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Monthly Archives: November 2020

Seelie Kay is a nom de plume for a writer, editor, and author with more than 30 years of experience in law, journalism, marketing, and public relations. When she writes about love and lust in the legal world, something kinky is bound to happen!  In possession of a wicked pen and an overly inquisitive mind, Ms. Kay is the author of 18 works of fiction, including the Kinky Briefs series, the Feisty Lawyers series, The Garage Dweller , A Touchdown to Remember, The President’s Wife , The White House Wedding, and The President’s Daughter.

When not spinning her kinky tales, Ms. Kay ghostwrites nonfiction for lawyers and other professionals. She r esides in a bucolic exurb outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she shares a home with her son and enjoys opera, gourmet cooking, organic gardening, and an occasional bottle of red wine.

Ms. Kay is an MS warrior and ruthlessly battles the disease on a daily basis. Her message to those diagnosed with MS:  Never give up. You define MS, it does not define you!

Beverley: Why do you write romance?

Seelie: Because I am fascinated by the games people play to find and secure a lasting relationship, which is not always love. There’s the chase, the courtship, the falling, the surrender. That’s what I try to capture in my stories.

Beverley: Do you prefer a certain type of romantic hero?

Seelie: I adore smart, dashing gentlemen who aren’t afraid to live on the edge. They can be a bad boy, a billionaire, a prince, or a secret agent. That hint of danger just hooks me! However, I they have to be paired with strong, independent women who aren’t afraid to fight for what they want, even love.

Beverley: Why did you write “The Last Christmas?”

Seelie: My father is 94-years-old and as you might expect, has had a number of serious medical, age-related events. Each time, we were told to prepare for his death. Each time, he survived. The fact was, my Dad wasn’t ready to die. And his children and his grandchildren weren’t ready to let him go either. So I started thinking about terminal diagnoses and how they are really a best guess, not a guarantee. That, of course, led to thoughts how a terminal diagnosis often causes people to give up and prematurely mourn the death of the person who is ill. I wondered how that impacted the outcome. And because I was preparing to write a holiday book, I also started thinking about the power of family, and how, time after time, families are capable of creating miracles.

That led me to “The Last Christmas.” Christmas truly is a time for miracles, and thought it important that everyone be able to experience one through the tale of the Wright Family.

  Blurb for The Last Christmas:

When the doctors say there’s no hope, Santa begs to differ. After all, he claims, miracles are love combined with action to get the desired result. And at Christmas time, everyone deserves a miracle!

David Wright is dying from cancer. He is not expected to see another Christmas. At least that’s what the medical professionals say. Fortunately, Santa begs to differ. After all, modern medicine is nothing more than a best guess. Santa believes anything is possible until you give up. When Santa tells David’s wife, Joan, that heaven is full and she has to keep her husband alive, she is beside herself. She has no medical skills. How can she save anyone’s life? Set your skepticism aside as Santa embraces a family already mourning their father’s terminal diagnosis and teaches them that a Christmas miracle doesn’t always require heavenly intervention. Sometimes, all it takes is a family with enough love to create their own. As Santa says, a true miracle is when love combines with action to get the desired results. And only humans are capable of that. Will Santa’s words fall on deaf ears? Or will Team Wright find a way to save their father’s life?

Excerpt from The Last Christmas

“It’s not about you, it’s about him, Joan.,” a grumbly voice said. “You’re looking at this all wrong.”

Joan turned so fast she almost lost her balance. She glared at the old man who had spoken. He was around seventy, with ruddy cheeks and twinkling blue eyes. And thick white hair. Lots of white hair. Flowing over his shoulders, winding up in a very lush beard. On top of his head was perched a brightly colored red knit hat. She frowned. “Wait a minute. You’re Santa Claus. Without the red suit, but clearly, you’re him. I’d know you anywhere.”

The man bowed and with a smile, said, “At your service.” He gestured toward a park across the street. “Let’s take a walk.”

“Oh, no. I’m not going anywhere with you.” Joan shook her head. “I didn’t mean you actually were Santa Claus. Everyone knows he doesn’t exist. I just meant you looked like him. You’re just a man who looks like him. I don’t know you. Why would I…” She glared at him. “You’re not even wearing a red suit. And since when has Santa taken up armchair psychiatry?”  She ran a hand through her blonde hair. “I must be hallucinating.” Despite her objections, she followed him across the street.

