Bridey’s Stranger

Available soon on Amazon

Sixteen-year-old Bridey lives in a medieval world off the shore of Manx Island. The sea holds a special place in her heart. Ever since she was a babe in her father’s arms, watching the tide push the waves inland. She slips away from the cottage every chance she gets and makes her way down to the beach, spending hours along the shoreline, gathering treasures and exploring the caves.

One day Bridey finds a stranger on the beach. A young man nearly dead from exposure. She hides him in a cave nearby and nurses him back to health. She doesn’t know who he is, where he came from, or who’s after him, but she falls in love with him anyway. And her life is changed forever.

This novelette is a companion piece about characters who appear in the It’s About Time Series. Included are excerpts from the other books in the series, including a brand new book which will hopefully be in eBook and print before the end of the year.

My thanks to all of my readers who have patiently waited for my books to come out in print. This has been a long learning process for me. I’ve been in collaboration with my wonderful cover artist, Suzannah Safi and Sheryl Lee, the fantastic lady who does my formatting, and together we’ve worked hard to give you new and improved versions of all my books.

Stay tuned. There’s more to come!!!


About books, movies, cooking, and advice
Decorating, shopping, and finding the best price
Life, love and raising kids
Along with do-hickeys, what-cha-ma-call-its, and thing-a-ma-jigs
We’re just two Texas girls
Straight from the sticks
The only thing we won’t gab about
Is religion and politics!

A Blast From The Past

Ann: While doing some spring cleaning, I came across a book I’d bought many years ago, The Verse by the Side of the Road, The Story of the Burma-Shave Signs, by Frank Rowsome, Jr.

Some of you will remember this clever advertising campaign, which lasted from 1925 until 1963. The rhyming jingles for a brushless shave cream were displayed on a series of small wooden signs spaced 100 feet apart along roadways across rural America.

The company, Burma Vita Inc., was operated by Clinton Odell and his son, Allan, who suggested using the roadside idea. For the first three years, Allan and his father wrote the jingles, but when their poetic muse ran out, they sponsored a nationwide contest, awarding $100 for each of the 25 best. Some of the annual contests received more than 50,000 entries!

Some were naughty and never made it past the first round of judging. Boy, wouldn’t you like to read those entries! By today’s standards, I’ll bet they weren’t that bad!

Here’s one of the most the popular:

He had the ring

He had the flat

But she felt his chin

And that was that.


Wanna take a stab at writing one? We’re not paying any money, but it might be interesting to see a modern take on the jingle. And we’ll share the one we like the best on our next blog!

Here’s Ann’s offering:

His cheeks were covered

In five o’clock stubble

Canoodling with him

Was too much trouble.

Burma Shave

Here’s Susan’s:

Short, balding, chubby

And missing teeth

But with cheeks like baby.

He couldn’t keep the girls away.

Burma Shave.

Susan: Talking about seeing these signs reminds me of road trips I’ve taken through the years—no fun when I was growing up. Three girls crammed together in the backseat of a mustang with black interior and no a/c. You either sat behind Daddy and got singed by flying ash (he smoked) or in the middle (with him yelling at you to duck your head because he couldn’t see) or behind Mama. He didn’t play the radio. And we drove for hours without a bathroom break. If I didn’t have a book, I read all the road signs. I knew exactly how far we were from the next Stuckey’s, Dairy Queen, or souvenir shop. (Not that we ever stopped) Things changed when I got married. My husband and I used to drive up in the hill country—nothing more relaxing than traveling down those back roads, listening to music, looking at the scenery.

Don’t forget to try your hand at writing a Burma Shave jingle. Leave it in the comments!

Winner of two eBooks from a previous post is Cindy Bright! BIG congrats, Cindy, and thanks for taking the time to read and comment on our blog.

