Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Thursday 13

13 Things I love about the Holiday Season

1) Christmas is my birthday so I get a cake all to myself with lots of butter cream frosting!

2) The wonderful Holiday spirit

3) Christmas Carols

4) Christmas movies

5) Attending Holiday parties

6) Shopping the merchandise that comes in only for the Holidays

7) Staying in touch with family and friends

8) Sending and receiving Christmas cards

9) Indulging in candies rarely eaten outside of the Holiday Season

10) Choosing special gifts for special people

11) Decorating the house

12) Remembering Christmas past

13) Spending time with loved ones

What are your favorite things about this time of year?

Sunday, September 16, 2007

A Great Review

Perfidia - Elspeth McKendrick

Elspeth McKendrick

Romantic Suspense/Historical Romance

In 1937, Sophie de Havilland left England for Germany once she discovered the shocking truth about her fiancé, vowing never to return. For the past two years, she’s lived in Berlin with her Aunt Augusta, widow of a German Baron. Sophie admires the way the German government has pulled Germany out of the complete chaos that followed World War I. According to Herr Hitler, SS officers have a duty to procreate both in and out of marriage with young Aryan woman, the better to increase the Aryan race. When war is declared in September of 1939, Sophie, like many others, assumes that Germany will win quickly and that their lives will remain mostly undisturbed.

In the days leading up the declaration of open war, Aunt Augusta asks Sophie to help her leave the country. Augusta wants Sophie to come with her, but Sophie refuses. An incredibly clumsy attempt at blackmail puts Sophie in the hands of an intimidating SS officer, Karl von Richten. Karl agrees to help smuggle Augusta out of Germany, but demands payment. Sophie must move into his home, live with him, and pose as his mistress. Such arrangements carry no stigma after Hitler’s edict, but Sophie is wary. Only when Karl promises that she will be a mistress in appearance only does she agree. Karl tells Sophie in no uncertain terms to stay out of his business, but Sophie becomes curious. Her curiosity could get them both killed.

I admit that, at the outset, I wanted to shake Sophie for her incredibly naïve and myopic view of the Nazi regime. Then I realized that, as a member of the aristocracy, and as someone who enjoyed the good favor of high-ranking officials, Sophie would be mostly sheltered from the horrible realities. It’s amazing that the author manages to take this rather selfish woman and turn her into a heroine with a spine and a brain; in short, a character who is likeable. But that’s what happens here. Sometime around the midpoint of the story, I realized that I was rooting for Sophie.

The story takes place between September and November of 1939, the very early days of what would become World War II. Set in Berlin, the reader gets a rare inside glimpse of the enemy camp during this time. Even characters who are dedicated to the Nazi ideals do not come off as caricatures. They’re real people, caught up in events that are too overwhelming to comprehend. It’s obvious that quite a lot of research went into this novel, and each chapter begins with a date and the historical highlights. It’s fascinating to juxtapose what we know now to the actions and beliefs of the characters who are “living” through the events. The romance is lovely, but it’s really the historical context that makes this one a real standout.

Rating: 8
September 2007
ISBN# 978-0-505-52739-4
posted by Deborah Hern

Sunday, September 09, 2007

One More Time - I Couldn't Resist

Allow me to introduce you to something fresh, yet filled with nostalgia, suspense and romance. A tempting story served with a twist...something that will keep you turning those pages.
By Cerri Ellis

by Elspeth McKendrick

Sophie de Havilland fled London and her past, vowing never to return. In Germany she sought solace, with her aunt, and couldn’t help but admire how the Third Reich had reclaimed a country so near ruin. But soon the veneer crumbled. Beneath the frenetic nightlife of 1939 Berlin, the swirling parties with the dashing SS in their night-black uniforms and their beautiful dames, she saw cancer growing. Stories of an impossible nature—terrible stories, terrible crimes—she began to believe.

These Nazis were Germany’s demon lover: handsome, fearsome, faithless, murderous. Her aunt had been right to seek escape. But, was it possible? One man offered hope: a handsome half-American. But while his spicy scent and strong arms seduced her with safety, the lightning on his collar and his searing blue eyes reminded her that sometimes the handsomest faces hid perfidious intent.

McKendrick writes with a fluid style she uses to pull you into her world. Perfidia is no exception. The story is a long, dangerous curve of hidden passions; of innocence smashed under the heels of broken illusion. The romance balances on a blade's edge as suspicions fly.

The author stretches her powerful voice, flush with emotion, and enables the reader to immerse themselves safely within a frightening time in our history. The narrowed focus set against this backdrop delineates the fine character studies of her hero and heroine. Sophie's thoughts, feelings and words made it seem as though I were reading the journal of a very personal experience. Living history as opposed to a stagnant tale rehashed once more for the masses. Brilliant, Ms. McKendrick. I may have to eat my words. Please pass the ketchup.

Leisure/Lovespell • Paperback • September 2007 • ISBN-10: 0505527391, ISBN-13: 978-0505527394 • 321 pages

Thursday, September 06, 2007

5 Cup Review From Coffee Time Romances

Morag McKendrick Pippin
ISBN# 0505527391
September 2007
Leisure Books/Dorchester Publishing Co.
200 Madison Ave., New York, NY 10016
320 Pages
Historical Romantic Suspense
Rating: 5 cups

Sophia de Havilland is a young woman who fled her native England when she walked in on her betrothed having sex with another man. She lives with her aunt in Berlin, Germany. Hitler rules Germany with an iron hand and Sophia is one of his favored Aryan misses. However all is not as it seems, and when Sophia is introduced to a handsome half American SS officer, it is not long before she begins to see the light in more ways than one with his help. Her emotions regarding him are mixed, but the attraction is definitely there.

Karl Von Richten is playing a dangerous game. Embroiled deeply in SS politics and one of Hitler’s right hand men, he also helps “undesirables” escape Germany to a better life. He truly cares for Sophie almost from the beginning and tries in subtle ways to show her that Hitler and his plans for Germany are bad. In the process he falls for her hard, but feels he cannot truly have her, at least not in any permanent sense.

When Sophie’s aunt wants to escape Germany and return to England, Sophie goes to Karl for help. Karl arranges for Sophie’s aunt to get away, but in return he asks Sophie to pose as his mistress. Worried that he will want more from her than she is willing to give, at first she is unsure. However, when he assures her she will not be expected to be intimate with him, and that it will help to protect her from the SS figuring out the truth about her aunt, she goes along with it. Karl slowly but surely educates Sophie on what the Third Reich is really doing and it is only a short time before Sophie is helping him. But Karl has a greedy half-brother who wants his home, his lands and his title and who will stop at nothing to get them, even if it means turning his own brother in. Will Sophie and Karl be able to defeat this evil man?

Perfidia is an action packed book that gives a very detailed look at the Third Reich, and all the atrocities and corruption that the regime engendered. The reader is easily able to follow Sophie’s progress from supporter of Hitler to rebel and spy as the clues are laid out one by one. The author does a splendid job of showing that not all German officers agreed with Hitler. Karl is mesmerizing as the SS officer who wants his country back and who will do anything to see that goal accomplished. Historically accurate down to the last detail, this book gives a bird’s eye view into a world that unless you were actually there would be hard to understand, and yet Ms. Pippin pulls it off beautifully. I highly recommend this book both for its romance and history.

Reviewer for Coffee Time Romance
Reviewer for Karen Find Out About New Books

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

5 Star Review from Cata Romance!

PERFIDIA by Elspeth McKendrick
Love Spell
Genre: historical
ISBN: 0505527391
Page Count: 320
Price: $6.99
Reviewer: Donna Zapf
Sensuality Rating: Sizzling
Star Rating: 5 Stars
Author's Website:

Elspeth McKendrick, a new pen name for a favorite author, creatively weaves the atrocities of WWII Germany with a timeless romance forged by a love that is tested beyond human endurance.

Sophie de Havilland left England for good when she discovered her fiancé in a compromising position with another man. She arrived in Germany to live with her widowed aunt just as the Third Reich came into power. Sophie openly admired the social changes that appeared to revitalize Germany. But even as she enjoyed the pleasures of the aristocracy, the real evil that was the German Nazis and especially the Gestapo was reveled to her. Her aunt begs Sophie to find some way to leave Germany and it just so happens that a German SS officer is willing to help, if Sophie remains with him as his pretend lover.

Sturmbannfhrer Barron Karl von Richten is not what he seems. Sophie is mesmerized by his piercing blue eyes and his handsome face but what does he really want of her. Karl assures Sophie that he will not touch her physically and only wants a ruse to keep other women away. All officers are expected to “breed” well and often, thus women are always being pushed on them. Sophie and her friends tread a perilous existence keeping in favor with the elite of the party but what of Karl, is he capable of perfidy? He has too many secrets and they are beginning to involve Sophie.

