#TenThingsYouMayNotKnowAbout – Author #KassandraLamb

Woohoo! Time for another fun #TenThings list! This time, our guest is Cozy Mystery author Kassandra Lamb, and I know you’re going to get a kick out of some of the things Kass is sharing today. With that in mind, let’s get going! Kass, the floor is all yours!


10 Things You May Not Know About Kassandra Lamb

Wow, it feels really good to be back here guest posting! I’ve been away too long, busy pumping out books. But I couldn’t resist Marcia’s call to participate in her 10 Things You May Not Know series.

So here are my 10 things:

  1. I just turned 70!! Yeah, I’m still getting used to that idea.

A friend of mine once quipped, on the occasion of her fiftieth birthday, “How did my 25-year-old mind get caught in a 50-year-old body?” Well, I think my mind has probably matured to about age 40, but now it’s trapped in a 70-year-old body. Yikes! How did that happen?

  1. I have very few wrinkles. Oily skin finally pays off.

However, I’m discovering there is a downside to looking younger than you are, at my age. People expect me to be able to do things my body can’t handle anymore. So…

  1. I let my hair grow out during the pandemic lockdown and…

I discovered some lovely silver tresses had been hiding under the hair dye. I decided to let them stay, adding just a few auburn highlights to ease the transition.

  1. I have had 4 significant careers in my life.

One, admin assistant in Human Resources (only we called it Personnel and admin assistants were not synonymous with secretaries back then—less typing and more organizing). Two, psychotherapist and three, college professor in psychology. And now number four, mystery writer.

I’ve loved all of them. I think writing will probably be the last one, but you never know.

  1. As you may have noticed, sales were not involved in any of those. I’m a lousy sales person.

I learned this, at age 16, when I was an “Avon lady” for five months. And ended up still owing money for my samples case when I finally gave up.

  1. I have visited 7 countries and 21 states (not counting those I have only driven through) in the U.S., including Alaska and Hawaii. But I’ve only ever lived in 2 states, Maryland and Florida.

I don’t intend to live anywhere else. I do love to travel though, and hope to add more countries and states to my “visited” list.

  1. In Maryland, we owned a small horse farm for 12 years.

Normally, when we’ve moved to a new home, I’ve been more than ready to go (see below). But I loved that farm so much. Only palm trees and a warmer climate in Florida could lure me away from it. It’s the only time I’ve ever cried on moving day.

  1. Because I actually like moving! I know, totally weird, right?

To me, it’s a big adventure. I love the packing and the actual move day. And the unpacking is fun too, deciding just where each item should go in a new place.

I even vicariously enjoy other people’s moves and volunteer regularly to help friends pack and/or move. I really get on their nerves though, on moving day, when I’m all happy and smiley and they’re all stressed out and grumpy. 😀 vs. 😦

  1. I love DIY projects.

Although I can’t do really big ones anymore. I don’t have the physical stamina. About 8 years ago, I painted the entire exterior of my house (with some help from my brother). It took the better part of 3 months, painting one section at a time, doing the trim work, etc. in my spare time.

Lately, my biggest project was building a little patio for my fire pit. I plan to read out there this winter (or what passes for winter in northern Florida), with the fire keeping my toes toasty. Because… 

  1. I love being outside. I get high on fresh air!

My screened porch is my favorite “room” in the house. And one of the glorious things about living in northern Florida is that we have long beautiful springs and autumns. I have every window in the house open most days, from March to May and again from October to December.

Hope you found my 10 things interesting! And thanks, Marcia, for having me over to your cyberhome for a visit.


It was a pleasure to have you, Kass, and I hope you’ll visit more often. But now, let’s take a look at some of your books, including your latest!


You can buy To Bark or Not To Bark HERE
(GENRE: Cozy Mystery, Book 12 of the Series)

BLURB:

Service dog trainer Marcia Banks tackles a locked room mystery in a haunted house, while training the recipient of her latest dog.

The border collie, Dolly has been trained to clear rooms for an agoraphobic Marine who was ambushed in a bombed-out building. But the phantom attackers in his psyche become the least of his troubles when Marcia finds his ex-wife’s corpse in his master bedroom, with the door bolted from the inside.

Was it suicide or murder? Marcia can’t see her client as a killer, but the local sheriff can.

Then the Marine reports hearing his ex calling for him to join her on the other side of the grave. Is his house really haunted, or is he hallucinating?

Bottom line: Marcia has lost a client to suicide before. She’s not going to lose another!


Author Kassandra Lamb

In her youth, Kassandra Lamb had two great passions—psychology and writing. Advised that writers need day jobs—and being partial to eating—she studied psychology. Her career as a psychotherapist and college professor taught her much about the dark side of human nature, but also much about resilience, perseverance, and the healing power of laughter. Now retired, she spends most of her time in an alternate universe populated by her fictional characters. The portal to this universe (aka her computer) is located in North Central Florida where her husband and dog catch occasional glimpses of her.

NOTE:

 Kassandra’s first series, set in her native Maryland, stars psychotherapist and amateur sleuth, Kate Huntington. In her newer cozy mystery series set in Florida, Marcia (pronounced Mar-see-a, not Marsha) Banks trains service dogs for combat veterans and solves mysteries in her spare time, with the assistance of her Black Labrador sidekick, Buddy.

Book 1 of the Kate Huntington Mystery Series

Book 1 of the Marcia Banks and Buddy Series

Kassandra is now contemplating another series, a police procedural, with a spinoff character from the Kate Huntington mysteries, police lieutenant Judith Anderson.


You Can Buy To Bark or Not To Bark Here:

AMAZON
NOOK
APPLE
KOBO
GOOGLE PLAY 
AMAZON UK
AMAZON CA
AMAZON AUS

You Can Reach Kassandra Lamb on Social Media Here:

WEBSITE
BLOG 
FACEBOOK
INSTAGRAM 
PINTEREST  
TWITTER
BOOKBUB PROFILE
AMAZON AUTHOR PAGE

#TenThingsYouMayNotKnowAbout – Children’s Author #MikeAllegra

It’s time for another #TenThings guest, folks, and I’m very happy to say that today’s guest is a truly funny guy who loves some of the same things in life that I do, most notably, capybaras! I’ve been a fan of them for many years, and am looking forward to the release of Mike’s new book, Sleepy Happy Capy Cuddles. I know you are going to get a kick out of his hilarious #TenThings list, so let’s get to it. Mike, the floor is all yours!


