Today, 6/15/17, through Saturday, 6/17/17, you can download Nine Days In Greece for free! It’s the first book in the Nine Days Series. It all starts when Katie Collins takes a trip alone to exotic Crete and meets a handsome, much-younger Greek man on the plane that changes her trip and her life. It’s the perfect book to read on a beach this summer in Greece or elsewhere! Download it for free today!
I’m super excited to announce that Book 3 in the Harbor Secret Series, Leviathan, is now available! It’s based on a series of newspaper articles published between 1895 and 1930 reporting sea serpent sightings in Little Traverse Bay. I even put the articles in the book and cited them so you can enjoy them! Available now on Kindle. Paperback copies will be available in a couple of weeks. I’ve attached the prologue below for your enjoyment.
In the late 1800s, giggles and squeals could be heard inside houses as the children of the Holy Childhood orphanage chased the children attending catechism in a friendly game of tag. There were girls in white dresses, black stockings, and large bows in their hair and boys in white shirts and dark pants held up by suspenders.
“We’ve almost got them,” Janey Pontiac giggled loudly to Mitchell Ching-kah, who was running right in front of her.
“You’re fast for a girl,” he panted.
“They went over there,” Janey said as she held up a finger to point slightly to her left.
Mitchell slowed his pace, and Janey easily sped by him. “Come on, we’ve got them,” she called.
“Stop, Janey,” he warned, his sprint turning into a trot and, finally, a walk.
She slowed and looked over her shoulder. “Why? We’ve got them.”
Mitchell grabbed her sleeve and stepped towards the gnarled trees that the girls had disappeared into. “See that?” he asked, pointing to a large pond at the base of Harbor Point.
“Yes,” she said, lowering her voice.
“It’s Devil’s Pond.”
Janey’s eyes widened. “What is Devil’s Pond?” she asked, looking behind her to see the other Native American children of the orphanage and school standing back cautiously.
“Didn’t your mother tell you the story?” he asked.
She shook her head.
He held his hand up and gestured to the entire base of the small peninsula. “This place is haunted.”
“Haunted?” Her eyes grew wider.
“Yes. It is not safe here.”
“But what about Mildred and Ruthie?”
“They do not know. It is a truth known among the Odawa.”
“But why is it called Devil’s Pond?” the little girl asked.
His eyes moved back to the deep pond. “It is very deep. There is a woman trapped at the bottom of it, and she calls to someone to help her get out.”
“Who does she call to?” Janey asked.
He shrugged. “Either her father, who put her there, or her husband, who must fill in the pond if he is to rescue her.” He looked around nervously. “Some say his spirit still lives here, trying to fill in the pond.”
“Her father put her there?”
“Yes.” His nervous expression persisted, and he put a hand on her back. “Come, let’s go back to the play yard. I will tell you the story later.”
“So Mildred and Ruthie will just get away from us and win?” she asked stubbornly. She looked at the pond and gnarled trees before her. “I’m not afraid of a spirit if it’s in the pond, Mitchell. I will just run around the pond.” She started off towards the forbidden land again.
“Wait!” he called after her. When Janey didn’t stop, he continued. “There is more.”
Janey slowed her pace before putting her small hands on her hips and asking, “What is it now, Mitchell? More spirits?”
“No. This is real,” Mitchell told her without budging from his spot.
“So tell me.”
He looked around nervously. “I do not want to shout it.” He lowered his voice and gestured to her, “Come back.”
Janey let out an exasperated sigh before stomping back to Mitchell. Giving a foot a final stomp, she crossed her arms and asked, “What is it?”
Mitchell leaned in and said in a loud whisper, “The Mishipeshu has been known to frequent that pond.”
Janey didn’t look intimidated. “Who is Mishipeshu?”
“The underwater panther,” Mitchell continued. “He has been seen there many times. He either swims to it from the lake, or he takes an underground passage from the lake to the pond.”
Janey’s unconvinced look changed to a look of interest. “What does the Mishipeshu look like?”
Mitchell looked around nervously again as the lowering sun caused the gnarled trees to cast eerie shadows. “It is not safe here. I will tell you about the Mishipeshu back at the school.”
Janey stomped her foot. “I want to know now.”
Mitchell shook his head, backing up. “It is not safe here, Janey. I’m leaving.” With that, Mitchell turned and ran back to the group of children watching them.
Janey kept her eyes on the pond as she backed slowly away from it before turning to run back to the safety of the schoolyard.
Over one hundred years later, six-year-old Kiley sat in the back seat of the Dodge Dart as it started to leave Petoskey, Michigan, the trunk loaded with groceries. She looked out the window at the bright blue water of the bay. “What’s that, Aunt Judy?” she asked, pointing a finger across the bay to a billowing smokestack.
