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Push Pause

There are days when I don’t know if life is passing me by or simply trying to run me over. Every once in a while I have to push the pause button and take time out to breathe. It’s not like I’m thinking about the deep meaning of it all. I gave up on that years ago. Greater minds than mine have written volumes and failed to give full understanding to the narrative. Rather, I like to see it as a time of reflection; a rare chance to explore the accumulation of small victories which give days their own personal meaning; small slices of sweetness that make life tolerable and worth living. It’s about seeing the possibilities where there are none visible and letting myself soar on the hope of those possibilities.

The amazing thing about living is there are always new things to learn, new people to meet, and new things to see. An eagle landed on the roof across the street from us last night. The small birds fussed around her but she was unmoved. When she had enough she simply spread her wings and flew away. What a beautiful sight to watch the shadow her wingspan cast as she took off in flight.

Growing older, I think, makes us either grouchy or more reflective. I’ve chosen the second. I don’t want to miss any of the moments, (if I can help it) that are there to remind me even in the messiness of it all, life is a beautiful thing. Sunsets are breathtaking, children are wonderful, and grandchildren are the best. When the fussy little things around me become a distraction I need to spread my wings and soar or sail either way works for me.

                               

 

THANK YOU!

Iona MorrisonI love when someone takes the time to write me letter regarding one of my books and they talk about the characters as if they were real. I received one of those letters not to long ago.

The letter began by saying: “Thank you for the hours of pure pleasure. I enjoyed my read immensely. I found myself excited just to get to the next chapter. Keep on writing, all your readers are looking forward to see what is the next mystery in Blue Cove.”

She goes on to say.”I would love to see Jessie and Matt tie the knot, they are meant for each other. Also, I’m so elated to see Katie has “maybe” found here true love. Thank you for all your hard work. One of your biggest fans.”

I’ll admit this made me smile and continues to, every time I read it. My characters are real to me. They hang out in my head on daily basis and the thought they have brought someone else pleasure is amazing to me. Jessie and Matt nudge me along and help me tell their story. They’ve set this crazy imagination of mine free. From a Bible teacher to a murder mystery writer, with a little romance thrown, in I finally feel at home in my mind. The strange thing is I was never a mystery reader. I’ve surprised even myself.

This letter got me thinking once again about all things Blue Cove and the support all of my readers have shown me. These four will soon be joined by book number five in the series, Only A Shadow. For all the books you’ve  purchased and the reviews written, the words thank you hardly seem enough, but it’s the best I have. THANK YOU!

The Harvest Club   Not for Sale (A Blue Cove Mystery)  The Game Changer (A Blue Cove Mystery)  Dance with a Devil (A Blue Cove Mystery)

 

 

Only a Shadow

Image may contain: 1 person, closeupA new book will soon be out. Here’s the blurb and a teaser from “Only a Shadow”.

Trouble rears its head once again in Blue Cove and dashes straight into Jessie’s store in the person of a battered young woman fleeing her abusive spouse. Jessie finds herself pulled into another case as a body is discovered in the church dumpster, and the dead woman’s ghost takes up a vigil in Jessie’s place of business. 

Is the dead woman connected to the frightened and battered girl who took refuge in the store? Matt and Jessie’s search for the killer leads them to their victim’s family, members of a strange religious group that lives off the grid outside of town. Add to the mix a crypt in the woods on a foggy night, Jessie’s abduction, a couple of angry and abusive husbands, and the resident ghost, and they will have their hands full solving this crime.

Will Matt and Jessie’s love for each other keep them grounded until justice can be served?

“Her eyes focused on a small structure in the midst of the trees.  Its outline emerged through the spooky mist as she ran closer. What she saw stopped her in her tracks.  Sinister in appearance, gothic in nature, its small spires and gargoyles stood watch and seemed to be staring at her. Creepy, and the fog didn’t help. The gate creaked as she opened it to go inside. The building was smaller than it looked from a distance. Was it a small chapel? It didn’t feel like any church she had ever been in. Maybe it was someone’s tomb. She shivered. A strange odor met her when she opened the door. Incense, perhaps.  The light from her headlamp told an eerie story as it danced on the walls. It settled on a strange stone slab in the center of the aisle, which had something smeared all over it. Oh, this was worse than she had thought. She slumped to the floor. She had stumbled into something awful and didn’t want to be trapped here.”

