Scat Cat! by Nancy Quinn: A Featured Fun Guest Post

Scat Cat!

    When we left the urban lifestyle of Washington, D.C., for a more tranquil existence in the rural mountains of Montana, one of our adjustments was learning to live with the new neighbors.  Our home was in a different kind of neighborhood.  Instead of being surrounded by men, women, and children, we had cougars, wolves, and bears.  These predators rarely comprehend the idea of boundaries, or the notion that good fences make good neighbors, so we find them roaming about our property, often very close to the house.  

    Our most frequent nocturnal visitors are cougars that seem particular interested in our daughters playhouse swing set.  Perhaps it is just the curiosity of all felines, but I often wonder what they would do if I left out a ball of string.  It’s doubtful they would play with it because it isn’t food.  As stunningly gorgeous as they are, we don’t want to encourage their visits.  For the safety of my family, dogs, and horses, our goal has always been to discourage predators.  As an example, one particular night stands out in my memory.

    On the second floor of our home we have a large bedroom window that provides a grand view of the back of our property.  While admiring the stars one dark evening the motion detectors suddenly activated the perimeter lights, nearly blinding us.  Once our eyes adjusted, we saw standing in the middle of the yard a very large cougar.  He paused only long enough to realize the brightness was nothing to fear before walking over to the swing set.  This had me wondering how many times he had visited us before, unnoticed.  He sat regally in the play area, surveying all about him, like a king overlooking his kingdom.  Being a wildlife artist, I was enamored with his beauty and grace, temporarily forgetting what a potential threat he was to our family.  It would be dangerous to allow him to believe this was part of his territory.

    I was about to comment on this fact to my husband, but when I turned to speak, he was not there, having immediately retreated to the closet.  He ransacked it, searching for his rifle and ammunition.  As he fumbled to load it, I continued to admire the feline in his pose.  My husband opened the window, but was blocked by the mesh screen.  As he tugged fruitlessly to remove it, the cat rose from his perch and began to walk toward the woods.  On my last look at him, the cougar, who seemed completely unaware of the flurry he had created only a short distance above, slowly and confidently sauntered into the tree line, still secure in the knowledge that this world was his.

    We tried to follow his movements through the darkness with a flashlight, but the battery soon died.  My increasingly frustrated husband, incensed by the attitude of the beast, rushed downstairs and out onto the patio where he fired a single shot into the air, then shouted, “And stay out!” as a warning for the puma not to return.

    I have no wish to harm this mountain lion or capture him, except in spirit on canvas and paper.  I have handled many cougars in captivity, but seeing them in the wild is a thrill I will never tire of.

For more stories in our western adventure read “Go West, Young Woman!”   https://www.amazon.com/Go-West-Young-Woman-Military/dp/1555718299?  

Book website: https://nancy442.wixsite.com/quinn

Art website:  http://quinnwildlifeart.com/

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Destiny Revealed by Cris Pasqueralle: A Featured Fun Guest Post

  A fantasy series that’s soon to be a feature film!!!!!
Product DetailsProduct Details

Twins Jack and Maddie Austin have just turned 13 and have been given a mysterious gift of two necklaces by someone they have never met. The gift comes with a message in the form of a poem, but before any explanation can be given, the twins and their family are attacked by an evil wizard named Tardon.

    Tardon kidnaps the twins’ parents and, led by their Uncle Benny, the twins must travel to an unknown magical realm of wizards, gnomes, and hidden secrets to embark on a rescue mission to save their parents. Along the way, the twins are led on a path of self discovery that takes them on a quest to destiny.

    On the surface, The Destiny trilogy may appear to be another fantasy adventure with teen heroes, and it is, but it is a bit different, our heroes are not alone. The family in this story is very much intact. Mom and Dad offer guidance and a loving hand, there is also a sibling love and rivalry that is explored, and the magical creatures are not your standard fantasy fare. Yes, there are dragons and fairies, but there are also Sasquatch, and Keeluts, and Gici Awas, and Thunderbirds, all taken from Native American folklore.  So if you like your fantasy with a twist, take a look at The Destiny Trilogy and ride the new wave in fantasy fiction. Available on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01LXRLRBJ
   I have been asked many times what has inspired me and why I choose to write fantasy. First, the inspiration comes from my daughters. it was their love of the Harry Potter books that made me a fantasy fan, and, when that series came to an end, my children clamored for a wizarding story. After much discussion with them, The Destiny Trilogy was born.  I write fantasy fiction because I like the no boundaries approach to writing, and fantasy allows an author to build his own worlds and make up his own rules.  Plus, it’s a lot of fun.
  Author Cris Pasqueralle is a retired NYC Police Officer who lives on Long Island with his wife and two daughters. Cris enjoys writing for a younger audience because he believes that through reading and imagination, kids build a brighter future for themselves and all of us.
Follow Cris on Facebook  at www.facebook.com./authorcrispasqueralle
  Keep checking his author page on Facebook for news about the upcoming film versions of The Destiny Trilogy.

