Sunday, December 11, 2011

Music: A Muse Builder

Have you ever tried writing while some good mood music plays in the background? I have, and it often helps me keep going when, otherwise, I might dawdle over some detail. I’m not talking pop music here. Each generation has its own favorites when it comes to pop stuff, but they often fade into the distant past within a few months or years.

What I’m talking about is ‘classical’ music; music for the ages. Just as each generation provides a handful of ‘classics’ that linger, so does the music of the masters. Only, with the masters, their music will be here for centuries, providing a continuum for music lovers worldwide. How will their music help keep your muse amused? Let me show you what I mean.

For instance, say you’re a writer of romances. You have to write a love scene and you want it to be sensuous, but not blatantly graphic. There are two pieces I like to use at a time like this. The more sensual is Rachmaninoff’s Second Symphony, Movement Three; the slow movement. If you’ve heard it, I don’t need to embellish its languid seduction of the listener. If you haven’t, you owe it to yourself to treat yourself to some of the most sensual sounds ever penned.

It begins with a poignant theme that repeats over and over, but not monotonously. As it builds, you can almost see two lovers who kiss, separate, kiss again as they entwine themselves in a buildup to an irrepressible climax. Then they settle into a few moments where you can sense the lovers enjoying the afterglow, before they're overwhelmed with the need to couple again, this time more slowly but rising to an even higher peak than the first. And, finally, a peaceful settling into the classic ‘love-death’. A word of caution here; if you listen to this for love scene inspiration, stop the recording immediately at the end, because the final movement begins with a bang.

The other piece mention is Gustav Mahler’s slow movement in his Fifth Symphony. It is less sensual than Rachmaninoff’s, but somewhat more extended. Also, it fires up the muse in a most romantic way. I’ve used both of these as I write the love scenes in my romances, and I highly recommend them to you. (Hint: They also are excellent to play in the background if you want to create a proper setting when romancing your own mate.)

There are many other examples of music that 'lights your fire', sensually speaking, of course. Debussy penned dozens of short and medium length compositions that can lull you into a world where your muse goes wild. Also Ravel as well as Frederick Delius wrote similar ethereal music.

Alas, the contemporary music world bombards us with such cacophony that Don Juan couldn't get it up for one of his conquests. Fortunately, thanks to modern technology, we are not captive to live performances. We can go down the street, waking or driving, with some midget device crammed into our ear, and enjoy the music of the ages. For me, the greatest thrill is to listen as I write yet another story.

My advice; try it. You might like it. Cheers, and happy listening.

Pat Dale

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Pump Up Your Blog


Hi folks. Our guest today is Frank Scully. We’ll be discussing his Muse novel, EMPTY TIME. Welcome, Frank. Before we get into the nuts and bolts of your story, can you give us a thumbnail of the novel’s background universe? Oh, and tell us a bit about your protagonist.

James Lang is like so many people today. He works in mid-management in a large corporation, Intelligent, competent and hard working. Loyal to the company. A vital cog in the wheel, yet always slightly afraid of losing his job so he bends to the whims of the corporate leadership. Divorced twice, alone, estranged from any family, his whole existence is tied up in the company. Like a serf tied to the land and the lord of the castle.

Corporate titans today are much like the feudal lords of times past. They fight and scheme their way up a ladder of prestige, wealth, power and privilege. The major difference is the lack of a belief in a coherent code of conduct or moral precepts. Chivalry is dead. Working on a global scale beyond governments and borders, these new aristocrats are almost untouchable. The only rule they obey is greed. They are willing to employ any methods necessary to win. The prize is enormous wealth. CEO’s are paid huge salaries to bring in the numbers. How they do it is not questioned. The ultimate prize for a CEO is to take the corporation private and own it so they have complete control. Then they become icons to the rest of the corporate titans.

Many corporations today have more wealth than some countries. For a CEO who owns his own large corporation it is almost the same as being the dictator of a country. And it is far easier to take over a corporation than a country and less dangerous. In addition, there are more corporations. You don’t even have to own the corporation. Often, all you have to do is control the board of directors. CEO’s of large publically owned corporations today can get paid hundreds of millions of dollars a year even when the corporation is losing money.

James Lang isn’t thinking about any of that. All he wants to do is get through each day and hang on to his job. To not lose his place on the corporate ladder, maybe to move up a rung or two. So he will do the bidding of his masters even when he knows there is something wrong. He may have in the back of his mind a realization that there should be more to life than this but like so many wage slaves he is a prisoner to what passes for reality and success in the culture that surrounds him.

To take over a large leading-edge technology corporation three top executives are willing to commit murder and fraud to manipulate the stock market and the international currency exchange market. To divert attention and provide a patsy they set up Jim Lang to take the blame before he is to be killed and disappear. Disappear he does, die he doesn’t. He survives and discovers through the sacrifice of another that in order for life to have meaning he must be willing to give it up for something. To save the people he loves he must put his life on the line to turn the tables on his former colleagues.

That’s a pretty amazing scenario, Frank, but one we can easily recognize from the corporate world’s recent headlines. As far-fetched as it sounds, this world does exist and I suspect that many of us would relish a hero who rises to the challenge of bringing at least one or two of those corporate moguls to justice.

To some this may sound far-fetched. Unfortunately, after working in a variety of large corporations for almost 40 years, I have to say it is not. This exact story line may not have happened, but executives of corporations have manipulated their stock with impunity many times, colluded with government agencies for nefarious purposes, cheated to obtain lucrative contracts, and employed people or other corporations to get around the law or intimidate others. Now they have the right to spend unlimited amounts of money in elections. The Robber Barons of the late 19th century and the feudal lords of the middle ages would be jealous of the power wielded by the corporate titans of today.

I simply use this as high concept backdrop for the story of James Lang, a man who finds his way out of the morass of empty time. Through good fortune and the help and sacrifice of others he learns that life has no meaning unless you are willing to give it up for something.

Well, I’m sure we’ll cheer James Lang on as we read your fascinating book. My guess is this one, with its worldwide scenario, was not easy to accomplish.

It was a fun book to write. It required considerable research, but that was part of the enjoyment, particularly learning about the waterways of Europe and those who work and live on them. That specific aspect is an essential part of the story. The waterways of Europe have been used for commerce for hundreds of years and still are. Boats of varying sizes haul goods all over Europe on these waterways. There are also boats that take tourists throughout Europe on the inland waterways. Many people live on their boats and do not have a permanent address. It is into this world that Lang disappears after the attempt on his life.

How in the world did you come up with such an engaging story?

I can’t honestly say how this story line came into my head. Ideas simply pop in and I follow them. Some are discarded if I don’t like where they go. Others I develop because I like where they go and enjoy the characters. What happens usually is a general theme or story line will come to me. Sometimes it comes with a set of characters, sometimes without. I write it down and start developing it. What theme or message is it trying to express? Who are the characters and what is their backstory? What is the crime and how does it play out? Without a crime how can it be a mystery/thriller? I may spend a few months ruminating over a variety of story lines before any of them make it to the stage where I am ready to settle on one to be the next book. I may be writing one while I am thinking about the plots for several to follow.

You certainly have raised lots of intriguing questions here. Would you elucidate your writing process for us?

Once it makes it past the initial stage, I will start doing more detailed notes on the characters, place, crime, time lime, and other aspects of the story. However, I do not do an outline. The prime things I want to know before I sit down at the computer are the characters, the crime, the setting and a general idea where I want to end up. Once I am comfortable with that, I work on the first few paragraphs. Developing that hook is the hardest part. So much rides on capturing the reader in the first few paragraphs.

Once I am past the first chapter, the book tends to flow. I allow the characters to come to life in my mind. It is almost like a movie starts to run in my head and my job is to get it down on paper. As the characters and the story move along I have at times found that the story and the characters will take different directions than what I originally had intended.

