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Friday, May 26, 2017

New Release: Against the Wall by Mara Jacobs

I am so happy to welcome my guest Mara Jacobs. I've known here for years. We both belong to the same writing chapter, Mid-Michigan RWA. She is such a talented writer, and I envy her promotion ability. She's sharing her new release with us today. I was so excited when I learned about this new entry in her Anna Dawson series that I pre-ordered the book and read it the same day. Of course, I didn't do anything else that day. LOL I asked Mara to tell us how this series about an addicted gambler came about.

Here's Mara Jacobs.


It’s kind of a funny story how this series came to be…the kernel of it all:

In 2007 I was with my family in Las Vegas cheering on my father as he played in a large World Poker Tour event. He was doing well, and returning each day to continue. As the event got closer to the Final Table, players dwindled, so you ended up seeing the same family and friends of the remaining players each day. My mother and I started sitting with a woman who was the mother of one of the few remaining female players. This player, let’s call her Anna, had come to Vegas a few months earlier right after she turned twenty-one. Her mother told us that Anna left a very prestigious university one semester shy of graduation to come to Vegas and try her hand as a pro poker player.

“How did you handle that?” I asked her mother.

“Not very well,” she replied.

Um, yeah, no. I would guess not.

I looked at the field of players and realized that more than half of them looked to be in their early twenties. Had they all left school early to roll the dice?

That night, once we got back to the apartment my parents were staying in, I started thinking about all the Annas. The buy-in for that tournament was $25,000. How did all those kids get the buy-in money to play? Did they play their way in? (Which is what my father did.) Was their college fund being wagered on the table?

And the biggest question I asked myself—Where are they all going to be in ten years?

And thus, Anna Dawson was born.

My family has been going to Las Vegas for many years, and once my parents retired, they’ve been spending their winters there. I’d visit them a couple of times a year and really fell for the place, so when I became a full-time writer I also became a “snowbird” spending the winters in Las Vegas and the summers in Michigan. It’s been a lot of fun continuing this series now that I live in Las Vegas half the year. Let’s just say I do a lot of “research” on sports betting – ha!

There is some poker in the books, but not a ton, so don’t think that if you don’t like poker you won’t like this series.

The main theme is the family of choice that Anna has surrounded herself with, and her own personal journey. And of course, being a mystery series, there’s a murder to solve.



