Back to Top

  

Romantic & Western headerbarSuspense Novels

Category: Writing News

May News I thought Covid was on the decrease. It’s been over a year and we now have the vaccines, but we are in a third wave and most places appear to be at the moment. Yesterday we had our highest number of total cases yesterday since the beginning last year. New cases keep coming every day, and most of them are the variants. Younger people are getting Covid, and they may die.

 

I’ve had my second Covid immunization, but I’m still concerned because cases keep rising. I don’t socialize or if I talk to people, it’s with a mask and six feet apart. I haven’t eaten out in over a year. Indoor dining is closed again.

 

People talk about getting back to normal, but I don’t see that light in the near future. We are entering our third lockdown, including schools, personal fitness and non-essential stores.

 

I also have some additional family health issues for a month or two. And while we don’t have snow, but we are still getting very cool temperatures.

 

My muse appears to be staying way and the result is a difficult time writing. I manage a few words and that’s it. No motivation and difficulty focusing. I don’t have a new book or one even close at the moment. So, check out my website and my books.


 


Since I have nothing new to share and I’m not feeling spring-like yet I thought I’d share the one thing that brightened my day this week.

Tiger Gives Birth to 3 Cubs at Toronto Zoo After 104 -Day Pregnancy.

Mazyria the Amur tiger, who gave birth to three cubs in 2013, is now a mom of six after giving birth to another trio of tiger cubs on April 30 at the Toronto Zoo 

 

And here’s the article and a video as well.

https://people.com/pets/amur-tiger-gives-birth-three-cubs-toronto-zoo/

 

 


 

This month, again, I’m a little overwhelmed with some family issues and lack of focus so I’m only doing my Group Blog on ‘Does writing change the author? Do you think your writing has changed you in any significant way?’ May 22nd at  https://beverleybateman.blogspot.com/ 

 

I am managing to keep up with my blog and some great author guests. You can still follow me follow me there Tuesday and Thursday at https://beverleybateman.blogspot.com/ for writing tips, hints and guest authors. Check out the exciting authors and their new books this month. 

 


 

Victoria Day

Happy Victoria Day to my fellow Canadians

and

Happy Memorial Day to my US friends! 

Memorial Day

Beverley Bateman Blogger

 

And you can follow me follow me on my blog Tuesday and Thursday at https://beverleybateman.blogspot.com/ for how I’m doing, tips, hints and guest authors. There are some exciting authors and their new books this month. 

Death Southern Style Front Cover FINAL 500 PIX

April Showers I can’t believe April is here. We’re a quarter of the way through this year. Spring was supposed to be March 21, but we brought April in with a snow squall. I was raised on the prairies and I’d never heard of a snow squall. I couldn’t believe the wind warning and the heavy blowing snow. We had a fifty – seventy vehicle accident that morning. Winter appears to have passed and spring may be popping its head up occasionally. (fingers crossed) 

Easter is in April this year. Also, we get our second Covid vaccine this month.  It will be nice to feel ninety-five present protected, even though we’ll still mask and social distance. 

Covid appears to be increasing again, mostly with the variants, even with more people are getting vaccinations against it. With spring and warmer weather coming, I’m still beginning to feel things may improve. My muse is back but not working yet. I think it’s sort of a post Covid response.

I’m drafting notes, starting to write. Not a lot, but more than I have been. I’m also taking a break from my novel and writing a novella. We’ll see how it goes. I’m doing a one hundred words a day and Word by Word.


 

Death Southern Style Front Cover FINAL 500 PIX

Here’s another excerpt from Death Southern Style.

Marie L. growled a low guttural sound deep in her throat and stood up on the bed. 

Julie Ann rolled over and automatically moved her hand toward the dog. “It’s okay. Good dog, good girl. Go back to sleep.” She closed her eyes. 

Marie uttered another growl. This time the hairs on the back of Julie Ann’s neck stood on end. She could hear a noise downstairs. Footsteps? A door? 

Damn, she’d forgot to put the chair in front of the front door, but she’d put the new lock on. 

She laid quietly, patted Marie and shushed her. She could hear a creak on the stairs. 

She reached for Marie, but the dog jumped off the bed and ran toward the stairs. 

Julie Ann hesitated then moved to the closet and pulled the hangers aside. She closed the secret room door and climbed on to the cot. She wrapped her arms around her legs, listened and waited. She couldn’t believe someone was back again, especially after the attack on Savannah. The stakes appeared to be getting higher. Perrine had died but that wasn’t enough. What did they want? What were they afraid she knew and might expose?

She heard Marie growling and barking.

A man’s voice shouted, “Go away and get out of here. Damn dog, go.”

The barking continued. 

Julie Ann heard steps come into the bedroom. The cupboard door was opened and slammed shut. The man swore and stomped off into Perrine’s room. Marie continued to bark and follow him. Julie Ann could tell where he was by the sound of his feet. She wasn’t sure but it sounded like he might have a limp.

Maybe he had a bite on his ankle.

She sat quietly and shivered at the sound of someone wandering through her home, sure that it was the same man who had killed her mother and probably attacked Savannah. He probably had a gun. She offered up a silent prayer that he didn’t decide to shoot Marie.

Why was he back here? This was the third time. He hadn’t found anything on his previous visits so the only reason she could think of for this one was that he wanted to kill her. There was no other motive she could think of and so far, no one had found a motive for any of the killings. Why?

Maybe Connor was right – maybe she should move to a hotel.

No, she wouldn’t let them chase her out of her home. Besides, she was safer here anyway. If they wanted her dead, they could find her in a hotel. They had the first night. And she might not have the same safety she had here, in Perrine’s secret room. Still shivering she listened to the steps move downstairs and out the door, Marie barked at his heels.

There was silence, then a scratching at the closet door.

“No, Marie – go away.” Julie Ann whispered. 

Marie continued to whine and scratch. Julie Ann jumped up, opened the door and let the dog in. “Shh, be quiet.”

Marie jumped up on the cot and snuggled next to Julie Ann. Julie Ann patted her absently, “Good dog, good girl.”

Everything had gone deadly quiet.

She waited for another few minutes. There still wasn’t a sound. “Okay girl, let’s check and see if he’s gone.”

Julie Ann slid the door open and slipped out into her bedroom. She stopped, pressed her back against the wall and listened.

Silence.

“Okay girl, we’re going downstairs to make sure he’s gone, so no barking.”

The house was in total darkness. Julie Ann crept out into the hall and down the stairs. Silence echoed through the house.

She flipped the light switch. A soft yellow light flooded the room. There was no one there. The front door had been closed and locked. He’d picked the lock. She should get a new one with a bolt.

Julie Ann noticed a scrap of paper caught under the front door frame.

He must have dropped it when he left.

She scuttled across the room and grabbed it. It was folded in squares. She opened it and read it. Blindly she reached for a chair and collapsed into it, the note clutched in her hand.

I can’t continue. The guilt is too much.

I don’t want to live without her.

This is the only way I can escape.