The Empty Chair by Phyllis Entis: A Featured Fun Guest Post.

The Empty Chair

It was always his chair, the deep-cushioned recliner with the pop-up foot rest that dominated one corner of the room. He did everything in that chair. Well, not quite everything. But it was his reading chair, his talking chair, his TV-watching chair, his snacking chair, and his snoozing chair. The recliner followed Mom and Dad from house to house, from living room to living room. It shed its upholstery periodically and grew a new covering, like a reptile shedding its skin and emerging glistening and freshly clad. It wasn’t always pretty, but it was always a part of home. A part of him.

The chair didn’t empty suddenly. The process was a gradual one – a subtle stealing away. Nor did the chair empty in any physical sense. Dad still sat in it; he just didn’t inhabit it anymore. The conversations faded first as Alzheimer’s insinuated itself into and through his brain. Reading was next to go; although he kept up the habit of holding a newspaper or book, he never turned the pages. As the months and years marked the infiltration of the leading edge of his illness, he would stare blankly at the TV screen, his book or magazine held forgotten – often upside down – in his hands. Eventually, even the pretense of reading vanished along with his memories, his laughter, his love of life and his awareness of his wife and family.

The chair is gone now. It broke down soon after Dad died. He and it had grown old together, had grown tired together. The chair mourned the loss of the familiar contours of his body and refused to form a relationship with anyone else. Mom had the chair removed, and the corner where it once stood remained empty for a long time.

When Mom moved to her new apartment, she purchased a new chair – one without Dad’s imprint. Mom’s chair was her throne. She sat in it to watch TV, to nap, to snack on her tea and muffin, and to bask in the joy of receiving visitors. Especially family. She would sit proudly, the center of attention, trading quips, puns and jokes with anyone who would listen. But not anymore. Mom’s chair is empty now. We lost her last month, just six weeks after she celebrated her 93rd birthday surrounded by her children and grandchildren. She and Dad are back together again, sitting peacefully side-by-side as they used to do. Holding hands, trading stories, and basking in their mutual love.

Bio

Phyllis Entis is the author of the Damien Dickens Mysteries series, which includes The Green Pearl Caper, The White Russian Caper and The Chocolate Labradoodle Caper. Her debut novel, The Green Pearl Caper, was a Library Journal SELF-e Selection. Phyllis is a free-lance writer and retired food safety microbiologist with degrees from McGill University and the University of Toronto. In 2007, ASM Press published her non-fiction book, Food Safety: Old Habits, New Perspectives.
Phyllis Entis
Phyllis lives in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California with her husband and their Australian Cobberdog, Shalom. When she’s not writing, Phyllis usually can be found walking around town, browsing in the local library, or enjoying her garden

You can learn even more about Phyllis, her books and her other writing at Gone Writing.

Follow Phyllis and see all her books listed at her Amazon Author Page.

Not Fond of Chocolate by Brenda Scruggs: A Featured Fun Guest Post!

Chocolate could be considered a child’s best friend, but for me, I wasn’t
that fond of chocolate while growing up. I remember me and my sister would
ride our horses to the store (no, I’m not that old) (laughing) we rode
horses all through our childhood. It was our time to enjoy the outdoors and
that tasty treat. Except for me, chocolate wasn’t my go-to snack, I would
rather grab a bag of chips. Crazy right?

A few years ago, I was at a dinner and someone asked, “Do you want a piece
of fudge?” I said, “I’m not that fond of chocolate.” The lady looked at me
a little weird. I thought then and there, that would make a good novel. So,
voila, The Chocolatier was written. But, since then, I have developed a
moderate taste for the confection.

When I researched the creamy substance, I found interesting segments on
the bean. Did you know that Christopher Columbus not only discovered
America but a boat load of chocolate? Columbus was the first European to
encounter cacao aka chocolate. August 1505, on his fourth voyage to the
America’s, he and his crew came across a large dugout canoe near an island
off the coast of what is now Honduras. The canoe was the largest native
vessel the Spaniards had seen. It was “as long as a galley,” and was filled
with local goods for trade – including cacao beans. Columbus had his crew
seize the vessel and its goods. Columbus claimed the concoction was a
“divine drink which builds up resistance and fights fatigue. “A cup of this
precious drink permits a man to walk for a whole day without food.”
Columbus, son Ferdinand wrote about the encounter. He was struck by how
much value the Natives placed on cacao beans, saying, “They seemed to hold
these almonds (the cacao beans) at a great price; for when they were
brought on board ship, I observed that when any of these almonds fell, they
all stooped to pick it up, as if an eye had fallen.”
They soon realized that the cacao bean was used as local currency.
So, the history of chocolate, says that it is a worthwhile confection that
is delicious and valuable.

