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Monthly Archives: October 2021

Halloween is celebrated in Canada on October 31. It is a day to mark the single night in the year when, according to old Celtic beliefs, spirits  and the dead can cross over into the world of the living. Some people hold parties and children may trick-or-treat in their neighborhood.

Halloween has Celtic origins. In pre-Christian times, many people believed that spirits from the underworld and ghosts of dead people could visit the  world of the living on the night of October 31. These spirits could harm the living or take them back to the underworld. To avoid this, people started dressing up as ghosts and spirits if they left their homes on October 31. They hoped that this would confuse the ghosts and spirits. Halloween was also a time, when spirits might give messages to people. In some areas, it was traditional for unmarried girls to poor molten lead into water. The shape that the lead took when it hardened was seen as a clue to the  professions of their future husbands. Halloween traditions were brought to Canada by Irish and Scottish immigrants. Some people put a lot of effort into decorating their homes, yards and drives. They may even construct life-size replica graveyards or dungeons and invite people from the neighborhood to view their creations or hold a themed party.  Other people may organize fancy dress parties for adults or children. Popular activities at parties include watching horror films and trying to make fellow guests jump in fright. Many children go out to play trick-or-treat. They dress up as ghosts, witches, skeletons or other characters and visit homes in their neighborhood. They ring doorbells and, when someone answers, they call out “trick-or-treat”. This means that they hope to receive a gift of candy or other snacks and that they are  threatening to play a trick if they do not get anything. Usually, they receive a treat and tricks are rarely carried out. There are special types of food associated with Halloween. These included candies in packets decorated with symbols of Halloween, toffee apples made by coating real apples with a boiled sugar solution, roasted corn, popcorn and pumpkin pie or bread. After several incidences of dangerous objects in apples  and other food, now the treats are usually something purchases and packaged. Halloween beer, which is made by adding pumpkin and spices to the mash before fermenting it, is also available in specialist stores. Children also take part in a long-standing Canadian tradition of “Trick-or-Treat for Unicef”. Pumpkin-carving contests, pumpkin art tours, a reading marathon,   and symbolic Walks for Water are just a few examples of the educational and fundraising activities schools and children develop to help provide thousands of children developing countries with basic quality education.  Do you have any special Halloween traditions? Do you decorate your house?

As a breast cancer survivor (three times) this month holds a special place for me. Almost everyone knows someone who has, or has had, breast cancer, or maybe it’s you and you’re a survivor. Do you “Run for the Cure?” Do you donate to Breast Cancer this month? No, I’m not hustling for donations, but through more research, more and more people survive. I’ve known several people who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Many years ago, they didn’t survive Now diagnosis, treatment, and prognosis have improved thanks to research.

Two of my three diagnosis were discovered by a mammogram. (The other one was a feeling I had and told my family doctor, and he ordered a mammogram, so I guess all three were). I know there are pros and cons about mammograms. Pros- They do save lives. They are estimated to reduce cancer deaths by 15%. Cons – Some people will undergo treatment for no reason, because the identified cancer would never have grown. Women may experience psychological distress, anxiety and uncertainty for years because of an inaccurate result. This comes from a report at http s://   And some cancers are too aggressive and virulent to control, no matter how early they are picked-up.

Obviously, I recommend mammograms, at least women should be doing a monthly self breast check for any lumps or changes. Always remember to check the lymph nodes in the armpit. If you do have a mammogram and it shows abnormalities, they may do an ultrasound. Doctors may also use the ultrasound to do a fine wire biopsy of the area and send it to the lab for testing.  

There are several other types of biopsies that may be done. If the results show cancer cells, treatment is usually surgery. It may be a lumpectomy or a mastectomy. And may also include radiation, chemotherapy, or hormone therapy.

