Sunday, January 12, 2020


If you enjoyed Perfect this holiday season, you're probably wondering about Elizabeth and Bob. Many readers did, so I wrote this novella about their journey home. I hope enjoy this opening scene.


Under the watchful eyes of the Frankfort authorities, the C-130J’s engines roared to life as Corporal Elizabeth Kincaid and twenty other members of her U.S. National Guard unit and two platoons of army personnel made their way across the tarmac. Finally they were beginning the last leg home.
With her head bowed against her shoulder to protect herself against chilling sleet that fell from a January night sky, she clutched her carry-on bag and hurried on the quick, confident heels of a larger than life soldier. She feared flying more than she feared snakes, and noting the grounds crew deicing the huge cargo plane didn’t help calm the trepidation eating away at her stomach lining. She wished her husband, Bob, was here, holding her hand, but he wasn’t. He had rotated home two days ago with his entire unit, landed safely in Colchester, and was now home with their daughters, Jillian and Katy. Knowing her whole life was over four thousand miles away and she was about to get on a brick of ice that would fly eighty thousand feet above a very isolated, very deep, very cold ocean was depressing as hell. She had to keep in mind that in nine hours she would be in Bob’s arms. She hoped she survived the next nine hours.
She looked up at the stairs leading to the brightly lit cabin entry and hesitated. A thin film of ice covered the hand railing below her gloved fingers. A solider stood nearby and repeated over and over to each person mounting the metal stairway to be mindful of their steps. He must’ve noticed her apprehension because he stopped his mantra and smiled; a smile meant to reassure her that she and everyone else would be fine. Their government held them in its highest regard and would not put them in danger on their last leg home after serving their country.
Elizabeth climbed one step. She could do this. No fear.
Before she entered the plane, she glanced over her shoulder and viewed her last glimpse of Germany. She hadn’t seen much of the country- only from the air as they flew in this morning from an undisclosed middle-east location, and from inside the airport. Maybe one day she and Bob would visit Europe again, but for now all she wanted was to be in her Vermont home. She longed to hold her two little girls again, smell their sweet, innocent scent and see the joy in their eyes as they related their experiences this year with Santa. She missed them so much her heart ached.
Heat whooshed out of overhead duct vents and filled the metal belly. The warmth was a welcomed relief from the frigid German winter outside. Elizabeth’s eyes lifted to an American flag that hung above an Apache helicopter tarped down in the plane’s center.
Soldiers quickly found places in rows of cushioned seats that had been installed upon the plane’s spine and continued back to the Apache’s nose. Behind the helicopter, the remaining cavity appeared filled with more equipment and pallets of weapons.
A dozen cushioned seats had replaced the usual jump-seats along the sidewalls and Elizabeth grabbed one just in front of the plane’s wings where she’d heard it was safest place to be in case of an accident. Quickly she stored her backpack under her feet. She latched her seatbelt and then firmly planted her feet on the plane’s floor and as far out of the way for incoming personnel as possible. The action was silly, but her soles pressed against a solid surface gave her an ounce of comfort.
She looked at her cell’s screen. Takeoff was scheduled in fifteen minutes at 8:30 p.m. in this time zone. Right now, it was only 2:15 p.m. back home. The flight took eight hours and thirty minutes. They were due to land in Colchester at 11:30 p.m. EST. She couldn’t wait.
In between soldiers passing by, Elizabeth slipped her phone into the side pocket of her bag under her seat.
A moment later, a man who reminded her of a boy from back home literally dropped onto the seat next to her right. Rylan Wright, the boy from Black Moose, Vermont, was a junior in high school and this man didn’t look a day older. Well, his five o’clock shadowed jawline made him appear slightly older. The name stitched in black into his uniform read Jenkins. His insignia identified him as an E-4 Specialist.
“Ma’am,” he said, dipping his head in a nod. His smile was thin but genuine.
“Hello.” She smiled at the word Ma’am. It made her feel matronly, when in reality she would only turn thirty at the stroke of noon Eastern Standard Time on January sixteenth, tomorrow.
Another solider took the seat to her left. The cabin filled quickly with warm bodies and excited chatter.
After storing his gear under his seat, Jenkins settled in and strapped his seat belt. He leaned toward her and spoke loudly so she would hear him over the noise. “Command gave us comfortable seats for the ride. Good. It’s going to be a long flight.”
“Yes. And a long awaited one,” she shouted back.
“I hear you.” He tugged his coat’s zipper down and stretched his neck.
In the rear of the plane the door slowly lifted into place and locked.
“How long has it been since you were state side, home?” she asked, studying his profile. He had a cute nose like Matt Damon and perhaps the longest lashes she’d ever seen.
“Two years.” His smile was a little lopsided and a dimple punctuated his right cheek.
“That is a long time.”
“Yes, Ma’am.”
“Please, call me Elizabeth.” She tugged off her gloves and offered her hand to him. “Ma’am reminds me of my great-grandmother.”
“Okay, Elizabeth. I’m Avery.” His skin was warm and rough, and during the seconds she held it a smidgen of calm seeped through Elizabeth. Then the front cabin door slammed closed.
“How long has it been for you?” he asked, drawing her attention back to him.
She tugged her seatbelt tighter over the butterflies in her stomach. “Only a six month stint, but it seems like a life time.”
The plane jerked forward and she closed her eyes. This was a military flight. There were no stewardesses or stewards instructing passengers in the plane’s safety procedures. Only barked orders came from a sergeant to remain seated with belts fasten and to expect some turbulence. She swallowed hard.
Jenkins leaned toward her. “You don’t like to fly, do you?”
Elizabeth stopped working her fingers into a knot. “Not really. My husband tells me I nearly break his hand during takeoff.”
He chuckled. “I’m sure it’s not that bad. I’ll talk you through it.” Jenkins positioned his arm against hers on the armrest separating them.
He was a stranger, yet he made her feel safer, so she didn’t pull away. She did as he instructed and took slow, deep breathes and relaxed against the seat like she was a feather about to go air bound. The image he conjured, made her smile.
About three minutes in the air, the plane rocked to the side and Elizabeth’s shoulder made contact with Jenkins’. She closed her eyes and remembered the moment her and Bob met.


