On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Published in the Rains County Leader on August 14, 2018:

Kitty on the dashboardLast week’s column ended with the comment that David was anxious to take our motor home, which is being made road ready after six years of sitting idle in our backyard, on a test run to a local campground to see what items other than the refrigerator and generator need attention. As it turned out, he was more anxious than I thought – last week we spent four days at Thousand Trails in Point.

After checking our calendar, scheduling an outing became a now-or-much-later decision since I will be recovering from rotator cuff surgery for the next several weeks. David opted for now, and I began making lists. Sunday after church we began shuttling back and forth between the house and the coach with armloads of clothes, food, and Kitty necessities. I almost backed out when David told me that I wouldn’t be able to use the refrigerator after all, but I simplified my menu plan and added an ice chest to my list.

One of the first things David did once preparations were underway was to get Kitty’s carrier out of the shed. In the interest of safety – both hers and ours – we had agreed that it was not a good idea to let her roam free while the motor home was underway. When he brought it into the house, David put the carrier on top of a box, and Kitty immediately gave it a good sniffing, stretching up on her hind legs to reach it. I put it down on the floor and opened the door, and she went inside and lay down. She was ready to go.

She rode quietly to the campground, but when we arrived and opened her door, she immediately disappeared. After we hooked up the water, electricity, and sewer and put out the slides, I went looking for her. I found her in the bedroom, crouched on a nightstand under a corner of the comforter. We didn’t see much of her until bedtime. She wasn’t interested in dinner, but when I brushed my teeth, she appeared in the bathroom, waiting expectantly for her nightly treats. After scarfing them down, she spent most of the night snuggled against my legs or lying between David and me.

We decided not to leave her alone in an unfamiliar environment, so Monday morning David dropped me at the church and took Kitty to the house. He said she took about four steps into the living room and collapsed on the floor as if exhausted from her ordeal. That afternoon when the three of us drove back to the campground, she was not quite as ready to go as she had been the day before. David had to coax her into the carrier with treats, and she whined a bit in the car. Once she was released in the motor home, she nibbled a few bites of kibble and disappeared into the bedroom again.

After the dinner dishes had been washed and put away and we were settled down with our computers, she ventured out of her hiding place, creeping warily through the hallway and scurrying back to safety at the slightest noise. She finally made it to David’s chair where she demanded constant petting and reassurance.

Each day she became a little braver, jumping up on the back of the sofa or the dashboard and inspecting the new scenery she discovered outside the windows. She spent most of the nights on the bed with us, but I did find her on the floor in front of the driver’s seat a morning or two. The last evening before we came home, she had become comfortable enough with her surroundings that we brought out the squirt bottle to let her know that kitchen counters and dining tables are off limits even when camping. She finally settled on the middle of the dashboard as the appropriate perch from which to survey and rule her new kingdom.

We’re all back home now after a successful test run, and we’re looking forward to venturing a little further soon. Kitty seems to have suffered no ill effects from her first camping adventure. Hopefully, next time she’ll adjust more quickly – and hopefully, next time we’ll have a working refrigerator.

Blessings,

Linda

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Published in the Rains County Leader on August 7, 2018:

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Several of my readers have asked how the saga of the motor home is progressing. You’ll be happy to know that, although we’re still waiting for news on the generator, some good things have happened and we are moving forward. In case you missed the beginning of the story, I’ll just say that when you let a motor home sit unused for seven years, it begins to deteriorate. It may still look good, but flipping a switch or pushing a button doesn’t guarantee that something good will happen. Read the rest of this entry »

Cover Trouble in Tampa

About the book:

 Currently a semifinalist for the Florida Writers Association Royal Palm Award for Best Historical Mystery of 2018, Trouble in Tampa is a thrilling look at the Wild South of Florida in 1885. An easy assignment for sharpshooter and ex-Pinkerton investigator, Oliver Redcastle, turns deadly. A wealthy Baltimore art collector sends an employee to Florida. When that man goes missing, the rich man hires Oliver to find him. Reluctantly, Oliver boards Henry Plant’s newly constructed train to Florida. At the end of the line he gets off in Tampa to find a swamp load of trouble. He’s betrayed by an old acquaintance, and by not one, but two passionate women. Oliver is railroaded into one of old Florida’s infamous turpentine camps. There he must use his sharpshooting skill to escape certain death. But that means a harrowing trek through miles of dangerous animals, dangerous people, and shocking intrigues. In Key West he meets female Pinkerton operative, Hannah Kinchman. She got him into trouble in Tampa. But Oliver has a soft spot for Hannah. Together they fight their way through kidnapping, treasure hunts, intrigue, and the beautiful but treacherous Florida Everglades. Will Oliver overcome the many hurdles blocking his way home? It won’t be easy!