I don’t wait till I complete the first draft for re-write and edit. Each day, as I start to write, I go back and review what I wrote the previous session and do some editing as well as checking for consistency in the character and the story. Once I am done, I set it aside while I work on something else. I need to let it get out of my head for a while so I can approach it with a more open mind for the final editing and re-write.

Sounds like a pretty complicated process, but one that yields very satisfying results for certain. I’ve read your other novels so I don’t have to ask whether this is your first. How many books have you done now, Frank?

I have now completed six novels and am working on my seventh. EMPTY TIME is the third one published by MuseItUp Publishing. RESURRECTION GARDEN was the first, DEAD MAN’S GAMBIT was the second, and BLOOD SINS, the fourth, will be coming soon. All are part of what I call the Decade Mystery Series. I am writing at least one novel set in each decade from the beginning of the 20th century to the current time set in different locales with both continuing and new characters in each one. There is something unique in each decade that marks it as separate from what went before or what follows. I explore aspects of what is unique as it is expressed in the locale chosen and how it affects the culture, characters and the tenor of the times and yet also see the common humanity that never changes.

All are available from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords and other online eBook retailers as well as the publisher’s bookstore at:

Well, Frank, I’d like to thank you for dropping by to visit with us today. You’ve shared a bit of your book and your writing regimen. I feel we know you a little better now, and I’m also sure we’ll want to visit a site where we can pick up a copy of EMPTY TIME and cheer James Lang on. Best wishes for a successful career as a novelist.

About the author:

Frank Scully was born and raised in a small town in North Dakota and received a Bachelor’s degree in History with Phi Beta Kappa Honors and a Juris Doctor degree in Law from the University of North Dakota. He then served more than five years as a Judge Advocate General Corps Officer in the U. S. Army in the U. S., Vietnam, and Thailand. After that he attended the prestigious Thunderbird School and received a Masters in Business Administration with honors. In his professional career he has worked as an executive with large aerospace and defense manufacturers and also owned his own small business.

Depending on the vagaries of the universe he has been well off at times and broke, but never broken, at other times. Blessed with an understanding wife who gave him twin sons, he has remained through it all a dreamer whose passion is writing stories.


Thanks for dropping by. Please leave a comment if you can. Happy reading! Pat Dale

Friday, November 11, 2011

Hot Flash

Did that get your attention? I hope it did. I've got a new release that can be found in Muse It Hot because it is adult rated content. This one is a real flier for me. Based on a series of nightmares, it fantasizes a nocturnal journey to inner space.
Want to know what inner space is? Read Blue Streaks to find out. Warning: for all you IT types out there, this may cause you to hesitate any time you feel inclined to hit the escape button on your machine. And fair warning for those of you who have a tendency to nit-pick your mate. Do not let him lure you to the keyboard at four in the afternoon, whatever else you do.
That's all I'm saying about this one. Except that I'd love to hear from you readers after you've read Blue Streaks. Let me know how you like the ending. Hint: it is not what you expected, is it?
HE HE, HA HA, HO HO! They're coming to take me away, HO HO!

Monday, October 10, 2011

Hollow Wollow (what the heck is that?)

Did that one catch you by surprise? It shouldn't have. By my calendar, it is still three weeks to Halloween, yet we've had a number of our peers wallowing in Halloweeny stuff since the middle of September. To each his/her own, I suppose.
I've looked forward to fall each and every one of my considerable years. Now, though, because some of us can't wait for one particular little bit of the whole scheme of things, the absolute beauty of fall in the northern hemisphere, along with the celebration of a new school year and its concordant games, and in our region a gorgeous Indian summer, is trampled. Run down by gobledygook spookism.
I love Halloween, don't get me wrong. The end of summer for Celtic civilizations, and the beginning of winter. Spiritually speaking, the Church has celebrated All Souls Day and All Saints Day for centuries. Trick or treating for kids, spooky costumes, gaily decorated parties; all are a part of the upcoming holiday.
Yet I cannot get past the concern that we're trying to rush right past a most delightful time of the year to get to that holiday. I'll stop with this because I don't want this to become a rant. So, for those of you who can't wait, go for it. As for me, I'll take my fall color drives and rake my leaves, cheer my favorite football team on, and remember all the good fall times in my past.
Alright, I know some of you are chomping at the bit, to read me out good and proper, burn my butt, tell me off. Go for it! Turn the comment column into a malevolent firestorm.
Just remember, some of us make serious charges with our tongues firmly in our cheeks. Ha! You didn't see that coming, did you? Mainly, I just want to get somebody fired up to respond to my blog.
While we're here, I'd like to invite you to go to Sharon Donovan's blog tomorrow to read a new short story I wrote for the season. Not too scary, but don't stop before you get to the end of it.
You can find her at: Log onto her site today and read another author's really scary story.
Also, you can go to karenfindoutaboutnewbooks or longandshortreviews for my latest promos. I'm celebrating this fall with a continuation of promos of my romance and romantic suspense novels. I hope you've read one or more of them, but if you haven't, I invite you to pick one up and read it. Then, like it or not, comment so I can get your feedback. I truly value what you think of my work.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Empath-Fact or Fiction?

I'm in a quandary. As I work on my current wip, I've come up with a new slant for one of my protagonists. The problem is, because I've shown empathic tendencies throughout my life, some of it comes eerily close to real experiences. It's only recently that I realized my life has been so affected by this 'power'. Some of you will no doubt scoff at my claim. I accept that; in fact, there are times when I wish I didn't have it.
But it's there. It's been there forever, as far as I can remember. Now, for what I need from you, my readers. If you've ever experienced the strange notion that you know something is going to happen before there's any indication of it, how did you handle it? Or, if you know exactly what someone is going to say before they open their mouth, did you try to short-circuit the conversation by going on to the next phase of the discussion?
Are there other manifestations of empathy you've experienced? I really want to expand this conversation to include any and all who've had such experiences, as well as those who've written empathic scenes in their novels. For those of you who do not believe such powers exist, I'll also welcome your pov. I can only say that my life has been enhanced and sometimes debilitated because I've responded without realizing what is happening until too late. I could give examples but they are embarrassingly personal.
On the other hand, I have to say it is reassuring to know that I can, almost without fail, know what is in another person's heart when they talk to me. If you have no clue what the heck I'm talking about here, let me know and I'll try to explain it. LOL
I'm declaring this EMPATH DAY on Pat's Plethora. Here's a call to all EMPATHS, come out, come out, whoever you are. I want to play.
Happy mindreading day!
Pat Dale

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Perfect Stranger

Have you ever been captivated by some stranger in a public place? Looked into that stranger's eyes and seen your destiny pass in review? Well, that's what happens to Frank Malone when he spies Cindy Robbins for the first time. My latest romantic suspense novel, THE PERFECT STRANGER was released by Mundania Publications today, and I invite you to log on, check it out, and let me know what you think about it.

Set in Lincoln, Nebraska, with an extended trip to Colorado high country, you'll find out why Frank was mesmerized at his first glimpse of the young mother and her darling little boy, Quentin. All is not as it seems, though, and Frank finds himself deep in the middle of someone else's misery. By that time, he's hopelessly in love with Cindy and vows to go through hell if that's what it takes to free her and her son. When all is done, Frank has reclaimed his hold on life, Cindy has been reunited with her family, and Quentin has a real father to help him grow to manhood.


available at:

Excerpt One:

Frank’s eyes drifted across the aisle to the young woman staring at him. Her smile spoke of softness and refinement, yet held such a hint of sadness it touched him deeply. With jet black hair combed back from her oval face, she could have been the product of an artist’s imagination. And her eyes! Incredible cobalt orbs under perfect long lashes, eyebrows trimmed to a fault. Mouth suddenly dry, he swallowed hard and turned away.

