Wednesday, January 22, 2014

My Non-Fiction Books -- about having upus and being a Military Brat

"Write what you know," that adage goes. And I know intimately two things: Lupus and being a Military Brat.
My lupus book is titled, The Cards We're Dealt, and the Joker is Lupus. This book grew out of my experiences shared with other "Lupies" who belong to a yahoo group of that name. We support each other, learn that we can vent online as nowhere else, and above all, gain information from each other's seemingly innocuous symptoms that the rheumatologists fail to tell us. In all fairness, each case of lupus is different from the next, so there is no "One size fits all" treatment. '

The Cards We're Dealt...: And the Joker is Lupus by Marilyn Celeste Morris (Nov 6, 2013)

·                            $8.99 Paperback 
·                             $4.99 Kindle Edition

 My other non-fiction book is all about being a Military Brat.
Once a Brat, Always a Brat has been called by Dennis Campbell of "A field manual for understanding Military Brats."
The first portion of the book relates my "brat story," which is part travelogue and part therapy session. From my birth in 1938 to my father's retirement in 1958, I traversed the globe, from Asia to Europe, with stops in between in various "forts": Fort Sam Houston, Fort Sill, OK, Fort Hood, TX, and Fort Bratt, NC. Ironically, I now live in another "fort" -- Fort Worth, TX.

Once a Brat, Always a Brat   $.12.50


All My Books: Ladies of the Club, formerly The Women of Camp Sobingo

Let's get right to the question: Why did I change the title of this book? Well, many people believed the word "Camp" indicated a summer camp of some kind, when in reality, or this Military Brat's reality, the word "camp" means a military encampment. Of course.
Everybody should know that. But they don't. Just like some people don't know the difference between you're and your, but I digress.
So, back to the end of WWII, when my mother, brother and I went overseas to join my army officer father with the Occupation forces in a place called Camp Sobingo, outside of Seoul, Korea.
I was a precocious eight year old, eavesdropping on the grownups at all times, and one time I heard my mother and another member of her bridge group discussing the suicide of one of the women in their club. Why did she do that? The question haunted me, until I finally decided to make it into a novel, and here it is.
Camp Sobingo at that time was very primitive, with no running water, sporadic electricity, and an ice box and a wood-burning stove. No creature comforts, there. But the women bonded, and kept their sanity by doing so, except for one. "It was rooted in her past," someone said. And so I created that past, and the past of all four women.
There will be a sequel coming soon, focusing on Trudy Cavanaugh, one of the women who returns home to inherit her father-in-law's publishing empire. She assures herself she can do it. She lived through Camp Sobingo, didn't she?


Ladies of the Club: Formerly Titled "The Women of Camp Sobino" by Marilyn Celeste Morris (Oct 18, 2013)

·                             $12.59 Paperback 
·                             $4.99 Kindle Edition

All My Books: My Ashes of Dead Lovers Garage Sale and My Second Ashes of Dead Lovers Garage Sale

What a silly name for a book! How on earth did I think of such a title?
Well, like all writers experiences, it came out of a real garage sale I had with my tall blond friend. We went over each item, pricing it and setting it on a table for display. "Where did you get this....?" I'm happy to say she didn't add, "monstrosity."
"Oh, you remember old Whatshisname? The one who rode off into the sunset with another woman as soon as I left town for a visit with friends?"
She nodded. Then I questioned her. Same question. Same answer.
All tolled, we each had several items given to us by former boyfriends. We figured each item was worth at least a quarter.
And there you have it: The name for this book.
I wrote a weekly column for a suburban newspaper for ten years. I asked for and got permission to publish selected columns in a book, and there you have it.
After a while, I was cleaning up some of my electronic files, and discovered there were enough columns to merit a Volume II. Or in this case, My Second know the rest.
So here's a link to both, both are on Amazon and Kindle for your reading pleasure.

My Ashes of Dead Lovers Garage Sale  $6.99

 Author’s Note:  This book is a selection of articles written over a ten year period for Suburban Newspapers, in Fort Worth, TX.  Essentially, the title sprang from a conversation I had with my Tall Blond Friend as we held a joint garage sale.
Looking at some of the items, Tall Blond Friend asked how I got them. My reply was something along the lines of: “You remember old What’s His Name. Before he rode off into the sunset with a younger woman, he gave me this ________(fill in the blank) I think it should bring at least a quarter.”
And so on, with three or four cast-off items from old boyfriends, we marked each piece until it occurred to me that I should call this “My Ashes of Dead Lovers Garage Sale

 Kindle Link:
My Second Annual Ashes of Dead Lovers Garage Sale
And Other Adventures of a Single Woman of a Certain Age $5.99

Author’s Note:  This book is another selection of articles written over a ten year period for Suburban Newspapers, in Fort Worth, TX where I was paid, essentially, to have fun.

