Happy New Year! Good-bye 2020!
Whew! We made it. I don’t know about you but I’m suffering from Covid fatigue. I also think I’m developing the characteristics of a hermit.
2020 was a difficult year. The most challenging I remember, and the challenges are not over yet. We’ve got a few months to keep ourselves and our communities safe, so wear a mask, wash your hands and social distance.
I do believe that 2021 will be a good year, certainly a better year. There is a vaccine. Actually, there are two vaccines and maybe more. In four or five months we should all be able to receive the vaccine. A new normality could be starting to set in. So keep a positive thought.
Do you make New Year’s resolutions?
I don’t make resolutions anymore. I always broke them within a few weeks and then forgot about them.
I switched to setting goals. I set goals for the year and dates to assess and revise them throughout the year.
I set personal goals, like nutrition and exercise. This year I might have to set one to re-learn socialization. 😊 I set business and writing goals, marketing goals, like learning how to do Amazon Ads, figuring out meta data, and word counts for writing a novel. I also set reading goals. I may also think about goals to survive Covid in the next few months.
I’m blaming it on Covid, but December I spent online shopping for Christmas, doing baking, cooking, etc. My writing was limited. I did manage a few short stories and I belong to 100 words a day and managed to scratch those 100 words out but that was it. I’m hoping I start January energized and enthusiastic. I also hope my muse will return, even if it wears a mask and maintains appropriate social distancing, and I’ll finish Lydia’s Story. I’m working on that story, slowly. In the meantime, I’d love to have you read Death Southern Style. It’s a fun paranormal, romantic suspense set in New Orleans.
Here's An Excerpt
There was a fine dust on counters and doorknobs from the forensics team. She’d clean it up later.
After programming the coffeemaker, she popped a slice of bread in the toaster. When the percolating stopped, she poured a cup of strong, black coffee, buttered the toast and carried both outside to the courtyard.
In broad daylight it looked like it always had when she had come out here. Her mother loved the courtyard. She remembered thinking about how they had spent many a pleasant hour chatting away while digging in the dirt, planting bulbs and enjoying the color of the flowers and the deep scent of the begonias. She took a deep breath. She remembered there had been the scent of begonias in the air last night, right before her mother showed up.
She put the plate on the rock ledge, sat down with her mug in both hands and took a sip of steaming coffee. She stared at the place where Mom had appeared. The clouds were gone, sun was starting to warm up the air.
Would she show up again? Maybe she had been dreaming. No, Mom had been there. Julie Ann breathed in the scent of the begonias and felt a hand on her shoulder.
A sharp bark broke through her reverie. She lowered her coffee mug. A small, brown, mixed breed dog sat a few feet away. It barked again.
“Well, hi there, fella. Where did you come from?” Julie Ann dropped one hand from her mug and wiggled her fingers. The mongrel jumped up and moved closer so Julie Ann could scratch behind the dog’s ears.
A smile played with her lips while Julie Ann rubbed his or her head and scratched under its chin. “Good boy, good doggie. How did you get back here?”
She looked around, wondering if there was a hole in the wall somewhere. The only way into the courtyard was through the house or the walkway between her house and Martha’s. But there was a wrought-iron gate that blocked the entrance to the courtyard. She could see the gate was closed.
“So how did you get in here?” She rubbed the dog’s head. “It wasn’t through the house and you may be skinny but not skinny enough to slip through the wrought-iron. Did someone drop you over the wall?”
The dog growled in pleasure and rolled over to have its belly rubbed.
“So, you’re a girl. I guess us girls need to stick together. I wish Mom was here, too. I thought I felt her again, for just a second. I can’t believe how empty my life is and will be without her.”
The furry mongrel raised her head, crooked an eyebrow and looked at her.
“Oh God, I miss her.” Julie Ann bent down and wrapped her arms around the dog. The tears overflowed and she wept into the dog’s neck. “I, I really ... really miss her. She taught me how to live life to the fullest and how to be happy. She taught me to stand on my own two feet and to trust my instincts.”
The dog sat patiently while Julie sobbed. Gradually the sobs quieted. Julie Ann finally released her hold on the dog’s neck and sat back.
The dog put one paw up on Julie Ann’s leg.
Julie Ann gave the dog a hug.
“Mom, where are you? Why did you leave me last night? I need you to tell me who is after us and why.” Julie Ann wiped her face and bent down to pat the dog. “You think I’m crazy – right? But she really was special. She came back last night to warn me. I just wish she’d told me what to watch out for.”
The dog sat up on her hind legs and rested her head on Julie Ann’s knee.
“You are kind of cute, you know. I can’t figure out how you got in here. Are you lost? Maybe I should put an ad in the paper. Do you want something to drink?”
The dog looked up at her and whined, then rolled over to have her tummy scratched again.
“Okay, girl, let’s get you some water. Have you got a name?”
Julie Ann searched for a collar but didn’t find one.
“No? Maybe I’ll call you Marie, Marie Laveau. They say she was my great, great grandmother you know. Not really on my side, but on Perrine’s. Maybe she sent you here to protect me, except Perrine wasn’t my birth mother so I’m not sure how that works. I know it’s just a made-up story, but Marie helped the sick and the poor, and you helped me cry again and move ahead with my grieving. So okay Marie L., let’s go get some breakfast.”
The dog followed her obediently into the kitchen, her short stubby tail wagging in the air.
Julie Ann glanced down at the animal.
“It’s probably coincidence, isn’t it, you showing up in the courtyard right after Mom appeared, and in the courtyard? And yes, I know I’m being silly. You’re a stray dog who probably dug your way into the courtyard.”
The dog bounced in front of Julie Ann as she walked into the kitchen and then slowed down and let Julie Ann pass her. Julie Ann felt a cloud of love touch her when she passed beside the dog.
I’m not doing a lot of guest spots in January, but you can find me at a few places. I’d love to have you drop by and say “hi.”
You might also be eligible for gift certificates at these sites:
Spotlight NN Light’s New Year’s Fete https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/new-year-new-books-fete I’ll be there January 13th.
February 1 - I’m guest blogging on Amber Dalton’s blog at https://amberdaultonauthor.blogspot.com/
And you can follow me follow me on my blog Tuesday and Thursday at https://beverleybateman.blogspot.com/ for how I’m doing, tips, hints and guest authors. There are some exciting authors and their new books this month.