Thursday, June 30, 2016

Happy Canada Day

Canada Day (French: FĂȘte du Canada) is the national day of Canada, a federal statutory holiday celebrating the anniversary of the July 1, 1867, enactment of the Constitution Act, 1867 (then called the British North America Act, 1867), which united three colonies into a single country called Canada within the British Empire. Originally called Dominion Day (French: Le Jour de la Confederation) the holiday was renamed in 1982, the year the Canada was passed. Canada observances take place throughout Canada as well as among Canadians internationally.
Most communities across the country will host organized celebrations for Canada Day, usually outdoor public events, such as parades, carnivals, festivals, barbecues, air and maritime shows, fireworks, and free musical concerts. There is no standard mode of celebration for Canada Day. Canada Day, like the country, is endlessly decentralized. There doesn't seem to be a central recipe for how to celebrate it—chalk it up to the nature of the federation." However, the locus of the celebrations is the national capital, Ottawa, Ontario, where large concerts and cultural displays are held on Parliament Hill, with the governor general and prime minister typically officiating, though the monarch or another member of the Royal Family may also attend or take the governor general's place. Smaller events are mounted in other parks around the city and in Gatineau, Quebec.

Prime Minister Trudeau and the Governor-General are both participating in ceremonies in Ottawa today. No royal family this year.

In my area we have a 3 day holiday. Today there are various performances, indoor and outdoor from local musicians and dancers and activities for the children, with the ever popular face painting.
Tomorrow is the Canada parade and all the local streets are closed off to traffic. And of course, there's fireworks at night to close off the day.

Happy 149th Canada Day everyone!

Friday, June 24, 2016

Emotions in Reading and Writing

Welcome back to our monthly group blog. The topic this month is How emotionally involved are you in reading or writing some scenes?
As usual Rhobin picked a great topic and it is about “some scenes”. When I‘m writing many of the scenes are character development, plot, dialogue and description. I research and try to get inside my characters. Most of the time I feel involved, but there are times, if I’m writing well a scene can bring me to tears. If I cry while writing, I know I’ve written the best scene possible.

Here’s an excerpt from a book I’m working on called Sixteenth anniversary. I felt her fear and terror while I was writing it.

It was a good day for murder.

He strode into the diner, rifle in each hand and opened fire.

A smile curled his lips as people fell to the floor and blood spattered across tables and walls.

Mary Lou Hennessey heard the shots as she emerged from the woman’s restroom, two-year old Travis clutching her hand.

Her husband Clint came out of the men’s room at the same time, with their older son, five year old Clint Junior.

“It sounds like shots in the diner.” Mary Lou whispered.

Clint nodded and held his finger to his lips. “Take Clint and sneak out of the exit door.

He pointed to the door at the end of the hall and pushed Junior’s hand into hers.

She opened her mouth.

Clint shook his head. “Do what I ask. I’m going to check it out. I might be able to help.” He pulled his 45 automatic from his belt at the back of his jeans.

“Clint, don’t go, please.” She whispered.

“Go, quick and get as far away as possible, then call the sheriff.  Now go. I’ll be fine.”

Mary Lou hesitated. The shots had stopped.

Terror clutched at her throat, her pulse raced, tears threatened.  She wanted Clint to grab her and both run. She hesitated. Clint was at the diner’s door.

He motioned her to go and blew her a kiss.

Mary Lou clutched Clint Junior’s hand and raced to the exit door, praying it wasn’t alarmed. She pushed it open.

No alarm sounded.

She chewed her lip, a few tears trickled down. She glanced over her shoulder. Clint shoved open the door. He held his gun out in front.

“Well, well, look who’s here. Come on in boy and join the party.”

Mary Lou raced outside, into the warm Alabama evening, dragging both her boys with her.


“Quiet, both of you keep running beside me.” She raced across the unused parking lot, past a rusted out nineteen-ninety Ford, through an overgrowth of weeds and up a short slope into the carwash next door. It had closed at five o’clock. She ran inside and hid behind the brushes.

With one boy on each side, she clutched them against her. It was quiet. No shots. No sounds of anyone leaving the diner. No cars driving away.  She swallowed hard, trying to stop the tears. Terror enveloped her, but she d needed to hold it together for the boys.  She pulled out her cell phone and dialed 911.

Reading works the same way. I can read a book, get involved with the characters and enjoy the story. If it makes me laugh, has me holding my breath or maybe brings me to tears then I am deeply involved. Even I in books by JD Robb, when Rourke is making love to Eve, I sigh and melt.

I’m looking forward to hearing what the other members of the group have to say and maybe share their examples.  Check them out.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Have You Been Hacked?

Have you been hacked? How does this happen?
I’m skimming through he emails on one of my loops and there’s a message from me - except it’s not. “Check this out” with a link. I have no idea where the link goes. I don’t check it put, but I’m thinking, please don’t anyone else click on it.

I immediately change my password and post an apology to the loop, but the damage has been done.
So how do we protect ourselves. I got these tips from the Malwarebytes site

1.Update software frequently, if not automatically. This keeps hackers from accessing your computer through vulnerabilities in outdated programs
2.Download up-to-date security programs, including antivirus and anti-malware software, anti-spyware, and a firewall.

