Welcome.

Glad you stopped by. I hope you'll stop by again for Monday Morning Musings, Meet the Author Thursday, Weekend Writing Warriors, and guests whenever they drop in.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

#IWSG: No Time or Energy to Write


 Happy Insecure Writer's Support Group Day. IWSG is the brainchild of Ninja Captain Alex J. Cavanaugh.

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! Thanks, Alex, for starting this group and keeping it going. We are rockin' the neurotic writing world!

The awesome co-hosts for the May 5 posting of the IWSG are Erika Beebe, PJ Colando, Tonja Drecker, Sadira Stone, and Cathrina Constantine!


Spring came on Sunday. Sunny and 89 degrees. Tulips are blooming in time for Tulip Time Festival in Holland, Michigan. My tulips are blooming, trees re budding out. All signs of new life and renewal. Of course, being Michigan, on Monday Spring disappeared, leaving us with cold, rainy days.

I don't have an answer for this month's optional question. Instead, I'm going to talk about my former impatience with writers who always have an excuse why they don't write. My attitude used to be if you want to write, nothing will stop you. You'll figure out a way to carve out time to write.

Well, I'm eating my words (or thoughts since I wouldn't speak those words out loud). I'm discovering how life can interfere in such a way that writers just can't write, even when they want to. Or they are so tired dealing with life that they can't find the energy for writing. Or they break their wrist falling on the floor for no reason and have to type one-handed. 


One good thing has happened since I broke my wrist. Hubs has to do more for himself--things I used to do for him and now can't with one hand. It's making him more independent again plus giving him a feeling of accomplishment. For me, it's humbling having to ask for help. It's also made me realize how unfair I used to be when people would say they couldn't write. 

What did I write this past month? My monthly blog posts for Paranormal Romantics and IWSG plus weekly posts for Weekend Writing Warriors. What did I writ on my WIPs? Nada. My Muse went on vacation without me. The well is not just empty, it's bone dry. So I read and read and read. I'm trying not to be too hard on myself, to give myself permission to not fret over not writing. I've been in this situation before and, eventually, came back stronger. It's frustrating wanting to return to those WIPs but have nothing to say.

I hope you have a great month. Stay safe.

Click here to find others on the Insecure Writers Support Group Blog Hop. Or go to IWSG on Facebook to see who’s blogging today.


It's Here!!!


Dark Matter: Artificial

An Insecure Writer’s Support Group Anthology

Amazon

Discover dark matter’s secrets…

What is an AI’s true role? Will bumbling siblings find their way home from deep space? Dark matter is judging us—are we worthy of existence? Would you step through a portal into another reality? Can the discoverer of dark matter uncover its secrets?

Ten authors explore dark matter, unraveling its secrets and revealing its mysterious nature. Featuring the talents of Stephanie Espinoza Villamor, C.D. Gallant-King, Tara Tyler, Mark Alpert, Olga Godim, Steph Wolmarans, Charles Kowalski, Kim Mannix, Elizabeth Mueller, and Deniz Bevan.

Hand-picked by a panel of agents, authors, and editors, these ten tales will take readers on a journey across time and space. Prepare for ignition! 

Saturday, May 1, 2021

#WeWriWa: - The Case of the Fabulous Fiancé: Life Was Good

 Welcome to the Weekend Writing Warriors. Thanks to everyone who stopped by last week. I apologize for the short comments on your posts last week and this week. One-handed typing is slow. Good thing the cast comes off on Monday.

I'm sharing another snippet from the 2nd Alex O'Hara mystery novel, The Case of the Fabulous Fiancé. Alex is a P.I. in the small Lake Michigan resort town near Grand Rapids. I skipped ahead a little. 

Some changes were made to the original.

Snippet:  

As was his custom in the afternoon, Pete set a cup of herbal tea in front of me. He claimed tea should only be drunk from a fine china cup—Grandma’s Royal Dalton—not a mug.. In the month he’d worked for me, I discovered Pete had an opinion on many things. I appreciated his efficiency, if not all his opinions. He did twice the work Susan had, and I never had to tell him anything more than once. From what I’d seen, he was very intelligent and probably could have worked anywhere. This guy was almost too good to be true.

