Tag Archives: Jillian

A Little Change of Pace for this Post

Jillian here. I decided I’ve been whining too much on my posts and, instead of bemoaning the direct hit hurricane we had here in September and the loss of power for several days, I thought I’d share a little story I wrote for a contest (I didn’t win or place)–The theme was all about smells. I picked New Orleans as my setting as it is full of smells, both good and bad. 🙂 Hope you enjoy.

Beauregard, Canine Cop

Stale beer and vomit. Stale beer and vomit. The mantra played in my head as I trotted along at the end of my leash. The New Orleans French quarter has a distinctive character as well as scent. Being a canine cop for the city police department comes with some perks. Like all the andouille sausage I want because, after all, who’s a good boy? Me. I am. Especially when I find the bad guys. Or a corpse.

Today is a corpse finding day. Maybe. There was a shooting outside the Old Absinthe House on Bourbon Street last night. And several people called in sightings of someone gut-shot staggering down the street. That street called Bourbon that didn’t smell like bourbon, but stunk like the rest of the Quarter. Stale beer and vomit with a side order of urine and semen in some of the darker corners.

My partner has me out following a spotty trail of blood. It started out thick and viscous but petered out as we went on. I ran quickly at first, barking once in a while to show my enthusiasm. Not that I’m ever very thrilled to chase scents on city streets. Too many distractions. Meats cooking, stir-frys, strong perfume, cigarettes, and tourists sweating. I try to focus, but this area of town is tough. I’d rather be out near the old abandoned Six Flags Park as it’s easier to follow human scent in the wild. At least we weren’t over by the Cafe Du Monde today. The odor of the donut grease and powdered sugar is really almost too much.

Powdered sugar makes me sneeze which I guess is good to clear out my sinuses to be a better  tracker, but I like to stay away from that street if I can help it. Too many people there, too. It’s easy to lose the thread of the quarry’s trail when there’s a big crowd and there’s always one at Jackson Square.

Sadly, I’m not the master of my own domain.  I go where I’m taken. Crime fighting is not for everyone. My partner, who egotistically calls himself my handler, sometimes makes me mad when he pulls me off a trail that may lead to something I want. Like that time last week I absolutely craved locating that dead possum and having a small little snack. My partner jerked me away and tossed that lovely carcass in the closest ravine. Brat.

Focus, focus. Find the dead man. Find the dead man. Stop thinking about snacks.

I stopped in the middle of the sidewalk. Is that a faint tinge of human blood?

Before I can lift my snout and determine where it’s coming from, my partner jerked a bit on my leash. “Come on, Beauregard. It’s not time to rest. You need to earn your sausage.’

Humpf. Earn my sausage. Right. Give me a minute, old man.

My partner turned to another officer. A detective I like a lot. She’s a real lady. Always smells clean, like soap. A refreshing thing in this town full of bad aromas. She also usually carries a few pieces of kibble in her jacket pocket.

“Beau seems to be off his game today, doesn’t he?” my partner asked her.

“Give him a chance. The droplets have virtually disappeared. He needs to recapture the scent.” She knelt down and slipped me a bacon flavored treat. Ahh, bacon.

This is another reason I like her. She doesn’t rush me. My partner sometimes gets a bit impatient. He should know better. He’s supposed to be trained, too.

She patted me. “You’ll find the man, Beau. I have faith in you.”

Refreshed by the bacon and her praise, I lifted my nose in the air and concentrated on the odor of the dead guy’s blood. Trying to locate the scent by isolating it out of the atmosphere was harder than usual. Some guys up on one of the balconies were cooking burgers and hot dogs. The smoke wafting out from the wrought iron balustrades was distracting, to say the least. Yes, I just had a snack but surely it must be lunch time by now.

Although lunch time usually found me sitting in the station eating kibble or in our rig with the air conditioner running while my partner ate at 9 Roses Cafe near the cop shop. Trying to hit on the pretty detective. I don’t think he’s ever going to get her to go out with him even though I’d like it too. Since I live with him, she’d surely come by if she was dating him. I’d get lots of attention from her. In fact, I think she likes me better than she likes him. Oh, to be human.

