Running Away to Home–A Different Kind of Travel

HouseWhen I was six years old, my parents committed the heinous sin of telling me “No.” I was convince they no longer loved me and perhaps never had. I wept and wailed at the cruel fate that had placed me in a family that treated a child so cruelly. They’d told my older sister “No” on occasion, but that was okay because she deserved it. I suspect they’d told me “No” before as well. I simply couldn’t recall those occasions.

I eventually ran out of tears and exhausted the more violent shows of temper—throwing all my stuffed animals and dolls across my room. However, I was still furious with my folks and not a little anxious about what life would be like in a house where my wishes were not the highest priority. As many children do, I decided to run away from home. Since the point was to show the parents how horrible life would be without me around, I planned with that in mind.

I cleaned my room. (There. That would show them.)

I bundled together my favorite teddy bear and my Girl Scout sleeping bag (yes, I was only a Brownie, but the sleeping bag was still a Girl Scout product) and headed for the garage where my bicycle was kept.

I made a quick stop in the kitchen for a bottle of juice and some cookies. I figured I’d get hungry on my long trek to . . . to . . . well wherever I was going it was away from home.

I set out, heading west—away from town—and into the late afternoon. As I rode along the bumpy edge of the two lane I started crying again.

I didn’t want to leave my comfortable home, my toys, and my friends. I’d never see any of them again. My heart was breaking, and that anxiety over the horrible change at home faded against the anxiety of where I would go, who would take care of me, who would love me. Bicycle

The sun began to sink below the treeline when I stopped at the bottom of a very long hill. My home was out of sight. The landscape was strange, definitely not what I was used to. No dogs barked. No children laughed or played. The only sound came from some creepy cawing crows. The wind gusted, and I shivered. I’d forgotten my jacket. I had the sleeping bag, but I couldn’t wear that. I’d have to go back for the jacket. But wait, if I went back my parents might stop me from running away. Nah, they wouldn’t stop me. They didn’t love me enough to let me have my way. They didn’t want me. Still if I went back what was the point of leaving again. I’d just remember something else I’d forgotten and have to keep going back.

The light was fading. How would I see where I was going? Where was I going anyway? Why did I have to run away? Out here there was too much stuff to worry about. At home all I had to concern me was my parents and sister. Out here . . . who knew what kinds of creepy things might leap at me out of the dark? Out here no one cared about me. If no one at home cared about me either, at least I’d be warm and dry. I could still go to school and see my friends. Worry over all the things that might happen and all the things I couldn’t do or wouldn’t have convinced me to turn around.

I pedaled up that hill as fast as my six year old feet could go. I actually made it to the garage and up to my room before dinner. I sat on the bed, heaving great sighs of relief that I wouldn’t have to face all the anxiety causing challenges of living on my own. When Mom called me down to set the table, I went and said nothing about my adventure. No one else did either.

When I look back at this event, I realize two things. First, as I feel asleep that night, I recognized that my parents probably knew exactly what I’d done and being wiser than their six year old daughter figured I would come home on my own.

Several decades later, I became aware of a peculiar behavior pattern. When anxiety over come me, I run. I run away from whatever it is that is causing me stress. Then I run away to home, where everything comforts me (even chocolate and ice cream) and my family cares about me—not enough to give into my every whim but enough to reassure me that whatever nasty person or event stressed me out is not worth the worry. The things, the people, worth worrying about are at home, and they love me, so—no worries. If you think about it, home is a pretty good place to run away to.

Only Seven Days until the Cover Reveal for Knight Protector

Prize for Knight Protector Blast and TourI know the banner says February 15th -17th, but the cover reveal is really February 1st. And you can see it at all of the Blogs listed below the banner. I’ve got a few other activities coming up, and I give info on them below the blog list, but visiting those blogs and commenting is the only way to be included in the drawing for the stunning heart pendant I’m giving away to celebrate my latest romance novel.  Knight Protector is the story of Sir Colin Marr, who left his highland home believing he would never again see the woman he loved. Returning in search of traitors to Scotland, he discovers Sorcha MacKai is now his brother’s widow. Colin convinces her to help him find the traitors, but can he convince her to trust him with her heart.

Knight Protector Blast Banner

Check out the cover reveal on Feb. 1st

TRSvalentines_2016_bannerOther events (and other prizes): A free ARC of Knight Protector will be given at The Romance Reviews Mega Anniversary and Valentine’s Party.  At The Romance Studio’s Valentine party, I’m joining several authors to give away a Kindle–must comment to participate. And of course I’ll be celebrating here, on FB and Twitter. Hope to see you there and then.

