The Seguin Lighthouse – Haunted Lighthouse Series

Sep 15 2021, 7:00 am in

 

The Seguin Lighthouse is in the Gulf of Maine on Seguin Island, south of the Kennebec River. Established in 1795, it is the second-oldest of Maine’s coastal lighthouses. The light station stands on the island’s highest point, and includes the lighthouse itself, the keeper’s house, fog signal building, a small oil house, and a 1006 foot tramway for bringing supplies from the shore to the site. The light, built from granite blocks, is 53 feet tall and 180 feet above sea level making it the highest in the state. The first tower was wood frame completed in 1797 and replaced by the present tower in 1857.

This light has quite the history and of course, it is haunted…..

 

Starting with the history part, on September 5, 1813 the epic sea battle between the HMS Boxer and USS Enterprise took place near Seguin. Yes. The name USS Enterprise has a long, glorious history.

 

More than a hundred light keepers have served at Seguin. There has been several women assistant keepers. Not a common thing in those days. Going through the list of keepers names I found it odd that some were removed from their position. For what reason? I can understand why many resigned. That island is pretty small and is said to be foggy fifteen percent of the time. The fog horn is so loud it can be heard fourteen miles away and keepers swear it has blasted birds from the sky.  BTW I don’t particularly care for fog.

Those who lived there had to be pretty self-sufficient. Electricity didn’t arrive until 1953 and from what I can tell it was kinda iffy at that. Did those that resigned get bored? Couldn’t take the isolation or get tired of being so self-sufficient?

Now here is where the weird stuff begins.     

Near the island, in July of 1875, a sea captain and ship’s crew reported seeing a monster that came to their boat and put its head over the rail. They struck it with a pike sending it back into the water. A few days later another boat reported seeing the serpent floating along occasionally raising it head to look around. WTH?

Many believe that the pirate, Captain Kidd, buried his gold and silver treasure on the island. In 1936, for a year, a man dug up the place looking for it but found nothing.

Sometime in the mid-1800s a murder suicide took place. A light keeper bought his wife a piano. Ah. Nice guy. She played the same tune over and over for hours upon hours until it apparently drove the keeper insane because he took an axe to the piano, his wife and himself. Eww. Doing yourself in with an axe? The mind boggles. The spooky thing is on quiet nights, the crews of ships going by the island say they can hear the tune playing over and over and over.

A young girl died and was buried on the island and many report still seeing her running up and down the stairs. Some have even heard her laughing.

There are other reports of items being moved or going missing, jackets being taken from hooks and thrown to the floor, and furniture rearranged.  

When the Coast Guard was packing up to leave the island in 1985 an apparition in oil skins begged a warrant officer to leave his furniture and home alone. The next day as the furniture was being loaded on a boat, chains broke and all the furniture fell into the ocean. Coincidence? Don’t know but my new rule is if a ghost asks me to leave his furniture and home alone, I’m not arguing.   

                                                   What do you think? 

                                                                                Rita 

                                                                                                This was previously posted 

 

Eating Healthy

Sep 13 2021, 11:18 am in , ,

 I order my veggies from a local Farmer’s Market. This is todays produce.

 One order’s according to size and type of contents. Each week the contents vary. This is a small box for two. Cost is $22.00.  There are add ons available for $2.00 and $3.00. Extra tomatoes, mushrooms, fruit etc.  I like using the service because the produce is sourced directly from farmers. That means I get seasonal field-ripened produce. The company who provides the service is small and in business locally for many years. The best part for me is it’s delivered to my home. I’ve never had a problem with any of the content. I occasionally get surprised by substitutes but that’s kinda fun.   

 I’ll microwave most of the broccoli for a few seconds then put it the freezer to use later. Love zucchini. It can be fried, sautéed, baked, eaten raw. Yum. Baked sweet potato with sautéed zucchini sounds good for a vegetarian meal tonight.

 Where do you get your fruits and vegetables? Grocery? Farmer’s Market? Do you have a service like this?

