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Teaser Tuesday: A new Next-Gen Episode is coming soon

A brand new Bend-Bite-Shift Next Gen episode is coming soon. Are you ready for Black Blood? Whet your appetite with this #teasertuesday post:

Willoa huffed a breath, then turned on her heel and walked out of the room, her platinum hair sweeping in an arc behind her.  He immediately followed.

“So, you’re a hero and a prince,” she commented over her shoulder, not stopping.

“I’m not a hero.”

She chuckled. “So just a prince then.”

He moved in beside her and matched her steps. “Hardly that, either.”

Putting her hands on her hips again, she stopped and rotated to look at him. “Is there some place to get some water around here?”

Jet raised one side of his mouth into a lopsided smile, then led her towards the huge kitchen. “Do you know about this place?” he asked her.

“Of course, I do.  Everyone knows about Charlie’s Place.”

He shot her a glare. “Not so much in the faery realm, they don’t.”

“You’re the prince of the realm, so you would know.”

He grabbed two bottles of water from the fridge in the kitchen, handing her one then opening the other.  He drank about half of it before sitting down at one of several tables in the room.

“I’m not a prince. Since you know so much, I’m sure you know I’m adopted.  We all are,” he said, speaking of his sisters Lena and Nona. “And I’m certainly not in line for any throne, if there were one.” He paused for effect. “And there isn’t.”

That was true, there was no throne.  Centuries ago, sirens had been the royal class in the faery realm, but then the Women launched a campaign to kill all of their kind.  His mother was the missing link, the last of a line believed to be long extinct.  After the realm was freed from the tyranny of the Women during the fae revolution, she’d been elected as ruler of the realm. 

But she didn’t consider herself a queen, even if her people called her that.  She’d encouraged the people to devise a constitution and an elected counsel to help her to oversee the realm so that none of the control would ever again be held by only one or even a small group of fae.

“So, who is in line?”

“Not me.  Maybe my older sister, Lena, if the fae choose her.  Speaking of the fae, why don’t you know any of this?  You’re fae.”

She shrugged, sitting down and fingering the rim of her water bottle. “I didn’t grow up there.  I spent most of my time with my aunt Tedra in the human realm. It’s a long story.”

That made sense.  His mother knew almost of all of her people in the realm. She’d immediately recognized Cassie, referring to her parents by name, but she’d said nothing of Willoa. 

“We have time,” he said, eager to learn anything he could about her.

She lowered her eyes and frowned. “Do you think Cassie will be okay?”

He pursed his lips, waiting for her to look at him again.  After a few seconds, she raised her green eyes, and he was afraid if he wasn’t careful he could get lost in that gaze. “If Langston says she’ll recover, she will.”

“You trust him.”

“Everyone trusts him.  You can trust him.”

“So.” She took a drink, then leaned back in her seat. “You’re a vampire hunter? Or a vampire hunter trainee?”

“Ha! As of tonight, I’m hoping to graduate to full vampire hunter.”

“There aren’t many dhampir out there.  How did you become one?”

“There you two are,” Nicky interrupted, coming into the kitchen, his jacket removed now and draped over his arm. “I’m hitting the sack shortly.  Langston said Cassie should rest tonight, but you can come back tomorrow if you’d like to see her.”

“I, ummm . . .” She hesitated. “Sure.  I probably need to go check on Paul.  He’ll be freaking out about Cassie.  Not sure how I’ll explain it.”

“Don’t worry about that,” Nicky told her. “We’ve sent operatives in there to clean up the scene and wipe their memories.  They’ll probably just think she and her boyfriend slipped out during the party.”

Jet could see Willoa was surprised by that, but she stood and slipped her hands into her back pockets. “Oh, okay.”

He watched her start towards the door then she paused about midway. “Could you give us just a minute?”

“Not sure about that,” Nicky said with a serious expression. “I mean, I’m his teacher so I think I should hear what you have to say.”

Snorting a laugh, Jet got out of his chair. “I think I can handle this without you, O wise one.”

When Nicky was gone, his chuckles echoing down the hallway, Willoa pivoted on her toe and faced Jet.  “I have a favor to ask.”

“Anything.” He meant it.  He was so enamored with her that he thought there was nothing she might ask that he wouldn’t be willing to do.

