Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Priscilla Brown writes about love tokens

For details on this and my other contemporary romance novels, check my Books We Love author page:

On a recent visit to the National Museum of Australia in Canberra, I spent some time studying the exhibition of  convict love tokens. Created between 1762 and 1856 by convicts in England around the time of their sentencing to transportation to Australia, the tokens were given to family and friends as remembrances of their loved ones so far away. On the whole, the tokens in the exhibition remain in reasonable condition. 

Using both sides of ordinary coins, the convicts prepared the surfaces for engraving by beating them flat and smooth, then used pinpricks to stipple the text and often decoration. A large copper coin known as the 'cartwheel penny' first minted in 1797 was a popular choice. The tokens display various lettering styles from simple and rough to elaborate and elegant; some messages are printed in lower case, some in upper, and others written in cursive script. The name of the convict, his or her date (most tokens were formed by men, with some by women), and the name of the loved one appear together with a few words; embellishment is often incredibly detailed on such a small surface. Hearts are frequently portrayed, while many creators, clearly artistic, depicted people and their clothing, flowers, birds, animals, ships and other objects possibly important or relevant to both convict and recipient. Defacing coins of the realm was a crime; to replace the image of King George III with their own work perhaps gave the already sentenced offenders a surreptitious pleasure.

As a romance writer, I like my characters to give each other small 'tokens' as reminders of their love when they have to part, either temporarily as in the recently released Silver Linings, or as in Hot Ticket when they believe the parting must be for ever. In Silver Linings, jewellery designer Cassandra fashions a stylish silver pendant for 
Alistair, while he makes an intricate wooden jewellery box for her. Hot Ticket's Callum collects owl images and 
small sculptures. and he knits (no, he is not the nerd Olivia originally suspects); he gives her a top he's designed and knitted. She finds for him a life-size owl.


A major part of my story creation is developing personalities. Among several aspects, I like working out the characters' interests and, in their backstories, how they came to have these. This can  involve a lot of research (for the above stories, the only interest I knew anything about was knitting); this for me is an enjoyable though often time-consuming part of being a writer.

Happy reading! Priscilla

Source: National Museum of Australia

Monday, January 29, 2018

Ada Lovelace, a cameo in “Victoria”

Happy Belated Birthday, Dear Wolfgang!
261 years young & still delighting audiences...


Ada’s cameo in “Victoria”

Like other history fans, I’ve been watching Masterpiece Theater’s latest offering, Victoria, wand marveling over the sets, costumes, as well as admiring the work of the actors. Here, in the title role, Jenna Coleman, (who I was not a great fan of during her Dr. Who days,) shows what she can do—and, let’s face it, anyone with a neck like she has deserves all the starring roles she acquire!

Much of “Victoria” is concerned with the royal family's sturm und drang. At simplest, the series is a high-minded and elegantly dressed soap opera, but it's also a wonderful entertainment for history junkies like myself. Beyond the scope of this television series, the Queen’s lengthy reign--only recently surpassed by that of her descendant, Elizabeth II—ranged from the birth of railways and wide scale industrial development, through the time of Industrial Robber Barons,  and all the way to 1901.

“Victoria” has been giving me fascinating glimpses of politicians whose doings I studied for “O” and “A” levels, figures like Victoria’s first Prime Ministers, the aristocratic, old-school Lord Melbourne, and his opposite, Sir Robert Peel, son of a wealthy industrialist. Peel, a Liberal in Tory clothing, championed modern criminal laws and policing, and even managed to pass a “radical” 3% income tax upon the rich. Although he did not do so quickly enough to have much impact on the horror of the Irish famine, he eventually repealed the protectionist, onerous-to-the-poor Corn Laws.

I was beyond delighted the other night , however, when Charles Babbage and his friend, Countess Ada Lovelace, and appeared on the scene. In “Victoria,” Lady Lovelace and Charles Babbage speak with the Queen while Babbage's complex and never completed “Difference Machine” (a forerunner of the calculator) is on display.

