Welcome M. S. Spencer Today

Release Day Blues

Does anyone else feel a bit deflated on release day? Rather than reaching for the champagne and caviar, I tend to wallow in a kind of disorderly muddle for a few days, pondering the emptiness of my life (hey, I’m a writer—I’m allowed to be overdramatic). The day after my latest romantic suspense novel, Triptych, came out I wandered aimlessly up and down the beach near my house in Florida. At loose ends, I let my mind float free, trying to think about anything besides this final chapter in the creative process.  A sharp pain in my instep focused my attention admirably and for a few hours I happily mulled the plight of the shell seeker. Random thoughts herewith:

Shell Seeking: Is there a motive in the madness?

There are very few people (mostly men I think) who are immune to the seduction of shell seeking. One day as I walked the beach, I pondered why it is so difficult to resist the urge to scan the half-moon circles of shells carelessly left behind by the receding tide.

Why do we ignore the vast swath of turquoise sea to our right and the ghost crabs, royal terns, skimmers, and ibises to our left, concentrating instead on a heap of the empty houses of long-dead sea life? Over the years the craving may diminish, but it only lies dormant. The second my eye is caught by a distinctive color or an oblong glow, I’m hooked again. I pause, I nudge the potential find with a tentative toe, I bend at the waist, I snatch. “Ooh woo, an olive!” I cry aloud, then look around guiltily.   Holding the treasure between thumb and middle finger I wait, hoping another walker will stop and say, “Hey, whatcha got there?” If no one’s around I continue on, still holding the shell out, ready to brandish my trophy at the next hapless stroller.

Note: seasoned beach walkers know to keep walking, eyes averted, when they see a creature lugging shells.  So it’s important to frequent an area that attracts foreigners—a Canadian, or even an Ohioan, can be counted on to admire your loot.

Now the rule is that, no matter how many shells you find,  you must pick them up. Dozens of perfect sand dollars may litter the beach but you’re not allowed to leave a single one in situ. You may barter them with other addicts, or give them away, so long as you do not return them to the sand. Why is that? What’s so special about the shells you’ve found? Why is it so hard to discard them? Why, when you’re packing for home, do you carefully wrap every whelk and coquina in bubble wrap and place them in your suitcase, if necessary leaving behind your laptop or a child, whichever frees up enough space? It’s not as though you’re going to display them back in Albany, or Alexandria, or Akron. You know they’ll sit, cozened in paper towels, locked in a Tupperware container, forever.

This is what I surmise: it’s not the shells per se; it’s the finding of them. To chance upon a perfect moon snail means you’re the first to discover it—a true first, like an invention or a new galaxy. Without help from parents, spouse, government, or map, you have identified something special and unique.  You have found treasure and it belongs to you. How could you possibly give it up? It’s the proof that you’re good at something, have something worthwhile, and are lucky. The world is now your oyster shell.

Plus, it is both free, and very precious.  Like love.


If you’d like to read my latest romantic suspense novel, Triptych (and I think you would), here is a teaser:

Take lost masterpieces, brilliant inventors, and stolen prototypes. Add the Three Sisters, Indian spirits who guard the Potomac River. Stir in three mortal sisters and their lovers. Result? Jealousy, sex, genius, larceny, and love. Who will end up with whom, and will the Three Sisters take another life as the legend demands?


Triptych, by M. S. Spencer

November 2011, Secret Cravings Publishing

eBook, 70,055 words, ISBN: 978-1-61885-064-5

Contemporary romantic suspense, M/F, 3 flames



You can purchase it at:



All Romance E Books: http://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-triptych-641725-148.html


Book Strand: http://www.bookstrand.com/triptych


Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Triptych-ebook/dp/B0067MSSO0/ref=sr_1_4?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1321481301&sr=1-4


Excerpt, Triptych, by M. S. Spencer (Adult)


He kneeled before her, took her hands, and slowly lifted her as he rose. Gently he wrapped her face in his palms and brought his lips close, closer to her heart-shaped mouth. She stood, not wanting to move or breathe, waiting. He barely grazed her lips with his, and stepped back. “Thank you.”

She opened her eyes.  He stood quietly, his expression both ardent and patient. A little voice sang in her ear. “Go for it.”  She leaned forward, put her arms around his neck and drew him to her. Her lips smashed against his with all the pent-up desire she’d been pretending didn’t exist. He opened his mouth and parted her teeth, his tongue probing, licking, teasing. Their bodies touched and pressed against each other and they hung on, swaying. Miranda felt wave on wave of an intense emotion that had to be passion pass through her. The tide did not ebb.

With sudden determination he lifted her and carried her to the bed. “Miranda, I’ve wanted this since I first saw you. Tell me you felt the same.”

Oh, God yes. “No. No, Luc, we can’t. No.”

He stopped unbuttoning her blouse. “Why not? Tell me.” His voice came thickly.

