March 11, 2016

Presidential Dogs Not Allowed

One day I almost caused an incident that might have been considered funny. One Saturday morning, I was assigned to greet people at the entrance [of the George H. W. Bush Library] rather than introduce the film that begins the tour, guide tourists through the exhibits or sit at the information desk.

Near the entrance, I noticed a tall man approaching who was dressed in khaki clothes with a backpack, wearing a baseball cap, and leading a dog on a leash. He looked like one of the professors, and I moved forward to explain the Library regulations that the dog could not enter.

He leaned down to pet the dog and only then did I realize he was petting Millie! I just backed up, smiled and said “Good morning, Mr. President.” Of course, Millie entered with him.

That was a close call. I hadn’t noticed the ever-present secret service fellows with the ear pieces that signal the presence of the President. They usually dress in clothes to match what he’s wearing, trying to blend in with the crowds. I chuckle when I wonder what if I’d tried to keep him from entering his own library. (From Jenny’s Daughter by Jaqi Wade)

March 10, 2016

Where's my money?

“Charleston, I’m really not feeling well. If you want answers to your questions, please don’t hit me anymore. I’ll faint, and you’ll get nothing but silence. If you will please explain what money you mean, I’ll tell you all I know.” She felt Gavin stir again.

“Tell me where the money is, Mrs. Beardsley, and maybe I won’t slap you for a while.” Sarcasm dripped from his voice, his lip curled in an ugly sneer.

Katrina sighed loudly. “What money are you talking about, Charleston? I don’t make much at work.”

“I’m talking about the forty-three million dollars Uncle Andrew left you in his will!”  (From Inherit My Heart by A M Jenner)

March 09, 2016

Valentine's Day in Chicago

Once she was changed, she wrapped the dress around her blood-stained clothing, and threw the bundle as far off the road as possible. She chuckled.

Climbing back in the car to continue the journey, she was still chuckling. She had to find the humor in the bad situations she kept finding herself in or she’d go nuts.

Samantha looked intently at her. “Why are you laughing?”

“If forensics tries to match those bloodstains, they’re going to be very confused.”


“I just got back from the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.” (from Quinn by Marie Evergreen)

March 08, 2016

What's a Klodfon?

Suddenly Glen realized what he was seeing. These must be Clod-fawns. They were huge! Jenna had been conservative in her description of seven foot lizards. These lizards walked on two legs and used their tails for balance. Covered from head to toe with bright, neon green scales, they reminded him vaguely of a tyrannosaurus rex, only with well-muscled, usable arms attached on the sides of their shoulders.

The helmets they wore were shaped wrong for any dinosaur. Glen rather thought they would fit on his own head, though the squarish corners might be uncomfortable. Their faces were different, too; he could see them through the helmet’s clear front covering. They were definitely lizardish; red eyes with a slit for a mouth, and absolutely nothing where the nose should have been. Glen wondered absently what they would do if they needed to wear glasses, with no nose to hold them up.

They wore black bits of stuff strapped to various parts of their bodies, and Glen recalled Jenna saying something about blast armor. It certainly looked like armor. Not the kind knights used to wear; more like a Roman soldier’s. Breast plates and back plates, helmets, and guards on the forearms and shins.

Other than the helmets and armor, they wore no other clothing. Apparently the lizards had no problem with nudity, but then, Glen couldn’t recognize anything that modesty should prompt them to cover. (from Assignment to Earth by Scott Ashby)

March 07, 2016

Not THAT sort of a man!

“I’ll be gone about a week. You and Gramps can manage that long without me, right?”

“Of course we can. Have you got a hotel room yet? They’ve got that big party there for New Year’s, so I’m hoping not everything’s booked.”

Anna concentrated on slicing the bread evenly. She knew Gran wasn’t going to approve of what she was going to say next.

“Well? Have you?” Gran asked.

“I’m staying in Jim’s guest room.”

“Without a chaperone?”

“I’m not flying out there to have sex with him, Gran!”

Her grandmother chuckled. “I don’t for a minute believe you’re going out there planning the sort of shenanigans that will get you in trouble, but I’m not a na├»ve country girl, either. That sort of thing happens when unmarried people stay under the same roof. One goodnight kiss can turn into a baby before you realize what’s happening!”

“He’s not that sort of a man.”

