MJ Monday: MJ’s Manuscript: Excerpt from Betrayed By the Moon.

Another tidbit from my book, BETRAYED BY THE MOON,  tentatively scheduled for  late June 2019 publication.

“Who did you bring home?” Another male spoke from the shadowed corner.

Ethan bristled, ready to defend his mate from the intruder.

“Ethan,” Selena replied.

“Nathan? Nathan who?” The voice cracked.

“Ethan Calhoun,” Ethan said. “Who are you?”

“Channing Wolfe, Varulv pack alpha. You look familiar. Where are you from?”

Ethan grabbed his temper before irreparable damage resulted. “Loup Garou, Colorado.”

The man emerged from the shadows. He was old. Too old, in Ethan’s opinion, to be a pack alpha. The sparse hair on his head was as gray as his eyes and the circles beneath them. Ethan thought he heard joints creaking.

“Ethan, meet my grandfather.”

His intended mate was an alpha’s granddaughter? Whoa. Intense, especially considering his own alpha mated a human.

“You’re a long way from home. Were you planning on checking in?”

“Of course,” Ethan lied. Tokarz hadn’t mentioned another pack might claim northern Minnesota. Courtesy demanded he check in with the ruling pack. “I ran into your granddaughter as soon as I arrived.”

A quick glance at Selena showed one eyebrow arched. She didn’t contradict him.

“Mating fever bring you to Minnesota?” Channing was old, not stupid.

Ethan said nothing.

“New one on me.” Channing continued fishing.

“Strangest thing,” Ethan agreed.

“Is this any way to treat your intended?” Channing asked Selena. “Get him something to drink. To eat. You were raised better than a human girl.”

Selena opened her mouth, as if to argue, glared at Ethan as if he were to blame for the situation, and then stalked from the room.

“You have to forgive the girl. She hasn’t had a lot of female influence. Her mamma died when Selena was real young, and my mate died before Selena was born.”

“My appearance shocked her,” Ethan said to placate the old man. Although Channing wasn’t his pack elder, Ethan was determined to be polite, while at the same time protecting Selena.

“Are you going to court her in the traditional way?”

Ethan tried not to be offended by the question. He failed.

Channing must have read Ethan’s mind. “Your pack brews beer, right? Moonsinger? If making beer isn’t flouting the ways and nature of our kind, I don’t know what is. How can I be sure you’ll do right by my girl?”

Okay. Yeah, brewing beer was weird. Lycan allergy to alcohol versus the pack decision to brew craft beer as a method of supporting the pack was a hotly debated subject. Ethan’s grandparents still argued whether to stay with the Loup Garou pack or find a more traditional place to spend their waning years. Channing’s concern was valid. Still, Ethan had to force his teeth to unclench before he spoke.

“On the way here, I stopped and bought a blueberry and strawberry yogurt parfait. I made the offering. It’s still in my truck. I would never dishonor my mate by violating our rituals. If you’re concerned traditions won’t be honored, you should explain why your granddaughter refused the berries I offered.”


“I don’t need my grandfather’s permission,” Selena said as she returned to the front room. Somewhere along the way, she’d discarded her shoes. She carried a tray with a carafe of water garnished with floating lemon slices and a platter of what smelled like fish. She placed the tray on the table in front of a sagging sofa. “Sorry the walleye is partially cooked. I thawed it in the microwave.”

Ethan’s stomach rumbled. He hadn’t eaten in hours. “Smells great,” he said, as he helped himself to a chunk. “Thanks.”

“Have a seat,” Channing said. “You remind me of someone. Can’t think who, though.”

Ethan studied the room as he chewed on his fish. The seating options were limited. Channing reclaimed a worn recliner in the corner. Ethan’s only choice was a battle-scarred sofa. If he sat, he’d have to share with the female who had rejected him.

“I’ve been driving all night. I need to stretch my legs.” The perfect excuse to avoid proximity with her. He had his pride.

“Where are you staying?” Channing asked.

Selena, who leaned against the door jamb, as if she, too, were avoiding physical closeness to Ethan, winced.

Or flinched. Neither reaction flattered him. He dreaded what was coming next. “I haven’t had a chance to find a motel.”

“Nonsense.” Channing sounded as if he were trying to be hearty and jovial. He failed. Miserably. “You’ll stay with Selena.”


“Staying here isn’t a good idea, sir,” Ethan said.

“Nonsense,” Channing repeated. “The sofa pulls out if you’re being . . . modest.”

“Practical,” Ethan said. He stole a glance at Selena, who appeared upset. “I have other business in town and don’t want to inconvenience anyone.”

“What other business? You’re in Varulv territory.”


