Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Goodbye Winter

I saw daffodils today!


Today my post is over on
Tick Tock: A Stitch In Crime Blog.
Featuring my story
Cypress, Like The Tree

It's all about
Stop by for a visit.

Also, the WEP Winners
have been announced.
Please stop by and
congratulate them.


In case you're interested

Whatever you do,
take a moment to enjoy the 
spring flowers.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

WEP - In Too Deep


It was a calm spring morning when my world came to an end. An early morning rain made the marigolds brighter, the forget-me-nots bluer, and the multicolored pansies gave the garden a rainbow of color. I was sitting in the sunroom enjoying a cup of coffee when the sound of sirens destroyed the serenity and announced a day of reckoning.


"Please, Mrs. Strong," the strain and impatience graveled FBI Agent Ronald Gray’s voice. "Just tell me about your husband," he pleaded. His tone was much less threatening than when we’d first been introduced. After being escorted to the Boulder police department by two surly police officers who refused to answer my questions, I was unceremoniously shoved into an interview room with the brusque Agent. His scrutiny made me feel as inadequate as a rat in a line-up of cats. A surlier man, I’d never met. He refused to answer my questions but kept demanding that I answer his.

"I don’t understand what you want from me. I haven’t seen John in two years. What can I possibly tell you?"

"Why. The world wants to know why Mrs. Strong. Why does a man kill innocent people? We deserve to know, why!"He slammed his fist on the table, and I felt the blow in my heart.

"John left this for you." The Agent slammed a letter down on the table. I read it, and that was the moment. There would be no more false bravado.


     You’ve always admired my penmanship. How do you like my blood red ink? Actually, my blood and written with a quill, can you believe it? Nothing but the best for you, my dear sweet wife.
     Well, you did it. You got away. Left the kids and me to follow your lustful heart. I hope he was worth it! No, that’s not true, I hope he beats you daily! Maybe took all your hard earned and hoarded money and left you high and dry. God, knows that’s a fantasy, a dream I have regularly. That and finding you.
     The finding you fantasy would’ve taken a book, but I’m sure you can imagine!
     But who knows? Maybe I’d have forgiven you. Now we’ll never know.
Enjoy the notoriety.
You’ve earned it sweetheart!

Always yours,

"Because of me?" I whispered. Tears streamed down my cheeks. "He did it because of me." I bowed my head over my arms and cried like a woman condemned. Hell would bring no more agonizing a punishment than the guilt that consumed me. The world went black.

At the hospital, I was all but catatonic. The doctors and my attorney refused to let the agent question me again. I slowly gathered my strength and agreed to talk to Agent Gray, but only on my terms. I wanted to go home, but no longer had one. Once the press learned of my location, no place was safe. I insisted on protection, and a new identity. The FBI saw to the changes, and I agreed to talk.

"You were married for over twenty years. What happened? What drove John to do this?"

"I can’t answer that question. I lived with the man for twenty years, and I can’t tell you who he was. I just know I could no longer live in the comfortable prison I'd allowed him to create for me. The children were adults. It was time. I found the courage."

"But why did you leave, why did it take you so long? We checked, there was no abuse. We talked to family and friends, they said you two were the couple everyone envied."

"We were, in public. For years I carried off the biggest fake out in history. I played the game. It made John happy, and when he was happy, I thought less and less of ending my life. It’s called survival."

"From what?" the agent asked in desperation.

"A man obsessed, controlling, angry. I’d left him before. But he always found me. We had children, they loved their father, even as they feared him. It was clear I’d never escape. If I did, it meant giving up my children too. Once they were adults, I could let go. I disappeared, changed my name, and prayed he’d never find me."

Agent Gray shook his head. "John left us a message too. He wrote, 'Ask Deidre. She knows the answers you seek. This is all on her.'" The Agent sighed deeply and asked the one question he’d been dying to ask for days. “Did you know?"

"Did I know?" I thought about his question. I stood, walked to the window and stared at the sky. "I knew it was a possibility. Ten years ago, John hears on the news that a gunman has killed twenty-five people from an elevated position and says, ‘I could see myself doing that, especially if you ever left me. I’d have nothing to live for.’ It was a threat, but one I knew in my soul he could accomplish.” I shivered. I couldn’t look at Agent Gray.