Kindle Link:

Free Excerpt from Vol. I: 

When I Grow Up
We met for dinner one evening, six single women "of a certain age" and after we had exhausted the usual topic of conversation (men, or the lack thereof), someone posed this question:  "What comic book character, or celebrity, was your childhood hero or heroine?"
            Six sets of carefully plucked eyebrows knotted in concentration as minds raced back in time some twenty-five or more years (we're talking about "mature" women, here, remember?)
            My friend "Anne" was first.  (Names and clues to the identities of the participants are being withheld for the writer's own protection.)  "I always wanted to be Roy Rogers," she confessed shyly.  "Not Dale Evans.  Roy always had the bigger horse and got to shoot all the bad guys; all Dale ever did was follow along behind him, yelling, 'Wait for me, Roy!' and she didn't even have a gun."  We nodded silently at each other; "Anne" is an outspoken defender of women's rights.
            Blond, statuesque "Brenda" spoke next. "I wanted to be Sheena, Queen of the Jungle.  She had long, flowing hair and a figure that was to die for."  At Forty-Several, "Brenda" has the figure younger women envy and is a blond, whether by choice or chance.  "Then I admired Betty Grable, Patti Page and Jo Stafford.  But my ultimate heroine had to be Rosalind Russell.  Or at least the characters she played in movies.  You know, the cool, career woman with broad shoulders, who has it all together, yet who melts and gives it all up when the right man comes along."  Her voice trailed off, and this businesswoman sighed.  "I guess this says a lot about me," she admitted, as "Anne" shot her a look that read, What Kind of Woman Are You Who Is Passively Waiting for a Man to Save her?   
            "Carole" spoke next. "I wanted to be Jane -- you know, Tarzan's Jane."  Predictably, "Roy" rolled her eyes, while "Sheena" nodded encouragement.  "Well, she did everything that Sheena did.  And at least she had Tarzan around to pull her out of a lot of traps..." 
            Not daring to incur the wrath of our Resident Feminist, nobody spoke for a moment.  Then someone asked, "What was the name of the girl in "Terry and the Pirates?"
            "Is this a Trivial Pursuit question?" I asked. 
            "No, I'm just trying to remember," my friend "Carole" said.  "As I remember, she had a lot of adventures, but most of them at her typewriter.  Like me," she added wistfully.
            "Diane" jumped in next.  "I always liked Katy Keene.  She had such pretty clothes and there were paper doll cutouts, too.  I'm sure that's what led me to be a fashion illustrator." 
            "Faster than a speeding bullet.  More powerful than a locomotive," a voice from the end of the table shrilled.  
            "Superman!" we chorused. 
            "Yeah," my levelheaded friend "Ellen" nodded.  "Even as a girl, I didn't want to be a girl forever.  I read "Supergirl" comics, but I mean, Supergirl never grew up, did she?  Super-boy became Super-man, didn't he?  Well, they didn't let Super-girl do that; she will always be a girl."        
            "Roy Rogers-Anne" nodded in agreement, and added, "Look at your fairy tales -- the girls stayed girls and never grew up.  Snow White didn't age a bit, even after working for those Seven Dwarfs day and night.  Cinderella wasn't even smart enough to give the Prince her phone number."
            All eyes turned to me in expectation. 
            "Wow, look at the time!" I hedged.   
            "No, you can't get away without telling us.  Tell us!"  They chorused.
            "Well, first of all, I have to respond to the Cinderella and Snow White charges.  They weren't the only ones who didn't grow up.  Look at Peter Pan, for heavens sakes.  And as for Prince Charming -- He didn't have enough good sense to ask Cinderella her name, or her phone number, and when she left her glass slipper, he was too lazy to get out and look for her, but sent his palace guards, or something.  He just sat back and waited.  So don't blame the women in fairy tales.  I, for one, think Rapunzel in the Tower was an All Right Kind Of Gal, because she Let Down Her Hair for her Prince.  Smart Cookie, wasn't she?" 
            We dipped into our handbags in search of funds to pay the Bill. 
            "Oh, yeah, back to what we wanted to be when we were kids," I remembered.  "I always wanted to be Wonder Woman.  Boy, did she ever look good.  I loved her snazzy blue tights with stars on them and her boots and her red halter and crown.  I loved her magic bracelets that deflected bullets and her invisible airplane, which she could fly anywhere and look down and see other folks and not be seen.  But most of all, I loved her Magic Lasso, which, when she threw it over a man, would compel him to Tell the Truth. "
            There was a silence while we all considered that possibility, then we burst into laughter.
            As if!