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Competition with Myself

Image may contain: 1 person, closeupA new contract is signed on another book. A blurb is finished along with the infamous tag line. In every book that I write there is a subject tucked in it somewhere, which is near and dear to my heart. From human trafficking to domestic violence, life constantly dishes up some hard stuff for people to overcome. Because of it there are limitless storylines with everyday people who are the real heroes and heroines.

I’ve often wondered with all the pain, sickness, and suffering that humanity experiences why we are not kinder and more humane in our treatment of one other. The old saying “Do unto others” is something we should consider all the time. You can’t live long on this earth without the need for someone’s compassion in your own life. It seems to me we should go out of our way to make it easier on one another to survive and not harder.

I’m grateful for the many kindnesses shown me. I realize the pull and tug to blame the other for my lot in life is great, but as my mom used to tell me life is what you make it. I do have choices and those choices have consequences which I must take responsibility for. My life is not perfect, but its mine. I’ve made a choice to be kind because I know how kindness has impacted me. I have chosen to reduce my faith to its simplest form…Love God, and love my neighbor as myself. There is so much freedom in living this out. I like to smile at strangers, listen to someone tell me how their life is going, and let go of the wrongs that have been done to me. I find it freeing to enjoy music, dance as way of joyous expression, and glean from the younger generations. The millennials have got a lot of things right. I don’t always get it right, but I keep trying. I’m in competition with myself to be the best version of me I can be.

Life is a veritable smorgasbord with all kinds of things to choose from. Some are life giving and others not so much. Some I choose and others I just get. I may not always be able to control what I face, but I can control my reaction to it.

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My Thoughts

 Iona MorrisonI believe that love wins, character counts, and kindness makes a difference in the world. I don’t believe that the ends justify the means. The way you reach the end is just as important as the results. Fear may speak the loudest, but peace rules the day. Leaders may rise on the wave of hate and bigotry, but love has the ultimate power to resist.
I’m not naïve many terrible things have happened because of hate and bigotry, but amazing stories of love shine a light through the troubles of our darkest hours in history. People rise to the occasion when their backs are against the wall. I remember the day I first visited the Yad Vashem (Holocaust Memorial) in Israel. The pictures of the death and destruction of a people simply because of who they were moved me to tears more than once. The stories that emerged of the gentiles who risked all to save some was equally powerful. The Jewish people are almost always first on the scene in disasters, they stand with those being persecuted, they promote life through the arts, because they know what it is to be murdered for simply being who they are.
It is easy to be lulled to sleep in life believing that everything will stay the same. Having fought for something once means you’ll never have to fight again. As long as there is an other you can blame you’ll never have to take the heat yourself. But life has a way of teaching us change is constant and the one sure thing in life. Every generation we’ll have to fight for the things they hold dear because there is always someone who wants to take it away. Eventually, everyone will become the other in the us against them game, and we can easily be swayed by the words of the next leader peddling another brand of hate in a new package.
For me I’ve chosen to love. Trying to figure out who is deserving and who is not is too great of a burden. Some might say I’m not worthy. I’ve decided to go with the tested and true words of one of this world’s greatest leaders. “Love your neighbor as yourself.”
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Spotlight: With Clara Grace Walker-Author

#IndieAuthorsBeSeen Spotlight on Iona Morrison – Author. Her latest in the Blue Cove Mystery novels just came out and …

Posted by Clara Grace Walker- Author on Sunday, January 29, 2017

Ready or Not

Image may contain: 1 person, closeupI can remember playing hide and seek as a kid with boundless energy. I loved the part when the counting was done and I could yell out ‘ready or not here I come’. Ah, life was so simple then. My parents did the worrying, and I did all the playing. Somewhere between those young years and early teens I got in a big hurry to grow up. What was I thinking? Freedom!  The chance to do what I wanted. No one to tell me what to do. Again, I ask what was I thinking?

“Nothing is ever free” my dad used to say, especially when he thought one of us kids were about to ask for money.  There’s a hidden cost somewhere. With it came the lecture of the value of work, and the pleasure of a job well done. I loved when he told me ‘money doesn’t grow on trees’. I knew he had to be wrong because work didn’t seem to make him happy. He counted down the years until he could retire.

