#This&That&TheOtherThing – #Update – #Excerpt – #TheEmissary2:ToLoveSomebody

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Thought I’d take a break from physical labor and let you guys know that my new Time Management Plan is working great, so far. Both of my venues were amenable to having me visit every other month, so that alone cut my presentation workload in half. And I’ve scheduled my regular series posts as far in advance as possible, freeing me up a bit more each week. #GrannySays is now scheduled through the end of December! WooHoo! 

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Speaking of scheduling, just want to let you all know that I’ve still got some dates open for both my #TenThings series, and my #GuestDayTuesday series. If any of you are interested in doing a guest post for either one, here are some upcoming dates you can choose from:

#TenThings: July 6, August 17 and 31, and September 14.
#GuestDayTuesday: July 12 & 26, August 9 & 23, and September 6 & 20

That’s as far ahead as I want to schedule for now. If any of these dates will work for you please email me so I can hold it for you. While I may not be running these quite as often as I was, I still want to keep them going when I can. I love having guests here on TWS, and hope you’ll take advantage of one more opportunity to get your books “out there.”

THE OTHER THING

Just for kicks, I thought maybe I’d share an excerpt with you today from one of my books. I may do this now and then going forward, but not on a strict schedule or anything. Just when the spirit moves me and I have time to do so. Hope you enjoy this one, which is from the second novella in my Emissary series. This scene features the Archangel Azrael putting the first two human Emissaries to the Angels to work with his idea of what rigorous physical training should be. Enjoy! 

The Emissary 2: To Love Somebody

Three Weeks Later, on the Same Swelteringly Hot Deserted Island,
Two Exhausted, Frustrated Emissaries Dreamed of Escape,
While One Ginormous, Cranky Angel Rethought His Entire Career. 

“TWENTY-FIVE MORE and you may take a brief swim break to cool down. Then we will focus on the ground exercises.”

“Push-ups!” Dodger snarled, sweat streaming down his face. “Just call them freakin’ damn push-ups, why don’tcha?”

Jake counted off the last of his jumping jacks then flopped down on the sand, too tired to argue much less walk down to the water’s edge. Dodger dropped right beside him, every bit as exhausted and frustrated. The boy’s chest heaved, and Jake knew exactly how he felt. Time to speak up, perhaps.

“Azrael, we’ve been at this all afternoon. It could be time to call it a day. There’s such a thing as heatstroke, you know.”

“Too late,” Dodger muttered. “Already there. My blood is boilin’, and my eyeballs are melting.”

The angel snorted in disgust.

But Dodger wasn’t done with Azrael. “This is crazy. Why do we have to exercise like this, anyway? Our job is mostly mental stuff, but you’ve got us on a workout schedule elite military units couldn’t keep up with. I don’t get it, man.”

“I find it difficult to believe we are about to have this same conversation, yet again, but fine. If that is how you wish to spend your break, instead of cooling off in the ocean, I shall do my part. A strong body and a strong mind go hand in hand. It is my belief that both mental and physical training will enhance and strengthen your ability to do your job as emissaries. Do I need to keep saying this?”

Jake sat up, raising his hands over his head in surrender. “Peace, Azrael. Come on, Dodge. Let’s go cool off before he changes his mind.”

They slogged across the wet shingle and waded out just far enough to be able to sit shoulder-deep in the calm, green water.

“We’re gonna die here on this island, you know,” Dodger muttered.

“You do remember he can hear us, don’t you?”

“Let him listen. I don’t really care anymore.” He paused, then yelled out, “You hear that, Azrael. I don’t care! I’m two steps away from dead, here, thanks to you.”

Jake thought about reminding Dodger he couldn’t die, but then figured the boy might decide continuing to live in these conditions would be even worse—and he might be right.

“Okay, kid. I’ll talk to him. Even with the extra strength we’ve been given as emissaries, we have limits, and it’s probably time to ease back a little.”

He spent a few minutes going over how to approach Azrael, then they headed back across the sand. The angel was nowhere to be seen.

Shocked, they stood under the palms looking this way and that. Surely, they hadn’t made the angel angry enough for him to abandon them in this remote spot? Had they? The only food and shelter they had was what Azrael had been providing. Hell, they could be in another dimension, for all they knew! Alone, they really might die here.

Dodger was visibly shaken, chewing on his bottom lip as he studied the shoreline in each direction, and Jake could offer no reassurances. He hadn’t a clue what they should do, other than wait. Just when he began to think maybe Azrael really had abandoned them to their fate, a voice behind him said, “Looking for me?”