PERFIDIA, a nail-biting, edge of your seat, romantic thriller that had me steadily turning pages and blocking out the world while I raced to the conclusion, is the debut novel of talented Elspeth McKendrick. Captivating characters and a creative storyline that just would not let me go make PERFIDIA a riveting read. Personally, stories that intertwine history with fictionalized author creations are my favorite. The author must investigate, invent and immerse her readers in order to make the story come to life and Ms. McKendrick does that to perfection. The progressively budding romance between Karl and Sophie melted my heart and had me weeping as they suffered together for what they believed, trusting each other and ultimately willing to die for each other. Elspeth McKendrick has won a loyal fan with PERFIDIA, a most fascinating book.

Release date September 2007

Thursday, August 30, 2007


This from the Unusual Historicals Blog

In lieu of regular posts this week, we're hosting a party for one of our contributors. Morag McKendrick Pippen, w/a Elspeth McKendrick, releases her novel Perfidia today! What follows is more about the book, a Q&A with Morag, and the chance to win free books...

Morag's previous two books were published by Dorchester's Leisure imprint: Blood Moon Over Bengal and Blood Moon Over Britain, a HOLT Medallion winner. Perfidia, as part of the Love Spell line, is available now from all good booksellers. Here's the Amazon link.

"To you,
my heart cries out 'Perfidia,'
for I find you, the love of my life,
in someone else's arms..."

Sophie de Havilland fled London and her past, vowing never to return. In Germany she sought solace, with her aunt, and couldn't help but admire how the Third Reich had reclaimed a country so near ruin. But soon the veneer crumbled. Beneath the frenetic nightlife of 1939 Berlin, the swirling parties with the dashing SS in their night-black uniforms and their beautiful dames, she saw cancer growing. Stories of an impossible nature—terrible stories, terrible crimes—she began to believe.

These Nazis were Germany's demon lover: handsome, fearsome, faithless, murderous. Her aunt had been right to seek escape. But, was it possible? One man offered hope: a handsome half-American. But while his spicy scent and strong arms seduced her with safety, the lightning on his collar and his searing blue eyes reminded her that sometimes the handsomest faces hid perfidious intent.

Question & Answers with Morag

What makes Perfidia different from the two other historicals you've written?
Probably more violence (from the Gestapo), no sugar coating and a more serious theme.

What was the response from your editor or agent when you proposed this novel?
He (my editor) said I surprised him and he's rarely surprised. Also, that it was a powerful story.

How did you talk them past any concerns?
He said my readers would probably overlook the violence because they'd be too addicted to the story to mind very much.

What is the most challenging part about writing 20th century historicals?
What I would find challenging is writing a contemporary, paranormal, or erotica. Early 20th century seems to come naturally to me.

What about this book in particular?
It was difficult not to be depressed writing this everyday. I don't think it's depressing to read, but I had a lot of research to to which was pretty horrific.

What advice would you give to anyone trying to write or sell 20th century historicals?
Visit antique and collectibles stores. One can learn a lot about how people lived. Go to museums with early 20th century antiquities. Watch old movies. Read books in the time period. Acquire old magazines at garage sales and antique shows/stores. Talk to people who lived in those times. Write the best story you can.

What is your favorite genre or period to read?
Early 20th century or contemporary and romantic suspense.

Favorite book from the past year?
HIDING FROM THE LIGHT by Barbara Erskine

Five books from your TBR pile?
VANISH by Karen Robards
DAUGHTERS OF FIRE by Barbara Erskine
THE MEPHISTO CLUB by Tess Gerritsen
RICOCHET by Sandra Brown
WHITE HOT by Sandra Brown

Give us a tidbit of history that surprised you when researching Perfidia.
That many Germans escaped Germany by going on workers holidays to occupied Denmark then taking the ferry to Sweden.

Tell us what part of Perfidia is your favorite: the scene or element that, when you read it, leaves you feeling most satisfied?
I can't tell you -- it would give away an important plot point!

What's up next for you?
A contemporary supernatural thriller set in Scotland (on my agent's advice).

Thanks, Morag! And good luck with this new release. For those of you living in paradise, Morag is in the midst of planning book signings in Hawaii, where she lives. More information will be posted on her website.

WIN A COPY! For every fifteen comments we receive to this post, we're giving away a signed copy of PERFIDIA. Just tell us how you heard about Unusual Historicals OR your thoughts about a romance set in 1939 Berlin. Comments close at midnight on September 4th, at which time I'll draw up to FIVE random winners and announce their names the next day. Unusual Historicals authors are ineligible to win, but we can make comments!

Go! Spread the word!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

1981 and 2005

1. Prince Charles got married.
2. Liverpool became soccer Champions of Europe.
3. Australia lost the Ashes.
4. Pope Died.

1. Prince Charles got married.
2. Liverpool became soccer Champions of Europe.
3. Australia lost the Ashes.
4. Pope Died.

Lesson Learned:
The next time Charles gets married...

Someone warn the Pope!

Tuesday, June 26, 2007



Calcutta, State of Bengal

“They just bloody dropped dead!” The young major's voice trembled in anger as he faced his commanding officer. Electric punkas whirred sluggishly overhead, barely stirring the stifling air in the spacious office and doing nothing to dry the sweat pouring off his body.
The Colonel leaned back comfortably in his cushioned chair, lighting his pipe. "Yes, well, they were Indians weren't they, Major? It's not like they were British officers."
"They were men! Sir! They were not disposable because they were not British. Sir!"

Colonel Mainwarring lifted his grey eyebrows, raking the soldier before him with a contemptuous glance. "The entire regiment is aware of your singular opinion on that subject, Major Covington-Singh. However, it doesn't change the fact that the British Indian Army - especially the soldiers of the 1st Rangpur Foot - must at all times be at the ready. We do not mollycoddle our men because it happens to be rather warm."
"Sir, I appreciate we are not here to enjoy the niceties of a tea party, but it was 120 degrees when those men died from heat exhaustion. More than one day is needed to recover from such a march before departing on manoeuvres again."
The Colonel leaned forward to deposit his pipe in an ashtray and reach for a legal size envelope from a corner of his massive desk. "Nonsense. Any soldier worth his salt will do whatever is required of him. In a few short weeks the summer will end and the monsoons will start. Outbreaks of cholera and malaria will soon follow. Much more efficient to get done what we can now. You can start by studying this lot," he said, handing the Major the thick brown envelope. "Another murder while you were on manoeuvres. Nasty business, and normally not our concern to muck about in civilian matters, but several," he gave Major Covington-Singh a sharp look, "highly placed Indians have caused a palava with the Commissioner and now he's dumped it in our laps. Or more precisely, yours, since you are Security Officer, Major."

"Another Brahmin woman, I see, sir. That makes two now." Major Covington-Singh frowned, flipping through the pages. "If we don't count the prostitutes in the Bustees."
"You are aware, Major, anything that may happen in the Bustees is pure conjecture. It is no man's land. No bloody use imposing law and order in that hellish warren. No, we need only worry about the Brahmins. Find the wog responsible and arrest him. Can't think why the Civils cocked it up. Likely too busy chatting up these passive resistance berks."
"And if it isn't an Indian, Colonel?" the Major asked, his voice tight.
"Are you implying an Englishman may be culpable, Major? Don't be ridiculous! Of course it's a bloody Indian. It's a simple situation, Major. Take care of it." He reached for his pipe and tobacco pouch. "Dismissed."
Nigel Covington-Singh saluted and performed a smart about face before departing the office. He paused a moment, shading his eyes from the unrelenting glare of the Indian sun. He'd accomplished absolutely nothing bearding the Colonel in the den he so rarely left, in an attempt to stall manoeuvres until the mercury fell below the 120 degree mark. No wonder the old man remained in ignorance of how 'warm' it truly was. Nigel wiped his forehead with a handkerchief and headed for the Officers' Mess. A pint of English lager was what he needed.

