Heroes of The Tundra

A warm welcome to Laurie Wood, who lives in Central Canada and writes inspirational romantic suspense with an edge of danger. She’s also a military wife who’s raised two wonderful special needs children to adulthood. They’ve lived all over Canada and are still on that journey. When she’s not writing she can be found at her spinning wheel, knitting, or hanging out with her dogs in the garden.

AND… Laurie has served as a police officer. This hooked me immediately–in her series about PTSD and police officers, she knows what she’s talking about! She’s giving away an e-copy of Northern Protector to a commenter. Thanks for visiting!

If He’s Not a Cop, He’s Nobody

Constable Ben Koper is still healing from the polar bear attack that almost killed him. Nine months after it happened, he returns to Churchill, Manitoba, a changed man—scarred more than just physically. PTSD is his new shadow, haunting his every step, and he can’t seem to kick the pain meds he shouldn’t need anymore. He’s determined to prove, to himself and his colleagues, that he’s still up to his job. Failure isn’t an option.

ER nurse Joy Gallagher spent the entire last winter texting with a healing Constable Koper. What started as friendly concern from this single mother has grown into full-fledged romantic feelings, and she’s eager to level up their friendship and introduce him to the idyllic comfort of small-town life. Until a teenager is murdered at a summer party. The crime is strikingly similar to the cold case murder of Joy’s foster sister, stirring old trauma Joy has never fully dealt with.

When another victim is snatched in town, Ben and Joy must confront their own demons, and join forces to track down an elusive killer. The race to rescue the next victim before it’s too late will test Ben and Joy to their limits. Can they survive their encounter with this heinous killer, or will the past destroy them.?

NORTHERN PROTECTOR is the second book in my Heroes of the Tundra series. (NORTHERN HEARTS is a Christmas novella set in the same town of Churchill, Manitoba) The hero, Ben Koper, is the best friend of the hero from the first book. He’s actually mauled by the polar bear in book 1, and this book is the story of his recovery from PTSD from that traumatic experience and injury, as well as how he grapples with addiction to painkillers.

I wanted to write about PTSD because it’s more common in the life of police officers than we like to think. Not every officer will face down a polar bear, but police work isn’t like it’s shown in TV or the movies. When I was a police officer, I faced off against a man with a gun one-on-one, several who wanted to use a knife on me, a hostage situation outside a liquor store, and was in many, many physical fights trying to arrest someone.

I’ve arrested rapists, drunk drivers, men who’d just beaten their wives or children, women who’d beaten other women, women who’d beaten up their children, and people in bar fights. And while I was never shot or knifed, I had my wrist broken once by a biker who refused to give up his booze when I said he couldn’t take it back. I won that fight but ended up with a broken wrist and the rest of the summer off because I was in a cast. I also got a permanent back injury from being thrown against the concrete wall in our prisoner’s cell block by a guy on some kind of drugs who mistook me for someone else.

Back in the mid-1980’s when I was a police officer, no one called the after-effects of situations like these PTSD. We just had to “shake it off”. However, I can tell you that being in a hostage situation isn’t like it is on shows like “The Rookie” or “Law and Order.”

Nor was going one on one with a biker who outweighed me by about a hundred pounds like anything I’d ever seen on TV. The “bad guys” don’t conveniently fall to the ground with one punch to the jaw. It’s more like a Mixed Martial Arts battle, heavy on the face punches.

When police officers take off their uniforms after their shift, they’re just regular people. They have to make split-second decisions about their safety and that of others around them. A situation can change in an instant. On a tv show, the police might be out of breath after a foot chase, but they don’t have nightmares, or feel like their skin is crawling the next day when they go to pick up their start-of-shift coffee. 

This book is my favourite of the ones I’ve written so far. It takes courage to go back to work after a traumatic experience on the job. I hope I’ve done our police officers proud with this story.

NORTHERN PROTECTOR:

Constable Ben Koper is still healing from the polar bear attack that almost killed him. Nine months after it happened, he returns to Churchill, Manitoba, a changed man—scarred more than just physically. PTSD is his new shadow, haunting his every step, and he can’t seem to kick the pain meds he shouldn’t need anymore. He’s determined to prove, to himself and his colleagues, that he’s still up to his job. Failure isn’t an option.