Excerpt

My head ached as I woke up. Came to, more than woke up. Was that bourbon I drank last night? I didn’t think so. I couldn’t imagine drinking so much of that stuff that I’d get blackout drunk. What I could remember was beer. But I’d never felt like this after a beer-drinking night.
I moved slowly out of the bed, careful of the sleeping body next to me.
Jesus, what happened last night? It wasn’t entirely unexpected that I woke up next to him, but the way the evening had started last night, if I had to have guessed whom I’d wake up next to, my money would have been on the other horse in the race.
It wasn’t unusual for all of us to get a little out of hand, but this? I looked down at my naked body, expecting to see, what? Scars and blood?
But no, it was just my normal body, though it felt so alien to me. And the fact that I was naked was a bit of a surprise too.
I moved off the bed and grabbed his shirt, which was still on the floor. I’d been to his apartment before last night, but never here in the bedroom. The shirt let me know for sure whose bedroom I was in. After buttoning up the long-sleeved white cotton shirt, I gently padded into the bathroom and did my business, then used my finger and some toothpaste to brush my teeth. I spied some Listerine in his medicine cabinet and swished that around a few times, trying to clear my mind as I cleared the foulness from my mouth.
It didn’t work.
It was as if my thoughts were at the back of a foggy tunnel. I could see them, hovering, mocking me, but I couldn’t get to them. They were always slightly out of reach.
I splashed cold water on my face, and it helped a little, but I still couldn’t quite bring my brain into focus.
God, how did a drinker like Jack do mornings like this on the regular? And then get up and go catch murderers? At least when I binged on my particular vice, my head and body were just fine physically. I was just broke. Or in debt. Or paralyzed with shame. Okay, yeah, we all had our cross to bear.
He hadn’t moved from the bed when I left the bathroom. I walked across the room and grabbed my phone from on top of the chest of drawers by the small window. Almost noon? What the hell happened last night?
Not sure if he needed to be woken—I assumed he would have set an alarm if he had—I let him sleep on. Quiet and unmoving, I watched the back of his head, wondering if we hadn’t made a huge mistake last night. How would things play out now?
I took my time getting dressed, not trying to be quiet any longer. If I had to deal with this nightmare of a hangover, so could he.
I pulled back the curtains, letting in the midday Vegas sun. Mistake. I shielded my eyes before my retinas burned off, if that was even possible.
It felt possible. It felt like the sun could melt me where I stood. And like the Wicked Witch, I would shrink to the ground, leaving behind nothing but cargo pants, a Henley, and pockets full of discarded bet slips.
Not just in my pockets, but on the bedside table, too, apparently.
Holding my head in my hands as if it would fall off if I didn’t, I moved back to the bed and sat down on my side, not being careful about landing too softly, though I was more worried about my state of being than waking him up.
Like most people would look for a condom wrapper after a night they couldn’t remember—whether hopefully or regretfully—I was looking at the pile of bet slips that were scattered on the nightstand by where I’d slept.
What the hell had I done last night?
Apparently I’d thought that LeBron was going to have the game of his life if the amount of money—and the number of different bets—on the Cavaliers was any indication.
It was June, and the NBA was deep into playoffs, but I hadn’t bet on any of the games thus far.
Hell, I hadn’t even been following it other than how I’d happen to see it on the front page of the papers. I’d even avoided papers for the most part over the last couple of months.
Had any of these bets won?
Still holding my phone, I clicked on the ESPN app and went to the box score, as I gathered up all the slips and fingered through them. Game winner, over/under, prop bets…Jesus, I’d made over ten different bets on one game.
Then had gotten too drunk to even watch it?
Something wasn’t kosher, as Ben would say.
Mishegoss, Saul would say.
“Hey,” I said, bouncing a little on the bed, my back still to him as I matched up the different bets with the stats I was reading on the phone. “Wake up and tell me what the hell happened last night.”
Nothing from him. Dead to the world. Lucky bastard.
Winners. Every single one of them. I went an astounding ten for ten on bets in last night’s game. That had never happened to me before. Would never again. Simply unheard of.
Even the obscure bet of which team would score the most free throws was a winner.
But why would I have bet on something so stupid?
I very seldom made prop—proposition—bets. Oh, sometimes Lor and I would do the fun ones for big games together, like would a safety be scored in the Super Bowl, or something like that. They were just for fun. Fifty-dollar bets, max.
But the ones I held in my hand were for a shitload of money.
I couldn’t recall how I’d gotten the money to bet them all, but as of this morning I was getting it all back, plus another eighty-six thousand dollars in winnings.
Not bad for a night I couldn’t remember.
What was the saying about God watching over drunks and fools? Add in gambler, and I was the trifecta last night.
“Hey,” I said again, placing my phone on top of the now neatly stacked bet slips, setting them all on the nightstand. “I need to get going. Where did I leave my car?”
I didn’t drive to his place, did I? I wouldn’t be that stupid to drink and drive?
Ha! A glance at the bet slips assured me that my stupidity level was off the charts last night.
I left the bed once more and went to the window, the sun still stabbing into my eyes, but this time I looked down, to the parking lot below his apartment. My Porsche wasn’t there and I sighed in relief. So, not that stupid. I vaguely remembered getting an Uber at some point. From my house? That didn’t make sense. It’d be more likely that I’d gotten one from the Red Rock, where I’d placed the bets.
“I’ve really got to get going,” I said, more loudly this time. Still nothing.
Now I was starting to get pissed. If I had to deal with this massive hangover, he shouldn’t get to skate by and sleep it off.
I turned from the window, a little too quickly, because I had to place a hand on the wall to balance myself. Then the whole room started to spin and I sank to my knees, crawling around the bed to his side.
“What happened last night?” I asked, coming to believe that this was more than just a hangover. Something was seriously wrong with me.
Had I taken something last night without my knowledge?
Faces of college basketball players floated past me, spinning and laughing. Christ, had I been roofied?
“Seriously,” I said, shaking the bed now as I made my way up along his side. I batted at his hand that hung out from the underneath the sheets. “What the hell happened last night? The last I remember was meeting you at Distill.”
Batting at his hand again, I was surprised at how cold it felt. It was late June in Vegas, and though I could feel that the air conditioning was on in his apartment, it was still warm in his bedroom. And he was under the covers, too.
Slowly, I took his hand in mine. The word lifeless came to mind, and though my fuzzy brain was three steps behind, I knew that I meant the word in the literal sense.
Oh, God. Lifeless. Dead.
I pulled myself up to my knees, not wanting to, then pushing the sheet down to see his face. So handsome. I’d thought so since the first time I met him. I placed a hand on his cheek. So cold. His eyes were closed, and I sent up a silent prayer of thanks for that.
I knew it was too late, that he’d been gone for a while, but I pulled down the sheet to bare his chest, thinking I could do CPR while I called for an ambulance.
But once I peeled the sheet lower, I knew CPR would do no good.
There was a bullet hole right through his heart.