I found my recent experience rather amusing. (After two previous experiences you don’t get as concerned) I had my routine mammogram. Something showed up. I had an ultrasound. Not sure what it was so a fine needle biopsy was booked. I had the biopsy and the doctor at the time said it didn’t really look like cancer. It was very small. But if it was cancer, he said they had probably removed it all int the tissue sample. The lab said it was cancer and they booked a lumpectomy. The doctor did the lumpectomy and sent it off to the lab. It came back no sign of cancer. My doctor is most upset. Had she missed the spot? Was it somewhere else? I explained that they had probably got it with the biopsy. I don’t think she thought that was possible. People are still unsure and confused about this. I gather this is not common.  😊

If you have a comment or story to share, I’d love to hear it.  

Shiela Stewart is a paranormal suspense author with a writing history that stems back to her youth.  Always a dreamer, wondering if her stories would ever reach an audience, she was finally published in 2006 and hasn’t stopped since.  It is rare to find a stand-alone book as she prefers series stories. Her longest running series to date is her Darkness series, which is a vampire romance.

Her joy for scary suspense is evident in each of her books. She has had several accomplishments, including fighting for the top spot in the rankings with author Stephanie Myers, receiving glowing reviews as well as interviews on local television and reviews and interviews in The Romantic Times Magazine.

When not writing, Shiela spends her time with the love of her life, William, and their children and grandchildren. Her strong affection for animals is evident in the many cats she cares for.

Her favorite time of the day is at sunset.

Character Interview

Beverley: What’s your name?

C.J.: C.J. Dowling the 2nd . I was named after my grandfather.

Beverley: Where did you grow up?

C.J.: It takes place in current time but shifts back to early 1900’s.

Beverley: What’s your story/back story? Why would someone come up with a story about you?

C.J.: Why wouldn’t they? I’m smart, Charismatic, handsome—all joking aside, my story is incredibly fascinating. I was born with the ability to see and communicate with ghosts. I know, I can hear everyone snorting and laughing. I’ve received that reaction all my life. I don’t why I can see spirits, I just know I can’t avoid them. You’re not alone in thinking I’m crazy. My family did as well. So much so, they sent me to psychiatrists and even had me committed. You’ll have to read my story to find out why they believe me now.

Beverley: What’s your goal in this story?

C.J.: To put the dead to rest. I’ve been called to help put an end to a torturous spirit refusing to leave his house. He is not a nice man.

Beverley: What conflicts are you facing?

C.J.: I want to put an evil spirit to rest, he is determined to stick around. Let me tell you, it’s not easy.

Beverley: Do you have a plan for resolving them?

C.J.: Yes, I do. I have to find what is keeping the spirit tethered to the house. And, I have a secret weapon who helps me.

Beverley: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?

C.J.:  I’m very stubborn. Some might say it’s a flaw, but I disagree. I’m perfectionist, again, some might say it’s a flaw. I have a wicked and sometimes warped sense of humor. And I’m a lover. I’ll just leave it like that. J

Blurb from Secrets of the Dead:

Jessica Coltrane is a die-hard sceptic who believes that ghosts and paranormal activity are nothing more than a figment of an overactive imagination. That is until she finds herself locked inside a haunted house with the enigmatic paranormal investigator C.J. Dowling.

Born with the ability to see and speak to the dead, C.J. Dowling thought investigating a haunted house would be a job like many others. He’s prepared for anything—except smart and sexy Jessica.

Working together in close quarters, C.J. and Jessica discover it isn’t only negative tension between the two, but sexual as well. Giving into their desires seemed like a good idea at the time, until they wake and find the spirits thought otherwise. Trapped with the ghost of a child long forgotten, an amorous entity that is threatening Jessica, and a powder keg of a spine-tingling mystery that might just be better left buried.

Excerpt from Secrets of the Dead:

Something tickled her nose. Using her hand, she tried to swipe it away and felt the brush of hair against her knuckles. Planting her hand, she felt the warm flesh beneath her palm.

Recognition hit and woke her with an angry slap. Eyes shooting open, she sat up quickly and instantly regretted it when the room spun wildly around her. Laying back down, closing her eyes, she waited out the dizziness the hangover caused. Her mind raced to the night before.

