Our last group
blog of the year is to write a short story, flash fiction, or present an
excerpt from one of your books.
plan was to write a short story. Then the holidays crept up and suddenly it’s
time to post and I haven’t written anything, at least not a short story for this
post. I have been writing on Death Southern Style and it’s almost finished, and
I have the cover now, which I will reveal shortly.
So, I decided
I’d share an excerpt from Death Southern Style.
paid the taxi she stood on the street and stared at the small sign tacked over
the door of the old wooden house, Chez Voodoo.
She had come
here with her mother often and was comfortable with voodoo. She knew it always
focused on the positive. It had never been frightening. She was sure voodoo had
nothing to do with her mother’s death, but the doll in her hotel room upset
her. Other than trying to scare her away, what could it possibly mean?
Priestess Ava might be able to help her.
through the store and the door into the church. A tall black woman wearing a
long white dress with a white apron and a white scarf tied around her head,
turned around when Julie Ann entered the room.
“Julie Ann Dupré, child, welcome.”
She hurried across and wrapped her arms around Julie Ann. “I am so sorry to hear
about your mother.”
Julie Ann returned the hug and felt the energy flow from Priestess Ava. She
soaked it in before she finally pulled back. “That’s what I wanted to talk to
death? Of course, although I’m not sure how I can help. Shall we go and sit in
“That would be
nice.” Julie murmured. She liked it out there. Riots of red, orange, yellow,
purple and coral colors filled the flower beds, attracting butterflies, birds
and bees. Street noises never entered the area. It was an area of serenity and
peace. And it always felt cool, despite the temperature.
“I found this
in my hotel room this morning.” Julie Ann handed the voodoo doll to Ava.
Ava regarded it
carefully before she touched it.
“This was in
your hotel room?”
“How did it get
“I don’t know.
The door and the window were both locked. When I touched it, I could see a
group, not one person, but several and all very blurry.”
“I see. This is
a voodoo doll, but not one of mine. Someone could have bought it from any of
the local shops. It’s one made for tourists and then they added the blood. It’s
a warning and meant to scare you.”
“It does scare
me. I guess if I left all this alone, accepted the police report and went back
to New York maybe I’d be safe.”
possible. It could be that’s what they hoped you would do when you got this.If
you do leave New Orleans the people doing this might feel less threatened.”
“I can’t. For
mom’s sake, I can’t let this be swept under the rug. I need answers and a
motive. Besides, if the motive has something to do with her past or maybe about
me, how can I be sure I’m safe even in New York? Do you know anything about my
never discussed it. It was obvious you were adopted but she never shared any
information about your parents or where you came from. You are going to stay in
staying at home. I’m hoping I might pick up something there or Perrine might
talk to me.”
“You must be
very careful. Many things in life don’t make sense. Stay open minded; listen to
your spirits – Perrine may talk to you or send someone else.”
“I’ll try to be
patient and careful. I hope someone will talk to me. When did you see Perrine last?”
was the day before she died. She dropped by for tea.”
“What did you
course. She was so excited that you were coming home. She said she had a
surprise for you.
“What was it?”
Julie asked eagerly.
“I didn’t ask.
I’m sure you’ll probably find out. Maybe she’d bought you a gift?”
nothing in the house – unless that was what was stolen.”
“Ask some of
her friends, maybe they know.”
“I will. Thank
“Have you made
any plans for the funeral yet?”
“No, I haven’t
talked to her friends yet. Savannah mentioned Charlie wants to do it up in
style and have an old-fashioned funeral with a band and a parade from the
church to the cemetery.”
wonderful. Perrine deserves it and the neighborhood will get a chance to mourn
her in style. Good for Charlie.”
“I need to talk
to him. Would you speak?”
honored. Let me know when and where. Now I’m going to give you a special packet
of mine. I want you to keep it on you at all times. It is to protect you
against unknown threats and danger.” Ava slipped into the church and came back
a few minutes later with a small ball wrapped in cotton muslin tied tightly at
She held it
over Julie Ann’s palm and mumbled a few words before she handed it to her. “Now
put it in your pocket and keep it there. Keep it on you at all times, day or
night. Promise me.”
“I will.” Julie
Ann obeyed and stuffed it in her pocket. “Thanks, Ava. I don’t know that I need
any protection, but I’ll be careful.”
“You take care now.” Ava gave Julie Ann a hug
and watched her go.
Maybe I should
have made the potion stronger. There’s an aura around her that says she’s going
to have to face some life-threatening challenges.