3.Do not use open wifi; it makes it too easy for hackers to steal your connection and download illegal files.
4.Speaking of passwords: password protect all of your devices, including your desktop, laptop, phone, smartwatch, tablet, camera, lawnmower…you get the idea. Lock your phone and make the timeout fairly short. Use fingerprint lock for the iPhone and passkey or swipe for Android.

5. Create difficult passwords and change them frequently. In addition, never use the same passwords across multiple services. If that’s as painful as a stake to a vampire’s heart, use a password manager like LastPass.
6.Come up with creative answers for your security questions. People can now figure out your mother’s maiden name or where you graduated from high school with a simple Google search. Consider answering like a crazy person. If Bank of America asks, “What was the name of your first boyfriend/girlfriend?” reply “your mom.” Just don’t forget that’s how you answered when they ask you again.

7.Practice smart surfing and emailing. Phishing campaigns still exist, but hackers have become much cleverer than that Nigerian prince who needs your money. Hover over links to see the actual email address from which the email was sent. Is it really from the person or company claiming to send them? If you’re not sure, pay attention to awkward sentence construction and formatting. If something still seems fishy, do a quick search on the Internet for the subject line. Others may have been scammed and posted about it online.
8.Don’t link accounts. “Linking accounts allows services to acquire a staggering amount of personal information.”

9.Keep sensitive data off the cloud.
Have you been hacked? How did you handle it? Any other suggestions?

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Research - History vs Contemporary

I sometimes wish I wrote historical westerns with resources like Pioneer Hearts on Facebook - or Hearts Through History - Or maybe romance in England in the 18th century with resources like the Beaumonde Chapter or again Hearts Through History - I think the research would be half the fun of writing the story.

I write contemporary romantic suspense and yes, I do research but it doesn’t seem as interesting. (Maybe it’s that grass is greener thing). Most of my research is done on line. I research the location usually with or I post to a group and ask people who live there. I belong to Kiss of Death Chapter and they have a lot of resources for guns, police, lawyers, fire inspectors, etc. 

You can take courses through them or post questions to the members on the loop. I also take other courses advertised online about things I’m writing about. I also write to local police departments, FBI, or ATF and ask questions specific to their work and area – nothing that might be confidential. And I belong to several other Yahoo writing loops like the Screenwriters; Crime Scene and Forensic Science.

Do you do research? Contemporary or historical? What resources do you use?


Thursday, June 16, 2016


Sorry everyone, but for this week I'm MIA. We're traveling and last year this place had wifi. This year they don't. :( So I have no internet for a week. I should be back by Monday evening.

So I'm trying to set up a BIAW and keep an eye on email from various hotspots.
It's not working very well.
In this day and age I find it difficult because I use the internet for so much. Looking for a restaurant, check the internet. Researching for my book - check the internet. You know how it goes.
I can't even add pictures.

How does everyone cope when it's unexpected loss of internet for any length of time?

Thursday, June 9, 2016

A Widows's Walk: Catherine's Dilemma

Thanks for having me today, Beverley. I’d like to talk about my new romantic suspense,Widow’s Walk: Catherine’s Dilemma. 

Catherine Killean is a woman on a mission. When her new husband disappears, leaving a suicide note, she is determined to find out why. She follows his tracks first to the North Woods of Maine, then to Florida, and back again to Maine. Along the way, she meets the tall, dark, gruff Holden Taggart, a Maine guide. 
In her doubt and loneliness she is drawn to Holden, leaving her confused and adrift. What will happen when her questions about Jonathan are finally answered? Will old loyalty or new love triumph?
Holden and Catherine meet in the North Woods, where moose and bears are common. 
       Black bears are the most common bear in North America. They are quite small, averaging four to five feet long and about 250 pounds. They usually subsist on berries, roots, grasses, and insects, with an occasional fish. They are not normally aggressive, although when harassed by a human female such as Catherine and kept from their favorite dish—ripe raspberries—they can become quite grumpy.

Good thing Holden was nearby to console Catherine after her fright.

