Back to Top


Romantic & Western headerbarSuspense Novels

Category: Writing News


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. 


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

September 30 I’m a guest on Kara O’Neal at

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

And you can follow me follow me on my blog 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.



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


“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 


August 7 - 31 Rafflecopter with give-aways. 

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 


August 7 - 31 Rafflecopter with give-aways. 



August 13 N.N. Light’s Book Heaven Binge-Worthy Book Festival and enter for an Amazon gift card 


August 20th on Actually Alethea with Alethea Williams

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 


August 30 on Romance Lives Forever 


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 for how I’m doing, tips, hints and guest authors.

And you can follow me follow me on my blog for how I’m doing, Canada Day, tips and guest authors.

Beverley Bateman Blogger


July has July 1st, Canada Day, and July 4th, Independence Day in the United States.  I don’t know about you and where you live, but in Canada most of the usual Canada Day celebrations have been canceled, across Canada, due to the Corona virus. And group celebrations, including fireworks displays have been canceled. We are limited to a few drive-through events like pancake breakfasts and small family barbeques in the backyard, while still social distancing. Fireworks are virtual. Happy Canada Day!

I’m not sure what the United States is doing for Independence Day as it appears it differs from state to state. So, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, Happy Independence Day!


The rest of the month, there are a few more smaller significant days.

July 11 World Population Day

July 12 – Paper Bag Day

July 14th Bastille Day

July 18th International Nelson Mandala Day

July 26th National Parent’s Day


Have fun celebrating.

The corona virus, as I mentioned for Canada day, is still with us and affecting our lifestyles. As a writer I am adjusting. I think it’s going to be with us for awhile. To help the economy recover I’m following the measures health officials recommend. I’m wearing a mask to protect other people and maybe myself. I’m social distancing and washing my hands. Actually, I even wear gloves in stores so I’m not touching items and spreading anything that way. I’m staying home and at first that was kind of ‘brain fogging’, but that’s passing. Now I’m actually sorting and organizing files, writing, reading and meditating. And I even learned Zoom.


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



Finally, after so many months, Death Southern Style is up for pre-order and will be available July 20th. It will be available in both e-Book and print. Here’s the link to pre-order.


Here’s an excerpt from Death Southern Style.

Inside the house Julie Ann turned back to Savannah. “I’m going to find out what happened to Mom. She shouldn’t have died that way and I’m going to find out why.”


“You be careful girl. There’s something evil going on around here. I don’t know what it is, but you don’t wanna to get involved. I notice you didn’t explain that sixth sense of yours to the policeman.”


Julie Ann managed a weak smile. “I didn’t think he was up for that. He got that weird look on his face when I showed him the voodoo doll and again when I mentioned sensing something. He’s not a believer. Besides, I don’t totally understand that sensing thing myself. I’ve always tried to avoid using it. Most people think I’m crazy when I say something about seeing or sensing something. Perrine was the one with that skill or power. She encouraged me to work with it and strengthen it. She knew she was going to die.”

Julie Ann managed a weak smile. “I didn’t think he was up for that. He got that weird look on his face when I showed him the voodoo doll and again when I mentioned sensing something. He’s not a believer. Besides, I don’t totally understand that sensing thing myself. I’ve always tried to avoid using it. Most people think I’m crazy when I say something about seeing or sensing something. Perrine was the one with that skill or power. She encouraged me to work with it and strengthen it. She knew she was going to die.”


“You sensed that?”


“Yes, when I came into the house. She ran so she didn’t die in the house.”


“That makes sense. Now you think Perrine might try to talk to you?”


“Uh huh, I’m hoping she might. Mom would want me to find out what happened. And she’d be happy if I tried to improve my sensing and vision skills. We both know Perrine’s not going to be able to rest peacefully until we find out what really happened and why. And I get the feeling there’s something she wants me to know. I think it’s in a brown envelope – somewhere.”


“And you know this how?”


“When I said good-bye to her today, I got flashes.”


“Yup, that’s Perrine trying to get through to you, sure ‘nuff, but I don’t want you gettin’ in any trouble. She’ll never rest if something happens to you.”


