About disability…

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Because much of my professional life is lived in the disability rights and justice community, some of the characters in my books, including main ones, have disabilities. Here are some examples.

In More Than a Job, Paige and Joshua work for a company that provides small, personalized and respectful living settings for people with cognitive disabilities, in contrast to the institution where some of her family once resided. The book addresses some of the problems with institutions and the very controversial topic of parents who have a cognitive disability.

In Out of Agony, Brian works through the depression and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder that result from the death of his daughter. One of his clients is a man with MS who loses his job in what appears to be discrimination because of his disability, but becomes something more when his employer attempts to steal his patent for a new pain medication that will mean relief without liver damage for people with chronic pain.

In the next release, next January, the heroine is a blind single mom, loosely based on someone I know, and explores the prejudice in society against people with disabilities being parents. It is especially challenging when her ex attempts to gain full custody of their child.

You can find all my books, paperbacks and eBooks on Amazon or eBooks only on my publisher’s page, Desert Breeze Publishing, Inc..

Will he ever really smile again?

dreamstimefree_3756336How can he recover from losing all he loves?

Brian Van Pelt leaned a little closer, let the fragrance and warmth of the woman next to him encompass him in a cocoon of illusion. For a moment he could believe that there was still beauty and joy in the world. Even though the woman, a client, was almost a stranger, he was drawn to seek some kind of comfort, however broken and unreal it was. His sense of isolation and hopelessness was pushed away for that brief moment.

A movement just beyond them, in the hallway into his law office, drew his attention and the terrible, desperate truth slammed into him.

It was Jennifer, his soon to be ex-wife. He swallowed the breath of shock and shut his heart away. He couldn’t afford to let it crack open, not even a little, or he would shatter into fragments that could never be put together again. He raised his eyes to hers and stiffened his resolve, looked her up and down in what he hoped was a disinterested, dismissive gaze. He pushed away the wisps of emotions from their decade of marriage together.

She looked like he felt, and a little empathy pushed back. Her face was puffy and red from crying. Her brown eyes, always before so warm and clear and full of love for him, brimmed with tears and pain. She was dressed in jeans and a sloppy shirt, comfortable and homey, and an ache to hold her and be held by her threatened his resolve.

He curled his lip into a forced sneer.

She would not tolerate his scorn, even though it was a thin façade over what he really felt. She raised her chin, straightened her shoulders, and somewhere found some of the dignity her mother’s people were so famous for. Without a word, she fanned the papers in her hand, raised them high over her head, then let go. As they drifted toward the floor, they spread, going their separate ways. She turned on her heel and headed back the way she’d come. She didn’t say a word.

“How odd. Do you know her?”

Brian struggled to pull breath into his lungs, to steady his nerves so he could respond with the expected nonchalance. “A client — one who isn’t particularly pleased with her divorce settlement.” He stepped back with what he hoped was a light chuckle. “I’d better get them filed before she changes her mind.”

He started toward the drifted papers. He wanted to run from the building and find Jen, crush her to him, tell her he had been a fool and that this was all wrong.

Instead he bent and shuffled the pages into a stack, slanted a wry smile at his co-worker and headed to his office. He closed the door…

…and sank back against it, closed his eyes against the pain. He rubbed his hand over his face before he straightened and went to his desk, where the check and envelop to file the divorce papers were the top thing on the stack of work to do. He pulled the envelop toward him, dropped everything inside, sealed it shut.

Sealed the coffin that held the remains of his marriage.

Out of Agony picks up where Finding Her Voice left off, and tells the story of the other parent devastated by the loss of their daughter. Available soon. Check out my author page for more Starting Over stories.

Work in Process…Out of Agony

When Jen and Brian lost their daughter Trudy in a tragic accident, their marriage fell apart. Jen’s story is told in Finding Her Voice. That book left Brian in bitter denial. Frankly I didn’t like him ver36451078204185961_HMZmvGgi_by much. He left Jen when she was most vulnerable and returned to the careless and arrogant man he had been before Jen’s warmth and love changed him. The family man turned cold, uncaring attorney. My readers felt there was more to know about his journey. And as his story unfolded, they were right to want to hear it.

Out of Agony is Brian’s story of grief that would not be denied, and pain that took root in a way that put his life on a completely unexpected road. When Jessie came to work at his firm, she instantly disliked the man and yet was intrigued by inconsistencies that hinted at  something more to know about her co-worker. But she didn’t have time to explore those thoughts — she was deep in her own pain as she  supported her niece Sara, who was struggling with a virulent cancer and the aggressive treatments that took such a toll they would not be worth it — except they are her only hope to save her life.