Find out more about Ann Everett/Emma Ames:


Memorial Day – a day we honor the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military

because i never knew you
nor did you me
          i come

because you left behind mother,
father and betrothed
and i wife and children
          i come

because love is stronger than enmity
and can bridge oceans
          i come

because you never return
and i do
i come

          DUONG TUONG Washington, D. C., November 21, 1995

The older I get the more I think about our country and the sacrifices some have made on its behalf. Especially on days like today. I came across this poem, wtitten by Duong Tuong, a Vietnamese writer after visiting the wall in l995. I love its touching simplicity. A child of the 60s, I witnessed daily casualty count on the evening news and saw college students protesting while others burned our flag.

The thing I remember the most was the day my high school principal came over the loudspeaker and requested a moment of silence for a former student who’d graduated only months earlier and had enlisted. He was killed shortly after he arrived in Vietnam.

I remember seeing him in the halls at school. A nice guy. Always smiling. Barely 18. Just a kid. Gone in a minute. Someone I knew. Someone my age. That’s when I realized the US was at war. And it was real.



Do you like puzzles? Solving mysteries? So does Xander. He is a lot like Peter Falk’s character in the series Columbo, because sometimes he appears to be clueless, but that’s only a ruse. He listens to what people say, along with the things they don’t.

After a late-night visit to Battington’s marketplace, Princess Mena vanishes without a trace. Merchants are frantic when King Leander calls for a curfew and postpones the Spring Festival until further notice. Certain his former constable is the man for the job: the mayor hires Xander to investigate, hoping he can solve the mystery in a hurry so things can go back to normal.

But Xander’s not so sure that’s possible, because there’s romance involved, and he knows when that happens folks who usually are very sensible seem to lose all reason. In addition to sorting out truths, half-truths, and outright lies, he must deal with gypsies, love potions, and an illegal moonshine operation before he can get to the bottom of things.

This is what Xander has to say: For the past year I’ve been trying my hand at farming. Without much success I might add. Before that I was constable for the township of Battington, a job I dearly loved. That is until Cymon, the mayor, and I had some differences which led to a parting of the ways. That’s how I got into farming…and found out it wasn’t for me.

      A few days ago I rode into town for supplies, and along came Cymon with an offer I couldn’t refuse. It’s only temporary, but he wants me to investigate Princess Mena’s disappearance. At double my former wages. With any luck I should be able to locate her, collect my wages along with the reward, and be home before harvest. Easy peasy…

I am pleased to announce Xander’s Tangled Web is available on Amazon in eBook, Kindle Unlimited and in paperback for the first time ever. Please check it out!



Need a change of scenery? An escape from reality? These days, it seems like we’re all looking for a change of pace. If you are, check out In My Own Shadow. Read all about the unexpected adventure Lara takes to another world.

Talk about the worst day ever! Lara lets her friend Carrie talk her into a blind date, only it turns out the handsome stranger waiting for Lara after work isn’t Carrie’s cousin after all. And, when they’re chased through a portal to another world, Lara realizes Rhys really is out of this world.

Lyra, her alternate in another dimension, has left clues to the whereabouts of the Book of Secrets, explaining the mystery of time travel in Lara’s subconscious.  Or so Rhys thinks. Power-hungry telepaths will stop at nothing to get it, even if it means breaking Lara’s will. To complicate matters, Lara gets tangled up in her feelings for Rhys while exploring her connection with Lyra.

With Rhys as her guardian, a bear of a man named Azle to guide her, and the spirit of Lyra haunting her dreams, Lara must find the Book of Secrets before it falls into the hands of those who want its power.  Only then can she return to her world safely.

I am very pleased to announce In My Own Shadow is available on Amazon in eBook, Kindle Unlimited and in paperback for the first time ever. Check it out!


About books, movies, cooking, and advice
Decorating, shopping, and finding the best price
Life, love and raising kids
Along with do-hickeys, what-cha-ma-call-its, and thing-a-ma-jigs
We’re just two Texas gals
Straight from the sticks
The only thing we won’t gab about
Is religion and politics!

Wonder what the heck we’re talking about? Well, May is National Hamburger Month. A staple at cookouts and greasy spoon cafes all across the nation, and the Diner lingo title to this blog is the way they used to be ordered.

