My son, myself, and Mass Effect

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Last month, my oldest son asked me if I would play Mass Effect.  

“Sure,” I said, “I’d be happy to play with you.”

“No,” he replied.  “I mean, you play it, and I’ll sit beside you.  I’ll help you out on what to do.”

“Oh…okay.” So we sat down in front of the TV and he handed me the XBOX controller thingy.  Now, mind you, the only experience I’ve had using this controller is when I watch episodes of Call The Midwife or The Walking Dead  on Netflix while I’m exercising on the elliptical – and all I have to do is press the A or B button.

My son got to work creating my character.  “I’ll make Commander Shepard a girl, since that’s what you are.”

“Thanks,” I said with a smile, happy that he’d noticed.

“There.”

I looked back at the screen and felt my smile dissolving.  I didn’t know whether to be flattered or horrified.  “Um…her jumpsuit’s kind of tight, isn’t it?” I asked, staring at her chest.  

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“It’s not a jumpsuit, it’s a uniform,” he said, sounding annoyed.

First stop for Commander Shepard, and her voluptuous assets, was a planet under attack.  We went through the Mass Relay and took a shuttle down to the planet.

“You get to drive a Mako, now.”

The Mako resembled a moon rover, but with lots of upgrades.  I can drive a minivan, so this shouldn’t be too hard.

“Get inside it,” my son said, pointing at the screen.

Easier said than done. Remember what I said earlier about my experience with XBOX?  I move Commander Shepard behind the Mako, under the Mako, in front of the Mako, and on top of the Mako – but can never seem to get her inside the Mako.

My son shook his head and sighed.  “Here.” He pressed a button, and boom – I’m inside.

So off we go, driving around the planet – or in my case, driving as if I’m drunk around the planet.  Navigating the Mako is proving to be a difficult task.  After running over several innocents and lots of rocks, we finally reach our destination and get out.  

“See that sniper?”

“No.”

“Shoot him!”

“How?” I asked, still trying to locate the enemy.

“Press B!”

I pressed B, but apparently not fast enough.  I know this by the amount of blood that had seeped onto the screen.

“Let me help you.” My son snatched the controller from my hands, and with quick and skillful precision laid the sniper to rest.  He then proceeded to take me to the next checkpoint where a conversation between Commander Shepard and a hunky soldier by the name of Kaidan ensued.  “What do you want to say to him?”

I looked past Kaidan’s bulging biceps and saw that I got to pick my dialogue.  

“Your decisions affect the outcome of the story.”

This was a very neat aspect to Mass Effect that I quickly came to appreciate.  Shepard’s actions have consequences, and are the driving force for the storyboard. What you say and do dictates how things turn out. Very cool. I pick something from the dialogue box and Kaidan says something back to me.  Mmm, he has a dreamy voice.  Then, after a few minutes, he joins me in the Mako and we’re off to another war-torn place.  Now, at this point, my son still has the controller, and I really don’t think he’s going to give it back.  

“Why don’t I do everything for you – and you can just pick what you want to do and say?” he said while firing a missile at an enemy referred to as the Geth.

“That sounds great,” I replied, settling back into the chair.  

For the next four weeks, my son and I played Mass Effect, Mass Effect 2, and Mass Effect 3.  It was brimming with drama, depth, emotion, and morality – touching on subjects such as genocide and the sterilization of a barbaric race.  I came to love Shepard, Joker, Garrus, Liara, Miranda, Thane, Kaidan, Grunt, Wrex…all of the characters.  But what I loved most was the chance to be involved in my son’s life.

As I sat watching him kill a large Krogan, something that Frankie, from The Middle, once said popped into my mind. It was the homecoming episode and Frankie didn’t get that big, public moment she longed for with her son. That’s okay. This private little mother-son moment was just as special.

…and it was. 

 

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Note:  Belinda G. Buchanan is the author of After All Is Said And Done, The Monster of Silver Creek, and the recently released Seasons of Darkness.  All are available in paperback or e-book.