Buy Links:

Amazon:

KOBO

iBooks

Google Play

Nook


Against The Wall is the 4th book in the series. Against The Odds is the first in the series and is currently free at all ebook vendors.  Each book contains a mystery that is solved, but there are some ongoing threads throughout the series, so it’s probably best to read them in order.


Mara Jacobs is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Worth series.

After graduating from Michigan State University with a degree in advertising, Mara spent several years working at daily newspapers in advertising sales and production. This certainly prepared her for the world of deadlines!

She writes mysteries with romance, thrillers with romance, and romances with…well, you get it.

Forever a Yooper (someone who hails from Michigan's glorious Upper Peninsula), Mara now splits her time between the Copper Country, Las Vegas, and East Lansing, where she is better able to root on her beloved Spartans.

You can find out more about Mara’s books at  www.marajacobs.com

Mara loves to hear from readers. Contact her at  mara@marajacobs.com




Thursday, May 25, 2017

Blog Swap with Judy Ann Davis ~ New Release

I'm happy to welcome Judy Ann Davis to my site. Though we've never met in person, I've known her for over four years, ever since I joined Authors Helping Authors group. Judy is celebrating her new release, Four White Roses. First, let's get to know a little about her.

Welcome, Judy. Tell us about yourself.

I have a degree in Journalism and Communications and have written for industry and education. I began my career in writing as a copy and continuity writer for radio and television in Scranton, Pennsylvania. I’ve written everything from technical grants and curricula to commercials, public relations and news articles.

Over a dozen of my short stories have appeared in various literary and small magazines and anthologies, and I’ve been fortunate to receive numerous awards. To date, I’ve written four novels, one novella, and an anthology of short stories which I’m currently editing for reprint.

I love to garden, golf, and read. But best of all, I’m on the lookout for anything humorous to make me laugh. Most of my novels include a little comedy. I’m a true romantic who enjoys laughter, love, and the happily-ever-after moment. 

I belong to Pennwriters, Inc. and Romance Writers of America, and I divide my time between Central Pennsylvania and New Smyrna Beach, Florida.

We have some interests in common, Judy. Reading and gardening, and I ove humor and a good HEA. Now, where can readers find you?

