Wolfie, A Cat Beyond Time – an interview with author Becky Perrone

Hello, Everyone! Today, I am honored to feature author Becky Perrone on my blog. Becky has written a delightful book called, Wolfie, A Cat Beyond Time.

Q: Becky, what inspired you to write Wolfie: A Cat Beyond Time?

Since childhood, I wanted to be a writer, but life kept getting in the way. Then, in the span of a few years, my mother, Armin Giragossian, died, our beloved Maine Coon cat, Wolfie, died and, to top off the trilogy, I had cancer. (Just a few little bumps in the road…)   I realized then that it was a now or never situation.  To honor them both, I made them the main characters in my book.

Not only was I hooked on the West since childhood, but I was an eighth grade American History teacher. That my book would be a Western was a foregone conclusion, my personal “Manifest Destiny” story.

Q: I can’t imagine how difficult those years must have been. What is the most surprising thing you learned about yourself while writing Wolfie?

I’m surprised that I had the tenacity to keep researching so that the book would be spot-on accurate. I am proud of myself for that, as I am somewhat A.D.D. and generally impatient.  I was amazed at how the book just poured out of me, literally writing itself. (Do I have to list it as a co-author?)

Q: What ages would you recommend this book for?

I have taught pre-school through eighth grade. I wrote ”Wolfie” with Middle School students (my absolute favorite group) in mind. 003WOLFIE-CAT BEYOND TIME FRONT COVERThey will “get” the nuances and humor. However, I found that children of all ages (including adults) really enjoy the book. That makes me very happy.

Q: What do you hope readers will take away from Wolfie?

I hope they will become interested in how our great country was settled, to see that history is about regular people and their lives.  I would also like them to see the way that writing can actually paint pictures that they, themselves, create in their own minds from the words they read. That is why I didn’t illustrate the book.  I want the readers to do it.

Q: At the end of the book, Wolfie’s thoughts allude to the fact that there will be another adventure.  So, will there be a sequel?

I believe that there will be, but it depends upon when Wolfie decides to come around again, and where and when on earth he wants to go.

Q: I’m sure I know the answer to this, but who is your biggest fan?

If you have chosen my husband, Joe, you are spot on!

Q: Speaking of Joe, I read on his blog that the two of you met and married in a period of just six weeks, and the two of you will be celebrating your 39th anniversary in August. First of all, can I just say, “WOW!” And second, “Was it love at first sight?”

Actually, it was strong dislike at first sight for me. He was in a bad mood and was rude from the very first moment we met at a picnic that Frank, our mutual friend (read “busybody”) invited us both to attend. Frank suddenly disappeared with his new girlfriend, our four children met and took off together to play, and we were stuck with each other. By the end of the day…well, the rest is history. BTW:  Bless you, Frank! We are living proof that it is not always wise to make snap judgments…

LOL! It’s funny that Joe conveniently left that part out on his blog. 

Q: Were you nervous letting Joe – an accomplished author in his own right – read Wolfie?

Yes, I was. Joe always has my back and is zealous about protecting me.  Therefore, if he sees something he feels is awry, it can bring on a less-than-gracious comment from my silver-tongued devil; all in the name of love. Turnabout is fair play, though, since I do the same thing with his work.

List three things that most people don’t know about you.

  • I am a first-generation American of Armenian descent.
  • I wrote my first story in the first grade.
  • I am a sight-singer.

You’ve stumped me with that last one. What is a sight-singer?

A sight singer can look at a piece of music that she does not know, and can sing it correctly because she can hear it in her head. At least, that’s how it works with me, or I should say, worked, as my hearing has diminished somewhat and knowing where my voice should go, doesn’t mean it will get there in key. (LOL!)

Wow, you never cease to amaze me, Becky! 

Q: As a new author, do you have any advice for other authors that are just beginning?

  • Invest yourself in your work and enjoy it. If it doesn’t flow out of you, don’t push it.  It will come when it is ready.

    Becky Book Picture

    Becky Perrone in 2020

  • Write about what you know, but be sure to research everything thoroughly.
  • Write in your own voice and style, and enjoy what you do.
  • SAVE constantly.
  • PROOFREAD the book to death.
  • Select your readers carefully, so that their comments – positive or negative – are made with your best interests at heart.  If enough people say the same thing — listen!  You want the truth – tuck away your ego.

Q: Can you provide us with an excerpt of Wolfie?

Certainly, my pleasure! This is a relatively short chapter that readies the readers for what lies ahead. It looks long but reads fast. I hope you enjoy it.

Chapter 6 from Wolfie, A Cat Beyond Time

Clayton hated thunder and lightning storms.  It didn’t matter that both his mother and his teacher had explained about clouds and air masses, or that his grandmother had told him it was just the angels bowling.  Those storms were loud and flashy and scary and just plain dangerous, and that was that!

Minna said he was “sensitive.”  Well, maybe he was.  He didn’t care what anyone said; he hated those storms more than anything on earth, especially like now, when they happened at night.

His room was suddenly transformed into daylight, as though some alien space ship was shining its lights through his windows, expecting to find the meaning of life on earth hidden under his bed.  (Huh, wouldn’t they be disappointed when all they found was his underwear, some moldy peas he had hidden in his socks rather than eat, and a bunch of dust.)  He tensed and buried his head under his pillow, dreading the deafening clap of thunder he knew would follow.  Bowling my foot, he thought.  Dad used to take us bowling, and it never sounded like this.  C-r-r-r-a-a-a-c-c-c-k!  K-a-a-a-b-o-o-o-m-m-m!  K-a-a-a-p-o-w!  The house actually shook!

In the stark silence that followed, Clay heard another sound, one that, although caused by the advent of an electric storm, didn’t have its origins in the storm itself.  It was an unearthly sound, a sort of moaning and screeching.  It was really the only sound that could induce him to leave the safety of his bed. Maybe it will stop, he thought, but no, there it was again.  He’d have to get up and get Minna.

Clutching Teddy, his favorite stuffed animal, Clayton slipped down the hall to Minna’s room.  “Min—are you awake?  You’ve got to come now!  Wolfie’s doing it again!” he whispered.

“Are you sure?” she moaned, suddenly awake.

“Yeah, I’m sure,” Clayton answered, shifting his bedraggled bear from arm to arm.

