Okay so it looks like I fell off the planet. Promise - I'm still here. The last four years have been ... hard. There's no other word for it. Everything is fine. I'm fine, but I've been the caregiver of my mom who has Dementia. Between her needs, work, etc I seem to have lost control of my time. I am still writing and am trying hard to get back to my blog.

In case you weren't aware Phaze and HSWF which where under the Mundania Umbrella have closed. I was smart enough to get my titles back before all this happened. I'm happy to say the three books I sold to HSWF have been picked up by Melange Books and are available through their Satin Books imprint. I have even sold a new title to them called Magical Quest due out in 2022

I have also been lucky enough to find a publisher for my Vespian Way series. I'm now with Blushing Books under the name of Bethany Drake. I have five titles out with them right now and am close to submitting two more. There's Desire's Destiny, Desire's Duty and Desire's Promise. Then there is two in my werewolf series, Tears of the Queen and Legend of the Tears. I have just finished the rough draft of the third book in the series and have plans for a fourth one the moment I submit it.

I'll probably still be sporadic here on the blog. Unless I win the lottery and can hire someone to help me I can't avoid it, but know I'm still here still working hard in the background and am hoping to do better at keeping my blog alive.


Saturday, August 27, 2016

Meet My Latest Guest Ryan Jo Summers! @RyanJoSummers

I want to welcome Ryan Jo Summers! First I’d love you to introduce yourself.

Tell us about your latest release.

It is called Upon the Tide. This was started many years ago when I lived across the road from a marina and worked third shift. Consequently, I spent long hours in the early mornings and afternoons watching the boats and ferries come and go. It was a great time and full of many good memories. As you can probably guess, I love boats and the water. Out of all that came the origins of Upon the Tide.

Most of the action of this book takes place aboard boats, with a heroine who had one previous, terrible boating experience. She is not a happy camper! However, the locale is the Caribbean! And she’s with a sexy hunk who used to be a detective. Too bad someone’s out to kill them, right?

Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.

1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show. And why?

This is a tough one. Until now, I never realized I haven’t focus on the villains because I’m really drawing a blank on any villain beyond the baddies in my books. And they are certainly not my faves. The only villain I can think of elsewhere is Cruella de Ville from ‘101 Dalmatians’ and I really kind of just hated her. So I guess I don’t have a villain I ever cared about.

2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why?

Now this is easier! I adore all my heroes. Most are working class guys, hearts of gold, quiet and sort of shy. Oh, and handsome too. (That always helps) It would be hard to pick one because they are all special and dear in their own way. Interestingly, I’m falling in love with a four year old girl named Ruthie from my current work-in-progress. I tend to use kids as filler, secondary characters. However, Ruthie is such a livewire, she is taking over the scenes and pages with her energy, sass and sparkle. I was not expecting her to have such personality, but I am having fun watching her go. I just wind her up with a sentence or two and off she runs, full throttle!

3.) What do genre do you write? What made you pick that one?

The genre is romance, the subgenres stretch from time travel, paranormal, shape shifting, mystery, Christian, and sweet. Many are blended mixes of any of the above. I also have written a young Adult/ New Adult and a women’s fiction novel. Why? Well, they say to write what you like. My first book I just wrote without even thinking of genre. It had the stuff in it I liked to read. Ditto for the next ones. It started that way as a youngster. I worked up to YA, as a teen, not knowing that was a genre. I simply liked S.E. Hinton style of books. Then I discovered Harlequin, Silhouette, etc. … and started writing what I liked in their imprints. It was my first publisher who labeled it romance and to be honest, I was kind of surprised to say I was a romance writer. Still am, actually.

4.) What are you working on now?

 A Christian romance with Ruthie, who is taking over. Then I want to rewrite an older time travel romance. I’m also in the research stages of another book, which will be set in the Golden Age of piracy. I am on the fence about making it a time travel as well. I think it would be a cool plot that way, but two time travels at once?? Humm, I already can’t remember the current date now as it is.  Two eras, and two locations and I won’t ever know when it is. Oh, and I’m plugging away on edits for my Christian romance coming out in November.

