Wednesday, December 18, 2013

A Christmas Tale

 (At Mysti's House)


Leona Pence         
                                   'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house
Not a creature was stirring, except Mysti's spouse.
He hung all the stockings on the mantel with care,
His children expected St Nick to be there.
Mysti had filled them almost to the top,

With candy, small toys and a bubble gum pop…
Bryan laughed as these thoughts flitted through his mind as he tried to slip the bulging stockings onto the hooks. Mysti had outdone herself this year. Matter of fact, the eggnog was better too. He turned and drained his third mug of the creamy brew before stepping back to appraise his handiwork. Perfect! He spread his arms, palms up in satisfaction.

He moved across the room to his recliner, and noticed the pitcher of eggnog sitting on the coffee table. He couldn't see any sense in wasting it. One more mug full wouldn't hurt. He relaxed in the comfy chair and let his eyes wander around the room taking in the twinkling lights on the Christmas tree and the brightly wrapped packages nestled beneath its branches.

Zachary would have a lot of fun with the Monster Truck, almost as much as he did when picking it out. Bryan couldn't remember if Mysti had given in to Meg's plea for a cell phone. All kids wanted their own phone in this day and age, but his wife wasn't happy about the idea. Zoe had the right idea. He could still remember his first Nintendo. It was used, and a far cry from the ones made now.

He drained his eggnog mug and poured up the last three inches from the pitcher. He'd have to tell Mysti how great it tasted. Ah, Mysti. She'd worked so hard making Christmas good for all of them. He had a gift of jewelry under the tree for her but she deserved something special. What could he do?

And then, it came to him. Voila! She'd been working on her book for hours on end. He drank half the delicious eggnog in his cup, How hard could it be to finish typing that book for her? He stood and had to grab on the chair to stay upright. He grinned at being so clumsy, but held on to the furniture until he got to Mysti's computer desk and landed heavily in the chair. Thank goodness Mysti left her computer turned on.

How in the world did she get any work done on this blurry screen? It took him ten minutes to bring up her novel file. He squinted his eyes and read the last page she'd written. Elves and dragons. He could write about them in his sleep just by pretending he was playing a video game.

Bryan typed and typed, stopped to laugh at what he'd written, and typed some more. He decided to bring Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs into the story to help the elves. Surely elves and dwarves were related and would help each other. Finally, with a satisfied gasp, he typed The End.

He printed out the whole manuscript to wrap and put under the tree. Good grief, the wrapping paper kept wrinkling and he couldn't get the tape to hold it together. Oh well, it wasn't the wrapping that counted. He hoped the pages had numbers though; he'd dropped them twice while looking for the tape.

It felt so good knowing Mysti would be happy that her book was finished. He swayed as he carried his package toward the tree. He gasped and fell backwards onto the couch. St. Nick stood before the mantel adding more gifts and candy to the stockings. The manuscript slid out of Bryan's grasp and fell to the floor. Santa turned and his smile lit up the room like a bright sunny day. He walked over and picked up the manuscript, held it high above his head, and murmured a few unintelligible words. He lowered his hands so Bryan could see a beautiful hardback book with an amazing design. A touch of his finger covered the gift in an embossed gold wrapping with curls of rainbow ribbon gracing the top.
 "Merry Christmas, Bryan…and to all a goodnight"

Bryan fell back on the couch and drifted into a deep sleep. The next thing he knew, Mysti was shaking him awake. He rubbed his eyes and sat up. Oh my God, what a dream he'd had. Mysti would kill him if he'd actually touched her work. Before he could tell her his dream, the kids bounded in to see what Santa had left for them.
He watched as Mysti passed out the gifts from under the tree. The children squealed in delight as they opened their packages. Then, Mysti looked at her own gifts. She held up the gold embossed package and smiled up at him. His eyes bugged out and his mouth dropped open. When she didn't see a name on the tag except her own, she sweetly asked who the gift was from. 

"Santa Claus," he whispered.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Mysti Parker's 50th Hit Giveaway

Mysti Parker is having an awesome giveaway. I have donated two ebooks of Hemphill Towers plus a 4x6 glossy of the cover and an inkpen.

Event Page:

The link to the Romance Giveaway:

One Grand prize up for grabs is a Kindle and $15 Amazon card. Click here for a Rafflecopter entry.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Welcome Penny Estelle

It’s my pleasure to shine a spotlight on Penny Estelle and let her tell you why she is happy today.  Congratulations, Penny.

