I offer another video today. I watched this one a few days ago. Then I watched it again. I am still thinking about it.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
I offer another video today. I watched this one a few days ago. Then I watched it again. I am still thinking about it.
Monday, November 29, 2010
Sunday, November 28, 2010
Today we're welcoming Kayla Wilson, the heroine of The Christmas Rescue LIS, Laura Scott, November 2010.
Wow, you've just had quite an adventure.
1. Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be in the midst of such suspense. Honestly, it was a shock to me to become involved in the middle of a suspense too! I’m the owner of a nice quiet Bed and Breakfast in the middle of the woods in northern Wisconsin, when suddenly I began experiencing break-ins. Soon, I realized that me and my daughter Brianna were in danger from a man who may have murdered my husband. Thank heavens for Chief Petty Officer Rafe DeSilva. He saved my daughters life.
2. So, during the book you met Rafe DeSilva? Tell us a bit about him. What was your first impression? When did you know it was love? Rafe was my brother Alex’s partner, so I met him before, but he’s generally bossy, likes to take charge and he’s far too attractive for his own good. However, he is also a great guy to have by your side in a crisis. Honestly, I don’t think I would have survived this adventure if not for Rafe. I knew, the moment he risked his life for me and my daughter, that I loved him. I’m very lucky to have found such a great guy.
3. What strengths/skills do you have? What is your greatest weakness? I’m not so sure I have any great skills, except the determination to find my daughter Brianna. When she was kidnapped, I nearly went crazy with fear and grief. And when Rafe found her, I was never so thankful.
4. What scares you? Losing my husband was very scary, because the responsibility of being a single parent can be overwhelming. But having your child kidnapped was by far much worse.
5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be? I think I would like to have a skill other than being a good cook, lol. But then again, my B & B guests don’t seem to mind.
6. Where are you in your faith at the start of your story? In the beginning, I didn’t have very strong faith at all. I watched my brother Alex change from a single minded DEA agent to a man of the church, but didn’t really understand what the big deal was. Until I met Rafe. He helped show me the way to our Lord.
7. Where are you in your faith at the end of the story? After Brianna was kidnapped, I learned the true power of faith and prayer. I’ll be forever thankful for our Lord keeping her safe.
8. You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story. Tell us why this scripture is significant. During the story, I meet bad, terrible men who would try to hurt my daughter and the scripture from Psalms helps me to remember that God takes care of those who are faithful.
9. If you could be a dessert what would you be and why? I think I’d be a Pumpkin Pie because hiding beneath the serene outer layer is a spicy spirit.
Thanks so much for having me! Kayla DeSilva
We love having such special guests! Thank you Laura for sharing Kayla with us today
Friday, November 26, 2010
By now you're probably feel full from all that turkey and stuffing and pie from yesterday and only want to kick back on the sofa and watch some good movies. I admit I will be doing a fair amount of that this weekend in between running around with the kids. But I'll also be working on finishing another story and trying to get rid of all these leftovers without getting sick to death of turkey. So I'll leave you with a quick recipe that hopefully is different enough that your husband and kids won't run from the table because you're using leftovers! This is one that I used to do a lot when I sold Pampered Chef kitchen tools. Enjoy!
Pampered Chef's Turkey Cranberry Wreath
2 pkg. refrigerated crescent rolls
1/2 C. mayonnaise
2 T. honey Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. coarsely ground pepper
2 C. cooked turkey, chopped
1/2 C. celery, sliced
3 T. fresh parsley, snipped
1/2 C. dried cranberries
4 oz. Swiss cheese, shredded (1cup)
1/4 C. walnuts, chopped (optional)
1 egg, separated
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Unroll crescent dough; separate into 16 triangles. With wide ends of triangles toward the center. arrange 8 triangles in a circle on Large Round Stone. Corners of wide ends will touch and points will extend 1 inch beyond of baking stone. Arrange remaining 8 triangles in center. matching ends. Seal seams using pizza roller. (Points will overlap in center; do not seal.)
Measure mayonnaise, mustard and black pepper into a bowl. Grate cheese into a bowl. Mix filling. Scoop filling over seams of dough, forming a circle.
Coarsely chop walnuts; sprinkle over filling. Beginning in center, lift one dough triangle across mixture. Continue alternating with outer triangle, slightly overlapping to form wreath. Tuck last end under first.
Separate egg over bowl. Beat egg white lightly; brush over dough. Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Yields 10 servings.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
It began with a simple question. “Did you know Mrs. Camp lives down the hall?” My mother asked this one day after she’d settled into her new home at the assisted living center. “Number 4.”
Joyous, I went to room 4, knocking lightly. I didn’t know if she’d recognize me. After all, it had been more than 40 years since we’d seen each other. “Oh, Ramona! Do come in!” Spry and bright-eyed, with the same hair style she’d had 40 years before, now a crown of pure white. “Sit down and tell me about these books you write!”
