Posted in my books, promo

Titanium Blue

Tobias Anthony “Tar” Roberts returned from Afghanistan with a chip on his shoulder and missing half his leg. Some of his men weren’t as lucky, they didn’t come home at all. Pain in his body and his soul had him self medicating with pain pills and alcohol. He pushed his family away because it hurt too much to feel anything. When Jenna left to help her parents, he was relieved. When she didn’t return he sank deeper into depression until he reached his darkest moment.

Loving Tar was never the problem. Jenna fell in love with him nearly the first moment she met him but their whirlwind romance, early pregnancy and his deployment wasn’t conducive to a strong relationship. When he returned from Afghanistan he pushed her away. She had to protect her baby. Her father’s heart attack was just the excuse she needed to runaway.

Tar is back and he’s willing to do whatever he has to, even move to Leeward, to get his family back.

Excerpt from Titanium Blue

The stench of steaming crabs slapped him in the face as soon as he slid from the jeep. Tar gagged and considered getting back in and driving off. “God, I hate this place,” he grumbled. Leeward was the toe jam of eastern North Carolina, not the place to raise his son. He stretched, rubbing his knee above the rim of his artificial leg. The ride from Lejeune had been long. He was stiff and there’d been too much time to think. He wiped his sweaty palms on the legs of his pants. His stomach churned. The odor of seafood scraps broiling in the sunshine did little to soothe his mind or his stomach. I need to get Jenna and Toby away from here.

Tobias Anthony Roberts, known to his friends and fellow recruits as Tar, sighed. It wasn’t the first time he’d wondered when his life had gone to shit. He clenched his jaw, glaring at the manila envelope lying on the passenger seat. The bright white address label glowed against the orangey color of the envelope. Tar licked his lips, wishing for something cool to quench his thirst. Jenna wanted a divorce.  He shouldn’t be surprised. They’d not lived together for almost two years.

A flash of dark red hair caught his attention. He watched his wife through the cracked glass of the huge front window. Mac’s really let this place go to hell. Tar noted the peeling and powdering paint, the drooping gutters and broken concrete. He’d heard in rehab Mac had suffered another heart attack. The first one had been the excuse Jenna used for leaving him. She would have found another if it hadn’t happened.

A hot wind pushed sand across the parking lot. His heart raced and fear clogged his throat. It took a great deal of concentration and deep breathing to remind himself it wasn’t the smell of raw sewage, petrol and exotic spices mingling with unwashed bodies assaulting his nasal passages, but the aroma of grease, newly turned earth and the local crab house still in production even though it was early October. The damn season should be over. When would it cool off? The reality burned away the waking nightmare. You’re not in Afghanistan. He repeated it over and over until the feeling passed.

I shouldn’t have come. I’m not ready to be a husband or father again. Jenna passed the window, smiling at a customer. Like the first rays of sunlight when you’d been too long in the dark, her smile lit up the room. The pain, not to his eyes but to his chest, reminded him of why he’d come. You may not get a second chance. The jeep chimed, reminding him he’d not shut the door. You’re draining the battery, idiot. He considered climbing back into the jeep and riding back to Camp Lejeune.

Coward. He could face Afghan soldiers but the prospect of confronting his hundred and twenty-pound estranged wife left him shaking in his boots. Well, his Reeboks at least. He was processing out of the Corp. Would she care? Would it matter? Once a Marine, always a Marine! Tobias Anthony Roberts was no coward! He could handle one little five-foot-eight redhead. He swallowed the lump in his throat. He hoped.

Posted in Creekside Cafe, interview

Chatting with Alison Paul Klakowicz

Welcome Alison Paul Klakowicz to Creekside Cafe. I guess I should say, welcome home.

Alison: Yes, I was born and raised in Beaufort County, North Carolina. My family lived in Aurora from my birth until we moved to Washington when I was nine-years-old. My parents grew up in the Aurora area (Campbell’s Creek and Core Point).

Sherri: I used to hang out at Campbell’s Creek a lot. I remember running through fields and tromping through the woods.

It’s good to have you with us today. Join me for a cup of coffee. I understand you are addicted to it to.

Alison: Yes, COFFEE!

Sherri: You call Beaufort County home but its not your home at the moment.

