Friday, October 18, 2019

Was Writing Your Story Hijacked?

What unique situations have occurred in the writing process of any of your novels? Things where what you planned changed or the direction you thought the story was on deviated or transmuted?

This is a challenging topic. So many of my stories changed directions in the writing. Maybe the one that changed the most was Missing - Luke’s Story. Dr. Allie Parsons is a big city New York doctor with personal and family challenges she preferred not to face. It started out she was going to make a quick trip to a small town to make a doctor pay for his treatment of a girlfriend. During the writing the story morphed. Allie found the small-town doctor was kind, caring and never hurt anyone. The small town was friendly, welcomed her and accepted her. The doctor and has family enveloped her into their warm, normal family.  Nothing like the story I was going to write. Somehow the characters had their own version I was supposed to tell.

Hunted, developed a grove of ancient trees on a ranch where the spirits of Native American chiefs hung out and talked to the owner of the ranch. I have no idea where that came from but it shows up in all the Hawkins’ ranch series, now.
I’m looking forward to the unique situations other authors have written about. Come with me and check them out.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Check Out Seelie Kay's New Novel

When not spinning her kinky tales, Ms. Kay ghostwrites nonfiction for lawyers and other professionals. She resides in a bucolic exurb outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where she shares a home with her son and enjoys opera, gourmet cooking, organic gardening, and an occasional bottle of red wine.

Ms. Kay is an MS warrior and ruthlessly battles the disease on a daily basis. Her message to those diagnosed with MS:  Never give up. You define MS, it does not define you!

Beverley: Why do you write romance?
Seelie: Because I am fascinated by the games people play to find and secure a lasting relationship, which is not always love. There’s the chase, the courtship, the falling, the surrender. That’s what I try to capture in my stories.

Beverley: Do you prefer a certain type of romantic hero?
Seelie: I adore smart, dashing gentlemen who aren’t afraid to live on the edge. They can be a bad boy, a billionaire, a prince, or a secret agent. That hint of danger just hooks me! However, I also love strong, independent women who aren’t afraid to fight for what they want, even love.
Beverley: Why did you write “Hope?”
Seelie: Hope Ali has been a minor character in past books and has made no secret of her desire to join the Agency. She had to grow up first. Now she has and it’s time for her story. She enabled me to tackle two issues: The number of people who are “disappeared” for opposing governments and leaders and post-traumatic stress disorder. In this book, Hope helps rescue a writer in the UAE who has been put under house arrest for authoring a book exposing the ties of the ruling families to gunrunning and terrorism. Unfortunately, Hope gets attacked and is broken, mentally and physically. This very vital, strong woman must find her way back from that traumatic event and the path is not easy. It is a story of courage and survival.
Beverley: How does your former profession as a lawyer impact your writing?
Seelie: My friends say I am obsessed with justice and I guess that’s true. After 30 years, the law and the legal world are so firmly embedded in my brain that I can’t flush them out. That has become the lens through which I view the world and that naturally guides my characters and plots. Injustice infuriates me, but it also leads me to great stories!

Blurb for Hope:
At only age twenty-two, she’s the best Probie the Agency has ever had—until her past catches up with her, leaving her devastated and broken. Without hope.

No one knows what they’re made of until they’re broken. At the tender age of twenty-two, Hope Ali has finally joined the organization of her dreams, the Agency, an elite group of attorneys who go undercover to right wrongs the law can’t. The requirements are stringent, the training exhausting.

After seeking asylum in the United States when she was sixteen, Hope and her father, Sheikh Harun Ali, settled in a quiet Wisconsin town, hiding from those who had placed a price on their heads. Still, she excelled, finishing her university and law school education by the time she was twenty-one.

Now, after breezing through the Agency training program, Hope appears to be indestructible—until she is assigned a simple task during the rescue of an author among the disappeared in the UAE. The task? To distract the woman’s captors until she can be spirited out of the country.

Unfortunately, a member of MISix has other plans. In an attempt to disrupt the Agency’s mission, she tips off one of Hope’s enemies, alerting them to her location. Hope manages to lead the author’s captors on a merry dance, freeing others to rescue her, until she is unexpectedly confronted with a violent angry mob intent on harm.