5.) What got you to start writing?

Age ten, family situation that rocked my world. I grabbed pencils and paper and wrote it out and drew illustrations. I didn’t know that I was writing, I was simply trying to cope. I always loved to read since my earliest memories. That situation was the catalyst to figure out to put pen to paper and opened my imagination. It grew from there.

6.) Where do you get your ideas from?

Oh my gosh, everywhere! Anywhere! Songs, pictures and simple comments can open a whole new vein of thought for me. Entire stories have been written from one picture or one chance event. Multiple scenes can certainly be written by a line in a song or any of the above. I keep a file of headlines and newspaper/ magazine pictures that spark something, waiting to turn them into a story. My friends know to be careful what they say to me—it might become part of a book.

7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you?

I am adopted, though I have known both sets of parents. I have never had any sense of smell—good or bad scents. I tend to become very passionate about issues I care about. Sometimes I get too involved, so that I have gotten into trouble. I prefer trucks and Jeeps over cars and have an insatiable sweet tooth.  I have over fifty houseplants. I make my own suet and hummingbird nectar for the wild birds and I cook my parrot’s breakfast from scratch each week. And I ask questions about everything.

8.) Do you have any special talents?

I can paint and write poetry. I am great at dealing with fractious animals. (by-product of working as a veterinary technician for many years) I have a super green thumb and my cats challenge it constantly. I like getting discounted dead plants from home centers and bring them back to life. The challenge isn’t reviving the plants, it’s keeping the cats from chewing on them. I am also quite crafty with needlepoint, floral design and such.

9.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why?

As a child, I was shy, awkward and had low self-esteem. I was quiet and reserved. My mother had an elderly friend who allegedly wrote stories. (I could never find any in print or on line) She saw something in me and took an interest in the kid everyone else tended to overlook. One day my mother mentioned I liked books and sometimes wrote a little something. Her friend studied me quietly, thoughtfully and finally told me I could be an author. In my mind, authors were highly regarded, intelligent, esteemed, and elite individuals. To be one of ‘them’ was an honor and distinction. And this woman, one of the people who had consistently seen value in me, told me I could become one of ‘them’. That simple comment--so thoughtfully spoken—raised my self-worth in ways I could not describe. And now, many years later, I am one of ‘them’—an author.

10.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would you talk about? 

Believe it or not, I am coming up blank on this question. I’d love to talk to some departed loved ones, but they are only famous to me.

11.) What song would you say describes your life?

There is no 1 song. Some encapsulate a snapshot of time, for example Jo Dee Messina’s “Heads Carolina, Tails California” embodies a short period in 2004 when I left Michigan. It was literally ‘Toss a dart at the map and see where it lands’. I ended up in North Carolina. I see a bit of myself in “Desperado” by The Eagles/ Clint Black. I also see parts of my life in “Riser” by Dierks Bentley and “Moments” by Emerson Drive in darker periods. I resorted to asking friends and co-workers, since they see me at my best and worst. Answers range from “Doctor Dolittle” and “Old MacDonald had a Farm”, owning to my love of animals and houseful of assorted, beloved pets (aka fur/feather -kids), a Bonnie Raitt song, “I Will Not be Broken”, and a song by Superchick called “Stand in the Rain”. (Admittedly I had to go listen to the last two on YouTube and was pretty flattered when I did)

12.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be?

Another tough one. It’s a toss-up between cat, dog or horse. Cats are agile, graceful, and small enough to get into interesting places and hardy enough to take care of themselves. The perfect blend of beauty, independence, playfulness and ultimate laziness. Yet dogs are great. They are well suited to their function, whether they are working dogs, toy dogs or whatever. I have a collie and think the world of him. Dogs are the best combination of loyalty and protection, function and form and most are lovely to look at. I am a fan of big, hairy working dogs. Oh but horses! I love horses. Powerful, loyal. Smart. To be able to run like the wind, and still be gentle enough to work with the smallest, frailest humans and strong enough to pull or carry the heaviest loads. A unique mix of strength and gentleness. What a decision! And birds are awesome too, especially the parrots.


