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Then, I was delighted to attend local events with her, and there always seemed to be something going on! One of my favorites was the Bele Chere Festival, a street event with art, music and so much more.
Sadly, this festival has gone by the wayside. (Not to worry–Asheville and its surrounding mountain communities proudly support over 300 other festivals a year! )
I wanted to commemorate the Bele Chere, though, and so I set a novella right in the middle of it. That Girl’s the One I Love, published by the Wild Rose Press, tells the story of Leyla Brand, a waitress whose crush on Arran Lake, a local band singer, turns into something more at the Bele Chere Festival.
If she could have predicted what a “soulmate” might be for her, someone who seemed to share so many common qualities, right down to their favorite peanut butter cup ice cream, she’d have chosen someone like Arran. A man who took no effort to be with. Someone she could really be herself with. No matter what she was wearing, or how her hair looked, or how much she earned.
It was time.
When they reached the end of the path at the rose garden, she whispered, close to his ear, “Why don’t you come home with me?”
He drew back, his eyes narrowed. “Are you sure? You’ve just met me.”
Another surprise. She’d always believed men were hardwired to say yes any time they were propositioned. Arran was indeed out of the ordinary.
“I’m sure,” she said. “I’ve even got a couple of Danish in the refrigerator for breakfast. And coffee.”
“Breakfast, hm?” He studied her a long moment. “Leyla, I don’t want you to think that because I sing in a band means I just use women. I’d never take advantage of you.”
Now, that could be one hell of a line. Maybe it was. But his eyes were so sincere. She didn’t want to frighten him off, not now. That kiss had promised much more. “Guess I don’t usually stalk guitarists and throw myself at them, either. Does that make us even?”
But as is often true, life gives with one hand, and takes away with the other. Arran gets the Call” from a record label and is gone. The long-distance relationship takes its toll, and soon all she has of him are his songs on the radio.
Is that the end of their love? Not at all.
To find out what happens, read the story–it’s short and sweet and can keep you warm on a snowy afternoon.
That Girl’s the One I Love, an ebook only $1.99 at the Wild Rose Press!
also available at Amazon and other online booksellers!
Yes, it’s nearly Mardi Gras, that holiday that transforms the city of New Orleans (and
many others in the South) into a major party town. My daughters and I stayed with an old newspaper friend and his wife one year for the event, and had a wonderful time. While those who venture downtown and out to Bourbon Street encounter a lot of drunk, happy people, out in the Garden District, where Hank lived, it was much more a family atmosphere. The whole neighborhood came out into the green area between the street car tracks along St. Charles Avenue, called the neutral ground, set up tall ladders for the smallest kids, and spent the day catching beads, and getting happy.
The French Quarter, is of course picturesque and a must-see. I loved the balconies that stretched for blocks, overlooking the packed streets.
We stayed nearly a week, ate the obligatory beignets and drank chicory coffee at Cafe du Monde, visited the Voodoo Museum. The trip was wonderful, and research done then formed the basis for my novel VOODOO DREAMS. This is the third book in the Pittsburgh Lady Lawyers series.
When her big trial goes bad, corporate attorney Brianna Ward can’t wait to get out of Pittsburgh. The Big Easy seems like the perfect place to rest, relax, and forget about the legal business. Too bad an obnoxious–but handsome–lawyer from a rival firm is checking into the same bed and breakfast.
Attorney Evan Farrell has Mardi Gras vacation plans too. When he encounters fiery and attractive Brianna, however, he puts the Bourbon Street party on hold. He’d much rather devote himself to her–especially when a mysterious riddle appears in her bag, seeming to threaten danger.
Strangely compelled to follow the riddle’s clues, Brianna is pulled deeper into the twisted schemes of a voodoo priest bent on revenge. To escape his poisonous web, she must work with Evan to solve the curse. But is the growing love they feel for each other real? Or just a voodoo dream?
Visiting this book, for me, is like re-visiting the city. Check it out at your local bookstore, or online at Amazon.com or Barnes and Noble.com or at the publisher’s site, The Wild Rose Press. Enjoy this read with your favorite coffee and king cake. Happy Mardi Gras!
One of my Pittsburgh Lady Lawyer novels, SECOND CHANCES, tells the story of Inessa Regan, a forty-something lawyer who is unexpectedly thrust into the world of solo family practice. She comes to know an Iraq War veteran, Kurt Lowden, and his soldier friends, some of whom have serious issues from their time abroad.
One of the worst is the Post Traumatic Distress suffered by Susie Johnston, the wife of Kurt’s best friend. As an intelligence officer, she’d be invaluable to her unit, gathering information about threats and targets from prisoners. Wall-to-wall counseling, in the local jargon.
But as a woman in a battle unit, she also faces risks she should never have to face: assaults by men in her own unit. Female soldiers in such theatres speak of being afraid to go to the latrine at night, staying in their beds for safety.
Susie is raped during one such trip to the latrine, and the resulting trauma triggers domestic violence and worse on her arrival back in the States.
Sadly, this is not the stuff of fiction.
And as in Hollywood and Washington, the pressure not to disclose, report and prosecute these crimes is hard on women. While the military gives lip service to criminalizing and going after sexual assault perpetrators, the reality is that no one wants to hear about it.
According to an article in the Washington Post, “sexual assault was something female troops did not dare talk about for fear that they would face retaliation and be discharged with a ‘mental health diagnosis.’ ” They go on to say that 62% of those who report face ostracism and retaliation.
In a 2016 story, Huffington Post quotes groundbreaking Chinook pilot Olivia Chavez as saying “she was sexually assaulted multiple times by several different men while on active duty.” Her determination to keep her job made her force all the trauma inside–leading to a worse trauma later when she finally had to deal with what had happened.
