Welcome.

Glad you stopped by. I hope you'll stop by again for Monday Morning Musings, Meet the Author Thursday, Who's For Dinner Fridays, and Saturday Sampler.

Monday, October 31, 2016

Halloween, Baseball, and Politics

It’s the end of October. I have a hard time believing how quickly 2016 is passing. Actually, the next week can’t pass quickly enough. Don’t know about you, but I am so sick of the political ads. I was sick of them months ago. We, in the U.S., should copy the Canadians. Six weeks of campaigning, and they’re done. Election time. All those millions of dollars spent on campaigning could be used to pay down the national debt. Next Tuesday can’t come soon enough. 


Remember to vote. If you don't, you can't complain about the outcome.


How about those Cubs! If my Detroit Tigers or Mom’s St. Louis Cardinals can’t be in the World Series, then the Cubbies are my choice. We lived in Chicago for two and half years, so I can claim them. Last night’s game, #5, had me on the edge of my seat. Some people say watching baseball on TV is as exciting as watching paint dry. I say they’ve never watched a cliffhanger like last night’s game. Go, Cubs, go!




Halloween is such a fun holiday. Kids in costumes is my favorite part. I wonder how many Reys or Kylo Rens we’ll see this year.













I’ve always thought my sister was a little nuts for buying clothes for her dog. But the costumes people put on their dogs for Halloween make me laugh.




Here in West Michigan, the weather will be great for Trick or Treating. A little chilly but no rain. Yay! Hubs and I will sit out in our driveway with a huge bowl of candy guaranteed to rot kids’ teeth. LOL When my kids were young, Trick or Treating went on most of the evening. I love living in small towns where it’s limited to from 6 to 8 pm. We can turn out our porch lights at 8 and enjoy the rest of the evening. Inside.


Have fun tonight, but please watch out for the kiddies. They won’t be watching out for you.



Saturday, October 29, 2016

#8Sunday - WeWriWa - THE PILOT


Welcome to Weekend Writing Warrior and 8 Sentence Sunday time, the weekly hop for everyone who loves to write! Writers share an 8 to12 sentence snippet. Be sure to visit the other writers. You can find them here.

Sorry about missing last week. My blogsite was all messed up. My fault, although I didn’t figure out what I’d done until Monday.

We’re still in THE PILOT, first book in my Outer Rim series about strong women on the frontier of space. It's on sale for 99 cents through the end of October. 

The day after Trevarr confiscates her ship and cargo, Celara is in a tavern where she gets a surprise.

Celara pushed her chair away from the table, climbed up on it, lifted her drink, and called out, “Listen your Rimmer scum, a toast--let’s hear it for the wonderful, fantabulous, Administrator Jovano, may he live long enough to enjoy good health.”

To her surprise, silence met her toast, no one raised their glasses or mugs, even in jest--everyone was looking past her and the only thing behind her was the door, booted footsteps rapped on the rough-hewn plank floor then stopped behind her.

“Thank you for the compliments and the good wishes for my longevity,” the baritone-and-chokiris voice said just over her shoulder.

If she ever needed a personal cloaking device, it was now—or a magic ring with which to disappear, because Sec Admin Trevarr Jovano stood behind her, waiting. Undaunted, she turned around, the room tipped, and she reached for the back of the chair. “Whoa, those mudslides sneak up on you.”

Missing the chair, she grabbed the closest thing, Trevarr Jovano’s broad, black-clad shoulders--beneath her fingers, the strong muscles contracted and he wasn’t smiling. “You should sit down before you fall down, or better yet, go home and sleep it off.”

A dark fury swept away the sweet tranquility of two tall Kruferian mudslides as she said, “I can’t go home, you snake, you stole my home.” She swung a round-house punch at him, missed her objective and would have fallen ignominiously off the chair had he not caught her. For several long secs, he held her tightly against his chest, her feet dangling off the floor a good twenty-five centimeters, but when his green eyes caught hers and darkened, the heat in the tavern rose ten degrees, her heart tripped, and the air leached out of her lungs. His eyes—she could drown in those green depths.


Life on the frontier of space is hard enough for a freighter pilot, so when pirates stole Celara d'Enfaden's cargo, she vowed not to be tricked again. Determined to make an example out of indie pilots who disobey orders, Coalition Administrator Trevarr Jovano impounds Celara’s starship and cargo. If he backs down, he’ll lose respect. If she can’t deliver her cargo, she’ll default on her loan and lose her only home—her ship. More important than her ship, though, is her brother. To rescue him from a galactic gangster, she’ll even work with Trevarr who’s bent on avenging his wife’s murder.





