AN AUTUMN LOVE AFFAIR

fall-on-the-flathead-river-polebridge-montana[3]by Nan McKenzie

I love the fall, everything about it. My huge golden tree in front of the house, the smaller dark red maple next to it, the fat bushes in front of the porch that turn red to welcome cold weather. Summer is difficult for me, ‘cause I don’t do well in the heat, so when the nights and mornings are cooler, and a brisk walk in the early morning brings the sun up and turns my cheeks red, life is very good.

Sometimes there is snow dusting the tops of the mountains all around, and bears wander closer to town, looking for food to tide them over the winter. The cold mornings bring a promise of something new, something exciting that’s about to happen (not just snow, something else). I have more energy, sleep better, get more things done around the house.

Writing on my latest novels seems more effortless, with a little excitement that the coming finish brings. I look forward to the winter, the snow, the smell of new snow in the air, my boots crunching along. The studded tires sing of possibilities, talking to me from the bottom of my van.

My oldest great-granddaughter’s name is Autumn Mist, perfect for her, a lovely dark redhead, hazel eyes, getting taller by the minute. Both my kids were born in September, and I’ve always told them that my best gift to them was being smart enough to have them born in September, just a year and three weeks apart.

Gotta’ go take a walk in the cool afternoon now, a gift to myself.

Nan McKenzie, Autumn, September 21, 2016

Catch All Blog

Marie F MartinCatch All Blog By Marie F Martin

Ideas for my turn at blogging this month is nil, so I figured I’d just throw out a few random things.

 

day one preschool

day one preschool

My four-year-old great grandson left home this morning sporting a heavy backpack with no idea what’s inside. Parents hurriedly packed it, hung on a hook and told him to leave it alone. Whew one job done. the little boy didn’t touch it waiting the days for school to arrive. He left this morning bravely packing a bag with unknown school stuff inside and trusting his parents. He’s going to have so much fun discovering what the contents are. Maybe we all should start a day with a pack of unknown and just wait to see what’s inside.

I received the edited copy of my new story, Don’t Mess With Mrs. Sedgewick from my copy editor last week. And even with this handy helper there were corrections on most pages of some sort. They are now approved and off to the nice fellow who does formatting. He had me search for words to hyphenate on a online previewer. My eyes are now blind, but Mrs. Sedgewick has hyphens. word-book-2

This is what my 2-year-old great grandson was playing with when I answered the door to find a nice policeman checking on my welfare. Same great grandchild had accidentally dialed 9-1-1.  Yeahcuffs-2-2

 

 

 

 

To end I am including the first page of Don’t Mess With Mrs. Sedgewick.