Friday, January 10, 2020


January is a depressing month for many. They cry cabin-fever as soon as the ball in Times Square drops. Why is that?

If you’re one of the millions who suffers each year from SAD or cabin-fever would you love to, well, not suffer?

I love winter. I’m not one to suffer from SAD or cabin-fever, but my body does slow down and the mind seems to say, “Okay, if you’re not going to move, I might as well rest too.” I didn’t want that to happen to me this year. I’ve set some pretty aggressive goals for 2020, so I decided last week before the old year was waving Tata to get myself primed for the coldest months if the year here in NE USA. I began to dance in the morning as a form of exercise. In just one week, my energy level has soared. Yes, even after a very busy holiday season, I’ve have tons of energy.

If you don’t believe me that dancing can do this, here are some articles verifying the benefits of shaling your booty. Check them out.

Dance your way through January and February.

Wednesday, January 8, 2020


One of the reasons I love winter is this January event, The Ruby Slippered-Sisterhood Winter Writing Fest. I can't wait to join the many friends I've met over the past years and dig deep into a new work. If you're a writer and are interested, read on.


If you’ve joined us for the Winter Writing Festival any time during the past eight years, you know it can be a tremendously productive time, with lots of inspiring support and the magic of REGULAR WRITING SPRINTS held in our cozy Chat Room!

It’s completely free, and all writers are welcome—the more the merrier!

Through the bleakest part of winter—January 10 through February 28—the Winter Writing Festival is here to keep your creative fires burning, with camaraderie, encouragement, fun prizes for participants, and as much virtual hot-chocolate (and virtual cookies!!) as you please. ‘Cause nobody’s Muse can resist a party!
Here’s the beauty part: unlike NaNoWriMo and other writing challenges that (much as we love them!!) have a one-size-fits-all approach, the Ruby Winter Writing Festival is designed for you.

No matter what stage you’re at right now (brainstorming, plotting, free-writing, fast-drafting, slow-drafting, revising, layering, polishing…or any combination of the above) the Ruby Winter Writing Festival wants to give you fuel for your winter writing fire.

read on click here WWF