7 Questions

Last week, I answered questions that my fellow friend/writer, Kathy Palm, asked when she nominated me for a Sunshine Blogger award.  This week, another friend/writer answered questions for me, and Mary Lou never fails to surprise me.  How many people, if they could travel back in time to watch an event in history, would choose the parting of the Red Sea? Okay, that had to be a major event and dramatic to boot,  but I honestly thought she’d pick the sinking of Atlantis, since she has sort of a thing for crystal skulls and Cayce.  Just look at the books she’s written as M. L. Rigdon: http://www.amazon.com/M.L.-Rigdon/e/B0086UZFGA/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1469288066&sr=1-2-ent    Her answers show what a history buff she is.  A movie buff, as well.  Anyway, without further ado, here’s my friend M. L. Rigdon’s 7 questions and answers:.  And if YOU had a chance to witness a scene in history, what would you choose?


Many thanks to Judith Post/Judi Lynn, who invited and suggested this blog thingie. She is my guru. She’s also the Fearless Leader of Summit City Scribes, the best writing group in the world. Many local writers are blessed by her open-hearted support. For me, I cannot imagine a better critique partner. Strike that. There is none. She knows how to slash through my work with unerring directions and corrections, her teacher’s pen bent on perfection. I shudder, and go briefly catatonic, to think what would go into print without her input. But most of all, her encouragement keeps me lifted up and on track. She can tell me with precision what doesn’t work, and as importantly, what does.


The deliciously quirky Kathy Palm promoted Judy for the sunshine award. Perfect choice. Here are my responses to Judy’s questions.


Wine or beer?

Depends on what I’m eating. German food or pizza, must have beer. Everything else, wine, if I’m not driving. (More than one glass, I’m on the table or under it.)


Your favorite food?

Is this a trick question? The list goes on and on.


If you could be transported back in time and WATCH a moment of history, what would it be?

The parting of the Red Sea.


If you won a trip to anywhere in the world, were would you go?


If you could be any author in the world, past or present, besides yourself, who would you be? And why?

Carson McCullers. All that’s needed to make me teary eyed is to think the title The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter. Read it in my teens and never recovered. Can’t even aspire to that kind of literary empathy.


Cats, dogs or guinea pigs.

Dogs. (First up is horses, but you never asked that. Maybe because you already knew.)


Your favorite movie.

The Best Years of Our Lives. More than its capture of the aftermath of war on our valiant warriors when they had to return to “normal” life, this work exemplifies the “Greatest Generation.” So few remember what our country had to endure to win two world wars simultaneously, especially stateside. The courage and determination of mothers, who sometimes had to wait for years to hear if their loved ones survived, had to put their children in temporary orphanages to build planes and tanks. What kid today would understand the rationing of sugar, bacon and gasoline? Due to the present, widespread entitlement attitudes, I doubt that our nation could again rise to that level.


Thank you for visiting my blog, Mary Lou!  And thanks for being my critique partner.  I value your critiques every bit as much as you appreciate mine.  Every writer needs a critique partner, and we make a pretty good fit:)

And just so you know, Mary Lou also writes Regency romances under the name Julia Donner.  http://www.amazon.com/Julia-Donner/e/B00J65E8TY/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1469289093&sr=1-2-ent    Once every full moon or when the mood strikes her, she also writes a blog:  https://historyfanforever.wordpress.com/

You can find her on twitter at: @RigdonML

Her Facebook page:   https://www.facebook.com/marylou.rigdon?fref=ts

Happy writing, everyone!


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Time to pee in a cup

I wanted to share this snippet earlier, but when I sat in front of my computer (and yes, this is a brain fart moment), I couldn’t remember which scene I was looking for in OPPOSITES DISTRACT.  (Carl Grody–not a word!)  But tonight, when I was thinking of something else, it came to me.  Brody’s brother, Ian, has been worried about his wife (and Harmony’s best friend) Tessa.  She hasn’t felt up to par for a while.  This scene’s a game changer.  It shifts how everything works, so far, in the story.  The snippet sums it up:

Tessa greeted them.  “Ian’s grilling steaks on the back patio.  Supper will be ready in a few minutes.”

