Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Fresh Beginning (part 3)

So far, we have met "M," "R," "B," and "C." We had one unpleasant interaction with a younger man who talked about his "package" WAY too soon and we let go of "C" almost right away because he was lying about being a U.S. soldier deployed overseas. (As a former U. S. Army wife, I have quite a few incensed comments regarding this pretender. Note: I reported him to and then saw that "C' later checked out my profile under a new user ID.)

Day 5 came and lo! "M" finally sent me his promised response... and I got a response from "D," one of the interesting widowers -- this one in Chicago (a 5-6 hour drive away) and a Ph. D. Yay!! He gave me his personal email address, too. I felt like a kid in a candy store! I also began to feel overwhelmed. So I took down my profile. All I needed to do now was choose which one I wanted to keep. Right? Wrong.

On Day 6, "M" asked me if I was talking to other men. He said it was okay with him. He just wanted to know. Well, duh. I did not say this but is a dating site and I had just joined. I had not yet had time to build a relationship with anyone, so of course I was still talking to the few men I had touched base with. What I did say was that I had just hidden my profile and that I was talking to one other man. (I was only counting "D.")

"B" messaged me first thing in the morning. That was nice but, as previously mentioned, he was not really what I was looking for. Still, I intended to give him a fair shot. After all, I did not know him or his situation, and it was nice that he emailed me first thing in the morning. So I responded. He answered right after work. He seemed nice.

"D" and I exchanged email. He seemed nice. I was excited to learn more about him... that is, until day 7. Day 7 requires a post of its own.

-- To Be Continued --

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Another New Project

Well, nobody thinks I can do it. They all think I am crazy. ...Except... my mom, of course... and my brother... and my sister... I am not sure about my other brother because he is a WAY long-distance call, so I never talk to him. But he is coming back to the States for a visit in a few months, so he can tell me then what he thinks. Of course, the experiment will be finished by then. But whatever. He can still tell me.

My daughter likely believes I can do it because she eats for just $3 a day in campus housing and my kitchen equipment is superior to hers, plus I have time to actually cook whereas she is supposed to be studying. My son? Well, he is my oldest so has seen me do some amazing feats of budgeting in his lifetime. I have not asked, but I am confident I have his support.

Yes, my family knows better than to think I cannot do something I am determined to do. They have witnessed me do too many impossible things to nay-say me and then be made to look like fools. It's just everybody else who has no faith. They all think I will starve on a $1.50 daily food budget (no couponing or sales allowed). They don't seem to get it that it is not necessarily the amount of food eaten, but the choice of the items on my daily menus. In fact, I was talking to a lady today about it. She is a familiar face and a pleasant woman, a wife and grandmother who works at a local restaurant. She laughed about eating only a fraction of a sausage link for breakfast to stay within budget.

Sigh. I got more support when I started building a castle lawn-ornament out of soda cans. (I am still working on that project, by the way... and people are still donating their soda cans to my crazy venture.) But that project was just insane. It was not impossible.

Okay, so I admit: It would be ridiculous to expect to have a full breakfast with hotcakes, sausages, eggs, coffee and fruit juice on the budget of 50 cents for the meal. But, honestly. Who eats like that on a daily basis? Who has time? I know I don't! For me, it's usually a granola bar out of a box or, more frequently, I just skip breakfast altogether. Now, I will be making an effort to eat breakfast every day. It is part of my "$1.50 diet experiment." I am proving or disproving whether it can be comfortable to eat 3 meals on the worldwide average daily food budget.

Soda and coffee will have to go away, of course (although I am working on the coffee thing), because they are just too expensive. That will be uncomfortable for a few days. But I have to say, my biggest fears are either not being able to meet the $1.50 goal at all (which, academically, I know I can) or not having enough variety for my palate. I really don't like eating the same thing all of the time. It gets boring.

It is just an experiment. If it is successful, great! Maybe I can pay my real estate taxes this year and begin to pay down my credit card. If not, well, then I have learned something and lost nothing. This is a truly no-lose situation.

So why does everybody say I can't do it? Why isn't everyone excited to try it out with me? Well, I do have one friend who is willing. She thinks she will be hungry but at least she wants to test my hypothesis with me. Talk about being supportive! She is a good friend. I cannot wait till she finds out how full she is going to be while saving money on her food bill. In fact, I am already grinning in anticipation of the discussion.