“I’ll be fine, Savannah. Really, I will. I’ll be careful. I don’t have a choice. Now, how about you whippin’ me up some of your special red beans and rice. Nobody makes it quite like you and I haven’t had it since I moved to New York.”


“You’ve got it, girl. You come on over to my place and let me see if we can put a few pounds on those skinny bones of yours.”


“That sounds good. And for the record, I think you know more than you’re telling anyone. You’ve known Perrine for a very long time. You know more about my birth mother than Mom

ever told me.”


“Now baby girl, don’ you start going there. That’s nothin’ but trouble.”


“It’s time I knew what Perrine would never discuss and you will tell me. There’s a good chance it has to do with why they killed her.”


Savannah heaved herself up from the chair and wrapped an arm around Julie Ann’s shoulder.


“We’ll see, we’ll see… Let’s see what Perrine says first.”


“If she says anything, but if she doesn’t you are going to tell me what you know. It’s time I learned the truth.”


“You sound like your mother. We’ll talk later.”


“I’m holding you to that. Now, I’m going to see Priestess Ava. I need to talk to her. You make those red beans and rice for dinner. I’ll be back shortly.”


Savannah nodded. “Priestess Ava is a good idea. She’ll help you.”


They moved to the door together. Something made Julie Ann glance over her shoulder back into the living room. A shadow disappeared into a corner.


Who was it? Was it the murderer? Were the spirits restless? Was it her mother? Or just her imagination?


You can also follow me and check me out:

July Enter to win 1 of 4 gift cards
July Enter to win 1 of 4 gift cards 


July 20th on Ellen Mint

July 25th on my blog a group blog on  “How do you develop a character who is different in personality from all the other characters you have developed, or from yourself?”

July 29th on Dee Knight 

I have continued 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. I’m about one third of the way through it. I’ll be working on it for quite awhile. Hopefully Not as long as it took me to write Death Southern Style.


I’m also thinking I might write a short novella. I’m sort of noodling on that. I’ll talk more about that next month.


And you can follow me follow me on my blog for how I’m doing, Canada Day, tips and guest authors.

Beverley Bateman Blogger


I don’t know about you, but there is nothing going on, here, in June. All the spring festivals, dog shows, concerts, etc. have been canceled due to Covid19. In my area we are starting to open up, but very slowly. We’re still in Stage One. Parks and playgrounds are now open, hairdressers and barbers, and a few restaurants. That’s about it. In my city we have been very lucky and have had a total of 40 cases and no deaths. But for our long holiday weekend, Stage One, they pushed ‘camping at home’, with tents in the back yard and RV’s in the driveway. Now, for the summer, they’re pushing and putting money into ‘Holiday at Home.’ We’ll see how that works.

Me, I bought some backyard patio furniture and have my small garden planted. Our weather is warming up. My rescue dog is adjusting and enjoys laying on a small plot of artificial grass. And I’m getting names of books I have to read. We’re all set for our ‘Summer at Home’.


Death Southern Style has been through two rounds of editings and revisions. It’s now with two beta readers. Unfortunately, one of my beta readers lives in Brooklyn.



She’s been through two months of the corona virus and shelter-at-home and listening to sirens all day long. As the sirens began to lessen, she is now only blocks from the riots that have started. Her mental health and worry about her family are affecting her and she may not be able to continue to read.

As soon as I get the book back with comments it goes for formatting. I’m hoping to have it up for sale by July 1st. It will get there.  So, for now, I’m in limbo with Death Southern Style. Everything is in someone else’s control. Sigh… I’m working on a pre-order date. Once I get one, I’ll add it to my website.

In the meantime, check out:

Nicole Morgan’s Red Carpet - Current Giveaways June 8th – June 30th  Enter to win an amazon gift card

And Father’s Day at N.N. Light June – June 18-21 Celebrate Fathers Event with an e-book bundle giveaway.