Alison: I lived in Washington until I left for East Carolina University following graduation from Washington High School. Upon graduation from ECU, I moved back to Washington for a few years and worked as a reporter for Washington Daily News and then was employed with Beaufort Co DSS (Department of Social Services) which was the start of a career in human services. I moved to Wilmington and went on to work in the mental health field for several years. I moved to Fayetteville, ten years ago and worked as a Rehabilitation Counselor for North Carolina Division of Vocational Rehabilitation and earned a master’s degree from Southern University, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. A few years ago, I choose to leave my career in human services to focus solely on my creative pursuits.

Sherri: Are you writing full-time, now?

Alison: I am currently marketing my children’s book which takes a lot of time and energy. I started a podcast in May 2018 called Hodge Podge on Anchor

( to promote my writing and record my journey in pursuing my dreams and to inspire others to do so. I am now dabbling in the blogging world:

Sherri: I’d love to hear more about your podcast. How did you get started doing the podcast?

Alison: So, my husband came home one day last spring and told me I needed to start a podcast. I thought he was crazy. But there was a new, easy way to podcast from an app on Anchor right from your phone. I downloaded the app, hit record and the rest is history.

Sherri: It sounds like you’re busy. Are you married, have children? Does this effect your writing?

Alison: I married my Green Beret and Philadelphia born and bred (cheesesteak lover) husband, Adam, nine years ago. We have one son, Mak, who is seven and in the first grade. He is our pride and joy. We are a military family. My debut children’s book, Mommy’s Big, Red Monster Truck, was inspired by my son’s infatuation with monster trucks when he was a toddler and he would tell me every day he wished I drove a Big Red Monster Truck. So, YES. It has affected my writing… through inspiration.

Sherri: You mentioned a variety of careers, tell us how they have influenced your writing.

Alison: I’ve loved storytelling and reading books and poetry all my life. I developed a love of writing in high school when I was on the staff and Co-editor of my high school literary magazine. I went on to major in English at ECU 24 years ago. Loved studying poetry and creative non-fiction. From there, I spent some time as a newspaper reporter. I absolutely loved meeting people and talking to them about their stories. Feature writing was always my joy. Because I had a knack for listening to others and empathy for their life successes and struggles, I found myself in the helping profession. I learned so much about the people and world around me.

Sherri: How long have you been writing?

Alison: 27 years

Sherri: So, since you were born? What genre do you write?

Alison: I have a deep love of historical fiction and the supernatural. I have several manuscripts I’ve worked on over the years that I hope to complete and publish. All based on and inspired by my deep-set Eastern North Carolina roots.

Sherri: Do you have plans to write any other genre in the future?

Alison: I want to do it all! I also enjoy writing poetry.

Sherri: What is your latest project?

Alison: My focus at this time is Mommy’s Big, Red Monster Truck!

Sherri: What do you most enjoy about writing?

Alison: I love the art of storytelling. I believe we all have a story inside us.

Sherri: Even though writing is our passion, there are still aspects of it we dread. What do you despise about writing?

Alison: My inept attention span. I have a hard time sitting still and have so many ideas that it is difficult for me to concentrate on one thing!


Sherri: I’m not sure when you would find the time, but do you have any hobbies or interests besides writing? Do these show up in your writing?

Alison: I love gardening, being outdoors, bird watching, and pier sitting on the Pamlico River.

Sherri: If you are like most writers, you were a reader first, who are your favorite authors/genres?

Alison: I enjoy so many different types of genres. Good writing and storytelling does not follow one sect. Some recent favorite novels I’ve read are “Chasing the North Star” by Robert Morgan, “Where the Crawdad’s Sing” by Delia Owens, Suzanne Adair’s North Carolina influenced colonial mysteries, “Girl in Translation” by Jean Kwok and “Children of Blood and Bone” by Tomi Adeyemi.

Sherri: Alison, I’ve had a lovely time chatting with you. Before we go, give our readers a little insight into who you are.

Alison: I am a mother, military spouse, proud native North Carolinian, lover of the underdog, a fish out of water living in the Sandhills of NC, storyteller and lover of life. I’m tomato sandwiches and Duke mayonnaise.

Instagram: @alisonklak

Twitter: @KlakowiczAlison

Facebook: @mommysbigredmonsteryruck and @hodgepodgebyalisonklakowicz @nautigulcustomwoodart