                               Here’s to healthy eating.

                                        Rita

 

 

This week I begin blogging again.

Sep 12 2021, 12:09 pm

 

Some say blogging is dead. Newsletters is where it’s at.

Alrighty then, guess I’ll work on a newsletter also. This has to be squeezed in between writing and life. I’m shooting for once a week. Mondays to sorta get our motors running.

 Okay, I’ve got this.

 Now to decide on topics. Health is a biggie for me right now and I’m thinking exercise motivation. “If You’re Gonna Buy All That Equipment, Use It.”  Eating healthy posts. “Is An Air-Fryer Really That Great?” Maybe recipes. “I Like Kale Why Don’t You?”  

 I have loads of ideas rumbling around in my brain. Writers have vivid imaginations. We can escape to exotic places for mini-vacations. Perhaps we can take a few mini-vacas on the page together. I also enjoy art. Oooo. Sooo much to think about.     

 In addition to anything I can come up with, for the next five weeks on Wednesday, I’m reprising the Haunted Lighthouse series. Love lighthouses and the spooky stories about them are chilling.  

                                                     Hope to see you here.

                                                                          Rita

 

March is National Women’s History Month.

Mar 2 2021, 11:20 am in

 

Why Is March Women's History Month? | Sporcle Blog

As a writer I’m asking you to take some time and talk to the women in your family to get the other half of the story.

Other half of the story?

Yes. World events, disasters, family triumphs and celebrations told from their unique point of view. The vast majority of historical events is written from a male perspective. Hearing a woman’s point of view can be enlightening. 

Where they were, what they thought when Neil Armstrong set foot on the moon.

Who in your family remembers rationing during WWII?  Ask how difficult it was during that time to go months without letters from a loved one.

Find out what it was like to have a family member in Vietnam and, for the first time in history, see the war on the news every evening.

What they remember about Jackie Kennedy.  

Where they were on the morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001

Their first car. Boyfriend. The time they met Elvis. The real reason Aunt Gertrude left town. How Uncle Johnny got all his money.

Have you ever spoken to your mom about the day you were born?

Do you know the black sheep of your families? 

How did the women in your family meet the love of their life? What they thought when they did. I asked this question at a ladies gathering. One gal shared how she met the love of her life and then told us how she met her husband.

Do your children know how you met their father?

A family member was going to reveal a huge—her word—family secret to me. We’d set up a time for me to go over and hear this secret. She died before she could tell me. I’m left with a bazillion questions and a great deal of regret. Don’t have this happen to you. Transfer your family stories to words on the page so they will never be lost.

 There is a perfectly wonderful National Women’s History Museum to learn more about women of this country and inspire you. I particularly like the online exhibits page.  https://www.womenshistory.org/womens-history 

                                                                                Rita 

My World Famous Tequila Christmas Cookies

Dec 20 2020, 11:25 am

 

Ingredients

1 cup of water

 1 tsp. baking soda

 1 cup of sugar

1 cup of butter

 1 tsp. salt

 1 cup of brown sugar

 1 tbsp. lemon juice

 4 large eggs

 1 cup nuts

 2 cups of dried fruit

 1 bottle tequila

 Sample an ounce of the tequila to check quality.

Put butter in a large bowl, pour 2 ounces of tequila and drink. With electric mixer beat butter until the bowl is fluffy.

 Add one teaspoon of sugar. Beat again.

 At this point, it’s best to make sure the tequila is still OK, so, try a half a cup.

 Turn off the mixerer thingy.

 Break 2 leggs and add to the bowl and chuck in the cup of dried fruit.

 Pick the frigging fruit and the damn cup off the floor.

 Mix on the turner. If the fried druit gets stuck in the beaterers, just
 pry it loose with a drewscriver.

 Sample the tequila to check for tonsisticity.

 Next, sift two cups of salt, or something. Check the tequila.

 Now shift the lemon juice and strain your nuts.

 Add one table.

 Add a spoon of sugar, or somefink. Whatever you can find.

