Monday, May 28, 2012

Welcome, Sydell Voeller

Summer Magic by Sydell Voeller, available at Amazon Kindle

Published by Books We Love Ltd:

             When her fiancé calls off their engagement, veterinarian assistant Lisa Prentice joins the circus in hopes of escaping the everyday grind. But life under the big top isn't quite what she expected. None of the veterinarian's former assistants managed to please their short-tempered boss, and Lisa fears that her days are numbered, too. Michael Figaro, a dashing young trapeze artist, is also cautious about whether Lisa can stay, and keeps his distance. Still, Lisa finds herself overwhelmingly attracted to him. Although Michael is the aerialist, it is Lisa who is flying on an emotional high wire. What happened to her safety net? Will their love survive?

Introduction to the Story 

            The year before, while the circus was on a 6-week lay-over at Madison Square Garden, Lisa Prentice had met dashing aerialist, Michael Figaro. There she’d also unexpectedly helped save a critically ill Arabian horse, Ebony, and she’d immediately fallen in love with the horse. Michael was more than a minor attraction too--and now that Lisa’s back, his charisma is once again working its magic on her.  Michael has just met her at the airport, brought her back to the circus grounds, and introduced her to his family-- also circus performers.  His twin sister, Estelle, welcomes Lisa with open arms and invites her to stay  in her trailer, and Lisa accepts.  Michael’s second sister, however, gives Lisa a frosty reception, and Lisa can’t help but wonder why.  Nonetheless, Lisa is eager to watch Michael and his family perform, and now she has the opportunity to do so: 

Partial Excerpt from Chapter 2 

Inside the coliseum, Lisa found an unreserved seat and sat down.  The band was playing a lively tune.  Vendors selling popcorn and cotton candy worked the side aisles.
As the lights dimmed and the music swelled, a rainbow of colors filled the arena.  Lisa's meeting with Claudette soon forgotten, new anticipation flowed through her.  It was time for the Spectacle to begin.
With rapt attentiveness, she clasped her hands together. Animals in bright head dresses and performers wearing sequin-spangled costumes paraded by.  Then came the first act, which soon gave way to the next.  Lisa laughed with the crowds at the chimps bouncing on pogo sticks, clapped for the tiger jumping through a ring of fire, and gazed in awe at the red-sequined showgirls performing an aerial ballet.   
Next the Flying Figaros emerged.  Dressed in glittering silver capes, holding hands and smiling their most dazzling smiles, they sprinted into the center ring.  In seconds the troupe was ascending the high rope ladder, Estelle sitting on Michael's shoulders.  While Claudette began to swing from a trapeze, Michael and Rudolph, perched on high rungs, balanced poles from their foreheads.
In an instant, the blue spotlight shifted back to the two young women.  Lisa watched first one, then the other spin through the air, skillfully performing their famous double somersaults.  The most difficult trick--Michael's triple--was only seconds away.
"And now ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages,”  the ringmaster boomed, "world-renowned Michael Figaro will perform one of the most daring acts in circus history!  The triple somersault!"
A hush blanketed the coliseum.  The drums rolled.  From somewhere overhead, the spotlights dimmed, casting a dramatic hue over the performers.  Lisa's heart pounded.  Every nerve in her body stood on end.  Oh, Michael.  Please be careful, she silently pleaded.
Michael dusted his hands with resin.  Then he began to swing.  The intensity was etched clearly on his face.  His taut muscles revealed the strength in his torso and upper arms.  Last year when she'd witnessed Michael's performance, she'd secretly vowed he was the most gorgeous man alive. Tonight was no exception.
Higher and higher he arched.  With a quick thrust, he tucked himself into a ball and whirled through the air.
The drums stopped rolling.  Lisa felt her hands grow clammy as she braced herself on the edge of her seat. Suddenly Michael's body straightened and his hands connected with the catcher's.  The applause exploded.
"Ladies and gentlemen," the ringmaster hollered, "you have just witnessed the most important feat on the face of the earth!"
While the crowds went wild, Lisa went limp with relief.
Oh, Michael, no wonder you came back, her heart cried out.  His performance was commanding.  Michael Figaro was destined for stardom.  How easy it would be to fall in love with him--only to end up heart-broken once again.  There must be at least a hundred women, watching him this very moment, who would give their souls just to touch his hand.  She could no more hold onto Michael than she had Charles.
One by one, the flyers dropped into the safety net, then onto the floor.  The crowd rose from their seats and cheered louder as the troupe took sweeping bows, then disappeared behind a royal blue curtain.
Suddenly the beating of hooves sounded.  The air stirred as three gorgeous black horses without riders or reins streaked past.  The ring seemed charged with their electrifying energy.
Lisa blinked twice.  Ebony!  The leading horse had to be Ebony!  In the center of the ring stood Mr. Figaro dressed in white and grasping a long whip.
The blue spot lights shifted to red.  While the other horses took their places opposite each other near the edge of the ring, Ebony cantered gracefully to the center.  She reared up.  Like a magnificent mystical creature, she pawed the air.  The other show horses immediately followed Ebony's cue.
Step-by-step she led them through one trick after another.  Then the lights dimmed as the horses made their exit...