My brilliant idea was, he must have chosen the wrong career. I responded by daydreaming and making a plan for my great life.  And plan I did. Waiting, I did a lot of that too. Those were some of the slowest years I can remember. Most of those plans never materialized anyway. Life happened instead. You know what I’m talking about, friends, my first kiss, first love, first child and so on. All great moments in time and memories.

My dad was right. Everything cost something.  With freedom comes lots responsibilities, ownership of my own mistakes, and of course, people who still tell me what to do. Only now with each passing year I get to do it all in an older body. The years no longer crawl by, but are rapidly speeding by so quickly that ten years ago seems like yesterday. I hear each new year calling out ‘ready or not here I come’ and I’m grateful to be found and to see it come.

What life has taught me is to live in each moment. Time doesn’t stand still for anyone and if you blink you can miss it altogether. Love now, write now, simply put enjoy now. Life can be rough at times, but it can also be amazing. 2017 has rolled in and I stayed up to watch it. No I didn’t party, but I read a good book and waited patiently to cheer its coming with my husband.  Happy 2017 may it be a kind year to you and those you love.

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Moments of Magic

I shared this on Cathrine Goldstein’s blog. She is a great author. You can find her at https://cathrinegoldstein.wordpress.com/

Moments of Magic in the Midst of Ordinary — With Iona Morrison

This week on Nitty Gritty Romance, we are featuring the wonderful Iona Morrison, who shares what Happiness means to her…

From Iona:

Moments of Magic in the midst of Ordinary

My youngest grandson wiggled, hopping from one chair to the next, asking one question after another. I smiled, answering what I could before he bounded off on another topic. A chuckle desperately wanted to emerge as I watched him until I was dizzy and had to look away. A surprising warm feeling of happiness engulfed me as he continued to chatter on turning somersaults across my living room floor while all the ornaments rattled on the tree.

Watching his non-stop motion, I couldn’t help but think of my son, his father, at the same age. He was another big bundle of energy who chattered from the time he opened his eyes in the morning until he closed them in exhaustion at the end of the day. Sunshine wrapped up in a small boy’s body with loads of energy to spare. If I told him once, I must have said it hundreds of times you’ll have a child just like you some day and the little person wiggling around my living room was proof of the power of those words. It was about self-preservation and finding a measure of sanity in the chaos of a moment that I had uttered, those powerful words known as the Mother’s Curse. May I insert right here that I doubt the words are a curse at all, but rather a powerful blessing. My mother never meant more to me than when I was raising my sons. She had many laughs at my expense as I told her stories of another one of their escapades, even as I am chuckling watching my wiggly grandson.

Times like this make me sigh with contentment and remind me what real happiness is. Life is fragile and broken, but beautiful with moments of magic in the midst of the ordinary. I am happiest when I love, and I’m with those who love me; when I give of myself and when I  watch my children with their children in the circle of life.

*****

Iona is sharing a blurb and excerpt from her latest release:

Dance with a Devil !

dancewithadevil_w11110_300Coming In January and on pre-order now: Dance with a Devil, the fourth book in the Blue Cove Mystery Series.

Blurb:

Jessie is enjoying an evening run, grateful her life is finally back to normal. Starting the incline toward home, a sudden terror grips her. Someone is watching her. She picks up her pace, but he’s hot on her heels—and he means to kill her. She narrowly manages to elude her pursuer and reach the safety of her house. The first one she calls for help is the man she has grown to love, Matt Parker.

Matt already has his hands full dealing with a notorious hitman who’s in the area and a thug who followed a visitor to Blue Cove. Now Jessie is in danger, and Matt will do anything to keep her safe. He can’t lose her now.

When Matt becomes the target, it’s Jessie’s turn to help. She has a few surprises in store as a few ghostly friends come to her aid.

