Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Let's Read The Night Pickup

Today's suggested reading is. . .

The Night Pickup by Dee – 54 pages
It was 1:30 am when the dispatcher called. Nick had been dozing in her cap, just waiting for the shift to end. She needed to go home to bed but sleep was a long way off as she was send to pick up a woman at a rest stop on the interstate. She found the woman sitting on top of one of the picnic tables, feet on a seat, head down – crying. As it turned out she had no money in her pocket and nowhere to go so Nick offers her a bowl of chili and her couch to sleep on.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Let's Read Season Twist

Today's suggested reading is. . .

Season Twist by Sunflower - 25 pages
A mother is still mourning the passing of her dead lover. Her mother-in-law encourages her to host a party for her daughter and in so doing meets the dark-haired mother of one of her friends.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Let's Read Endless Twilight

Today's suggested reading is. . .

Endless Twilight by Rainbird - 70 pages
Three thousand years ago, Ares tricked Xena into immortality. The only way she can become mortal again is to destroy him, but so far she has been unsuccessful. In present-day New York City, Xena at last has a weapon that can kill Ares, and she finally tracks him down in a very unexpected place. But when she discovers that Ares' current wife, Alison Carter is the reincarnation of her eternal soulmate Gabrielle, things get rather complicated.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Let's Read Rock My World

Today's suggested reading is. . .

Rock My World by Kandis Glasgow - 55 pages
Take one Regina Taylor, record executive, tall, dark and dangerous. Add singer Kari Swift, not tall but she more than made up for her height with fatal cutness. Record Exec and Singer meet - match made in heaven right? NOT! It's hate at first sight as far as Kari is concerned...will Reggie be able to change her mind? Follow along and enter the stormy music world and see if they'll rock on!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Let's Read Passion’s Fool

Today's suggested reading is. . .

Passion’s Fool by Kim Pritekel - 38 pages
Fallon of Aragon is about to marry Sarah Everston, but the two have never met. Sarah’s husband has a secret. A secret that won’t be discovered until after they are married.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Tuesdays With Phineas Redux

Phineas Pursues His Dream

Rain was still coming through the decrepit slate roof in places, but that was a minor problem; at least the cracked window was now sealed. What a great idea it had been to use that old oil painting, by some guy called Turner, which had been taking up space on the drawing-room wall since his grandfather’s time. Wedging it across the broken glass pane certainly did now keep the rain at bay. Of course it meant you could no longer see out the window; but that was of no consequence, compared to the usual puddle on the floor.

Phineas’s pad, courtesy of William John Muller.

Phineas gave himself a pat on the back (well, of course, he didn’t actually pat himself on the back. That’s just a figure of speech, familiar to all great writers like myself). Then he settled down at his accustomed place of work. The room was low-ceilinged, with rafters; the building itself dating from Elizabethan times, it being the Redux family’s proud boast that not a single item of repair had ever been carried out on the structure since its foundation. On the street side were two low, square, diamond-paned windows; one of which had jammed shut 120 years earlier and had never been opened since. The other was the one now concealed by the oil painting. “Thank goodness for paint-daubers.” Phineas thought happily as he sat down, “If they hadn’t spent so much time splattering paint all over canvases, where would he be now?”

‘Shade and Darkness, The Evening of the Deluge’. Oil painting by JMW Turner. 1843.

The desk was actually a reclaimed kitchen table, though made of oak. It had been varnished with exterior brick-sealant some time in the past; and now if a book was laid on it for any appreciable time it tended to stick in place. Phineas, in his brilliance, had vanquished this difficulty by laying a couple of pieces of floor linoleum at strategic places on the desk, so that problem was solved; though it did nothing for the harmonious styling of the desk’s appearance. At his elbow as he sat on the rickety chair, itself a refugee from the kitchen, lay an ink-pot and quill with goose feather. He had indeed heard of such new-fangled devices as typewriters and carbon-paper; but Phineas had a deeply ingrained reverence for the old traditions. What had been good enough for his great-grandfather, Quintilian Redux, was still good enough for him.