Thanks, Marcia!

I Once Owned A Gerbil Escape Artist:
Over my lifetime I have owned seven gerbils. All of them were awesome, but Little Alcatraz was easily the awesomest. He was smart, fast, and personable. He also escaped his cage on multiple occasions—not to get away, really, but to show off. As soon as he broke out, he would search the house for me so we could play. Seriously, how awesome is that?

I Got Sidetracked On My Way To Buy My First Car:
At 17 I had earned enough money through my many retail jobs to purchase an automobile. But when it came time to buy, I decided to get a rolltop desk instead. All of my friends found this purchase bewildering and stupid, but, 30 years later, all of their crappy Chrysler K-Cars have eroded to dust while my gorgeous oak desk—still polished and pristine—holds a place of honor in my living room.

My Car Should Be Dead By Now:
My current transportation, a 2004 Kia Spectra, is probably the smartest purchase I have ever made. Eighteen years and 180,000 miles later she’s still running strong. Sure, she might be a little pokey climbing hills. Yes, the air conditioner is a bit finicky. And I admit it’s getting a little hard to ignore the growing rust patches. She also kind of farts when I push the gas pedal too quickly. The radio is shot. And the Check Engine light glows in perpetuity. But as long as she runs, I’m keeping her. Here’s to 18 more years!

I Consider Harrisburg, PA, To Be The Perfect Vacation Spot:
I feel this way primarily because of the Midtown Scholars Bookstore. I love that store most than most people. I love the coffee and the book selection and the architecture and the chairs and the smell of the baked goods and I wish I could live there and all I need is a little apartment in the basement and can somebody please make this happen?

I Hate The Giving Tree:
I hate that selfish kid. I hate how the tree doesn’t know how to say no. I hate how unconditional love is paired with self-destruction. And I really hate how the kid never reflects on or regrets his unforgivable behavior. The Giving Tree a terrible book that advocates toxic codependence.

Could someone please write a sequel? Suggested title: The Giving Tree 2: Stumpy’s Revenge.

I Watch Carpet Cleaning Videos On YouTube:
I can’t even begin to understand how I fell down this rabbit hole. All I know is, once upon a time I watched this elfin Ukranian guy tackle a filthy antique area rug that was once used to line a chicken coop. I watched in awe as each pass of his power washer lifted away a new layer of dirt and grime. When he was finished, the carpet looked almost new. I was gobsmacked. From that moment to this, I’ve been hooked.

I Like To Yell At The New York Times Crossword Puzzle:
Once you get past Wednesday’s puzzle, Will Shorts at the New York Times shows off his devilish side. It’s maddening and exhausting and cuss-worthy and I kind of love it.

I Am Accident Prone:
I wouldn’t mind being accident prone if my injuries were the result of me doing something manly, but they aren’t. I once broke my toe descending a single stair. One. Single. Stair. On another occasion, I fell up the stairs onto the vacuum cleaner I was carrying, crushing it to pieces and turning myself into a human-sized dust bunny. My most notable injury, however, was when I tore the ligaments in my finger while tucking in bedsheets. I had to wear a splint on my hand for six weeks because I like hospital corners.

I Am Probably The Only Person On Earth Who Thinks Rabbit Is The Best Character In Winnie the Pooh:
Poor, put-upon Rabbit is the smartest and least-appreciated resident of 100-Acre Wood. Sure, he’s crabby, but I think he has every right to be; Tigger keeps jumping on him and Pooh’s fat butt is blocking his front door. Cut the bunny some slack, okay?

I Was Into Capybaras Before It Was Cool:
I first read about these ginormous rodents when I was six; I was enchanted. I always loved rodents, but the idea that there was a rodent in South America the size of a dog was just too wonderful for me to contemplate. Someday, I told myself at the time, I shall tell the world about these amazing critters.


Mike’s new picture book, Sleepy Happy Capy Cuddles (Page Street Kids) will hit store shelves in October 2022. You can preorder it HERE  now!


Author Mike Allegra

Mike Allegra is the author of 17 books for children including the picture books Scampers Thinks like a Scientist (Dawn, 2019), Everybody’s Favorite Book (Macmillan, 2018), and Sarah Gives Thanks (Albert Whitman and Company, 2012). He also wrote the chapter book series Kimmie Tuttle (Abdo Books, 2021) and Prince Not-So Charming (Macmillan, 2018-19; pen name: Roy L. Hinuss). Scampers was the winner of Learning Magazine’s 2020 Teacher’s Choice Award and was selected for inclusion in the Literati Kids subscription box. His story, “Harold’s Hat,” was the winner of the 2014 Highlights fiction contest and was published in the July 2015 issue.



A Few More of Mike’s Books to be Found on His Author Page

You can reach Mike on Social Media here:

Website
Facebook
Amazon Author Page

#TenThingsYouMayNotKnowAbout – #JacquiMurray

Happy Wodin’s Day, Everyone! It’s time to share another fun #TenThings post with you guys, and today’s very special guest is author Jacqui Murray. I know you are going to enjoy learning more about Jacqui, so without further ado, let’s get started. Jacqui, take it away!


Thanks, Marcia!

I don’t often talk about myself, but I thought this would be a good way to celebrate the launch of my latest prehistoric fiction, Natural Selection, Book 3 of the trilogy Dawn of Humanity. I haven’t lived around the world or completed any amazing feats, but my life has been full and interesting. Here are some of the unusual tidbits you may not be aware of:

  1. spoke Russian well enough to travel comfortably throughout the Soviet Union for a summer. Before returning to the US, I bought a lot of Russian language books to get an understanding of their version of history.
  2. owned a Fred Astaire Dance Studio and danced professionally. I loved it, but the lifestyle didn’t fit me well so I eventually moved on.
  3. I installed cell phone antennas on skyscrapers, church steeples, and water tanks. What a view from those heights!
  4. I loved programming in DOS (Disk Operating System–the precursor to Windows). I did a lot of crazy tricks that annoyed my husband. For example, once, I programmed his computer to play Christmas music before it booted up. I still miss it.
  5. I read California’s entire Uniform Building Code (defining the State’s construction regulations) as part of my job to design/build employer-based child care centers. I also read America’s 1200+ page Affordable Care Act (before it exploded in size) because news channels contradicted each other. I also studied America’s Common Core Standards for K-12 education to guide my teaching. Do you see a trend?
  6. worked in the recycling industry for years. I collected used cardboard and paper, exported it around the world to places like Japan who don’t have enough trees. What an interesting job.
  7. Because of my background in recycling, I know corrugated is the right name for ‘cardboard’. Because of my background in building, I know people often say ‘cement’ when they mean ‘concrete’.
  8. Both my children are in the military. Their choice–I never was. They both love it. One’s a Naval officer, the other in the Army Signal Corps. Guess which is the boy.
  9. I play(ed) Blue Grass on my mandolin after college, jammed with a group. That was about as much fun as a girl can have. I still have the mandolin, but arthritis prevents me from playing.
  10. I think my dog is sentient. He’s Homo canineafter all!