TRR Mega Anniversary & Valentines Party

Please Welcome Visiting Author, Beverly Ovalle

Author Beverly Ovalle

Author Beverly Ovalle


Our visiting traveler today is Beverly Ovalle’s. In her newest release, Stealing Hope, she brings us the post apocalyptic world where:

Stealing Hope Book Tour Banner

The apocalypse has come and gone.
Those who survived learned to adapt.
Dragons awaken to once again reign over the skies.

Upon eruption of a volcano, Ari awakens to a changed world, and a knowing that his dragon’s mate is near. He saves her twice—once as a dragon, and again as a man—and wins her confidence.

Hope is restless and unfulfilled until she meets Ari, the man of her fantasies. The sensual tension between them heightens with every touch. When their passion explodes, Hope gets pulled into the dragon’s mating ritual…and into a world of erotic sensation she never dreamed existed but now cannot live without. The dragon binds his mate to him with a ritual that shows Hope her true nature in this humorous erotic romance.

Stealing Hope is available now, and I can tell you it’s one hot read. Scroll down for more about buy links, prizes, the author and my review. (Oh and by the way, Stealing Hope will be on sale for $.99 from January 22- 27!)


Stealing Hope Cover



Beverly Ovalle dabbled with writing on and off for years when her best friend finally dared her to submit a story to a writing contest. Beverly decided she had nothing to lose and since she’d always wanted to be an author sent it in and agonized for months waiting to hear back. Contract in hand she has never looked back.

Beverly has been obsessed with dragons and romance since she was a young girl, collecting dragon books and reading everything she could find on them even down to the care of real life dragons. She’s always been slightly panicked that the world as we know it will end, so has prepped for it, haunting survivalist pages and prepper projects she felt she needed in the event SHTF.

An avid fan of all romance, Beverly’s goal is to share her love of the written word and write the hot and erotic romances that she enjoys. She writes what she loves to read and it was only a matter of time before her obsessions crept into her writing for her to share. She hopes you enjoy her tales as much as she loves writing them.

A Navy Veteran, Beverly has traveled around the world and the United States enabling her to bring her settings to life, meeting and marrying her husband of twenty five years along the way for her own romance. Reading romances since the fourth grade she’s followed as the genre changed and spread into the vast cornucopia of romance offered today.


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Amazon Kindle — a Rafflecopter giveaway,


Stealing Hope

A Dragon's Fated Heart Series BannerFirst, I was given an ARC for review of Stealing Hope by Beverly Ovalle. Second, I do not believe the standard of excellence for erotica should be any different than for other genres. Which brings me to Stealing Hope. Stealing Hope is a quick read with plenty of action and sizzling sex, perfect for erotica, fantasy, and romance readers alike.

On a personal note, I was completely entranced by the characters and the world drawn by Beverly Ovalle. That is saying quite a bit because I rarely am able to suspend disbelief enough to buy into shape-shifting characters. Ms. Ovalle makes not only the shape-shifting believable but the culture of dragons as well, Her hero, Ari, heroine, Hope, and all their family members are not just believable characters, but people I would like to know and spend time with. Lucky for me this is a series and I’ll have ample opportunity to visit these fascinating people.

I want to thank My Family’s Heart for arranging participation in Ms. Ovalle’s release tour for Stealing Hope. Please check out the MFH website for other reviews and news.My Family's Heart Button


Where have I been (since July)

First we went to Indianapolis where I met with my editor and played many, many games (GenCon Gaming Event). Then a weekend at Wampler’s Lake in SE Michigan. And most recently, a walk around my own neighborhood (sorry no images of that) to launch my personal 30 days of fitness and writing. Where have you been lately.

R & R & R–Relaxation, Recreation, and Research


Ah the life of the traveling author. :) This past weekend, I had the privilege of visiting one of the Mid-west’s most highly regarded museums. The reputation of the Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture and Lifeways is well deserved. The displays are accurate and fascinating as are the voice-overs for each life-size diorama, which are given first in the native language and then in English. The history of the Anishinabe peoples is populated with truly remarkable prophecies, many of which have already come to pass. I can’t wait to finish my current WIP to find out what story is brewing in my head from this inspiring place and the people who created it

Where I’ve Been, Where I Am, and Where I’ll Be — The Author Travels

KEcoverSo you may wonder where I’ve been while all these guests were visiting. Well for a while my DH and I were in beautiful downtown Indianapolis where I met with my terrific CR editor. We’ve returned home now, and I’m making a cyber visit to The Romance Studio’s Release Day Party (that’s TODAY). I’m celebrating the Aug 17th release of Knight Errant by playing games at the party. Check it out here ; you might win some free chocolate. Feel free to share the link. Tomorrow, I’m headed to central Michigan and The Soaring Eagle Casino/Hotel with my DH and some friends. Yes, I might do a bit of gambling but my main interest is the Native American Museum located on the property. I’ll tell you all about it when I get back next week.