Salute to Dramatic Black & White Films – Doris Day

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For those of you have read my previous posts-you know that I love drama, and I just saw that in April, Doris Day turned 90.  First of all, Happy Birthday Doris!  Second of all, many of you are probably asking what does Doris Day and my first sentence have in common?

One word:  JULIE 

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This was made in 1956 and stars Day, Louis Jordan & Barry Sullivan.

I grew up watching Doris Day in all the romantic comedies and found her to be a comedic genius. But a few years ago, TCM (my favorite channel) was running a marathon of her movies and the first one up was Julie.  For those of you who haven’t seen it, here is a short synopsis:  Julie (played by Doris) is married to a concert pianist named Lyle (played by Louis Jordan).  During the course of a very casual conversation with him, she begins to suspect that he murdered her first husband, whom she thought had killed himself. What happens next becomes a dangerous game of pursuit as Lyle relentlessly follows her from city to city, forcing her to go into hiding.  Now I won’t spoil it, but this movie is 99 minutes of nail-biting, knuckle-gripping, butt-clenching suspense from the very opening scene all the way to the credits.  It is a must see!

After watching this film, my appreciation for Ms. Day increased tenfold.  Her ability to do drama is as good as it gets, and she did another turn four years later with Midnight Lace (also spectacular btw.)

Do you have a favorite drama that’s in black & white?  I’d love for you to tell me as I’m always looking for new ones to add to my collection.

Blog Hop on the Writing Process

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larryI’d to extend a big thank you to Larry Crane for inviting me to be a part of the Writing Process Blog Hop.  Transplanted to Maine mid-westerner Larry Crane brings an Illinois sensibility to his writing. Larry graduated from West Point, served nearly seven years in the Army as an Infantryman in Germany and Vietnam. He commuted to Wall Street for nearly 20 years. His writing includes articles for outdoor magazines, plays, short and long fiction. His most recent thriller novel, A Bridge to Treachery, and Baghdad on the Wabash and Other Plays and Stories, a collection of short plays and stories, are listed for sale on Amazon. In his spare time, Crane is president and hobbyist videographer for his local Public Access Television Station and is a volunteer at his local historical society. Larry and wife Jan live on the coast of Maine.

Larry’s Links:  Twitter     Webpage       Facebook      Goodreads      Google+       YouTube Trailer  

Now it’s my turn to give you a little insight about my writing process and why I do what I do:

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What am I working on?  –   I am currently in the middle of writing the sequel to The Monster of Silver Creek.  It is tentatively titled, Penance – and for good reason.  Guilt is a powerful thing, and Deputy Jack Collins is mired in it as he adjusts to fatherhood along with his new job as Chief of Police.  It isn’t long before a body of a young girl is discovered, having the same puncture marks on her as the serial killer’s previous victims.  Jack must determine if this is a copycat crime, or if the killer had an accomplice that has managed to slip by unnoticed.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?  –  In my novels, I take social issues such as alcoholism, abuse, and mental illness and give them to my characters.  This brings about a certain vulnerability to them, making them human.  Just as in real life, there are no easy answers to these problems, and they can’t be magically fixed by a few simple words.  These are issues that impact you long after they are over, defining who you are not only as a person, but as a member of society.

In my latest book, Seasons of Darkness, Everett Harrington is a father struggling to raise his family after the tragic suicide of his wife, Natalia.  Left alone with a son he can’t talk to, he chooses to spend his evenings drowning his sorrows in a bottle of scotch.  Sixteen-year-old Ethan, still ravaged by his mother’s death, turns to what he has seen his father take comfort in time and time again.  As they try to move on, Natalia’s struggle with mental illness is tenderly told through their eyes in vivid flashbacks that weaves throughout the story.

I am a firm believer in portraying my characters as close to real life as possible, warts and all.  In the real world, there’s no such thing as a white knight, and if you look closely at my heroes, you’ll find that their armor is tarnished.