After taking a sip, I sighed. I loved herbal teas and chai was my favorite. Pete seemed to know exactly what I needed and when I needed it. Today, I needed to relax.

 And for the rest of the scene:

 I’d been so uptight finishing the fraud case on time that I’d actually handed it in three days ahead of schedule. I even had time to begin work on Clyde Wilson, Maura Finley’s boyfriend.

I took another sip of tea. Yes, life was good.

My landline buzzed. “Ms. Finley is on line one,” Pete announced.

I must have conjured her up. “Ms. Finley, Alex—”

“What have you found out about Clyde?”

She was back from her trip or seminar or wherever she’d been. Obviously. And as demanding as she’d been before.

I opened the file on Clyde Wilson and flipped through my notes, ready to give her a brief run down.

“Although I have just begun—”

“What do you mean you’ve just begun? You’ve had my case for a month.”

“During which time I have been working on a previous case, which I explained when you hired me.”

“Yes, well.” She cleared her throat. “Tell me what you know.”

“I can assure you what he told you is correct. He’s forty-four, born in Flint. He owns a house in Royal Oak, as well as a condo in Traverse City. Wilson Industries has corporate offices in the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit, with satellite offices in Dallas, Phoenix, and San Francisco.”

“I know all that. Haven’t you found out anything new?”

Patience, girl, I told myself. Patience. “Ms. Finley, in cases like this I never take anyone’s word for fact. You hired me to investigate. And that is what I do. The first thing I do is make sure what you’ve been told is true.”

“I see.” Her tone had gone from demanding to conciliatory. “You may continue.” Then back to executive mode.

I hung on to my Irish temper. Barely. “He did indeed graduate from Wayne State University. My next step is contacting the Wharton School of Business.”

“Good, good.” After a brief pause, she said, “I would appreciate it if you would make my case your highest priority. I will double your normal rate to expedite the investigation. Thank you for your time.” She hung up before I could respond.

Her urgency made me wonder what was going on. Was the man she met on a cruise pressuring her? 


 Blurb:

She’s at it again. Alex O’Hara just can’t say no to a new investigation. What do a 45-year-old boyfriend, a deadbeat dad, and a teenage runaway have in common? All new cases. With no receptionist, phone and internet problems, and her own boyfriend in the wind, Alex has no idea how she’ll manage. But the question for the past three months is why did Nick disappear. Is this the end of O’Hara & Palzetti? 



Amazon US ~ Amazon UK ~ Kobo ~ iBooks ~ B&N ~ Smashwords


Be sure to check out the other WeWriWa authors. Stay safe and have a great week!



  


Thursday, April 29, 2021

Guest: Constance Bretes #NewRelease OPERATION CODE NAME: DESERT LOVE

 Please welcome my long-time friend Constance Bretes. We met when Connie lived in Michigan and belonged to the same writers’ group, the Mid-Michigan chapter of RWA. Since then we’ve kept in touch, and I’m happy to celebrate her latest release.

As I usually do, I asked Connie what prompted her to write Operation Code Name: Desert Love. Here’s her answer. 

I wrote this book mostly because my publisher indicated she didn't have any military romances and put a call out for the authors to write one, so I did. When I did the research for this book, I read about Helen Johnston and her rescue by SAS in Great Britain. I changed it up a lot. I made my heroine to be an American humanitarian worker held hostage in Afghanistan and rescued by Delta Force. 

  

Operation Code Name: Desert Love by Constance Bretes

 


 Her best hope for survival is the one man she never wants to see again.

 

BLURB  

Clarissa Maasen is a humanitarian relief worker who’s stationed in Afghanistan. When she and two of her coworkers are kidnapped by insurgents and held hostage, she can only hope that her father, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, will send his best men to rescue them—more specifically, Len Roberts of the Delta Force.