Marcus Fabius Quintilianus. 35AD-100AD.

Ah, he thought parenthetically (look it up, must I do everything?), as he fidgeted on his chair trying to get comfortably settled, dear old Great-Grandfather Quint, what a guy. One of the most successful authors of Boys Stories and later, under the pseudo-moniker ‘Atalanta Carter’, Girls’ Stories as well in the middle of the 19th century; who, at one point, had kept no fewer than five weekly magazines (or Penny Dreadful’s, as they were then called) in profitable business at the same time.

Writing ‘Xena; Warrior Princess’ stories for his part, Phineas mused or cogitated (no, it isn’t illegal or vulgar; you must be thinking of something else!), was so difficult to get just right—the present-day audience being so demanding! This regularly made him consider why he had not chosen more mainstream Heroic claimants to his literary exertions. Why hadn’t he taken Gladys Mitchell’s advice, that time they had shared vodka ‘Red Hunter’ cocktails at the ‘Mystery Writer’s’ Club, back in the ‘50’s. The Grand Old Lady (probably a non-PC term nowadays, Phineas gloomily thought) of the mystery tale had knocked back her second cocktail with all the graceful aplomb of a Lady of Quality and nodded wisely. “ ‘Sapper’ was your man, Phin, old cock. H C McNeile knew his blood and guts. After all, wasn’t he a commissioned officer in the First World War, who went into No-Man’s Land regularly to do awful things personally to the Hun? He knew how to put a really good ‘Knock ‘em About’ story together. If you must write stories around some other author’s characters Phin, you old blister, then ‘Bulldog Drummond’s your man.”

Gladys Mitchell. 1901-1983.

Wise advice indeed but Phineas, seeking greater more adventurous fields for his endeavour, had pooh-poohed this helpful guidance. Telling Gladys what he thought of her helpful hints, and ‘Bulldog Drummond’ in particular, using strong manly short Anglo-Saxon terms—and receiving back from the Grande Dame, on her part, some unrestrained and authoritative suggestions as to his next course of action—he had tottered out into the Pall Mall twilight three sheets to the wind, ‘Red Hunters’ do that to you, and collided with the personification of England’s Law in human form, ie, a policewoman in uniform; who had immediately sorted his hash by knocking him down with her baton—an entirely proper action in the circumstances. A night in the cells; an appearance at the Morning Session of Bow St. Magistrates Court; the forced separation between him and one of his most treasured and beloved £5 notes; and the business was swiftly concluded to everyone’s satisfaction.

Phineas meandered homewards,—looking for all the world like a bedraggled out-of-position sailor loitering along to the Pool to see if his next ship had come in—cudgelling his brains, or what euphemistically passed muster for them, trying to come up with a really good subject for his writing skills. But later in the day when Time, an ice-pack on the forehead, and calm reasoning had all fulfilled their combined reason d’etre, Phineas recognized the sad reality of his situation. There was nothing for it but to keep the blue devils at bay by watching that DVD Aunt Clytemnestra had sent him last Christmas, from the depths of Patagonia where she kept her hacienda. A lost cause if ever there was one, but with no hope left Phineas pushed the appropriate buttons, settled back on his broken-springed sofa, and prepared for an uncomfortable hour in front of the seven-inch screen monochrome 1948 goggle-box which, surprisingly, was still in working order.

1948 RCA TV.

But what’s this? A tall dark-haired woman riding a white horse, flailing a nasty looking sword the while. Accompanied by a delicate petite blonde girl with a sweet smile, and a snappy attitude and tongue that’d call forth admiration in any group of fishwives you’d care to assemble. Set in Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Modern America, Old China, the Steppes of Russia, snowy mountains in Norway, Classical Japan; in fact, just about everywhere, and in every possible time you care to mention! Let’s see, Phineas thought or ruminated, as he pulled the tattered copy of ‘Weekly TV Schedules’ from where he’d kicked it under the sofa last Wednesday. Ah, here it is—‘Xena; Warrior Princess’, hmm, seems worth looking at—let’s see what it’s about.