“Honey, they’re all that sort of a man. And for that matter, we’re all that sort of women.” (From Meet Me Midway, by Natalie Peck)

March 04, 2016

Inside Cell

Jameisaan looked around, assessing the situation. “We’re in an inside cell,” he said calmly.

“Why do you say that?” Fergasse’s voice reached out in the near pitch darkness.

“No windows in the walls,” was the answer.

“None of the cells have windows, as they’re all underground. We could be anywhere.”


“We’re lucky in one respect,” Fergasse said, as calmly as Jameisaan had been speaking.

“What’s that?”

“They didn’t chain us to the walls.” Fergasse rattled the chains of a set of manacles bolted to the wall.

“That was nice of them,” came the acerbic reply.

“Very nice. The manacles are measured so you can’t sit or lie down.”

“I see. In that case, I’m really glad they decided to forgo the formality.”

“Absolutely,” Fergasse agreed. (From The Siege of Kwennjurat, by Scott Ashby)

March 03, 2016

They're in Her House!

Unlocking her door, she entered and reached to turn on the lights. A strong arm gathered her close, a hand pressing hard across her mouth. A deep, gruff voice spoke in her ear.

“Don’t scream. Do y’unnerstan’?”

Marilee made a sound in her throat, and the hand eased its pressure on her face by a fraction. The strong arm held her tight, but her own fear held her still.

The men were back. She was a dead woman. (From A Heart Full of Diamonds, by A M Jenner)

March 02, 2016

Calcasieu Pass

Calcasieu Pass was an important spot in the river. The Trans-Mississippi Department depended on clear passage for providing supplies of corn, beef, muskets, gunpowder and reinforcements as well.

For almost three years the Calcasieu River was of little or no interest to either side of the war, even though the Pass itself was only about thirty-eight miles from the Texas-Louisiana border. Even so, after the war began, one company had erected a mud fort on the island which had miles of marshy land. This was an attempt by the Confederates to keep Union foraging parties from gaining access to food sources needed by the Confederate troops. The island was virtually abandoned during the winter of 1863-1864 and because of its terrain didn’t seem worthy of invasion or defense. (From The von Rosenberg Family of Texas: The Civil War Years, by Ann Barnes)

March 01, 2016

Grazing the Donkeys

When I was old enough – I think I was about six years old – I was allowed to go outside the city walls with other boys. The older ones tended small flocks of sheep, or grazed donkeys and goats. If we begged enough the older boys would let us ride on the donkeys, but they always made us get off after only a little while so that the donkeys could graze. The donkeys were hobbled so that they would not run away. Donkeys may refuse to move at all, but if they want to go they will run away. I have known people like that. (From Samuel, Seer, by Gordon C. Krantz)

February 29, 2016

Do You Have a Minute?

The Moms Place, may I help you?”

Rhys’ gut tightened at the sound of her voice. “Cassi? It’s Rhys. Are you busy or do you have a minute?”

“It’s about time you called!” Her voice filled with venom.

“You sound a little upset,” Rhys said. “What’s the matter?”

“What’s the matter?” she echoed. “You totally ignore me for nearly a month, and you want to know why I might be just a little bit upset? You could at least have called to turn me down, instead of leaving me hanging for three and a half weeks!” Cassi’s voice rose steadily, until she was nearly shouting.

“What are you talking about?”

“You know very well what I’m talking about, Mister I-never-eat-breakfast-without-my-newspaper Morgan!” (From The Moms Place, by Natalie Peck)

February 26, 2016

Becoming Mormon

His conversion to the church came about in a very interesting manner. A number of his neighbors were assisting him in a house-raising. He suggested to them that, in the evening when the day's work was done, they go in a body and break up a meeting which he had heard the young Prophet Joseph Smith was holding in the nearby woods. Intending to cause a disturbance, he found himself converted instead.

Many times after he was heard to testify that before the prophet had spoken five minutes, he had received a thorough assurance of the divinity of his mission, which testimony remained with him all his life. (From Journal Through the Ages, by Mischa Borgnaes)

Monday, July 23, 1838...On the road near Bellefontaine one of the sons of Martin H. Peck, had a wagon wheel run over his leg, but as the Lord would have it, and to the astonishment of all—considering the weight of the load on the wagon—he received no particular injury, although the wheel ran over the boy's leg on a hard road without any obstruction whatever. The wheel made a deep cut in the limb, but after hands were laid on him in the name of the Lord, the boy was able to walk considerable in the course of the afternoon. This was one, but not the first, of the wonderful manifestations of God's power unto us on the journey. (From Journal Through the Ages, by Mischa Borgnaes)

February 25, 2016

What to Wear

“Dress?” Anders asked.