As I pondered all the fun times we’d have if she came over, I caught a faint wisp of that blood I was seeking.

Without letting my partner know what I was going to do, I took off in a run. I probably pulled his shoulder out of joint judging by the way he yelped when I jerked him into a trot. Serves him right for acting like I’d lost the trail. Never mind that I had for a moment or two. What does he know?

Down the block we went until we ended up at a shotgun house painted yellow with green shutters. I loped up onto the porch and clawed at the door. The guy is in this house. I got a whiff of him. He smells like decayed leaves and something metallic.

There was another aroma as well. Fear. Sweat. Someone inside was terrified. There was someone in there with the guy. The stench of the terror came at me in waves.

I sat back on my haunches and whimpered. Man, I wish I could speak English and warn my partner there was danger inside to whoever was trapped in there with the bleeding man. The dude most likely wasn’t a corpse if this other person was so afraid.

Since I couldn’t tell him my thoughts, but knew I alerted on the door for a reason, my partner didn’t wait for me to do anything else. He knocked on the door and called out, “New Orleans Police.”

Nothing happened for a moment. Just me, the detective and my partner on the porch in silence.

Then a lady’s voice, “Please go away. I’m ill and can’t let you in. It’s contagious.”

“We can’t go, ma’am. We’re looking for someone who was shot before dawn and the trail leads here. We need to come inside and check for this man.”

“I don’t know what you mean. There’s nobody here. I promise.”

“Please let us in.” The detective knocked herself. “We can’t leave without checking the premises. Even if the man is dead, we need to come in.”

“There’s no dead person here.” The lady’s voice quavered.

At her words, my concern for the woman inside the house grew. She said there wasn’t a corpse. That meant I was right and there was a live person in there, holding her hostage.

Luckily, my partner had dropped my leash. He trusted me to stay put. This time, I wasn’t going to obey the rules. Someone was in trouble and I was the only one who knew it. I couldn’t verbalize what I knew, so I was going to have to act. Somehow.

I sidled away from the porch, hoping to find an entry point. If I could get my teeth on the guy, this would all be over.

Slinking around the corner, I inspected each window to see if there was one left open. I could see a couple of window unit air conditioners and hoped some of the windows without them were open to catch a cross breeze. No such luck. They were all tightly closed.

Luckily, the back door was a little bit ajar. I could see some blood droplets leading from it into the center of the next room. The guy must’ve been too hurt or lost too much of his vital fluids to have thought about closing it all the way. Stupid move for him, but lucky for me.

I nudged the door open with my nose and hoped my toenails didn’t give me away on the wood floor.

As I crept deeper into the house, the smell of the blood grew stronger as well as the stench of that lady’s fear.

I could hear my partner and the detective still trying to communicate from the front porch. There was no response from inside the house.

Small sobs alerted me to the hostage’s location. She was somewhere near the front door. Now I needed to know where the man with the bullet in him was sitting. I was pretty sure he wouldn’t be standing based on the amount of blood on the ground at the crime scene and along my path to this house.

“Stop crying or I’ll shoot you now.”

She gasped in fear, but I knew he’d never do it while officers were within hearing distance. All his words did was make her cry harder—but still almost silently—and alert me to his location.

As soon as I had a bead on him, I tore directly toward him, counting on the element of surprise.

I threw myself at him, paws out. My full weight hit him in the shoulders and chest.

Gore and mucus and other nasty smelling stuff from his gut wound covered my stomach where I hit him. Ugh.

Luckily, the weapon he was holding skittered across the wood floor.

The lady had the sense to grab it while I barked with my whole being.

Before the hostage could open the door, the injured man was screaming at her. “Get your dog off me. Get your dog off me.” I bit down on his arm to lock him in place although he didn’t seem to have much strength left to fight me.

The lady of the house stood there in a daze with the gun in her hand as my partner and the detective came in from the back.