She is left bloody and broken. No one knows whether Hope’s body or her mind will heal. Suddenly Hope is no longer just her name. It is also the one thing she must embrace to find her new normal.

    Excerpt from Hope:
Hope stared at the pit full of ice, then gazed at Dianna. “You want me    to do what?”
Dianna smiled. “This is your new obstacle course. It’s called The Ballbuster. Obviously, the other one wasn’t challenging enough for you, so I thought we’d try something else.” She smirked. “What’s the matter, not up to it, Probie?”
Hope scowled. “I thought you were my friend.”
“When you’re on Agency grounds, I’m your trainer and mentor first. You know that, Hope. My job is to make sure that when in the field, you can overcome every obstacle. Failure isn’t an option. Failure could mean death.”
Hope snapped, “Don’t you think I know that? God, everyone seems duty-bound to remind me of that every damn day. I’m not a child. I know my limits. I know my weaknesses. You don’t have to bludgeon me over the head with a cudgel.”
Dianna’s expression hardened. “Here’s the thing, Hope. The second you begin to believe that you can overcome every obstacle put in front of you is the day you should quit. Confidence is one thing. Feeling that you’re omniscient is another. Out in the field, fear is what drives you, and it could very well be what saves you. I don’t need you taking stupid chances because you think you’re Wonder Woman, able to thwart every threat. I need you to calmly assess each situation and rationally weigh the risks. You need to know when to walk away. Just as you need to know when a risk is worth taking. You have no real superpowers, woman. And you need to remember that. That’s why you’re on probation until we’re confident you can survive, Probie.
“This job isn’t about physical skill. It’s about being able to clearly, quickly, and competently analyze the risks. What I see right now is a young woman without fear, willing to take on any roadblock. I need you to recognize your limits and work around them. There is no shame in admitting defeat. And there most definitely is no shame in asking for help. That’s why each obstacle has a kill bell. Hit that and the exercise stops.”
“And then what,” Hope muttered. “I get kicked out?”
“No, then we step in and help. This Agency leaves no man or woman behind, Hope. They proved that to me when I was sent to Bolivia. The minute I sent out the Bat Signal, they began putting together a team to extract me. They saved my life.”

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Monday, October 7, 2019

Breast Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment

Last week I discussed Breast Cancer. This week I thought I’d talk about the diagnosis and treatment.
The two things women should be doing is a monthly self breast check for any lumps or changes. Always remember to go under the arm and check the lymph nodes in the armpit.
Diagnostic mammography is an x-ray that uses small doses of radiation to make an image of the breast. It is used to follow up on abnormal results of a screening mammography or a clinical breast exam. Mammography can also be used to find an abnormal area during a biopsy.

If there are abnormalities in a mammogram, they may do an ultrasound. An ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to make images of parts of the body. It is used to find out if a breast lump is a solid tumor or a cyst. Doctors may also use ultrasound to guide them to the area to be tested during a biopsy.
If the diagnosis is possible cancer a biopsy will be done. During a biopsy, the doctor removes tissues or cells from the body so they can be tested in a lab and  confirm whether or not cancer cells are found in the sample. Most biopsies are done in a hospital, and you can go home when the biopsy is finished. There are a variety of biopsies.                                                                                                          Fine needle aspiration(FNA) uses a very thin needle and syringe to remove a small amount of tissue from a lump.                                                                                                                                                         Mammito biopsy – similar to a fine needle but does several at once.                                                                                                                                                            Core biopsy uses a special hollow needle to remove tissue from the body.                                                  Streotactic core biopsy uses 3-D, or stereotactic, images to find the exact location of a tumor or suspicious area in the breast. Doctors use these images to guide them during a core biopsy. Stereotactic core biopsy is used to take samples from lumps that can be seen on an imaging test but that can’t be felt in the breast.                                  Wire localization biopsy uses mammography to place a fine wire into a suspicious area in the breast that can’t be felt. The wire is left in place to guide the surgeon to the area during a surgical biopsy.                                         Surgical, or open, biopsy removes all or part of a lump or a suspicious area.                                                                                Lymph node biopsy is a surgical procedure that removes lymph nodes under the arm (called the axillary lymph nodes).
Treatment varies but usually it’s surgery. Either a lumpectomy or mastectomy. And may also include radiation, chemotherapy or hormone therapy. 