Reading comments on these stories, there isn’t a lot of sympathy for the women. Many blame the system that put men and women together on the battlefield, especially when the system as set up is so skewed toward men (i.e. even in VA hospitals, many times the women veterans don’t have equal access to restrooms and other facilities). Hardly anyone says, “Why can’t the men just stop raping women?” Is that really such a difficult concept?
What has happened to many of the 280,000 women veterans coming back from the Middle East is unspeakable. Their trauma leads to homelessness, mental health treatment, even suicide. The HuffPo articles says this: “A report released last year showed that for women veterans between 18 and 29 years of age, the risk of suicide is 12 times the rate of nonveteran women.”
Maybe as the stigma of calling out criminal behavior lessens in the civilian world, we can hope that it does the same in the military world. At least the military leaders should lead and protect those who serve with them, instead of taking advantage, and the bureaucracy set up to help those who are assaulted despite policy should step up and make that happen. If our military is to be one of the best in the world, then we should hold them to high moral standards as well.
At least, in celebrating Veterans’ Day this year, we can remember those women who sacrifice their very soul for the right to serve.
If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
SECOND CHANCES, a book from Zumaya Publications, begins the day attorney Inessa Regan receives a pink slip after ten years of faithful service. She’s been a mid-level associate her whole career, partners telling her what to do, providing her with an office and everything she needs. Thrown out into the legal world on her own, she doesn’t know how she’ll survive. Her neighbor brings her first client, Kurt Lowdon, a young Iraq veteran with cancer, who’s looking just to have a will made. Inessa struggles to give Kurt what he needs, and he helps make it easy for her.
Once his immediate needs are met, he takes her under his wing and brings her more clients as well as a place to open an office to see them. Things begin to fall together for her, including a very special friendship with Kurt that becomes something more. But his past military service, and the friends he’s made there, begin to cause problems for them both, as well as issues his drug-addicted sister delivers to his doorstep. He still hasn’t kicked his cancer, either, and Inessa wonders if falling in love with him is a blessing or a curse.
“My new site design went live just now — well, last night most likely — and I’m showing it off.
There are, of course and as always, some bugs to work out. I know some links are broken. It might even be more than some.
BUT, to celebrate and to invite you to look things over, I’m making you an offer, one I hope you won’t refuse:
Either 50 pages edited for free OR $50 off your edit IF you find the most typos on the site.”
If you’re a typo fiend and need some work edited–here’s your sign!
My Pittsburgh Lady Lawyers often deal with people who are victims/survivors of domestic abuse. I can write about those situations, because as a lawyer, I represented many of those people–both male and female. Most often, though, they are women. Women like the one in this article.
I’ll never forget the one who came to every one of our Blossom “how to survive on your own” classes but refused the celebratory flowers we gave out at the end because she couldn’t take it home. He’d beat her for it.
The legal system does feed into an abuser’s control. As lawyers, we could never promise that someone would be safe. Or that kids would be safe. The double-edged sword of knowing the kids were endangered but being too afraid to report it–and then have children’s services swoop down on you for failure to protect when you finally told someone.
It’s happening in your community right now, wherever you live. This writer tells the truth–I’ve seen many flavors of it. Read this. All of it. Then speak up for those who need help.
For most of us with children, the “year” revolves around school, specifically the end of school, i.e. summer vacation, or “The Wild Times,” and going back to school, also known as “Finally I can get something done.”
This fall, I’ve determined to concentrate of kick-starting my writing back into gear. I’ve a book due under my alter ego Lyndi Alexander, and I’ve got more ideas percolating that I’ve put off until I get that done.
But in the meantime, I’ve reached out to connect with other writers and editors, again, picked up the blogs, and started carrying a notebook around so I’ll quit forgetting little ideas that come to me at odd times.
I’ve also recently signed two contracts for books– Love Me, Kiss Me, Kill Me (by Lyndi Alexander) at Hydra Publications and By Any Other Name, as Alana Lorens, at Hydra’s love story imprint, Stardust Romance. Both of these have been issued before, but I’ve got a new publisher, and one that does something most other small press doesn’t. Catch this from the head of Hydra Publications:
Update on how our KU push is going. The books being pushed this month are The Parrot Told Me, Dearly Departed, Shadowlith and Murder by Suicide, and all four made it onto the best seller list. Amazing when you consider 2 of the books are 4 years old. Last month …we crossed over 400,000 page reads. We are currently around 735,000 page reads and we are barely half way through the month. We will do one more book for sure in August, then in September, when we start reaping the extra income from last month, we will up it to 2 or 3 or more by Hydra. …We will be doing everyone’s books at some point. We will continue to ride the wave as long as we can.
Yeah. Marketing. From a small press. Radical, right? I’m so thrilled!
So what’s BY ANY OTHER NAME about?
Up-and-coming mommyblogger and single mom Marisol Herrera Slade receives an invitation to her high school reunion. She returns to her old hometown in western Pennsylvania, reluctant and yet compelled to see her high school sweetheart, Russell Asher, who dumped her for a shot at the homecoming queen and school golden girl some twenty years before.
Russell’s marriage to the golden girl, however, ended in a nasty divorce, and he has been excluded from his sons’ lives in a very painful manner. In his Internet wanderings, he’s come across a feminist blogger named Jerrika Jones who glorifies single motherhood, essentially putting a stamp of approval on what’s happened to him. He’s vowed to take this woman down if they ever should meet.
What he doesn’t know, when he thinks to rekindle what he had with Marisol at the reunion, is that Marisol and Jerrika are one and the same.
Sounds like trouble, right?
This is a shorter story at 35,000 words, and is decidedly in the “Sweet romance” category, fit for teens through maiden aunts. We hope to see it in print later this fall.
So bring on school days–there’s a lot of work to do!