small town Americana. The series follows the detective, colleagues, friends, and lovers through a whirlwind of events, good and bad, over the next three novels. I hope you enjoy this peek.

A killer is attacking respectable citizens in picturesque Hubbard, NY, and leaving corpses on their front steps in the middle of the day. Detective Fowler isn’t certain who causes him to lose the most sleep, a certain sexy reporter with bouncing curls and sparkling black eyes, or the elusive psychopath creating panic in his small-town community. Together, the detective and the reporter race to find the monster in their midst and return the town to the desirable place where people come to raise their families in peace and contentment. Can they sort through their differences to find romance even as they search for a determined stalker with murder on his mind? The clock ticks down on a man in a rage with a deadly mission.

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Read more of the cozy mysteries by Janis Lane on Amazon

Janis Lane is the pen-name for gifted author Emma Lane who writes cozy mysteries as Janis, Regency as Emma, and spice as Sunny Lane.
She lives in Western New York where winter is snowy, spring arrives with rave reviews, summer days are long and velvet, and fall leaves are riotous in color. At long last she enjoys the perfect bow window for her desk where she is treated to a year-round panoramic view of nature. Her computer opens up a fourth fascinating window to the world. Her patient husband is always available to help with a plot twist and encourage Emma to never quit. Her day job is working with flowers at Herbtique and Plant Nursery, the nursery she and her son own.

Look for information about writing and plants on Emma’s new website. Leave a comment or a gardening question and put a smile on Emma’s face.

Stay connected to Emma on Facebook and Twitter. Be sure to check out the things that make Emma smile on Pinterest.

Musings From a Writer’s Brain–Life Can Be So Confusing by Anne Montgomery

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The older I get the more things confuse me.

I looked up again at the crane. “What if some of the screws are missing?” I felt an irrational desire to flee. “What if they didn’t put the parts back together correctly.”

Then, I got my car insurance bill. “Hey! How come I’m paying so much more? Did your bill go up too?”

“No.”

“Why not?”

“I’ll call Vickie and ask,” he said.

Ryan returned from his chat with our insurance lady. “You’re old.”

“Pardon me?” I raised both eyebrows.

“Vicky said your rates went up because you’re an older woman.”

“But I haven’t had a ticket in almost thirty years,” I sputtered. “And, in my life, I’ve had one fender bender.”

Ryan shrugged. “That’s what she said. You’re in an age group that causes more accidents.”

I looked into the issue and found that as people age their vision, cognitive abilities, and reflexes tend to dull. I also learned that old people increasingly die in car crashes because they’re “frail”. Frail! No one has ever accused me of being frail.

Eieee!

Then, I got a letter telling me that the high blood pressure drug I’ve been taking for years might … gosh … cause cancer. “But don’t stop taking it!” the message emphatically stated.

Wait!

You want me to keep taking a drug that could give me cancer?

Recently, I went to a high school football game. I arrived early, since I was serving as the referee. I had contacted the school ahead of time, as I always do, identifying myself and my crew mates and the time they could expect us to arrive. I was escorted to the officials dressing room where I faced a sign that was prominently displayed on the door. No Females Permitted in the Locker Room after 4:00 PM. No Exceptions.

I paused. It was 5 o’clock.

The older I get the more things confuse me. But one thing that isn’t confusing is my novel. I hope you’ll take a moment to peek into it.

Two Arizona teens find their fates intertwined. Are there any adults they can trust? Can they even trust each other?

Rose Madsen will do anything to keep from being married off to one of the men in her Fundamentalist Mormon (FLDS) community, even endure the continued beatings and abuse of her mother. But when her mentally handicapped baby sister is forced to strangle the bird she loves at the behest of the Prophet, Rose frees the bird and runs away.

Adan Reyes will do anything to escape the abusive foster care system in Phoenix, even leaving his good friends and successful high school athletic career behind him. Ill-prepared for surviving the desert, Adan hits the road only to suffer heat stroke. Found by a local handyman, he catches a glimpse of a mysterious girl—Rose—running through town, and follows her into the mountains where they are both tracked and discovered by the men of the FLDS community.