Judy glanced into the rearview mirror to see her niece before coming to a slow halt at a stop sign. Looking out the driver’s-side window, she followed the child’s pointing finger. “Across the bay? Is that where you’re looking?”
“Yes,” Kylie continued to point. “Where the smoke is.”
“That’s the cement plant.”
“They make cement there?” Kylie confirmed, still gazing at the factory on the water’s edge.
“Yes, ma’am, they do.” Judy started to drive again, pulling onto the main road along the bay.
Kylie thought a moment as she continued to look out the window. “Do they make cement out of Petoskey stones? Is that why they chose to put it there?”
Judy let out a snort. “I don’t think so, honey. I think they grind up limestone to make cement.” She thought a moment as she drove along the steep cliff overlooking the Petoskey Tot Park they’d just left. It was Kylie’s reward for being a patient grocery shopper. “However, the beaches near the plant are some of the best places to find Petoskey stones, in my experience.”
Kylie glanced out the window again at the disappearing view. “Why?”
Judy smiled. “Word is, the bay has a steep drop-off not far from the cement plant. I would imagine that might create a prehistoric setting for the coral to grow that forms the Petoskey stones.”
“Prehistoric? So dinosaurs lived down there by the coral?”
Judy continued her smile, enjoying the child’s curiosity. “Maybe.”
Kylie looked at her shiny black Mary Janes that barely reached the edge of the car seat. “How deep is the drop-off, Aunt Judy?”
“I’m not sure, Kylie.”
Kylie absently picked a scab on her knee that peeked out from the skirt of her plaid dress. “Like, a mile?”
Judy glanced in the rearview mirror again before answering. “I think there are holes out there that are so deep that no one has found the bottom.”
“Not even scuba divers?”
“Nope. Remember, the springs coming up here make the water very cold. The deeper you go, the colder it gets.”
“Because the sun’s rays can’t warm it when it’s that deep.”
“So no people can go down there because it’s so cold?”
“Well, they wouldn’t be able to stay down for long if they did.”
Kylie quietly picked the scab as minutes of silence ticked by. “So there could be dinosaurs living down there, but no one would know it?”
Judy let out a snort. “Oh, I’m pretty sure people would know it if there were dinosaurs in the bay.”
Kylie used the skirt of her dress to daub at the blood that oozed from a deep part of her scab before folding her hands on her lap and staring at her shoes. “But there could be dinosaurs,” she said softly. “There could be.”
 The Crooked Tree, Wright, John C., 1917, Pages 146-148.
“Do you shave your arms?” I asked the man on the other side of the table.
“Sometimes,” came his casual reply.
I acted as if that was an acceptable answer, but inside I was screaming, “Sometimes?!? Do you want me to shave my legs SOMETIMES?”
Lesson Number 1 to properly manscaping is maintenance. If you expect a woman to have her legs shaved during turtleneck season and every time you come in contact with her, you have to keep up. Manscaping is like eating chocolate to women or drinking beer to men…once you start, you have to do it every day. Nothing is ickier than running my hand over a man’s chest only to feel week-old stubble. I should say ickier and owier because it hurts. If I want to exfoliate, I’ll use my loofah in lieu of a stubbly chest.
Lesson Number 2 to manscaping is you have to properly rinse out the tub after you shave two-week old stubble, especially if the drain is slow. Grody.
If women can endure child birth and a Brazilian wax, maybe guys should get wax jobs if they choose to manscape. That would eliminate bristly regrowth and the stubble left in the tub.
Of course, you have the old-fashioned rebel who refuses to manscape. Where I come from, we call that Sasquatch, and they make TV shows about it. Some people spend their lives looking for Sasquatch when he’s right in front of them under that baseball cap, Spartan sweatshirt, and loose jeans. We chicks call that camouflage.
All joking aside, other than a little appropriate trimming, I’m anti manscaping. In my opinion, nothing is sexier than looking across the table at a man with some chest hair peeking out the top of his unbuttoned shirt (as he holds out a chocolate bar to me). It tells me there’s an animal under that shirt that is not too far removed from a caveman who might grab me by the hair and drag me back to his cave. Maybe I have some dominance issues.
Then there’s the man who reaches for my hand with the fingers of a grizzly bear. Is finger waxing a thing? If not, could it be?
Lastly, we have the man who back waxes. This confuses me. Isn’t it easier to wear a shirt? Just don’t live in Florida, and you will always have an excuse to wear a shirt. Or move to Alaska if you want to be sure. How bad can it be? Okay, say your significant other is getting their fingers tangled in it, so you wax. Waxing is acceptable because it will grow back soft. Back shaving is a no-no. You’d have to duct tape your razor to a back scratcher. That’s more stubble than anyone needs to encounter…ever.