Harmony studied her as she led them into the kitchen.  Her frizzy, copper hair was flat.  A no shower day, for sure.  Her creamy complexion looked pale.  “Are you okay?”

Right then, Ian came in the back door, teeth chattering.  His nose and cheeks glowed like Rudolph’s.  He held a platter with four steaks, tented in foil.

Tessa looked embarrassed.  “I baked with Grandma all morning.  I felt great.  I wanted to make bouillabaisse, but the smells bothered me.  I kept getting nauseous.”

“Oh, shit.”  Brody shook his head.

Ian frowned at him.

“You need to go see a doctor,” Brody said.

“What do you think is wrong with her?”  Ian sounded concerned.

“I don’t think I’m sick,” Tessa said.  “Or contagious.”

“Neither do I.”  Brody went to the refrigerator to fetch two beers.  “I think you’d better start taking prenatal vitamins.”

Ian stared.  So did Tessa and Harmony.

Tessa asked, “What do you mean?”

Brody raised an eyebrow.  “I think you’d better pee in a cup.”




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Another snippet

I put another snippet from OPPOSITES DISTRACT on my webpage, if you’re interested.


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I will be sunshine-y:)

People who  know me well know that I’m a pretty happy person.  I tend to look at the glass half-full.  Does that make me cheerful?  Bubbly?  Nah, not so much.  Because I can see all the bumps in the road before I reach my destination, and I like to grumble about those.   So when my writer friend Kathy Palm listed me for a Sunshine Blogger Award, I decided to go with it and enjoy.


Kathy is one of those really chill, positive people I consider myself lucky to know.  She calls herself weird.  I think of her as cool.  But she has her dark side, too.  I mean, she loves to read and write horror, and that has to come from somewhere, right?  On top of that, she writes YA fantasy, so she’s a woman of many talents.  You can find her blog here: https://findingfaeries.wordpress.com/ and she’s on twitter: @KathleenPalm

As part of the award she gave me, I have to answer a list of questions.  Here goes:

  1.  Kissing?  No kissing?    Romance makes Kathy squirm:)  But that’s what I’m writing now, so I say pucker up, snuggle up, and well…  see where things go.
  2. Will you watch a horror movie with me?    Does SNOW WHITE count?  There’s a mean step-mother and a dragon.  No?  Well, I can do creepy and dark, but slasher movies and anything too intense is too much for me.  I just watched REVENANT with Nate this week, and talk about brutal.  I’m pretty much a weinie.
  3. Cake or pie?    Love ’em both, but I’d have to say cake, especially if it’s a torte or has a great filling.
  4. Sunrise or sunset?    Does morning start with sunrise?  I’m not an early bird.  That’s why I love the moon.
  5. Winter, spring, summer, or fall?    I love them all.  I’d miss the seasons if I didn’t have them, but there’s something about watching flowers bloom and grass green after a long winter.  I’m so ready for the earth to wake up again!  Hello, spring!
  6. What are you reading now?    I’m critiquing a manuscript for another writer friend, Karen Lenfestey.  She writes women’s fiction–serious stuff.  I love her novels, but I’d never be able to write them, so it’s fun to edit them.  You can find Karen’s novels here:  http://www.amazon.com/Karen-Lenfestey/e/B004SBIK2M/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1468696386&sr=1-1
  7. What is your greatest talent?    I’d love to say writing, but the truth is, I think my greatest talent is probably cooking for people.  I love to feed friends and family, and I’m always collecting new recipes to try.  It makes me happy to cook a meal that someone loves to eat.
  8. What was your best day ever?    Yikes!  That’s a tough one.  Some of my best times are travelling with my husband and our kids or grandkids.  Heck, I have a great time travelling with my sisters, friends, and brother-in-law, too.  I guess I like to get away from routine once in a while to travel and visit with people I like.
  9. Roller coasters or merry-go-round?    Ten years ago, it would be roller coasters.  Now?  I’d rather wave as other people whiz past me.
  10. Camping or hotel?    I don’t leave home to wash dishes.  Definitely hotel.
  11. Will you be my friend forever?    For you, Kathy, YES!


