Finishing Lily’s Story

It’s hard to believe it has been so long since I’ve posted anything in here. Life has been crazy busy and I need to devote more time to my writing and myself. This new job I started back in October is extremely demanding and I am usually mentally drained by the time the weekend comes, but I really want to get this final book in my series finished. Lily’s story needs to be wrapped up, you all have waited long enough. 

Some of you will love how the story goes in this last book and some will hate it. I hope in the end, you will all love how her story ends. Let’s just say, what you expect to be isn’t necessarily going to be.

I really hope to have this book finished out by the end of April, I have probably 3 chapters left to write. After it is finished, I have plans for a new character, a new story, and all will be told in just one novel for her. It will not be anything like Lily’s story, but I am sure you won’t be disappointed!

For now, I leave you with that because the final chapters are not going to get finished unless I’m writing them. Have a wonderful weekend and enjoy spring!

Secrets On Bourbon Street – Sneak Peek

Secrets on Bourbon Street cover for paperback-frontGet your copy on Amazon Kindle here!

My alarm goes off, I jump in the shower and throw my robe on. I need a cup of coffee for sure this morning. I tossed and turned until about midnight. Not good. I picked out a black pant suite with a white sleeveless blouse and low healed black wedges. I know I will probably be on my feet a lot today and I want dressy but comfortable shoes on. I think I have everything I need. I’m about a 30-minute drive to the field office if traffic is normal.

I get to the office and check in; Special Agent Barry Fields meets me in the lobby of the building and escorts me up to his office. “Good morning, I’m Special Agent Barry Fields, I’m the guy you report to.”

We get to Barry’s office and Corbin is there waiting. “You remember Special Agent Corbin Dubois from your last case in Dax, he will be your new partner. Today he will be showing you around, you have some paperwork and some other details to go through this morning, but later this afternoon, we will be bringing you up to speed on the newest case you have been assigned. Any questions Special Agent Martin?”

“No, I don’t believe I do, thank you Special Agent Fields.”

“Great, and you can call me Barry. We prefer first names around here, no need to be formal unless the situation requires it.

“Corbin, start by giving her a tour of the place, explain how things are done around here and then show her to her office. Everything you need for this morning is on your desk. And welcome to the FBI Lily.”

“Thank you.” I reply as Corbin motions me to follow him.

“Well, what do you think so far Lily?” Corbin asks as we continue our tour. The building is a few stories high, rather large. It’s a good thing we aren’t touring the entire building, just the areas I will need to know. To tour the entire building would take all day.

“I think it will take a bit to remember where everything is, I have to admit, I was really nervous driving in this morning, but I am feeling a bit more relaxed now that I’m here.”

“Good, I know you will be an excellent agent, you finished the top of your class at Quantico so the sky’s the limit for you Lily. I’m sure some wondered why you didn’t choose one of the East Coast Field Offices. You could have gone to any of the top offices, but you still came here, I’m glad you didn’t change your mind.”

“Well, honestly, it had a lot to do with Dad being the closest to this office. That was the biggest factor, but yes, I felt I had an obligation to New Orleans, and you. I had given up any ideas I had about joining the FBI until you showed up in Dax to help with that case, so I feel I owe you.”

“I’m glad you’re here, you’re a great addition. So now that we are done with the tour, this is your office. Mine is right next door. If you have any questions my office line is already programmed into your phone as is Barry’s, but you can always pop by if you need anything. I will leave you to it. After lunch, we will meet back at Barry’s office. Meet me in my office at noon and we can go to the cafeteria together.”

“Ok, great, thank you Corbin. I better get started on this paperwork and getting settled in a bit.”

***

I knock on Corbin’s office door, he motions me in, he’s just hanging up the phone. “You ready for lunch?”

“I am, did you get everything finished?”

“I did. Now I’m starving. Tell me they have good food down there.”

“They do, I think today is soup and sandwich with a drink for $5. Pretty good deal if you ask me.”

“That is considering what drive-thru is anymore.” We get to the cafeteria and there are so many people, it’s almost overwhelming. “Does everyone take their lunch at the same time around here?”

