Friday, November 7, 2014

How Much Do Teachers Influence Popularity?

How Much Do Teachers Influence Popularity?

I had a jarring experience today.  It’s my grandson’s sixth birthday, and my husband and I went to have lunch with him at his school.  Afterwards, we went out to the playground for recess, and to spend a little more time with Luke.  Of course, since he’s a rambunctious just-turned six-year-old, we only caught glimpses of him in his blue-plaid shirt as he raced around with his friends who’d just sung “Happy Birthday” to him. 

Suddenly I noticed a little girl by herself.  She was a cutie with missing teeth, blond hair and big blue eyes behind a pair of glasses, quite similar to ones I wore when I was about her age.  She smiled and approached me.  “Hi.  I wanted to meet you.”  I introduced myself and shook her hand.  She told me her name was Isabella.  Then she said, “Is the birthday boy your grandson?”

When I told her that indeed, he was my grandson, she said.  “Could you introduce me to him?  I’d like to meet him.”  (I marveled at her maturity.  For a kindergartner, she was quite articulate, and very polite.) 

“Of course,” I said.  “I’ll go get him.”

But as I headed over to where Luke was playing, a teacher called out to the little girl.  “Isabella, leave those people alone.  They’re here to spend time with their grandson, not talk to you!”

I was horrified.  Couldn’t quite believe it.  “It’s okay,” I said to the teacher.  “She just wants to meet my grandson.” 

The teacher muttered something about how Isabella would talk my head off, but I ignored her and went to find Luke.  Bringing him over to where Isabella still stood, I introduced them.  Luke smiled and said, “Hello.”

Isabella’s face brightened like a Christmas tree.  “Would you like to play with me?” she asked.

But before Luke could get a chance to answer, the teacher snapped, “Isabella, he’s playing with his own friends!”

I felt my heart drop.  I simply could not believe what she’d said.  I looked at Isabella, expecting to see her crushed expression, but you know what I saw?  I saw Luke smiling at her, and Isabella smiling back.  The next thing I knew, they were off racing around the playground. 

But the whole thing made me wonder…do teachers have a hand in determining who is popular and who will be a wallflower?  All I know is…I saw something in that little girl, Isabella.  I saw myself…bespectacled, a little shy, a bit of an outcast.  And I carried that with me for many years.  I’m not sure how it started, how I came to think of myself as not quite good enough.  I hope it wasn’t a teacher who, with an offhand, inconsiderate remark, made me feel like that.  But one thing is for sure.  No one will ever make me feel like that again. 

As for Isabella, I have a feeling that she is going to be just fine. Luke and she were still playing when we left the playground.


My local newspaper, The Carolina Forest Chronicle, did an article on me and INCENSE & PEPPERMINTS for Veterans Day.  Here’s a link to it:

For this week only, you can get INCENSE & PEPPERMINTS on Kindle for only 99 cents.

Friday, June 13, 2014

“Danny’s Sacrifice”

I don’t think I’ve ever been so terrified and intimidated in my life as I was while I was researching this book.  For two years, I read every book I could find about women in Vietnam—and about the Vietnam War itself (The Vietnam War for Dummies was one of my favorites.)  I watched a documentary about the combat nurses who served so bravely there—Vietnam Nurses with Dana Delany, and I watched every movie I could find about the Vietnam War, including the entire series of Tour of Duty.  The more I read and watched, the more terrified and inadequate I felt.  How could I…a former medical technician in the Air Force, who served during the Vietnam War…but who didn’t know the slightest thing about serving during combat…how could I write this book?  What gave me the right to write this book?  Could I do justice to it, and be able to honor all the women who served there? 

I just knew I had to try. I felt directed to write this novel…God, the Universal Spirit, Mother Goddess…whatever, I knew I had to do it. 

The inspiration first came from a photograph—the one of the marine on the lower left corner of the cover.  This boy had been my pen-pal in high school.  I came across this torn photo of him one day while I was reorganizing my photo albums.  Honestly, I didn’t remember much about him. I knew his name was Danny and he was from Indiana. My best friend, Susie, had given me his address and told me he was going to Vietnam and would I write him?  (I seem to recall he was a cousin or related to her family somehow.)  I was a flighty sixteen-year-old, and madly in love with a senior named Gary Baldauf.  And perhaps the only reason I even agreed to write Danny was because he bore a remarkable resemblance to Gary. Of course, I knew there was a war going on somewhere in southeast Asia.  (I’m not even sure, though, I knew Vietnam was in southeast Asia.)  But the war hadn’t affected me.  Oh, in the back of my mind, I guess I worried that Gary might be drafted and get sent there, but the chance was small.  After all, he was heading off to college at Purdue. 

