#SpringtimeTea #DeBaryHall – Reminder

Just a quick reminder for those of you the central Florida area. If you are planning to attend the springtime tea at DeBary Hall (11:00am, Saturday Feb 22), you need to contact the hall right away to make reservations. They have to know how many lunches to order from the caterers. 

Hope to see you there for a yummy lunch, custom teas, a reading & Q&A session with me, and a signed book of your choice, all included in the $25 cost. But don’t wait. The formal parlor area only seats about 20 folks, so don’t miss out.

Call 386-668-3840 and reserve your spot today!

Hope to see you there!

#Updates #BuildingALocalReadership #ScheduleChange

Just a quick post to let those in this area know that I’ve made some changes in my presentation topics. The dates are still the same, but I split one of my programs into Part 1 and Part 2, and that necessitated moving a few things around. Here is the info on the next two events I’ll be doing, followed by an updated schedule through October. 

Remember if any of you are planning to come to the springtime tea at DeBary Hall, you need to call and make reservations. The little parlor area in the mansion will only seat about 20 folks, so don’t wait too late! 🙂 I know most of you aren’t in central Florida, but for those who are, hope to see you at some of these. Thanks!

2020 EVENT SCHEDULE

CONTACT INFO:
DEBARY HALL: 386-668-3840 – 1 Tea & 5 Nature Programs
ENTERPRISE MUSEUM: 386-259-5900 – 13 Nature Programs & 1 Tea

Note: Planned topics may change. If in doubt, call ahead for updates.

*********************************************************************************************

 JANUARY
     January 11 – EM – CFFW Alligators & Crocodiles
     January 25 – EM – Book Release Open House

FEBRUARY
     February 8 – EM Furry Critters #2, PART 1: Raccoons (New 2020)
     February 22 – DH – Springtime Tea

MARCH
     March 7 – EM – Furry Critters #2, PART 2: Opossums and Armadillos
     March 28 – EM – Florida’s Fantastic Owls 

APRIL
     April 11 – DH – For Goodness Snakes!
     April 18- EM – Vultures and Crested Caracaras (New 2020)

MAY
     May 9 – DH – Furry Critters #1 – Squirrels
     May 23 – EM – Florida’s Fabulous Felines: Bobcats and Panthers (New 2020)

JUNE
     June 6 – EM – Lizards and Skinks (New 2020)
     June 13 – DH Furry Critters #2 – Raccoons (New 2020)
     June 27 – EM – Florida’s Fabulous Woodpeckers (New 2020)

JULY
     July 11 – DH – Furry Critters #2, PART 2: Opossums and Armadillos
     July 25 – EM – Furry Critters #3:  Foxes and Coyotes (New 2020)

AUGUST
     August 8 – DH – Florida’s Fantastic Owls
     August 15 – EM – Turkey and Quails (New 2020)

SEPTEMBER
     September 12 – EM – Goin’ Batty (New 2020)
     September 26 – EM – Tea

OCTOBER
     October 10 – EM – Exotics Running Wild! (New 2020)

#BuildingALocalReadership #Update #CentralFloridasFabulousWildlife #EnterpriseMuseum

Just a quick update for those of you in central Florida who might be planning to come to my wildlife presentation on Saturday. It was originally intended to focus on three more fun critters, namely raccoons, opossums, and armadillos. As I got into gathering facts and figures, I realized that I couldn’t do any of the three justice in one presentation, so “Furry Critters #2 has now been broken into a Part 1 and Part 2. This Saturday, we’ll be talking about Raccoons, and on March 7, we’ll cover Opossums and Armadillos.

Remember, the wildlife talks are all 1:00-3:00pm, no reservations required, and FREE, though donations to the museum are always needed and gratefully accepted.

Hope to see some of you there!

#GuestAuthor #Promo #Excerpt- End of Day by Mae Clair

I’m so excited to be sharing an excerpt from Mae Clair’s End of Day, the 2nd book in her fabulous Hode’s Hill series, along with her news of a fantastic sale! First, take a look at this terrific, shivery cover!

