To see an interview with Lena Nelson Dooley click the link below.
Soon I took the Union Street exit and passed the Little White House of the Confederacy on my left. Now there was no time for reminiscing or touring as I had done with Dad. Today I stayed on Union, passing the back of the Alabama State Capitol on my way to Madison Avenue. My mind accelerated. What . . . what if he has a gun? Beth, this man wants a date with you. It’s not likely he’ll have a gun. If by some slim chance he pulls a pistol, remember the cautionary e-mail you received recently: run like mad. Run in a zigzag fashion.
I stared out the windshield, trying to simulate a dash through the tunnel but my whole body suddenly felt like someone had stuffed me inside a kettle drum during the William Tell Overture. I turned onto Madison and drove west to Commerce. Almost there.
Dreams are strange, and sometimes deadly, bed fellows. Sunday night I met my stalker in the tunnel and felt his clammy fingers reach for a button on my blouse. When I resisted, his hands moved to my neck and began to tighten as I twisted my head back and forth and tried to position an elbow for a stab at his Adam’s apple. But, before I could pull my left arm into position, he used a leg to trip me and I fell to the brick floor gasping for air.
Twenty minutes later a rather young, yet weary looking, Sergeant B.R. Lacey arrived to determine the damage to my car. Lacey’s most distinguishing feature was his eyebrows. They resembled two centipedes about to attack each other as they crossed the bridge of his nose. Even after several minutes of searching, we didn’t find a thing. Lacey said he suspected the culprit had used a pellet gun but he offered to look for a cartridge back at the Woodview entrance.
Suddenly, Harvey began operating a leaf blower inside my head. “You’ve got to get control of yourself.” I said this aloud but, as soon as the words left my lips, the phone rang again. Pulling it from my pants pocket, I sat on the bed and looked. Same number. Suddenly, a dry sensation invaded my mouth. I felt partially paralyzed . . . like the day I had my tonsils out and made the slow climb out of anesthesia. I couldn’t answer because I couldn’t speak, and yet, I was just as afraid to hear the message. Four rings. A generic voice requesting a reply, and then . . . .
“I know you’re listening, Beth. Not to worry, sweetheart. We don’t have a date tonight. That will come later. Good-night again.”
This excerpt finds Beth alarmed over the possibility of someone being in her apartment:
Holding the flashlight like a weapon, I quietly stepped inside the guestroom and looked around. Everything appeared to be in order. The computer had booted itself up again and the desk chair was positioned just as I had left it.
My bathroom is too small for anyone to hide, but I did jerk back the shower curtain, thinking about Janet Leigh in Psycho. Finally, I crossed the threshold into my bedroom and looked around and then, even though I know there’s not enough space for anyone under the bed, I dropped to my knees and took a look. Boxes . . . no body.
Take a peek inside the first chapter of Uncharted Waters.
Have you ever felt as though you were being watched or invaded? If so, you will identify with my protagonist, Beth Davidson.
Consider the opening lines: "Glancing out the breakfast room window, I noticed an unfamiliar black car in front of my apartment. The male driver appeared to be staring directly at my door. My mind jumped to Donnie, but I knew this was wishful thinking. Donnie drives a truck and hardly knows I'm alive."
By the end of the day Beth has experienced more disturbing events and declares, "And later, after I crawled into bed, a worm of worry crept under the cover with me."_
In my last blog I took you on a sentimental journey; a childhood memory with my grandmother. Today, this Cottage Hill District still contains some lovely old homes as well as the Montgomery Police Academy, one of the settings in my new novel, Uncharted Waters. Be watching for it in late September!
Right now, I'm just rejoicing to have found this shot of the grand lady.
How does this old sign relate to my contemporary novel Uncharted Waters? Well, let me tell you about a drive I took several days ago.
As I left the downtown Montgomery library parking lot, I felt the pull again. So, I glanced at the clock in my trusty Honda and eased into the right turning lane. Then, as I waited for the green light on Lawrence and High Street, I chastened myself for this indulgence. Why did I feel this sudden desire to push a memory button rather than a radio station or music download?
Someone tooted their horn. Whoops! I’d forgotten one can make a right turn on red. I complied and hoped the driver wouldn’t give me a dirty look. He didn’t, but he followed closely; annoyed I’m sure. One block more and we were approaching Court Street. Thankfully, he took the center lane and I made my right turn on Mildred. Now, out of sight, the driver was forgotten and I began to reminisce. What luxury!
It’s amazing how many landmarks remain the same here on Mildred Street. An old school turned into a florist shop, or so the sign states. Houses built in the 20’s and 30’s. Then, where Holcombe crosses Mildred, stands the proud Old Ship AME Zion Church. I’ve been told there is a lot of history here.
I continued west on Mildred and eyed the grand old Tara on my left, As I child, I envisioned Scarlet waving to me from the balcony. However, on the right, only the ghosts of grand homes remain, leaving behind a couple of broken stair steps, leading nowhere.
Suddenly, the landscaped changed; almost like Tara after the war, and I was reminded again: This is the area where many of your roots cling. Folks may call it the Cottage Hill Historic District, but the approaching neighborhood is simply the place where a child’s heart met her grandmother and walked hand in hand to the corner grocery store.
In my mind, I’m there again today. The store on the corner of Mildred and Hamner is boarded up but, on the screen door, I can still see the girl with her golden hair. The Sunbeam girl is smiling at me. I smile back because now my mind takes the sidewalk down Hamner. Is this the same sidewalk grandmother and I took so long ago? The many cracks and dips say yes. Anyway, I somehow hear grandmother’s voice as she says, “After lunch I’ll take you to the park.”
“Really?” I release her hand and start to skip. She offers a weary smile, yet in my mind it competes with the Sunbeam child.
“Grandmother is too old to skip,” she calls. “You go ahead. I’ll catch up.”
I know it sounds crazy but, as I take this slow drive down Hamner, I still remember my thought that day. I told myself, I’ll never be too old to skip.
And so today, I’m still skipping in my mind. I’m skipping to her white-framed house on the Corner of Hamner and Clayton Street. I’m skipping to the Clayton Street Methodist Church just across the street. I’m eating lunch with grandmother and then, just as she promised, skipping to the Clayton Street Park. Only today, the park is gone. In its place stands the Montgomery Police Academy. Is it any wonder that part of this new novel is set right here in the Police Academy? When Uncharted Waters is released next month, I hope many of you will skip there with me!
What are the benefits of Uncharted Waters? Well, splintered families and job insecurity plague many families today so readers will relate to Beth Davidson’s plight. Unique features include warnings of the dangers of cyber-stalking and the need to exercise caution when using the social networks. Some young single women are so eager for a romantic relationship they lack judgment regarding internet use and are too quick to trust any male who shows an interest.
Do you recognize anyone here? Were some of you even drawn to the mirror? If so, this new romantic suspense may be for you.