 

The last time Len saw Clarissa, it did not end on good terms. But he will risk his life to rescue this woman who is never far from his thoughts?

 

Can he rescue her in time? And will they be able to control the passion erupting between them?

 

EXCERPT: 

“Can we take a small tour around the city and enjoy the coolness of the evening?”

“Yeah, we can do that.” Clarissa loved fast speeds, and Len seemed to have remembered that. He sped the Humvee on a few roads in Kabul that were open, with no dense neighborhoods. It felt exhilarating to Clarissa. She stood up a few times, holding on to the top of the windshield, feeling the wind against her face, and her hair going wild. After doing a few rounds, Len pulled up at the US Embassy. Clarissa stood in the vehicle before he came to a stop and yelled, “Woo! Hoo!” The guys standing outside the building turned then gave them the thumbs-up. “That felt so good.”

Len had a lopsided grin on his face. “Yeah. It did feel good. You still want to do that run?”

“Well, yeah.”

Len chuckled. “I’ll meet you back here in ten minutes.”

“Okay.” Clarissa hurried to her room to change. She pulled her messy hair into a ponytail, slipped into a pair of shorts with tassels around the hem she’d just bought, a lightweight top, and a new pair of running shoes and socks. When she got to the steps outside to meet Len, he was already there in his army shorts, doing warm-ups and talking to a couple of guys.

“Hi,” Clarissa said to the two men in army garb who were talking to Len. One guy nodded, and the other said, “Hey.”

“I’ll see you at the heli-pad at eleven hundred hours,” Len said. The two men saluted Len and sped quickly down the steps.

Clarissa looked at her watch. They had an hour to get a run in.

“Are you wearing draperies?” he asked.

“What?” Clarissa laughed and looked at him.

He was staring intensely at her shorts. “No. I just thought they were cute.”

Len rolled his eyes. “Hmm. Ready?”

Clarissa did a few body stretches. “Ready.”

They started out slowly. When they came to a street corner, he instructed, “Take a right here.” She started to turn slightly. “Len…”

She stepped into his path accidently, tripping him. As he went down he rolled himself in a somersault and came back up, standing. “Jesus, Clare, you trying to do me in?”

“I’m sorry, Len. I was just going to ask you something.” They quickly picked up their pace for a few more blocks. She wanted to know when he would be going back to the states, but she was afraid of his answer, so she decided not to ask.

 

Universal Buy Link:  https://books2read.com/u/3Gvola

 


BIO:  Constance started writing contemporary romance and romantic suspense fifteen years ago. She was born and raised in Michigan. After working for the State of Michigan for 38 years, she retired. She and her husband moved to Montana and lived in the mountainside of a small town. There, locked in her office overlooking the mountains, was where this story, Operation Code Name: Desert Love, was written. After living in Montana for three years, they moved to Alabama with her cat, Sunny, who owns both her and her husband. Her hobbies include basket weaving, reading mafia romance books, diamond painting, and fiddling at the piano. 

 Constance’s Website: www.constancebretes.com

Reader eMail: cbretes@constancebretes.com

 

Saturday, April 24, 2021

#WeWriWa: - The Case of the Fabulous Fiancé: The Rude Jogger

 Welcome to the Weekend Writing Warriors. Thanks to everyone who stopped by last week. Hope you all had a good week. This weekend, I'm attending the Mid-Michigan RWA chapter's annual Retreat from Harsh Reality. Because of covid, we're meeting via Zoom. Thank goodness for technology.

Here, I'm sharing another snippet from the 2nd Alex O'Hara mystery novel, The Case of the Fabulous Fiancé. Alex is a P.I. in the small Lake Michigan resort town near Grand Rapids. I skipped ahead a little. 

Some changes were made to the original.

Snippet:   

The next afternoon I was so tired of working on a fraud case, I told Pete I was going for a run. I did a few stretches in the parking lot before starting off at an easy jog. The sun tried to shine around the multitude of clouds as it started to set.