Friday, October 28, 2016

Who's For Dinner with Nancy Gideon


Once I got over my first thought of cannibalism (hey, paranormal author!), I fell in love with the idea behind this blog topic. Who would you love to share some table talk with? A celebrity? A great mind? A religious icon?  My choice was immediate and not so grand as that. I’d love to share a meal with the one person who never said anything at the table beyond, “Pass the potatoes.” So Gandhi, Einstein, Jeremy Renner (Wait . . . maybe another time), nah. I’d like to sit down and pass the potatoes one more time with my dad.

My dad was the original strong, silent type, easily confused with John Wayne. He didn’t graduate high school, needing to go to work to help support his family, he carried the morphine in WWII in the Philippines, he grew our vegetables, was a  hunter/fisherman for all seasons with always the right tool for the job whether it be loose table leg or timing belt. He laughed at Bugs Bunny and the old guys in the Muppet Show while pretending to read the paper. The dry sink we built together in the garage has made every one of my moves even though it weighs a ton. He was my hero.


My dad died before he saw my sons, before he knew I’d realized my dream of seeing a book come out in a store where we shopped. He would have hated the idea that I now drive a Honda. And he would have pretended not to like my cats, the way he once did my gerbils. I wouldn’t want to sit down in a noisy, crowded restaurant with him. I’d fire up my grill and toss on a couple of really bad for you steaks, crack a Pabst and cut a slab of pie that we could eat outside with a dog begging underfoot. And I’d make him get beyond those few soft-spoken words to hear him talk about the things that made him a strong man – the Depression, his sister who died young, about how a shy farm boy got up the courage to ask my mom to marry him, about being in the thick of battle so far away from home, about those treasured days sitting out in the garage listening the Detroit Tigers on the radio, and how his love of pulp Western novels, hard boiled PIs and Perry Mason sparked my imagination and led to so many, many more words on the page than we ever shared in a lifetime.  I’d thank him for the food on the table, the roof over my head and the chance to get the education, he himself never had.  I’d show him pictures of his grandson. I loved my dad. I’d tell him that, too. And then I’d pass the potatoes.

I wouldn’t be who I am if he wasn’t who he was. Thanks, Dad. Here’s book Number 60. It doesn’t matter that you wouldn’t read, just that you’d be proud of it.


PRINCE OF HONOR
“House of Terriot” Book 1

The hunter becomes the prey, a prisoner to his own desire . . .

Turow . . .
Strong, silent man of integrity content to serve his new king as a prince in the turbulent shape-shifter House of Terriot. A tracker and relentless hunter, he’s used to running trails alone until charged with returning a traitor to their mountain top home to face the unforgiving judgment of their clan. Isolated with the bad girl he’s loved forever, the choice between duty and desire has never been more difficult . . . or deadly.

Could the bargain made to save their lives become reality?

Sylvia . . .
Manipulative schemer or victim caught between a mother’s ambition and a rogue prince’s lust for power? Trust is almost as foreign as the idea of love, but to save herself from certain death, she must risk both on the good man who deserves them . . . from someone worthy. Trapped by the only one who believes in her goodness, she must betray him and run for her life . . . or stay and destroy him with a long hidden truth.

Deadly, Damaged, and Delicious!

House of Terriot
Brothers too H.o.T. to Handle!

Excerpt from PRINCE OF HONOR:
Heat pounding off his body burned against the backs of her fingers as they bunched the bottom of his tee shirt, shucking it off him with a violent pull. Her palms prowled chest and shoulders, pausing for him to identify each unfamiliar scar.
At his collarbone: “Cale’s lesson on how to use a blade.”
At the glorious swell of a bicep: “Stephen. Bar fight he started and I had to finish.” Probably because he was too drunk, though Turow would never say so.
Across the hard ridge of his abdomen: “Sparring with Rico.”
Tongue dampening her lips, eyes glowing, obviously turned on by the catalog of combat, Sylvia let her fingertip follow a thin line across his left pec as she purred, “And this one?”
“You. Where you broke my heart.”