“Beauregard. Are you okay?” my partner called out.

“Get this foul beast off me.” The wounded man fought against my hold on his arm. He was causing himself more pain. My teeth tend to create more damage when people fight against their grip. I might also have bit down a little harder. Foul beast? Me? Look in the mirror, mister. I’m not the foul one here. Except for your guts all over me.

While my partner called for an ambulance and took the man into custody, allowing me to release my grip, the detective turned to the former hostage who seemed a bit perkier now. “Do you know this man?”

“No. He barged into my house and said he was going to wait here for help. He called someone and they were bringing a doctor. He said he’d let me go when they got here. Then you knocked on the door and he threatened to kill me if I let you in.” She drew in a shuddering breath.

By this time, the man had passed out. Blood loss was my guess. He was really pale and barely breathing. No more fight left in this one.

The detective knelt down beside me. Even though I reeked with the man’s guts all over me, she kissed me on top of the head. “You’re such a good boy, Beau. Even if you stink and broke the rules about leaving your partner. Great work.”

She didn’t have to acknowledge my stench. With my nose, I was more aware of it than anyone in the room. It was nice to be kissed by a pretty detective, but a bit embarrassing to be so disgusting from my work. Just wait until I have a bath. Then she’ll see I’m worth not only a kiss on the head, but also some belly rubs. Oh, and being given extra andouille sausages and bacon treats. Mustn’t forget those.

*THE END*

A Tale of a Tree

Jillian here. It’s June already. Can you believe it? Time is going fast this year even with a lot of places locked down and folks staying home. You’d think that would mean time has slowed,  but it seems like every time I turn around, it’s Thursday again.

June in my backyard means it’s hurricane season. There were two named tropical storms before June 1st which sometimes happens. The third storm, Christobal, hit the Louisiana and Mississipi coast this past weekend. We got some wind, rain and storm surge because of it. We’re about 2 hours from the Louisiana line and 1.3 from Mississippi, so when the storms hit there, we usually get some of it and vice versa.

We have this tree at the office that got struck by lightning a number of years ago in the middle and you can still see the stump of it inside. The cool thing is that the rest of the tree lived and thrived. I think I’ve blogged about it before here. It means a lot to me that this tree defied the odds and kept on going. It seems like our lives are that way. We get hit by bolts—sadness, illness, death of loved ones—yet we keep going. Our core may be hurting, but we keep blooming. Each time I look out my office window, I see that tree and think about it. I watched that lightning strike and worried about the tree, but it didn’t need my worry, it thrived without it.

Tropical storm Christobal did some damage to my little tree, but it’s still standing. We’ll clear away the debris and leave that lightning-struck core (Picture 4) and new growth as another reminder that when life’s storms come, we can weather them. Maybe not in a pretty way,  but weather them we shall.
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April Stress…Aren’t We All Stressed?

Jillian here. Happy?!? April. I’m sure we’re all worried about our loved ones and trying to keep ourselves safe and healthy. I know a lot of people are tired of being on lock down, but sadly, that isn’t me. I wish I could be home, but my profession is considered essential. If anything, my life is more hectic now than it was before- and add in the worries about elderly parents and friends- I’ve found myself in panic mode more than once. I have to  make an effort to breathe slow and settle down. I have a bad worry habit and it’s hard to let go and let God. I hate being a control freak, but I am and when things are out of my ability to control, I fret and sometimes say things I shouldn’t. Perhaps we all do that.

I feel tired all the way to my bones.  Not sick, but just weary.

We lost my dad’s younger brother (76) in mid-March- he had COPD and was cleaning his house with bleach and was found unresponsive in his bathroom and passed away four hours later. He will be very missed. My family is super close and we have a hole now where he was. My dad and he talked all the time and it’s been hard on Dad.

A dear friend lost her mother (78) – who I adored- she was a sweet, sweet lady full of love and laughter- she also had COPD. Neither have been counted as Co-vid deaths, but it’s odd that they both had respiratory issues and passed away in March- no autopsies for either. No funerals. My cousins got to see their dad but my friend didn’t get to see her mom. It’s incredibly sad.

