TWIN BLESSINGS

1D5E2E7C-789C-412F-8863-B30281E23FEDLife has been crazy these past weeks. My daughter had an emergency cesarean section and delivered identical twin boys. The babies had a rocky start involving being flown by air ambulance to a neonatal intensive care ward in a larger center and spending three weeks in hospital care, but they are home at last and growing every day.

If you think a baby changes your life, try two. My husband and I have been at my daughter and her partner’s home helping with the new babies since they came home from the hospital. Double the feedings, diaper changes, laundry, more feedings, more diaper changes…and did I say laundry? The washer and dryer has been running nonstop.

At the end of every day, we collapse and sip a relaxing glass of red wine before falling into bed in an exhausted coma. But at least we get an uninterrupted sleep.

My daughter and her partner aren’t so lucky. Through all the issues involved in her risky pregnancy, the difficult births, and long hospital stay, my daughter has been a rock. She always has a smile on her face even with the nighttime feedings and lack of sleep.

The months ahead will be challenging, but with the help of her partner, family, and friends the babies will be fine. We’re so blessed. I can’t wait to watch these beautiful baby boys grow up and become men. What an adventure.

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CYCLING ADVENTURES

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A few years ago, my husband and I cycled through the Sacred Valley in Peru. The snow capped Andes loomed in the distance as we rode on dirt tracks past traditionally dressed locals herding llamas and goats. The high altitude air was so thin I struggled with mountain sickness, and even the slightest rise in elevation was exhausting. The downhill sections were almost harder, and I had to push my bike down narrow trails with hundred foot drop offs.

Call me crazy, but seven months later we booked a cycling tour through Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama. I’ve never taken a holiday where I had to train to be ready for the rigors of the trip. I rode a stationary bike three times a week for the longest hour of my life, and rode my bike on our local roads in below zero temperatures when frostbite was a real concern.

The trip itself was even more challenging. We rode six to seven hours every day in the heat of the tropical sun, up hills, down into valleys, through small villages, and on winding trails through the jungles of Central America with volcanoes smoking in the distance. The squawks of brilliant-colored birds and the haunting calls of howler monkeys were louder than my huffing and puffing. We caught glimpses of iguanas, sloths, and capuchin monkeys high in the trees, and were awed by the brilliant blue flash of blue morpho butterflies.

The trip pushed me to my limits. Sweat poured from every nook and cranny, and we fought over butt butter to relieve the blisters on our nether regions. But as each day ended, I was filled with a sense of pride at what I’d accomplished.

We’re already planning another bike tour through northern Italy. I don’t know if I’m a sucker for punishment, or I’m just looking forward to the liter of wine I’ll reward myself at the end of a hard day’s cycling.

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The Joy Of Running

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A few years ago, in a desperate effort to get in shape, I started running again. I couldn’t believe how hard it was. Each minute was agony. My feet hurt, my hips and knees ached, my lungs burned, but I persisted. After weeks of hard work, I ran forty-five minutes without stopping and was beginning to feel the euphoria that comes with running.

My lungs still burn, my heart pounds, and I pant and puff as I struggle to get back into running shape. But the rewards are worth the effort. Running on the winding, narrow, forest trails behind my house, I enjoy the beautiful vista of the Fraser River flowing below, and the forested hills in the distance. If I’m lucky, I meet a deer. Sometimes, a bear lurks in the bush. Squirrels skitter through the trees, birds chirp, and woodpeckers peck above as I breathe in the fresh air redolent with rising sap.I return home, sweaty and tired, but exhilarated and ready to face whatever trials the day ahead hold, looking forward to my next run.

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Bitter Legacy Available For Preorder

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My latest romantic suspense is now available for preorder. The book, published by The Wild Rose Press, releases on June 7!

Blurb: 

Sharla-Jean Bromley returns to her hometown after a seventeen-year absence with vengeance in her heart. From the very beginning, her plans go awry when she meets devastatingly handsome Josh Morgan, the man to whom her father left half of his multi-million dollar lumber mill.

Josh, suspicious of Sharla-Jean’s reasons for returning to town after such a long absence, vows to keep control of the company he feels is rightfully his. She is equally determined to prove she can run her father’s mill, even though it means working side-by-side with Josh, a man whose very presence evokes an attraction that is increasingly difficult for her to ignore. In the process, they must overcome a villain who’s determined to destroy both the lumber mill and their lives.

Will Sharla-Jean succeed and heal the anguish that has long filled her soul? Wills he and Josh find the passion of a lifetime?

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B06ZZVR5LJ/ref=sr_1_17?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1492377409&sr=1-17&keywords=Bitter+Legacy

The Wild Rose Press:

http://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/all-titles/5061-bitter-legacy.html?search_query=Bitter+Legacy&results=1

Nook:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/bitter-legacy-c-b-clark/1126254341?ean=2940157509132

Kobo:

https://www.kobo.com/ca/en/search?Query=Bitter%20Legacy%20(C.%20B.%20Clark)&ac=1&acp=Bitter%20Legacy&ac.title=Bitter%20Legacy&ac.author=C.%20B.%20Clark

Also available at Google Books and iTunes.