“Teach me to fight with a blade.  And to hunt and kill vampires.”

“Is that all?” he said with a wry smile.

“Also… give me some of your blood.”

So be sure to get caught up on all of the Bend-Bite-Shift books before this next one releases… and if you haven’t started the series, you’re in luck! Book one is just #99cents! ——-> WITCH WAY BENDS

Be sure you’re subscribed to my newsletter so you’ll know the moment Black Blood releases! And if you sign up now you can still get entered in my monthly giveaway, PLUS get extra entries for sharing:

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Caring for Me: The weight of it all

Over the last 5 or so years my weight has been creeping up. And along with it, I’ve had a few health challenges to face. Premenopause, high blood pressure, iron deficiency, low potassium due to blood pressure meds… it feels like I’ve been on a roller coaster for a while now.

And I’m tired…

I’ve chocked a lot of my issues up to my weight. Why? Probably because I’ve always had a love-hate relationship with the scale. It started in high school I think. I hadn’t really known or thought I was overweight until as a freshman two guys in one of my classes started calling me “fats.” After that I started to be insecure about my body. I was in drill team and fairly active, but I ate a lot of junk. But that’s what kids do, right? A bag of skittles was better than eating a real lunch. Going to the grocery store with mom’s store card meant we could grab whatever junk we wanted. And even though I felt “unpretty” because of my weight, it didn’t help me trim off the pounds.

Frankly, I think food became a “comfort” to me. And so it was easy to grab some extra chocolate, candy, junk, etc…

I continued to struggle long after high school. I tried Weight Watchers for a while, but even though it helped at first, it didn’t last. After I got married and we moved away from my family, I put on more weight. My husband is a jogger and he began to encourage me to try to running with him. He bought be a bicycle so that I could try that. But before long I was 230 pounds. And I wasn’t happy with how I looked. Not by a long shot.

But then the hubby was diagnosed with onset diabetes and we decided to restrict our sugar. Low carb, no sugar, high protein. We both worked hard, learning to like new things, learning to cut out the “bad.” And it worked. When the diet started taking the pounds off, I began to jog. Within a few years I was down to 155. I loved being 155. I felt pretty for the first time… well, in a very long time.

But things happen… artificial sugars are bad so I decided we needed to cut some of those out of our diet… and that meant putting sugar back in. I started writing and that nibbled at my normal jogging time. And I’m sure that the onslaught of age and perimenopause also played a part in my gradual weight increase. I tried to shrug it off mostly.

But when my last doctor’s visit showed I was back in the 190 range, I mentally freaked out. I was NOT going back to 230. No way, no how. I needed to do something.

I found a new doctor (my issues with the medical profession will get discussed later.) And I really like her. She listened. She offered suggestions. When I mentioned I wanted to get my weight down, she suggested slow steps. Not a diet, but small changes to my eating habits and more exercise. This made sense to me. It’s something some of my best girl friends and I had discussed over the years.

My beautiful friend Melissa said something I’ve been thinking on a lot: “you need to define what you want out of the weightloss…to have more energy, to feel good, to bring your blood pressure down naturally, and even beyond that…how do you think losing weight will impact your life?”

I’m still not sure of the exact answer. A few simple things come to mind. I’d like to be able to walk and run without my inner thighs chaffing (sounds simple, that I really, really want that!) I’d like to keep myself healthy enough I won’t need more and more (unnecessary) meds as I age. I’d like to feel comfortable in my skin… but that’s going to take more than weight loss I think. It’s going to take my giving “me” a long hard look inside and out. My same friend Melissa also shared this article on facebook recently: “Everything you know about obesity is wrong.”

This article really has me thinking about the fact that health isn’t really a number on the scale or BMI. Each of us is different.

The truth is, all of this weight and health stuff is confusing and complicated. I remember my Daddy used to tease me about my legs. I’m short like him and I have thick, strong legs. Seriously… I think sometimes he wished I’d been a boy so that I could play football. In drill team I could kick with the best of them and I LOVED the dance and drill. Back when I dropped to 155 my mom thought I was too thin and I told her that the BMI charts said I needed to lose more weight.

