On caregivers, faith, family, and writing…

Archive for the ‘Guest Blog’ Category

Gumshoe Girl by Andi Ramos – A #MysteryExchange Blog Hop Post

GumshoeGirl Banner

My guest today is Andi Ramos with her debut mystery novel, Gumshoe Girl. First we’ll share a little about the book and about Andi. Then, we’ll share a little question and answer session followed by an excerpt from the book.

GumshoeGirl Cover

About the book:

Sheagan O’Hare got more than she bargained for when her newly inherited detective agency lands its first case; a missing person, embezzlement, and murder. Sheagan’s out to prove she can hang with the pro’s, despite the constant reminder of her amateur status from an annoyingly attractive FBI agent, Colin ‘Mac’ MacEvine, who’s forced himself into her life.

How does she feel when an old high school friend hopes to ignite a new romance?

Will she be able to discover if detective work and love can mingle before someone gets hurt?

Buy Links:

Amazon UK

Amazon US




Barnes & Noble

Author Bio: 

 Andi Ramos Head ShotAndi Ramos is a debut author from central Massachusetts where she lives with her family, goat, and Boston Terriers. Her love for reading grew into a passion for writing. She dabbled with pen and paper for a long time and eventually stopped pushing her amusements aside and started developing those stories into novels. One of her favorite things to do is to hop into her motorhome with her family and write while traveling down the road as they journey to various destinations.






Good morning, Andi! I’m so glad you could take time to chat for a few minutes about some things I think my readers would be interested to know about you. Your bio says you dabbled for a long time before getting serious about your writing. What pushed you over the line?

As far back as I remember I would make up scenes with fictitious characters. Sometimes I would jot them down, but I never took them seriously. I would collect them, but they would always end up in the circular file – Gasp! I never did anything with my writing until I started Gumshoe Girl, my debut novel that was just released May 30th. I had this involved story running through my brain. It didn’t stop at just a scene. It just kept going, so I went with it. I finally compiled all the scenes together into a short draft to see what I had. Holy mackerel! Before I knew it, I had over 30,000 words. It wasn’t something I could ignore anymore. I made a decision, and I had to tie the random scenes together into something that made sense and finish it. Well, I no longer waste the story ideas that come to me. I cultivate them to see if they are substantial enough to work with.

I’m glad to hear that, Andi. It’s a shame to waste ideas or words. What inspired you to focus on mysteries?

 I love to be entertained, mysteries definitely fit the bill. I especially love a mystery that is paired with romance and has a humorous element to the story. My book is a very self indulgent novel. It’s something I would love to read.

Now that you’ve found your niche, I’m curious about how you develop your ideas. Do you plans out your story ahead of time (a plotter), or do you let the story develop as you go along (a pantser)?

I am definitely a plotter! I use a program called Trello to help plot my books, however I am not married to the outline when I plot it. If the story takes me in a different direction I go with it and adjust later. What is great about a plotting a story is it ensures that I don’t get too far off course and write myself into a box, I always have a path to where the story is heading, it just may take a different route than originally intended to get there.

That sounds like a great way to write. Unfortunately, I’m not nearly that organized. Now that you’ve taken the next step as an author, what would you tell a young writer who came to you for advice?

Grow tough skin and don’t give up! To be a writer you must have thick skin for all the rejection you will receive…not might receive…will receive. It doesn’t stop with a publisher offering you a contract, you must endure tough critiques and bad reviews, even the best, most well-written novels get criticized – it’s simply part of the business.

That’s very true. What are you working on now?

I have a couple of works in progress including the second in the Gumshoe Girl Series. Sheagan will really have her work cut out for her as she tries to discover the truth behind alleged serial murders. I also have a new series I am working on called the Escape Series. The first book will be called The Pina Colada Catastrophe. I intended this new manuscript to be a contemporary romance, but as I write, I can’t help but weave elements of suspense throughout the story.