Actually, it seemed kind of simple to her. The bad guys chasing them were being eliminated. Once they were all gone, she and Kade could return to their previous lives. Personally, the reasoning of why the great chase across the Caribbean didn’t mean as much to her as just ending it.
However, as much as she knew she had to return to work and home, a part of her whispered it had been nice just being with Kade on his boat. Nice enough, that whisper nudged, to want to continue it.
Nonsense, she told the nudging whisper, pushing aside a strand of hair picked up on the breeze. Sure, it had not been all bad, but she still had responsibilities back home. Coming here had been a vacation only. Not a romance. Besides, she had no room in her life for romance. Regardless how pleasurable time with Kade was.
Gibberish, her mind whispered back, almost laughing at her.      Huffing irritably, she stomped back to the galley to fix breakfast. Yanking sausage out of the fridge, she slapped it on the cutting board and slashed away at it with a knife.

WEBSITE: www.ryanjosummers.com   

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Welcomemy Latest Guest Christina Hoag @ChristinaHoag

I want to welcome Christina Hoag. First I’d love you to introduce yourself.

First off, thanks so much for hosting me on your blog, Barbara, and giving me this space. I’m a novelist and journalist. I’ve been a reporter for the Associated Press and Miami Herald, and was a foreign correspondent in Latin America for nearly a decade. Now I work freelance so I have more time to devote to my fiction. I’m passionate about reading and writing, and have been my whole life. I’m a member of International Thriller Writers and I’m a volunteer creative writing mentor to at risk girls with an organization called WriteGirl.

Tell us about your latest release.

It’s a YA romantic thriller from Fire and Ice YA titled Girl on the Brink. It’s the story of a girl, Chloe, who gets involved with the wrong guy—haven’t we all done that at some point in our lives?—and this leads to some pretty drastic consequences for Chloe. But Chloe is smart and a survivor. She conquers her fear, summons her strength and not only survives but thrives. Ultimately, it’s a novel about the journey of girl power.

Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.

1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show. And why?

I always wish Arthur Conan Doyle had done more with Moriarty, the foil to Sherlock Holmes. He’s a baddie of Holmes’ own intellectual level, which is a setup for some great plots.  In general, I find criminal masterminds who use their superior intellect for villainous purposes the most interesting antagonists.  

2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why?

I have to say it is Magdaleno, the protagonist in my literary thriller set in L.A.’s gang underworld Skin of Tattoos, which is also being released this month by Martin Brown Publishing. Mags struggles to do the right thing and leave the gang, but his pride and ego get in the way. He’s just so humanly flawed.

3.) What do genre do you write? What made you pick that one?
I write character-driven thrillers. I love crime fiction, delving into the seamy side of life and what drives people in that world, but a lot of work in that genre is very formulaic, which gets boring after a while. I like to see how extraordinary events, which often happen in the context of crime, affect character so that’s what I write.

4.) What are you working on now?

I’ve got two novels both in the final stages. One is called The Revolutionaries, and it’s a literary political thriller based on the 2002 coup attempt in Venezuela, where I was living at the time and working as a freelance journalist. The other is called Angels Lust. It’s a detective mystery set in Los Angeles.

5.) What got you to start writing?

I won a prize for “writing interesting stories” when I was six years old so I guess writing was always there. It came out as soon as I literally learned how to put pen to paper. I discovered journalism in high school so I knew that’s what I wanted to do as a career. I’ve written fiction on and off my whole life.

6.) Where do you get your ideas from?

Like any writer, I draw on my own experience and what I see around me. Working as a journalist for many years has deeply influenced my fiction. As a reporter, you have an entrĂ©e into many subcultures, slices of life and people that normally you would not have access to. I’m also a passionate traveler. I’ve visited over 60 countries so international themes really call to me.

7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you?