So that’s how I began writing chatty, scatter-brained letters to this “older man” who looked like my high school crush.  I’m sure my letters were filled with all kinds of gems like how much I loved Mark Lindsay of Paul Revere and the Raiders, and how cute my new white go-go boots were, and how groovy I looked after drawing Twiggy eyelashes around my eyes and dotting freckles on my cheeks with eyeliner—following the how-to instructions in Teen Magazine. 

Danny replied to my letters, and even sent me the photo of himself taken in Vietnam, but I can’t tell you what he said.  I have absolutely no memory of anything he wrote.  When I think back on it, I believe I received only one or two letters.  When they stopped coming, I didn’t think about it; I doubt if I even noticed or wondered.  After all, I was 16…going to basketball games, and dances, and pep rallies.  It didn’t even occur to me to worry about Danny and what may have happened to him.  It was only after I found his photo a few years ago that it hit me.  What had  happened to him?  And how could I find out?  I didn’t even remember his last name. 

I turned the photo over and saw that half of it had been torn away.  I knew he’d sent it to me like that because there hadn’t been another person in the picture.  Only half of the inscription on the back was visible.

ny Bruce
Nam ‘69

Danny Bruce.  That had to be his name.  So I got online and did a web search. When a page popped up on my screen, my stomach dipped, and I could feel the blood draining from my face.  It was a website about the Vietnam Memorial Wall, and his name was on it. 

While participating in combat on March 1, 1969, Danny was killed in saving the lives of three fellow Marines, and was awarded the Medal of Honor post-humously. He had been in Vietnam for a little over a month before he was killed.  And me?  I was busy partying, having sleepovers, eating burgers at the Dog ‘N Suds, and just going about my happy teenage life.  I know…I was just doing what any teenager would be doing.  But Danny had been a teenager, too.  He was 18 when he died. 

This is why I was driven to write this book—to honor Danny, and the courageous nurses who saved thousands of “Dannys.”  I hope I’ve done them the honor they so deserve. 

INCENSE & PEPPERMINTS is available in print and e-book.

Monday, May 5, 2014





Wow!!!  April!  What a month.  What a whirlwind of a month!  I’m not sure I know where to start.  All I know is it went by in a flash.  (As most months do when you turn 61.  Yes, had a birthday last month.) 

Actually, my exciting month started with news at the end of March that I got a part in a local theatre production called LOVE ON BROADWAY.  It wasn’t an acting part, since it was an all-music show, but I was pretty excited to get it since it was only the second audition I’ve ever been on.  (Beginner’s luck?)  As the title hints, the Broadway songs we sang were all about love.  I had four solos—“I Don’t Know How to Love Him” from Jesus Christ Superstar, “Will You Love Me Tomorrow” from Carole King, the Musical, “Another Suitcase, Another Hall” from Evita and “Crazy” from Always, Patsy Cline.  In addition, I performed in three group songs.  We had five shows the week before Easter, and then five shows the week after Easter.  It was so much fun working with my cast mates and the crew, Garrett McCann (also the director), Callie Barfield, Juliann Clark, Charity Hillegass and Chandler McCune, Nick Roussey, Amber McCann and Vickie Carter.  What a great bunch of people.  As Garrett said to the audience each night before the show started, we do it because we love it.  And I loved every minute of it!  And speaking of my cast mates, two of them, Charity, 11, and Chandler, 13, are budding young stars.  Remember their names!  I think you’ll see them on American Idol or The X-Factor some day.  They performed “Phantom of the Opera” and blew the crowd away!  Here’s a video of the performance they did at the Carolina Opry before LOVE ON BROADWAY opened. 

 Next exciting thing—I got to spend over a week with my grandsons, Luke and Zealand. We met them in Pennsylvania at my sister-in-law’s house for Easter and had a wonderful time, and then they followed us home to Myrtle Beach for another four days.  They got to come to my Saturday afternoon matinee performance, and that was such a treat for me to look out into the audience and see my little sweeties.  Right before the final full-cast number, we all walked out on stage, and I heard my little Luke say, “That’s my grandma!”  And the audience burst out laughing.  So sweet!!! 

 Finally, the most exciting news!  My new novel, INCENSE & PEPPERMINTS, is now available for purchase!  Finally!!!!  It’s been four years since I began working on this book, and I have to say I’m very proud of the final result.  I was thrilled to get a beautiful blurb from best-selling author, Diane Chamberlain.