Minna jumped out of bed and looked at her brother.  He was standing at the foot of her bed, his coarse, light brown hair standing straight up from his head, his blue eyes huge, his pajamas rumpled.  She had to hand it to the kid.  He was scared to death of the storm, but he took care of business.

They didn’t need words; they had an unspoken understanding when it came to their pet:  Protect at all costs.  That way, Mom would never know some stuff that might make her send Wolfie away.

“Where is he?”  she whispered.

“The usual place,” replied Clay, looking around nervously as the thunder boomed its anger at the world.  The storm didn’t look any better in Minna’s room.  In fact, it looked worse, because at least when he was in his room, he knew what most of the shapes and shadows were.  (There were, however, always a few that he wasn’t quite sure about.)

“Blast!” Minna exclaimed.  “We’d better hurry.”

The children tip-toed silently past their mother’s room, Minna in her flannel nightgown and favorite pink bunny slippers, and Clayton in his one piece, fuzzy yellow-footed pajamas, their plastic booties slapping the floor with each step. “Would you pull those up?” hissed Minna.  “You’ll wake up Mom!”

“It’s not my fault these stupid pajamas are too big,” Clay mumbled.  His mother had gotten them on sale, and had been happy they were on the big side so Clay could get a couple of years out of them.  The problem with that was that for the first year (this one) Clay looked like he had yards of wrinkled yellow skin on his body and his feet always flopped out of the booties.  Next year, he’d look like he was wearing a nubby yellow second skin, and either his toes would be curling up to his chin, or they’d break through the bootie and he’d freeze to death.

Wolfie yowled again.  “Never mind, just hurry up!”  Minna was really getting nervous.  Wolfie had never been quite this bad before.

“Why does he do that?” Clay wondered out loud.  “Hey, Min, do you think it was because of the night we got him?  It was storming like this.”

“How am I supposed to know?  Do I look like a Dr. Metzenberg for cats?”

“Come on, Min, you don’t need to be like that, and besides, what you look like is…”

“Don’t even go there, Clayton Douglas Moore, or you’ll be sorry,” Minna threatened.

By this time, the children had reached Wolfie’s hiding place, which was in the darkest corner of the laundry room, down in the basement.  Their mom refused to allow the cat to sleep upstairs at night.  She said it was bad enough that he furred everything during the day; she didn’t want to deal with fur on the blankets and bedding, too.  In a way she was right, because it was as if Wolfie felt it was his sacred duty to leave his fur on every inch of the Moore family’s clothing and furniture.  Anyway, he was huddled in the wicker laundry basket, on top of the clean laundry of course, and he was yowling his head off.

“Wolfie, knock it off!” commanded Minna.  Geez, was this why they called it caterwauling? Now that was a word that sounded like what it meant.

Wolfie stuck his head out of the basket, but continued to yowl.

“Min, I’ve never seen him so bad, what’s wrong?  What’s he doing now? Is he hurt?”  Clayton expected his big sister to have all the answers.  Unfortunately, she was as much in the dark as he was.

“I have no idea, Stupid.”  Mrs. Moore had a very strict rule about calling each other names, but Minna felt that this time the situation justified the infraction.  Sometimes Clayton was a real pain with his dumb questions, but now, seeing the hurt on his face, she wasn’t so sure.  “Sorry, Clay, but I got here the same time that you did.  Let’s pick him up and see if we can calm him down.  I don’t know why he does this.”

  The storm should have passed over by now, she thought.  It almost seems that the more upset Wolfie gets, the worse the storm becomes.   She shook her head. That wasn’t possible. She’d been reading too much Harry Potter.  Both children reached into the basket together to pick up their pet.

As they reached for Wolfie, he jumped out of the basket, and began pacing between their legs in frantic cat figure eights.  After he did about four of them, he stopped, turned, and looked right into their eyes.  Lightning flashed, and world, as the Moore children knew it, disappeared!

 

Wolfie A Cat Beyond Time by Becky PerroneIf you would like to purchase, Wolfie, A Cat Beyond Time, it is available as an ebook and in paperback on Amazon. An audio book version narrated by the fantastic Mary Henriques is coming in September on audible.com

 

 

 

Becky Perrone is a breast cancer survivor and strong advocate for yearly mammograms. I encourage you to read her story HERE:

My review of Wolfie, A Cat Beyond Time

Wolfie transports you, along with squabbling siblings Minna and Clay (who live in the techie world of today) back in time to the mid 1800’s. I loved Wolfie, the not-so-ordinary cat, along with Minna and Clay as I rode beside them in a wagon train bound for Kansas.

Becky Perrone offers a unique take on what it must have been like for children traveling towards what their families hoped was a better life by way of a horse-drawn caravan.

This was a fun, fast, enjoyable read that anyone of any age would love. My rating: 5 Stars

The real Wolfie

The real Wolfie as a kitten

Belinda G. Buchanan is an author of Women’s Fiction novels that include After All Is Said And Done: a Novel of Infidelity, Healing, & Forgiveness, Seasons of Darkness, and Mystery novels including, The Monster of Silver Creek, Tragedy at Silver Creek, and Winter’s Malice.

 

 

 

 

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

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. Ethan Harrington replied.

(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. The silence that followed caused me to clear my throat.)

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

Jessica:  “Yes,” she answered, 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 laughed:  “That’s probably an understatement.”

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 across 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 took in a small breath.)

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 flicked his gaze, which had grown darker, towards his wife.  “Her honesty.”

Jessica’s face flushed.  Tension quickly filled the area like a dense fog.  Taking that as my cue to leave, I thanked them both for their time and began walking away.  Just before I went out the door, I turned back to look and saw that they seemed to be embroiled in another argument.

After All Is Said And Done: A Novel of Infidelity, Healing, & Forgiveness is available to purchase through:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Apple Ebooks

Kobo

Smashwords

Walmart

Google Play

 

Today, Feb. 17, 2020, is Random Acts of Kindness Day

Photo courtesy of picjumbo.com

When I was seven, my older sister took me to the carnival that had set up in the parking lot of the biggest shopping center in town. Night had fallen, and the air on this crisp October evening was filled with laughter, dizzying screams, and the smell of cotton candy as we hurried towards the Tempest ride.

We were standing in line – with both anticipation and fear – as we watched the current riders disembark, the smiles on their faces a stark contrast to their pale skin and stumbling gaits.

It was right about then that something happened that I will never forget.