Like a cat drawn to catnip, he had to look again. As he inventoried the woman from head to toe, she smiled, sending a flood of heat through his body. And a rush of blood to his head. He attempted to return her smile before dropping his gaze and closing his eyes.

Avoiding her stare did no good. He’d been smitten by her visual image and sat for long moments cataloging her features. Summer sun had brushed what might have been pure ivory skin into a creamy golden tan. A dark blue sports bra gave sanctuary to her petite bosom. Her smooth tanned midriff swept to an inviting waistline, bare to just below her navel, and a pair of faded threadbare jeans; the lone dissonance in this enticing image of femininity.

His focus dropped to leather sandal-clad feet with polished nails that completed the portrait of the perfect stranger across the aisle. Frank gave her a shy smile when her eyes lifted and locked on his, unleashing an electric charge that surged through his body.

Unaccustomed to focusing on anyone, he could not break visual contact with the woman. Not a word spoken but communication loud and clear, pleading, ‘Help me.’

Her eyes drilled that simple message to the depths of his being. Why would this gorgeous creature need help from anyone? Especially Frank Malone. But he couldn’t shake the notion that she was in need of help and he’d been chosen to render it.

With a shy nod, she blinked once and looked to her side, releasing his focus to travel to her companion, a small boy seated next to her. He looked to be near the age of Frank’s late son. The avid curiosity in this boy’s eyes made him choke on the memory of Josh’s zest for life, the way he’d always loved to come here to eat, the...

Excerpt Two:

Thirty feet from the door waited Frank’s CTS. Twenty paces and he’d be on the way to the rest of his life. Ten seconds later, he still stood frozen at the curb, his feet unwilling to move.

When they came out, the little boy whimpered, “Hungwy, Mommy.” The woman picked him up and kissed him on the cheek. “Sorry, baby. I can’t feed you yet.” Showing surprise to see Frank standing there, she mumbled, “Oh, hi.”

He said, “Hi, again.” Her face lit up in a smile that slowly faded as she stared at him.

His mouth took over before she had a chance to turn away. “I’m Frank Malone and I’d like to know the name of Quentin’s mother, if you don’t mind.”

She took his offered hand, physical contact causing his body to tingle. The feel of her fingers so smooth, but with a grip so firm told him more than her eyes had; eyes that didn’t quite focus on his at the moment. Even as every fiber of his being urged him to pursue this lady, a sense of foreboding cautioned from the deep recesses of his mind.

In a melodic voice, she said, “I’m pleased to meet you, Frank Malone. My name is Lucinda but most people just call me Cindy.”

He said, “Nice meeting you, Cindy. You must be awfully hungry by now. Did someone stand you up for dinner?”

“You could call it that. We’re okay.” Her eyes went on guard as she shifted her weight from foot to foot. “But thanks for your concern.”

Something inside screamed for him to get the hell out of there, but his mouth had gone out of control. “I’d really like to take you and Quentin to get something to eat. What do you say?”

“Why would you want to do that? You don’t even know who we are.”

“It doesn’t take that much to see a mother in distress. To tell you the truth, you’re the first person I’ve talked to other than work and Jenny,” he pointed to the restaurant, “since the accident.” He fought down a lump in his throat. “Truth is, I’m lonesome as hell.”

There was a filmy gleam in her eyes as they gently teased his. “And you think you want to spend time with me?”

“Yes, I think I do. You and your charming son.”

Her smooth cheeks wrinkled into something close to a smile. “In that case, Frank Malone, I’m starved. Could we take Quentin to the place where they give kids those cardboard crowns? He just loves them.”

“You mean Burger King? You’ve got it.”

He led her to his Cadillac. While holding the door, he looked back to see Jenny looking out at them, grinning like a monkey.

Excerpt Three:

“Why don’t you call and tell them you’re going to take the day off? Maybe several days. When’s the last time you took time away from work?”

“I can’t remember.”

“How about vacations? You do take those, don’t you?”

He remembered the last fight he’d had with Marianne. A year ago he’d cancelled his vacation when a new client needed his attention, or so he’d thought at the time. The room blurred before his eyes as he recalled blowing his last opportunity to spend quality time with his family. Or any time at all.

She saw the hideous expression on his face. “Oh, no. I’ve done it again, haven’t I?”

He fought for control. “No, it’s okay. But you’re right. I need to take some time off.”

His machine perfect, well-disciplined robotic world flashed through his mind. Utterly, totally, absolutely D-U-L-L! “You’re right. I’m going to go to the office just long enough to reassign the work. Then I’m coming home for a few days. For that matter, I can do much of the work from here on my computer or my Blackberry.”

“Working at home doesn’t sound like much of a holiday to me.”

“Right again. I need a change of scenery. Cindy, are you doing anything really important this week?”

“Like standing on the street waiting for a handout?”

“No.” The look on her face made him blush with guilt. “I’m sorry. What I was trying to say was, would you like to go somewhere with me? Someplace where we can have fun. We can relax and show Quentin a good time.”

Her eyes flashed with excitement. “You want us to go on a holiday with you?”

“Yes. Why not?”

“You mean here in Lincoln?”

“I mean anywhere you’d like to go. Name it and we’re there.”

“I’m going to say yes before you come to your senses.”

He kissed her on the cheek. Sharp electric current ran through his body at the touch of her soft skin, the aroma of her perfume intoxicating him to a level he’d not approached in years.

“I’m not used to that kind of kiss, Frank. Tenderness comes dearly, doesn’t it?”

He nodded and beat a path for the stairs before his tenderness had a chance to morph into something that would probably be much more familiar to her. Once in his bedroom, he dropped his clothes on the bed and climbed into a cooler than usual shower.

When he stepped buck-naked out of the enclosure, Cindy was in the room making the bed. After she left, red-faced, he toweled off, grabbed his clothes from the chair where she’d moved them, and climbed back into them. Headed for the door, he suddenly stopped dead in his tracks at the sight of Marianne’s photo on the dresser.

What the hell am I doing? This is crazy.

Shrugging off his misgivings, he stuck the Blackberry in his dresser and headed for the stairs, smiling again as he recalled the thrill of looking into Cindy’s eyes moments earlier. And seeing a chance to give Quentin a taste of real life. HeFrank grabbed his car keys in the entry hall and shouted, “I’ll be back in two hours. Be ready.”


He could have been gone no more than thirty seconds when she dialed the hall phone, accessing an answering machine. “Hey Jenny. Our plan worked. Frank brought me home. The number on this phone is 555-9204. He wants me to do housework for him but I’ll call later in the week to tell you more. We’re going off on some kind of holiday now.”

After hesitating, she pulled her cell phone out of her purse and made another call, this one answered live. She got right to the point, her words harsh and raw. “It’s me, Lowell. I’m in. Whatever the hell you do, don’t you dare call me on Frank’s phone. I have your number so I’ll call you when I get what you want.”

Cindy held her breath, waiting for his response.