Why do I write what I do?  –   Let me give you a visual demonstration:  If I’m flipping through the channels on TV and see that my choices are “No Down Payment” starring Tony Randall or “Send Me No Flowers” also with Tony Randall, I’m going to choose the first one.  Why?  Because in No Down Payment, Randall plays an alcoholic car salesman, trying to hang on to his marriage as he slowly destroys himself.  It’s drama, it’s real, it’s raw, it’s emotional ­– and I love it!  It stirs things inside of me that I can’t really explain.  Think about it, if Clark Gable hadn’t carried Vivien Leigh up that grand staircase, during a drunken rage one night, Gone With The Wind would probably not be the classic that it is today.

My slogan for my novels is:  Where Tall, Dark, and Handsome Meets High Drama.  When you combine these two things, you get an electrifying read.

How does your writing process work?  –  As I begin each novel, I make an outline of the major incidents that are going to occur.  This is rather easy for me, because I’ve already daydreamed my characters doing these very things.  Watching my book unfold in my mind allows me the ability to make bold decisions where they are concerned.  By doing this, I see the hurt in their faces, the subtle movements of their hands, and hear the inflections in their tone of voice.  It’s like making a movie and then putting it down on paper, scene by scene.

The hard part for me is writing the scene the way I see and hear it using only words.  There have been times I’ve stayed up until two in the morning feverishly pounding away on my keyboard and have fallen into bed with a sense of pride regarding the chapter I just wrote.  In the harsh light of day however, I re-read it and think it sucks.  I am my own worst enemy when it comes to critiquing what I’ve written, so much so, that at times, I think it hinders me from moving on.  If there is a scene that just isn’t working, I’ll ponder it every waking moment I get until I like it.  In the past there have been instances where I will wake up from dreaming (or from having a hot-flash) and immediately start thinking about the scene or paragraph I’m stuck on.

Once I am satisfied with my draft, I will edit it chapter by chapter, reading the last chapter first, and then the first chapter, and go back and forth until the pages meet in the middle.  Then when I am happy with every breath the characters draw, every subtle movement they make, and every word they speak, I put my name on it.

BLOG HOPPERS ON DECK:

It is my pleasure to introduce you to 3 other blog hoppers, so hop on over to their sites and see what they are up to.  Each one of these talented authors will be telling you about their writing practices next week on Monday March 31st.

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D. Bryant Simmons was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. She has earned a B.A. in Sociology and M.Ed. in Elementary Education. She is an author, mother, entrepreneur, and advocate for female empowerment.  Her books include, How To Knock A Bravebird From Her Perch, and The Boy Scout.

http://www.dbryantsimmons.com

http://bravebirdbooks.com/product/how-to-knock-a-bravebird-from-her-perch/

Joe Fishing 2012Joe Perrone Jr is an author whose diverse background includes a stint as a sportswriter with a prominent New Jersey newspaper, the Herald-News, and several years spent freelancing as an advertising copywriter.  He has had numerous short stories published in the Mid-Atlantic Fly Fishing Guide.  In addition to his writing, Joe spent ten years as a professional fishing guide on the historic Beaverkill River in New York’s Catskill Mountains.  Nearby Roscoe – “Trout Town USA” – serves as the setting for Joe’s last three Matt Davis mysteries, Opening Day (a 2012 BRAG medallion winner), Twice Bitten, and Broken Promises (a 2014 BRAG medallion recipient).  Roscoe is a place to which Joe returns as often as possible to fish his favorite waters and visit with long-time friends.  The first book in the Matt Davis Mystery Series was As the Twig is Bent, which reached #24 best seller in the Kindle book store when initially published.  Joe also authored one other novel, Escaping Innocence: A Story of Awakening, which is a coming-of-age tale set in the ’60s. His non-fiction work includes Gone Fishin’ with Kids (How to Take Your Kid Fishing and Still be Friends) and A “Real” Man’s Guide to Divorce (First, you bend over and . . . ).

When not writing, Joe can be found fly fishing the many quality trout streams found throughout the surrounding area of North Carolina.  He also enjoys fly tying, cooking (and eating), reading on his Kindle, listening to music (anything but rap, hip hop, or hard rock), car trips with his wife, Becky, and watching films.  He and his wife live in the mountains of western North Carolina, with their two calico cats, Cassie and Callie.