The soft ache in her loins reminded her of what she’d done. Carefully opening her eyes, she turned her head to see a naked C.J. beside her.

“Oh, God.” She looked over his naked body, remembering how good it felt having him inside her. She hadn’t been that drunk that she couldn’t remember the event, and lord, what an event it had been. They had literally torn each other’s clothing off. She’d been an animal, which was so not like her.

What did they do now? Would they go on as they had been, sniping at each other, treat this as a one-night fling and move on? In truth, the guy irritated the hell out of her, yet he’d made her feel so incredible the night before. How was she supposed to respond to him now, after sharing something so intimate?

“Dowling,” she spoke quietly. “Dowling.” When he moaned, she slapped his chest. “Dowling!”


“Wake up.”

“I’m awake.” He looked at her with a smile. “Morning.” Then his eyes went wide. “Holy hell.” He bolted upright and jumped to his feet, nearly knocking her over. “Oh, my God.”

“What the hell?” The sofa stood on its end, two sitting chairs slammed up right against it, all pushed against the window. The coffee and end tables stood one on top of the other, in front of the fireplace.

Carefully, Jessie stood up, waiting out the dizziness. She had to rub her eyes to make sure she wasn’t seeing things. It looked like a hurricane had blown through. “How…”

“I need to check my equipment.” He flew off, still nude, and she got one hell of a look at his ass.

She saw her shirt by the fireplace, straps torn. She couldn’t exactly wear it in its condition. Spotting his shirt hanging over the couch, she grabbed it and put it on. It barely covered her, but would have to do for now.

“This is incredible. The meters went off the scale. The temperature recorded several degrees below freezing at one point. It didn’t last long, though, as it rose exponentially. And we slept through it all. Damn, I have never seen anything like this before. It’s phenomenal.”

“You’re naked, you know?”

“What?” He didn’t even look up.

“You’re naked.” She tossed him his jeans, hitting him square in the face.

Unaffected by it, he grabbed the jeans and slipped into them using his free hand.  It amused her to watch him shimmy into his tight jeans, jumping from one foot to the other. “The cameras!” He rushed to the video equipment as he did up his pants. “Do you know what this means?”

“That you were a busy boy last night.”

He looked at her, confused. “Beg pardon?”

“I don’t know how you managed it all alone, but I give you credit for a job well done.”

“You think I did all of this?”

“No, I know you did all of this. Boy, you’ll do anything to make me a believer.”

His eyes narrowed and his voice dipped an octave. “You think I did all of this just to make you believe there are ghosts here?”


“Fine.” Walking to her, he grabbed her arm and led her to the camera.

“Let go of me.”

“Not until you see this.” Taking her by the shoulders, he turned her to face the monitor attached to one of the cameras. “Watch.” He pressed play.

Folding her arms across her chest, Jessie glared at the screen. He’d recorded them having sex.

“Oh my God, you taped us making out? How could you?”

“I have my cameras set on timers that begin taping on their own. I didn’t know we were going to go at it like rabbits last night. Watch.”

“You will erase those tapes,” she insisted, then grunted when he turned her face back to the monitor. “What the hell?”

“Keep watching.”

She couldn’t pry her eyes away if she tried. The furniture lifted in the air, spun around wildly before they slammed in front of the fireplace and window. “Oh my god!”

“My sentiments exactly. I need to check the rest of the house.” He left her mesmerized in front of the TV.

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Alice lives in London, UK, with her husband and son. By day she’s a compliance manager for a pharmaceutical company. By night she writes fantasy romance about shape-shifting mermen, water monsters and time-traveling witches. Her first book, “A Merman’s Choice,” was published in January 2019. It is the first book in the Sea of Love fantasy romance series, inspired by the landscapes and legends of Brittany and Wales. The second and third books, “Music for a Merman,” and “Mermaids Marry in Green,” are out now. Alice loves reading and writing stories, and sharing them with anyone who’s interested!