Nancy Gideon is the award winning author of over 59 romances ranging from historical, regency and series contemporary suspense to dark paranormal, with a couple of horror screenplays tossed into the mix, and is currently testing the “Hybrid Author” waters of self-publishing.  When not at the keyboard, this central Michigan writer feeds a Netflix addiction along with all things fur, fin and fowl. She also has written under the pen names Dana Ransom, Rosalyn West and Lauren Giddings.



Thanks for pulling out a chair for me today, Di! Pass the potatoes.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

THREE FRENCH INNS by Patricia Kiyono

I'm so happy to welcome Patricia Kiyono back to my blog. Patty is a fellow member Mid-Michigan RWA chapter. Since we live fairly close, we often carpool to chapter meetings, so I've heard about this story as it developed. I was excited to read the finished product. (See my review below.)

Here's Patricia to tell you how THREE FRENCH INNS came about.





Three French Inns is the third in a series that began several years ago in response to a call-out for holiday stories. The requirements were simple: each story had to feature a duke, and needed to have one scene taking place at the 1812 Christmas ball hosted by Lord and Lady Kringle. The series would be marketed as The Twelve Dukes of Christmas. Being a musician, the series title made me think of the Christmas song and I went to the first verse for my inspiration. Even though I’d never written a regency, I went to work on what eventually became The Partridge and the Peartree. The story featured Phillip Peartree, Duke of Bartlett, and Lady Amelia Partridge.
Even though the book sold well, I wanted a chance to make some changes, and when the contract expired I got my rights back and republished it with changes that were more historically accurate, as well as some new scenes. And since some of my readers requested a sequel, I came up with Two Tutor Doves, the story of the duke’s valet, Robert Townley, and Amelia’s maid, Jeanne Brown. I learned I enjoyed writing about this era, but not necessarily about the endless rules of the ton. So even while I worked on Two Tutor Doves I started planning additional stories, and as soon as that book was complete I began outlining the next book.
Last week, Eskape Press released the third story in the series, Three French Inns. For this story, I focused on Jeanne Brown’s brother Pierre. Two Tutor Doves ended with Jeanne vowing to look for her brother, who’d been missing for several years. He’s been in the army, fighting against Napoleon. I needed a way to get him back in France, and I needed a way to weave three different inns into the story, because I had the title before I had the story!
The first inn was easy. Caroline and her father run Hôtel Bouchard, set in the French Alps. The third inn is the one that Pierre buys for Caroline after her father’s inn burns down. The journey that Pierre and Caroline take to get to that third inn is both dangerous (riding on horseback through the French Alps in winter is not my idea of fun!) and emotional.
I hope you enjoy my historical Christmas series!

Blurb:
Peter Brown joined His Majesty’s Army in the fight against Napoleon, but when he was wounded, a lovely French woman tended him. She was a recent widow, and they were on opposing sides of the war, so they went their separate ways. But he never forgot his “bel ange” — his beautiful angel.

Caroline Bouchard Duval marched with her husband in Napoleon’s army, eager to leave her sleepy village and see the world. But after being widowed, she returned to her childhood home in the French Alps. When a bloody traveler enters her father’s inn, she recognizes him immediately. Could this man give her another chance to fulfill her dreams?

Buy Links: Three French Inns is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, All-Romance ebooks, and Kobo.

Author bio:

During her first career, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary music, computer classes, elementary classrooms, and junior high social studies. She now teaches music education at the university level.

She lives in southwest Michigan with her husband, not far from her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspires her to create stories about different cultures.



Author Links: Patricia Kiyono can be found at her website and blog, and on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.

Diane's Review:

I love the titles of this series’ play on words from the Christmas carol, “Partridge in a Pear Tree,” almost as much as I love the stories themselves. In this story, the characters are well-drawn and likeable. I admire Caroline’s marching with her husband and soldiers in Napoleon’s army. What an adventure and how disappointing that she had to return home after her husband’s death. Although the story was written to entertain, I loved learning new things. The plot is a bit predictable. After all, it’s a romance, and we readers love our Happy Ever Afters. What wasn’t as predictable was the compromise two people in love made. Isn’t that what love is all about? A delightful holiday story.


Monday, October 24, 2016

Chrys Fey's 30 SECONDS BEFORE

On Saturday, I was celebrating the launch of Chrys Fey's new release 30 Seconds Before. For some weird reason, the post made a mess out of the blogsite, people couldn't comment, and Blogger was  no help.

So even though it's late, here's the info on Chrys' new book.