So when do I begin this ridiculous venture? I anticipate that this Sunday will be the official first day. I have already started some preparations and a blog so that people can watch and participate in my progress. I  could use some encouragement, so be sure to check it out at and leave some positive comments.

P. S. Recipes and ideas for staying within budget are also appreciated. (HINT)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Fresh Beginning (part 2)

11 potential matches found, I sent "winks" to all of them. I then VERY excitedly began waiting for their replies.

I got one return wink and one message. Okay, two out of eleven? I guessed that was okay considering that both of them were perfect on paper. Now all I needed to do was see if I liked their personalities. So I messaged both of them.

Only one responded to my message -- and he was in New Orleans (1200 miles away). Still, I was happy because it felt good to be starting a new phase in my relationship-life. I messaged him and we started to converse. "M" sent me two brief messages that first full day and I responded with two.

The next day, day 3, "M" sent me a message saying he was busy with work and would respond to me soon. (Sigh.) Good news though. I got two winks from other men. I responded with emails to them. I also decided to send some messages, rather than just winks, to my unresponsive widowers.

The men who winked  at me did not respond to my messages. (So what was the point of them winking, I wonder?) But one of the widowers did. I excitedly opened his message to see what he said and begin a new conversation. It was just an answer. There was nothing else. I felt completely shut down.

But someone "online now" sent me a chat request. [How exciting!] I quickly found his profile and skimmed it. He was 8 years younger than I BUT lived within driving distance of me, so I said okay to the chat. We talked for about half a minute before he mentioned his "package." I dropped the conversation instantly. I am NOT looking for an easy lay nor am I interested in strange men's "junk." Sorry, little boy. When he tried to initiate another chat, I declined.

The 4th day, I was on the site again to see if "M" had responded and to look at profiles. "M" did not message me but somebody else did! It was from a new guy altogether, named "B." He did not have the education level that I wanted, was divorced and a little older than I wanted BUT he was local. So I answered and we wound up exchanging a couple of messages during the day.

A new guy, "C," also winked at me. I checked him out and found out he was not educated but was military and his duty station was in my State. I responded to his wink. But then I found him online on the chat section and chatted with him for a while. His connection was poor and kept cutting out so I asked something, I don't remember what, and he said he was currently deployed to the middle East. A former Army-wife, myself, I suggested we exchange email addresses. Then, when he claimed he had to go to work, I sent him an email to receive at the end of his day. He responded about an hour later with a long letter. Now this is no joke but he, claiming to be an American soldier with 25 years under his belt, told me that he had only ever had three duty stations, the first of which was Afghanistan. (Afghanistan? 25 years ago?) He also said that he allowed his son, whose mother was dead, to live with a caretaker in Ghana. Plus his written English was horrible. The spelling was fine, but the syntax! Argh. My children wrote better when they were in middle school. (Not kidding.) Umm... Yeah. I stopped emailing him instantly. I am not interested in becoming a phishing victim.

Still, he was just one guy. I still felt so good about my "success" at having men interested in me that I went to the "online now" section of the site and initiated a chat with a man we will call "R." "R" turns out to be a nice guy from a couple of hundred miles away, educated, age appropriate and never married. After our chat, he messaged me and I responded. We also began to correspond.

-- To Be Continued --

Monday, December 8, 2014

A Fresh Beginning (part 1)

My 22nd wedding anniversary arrived on the day after Thanksgiving this year. It marked just over seven years that I have been without a mate -- just under 7 years since my spouse / ex-spouse decided to stop talking to me.

It is okay that he won't be friendly with me. Cheaters are not my kind of people, anyway. I don't really need to be friendly with the one who used and then abandoned me. What is not okay is that I have been alone since the age of 37. (Do the math to find my age. You should come to the numerical answer of 21.) Being alone sucks and I don't deserve it.

I know that I don't deserve to be alone because nobody does, and my name is not nobody. So, on my 22nd wedding anniversary, I did something radical. I joined a dating site. I did not want to join a free site because I have heard some nightmare stories about them. So I went for the moderately priced, "biggest and best." I paid for a 3-month subscription to (It was their minimum term.) I then eagerly began my search for a man, the man who would rescue me from loneliness, boredom and those awkward family gatherings where even the children are partnered and I am not.