Coming July 21 from Dessert Breeze Publishing, Out of Agony is the fourth book in the Starting Over Series and like the prior volume, is inspirational romance. Starting Over Book Five, will be released in January, 2015. While each book stands alone, some of our favorite characters cross over from book to book.

Sassy Bird Steals the Show

Sassy the StarI love animals, so I was very excited with Author Petie McCarty sent her bird Sassy to the interview on her latest book. 

So Sassy, tell us about the book that released this week — a great Christmas read.

Hi! My name is Sassy, and I’m a Nanday conure — think of me as a height-challenged parrot. I live with my people, Petie and Patrick McCarty, and also a misbegotten English Springer spaniel that my people call Lily, who never stops sniffing around my cages. I’m not afraid of Lily, but Petie keeps telling me I should be. When I’m out and I sit on top of my cage, Petie mutters something that sounds like, “Don’t forget, she’s a bird dog.” Lily doesn’t want me though, she wants the seeds that fall out of my cage. But, I digress from my purpose here.

My special person, Petie, is a writer, and we spend hours together in our special room at the back of the house. There Petie sits at her desk and writes with her hand or types on a keyboard while I have fun on the play table Patrick made for me, which sits next to her desk. Petie says she’s working on her books, and she explains things to me when she stops for while because she’s “stuck” — whatever that means.

Well, one day several months ago, as I pushed my plastic ball around on my play table, Petie stopped typing and stared at me for a long time, longer than normal. So I said, “What’s wrong?” [But it came out “Hello, Baby” — which is one of the nine things she taught me to say that she really can understand, so I use them a lot.]

AngelToTheRescueCoverArt72dpiStill she stared at me, so I tried again. “What’s wrong?” [This time it came out “Love you” — another of my nine favorites]

She frowned at me and said, “I have to help the boy.”

I said, “What boy? We have a boy?” [This came out like my most-excited words, “Kiss, Baby!” because I could tell Petie was upset.]

When I said that, Petie grinned at me and then got real excited, too. She cried, “That’s it! Psychologists could use an animal to break through to a child, and I’ll use you!”

Me? Now I don’t know what a psychologist is, but I liked the sound of Petie using me for anything.

Well, Petie kissed me on top of my head — she does that a lot — and said, “Sassy, you’re going to be in my book!”

“In your book?” I cried. “But I like my cage and my play table!” [That was “Hello, Baby!” six times in row — I was worried.]

Petie didn’t hear me though. She turned back to her keyboard, and her fingers were flying. I watched for a while until I got bored — I get bored easy — and then I climbed the ladder up to my food pot on the play table to have a snack.

In case you’re interested, the book was released December 10, and it’s called Angel to the Rescue. Petie says it’s one of her Rescue Angel Romances where she hides an angel in her book. I think I’d like to meet one of Petie’s angels.

Anyway… check tomorrow and you’ll see what Petie calls a “blurb.” She says it will tell you a little about the story, and she put in an excerpt, but it’s really my scene in the book. In the scene, I meet Jay, one of the kids Dr. Rachel Kelly is counseling.

I really like the story, and Petie said she made me a star, which is okay with me as long as I don’t ever have to leave Petie.

So, readers, more tomorrow from Petie’s book, Angel to the Rescue — and if you can’t wait download it now from Desert Breeze Publishing or Amazon.

A Christmas Bonus – she has to work on Christmas!

DSC01807I am so excited to have Patty Froese with me today to talk about her Christmas release. Patty, how are holiday stories different from your usual writing?

I don’t think they are very different from what I normally write, because I’m a pretty romantic soul as it is. Christmas just gives the perfect setting for romance, humor and some tugging at the heartstrings.

I’m one of those people who has to be physically restrained from setting up the tree before Halloween. Mind you, I live in a place where snow comes early, so that’s my excuse. 😉

What was the inspiration for this story?

This is a workplace romance. Andrew, the CEO, is being blackmailed by his grandfather to go home for Christmas, even though Andrew has a huge account he has to work on. His solution is to simply bring his faithful assistant, Millie, along with him in return for a hefty Christmas bonus. Millie, however, is tired of this arrangement, and while she agrees to the trip, she has plans to quit by New Year.

The inspiration is from my own working days. I never did like my jobs. I was a writer at heart, and I worked in order to pay my rent and sAChristmasBonusCoverArt72dpi(1)pend the rest of my time hammering out novels. Millie has other plans to open her own photography business, and this job was only meant to be a temporary solution. In that way, Millie is a lot like me.

How much of your writing is drawn from real life and how much is from other sources?

That’s hard to tell, because I live in my head a lot. LOL! I’m one of those people who can’t hear an idle piece of information without mentally spinning a whole story around it.

What fun! Then you can’t always know in advance how the story will unwind. Is there an underlying message in your writing? What do you want readers to take away from the story?