Truth, I have always had trouble settling down to one endeavor, which explains in part my current obsession with both teaching and writing. How about you?


BLURB:

Survival requires change but can Lucy do that? 

In this final book of the trilogy, Lucy and her tribe leave their good home to rescue captured tribemembers who are in grave danger. Lucy’s Group includes an eclectic mix of species–a Canis, a Homotherium kit, and different iterations of early man. Each brings unique skills to the task. More will join and some will die but that is the nature of prehistoric life, when survival depends on a mix of man’s developing intellect and untiring will to live. Based on true events from 1.8 million years ago.

Natural Selection is Available in digital (print soon) at:
Amazon.com
Amazon.co.uk
Amazon Canada

 Amazon Australia
Amazon India


Author Jacqui Murray

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Man vs. Nature saga, prehistoric fiction, and Rowe-Delamagente thrillers. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, blog webmaster, an Amazon Vine Voice, and a freelance tech ed journalist.


Dawn of Humanity (Books 1 & 2)


The Crossroads Trilogy


You can reach Jacqui on Social Media here:

Amazon Author Page    
Blog
Instagram   
Pinterest 
Twitter 
Website 

Contact Jacqui via Social Media or Email: askatechteacher@gmail.com

 

 

 

#BlogBreakThursday & #Update (Brief)

I’m not going to be around much today, since it’s this week’s Blog Break Day, but I did want to let everyone know that I have a few openings coming up for both #GuestDayTuesday posts and #TenThingsYouMayNotKnowAboutMe posts. If any of you are interested in taking part in either of these series, please email me, and we’ll see what we can set up.

I’m sorry to say, I’m still not over the Long COVID thing yet, but I really do think the episodes are getting milder, and farther and farther apart. Hopefully that means this really won’t go on forever! 

And on that note, I’ll get back to the tasks on my agenda for today. 


Have a GREAT ThorsDay, everyone!

#TenThingsYouMayNotKnowAbout – #D.G.Kaye

I’m sure today’s author needs no introduction for most of you, but just in case there are some new folks reading along, I’m delighted to say that author D. G. Kaye is with us today. Debby is widely known in the blogging/writing world as a memoirist and a writer who generously spreads humor wherever she goes. Please help me give Debby a big welcome this morning. Debby? You’re on!


Thank you so much Marcia, for inviting me to share some of myself here today in your wonderful series – #TenThingsYouMayNotKnowAboutMe.

1.
In high school, I always managed to maintain an over 80 average – despite my one year failing art and gym! Yes, art and gym! How do you fail art and gym? Well, I did. I was the girl in the Janis Ian song – At Seventeen – when choosing sides of basketball, I’d be last pick. I was nowhere near athletic, nor was I interested in sports. My only saving grace was dance segment and health classes which helped bring up my saggy average in that class. I remember getting booted for a class or two when I was caught cutting across the track field instead of running the length of it, hoping I wouldn’t be discovered doing so, to no avail. And don’t even get me started with those ugly blue rompers, sack-like outfits we had to wear. Art was a whole ‘nother thing. I still cannot color in the lines! Even when it comes to my book covers, I have the vision of what I want, but cannot express with drawing anything with my own hands – okay, maybe stick people.

2.
Ambidextrous, I am, sort of. A weird mixture of one who writes with her right hand yet does most other things with the left. I also sucked at baseball because I have to wear a glove on my left hand for catching, and must take it off to throw the ball back with my same left, leaving a runner too much time before I could throw back the ball. I have no sports coordination with my right hand. When I attempted in my younger years, to play guitar, that was also strumming with the left hand. It’s complicated.

3.
Before I met my husband, I was in an abusive relationship with someone for seven years. I realized it after the first year of living together, but by then I was trapped. I have written much on the subject, but to this day am still petrified of publishing anything about those years, for fears of being sued by my vindictive stalker and abuser.

4.
I had many jobs and careers in my younger years. I was never fired, always left on my own volition. My earlier days were working in the fashion industry – selling clothes and doing the buying for some of those stores. I did a lot of temp secretarial in between jobs, and I was an executive secretary to the general manager of one of our downtown hotels for a few years. Before that, I worked for a photography company doing company sales for family portraits. My job took me all over the province of Ontario – with me as the driver. Those were my fearless days. I also became a certified travel agent, not because I wanted to work in an agency, but I’d struck a deal with an agency owner, I’d bring him clients on the side so I could keep my regular job and get my travel perks, commissions and benefits from the agency. I became office manager for an architectural firm, and later for a construction company, and then a real estate company. In my 30s, I went to ‘dealer’ school and became a certified casino dealer for blackjack and poker, then ultimately, became a pit boss. After a few years doing that, I got scouted out to work for a private company doing private parties. I only worked two or three nights a week and made more money (in tips) than I did all week working in a casino. I ultimately met my husband who was a guest of someone I knew at one of those parties. Once my husband moved in with me, he didn’t want me to work anymore. I must admit, it felt weird not working when I’d worked since a teenager.

5.
I am an empath and very spiritual and sense when spirits are around me. As of yet, I have not directly sensed my own husband directly around me, but, I have definitely received many signs. I am an empath who can sense spirit by smell and touch and an inner knowing, this makes me clairsentient, clairalient, and claircognizant. I also read souls through looking into eyes, sort of like a human lie and empathy detector. This has never failed to be an alert system for me. Except when I was younger and dismissed what I thought I saw. I rely on my instincts to guide me. My father and my dear aunt come to visit me sometimes. I know when they are around, my body starts to shiver, and I can smell my aunt’s perfume or my father’s cigarette smoke when they appear.