Ada was a rare bird in her time, an aristocratic woman who joyfully engaged with mathematics and logic. She has been credited, along with her mentor and friend, the inventor Charles Babbage, with having laid the groundwork for modern computing.  (Babbage’s scientific fame initially came from his work creating a book of Logarithm tables, a handy resource that until recently, every engineer kept close at hand.)
The Difference Machine, a calculator, hand cranked and hand-made, 
2,000 brass parts now resides in Science Museum of London. 
This too makes a brief, cameo appearance in "Victoria."

Babbage was working on an “Analytical Engine,” a machine which could do long computations mechanically, thereby removing the risk of human error. After he’d spoken before an Italian Scientific Society about his plan, one of the attendees, Luigi Menabrea, wrote a long in-depth article describing it from copious notes he’d taken. Ada enters the story when she offered to translate the article from Italian for Babbage.

Charles Babbage by Samuel Laurence (Wikipedia)

I’ll now quote Stephan Wolfram, mathematician and famed creator of Mathematica
“As something of a favor to Babbage, she (Ada) wrote an exposition of the Analytical Engine, and in doing so she developed a more abstract understanding of it than Babbage had — and got a glimpse of the incredibly powerful idea of universal computation.”*

“Ada Lovelace was the first person ever to glimpse with any clarity what has become a defining phenomenon of our technology and even our civilization: the notion of universal computation.”

As pleasurable to me as was the scene of the meeting between Ada and the Queen--as well as introducing Prince Albert into the equation (he was a patron of the sciences and all the new technologies)--well--my inner researcher/a.k.a. KILLJOY simply had to discover whether this had actually happened. That led me to Professor Wolfram’s comprehensive Wired article. Sadly, like many tantalizing scenes from historical movies, it transpired that neither Ada nor Babbage ever met Victoria or her forward-thinking husband in any sort of semi-informal, discursive social situation. 

Still, I'm grateful to the creators of "Victoria" that they gave us a warm, sympathetic glimpse of Ada, Countess of Lovelace, who has been justly elevated to be one of the 19th Century heroines of science. She's a fascinating human interest story for any little girls who are about to begin tackling math and science in elementary school.  

Who knows what Ada and Charles might have devised together had she lived-- and had been able to keep the roving interest of her polymath mentor focused on the Analytical Engine? But instead, tragically, and at what loss to science we shall never know, Ada died at 36 of ovarian cancer. Stephen Wolfram, in the article linked below, was sufficiently intrigued to speculate about what might have happened if she's survived as far into the century as her mentor Babbage. What a subject for any writer of alternate history!

Florence Nightingle, nursing pioneer and another of Ada's famous friends, wrote: “They said she could not possibly have lived so long, were it not for the tremendous vitality of the brain, that would not die.”

Ada, The "first software programmer," from iQ UK

If you are interested in learning more about Ada, check out these articles:


Wired(c), Untangling the Tale of Ada Lovelace by Stephen Wolfram, 12.22.15

The Mathematica site, for Wolfram's revolutionary mathematical "assistant":

~~Juliet Waldron
See all my historical novels @

Sunday, January 28, 2018

Whose's Story is it Anyway? by Connie Vines

point of view (POV)

  • noun
  • a particular attitude or way of considering a matter.
  • "I'm trying to get Matthew to change his point of view"
  • synonyms: opinion, view, belief, attitude, feeling, sentiment, thoughts; 
  • More (in fictional writing) the narrator's position in relation to the story being told.
It’s almost impossible not to have committed to a POV by the end of the first paragraph.

Since I write in multiple genres, my point of view seems to remain the same within a specific genre. 
My YA/Teen/Tween stories and novels are told in the first person.  For me this is the most personal for the reader--meaning a reader is intimately involved in the story and steps into the main character’s mind.  The reader experiences emotions intensely, because he/she becomes the character.  And since few YA/Teens/Tweens are familiar with a ‘none-tech’ world, this is the best way to expose them to history/a new setting, etc. 

The single POV helps the story unfold in a way to allow the reader to understands life from an 1890 character.  No reaching for a cell phone, or grabbing a pizza for dinner!

When I write in first person, I do not change point of view of view.  I rely on dialogue or the main character’s observations to keep the reader aware of changes in plot etc.

The opening from my current release, Tanayia: Whisper upon the Water, Native American/First People Series, Book 1

1880, Apacheria, Season of Ripened Berries

Isolated bands of colored clay on white limestone remained where the sagebrush was stripped from Mother Earth by sudden storms and surface waters. Desolate. Bleak.  A land made of barren rocks and twisted paths that reached out into silence.