Mrs. Fay Camp taught first grade for almost 50 years. (That room there on the right is where she taught me.) She raised up thousands of bank tellers, doctors, lawyers, factory workers . . . and more than one writer. She had a gift for spotting natural talent, and she knew how to deal with active children who read too much. Even heading into her 90s, she still taught those around her, speaking little of herself (she missed her home) or her illnesses (she was on dialysis).
Instead, she focused on whoever stood before her. For me, it was as if no time had passed.
But time does pass. So do we. As I write this on Tuesday night, I’m preparing to go say one final goodbye to Mrs. Camp. She was 93.
There are tears, but there are also great prayers of thanks. I’m thankful she taught me to read, to write, to use my imagination. I’m grateful I had a chance to visit her again, and to say thanks for all she’d done.
When I dedicated a book to her, she cried, telling me it was a great honor. To me, it was the least I could do.
So this Thanksgiving, I’m saying numerous prayers of thanks for the people in my life who have helped and loved and taught . . . and generally made me the woman I am. I hope I serve them well.
And I hope you ALL have a glorious Thanksgiving with lots of hugs and time to let people you love that they matter.
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
This will be a new kind of holiday for my husband and me. We're empty nesters now and since all of our family lives away, we will be alone on Thanksgiving. But we don't mind. We stay in touch with our two children and hopefully they will both be home for Christmas. We've decided rather than cooking, we'll go out and eat and maybe go to a movie. It will be nice to spend a quiet day together. We also have New Orleans Saints football on that day. They are playing the Dallas Cowboys. Any predictions on who might win? I'm cheering for the Saints, of course.
It's bittersweet to realize we have no one else with us on this holiday, but we did our job. We raised our children to the best of our abilities and now they are out there on their own. And while we'll miss relatives who are far away, we know we are loved. We've had several invitations to join others and we're blessed with good friends. But the idea of not fretting about cooking, cleaning and making sure everyone is happy is very appealing. There is something to be said for a quiet holiday where we reflect on our blessings, consider our ways and send up prayers for those we love. We are blessed. And that is the real Thanksgiving gift.
Happy Thanksgiving! I hope wherever you are, you know that you are loved and appreciated.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
A cry for help shatters youth counselor Sean Matthews's quiet Christmas night. He saves Lauren Curtis from her attacker—for now. But the vengeful man on her trail won't be held at bay for long….
Christmas Target by Stephanie Newton
She hadn't wanted the contest "prize" in the first place. But when police officer Maria Fuentes arrives for the holiday vacation she won, she finds much more than expected. Her "date"—handsome weatherman Ben Storm—is in danger, and Maria is the only protector he'll trust.
Wow, you've just had quite an adventure.
1. Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be in the midst of such suspense. I’m Ben Storm, a meteorologist with Weather 24, the cable weather network. And before you ask, I was actually born with that name. I can’t tell you much, but what I can tell you is that someone was very determined to kill me.
2. So, during the book you met Maria. Tell us a bit about her. What was your first impression? When did you know it was love?
Maria and I met because she won a contest for a vacation...and a date. My first impression of Maria? She was dressed in cargo pants, combat boots and I couldn’t see much more than her crazy hair. But she had these really beautiful eyes. I think I first fell in love when I realized that protecting my life was more important than saving her own. She’s really unselfish, like that, but I’m not sure she even realizes it.
3. What strengths/skills do you have? What is your greatest weakness?
I think I have a good head on my shoulders. My greatest weakness? You don’t really think I would tell that in an interview, do you?
4. What scares you?
Not being able to finish the job. Not being able to be the man I know I can be. Not being there for the people I love.
5. You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story. Tell us why this scripture is significant. Lamentations 3:21-22 says, “Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends. His mercies never cease.” I lost my wife two years ago. This verse kept me from losing my mind.
Today we're also welcoming Lauren Curtis, the heroine of “Yuletide Sanctuary” by Terri Reed in the book HOLIDAY HAVOC.
Wow, you've just had quite an adventure.
1. Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be in the midst of such suspense. I’m an artist by passion and career but a few years ago a horrible nightmare derailed by life. I was physically and emotional scarred. I’d moved to Cannon Beach to hide from the world but my nightmare showed in the flesh and shattered my peaceful, if lonely existence.
2. So, during the book you met Sean Matthews. Tell us a bit about him. What was your first impression? When did you know it was love? I did meet Sean quite unexpectedly. He happened to be out for a run just at the precise moment that I need someone. I don’t believe in coincidence. I know God put Sean out on the beach that night for a reason. I thought he was handsome and kind to help a stranger in peril. I knew pretty quickly but I was afraid to even hope for love so it took me longer to admit it to myself, let alone to him.
3. Where are you in your faith at the start of your story? I’m very much questioning God, His goodness and His plan for my life. I was angry and feeling unloved.
4. Where are you in your faith at the end of the story? With Sean’s help I realized that God’s plan is not our plan. I’ve come to accept the circumstances of my life and embrace my faith in God. I know God loves me and is with me regardless of how I feel.