An hour later and Phineas had seen the light. Xena and Gabrielle were his gals, and fan-fiction was his game. What this franchise obviously needed was a battalion of really determined sincere dedicated fan-fiction writers. And why not be among the first, thought Phineas; sitting at his desk and stirring the stodgy ink in its stone bottle with the point of an old quill; arranging the pile of loose sheets of paper to his right-hand side; and placing firmly on his head the woollen cap he favoured when under the influence of his Muse (it kept his ever-increasing bald spot warm, y’understand). So then, how should it go —


‘The camp-fire had scarcely begun flickering in the wan morning light before the crowd of banditos, hiding in the surrounding bushes, ran out to overcome the two women. In a flash there were screams of fear, crashes as bodies hit the dirt, horrible noises as limbs were wrenched painfully out of alignment, and scuffling sounds as the survivors ran for the horizon.

“Just another morning, Xena.” The fair-haired small woman bent down, to carry on putting eggs in the now slightly bent frying-pan.

“Yep, just another day. Gives me an appetite, though.” The tall dark dangerous woman grinned widely at her companion. “Good job we got six eggs; two for you, an’ four for me.”

“Har, Har, Warrior Princess.” Gabrielle was having none of it. “Separate me from my third egg an’ you’ll be sorry, baby!”

Fighting at the Campfire. The gals protect their breakfast.

The End.


Notes —
1. ‘Red Hunter’ cocktail— 1 part vodka; 1 part Single Malt 12 year old Scotch whisky; a smidgin of Green Chartreuse; a dash of Angostura bitters; and several grains of pure sea-salt. It is of course always shaken, never stirred. It is also strongly advised to write your Will before drinking.
2. The Pool. An area of the Thames where cargo ships anchored at numerous wharves.
3. Blue devils. Immaterial visions attributed to extreme gloom, despair, or melancholy.
4. goggle-box. British slang for television set.
5. General chronology may be somewhat dubious; but Hades, where would all the fun be if everything were boringly straightforward—it never bothered Xena and Gabrielle in their adventures, you’ll recall!

Let's Read All My Life

Today's suggested reading is. . .

All My Life by Genea - 7 pages
On the eve of their birthdays Alex remembers her first time with Max.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Let's Read Somewhere in Time

Today's suggested reading is. . .

Somewhere in Time by DS Bauden - 62 pages
This is an adaptation of the movie "Somewhere in Time" which was based on Richard Matheson's novel, "Bid Time Return." The characters have been changed a little to resemble a couple of women we all know and love. I took liberties with the screenplay, but used quite a bit of the actual dialogue to keep this story as true and as wonderful as possible

Friday, November 15, 2013

Let's Read The Window Washer

Today's suggested story is. . .

The Window Washer by Nancy - 97 pages
Ria is in a relationship that she’s unsure about, and is contemplating her life choices, when a dark-hair window washer gets her attention while hanging outside of her office window.

Livin' La Vida Loca, Warrior Style by Phineas Redux

Here we are again, and the girls are still enjoying themselves. Isn’t it amazing how busy they were back then!


Gabrielle reacts badly to Xena’s suggestion they miss out the Amazons’ Summer Solstice Party (Bring an amphora an’ have some fun), in favour of the Pythian Games.


“What’s the tufty fluffy thing on top of my staff for? Wait’ll we get back to camp, Xena, an’ I’ll show you. You’ll like it!”


                                                                        Soulful Girl.


“Of course I can hit the apple, Xena. But stop hopping about like that, it’ll roll off. Just stand still.”


“Oh, see those four big men by the beer tent, Xena. Earlier, when you weren’t here, the one on the left tried t’come on to me. But I soon put him in his place, don’t worry. Are you gon’na say hello t’them as we pass by?”