I have continued writing 100 words a day. I joined a ‘100 words a day’ group so I have accountability. I’m working on The Foundation Lydia’s Story, the second in the series, which I’ve mentioned before. I’m about one third of the way through it.  I need to reread it and work out some structure and plot details and do some more research on Peru.


Since I’m working On Lydia’s story, here’s an excerpt (draft).


“Marilyn Peterson?”

The woman nodded.

“I'm Maggie. The woman behind you is Sara. We're here to help you escape.”

Marilyn's eyes widened. She swung around to see Sara, dressed as another female repair person, in the kitchen doorway.

She swallowed several times, her hands clutched together. “I don't understand. You have to go. My husband could be home soon.”

“We know, Marilyn. Diane, one of our team is watching for any sign of him. We also know that when he comes home today, he's going to beat you within an inch of your life. He may not stop there this time. We know he's been abusing you for years. We're here to get you out and away from him. We want to save your life.”

“You can't...I can't...” she looked down at her ankle. She wore a monitoring device. “If you cut it off, he'll know. He monitors it from work. If he notices anything unusual, he phones. If I step outside the house, he'll know. You can't save me.”

Maggie pulled out a pair of metal cutters. “We know about your monitor. No man should put something like that on anyone, except maybe an alleged pedophile or murderer, released into the community. It should never to be used on any woman, including a wife. We can take care of it. Sara?”

Sara slipped into the room and pull out a six-inch piece of wire with hooks and little black boxes on it. She bent down and attached it to the monitoring device. Several minutes later she pulled at both ends. She gave a curt nod to Maggie and held out her hand. Maggie handed her the cutters.

“No, don't. He will know right away and come home and kill me.”

“Hold on, Marilyn. It will be fine. We know what we’re doing. Think about what you need to bring with you. You can only take a very small bag.”

Marilyn held her breath. Sara cut through the bracelet.

Nothing happened.

Marilyn stared at Sara and then at Maggie. “It didn't go off. He didn’t hear it?”

“No. We do know what we're doing.”

Marilyn stared at the phone.

“He’s not going to call. Slip your foot out of the bracelet. We don't have much time. I'll carry the monitor while you pack. Don't worry about clothes or jewelry. We'll replace anything you’ll need.” Maggie looked at the thread-bare cotton housedress. “Take the few things you can't live without.”

Marilyn stumbled upstairs into the master bedroom. She dragged a stool to the closet door. She opened the door and climbed up on the stool. In the back corner she jerked out some sheets and threw them on the floor. She pulled out another sheet with something in it. She gently unwrapped the sheet and brought out a small rectangular wood box. She clutched it to her chest

“He doesn't know about this. He doesn’t let me keep anything from my family or my life before he married me.”

“Bring it along. Is there anything else?”  Maggie said.

“I have my thyroid medication.”

Maggie paused. “Take a few pills, leave the bottle. Is there anything else?”

Marilyn shook her head. “No, I don't want to remember anything about my living hell for the last ten years.”

"That's why we're here, so you can leave this hell and move on with your life. We'll get you a new identity. He will never find you. You're going to be free."

“I don't believe it can happen. I've been praying for it for years.”

“Someone heard your prayers. Let's go.” Sara grabbed Marilyn's thin arm. “Do you get any food?”

“He eats his lunch out or orders it in. He brings groceries home every night so I can cook for him. I get anything that's left over. There's food in the fridge for his breakfast. He counts the eggs and bread slices, but I can manage to steal a little orange juice and jam.”

Sara shook her head. “If I had my way we'd stay here and take care of that bastard when he gets home.”

Maggie put her arm around Marilyn's shoulders. She shot a glance across at Sara. “Down girl, that’s not our assignment this time. You can always ask to come back.”

Maggie pulled out her phone from the tool belt. “Lydia, meet us in the alley out back. Come on, Marilyn, you're out of here.”

Sara slipped out of the room and returned seconds later. “I dropped the monitor on the bed. If he monitors her movements, he'll think she's lying down.” She moved to the back door and opened it.

“I don't see anyone. No neighbors in their yard, although we should thank one of them for telling us about you.  Give me your box. Let's go.” Sara grabbed the wooden box from Marilyn and sprinted across the yard.