Character Interview:

Beverley: What’s your name? 

Bryony: Bryony Benetynn

Beverley: Where did you grow up?

Bryony: On the Morvann Islands, a remote archipelago off the coast of Wales, the homeland of my people, the shifter merfolk.

Beverley: During what time period does your story take place?

Bryony: Over two days and one night, in Las Vegas.

Beverley: What’s your story/back story? Why would someone come up with a story about you?

Bryony: I think I’m the first openly gay mermaid in the Morvann Islands. When I fell in love with a sexy witch, Maia, my family couldn’t accept that relationship. Maia and I decided to run off to Las Vegas, where we could live and love in peace. My author wanted to tell my story for the BVS collection of LGBTQIA+ romance stories, “Rainbow Desire”.

Beverley: What’s your goal in this story?

Bryony: My goal is to make my girlfriend Maia happy. But I am worried that she is hiding something from me – or perhaps that she is getting bored of a life among ordinary humans… or even bored with me.

Beverley: What conflicts are you facing?

Bryony: When Maia’s ex, the hot warlock Ariel, turns up, I discover the truth about Maia’s hurried flight from London, and the providential casino win that enabled us to buy our house in Vegas. Also, I can’t help being attracted to Ariel… which of course creates a conflict with Maia.

Beverley: Do you have a plan for resolving them?

Bryony: I don’t have time to come up with a plan… Maia turns up and the afternoon takes a turn for the better…

Beverley: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?

Bryony: I work at the Gran Mar hotel. I take part in their mermaid show. I’m the only real mermaid in the tank!

Blurb for Rainbow Desire

Rainbow Desire is a celebration of life and love in its kaleidoscope of exotic rainbow colours. The stories within the book also reflect its vibrant shades of romance from light to dark. I hope you will enjoy the wealth of narratives in this glorious LGBTQ+ anthology.

Blurb for Love Comes in Many Shapes

Bryony, a shifter mermaid, has run away with sexy witch Maia, and now they’re living the dream in Las Vegas. But Maia is hiding a secret. When her ex, a super-hot warlock, turns up, Bryony can’t fight her attraction to him. Will she choose him? Or Maia? Or both?

Excerpt from Rainbow Desire

Unlike the other mermaids, Bryony had her own changing room. She’d insisted on it as part of her contract with the hotel. It was little more than a broom cupboard, but she could close the door, and that was all that mattered. No one could see her change into her aquatic shape. No one could discover that, unlike the girls in swimsuits giggling outside, she was the real deal. A shape shifting mermaid from the Morvann Islands in Wales.

She checked the clock on the wall. Twenty-five minutes to go. Damn, she’d cut it a bit fine. She kicked off her sandals and peeled off her shorts and T-shirt. Her skin was darkening, turning a pearly grey, and thickening. She wiggled her fingers and toes, as if that would make the webs grow faster. She wished there was a way to accelerate the shifting process. Perhaps she’d ask Maia to do some research. One of the books of spells she’d brought from London might contain the answer.

A rap on the door. “Ten minutes!” the stage manager called out.

“Coming!” Bryony could feel her tail pushing at last through her buttocks. Her curly brown hair retracted into her skull. Her nose was flattening, leaving only a single nostril that she could close at will.

Finally, she was ready. She opened the door. The other mermaids were already lining up, shuffling forward on their fake fish tails. Bryony padded along the corridor on her webbed feet to join the back of the queue.

“Off you go, ladies.” The stage manager lifted the black curtain, revealing the ladder that climbed the side of the tank. The lights were dimmed, to hide their entrance. One by one the fake mermaids shimmered up the rungs of metal and dived into the aquarium. Oohs and aahs rose from the invisible audience in the theatre.

Bryony grabbed the ladder and made her ascent, a lot slower than her colleagues. Webbed hands and feet were not designed for climbing. At last she made it to the top and plunged headlong into the cool water.