5. If you could be a dessert what would you be and why? I’d be Christmas cookies. Sweet goodness, sprinkled with love and decorated with care. Because that is how Sean’s love makes me feel.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
“What!” both men exclaimed in unison.
“Mr. Sirocco personally hired me to track down the Americans. He knew where they were being held but had no way to reach them.” She pointed to her brother. “Johnny can attest to my nautical ability. Sirocco realized the insurgents would never suspect a lone woman in a sailboat as being a danger to them.”
“You know where the Americans are being held?” Cranton stepped closer.
Pamela nodded. “They’re on a small fishing vessel in international waters off the Canadian coast, guarded by only a few men. Probably because the insurgents never expected the hostages would be discovered there.”
Cranton grabbed her hand and entwined his fingers through hers, sending tingles down her spine. “If we work together, we might be able to save the men after all.” His eyes were filled with hope as he gazed down at her.
“Grandfather’s boat is docked at the marina.” Johnny pointed though the window at a tiny sailboat moored in the distance. “The guy in the bedroom is tied up and won’t cause us any problems. Let’s move.”
The three patriots were soon out at sea. Pamela steered them through the deep waters. A faint outline of the Canadian coastline was barely visible on the horizon. The sun slowly set and darkness covered them just after they spotted the anchored fishing vessel and the lone lookout that kept watch on deck.
“I go in first,” Cranton said, donning a wet suit. He pointed to the guard who had failed to notice the approaching craft. “Once I take down the guard, I’ll signal you to board.”
Pamela was well aware of the danger, but whether the American service members lived or died depended on Cranton’s surprise attack. The odds weren’t in his favor, and she knew the three of them needed help.
Placing her hand on his shoulder, she felt his strength and resolve. Had they only known each other for a week? The sense of completeness that swept over her brought clarity. She had been waiting her whole life to find Cranton. She couldn’t let anything happen to him now.
“Lord,” she prayed. Her voice was husky with emotion. “Protect Cranton in this mission. Allow him to surprise the captors and free our brave military men.”
He pulled her close. “Protect all of us this night, Lord.”
Johnny touched Cranton’s arm. “It’s time, buddy.”
With a determined nod, Cranton released his hold on Pamela and slipped into the dark water. The chill of the night circled around her. “Oh, Lord, keep him safe,” she whispered.
Johnny pointed into the distance. “Looks like we’ve got another problem.”
She followed his gaze. Her stomach tightened as she spotted the fog rolling toward them. Glancing back at the fishing vessel, she watched it quickly disappear in the thick haze. “We’ll never see Cranton’s signal,” she told her brother.
“And we don’t have enough visibility to approach the vessel in this fog. Looks like Cranton is on his own.”
Pamela strained to hear anything that might provide a clue as to what was happening on board the fishing vessel, but the lapping of the water against the tiny sailboat was the only sound in the eerily quiet night.
As the minutes turned to hours, the possibility of success faded and was replaced with an ominous sense of foreboding.
Tears filled Pamela’s eyes, yet she continued to pray. With each passing hour, she knew the outcome wouldn’t be good. No doubt, the insurgents had captured Cranton, and she could only imagine what type of torture they were using to learn more about Sirocco Enterprises.
“We need to head back to the US,” Johnny finally said. “This mission has failed.”
She shook her head. “I won’t leave without Cranton.”
“That’s crazy, Pamela.” Just as the words left his mouth, a glimmer of light broke through the darkness.
“The fog is lifting with the dawn,” she told her brother. “Maybe God heard our prayers after all.” But her optimism plummeted when she spotted the fishing vessel. The empty deck caused the last bit of hope she had been holding onto to dissolve in the murky waters.
“We need to get out of here before we’re spotted,” Johnny insisted as he reached for the rudder.
“Wait.” She put her hand on his arm to stop him.
A faint rumbling sounded in the distance. “Is that coming from the ship?” he asked.
A smile spread over Pamela’s face and tears of joy burned her eyes as the sun’s rays cut through the haze and bathed the fishing vessel in bright light. Cranton stood on the deck surrounded by a group of men dressed in US Army uniforms. Their cheers rose in jubilation and spread across the water.
Pamela shouted for joy, but her gaze remained locked on the hero, who had saved the mission and the men. Within minutes, she had maneuvered the sailboat close to the fishing vessel and boarded with Johnny following close behind her.
Before she could say anything, Cranton wrapped her in his arms and pulled her close. She melted into his embrace. A lump filled her throat. “Mr. Sir…Mr. Sirocco said someone would rescue the hostages, but I didn’t think it would be my handsome neighbor from across the street.” She gazed up at Cranton with love and admiration. “The Turkey Drop was successful, after all, and the soldiers will be home in time to celebrate the holiday with their families.”
“I never thought I’d get a second chance to save them.” Cranton’s fingers tangled through her hair. “I’ve got a lot to be thankful for, Pamela, and the most important thing is you.”
He lowered his lips to meet hers, and she knew without a shadow of a doubt that she’d be spending this Thanksgiving and all the Thanksgivings for the rest of her life with Cranton.