Maggie kept her arm around Marilyn and guided her through the yard, through the gate and into the alley. The telephone repair van pulled up with Sara inside. She leaned out and helped Maggie hoist Marilyn through the sliding side door and into the van. Maggie hopped inside and pulled the door shut. “Go, Lydia.”

The van drove slowly down the alley. It turned right, onto the main street and slowed to a stop. Diane climbed down the pole and raced across the van. She climbed in the passenger seat and the van’s speed increased but stayed under the speed limit. Lydia drove toward the freeway. They couldn't afford to be stopped. They needed to get the woman to the safe house. Her husband would be home in a few hours and looking for her. They had to assure her safety and quickly.

He would not be happy to find his possession gone.

Happy New Year!


Can you believe it’s not only a new year, but a new decade? Welcome to 2020.

I hope everyone had a good holiday season, whatever you celebrate or not.


I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions, because they place high expectations, they never last and most of the time they’re a good or bad and not measurable. I do set goals for the year. Then I assess them every few months and may adjust them. I usually set goals for different areas of my life. For example, - Nutrition goals. This year I want to work harder on following the Mediterranean Diet. Exercise – I need to get back to working out and my goal is to work out at least three times a week and try to do 7000 steps a day. I don’t usually make 10,000.


And I have writing goals. At the top of my list is Finish the Damn Book. I am still writing and editing Death Southern Style. I have a beta reader ready to read and share her opinion If anyone would like to be a beta reader for me, please contact me at . I’d love to have another person share their honest opinion of my book. I have an editor waiting for me to submit. I’m looking at another week it should be finished and edited by me and then off it goes.  I did get a cover. Yes! It hasn’t been revealed yet – so this will be the first time I’ve posted it.


Once it’s gone for editing, I want to get back to working on The Foundation – Lydia’s Story.


This month I’m not doing a lot of promotion. I want to finish Death Southern Style and start promoting it. Hopefully next month.


All month you can check out my book and be eligible to win a $50 amazon gift card at Rafflecopter 


January 25 - Group Blog – start at this month the topic is “How can contemporary fiction cope with the rapid changes of today’s world?”


Don’t forget to check out my blog and some great authors with their new books and other information at and post comments.



Here’s here is a recipe from Death Southern Style for Red Beans and Rice


RED BEANS AND RICE (Serves 10 - 12)

  • 1-pound dried red beans, rinsed
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup chopped ham
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped onions
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch cayenne
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • 1/2-pound smoked sausage cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2-pound smoked ham hocks
  • 4 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 10 cups chicken stock, or water
  • 4 cups cooked white rice



Place the beans in a large bowl or pot and cover with water by 2 inches. Let soak for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and set aside.


In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the chopped ham and cook, for 1 minute. Add the onions and celery to the pot. Season with the salt, pepper, and cayenne, and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft, about 4 minutes. Add the bay leaves, parsley, thyme, sausage, and ham hocks, and cook, stirring, to brown the sausage and ham hocks, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the beans and stock or water, stir well, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the beans are tender and starting to thicken, about 2 hours.


Remove from the heat mash about 1/4 of the beans against the side of the pot. Continue to cook until the beans are tender and creamy, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and remove the bay leaves. Serve over rice. Enjoy!

While we have April Fool’s Day, Good Friday and Easter this month, we also have the Corona Virus or Covid 19. This affects everyone in both Canada and the United States and the usual Easter celebrations have all been canceled. That includes the church services.


I returned from the warm south and crossed the border into Canada to freezing, cold ice and snow. I immediately went into self-isolation. It’s been an interesting experience and after my fourteen days isolation are over, we move to stay-at-home, or shelter-in-place. Except for grocery shopping, picking up medications or emergencies, we stay home for probably the next month and possibly two months. We have our newly adopted rescue dog, who is adjusting to the cold weather. We do get to walk him but must stay away from anyone.



Schools are closed, all non-essential business are closed, many grocery stores are counting the number of people allowed inside at any one time. Wherever you are, and what ever the rules, laws or recommendations in your area, I hope you obey them, stay safe and hopefully keep others safe.