Santa laughed. “My dear, I have been dispensing advice since I was old enough to talk and make people listen. God chose my role a long time ago and I have gotten very good at it.” He looked toward the heavens. “Sorry, old boy. Still working on that humility!” He chuckled. “Man never stops reminding me.” He smiled at Joan. “Do you sense any ill-intentions from me? Of course not. I’m Santa . All I want to do is talk.”

Joan reached out and touched his shoulder.

He laughed again. A laugh that came directly from his belly. “Yes, I’m real. Well, as real as a centuries-old spirit gets. I even eat all those cookies children leave me each year. And let me tell you, that’s a heavenly feat.” Again, he looked skyward. “Yes, sir, I am well aware that borders on gluttony. A sin. You know darn well it has nothing to do with gluttony and everything to do with the magic of Christmas, an affirmation that Santa is real. I do it for the children.” He smiled at Joan. “Sometimes, He gets a little overbearing with his angels.”

He smirked. “Even God has his faults. He is by no means perfect.” A strong wind swirled through the plaza, nearly catching his knitted cap. He clapped his hand on his head to hold it down. He whispered, “And he doesn’t take criticism too well, either.”

Joan stared at the man. Surely, she was losing it. Santa a spirit, an angel? He and God didn’t even travel in the same circles. She shook her head, trying to make the hallucination go away.

Santa sighed. “I know, I know. You’ve been taught that I’m not real. That I’m a myth. That’s a rumor started by Satan himself, the old devil. He can’t stand the fact that people embrace the goodness in the world. And that I spread good cheer. He would much rather unleash a plague and make people miserable. He hates Christmas. He hates that the birth of Christ is celebrated, and his birth, well, is not. He really can’t stand the fact that love binds people so tightly during the holidays.” Santa shook his fist toward the ground. “The fool pouts all through the holidays.” He then sat up straight and gazed at Joan. “Christmas is really about love, you know. All kinds of love. The type of love he’ll never have. Love of family, love of children, love of—”

“What the heck do you want?” Joan blurted. “People are starting to stare.”

Buy links for The Last Christmas:

“The Last Christmas” is scheduled for release in December 11, 2020and will be available from all major booksellers, including–

Extasy Books:  Preorder Link Available November 27, 2020

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 Happy Thanksgiving to everyone celebrating today. As a Canadian, I celebrated the second Monday in October. As in the United States, we celebrate with family dinners and lots of food, but it’s not as big a day as the US celebration. Christmas tends to be a bigger holiday for us.

In the US the event, commonly called the “First Thanksgiving” was celebrated by the pilgrims after the first harvest in the New World in October, 1621. I was surprised because I thought it would be a date closer to the November date it’s celebrated on today.

Thanksgiving has been celebrated nationally on and off since 1789, after a proclamation by George Washington. Since 1863 it was been celebrated as a federal holiday every year. During the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincoln proclaimed a national day of “Thanksgiving and Praise to our beneficial Father who dwelleth in the Heavens,” to be celebrated on the last Thursday in November. Today Thanksgiving in the United States is a public holiday and still celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November.

Today it’s a huge family getting together around turkey stuffing and football. Everyone travels to be home for that day. There are a few differences between the Canadian and US dinner menu. Canadians stuff the turkey with sausage meat plus a regular stuffing. Brussel sprouts are the most popular vegetable and we always have pumpkin pie. The US have sweet potato pie with marshmallows, or a similar sweet potato dish. Pecan pie is popular for dessert.

Thanksgiving is the beginning of the holiday season which includes Christmas and the New Year. (Thank you, Wikipedia, for the historical information.)

This year, because of Covid, health experts are recommending people celebrate at home with only the people who live in the house. Six people or less. So stay safe, wear masks, social distance and enjoy the food and football. Next year we’ll have a normal Thanksgiving.    