I can’t tell you how excited I am that my very first ever Christmas story is being released today.  The Unwanted Christmas Guest is a story about Elizabeth McMurphy, an up and coming high powered attorney, who is after vengeance.  Her sights are set on one of the richest and most powerful families in Colorado. Steve York is an obnoxious reporter that thinks the ice queen has gone too far and does all he can to get under her skin.
When one of the worst blizzards in history, hits Colorado and leaves a hurt Steve York, stranded with Elizabeth in a mountain cabin, she must decide to either take care of him, or throw him out to fend for himself.

“What’s going on here? Where the hell are my pants?”
      Elizabeth practically jumped out of her skin. Steve stood in the bedroom doorway, wearing only some tight fitting pink sweats.
“I found you after your car went nose to nose with a tree.” She crossed her arms. “The question is, what were you doing up here in a snowstorm? Were you coming up here to spy on me?”
      “Jesus, my head hurts.” Steve groaned and sat at the kitchen table. “And don’t flatter yourself.” He brought up his hands to rub his eyes and push on his temples. He started to say something when a giggle and a round of undistinguishable sounds caught his attention. Steve stared at the little girl, a whisper of a smile on his pale face. “You have a daughter?”
      She chose to ignore the question. “Again, Mr. York, you were headed…where?”
      “I was going to see some friends in Granby, then on to Steamboat to spend the holidays with my family.”
      “You figured on taking a short cut on Badger Springs Road?”
      “Basically,” he muttered. “I had a phone in my pants pocket…” Steve looked down at the pink sweats. “Yours, I presume?” At her nod, he asked with a smirk, “And you’re the one that took my clothes off?”
      “Junior, my neighbor.”
      “If you’ll allow me to use your phone, I’ll call Triple A and get myself and my car out of your life.” He reached over to Katy and she latched onto his finger, the brightest smile ever illuminating her sweet face.
Elizabeth quickly picked her up, as if he would contaminate her by his touch.  “Phones are out.”
      “How the hell do you live here?” he asked irritably.
* * *

Please find The Unwanted Christmas Guest and my other stories with MuseItUp publishing @

Feel free to stop by and check out my other stories and/or leave me a message.  I love visitors!

Hi everybody!  My name is Penny Estelle.  I was a school secretary for 21 years and retired in 2009.  We moved to our retirement home in Kingman, AZ, and we live on 54 acres in a very rural area.  Actually we live “off the grid”, on solar and wind.  A real adjustment for a city girl.  I must say – I love it.  Nothing like looking out your window in the early morning and see a wave of quail running across the property, or walking out your front door at night and hear coyotes howling in the distance and seeing a sky bursting with stars.  It is breathtaking!
I started writing for kids right before I retired.  There is always material when kids are involved.  I am pleased to say I have several middle grade/tween books out and my debut book for adults, under P. A. Estelle,  was just recently released.  I also have a non-fiction story out about our life with solar.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

A Life Full of Stories: Meet Jack Germond

Writers seek to leave a mark on the world. They work to draft the pages and words that will invade the human psyche and make people feel. Or make them laugh.Or make them think. It is a difficult journey, and many writers never quite reach that mark. Still, others meet and surpass it, and even when they are gone, their words linger. Some of the classical greats come to mind. Shakespeare. London. Orwell. Twain. And now sadly, another great writer, Jack Germond, must be added to that list. A man who lived a life full of stories. So many, that even as he was saying goodbye to this world, he was kind enough to leave us with one to savor.

A story to make us feel. To make us laugh. To make us think.

Jack Germond passed away on August 14, 2013, the same day as the e-book release of his book. The veritable, Alice Travis Germond, Jack's loving wife, has graciously agreed to embark on a blog tour on Jack's behalf. She is always happy to hear from readers and fans. Please feel free to leave your thoughts in our comments.

A Small Story for Page 3
By political pundit Jack Germond

Harry Fletcher can’t for the life of him figure out what exactly the ‘nugget’ of information his colleague, Eddie Concannon, uncovered prior to his death is. Picking his way along the threads of information, Harry soon finds himself at odds with government officials and his own newspaper seems to be involved in the collusion. Join Harry as he deciphers the clues and enjoy a journey into the world of investigative reporting set against a colorful back drop of characters and locations.