6.
Some sensitives are greatly familiar with astral planing. I know I must have gone to other realms while sleeping, many times over, but my only recollection of physically leaving my body, then plunking back into it, was about six months after my father died when I went to visit him in heaven. I still remember standing on the threshold between heaven and earth. I remember it so vividly to this day 32 years later.

7.
I’m like a mixed genre book. I don’t fit into any one type of box. I’m a Gemini, always troubled making up my two minds. I am soft, I am loud. I’m an extrovert, yet an introvert in other ways. When I was in my dating years, men told me I was an enigma. I liked that. My unpredictability kept them on their toes. My husband was a man of action and liked action. I was a great challenge for him, and certainly different than the doormats and looser women he was used to in his post first marriage playboy days. The spark never left us, and I attribute the ‘keeping him on his toes’ with me, a good part of why we had such a loving and dynamic marriage.

8.
I love to travel and have many places to travel to still, on my bucket list. I always follow my instincts. If I get an inner warning, or obstacles that keep appearing to stop me from something I’m wanting to do, I pay attention. For example, for years I haven’t been back to Europe because my husband had no interest in leaving North America, and I had no interest in leaving him behind. Since I lost him spring of 2021, I had hoped to run for refuge to one of my two best friend’s house in the U.K. later in the year. Sadly, Covid travel restrictions wouldn’t be lifted until late October, and by then, my girlfriend came here to visit me. She stayed for a month, which was almost till late November, and by then, it was getting too close to the new year, when I was geared up to travel down south to Mexico for a few months escape. Now in 2022, my friend is in midst of building a new house, living in a small rental, and Covid is picking up again. the AIRLINES here and there are a godawful mess, and our dollar is crap. So, it’s quite likely I won’t be getting to the other side of the pond this year either. In fact, I’ll be lucky to get back to Mexico next winter.

9.
I have zero tolerance of social injustice, bullying, inequality, and violations of people’s personal rights, and I will always stand up for the underdog. I also try to keep myself out of getting caught in those situations, because it is difficult for me to stay silent. And, in this day and age we are living in, calling out those who are wrong doers, can have serious repercussions. But I won’t hesitate to write about something unjust I come across. Sometimes, the pen is indeed, mightier than the sword.

10.
About my husband. I lost the love of my life last year. I have lost quite a few loved ones in my life and grieved them all, but there is no grief like losing the other half of ourselves. I blame Covid for the system not getting him into hospital, despite my daily efforts and rapports with doctors, for almost a year! By then, it was too late. It’s bad enough grieving a loss, but especially during Covid when I couldn’t have real people contact when I needed it, not to mention, the huge funeral my husband got ripped off of. I spent a lot of time searching for (useless) online grief groups, and reading many books, hoping to self-medicate. And I learned from reading many of those books, unfulfilled from what I was searching for, that there is a market for kinship and real talk on the subject. So, I decided to, and have been writing episodes to start a podcast to talk about the things that don’t get mentioned enough of on the subject of grief. Naturally, I’m titling it – Grief – The Real Talk. Stay tuned!
      ©DGKaye2022


You Can Buy D. G.’s Books HERE


Author D. G. Kaye

D.G. Kaye is a Canadian nonfiction/ memoir writer who writes about life, matters of the heart and women’s issues. She writes to inspire others by sharing her stories about events she’s encountered, and the lessons that came along with them. D.G. loves to laugh and self-medicate with a daily dose of humor. When not writing intimate memoirs, you’ll find D.G. writing with humor in some of her other works and blog posts, ranting about injustice, dabbling in poetry, and sharing a book review Sundays on her blog.


Check out All of D. G.’s work on her Author Page, here:
Author Page

You can reach D. G. on Social Media here:
Website
Goodreads
Twitter
Linkedin
Facebook 
Instagram
Pinterest

#TenThingsYouMayNotKnowAbout #ValerieOrmond

Today, let’s welcome author Valerie Ormond to The Write Stuff. Valerie has some fun and interesting things to share with you, and I know you’ll enjoy her #TenThings list, so let’s get started! Valerie, take it away!


Thanks, Marcia!

#1: I’ve been caught in quicksand! I only thought that was in the movies. Fortunately, I was riding a sane and strong horse, so when I kicked him ahead while he sunk to his belly, he listened and pulled us out with his front legs first followed by a hop from behind.


#2: In 1990, when I visited East Germany, Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia shortly after the Berlin Wall came down, I saw a window into a world I had never known. Those sights renewed my commitment to a career in the military which I continued for a total of 25 years.


#3: I drove a Good Humor ice cream truck when I was 17-years-old and learned entrepreneurial skills such as reliability, self-motivation, consistency, and reaching target audiences. It was a “cool” summer job that taught me valuable life lessons.


#4: The most famous person I’ve known is the current U.S. President, Joe Biden. I accompanied him on a trip to Bogota and Cartagena, Colombia, when he was the head of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was friendly and nice, and I’m happy to report we had no international incidents.


#5: The one and only time I’ve ziplined was at the longest zipline course in Central and South America. Twenty-five ziplines through a Costa Rican rain forest, and I lived to tell.


#6: When I joined the Navy, the recruiting slogan was, “It’s not just a job; it’s an adventure.” Those adventures included launching off and landing on aircraft carriers, living on ships, riding in helicopters, deploying to places unknown, moving 19 times, deploying and living overseas, serving with people of many nationalities, and learning how to get along with people whether I agreed with them or not. The slogan was right!

Valerie Ormond ready to fly off the USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN (CVN-72),in the ES-3A , Indian Ocean, 1995


#7: My college entrance application asked with whom I would most like to meet in history, and I answered William Shakespeare. I think I was born to be an English major.


#8: I grew up in a theatrical family. My father was a playwright, actor, director, and producer. My mother was an actor, director, and drama teacher. My brother was an actor, director, producer, and has written award-winning plays and continues to teach theater arts to children to today.


#9: I’ve traveled to 48 U.S. states (49 in September!) and 40 countries. The country I was closest to visit, but did not, was North Korea. I used to escort press to the North/South border regularly but was warned if I crossed the line to North Korea, it was at my own risk.