30 SECONDS BEFORE BLURB:

Blake Herro is a cop in the Cleveland Police Force. Ever since he was a child he wanted to do right by the city he loved by cleaning up the streets and protecting its citizens. Red, a notorious mobster, has other plans.

On a bitter December night, ten police officers are drawn into a trap and killed by Red’s followers. Blake wants to bring down the Mob to avenge his fallen brothers and to prevent other cops from being murdered. Except the only way he can do that is by infiltrating the Mob.

Every minute he’s with these mobsters he’s in danger. Around every corner lies the threat of coming face to face with a gun. Will he make it out of the Mob alive or will he be their next victim?

BUY LINKS:



To celebrate, 30 Seconds, the follow up story, is on sale for 99 cents!


Sale Oct. 21st – Nov. 4th

SALE LINKS:



BIO:

Chrys Fey is the author of the Disaster Crimes Series (Hurricane Crimes and Seismic Crimes), as well as these releases from The Wild Rose Press: 30 Seconds, Ghost of Death, and Witch of Death. Website / Blog / Facebook / Twitter






Chrys sponsored a blogfest where the participants wrote about "If I were a Mobster."
:


Here's mine:





Listen up, youse guys. This here’s my turf. Dee-troit, Michigan. And nobody messes with Mary O’Toole.









Hands off. You get a scratch on me Duesenberg, I’ll get out my trusty 44 Magnum (yeah, like Dirty Harry) and blow youse guys away.




They don’t call me Dirty Mary for nuttin’. I’m the baddest moll in Chips O’Toole’s gang. He’s me boy, see? So whatever I say goes. Now get on outa here. Go play in traffic.


Or go visit the other "mobsters."

Friday, October 21, 2016

Who's For Dinner with Linda NIghtingale


From the time I was a young girl, I’ve had an interest in the Abdication of Edward VIII, later Duke of York, to marry “the woman I love” – an American divorcee Wallis Simpson. Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David was born June 23, 1894.  His family called him David.  I have his memoirs titled A King’s Story.  It’s a grand look behind the scenes at the British monarchy and the Victorians.  His grandmother was Queen Victoria. His reign lasted 326 days.


To me, he is a romantic figure.  I’d love to have dinner with a Prince who gave up a throne for a woman.  It is said, though raised as a future King, David was not really suited to his role.  I’d like to find out why, but I’d like to understand what Wallis’ hold over him was.  As you can see by the photo, she was no great beauty (their wedding day).


Many of my heroes are aristocracy, and my WIP called Royal Secrets is about a prince who abdicates.  This story was inspired by Edward’s story, though apparently the Duke and Duchess of Windsor, living in retirement in France, were never truly happy.  I’d like to know if it was the Crown or the King wearing it she coveted.

A bit about the person: He played the bagpipes.  He liked spending time on the family yacht. He was very much for the working man. He rode, shot, and hunted as gentlemen did in those days.

I found this tidbit interesting:   In 1917, during the First World War, he began a love affair with Parisian courtesan Marguerite Alibert, who kept a collection of his indiscreet letters after he broke off the affair in 1918 to begin one with an English married woman, Freda Dudley Ward, a textile heiress. In 1923, Alibert was acquitted in a spectacular murder trial after she shot her husband in the London Savoy.  (Wikipedia).

I’d ask Edward (preferably without Wallis):
     What was it about Wallis that drew you to her so passionately? 
     Did you ever really want to be King?  
     Why did they call you the Playboy Prince? 
     You gave up a throne—were you happy as the Duke of Windsor with ‘the woman I love’?
     Would you be my prince charming? (although he was very short and I’m 5’8”, I’d wear flats).

I’d show David my latest release from The Wild Rose Press, 


Morgan D’Arcy: A Vampyre Rhapsody.  Rhapsody is a collection of short stories starring my favorite hero, Morgan. There’s a free read on my website called Vampyre Interlude.  It is a Morgan story, perhaps., his darker side.

About Linda:

Born in South Carolina, Linda has lived in England, Canada, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Atlanta and Houston.  She’s seen a lot of this country from the windshield of a truck pulling a horse trailer, having bred, trained and showed Andalusian horses for many years.

Linda has won several writing awards, including the Georgia Romance Writers Magnolia Award.   She is the mother of two wonderful sons, a retired legal assistant, member of the Houston Symphony League, and enjoys events with her car club.  Among her favorite things are her snazzy black convertible and her parlor grand piano.  She loves to dress up and host formal dinner parties.