The topic for this month’s group blog is to review or recommend a book, a short story, or an online article, or a post on someone’s blog. It’s an interesting topic, but I have a confession. I haven’t been reading lately. I have a huge TBR pile but life and the arrival of winter with two blizzards have left me staring at the pile. I did read Michelle Obama’s Becoming. I enjoyed it.

I usually read fiction, mostly romantic mysteries and suspense, not memoirs, but I’m a fan of Michelle Obama. I enjoyed this book. It is well-written and begins when she’s a young child and decides at age four she will play the piano, even though she’d never played. It an insight into her personality even at a young age. Her description of her family and extended family and life in Chicago is a down to earth picture of her upbringing and the life on a black family. She shares her honest experiences, both positive and negative, which shows her ambitions, her standards and her development into the person so many people admire.

I enjoyed her description of meeting Barack, her future husband, and the development of their relationship and love. How he proposed, beliefs and hers and how they worked through conflict. They both love children and how difficult it was for them to have their two girls.

As a reader and writer of romance, I enjoyed their story, as well as the journey to becoming president and first lady. I recommend this book.

Now I’m going to check out our other authors and their recommendations. Please join me.

Margaret Fieland Skye Taylor Diane Bator Anne Stenhouse Connie Vines Fiona McGier Dr. Bob Rich Beverley Bateman Rhobin L Courtright


Two writers in one. Daryl Devoré writes hot romances with sexy heroes and strong heroines and sweet romances with little to no heat. She has several published books available on Amazon in ebook or print book and available at other book retailers via Books2Read.

Daryl ( @daryldevore ) lives in an old farmhouse in Ontario, Canada, with her husband and 2 cats. Daryl loves to take long walks on her quiet country road or snowshoe across the back acres, and in the summer, kayak along the St. Lawrence River. She has touched a moon rock, a mammoth, and a meteorite. She’s been deep in the ocean in a submarine, flown high over Niagara Falls in a helicopter, and used the ladies room in a royal palace. Life’s an adventure and Daryl’s having fun living it.

Author Interview – Daryl Devore – Romance Author

I started out doing a Character Interview for this post, but as this is a 3-book collection, I had 3 alpha males all trying to answer and then the women wanted their turns. So, I bailed, and did an Author Interview.

Beverley: Which genre or genres do you write or prefer to write? And why?

Daryl: Well, as you know, Daryl, I primarily write romance, but in several different sub-genres. But during quarantine, I started a cozy mystery – but don’t tell anybody. It is nowhere near being completed.

Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?

Daryl: No one. Right? It was pretty well me saying, “Let’s give this a try. How hard could it be?” LMAO, now!

Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?

Daryl: The little muse who lives inside my head. I can suffer through droughts of no working on my latest WIP and then all of a sudden, the muse has it figured out and several chapters just pour out of me.

Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?

Daryl: Road Runner! Why? Beep! Beep!

Beverley: Who would you love most to meet ‘in person’ and why?

Daryl: Queen Elizabeth. I’d love her to drop by, take off her crown, kick off her shoes, sit back and just chat. She must have some amazing stories.

Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?

Daryl: LOL – Exactly what I am doing today – getting caught up on blogs and interviews and book promotions. Oh, you meant if I didn’t have any writing related stuff to do. Depends on the time of year. Summer, I can just sit and chill in my garden. Winter, I can just sit and chill on a beach and listen to the waves.

Beverley: What are you working on now?

Daryl: About 5 things at a time. I have just released this collection. I have 2 more collections waiting in the wings. Before they are released, my medieval fantasy romance will be coming out. Plus, I am changing my books written under Victoria Adams to under my name, so there is some updating and making new covers for those 4 books. Plus, I am writing a new story which is an offshoot from the medieval fantasy romance that comes out in January. It’s going to be a while before that book is ready to be released. Plus, there is the cozy mystery waiting and 8 or 9 starts on books.

Beverley: Well, you sure are busy.

Daryl: I know! How did I get into this situation?!?!

Beverley: Hoping that’s a rhetorical question.

Daryl: Le sigh. Well, off to choose an excerpt for this post. 3 stories to pick one from. Wish me luck.


If you love hot, billionaire romances, then Daryl Devoré’s collection is a must read. Three of her hottest billionaire romances bundled into one smouldering collection.