I always want my readers to come away from my books feeling hopeful. I truly, deeply believe that there is a lid for every pot, and I suppose that is the message I want to give. Don’t give up hope for love. Life is full of beautiful, sparkling opportunities, if we can just look up and see them.

Book Blurb

When Millie’s boss asks her to work over Christmas, she’s hesitant to give him any more overtime. She has plans for her life that include quitting this job and starting her own photography business, and she promises herself to quit by New Years.

Andrew Holmes has no desire to go back to his tiny hometown for the holidays, but his manipulative grandfather gives him an ultimatum that he just can’t refuse. So in order to get the last project of the year finished in time, he asks his assistant, Millie, to make the trip with him.

With a disgruntled brother, a sister-in-law struggling with infertility and a little boy who shows up claiming that one of the Holmes men is his father, Christmas is about to get complicated…

 Buy link

Patty’s websites: http://patriciajohnsromance.com and http://pattyfroese.com

Reviews for Finding Her Voice

From Amazon Most Helpful Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars How Do You Heal a Broken Heart? July 22, 2013FindingHerVoiceCoverArt
Format:Kindle Edition
What does one do when everything begins to go wrong? Finding Her Voice is a heart wrenching story about a young couple with a sweet young daughter, who soon learn what it really means to have to deal with tragedy from the first page and on through the book. When they learn of the death of their daughter, not only are two hearts broken, neither are able to find a way to heal and go on. Not able to cope together the couple ends up in divorce, they also lose their home, and Jennifer, the mother, struggling miserably with her own grief, her faith, and her loss of peace, has to venture off on her own to find some answers.As a historical romance writer, I don’t normally read contemporary fiction, but I found this story to be a fast-paced page turner from the beginning to the end, sometimes difficult to read because of the sadness, but so well written I had to go on to find out what would happen next — An easy to read, true-to-life book of friendship, faith, and hope.

Only one disappointment for me was in not finding out what happened to a very important character in the story who could not bear the tragedy of a lost child.

I recommend this book to readers who enjoy contemporary fiction with real life circumstances.

Shirley Kiger Connolly,
award winning author of both historical romance and nonfiction books of reflection

No Easy Answers

Posted by Natalie Chamberlain on 16th Jul 2013

I don’t usually read this genre of literature but I really enjoyed this book. As a pastor, I especially appreciated the fact that Lynette Endicott not only chose not to give easy, pat answers to difficult questions, she even confronted those easy answers, showing them to be more harmful than helpful.

The happily ever after ending was expected but the journey there wasn’t. The story is well written and engaging. The characters are true to life as are their situations. I found it to be a very hopeful book and well worth the time to read it.

Dog is a key Character in New Release

Oliver Twist is my personal dog, a therapy dog like Atlas in The Return of Joy.download

I didn’t own pets until after my 50th birthday, so they mean a lot to me. (I didn’t engage with the ones in the household as I was growing up — they belonged to other people.)

When I walked into the pet store to get something for the cats that my daughter convinced me we needed, I saw Ollie in a cage with the other rescues. He was looking right at me, and I knew if I looked back I would bring him home, and I did.

So I had to include Ollie as a character in my latest release, Finding Her Voice.

A remarkably talented artist has just finished a statue of him for me to use in promoting Finding Her Voice when he can’t come along in person. And here it is with his actual photo for comparison.

Check out more of Jennifer Rudkin’s art at:

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Newest Release: Finding Her Voice

The Pain will never go away — but Love Helps Jen Cope

Jennifer had the perfect life. A loving husband, a beautiful daughter, a flexible job in the family business. When it was all taken from her, Jen struggled to move through her days with the help of friends and family — but they couldn’t understand, and somehow expected her to get over her grief. Even her twin brother, Joshua, was unable to help her heal.FindingHerVoiceCoverArt

Ollie, her daughter’s rescued dog, was the only one who seemed to share her grief and understand her pain in losing her daughter. When the divorce ended in the sale of their home, she and Ollie set out on a road trip of discovery. She needed time and the care of an old friend, and along the way met others who had lost a child or a marriage or both. None of them expected her to get over it, but they did help her go on living.

Her old friend listened, and with love guided her to an outlet for her feeling through music — and she found comfort through on-line contact with other bereaved parents, including Michael.

Life would never be the same, but maybe she could find the music, find her voice, find her own path to living after her loss. And if she was lucky, find love along the way.

Excerpt

Time to get this show on the road. She typed out a text and sent it in a blast to her whole family.

I’m packed and headed out. Thanks for understanding. I’ll update you from time to time.

Then she gave a little whistle and commanded Ollie to get up. He clambered into the seat where she belted him in.

“Well, boy, here we go. Off on an adventure.”