In our area the self-isolation and stay-at-home are laws. If you are found to break these laws, there are fines starting at $1000.


On the positive side, I finally finished Death Southern Style. I’m doing the last read and edit now and hope to send it off shortly. And since I’m spending more time at home, I’m doing some organization and plan to get back to work on Lydia’s story.


I’m also still not doing much self promoting for April, for several reasons.







I am doing Spring Break Bookapalooza on April 28 at 


The most important things are to avoid large groups over 8-10 people, physical distance – stay six feet apart from anyone, and wash your hands frequently – at least twenty seconds with soap and water. Stay safe and have a good month.




Sara’s emotionally abusive husband dies unexpectedly. She’s struggling to reclaim the intelligent, independent person she was before she married. She vows never to let a man take over her life again. Now she’s part of a special team, training to help other women.


Mac is has been responsible for training women in special ops techniques so they are prepared when they are challenged to save other women. When he meets Sara sparks fly between them. He wants her to quit the training and let him take care of her.


Sara graduates and now she and her team have to save Sara’s daughter from a serial killer. Can Mac step back and trust her in a dangerous situation? Can Sara and Mac resolve their issues, or will they go in opposite directions?


May?? Not sure we will have a lot going on this month. Canada has Victoria Day Weekend and the US has Memorial Day. In Canada all celebrations have been cancelled because the Corona Virus is still with us. In Canada, as of today, we have 53,236 cases of the Covid virus and 3,184 deaths. And it doesn’t look like we’ve peaked. We’re doing still on an upward curve.


We’re still on lock down and stay-at-home. It’s an interesting time. Many parts of the world have had varying degrees of infection and they have handled them in different ways. Some are slowly starting to open up. We’ll see how it works. I have no comment on what appears to work better. Before we get a treatment and hopefully a vaccine. I do believe that the one thing that works is social/physical distancing, staying at least six feet apart. The second thing is hand washing, frequently and for at least twenty seconds. Avoid crowds. Face covering in close distances. All these things appear to help slow the infection, flatten the curve and hopefully reduce the number of deaths.



I’m doing stay-at-home. I shop once a week, wear gloves and a mask and stay at least six feet from anyone. Am I going stir crazy? Oh, yeah. The weather is finally warming up so I can spend a little time outside in the yard – but then we have the wind. Like many writers I have used the time to write. I was challenged to do 100 words a day for April. I accepted the challenge and wrote at least 100 words every day and reported in, to my challenger. It helped and I did write. I finished editing Death Southern Style.


I had to find a new editor, but the book is now at an editor. And I’m hoping to get it back, do the revisions, and get it to my formatter before the end of the month. I make get it up for sale yet. And with my 100 words a day I also pulled out The Foundation Lydia’s Story, the second in the series, and started back writing that book. I’ve heard many writers are getting lots of writing done with stay-at-home. That’s one good thing related to the virus. There should be lots of new books out there to read while staying-at-home.


There are also a couple of other positive thins with the virus. There is limited transportation and the air around the world is cleaner than it has been for a long time. Also, the SPCA’s and other pet control centers are empty. All the animals have been adopted. So, hold that thought, and let’s hope May is a good month for all, including writers.




I’m hoping Death Southern Style will be available for sale by June. Once I get a pre-order date, I’ll start to promote it. Until then I’m taking a break. Besides, with stay-at home I tend to be a little brain dead at time and I was too late to get in on a couple of promotions.


Since I’m working On Lydia’s story, here’s an excerpt (draft).


Hidden in the shadows they watched the guards change. The heavy Peruvian undergrowth prevented any sun shining through but keep the humidity locked in, giving the air a sauna-like feel.

"Ready?" Lydia whispered.

Sara nodded, and edged toward the path. She got the assignment because she spoke fluent Spanish. With her dyed black and make up darkening her skin she looked Peruvian. Mac had helped her dye her hair and use the skin darkener. He really had come a long way. With a quick glance at her team she pulled a scarf over her head and sauntered towards the prison gate.

