Friday, July 27, 2012

Welcome, Lorrie Unites-Struiff

Thank you, Roseanne, for having me on your blog. It’s such a nice one. You are a popular author. Congratulations.
I think I’ll rant on your blog today, if you don’t mind.
Question of the day.
I loathe those squiggly letters. How do you feel about them?
I like to read blogs, read the excerpts, blurbs and see the great covers.
Some books I actually purchase by reading the lures and if it suits my fancy.
I would like to tell the author how the comments convinced me and in general, what I think about the topic they chose to write.
But, I do have a raging peeve. One that makes me want to pull my hair out by the roots.
I am a human, honest. No lower being could get on the blog—except maybe a chimp. No, I’m not a chimp nor a robot--sometimes I wish I was a robot.
So, here I sit writing a nice long comment to the guest author. I get to those squiggly letters that are all smooshed together to prove I am an intelligent being, and my eyes can’t pull them apart. Is that an I or a M? Or is it a T and a N? Hmm. Maybe L and an I?
I try my best to guess. I push publish. The saying comes up, “try again.”
I try one more time. “The letters did not match, try again.” By this time, I am so frustrated, I log out angry.
Now we have the squished letters on the next blog, oh, also a number in a dark box. I have written a long comment, too.
I type in what I think the mashed letters are and then hold up my computer to the light, squint my eyes, and try hard to read the number.
I push publish. Not only do I have to try again, but my whole comment is gone. Talk about being frustrated, that’s me.
Three times is enough. No more. If I don’t hit it on three tries, I’m outta there. My head is aching and my jaw is hurting from clenching my teeth. And by this time, I give up reading blogs for the day.
And what about the ones that you have to use either a Wordpress, Facebook, or a Twitter name. What if I don’t have any of them?
But that’s beside the point. There has to be an easier way to comment on a blog. The blog owner usually reviews the comments anyway before allowing it to post.
Now I have heard that most blogs must have those squiggles because of the site they set up their blog with. I also heard there is a way to do away with them. True, honest. I have seen blogs without squiggly letters and hidden number.  I have read an author's blog that tells you how to omit them.
I admit freely that I am a computer illiterate. I don’t know how to set up a blog nor have enough know-how to keep it running. I envy those that do.
Am I getting angry at bloggers who have no control over getting rid of those dumb squiggles? Or not knowing how to do away with them? No, I don’t think you have a choice. But if there is a way to dump them, please find it for all readers’ sake. You just may find you get more comments that way from actual readers. 
I am one blog reader that will love you for it.

Now, I’d like to introduce you to Homicide Detective Rita Muldova.
This book is for you mystery, thriller, paranormal, romance lovers out there. I included a little gypsy lore I’m sure you’ll find interesting..
I’ve had quite a few tell me they couldn’t put the book down. Try it. Lol. It’s very inexpensive. I write to entertain readers.
From BooksWeLove Press.
Everyone has secrets.
Homicide Detective Rita Moldova has a secret, a crystal amulet from her Roma bloodline that allows her to see the last image a victim had seen in their eyes before they died. Now, a ritual killer is terrorizing her town and the crystal’s magic has suddenly stopped doing its job.
FBI agent, Matt Boulet, is sent to lead the task force and gives the group strange orders. Worse, Rita senses he is holding back a deep, dark secret about the killer.
When she confronts her seer mother’s advice, she learns another secret about their clan that she finds impossible to swallow.
Rita swims through a whirlpool of confusion as the investigation continues. Can Rita deny the lore of the ancients? Can she deny her growing feelings for Matt Boulet?
Available  on Amazon

No cover as yet.
Being released within the next two weeks,
The COD club series with BTGN.
Story 1&2 will be included in the first book.
Come and meet Winnie Krapski who hugged a cherry tree during a lightning storm. The bolt slammed her, splitting the tree in half. The near-death experience bestowed her with a gift–one she’d rather not have.
Drafted into the C.O.D. Club (Call on the Dead) by Fat Phil Phillips, her mission is to grant the newly deceased’s ghost one last reasonable request. Can Winnie honor her oath?
Well, she tries, but not before she lands in humorous situations that almost get her killed. She’s one spunky broad.
I hope you try a copy and look forward to more of Winnie’s adventures.
I’ll put the real cover up and release date soon.