Excerpt:

A bullet splintered the bark of the tree where she had been standing. Jessie ran. She could hear someone crashing through the brush not far behind her. Another bullet missed her, hitting a little to the right, kicking up dirt and leaves on the ground. She ran faster. Up ahead, she could see a branch hanging low, and she did what she had done many times as a kid. She reached out, grabbed it as she ran by, and swung herself up into the tree to hide. She got a foot on a low branch and climbed up further, out of sight, her dress snagging on twigs. Her feet screamed in pain, her palms were slick with blood. Be silent! She crouched, one arm around the main trunk, trying to stifle her breathing. Her heart pumped hard, her ears strained for any sound. She took her gun from the holster, but her hand wouldn’t stop shaking. A branch snapped, and she jerked. Quiet! She covered her mouth with her hand. He was still coming, the hunter hunting his prey. He wasn’t trying to be quiet. Branches snapped, and she heard the thud of running footsteps. Jessie clung to the trunk, still as a piece of tree bark.

It sounds fabulous! Treat yourself to a holiday gift and pre-order today!

Where to buy?

Wild Rose Press

Amazon

And where can you find Iona?

Facebook

Website

Twitter

Pinterest

Goodreads

Amazon Author Page

Wake Up!

Here it is again November with Thanksgiving a week away and Christmas not far behind.

 
I’m always surprised at the wonder a day can bring if I watch it unfold with gratitude. An unexpected event, a kindness shared, or new person who opens their heart to me. It still has the power to amaze me after all these years. Anne Lamott puts it this way. “Gratitude tugs on our sleeves and says, “Wake up!” Look around at the kindness that surrounds us, the love we are being shown, the hope that now makes sense. Emily Dickinson wrote that “hope inspires the good to reveal itself,” and we can be taken aback by a sense of amazement at how much someone has shared with us, or even sacrificed, for us, for cranky, secretive, mealy-mouthed you, and me.

I think gratitude is one of our most attractive and wonderful emotions. It’s the shaking of our head in quiet wonder at how much good is entwined in the ups and downs of our life. It surprises us with revelation of how enriched our life is because of someone’s love, simple acts of kindness, or help. The magic of gratitude is it connects us back to the life we were meant to live awakened and aware.

I like the feel of waking up and looking around me, to see in one moment the beauty of life that I rarely see. I like being hit in my heart with an overwhelming sense of thankfulness. I could feel it the other day at a memorial service of a young man. He died suddenly and way too young, but he had lived fully.  He had touched so many others in his short life. I was grateful to have met him and for him being my son’s friend. Gratitude came in a sigh of relief when my husband was told he was cancer free and doing well. The glorious feeling of being grateful arises when I look at my sons and grandchildren. Oh, I will be thankful this year as I have in years past on the day we set apart to say thanks, but truthfully, I love it when gratitude sneaks up on me a grabs me by my heart and says wake up!

Happy Thanksgiving!

 

It’s Okay To Brag (Once in a while)

    The first cool days of fall are such a welcome relief from the heat of summer.  With the leaves changing into their glorious autumn colors I have to say this is my favorite season of the year. It always feels as if it is the start of a new year to me, instead of in January. I guess it’s because summer changes the routine of life a little and the familiar returns in the fall. It’s time for me to take a deep breath and do a little bragging about some totally awesome kids.

My youngest granddaughter received an award for a special project she did. Fiona, a third grader, decided that she wanted to support a clean water project in Kenya. She gave a presentation at an adult Sunday school on the challenges people can face in accessing clean water and how that can impact the ability of girls to attend school. Fiona’s original goal was to earn $10, which would have raised enough money for one clean water kit – but through her presentation and by selling her drawings over social media and at an outdoor stand, she raised enough to buy a whole well. This well supports 159 students and their teachers in Kenya in having access to clean, safe drinking water in their school. Fiona said, “My two favorite parts were drawing the pictures and hearing how many people I gave clean water. When I heard how many people I helped, I felt proud of what I did. She was given The Young Humanitarian Award from a woman from the nation of Kenya. We are so proud of her.   

                    

From soccer games, acts of kindness, and rounds of birthdays it has been a summer filled with grandkids and all their special accomplishments. Artwork, a first round of paintball,Tae Kwon Do, track, and a story translated into French are among a few of this summer’s highlights.  My oldest grandson is taking a creative writing class which makes this author grandmother happy. A story he wrote last year took second place in the school writing contest. Besides bringing laughter, and energy to anything they do they are great dreamers. One wants to design video games, one is learning Japanese and wants to go to Japan and another has dreams of going to Paris. Add to the mix they are kind and caring to those in need and you can see why I think bragging is okay once in a while.