I hope you enjoyed the
excerpt. Now please check out these other authors and see what they have chosen
to do for you.
EXCERPT From The Fourth Victim by Beverley Bateman
Sara’s emotionally abusive husband dies unexpectedly. She’s struggling to reclaim the intelligent, independent person she was before she married. She vows never to let a man take over her life again. Now she’s part of a special team, training to help other women.
Mac is has been responsible for training women in special ops techniques so they are prepared when they are challenged to save other women. When he meets Sara sparks fly between them. He wants her to quit the training and let him take care of her.
Sara graduates and now she and her team have to save Sara’s daughter from a serial killer. Can Mac step back and trust her in a dangerous situation? Can Sara and Mac resolve their issues, or will they go in opposite directions?
After and eleven year absence Janna Kincaid inherits a ranch and is forced to return to a town she only remembers with unhappiness, a man to whom she was briefly married and never wants to see again, and someone is trying to kill her.
Kye Hawkins has loved Janna since he first met her. They were married but a few weeks later she ran away, without an explanation. He still hasn't figured out why. Now she's coming back. Does she still love him? Can he rekindle the romance and also prevent her from being killed.
Janna doesn't want Kye's help in anyway, yet he always seems to be there when she's in trouble. Can they work together to find a killer, save the Native burial ground and home of the spirits, and find romance again?
Now this is an interesting topic. What is the oddest character you have
ever dreamed up, and how did they fit into a story?
First, I had to figure out what made a character odd? Their appearance,
their occupation, their hobby, did they come from space? I write contemporary
but witha touch of paranormal. My WIP has a dog that may have a paranormal
element. My Hawkins Ranch series has a grove of trees where the spirits of
Native Americans reside and talk to the owners of the ranch. I decided on
Lillian Abernathy from A Cruise to Remember. She’s a widow in her sixties with
Alzheimer’s and a touch of kleptomania. She wants to repeat a cruise she and
her deceased husband had taken, to bring back memories, while she still can.
She’s takes Hallie, the heroine with amnesia, on the cruise as her companion.
They travel through the Caribbean where they are considered potential jewel
Lillian is a strong secondary companion who helps the story progress
with both the plot development and the growth and development of the heroine. She
plays matchmaker, and also brings a little of her own romance into the
forward to reading about other authors odd characters. Join me in checking them
Spencer has published thirteen romantic suspense or murder mystery novels, with
two more on the way. She has two fabulous grown children and an incredible
granddaughter. She divides her time between the Gulf Coast of Florida and a
tiny village in Maine.
genre or genres do you write or prefer to write? And why?
write cozy murder mystery, romantic suspense, and some
action/adventure/romance. By “cozy” I do not mean my heroine runs a bakery or
keeps a cat or lives in the English countryside. It refers to an amateur sleuth
who must deal with a puzzle, for example, a corpse in a locked room. I love
creating a complicated path to the solution with lots of red herrings and
twists and turns.
influenced you the most in deciding to become a writer?
always wanted to be a writer. I think if you’re as voracious a reader as I was,
you eventually find yourself needing to make that leap into creating your own
story, putting your own words on the paper.
Beverley: What gets your creative juices flowing?
M.S.:Often when I’m surfing the internet I’ll come
across an intriguing or crazy item & it triggers a story line. I learned of
the “Ghost Hotel” that way. The Pit & the Passion: Murder at the Ghost
Hotel, takes place on Longboat Key, Florida, where in fact there stood the hulk
of an unfinished Ritz-Carlton for decades. Begun by John Ringling of circus
fame, it languished from 1926 to 1964. So…what would you find at a ghost hotel?
Beverley:Do you have a favorite cartoon character? Why?
M.S.:Calvin of Calvin and Hobbes. He’s both adorable and
horrible, and his imagination soars higher and wider than anyone in the world.
I love Pogo too, of course.
Beverley:Who would you love most to meet 'in person' and
M.S.:I have been a widow for 10 years now, and although
I’ve tried various methods of finding a new fella, I have been unsuccessful.
So, rather than choose some celebrity or writer or professor, the man I’d most
like to meet is the one of my dreams.
Beverley:If you had an unexpected free day what would you do
M.S.:Well, I used to go exploring—find a nature trail or
historic site. Florida is chock full of fascinating places. I’d like to go to
Weeki Wachee Springs and see the mermaids, or to Tarpon Springs to see the
sponge divers. Then eat a lovely, looong Greek lunch. But I’d probably seize
the day by sitting at my laptop and writing.