A group of kids from my elementary school showed up. These kids were related somehow (a brother and two sisters I believe), and were in the Special Education classes. I have no idea what their home life entailed, but their clothes were usually tattered and dirty – as was their hair. Every kid in school knew them – but didn’t know them.

Laughing, these kids ran past me, my sister, and everyone else in line and up the metal ramp that led to the Tempest.

“Hey!” yelled the boy who was operating the ride (and yes, he was a boy, probably no older than seventeen).

The kids turned around, their broad smiles reflecting their naive innocence in a world that would rather sweep them aside than deal with them.

“You can’t ride without a ticket,” explained the boy. He was tall and thin, and wore a blue mechanic’s uniform. His belt was cinched at the last notch, but the pants still hung on him.

“Here.” Reaching into his shirt pocket with a thumb and forefinger that was covered in grease, the boy pulled out a handful of dollar bills and gave it to the oldest kid in the group. “Go buy some tickets,” he said, pointing at the ticket booth a few yards away, “and then come back and you can ride.”

The smile never leaving their faces, the kids scrambled down the ramp and ran towards the ticket booth.

I’m sure no one ever thanked that boy for doing what he did. The money in his pocket was probably all that he had, and yet he gave it without hesitation.

More years have passed than I care to count since that night, but I’ll never forget that young man’s empathy and compassion he showed…for it has left an indelible impression upon my heart.

What are some acts of kindness that you have witnessed someone doing or done yourself? I would love for you to tell me by leaving a comment below.

 

Belinda G. Buchanan is a wife, mother, lover of all animals, and an author of Women’s Fiction and Mystery novels.

 

MY TOP THREE CHRISTMAS MOVIES OF ALL TIME

Christmas bowI absolutely love this time of year. It’s a time for reconnecting with family, decorating the house, finding that perfect gift for someone special, and baking dozens upon dozens of cookies using tried and true recipes (plus new ones I found on Pinterest)!  What I look forward to doing most of all, however, is watching ALL the Christmas movies on television. 

Here are my top three picks: 

# 3 – THE MOST WONDERFUL TIME OF THE YEAR   (2008)  –  starring Henry Winkler, Warren Christie, and Brooke Burns

Retired cop, Ralph, (played by the wonderful Henry Winkler) flies across the country to see his beloved niece and great nephew for Christmas. While on the plane, Ralph befriends Morgan Derby, and is immediately taken in by his live-in-the-moment attitude and love for all things Christmas. When Morgan’s flight to Denver is canceled, Ralph doesn’t want to see his new-found friend spend Christmas sleeping on the floor of the airport and invites him to come with him to his niece’s.

Jennifer Cullen (Ralph’s niece) is a no-nonsense woman dating an equally no-nonsense jeweler. She stays up til all hours of the night writing Christmas cards to people she doesn’t know out of obligation and then in turn throws the cards she receives in the mail in the trash after reading who they’re from. She just wants Christmas to be over and becomes increasingly irritated by Morgan’s presence and jubilant attitude.

In a hilarious turn of events, bah humbug Jennifer finds herself drawn to Morgan, but an unexpected offer on Christmas Eve throws her for a loop. Can Jen give into her feelings and go after Morgan? This is truly a wonderful movie to watch with the whole family. Henry Winkler is delightful and lights up every scene he is in, as do Brooke Burns and Warren Christie.

# 2 – THE NINE LIVES OF CHRISTMAS   (2014)  –   starring Brandon Routh, Kimberly Sustad, Gregory HarrisonNine Lives of Christmas

Most of you who know me are aware that I love cats and that I have a thing for men who are tall, dark, and handsome. This movie has both. Brandon Routh plays sexy fireman Zachary Stone who one afternoon saves a cat from the clutches of a dog and takes him in – in spite of his obnoxious girlfriend Blair’s disapproval.

Marilee White (played superbly by Kimberly Sustad) is a veterinary student/lowly pet store employee who puts her studies before everything, including her own happiness. All that changes on a chance encounter at the grocery store when she runs into Zachary.

Ambrose the cat promptly makes himself at home with Zachary, but a devilish deed by Blair causes hardship for both Ambrose and Marilee. Can Zachary put aside his vow to commit to love, and can Marilee stop fighting her attraction to him and give in?

This is a delightfully funny, playful, feel-good movie that will leave you with a with a smile on your lips well after the credits have rolled.

The Nine Live of Christmas is playing next on the Hallmark Channel Nov. 19 at 8:00 pm central, and Nov. 28 at 2:00 pm central.

As a side note, I had the opportunity to meet Brandon Routh at a Comic Con convention in Nashville a couple of years ago. He was very sweet.

2018-05-13 10.54.13

Me with Brandon Routh

# 1 – A DREAM FOR CHRISTMAS  (1973) starring Hari Rhodes, Lynn Hamilton, George Spell, and Zara Cully

This is an old one I know, but it is timeless and it is my favorite. Following along the same lines as The Waltons and Little House on the Prairie, this movie captures what Christmas is all about: God and family. Hari Rhodes plays a poor country minister from the south who moves his family to California where he has accepted the job as minister of an even poorer church. As his wife, mother, and children struggle to adapt to their new surroundings, the reverend learns that the church is scheduled to be demolished.

Refusing to give up on his dream, Rev. Will Douglas decides to go door to door to invite people to church to prove the developer of the shopping mall (who told him that no one goes to church anymore) wrong. I’ve seen this movie only twice since 1973 and I love it. It sounds cheesy to say heartwarming, but that’s what it is. A Dream For Christmas is a beautiful movie and if you see it come across your channel guide, please watch it. You won’t be disappointed.

 

So those are my favorite Christmas movies. I’d love to hear what some of yours are! Please drop a line in the comments below!

 

 

 

WINTER’S MALICE

NEW RELEASE!!!! WINTER’S MALICE IS NOW AVAILABLE!!!!

Three bodies in the span of twenty-four hours …

In Weeping Rock, South Dakota—a small town crippled by racism, drugs, and violence— Sheriff’s Deputy Liam Matthews has his work cut out for him when he steps in to take over the duties of sheriff from his father, who for far too long has turned a blind eye to certain crimes for what he says is the overall good of the town.

WINTER'S MALICE ebookComing under scrutiny for hiring a Lakota to fill his position as deputy, things quickly go from bad to worse for Liam when the body of retired pro-baseball player Hector Ramirez, who had recently returned home to coach ball at his high school alma mater, is found floating in Crow’s Foot Lake. Hector’s bludgeoned corpse is no sooner on its way to the M.E.’s office in Rapid City, however, when the partially clothed body of a young girl is discovered in a clearing in the snow.