All My Books: Sabbath's Gift and Sabbath's House

When I wrote Sabbath's Gift, it was initially published as Sabbath's Room. This publisher and I parted company when they told me they were not going to accept any more of my novels, because "You haven't earned enough to justify the expense." Sigh. Such is the world of publishing, fickle hearts as they are.
So, I found another publisher, who took the book and reissued it as Sabbath's Gift complete with new cover.
Following that, I wrote and had published, Sabbath's House.
Flash forward: This second publisher turned out to be an embezzler, (no kind way to word what she had done to 15 of her authors) so I got my rights back and went to independent publishing.
New covers. New formatting. But the same character, the magical black cat, Sabbath.
I actually had a black cat, already named Sabbath, when I picked her up at the veterinarians. Truth be told, I did not like cats, but we had a mouse/rat gnawing on the inside of one of my kitchen cabinets, and after trying all kinds of poisons, he persisted. One of my children suggested, "Let's get a cat, Mom. Rats won't come near anyplace with a cat." I was desperate enough to call the vet and they did, indeed, have a cat for adoption.
I couldn't get there fast enough. I was plotting all the while to get rid of the cat as soon as he/she got rid of the rat. No heart, there.
Until the vet's assistant entered the room, with a small black cat clinging to her sweater. The cat looked at me and I melted. "Oh, what a sweet little kitten. What's her name?" I knew someone had left her with the vet because cat's weren't allowed in the apartment complex he/she was moving into.
"Sabbath," the assistant replied.

"Tabitha?" I questioned.
"No, Sabbath." she corrected me.
Meanwhile, Sabbath continued to melt me with her green-gold eyes.
"Did she belong to a witch?" I laughed. "Because she's sure bewitching me."
The details were taken care of, and I left the vet's office with a black cat clinging to me. First stop, pet store for a litter box, a carrier, and cat food.
Mission accomplished, I arrived at home and deposited Sabbath into the kitchen, telling her to "go to work, now".....but my son proudly announced, "The rat died, Mom. One of my poisons killed him."
Well, I had a cat, now. A cat who loved me, and I loved her.
And therein lay the plot for my Sabbath Trilogy.
P.S. Sabbath died in 2000, and I mourned her loss for about a year before getting another cat from the city shelter. I chose another black, short haired cat, whom I named Cleopatra, thinking she would be regal and graceful, as a queen should be. Forget that. Her nickname, Cleo, or Crazy Cat, suits her just fine, for regal, she is not, and although she's no Sabbath reincarnation, I love her for who she is.
Sabbath's ashes are in a beautiful pine box on my bookcase.

Sabbath’s Gift     $8.99
Book One of the Sabbath Trilogy

When New York writer, Joanna Elliott, flees her abusive husband to the Texas Hill Country, she and her six-year old son, Jason, unwittingly become a killer's prey. Despite Realtor Tommy Joe Greenleaf's warning that Wanda and Ralph Spencer had mysteriously disappeared from the remote farmhouse ten years earlier, Joanna moves in, and makes the sunroom into her office. Joanna adopts a cat from the local veterinarian, Jim Kelly, who tells her that Sabbath "had belonged to a witch." Immediately, unexplained events unfold: Joanna is locked overnight inside the storage shed, footprints appear under the sun room windows, and Jason's dog, Mournful, is found poisoned. 
Sheriff Judson Pollard investigates.  He is puzzled by Wilma Foulkes’ indifference to her sister’s fate, the activities of an itinerate evangelist, Brother Adam, and Joanna’s former husband has arrived in town.

Book Two of the Sabbath Trilogy
 Sabbath’s House     $8.99

Best selling author Joanna Elliott and her growing family are looking for another house because, quite frankly, finding bodies in the cellar and a psychotic old woman kidnapping her son were not events conducive to bringing her new child into the world. 
She discovers a charming old Victorian mansion owned only by women of the Emily Harris family, but the remaining heiress has no descendants to inherit.
Once the family moves in, however, psychic black cat Sabbath encounters spirits determined to continue the legend, once again putting the family in peril,

Kindle Link:

Coming Soon: Book Three

Sabbath’s Village

All My Books: Storm Warning

When I began writing Storm Warning (formerly published as Forces of Nature) I drew on my brief employment as an administrative assistant to the manager of a regional mall. My job took me to the inside operations of an enterprise that was part part Mayor of a large city and part warden of a penitentiary.
The fictional mall in Storm Warning is just as I experienced, from interacting with the shop owners, the security forces, and the manager himself. Interwoven between the strolls around the mall are character studies of the mall patrons, in all sizes and shapes, and some of the employees.
Of course, many of the characters are fictional, like Sadie the Shoplifter, who is only a lonely widow, desperate for attention, any attention, and the mall manager, who has his own issues to deal with, in the form of his former wife.
The administrative assistant Natalie, is drawn on a woman I once worked with, who did indeed, smoke like a chimney, and told her boss she would call him "Mister" Martindale and never by his first name. "You're my boss, not my pal," she snorts through the haze of cigarette smoke. 
The decision of who lives and who dies in this novel where a plane crashes into the mall, was daunting, indeed. I had the power over life and death, and while I regretted "killing some of them off" I reassured myself that fate is random. No hidden meanings, here.
At least, I don't think so.