Beverley:What are you working on now?
M.S.: I’m working on a story now set in Maine—in the same
town as The Penhallow Train Incident. I am not much into series, but I love the
denizens of Penhallow and Amity Landing so much I had to let them live on in a
The working title is Mrs.
Spinney’s Secret. The story opens with Cassidy Jane Beauvoir, proprietor of
Mindful Books and chairman of the Board of Overseers of Amity Landing,
confronted with a Hollywood cabal that wants to make a movie in her tiny
village. Her objections are overridden by the townspeople, and her initial
misgivings must vie with a growing attraction to the film’s director Jasper
MacEwan. Unfortunately, both the movie and their romance are hindered by a
series of incidents—some fatal, some simply painful. The two must set aside
both their differences and their romance to search for answers not only to the
mystery, but to the whereabouts of a long lost hoard of English gold.
Monsters and mystery lurk
deep in the Amazon—a tale of passion and obsession.
with Ursa Major and Ursa Minor—is one of the most recognizable constellations
in the sky. Most people zero in on the three stars that make up his belt, but
the brightest star in the constellation is Rigel—his left knee or foot.
was the son of Poseidon, who gave him the power to walk on water. He was a
great hunter. In the excerpt below, Petra tells Emory why she wishes on Orion’s
foot, and he in turn warns her to be careful of him.
Oddly enough, I came up with the title for Orion’s
Foot: Myth, Mystery, & Romance in the Amazon, separately from the
actual inspiration for the book. I was sitting outside on a beautiful night and
saw Orion—I’m sorry to say one of the few constellations I can identify. I
thought, what a neat title for a book. There you have it.
Petra Steele is wallowing in self-pity after being dumped at the
altar, when her brother Nick invites her to come to the Peruvian Amazon. Before
she even sets her suitcase down, she's confronted with a murder victim. In a
research station peopled with a quirky assortment of scientists, she is drawn
to Emory Andrews, a gruff, big man with a secret past. That is, until his
beautiful ex-wife shows up. More murders, more secrets, more mysteries ensue,
all in the deeply romantic, sizzling jungle.
Excerpt from Orion’s Foot
supper, she sought the hammock room,hoping to see the capybaras again, but the lawn wasempty. For once, the sky was clear, and she
wanderedout and down to the dock to
enjoy the stars. Ah, there’sOrion.
Usually people chose Venus or Polaris, but Petraalways wished on Orion’s left foot. Nick had
once asked her why. “Because it’s his foot that takes the firststride across space.”
“So what does that have to do with your
“Whenever I’m faced with a scary decision,
Oriongives me the courage to take the
Nick had laughed at her.
As she closed her eyes and pondered her
request, arustle sounded behind her.
“Don’t fall in.”
sprang forward and nearly did fall in, but a strong hand caught her around her
waist and pulled her back. She felt warm breath in her ear. “Emory!”
let go. “What are you doing anyway? You had one leg hovering over the water.”
guess the stars distracted me.” She glanced at him shyly. “I was wishing on
Orion. Or rather, on his foot.” She pointed at the star twinkling below the
to let on how weird I am just yet. “It’s…uh…the
only constellation I recognize?”
probably the only constellation most
people recognize.” He looked down at her. “Okay, do you have a foot fetish, or
what? Why wish on the foot?”
because Nick made fun of me doesn’t mean Emory will. “It
brings me luck.”
a rabbit’s foot, only better?”
didn’t answer. The thing that had been simmering in the back of her mind for
the last two days, obscured by the chaos of events, had made itself known. She
knew what she wanted to wish for.
Did you hear my question?”
lowered her eyes to Emory. “I don’t know about better—but it serves the same
function. See, everyone zeroes in on Orion’s belt, or his dog, or his manly
physique, but his left foot—Rigel—is actually the brightest star in the
inspected the night sky. “True. And?”
it reminds me that when you have to take that first step into the unknown
you…um…put your best foot forward. I look at Orion striding across the cosmos,
and he helps me believe I can meet any challenge.”
was silent for a minute. Petra was about to take her leave when he said, “Did
you know that Orion claimed he was the greatest hunter of all time? Gaia sent a
scorpion to kill him.”
Who is Gaia?”
means Earth—she’s the goddess the Greeks called the mother of all life—the
primordial deity. The cool New Age kids all worship her. Don’t tell me you
aren’t into crystals and yoga?”