One more question. I understand Boston Terriers, but why a goat?

Hahaha, we live on a small farm in central Massachusetts, we have had cows, goats, chickens, and ducks when my kids were small. My husband and I would like to travel more, and it’s hard when you have a farm back home. So we just have Will the goat left besides my Boston Terriers, but I will tell you the goat thinks he’s a dog so it really makes no difference, lol.

Thanks again for your time, Andi. Now let’s give my readers a sneak peek at Gumshoe Girl.


 Sheagan blinked back the sting in her eyes as sweat drizzled from her forehead. Her shoulders and forearms cried out as determination inched her body forward through the tin walls that framed her slender figure. The narrow shaft rendered her legs useless as they dragged behind her like dead weight. She made a vow to start working out as she approached her destination, the metal grate that looked down into the sweetheart suite of the Eliot Hotel.

She shimmied her binoculars out of her bag and clutched them in her sweaty palms as she readied herself to delve into the world of private investigating. The friction of her movements caused her mahogany mane to cling to all the surfaces of her temporary confinement. Perched behind the filigree frame, peering like a caged animal, she was a mere 20 feet from her target. Her target? The Rat Bastard, who up until this very moment she’d called boyfriend.

She wasn’t there to kill him, even though the thought had crossed her mind; no, she was there to catch him in the act. She suspected he had been cheating on her for some time, so proof would end her suspicion or the relationship. Spying on her significant other through an air-vent of a swanky hotel room was hardly a promising start to her so-called glamorous career as a private detective. But it snapped her back into the reality that her new chosen profession would often be messy and difficult.

She peered through the grate and envied the spacious room below, but her viewing angle was no good for the task at hand. She could feel the heat in her cheeks rise along with her anger as she scanned the room and soaked in the extravagance–the hardwood tables, the Italian marble fireplace, the opulent sheen of the fabric on the overstuffed furniture that glimmered in the soft candlelight. The Rat Bastard was not known to overindulge on frivolous expenses, unless it was on her dime. Thoughts of killing him resurfaced.

What is wrong with me? Why did I wait so long?

She immediately regretted the fleeting question. She knew why. The answer brought back the pain and significance of her father’s sudden death. He had been the only family she had left, and he was gone. All that was left behind was his detective agency. She had thought about giving it up, but she couldn’t; it was her only connection to him, to her family.

She closed her eyes briefly, realizing that now she was facing more loss–even if he was a lying, cheating Rat Bastard.

No! Its better this way, stay focused.

She choked in a breath and turned her attention back to the room. His secret love nest was finished with soothing tones on the walls and thick, plush carpeting.

What is that on the end table?

Her gaze was drawn to the bottle label as it bobbed upside down in the melting ice. She sharpened the focus of her binoculars, and her eyes widened in recognition.

Her cheeks flushed. Cristal, she scoffed. Who is this Bimbo, anyway?

As if she had room to criticize this girl’s intelligence, when Sheagan was the one sweating her makeup off in a four-by-four-foot air-duct.

Yeah, whos the stupid one?

She heard passionate sounds coming from the right of the room and recognized his tone. Leaning sideways, Sheagan pressed her face to the grate, but her limited view revealed only a portion of the bed and unable to make out major details, like faces.

Crap, I cant see anything. Damn!

 She needed to get a better look. As she shifted her weight, the metal walls started to reverberate and Sheagan stifled a gasp, willing the rumbling to cease. Her breathing became labored as the musty air stole the aroma of the sweet perfume wafting up waft from the suite below. She stilled her movements and did the only thing she could think of… nothing. Nothing but stare at the heap of blankets and wait.

Come on, bimbo, come up for air. I know he doesnt last that long.

Her discomfort increased as the noise from their passion became more intense.

Ugh, thats it, Ive had it!

She mashed her cheek and upper body against the grate.

I just need a peek to confirm.