 Storm Warning ) - $4.99

 ( Formerly titled Forces of Nature)

What would happen when a bomber from the nearby Air Force base is flung by a fierce tornado into the county’s largest shopping mall?  Begin the day with the mall manager, his assistant, the security officer and Howard the Weatherman, whose predictions are always uncannily accurate, and in this case, deadly.

Kindle Link: -

All My Books -- Beginning with The Unexplored Heart

People often ask "Where do you get your ideas for your novels?" Sometimes it's easy to answer. Other times, it's not quite so easy, like my novel, The Unexplored Heart. Initially, I had planned for the heroine to be the young Victorian woman who goes to work as a transcriber for a dashing world explorer, and they naturally fall in love. And that is part of the novel.
But the part that took over belongs to the wife of a famed archaeologist. At the end of the novel, Esther Wooster marched into my office, settled her corpulent body in my guest chair and said, "You just think you're finished. I want my own novel." She had pretty much taken over in this novel, so since I had planned a sequel, this was no surprise.
She shall have it. The next novel that involves young Vanessa and her husband, leaves no doubt as to who is the lead character. Esther runs the show in my soon to be released, "After Camelot: Esther's Quest." 
This is in line with my idea that all my female characters are strong and assertive. No swooning at the sight of a male character, here. In fact, in one scene in this newest novel, Esther is both irritated and bemused at the time when she is put on the warlord's horse, in front of him. And she feels his "male member" rise against her backside. What to do? Indeed.
Not to put Vanessa aside. In the first novel of the proposed series, Vanessa is a strong woman, also, who goes to secretarial school and sets out on a career that will culminate in her falling in love with her employer. So, what's so different about that? It happens all the time in many "romance" novels. But Vanni carries it a bit further when she asserts herself into Esther's proposed expedition to Rimar, the fabled kingdom that surely contains riches beyond imagining.
And she is about two months pregnant when the journey begins.
And she has known so, but hasn't told anyone yet, the last of all, her husband. Surely, if he knew, he would banish her from going on this expedition.
But Esther suspects and Vanni confirms the pregnancy, and she agrees to let Vanni tell Harrison in her own time.
Talk about two strong women! Especially for 1860s England.
You'll have to read the first novel, The Unexplored Heart, before the next, although "After Camelot: Esther's Quest" could stand alone.
Look on Amazon and Kindle for

The Unexplored Heart  $12.99 

Impoverished but proud Vanessa Danforth is forced from he mother’s home by her new stepfather’s treachery in 1860s England.
After graduating from stenographer’s school, she accepts a position at the estate of famed world explorer, Harrison Courtland.
Made a widower by his wife’s tragic death in the Himalayas, Courtland has retreated into his work, while Vanni forges friendships with his daughter Katrin and the handsome physician from the neighboring estate.
As Vanni encourages Courtland to unearth the ancient ruins at the edge of his property she discovers not only a stunning secret and a hidden treasure, but also her own heart’s desire.
Kindle Link: $4.99

Coming soon: The sequel, After Camelot: Esther's Quest.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

My Battl;e with Blogger/Google, Whatever

It's been a while since I've posted. I've been busy putting all my books back on Amazon, through the Create Space program. So now I am what I thought I would NEVER be, a Self-Published Author.  However due to the fact that my former publisher, Vanilla Heart Publishing, had embezzled from about 15 of her authors, including me, after taking all her books off the Internet, I was no longer going to trust anybody else with my babies.
Yes, I said babies. My seven books are my creation, and like a new mother, I want to guard them from all harm. So I bit the bullet and put them all back up on Amazon and Kindle (I don't believe my publisher had put my books on Kindle, so that's a bonus).
Before I took advantage of this self-publishing program, I was kind of disparaging of anyone who self-pubbed. Mostly because I saw a whole lot of porn -- er, excuse me, -- erotica flooding the market. Yet I knew there were some great self-pubbed books out there, too, and that kind of took the sting off the label.
So that brings you up to the minute on my writing life. Well, maybe not all up to the minute. I'm struggling to revamp my web site and it's a tough job for this old lady, and her lack of computer-ese. But it has to be done, in order to take out all references to Vanilla Heart Publishing, and I re-named some of my novels and made new covers for all of them.
Somehow, when my back was turned, Blogger morphed into Google, and that really ticks me off. It's not as easy as it was before; I've tried many times to decipher the cheerful Google help code, to no avail.
I quite accidentally accessed my blogs, this one and TheLadyWithLupus blog, so I'm feeling rather smart at the moment. Until I try to post again....Then, all bets are off.