 "With intelligent and absorbing writing, Carole Bellacera places a courageous and inspiring young woman at the intense and dangerous center of the Vietnam War. Bellacera's account of the seventies is heartfelt and real, yet her moving story of love, loss and healing is timeless." 

--Diane Chamberlain, best-selling author of Necessary Lies


INCENSE & PEPPERMINTS is available in print, on Kindle and at  Here’s the links:





Other E-book Readers

I hope all of you have a wonderful May.  (Isn’t it great to have sunshine and warm weather back?)



Carole Bellacera




Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Is it Spring Yet???

Okay, so we moved to Myrtle Beach in November, hoping to escape the snow, ice and frigid temperatures of Northern Virginia.  I had a yard sale in August, and with a tear in my eye, I put out all my soft, cozy winter pajamas, my luxurious lamb-soft white robe, my prized Sherpa coat that I’d drooled over for months before finally buying it at Kohl’s.  All the beloved winter stuff that I just knew I wouldn’t need in sunny, sub-tropical Myrtle Beach.

Flash-forward to the end of November, two weeks after we moved into our beautiful new house.  I’d kept two pairs of ultra-soft, cozy-warm pajamas—my Paul Frank monkeys and my black zebra-prints.  Which I found myself wearing every night.  And the inevitable happened.  They both ended up in the wash at the same time.  So, out I go to Wal-Mart, where I bought some Betty Boop winter jammies.  (Just the fact that Wal-Mart was stocking winter pajamas in sunny Myrtle Beach should’ve been a clue.)  And a week later, a pair of purple softies with metallic silver snowflakes.  After that, some panda pjs.  Okay, so I’m a PJ addict.  But now I have about six pairs of winter pajamas…which I’m still wearing almost every night, and here it is the end of February. 

Bottom line?  It’s freaking cold down here in the tropics!  Okay, I can see all of you up in the northeast and Midwest, looking out your windows at mountain of snow hovering over your sidewalk…and right now, you’d like to have my soon-to-be 61-year-old neck between your clawed hands.  No!  You’ve got me wrong!  I’m not complaining!  Hell, I’ve been lucky enough to play tennis down here about twice a month since we moved.  But I was not prepared for the two ice storms we got the end of January, and then again, two weeks later.  I thought if such a thing would happen down south, it was a pure freak of nature that happened maybe once in a decade.  But twice in a two-week period?  So not what I was expecting. 

But we made it through, and the palm trees, which I thought for sure had been murdered by the ice, look like they’re going to survive.  Now, if we can get through three more weeks, I’ll start believing spring is really going to arrive.

And guess who has a birthday coming up?  Me! On March 11th, I’ll turn 61.  Man, the years are going by fast!  But I’m thankful I’m still super active and have a real zest for life.  I’ve really dived into life down here; I’ve made a bunch of great new friends, and I’m singing at assisted living homes, and I’m making jewelry and…what else?  Oh, yeah, writing a novel!  INCENSE & PEPPERMINTS should be out this summer, and I’m starting to work on a new novel titled HOWLING AT THE MOON set in the Charleston area. 

Oh, and one more thing.  I’m offering creativity workshops from my home starting next month.  If you’re in the Myrtle Beach area…or even if you’re not, and just want to come to Myrtle Beach, check out the information on my website.

And have a fantastic March!  Spring is just around the corner!!!



Sunday, January 26, 2014

185 Seconds

In honor of South Carolina's proposed legislation allowing concealed weapons in bars WHERE PEOPLE ARE DRINKING ALCOHOL, I'd like to share with you a story I wrote years ago, "185 Seconds."  It won grand prize in a literary magazine competition back in the 90's, and subsequently published there.  It may be an old story, but its theme still rings true...unfortunately.

185 Seconds

by Carole Bellacera

May 18, 1992, 6:00 P.M.