As I jogged along Main Street, I passed the bookstore. I waved to Gloria in the window arranging books. Like me, she’d taken over her parents’ business. We weren’t the only second or third generation in Far Haven to do so—some had left then returned. Not me. No wandering feet for me, unlike Nick the Rat who’d shaken West Michigan dune dust off his boat shoes and headed east right after college.

 And for the rest of the scene:

Here’s the thing. Until a year ago, our fathers—The Pops—had owned the agency. Maria Palzetti decided that Michigan winters were too hard on her husband’s bones. She also convinced Tony and Pop that being private investigators was for the young—namely, me. Before lighting out for Scottsdale and perpetual heat, they sold the business to me. Ever since high school, I’d worked in the business. While I filed and answered phones, Football Hero Nick played the field, on and off the gridiron. Not that I cared, mind you.

When I graduated from high school, I graduated to doing legwork for Frank and Tony. Pop insisted I call him ‘Frank’ at work. The legwork was more challenging than searching courthouse records or the internet for them. The Pops had no problem outfitting the office with the latest technology, as long as someone else used it. That someone else was me, not Nick.

He went to U of M on a football scholarship and majored in girls. I lived at home and got my degree in criminal justice at Grand Valley U, all the while working at the agency. I’m not complaining. I loved the business—especially when Frank and Tony increased my responsibilities. They showed me the ropes, gave me invaluable advice and felt confident enough in my abilities as an investigator to turn the business over to me.

While thinking about the business and Nick, I’d run on auto-pilot. When I paid attention, I realized I’d already reached the Point, my usual turn-around spot. As I turned to go back, I caught a surprised look on the jogger behind me. With the way I’d been pounding the beach, I hadn’t heard him come up.

He made like a turtle, ducking his head farther down inside his black hoodie, and barreled past. No ‘How you doing?’ or even a ‘Hi.’ How rude.

I jogged backwards to see where he was going, only to find that he, too, had turned around. Again he looked startled before he turned and headed toward the Point.

After passing the B&B owned by the biggest blabbermouth in the county, I stopped. When I bent down on one knee to tighten my shoelace, I caught sight of the strange jogger.

Was he a jogger who happened to run the same way I did? Or was he following me?

 

Blurb:

She’s at it again. Alex O’Hara just can’t say no to a new investigation. What do a 45-year-old boyfriend, a deadbeat dad, and a teenage runaway have in common? All new cases. With no receptionist, phone and internet problems, and her own boyfriend in the wind, Alex has no idea how she’ll manage. But the question for the past three months is why did Nick disappear. Is this the end of O’Hara & Palzetti? 



Amazon US ~ Amazon UK ~ Kobo ~ iBooks ~ B&N ~ Smashwords


Be sure to check out the other WeWriWa authors. Stay safe and have a great week!



  


Thursday, April 22, 2021

Guest: Jean Davis #NewRelease NOT ANOTHER BARD'S TALE #fantasy

 Today's guest is my good friend, Jean Davis, who taught me what she knows about selling books at craft and vendor shows. She also leads our local writers' group. Here's Jean to tell us about her new release.

Thanks for having me as a guest, Diane! 

I've been waiting to share Not Another Bard's Tale with readers since 2008 but never quite had the time to put the finishing touches on the story. It turns out, a pandemic that causes pretty much everything to be canceled for a year offers a writer a lot of unplanned 'free' time. I've been busy both writing new books and wrapping up mostly finished ones. Not Another Bard's Tale is the second of five books I plan to release this year.

Inspired by my teen-love for Monty Python's Holy Grail, and later enjoyment of John Moore's book Heroics for Beginner's, Not Another Bard's Tale leans heavily into the fantasy parody genre. This book is different from my others in that it's far more lighthearted and out to make you laugh. 

