Posted in backstory, contest, my books, promo, Prompts

My Work in Progress

Synopsis for Trent’s Melody

When Trent believes he’s lost the girl he loves forever to his former best friend and bandmate, he leaves the reality show competition Winning Nashville where their band is favored to win, to drown his sorrows in Mexico.

Melodie is finally brave enough to call Kyle on his bullshit and break things off for good. When she boards the plane to Cancun for her writer’s conference, she has no idea that Trent is on the same plane.

Their whirlwind romance comes to a tragic end when they are summoned back to Nashville for Kyle’s death. When the media blames them for Kyle’s suicide, Trent leaves Melodie to face the media alone.

Now, six years later they come face to face in a battle-of-the-sexes reality show competition but this time the stakes are even higher. Can they find their second chance at happiness, or will the past once again destroy them?

Trent is a singer-songwriter. Music is the only thing that keeps him sane. Ashamed of his disabilities, he does his best to hide them but like any truth, it finds its way out. His fear and shame is what caused him to leave Melodie after their amazing two weeks together. He knew he couldn’t face the media without revealing his secret.

There have been other girls, women, one-night stands, even a few relationships but Melodie is the only woman he’s ever loved. He can’t forget her but is he brave enough to face his past failings and seek a second chance?

Melodie writes young adult fantasy novels. She once won an award for promising new author but that was before the media labeled her a whore and a murderer. It didn’t matter that Kyle had cheated on her and she’d refused his ring. He died and the media blamed her and her relationship with Trent.

Hiding from the world and writing under a pseudonym Melodie finds herself once more being forced into the limelight. Can she salvage her career or will the past once more make her pay for loving the wrong man?

Song contest ends April 24th, 2022. Don’t miss your chance to add your song to Trent’s Play List. You could win a $25 Gift Card, your name and links in Trent’s Melodie, my upcoming book and your song featured in the book.

The guitar in the corner

Use to feel my callused touch

I would sing as I strummed—

Bringing each taunt string to life

I could make that old guitar scream

with a stroke from my callused hands

But the melody is broken

the master lost his touch

now the guitar in the corner only gathers dust.

