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Guest Blogger: Melanie Atkins
Friday, August 3rd, 2012

The Heat is On

Wow! I live down south, and we’re expecting the temperature today to reach at least 98 degrees, with a heat index of 108-110. And no, this is not “dry heat” like one would find out west or even in Texas. This is sultry, stifling, breath-sucking, Deep South heat. The kind that makes you want to get nekkid, turn up the AC, and drink lemonade. Seriously.

My solution? Stay inside. My cats agree. Usually by 5:30 a.m., they’re clamoring to go out, and they might for just a little while. Then they return to the door, ready to come back in and sleep for most of the day, and scratch until I get up and bow to their feline pleasure. Cats that actually want to stay inside when they can chase varmint outside? You know it’s got to be hot.

I feel for everyone who has to work out in this heat. My sons both do. One is an electrician and has to go into attics on a frequent basis. I worry about him. The other one works for a freight company on the docks. At least he works mostly in the evening and not in the heat of the day. Still, I hope he drinks enough water.

Last Sunday, I went to a swimming party. The heat nearly melted me even though the pool water was relatively cool. The water in the pool where I take water aerobics in the early a.m. two days a week isn’t that refreshing during a heat wave like this. It’s more like bath water. Hot bath water. Jumping in takes my breath away, and not in a good way. Swimming, even that early, just makes me hotter.

I’m stuck inside writing when the weather’s like this. I usually love to write out on my deck in the late afternoon once shade covers it, but not right now. I’d die, even with my fan blowing right in my face. Staying inside makes for more distractions, but I just put in my headphones and plow on. Then I get to a steamy scene, and the heat builds again… Ack! Heat, heat, and more heat.

What do you do to keep cool when the outside furnace cranks up? Do you go swimming? Wallow in the AC like I do? Make cool drinks? Take off your clothes? Sit on an ice block? Okay, I’m laughing at that visual.

Reading—inside, of course—is always a good outlet. And speaking of reading… I have a new novella out this week! (How do you like that segue? Pretty cool, huh? lol) Hope you’ll check out this stand alone story… and just for the record, you might want to have some tissues handy; not to mop sweat, but to dry your tears. Just sayin’… it’s an emotional story.

EMILY’S NIGHTMARE is now available at Desert Breeze Publishing:
**And at many other online outlets, including Amazon, B&N, the iTunes store, Sony, etc.


Detective Emily Rawson doesn’t want children; she’s too focused on her career to give a family the time required. That is, until she falls in love with fellow detective John Cutter, forgets to take precautions, and winds up pregnant. She fights the idea tooth and nail before finally deciding that having a baby is exactly what she wants—as long as the child is Cutter’s. Then tragedy strikes. Will it bring them together or tear them apart?

Fear pummeled Emily. She gripped the Glock and ducked into the enclosed stairwell. The faint odors of oil and gasoline rode the stale air. Time stood still. A bead of moisture rolled down her cheek. She wiped it away and peeked out the door.

Her assailant fired.

White-hot pain speared Emily’s shoulder. She screamed, the sound echoing as she lost her footing and tumbled backward down the cold concrete steps. She landed hard on her back, sticky, ruby red blood coating her thighs. Her head pounded. Fear took her breath.

Inky darkness spilled over her like rising water.

Emily bolted up in bed, cold sweat streaming down her back. The same awful dream. So painful and so real. Every night for the past six months. Ever since John Cutter, her former partner, best friend, and lover, had ridiculed her choices and turned his back on her.

That wasn’t the worst of it, however. Their breakup had come first.

I want a houseful of kids, he’d said. A big family.

His hopeful words had gouged a hole in Emily’s heart, because she didn’t want kids—despite the incident tonight with the rescued baby. Her own childhood had been a living hell, thanks to her father’s bitterness and her great-uncle’s roaming hands, and even though her mother had tried, Emily didn’t want to follow in her footsteps. The very idea scared her to death. Better to just forget having a family and focus on catching criminals. She was a damned good cop and well-deserving of her spot in her division.

During their last fight before she’d left burglary, Cutter had mocked her for making the change and had even bashed poor Mike Jamison, the high school history teacher she had dated for a time the year before while she and Cutter were on the outs. His animosity had made absolutely no sense—and neither did this recurring dream.

“What’s wrong with me?” Emily murmured, shuddering at the thought that she might not ever get a handle on her nightmares.

She raked the ends of her short hair off her neck to dry the perspiration coating her fevered skin. Tonight—she glanced at the clock and groaned; five in the morning, so make that last night—she’d gone to Bullets and spotted Cutter sitting at the bar, and she’d ducked out without him seeing her. No need to stir the hornet’s next. The last time she’d bumped into him there, he’d been way too abrasive. Not mean, exactly. Just belligerent.