Bruce Gawain has been between knightly quests for longer than he’d like to admit. In the town of Holden, he meets a seer who tells him where he can finally find his destiny. All he has to do is travel to the distant Wall of Nok in Gambreland. With only three coins to his name, Bruce isn’t getting much further than a barstool at the town’s inn.

As luck would have it, the innkeeper’s beautiful daughter Svetlana and her flock of troublesome god-gifted sheep need an escort to Gambreland. With a paying job, everything seems to fall into place for Bruce’s quest… except for Svetlana’s killjoy bodyguard sister, an evil overlord with looming prophecy issues, and a dragon threatening to eat the townspeople until its stolen treasure is returned.

Bruce sets out with his pan-wielding companion Mydeara and the negligibly talented bard, Harold to seek out the Wall of Nok. Will they find Bruce’s destiny, return Svetlana safely home, and save the people of Holden from the vengeful dragon?

Available in Paperback on Amazon and Ebook: Amazon / Smashwords / B&N / Kobo / Scribd


Excerpt: 
Bruce glanced toward the docks where several ships were moored, their masts bobbing madly as a sudden rush of heavy wind buffeted the sea-side market. Horse-drawn carts raced by and shouting came from the next street over. He gripped the rough wood of the stall and squinted against the blowing dirt to read the poorly painted sign: Holden’s famous Herman! The great seer of the West!

A hunched man in a faded blue robe adorned with what may have been golden stars and moons bared his scant teeth. “I see an auspicious future for you, knight.” He held out an age-spotted hand. “But the details require payment.”

His past hadn’t been all too profitable and presently Bruce was in a state he preferred to call ‘between quests’. If a single coin could give him a push in a better direction it would be well spent. He dug into the coin purse he wore under his armor. He placed a chipped copper disc with a hole in the middle onto the seer’s palm. “That’s one of my last. You better tell me something worthwhile.”

“You listen to old Herman now, my visions always be true.”

People hurried past, glancing over their shoulders. “Get on with it then. The day’s almost done and I need to find the inn.”

Herman cleared his throat with a great hacking cough, followed by a hesitant wheeze and another cough, slightly less phlegm-filled than the last. “Show me your palm.”

Bruce held out his hand, wondering what the old man hoped to see in the fading light. He probably had his prophetic line of mysterious words already on his tongue; the palm was all for show. He scowled, already wishing he’d spent his coin on dinner or a pint of ale.

“All right then.” Herman traced the lines on his palm with thin, wrinkled fingers. “What you seek lies at the Wall of Nok. You must travel far and the way will not be easy.”

A shadow passed overhead, like a brief sampling of nightfall, but then it was gone. Something crashed at the other end of the marketplace. The ground shook. Screams filled the air.

What a load of dung. Bruce yanked his hand away. The evening air grew warm, almost unbearably so within his armor.

The shaking of the ground became more intense. The wooden stalls creaked. A host of people ran by. Shopkeepers watched them. Several abandoned their wares and joined the running crowd. Herman eyed the coin with determination as it bounced about on the quaking counter of the stall.

Bruce made a grab for his coin.

The surprisingly spry seer snatched it up. “When you reach the wall, you will find—”

A giant, green-scaled head atop a long neck lined with wicked black spikes loomed over the booth. Two great golden eyes surveyed Bruce and then locked on to the old man. The dragon’s jaws gaped open to reveal two wicked rows of teeth.

Bruce screamed like a little girl.

The dragon snatched up the seer and chewed with what appeared to be great satisfaction. It swallowed and then picked at one of his dagger-length teeth with a claw. The copper coin fell onto the counter.

The dragon’s rancid, hot breath blasted over Bruce. “You wouldn’t happen to know where the nearest lake is, do you? I always find mystics a bit dry.”

Bruce pointed to the far end of town with a shaking hand.

“Thank you.” The dragon flapped its wings, knocking flat the booth and all of those surrounding it, sending the goods flying in all directions.

As the dragon lifted into the sky Bruce’s reflexes finally kicked in. He drew his sword. Another rush of people, scattered in their efforts to pick a direction in which to flee, flooded through the decimated market.