Thus begins the rugged twisty saga of THE PERFECT STRANGER.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Gone to the Dogs

My last post, I introduced you to my dogs, Teddy and Bear. It seems fitting that I continue in that venue, giving you a pictorial view of Warrensburg, Missouri. If you've ever wondered where the phrase, "man's best friend" came from, I'm about to answer that. In an unlikely era for such sentimentality, a dog lost his life and in the ensuing legal battles gave birth to the above recognition.
It all started with a feud between members of a Johnson County family. One owned a yellow lab named Old Drum. His cousin claimed the dog was killing his sheep and shot the dog to death. In the final trial, that upheld a $50 award to the dog's owner, George Graham Vest gave an impassioned summation that moved all who heard it to tears.
If you'd like to know more about the men involved in the trial, including those who would rise to governorships, and national congressional halls, Google Old Drum. I've included a photo of the 1958 statue of the dog and a couple of the original courthouse where the trial took place.
Speaking of dogs, I've already told you a bit about Teddy, my 160 lb. Pyrenees/Malamute. Now he's about to be launched as the protagonist/narrator in my wip MUST LOVE LARGE DOGS. It's a zany romantic comedy, set in The Hamptons on Long Island.
Teddy plays himself, and is fair disposed to such a role, believe me. Last week on our weekly dog tour, he face-planted my wife on a patch of blacktop, ruined her eyeglasses, and gave her a shiner that had her fellow workers questioning my abuse of her. Didn't happen. I quit abusing my wife years ago. Really. He'd been startled by a bumble bee, and galloped off full tilt; that was, until the leash dragged her kicking and screaming onto the pavement.
There's not a mean bone in Teddy's body, and he dearly loves Patricia. More than she can stand, sometimes. A comic moment comes when he climbs onto our oversize sofa and tries to cuddle with her, his basketball sized head in her lap. When he was a fifteen pound pup, he'd do that, only back then he fit on her lap. All of him. He just turned two and still doesn't realize how big he is. Frankly, I hope he never does. I can walk him a short distance, but if he ever panicked like he did last week, I'd be down the tubes faster than you can flush. LOL
So, I've gone to the dogs this week. If you're ever in the area, stop by Warrensburg and see the monument to a faithful dog that met an undeserved fate. Cheers all, and happy reading!
Pat Dale

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Three Dog Day

It's Sunday again, and time to meander the neighboring hills and valleys. I've included a photo of me with my dogs, Bear and Teddy. Bear's the little one (90lbs.). Teddy's still growing, three weeks before his second birthday, and already 160lbs. I love large dogs!
This week we're going to visit Truman Lake and its dam, in Warsaw, Missouri. The observation center towers above the huge bluff overlooking this mammoth lake, and is home to exhibits of various creatures that inhabited this part of the earth in the distant past. The dam incorporates a hydro-electric plant, and the lee below the dam provides refuge for thousands of huge fish; catfish, carp, and sturgeon six feet or longer. Throw a biscuit in and the water rolls with them as they go into a frenzy.
This lake is fed by the Osage River, which in turn feeds into the Lake of the Ozarks, which, in turn, begins just at the other side of Warsaw and proceeds for over ninety miles of continuous shoreline. Mid-Missouri is among the best of land-locked states when it comes to water sports.
If you're ever coming up or down Highway 65 and get to Warsaw, turn off and enjoy a respite at the observation point. Go downtown where you'll find antiques and collectibles galore. Not to mention a cafe or two that will fill you up for a modest sum. It's a quaint little town in a quaint part of the Show-Me State.
Finally, I'm trumpeting the release of my 'tween novel, Zach's Amazing Dream Machine. It's written for middle graders, from a boy's POV, and tells how a young genius invents a new machine that portrays whatever the wearer's dream thoughts are. His folks and peers are amazed by his invention, but he is disappointed because he'd wanted to make something that would prove his grandfather's stories to be true. He learns that truth turns out to be what you want it to be, and a little bit about human nature in the bargain. Lots of fun to read, with a message underlying the text.
Next week will be time for remembrance of a hideous act of violence from ten years ago. For now, let's remember to give thanks that we reside in the safest, most free, nation man has ever known, and that we have to guard those freedoms jealously. Cheers,
Pat Dale

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Welcome to Missouriana - 3

As promised, today I want to take you to an unknown little town with one product that's known world-wide. But first, I would be remiss if I didn't add my concern for all those in the path of Irene. She's been a bad girl, raising cain from all those little island paradises all the way to Canada. Saying it could have been worse seems pretty trite, especially if you're one of those whose lives has been impacted by the storm. You have my full sympathy if you've suffered damage.
I debated whether to forego this post for a week, but felt it best to keep on carrying on. I carry on well, too, as my wife will attest if need be. We just returned from our weekend excursion to a nearby state park with our dogs. They look forward to the trip to Knob Noster State Park, where they often get to see deer, rabbits, squirrels, and lots of birds. People, too, mostly with their dogs. Its a great place to experience Missouri outdoors, with lots of walking trails as well as camping sites galore. For a tiny little park, it offers more than its share of outdoor living at its best.
Located a few blocks from Knob Noster, a tiny little town that has only one thing going for it other than the park, Whiteman AFB is the home of the B-2 bomber, the stealth bomber that has gained a world-wide reputation in recent years. You've probably never heard of Knob Noster before today, and I doubt you knew of this neat little park. But I daresay, if you've kept up with any of our war news, you have heard of this one-of-a-kind aircraft. There are other goings on at Whiteman, but if I told you about them, I'd have to hunt you down and kill you. LOL Suffice it to say that what goes on here affects our war efforts on a daily basis.
Hunting is not permitted at KNSP, either. You can fish in the lakes, walk the trails, camp and cook, walk your dogs. But leave your guns at home.
I'm posting some photos of the area for your enjoyment. The last one is not related to the park or the air base, but its that time of year, folks. This is when I cease being a benevolent purveyor of all things good and true, and turn to my 'real' identity. Have a look at my 'Nebras-kat'. Yep, I'm one of those pesky Husker fans who inhabit Husker World. We may not win every game, but we always exhibit the qualities of a winner. Don't ask how my little white kitty got those red eyes, though. I could tell you, but I'd have to hunt you down and kill you. LOL (again)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Missouriana Sunday:Week Two

Welcome back to all of you who were with me last week when we visited Blackwater, Missouri, and a hearty welcome to you who are visiting this site for the first time. This week, we're going to drive a few miles closer to the Missouri River, to a small village that boasted a thousand inhabitants in the middle of the nineteenth century. Now, a modest home of less than a hundred, it is still one of the more famous tourists stops in mid-Missouri. We're going to visit Arrow Rock, originally named Philadelphia but renamed almost immediately for its most famous treasure; a river bluff comprised almost entirely of flint rock that has been used for the making of tools and weapons for a millennium.
Sitting above the Missouri River at a spot where the Arrow Rock Ferry used to carry Santa Fe Trail passengers across the big muddy, today's town is all about bed and breakfast lodging, antique and collectible bartering, and tourist traffic. The entire village has been on the National Registry of Historic Sites since the early nineteen sixties.
Shortly after that, it was used as the setting for the filming of Mark Twain's popular book, Tom Sawyer. The home that sported the white picket fence the protagonist schemed to get whitewashed still stands in the middle of the town, though that fence is now state of the art plastic. I guess nobody is gullible enough to volunteer to whitewash it these days.
Drive further down the main street and, on the left a block away, you'll see the most famous attraction in Arrow Rock; the Lyceum Theater. The Lyceum is the only professional playhouse between St. Louis and Kansas City, giving a five month season of productions by prominent actors and crews every year. The house seats just over four hundred patrons and is booked solid play after play, year after year. Quite an accomplishment for a village of only forty five full time residents, with another thirty three who live there part of the year.
I hope you enjoy the photos we've taken of some of the houses in town. And if you're ever in mid-Missouri, you might want to drive down Highway 41 and spend a little time in Arrow Rock. One word of caution; When you drive down the main street, be careful if you turn off onto a side street. There are rock-lined ditches that make the transition a bumpy one. Maybe that's where some of that flint ended up. LOL
Next week, we're going to take my dogs for a walk in a tiny but scenic State Park. Meanwhile, happy reading, everybody.
Pat Dale