ER nurse Joy Gallagher spent the entire last winter texting with a healing Constable Koper. What started as friendly concern from this single mother has grown into full-fledged romantic feelings, and she’s eager to level up their friendship and introduce him to the idyllic comfort of small-town life. Until a teenager is murdered at a summer party. The crime is strikingly similar to the cold case murder of Joy’s foster sister, stirring old trauma Joy has never fully dealt with.

When another victim is snatched in town, Ben and Joy must confront their own demons, and join forces to track down an elusive killer. The race to rescue the next victim before it’s too late will test Ben and Joy to their limits. Can they survive their encounter with this heinous killer, or will the past destroy them.?

Buy Links:

Amazon.com:https://amzn.to/3femV6Y

Amazon.ca:    https://amzn.to/2KfyoYq

Anaiah Press: https://bit.ly/3pGPrD6(Print copies)

Bio & Social Media Links:

Laurie loves to hear from readers and always replies, so feel free to get in touch with her:

Please visit her at https://www.lauriewoodauthor.com

Facebook:             https://www.facebook.com/lauriewoodauthor

Twitter:                 https://twitter.com/LaurieJeanWood

Looking Back . . . and Ahead

We’ve been re-re-remodeling our old house. Again. Yep.

It’s good to look back to when we first purchased this property. It wasn’t what we were looking for, but in a town of 1,000 or so, you don’t always have a wide choice. I wanted a big old square house with a front porch, but none were on the market when we moved here. So . . .

We found a home with history. Guess that fits us both, although at the time, I hadn’t begun writing WWII novels. I did look into the history of this structure, though, and discovered it was one of the first built in St. Ansgar. 1873.

Continue reading

Williwaws and Wild March Weather

Don’t you love learning new words? My latest, which you see above, means a sudden violent gust of cold land air common among mountainous coasts of high latitudes, a sudden violent wind, or a violent commotion.

Williwaw certainly describes a great many situations in our world this past year. We surely have witnessed a violent commotion in several areas of our lives. In addition to the wild winter weather still bearing down on parts of our country, children are uprooted from their normal educational process, adults are laid off from work, and citizens still sequester in fear. The suddenness of all this makes williwaw an appropriate noun to use in discussing these circumstances.

Of course, this proved true in many other eras in our nation’s history, as well. During and after the Civil War, for instance, chaos reigned in many quarters of the U.S. Unemployment, loss of domicile, child endangerment–the list goes on and on. Making comparisons leads us nowhere, but history does offer lessons for future generations.

The Civil War affected widespread areas, and vigilante justice often prevailed. For those with an itch to “Go West, young man,” the time was ripe. And for those with underhanded motives, using others for selfish gain proved easier than ever.

Enter one male character of my new release, Secondhand Sunsets. I dare not call him the hero . . . oh, no!

But this story’s heroine, young in years yet old in grief, definitely qualifies for her role. Putting ourselves in Abby’s place may seem a bit overwhelming, for her losses had mounted due to the war and other tragic events. In our society, she would definitely qualify for several support groups and might be labeled as suffering from PTSD.

Her devastation leads her to trust an untrustworthy man, and she nearly pays with her life. Sickened by the sympathies of her small community, Abby only wants to flee. Comforting words taunt her, and she sees no future in this vale of sorrow.

Her story exemplifies the unconditional love that plants us in hope. No matter how far we veer from our spiritual moorings, we never wander beyond this unchanging commitment to our health and wholeness.

Secondhand Sunsets enters our world in the midst of an anxious time. Grief and loss came upon Abby suddenly, too, like a williwaw. May her journey bring encouragement and satisfaction to readers, one and all.

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Secondhand-Sunsets-Novel-Mogollon-Rim/dp/195247454XAmazon Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/Secondhand-Sunsets-Novel-Mogollon-Rim-ebook/dp/B08XTJC1JDBarnes & Noble Nook: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/secondhand-sunsets-gail-kittleson/1138920048Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/secondhand-sunsetsApple Books: https://books.apple.com/us/book/id1556170460Google Play Books: https://play.google.com/store/books/details/Gail_Kittleson_Secondhand_Sunsets?id=SbUgEAAAQBAJ

Message from Mogollon Rim Country

While I surely would never claim to be a cognoscente, or expert, about elk, the past decade has certainly taught me a lot about this animal. Seeing specimens around our house reveals new facets of their lives as the seasons changes.