 Greash the oven.

 Turn the cake tin to 360 degrees and try not to fall over.

 Don’t forget to beat off the turner.

 Put the bowl through the window, finish off the booze and make sure to put the dirty stove in the dishwasher.

 CHERRY MISTMAS TO ALL!

 

 

 

Why I Write Military Heroines

Nov 11 2020, 9:23 am in ,

            I write about extraordinary women and the men they love. Military heroines.  Women at the top of their field in a man’s world. The men in their lives accept them for who they are and stand shoulder to shoulder with them in their adventures.

I’m frequently asked why my heroines are in the military.

Let me begin by saying the military is in my DNA. I come from a family, who over the years, have served in every branch of the service in every conflict since WWI. Two great, great, great, great uncles were in the Charge of the Light Brigade. Thomas Dunn, a corporal, and Alexander James Dunn, a lieutenant were members of the 11th Hussars, a British Army unit. Lieutenant Dunn was killed in the battle. Corporal Dunn was one of the fabled survivors.

My daddy trained Coast Guard recruits in Florida and Washington State, and patrolled in the North Atlantic riding shotgun for convoys. 

Another Uncle was a Navy ace in WWll and in Korea.

One uncle, on Daddy’s side of my family, was home in December 1941 for leave before he was to report to his next duty. His next duty? The USS Arizona in Hawaii.

My husband’s uncle served in Germany.

Hubs was a Marine and served in Vietnam.

One son was with the first Marines into Bagdad in the Iraq war.

There are many others but I think you get the point. 

 

Now, back to that question why my heroines are in the military.  I say why don’t we have more books with military heroines? I feel like the women in the service of their countries are under appreciated.

George Washington credits winning the war against England to six colonial spies who risked their lives to bring him information. One of them a woman whose name has never been discovered.

Dr. Mary Edwards Walker is the only woman to receive a Congressional Medal of Honor awarded for her life saving work during the Civil War. Her name was deleted from the Medal of Honor Roll in 1917. She was asked to return the medal and refused, wearing it every day until she died.

Agnes Meyer Driscoll known as Madame X, an American cryptanalyst for the U.S. Navy during World War I was a brilliant code breaker.

During WWII over 1000 women in this country flew every type of military aircraft, ferrying them to military bases and departure points. They were test pilots and towed targets to give gunners training. Their service wasn’t recognized until the 70s.

Nancy Augusta Wake was a British agent who became a courier for the French Resistance. By 1943, Wake was the Gestapo’s most wanted person, with a 5 million-franc price on her head.

 Rose Antonia Maria Valland, a French art historian and member of the French Resistance. A captain in the French military, and one of the most decorated women in French history. She secretly recorded details of the Nazi plundering of National French and private Jewish-owned art from France. Remember the book and movie The Monument Men? That’s her.

I have a special place in my heart for the nurses who took care of those who fought in Vietnam.  (Read, The Trunk, in my collection of short stories Let Me Tell You A Story)

In my first book, Under Fire, a Coast Guard helicopter pilot teams with a DEA agent and launches a personal seek and destroy mission to find her brother’s killer. This thriller follows the two through the dangerous drug underworld, a fierce gun battle at sea and brings down a notorious drug lord.

In Under Fire: The Admiral, a Coast Guard officer and the doctor she is flying on medical missions in Ecuador are shot down off the coast by a drug cartel. She uses all her skills to get him home safely. While in the jungle, she is the doctor’s Guardian against danger and he becomes the guardian of her heart.  

Point of No Return features a female Marine Corps Intelligence officer and a contract spy, investigating kidnappings of military children and mysterious deaths. As they navigate the murky political waters of the Pentagon, and private armies, it’s hard to know who’s lying to your face, and who’ll stab you in the back.

In Hunter’s Heart the heroine works closely with military units.  Her personal and professional life is a complicated tangle of dark secrets, and she can’t afford to let anyone close. A Navy SEAL earns her trust and learns her secrets putting him in more danger than he’s ever known. 