Also coming this fall from MuseItUp.
No cover.
A  Heap of Trouble.
Cole Walker, Sheriff of Cold Creek, has more woes than he can handle. He thought chasing rustlers would be the worst of his problems, until the newly arrived, Mattie Wells, jingles her spurs with a smile, and he falls head over heels for her.
      Cole's fear of critters comes to light when a runaway monkey, named Beggar takes a liking to him. He remembers when his pa's hound dog left teeth marks on his butt when he was just a tyke. 
 But, Mattie thinks Beggar's adorable, so what's a man supposed to do? Now, he's forced to put up with the little fur ball...uh...ringtail monkey, even when the furry thief starts stealing the townsfolk's trinkets. 
        The rustlers roaming the hills, stealing the Double J's cattle are a mighty puzzling crew. JJ blames the farmers and an all out war is in the making.
          Trying to keep the peace between the farmers and the cattleman, Cole and his deputies, Wade and Sully, have their hands full. Mayor Farley gives them a month to find the thieves before calling for outside help.
      Mattie has a dark secret and vows never to marry. While harboring a secret of his own, Cole pushes to pry out her secret in hopes of changing her mind.
     Cole chases Mattie, the rustlers, and Beggar in a town full of fun characters and chaos. Can he bring the rustlers to justice, peace and order to Cold Creek, the townsfolks loot back to their rightful owners, and win Mattie's heart?
     Yep. Cole has a heap of trouble on his hands. 
     For more information on my stories please go to  my website.
     Ya'll have a great day, now and thanks for reading. Let me know how you feel those dratted squiggles.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Time to Love Again

Fifty-eight year old, Rose Asbury knows people think she’s a recluse, but she doesn’t care. She just wants to be left alone. She doesn’t need anyone and no one needs her and that’s just fine. At least she didn’t until this year. For some reason this year is different. Suddenly, she’s melancholy and discontent with her life. 

And the man next door doesn’t help matters. He insists on speaking to her. So her stomach tumbles every time she sees him, that doesn’t mean anything. Hunger pangs, nerves, she just wishes he’d leave her alone. Or does she? To top it all off, his granddaughter and her friends insist on playing in her yard, sledding, building snowmen and throwing snowballs at her house.
Then her sister's ghost shows up. Will Rose come out of her seclusion?

Rose Asbury is my sister – sorry, was my sister.  After I passed away she became a recluse. Not that she doesn’t have reason to, mind you. We lost our parents within months of each other and Rose and I clung to each for support during our grief. Of course our husbands helped, but Rose and I understood each other.
We were finally adjusting when Rose’s husband passed away suddenly. Poor Rose fell apart, not that I blame her. I would have reacted the same way if it had been my husband.  I was just getting Rose to come out of her shell when bam, I was gone.
That did Rose in. She went to pieces and to make matters worse, her kids moved three thousand miles away. She ignored all of her friends, except for Louise. That’s only because Louise wasn’t about to let Rose ignore her. But everyone else gave up. After all, you can only call people so long and have them ignore you, not return your calls and won’t talk to you before you give up. So that’s what everyone did. Louise wouldn’t give up. She marched right over to Rose’s house and read her the riot act until Rose gave in and at least went to the store.
At least now Rose visits Louise and came to grips with life. Not that she has much of a life. Stephen Daniels the guy next aimed to change that – or so it seemed. Good looking guy, too. Anyway, he moved in to take care of his granddaughter while her parents did their tour of duty in the Mideast. He kind of took a shine to Rose. Not that Rose would give the poor guy the time of day. Most she did was nod at him. Amazing she did that.
Well, that’s all she did until that day. I can’t help but giggle thinking about it. She fell on the ice and splat, groceries went flying everywhere. Okay, I admit it, I kind of tripped her. I had to do something. The woman was the most stubborn person I’d ever seen. Always was.
 Stephen came to her aid – or tried to. Rose, true to form, tried to ignore him. That’s when I’d had enough. Nothing else was working so I had to take drastic action.  I showed up to talk some sense into Rose. Of course, she tried to ignore me, too, but I wasn’t about to let that happen.  I was more stubborn than Rose. Always was.  Nope, it was time Rose started to live again. She was much too young to waste her life away.
Now it seems Stephen’s granddaughter, Sarah, saw the whole thing and had other ideas, too. She didn’t care for the way the old lady ignored her grandpa. Yeah, all kids think anyone over 40 is old. What can I say, we thought the same things.
But I digress. Sarah devised a plan to get Rose to talk to her grandpa. She talked her friends into building a snowman in Rose’s front yard. You’d think that wasn’t a big deal right? I mean what harm could a snowman do?
Of course, Rose, being the neighborhood grouch –at least that’s what the kids pegged her as – had a fit.
After that things got real interesting. If you’d like to find out more about Rose, you’ll have to buy the book available from Amazon