Facebook: Judy Ann Davis Author https://www.facebook.com/JudyAnnDavisAuthor/
Twitter: JudyAnnDavis4   https://twitter.com/JudyAnnDavis4
Author Page:
Goodreads:

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

My second grade teacher had our class collectively journal on a blackboard in our room every day. We would take turns telling Mrs. Robbins what we did the night before, what the weather was like, etc., and she write it into a comprehensive entry. She also read to us at the end of the day before we boarded our buses. I was enthralled by the “Boxcar Children.” She hooked me on reading and a love for the written word.

What a great teacher. Next question: how long does it take to write a book?

It takes me over a year to get a book written. I’m a slow writer, but I’m also a gardener, woodworker, and golfer—I prone to slip away from pounding the keys more than I probably should.

With spring finally here, I'll bet your garden is glorious. What do you enjoy most about life?

My two sons are grown and living in Texas and Alaska. My husband and I, besides dividing ourselves between Pennsylvania and Florida, travel to be with family. We’ve been able to see many places in the United States and meet many interesting people.

If you could give the younger version of yourself advice, what would it be?

Don’t let anyone dissuade you from writing. I didn’t attempt to write a novel for ten years when I received some bad advice from an agent, even though I was writing and selling short stories. I learned that every piece of advice, isn’t always “sound” advice. Evaluate all of it carefully.

That's great advice. How sad that you received such bad advice. What do you hope readers take with them after reading your work?

The only thing I want readers to get is a sense of well-being, and perhaps a few laughs. I want them to realize there is love in the world despite the chaos that often exists around us.

Tell us about your latest release.




TAGLINE: Can one wily old ghost help two fractured souls find love again?

Four White Roses is a romantic mystery with comedy—and a wily old ghost who adds a paranormal element. The main character, widower Rich Redman, returns from Dallas, Texas, to Pennsylvania never once envisioning that his Grandmother’s ghost would still be dwelling in her house. Although he can’t see her, she periodically appears on a rocker on the back porch and makes it move. Along with his quirky old housekeeper who tries to keep him and his precocious eight-year-old daughter in line, the ghost of Grandmother Gertie prods him toward solving a mystery and falling in love with a very beautiful and talented landscape artist, Torrie Larson, also widowed. Torrie has a daughter as well, and together the little girls are double trouble, creating havoc along the way as they try to tame an elusive white cat. It’s a feel-good story with tears and laughter.

BLURB:

When widower Rich Redman returns to Pennsylvania with his young daughter to sell his deceased grandmother’s house, he discovers Grandmother Gertie’s final request was for him to find a missing relative and a stash of WWI jewels.

Torrie Larson, single mom, is trying to make her landscape center and flower arranging business succeed while attempting to save the lineage of a rare white rose brought from Austria in the 1900s.

Together, the rich Texas lawyer and poor landscape owner team up to rescue the last rose and fulfill a dead woman’s wishes. But in their search to discover answers to the mysteries plaguing them, will Rich and Torrie also discover love in each other’s arms? Or will a meddling ghost, a pompous banker, and an elusive stray cat get in their way?

EXCERPT:

“You know I begged your mother not to make me send you back to Texas after each summer you spent here with me,” a voice said from the rocking chair behind him. “Your mother was adamant it would never happen. If your father hadn’t insisted you come here each summer, Joyce would have packed you up and sent you to some dude ranch or camp for rich kids instead. Luckily, once the divorce proceeding got underway, she was outvoted; and when high school rolled around, I finally got you for good—along with your stubborn Redman attitude.”
Rich flinched and the hair at the back of his neck felt like bugs were crawling up it. “You know, Grandmother, you really have to give me some sort of signal when you want to start a chat with me. Popping up unannounced scares the hair right off my head. Don’t they give specters some sort of warning bell to use?”
“Ding dong! Listen up, Richard Lee Junior. You think it’s fun to fade in and out of your life like I’m a fuzzy radio signal?” The rocking chair began to move. “I see you and Torrie resolved your little differences.”
Rich refused to take the bait. He wasn’t going to talk about Torrie Larson with anyone. He needed time to figure her out. “What do you know about Great Uncle Walt?”
“He went to New York to seek his fortune. He didn’t keep in touch with the family.” Grandmother Gertie’s ghost snorted derisively.
“That’s it?”
“That’s it.” The rocker creaked. “I see you’re contemplating refinishing the floor in the living room and having the room repapered. Have Torrie help you pick out new furniture, or get those wingback chairs reupholstered. I’d stick with a gold color.”
Rich’s voice rose an octave. “You’re serious? You’re dead and you’re worried about the color of upholstery I’m going to be sitting on?”
“Phfftt. There you go, Richard Lee, being impertinent again.”
  