Okay, by now, you probably know more about me than you ever wanted to know.  Now, I’m supposed to nominate other people who I think spread joy and give them a list of questions.  I also know that most of my writer friends are pinched for time and have deadlines, so I’ll make both lists short, and if they can’t get to their Sunshine Award, they’ll know I think they deserve one!


Mary Lou Rigdon, who writes Regency romances that I love, love, love!  https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=dp_byline_sr_ebooks_1?ie=UTF8&text=Julia+Donner&search-alias=digital-text&field-author=Julia+Donner&sort=relevancerank

Rachel Roberts who writes literary fiction and has such a subtle, rich voice, she makes me jealous:  http://www.rachelsroberts.com/

Kyra Jacobs who’s unfailingly nice and supportive and writes great books:  http://www.amazon.com/Kyra-Jacobs/e/B00E5PIJ04/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1468699404&sr=1-2-ent

Mae Clair, whom I’ve never met, but is supportive and warm and wonderful. http://www.amazon.com/Mae-Clair/e/B009I61ND0/ref=sr_tc_2_0?qid=1468699558&sr=1-2-ent

I have many more, but I’ll stop here.  I know for sure that some of my friends are swamped right now, so I won’t add more “to do” things to their lists.  Now, for the questions:

  1.  Wine or beer?
  2. Your favorite food?
  3. If you could transport back in time and WATCH a moment of history, what would it be?
  4. If you won a trip to anywhere in the world, where would you go?
  5. If you could be any author in the world, past or present, besides yourself, who would you be?  And why?
  6. Cats, dogs, or guinea pigs?
  7. Your favorite movie?

There.  Only 7–like the 7 deadly sins:)  Easy!  I think you’re all awesome!  Happy writing!





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3rd snippet for OPPOSITES DISTRACT

Harmony and Brody both believe they’ll be snowed in the next day, so stay up late, watching three old, horror movies.  Harmony’s dreams reflect that:


They flipped through channels before they found an old classic—Seven—with Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman.  The seven deadly sins, and their punishments, were enough to set a creepy mood.  Then Brody found The Shining, and you’d have thought he hit the jackpot.  “One of my favorites!” he told her.  Jack Nicholson doing crazy pushed creepy to its limits.  Harmony’s eyes were getting heavy when he found The Mummy with Brendan Fraser.   The movie was scary enough, but Harmony couldn’t help it.  She fell asleep.

She half woke as he carried her upstairs to her room.  He turned down the covers and gently laid her in her bed.  She remembered smiling up at him, and then he bent and his lips claimed hers.  Damn, the man felt good.  She reached her arms around his neck and made the kiss last.  But then he pulled away, touched her cheek, and left.

Her dream started with a warm, fuzzy feeling.  She strode through a meadow filled with blooming wildflowers.  A beautiful, white building with columns and green shutters sat on a knoll in the distance, and she walked toward it.  When she stepped inside, the bright sunshine disappeared.  A forbidding gloom filled its shadowy spaces.  There was a mystery she must solve here, she knew.  A spiral staircase led to the second floor, and she climbed it, calling to see if anyone was home.  On the second floor landing, red smears covered the flowered wallpaper.  REDRUM.  Chills shivered up and down her spine, but she started down a long, narrow, white tunnel to a room at its end.  The temperature dropped the farther she walked.

When she reached the double doors, she pushed on them, and they swung open to a huge nursery.  Every cradle held a crying baby.  She ran to the first and bent to pick it up to comfort it, and Cecily’s face—the way she imagined Brody’s ex—stared back at her.  She recoiled and went to the next cradle, then the next, and the one after that.  Every cradle held an infant that looked like Cecily.  This was where Brody’s ex and her old, rich husband deposited their many offspring.  A baby, wrapped in tapes like a mummy, cried to her, “Only the first son is allowed to live with Mommy.”  Then every baby jumped out of their cradles, grabbed gleaming butcher knives, and chased her out of the room and down the hallway.  She woke when she tugged on the front door and it wouldn’t open.  Her eyes did.