Then she pulled back ever so slightly to ensure she wasn’t dreaming before she allowed him to capture her lips once again. Cranton wasn’t a dream. He was a dream come true.
Friday, November 19, 2010
The corner of his mouth jerked. “Hardly.” He nodded at Johnny. “Although I don’t know what he has to do with it.”
A groan sounded from the man on the floor and they all looked down. Johnny bent and grabbed the guy’s arms, lifting him into a fireman’s carry. “I’ll make sure this guy is out of commission for awhile. You explain it to her.” He lugged the man into the bedroom, slamming the door with his foot.
Pamela stepped closer to Cranton. “Stop stalling.” Sweat glistened on his upper lip, and his scent, a cologne made deliciously musky by their action, was unexpectedly alluring. She swallowed, forcing herself calm. “Now. I was a Ranger. Stop holding back.”
After a moment, Cranton let out a great sigh. “TURKEY DROP was a failure. My failure.” He stepped back, running his hand through his hair.
“It’s why you were hiding out?”
“Yes. After my last tour in Iraq, I joined Sirocco Enterprises.”
“The private security company.”
“Right. Because of my work as a mediator, they brought me in to arrange a prisoner transfer. Some of their guys had captured a group of insurgents. They’d received word that the insurgents' cell group would be willing to trade them for a group of Americans being held. Neither side wanted the Army or NATO involved. The goal was to get the Americans home for Thanksgiving. Thus . . .”
“Thus TURKEY DROP.”
A few uncomfortably odd sounds from behind the bedroom door caught their attention, then Johnny emerged alone, wiping his hands on his thighs.
Pamela turned back to Cranton. “So how did it fail?”
He shook his head. “Too complicate to explain. It just did.”
“Spectacularly,” said Johnny. “A third party got involved. Now at least two separate groups want him”—he pointed his thumb at Cranton—“dead.”
“Thanks for the reminder.”
“What about our people? What happened to them?”
He shrugged. “Not sure.”
“They’re across the border.”
Cranton and Pamela stared at Johnny. Pamela found her voice first. “You mean Canada?”
“That’s why I’m here. Sirocco brought me on after your boyfriend’s fiasco to track the prisoners. He’s the talker; I’m a tracker. The insurgents wound up with no choice but to get them out of the Middle East. They smuggled the prisoners into Canada.” He glared hard at Cranton. “They’ll still make the trade, but they want you to do it. No authorities. No Sirocco. Just you.”
Pamela watched the color drain from Cranton’s face.
“I almost got them killed,” he whispered. “I can’t protect them.”
The enormity of what Cranton had tried to do, the way he’d tried to serve other Americans even after his time in the service, washed over Pamela. She felt a sudden surge of pride.
“Yes, you can.” She glanced once at the Glock, still clutched in her hand. “We can.”
“Now, wait a minute—” Johnny started.
Pamela shook her head, barely glancing at her brother. “No. We have to get them home to their families for Thanksgiving.” She focused on Cranton. “As I said, I was a Ranger. We can do this. You can do this.”
Thursday, November 18, 2010
Johnny's movement was automatic. The man who'd sprayed the window with bullets from the front porch before bursting through the front door was now down on his belly, knocked out.
Cranton knew then that Johnny wasn't only a soldier in Afghanistan, he was Special Forces. Only specialized training could have a soldier moving with precision like that so quickly. He wondered if Pamela knew. The question of why Johnny was suddenly here at the cabin grew more urgent.
A stunned Pamela stood in the middle of the floor looking at her brother. Hard eyes lifted to Pamela, and Johnny said, "Don't ever do that again."
"You should have stayed covered and let Johnny handle that. He may be your little brother, but he knows what he's doing," Cranton said.
"And how would you know?"
Johnny leveled him with a hard look, then pointed to the floor. “Never mind. We have to figure out what we’re going to do with him.”
“You’re bleeding,” she said, running to her brother’s side, putting her hands on his chin and pulling his face toward her for a better look. “It’s only a small scratch.”
“I’d climbed out of the bedroom window and moved in behind this clown just as he started shooting the window. Must have been caught with some flying glass.”
“I’m going to see if there is any antiseptic to clean that and then I want some answers. From both of you.”
Cranton caught the suspicious look on Pamela’s face, and even in the slightly rattled state she was in, she was a stunner. Her slightly upturned nose looked too cute when her lips where tight with anger. And she was miffed. He just wasn’t sure if it was because she was still in the dark about what was going on or because her brother got nicked from flying glass.
With Johnny’s face cleaned up, Pamela propped herself on the edge of the sofa and folded her arms across her chest.
“I’m not stupid. I know you’re being here for Thanksgiving is no accident, Johnny. You would have told me you were coming. So out with it.”
“Perhaps he has a reason he doesn’t want to share with you,” Cranton said, his heart rate kicking up a notch. This was either going to go bad…or it would be his salvation. The next few minutes would decide. He prayed they’d all be leaving this cabin alive.
"What does Turkey Drop mean to you?" Johnny said.
