Men of the Cross & more – special holiday offer

Looking for a gift for the historical fiction fan?

Men of the Cross
Sweeping battles, forbidden love, and 2 knights following Richard the Lionheart
A 2014 B.R.A.G. Medallion honoree and Readers’ Favorite
e-book now on sale for $1.99/£1.31 for Kindle & Nook and at Smashwords.

If contemporary family sagas are more to your liking,
Keeping the Family Peace
is also on sale. A big family has secrets that may tear them apart.
Get the e-book at Amazon & Amazon UK,  Barnes & Noble, or Smashwords.

Get them now. The sale will end on December 25.

MEN-OF-THE-CROSS           book cover for Family Peace

All we want is Family Peace

Huge announcement!

Keeping the Family Peace
is now available at Amazon!

book cover for Family Peace

I really hate the hard sell, so I won’t beat you over the head with it. It’s there. It was a lot of work, a fantastic journey with many friends – including my Thursday night writers group – encouraging me along the way.

I’d love to see you “like” the book on Amazon (if you do), write a review if you’re so inclined, pass the link on to your Facebook friends, your relatives, and ask them to spread the word. Promotion and marketing are tough in this brave new publishing world when there are nearly 3,000,000 books available.

In my friend Marie’s immortal words:

Go buy it. Right now. Then read it.

By the end of the week, Keeping the Family Peace will also be available for Nook & other eReaders. Don’t have an eReader? You can download FREE ereaders to your computer, your tablet, even to your smart phone! Amazon & Nook for PC & Nook for Mac. Or, if you’re willing to wait a few more weeks, I hope to have the print version of the book available from Amazon by late January.

Coffee mugs & Family Peace teaser #5

My mug collection

My kids* and friends who visit open my cabinets and gawk. Wow. Lots of coffee mugs. I like to have a souvenir from places I visit, so why not something useful? Mugs can be so much more than containers for coffee and tea. They are great for ice cream – hold the handle and your hand won’t get cold! Hot soup or cold. Loose change bucket. Flower vase. Marble holder. Pencil/pen cup.

Jack, patriarch of the family Peace, is a mug collector. I’m sure he got that from me. He found another use for his. I imagine my kids will be grateful that I never thought of this until I was writing the book…

Keeping the Family Peace – teaser #5

Nick stared into the kitchen just in time to catch Emma’s scorching glare. His stomach knotted. She turned away quickly and tried to extricate herself unsuccessfully from Taylor’s grip. Nick dug his fingers deeper into the carpet.

Sam threw a questioning look toward Anne. “New York?”

“I’m going to live there one day. It’s my favorite city.” Anne’s green eyes sparkled. “Haven’t you seen the captain’s coffee mugs?”

“Ah.”  Sam nodded, glancing toward the kitchen. The line-up of cups hanging beneath the cupboards wasn’t easy to ignore. “I know he’s a collector. Are they in alphabetical order?”

“Order of admittance to the Union,” Taylor said. “Great way to learn a bit of U.S. history.”

“Don’t laugh,” Jack called out. “It worked, didn’t it?”

Jo quartered a tomato for the salad she was preparing and slid it into a bowl. She leaned against the counter. “New York, 1788. Ohio?”

“Eighteen-oh-three,” Taylor said. “Iowa?”

“Eighteen-forty-six.” Jack pointed to Emma. “Wyoming?”

Emma, with her stiff upper lip, finally detached herself from Taylor and stalked into the kitchen. Jack clipped her chin playfully as she walked by and Jamie offered her a bite of his cookie. Her face softened for a moment then she leaned across the counter. “Eighteen-ninety,” she said, eyes fiery and once again fixated on Nick. “South Carolina?”

Jo snickered at her choice of the first state to secede from the Union, earning her own glare from Emma.

Secession. Betrayal. They went hand in hand. “Seventeen eighty-eight,” Nick said, knowing she felt that he’d betrayed his faith in her judgment. “Emma—”

David and Sam started clapping, interrupting Nick but catching themselves when Emma whirled away. Nick smacked his fist against his thigh and exhaled deeply.

*  *  *  *  *

JW Manus has my notes from my review of the Kindle-version proof of the novel. Wait until you see the wonderful formatting she’s done. When, you ask? Getting closer…unless Jaye spots something really horrific as she makes one final sweep.

Do you have other uses for your coffee mugs? Do you have a collecting obsess–er, I mean, passion?

* My kids don’t gawk now. They’re used to my collecting. They’ve even added to it. Oh – that reminds me, I haven’t bought a new reindeer for the Christmas tree this year.

Keeping the Family Peace – teaser #4

book cover for Family PeaceFinal revisions are humming along & truly, the end is near!

Here’s another snippet from the novel. It’s Christmas time, 1995. Jack is the patriarch of the family Peace. Holidays are usually celebrated with the whole family, but not this year…

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Jack wondered if quiet holidays would be the new norm for him. Seeing Jamie had been one bright spot. Actually, that hadn’t been so quiet. David was deployed to the Mediterranean and David’s parents had taken on Jamie’s care. After three awkward days with them in Massachusetts, Jack was on a train to New York City to meet Chuck and Anne. Chuck tried to convince him to stay to ring in the New Year, but he just wanted to go home.

He turned the key in the door of the house back in Arnold at five in the afternoon on New Year’s Eve.

By six, the suitcase was unpacked. Toiletries put away. Laundry in the washer.

At seven he rummaged through the freezer and found some leftover meatloaf, microwaved it, and sat down to eat.

At eight, the dishes were done, the kitchen spotless. He turned the tree lights on and lit a couple of the pine-scented candles that Jo sent with some other Christmas goodies while water boiled for his tea. He treated himself to an extra dollop of cream after the tea brewed, and then sat down.