Check all my books out on my Amazon Author Page

                                                           Rita

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How To Be A Successful Hooker

Oct 10 2020, 8:23 am in

Hooker? 
 Did you come to the blog thinking I was going to talk about a very old profession? If you did well……..

HA! Made you look. You fell for my HOOK.

I’m talking Writing Hooks. Hooking a reader into your story.

Grabbing them so hard and fast they can‘t put your book down.

 

     So what is a HOOK?

     Mary Buckham, in her lecture packet on Hooks and Pacing, says, “Hooks create an emotional response from a reader. Not just any emotional response but one that gets under your subconscious, raises a question and compels a reader to turn one more page in order to find an answer.

     Hooks can, and should be used, in the opening sentence of a book, the opening paragraph, the end of the first page, the end of the third page, the end of the third chapter, opening a chapter as well as an ending one, at each new scene and, if you’re writing a series, the last sentence.”

     In her book, How I Write, Janet Evanovich says:  “The beginning is the most important part of the book. It must capture the reader immediately and force them to keep reading.”

      In his book Hooked Les Edgerton says, “ If your beginning doesn’t do the job it needs to the rest of the story most likely won’t be read by the agent or editor or publisher you submit it to.”

     Agent Donald Maas says hooks are vital to open your book, open each chapter, open each scene, and end the book. The best books contain one or more of twelve different hooks.

* Action or danger

* Overpowering emotion

* A surprising situation

* An evocative description that pulls a reader into a setting

* Introducing a unique character

* Warning or foreshadowing

* Shocking or witty dialogue

* The totally unexpected

* Raising a direct question

     Still not convinced hooks are important? Take five of your favorite books from the shelf and read the first paragraph. Is there a hook?  Does the end of the first chapter have a hook?  I looked at 20 of my favorites. All have hooks and all but a handful had the story GMC in the first pages.

     My very favorite opening is Michael Connelly’s The Brass Verdict. It completely lays out the story.

“Everybody lies.

Cops lie. Lawyers lie. Witnesses lie. The victim lies.

The trial is a contest of lies. And everyone in the courtroom knows this. The judge knows this. Even the jury knows this. They come into the building knowing they take their seats in the box and agreed to be lied to.”

     There is an Eloisa James book, (Historical) the name of the book escapes me now, that begins “I didn’t mean to marry them both.” Brilliant. The reader knows what this book is about instantly.

     Does your opening immediately draw the reader in?  Don’t know? If you open with a character talking about grocery lists or what’s on TV, probably not. Your opening signals what the rest of the book is about.  

     Openings don’t have to be explosions, fires, or murders.  Although I do like those.  It does need to make the reader want to read on and on and on. You only have a few pages to ‘hook’ an agent, editor, and most important, your readers.  

     Make the best of your first pages.  In the first paragraph drag the reader in with a grappling hook, use a spinner to end the first page.  End the first chapter with a treble hook.

      Go all out for the end of your story and use a big game hook that satisfies the reader an has them searching for your next book.  

     Share a opening hook from a favorite book or, one from your own writing. 

                                                                                                 Rita

The Seguin Lighthouse

Sep 28 2020, 11:43 am

Tis the season to tell spooky stories. Today I begin a weekly series of Haunted Lighthouse tales. 

Maine has 67 Lighthouses. One, the Seguin Lighthouse, is in the Gulf of Maine on Seguin Island, south of the Kennebec River.

Established in 1795, it is the second-oldest of Maine’s coastal lighthouses. The light station stands on the island’s highest point, and includes the lighthouse itself, the keeper’s house, fog signal building, a small oil house, and a 1006 foot tramway for bringing supplies from the shore to the site. The light, built from granite blocks, is 53 feet tall and 180 feet above sea level making it the highest in the state. The first tower was wood frame completed in 1797 and replaced by the present tower in 1857.

This light has quite the history and it is haunted…..

Let’s start with the history part. On September 5, 1813 the epic sea battle between the HMS Boxer and USS Enterprise took place near Seguin. Yes. The name USS Enterprise has a long, glorious history.