“Because…oh, Luc, it’s not right. I don’t know. I don’t tr—” He stopped the words with another kiss. This time it went deeper still, the streams of desire spreading through her lymph nodes. Her hands and feet tingled and her vulva melted. She let him take off the blouse. Her nipples peeped above the blue lace bra. With his tongue he nudged them out of hiding and fastened on one. Miranda writhed with the pleasure of it, knowing she shouldn’t allow it. But Luc had left the nipple and was trailing kisses down her belly. Strong hands pulled the skirt down to reveal her blue silk bikini. Before she could say a word he tore them off. With his hands he spread the vaginal lips and began to lick the folds, sucking up her juices. “Oh, my God, Luc, no.”

He stopped. “No?”

“I…uh…” She looked him full in the face. His black eyes flashed, his tousled hair fell across his brow. Her body let go.

Somehow he knew she had given in. He unbuttoned his jeans and let them drop. She ripped open the rose-colored oxford shirt he’d been wearing and spattered kisses on his chest. He pushed her down on the bed and rose above her. “Miranda.” Then he plunged into her.

So this is what making love feels like. With Edward it had been only sex. This, this is love. She went to meet him. And they rested.

Miranda’s body felt like a feather bed, like a warm bath, like the eye of the storm. She didn’t think she’d ever been so relaxed or so sure the world was a wonderful place. She gazed at her lover. “Luc?”

He opened one eye.


“Yes, mon chou?”

A tiny click. She looked toward the door. “Oh my God, Luc, we left it open! Someone heard us.”




Biography ~ M. S. Spencer


Although M. S. Spencer has lived in Chicago, Boston, New York, France, Morocco, Turkey, Egypt, and England, the last 30 years have been spent mostly in Washington, D.C. as a librarian, Congressional staff assistant, speechwriter, editor, birdwatcher, kayaker, policy wonk, non-profit director and parent.  Once she escaped academia, she worked for the U.S. Senate, the U.S. Department of the Interior, in several library systems, both public and academic, and at the Torpedo Factory Art Center.  She holds a BA from Vassar College, a Diploma in Arabic Studies from the American University in Cairo, and Masters in Anthropology and in Library Science from the University of Chicago.  She divides her time among Virginia, Maine and Florida.  All of this tends to insinuate itself into her works.

Writing as M. S. Spencer, she has published four contemporary romance novels. Lost in His Arms is set in the spinning world of 1991 when countries fell like flies and a CIA fixer had his hands full. In Lost and Found we follow a desperate wife searching the wilds of Maine for the husband who disappeared, both bestsellers at (www.redrosepublishing.com/books).  Losers Keepers from Secret Cravings (www.secretcravingspublishing.com), is a tale of love, lust and treachery set on the island of Chincoteague. Her latest release from Secret Cravings, Triptych, tells of love and intrigue high above the Potomac River.





12 thoughts on “Welcome M. S. Spencer Today

  1. Thanks for hosting me Raine! I had such fun thinking about shell collectors (of which I’m one) that I’ve written TWO more blogs on the subject! M. S. Spencer

  2. Loved reading about shell seeking. I used to live in Florida and I miss hunting for shells. It has a very calming effect to stroll along the beach and pick up the odd shell here and there. Great excerpt. Good luck with ur release….Tabs

  3. I hope you’re happy, M.S.! (grin) You just made me so homesick with your post! I was born and raised in Florida (now live in the Southwest) and was a professed shell seeker. I visited in 2006 and spent all ten days on the beach on Sanibel Island. I greedily collected sooooo many shells AND then was forced to throw some back because I couldnt bring them all back with me! LOL!

    Thanks for sharing the memory! And loved the excerpt! Beautiful cover too!

    HOLIDAY HUGS, Kari Thomas, http://www.authorkari.com

  4. I love seashells. I don’t get to go to the ocean often but I love to look for shells as I take a walk on the beach. Then I keep my treasures in a box and look at them, remembering my time at the sea.

    1. Janice, surely not in a box? with a lid? How about a glass bowl or vase so you can see them? I had several vases filled (sort of) decoratively and would put them out during the summer. Thanks for reading!

  5. I can never resist picking up a few shells whenever at a beach…isn’t that why the waves bring them ashore? For us to ponder their color, formation, and beauty? It’s great to let your mind wander while collecting, and just focus on nature.
    Nice message.

    1. Thanks Marianne. This seems to strike a chord in all of us–I’ll post my further thoughts soon–maybe it will perk us up in the January doldrums.

  6. Many years ago my father and his late wife gave us a lamp FILLED w/ shells collected from Sanibel Island where they spent 2 months every winter for 30-some years. I still have it even though my late husband hated it. It was rather heavy and cumbersome. I’m a shell-seeker as well and keep the Long Boat Key sand dollars in my kitchen window, even as they start to crumble.

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