The lights brightened. A stunned silence greeted her. She was used to it. She didn’t match most people’s idea of a mermaid. She swam to the bottom of the aquarium and pressed her face to the glass.

The vast room was full of people, lined up on the rows of seats, or around tables in the bar area. And Maia sat in the front row, less than a yard away. A huge smile lit up her lovely face. Her blue eyes sparkled. “Now that’s the best mermaid I’ve ever seen!” she said in a loud voice.

She did this every night. “We French call it la claque, ma cherie,” she’d said. “Friends posing as theatre goers, who clap and cheer to encourage the rest of the audience.”

The warm glow in Bryony’s chest spread through her limbs. Maia always had her back. She was lover, best friend, and cheerleader rolled into one. “My girl,” Bryony whistled, in the language of the merfolk, and blew her a kiss.

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Augustina Van Hoven was born in The Netherlands and currently resides in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and pets.   She is an avid reader of romance, science fiction and fantasy.   When she’s not writing she likes to work in her garden or in the winter months crochet and knit on her knitting machines.  

Character Interview

Beverley: What’s your name?

Nicholas: My name is Nicholas Harwood

Beverley: Where did you grow up? 

Nicholas: I was born and raised in Dante’s Hallow, Maine.

Beverley: During what time period does your story take place?

Nicholas: This story takes place around All Hallows Eve in 1879.

Beverley: What’s your story/back story?

     Nicholas: I come from a long line of apothecaries. My grandfather moved the family here from the old country. We have always understood the truth about the supernatural and we have taken on the task of protecting others from the things that go bump in the night.

Beverley: Why would someone come up with a story about you?

Nicholas: It’s not just a story about me. It’s a story about what evils are really out there and the good people who are willing stand up against it and protect others who can’t protect themselves.

Beverley: What’s your goal in this story?

      Nicholas: I’m trying to keep the dead quiet during All Hallows Eve, but I’m warned by one of them that a great evil is coming and I have to stop it.

  Beverley: W hat conflicts are you facing?

Nicholas: There are witches in town who are trying to raise a dead coven member. I have to stop that from happening, but I need help.

  Beverley: Do you have a plan for resolving them?

  Beverley: Do you have a plan for resolving them?

Nicholas: Not really, what’s coming is beyond my skills. Fortunately, there are others who are willing to help.

Beverley: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?

Nicholas: I have the ability to see and speak with the dead.

Blurb for Harbinger

On All Hallows’ Eve, the barrier between the living and the dead is thinnest.

Nicholas Harwood has inherited an unusual job—keeping the dead quiet. For several nights before All Hallows’ Eve, he pours a potion derived from a family recipe on the graves of the late residents of Dante’s Hollow to keep the dead from walking. So far, he’s been successful. But something—in addition to snow—is in the wind, and he can’t stop it alone. Nicholas and his unlikely group of companions—a druid sorcerer, a witch, and a ghost or two—are locked in a power struggle with rogue supernatural powers intent on unleashing great evil. 

Excerpt for Harbinger

“Here, Grandpa Sullivan, this should keep you calm.” Nicholas Harwood filled the cap of the old whiskey bottle with his potion and poured it over Grandpa Sullivan’s grave. He grabbed the brim of his hat and tilted his head toward the stone marker before moving on to the next.

In a few days, it would be All Hallows’ Eve, when the barrier between the living and the dead is at its thinnest, and spirits could escape their resting places and wander freely among the living. The potion, an old family recipe handed down from father to son, helped keep them asleep. Nick’s grandfather brought it with him from the old country; his father used it, and now the task of quieting the dead fell to him.

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Fall is officially here. Leaves are changing color, weather is cooling down and it’s leaf scuffling time.

In Canada we have Thanksgiving coming up the second Monday of the month. It has been an official holiday since November 5, 1879. It celebrated the harvest and other blessings of the past year.