Fighting mad, Jake whirled around, only to see the angel standing beside an elegant dining table set for three. A white and gold tablecloth, china, sparkling stemware, and silver serving dishes from which mouth-watering aromas rose, awaited them. He gaped in complete silence, and amazingly, so did Dodger.

“If you two are ready to cease hostilities, I am ready to admit I may have been pushing you somewhat harder than necessary. My intention was to enable you to become the best you could be, but it is possible I overdid it a bit. I am aware that at least one of you has a very high regard for food and hope this meal will prove I have not been trying to kill you. Please accept this as my peace offering.”

He paused, waiting for their reactions, and Dodger rewarded him with half a smile. “Well, it’s a good start, anyway.”

“Smells like a delicious start to me,” Jake added.

Azrael pulled out their chairs. “Come. Let us enjoy our food. We have much to discuss about what you’ll be doing next.”

Dodger stopped. “Next as in what kind of torture you’re plannin’ to put us through tomorrow?”

“Next as in I think it is possible your first round of training might be complete.”

Jake grinned and punched Dodger in the arm. “Hear that, kid? We made it through this grueling process and have survived to tell the tale.”

Dodger balked. “I heard the words ‘possible’ and ‘might’ in that sentence. Did we finish, or didn’t we?”

Azrael’s face grew serious. “You have completed this portion of your training, though there may be more to come at a later date, if needed. And you surpassed all of my expectations, by the way, which were quite high. I am proud of you both, and I am also amazed it took you until today to mount a serious rebellion. Now, I hope you will join me in a celebratory dinner. You have earned it.”

They ate a meal 5-star restaurants could only dream about serving, then toasted the sun as it slid down behind the emerald waves. For the first time in nearly two weeks, their conversation was peaceful and relaxed. It consisted of things that didn’t involve sweaty workouts under the hot sun, nor laborious mental exercises focused on helping them control their ever-expanding powers. And it was exactly what they needed.

The meal ended with a dessert so chocolatey and decadent, it nearly made Dodger swoon, then Azrael waved his hand, and voila! Dishes, glassware, leftover food, tablecloth, table, and even the chairs disappeared in a blink.

“Handy trick,” Dodger observed.

Azrael simply smiled, and Jake marveled once again at the healing power behind that gentle, pleased expression. They were, indeed, blessed—even before Azrael whisked them back to where they’d left their truck, delivered a quiet benediction over them, then rose into the starry heavens.

They stared into the night sky for some time after the angel’s departure, silent, until Dodger’s soft comment. “Sometimes I forget what a wonderful and holy miracle he is.”

The night breeze carried the gentlest whisper of a reply. “I love you, too, Dodger.”

Jake put his arm around his boy’s shoulder and they climbed into the back of their big semi, crawled into their bunks, then drifted off to sleep. In the morning, they’d be ready to hit the road again, better prepared than ever to help those who needed them.


You can download The Emissary series here:
The Emissary 1
The Emissary 2: To Love Somebody
The Emissary 3: Love Hurts


And that’s it for today’s update. Hope you enjoyed the excerpt,
and please email me if you want to set up a guest visit between now and September.
Have a great afternoon!

#This&That&TheOtherThing – #Update

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Happy Tewe’s Day, everyone. Hope you all had great weekends. Mine was busy, busy, busy, but a bit more upbeat than the last few have been. My computer is still working, though there’s a problem with the co-ax cable which causes us to lose WiFi if it gets bumped even slightly. We’ll replace with new cable the next time it goes out.  For now, I’m back in business. And therein lies the rub. (Some famous guy once said that in a play, you know.  😀 ) 

THAT

The said “rub” mentioned above: I’ve been told by several people including friends (you know who you are), family, and even my family doctor that it’s possible … just possible, mind you … I’m trying to do too many things at one time. Huh. I never knew that would become a problem. Guess I figured I could handle as much stuff when closing in on 80 as I’ve been handling all my life. Apparently that was a Fool’s Dream. (Who knew?) Consequently, I’m busy trying to work out a schedule that lets me do as much as I can manage without pushing myself over the metaphorical cliff.