Partial Excerpt from Chapter 3

"You still want to see Ebony tonight?" Michael asked as they strolled down a wide sidewalk that fronted the circus grounds.
"Oh, yes!"  Lisa smiled up at him.  The pale glow from a streetlight illuminated his profile.  Overhead, a spattering of stars winked in the cobalt blue sky. A balmy summer breeze lifted her hair.  Until just a few moments ago, Michael had been unusually quiet.  Lisa suspected he was pondering his father's leaving and the added responsibilities that entailed.  Or was it something more?
They crossed the north side of the lot, then threaded their way among the animal cages, trucks, and horse trailers.  In minutes they came to the horse tent and ducked inside.
The sweet smell of fresh hay filled Lisa's nostrils. A horse nickered.  She followed Michael past three black stallions and a Shetland pony that were switching their tails as they munched hay.
"Oh, Michael, there she is!" Lisa cried as she pointed to the end of the row.
"Yep!  Isn't she a beaut?" he asked, beaming.
As Lisa hurried up to the horse and began stroking her mane, Ebony lifted her head and stared back through half-lidded eyes.
"Ebony, you're beautiful!  Just as I'd remembered." The horse's ears twitched.  Lisa reached down, picked up a fistful of hay, and offered it on her opened palm.  Ebony's snout was velvety soft.
"Instant bonding," Michael said.  He grinned approvingly, rocking back on his heels.
"Oh, I hope so.  In fact, I'm looking forward to working with all the horses."
"Good.  I may need some help."
"How are you feeling about that?" Lisa asked as she stooped down to pick up more hay.  "About taking the responsibility for the show horses?" She straightened again, then turned to look up at him.  She watched his grin suddenly fade.
He glanced away.  "Scared.  Very scared."
“I doubt your father would've asked you to do it if he didn't think you were capable."
"It's expected of me, Lisa.  That's what being in the circus is all about.  Most of us, sooner or later, have to wear more than one hat. Pop would still be flying, too, if it hadn't have been for his accident.  And Uncle Rudy...he not only works as our catcher, but oversees the side show most of the time too."
"And here I'm feeling overwhelmed!  All I have to do is assist Dr. Woodstock and pass my probation."  A ripple of excitement overshadowed Lisa's uncertainty.  Tomorrow. Tomorrow she'd finally set out to accomplish what she'd come for. "Back home, my best friend Melanie and I go riding almost every weekend at Doc Largent's stables," she went on. "Will you let me ride Ebony sometime soon?"
"Maybe tomorrow.  If you can find a minute or two to spring free, just check with me or one of the stable boys first."
"I will."
"Let's tell this critter good-night and split." Michael's voice was laced with impatience.
"What's the big hurry?"  She met his gaze and chuckled.
"I...I just thought you might be hungry.  There's a deli not far up the street that makes a mean grilled pastrami sandwich."  He shrugged.  "Besides, as far as I know, you haven't had anything to eat since this afternoon back at the airport."
"Thanks, but I'm still too keyed up to eat any more.  I should really turn in."  She gave Ebony one final pat, avoiding Michael's gaze. Though a late snack with Michael was more than tempting, she knew she mustn't.  Already these few short hours with him had stirred too many confusing emotions within her.
Michael reached out and cupped her chin with his hand, gently prodding her to look at him.  "Are you sure?"
"All right, then.  I'll walk you to Estelle's trailer, but I doubt if she'll be there for another hour or so.  She usually goes to my folks' motor home to have a bite to eat. Most likely Mom will save something for me, too."  He chuckled.  "She always thinks if I'm left to my own culinary devices, I'll waste away."
The air was heavy with the scent of sawdust and animals, mingled with mesquite wafting from someone's small propane barbecue alongside one of the trailers.
As they started out, his arm brushed her shoulder. Though the contact was fleeting, she was acutely conscious of his nearness.  A shudder rippled through her.
""  She felt like a silly school girl, unable to know her own mind.  Though the earlier rain squalls had been warm and humid, now the air was much too balmy to explain her physical response.  How could she admit to Michael, much less to herself, that his magnetic presence was hopelessly unraveling her?
But in the wake of that awareness her memory instantly sharpened.  The groupies.  That showgirl.  How could she ever compete--even if she did desire a relationship with Michael?  No, they might as well have come from two distinct planets on the opposite sides of the galaxy. She was definitely an outsider to Michael's tightly knit world.  She would remain that way no matter how long she stayed.  And even if she let down her guard and allowed him to capture her in his spell, how long could it last?  Would he soon move on to someone more enticing?  Just as Charles had?
She hesitated before going on.  "Who was that show girl you were talking to tonight?"
"Her name's Rita and she's new here.  She used to be an aerialist with another circus.  I hear she was pretty good. Claudette wanted me to do Rita a favor today--give her a lift--but, I managed to get out of it.  I went to the airport to meet you instead."  He edged away slightly, letting his arm drop to his side.