The lounge was dark after the brightness outside, and with several fans operating, blessedly cool. A native server dressed in a white dhoti and tunic with matching turban approached when Nigel took a seat at the bar.
The server bowed, his face impassive. "Sahib, your pleasure, please?"
Nigel answered him and turned, hearing the stool next to him scraping the floor. A man of medium height, brown hair, and captain's epaulettes sat down and nodded to the bartender.
"I say, old chap, bloody hot out! Do pour me a large gin and tonic, there's a good man." Turning to Nigel, he announced, "Just posted here two days ago. Don't know if I'll ever get used to this heat. Doesn't get like this in Ireland – or in America. Spent three years there. Do you know those ridiculous Yanks have outlawed liquor! Can't go to one's club for a quiet smoke and a civilised drink. One is required to patronise an illegal 'speakeasy'. Rowdy places they are, too. And if the proper palms haven't been greased the bobbies break in and haul everyone off to the nick!" He paused to drink deeply from his sweaty glass. "I say, haven't introduced m'self yet. Harry Woodford at your service, Major –?"
"Nigel Covington-Singh," supplied Nigel.
"Heard you just lost five men on manoeuvres. Bad luck, old man!" He reached in his pocket for his Woodbines and politely offered one to the Major. After lighting both cigarettes, the Captain looked Nigel in the eye and remarked, "Damned lucky it wasn't any more in this heat."
Not wishing to discuss the sore subject, Nigel simply replied, "Quite." Taking a sip of his beer, he enquired, "What took you to America?"
"My fortune, of course. I am, unfortunately, one of those sorry creatures, a second son. Always handy to have a spare tucked away, until of course, the heir grows up healthy and produces an heir of his own. Makes one quite superfluous. M'father, the Earl of Tillinghurst, you know, sent me off to America to make my start." He gazed at the dregs in his glass forlornly before continuing. "Only trouble was I arrived a mere three months before the Crash. Lost everything, of course. Men were blowing their heads off right and centre, doncha know. Tried to make the most of it, but in the end I had to ask m'father for help. He arranged a commission, and here I am ready to cut a swath through the jungle."
Nigel smiled and ordered another round of drinks. "Instead of picking your way through the headless bodies and getting jostled about in one of your speakeasies, you'll be contending with mosquitoes the size of finches, cholera, malaria, snakes the length of this bar, and once the monsoons start, unending rain with mud every place you now see dust." He crushed out his cigarette and took possession of his new lager. "The heat is at its worst now summer is almost over."
The Captain shook his head. "Funny thing for summer to end in June." He pushed his empty glass out of the way and stirred his new one before sipping it.
"I say, one can't help hearing things, and even in the short time I've been here I've heard a few about you. Isn't your father a bigwig up north somewhere?"
"You could say that, yes. He's the Maharaja of Kashmir."
Capt. Woodford's eyes grew large and he opened his mouth to speak, but his words were lost by the low droning of an engine overhead. Very close overhead. It sputtered, coughed, quit and started again in a high pitched wine. In accord, both men rushed to the doorway to witness an old Bristol Fighter more fall on the dusty parade ground several hundred yards distant, than actually land.
Black smoke issued from the engine as the old flyer came to a halt. Three machine guns mountings from the Great War era swung loosely and something from the tail fell heavily into the dirt. Already the fire lorry was on the way, sirens blaring. Men poured from the surrounding regimental offices.
Approaching the growing pandemonium Nigel could see what he had thought were bombs under the wings, was in actuality luggage firmly lashed to them instead. He watched two slender figures emerge from the cockpits and onto the wings. An officer stepped forward to assist them down.
Once they were safely on the ground they reached to pull off their aviation caps, and held their audience spellbound. One revealed golden finger-waved tresses and the other, short red curls.

Saturday, June 16, 2007



December 1942
Some return from the fields of glory . . .
Scottish traditional song

“You don't want to go in there, guv. Bloody mess, it is.”
Alistair Fielding snapped shut his Special Branch identification holder and returned it to the breast pocket of his tweed blazer. The rank odour of stale blood brought back the memories with a merciless clarity.
“Aye, well, Sergeant, we all must do things we find distasteful nowadays,” he said and entered the bathroom. It was large, probably a redesigned dressing room, and bare. A cold radiator hugged the far wall and beside it, a deep-bowled pedestal sink, with an age spotted mirror hanging above it.
A claw foot tub occupied the centre of the room. Fielding felt his jaw clench and forced himself to keep his eyes open. Enduring four days of butchery and slaughter on the beach at Dunkirk could not inure him to human suffering. At least it didn't look as if this poor sod suffered long.
The tub was full to the rim with blood and water. A foot dangled over the end and an arm hung over the side. A vertical gash ran from the wrist to nearly the elbow, and although it no longer dripped, the evidence on the floor clearly attested that it had for some time.
Fielding skirted the pool of congealed blood and stepped to the head of the bath tub. The dead man's glassy eyes stared sightlessly at the wall opposite and his nose rested on the surface of the water. His skin was pallid, waxen. Rigour had come and gone. He'd been dead at least two days. Maybe more as the flat was ruddy cold.
“It's a suicide, guv, plain as the nose on your face.” The middle-aged sergeant still stood in the doorway, a dubious look etching his plump features. “Don't see the need for Special Branch to muck about with some poor tosser cockin' up his own toes.”
Fielding shot him a warning look. “It's not your concern why I'm here, Sargeant. Let it suffice that I am.” He tugged the victim's head backward by the hair and thumbed the eyelids fully open, examining the pupils. The motion set the water in the bath tub gently lapping at the sides, revealing the well healed stump of what remained of the man's right leg.
Shutting his own eyes and steeling himself, Fielding bent close to sniff the mouth of the corpse. He stepped back hastily, fished for the handkerchief in his pocket, and took a deep breath through it. “Who found the body and when?”
“His cousin, about an hour ago. A Miss Winterborne. She's in the sitting room now. A bit shaky, she is.”
“Did she touch anything? Did you, Sargeant ~?”
“Cummings, Sir. Shouldn't think she'd want to, and I certainly didn't.”
Probably hadn't even entered the room, Fielding thought as he bent, peering under the tub. He picked up the carving knife by the handle using his handkerchief. It was black and crusted with dried blood. “Find a bag to secure this.”
The sargeant made a choking sound and fled. He returned a moment later with a canvass shopping sack, hesitating at the threshold. Fielding dropped the knife into the sack and closed the loo door behind him. “No one enters that room, is that clear, Sargeant? Now show me the cousin.”
Cummings led him down the dark corridor and opened the door to the sitting room. Painted a cheery yellow in a bygone era, now it appeared drab and colourless in the lengthening shadows of the late afternoon. A layer of dust clung to the utility furniture and no ornaments adorned the room save for a few old hunt scenes hanging on the wall. The fireplace was empty and cold.
At first he didn't see her, and then he wondered how he could have ever missed her. She sat straight and motionless in a ladder back chair, staring out the window at the rain. The one spot of colour in the musty room, then she turned the full power of her stunning beauty toward him.
Hair, a vivid auburn, waved back from the translucent skin of her forehead in tall Victory rolls, high Nordic cheek bones, a sharply defined chin, delicate brows, and lips that looked as if they were still red and swollen from kissing her lover.
“Miss Winterborne, I'm Inspector Alistair Fielding, Scotland Yard.” Something murky in her dark blue eyes flickered, but was instantly gone. “I realise you've had a difficult day. I'll do my damnedest not to prolong it, but I have a question or two.”
She placed the plain white cup and saucer she'd been cradling in her lap on the window sill with a clatter, and turned her serene gaze on him.
Miss Winterborne was either frightened or hiding something. He wondered which it was.