She lay in bed, her heart thumping, and vowed never to watch three horror movies, back to back, ever again.  She finally left the comfort of her blankets and walked to the window.  It had quit snowing.

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2nd snippet from Opposites Distract

Brody fusses a lot.  It’s who he is, but his bark is worse than his bite.  Harmony realizes that when he helps his brother, Ian, rescue the duck he’s fed all summer and fall.  When the duck gets frozen in the ice on the lake, the two men rush to its aid:

Brody’s attention was drawn to something outside the back windows.  His brows furrowed in a worried frown.  He narrowed his eyes, staring at the lake.  “Is that one of your ducks?” he asked Ian.

Ian finished the last bite of his sandwich and followed Brody’s gaze.  His expression took on a worried look, too.  “Is she stuck in the ice?” he asked Brody.

Brody stood to go see her better.  “She’s struggling, but can’t get out.”

A feather could have knocked Harmony over when Brody disappeared to get his winter coat.  Ian followed him.  She looked at Paula.  “Are they going to rescue a duck?”

“Not just any duck,” Paula told her.  “Ian fed it all summer and fall.”

Brody glared as he passed Harmony.  “You can’t just leave a poor animal trapped in ice to die, whether you fed it or not.”

The two men tramped out the back door and headed to the lake.  Harmony turned to Paula.  “How do you unstick a duck?”



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A snippet from my latest romance

Thought I’d post a snippet from my second Mill Pond romance.  Might post a few off and on to give you a taste of the novel.  Harmony Meyers’s parents were nothing to brag about and left her in her brother’s care as often as possible. Her brother resented having to babysit her and let her know it.  She has little faith in family and doesn’t connect with too many people.  This scene shows why:

She heard footsteps stop at the kitchen door, and Ian’s voice.  “I’m heading home for the night.  You left your watch in suite three, Brody.  Here.  Catch!”

She caught the movement of Ian’s arm as he tossed the watch, underhanded.  She shut the oven door and straightened in time to see Brody raise his hand to catch it.  His fist stopped inches from her face.  He nodded to Ian as he left, then turned to her and stopped abruptly.

“Harmony?”  His voice was gentle, tentative.  “Are you all right?”

Fear clogged her throat.  She couldn’t answer.  Her heart pounded.  Old instincts.

He reached for her, and she planted her feet in a fighter’s stance.  She pulled her arms up, her hands balled into fists to protect her face.  New instincts.  No one would ever slap her again.

Brody pushed his arms out at his sides, palms forward, in a defenseless pose.  “I won’t hurt you.  I’d never hurt you.”

Harmony took quick breaths, fighting for calm.  Brody wasn’t her brother.  He’d never hit a woman.  She buried her face in her hands, and her shoulders shook.

Strong arms wrapped around her.  She leaned against Brody’s broad chest.  He didn’t say a word, just hugged her to him.  After a while, she moved away from him.  She felt stupid.  Ridiculous.




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Each book is different

I have a bum leg.  I wrote my post yesterday on my laptop, balanced in my lap, in my recliner in the living room to keep my leg up.  I posted it, but guess what?  When I looked on my computer in my work room this morning, to post for #MondayBlogs on twitter, only the first line came up.  One little line!  I looked back on the chapters I’d posted so far for Enoch (written on my laptop), and it took some of my rewrites, but not all of them. Embarrassing.  I try really hard to write clean, and I thought I had.  I guess my laptop has a mind of its own.  So I polished every chapter again (but on my laptop), and hope those rewrites stayed, and I’ve reposted them.  I’m rewriting my blog today and reposting it, too. Most importantly, I found a way to work on my beloved computer again, thank the heavens!  So…sorry for the inconvenience, but here’s this week’s blog:


I finally finished the last chapter, ever, of Enoch’s story. Enoch’s special to me. He’s the first novel I worked on with my agent, Lauren Abramo. She’d taken me on because of a previous book I sent her, but we really didn’t make many changes to that one. I was lucky.  She pretty much liked FABRIC OF LIFE, as was.  I still love that book, but it was more of a paranormal mystery with a ghost than an urban fantasy, and I was determined to try UF. It kept calling to me.  I wanted to write battles and high stakes.  I wanted immortals with super powers. And then I thought of two angels, who are best friends, even though they’re incompatible.