Three out of the four people who work at my office live at my house so we’re def. isolating and staying away from others. We aren’t seeing any live appointments and documents are being left outside for us to bring in. The new normal?  Hopefully, not forever.

Now that I’ve depressed everyone, Here’s a picture of my sweet grandson, Benjamin, to make you smile. He is my heart.

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February Fun and a Bit of Sadness

Jillian here.  I was going to get this post done on the 6th and set it to go off on the 9th like I am supposed to but since I wanted to write about what I had going on the weekend of the 7-9, I figured I’d wait until I got home and share what happened. When I got home, I posted a picture on FaceBook and then was hurt and sad and lost all motivation to post about what had been a wonderful weekend.  Back to that in a second.

Friday night, I was happy to serve as a judge for the Regional session of the National Moot Court competition. It’s hosted by my law school and since I’d already committed to a book signing on Saturday with some friends in Alabama, it made sense to volunteer to do this as well as I’d be in the area (about a 3.5 hour drive from home).

It was a great competition and seeing these law students be so passionate and competent about the fact scenario they were assigned was wonderful. The law schools are doing an excellent job teaching advocacy. When I was in law school (In the dark ages) we didn’t do moot court until our last semester. Some of these students were second year and very well-versed in how to try a case. Makes me proud of the changes in legal education.

The next day was the book signing. It was the last event I’ll be part of in RWA. My membership expires in March and I won’t be renewing. I’d have resigned but I had this event with ladies I love and treasure so I stayed for it. I hate to leave the Birmingham, Ala chapter but I can’t countenance what is going on in the national organization.

I sold some books, met some new readers, someone who used to work for me here in Pensacola who moved up there, and also some old friends. My sister-in-law and her daughter live up that way and they came to see me as well. It was lovely for them to be there and supportive and buy a copy of each book I had.

Here comes the sad part:

One of the other authors took a photo of my sis-in-law, my niece and me.  I usually don’t allow pictures of myself as I am embarrassed about my weight. I never had an issue until my second child was born and no matter what I do, I can’t seem to lose. It’s even worse since I had my hysterectomy. I beat myself up every day about it. I am hungry a lot of the time- I don’t snack- I eat my three meals – even my son says he can’t figure out the issue since I don’t eat a lot.

Against my better judgment, I posted that picture on FaceBook. A woman I’ve known since I was a little kid commented with a rose emoji at first.  Then she must’ve thought about it a minute and came back with “You’re still pretty even though you’re fluffy.”

I can’t even imagine saying that to someone. Believe me, I know I’m fat. I see myself in the mirror every day- I am always beating myself up about it. I sure don’t need her pointing it out. I was so hurt, I couldn’t even think the rest of the day. I cried off and on- silently – and even almost didn’t eat dinner- which was just grilled pork and a cob of corn. I am still sad today. I’m embarrassed enough without someone calling me out on it. I want to hide. All the time.

I’ve always been a happy person with a love of laughter. I hate that she stole my joy. I can’t get her words out of my head.  All I keep hearing is, “You’re fat but still pretty.”

Guess what? I don’t feel very pretty.

 

July!

Jillian here. I’ve been indulging myself in reading some books this summer as well as watching a lot of older movies on TCM. I confess, I’ve let my writing fall a bit to the wayside. I did start a new story last week and am about 3500 words in- which is slow for me- but I’m okay with that since I am at least writing something after being in a slump.

I read a book this week which was a totally fictionalized account of the Dr. Crippen murder. This was a case in 1910 in London where the culprit and his companion took off on an ocean liner and were caught by a Scotland Yard detective by the first use of the Marconi telegraph machine when the captain thought he recognized Crippen.  The detective boarded a ship at Liverpool and chased the first liner across the ocean to get his man. The retelling was interesting in that the author (John Boyne) explored a different theory of the case. I liked the tale even though it wasn’t very likely to be the truth.