 

Julie Ann


 

April - Marcia Anderson’s Go Pets Blog https://marciajames.net/blog/ 

April 1 - Darlene Fredette’s Blog A Day in the Life Spotlight https://findingthewritewords.blogspot.com/2021/04/a-day-in-life-beverley-bateman.html 

April 17 - Group blog How do you choose your characters' names? Are there any you avoid?) https://beverleybateman.blogspot.com/ 

You can still follow me follow me on my blog Tuesday and Thursday at https://beverleybateman.blogspot.com/ for how I’m doing, tips, hints and guest authors. There are some exciting authors and their new books this month. Have a good month. 

Beverley Bateman Blogger

 

And you can follow me follow me on my blog Tuesday and Thursday at https://beverleybateman.blogspot.com/ for how I’m doing, tips, hints and guest authors. There are some exciting authors and their new books this month. 

March is Women’s History Month. Also, The Ides of March and St Patrick’s Day. It’s a busy month. 

 

Women's History Month is an annual declared month that highlights the contributions of women to events in history and contemporary society. It is celebrated during March in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia, corresponding with International Women's Day on March 8. 

 

There’s a saying, ‘If March comes in like a Lion it goes out like a Lamb.’ I think with the Polar Vortex, rain, and wind that qualifies as coming in like a Lion. Let’s hope for spring and March leaving like a lamb. 

 

Covid may be starting to improve. People are getting vaccinations against it. We’re still wearing masks and social distancing. I’m beginning to feel things may improve and my muse is back from a winter vacation. 

 

I’ve started to write. Not a lot, but more than I have been. I’m also taking a break from my novel and writing a novella. We’ll see how it goes. 

 

I do a BIAW and many of the participants are saying they aren’t motivated, can’t focus, or aren’t interested in writing, or their story. For many the Covid has affected people, writer, emotionally and mentally. As Covid retreats I hope our writers become more normal and excited about writing.


 

Targeted by Beverley Bateman

U.S. Cover

Here’s another excerpt from Targeted.

 

A few minutes later Janna swung up on Blaze’s back and trotted out the gate. They continued to trot for a short distance while Janna got the feel of the saddle and his gait, then she nudged him gently. Blaze broke into a cantor and headed toward the trail and up the hill. Within minutes she’d adjusted to his gait.

The familiar scent of pine trees reached her nostrils, the smell of the outdoors. A breeze ruffled her hair. The silence was unbelievable. You didn’t get that in the city and you never got complete silence.

“Let’s go, boy.”

Blaze increased his gait to a gallop. His hooves pounded across the dry ground. Janna tightened her grip on the reins, enjoying the freedom as she rode past familiar parts of the ranch. It felt good. She’d missed this. Maybe she could keep the ranch and spend a few months of the year here.

Yeah right—never going to happen.

Besides, there was Kye. She had been sure she was over him, but he still caused emotions she didn’t want to feel. Anytime he was around those damn feelings kicked in. She wanted him to hold hr, kiss her and make love. She remembered their lovemaking. Oh yeah, did she remember their lovemaking? 

And then there was the fact someone was trying to kill her. If she hung around very long they might succeed. Of course, they’d tried once in Seattle so they could try again wherever she was. She wouldn’t be safe until whoever it was, got caught. 

She gave herself a shake and concentrated on the ranch as they rode. She tried to remember the layout as they galloped along. It had been a long time since she’d ridden around it with Duke and she’d been a lot younger. Back then she hadn’t paid too much attention where they rode. She enjoyed riding and being with Duke.

Janna pulled lightly on the reins and Blaze veered to her right.

The sun beat down on her back. It felt good. So did the fresh air and the smell of cattle when she rode past a small herd. A little later she recognized the fencing between Duke’s place and the Hawkins ranch. Colorado spruce dotted the landscape along the fence. Farther along Janna spotted Green Mountain ash on a small hill. Janna smiled. She’d even remembered the name. Gradually things were coming back to her. There were some good memories here.

The motion of riding in the saddle felt soothing. She needed to do this more often. She’d forgotten how much she’d enjoyed her time on the ranch and she loved riding.

They headed toward the grove of tall pine trees at the back corner of the property. The tall trees were bunched close together. No sun got through their thick branches.

The grove bordered the Blackfeet land. It was the burial ground for Blackfeet chiefs, medicine men and other elder tribe members and was considered a sacred grove, a holy place. The Native Americans came here for guidance and to talk to their elders. It was on Duke’s property. Somehow the Blackfeet had never registered their claim and the grove became part of the ranch property. But Duke had always respected the Native American claim to the land, and they had free access from any side of the grove.

Now with Duke gone and her life being threatened the grove could also be in danger. She needed to protect it.

Janna reined in Blaze and halted a few hundred yards away. Leaning forward on the saddle horn Janna stared into the grove of Lodgepole and Ponderosa pine trees.  They stood tall and stately, crowded close together to form a dark impenetrable forest. Other people, like Kye, said the souls of past native chiefs lived there and could only be seen by members of their tribe or the owner of the ranch. The story went that the spirits sometimes helped people with difficult decisions.

She’d asked Duke about it once.  He’d told her the spirits lived in the grove and sometimes appeared to him and talked to him. He’d smiled and said, “If I have important questions, I ride out there.”

“Do they talk to you?”

Duke shook his head.

When she’d been a child, she’d hoped to see them. Now, as an adult, she’d dismissed them as a myth.

A shivered shook her spine. Smoke or low clouds formed amongst the trees.

Were their people there, in the smoke?

Hazy figures gradually took the wispy forms of the native Blackfeet chiefs and elders. A chill crept down her spine. Duke had been telling the truth. Now they stood tall among the trees regarding her.

Janna squinted into the darkness and swallowed several times.

Was her mind playing tricks?

The leader was dressed in the full Blackfeet chief regalia. A couple of others appeared to be medicine men and one was a woman. 

They waited.

“I’m Janna. Duke left me the ranch.”

The forms, or spirits, as she was beginning to think of them, nodded.

“He’s dead.”

They stared at her.

Of course, if he left the ranch to her he was dead. They must think she was a complete idiot.

They appeared to be waiting for something—questions? Comments?

“Was Duke murdered?” It popped out of her mouth and shocked her.

Where had that come from?

The elder in the center nodded. The others followed in agreement.

Janna sat stunned. “Was it a robbery?”

This time they shook their heads.

If you believed in the spirits and what they had acknowledged, Duke had been murdered. Kye was right, but then he’d probably checked it out with the spirits, too.

“Who did it?”

They stared at her.

Okay, they didn’t speak.

“Am I in danger?”

They nodded.

She sat quietly staring into the grove.

“Should I keep Eli with me?”

This time they smiled and nodded.

“I am going to sell the ranch. Many people want to buy it. One of them is a government agency.”

The spirits shook their heads.

“So you’re saying I shouldn’t sell to them. What about the conglomerate that wants to buy it?”

Again they shook their heads. The smoke began to dissipate.

“I have more questions.” Janna watched the smoke disappear.

 

The dark forbidding grove stood tall and imposing. After several minutes she turned Blaze toward the ranch. Maybe the spirits only answered so many questions or stayed for so long. The encounter felt surreal. Janna tried to digest what had occurred.