 Lisa pushed back the fleeting thought that Michael's purpose in meeting her might've been simply to avoid giving in to his twin sister. "I bet that ticked off Claudette," she said.
 "She'll get over it," he answered, his expression unreadable.  "Besides, there was no reason why Claudette couldn't have played chauffeur to Rita.  Rita's great- aunt Mildred--or whoever she wanted to see--apparently lives on some dude ranch near the north end of the county."  They side-stepped a wardrobe trunk someone had left near the door of a fifth wheeler.
"The way I see it," Michael continued in an offhand manner, "Rita is fun to joke around with it, but that's about it.  If Claudette wants to buddy up with Rita, then fine.  She doesn't need to involve me too."
Lisa shot him a questioning glance.  Wasn't Michael aware of his charismatic appeal?  Even something innocent like joking around might give Rita reason to believe she stood a chance with him.
"So are you trying to say Claudette's playing Cupid?" Lisa asked.  "Your sister wants to bring you and Rita together?"
"It all goes back to her fear of me leaving--just like we talked about earlier.  Claudette figures if I end up marrying another flyer, then I'll stay with the troupe forever."
"And what do you think?"  She stopped walking and swung around to look at him.
"I'm going to stay, no matter what," he ground out. "I've tried it on the outside.  I'm back where I belong."
"Of course.  Your performance tonight made that more than obvious."
Michael’s message had come through loud and clear.  He could never make a life for himself anywhere other than the circus.
As they started walking again, a picture of Rita returned to her mind.  "Any special reason why Rita decided to join Jessell and Stern?" she asked.
He chuckled.  "So what's with this Rita bit?  You certainly seem more than mildly interested."
"Just curious, that's all," she replied with a shrug, though she could feel her face growing warm with embarrassment.  They passed two keepers carrying buckets of water.
"Rita's troupe broke up so she decided to move on. According to Claudette, when Rita came to Jessell and Stern, she said she needed a change and wanted to work as a showgirl instead.  I guess my sister's made an extra effort to welcome her."
"How accommodating," Lisa said in a low voice.  Actually, it was difficult to understand how Claudette could make anyone feel welcomed.  But maybe she wasn't being fair. Maybe she'd judged Claudette too hastily.
"What was that?"
She flushed again.  "Nothing.  I...I didn't mean that the way it probably sounded.  I guess I'm more tired than I realized."
"Which means I'm doing the right thing by making sure you turn in now."  He grinned again.  "Not that I particularly want to, mind you."
She peered down the row of RVs.  They'd almost come to the end.  "Where are you staying?" she asked.
"Three doors down."  He nodded to a small eighties-vintage trailer.  His pick-up was parked close by.  "It might not be the Taj Mahal, but it gets me by."
"And Claudette?  Where's her place?"
"We passed it already.  Back this side of the costume trailer."
Outside Estelle's RV, Michael dug into his hip pocket and pulled out a key.  "Here.  Take this.  It's a spare and Estelle said for you to hold onto it."  He pressed the key into her palm, prolonging the contact.
"Thanks, Michael."
"Uh...a couple of more things.  Estelle also said to tell you the bottom bunk is yours.  And don't mind her little poodle.  His name's Rags.  Used to be one of Mom's show poodles, but Estelle's let him get soft.  Anyway, he might just decide to give you an overly enthusiastic welcome.  He tends to get a little carried away at times."
"Thanks again.  I'll like that."  She locked her gaze with his.  "Sleep well, Michael."
"You too."  He gave no indication of leaving, but rather leaned closer and settled his hand on the back of her neck. A suggestive smile hovered on the corners of his mouth.  His lips were only a fraction away.
"It's kind of weird, isn't it?  I mean...I never expected to see you again.  When I met you last year, I figured you were just another townie who wandered through."
"Well, I guess I was then.  But I'm not anymore.  I'm here to stay."
A shadow of doubt passed over his face.  "Just hang in there, okay?  Things are gonna be different here.  I guarantee it."
"I realize that, Michael."  She offered him a hesitant smile.  "Truth is, I never expected to sign on with Jessell and Stern either. Serendipity, I guess.  You're right.  Life can be kind of weird sometimes."
"Uh-huh."  Weird and scary, he thought.  His stomach knotted.  He felt as if some bozo had just kicked him in the gut.  Hold on, Figaro. Get a hold of yourself... Yet being close to Lisa, touching her like this...
His voice was ragged as he dropped his hand.  "See ya...see you around."  He hesitated, then reached for her hand and gently pressed her knuckles against his lips. "You'd better get inside.  Now."
"I will."
He turned on his heel and without a backwards glance strode quickly away.
She couldn't go in.  She had to keep watching him. Slowly, gradually his retreating figure faded into the night. Michael, come back! she yearned to call to him.
No! her better judgment ruled.  You don't fit in.  You could never be his.  And even if you could, he'd only end up hurting you.  Let him be.
What was the matter with her? she wondered miserably as she turned the key in the lock.  Why had she allowed her heart to take this crazy roller-coaster ride?  And now, foolish woman that she was, she wanted him more than ever...

