Thursday, October 10, 2013


Welcome, Marsha West.

So, you live in Texas and and your season of Autum is very different from mine here in Pittsburgh, Pa and the New England states.

Well, it's October, the witching month, so instead of a hot drink, please have a tall glass of iced lemonade.

Now sit back, relax, and tell us about your October in Texas..

It's FALL! At least, it’s getting close. I’m an optimist. Here in north central Texas, we sometimes have summer clean into October! Frequently Halloween is shirtsleeve weather. Makes it fun for little trick-or-treaters who get to show off their costumes with nothing covering them up.
 We’ve had a hot summer, and it has lingered into fall, but I’m so grateful it wasn’t like the summer of 2012 or heaven forbid a repeat of 2011! We truly thought we’d died and gone to hell. 

Over seventy days in a row of 100 + temps. Now you may think you have high temperatures. Certainly west Texas, Arizona, and California have those, but not with our high humidity, which sucks the very life from you. And in some sad cases, this is literally true and not just figuratively. Elderly people and the poor are at great risk from our deadly heat.

You may be wondering why I’m writing about the weather. I mean it’s the weather, for crying out loud.

How boring. LOL For some, it probably is. But I’m very sensitive to temperature changes. I like to be in a state of what I call “medium”—not too hot nor too cold. Though if it’s a choice between the two, I’ll pick cold any day.

 I swear hot temperatures turn me into a mean, ugly person.  I have no patience for anything or anyone. I totally understand the reports from law enforcement types that murders increase in number when the number on the thermometer goes up. Heat makes me crazy. (Well, I’m a writer, so perhaps no one can tell the difference. 

I regularly check the temps on my iPhone for places I’d like to be. 

Here's one above. 

(the location in my first published book) and yes, the weather plays a role in the story).
Another is Red River, New Mexico, a site the family vacationed at in August when our daughters were young.

 Camden, Maine—the site of a couple of recent trips with my DH in what I consider my adopted state.  I confess not to have spent a winter in Maine. It is possible I wouldn’t survive, but I’m willing to give it a try. I for sure, wouldn’t burn up! LOL

Another is Red River, New Mexico, a site the family vacations. 

So back to FALL…we have temps all this week in the low 90s, but our lows are finally dropping into the low 60s! That means our mornings are really pleasant. 

 When we’re in the 90-100s and the nights don’t cool off below 90…well, IMHO, that’s no way to live.

In another life, I was an elementary school principal, and it never ceased to amaze me when parents sent their kids to school without jackets when a blue norther was forecast to come in. It didn’t matter that it was 65 or 70 when they came to school, by the time the left, we’d be in the low 40s AND UPPER 30S. All you have to do is listen to radio or the TV for 5 minutes to find out what the day will be like. (Of course, now it’s even easier. Put the weather app on your phone.) I know kids (and some adults) don’t like to mess with coats/jackets, but it’s a parent’s job to be responsible. Sometimes you have to make the tough decisions. Insist your child take a jacket to school.

Let me share two quick stories. One is when I was the hottest. Several years ago when I was still working in a school and (despite popular opinion), we’re not off 3 months in the summer! My car was parked out front in the sun. I got in, and the thermometer register 119. I kid you not! I cranked up the AC and rolled down the windows to let out the heat. Within a block I was drenched in sweat, and my head beat like it was about to explode. Dreadful 30-minute drive home. Eventually rolled up the windows, but I could’ve been sitting in an oven!

Now one of the coldest times I remember was when our daughters were in high school. 

 Both were cheerleaders, and we attended a typical Friday night game. Yes, cold temps and precipitation were predicted. I’m no dope. We carried blankets, wore caps and scarves with our coats. About midway through the game, the blue norther hit bringing with it sleet. Not sleet that fell on us; it sailed horizontally across the football field north to south. People shivered under their blankets, bunching together with people they might not know, just to add body warmth. The girls had on their leggings with their uniforms, but it was a miserable night. The football game continued. It was, after-all, Texas.

So how about you? Am I the only person out here adversely affected by temperatures? Are the meteorologists I the only ones who care? Or are you perhaps a closet weather watcher because you too want to be “medium” like me. I’d love to hear from you. Commenters will be eligible to win a prism and lavender sachet, which connect to the store in VERMONT ESCAPE.



Two years after the murder of her husband, someone guns down Jill Barlow’s father, a Texas State Representative. The authorities suspect a connection between the murders, but can’t find proof. Jill longs for the peace she found when she visited Vermont after her husband’s death. With the perpetrators still at large, she flees to the small town of Woodstock. 