Last weekend I found the outfit I wore on my last day of high school. It was a school tradition for seniors to wear blue and white checked clothing for “check day” and my aunt had made me a cute little short and I decided to try it on… even though the scale says I’m heavier now, it still fit. So I posted a pic on Facebook.

There were comments from a few of my classmates, one of them commented about the fact that it still fit! And I realized… the numbers aren’t all I should be thinking about. I need to go deeper, look for something more meaningful.

So, here is where I am right now… I know that to stay healthy I have to take care of my body. But in order to keep my heart and soul healthy, I have to NOT punish myself. I have to love me… all of me. In Melissa’s words, I need to be kind to myself.

So, I’m working on some little steps… and a lot of mental introspection. And since I would like to lose some weight… for some reasons I know and some I don’t, I’m starting with that.

My doctor suggested I look at intermittent fasting. I’d never heard of that before so I did some research. This blog by James Clear helped break things down in a way that made sense for me —> HERE

For the moment, I’ve started skipping breakfast. I actually don’t miss breakfast. My favorite meal is dinnertime when the hubby and I get to enjoy being together after my long day at work, so skipping breakfast, eating a good lunch and then a nice dinner feels about right for me.

As of now, I’ve been intermittent fasting for a few weeks. And I’m pretty satisfied with the process. I don’t feel like I stay hungry or that I’m deprived. I’m making sure to do some more activities like taking the 8 flights of stairs to my office and going to the park to walk on my lunch. I haven’t stepped on the scale, but that’s okay… I don’t want to be a prisoner to the numbers.

So tell me, are you like me and struggling with body image and weight? I’d love to hear your stories and suggestions. But most of all remember… You’re an amazing, beautiful person. Love YOURSELF!

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Caring for me : 6/17/19

For the last few years I’ve faced some changes to my health, some of them related to the fact that I’m now in perimenopause (NOTE: If there are any guys reading this, there’s probably TMI ahead so… you might want to skip these CFM posts? Okay? Okay…)

I’ve been struggling with lots of things including unhappiness with my doctor, increasing weight and waistline, waves of just not feeling good and anxiety.

This month I canceled my appointments with my general practitioner and researched a new doctor, focusing on finding a DO (Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine) instead of an MD (Medical Doctor.) I switched networks and found a “meet the doctor” video for a gal that really struck a chord with me. So I made an appointment!

Have you ever spent 45 minutes with a doctor? Have you ever felt like you could just tell her and ask her any questions you needed without being rushed out of the door? I’m sure I had that at one time in the medical field, but I can honestly say I hadn’t in a VERY VERY long time. I really loved the rapport I felt with Dr. Z and I hope that seeing her will help me get to a better place medically, physically, emotionally… all of that!

So I’m going to start working on some things so I can get back to “Caring for Me” and I thought maybe some of you might enjoy reading about it as I go. I’ll be blogging about weightloss, grief, perimenopause, doctors, essential oils, binaural beats, and lots of other stuff along the way. So stay tuned and look for the CFM posts on The Oh Blog Spot!

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Sometimes I’m still pissed…

So, my year of firsts is almost over… the last one will hit in just a few days: the first anniversary of my dad’s death. And it’s already hitting harder than I’d expected. Over this past year, I’ve sometimes told myself: It’s been {blank} months. It’s getting better. You’re getting better. You’ll get over the hump soon…. And then something slams into me and it washes over me again.

So yeah, the truth is I’m still sad sometimes…

… I still sometimes forget he’s gone and remembering takes my breath away…

… and sometimes I’m still pissed…

Because I really didn’t expect to lose my dad just yet. He was young. I’m young. We were supposed to have a lot more years of country music dancing, annoying phone calls, stupid jokes, and his big smile with those twinkling blue eyes. But that’s life, right?

You might be thinking, what does this have to do with OH’s books? Well, because even though I’m finding myself in a bit of a grey funk right now, I do have something to be thankful for and to be proud of, because this next release and the one before it are pretty big milestones for me.

For a while, I thought maybe I wouldn’t ever be able to write in the Love & Found Series. I was due to finish the second book in my beach romance in the months after Daddy died. But since that series is based in the locale where my family spent our weekends and summers, that wasn’t going to be easy. I confided to a friend a few weeks after trying to write, that the words felt hollow, empty like they were just going nowhere. Finally, I gave up, setting the manuscript aside to move on to other projects.