And next, here’s Mae to tell you all about what’s coming up! Mae? You’re on!

~~~

Many thanks for hosting me today, Marcia. I’m delighted to share exciting news about my Hode’s Hill series of mysteries. For the month of February, my publisher has placed all three books on sale. That’s right—all three! End of Day and Eventide are currently priced at .99c each. Later this month, you can pick up book one, Cusp of Night FREE from the 20th through the 25th.

That means you can purchase all three supernatural suspense mysteries for a total of $1.98, a hard deal to beat. Each book features dual timelines—a mystery in the past, and a mystery in the present—which tie together at the close of each novel.

Today, I want to take a closer look at book 2, End of Day.

Jillian Cley was born with empathic abilities that have made life difficult. Because the emotions of others overwhelm her, she’s created a habit of holding people at arm’s length. She works from home and keeps to herself with only Blizzard, her therapy dog, for company. Once a week, she honors a tradition that has been passed down in her family through generations­—tending the burial plot of Gabriel Vane. Jillian doesn’t truly understand the reasoning behind the strange obligation, but faithfully maintains the practice. Shortly before Halloween, Gabriel’s grave is dug up and his remains are stolen. At the same time, bizarre accidents begin happening to the residents of Hode’s Hill.

In the excerpt below, Detectives David Gregg and Sherre Lorquet confer about the theft.

~ooOOoo~

Leaves crunched under David’s shoes as he made his way to the rear of the cemetery. Sherre Lorquet was in the farthest corner, squatting by an open grave. A decrepit-looking hickory tree hunched over her shoulder, bowed over the tomb like a sentry in mourning. Sherre stood when she saw him, dusting her hands on her pants. The area had yet to be roped off; mounds of fresh dirt scattered in humps behind the church. Fallen hickory nuts littered the ground.

“What do you think?” She indicated the narrow ditch. “Halloween trick?”

“Could be, but we’re weeks from Hell Night.” He looked for a grave marker. “Do we know the identity of the remains?”

Sherre consulted a small notebook. “Gabriel Vane. The headstone is over here.” She walked around the edge of the pit. Unlike the tall limestone and granite markers denoting other graves, Vane’s headstone was recessed into the ground. David could barely read the lettering, but someone had tended the plot, ensuring the slab was free of mold and weeds. Drawing a small flashlight from his pocket, he flicked on the beam, then dumped light on the stone.

Gabriel Vane
1781

October 21, 1799

“That’s a hell of an old grave.”

“Could be the first in the cemetery.” Sherre hooked sleek black hair behind her ear. “The original chapel on this site was built when Hode’s Hill was a village. Why would anyone want the remains of a body that’s over two centuries old?” She tilted her head to stare up at him.

“Could be a prank, or a meth-head hoping to score off the sale of old bones. Could even be ritualist.”

“Satanic?” Sherre clicked a pen against her teeth. “Not this grave.”

David raised a brow. “Why?”

“Did you look at the depth?” She inclined her head to indicate the hole. “Eight feet or better. Not sure why a body would be buried so deep, but there are more recent graves, some as late as the early twentieth century. No need for the perp to dig so far.”

“Would our grave robbers know that?”

“You used plural.”

“Had to be more than one. Too much work for a single person. And if someone is selling bones to a museum or hoping to fetch black market price, the older the better.” He squatted, noting where the dirt and grass had been raked over by slender tines. “Looks like they covered their tracks. What about tire prints?”

“Thorton’s on it.”

David nodded, standing and dusting his hands. “Shitty day. Did you hear about Coleman?”

Most everyone who worked at the precinct was on friendly terms with their janitor. Coleman often stopped to shoot the breeze in the squad room, sometimes showing up with donuts or muffins from the local bakery. The guy had been working for the city long before David started, and had to be seventy if he was a day.

Sherre’s brow knitted. “What happened?”

“He was changing a fluorescent tube when the whole light came loose, mount and all. The thing dropped like a guillotine and sliced off his ear.”

“My God.”

“Ambulance took him to the hospital, but I guess his heart couldn’t stand the shock. I heard he died in transit.”

Sherre blanched. “That’s horrible! Poor Coleman.” She’d been close to him like everyone else. “His wife is going to be devastated.”

“Yeah.” David dropped his voice. It sucked when bad things happened to good people. “There’s a collection going around at the precinct. The place was a mess this morning when it happened.” He forced the thought aside. Cops didn’t dwell on death, especially when they had no control over it. “You notice anything unusual about Vane’s grave?”

Sherre frowned, the movement drawing attention to the beauty mark at the corner of her mouth. The tiny mole looked damn good on her coppery skin. Too bad the department had a rule about fraternizing.

“You mean other than the fact it’s got a recessed headstone and is currently nothing more than an eight-foot ditch?”

“Yeah. What you said—and it’s isolated.”

Her brows furrowed. “Huh?”

“Take a look.” David indicated where they stood in conjunction with the other tombstones. Gabriel Vane’s grave was segregated behind the church tower, the singular burial plot removed from the others.

“Shit.” Sherre’s eyes grew wide. “It’s like he was ostracized.”

~ooOOoo~

BLURB:

The past is never truly buried…

Generations of Jillian Cley’s family have been tasked with a strange duty—tending the burial plot of Gabriel Vane, whose body was the first to be interred in the Hode’s Hill cemetery. Jillian faithfully continues the long-standing tradition—until one October night, Vane’s body is stolen from its resting place. Is it a Halloween prank? Or something more sinister?

As the descendants of those buried in the church yard begin to experience bizarre “accidents,” Jillian tries to uncover the cause. Deeply empathic, she does not make friends easily, or lightly. But to fend off the terror taking over her town, she must join forces with artist Dante DeLuca, whose sensitivity to the spirit world has been both a blessing and a curse. The two soon realize Jillian’s murky family history is entwined in a tragic legacy tracing back to the founding of Hode’s Hill. In order to set matters right, an ancient wrong must be avenged…or Jillian, Dante, and everyone in town will forever be at the mercy of a vengeful spirit.

UNIVERSAL PURCHASE LINK 

Connect with Mae Clair at BOOKBUB and the following haunts:

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Cover Reveal for Grinders by C. S. Boyack

I’m happy to welcome C. S. Boyack here today with a cover reveal of his newest work, Grinders. Craig has some interesting info to share on the book, as well. This intriguing set up will surely inspire you guys to share this post far and wide! Thanks! Now, take it away, Craig!