She pressed harder, ogling the bed. Finally, she caught a tiny glimpse.

Just a little further.

She pushed and heard a chirring sound, then a scraping. She froze in place, but the grate gave way with a creaking groan and crashed to the ground. Time stood still as Sheagan realized there was nothing between her and the floor except air.

Can’t wait to find out what happens next!







Guest Post by Robert A. Polk, Author of Operation Tree Roper

Today I have the pleasure of sharing a guest post by Robert A. Polk, author of Operation Tree Roper: An Eye Above. Robert’s middle grade adventure was released by Anaiah Press on October 7. When he asked me what I would like for him to write about, I said anything that would fit in with caring for others. He knocked it out of the park!

Balancing Writing Time against Family Needs 

 I love your blog and look forward to reading your book, Linda. Thank you for having me on this week!

When I think about the situations you must have endured while caring for your ailing parents, I think of the word sacrifice – and on a grand scale.

A caregiver must not only endure, but often embrace the sacrifices which the needs of others demands. I’m finding that out on with my own family circumstances. Perhaps a little grace and humility filter in along the way as one goes about caring for aging parents or growing children. One can only hope.

In my struggles of trying to raise and teach my children while also trying to squeeze in time to take care of household chores and outdoor yard and home maintenance, not everything gets done. (My yard makes all my neighbors’ yards look great.) Whether I’m running the lawn mower, taking out the trash, picking choking hazards off the floor (darn Legos), wiping marker or pencil art off the walls, or changing diapers, the temptation to sit down and write teases me. But there’s still more to do.

There’s always more to do. But that’s okay. For even if I leave the mower in the yard, stalled on a half-mowed strip, or maybe leave a few dishes in the sink overnight in order to steal a few minutes a week to write some sentences or jot down a couple of ideas, I’m moving forward.

Yes, I want to do it all (and you probably do too), but I can’t. Not the way I want to, anyway. My constant struggle lies in deciding when I can indulge in my desire to write versus doing something else. God (and every busy parent) knows that there is not enough time in the day to have the perfect home/children/life or whatever.

So, maybe I can’t write all the time I’m thinking about writing – oh, well. That idea reservoir is always filling up, whether from things the kids say or do, or my own mental wanderings. Sometimes it’s just a trickle, sometimes it’s a downpour, but ideas, scenes and dialogues are constantly filling it up. And when I find a moment to open the spillway, the words flood the pages, and I’m relieved.

But the writing will end too quickly. For I’ll soon be needed to change a blowout diaper, or move a load of laundry, or cook a meal, or, yeah, you know. That’s when I try to remember that this is the moment I have, in my life, right now to share with others. For, right now my life is filled with little children. So I consider, what should I be doing with this moment? Should I be writing in my own little world, or sharing my time with my family?

I’ve sort of figured that out – for me – for now. While I formerly wrote whenever I could sit down at my laptop, I now mostly write in small bursts during the times I wait for a child to get done with dance class or band practice. (My laptop travels with me on my shuttle duties.) But when I tried to write at home during the day, I always felt irritated or guilty when one of the kids came to me for something. It’s hard to just shut off the flow of words when you’re going good, and I didn’t want to stop. However, I also didn’t want my children and wife to think that I valued the words I typed more than their time and presence. So I gave myself a nighttime writing schedule.

It’s been nice, to slow down my daytime writing regimen, so I can be present with my wife and children more. Most of my writing (like this guest post for Linda) is done late at night, where I’ll punch out words until I fall asleep on the kkkkkkkkkkeyboard. (Oops. Sorry about that. I guess I’d better wrap it up and get some sleep. Good night.)


5 Things to Look for in a Senior Home Dental Care Provider | Guest Post

Senior Dental CareOne challenge for family caregivers is dental care for their loved ones. At best, getting someone who suffers from some sort of physical or mental infirmity out the door and to the dentist is a challenge. At worst, getting out of the house may be impossible, and regular dental care is neglected.

