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MYSTICAL MUSINGS

Rebecca E. Neely, Author ~ Romance. Paranormal. Suspense.

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romantic suspense

This is the Reason I Return to My Roots

As a writer, I’m often asked about my journey – how I got started, what kind of writing I do, what influenced me, etc. Truth be told, I find it both valuable, and enjoyable to revisit those beginnings. Not only does it remind me why I started doing what I do, it allows me to reflect on where I’ve been, and to focus on where I’m going.

I grew up in a small town, working, cooking and eating in Ricardo’s, my family’s restaurant. It was in that one level, no frills, terrazzo tiled kitchen where I developed my enterprising spirit, working side by side with my family. A memory home, that hallowed ground has been a driving force in my life, and one I revisit often.

Fuel for my imagination, it’s warm, comforting, and takes me back to my roots, especially when I’m running low on entrepreneurial gas, something an author like me needs in abundance.

Ricardo’s was a cool, Mom and Pop retro-style diner. Only at the time, it wasn’t yet retro! In true 1970s fashion, it sported lots of brown and Crayola orange, from the countertops to the paneled walls, to the vinyl covered booths. Design crimes and all, it’s a place that’s part of my soul, and though long gone, lives on graciously in my memory, and now, I’m thrilled to say, in my first romantic suspense novel, A Mighty Good Man.

What a privilege to grow up in such a place! We worked hard, and that ethic stays with me to this day. From the time I was about ten, my brother and I worked alongside my parents, aunt and uncle, cousins and the help, making, on a large scale, tantalizing, from scratch fare, such as spaghetti sauce, (you have to use pork bones), wedding soup, and bread stuffing. Lots of Saturdays, starting at 7am, we did heavy prep, mixing up ingredients in Rubbermaid tubs; pounds of butter, ground meat, celery, onions. We cooked in cast iron and stainless steel cauldrons half my height, stirred with wooden paddles that could’ve doubled as oars. I learned how to work the grill, make salads, and turn last night’s chicken special into today’s soup du jour.

And that was just the food.

The people who worked there were larger than life too, and also live on fondly in my memory. Cooks, waitresses, busboys, dishwashers; men, women, young, old, and in between—they ran the gamut from high school student to retiree, from vagabond to workhorse. Some came and never left, some worked one shift and never bothered to return—characters, all of them.

I remember hanging out at the counter with my Dad for hours, while he drank coffee and talked with customers. I would sit, fascinated by the adult conversation and the things I heard, and shouldn’t have heard. A unique and well-rounded education was mine for the taking on topics as varied as the economy, the local steel mill, sports, hunting, the president, politics, family, and religion.

Regulars inhabited the space, claiming it as their own; they made it a hub in the community, not just as a place to eat great food, but as a place to connect, to complain, to celebrate, and to come together.

The food, the people, the work, the experience—it was delicious, joyous, exhilarating, exhausting, crazy, colorful, strange, and maddening, but above all, unique; so much so, we would often laugh and say we could write a book.

Well, I did.

Rebecca E. Neely is a blogger, storyteller, writer & author. Visit her at www.rebeccaneely.com 

Romance. Paranormal. Suspense.

All books available on Amazon

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Spring Time, Sewer Lines and Storytelling

It started on Mother’s Day.

Or I should say, it stopped.

My sewer line, that is.

I bought a house a few months ago, and as a proud new home owner, I was on still on the honeymoon, filled with ideas about improvements and projects I wanted to tackle.

Enter TAG. I now know him, and I bet, if you own a home, you do too. He’s an unwanted guest that will not be denied. Many years ago, my father, a wise man, as well as a home and business owner, told me about his visits from TAG. (a.k.a. Turd Above Ground)

That night, his words came back to me with haunting clarity.