Chad couldn't decide what to order. There were so many foods he liked. At first he'd thought about going with fried chicken, but then, it wouldn't be his mother's, would it? Instead, he'd opted for a peperoni pizza, a thin one, New York style, with lots of drippy cheese and tangy sauce.
He was thirty-three years old. How many peperoni pizzas had he put away in all that time? Hard to believe this one would be his last.
So, that was what it was going to be. A peperoni pizza and a giant-sized Big Gulp from Seven-Eleven. And for dessert? A bag of chocolate-covered peanuts.
Not some off-the-wall brand, but Brach's.
After all, the state was paying for it. A vision of Christ and the Last Supper flashed through his mind. He looked at the clock on the gray wall of the holding cell.
Five hours to live.
Leslie and Russell
"They're gonna kill that Chad Donovan tonight," Russell said through a mouthful of mashed potatoes. "Eleven o'clock. Gonna zap him in the electric chair."
With a trembling arthritic hand, Leslie lifted a cup of coffee to her lips and took a slurping sip. "Now, which ones did he kill? The people in the fast food restaurant?"
"Naw, this is the one who burst into that office building and took out three or four people. Electric chair is too good for him, I say. They should put him in a room with the families of the victims and let them have at it."
"Russ, don't get yourself in a tizzy. You know what it does to your blood pressure."
The gray-haired man rolled up the newspaper and tossed it to the floor. "You're right. He ain't worth it. Pass the salt, Mama."
"Dear, you know salt isn't good for you."
But she passed it anyway.
The microwave bell dinged just as Heather finished setting the table.
"Steve! Can you get Brad in his highchair? Dinner's ready!"
She was like a ballet dancer as she whirled through the kitchen, pouring the fruit juice, arranging the salad on the table, grabbing the Lean Cuisine dinners from the microwave.
The under-the-counter TV was the accompaniment to her Dance of the Dinner Preparation. "Barring any last-minute stays from the governor, convicted murderer Chad Donovan will be executed tonight at eleven o'clock. Donovan has been on death row for the last seven years....
Steve entered the dining room with two-year-old Brad on his hip. "I can't believe you're going to the health club tonight. Three years ago, you would've been down at the prison with the other protesters."
Heather grabbed the salad dressing bottles from the refrigerator, closing the door with her foot. "Three years ago I had a different life. I don't have time to get involved in causes these days. Even if I do believe in them. I still think capital punishment is barbaric, but a bunch of candle-holding hymn-singing activists isn't going to change anything. So why waste my time?"
She snapped off the TV. The dance had ended.
"Eat your broccoli, Sammy."
The four-year-old boy's lower lip trembled. His stomach muscles tightened. He knew what was coming. But he just couldn't eat that green stuff. It made him feel sick.
"Did you hear me, boy?
He looked up at his father. "I don't like it, Daddy. It tastes funny."
His mother pushed back from the table. "How about if I heat up some peas for you? You like, peas, don't you, hon?"
"Sit down, Rachel. The boy has to learn to eat what's on his plate."
Sammy felt his father's hard eyes eating into him. For a horrible moment, he thought he was going to throw up. That would be the worst thing to do. Daddy would think he'd done it on purpose.
"You will eat every bite of that broccoli on your plate... if you know what's good for you, pal."
Sammy stared down at his plate and willed it to disappear. But he knew it wouldn't.   Nothing ever disappeared. Not even when the hitting started.

May 18, 9:00 P.M.

There was nothing to do now but wait. He'd asked for and received a television to pass the last few hours until the scheduled time of his execution. "Murphy Brown" came on and he got caught up in it. Even laughed a couple of times. But at nine-thirty he felt a coldness settle inside him. It was a two-parter. He wouldn't be around to see the second episode next week. A news brief flashed on the screen. He saw his face looking back at him. "Details at eleven," the pretty anchorwoman said.
A flicker of fear ate through him.
The day before he'd read a newspaper article about his upcoming execution; 185 seconds, it said. That's how long it would take to kill him. First 1,825 volts of electricity at 7.5 amps for 30 seconds, followed by 24 volts at 1.5 amps for 60 seconds. A five-second pause would be followed by a repeat of the 90-second cycle ... just to make sure he was dead.
 Leslee and Russell
They were watching a movie on HBO, a violent saga starring Mickey Rourke as a desperate man holding a family hostage. Russell winced with every foul word that came out of the actors' mouths. When a nude scene came on, Leslie stood up.
"Want some ice cream, hon?"
"Yeah," Russell grunted. "Some of that Tin Roof Sundae."
When Leslie returned with two bowls of ice cream, the nude scene was over.
Sweat beaded and rolled down Heather's lithe body as she jogged along with the rhythm of a Paula Abdul song. She smiled as her muscles came alive. This was her reward after a long day at the office. Twice a week she treated herself to a couple of hours at the health club. Not only did it keep her body in shape, it had one added benefit.
It made her horny.
Steve loved Monday and Wednesday nights.
Sammy lay on his stomach in his bunk bed and tried to go to sleep. His buttocks and thighs stung where the belt had struck him. He smiled grimly into his pillow. His father had lost the battle. The broccoli had been tossed down the garbage disposal.
His stomach growled. Not only had the broccoli been thrown away, so had the fried chicken. He liked fried chicken, but he hadn't been permitted to eat any until the broccoli was gone.
The door to the bedroom opened. It was his mother. She walked across the room quietly. Sammy knew it was because she didn't want his father to know.
"I brought you a piece of chocolate cake and some milk," she whispered. "Eat it quickly."
He did.