To learn more about my books check out my website

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Available Now!!

Ring Around the Rosy available at Amazon

Harassing phone calls from a killer terrify journalist, Susan Weston after her first big byline.
Detective David Morgan investigates the calls and the fact Susan’s bracelet was found at the murder scene. Sparks fly between them in more ways than one.
 To make matters worse, someone is leaving roses in front of Susan’s door.  Is she being stalked by a killer?


Georgie Porgie pudding and pie kissed the girls and made them cry — now it’s time to die.

He released his hands from the victim’s neck, and the lifeless body slumped to the ground. He stood back, and stared at it in disgust.
“You thought you were so cool, didn’t you, George? Playing all the girls like that. You could’ve had anyone you wanted, but you weren’t satisfied with one. You wanted them all. Then you broke their hearts and left everyone else to pick up the pieces.”
He stooped down, lifted George’s head, and propped it against a rock, then pulled a tube of lipstick from his pocket and smeared it across the victim’s mouth. How many times had he seen George wipe off his lips coming out of the locker room? “You won’t wipe it off this time, Buddy.”
He stuffed a paper into George’s hand and tightened his fingers around it. “You don’t look too cool now.” He laughed and pulled a container of pudding and a strawberry pie out of his knapsack, opened them, and dumped them over George’s head. The gooey mixture ran down George’s face.
He licked his lips. “You poor, pathetic bastard.”
Gathering up his knapsack, he took one last look at the body, then turned and ran from the park. His job was done.