          The gambling syndicate, believing she has damning evidence against them, pursues her, shattering her dreams of peace. In an effort to protect her grown children, she doesn't tell them violence continues to stalk the family.

          Despite having lost so much already, with the lives of her family and friends at stake, will Jill be required to make more sacrifices, even the hope of a second chance at love?


Jill Barlow reached for her make-up kit and brushed against the one thing she’d been doing her damnedest to avoid. Her heart rate tripped into overtime.

The package she received days after her dad was murdered. One month ago, but she couldn’t face opening a reminder of the nightmare.

Pictures of her vigorous father mixed with recent images of his closed casket. Nausea hit. Again. Damn. Why would someone blow off her father’s head? She didn’t stay to find out. She ran.

She’d pushed herself on a four-day trip from Texas to Vermont. Emotionally and physically exhausted, all she wanted to do was unpack her pajamas and climb into bed. Habit required she clean and moisturize her face. Habit provided comfort when life was chaotic. Habit could get her through the worst. Or not.

 In the Woodstock Inn suite, her hand trembled when she removed the package and dropped it onto the bed where it lay on the white coverlet like a scorpion.

 Hands propped on her knees, she leaned over, drew in needed oxygen. A minute passed, and then she straightened.

“Okay, open this. Every time you’ve come across the thing, you implode, morphing into a quivering mass of mush.” 



Marsha R. West, a retired elementary school principal, is also a former school board member and threatre arts teacher. She writes romantic suspense where experience is required. Her heroes and heroines, struggling with life and loss, are surprised to discover second chances at love.Marsha, who loves to travel, lives in Texas with her supportive lawyer husband. They’ve raised two daughters who’ve presented them with three delightful grandchildren. She admits to being at the beck and call of two dogs, who run her home. She’s sold a second book, TRUTH BE TOLD, to her publisher with expected publication date of Spring/Summer 2014. She’s currently doing research for her latest work in progress, the second in a planned series of four books.

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  1. Oh, Marsha, I am with YOU when it comes to weather. I am lucky though because I cheat the weather. We live in Michigan during the summer, but we do have 4-8 90 degree days with high humidity every summer. We escape the snow and brutal cold by moving to FL for the winter season. My husband's desire was to be able to garden 12 months out of the year and he does by living this Nomad life. Do you get to go to Vermont in the fall and see the colorful leaves. We HAVE to stay in Michigan and get our fall fix of leaf peeping and crisp apples. Stay cool!!

    1. Hey, JQ. I've never been to Michigan, but it's on our places to go list. We've been to Vermont several times. Have friends who live in neighboring New Hampshire.The fall colors are spectacular. Not every year. It depends on the weather which determines when and how much color you get to see. I've read that recent years haven't been as bright as once was. The speculation is the overly high temps we've all been suffering.
      How fortunate you are to live in two beautiful places. Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

  2. Hey, Lorrie. Thanks so much for having me today. Think we'll have a good time.

    1. You're welcome, Marsha. I'm sorry I couldn't join until now. Soon I'll have two little ones to watch for my daughter, but I'll be back and forth later tonight. I'm so glad you could make it.

  3. Okay, Marsha. I have to call foul and tell the folks the truth. No amount of hot weather can turn you into the woman you described. I understand we humans have a lots of bones, but each and everyone of yours is nice!! You know the answer I'm gonna give! Give me warm weather any day!! I hate being cold. :)

    Keep writing!! The world needs your next book.

    1. Aw, shucks. You make me blush, Jerrie. :) I'd be totally happy to give you all the hot weather and I'd keep the cold. LOL We're like the nursery rhyme couople: Jack Sprat could eat no fat his wife could eat no lean! Just sub in hot and cold and we fit! Well, I'm not sure that works without changing some more words.
      Thanks for stopping and for your kind words. Couple more SM stops and I'm back to writing. :)

  4. I'm with you, Marsha. I grew up in Michigan and Ohio, and I barely survive the summers in Texas. I miss having fall color, too. And I have to say, I've noticed the moods in my house became a bit more positive a few weeks ago when the weather cooled down-among the people and the dogs.

    1. A woman after my own heart, Ally! You come from a beautiful part of the country! I lived in Ohio for one summer after 3rd grade. It colors all my visions of what small town America is. Haven't made it to Michigan, but it's on my trip list.
      I seriously worry about our world with the rising temps everywhere! But I'll save that for another post sometime. Thanks for stopping and for sharing.

  5. Hi Marsha
    Loved your tempertature themed post. I can't imagine living in the heat you do, but I know some love it. Thanks for sharing.
    ...and for other readers, buy her book, Vermont Escape rocks.