Then in September, I was invited to be a part of a romance anthology. I didn’t have any stories planned, but for some reasons Love & Found popped in my head and I decided maybe I could write a beach short. And when I mentally searched for a couple to write, Luke and Lacey from What I Wasn’t Looking For came to mine.

In the first Love & Found book, Luke and Lacey were already married with three little girls. Back in 2017 when I wrote that story, I set them up with little “bits and pieces” of my family, even making Luke a diesel mechanic who likes to cook the meals for the beach crew… just like my Daddy. It seemed crazy to write a story so intimately close to the pain I was still feeling, but somehow it turned out to be just the right decision. It was cathartic for me.

“You miss him. Your dad, I mean.”

I was startled not only by the sound of his voice invading my thoughts but also by the words. He’d made them as a statement, but there was a tenderness in his words that pierced me. I wondered how he could possibly have known my thoughts.

I inhaled a shaky breath, moving my head up then dropping it down in a quick jerk. “Yeah, I do. A lot. Sometimes I don’t know what I’m doing. How I should move on, you know?” I wasn’t sure he did know, but it didn’t matter. For some strange reason, it seemed okay to talk to him about it, maybe because it was pitch dark in the truck, and I felt safely ensconced in the black. “I know I’m supposed to. People lose their dads every day, right? But weird things catch me off guard. A scent. A song. Sometimes, I don’t even know what it is that sparks it. Yet even after over a year, it can still gut me.”

I felt stupid then. Like one of those people who just couldn’t get over something and were destined to let it ruin the rest of their entire existence. Sure, I was a functioning adult, working and carrying on my life. And I didn’t think of Daddy every moment of every day, but when his memory did start haunting me, it scared me. Like this would be the time I had a complete freakout and would totally lose control of myself. So, I just couldn’t afford to let that happen.

“I think . . .” He paused, and I sensed he was searching for his words. “People do lose their dads every day. But you don’t. You only had one dad to lose, and what it did to you is yours and no one else’s. You know?”

And, when I finished Luke and Lacey’s story, The Way You Drive Me Crazy, I found myself ready to dive right into Lost Along the Way. After almost two years, finally, Lizzie and Javi are ready to have their story shared with the world! And it’s kind of apropos because even though sometimes I feel like I get lost along the way in my journey of grief, finishing these two stories and getting my groove back holds the promise to me that there are always more days of love and happiness and joy to be found.

So, I hope if you haven’t already, you’ll head over to Simoneaux Bayou where the love can always be found.

Click ——–> HERE to order the book and enter the giveaway!

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This hot beach romance is your cure for winter

There’s no better cure for the winter doldrums than a hot beach romance. My brand-new prequel to my small town beach romance series, Love & Found, just released as part of the Legacies of Love anthology… and it’s just 99 cents for six amazing stories!

Get it ——–> HERE


This is dedicated to…

This story is lovingly and cathartically dedicated to my Daddy… pick up your copy to find out why The Way You Drive Me Crazy is so near and dear to my heart.

 


About the book:

Can a simple drive lead to something as crazy as love?

Lacey: I’m not adventurous. I’m not a wild child. Crazy isn’t what I do. And I’m certainly not the kind of girl who gets into a car with a total stranger to go off on a wild goose chase. But losing my dad changed things and I’ve been on a mission to find out everything I can about our family heritage. So, if hitching a ride with a cute mechanic from Simoneaux Bayou is needed to track down the last mysterious piece of my genealogy… well, a girl’s gotta do at least one crazy thing in her life, right?

Luke: I’m just a grease-under-the¬-nails diesel mechanic. A mechanic who just happens to be the favorite nephew of one Betty Ruth… as in Betty Ruth’s Country Store. And if there’s one thing Betty Ruth loves, its to put her nephew to work. In her eyes I can fix just about anything, so its not that unusual to get a call from her about the “pretty little girl” who’s car is broken down out at Simoneaux Bayou. But this girl is all woman and its hard to keep my eyes off of her long enough to get a good look at her busted transmission. And when Aunt Betty tells me I have to drive the girl to Lafayette… well, I’m not gonna argue over getting to spend a few hours alone with the best-looking girl a mechanic like me has ever seen, am I?