More than a hundred light keepers have served at Seguin. There has been several women assistant keepers. Not a common thing in those days. Going through the list of keepers names I found it odd that some were removed from their position. For what reason? I can understand why many resigned. That island is pretty small and is said to be foggy fifteen percent of the time. The fog horn is so loud it can be heard fourteen miles away and keepers swear it has blasted birds from the sky.  BTW I don’t care for fog. Nope. Not at all. What about those who were removed. Why? Did they go batty?

Anyone who lived there had to be self-sufficient. Electricity didn’t arrive until 1953 and from what I can tell it was kinda iffy at that. Did those that resigned get bored? Couldn’t take the isolation or get tired of being so self-sufficient?

Now here is where the weird stuff begins.     

Near the island, in July of 1875, a sea captain and ship’s crew reported seeing a monster that came to their boat and put its head over the rail. They struck it with a pike sending it back into the water. A few days later another boat reported seeing the serpent floating along occasionally raising it head to look around. WTH?

Many believe the pirate, Captain Kidd, buried his gold and silver treasure on the island. In 1936, for a year, a man dug up the place looking for it but found nothing. The legend and a lot of holes still exists. 

Sometime in the mid-1800s a murder suicide took place. The story is, a light keeper bought his wife a piano. Ah. Nice guy. She played the same tune over and over for hours upon hours until it apparently drove the keeper insane because he took an axe to the piano, his wife and himself. Eww. Doing yourself in with an axe? The mind boggles. The spooky thing is on quiet nights, the crews of ships going by the island say they can hear the tune playing over and over and over.

A young girl died and was buried on the island and many report still seeing her running up and down the stairs. Some have even heard her laughing.

Getting chills yet?

There are other reports of items being moved or going missing, jackets being taken from hooks and thrown to the floor, and furniture rearranged.  

In 1985 the Coast Guard was packing up to leave the island.  An apparition—you got that right—an apparition in oil skins begged a warrant officer to leave his furniture and home alone. The next day as the furniture was being loaded on a boat, chains broke and all the furniture fell into the ocean. Coincidence? Don’t know but my rule is if a ghost asks me to leave his furniture and home alone, I’m not arguing.       

Do you have any haunted lighthouse stories?

                                                                     Rita      

 

 

 

Writers are Super Heroes – Part Trois

Sep 18 2020, 8:30 am

Yes they are.

The Creativity Super Power

With all going on in the world there has been some discussion about how to keep the joy in our writing. There are a bazillion possible answers to this.

I think one is by indulging our other creative talents.  Yeaph. OTHER creative talents. Authors are very creative people. Writers think about all the other talents you have and how those creative outlets can nourish your writing. 

Here are a few.

Sewing. BTW I hear it’s coming back as a thing. Many Historical Romance authors make costumes for their events. 

Knitting and crocheting.  

 Setting a proper table is now considered an art. Ha!  I giggled when I saw a Facebook post about setting a table and there was no place for the cell phone.

Family wrangling. 

Cooking. Baking. Look at all the TV cooking shows.

Painting as in, on a canvas and the walls. 

Carpentry.

Sketching.

Coloring.

Gardening.

Decorating.

Giving Parties.

Yeah. I hear you asking what these creative endeavors have to do with writing.  Consider. When you begin writing a new book you write a synopsis. Make a plan. Develop a structure or a pattern.  Look at the talents I mentioned above. How many need a plan, a pattern?

When sketching a face you start with the basic features everyone has, head shape, jaw, ears, nose eyes. But, it is how we shape those features that makes the face unique. Take sewing a dress. You begin with a pattern. Each one has an opening for the head and sleeves, but think of the creative possibilities in achieving the finished product.

When you begin to write every word inside you doesn’t rush out like a water fall onto the page all at once. It’s like knitting and crocheting. One stitch/word at a time culminating in this great design/book.