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A New Direction

I'm all smiles. The heat has finally broken here, and the weather the last few days is more than welcome. Sorry, for those of you who are still suffering from the summer blahs. While taking our dogs for their customary weekend treks to some of our state parks, it hit me how very fortunate I am to live in the midst of scenic beauty that has withstood the test of time.
While contemplating my good fortune, I recalled an idea I had several years ago. There are many little spots here that draw tourists year after year, but also some that are not on the beaten trail. A few, known mostly by those who live nearby, deserve a bit of attention.
So, in the days and weeks ahead, I'm dedicating this blog to a combination of photos and narrative that will introduce you to my world. I ask you to bear with me, as this is my first attempt to mix photos and text on this blog; an adventure in progress. LOL
My first trek is to a town by a seldom used railroad, a meandering river, and the ghosts of glory days past; Blackwater, Missouri. There are buildings left there that echo those ghosts, but also a few hardy souls remain to handle the constant influx of wanderers, who mostly arrive (and leave) in the summer. The old Iron Horse Hotel still accomodates folks, operating as a bed and breakfast these days. It's called Iron Horse because it sits beside the train station at the edge of town. Once an establishment where my wife and I dined on fine cuisine, it is another reminder of days past.
Speaking of my wife, Patricia's dad once was Blackwater's town marshall. The fact that he was six feet six, and weighed a hefty three hundred pounds of pure muscle probably factored in the town's decision to let him ride herd on the rowdy crowd that filled the town night after night. I'm told things quieted down a lot after Red Stoecker laid the law down; and I have it on good authority that he laid a few of those rowdies right on their skinny bottoms, too. (good thing he and I got along well, huh?)
Oh, yeah. That meandering river is the Blackwater, and it still gives the locals fits when it floods. Good thing Blackwater (the town) is on the high side of Blackwater (the river). So, if you're ever coming down I-70 in western Missouri, look for the Blackwater turnoff. It's a few miles west of Pilot Grove, and an easy three miles north. For those of you who fancy antiques, that is the major industry of quaint, colorful, but almost left behind Blackwater, Missouri.
That's it for this time around. Next week, a visit to a town that has been the setting for a movie, and not just any movie, but a film recreation of Missouri's most famous author. Stay tuned. PD

Saturday, July 30, 2011


There are many ways of getting burned; stick your hand into a fire, buy a piece of inferior merchandise without guarantee, commit to a relationship with an unstable partner. But the one I reference has nothing to do with those kinds of activities. My book, DANCE WITH THE DEVIL, tells the story of how a good man finds himself at odds with devilish forces. Buddy Wilson contends with evil men and evil spirits as he tries valiantly to save the young woman who's captured his heart. Robin Blaik is the woman, and she has her own moment where she faces eternity, helpless to do anything about it.
One of the visitors to our author roast and toast yesterday, urged me to submit a second excerpt of the book. It was not possible to do that, but I promised I would release one today, and what follows should give the reader a sense of why I named the book as I did. DANCE has moments of fun and gaiety, but in its heart, is a deeply troubling vignette of what happens when kids dabble in Satanism. Based in part on true facts from a quarter century ago, the story deepens to the point where some die, some are maimed, and none escape unscathed.
One caution: the excerpt is graphic and violent and not suitable for youngsters to read. Or, if you are easily frightened.

Late at night the bad bunch came back into the barn. She could tell by their slurred speech they’d been drinking a lot. This could be a good thing or it could turn out very bad. If they passed out, it would give Buddy time to find her. If they didn’t, there was no way to know what this gang would do next.
Several of them disappeared for a few minutes, and then came back carrying a live goat. She could do nothing but watch as they tethered it to the table in front of her; then moved back when Greg took the sword and stood over the hapless animal.
He grinned at Robin and brought the sword down sharply. The goat’s head bounced off the table and landed by the altar rail with the hapless animal’s blood spurting everywhere. This time he took the bowl and shared it with all the others.
While they were drinking from the bowl, Greg came over and placed the bloody blade to her throat. “What do you think now, bitch?”
“I think you’re sick and need serious help. You going to kill me or will you let me go?”
“Oh, yeah. I’m going to let you go for sure. You’re getting a one way trip to hell.” He turned to the others. “Okay, my brothers. It’s time for our special offering.”
His words froze her heart. What did he mean? Surely not what it seemed. Even crazed as he was, he wouldn’t do that, would he? She fought to avoid passing out. Several pairs of rough hands freed her from the rope and straps, groping her as they did.
She’d been restrained so long her muscles wouldn’t respond when she tried to resist. After thoroughly feeling her up, they lifted her and laid her on her back in the pool of goat’s blood. Before she could cry out, someone slapped a strip of tape over her mouth. Within seconds, she was tied down, spread-eagled, and staring up into Greg’s wild eyes. He stood over her with the sword held high just as he’d done with the goat. Terror squeezed the breath from her body as she watched him poised and ready to strike.

The story doesn't end here, but it gets worse before it gets better, if you can decipher that. I hope you'll have a chance to read DANCE WITH THE DEVIL for yourself. You can see how the story comes out, and hopefully enjoy a saga that reminds us that even in modern times, we are not that much removed from the pioneers who settled the land where the story takes place. Life, indeed, does repeat itself. Viva life!

DANCE WITH THE DEVIL is available at:
Or you can find it at Barnes and Noble, and at and other fine booksellers.

Friday, July 15, 2011

A Devil of a Dance

DANCE WITH THE DEVIL is available now at:
A romantic family saga, the story is set in scenic but remote northern Nebraska, where the natural beauty belies an ugly underbelly where infidelity, incest, and illegitimacy are the local norm.
Rather than give you the typical blurb and excerpt, I want to talk about a time in our recent history when Satanism reared its evil head in our public schools. My tale stems from a couple of decades ago around the time several school shootings occurred, done by seemingly normal kids without motive or logic. The events were shocking and deadly, and left us wondering what had taken over those kids' minds. I can answer that with one word--devil worship. Well, I guess that is two words.
As a teacher in a small community, I witnessed similar events in my school, though our kids did not kill anyone. Rumors spread for months about strange cattle mutilations and small animal sacrifices. Then one day, the rumor mill gave out the word that a baby was to be kidnapped and sacrificed. The child was from a family who feuded regularly with another, and that one had a teen boy who turned out to be the leader of all the evil stuff that had been going on.
Unlike many towns where nobody acted until too late, the leaders of our town acted swiftly, if not wisely, and made such a stink it destroyed the supposed kidnapper-to-be's reputation. And his family's, as well. But it was the end of an ugly little game those kids had been playing; one that almost gave the devil victory.
My book is a work of fiction and absolutely nobody in it actually lived through the pages of the book in real life. Some of the deeds in the book did, in fact, happen, and I'd unwittingly walked my two 'virgin' daughters into the midst of this crowd. We escaped unharmed, though shaken by the events that unfolded.
If you find this chilling, my effort has not been in vain. In an era when self-indulgence has gone amuck, and when children are allowed and encouraged to feel that they are the 'center of the universe', casual acceptance of cute tendencies is a formula for disaster. Be not deceived; all it takes for evil to abound is for good people to do nothing to prevent it. If DANCE WITH THE DEVIL gets that message out, it will have been worth the effort and the twenty year wait to release this story.
I can't close this blog without encouraging you to read my book for reasons other than what I've just revealed about it. It tells the tale of modern times in a wonderful part of America, and how its inhabitants face some of the same uncertainty that their pioneer ancenstors did a century earlier.

I also want to invite you to visit the Muse website listed above, where you can now get your copy of my earlier mid-life romance, SLEEPING WITH HER ENEMY, at a 20% discount. Read about Ana Henry and her struggle to find love after it seemed she had nothing left to live for. Meanwhile, happy reading!
Pat Dale

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Character Chat and Contest

ATTENTION ALL READERS: Who wants to join in some scavenger hunt mayhem and fun for the month of May? Learn more about your favorite authors, their work and their wonderful characters in our Character Interview Blog Bash! Great prizes to be won, as well!