I didn’t come to the United States until I was 13 years old. I lived in six other countries growing up: New Zealand, where I was born, Fiji, England, Sweden, Nigeria and Australia.

8.) Do you have any special talents?

I love languages. I speak Spanish fluently, a decent French and a smidgen of Italian. I always wanted to learn more languages. I’m fascinated how language reflects culture, but it takes a lot of practice to keep them up.

9.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why?

“Never, never, never give up.” Winston Churchill said that, and it’s so true. Early on in my creative endeavors, I gave up on myself too easily. It took some maturity to realize you have to keep going even in the face of an onslaught of rejection.

10.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would you talk about?

I think it would be William Shakespeare. I’d love to ask him about his creative process, his philosophy of life, try to figure out the source of that marvelous wisdom.

11.) What song would you say describes your life?

A tough one. I think I’ll go with Van Halen’s “Jump,” because I believe in not letting fear hold you back from taking leaps into the unknown in life–I’ve taken many. Plus, I’m a huge seventies big-hair rock fan.

12.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be?

I’d come back as a scarlet macaw. They are majestic birds with such resplendent colors. It always wowed me when I spotted them soaring wild and free over the jungle canopy in Latin America. The romantic in me also loves the fact that they mate for life.


The carnival sets up for two weeks every summer in a field outside town. Everyone goes. It’s something to vary Indian Valley’s monotonous diet of bowling, the single-screen movie theatre, miniature golf, and hanging out at the Dairy Cream. 
Kieran grabs my hand as we stroll into the fair. It’s a riot of dazzling lights, whirling rides and thumping music. I scan the crowd, hunting for Morgan and Jade, who I spot waiting for funnel cakes.
“Hey, there are my friends.” I wave frantically at them with my free hand as I tug Kieran with the other. Morgan sees me, points me out to Jade and they both look my way.
Kieran yanks my hand in the opposite direction. “We’ll catch up with them later.”
“I want you to meet them. I told them all about you.”
“I just want to play my favorite game for you first.”
I can’t refuse. I let myself be pulled and make an apologetic face at them. Morgan’s expression hardens. She says something to Jade. The crowd swarms between us, and I lose sight of them.
Kieran steers me to a shooting-at-moving-ducks game and grabs a rifle. He’s a good shot and soon wins a white teddy bear with a red satin heart sewn on its chest. He hands it to me.
“For you.”
“Thank you. It’s adorable.” I proudly tuck it under my arm.
“Just like you. Hungry?”
“Me, too.”
We make for the food concessions. “Carnival hot dogs are the best,” Kieran says. “The pizza and hamburgers blow.”
“Totally,” I say as we line up.
We buy hot dogs slathered with relish—and root beer, of course—and sit at a picnic table. Kieran straddles the bench, patting the seat in front of him. I sit astride like him. He inches closer so our knees touch.
“Open wide,” he orders, looking at my mouth.
I obey. He feeds one end of the hot dog to me, then leans in and bites the other end. I crack up and almost choke.
“Don’t laugh,” which comes out something like “doan waf” through Kieran’s mouthful of hot dog.
No hands, he chews, swallows and takes another bite. I do the same. We manage to eat the hot dog, and at the end, our lips touch. Kieran presses mine into a kiss.
“So that’s why you like carnival hot dogs,” I say when we break apart. “To steal kisses.”
“Hey, I told you they were the best. Hold on, you have mustard on your face.” He swoops in and licks the side of my mouth.
I wipe off his wetness. “Ew, Kieran!”
“Mmmm, salty.”
I giggle. He swoops in again and licks all around my mouth and lips. His tongue tickles, and I laugh as I shake my head, sucking in my lips, trying to get him off me as I crack up harder, which only encourages him. He slurps my cheeks and chin, and I try to recoil out of his reach, but he pulls me to him. Finally, he backs off and dabs my face with a napkin as I recover my breath.
“You’re worse than a puppy,” I say.
“Ruff, ruff.” He pants and holds up his hands like paws, then jumps to his feet, holding out his palm. “Come on. Time for rides.”
We run like it’s an emergency.
“Cup of tea, Madam?” Kieran points to the tea cups, then pushes open the just-closing gate and leaps in a cup.
We spin madly in the tea cups, chase, block and slam each other in the bumper cars, cling to each other in the haunted house. We finish with a ride on the Ferris wheel.
It’s getting late, and the crowd has swelled with rowdy revelers who obviously made a pitstop at a bar before the carnival.
“Let’s go,” Kieran says, after a guy, drunk or stoned, stumbles in front of us.
“I really wanted you to meet my friends.”
“We’ve got plenty of time for that. It gets nasty this time of night, a lot of fights.”
“Okay.” I give a last three-sixty turn in case Jade and Morgan appear. Kieran’s right. Cliques of older guys and girls hang around the perimeter, smoking and drinking from paper bags.
We swing our clasped hands as we walk to the parking lot. I wish the night would never end. When we get in the truck, he blasts the air conditioning and rolls down the windows. We pull out into the street, and as the AC chills, I close my window. Using his control, Kieran buzzes it down again.
“The AC’s on,” I say.
“I know, but doesn’t it feel great? To feel cold air and warm air at the same time?”
He accelerates. Bathtub-temperature air whooshes along the side of my body, while my chest is cooled by the AC. The combination feels luxurious.
“You’re right. It does feel great!”
He grins. “Told ya.”
“My mom would kill me for doing this.”
“That’s why you’re hanging with me, not with her.”
He snakes an arm over and slides off the elastic holding my ponytail. I shake my hair loose and let the wind whip it.
“That’s it, sweetpea, be free.”