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 My review:

The title, Trouble in Tampa, is definitely an understatement in this historical novel about life – and death – in southern Florida during the late 1800s. Private detective Oliver Redcastle reluctantly leaves his ailing daughter with a trusted caregiver to undertake what he hopes will be a simple missing person inquiry. He eventually solves the case, but not before witnessing an assassination attempt, being falsely imprisoned in a hidden turpentine camp, barely escaping a shotgun wedding, being adopted by a parrot with an extremely broad vocabulary, undertaking a forced treasure hunt in the Everglades, and much more. In the beginning of the book, I was a little distracted by a style that seemed a little terse and colorless, but as Redcastle stepped off the train into the barely civilized south of Florida, the story burst into a colorful collage of unusual characters and intriguing plot twists that made it hard to put down. This was my first novel by Louise Tichener, but it won’t be my last.

About the author:

Louise Titchener Head ShotLouise Titchener is the author of over forty traditionally published novels in a variety of genres including romance, science-fiction-fantasy, and mystery. She has two published mystery series. The first is set in Baltimore and features Toni Credella, a dyslexic young woman determined to defend her sex against evildoers. The Oliver Redcastle historical series is set in the 1880’s and features a sharp shooter and ex-Pinkerton protagonist. The first two Redcastle mysteries take place in Baltimore where Louise spent many years. Trouble in Tampa is set in the area where Louise now lives with her philosophy professor husband. In addition to writing and reading she likes to kayak, admire the beautiful tropical birds in her neighborhood, and take long walks.

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Blessings,

Linda

 

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Blessings,

Linda

Published in the Rains County Leader on July 31, 2018:

Kitty plays favorites – she’s definitely partial to David and spends much more time with him than she does with me. That’s not really news, but it continues to be a source of disappointment to me – most of the time.

In the last several months, she has begun to warm up to me more. She sometimes rubs against my legs and then stands with her left rear foot on top of my left foot. I’m not sure exactly what that means, but she does it to David frequently, and it seems to imply some sort of ownership. She’s also allowing me to pet her more, and she sometimes asks me for attention, especially when we first get home in the afternoon. If she’s awake when we arrive, she greets us from the chair by the front door, pushing her head against any part of us she can reach, especially if it’s a hand. She used to save this kind of affection for David, but now I’m included as well.

Another new bid for attention involves my rolling computer stand and the TV table that has become one of her favorite napping places. Because of spatial limitations, the tables are close to each other, and the “mouse ledge” of the computer stand overlaps the edge of the TV table by several inches. When Kitty is lying on her TV table, she rests her head on the computer stand. This is no problem at all except when I’m using my mouse, and Kitty decides she needs my attention. Sometimes she tries to take the mouse out of my hand, and since she doesn’t always remember to sheath her claws, this can be painful for me. Other times she will put her paw on my hand and give that I-know-you-want-to-pet-me look. My typical response is to rub just above her eyes with one finger. She likes that until she doesn’t, and then she bites me.

For quite some time, one of Kitty’s favorite places to lie has been the back of the sofa where David usually sits. It’s high enough to allow her to look down on her loyal subjects, and it’s close to David. It’s also fun to dig between the cushions and the back of the couch unless, of course, David has the spray bottle close at hand to give her a squirt for scratching the furniture. Lately, she has been spending some time on the back of the love seat where I sit. Her favorite place is right behind me. That puts her in the perfect spot to swish her tail and whop me upside my head. Who knew a fluffy tail could pack such a wallop.

Occasionally, instead of lying lengthwise along the back, she lies across it so she can look out the window better. She scoots her backside down until she’s sitting on my shoulder. It’s nice and cozy, and she allows me to lay my head against her like a pillow from time to time. Thankfully, she chooses the left shoulder instead of the sore one, and I enjoy the closeness – until, that is, she swishes her tail. Then, instead of hitting me in the ear, she gets me in the face. Oh well. I guess since I’m number two in her affections, I have to take what I can get, even if it seems like I’m getting the bad end of the deal.