Susan propped the News Gazette on the counter and focused on the headline. ‘Georgie Porgie, Pudding and Die’ by Susan Weston, it blared at her. Her headline. Her story. She’d done it. Finally got her headline. She drummed her hands on the counter and did a little dance step. She swore if her grin got any wider her face would crack. .”Susan Weston, journalist!” she shouted. God, she wanted to shout it from the rooftops.
The phone rang, startling her. “Who the heck is calling at this hour? “ She grabbed the phone. “Hello.” Bella rubbed against her legs, waiting to be fed. “Hello?” Susan grabbed the box of kitty food, filled the bowl, and set it on the floor.
“Hello,” she repeated, ready to hang up if no one answered this time.
The evil, raspy voice on the other end sent goose-bumps up her spine. “Who is this?” she whispered.
The voice mumbled something she could barely hear.
“Strawberries? What are you talking about?”
“Just for you,” the garbled voice continued.
“I can’t hear you. Who is this?” What kind of sick joke is this?
She caught the words, “loved your headline,” more garbled words, and “Watch for Jack be nimble.” Then the phone line went dead.
Susan grabbed the counter to steady herself. Her hand trembled, and she stared at the phone. She dropped the receiver back into its cradle as if it was on fire. But she couldn’t stop the trembling. Her stomach churned. Nausea filled her throat. What was wrong with her? Just someone playing a sick joke. This wasn’t her first crank call, why react like this? Maybe because none of the others had sounded like this.
He said he liked her story. That shouldn’t bother her. Something about that voice, so harsh, so evil. It gnawed at her. The hair prickled on the back of her neck. Something about it seemed familiar, but she couldn’t quite place it.
After pouring a cup of coffee, she read the story under the headline aloud, trying to keep her mind off the phone call. “Police are investigating the death of thirty-one year old George Lucas, whose body was found last night in Lagoon Park near his west side home.” The sound of her shaky voice surprised her.
What was the matter with her?  “Get a grip, girl.”
Must be the effect of seeing the lifeless body. The way George Lucas’s eyes stared into space. What was he thinking when he looked into his killer’s eyes? The distant street lamp didn’t help. It cast an eerie shadow on the victim. His face frozen in terror, lips parted in a silent scream, and his head tilted to one side as if it was too heavy for his neck. The way one hand clutched at his throat and the other gripped the note, fingers frozen around it, sent icy chills through her, even now. She shuddered.
Thank God there wasn’t any blood, since the image would forever be embedded in her mind. Susan rubbed her arms to warm them.
Picking up the paper, she continued to read. “The coroner will determine the cause of death, but early reports indicate that Mr. Lucas was strangled. Lipstick was smeared across the victim’s mouth, and he clasped the nursery rhyme, ‘Georgie Porgie,’ in his hand. The teen who discovered the body reported seeing a man carrying a bag and wearing a gray shirt running from the park moments before. Police have no suspects at this time.”
Bella brushed against her legs, jumped on the counter, and snuggled against her.
Susan’s heart pounded. She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. So much for the thrill of seeing her name on the front page. The image of the body filled her mind. Her hands trembled while she held the paper and reread the headline with her name below it. It was exactly as she had written it — not one word changed, short and to the point.
George Lucas lived in her neighborhood. She’d seen him a few times in Meliti’s Market talking to old Mrs. Meliti. Although they never spoke, they had nodded and smiled hello. Nice-looking guy, about her age. What a shock seeing him dead. Another shiver shook her body. Seeing a dead body was bad enough, but knowing the victim threw her for a loop. Made it personal.
Arriving only a few minutes before the police showed up and ordered her to leave, not that they had to tell her twice, she had viewed the crime scene and then skedaddled lickety-split. She knew enough about crime scenes to maintain a distance, knew if she got too close, she’d compromise the scene, maybe even leave trace evidence of herself behind. She didn’t need that. But she’d been close enough to read that paper in his hand, a nursery rhyme. She’d seen every gory detail.
The nursery rhyme letters, cut out from newspapers and magazines, and bowl of chocolate pudding and the strawberry pie that had been dumped on the victim’s head would stay in her memory for a long time. Of course, the police requested that information not be printed.
Requested, hell. Demanded was more like it, but Susan understood. Those were facts only the killer knew, and it prevented crank confessions. Couldn’t give the public too much information. After waiting behind the crime scene tape long enough to hear the possible cause of death, she hurried home to write her story before the deadline.
Susan walked around the kitchen. To sweeten the deal, her colleagues hadn’t shown up until well after they’d taped off the crime scene, hadn’t seen what she’d seen. So Ernie printed her story. Her first big byline!   Even that cocky reporter, Dan Hill, hadn’t beat her out this time.
Staring at the large headline, she sipped her coffee. The words from the phone call rambled around in her mind.
“Strawberries. The voice on the phone said something about strawberries. Strawberry Pie dumped over the victim’s head.” Her voice cracked at the memory.
Only the killer knew about the pie. Her body shook. Had she been talking to the killer? What else had the caller said? Jack be nimble. Another nursery rhyme.
Grabbing the counter to steady herself, she repeated part of the nursery rhyme “Jack be nimble…”
Her mind raced. She pushed away from the counter and paced the kitchen, trying to remember the rest of the rhyme.
“Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack jumped over the candlestick. That’s it!”
What the heck did it mean? Was he going to kill again? Was there a serial killer out there?
She grabbed the phone and dialed the police department. Maybe it was nothing, but she needed to report it. Something didn’t sit right.
Susan showered while she waited for Detective David Morgan. The Desk Sergeant had connected them when she explained the strange phone call. Detective Morgan of Homicide, in charge of the case, told her he’d come by within the hour to take her statement.  Just what she needed, a detective coming here. Why couldn’t he take her statement over the phone? Yeah, right. She knew better than that. That wasn’t the way it worked.
A few minutes later, someone pounded on the door. “Hold on, I’m coming.” Good grief, couldn’t they knock like ordinary people. Scared the bejeebers out of me.”  Susan opened the door a crack. How the heck did he get past the security door?
“Detective Morgan.” He flashed his badge. “You called me.”
Susan pushed the chain aside and opened the door. He brushed past her and walked into her apartment.
Taken aback by the tall, strikingly handsome man and his rude entry, she caught her breath. Here was Rhett Butler, from Gone with the Wind, reincarnated. He towered over her five-foot-eight height. Yet, she wanted to wipe the cocky grin off his face. Now she knew how Scarlett felt the first time she met Rhett.
But darn it, what gave him the right to burst in here like that? His coppery brown eyes twinkled with a hint of mischief, mesmerizing her. What a hunk of a man. Too bad rudeness got the better of him. The citrusy scent of his after-shave tickled her nostrils. His unruly, silky, black hair begged her to push it back in place. She resisted the urge to run her fingers through it.
Good lord, she needed to get a hold of herself; he was just a man. Oh, but what a man, not to mention, a cop. Susan fidgeted with her coffee cup, sipped occasionally, and paced while he questioned her in a quiet, but firm voice.
She stopped pacing and studied him, guessed him to be a few years older than her, maybe 35. Just because he wasn’t wearing a wedding ring didn’t mean he wasn’t married. Shaking the thoughts from her mind, she tried to concentrate on the phone call. “I could hardly hear him.”
A quivering sensation ran through her when she stared into the detective’s eyes. This man had the power to seduce her with just a look. “He sounded all garbled, like he was talking through water, or something.” Even her voice trembled. 