Web Site:  http://www.lindanightingale.com – Visit and look around. There’s a free continuing vampire story.
Blog:  https://lindanightingale.wordpress.com/ - Lots of interesting guests & prizes


Embed: 

Books: 

Gemini Rising – Controversial Dark Fantasy with deep psychological undertones


Thursday, October 20, 2016

New Release & #Giveaway: THE BOWL AND THE STONE by Bish Denham

I'm so happy to participate in Bish Denham's blog tour for her new release, THE BOWL AND THE STONE. Here's a little about Bish.

Bish Denham, whose mother’s side of the family has been in the Caribbean for over one hundred years, was raised in the U. S. Virgin Islands. She still has lots of family living there whom she visits regularly.
She says, “Growing up in the islands was like living inside a history book. Columbus named the islands, Sir Francis Drake sailed through the area, and Alexander Hamilton was raised on St. Croix. The ruins of hundreds of sugar plantations, built with the sweat and blood of slave labor, litter the islands. Then there were the pirates who plied the waters. It is within this atmosphere of wonder and mystery, that I grew up. Life for me was magical, and through my writing I hope to pass on some of that magic.”
The Bowl and the Stone: A Haunting Tale from the Virgin Islands, is her third book and second novel. You can find Anansi and Company: Retold Jamaican Tales and A Lizard’s Tail, at Amazon.com.
To learn more about Bish, you can visit her blog, Random Thoughts, at www.http:/bish-randomthoughts.blogspot.com.
She can also be found on Facebook: www.facebook.com/BishDenham/Author
Twitter @BishDenham


THE LONG ROAD TO FREEDOM

It all began when Columbus, on his second trip in 1493, sailed through a beautiful cluster of small islands. He named them the Virgin Islands, after St. Ursula and her entourage of 11,000 virgins. 180 years later Denmark had successfully colonized the island of St. Thomas, and in 1673 the first slave ship arrive carrying 103 Africans.

In 1718 the Danes took formal possession of St. John, an island of just 20 square miles and three miles away from St. Thomas. With their arrival the plantation era began. Windmills, horse mills and plantation manors were built using the local rock and coral from the sea. Bricks, used as ballast in the ships coming from Europe, were also incorporated. Land was cleared and the steep hillsides were terraced. Sugar cane and cotton were planted. All of this was done with slave labor.


The Enighed (pronounced E-na-head) Estate house, in Cruz Bay, St. John is now a public library.

By 1733 there were 109 plantations on St. John. But it was a devastating year. Slaves, when not tending their master’s fields, had to grow their own food. A drought was followed by a hurricane, then came a plague of insects. These natural disasters destroyed food crops, causing famine and starving slaves began to grow restless.

On September 5th, to keep the slaves from running away, a harsh slave code was imposed. Punishments were severe and included, torture, branding, whipping, and death. These conditions led the slaves to plan a revolt.

In the early dawn of November 23rd , 1733, a group of slaves carrying cane knives, entered Frederiks Fort at Coral Bay which began a long and bloody resistance and took the lives of nearly a quarter of the white population.
The ruins of Frederiks Fort, Coral Bay, St. John. (Jack Boucher [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

The Danes, unable to end rebellion asked for help, and in late April of 1734 French soldiers arrived to subdued the revolt. Most of the remaining slaves, rather than surrender, chose to commit suicide and by the end of May, it was over.

Even though it was quelled, it is considered the first successful slave revolt in the New World. And, those six months caused ideas about slavery to slowly change. In 1755, King Frederick of Denmark issued the Reglement, in which slave rights were mentioned for the first time.

In 1802 Denmark became the first European country to abolish the slave trade, which meant that slaves could no longer be brought from Africa. Ten years later, the Danes required all slave children to attend school. Classes were taught in English.

When Britain freed their slaves in 1834, hundreds of slaves from St. John left their homes and families and escaped to the freedom of Tortola, a near-by British island.

Through continued acts of passive and active resistance by the slaves on St. John, and a slave revolt on the island of St. Croix, all slaves in the Danish West Indies were finally given their freedom on July 3rd, 1848. The news reached St. John on July 4th.

After 175 years of struggle to won their emancipation achieve, Virgin Islanders developed a strong sense of pride and independence. Freedom was not “given” to them as the English had done for their slaves. Nor was a war fought for them, as with the American Civil War.