May 18, 11:00 P.M.

Leslie and Russell
The movie had gone off at ten o'clock. They'd turned the channel to the Ten O'Clock News where they watched a clip about Chad Donovan and his last hours on death row.
Leslie sighed. "Can you imagine? With all the tasty foods in the world, he orders peperoni pizza and chocolate.covered peanuts for his last meal. Probably never had a lick of home cooking in his life, poor man."
"Good riddance, I say," Russell snorted. "The world's a better place without him." The news moved on to Washington where a group lobbied for a handgun bill. "Look at those stupid do-gooders," he went on. "Now they want to take away our right to defend ourselves in our own homes!"
Leslie squeezed his arm affectionately. "Oh, hon... you know the N.R.A. won't let them get away with that."
"'You're right, Mama. Thank the good Lerd we've got somebody watching out for us ordinary citizens." He put an arm around his wife. "Let's go to bed, Pretty Lady. Tomorrow's another day."
Brad cried out once while Heather and Steve were making love. They tensed and waited a moment. Silence. They continued in what they were doing.

The door to his bedroom burst open.
"'What the hell are you whispering about?"
The light came on. Sammy cowered in the corner of the bed, staring up at his father's furious face.
"Oh, Jesus Christ! You've wet the bed again, haven't you? What am I going to have to do to break you of this nasty habit?"
Sammy shrank back as his father approached. There was no escape. His cruel grip fastened upon the boy's skinny arms. Trembling, Sammy stared up into his cold eyes. It would begin now. As always, he prayed for his mother to rescue him, but he knew it wouldn't happen.
The only thing he could do was disappear into himself, all the time wishing it was his father who would disappear... forever.

They'd shaved his head and right calf. Chad felt as if he'd already been electrocuted as they strapped him into the chair and covered his face with a restraining belt with holes cut out for his nose. Why? For breathing? But they wanted him to stop breathing! An electrode was placed onto his shaved calf. He was numb. On the other side of a window, the press was seated in three rows of benches. They were waiting to witness the execution. The clock on the wall, the one that would record the moment of his death, read ten-fifty-eight.
The metal helmet, lined with a brine-soaked sponge, was placed onto his head and buckled beneath his chin. It bit into his skin. He grimaced. For a moment, panic washed over him. He didn't like pain. And in a matter of seconds, a massive jolt of electricity would kill him. A sudden memory flashed in his mind. A hot summer day in 1971. He, a sturdy twelve-year-old, washing the family car. His favorite song, "Maggie May," had come on the radio he'd plugged into the outlet just inside the garage. Bare-footed and standing in a puddle of water, he'd thoughtlessly reached for the volume diai and received a jolting shock that vibrated through his fingers and down to his toes for a good two seconds. For days afterwards his arm had been numb.
That had been a little shock. Now... in a matter of moments ... he would experience the big one. He thought back to the day that had brought him here. It was the receptionist's fault. If she'd only put him through to her boss. Ross Jackson was an old friend. He would've found a place for him at the firm. But the receptionist refused to put him on the phone. How many times had he called only to be told Ross was out or on another line or in a meeting. Always after he'd told her his name, of course. It was obvious she'd been screening Jackson's calls... and his had been one that wasn't allowed through. It took him a while to realize Ross had been refusing his calls. But they'd both paid for their arrogance, hadn't they? The others had just got in the way.
It was time. Chad waited for the ring of the red phone on the wall. That was the line where the call would come in----the one that would stay the execution. It would happen, wouldn't it?  It always did in the movies. The clock's hand was straight up---eleven o'clock.
The executioner walked to the control panel, his eyes studiously avoiding Chad's. Panic overcame Chad. The stay wasn't going to happen. They were going to kill him. He bucked at the restraints, but of course he couldn't move. There was no escape, no reprieve. He squeezed his eyes shut, willing this to be a horrible nightmare, all of it, the beatings he'd taken from his father, the aimless wandering from job to job, the failure of every relationship he'd attempted, the petty thefts, the drunken brawls, the murders, the years on death row, and now... this. His entire life had been one long nightmare.
Nothing was happening. His eyes opened as a tiny peephole of hope entered his brain. Then he heard the low hum. His body stiffened. He tried to look out at his audience, to tell them, "Hey, you see what they're doing to me? Can't you stop it? They're killing me, They're really doing it."
"This is it...', screamed his brain in its final moments.