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

25 American History Facts Most Students Don’t Kno

25 American History Facts Most Students Don’t Know

by STAFF WRITERS on JULY 2, 2012 of
This Fourth of July, while you’re busy with barbecue and fireworks, you just might find yourself feeling a bit patriotic and proud of our country’s history. But how much do you really know about it? If you’re anything like today’s students, you don’t know much at all. We’ve discovered 25 essential American History facts that students struggle with, and the results are a bit worrying.
  1. Abraham Lincoln’s significance as the 16th President of the United States:
    Education Overtime visited the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, and asked students why President Lincoln was important to America. One student answered that his beard made him important; another said he was killed at a puppet show. Few were able to explain his leadership and role in the American Civil War.
  2. George Washington’s significance:
    If kids can’t identify why Lincoln was important, you’d at least think they can understand why ourvery first president was an important leader. Nope. In the 2010 National Assessment of Educational Progress, only 23% of fourth graders were able to point out his status as the first U.S. President, Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, participation in the Constitutional Convention, or his role in the French and Indian War. Twenty-four percent entered inappropriate responses, 45% got partial credit, and 7% didn’t even try to answer at all.
  3. The best presidents in history:
    Surely, a selection of the best U.S. presidents is a subjective one, but a 2008 Harris poll revealed that the public’s perception is totally off base. It turns out that students and the general public are much more likely to list those with which they’re familiar from their own lifetime, rather than true “greatness.” When measured against the lists that most historians provide, they are completely different.
  4. When the American Civil War Occurred:
    In a 2007 telephone sample, students were asked if the American Civil War occurred in the half-century between 1850-1900. Only 43% identified this period as the correct one. This is, however, an improvement upon 1986 numbers: during a survey in that year, only 32% answered the question correctly.
  5. What happened at the Constitutional Convention:
    In a Newsweek quiz, an incredible number of Americans were not able to pass the basic citizenship quiz. Perhaps the most alarming of these questions was, “What happened at the Constitutional Convention?” This one is so baffling because the answer is right in the question!
  6. Who our World War II Allies were:
    In a multiple choice question, many students were unable to pick out the Soviet Union as an ally of the U.S. in WWII. This was in the National Assessment of Educational Progress, an exam that fewer than 20% of American fourth and eighth graders showed more than a basic knowledge on.
  7. The authors of the Federalist Papers:
    In Newsweek‘s U.S. citizenship test, few were able to identify the authors of The Federalist Papers. In fact 88% of respondents got the question wrong, failing to share the names of even one of the authors Alexander Hamilton, James Madison, and John Jay.
  8. The American Revolutionary War allowed the U.S. to gain independence:
    The Lunch Scholars video from a Washington State high school reveals just how bad things really are in the history department: not one student on the video was able to identify the American Revolutionary War as the war in which American gained independence. Not without a hint, anyway.
  9. The role of women as shopkeepers and farmers during the American Revolution:
    When asked what role many colonial women played during the American Revolution, many students weren’t able to correctly answer that women kept farms and shops running during the war: 54% of fourth graders answered incorrectly.
  10. What the Bill of Rights guarantees:
    The Bill of Rights gives Americans a set of unalienable rights, if only we could remember what they are. A third of students don’t know that the Bill of Rights guarantees the freedom of speech and religion.
  11. Christopher Columbus sailed to the Americas, Jamestown was founded before the Constitution was written, and Abraham Lincoln announced the Emancipation Proclamation:
    When asked to assign these major historic events to a timeline, only 19% of fourth graders were able to correctly assign all four of them. Four percent didn’t even try.
  12. North Korea’s ally in the Korean War:
    In the 2010 National Assessment of Educational Progress, nearly 80% of 12th graders selected the wrong answer when asked which country was North Korea’s ally in fighting the U.S. during the Korean War. Even worse, it was a multiple choice question, allowing students to choose between the Soviet Union, Japan, China, and Vietnam.
  13. The purpose of the Lewis and Clark expedition:
    In 2010, fourth graders were given a map of U.S. expansion and asked to identify why Thomas Jefferson sent Lewis and Clark on their expedition. Fifty percent of students were unable to correctly identify that they were sent to gather information about lands for settlement.
  14. The rights that are protected by the First Amendment:
    In a question that shared a passage from the First Amendment, students were asked which right it protects. Fifty-five percent of students failed to identify the correct answer as the right to hold public meetings, instead choosing answers including the right to a prompt trial, to a jury of one’s peers, and to vote regardless of race or color.
  15. How Native Americans were affected by European settlers:
    It seems that students have a hard time understanding the impact that settlers had on Native Americans: only 8% of fourth grade students answered this question correctly on the 2010 NAEP. Thirty-nine percent of students shared inappropriate responses, and 32% only received partial credit.
  16. African-American slaves gained their freedom after the Civil War:
    In the 2010 National Assessment of Educational Progress, fourth graders were asked what changed for African-Americans in the South after the Civil War. Thirty-five percent of students were unable to correctly identify freedom for slaves, instead answering that they returned to Africa, started their own plantations, or became governors. Three percent of students didn’t answer at all.
  17. What JFK’s “Ask not what your country can do for you” speech meant:
    Although 50% of fourth graders were able to identify that JFK’s “Ask not” speech was intended to encourage citizens to put their skills to work for the U.S., another 50% did not. Forty-eight percent of students got the answer incorrect, and 2% omitted the question.
  18. Why the Pilgrims wanted to leave England:
    When asked why the Pilgrims wanted to leave England in the 2010 NAEP, only 43% of fourth graders answered the question correctly, identifying religious persecution. Most of the responses were wrong, with 55% incorrect, and 2% who failed to enter a response.
  19. How machines and factories changed American work:
    Students were asked to identify how work changed for Americans due to machines and factories, and correct responses included: people worked faster, machines did work people used to do, people worked more outside of the home, and people made parts instead of whole products. Only 11% of fourth graders filled in complete, correct answers. A whopping 10% of students omitted the question entirely.
  20. When Columbus sailed:
    Elementary school kids often learn that in 1492, “Columbus sailed the ocean blue,” but it seems they’re not remembering. More than a quarter of students think that Columbus sailed after 1750.
  21. The purpose of the Declaration of Independence:
    Fourth graders were given a multiple choice question to identify the purpose of the Declaration of Independence. Choices included the right to vote, organization of one religion, and how the new government of the U.S. would work. Few chose the correct answer: the Declaration of Independence explains why the colonies would no longer let England control them. Only 35% of fourth graders got this question correct; 64% answered incorrectly.
  22. Which war the U.S. fought against Hitler and Germany:
    A whopping 72% of students failed to identify that the U.S. fought Hitler and Germany in World War II. Twenty-seven percent got this question correct, choosing the Second World War over choices including the Civil War, First World War, and the Vietnam War.
  23. Who Hitler was at all:
    Forget which war Hitler was a part of — many students have no idea who he was at all. Nearly a quarter of students can’t identify Adolf Hitler. Ten percent of students think he was a “mutinous manufacturer.”
  24. The Soviet Union was the leading Cold War communist nation:
    When asked to identify the leading communist nation in the Cold War, 79% of fourth graders got the answer wrong. Instead, they chose France, North Korea, or Germany.
  25. The importance of harbors for colonial growth:
    When shown a map of the colonial economy identifying harbors, production, and key cities, most students were unable to identify that the location of harbors was important for cities that grew during colonial times. Sixty percent of students got this question incorrect.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Welcome, Lisa Lickel