 

Other than my group blog on my blog, March 23rd, I’m not doing a lot of guest spots this month.

You can still follow me follow me on my blog Tuesday and Thursday at https://beverleybateman.blogspot.com/ for how I’m doing, tips, hints and guest authors. There are some exciting authors and their new books this month. Have a good month. 

Beverley Bateman Blogger

 

And you can follow me follow me on my blog Tuesday and Thursday at https://beverleybateman.blogspot.com/ for how I’m doing, tips, hints and guest authors. There are some exciting authors and their new books this month. 

Happy St Patrick’s Day!

Targeted by Beverley Bateman

Well, Covid is still with us. Many of us are in lockdown. We’re having a cold spell for a couple of weeks, where I live. Lows of -4 F and highs of 0 F. I don’t know about you but I’m suffering from Covid fatigue and I think Covid brain. I also think I’m developing the characteristics of a hermit. The only exercise and fresh air I get is walking the dog.

2020 was a difficult year. The most challenging I remember, and the challenges are not over yet. We’ve got a few months to keep ourselves and our communities safe, so wear a mask, wash your hands and social distance. 

I do believe that 2021 will be a good year, certainly a better year. There is a vaccine. Actually, there are two vaccines and maybe more coming. In four or five months we should all be able to receive the vaccine. A new normality could be starting to set in by then. 

And February is the shortest month of the year. So, keep a positive thought. Hopefully the ground hog won’t see his shadow and winter will be almost over. 

I am starting to write routinely again. I’m working on the draft of a novella but not finished and no cover. I’m hoping to get back to working on Lydia’s story. So, I’m going to promote one of my books I really like. Hope you will too.


 

Targeted by Beverley Bateman

U.S. Cover

Here's An Excerpt

Someone had shot her back tire. Janna gripped the wheel to keep the vehicle on the road. She debated whether to try and outrun the shooter, wherever he was, or find cover. The windshield shattered as a third bullet entered the passenger side. 

So much for outrunning the shooter. 

She scanned the area and spotted an outcropping of rocks a few feet ahead on her right. She aimed the vehicle in that direction.

Two more shots, and both the back tires went down. 

Definitely find cover. 

Janna ducked low behind the steering wheel until the vehicle reached the rocks. When the car stopped, she grabbed the keys from the ignition and her purse and dove out the door. Bullets bounced off the rocks behind her as she scrambled for cover. Whoever was doing the shooting was serous. Anyone of the shots could have hit her. 

She reached the rocks, keeping low until she got to the middle where she curled up as tightly as possible, her back against a rock. Her heart pounded in her ears, her breathing came in gasps. This was getting to be a habit. First someone tried to kill her in Seattle, and now, out in this god-forsaken country. 

What the hell is going on? Why are they shooting at me? Was it the same person who shot at me in Seattle? That doesn’t seem likely, but who even knew I was coming here? Maybe it’s someone just trying to rob a stranger.

Yeah right, be honest, Janna, does this road look like many strangers came this way? And if they did, would they have a lot to steal? You really think this person selected a spot in the rocks where he would have a good shot at my vehicle. Coincidence? Not damn likely.

At least she’d worn boots and jeans—even if they were designer jeans. Now they were filthy, and so was her red sweater and jean jacket.

Another shot hit the rock behind her. She rolled over onto her stomach, shaded her eyes, and squinted into the sun. He must be up on the cliffs straight ahead. She wasn’t sure, but she thought she might have glimpsed a light, maybe a reflection off his scope.

Terrific! Now what? My gun is in my purse. I could fire back, but that would be a waste of bullets at this distance. 

She yanked out her cell and punched in 9-1-1.

Damn—no reception.

A pounding pulsed through the ground and came closer. Janna could feel the vibrations. It felt like horses. She glanced around, without raising her head, to see what was coming.

Suddenly there was a hand in front of her face.

“Grab it and jump on.”

The deep, rumbling voice was not asking. It was an order.

Janna grabbed the strong hand. In one smooth motion, she swung up behind a man on his horse. Seconds later, she had her hands wrapped around his well-developed, muscular chest, as the big chestnut thundered across the ground, out of the bullets’ range.

The man wore a leather jacket over a sweater. Her hands slid under the jacket for better grip. Even through the sweater she could feel sinewy muscles. She laid her head against his back and his braid. She took a breath in, inhaling the rich scent of leather, trying to calm her racing heart rate.

She glanced behind her. The cliffs were fading into the distance. The muscles of his well-developed shoulders bunched and relaxed as he led the horse at a gallop across the field. She felt safe for some unfathomable reason.

He had a familiar woodsy scent that made her think of sex under pine trees, not that she’d ever made love there. In fact, her sex life was pretty negligible these days.

They’d been riding for several minutes when Janna leaned forward. “You can put me down any place. I can manage now.”

“Really? And just what are you going to do out here, miles from town, by yourself, with someone shooting at you?”

The voice was deep, but soft, and rolled over her like warmed brandy. It triggered something in the back of her memory. The earthy scent, the sinewy body, the braid, the voice… She knew this person who had ridden up out of nowhere to save her.

“I have my cell. I’ve already called 9-1-1,” she snapped.

“And did you get an answer?”

Janna yanked her cell phone up where she could see the screen again and re-tapped in 9-1-1. And then there was that famous phrase—No Service.

There was a deep chuckle. “That’s what I thought. There’s no service in this area. The mountains block it.”


 

I’m not doing a lot of guest spots in February. I don’t have a new book this month but you can find me at a few places. I’d love to have you drop by and say “hi.” You might also be eligible for gift certificates at some of these sites: 

 

February 1 - I’m guest blogging on Amber Dalton’s blog at https://amberdaulton.wordpress.com/2021/02/01/characterinterview-targeted-by-beverley-bateman/

February 13 – I’m on Pam Thibidoux’s blog at  http://pamswildroseblog.blogspot.com

February 19 – I’m a guest on Dee S. Knight’s blog at http://www.nomadauthors.com/blog/

Beverley Bateman Blogger

 

And you can follow me follow me on my blog Tuesday and Thursday at https://beverleybateman.blogspot.com/ for how I’m doing, tips, hints and guest authors. There are some exciting authors and their new books this month. 

Happy New Year! Good-bye 2020!

Whew! We made it. I don’t know about you but I’m suffering from Covid fatigue. I also think I’m developing the characteristics of a hermit.
2020 was a difficult year. The most challenging I remember, and the challenges are not over yet. We’ve got a few months to keep ourselves and our communities safe, so wear a mask, wash your hands and social distance. 

 

I do believe that 2021 will be a good year, certainly a better year. There is a vaccine. Actually, there are two vaccines and maybe more. In four or five months we should all be able to receive the vaccine. A new normality could be starting to set in. So keep a positive thought. 

 

Do you make New Year’s resolutions?

I don’t make resolutions anymore. I always broke them within a few weeks and then forgot about them.

I switched to setting goals. I set goals for the year and dates to assess and revise them throughout the year. 