She drew the covers up to her chin. She and Cutter had been partners in the burglary division for three long years. She’d thought he was her best buddy and more. And now—

7 comments to “Guest Blogger: Melanie Atkins”

  1. Becky Ward
    · August 3rd, 2012 at 7:45 am · Link

    Great post! Know what you mean about the temperature and heat index. I stay in where it is air conditioned, so it is more comfortable to do stuff unless I have to be in the heat. Where I work at just got their air conditioning fix, so I was drinking plenty of water to make it through each day.
    Emily’s Nightmare sounds very intriguing to me. I enjoyed reading the excerpt. I have added Emily’s Nightmare to my list to get.

  2. Melanie Atkins
    · August 3rd, 2012 at 7:56 am · Link

    Thanks, Becky! Yep, I don’t know what we’d do without AC. The temp today is supposed to be 95, with a heat index of about 105. The humidity is a killer. My cats come in, sprawl out on the floor, and soak up the coolness.

  3. Deb Carter
    · August 3rd, 2012 at 9:56 am · Link

    Great post and a story I know I will be wanting to read as well as watch for any other of your stories. I know what you mean about the heat. I was in the army for 10 years and part of that was in Arizona and that sure was a different heat from when I was in Georgia. Even a cold shower can’t help because once you step out your already sweating. Even thought I don’t live in the south but in Ohio we have had our heat. Today is going to be 91 with a heat index of over 100. We don’t have cats but even the dogs that love the outside just go out to do what they need to and then back in the AC. I love to write outside on the patio and that use to be my routine in the mornings when the sun was coming up over the trees and even enjoyed getting a bit of sun. So it’s inside with the AC to get anything done. I don’t get much writing done as I like because of everything that needs to be done. I’m new to writing so just getting into it more and more. Love to have my music going all day long as I do my family duties and work on my stories in my head so I have to do it in steps in some scenes because when my women get so hot and sweaty together. So when I write them I have to have the AC on and I sit at the dinning room table with a ceiling fan blowing right down on top of me. Even with that I get hot and if my sister sees me I just blame it on a hot flash LOL. The things I can get away with at my age LOL.

  4. Debra Parmley
    · August 3rd, 2012 at 12:17 pm · Link

    Hi Melanie! Great post! 😀

    Yes this southern heat is really something and you’re a bit further south than I am. It’s usually humid here in Memphis even when there’s a drought because of the Mississippi river. There’ve been days when I prayed for a breeze.

    Hubby runs a pressure cleaning service and his crews are up way before I’m ever out of bed to start their work day and beat the heat as much as they can. (Though they work on through till the jobs are done.)

    I’m lucky to be writing full time at home now so I don’t have to be out in it so much driving to and from work. I can peel down to very little clothing and not have to worry about anyone seeing me. 😉 That and cool lemonade or water and I’m good to go unless it gets up to 100 or above. Then our a/c unit in the house can’t keep up and I’ll head to the library to write. It’s cooler and quiet there.

    My laptop heats up and I tend to write with it on my lap, so that’s not so good. But I saw an ad the other day for a laptop cushion type thing that supposedly has a fan it it to keep the computer cool. I’m actually heading out to a store today to look at one.

    Love the cover of your new book. It’s on my to buy list. 😉

  5. Melanie Atkins
    · August 3rd, 2012 at 2:39 pm · Link

    Thanks, Deb and Debra. Deb, I love ceiling fans, too. Mine stays on 24/7 even with the AC. Debra, I don’t have to go out much either, and I’m so glad. I just went out and cleaned up the back porch (no idea why I did it in the middle of the day) and got really hot in just ten minutes. Good thing it wasn’t very messy. lol

  6. Kathleen Irene Paterka
    · August 3rd, 2012 at 8:22 pm · Link

    Hi Melanie! Great post! EMILY’S NIGHTMARE sounds like a winner! Meanwhile, as to ‘how to stay cool’, I suggest moving to Northern Michigan. I actually was wearing a jacket today. The weather up here has been crazy… one day in the 90s (which I ADORE!) and the next day, in the 50s (which makes me pout).

    I’m thinking about moving to Las Vegas, where my daughter and her husband plus babies live. They’re in the desert heat… sounds good to me!

    Congratulations on EMILY’S NIGHTMARE!


  7. Melanie Atkins
    · August 3rd, 2012 at 8:29 pm · Link

    Thanks, Kathleen! I’ve never been to northern Michigan. Sounds great. The humidity here is a killer.

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