After having a relaxing day at home, reading the book my daughter had given me as a gift, and eating dinner with her and my boyfriend, I told him about some water I’d found earlier that day on the floor of my basement, near one of the floor drains. Or, rather, the evidence of it – a sopping wet throw rug I keep in front of the washing machine. At the time, I’d gotten my flashlight, checked the ceiling. It was dry. Had it come from the washer? I had no idea, and I was in the middle of making dinner, so I forged ahead, figuring I’d ask my boyfriend about it later.

My boyfriend is a general contractor who possesses an uncanny ability to fix things. When I told him about it, he raised an eyebrow in his calm, knowing way, almost as if he knew something I did not. He instructed me to flush the toilet, and run water in the bath tub.

Minutes later, he yelled to me from the basement. Stop! I ran to join him, while my brain tried to process what I was seeing erupting from another floor drain. Denial is a funny thing, isn’t it? Was that rusty water, I asked, almost as if I said it aloud, I could make it so.

No. It was TAG.

Unmitigated horror filled me as the seriousness of what was happening hit me. This was bad. Running upstairs to escape the smell, I located the home warranty information I’d been given at the closing, and called the 800 number, pushed the appropriate numbers to get me to the correct menus (you didn’t think I talked to a person, did you?), and placed my service call.

At this point, I feel it necessary to clarify that I’m not squeamish; I’ve raised a child, I’ve had numerous pets, and I worked in my family’s restaurant business growing up. I’m not afraid to get my hands dirty, and I have, many times. But this situation was proving beyond my capabilities.

Over the next few days, I learned more about pipes, sewer lines and plumbing than I’d ever wanted to know. I listened to my boyfriend’s advice; however, this particular problem was beyond his fixing scope, unfortunately. He was, however, at my side every step of the way, and for that I’m eternally grateful. I Googled and You Tubed my way through the internet, reading and watching more information than I’d ever known existed on the topic. Opinions and prices varied wildly on issues such as root killers, pipes and camera videos. My mind raced. I couldn’t sleep. What if I had to replace it? I knew it could be thousands of dollars and take days to repair.

Captain’s Log, Day 1

I had to leave work to meet the plumbers the home warranty company sent. They snapped on their black nitrile gloves and went to work, their big metal snake shimmying and rattling to some unknown tune. Again, the smell was so repulsive I fled. Thirty minutes later, I was told I had tree roots growing in the line, and guess what? The home warranty doesn’t cover it. Big surprise. I was told the line was open, to get it camera scoped, and that the roots would come back, a common occurrence in the spring time. I paid the fee and they departed, leaving me to clean up a mess I’m not sure I can properly describe in mixed company. That was the low point. The substances I cleaned from the floor and the walls, along with the creatures–yes, you read that right–made my skin crawl.

Worms. Did I mention some of them were alive?

Shudder.

And the smell. An unholy, godforsaken, dehumanizing smell emanating literally, from the bowels of my home, seemed to permeate my nose, my mouth, my very skin. If I’d showered for three days, I don’t think I’d have felt clean. Suffice to say, it was Andy Dufresne escaping from Shawshank prison through the tunnel all over again.

Still can’t sleep.

Captain’s Log, Day 2

Since I was price shopping, I called a local company. The woman on the phone told me proudly that they didn’t charge by the hour, but by the job. That sounded promising. I needed a camera scope, I said. They did that? Great. See you tonight.

I came home from work, and evidence that the line still wasn’t clear greeted me from the basement floor.

Plumber No. 2 snaked the line yet again, scoped it with a camera, and announced the alleged ‘good’ news. Since the line was in pretty good condition, I would able to put in a liner – to the tune of $9,500. Did I say the low point was cleaning up the floor? I burst into tears.

Still can’t sleep.

Captain’s Log, Day 3

The drain is open. I’m taking short showers, and checking the drains constantly, creeping up on them, afraid of what I’m going to find. All is well. For now.

Enter plumber No. 3, an old hand who both my boyfriend and I had used at different points in our lives. I’d wanted to go to him in the first place, but the home warranty dictates that their contractors must be used. My boyfriend had spoken with him over the course of this ordeal, and filled him in about what was going on. Did I mention I hadn’t slept well in three days?