According to Wikipedia on January 31, 1957, the Governor General of Canada issued a proclamation stating: "A Day of General Thanksgiving to Almighty God for the bountiful harvest with which Canada has been blessed – to be observed on the second Monday in October."

Thanksgiving corresponds to the British and continental European harvest festival with churches decorated with cornucopias, pumpkins, corn, wheat sheaves, and other harvest bounty. British and European harvest hymns are sung on the Sunday of Thanksgiving weekend.

While the actual Thanksgiving holiday is on a Monday, Canadians may gather for their Thanksgiving feast on any day during the long weekend; however, Sunday is considered the most common. Foods traditionally served at a Canadian Thanksgiving may include roasted or barbeques turkey, ham, stuffing, sausage meat, mashed potatoes, yams, gravy, cranberry sauce, corn, various autumn vegetables (including squashes and Brussels sprouts), and pumpkin pie. Various regional dishes and desserts may also be served, including salmon, wild game, butter tarts and Nanaimo bars.

The Canadian Football League usually holds a nationally televised doubleheader, the Thanksgiving Day Classic.

Many communities in Canada hold events in the week prior to, and/or on the day of the holiday. It could include a parade consisting of floats, civic figures in the region, local performance troupes and marching bands.

I’m still plugging slowly along at my editing, but I have difficulty concentrating. My muse has apparently taken a long vacation or is staying safe from Covid. It’s on the increase in my area and all over. We have the highest number of active cases since the pandemic began. 



Here’s an excerpt from Witness to Murder.

Excerpt from Murder Off-Leash.

Jerking the steering wheel sharply to the right, Mitch pulled the car into the service station, stopping at a pump one over and the pump behind her. He stayed in his car, attempting to slide his large frame down into the seat, pulling his Yankees baseball cap over his eyes.

“Fill’er up,” he mumbled to the attendant. “Oil’s fine.”

The attendant, a pimply-faced kid in his teens, removed the lid from the gas tank, cautiously eying the large dog lying in the back seat as he filled the tank. The dog raised his head and let out one bark. The attendant jumped back, spilling the gas. “Jeez.”

“Don’t worry He doesn’t bite.” At least I don’t think he bites...maybe I should buy a muzzle just in case, Mitch thought to himself. He had no idea why he had that dog in his back seat. He didn’t even like dogs, hadn’t since he’d been bitten by that damned Doberman. He had overcome the fear when he’d joined the force, but he still didn’t like the damn animals.

He turned and looked at the large sad brown eyes, as the dog lay slobbering all over his seat. “It’s okay, boy. It’ll get better. It can’t get much worse.”

Mitch paid the attendant, then shifted the gears of his older model, slightly rusted, dark blue Chevrolet. The car looked more like an old family sedan, but he’d had the engine rebuilt under that slightly rusted hood. It could take almost any damn car on the road. Every once in awhile some hotshot teenager would rev his engine as he pulled up beside him at a stop light, challenging him to a race, laughing at his heap. Mitch always enjoyed the shocked look on the kid’s face when he left him behind, eating his dust.

He eased the car forward, pulling out of the service station and moving to a spot on the street where he could watch her in his rear view mirror. She and the kid had gone inside the convenience store.

Mitch reached into the brown grocery bag on the seat beside him. Just in case she didn’t stop, he’d picked up enough junk food to last for a couple of days, including dry dog food and a couple of jugs of water. He’d also managed a stop at one of the fast-food drive-thrus along the highway, when she and the kid stopped for lunch. The fries were cold, but still not too bad. He bit into another hard, cold, greasy one, and waited for her next move. He could sure use a cold beer about now. He should have picked up a six-pack. He scratched his chin, then rubbed his hand up his cheek. He needed a shave. Like that was going to happen.

The whining started in the back seat. Then the shaggy head appeared, resting on the top of the passenger’s seat, leaning over Mitch’s shoulder. Mitch grabbed a hand full of dry dog food and dumped it on the back seat. He’d have to get the damn car vacuumed one of these days.