Sunday, August 14, 2016

Please Welcome My Latest Guest Wayne Zurl!

I want to welcome Wayne Zurl. First, I’d love you to introduce yourself.

Hi, folks. My name is Wayne Zurl. I grew up on Long Island and retired after twenty years with the Suffolk County Police Department, one of the largest municipal law enforcement agencies in New York and the nation. For thirteen of those years, I served as a section commander supervising investigators. I graduated from SUNY, Empire State College and served on active duty in the US Army during the Vietnam War and later in the reserves. I left New York to live in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee with my wife, Barbara.

Twenty-seven (27) of my Sam Jenkins novelette mysteries have been published as eBooks and many produced as audio books.

My full-length novels are: A New Prospect, A Leprechaun’s Lament, Heroes & Lovers, Pigeon River Blues, and most recently, A Touch of Morning Calm.

A new novel, A Can of Worms, is scheduled for release late in 2016. Another, Honor Among Thieves, is on tap for 2017.

I’ve won Eric Hoffer and Indie Book Awards, and was named a finalist for a Montaigne Medal and First Horizon Book Award.

For more information on my Sam Jenkins mystery series see www.waynezurlbooks.net. You can read excerpts, reviews and endorsements, interviews, coming events, and see photos of the area where the stories take place.

Tell us about your latest release.

A Touch of Morning Calm hit the sales shelves on July 12, 2016. The quick description is: Sam Jenkins vs Korean organized crime, but that’s too simplistic. With four murders in sleepy little Prospect, Tennessee, complexities jump over the moon. Here’s what appears on the book jacket:
Chief Sam Jenkins runs headlong into Tennessee’s faction of Korean organized crime when a mobster tries to shake down two former call girls attempting to establish a legitimate business. Soon, bodies begin piling up—all with a Korean connection—in Sam’s town of Prospect and nearby Knoxville.

Sorting truth from fiction calls for more than Sam and his officers can handle, so he turns to the women in his life for assistance. His wife, Kate, Sergeant Bettye Lambert and TV news anchor, Rachel Williamson contribute significantly in clearing the convoluted homicides.

Now I have a few questions for you – I have found readers do like to know fun things about us writers.

1.) Who is your favorite villain – it can be from a book (even one of yours), movie or TV show. And why?  