I called him. He chided me, telling me I should’ve called him in the first place. Plumbers apparently have egos. Who knew? Bewildered, sleep deprived, and sick with dread about what fixing this might cost, I tried to explain the events of the last few days and found myself groping for words. Phrases like, ‘raw sewage’, ‘home warranty’, and ‘digging it up’ punctuated the conversation. We agreed on a time for him to come that evening.

It occurred to me was living in some sort of alternate reality; office admin by day, plumber whore by night.

Plumber No. 3 came. He observed with an experienced eye, asking few questions, except for me to run water, flush the toilet, and the like. He eyeballed the drains, which mercifully, were clear at this point. And pronounced, in not so many words, ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.’

I hugged him and praised all higher powers. Truly. He gave me a few suggestions about maintenance, and we emerged from the basement, friends and comrades, our bond forged indelibly as we each of us soldiered on in the war against TAG that every home owner wages.

I’ll bear the scars from this battle proudly. I earned them. And because, at the end of the day—wait for it; you knew it was coming—shit happens.

So, what have I learned, and why am I blogging about this? Common sense, in the form of an older, experienced plumber, will win the day. I still love being a homeowner. And about TAG? My father passed about ten years ago, and in the moment of crisis, his words came back to me. He used to make us all laugh so hard, and I almost felt like he was there with me, commiserating. So, thanks Dad!

Also, this blog is for anyone who’s ever felt overwhelmed, uninformed and intimidated by repair men, not to mention short on cash for serious home repairs. You are not alone. Also, this is for anyone who wonders what writers do in their spare time. <grin> Collect experiences!

And, I am a storyteller at heart. I sincerely hope I’ve been able to entertain you with my folly. And who knows? As upsetting as the whole experience was, it’s replete with emotion and strife, perfect for me, as a writer, to tap into when I want a character to suffer, say, by finding themselves in a deep, dank hole in the Earth, clawing through dirt, and coming up with . . . worms.

“May your lines be clear, your position always upwind, and TAG never darken your door.”
–A Brand New Proverb

Rebecca E. Neely is a writer, blogger, author and storyteller. Visit her at www.rebeccaneely.com

The Crossing Realms series ~ The Keeper, Book 1 and The Watcher, Book 2 available on Amazon

This Is Why She Writes Time Travel

It’s my pleasure to welcome time travel romance author Donna Steele today. She’s sharing more about her new book, ANOTHER TIME, and why she enjoys research so much.

What inspired you to write a time travel romance, and what is it about research you enjoy?

I’ve always enjoyed time travel stories and shows. Of course, the admonition not to change the timeline causes the rebel in me to rear up. What if it could be positive? That’s what I wanted to explore in this book (as well as get these two characters, who demanded I write them, together). The research was much more extensive than usual for me, but hey, we time travel readers are rabid about accuracy.

One such instance i remember well is the research I did on zippers. And I got caught up (no pun intended). Just for jollies – Elias Howe who invented the sewing machine came up with the original zipper and got a patent in 1851, then forgot about it because the sewing machine was such a hit. Wait 44 years! Until 1895 for the “clasp locker” which still didn’t really go anywhere and from the description was a little too complicated. But finally in 1913 Gideon Sundbach got creative and made something we’d recognize today. He was married to the boss’s daughter at Universal Fasteners and when she died he needed something to do. See how far away I got from my story? And I still remember it? And aren’t you glad I didn’t share the ooey-gooey stuff from my medical research?

Thanks for visiting me today! I’m happy to take questions if you have any.

ANOTHER TIME – Book 1 in the Guardians of Now Series, available now on Amazon

When Dusty Williams goes into a strange bar to contemplate the ruination of his career, the last thing he expects to find is a compelling woman. He’s not even in the mood to get laid. He just wants to escape from all humanity.