Journey to “The Star World Colonies” with Author, Catherine E. McLean


“The Jewel of Sol”

“The Gateway to the Star World Colonies”

In the vacuum of space far from Earth, beyond the colonized Centauri Star System, between the feared Dethramossan Territory and the mineral-rich Empire of Triangulum Australe, hovers Kifel Space Station, guardian of a galactic portal (a star gate jump point).

Kifel is also a city, a commercial port, a pseudo pleasure palace, and a military fortress. The space station is the gateway for thousands of maritime space traders and colonists seeking their fortunes and a new way of life. But some say the station is a taskmaster to the crews that man and maintain her.

In truth, there are a million stories to tell of those beings, human and aliens, who pass through the portals and walk the labyrinths of Kifel Space Station.

The above was jotted down in 1993, when I first conceived Kifel Space Station for a short story. Over the years, and several short stories and novels later, I ended up with a three-ring binder for all things Kifel that included: the history of why, who, and how the station was built, sketches of deck layouts and compartments (which are crude because I’m no artist), the personnel requirements, the caste system of jumpsuit colors used by workers on the station, and whole lot more.

That binder is my “bible” that keeps things consistent when I write a new story. And, yes, new stories sometimes add things to Kifel or makes me rethink areas. The binder also allows me to update the oldest stories so they are consistent with the published ones.

A writer is told to write what they know, but that’s difficult when you’re writing about the future and outer space. Yet, there is a trick a writer can use to extrapolate a future that seems believable to a reader. That trick is to base the future world, in this case, a space station, on what currently exists or will exist in the near future. To get an idea of the size and look of Kifel, I did research. I extrapolated data from cargo container shipping yards (and how much room they needed to store, stack, and move containers about). From city layouts, I got various ideas of infrastructure. Cruise ship layouts showed me how compact compartments were and how many quarters could fit in a given area. Then there were the waste management-recycling facilities, hospital-emergency care facilities, hydroponic farming, and a whole lot more. The results kept making the space station bigger and bigger. I even took a look at the Star Trek technical manuals (the ones done by real engineers), but I did not use them for designs, only verification that what I was doing was feasible, realistic, believable.

As to the shape of Kifel Space Station, I knew from my engineering husband that circles were most efficient in space and so Kifel ended up being a circle divided into twelve pie-shaped wedges, with a center core through which energy (power, etc.) flowed. Beacons, communications dishes-antennas, scanners, etc. were necessary and went at the top and bottom of the station. Other communication and scanning devices were also needed about the landing-departure decks and for the military.

Then I started from the top and went down a sheet of paper listing one item per line that represented appropriate footage. For the massive warehousing and freight decks, I put in additional lines proportioned for their heights. When I was done, a pattern had formed on the page of an elongated “diamond” – like a kite.

I could envision that “diamond” glittering with all its exterior lights as it spun in the blackness of space to maintain its gravity— like a diamond in the sky.

And thus was born the phrase “The Jewel of Sol.” Sol being a poetic term for Earth’s star, the sun.

A lot of romance writers gloss over setting details in their futuristic/sci-fi worlds because the plot of the lovers journey is more important. However, a writer should take the time to look at, sketch out, and find the little things that bring their setting to life for the reader so the reader suspends disbelief.

Like Marlee and Deacon, when you read HEARTS AKILTER, you’ll feel right at home on Kifel Space Station.

Hearts AkilterHeartsAkilter_w9882 high resolution

Love, vengeance, attempted murder, and a bomb…No reason to panic.

When a medical robot insists he’s having a heart attack, Marlee Evans, a pragmatic maintenance technician, has every reason to panic. There’s a bomb inside him.  Since Marlee can’t risk the bomber discovering she’s found the device, her only option is to kidnap Deacon Black, an unflappable bomb expert, and secretly convince him to disarm it.  Things go slightly awry when Deacon sets a trap for someone who is trying to kill him, and inadvertently captures Marlee instead.  Instantly intrigued by her refreshingly forthright and gutsy attitude, he’s smitten.  Unfortunately for Deacon, Marlee recently hardened her heart and swore off men, especially handsome ones with boy-next-door grins.  But as Marlee and Deacon attempt to identify and prevent the bomber from detonating the device, they discover that love may be the most explosive force of all.