Cranton's eyes widened only slightly to let Johnny know he understood, but not enough to cause alarm that may be misunderstood. But Pamela caught that one tiny move.
"Turkey Drop. What are you talking about?” Looking from Cranton to her brother, Pamela said, "Is someone going to finally fill me in on what's going on?"
Johnny's hard glare locked onto Cranton. "You’re right, Pam. I'm not home for the holiday. I came here looking for...your boyfriend."
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Sooner or later he'd known this day would come. He could only hide so long. But he'd never imagined civilians being in the way. Like it or not he was now responsible for keeping them safe, too, even if the kid had Army veteran written all over him from stance to voice.
More gunfire trailed their steps as they rushed up the stairs. Johnny closed the door behind them, then pulled the couch over. Pamela sank behind it, her breath ragged and her eyes darting around the darkened room.
"Johnny, do you think Grandpa's shot gun is still in the bedroom?" Her voice sounded steady, surprising considering the circumstances.
"I'll look." The brother moved with the stealthy movements of someone used to slipping in and out of buildings while hunting the enemy. The movements of someone who was more comfortable hunting, than being hunted.
Pamela turned to him. "What's the plan?"
Cranton's thoughts raced. "How did they find this place?"
"I don't know. It's not in my name yet, and should be off the radar." She rifled through her bag, and pulled out a Glock. She slid the chamber back and checked for a bullet. "They've been too quiet."
He had to agree. And he didn't like it. Not one bit. Especially since he'd barely had time to stop the car let alone do an onsite walk-through. He'd never felt more like a sitting duck. He pulled his trusty SIG from the back of this waistband, just as the sound of exploding glass came from behind them.
"Johnny!" Pamela was on her feet and racing to the sound before he could grab her.
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Cranton put his hand on Pamela’s arm preventing her from exiting the car. “Wait. You can’t tell him about the man with the gun.”
She frowned. “Why not?” She narrowed her gaze. “What are you into? Drugs? Gambling?”
He shook his head. “Nothing like that.”
“Then why did some guy show up on your doorstep with a gun?”
He stared out the front window, his strong jaw tight. “It’s complicated.”
She was well acquainted with complicated. Her gaze left Cranton’s profile to watch her brother striding toward the car. “For now you’re my new boyfriend. But later you will tell me what’s going on.”
Cranton’s eyes widened. Then he grinned. “Sounds like a good cover to me.”
Her heart did a little flip. She let out an indelicate snort to downplay the affect his smile had on her. She opened the door and rushed to meet her brother. Forgetting about her handsome, albeit secretive, neighbor for a moment, she let out a happy yelp and embraced her brother. “Why didn’t you tell me you were coming home?”
Johnny looped his arm around her shoulders. “I needed a little down time first.”
Understanding twisted inside her. She’d done the same thing when she’d first returned.
Johnny’s gaze zeroed in on Cranton, who had climbed out of the car. “Who’s this?”
“This is Cranton Berryfield. My...boyfriend.” The word stuck in her throat. Longing hit her square between the eyes. She wished it were true. Wished that Cranton Berryfield was her boyfriend and not her mysterious neighbor on the run from a gun toting man. What had she gotten herself into?
The sound of tires crunching on the dirt and gravel road filled the air. A second later, a black sedan came into view. The same car that had driven down their street. Pamela’s stomach dropped.
Cranton ran around the front end of the car, grabbed Pamela by the hand and pulled her toward the cabin. “Inside, quick!”
A spray of gunfire erupted.
Monday, November 15, 2010
Automatically, Pamela’s training from her time in the Rangers kicked in. She elbowed her assailant hard, and then as he bent over, she flipped him over. He let out a painful exhalation as he hit the ground.
She gasped. Cranton! She bent over him, and immediately he pulled her down onto him.
“Where did you learn to do that?”
Oops. She hadn’t wanted anyone to know that. She smiled weakly. “I, um, took a self-defense course.”
“Oh." He looked suspicious. "I wanted your help, not to be beaten up. Is that guy out there, still?”
She scrambled up and peered out the window. “Yes! Oh, no, he’s headed over here. I think he saw me.”
She hurried back, expecting her handsome neighbor to be still prone. But he was standing, and grabbed her. Within seconds, they were in her front hall closet.
The closet door clicked shut the very same moment a harsh rapping started at the front door.
Pamela held her breath. She’d wanted to get close to this guy, but this wasn’t what she had in mind. They stood there, her nose bumping his chest, his breath fanning the top of her head, and all the time, waiting until finally, the footsteps stomping off the porch told them it was safe to leave the closet.
“Now, we need to get out of here,” Cranton said.
“I’ll say,” she whispered back. “I had no idea I had this many coats and shoes. I really need to go through my stuff.”
“Not today. Today, we need to leave town.”
“We? You gotta mouse in your pocket?”
He slowly opened the door. “That guy who wanted to turn me into Swiss cheese must have seen you watching from your window. That means you’ve become a target, too.”
“We’ll call the police.”