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

Hi, Roseanne. Thanks for having me here. I’m not one of those child protégé writers. I didn’t get professional about it until I was forty.

2: What inspired you to write?

The inspiration was two-fold: I saw an ad in a magazine that intrigued me for a trust-worthy writing course, which I took as I was gainfully employed at the time. Secondly, a special friend encouraged me after she saw my reports in the local newspaper.

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

What I like the most about writing is filling up that blank page with type. The least part is being the marketing manager and asking readers to please buy a book.

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

I enjoy travel. I’m a local historian and love to work on preservation of records, photos, genealogy and that sort of thing. I’m also a huge reader.

5: Which authors do you like to read?

I really enjoy fantasy, the late Anne McCaffrey was a favorite. Ray Bradbury. Tamera Alexander historicals, pretty much anything by CS Lewis and Robert Ludlum.

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

I know the end of the story.

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

Thank you for asking! My latest release is The Map Quilt. It’s currently an eBook, but I hope to release the print version soon. The Map Quilt is book two in my cozy (light-hearted) mystery series, and features the Underground Railroad, modern technology, murder, and of course, buried gold. It’s available on Amazon
publisher’s bookstore: MuseItUp Publishing

Here's a links from my website 

8: Do you have any tips for aspiring authors?

I have oodles of tips for aspiring writers. The first one is, learn to play nice with other writers and develop a thick skin to critique. Find a good mentor and learn how to accept advice. Practice your craft and have an open attitude to learning something new every day. Write a lot. Read a lot.

9: Do you base your characters on real-life people?
My characters are usually recombinant bits and parts of people I’ve seen or known. I might take one person’s hairstyle and put it on someone else who has a particular prominent feature or quirk. Someone’s accent I heard in the grocery store might go on another person from the other department in work who wears funky ties.

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

I get most of my ideas for my books from the news, oddly enough. I am intrigued by a certain event and start thinking, “what if…” and go from there. For the Map Quilt, my “what ifs” came from my love of quilting and the farm we own near a real community of free black farmers who settled the area generations ago. The inspiration for the book came from the success of the first book in the series.

11: What are you currently working on?

I’m working on several Christmas novellas; three historical and one contemporary. I have a manuscript about a woman who owns a business that helps people settle their estates, and a wounded missionary home on leave. When they meet and marry, they have to learn to live with one another.

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

I enjoy helping other authors and am a freelance editor. I also edit the literary magazine of Wisconsin Writers Association and love to visit book clubs, either virtually or in person if close enough.
Thanks again for letting me visit today.
Please enjoy this excerpt from The Map Quilt.