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Friday, May 25, 2012

Something different

Today is my birthday and I've decided to do something different. For starters, I blogged at Inside Books We Love blog. Check it out you might be surprised.
So, what is this blog going to be about? Well about me, of course.
To use a phrase Bill Cosby used, 'I started out as a child.' Didn't we all?  I was born on May 25th (of course, otherwise it wouldn't be my birthday). I was the fifth child of six. My younger sister was born on May 24th, four years later. But this is about me. So, back to me. I had three older brothers and an older sister. I had a normal childhood. At least I guess it was normal in a family with six children. Since I have nothing to compare it to, I'll say it was normal. I did all the things most kids did. Played baseball, climbed trees - yes, I was a bit of a tomboy, with three older brothers, how could I help it? But, yes, I still played with dolls and dressed up in my cousin's high heels and fancy dresses. My cousin's were considerably older than us, so they gave us their prom dresses and high heels and the heels today, have nothing on these. Yes, they were spikes.  I even played bride with my sister and my mother's old lace curtains.
I had normal teenage years, nothing spectacular. I remember going to canteen every Wednesday night - for those of you who don't know, it was a dance- and of course I met my first love there. I think I was 13. Usually the girls danced with girls, except for the slow dances, but there were quite a few guys who also fast danced. I remember the closing song every week was Twilight Time by the Platters. The dance was from 7 to 9:30 and a group of us walked there together. Sometimes the love of my life  walked me home and held my hand. What a thrill that was.
High school wasn't anything special. I was an average student, liked some subjects hated others. I remember the first time we got to type on the NEW electric typewriters. Wow, what a difference from the others. Took some practice, too, because if you just touched the key, it was off and running. Before you knew it you could have a whole line of A's. By then, I'd had several other boyfriends. I met my husband when I was 15 at the end of summer. We dated steadily pretty much after that. Although, we did break up once for a few months. I dated a couple other guys during that time, but none steady. Once we got back together, that was it. I knew he was the one.
My parents moved during my junior year and I had to go to a new school. Not fun when you're a junior. Since the new school didn't have some of the subjects I was taking and the classes for a few others were full, they allowed me to go back to my old school. You can't imagine how happy I was about that. The next summer, I decided I didn't want to go to the new school for my senior year. Besides, my dream in life was to get married, have a bunch of kids and be a wife and mother. So, in July, we ran off to get married.
You can't imagine the time we had. First our car broke down - transmission. Got that fixed, finally got to Michigan and applied for our license.  That's when we found out we had to wait three days to get married. We just spent all our money on a transmission, we didn't have enough for a hotel, so we came home - unmarried. My parents weren't real happy with me, but since one of my brothers and sisters had eloped, they took it surprisingly well. They knew we were determined to get married, so they agreed to sign the papers and gave us a wedding. Now, I know you all think 17 is too young to get married, and basically it is, but you  have to remember it was a different time back then. Girls were just starting to go to college, women worked until they got married and had kids, not many were looking for a career. It was still a time where women stayed home. I had never intended to go to college anyway.
Sixteen months later, my first child, a daughter was born. Twenty-one months later, my second, and so on and so on. Twenty-eight and six children later, we decided that was enough. Needless to say ours was a noisy household. Noisy and fun and lively. And expensive. We chose to send our children to a private school and when my youngest was in Kindergarten, I took a job as an aide to the remedial teachers. It was only two days a week, but the income helped. When my youngest entered first grade, I became the school secretary. I couldn't have asked for a better job. I worked when they were in school, I was home when they were home - well all except for two weeks in the summer. By then my oldest was in high school and I didn't need a sitter, so it worked out well.
I loved that job. Loved the people I worked with and loved the kids. It was an ideal situation all the way around.
One by one my children got married and had their own children. They've blessed me with fourteen grandchildren and now, Glory be to God, a great grandchild. I have three married granddaughters and another getting married in August. Maybe it won't be long before they bless me with more great grandchildren. My youngest grandchild is actually younger than my great grandchild by a couple of months. They'll both be turning two this year.
So there you have it - the story of my life. Amazing how 67 years only fills up a couple paragraphs. Oh yeah, I forgot to mention, I also worked as a florist for a craft store, and probably most of you know I'm a writer. I write romance - contemporary, mystery and paranormal. You can find my books across the top of this blog.
You can also check out my website

Saturday, May 12, 2012

I’m Katherine Wesley, but everyone calls me Kate and I’ve recently returned to my home town of Twinsburg, Ohio after five years of living in self-imposed exile. Okay, it wasn’t really exile, I was hiding away because my fiancé jilted me two days before our wedding. Can you believe he didn’t even have the guts to tell me in person? Oh no, he left me a note and took off to Las Vegas. 
I left town shortly after, because I couldn’t stand the looks of pity from everyone. I know they all said  I wasn’t the first, and I probably wouldn’t be the last, but that doesn’t help when it happens to you. So I fled. I built a new life for myself. I even opened a very successful flower shop in Clyde, Ohio.

But now I’m back and I opened my own florist shop here. Problem is, my ex is back too. Not that I care. I mean seriously, I’m over him.  The fact my heart beat a little faster the first time I ran into him didn’t mean a thing. Heck, it thumped twice as hard when I met my client’s brother. Not that I’m looking for a guy, believe me, I’m not.  Good grief, I’m happy just the way I am. I don’t have to answer to anyone, and no one has to answer to me. Nope, I’m quite happy, thank you very much
Life was fine until I visited my Aunt Kate’s grave, well mostly fine. I mean my ex and Emma’s brother seemed to be vying for my attention. I never had that happen before and, quite honestly, I could live without it. Talk about uncomfortable. But the florist shop was doing well for just having opened. Emma’s wedding helped that. So there I was, minding my own business, going to the cemetery, and that’s when I found a dead body.

Well let me tell you, life turned upside down, backwards, forwards, and inside out. Between my ex, Emma’s brother and the dead body, let’s just say things got real complicated.

To make matters worse, the twin sister of the victim showed up in town. If you don’t think that made life real interesting, well think again..