Maggie beside her. She dropped into the undergrowth when they approached the guard.

The guard stopped Sara.

"I'm working in the kitchen today. Maria is sick."

He nodded and waved another guard to escort her.

"Scuse." Sara bumped into him as she passed, pocketing his gate key.

Maggie crawled close in the underbrush. Sara dropped the key. Maggie’s hand shot out and grabbed it. Sara proceeded into the prison.

In the kitchen Sara removed her scarf and pulled on an apron. The head cook shouted at her in Spanish to make the soup.

Sara swallowed a smile. The soup would be perfect. She added bouillon and water. She glanced around the room, pulled out a slim container from her pocket and dumped a large portion of the powder into the cauldron. She hummed a melody from her childhood and continued to stir the soup. This had been easier than they expected, but would the rest of the plan work as smoothly?

When she finished the soup Sara checked the coffee. She added more water and a generous dump of powder.

A few hours later, after finishing the menu for dinner Sara left the prison. Maggie put her hand out from behind a bush near the gate and returned the key to Sara.

The gate guard stared at Sara. She smiled at the guard, ran her fingers up his chest ss she returned his key. Then, smiling, she swaggered down the trail, hips undulating, as she headed toward town.  Around the corner she slipped off the trail into the darkness of the jungle where her team waited.

"They should sleep well." Sara grinned as they crept through the underbrush to the temporary camp they had set up.

Several hours later, in the pitch black of night, the four women made their way back to the prison gate. Dressed in fatigues and black face the women waited outside the prison gate for the change of guards.

Lydia nodded and they crept forward to the gate. Inside a guard slumped to one side, leaning against the pillar, snoring loudly.

Maggie pulled out the duplicate key they had made and opened the gate just enough for the women to slip inside.

Once in the courtyard Maggie grabbed the sleeping guard's keys. Sara led the way through the prison, at a fork in the path she turned away from the kitchen and toward the cells. In the cells they searched for Dr. Miguay. A few inmates woke, shouting to be released. Most slept soundly.

Dr. Miguay had a cell to herself near the end. Opening the cell door, Sara opened the cell door.  The doctor slept soundly.  "Damn, she must have eaten the soup. Quick, Maggie, the antidote."

Maggie dug into her pack and handed Sara a syringe. Sara shot it into the doctor's upper arm and waited.

She continued to sleep on her cot for several more minutes. Finally her eyes flickered open. She stared up at the four women.

Speaking in Spanish Sara said, "We're here to rescue you. We're Americans. We're taking you to the United States."







March is The Ides of March, Women’s History Month, Pi Day and St. Patrick’s Day and the first day of spring.


Saint Patrick's Day, or the Feast of Saint Patrick, is a cultural and religious celebration held on 17 March, the traditional death date of Saint Patrick, the foremost patron saint of Ireland.


The Ides of March was a day in the Roman calendar that corresponds to 15 March. It was marked by several religious observances and was notable for the Romans as a deadline for settling debts.




March is Women's History Month – commemorating and encouraging the study, observance and celebration of the vital role of women in American history.




Pi Day celebrates mathematics on March 14th (3/14) around the world. Pi (Greek letter “π”) is the symbol used in mathematics to represent a constant — the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter

It feels like we’re racing through 2020. And I’m still working on my first goal of 2020 – Finish the Damn Book. I am writing and editing and within a few pages of writing The End. It will be sent to my editor on March 3rd. And my goal will be met. Whew! Finally. It was supposed to be finished last September/October. I’ve never had this much of a challenge finishing a book. Like I said previously, I’m beginning to wonder if this book is meant to be written. And yet I love the book, it’s characters and its premise. I hope you will, too.


The next task will be to edit the book when I get it back and send it off for formatting. I’m hoping that part goes quickly. Once I get time frames from everyone, I’ll put the book up for pre-order. Once it’s gone for editing, I want to get back to working on The Foundation – Lydia’s Story. The pressure’s not on as much for that one. I have a couple of months to work on it. We’ll also be packing and heading back home this month. Hoping the winter weather is gone by then.