With two seemingly unrelated murders, Liam is judged at every turn of his investigation by the local population, Hector’s reality TV star wife Kiki Grey, and his own father. Upon uncovering a tangled web of desperation, lies, and greed, the mounting pressure inside Liam to do the right thing becomes jaded when the skeletal remains of a third victim is found in a submerged car, bringing to the forefront a long-buried secret of his own—and threatening his already troubled marriage to Olivia—as his past and present collide.­­­­­­­­­­­­­

Available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, 24symbols, Smashwords

HAPPY DOG DAY!!!!!

Today is National Dog Day! The day, started in 2004, is to help promote awareness to the vast number of dogs each year that are needing rescued. 

My family rescued/adopted Remy thirteen years ago from the Humane Society. He has filled our lives with love and laughter each day since.

So, come on, show me your dog! I’d love to see a pic, whether your furry child is still with you or only living in your heart now. remy2006-01-28 13.16.57

Your Favorite Book as a Child

I’m a day late in posting this, but yesterday was International Children’s Book Day. Reading as a child spurred my imagination and took me to places that I enjoyed going to over and over.
My favorite growing up was One Kitten for Kim by Adelaide Holl. When Kim’s cat has kittens, his parents tell him he can keep one, but must give the rest away. He puts them in his wagon and sets off, but things don’t go quite as planned.

This is a delightful book, and I scored a copy off eBay years ago to read to my two sons. It’s been read in our household hundreds of times.

What are some of your favorites? I’d love to hear from you.

kitten for kim

Historical Romance Author Linda Ellen talks about her parents’ tempestuous romance and the flood of 1937

Where were you when 9/11 happened? Most of us can answer that painful question without blinking, but if you were asked if you remember the flood of ’37  – chances are that you weren’t even born yet. This week marks the 81st anniversary of what has been called the Great Flood. On Jan. 9, 1937, heavy rain began to fall across the Ohio River Valley – and didn’t stop falling until Jan. 23. By the time the Ohio River crested (at some 27 ft above flood stage), 60 percent of Louisville, KY was underwater, 175,000 residents had been forced from their homes, and 90 people had lost their lives.

flood pics 4The clean up and recovery took months, yet for some, the level of devastation, both emotional and physical, was, at best, catastrophic, and lasted for years.

In an exclusive interview, Historical Romance author Linda Ellen shares her mother’s insight regarding that hardship in the novel, Once in a While.

Hello, Linda and welcome! Can you tell us why you decided to write Once in a While?

All my life I’d heard the stories of my mother and father’s tempestuous romance, and I’d heard tales about the monumental 1937 flood—that affected all 981 miles of the Ohio River and held the record as the worst natural disaster in the US until Hurricane Katrina—and that my father was one of many who helped rescue stranded victims. So after I had written four full-length novels and 28 short stories in Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman fan fiction, I looked around for a story that I could write as a ‘real’ book. Something that hadn’t been done and done again, lol.  I started thinking about Mom and Dad’s story and figuring how I could make it work as a novel.  Plus, at the time, I’d never seen the ’37 flood used as a backstory in a fiction novel. I thought that would make it unique.

What did your mother think when you told her you were going to write a novel based on her early life?

Mom used to say all the time that somebody could write a book about all of the linda ellen's momcrazy things that have happened to her. When I put the idea to her, she had mixed reactions. She was 88 at the time we started talking about it.  We jotted down some plot points that we could use, and she was hesitant at first. But the more we worked on it, the more excited she got.  We did change or alter the names of the real people in the story, to protect the innocent, haha.

What kind of research regarding the flood went into writing Once in a While?

Oh my gosh, tons.  I researched for three solid months before I wrote word one. Believe me, it’s a fascinating event.  That may sound mean, since so many lives were affected, but truthfully considering the magnitude of the damage and financial loss, there were very few lives lost. Most of those were due to exposure to the cold or water, or loss of power and heat.  My best source of info that provided the kind of thing I needed—personal insights from the people who lived it—came from a book by Rick Bell called, The Great Flood of 1937—Rising Waters—Soaring Spirits. It’s an amazing work and chock-full of photographs and personal, eyewitness accounts.  I checked it out so much and copied pages and pictures, etc, that I wore it out and ended up buying the library’s copy!  (For which they charged me full price, lol.)  Besides books, I also talked to anyone and everyone I could find who was either old enough to remember it, or had heard their own family stories about it, and found several gems that I used in the book. The best feedback of all, however, was from my mom. Her memories of her early years were amazing and she really helped with the small details so that I felt I was there and could write the scenes.

What was your hardest scene to write?

Oh my, there were several that took literal weeks to craft, and the emotion involved took a toll. Those had to do with a huge argument they had and the result of a misunderstanding that ripped them apart for a number of years.  For those, I had to ‘live’ the scene and let myself feel the heartbreak to be able to write it—her heartbreak as well as his.  Several times after working on a poignant scene, I had to walk away from the computer for a while and get my mind on something else. I want to say here, however, that I made sure the book isn’t a ‘downer’, has a great many funny scenes, and is for the most part upbeat. It’s divided into four parts, the first being the flood, the second their summer of dating and having fun, the third the period of being apart, and the fourth how they find their way back together.

What do you want readers to come away with after reading Once in a While?

Oh, I’d say several things. One aspect of Mom and Dad’s story was how keeping a secret, or in essence, allowing a lie to continue on, can backfire and cause nearly irreparable damage.  Another is the power of faith and believing that God is a good God and that if we ask forgiveness, He forgives and doesn’t keep hitting us over the head with our mistakes. The devil tries to cram that lie down our throats, causing us to believe every bad thing that he orchestrates has come from God as a punishment.  Rather, I’ve come to realize that God has good planned for us. Another is the belief in true soul mates.  Finally, I want the reader to come away with that coveted ahh feeling once they read that last page and see that no matter how bad things may look, they can always turn around with a little help.

Would you mind sharing an excerpt from the book?