"I remember his grin. His self-satisfied nod, and his declaration, 'I could do it, and I would just to show you, you’ll never escape, and if you do. You’ll regret it until your dying day.'"

I wiped at the tears that seemed never-ending and caught the Agents eyes. "You tell me, did I know? Could I have stopped what happened based on that conversation ten years ago?"

Gray bowed his head. He couldn’t or wouldn’t look at me.

"If I’d reported him? Would you have listened?"

930 words / FCA

Yolanda Renée © 2018


I wrote this a few months ago. I hate that it's a reality.
Please, Lord, Bless the children . . .

Read More Stories
In Too Deep
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Saturday, February 17, 2018

The Two-Faced Triplex by Nancy Lynn Jarvis

I'm thrilled to have Nancy Lynn Jarvis, friend, and author of The Regan McHenry Real Estate Mysteries here today to discuss her latest release The Two-Faced Triplex. This is the 7th book in the series, and Nancy says it's the last.

In her guest post, Cherokee Wisdom, she'll tell you why. . .


Readers often ask how much of what I write is based on my life and experiences. I tell them all the real estate stories in the Regan McHenry Real Estate Mysteries series are truethey happened to me or to the Realtors I knowbut the murders and everything else is not. It’s not really that simple, though, and that made writing “The Two-Faced Triplex” incredibly difficult.

When I began my first book, “The Death Contingency,” the protagonists were Nancymeand Craig, my husband. But Nancy and Craig wouldn’t do what I wanted them to dothey just weren’t good at following directionsso I quickly made them Regan and Tom, hoping that would improve our working relationship.

Their personalities evolved with their names until they weren’t Nancy and Craig at all…except for one thing: Tom still had Craig’s incredibly blue eyes. Regan mentions them often, and they were a major clue to solving the murders, in “Buying Murder.”

Craig’s role in my mystery writing evolved, too. He became my beta reader and eventually a darned good content editor. We would spend hours whipping the books into shape before sending them to my editor. The pre-editor part was tricky, but we made up for that when we went to work designing the book covers. That was the fun part.
Craig died of Multiple Myeloma a year-and-a-half ago. I had the plot for “The Two-Faced Triplex” in mind before he died, but for a while, after his death, I couldn’t concentrate enough to do anything useful, let alone write. Once I did start on the book, it was incredibly difficult to imagine Tom because, when I did, I saw Craig’s blue eyes. As the book progressed, rather than writing faster, which is my normal pattern, I slowed down.

I didn’t want to end “The Two-Faced Triplex” because it would be the last in the series I have so enjoyed writing. Once finished, “The Two-Faced Triplex” would mark the end of a major part of my life and the end of Craig’s and my collaboration.

Last year I did Ancestry© and discovered the rumored Cherokee bride in my ancestral line was real. Perhaps that’s why I have always been so taken with this Cherokee parable, so taken with it, that I made it the last thing Tom said.
“It’s an old bit of Cherokee wisdom,” Tom answered. “According to Cherokee lore, a grandfather explained to his grandson that there are two wolves struggling inside each of us. One wolf is vengefulness, anger, resentment, self-pity, and fear. The other wolf is compassion, faithfulness, hope, truth, and love. When his grandson asked, ‘Grandfather, which wolf wins?’ his grandfather replied, ‘The one you feed.’
Before Craig died, he made me promise that I would have a good life. Finishing “The Two-Faced Triplex” was hard, but it was a part of keeping my promise and part of feeding the right wolf.

Regan signs on to play consoler-and-chief after the body of Martha Varner, one of her favorite clients, is found and the woman’s distraught daughter begs Regan to stop escrow from closing on a purchase her mother was about to make. Martha Varner’s death, at first ruled suicide, is quickly ruled homicide. The dead woman’s best friend thinks she knows who Martha’s killer is. The police have a different suspect. And Regan? Well, she has her own ideas about who killed Martha Varner. She just can’t imagine how complicated playing amateur sleuth will make her life and how dangerous her investigation will prove to be for her husband, Tom. The Two-Faced Triplex is the seventh book in the Regan McHenry Real Estate Mysteries series and probably the last of Regan and Tom's adventures. Dave, Santa Cruz Police Department Ombudsman and Regan's best friend, makes a return appearance and Harry, Regan and Tom's rescue cat is pressed into service as a decoy. As usual, action takes place in Santa Cruz County, but clues lead Regan to Carmel as she tries to find out what Martha was doing in the days leading up to her murder.