Conference Magic

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Writers’ conferences are magical. If you do nothing else to enrich your writing career, attend a writer’ conference. Not only will you learn new writing and marketing skills, and have a chance to pitch your latest manuscript to editors and agents, you’ll meet authors at all stages of their careers and leave the conference invigorated and inspired.

The first conference I attended was a romance writers’ conference. I was so nervous I sat in my car in the parking lot and watched people enter the building wondering what a romance writer looked like. I expected to see middle-aged women wearing floppy garden hats and flowery, flowing dresses. To my surprise, everyone looked normal. Even more surprising, a few men walked through the doors. Once I gathered the courage to enter the conference room, I had a wonderful time. I couldn’t believe how friendly and supportive the other attendees were.

My next conference was for authors of all genres. I met people who wrote poetry, crafted non-fiction textbooks, and writers of horror, young adult, mystery, scifi, steam punk, romance novels, and many other genres. Everyone had a unique story of his or her writing journey. One man, with Fabio-like flowing dark hair was a cover model for romance books. A middle-aged couple wrote erotica, and a criminal lawyer penned legal thrillers.

Many of the people I’ve met at writing conferences are still friends, and we connect on line, sharing our successes and challenges. Attend a conference. If you can’t afford the RWA, find one closer to home. You’ll never regret the experience, and you may even find some magic.

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Sneak Peek Of Bitter Legacy

So excited to reveal the cover of my upcoming romantic suspense ‘Bitter Legacy’. My new baby hits the world on June 7! Hard to believe this is the third book published by The Wild Rose Press.

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Blurb:

Sharla-Jean Bromley returns to her hometown after a seventeen-year absence with vengeance in her heart. From the very beginning, her plans go awry when she meets devastatingly handsome Josh Morgan, the man to whom her father left half of his multi-million dollar lumber mill.

Josh, suspicious of Sharla-Jean’s reasons for returning to town after such a long absence, vows to keep control of the company he feels is rightfully his. She is equally determined to prove she can run her father’s mill, even though it means working side-by-side with Josh, a man whose very presence evokes an attraction that is increasingly difficult for her to ignore. In the process, they must overcome a villain who’s determined to destroy both the lumber mill and their lives.

Will Sharla-Jean succeed and heal the anguish that has long filled her soul? Wills he and Josh find the passion of a lifetime?

And here’s a sneak peek at ‘Bitter Legacy’.

Fire!

Even as the dreaded word reared like a monster inside her head, a thin trickle of smoke crept out of the dark storage room. Terrifying images of flame, smoke and searing heat threatened to overwhelm her. For a nightmare second, she was back in the midst of scorching heat and roaring flames.

Using all her strength of will, she tore free of the chilling memories. Instead of fleeing, she placed one wobbly step in front of the other and shuffled toward the storage room. Her nostrils flared at the acrid tang of gasoline and smoke. With a shaking hand, she gripped the door handle and opened the door.

A figure burst out of the darkness, crashing into her, knocking her back.

She yelped at the pain of the blow and the shock of falling. A jolt of agony and blinding light as her head hit something hard.

Heavy boots pounded across the tile floor. Cold air washed over her. And then darkness.

 

Joy Of Writing

Writing has given my life meaning and substance. I’m very fortunate to have a loving husband, two children, a beautiful granddaughter, (and identical twin grandsons who just arrived in this world yesterday), good friends, a loyal dog, and my health, but writing is the one thing I do just for me.

I’ve always been a writer. When I was a child, I wrote in a diary and described the joys and pitfalls of growing up. That diary was destroyed a few years ago. I couldn’t bear the thought of anyone reading my wild angst-driven thoughts, even if I were long dead and buried.

Due to a botched operation, I lost my voice for a year and could only speak in the quietest of whispers. I love to talk and being unable to be heard over even the smallest background noise was hard at first. I felt alone and isolated, as I couldn’t contribute to any conversation, and I couldn’t work.

One day, I decided to try and write a book as a way to release all my pent-up ideas on paper. My goal was five pages per day. That’s 1250 words. Not easy, as all writers know, but I stuck with it, day after day after day, until one day, I was finished, and I typed those two, wonderful words: The End. A feeling of euphoria filled me at my accomplishment. I’d written 86,000 words. Incredible!

The plot of that first effort wasn’t great. The characters were flat, and the story filled with a plethora of clichés. But I was proud of what I’d written. I’d done it. I. Had. Written. A. Book. This one accomplishment changed my life. I discovered I love using my imagination to create new worlds and peopling them with varied and interesting characters.

Now, several years of writing later, I have two romantic suspense books published by The Wild Rose Press, and another will be release on June 7th this year. I’ve met other authors on-line and in person, joined writing associations, attended workshops and conferences, and thoroughly enjoyed every second of this incredible journey. I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunity to write.