Hi gang, I've got an exciting new contest to introduce to you today! Whimsical Publications is putting on a scavenger hunt, with some great prizes for all who enter the contest. To participate, please send an email to:
Robyn White will give each entrant a list of questions you must try to answer. The contest is fot the month of May and you'll have plenty of time to find the answers. At the end of the month, a drawing will be held from all correct entries for several prize baskets.
As for my part of the hunt, I'm sharing a recent chat I had with one of my main characters from my first Whimsical Publication; A GIRL'S BEST FRIEND. Somewhere in the chat, you'll find the answer to my question that will win you a point on Robyn's scorecard.

Character Chat

Hi, folks. I’ve got a man here with me today who’s been there and done that, wherever and whatever. As a former deep cover spy, he’s led a double and sometimes triple life few people experience, much less imagine. For purposes of security, I’ll call him Laz. His cover name was Hayward Lazarus and he’d been traveling around the world as a diplomat representing a philanthropic foundation, Hands Round the Globe. I doubt he’ll kill me for revealing that HRTG was really a CIA front (similar to Air America) that did good work for children in need all over the world. Anyway, thanks for coming by. I hope you enjoy the session.
Pat Dale

PD: Good day, Laz, and welcome. Thanks for dropping by for a chat.
LZ: My pleasure, Pat. Especially since you ended my tale the way you did.
PD: Uh, wait! That’s classified.
LZ: (laughs sarcastically) Isn’t that ironic? I’m the spy but you pull that classified material stunt on me. Pretty funny.
PD: (blushes) Well, I guess I can see the irony in that. I just didn’t want you giving the end away in case our audience hasn’t read A GIRL’S BEST FRIEND yet. I mean, as a man who decided he had to die to save his agency and maybe his country; you gave your all in the cause.
LZ: Yeah. I gave at the office, you could say. Including giving up the most glamorous woman I’d ever met in the bargain. How in the world did you come up with an amazing character like Laura?
PD: Oh that? It was easy, my man. A member of my family was involved in the TV jewelry industry, so that gave me an idea for what she’d be doing. Also, how she’d ever cross paths with a man as elusive as you. The rest was basically simple benign lust.
LZ: Lust? Come on, Pat, how can you lust for a character in a book?
PD: (chuckles) Hey, pal! Readers do that all the time. You mean, you’ve never picked up a book and found a character in it that you dreamed about for days or weeks?
LZ: (nods head) Oh. Yeah. I see what you’re getting at.
PD: Not really. I’m just putting you on, Laz. Actually, I had a friend who resembled the lady I created to appear with you in the book.
LZ: You mean you knew a real life Laura?
PD: Yep. Oh, I changed some of her features to protect my friend. You can do that kind of thing if you’re a writer, you know.
LZ: Lucky you. Really, lucky me! I-
PD: Watch it! You almost did it again. I thought you were a master spy. Surely, you know how to keep a secret.
LZ: (blushes) Yeah, I do. It’s just that being around a gorgeous babe like Laura kind of ties your tongue in knots. You dig?
PD: (laughs) I do indeed. Okay, I’ve got a question for you. Looking back on your adventure, is there anything you’d have done differently if you’d been the one writing the book?
LZ: Hmm. That’s a serious question that deserves a serious answer. Let me think about it for a moment. (pauses, closes eyes)
LZ: (scowls at Pat, smiling ruefully) I’m not sure I could have put Laura through the sexually charged ordeal you got her into in Amsterdam.
PD: Come on, man. You’re a man of the world, experienced and well traveled. No doubt, before you met Laura, you’d had lots of incidents with gorgeous sexy women. Maybe even some events similar to her entanglement.
LZ: (eyes blazing) You implying something about Flame and me?
PD: Hey, my friend, don’t get in a huff. I realize you had no idea at the time what a conniving bitch she turned out to be. Anyway, I got Laura out of it didn’t I?
LZ: Yeah, you did. Good thing, too, or I’d have searched you out and done what I did with my old pal Jeffrey. I’ve got to hand it to you, you created a real bastard there.
PD: If Jeff was a bastard, what would you call Heiny?
LZ: (looks around the room for a sign) Is this show PG rated?
PD: Yes. So?
LZ: So, I can’t use the words in my mind to describe him. You know, looking back on it, I’m not sure but what Laura had a tougher time in your novel than I did.
PD: (bows gracefully) That must mean I was successful in writing a double helix. I wanted to develop two separate storylines moving in parallel, gently twisting them together into one. Hence my tagline; glamour gal and slippery spy ratchet between agony and ecstasy as they search for a way to be together. I think we’d best stop now and let our audience learn for itself if Laz and Laura found a happy ever after.
LZ: (big grin) Yeah! Hey, Pat, it’s been fun. I’d hoped I would have a chance to meet you in ‘real’ life someday. You sure gave me hell in A GIRL’S BEST FRIEND, but what the heck. It makes for a fantastic read. No wonder it’s been highly rated. Stay well, my author friend.
PD: And you, too, my favorite spy! (high fives and fist butts with Laz)
PD: (turns to audience) Thanks to all of you for coming by our chat.

Well, that's it for now. Be sure to contact Robyn to get your scoresheet and good luck. By the way, there are eighteen authors who are participating in the contest and Robyn's scorsheet will supply all the blog addresses you'll need to win. Good luck!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Three Prayers

In honor of this poetry month of April, I'd originally planned to offer my opening and closing poems from one of my novels. Today, after witnessing the recurrent rath of our natural planet, I'm moved to offer three prayers. Also, I'm reminded once again that we're all stowaways on a rogue spaceship, helpless to plot a course much less determine our personal or collective destinies.
My first prayer is one of thanks for those souls who met their own destiny in the horrendous storms that have swept across the land. No matter how short their span was in human terms, one and all had a life and made an impact on those who knew and loved them.
My second prayer is for the survivors who've been left behind to pick up the pieces of their lives and strive for something approaching normalcy once the shock of loss has diminished somewhat.
My third prayer is for the rest of us to do whatever we can to reach out to those victims. Some of us have physical strength and tools that will help clear away the debris and restore a modicum of order. Some of us have money, and that will surely be needed in massive amounts even to begin to replace what's been lost. Some of us have neither strength nor money, but we can pray to whatever supreme being we ascribe to. We've witnessed enormous natural disasters recently that have taken, not hundreds, but hundreds of thousands of lives, leaving the survivors destitute in goods and in spirit. I beseach you to avoid placing the blame for our misfortunes on your personal God or on any God. Bad things happen to good people just as good things happen to bad people. It's how we deal with the hand we're dealt that counts in the end.
And now for those poems. The first is an expression of my take on the flow of life on this planet.


Bubbling burbliing brook,
The sound of wishing, swishing water
Rounding, bounding over boulders and pebbles,
The tremolo of ever present, already gone droplets of time.
Now joyful, then wistfull; finally mournful.
Opportunity coming-here-lost.
More promised; always coming,
Blink and they're gone.
The sound, the ripple,
The rhytym of life.

The second is an expression of my take on our journey through the universe, the final couplet being my requested epitaph.


As rise the lofty mountain peaks, seeming eternal in granite reality,
Upward too we mortals stretch, miming creation in stubborn certainty.

Man presumes too much from far too little,
Living but a jot as he spans the portal.

We expand within our rigid cage, bursting with pride in our endeavor
To break free of this self-made prison, seeking instead the great forever.

Eve, rib of Adam, ever Genesis of man's future soul,
Incomplete in herself, needing him to fulfill her role.

If we could watch from distant skies, earth's clocklike ebb and flow,
Mountains melt before our eyes, Eve reborn in the plains below.

Rain-delivered to earthly womb, form devolved but guaranteed,
The eternal ellipse at last is run, ever changing; forever indeed.

In our desire to stay the same, we miss the meaning of our claim.
Dust to dust, our earthly core; released to fly, our spirits soar!