In my book, The Bowl and the Stone: A Haunting Tale from the Virgin Islands, twelve-year-olds Sam and her best friend Nick, are being haunting by a man they assume was once a slave. Nick is even seeming the man in his dreams. In this excerpt they discuss the possibility of his being a slave and of past lives.

Blurb

Pirates. Explorers. And spooky ghost hunters.

It’s 1962. Sam and her best friend, Nick, have the whole island of St. John, in the U. S. Virgin Islands, as their playground. They’ve got 240 year-old sugar plantation ruins to explore, beaches to swim, and trails to hike.

But when a man disappears like a vapor right in front of them, they must confront a scary new reality. They’re being haunted. By whom? And why? He’s even creeping into Nick’s dreams.

They need help, but the one who might be able to give it is Trumps, a reclusive hunchback who doesn’t like people, especially kids. Are Sam and Nick brave enough to face him? And if they do, will he listen to them?

As carefree summer games turn into eerie hauntings, Sam and Nick learn more about themselves and life than they could ever have imagined.

Excerpt

“He must have been a slave,” says Nick, as if reading my mind.

“Maybe he wasn’t always a slave,” I offer.

He walks backwards, facing me. “What else could he have been?”

“Well, he could have been a free man who got sold into slavery.”

“But couldn’t the same be said of all the slaves?”

“I suppose so. But if his story were the same as all the others, then wouldn’t all the slaves be hanging around as ghosts wanting something? But they aren’t, so his story must be different, or he wouldn’t be showing up. Maybe—”

Nick finishes my sentence, “—he died a terrible, horrible death, like in my dream.”

“Or he’s being punished.”

“Or we knew him before.”

I come to a sliding stop and gape at him. “Are you talking past lives?”

“Think about it. Why is he haunting us, two white kids? What can we possibly do for him? It makes sense to me; that we’re connected to him somehow.”

I roll my head around and puff out air through my mouth. “Too weird!”

“Sure it’s weird, but in my dream I believe I was supposed to stop his death from happening. Maybe if I’d been there, he wouldn’t have died.”

“So you believe the dream is about him dying?”

“Yes.”

“And in this past life you may have been responsible for his death?”


He flaps his arms in emphasis, “I’m not crazy, Sam.”


GIVEAWAY

Go HERE for Bish's giveaway.


Monday, October 17, 2016

#Michigan Mini-Vacay


map credit: Bruce Jones Design
If you noticed last Monday, I didn't post my usual "musings." Hubs and I took a mini-vacation. We started out by driving across the state to the western Detroit suburbs for our good friends' 50th wedding anniversary then to my sister's to celebrate my birthday. From there, we drove north past Bay City (between the Thumb and "fingers) then along the Lake Huron shoreline. For all the years we've lived in Michigan, I can't believe we'd never done that before. We were in no hurry. Our destination was Mackinaw City at the fingertip of the Lower Peninsula. Lovely drive, resort towns similar to those on the Lake Michigan side, fewer trees.

Speaking of trees, we hoped to see the color changes. Not so much. Not sure if there was/will be a peak this year. In fact the best color was outside our motel window in Cadillac on the way home-- two brilliant red maples between two evergreens.

At Mackinaw City, we took the ferry over to Mackinac Island. (Yes, the spellings are correct--Mackinac was the French spelling, while Mackinaw City kept the English spelling; both pronounced the same: Mack-i-naw.) For a special treat, the ferry took us under the Mackinac Bridge, which spans the Upper and Lower Peninsula..

Fudgies, as tourists are called because of all the fudge shops, overwhelm the island in the summer. Even in the fall, full ferries dropped off passengers then turned around to return for more. No cars are allowed on the island. Pedal power (feet, bikes) and carriages are the way to get around. We took a carriage tour. These Belgians pulled our carriage.


Hubs, who hadn't been to the island in over thirty years, kept remarking about the changes--more buildings, newer paved roads. I'd been there five years ago with my sisters and cousin. Usually oblivious, I noticed some changes, too. The carriage driver gave us history and little tidbits of info along the route, including the fact that the horses are raised and trained by the Amish.

Of course, we had to stop at a fudge shop (mint chocolate and dark chocolate macadamia nut) and some souvenir shops (for the grandkiddies) before heading for the ferry dock and back to Mackinac City. Usually, I like riding on the top deck. Not this time. With the strong wind and water spray, we stayed on the enclosd lower deck rather than get soaked.
photo credit: Sheplersferry.com
The next morning, we headed to Sault Ste. Marie in the Upper Peninsula. That meant crossing the Mackinac Bridge. I love looking at it from a little park.