Posted in Prompts

Pamlico Writers’ 1K Challenge

Running at Sunset
A possible scene for Titanium Blue

The setting sun bathed the land in shades of rose. Jenna loved this time of day. She’d forgotten how peaceful it felt to stretch her legs and push her body, breathing in the cool, crisp autumn air. The holidays would soon be upon them and she might not have another chance to run like this. She missed running.
After working at the café and juggling being a single mom, most nights it was all she could do to stay awake past Toby’s bedtime. She lengthened her stride, pouring out the tension and stress of the past weeks. Tar was back. Her heart stuttered in her chest and she blinked back tears. She wasn’t fooling anyone with her denials, especially not herself. Jenna was still in love with her husband. Why did love have to hurt so much? When did I become a coward? He’d battled his addiction to pain medicine. She could see in his clear topaz eyes that he wasn’t using.
When her husband had returned from Afghanistan minus his lower leg, he’d shut her out. He’d almost pushed her out the door. I should have stayed and fought, she thought, listening to the tap of her feet on the pavement. She focused on landing lightly on her toes, barely letting her heel touch before pushing off again. Pine and cedar mingled with the heavy dew bringing the scent of the river, briny and laden with the threat of rain. The smell of the marshlands a unique essence she couldn’t describe, a combination of mud and brackish water, life and death, the ancient past and the future. She ran down the lane to the marina, filling her lungs with the life-giving force of the Pamlico. Steps, heavy and consistent behind her, alarmed her, turning she sighed in relief and longing as her husband ran towards her.
“You’re running again?” She stared down at his space-age looking leg.
Tar nodded, running in place beside her. “The new leg is designed for running—titanium.”
She smiled and fell into step beside him. “Are you going to run in the Veteran’s Day Five K?”
Tar darted a glance her way. “I didn’t know there was one.”
Jenna nodded, her pony tail brushing against her neck like a lover’s caress, her cheeks pinkened with desire and she was thankful for the glow of the setting sun staining everything with its rosy tint. “The town uses it to raise money for the Veteran’s Memorial in the park and the Veteran’s brunch.”
Tar’s dark brow raised, and a smile hovered on his handsome face. “Another of Dana’s projects?”
Jenna nodded. “She’s roped me into helping but I told her I wanted to run. I swear that girl could talk a grizzly bear into giving piggy back rides.”
Tar snorted. “I’ve managed to stay under her radar.”
Jenna laughed an idea coming to mind. “She’d love to honor some of the local veterans…”
Tar shook his head.
Before he could protest, she said, “It wouldn’t be a big deal. Maybe you and some of your buddies would start the run?”
“Are you talking about wounded vets?” There was a harshness in his voice.
“No, not just. I think it would be great to have each era represented. My dad and some of the older guys are talking about walking. They don’t want to be up in front because they know they’ll be slower. If you have some guys that are runners, it would be great if they could start the run…” her voice trailed off.
Tar visibly relaxed, letting go of the chip on his shoulder. Jenna let out the breath she’d been holding unaware she’d been doing so. Desire and fear, love and anger, all warred inside her. They’d been the perfect couple before he’d lost his leg. At least, she and all their friends had thought so. She blinked back tears aware of the strain of the past few minutes.
“I’ll ask some of the guys I know,” Tar’s deep voice interrupted her thoughts. “It would be an honor to lead the run.”
Jenna stared at him. Her attention off the road, she stumbled. Tar’s big, callused hands kept her from falling on her face.
“Whoa, be careful.”
Resuming her pace, Jenna found her voice. “Thanks, for catching me and thanks…”
“You know I’m putting myself in Dana sights,” he said shaking his head. “A smart Marine knows, you should never volunteer for a dangerous mission.”
Jenna frowned. “Is there such a thing as a smart Marine?”
He growled.
Jenna increased her speed.
Laughing, Tar chased her.
As the sun set deepened from pink to purple, Jenna became aware of her own deepening feelings. Could she risk loving this man again? As they ran in companionable silence, she let the thought seep into her heart like the cool, damp air into her lungs. Maybe they deserved a second chance.

Posted in Prompts

Cliche Play

“Don’t write in clichés!” This is something every writer has heard at least once. Clichés are lazy writing. They are boring but they are also familiar.  I admit, I’ve used clichés, especially in my early writing (first drafts). I write quickly ‘off the top of my head’ and use clichés for easy place holders. Sometimes, they make it past the first couple of edits but is using clichés all that bad? I mean, they are clichés for a reason, they are everyday language. ‘Since I was knee high to a grasshopper,’ I remember hearing clichés and idioms that gave a little flavor to a story. In honor or in spite of all those editors who say NO MORE Clichés, let’s play a game. How many clichés can you use to tell a brief story?

Many hands make light work but too many cooks spoil the broth. So how many do you need to get the job done? Two heads are better than one unless you have two left feet, then you just go around in circles. I think I’ve painted myself into a corner, I’m beginning to believe I don’t know my head from a hole in the ground. What do you think? Should I just go home with my tail between my legs or do I even have a leg to stand on?

Okay, your turn!

Posted in Prompts, Thoughts

Word Detectives

I’ve been working on a program for the Pamlico Writers Group website, The Word Detectives. The idea is to choose one word and find different ways of saying it. Our first word was Sad. This is a simple word but if I choose one of it’s synonyms I can convey so much more. Check out The Word Detectives on

Here is my first article.

The Word Detectives

Do you ever search for the right word? Does it sometimes elude you? It does me. I struggle with vocabulary, wanting just the right word to convey a font of information. Each month I’d like to challenge you to add to my vocabulary list as I search for just the right word. Perhaps, you too will discover new words or be reminded of familiar ones.

For the month of April I wish to explore emotions. Today’s word is sad.

The boy was sad when his kite flew away.

Kyle was distraught when the wind whipped his kite away.

Susan was inconsolable when her kite was ripped from her hands.

Jimmy was depressed over the loss of his new kite.


Depending upon what we are trying to convey the word choice makes a huge difference in how the reader interprets the event.

Losing the kite is a common childhood event but what if the loss of the kite is more. Perhaps the loss of the kite coincides with a father leaving or dying. The wind represents our lack of control and the kite the precious gift we’ve lost.