May the God each of you prays to comfort and strengthen you to endure, to comprehend, and ultimately to triumph over your personal trials. Until we meet again...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A bit of Nostalgia

Easter has come and gone, and with it, a rare visit with my family. While my children for the most part take me for granted, my grandkids do not, and for that I am grateful. I remember my fascination with my grand parents and understand perfectly. Nevertheless it's gratifying to have a grand daugter come up and ask for my recollections of my childhood.
Needless to say, I have no hesitation about telling her lots of 'very' true tales of my youth. I've written several of them down and she's read them. Now she wants more. Who am I to deny her?
I'm feeling pretty mellow today, having survived a stress-free holiday. I just had one of my favorite books released by Muse Publishing and have another to come out next week. Ten years ago, I despaired that my work would never see the light of day. I needn't have worried. By springtime next year, I'll have eleven books out in either print, eBook, or both. Got to get writing again!
SLEEPING WITH HER ENEMY came out this month and I know I need to promote it. As I said above, it's one of my favorites. One reason is that I was able in this book to immortalize my dog Molly. She's been gone now for a year and a half, yet she still comes up on my desktop every day as part of a rotating wallpaper. I hope you read Sleeping and get to know her.
Molly was a German Shorthair, and had such a 'can-do' spirit, she amazed everybody who met her. Fast as a Whippet, sharp as a tack, and a true sweetheart, she was my Unsinkable Brown Molly. In the book, she plays a vital role in the storyline and displays her real-life personality. Do dogs have personality? I think they do. I know my dogs do, each with its own unique way of approachinig life on a daily basis.
I mentioned nostalgia. In the book I've utilized several real life characters, changing only their names and enough vital info that they'll not be found out. One such is the woman pastor of the canyon church. Jessie actually did just that, only her name was not Jessie. She was an amazing lady, rich in spiritual values, and just the kind of problem solver my fictitional pastor was. One value of living a rich and varied life is having contact with so many fantastic human beings. After a lifetime of experiences, it makes a writer's work easier. And more fun!
I could go on and on, but I think you get the point. SLEEPING WITH HER ENEMY is available at or on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other eBook outlets. I urge you to take the plunge and give it a go. I think you'll enjoy the story. If you are truly disappointed, let me know and I'll refund your money.
And just think; how else will you ever be able to get acquainted with my Molly?!
Happy reading, everybody. This is my take. What's yours?
Pat Dale

Friday, April 15, 2011

Confession, Question, Promise, and a Change of Pace

First, my confession; as a promoter of my writing, I suck! There you have it in a nutshell. It seems that no matter what I do, it's either not enough, too much, or just boring as hell. Why am I in a snit? My upbringing and my training leads me to be respectful of your time and sensitivities. I don't want to offend anyone so I'm reluctant to take an 'in your face' posture in my writing. (That does not include some of my characters, who do on a regular basis things I'd die before attempting.) I just went through the release of another book and tried for six weeks to leave little snippets that would make you curious enough you'd want to check SLEEPING WITH HER ENEMY out. I even offered a free book and a series of free reads. Response: Zero. I'm told that our 'new' social media is the way to go and I'd better get on Facebook, Twitter, etc. ad nauseum if I want to attract a large readership. Oh, really? Does anybody remember MySpace? When it was all the rage, the same things were said of it. Then the 'wave' moved on to each new entity as it ballyhooed its way onto the world stage. Well, I've tried some of these, and I also suck at them. Now for my question. Will somebody, anybody, please check out at least one of my books? I can't help thinking my best advertisement is my work. Read a book and tell someone about it. If you like my writing, tell your friends about it and/or write a review. If you don't like it, please use my email address or my blog address and tell me why you find fault with it. In fact, if you really don't like it, I'll refund your money, subject to my financial abilities. The promise: I will read what you tell me and, if I'm really off, I promise to heed your words. The absolute worst thing I can think of is to feel like I'm talking to myself in a closet somewhere. I want to introduce a change of pace today. Years ago, I fancied myself something of a budding poet. Most of what I put down on paper has long since (mercifully) vanished. But my love affair with words has grown through my maturity and now I write novel-length fiction. I recently pulled up a couple of my oldies, however. After dusting them off, I'd like to share them with you. The first is a poem I wrote during the era of Sputnik. Written in 1959, it foretold the demise of the Soviet Union and their early lead in the race to space.

There spins that shiny top, plaything of man’s creation. It goes unnoticed now by those who pulled the string.

They planed, they worked, the keyword was progress

Which they seemed to make with gallant stride.

But the fate that awaits those who walk, gaze held high,

Pulled them in as it lay at their stumbling feet.

Fly on, O Golden Calf, but as you sail through space,

You are but a speck, a splinter, in all the universe.

The second is an early attempt at expressing humility. Imagine my shock and surprise when a number of my peers charged that I had an overinflated ego and a lot of gall. Perhaps its my use of the word god, but please notice I spell it two ways. Could it be that I was trying to express my spiritual nature? I'll let you be the judge. Let me know what you think. Please?

CREDO Oh that it were, that the god in me, Were somewhere out in space; To be seen by those who, with searching gaze, See little of God in me.

Friday, April 8, 2011


Hi folks,
Yep, this is the day SLEEPING WITH HER ENEMY is available at: or on Barnes & Noble,, Smashwords, or other eBook distrubutors. I urge you to get your copy and enjoy.
Meanwhile, I'm guesting on Lois Winston's blogspot today at: and I hope you'll drop by there as well. I have a contest on there but it's not the same one I've got going here. So, without further ado, I'm going to give you the last of the six excerpts I promised. Remember they are not in chronological order and the contest is for you to try to determine what the correct order of the six should be. Send your answers to: and the first correct entry wins a free book from me. Also, every entry will get back by email a free read from my newest romantic comedy. Now, here's the excerpt I promised. After the excerpt, I'll give a hint as to how to win.

She stared into his gorgeous eyes for an eternity that lasted at least five seconds. Then she grabbed his head and brought their lips together with a ferocity that startled him. Startled, but did not put him off.
Kissing, they somehow made their way into the living room. When the sofa bumped against the back of her knees, she dropped onto its soft surface, pulling him down with her. He followed gracefully, landing on the sofa but not on her.
They cuddled for long moments, their kisses tender and intimate while his hands explored under her robe. It would be so easy to make love to him. That was, once she overcame the persistent image of the petite blonde hanging above them. The idea of mating with Dan was right, but the timing was up for grabs.
She was about to bring that question up when they heard a voice from the top of the stairs. “Daddy? Did Ana go home?”
He jumped to his feet, his face a study in panic, as she struggled to get the robe pulled tight. “No, honey,” he answered, “we’re down here talking. Did we wake you?”
“No. I just wanted to tell her how happy I am she’s here with us. She wasn’t in her room.”
Ana spoke up. “That’s sweet of you, Sherry. I’m glad you like me.”
“Can I come down for a while? I’m not sleepy.”
Dan’s agonized expression made Ana giggle quietly. “I don’t think so, sweetheart. It’s late and you still need a lot of rest to get well. We’ll all have a super time tomorrow,” he called up to her.
“Okay. Goodnight, Daddy. Goodnight, Ana. I love you both very much.”
Ana said, “We love you, too, sugar. Goodnight.”
After waiting several minutes, he shrugged. “Do you think she came down here and saw us kissing?”
“I don’t think so. I hope not. Surely if she had she wouldn’t have gone back upstairs to call to us. Would she?”
“Nope. You’re right. But that was close.”
“What if she had?”
“Oh my gosh, I hate to think about it.”
Her spirit shrank as she watched the lusty man who’d melted her heart turn into a frightened pansy. She realized it could have been embarrassing, but if it were right, how much different would it be than if a child walked in on her parents during intimacy?
“If we’re going to do anything like this again, we have to consider the possibility your daughter will find out sooner or later. If that bothers you, we have a problem.”
The look in his eyes confirmed it. They had a problem. He tried to answer but stuttered nonsense. “Okay,” she said. “That answers that. We’re not out of the woods yet. Not by a long shot if your face is any indication. Maybe we’d better keep our distance until you can work this out in your mind.”
“Me? In my mind? Come on, Ana, you’re having trouble with this, too.”
“Not the same way you are, apparently. When I commit, I commit for better or worse. I’m not into casual petting, even with the most adorable man I’ve ever known.”
“You think I’m adorable?”
“Among other things. And the most frustrating at the moment.” She paused to give him a pained smile. “But we’ll have to work on it. If you were serious earlier.”
“I was.”
“I can handle that.”
“Ana, I don’t know how this happened but I do know one thing. I love you. I never had an inkling of wanting to be with another woman since Peg. What we just did may have been indiscreet, but it was wonderful.”
She kissed him on the cheek. “Yes. It was. Wonderful.”
“But what?”
“There was a question at the end of your words, Ana.”
“I was stuck on the word indiscreet. What we did was wonderful, but it was not indiscreet. It was our timing that was questionable.”
“Oh,” he said. “Uh, we didn’t go too far, did we?”
“Oh, we went too far all right.”
She giggled. “Not in the way you’re thinking, apparently.”
“You don’t have to worry about kissing me, Dan.”
“I don’t?”
“No. It was just the timing.”
“We’ve already established that.”
“I mean, the timing for us to make love.”
She giggled again. “You say that word a lot.”
“I do?”
“Yes, you do.”
This time they both broke out in soft laughter. He grabbed her into his arms and kissed her again. She responded instinctively. She could tell his body was ready, indelibly ready, to move forward. But his mind wasn’t. Until he resolved her place in the scheme of things, this would be nothing more than an exercise in lust.