A world of hunger and hardship.  This is my world.  I am Tanayia.  I was born thirteen years ago.  My people and call ourselves “Nde” this means 
“The People”. The white man calls us Apache. 

Second person point of view is far more challenging for me. I find if an author uses second person in literature, he/she does so to engage the audience more and to make them part of the story and action or possibly make a thematic point about the characters. Second person is much more common in nonfiction, especially self-help books and business writing.

Benefits: Speak directly to/about the reader, teach him or her something.


"You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the guy who’ll decide where to go." (Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! Random House, 1990).

Think back to when you were a kid and read Choose Your Own Adventure books. Weren’t those fun? You got to be the main character and decide where the story went. Well, those were all in 2nd person.

Third person point of view. Third person is most often used in novels. Many readers prefer third person because it is so popular. It can work from the omniscient viewpoint of the author telling the story even to informing the reader what the character or different characters are thinking. While I’ve read many novels using this viewpoint, I find myself not quite as involved with the characters themselves.

I write my Contemporary/ Romantic Suspense/ Paranormal in third person in a character’s limited viewpoint. Here a character tells their story through their own viewpoint and senses. It tells what they say, see, hear, feel or taste, and even what they think. Different characters’ viewpoints can be used, but a clear demarcation is used to show when the narrative switches from one character to another. I like this method because it remains very intimate to the reader, but allows easy change between characters, too, unlike first or second voice.

Opening scene: Lynx, Rodeo Romance, Book 1

Charlene hadn’t told Rachel that she’d fixed her up with a cowboy, much less Lynx Maddox, the “Wild Cat” of the rodeo circuit.  Rachel signed.  She should have known.  After all, Charlene only dated men who wore booth and Stetsons.

Rachel Scott cringed at the very thought even as her gaze took in the breadth of Lynx Maddox’s chest, his broad shoulders, and dark green eyes that scanned her with blatant masculine approval.

A snippet from: Brede, Rodeo Romance, Book 2

Brede couldn’t seem to stop watching and worrying about Kate.  Even though she was trying to hide behind the menu, he sensed her tension.  He had to grip the edge of the table to keep from taking the menu out of her hands and looking into those wide green eyes again, just to catch a glimpse of whatever it was he saw when she looked at him.  But he wasn’t going to do anything rash.  Not now, not ever.  He wasn’t going to take her back to the ranch—not even if Caldwell retired and it meant eating peanut butter sandwiches from here to eternity.

He might gnaw his tongue off trying to keep silent, but he wasn’t going to ask her to say.

For a change of pace: Here Today, Zombie Tomorrow, A Sassy & Fun Fantasy

Since her sister was contemplating the contents of a tin filled with Danish cookies, Meredith found herself cataloging the events that led up to her ‘accident’.

A charter member of the SoCal Arts Association, she’d been participating in the annual Zombie Walk Festival in Long Beach when it ‘happened’. . .

What point of view is your favorite?  Do you enjoy reading a novel with multiple points of view?

Music, Dance, and Food are the heart of a culture.

One way to slip into a main character's world is to taste a food that is part of his/her every day life.
Since rationing was instituted on Indian Reservations during the 1800s, fry bread became a staple of Native American life.

Here is a way to sample one of Tanayia's meals that is still a part of everyday life for many Native Americans.

Quick and Easy Native American recipes for Fry Bread.  

When I operate a Fry Bread stand during my school visitations or Native American Culture classes, I take liberties and offer a short-cut version.  I top the hot bread with either powdered sugar or honey.
Open 1 can of large biscuits from you grocery's cold case.  (Do not use flaky-type or Southern with butter.)  Pat the biscuit dough to form a small pancake, poke a hole in the center with your index finger.

 Heat oil (I like a good grade vegetable oil).  Fry a few seconds until golden brown.  Turn with cooking thongs.  Cook second side, remove to drain on paper towels.  Toss into a paper bag willed with 1/2 a cup of powdered sugar and shake.  Place on a paper plate and enjoy while still warm!

During Powwow, however, I used the tried-and-true recipe with the option of a Navajo Taco offering beef instead of lamb.

