In the southwest, June is hot as hell-o! It has to be that way to draw up moisture from the Gulf of Mexico for our July rains, known locally as Monsoons. Without the Monsoon rains, we might not get moisture until winter!
This year, June heat set records and it's already July 10 and still no rains. Even the cacti are shrinking! Come on Monsoon, or we'll all go mad! Hence the phrase Monsoon Madness used in advertising by every business in the area.
What do we do when it's so dang hot? Those who can, get out of town or travel northward. But some of us are here year-round. A few people love the heat and claim it doesn't bother them. For most, however, the heat is prohibitive, especially midday. There's always mall shopping, but many of our malls have outside hallways. And golf is out, unless we play very early.
Sometimes using your imagination helps keep everything cool. What if a snowstorm kept me inside this quaint little cabin (my office) and the only way to escape was to write another book? Okay, I can do that! To be honest, there's also swimming (Cool baby!), de-cluttering (Cleaning? Are you kidding?), going to the gym (Boring!), watering plants (Saving their lives!), painting (Some day…), but mostly... Writing. All that other stuff looks good on paper but the writing is what most writers do. Then all the other inside jobs kick in, like revising a first draft, organizing ideas for the future, working with a cover artist to re-brand some older books, and promoting my summer beach reads. That's my Monsoon Madness Mind. Come on Monsoon! I need some rain therapy, wildfires need dousing, and our dried-up cacti need refreshing!
Rogue Diamond, my July 99-cent Special, came about after I read an article in our local newspaper about a "baby ring" trafficking children from Mexico to families or even adoption agencies in the U.S. I have been to Mexico numerous times and never suspected this could be happening. I was horrified and knew I had to write about it. In my story, the heroine can't get the help she needs so she hires a certain rogue to fight fire with fire. But can he really find her missing child after all this time? Get it while it's hot - only 99 cents through July.
Enjoy the Grits and Gravy!
We welcomed 2017 in Florida with lifelong friends from school days in Tennessee. Both couples married the same year and amazingly, we have remained close friends, even though we live thousands of miles from each other.
We often celebrated our anniversaries together with some fabulous adventures from Maine to Alaska, to amazing Yellowstone and the wild Oregon coast.
From sick-as-a-dog in Mexico, to fishing in Colorado, to kayaking the Silver River. This year, they had to cancel our autumn excursion to Finger Lakes in New York. The chemo left him too weak to travel. So we knew, oh yes, we knew.
After years of therapies and treatments with every method available and the best of medical care, it wasn't working. And so, they began getting busy for the hard reality of the future. A car to 16-year-old grandson, giving golf clubs to a friend, selling the boat. When they invited us to spend New Years Eve with them, we were on the next available plane. Excited, anxious, not knowing what to expect, what to say, what to do. All we knew was that we wanted to be there.
Turns out, this was his show, his last Bon Voyage party. He met us in the driveway, laughing and hugging. We were honored to ring in the New Year with his family, teen-aged grandchildren, and nearby friends. Cheers to happy times!
He was feeling better than he had in months and driving again. He took us to a local winery, to see a beautiful and tough golf resort he used to play, and to grab a delicious bite at the scruffy Boon Docks right on a lake. Nothing better!
Next day we scarfed down a fabulous country breakfast acclaiming our Southern roots at a local favorite, The Biscuit Barn. OMG, grits, gravy, ham and biscuits like we do NOT get in Arizona! Scrumptious! (Still working off those calories!)
We watched ball games, played cards until midnight and reveled in his music videos - oh how he loved The Tenors! And we indulged in his ultimate treat - in the hot tub, drinking expensive wine he had saved from our last Oregon excursion!
He talked and talked. We just listened and for the moment, forgot about the future. Wonderful, just like old times.
Turns out, that was it. Our only job. Not to say something magnificent or collapse in a pool of tears or pontificate about the damned unfairness of life. But to continue our lifelong friendship, the love and laughter, and do what has kept us friends all these years. We shared life's ups and downs with a solid friendship for more than 50 years. And now we are facing the hard part... with love, laughter and tears.
He passed away in April, 2017. Although we knew it was coming, we were not prepared for the waves of grief, the overwhelming emptiness, the stark knowledge that he is gone, and yet the strange feeling that he's near and we should be planning our next adventure together.
So Dear Friend, thanks for the many wonderful memories along the way. It's been a great run. We sure did enjoy the grits and gravy.
"Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what's going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity." ~ Gilda Radner
150 Shades o' Green
Ireland, land of stone fences, whiskey, music and the green, green grass of home. The people are warm and welcoming, proud of their handcrafts and spirit. You lose the city bustle and revel in their music. It's like stepping back to a simpler, nicer time.
On Rocky Shores
Maine, where land and sea meet, fishermen, Irish pubs, boats and lots o' lobster. I was struck by the similarities between this stalwart state and the green island. Apparently not all Irish settled in Boston or Chicago. Many migrated to hearty Maine. One even founded the city of Tucson, Arizona!
So the beauty of the land and sea, plus the interesting people, made me want to want to set a book in both Ireland and Maine. But it wasn't done with a grand plan. Sometimes the story chases you.
While I was writing EMBRACEABLE YOU, set in Maine, an older character with a mind of her own and opinions to spare kept speaking up. I wondered, "Who is she, where is she from, and how did Claire come to abide in this little Maine town?"
It didn't take long for me to follow this woman back to Ireland in the 1960's to a simpler time when husbands and fathers ruled families. Sometimes a loving family isn't enough, or too much. Here, a feisty gal known as Claire faced the biggest challenges in her young life. Through it all, she learned how to embrace life and make the best of it. And embrace a little Irish magic to spice things up. Read her story in CLAIRE'S EMBRACE.