Dee Stevens can’t believe she’s in a bar at all. She’s just lost two patients due to drunk driving. Whatever could have drawn her into a strange bar tonight of all times?

When the two meet, and they feel that odd vibration that seems to pull them together, they have no idea what’s ahead, or behind, them and what it can mean for mankind.

ANOTHER TIME Excerpt

“I believe we need to talk.” Dee aimed the statement at Dusty, which sobered him up quickly. He followed her to the doctor’s office and watched as she closed the door firmly behind them and threw the bolt.

“Am I safe in here with you?”

“What the hell is going on?” Dee was in no mood for any levity now. “Where are we? And how do we get home?”

“I believe the question is when are we.” Dusty held up a hand to forestall her. “I know. The whole thing is impossible. I’m the one who studies number theory. Everything I’ve ever been taught says there can be no time travel. I agree. Dee, this is no dream. Everything is too tactile. I smelled Daphne’s blood, I felt Joseph’s shoulder under my hand, and I ate a ham sandwich. As for the second question, I don’t have a clue.”

He sank into the wooden swivel chair at the desk and looked up at her. “I’m willing to listen to theories.”

She leaned back against the counter and appeared to study the floor. “I don’t have one. We crashed into something, the car proves that, but there was nothing to hit. Dusty, I did not drive us head on into something I could see.”

“I believe you.”

She took a deep breath. “Why did you tell them we were married?”

CONNECT WITH DONNA

Website and blog  – http://www.steelestories.com

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My Top Ten Powerful Posts This Year

img_1875Today, I’m celebrating what I consider the TOP TEN powerful posts on my MYSTICAL MUSINGS blog in 2016. I met and interviewed some fascinating people this year, who graciously allowed me to ask all kinds of questions about their passions and expertise, and I came away from the experiences a more educated, enlightened and learned person. Plus, I had a blast! In other posts, I connected and explored memories and passions of my own. As an author, a writer, a storyteller and a blogger, It’s always an adventure sharing what I’ve learned and discovered with readers, and hearing your comments and feedback. It’s a journey that I want to be on, and I look forward to another great year. Thanks so much for joining me!

What powerful posts have you written, or read this year?

Here’s looking at you! Happy holidays, and Happy New Year!

If you’ve read my posts before, you know I cover a wide range of topics, from tattoo artists to paranormal activity.  Here’s a few of my favorites from this year:

Storytellers and Tattoos: For the Love of Art

This is the Reason We Connect with Tribal Tattoos

Goodwill Hunting – The White-Tailed Deer, That Is

This is Why They’re Fascinated by Fossils (and more)

Ghost or No Ghost? Spotlight on Steel Town Paranormal

Soulful Silver & Why I Love It

Mystical Movies: Why The Magic Isn’t Only in the Making

If You Believe It, You’ll See It: Celebrating Abundance

Empowered and Encouraged: Visitation Dreams with my Father

 50 Shades of Green – Healing Crystals, That Is

Rebecca E. Neely is an author of romance, the paranormal and suspenseful kind. 🙂 Visit www.rebeccaneely.com

Join Rebecca’s mailing list & monthly, be entered to win a FREE e-book ! You’ll also receive deleted scenes & other cool stuff 🙂

Celebrating THE WATCHER, Book 2 in the Crossing Realms Series

the-watcher-1-1_830x1250I’m celebrating the release of THE WATCHER, Book 2 in the Crossing Realms paranormal romance series this week, and I’m thrilled to finally be sharing Dev and Meda’s story.

Today, I’m talking about writing, and sharing inside info about hero and heroine Dev and Meda.

Here are some questions I’m asked frequently:

What was it like writing THE WATCHER? Writing THE WATCHER was the most challenging story I’ve written to date. It’s the longest story I’ve ever written. As well, Crossing Realms is my first series, and writing the second book in a series is a challenge all its own. I wanted and needed to continue the quest begun in Book 1, as well as build the foundations for Book 3, AND weave Dev and Meda’s tale. I wouldn’t consider the books stand alones; you’ll enjoy the series more if you start from the beginning.