* * *

Cicely turned toward the Metropolitan Police Inspector with the gravelly Scottish voice. This Scotsman had missed his calling. He could have made a fortune as a matinee idol or even a professional rugby player for that matter. He stood several inches over six feet and weighed 15 stone at least. His features were chiselled, proud, and aristocratic. Black hair quarrelled with his effort to ruthlessly slick it down. A slight cleft marked his chin. He stared at her with fathomless dark brown eyes. A poet's eyes. But a soldier's bearing. He frowned slightly and reached into his smartly tailored wool trouser pocket for his cigarettes.
Her perusal complete, she replied with a twist of her lips. “'Difficult', Inspector Fielding, is discovering a ladder in one's last pair of pre-war silk stockings. 'Difficult' is queuing for hours at the butcher's and then being turned away empty handed. 'Difficult' is a rather an anaemic word to describe my day. Harrowing is far more appropriate, Inspector.”
Standing, Cicely turned her back to him and gazed out the rain lashed window. The bitter November wind blew in through cracks in the casement and she shivered. Charcoal clouds massed on the horizon threatening a thunder and lightening storm. Her hands gripped tightly at her waist. She nearly jumped when Fielding spoke.
“Cigarette?” he offered. She hadn't heard him approach and now he towered over her, so closely she could smell his sandalwood cologne, feel his body heat, and see the individual whiskers of his late afternoon beard.
After she pulled a cigarette from the extended box, he clicked open a silver lighter. His eyes drew hers like a magnate over the flame. As soon as the tobacco caught, she stepped to the fireplace and stared into the empty grate, exhaling a cloud of smoke.
“When did you last see your cousin, Miss Winterborne?” Fielding remained by the window.
“Five days ago – Friday. Graham and I took the train down from Buckinghamshire together. We work – in different departments, of course – in a supply directory in Bucks.” Cicely flicked ash from her cigarette into the grate and swung around to face him. “We decide who receives what. Usually, although not always, we stay at the Directory during the week and come down to London at the weekends. He hasn't shown up for work this week, nor answered his phone, so I arranged for a bit of leave to check on him.”
His gaze rested on her speculatively. “You and Graham were close? Maybe you are aware of his reason for taking his own life?”
Cicely threw her unfinished cigarette into the fireplace. “Just what is this bosh about, Inspector? My cousin committed suicide. What is Scotland Yard doing mucking about with some poor sod who split open his wrists? Have you nothing better to do? Able bodied men are desperately needed; you might sign up for service!”
Fielding shot her a gimlet look and snapped, “Aye lass, you see there's this wee bit of annoying shrapnel lodged in my knee, left over from an exploding bomb on the beach at Dunkirk. HMG sent me back to my former profession and sees I generate enough bumf to justify my existence.” He switched on a lamp and sat on the shabby plaid chesterfield, stretching out his left leg. “So why don't you do your patriotic duty and keep me busy tonight.”
She froze at the words she and every other young woman heard from the soldiers. Especially the oversexed, overpaid, and over here Americans at the Women's Voluntary Services dances, in the Underground, and at the shops. But Fielding wasn't even looking at her - he was rubbing his left knee.
She lifted her chin, gave her hair a quick pat and said, “My apologies, Inspector.” Taking a deep breath, she said, “You-you saw his - what remained of Graham's leg?” At his nod, she continued. “He lost it at Dunkirk. They discovered him on that bloody beach beneath a pile of dead bodies, Inspector Fielding. It was no longer an evacuation when they found him, but a recovery. For four days he lay in his own blood and that of his fellow soldiers. His entire company perished – except for him. For two and half years he's found it . . . 'difficult'”, she threw Fielding's word back at him, “to live with.”
Making her way to the opposite end of the room, Cicely opened Graham's drinks cabinet, extracted a nearly empty bottle of Hennessy VSOP and poured herself two fingers. The bottle hovered over a second glass. “Inspector?” He shook his head and she shrugged, taking a long sip. Fire slicked down to her stomach and expanded in her veins like lava, giving her courage. A fool's courage. She took another sip.
“No, we weren't particularly 'close', Mr. Fielding. Graham didn't let anyone close to him. Always a bit of a loner, he was. No siblings and his parents emigrated to Canada before the war. None of them shared a particular fondness for pen and paper. Besides my parents in Cornwall, he's the only family left to me.” She shrugged again. “He needed to feel useful after Dunkirk, so I arranged a job at my place of employment.” And if she hadn't, Cicely thought bitterly, he might still be alive. She drained her glass.
The door to the sitting room burst open bringing in a draft of chilly air and a tall, thin brunette in an Air Raid Precaution uniform. She strode straight to Cicely and engulfed her in an embrace. “Cicely! You poor thing! How frightfully dreadful! I came as soon as I received your telephone call.”
Monty's sympathy nearly threatened Cicely's hard won composure, but she hugged her back, then broke free, blinking her eyes against gathering tears.
“And you are?” Fielding's voice cut across the room like a lancet. He rose from the chesterfield.
Monty started and whirled round. Lifting a hand to her hair, she eyed him boldly. Monty loved men. Especially tall, dark, handsome men in uniform. Cicely didn't think the lack of the latter really mattered in this case.
Cicely set her empty glass on the drinks cabinet. “This is Monetary Smith, my flatmate, Inspector. This is Inspector Fielding of Scotland Yard, Monty.”
Monty extended her hand and approached Fielding with a sparkle in her eye. “So pleased to meet you, Inspector. . .” Her step faltered and her hand fell to her side when Fielding merely regarded her with a flat stare. She frowned and retraced her steps. “Why is Scotland Yard responding to a suicide?”
“Apparently we are to answer his questions, dear, not the other way. Well, Inspector,” Cicely said, a cheeky tone to her voice now the liquor was taking effect, “you must be feeling quite useful now there's two of us to keep you busy. What may we do for you?”
Monty's brows lifted in askance and Fielding frowned darkly. Cicely knew she was out of line and didn't care. She wanted out of Graham's flat. She needed someplace safe to gather her thoughts, to think what to do. But where was safe?
“You may go now, Miss Winterbourne,” Fielding said slowly. “Our conversation can wait a day or two.”
“An excellent idea.” Monty took Cicely by the arm and threw Fielding an annoyed glare over her shoulder. “Come on, old girl, we have just enough time before my shift for a nice cup of tea.”
Outside on the pavement, Cicely gathered the collar of her wool coat around her neck against an icy east wind. Thunder boomed in the distance. Nearly everybody looked apprehensively at the sky and scuttled for shelter. Except for two men across the street. Cicely spotted one, directly adjacent, dressed as a labourer, leaning against the wall of a newsagent's, leisurely smoking a fag. Catching her eye, he glanced quickly away. The other chap, sporting a mac and a trilby, half a block behind, scrutinised a toy store window.
Monty started to run. “Come on, old girl, the Underground's just around the corner,” she called. “If we hurry, we shan't be soaked.”
They boarded the train at King's Cross, and ten minutes later disembarked at Russell Square, making their way south toward the British Museum. Normally in the late afternoon, light would be glowing between the enormous pillars and students, scholars, and tourists pouring in and out. But it was wartime, a repository had been bombed two years before, and the massive building stood empty, the Empire's treasures evacuated. With blackout in effect the pillars were shrouded in shadow and surrounded by sand bags. Few people came and went now. The blackout made a winter night even longer. Only the dimmest possible illumination was allowed at dark. Otherwise cities and towns made easy targets to German bombers and enabled clear navigation for enemy pilots.
Across the street, the Museum Pub made up for the museum's lack of custom. Although it too, was piled high with sand bags and it's windows painted black, the sounds of singing and tinkling glasses leaked out, following them two doors down where they entered an arched doorway.
Just as they ducked in and mounted the wide concrete steps to their flat thunder boomed, exploding like a Jerry bombing raid. The sky opened in torrents of rain.
The second floor landing was narrow with a flat at either end and a blacked out window in the centre. Cicely slotted a key into the lock of the right flat. Inside it was dark and draughty, and after hanging their coats, the girls went straight to the kitchen.
“Brr, the Aga needs turning up.” Cicely rubbed her upper arms and headed for the bright yellow stove.
Monty pulled a ladder back chair back from their small dining table. “Sit. You've had a frightful shock. I'll feed you bikkies and tea before my shift and you can fill me in on the details – that is if you are up to it, old girl.” She filled the kettle from the tap and set in on the burner. “That Inspector chap was a nice bit of alright.” She shot Cicely a speculative look. “He didn't seem interested in me, worse luck, but I glimpsed a touch of curiosity about you.”
Cicely rolled her eyes and settled herself in the chair. “Really Monty! Don't your RAF chaps keep you busy?”
Monetary shrugged. “At this point I could likely teach the green ones to fly a Spitfire or a Hurricane - and I haven't seen the cockpit of either one. I've decided to try Americans for a change of pace. Besides, they're such fun to listen to – 'Hey Princess, aren't you just a livin' doll'. And the chocolate!” She winked. “They couldn't possibly eat all those Hershey bars by themselves.” She reached into the cupboard for the tea tin, measured out two tiny pinches, then turned around, leaning on the counter and folding her arms across her chest. “Now then, why did Graham do such an awful thing? Who did he think would find him if not you?”
Cicely propped her elbows on the table, resting her face in her hands. She kept seeing Graham as she had found him: naked, pale, and so still, in a bathtub full of blood. She wanted to block out the sight and the smell, but was afraid it would never go away, never leave her in peace. She must move past the shock. And discover just what Graham had known.
Taking a deep breath, Cicely said, “He must have reached his breaking point. I wasn't due back from Bletchley until the weekend - for three more days. Likely it occurred to him his cleaning lady might find ~” she started as the kettle screamed.
“Ballocks.” Monty turned to pour the boiling water into the teapot. “He may not have nurtured any closeness between you, but he knew bloody well if he didn't turn up for work for several days, you'd come down to London to see why.” She brought the tea and a plate of vanilla biscuits to the table. Pausing, she looked carefully at Cicely. “Might it have anything to do with . . . with your work? I'm aware ~” She swallowed and started over. “Mums the word, of course, but I know you don't ruddy well work in a supply distribution centre at Bletchley.”
Cicely froze, then lowered her tea cup. She searched her dearest friend's face. “Why would you not think I distribute supplies?” She gave a small laugh. “Goodness, you don't imagine I'm into the cloak and dagger stuff?” Monty stared at her. “Really, Monty! It's all these spy propaganda posters. My job is quite innocent, I assure you. And dull. I'm a file clerk.” That much was true, at least. But it wasn't dull and it wasn't innocent.
Monty continued to regard her with a speculative gleam over the rim of her teacup. “I'm no boffin, but I know when I hear a load of double Dutch. I realise you can't blow the gaff. We'll say no more about it.” She swallowed the last of her tea and stood. “If any hypothetical situations arise and you need to talk, you have a sympathetic – and discreet listener. Now I'm off for my shift, keeping an eye out for the Hun in the sky,” she said, lifting her hand in a playful salute.
When the door slammed behind Monty, Cicely rose from her chair, flipped off the light switch, and made her way in the gloom to the window. Very carefully she lifted the tight fitting black out blind and peered outside.
Heavy clouds and pelting rain contributed to an early darkness. The street lights were dimmed and the few vehicles out burning petrol wore shields over their lamps, allowing a mere pinprick of illumination.
Monty ran across the road, her neck hunched into her collar and her mac flying out behind her from the force of the wind. She dashed right by a man leaning against the iron spike fence surrounding the museum. He wore a trench coat and a trilby pulled low over is face.
Cicely's gaze darted in every direction. Not many ventured out in the blackout. The few who did, hurried to find shelter, or had already found it in shop doorways.
She glanced back at the man in the trench coat. He'd pushed his trilby to the back of his head and was staring up at her. Rain poured down his face, but he didn't blink. Cicely felt those eyes burn through her like red-hot daggers. Finally, he righted his hat and strode away, enveloped in blackness and a torrent of rain.
She jumped when the loud banging on her door started.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Who Are You?