#10: My husband and I are avid cyclists and have completed numerous one-day 50-mile and 62-mile events. We love rail trails, and in the past few years have biked multi-day trips including the Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal, the Great Allegheny Passage, and the Washington and Old Dominion Trail. We have more planned for the future!


Buy Believing in Horses Out West HERE

BLURB

Sadie Navarro rescued a mare from an auction accomplishing what she thought was the most important mission of her young life.

Now, that mare is headed to a ranch in Montana and a home Sadie knows nothing about.

She wants to make sure the horse is in good hands, but Montana is far away and a different world from Maryland.

Will fourteen-year-old Sadie need to stand up to rugged cowboys to protect her special rescue horse?


Valerie’s latest novel, Believing In Horses Out West, takes young Sadie Navarro on an adventure to a Montana ranch to check on a horse she rescued. New York Times Bestselling Author of Sgt. Reckless: America’s War Horse, Robin Hutton, described the book as, “A thrilling coming-of-age story filled with love, lessons, and finding one’s purpose in life…”

The author based the novel on experiences visiting ranches in both the U.S. and overseas which she wanted to share with readers in a fictional story.

In just nine months since the book’s release, it won first place in the National Federation of Press Women’s national Communications Contest; second place in The BookFest® Awards. The international Wishing Shelf Book Awards named Believing In Horses Out West a finalist, and it is currently a finalist in the Military Writers Society Of America book awards to earn a Gold, Silver, or Bronze medal in August.

Valerie’s first two books, Believing In Horses and Believing In Horses, Too, tell stories of a strong-willed young girl overcoming challenges based on her love of horses. Both books won gold medals and first place awards in eight national and international book competitions.

Believing In Horses Out West book trailer
Believing In Horses book trailer


 

Author Valerie Ormond


Valerie Ormond retired after a 25-year career as a naval intelligence officer and launched her second career as a writer. She is the author of three award-winning young adult fiction books in the Believing In Horses series – Believing In Horses, Believing In Horses, Too, and Believing In Horses Out West. Her books have been called inspirational and motivational and share stories of today’s youth making a difference when focused on their passions. Valerie’s fiction and non-fiction stories, articles, and poetry appear in books, magazines, newspapers, and blogs worldwide. She owns and manages Veteran Writing Services, LLC, working primarily for defense contractors. She lives happily in Maryland with her husband and their three horses and two dogs.


You can buy Valerie’s Books here:

Believing In Horses Out West Amazon 
Believing In Horses 
Believing In Horses, Too
Buy Books – Believing In Horses (Author website for personally inscribed copies)
Amazon Author Page 

You can reach Valerie on Social Media here:

Blog
Facebook
Twitter
Goodreads
Website
Email: valerie@believinginhorses.com

 

#TenThingsYouMayNotKnow – About #JackieLambert

Today, I’d like to introduce author Jackie Lambert, whose #TenThings List just might knock your socks off! I know you’ll enjoy it, so we’ll get started right away! Jackie, you’re on!


Thanks, Marcia!

Ten Things You May Not Know About Me
by JackieLambert

  1. I used to work as a beer taster for Truman’s Brewery on Brick Lane in East London, where Jack the Ripper used to patrol the mean streets. The brewery was founded in 1666, just after the great fire, and was once London’s largest brewery. In fact, Truman’s became one of the largest brewers in the world. These days, the Black Eagle Brewery building is an arts centre.
  1. I have cuddled a tiger and been bitten by a lion.
  1. I did the first ever commercial white water rafting descent of red rock canyon in Colorado, near where Butch and Sundance jumped in the famous film, Butch Cassidy And The Sundance Kid.
  1. I once sat on a swing with ‘The Blackburn Bullet’ – Carl Fogarty, World Superbike Champ. He lived across the road from me when we were both about nine years old!
  1. I can fly a light aircraft.
  1. Mark and I got married outside a lighthouse, so our marriage started on the rocks!
  1. I did the two highest bungee jumps in the world (at the time); Victoria Falls Bridge in Zambia (111 m / 364.5 ft) off the, and Le Pont de Ponsonnas (103 m / 337 ft) near Grenoble in France. I am afraid of heights, and loathed both experiences! I did the first jump to show I could master my fear. It was so awful, I wasn’t sure I could do it again, so I had to show myself I could. Now, I don’t feel I have anything further to prove!
  1. I love travel and adventure and have visited six continents and forty-three countries. By the end of 2022, I hope to have added six more; Albania, Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro, Bosnia Herzegovina, and Luxembourg. That said, Mark and I are not great at sticking to plans. We once set off for Spain and Portugal, but decided to turn left, and went to Romania!
  1. I have always loved writing. My aunt once said, “Jacqueline can write pages and pages about absolutely nothing!” I took it as a compliment, of course. I wrote my first short memoir/travelogue aged 14. It followed a horseback ride across England’s Lake District with author Bob Orrell. He entered it into a national competition, open to all age groups, and it came second!
  1. During a windsurfing lesson just before London 2012, I almost dropped my sail on Olympic silver medallist Nick Dempsey’s head. Had he not ducked, I would have brained Team GB’s best hope of a medal in the RSX windsurfing!

Jackie With Nick Dempsey and Peter Hart


I have just published my fifth book; the fourth memoir in my Adventure Caravanning With Dogs series, which follows the story of how hubs and I gave up work, rented out the house, and became perpetual caravan (trailer) nomads with four dogs in tow.

Buy It Never Rains but It Paws HERE

BLURB:
Five years after giving up work to travel full time, Dog-ma Jacqueline (Jackie) and Dogfather Mark race against time to leave the UK before Britain exits the EU. If Brexit happens, their four Cavapoos (Cavalier/Poodle cross) Kai, Rosie, Ruby, and Lani will lose their puppy passports, and the Lambert Family will be unable to travel together. But Brexit isn’t their only obstacle: a few months into their adventure, the pandemic suddenly shatters their plans, and leaves them trapped in the epicentre of Europe’s No. 1 coronavirus hotspot.