“Hmph. You’re the only male I know who would know or care about asking that. Casual. My budget runs to Denny’s, especially now while I’m out of work.”

“I’ll see you at six, then,” Anders said, “and I’ll be dressed for Denny’s, but since your budget is tight, I have a better idea.”


“It’s a surprise. I’ll show you tomorrow.” He brushed his lips against her cheek, and was gone before she could decide whether he’d actually kissed her – and whether she should have turned her face toward him and kissed him back. (From A Gigolo for Christmas, by Natalie Peck)

February 12, 2016

Best Cookies Ever to Touch my Tongue

Choc-Scotch Cookies

Contributed by Romana

Invented while at college, and very few could guess what that other flavor was.

½ C butter

½ C shortening

¾ C sugar

¾ C brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

2½ C flour

1 tsp baking soda

½ tsp salt

½ pkg semi-sweet chocolate chips

½ pkg butterscotch chips

Cream butter, shortening, and sugars. Add liquid ingredients and mix well. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Stir in chips.

Bake on an ungreased sheet 8 - 10 minutes at 375°F.

(From Clues to Food, by A M Jenner)

February 11, 2016

Invisible Servants

Ez sat down at the table and drew out her wand, and with a few flicks and several muttered incantations, her kitchen was alive with what looked like invisible servants. The eggs floated from the refrigerator and broke in mid-air, throwing their contents into the frying pan which materialized beneath them just in the nick of time. A few slices of bacon made their stately way to the pan, and began sizzling on contact. The pan hovered merrily above the stove as it cooked the food, even though Ez had forgotten to turn the gas on. The bamboo spatula stirred the eggs, scrambling them beautifully, while the tongs darted in and out of the pan, turning the bacon as needed. (From "Scrounger Ez" by Scott Ashby, Bits and Bites)

February 10, 2016

Death in Waiting

Wading back across the stream, he found the best place to give adequate view of his quarry while concealing his own presence and settled in for the wait.

A scant brace of hours ambled by with few riders and only one coach passing before the small lad wearing Kwenn’s livery cantered into view. Always an exceptional marksman, Rocnar took careful aim, allowing the horse to bring the boy closer. The sound of the shot rent the air and caused the horse to plunge and buck as its rider slipped onto the roadway, blood staining his jerkin from the neat new hole over the center of his heart. (From Tanella’s Flight, by Scott Ashby)

February 09, 2016

Origami Love Notes

I hadn’t seen Darragh for a few days, other than through the Med Center window when he was too busy to bother. The station had received a ship full of refugees who were battling some illness I didn’t hear named, but his obsessive problem-solving skills no doubt would come in handy.

I left dinner on his doorstep every night, and every morning I found the dish clean and set beside my door. The second day he left me a note on a tiny square piece of colored paper that simply said “Thank you.” The third and every day since, he left me a note that said “Thank you” and a meticulously folded paper animal or flower. (From Rift Watcher, by C R Simper)

February 08, 2016

Madder than a Wet Hen

They rounded the corner of the garage and saw utter chaos. Some chickens had escaped their coop and were clucking, squawking, flopping and fluttering about outside their pen. The hens still in the enclosure were even more hysterical.

Wang Huck and Jack, entering the coop, waded into the melee, trying to corner two smallish dogs within the enclosure. With men and dogs now inside their fence, those chickens still in the pen were doing a frantic dance-and-screeching squawk.

Each time a dog was cornered, the men made a lunge for it but several chickens would get in the way. The dog would escape and run to the other side of the pen, stirring up more chickens. Jack was yelling and waving his arms. Wang Huck’s howling, punctuated by his singsong words, wove in and out of the discordant noise and made a most unusual accompaniment to the cackles, barks and yells.