Thursday, October 3, 2019

The Hero From The Viking's Witch

A Visit with Rothgar from The Viking’s Witch
By Kelli A. Wilkins
Today we’re chatting with Rothgar, the hero from The Viking’s Witch, a historical/paranormal romance from Kelli A. Wilkins. Before we hear from Rothgar, let’s learn more about the book.
The Viking’s Witch
Scotland, 803 A.D.
About to be burned at the stake by her fellow villagers, Odaria does what any betrayed witch facing certain death would do. She calls down a curse. Within seconds, rampaging Norsemen raid the village, capturing everyone except her.
But her reprieve is short-lived, and Odaria lands in the clutches of the Norse leader Rothgar. Can she remain true to herself and fight her growing attraction to this domineering man, or will she fall under his influence and be used for his ambitions?
After Rothgar witnesses Odaria’s powers firsthand, he strikes a bargain with her. The raven-haired beauty will use her magical abilities to help him with his quest in exchange for safe passage off the isle. But can this cunning woman be trusted, or is she using him to exact vengeance on her village?
Together they must fight bloodthirsty villagers, battle a mutinous band of Norsemen, find a missing Norse ship, and learn to trust each other… before time runs out.

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Beverley: Welcome Rothgar. Can you tell us how you came to the Orkney Islands and met Odaria, the heroine in The Viking’s Witch?
Rothgar: Ja
. I was sent there to look for my cousin, Orvind. His ship had vanished and my uncle wanted me to find him. After we came ashore, I found Odaria hiding in a gathering hall and I rescued her from an attack. To repay my kindness, she hit me! It was a very unusual first meeting.                                                                        Beverley: What’s your story/back story? What was your life like before your author started pulling your strings?  Rothgar: Before Kelli brought me and my fellow Norsemen to Stronsay, I was living a very different life. Once upon a time, I was known as “Rothgar the Ruthless” and I was a fierce and respected warrior. However, after my wife and son died, I gave up raiding and traveling and was considered “soft” by many of my fellow warriors. I was content to live on my farm and tend to my animals. I’ll admit, when Kelli gave me this mission, I was reluctant to take it. But I resurrected my stronger side and became a warrior once again. I’m glad I did, because sailing to Scotland and meeting Odaria renewed my strength and self-confidence, and gave me a second chance at a happy life.                Beverley: You sound very noble. How would you describe yourself?                                                          Rothgar: A strong warrior who does not tolerate disloyalty or fools. I’ll fight for a cause I believe in, but I cannot stomach excess violence or abuse toward women. I’m a disciplined man who stands by my word, and I expect the same from others.                                                                                                                                        Beverley: What’s your goal in this story?                                                                                      Rothgar: When the story begins, my primary goal is to rescue Orvind. After I met Odaria, I had another goal: to protect her from her fellow Picts. Along the way, Odaria and I decided on a common goal: to bring her home with me.                                                                                                                                            Beverley: What conflicts are you facing?                                                                                          Rothgar: I have conflicts everywhere! My fellow Norsemen are reluctant to obey my orders; they want to raid the nearby islands instead of searching for Orvind. The Picts refuse to cooperate and won’t tell me where Orvind has been hidden, and they all want to kill Odaria. Odaria is also a bit of a problem at times. She’s very headstrong and refuses to listen to me for her own good.                                                                                          Beverley: What was your first impression of Odaria?                                                                         Rothgar: I had never known a woman like her before—soft and tender one minute, then feisty and fighting the next. I was impressed by her inner strength (she had just been tied to a stake and nearly burned to death), and her ability to cope with tragic situations. Later, when she wept like a frightened girl, I saw how vulnerable she was deep down, and my heart melted.                                                                                                      Beverley: What is it about Odaria that makes you crazy in a good way?                                                            Rothgar: She’s very strong-willed and opinionated and likes to do things her own way, no matter what. When I first met her, this was very frustrating and drove me crazy, because I knew what was best for her, and yet, she fought me at every turn. Only later did I come to realize that all these traits made me love her even more.   Beverley: Who is the one person you respect and trust the most?                                                                 Rothgar: Odaria has proven that she’s unlike any other woman, and I trust her with my life. I have the utmost respect for her and know that she will fight with me, and for me, if necessary. I also have great respect for my berserkr friend, Nordskog. His great courage and loyalty saved Odaria and me from certain death.                        Beverley: Do you sometimes want to strangle your writer? Thrash her to within an inch of her life for what she put you through in the book?                                                                                                           Rothgar: Yes! Over the course of the book, Kelli put me through several very emotional trials. I had to discipline (and battle) fellow Norsemen, contend with the local villagers, protect Odaria, and still look for my cousin. It was a very exhausting few days, but I know that Kelli did it all for a good reason. She brought Odaria and I together and changed our lives forever. We’re both very happy now and quite indebted to Kelli for all she’s done for us. (Although she could have made things a little easier!)                                                                                  Beverley:Thank you for your time, Rothgar. Before you go, tell us a little something about your author. Where can readers find her website/blog?                                                                                                       Rothgar: Kelli A. Wilkins is an award-winning author who has published more than 100 short stories, 19 romance novels, 5 non-fiction books, and 2 online writing courses. Her romances span many genres and heat levels, and she’s also been known to scare readers with her horror stories.
The Viking’s Witch was released in June 2019. This full-length novel takes place in Celtic Scotland and blends a sensual romance with paranormal elements. She released Extraterrestrial Encounters, a collection of 18 sci-fi stories, in August 2019. If you like horror fiction, don’t miss her disturbing novella, Nightmare in the North.
On Kelli’s behalf, I’d like to invite everyone to visit her website: blog: and Amazon Author page: to see all her writings. She has written several other great romances in all genres (historical, paranormal, gay, erotica, and contemporary) that readers will enjoy.
Thank you for letting me share my thoughts today. I hope everyone who reads The Viking’s Witch will check out Kelli’s other romances. She’s a talented writer and creates interesting stories that are hard to put down. (And her heroes are all very handsome, too!)
Kind Regards,