“Yes, we will, but right now, we need to get far away from here.” He turned and cupped her face. She nearly melted when she looked into those brown eyes.
“What’s going on here? How did you get into my house and why is someone after you?”
“I’ll explain everything. But first, is there any place that only you would know about, and can get into?”
Pamela bit her lip. The day she left the Rangers she went straight there. That whole awful first month that she’d needed to get herself together, was spent…spent there. It would be safe for Cranton. But would it be safe for her? For her sanity?
“There’s one place you can go to. But I don’t think I should go.”
“You’ll have to. Is it safe for you?”
“Physically, yes, but, Cranton-”
“We’ll deal with the other issues later. You have one minute to grab what you can. Hurry!” He pushed her gently toward the stairs and she bolted up them, only to return a moment later with her purse, her toothbrush and of all things, a box of tissues infused with Vicks Vaporub.
He looked at them, then at her. “They smell good,” she explained with a shrug. “And you never know when you’ll need a good box of tissues.”
Cranton rolled his eyes. “Let’s go.”
She gave him hasty directions as they drove out of Maple, punctuating them with questions, for which she got no answer. And yet, as crazy as the situation seemed, she knew one thing.
She trusted Cranton.
They made it up the coast, hours later and close to sunset, to her grandfather’s cottage. It overlooked an inlet near Blueberry Cove, not far from Bar Harbor.
“Whose place is this?” Cranton asked as they pulled into the deserted driveway.
“My grandfather’s. He died last year.” She looked across the car at him. “But I own it now. I just had it closed for the winter.”
He stared hard out the windshield. “So, who is that guy standing on the porch?”
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Cranton Berryfield watched the house across the street, looking for signs of life. A pretty woman named Pamela Pepperidge had moved in a week ago and since it seemed she was as alone as Cranton, he decided to be neighborly and ask her if she had plans for Thanksgiving. The holiday was only a week away and already the cozy beach community of Maple Leaf, Maine, was humming and buzzing with the usual excitement.
Families preparing to visit and eat too much stuffing, pumpkin pies cooling on the counter, big fat turkeys gracing a full dinner table--all the things Cranton had missed out on over the last few years.
You left that life behind, he reminded himself. No more secrets. No more checking in with headquarters. You don't have to run anymore.
Which meant he might be able to finally settle down with a good woman, maybe raise that family he'd always dreamed about having. He thought of Pamela again. She had curly brown hair, cut in a sweet gamine style that tickled her cheeks and made her look young and exuberant. Her brown eyes matched her pretty hair. And when she'd smiled at him the other day when he'd gone out to get the paper, Cranton had decided he needed to get to know her better. So ... this Thanksgiving he just might have something to be thankful for. If he could keep his cover and finally lead a normal life.
Across the way, Pamela Pepperidge glanced out the window again, wondering what her handsome, seemingly single neighbor was doing today. It was Saturday, but the wind was blustery and the threat of snow was in the air. She wanted to check her mail, but she had to time it so she could run into Cranton Berryfield. Terrible, to wait like this so she could flirt with a good-looking man. But ... the holidays were coming and she'd rather like having a new friend to share some of the special joy with. Especially when that friend was about six feet tall and built like a line-backer.
Okay, teaching English Lit had caused her imagination to take a flight of fancy. Since she didn't know what Cranton did for a living, she'd imagined him as a spy on the run, or a detective who'd gone undercover. Or maybe, a rogue agent who had left the harsh life of secrets and darkness to settle down in this scenic seaside town.
"Yeah, right." Pamela laughed at her own wayward thoughts. Cranton Berryfield dressed like a college professor and probably read textbooks just for fun. He raked leaves and puttered in his front garden with all the energy of a little old gentleman. He'd probably worked in a library or bookstore for years. And yet....
A black car cruised along the quiet street, sending fallen maple leaves swirling in it path. Then the car stopped in front of Cranton's house and sat there for a few minutes. Pamela watched in horror as a man with a huge gun headed up the front steps. Should she call the police, run for help or just mind her own business? The man banged on the door and called out something she couldn't understand. Pamela was so intent on watching what would happen next, she didn't realize she had company. A hand slipped over her mouth from behind.
"Listen to me," the deep voice said into her ear. "I need your help."
Friday, November 12, 2010
Thursday, November 11, 2010
If you've read for any length of time, that I have a love and deep respect for those who have been in the military and endured wars. That's one reason seven of my first novels tell homefront stories from World War Two.
Today is Veteran's Day, and I wanted to thank all who currently serve and those who are veterans for their service to our country and their protection of our freedoms. Awhile ago a friend forwarded this YouTube video by Lizzie Palmer. It's a tribute to the troops and worth every moment of your time to watch.
It brought back all kinds of memories. My Dad's unit was called up during Desert Storm. I wish I had a photo I could post of him. There are some great ones of him in his flight and dress uniforms. Good thing he married mom on this way to Vietnam, because he looked GOOD!