I also recently read The Silent Governess; Runaway; Orphan, Monster, Spy; and This House is Haunted. They were all very different, but I liked them all. Historical, contemporary thriller, 1940’s Germany and a spooky Gothic. I like lots of different genres – both to write and to read. No wonder I can’t seem to build a brand- I’m all over the place.  LOL

Some of the movies I watched this past week are North by Northwest; Jane Eyre; The Woman in Green; LauraThe Tattooed Stranger; and Treasure Island.

Oh well, I like who I am and so that’s that. I can’t change my eclectic nature now, can I?

Have a great July!!  How about an office cat pic to give you a smile?  This is Camo. Short for Camouflage- she blends in with the grass when it dies in the fall and winter. 🙂 She’s a great helper with the closed files destined for storage. IMG_4944 (2)

Silly Memory That Still Makes Me Smile

Jillian here. I was working on an upcoming blog post for a friend for the month of October which is apparently Family History Month. My post for then is about my two great aunts. One of which I knew well and one who died before I was born. It reminded me of a funny event involving the one I knew and I thought I’d share it for my post here this month.

My family is from North Alabama. Even though I never lived there, we visited a lot.

My great aunt Lit was my paternal grandfather’s sister. She was married to a man named Charlie Sandlin and I loved, loved him- her, too, but her husband was my pal as a kid. My grandparents owned a house on the Tennessee River and Uncle Charlie and I would swim the mile and a half across it all the time- we’d try to touch bottom way out in the middle. Sometimes we could and lots of times, we couldn’t. The Wilson Dam was not too far away and the water levels rose and fell as the dam was used to let boats in and out of the lock.  It was always deep in the center, but sometimes, near shore, you could walk out a number of feet and pick up stray clams in the mud. All the kids grabbed them a lot and then we’d put them in steaming water to see them open. Charlie was a big ole kid and we had a special bond.

Uncle Charlie had a brother named Buddy and he was an inventor. It was a lot of fun to see him on occasion- usually running into him at a store or something like that. He didn’t come out to the lake house and I didn’t know him well and never met any of his kids or grandkids.

Years later, after Uncle Charlie died, I was in law school in Birmingham, Alabama and met a guy in one of my classes named Jimmy Sandlin. I couldn’t resist asking him if he was from Florence, Ala. He said he was and I told him I had a great aunt named Lit who married a man named Charlie Sandlin and he had a brother named Buddy. I asked if he knew them.

He said he was Buddy’s grandson but I was wrong about his Uncle Charlie because his uncle was married to a woman named Marie. It was just so weird, I couldn’t believe it. I said, “I promise you, her name is Lit and it has to be the same person- how could it not be?”

Shrugging, he said, “What can I tell you? Uncle Charlie’s wife was named Marie. I swear.”

I went home and called my dad to find out exactly what Uncle Charlie had been up to with two wives. My dad laughed and laughed and when he finally got hold of himself, he said, “Her name is Lydia Marie and the family have always called her Lit.”

Man! Did I feel silly, but you know what? In all my life, I’d never heard her called anything but Lit.

The next day, I told my new friend we did indeed share a great aunt and, from then on, we called ourselves cousins-in-law.

How about you? Any stories about mistaken identity?

Here’s a picture of the two great aunts I’ll be on my friend’s blog talking about in October. Lit is the one in the seat and Hoovey (another one with a nickname as her real name was Louise) is the one on the arm of the chair. Image-1 (2)

 

I Have a Grand Dog! 

Jillian here. It’s been a month of stress around here with the day job and I apologize for not being around to comment but I’m going to be better, I promise.  

My son and DIL have been trying to adopt a dog for a while now and kept being turned done since they both work full time. It seems a number of places are super strict about someone being home with the animal most of the day. I get that in some ways but it does leave a lot of people out, doesn’t it? 