Excerpt (R): Panic Turns to Desire
Another wave of panic washed over her. Holden started to rise but she held him closer. “Not yet. Don’t go yet. Just give me a minute.”
Holden clucked his tongue. “You’ll be fine. I promise.”
Catherine tried unsuccessfully to loosen her grip. Holden got one arm free but used it to stroke her hair. “Really, you’re perfectly safe now.” He brushed his lips against her forehead. Then he lifted her chin. He looked at her, concerned. Suddenly, he bent and kissed her lightly. “Are you okay?”
She raised her face to his. Her heart constricted. He really is handsome, isn’t he? Especially when that bad-tempered scowl softens. Before she could say anything, he kissed her again, this time a little harder. In her shaky state, it felt comforting. She kissed him back. An instant later, their arms were wrapped around each other and Holden’s tongue had slipped between her teeth to explore the inside of her mouth. She dropped back onto the bed. He followed her, bracing himself above her, his kisses now passionate. When they broke apart, they were both panting. A split second of decision, then his fingers went to the hem of her nightgown and lifted. Catherine gazed into his eyes, willing him to continue.
He fumbled at the buttons on the nightgown. Finally, in frustration, he took hold of the collar, tore it in two and threw the pieces on the floor. She lay back on the blanket, her long hair spread out on the pillow, drained of all rational thought, watching and waiting. The moon bathed her body with a misty light. Holden unzipped his jeans and let them drop. He was naked underneath and she thought fleetingly that he must have thrown them on when she screamed. That means he sleeps in the nude. She smiled at the thought, but he gave her no more time for reflection.
He fell on her, the length of his body pressed to hers, his arousal obvious. He kissed her hungrily, and then brushed his lips down her neck, continuing down to the right breast. She arched her back to bring her nipple closer. Her chest heaved beneath his mouth. He moved to the left breast and began to suckle. She gasped, the sensation too pleasurable for words. He lifted his head, as though praying that the sound didn’t mean she wanted him to stop. Instead, her arms went round his neck and her legs around his back, pulling him closer. He had no choice but to enter her. He didn’t hesitate. She was wet and ready for him. It didn’t take much, she thought. Then she stopped thinking.
Like an escalator—one which changed direction every few seconds—they went up, up, up, then down and down. They began to move faster and faster. Now they were both steaming uphill, but instead of flying off at the top of the stair, they met and came together. Catherine let out a mewling sound like a baby eagle and went rigid in midair. Holden held her up, ignoring the laws of gravity for just long enough to reach the moment of pure ecstasy. Then they plummeted. Quiet. Peace. Comfort.
It could not last.
Catherine’s eyes flew open. “What did we just do?” she whispered.
If Holden was wondering the same thing, he didn’t let on. “Do?”
“I mean…I mean…” She trailed off.
Holden gave her one more deep kiss before pushing himself off. He shook his head. “I don’t know, Mrs. Killean. It just happened. Sometimes it does. You were scared, you needed comfort. That’s all. Forget about it.” He looked out the window. She looked over his shoulder at the sky. The moon had gone down. It must be near dawn. He turned to her. “The bear is gone. I’ll take my leave as well.”
        Catherine was so thunderstruck she couldn’t think of anything to say. Lost in wonder at what had just happened, she didn’t even hear him pull on his pants and leave, closing the door softly behind him. Just before she fell asleep, she whispered into the night, “Catherine…call me Catherine.”
I Heart Book Publishing, June 6, 2016
Ebook: words; Print: 227 p.
Contemporary romantic suspense, M/F, 2 flames
Buy Links:
About the Author
Although M. S. Spencer has lived or traveled in five continents, the last thirty years were spent mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, kayaker, policy wonk, non-profit director and parent. She has two fabulous grown children and a perfect granddaughter. Ms. Spencer has published ten romantic suspense/murder mystery novels, and currently divides her time between the Gulf coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine.

Author Pages:
I Heart Book Publishing:
Amazon Author Page:

M. S. Spencer Tale Spinner
Latest Releases: TheMason's Mark and

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Tuesday Tips and Tweaks

Mary loves to spend time with family and friends--she includes good books as friends! ary lives in Magna, a little town west of Salt Lake City, Utah. Together with her husband, she has six grown children, and six wonderful grandsons and five beautiful grand childrens.
First I thank you for having me as a guest. My tip of the day is a writing tip. Although, it’s not really about writing as much as it is about reading. The best advice I can give a writer is to join a book club. I know that sounds odd, but I have learned so much from the readers in my club. None are writers, that’s the key.

You may wonder why? Because it gives you a chance to read outside your comfort zone. Read a variety of authors and study their style. And if you’re anything like me, you nitpick over everything. Once you’ve read the book and you meet for book club, you hear what a reader—not a writer—has to say about the book. Usually it’s totally different than what you thought about the book.

Each book you will have an up close and personal insight on what the reader wants in a book. What they didn’t like, what frustrated them. It really does help when you’re writing a scene, I’ve caught myself thinking, oh wait, book club did like this when that one author used the same type of scenario.

And the fun part is, you get to read books, you have a night out, and if it’s like our club you get to drink wine.

Mary Martinez

Mary’s Garden where imagination blooms.


Classic Murder: Mr. Romance

Adam enjoys a lifestyle most men only dream of. Then one day he wakes up to find the morning headlines blaring, "Another victim falls prey to Mr. Romance. Who is next?" He suddenly realizes his way of life is not only frivolous, but deadly.

Dubbed Mr. Romance by New York society for his romantic adventures, Adam Fernando Russo loves women. But lately he realizes how lonely it is coming home to an empty house. Can he settle for only one woman? After he makes a list of qualities worthy enough to merit giving up his desirable existence, suddenly recipients of his coveted attention mysteriously fall prey to a murderer. The murders seem unrelated with one exception--all the victims have recently returned from a fabulous weekend rendezvous with Mr. Romance.

Adam’s assistant, Katie Sinclair, knows Adam is innocent with airtight alibis. The police are at a loss so Adam and Katie work together to discover the link between the murders. As luck would have it, their plan to prove the murderer is copying classic Cary Grant movies goes astray just as Adam realizes his perfect woman has been by his side all along.