Find Jack's book online:
MuseItUp Publishing Store    

An excerpt: 

"Oddly enough, ladies and gentlemen of the TV audience," Harry announced in his persona as Larry Largelungs of Action Central News, "the condemned man was smiling and singing as he approached the gallows."

The mood changed when he arrived at Wear's office to find the executive editor and the managing editor waiting and somberly reading printouts of the story.

"This thing has to be settled today," Wear said. "It's gone on long enough, it's tied us in knots, and we need to find a solution."

"I thought we had one," Harry said. "The story shows he has been sailing under false colors as a corruption fighter by trying to protect one of the targets of the investigation with whom he had a connection, perhaps lucrative, not previously disclosed."

"We're not the ones who have to be convinced," Mike reminded him.

When they walked into Marcotte's office, it was obvious he was not prepared to be persuaded. The publisher remained behind his huge mahogany desk and with a brusque gesture he seated the others at the small conference table.

"I've read the story you people seem to think should run on Page One as soon as possible," he said, "I think it’s still libelous horseshit, and I intend to spike it, this time for good. You still have no hard evidence that Tyler Bannister resisted Phase Two because of some personal concern. But Tyler denies it flat-out and there's no quote from him to corroborate it."Harry was trying to contain his fury. "The only quote from him in reply was “go fuck yourself.” Do you want to use that?"

"Don't be flippant, Fletcher, this is a serious question."

"We all understand that, Dave," Wear said, stepping in quickly. "If you want a clearer denial in more decorous terms, we can do that."

"A denial isn't going to change the fact that we are doing serious damage to Tyler Bannister's reputation and potentially his political career," Marcotte said, his voice rising. "I don't intend to be a party to that."

"That was never our intention," Wear said. "We've gone where the story has taken us. The truth is that this episode raises serious questions about Bannister's candidacy."

"It shows him interceding in behalf of a friend and former business associate in an official investigation," Harry said with some heat. "That's a part of the truth about him that we know but our readers do not."

"Don't give me that truth and readers crap, Fletcher," the publisher said. "I remember you calling him a trimmer way back there. You had it in for him from the start. So did Concannon."

"This story quotes Tom Lawton saying Bannister called him with a warning about being on Carvaggio's list of targets and it quotes Rudy Myers as confirming that Bannister ordered Lawton's name stricken from that list once he agreed to retire from the bench."

"I know what the story says but, as I told you earlier, Fletcher," Marcotte said, "it is the publisher, not the reporter, who decides what appears in the News and I have made the decision on this one." After an interminable twenty seconds of silence, he continued, "I think we're through here, gentlemen. Thanks for coming in." When the elevator dropped them at the third floor, Wear beckoned them into his office and closed the door on Meg. "I don't know what we do now," he said.

"What you and Mike do," Harry said, "is keep faith with the good people here who depend on you to let them put out a good newspaper and hope for change. What I do, is clean a few things out of my desk and walk out of the building. I don't have any choice now."

"What are you going to do about the story," Mike asked.

"I haven't thought it through, Mike, but I'm not going to give it to the Trib or some television station. I don't know if the story is mine to use elsewhere or what. It would take a lot of time and effort for anyone else to duplicate it."

Wear had a different concern. "What are you going to say when the word gets out that you've left the building?" he asked.

"I could just tell the truth—that I have left the News after almost thirty years because of a decision by the publisher to spike a story I wrote. Period." He laughed. "I'll leave it to Amy Whiting to fill in the blanks."

At Wear's office door, he turned to his two old friends. "Look, this isn't the end of the world. Let's all have dinner later in the week, some place public for all to see. Meanwhile, I'll keep you posted."

About the Author 
Jack Germond (January 30, 1928 – August 14, 2013) was a retired newspaper man, columnist and TV pundit. But like a Thoroughbred racehorse, a reporter never actually retires—he just writes about other things. The author brings his vast knowledge and understanding of the press and the business of getting the information to public to bear in his breakout novel, A Small Story for Page 3.

Mr. Germond was nationally known as a bemused liberal and was a regular on The McLaughlin Group as well as appearing on other public affairs TV programs — CNN, Meet The Press and The Today Show among others. He covered ten presidential elections, and with Jules Witcover wrote a book covering each presidential election from 1980 to 1992. Timothy Crouse made Germond a prominent figure in “Boys on the Bus” his acclaimed book on the 1972 presidential election. Mr. Germond has previously published two non-fiction books, his memoir “Fat Man in A Middle Seat” (Random House 2002) and “Fat Man Fed Up” (Random House 2005) a scride on the decline of politics in the United States. Along with Jules Witcover he wrote a syndicated column that ran in 140 papers five days a week from 1977 to 2001. 2000.

