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Thursday, July 2, 2015

I Want To Be Like Beverly Cleary

Beverly Cleary doesn't write romance. She's a children's author so why would a romance writer want to be like her? Simple. This lady can flat out write. When she does a story, her characters are so true to life that you'll think you're old friends with them.

The first Cleary book I ever read as a child was Ellen Tebbits. As a fourth or fifth grader, I totally identified with Ellen. Years later when I re-read the book as an adult, I was awed by her skill and ability to get into the mind and emotions of children. In my opinion, few authors have surpassed her.

Creating memorable characters is my goal as well. I don't want stereotypical, flat characters whether they're villains or heroes. I want to be like Cleary and people my novels with characters people will remember their whole lives.

My latest hero is a WWE style wrestler who bought an old, falling down house that people say is haunted. There's no windows in the house, and it's early spring so he wears a red sweat suit with a dalmatian head on the shirt. He also wears slipper socks and is in the witness protection program.

Will this guy be as memorable as Ellen Tebbits? I don't know yet, but I have a super example to follow as I perfect my craft.

The cover is the first edition cover.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Beyond the Book: Weddings

Welcome to Beyond the Book. My name is Peyton O'Malley, and I was Elaine's heroine in Rest Thy Head. June was traditionally the month for weddings, so I decided to show you my wedding dress and the ones my bridesmaids wore.  The skirt is what sold me on this dress. It's so flirty and cute.

Oh, yeah, Elaine offered a book to someone who commented on last week's post. Her grandson drew the name Amy Hart out of the hat.

What about you, readers? What colors did you use? Did you have a big ceremony? A romantic honeymoon? Leave a comment.

Bridal gown:

Bridesmaid:"Bridesmaid and junior bridesmaid" by Nils Fretwurst Fretwurst - Own work. Licensed under CC BY 2.5 via Wikimedia Commons -

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Snippet Sunday and Weekend Writing Warriors

Welcome to Snippet Sunday and Weekend Writing Warriors, your chance to sample the works of a talented group of authors. I've been sharing excerpts from Return Engagement. To recap, my hero and heroine met on a beach ten years after his father broke them up. There's still a great attraction between them. The only problem is that she's engaged to another man. They've had hot dogs at a beachfront cafe and he won her a stuffed cat at a carnival. They've just left the shooting gallery, and she asked him if he was blushing after she bragged on him.

The color in Richard’s face deepened. “I don’t think so. It’s just the lights.”

“Oh, yes you are! You always used to blush when I teased you. Did I embarrass you?”

Richard ducked his head, a little gesture of vulnerability that probably sent her blood pressure sky high. “All right, my face does feel a little warm” he admitted, “but no, you didn’t embarrass me. It’s...well it’s kind of nice to have you flirt with me and brag on me. I’m surprised how bad I wanted to
show off and win that cat for you.”

Return Engagement is available at Amazon or at

Saturday Sample: Blue 52

Welcome to Saturday Sample. I'm continuing today where I left off last week in Blue 52. If you'd like to read last week's post to refresh your memory, you can find it hereBasically, we've learned that the senator's son Richard was the President of the US. He and his wife are dead, and their bodies will have to be relocated because a high tech train line needs to go through the cemetery. We also learned that the senator has arthritis. Here we go with that excerpt. At the end we finally get to meet our hero Hank, the president's son.

What did Grant know? He’d complain if he wanted to.

He sat down behind his desk and stared at a conspicuously displayed photo of his son, Richard. The photo had been taken on inauguration day. Richard’s wife Elizabeth stood at his side, looking so beautiful that even now it made his heart ache to see her.

Her face glowed with pride and happiness. How could anyone believe that two years later she would kill Richard and take her own life? “They’re all wrong,” he muttered as he made a gesture of repugnance. “I don’t care what anyone says; she did not shoot him.”

He removed a well-worn scrapbook from its place in the bottom drawer, caressing its smooth, cool surface. When he opened the scrapbook, Richard’s face laughed up at him. The photo had been taken right after his grandson, Hank, was born. This was exactly the way he remembered Richard, laughing and happy, his eyes alight with life and promise.

The whole family had celebrated Hank’s birth. Richard and Elizabeth had tried for years to have a baby. They had seen a lot of fertility specialists, but they’d almost given up hope when Elizabeth found out she was pregnant with Hank. Oh, yeah, he’d never forget those days. “The king of the world,” he muttered. “I felt like the king of the world.”