After Nam, Dad was part of a National Guard unit in Nebraska. It was a medivac unit, and he'd been a helicopter pilot since he enlisted during Vietnam. I was so proud of him, but it was probably the first truly trying time of my life. I was 16. Had started classes at the Community College. Was beginning to make forays into adulthood. Then he got shipped out. Left the week of Thanksgiving. Shipped out the day after Christmas. Came back around Easter.
We were fortunate. Everybody in our community was so supportive. Everywhere you went there were cards to sign for the veterans including Dad. School classes sent him mail. A stark contrast to Vietnam.
I am so proud of my Dad. He has served his country well and ably through two wars and about twenty years of full-time and National Guard service.
And he's not the only one. We are blessed to be a nation where its citizens will willingly go into the breach, so that we can all enjoy our freedoms.
So watch the video. And then find a way to say thanks. There are many servicemen and women who need our support -- regardless of what you think about the war itself.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Me, I'm reading CAUGHT by Harlan Coben. I'm only about a fourth of the way in and already I'm itching to find out who did what! Harlan has a masterful way of reeling the reader in with his complex plots, sympathetic characters and sharp wit. I've yet to be disappointed by one of his books. I first discovered Harlan when he spoke at a conference I attended back in the early 2000's. And I've been hooked ever since.
CAUGHT by Harlan Coben
Wendy Tynes is a reporter on a mission, to identify and bring down sexual predators via elaborate—and nationally televised—sting operations. Working with local police on her news program Caught in the Act, Wendy and her team have publicly shamed dozens of men by the time she encounters her latest target. Dan Mercer is a social worker known as a friend to troubled teens, but his story soon becomes more complicated than Wendy could have imagined.
In a novel that challenges as much as it thrills, filled with the astonishing tension and unseen suburban machinations that have become Coben’s trademark, Caught tells the story of a missing girl, the community stunned by her loss, the predator who may have taken her, and the reporter who suddenly realizes she can’t trust her own instincts about this story—or the motives of the people around her.
So what are you reading? This inquiring mind wants to know!
Monday, November 8, 2010
I’m new to Love Inspired Suspense and I’m so excited to be a part of this fine group of writers! They’ve been so welcoming and supportive.
There’s nothing I love more than stories about belonging. Feeling part of a community is a fantastic experience, whether it’s at church, PTA, knitting club or neighborhood friends.
“Hidden in Shadows” is set in the small fictional town of Wentworth, Michigan. I used to vacation in Michigan as a child and have fond memories of our days spent at Michillinda Beach Lodge near Whitehall. While vacationing there – imagine no TV, or Internet! – every guest you passed greeted you with a warm and genuine smile.
The week included tennis and shuffleboard tournaments, a campfire sing-a-long and a talent show where proud parents watched their children become stars for one special night. The highlight of each evening was milk and cookies (chocolate chip!) in the lobby, followed by all of us wandering outside on the deck to watch the sun set over Lake Michigan. And for that one night this group of strangers became the closest of friends. I still keep in touch with my Michillinda friends Jen and Alan Dunham of Kentucky!
Luke and Krista’s story takes place in a charming, tight-knit town inspired by my visits to Michillinda. I hope you’ve found a nurturing community in your life.
Wishing you a wonderful week,
Sunday, November 7, 2010
Wow, you've just had quite an adventure.
1.Tell us a little about yourself and how you came to be in the midst of such suspense.
I returned home to Wentworth, Michigan after my mission trip to find my house trashed. I thought it was the cat at first (she wasn’t happy being left alone. You know how they can be.) But when my lights wouldn’t work I went to check the fuse box and found a stranger digging around in my garage. Feeling threatened I ran, he chased me and I tripped. That’s when DEA agent Luke McIntyre showed up to chase off the stranger.
2. So, during the book you met DEA agent Luke McIntyre. Tell us a bit about him. What was your first impression? When did you know it was love?
Luke’s a hard-edged, bossy guy, which totally bugs me because I’m very independent. Then I realized he uses his gruffness to keep people at a distance, especially someone like me, who he must protect, yet he cares deeply about. It’s hard to say when I knew it was love because truthfully I’d never been in love before. I guess it was when he fell off the roof of the teashop when he was putting up my Christmas lights and my first thought was: “I can’t lose this man!”
3. What strengths/skills do you have? What is your greatest weakness?
My compassion and determination are my greatest strengths. I believe with God’s guidance I can achieve anything I set my mind to. I guess my weakness would be that sometimes that determination gets me into trouble. I’m determined to break through Luke’s rough exterior because I believe he’s wounded and I can help heal his emotional scars. That’s risky considering he needs to keep his perspective to protect me and, in the end, he could reject me and break my heart. After all, why would a federal agent with an exciting career give that up to settle down in a small town with me?
4. What scares you?
Never falling in love. Never marrying and raising a family. Owning Grace’s Teashop takes up most of my time so I haven’t had much opportunity to date. Although, there is a man in Wentworth who is pursuing me, but he’s not “the one.” That’s my other fear: settling for anything other than true love.