The panorama was so unexpected and bizarre the girls started to giggle. The harder the men tried, the less successful they were. The funnier the situation became, the harder the girls giggled. The men were getting tired. Rebecca, still laughing, thought of a possible solution. (From Sirens in her Heart by Natalie Peck)

February 05, 2016

Fire in the Night

A blazing light awakened Gladiola, and her first thought was she’d overslept and the sun was shining in her eyes. She smelled smoke and sat upright in her cot. She’d not overslept. The sun was not in her eyes. It was still the middle of the night, and the light was caused by the burning tent around her. (From Crown of Tears by Scott Ashby)

February 04, 2016

Please Don't Slap Me!

A tall, slender man stepped into the room, and the impact of the stunning vision before her rendered Shenda’s voice dead in her throat before she’d made a sound. If this man was her purported boyfriend, it was most definitely not Steven.

This man was gorgeous. His blue eyes were a startling contrast to the evenly tanned skin on his face and forearms, while his obsidian hair was shiny and thick. Those were the only features her brain cataloged before he proclaimed a loud “Darling!” and swooped her up into a full-body, all-encompassing hug, whirling her around as he did so.

When his back was to the nurse, he whispered urgently in her ear. “I’m your bodyguard. Please, for your own sake and for your life, play along with me. I’ll explain everything when we get outside. I won’t make you go anywhere you don’t want to go, I promise you, but please play along for now. I’m going to kiss you. Please don’t slap me!”

With those words still seeping into her ears, the hunk leaned back just a little from the embrace and loudly proclaimed, “I love you and I’ve missed you, Sweetheart!” and soundly kissed her. (From Deadly Gamble by A M Jenner)

February 03, 2016

A Delayed and Secret Meeting

“Something’s happening, something’s wrong,” he whispered into her ear. “When everyone’s here, don’t wait for me. Take them all back to our camp. Tigano couldn’t talk, but wants to meet me later. I’ll make my own way back after I’ve talked to him, but it’ll be late. He’s set the eleventh hour as the time.”

“Bring him with you afterward,” Dexya said grimly. “He’s risked enough on our behalf.”

“I will, if he’ll come.”

“If he won’t come willingly,” Dexya said, “then whack him over the head and bring him anyway.”

Quibell chuckled at her proposed solution as he moved away from her position and melted into the darkness. (From Fabric of the World by Scott Ashby)

February 02, 2016

Special Equipment

Mike hurried to catch up to where Skylar was walking with Jenna. He opened his mouth, then glanced at Jenna and shut it. Skylar watched him and could see the tussle between curiosity and caution written on his face.

Curiosity won. With another sideways look at Skylar, Mike softly commented, “I see you got yourself a kitty. What’d you hit him with, a club?”

Equally quietly, Skylar said, “I shot him.” He looked at Mike’s shocked and disbelieving face and grinned.

Mike snorted. “With a wet pistol,” he said, “Right!”

Skylar’s smile widened. “Special equipment.”

Mike cut in, a bit of frustration showing. “Let me guess, it’s experimental and you’re not allowed to talk about it. Are you in the air force or something?”

Skylar choked back his laughter. “Or something,” he agreed.

 “Skylar, that cougar’s dead and there’s not a mark on him! What on earth did you use to kill him?”

Skylar placed a hand on Mike’s shoulder, facing him squarely, and with a serious tone which told Mike not to push too far, replied, “Let’s just call it space-age technology and leave it at that, all right?” (from Assignment to Earth by Scott Ashby) Read more here.

February 01, 2016

Converting Pounds to Kilograms

We’d packed spaghetti sauce packets in our luggage and that was to be it; spaghetti and meatballs with some salad and fresh bread. Home-cooked, even if it was a packaged sauce mix. All of us were anticipating the first home cooked meal in Brazil.

Margie and I walked to shop for food at the little stores in the neighborhood. First to the little veggie shop for salad stuff, then next door to the bakery for French bread and then next door to the meat market.

We could just point to what we wanted at the first two stores, but had to say what we wanted at the meat market. They understood that we wanted ground beef. We forgot the difference between kilos and pounds and watched wordlessly as they ground 2 kilos (4.5 lbs.) of beef. We had decided that kilos were half a pound instead of 2.2 pounds. We forgot how to say stop! We couldn’t explain and were too embarrassed to do more than watch and pay. We didn’t break into hysterical laughter until we got back into the house.