Desires – When secrets conflict with dreams, love explodes.

After a mistake by a surgeon’s scalpel shattered Fuchsia Quinn’s dance career, she picked up the pieces of her life and moved forward.

Peyton Lang, having run from an impoverished neighbourhood, lives the lifestyle of a successful billionaire.

Frustrated that his current multi-million-dollar project is stalled, Peyton drops in to LEATHER-ICIOUS for a quick drink and late night entertainment. What he saw was a beautiful redhead. What he found was he wanted her.

Two O’clock with the Billionaire – Sometimes, a woman has to do what a woman has to do.

Where Derek Davenport is concerned, women only had one thing in mind: trap him into a marriage.

Unemployed and nearing financial desperation, Arianne is forced to step out of her comfort zone. With minimal hours and excellent pay, she accepts the position of courtesan to a handsome billionaire.

Their sexual antics cause emotions neither is willing to admit. Will Arianne and Derek drive each other crazy…or will they fall in love first?

Two Truths and Lie – The legend of Robin Hood and Maid Marian with a twenty-first-century twist.

As if multiple planes crashes, a car accident, and a concussion isn’t enough, carefree Byn and straight-laced billionaire, Mark clash over Byn’s need for independence and Mark’s struggle with guilt pushing him in the opposite direction of love. When an art forger, an art thief and a ninety-year-old woman get involved the chance for true love for Byn and Mark fades.

All is lost until a children’s game is their only hope.

Scene Set – This is from Two Truths and a Lie . Mark offers to fly Byn home on his private jet. She slept on a sofa bed in the cabin.

I paused next to the dining room area table. On it was a large coffee machine with a timer set to start in five minutes. Next to that was a tray with a silver cover. I peeked under the lid. On a plate were muffins and Danishes.

Five minutes until the coffee started brewing. I could wait. I grabbed a muffin to snack on and returned to the bed and nestled back down. I lay next to Mark and listened to the soft sound of his breathing.

Why had the fates thrown us together? What could the Universe have in mind by pairing a cat burglar and a billionaire? It would probably make for a great romance, but right now it just seemed bizarre.

The first hint of coffee drifted across the air. My stomach rumbled. It recognized the smell. I slipped out of the warmth of the bed, put a couple of muffins on a plate and placed two mugs next to the coffee maker. After filling both cups, I stared at Mark’s coffee. The first coffee of the day was important. Get it wrong and the whole day would be ruined. I tried to visualize the coffee he’d drunk at the airport. Was it black? Light brown?

I, mentally, crossed my fingers for luck and poured in some cream. I hesitated by the sugar and decided he wasn’t a sugar user. I collected the mini breakfast, placed it on the end table next to the bed and settled back with my coffee.

Ahhh . That first sip of the day. In a few heartbeats, caffeine surged, slapping sleeping cells awake.

“Did you bring me one?” His voice held a teasing note.

“I brought myself two, but I’m guessing I could share. It’s got cream, no sugar. I wasn’t sure…”

“Perfect.” He rolled over and sat up, leaning against the back of the couch-bed. He yawned, rubbed his face then accepted his coffee.

“Muffin?” I held out the plate. “Blueberry or lemon poppy seed. I ate the chocolate chip one.”

“You ate the chocolate chip one? Oh, gawd, woman. How could you?” He grabbed the lemon poppy seed muffin.

“Um… I… I’m so sorry, I didn’t know. I—”

He tilted back his head and laughed. “Drink more coffee. You’re too easy to get first thing in the morning.”

“Ah. This is how it’s going to be.” I grinned.

He held his coffee. “I would like to explain how I ended up in bed with you.”

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Librarian, anthropologist, research assistant, Congressional aide, speechwriter, nonprofit director—M. S. Spencer has lived or traveled in five of the seven continents. She holds a BA from Vassar College, a diploma in Arabic Studies from the American University in Cairo, and Masters in Anthropology and in Library Science from the University of Chicago. All of this tends to insinuate itself into her works.

Ms. Spencer has published fourteen romantic suspense and mystery novels. She has two fabulous grown children and an exuberant granddaughter and currently divides her time between the Gulf Coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine.