They called every ride an adventure. He had no idea how long a trip he was in for. Or that he would never come back to the place they’d called home. But then, she wasn’t certain how long it would be either.

Jen went around to the driver’s side, climbed in, and dropped her phone into the sound system so she could take or make phone calls if she wanted.

She started the van and, out of habit, started the tunes saved to her phone.

The song that came up was one she and Trudy sang together, a fun, silly song. She couldn’t bear it. She shut down the music. It was too hard. She couldn’t sing. Not anymore. She took one last look at the house that had been home to her now-destroyed family, then threw the van into reverse and turned so she could steer out of the driveway and onto the road. She didn’t look back. Her goal today was to drive as fast as the law allowed, and as far as her energy would support. She needed distance between her wrecked life and whatever was ahead.

Available July 11 from my publisher, and along with the paperback and epub versions of Books One and Two, on my Amazon Author Page.

Now available in Paperback…Books One and Two of the Starting Over Series

Announcing the Paperback release of my first two books in the Starting Over Series

I am pleased to announce that the sales for these books were high enough to go to press — literally. My debut contemporary romance, More Than a Job,  follows Paige Hamilton as she is forced to seek a new life when her consuming, 24/7 job ends at the hands of a new company owner. But Paige is a survivor, and begins to build a new life, one that may even have room joy covercover for on line adfor romance. A handsome stranger helps her through the transition, and soon she falls fast and hard for Joshua Robinson. Then she discovers he is the cruel owner, and that the company she loved — the company that cared so much about the adults with disabilities who lived in their homes — is in a downward spiral that puts the life of one of her friends at risk. Romance, job loss, life coaching, hidden family treasures, and a secret about an uncle she’d never met — Paige learns that life is More Than A Job.

The Return of Joy is actually the first book I wrote — and the first where an animal is one of the key characters. Patterned after a therapy dog I know, Atlas steals the show every time he shows up. His story is woven into his master’s, Mark Stone.

When Joy Huffman’s recurring dreams of the husband she lost become urgent she is convinced to go tot he cabin, their project of love, in New Mexico. With her daughter and mother-in-law, they set out to learn what Steve wants them to know — that his death was no accident, but murder. Their investigation stirs up the evil that ended his life, and puts them all at risk. The caretaker at the cabin, Mark Stone, is challenged to keep them safe while he unravels the mystery of why Steve died. Along the way he falls in love with Joy — but will she be open to loving again?

These books are available in paperback from Amazon today! Check out all six listings at: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_1?_encoding=UTF8&field-author=Lynette%20Endicott&search-alias=books&sort=relevancerank

Why research fiction?

Writing Advice from Petie McCartypetie-mccarty

The question in the title is one I hear all too frequently when talking to readers, and I am amazed by the number of readers who are oblivious to the fact that authors are always required to do a certain amount of research when writing their stories.

I’ve had readers claim, “But it’s fiction! Why would you do research? Can’t you just make the stuff up?

The answer is No. Not even for the wildest science fiction, where a whole new world has been created, can the author afford to scotch the research. Questions would still arise and would still require answers — like How did this world come into existence? And the answers must be plausible. If your story is not believable, you will lose the reader before you get he or she hooked – a fate worse than death for an author.

There will be few stories an author can write strictly from their personal experience. I spent two years of my career surveying Florida waters by airboat, and I still wasn’t close to being able to create a story about an airboat safari for my debut novel Everglades. I spent several months researching every aspect of the famed River of Grass and the adjacent Big Cypress National Preserve before I crafted the first scene. Then I had to research the sugar plantation industry to create a believable scenario for the conflict.

Even an author writing about a small fictional town in the mid-west will have some anchor businesses in the town to hold the populace and thereby the story together. And unless the author has owned a business similar to one in the story and is familiar with the nuances of the business operation, then research will come into play. The author simply cannot avoid research.

catchofthedaycoverart72dpi__73343.1359481854.1280.1280Sometimes, we luck out and find an expert to plug all of our research gaps. I certainly did for my second novel Catch of the Day. My day-job lake-survey partner is also a professional fisherman – they prefer to be called anglers – with the national Bassmaster Southern Opens series. He vetted my manuscript upon completion to be sure I hadn’t made any fishing faux pas.

Now the Catch of the Day doesn’t actually have a large amount of fishing tournament information and description in it, but what is there had to be accurate. As with most fiction, the characters and their interaction and dialog provide most of the story, but what little narrative is provided for color must be realistic. The reader will know.

Fiction research is always worth it in the end, even if you spend months reading up on a subject, for there is no greater feeling for an author than to have a reader post a review or send an email that says, “You made me feel like I was right there in the story…”

Download and read The Catch of the day or Petie’s latest novel, No Going Back, and check out all her books at Desert Breeze Publishing.