The fourth road trip Europe adventure in author Jacqueline Lambert’s “inspirational and hilarious” series of true travel memoirs invites you to join the couple as they discover even more amazing and little-known places, this time in France and Italy. However, this isn’t just a priceless escape travel story filled with humorous mishaps and mountain adventure. The coronavirus pandemic separates the family from their loved ones at home, and leaves Jackie stranded alone during a blizzard in a remote Italian village, with Mark thousands of miles away, back in the UK.

Between terrible weather, political mayhem, and a global pandemic, Jackie and Mark try to take lessons from each hardship. Yet, even with a positive attitude, a sense of adventure, and a caravan full of loved ones, you can’t stop all the obstacles life rolls your way. These “amusing and informative” travel stories are certainly proof that It Never Rains… But It Paws!

Jackie’s Fur Babies


Author Jackie Lambert 

Fans of Jacqueline (Jackie) Lambert’s doggie/travel blog, www.WorldWideWalkies.com said, “You should write a book!” So, she did. In fact, she’s written five…

If you’ve ever considered giving up work to head off into the sunset with surfboards on the roof–or you just like dogs, travel and humour, her Adventure Caravanning With Dogs books are for you.

The first, Fur Babies in France, was described by one reviewer as, “Laugh out funny and a great travel guide”. It tells how she and husband Mark gave up work, accidentally bought their first ever caravan, then decided to rent out the house, sell most of their possessions, and tour Europe full-time with four dogs in tow.

Dog on the Rhine; “An inspirational travelogue” follows this intrepid couple as they get more adventurous, and head into Germany, The Czech Republic, Slovenia, Croatia and Italy. But just to prove that Living the Dream is not all sunshine and rainbows, they return home to a huge Fidose of reality…

Dogs ‘n’ Dracula; “Armchair travel delight” gives the full low down on how Jackie and Mark set off for Spain and Portugal, but decided to turn left…

Pups on Piste is a “Fun and interesting book” about the trials and tribulations of their first ski season in Italy, during which a ski instructor tells them, “Don’t miss the turn, or you’ll go over a cliff.”

In her latest memoir, It Never Rains But It Paws, released on 6th May 2022, Jackie and Mark race against time to leave the UK before Britain leaves the EU. Brexit could mean their four precious pups would be unable to travel. Then, a few months into their trip, the pandemic leaves them trapped in the epicentre of Europe’s No. 1 coronavirus hotspot…

She is currently working on her sixth book, To Hel In A Hound Cart – A Road Trip Through Poland In A Pandemic, which will be published later in 2022.

In her first year as a published author, Jacqueline was delighted to receive multiple five-star reviews, a letter from Prince Charles, an invitation to Bucharest to collect an award for Dogs ‘n’ Dracula, and Amazon No. 1 Bestseller status in the German Travel category for Dog on the Rhine. Some of her travel tales BC (Before Canines) have been featured in travel anthologies, alongside other bestselling and award-winning authors.


You can check out all of Jackie’s books on her Amazon Author Page HERE.

Or grab them one at a time here:

Year 1 – Fur Babies in France
Dog on the Rhine
Dogs n Dracula
It Never Rains but It Paws

And you can reach Jackie on social media here:

Blog: WorldWideWalkies.com
Email: jackielambert07@gmail.com
Facebook
Goodreads
BookBub

#TenThingsYouMayNotKnowAbout – #AlexCraigie

I’m very excited to announce that today’s #TenThings guest is my very dear friend, Alex Craigie (or Trish, as some of us know her). I’ve met many, many wonderful folks through this blog, and Trish is right there among the very best of them! And I know you’re going to enjoy her list as much as I did! Trish, the floor is yours!


Ten Things You May Not Know About Me
by Alex Craigie

Thanks, Marcia!

  1. At my tallest. I managed 4’ 11”. Cinema-going was always a hit and miss affair. As I grow older, I grow shorter…
  1. My family mainly slot into one of two camps – medicine or teaching. I loved biology at school, but as I keel over at the sight of blood I followed the teaching strand.
  1. I loved teaching and have taught all ages from nursery to 19. I also did Home Tuition for the authority to help those unable to be in school for a while. Most of these had such disturbing home circumstances, the lessons had to be held in the local education centre.
  1. When the children were small, I supplemented our meagre income by writing short stories for magazines and doing competitions. The way to win a competition was to write a snappy rhyming couplet. Armed with a rhyming dictionary, I won on average 4 competitions a month. These varied from all-inclusive holidays (which I was able to give away) to branded aprons. I won a lot of aprons.
  1. My parents were both Scottish, I was born in the north of England and my husband and I moved to Wales in 1986 with 3 children under the age of four. When I went back to teaching it was as a Welsh teacher. I love the language but it’s one where the beginnings of the words change under certain conditions. Cot is the Welsh word for coat. That sounds manageable, doesn’t it?
  • Their coat:      Eu cot  
  • Your coat:       Dy got 
  • His coat:          Ei got  
  • Her coat:          Ei chôt       
  • My coat :         Fy nghot

                           It makes dictionary use really, really tricky for a beginner.

  1. Sticking with the theme of Welsh, there’s a place in the north which goes by the name of:

Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch.

The railway station board is a tad longer than the norm!

  1. I love music and used to play the guitar – mainly classical but plenty of folk and rock as well. Arthritis has made it tricky to properly continue with it but I’ve switched to the piano – some of my books have pictures to colour in at the top of the page. Baby steps! I used to sing in a college choir. Later, a group of us impoverished students discovered that we’d be given a free meal in hall if we sang evensong on Sundays. The four of us signed up for it.
  1. My mother’s side of the family share an ability to find four-leafed clovers. I thought they stood out for everyone and was surprised that others spent ages trawling through patches looking for them.
  1. Thirty years ago my ability to recognise faces suddenly left me. I thought it was early-onset dementia but the consensus was that the migraines attacking the same part of my brain had damaged it, leading to the problem. I used to bluff it out, looking for clues. At the time, apart from friends and neighbours, we had three children in different schools, my husband and I taught in two others and I’d done Home Tuition for the authority, plus supply work across the age range in the county schools and, in addition, three evening classes. My brain can usually place people when in context, but after I failed to recognise in the supermarket the teaching colleague I’d chatted with for over two hours the night before, my husband took to sidling up to me with the details I might need. ‘The woman in the checked skirt and purple blouse is Delyth Jones, vets assistant; husband ran off with Huw the butcher…’ I come clean now.
  1. I love our garden and used to grow only pretty things but have added an increasing range of produce in the last decade or so. There’s something special about grandchildren picking the vegetables for a meal and following it up with some fresh fruit foraging. Our garden’s also home to an impressive variety of birds and we have slow worms, grass snakes, giant moles (judging by the mole mountains), visiting hedgehogs and foxes, plus nightly badgers. The only creature that properly spooks me is the spider, any spider. I can’t even watch them on the television.