I catch my breath. This could be it. To make sure, I draw the newspaper almost to my nose and read the listing again. Right here in the real estate section of the Vista Harbor Chronicle is the answer. The date in the corner reads July 7, only four days ago. A happy dance springs within me, but I control the urge. No customer sitting at a high table in a bistro needs to witness a lady past her prime make a fool of herself. Instead, I jig my fists below the table in a silent yes, yes, yes. I’ve found the condos. Life at age seventy-two is about to change. I slide from the stool and head for the door, hoping no one notices the newspaper tucked under my left arm.
“Thank you, Mrs. Sedgewick,” the coffee gal calls after me. She saw the paper, and that’s her way of letting me know. Without looking back, I waggle my right hand above my shoulder and push open the door.
Outside, I dig through my Gucci for my phone. I love my hobo bag, but don’t like searching for whatever drops to the bottom. I need to figure that out. I also don’t like the dark face of the phone in the bright sunlight. Phone people need to figure that out.
I move under the umbrella of a red maple. In filtered light, I send a text to my three buddies. Meet me at the clubhouse. I have a surprise. I shuffle a little smart-step, unable to hide my joy. I’m still light on my feet even though my hair has turned soft white. I avoid coloring it but fight other signs of aging with a diet pill once in a while and wrinkle cream rubbed in nightly. Like most Pisces, I’m proud, a bit vain, and not afraid to admit it. I hop into my reliable Subaru.
A hand grabs the top part of the car door.
I gasp and brace against the seat.
A careworn woman stands there like a waif. “I did naught mean to startle you. I noticed you did a jig step before getting into your car and wondered if you are from Scotland. I’m so homesick for the heather.” She’s medium height, medium weight—medium all the way around. Her flyaway hair is sandy, and her sad eyes show more burnished gold than green. She removes her hand from the top of the door. “I’m sorry for intruding.”
“No need to be. I’m not from Scotland, but some distant relatives were. They mixed with my English ancestors, so I’m blessed with a good dose of Highland merriment and English good sense that battle each other. I hope you find your way back to the heather.” I close the car door. It thuds softly, not a hard slam to show dismay. So often anymore I’m prone to sharpness and a quick tongue, followed by guilt. Or else I rattle on about nothing and don’t worry about it.
The Scottish woman walks away, spine stiff, head high. An odd, lonely woman, but likable.
A sense of uncertainty chases around my shoulders. I banish it with a glance at my watch. There’s enough time to run by Jones Realty and arrange for a showing of the condos this afternoon. I tilt the rearview mirror and apply a boost of blush, lip gloss, and a dab of liquid concealer by my left eyelid—the dang droopy thing. There. All is repaired well enough to see Ned Jones, the realtor.
Before I swing into the late morning traffic on Harbor Drive, a white-knuckle thought smacks into my gray matter. The newspaper is only a few days old, but what if someone already bought one of the units? What a terrible thought. I press harder on the accelerator and zip through Vista Harbor, the alpine resort community I call home. It’s a small town compared to Aspen or Big Sky, but it’s more than big enough to accommodate tourists and newcomers. I don’t mind sharing the beauty of my valley, my mountains, and my lakes. Sure, there’s room for all, and yes, I claim ownership. This part of Montana belongs to me.

my-books-2

September Book News

writer cartoon

Killing Thyme (final)LESLIE BUDEWITZ: Writing a little every day — that’s the writer’s motto. KILLING THYME, the third book in my Spice Shop Mysteries set in Seattle’s Pike Place Market, will be out October 4, so I’m busy with book launch fun, and of course, working on the next book. I’ll be in New Orleans for Bouchercon, the annual mystery convention, Sept 15-18, and that’s when I turn over the presidency of Sisters in Crime, the international writers’ organization, to another wonderful writer, though I’ll remain on the board for another year. Back home, the Montana Book Festival runs Sept 20-25 in downtown Missoula; on Friday, Sept 23, at 2:00, I’ll be part of a panel discussion called “Delicious Words: Writing About Food,” with several other fiction writers, poets, and essayists, and a cookbook author! And October 1-2 is the annual Flathead River Writers Conference in Kalispell; I’ll be speaking and teaching both days.

P.S.: The ebook of ASSAULT & PEPPER, the first Spice Shop book, is on sale online for 1.99, and the paperback of GUILTY AS CINNAMON, the second entry, is on sale for 7.19! Here’s the Amazon link, but you can get the sale prices at B&N and Kobo, too!

I hope to see you some thyme — er, time — soon!

***

     BIGFOOT RETURNS!!          By Nan McKenzie

bigfoot

He’s back!  Bigfoot is back in the Montana mountains in all his stinky, huge, scary glory!  He returns to connect with his champion, Zoe Zahn, along with Sam Hill, Darcy and George, Valli and Rauol, and Montana Governor Judy Harris!

The second and last of the Bigfoot stories has Zoe back at the beautiful round cabin, where Bigfoot finds her.  She does her best to keep him safe from all the crazies who want to kill and “study” him.

Bigfoot has a girlfriend, Helga, and she pops out a baby, Helgette, with Zoe’s help.  Another beast, Ssshhhrrrmmm is lonely, and wants Helga for his own, which causes huge fights between him and Bigfoot.

Zoe makes her way back into the mountains several times, is attacked by wolves, and Bigfoot carries her high to a big cave.

She sets up protests, argues with the angry sheriff, publishes her first Bigfoot book (which becomes a huge success), and makes a lot of cabin improvements.

Impressive tiny Zoe makes her way through all the pitfalls and problems with panache, humor, and a fierce protection of the strange, frightening monsters in the woods.

Now available on Amazon and Kindle, soon to be in print.