What You'll Need: a large bowl

1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 cups​ all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3/4 cup water

In a medium bowl, mix together the salt, baking powder, and flour.
Mix in the oil and water.
Form the dough into a ball and pat between hands until you have the size you like (pancake size) not quite as thin as tortilla.. Poke a hole in the center of each flattened circles with your index finger.
Fill a large frying pan with about 3/4-inch of shortening or lard and heat the oil.
Fry the breads for a few seconds on each side until they are golden brown.
Set the breads on a paper towel to remove excess oil.
When warm, the breads can be covered in powdered sugar, like a powdered doughnut. Do this by placing the fried bread in a bag filled with a 1/2 cup of powdered sugar. Give the bag a quick shake to cover the bread with sugar and remove the bread.

Or top with cooked beef (or chili), lettuce, onion, tomatoes, your favorite taco items.

Happy Reading,

Links to to my novels:



Barnes and Noble:

Amazon. UK

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Am I or are you an alien from a planet far far away? by Vijaya Schartz

Find Vijaya's Science Fiction and Fantasy novels from BWL here

Over the past few decades, the scientific community turned to study the mysteries of our DNA and blood types, and found out we are all the same despite different skin color. All primates from this planet have Rh positive blood... except for the tiny portion of the human population with Rh negative blood, predominantly found in Basque country (Southwest of France and Northwest of Spain) and in smaller concentration in Ethiopia and far eastern Jewish tribes.

Interestingly enough, the Basque people are an enigma for anthropologists who are unable to trace their origins... as if they dropped from the sky 35,000 years ago. The Basque culture and their language are not related to any other known culture. Although I heard of a Basque mountain climber on an expedition to the Himalayas, who could communicate with the locals through his native language... another puzzle. 

Since my blood type is Rh negative, I found this interesting, and my writer's curiosity pushed me to investigate further. Here are a few characteristics of people with negative blood rhesus:

They cannot be cloned
They have green or hazel eyes that often change color
They often have red hair
They are highly intelligent
They can sing and have perfect pitch
Most healers and people with true psychic abilities are Rh negative
They have lower body temperatures
They have a slower heart rate
They do not like the cold
They are mentally and emotionally very stable
Most alien abductees are Rhesus negative
If you give them positive rhesus blood, they will die. (negative rhesus blood doesn't affect a positive rhesus patient as long as it is the same type - O - A - B - AB etc.)
The Rh negative women's chances to give birth with a positive rhesus male are slim and dangerous. Their body's natural defenses will attack and kill the fetus if not controlled by powerful pharmaceuticals.

I must say many of these characteristics do apply to me and I am French born. I have changing green eyes. I bleached my hair blond since my teens, but I was born with light reddish brown hair. I used to sing professionally. I had occasional and inexplicable premonitory dreams over the years, I have a slower than normal heart rate. I hate the cold (that's why I live in Arizona). I never became pregnant despite three marriages. All the pieces seem to fit.

Was I ever abducted by aliens? If I were, I don't remember it... but I remember a time in art school when I couldn't help but draw cool alien-looking faces after having a particularly strange dream.

Above all, I am fascinated with alien life in the universe, and I write science fiction and fantasy, characters with incredible powers, and technology that can take us across the universe. I believe we are all citizens of the universe, and this world is only a small part of it.

So let us forget our petty differences and be part of the infinite creation we are all part of. Soon we shall discover our universe in greater details. For me, I can't wait to explore the galaxy and maybe meet some distant cousins. In the meantime, they will populate my dreams and feed my imagination, and you will find them in my novels.

Happy Reading.

Vijaya Schartz, author
Romance with a Kick

Friday, January 26, 2018

“If music be the food of love”… Tricia McGill

Find Amethyst and all my other books here on my BWL author page
“Then play on.” Please. William S certainly had a way with words. My English teacher at high school had a passion for Shakespeare and even kept a miniature statue of his bust on her desk. Unfortunately for silly young me, I didn’t appreciate his works way back then and was more into soppy romances as my mother called them. William sure had a good idea of what love was all about. “The course of true love never did run smooth” is another of his good lines. Visit this site and see many of his other famous quotes:

However, this blog is not about him or other playwrights or dramatists, but more about songwriters. I have always wanted to write lyrics, but never possessed a musical bone in my body. I was encouraged years ago by my family never to sing at family gatherings again as I am so out of tune it is not funny. But, I love listening to lyrics when they tell a good story. I am not a fan of modern music unless it be country. I’m a died in the wool country music fan. I love Country music so much, especially when the lyrics almost bring me to tears as they tell of a broken heart or reminisce about a perfect, but poor, childhood much like the one I had.

