Sunday, January 31, 2016

Celebrate and Win at Evernight Teen's 3rd Birthday Party

Visit EVERNIGHT TEEN to see all of their books.

EVERNIGHT TEEN is celebrating their anniversary this month with a 3rd Birthday Blog Hop. It’s EVERNIGHT TEEN’s birthday but we're giving out the presents with a Grand Prize of a $100 Amazon gift certificate!

EVERNIGHT TEEN books feature fresh teen fiction that is raw, gritty and real. Whether paranormal, contemporary, sci-fi or suspense, our books are about real issues and pack a strong emotional punch. You’ll find cutting edge fiction that today’s young adults can relate to and will keep you turning the pages long into the night.

Here are some excerpts of some reviews.

By Carla Davis

I decided to give Double Negative a try because the sample dragged me in from the first paragraph until I had to read the whole thing! It's so rare to see well done first person, but this book does it masterfully. Hutch has a real voice that must be rendered in the way the author has chosen. No lazy writing here!

By ltg584

I could tell within pages that this book was pure genius and it only became more apparent the deeper I was pulled into the story. I devoured it as quickly as I could… and now it’s over! :( I wish there was some way that it could be a series, just so I could have more! I have already been perusing the author’s other works, debating over which one to read next.

By Night Owl Reviews

Double Negative is just amazing. Reading it felt like being on emotional roller-coaster.

I’m proud to be an EVERNIGHT TEEN author. Enjoy this tease from my book, Double Negative.
"My life was going, going, gone, and I hadn't been laid yet. I couldn't go into the slammer before that happened." Hutch McQueen

TEASE: This is a short bit of a scene between Hutch and Fat Nyla. They're get along most of the time, but not today. Nyla's one of my favorite characters in this book because she's often fragile and under attack by the "in-group" of girls, especially on a website called Mona Knows. Yet Nyla refuses to be beaten. 

I see her before she sees me, but when she does, man, does she shoot lasers at me with her eyes. I walk fast and stop her at the edge of the lawn. “Look, I’m a sleaze, okay? I’m sorry, but that’s just the way I was made.”

“What do you need?” 

“Nothing.” That’s pretty much the truth at the moment. By using one eye to read I’m doing more of the homework. If I hold one of them magnifying glasses over a page I can even look up words in the dictionary, so while it takes a lot of time, I can almost get through Deek’s assignments. Still I don’t want to take any chances. Nyla’s brain could be the difference between me staying a junior for a long time or making it to my senior year. I need to be on her good side.

She passes me and starts toward Larkston High.

“I said I’m sorry. Liz and me . . . well we kind of—”

“Just shut up.” She keeps walking, her eyes down.

“I came to try and—”

She wheels around so fast I run smack into her and have to back up.

“You’re a creep.” Nyla pokes me in the chest with her finger, and I back up some more. “I know what you call me. Not to my face, but when you talk about me to other kids.”

I try for one of those neutral looks, like I don’t know what she’s talking about.

“Let me refresh your memory.” She’s squared off in front of me with her hands on her hips. “Fat Nyla! That’s what you call me. That’s what Mona Knows calls me, and she got it from you.”

“Mona who?”

I don’t expect her to sock me, so when her fist comes at me I take the full wallop on the left side of my jaw. One minute I’m there with the sidewalk under my feet and the next that sidewalk is pressed against my cheek. 

I'm offering two eBooks of Double Negative during Evernight Teen's super celebration.  All you have to do is say you'd like a copy and leave your email in a comment. I'll put your name in the "hat".

Be sure visit each stop on the BLOG HOP for more chances to WIN the GRAND PRIZE of a $100 Amazon Gift Card. You’ll receive bonus entries for commenting on each blog!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, January 29, 2016

Yolanda Renee's Murder & Obsession Cover Reveal



Flames burn between a hardboiled cop and a gifted artist, but soon extinguish as another man’s obsession ignites into an inferno of desire, driving him to destroy the object of his madness.

To be Released March 10, 2016

As wedding bells echo like the ring of toasting champagne glasses in the ice carved mountains of Anchorage Alaska, detective Steven Quaid rehabs his grandfather’s cabin into a honeymoon cottage for his new bride.

When he returns from a hunting trip, Steven’s faced with five police officers, who “Want to talk.” Plagued by two unsolved murders, the Department is searching for answers.

The conversation comes to a deafening halt as the team finds a bloody crime scene in the bridal suite. "Where's her body?" is a question Steven cannot fathom. 

Steven’s jaw clenches and his heart races. Images of Sarah streak through his mind.

The silence breaks as an explosion of accusations vibrate through every fiber of his being.
Steven bolts…

Although running is never the smart thing to do, Steven’s not thinking clearly and his escape into the wilderness of the Brooks Range proves almost fatal.

This Steven Quaid mystery is both personal and heartbreaking.


   Yolanda Renee

At one time Alaska called to me and I answered. I learned to sleep under the midnight sun, survive in below zero temperatures, and hike the Mountain Ranges. I've traveled from Prudhoe Bay to Valdez, and the memories are some of my most valued. The wonders, mysteries, and incredible beauty that is Alaska has never left me and thus now influence my writing.

Despite my adventurous spirit, I achieved my educational goals, married, and I have two wonderful sons. Writing is now my focus, my newest adventure!

You can find Yolanda at:

New Covers:

After a gritty detective becomes involved with a beautiful widow suspected of murder, rumor and obsession obstruct his quest for justice.

World damnation is a psychotic man’s goal, but two obstacles stand in his way, greed and a dedicated detective. 

Monday, January 25, 2016

Let's Shake Off Winter Blahs and Farewell Painted Ladies

Got the Winter Blahs? We're here to help. Join us in 

A MEME Blog Hop!
Easy Peasy "rules"

Post a MEME during the week (use your own pic or an easy meme maker app) - and if you can't think of anything, pass on encouraging words from one of your reviews, or an inspiring quote!
Visit others
That's it!

Then the awesome hostesses will hop around and Ooo and Ahh and choose one entry each to win an ebook. AND two lucky random participants will win a $20 GC. Enter and spread some warmth!

Woodland, California's restored 1875 Clapp & Jones Steamer

Excerpt from Farewell Painted Ladies
C. Lee McKenzie

When mechanical engineer Paul Hodge unveiled his steamer for its first public test in 1841, it must have been an incredible sight to see. Imagine a fourteen foot long hot metal cylinder, weighing seven tons, snorting and fuming black smoke in front of New York's City Hall. 

That day, as the crowd looked on, the stoker tossed more coal into the fire door and steam pressure in the great iron belly soared. Two men aimed the leather fire hose above the roof of City Hall, and the pumps began their powerful tempo, shooting a stream of water at the rate of ten thousand pounds per minute one hundred and sixty-two feet straight over the cupola. The engine noise buried the onlookers' gasps.

The Hodge steamer had flaws. Men could not pull its bulk to a fire and, although the designer had intended it would propel itself through the streets by steam, it wasn't dependable. In any case, the Hodge engine's arrival presaged change. It performed an effective job of delivering a strong, steady stream of water; required fewer men to operate; and, most importantly, it never tired.  

In 1841, the volunteer firemen must have watched from the sidelines, jaws set and arms folded across their chests. They didn't need to tell each other their thoughts. Their determination to defeat this upstart mechanical freak filled the air as blackly as the engine's smoke. From then on, these men did whatever they could to make the steamer fail
 on the job. They slashed hoses, diverted coal deliveries and stirred dissent between the engine and hand pumper companies at every opportunity. They'd never been above thrashing it out on the streets, and now they turned their energy to defeat a new rival. The volunteers were proud men not given to walking away from a fight, especially this one which, if lost, meant the end to their way of life. 

By now you know I was deep into antique fire equipment and their history at one time. I even got teary when I read about the last of the Painted Ladies being mothballed. But change comes and those 1841 steam engine interlopers became dinosaurs not too long after they displaced the hand pumpers.

I still have several articles tucked among my TBDWL (To Be Dealt With Later) file, and pulling these posts together have made me think about actually doing something about those articles. 

Quote for the Week: "We always overestimate the change that will occur in the next two years and underestimate the change that will occur in the next 10." Bill Gates

Have you enjoyed reading about the early fire equipment or was it a bore? Will you join the Meme Hop or are you hopped out?

Monday, January 18, 2016

Let's Muster, Mister!

If you haven't seen a muster, you've missed out. They're absolutely better than a Rugby game. Well, at least as exciting. Here are three of the regulation competitions.


The hose cart race is one of the competitions. In the 1800s, pumper companies delivered water to fight those old-time fires, but not without hose companies arriving on the scene, too. Firemen of both companies raced through narrow streets, their high-wheeled equipment in tow to reach the burning building and prevent the fire from spreading. The hose cart races reenact those scenes from the last century, but now the competition is only against the clock.

There are two separate contests, men's and women's. In each, six people run their hose cart beyond the target to a nozzle platform. One team member connects the hose to the hydrant while two others attach the nozzle, take aim at the target, and pray for a steady hand and the best time to give them a first place.
Sonora Volunteer Fire Department Hose Cart

So, where's the water? The convenient hydrants that dot modern sidewalks weren't always there. Firemen had to take water from creeks, cisterns or any other available sources, then get it to the pumper which could be a distance away. For many years men used buckets and passed them hand-over-hand to keep the tank filled. Success of the bucket brigade was measured in speed and endurance. 

In today's competitions, teams of five firemen or women make up the bucket brigade. They form a line twenty feet long between a "dip tank" and a "dump tank," then at a signal they try to be the first team to pass fifty gallons of water from the source to the empty tank.  Look out for the sloshing frenzy. In the end one team comes up soaked and winning...and bushed.

Bucket Brigade Competition

Now it's 1918. Imagine six firemen sitting at a firehouse. An alarm sounds, they leap to their rigs, turn over their engines, start the sirens and hit the lights, then speed out the firehouse door.  At the
 fire, they connect the hose to the hydrant, run the hose out to its full length and connect to additional hose. The crew aims the nozzle and the line leaps in their hands as water spurts onto the fire. 

The muster recreates the urgency and demonstrates these early firefighting skills. At the muster there's no fire to extinguish. Instead, the competing teams jump on their trucks, race to the end of the track and knock down a target with a blast of water to stop the clock and beat their opponents' time. Even without the threat of fire, excitement and tension charge the crowd and everyone gets caught up in the proud moment of victory. 
Mortorized Fire Truck Competition, Fairfield Fire Department

Quote of the Week: "Better to be busy than to be busy worrying." Angela Lansbury

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Amazing Hand Pumper

If you've followed this blog for a while you know I write fiction, and I iron my sheets. So that's about all that's really exciting in my life. 

Actually, I do other stuff just like all of you. And one of things I do is hunt down antique fire equipment to oh and ah over. 

Some years ago, I even wrote about those amazing machines from our past. That was the first $100 from my pen, and I would have paid the magazine to print my article I was so excited to create it. Here are the opening pages.

The images in my article were all original photos from those early days. The main page photo was of the Hunter Street Fire Station in Stockton, CA. The fire fighters were testing the Button Hand Pumper.

Below are some photos I took at the Pioneer Memorial Museum in San Francisco and at Columbia State Park in northern California. You can see how colorful these beauties were. 

Protection Company Engine, 1849. One S.F.'s first fire engines.

The Papeete cost $1800. It arrived in Columbia, CA in 1859. 

Another Protection Company Engine, 1849.
I have tons to say about early fire departments. Their development and the history of our country are so entwined that if you know what was happening around the fire house, you know a lot about the those early years in the U.S.

If you're on my Special Offers Newsletter, I'll be sending you a link to my article. Hope you enjoy.

Quote of the Week: "There is no subject so old that something new cannot be said about it." Dostoyevsky

Have you seen a hand pumper, especially one in action? Next week I'll show you some at a Muster. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

January IWSG

Thanks Alex J. Cavanaugh
Here are your brilliant and thoroughly amazing co-hosts this month.

Some questions about INSECURITY.

  • If you don't believe in yourself, how can you have confidence? How can you not be insecure? 

  • Some people just aren't going to like you or what you create. Does that mean you're not a good person? Does that mean that what you create has no value?

  • That critical inner voice came from painful life experiences when you were young.  As an adult isn't it time to examine that voice, its origin, and then silence it?

Quote of the Week: "Practice any art, no matter how well or badly, not to get money and fame but to experience becoming, to find out what's inside you, to make your soul grow." Kurt Vonnegut

Do insecurities hold you back from taking risks with your craft, your art or your life choices? Do you hear that inner critic and listen or turn a deaf ear?

If you're not a IWSG member, get on the list now. There are some helpful posts each month that are worth the read. The Linky's below.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Happy New Year and Jury Duty

And so here we meet again! New year. New month. 

How did you celebrate the arrival of 2016? Did you make resolutions? I didn't. I decided that I won't do that anymore because I invariably disappoint myself when I do. 

Instead, I tidied up my C Drive, organized my desk, and threw out a pound of food recipes I know I'll never take the time to create. 

In a way those are resolutions, I guess. Get organized. Get real. Then I took a hike. A short one because it started to rain, but did I complain? Absolutely not. Another resolution? Don't complain. Accept. I came home, curled up with good book, and lost myself in someone else's story. Ahhhh! Relax. Take it easy. Read more.

Sneaky Resolutions
I feel as if resolutions have crept up on me when I wasn't paying attention. Pay attention, for heaven sakes!

I was enjoying my holiday and not making resolutions, when the government called me to duty. Yep. I'm officially on Jury Duty this month. My first reaction was this. 

Good thing I didn't resolve not to get upset this year. But then I remembered my conversation with a disinterested, non-voter about civic responsibility in a free country, and I quickly changed my attitude to this. 

If I'm not around, I'll be on duty. Oh, I'll be taking notes, too. I may need to write a courtroom scene one of these days. Put a positive spin on things! Oye! Can you direct me to Resolution Support Group, please?

Quote of the Week: "Our most dangerous tendency is to expect too much of government and at the same time do for it too little." Warren G. Harding