One year, Lance videoed a male rubbing off his antlers for an extended time on one of the trees in front of our house. I was watching, too, and marveled at his tenacity and determination.

This past week, “the herd” has passed through nearly every day and often lingers for a while to reach high into our mountain oak trees for more leaves.

Imagine the strength of these neck muscles! I’ve always been amazed that such a large animal can survive on vegetation. But it’s true, every time you see them, they’re eating.

Since we first discovered this area, I’ve been working on a novel set in the Civil War era. For some reason, it has taken more than a decade (definitely a record!) to complete. But now, at last, Secondhand Sunsets will release next week.

It’s full of the flora and fauna of our area and the beauty of the Mogollon Rim. This pioneer story takes the reader on a treacherous journey across the nation, and highlights one woman’s will to survive.

Pant! I learned so much about this era’s history in the process, and though it seems peculiar to be releasing anything but a World War II story, here we go. So today I’d like to reveal the cover. Soon, we should have purchase information to share.

Violets in February

We’ve all heard the saying, “God gave us memory so that we may have roses in December.” James Barrie, the author who gave us Peter Pan, was reminding us that warmth comes to us in mysterious ways when life’s cold sweeps down.

With no roses on hand, I offer this delicate violet bloom this morning. I’m thinking especially of friends and family enduring the bitter cold in Iowa, and also my friends suffering through an abnormal winter storm in Texas.

At times like these, little things can make a big difference. Many of you in Texas cannot even view this violet today because your power is down. But perhaps in a couple of days you’ll know I thought of you.

On May 3, 1922 at The University of St. Andrew, the oldest university in Scotland, J.M. Barrie was quoting from a poem by Geoffrey Anketell Studdert-Kennedy (1883-1929)

“God gave His children memory…That in life’s garden there might be…June roses in December.” 

The historical context, the end of World War I, entered into this address also. Mr. Barrie was facing young men who had lost brothers and friends in that horrible nightmare. The world still trembled in its aftermath. They had read about–or possibly seen for themselves–the poppies in Flanders Fields.

J. M. Barrie shared his thoughts with great humility. I wish I could speak with some of the students present that day, to ask how his thoughts on courage affected them.

If you’d like to read the speech in its entirety, you may find it here:

https://www.online-literature.com/barrie/2088/

At any rate, back in this century, I know my friends are facing this dire weather with the everyday courage so necessary in life. I hope things soon return to normal for all of you.

The Spies of World War II

Today, our guest author, Carole Brown, shares SING UNTIL YOU DIE, the third in her series of novels. Here, she gives us a grip on her story. Also, she’s offering a signed paperback to one commenter:

Unlike books one and two of The Spies of WWIIseries (With Music in Their Heartsand A Flute in the Willows), I couldn’t get a handle on where to go with Claire Anne Rayner and Wills Mason’s story in Sing Until You Die. I knew their names, knew their careers, but the plot evaded me until it was time to write the novel. And then…

Slowly the plot opened up:  

  • How Claire was using her career
  • What was being asked of Wills by his colonel
  • The conflict between the two main protagonists
  • The protagonists’ personalities
  • Why revenge was being sought by the foreign spy
  • Who the spy was

The more I wrote, the more I loved these two faulty, but loveable characters. Were they perfect? No. Were they determined to do what they felt was their duty, what they knew was their calling? Yes and yes. 

Claire, as a child and teenager, faced thoughtless and sometimes cruel teasings because of over zealousness from certain family and friends. In her youthful mind, she felt loathing for those hurting her and knew she’d never forgive those involved. 

Wills, on the otherhand, as a youth was bound to prove he was one better than his best friend. Nothing was too dangerous or too extreme for him to try. No matter how others might feel…

Yet, through loving family and friends, these two grew into adulthood as caring, serious, and  individuals determined to succeed in their separate pursuits. The only thing they needed to do was ask for forgiveness and forgive. Could they lay aside their accusations for each other and do it? Would they realize that past feelings and thoughts about the other might just be wrong?