“No, this is the busiest time though, they are open for breakfast at 7am and stay open for lunch until 2:30. People come and go throughout those hours. There is coffee and drinks over there, the coffee, tea, and water are available all day and free of charge. They charge for soft drinks so those are locked after 2:30. You have your different counters with different food options and some pre-packaged items for people in a hurry in that cooler there. I will meet you at the end of the counter over there and we can find a seat.”

“Ok that works, which way to the soup and sandwich?” I walk to the end of the line and Corbin heads to another counter.

We meet up after we get our trays and head to a table near a window.

“We will head over to Barry’s office after lunch. I know he is eager to catch you up to speed on this case we have been working on.”

“Great, I am ready to get back to working real cases again. I learned so much at Quantico and I am ready to use what I learned in the field.” I really have missed real detective work.

“Speaking of Quantico, what did you do on your two weeks after graduation?”

“I spent a week in New York with my boyfriend, James, flew into New Orleans to find an apartment and then drove home to spend time with my dad and pack the rest of my stuff. My apartment wasn’t available until Friday so I spent all day Friday and Saturday unpacking and getting settled. Saturday night a bunch of us met up for a night out since I have no idea when I will get another one.”

“Sounds like a busy but fun couple of weeks. A new boyfriend huh? Was he at Quantico?”

“Yea, he was in the same class, he is in D.C. which makes things a little more difficult, but I think he’s planning to come down on Friday.”

“My experience with long distance relationships is they are difficult, especially when we work in our line of work, but I hope the best for you. Do you like your new place?”

“I love it. I have open ceilings and hard wood floors. I got a top floor unit with an amazing view off the balcony. And it’s a straight shot to work.”

“Sounds great, my place does have hard wood floors, but no great view. I live downtown in an older loft apartment. I’m not home much so it’s alright. Plus, I did get a great deal on the rent when I moved in a couple years ago and so far, they haven’t raised it on me. That’s a plus. You ready to go?” Corbin pushes his chair out and we both take our trays to the garbage container, stack our trays and head to Barry’s office.

Excerpt from ‘Execution In The Bayou’

 

Captain Spade thought catching up over a nice lunch at Joe’s was perfect. They have a great buffet for the lunch crowd and there are a couple of quiet tables in the back. He had gotten there a bit early so he could pick a good spot. “Hey Jerry, it’s been awhile since we had a chance to just catch up on things. How have you been doing?”

“Not too bad John, how have you been? I hear you and the family had a big picnic last weekend up at the park. Must have been nice to have your kids home from school at the same time. That seems to become a rare treat as they grow up huh?” Spade has a daughter and a son both in college. They rarely get to be home at the same time unless it’s the Holidays.

“Yes, it sure was nice to have the whole family together for the weekend. The house gets awfully quiet with just the two of us. Is Jenna still in New Orleans?”

“Yep, she’s a Sophomore now. She is mainly taking general classes she’s not convinced Business is the route she wants to take. I told her she needs a more specialized degree. So, what’s this lunch meeting about? I know you and it isn’t like you to call out of the blue and just want to catch up over small talk.”

“You always have gotten right to the point haven’t ya? I wanted to sit down and let you know I’m concerned about these murders in our quiet little town. I don’t have a lot of good friends left in the area from our school days and well, you’re one of them, I just want to make sure you’re ok.”

“I’m fine John, sure these deaths are concerning, it’s weird they are all close to our age and living in the same town, but I’m not worried about me. I haven’t talked to Jenkins in over a year and Sarah Watkins, I did some work on her car a few months back but that’s the extent of our relationship. Mike and I go way back, but I haven’t even talked to him in several weeks, been pretty busy at the shop.”

“Alright Jerry, but are you sure there isn’t anything you want to talk about? I have my best detectives on this case and your name did come up when they started digging around about these three.”

” What do you mean? You think I’m connected to all this somehow? Come out with it already! Just what do you think I’m involved in? You think I had something to do with this? Jeez Spade, I thought we were better friends than that!”

“Calm down, I am not accusing you of anything, I’m concerned about the connection we found between all of them and you. It’s possible you could be in danger. Have you ever heard of the company Vitron Builders?”

“Sure, but what does Vitron have to do with your case?”

Some Days Just Aren’t Sunshine and Rainbows

Well it’s been a few weeks since I posted anything and the same for writing. I am going to try to get some writing done today since I have the day off from work. I must say, most of my procrastination is due to the horribly uncomfortable chair in my home office. It quite literally sucks! That’s what I get for buying cheap online.

