Spicy or Sweet?

I have two books on the market—now, that’s a phrase I thought I’d never type. I must admit, it feels pretty good. And with summer upon us, everyone needs at least one of them to read. Both would be better, right?

One is a romance set primarily in the Texas panhandle where I was born and raised. As I was writing The Cowboy and the Executive I fell in love with my male protagonist. Barton Young is good looking, he can sing, and he likes to dance. What more could a girl want? But does D’Aun Gilman dare fall for him when doing so might cost her the job she loves? This tale is definitely on the spicy side.

Available on Amazon and Kindle

My first novel, Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort, follows the adventures of newly widowed, Paula Jean Arnett, and her best friend, Cassie Campbell, as they attempt to get to the bottom of why Paula’s husband bought a rundown fishing resort in East Texas from a mysterious woman who might have been more than a business partner. Part cozy mystery, part road trip, Mayhem is a lot of fun, and definitely sweet.

Coincidentally also available on Amazon and Kindle.

So, take your pick. Or make me really happy and pick both. Now excuse me, I’m going to go drool over Barton—just don’t tell my husband, Studly Doright.

Peace, people!

Flat Day

Tuesday didn’t start out being flat. I woke up early, fed and played with the cat, then went straight to working on Wedding at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort. I’d had a couple of ideas during the night and wanted to get them down before I forgot them.

Once I’d made the additions/changes, I did my 20 minute funky disco dance exercise routine and then took a shower. I had an appointment with a tarot card reader—research for a scene in Wedding, but not until 2 p.m.

I had a lovely lunch at Sweet Pea Cafe in Tallahassee where a young woman, waiting for her name to be called, stepped into the shade of the trees and danced like a fairy princess, totally oblivious to those of us watching.

After lunch it was still too early to drive to my tarot reading, so I went to a consignment shop and wandered about for an hour. When I left there I hadn’t driven but a mile when my car flashed a warning that one of my tires was low. Dangerously low. I pulled into a service station and with the help of a nice man aired it up. There was just one problem—I could see the bolt that I must have run over. It was huge and I knew the tire wouldn’t hold air long.

Now I had a decision to make: Keep the appointment or go directly to a tire shop and have my tire fixed. I called Studly Doright for advice.

“Fix the tire.”

Alrighty then.

The tire pressure dropped two pounds as I was talking to him. I googled the nearest tire shop—three miles away. Slowly I made my way to Mavis Tires. By the time I arrived I was down to twenty-two pounds in the wounded tire.

Mavis Tires took care of me. I was a damsel in distress and they were my knights in shining armor. They patched my tire while I chatted with others in their clean waiting room. I sold at least one copy of Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort while we waited.

Mavis fixed my tire and didn’t charge me a penny, so my tire might’ve been flat, but the day ended well. Except I still need to have my cards read. Maybe tomorrow will be fluffy instead of flat,

Peace, people!

Mother’s Day Gifts

I arrived home from my whirlwind trip to Bartlesville, Oklahoma, late on Sunday. Studly Doright had cooked dinner for me in honor of Mother’s Day and then after dinner brought out the gifts my children sent me.

My favorite gifts by far were the framed senior pictures of my grandson, Garrett, and my granddaughter, Dominique. It’s hard to believe they’ll be graduating from their respective high schools in just a few weeks, and starting college in the fall, but the pictures can be used as evidence.

Where did the time go?

Peace, people!

Sunday, Sunday

There was a time in my life when Sunday evenings were fraught with angst. The weekend so close to ending. A new school week or work week impending. Now, as a self-employed writer I have more ambiguous feelings about a Sunday evening. The angst is gone because my time belongs to me.

I write all through the week, taking breaks when I feel the need, and I often forget what day it is. If Studly Doright weren’t still employed full time I’d likely forget the days altogether.

Speaking of Studly Doright, he still has the Sunday evening angst. Two more years and he too can forget what day it is.

Where are you on the continuum? Still dreading Monday morning or blissfully unaware? The Mamas & The Papas had some thoughts on that.

https://youtu.be/h81Ojd3d2rY

Peace, people!

Nancy Drew Rides Again

My sequel to my debut novel, Mayhem at the Happy Valley Motor Inn and Resort, is coming along nicely. I’m about 65,000 words in and the penultimate scene is staring me right in the face. I went to bed last night feeling pretty good about my efforts. Then around two a.m. I woke up thinking, It all feels a little Nancy Drewish at best or a grown up version of The Little Rascals at worst.

Somehow I managed to go back to sleep hoping my subconscious mind could find a solution. When Studly kissed me before he left for work around 5:30 I told him my early morning thoughts.

“Easy fix,” he said. “More cleavage. Cleavage in every scene.”

I laughed and laughed.

Later, at my typewriter: Paula leaned over the counter, treating Mark to a view of her well-defined cleavage. In his mind’s eye he replayed all the cleavage he’d ever been privileged to see. “In all my years I’ve never encountered cleavage as perfect as yours, Paula.”