The new refrigerator hadn’t been delivered, so we had to cook all four pounds, eight ounces for that one meal. The kids loved that for once they had enough meatballs to go with their spaghetti! (From Jenny’s Daughter by Jaqi Wade)

January 29, 2016

Charleston's Evil Smile

Some small sound alerted Katrina that she wasn’t alone in the house.

Dear Lord, Charleston was in here, she just knew it! The feeling was prickling the back of her neck, making the hair feel as if it were standing straight out from the nape. Another muffled sound came to her ears. He was in her bedroom. If she could just get to the back door again, she’d be free!

As Katrina reached the back door, she heard her name called from the kitchen doorway. The sound, far from stopping her, gave her an added burst of speed.

Even as she cleared the porch and steps, her mind rejected the thought of finding the spot in the bushes where she’d entered her yard. Her main thought was to put distance between herself and the man in the house.

She rounded the corner, heading for the front of the house and ran smack into a man. Startled, she looked up as his arms closed around her. Even the pale light from the moon could not hide the evil smile on Charleston’s face.  (From Inherit My Heart by A M Jenner) Read More Here

January 28, 2016

Grand Theft Auto

“It will be two hours before anyone’s out of the movie theater,” Samantha explained. Most of them will go out to eat before coming out to their cars. That will give us another hour. Even then, the people whose license plates we switched will likely just get in their cars and drive away.”

“The people who own this car won’t, though.”

“Right. But they’ll give the police the information on the car, including the right license plate. The authorities will be looking for the plate, not the car. They won’t actually realize that plates were switched until they pull over the car wearing this car’s license plate. And by then, the cars at the mall will have all been dispersed. They’ll have to track them all down one by one, in order to know which plate we’ve got. By then we’ll be over the border into the U.S.” (from Quinn by Marie Evergreen) Read more here.

January 27, 2016

Screaming and Shouting

A squealing howl, a loud bang, and a very prominent whistling noise grabbed everyone’s attention. The wind suddenly poured itself into one of the jetways, flinging the terminal door open, bringing snow with it. A loud bell wailed and a bright red light above the door started flashing.

A woman’s shriek and several children’s terrified screams added to the din. The gate agent only took moments to punch a code into the keypad next to the door and silence the alarm. He picked up a phone receiver and shouted into it over the roaring wind.

His yell was loud enough everyone could hear him reassuring security the alarm had been caused by the wind, not a person trying to get into restricted areas of the airport.

Hanging up the phone, he struggled against the wind to push the door closed. Once the door was secured, he got on the PA system to calm everyone down. It was several long minutes before the children quieted. (From Meet Me Midway, by Natalie Peck) Read more here.

January 26, 2016

Not as dumb as he looks


One of the soldiers, who’d been watching their approach, leaned out over the battlement.

“Hey what?”

“What’s the gate closed for?”

“It’s closed, is all. Especially to you.”

“Well, open it then.”


“Why not?”

“Because my orders is to keep the gate shut. So if I was to open it and let you in, my boss would be plenty mad, see?”

Fergan nodded his understanding.

“Can I talk to him?”


“Your boss; the one who told you to keep the gate shut.”

“Whaddaya wanna talk to him for?”

“Well, so’s he can open the gate for me.”

The soldier on the wall sighed. Some of his companions hid their smiles behind their hands. The sight cheered Fergan’s heart. They thought him a farmer, and not too bright. Good. (From The Siege of Kwennjurat, by Scott Ashby) Read more here.

January 25, 2016


A dark figure emerged from the bushy shadows beside her. Marilee didn’t see him fully until he had grabbed her. She struggled, but with one strong arm around her, lifting her from her feet and the other hand covering her mouth to prevent her screaming, there was little her flailing hands and arms could do.

Shoved into the car, the man lay across her in the back seat, his sheer mass holding her still. The door slammed shut, and moments later the car drove off. The entire abduction had taken only seconds, and Marilee knew there’d been no witnesses.

These had to be Tony’s men; no one else had reason to take her prisoner. She didn’t think a random mugging would have been handled like this; at least not in any of the books she’d ever read, but then, books weren’t reality.

Her reality now was a nightmare, Tony’s men or not. She knew she’d be killed; she’d never again see Richard or Derrek. Tears sprang to her eyes, and she fought to hold them back. (From A Heart Full of Diamonds, by A M Jenner) Read more here.