B everley: Which genre or genres do you write or prefer to write? And why?

M.S.: I started out writing romantic suspense—heavy on the spicy romance. But corpses kept showing up in the middle of the plot and I finally gave up and went with cozy mystery. There’s still plenty of romance (although not as spicy as it used to be) but the emphasis is on the mystery. I enjoy writing mystery because concocting a puzzle, with lots of red herrings and complex twists, is very stimulating. Of course it means I go through 10 to 14 drafts before the story’s usually ready to submit!

Beverley: Who influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?

M.S.:  I have never known a time when I didn’t want to be a writer. Writers of the classics (except Charles Dickens) were especially influential. I have been a fanatical reader since my Dick and Jane days (I wonder who of your readers will know who they are?). I read everything I could get my hands on, focusing on biography, history, and fiction.

Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?

M.S.:  Often it’s a setting. I’m traveling and the place just cries out for a story. Flotsam & Jetsam: the Amelia Island Affair was born that way. Amelia Island is the southernmost of the Sea Islands and has a very rich history.

I first visited Amelia Island to attend the Amelia Island Book Festival, and was struck by the crazy quilt of events it had witnessed. Known as the Isle of Eight Flags, it had seen wave after wave of conquering armies, some big—like the Spanish, and some tiny—like the Patriots of Amelia Island, who mustered nine gunboats and maybe a hundred men. Timucuan Indians, French, Spanish, pirates, Scots mercenaries, Confederate and Union soldiers—all occupied the tiny island at one point or another. It also has a sizable Geechee (Gullah) community. Faced with a setting like that, who wouldn’t want to craft a nice little murder mystery?

Beverley: Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?

M.S.:  My favorite animated movie character is Megamind. He is sooo sweet and wistful. I’m not generally big on animated cartoons. If you mean the funny papers—it has to be Calvin and Hobbes. We (my family) have the entire set of his published compilations—and regularly steal them from each other.

Beverley: Who would you love most to meet ‘in person’ and why?

M.S.:  A new love of my life. Widowed for 20 years, I would so like to meet a nice, companionable, interesting, lively man.

Beverley: If you had an unexpected free day what would you do with it?

M.S.:  Write.

Beverley: What are you working on now?

M.S.:  I’m eagerly awaiting the January release of Mrs. Spinney’s Secret from The Wild Rose Press. I don’t have a date or link yet, but here’s the blurb:

What do you do when Hollywood takes over your tiny Maine village to make a movie?

Cassidy Beauvoir, chair of the board of overseers of Amity Landing, is ready to throw the bums out; that is, until she meets Jasper MacEwan, the director of American Waterloo: the Rout of the Penobscot Expedition . It’s instant attraction until a series of deadly incidents threatens their budding romance. Are the attacks directed at the movie crew or the townspeople?

As the two search for answers, the trail leads them to long-held secrets of the worst naval defeat of the American Revolution—including betrayal, murder, and a lost hoard of English gold.

My current WIP is tentatively entitled Hidden Gem: The Treasure of St. Augustine . Here’s the story:

In 1982 Byron Preiss published The Secret , which told the tale of the fairy folk who left Europe and made their way to the New World. The twelve nations carried with them their totems–twelve precious gems. When Men began arriving in the New World, the Shining Ones buried the stones and hid themselves. In Hidden Gem: the Treasure of St. Augustine , Philo Brice, proprietor of an antique map and book store, meets Barnaby Swift, in St. Augustine to teach a seminar in research methods. His plan is to use the Secret hunt as a guide and sets them to search for the sapphire thought to be hidden somewhere in the city. Their adventure begins with a murder, and continues in the same vein with bodies dropping here and there. Meanwhile, Barnaby and Philo explore the First City, seek the treasure, and bumble their way into romance.

Blurb for   Flotsa m and Jetsam: the Amelia Island Affair :

Who’s littering the park with corpses?

State Park Rangers Simon Ribault and Ellie Ironstone are used to dealing with messy campers and ravaging raccoons, but when three bodies wash up on the beach, they mobilize all their powers of deduction. Who are they and how did they get to the shore of Amelia Island? Are they connected to the secretive League of the Green Cross? Or linked to a mysterious Jamaican drug ring?