I set personal goals, like nutrition and exercise. This year I might have to set one to re-learn socialization. 😊 I set business and writing goals, marketing goals, like learning how to do Amazon Ads, figuring out meta data, and word counts for writing a novel. I also set reading goals. I may also think about goals to survive Covid in the next few months. 

 

I’m blaming it on Covid, but December I spent online shopping for Christmas, doing baking, cooking, etc. My writing was limited. I did manage a few short stories and I belong to 100 words a day and managed to scratch those 100 words out but that was it. I’m hoping I start January energized and enthusiastic. I also hope my muse will return, even if it wears a mask and maintains appropriate social distancing, and I’ll finish Lydia’s Story. I’m working on that story, slowly. In the meantime, I’d love to have you read Death Southern Style. It’s a fun paranormal, romantic suspense set in New Orleans. 


 

Here's An Excerpt

There was a fine dust on counters and doorknobs from the forensics team. She’d clean it up later.

After programming the coffeemaker, she popped a slice of bread in the toaster. When the percolating stopped, she poured a cup of strong, black coffee, buttered the toast and carried both outside to the courtyard.

In broad daylight it looked like it always had when she had come out here. Her mother loved the courtyard. She remembered thinking about how they had spent many a pleasant hour chatting away while digging in the dirt, planting bulbs and enjoying the color of the flowers and the deep scent of the begonias. She took a deep breath. She remembered there had been the scent of begonias in the air last night, right before her mother showed up.

She put the plate on the rock ledge, sat down with her mug in both hands and took a sip of steaming coffee. She stared at the place where Mom had appeared. The clouds were gone, sun was starting to warm up the air.

Would she show up again? Maybe she had been dreaming. No, Mom had been there. Julie Ann breathed in the scent of the begonias and felt a hand on her shoulder.

A sharp bark broke through her reverie. She lowered her coffee mug. A small, brown, mixed breed dog sat a few feet away. It barked again.

“Well, hi there, fella. Where did you come from?” Julie Ann dropped one hand from her mug and wiggled her fingers. The mongrel jumped up and moved closer so Julie Ann could scratch behind the dog’s ears.

A smile played with her lips while Julie Ann rubbed his or her head and scratched under its chin. “Good boy, good doggie. How did you get back here?”

She looked around, wondering if there was a hole in the wall somewhere. The only way into the courtyard was through the house or the walkway between her house and Martha’s. But there was a wrought-iron gate that blocked the entrance to the courtyard. She could see the gate was closed.

“So how did you get in here?” She rubbed the dog’s head. “It wasn’t through the house and you may be skinny but not skinny enough to slip through the wrought-iron. Did someone drop you over the wall?”

The dog growled in pleasure and rolled over to have its belly rubbed.

“So, you’re a girl. I guess us girls need to stick together. I wish Mom was here, too. I thought I felt her again, for just a second. I can’t believe how empty my life is and will be without her.”

The furry mongrel raised her head, crooked an eyebrow and looked at her.

“Oh God, I miss her.” Julie Ann bent down and wrapped her arms around the dog. The tears overflowed and she wept into the dog’s neck. “I, I really ... really miss her. She taught me how to live life to the fullest and how to be happy. She taught me to stand on my own two feet and to trust my instincts.”

The dog sat patiently while Julie sobbed. Gradually the sobs quieted. Julie Ann finally released her hold on the dog’s neck and sat back.

The dog put one paw up on Julie Ann’s leg.

Julie Ann gave the dog a hug.

“Mom, where are you? Why did you leave me last night? I need you to tell me who is after us and why.” Julie Ann wiped her face and bent down to pat the dog. “You think I’m crazy – right? But she really was special. She came back last night to warn me. I just wish she’d told me what to watch out for.”

The dog sat up on her hind legs and rested her head on Julie Ann’s knee.

“You are kind of cute, you know. I can’t figure out how you got in here. Are you lost? Maybe I should put an ad in the paper. Do you want something to drink?”

The dog looked up at her and whined, then rolled over to have her tummy scratched again.

“Okay, girl, let’s get you some water. Have you got a name?”

Julie Ann searched for a collar but didn’t find one.

“No? Maybe I’ll call you Marie, Marie Laveau. They say she was my great, great grandmother you know. Not really on my side, but on Perrine’s. Maybe she sent you here to protect me, except Perrine wasn’t my birth mother so I’m not sure how that works. I know it’s just a made-up story, but Marie helped the sick and the poor, and you helped me cry again and move ahead with my grieving. So okay Marie L., let’s go get some breakfast.”

The dog followed her obediently into the kitchen, her short stubby tail wagging in the air.

Julie Ann glanced down at the animal.

“It’s probably coincidence, isn’t it, you showing up in the courtyard right after Mom appeared, and in the courtyard? And yes, I know I’m being silly. You’re a stray dog who probably dug your way into the courtyard.”

The dog bounced in front of Julie Ann as she walked into the kitchen and then slowed down and let Julie Ann pass her. Julie Ann felt a cloud of love touch her when she passed beside the dog.

“Mom?”

Here’s the link to order. 

 

 

 


 

I’m not doing a lot of guest spots in January, but you can find me at a few places. I’d love to have you drop by and say “hi.”

 

You might also be eligible for gift certificates at these sites: 

 

Spotlight NN Light’s New Year’s Fete https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/new-year-new-books-fete I’ll be there January 13th

 

February 1 - I’m guest blogging on Amber Dalton’s blog at https://amberdaultonauthor.blogspot.com/  

Beverley Bateman Blogger

 

And you can follow me follow me on my blog Tuesday and Thursday at https://beverleybateman.blogspot.com/ for how I’m doing, tips, hints and guest authors. There are some exciting authors and their new books this month. 

It’s December and I send out my newsletter this month. I’ve included a short Christmas story and a recipe in it. Different from the ones I’m putting on my website. If you’d like to check them out sign up for my newsletter. Go to my website https://www.beverleybateman.com/. Check the headings and click on more. Click on Newsletter Signup in the drop down box and sign up. 

 

HoHoHo! Can you believe it’s December and we’re almost through 2020? It’s been a year like no other. Covid completely disrupted everyone’s life and routine, schools, jobs, and businesses. It changed our eating and exercising habits. sIt changed how we shop and how we celebrate. At least it was supposed to, to save lives. It also introduced a new fashion statement – masks. I have several in different colors and one with dog paws on it. Like most people I don’t enjoy wearing them because it makes breathing difficult and talking to each other a little challenging, but it saves lives. And even with a vaccine they say we’ll still need to wear them. The one plus is the regular flu cases are way down. And it did bring a lot of families closer as they biked, played games and walked together. 


 

Writers and authors have been affected by having their children at home, having to work from home and maybe doing less actual in person research. Or like me, suffering Covid brain – sitting at the computer and staring at and my muse isn’t there. Off social distancing, I guess. I’ve also watched a lot more TV. I signed up for NaNo but I’m only going to end up with half a book. I know there are lessons to be learned and I hope some of it makes society better. 

The doctors and scientists have learned more about Covid and a vaccine is on the horizon. Welcome 2021! 