They finally got approved at an adoption day at Petco and brought their little girl named Primm home today. She was named Ginger but they changed it.  Here’s a photo. Isn’t she cute? We aren’t telling Hobbes. 😉

I also have a new book out as of yesterday.  It’s under my other name, Sherry Chancellor and is a humorous romance called “Rex, the Ex and the Hex.” I think it’s my best work. The editor said tears were streaming down her face in laughter. Made me happy. 😀

Happy July. 

Wedding Report

I’m back from my trip to Texas for my cousin’s son’s wedding. It was a great time but I came home to two cases that caused me a lot of stress. Grr. It makes me mad that I can’t seem to have a minute without some crazy lawyer getting spun up and filing junk while I’m gone. It’s a conspiracy, I tell you!

The bride and groom are an awesome, fun-loving couple and we had so much fun, it should be illegal. LOL.  Now, don’t get me wrong- nothing against the law was done but their friends sure do party hard. A few times, I found myself wondering if these people were really almost 30. They were having a ball but I have no idea how they were going to feel the next day.

The rehearsal dinner was fab. It was at a place called Vincent’s in downtown Houston. It was Italian and I had to very best filet I’ve ever  had in my life. It was done to perfection and so very, very tender. *swoon*

The wedding was gorgeous. It took place at a renovated horse farm in Tomball, Texas. The ceremony was outside at a replica cantina and the reception was in the renovated barn. The bathroom area was made from some of the old stalls. Super cute.

During the ceremony, the bride’s veil came off and she called out, “Man down.” We all laughed as her mom and a bridesmaid fixed it. When she was set, she said, “Time in.” I love, love how she didn’t even hesitate and was so comfortable being herself in that environment.

The cutting of the groom’s cake was also amusing. The bride and groom pretended it was super difficult. So funny. They are going to have a wonderful marriage full of love and laughter, I know  it.

Here’s a few pictures: including the “man down” one. 465396400417436437440

Wedding Report and Excitement!

The wedding was lovely and went off like clockwork. No boo-boos but some very sweet moments and a crying mamma, bridesmaids and maybe the officiant got a little teary as well. Of course, the groom said he always got these allergies that made his eyes leak. Funny, he had no other symptoms…

They are a super couple and not only are they in love, they are friends and companions. They are fun and always up and happy. The groom is so cute. He absolutely adores his bride and wanted to be married for so very long. He kept telling me that we needed to “get out there and knock this thing out so we can party.”  LOL

The bride is infectious, never met a stranger and so vivacious, she wears us out… but in a good way. 🙂  I love her dearly and have enjoyed watching her grow even more lovely as each year passes. I predict a very long and successful marriage for these two if they go on as they’ve started.

Many compliments were paid to me on the beauty of the ceremony and some even said it was the loveliest they’d ever heard. That meant a lot to me. I’m going to share some pictures of the couple as well as ones of me and the bride and her mom in the photo booth which was a lot of fun (That’s a picture of a picture so I hope it looks okay).

AND TOMORROW, EXCITEMENT!!!! I am going to be on a jet plane to go visit our pals, Lavada and Laurie. I need to put them on notice that I will be ready for lunch when I get there!!  It’s a long flight. LOL

Sha

Rockin’ and Rollin’

I know we don’t usually chat about our writing over here but that’s what I’ve been spending time on lately. And I mean like a maniac.  I started writing a Regency story that’s probably really late Georgian not too long ago and it’s one of those stories that is practically writing itself. The ideas are coming faster than I can type so I’ve been crazy getting it down.  I love it when this kind of thing happens but it’s also tough because I become so focused on the story that I get obsessive. Lol. But at least it keeps me off the streets, right?

I stumbled upon a little known fact (unknown to me, that is- lol) about the Grimaldi family when researching a plot point for my story and while it wasn’t what I was looking for initially, it’s going to make my story even better than the idea I had and I love the serendipity of that.  Did you know that one of the wives of a Grimaldi prince (House of Monaco) was one of the last people executed in the Reign of Terror? And yes, I am working that into my story. Peripherally.

Hoping August treats you all well.  It’s 104 Fahrenheit here in the shade so I’m working on keeping cool!