Chateaux of the Loire – Day Four: Chenonceau

Of all the beautiful chateaux along the Loire, Chenonceau, built in 1513, is the one I have visited and loved the most. Which is why I can always go back again to walk that grand gallery over the Cher river, delight in the exquisite floral arrangements in each room, and read about the rivalry of Catherine de Medici and Diane de Poitiers and visit their competing gardens.Their iron, but very feminine, fists in their velvet gloves always preserved Chenonceau in times of conflict and war.

This year with my six-year-old granddaughter as my tour guide, I visited places in the 70 hectares that I had never seen before–the Maze, the extensive greenhouses and gardens where the flowers for those beautiful displays are grown and arranged (did I think they call 1-800-FLOWERS ??), the stables, the XVI century farm, and the historic display of the chateau’s use as a military hospital during World War I.

img_2197img_2180

The castle chef's at work

The castle chef’s at work

One of the many beautiful bouquets designed for each room

One of the many beautiful bouquets designed for each room

This lily pad display even mimicking the pond scum

This lily pad display even mimicking the pond scum

img_2199

The photo display of WWI as a military hospital

The photo display of WWI as a military hospital

One of many garden areas

One of many garden areas

img_2170

Enjoying the tour

Readers picked their poison and the winner is…

degrees kindle

DEGREES OF OBSESSION has it all—juicy romance and heart-pounding suspense. Best of all, it shines light on the fears, follies, and fantasies that drive the choices women make and on the love that redeems them.

DEGREES OF OBSESSION by Karen Stephen

A landslide victory ~ 452 copies (74%) downloaded

vs. 160 (26%) for MOTHER TONGUE: LINGUA CORSA

OBSSESSIVE LOVE vs. POLITICAL INTRIGUE 

The numbers don’t lie. Stalking trumps assassination, intrigue in Los Angeles and La Jolla wins over mystery in Corsica, a 50 year old psychologist pursuing her old college flame outflanks a 32 year old attorney using her mother’s native tongue to infiltrate a Corsican separatist group, and nostalgia run amok outshines a passion for justice.

TRAILER FOR DEGREES OF OBSESSION

Both novels STILL FREE for kindleunlimited customers

DEGREES OF OBSESSION Kindle Version BUY for $0.99

MOTHER TONGUE: LINGUA CORSA Kindle Verson BUY for $2.99

Last Day! Book FREE Kindle Downloads of MOTHER TONGUE and DEGREES OF OBSESSION

thank youJoin the 600 Book Lovers who have already downloaded my novels this weekend.

1000Bring me to my goal of 1000 downloads by Sunday midnight!

CLICK HERE FREE DOWNLOAD  DEGREES OF OBSESSION  

CLICK HERE FREE DOWNLOAD MOTHER TONGUE: LINGUA CORSA

Amazon worldwide on JANUARY 1st THRU 3rd

book trailersCan’t wait? View the heart-pounding DEGREES OF OBSESSION trailer 

WATCH the suspenseful MOTHER TONGUE trailer.

 

 

Saturday Fun! Book Trailers for FREE Kindle Downloads of MOTHER TONGUE and DEGREES OF OBSESSION

free kindle ebooksFor an exciting start to 2016 and a thank you to the hundreds of fans and followers of my Doc Flamingo’s Blog, my Facebook Page, and my @docflamingo Twitter page, I am offering a FREE KINDLE PROMOTION for BOTH of my suspense novels.

CLICK HERE FREE DOWNLOAD  DEGREES OF OBSESSION  

CLICK HERE FREE DOWNLOAD MOTHER TONGUE: LINGUA CORSA

Amazon worldwide on JANUARY 1st THRU 3rd

book trailersCan’t wait? View the heart-pounding DEGREES OF OBSESSION trailer 

WATCH the suspenseful MOTHER TONGUE trailer.

 

 

Happy New Year! 3 days of FREE Kindle Downloads of MOTHER TONGUE and DEGREES OF OBSESSION

free kindle ebooksFor an exciting start to 2016 and a thank you to the hundreds of fans and followers of my Doc Flamingo’s Blog, my Facebook Page, and my @docflamingo Twitter page, I am offering a FREE KINDLE PROMOTION for BOTH of my suspense novels.

CLICK HERE FREE DOWNLOAD  DEGREES OF OBSESSION  

CLICK HERE FREE DOWNLOAD MOTHER TONGUE: LINGUA CORSA

Amazon worldwide on JANUARY 1st THRU 3rd

book trailersCan’t wait? View the heart-pounding DEGREES OF OBSESSION trailer and the suspenseful MOTHER TONGUE trailer.

degrees kindleDEGREES OF OBSESSION – SYNOPSIS

Charlie Pederson, fierce but flawed like all women who have loved deeply and lost, takes a dangerous thrill ride from risky infatuation to the edge of disaster when she stalks her still suck-the-breath-out-of-you handsome college flame.

As a therapist, Charlie knows she should abandon her crazed obsession over Danny Shapiro. But as a woman turning fifty and stifled in her marriage to deadly dull Harold, she finds herself driven to take a dicey last chance to find all that her heart needs.