Blurb:

Chocolate has a reputation of healing a broken heart. Swirl through the
pages of this sweet romance of two unlikely people, one a chocolate heir
and the other not fond of chocolate, to see if chocolate holds true to its
reputation.
Charles Riviera an heir to a chocolate empire was perfectly content as
Director of Marketing over Riviera Chocolate until he literally bumps into
Charlene Callaway. Would she melt his heart like heat melts chocolate?
Charlene Callaway finds herself far from home after finding her fiancé
with another woman on their wedding day. The move had its challenges
especially when she goes to work for a Chocolate Company and her new
handsome boss.
When Charlene is abducted, her only thoughts were of Charles, The
Chocolatier.
Contemporary/Romance/Suspense

Newly released is Brenda’s Contemporary/Suspense Michaela’s Justice. This book is on Kindle and in paperback.

Blurb:

Detective Michaela Kendall’s abduction at the age of fourteen left her with a burden of becoming a self-appointed protector. The brutalization of her capture left her without any memory of the horrible ordeal except for terrifying dreams of Atelic Horton, her captor. When he escapes from prison, she knows it’s her duty to capture him. Circumstances throw her together with Marshal Ray Steele, an encounter she wanted to forget but it seems he didn’t take too kindly to a gun being pointed in his face. His rough and tuff cowboy ways are known for upholding the law to any measure within the bounds of Justice.
When Michaela and Ray set out to find the prisoner they soon find out they need each other but the journey is full of twists and danger. Ray proves to be her protector on more than one occasion. Somewhere along the way, Michaela sees him in a different light, that not all men were the same.
But, lurking in the shadows, Atelic watches from a distance ready to make his move.

Bio
I studied journalism in school which stirred my imaginations into putting
words to paper. I live in Tennessee. I enjoy watching television with my
husband, eating Mexican food and scribbling my thoughts down on paper.

You can find Brenda here:

Brendascruggs.wordpress.com
Facebook: brenda Scruggs –  author
Instagram: brendascruggs

In the Zone by Saralyn Richard: A Featured Fun Guest Post

In the Zone
Guest Blog by Saralyn Richard


Anyone who has dedicated himself to writing a book knows that it takes large portions of inspiration, perseverance, and focus to bring a story to life. The act of writing a book requires many hours of concentrated effort. Sometimes an author is able to concentrate so fully on the setting, characters, and plot of a story that he is transported to “the zone.”

What is this mystical “zone” authors talk about? It can be likened to a runner’s high, a surgeon’s precise focus, an actor’s immersion in a role. It happens quite fluidly, without intent. It has happened to me several times when I become completely engrossed in the story I am telling, so engrossed that I could not tell you whether it is night or day outside, where I live, or even who I am. Instead, I am inside of a scene. I am not just one of the characters—I am all of the characters. I am the pictures on the wall, the rugs on the floor, looking in all directions and observing, no, participating in all of it.
Naughty Nana by Saralyn Richard guest post on The Path of the Writer with Sojourner McConnell
When I wrote Naughty Nana, a children’s picture book about my wild and crazy Old English sheepdog, who “just wants to have fun,” I went into the zone so deeply that I became Nana. Since she is the narrator of the book, I had to know what she was thinking in that goofy canine brain of hers. I had to walk on all fours and communicate with nudges and rollovers, digging with my paws and jumping with exuberance. I didn’t actually crawl on the ground, but mentally, I was in her body and mind, envisioning the world from her point of view. When I was able to do that, I did my best writing.
Writing an adult mystery novel, Murder in the One Percent, required a different form of empathy, but again, I had to get into the heads of several diverse characters. One night I was so deeply into the zone that the plot ran away with me, taking me to an unplanned event involving a horseback riding accident. This event turned out to be pivotal in the overall plot of the book, and I owe it all to being in the zone.
How does one go about reaching the zone? There is no surefire route. We hear of writers who are transported by alcohol or drugs, but I wouldn’t recommend relying on those. I have had some zone-like experiences when dreaming or exercising, times when my mind empties itself of distracting thoughts and allows me to focus on my story. I tell my creative writing students to write as if they were the actors in the screenplays of their stories, fixed in their settings, driving the action of the plot. Then, if they are lucky, the zone will take over to transform the writing from good to great.
Does writing from the zone make a difference in the quality of the book? I’ll let my readers answer that question.
Author Saralyn Richard's guest post on The Path of the Writer with Sojourner McConnell
Naughty Nana is available at www.palmcirclepress.com, and Murder in the One Percent, published by Black Opal Books, will be available later this year.
For more information check my author website:  www.saralynrichard.com or contact me at saralyn@saralynrichard.com.