~~~

I’m here to reveal my newest cover and talk a bit about Grinders. This time, I’m tackling a cyberpunk world. It’s one of those worlds where the Internet and being connected too much controls our lives.

One of the things I like about science fiction is the ability to project current events into the future. I call this, “Poking things with a stick.”

I poked a lot of things in this book, but most of them are in passing. Some of them show up in advertisements, which are invasive in this world. Others might just be a news blurb. There are times when I dive a bit deeper, and not everything is negative. Here is a small list of things that show up in the story:

  • Global warming
  • Plastic pollution
  • Helicopter moms
  • Cyber shut-ins
  • The energy crisis
  • New ways for package thieves to operate
  • Police who can’t carry guns until they are five-year veterans
  • Homeowner associations

There are a lot more, and most of them are pretty subtle. Cyberpunk is not known for deep plots, but I wanted one anyway.

Grinders is set about a hundred years in the future, in San Francisco. The main characters are cops assigned to the Grinder Squad. This is the duty nobody wants, and you almost have to screw up to get this assignment.

Grinders exist today, but I ramped them up for this story. These are people who surgically modify themselves, or each other, in basement surgeries, beauty salons, and tattoo parlors. Real world examples are those who implant chips under their skin to allow themselves to unlock doors or start cars without a key. There has even been one who injected dye into his eyeballs in an attempt to see in the dark. In that example, it actually worked but the results were temporary.

My story involves the downside of these modifications, why they’re illegal, and most of them are a bit more extreme than the real world versions. For example, you’ll meet Brandi, who has moth-like antennae implanted into her forehead. They aren’t just cute, they allow her to taste virtually everything. She’s almost like a bloodhound, only using the sense of taste.

Grinder Squad rarely ever does anything, but the new girl on the squad, Jimi, wants to bust a grind shop in the worst way. She feels like it could be her ticket off this crap detail and on to better duty.

One of my silly goals was to release the book in time for Chinese New Year. I’m not going to make it. I still need to finish my final pass, send it to the formatter, and get my promotional posters. It’s going to need a blurb, too.

I targeted this date because in the story, it’s the Year of the Rat. An important part of the story takes place at San Francisco’s annual parade. There are even a couple of rats in the story that play a pivotal role. Aside from that, I was born in the Year of the Rat.

Readers won’t actually care about my silly target date, and it’s more important to give everything the final polish. What I did get in time was cover art. So Gong Hei Fot Choi, everyone, and enjoy the cover. The story will be available before you know it, and I’ll announce that on my blog.

 

You Can Reach C. S. Boyack at the Links Below

 

An Update on #ShareAReviewDay

I know I said I was going to be resuming #ShareAReviewDay starting tomorrow, 1/7, but I was a bit over-optimistic. I’m still trying to catch up with a ton of stuff, while trying to pace myself by not over-doing. And my local presentations are starting up again this coming Saturday, so I’m not totally organized yet.