“The one on the left, eh? Oh yes, Gabrielle, I’m gon’na say hello alright!”


The gals enjoy watching Autolycus trying to fish, with the wrong bait.


Gabrielle came fourth in the Potidaean Face-Painting Competition on Festival Day, an’ she ain’t happy about it.


“Aren’t you a little over-dressed for a day’s sunbathing on the beach, Xena. Look at what I’m wearing. And, in a little while, I won’t even be wearing this!”


“Never mind where the soap’s gone, Xena. Relax, and feel the rhythm.”


                                                                    Friends together.


Well, there you are. Ain’t they just fun girls to be around? Next week Callisto arrives to join in the jolly japes!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Let's Read Partners

Today's suggested story is. . .

Partners by Cheeya – 63 pages
Two FBI Agents become Partners on a case that brings one of them back to her torrid past…

Partners Plus One by Cheeya – 24 pages
Sequel to 'Partners' Jordan and Alex are back for a new adventure.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Let's Read Cold

Today's Suggested story is. . .

Cold by Midgit – 208 Pages
Lady Joanna is quite satisfied with her uninspiring lifestyle. But her life is turned on its head by a photograph in a gallery and she begins a quest to find the homeless woman in the photograph. When she does, can she help Rocky recover her soul and the joy of life.

Remember Me by Midgit (Short Story) – 12 Pages
An interlude in Cold finds the pair at a cottage on the estate that is haunted by the ghost of a victim from the dark doings of the original master.

Winter’s Thaw by Midgit (Sort Story) – 8 Pages
Another interlude in Cold finds the pair sharing a ‘warm’ moment on a cold winter’s evening.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Let's Read Panther

Today's suggested reading is. . .

Panther by Teagen2 – 36 pages

Erica is on her way to her biologist mom in Brazil via her uncle Ryan on his plane. They experience turbulence and the next thing Erica knows, she is alone in the forest. Enter Orie, a tall woman looking much like a native in skins, with long black hair that goes past her shoulders, lithe as a cat.

Friday, November 8, 2013

Happy Days for Warrior Women by Phineas Redux

Here they are again. Doing those things that busy warriors do all day—you know, righting wrongs; helping people out; kicking bad-guy’s asses; stopping wars; starting wars; having the usual loving misunderstandings, that could happen to anyone; the usual sort’a day, in fact —


Xena and Gabrielle are astounded, on turning a corner in the forest, to find Joxer taking one of his four-times-a-year baths in a nearby river. Well, it’s not a sight you see every day!


“ . . . wasn’t it nice of the Centaurs to visit us today? By the way, what’s this I nearly just stepped on? Never seen anything like it!”


It’s a hard job, but someone’s got to do it.


“Whad’ya mean Xena? That ain’t the ocean waves I can hear? A small girl’s voice just informed me you take far too much exercise. She want’s a quiet life, thank you very much!”


“I’m gon’na call ‘em ‘kites’, an’ patent the plans at the Alexandria Library. We’ll be rich!”

“Don’t be silly Xena, these things’ll never catch on. Here, keep tight hold of me!”

“Don’t worry, baby. Don’t worry, I got’cha.”


Gabrielle prepares to give an unsuspecting rabbit a very nasty shock.


“Ha! At last, ya finally got that old fool Aristotle t’write something interestin’. ‘The Life and Times of Xena and Gabrielle’, in ten scrolls. We’ll be famous. I feel sort’a humble, Gabrielle.”

“Humble my beautiful ass, Princess. It’ll probably be used for the bottom of people’s pie-dishes all over Greece, an’ be lost t’the world in a year’s time.”


A Southern Lady with a sword, harbouring a dual personality with a bad attitude.


“No, this isn’t a water-bottle Xena. Now, if I can only figure out how to invent a packet of matches we can retire ol’ Ares an’ make the world a safer place from marauding warlords—I think!”