The dog slid back down on to the seat, munching away on the dry food. He appeared to be in mourning if dogs did mourn. Most of the time he just kind of lay there on the seat, whining occasionally. He hardly even barked anymore.

Beverley Bateman Blogger

This month, I’m only doing my Group Blog on October 15th   at  

Please follow me on my blog Tuesday and Thursday and the third Saturday at for writing tips, hints, and guest authors. I have a great group of authors and their new books this month. And post your thoughts on the blog post, or anything else you have on your mind. 

Enjoy the fall and happy Halloween!


My “day job” is as a professor at a small New England liberal arts college. My scholarly work centers around social contexts within which children learn and I am the author of three works of nonfiction. My current research examines the impact of mindfulness on readers and writers, work that brings me tremendous joy and satisfaction.  I live  on a beautiful river. When not teaching or writing, my passions revolve around family, yoga, swimming, walking, canoeing, and teaching mindfulness to people of all ages.

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

M. Lee: Contemporary romance, mysteries, women’s fiction and young adult historical fiction.

I write what I love. I was fortunate to grow up in an incredible, loving family. The romances all revolve around loving families and communities, reflecting so much that I cherish. I love to read mysteries so my two mystery series sprung from my love of the genre and the fun of figuring out “whodunnit.” Same thrill, different process. My other books have come from interests and passions over the years.

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

M. Lee: Oh gee—that’s hard to answer. My love of reading was definitely instilled by my parents, but all the hundreds of amazing authors I’ve encountered have certainly influenced me. College professors certainly encouraged my developing writer’s voice. Then a “push” came from a writers’ group of teachers. We formed to explore our own writing process so that we could bring that excitement to our work with young students. I found I loved writing and have never stopped.

Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?

M. Lee: Reading and experiencing life! I get ideas everywhere.

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

M. Lee: Little Lucy (now I’m dating myself).

M. Lee: S he was a plucky little gal and I saw myself in some of her antics.

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

M. Lee: Ruth Fishel, a treasured spiritual teacher and writer. I’ve been reading and rereading her wonderful little book, Wrinkles Don’t Hurt: Daily Meditations on the Joy of Aging Mindfully for eight years and its teachings never grow old.  

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

M. Lee: Read, write, take a long walk, have lunch with a dear friend, spend time with family.

Beverley: What are you working on now?

M. Lee: Lady Love , number five in the Ricky Steele mystery series and a holiday romance set in Horseshoe Crab Cove, number seven in the Morgan’s Fire series, as yet untitled. 

2020 Character Interview:

Beverley: What’s your name?

Maggie: Maggie Williams

Beverley: Where did you grow up?

Maggie: Saguaro Valley, AZ

Beverley: During what time period does your story take place?

Maggie: Present day

Beverley: What’s your story/back story?

Maggie: I was raised by my dad, Ned Williams, a veterinarian and Saguaro Valley’s most famous wrangler. The summer after my senior year I had an amazing one-night stand with Ben Morgan, the oldest son of Ben and Leonora Morgan, the Valley’s wealthiest landowners and owners of Morgan’s Run Ranch. The next day Ben left town and never looked back. My heart broken, I departed for college only to discover six weeks later that I was pregnant. I then came home, gave birth to my beautiful daughter Emma and went to work in the stables at Morgan’s Run.

Beverley: Why would someone come up with a story about you?

Maggie: Because I’m strong, resilient and hardworking. With my dad’s help, I’ve raised Emma, who is now four years old. I nursed her through a devastating accident that left her wheelchair-bound and continue to provide a loving and nurturing home for her.

Beverley: What’s your goal in this story?

Maggie: To be strong for Emma and to resist the charms of Ben Morgan, who has returned to Morgan’s Run to recover from a heart episode. I’m trying to find a way to tell him about Emma without having my heart shattered again.

Beverley: What conflicts are you facing?