Okay, who am I kidding? I’m never totally organized! But I’m usually closer to it than I am right now. With that thought in mind, I’m going to resume #ShareAReviewDay Tuesdays (one of my favorite regular features) on Tuesday, 1/21, and I’ve already got one review set up for that morning. I like to do two per Tuesday, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, and it’s always on a first-come, first served basis.

If one of your books has gotten a new review you’d like to share, or you have an older review you’d like to get in front of some new readers, please check the instructions in the header above under “General Blog Rules and Various Feature Instructions.” All you have to do is email me the things listed there, and I’ll set you up in the next available slot. (The first one to reach out to me gets the afternoon slot for 1/21!)

Be forewarned: When I don’t get enough reviews from you guys, I start sharing my own.  😀 

I hope to hear from a few of you in the next week or two, so I can start scheduling you. Let’s let everyone see what readers are saying about your books! 

Now, back to your previously scheduled programming.
😀

Home from Denver, and Up to My Usual Mischief Once More


Red Rocks Park and Natural Amphitheater

Brace yourselves, folks–she’s baa-aack! And bringing photos and news along with her! We had a lovely time in Arvada (just outside of Denver) and enjoyed the nippy (20 degrees or so) weather. Even got a bit of snow, but nothing like the 18″ that fell a couple of weeks before we went. 

We visited several outdoor areas and parks, including the one above, and took a long drive into the mountains. Sadly, our planned trip to Estes Park was cancelled due to heavy snow up that high the day we were planning to go, but we’ll see it in the spring, I’m sure.

We did visit Lair O’ the Bear park, but could only hike a small ways along the trail, as it was iced over and very slippery. Will visit that one again in the spring, too. Still, as you can see from the above photo, it was beautiful, and we had a great day.


Red Rocks Amphitheater from the Top


Some of the Fantastic Rock Formations at Red Rocks Park


More red rocks at Red Rocks

We had a fabulous time at Red Rocks Park & Amphitheater, where many, many concerts have been held. Mark got a nice shot of the amphitheater itself, but by the time I made it up there, I was too winded to think about pictures. But I DID make it, and it’s a pretty steep path. I am ecstatic to be able to say I sat on the stage where so many groups have performed! Yay, me, for persevering through all the huffing and puffing! I’d share the pics of Mark and I at the top, but they are somewhat less than flattering, so I’m sparing your sensibilities! 😀

John Denver “Spirit”

One of my favorite things about the park was this fantastic statue of John Denver, an icon of the area, for sure. (You can hardly keep yourself from singing “Rocky Mountain High” under your breath as you hike along!) We really enjoyed the day. I was also excited (birdwatcher that I am) to spot my first magpies on this trip. Got a great look at one at Red Rocks, as well as seeing a small herd of mule deer.

Mule Deer (a first for us)

Gramps and Kaelen

Here’s another shot from one of our outings, though I’m not sure which one.  Gramps and Kaelen usually led the way on our adventures.


Picnic in the Snow, Anyone?
(We ate FAST, then went for our hike!) 😀


Back at the (WARM) House!


Erin, Me, and Reya 

And I think I’ll close this with a picture of three generations of happy ladies, windblown, red-cheeked, and having a great time.

Hope all of you have been enjoying the season, so far, and are ready to celebrate the holidays. Me? I haven’t bought a single Christmas gift, so I suspect I’m going to be very, very busy this week! 😀 But I’ll be ho-ho-hoing all the way! 

Merry Christmas!

 

A Quick Update & Sharing a Guest Post

Just wanted to touch base with you guys and let you know that I’ve been feeling better for the last 3 days than I’ve felt since I fell. I’m hopeful this is a trend that will continue, and I’m going to do my best to get this week’s normal features back up and running. Bear with me if I fall short of that, but I’m optimistic!  And thank you ALL so much for your kind words and support. I appreciate it more than you know!

Also today, I want to share another guest post I did over two years ago on Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo  blog. Yes, I know that’s two in a row, but this post is one that means a lot to me, and I like to think it will inspire a few of you who are sitting on the fence about pursuing your dreams of writing–or of anything else you’ve put off for too long. I hope you’ll take a minute and check out the following link. And as always, feel free to share with the Immediate World. 😀 

Guest author: Marcia Meara – Attitude really IS everything!

Good Morning & An Update


(For Mae)

Happy Freya’s Day, Everyone! (Okay, Friday is actually named for the Norse goddess Frigg, but Freya and Frigg are considered by most to be the same goddess. That being the case, I’m going with Freya, because, you know. It sounds nicer. 😉

At any rate, I hope your day is a good, productive one with plenty of smiles. 