A young man stopped, gazing up at the dragon and then following its line of ascent to Bruce and his sword. “You scared the dragon off! You saved us all!”

“I don’t know about...” Bruce glanced at the sword in his hand. If he meant to change his fortune, he was going to have to up his advertising game. “Yes. Yes, I did. Fearsome beast, but no match for a knight like me.”

“Behold, our savior!” the man called to all who passed by. 




Jean Davis lives in West Michigan with her musical husband, two attention-craving terriers, and a small flock of chickens and ducks. When not ruining fictional lives from the comfort of her writing chair, she plays in her flower garden, visits local breweries, and eats gluttonous amounts of sushi.
 She is the author of nine books, including a space opera series, The Narvan, two short story collections, and four standalone novels. You can find her at www.jeandavisauthor.com and on Facebook and Instagram @jeandavisauthor



Friday, April 16, 2021

#WeWriWa: - The Case of the Fabulous Fiancé: Alex Needs To Get Laid

Welcome to the Weekend Writing Warriors. Sorry for missing last week. My brain went on vacation. Wish the rest of me had, too. The good news--Hubs is home from rehab. The not-so-good? I fell and broke my wrist. At least, I have a cute pink cast. 😊

I'm sharing another snippet from the 2nd Alex O'Hara mystery novel, The Case of the Fabulous Fiancé. Alex is a P.I. in the small Lake Michigan resort town near Grand Rapids. I skipped ahead a little. It's Monday morning and Pete's there to work.

Some changes were made to the original.

Snippet:  

“You’re frowning, my darling. Let me get you a cup of coffee, and you can tell me what’s troubling you.”

Before I could say ‘don’t bother,’ Pete scurried to the kitchenette. My Keurig was gone, and in its place was my old coffee maker.

“Where— Why?” I’m usually more coherent . . . after a second cup of coffee.

“I found it on the top shelf.” He pointed to the cabinet over the sink. “Since we both drink coffee, it’s too expensive to use the single-cup machine. I brought in my favorite beans and my grinder.”

 

 And a little more of the scene

“But—”

He handed me a mug. “Taste and tell me it’s not the best coffee you’ve ever had.”

I didn’t have the heart to tell him my ancient machine wasn’t reliable. I took a sip, “Oh. My. God.” I sipped again in case I was mistaken. “This is wonderful. Tell me what I owe you for the beans.”

Waving that aside, he snorted. “Self-preservation, my darling. I saw the store brand coffee in the cabinet. Sit. I have a surprise for you.”

He pointed to the chair he’d pulled out from the small table in our breakroom. With a flourish worthy of a professional chef, he presented a plate of pastries.

My mouth watered. “Where did you get these?”

“DeBoer’s.”

“You went all the way to Holland for pastries?” I picked up one of the banket sticks he’d sliced into pieces and took a bite. The flaky pastry around almond paste was my all-time favorite. I loved anything with almonds, especially almond paste.

“I died and went to heaven.” I took a krakelingen, a sugar cookie twisted like a pretzel and rolled in sugar. After demolishing it, I gave him a mock stern look then waved to the plate on which he’d piled several more Dutch treats, along with regular donuts. “Don’t make a habit of getting these.”

Pete sat across from me. “Don’t you like them?”

His grin said I couldn’t pull a fast one and say I didn’t. I was such a sucker for sweets, especially those from deBoer’s. They made their pastries like they did in the old country.

“Earlier, you were frowning. Tell me what’s wrong.”

“It’s nothing.” Nothing I wanted to talk about.

“Ah,” Pete said with a knowing smile. “Man troubles.”

I wasn’t going to tell him about my man troubles. Too private, too painful.

He reached across the table and patted my hand. “I’ve been there, my darling. I know exactly how you must feel. The solution is to forget him and find a new love.”

I snorted. “Is that what you’re doing?”