Available Now




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About Catherine E. McLean

Besides Catherine being a wife and mother, she has ridden and exhibited Morgan Sport Horses. She’s an avid clothing and costume designer, an award-winning amateur photographer, a 4-H leader, and a Red Hatter who loves bling.

She lives on a farm nestled in the foothills of the Allegheny Mountains of Western Pennsylvania. In the quiet of the countryside, she writes fantasy, futuristic, and paranormal stories where a reader can escape to other worlds for adventure and romance.

Her short stories have appeared in hard-copy and online anthologies and magazines. Besides having two novels published, soon to be released is her lighthearted fantasy/sci-fi romance HEARTS AKILTER. Catherine also gives writing workshops, both online and in-person. A schedule is posted at

Catherine’s website for writers is and she blogs at

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Jessie Clever Takes Us ‘Inevitably’ to London


Pleases welcome Jessie Clever, author of Inevitably a Duchess. Jessie adds a London library to our travels. Here’s Jessie.

I’m proud to own a passport littered with stamps, but when I began writing Jane and Richard’s story, I didn’t travel far for it wasn’t the location that was important in this story.  The story unfolds in London as many historical romances do.  Having been blessed to live in the UK for a time, London will always hold a special place in my memory, but it’s a more special place that drew me to this story.

It was a library.

Specifically, the Duke of Lofton’s library.  A grand space in a London townhouse, a place that is at once well-appointed and yet cozy, welcoming, and warm.  A room surrounded by shelves of those things we love (books!), and filled with the light and love of a young family.  It was in this room that I set the stage for a story of second chance, of daring to love once more.

I will be the first to admit that I am a fan of the romances that include sweeping moors and courageous adventures across angry seas.  But there was something about this story that demanded a more intimate setting.  Settings sometimes get lost in the rich texture of the story, but I believe a setting is another tool an author can use to build the story, another layer to give the story vibrancy.  And for Jane and Richard, there is nothing better than a room that promises more than meets the eye.

Cover Art for Inevitably a DuchessInevitably a Duchess: A Spy Series Novella by Jessie Clever, 2014 Golden Leaf Finalist

Blurb: Lady Jane Haven had to find a reason to survive, a purpose to carry on when it seemed God would not just let her die. Widowed after an abusive marriage, Jane seeks solace in the arms of the one man she has always loved. But her scars run deep, and the physical comfort her lover brings does little to heal her pain.

Richard Black, the Duke of Lofton and spy for the British War Office, waited for her, watching as the agony of marriage broke the woman he loved. His instincts tell him to protect her at all costs now that she has come to him, but when Jane stumbles into his current case investigating a bodysnatching ring, his intentions prove harder to meet than he had anticipated.

As a treasonous plot threatens their chance at love, can Jane find the strength to be his duchess?

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Please welcome fellow author, Iris Blobel visiting from Melbourne Austrailia to tell us about her book, Fresh Beginnings. Iris is very well traveled, as her bio indicates, so ask her lots of questions, please.

Fresh Beginnings Cover ArtFRESH BEGINNINGS

By Iris Blobel

The small town of Hobart in Tasmania has witnessed many beginnings in recent years. At yet one more beginning, the wedding of a friend, Jared Fraser decides it’s time for some fresh beginnings to come his way… And he sets out for a holiday to the US to travel along the Route 66 in a motorhome.

Ivy Bennett thought leaving her boyfriend would be the hard part. It doesn’t take long to figure out how wrong she was. As she struggles with making a new start in her life, the last person she expects to lead her to happiness is a laid-back Australian on holiday.

Then the arrival of family friend Mia Levesque and her boyfriend, Josh, turns Jared’s holidays upside-down when he’s forced to play arbitrator between the two teenagers.

Scroll down to find an excerpt.


About Iris Blobel: Iris Blobel 2013BIOpic

Iris Blobel was born and raised in Germany and only immigrated to Australia in the late 1990s. Having had the travel bug most of her life, Iris spent quite some time living in Scotland, London as well as Canada where she actually had met her future husband. Her love for putting her stories onto paper has only recently emerged, but now her laptop is a constant companion. Iris resides west of Melbourne with her husband and her beautiful two daughters as well as her dog. Next to her job at a private school she also presents a German Program at the local Community Radio.