I worked hard at showing the slow and sometimes painful process of their achieving that. But tying in the insidious spy, thrust these two adorable, but different, characters into each others’ lives. That brings about the question: 

Will the web of deceit the mysterious German spy is weaving destroy their one chance of happiness with each other, or can they both let go of the past and work together to bring the spy to justice? 

Sing Until You Die

From childhood up, Claire Anne Rayner has despised the man who’s like a brother and son to the rest of the Rayner House residents. But when she puts her musical training on hold and begins singing to the troops as a means of helping support and encourage them, she is pulled into a mysterious spy’s efforts to destroy a certain high-ranking man. 

Wills Mason is loved by everyone but Claire who cannot forgive him for his and her sister’s unmerciful, youthful teasing. But now, grown up and serving as a civilian spy, Wills must prove that Claire is not willingly relaying messages to the enemy, as his colonel believes, even when all evidence points that way. And can he prove he’s changed and can be trusted to cherish her heart as she deserves to be loved? 

Will the web of deceit the mysterious German spy is weaving destroy their one chance of happiness with each other, or can they both let go of the past and work together to bring the spy to justice?

BUY LINK:

https://amzn.to/3ouVdWO

Bio:

Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. An author of ten books, she loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons? 

Personal blog: http://sunnebnkwrtr.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CaroleBrown.author

FB Fan Page:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/183457429657732/

Amazon Author Page:  https://amzn.to/38Ukljnhttps://amzn.to/38Ukljn

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/browncarole212

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/carole-brown

Instagram:  https://www.instagram.com/browncarole212/?hl=en

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/sunnywrtr/boards/

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/5237997-carole-brown

Linkedin:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/carole-brown-79b6951a/

The Difference Words Can Make

Ad hominem literally means “to the person” in Latin, as first used in post-medieval texts. An “argument ad hominem” meant a valid method of persuasion taking advantage of an opponent’s interests or feelings, instead of just sticking to general principles. Ad hominem later came to describe an attack aimed at an opponent’s character, the sense used today. The hostile nature of such attacks has led to this term meaning “against the person,” rather than its original Latin meaning of “to the person”, or engaging one’s opponent.

Ah, for more to and less against! These two nondescript words, to and against–what a difference they make. And today, we see the latter used so consistently, we stand to forget what the former can mean in civil society. It’s sad and frightening.

So we turn to…beauty! Here’s a shot from our road yesterday…what a glorious firmament, to use some old-fashioned terms. Just before I took it, the sun lent a shiny backdrop to the tallest tree–I think Lance would’ve been quicker on the draw and captured that. Still, the scene took me away from all the bitterness and unveiled hatred in our society.

This sky portends the storm upon us now. We’re getting heavy rain, much needed for this dry country. It’s turning to sleet, and by Monday, the forecast is 17-24 inches of snow.

As they say during Iowa blizzards, it’s hunkering down time. Sometimes we need to do this emotionally, too. Maybe we’ll go out into the fray again later. But for now, the sight of pines under these skies and the incredible beauty we know will accompany the snow suffices.

Puzzling It Out

About a week ago, Lance emptied a 1,500 piece puzzle on a table he moved in from outdoors. A card table wasn’t big enough to hold everything. First thing, of course, he put together the frame.

Except for one little piece. Now, how hard could it be to find ONE straight-edged puzzle piece in the mess spread out before us?

Very. Two days later, I happened upon the recalcitrant object and jubilantly fitted it in. Oh, the satisfaction!

Since then, long hours have passed organizing pieces by color, being foiled at fitting them in, and fretting when it seems as though ONLY THE ONE PIECE we’re seeking seems beyond our grasp.

Puzzles are somewhat like writing a book. They may lead you down dead-ends at times. They keep you up late.

And they’re addictive…perfect for a January getaway.

A NEW IMPRINT

This is exciting–(:

Congratulations to my reader and author friends–we have a new publishing venue! One of the editors, Karen Ullo, joins us this week. She’s also an author–see below for her GIVEAWAY details.

Thank you, Gail, for inviting me to be here with you this week! I’m thrilled to introduce your readers to my fantasy novel Cinder Alliaas well as Chrism Press, a new imprint of Gail’s own publisher, WhiteFire Publishing, dedicated to fiction from Catholic and Orthodox perspectives.