My final word of advice if you’re still confused? If you have average hair growth, let it grow and show us your inner caveman. If people report Bigfoot sightings in the locker room, man up and wax, don’t shave. Your significant other will find you incredibly soft and snuggly.
The hunt for Sasquatch will go on. Happy dating!
Book 3 in the Harbor Secret Series, Leviathan, is coming soon!
“So how do you feel about me kissing you good night?” he asked.
She flashed an inviting smile before replying, “I guess I wouldn’t be opposed to it.”
He stepped in, his nose touching hers, before kissing her straight on. She tilted her head to her right. He tilted his to his left. She tilted hers farther in an effort to justify the situation. He tilted his farther.
She pulled back, but he moved in for another kiss. Realizing he wasn’t picking up on her subtle clues, she decided to go with the flow and tilt her head to the left. It was weird.
She again attempted to, er, right the situation by tilting her head to the right. This time, he placed a hand on either side of her head and purposefully tilted her head to the left.
Although there is definitely something to be said for a man who takes control of a situation and offers guidance and instruction, it’s different when it’s guidance to something that isn’t clicking.
Never, in all my extensive kissing career, have I encountered a left tilter. I’ve kissed men in other countries, so I knew this wasn’t some kind of international tilt.
Wondering if I’d been missing out on the new Fifty Shades of Tilting, I took it upon myself to extensively poll my girlfriends. Not a single gal had heard of such a thing — although I still have one friend out doing some extra legwork to research the topic.
I decided to take it to the next level and text the guy.
“Are you left handed?” I asked.
“No. Why?” came his simple response.
I had to know if he’d successfully trained every woman he’d been with to tilt to the left, and now these exes were prancing around confusing other men with their left tilt, so I asked.
“Ha!” came his light-hearted reply. “I think I’d usually tilt to the right; but, due to my over-talking, I haphazardly tilted left.”
I thought a moment. So it was an accident? How could that be? After I’d tried so hard to, er, right the situation, he’d purposefully placed his hands on my head and moved it to the wrong side. He’d then proceeded to hold it in place like I was starring in my own version of Fifty Shades of Left Tilting. All I needed was a quick spank and a trip to The Red Room to take it home.
When I didn’t readily respond, he followed up with, “I’ve been told fifty times I’m a good kisser and can kiss better, but sometimes it takes a couple tries.”
Since we’re not in our twenties, I hesitate to believe any of us need a couple tries to get it right anymore. However, I’m no quitter. My parents were teachers, so I’m probably pretty good at teaching the correct technique. I guess I’ll give him another chance. If nothing else, teaching him to tilt right is my little chance to make the world, at least his world, a little bit better place.
The Tunnels and Devil’s Elbow are both available in audiobook format at http://www.audible.com/pd/Mysteries-Thrillers/The-Tunnels-Audiobook/B01NCNA6YW/ref=a_search_c4_1_12_srTtl?qid=1482881799&sr=1-12.
Despite the readily-apparent benefits, I’m probably the only chick who has issues with dating a doctor.
One of the first perks that comes to mind is he’s likely to be financially stable. The second is that you can save a bundle on office visits. If you have a thing for men in white coats, that would be the third. The last perk would be, if things work out, you can make reservations as “Dr. and Mrs.” That part might be kind of fun.
However, I have other issues that override all those pluses. First, this is a person who already knows what you look like nekkid (Yes, I spelled it like that on purpose). It’s his job, and he’s trained for years to intimately know your every nook and cranny. Every time I see a doctor, I feel like he’s looking at me with x-ray glasses on. Maybe I should look into clothing infused with steel or a radiation guard to deter that. And doesn’t knowing what I already look like nekkid make sex rather anticlimactic for him? Does he think, “Oh, another boob. I saw a better one two hours ago in the office”?
Secondly, every time I talk about something, is he secretly thinking which disorders I best fit into? In his mind is he thinking, “Oh, that was rather neurotic” or “She may have paranoid schizophrenia,” or is he just thinking, “There’s a pill for that”?
Thirdly, it’s really hard to keep from asking for free medical opinions. Why do you think my knee hurts? What’s this weird rash on my arm? Do you think I’m neurotic? Huh? Huh? Huh? Do you?
So what do I talk about if I can’t ask for medical opinions? Should I peruse his curriculum vitae? Should I ask what his favorite kind of surgery is? Does he know George Clooney because all doctors know each other? Oh, wait, George isn’t really – or is he?
One of my friends pointed out that having a doctor already know my every nook and cranny might be a factor that could work to my benefit. If he already knows that, he probably knows how to do a few tricks the average joe doesn’t. Maybe palpation could lead to palpitations. Regardless, I’d still want to wear a radiation protection drape on our dates. I wouldn’t want him to think I was easy.
Going on vacation for spring break and looking for some light yet steamy reading? Check out the Nine Days In Greece series!
