It’s Not All Gravy

Musings on Life and Writing


The Bear Facts

Posted by mcm0704 on June 21, 2017 |

Help me welcome Slim Randles as today’s Wednesday’s Guest with a few words of caution about bears, assuming you might live near, or visit, a place where a bear might stumble upon you, or you, it. Keep in mind that this is a more serious offering than his usual fun stuff from the guys at the Mule Barn Truck Stop. Bear encounters are serious business

I haven’t seen any bears recently, but we did play a fun game at the kids drama camp this weekThe Bears are Coming. The kids enjoyed the game, and so did the camp leader who was quite ferocious as a bear.

Bears like honey, and so do we, so lets have one of my favorites – biscuits with honey – to snack on while reading Slim’s post.


Well, the bears are out now and will be until late fall, so maybe a bear tip might be in order. As a guide and outfitter emeritus – and emeritus is Latin for “I’m too danged old to pack moose meat out on my back” I’ll talk a bit about ol’ ursus.

If you’re in dangerous bear country, some people tell you to wear a little bell that tinkles, and the bear hears this and says, “Oh, that must be a person, and I’ll bet it’s a nice person, too, so I’ll just amble off this way.”

Well, when I’m in thick cover that bears might inhabit, and I’m not looking for one, I make a lot more noise than that!

One time Jim Kershner and I were going through some willow thickets along a creek at the base of Mt. McKinley … which is a large frozen rock that is now called Denali, and the salmon were running. I was in the lead, and Jim was behind me, beating on a gold pan with a rock. I looked down and saw a four-pound salmon flopping in the trail in front of me. It had toothmarks about four inches apart. And, it was on top of a bear track that measured 10 inches across. I measured it later. Much later.

A little guide translation here: A 10-inch-wide bear track means a nine-foot long bear.

Well, Jim and I went up one side of that creek and two big sows and a yearling went up the other side. Then we sat there snorting at each other.

So is that bell a good idea? Sure, if you don’t have anything as loud as the London Philharmonic with you.

But the bottom line is: if you’re out messing around in the same country with grizzlies, or with black bears during small cub season or a salmon run, you always ALWAYS carry a rifle.  A .30-06 is a good minimum caliber.

NOTE: Keep in mind that Slim is an avid outdoors-man and hunter. The rest of us might want to hire the orchestra.


Dave Marash’s in-depth HERE & THERE podcasts keep you hooked on today’s big news. Listen on

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Slim Randles writes a nationally syndicated column, “Home Country” that is featured in 380 newspapers across the country. He is also the author of a number of books including  Saddle Up: A Cowboy Guide to Writing. That title, and others, are published by  LPD Press. If you enjoy his columns here, you might want to check out the book Home Country. It features some of the best of the columns he has shared with us here.

Tags: , , , , , ,


Friday Reads – Evelyn Evolving

Posted by mcm0704 on June 16, 2017 |

Between preparing for the summer drama camps at the Winnsboro Center For the Arts and extra time spent with the new dog, Hannah, I have not had much down time. Which is probably a good thing in a way, as I am getting lots of exercise. 

Hannah is in the foreground. Poppy tolerates the new dog, but I’m sure she would rather not have a new dog.

Today I’m going to share another excerpt from Evelyn Evolving, picking up from where I left off on May 19th. This is the beginning of a new chapter back in Evelyn’s point of view. 

Since summer has hit here in Texas, this might be a good time to share a glass of cool, refreshing iced tea. Enjoy…

Iced mint tea

Evelyn pulled her brown sweater tighter against the frigid air in the long hallway. It was little protection against the cold that chilled her to the bone and turned her fingers blue. Viola had taken the sweater away from her after Evelyn pulled it from the donation bag first, then after Evelyn begged, gave it back. Evelyn has happy to have it, even though it was thinly woven, and the cold air found its way in. This winter was harder than last year, and even the year before that. Sister Honora said it wasn’t any colder outside. It was just that there wasn’t enough coal to heat the whole building. The sleeping ward was so frigid that at night all the children huddled under thick quilts, still wearing their clothes.

The only warm spot in the entire building was the dining room and that’s where Evelyn was headed now. Viola should already be there.

All this week, Viola had finished her morning chores early and was first in line for lunch. In addition to having choice work assignments – she had been chosen to clean the altar in the chapel – Viola was allowed to attend classes in the afternoons.
Evelyn was not.

Two years ago, the good sisters had decided that there was something wrong with Evelyn’s brain. She was slow. She was stupid. She was never going to be able to learn, so she might as well be doing chores all day. Those chores were still the worst a person could hope for, lot of floor scrubbing, which left her hands red and made blisters on top of callouses.

Evelyn tried to pretend she didn’t care that Viola had the lighter load, but sometimes resentment reared its ugly head. Evelyn was sure that she could be as smart and as good as Viola if the sisters would just give her a chance. They were always impatient with her. Wanting her to give the answer to an arithmetic problem right now. Right this very second. Not letting her take the time she needed to come up with the correct answer. And she read too slowly. At least that is what Sister Marie said in front of the whole class.

It was no surprise that Evelyn read slowly and stumbled over the words when told to read aloud. Everyone in the class stared at her, including Sister Marie, impatience furrowing the brow under the white wimple. Having all the eyes in the room focused on her made Evelyn want to run away and hide. She was sure that everyone was poised to react the minute she made her first mistake in pronunciation. And, of course, the nervousness made the mistake come quickly.

The laughter followed.

Stepping into the relative warmth of the large dining hall, Evelyn saw several kids in line to pick up a tray and be served by Sister Magdalene, who stood behind the large metal pans ready to dole out portions of food. Evelyn had to walk the entire length of the line, passing by Viola, who was first, to get to the end and wait. Stepping into the line in front of her sister was not possible. That was an infraction that could get them both punished, and Viola was standing firm in her resolve to champion herself above Evelyn.

At every meal, the children had to stand in line until everyone had filed into the dining hall. Then Sister Honora would walk to the front of the room and lead the prayer before serving could begin. Lately, Evelyn had noticed that the food portions were dwindling along with the coal supply. Porridge used to be just for breakfast, but sometimes now they had it for lunch or for dinner. Sister Magdalene, who was in charge of the kitchen, said that come spring and summer when they could plant a garden, the offering in the food line would improve. It’s just that there wasn’t enough money right now to buy all that the orphanage needed.

Viola had taken to eating with some of the other older girls, so Evelyn sat at a table with other girls her age and ate her bowl of porridge slowly. She wanted to linger in the dining hall as long as she dared; just to be warm for a few more minutes. She had to scrub the floor in the sleeping area this afternoon, and it would be colder there than anywhere in the building. But she couldn’t put it off forever. She scraped the bowl for the last bit of food, then carried the empty bowl to the cart where they put the dirty dishes. Some lucky girl would get to wash those in the relative warmth of the kitchen.

After depositing the bowl, Evelyn went to the room off the kitchen where cleaning things were kept and got a bucket and mop.

Once in the sleeping area for the girls, she first went to her cot and pulled out a cigar box from underneath. The box held a couple of pencils, some paper, a pretty rock she’d found last summer by the creek that ran behind the orphanage, and the spoon she’d brought from Miz Beatrice’s. Her one connection to a happier time.
It also still held her mother’s handkerchief, which wasn’t a connection to a happier time, but something she treasured none the less. The cloth no longer held the sweet smell of her mother’s perfume. That had long ago faded, but Evelyn didn’t care. It had once belonged to that mysterious woman she longed to know.

That’s it for me folks. I hope you have a good weekend. And as always I welcome feedback on the excerpt.

Tags: , , , , , , , ,


An Epitaph or An Epithet

Posted by mcm0704 on June 14, 2017 |

Help me welcome Slim Randles as today’s Wednesday’s Guest. He has another fun story from the guys down at the Mule Barn Truck Stop. You just never know what the gang is going to talk about and this conversation is full of toads and spuds and pirates. Read along and enjoy some pie and coffee with the nonsense, er fun. Hurry before the ice-cream melts.

“Salamander sandwiches and great Grecian toads!” said Dud, lurching into his never-really-assigned position at the Mule Barn truck stop’s philosophy counter and world dilemma think tank.

Mavis stood there holding the pot of Farmer Brothers coffee as she waited for Dud to flip his coffee mug to the correct upright position.

“You want some coffee before the toads are done?” she asked.

“Sure,” Dud said, laughing. “Just practicing my epithets.”

Mavis poured. “When you die you want toads and salamanders on your headstone?”

“No, no, no,” Dud said, in what we’d come to learn was his quasi-professorial tone. “Not an epitaph. An epithet, dear lady, is a spontaneous outburst, a grand flinging of words to the wild ether that is the very air we breathe …”

He talks like that sometimes.

“… an expression of polysyllabic perfection designed to both stun and impress those within hearing range.”

Doc looked at me. “I’m sufficiently stunned.”

“Me, too.”

Mavis filled everyone’s cups. “Going to be one of those mornings, I guess.”

“Let’s get this straight,” said Doc. “To stun and impress people and amaze everyone on our block, we have to talk about salamanders?”

“Of course not, Doc,” said Dud. “It could be anything. Now I’ve just been gathering up a few of those for use later on, you see, to be used when a great epithet is called for. Let’s say I walk in here one morning and you tell me the river went over its banks last night and is flooding the south valley. That would be a good time to use salamander sandwiches and great Grecian toads, you see.”

“I see. The salamanders and toads because they both like water and the river overflowed, and…”

I could see the twinkle in Doc’s eye.

“No,” said Dud, “although you do have a good point there. But you could just as easily use an epithet like … ‘Well, put Bluebeard’s potatoes in a sack’!”

Doc looked at me. “Doesn’t have the same stunning effect as salamander sandwiches.”

I nodded.

“How about ‘Dear Aunt Tillie’s sainted hairnet.”

“Better than Bluebeard’s spuds, I think.”

Mavis looked at us and said “Stunning.”


Dave Marash’s in-depth HERE & THERE podcasts keep you hooked on today’s big news. Listen on

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Slim Randles writes a nationally syndicated column, “Home Country” that is featured in 380 newspapers across the country. He is also the author of a number of books including  Saddle Up: A Cowboy Guide to Writing. That title, and others, are published by  LPD Press. If you enjoy his columns here, you might want to check out the book Home Country. It features some of the best of the columns he has shared with us here.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Monday Morning Musings

Posted by mcm0704 on June 12, 2017 |

How was your weekend? Things were busy here with company that arrived on Thursday and stayed until Sunday mid-day. We had a grand time doing some gardening one day, then visiting shops in town on another – well, the company visited shops. I stayed inside the art center because the heat and sun made Ramsay Hunt very angry.

Hannah, my new dog, had great fun waking the girls up every morning. She took her bone into their camp in my office, but she didn’t share it.

Saturday was the last day of the Generations exhibition at the Winnsboro Center For the Arts, so Sunday morning my son and I went to get our art pieces down from the wall.

The following pictures are just a few of the pieces that were on the wall, starting with my mother’s embroidery picture of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Next is the Blue Bunny, painted by my oldest granddaughter when she was in first grade.

In the next picture there is a copy of a book written by my middle son, Austin’s First Cookbook. He is the archivist for the City of Austin, and the History Center had an exhibition of old cookbooks and the idea for this book was born out of that. Below the book is a painting done by one of my grandsons.

This is a photograph taken by my oldest daughter.

The Moth photograph was taken by my oldest son, who got this shot with his phone. We were following the progression of this luna moth from first emergence to getting its full wings, and this ended up being a very “artful” photo, even though he swears he is not artistic.

My youngest son is a musician who plays keyboard and guitar. He writes a lot of music, and often seeks help from me and his sister for the lyrics. “Sunshine” was the result of one of those collaborative efforts.

One afternoon, my two granddaughters and their mother and I painted some small owl figurines. They were part of a painting kit that one of my daughters had brought out to the house a few weeks ago, thinking she and I would paint them. That didn’t happen, so it ended up being a fun project for us.

Two of the owls were painted by the granddaughters who are much more artistically inclined with a paintbrush than I am, or my daughter-in-law. Can you guess which ones belong to the artists?

We made it to the theatre to see Wonder Woman, and it was a good movie. Not a terrific movie, but still fun to watch, and a good family-friendly film. The interplay between Diana and Steve, the pilot she saves and then follows into this epic adventure, was terrific. One of the funniest scenes was totally improvised, which speaks greatly to the talent of the two actors and the director, Patty Jenkins. I am a firm believer that improv hones acting skills so much, and as a director I have sometimes given players a free rein while rehearsing a scene. If it works in rehearsal, it can work before an audience. Patty Jenkins obviously shares my sentiment. Gal Gadot and Chris Pine work well together, and it would be neat to see them in another film.

That’s all for me for today, folks. I have lots of business to catch up with after taking four days off. Not that I mind taking those days off. It was so nice to have company and I miss them already.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,


Friday’s Odds and Ends

Posted by mcm0704 on June 9, 2017 |

What is on your agenda for the weekend? I am expecting company, who will stay through Sunday morning, and we are thinking about going to see “Wonder Woman.” Have you seen it yet? Did you like it? I have heard it is very good. Wonder Woman was the only superhero that I liked as a teenager. I wanted to be Wonder Woman, minus the extremely pointed bra-thingy. It always looked so uncomfortable.

Before moving on to news, here is a fun meme. I had a horse once who liked beer, but never had a dog who liked it.


IN THE NEWS – Apparently things are heating up in the Middle East as Saudi Arabia and Quatar are rattling swords.For those like me who may not be familiar with this small Arab country, it borders Saudi Arabia on one side and the Persian Gulf on all others. According to information I found on Wikipedia, Qatar is a high income economy with the world’s third largest natural gas reserves and oil reserves, and it has the highest per capita income in the world. Qatar is classified by the UN as a country of very high human development and is the most advanced Arab state.

The problem between Quatar and its bordering neighbor is based on a longstanding issue of tensions and escalated when the Saudis accused Qatar of backing radical Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and ISIS. Saudi Arabia and three of its biggest allies — Egypt, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain – then severed diplomatic ties. Libya, Yemen, and the Maldives have also joined the diplomatic boycott.

In the first thing he has done since taking office that I can support, our president has put forth a call for mediation, suggesting a White House meeting among Gulf officials to resolve the crisis.

First, and most importantly, the leaders agreed on the importance of implementing agreements reached in Riyadh to counter extremism and to combat the funding of terrorist groups,” a White House statement said on the talks between Trump and Al Nahyan.

“Additionally, the president emphasized the importance of maintaining a united Gulf Cooperation Council to promote regional stability, but never at the expense of eliminating funding for radical extremism or defeating terrorism.”

I do hope this crisis is resolved before we get pulled into another war. If we could ever get over the dependence on fossil fuels, all the oil and gas in the world would not matter so much. And that really is what fuels these conflicts – pun fully intended.

FRIDAY FUN –  This first joke came from Guy Check it out for lots more to tickle your funny bone.

Myra Rhodes, a little old lady living in Great Baddow, Essex, answered a knock on the door one Friday, to be confronted by a well-dressed young man carrying a vacuum cleaner.

‘Good morning, Ma’am,’ said the young man. ‘If I could take a couple minutes of your time, I would like to demonstrate the very latest in high-powered vacuum cleaners.’

‘Go away!’ said Myra brusquely. ‘I’m broke and haven’t got any money,’ and she proceeded to close the door.

Quick as a flash, the young man wedged his foot in the door and pushed it wide open. ‘Don’t be too hasty,’ he commanded. ‘Not until you have at least seen my demonstration.’

And with that, he emptied a bucket of horse manure onto her hallway carpet.

‘Now, if this vacuum cleaner does not remove all traces of this horse manure from your carpet, Madam, I will personally eat the remainder.’

Myra stepped back and said with a smile, ‘Then let me get you a spoon, young man because they cut off my electricity this morning.’

This next one comes from Joke of the

Every Friday after work, a mathematician goes down to the Ice Cream Parlor, sits in the second-to-last seat, turns to the last seat, which is empty, and asks a girl, who isn’t there, if he can buy her an ice cream cone.

The owner, who is used to the weird, local university types, always shrugs but keeps quiet. But when Valentine’s Day arrives, and the mathematician makes a particularly heart wrenching plea into empty space, curiosity gets the better of him, and he says, “I apologize for my stupid questions, but surely you know there is never a woman sitting in that last stool, man. Why do you persist in talking to empty space?”

The mathematician replies, “Well, according to quantum physics, empty space is never truly empty. Virtual particles come into existence and vanish all the time. You never know when the proper wave function will collapse and a girl might suddenly appear there.”

The owner raises his eyebrows. “Really? Interesting. But couldn’t you just ask one of the girls who comes here every Friday if you could buy HER a cone? You never know… she might say yes.”

The mathematician laughs. “Yeah, right. How likely is THAT to happen?”

That’s it for me folks. Have a great weekend.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,


Special Picnics

Posted by mcm0704 on June 7, 2017 |

Slim Randles is here as today’s Wednesday’s Guest with a thoughtful piece about shyness and friendships. We have all had moments of being extremely shy – well some of us – and maybe feeling so awkward that we could hardly say a word. But maybe not to the extreme of Richard. I hope you enjoy his story, and since he is at a picnic, perhaps we can join him. There’s lots of good food here.

It was the kind of picnic he’d remember for quite a while, he knew. It didn’t take place at the village park, where folks would normally go, but down along Lewis Creek. There weren’t any tables there, or fire rings, or restrooms. It was just a grassy patch down along the creek.

But when the Delgado family invited him to the picnic, he accepted and bought some soda pop for the kids. Jaime Delgado spread the blanket out and his wife, Maria, opened the basket.

The kids were called back from tossing rocks in the creek. It was almost like having a family of his own. He hadn’t had one for years now, and, at 35, he missed having someone in his life. But he just didn’t know what to say to people.

He wanted to, but every time he tried to join the conversation, he locked up. This made it very difficult to get to know people, of course, but he kept trying. He went to counseling once. But only once. She was a nice lady, but she kept asking personal questions, and he decided he didn’t really want to answer them.

It had cost him $75, but at least he could cross that off his list. It wasn’t for him. But what really was for him?

Ever since high school, he had had nightmares about having to stand up and talk to the class. And he never had. The teachers didn’t understand and gave him low grades accordingly, but at least at the home they didn’t bother him about it.

“Enjoying yourself?” Maria asked him.

He smiled and nodded.

“Have another sandwich. There’s plenty.”

He looked at her and said “Thank you.”

Why was that so hard?

“New in town, right?” Jaime asked.

He nodded.

“Well, you’ll make friends soon enough. It’s nice having you here. What’s your name?”

He swallowed, then said, “Richard.”

“Here’s to Richard,” said Maria, raising her bottle of soda.

Yes. It was the kind of picnic he’d remember for a long time.


Dave Marash’s in-depth HERE & THERE podcasts keep you hooked on today’s big news. Listen on

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

If you like these offerings from Slim that I post here on my blog, you will enjoy his book:  Home Country; Drama Dreams and Laughter from America’s Heartland, that is a compilation of his nationally syndicated column, “Home Country.” This is a wonderful book that is a joy to keep on the coffee table to read and read again.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _

Don’t forget to enter the contests to win some great prizes

The Mega Multi-Genre eBook Contest has 180 authors participating in the giveaway, which means lots and lots of prizes.

The grand-prize winner gets a copy of all the books from all the authors. 180 books!!!

I am sponsoring the event with my suspense novel, One Small Victory, and you could win that along with many other books.


I’m also sponsoring another contest with my mystery, Open Season, The prizes in this one includes free books, gift cards and a Kindle Fire or a Nook. Both are easy to enter, not a lot of hopping around a website or going from site to site, and who know, maybe you could win. Here is a link to enter the Mega Spring Bundle of Crime Thrillers.


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,


Monday Morning Musings

Posted by mcm0704 on June 5, 2017 |

I hope you had a good weekend. Mine was very busy. First on Friday I drove to McKinney for the McKinney Book Festival. It was held on Saturday, but I wanted to go early to see some of my kids and be in town for the 8AM set up on Saturday. It was a fun day. Too much rain, which made schlepping boxes of books into the McKinney Art Center a bit of a challenge, but once inside, all was well. And I got to meet Billy Dawson, a terrific singer/songwriter, who came around to meet all the authors. His song, “Twenty Once, Too,” brought tears to my eyes.

Great smiles, don’t you think?

At my book table, and look at the book I’m holding. The new Winnsboro book by Bill Jones.

Then on Sunday, I went to pick up my new dog, Hannah. She was rescued by a local shelter after being found running loose south of town. Poppy is still not thrilled to have an interloper, but she is teaching Hannah some manners.

This morning, Hannah got to meet Harry.

It was hard to hold the camera and the leash and get a good shot.

A better picture, even though Harry is ignoring Hannah.

Maybe I should have named Hannah “Sally?” Then I could caption this “When Harry Met Sally.”

Hannah is about a year and a half old, still young enough to have lots of energy. A lot more than I do. What I was hoping to do was get another dog while Poppy would be able to teach her some manners, and that is working out. Poppy showed her how to get into the kennel last night. Hannah is reluctant to go anywhere, including into the car. Then this morning we had a walk and Poppy showed Hannah how to go along. Another thing Hannah is not fond of – walking on a leash.

Then we had a short training session during which Hannah learned how to sit. Later, when I brought her into the house, she learned to stay in the living room while I fixed and ate my breakfast. I had to make her leave several times, but then she got the message.

She is a smart dog and I think she will learn fast. The biggest challenge is going to be the cats. Harry is very friendly, but Sammy hissed and growled at Hannah, and Lily and Hermione ran. If cats run, dogs chase, so I have to work that out somehow. I am hoping that just a bit more time to get used to the idea that we all live here together will make it happen.

WRITING TIPS – There is a great article by Julia Fierro at Writer Unboxed about Point of View. The 3 Tiers of Point of View Technique: Observation, Interpretation & Imagination 

We writers have always been encouraged to use all five sense in description, which is observation, but Julia encourages us to go beyond that. She explains that observation is just the first level, and fairly superficial. By letting our characters interpret what they see, we give them more depth.

Then by adding imagination to the mix – letting our characters imagine what other characters are thinking, as well as having their own fantasies playing through their minds – we add even more reader interest. Maybe the reader has been in a similar situation and had the same fantasies running through his or her head.

The article includes a great example that is carried through all three tiers, and we get to see a character come fully alive. Well worth your time to go read the entire post.

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,


Adrift by Sarah Darlington

Posted by mcm0704 on June 2, 2017 |

I’m helping a fellow author spread the word about her new release, Adrift. I read the book prior to this posting and enjoyed the story. It is a quick read, and perfect to take to the beach this summer. The fact that the setting is a beach just adds to the allure.

Release Date: May 30, 2017
Series: Kill Devil Hills #4
QUICK BLURB – What happens when the world thought you were dead and suddenly, now you are alive?
Ben Turner is back! After unsuccessfully faking his own death, he’s back home in Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina. With no plans for college or the future, and hated by the town that once loved him, Ben feels like he’s drowning. Until he meets the girl next door, a runaway like him, and she changes everything.

**New Adult Romance **

This novel is the fourth book in the Kill Devil Hills series, however it can be read as a standalone. Recommended for 18+

EXCERPT – There was so much pain in his voice, it made me want to squeeze my arms around him tighter and hold on forever. He found his mistakes unforgivable, but they didn’t really matter to me. It wasn’t like I was going to stop being his friend because of them. He was home now, he was trying to make it right. He showed remorse for his actions. That was the thing about Quinton, he never showed remorse. Not once for hurting me. Ben cared so much. It was an amazing quality to find in a man and my heart suddenly ached in longing. Breathing became difficult and a giant lump lodged itself in my throat. I realized how much I cared for this man, how much I wished I’d met him before Quinton, how much I wished he could be the father of my baby.

It was a scary, terrifying thought.

One that left me breathless.

One I only let myself think about for a fleeting second before I shoved it from my mind. Because a wish like that was unrealistic and pointless and something that would never come true.

So why waste even a single moment thinking it?

“We all make stupid mistakes sometimes. That’s part of being human,” I said, in some attempt to comfort him. I wasn’t just talking about his mistakes either. The words I’m not Lilly Davenport were on the tip of my tongue. It suddenly felt like the right moment to tell him the truth about me. Except, he let his grip of my legs go.

My body slipped down his back and my toes hit sand.

“The buzz I had going is wearing off,” he said as he took a step away from me. In the moonlight, I could see his face well enough to see that it had hardened. He’d dropped his guard with me for a moment, but his walls were back up now and seemingly more fortified than ever. “And I’m not really supposed to leave the house after eight. So…”

I understood. He wanted to say goodbye now.

I didn’t though. I wanted more from him. Which was completely wrong of me. I realized how sweet Ben was. And attractive. Suddenly exactly my kind of attractive. And how completely off limits he was.

Wow, life sure had a way of kicking you in the gut when you were down. On top of being pregnant, broke, scared, and alone—I now had feelings for a guy I couldn’t have.

Thank you, irony.

“Goodnight, Ben,” I muttered. I moved swiftly, standing on my tip-toes, leaning in to give him a quick kiss on the cheek before pulling away. I left him, jogging up the beach in the direction of the Davenport’s house. I didn’t look back as I went inside.

Purchase Now: 

Amazon US * Amazon UK * Amazon AU * Amazon CA
**read for FREE on Kindle Unlimited

Enter the Rafflecoptor Giveaway

ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Sarah Darlington, a New Adult and contemporary romance author, lives in Virginia with her husband and two children. Best known for her Kill Devil Hills Series, she’s a former flight attendant, with a degree in school counseling, who harbors a huge passion for traveling. She’s especially set on visiting all 50 states.

Keep up with Sarah online at:

Tags: , , , , , , , ,


Solving World Problems

Posted by mcm0704 on May 31, 2017 |

Slim Randles is here again as today’s Wednesday’s Guest with a fun essay about men and horses and the benefits of pairing up. I have long known the benefits of pairing up with horses. I’ve had three in my lifetime, and below is a picture of my current horse, Banjo. I have had him now for close to 15 years, and it is very relaxing to go out and listen to the early morning nicker when I come with feed. There is also something soul-soothing about taking a brush with me and spending some time cleaning him up. After he sheds his winter coat, he shines like a new penny.

One of Banjo’s favorite treats is bread or cake. Silly horse is not fond of apples or carrots.He does like a sweet bread, and bananas, so we can all share some banana bread. Enjoy….


This picture was taken when I first got him. We both had a lot more hair back then.


Steve waited until all the horses went through the sale Saturday morning (I mean, you never can tell when the world’s perfect horse will be sold for a buck and a half, which was about what he was carrying). Then, when they started on the cull cows, he looked at his companions questioningly, and they nodded and rose en masse and walked out into the yard.

Dud was there, and Doc and Herb, and their dogs, of course. But it was Steve who called the hunker. He looked around for just the right kind of stick. You know, about finger thick and maybe a foot long. He found just the right one lurking over by a dead pickup truck and stripped the leaves from it. Then, as he looked around on the ground, so did his three companions. They each picked up a straw left behind by an ancient bale of bedding, and stuck them in their mouths.

Calling a hunker, each knew, meant that the caller had something important to say to his friends. It’s a ritual that must be respected. You could call it the Cowboy Camp David, maybe.

But most people don’t.

At any rate, Steve’s been around a good long time now, but has yet to reach retirement age, so maybe the wisdom of a working cowboy will be worth some temporarily aching knees. Like a brood mare looking for a birthing bed, Steve scuffed his boots in the dirt and turned slowly. To do it right, of course, the hunker must take into account the position of the sun and the distance below their boot soles to the seasonal water table.

Satisfied at last, Steve dropped into a hunker, and his pards followed suit, amid groans from Doc and Herb, whose knees weren’t quite as young as the other two.

And then Steve took the stick and doodled in the dirt there between them. They looked to see if the doodle would give them a clue to the subject du jour. Nope.

Finally, Steve said, “You know, fellas, I been thinkin’…”

He looked up into each of their eyes. Wisdom’s about to happen.

“Occurred to me that if each of us in the whole world had a horse to feed and care for, it would solve the problems of unemployment and war.”

They all nodded because their knees ached and it was time for coffee.


Brought to you by Cedar Ridge Leather Works, fine custom leather for the shooting sports.


Don’t forget to enter this great contest. It has been extended for a couple more weeks, so you still have time to possibly win lots and lots

The Mega Multi-Genre eBook Contest has 180 authors participating in the giveaway, which means lots and lots of prizes.

The grand-prize winner gets a copy of all the books from all the authors. 180 books!!!

I am sponsoring the event with my suspense novel, One Small Victory, and you could win that along with many other books.


I’m also sponsoring another contest with my mystery, Open Season, The prizes in this one includes free books, gift cards and a Kindle Fire or a Nook. Both are easy to enter, not a lot of hopping around a website or going from site to site, and who know, maybe you could win. Here is a link to enter the Mega Spring Bundle of Crime Thrillers.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,


Memorial Day

Posted by mcm0704 on May 29, 2017 |

First things first:

This is a day we typically celebrate with cookouts, visits to cemeteries to put flowers on the graves of our loved ones who died in battle somewhere, sometime, and build memories with family still living.

Since I am far away from graves of military men in my family, I will not be putting flowers on graves. I will not be gathering with other family, either, so it will be a relatively quiet day for me.

What about you? Will you be having a traditional Memorial Day?

Before I sign off for the day, I want to share some of a Memorial Day blog I wrote three years ago. At that time I thought it would be nice to meet veterans who are remembering their comrades who died in battle. We are quickly approaching the time when there will be no more WWII veterans, so I wanted to link to this story by Wes Venteicher in the Chicago Tribune about Bill Howland. He was a medic, even though he had no previous medical experience, which was common back then. He said he sometimes talks with local high school students during history units on World War II and 1940s Europe.

“I try to prevail upon them to implore our government to stay out of wars … we have more important things to do than shoot people up all over the world,” he said.

When I read that quote, I couldn’t help but think of this wonderful song by Pete Seeger: “Where Have All the Flowers Gone?” It’s one of my favorites, and we sang it a lot at hootenannies in the late ’60s. This link takes you to a rendition by Peter, Paul & Mary   We have been lucky to have Peter Yarrow, one of the trio, here in my small town at the Winnsboro Center For the Arts. It was a thrill to sing along to this song with him just a couple of weeks ago.

In closing here is an interesting article from Samantha Grossman in Time Magazine, where she shares seven things we might not know about Memorial Day.

Whatever you are doing today, remember. Always remember.

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Copyright © 2006-2017 Maryann Writes All rights reserved.
This site is using the Desk Mess Mirrored Child Child-Theme, v1.0, on top of
the Parent-Theme Desk Mess Mirrored, v2.5, from