Mom and Dad had fairly good teeth in their younger days. They were both raised in West Texas where the water contains natural fluoride. But as they aged, they became careless with their dental hygiene and the problems began. By the time I became their full-time caregiver, some of their teeth were beyond saving. In the 6 years they lived with me, Dad had to have 3 teeth removed, and after Mom moved into assisted living, she pushed her lower two front teeth out with her tongue due to bone loss around the roots. (more…)

How Dementia Looks from the Inside: I Am Dan Willaford

I am Dan Willaford

I am Dan Willaford

In Sunday’s post I mentioned a Facebook group called Memory People, a network of patients, caregivers, family members, and advocates who have been touched by Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. One of my new friends is Linda Wilkins, and she is caring for her daddy Dan Willaford. She recently had a conversation with him about what was going on in his mind. Following is the heart-wrenching account of that conversation: (more…)

9 Free (or Nearly Free) Activities Nannies (or Grannies or Caregivers) Can Do With Their Kids – Guest Post

NannyA few weeks ago, one of my social media friends contacted me and asked if I might consider sharing this post with my readers. My first inclination was to say that, although there is some valuable information here, not many of my readers are nannies. But after I read the article, I realized these are good suggestions not only for nannies but also for grannies and even for caregivers. Enjoy! (more…)

Talking to My Son About Boston | reblogged post from Christian Piatt

Bill O’Reilly is angry about the Boston bombing and thinks everyone else should be, too. Last night after listening to him, David asked if I was angry. I’m not angry. I’m just sad – sad that my 9-year-old grandson has to try to make sense of something so senseless – sad that children can’t take home made treats to school any more.

Read about Christian’s conversation with Mattias over breakfast this morning:

Talking to My Son About Boston.



The Horror of Alzheimer’s | by Linda Brendle

English: PET scan of a human brain with Alzhei...

A human brain with Alzheimer’s (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Last week Krista Krueger was a guest on my blog. Although she normally writes dark fantasy, paranormal, and horror, in keeping with the topic of my blog, she wrote an open and heartfelt post titled “When Reality Bites, Write.” This week she invited me to be a guest on her blog KompletelyKrista.  In keeping with her genre, I wrote a post called “The Horror of Alzheimer’s.” Pop over for a read, and spend a few minutes browsing through Krista’s other writings.



When Reality Bites, Write | By Guest Blogger Krista Krueger

English: The autism friendly mark for use on t...

This blog sort of fits with my blog at www.kompletelykrista.wordpress.com  called Writing and Reality because this is part of the reality that goes with my writing.  One of my daughters is Autistic and that takes up a lot of my time.  The more therapies, the more interaction that she gets, are all things that help her development.  One of my sons also has what has been termed as delayed, so he needs less but still some help in maturing and that kind of stuff.  The amount of meetings I go to during the school year is amazing.  My husband works two jobs so that I can stay home and take care of her and the other two kids.  For roughly six years I’ve been doing this by myself.  Sometimes people try to help but when it comes to our kids, we’re very specific about who can watch them for us to get an hour out to maybe grab something to eat and that hasn’t been able to happen for a long time now. (more…)

Music Frees the Spirit and the Children | by Guest Blogger Maria Thompson Corley

I believe in the healing power of music, and I also believe it is our responsibility to care for “the least of these.” Maria Corley, one of my fellow AKA authors, asked for help in raising awareness about a new organization that combines the two. How could I say anything but yes.


Children of incarcerated parents have a 72% chance of being incarcerated themselves.  One in twenty-eight children in America falls into this category.  While Big Brothers Big Sisters of America and other charitable organizations are actively involved in serving children with imprisoned parents, there is only one charity in the country specifically devoted to breaking the cycle.  Even more shocking:  SWAN (Scaling Walls A Note at a Time) has only existed since December of 2011. (more…)

%d bloggers like this: