Sunday, December 18, 2011

Roseanne Dowell Presents - Secrets, Lies, & Love!

Hey, y’all!  And welcome back to Flowers on the Fence Country for a return visit from one of my favorite flowers, Roseanne Dowell.  Roseanne is prolific.  We all know that.  And tireless in her efforts to promote and nurture Muse and all Muse writers, having just added Author Liason to her already impressive resume.  Mother of six, grandmother of fourteen, great-grandmother of one.  Writer of romance.  Connection of the Minds, Stranger on the Shore, Double the Trouble, Geriatric Rebel, A Second Chance, and coming soon from MuseItUp Publishing, And They All Fall Down and Elusive Mission.  Her first published novel, Satin Sheets, sold over 35,000 copies.   Coming January 4, Secrets, Lies, & Love from Books We Love Publishing.  And Roseanne brought a guest with her today, too!  Come meet the heroine of Secrets, Lies & Love, Miss Meghan Shelby!

Hi, I’m Meghan Shelby. My parents moved away from Littleton when I was seventeen, but now here it is ten years later and I’m back.

I inherited the family home, a Queen Anne Victorian from my Aunt Beth. I always loved that house, so needless to say I was excited when I received the letter from my aunt’s attorney. Not that my aunt passed away, I was very sad about that, but coming back to Littleton after all this time was exciting.

I’m not sure why we moved away. It was all kind of sudden and we never came back. Not once in all those years, not even when Gran passed away. I never knew why. Every time I asked, the question went ignored. Eventually, I quit asking.

Anyway, here I was back in the town I loved, standing in front of a dilapidated, run-down home that used to be one of the most elegant in town. Shutters were hanging by one hinge, windows were broken, the porch floor was rotten and the back door lock was broken.

How had Aunt Beth allowed this to happen? I was half afraid to go inside, but I ventured in. What a mess. It was going to take a lot of money to get this place back to its glory days.

To make matters worse when I went inside, the stench was almost unbearable. Well, no wonder, there was a dead body in the living room.

Who he was, or why he was there in my house, I had no idea. For some reason, the sheriff wasn’t convinced of that. To top it all off, he caught me in the arms of my new boss, the principal of the elementary school and the guy I had a crush on all those years ago. Oh, I was hired as school secretary.

Needless to say, I was the main topic of conversation around town the next day. Gossipmongers in Littleton were having a ball at my expense.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, the next day several eighth grade boys caught the principal kissing me in his office. I’d never live this down. Not that I minded being kissed, especially by Patrick. I just didn’t need it spread all over town.

Once I hired a handyman to fix the windows and change the locks, I rolled up my sleeves and got busy scrubbing the place inside so we could paint. I hired high school kids for that job. There was only so much I could do with working full time. But at least I was able to move in.

That’s when more trouble started. First I received phone calls warning me to leave. Obviously, someone didn’t want me here.

Secrets, Lies, & Love releasing Jan. 4, 2012 from Books We Love Publishing.

A dilapidated Queen Anne Victorian, a dead body, and an ex boyfriend complicate life for Meghan Shelby when she returns to her hometown after a ten year absence.


Meghan loved this time of year, though a little too hot to start school in her opinion. Why they felt the need to go back in August was beyond her. She remembered her mother complaining about it years ago. “What was wrong with starting after Labor Day like they did in my day?” Her mother used to rant and rave for weeks before school started. Even got on the School Board. Not that it changed anything. School still started the last week in August. Meghan smiled at the memory.

Now that she thought about it, it was silly. Like they took the last week of vacation away from the kids. Bet the teachers didn’t like it either.

Meghan pulled into the school parking lot. Not much had changed here either. New landscaping, new windows, but that was about it. The old building looked pretty much the same.

Her footsteps echoed in the empty hall. She’d never been in the school when it was empty before. The strong odor of wax and other cleaning products prickled her nostrils. The clean smell lingered through the first few days of school.

It had been a long time since she’d been to the principal’s office and she stopped outside, took a deep breath and held it. Here goes nothing. Mr. Duncan said look for Mr. Mac.  He must be new in town. It wasn’t a name she remembered. So what was the worse he could say? Letting out her breath, she hurried inside, before her nerve left her.

A man stood with his back to her, unpacking a box of books.

“Excuse me. I’m looking for Mr. Mac.”

 “I’m Mr. Mac.” He turned toward her.

Meghan’s breath caught in her throat. “Patrick!” The word slipped out of her mouth, before she could stop it. The love of her life stood in front of her, even better looking and sexier than she remembered. Her heart skipped a beat, her legs turned to jelly, and she grabbed the edge of the desk to steady herself.

Patrick smiled at her. That easy smile she remembered from long ago. The smile she used to love. It lit up his eyes.

“Little Meghan Shelby. Not so little anymore I see.”

Heat burned her cheeks as Patrick looked her up and down, apparently taking in every inch of her. He remembered her. After all this time he knew who she was. Would wonders never cease?

“Uh, um...” Oh crap. Now wasn’t the time to get tongue tied. “You’re the principal here?” Lord, could she work for him. See him every day?

“Yes, I am. I heard you were back in town. Are you staying then? Do you want to register your child?”

“Huh?” Her child, was he nuts?

 “Uh, no,  I’m here about the secretarial position. Mr. Duncan was supposed to call you.”

“Really? You want the job?”

“Yes, didn’t Mr. Duncan call? He told me to come right over.”

 “If he did I didn’t hear the phone. I’ve been in and out of the office.” He nodded toward the stack of books. “Too busy around here this time of year.” Patrick grinned and motioned her into his office. “So tell me about yourself. What qualifies you for the job?”

Qualifications? Think, damn it. What was the matter with her? She’d lost all train of thought. “Well, I’m computer proficient. I’m good with math. And I love children.” What more could he want?

“I see. So why do you want the position? Tell me about your education.”

His deep voice sent shivers down her spine. Meghan couldn’t take her gaze from him. All sense of reason flew out the window. She had the most God awful urge to reach up and push his dark hair out of his eyes. “I’m a former Math major, have two years of college. I’m a quick learner.” Finally, she looked away.

The phone rang.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Another Rose for Flowers on the Fence!

Hey, y’all!  Today I’m collecting a specific flower – a Rose!  I’ve already collected one by the name of Roseanne Dowell, and today I’ve got a Rose by the name of J. Q. in the spotlight.  I am thankful every single day for the wealth of new friends in my life from such diverse locations, of such diverse personalities.  I consider all of them true gifts from God, and Janet, you are certainly one of those gifts!  And before I hush and let y’all enjoy her, let me say that her new short, The Good Neighbors, is hysterical.  Yes, I cheated.  I’ve already read it, and she’s sharing an excerpt too!  Please bear in mind that all proceeds from this short are going to support local food banks.  So without further ado – here’s J. Q. Rose!

Gail, thanks so much for having me as a guest on your delightful blog, Flowers on the Fence.  Please let your readers know I am giving away a PDF copy of my new holiday, short story, The Good Neighbors, to the winner of your random drawing.

The Entertainer
J. Q. Rose

I always dreamed of being Carol Burnett. She had the most entertaining show on television. She made everyone laugh and forget their troubles for that one hour through her crazy skits and loud, and I mean loud, singing voice. She, Tim Conway, and Harvey Korman cracked each other up and then tried to play through the hilarity. Those were some of the funniest parts of the show. She was/is a true entertainer, my role model.

As a kid, I dreamed of being a great actress and dancer. I think it all started when I was about four years old. My older brothers and I were the “entertainment” when we performed in my grandmother’s living room after family dinners. John laid down on the floor and Jim beat on his tummy like a drum. I took center stage and danced to the beat usually pretending to be a mysterious Arabian princess. I still remember the joy in my parents’ faces, the applause, and the hugs.

 As you all know, we have to grow up and deal with life’s realities. I had to be realistic so I settled for “performing” in front of classes of third graders as a teacher. (You who are teachers know how you have to entertain kids to keep their attention.) I sang in the church choir, accompanied the children’s choir, and played in the bell choir. Those were enjoyable outlets for me sending the music heavenward and filling my heart. But, not exactly entertaining like in my Carol Burnett dreams ….until….. I was chosen to play a maid and a Hooverville bum in our community players production of Annie.

I was chosen to be a chorus member. I did not have a speaking part as the maid, but I had one line as the Hooverville bum. For me, the very best part of the play and the scene I was most proud of occurred when I joined all the other bums at the front of the stage. We formed a chorus line performing like New York’s Radio City Music Hall’s Rockette dancers kicking and dancing as we sang. I finally fulfilled my dream in front of an audience of town folk and friends who raucously applauded our efforts every night. I think even Carol Burnett would have been proud of my “performance.”

Writing stories is an outlet for my aspiration to be an entertainer. I wrote Sunshine Boulevard for fun and shared it with my writing group. They encouraged me to submit it so more people could be “entertained” by my writing. I am so happy they did because Muse It Up Publishing released the e-book to a much wider “audience” than I could have imagined possible.

My latest short story, The Good Neighbors, includes the characters Jim and Gloria Hart from Sunshine Boulevard. I wrote it just in time for the holidays with the hope that readers will get a chuckle if not a flat-out belly laugh when reading the story.

I get a kick out of entertaining readers and making them happy through my stories. On the other hand, if you know of anyone needing a gal to do high kicks for a chorus line, call me!

Happy Holidays to everyone!!

Tag line for The Good Neighbors-- Jim and Gloria Hart, snowbirds from Michigan, always help out the neighbors in their Florida retirement community when asked. Who knew being good could turn out to be so bad?

The Good Neighbors Excerpt:

“Jim, wake up.” Gloria shook her sleeping husband.

“What? Am I snoring?”

“Shh…I hear something out back. Someone is out there,” she whispered.

Jim sat up in the bed. He flipped on the lamp on the nightstand and tilted his head to listen with his good ear.  “I don’t hear a thing. It’s probably a cat. Go back to sleep.”

Gloria tried to comfort herself by believing it was a cat making the soft sounds in the night, but her ears were attuned to the night sounds. Was that an owl hooting? A dripping water faucet? An armadillo passing the house?

It was probably nothing, she decided. Or was it? 

Gloria trudged out to the kitchen in the morning. It was only 6:30 a.m. and Jim was already on his third cup of coffee perusing his seed catalogs. She smelled the fresh coffee and like a zombie, headed for the coffee pot. She was not ready for morning yet after such a night of restless sleep and nightmares.

“Good morning, Sleeping Beauty.” Jim looked up from the page of cabbage plant pictures just long enough to greet her.

She heard the furnace blowing warm air through the floor vents.

“How cold did it get last night?”

“I had twenty-four degrees on my thermometer this morning. Good thing we covered up the plants and brought Paul’s plants home. Otherwise they’d be goners by now.”

“I could have sworn I heard someone out back last night. I couldn’t go back to sleep after I woke you up. But you were snoring in five minutes.” She sipped the creamy coffee to perk her up this morning. No decaf in the morning. She needed the caffeine.

“Alright. I’ll go check out back if it makes you feel any better. I have to get that other seed catalog off my workbench anyway.”

Jim frightened her when he slammed the kitchen door shut on his return from the shed. His face was twisted in anger. He didn’t have the seed catalog in his hand. Why was that so upsetting for him?

Find me on the Internet:

Buy link for The Good Neighbors—All royalties go to support local food pantries

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Miz Ging Dishes It Out on Flowers on the Fence

Our own Queen of Humor honors us with an appearance today! Multi-talented, multi-faceted, multi-genre. I’m pretty sure I’m not posting the covers of all her books but blog pages are just so long, right?

So – are you ready to laugh? Com’on in!


I've always been very open to suggestion and even had to stop watching Marcus Welby M.D. in my youth because I manifested the same symptoms after I viewed an episode. Yep, the morning I woke up with a paralyzed arm identical to that suffered by Dr. Welby’s patient the previous night, I knew I needed to change my viewing habits. Now don't class me as a hypochondriac... there's a vast difference between inventing illness and mimicking one.

I thought I had a pretty good handle on medical problems, but now I have to worry about the side affects of the medicines I take. You know all those things they babble faster than the speed of light at the end of the recommending ad? Would you rather have RLS (Restless Leg Syndrome) or a severe gambling problem? I'm not sure. Depends on my luck, I guess.

Although I don't suffer from the condition, I'm thrilled that those with genital warts are trying to protect their partner by taking a little pill a day, but how happy will they be when their mates suffer a stroke? How about that commercial that shows someone slumbering restfully after ingesting just one little tablet? How peaceful can you sleep when complex behaviors such as “sleep-driving” have been reported by people taking the drug? I kid you not!

And what about this epidemic of penile flacidity? Is that even a word? Has this always been a problem and if so, why are we forced to hear about it now, and ad nauseam? I puzzle over why, when a man takes one of those little pills, he and his intended sexual partner end up in separate bathtubs, overlooking the ocean. I can’t seem to make the connection. Now back in the day when Ricky and Lucy or the Cleaver’s graced the screen, I understand why we never saw the couples in the same bed, but c’mon, this is 2011 and the soap operas and reality shows display everything…and I mean

The ads on TV are enough to make you avoid getting prescriptions filled, but if the commercials don’t make you leery enough, read the literature that comes with your medicines. Start a pill regime with a healthy liver, end up with a bad one and kidney failure. Have restless legs? Wake up and find yourself in an Indian Casino, miles from home, still clad in your pajamas and hunched over a blackjack table. Through the magic of FDA approved medications, you can grow excess facial hair, lose hair you want to keep, see double, triple, or risk blindness altogether. Ain’t it grand?

I can't take over-the-counter cold products with my blood pressure meds because I might have a stroke, and if I combine anything for sinus problems with a certain anti-depressant, I might become suicidal. Next thing I know, I won't be able to have sex on a night with a full moon in any month beginning with J. 

What happened to the days when we didn't have to hear about feminine itching, hemorrhoids and especially sexual dysfunction? Do we really want to see a couple who has that problem, see the twinkle in their eye and know their business? I don't. I'm an author and I believe in a good romance, but I like something left to the imagination. Don't you? Honestly, TV ads take the R right out of Romance sometimes.