Certainly!  This is from chapter 3—their first meeting. A head’s up: Vic’s best friend Alec has arranged a blind double date for him with a girl named Edna.  Louise is her younger sister.  An aside is that Alec has set Vic up on blind dates before (Alec is somewhat of a player, lol) that did not go well.  Vic has just arrived at the apartment house to pick up his date:

OnceWhile_LindaEllen ecoverRain was coming down steadily, with no end in sight, and it made Vic grateful that Earl’s father had allowed him to borrow his car for his date. Turning off the motor, he glanced around at the black and chrome interior of the vehicle, with its extended back end, long side windows, and low roof. Hope Edna’s got a sense of humor…and don’t mind ridin’ in an old hearse… he mused with a grin as he turned in the seat and laid a hand on the backrest of the worn and faded horsehair seat cover. Spying the torn places in the headliner and knowing the damage had occurred from the sharp edges of wooden coffins sliding in and out, he emitted a tiny chuckle. I think this car’s nifty, with its big round headlights, old-fashioned running boards and spare tire on the side…

Reaching up to tilt the small, mottled rear view mirror to the left to check his appearance one more time, Vic attempted to quell the butterflies flapping their wings in his stomach. Cursing the incessant rain and mumbling of his aversion to blind dates, Vic flipped up the collar of his worn leather aviator jacket and slipped out of the vehicle. Sprinting to the door of the building, he quickly ducked inside the main entrance. There, in the dim light from a single bare bulb high up in the ceiling, he checked the paper again to make sure it was apartment number two, before making his way down the shadowy hall to the large door.

Through its scratched, dark walnut surface, he could hear music and people talking, though he couldn’t determine how many were inside. The thought made him, for a moment, somewhat uneasy, as it was always a little unnerving to approach the unknown. At his knock, he heard scuffling noises and what sounded like urgent whispered instructions. When no one immediately came, his brow furrowed as he cocked his head to one side, trying to decide whether he should knock again.

Man I hate blind dates…who knows who’s gonna open this door… If Alec has fixed me up with another dog…I’ll have his hide, he smirked, shaking his head at his own thoughts. Mentally, he prepared himself to maintain a neutral expression no matter what the girl’s appearance might be, not wishing to hurt the poor thing’s feelings…

Just as he raised his fist to give the door another rap, he heard the lock being turned and the entry opened about a foot.

The delicious aroma of fried potatoes and onions, still permeating the warm abode, came floating out to tickle his senses. His mouth instantly watered, reminding him he’d only downed a quick bologna sandwich when he returned home from work, since Liz had not saved him any supper.

Then his eyes widened and a slow smile made his handsome face beam with charm.

There in the opening stood a lovely young woman in a tea length dress of embroidered netting over champagne satin. Rich sable hair softly floated around her shoulders…creamy smooth skin on a heart shaped face made it seem as if an ever-present light shone in her countenance, like the flame of a candle…lips like the wispy curve of a butterfly’s wings stretched slightly over a perfect line of pearly white teeth…and beautiful hazel eyes twinkled behind gently curling black lashes as she stared up at him enraptured. Vic’s breath caught as he stared back, momentarily stunned. He felt his pulse speed up as he took in the girl’s radiance.

Finally, he cleared his throat and unconsciously ran a hand back through his hair, which had been made slightly wavier by the rain and the damp evening air.

“Umm…Edna?” he murmured, the damp weather making his warm baritone sound husky. The words served to break the spell into which the two had been plunged.

The young woman blinked several times as if trying to gather her thoughts. Then one delicate hand unconsciously moved to the neck of her dress as she slowly shook her head.

“No…I’m Louise…Edna’s my sister. Are you Vic?” she managed. Unconsciously, she moistened her suddenly dry lips; slightly afraid he could hear the thunderous thumping of her heart.

Vic nodded and chuckled self-consciously, feeling like a fool for not introducing himself at once.

“Yeah, sorry. I’m Vic Matthews…I’m here to pick up Edna…she ready?” he added, silently hoping the sister was as much a looker as this one.

Glancing back over her shoulder at someone Vic couldn’t see from the doorway, Louise turned back to him apologetically, “Oh…I’m sorry. She’s…not feeling good tonight,” she murmured. She seemed to be hedging, as if scrambling for a reason other than the truth. “She won’t be able to go on the date with you. She’s sorry you made the trip for nothing…she didn’t have a way to reach you.” Her voice was kind and gentle, and seemed to glide into his ears and take up residence in the center of his chest.

Vic digested this for a moment. He was being stood up by a blind date. Great, he silently fumed, wondering if she truly ‘didn’t feel good.’ He thought for a moment that maybe the lovely Louise might want to go in her sister’s place, but negated that idea, figuring she already had a date for the evening – since she appeared to be dressed for it.

Vic had no way of knowing that Edna had borrowed the dress for their date; however, now that she couldn’t go, Louise had tried it on… and it fit her perfectly. Just before Vic had arrived, Louise had been modeling the lovely dress for her father and brother.

The two at the door heard a muffled voice from the other room and Louise nodded in answer, relaying to him, “She asked if she could take a rain-check.” As soon as the words were out of her mouth, she realized the unintended pun. Biting her lip, she attempted to stop herself from chuckling. Vic caught the joke and nodded, his lips pulling into a half grin. His eyes dropped to her mouth as her lips rounded into a smile that seemed somehow, in his unconscious opinion, to fend off the gloom of the rainy night.

Glancing back up to meet her eyes again, he murmured with a shrug. “Yeah, sure.” He waited a few beats more, staring at the girl as she returned his gaze. “Well…goodnight then,” he finally added, nodding to her as he turned to retrace his steps back down the hall. So much for a hot date to ‘keep me warm on a rainy night,’ he mused wryly.

Louise watched him until he disappeared out the front door and into the rain, then slowly stepped back into the cozy apartment and shut the door. Leaning her forehead against the cool hard wood, she could still smell the heady scent of Old Spice aftershave that had emanated from him…could still see the twinkle in his eyes, and hear his smooth voice intoning, “Goodnight.” Her knees felt weak.

My gosh! That has got to be the most gorgeous man I’ve ever seen in my life! She reflected as she turned to rest her back against the hard surface of the door. Staring straight ahead as though in an enchanted stupor, she allowed every second of the encounter to replay in her mind. Pressing a hand unconsciously to her chest, she felt her heart still pounding fast.

Those eyes…that wavy hair…those dimples…his voice was so smooth and deep…it was like living a scene from a movie…she dreamily contemplated, totally immersed in his enchanting memory.

“Louise, is he gone?” Edna’s edgy voice interrupted her reverie.

Distracted, Louise called back, “Yeah.”