Why did you pick New York City as Meda’s initial locale? I love New York City. I’ve visited Manhattan several times, and I love the vibe of the city, the energy, the architecture, the character. It’s teeming with life, and even though there’s so much happening there, as I put it in the story, Meda is able to hide in plain sight. Plus, Dev needed a little quest to get him and his Harley going. 🙂

Where did the inspiration for Tan come from? Ah, Tan. I walk almost every day around town, and there’s a dear old lady who likes to sit on her porch who I pass often. She’d call to me as I went by, and we’ve become friends. Her dog was named Tan. 🙂 He was a mutt, really old, and his back legs would often give out from under him if he tried to stand too long. A total sweetheart! She loved him, and he loved her. I always adored the name Tan. It’s so simple and sweet. I decided I would use his name a long time ago, and I chose a German Shepherd because I’ve always wanted one, and because he could be a protector of Meda.

What’s up with Dev? On the surface, Dev Geary seems pretty simple, pretty straight forward. As he puts it, “He’ll get in, rock his Compulsion, and get out. Boom. Done.” Famous last words, right? Indeed – he’s anything but simple. Guilt, darkness and a need for revenge haunt him, and complicate his life and his relationships. However, there might just be a woman who’s ready to take him on…

Find out more in THE WATCHER, Book 2 in the Crossing Realms paranormal romance series, out now on Amazon!

Missed THE KEEPER, Book 1? It’s on sale for 99 cents until December 3rd!

Join my mailing list & MONTHLY, be entered to win a FREE ebook! You’ll also receive EXCLUSIVE sneak peeks, offers & sale info!

Put some paranormal in your life. Go on. I dare you.

THE WATCHER- The Inside Scoop on the Characters

Meda regarded him silently. “What is ‘Dev’ short for?”

“Devlyn.” He laughed half-heartedly. “It means brave. Or misfortune. Take your pick.” And that just about sums up Dev Geary, former Keeper and reluctant Watcher. This hunk and his Harley will take on the human realm in the seven days he’s been given to save his clan—and conquer the very thing that killed him.

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I enjoyed the challenge of crafting Dev. He’s a bit of an anti-hero—he’s belligerent, hell bent on his own agenda, an opportunist, a unique blend of strengths and vulnerabilities. His catch phrase and philosophy on life is to be ‘between the inches’, or to embrace his death wish. It’s a fine line between thrills and terror, and it’s the only place where he can feel alive, free from the darkness that lives inside him. Free from the secrets and shame he suffers.

Combine all that angst with some super human powers, and you’ve got yourself a hard ass hottie, fiercely determined to guard and rescue humans. The irony, and the beauty of his character is he doesn’t realize he could use a little rescuing himself.

Enter human Meda Gabriel, a cagey, street smart bar owner with a unique skill set, who might just be of some help in that area—and his quest. But she too, harbors a few secrets.

And the clock is ticking. That kind of pressure is bound to bring out the best—and the worst—in both of them. Will bravery, or misfortune win the day? Find out in THE WATCHER, Book 2 in the Crossing Realms series, available for pre-order now on Amazon!

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Catch up with me today at Fresh Fiction, and don’t miss a chance to win a Kindle!

Join my mailing list & MONTHLY, be entered to win a FREE ebook! You’ll also receive EXCLUSIVE sneak peeks, offers & sale info!

Put some paranormal in your life. Go on. I dare you.

Spooktacular Halloween Blog Hop!

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Welcome to this stop on the Spooktacular Halloween Blog Hop!

Fabulous Authors, Prizes  & Fun!