I’m going to be very honest in this post. I have had a rough couple of weeks. Part of the reason the chair is so uncomfortable is because of my back. I have suffered from horrible back pain since about 2008 and neck pain since the late 90’s. I thought all of this was due to an accident in 1996 that I never received proper treatment for. Well, it turns out, my mid-lower back is due to a fall I took in grade school. And while I’m sure the accident helped make it worse, it wasn’t the cause. The stupid things we do as kids can really come back and bite us in the butt later in life. My spine is so messed up and eventually some kind of surgery is probably inevitable, but in the meantime, I am trying like hell to avoid that with a personal trainer, a chiropractor, stretching and yoga. Hopefully I can manage the pain and progression of this degeneration of my back for a few more years at least. I’m told it is about as bad as someone in there 70’s and I just turned 47. I have far too much to do in this life to be this miserable already.

On top of finding out just how bad my back issues really are, we also found out last week that my husband has cancer. We caught it early and the prognosis is good, but even with that we still have to decide on treatment plans and weigh the concern of side effects later. I am really trying to be tough and supportive for him and our family, but honestly, it scares me and I worry about him. He is my everything and we have been through a lot over the past 15 years, especially the past 12 months. Any prayers would definitely be appreciated for sure. I want him around to walk our daughter down the isle in a couple years and hold our 1st grandchild someday. I want to enjoy our retirement years with him working on his beautiful wood furniture while I write more stories. I hope for us to continue rescuing more fur-babies for years to come and grow old together watching movies and going for walks.

He is my biggest fan, my biggest critic, and my biggest inspiration. He has helped me with the storyline, he has been one of my editors and is the one that pushed me into finally writing my 1st book at all. I had talked about it for years, but never acted on it and then when I found myself unemployed for a few months, I decided he was right and I should just do it. I pray we get through this to have many wonderful years ahead of us.

For now, I will take one day at a time, continue to live our lives the best we can and squeeze in writing and blogging whenever possible. Now I’m off to work on Lily’s story.

Have a great Memorial Day and thank you to all who have and currently serve this great country! Your sacrifice is truly appreciated every day!

 

Juggling Time

I haven’t had a chance to blog in a while, things have been crazy busy. The biggest change here that has added to the craziness is that I went back to work full-time. I was used to having my days at home to write and take care of the house while everyone else was working or at school, but now I have to make time on the weekends to write when there isn’t something else going on with the family.

I chose to go back to work full-time for a couple of reasons, one being that I needed to get back out in the world. Don’t get me wrong, I love writing full-time and I loved being home with our pets and here when my son came home from school or when my husband got back from a business trip, but I needed a J.O.B. I love having a steady paycheck and I am a people person. Being stuck inside my home office every day and never seeing the outside world except to run the occasional errand or grocery shop was making me depressed.

I love my new job and I love the people I am working with, tomorrow will be my fourth week there. I am still learning to juggle my schedule and hoping to get a better handle on things here at home. I don’t like to spend my weekends in the office when my husband is home and I spend the entire week on a computer at work, so how am I going to continue to get my books and poetry written? Well, I work twice as hard on the weekends that he isn’t home. Like this one. He left yesterday and will probably be back before next weekend so I had planned to write yesterday and today. Unfortunately, that wasn’t how things panned out.

I started my day off yesterday with a trip to the airport to drop my husband off and I spent half of my day outside of the house running errands and taking care of things here at home once I did get back. On a positive note, due to my extra income, I was able to purchase a new computer this weekend and that is making writing so much easier already. On the downside, getting that set up took more time than I thought it would. I went from a cheap, crappy HP laptop that was slow and hard to type on, to an iMac desktop. I was finally able to get it put together around 2 yesterday and then it took some time to get all my files moved over and programs downloaded that I needed for my writing as well as my photography, but I was finally able to get that all accomplished in between laundry and cleaning today. I was finally able to sit down after lunch and really focus on my book and I am happy to say that I was able to type out a full chapter this afternoon.

Learning to juggle all that I have going on is going to be a continued challenge, but I am determined to continue my writing and when this book is complete, I will be taking a little time off for holiday fun with my family, if I can get this final book to my trilogy completed before Christmas, we will see. Then I will be starting a completely new novel that will be all new characters and storyline. I really think you will like it and I can’t wait to start it.