First, I’m absolutely thrilled to announce that, hopefully within the next few years, Cinder Allia will become a movie! Believe Entertainment (God’s Not Dead, Unplanned) recently purchased the film rights, and we are actively working on developing the film! 

What if the happy ending dies before the fairy tale even begins?

The way the idea for Cinder Allia came to me is a funny story. Once upon a time, I got together with some of my childhood girlfriends for a sleepover. We were all in our mid-twenties and still single. Sometime after midnight, we started wondering what had happened to our Prince Charmings. Fairy tales had promised us princes! Then we thought, what if Prince Charming had died before we could meet him? We concocted a very silly story that the prince’s guardian angel had gone on vacation and left a replacement—the Angel Vinnie—in charge. Vinnie had been asleep on the job when the prince got whacked by a crack dealer. 

Fast forward many years to a happily married, mother-of-two version of myself… and I realized there really was something to that idea. What if Prince Charming died before he could save Cinderella—and what if it was the fairy godmother’s fault? Out of that very silly seed of an idea, something completely different blossomed: a tale of war and espionage, with a crippled prince, a spy priest, a stepmother whose wickedness is poised to take down the throne, and a cinder maid who has to save not only herself, but her kingdom. 

I’m pleased to be able to offer a signed paperback of Cinder Allia to one lucky person who comments on this post, so please, ask questions, make comments, and let’s talk fairy tales!

I’d also like to invite you all to come join the fun at Chrism Press. If you read a lot of Christian fiction, you may (or may not) have noticed that there are very few depictions within this market of Catholic and Orthodox Christians. Surprisingly, the story of Chrism Press begins with two Evangelicals, David and Roseanna White, the owners of WhiteFire, who noticed that lack and wanted to create a place for these voices to be heard. Rhonda Ortiz and Marisa Deshaies, two Catholics who were already part of the WhiteFire editing team, invited me to join them, and a new imprint was born. Our first releases will be issued in the fall of 2021. I hope you’ll sign up for our newsletter, and if you want a sneak preview of what this ecumenical fiction looks like, check out the book that inspired it all, Roseanna White’s own The Number of Love 

It’s lovely to “meet” you all. Thank you once more to Gail for hosting me. Come find me on the web!

My website: www.karenullo.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/karenulloauthor

Renovations and Resolutions

This past year has renovated some aspects of our lives. Well, at least ALTERED them. Usually we plan and welcome renovations, but boy, can they ever make a mess!

The idea is to keep our eyes on the goal…what looks like a disaster can only be temporary, and as they say, the only way to accomplish anything is to begin. Right now, our carpenter has begun a HUGE project that involves chopping down a weight-bearing wall above a basement stairway, plus a whole lot of rebuilding.

With plaster pieces launching across our dining room like rockets, it’s reasonable to wonder, “Is this worth it?” But the goal, to open up the floor space so heat from our pellet stove can reach the rest of the house, is no impetuous one. My husband has desired this for many years.

The end result, increasing all-around efficiency, will make a big difference. So we’re plunging ahead, keeping our eyes on the target. Isn’t this similar to entering a new year?

The only way out of 2020 is moving into 2021, right?

We hope this new year satisfies the deep longings brought to light by the troubles of the old one. Universal yearnings: truth and justice, health, safety, joy and peace.

As the old hymn goes, “The wrong shall fail, the right prevail…with peace on earth, good will to men (and women and children.” (When Henry Wadsworth Longfellow penned these words, I’m pretty sure he was including everybody in his mind.)

The beginning of a renovation parallels the New Year’s resolutions I used to make. We all want to be kinder, more serene, more patient. to develop stronger character (and characters!) But amid the actual tests that strengthen us deep down, the drills, hammers, and brute force of renovation can be daunting.

Along the way, we may discover weak spots badly in need of repair and requiring more work than we thought. After some time, we pause and look back at our progress and realize it’s all good. In spite of our struggles we clean up pretty well.

After quite a few decades of resolution-making, I take a less strictly defined approach. One day at a time, one of the hallmarks of Al-Anon. And always, gratitude.

So we enter a new year. I appreciate all of your support throughout this extra looooong one, and hope to see more of you again in person during 2021. We’ve done our best, we’ve made it through, but it’s simply not the same!