With that in mind, some things will have to go. Others I’ll mostly just need to cut back on the frequency of. (My beloved Wildlife talks may have to be cut to one a month, instead of two, for instance. Twenty-four a year is becoming problematic, so we’ll see if twelve works better.) But rest assured, I’m NOT giving up entirely on anything I either love to do, or need to do, especially my current WIP! It’s right at the top of my list, and Rabbit is getting antsy, since he’s full of things he wants me to write down for him. 😊

Our weekend home and garden projects are still a “need to” situation for now, but once most of them are completed, those can be cut WAY back. I do need to do at least a bare minimum of typical household chores fairly often, too, darn it.( Laundry will not wash itself, no matter how nicely I ask! 🙄 )

But saddest of all, I may have to cut back on the frequency of some of my blog posts (and even temporarily, some of my blog visits). To help prevent too much of that nonsense, however, I’m going to go ahead and schedule most of my regular “series” posts (#GrannySays, #ThorsDaySmile, etc) through the end of the year, though #MondayMeme is on a break for now. This will give me time each week to handle the guest posts I still intend to run any time I have folks who’d like to visit. (I do have openings for both #TenThings & GuestDayTuesdays, and will post a list of those dates later.) And on weeks when I find extra time available, I may throw in some bonus posts of my own on various topics, just for fun. No  promises on those, though, as I’m going to behave exactly as I’ve been advised to!

THE OTHER THING

Last of all, this is idea is already starting to work. I’m in a much better frame of mind today than I’ve been in for several weeks. Having a plan in place always helps me relax, and even if I’m still working on the implementation of it, I know I’m on the right track.

Thanks to all of you for your understanding and patience, and especially to those of you who’ve been extra supportive of me lately as I’ve stumbled around trying to make all the things I want to do work as easily as they used to. That’s not likely to be possible any longer, but that doesn’t mean I have to give up on everything I love! Not at all! I just have to be prudent and use some common sense. I can do that, no matter what anyone thinks. I can! Honest. No, really … I mean it! 😂😂😂  I’ll just pay more attention to the things Granny Says! 😉

Thanks for Sticking With Me Through This LONG Post!


STILL LOVE ALL YOU GUYS!

#This&That&TheOtherThing -#ComputerWoes & #HappyDays

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As I posted last week, we had very poor Wi-Fi signal in our house, and we relocated the modem to fix the problem. It did. For a whole week, we had Wi-Fi in every room! And all it cost us was some labor.

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Alas, on Friday morning, I started losing the internet connection. Things got worse and worse, and finally, my ancient pc just quit, and we lost Wi-Fi and all else, even though that should have stayed on. I was gone Saturday, but Sunday, we tried everything we could think of. The old pc would come on, but internet/ethernet/whatevernet was GONE. Period. As was the fan in the old computer. So we headed over to Best Buy to get a new one.

THE OTHER THING

The display of computers at Best Buy left me in shock! The were so SMALL, compared to the corpse of mine. When asked how old my dead PC was, I really wasn’t sure, but guessed it was over 5 years old. Maybe 6 or 7. Then later, I realized I wrote WRR on that computer and that was in 2013. My final calculation was that it was somewhere between 12 and 15 years old. No wonder I didn’t know what new ones looked like! But the upshot of it all is, we got the new computer, started setting it up, and in the process discovered the co-axial cable was kinked, which may have been why we lost the Wi-Fi, too. It came back on as soon as I sorted that out, and so far (knock wood, fingers crossed) we have a strong signal throughout the house. 

And I have the new pc set up (IT’S FAST, FAST, FAST compared to my dinosaur), and running now. Easiest set up I ever did. Sadly, I’m no where near done reinstalling a lot of programs that I’d collected over the years. Some of them may not even be compatible with this computer. But I’ll replace them with whatever works. In the meantime, I’m online, I’m able to access my blog, email, Amazon, and all the biggies. And if the bridge don’t go, the creek don’t rise, and the Wi-Fi continues to function, I’m BACK!!

Whew. Just in time for Wednesday’s Ten Things post, too. But, I’m afraid I’m likely to be very busy over the next few days, getting as many of my favorite programs back as possible. In the meantime, you guys have a wonderful rest of the week ahead! (NOTE: I almost lost my mind not being able to access the WORLD online! Missed you all, and I’m so happy to be back. Hopefully it lasts!!)

#This&That&TheOtherThing – #GuestDayTuesday – #AmWriting – #HappyEaster

Just a quick catch-up this afternoon, since I don’t think I’ll be around much this weekend. All sorts of stuff going on around here, as usual, and also as usual, I’m way behind on ALL of it. Plugging away at things, though! Honest!


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Putting another call out for #GuestDayTuesday posters. If you have a new release, a cover reveal, an excerpt you’d like to share (new or old), a promo you want to share, or some interesting tidbits about writing or marketing, #GuestDayTuesday is a perfect way to go. I’m very flexible about the topic of your posts and will include your author bio and photo, book covers, links to buy your books, and social media links.  Every other Tuesday is pretty much wide open from May 3 through the end of the year. Email me and we’ll set up a date that works for you!