You can stop by and chat with Joe here:

Twitter    @authorjoep

Blog   www.joetheauthor.wordpress.com

Facebook:   Author Joe Perrone Jr

Website   www.joeperronejr.com

Email     joetheauthor@joeperronejr.com

bj robinsonAuthor, B. J. Robinson, is an award-winning, multi-published, Amazon best-selling author with four traditionally published novels as well as independently published short stories, novellas and novels. Her latest novel, River Oaks Plantation, was showcased in Southern Writers Magazine as a Must Read. Romance under the Oaks, her new historical romance releases the end of March.

She writes from Florida with a golden cocker spaniel named Sunflower, golden retriever named Honi, and a shelter cat named Frankie for company, blessed with a husband, children, and grandchildren. Jesus is her best friend. She’s an avid reader and passionate writer.

Visit her on facebook, or her amazon author page, or her blog.

My Smashwords Interview

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Interview with Belinda G. Buchanan

Tell us a little bit about the kinds of books you write?
I create stories that deal with very personal and social issues: Alcoholism, mental illness, adultery, domestic abuse as well as some other taboo subjects. My women are not weak, and my men are not always strong. You will find that my characters are not perfect – they are far from it, actually, because even heroes have a chink or two in their armor. It’s what makes them human, and I find that fascinating.  (more)

A story of hope – even in the darkest of times…an excerpt from Seasons of Darkness

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Many of you have asked, so I thought I would post an excerpt for your enjoyment!  Here is a snippet from Chapter 5:

Everett sped down the street trying to make up for lost time.  He was twenty minutes late for an appointment across town thanks to the ineptitude of his secretary who, as of fifteen minutes ago, was now a former employee.  He had no tolerance for silly mistakes.

He forged ahead through the intersection, ignoring the yellow light.  By the time he saw the standing water and the girl on the sidewalk, it was too late.  His tires sent a spray ten feet up in the air, drenching her from head to toe.

He cursed under his breath, pulling his car over.  He left the engine running as he got out and hurried towards her.  “Are you all right?”

The girl stood unmoving as if the water had frozen her to the sidewalk.

“I’m terribly sorry, miss,” he said in the most apologetic tone he could find.  “I didn’t see you walking there.”

She slowly parted her dripping hair with her fingers, revealing a set of piercing brown eyes.

“I’m terribly sorry,” he repeated.

“What kind of moron are you?”

“Apparently the kind that drives too fast,” he said, hoping to defuse her anger.

“Oh, I see,” she said, still glaring at him.  “You’re a comedic moron.”  She began smoothing her long, raven hair with her hands, but it did little to help her appearance.

Everett bent down and picked her textbook up from off the pavement.  “Can I give you a lift somewhere?”

“I think you’ve done quite enough,” she replied, snatching it from his fingers.  She pivoted around on her heel and began marching away, leaving a trail of wet footprints behind her.             

Everett headed back to his car feeling as if this day couldn’t possibly get any worse.  As he pulled back onto the street, he noticed her walking ahead of him.  He veered off to the side once more and rolled down his window.  “Where are you going?”

She glanced to her left.  “Are you following me?”

“Well,” he said, slowing down to match her pace, “you’re kind of hard to miss.”  He suddenly felt a stabbing pain in his heart from the set of daggers that flew from her eyes.  She obviously failed to see the humor in his remark.

He watched as her short, but beautiful legs carried her over to the bus stop where she angrily planted herself down on a bench.  He pressed on the brake and stretched his arm over the back of the seat.  “Let me give you a ride.  I can get you there quicker than the bus.”

She gave him an absurd look.  “Why on earth would I get in a car with you?  I don’t even know you.  You could be a serial killer or a rapist for all I know.”

He cocked his head sideways.  “I can assure you, I’m neither of those things.”

“And I’m just supposed to believe you, is that it?”

“I’m Everett Harrington,” he said, offering her his best smile.  “The jerk that ruined your day.”

The corners of her mouth twitched.  “Well, you’re damn right about that,” she said, standing up.

