I’d like to share my favorite Valentine’s story. It’s about a twenty-two-year-old woman named Wanda, and how she helped hundreds of couples celebrate Valentine’s Day—every day of the year. During World War II, Wanda worked at the Fayetteville, North Carolina train station selling tickets, making reservations, and helping passengers locate their luggage. Trains ran full in those days, and getting a ticket without an advance reservation could mean waiting on a hard bench for hours, until the next train traveling in your direction had an empty seat or someone with a reservation didn’t show up . . .
For most of us, Thanksgiving is typically a time to reunite with family and gain a few pounds from over-enjoying a table loaded with the requisite turkey, dressing, and all the trimmings. The day is also a highlight for football fans as well as signaling the traditional start of seasonal parties and marathon shopping sprees. It’s quite a contrast from the holiday’s earliest beginnings when, in 1621, the Pilgrims of New England celebrated a day of thanksgiving in gratitude for their good health and harvest, prompted in part by the death of half of the Plymouth colony from starvation and cold during the previous winter . . .
On Veterans Day, we honor and commemorate the men and women who have served our country through their military service. Our focus is naturally directed toward those who fought our country’s enemies, unselfishly risking their lives to preserve a way of life that is without equal anywhere in the world. Most of these men and women have very personal stories about their war-time duty—memories about a particular event or situation that touched their lives while, in many cases, they were far from home . . .
In the neighborhood of my youth, Halloween was strictly for children. In small towns and rural areas, there were few, if any, Halloween parties for adults. It was simply a time for kids, costumes, and collecting candy from the neighbors. And in my eight years or so of going house-to-house in search of the cherished nugget-sized Baby Ruth or the equally prized popcorn ball, the expectation—and the result—was always the same: A smiling face, a hand extending beyond the screen door, and the reassuring plop of a piece of candy into my bag . . .
I had the privilege of meeting Marty Balin after being invited to sit in on a jam session with this legend and musician partners, Chuck Morrongiello and Lloyd Goldstein. What an honor to share a few moments with this extraordinary trio and experience the magic first-hand. He will be greatly missed, and his music will live in my heart . . .
A friend of mind recently confessed she sleeps with her e-reader under her pillow. She told me it gives her a sense of comfort, knowing at any time during the night, with a few taps, she can instantly connect with the characters in one of her favorite steamy titles waiting on her kindle.
Maybe that’s not so unusual, I thought, until she added, “And I have to feel it in my hands just before I’m ready to fall asleep.” I was certain she was still taking about the e-reader, but there was just enough innuendo to make me wonder.
My husband’s fiftieth high school reunion is a month away. That’s right—his fiftieth! As he reads the personal updates and pictures he’s received from some of his old classmates, he’s been reminiscing about those four years of adolescent hopes and expectations. Occasionally, he’s shared a memory or two with me—the Saturday trips to Senator’s Wash, wishing he could play guitar as well as Bill Painter, and still being clueless over how he managed to receive an “A” in Algebra.
Last night, he pulled out his old high school annual and began paging through it. As his thoughts skipped from one year to the next, from person to person, he occasionally paused on a picture to recall the class they shared or something they had in common.
His pauses were longer as he looked at the girls.
An Update From Jaye . . .
I’ve received a lot of emails from readers wanting to know what I’ve been up to the last few months and when they can expect the next book. Frankly, after finishing the World Without Love series, I needed a break. It was a five-year project involving months of research. And while I really appreciate the overwhelming support from readers assuring me they would welcome a fourth book about Jewel’s continuing adventures in the edgy world of espionage and high-flying romance, I’ve decided to let the third book, Redemption, bring the series to a close. Does that mean we’ll never hear from Jewel or Annie again? Not hardly. Jewel’s exploits are far from over. The next chapter in Jewel’s life is a couple years in the future and, when released, will begin a brand new series with Jewel continuing to tantalize readers with exotic locations, archeological mysteries, and a search for an ancient lost treasure.
So what have I been working on?
As many of you know, I enjoy writing short stories, especially those with unexpected twists and surprise endings, particularly when the characters continue to haunt my thoughts long after I’ve written the last page.
I’ve been putting the finishing touches on a new collection of short stories and novellas. Some are as short as two pages, while others tip the scale at thirty or more. Of course, there are several edgy stories with an erotic touch, which is how I decided on the book’s title, Journeys from Above and Below the Belt.
The projected publication date is Fall 2019. I know that’s a bit in the future, but in the publishing world, it’s just around the corner.
Until next time,
Jaye Frances is the author of World Without Love, a suspense thriller series with an erotic edge. The trilogy includes Betrayed, Reunion, and Redemption. Her other books include The Beach, a psychological thriller about the possibilities, and horror, of wishful thinking; The Kure, a romance novel with a paranormal twist; The Possibilities of Amy, a coming-of-age novella about first love; and Love Travels Forever, a collection of poignant short stories. Her new book, Journeys…From Above and Below the Belt is scheduled for a Fall 2019 release. Jaye lives on the gulf coast of Florida, sharing her home with one husband, six computers, and several hundred pairs of shoes.