Please check out my first two books on Amazon and keep checking back for the third one, it will be coming soon! Have a wonderful rest of your weekend and happy reading or writing!

Turmoil and Writers Block

It has been a couple weeks I think since my last post. I have been struggling with my writing due to some personal things taking up brain space. Any other writers have this problem? Sometimes the problems or stresses of life can really mess with your mojo when it comes to pen and paper.

As a writer, I have a responsibility to my readers to not let this become a habit, so I decided I would take a deep breath, clear my mind, and focus today on making something happen, both here on my blog and in my third book. I wanted to update you on my progress. Right now I am starting chapter six and I think that will be about half way through. I need to get another chapter down if I want to get this last book of my trilogy written and published before the New Year. It is so much more in-depth than the first two, and as challenging as it is to write, I am really enjoying the way it is unfolding. I really think you will too. I can’t wait to get it out there so everyone can enjoy the three books together and get the end of Lily’s story.

This last book has twists and turns no one would see happening, I didn’t even know this was the direction I would go when I started the series. Isn’t it funny how our characters and story line can take on their own form? I love that about writing, you never know where you may end up going with something until you start.

I will do my very best to keep you up to date on my books and any new information I come across that may be of interest to my readers or fellow writers. I hope you all have a great week and if you haven’t picked up my first two books, please check them out on Amazon. The links for both books are on the left side of my page.

Thank you!!

Update on Book Three

Good morning and happy Friday! I hope you are doing well today. We have sunshine and blue skies with perfect temps at the moment. We are still tracking Irma as it could have an impact on us or it could miss us completely, just depends on how she goes. Fingers crossed she continues to weaken and there’s minimal damage for those in her path.

I am starting chapter four of my final book in my Crimes in the Bayou series. I have decided to make this a trilogy instead of four books as I had originally planned. Trilogies seem to be very popular and with them being shorter books, it will be easy for people to read one or all three fairly quick. I also made some changes that made a trilogy a better choice for this series.

I love that I am adding some new story line to this final book, giving my readers a little dialog from both the criminal side as well as the investigation. I kept the first two more from my main character, Lily’s point of view. I wanted to add more to this final book.

Since this is my first series, I am still learning my style and will continue to change and evolve in my writing. I really enjoy what I am doing and I really hope that my readers continue to enjoy it as well.

You can pick up the first two books on Amazon and the third will be available as soon as I am finished. Thank you for all your support and have a wonderful and safe weekend!

Preparing for a Hurricane

Hello! I hope everyone is enjoying their Labor Day weekend! We are looking at beautiful sunny skies and enjoying a pretty quiet and relaxing weekend. With grilling being the tradition for most families on Labor Day, we grilled burgers for dinner last night. Today we are just fending for ourselves so to speak and then I will make something for dinner this evening.

I know everyone has been watching and praying for those in Houston who are still fighting the floods and damage. I have a few friends in the area and worry about their safety. I had a feeling we would see a bad year for storms and it is looking to be the case.

As those affected by Harvey are just beginning the recovery, we now have Irma to worry about. We live on the Gulf and we have been very fortunate, I believe the last hurricane to really affect our area was Ivan. People here say we are due. I pray not, but I certainly pray it doesn’t head towards Houston again. They just can’t take another storm. From what we can see at this point, they show it going either up the east coast or into the Gulf, either way Miami is certain to be hit. I hope it miraculously looses power or surprises the meteorologists and goes back out into the ocean. Wishful thinking I know, but until it has a definitive path, that’s what I’m hoping for.

For my readers that live in areas that have or could be in the path of any hurricane, what do you do to prepare? How far in advance to hurricane season do you plan for one? For us, we first moved here from the Midwest. We were use to tornadoes and spending a lot of time in the basement. Now we worry about hurricanes. Our first home we built and it had shutters that came with the house so I didn’t worry as much. We moved to the country last year, to an older home. It went through Ivan with no window coverage or any protection. I personally think the previous owners were stupid, but they got very lucky. We also have our daughter’s house to worry about. We have all windows and doors measured and we are ready to purchase everything we need to protect both homes. My husband wants to wait to see where it’s going, he doesn’t want to have to store all the supplies if we don’t need them. I want to purchase ASAP and have it ready to go just in case. I reminded him that in a situation like this, there could always be a shortage if we wait to last minute, then what do we do? We will be going tomorrow to get our supplies, I guess I made a valid argument.