Elton John is not a Country music man, but his Lyricist Bernie Taupin is a master of telling a story in a song. Add Elton’s music and you have a perfect match. I have many favourite Country musicians but my number one is Alan Jackson. Strangely, I rarely listen to music while writing as I find it draws me out of my story while I am busily singing along. I never listen to the radio while driving (can’t take the ads) but always have my own music playing and probably know the words to just about every top hit that Alan Jackson has produced. I became familiar with his work in my line dancing days. That man has certainly mastered his craft. Anyway, I can sing off key to my heart’s content while alone in the car. When the dogs are with me they often bark and it just occurred to me that perhaps they are telling me to shut up!

Of course, I can’t list all my Alan J favourites but here is just a small selection, and I hope you can see where I am coming from.

Here in the Real World:

Cowboys don't cry, and heroes don't die
Good always wins, again and again
And love is a sweet dream, that always comes true
Oh, if life were like the movies, I'd never be blue
But here in the real world, it's not that easy at all
'Cause when hearts get broken, it's real tears that fall
And darlin' it's sad but true, but the one thing I've learned from you
Is how the boy don't always get the girl, here in the real world
(Sad but so true for lots of people)

House With no Curtains:

We still wear our rings
We still say I love you
We both play the part oh so well
But everyone knows
It's just a sad show
And we're only foolin' ourselves
It's like living in a house with no curtains
The whole world can see what's inside
You can turn out the lights in a house with no curtains
But heartache has nowhere to hide

And here is the chorus to one of my all-time favourites, Small Town Southern Man:

And he bowed his head to Jesus
And he stood for Uncle Sam
And he only loved one woman
(He) was always proud of what he had
He said his greatest contribution
Is the ones you leave behind
Raised on the ways and gentle kindness
Of a small town Southern man

Remember When.

Remember when
I was young and so were you
And time stood still and love was all we knew
You were the first, so was I
We made love and then you cried

Of course, it helps if you also hear the music that goes along with the words, but if you would like to see more of his lyrics then go here:

Kenny Rogers is another whose music I can listen to all day and all night (and often do at night) No one sings a song about unrequited love quite like Kenny.

The words written by Bonnie Raitt to “I can’t make you love me” are probably just about the saddest song of unreturned love, ever, and it has been sung by a few but none make me want to weep for lost love as Kenny can.

'Cause I can't make you love me if you don't
You can't make your heart feel something it won't

Another tearjerker that Kenny sings plaintively is, Share your Love With me” written by Bobby Blue Bland

It's an ill wind that blows no good
And it's a sad heart that won't love like it should

Oh, how lonesome you must be, and it's a shame
If you don't share your love with me.

While driving back from taking the doggies for a walk in the park this morning, this Kenny favourite played and I realised I just cannot leave it off my list.

Handprints on the Wall: Songwriters Nelson Blanchard and Scott Innes

Days go by so quickly
Summer turns to fall
Seems like only yesterday
That you began to crawl
So don't be afraid to take that step
I'll catch you when you fall
I don't mind if you leave behind
A few hand prints on the wall

If you don’t join me in thinking this is one of the best songs ever written about a father’s love for his child then take a look at this video with Kenny singing that a guy put up on YouTube after the birth of his twins:
I defy you not to be moved.

Okay, perhaps these songs are not always perfect grammatically, but add great music to the words and without doubt they touch the heart, and isn’t that what we all wish with our writing.

Let me finish with the words of Abba:
“So I say,
Thank you for the music, the songs I'm singing. Thanks for all the joy they're bringing.”

How barren the world would be without music—no matter what your preference.