January 22, 2016

The Cotton Fort

A strong fortification was ordered and approved to be built here and Colonel Waul was placed in charge of the supervision of the construction. The walls were made of bales of cotton in zigzag fashion stacked four high and covered with dirt. The stacks were fourteen feet high and stretched from river to river. Cannon of various kinds were spaced evenly across the walls and guns were stationed to be used on approaching ships seen on either river. (From The von Rosenberg Family of Texas: The Civil War Years, by Ann Barnes) Read more here.

January 21, 2016

Voices on the Rooftop

I had kept to my custom of spending an occasional night on my rooftop muffled in my cloak. We who are old do not need so much sleep, and I could think and write in my head the pages I would write the next day. On one of those nights I heard the familiar Voice around me or in me, and He said, “Go to Gibeah.”

“Lord, what shall I do there? I am not needed and King Saul has not called me,” I murmured.

The Voice said, “Go to Gibeah.” And that was all.

One does not argue with the Lord and one does not ask again after such an answer. (From Samuel, Seer, by Gordon C. Krantz) Read more here.

January 20, 2016

Who's yo Daddy?

“Patron?” She gave a little shake of her head to indicate her supposed lack of understanding of the word.

“Yes, patron; you know, someone with money who would back your, ah, venture, but who wouldn’t ask for money as repayment.” Again his eyes slid her frame from toe to head and back.

Bile rose in her throat before she swallowed it away. Dredging up a smile, she pasted it on her lips and stood, anger held in check by sheer willpower and the practice she’d had overcoming the odds which had been stacked against her since she was thirteen years old.

“Mr. Hellerson,” she said sweetly, reaching for her file. “I believe the word you’re looking for is ‘Sugar Daddy’.” (From The Moms Place, by Natalie Peck) Read more here.

January 19, 2016

A Child's Faith

One Sunday there were some questions in the book from which we studied concerning the ancient prophets, with scriptural texts as answers and some questions that were to be answered by the pupil.
One of these was “Is there any prophets in these days?” which happened to come to me in turn.
To the teacher's surprise, I answered, “Yes, sir.”
“False prophets I suppose you mean.”
“No, sir, true ones.”
“Who, pray?” was his query.
“Joseph Smith.” was my answer. He made some reply and passed on to the next. I heard no more of it until about two weeks after when Mother called me to her and asked me what I had been saying to my teachers about Joseph Smith. I told her what had occurred. I learned that this testimony had been talked of from the minister down through all that congregation. I was about 12 years old and this was the first time I had the privilege of bearing testimony to the work of God in the latter days. (From Journal Through the Ages, by Mischa Borgnaes) Read More Here

January 18, 2016

Sexiest Dimples Ever!

“Have I told you how sexy I think your dimple is?”

He shook his head.

Sheila laughed. “When I first saw you standing there in your tux, I thought you looked like James Bond.”

“James Bond, huh? That’s a reputation that will be hard to live up to.” (From A Gigolo for Christmas, by Natalie Peck)  Read more here.

January 15, 2016

A Nutty Recipe

Glenn’s Nut Mix

Contributed by Safari Man

Pecans, Almonds, Filberts, Dirt, Worms, and Grass Clippings.

1. Remove nut from jug.

2. Using nut cracker, Hammer or Heel of shoe, crack nut. (Caution: Using your teeth may be hazardous to your health!)

3. Pick nut from shell.

4. Eat nut (not shell).

5. Repeat recipe for remaining nuts.

6. Vacuum floor.

(From Clues to Food, by A M Jenner) Read more here

January 14, 2016

Tree Through the Roof

“Lightening usually hits tall things. We’re surrounded by very tall trees, so we should be okay with that. Light the fire and let’s keep watching.”

She’d no sooner spoken the words when the air in the cabin turned blue with lightening while thunder showered an angry roar around them. The crack of splintering wood followed the sound. Frozen in petrified horror they watched as part of the tree barely five yards from their front door disintegrate ten feet above the ground. The balance of the sixty foot pine shuddered, briefly suspended in the air before it tilted, gathering momentum and closed the distance to their cabin’s roof.