Isn’t it wonderful—‘Hug a Princess Today’, and ‘Hug an Amazon Queen Today’, both falling on the same date! Who’da believe’d it!


“ . . . and also, Xena, if you let me come with you I can be there t’pull these bloody boots off every night. What more could you possibly want?”


There you have it. Another on-going strand in the Odyssey of our favourite ladies. And there’s yet more to come, never fear!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Thursday's Teaser - Sweetwater by Mickey Minner

Today's excerpt is from Sweetwater by Mickey Minner. It is the first story in the Sweetwater Saga. Read it here

"'Bout time for the stage to arrive," Ed broke into Jesse's thoughts as he stepped out onto the boardwalk and stood next to her.  Looking across the street, Jesse noticed that people were beginning to gather at the stage station.

"New schoolteacher is supposed to be on the stage," Ed said excitingly.

"Yep," Jesse answered thinking 'that explains the crowd of single men waiting for the stage today.'  There seemed to have been little else discussed in town for the past several weeks since Mayor Perkins had announced that a schoolteacher would be arriving from Denver to take on the duties at the schoolhouse. 
The town had built the school last summer but it had stood empty because the town lacked a qualified teacher.

Jesse's ears picked up the sounds of beating hoofs and slapping leather.  The cries of the stage driver yelling commands to his team of straining horses announced the stage's impending arrival.  Moments later, the coach could be seen where the road broke from the forest.  The stage thundered into Sweetwater and skidded to a stop in front of the stage station, a choking cloud of dust filled the air and covered everything and everyone it came into contact with.

Jesse looked across the street as the passengers began to step from the stage.  A young woman was helped from the coach and the small gathering of single men surged towards her.  'That must be the new schoolteacher', Jesse thought as she reached up and removed her stetson, releasing a shower of shoulder length reddish, brown hair.  Using the sleeve of her shirt, Jesse wiped the sweat from her brow and waved the stetson in front of her face to clear the dust kicked up by the stage.

At the same moment, the young woman stepped away from the stage.  Getting her first look at the town of Sweetwater, she turned to observe the side of the street where Jesse stood.  The motion of Jesse's hat attracted her and her eyes fell upon the most beautiful woman she had ever seen.  A pair of sapphire eyes locked onto a pair of auburn eyes and the world seemed to stand still for both women.

"Hey, are you alright?" Ed asked Jesse as she drew in a startled breath and slumped against the boardwalk's post.  The sound of Ed's voice allowed Jesse to break her gaze, she jammed the stetson back on her head and stepped down into the street.

"Yeah, I'm fine," she said to Ed as she walked around her buckboard.  Climbing up onto the seat, she immediately urged the team forward.  Ed shrugged his shoulders at Jesse's rapid departure and then stepped off the boardwalk, crossing the street to join the crowd by the stage.

Jesse concentrated on the dusty road in front of her trying not to think of what had just happened.  But, as she looked down at the reins her hands held, she saw that they were shaking.  "What the heck?" Jesse muttered to herself as she left the new schoolteacher and her crowd of instant admirers behind.

Jennifer stood in the dusty street surrounded by several young men all speaking at the same time, but she heard nothing but the beating of her own heart.  She watched as the buckboard carried the auburn haired woman away from her and wondered why she had an almost uncontrollable urge to run after it.


 "Let me through," a man was elbowing his way through the young men surrounding the new arrival.  He finally came to a stop directly in front Jennifer and grabbed her smaller hands in his beefy ones, shaking them heartily.

"Miss Kinsington, it is so nice to finally make your acquaintance," the man said enthusiastically.  His actions taking Jennifer's attention away from the retreating buckboard.  She turned to find a middle-age, balding man barely as tall as herself but much wider and with a bushy mustache that hung down hiding his mouth, it's hairs blowing out from his face with every word he spoke.