You can buy Means to Deceive here:
Amazon.com
Amazon.UK

BLURB:

Eighteen months ago, Gwen Meredith left the job she loved and came back to Pembrokeshire to help support her irritable and increasingly confused grandmother.
But someone is pursuing a vendetta against her.

As the attacks become more malicious, her old anxieties begin to build.
She’s attracted to her new neighbour who is keen to help…but can she trust him?

When those closest to her are threatened, her desperation mounts.
Who can she trust?

Gwen has a dark secret of her own.
Can she even trust herself?

MY REVIEW:

A book I won’t soon forget! Let me say up front that I read mostly fantasy or urban fantasy these days, preferring to escape from the world around us as often as possible. I made an exception for Means to Deceive after coming across some excellent reviews, and I’m really glad I did.

This book pulled me in from page one, with superb character development and a wonderfully intricate plot. The tension built with each page until I was reading as fast as I could, eager to find out who the main culprit was. The reader is offered several real possibilities in that regard, but every time I thought I had it figured out, I realized someone else was an equally good candidate for causing all the skullduggery going on. Craigie’s writing was strong, clear, and eloquent. The pacing was perfect, and the end, a true revelation. I highly recommend this one! 


Author Alex Craigie

Alex Craigie is the pen name of Trish Power.

Trish was ten when her first play was performed at school. It was in rhyming couplets and written in pencil in a book with imperial weights and measures printed on the back.

When her children were young, she wrote short stories for magazines before returning to the teaching job that she loved.

Trish has had three books published under the pen name of Alex Craigie. The first two books cross genre boundaries and feature elements of romance, thriller and suspense against a backdrop of social issues. Someone Close to Home highlights the problems affecting care homes while Acts of Convenience has issues concerning the health service at its heart. Her third book. Means to Deceive, is a psychological thriller.

Someone Close to Home has won a Chill with a Book award and a Chill with the Book of the Month award. In 2019 it was one of the top ten bestsellers in its category on Amazon.


Contact Alex via email here: alexcraigie@aol.com 

Find all three of Alex Craigie’s books on her Author Page HERE

#TenThingsYouMayNotKnow – About #D. L. Finn

Today,  I’d like everyone to help me welcome another wonderful #StoryEmpire member, author D. L. Finn. Denise  is also a wonderfully supportive blogger, and I know you good folks will really enjoy her #TenThings list! Therefore, without further ado, I’ll turn the “floor” over to her! 


Ten Things You May Not Know About Me
by D. L. Finn

Thank you for having me here today, Marcia. 😊 I love Ten Things You May Not Know, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it!

  1. I write poetry in as many places as I can. Airplanes, on the beach, in the forest, and my favorite is when I am riding with my husband on the Harley. I have other places in mind that I will explore, like underwater or in a cave.

  2. Over the years, I’ve collected various things. They include books, record albums, teacups, teapots, and my first love, rocks, and crystals! I’m always looking for a heart-shaped rock to add to that collection. Now my family is trained for that and finds them for me.

  3. Although I’ve been writing since I was a teen, I finally put my work out there in 2015 when I tripped over my black kitty, Coco, on Friday the 13th and broke my foot. This amusing incident left me with enough time to pursue my passion. I consider black cats, and Friday the 13th is lucky for me.

  4. I find a lot of peace meditating in nature. I’m usually able to see nature’s energy, typically green or purple. I love to see the energy over water, like the ocean, where it glows.

  5. I’ve had an out-of-body experience as a teenager while in the hospital. I could see myself and was told I still had things to do, and I needed to go back. That voice was certainly right. I can still see that moment even today. It reminds me of how important we all are.

  6. I always thought it would be cool to be a bush pilot and live in Alaska. Although I ruled nothing out, I found my way into living in the forest but never got a pilot’s license. I got to fly in a water plane and stand on the outside while it was in the water on an Alaskan river. It electrified me to be in that moment, and also got to explore the Hawaiian skies in a helicopter. I still have more sky things to do, like a hot-air balloon or skydiving. I love that bird’s-eye view!

  7. Being born in the tiger year makes sense that I’m a cat person. Although I love all animals, I have a few other favorites, like dolphins, bears, and red-tailed hawks. They seem to find me when I need them, and I pay attention to their messages.

     

  8. I love the world within our world or what lives in the ocean. Being underwater is peaceful and beautiful to me. I have always wanted to scuba dive and almost took the class offered at our local college, but the great white shark scares me a lot. I’m less likely to swim off the Northern California coast thanks to the movie Jaws. Although that doesn’t stop me from snorkeling in Hawaii or still learning to scuba dive in the future in Lake Tahoe.

  9. Music has been a big part of my life. I’ve been to many concerts over the years and seen some amazing acts. My first experience included Heart and the Eagles at a “Day On The Green” in Oakland, CA, in the 70s. Over the years, I’ve seen Rolling Stones, Tom Petty, Fleetwood Mac, Aerosmith, AC/DC, REM, B52s, Journey, Pink Floyd, Ozzie Osborn, Blondie, The Pretenders, U2, and I could keep going. The list is long.

  10. I adore all things Disneyland and have lost track of how many times I’ve been there. It’s where I spent my 50th birthday surrounded by family and Mickey. My first ride is always Pirates of the Caribbean or the Haunted House. Yo-ho, I am a kid at heart.

Blurb:

Newly married Rachael Battaglia finally had it all. The only detail that stained Rachael’s perfect wedding was a gift she received. It was the exact present that her late ex-husband had given her on their wedding day — a snow globe. That marriage was not what she had envisioned, and she endured years of his abuse and charm until one night she escaped with two kids and one on the way. Now Rachael was headed to Hawaii with an amazing man and her chance at happiness. Unbeknownst to Rachael, she had an Angel on her side, although this Angel might not be able to save Rachael and her family from the evil that surrounded them. This is a tale of love, past relationships, things unseen, and redemption. Will Rachael find her happy ending, or will this evil thing get its way?