Check yourself out and see what kind of a person you really are......when you reach the website, click on the "one" photo that really inspires you...then wait for the next page and continue doing the same until the end and following the instructions:

Saturday, June 09, 2007


London, 1942
With the clouds of war dark and cold hanging over her, Britain is fighting the Nazis nearly alone. German U-boats are sinking homeland-bound supply ships, the Desert Fox’s panzers are winning in North Africa and the Luftwaffe is shooting the RAF out of the skies. But Britain has an ultra-secret weapon: The German Enigma Code has been broken, and agents at Bletchley Park are spending 24 hours a day decoding the messages. Hope remains.

Cicely Winterbourne works at Bletchley Park. She’s an ordinary girl, but nearly every dirty little secret of WWII passes through her hands. One may get her killed. Already two people have been murdered, and Cicely must find out who wants her dead: the Germans, the Russians, or an entity too terrifying to consider. The world hangs in the balance, and as perhaps the only person in Britain able to save her country, Cicely knows she can confide in no one – not even Alistair Fielding, dashing war hero of Dunkirk.

The first law of espionage is to never trust anyone, not even those who make you burn with desire. And especially not when there’s a


Monday, June 04, 2007


Free-spirited and ultra-modern Elizabeth Mainwarring returned to the sultry, spice-scented land of her birth for one last go at mending the breach with her long-estranged sire. She met Major Covington-Singh, a prince and an officer in her father’s regiment. The man was tall, dark, and utterly irresistible.

Yet there was peril in desiring him. He warned her against falling for a wog, a blacky-white, an Anglo-Indian. It might be modern times in England, but not in India. Even for the son of a duke and a maharaja. Why, even Elizabeth’s father would disapprove! And then there were the recent happenings: the murders, the cruel strangling of those who were indiscreet.

For Elizabeth to love Nigel meant death. But she couldn’t stop, even if there was a…


Friday, June 01, 2007


Watch for it September 1!

PERFIDIA Backcover!

Click on the picture to read the blurb.

Friday, May 25, 2007


HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO THE PRINCELINGS!! Sinji and Fergus are 3 years old today!!

Friday, May 18, 2007


This is my second book. Released December, 2005.

London, 1942
With the clouds of war dark and cold hanging over her, Britain is fighting the Nazis nearly alone. German U-boats are sinking homeland-bound supply ships, the Desert Fox’s panzers are winning in North Africa and the Luftwaffe is shooting the RAF out of the skies. But Britain has an ultra-secret weapon: The German Enigma Code has been broken, and agents at Bletchley Park are spending 24 hours a day decoding the messages. Hope remains.

Cicely Winterbourne works at Bletchley Park. She’s an ordinary girl, but nearly every dirty little secret of WWII passes through her hands. One may get her killed. Already two people have been murdered, and Cicely must find out who wants her dead: the Germans, the Russians, or an entity too terrifying to consider. The world hangs in the balance, and as perhaps the only person in Britain able to save her country, Cicely knows she can confide in no one – not even Alistair Fielding, dashing war hero of Dunkirk.

The first law of espionage is to never trust anyone, not even those who make you burn with desire. And especially not when there’s a


1939 World's Fair

The World's Fair of 1939 was held in Flushing Meadows in northern Queens, New York featured optimism and futurism as its theme.

Westinghouse took on the huge project of collecting items for a time capsule to be retreived 5000 years in the futue! The contents were chosen based upon how well they captured life in America in 1939. Some of these items are still considered essential today albeit more advanced:
Alarm clock
Can opener
Nail File

A few items in the time capsule I found telling of the early 20th century:
"Pertaining to the Grooming and Vanity of WomenWoman's hat, style of Autumn, 1938 (designed specially by Lilly Dache)
Cosmetic make-up kit (Elizabeth Arden Daytime-Cyclamen ColorHarmony Box, including two miniature boxes of face-powder, lipstick, rouge, eye shadow)
Rhinestone clip (purchased at Woolworth's)

Pertaining Principally to the Grooming, Vanity or Personal Habits of Men
Container of tobacco
Electric razor and cord (Remington-Rand Close Shaver withWestinghouse motor, General Shaver Corp.)
Package of cigarettes
Safety razor and blades (Gillette Aristocrat one-piece razor,Gillette Safety Razor Co.)
Smoking pipe (Drinkless Kaywoodie, Kaywoodie Company)
Tobacco pouch, closed with zipper (Alfred Dunhill of London)
One might think all men of 1939 did was shave and smoke!

Among other time capsule items: textiles and materials, an essay in microfilm, a newsreel, money, asbestos, toys, poker chips, seeds sealed in glass tubes, special messages from important men of the time including Albert Einstein.
Another sample of the contents of the capsule:Our Education and Educational Systems147.
Education: Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 7, pp. 964-1005149.
All The Children: 39th Annual Report of the Superintendent of Schools, New York City, School Year 1936-1937VIII.
Our Sciences and Techniques150.
Introduction151.Science: Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 20, pp. 115-123152.
Scientific Method: Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 20, pp. 127-133153.
The Story of Science, by David Dietz: Dodd, Mead: 1938154.
The Smithsonian Physical Tables: Washington: SmithsonianInstitution, Publication 3171, 1934155.
Meteorology: Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 15, pp. 343-356156.
Mathematics: Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 15, pp. 69-89157.
Portraits of Eminent Mathematicians, by David Eugene Smith:New York: Scripta Mathematica, portfolios 1 and 2158.
Telescopes: Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 15, pp. 904-909159.
Microscopes: Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 15, pp. 433-443IX.
Our Earth, Its Features and Peoples160.
The World Atlas: New York: Rand McNally162.
Our Races: Introduction163.
The World's Races: Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 2, pp. 41-50164.
Explanation of the Fundamental Triangulation Net of the UnitedStates (with map)165.
Methods of Surveying: Coast & Geodetic Survey booklets, Nos.502, 529, 562, 583, Spec. No. 23, Dept of Commerce166.
Geology: Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 10, pp. 155-173167.
Exploring Down, by Sherwin F. Kelly, reprint from the Explosives Engineer, Sept.-Oct. 1935168.
The Earth: Chester A. Reeds, New York: The University Press,First Trade Edition 1935X.
Our Medicine, Public Health, Dentistry and Pharmacy169. Introduction170.
Frontiers of Medicine, by Dr. Morris Fishbein: Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins, June 1933
171.Men of Medicine: The March of Time, Issue No. 11, Vol. IV172.Work of the United States Public Health Service, Reprint 1447173.
Report of the Surgeon General of the United States, June 30,

1937174.Dentistry: Encyclopedia Britannica, Vol. 7, pp. 222-225175.1937 Year Book of Dentistry176.United States Pharmacopeia177.
X-Ray and Fluoroscopy: catalogues of the Westinghouse X-RayCompany

For more infomation go to

Monday, April 23, 2007

What Type of Writer?

What type of writer would you be?
It says I should be a film writer:
You don't just create compelling stories, you see them as clearly as a movie in your mind.You have a knack for details and dialogue. You can really make a character come to life.Chances are, you enjoy creating all types of stories. The joy is in the storytelling.And nothing would please you more than millions of people seeing your story on the big screen!

Take the test! (P.S. I discovered this on my friend Carol Burnside's blog)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

A Special Day!

Today is very special! It's my mother's 85th birthday! What a milestone.

Happy Birthday Mom!!!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Questions Regarding Writing the Early 20th Century Novel

A few questions I've been asked on writing an early 20th century novel ~

What made you choose the settings and time periods for your Blood Moon books?
I wanted to write romantic thrillers but felt I could never write a contemporary one because I can't keep up with everyday technology let alone the advanced equipment my characters would use. Yet I didn't want to write a historical either.I've always been fascinated by WWI, the roaring '20's and WWII. It seemed my voice matched the era: not quite modern but quite historical.

2) After Perfidia, what books do you have planned? What settings can we look forward to?

I'm planning a WWI romantic thriller, a roaring '20's paranormal, a '20's mystery novella, a couple of post WWII romantic thrillers, an early '60'sparanormal, and a late '60's thriller.

3) As writers, we hear from time to time that the historical market is in a slump. You write about an era that writers are told won't sell, yet have contracted three books withDorchester. Did you consider this at all, or did you simply write what you like to read?

While I was writing Bengal I was told the time (1932) and the place (India) would never sell. I considered quitting the book but decided I needed the practice. Afterwards I considered writing a different time period. Decided I couldn't do it so I'd have to work extra hard to get published.