With their fates now intertwined, can Rose and Adan escape the systems locking them into lives of abuse? Will Rose be forced to marry the Prophet, a man her father’s age, and be one of dozens of wives, perpetually pregnant, with no hope for an education? Will Adan be returned to the foster home where bullying and cruelty are common? Is everyone they meet determined to keep them right where they belong or are some adults worthy of their trust?

BUY LINKS

 

Anne Montgomery has worked as a television sportscaster, newspaper and magazine writer, teacher, amateur baseball umpire, and high school football referee. She worked at WRBL‐TV in Columbus, Georgia, WROC‐TV in Rochester, New York, KTSP‐TV in Phoenix, Arizona, ESPN in Bristol, Connecticut, where she anchored the Emmy and ACE award‐winning SportsCenter, and ASPN-TV as the studio host for the NBA’s Phoenix Suns. Montgomery has been a freelance and staff writer for six publications, writing sports, features, movie reviews, and archeological pieces.

When she can, Anne indulges in her passions: rock collecting, scuba diving, football refereeing, and playing her guitar.

Learn more about Anne Montgomery on her website and Wikipedia. Stay connected on Facebook, Linkedin, and Twitter.

A Writer’s Garden–Seasonal Bloom Tips with Emma Lane

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Welcome to A Writer’s Garden where writers who are gardeners or just love gardens will be sharing their garden and flower stories, as well as a bit about their writing.

Today’s guest Emma Lane, who  is an expert on plants, how to use them in our gardens, and what to do when a season ends, is sharing a little of her expertise on seasonal blooms. Welcome back to the blog, Emma!

 

When I moved to Western New York (a very long time ago), I bought a wildflower book to learn all the native plants, names, uses, colors. Although I’m now into the study of cultivated varieties, I still love the free offerings of nature found under rotting logs, beside a burbling stream.

This small white daisy-like blossom makes an appearance with its jagged leaf wrapped around the stem like an over-sized coat. Only when the temps warm does the leaf open to expose its precious blossom. Horrible nickname of Blood Root, real name Sanguinaria, it’s listed as a medicinal plant. (I didn’t spot any vampires.). Some may be allergic to the red sap. Rumor has it listed as a historical favorite of Native Americans for paint. The pretty yellow one is Celandine, which sports bright yellow sap with the same uses as its neighbor. (Marsh marigold family.)

Tips:
Annual gardens (only lives once, but makes seeds) are best for intense splashes of color. Perennials (comes back yearly) are more interesting with different foliage textures. The blooms last only 6 weeks or so; plant varieties that show at different time of the summer, such as:

Spring: Daffodils, Bleeding Heart

Summer: Delphinimum, Rudbeckia, Asiatic Lilies, Crocosmia

Fall: Butterfly Bush, Mums, Hibiscus.

Don’t forget to throw in a sunflower seed or two for the birds.

Happy planting!
~Emma

About the Writer/Gardener

Janis Lane is the pen-name for gifted author Emma Lane who writes cozy mysteries as Janis, Regency as Emma, and spice as Sunny Lane.She lives in Western New York where winter is snowy, spring arrives with rave reviews, summer days are long and velvet, and fall leaves are riotous in color. At long last she enjoys the perfect bow window for her desk where she is treated to a year-round panoramic view of nature. Her computer opens up a fourth fascinating window to the world. Her patient husband is always available to help with a plot twist and encourage Emma to never quit. Her day job is working with flowers at Herbtique and Plant Nursery, the nursery she and her son own.Look for information about writing and plants on Emma’s new website. Leave a comment or a gardening question and put a smile on Emma’s face.

 

 

THE GLASS CAT is a sweet story about an elderly lady, her friend and neighbor, and a wicked nephew. There’s a romance brewing as well. It’s a shorty, but I think you’ll finish it with a smile on your face.

Read more about the cozy mysteries by Janis Lane on Amazon.