Blessings,

Linda

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Kris Bock’s Southwest Treasure Hunters novels mix action and adventure with romance. The stories explore the Southwest, especially New Mexico. Each novel stands alone, with a new main couple, and is complete, with no cliffhangers.

The Mad Monk’s Treasure

“Smart romance with an ‘Indiana Jones’ feel.”Twitter-MadMonk (2)

A legendary treasure hunt in the dramatic – and deadly – New Mexico desert…. Reviewers give it a 4.6 star average. Get this romantic adventure for only 99 cents or FREE with Kindle Unlimited!

 The lost Victorio Peak treasure is the stuff of legends – a heretic Spanish priest’s gold mine, made richer by the spoils of bandits and an Apache raider. When Erin, a quiet history professor, uncovers a clue that may pinpoint the lost treasure cave, she prepares for adventure. But when a hit and run driver nearly kills her, she realizes she’s not the only one after the treasure. And is Drew, the handsome helicopter pilot who found her bleeding in a ditch, really a hero, or one of the enemy?

“The story has it all – action, romance, danger, intrigue, lost treasure, not to mention a sizzling relationship….”

Get The Mad Monk’s Treasure on Amazon.

 

The Dead Man’s Treasure

The Dead Man’s Treasure is fast-paced and a perfect read for the weekend. I highly Twitter-DeadMans-smallrecommend this one.”

Rebecca Westin is shocked to learn the grandfather she never knew has left her a bona fide buried treasure – but only if she can decipher a complex series of clues leading to it. The hunt would be challenging enough without interference from her half-siblings, who are determined to find the treasure first and keep it for themselves. Good thing Rebecca has recruited some help.

Sam is determined to show Rebecca that a desert adventure can be sexy and fun. But there’s a treacherous wildcard in the mix, a man willing to do anything to get that treasure – and revenge.

Action and romance combine in this lively Southwestern adventure, complete with riddles the reader is invited to solve to identify historical and cultural sites around New Mexico.

“I can’t say enough how much I loved this book! It has mystery, adventure, danger, romance, and above it all family remains a huge theme.”

Get The Dead Man’s Treasure on Amazon – free with KU.

 

The Skeleton Canyon Treasure

“A wonderfully suspenseful light romantic read filled with the old Southwest, treasure, Twitter-SkeletonCanyoncharacters you’ll love and an amazing cat.”

Camille Dagneau – beautiful, brilliant, and prickly – isn’t quick to trust, especially when a strange man has broken into her machine shop at night. But Ryan MacAllister insists he’s merely looking for his missing uncle, who has disappeared while hunting for a lost treasure. He believes Camie is the key to finding the treasure, and his uncle. Camie can ignore the attraction she feels, but she won’t pass up the chance for an adventure.

The pair set off with Camie’s feisty cat Tiger to track down the clues in the missing man’s journal. Graveyards, steep cliffs, and creepy caves don’t intimidate Camie, but she’ll need to trust Ryan to overcome all the challenges that stand in their way. A man’s life is on the line and time is running out, but her heart may be the one thing Camie is not willing to risk.

“If you like strong women and adventure, you’re going to love this.”

“The Skeleton Canyon Treasure is a light, breezy action/adventure/romance that’s perfect for summer reading.”

Get The Skeleton Canyon Treasure on Amazon – free with KU.

 

Excerpt from The Mad Monk’s Treasure:

Among all the legends, all the fact and fiction, one story stood out. The Victorio Peak legend had it all. A Franciscan priest and a swindler. Torture, murder, a government cover-up. Where was the truth, among all the stories? Erin wanted to find out. Over time, and with Camie’s encouragement, she’d started to take the treasure hunt more seriously. It wasn’t so much for the treasure itself—that would most likely belong to the government or the landowners. But it would make her reputation, open up new job opportunities—change her life in ways she hardly dared dream.

She touched the book gently. The pages were falling out; she didn’t want to risk carrying it around. Instead, Erin snapped a picture of the petroglyphs with her phone. That would be enough to show Camie for now.

The timing was perfect; she just had to turn in grades and field a few tearful last-minute requests for extensions, and she’d be done for the semester. What better way to spend the summer, than hunting for buried treasure?