“Well…what was he like?” her sister impatiently inquired as she came to the bedroom doorway. “Was he cute?”

Louise glanced at her sister, her gaze taking in the habitual sour expression, the brassy red hair, the cold blue eyes and the stubborn set to her chin. It occurred to her that Edna always seemed to get everything she wanted, while Louise ‘performed’ like Cinderella. Edna snuck around, drank beer, and did all kinds of things she never seemed to get in trouble for, while Louise was called on the carpet for ‘looking’ at someone wrong.

Louise’s eyes narrowed slightly as she made up her mind right then and there. If any Hoskins girl snags handsome Mr. Vic Matthews, its gonna be me.

Fibbing to her sister for the first time in her life, Louise shrugged nonchalantly and moved away from the door. Purposely, turning her back to her sister’s shrewd stare, she murmured, “He was…just okay.”

“Just okay, huh?” Edna snorted, decidedly unladylike. “Well good, then I’m glad I couldn’t go with him,” she added as she turned back into the room to recline on the bed with the hot water bottle and a well-worn copy of Hollywood magazine.

“Louise, come help me,” their mother instructed just then, beckoning the girl to come and assist with drying the dishes. “And you better take off that borrowed dress before you get something on it.”

Louise automatically obeyed, her mind only half on the task…the other half was firmly occupied with a pair of warm brown eyes and dark wavy hair.

Somehow she knew something significant had just happened…and she would never be the same.

This sounds like an awesome read! Where can we purchase it? 

You can buy it on Amazon along with its sequels, The Bold Venture and Almost as Much, which cover my parents’ relationship from 1937 – 1957.  These books are the Cherished Memories Series.

I’ve met your husband on several occasions. Is he your number one fan?

You bet! Steve is and has been so very supportive throughout the whole process and he linda and steve bullocktruly loves my writing.  I can’t put into words how good it feels to have a spouse like him that applauds my efforts and is truly proud of my achievements. He’s the first one I let read my chapters, and sometimes he has great insight into a scene or plot angle. I rely on him, especially for scenes from the man’s POV. And he has so much knowledge from different jobs he’s had and places he’s lived. He’s a treasure.

What are you working on now?

Oh, I’m very excited about my new project.  It’s set in 1870, and the title is New Love at Honey Landing.  I’m taking a local historical landmark’s location and house, and crafting new characters and storyline to go with it. It’s coming along great! I’m hoping to publish in the spring. It’s my first novel (other than my period pieces I did for Dr. Quinn) set that far back, and I’ve had to do a lot of research for it, as none of my knowledge and research from my 40’s novels could be used, lol.

 What advice would you give to your younger self?

Don’t make so many stupid mistakes!  Plan for the future—it will come and sooner than you think!  Start a savings account.  Beauty is only skin deep and many times people can be diamonds in the rough!

Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions, Linda. It’s been a pleasure interviewing you! And btw, a little birdie told me that today is your anniversary. How awesome is it that it happens to be on the same day that the flood crested?! Happy Anniversary to you and Steve!

Thanks so much, Belinda, for inviting me to be on your blog. I enjoyed answering your questions. I hope your readers will enjoy my answers. 

Linda Ellen’s other novels include, Her Blue-Eyed Sergeant, Her Blue-Eyed author-pic-lindaellen-2015-a1.jpgCorporal, and Her Blue-Eyed Lieutenant, which make up the Soldiers of Swing SeriesTo find out more about Linda, you can visit her website, or you can chat with her on facebook or twitter. Her books can be purchased on Amazon

 

Do you have a question or comment for Linda Ellen? Do you have a story to share about the flood of 1937? Please feel free to leave it below, and thanks for stopping by!

 

Belinda G. Buchanan is an author of Women’s Fiction & Mystery Novels. Her works include: After All Is Said And Done, Seasons of Darkness, The Monster of Silver Creek, and Tragedy at Silver Creek

 

THE BEAUTY OF THE PRESENT IS TRULY SEEN IN THE EYE OF THE GIVER

Pic courtesy of dreamstimedreamstime_xs_47410098

There are all kinds of shoppers in the world. The kind that spend hours searching online or in the stores for the perfect gift, the kind that goes to one store and, in the course of an hour, gets something for everyone on their list, and then there’s the practical shopper who gets you something you might not necessarily want, but he/she feels you need.

The latter reminds me of one Christmas in particular when I was in high school. It was three days before Christmas and me and my sisters had just finished helping my mom make three batches of fudge, along with a pile of divinity.  We were in the process of tidying up the kitchen when we heard the back door open and close, followed by the sound of my dad’s footsteps.

“Why did you come in the back door?” asked my mom when he appeared.

“I had something to put under the tree,” he replied as he sat down at the kitchen table to take off his boots.

My sisters and I looked at each other and then took off for the family room, where we found the biggest box we had ever seen; it was neatly wrapped in red Santa paper, and was so big, it technically sat in front of the tree, instead of under it.

“Who’s it for?” asked my twin sister.

“Your momma,” said my dad, who had apparently followed us into the room.

I pursed my lips as I stood there scrutinizing the box.  There were several things wrong with this picture.  The first was that my dad didn’t really do presents; he did money.  On Christmas morning, white envelopes addressed to each of us kids would be handed out; twenty dollars apiece – the same as every year.  My mom, would get fifty (I suppose this was because she ranked higher, being his spouse and all).  The money would always be in the form of a check, which meant we would have to rely on someone to drive us to the bank to cash it.  On the rare occasion that my dad would purchase an actual present for my mom, it would be the very best that the gas station down the street had to offer on Christmas Eve.  So, for him to have a present for her three days before Christmas showed that he’d obviously put some thought into it.  But what could it be?

For the next three days, we stared at the ginormous box, speculating amongst worst-presentourselves what was inside it.  I mean, even though my dad had stated that it was for Mom, something that big had to be for the whole family, right?  My mom seemed particularly intrigued, as well as thrilled that it was too big to be a toaster (a present from my dad two Christmases ago).

FINALLY, the blessed morning arrived and my sisters and I gathered around the tree, the anticipation so great, I could hear it crackling in my ear.  After opening our envelopes, we offered my dad an obligatory thank you and then turned our attention to Mom and what had come to be called “the present”.