Ellie, new to Amelia Island, must penetrate a close-knit community if she wants to find answers to the mystery, all while deciding between two rivals for her affection: Thad, the handsome local idol, and Simon, the clever, quirky bookworm.

Simon, for his part, will have to call on his not-so-well-honed romantic prowess to lure Ellie away from Thad and at the same time use his wide-ranging research skills to solve the case.

Simon has been mooning over Ellie for six months, with little to show for it. It takes three corpses—plus a bit of goosing from his best friend Georgia—to  bring them together.

Excerpt: Hope Springs

As they crossed the street, a fire-engine red Miata barely missed them. It skidded to a stop, and a woman who would put Christie Brinkley to shame leapt out of the car. Simon, accustomed to the sight of her waist-length black hair and eyes a remarkable malachite green, didn’t notice Ellie’s slack jaw. He called, “Hey, Georgia, how’s Santa’s garage? You didn’t unwrap any presents, did you?”

She ran over to them, her short skirt making the long, Tina Turner legs seem even longer. She kissed Simon’s cheek and smiled at Ellie. “You must be Simon’s new partner. Does he treat you as badly as he treats his other colleagues?”

Ellie made a garbled sound in her throat.

She turned to Simon. “Dollink, I’m only down for a few days, and I need to talk to you. Can you come to dinner tonight?”

Simon started to make a joke about checking his social calendar but caught sight of Ellie’s face. She looked pained. What the—?

“Well?” Georgia tugged at his arm.

“Oh, um, sure. What do you want me to bring?”

“Some of that fabulous Italian bubbly you brought the last time. It gave me such a buzz.” She winked at

Ellie, who blinked. “Seven?”


Georgia turned on her heel and ran back to her car, starting up just as the two drivers behind her had stopped admiring her attributes and begun to fret. She roared off.

“Who…who was that?”

Simon turned surprised eyes on her. “I’m sorry. I should have introduced you. Georgia Petrie.”

“Oh. Your friend from law school.”

“Uh huh.” He gazed at the cloud of dust, the only sign of her passing. “We grew up together.” Ellie muttered something.

“Excuse me?”


“Did you ask if Georgia had seen me naked?”

“Me? That’s absurd.” Ellie plopped into the driver’s seat and waved angrily at Simon. “Get in.”

Simon did as he was told. On the drive back to the station, they were both quiet. Simon rubbed a meditative finger over his lips, wondering. What set Ellie off anyway? A thought intruded. No, couldn’t be.

He checked her profile. Nah. But his mouth formed a hopeful smile, and he leaned back, humming his favorite tune.   

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Barbara White Daille lives with her husband in the sunny Southwest. Though they love the warm winters and the lizards in their front yard, they haven’t gotten used to the scorpions in the bathroom. Barbara also loves writing, reading, and chocolate.  Sign up for her newsletter to keep up with the latest in her writing life:  https:/ / .

Blurb from snowbound with mr. wrong:

Worst. Day. Ever. After Lyssa Barnett’s sister tricks her into reprising her role at Snowflake Valley’s annual children’s party, she doesn’t think anything can be worse than squeezing into her too-small elf costume. Then tall, dark, and way too handsome Nick Tavlock shows up to play Santa…and an unexpected storm leaves them snowbound in the isolated lodge.

The last thing Nick wants is to spend a cozy Christmas Eve with a trio of kids and the woman who dumped him. But as much as Lyssa frustrates him, he can’t stop thinking about her. And soon, he’s fighting very un-Santa-like thoughts of kissing a certain sexy Miss Elf under the mistletoe. As Nick starts to fall for Lyssa all over again, he knows it will take nothing short of a miracle to have Lyssa in his arms on Christmas Day.

Excerpt from snowbound with mr. wrong :

Here’s a clip from the beginning of the book, just after Nick has seen Lyssa for the first time:

Someone’s going to pay for this .

Nick Tavlock stared at the woman in the elf costume and swore under his breath. When his so-called friend and associate Michael DeFranco had roped him into playing Santa at his lodge for a second year, he’d agreed to do the man the favor. Michael brought a lot of business his way. But this was pushing friendship and client satisfaction too far.