You’ll have to read Double the Trouble to find out what happened. Released from MuseItUp Publishing it’s available at Amazon

You can find out more about my books at or check out my blog  at and

Excerpt from Double the Trouble

A shadow passed over the doorway, and Kate realized she wasn’t alone. She looked up.
Adam stood in the doorway, the same cocky grin on his face. “Now that’s settled, how are you, Kate?”
Kate couldn’t believe it. Couldn’t he take a hint? “What do you want, Adam?” She didn’t care if she sounded angry. He deserved angry.
Adam came into the work room and stood in front of her. “You look great.”
Kate looked away. So did he, but darned if she’d tell him. He looked too damn good. What was the saying? Fool her once, shame on him, fool her twice, shame on her. Nope, she didn’t need him or anyone like him.
 “So what do you want? I gave you all the information on Emma. Shouldn’t you be out investigating?” She picked up a flower and set it in a vase. Her heart beat so hard, it surprised her that he didn’t hear it.
“Look, I know you’re still upset about the wedding, but give me a chance to make it up to you. How about dinner tonight?”
“I’m busy.” Still upset? The man has no idea. Like we should pick up where we left off? He’s got to be kidding.
“Tomorrow then?”
“I’m busy tomorrow, too. Look, Adam, just go, okay. I don’t want to have dinner with you. Not tonight, not tomorrow, not ever.”
“Come on, babe, don’t be like that.” Adam moved a strand of hair behind her ear. “I don’t blame you for being angry. But damn, it’s been five years.” He ran his finger along her cheek. “The least you could do is give me a chance to explain. Not that I’m sure I could. I’m not sure, even now, why I took off. Cold feet, I guess.”
Kate trembled at his touch. A spark of something familiar tumbled in her stomach. She pushed his hand away. Try as she might, her anger shattered.
“How dare you walk in here like nothing happened? Like we’re going to pick up where we left off?” Kate spoke through clenched teeth. What she really wanted to do was lash out and hurt him the way he hurt her, but a customer might come in and screaming wasn’t going to help anyway.
Adam stared at her, a look of confusion in his dark eyes. He just didn’t get it. He really didn’t see anything wrong with what he did. Took the coward’s way out and left her to deal with canceling all the wedding plans. What a jerk. “Look, just go.” She turned back to her work and picked up a vase to fill her next order.
Adam ran his hand through his dark, wavy hair. Hair she used to love to run her fingers through. She could almost feel the soft, silkiness of even now.
“Give me a break, Kate. Let me make it up to you.”
Part of her wanted to give in, and part of her wanted to throw something at him. Stay strong, get rid of him. No way was she picking up where they left off.
The bell rang again, and before she had a chance to react, Mark stormed in. Kate’s stomach did a flip at the sight of him. What was wrong with her, reacting to these men this way? For five years men had no affect on her. Now in the course of an hour, the two of them managed to get under her skin, causing feelings deep within she hadn’t experienced in years. Feelings she didn’t want to feel.
Mark stared at them for a second. “I don’t know what the two of you have going, but why aren’t you out looking for my sister?”
Kate shuddered at the angry tone of Mark’s voice. “There’s nothing going on between us, Mr. Westfield. I just suggested the very same thing to Detective Shaffer,” she said just as angry. “Now if the two of you will continue this outside, I have work to do.”
“I’ll call you later, Kate.” Adam acted as if everything between them was settled. Par for the course. Wasn’t that always how it was? She got mad, spoke her mind, and that was it. Over and done with.
Nothing changed. Adam went on doing the same things he always did. Didn’t matter if it upset her. Poker every Friday night with his friends, no matter how angry she got. How they had managed to plan the wedding was beyond her.  Not that he did any of the planning. Adam didn’t even want to see the hall or listen to the band. No wonder he didn’t have any qualms about canceling the wedding. He didn’t do any of the work for it. Obviously, he wasn’t ready to get married. So why had he asked her? Asked her, heck, he had insisted. Even when she suggested they wait a year or so. He at least owed her an explanation. But did she really want to hear it?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

I first met Vanessa Gleason on...

Christmas Eve. Oh, I’m Pastor Dan Jacobson, pastor of St. Matthew Lutheran Church. I came to check things out for my Christmas Eve service and there she was standing kneeling next to the Nativity Scene. She stood and turned toward me. I sensed the tension in her. I’m sure with the light behind me, she couldn’t see who I was right away. She was holding a baby.
I approached slowly and she immediately relaxed when she realized I was a man of the cloth, immediately mistaking me for a priest. Normal mistake, many people mistook me for a priest.
The baby wasn’t hers, she explained. She found it next to the crèche. Naturally, I was suspicious. Was she trying to pull a fast one? Her annoyance didn’t escape me as she pushed the note in my hand. Not that it proved anything, she could have written it. Thing is, she looked me in the eye and I’ve discovered people who are lying don’t look you in the eye.
Her eyes held sorrow, grief. This was a woman who was suffering. We sat down and I asked if she had children. Tears instantly sprang to her eyes. Slowly but surely, the story came out. She had a two year old daughter, whose father demanded custody, threatening Vanessa if she didn’t agree. She had no choice or chance of getting her daughter back if she didn’t take the money he offered and leave.
It wasn’t long before someone else entered the church. The baby’s mother raced toward us, crying. The poor girl was at wit’s end, not knowing where to turn. When she saw Vanessa come into the church, something made her scribble a note and run out. But, she couldn’t do it. Couldn’t leave her baby.
I knew I should call the police, but Vanessa came to the rescue, insisting the girl and baby stay with her. It was Christmas Eve and after the tale Vanessa just told me about her own child, well heck, how could I possibly call the police? So I got the address where they were staying and let them go, figuring I’d check on them later. Besides, I wanted to see Vanessa again.
To find out what happens next, you’ll have to read the book. It’s available from Amazon