Driving across the bridge is another story. At the center between the two towers, the road bed is 200' above the water. Since heights are a bit of a problem for me, we usually don't drive next to the rail. But then we have to contend with the "hum" from tires on grating. Open grating, through which you can see the water. I can't get across fast enough. The no-passing, 35 mph speed limit (and road construction) slows traffic. Not complaining, mind you. When I was a kid, the bridge wasn't there. The only way to the Upper Peninsula (besides driving around Lake Michigan through Chicago and Wisconsin) was a car ferry. Often the wait for the ferry extended two to three hours. As we rode the ferry, we watched the bridge being built.

photo credit: saultstemarie.com
Another favorite place for both of us is Sault Ste. Marie, the Soo--the terminus of I-75 (and the "deer's" hip). It's claim to fame is the Soo Locks. Lake Superior connects with Lake Huron via the St. Mary's River, which falls 21 feet. The locks enable ships to travel between the lakes. From the observation platform, you can watch ships enter the locks and the water raise or lower them. You can also take a boat tour and go through the locks yourself. We've done that enough times that just watching from the platform is enough.


While we were there, two ships went through the locks.In the front of this picture is the empty MacArthur lock, behind is a freighter (distinctive red color with the white pilot house in back) entering the Poe, the longest/largest of the locks that's capable of handing the thousand-footers. As boats approach the locks, an announcement is made alerting visitors. This freighter was carrying iron ore for the steel mills near Chicago. What's the fascination of watching boars going up and down? Hubs used to work at a steel mill near Detroit. His company was the recipient of many loads of iron ore from Minnesota. Without the locks, the cost of transporting the iron by rail would have been much more expensive.

My fascination is a little different. Several years ago, during a visit to the locks, my writer brain went into that "what if" place. What if something happened to the locks? Either an accident or deliberate. That story is still percolating. But each trip Up North (as we Michiganders call it), that story is coming more to the fore. First, I need to finish The Case of the Meddling Mama (Alex O'Hara mystery #3) and one more Outer Rim novel.

I guess it's obvious I love traveling around our state. Besides just enjoying the scenery, I always find ideas for new stories.

*Note:unless otherwise noted, the credit for the pictures belongs to me.


Saturday, October 15, 2016

#8Sunday #WeWriWa THE PILOT


Welcome to Weekend Writing Warrior and 8 Sentence Sunday time, the weekly hop for everyone who loves to write! Writers share an 8 to 10 sentence snippet. Be sure to visit the other writers. You can find them here.

Today my snippet is again from The Pilot (An Outer Rim Novel: Book 1). The Outer Rim series is about strong women on the frontier of space. Last week, Trevarr confiscated Celara's vessel and cargo. We continue from there. Please forgive all the "saids" and commas used to fit the required length.

Trevarr watched the small fem’s mouth work furiously, until she found her voice, stomped up to him and said, “You can’t do that, I haven’t done anything wrong.”
The Security detail stepped forward to intervene, but he signaled for the guards to lower their weapons and remain alert. While she held no weapon, he could not be certain one was not hidden in the various pockets of her roomy shirt or the trousers she’d tucked into high-top black boots--boots small enough to fit a child.
“You did not stop for an inspection when ordered to do so.” Though she hollered “What?” he went on, “You repeatedly ignored a direct order from Coalition Security . . . near the Ytersigon Asteroid Field.”
“How do you know about that--never mind--that vessel had no identification, they didn’t use an official comm channel--they were pirates, not Coalition.”
“No, Coalition, and you should have responded. Had you allowed the ship to dock with yours, you would have been presented with proper identification . . . you should not have run.”

“What?” She stood hip-shot. “I should just open my airlock to anybody?”

Life on the frontier of space is hard enough for a freighter pilot, so when pirates stole Celara d'Enfaden's cargo, she vowed not to be tricked again. Determined to make an example out of indie pilots who disobey orders, Coalition Administrator Trevarr Jovano impounds Celara’s starship and cargo. If he backs down, he’ll lose respect. If she can’t deliver her cargo, she’ll default on her loan and lose her only home—her ship. More important than her ship, though, is her brother. To rescue him from a galactic gangster, she’ll even work with Trevarr who’s bent on avenging his wife’s murder.