First, I decided that I wanted a man who was within 5 years of my age and preferably on the older side. Younger men are okay, but I really need emotional maturity and the incidence of that goes up with age.
Second, I decided I would not repeat the mistake of being with a man whose education was less than my own. I want a man who is at least my intellectual equal.
Third, I selected my "faith" requirement. This is important to me and it is very important within my family. Fortunately, "Christian -- Catholic or Protestant" includes a lot of people in the USA.
Then I chose my preferred ranges of height, ethnicity, smoking frequency, drinking frequency and occupational areas.
Lastly, I needed to decide upon a preferred marital status. Follow my reasoning. Here was my thought process:
  • I hypocritically did not want a divorcee. (Reasoning: Statistics indicate that most divorces are initiated by women, and most women do NOT leave for another man in their lives. This, in turn, indicates dysfunction in the marriage relationship. I don't want a man who is accustomed to contributing to a dysfunctional relationship. I know this is hypocritical since I am divorced. I don't care.)
  • I also did not want a never-married man. I have already had one of those and I don't know that I want to go  back to being attached to someone who is unaccustomed to making a relationship more important than himself.
  • I am definitely not interested in married men, which includes those who are separated. Separated is still married, no matter how you spin it.
  • That leaves widowers. Shockingly, this group appeals to me -- a man who stuck it out to the very end without running away in the face of adversity. (Like me!) Plus, bonus, he may have children to come over for holidays and make my family gatherings bigger. I like that idea a lot.

I ran my search for my perfect match in increasingly broader geographical distances. When all was said and done, I found 11 matches within a 500 mile radius.

11 in a 500 mile radius? Okay, I thought. It is not a lot of men but I guess I can deal with that. After all, I am only looking for one. Right? Wrong.

- To Be Continued -

Monday, November 24, 2014

Thank You

November Blog Statistics
Thanks to all the visitors from around the world who participated in last week's book launch promotion for Spellbound Souvenir, book 2 in The Legend Of  Lord Randall Castle e-series.

As you can see from the image (at left), blog statistics skyrocketed for the duration of the promos. Total visitors for the 6-day period were 193! Therefore, I hereby dub the promotions a grande success. Please consider yourself to be part of that success.

Thank you for reading and commenting on both character interviews and the chapters of my books; for re-posting daily blogs across Facebook and Twitter, and for your pre-orders of Spellbound Souvenir (which became available for instant download yesterday). Thank you, also, for downloading my best-seller, Engaging Enchantment, from during its free promotion day. I got such a thrill out of having so many people reading my writing and I truly hope you enjoyed yourselves.

When The Legend of Lord Randall Castle becomes legendary in the literary world, you can honestly claim that you were part of its story from the very beginning.

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Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Pre-Release Peek Inside of Spellbound Souvenir (part 2)

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Chapter 2 continued...