Bolstered by his compliment, Paula exposed even more of her bosom. “Thank you. I do special cleavage-enhancing exercises.”

Mark smiled. “I apologize for ever confusing you with Nancy Drew. Her cleavage is nothing compared to yours.”

Paula winked. “I know. I sabotaged her efforts to have nice cleavage in the book, Nancy Drew and the Mystery of the Missing Cleavage.

Of course I promptly deleted all that.

Today I shall attempt to fix my work in progress with little to no mention of cleavage.

Peace, people!

To Beach or Not to Beach

It’s early Sunday morning on what promises to be a beautiful day in the Florida panhandle. Studly is on his way to the golf course, and I’m considering a trip to St. George Island. I just can’t make up my mind.

Pros: Sun, sand, waves, pelicans, beautiful views

Cons: Driving distance (about an hour and 45 minutes each way), potential for sunburn (going solo, there’s no one to apply suntan lotion to my delicate, lily-white skin)

I’ll ruminate in the shower and then flip a coin until I get the answer I want. Don’t laugh; it’s a tried and true method.

Peace, people!

As the Worm Turns

Last evening Studly Doright, my husband of 44.5 years, found a YouTube video about extraordinarily large animals. The video seemed dated—like something one might’ve watched on an old projector on a snow day in elementary school, but I couldn’t persuade Studly to find another program.

There were some interesting segments in the video. For example, a Great Dane named Zeus who, when standing on his hind legs, measured 7 feet, 4 inches tall.

Zeus died in 2014 at the age of five. 😢

And a longhorn named Poncho Vila (their spelling, not mine), who boasted the widest horn spread of any living steer.

But those animals didn’t haunt my dreams. These did:

That’s a worm!

South African earthworms can grow up to 22 feet long, with an average length of six feet. I woke up in a cold sweat this morning with the words, “The worm has turned” lingering in my mind. Eww!

Of course that made me curious about the origin of the phrase. I turned to Wikipedia for an answer— “Even a worm will turn” is an expression used to convey the message that even the meekest or most docile of creatures will retaliate or seek revenge if pushed too far. The phrase was first recorded in a 1546 collection of proverbs by John Heywood, in the form “Treade a worme on the tayle, and it must turne agayne.” Wikipedia

Well that was reassuring. Note to self: Treade not upon a worme’s tayle.

Tonight before bedtime I’m going to suggest a nice documentary about how bread is made or scenes depicting paint drying on a garden wall. Just no more giant worms, please.

Peace, people!

Of Course I Know What I’m Doing

Sunday evening Studly Doright and I decided to go out for dinner at our favorite Asian restaurant in Tallahassee. The place was really busy, but they were still maintaining social distancing protocol. We had a nice meal and didn’t linger since others were waiting for a table.

We walked out of the restaurant and I hesitated on the sidewalk because the driver of a pickup truck was maneuvering to back into a spot adjacent to the path we needed to take to get to our own vehicle.

Studly said, “Why’d you stop?

Me: Because there’s no curb and I don’t want him to back over me.

Studly praised me. You see he’s always saying I have awareness issues. “Maybe you’re learning something after all these years.”

The pickup came to a complete stop and Studly and I continued on to our Lincoln SUV. Well, Studly did. I tried to get into a similarly colored Chevy van. So much for conquering my awareness issues. Sheesh.

Peace, people.

Shades of Easter Past

There was a time many years ago when Studly Doright and I found ourselves in dire financial straits. He’d been laid off from his job at a natural gas plant, and the small business we’d sunk all of his severance pay into wasn’t making enough money to support our little family.

We held things together, barely, thanks to Studly’s ability to juggle our finances, but there was never money for extras. And, heaven forbid that one of us get sick. Thank goodness we were all healthy and that Studly had the ability to handle just about any emergency.

One Easter things were particularly tough. The kids needed Easter clothes and there was no money for that. A local kids’ clothing shop had a drawing and I, who have never won a darned thing in my life, entered and then forgot all about it.

Lo and behold, I won that contest. I can’t remember the details, but the amount of the prize was exactly enough to buy two outfits, one for each of our kids. Looking back, I’m almost certain that one of the owners of the shop made sure that I won.

Weren’t they cute? I’m not sure whose backyard we were in, though.

Times are a great deal easier for us now, but that Easter holds a special place in my heart, thanks to the angel that made it possible.

Peace, people.

The Lizard Among Us

Studly Doright was puttering around in the kitchen this evening when I heard him shriek. Studly’s shrieks are so cute.

The little guy above jumped out from behind my fruit basket and onto the counter where Studly was assembling our baked potatoes. Since I’m the resident critter wrangler, I attempted to corral the lizard so I could take him outside, but the little guy thought I meant him harm, so he made a run for it and disappeared into the cabinet.

I might never open a cabinet door again. I’m not sure my heart could stand the surprise.

Peace, people!