Today, March 2, 2017, through Monday, March 6, 2017, I’m offering a free download of Before The Nine Days! This book is the prequel to Nine Days In Greece. Before Katie Collins traveled to the exotic island of Crete to meet her own personal Greek god, she had a very different story.
“Women just love him because he’s loaded,” a guy friend mumbled bitterly.
“Have you read the books?” I asked.
“No. I hear they’re badly written.”
Doesn’t he realize that a story is a story, no matter how badly written? It’s about the story, baby.
The fact that Christian Grey can buy lunch for Anastasia Steel and would never think of accepting her attempt to pay for it is only part of what makes him appealing. Another part may be his ability to do a lot of pull-ups with no shirt on. And then there’s that weird balancing thing he does in his workout room, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.
So what is it about the damaged, intense, and neurotic Christian Grey that women really like? Did I mention “intense”? He’s all about Anastasia. He and his staff know where she is every second of the day. Normally that would place him into the “Psychos to Avoid” category, but it comes in super handy when he’s rescuing her all the time. And I mean ALL the time. This places him right up there with “Firefighter” in my list of super-hot jobs because, really, don’t we all want to be rescued? I’ve got a glass of wine in me, so that’s the only reason I’m admitting to that.
So what else do we love about him? He’s not boring in the bedroom. He gets ten out of ten stars for originality and creativity in that department. And, oh, the props in his closet….mmm, mmm, mmm. As a side note, guys who can do lots and lots of pull-ups look really good in jeans and just jeans. He is the ultimate prop.
The last thing I love – I mean we love about Christian Grey is that he is completely in love with Anastasia. There’s no glancing at another beautiful woman that walks by. He’s all about her. Once he figures this out, he totally locks it down with a marriage proposal that equals his creativity in the bedroom.
I’ve read Book 3 in the series, so I know what’s coming in the Movie Department. My favorite thing about this series is how their relationship grows and changes. He’s totally into her and learns to change his old spanky habits to become, well, nice spanky habits that she appreciates.
So, no, Mr. I Haven’t Read The Books, we don’t just like him because he’s loaded. If that were the case, we’d all be hot to trot for certain real estate tycoons that get involved in politics. There’s more to it. He’s classy, respectful, adoring, aggressive, creative, protective, and a provider. Isn’t that what we all hope for, or is the wine kicking in?
The Tunnels and Devil’s Elbow are now both available in audiobook format. Watch for Book 3 in the series this spring!
I’m super excited to announce that Devil’s Elbow, Book 2 in the Harbor Secret Series, is now available in an audiobook format! This book is narrated by Allyson Voller. No time to read? Now you can listen to the story as you fall asleep, shovel snow, drive, or go for your morning run. Some call it multi-tasking. You can purchase the audiobook version at Audible.com, Amazon.com, and iTunes. I’ve provided a link below.
Today, February 2, 2017, is the last day to enter to win a free, signed copy of The Tunnels on Goodreads! I’m attaching the link below for your convenience. Good luck!
“I tried to tell him how the things he did made me feel,” my friend argued, “and he threw a mantrum!”
“A mantrum?” I asked, taking a moment for the new, self-explanatory word to sink in before laughing.
“Yes! It was like an adult child was in the room.”
I couldn’t stop laughing.
“He’s pouting now,” she continued.
Regaining my composure, I asked, “So did he eventually calm down enough to talk it out?”
She let out an exasperated sigh. “Yes, but then he just started mansplaining, and I’m even more confused than I was before the whole discussion started. It just went on and on nonsensically. He even peppered it with a few sports analogies.”
Laughing again, I asked, “How many of these ‘man’ words do you have? Because they’re kind of brilliant.”
She rolled her eyes. “I think that’s it, but I may come up with more if this topic comes up again.”
Ladies, how many times have we had a guy say something that left us feeling taken aback? Seeing our response was not going to be favorable, he would immediately start mansplaining in an effort to go back and cover his tracks.
Frankly, whenever a guy has tried to mansplain something to me, I’m left with no idea how what he said applies to the situation at hand. What happened to that old saying that men are simple creatures who say exactly what they feel? Maybe they do in the sports and news departments but, when it comes to discussing a relationship or feelings, it’s not so simple.
The guy who throws a mantrum may have not-so-hidden anger issues. I’m not the kind of person who responds to yelling, jumping up and down, and pouting. Believe it or not, I don’t find that sexy. On the other hand, a guy who can empty the mousetrap for me, I find that pretty sexy. Now, what would I call him? A man-saver? A man-i-nator? A man-god? A man-cat? I guess I’m not as creative as my friend, so I’d better just stick with “hero” and make him a Manwich.
You can still enter to win a signed copy of The Tunnels on Goodreads until February 2, 2017!
The Tunnels is now also available in an audiobook format.