4) How much research to you do before writing?

Most of it. Usually something crops up while I'm writing that I must research.

5) What tricks do you use to make the time period come alive for the reader?

I pretend I'm there:-) What would I see, smell, feel, and hear. To do this takes a bit of concentration so I keep my office door closed. I need quiet and solitude. However, purrs from the Princelings are allowed:-)

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Catty Quotes

"In the beginning, God created man, but seeing him so feeble, He gave him the cat."

- Warren Eckstein"

A cat is more intelligent than people believe, and can be taught any crime."

-Mark Twain Notebook, 1895"

You can keep a dog; but it is the cat who keeps people, because cats find humans useful domestic animals."

- George Mikes from How to be decadent

"Dogs come when they're called. Cats take a message and get back to you."

- Mary Bly

"Beware of people who dislike cats."

- Irish Proverb

"I like pigs. Dogs look up to us. Cats look down on us. Pigs treat us as equals."

- Winston Churchill

"I have studied many philosophers and many cats. The wisdom of cats is infinitely superior."

- Hippolyte Taine

"Dogs believe they are human. Cats believe they are God."

- Unknown

"Women and cats will do as they please, and men and dogs should relax and get used to the idea."

- Unknown

"Dogs have owners, cats have staff."

- Unknown

"People who hate cats, will come back as mice in their next life."

- Faith Resnick

"I have noticed that what cats most appreciate in a human being is not the ability to produce food which they take for granted—but his or her entertainment value."

- Geoffrey Household

"As anyone who has ever been around a cat for any length of time well knows cats have enormous patience with the limitations of the human kind."

- Cleveland Amory

Monday, March 26, 2007

A Purse Snatching!

No, I wasn't mugged:-)

When St. John Blue exited his cat box last night, his brother Fergus pounced him. Although this is typical behavior for them it still caught Sinji unaware - so he takes up the game and runs for the hills. In this case our green leather loveseat. While sailing over it he inadvertantly harnesses himself to my suitcase-like purse and off it goes bouncing after him. He takes the merest second to glance behind him. Good God it's a monster! A monster had attached itself to him! Now he is running for dear life, his paws scrabbling and slipping on the hardwood floor. He circles the living room. The creature refuses to budge. He circles the dining room. The beast yet clings! Oh dear lord, mama and papa have abandoned him to his fate! He-he could be eaten alive or-or mauled to death!

He sprints around the kitchen island three times before shooting up the stairs, bag thudding behind him, in a flurry of fur. He heads for the office and dashes under my desk trembling in terror. When I manage to get a hold of the slippery little man my purse handle is caught tight around his neck. After losening him I was forced to lock myself in the bathroom because I was shaking in laughter and I couldn't indulge in front of my scared little kitty. Such a trauma for the poor wee lad.

Several minutes later and more in control, I go downstairs to replace my misused purse on the loveseat and discover the reason Loren hadn't heard all the palava.

He was watching the TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE.
I guess the purse-monster just doesn't rate against leather face.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

What Are You Reading?

I'm taking this subject from my friend Tracy Goodwin's blog today

Right now I'm reading SEE NO EVIL by Allison Brennen. Very good! But then I enjoy all of Allison's books.

Yesterday I picked up a new author, Virginia Baker. Her book, JACK KNIFE, intrigued me. I'll start reading it after EVIL. Also picked up Tami Hoag's PRIOR BAD ACTS.

Next month I'm really looking forward to SEASON OF THE WITCH, by Natasha Mostert, one of my very favorite authors.

What are you reading just now? How did you choose it? Review, recommendation, or favorite author?

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Wordy Harry

"I know what you're thinking, punk," hissed Wordy Harry to his new editor, "you're thinking, 'Did he use six superfluous adjectives or only five?' - and to tell the truth, I forgot myself in all this excitement; but being as this is English, the most powerful language in the world, whose subtle nuances will blow your head clean off, you've got to ask yourself one question: 'Do I feel loquacious?' - well do you, punk?"

Friday, March 09, 2007

Terror and Roller Coasters

When we returned from L.A. and Anaheim last week it was complete with bugs. Me with a sinus infection and Loren with laryngitis. He says his lack of voice stems from his ride on the California Screamin’ roller coaster. If that were so I would only speak with a whisper due to the Hollywood Hotel Tower of Terror. It’s his fault. He talked me into it. We were whooshing down twenty stories at the speed of light. The ride resembles a cargo elevator. We were strapped in with only seatbelts! No shoulder harnesses or other safety measures! Up we speed to the 20th floor – and down we slam. We actually left our seats! Up and down, up and down. I missed the gorgeous view at the top, of Disneyland and California Adventure Park by night because my eyes were closed. I think had they been open I’d have lost my dinner. When we made our escape Loren nearly ran to the gift shop, exclaiming, “We gotta have photos of this!” I followed meekly. Only because my legs were to shaky run! I felt drunk without the benefit of liquor.

For this event the California Adventure Park (a part of Disneyland) was closed to the public to entertain a few thousand club managers and their spouses. Lots of food, an open bar, a great band, and a few free rides and games. As usual with Loren’s conference we stayed out late. I always got to sleep in but poor Loren had to arise every day at the crack of dawn.

When we returned home our Princelings were overjoyed to see us. Then they promptly snubbed us to let us know our absence was not appreciated. After lots of treats: fish flakes, Pounce, cuttlefish, and dried anchovies) they were appeased enough to give us welcome home loves.

Southern California was cold so it’s good to have thawed out. Kona weather is arriving this weekend then back to wonderful Trade Wind weather. Kona weather is very still and humid with vog from the volcanoes on the Big Island.

Hope everyone is seeing signs of Spring!

Monday, March 05, 2007

Over Los Angeles on a Clear Day

As one of the most exciting experiences on my recent trip to L.A. and Anaheim I thought this blog worthy:-)
I accompanied my husband to his world conference for club managers in Anaheim for several days this month. To keep me out of mischief (in other words to keep me out of harm's way of gorgeous shoes and designer outfits yelling my name) he asked a favor of his best friend. His friend hired a 26 year veteran LAPD helicopter pilot as the head pilot for his club. A whisper in this helpful man's ear and my friend, Kun Hwa, and I were saved from a day of epic shopping.
We were both coldly awakened from delicious dreams of Dior, Versace, Louis, waiting on our every whim, to hear we had had an hour to make ourselves presentable and speed to downtown L.A. from Anaheim. We made it but whether or not we were actually presentable is another story.
After breakfast our pilot and tactical officer presented waivers for us to sign 'just in case.'
'Um, just in case of what?' I ask.
'In case the bad guys shoot at us. In case we dive and you hit your head on the way down. That sort of thing.
''You mean we could actually get shot at for real?!
''Oh yeah. We could crash.'
Mmmm. Breakfast had been settling nicely until now.
One of the guys sent us a cocky smile. 'Sure you want to go up for 3 hours?
''You bet we do! When are we going?' Kun Hwa is a rocket. Nothing scares her.
'This way.' The pilot led the way to the roof and took his pick of several helicopters.When he opened the door I saw the back seat was really quite roomy. I had thought helicopters would be cramped. Kun Hwa and I slid into our seats, applied our earplugs, fastened our lap and shoulder straps, then fit the ear phones over our head so we could hear all communication coming and going. The tactical officer handed us sick bags which both Kun Hwa and I threw on the floor. We've always had iron tummies.
Just before take off the pilot warns us there are no potty stops. We only stop if one of the passengers can't take the ride and must debark. He adds in a slick tone that last week his macho cop friend only lasted an hour. Did we really think we'd last the full 3 hour shift?
Kun Hwa looked out the window and said, 'Isn't it about time we went?'
Off we took, going straight down. Yep, felt a little vertigo there, but then he was off roaring for the Hollywood sign. It was a bright, clear, sunny day. No clouds, smog, or mist. After hovering over the famous sign - which I hadn't seen in person since I was 5 years old - we flew over a few movie stars' mansions and Universal Studios.
As it turned out this Saturday from 11am - 2pm was slow crime wise. No murders, robberies, or car chases. Only three domestic violence calls.The LAPD helicopters provide air support to ground officers. The helicopter circles the problem site, relaying pertinent information to the ground troups. The tactical officer uses the PA and siren when needed. When they are no longer needed they fly to another call.
Sometimes SWAT calls the trusty heliptor crew. Special outside benches must be attatched so safely belted SWAT officers can target the bad guys when the helo pilot dives. Scary stuff. My hands and feet perspired heavily looking at those photos of the real thing.
We were privelegded to fly over all of Los Angeles County from the Hollywood sign to the stunningly beautiful Venice Beach. Living in Hawaii I didn't think our beaches could be beat, but Venice is as good as it gets!
Between sightseeings we learned that an LAPD officer must work traffic for 5 years before he/she may qualify to take the helicopter tactical officer test. The job of the tactical officer, who sits on the pilot's left, is to man the GPS system, so the pilot knows exactly where he/she must go. The TO takes all in coming calls, maps them, and keeps up with the 5 frequencies broadcast. After about 5 years of successful tacticals the person is looked at to be groomed for the next pilot opening.
The helicopter manuevered some serious forward and sideways dives. Better that any Disney ride! I will always remember this as a truly fabulous day.
As great as this trip was, it did come with a downside. Just before heading for the 'barn' the TO and the pilot showed us a gang controlled housing project. If one is in need of special income housing, one is not afforded a choice. One is sent to one and that's that. This (think one of the primary colors) gang controlled this project with a tight fist. The residents lived under the gang's thumb. Lots of cars, shirts, and hats of a certain bright color. Very unfortunatley, there is no way of keeping your children out of that gang.
When we landed at the end of the shift both the pilot and tactical officer praised Kun Hwa and me for being such great passengers. We were no trouble to them at all. Both officers were friendly and made us feel very welome and posed for our photos afterwards.
Hey, Kun Hwa, when are we doing this again?