Erin shook her head. Who would’ve thought that she, the quiet, studious girl who’d spent her entire adult life in academia in one way or another, would be planning such an adventure?

Erin wheeled the bike around the front of her house and mounted. At the corner, she paused and looked both ways. The long frontage road was dangerously narrow, with a cement wall on one side and a ditch on the other. Fortunately, traffic was normally light, and at this time of day the road lay empty. Erin pushed off, still grinning from her find. She rode on the right side, by the ditch, instead of facing traffic, because it was just too frightening to ride alongside the wall when a car passed.

She’d gone a block when she heard the hum of a car engine as it pulled out from a side street behind her. She rode along the very edge of the pavement, even though the car would have plenty of room to pass her without oncoming traffic.

Erin glanced over her shoulder. The black SUV 20 feet behind her hadn’t bothered to pull out into the road at all. Jerk. When would drivers learn to share the road with bicyclists? Erin pulled onto the two-foot wide gravel strip between the pavement and the ditch. She couldn’t stop without risking a skid, but she slowed so the SUV could pass.

The engine roared. Erin glanced back again.

Black metal bore down on her. Her heart lurched and the bike wobbled. This guy was crazy! She whipped her gaze forward, rose up in the seat, and pumped the pedals with all her power, skimming along inches from the ditch. He was just trying to scare her. She’d get his license plate and—

She felt the bumper hit her back tire. The bike seemed to leap into the air, and she went flying. The dried mud and weeds of the ditch seemed to rise up to meet her.

She didn’t even have time to scream.

 

Kris Bock writes novels of suspense and romance with outdoor adventures and Kris Bock hikingSouthwestern landscapes. Whispers in the Dark features archaeology and intrigue among ancient Southwest ruins. What We Found is a mystery with strong romantic elements about a young woman who finds a murder victim in the woods. In Counterfeits, stolen Rembrandt paintings bring danger to a small New Mexico town.

Fans of Mary Stewart and Barbara Michaels will want to check out Kris Bock’s romantic adventures. “Counterfeits is the kind of romantic suspense novel I have enjoyed since I first read Mary Stewart’s Moonspinners.” 5 Stars – Roberta at Sensuous Reviews blog

Read excerpts at www.krisbock.com or visit her Amazon page. Sign up for the Kris Bock newsletter for announcements of new books, sales, and more.

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Kris, thank you for a quick tour through your Southwest Treasure Hunters novels. I know many of my readers have added them to their to-be-read lists. Best of luck with them, and thanks again for stopping by.

Blessings,

Linda

 

Mildred Cover

About the book:

Toni Kief, author of Old Baggage, is excited to introduce a new work of fiction – and another feisty older woman, Mildred Petrie.

Mildred Petrie expected a comfortable retirement.

Except her husband died and his secrets changed everything.

Desperate, she takes the only job available at the local gambling palace – undercover cop. Drug deals, armed robbery and a mole catapult her into excitement, danger and disguise.

Only Mildred can find the truth!

A breathless, page turner, in sensible shoes.

My review:

I love Mildred. Instead of a young, sexy main character, Toni Kief writes about a spirited septuagenarian who loves life, rock and roll, and desserts and is curious enough to get herself into all sorts of trouble. Walmart greeter? Not this lady! She gets a job as an undercover detective at a Las Vegas casino. She adopts several disguises to protect her identity, and her alter-egos are so believable that she finds herself in some very interesting situations and a few dangerous ones. Her life gets really complicated, and the story gets very entertaining. Toward the end, in order to tie up all the loose ends, the author does a bit too much telling instead of showing; however, I still look forward to reading another Mildred story in the near future.

About the author:

Toni Kief Head ShotToni Kief, a child of the 60s, Midwestern by birth, Northwestern by choice, Toni challenges the boundaries for women of a certain age. After a long career as an insurance adjuster, she fell into writing through a challenge from a friend. She has released her first book, Old Baggage, and recently followed with Mildred in Disguise: With Diamonds. There are three more in the grinder. Toni never dated Mick Jagger, but marched for civil rights, shared bread with icons of politics and art. She is spending her retirement, gathering stories prime for embellishment. Writing has taught her inspiration without perspiration is just a good idea.

Find the author at:

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Blessings,

Linda

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