My Web Page

Thursday, January 25, 2018

Time and Writing

Visit my BWL author page to purchase
Visit my BWL author page to purchase
What is “time” in the modern author’s world? Several decades ago it meant how many minutes you sat with pen in hand or in front of a typewriter. Yesterday I sat back and spent some time mulling over how it relates to my writing. So, I will try and put down words that relay how the seconds, minutes, hours, and days affect my writing.
I think the overall effect of the lightning-fast communication world is a help. Years ago I would have to pull research information on the living conditions of cowboys in the Wyoming mountains from my tired old Compton’s Encyclopedias or, more likely, go to the public library. In order to not disrupt the flow of my writing I would Put a large question mark in the spots that needed study and spend an afternoon at the library with a steno pad searching for details on a handful of topics.

Now I sit at a coffee shop…
...with priority given to places with reliable wifi. The instant information is a huge time saver. As well, I save some digital ink by eliminating the question mark in my work. When we travel I insist on strong WIFI in our accommodations.
So, it’s stetsons off to modern technology. Of course, I never get distracted by texts, emails, reading other blogs, or surfing the web. Really, I don’t. Well, actually I just did. Now, where was I?
The success of this streamlined research technique can be viewed in my novels Rangeland Ruckus and Raining trouble.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

DK Davis about Secret: At HL Woods, YA Paranormal

Tell a little about the main character in Secret: At HL Woods.

DK – I’ll let Bri tell you – here’s Bri Lancaster, main story-star of Secret: At HL Woods 

Hello everyone! I’m Bri, seventeen-years-old, and just finished my junior year in a new high school. I should be used to a new school because my family moves around a lot, but this move took me away from my best friend, Luke. Plus, we moved in March, so I didn’t really have much time to make friends before summer break…if I had wanted to.

Anyhoo, my dad got mom and me all settled into an amazing house on a lake – great neighborhood as far as that goes (even though I’m not really the type that really cares who our neighbors are). Then, dad left us…so, Mom, had Gramps move in.

The ongoing arguments and Mom’s emotional roller coaster ride died down somewhat – but I still didn’t like spending time with her.

Gramps was another matter, worth coming home and learning about Gram and her ability to see ghosts. No one, other than an aunt and Gramps, knew about my communications with the spirit world. I’d learned at a young age to keep it to myself or I would be medicated like a crazy (thank goodness Mom wasn’t an advocate of medications).

It’s tough not talking to a spirit when they know I can see them – let’s just say moving around so much saved me from most of the embarrassing situations that branded me as a “crazy” or “weirdo.”

I’ve managed to keep mostly to myself, until Luke, my best friend, who also had his own branding situation going on within his family.

Hope you decide to read my story and learn how the 1960’s murdered couple, Martin and Gloria, find their justice…and how I discover there’s more to living…much more. Nice to meet you all; )

Do you believe in the paranormal and if so, do you have an experience you can share?

DK – I love this question and have actually shared it previously. When I was young, I had a few times when I woke out of a dead sleep to see an old woman standing beside my bed. Each time she’s reaching for me. I was so terrified, I closed my eyes and screamed my head off. If I would have been a little more evolved, I could have spoken to her.  Like I mentioned, she came back to me a number of times…and I’m sure it was to give me some sort of message (at least that’s what I choose to think😉.

I believe she might have been my grandmother who passed away when I was only a toddler. She has never come back to me since my youthful interventions with her. I do sense energy (positive or negative), and I also feel empathy, deeply, for those around me, which tend to create issues for me at times.

So, in answer, do I believe in the paranormal – I give a resonating YES!!

What titles are you working on now?

DK – I have a few books I’m working on to submit this year for release.

Jake & Sam ~ Twisted Tales of Freakish Fun – an anthology for mid-grade that I’m co-writing with S. Willett (author of the Country and the Rock mid-grade trilogy). Release scheduled for late spring / early summer 2018. The book is about two friends, Jake and Sam, and the crazy, fun adventures they each have and share. Once in a while, their adventures come together. And they wreak of paranormal, supernatural, sci-fi, and maybe even fantasy – but always freakish fun.