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Feral Princelings and Chilly Mornings

I received a letter from my Uncle Harry in Dunoon, Scotland yesterday. My Aunt Thelma was so impressed with the photos I sent them of the Princelings she took the pictures to their golf club to show off our kitties! Uncle Harry told me if they ever went feral they would terrorize the surrounding countryside and residents would be out with their shotguns. He is so right! I can just see one of the neighbors aiming at them with a shotgun. The wily Fergus would dash under the shooter’s sights and take a bite out of his behind before streaking into the underbrush. Sinji, on the other hand, would turn his limpid whisky colored gaze upon the lady of the house, his paw pushing delicately on his still writhing prey, and beg the lady to fillet his gecko for him. After all, a clown prince cannot possibly be expected to prepare his own food!

Those two do lead us a lively dance. Ahem, a very lively one last week when we packed them up to visit the vet. We have the scratches to prove it. The Princelings do not care to be cooped up in pet carriers or go for car rides. However, the reception they were accorded made up for any discomfort they suffered. They were worshipped by employee and customer alike. The meds prescribed them, for possible heartworm and non-existent fleas, went over like a cabbage dinner. Sinji and Fergus are great connoisseurs of carpet fuzz, fur balls, and cockroaches but give them a p-i-l-l stuffed in a succulent flake of tuna and the p-i-l-l isn’t touched! They will consume nearly anything that hits the floor, but not, of course, something they are supposed to eat.

We are experiencing quite the cold snap. Nothing compared to anyone not living in the tropics, of course, but it is chilly for us. The other morning the temperature read 53F! I went searching for my trusty tower quartz heater I’ve had hidden in storage for such contingencies only to find it no longer worked! As we don’t have a furnace I was forced to grab a cat to keep warm.

Loren and I are anticipating our trip to L.A. and Anaheim next week. He’s looking forward to golfing at a few exclusive clubs like Bel Air Country Club, Brentwood CC, Wilshire CC and Los Angeles CC. Although Loren enjoys golf he says he wouldn’t play if he had to pay for it. In my opinion, the best place for a golf club is in the golf bag. I’m going shopping.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Questions and Answers on Writing the Early 20th Century Novel

A few questions I've been asked on writing an early 20th century novel ~
1) Is it harder to write a recent time than say, a medieval or ancient book?
I think it's easier to write more recent history because I can interview eyewitnesses and people who lived during those times. I love listening to firsthand accounts! My maternal grandmother was head nanny to the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire's daughters. Did she have stories to tell! My maternal grandad was an under-butler in the same household. I always looked forward to their stories. I listened avidly to my father's war stories as well. He served in the BEF (British Expedionary Force) and was evacuated at Dunkirk. He went on to serve in Calcutta and Burma in the British Indian Army. Unfortunately, my maternal grandfather (British Army) wouldn't speak of his experiences in the Great War. My paternal granddad (also British Army) did speak a bit. He spent most of the war as a prisoner of war in Germany. If I can find anyone else to tell me their stories of the past I listen:-)
2) Must you visit the location where your book is set?
Everyone has an opinion on whether an author must visit the place he/she writes about. I don't believe that. After all, how many historical writers have been to the year they are writing about? By the same token, do murder mystery writers have to commit murder to get it totally correct?
Although I've spent a great deal of time in both England and Scotland, I've never been to India or Germany. The climax of BLOOD MOON OVER BRITAIN, takes place in St. Just-in-Penwith, Cornwall. I spent two weeks there and a great deal of time following the cliffpaths detailed in the book. I knew at the time those paths would find their way into a book:-) No wonder Daphne du Maurier wrote almost exclusivley of Cornwall. It's quite inspiring.
3) What inspired you to write your books?
The stories my father told me of his time in WWII India inspired BLOOD MOON OVER BENGAL.
The inspiration for BLOOD MOON OVER BRITAIN came from a book I read, A MAN CALLED INTREPID. When it was released in the mid '70s it was a bombshell because it detailed espionage secrets about WWII. It's an account of the foremost Allied spy, his actions, and the German Enigma machine.
Ken Follet's and Alistair McLean's books inspired me to write PERFIDA, a thriller set inside the Third Reich.
4) What do you do if you've been away from your wip for a while or hit a dry spot while writing?
I read books set in the time period I'm writing about and period movies/dvds. Also, I make a point to read my very favorite authors when I'm working on a book.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

A 20 Year Romance

Two days ago my husband, Loren, and I celebrated the 20th anniversary of our first date! We went to Kitsap Golf and Country Club, the club Loren managed at the time, to watch the Superbowl, enjoying dinner afterwards at the Boatshed in East Bremerton, WA on 25 January 1987. We can’t believe it’s been twenty years already! This time we had dinner at Le Bistro, in Aina Haina, Loren’s favorite dinner house. It’s crowded every night and the food is always delicious.
Twenty years ago Loren ate halibut, this time it was onaga, a Hawaiian white fish that during the Kingdom years was exclusively reserved for royalty. On our first date I enjoyed scampi and this time it was sea bass. We drank the same champagne as on our first date: White Star. A very nostalgic and romantic evening.

Friday, January 19, 2007


I'm so excited! Just received my back copy blurb for PERFIDIA, a thriller set inside the Third Reich, due out in September. Former title was Blood Moon Over Berlin.

“To you,my heart cries out ‘Perfidia,’for I find you, the love of my life,in someone else’s arms…”


Sophie de Havilland fled London and her past, vowing never to return. In Germany she sought solace, with her aunt, and couldn’t help but admire how the Third Reich had reclaimed a country so near ruin. But soon the veneer crumbled. Beneath the frenetic nightlife of 1939 Berlin, the swirling parties with the dashing SS in their night-black uniforms and their beautiful dames, she saw cancer growing. Stories of an impossible nature—terrible stories, terrible crimes—she began to believe.

These Nazis were Germany’s demon lover: handsome, fearsome, faithless, murderous. Her aunt had been right to seek escape. But, was it possible? One man offered hope: a handsome half-American. But while his spicy scent and strong arms seduced her with safety, the lightning on his collar and his searing blue eyes reminded her that sometimes the handsomest faces hid perfidious intent.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Chages Occurred Quickly During the 1920s - 1940s

The '20s were the aftermath of the Great War. The world had seen nothing like it. For the first time battles were fought in the air, poison gas was used, tanks made an appearance. Many women took mens jobs until they returned from war. Women were on the battlefield as nurses. The '20's were roaring for a goodreason: Survivors of the war went crazy in celebrating life.For the first time in history (other than a high fever) women cut their hair short, hemlines went way up. Clothing for women was far less contricting: no corsets and simple roll up stockings were worn. Women took up the 'outrageous'habits of smoking and drinking - and men accepted it. Women wearing cosmetics became fashionable. Class structures - on both sides of the Atlantic - brokedown. Women got the vote. It was a wild and happening time. Divorces were now acceptable - even a little daring. The '30s, by contrast, saw the stockmarket crash and a world wide depression. As usually happens in less affluent times, conservatism took over. Hemlines went down. The fun of the '20's was considered decadent. Divorce in the middle class was looked upon as irresponsible, but still acceptable in the upper classes.When the '40's arrived the habit of women smoking, drinking, and gambling was no longer considered bold but a usual thing. A war was on - an even more advanced one than before, and again women took up male jobs and nursing on the front lines. Morals were a bit loser as one never knew how long one had to live. People lived for the moment.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Excerpt From BLOOD MOON OVER BENGAL, Chapter Two