Chapter One

Judy Wingate awoke with a start. Shaking her head, she realized she had been dreaming.
Foggy images rolled through her mind of pioneer women doing…something. Hmm, teaching that Wisconsin history unit to her elementary school students, combined with her pregnancy, made for the most colorful nocturnal dramas. She eased the covers back, groaning with the discomfort of a full bladder. An internal kick made her grimace and rub her huge belly.
“Ugh! Two forty-five in the morning. I can’t believe I gotta get up again.” She set her feet on the floorboards, trying to rise delicately so as not to rouse her husband, Hart.
Judy headed downstairs with her eyes half-closed, holding onto the rail with both hands. The stealthy pet housecat, Pancho Villa, stopped her up short. “Pancho—outta the way—coming through,” Judy muttered as she danced around him. “We have got to get that second floor bathroom done.”
Yawning, Judy blinked and hoped she could fall asleep again easily. She could not afford to be groggy in front of her fifth grade students, who were already squirrelly this close to the end of the school year. She rubbed her arms and went to run a glass of water from the tap while she looked out the window. Something did not feel right. She frowned and rubbed at the kicks from Hart’s little soccer player practicing on her ribs. She went through the mud room to the outside door and breathed deeply while she watched the waning moon near the horizon. The sky looked hazy to the south. Judy squinted, clutching her glass, her mind roiling with the turmoil of the evening. Hart and his partner, Bryce’s, latest invention for InventivAg, their parent company in St. Louis, Missouri, had been attacked for no reason—and by one of their own team members!—at what was supposed to have been a nice celebratory dinner right here at the house.
Judy shook with fury, just thinking about it.
She poked at the baby’s foot again. If that John Harding thought he was such a good agricultural engineer, he should figure out an easier way to grow a baby. Why, the man had gone ballistic at the most innocent of questions from Hart’s elderly partner-and-mentor’s wife, Ardyth.
Judy looked toward the place in the darkened dining room where the florid-faced Harding had sat, pounding his fist in response to Ardyth’s innocent question about when they could see the batteries for sale.
But Judy couldn’t figure out why Ardyth had cared that much about the battery. She hadn’t fussed about any of their other projects over the past four years. Worse, Hart and Bryce’s boss, Tim Crawford, had waffled, stating perhaps there might be a design flaw, after all.
She closed her eyes and put the cool glass against her forehead.
Not sleepy yet, Judy wandered around the moonlit kitchen. The drying towel was still a little damp under her fingers. The moaning cadence of a fire engine grew louder. The haze outside wove a blanket around the moon. That fire truck was coming their way. She waddled as fast as she could back up the stairs.
“Hart. Hart, wake up.” Judy shook his shoulder.
Hart turned his face on his pillow.
“Hart. Wake up! I hear fire engines.”
That got his attention. He opened his eyes and blinked a few times, turned to the luminous face of the bedside clock, and moaned.
“Yeah, Judy. Fire engines.”
Judy leaned over the bed, hand on his warm shoulder. “Hart.”
“I’m sure it’s nothing. The fire…” He swallowed the last of his sentence in a huge yawn. “…department’ll take carevit. Go back—”
“There’s smoke. You can see it in the air. The fire must be a big one. Close by.”
She watched while Hart rubbed his face. “Okay.” He pushed himself upright, twisting his neck back and forth. “I’m getting up.” The phone gave a sputtery jingle and he made a grab, dropping the instrument before answering. “Yes?”
Judy sat down next to him, worried now. She rubbed again at her stomach. The baby must be doing summersaults, although how he or she managed to turn in such a tight space was a mystery.
“Barry, hi,” Hart said.
Barry? Judy mouthed “Chief of Police?” at her husband in the dim light. She pouted when he frowned and turned away.
“At the office?”
Please, God, oh please, oh, please, keep everyone safe. Judy reached for some clothes, stopping when Hart touched her forearm, shaking his head, still listening to the other end.
“I’m going over there right now—my prototype’s—I know, Barry, but I have to get there.”
Hart pushed the off button and tossed the phone on the bed. “What do you think you’re doing?” he asked as he rushed to pull on his own clothes.
“That was Barry Hutchinson, wasn’t it? The office is on fire. I’m coming, too.”
Judy swallowed her panic as she heard him grunt through the shirt he rammed over his head.
“Oh, no, you’re not,” he said. “Look, you and Pancho stay here. Guard the house, okay? I can’t be worrying about you right now.”
She clutched her maternity jeans to her chest, feeling her heart jump with tension. “But I want to be with you!”
“I know, sweetheart.” Hart stopped and rubbed her shoulders, breathing hard. “I’ll be as quick as I can. Barry already called Bryce. I suspect Ardyth will be here soon. You can keep each other company.” He headed for the door, clawing a hand through his tousled brown curls.
“Just go to work like usual if I’m not back.” Then he was gone.
Hart’s solar powered battery designs were all he’d talked about for the past two years. It was the most important project he and his engineering partner had for their fledgling satellite firm.
What would he do if they were lost? Oh, Lord, you can’t let anything happen to him. Not now.