Chris Farley once spoofed Germond on Saturday Night Live. Germond was known for his no nonsense approach to reporting and his love of good food, good liquor and good friends. He instituted The Germond Rule which two generations of political reporters have adhered to. The rule simply stated that when a group of reporters dined together the tab would be split evenly, no matter who ate or drank more. This caused his many friends to eat and drink defensively when covering stories and enjoying good company.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Lethal Journey by Kim Cresswell

Welcome to my blog, Kim. After reading Reflection, I knew I'd love Lethal Journey which can be pre-ordered for $.99 using the link below. What a bargain!

Lauren Taylor worked her way up to Manhattan District Attorney and was assigned first chair in the trial to prosecute mob boss, Gino Valdina, for murdering his wife. What mobster sits back and waits to be convicted? Kim Cresswell gives us plenty of people to eye with suspicion as possible Valdina cronies.

Detective Eric Brennan, Lauren’s former boyfriend, searches for his father’s killer while trying to protect Lauren from attempts on her life. Sparks fly between the two as they conspire to see justice done while not knowing who to trust. This book is an action-packed page turner with twists and turns to keep you guessing. I highly recommend Lethal Journey.


A killer lurks in the shadows of Hyde Park, New York...waiting.

Manhattan District Attorney, Lauren Taylor, is about to take on the most important case of her career, prosecuting Gino Valdina, acting mob boss of New York's most influential crime syndicate.

For three decades, Gino Valdina has led New York's Valdina crime family. Since his recent indictment for murder, the leadership of the family is in turmoil, appalled by the death of one of their own, Gino's wife, Madelina. Without the support of the family behind him, Valdina will do anything to save himself.

But Lauren soon discovers, things aren't always as they seem when she's tossed into a mystery, a deadly conspiracy that reaches far beyond the criminal underworld and a journey into the past makes her a target...and anyone she's ever loved.
Lethal Journey Excerpt
September 1997
Rain pounded down.

Lauren Taylor squinted through the windshield, a backwash of water battered the glass. She flicked the wipers on high and tightened her hands around the steering wheel. With a quick glance in the rear-view mirror she noticed headlights behind her. The vehicle appeared to speed up, fall back, and then speed up again.

Her muscles tensed. “That driver behind us seems to be in a big hurry.”

Her father leaned forward in the seat and peered into the side mirror. “He’s all over the road. Might be drunk or something.”

“He’s crazy driving like that in this weather. I’m letting him go by.” She downshifted the Jaguar and steered onto the side of the road and rolled to a stop.

As the van raced by. A giant wave of water pelted the side of the car.

Her father watched out the window. “Christ, he’s flying”

Taillights flickered and quickly faded ahead into the blackened night.

With a quick glimpse in the mirror, Lauren steered the car back onto the road, her grip relaxed around the wheel. “That’s better.”

Her father repositioned himself in the leather seat and stretched his legs. “The Law Society’s dinner is next week. You going?”

God, the dinner. She’d bought an expensive navy and white designer dress for the occasion and even toyed with the idea of having her hair cut into something more sophisticated and polished for a New York district attorney.

“I’ll have to check my schedule.”

“Not good enough. I want you there, Lauren. My chance to show you off. Do some bragging, big time.”

She couldn’t help but smile. “Okay, Dad. Okay.”

“And don’t forget to bring a date for protection. Don’t want a bunch of drunken seedy lawyers groping you on the dance floor. And by the way, I heard Eric was back in town.”

Her smile faded as she remembered the annual dinner years before. She’d never forgotten a single detail of that night—how Eric held her in his arms and how his mouth devoured her willing lips then pulled away and left her mouth burning for more...

“What else did you hear about him?” she blurted out.

“Not much. Can’t even remember where I heard the news. Thought you didn’t want to talk about Brennan?”

“I don’t. I just wondered when he got back.”

Her father's jaw tightened. “Don’t know.” His voice turned hard. “Just heard he’s back.”

At one point in their relationship, Eric begged her to come with him and start a new life in Florida. She didn’t have the courage to leave her father and walk away from her job. Four years later, she was taking on the most important case of her career—prosecuting Gino Valdina, head of New York’s crime family, just like her father had done a decade before. But this time would be different. Gino Valdina wasn’t going to get away with murder.