He got out of his car and opened the door for her.  “Where can I drop you?”

“Woodham Way.  It’s south of here.  Do you know it?”

“Yes,” he replied, sliding into his seat, but it was in the opposite direction in which he was headed.  He checked his watch before pulling away.

“Are you late for something?”

“Not anymore,” he answered, making a right at the light.

“Well, don’t blame me.  This is your own bloody fault.  If you had been paying more attention, none of this would have happened.”

He turned to look at her.  “Did I say anything about it being your fault?”

“You didn’t have to.  I know your type,” she said arrogantly.

“My type?”

“Yes.”

“What’s my type?”

“You’re a man, aren’t you?”

“You don’t know the first thing about me,” he said, feeling his jaw tighten.

“I know enough.”  She wrapped her fingers around the ends of her hair and squeezed, sending a stream of rainwater down on his custom leather interior.

Everett gripped the steering wheel until his knuckles turned white.  “Can you please not do that in here?”

“Would you prefer that I leave it in my hair?”

“I would prefer,” he said, trying to control his voice, “that you not do it on my seats.”

“Fine,” she muttered, dropping her hands.

“I didn’t catch your name,” he said after a drought of silence.

“That’s because I didn’t give it to you.”

Everett stifled a sigh.  This was shaping up to be a banner day.  As they drove towards the edge of town, he couldn’t help noticing her wet blouse.  It clung to her in the front, accentuating everything underneath it.  She glanced sideways at him, making him jerk his eyes back onto the road.

“Were you looking at my naughty bits?”

“No.”

“Yes, you were.”

“No.”

“You’re lying.”

“You looked cold,” he said, realizing she wasn’t going to let this drop.

“Well of course I’m cold, you idiot!  You and your bloody car just gave me a soaking!”

 He pressed on the accelerator and changed lanes, wishing he had just left her standing on the sidewalk.  He reached into the backseat and grabbed his blazer.  “Here.”

She draped it over the front of her, tucking her arms inside.

“You’re welcome,” he said flatly.

“Oh, I beg your pardon.  Thank you for giving me something to cover my shivering body with.”

The light up ahead turned yellow and Everett gunned the engine intending to run it, but the car in front of him decided to stop.  He stomped hard on the brake, bringing the car to a screeching halt.

“Christ!” she said, putting her hands against the dash as she fell forward.  “Is this your first day driving?”

“Is this your first day interacting with people?” he retorted.

She gave him an icy stare before turning her eyes back to the road.

Everett watched the light intently.  The second it changed he floored the accelerator, smiling inwardly as her head snapped against the back of the seat.

“Eblan,” she muttered under her breath.

He didn’t know what that meant, but was fairly certain it wasn’t a compliment.  Figuring it was pointless trying to make further conversation with her, he decidedly gave up.

He began to focus instead on how he could make up his meeting.  It was a meeting in which six weeks of planning had gone into, and one that he had been more than ready for.  It was also a meeting that he would be at right now if his secretary had remembered to tell him that it had been moved up an hour.

“Natalia Nisselovich,” she said, interrupting his thoughts.

“What?”

“That’s my name.”

“Is that Russian?”

She smiled at him, revealing just how beautiful she was, wet hair and all.  “Turn up here,” she said, pointing.

He made a left at the next street.

“Stop at the house with the blue shutters.”

He pulled into the driveway and got out to open the door for her.

“Thanks for the ride,” she said, handing him back his jacket.

“It was the least I could do.”

“Yes, it was.”

He smiled in spite of himself.  “Would you like to go out for coffee, sometime?”

She turned and began making her way up the drive.  “You know where I live.”

He leaned against the side of his car as he watched her walking away.  “So, is that a yes?” he called out.

She looked over her shoulder and flashed him another smile.

Did you enjoy reading this?  You can purchase a copy of Seasons of Darkness through Amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/Seasons-Darkness-Belinda-G-Buchanan-ebook/dp/B00EK9JLUC

Seasons of Darkness Final Kindle cover

Thanks for stopping by!