Matt yelled. Katy screamed. Melanie automatically gathered Katy in her arms. The tree settled with Melanie half sitting, half lying on the floor still clinging to Katy, who had buried her face in her mother’s neck. Melanie looked for Matt amid the debris which had been the living room just moments ago. Rain was pouring in on them where the roof had been destroyed, but Melanie ignored it as she turned her attention to finding her son.

“Matt!” Panic filled her. “Where are you?” (From "Hidden Strengths" by Natalie Peck, Bits and Bites) Read More Here

January 13, 2016

Broken Heart

So what if her heart was breaking? She was a princess. In time, she would be a queen. She was determined to be a good queen and rule together with Prince Fergan. It wasn’t his fault her heart was broken beyond repair. (From Tanella’s Flight, by Scott Ashby) Read More Here

January 12, 2016

I Flunked. On Purpose.

I had just purposefully flunked my academy entrance exam so I could stay another year in traditional high school living with my grandparents. Those peers of mine might have thought it was irresponsible and unorthodox.

But my grandparents had understood.

That thought prompted me to look out the window again, at the vast expanse of space. Which of the stars out there was Earth’s sun? I would have to ask my dad later, so I could wave at Grandma and Grandpa now and then.

Movement drew my glance upward. A large ship – a freighter by the blockish look of it – approached one of the docking towers reaching far above the station.

“Is that ship going to hit the tower?” Jay asked.

“No, of course not,” I replied. Distances in space could be deceiving – that probably wasn’t spaceship pilot rule number-one, but it had to be rule number somewhere-between-two-and-five. “It just looks like it from this –”

I stopped myself there.

Right at impact(From Rift Watcher, by C R Simper) Read More

January 11, 2016

Sorry, I Thought You Were Somebody Else.

As she pulled into her driveway, a car was waiting there. Fear knotted her stomach; she didn’t recognize the car. Rebecca tried to remember what kind of car Gil drove, but drew a blank.

It must be him. I told him I didn’t want to see him this morning. He’s got a lot of nerve.

Shaking with fury, she got out of her beat up Mustang, stomping over to the car. Rebecca yanked the door open and began her tirade.

“Just what do you think you’re doing here, Mister…” when she realized there was a woman sitting in the driver’s seat, not Gil. She stopped, confused and a bit disappointed and looked again. It was Harriet, her old school chum and very best friend. Shock held her still a moment before she could gather her wits. (From Sirens in her Heart by Natalie Peck) More about the book

January 08, 2016

Getting past the Guard at the Gate

Annette stepped forward and positioned herself about two inches in front of the gate guard, with her face right up against his nose.

“Listen up, you!” Annette screamed into his face. “My mistress is Princess Gladiola of Notia. She’s here by appointment to see your worthless ruler! Now I don’t know how things are done in this mud-hole you call a kingdom, but in Notia, royalty is given respect!

“You have about three seconds to acknowledge my mistress and open up this here gate and let her in, or I’ll be telling your dim-witted prince you ought to have your head chopped off for being so rude to a royal princess! Do you hear me?”

The gate guard, his face now a pasty white, nodded his head. “Aye, I can hear you. So can the whole street. For that matter, they might be able to hear you clear out to Land’s End, the way you shriek like a harridan.

“In your precious Notia they might cut your head off for being rude, but here they’ll cut it off even faster for disobeying orders. My orders this morning were to keep the gate shut and not let nobody in.”

During her speech, the guard had been backing up, and Annette had followed him, never allowing more than a few inches between them.

“Well, somebody’s head is going to roll, and that’s for sure,” Annette said in a normal tone, though she didn’t move away from him. She pulled a folded piece of paper out of the pouch she wore at her waist. “Can you read?” she asked in a condescending tone.

“Nay, ain’t nobody on the island can read, ‘ceptin the prince hisself and maybe the vicar.”

“Well, if you could read, I’d let you read it for yourself, so you could know I’m not lying. But since you can’t read, I’ll just have to tell you what’s in it. When we got here last night my mistress, Princess Gladiola of Notia, sent a note to the prince.

“This here,” she said, waving the note in his face, “is the note we got back, and it says we’re to see the prince in his throne room three hours after sunrise. Now, it’s almost that time. So somebody has given the wrong order, because the prince has invited us in, you see. If the prince invited us in, like this note says he has, then whoever gave the order to keep us out is doing what the prince doesn’t want him to do and, like you said, he may lose his head for disobeying the prince’s orders. So you’d better let us in, so we can see the prince, like he wants us to.”