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I have some fun (I hope) ideas in mind for some random posts in the weeks ahead, to include “Question of the Day”  and “Forgotten Words,” for two possible examples. Stay tuned for more. 


THE OTHER THING

Meanwhile, I haven’t forgotten that I promised you Rabbit fans out there a new series of novellas featuring that very special little boy (and his equally special abilities), his doting father, MacKenzie Cole, and his unofficially adopted big brother, Austin Dupree. (The upside of being alone in the world at ten is that you have a chance to choose the perfect family for yourself.)

I know I’ve been unable to work on this novella for a few weeks, but I promise that one way or the other, that will change. Cole, Cole, & Dupree Investigative Services (Motto: We Can Help!) IS coming to a Kindle store near you just as soon as I can make it happen!


And that wraps up this edition of This & That & The Other Thing.
Happy Easter Weekend to All!



#This&That&TheOtherThing – #BlogBreaks – #GuestDayTuesdays – #Excerpts

Time for a quick catch-up, since I’ve nothing scheduled for today, but do have a few things I’d like to mention. Here goes!


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Just a quick reminder that this week, my blog break day is Friday, so while I might check my email to see if there are urgent things awaiting me, I really won’t be around much too much.


THAT

Just want to remind you again that I’m ready to start scheduling #GuestDayTuesday guest posts for those of you who have something writing-related you’d like to share. I’m flexible on content for this one. Could be a new release or a cover reveal. Could be part of an upcoming blog tour. Could be you’d like to promote one of your books via your blurb and an excerpt. And it could also be something you’d just like to share about the process of writing and publishing. As always, I’ll include your bio, photo, cover, and all Buy Links and Social Media Links, so you’ll get some exposure that way, as well. For complete info, check General Blog Rules and Various Feature Instructions


THE OTHER THING

Another blog feature I plan to resurrect in the weeks ahead is “Excerpt Week,” wherein you are invited to share a favorite excerpt from one of your books, along with all of the Usual Stuff to promote the book.  I will, of necessity, limit the number of posts per day to two, so there will only be 14 spots booked for the week. But if it’s as much fun as it used to be, I will schedule it more often. And to get you in the mood, here’s an excerpt from my 3rd Wake-Robin Ridge book, Harbinger, which deals with the legend of the Black Dog as a harbinger of death. Happy reading!