"Please allow me to introduce myself," he continued pumping Jennifer's hands up and down.  "My name is Perkins, Miles Perkins.  I am Sweetwater's Mayor and it is I who arranged for your position," the mayor continued, always ready to take credit for any project he had any part of, no matter how small his contribution might have been.  And, in this case, it had actually been the mayor's wife that had insisted he make arrangements for a schoolteacher so that she could be free of their children for some part of the day.  Mayor Perkins had known that if he didn't quickly follow his wife's instructions, he would be spending cold nights in the old shed behind his house.  But, regardless of how it had come about, a schoolteacher was now in town and Mayor Perkins was taking the credit.

Jennifer smiled sweetly at the man as she extricating her hands from his, her arms feeling like the bones had come loose after the vigorous shaking.  "I'm pleased to meet you, Mr. Perkins."

"You can call me Mayor.  Everyone does," the mustache billowed as several not too well hidden groans could be heard from the crowd pressed around them.

"Do you have any luggage?" the mayor asked.

"Just the one," Jennifer indicated the small, canvas travel bag she had removed from under the seat inside the stage.  Many of the young men surrounding them offered to carry the bag for Jennifer but she insisted on taking it herself.  It wasn't very large and she could easily carry it.  Besides, the last thing she wanted was a brawl to break out amongst the young men begging for her attention.

"Go on, now," Mayor Perkins instructed the un-welcomed men.  "I'm sure your employers expect you to be earning your pay and not lolli-gagging about.  Now scoot, the lot of you."  Mayor Perkins took Jennifer's arm and started to walk down the street in the same direction that the buckboard had taken.  As they walked, he pointed out the purpose of the scattered buildings they passed.

"That is, as you know, the stage station," the mayor pointed to the small, adobe building that looked to be ready to fall in on itself "and telegraph office.  The telegraph hasn't reached Sweetwater yet but you can have a message sent by stage to the nearest telegraph office.  You will probably want to send your folks a message letting them know that you have arrived safely in Sweetwater."  Jennifer nodded in agreement to the mayor even though she had no intention of sending a message to her family and providing her whereabouts to them.

"That, there, as you can see, is the general store," he pointed across the street where Ed was back standing again in the shade of the boardwalk.  Ed waved to the mayor and his charge, "that's Ed Granger, he runs the store for his no good brother-in-law."  Jennifer smiled and waved back at Ed.

"Now, that's the town hall and jail," Mayor Perkins indicated the buildings adjoining Ed's store.  "And, next to the jail is the town's newspaper, The Gazette.  Over here," the mayor was now pointing to the near side of the street again, "that's the Oxbow Saloon and not a decent place for a young lady like yourself" the mayor informed her.  "Behind the Oxbow, are the stables and blacksmith.  Most of the town folk live up at this end of town, you'll have a chance to meet everyone at the social in your honor tomorrow evening."

Jennifer thought his description of "this end of town" rather an overstatement for a town no bigger than a couple of city blocks back home.  But, she kept her thoughts to herself instead asking, "and, where is the schoolhouse?".

"Right over there," the mayor stopped and pointed to a building sitting atop a small knoll on the other side of a creek that ran out of the forest behind the stables and flowed past the Oxbow before paralleling the road out of town.  A foot bridge allowed access across the creek and a gravel path lead to the schoolhouse.  "We'll be having the social there, so you can get acquainted with it then.  It's all ready for you to start your lessons.  Books and supplies already purchased and waiting for you."

Jennifer had wanted to see the schoolhouse first but decided that tomorrow would be soon enough.  Besides, the sun was reaching its peak in the cloudless sky and she was more than ready to get out of its blazing heat.  So, without comment she continued to follow the mayor down the dusty street.  Other than what were obviously private homes, there was only one other building in the direction they were walking.  A two story structure that looked to be newly painted with new curtains hanging in its many windows.  A large painted silver slipper graced the side of the building facing the stage road.  And, standing in the shade in front of the building stood the buckboard.