GRAB YOUR COPY NOW! ——–> HERE



Plus, the authors of Legacies of Love are having a fun scavenger hunt with PRIZES!  Be sure to play for your chance to win.

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OH’s Tuesday Tunes: The Way You Drive Me Crazy

There’s no better cure for the winter doldrums than a hot beach romance. My brand-new prequel to my small town beach romance series, Love & Found, drops in just a few days as a part of the Legacies of Love anthology… and it’s just 99 cents for six amazing stories!

Preorder your copy ——–> HERE

Check out the Tunes:

Music is always a BIG part of my writing inspiration and that is never more true than when I’m in my Love & Found Series.  These stories are so close to my heart because they take place in a fictional version of the beach where so much of my childhood was spent.  And when you read any of the Love and Found stories you’ll know that music and dancing are always on the agenda at Simoneaux Bayou.

 The first song on my playlist, I Met a Girl by William Michael Morgan really sets the tone for Luke and Lacey’s story.  I could listen to that one all day long.  You can take a listen to the entire playlist for The Way You Drive Me Crazy here:

So have a listen and let me know which one brings back all the feels and memories for you.  Then be sure to check out the Legacies of Love anthology too.

Just 99cents! ——–> HERE

About the book:

Can a simple drive lead to something as crazy as love?

Lacey: I’m not adventurous. I’m not a wild child. Crazy isn’t what I do. And I’m certainly not the kind of girl who gets into a car with a total stranger to go off on a wild goose chase. But losing my dad changed things and I’ve been on a mission to find out everything I can about our family heritage. So, if hitching a ride with a cute mechanic from Simoneaux Bayou is needed to track down the last mysterious piece of my genealogy… well, a girl’s gotta do at least one crazy thing in her life, right?

Luke: I’m just a grease-under-the¬-nails diesel mechanic. A mechanic who just happens to be the favorite nephew of one Betty Ruth… as in Betty Ruth’s Country Store. And if there’s one thing Betty Ruth loves, its to put her nephew to work. In her eyes I can fix just about anything, so its not that unusual to get a call from her about the “pretty little girl” who’s car is broken down out at Simoneaux Bayou. But this girl is all woman and its hard to keep my eyes off of her long enough to get a good look at her busted transmission. And when Aunt Betty tells me I have to drive the girl to Lafayette… well, I’m not gonna argue over getting to spend a few hours alone with the best-looking girl a mechanic like me has ever seen, am I?

Releases on Valentine’s Day so Don’t forget to Preorder! ——–> HERE

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TRIVIA FROM OLIVIA: Port Arthur, Texas and the Brownies

EXCERPT FROM THIS SPELLS TROUBLE:

Brownies.

And if they were brownies, that meant I wasn’t really awake at all. They were a type of fairy that visited people in their dreams. Situating my blankets, I settled my dream self against the headboard and faced the brownie closest to me. “What can I do for you?”

He grinned and hopped down from the footboard onto the bed walking across my leg to get nearer to me. “You assume we need your help?”

I shrugged. It was an assumption, true, but I was a Neutralizer. What else was I to think? “I certainly didn’t call for you.”

Another brownie, this one a little chunkier, started laughing, banging his spear against Beck’s chest of drawers with each guffaw. “We do not come when asked. We come when necessary.”

“Maybe it’s just because I’m still asleep, but I don’t really understand.”

“You’re in danger.”

Those words were spoken by all fifty-something of them. Their voices all sounding in unison was a little creepy, especially since this was a dream. “I can take care of myself.”

“It will swallow you up. If you don’t get out now you’ll go under.”

TRIVIA FROM OLIVIA:

Just before the turn of the twentieth century, a man by the name of Arthur Stilwell was in the process of building a railway to connect Kansas City to the Gulf of Mexico. His original plan was to purchase the Houston East and West Texas Railroad and then to create a port terminal in Galveston, Texas. Stilwell’s plans changed when, as he recounts in his autobiography:

I was warned by my nightly advisors not to make Galveston the terminal of the Kansas City Southern Railroad, because that city was destined to be destroyed by a tidal wave.

You see, Stilwell claimed that from about the age of four he received messages from spirits that he called “brownies.”