Vanessa’s stomach tensed. She had to get out of here. Needed some air, needed to escape.
She got in her car and started driving, to where was anyone’s guess. The quaintness of Strongsville, Ohio, especially the town square with the gazebo with all the Christmas decorations, brought tears to her eyes. Vanessa wiped the tears away and parked the car. Shoppers and carolers filled the sidewalks. Ignoring them, Vanessa hurried past decorated shops until she came to a small church. St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church, the sign out front said. Two huge wreaths hung on the heavy oak doors. The small white building beckoned to her.
Vanessa opened the door, walked up the steps and stood at the entrance. The quiet of the empty church filled her soul. It had been too long since she had attended services. Charles wasn’t particularly religious, but at least he had allowed her to have Alyssa baptized. She should have gone to church more often by herself, but after spending Saturday evening at the club, it was all too easy to sleep in on Sunday morning.
Light showed through the stained glass windows, illuminating the red carpet-covered aisle way. A nativity scene at the front captured her attention and drew her forward. Memories from her childhood flashed through her mind.
Her father always helped set up the nativity at church when she was a little girl, and they let her put Baby Jesus in the crèche. A noise came from the side aisle, interrupting her thoughts. Vanessa stopped, saw a flash of red and the side door slammed. Funny, she hadn’t noticed anyone else when she came in.
Oh, well, Vanessa shrugged and continued to the front and knelt down. What in the world? Next to the nativity scene sat a car seat. An infant, three, maybe four months old with dark curly hair, opened its almond shaped dark eyes and reached its chubby arms out to her.
“What have we here?” Vanessa unbuckled the seat belt. “Hello, precious.” She picked up the baby and a note fell on the diaper bag next to the car seat. Vanessa picked up the paper and read the scribbled words.
Please take care of my baby. Her name is Grace. Mary.
“Who could leave someone as precious as you?” Vanessa looked around. No one lurked in the shadows. Who left the baby? How long had she been here? God, what should she do? The baby cuddled against her. Vanessa inhaled the sweet smell of baby lotion, bringing back memory of Alyssa. Tears filled her eyes. For a minute, she was tempted to take the baby and leave, but she couldn’t do it.
Startled, when the door at the back of the church slammed, Vanessa turned toward the sound. A shadow loomed at the entrance and moved toward her. A tall figure walked down the aisle, checking the pews along the way. Vanessa hugged the baby against her, held her breath, and let it out when she saw who it was.
“Father, I’m glad you’re here. I came in here and found this baby. I was just about to call the police.”
“I’m a minister, not a priest. Pastor Dan Jacobson, Pastor Dan will do,” he said. “You found a baby?” His brown eyes sparkled with a glint of gold below raised eyebrows. “Who do you suppose it belongs to?”
“Yes, I ... uh.” The look on his face told her he didn’t believe her. Heck, she could have pretended Grace was hers. He wouldn’t have known. “When I came in someone ran out through that side door. I came up here to see the nativity scene and….” Vanessa walked away and sat in a pew, cradling the baby against her chest. What was the use, he didn’t believe her. She didn’t need this. Not now. She had enough problems of her own.
“I see, pretty little thing, boy or girl?” Vanessa stood and took a step closer to him. “Girl.” She stopped next to him. “You aren’t suggesting this child is mine, are you?” Vanessa looked him straight in the eyes. How dare he? Minister or not, what gave him the right? “Look, I came in here and found the baby. I told you someone ran out that door.” Vanessa took a deep breath, let out an angry sigh. “Here.” She pushed the note toward him. “This was lying on the diaper bag. I didn’t touch anything else.”
Pastor Dan stared at her, like he was studying her.
Vanessa stared back at him. Disbelief showed in his face. Like she’d try to pull off such a stunt? Imagine her abandoning a baby like this. The memory of Alyssa, clinging to her when Charles tore her away, flashed in her mind. Even now, Alyssa’s cries when Charles slammed the door ripped her apart.
Pastor Dan brought her back to awareness. “I see. Well, I guess we’ll have to call Social Services.” He read the note, then picked up the diaper bag and looked through it.
Grace squirmed in Vanessa’s arms and began to cry.
“Probably hungry.” Vanessa hummed and cuddled the baby and rocked her.
Pastor Dan pulled out a bottle of formula.
The warmth of the baby against her chest opened a hole in her heart, missing Alyssa even more. Her insides trembled, tears burned her eyes, threatened to fall.
“You have children?” Pastor Dan’s tone softened.
A tear escaped, fell on her cheek. She nodded, a lump caught in her throat.
“How many?”
“One.” Vanessa choked out the word.
How old?”
“Two.” The tears burst forth as if a damn had been unleashed. “I’m....” Vanessa couldn’t speak. She turned away, held back the tears, and paced across the front to the nativity scene, leaving him standing there.