Secret: of Amber Eyes – Another book in the Secret Series to release sometime in December 2018. Morgan Redding graduates high school then gets sent to her aunt’s wildlife refuge in northern Michigan (her mother considers Morgan a trouble-maker and wants time without her to be alone with the new husband). Morgan discovers a species of beings beyond comprehension until she becomes one…

Malevolent, A Kendra Spark Novel – the second book in the Kendra Spark series, written as S. Peters-Davis and due to release in August of 2018. Another supernatural, paranormal suspense-thriller romance – Kendra, Jenna, and Derek have their work cut out in finding the head of a human trafficking ring kidnapping teenage girls, plus the kindling heat between Derek and Kendra shifts from playful to passionate.

Excerpt from Secret: At HL Woods (First meeting between Bri and ghosts)

Without a word, I ran toward the mound of wild rose vines and thistles, where Kyle and Max had stood a moment ago.

A black man and white woman shimmered into view beside it, arms around each other, both staring at me.

I stopped so abruptly I almost lost it again. Apparitions.

“Martin, look at her. She’s seein’ us.” The woman’s distinct southern accent caught me, but what set off my cursed paranormal spidey-sensors was their clothing…straight from the 60’s, according to some of the old romance books I’d read from Mom’s stash. 

“By damn, she does see us.” He stepped closer to me with the woman at his side. “You can see us.”

“I can, yes.” Holy crap, I just said that out loud. My whole body tensed. I glanced over my shoulder to see if Kyle and Max still roamed face-plant alley. A shiver shook through me. They’d left.

“We need your help, Missy.” Martin’s brows arched, his head tilted. “Please tell us you can help us.”

The woman turned to him and patted his cheek. “It’s gonna be all right, sweetie. We ain’t botherin’ this fine woman with our problems.” She turned to me. “It’s okay, darlin’, you never mind us.”

“Why are you both here?” Wherever I saw spirits of the dead, it usually meant they were connected to something in the area. I considered the mound, seeing something metal and rusty underneath all the greenery. “You should have crossed over, into the vortex of light…unless you’re meant to go to the dark plane.”

The woman gasped and clung to Martin.

Maybe I’d said too much. I yanked some of the vines away, getting scratched and poked from the effort.

A car, green, ancient. No wonder it was tough to see.

“We want justice, but we aren’t able to leave this spot. Something’s holding us here, like some kind of barrier.” Martin’s lips pinched together, his head nodding. He looked at the woman as if to confirm. She nodded also.

I scanned the area thoroughly to make sure Kyle and Max weren’t lurking behind a tree to get a shot of me talking to air. I’d dealt with Max enough during school to last a lifetime; his nasty pranks didn’t need to scar my summer too.

Thankfully, they’d really left.

“You fancyin’ one of those boys?” The woman smiled.

“Gloria, now don’t you be puttin’ on with this little lady. She won’t want to share her life with the likes of us.” Martin embraced Gloria, kissing her forehead.

I chuckled at the idea of considering either Kyle or Max as anything more than what? Simply guys in my grade? No one knew me here and I liked it that way. Moving from Marshall before the end of my junior year was the worst thing to happen in my life, well besides Dad leaving once we settled into the house here. Plus, Luke lived in Marshall.

I shook my head. “No. Neither of those guys is into me, and I’m definitely not into them.”

Martin and Gloria’s eyes narrowed, a frown creased both of their foreheads.

“Whatcha mean? Into me…into them…like friends or somethin’ more?” Gloria asked, and I could tell Martin didn’t understand it either. I was sure the music back then used words like those in reference to relationships, although, maybe it’d been a while since they heard music.

“I don’t like them and they don’t like me.” I studied the couple. “How old are you guys? What’s your story?” Didn’t want to ask them what year they died…or how they died, in case they hadn’t acknowledged it to each other. Once in a while that happened, like the time I’d come across a spirit that didn’t realize he was dead. He went into hysteria, ranting, and raving, jumping from one extreme emotion to another that lasted for days as his apparition faded then came back, disappearing and reappearing all over the house and property.

“Eighteen, both of us, we just graduated high school.” Martin’s lips pressed together. 
“We were followed, by a truck; didn’t notice it at first.”

“We was drivin’ to Idlewild, a city in northern Michigan, for work and a place to live. Gettin’ married there,” Gloria added. She turned toward Martin and suddenly their apparitions washed-out like bad static on a television. An electric pop snapped through the air and they vanished.

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