He dozed off a bit around nine listening to the Boston Pops.

At ten he poked around the video cabinet and pulled out A Few Good Men. Right where he’d expected it, shelved alphabetically in the drama section. He made another cup of tea and sat back to enjoy the movie then promptly fell asleep again in his recliner.

The clock struck twelve. Jack blinked his eyes open.

Happy New Year.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

I probably shouldn’t be depressing you this way, should I? Believe me, this will be a roller coaster of emotions, both happy and sad. I hope you’ll be intrigued enough to pick up a copy of the book and see how things turn out for Jack and the family Peace.

Cover reveal for: Keeping the Family Peace

Ladies & gentlemen, the time draws near! I’m working on the final revisions of my mainstream family drama novel, Keeping the Family Peace. Its initial release will be on  Amazon in December. Keep your eyes on my rambling here for that announcement.

But today, I give you the book cover, created by Travis Pennington at

book cover for Keeping the Family Peace

There. I did it! Now I better finish those revisions so you have an opportunity to meet the Peace family.

Thursday Walks & Family Peace teaser

It’s Thanksgiving. We aren’t on the menu.
Besides, that’s an American holiday and we’re Stonehenge sheep.

Happy Thanksgiving!

The leftovers have been put away and the house is quiet. Chatted with S#1 and texted with DD; talked about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness with S#2 – well, not really. He slept late, grabbed a bite to eat, jumped in his ’93 Dodge, and hit the road to visit his girlfriend. I am most thankful I don’t have to think of rain, sleet, or icy roads today.

It’s getting close. Book cover reveal planned for Monday! I’m 1/3 through my final revisions. Can you guess what I’m doing on this wonderful 4 day weekend? No Black Friday for me. I’ll be chained to the computer.

And to whet your appetite, a snippet from the opening chapter…

Nick swallowed hard, an ache in the pit of his stomach. A balloon floated past his bedroom window and he was four again, wrapped in the warmth of his mother’s arms. He’d giggle as she tugged on the colorful ribbons tied to balloons that danced above his head. Still four, he was standing with his sisters and father at her funeral. There were balloons there, too. Seven brightly colored ones that painted the dull sea of white and khaki uniforms visible to him when he looked across the top of her casket. Ten years later, the images from that day remained as clear as a still life.

Nick stared at his hand. He remembered small fingers reaching for the comfort of his father’s touch and finding nothing but rejection. Jack Peace jerked his hand away. Nick had only been four, but God, how he remembered that moment at the funeral when his father pushed him away.

Whattya think? I still have to figure out all the formatting, buy an ISBN, and who knows what else. (Time to review Jaye’s ebook formatting posts!) I’ll keep you posted on the publication date.


No. 16: CHARLES DARWIN MEETS TURT (‘naked and loving it’) | Tales of the Fiction House. Are you reading this series of short stories? You should be!

The good, the bad, the ugly: Attending a Writing Conference? A Risk Worth Taking! | Pen In Hand

I’m try to avoid these: The Common Mistake 99% of Writers Make With Their Book Description

And if that isn’t enough, there’s always: Anne R. Allen’s Blog: The Biggest Problem Facing the Beginning Novelist—And 6 Tips for Avoiding It

And since I’m trying to make myself a nervous wreck: Five Common First-Chapter Mistakes by Jody Hedlund.

All right. Back to revisions. See you on Monday.

Keeping the Family Peace tidbits

bride’s and bridesmaids’ bouquets
and yes, this has nothing to do with today’s post

I bet you’ve forgotten that Keeping the Family Peace still occupies a corner of my mind. Why would you remember? Lately, all I’ve talked about is Star Wars or the Third Crusade.

We could just pretend that you’re on pins & needles waiting for my debut novel. How cool! How about a little teaser? Some background on the story, details that might not even be mentioned but are part of the world I created?


1. Nick was born in Monterey, California, in 1974.

2. He has a crush on Marcia Brady (in reruns, of course) and on Anne Bailey, daughter of his father’s best friend.

3. His family met George Takei in 1983 on the USS Enterprise (CVN-65).

4. Nick’s mom did not wear Eternity from Calvin Klein (though it is my favorite fragrance).

5. Jack, Nick’s dad, almost broke a record climbing the Herndon Monument at the Naval Academy.

6. In my original outline and rough draft, the family’s last name was Landon. I was on a train traveling between St. Ives and Stratford-upon-Avon in the UK when I had that Eureka! moment, coming up with both the book title and the family name.

7. Nick is the youngest & the only boy in the family. When the novel opens, he’s 14 – sometimes still a kid, an awkward teenager, but often insightful and mature beyond his years.

8. Births, deaths, weddings, family holidays together & more – you’ll be there.

9. I once wanted to write a science fiction story about a family whose members all served as officers on spaceships. All brothers, 1 sister, & their father. Somehow I ended up with a current-day mainstream novel that features 1 brother (who has no desire to go, Navy!) with a boatload of sisters & a father, all of whom attended the Academy. Go figure.

10. This novel is not centered on life in the Navy. It’s about family. And about secrets that might tear them apart.

I’m expecting to see redlines from my editors by early November. I’ll shift back to editing mode at that time. Watch for the book cover reveal that month, and publication around Christmas.

If I do this right, I’ll have some other teaser information over the next two months to share. How about an excerpt from the novel? If you could interview a character from one of your favorite novels, what would you ask them?

Did you miss Thursday’s Walk on the Blog Side? You could always go back and scan previous entries. Those posts don’t seem to get many clicks. I know – we all have way too much to read. Okay, let’s just enjoy this fabulous scenery in the Highlands of Scotland instead:

Kilchurn Castle
Kilchurn Castle