Seasons of Darkness is now available for your reading pleasure !

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A man torn apart
A son forever scarred
Two men trying to connect when their only link has been broken…

Everett Harrington should have taken Natalia’s behavior that night as a sign of Seasons of Darkness Final Kindle coverthings to come, but hadn’t…  When it came to her, he found himself unable to think clearly.  It was on a scorching afternoon in late July that he had stood at the altar with her, making a promise in front of God and her parents to love her for better or for worse.  And it was ten years later, on a rainy morning in September that he’d buried her.  The days in between had been filled with brief intervals of happiness, and long periods of hopelessness.

Ethan Harrington’s innocence was lost seven years ago when his mother took her own life.  Forced to grow up in a hurry, he quickly learned to build a wall around his heart, vowing never to let it be marked again.  Now sixteen, and still ravaged by her death, he and his little sister, Renee, along with their father, try to live among the shattered remains of a family that was never functional to begin with.

Quick tempered and rarely sober, Ethan does his best to avoid his father, while at the same time trying to live up to his expectations.  Determined not to be like him, Ethan desperately struggles to establish his own identity, but it’s a feat that’s as hard as it is unlikely when he discovers that he has inherited at least one of his father’s less desirable traits.

Everett tries to be a good father, but some things just can’t be forgiven… This is a coming of age novel that depicts the sometimes troubled and often times complex relationship experienced between fathers and sons in this standalone prequel to After All Is Said And Done.

Available now through Amazon, Barnes & Noble, kobo, itunes, and wherever else e-books are sold

How Do We Truly Forgive Someone?

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This question has been on my mind a lot over the past few weeks.  Are you the type of person that forgives easily?  Or does it take you some time to get over it?

I have met a few people in my life who have the ability to truly forgive and forget.  These people are fortunate souls indeed.  Hurt seems to roll of their shoulders like water.  Personally, I’m the type that takes forever to get over something.  I catalogue it, commit it to my photographic memory, file it under NEVER, and harbor a grudge for all of eternity.  Yep, that was me up until about two years ago.

For some of us, the hurt we feel runs deep.  And it is burrowed so deeply inside of us, it has literally grown roots.  The more time passes, the longer those roots grow until you are not only an angry person, but have now grown bitter.

Elton John wrote a beautiful song for The Lion King called The Circle Of Life.  There is a verse in there that goes ‘Some of us sail through our troubles, and some of us have to live with the scars.’  As humans, some of have been deeply hurt or even traumatized by something that has happened to us as an adult or in childhood.  It has left us emotionally scarred, because we can’t let it go, no matter how hard we try.  We didn’t have a choice in the matter, and we absolutely cannot change or forget what happened.

Carrying around anger over something that we cannot change can eat us alive.  Does forgiving someone change what has happened?  Of course not.  But I do know that forgiveness can be healing.  We must let it go.  Once we turn it loose, our heart begins to heal.  It’s not easy by any means, but it’s better than the alternative.  I realized that I didn’t want to grow to be an old and bitter person who has lived my life being angry about something I cannot change.

The message of forgiveness runs throughout the pages of my novel, After All Is Said And Done.  Ethan Harrington has been hurt beyond words when his beloved wife, Jessica has an affair.  His life slowly implodes as he loses his father suddenly, and then finds out the baby he thought was his belongs to the man Jessica had an affair with.

Ethan begins to have deep feelings of anger and inadequacy and soon begins to buckle under the strain.  The only thing he can find comfort in is a bottle of scotch.  The dynamics of marriage are explored in great detail throughout this book as well as the ramifications of infidelity.

I invite you to have a look and let me know what you think.

After All Is Said And Done – Summary

Nobody wakes up one morning and decides that today is the day they are going to cheat on their spouse.  When the opportunity presents itself however, it is ultimately a choice.  And that choice, whether good or bad, can have irrevocable consequences.

Ethan and Jessica Harrington are doctors who work alongside fellow doctors Gavin and Sarah Williams.  After Jessica has an affair with Gavin, their lives are thrown into turmoil as they deal with the aftermath and subsequent fallout.