I think  most of us have friends we hold dear who don’t have a lot in common with us.  Caleb’s that friend for Enoch.  The first time I wrote the book, I wrote it from third person, limited POV.  Lauren liked it, but her comments made me think that the book would be better from multiple POVs.  It would crank up the tension and help develop the supporting characters more.  That rewrite took a while, but I still think it made the book better.  So did Lauren.  But there was nothing easy about writing Fallen Angels.

That’s the thing about books.  Every single one of them is a different writing experience. When I wanted to write something fun and easy, I could always count on Babet and Prosper.  The witch and her werebear had enough chemistry to heat things up, and River City had enough atmosphere to bring in all kinds of antagonists–vampires, voodoo priests, and even the boogey man.  It was fun.  Enoch wasn’t like that.  Every time I wrote about him, it was work.  But lordy, did I love my angel!

I taught elementary school for six years–I know, this feels like it’s way off topic, but it’s not. What almost every teacher can tell you is that you care about the little troublemakers, the smart mouths, the kids who struggle with learning, discipline, …whatever every bit as much as you care about the top students and sweethearts.  They ALL matter to you.  You want them ALL to succeed.  That’s the way it is with characters and books.  The book that makes you sweat endears itself just as much as the book that practically writes itself.  You love them all, or why bother?

Anyway, this is a long and round about way of saying that I wanted Enoch and Caleb to have a happy ending.  I wanted all of Enoch’s struggles to achieve something.  After three books, he’d come a long way, but I wanted more for him.  So the novella I posted on my webpage is my tribute to him, my way of leaving him with what he deserves–redemption.


My webpage (and Enoch’s novella): http://www.judithpostswritingmusings.com/

My author Facebook page:  https://www.facebook.com/JudiLynnwrites/

On twitter:  @judypost



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OOppositesDistract     Opposites Distract is finally up, book 2 in my Mill Pond romance series!  Hope you enjoy.

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I’m writing a novella to finish the Fallen Angel series.  That series started with Enoch grabbing his friend/fellow angel, Caleb, and wrestling him to the ground so that he couldn’t join Lucifer when he tried to overthrow the One.  Enoch did save Caleb from the pit, but he couldn’t save him from himself.  Funny how that works in life, isn’t it?

When my sister (who hates to cook) learned that she had diabetes and had to take insulin, I offered to cook extra for supper every night and send her home a healthy meal.  Patty stopped at our house on her way home from work every night and appreciated the effort, but the experiment failed.  She missed carry-out so much, she’d freeze the food I sent and chow down on something from Taco Bell.  Soon, her freezer was full and her sugar was still high.  She wasn’t quite ready to embrace new habits yet.   You can’t help someone who doesn’t want helped.  Enoch learned that the hard way, too.

When the One tossed Caleb to Earth to punish him, Caleb discovered that he loved it here.  Actually, he loved it a little too much, so Enoch was sent down to clean up after him.  Another lesson learned.  Good intentions can bite you in the ass.  For poor Enoch, it looked like he’d never get to return Home because Caleb never intended to change his ways.  There’d always be a mess left in his wake.

I didn’t want to end the series with Enoch, who’s too conscientious for his own good, stuck here because of Caleb, who’s too self-involved to ever do the right thing.   That’s why I’m posting DISGRACED, AGAIN on my webpage each week.  A couple more chapters, and I can end the series the way I want it to end.  Yes, Enoch made a mistake.  Should he be punished for it for eternity?  Not my style.  I suck at discipline, so I want a happy ever after–of sorts–for both Enoch and Caleb.  Soon, I can wrap up their stories, and then I’ll concentrate on my fifth romance again.  Those always have happy ever afters.  So my writing life will be good:)


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