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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

 

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.
https://www.amazon.com/dp/B089VRC1WR?ref_=pe_3052080_276849420

 

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 https://www.redcarpetfiction.com/bookbub-july-2020
July Enter to win 1 of 4 gift cards https://www.redcarpetfiction.com/amazon-july-2020 

 

July 20th on Ellen Mint
https://ellenmint.blog/2020/07/20/death-southern-style-by-beverley-bateman/

July 25th on my blog
https://beverleybateman.blogspot.com/ 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
http://www.nomadauthors.com/blog/ 

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 https://beverleybateman.blogspot.com/ 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 https://www.redcarpetfiction.com/bookbub-june-2020 - Current Giveaways June 8th – June 30th  Enter to win an amazon gift card

And Father’s Day at N.N. Light https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/ 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 babateman@shaw.ca . 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 http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e226730a42/ 

 

January 25 - Group Blog – start at https://beverleybateman.blogspot.com/and 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 https://beverleybateman.blogspot.com/ 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 https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/bookpromos/categories/spring-break-bookapalooza 

 

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."