Entering his bed chamber, he walked over to the chest on which his sword was laid. Picking up its scabbard, he stretched the belt around his waist. As his fingers worked, his eyes fixed on Barwick, “So you were both taking care of the ship, leaving the princess unguarded during an attack.”
cover of Spellbound SouvenirGuilt washed through Barwick’s heart at Concobhar’s statement. The duke was right. Ellie’s abduction was his fault. Though he had believed she was safe in the captain’s quarters, his focus during any kind of attack should have been on her protection – even an attack from fish.
The tall man’s gaze dropped to the floor and his shoulders slumped just a little. “Yes, sir,” he acknowledged.
Satisfied, Concobhar asked, “Do you know who took her?”
“Yes, sir.” Barwick straightened his broad shoulders to report, “An ex-sailor awaiting trial for misconduct was stowed away on our ship. He stole Princess Elysant on a lifeboat while everyone else was aft.”
Concobhar frowned. Years of military training boiled his blood. Irritation in his voice betrayed his disapproval, “I will not ask how a sailor who should have been imprisoned found his way aboard your ship, and I will not ask how he went undiscovered during your ship’s pre-voyage inspection – which is, of course, assuming the Scilleian navy does pre-voyage inspections.”
His reaction did not make the difficult situation any easier for either captain. Both already felt horrible. Tethion stood as straight and tall during the chastisement as the stocky man could. He fixed his eyes on an invisible point directly before him, waiting for the duke to finish. Barwick swallowed hard. Also standing with a straight back and squared shoulders, he gauged Concobhar’s anger by watching his eyes.
His reproach would be even harsher if he knew the princess has escaped with her lover, he thought.
Slipping a dagger into his belt, the duke continued, “Has there been a ransom demand? Do you know what he wants for her safe return?”
The line of questioning frustrated Barwick. Elysant was getting farther away with each passing moment. He just needed horses so that he could take some of his sailors after her. Then he could bring her back to her duty and all would be well. It was not a difficult concept. He did not understand why the duke was taking so long with it.
“No, sir,” he perpetuated his series of half-truths, “no demands have been received.”
“Very well. We shall leave forthwith.” Concobhar glanced around the room one last time and walked out the door. Barwick and Tethion looked at each other. Neither had anticipated that the duke might accompany them. How could they hide that the princess had purposely run away if he was there when they found her?
“My lord, don’t you still have meetings to attend?” posed Tethion.
Concobhar stopped walking to pierce him with steel grey eyes. “The other lords can come to a resolution without me, Captain,” he chastised. “My future bride is endangered. A criminal has stolen her for some unknown, nefarious purpose. I will find her, I will kill him and I will bring her home.”
It was now Tethion’s turn to stare at the floor. “Yes, sire,” he swallowed. “Of course, you are right.”

Copyright 2014 © Elizabeth W. Durkee
All Rights Reserved.

Thank you for participating in the book launch activities for Spellbound Souvenir, book two in The Legend of Lord Randall Castle e-series. Find it available November 23, 2014 on

Friday, November 21, 2014

A Pre-Release Peek Inside of Spellbound Souvenir (part 1)

Chapter 2 (part 1)

The Scilleian ship docked in Southampton, where a servant waited with a carriage to greet Princess Elysant and take her to Winchester Palace. Instead of the princess, he received a very worried pair of captains. Barwick and Tethion were immediately taken to Duke Concobhar to report the situation at hand.
cover of Spellbound SouvenirMid-afternoon, the duke was in a council meeting. His manservant, Aelfgar, a gangly lad in his late teens, tiptoed into the meeting chamber and whispered into the duke’s ear. The dark-haired duke rubbed his cropped beard as the servant spoke, then excused himself from the meeting.
Outside the chamber door, Barwick introduced himself and Tethion then cut to the chase with a half-truth he had concocted for the circumstance, “My lord, the princess has been abducted. Will you provide horses for us to track and retrieve her?”
The captains stood erect, waiting for Concobhar to speak. But he responded with silence. After a moment he directed, “Aelfgar, send for Wulfstan and prepare gear for five.” The manservant acknowledged his master with a curt bow and scuttled away.
Five men is not many but it will suffice, thought Barwick. He calculated that meant three men other than himself and Tethion could go on the search. He and Tethion could talk on their ride back to the ship about which three sailors to take.
Turning down a corridor, Concobhar addressed the captains, “Gentlemen, walk with me.”
Concern now creasing his forehead, the duke began a series of questions, “You say the princess was abducted. Which one of you is responsible for her safety or are you jointly responsible?”
“I am responsible for the princess, sir,” answered Barwick, following the duke. “Captain Tethion commands the ship.”
Concobhar did not acknowledge the answer. He simply asked another question, “Where were you when the princess was abducted?”
“I…” stammered Barwick, surprised, “I was at the aft. Remora were attacking the ship.”
The duke paused at the threshold of a chamber door. He responded, “You just said that Captain Tethion is responsible for the ship.”
Pushing open the door, he addressed Tethion, “Where were you at the time?”
The bald man answered, “I also was at the aft, sire.”
“Hmm,” the duke raised an eyebrow. 

-- To Be Continued Tomorrow -- 


Copyright 2014 © Elizabeth W. Durkee

All Rights Reserved.


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Each week at the bottom of, either a reader review is featured or (much less frequently) a promotion runs. 3, 4 and 5-star reader reviews of the Lord Randall Castle series titles are chosen at random from, and verified reviews are given top priority for being featured. Post your Reader Review to Amazon for your chance to win the weekly spotlight and check to see which week you have won.

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