For the better part of a year the four of them have been working to piece their marriages back together.  Sarah and Gavin are still reeling from a devastating miscarriage, while Jessica and Ethan are hesitantly looking forward to the birth of their first child.aaisad-kindle-blue-novel.jpg

Sarah’s hopes are immediately shattered when she learns how far Gavin’s infidelity has gone.  Suddenly thrown into an unwanted independence she fights to find her way.

Jessica struggles to repair her marriage to Ethan as they become parents.  But when Ethan, a borderline alcoholic, learns a dark secret, his world steadily begins to crumble.  His drinking, fueled by this discovery slowly engulfs him.  Jessica’s love for him is only matched by her fear of his temper.  With his marriage now in pieces and his sanity questionable, Ethan struggles to come to terms with his alcoholism and face his past.

Theirs is a story of the tremendous amount of love some people have for one another, regardless of the pain that is sometimes inflicted.

It is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, and wherever else e-books are sold.

My website:  https://sites.google.com/site/belindagbuchanan

Book trailer:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RmM-Uf6yG4w

A little bit about me:

I have been happily married to my husband for over 23 years now.  I have two great sons, two persnickety cats, and 1 unconditionally loving dog that thinks he’s a person.

I am currently working on my fourth novel, involving Silver Creek.

Character Interview with Drs. Ethan and Jessica Harrington from After All Is Said And Done

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Interview with characters Ethan and Jessica Harrington from After All Is Said And Done by Belinda G. Buchanan

I blew into town, literally, on the heels of a summer squall.  The drive from Bar Harbor had started out warm and sunny, but quickly changed to torrential rain and winds as I arrived in the small town of Serenity Harbor.  I pulled into the parking lot of McKay’s Bar and Grill and said a quick prayer of thanks for living through the hurricane.  Okay, I might be exaggerating a bit, but it was a very bad storm.

The rain had diminished to a steady downpour as I got out of my car.  Using my purse for an umbrella, I hurried into the restaurant.

I quickly found the ladies room and went inside to repair the damage.  I checked my reflection in the mirror and grimaced at the horror.  I did my best to fix it with the tools I had brought with me, which consisted of rewetting drops and a tube of lipstick.  Maybe the color on my lips would take the attention off of my wilted hair.

Going with the assumption that my idol, Robin Meade would never let flat hair get in the way of an interview, I girded myself with pretend confidence and strode out of the restroom.

The couple I was to interview was already here and sitting  in the back of the restaurant.  As I drew near their table, the two of them seemed to be having an argument. But it was being done in such a way, that it was going unnoticed by the people around them.

I stepped up to the table and cleared my throat.  “Dr. Harrington?”

The man stood up and extended his hand.  “Ms. Buchanan?”

“It’s very nice to meet you,” I said, giving him my best smile.

He turned slightly.  “This is my wife, Jessica.”

She remained seated.  “Ms. Buchanan.”

“Please, sit down.”  Dr. Harrington gestured.

“Thank you both for agreeing to meet with me,” I said.

The waiter came to take our drink order.

“I’ll have water with lemon,” Jessica said.

I nodded.  “I’ll have the same.”

“Scotch and water,” Dr. Harrington said.

(Jessica suddenly cut her eyes at him.  Not sure of what I’d stepped into, I decided it would be best to start the interview.)

Me:  “Dr. Harrington, as I told you over the phone, I am doing a human interest piece for the Maine Gazette.  You are one of the doctors that operate a clinic inside the confines of the Serenity Harbor Hospital.  Can you tell me a little bit about that?”

Ethan:  “The clinic is open to those without insurance and those who cannot afford it.  We don’t turn anyone away.”

Me:  “What made you decide to open the clinic?”

Ethan:  “My partner, Dr. Sarah Williams, opened it.  It was her dream, and I am fortunate enough to be a part of it.  There are families out there who have to make a choice every month to pay their rent, or pay for their prescriptions.  We are trying to make that burden easier for them.”

(As he spoke, I admittedly lost myself in his dark eyes and soft voice.)