I believe spending a few hours or minutes a week with your other talents can help feed the writing beast. I know many authors creative in other fields. One is what I call a perpetual creative bottle rocket. She’s an entrepreneur, baker, swag maker and always has amazing creative ideas. Another, is a knitter extraordinaire. Others are or have been a TV producer, an opera singer, teachers, farmers and gardeners.

Me? I sketch. Drawing my characters. Although I have to admit I sometimes use the Flash Face app to get the basics. I may or may not admit to coloring in the big girl books. I click the knitting needles and crochet with basic stitches. Garden. A new design is emerging in the out of control back yard jungle thanks to my improved chain saw skills.

What are your other creative talents? Take one of yours and examine it for similarities with writing.

Do you think enjoying all your creative venues can help keep the joy in your writing?

 

Writers Are Super Heroes – Part Deux

Sep 16 2020, 8:20 am

Yes they are. 

The Curiosity Superpower.

Author’s professional curiosity is a huge subject on many levels. It begins with, can I write a book? Should I write a book? How do I write a book? Flash forward to a truck load of how do I promote and gain new reader questions.

I believe an author’s personal curiosity keeps joy in their writing. It ignites the imagination and fuels the creativity tank.

Curiosity isn’t just asking questions, it’s challenging yourself to come up with your own discoveries. Please. Please. When you do ask questions, don’t be an ask hole.

DefinitionAsk Holeone who takes another’s time asking a million questions and not only doesn’t listen to the answer, but if asking for advice, has no intention of taking it. 

In asking questions be prepared for the responses you may receive. I asked a couple married 60 years a simple question. “When did you first know you were in love?”  The couple had never told each other and their answers had everyone in the room dabbing tears.    

The Curiosity Superpower takes a writer places. Not like in horror movies when the dude goes out into a dark and stormy night to see if the guy with the chain saw needs help. Like asking a perfect stranger in line at the Post Office a question that can lead to a romance or lifelong friendship. Ask the elders in your family what their earliest memories are. Call the local apiary and ask how they get bees to give up their pollen. BTW, I still haven’t gotten an answer to that one. 

Being curious gives you the courage and confidence to step out of your comfort zone. Even if it’s a tiny bit and for the briefest moment it can take you to the next level with new experiences to use in your writing.

Schedule a day, few hours, an hour, to question everything in your world like a joyous five year old. Finding the fun and joy in your life carries over into your writing. Use curiosity to wake up your senses. Take a ‘feel’ trip. Invite friends. Touch everything you see. Well, not hot stuff and not other people you don’t know. High end department stores, craft stores, and garden centers are great for this. When you write about the silk duvet on the heroine’s bed you’ll smile remembering exactly how it looked and felt when you flopped on it at the chi-chi boutique.

Equate the wool textures from the craft store with your protagonist’s sweater. You won’t have to imagine what his girlfriend feels as her fingers drift over his sleeve. You will know.

Finger flower petals and leaves. They have an incredible lush feeling. Leaves can release a surprising scent. Instead of the heroine stomping through the lavender, you can use lemon balm, geraniums or any other scented plants you discover. 

Ladies, talking scent, do an experiment to find which is more alluring to the Y chromosome homo sapiens in your life. Does bacon, stink bait, or a slightly spicy Jo Malone scent dabbed behind the ear drive them crazy?  I found it broke down to the first two depending on how hungry and how close to the weekend it was.

Guys, are you more likely to be drawn to a woman with the scent of bacon wafting from her bag or who smells of Freesia and nectarine blossoms?   

Are you curious and courageous enough to taste python pizza?  Find out if eel is really that nasty. Blah. I say yes. It’s nasty. Does a hot dog taste as good without the bun? That’s a big N O for me. How many shots of grappa does it take to make you drunk?

So using my curious endeavors I could write a story about a bee pollen hijacker who slams back grappa with python pizza and carries bacon in her purse to attract men who wear sweaters.

Where has your curiosity taken you?

Come back Friday to read suggestion on how to fill your Creativity tank. 

                                                                                              Rita 

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