Leslie and Russell had another day. Heather went to work at the office. Sammy nursed his wounds of the night before. Twelve years later the four of them would meet in a shopping mall.
Sammy would have a gun.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Home, Sweet Home

<<Deep Breath>>

Can it finally be over?  Well, almost over.  I’m still hearing the sound of some kind of saw coming from my kitchen/dining room.  The hardwood floors are almost in.  And when that happens, I can finally unpack the boxes that have been sitting in my great room and spare bedrooms for over a month now. 

And when that happens, we’ll truly be moved into our new home in Myrtle Beach.  That’s when I’ll take a long, deep sigh of relief.

So far, we love it here.  I mean, what’s not to love?  We played tennis on a morning in December then took a walk on the beach (after devouring two Krispy Kreme donuts--another perk in this area--well, until I step on the scales, anyway.)  But until we get completely unpacked and get the pictures hanging on the walls, it won’t feel completely like home. 

That moment is close…I can feel it!  And then I can finally get back to my normal routine—working on student assignments and writing!  Do you know I haven’t written one line of fiction since I finished INCENSE & PEPPERMINTS in July?  And the old (not literally-speaking) brain is starting to storm about my next novel.  I wrote the prologue during one of the writing exercises in Ireland, and I’m starting to feel that familiar itch when I know it’s time to start working on my next novel. 

But I can’t do that until sometime next year.  We’re spending the holidays in Destin with the grandsons, and then once the New Year checks in, I’ll be heading to Kentucky to spend some time with my sister and dad.  Once I get back from Kentucky, then I can buckle down and start writing.  My brain should be done with the storming by that time and straining at the bit to write.  I’ve already got a title.  HOWLING AT THE MOON.  What do you think?

As for INCENSE & PEPPERMINTS, it’s with a publisher and if they make me an offer, I will consider it.  But whether or not I accept it remains to be seen.  I may just go ahead and self-publish, since we all know how much I like being in control.  I’ll let you know what happens.

As I said, I really love our new home in Myrtle Beach, but I have to tell you of an alarming incident I experienced last week—kind of put me off a bit.  I found a really fun karaoke place that actually has it at a decent time.  It starts at four pm on Fridays, and I can usually stop in and sing a couple of songs before I meet Frank for our Friday pizza movie night.  Last week, a friendly couple sat down to join me…at least, I thought they were friendly…until the male began to spout off about African Americans, and using the N-word three times.  I was so astonished and horrified that I just sat there, staring at him.  (I’m sure my mouth was agape.)  Finally, after the third time, I got up and walked out of the bar, mentally kicking myself for not having the nerve to look him in the eye and say, “What is it about me that makes you think I wouldn’t be offended by language like that?  You don’t know me.  Is it because I’m white that you feel like you can get away with your racist remarks?”

Of course, I didn’t say anything.  If it had been one of my characters, she would’ve spoken up. 

It’s disheartening to know that in this day and age—and during this holiday season, bigotry is still alive and well.  I will pray for enlightenment for people like this.

And to everyone else…

God Bless and Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Holidays, Seasons Greetings, Happy Kwanzaa!!!


Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Hi, everyone!  I know it's been FOREVER since I've posted.  It's been crazy here with Frank's retirement and our upcoming move to Myrtle Beach in November.  I soon as we're settled, I'll write a nice, juicy post about all my news from this summer.

But this couldn't wait.  Yesterday I was notified that LILY OF THE SPRINGS was awarded Honorable Mention in the 2013 Writer's Digest Self-Published Book Awards.  So exciting!  

One of my prizes was a $50 gift card at the Writer's Digest Shop, and I want to pass that gift along to one of my lucky fans, many of whom are writers. And in the process, I'm going to promote my print novels. To enter my contest to win the $50 gift card from Writer's Digest, buy one of my print novels, and send me your receipt. You'll be entered in the drawing on December 1st. This week's spotlighted novel: my first novel, RITA-award nominated BORDER CROSSINGS. (But you can buy ANY of my novels to enter the contest.)

"A stirring first novel of terror, death, love, and hope, told with power and
conviction and set in the troubled part of Northern Ireland where peace at long
last seems almost possible." Andrew M. Greeley, bestselling author of IRISH