As a child, he would warn his mother that relatives would be visiting days before the persons would actually arrive. He also pointed out his future bride when he was just 14 years old, and in fact within five years Jennie Wood became his wife.

As to the railroad, Stilwell said that the brownies advised him to end the railroad at Lake Sabine and to build the terminal at the site that is present-day Port Arthur. He followed their instructions, “not deviating from the plans revealed.”

Just five years later, the hurricane of 1900 devastated Galveston Island, killing around 8,000 people.

On April 7, 1924 Time Magazine featured an article titled “Brownies” which related the guidance Stilwell received from his nightly visitors. Other authorities at the time, including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, believed Stilwell might truly have been psychic. I even located for auction a copy of one of Doyle’s books which was inscribed to Stilwell: "Yours in the great cause of Spirit-/Arthur Conan Doyle,/May, 31/22”

You can learn more about Stilwell and the city of Port Arthur, Texas at the Museum of the Gulf Coast.

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TRIVIA FROM OLIVIA: The Legend of Sara Jane Road

Gulping down the last drink of coffee, now cold, she motioned to the waitress for more and then scooted across the booth closer to the next table. There were five young guys gathered around the table next to her, all of them vying for the attention of just two pretty girls.

“Bet you guys have been down Sara Jane Road, haven’t you?”

One of the boys, rubbing his obviously full and slightly chubby midsection, smiled cockily. “’Course we have, lady. Everyone’s been down Sara Jane Road.”

Stirring some cream into her coffee, she nodded. “And did you see anything? I mean I’m sure you went down the road with your lights off and all. Did you see her?”

A kid next to him punched him in the arm. “Yeah, Keith, did you see anything.” There was a certain nasty, low tone to his voice. 

Keith blushed and Johana recalled there were other reasons one might take a trip down Sara Jane Road. The seclusion near the bridge could provide much desired privacy for a pair of young lovers. Boys¸she thought.

“Aw, c’mon guys. You know what I’m asking about. Tell me about Sara Jane Road. Tell me the legend.”

Excerpt, Dark Road Winding (The Urban Legends of Texas-1)

I have a vague memory of driving Sara Jane Road when I was a teenager.  We didn’t turn the headlights off and we didn’t see Sara Jane.  Still the legend exists and most of the folks I’ve asked from the “Golden Triangle” recall different versions of the story.  The most prominent one was of Sara hanging from the tree having killed herself in grief for losing her baby to the Neches River.  Still, there are many variations of the story and its impossible to know if any or none of them are true..

In 2007 the Port Arthur news ran an article about Sara Jane Road and reported that local historian and author W.T. Block’s mother was in fact Sarah Jane Sweeney Block.  Mrs. Block, however, never had a child die in the Neches River and in fact lived to be ninety-nine years old.

The Golden Triangle of Texas Beaumont

The inspiration for the characters in Dark Road Winding are rooted in my own family history as well as my husband’s.  Grandpa H.M.’s character was written in homage to two very special people.  First, my own grandfather, Henry Mel Hardin who departed this earth not long after I graduated high school.  Somewhere in my mind Grandpa H.M. looks a lot like my Pawpaw.   In the story, H.M. is an ex-con who spent most of his life in the federal penitentiary.  That didn’t just come out of nowhere either.  My hubby’s grandfather went to prison for counterfeiting and until his junior year of high school my husband didn’t even know he existed!  Still, when his grandfather was released back into society, he made his life anew, becoming a true springboard for my husband to get an education and to make something of his life.

The connections don’t end there.  The deceased matriarch of Johana Suzanne’s family is Mother Hall and she’s described as a feisty woman who did things her way.  I never met my Pawpaw’s mother, a woman fondly referred to as Mother Turner, but I’ve read and heard about her and I imagine she was quite a woman.

The characters and story I’ve told in Dark Road Winding are all entirely my own and a fabrication of my fervent imagination.  That said, I’ve tried to pepper the story with spices of my childhood and my family, all to give a flavor for my beloved Southeast Texas roots.  I hope you’ve enjoyed.

