COMING SOON   The Marcell Glide

…….Aunt Maybell turned, gave me a look and smiled. I didn’t like her teeth. They looked like she’d snatched them from the mules out behind the barn. “Hello Aunt Maybell.” I was my most polite. She was unknown territory and with Marcell back on the farm, I needed all the friends I could get. I settled into the car’s backseat and kept a close eye on those teeth. They made me uneasy…..

     Drifting alongside the farmhouse, Marcell moves like smoke, her feet barely touching the ground. The colored woman is the first thing Candy sees when she arrives at her grandmother’s North Carolina farm. A familiar chill crawls up the ten-year-old’s neck. It’s the same feeling she has when her mother explodes in unpredictable fury. And the same one she felt two days ago, when sitting on the backyard picnic table, her arms around her dog, her nose buried in Brown Hound’s fur, she learned she was being sent away because she made her mama sick.

It is the hot dusty summer of 1951 when Candy and Brown Hound arrive at the farm. Great Granny Jane silently views the arrival from her front porch rocking chair. Ten-year-old Jane promptly and wickedly liberates Brown Hound from the parked car. Miss Emily wipes her hands on her apron, walks down the steps, and gently takes her granddaughters in hand. The two cousins glare, then grin. Granny Jane observes with narrowed eyes and Marcell glides by watching, but then perhaps not watching at all.

It is a wild and heady freedom, being on the farm far from her mother’s scorn and her father’s indifference. Under the bright blue Carolina sky, Jane takes Candy on a hunt for an ancient grave hidden deep in the woods. Climbing over the forbidden railroad tracks, the cousins venture far into the swamp and beg the fearsome Miss Charity to put curses on hateful Aunt Maybell and her small dog, Miss Garson. Aunt Martha teaches the girls how to inspect the dead for proper burial and Uncle Ben takes them to the traveling carnival where they sneak into the Freak Show. In the middle of these adventures, Candy and Jane fight and make up and sleep in the same bed, tangled like puppies.

But it is freedom with an edge as Candy anxiously dreads her parents’ visits. And then there is Marcell, always just around the corner, disapproving, watching, and trying to get Brown Hound sent away. But for all of Brown Hound’s chasing chickens and disrupting tea parties, the dog is Candy’s touchstone. And Marcell has other demons with which to deal.

And so the summer continues with small victories as Candy moves toward realizing she did not cause her mother’s illness. Cautiously she begins to feel a rising hope. A hope that comes from Uncle Ben defending Brown Hound, from Aunt Martha standing up to Candy’s mother, from Granny Jane telling family stories and hard truths, from Miss Emily buffering Marcell’s disdain, and from Jane who is always there, her pirate grin at the ready. The hope almost takes Candy’s breath away because it signals approval. Now if only she could figure out a way to stay on the farm.

The answer comes down to Marcell, winning her support and unearthing her secrets. It is a quest that sends Candy delving into her family history, a history entwined with Marcell. And it is the discovery of an empty grave and a promise long held that swirls the present with the past and changes Candy from victim to survivor.

UPDATED FOR 2019, 3RD EDITION!  This hands-on, easy to read, pragmatic manual is directed toward those 76 million Baby Boomers who will soon be dealing with the Grim Reaper and it’s just what the national psyche is ready for.
Death for Beginners is a quick read with lots of information, fast. This book helps the reader plan for his own death and guides him through the steps he must take if he is the one left in charge when a family member or close friend dies. For each step in the process the reader is given facts, definitions, options, examples, pros and cons, costs, checklists and a worksheet to fill out with his choices. Death for Beginners helps the reader quickly accomplish the difficult but necessary task of planning for death.
So if no one knows that you want your memorial service held on the beach with lots of beer and the Rolling Stones blaring “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”, Death for Beginners is just what the Grim Reaper ordered. Take a deep breath, Buckaroo. Let’s get started.

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NOW AVAILABLE IN PAPERBACK AS WELL AS AN E-BOOK!     Priding herself on her hunting skills and fiercely independent, Rowan spent her first fifteen years living in the solitary highlands of 14th century Scotland.

Abandoned as a babe but rescued by Elden the Seer, Rowan believes she is a child of the woods, never admitting even to herself the secret sadness of being a forsaken child.

Elden the Seer has visions of the future. But secrets of the past are circling to once again claim a woman he loves. The first time it was his mother, the Highland Witch. Now it is her daughter and his half-sister, Rowan. There is power in this family yes, but is it enough to forestall another death?

Colin of Dunrobin, helped defeat the English at the Battle of Bannockburn. His reward? Castle Lochalsh. But the prize comes with the obligation to marry the English daughter of the castle’s defeated owner Lord Landsmere.

It is this daughter, Gwynneth, who holds close to her twisted heart the hope of revenging the death of her parents. At sixteen years of age she has the English contempt for the highlanders and carries seeds of her mother’s love of the dark arts.

A brief glimpse of Rowan hunting, and his subsequent marriage to Gwynneth begins Colin’s unknowing journey into the prophecy of Thomas the Rhymer. “A wall of stone is a gift well said but within its heart is a depth of dread. With a hunter’s speed there comes the song: to claim the gift is to right the wrong.”

This ‘wrong’ began when the English pushed aside ruins of an ancient church to build castle Lochalsh. This ‘wrong’ continued with the death of the Highland Witch at the hands of Lady Landsmere. This wrong’ is back once again. Only Colin can make it right. And only Elden the Seer can guide the headstrong Rowan, keeping her from the fate of the Highland Witch.

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With a simple twist of fate, a vulnerable young woman is unwillingly thrust into a struggle for power, caught between an evil destructive duke and a handsome but withdrawn king. From the harsh palace kitchens to the glittering bedchambers above, beautiful Catherine fights for survival amid danger and intrigue.

Brooding King Stefan keeps to his rooms held captive by tortured memories: exactly how did his young wife die; why can he let no one close to him not even his mentor, the very old Count Vancort?

At the other end of the palace Richard, Duke of Egravia, spins a web of betrayal and deceit plotting to steal the throne he believes is rightfully his. Having gained control over the inexperienced young prince by offering to tutor him in the ways of kingship, the Duke continues his devious scheme by trying to seduce Marie, the Prince’s wife.

With both parents dead and no family to take care of her, Catherine, alone and abandoned grasps at the only work she can find – a scullery maid in the depths of the palace kitchens. Duke Richard, seizing an opportunity to use Catherine as the butt of his ridicule, inadvertently sets the stage for a royal romance.   As she and the solitary king are driven together by circumstance, the Duke’s plot begins to unravel. Horrified, Richard watches as the King, awakened to life by Catherine, regains his power. Frantically, Richard succeeds in seducing Marie then lures her into his plot to kill Stefan and implicate Catherine. One slice of a saddle strap, the King alive but severely injured and Catherine locked in the dungeon awaiting death, questions arise: why did Catherine’s mother kill herself so long ago; who was the mysterious nobleman who had a part in it; what secret sorrow tortures the King; what is the real connection between Richard and Princess Marie?

As Catherine struggles for her life and King Stefan confronts his memories, the young Prince draws upon his inner strength and the wisdom of the ancient Count Vancort to save the throne.

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Veteran authors Kathleen Brehony and Karen Jones share trade secrets and offer specific step-by-step instructions for effective book promotion–from getting advance reviews to setting up book tours to appearing on television and radio. Their unique approach emphasizes creative strategies authors can use to make their book a commercial success.  *Note – this was published in 2001 so it will be dated as to the internet, social media and so forth.  But the advice given, aside from the technical aspects, is still valid.




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