Perhaps the kite represents the loss of innocence or the loss of childhood.

Or it could simply be the fleeting joy of childhood things.

As you hunt for the right word, think about what you want that word to tell us.

In The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide To Character Expression authors Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi define sadness in two categories: grief and unhappiness.

There are physical signals of grief/sadness.

Tears burned his eyes as he watched his kite drift out of sight.

She fell to the sand sobbing over the loss of her kite afraid of her uncle’s reprisal.


There are internal sensations that can be described.

His chest ached as he watched the red kite get smaller and smaller barely noting the silver car disappearing around the curve. He knew he’d never see either of them again.


Mental responses that can be shown with internal dialog or with action.

He turned away, holding back his tears, unwilling to watch the vibrant display of colorful kites when he no longer possessed his own.


It can also be shown as suppressed action or emotion.

He gripped the string as it fell to the sand no longer attached to the lovely kite his father gave him as a parting gift. He stared, unwilling to give into the grief of losing them both.


In Roget’s Superthesaurus, sad is defined as: 1. Downhearted: blue, depressed, dejected, unhappy, sorrowful, mournful, *bummed out, despondent, *down in the dumps, woebegone, melancholy, heartsick, forlorn, *out of sorts, dispirited, brokenhearted, glum. 2. Heartbreaking: woeful, pitiful, tearful, poignant, moving, touching, depressing, tragic, joyless, miserable.

What other ways can you describe or convey sadness?

If you are describing a character, which form of sadness works best? Are they merely bummed out or are they despondent? Having the blues is very different than being heartsick or forlorn.







Posted in Prompts


While taking Tina Gerow’s ‘Write Steamy Love Scenes’ for the past two weeks, I looked up romantic words and began writing scenes. Try this yourself. Google romantic or sexy words and see where it takes your writing.

She’d never been the adventurous type but his wicked smile incited in her a streak of daring.
Adventurous, he turned down a little used back road and parked. Pulling her into his arms, he teased his wife of twenty years. “Do you remember our first date?”
“I did not make out with you on our first date.”
“No, we’d not even been on a date.”
She blushed, her skin aglow with desire and daring. “You planning to just sit here and talk?”
Chuckling, he lifted her shirt and caressed her breast. “You still turn me on.”
She let her head fall back against the headrest as his mouth found her nipple. “Oh god, you make me crazy old man.”
“Who’re you calling old man, woman.” He growled pulling her beneath him he proved he wasn’t that old after all.
In the afterglow, she couldn’t help the smile of satisfaction that curved her lips. Twenty years and still in love. He still has the power to make me crazy with desire.

Posted in Prompts

May Prompts/flash fiction

She sat in the damp sand, tears streaming down her cheeks. She shivered as the dark clouds covered the sun siphoning the heat from her soul. The wind whipped her hair into her face—blinding her. She clutched her knees, her tears mingling with the rain. Her heart, shattered to a fine powder lay like dust in on a bare floor. Like a boat smashed upon the rocks, her life lay in shambles at her feet. The waves crashed upon the rocks like dancers in a violent ballet. She ducked her head against the onslaught of the storm, shivering in the wind. She closed her eyes against the sand that flew at her like tiny bullets of glass. The pain so acute she sought only to stifle it. The wind ceased. An eerie quiet filled the air, as if the whole world were holding it’s breath. She stood and stared at the sea as it gentled. It called to her. Come to me, let me wrap you in my loving arms. I can take away the hurt. She stepped to the water’s edge. The waves teased her toes, she wanted to walk into the depths and not stop until she could no longer breathe or feel or want.
Music drifted on the gentling breeze, the familiar song filled her. She stood, knee deep in the cold water. The siren’s song calling to her to drown her pain but the melody pulled her from her misery, reminding her of an other cold night. She turned and started back to shore. A wave crashed over her, knocking her to the sand. Her legs heavy in the wet denim, the waves pushed her down. She couldn’t rise. Panic filled her as the fear brought the realization that she did not want to die. She clawed at the sand. Prayed. The waves shoved her into the jagged rocks. She tried to grab hold, her finger nails ripped as she reached for the promise of salvation. The rocks tore at her skin, bruised her body, cracked against her skull. She cried out as the pain burst in her head and the blackness crept in severing the memories and the pain.

