Greetings! My name is Lisa Lickel, and I’m from Wisconsin. I recently moved from the east side of the state (wet and cold and Lake Michigan-influenced) to the western side (warm, unglaciated—which means lots of hills and streams and Mississippi River-influenced). My nearest neighbors are Amish. They were worried they might bother us with their loud hymn sings and saying good night to each other. How can you not love that? It wasn’t hard to trade engine-revving highway noises for the clip-clop of buggies. I take a pile of manure over diesel fumes any day.
Although my mother says I crayoned the walls when I was a tot, it was never my ambition to become a professional writer. I enjoyed writing reports and so forth, an occasional article, but when I was last gainfully employed I happened across an article about an online writing course. Computers being newish and all, I fell for the idea and signed up for the two-year program. And I did pretty well—so well that I placed high in a national novel competition and eventually signed with an agent. I wrote a lot. And even more. I got contracts for four books before I figured out I had no idea what I was doing. The agent and I parted ways, as did another agent when I focused on The Great American Novel instead of Stuff That Sells, and…she couldn’t sell it. I stepped back for two years to try and learn marketing stuff, did a lot of blogs, joined groups and more groups, realized that I sucked at marketing, and then got into the other side of the business (with much fear and trembling): editing and teaching. The main thing I gathered is that the deeper I get into “behind the scenes” the more I learn I don’t know stuff.
My advice: be flexible, be thick-skinned ’cuz everyone has an opinion, and keep writing. I went back at it, and while my first and third novels are still in a drawer, I am always excited about what I’m working on. I’m an eclectic writer as much as I am an eclectic reader and surprised myself with my latest release: Parhelion, which took me places I’ve tried to avoid. I’m a historian by degree, and a Trekkie by heart but I told my little writer self that mixing my delight in sci-fi with the business of writing would make me lose my love of both. Then Harry, nicknamed Sundog, a test pilot in Parhelion, attracted the attention of weary travelers, which kind of worked out since they had something we could use, and we had a promise of something they needed.
I love a good plot point, don’t you? I’m not planning to go all tech, now. The Great American Novel is still a dream, but I get that commercial fiction sells. Parhelion was a fun way to end a romantic series that began with a strange land-based configuration called a meander scar, and continued with a law of motion sensation: centrifugal force. In reality, I am, behind the scenes, a little old Quaker lady who writes cat mysteries. But that’s a story for another day.
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Title Forces of Nature Series: Meander Scar, Centrifugal Force, and Parhelion
Author Lisa J Lickel
Genre Romantic Sci Fi
Publisher Black Lyon Publishing, Fox Ridge Publications
Love can heal even the deepest scars ...
After seven years with no clue as to the whereabouts of Ann Ballard's missing husband, nearly everyone presumes him dead. Now forty-something, Ann is ready for her stagnant life to flow again. Then one day, a dark-haired younger man from her past shows up on her doorstep offering a river of hope in place of tears.
Former lovers attempt to rectify the past to save their children and preserve the fragile world in crisis.
Rachel Michels made a poor choice which resulted in her biggest blessing, her daughter, Maeve. When the father of that blessing returns decades later, she knows he wants something she’d taken from him. Rachel has lived in near seclusion and mistrust, fearful of losing the one person who’s kept her life from coming unglued.
Parhelion—prisms dogging the sun. it’s a rainbow hope of reaching the stars for a small group of colonists preparing to preserve life.
Maeve Michels hit earth hard, falling in love with a former Air Force test pilot. No longer in the military, Harry Kane’s mysterious work as a consultant for a space engineering company piques Maeve’s interest. Maeve’s sixth sense says there’s more to Harry than he’s telling her, but with the world about to fall apart, she must decide to trust him with her future.
The man’s lips tilted into a practiced smile as he held out a hand. "Mrs. Ballard? Ann? Do you remember me? Mark? I’m Mark Roth. Trey’s brother? We lived next door."
Yes, yes. That was it. He squatted at the edge of the frame in her photograph of Ritchie and Trey in fifth grade with a catch of bluegills. How could she have forgotten Mark’s eyes? Even when he’d been a high schooler, those eyes had been the talk of the neighborhood ladies. Arresting blue, the iridescent color of bluebird feathers, Patricia from across the way used to say. Patricia always had been a bit of a nature freak.