Attractive woman and she held the baby like she cared about it. Was she trying to pull a fast one? Yet, something about her suggested she was telling the truth. Her eyes—that was it. She had honest eyes. Dan laughed inwardly. What was it with him and people’s eyes? He’d learned over the years that people telling the truth looked you in the eyes, whereas liars looked away, over your head, or down at the floor. This woman looked him full in the eyes.
And he’d gone and made her mad. She didn’t look like the sort of person he wanted mad at him. No, she looks like the sort of person who needed help. Like someone he wanted to know better. No wedding ring, but the pale mark on her tanned finger indicated she wore one recently.
Something bothered her, an inner conflict. The baby wasn’t hers, but there was something. A sorrow in her eyes, a deep hurt on her face. He had seen that look before, usually someone suffering from grief. He wanted to know more about this mysterious woman who showed up in his church and discovered the baby.
“Yes, I ... uh.” The look on his face told her he didn’t believe her. Heck, she could have pretended Grace was hers. He wouldn’t have known. “When I came in someone ran out through that side door. I came up here to see the nativity scene and….” Vanessa walked away and sat in a pew, cradling the baby against her chest. What was the use, he didn’t believe her. She didn’t need this. Not now. She had enough problems of her own.
“I see, pretty little thing, boy or girl?” Vanessa stood and took a step closer to him. “Girl.” She stopped next to him. “You aren’t suggesting this child is mine, are you?” Vanessa looked him straight in the eyes. How dare he? Minister or not, what gave him the right? “Look, I came in here and found the baby. I told you someone ran out that door.” Vanessa took a deep breath, let out an angry sigh. “Here.” She pushed the note toward him. “This was lying on the diaper bag. I didn’t touch anything else.”
Pastor Dan stared at her, like he was studying her.
Vanessa stared back at him. Disbelief showed in his face. Like she’d try to pull off such a stunt? Imagine her abandoning a baby like this. The memory of Alyssa, clinging to her when Charles tore her away, flashed in her mind. Even now, Alyssa’s cries when Charles slammed the door ripped her apart.
Pastor Dan brought her back to awareness. “I see. Well, I guess we’ll have to call Social Services.” He read the note, then picked up the diaper bag and looked through it.
Grace squirmed in Vanessa’s arms and began to cry.
“Probably hungry.” Vanessa hummed and cuddled the baby and rocked her.
Pastor Dan pulled out a bottle of formula.
The warmth of the baby against her chest opened a hole in her heart, missing Alyssa even more. Her insides trembled, tears burned her eyes, threatened to fall.
“You have children?” Pastor Dan’s tone softened.
A tear escaped, fell on her cheek. She nodded, a lump caught in her throat.
“How many?”
“One.” Vanessa choked out the word.
             How old?”
“Two.” The tears burst forth as if a damn had been unleashed. “I’m....” Vanessa couldn’t speak. She turned away, held back the tears, and paced across the front to the nativity scene, leaving him standing there.

Monday, May 7, 2012

Welcome, J.D. Brown

1: Thank you so much for being here, J.D. Brown,
First up is the obligatory question. When did you first begin writing?

Thanks so much for having me, Roseanne. I started writing fiction in 2008, it was just a few years after I had graduated collage and I was between jobs, still trying to find myself. I had a laptop at the time and writing was a free activity that kept me from going insane thinking about money and the economy. I had thought about writing before but dismissed it. But I guess the timing was just perfect then. You know the saying when one door closes another door opens.

2: What inspired you to write?

I’ve always been a book worm and a fan of the paranormal, but I was tired of reading urban fantasy or paranormal romance that stared a human main character. I wanted more of the vampires and other dark creatures. I wanted to get inside their heads. Reading about the human was boring to me since I am a human, lol. So when I sat down to write my first manuscript, I knew from the start all my characters would be paranormal. There wouldn’t be any humans. This set the very early premise for Dark Heirloom.

3: What do you like the most and least about writing?

What I like the most is the deep and incredible satisfaction that comes with the creative process of writing - of creating new worlds and characters and watching them grow, and especially when other people (readers) share that joy with me.

What I like the least is the insane amount of time it takes me to write a book. A year’s worth of work for someone to read in a few days for a few bucks. It can be frustrating sometimes.

4: What do you for fun and relaxation when not writing?

I read or watch TV. I love going out to eat or hanging out with my friends at a café. I’m more active during the summer and love going for walks or going to the lake and tanning on my parents’ boat. That thing is a massive old monster, but it goes fast and I look forward to it every summer.

5: Which authors do you like to read?

A shorter answer would be which authors don’t I like to read? I love reading urban fantasy and paranormal romance the most. My current favorites are Darynda Jones and Cassandra Clare - but I have a large pile of books sitting on my TBR shelf waiting for me to dive in, so my favorites may change soon!

6: What’s the one thing you’d most like people to know about you?

I love my fans. Seriously, I love my fans. And I want them to talk to me. Nothing turns a bad day around faster than a reader leaving a positive comment on my facebook page or blog. I love chatting with them - it doesn’t even have to be about my books! No matter how famous I get in the future, I will always make time for my fans. They make all the work and itty bitty pay worth it. J

7: Tell me about your current novel, where I can find it and your website/blog.

Dark Heirloom is the first book of a new vampire urban fantasy. I’ll leave you with the official blurb:

“You’re a vampire” is so not what Ema Marx wants to hear when she wakes from a two-day coma in a cryptic yet exquisite castle in northern Finland. Unfortunately, it explains a lot. Like why she’s able to see in the dark and walk through solid objects. What she doesn’t understand is why the other vampires expect her to have all the answers. It’s their fault she turned into one of them…right?

Jalmari’s hatred for his old-man intensifies when he’s ordered to bring that troublesome girl to their castle. He has a clan to run, there’s no time for babysitting newborn vampires no matter how they were converted to their culture. But when a two-thousand-year-old premonition threatens to take the crown and his life, Jalmari sees no other choice than to take out the catalyst. Ema Marx. Fortunately for Ema, she could also be the clan’s only savior.