    1. Hey, Jo-Ann. Thanks for your praise of VERMONT ESCAPE. So glad you liked it. Is your hottest temp up there around 80-85 in the summer? Must be nice.
      Thanks for stopping and for sharing. Really appreciate your support.

  6. Hi Marsha, like you, I can't handle the heat. My bones ache by far worse in the summer than they do in winter.

    My daughter and family lived in Fairbanks, Alaska for three years. One winter night as she was driving home from grocery shopping, the tires froze right out of the wheels of her jeep. Fortunately, help was nearby. That's a wee bit too cold.

    I enjoyed Vermont Escape very much.

    1. Hi Leona, seems Marsha is having a bit of trouble responding, so she wrote to me. This is her reply, Hey, Leona. Yikes! Your Alaska story is horrifying! Never heard that could happen! For sure that's too cold. I gotta tell you though, it sounds like something I'd like to put in one of romantic suspense stories! Hope your daughter is closer to you now and in less extreme weather.
      I'm so glad you like VERMONT ESCAPE. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. Hi ladies - cute post! I have to admit, though, I'm at the opposite end of the weather spectrum - I love the heat. Our upstate NY winters are far too cold for this summer-lovin' girl. Vermont Escape sounds great, Marsha!

    1. Hey, Heather. Isn't it interesting how we all have different tastes in things. (Kind of like with books. I'd love upstate NY. I have a cousin who lives by one of the lakes, and her descriptions make my mouth drool! Yeah, cold snow winters, but gosh I just think it must be so beautiful!
      Appreciate you stopping by.

  8. Living in Pittsburgh, you never know what you are going to get. I can't handle the awful heat of summer anymore and I detest the freezing cold. I guess it's too much to ask to live in a place with a constant spring or fall. Hmm. Hawaii?
    Although I do like the mantle of color the trees wear this time of year.

    1. Hey, Lorrie. Yesterday was lovely here. Not much humidity--below 50%--light breeze, 80 degrees. I stopped by to see one of the grands and was oohing and aahing over the evening. My daughter & son-in-law both said: Mom, this is Hawaii! (They know I'm not fond.) LOL But I want the seasons. I think I actually have the heroine in VERMONT ESCAPE say those very words. Maybe not in the final version, but I distinctly remember writing that at one point. LOL The colored leaves are amazing to me. Even the ones we get here blow me away! :) Again, differing tastes.

    2. All of this for me may just be 'the grass is always greener.' but I really dislike cold temps. I'd never make it in Alaska.

  9. I suffer a little from Seasonal Affect Disorder--when the sun goes away so does my energy! So someplace often sunny--hm, Singapore? I've lived there before and loved it!

    1. Hey, Conda. That really is a real thing. We lived in Puerto Rico from 6th grade through the end of my sophomore year in high school. I remember my mother talking about the folks who got depressed because the seasons were the same all year long. We got plenty of sun all year. The only difference was in the rainy season when every afternoon at 3 pm it rained. Beautiful, but boring! LOL IMHO. Don't guess you'd do well in Alaska, huh? You must have stories about living in Singapore. I only know what I do from HGTV where people are moving there and looking for a place to stay. Thanks so much for stopping by and joining in the conversation.

  10. It's funny how much we are alike Marsha. I hate hot, humid weather too. Here in the San Francisco area it can get plenty hot, but we're usually pretty dry. When it does get humid everyone dies, including me. I started out in Michigan and would never go back because of the humidity, even if it is beautiful. Give me cool weather any time.

    We're starting on our lovely Fall weather now--70's during the day and 50's at night. Love this time of year. Just wish it would stay light longer.

    Sounds like you get some pretty severe temp changes! At least we don't have to deal with snow (unless we want to go skiing).

    1. Hey, Kate. LOL I guess maybe the titles of our first books were a clue to our similarities: Your Wyoming Escape and my Vermont Escape. You were a guest on some blog or perhaps just posted, don't remember now, but I had to get to know you with that as a beginning. :) Oh, you're living in paradise with that 50s to 70s span. I love the brisk mornings like that. Well, I'd be okay if we had more snow, but mostly it's ice and everything shuts down. Most of us can't drive on the white stuff. Thanks so much for stopping and for your support, Kate. One of the best things about blogs is getting to know people I'd otherwise not ever meet!

  11. Lorrie, thanks so much for having me today. This has been fun.

  12. Yes, it has been fun. I often wonder--if all had a choice--of where they would choose to live. As I said before, the grass may always seem greener.