Me:  “Jessica, what are your thoughts on the clinic?  Do you agree with what your husband has said?”

Jessica:  “Yes,” she said, reaching over and placing her hand on top of his.  “I think it’s very important.  His type of work is under appreciated and almost always goes unnoticed.  But I am very proud of Ethan.  He’s doing a wonderful thing.”

Me:  “And, as I understand it, you are a doctor as well?”

Jessica:  “I’m a cardiologist.”

Me:  “Well, I’m guessing that you both must lead very busy lives.”

Ethan:  “That’s probably an understatement.”  He laughed.

Me:  “How long have the two of you been married?”

Jessica:  “Almost three years.”

Me:  “How did you meet?”

Ethan:  “We met at the hospital.  It was my second day when I was introduced to her.”  He paused a moment to look at her.  A small smile spread over his face.  “It was love at first sight.”

Me:  “Do you have any children?”

(The smile suddenly ran away from Ethan’s face.  He picked up his glass and drained it.)

Jessica:  “We have a baby boy.”

Me:  “How do the two of you balance work, parenthood, and time for each other?  Or do you?”

(There was a long pause from both of them.)

Jessica:  “We just have to make time for all those things.  There are some days we don’t see each other at all, but when we do, we try to make the most of it.”  She flipped her golden locks off her shoulders.

Me:  “Still it must be hard.  I would think that something’s got to give.”

Jessica:  “Spending time together is probably the one thing we don’t get to do enough of.  It can be difficult at times.”  She looked over at her husband.

(Ethan held up his glass to signal the waitress.)

Me:  “Ethan, do you agree?”

Ethan:  “I think the one thing that’s helped us overcome this obstacle is that we were already in our professions when we married each other.  I don’t think we had unrealistic expectations from each other.”

Me:  “Such as?”

(The waitress brought Ethan another round.  He eagerly picked it up and took a long swallow.  Jessica watched him for a moment and then looked at me.  Realizing I was still waiting for an answer, she cleared her throat.)

Jessica:  “The fact that we can’t always spend time with each other doesn’t mean we love one another less.  It just makes it better when we do get to see each other.”

Me:  “What is the one thing you love the most about one another?”

Jessica:  “His dedication as a doctor.”

Me:  “And, Ethan?  What do you love most about your wife?”

Ethan:  “Her honesty.”

(Jessica’s face flushed and she looked away for a moment.  Tension quickly filled the area like a dense fog.  I took that as my cue to leave.  I thanked them both for their time and began walking away.  Just before I went out I turned back to look.  They seemed to be embroiled in another argument.)

After All Is Said And Done is available through Amazon & Barnes & Noble

You can also read the first 5 chapters of After All Is Said And Done, along with 5 other great books in First Five Chapters – Vol. 2

Book 1 – Emerald Barnes – Piercing Through The Darkness
Book 2 – Belinda G. Buchanan – After All Is Said And Done
Book 3 – Lorhainne Eckhart – The Forgotten Child
Book 4 – Katheryn Lane – The Royal Sheikh
Book 5 – Tarek Refaat – Ruptured
Book 6 – Collette Scott – If We Dare to Dream

available on amazon:  http://www.amazon.com/First-Chapters-Volume-ebook/dp/B007LNW2KA

I invite you to check out these authors and their amazing books!

The Monster Of Silver Creek

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Terror has come to this small town.  A sinister killer is on the loose.  A serial killer who feeds off of young women’s fear…and leaves a most unusual calling card.  Police Chief Nathan Sommers is on the hunt, but every road leads to a dead end.  
Nathan is battling his own personal demons as he tries to cope with the death of his wife.  He feels her dying was a direct result of his actions and is consumed by guilt.

His personal life becomes more complicated when he meets Katie, the pretty new owner of the bakery.  Nathan slowly builds a relationship with her, but still struggles with Jenny’s death. 

As he draws nearer to the killer, everything in his life suddenly comes undone.  He is forced to deal with his feelings for Katie and his love for his dead wife.MOSC new kindle cover D

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