Calling all Texans!  I need your urban legends…

I’ll be looking for a good urban legend for my next book in this series.  So, if you’re from Texas, living in Texas, or just know an interesting ghost story that takes place in Texas, I’d love to hear from you.  Just comment below and tell me all about your favorite Texas urban legend.  Or, send me an email:  olivia@olivia-hardin.com

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TRIVIA FROM OLIVIA: Followers of Nefertiti

Queen Nefertiti is one of the most well-known of the Egyptian royals, mostly because of the beautiful bust of her which now resides at the Egyptian Museum of Berlin. The 3,000+ year old bust presents Nefertiti as a woman of extraordinary beauty. Unfortunately, it is housed in Germany, despite multiple requests that it be repatriated to Egypt, something my husband, a museum professional, feels strongly about.

But in more recent news, archeologists have claimed to have discovered evidence of a possible hidden chamber behind the tomb of Tutankhamen, Nefertiti’s step-son or even possibly her son. Efforts to investigate this possible secret chamber are still underway, but there are some very interesting theories. To appreciate those, we must first know a bit about the Queen herself.

Nefertiti was the wife of King Akhenaten, and is believed to have been one of the only pharaohs’ wives to have wielded power nearly equal to the king’s. Her husband went to great lengths to display her as his equal. The two of them began a revolution of sorts by advocating the worship of a single god, Aten, instead of multiple gods. Egyptologist Dr. Christopher Naunten states, “They were closer to being Gods in their own right than any other pharaohs.”

Most of the pharaohs of the time before and after Nefertiti have been accounted for, but the queen’s body has never been located. Some evidence suggests she may have been buried in a place hundreds of kilometers away from the Valley of the Kings. The Armana tomb was made to house multiple burials, but her body has not been definitively identified as one of those that were there.

Still, there are reasons to believe that Nefertiti could have been buried in the Valley of the Kings. Some evidence suggests that when her husband Akhenaten died, Nefertiti ruled in his stead, possibly even dressing as a man for that role. So there is speculation that the hidden burial chamber was hers, and that when her son Tutankhamen reigned, he possibly assumed the goods and treasures from her chamber as his own. There is even a strange theory that the famous King Tut death mask was actually hers, and that the impression of her face was removed and replaced with that of the boy king.

I’d already created Red’s character for the Hotel Paranormal/ Lynlee Lincoln story, Escaping the Ashes even before I realized she would be Egyptian, so I was worried about her physical characteristics.  Red hair and fair skin.  Interestingly enough, there is evidence that some Egyptian mummies were naturally fair skinned and had red or even blonde hair.  So, I needn’t have worried.  Red could very well be Egyptian.

One last bit of trivia – when I began developing the part of Atreus in this story, I just intended that he would have been a slave of Queen Nefertiti. But when I began studying the tombs of the Egyptian royals, I came across the term ushabty or ushabti. These were small funerary figures placed in the tombs. Meaning “followers” or “answerers,” these were intended to carry out tasks for the deceased as they transitioned into the afterlife.

Happy reading, all!

 

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TRIVIA FROM OLIVIA: Bye, Bye Miss American Pie

When one of my editors went through Shifty Business, she commented on how “real” the airplane scene was and how she empathized with Gerry. There’s a good explanation for that realism. I’ve felt it! My husband is a pilot and just before we were married he purchased a 1958 Cessna 172—a “classic.” Now the hubby is an excellent pilot, but we’ve had some events that make a person like me awfully nervous. I tapped into those when I wrote the flying scenes.

Also, the airplane Nicky flies is an “old straight-tail.” Any pilot will know what that means and most of them sigh with nostalgia and remember the first one they ever flew. I sometimes think all pilots must have started out in an older Cessna 172. It’s a much-beloved airplane, sometimes called the Impala of the skies: durable and easy to fly.

So my dear husband calls our airplane American Pie II. His Cessna came off the assembly line the same month Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and the Big Bopper went out on the Winter Dance Party Tour which would eventually lead to their deaths in an airplane crash… an airplane called American Pie. It may seem like a bad omen, but that “beautiful old bird” took us many a mile. And the story about her name is always a fun one to tell, especially since the Big Bopper was from my region of Texas and Buddy Holly was from the hubby’s hometown of Lubbock.

Don’t you just love how small the world is sometimes?

The hubby and I sold that gorgeous plane a few years ago and I know that he missed her a lot.  Still, it gave us a lot of fun and adventure for about 20 years!

Olivia Hardin

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