We also adopted a rescue dog in late February. He’s a nine-year old, very obese Bichon cross who has been on the streets for awhile. His fur was totally matted so he had to be shaved. So, we’re working on some of his health issues, putting him on a diet and getting him adapted to our life – or maybe us to his. He has the sweetest personality.

I’ve cut back on promotion again this month because I want to finish Death Southern Style and start promoting it. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

I’m on the March Countdown on The Red Carpet at


March 22 - Group Blog – start at this month  the topic is ‘What draws you into a story?’


Check out my blog and meet some great authors with their new books and other information at and I’d love to have you post your comments and thoughts.


And my newsletter will be out this month. Check it out. This month I have Stacy Juba, of Shortcuts for Writers who is releasing an online course March 6 that she expects to save writers time and money on the editing process,  as my guest.





February is Super Bowl, Valentine’s Day and Heart Health Month

And we’ve already shot through January and Ground Hog Day. Depending which ground hog, you believe neither Punxsutawney Phil nor Wiarton Willie saw their shadows so it’s an early spring. However, Shubenacadie Sam did see his shadow so it’s six more weeks of winter. Make your own decision.

I’m still working on my first goal of 2020 – Finish the Damn Book. Yes, I have been writing but not enough. I’ve written, edited and rewritten and I’m still about five thousand words from finishing. I’m beginning to wonder if this book is meant to be written.


January was a bit of a challenge. I lost my beloved Sachi. My writing chapter suddenly turned upside down and the whole board resigned, and it devolved into a total disaster, so after more than twenty years I resigned. I don’t do that kind of stress anymore.


I’m hoping this means that February I will concentrate on my writing, get the book off for editing and maybe, just maybe, off for formatting. (fingers crossed) Once it’s gone for editing, I want to get back to working on The Foundation – Lydia’s Story. The pressure’s not on as much for that one. I have a couple of months to work on it.


Once again, I’m not doing a lot of promotion this month. I want to finish and publish Death Southern Style and start promoting it. So hopefully next month.

I’m on the Valentine’s Day Countdown on The Red Carpet at 


February 22 - Group Blog – start at this month  the topic is an extension of January’s topic.  Current trends (those that your like and those that infuriate you) that might end up in a story. How should fiction set in today’s times treat politics?


February 22 – I’m a guest on Viviana MacKade’s blog at 


Check out my blog and meet some great authors with their new books and other information at and I’d love to have you post your comments and thoughts.


Don’t forget it’s Heart Month. So, check it out and do something healthy for your heart.



Fall has officially arrived – leaf scuffling time. I don’t know where you live but we have below freezing temperatures at night and we had snow flurries yesterday and today. So far it’s not sticking. Thank heavens! I head south to avoid cold weather, but we don’t leave for another four weeks. 

In the meantime, I’ve edited The Fourth Victim and I’m getting it formatted. I have my cover artist working on the cover. I’m hoping to have it by the end of this coming week. Watch for a new cover post. My goal is to have The Fourth Victim released by October 26thI’m hoping to promo it after I get the cover and then guest blogs in November. 

For October I’m promoting By Design and Don’t Go at . I’m looking at changing the cover on Don’t Go. 

I’m starting to work on my newsletter. I started with MailChimp, but I found it confusing. I’ll see how the next attempt goes. I’m hoping to eventually send out one every three months. 

On a personal side, I’m preparing to head south in about four weeks. We got the roof, deck, and carport repaired – so everything is now waterproof. When we get back they’re replacing some of the floors that were damaged, the ceilings and the electrical. It will be nice to have it all done. 

Also, I’m Canadian so we have Thanksgiving October 8th, turkey, ham, and all the trimmings. Then when we go south I get to do it all over again. It’s great for the waistline. I do my Christmas cards before we go. I’m also working on the next book in my Hawkins’ Ranch series, Gabe’s story and hoping to finish off Death Southern Style. We’ll see how that goes this month. I’ll keep you updated. 


Happy Thanksgiving to all the Canadians!