My mom began to tear gently at the wrapping, taking her time as if she wanted to savor the moment.  After several agonizing seconds, there was no more paper to tear and she opened the lid to that massive box.  A pair of snow tires appeared – followed immediately by a foul odor.  As my sisters and I drew our heads back and away from the stench, we saw that the box the tires had been placed in once contained mutton from the restaurant that sat adjacent to my dad’s repair shop.  Together, the smell of new rubber and rancid meat made for a sickening combination.

“Snow tires…”  My mom hid her obvious disappointment behind a fake smile.

My dad leaned back in his recliner and grinned.  “Those are the best snow tires that money can buy,” he said in a booming voice, the pride of such an achievement evident upon his face.

“Thank you, Raymond,” said my mom, getting up to give my dad a hug.  “I can’t wait for it to snow so I can try them out.”

My sisters and I sat there in both bewilderment and awe of our mom’s gratitude for what had to be, hands down, the worst Christmas present in the history of all Christmas presents—until the smell emanating from the box drove us to the kitchen.

My dad and my older sister have since passed, but that story has been told every Christmas—twenty-nine of them to be exact— and it is told with affection, love…and most of all, laughter.

WorstChristmasPresentEverWhat was the worst/strangest Christmas present you or a family member has ever received? I would love for you to tell me.

 

 

NEVER GIVE UP! HOW AUTHOR JOE PERRONE JR. OVERCAME A STROKE TO TAKE BACK HIS HEALTH AND HIS LIFE

Today, I am honored to have my good friend, Joe Perrone Jr., join us.  Joe is a proud grandpa, avid fisherman, devout NHL fan (is that really a thing?) and an incredible writer.  I’m pretty sure he’s also a great husband, but his wife, Becky, refused to comment.  All kidding aside, Joe is the author of numerous books, including the amazing Matt Davis Mystery Series whose titles include As the Twig is Bent, Opening Day, Twice Bitten, and Broken Promises. photo-on-2-28-17-at-11-44-am

Never one to sit on his laurels, Joe was hard at work on the fifth novel in the series which was on track to be released in early 2016.   

But 17 months ago, Joe’s life was upended.

Joe, you suffered a stroke during the early morning hours of OCTOBER 2, 2015.  Did you know what was happening to you?

I awoke around 4:30 and thought my cat that had awakened me. I told my wife, Becky, that I was going to use the bathroom down the hall and then go on down to the basement to watch a little TV until I could fall asleep again. When I put my feet down on the floor and started to walk out of the bedroom, I noticed that the toes of my right foot were dragging just a bit, and I thought my foot must have fallen asleep.  However, as I made my way down the hall, I could tell that something definitely wasn’t right.  I took a baby aspirin and looked in the mirror to see if my face was symmetrical.  It appeared normal. After using the toilet, I went to gently lower the solid oak toilet seat down, but it fell out of my right hand and slammed onto the commode. By then, I was pretty sure I was having a stroke.

Your wife called an ambulance and 15 minutes later, you were en route to the hospital.  What were some of the things running through your mind?

In the ambulance, I had a long talk with God.  I assured Him that I was ready to go if he wanted me, but that I would really like to see my new granddaughter grow up a bit first. I never felt afraid. Once I was in the hospital, all I mostly thought about was not wanting to leave my wife, and how upset she would be if I didn’t make it. I immediately began to concentrate on doing whatever it took to give myself the very best chance of surviving.

That was a good attitude to have.  Once you were stabilized and things calmed down, were you afraid that you might not be able to perform the most basic of tasks, like signing your name, fixing yourself breakfast, walking unassisted, etc.? 

Yes. For the first day or so, my right arm was practically useless. I remember eating dinner that first night and every time I would lean forward with the fork in my left hand, the tray would magically move away from me.  I said to Becky, “Watch this.”  I leaned forward with the fork, and the table moved away.  I did that several times.  Finally, Becky started to laugh. “What’s so funny?” I asked.  Becky informed me that “It’s your right arm hitting against the tray that’s causing it to move away from you.”  I started to laugh really hard.  It occurred to me that what I was experiencing was a quintessential example of gallows humor. 

Before I was released from the hospital, the neurologist told me that I had definitely had a stroke, and there was a fairly good chance that I could have one or more strokes in the future.  She said that a change of diet and regular exercise would give me a better chance of not having another one, but that there were no guarantees.

No guarantees is a scary prospect.  How did you handle the news?

I experienced one or two panic attacks, but once I recognized them for what they were, I was able to diffuse their effects. 

Were you fearful that the damage from the stroke would prevent you from writing creatively?

As soon as I got home, I went straight to my computer and tried typing. It was a laugh riot.  My right hand kept sliding down a row, so that everything I typed came out as gibberish. The next morning, I was back at it, and things were much better.  But I was terrified that I wouldn’t be able to type. I write best when I can type, since I can type about 70 wpm, which permits me to keep up with the ideas and words that form in my mind. So I kept at it, until, by the third day, I was typing as fast as ever.  When I saw the neurologist later that week and told her about my typing, she said it was the best thing I could ever have done.

Some people may not know that you suffer from ADHD.  It’s a tough problem for children, let alone adults.  Did this impede your recovery process?

Fortunately, thanks to my wife’s diagnosis, I have been on Ritalin for nearly sixteen years. As a result, my ADHD is well controlled, and did not impede my recovery.  If anything, having the Ritalin probably helped me to stay focused on getting well.

How hard was it to get back in the saddle and begin writing again?

I wouldn’t say that it was difficult getting back to my writing, but, to be honest, writing was the farthest thing from my mind for the first six months or so.  During that time, all I wanted to do was eat properly, lose weight, exercise, do my special exercises, and get healthy again.  I lost 30 pounds, and I cut my cholesterol in half.  I can’t recall exactly when I got back to writing, but I kept on blogging all through my recovery.  My stroke occurred on a Friday, and normally I publish my blog on Saturday. However, I didn’t get home from the hospital until that Sunday evening. My youngest son, Matt, noticed that I hadn’t published my blog and asked if he could write a guest post.  I was delighted.  The following week I wrote my first post-stroke blog and called it “A Stroke of Luck,” because that’s exactly what it was.  It was a wake-up call, and I answered the call!

In what ways has your life changed since that day?  Describe a typical day for you now.