"This is the Silver Slipper," the mayor was telling Jennifer.  "The town has arranged for you to have a room here, it's the closest thing Sweetwater has to a rooming house.  Jennifer's heart nearly jumped from her chest.  Mistaking, Jennifer's reaction for uneasiness, the mayor hastened to add, "no reason to fear, Miss. Kinsington.  The Slipper is a very respectable place now that Jesse is running it.  Clean rooms and the best food in town.  Jesse will take good care of you, you have my personal guarantee on that."

Jennifer followed the mayor up the steps to the Silver Slipper's wide porch.  It wrapped entirely around the building provided places to enjoy the coolness of its shade regardless of the time of day or the season.  The edge of the porch was protected by crossed rails between the support posts and the rails were topped with a wide flat board providing a sturdy place to sit if one so desired.  The shade of the porch felt wonderful after the heat of the street and Jennifer had to stop herself from flopping down in one of the many chairs scattered about the porch.

"Mayor Perkins, it is good to see you again," a stout woman opened the door to the building.  "This must be our new schoolteacher." smiling broadly, she held out a hand to Jennifer.

"Yes, this is Miss Kinsington.  I believe you are to have a room ready for her," Jennifer noticed that Mayor Perkins addressed the woman arrogantly but she seemed not to take any offense to his manner.

"Of course," the woman gently squeezed the hand Jennifer offered before releasing it.  "Welcome to the Silver Slipper, Miss Kinsington.  Do come in.  I've just finished makin' a fresh batch of lemonade.  Perhaps you would like to join me," the woman opened the door wide to allow Jennifer and the mayor to enter.

Jennifer was disappointed that this was not the woman she had seen earlier.  This woman appeared to be of the same age as Jennifer's mother but had obviously seen a great deal more of life.  She stood of average height and though she looked to be somewhat frail, Jennifer was sure that the woman leading her into the building could easily outwork most men.  She seemed genuinely friendly towards Jennifer, unlike Mayor Perkins who accompanied the two women inside, and Jennifer instantly liked the older woman.

"Thank you, Miss Jesse,"

"Oh, dear," the woman chuckled.  "I'm not Jesse."

"I'm sorry," said Jennifer confused.  "I thought Mayor Perkins said..."

"I said that Jesse owns the Slipper.  This is Bette Mae, she helps run the place for Jesse," the mayor quickly filled Jennifer in.

"Oh," said Jennifer, "I apologize."

"There's no need," the woman stopped her.  "Now, please sit and have some of this here lemonade.  Jesse is workin' in her office but you'll have plenty of time to meet her later."  Bette Mae had expected Jesse to meet the schoolteacher and was surprised that she hadn't appeared from her office.

Jennifer dropped down into the closest chair.  "I'd love a glass," she said as she placed her bag on the floor next to the chair.

"Good," Bette Mae poured a large glass and handed it to Jennifer.  "How about you, Mayor?"

"No, thank you.  I must be getting back to my other duties.  A moment of your time, please, Bette Mae," the mayor motioned that he wished to speak to the woman privately.

"I'll be right back.  You jus' help yourself to refills," Bette Mae told Jennifer before following the mayor back out onto the porch.

Jennifer studied the room in which she sat.  Several tables similar to the one she occupied were spaced about the room.  Each table was covered with a linen tablecloth and a small arrangement of fresh flowers were placed in the center of each table.  Silverware was set out on the tables ready to be used by any diner that might request a meal.  This was obviously the dining room of the establishment but it was also so much more.  Jennifer was surprised to see against the far wall, bookcases overflowing with books.  In front of these, a varied arrangement of overstuffed chairs and settees made an inviting place to spend a few moments or hours enjoying the written word.  Curiosity got the better of her and Jennifer rose from the table crossing the room to see what kind of books would be found on the shelves.  She was amazed at the wide range of titles and authors.

"You like to read?" Bette Mae's question surprised Jennifer in her search.  "Now, that was a silly question to be askin' a schoolteacher, wasn't it?"