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

October is Breast Cancer Month

October is Breast Cancer Month. Almost everyone knows someone who has, or has had, cancer. Or maybe it’s you, and you’re a survivor. Do you “Run for the Cure?” Do you donate to Breast Cancer this month? No, I’m not hustling for donations, but I like to call attention to this month. And through research, more and more people survive. I’ve known several people who have been diagnosed with breast cancer. Many years ago, they didn’t survive. Now the prognosis has improved.
To me, breast cancer is personal. I am a survivor. It’s been many, many years since I was diagnosed and treated. Despite, or maybe because of mammograms, women are being diagnosed younger every year.
Again, many years ago, (and no I’m not going to say how many) there was a Cross-Canada Breast Cancer study for women between forty and sixty-five years of age. I volunteered and managed to sneak in by a few months. You were assigned a number when you volunteered. One set of numbers checked in once a year and filled out a nutritional survey. The other set of numbers did a nutritional survey and had a mammogram once a year. I drew the side that received mammograms. My second year I flunked out. If you’re diagnosed with cancer you’re dropped from the survey. In my mammogram the second year they found a small area about the size of a dime with maybe ten pin pricks inside it. That was the cancer. They did a fine wire biopsy to confirm it was cancer. I had a lumpectomy the next day.

I’m sure my risk of survival would be much less if I hadn’t been on the study. I probably wouldn’t have been diagnosed for at least another five years. It might not have gotten any larger. Apparently, some small cancers don’t grow, so maybe mine wouldn’t have, but honestly, I’m glad they found it and removed it.  And who knows if I would have survived if it did continue to grow for five more years. It did come back, in the same breast, ten years later.

I know there are pros and cons about mammograms. Pros- They do save lives. Mammograms are estimated to reduce cancer rates by 15%. Cons – They can cause significant harm. Some people will undergo treatment for no reason – because of a cancer that never would have grown. Women may experience psychological distress including anxiety and uncertainty for years because of an inaccurate result. This comes from a report at if you’d like to read the whole article.
And some breast cancers are too aggressive and virulent to control, no matter how early it is caught.

According to a Cancer.Net link the average 5-year survival rate for people wit breast cancer is 90%. The average 10-year survival rate is 83%. If the cancer is located only in the breast (not spread to lymph nodes) the 5-year survival rate is 99%. Here’s the link to that report

If you’d like to share your experience, or a friends, with cancer, I’d love to hear it.