The sky split and lightning lit the wet road. Lauren eyed the exit sign to Hyde Park.

The whining squeal of an engine roared from behind.

Lauren glanced over her shoulder. “God, that van is back.” She clicked on the turning signal and steered onto the off-ramp. Her eyes darted back to the side mirror.

Headlights swerved from side to side.

A shiver drove up her spine. She clutched the steering wheel.

“I’m calling the police.” Her father grabbed his cell phone out of the glove box and turned it on. “Damn it. I can’t get a signal.”

“Keep trying.”

The van’s driver gunned the engine.

The grill came into view, massive and powerful.

Close. Too close.

Metal connected and scraped against the bumper.

The van shoved the Jaguar ahead on the road.

High-beams from the other lane blinded her.

Lauren blinked and turned her head.

The van rammed the back of the car. Metal popped as the back window disintegrated into the back seat.
The seat belt snapped across her shoulder. Her head slammed back on the head rest then forward. “Oh my God!”

The cell phone flew from her father’s hand. “What the—”


Like a slingshot the Jaguar shot down the slick road.

Lauren slammed on the brakes.

The car slid a half circle and spun out of control. A massive tidal wave of water washed over the roof.

Her father clutched the dashboard with both hands. “The tree!”

She yanked the steering wheel hard to the left.

Wood splintered. Metal buckled, squealed and cracked. The air bag struck her body like a fist, and smacked her head against the side window. She pushed at it, viciously. With every move, fiery pain shot through her face and down her neck. The sickening sweet stench of gasoline and smoke filled her nostrils. 

Her head clouded.

Lauren heard her own voice, pinched and muffled, cry out. “Dad!” until her words drifted into silence.

 Trained as a legal assistant, Kim has been a story-teller all her life but took many detours including; working in legal and adult education before returning to her first love, writing.
Her debut thriller, REFLECTION, has won numerous awards. UP Authors Fiction Challenge Winner (2013), Silicon Valley's Romance Writers of America (RWA) "Gotcha!" Romantic Suspense Winner (2004) and an Honourable Mention in Calgary's (RWA) The Writer's Voice Contest (2006).

LETHAL JOURNEY was a finalist in From the Heart Romance Writers (FTHRW) Golden Gate Contest (2003).

Her action-packed thrillers have been highly praised by reviewers and readers. As one reviewer said, "Buckle up, hang on tight!"
LETHAL JOURNEY - A killer lurks in the shadows of Hyde Park, New York...waiting.
Pre-order at a special price of $0.99 - Save $3.00!
Barnes & Noble:
REFLECTION - Award-winning romantic thriller!  
MuseItUp Publishing: 
Barnes & Noble:

Here's a link to a Rafflecopter where Kim will be giving away two signed ebooks of Reflection.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Anything is Possible--I'm on tonight's news!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

It's Launch Day!

Yes, the day I’ve been waiting for has finally arrived. Can you believe that I, Leona Pence, am now a published author? Pinch me somebody.

I’m planning a big Facebook Event soon with lots of cool prizes. I want my family and friends to celebrate with me. You are all invited— Instead of a launch party, it will be :

      Come  Celebrate With Me!
Date and Time details 
 Sunday November 3
12:30-4:30 CST

 Short excerpt:
They walked outside through sliding glass doors to the pool area.

“Would you like to go for a swim before dinner?”

“I don't have a swim suit with me.”

“We can skinny dip.” His eyes twinkled.

She grinned at him. “I don't think so.”

“There are a few more options. I could locate one of Katie's but...humm...I doubt
the top will fit.”

She picked up a towel from a stack and threw it at him.

“I can lend you a white tee-shirt that will cover you nicely.”

Stella laughed at that suggestion. She could tell by his face that he was visualizing
a wet t-shirt on her. “Next time, I'll bring my swim suit. I promise.”

They strolled around the pool and down a beautiful garden path that led to a
wooded area. A small pond came into view.

“We can fish for our dinner sometime in this pond. It’s well stocked and has to be
thinned out once in a while. Ducks are often gliding on the water. Katie loved to
watch them.”

“I’ve never fished before. Would I have to touch a worm?”

JB laughed and pulled her close. “No, I’ll be happy to bait the hook for you.”

MuseItUp Book Store : Hemphill Towers
Bump Off Your Enemies
The Darwin Murders
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