The gate guard nodded, but didn’t move.

“Well, are you going to let us in, or do I have to smash down your rickety little gate and go find your boss and tell him you’re refusing entrance to a guest the prince has invited to the throne room?”

The guard shook his head violently. “I would be letting you in, Miss, ‘ceptin you got me backed up clear against the wall, and I can’t move to get to the gate.” (From Crown of Tears by Scott Ashby) Read more about this book here..

January 07, 2016

Lap Full of Soup

Dallyn Withers Maitland frowned with concentration at the report he was writing. While his right hand moved the mouse across his screen following the words and numbers he’d written, his left reached for his nearly full cup of hot soup.

The telephone rang, startling him. A curse left his mouth, and he moved the cup so it dripped soup on the floor now instead of in his lap. Exercise shorts may be comfortable to sit in, he thought, but they are not enough to keep hot broth from burning.

He glanced at the caller ID. Aunt Adelle. He cursed again and was grateful she couldn’t hear it. She was a royal pain. Whenever she called it was always for some penny-ante reason. He dare not ignore the call, though, or she’d go running to Johnson, and Johnson didn’t need to be – his eyes flicked to the clock – awakened – in Europe just because Dallyn didn’t answer his phone. He set the soup down on the absorbent coaster and reached for the phone.


“DW,” came the childish, whiny voice he detested. “This is Aunt Adelle. Where’s Terry?” (From Deadly Gamble by A M Jenner) Read More

January 06, 2016

News from the World

“When will the others be back from their exercises, and more importantly, do you know when I’ll be able to see Amityn? I’ve news for him from the world.”

Dexya smiled into her cup of tea.

“What?” Quibell demanded.

“Nothing,” she said, and then broke into a small giggle. “It’s just…do you know how pretentious that sounds?”


“‘I have news for him from the world.’” Dexya mimicked Quibell. “I mean, I know you communicate directly with the Heart of the World in ways no one else is able to, and honestly, you’re the least pretentious man I know. It just comes out that way!” She dissolved into giggles, and Quibell, seeing it from her point of view, joined in her laughter. (From Fabric of the World by Scott Ashby) Read more about this book here.

January 05, 2016

Uma Problema

We lined up with passports in hand, ready to be checked for disembarkation, but it seemed there would be “a little problem.” Oh no, not again, just now; but what a fitting end to this month-long voyage!

We’d learned to listen for the phrase uma problema (a little problem). This was the signal there was a problem, but didn’t describe the seriousness of that problem.

This time the problem was easily solved and only involved the Henderson family. Some in our group began to joke they didn’t know us for fear they would have a little problem, too.

The problem was that we had to have Yellow Fever shots before we’d be allowed off the ship. Carl had gotten those shots in Los Angeles because he knew he’d be traveling all over the country. He was told his family didn’t need to have them because we’d stay in the city. We explained it to the immigration officials, but they didn’t like that explanation, so we got in another line and got our free shots.  (From Jenny’s Daughter by Jaqi Wade) Read more about this book here.

January 04, 2016

Better Late Than Never

I see that my last "weekly" update was about a month ago. Maybe I ought to call them monthly updates.
December was a busy time, both personally and professionally.
On the personal side, my daughter celebrated her birthday, there were multiple trips to the theater to see Star Wars, and all the bustle of Christmas, even though we tried to keep things low-key this year. Also I designed and built a water bed pedestal and got the bed up and working, so I'll be sleeping better now and hopefully get caught up.
It was all good.
On the professional side, we published C R Simper's debut novel, Rift Watcher. It's a YA Science Fiction book that's part coming-of-age and part aliens-are-plotting-to-murder-me. Yeah, it's that good.
We're editing Misty, by Marie Evergreen, which is the second book in the Travelers series. It should be out in April. You might want to get ready for Misty by reading the first book in the series, Quinn.
We're also editing The Blogger, by a new author who hasn't decided yet whether to publish under his own name or a pen name. The Blogger is due out in June, and promises to be a real scream. After all, what would you do if the fiction you wrote on your blog started happening in real life?
You can read more about all our books - and buy them - at