Jolie Blon’s Bounce is one of James Lee Burke’s best books. James Lee Burke is one of my favorite writers, and the antagonist of the book, the despicable Legion Guidry, might qualify as the nastiest villain in literature. Burke writes descriptions like few authors can. He tells us that Legion is in his mid-seventies, but looks twenty years younger and is as lean and fit as an athletic forty-year-old.  Guidry, a former plantation overseer, causes Burke’s hero, Cajun Detective Dave Robicheaux, major problems and even gives the veteran cop a good beating. But Legion isn’t just physically daunting. He’s also a master of psychological warfare—not only causing physical damage, but more than capable of inflicting mental anguish to his victims. Three quarters of the way through the book, you wonder if Satan isn’t walking the turf of south Louisiana.

2.) Who is your favorite character out of your books? Why?

I can’t name Sam Jenkins, the main character in all my books and stories because too many people say Sam is a lot like me. He and I share many similarities, one of them being an inflated ego, but even I couldn’t go that far. So, I unequivocally say that Sergeant Bettye Lambert is my favorite. She’s a composite of a few people I knew or worked with. Bettye was never destined to be as important as she has become, but she seems to hold a lot of influence over me and throughout all the stories, she’s taken on a very strong second fiddle role. She’s actually more than that. Bettye is not only Sam’s administrative officer and occasional partner on the road, but she’s almost his “handler.” She’s more politically correct than Sam. He’s often impatient. She provides a soothing quality—She’s half workplace spouse and half psychotherapist. Any boss would be happy to have a few Bettyes on his team.

3.) What do genre do you write? What made you pick that one?
I’ve had seven novels and twenty-seven novelettes published—all in the mystery / police procedural genre. I worked as a cop in New York for twenty years. Any officer from a crowded, busy area leaves the job with a great many “war stories” under his hat. When I decided to write fiction, I thought of the old author’s maxim: Write what you know.  I took a retired New York detective and made him a police chief in rural east Tennessee, where I now live. I’ve covered my bases. I know criminal investigations and the Smoky Mountain region.

4.) What are you working on now?

I’m about thirty-five thousand words into a novel I call A Bleak Prospect. It centers on the search for a serial killer the press calls The Riverside Strangler. When the investigation is complete, many lives will be drastically changed—for good guys and bad guys.

5.) What got you to start writing?

I started writing non-fiction that coincided with a volunteer job I took at a Tennessee state park shortly after we retired from New York. My basic responsibility was to write publicity for the park’s living history program. That blossomed into twenty-six magazine articles about colonial American history and then a spot with a magazine where I had a semi-regular column on the fiction of James Fenimore Cooper. After ten years of that, I just couldn’t dream up anything new and exciting to say about the 18th century French and Indian War. So, I handed the torch to someone else. But, I needed a creative outlet and stacking manuscripts in a closet made more sense than finding a place to store oil paintings or model airplanes. I decided to try my hand at fiction.

6.) Where do you get your ideas from?

I tell everyone that I have a better memory than an imagination. Remember what I said about tucking away twenty years of cop stories? Most of what I write is based on one or more cases I investigated, supervised, or just knew a lot about. I embellish them, because contrary to what Hollywood might lead us to believe, police work isn’t always a thrill a minute. I fictionalize them with a little of the added conflict and tension readers like so much, and to paraphrase Jack Webb’s weekly disclaimer on “Dragnet,” I change the names to protect the guilty—and to keep me out of civil court.

7.) What would people who read your work be surprised to find out about you?
Many years ago, while working as a uniformed cop, minding my own business, looking for criminals, I ended up delivering three babies, one at a time, on separate occasions…and five cats, all at once.

8.) Do you have any special talents?
Besides writing the best cop fiction since Joe Wambaugh and being terribly modest, I believe I was born with the ability to be a very good shooter. In the Army, I qualified with more weapons than most people have ever seen, and I won two Olympic gold medals for police combat shooting.