Ann put a hand to her mouth and held up the picture with the other. "Well, this is amazing. I was just cleaning Ritchie’s closet and thinking about the boys and their fishing and found this photograph." What on earth made her say such a ridiculous thing? "Oh, you don’t care about that. Please, come in."
Ann pulled the door wide and gestured. He’d filled out from the wiry athlete who took the basketball team to a regional championship. How many years had passed since she last saw him? Ritchie’s high school graduation. Mark had gone east to college and stayed except for an occasional visit. After Trey’s accident a few years later, the Roths moved away from Wisconsin.
When Mark’s broad back was turned, Ann took a deep breath and prayed her deodorant was still working.
The lingering echo and tingle of a quarter-century-old slap trembled along her fingers and tickled her palm. She clenched her fist to stop the sensation.
“Mom, here’s another e-mail from that guy with the strange name. The one who keeps asking about you.”
Rachel Michels closed her eyes, even though her grown daughter couldn’t see her cower behind the front section of the newspaper. The paper rattled in her hands. Rachel lowered it.
“Hey, Mom—you there? You said you were going to take care of it.”
“I said I would, Maeve.” Soon as she could stomach the thought of telling Gervas to knock it off. He probably didn’t even know who Maeve was, just that she had the same last name as a girl he once knew in Wisconsin.
The real question was why, after twenty-three years, he thought he had the right to come waltzing into her life. How dare he? “Just hit delete without opening it. I’ll take your laptop in to work with me tomorrow, have Scott in IT purge the sender, okay? And I’ll call Bob in security, see if we can trace it.”
“I don’t want to lose any of my stuff.”
Rachel stood and tossed the paper aside. “I’m going to fix a cup of tea. Want one?”
With fingers poised over the keyboard, beautiful Maeve looked up, two little squiggles of concentration crossing an otherwise smooth forehead. Her daughter’s long-lashed tiger eyes blinked to focus. “Um, yeah, sure. Thanks.”
“Why am I here?”
At that the doctor laughed. “The same reason we all are. You are loved, Maeve.”
Maeve stopped whirling the chair though the abrupt stop threatened her stomach. “I…I don’t know what…Harry loves me. My parents love me.” She stood abruptly, sending the chair back to the desk. “I still need to get out of here.”
“Let me call Harry.” Al reached for the desk phone.
He stopped mid-button press and looked up, creases between his brows.
“I have to think about things. I…” She bit her lip, willing herself to toughen up. “I’m not a prisoner, am I? After all, you didn’t tell me anything, at least about this place that I didn’t already know. I have no secrets to sell. I don’t even know for sure where I am.”
Al continued to hold the phone.
“Could I just go for a walk? Outside for a couple of hours? Are there recreational trails nearby, if we’re close to Boulder?”
At his cautious, curious, speculative expression, Maeve went both flaming and icy wondering if she had made a huge mistake. “Can I…can I come back? I have to know, at least one last time, that this is real. I won’t meet with anyone, try to call anyone. I understand. It’s all right. Maybe I could talk to my dad, though? Since he already…but I don’t need to. It’s just that…since he knows…” She was babbling. Maybe they wouldn’t let her back. They probably shouldn’t.
Meander Scar –
Black Lyon (Publisher) https://bit.ly/31q4Qf2
Barnes and Noble https://bit.ly/2I8bYos
Centrifugal Force –
Barnes and Noble https://bit.ly/2D5RisE
Lisa Lickel is an author, editor, and mentor who lives with her husband in the rolling hills of western Wisconsin. Surrounded by books and dragons, she writes inspiring fiction both short and full-length, including mysteries, romance and family drama, feature articles, and radio theater. She belongs to the Wisconsin Writers Association, the Chicago Writers Association and is a writing coach at Novel-in-Progress Bookcamp & Writing Retreat. Lisa loves to encourage new authors through mentoring, speaking, and leading workshops. Lisa also is an avid book reviewer and blogger, and a freelance editor. Find more at www.LisaLickel.com.
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