You can buy This Second Chance HERE


D. L. Finn is an independent California local who encourages everyone to embrace their inner child. She was born and raised in the foggy Bay Area, but in 1990 she relocated with her husband, kids, dogs, and cats to Nevada City, in the Sierra foothills. She immersed herself in reading all types of books but especially loved romance, horror, and fantasy. She always treasured creating her own reality on paper. Finally, surrounded by towering pines, oaks, and cedars, her creativity was nurtured until it bloomed. Her creations include adult fiction, poetry, a unique autobiography, and children’s books. She continues on her adventure with an open invitation to all readers to join her.


Check out more of D. L. Finn’s Books on her Author Page HERE


Reach  D. L. Finn on Social Media here:

Twitter
Facebook
Instagram
Pinterest
D.L. Finn blog
Author Amazon Page

 

 

#TenThingsYouMayNotKnow – About #GwenM.Plano

Today,  I’d like everyone to welcome one of the nicest people you’ll ever meet online to The Write Stuff:  my good friend and fellow author, Gwen M. Plano. Gwen,  the floor is all yours!


Thanks so much, Marcia. It’s a pleasure to be here today!

Ten Things You May Not Know About Me
by Gwen M. Plano

  1. When I was about 5 or 6 years old, I told my mom that I wanted to be a priest when I grew up. She explained that I couldn’t because I was a girl. This upset me, but decades later, through unexpected circumstances, I ended up studying with seminarians and earning a degree in theology and a degree in pastoral counseling – the same degrees that priests earn. 
  1. Dad taught me to drive when I was 11 years old. He thought I was mature enough and, on the farm, this was an important skill. As it turned out, the following year, I had to drive my mom to the emergency room (about 13 miles away). This action probably saved her life. 
  1. While a student at the University of San Francisco, I saw the Grateful Dead perform in Golden Gate Park. This was before they were famous. Attendees just sat on the grass or danced ecstatically. I did both, and the Dead remain my favorite band. 
  1. One evening my boyfriend and I walked through the Panhandle. We didn’t get far before flashing lights stopped us. Two police officers got out and questioned us about what we were doing. They concluded that we were clueless and harmless and told us to get in the cruiser. They drove us back to campus and instructed us not to walk at night in that area. This would be my only ride in a police car. 
  1. That same year, I enrolled in Speech. For the final exam, students were allowed to choose their topic to present to the class. I decided to do something different. I brought my Gibson to the classroom and sang an original song. To my surprise, everyone loved it – even the professor. She said this was a “first” for her. 
  1. In 1970, I attended grad school at Purdue University. I lived in a farmhouse about 15 minutes away from the campus. One night I saw two UFOs, as did the locals. Terrified, I called the police. They asked if I had been drinking, which I hadn’t, then they told me to call the airport. That responder told me to call the Air Force Base, which I did. The Airman said, “We haven’t seen anything unusual.” I still wonder about his response. 
  1. I lived in Japan for five years, and during that time, I became proficient in Chanoyu (Tea Ceremony) and Ikebana (flower arrangement). I also studied calligraphy. These ancient arts are a form of meditation, and their silence remains with me today. 
  1. In the 1990s I was an administrator at a Jesuit university in Connecticut. On weekends, I’d take groups of students into the inner city, where we worked in soup kitchens and other sites. When school was out, I led student volunteers into poverty stricken areas of Mexico. We lived with the people and helped as we could. One trip is particularly memorable. It was during an election and riots broke out in the area and guns were used. I huddled with the students, and thankfully, the next day was quiet. 
  1. On the yummy side of the world, I love dark chocolate and when I write, it is my constant friend. And…I never count these calories. 
  1. To conclude, nature is my greatest solace and I bring it into my home – with plants, crystal clusters, and images of beautiful settings. Being in nature calms my soul.

BLURB:

The Culmination, a new beginning is the third book in The Contract thriller series. After an assassination attempt on an Air Force base in northern California, tensions mount. Heads of state meet to craft a denuclearization agreement. The meetings between these nuclear powers take a murderous turn. A nefarious conspiracy re-emerges and leads the characters into the heart of the Middle East, where they encounter the unexpected and find a reason for hope.

A review by Mae Clair: 5 out of 5 stars
A Political Thriller with Strong Characters

Book three in a series, The Culmination reads easily as a standalone novel. A political thriller, that addresses denuclearization, tensions in the Middle East, and the fate of refugees, much of the story echoes current headlines. The plot is complex involving multiple heads of state, along with the strategical give and take of political maneuvering on a global level. The author clearly put an extensive amount of research into this book, and it shows. Adrenalin-fueled scenes alter with more cerebral moments, and even a few romantic interludes.

I especially loved the evolution of the relationship between the two central characters, Margaret Adler, VP of the United States and Ivan Smirnov, acting President of Russia. During the course of the novel those titles change, and we learn more about each, including richly developed backgrounds. I was thoroughly invested in the difficulties Margaret and Ivan faced, both on personal and political levels. Their scenes together were among my favorites of the book. There’s also a young refugee child who factors into the story and who stole my heart.

A unique combination of character-driven and plot-driven fiction, I recommend this compelling tale to readers who enjoy strong character development and complexly-plotted intrigue.

You can Buy The Culmination HERE


Author Gwen M. Plano

Gwen M. Plano, aka Gwendolyn M. Plano, grew up in Southern California and spent most of her professional life in higher education. She taught and served as an administrator in colleges in Japan, New York, Connecticut, and California. Gwen’s academic background is in theology and counseling. She is now retired and lives in Arizona with her husband.

Gwen’s first book is an acclaimed memoir, Letting Go into Perfect Love. Her next three books (The Contract co-authored by John W. Howell, The Choice, and The Culmination) are political/military thrillers. Action-packed, they span the globe and involve multiple Heads of State and the threat of World War III. Her conclusion – only love can change the fate of humanity.

When Gwen is not writing, she’s out and about in the beautiful northern Arizona mountains, where she finds inspiration.


You can find Gwen’s Books on Amazon here:

Author Page for Memoir
Letting Go Into Perfect Love
***
Author Page for Thrillers
The Contract
The Choice
The Culmination

You can reach Gwen on Social Media here:

Blog
Twitter
Facebook