Wednesday Writers–The Second Son by Vonnie Hughes

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Today’s Wednesday Writer’s Guest is Australian author Vonnie Hughes. Vonnie will be giving us a peek at her Regency novel, The Second Son. Welcome, Vonnie!

Thanks, Catherine.

The Second Son sweeps you back to Britain into the early 1800s where life for the wealthy was filled with elegance and grand parties. But there is more to the era of great achievement both politically and in the fine arts. The rich attended soirees while the poor scrounged in any way possible for food. The Second Son touches on the reality of the era and its costs to the people.

What happens when a man achieves his secret wish at the expense of a brother he despises? How does he then live his life?

John Trewbridge is destined to spend his life in the British army. If he had been thinking clearly, he’d never have enlisted with the 71st regiment. But Serena ripped the heart out of him when she said that he was only a second son and therefore of no account. She was echoing the words of John’s older brother, Spencer, who has spent years crowing about his future plans for the marquessate he will inherit. Yet it is John who loves the Trewbridge estate and everything that goes with it. When he is sent home from Corunna, injured, he discovers that Serena is about to marry Spencer.

On a raw winter’s day John meets Marguerite Ninian. Crippled from birth she hides from the world and John, despairing and disillusioned, lashes out at her, telling her that instead of feeling sorry for herself and should pity the injured soldiers who had limbs amputated. Not an auspicious beginning.

But over time her humour and intelligence help John to understand that second is just a word, not a value judgment or a statement of mind. Cautiously John and Marguerite move toward a tentative friendship until Spencer implodes and smashes the Trewbridge family apart.

BLURB
Spencer’s arm was trapped beneath the phaeton. The pain must be excruciating. John tugged off his glove and held tight to Spencer’s free hand. “No, Spence. I envied you Trewbridge, not the title. Oh, and sometimes I envied your famous way with the ladies. But I didn’t want to be you.” He noticed he was talking in the past tense and reined himself in. How callous could he be?

“No. I’m too dull to enjoy racing around, trying to keep ahead of my conscience.” Spencer ignored the last comment. “Dull,” he rasped. “I told her that would singe your whiskers.”

“For a time it did,” John murmured. “But I’ve found someone who needs me and doesn’t think I’m dull. And I have an estate that will not give me sleepless nights like the responsibility of Trewbridge would.”

There was a long silence and John felt the world shrink down to just the two of them, in the dark, with the sounds of rescue far away. Then Spencer’s cracked voice whispered, “But you will have it all now, while I dance with demons.”

“I don’t think so. We’ll get you out of here. More men are coming. We will lift this damned phaeton off you and—”

“No!” Spencer’s voice rose again. “I do not want to be saved.” He gave a slight huff that might have been a laugh. “Never did.”

Want to read more? You can find The Second Son at:

 

About the Author:

Vonnie Hughes is a multi-published author in both Regency books and contemporary suspense. She loves the intricacies of the social rules of the Regency period and the far-ranging consequences of the Napoleonic Code. And with suspense she has free rein to explore forensic matters and the strong convolutions of the human mind. Like many writers, some days she hates the whole process, but somehow she just cannot let it go.

Vonnie was born in New Zealand, but she and her husband now live happily in Australia. If you visit Hamilton Gardens in New Zealand be sure to stroll through the Japanese Garden. These is a bronze plaque engraved with a haiku describing the peacefulness of that environment. The poem was written by Vonnie.

All of Vonnie’s books are available on The Wild Rose Press and Amazon.

Learn more about Vonnie Hughes on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and Goodreads.

Tasty Tuesdays–Lasagna from Sharon Ledwith

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FAMILY and FOOD

by Sharon Ledwith

The one theme I love to weave throughout my two book series is the importance of family. We hold each other tight when times are tough, and on the flip side we can tear each other apart during times of stress and worry. Food seems to be the source of comfort in all family matters.