He’d had Michael’s word there would be a new elf this year.

He had barely set foot in the door before Michael’s housekeeper, Amber, had hustled him upstairs. On the way, she’d thrown an excellent one-two punch, first breaking the bad news that Michael wasn’t showing for the party, then attempting to soften that blow by assuring him all the kids were eager for his appearance.

She hadn’t lied. He could see the proof of her words right here in front of him. But she had forgotten to close with the kicker—that her sister would be here, too.

He swallowed his irritation. Or tried to. “Lyss—”

“Hello, Santa!” she interrupted with a meaningful glance at the kids around them.

“Saved by an elf,” he murmured. “Almost put my boot in my mouth with that one, didn’t I?” He was still trying to pick his jaw up off the floor after the enthusiasm of her greeting. Too bad she hadn’t meant that beautiful smile for him. Too bad she had dumped him months ago, or he’d have had more chances to see that smile of hers.

  “Thanks for the warm welcome. A big surprise, considering the chill of your last good-bye.”

“Those Arctic blasts at the North Pole will do that to an elf.” She smiled again, but her eyes didn’t meet his. “So…Santa, are you ready to hear some wish lists?”

“Sure am,” he said in his best jolly-old-Saint-Nick voice.

He followed her to the velvet-covered chair set in a cleared space beyond the fireplace. Though the flames danced behind a safety screen several yards away, he’d already started to sweat. And it didn’t have a thing to do with the fire or the extra padding inside this Santa suit.

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I’m a Canadian and here November 11th  is officially called Remembrance Day, but it is also known as Armistice Day and Poppy Day. Remembrance Day marks the anniversary of the official end of the World War I hostilities on November 11, 1918. The artificial red poppy symbolizes those who died.  

Veterans and Legion members volunteer to sell the poppies in malls and in front of grocery stores and liquor stores. They begin right after Halloween. And it’s by donation – any amount. Banks, insurance companies and smaller stores have poppies available with a donation box for those standing inn line to deal with a cashier.

Most Canadians wear the artificial poppy in their lapels to honor those who died in WW1 and WW2 until November 11 th .  

The poem, “In Flanders Fields”, written by John McCrae, in May 1915 is read, printed, and shared at this time. Apparently during the early days of the Second Battle of Ypres a young Canadian artillery officer, Lieutenant Alexis Helmer, was killed on 2nd May, 1915 in the gun positions near Ypres. An exploding German artillery shell landed near him. He was serving in the same Canadian artillery unit as a friend of his, the Canadian military doctor and artillery commander Major John McCrae.

As the brigade doctor, John McCrae was asked to conduct the burial service for Alexis because the chaplain had been called away somewhere else on duty that evening. It is believed that later that evening, after the burial, John began the draft for his now famous poem “In Flanders Fields”.

I learned this poem in school (many, many years ago) and still remember it.

In Flanders Fields”, by John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie

In Flanders fields.

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

Can you believe November is here? And the year of Covid is almost over. November is a busy month. NaNoWriMo, Veteran’s Day, Thanksgiving and if you’re in a northern area probably snow and the arrival of winter. And many of us move indoors. I was curious and wondered what statistics I could find about whether writing increases during colder months. I couldn’t find anything, but I did find some interesting labour stats. It’s not specific to fiction writers or indie authors. Check these out.

There were 131, 200 writers/authors in 2019. Sixty-three percent are self-employed (Indie). They usually have a bachelor’s degree in English, communications, or journalism and earned $63,200 or $30.39/hour in 2019. The lowest ten present earned less than #33,660 and the highest earned  more than @122,450.The outlook is that employment for writer/authors will decrease by 2 percent over the next ten years.

Some of the areas where writers are employed are as biographers, bloggers, content writers, copywriters, novelists, playwrights, screenwriters and speechwriters. Some of the novelists are-self-employed (Indie). One of the advantages for writer/authors is they may work anywhere, usually where they access to a computer and maybe Wi-Fi. 

This information came from the Occupational Outlook Handbook communication/writers-and-authors.htm#tab-8 part of the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, if you want to read any more.  If you have any comments, please share.