He looked so melancholy I regretted my comment. “I’m sorry, Pete. I shouldn’t have said that.” I pulled my hand away.

His expression changed. “What you need is to get laid.” He winked.

I spewed a mouthful of coffee halfway across the table. At least, I missed the pastries.

 Blurb:

She’s at it again. Alex O’Hara just can’t say no to a new investigation. What do a 45-year-old boyfriend, a deadbeat dad, and a teenage runaway have in common? All new cases. With no receptionist, phone and internet problems, and her own boyfriend in the wind, Alex has no idea how she’ll manage. But the question for the past three months is why did Nick disappear. Is this the end of O’Hara & Palzetti? 



Amazon US ~ Amazon UK ~ Kobo ~ iBooks ~ B&N ~ Smashwords


Be sure to check out the other WeWriWa authors. Stay safe and have a great week!



  


Thursday, April 8, 2021

Guest: Veronica Scott #NewRelease COLONY ON FIRE #review

 I'm excited to welcome back Veronica Scott who has a new release. I'm such a fan girl of Veronica's, her books are always a 1-click for me. At the end of the post, I've posted my review. 



Thanks for having me as your guest! I’m a huge fan of your blog and your books so it’s great to be here.

My latest book COLONY ON FIRE, is a bit different for me because I’m writing a series where I’m following the same couple in each book. Saffia the human doctor and Micah the Calinurra Chief Ranger first appeared in COLONY UNDER SIEGE and I found I really enjoyed the world I’d created and wanted to ‘stay there’ and tell more stories about it and watch the two of them grow in their relationship.


As I mentioned last year when explaining the first book, Haven Two is loosely inspired by an island where I have relatives, which we used to visit in the summer when I was a kid. (All people and places in the books are fictional, however.)  The real island triples in population during the summer season, as wealthy off-islanders arrive and the divide between the two sets of people is quite clear. Since we had family on the island, we were almost-but-not-quite accepted and I’m sure I heard a lot of conversations about the whole topic when I was a kid. So perhaps more than most books I write, I personally feel at ‘home’ there and can visualize the setting quite clearly.

This book is standalone, however, and picks up in Saffia’s second year on the job. She owes the Sectors five years total as a colony doctor in order to get forgiveness on her medical school loans. Having fallen in love with Micah in the first year, she’s quite content – now – to stay.

Here’s the blurb:

When she came to Haven Two Dr. Saffia Mandell expected to grimly do her five years of medical service as the colony’s only doctor, work off her medical school debt and leave.  Then she’d fallen in love, handled an epidemic and become an accepted member of the community. Now, in her second year, she faces new challenges as the tinder dry planet heads into a fire season and a mysterious food allergy threatens the local restaurant’s reputation.

Chief Ranger Micah Navonn of the Calinurra never expected to fall in love with a human woman but Saffia was a special person who captured his heart and now means everything to him. Not all of his people are as enthusiastic about the situation and his efforts to handle the politics are getting complicated. Add to that an infestation by insects from another world, causing portions of the forest to die off and his plate is full.

When the jet stream shifts course and the fires rage, will the colonists and the Calinurra set aside their differences? With Saffia’s life hanging in the balance, can Micah arrive in time to save her and the colonists in jeopardy?

Life on Haven Two never lets up…

Amazon      Apple Books     Kobo     Nook     GooglePlay

Here’s an excerpt from her first trip to a remote village, in her refurbished mobile medical clinic. This part of the trip is based a tiny bit on the Fourth of July parades on the island I mentioned above, in that the real life parade would march down the main street, turn around and march back! One of my treasured memories is participating in that parade as a kid. The excerpt:

“This is a genuinely small town, doc. You coming up here is a huge thing to them, mark my words. I’m sure it’s the biggest news Northern Station’s had in a long time. The good thing is, there aren’t that many residents so even if there’s a crowd, it’ll be tiny.” Micah snapped his fingers as a new thought clearly occurred to him. “We should make a bet.”

“On what?” she asked, genuinely curious.