In general, I try to do something constructive every day, and I try to enjoy every day as fully as possible.  I know that my days are finite, and I want to make the most of what time I have left on this Earth. I guess it could best be described as living in the moment. I try to see my granddaughter as often as possible, which, thanks to FaceTime, is at least once or twice a week. A good deal of my day is spent in planning and preparing food for my near-vegetarian diet, writing some, and just relaxing. I try to walk at least two miles every day, and, following the stroke, I did not miss a day for approximately six months, including walking in rain, ice, and snow.

What sort of advice would you give to your younger self if you could?

Oh, wow, that’s a hard one. I guess I would advise me to not take anything for granted, and to make every moment count. I would also suggest that I not eat the usual half pound of chocolate per day that I used to consume.

I think that’s good advice for all of us! 

Your latest book, Deadly Ransom, the fifth book in the Matt Davis mystery series, released March 1.  You’ve overcome a lot of obstacles to get to this day.  How does it feel?

I guess it would be fair to say that I feel relieved. So many of my readers were expecting its release way back last spring, and I didn’t want to disappoint them. Knowing that it’s out there for them to enjoy is very satisfying.

Tell us about Deadly Ransom.

Well, it’s a bit different from the last four Matt Davis mysteries. A good small_front_cover_deadly_ransomdeal of the action takes place in Montana, which is a place I’ve never visited, but to which I’ve always wanted to go. I did a great deal of research for this book, which kind of gave me a nickel tour that I might not have experienced otherwise.

Would you mind to give us a small snippet?

Sure.  I’d be happy to.  This scene takes place right after a ranch owner’s foreman has been kidnapped.  The rancher’s name is Clint Davidson and he’s at his neighbor Ralph’s home, relating the events to his friend.

Montana

Ralph sat in his study and listened in disbelief as his friend and new neighbor, Clint, rattled off detail after detail about his predicament.  Ralph was incredulous.  After all, this was Montana in the twenty first century, he thought.  These kinds of things just didn’t happen here.  He needed to understand exactly what his friend was up against.

“Slow down, Clint.  It’s too much for me to absorb all at once.  Now start from the very beginning and don’t leave anything out.”

Clint’s face was ashen.  Ralph hadn’t seen him this distressed since Harriet died.

“I’m sorry, Ralph.  I’m just beside myself.”  Clint took a deep breath and began.  “Let me see, I guess it began when I didn’t smell the coffee this morning.  Shorty always makes the coffee before he does anything else—it was seven o’clock already and I couldn’t smell a damned thing.”

Ralph listened intently, running his fingers through his thick white hair.  He was 73 years old, and tough as they came.  He, too, was a bachelor—but by choice.

“I went downstairs,” continued Clint, “half expecting him to give me some bullshit excuse for not having the coffee ready, but he wasn’t even there.  I checked his cottage.  No Shorty.  That’s when I walked out to the barn and saw that Tyrus wasn’t in his pen.  It was no big deal.  He’s usually been fed and put out by seven, but I figured Shorty was probably inside the barn feeding him.”

“Then what happened?”

“Well, first thing I noticed as I got closer to the barn was that the door was ajar.  Now that’s something I never expected to see.  The padlock was unlocked and the door was open a good six inches.  I called Shorty’s name, but he didn’t answer—and that’s when I found Tyrus.”  Clint dabbed at the corner of his eye with a handkerchief.  “His throat had been slashed and they’d . . . well . . . they’d gone and cut his pecker off and wrapped it in newspaper—with a note attached to it.  Can you imagine that?”

Ralph gasped at the graphic image.  “And what did the note say?”

Clint reached into his back pocket and extracted a crumpled piece of paper, thrusting it at Ralph.  “Here, read it yourself.”  The note read:

“We killed your bull and we got Shorty.  We killed the bull to show we mean buziness.  Were tired of you White Men taking advantage of us.  We want to hunt and fish like we always have.  This is our land.  We want fourty thousand dollers too and than you can have Shorty back.  If we don’t get the money well do the same thing we done with your bull to your man.  Don’t get no FBI or police or else.  Well contact you soon and tell you where to bring the money.  Remember no funny buziness.”

The note was unsigned.

Ralph chuckled.  “Not much for grammar or spelling,” he observed.

“I guess,” Clint replied.  “But what do you make of it?”

Ralph shook his head.  “You got, what, ten thousand acres?

“More like closer to fourteen.”

“Plenty of neighbors, too,” added Ralph.  “Hell, it could be anybody.  But whoever it is, it sounds like they’re not fooling around.”

Clint frowned.  “So what do I do?”

“Depends,” admitted Ralph.  “Depends what they say when they contact you again.  My guess is they’re gonna try to bleed you for more and more money.”

Clint shrugged his shoulders. “I know everybody thinks that just because I’ve got this big ranch I’ve got money coming out the wazoo.  But hell, I’m mortgaged to the hilt.  I’d be lucky to scrape together twenty thousand, let alone forty.”

Both men were silent for a moment.

“Hey!” said Ralph.  “How ‘bout a cup of coffee?  I got some fresh-brewed in the pot.  Made it myself this morning.  Get the old corpuscles going.  Whatta ya say?”

Clint smiled.

“Atta boy.  Black, no sugar, right?”

“Right,” sighed Clint.

“Hell, we’ll figure this thing out.  I promise.”

Clint had his doubts.

 

Great excerpt!  Where can we buy a copy?

 Deadly Ransom is available on Amazon as an EBOOK and also in PAPERBACK.

Do you see more books in Matt Davis’ future?

That’s a difficult question to answer. As of now, I’m not planning another one. However, if Deadly Ransom is successful, and I feel there is enough interest on the part of my readers for me to write another, I might reconsider.
However, I will tell you that I am already eight chapters into writing a new stand-alone thriller called Getting Even!  It has a soon-to-be-retired FBI agent matching wits with a serial killer, and I’m pretty excited about it.  It’s going to be fairly hard edged compared to the Matt Davis series, and a bit of a departure for my readers and me.

Wow, that sounds like a toe curler for sure!  Thank you so much, Joe for taking time out of your busy day to answer my questions.  I wish you the best of luck on Deadly Ransom, and I’m looking forward to reading Getting Even! as well.

Thank you, Belinda! I enjoyed answering your questions.

To find out more about Joe and his books you can visit his links:

 WEBSITE   BLOG   FACEBOOK  TWITTER 

Belinda G. Buchanan is an author of edgy, women’s fiction & mystery novels. Her titles include, After All Is Said And Done, Seasons of Darkness, The Monster of Silver Creek, and Tragedy at Silver Creek.