Hopefully life will slowly return a new normal. My muse will return, even if maintaining social distancing and I’ll finish Lydia’s Story.

Here’s the link to order. 

 

 

 


 

THE CHRISTMAS RISK

Dr. Allie Parsons clutched the steering wheel and stared out into the blinding Montana whiteness. Heavy snow swirled around the SUV. The road had disappeared. Barely moving, Allie had no idea where she was driving. She’d never seen anything like it, certainly not in New York.

A storm warning had been issued that morning, but she’d been determined to make the home visits after clinic. The city girl hadn’t realized what a storm warning in this country meant. She did now.

Luke had ordered her not to go. Allie didn’t respond well to orders, and they’d had a discussion. Allie inched through the wall of whiteness and remembered her response. She needed to get that attitude under control.  Her response to his order had been, “I’ll do whatever I want. You’re not going to order me around. I will make the home visits.”

“Stupid woman,” he mumbled. He strode out of the house. The door slammed behind him.

She had no idea where he’d gone. He’d wanted to do the visits, but he had a previous appointment. Surely, he wouldn’t hold this against her permanently. She would have to apologize when she got back - if she got back safely. Hopefully, he’d be there. After her last disastrous relationship, she had trouble with trust, but she really loved Luke. She just had problems with commitment.

Tomorrow was Christmas Eve. She didn’t plan on making any more visits for at least three or four days. And if Luke wanted to do the visits in storms from now on, she was more than willing to let him. This was his country. He’d been practicing here for years and knew the country, the area and the patients. She didn’t. She’d learned her lesson.

“Whoa.” She clung to the steering wheel as the vehicle plunged into a snowdrift. She shifted into reverse. The tires spun briefly and caught. Luck was with her. She back on something more solid.

What if she got stuck? She didn’t even have a shovel. How long would the heater work? Was she willing to risk her life in a Montana blizzard, and if she was willing to take that risk, why wasn’t she willing to take a risk on the man she loved?

The snow continued to swirl around the vehicle. The small gifts wrapped and decorated in Christmas paper, piled up on the passenger’s seat, shifted and a few moved closer to the edge of the seat. Her patients had pushed them on her with wishes of a Merry Christmas. She knew they were all homemade, and it caused warm, fuzzy feelings inside. People here welcomed you and really cared about their neighbors. One gift would be Annie’s homemade herb tea. Mrs. Maclean would have shared a jar of her crabapple jelly. And elderly Mrs. Jones knitted woolen slippers. Allie smiled. This didn’t happen in New York.

The wind whistled around the outside of her SUV, sending chilly whirls down her spine, even though the heater blasted warm air into the cab. She checked her GPS. It said she was half a mile from home. She took a couple of deep breaths as she inched her way straight ahead. She`d made it back.

Her GPS told her to turn right, into the driveway. There were no lights visible. Luke wasn’t home yet. He must be really angry with her. She didn’t blame him. Hopefully he would be back soon.

It had hit her on the way home. Loving Luke was a much better risk than the winter storm. He’d asked her to marry him. She said she needed more time. It wasn`t that she didn`t love him, but did she want to live in this desolate country? Could she leave her parents? She missed them, especially at Christmas.

Life was a risk. She’d realized that today as she drove through a storm, not sure she’d make it home. Some risks were worth taking. She loved Luke. She wanted to be with him, and that risk seemed a lot less than the risk of losing him and a life together.

Had he gone to his parents? A cloud of darkness draped itself over her.

Last year at this time she was going through treatment for breast cancer. Another risk. They’d found a small lump during her routine examination. Her fiancé at the time, a doctor specializing in dermatology, had bailed because he couldn’t cope.

Sorry, darling, but I’m just not cut out for this. Good luck with the treatment. e’s gone off and not told her where he was going. S

She thought back to last year.

 

Her friends had backed off because many of them had been friends with both her and her fiancé. So last Christmas had been spent without her fiancé, without many of the people she’d considered friends, and going through surgery. Thank heavens for her family. Her parents had been there for her every minute of the journey. Christmas had been somber but filled with love. She missed not being with them this year, but she had Luke. Didn’t she?

The SUV slid down the driveway; at least, she guessed it was the driveway.  The snow was so deep, it was hard to tell, but she brought her vehicle to a halt in front of the house.  Stepping out into foot-deep snow, she plunged around the truck to open the passenger door. She grabbed her medical bag and dropped her small gifts inside it. Then she fought her way through the wind and snow to the front door, the snow drifting over the tops of her boots.

She hesitated. It would be cold, dark, and lonely inside. Hopefully, Luke would come home soon.

She shoved her key into the lock and opened the door.

It was warmer than she expected, but very quiet. She dropped her bag on the bench inside the door and flicked on the lights.

“Surprise!”

Luke moved quickly to her side and wrapped his arms around her, planting a kiss on her partially open mouth. “Thank heavens you’re home and safe. I was so worried.”

“Thanks for worrying. I won’t do that again. I promise. I love you.”

Luke’s eyes widened. “I love you, too.”

“Merry Christmas, dear,” a middle-aged woman hurried across the floor to hug Allie.

“Mom? Dad? What are you doing here?” Allie turned in Luke’s arm as her parents enveloped her in a group hug.

“Luke asked us to come. He sent us the tickets and picked us up at the airport. He said it was a surprise. Was it a surprise?” Her mother asked.

“Totally, I still can’t believe you’re here.” Allie hugged her parents back, kissing her father and then her mother. “I can’t believe you’re here, in Montana.”

“Last year was a difficult time for you. One day about a month ago when I called, you weren’t home. I talked to Luke. He said you were doing well, but you missed us. We missed you, too. We wanted to be with you for a happier Christmas this year.”

“Family’s important,” Luke said. 

Allie smiled at him. “But not everyone believes that or supports a person no matter what.”

Her mother grinned. “I couldn’t believe this man. We’d never met. That was the first time I’d talked to him, and he went ahead and arranged everything. He even picked us up in Bozeman.”

“It wasn’t a big deal.” Luke shrugged.

“Yes, it was, and it’s the best gift you could have given me.” Allie smiled up at Luke, her eyes glistened, holding back tears. “And Luke was right. I am doing great, and they say I’m clear of cancer.”

“That’s wonderful, dear. You look glowing. Is it the weather or the man?”

Allie felt the heat race to her cheeks. She glanced over their shoulders at the man she’d fallen in love with, a man who didn’t panic when the word cancer was mentioned, and a man who brought her parents for a visit.

“Well… Luke was right. To make this Christmas perfect, I needed my parents here, plus the man I love. When I was out in this storm, I realized that some risks in life aren’t worth taking, like a Montana snowstorm. Other risks, like love, are worth it.”

“Really?” Luke had a huge smile on his face. “Since you seem to be receptive to taking a risk, this might be my chance. Alexandra Parsons, will you take a risk and marry me?”

He pulled a ring box from a pocket and opened it. “I can go down one knee if it would help?”

Her parents stepped back, grinning from ear to ear.

“You kept the ring in your pocket?”

“Darling, I wasn’t taking any chances. If you ever said yes, I wanted to be able to put the ring on your finger right away.”