“Whether there’s a parade.”

Saffia burst out laughing at the ludicrous suggestion. “Oh come on, don’t be ridiculous. Of course they wouldn’t do anything so silly.”

Utterly serious, Micah shrugged. “I don’t know. Bet me.”

Willing to play along and take the minimal risk, she asked, “What are the stakes of this awesome bet?”

His answer was prompt. “I win, you take an extra day off and go on a day hike with me. We haven’t made nearly enough time for exploring the wilderness lately. I have a special fishing spot and a waterfall I want to show you.”

Saffia decided to negotiate for something important to her. “All right. And if I win and there’s no parade, I want a kitten.”

A few minutes later they flew over the town and she studied the vids with interest. “This place is tiny. I mean, I knew it was nowhere near as big as the main village on the coast but wow—I might have overestimated how much time to allocate for this trip.” There’d been a short main street strip lined by shops, with a few houses scattered around, a school and a small office building and that was the extent of Northern Station.

“Most of the people live in the woods on large lots,” Micah said calmly as Saffia circled the bare landing pad on the south side of town. “Each household its own little forest kingdom. You’ll see. The mine is a few miles further north.”

Proud of her new skills as a pilot, Saffia set Gretchen smoothly on the edge of the paved space and heaved a deep sigh as she cut the power.

“I could have flown part of the time,” Micah said, studying her. He rose, stepped behind her chair and massaged her shoulders. “Your muscles are tight enough to snap.”

She rolled her head side to side, enjoying the pressure of his strong fingers, working the tension out. “I’ll be all right. It was important for me to prove to myself I could fly Gretchen up here solo since you can’t exactly drop everything to accompany me each time.”

There was a knock on the cockpit door and Roann the nurse along for the trip stuck her head in. “Hey, you guys, sorry to interrupt and all but there’s kind of a brass band waiting outside.”

“What?” Saffia straightened in shock and Micah stepped out of the way as she surged to her feet. Activating the outer vids she saw her nurse wasn’t kidding. A group was waiting on the edge of the landing pad and there did indeed seem to be a small band.

“Told you.” Micah was gracious enough in victory not to laugh as he stood aside for her to pass on the way out into the main cabin. “Face it, you’re a big deal, doc.”

Normally she wasn’t vain about her appearance but Saffia wished she could take a moment to at least fix her hair a bit but she’d already kept the good people of Northern Station waiting long enough. Mortified, she triggered the portal and Gretchen’s ramp slid out as the panel moved efficiently aside. There was a cheer as she stepped onto the ground and the band struck up a slightly wavering rendition of a fanfare. With annoyance she was aware of Micah stifling his amusement behind her, whether he was taking delight in being right about the scale of her welcome or the dubious musicality of the band she had no idea.

Roann came behind him. “Whoa, the town is sure pulling out all the stops for us, doctor.”

There was now a banner waving with “WELCOME DR. MANDELL and STAFF” emblazoned on it.

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

So is there a parade? No spoilers from me!

Author Bio and Links:


USA Today Best Selling Author

 Veronica Scott grew up in a house with a library as its heart. Dad loved science fiction, Mom loved ancient history and Veronica thought there needed to be more romance in everything. When she ran out of books to read, she started writing her own stories.

Seven time winner of the SFR Galaxy Award, as well as a National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award, Veronica is also the proud recipient of a NASA Exceptional Service Medal relating to her former day job, not her romances!

 She read the part of Star Trek Crew Member in the official audiobook production of Harlan Ellison’s “The City On the Edge of Forever.”

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My Review:   5 Stars

Another treat from Veronica Scott. I was thrilled when I learned of this sequel to Interstellar Plague. I love this couple. Saffia & Micah are perfect for each other. Each is strong and independent yet are stronger together. Excellent world building, as always. The dangers they face are so real it kept me on the edge of my seat. Despite this being on a frontier planet, the instructions when facing a fire are just as relevant to us today. This story was just what I needed for escape.