So why did Gaia want to kill Orion?”
to prove his prowess, he announced he was going to hunt down and kill all the
animals in the world. Since Gaia is the guardian of every living thing, you
might say his threat kinda ruffled her feathers.”
bet. So she decided to kill him before he massacred her subjects. Did she
Another god—I forget his name—gave Orion the antidote. That’s why you never see
both Orion and Scorpio in the sky at the same time.”
he said softly, “Orion is hardly the hero you want to set your heart on. All
the stories of him involve power, lust, and murder.”
Barbara White Daille lives with her husband in the sunny Southwest.
Though they love the warm winters and the lizards in their front yard, they
haven’t gotten used to the scorpions in the bathroom. Barbara also loves
writing, reading, and chocolate. Come to think of it, she enjoys writing about
those subjects, too!
Barbara wrote her first short story at the age of nine, then typed
"The End" to her first novel many years later...in the eighth grade.
Now she's writing contemporary romance on a daily basis. Sign up for her
newsletter to keep up with the latest in her writing life: https://barbarawhitedaille.com/newsletter.
to Beverley for inviting me back to the blog!
we’re approaching the winter holidays, I’m sharing a bit about One
Week to Win Her Boss. The book is a sweet romance set in Snowflake
Valley, which—as you’ll see below—is a tiny tourist town dedicated to
Book Blurb from One Week to Win Her Boss:
Single mom Amber Barnett loves family, kids, Christmas…and
unfortunately, her boss, confirmed bachelor Michael DeFranco. It's a crush
she really needs to get over. Except, when she’s temporarily
forced from her apartment, her only option is to stay at Michael’s private ski
lodge, where she's the housekeeper. No problem. Her handsome boss rarely visits
Snowflake Valley unexpectedly, plus he’s spending the holidays with his family.
Or so she thinks…
A stormy Christmas Eve reunion leaves Michael seeking the solitude of
his lodge, where he finds Amber in residence—and in trouble. Attempting to save
her from her matchmaking family, he announces they’re a couple. His good deed
backfires when they’re instantly included in each and every holiday event in
town. So much for solitude.
Only the more time he spends with the beautiful, cheery brunette, the
more he yearns to make things real between them. But he and Amber want
different things, and Michael could never be the family man she's looking
Amber stared down at her coffee. “I was sorry you had to back out at the
last minute. You would have made a great Santa yourself.”
“Santa? Me?” Michael laughed. “Bah, humbug.”
His mocking tone surprised her. “You are a Scrooge, aren’t you?
That’s so sad. Christmas is my favorite holiday.”
“Good thing for you, since there’s no getting away from it around here.”
She smiled wryly. “I can’t argue with that. Not when I live and work in
a town called Snowflake Valley. As Mayor Corrigan would tell you”—she attempted
to mimic his deep voice—“‘three-hundred-and-sixty-five days a year, we cater to
tourists celebrating the season.’ But you have to admit Christmas is a magical
time. And I’m glad that magic brought Santa and Miss Elf their
happy-ever-after.” The fact that Miss Elf was her sister made the good news
even more special.
When he frowned, obviously puzzled, she smiled. “I forgot. You wouldn’t
have heard the news yet. Lyssa and Nick are engaged.”
Michael snorted a laugh.
“What’s so funny?”
“Just reacting to the idea of Nick getting married.”
“Because you never thought he’d find the right girl?”
“No. Because I thought he was smart enough to know marriage isn’t a
Her heart thumped. She set her mug on the tray and sat back again,
tucking her suddenly cold hands beneath the edge of the afghan.
Yes, she wanted to be independent and in control as a single mom…but she
didn’t want to be a single mom forever. She’d realized that truth the day she
had met Michael. And even after last night’s conversation and this morning’s
warnings to herself, she hadn’t given up on him.
Until this minute.
Until his one flat statement shattered all her hopes and dreams.
Where were Callie and Lyssa to save their little sister now? She could
see them shaking their heads in disbelief at hearing this news. She
could hear them, too.
Isn’t that just like poor Amber to mess
Even as a four-year-old, she was always
the mommy when she played house.
And now she’s crushing on a man who
probably runs at the first mention of marriage.
And they would be right. Michael’s conviction was a chilling reminder
she couldn’t trust her instincts about men.
Still, couldn’t she expect just one tiny Christmas miracle?
Find One Week to Win Her Boss
(sale-priced at 99 cents through November 18th):