Monday, May 22, 2017

Idea - What To Do With Them

A question authors are often asked is “where do you get your ideas?” Most of us say things like: a magazine/newspaper article, a TV report, an overheard conversation. The truth is most of us don’t know where ideas come from.

Ideas for stories pop in our heads. They could pop into anyone’s head. What if . . .  Writers do something with the idea. Unfortunately, for me, the new idea usually comes when I’m at a difficult spot in my current work-in-progress. It’s so tempting to stop that project because the new idea is exciting, fresh. My normal procedure is to open a new document, jot down the idea, save it then go back to the WIP. Hard. But perseverance is essential. A writer never gets to be a published author without a finished product.

Meantime, I let that new idea percolate. I’ll think about it during that twilight time between awake and asleep. Morning or night. Mornings when it’s not time to wake up, I’ll lie in bed and think about the idea. Nights when I can’t go to sleep, I’ll recall the idea and explore options. What’s happening? Where? Why? The last is the most important. But it’s a good start.

I know writers who keep a pad of paper and a pen on their nightstands to jot down those ideas that come during the night lest they forget. Usually, I’m too tired to do that.

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned the Mama Mallard nesting under my living room window. I finally got a picture of all the eggs.



The idea to include that bit of trivia into this post was deliberate, not just an update. Mama sits on that nest all day and all night. She does leave the nest twice a day to get food and water. But her main occupation is keeping those eggs warm until they hatch. That’s much like my notion of letting a story percolate. I imagine this is a quiet time for Mama Mallard. When those ducklings hatch, she’s going to be very busy. Much like a writer when the idea is ready to be a story.

Brainstorming is a good next step. Brainstorming with someone else is more fun, but sometimes you have to brainstorm with yourself. Linear writers, like me, make lists. Some writers use paper and pen for a diagram where they write the idea in the middle of the page then arrows to all kinds of possible consequences, like what could possibly go wrong? Something has to go wrong, otherwise the story would be boring.

An exercise agent/author Donald Maas uses in his workshop is having the audience start off with that question. What could go wrong? He waits while we write. Then he’ll ask what’s worse than that? Again, he waits while we wrack our brains. Then he tells us to make it even worse. Talk about stretching the imagination. It’s similar to the advice telling us to chase our characters up a tree then throw rocks at them.

This type of exercise works especially well for a writer who plots first. That’s never been my method. I do plot a little but not at first. I plunge into the story, writing until I hit a wall. The what-happens-next wall. Then I employ all the above techniques. There’s no right or wrong method. It’s what works for the writer.

Currently, I have two works-in-progress. Actually, I probably have five or six projects. Some are still in the what-if stage, like eggs in a nest. Others are further along. But two WIPs are my focus right now. As you can see from my progress icon (on the right side of the blog), I’m not very far along with The Spy, a sci-fi romance. It makes sense to finish the novella, Jailbirds and Wedding Bells (temp title), because percentage-wise I’m further along.

But The Spy keeps calling me.





Sunday, May 21, 2017

#WeWriWa - The Protector: Where Are the Girls? #sfr


Welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors, the weekly hop for everyone who loves to read and write! Writers share an 8 to10 sentence snippet. Be sure to visit the other writers. You can find them here.

This week's snippet is from my sci-fi romance, The Protector (An Outer Rim Novel)Last week, as Rissa is helping the two girls out the spaceport restroom window, a man yells, 
“Hey, open up.”