Can you believe it’s November, already? We’re closing in on the end of 2020.The American Thanksgiving is only a few weeks away and could be quite different because of Covid. I’m Canadian and we had our Thanksgiving in October and it was mostly quiet with little travel and only a few close relatives for dinner. When the public health recommendations for limited numbers and social distancing weren’t followed there were spikes in the disease and hospitalizations. Sigh… Hopefully we’ll get it under control and 2021 will be a little more normal. 


For writers this should be a good thing. We are staying home and have more time to write. Not sure that has worked for me until now, but I have caught up on many things I wanted to get done and even taken a couple of workshops. And I did get that treadmill. I’m using it about 5 days a week so that’s good. I’m writing more, at least 100 words a day, and I’ve signed up to do Nano. I’m hoping to finish Lydia’s Story. We’ll see how that goes. 


Veteran’s Day is on November 11th. For Canadians, but and wear your poppy. And for people in both countries please remember those who have served. For my American friends and readers, Happy Thanksgiving. 


Please stay safe and follow public health recommendations.

Here’s the link to order. 




Here’s another excerpt from Death Southern Style. 


In her room she aimed for the closet. She opened the door and pushed the hangers to one side. Her hands skimmed over the wainscoting about three feet from the floor. It took a couple of tries to find the right spot. It had been awhile. The back wall swung open to reveal a small room, barely big enough to house two people. Julie Ann slipped through the door and closed it behind her. 

It was dark and dusty. Faint moonlight filtered down through a cobweb covered vent in the top corner of the room. It highlighted the tiny dust particles floating down. Against the side wall stood a small cot covered with a gray blanket. Her old worn panda sat on the cot, propped up against a pillow.

It had been a long time since she had been in here. Mom showed it to her when Julie Ann was about two years old. She called it the safe room. She taught Julie Ann that if she was ever scared or thought someone might be after her, she was to go into the room, close the door and wait for her mother to come and get her.

That never happened, although they did practice it occasionally. Julie Ann always thought of it as a game and mostly she would sneak in and have tea parties with her dolls.

She put the voodoo doll beside her panda.

A few years later, she’d asked her mother about it. Perrine said she’d had it built in case of emergencies. Julie Ann never really understood the need for a safe room. No one else had one, but it was fun to play there.

Now she realized her mother had built the renovation for protection. Even back then, after she adopted a child, she was concerned someone might be after them, or after Julie Ann. The renovation had taken a few feet from large closets on each side and a section at the back of the bathroom. The peaked roof gave enough height you could actually stand up. It had been well planned and a lot of work. Her mother had built it for her and Julie Ann’s safety, but from what.  Or who? It sounded like it might be from Julie Ann’s birth mother. Had she also been murdered? 

And the room hadn’t helped Perrine because she’d been killed outside, before she could get up here.

Julie Ann sat down on the cot, pulled her panda into her arms and hugged it tightly against her chest. Her other hand fondled the packet in her pocket Priestess Ava had given her.

A floorboard creaked on the stairs.

She held her breath, clutched the panda to her chest and tiptoed to the door. She put her ear against the panels.

Muffled footsteps moved through the room. The closet door opened and closed.

“Damn,” a husky voice muttered.

The closet door slammed shut. The footsteps moved off.

Julie Ann continued to squeeze her panda. She held her breath, then let it out slowly so it didn’t make a sound. Someone had broken into the house. She hadn’t heard them. If she hadn’t been in the secret room, they might have found her and done…what? She could only guess.

Were they looking for her? Did they want to kill her, like they had her mother? But why? She didn’t know anything.

After several minutes of silence, Julie Ann dug into her bag, pulled out her cell phone and punched in a number.


You can follow me and check out where I’ll be this month – and some have giveaways:   


October 1 – December 1 Holiday Mega Giveaway Rafflecopter with give-aways.  

November 11 Killer Crafts and Crafty Killers  

November 21 Group Blog Review or recommend a book, a short story, or an online article. Check it out on my blog at 

Beverley Bateman Blogger

And you can follow me follow me on my blog Tuesday and Thursday at for how I’m doing, tips, hints and guest authors.