5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
I’d probably find more balance in my life and not throw myself into work to the point where I have no social life. But in truth, I do that for a reason: I’m very independent because of an overprotective mother and grandmother. Only the right man will understand how my tragic background caused their behavior and how it drives my need for independence.
6. Where are you in your faith at the start of your story?
I’m strong in my faith, and I’m able to share that with Luke to help him heal from emotional scars.
7. Where are you in your faith at the end of the story?
I am renewed in my faith because I see the changes in Luke after he embraces God and learns to trust again. It’s remarkable.
8. You've got a scripture at the beginning of the story. Tell us why this scripture is significant.
“Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid. Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident.” – Psalms 27:3
This passage is significant because it reminds me that I draw strength and confidence from God’s love. You have to stay focused on your goal, no matter how insurmountable it seems. My goal is to NOT be intimidated by this hidden threat.
9. If you could be a dessert what would you be and why?
I would be a Scandinavian Chocolate Torte! It’s all about the chocolate, right? At least it is for me. You can find the most amazing recipe for this delicious dessert on my friend’s website: gimmeglutenfree.com. Yum!
Thank you Hope for sharing Krista with us. What an exciting story!
Saturday, November 6, 2010
Friday, November 5, 2010
Dana Mentink here, thinking about fear today. We just made it through a scary month, no? I mean aside from the fact that our property taxes are due, this Halloween business can be downright frightening. Seeing five hundred plus elementary schoolers hopped up on sugar and wearing costumes is enough to scare even the most stalwart. It got me thinking about fear and how writing can be the perfect way to get up close and personal with what scares us (without that nasty reality ruining the fun.) So here are my top three fears to date.
#1) Losing a loved one. Oooooh! I hate that one. Since I’ve had children, I now understand the wise person who said it’s like having your heart walking around outside your body. I fear that something will happen to them or Papa Bear or my darling parents or siblings. Imagine if I lost one of my beloved sisters? I spent some time imagining that, and I wrote a book about a gal who does. Talk about getting out all that emotion on the page!
#2) Okay, so I’m a teensy bit scared of the dark. Bad things happen in the dark, you know. So why not face that fear head on by crashing a plane into a darkening wilderness and the only way to survive is to hide in the glacial tunnels bored into a mountain? Uh huh. I imagined that too and to add to the drama, my poor heroine was also grieving over the loss of her twin nieces. Acck! Double whammy!
#3) Birds. I know, I know. It’s silly to be scared of birds, but there’s something about those beady eyes and razor sharp beaks that just gives me goosebumps (if you’ll excuse the expression.) Of course, being a writer, I can deal with those fears perfectly, by creating a heroine who is surrounded by a squadron of rescued sea birds. As a matter of fact, I wrote an entire mystery series with Ruth and her gaggle of naughty birds.
Isn’t being a writer awesome? I can face my fears without ruffling my feathers in the least. What about you? Got any fears that find their way on the page?
Thursday, November 4, 2010
We we went from watching the NetFlicks to watching the show broadcasts weekly on the network.
I love the premise of the program, being able to tell if someone is lying and the facial ticks that reveal the person's real motives and feelings. When they go to commercial they show actual people whose expression reveal the emotion they are talking about.
Isn't that what jury consultants do? Read body language? There are folks who do that and are on news programs. But no matter, those clues, body movements, and facial expressions are things we put in books to show the reader what the character feels.
What are your favorite programs and what do you learn from them?
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
I know this is a bit early, posting about November 11th. But I wanted to give all of you the opportunity to plan to pause and remember them.
Here in Canada, we call it Remembrance Day. It was on November 11th in 1918, very early in the morning, the armistice was signed. Six hours later, at 11 a.m., the guns of the First World War went silent. They needed that time in order to get all notice of a cease fire out to all soldiers.
Nowadays, as our veterans of both world wars dwindle in numbers, we often remember all our veterans of all conflicts and wars, and thank them for their contributions to peace. It is unfortunate that peace sometimes has to be made instead of kept, and I admire how the citizens of the USA proudly support their troops. But regardless of your feelings towards war, it is without a doubt the sacrifices made by these men and women that has allowed us to live in peace.
Next week, as November 11th draws closer, and then on that day, at 11 a.m., join a service somewhere and remember those who fought and died.
Monday, November 1, 2010
Today is the first day of Nanowrimo. I just finished up NovelTrack where you set your own goal. I set a goal of 50,000 and only made 36,000. BUT, I have an excuse. I had emergency gall bladder surgery and that knocked me for a loop and off my word count for several days. Very disappointing.
Anway, I’ve moved past the month of October and decided to go with Nanowrimo for the month of November. With Nanowrimo, the goal is set for you. 50,000 words in one month. The idea is to write a book in a month.
I decided to take it seriously this year and do it. One reason is because I have a book due on January 2, 2011 and think this will motivate me to keep writing even when I want to procrastinate or quit for the day. To do 50,000 words in one month, you have to write 1,667 words a day. I set a goal of 2,000 a day simply because I like round numbers. Ha.
How about you guys. Are any of you going for the 50,000 word goal?
If so, best of luck to you.