The Prize for this Stop ~ Join my mailing list and be entered to win a Kindle copy of THE KEEPER, Crossing Realms paranormal romance series, Book 1

THE WATCHER, Crossing Realms Series Book 2 coming November 30th!
The battle in the Steel City continues…

Crossing Realms SeriesSacrifice or salvation?
A chosen psychic few may be both. As the city’s Keepers battle Betrayers to save the human race, all’s not fair in love and war.

Enter to win by October 31st!
TRICK OR TREAT HERE NEXT: Lisa Kulow ~ https://www.facebook.com/lisakulowauthor/
For a List of all Stops on the Hop & Kindle Fire Giveawayhttp://bit.ly/2dQ8uFL
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GIVEAWAY IS OPEN UNTIL MIDNIGHT OCTOBER 31ST
FB IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR THIS WONDERFUL TREAT!

The Rites of ‘Spring’ Equinox

tulips-65305__180For thousands of years, different peoples, cultures and faiths the world over have celebrated the spring equinox. Traditions and rituals vary, but hope, fertility, rebirth, awakenings, life and energy are all common themes surrounding this astronomical event, which will occur this year on Sunday, March 20th at 12:30am EST.

“Equinox” means “equal night” and the spring equinox occurs when there is a balance of day and night because the sun is sitting on the Earth’s equator.

In Mexico, the Mayan archaeological site of Chichen Itza is perhaps the most well-known and popular place to celebrate the spring equinox. The Mayans left behind a fascinating display at the Kulkulkan temple, which is a lasting testament to their astronomical knowledge. On both the fall and spring equinoxes, the sun’s light creates a mix of light and shadow which makes it appear as though a serpent is slithering along the pyramid steps. This phenomena can be seen in the late afternoon, for about an hour, and occurs for several days.

In Japan, many Buddhists celebrate ‘Higan’, which means ‘to arrive on the Other Shore’. Beginning on the spring equinox, it’s celebrated for a week. Nirvana, an achievement of wisdom that allows reincarnation to cease is reflected upon. As well, ancestors who’ve recently passed are honored.

In China, the festival of Qing Ming, also known as the Pure Brightness Festival, is celebrated April 4th-6th every year. These three days honors ancestors and the change of seasons. Tombs are cleaned and cared for, and food and flowers are brought to adorn them. Trees are planted. Kites are flown, often at night, with small lanterns attached to them.

The feast of Easter is the center of Christian beliefs and teachings, as it recognizes the easter-707700__180resurrection of Jesus Christ following his death on the cross. Easter is recognized as the first Sunday after the first full moon following the spring equinox. Many fast during the forty days of Lent, which represents the time Jesus spent in the desert. Often, candle light services take place at sunrise. Popular customs in the United States include dying, decorating and hiding eggs, the Easter Bunny, and Easter baskets, filled with chocolate and other treats. The rabbit and eggs represent fertility.

What customs, festivals or other traditions do you observe during the spring equinox?

Rebecca E. Neely tells stories packed with a punch of romance and the paranormal. Woo hoo! The Keeper, 1st in the Crossing Realms series, is available now on Amazon

Here’s the Cover! THE KEEPER, 1st in the Crossing Realms series

TheKeeper_CoverRevealBadge (2)Hi! I’m so excited to share the cover with you for THE KEEPER, Book 1 in the Crossing Realms urban fantasy series! It’s coming in April, so I invite you to stay tuned for all the latest 🙂

Even cooler, starting right now, you can enter to win some awesome prizes, like Amazon gift cards and free books, by following along on the ‘cover reveal’ tour. It starts today and runs until Thursday.

A big shout out to all the generous book bloggers who are hosting me this week! I appreciate you!

CLICK HERE FOR ALL THE LATEST DETAILS &

TO FOLLOW THE TOUR

Celebrate the cover reveal & check out these blogs

for excerpts, fun and chances to win!
THE CROSSING REALMS SERIES

Sacrifice or salvation? A chosen psychic few may be both. As the city’s Keepers battle Betrayers to save the human race, all’s not fair in love and war.

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