He turned the pages one by one as he had done so many times before. No matter how often he looked at the scrapbook, he never grew tired of it. Pausing on page five, he studied one of his favorite pictures. It had been taken on Richard and Elizabeth’s wedding day. I’m ninety-eight years old now, and I’ve never seen two people as much in love as they were.

The little half smile on his face faded as his old eyes glazed. It can’t be too much longer before I see Richard again; I can’t wait to find out what really happened that night. He supposed his faith required him to forgive whoever had murdered his son and daughter-in-law, but he daily prayed the perpetrator would burn in hell forever.

He flipped to the back of the scrapbook. God, I hate this part! He had thought of destroying the offensive newspaper articles, but without them, the record would be incomplete. President Lovinggood Murdered!the first headline screamed. First Lady Kills the Presidenttrumpeted another in huge, black letters.

Unwilling to read any more, he turned back to the front of the scrapbook. Look, there was a good picture of Richard and Joan taken in their Halloween costumes. Richard must have been five or six at the time. They looked so much alike some people had thought they were twins, but Richard was two years older than Joan. He remembered that Richard hadn’t wanted his little sister to

“Put that damned thing away!” a strident, furious voice demanded from the door.
Elaine Lovinggood, the senator’s wife, had gone red- faced with anger. “Why are you torturing yourself, Henry? I told you not to look at it anymore.”


“I don’t want to hear it.”


“Be quiet, Henry!” She slapped the door with the flat of 
her hand and made the senator jump. “I loved Richard as much as you did, but he’s dead, and no amount of mourning in the world can bring him back. You’ve wasted the last thirty years grieving for our dead son, and I can’t take it anymore.” Her voice rose again. “For the love of God, don’t ruin the last days of our lives!”

The senator tossed the scrapbook into the drawer and slammed it shut. Elaine’s high blood pressure constantly worried him, and her doctor described her heart as a ticking time bomb. It wouldn’t do to upset her.

“I didn’t mean to worry you,” he apologized. “I started thinking about Richard after Morton Williams called.”

“What did he want? He’s a slimy, slithery slug if you ask me.”

Elaine had always loved words. She had a huge vocabulary and especially enjoyed using alliteration. In fact, she and Richard had had some kind of word game they used to play. The last time they all dined together, she and Richard had tried to play the game using the letter x, but both of them had to admit defeat.

“Williams was calling to tell me that Richard and Elizabeth will be disinterred on November twenty-third. We’ll have to make arrangements for them."

The fire died in Elaine’s eyes as she sank down on the sofa in front of the fireplace, her mouth a drooping, thin line in her wrinkled face. “Why couldn’t I have just died myself and gotten it over with? I’d rather die than see those coffins come out of the ground.” She glared at the senator. “You’d
better not get all worked up.”

The senator flushed, feeling like a schoolboy caught in some kind of mischief. She always made him feel this way when she criticized him. “I...”

Elaine turned toward the hallway when she heard the front door slam. “Hank’s home.” 

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Check Out the Second Edition of A New Dream

The second edition of A New Dream is ready for purchase. Don't you love the cover. A New Dream was one of those books that grabbed me and wouldn't let go. As I made a video for the book, I started to sympathize so much with my hero that what I'd done to him almost broke my heart!

Here's the first part of the prologue.


The red convertible cut a path through the moonlight, its headlights dancing along the arched limbs of the trees above the road.

“Oh, Matt, it’s such a beautiful night,” Stacey declared with a sigh. “I’m going to miss you when you leave tomorrow.”

Matt reached for her hand and brought it to his lips. “I’ll miss you too, but if I don’t report on time, I’m in trouble with the coach.”

“That’s what I get for falling in love with a pro football player,” Stacey teased, her blonde hair turned to frosted silver by the light of the full moon above them.

Matt squeezed her hand that wore his engagement ring. “It’s too late to back out now,” he said with a smile. “You’re mine.”

“Mmm, do I like the sound of that!”

The car rounded a curve, and without warning a deer bounded across the road. “Look out!” Stacey screamed.

Matt braked sharply to avoid the animal. The tires slid on a patch of loose gravel in the road, and he lost control of the convertible. It fishtailed and started to spin in the road.

Matt hauled the steering wheel to correct the slide, but it was useless. The car turned around once more and skidded backwards for a short distance before it charged off the road. It jumped a steep ditch and went airborne. All Matt could see was a blur of trees and darkness as the car careened into the woods. It made a lazy turn in the air and came to rest bottom side up.

The last thing he remembered was the sound of Stacey’s screams. 

Buy link:

The book is also available at most all online retail outlets.