“Burn one” refers to dropping the burger on the grill. “Taking it through the garden” means topping it with lettuce and tomato, and to finish it off, you pin a rose (onion), the most fragrant of flowers, on it!

Man, that diner slang just adds some fun to the order! Of course, in recent years the Fast Food King has been elevated to a ‘gourmet’ status. The origin is unclear, but burgers have been around for a long time. A recipe for a hamburger appears in a cookbook written in the 1700s, and in the 1800s, emigrants ate them on their way to America.

In 1896, the Chicago Daily Tribune mentioned a place called The Sandwich Car that offered a Hamburger steak sandwich ‘cooked while you waited on the gasoline range for a nickel.’

ANN: Hey, back in 1967, I bought hamburgers at McDonald’s in Austin, Texas for nineteen cents! Only a fourteen cents price increase from 1896!!

J. Wellington “Whimpy,” Popeye the Sailor Man’s friend, helped their popularity when he appeared in the cartoon as a hefty Lover of Hamburgers in 1930. His soft spoken and cowardly personality was in direct contrast to his willingness to do whatever it took to get one, or a billion, for free.

They come in all sizes, consisting of one or more cooked patties of ground meat; usually beef, pan-fried, grilled, smoked or flame broiled, served on a sliced bun with lettuce, tomato, red, white or grilled onions, pickles, bacon, cheese. Sliced avocadoes, peppers, mushrooms, along with condiments such as ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, or relish.

SUSAN: The best burger I ever ate? October 3, 1969. On the way to Corpus Christi, my husband and I stopped at a little café. We’d only been married a few hours, and after being too busy and too nervous to eat all day, we were starving. Boy, did it taste good.

If burgers are your favorite fast food, then you’re in good company. Bruce Springsteen loves a good diner burger. Venus Williams prefers one from Mickey D’s, while Katy Perry fancies one from In-N-Out-Burger.

SUSAN: My favorite is a well-done pattie on a toasted bun, mustard on one side, and mayonnaise on the other, grilled onions, lettuce, and tomatoes. Sometimes thin-sliced avocadoes. Sometimes melted cheese.

ANN: Just so you know, to order that well-done burger in diner lingo, the waitress would shout, “One Hockey Puck.” My favorite thing about a burger is the sauce I put on it. I mix 3 parts mayo with 1-part mustard, add lots of ground black pepper, and slather it on both buns. I love to add grilled mushrooms and onions, along with lettuce and some good ol’ East Texas maters!

What’s your fave? We’d love to know the place you like best—or, if you have a special recipe. Let us know in the comments!

Find out more about Ann Everett/Emma Ames:

Oh, That’s Subtle: The Little Things Holding Your Novel Back – by Janice Hardy…

This is good advice.

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

On Fiction University:

Subtlety can mean the difference between a novel that works and one that falls flat. 

The smallest change have a big impact on your writing. One word change, one shift in perspective, and everything’s different. Hopefully such changes result in a better story, but when they don’t, spotting what’s wrong can be frustrating.

Maybe you’re struggling with a story right now, or submitting one that’s getting good feedback, but just not quite landing anywhere, or having beta readers tell you it’s good, but not great, and it’s lacking something they can’t put their finger on. You know you can fix it if you could just find it.

Take a closer look and see if there’s a subtle reason that’s holding your novel back.

Continue reading HERE

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About books, movies, cooking, and advice
Decorating, shopping, and finding the best price
Life, love and raising kids
Along with do-hickeys, what-cha-ma-call-its, and thing-a-ma-jigs
We’re just two Texas gals
Straight from the sticks
The only thing we won’t gab about
Is religion and politics!

Since, we, the Gabbin’ gals are writers, we have to mention some of the book/reading related holidays coming up this week. We’ve included links and a little bit of gab for you to check out!

April 21, 2020
National Library Day

April 22, 2020
National Bookmobile Day

Susan shares memories of what the bookmobile meant to her as a child.