Maggie: My conflicting feelings about Ben, to whom I’m drawn like a moth to a flame. I’m crazy in love with him while trying to protect myself and Emma from hurt. I’m also weighing the risks of a new surgery that may help Emma to walk again. Post-surgery Emma still cannot walk and is facing grueling months of physical therapy that does not appear to be helping. Endeavoring to keep her positive while working full-time and sorting out my feelings for Ben are all major conflicts in Emma’s Dream .

Beverley: Do you have a plan for resolving them?

Maggie: I have lots of help with this. Team Emma–my Dad and Ben’s family (parents and five siblings) step in to help with Emma’s post-surgery recovery. I slowly move toward allowing myself to love Ben again, although the road has a number of bumps and rolls!

Beverley: Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?

Maggie: I have an amazing community of friends and family who support Emma and me no matter what, most especially my dad, Ned Williams, the kindest, steadiest person I know. Emma’s Dream and all eleven of the Morgan’s Run books are, at their heart, about family and community. I am very fortunate, indeed.

Blurb for Emma’s Dream

A woman is the last thing on Ben Morgan’s mind as he comes home to Morgan’s Run, his family’s ranch in Saguaro Valley. Doctor’s orders, he’s home to heal, but the sooner he can get back to Santa Barbara, the better. Then he runs into Maggie Williams on Main Street, prompting vivid memories of a magical night, and Ben’s ailing heart skips a beat. 

Father of her beloved five-year-old daughter, the eldest of the Morgan sons is the last person Maggie expects to have crashed into her car and back into her life. For years, she has struggled to forget him and to make a life for herself and her daughter, Emma, the mirror image of a father, who is unaware of her existence. Now, here he is, looking more gorgeous than the day he ran out of town. Maggie swears Ben Morgan will never break her heart again.  

Excerpt from Emma’s Dream

     As Ben Junior made his way into town, he passed familiar sights, largely unchanged.  Nothing changed much in Saguaro. The Town Garage had a fresh coat of white paint.  “Whoop-de-doo,” he said aloud, making a mental note to drop the Rover off for servicing soon. 

         As he turned right on Main and headed toward Gracie’s Diner, a horn blared and the clunker in front of him screeched to a stop.  Ben braked, but not in time to stop the Rover before it tapped the rear of the clunker. Ben swore under his breath and backed up, pulling over to park at the curb. As he did, the clunker’s driver leaped from her car, screaming and waving her arms.  He shook his head. Foolish woman had left her heap in the middle of the street.  Tall and slender, she wore Jackie O. sunglasses, a baseball cap pulled low on her forehead, a faded cotton shirt over blue jeans, and cowboy boots, the uniform for nearly every female rancher in the valley. 

         “Geez, Toto,” he muttered, patting the Rover’s seat. “We’re not in Kansas anymore.”

         As she approached the Rover, Ben noticed her jeans hugged every curve, full breasts not quite obscured by the baggy shirt.  He couldn’t see her face, but he had to admit the rest of the package was intriguing and also vaguely familiar.  He approached as she bent to survey the clunker’s bumper. 

         “What’s the matter with you?” she screamed, walking in circles, arms still flailing.  “Oh, my God, oh, my God, what am I going to do?” 

         Ben stared at her back, astounded at what was clearly a huge overreaction. The clunker was fine, hardly a scratch on it, although it would be hard to tell with all the other dings.  Then, just as quickly as it started, the fire went out and she flopped down to sit on the curb, head between her legs, sobbing.

         “Hey, hey, it’s not that bad, is it?  We hardly touched each other.  No harm done.” He sat beside her, wondering whether he should pat her on the shoulder. Immediately she quieted and looked up at him. 

         “Oh, my God.  This just gets better and better. It figures.” 

         Ben Morgan, the one person she expected never to see again, sitting beside her in the middle of Main Street.  Could things get any worse?  She leaned forward, hiding her face, wondering whether he’d go away if she sat there long enough.

         “Maggie?  Is that little Maggie Williams?  After five years, I’m in town less than a minute and the first person I bump into is you.”

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