Now then, all you have to do is go back to my previous posts and look at the six excerpts. Figure out what order they come in, in the book, and send the number to me in an email to my above address. First one with the right answer gets a print copy of my romantic suspense A GIRL'S BEST FRIEND. Everybody gets a free read from my new romantic comedy THE LAST COWBOY IN TEXAS. I guarantee you'll enjoy reading both of them as well as SLEEPING WITH HER ENEMY. And next month, watch for my psychological suspense thriller CROSSED LINES. It's a book you probably won't want to read late at night, but one in which the lady protagonist gets exactly what she wants.
Read, enjoy, enter the contests, and have a great weekend, all.
Pat Dale

Friday, April 1, 2011

Surprise Guest Blog

Well, hello. You’re probably a little surprised to have me here today. Pat asked if I would fill in for him and I was happy to oblige. My name is Anika Henry, call me Ana, and thanks to Pat, my story will be out next week. Oh my God, what a relief!
I’ve been crammed into this guy’s brain for all this time and had begun to wonder if I’d ever see the light of day again. Let me tell you, there are some strange characters creeping around in that man’s head. Some you don’t dare turn your back on, if you know what I mean. Oh, some nice ones too. Don’t get me wrong, I know Pat’s no pervert. Just saying…
Anyway, he asked me to fill you in on what happened in my life before this adventure began. Hmm, that covers a lot of territory since I’m nearly forty. I married the boy of my dreams when he graduated from the Air Force Academy. J.P. (John Paul) and I had known each other since grade school and I watched him grow up into a fine specimen of a man.
I was so proud of him in his dress uniform. Tall and wiry, he was built perfectly for his Air Force mission, flying fighter planes. I’d gone through nursing school and become a registered nurse but since he got transferred quite often, I never worked that much at nursing. Did I love him? Oh yes, I did. I adored watching the boy I’d teased in school grow up to become a manly hero.
Was our marriage idyllic? No, I have to confess it was anything but, but not because I didn’t love J.P. with all my heart. Then, when he was killed in a silly flightline accident, I was left with our son Paul Joseph. I called P.J. Joey and he became the center of my universe. But I still remember the long nights when I’d have given anything to have had a man sleeping beside me.
We’d lived in Arizona when J.P. shipped off to war one time too many, but when he was gone I couldn’t stand the sound of those planes taking off and landing. We moved to Colorado, to Ft. Collins and my first real nurse’s position. It was a lovely place and I thought I’d solved our problems.
Wrong! That’s when my problems really began.
My job at Front Range Hospital was wonderful. Check that. It should have been wonderful. I was assigned to the children’s ward and worked the night shift. It became a way of life to bring a little cheer into the lives of all those kids who found themselves in a strange place at a very bad time in their lives. Within a short time, I’d gained a reputation as the kids’ smiling nurse.
Joey was not so happy. He’d had to leave his friends at the Air Base and at eight, with no school experience in the new town yet, he had no friends. He nagged me into getting him a puppy so he’d have some companionship. Molly is a little German Shorthair pup with such a positive air about her, it’s impossible to be around her and not smile. Now. After she led him out into the street where he was hit and killed by a car, I wished her dead for awhile.
God, thinking back on that gives me shudders! As I already said, he’d become the center of my universe and, with him gone just like that, I had no one to turn to; no place to go. I honestly considered ending it all. But I didn’t follow through. Oh, there was one time later I almost did it again, but that’s part of the story and Pat just came back in and threatened to do bodily damage if I spoil my, uh, his story.
Anyway, now you know something of what happened to me before SLEEPING WITH HER ENEMY begins. Enjoy the story; I’m sure you will. Pat may be a taskmaster but he’s one heck of a storyteller as you’ll find out next Friday, April 8th, when Muse Publishing releases ‘our’ story. Happy reading, all!

Hello, folks. I hope you enjoyed hearing from a truly gutsy gal. You're going to love her, I'm sure. Now for the fifth installment of excerpts. Remember, after next week and the sixth one, there will be a CONTEST to see who can guess the correct order of them. Don't worry if you've missed one or two. I've got a hint next Friday that will get you caught up. The winner gets a free paperback copy of my romantic suspense novel, A GIRL'S BEST FRIEND. And everybody who enters will get a free online 'unedited' chapter of a new romantic comedy I'm finishing now. Here's the ex:

Ana was about to step out of the shed when she looked back. The windshield was smudged on the right side. She wedged herself past the side of the car so she could get a better look at the front of it. On the right side, the molded headlight was cracked and there were tiny dark flecks on the fender. When she bent to get a closer look, her breath caught in her throat. Blood!
Old and dried, black with oxidation, but it was definitely blood. On Dan’s car. With a broken headlight. And a slight indentation in the hood above the light.
The combination of the headlight, the blood, and the dent were too much. Her mind rewound the horrible accident where Joey’s body would surely have done this kind of damage as he bounced off the speeding car that killed him. The shed shimmered and went dark.
“Ana! Ana! Please wake up. You’re scaring me!”
She sensed rather than saw the little blonde girl leaning over her where she’d passed out. When her eyes opened, she tried to smile but couldn’t. “I’m sorry, Sherry. The damage on the car reminded me of something.”
“It must have been pretty awful, the way you screamed.”
“I screamed?”
“Enough to scare the elk in the meadow clear to the other side of the mountains. What scared you?”
“Nothing, really. I’m okay now.”
Sherry shook her head. “I don’t think so. You’re white. Are you sick?”
“No, honey. I’m fine. Really. I’ll tell you what it was that scared me, but I’d rather your father be here when I do.”
“Okay. Can we go back outside and play with Molly now?”
“That’s a good idea. You go on and play and I’ll close up the shed.”
She waited until Sherry was out of sight and glanced at the car again, sure it was identical to the one she remembered. But there’s no way it could actually be the car. Could it...

Now if that doesn't get you wondering, nothing will. As you might guess, this is the jumping off place where Ana's life really goes into the tank. 'Nuff for now. Cheers everybody, and happy reading!
Pat Dale