9.) What was the one piece of advice you received when you were an aspiring author that has stuck with you? Why?
I met veteran, award winning author Richard Peck when he dedicated the young adult wing of our county library. I had just about finished my first novel, A New Prospect, and was attempting to peddle it to agents. Not having the best of luck getting representation, I was feeling the pangs of rejection. A mutual friend, a retired New York librarian, told Peck about my book, which she had read. After a friendly pep talk, Richard told me, “In publishing, you don’t have to be good, you have to be marketable.” That advice made me feel better and has kept me from taking the business too seriously.

10.) If you could talk to any famous figure (present, past or fictional) who would it be and what would you talk about?
George MacDonald Fraser wrote a series of historical fiction subtitled The Flashman Papers. Each book told of the adventures of Harry Flashman, from his days as a young British Army officer in the First Afghan War of 1839 through the early 20th Century when, as a retired brigadier, Sir Harry was still getting into mischief all over the world.  Fraser describes Flashman as a bully, poltroon, braggart and insatiable lecher. All those good qualities aside, Old Flashy had an uncanny ability of running across all the famous personalities in the world, from George Armstrong Custer to the Emperor Franz Joseph…and possibly having an affair with their wives. He had been captured by enemies often enough to qualify for frequent hostage points, but like a feral cat, Flashman always landed on his feet and came out of the stickiest situations smelling like a French bimbo. I think he could entertain me for years. He’d talk, I’d listen.

11.) What song would you say describes your life?
Just using the title and not taking the lyrics literally, I’d say The Beach Boys’ old song, “I Get Around.”  I’ve travelled to a lot of exotic places and have no intention of stopping. I mentioned my career as a cop, but I also spent more than my share of time as a full-time and reserve soldier. I’ve seen and done a few interesting things and met lots of interesting people.

12.) If you could come back as any animal – what would it be?

Since this would be in a new and different life where I’d be starting things from scratch, I’d like to be a Scottish terrier. We had one for seventeen years. She was my best friend—someone I considered one of the most loyal and toughest individuals I’d ever met—a great role model. And in public places, she attracted more good-looking women than a hundred credit cards towed behind a brand new Corvette.


Long before there was much ado about the division of North and South Korea at the 38th parallel, that land was known to the rest of the world as Koryeo.

In those ancient days, a dynasty existed in Koryeo called Chosun. To those people, the loose English translation of Koryeo meant The Land of Morning Calm.

If you’ve ever been to the Korean countryside, you know the phrase is appropriate. The same can be said for the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee.

But not all the time.


Chapter One

For the last two years, I’ve spent nearly one third of my life with Sergeant Bettye Lambert, my administrative officer and occasional partner. We get along famously—most of the time.

At my age, you’d expect I’d know how to deal with women, but experience shows I’m not as smart as I think. If I inherited the ability to handle the opposite sex efficiently, I would have taken a different job—like a hairdresser. But apparently in that area I’m hopeless. So I remain a cop.

The main telephone rang on Bettye’s desk. If the caller wanted me, she would buzz my phone and forward the call. Nothing happened. Moments later, she stood in my office doorway, looking a little miffed.

I could always tell when things weren’t going her way. She cocked her left hip to the side and rested a hand there. I thought she looked attractive. With her right hand, she leaned on the doorjamb and scowled at me.

At least she isn’t holding a gun.

“It’s your friend—that cheap blonde,” she said.


Bettye shook her head, and her blonde ponytail swung back and forth. “You know who.”

“I’m sorry, I don’t. Who are you talking about?”

“Well, you seemed to get along with her just fine. It was me she didn’t like.”

“Huh?” I remained in the dark.

“You damn well know who I’m talkin’ about, Sam Jenkins. That blonde we met on the Cecil Lovejoy case—that one from Chicago.”

“Ah-ha.” A light in my brain switched on.

“Yes, ah-ha. Now pick up your damn phone.”

Bettye gets away with saying things like that because we both know how important she is to my little police department. And hearing a note of jealousy in her voice boosts my ego.