            Buy the Two-Faced Triplex thru Amazon

About the Author
Nancy Lynn Jarvis was a Santa Cruz, California, Realtor® for more than twenty years before she fell in love with writing and let her license lapse. After earning a BA in behavioral science from San Jose State University, she worked in the advertising department of the San Jose Mercury News. A move to Santa Cruz meant a new job as a librarian and later a stint as the business manager for Shakespeare/Santa Cruz at UCSC. Nancy’s work history reflects her philosophy: people should try something radically different every few years, a philosophy she applies to her writing, as well. This is the seventh book in the Regan McHenry Real Estate Mysteries series but she has taken breaks to write a stand-alone book called “Mags and the AARP Gang” about a group of octogenarian bank robbers, and to edit “Cozy Food: 128 Cozy Mystery Writers Share Their Favorite Recipes.” She planned to start a new series, “Geezers with Tools” but book seven in the Regan McHenry Real Estate Mystery series kept calling her, so Geezers was put on hold temporarily. She’s also editing an anthology of short stories from Santa Cruz authors with the title and theme “Santa Cruz Weird.”

Thank you for sharing your courage with us, Nancy.

Writers, how much of you is in your stories?

Monday, February 12, 2018


The night the fog descended.

It moved quickly to enfold the world.

Everything disappeared.

For 4 days the world was a blur.
Then a glimpse was given.

Today the blue sky returned.

And along with it.


Wednesday, February 7, 2018


What do you love about the genre you write in most often?

I write what I love to read. I’ve always been interested in the motivations of others, especially when it comes to murder. And a good who-done-it is my go-to relaxation and entertainment.

I’m enjoying the ‘Alienist’ now.

My awesome co-hosts for the February 7 posting of the IWSG are Stephen Tremp, Pat Garcia, Angela Wooldridge, Victoria Marie Lees, and Madeline Mora-Summonte!


Have you signed up for the WEP Challenge

Any situation with the potential for unforeseen conflict. Or it could be literal – a flood, a hurricane, a mining disaster, you name it. This one is wide open. A million possible takes.

Love. War. Anything in between. An affair sours. A hobby (hubby?) goes berserk. An addiction teeters on the edge of out-of-hand. A sports tournament goes horribly wrong.

Let your creativity soar!

Thank you for visiting!

Comments are disabled. I will be traveling this week and will not have an opportunity to respond.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Goodbye, Dear Father, Dear Stranger . . .

My father died on Friday, and I lamented his loss with questions of why. On Saturday, I moved in a haze of numbness seeking distraction from reality. On Sunday the tears seem never-ending because there are so many unanswered questions.

My father was an enigma. In anger, he sought vengeance, valued beauty and wealth, and yet seldom recognized it. He threw away those most needful of him and therefore denied himself a blessed life.

We were estranged for many years, but age and ill health erased many of the reasons, and I am thankful for the reconciliation, but now he’s gone, and I can only pray. . .


O Lord! In this Most Great Dispensation Thou dost accept the intercession of children in behalf of their parents.  This is one of the special infinite bestowals of this Dispensation.  Therefore, O Thou kind Lord, accept the request of this Thy servant at the threshold of Thy singleness and submerge his father in the ocean of Thy grace, because this daughter hath arisen to render Thee service and is exerting effort at all times in the pathway of Thy love.  Verily, Thou art the Giver, the Forgiver and the Kind!


O my God! O Thou forgiver of sins! Bestower of gifts! Dispeller of afflictions!
Verily, I beseech Thee to forgive the sins of such as have abandoned the physical garment and have ascended to the spiritual world.
     O my Lord! Purify them from trespasses, dispel their sorrows, and change their darkness into light. Cause them to enter the garden of happiness, cleanse them with the most pure water, and grant them to behold Thy splendours on the loftiest mount.


Bahá'í prayer booklet is published by the
Bahá'í Publishing Trust

27 Rutland Gate,
London SW7 1PD

Comments are disabled. Thank you for the kind words, thoughts, and prayers.