As you may have noticed, I don’t have things back on my preferred schedule quite yet, and I apologize for that. The truth is, I’m still not feeling 100% after my fall of two weeks ago. I’m vastly improved, for sure, but I’m still suffering some recurrent dizziness and fatigue. This isn’t uncommon when you’ve received a concussion and can continue for several weeks before finally disappearing. And while the ER doctor said he didn’t THINK I had a concussion, he also told me to watch for the signs of one. (Along with the signs of brain bleeds and swelling, and various other things. I spent a lot of time watching, believe me.) Bottom line is, concussions are often missed, and based on the types of symptoms I have going on right now, it appears I’m still recovering from one. Frankly, I’m just grateful I’m not still recovering from a fractured skull. 

And all of this is by way of telling you that, as you’ve no doubt noticed, #FirstLineFriday has been put off for another week, due to a couple of bad days Tuesday and Wednesday that pushed me even farther behind on my overall work schedule. But NOT to fear! I am much better than I was, and I know I’ll be catching up soon. I’m just trying to do what my  doctor suggests and not push too hard, though it’s against my nature to be idle very long. So, I work a bit, and then I rest a bit, and by and by, I expect the time spent working to increase until life is once again as normal as it gets around here.

Thanks so much for your patience and your well wishes, and all the kind things everyone has sent me. I appreciate each and every one of you more than you can imagine! Will be resuming my usual blog features, etc, one at a time until all is running smoothly again, which I hope won’t be too much longer.

And now we’ve come full circle: Happy Freya’s Day, Everyone! 😀 ❤

Enough, Already! Or, What Do Fire Ants, Cellulitis, and Ascending Lymphangitis Have In Common?


Fire Ant
(There are several varieties, but all look similar.)

I’ll tell you what they have in common: a second trip to the ER in eight days and  a ninety-minute IV hookup! Yep. I’m not sure I’ve ever been treated in an ER before, and now I’ve had to visit one twice in just over a week! Saw the same doctor, too. We’re on a first-name basis, now.  And what caused this week’s drama? A stinkin’, vicious little  invasive critter known as a fire ant!


Note the BIG Jaws on the head, and the
pointy STINGER on the other end!

Fire ants aren’t content with just biting you, like most ants, oh no. They bite in order to hang on to your skin while they STING the hell outta you with the HARPOON in their posterior region! Fire ant bites cause a red lump with a “blister” (a/k/a pustule, ick) on top. The sores  itch like fire–hence the name–and on many of us can last ten days or longer before finally shrinking to nothing and disappearing. You can end up in the hospital if you are allergic to them, or, like me, accidentally scratch them open and they become infected. Often seriously so

Tuesday afternoon, I realized that the one on my arm was not looking good. I treated it with some  antibiotic ointment and crossed my fingers. Yesterday  morning, it was looking much worse, but I couldn’t get in to see my doctor. Within a couple more hours, it was a mess, and I had red streaks about 6 inches above the bite, running in several directions. This is what we used to call “blood poisoning” and it was NOT to be dismissed lightly. Today, it’s known as ascending lymphangitis, or an infection spreading upward through the lymph glands, toward the heart! (BTW, “cellulitis” just basically means “infection of the cells.”)

No way I could wait for my doctor to be available. 

Back to the ER I went, where they admitted me immediately and said they needed to get antibiotics in my system as fast as possible, thus the IV. On the happy side, the red lines started fading within a couple of hours, and the rest of my medication can be taken via the usual route, by mouth with a glass of water, over the next week. 


Typical Fire Ant Mound
(Though They CAN be Smaller, Too)

I’m reporting this in detail because I want those of you who live in areas where fire ants have taken over to be very aware that their bites can be more than just a painful annoyance. The current thinking is, do NOT puncture the blister on top of the bite, and if it accidentally gets broken open, clean immediately, and treat with antibiotic ointment. If it starts oozing and hurting, get medical treatment before you end up with streaks running up your arm. Lymph gland infections can lead to all sorts of problems, including organ failure, and they spread very quickly. 

Speaking of spreading, these nasty little ants have been doing so (especially in the southeast) for years, via the usual methods, plus the ability to make large, floating mounds of nothing but THEM, and drifting along on water to reach their next area to colonize. They move this way often after storms and flooding.


Nuthin’ Here But ANTS, Being Carried Along
on Top of the Water. Soooo . . .

Praemonitus, praemunitus!
or
Forewarned is forearmed. 

*NOTE: This has been a Public Service Announcement.*
😉