Wednesday, April 5, 2017

A Romantic Trip into the Past

Since I write romantic suspense I am always searching for something new to read in that field, and today's guest in My Writing Corner has a new entry that appeals to me in so many ways. My guest is M. S. Spencer, who has lived or traveled in five of the seven continents.

She says she spent the last thirty years in Washington, working as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, kayaker, policy wonk, non-profit director and parent. She has worked for the U. S. Senate and the U. S. Department of the Interior as well as in several library systems and the Torpedo Factory Art Center.
She is the author of ten published romantic suspense novels and is currently working on two more.  She tells us that she spends her time between the Gulf Coast of Florida and a tiny village in Maine. Her newest book sounds like a real winner. Take it away, M.S.

Thanks so much for having me at your lovely site today, Rebecca. I want to talk about my new romantic suspense, Lapses of Memory.

A rush of emotion dropped a veil over all but the tiny world of the two people in seats 11A and 11B, in a jet plane floating somewhere over the Atlantic, in a still moment in time.

Sydney Bellek first meets Elian Davies in the 1950s on a Boeing 377 Stratocruiser when she is five and he is seven. They run into each other every few years after that, but while he knows from the start that she is his true love, she does not. Later, as rival journalists, they vie for scoops on international crises from the Iranian revolution to the Lebanese civil war. The handsome and intrepid Elian beats her out at every turn, even while keeping his love for her secret. Only after years of separation does she finally realize they are meant to be together, but this time in a twist of fate, it is Elian whose memory of her is gone. Will he remember her before she loses heart or will their new love be enough to replace the old one?

 Lapses of Memory follow the exploits of two journalists, Sydney Bellek and Elian Davies, as they travel the globe reporting on various world catastrophes. As journalists, they fly a lot. Since in the story they only meet every few years, the dates of their meeting on a plane coincided strangely and wonderfully with new aircraft designs coming on line. As children, they take the Boeing Stratocruiser—with sleeping berths and elegant dining. As adults they will fly all the Boeings from the 707 to the 787, not to mention an Airbus and a helicopter. In the excerpt below, Sydney and Elian meet again on a plane.

Sydney pulled out her crossword puzzle, mints, pen, glasses, embroidery, and tissues and set them on the other seat before stealthily slipping the miniature bottle of Jack Daniels into the magazine pocket. She checked her ticket once again. They’d be in Rome tomorrow morning and from there the flight to Beirut should be less than five hours. As she searched for her seat belt, a husky voice behind her ear said, “Excuse me. I believe I have the window seat?”

The scent of licorice filled her nostrils. She looked up into a pair of deep indigo eyes, half-obscured by a tangle of hair the color of cordovan. He used his angular chin, cloaked in reddish brown stubble, to indicate his seat. She looked him up and down without moving and pronounced, “Elian Davies.”
            He drew back, an expression of mock surprise on his face. “Sydney Bellek? Could it be you after all these years? My, how you’ve aged…I mean matured.”
            Whatever joy she’d felt at seeing him faded. “You.”
            He scooted around her knees, grabbed her stuff, dropped it in her lap, and sat down. “Me.”
             She opened her crossword puzzle and pretended to work on it. He pointed a tanned finger at a spot on the page. “Eleven down is Oslo.”
             The stewardess came by. “Please buckle your seat belt, sir. We’ll be taking off in five minutes.”
             “Oh, Miss…” He peered at her name plate. “Petula? What a lovely old-fashioned name!” He beamed at her. “Would you mind bringing me a glass of ice before we begin to taxi?”
              The stewardess opened her mouth, then opened her eyes wide. “Why, you’re Elian Davies, the famous photojournalist, aren’t you?”
               “At your service, Petula.” He bent in a graceful half bow.
               “Right away, sir. I’ll be back in a jiffy.” She tore down the aisle, knocking into passengers’ elbows and knees along the way. Holding a glass high, she ran back like a bartender in a Bastille Day race, and proudly plunked it and a packet of peanuts on Elian’s knee.
               When she’d gone, he took a furtive look around and pulled a miniature bottle from his pocket. Sydney’s annoyance dissolved in giggles. “You too?” She pulled her own small whiskey out.
               “Oh good, we’ll share this first one, shall we?”
               She couldn’t say no, and besides, sipping kept her busy. Elian. She’d spent the last four years trying to hate him. It should have been easy. His reputation as an ace reporter and first-class scoop jockey had only grown since Tehran. Too many of her colleagues told stories of him racing across the tarmac just ahead of them to catch the final words of an escaping dictator, or jumping into a helicopter for a one-on-one interview with said dictator upon his triumphant return. Along with his derring-do came the even more infamous reputation as an inveterate ladies’ man, which the recent episode with Petula only confirmed.
               She studied his left hand as it popped a peanut in his mouth—steady, strong, tanned. It looked familiar. Oh yes, I watched it unbutton my blouse in a supply room in Tehran. She turned away to hide the blush. When her cheeks had sufficiently cooled, she turned back only to have him glance away quickly.
               Staring out the window, he inquired in a casual voice, “So how’s your boyfriend holding up while you’re off on these wasted efforts to follow in my footsteps?”
                Her momentary affection melted away. Old Blue-Pencil Davies at it again. Prick. “They’re all moping of course, poor babies. And yours?”
               “Me? I don’t hold with leading women on.”
               “That’s not what your adoring public thinks.”
               He swung around on her, the customary smirk on his lips gone. “They’re wrong, Sydney.”
                The remark—and his deadly serious face—threw her. To cover her confusion, she sipped her drink. After a minute, he turned back to the window. As she watched his shoulders gradually relax, she reviewed the stories about him. From what she’d heard, women who crossed paths with him considered a one-night stand the standard reward. Could he be telling the truth? Just then Petula passed, slowing as she neared their row and heaving a soulful sigh. Sydney remembered the lovelorn look on her secretary’s face. He may not lead women on, but he sure draws them in.

And this book sounds like it is drawing me into M. S. Spencer's world of the past. Thanks, M.S. for being my guest.  Here are the buy links:
Buy Links:
I Tunes:
Barnes and Noble:

Any questions or comments for M. S.?



  1. Thanks for having Elian and Sydney here today. I hope your readers enjoy the excerpt and are left wanting more! M. S.

  2. I look forward to reading more! M.S., as an author I'm always curious what aspects of the writer's real life bleeds over into their current work in progress. How much of what you learned during your time in DC has influenced Lapses of Memory?

    1. Thanks for reading Leslie! My time on Capitol Hill figured in other books, but Sydney and Elian do experience some of my earlier adventures--in Beirut and Iran for instance (fictionalized to protect the innocent--me). It is very satisfying to insert bits of one's life into a story--and a lot more fun than writing a memoir! M. S.

    2. I imagine it does! I look forward to reading more of your stories. <3

  3. I am so intrigued with this premise and want to know how it all ends!! This lifetime? Or later...thanks for sharing.

  4. Interesting excerpt! Thanks for sharing! Best of luck!

  5. Wow, interesting setup and excerpt. Love the cover by the way. It had me curious all on its own.

  6. I really like the sound of this book, M.S. Best of luck with it.

  7. Hi M.S., Hi Rebecca: Thanks for helping me put another MUST READ on my reading list. I hope you both have wonderful writing days and nights. Best to you, DeeDee


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