Allie laughed. “Then, yes.”

“Yes?”  He grabbed a hand and slid the ring on her finger. “I love you so much, and we can get married right away, while your parents are here.”

“Yes, Luke Hawkins, I will marry you, whenever you want.” She threw herself back into his arms, then pulled his head down and kissed him, checking the ring on her finger over his shoulder. She would be Mrs. Luke Hawkins soon. It felt so right.

Her parents laughed and hugged each other.

Allie had never been happier. She glanced out the window. The snow had stopped. A glistening white blanket covered the yard, shining like diamonds. In the big sky, stars added a magical glow.

With a loving family and a man who loved her, there was no risk. This was best Christmas ever.

You can follow me and check out where I’ll be this month with Death Southern Style – and be eligible for gift certificates at these sites. 

 

https://www.redcarpetfiction.com/amazon-holiday-2020

https://www.redcarpetfiction.com/bookbub-holiday-2020 

Beverley Bateman Blogger

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

Homemade Eggnog (8-10 Servings)

4 tbsps (60 ml) + 2 (30 ml)tbsps sugar   2 cups (500 ml) whipping cream

6 eggs separated                                   6 cups (1500 ml) milk

½ cup (125 ml) brandy or rum                Fresh grated nutmeg

 

Put 4 tbsps (60 ml) of sugar in a large bowl. Beat in egg yolks, one at a time, until mixture is thick and lemon colored. Beat in brandy.

Gradually beat whipping cream into egg yolk mixture. Then gradually beat in milk.

Put egg whites in a second bowl and beat until frothy. Gradually beat in the remaining two tbsps (30) ml sugar until stiff. Fold into milk mixture. Pour into glasses and sprinkle with nutmeg.  

 

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. http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/ec8aae6739/  

November 11 Killer Crafts and Crafty Killers https://anastasiapollack.blogspot.com/  

November 21 Group Blog Review or recommend a book, a short story, or an online article. Check it out on my blog at https://beverleybateman.blogspot.com/ 

Beverley Bateman Blogger

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

 

October has arrived and so has the second wave of Covid, apparently. 

 

Along with the usual flu. 

 

I’m one of those snowbirds and usually head south for the winter but the Canada/US border is still closed. The general belief is that it won’t open until the new year. So, I’m trying to prepare for winter and the cold weather and snow. I sort of hibernated during the summer, creeping out in my mask, doing necessary grocery shopping, doctor and dentist appointments and a few errands. We’re actually lucky in my town. We’ve only had a total of 84 cases of Covid, but we still need to be careful. 

Knowing there’s a new and serious disease out there you could catch or spread to others, sort of ruins the things you would normally be doing. So, you cook, bake, and eat and maybe walk the dog – and gain weight and become a slug. Writing becomes difficult because there’s no motivation. 

 

Low level depression becomes the norm for many of us. At least that’s how it’s worked with me. 

 

And now they’re saying I can’t even go where it’s warm. Sigh… 

 

I can’t keep being a slug for another four or five months. Shoulders back. Tomorrow I buy a treadmill and start a healthy exercise plan with light weights and stretching. Chocolate and ice cream are banned from the house and back to fruits and veges. 

And I will write, even a page every day. I have a novella I want to write and Lydia’s story I want to finish. 

 

I don’t drive in snow and I don’t want to walk in snow and ice because of the chance of falling - so it’s hibernation with a treadmill. I’m going for a productive October. 

 

Hopefully yours will be productive as well. 

And here’s an excerpt from By Design 

On the way to the shower Evie heard a car. She detoured to the window, opened the curtains slightly and watched two limos pull up beside the hospital. Nine or ten people got out and disappeared into the back wing. They appeared to be both men and women. Most of them carried small black bags. The limos backed up, turned around and left. 

 

Now what would all those people be doing going into the hospital? They didn’t look like patients. What else could they be? They were obviously going to be there for a while since their transportation had left. 

 

They’d gone into the back wing; one of the wings Evie hadn’t been shown Evie let the curtain close. She chewed her lower lip and tried to figure out what they might be doing. Her mind was a total blank. 

 

In the shower she let the hot water pulsate against her skin and turned so the water hit directly at the base of her neck. It might help to wash away some of the stress. 

 

She glanced out the window again. This time an ambulance slipped quietly through the dusky night. It slid up to a large door down from where the other group of people had entered. Evie couldn’t resist. She stood to one side so she wasn’t reflected in the light and let the curtains almost close together so she wouldn’t be noticed. She watched the ambulance attendants open the back door and remove a stretcher. They carried it inside. By the shape, it appeared to be a body under the covers. She couldn’t tell if it was a man or a woman or even if it was dead or alive. 

 

Things got more curious. Evie was sure there was probably a good explanation, but what kind of surgery would they be doing on someone brought in by ambulance out here? To the best of her knowledge, they didn’t have staff working in the operating rooms at night. Warren said he worked nights. She should go down and ask him what a group of people and a body did at night. 

 

Evie turned away from the window. A scream pierced the air. A chill ran down her spine. She stopped and listened. It wasn’t repeated. She wasn’t even sure if it was human. It might have been an animal. Maybe a wild animal. 

 

What was really going on here? She felt like she should do something, but what? She didn’t know what it was or even where it came from. She couldn’t phone anyone. There really wasn’t much she could do. 

 

A residual chill still claimed her body as she buttoned her blouse. Her mind tried to figure out what was going on at the hospital. She’d ask Warren about it next time they talked. 

 

It wasn’t just her overactive imagination. That scream had been for real. Something unusual was going on and they didn’t want people to know about it. 

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. http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/ec8aae6739/

 

October 10

At First Sight Saturday https://www.rueallyn.com/blog/ 

October 16

Trick or Treat Book Bonanza on N. N. Light’s Book Heaven with giveaways. 

https://www.nnlightsbooheaven.com

October 17

Group What is your favorite book(s) of all time in your favorite genre(s)? (You can include children’s books or non-fiction or even magazines). Check it out on my blog at  

https://beverleybateman.blogspot.com/

 

October 19 – 26

Multi-Author Halloween Giveaway https://marielavender.com/about/blog/

 

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

And you can follow me follow me on my blog https://beverleybateman.blogspot.com/ for how I’m doing, Canada Day, tips and guest authors.

Beverley Bateman Blogger

 

It’s September? Where did the summer go?

I don’t know about you, but this summer seemed to drag for the first few months and then suddenly it’s almost over.

The corona virus is still with us. In fact, depending where you live, it might be worse than it was when summer started. We’ve spent most of the summer at home, in our yards, maybe camping but social distancing. Some businesses are open, usually requiring masks. School is starting and now they say children and teens are as susceptible to Covid as adults. And parents are trying to decide whether to send their children to school. We’re having to rethink how we do things and adjust to what could be a new normal.

From a writer’s point of view, I’ve heard from many writers that we stay home and have the time to write, but for some reason our brains turn to Covid mush and we don’t seem to be able to write or produce anything. I know a few writers a who are using the time productively. And writing and finishing books. Sigh, … I need to figure out their secret, 

How are you doing these days?