Posted in Prompts

Prompt: Truck Ride

He stared out at the crowd shouting his name but even their adoration could do little to lift him from the ennui that threatened to drown him.
He went through the motions, smiling for the fans, playing a rift on his guitar; he sauntered on the stage and did what he was paid to do, entertain.
Trent Harrell opened his mouth and the crowd went silent as the first lyrics of the song filled the air.
I want to take you down an old field road in the middle of the night.
Baby let’s take a ride.
Park my old pick up in the green cornfield, turn the music up loud.
Baby let’s take a ride.
I’ll hold you close and dance all night by the light of the moon.
Baby let’s take a ride.

He finished the song with a fantastic rift and a shake of his gluteus maximums. He worked hard to stay in shape but right now, he’d kill for a grilled burger and a chance to hand out with old friends. An idea began to form that included an old pick up truck and a long ride back to where he came from.

Posted in Prompts

Prompt: Like a ship in the sand (flash fiction)

Jane dropped onto the wet sand. The wind blew the tears dry. Staring out at the waves dancing on the beach, blowing up sand and foam in a tango of dangerous desire. The ocean seduced her with its passionate swells. The ebb and flow of the tide like lovers in a primal dance. She leaned her head against her knees unable to move forward or run. Like a child’s toy ship lost on the beach, she was once again desolate and alone. Her life, entrenched in the sand.

Posted in Prompts, Story

Prompt: New Year’s Eve Kiss

New Year’s Eve Kiss
New Year’s Eve is worse than Valentine’s Day Jane mused as she watched the couples on the dance floor. She sighed. Weddings made her feel pathetic. Of course her sister would compound her misery by having a New Year’s Eve wedding.
All she really wanted was a New Year’s Eve kiss but that wasn’t going to happen. Being single sucks.
“Hey mind if I join you?”
Jane bristled at the intrusion. Michael McKenzie was the last man she wanted to share New Year’s with— well that was a bald face lie. She should at least admit the truth to herself even if she wouldn’t dare say it out loud. Mike was the only man she wanted to share anything with. Too bad that wasn’t going to happen.
She raised her eyes to meet his. Looking at him nearly stole her breath away. Why does it have to feel like being hit by a truck?
“I’m sorry.”
Seems he was always apologizing to her, usually after having sex with her. Maybe one day he’d get it right or just leave her alone. They’d been together three times, it was incredible but always ended with him making her cry. The first time she was only sixteen and he was nineteen and her brothers threatened him but he’d hurt her so badly she’d spent the next few years hiding from herself. Ten years later, things were not any better. He’d once again broken her heart, when after an incredible night together, his girlfriend showed up to surprise him. Boy, what a surprise.
“Would you like to dance?”
She glanced behind her to see if someone else was there.
“Jane?” He touched her and she trembled. He pulled her to her feet and led her out into the middle of the crowd of dancers.
He pulled her close but she resisted. Keeping her body stiff to avoid touching him. She wanted to bury her face against his chest. He held her head in his big hand and pulled her to him. She inhaled the scent of sunshine and man that seemed to be his own signature scent. A sob rose in her throat, she pushed away from him and hurried to the veranda determined not to let anyone see her cry.
He followed her, she’d known he would. She’d hoped the crowd would interfere and allow her to get away. Blind, she stumbled to the parking lot looking for her car. Stupid, you have a room here. She tried to remember which way to go.
“Jane,” he caught up to her, breathless. “Jane?”
“No,” she didn’t mean to shout. Lowering her voice, she whispered, her voice hoarse with emotion. “You can’t do this to me Mike. I can’t be your booty call. I can’t pretend I don’t have feelings for you. Just stay away from me and I’ll be fine.”
Pulling her against him, he groaned into her hair, “I can’t stay away. Jane,” but his words were lost when she pulled him down and kissed him with all the passion she’d been trying so hard to hide. She knew that she’d let him into her room. She’d have one last night but she was determined that this time, she’d be the one to leave. She kissed him as the fire works exploded in the ebony sky, signaling a new year.