Jennifer smiled at the woman, "what is that saying, no question is a silly question as long as you are really interested in the answer."  Jennifer returned to the table and her glass of lemonade.  "This is wonderful, thank you.  And, to answer your question, I love to read.  I've spent many an hour in the library back home.  Some of the best afternoons of my life."

"Oh," Bette Mae was surprised that a girl as pretty as Jennifer would be forced to spend afternoons within the stuffy walls of a library.  "And, where would home be, Miss Kinsington?"

"Please call me Jennifer."  Not wanting to discuss the home she had so recently left, Jennifer quickly changed the subject to the mayor's private discussion with Bette Mae, "is everything alright with the arrangements?"

Bette Mae picked up on the subject change but being from the west where you didn't ask too many questions, she let it pass.  "Everything is fine.  He was just making sure that Jesse understood the importance of looking after you while you're staying here at the Slipper.  As if Jesse would take such a thing any way but seriously.  Mayor Perkins can surely be a pompous ass given half a chance," Bette Mae laughed.  "Oh, excuse my language, child."

Jennifer smiled at the woman, she had heard much worse than that when her father was on one of his numerous rampages.  "I imagine he takes some getting used to.  He about shook my arms right out of their sockets before I could get my hands out of his," she laughed remembering the mayor's energetic greeting.

"That he most definitely does," Bette Mae joined in her laughter.  "Well, I suspect you'd like to see your room and freshen up.  Maybe even take a nap.  Ridin' that stage can shake the fillin's loose in your teeth.  Not to mention the dust them horses kick up."

"It certainly wasn't quite what I had imagined," Jennifer agreed as she rose from the chair.

"Well, let's get you settled then," Bette Mae picked up Jennifer's bag refusing to listen to her protests.  She led Jennifer to a staircase midway between the bookcases.

As she climbed the stairs, Jennifer noticed for the first time an alcove tucked behind the staircase with a closed door marked 'private'.  She wondered if it led to the office of the mysterious Jesse.


Sweetwater by Mickey Minner - 94 pages  
Jesse has been forced to find her own way in life when her parents literally sell the family ranch out from under her. Jennifer has followed her dreams and traveled over a thousand miles to avoid living the life her father had planned for her. When their paths cross in the small frontier town of Sweetwater, Jesse is being framed for rustling cattle and soon finds herself facing a lynch mob. Jennifer feels compelled to come to Jesse's assistance, a woman she barely knows. Can they uncover the evidence to clear Jesse's name in time to save not only her life but also the chance to explore the growing feelings they are experiencing for each other?

Friday, November 1, 2013

Ordinary Working Days for Women Warriors by Phineas Redux

Just some more highlights from our gals’ daily life together.

1. “And the Great Warrior Princess kissed her paramour tenderly on her lips, and the two women walked off into the sunset hand in hand. Oh Xena, isn’t fantasy-fiction just wonderfully romantic?”


2. “Has Doo-Dums got a nasty headache? Does Doo-Dums want Blondie t’kiss her forehead better? All Doo-Dums needs is t’ask!”


3. What’s Xena looking pleased as Punch about? And where’s Gab? —Oh!!


4. Gabrielle makes a rapid escape from another failed attempt by Xena to light the perfect camp-fire.


5. “Xena! Wearing fancy dress an’ making incantations doesn’t cut the mustard with a camp-fire. Do that again an’ I’ll have things t’say, Princess!”


6. Portrait of a Princess


7. Portrait of a Queen


8. Eternal Love


9. “Agh! Hey, Gabrielle, I only wanted another kiss. That ain’t no way t’treat ya lover!”


10. “Great view, ain’t it, Xena!”


There you are again. You’ll be wondering, no doubt, where I find all these candid photos? Well I have H G Wells’ original Time Machine in a shed in my back garden, and I’ve fixed it to operate in Alternative Worlds too. That, and a good digital camera, and Bob’s one of your relatives. S’easy!