Elizabeth slid off the wing with the help of a wide-eyed young lieutenant. It had been a long journey with many discomforts: storms at sea, delays caused by train derailments, and now by far the worst - a near plane crash. Adrenalin still fizzed in her veins. Next to her, Fiona was busy brushing the dust off her flying suit and combing her fingers through her hopelessly knotted bright red hair. Elizabeth knew she didn't look her best either and was in no mood to face a battalion of swarming men and a screaming fire engine.
The lieutenant enquired as to any injuries and been assured that they were only a bit rattled. Another, older officer strode through the gathering crowd.
How exotic looking, Elizabeth thought, and suddenly wished she wasn't so dishevelled. He had a tall, muscled physique, with very broad shoulders and was deeply tanned. Wavy black hair and a mustache graced features seemed carved from stone. His high cheekbones and aquiline nose conveyed a slightly Asian impression that was curiously belied by what were now angry blue eyes.
"Have you lost any sense you might have been born with? The airstrip is twelve miles due north. This is a military parade ground, not your private landing strip. Any number of my men could have been killed."
Instead of shrinking from his anger the lovely, delicate girl before him lifted her chin answering his challenge.
"But they weren't because the ground was empty. I chose it for that reason. Not that I was presented much choice Major-" Elizabeth caught sight of the name badge attached to his khaki uniform shirt, "Covington-Singh. The engine cut out and Miss MacKay and I were lucky to find anywhere to land safely. And aside from the harrowing experience of falling out of the sky, it's rather convenient as this is our destination. We've come to visit my father. Col. Mainwarring."
Nigel felt his stomach clench. This gorgeous creature was the daughter of the commanding officer of the regiment. He mentally shrugged his shoulders. Not that he'd be allowed near her anyway.
Stepping forward, Fiona said, "Perhaps some of your men could unstrap our baggage, Major, and escort us to the Colonel's bungalow. We're quite tired, and not at our best at the moment. Our aeroplane must be towed, of course. I'm sure a mechanic must be somewhere about to right the engine. Then you shan't have to worry about us--"
"Buggering up your precious parade ground again," finished Elizabeth with a twist of her lips.
"Ladies, I should be happy - with your permission of course, Major - to accompany you to the Colonel's quarters. Newly commissioned Capt. Woodford at your service."
"They're all yours Captain." Nigel turned and began organising the clearing of the ground.
Harry held out an arm for each girl. "Pay no attention to him Miss Mainwarring, Miss MacKay, he's endured a particularly trying week."
Elizabeth noticed the good Captain gazing at Fiona's generous chest. Men did that. Fiona was very small, barely five feet, in fact, and slender except for what Fiona termed her 'oversized bust'. The poor girl was quite self conscious about it and did what she could to hide it, but it was really quite impossible. Already she was blushing hotly.
Elizabeth unrepentantly interrupted the Captain's muse. "One would hope he's not such a boor everyday. I do hope Father received my letter. With all the delays encountered in travelling I'd not be surprised to find we had beaten it here because of our little flying short cut."
"He couldn't fail to be overjoyed at such lovely visitors. And do please call me Harry," he said, giving Fiona an especially warm look. He arranged a staff car for transportation and apologised for his lack of talent as tour guide once they were on their way.
"Just arrived m'self, you see. However, I know enough to point out this area of the cantonment as the family sector. Bachelor officers live on the other side of the regimental buildings in smaller bungalows."
The avenue was wide and paved, unlike the smaller hard packed dirt side roads. A few tamarind and palm trees bordered the road and the mostly one story houses were set well back from them on generous fenced lots. It was really quite beautiful in a foreign sort of way.
Arriving at their destination, Harry excused himself and took off in a cloud of dust.Elizabeth stood looking at her father's imposing stone bungalow with its steep eaves and large immaculately kept garden. Blooming tropical flowers and roses shared equal space and plenty of shade was provided by palm, citrus, and banana trees. It hadn't changed. But she'd been only a child when she'd seen it last. She brushed her suddenly moist palms on her flight suit.
"Oh Fi, have we done the right thing? I haven't seen him since I was 12. It's been nine years and I barely know him. I'm not sure I do want to know him. He was always so authoritarian, no room for any opinion save his own. It's no wonder Mum left him."
"You never would have forgiven yourself if you simply sailed on to New Zealand without giving your relationship with him a chance. He could be different now you are adult. He certainly can't tell you what to do anymore."
Elizabeth smiled and headed for the garden gate. "He always made fun of Uncle Charlie for dirtying his hands on a filthy sheep station. Yes, Uncle dirtied his hands alright. Right into black gold. It's just too bad neither he nor Mum lived very long to enjoy it."
"But you can." Fi followed her up the verandah stair.
The doorbell was rung and they were let in by a turbaned butler. He expressed no surprise at the unexpected arrival, merely informed them the Sahib had not arrived home for the evening and offered to show them to guest rooms and provide refreshment.
The girls revived themselves with tea and biscuits while their baths were drawn. By the time they finished bathing, their baggage arrived and they were shaking out the creases. Elizabeth chose a shimmery gold bias cut dinner frock and her mother's pearls. After applying powder, mascara, lip rouge, and a touch of her favourite Arpegé perfume she met her friend in the drawing room.
Fi was studying a collection of ivory carvings on the mantelpiece. Surveying the room, Elizabeth shook off the clinging feeling of Deja Vu. Bronze statues of Indian deities resided on carved dark wood tables and the old remembered Oriental carpets covered the teak floor. The room was smaller through adult eyes. She made straight for the drinks table and poured two sherries.
"Do let's fortify ourselves before the dragon arrives breathing fire, old girl.""I think you are making too much of it. He'll be overjoyed to see you, I'm sure. You are his daughter, after all." Fi sipped from her crystal glass and made herself comfortable on the settee.
"I'm not so sure. Mum never admitted to leaving him, but blamed the re-current malaria for sending her home to Devon. She maintained she couldn't survive another season in India and England did do wonders for her health. Father only visited once, nine years ago. They got on horribly and he left early. He may think me disloyal as well."
"That's ridiculous! You were a child! Besides, you were sent home for your schooling. You couldn't very well trot on back to India on holidays."
Elizabeth poured herself a second sherry. "Yes, well, I have mentioned that Father has rather peculiar ideas. Doesn't he keep anything stronger than sherry?"
"And what might you prefer instead, Daughter? The infamous pink gin that sends more British soldiers home in a box than malaria? Or perhaps you'd like the direction of the nearest opium den?"

Saturday, January 06, 2007

A Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, in a land far away, a beautiful, independent, self-assured princess happened upon a frog
as she sat, contemplating ecological issues on the shores of an unpolluted pondin a verdant meadow near her castle.
The frog hopped into the princess' lap and said: Elegant Lady, I was once a handsome prince, until an evil witch cast a spell upon me. One kiss from you, however, and I will turn back into the dapper, young prince that I am and then, my sweet, we can marry and set up housekeeping in your castle with my mother, where you can prepare my meals,clean my clothes, bear my children, and forever feel grateful and happy doing so.
That night, as the princess dined sumptuously on lightly sautéed frog legs seasoned in a white wine and onion cream sauce, she chuckled and thought to herself: I don't freaking think so.


My friend and fellow WWII romance writer L.K. Campbell's book A SOLDIER'S LOVE was released 1 January!

A SOLDIER'S LOVE begins in the fall of 1941 just prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor and America's entry into the second world war. Ron Miller, an army officer on reserve duty while attending graduate school at the University of Maryland, is nursing a broken heart and cautious about falling in love again.
Katie McNeill, a shy but beautiful clerk at the school, harbors a crush on Ron but is bewildered by his apparent lack of interest in her. Tired of "sitting at home alone on Saturday nights," she becomes involved with a young student named Jimmy Garrett. Jimmy is a spoiled young man from a wealthy, dysfunctional family, who just happens to be sharing an apartment with Ron.
Sunday, December 7 will change all three of their lives forever when innocence is lost and the future becomes uncertain.
Available in trade paperback & ebook. For more information, visit

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Not a Good Bang for the New Year!

My new year came in with an unwelcome bang. Was supposed to enjoy a romantic New Years Dinner with hubby but a bout a nasea hit me out of the blue. We were going to dinner at the country club he manages. As I now couldn't go, he had to anyway to 'show the flag.' About 30 minutes after he left I threw up violently and it gave me the WORST migraine I'd had in my life. Made it upstairs to bed (couldn't take anything for it because I'd just throw it up again) but it soon became apparent this wasn't in any way usual. I actually thought I may be having a stroke, anurysim or coming down with meningitis. Now I had to get back downstairst to the phone. I was soaked in sweat and felt like I was going to pass out. When I made it to the doorway the Princelings were there meowing at me. Then they started nudging me all over and rubbing their bodies on me. Such brave kitties! Most frightened cats would have run and hidden. My babies were encouraging me. I slid down the stairs on my butt and after a few minutes called my hubby to call me an ambulance.After several hours in ER where a cat scan and spinal tap were performed - and three bags of saline, 3 doses of morphine, and two doses of anti-nasea meds - my tests finally came back normal. Thank goodness! The diagnosis: 'Just' a really extreme migraine. Doc sent me home with a large quantity of percocet and orders for bedrest. My neuro is finally back in her office today and I'm still waiting a return call re the ER visit. My hubby is still woried out of his mind. Sinji won't leave me and Fergus is quite pissed at me for worrying him. I am feeling better. The tests coming back normal is great, but I'm still wondering what caused this!