The lie came easily. “I’m with a band, and we’re between booking agents, so I’m scouting possible venues for us to play.”

“Doesn’t the Loup Garou alpha have a side gig besides the brewery? What’s the band’s name?”

“Toke Lobo and the Pack.”

“Aren’t they on the radio?” Channing asked, while Selena said, “Get out. You are not.”

Ethan now had an excuse to look directly at her. “Sure I am. I play steel guitar.”

“You do not.”

Ethan scowled.

Selena narrowed her eyes. “Prove it.”

MJ’s Musings-Book Bingo: Pets & Romance: Ready for Love

One of the squares on my Book-Reading-Bingo board is Pets & Romance, where at least one of the main characters is a pet owner and pet ownership is a central theme to the book. Pets can include horses or other livestock, but not in a farming or ranching context. Thing “furry friend” vs. “making a living.”

The third book of Marie Force’s GANSETT ISLAND series fits the category to a tee.

Ready for Love is the story of a woman healing from the loss of her husband and children in an automobile accident. All she has left of her family is the dog.  One of the other characters has always wanted to be a veterinarian and has a pack of special needs dogs. No, the second character is not the love interest, but she plays a crucial role in the story.

I started reading the GANSETT ISLAND series because the author was a guest speaker for my local RWA chapter.  By about the fifth book, I realized I wasn’t reading a series of romances so much as I was reading a soap opera.  When I went to Goodreads to see what other people thought (and I never do this until I have my own opinion in place), I wasn’t surprised to see several others had come to the same conclusion. GANSETT ISLAND is a soap opera.

In the beginning of the series, the individual books more or less focused on one couple. As the series continues, each book tells the story of one couple, but there are multiple scenes involving past couples (usually having  sex) and scenes setting up future books.  I’m not saying I don’t like this. Heck, I’m on the 13th  or 14th book in the series. It’s just…different than what I usually read.

MJ Monday: MJ’s Music-Saffire


A co-worker introduced me to a band called Saffire–The Uppity Blues Women. They were a short-lived group, but I do like their music. There’s something freeing about women singing true things. The gritty things. Smashing out of stereotypes.

These were women, singing about being women, and celebrating who they were..and who some of us are.



MJ’s Musings: Being an Author

I’ve always known I wanted to be an author.

In first grade, the class wrote a poem “together”. Except I was too excited to let any one else in the class participate. It was a little ditty a about a clown who came to down and turned the frowns upside down.

In third grade, poor Mrs. Birmingham tried to teach us pronouns and punctuation. I clearly remember thinking, I need to know this because I’m a writer.

Every year in early June, I would set up an “office” somewhere in my parents house, preparing for my summer of novel writing. Once year, my dad procured an old Remington cast iron office typewriter (manual), with a broken return bar. The typewriter was always in my makeshift office.

In high school, I always carried a notebook for jotting down my angsty teenage poems. I also kept a journal because journals are how biographies of famous people are researched.

When I moved into my own apartment, I borrowed my mom’s typewriter so I could “practice typing,” but I was really writing horrible poems and maudlin stories.

I always kept a notebook on me. I was always working on something. Once, while sitting in a hospital emergency waiting room for word on my badly injured grandmother, I pulled out a yellow pad and went to work. My uncle, who was with me, asked, “What are you doing?” “Working on my novel,” I replied. He said, “Oh. Are you still doing that?”

I’m a writer. An author. Yeah. I’m still doing that.


MJ Monday: MJ’s Movies-The Little Shop of Horrors

Many years ago, when I was working in local TV, my general manager called me into his office and said, “I have a kitchen set for you. I’ve hired a host. Here’s your budget. Make me a TV show where guests hosts come on and cook while watching movies.”

I knew exactly what I wanted to do. Bad movies. Bad horror movies. The black-and-white motion pictures I grew up loving. I don’t like what passes for horror movies these. I prefer the absurd. 

One of my favorite movies of all time is The Little Shop of Horrors. No, not the campy musical version with Steve Martin, but the original Roger Corman film from 1960.  It’s a terrifically funny movie, which is probably why Frank Oz remade it as a musical in the 1980s.

The original contains a  dreadful, blaring jazzy sound track. Jack Nicholson appears in one of his earliest motion picture performances.  The film is the source of one of my favorite quotes: “Feed me. I’m hungry.” And when it came time to create the opening graphics for the show, I insisted this line be included. What better for a cooking show?

I never realized the movie is now considered a cult classic until recently. It’s been redefined as a black comedy. That’s fair. I never knew Roger Corman had a following until I was much older, and even then, I didn’t realize Little Shop was one of his.

Apparently I have very good instincts.