Buy Links:

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Where to Find Me:

My Blog:, Facebook:, Goodreads:, Twitter: @_iris_b,

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“G’day!” He stared at her and for some reason something tugged at his heart. Not that he wanted that. He had no room for women, let alone American ones. They all were on earth to make life complicated. Mark was constantly running around for Sophie or Hope, even though Mark’s wife was one in a million and little Hope was simply adorable, especially when she was asleep.

“Ya know it’s dangerous to hitch a ride,” he finally said when she was still quiet.

She stared at him for a moment, but then replied with the typical American twang in her voice. “I know you said something, but I have no idea what.”

He chuckled. “It is dangerous to hitchhike,” he repeated with exaggerated pronunciation.

The woman stepped a bit closer to the window. “Are you from Austria?”

He laughed aloud.

“Australia, I meant,” she added, seemingly embarrassed by the mistake.

“I am indeed.” He watched her looking ahead towards the horizon. “So you wanna hitch a ride?”

Jared had a feeling she didn’t want to, but her current situation didn’t give her many choices. There they were in the middle of nowhere, with the next place a fair few miles away.

“Name’s Jared,” he said and then he opened the door and walked around the motorhome. Leaning against the vehicle, he looked at her. She was pretty. Thin, but pretty. When her brown eyes met his, he experienced another one of those heart tugs and wasn’t impressed at all. He tried to look right past her. It wasn’t happening though. They were like magnets.

“Jared,” he repeated and held out his hand.

Her look went right past him into the distance, and he assumed she was fighting with herself, part of her wanting to get off the road, the other part being worried.

“Anybody else travelling with you?” she asked quietly.

He shook his head. “Nope.”

She closed her eyes, took a deep breath, and, after a brief moment, reached for his hand. “Nice meeting you.”

Acknowledging that she wasn’t much into sharing details like her name, he opened the door for her. “Where are ya headin’?” he asked.

A smile started in her eyes and played with the corner of her lips. He felt himself smiling back. There was an appreciation in her smile.

“Could you drop me off at the next stop?” she asked hesitantly.

“Most certainly, but where are ya headin?”

She shrugged. “Kingman?”

“Is that on this road?”

Nodding, she said. “Yes, it is. It should be less than a hundred miles along this highway.”

“Then hop in.”

She turned to get into the motorhome, and he took in her small stature and the narrow shoulders which seemed even smaller in her tight, red T-shirt. Jared noticed her cargoes were just hanging onto her hips. A nice steak wouldn’t go astray on these hips. Suddenly she stopped and moved to look at him. “Thank you,” she whispered.

“No worries mate.”

Jared held her gaze and wasn’t sure what to say or do. She simply stood in front of him like frozen.

“My name is Ivy,” she said after a long moment.

“Hedera. An evergreen climbing or ground-creeping woody plant in the family Araliaceae.”

With a frown, she stared at him. “I really didn’t understand that one.”

He laughed. “Sorry, mate. I got carried away. I’m a landscaper. Ivy is a climbing plant.” Scratching the back of his head, he added, slightly self-conscious, “And, of course, a beautiful name.”

There was a small laugh as she stepped into the motorhome. He went around and slid behind the wheel before driving back onto the road. There was a long silence, and Jared wasn’t really sure what to do or say. Usually, he was good with silence. Actually, he loved it. But at that moment, the silence made him uncomfortable.

“So, what brings ya out into the middle of the sticks?”

When there was no reply, he turned and looked at her. There was a big frown on her face, and he sighed.

“I thought you all speak English as well?”

“We do,” she said with a slight giggle. “But I’m not so sure about you Australians.”

With a grin he replied, “Now, don’t be cheeky, Ivy.”

“Don’t bite the hand that feeds you, my mom always said.” She laughed. “No way would I make fun of you.”

“So, you’re expectin’ a meal as well?”

There was a moment of silence again, and he glanced over. The smile was gone and panic was written all over her face.

“I… I didn’t—”

Quickly he reached out for her hand. “I’m pulling your leg.” And when she didn’t reply again, he muttered, “This thing with you Americans not understanding English is turning into a problem. I was kiddin’.”

“Pulling your leg?” She shook her head. “Never heard of it.”

A bark of laughter filled the small space. “Anyway. Talkin’ about food. There’s a small place ahead. Want some lunch?”