Little does she suspect that an impulsive visit to Danny’s law office will make her the target of a homicidal erotomaniac. As she chases Danny down, she jeopardizes her professional reputation, infuriates her best friend, alienates her husband, and risks exposing the most painful secret of her life.

DEGREES OF OBSESSION has it all—juicy romance and heart-pounding suspense. Best of all, it shines light on the fears, follies, and fantasies that drive the choices women make and on the love that redeems them.

mother tongue kindleMOTHER TONGUE:LINGUA CORSA – SYNOPSIS

Child advocate attorney, Liz Fallon, desperately needs a break after legal blunders and her own negligence lead to the kidnapping and death of a mother and daughter she represents. Fluent in her mother’s native Corsican tongue, she nabs a job at a Paris newspaper as a lingua corsa translator for Pierre Benatar, whose coverage of the explosive Corsican Nationalist movement has enraged every separatist faction.

When Benatar and his seven-year-old son disappear, she resolves to prevent another tragedy and cons her way to Corsica under the ruse of researching a tabloid story about the mazzeri, the isle’s ancient harbingers of death. She cozies up to the prime suspects using her secret knowledge of lingua corsa and the aid of an elderly Brit and a courageous teen Corsican cousin. The hunters suddenly become the hunted when Liz’s inquiries arouse the suspicions and passions of both the separatist leader and the French police chief. When the mazzeri story also takes a chilling personal turn, she has to wonder whether Corsica intends to reclaim her as its prodigal daughter or destroy her.

Do not cling…

worth itdo not cling
shrink wrap yourself
around something
not yours to have
not love
nor money
nor any object
of your desire

save endless
hours of emotional
wear and tear
avoid exercise in futility
you cannot stick
to Teflon dreams
that resist
the irresistible you

believe life gives
what is yours to have
let feelings linger
until dissolved
seek poetic companions
who inspire
pick author’s brains
who encourage

decide to be cheerful
just for today

Life Interrupted

P1010462I retired FOR GOOD four and a half years ago (the 100 flamingos in my yard were proof of that) after a forty-year career as a Clinical Psychologist. That’s eight thousand patients and tens of thousands of hours of listening to the basic seven stories of humankind: bad spouse or partner, bad job, bad kids, lousy childhood, maltreatment, bottom of society’s totem poles, or spiritual vacuum. But each retelling had its own flavor or its own horrors (just when you think you’ve heard the worst!) and the resilience of the human soul is a marvel to observe. Give it a place to flourish and flourish it will.

I turned my attention and my time toward being a loving grandparent and to fiction writing. I enjoyed putting the final touches on my second novel, MOTHER TONGUE, and developing a social media campaign to sell the first, DEGREES OF OBSESSION. How different the market has become for self-published authors. I even created a book trailer, which brought out the “director” in me.

And then my stellar work history caught up with me. A former colleague gave my name to a large heath care plan that services the Medi-Cal (Medicaid) population in 14 northern California counties. They were seeking someone with clinical experience and organizational skills (which I had obtained through leadership in my union) to serve as their Mental Health Director. Two days a week seemed doable and the lure of having a paycheck again, and a handsome one at that, led me to applying and then accepting the position.

So the plan is to sort out the new position, see what I can contribute to serving the Medi-Cal population in terms of mental health services, and run the Grammie and fiction writing “businesses” on the side. Who knew that entering the eighth decade of my life would be so invigorating and challenging. And I can always quit after I earn enough money to buy that Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce I’ve been hankering after!

You’re Never Too Old to Tweet, Blog, and Pray

In the past two months, I learned to Tweet and Retweet, use Pinterest, and Blog. In the process, I created an entirely new Author Website using WordPress.com, learning all the ins and outs of a new web builder.

Then I published a Kindle version of my first novel, DEGREES OF OBSESSION, which is still available in paperback as well, and began a social networking marketing campaign using tons of good advice I garnered at a local meeting of the Romance Writers of America back in January.

I even figured out how to make a Book Trailer for DEGREES OF OBSESSION mastering the basics of Movie Maker 6.0 after discovering that Microsoft’s Window Live Movie Maker isn’t worth a farthing! I will be releasing the trailer this weekend March 22nd. Be sure to stay tuned!

Although my computer chair has become my best friend during this rush of activity, I still keep up with babysitting my toddler and pre-school granddaughters a couple of days a week, keep up with the activities of two older grandsons in Oregon, stay involved in church activities, see friends, feed my face (never forget THAT unfortunately!), walk, and do my daily mediation writing. Whew!

Who says turning 70 has to slow you down, mentally or physically. In fact, I find it terribly exciting to learn and use new skills. It is also great fun in this second career of mine as an author of romantic suspense novels to hold the actual products of my handiwork in my hands and have them appreciated by others. One of the downsides of being a therapist for forty years was seldom seeing the outcomes of my efforts as people drifted back into their lives after getting what they needed from therapy.

Yes, there have been a few senior moments here and there. But they usually involve forgetting to mail the bills or pick up bananas for those grandkids.

Grow old with me! The best is yet to be. ~Robert Browning.