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Bangkok Rip-Off

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There are all sorts of scams in South East Asia. When my husband and I, and a travel friend were in Bangkok a few months ago, we got caught up in an elaborate one called the Lucky Buddha Scam.

We were on our way to visit the Reclining Buddha, a major tourist attraction in the city. When we stopped to look at our map we were approached by a friendly local who spoke excellent English. He informed us the Reclining Buddha was closed that day due the King’s recent death. We were disappointed, but when the man suggested we visit another temple, the Lucky Buddha Temple, one of the oldest temples in Bangkok, we thought it was a great idea. Our helpful guide even called over a tuk tuk driver and arranged for the driver to take us to the Lucky Buddha Temple for a bargain price (less than one US dollar).

Upon arrival, our driver led us onto the temple grounds and indicated we were to go into one of the temple buildings. A large reclining Buddha was on a dais inside (not the real one), and an official-looking man was seated at a table. He asked us to sit with him for a minute, and we assumed he was a guide or a temple guard.

He spoke English well and explained he worked in New York City at the United Nations, and he was back in Bangkok on a holiday. He also mentioned he was in town to buy jewelry. Apparently, the factory to buy the jewelry was only open one day a year, and this was the day. His plan was to buy the jewelry and resale it back in the United States for a huge profit. We should have caught on at this point that something fishy was going on, but we just thought he was being helpful.

We said goodbye to him and left the building. To our surprise, our tuk tuk driver was waiting. He ushered us over to the temple and pointed inside. A Buddhist monk was in the temple blessing some people. Another man was seated on the floor praying. He motioned us over and told us to sit, as it was disrespectful to stand in front of the Lucky Buddha.

He was friendly and spoke English very well. He asked us lots of questions about ourselves and told us he was a chef and lived in San Francisco and was back home because of the king’s recent death. And guess what? He’d just bought some expensive rings. He showed us his forms for purchasing the rings, and they looked very official. We weren’t interested in buying any jewelry, but we didn’t want to be rude, and so we stayed and listened to his story. By this time, we knew we were in a high-pressure sales situation, and this whole scenario was part of an elaborate scam to get us to buy fake jewelry.

When we finally left the temple, our driver was still waiting. We told him we wanted to go to the river taxi, but he took us up and down a maze of streets until we were at the jewelry factory. When we refused to get out of the tuk tuk and demanded he take us where we wanted, his demeanor changed, and he became angry and rude. We roared off, clinging to the sides of the tuk tuk, as he took us to an expensive riverboat tour company office. Once again we told him we wanted to go to the river taxi.

Cursing and swearing in Thai, he careened down one street after another, nearly hitting several unwary pedestrians. Realizing our lives were in danger, we jumped out of the tuk tuk as soon as he stopped and tossed him the fare we’d agreed on. We heaved a sigh of relief when he thundered off in a burst of gas fumes.

We’d wasted most of the day wrapped up in this scam, but we were all unharmed and we’d had an interesting adventure. Best of all, the entire escapade only cost us a small bit of change. Funny thing…there’s no such thing as the Lucky Buddha. It’s all a big con. We’ll certainly be more suspicious of friendly locals on our next trip.

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The “Lucky Buddha”

 

Vietnam Adventures

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I had no idea what to expect when I embarked on my recent trip to Vietnam. My knowledge of the Communist country consisted of what I’d seen in war movies from the Vietnam War era. What I found was a vibrant nation of friendly people, delicious food, impressive scenery, and bustling cities.

Hanoi is a charming city with winding, narrow-laned streets filled with the constant roar of motorbikes. Sometimes five family members sit astride one small scooter. With six million motorbikes, traffic in Ho Chi Minh City is even crazier. At first, I was terrified, but I soon grew accustomed to the hectic pace and waded through the throng of vehicles like a local.

Vietnam is still reeling from the effects of two decades of war that tore the country in half. The Cu Chi tunnels where the Viet Cong hid for years from enemy combatants are shocking in their narrow, twisted, cramped darkness. The rusted remains of bombed American Forces tanks lay abandoned and covered in jungle vegetation.

The tall, white-sided karsts, topped with lush vegetation that dot the emerald waters of Ha Long Bay are breathtaking. Nearby, fields of lush green rice paddies, drenched in pools of muddy water stretch as far as the eye can see. Locals still harvest rice with hand-held scythes and dry the rice on bamboo mats under the hot sun. The old world charm of Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage site with its ancient buildings is a great place to get a tailor-made suit or a massage…all costing less than a good dinner in the US. The muddy waterways of the Mekong Delta and the old Imperial city of Hue are sights well worth seeing.

Street food like pho, bahn mi sandwiches, and fresh spring rolls are delicious. Rice noodles are served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Unusual foods like deep fried tarantula, ants, crickets, snakes, and frogs are common. And of course, I drank a few glasses of rice wine with tarantulas in the bottle. Not sure about that choice.

With all I saw on my trip, I barely scratched the surface of this unique country. I definitely have to go back one day.

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