Meals bring us together to celebrate, cry or support each other in so many ways. The characters in The Last Timekeepers young adult time travel adventure series were originally thrown together, despite their differences, and have had to learn how to act like a family by trusting and working with one another through each Timekeeper mission. In my Mysterious Tales from Fairy Falls teen psychic mystery series, the main characters change with each book, but the setting remains the same, I focused on the tribal matters of the town, and what’s best for the whole. Again, my characters must overcome differences and obstacles in order to keep Fairy Falls’ sense of community safe and intact.

I recently came across my father’s lasagna recipe, and a wave of emotions and memories rushed through me. I loved his meaty take on a popular Italian dish. My dad’s been gone for over thirty-five years, and I still miss him deeply, especially when our family gets together over holidays, events or Sunday dinners. So, I thought I’d share his special family recipe with you with the hopes of adding this mouth-watering pasta entree to your menu one day. Bon appetite!

Dad’s Mouth-Watering, Meaty Lasagna

 

1 lb. lean ground beef
½ lb. ground pork
1 can (28 oz.) whole tomatoes
1 can (12 oz.) tomato paste
2 tsps. garlic salt or powder
1½ tsps. oregano leaves
1 tsp. basil leaves
2 cups cottage cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 packages (4 ounces each) shredded mozzarella cheese
12 oz. lasagna noodles, cooked and well drained (we use precooked noodles)
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

In a Dutch over or large skillet, cook and stir meats until brown. Drain off fat. Add tomatoes; break up with fork. Stir in tomato paste, garlic, oregano and basil. Heat to boiling, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat, simmer uncovered 20 minutes or until mixture is consistency of spaghetti sauce.

Preheat oven to 350° F (175° C).

Stir together cottage cheese and Parmesan cheese. Set aside 1 cup meat sauce and ½ the mozzarella. In ungreased baking pan, 13 x 9 x 2 inches, alternate layers of ⅓ each noodles, remaining meat sauce, remaining mozzarella, and cottage cheese mixture.

Spread reserved meat sauce over top. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Scatter reserved mozzarella across lasagna.

Bake uncovered 45 minutes. Let stand 15 minutes before cutting. Cut into 3-inch squares.

Serves 8 of your hungriest family members or friends.

And there you have it! A feast fit for any family who loves getting together to share good food, and create happy memories. So, now that you’ve cooked to your heart’s content, and your belly is full, why not escape from the dishes and curl up with one of my books? May I suggest a visit to Fairy Falls or go back in time with The Last Timekeepers? Just remember to pack lightly.

The only witness left to testify against an unsolved crime in Fairy Falls isn’t a person…

City born and bred, Hart Stewart possesses the gift of psychometry—the psychic ability to discover facts about an event or person by touching inanimate objects associated with them. Since his mother’s death, seventeen-year-old Hart has endured homelessness, and has learned ways to keep his illiteracy under wraps. He eventually learns of a great-aunt living in Fairy Falls, and decides to leave the only life he’s ever known for an uncertain future.

Diana MacGregor lives in Fairy Falls. Her mother was a victim of a senseless murder. Only Diana’s unanswered questions and her grief keeps her going, until Hart finds her mother’s lost ring and becomes a witness to her murder.

Through Hart’s psychic power, Diana gains hope for justice. Their investigation leads them into the corrupt world threatening Fairy Falls. To secure the town’s future, Hart and Diana must join forces to uncover the shocking truth, or they risk losing the true essence of Fairy Falls forever.

 

Sharon Ledwith is the author of the middle-grade/YA time travel series, THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS, and the teen psychic mystery series, MYSTERIOUS TALES FROM FAIRY FALLS. When not writing, researching, or revising, she enjoys reading, exercising, anything arcane, and an occasional dram of scotch. Sharon lives a serene, yet busy life in a southern tourist region of Ontario, Canada, with her hubby, one spoiled yellow Labrador and a moody calico cat.

Learn more about Sharon Ledwith on her website and blog. Stay connected on Facebook and TwitterGoodreads, and Smashwords. Look up her Amazon Author page for a list of current books. Be sure to check out THE LAST TIMEKEEPERS TIME TRAVEL SERIES Facebook page.