As always, apologies for the creative punctuation, which was done to keep within the sentence limit. 

“Gimme a min,” Rissa yelled back.
“I promise to come for you,” she whispered to the girls, hoping they would wait for her outside the spaceport.
As she walked out of the san-fac, a mech glared at her saying, “Whadda mean by locking the door?”
“Didn’t want you walking in on me,” she said then glanced over at a commotion near the freighter where she’d delivered the supplies, “What’s going on?”
The Chellian pilot was yelling and his two crewmen were darting between ships, searching.
“Damn offworlder,” the mech said as he brushed past her into the san-fac.
"You!" The pilot stormed up to Rissa, yelling, “What did you do with them, where are those two girls?”
Rissa affected a confused expression and said, “What girls?”
“My cargo, I mean passengers—damn you to Lexol’s Fire, how did you get them out?”



Who knew rescuing two girls from traffickers would bring down a world of hurt?

After tavern owner Rissa Dix rescues two girls from a slave ship, she must rally the townsfolk to prevent traffickers from returning. Mining heir Dillan Rusteran has loved her for years. Little do they know that by rescuing more children they're tangling with a galactic trafficking ring.

Amazon ~ Kobo ~ Smashwords ~ B&N ~ iTunes




Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Cover Reveal - #MarkedBeauty by S.A. Larsen


MARKED BEAUTY by S.A. Larsen, Digital Cover Reveal Information
Title: Marked Beauty
Author: S.A. Larsen
Publisher: Ellysian Press
Release Date: October 2017

Uncovering hidden secrets can sometimes kill you . . . or worse, steal your soul.
Anastasia Tate has a secret. She can feel the emotions of others through their life energy auras. Not a welcome gift for a teenager. Especially when a sinister presence begins stalking her.
Viktor Castle also has a secret. He’s tasked with protecting humanity yet cursed by an ancient evil to destroy it.

After Viktor saves Ana’s life, her abilities grow stronger. Drawn together, she senses Viktor has answers to lifelong questions. Only he shuns her at every turn, knowing he has saved her only to put her in more danger.
As Ana struggles with her attraction to Viktor, he tries everything to bury his unexpected feelings for her. But they must find a middle ground. For only together can they combat the dark forces threatening both their lives . . . and their souls.

About the Author
S.A. LARSEN is the author of the award-winning novel Motley Education, the first book in a fantasy-adventure series for middle grade readers. Her work has appeared in numerous local publications and young adult anthologies Gears of Brass and Under A Brass Moon by Curiosity Quills Press. Marked Beauty is her debut young adult novel. Find her in the land of snowy winters and the occasional Eh’ya with her husband of over twenty-five years, four children, a playful pooch, and three kittens. Visit her cyber home anytime at www.salarsenbooks.com.

Connect with her on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Blog | Goodreads


Giveaway

This is a #hashtag giveaway, where two lucky winners will receive a FREE eBook of Marked Beauty upon its release.

To participate:
  • Share one of the premade images via Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. Or write up a blog post using one of the images.
  • Include #MarkedBeauty in your description.
  • Optional for extra entry: include Add to Goodreads (with link) in your description.
***Posts MUST contain the hashtag #MarkedBeauty for entry into the giveaway or we won’t be able to find you.

Pre-made tweets (you add the image)
"A lust 4 life energy. An ancient curse. One soul's journey thru death 2 find the cure." #MarkedBeauty #CoverReveal http://bit.ly/2qdE0q0

"Uncovering some secrets can kill you, or worse ... steal your soul." #MarkedBeauty #CoverReveal http://bit.ly/2qdE0q0 #YAlit

An ancient race. A timid girl. And a journey to the in-between. #MarkedBeauty #CoverReveal http://bit.ly/2qdE0q0 #YAlit

The giveaway begins May 17th and will be open until May 23rd. Winners will be announced May 24th via social media.