The race to figure out her vampiric origins is on. And maybe she’ll get the hang of the blood-drinking gig along the way…

Dark Heirloom is currently available in e-book format for all e-reader devices from Muse It Up Publishing as well as for Amazon Kindle.

I can be found around the wed at:
·       Facebook Fan Page
· Twitter Profile
· J.D.s Blog
        J.D.'s Book Club

8: Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?

Keep writing and keep working toward your goals. Persistence and out-of-the-box thinking are the keys to this industry.

9: Do you base your characters on real-life people?

Yes and no. Initially, I may base my characters’ physical features on a celebrity, but they very quickly grow into their own personality and style.

10: Where do you get your ideas and what inspired you to write this book?

Jalmari, one of the main vampire characters from Dark Heirloom, takes the credit for this one. He came to me in my imagination and just started telling me his story. I was so intrigued by the experience that it stayed in my mind for a long time. When I finally sat down to write, I knew it was his story that had to be written.

11: What are you currently working on?

I’m working on finishing the full draft of Book 2,  titled Dark Liaison. The sequel continues the events brought up in Book 1 and adds to them quite a bit. It’s a wild ride for sure.

12. Is there anything else you’d like us to know about you?

This fall I’ll be at a book signing in Louisville, KY along with my fellow authors from Muse It Up Publishing. If you live in the area and are interested in seeing us, please follow my facebook page at and I will keep you up to date with the details.


            A scream tore from my throat. The rapid slap of my sneakers against asphalt echoed through the alley. Wind ripped my hair and coat back as if trying to halt my escape.  A chain link fence rose in the distance as I neared the end of the alley. Shit. I could have sworn this one opened to Clark Street.
            I froze. My heart pounded in my ears. Tears fell as I closed my eyes. Please, please, God…
            His heinous laugh drowned out my ragged breath. Caught at a dead end, I had no choice but to turn and face him. He stood in the shadows, the darkness of his attire blended in with the night. Only the glow of his emerald-colored eyes gave him away.
            Think, I shouted to myself. What does he want? My purse? My money? With a shaky hand, I pulled my wallet from my bag and flung it at him. He shifted his weight, dodging the wallet in one simple move. I stared like an idiot as it landed in the gutter behind him. Why is he chasing me if he doesn’t want my money? What else could he want?
            He grinned, bearing a set of abnormally sharp, fluorescent-white teeth. Who the hell is this freak? He stepped toward me. My fists clenched as I stepped back. He took another step forward. My back pressed against the cold metal of the fence. Tears blurred my vision and fell as ice melted through the back of my coat. Chills rolled down my spine, sending a quiver to my lip. I swallowed the lump of panic building in my throat. “Leave me alone!”
            He kept advancing, his eyes locked on my face, his gait slow with one foot in front of the other, like a cat. I shoved a trembling hand in my purse in search of my pepper spray. He snatched my wrist and yanked me to my knees. The contents of my purse spilled and scattered.
            “What makes you think I want anything from you?” he sneered.
            My chest heaved as I pushed myself up. From the corner of my eye, I glanced at the mouth of the alley, now behind me.
            He scoffed. “You think you can run? Go ahead, mouse. Run.”
            I did.
            I was almost to the street when a thick shadow dropped from the sky. Two rock-solid fists shoved my chest. I fell backward. My head hit the pavement. Stars danced in the periphery of my vision as I struggled to sit up, but my limbs moved in slow motion.
            Two hands, each finger adorned by a silver ring, gripped my shoulders and lifted me. My back hit something solid and cold—a brick wall. My feet dangled above the ground. He held me at eye level; his sour breath churned my stomach as his face inched closer to mine.
            “I know what you’re thinking.” His voice was deep, smooth, as he rolled his R’s. “You’ve done nothing wrong. Nevertheless, once you kill one rat, you have to kill them all. Even a little mouse like yourself.”
            My blood drained at the utterance of the word kill. I squirmed in his grasp. “Please, don’t hurt me.”
            He clenched my jaw with one hand as his fingernails dug into my skin. I cried not from the pain, but from fear.
            “Would you like to know a secret?” His hot breath caused bile to rise in my throat. “Only you disgusting rats can see our eyes glow. I’m sure you knew that already. I’m sure your mother told you the stories. I’ll bet you didn’t listen to her. I bet you thought they were just fairy tales and bad dreams, hmm?”
            I had no idea what he was talking about. I concentrated on finding a way out of his grip, hoping his guard would slip while he continued his monologue.
            “You know, when you find one rat, there are a dozen more in the nest.” He tightened his grasp. “Where’s your rat hole, eh little mouse?”
            “Let me go!” Pain manifested in every inch of my face. My jaw throbbed and my head spun. A stiff ache cut through my spine. Fear and cold shook my core. Exhaustion weighed down my struggling limbs. I just wanted it to end.
            He studied my face for a moment, a frown tugged at his lips. “Very well.”
            He released my jaw then reached back under his jacket. The sound of sharp metal being unsheathed pierced the night as he drew out a long silver dagger. My eyes widened at the emblems engraved on every inch of the blade and handle. I recognized them as Norse in origin. I also recognized the precise way in which he held the dagger level with my left rib cage. He’s going to stab me in the heart.