Since we moved here in 2012, I have stocked up on several candles, batteries, and flashlights. I also have a battery pack for electronics and a weather radio in the garage. One thing I am sure a lot of people don’t think about, I didn’t until the other day, is that most of us have a plug in their car that will use the battery without turning the car on. My recommendation is to use this after the storm has passed or only if needed. You don’t want to drain your car battery. Once the storm has passed and you can open the garage for ventilation, you could easily start the car and charge your devices. Most homes are usually out of power more than 3-4 days. We have a generator that would normally take care of our entire house, but at the moment it is broke down, that isn’t good. We will not have any air with no power so it will get very warm for us and the pets.

How much food and water do most of you stock up on? Do you have pets to consider? I had a great stock up on canned goods and then we started using a lot of it, now I am restocking again. I like to rotate my canned and boxed goods out so they don’t expire or go bad. We keep rice, canned beans, meat (tuna, chicken mostly), fruit, veggies. I tend to buy an extra 4-6 cans every trip I make to the store on top of what I normally use. I make at least 2 trips to the store per week. We also have to stock up on pet food and litter for our babies and if a storm comes our way, we have an outside kitty that would need to be captured and brought inside. She will not be happy about that!

If you need to evacuate, what will you do with your pets? It breaks my heart to see what so many did to their pets in Houston. Dogs can swim as can horses, why would you tie them up to drown? That just sickens me. For us personally, we will not be leaving unless it becomes a Cat 5. Ivan was a Cat 4 and this house withstood that perfectly, lost a few shingles, we won’t leave our pets. If we do feel the need to leave, they will all go with us, but I don’t think that will happen. We are so luck that both our house and our daughter’s house sit high enough above sea level that neither will flood.

As for water, we already plan to fill both bathtubs to the top to use for pets and toilets as well as washing up with. I have some bottled water saved, but need more. I also have jars to fill for drinking water. Something I just thought of the other day was stocking up on some soda. We don’t drink much of that around here, but it’s something to drink that won’t go bad in a can. Having some soda on hand will keep the water supply a bit longer if we aren’t only drinking our water.

I hate that we have to be prepared for a hurricane, but it’s better to be ready than no have what we need if it happens. One last thing to make sure you have is a first aid kit. You never know when someone could get hurt and you can’t get out during the storm.

I really hope none of us sees another storm this year, but it isn’t looking promising. If Irma hits, or one after that, please be prepared, please stock up and be safe!

Motivation

I have to say, this week has been a difficult one for me. I sat down Wednesday to start the third book in my series and got my first chapter with a little over 2,000 words down, that is far less than I normally achieve in a day. I took yesterday off as I had other priorities with my husband home working locally we had a few things that needed to be taken care of. Today I sat down to write and maybe got 1,500 words down. I just don’t feel motivated. Do any of my fellow writers relate to this? Some days flow easily and it’s hard to stop for the day, other days it’s a struggle to get any words on the paper.

I have the book planned out in my head, I’ve done the research, and even had a few pages of notes before I ever started typing. I should be able to put so much more down in a day, but I am just struggling with the words and the flow of the story. I find that when I take a day or two off from writing, it’s harder to get back in the swing of things. Anyone else have this issue? What steals your motivation? What do you find helps?

I would love to know what you all struggle with when you write and what works best for you. Do you work towards a certain number of words per day or what do you make your goal for the day? I don’t usually look at words necessarily, I usually try to write about two chapters a day, this week I have only managed one and half. Do you have a quiet place you can get away to write? Or do you like some noise? Music maybe? I have an office set up and my writing area faces the window which usually helps me think, but I can hear the TV and phone calls in the rest of the house, which I think definitely distracts me. I like it completely quiet when I write and it just hasn’t been this week. What kind of atmosphere do you work best in?

I am hoping my motivation returns tomorrow and I am able to get a few chapters in over the next couple of days. I truly hope you all have a productive and enjoyable weekend and I look forward to seeing your comments!