“You’re beautiful when you’re angry,” I said. “Just why are you angry?”

“Lord have mercy, you’re pathetic.”

I tried a smile. “That may be true, but you’re still hopelessly in love with me.”

“Not after today, darlin’. I said answer the phone. That one’s waitin’ for ya.” She turned and walked away.

Sergeant Lambert made reference to a woman named Veronica Keeble. Two years ago, after a local man, one Cecil Lovejoy, was murdered in Prospect, Bettye and I interviewed Mrs. Keeble. Sort of a suspect at the time, Veronica was thirty-five-years-old, blonde and absolutely gorgeous. Did I mention she was an ex-hooker?

I answered my phone, curious to learn what ‘that one’ had to say.

“Hello, this is Chief Jenkins.”

“Well, hello there. It’s been a long time.” She sounded friendly.

“Yes, it sure has. How are you?”

“I’m fine, thanks. Were you the police chief when we first met, or have you been promoted from detective?”

I remembered the time I interviewed her. On a warm July day, we walked down the street where she lived, and I listened to the intimate details of her earlier life.

“Yeah, I was the chief back then. We only have thirteen cops here, so I get to play detective at times. I’d have to sweep the floors, too, if the mayor caught me not looking busy.”

She laughed briefly, something a little husky and a whole lot sexy. “I see. You must have a tough boss.”

I thought about Bettye. “Sometimes I wonder who the boss is around here. What can I do for you, Mrs. Keeble?”

 “The last time we spoke, I thought we agreed on Sam and Roni.” Her voice sounded soft and inviting.

Another memory—before we parted company, she asked my first name, shook my hand and left me gazing into the most incredibly blue eyes on the planet.

“We did. Okay, Roni, how can I help you?” I wondered what I might be getting into.

“Did you ever find out who killed that awful man?”

“That’s a long story—sort of.”

She called me to learn the outcome of a two-year-old case?

“You’ll have to tell me some time.”

“Sure, but first tell me why you called. I want to know if I should be flattered because you remember me or act totally professional.”

“Wow, how do I answer that?”

“Try the direct approach. Remember, I’m a civil servant. You pay my salary. I, madam, am at your disposal.”

She used that soft and inviting sound again. “That opens up all kinds of possibilities.”

The woman really had a way with words. I thought I’d play along. I wasn’t busy.

“But,” she said, “I guess I should tell you why I called before I forget.”

“Yes, ma’am. It’s your dime.”

“Well, I have a friend who just opened a business in Prospect. I think she may need police assistance.”

“Really? Why didn’t she call?”

“I told her you and I had already met. I know it’s been a while, but I still remember how nice you were. You listened to my story, and you weren’t judgmental like someone else might have been. I thought you were okay for a cop. I told her I’d call and see if you would help her.”

“Okay for a cop, but not so hot for a plumber or delivery man?”

“Oh, stop, you’re just looking for compliments.”

“Maybe. I could be suffering from self-esteem problems.” I allowed a few seconds for her to enjoy my self-deprecating humor. “If she’s in some kind of trouble and it’s a police matter, of course I’ll help. But I’m sure you understand I have to hear her story first.”

“I knew you’d do it.”

Roni Keeble didn’t say, ‘Yipee,’ but I could envision her smiling. I still have a good memory. Did I mention the girl was gorgeous?

“Will you have lunch with us? I’ll introduce you, and Sunny will explain everything.”

“Having lunch with a complainant and her friend isn’t the usual way a policeman starts an investigation.”

“Lunch would be nice though, wouldn’t it?”

This is how a cop gets into trouble.


Author website:  http://www.waynezurlbooks.net 

Friday, August 12, 2016

A quck update

I'm going to be quick but I wanted to apologize to you guys as well as my missed guest this past Saturday. I had family come into town and the blog just slipped my mind. Then my mom had a car accident and everything went on the back burner. I'm happy to day she is fine, but it did effect this week.

But I'm back and will have a new guest tomorrow...

I'm working out the new date for this past Saturday's missed blog.