 

 

We have the Labor Day weekend coming up. I’m thinking BBQ ribs, but it won’t be a big BBQ. Groups are limited to nine or under and then we slide into fall. The Canadian/US border is still closed so we’re not sure if we get to go south this year. Another change in our lives because of Covid. I may have to figure out a cold, snowy winter.

I got a new computer so I’m busy figuring out Windows 10. I’ve been hanging on to my Windows 7. I’m working on an anthology I’d like to add to my website. At 100 words a day, not sure how much longer it’s going to take.

No new release, but if you haven’t checked it out yet, Death Southern Style, both eBook and print, is up for sale. Here’s the link to order. 

 

 

 

Here’s another excerpt from Death Southern Style. 

 

A shard of light seeped through a crack in the curtains and slid across Julie Ann’s face. She absently brushed her hand over her cheek, to get rid of the sensation. It didn’t work. She struggled to open her eyes. She focused on the ceiling. Her mind spun in circles. She didn’t recognize the room. Nothing looked familiar. Where was she? How did she get here? 

The sounds of garbage cans smashed against trucks and pavement. Water sloshed against curbs. The sounds permeating the room brought back familiar memories. The water was to clean the streets after last night’s revelry. She was back in New Orleans, in the French Quarter. She didn’t know of anyplace else where they cleaned the streets every morning. 

Reality crushed around her. Her mother was dead. She’d been shot. 

The garbage truck moved ahead, and more cans banged. 

Her mother had occasionally got up early and took Julie Ann for a walk through the streets to get fresh beignets from Café Du Monde. They’d strolled past those street cleaners and jumped over water to avoid getting wet from the hoses spraying the gutters.

Her mother had gripped Julie Ann’s hand tightly and made up stories about what might have happened the night before. The stories included voodoo queens and ghosts who might have walked through the streets. 

The memory caused a severe ache in her chest. She reached for that warm spot she’d found last night. This morning it was cold. She wrapped her arms around herself, holding in the heartache. She’d forgotten about those times. Love for her mother flooded over her. Mom and the French Quarter had provided her with so many wonderful memories. 

She’d buried them when she’d left New Orleans. She’d got caught up in the rush and development of a successful business in the city of New York. She should have come home before this. She’d forgotten how much she’d loved New Orleans, but it was coming back. 

The events of the last two days flooded over her like a tsunami; Mom’s death, the flight to New Orleans, the yellow tape and Deputy Sheriff O’Reilly – Connor. 

She closed her eyes and pulled the covers over her head to block out the bad memories, but the heaviness sitting on her chest didn’t go away. An overwhelming sadness filled her whole body, but she didn’t cry. She’d dried up. 

The person she loved most in her life was gone and she couldn’t even cry for her anymore. Her throat squeezed shut and blocked the tears that pushed against the barricade like water against a dam. The pain was excruciating; even swallowing didn’t relieve the pain. She moved her hand across the sheet again, but no one squeezed back this morning. 

Julie Ann threw the covers back and pushed her feet to the floor. She had to get showered and ready for Deputy… Connor. A ghost of a smile flashed across her lips as she thought about the linebacker-sized policeman with kind, amazing Irish green eyes, who’d carried her to her room and ordered food because she hadn’t eaten. He said he’d pick her up at ten. He looked like the punctual type. 

She started toward the bathroom and stopped. Her smile dissipated. Her stomach clenched. 

In the corner of one of the chairs sat a small voodoo doll, with blonde hair and a small hole with a drop of red surrounding the heart area. 

How had it got there? How had anyone slid into the room? Why did someone leave it for her? 

She hurried to the door. It was locked. So was the window. She reached for the hotel phone and lifted the receiver. She replaced it. Deputy Sheriff Conner would be here soon, probably already on his way. Besides, if someone got into her room, the hotel staff might be involved. 

She hadn’t been hurt – yet. Was the doll a warning? It was obviously meant for her. Did they expect her to run back to New York?

Anger flared and she grabbed the damn doll and slammed it against the wall. A vision flashed before her when she touched the doll. It was a group, not one person. They were blurry. She didn’t recognize anyone. 

She stared down at the doll. She recalled her mother taking her to a small shop. The woman had them join hands. She’d lit a flame, passed their hands over it and recited some kind of spell. Perrine had said something about a vision or passing on a vision. The memory was foggy, and Julie Ann had no idea what her mother meant. 

Was this it? She’d had flashes occasionally but brushed them away. They were usually about her or someone she knew. If she ever mentioned them in New York, people raised their eyebrows and made some comment about seeing a psychiatrist. So, she tried to bury the visions, or at least not mention them. 

Julie Ann picked up the doll and held it. She closed her eyes. Again, there was a flash of a man and behind him several people. They were so blurred it was hard to make out any features, even if they were male or female. The one in front was definitely male. She’d never seen him before. 

The images faded. She only felt emptiness. 

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

September 7 - 31 Rafflecopter with give-aways. http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e226730a61/? 

 

September 19  The Group blog topic - Most novels have an easily understood point to make to the reader, do your stories ever have more subtle or intuitive themes? Check it out on my blog at  https://beverleybateman.blogspot.com/

September 30 I’m a guest on Kara O’Neal at www.karaoneal.com

And you can follow me follow me on my blog Tuesday and Thursday athttps://beverleybateman.blogspot.com/ for how I’m doing, tips, hints and guest authors.

And you can follow me follow me on my blog https://beverleybateman.blogspot.com/ for how I’m doing, Canada Day, tips and guest authors.

Beverley Bateman Blogger

 

August 3rd, the first Monday on August is a Civic Holiday in some provinces and territories. It’s not a statutory holiday although it is a day off for many employees. I don’t know if there is a similar one in the US. So, enjoy the long weekend for you who get it. Although, with Covid so many are off work it may be irrelevant this year.

The corona virus is still with us. Areas are opening up but, in my area, very slowly. Elective surgery is open, barbers, hairdressers and nail technicians are open, Gyms and fitness centres are open but with limited numbers on site and restrictions. Nightclubs, entertainment, festivals and major events are still restricted. Masks are recommended but we have only had a total of 61 cases since the beginning. People talk about getting back to normal. I don’t think we’ll get back to what was normal. I think it’s going to be a ‘new’ normal. As a writer I am adjusting, but not accomplishing what I should. My brain tends to be mush many days. I didn’t realize how much socialization does to keep me stimulated. I stare at the TV and movies, answer and send emails and read.

I continue to stay at home most of the time, putter a little in my small yard and look after my rescue dog, Benji, whose fur is growing back. He has a sweet disposition. We’re not doing so well at getting is weight down but I’m going to blame it on Covid. 😊

 

I hope everyone is coping and staying safe through this challenging time and celebrating all occasions sensibly. Have a safe, quiet and healthy summer.

 

 

This month, Death Southern Style, both eBook and print, is up for sale. Here’s the link to order.

https://www.amazon.com/Death-Southern-Style-Beverley-Bateman-ebook/dp/B089VRC1WR/

 

 

Here’s another excerpt from Death Southern Style. 