Saturday, May 13, 2017

#WeWriWa - The Protector: Trouble


Happy Mother's Day and welcome to Weekend Writing Warriors, the weekly hop for everyone who loves to read and write! Writers share an 8 to10 sentence snippet. Be sure to visit the other writers. You can find them here.

This week's snippet is from my sci-fi romance, The Protector (An Outer Rim Novel)Last week, after Rissa discovered two girls in the spaceport restroom, she realizes they're hiding from traffickers.


Apologies for the creative punctuation, which was done to keep within the sentence limit. 


Her lungs seized, her heart hurt so badly Rissa clutched her chest. Be strong, she told herself, pull yourself together. No traffickers had ever come to Astron Colony before—or even to Galeriana—she had to help the girls get away.
When Rissa glanced at the window on the far wall, the smaller girl sobbed, “We couldn’t open it, we were trying when you came in—we thought you were them.”
Since Rissa was taller, she could easily reach the window, so with a shove, she got it open. “Come,” she said to the tall girl, “you first, so you can catch your friend—she’s too small to catch you.”
She cupped her hands for the girl’s foot. “Hide outside, I’ll come around and take you somewhere safe.” At the girls’ wary looks, she added, “I promise, now go before someone comes looking for us.”
The door rattled and a male yelled, “Hey, open up.”

Who knew rescuing two girls from traffickers would bring down a world of hurt?

After tavern owner Rissa Dix rescues two girls from a slave ship, she must rally the townsfolk to prevent traffickers from returning. Mining heir Dillan Rusteran has loved her for years. Little do they know that by rescuing more children they're tangling with a galactic trafficking ring.

Amazon ~ Kobo ~ Smashwords ~ B&N ~ iTunes





Monday, May 8, 2017

New Life

Spring brings many signs of new life. Green grass, tulips and daffodils, yellow forsythia, and redbud trees in bloom. On Saturday, I found something new. A nest under a rhododendron. The fact that I could see it out my living room window made it more interesting. Amazingly, the nest held about fifteen eggs and Mama Mallard stood nearby. Did I take a picture then? Of course not. Talk about a missed opportunity. When I did grab my phone (my nearest camera), Mama had settled on top of her eggs. If you look carefully, you can see her tail feathers.


Four years ago, when we finally choose a location for our new home, I was slightly disappointed that we didn't back to trees. (That lot was in a flood zone.) Instead we chose the lot that backed to a pond (along with twenty-two other lots). We have enjoyed the inhabitants of that pond--the ducks, especially. We could do without the geese (who decorate our lawn with green deposits) and the muskrat whose hole in our lawn could be a leg-breaking hazard.

But the ducks are entertaining. They return each spring, build nests, and have their babies. Several of the neighbors (and Hubs) toss bread to them, making them so tame they come right up to the house as soon as they hear the slider opening. 

This spring is the first time we've found a nest on our property. Right next to our house! (This is the rhododendron. I can't see her in the above picture.) I keep hoping to catch Mama off the nest so I can take that picture. According to my resident researcher, the gestation period is 24 to 29 days. We have no idea when she laid the eggs. As you can see from the picture, she's well camouflaged. And she doesn't move, even when Hubs goes out the front door to get the newspaper or when I went out to take a picture. Apparently, she will leave the nest to get food and drink. Perhaps when the area warms up near our supper time. As I write this, the nest is in the shade, so she's busy keeping those eggs warm.

Mamas are like that, aren't they? We keep our babies warm, give them what they need, and above all protect them. In my newest cozy mystery, The Case of the Meddling Mama, Nick's mother has returned home to Michigan from Arizona where she and his dad retired. Leaving her husband of almost forty years had to be a difficult decision. But what's a woman to do when her spouse doesn't listen to her?

I'll keep my eye on Mama Mallard and take pictures when she leaves the nest. Can't wait for the grandkiddies to see this.

How is spring where you live?