I’ll never forget my childhood visits to the bookmobile. Dispatched every other week from the central library in downtown San Antonio, Texas, the unassuming airstream trailer sat at the local shopping center for the day. Inside, books filled floor to ceiling shelves. An attendant sat at a small table on one end, reading, of course.

The place beckoned me with as much excitement and anticipation as a picnic or a day at the pool because it represented adventure, escape, and fantasy.

I journeyed far away from that little trailer sitting in the parking lot under the hot Texas sun. My travels took me far north, sledding down an icy hill, building a snowman, or making snow angels. I sailed to tropical islands, ate pineapple, and slept in a hammock. I rode across the plains in a Conestoga Wagon and hunted buffalo with the Indians. Met King Arthur and Excalibur. But my favorite childhood trips were the ones where I visited magical places that only existed in the author’s dreams.

Those days are long gone, but I’ve never stopped experiencing that rush of excitement I get when I pick up a book and start a new journey.

April 23, 2020
World Book Night

April 25, 2020
Eeyore’s Birthday!

This one we just had to gab about!

Eeyore’s Birthday Party, Austin, Texas. Eeyore turns 57!! It’s a fun-filled day for kids, benefitting non-profits, but what we found interesting was in the FAQ section where one of the inquires was: Can I go Topless?


Well, you may be surprised by the answer:
Yes. Texas is one of 36 states that does not forbid toplessness. Austin also doesn’t disallow it. Many attendees choose to paint their breasts in celebration of Eeyore’s birthday. You might be inspired to the do the same. We offer face painting at the event if you find your painting skills are lacking. We also sell pasties for those of us that are more modest.

Check out last year’s photos here:

Eeyore is a character in the Winnie-the-Pooh book series, written by A. A. Milne. He is characterized as a pessimistic, gloomy, depressed, old gray donkey who suffers from anhedonia, which is the inability to feel pleasure.

So, Susan, would you go topless at Eeyore’s birthday? Or choose the more modest route of pasties?

Susan: I don’t know about you, but I have to wonder about someone sending a query whether or not they could celebrate Eeyore’s birthday topless. I could just hear Eeyore saying, “Ohhhh-kayyy.” It has to be someone young and/or perky. Or maybe they commented on the wrong thread. It’s not something I’d consider under any circumstances. By the end of April in Texas, I’d get a serious sunburn.

Ann: I wouldn’t worry so much about sunburn. I’d worry that after the body painter finished, I’d have two sad basset hounds draped to my waist!!

READERS, would you consider going topless at Eeyore’s party? Give us your opinions. We’d love to hear them, and one lucky commenter will win two ebooks of your choice—one from Susan, and one from Ann or her alter ego, Emma Ames.

Find out more about Ann Everett/Emma Ames:

Spring In East Texas

I had a conversation with my granddaughter recently. She’s off at college and has developed an interest in growing things. She was all excited about new leaves on one of her plants. We talked about things blooming in the spring and about how seeing them brings a lift to our spirits. Another one of God’s gifts we get to enjoy. And it doesn’t cost a thing.

The Crabapple tree in my front yard gets prettier every year. I’m thinking it’s over ten years old. My daughter planted it. They are believed to have originated in the mountains of Kazakhstan. Though it’s not clear how they arrived here, at least three crabapple species are native to North America: Malus coronaria, M. fusca, and M. ioensis.

My daughter also planted the Spirea Bush. It is a genus of about 80 to 100 species of shrubs in the family Rosacae.  They are native to the temperate northern hemisphere with the greatest diversity in eastern Asia. I have planted three more around the side and the back of the house. The soil here is perfect for growing things.

Spring In East Texas

March has been cool and windy with lots of rain, but things are finally beginning to bloom. Another bonus to being quarantined in the country. On a sunny day I can go outside for a change of scenery. Or I can watch the birds eating an early lunch at the bird feeder. They are probably wondering why I haven’t filled it. They eat it up so fast I have to ration it. Kind of like toilet paper these days!