***

Early June, 1994
North Carolina Mountains

~~~ 

           With a loud whoosh, the doors pulled closed on the big, yellow bus, and it rumbled down the old, two-lane highway, leaving the shrieks and laughter of the last few kids hanging in the muggy air. Sissy Birdwell stood on the dusty berm, waving goodbye to friends she wouldn’t see again until the fall, and watched the bus disappear around the curve.
          Reluctant to start the mile-long hike up the narrow, red clay road toward her home, she kicked aimlessly at some pebbles and twigs. Part of her was happy her mother had finally agreed she was old enough to walk home alone. After all, she was eight years old now, and certainly able to find her way to their house, which waited at the very end of the steep track. Another part of her shivered at the thought of the lonely, winding road ahead, which curved higher and higher through the thick woods, until it reached their clearing near the top of the ridge.
          She would never tell her mama this, but the dark beneath the trees scared her. She was afraid of bears. And coyotes. And snakes. And lots of other things that might want to share the road with her on an early June afternoon. But nobody in the whole Birdwell family would understand that, not even the women. They’d been part of these mountains forever, and she was sure nothing scared them at all.
          Of course, she could wait around for the second bus, then walk home with her brother—but that would be like admitting she was still a baby. No way she’d do that. So she squared her shoulders, and trudged up the drive toward home, refusing to look at the dusty trees and bushes that crowded close on either side. Instead, she pictured the litter of tiny pups their hound had presented them with last week, and tried to guess if any might have opened their eyes today.
          Thinking about cuddling those precious babies with their sweet puppy breath warm on her face made Sissy walk a bit faster, kicking up puffs of reddish dust from the dirt road. As she rounded the first broad curve, she saw a lone figure coming toward her. Even from a distance, the way the sun glinted on his coppery hair told her it was Cadey Hagen, the son of their nearest neighbor, but what he was doing on their drive, she wasn’t sure. The Hagen cabin was a good ways down the eastern slope of the ridge.
          “Hey, Sissy. You just gettin’ home from school?”
          “Hey, Cadey. Yeah. Sorry you missed the last day party.”
          He snorted. “Who needs them ol’ cupcakes, anyway? ‘specially if you gotta eat ‘em in a room full of stupid little kids.”
         “Wasn’t all little kids. All the grades were there, an’ the cupcakes were pretty good, too. Why’d you skip it?”
         He scowled, kicking at the dirt in disgust. “Didn’t skip it. Ol’ Lady Bratton suspended me for the last three days, just cuz she found me smokin’ behind the washroom.”
          “Oh. Didn’t know you got suspended. I heard you were in trouble, though. Only I heard it was because you had you a knife at school, and then you smart-mouthed Miz Bratton when she caught you.”
          “Well, she deserved it, dang ol’ biddy. Was only an ol’ Buck knife. Everybody carries ‘em. It don’t matter none to me, though. She’s the one gonna be sorry.”
          Sissy wasn’t sure what he meant by that, but she’d heard the bigger kids say Cadey was a boy you didn’t want to get on the wrong side of, so she kept quiet.
          Oh, he looked innocent enough, with his gap-toothed grin, freckled face, and jug ears poking out from under a thatch of hair that was more red than blond. He reminded Sissy of Opie Taylor, from the television reruns of the Andy Griffith Show, except older. Maybe twelve. She didn’t really believe he’d hurt anyone. Still, something told her not to ask any questions.
          They talked about school a moment or two, then Cadey made an announcement. “I got a secret. I’d tell you, but you ain’t old enough to trust with it.”
          Of all the things he could have said, implying she was still a little girl was the one guaranteed to get a rise out of Sissy. “Am so old enough! Ain’t nobody can make me tell a secret, Cadey Hagen. Why’re you grinnin’ like that? I wanna know.”
          “Just thinkin’. How old are you, anyway?”
          “I’m eight, an’ I know how to pinkie swear, an’ everything. I ain’t gonna blab your old secret. Probably isn’t all that good, anyway.”
          Now, Cadey was insulted. “Is so. Might be the best secret I ever had. You’d be pretty surprised, I bet.”
         They stood, indignant, in the middle of the dirt road, hands on hips, glaring at each other, then Cadey cocked his head. “What’s your real name, anyway?”
          “Cecelia Ann Birdwell. Why?”
          Cadey looked her up and down. The two of them were a study in contrasts, and Sissy scowled at the boy, as he took in her long black braids, tied with red cotton bows, and her smooth, tan skin, so different from his pale, freckled complexion. Even her tip-tilted black eyes, which clearly showed the Cherokee heritage in her family, contrasted sharply with his bright blue ones. When he finished his inspection, he seemed to have come to a decision.
          “Well, Cecelia Ann Birdwell, do you swear you’ll never tell? Hope to die? Lightnin’ strike you in the eye?”
          She huffed out a breath. “Yes. I swear I won’t tell nobody, hope to die, an’ lightnin’ strikes, an’ all. Now what’s your big ol’ secret?”
          “Come with me, then, an’ I’ll show you.”
          Without a moment’s hesitation, Sissy Birdwell took Cadey Hagen’s outstretched hand, followed him into the woods … and never came out again.


And there you have today’s This & That & The Other Thing
Hope you’ll start thinking about doing a #GuestDayTuesday soon,

and consider some excerpts for an upcoming #ExcerptWeek post, too.
Have a great day!

 

#This&That&TheOtherThing – #BlogBreaks – #UpcomingPosts – #DarkPlaceMinions

Happy Tewe’s Day, everybody. Hope all is going well in your corner of the world. Just wanted to give you a quick update this afternoon, so here goes:

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Had a lot of fun Saturday at the Meet the Author tea, met some brand new readers, and enjoyed seeing some old friends again. If you’ve never done something like this, I can tell you it’s well worth a go. It’s fun. You make new readers. And you have a chance to sell a few books, too. (Plus the food is usually wonderful!) I think you’d enjoy it!


THAT

My special guest for tomorrow’s #TenThingsYouMayNotKnowAboutMe post will be Teri Polen. Teri’s a great friend and a supporter of her fellow writers and bloggers, and I’m delighted to have her visit us. You won’t want to miss her post, I guarantee, so hope to see you tomorrow!


THE OTHER THING

For those of you who might be wondering, the effects of my run-in with those Minions of the Dark Place (fire ants) are gradually improving day by day. Today marks Day #10 since the little bastages hurled themselves at my feet and ankles, and left me with a total of 48 nasty bites. (I’ll spare you the foot photos today! 😁) They should be mostly gone in another week to ten days, and I will have lived to tell the tale. Again. In fact, I’m thinking fire ants will likely make a brief appearance if and when I return to my 4th Riverbend tale. Haven’t decided whether to finish that one or not, but if I do … expect  Minions. 


And that’s it for now! As you were, folks, and I hope to see you here tomorrow
and Friday. (Taking my Blog Break on Thursday this week.)
Until then, have a great rest of your day!