Romance at the Do-Drop-In by cj Petterson: A Featured Fun Guest Post.

Romance at the Do-Drop-In

cj Sez:  I think I could make a story out of this:  There once was a love quadrangle (of sorts) going on at my house. A few years ago, my patio became the go-to place for food. I had a habit of putting out dry bread for the birds, and one night a little nubbin of a kitten showed up and ran off with a piece of crust in its mouth. I figured that was one really hungry feline because the cats I knew didn’t generally eat hard, dry bread. The kitten came back the next evening and the next, so I started putting out cat food, knowing it would cost me in the long run because I’d have to trap it out and get it spayed or neutered, whatever the vet determined.

Didn’t take long before a yellow cat appeared, and Son and I learned Nubbin was a female because she started courting Yellow Cat. Yep, SHE did the pursuing. I watched the little flirt follow him around the yard and rub her face against his. So, because I didn’t want to populate the neighborhood with kittens, we made a trap. We aimed for Nubbin but caught Yellow Cat first and had him neutered. A few weeks later, we caught Nubbin and had her spayed. That was the end of their budding romance. Both of them lost their alluring hormone scents, and as a result, she’d panic and run to hide every time she saw Yellow Cat. Confused him all to pieces.

A couple of years later, a big, grey cat with white feet showed up, and there was no question about him being a tomcat. Nubbin fell in love with Boots’s manly scent and began to pursue him. His interest in her was akin to that of a big brother. He’ll tolerate her face rubs with an occasional push away, and he’d chase off Yellow Cat when she got nervous and ran. Boots imprinted on me, but I had become partial to Yellow Cat who purred and let me rub his tummy. I couldn’t touch the other two.

The big surprise was that Boots imprinted on me. He followed me around like a dog when I was out in the yard and sat like a sentry at the back door where he could watch me work in the kitchen. He also bit me hard twice when I wasn’t paying attention to him (two courses of antibiotics for infected hands/wrists). He was very feral and very smart. He avoided all efforts to trap him out to have him neutered.

About the same time that Boots arrived, a little turtle came into the yard to feast on fallen fruit from the fig tree. Mr. Turtle also loved the cat food—as did (and still do) the cardinals, blue jays, thrashers, the occasional curious wren, raccoons, and ’possums. If Mr. Turtle happened to be in the area when I was refilling the cat food bowls, he came running (truly) when he heard my voice. I once had to rescue him because he had straddled one of the water bowls and was hanging there spread-eagled, all four feet off the ground, unable to move.

So there we were: Yellow Cat in love with Nubbin, Nubbin adoring Boots, Boots wanting to own me, and me partial to Yellow Cat—Mr. Turtle just stopped by for the food.

I’ll admit that if I hadn’t put out that first crust of bread, none of that would’ve happened, but I’m blaming that little hussy, Nubbin.

Nubbin and Boots eventually disappeared from the yard, I hope to a higher-class restaurant, but Yellow Cat is still with me . . . an old bachelor and quasi-tame. Mr. Turtle still stops by for the food.

Okay, you-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.

cj

PS: I know it was “Mr” Turtle because I happened upon him and his girlfriend one evening after a romantic fig dinner.


BIO:

Author “cj petterson” is the pen name of Marilyn A. Johnston. Retired from corporate life in the automotive industry and now living on Alabama’s Gulf coast, Marilyn takes her pen name from her paternal grandmother in Sweden.

As cj, she writes contemporary romantic suspense and mystery novels as well as fiction and non-fiction short stories. Her latest short story, “Bad Day at Round Rock” is in the 2017 Western anthology THE POSSE. Her strong protagonists and supporting characters will take you on a fast journey through stories filled with suspense, action, and sassy dialogue.

Marilyn/cj serves as a judge for the Romance Writers of America’s Daphne du Maurier contests. She is a member of the international Sisters-in-Crime writers organization and their online Guppy group, the Alabama Writers Forum, the Alabama Writers Conclave, and a charter member of the Mobile Writers Guild.

“Bad Day at Round Rock” a short story in  The Posse, a Western anthology of tales of action, romance, myth and truth.   

Learn more about cj petterson at:

 

cjpetterson@gmail.com

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Simon&Schuster Author Page

Amazon Central Author Page  

Choosing Carter  — Kindle  /  Nook  /  Kobo   /  iTunes/iBook

Deadly Star  Kindle  / Nook  / Kobo

blog at: www.lyricalpens.com