 

The heat and humidity of a New Orleans day after a rainstorm blasted Julie Ann when she stepped through the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International airport doors to the taxi area. She’d forgotten how that combination could make it difficult to catch your breath in the south. It was a different humidity than New York.

A redcap flagged a cab for her and put her luggage in the trunk. She tipped him before she slid into the back seat. She gave her home address and sank into the cushions. She avoided any eye contact that could lead to conversation with the driver. She was too tired for trivial chitchat and she needed to prepare herself for the return to an empty house and the loss of her mother.

That sounded so dramatic but what it really was, was sad. The tears gathered and spilled over. She dug out a Kleenex and dabbed at them trickling down her cheeks. She tried to muffle the sobs.

The taxi weaved through moderate traffic. It was about a thirty-minute drive without construction and heavy traffic. Julie Ann stared out the window.

Crepe myrtle trees dotted the landscape. She’d forgotten the beautiful pink and white blossoms. The taxi passed Metairie Cemetery off to the left. It reminded her she would need to find a cemetery for her mother. Her mother’s body – it sounded do strange to think that. Had her soul left her body? Was it still in the area? Would Julie Ann be able to sense it?

Shot? A robbery? Why? Whom? It was a good neighborhood. There would be a funeral to arrange. Hopefully some of the neighbors would help. They were all good people. A random act of violence? It happened. Were Savannah and Charlie still there? Of course, they were, and they’d be there to support her. Savannah and Perrine had been close.  She’d always known them as Savannah and Charlie, or Sweetness. What were their last names?

The thought of how her mother had died kept recurring over and over. Her parents had lived in the same house for thirty years. Perrine had been raised in that house on that street and so had Julie Ann. Everyone in the neighborhood knew Perrine. They also knew she had nothing to steal. If anyone wanted anything she had, she probably would have given it to them.  Maybe the person was looking for cash, but they would have been disappointed. Maybe that’s why they shot her, because she didn’t have anything.

Did her mother have a burial vault already? Hopefully she’d left some instructions somewhere. Mom had a lawyer when Julie Ann last visited. Who was it? She couldn’t remember, but she’d need to talk to him or her. So many things to do.

Allison, her new partner, had said she’d take over Julie Ann’s clients, but they might have to wait a little longer for service. She’d met Allison in Chicago. They’d hit it off and complemented each other’s designs. Now if clients had to wait Julie Ann didn’t worry about it. Allison would do her best. And if Julie Ann had to, she’d built the business once, she could do it again. Looking back, if she only hadn’t worked so hard at building it, she might have come home more often so she and her mother could have spent more time together. Regrets overwhelmed her. That was time she’d never get back.

She would stay in New Orleans as long as it took to handle all her mother’s affairs. And to find out what had really happened.

The taxi took the Vieux Carre exit off ramp and turned into the downtown area. It drove past old buildings locked and boarded.

Thirty minutes later he stopped in front of her home. Julie Ann didn’t move.

The yellow crime scene tape across the front door of the pale blue house screamed that her mother wouldn’t be opening the door. Someone had tacked a black wreath over top of the yellow tape.

“Ma’am, excuse me? Is this the correct address?” The driver turned his head toward her.

Julie Ann nodded. She reached over to open the door. Her feet felt like cement. She slid across the seat and out the door. She kept her eyes focused on the tape, unable to look away.

Julie Ann paid him and stood on the sidewalk, her luggage beside her where the driver had dropped them. She continued to stare at the house when the taxi pulled away.

She waited for her mother to throw open the door and run down the stairs to envelop her in an enormous hug. That’s how it should have been. It wouldn’t happen now. In her head, Julie Ann knew that, but she still waited.

Gradually she forced herself to face reality. She couldn’t enter the house with all that yellow tape. And there was more tape across the gate and a few markers on the ground between in front of the house. Was that where her mother had been shot? If it was, she wasn’t even in the house. Why would a burglar shoot her? It made less sense than the robbery as a motive.

She stared at the yellow tape. Now what?

That sheriff hadn’t said anything about not being able to go into her house.

While she stood there, she could feel someone watching her.

She glanced around, but the street appeared empty. Was someone inside her house? It wasn’t a threatening feeling. It felt more like someone was watching, like her mother, waiting for her to come inside.

She took a step toward the house. She’d told the police she would arrive today. How long were they going to keep that damn tape up?

 And where was she going to sleep tonight?

Anger replaced lethargy. Julie Ann grabbed her cell phone and punched in the number for the operator.

“How may I help y’all?”

“Could you please connect me to the French Quarter police station? Thank you.” Julie Ann tapped the toe of her four-inch stiletto heel as she waited. She kept glancing around the neighborhood.

“Police station, how may I direct your call?”

“Sheriff Tozer, please.”

“I’m sorry, ma’am, he’s not in the office at the moment.”

“Then please connect me to whoever is in charge of the Dupré case?”

“Sorry, which case?”

“The Dupré case - the woman who was murdered in her house yesterday.”

“Oh yeah, the robbery vic. Hold on. Deputy Sheriff O’Reilly’s on call. I don’t know if he’s in.”

“If he’s not, find me someone who is in. I want to get in the damn house.” Julie Ann snapped

“Ma’am?”

“That robbery victim was my mother. It’s my house and I want the damn tape removed so I can get into my own home. I’m standing out front in this damn heat right now. You find someone and get them over here ASAP to get that goddamn tape off my door or I’ll take it down myself.” Julie Ann clicked the phone off and dropped it in her purse.

 


 

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

August 1 on Eclectic Authors with Janet lane Walters https://wwweclecticwriter.blogspot.com/ 

 

August 7 - 31 Rafflecopter with give-aways. http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e226730a61/? 

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

August 1 on Eclectic Authors with Janet lane Walters https://wwweclecticwriter.blogspot.com/ 

 

August 7 - 31 Rafflecopter with give-aways. http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e226730a61/? 

 

 

August 13 N.N. Light’s Book Heaven Binge-Worthy Book Festival and enter for an Amazon gift card https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com 

 

August 20th on Actually Alethea with Alethea Williams https://actuallyalethea.blogspot.com/

August 22 The Group blog ‘To make a story seem and feel more realistic to the reader, what elements do you include in your stories?’ on my blog at  https://beverleybateman.blogspot.com/ 

 

August 30 on Romance Lives Forever https://www.rlfblog.com/ 

 

I continue writing 100 words a day and report my word count to the ‘100 words a day’ group. I’m working on The Foundation Lydia’s Story, the second in the series, which I’ve mentioned before. It’s slow slogging.

 

I’m still thinking about one or two ideas for a short novella. I’d like to do one on maybe, magic, psychics and fun things like that. And maybe a Covid romance. We’ve had a couple in my town that I blogged about. I’ll talk more about that next month. Hopefully I might even have it started.

 

And you can follow me follow me on my blog https://beverleybateman.blogspot.com/ for how I’m doing, tips, hints and guest authors.

And you can follow me follow me on my blog https://beverleybateman.blogspot.com/ for how I’m doing, Canada Day, tips and guest authors.

Beverley Bateman Blogger