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My weekend has been busy,though I haven’t gotten all the things done that I intended.  One thing that happened, though, is that we are officially empty-nesters as of today, and I’m torn about that.  I know that’s how life works, but my mom-brain isn’t ready.

To avoid being sad all over (again), I’m going to change the subject.  Writing. I’ve gotten a bit done this week, even though the day-job was busier than I had expected. I’ve also been reading through manuscripts I intend to do something with this year, including the first shapeshifter. I have some work planned for that one, but there are still a lot of things I love about it, including the yummy tiger shifter hero Harley. He has known Tessa most of her life, but he’s ignored the crush she had on him. But now there are a few rogue shifters targeting her, and Harley knows he’s the best man to keep her safe, even if she doesn’t believe him. So I’ve got a little snippet of their story to share with you today.

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He debated for half a second: cold beer or ringing phone. It would take far less time to reach the telephone than it would to get to the refrigerator in the kitchen, and he’d be able to hear the phone the entire time. Sighing, he headed for the nearest phone just inside the library.

Harley smiled when he saw the name on the caller i.d. It was about time he got lucky. His evening was suddenly looking up. He snagged the phone from the cradle. “Hello, little Tessa.”

There was silence for a moment, and then he heard her inhale shakily. “I need to speak to India please.” Even her voice trembled.

Surely she wasn’t that upset by having him answer the phone. He must have startled her. “She’s not here.” He wasn’t sure he managed to keep the smugness from his tone.

Another shaky breath reached his ear. Then a sniffle.

On alert now, he frowned. “Tessa? What’s wrong, honey?”

“Someone broke into the house,” she whispered.

His heart pounded faster. He stuck his free hand into his pocket and grabbed the car keys. “Call the police, Tessa.” He strode out of the office toward the entry hall.

“I did. They’re here, but they won’t let me go inside. They said I won’t be able to stay here tonight.”

And he could hear in her tone that right now, she didn’t want to stay there. He stopped near the front door. “I’ll be right there. Are you okay? You didn’t walk in on whoever it was?”

“I’m fine.”

He resisted the need to snort his disbelief at that claim. He could hear in her voice that she was far from fine. “I’ll be there in just a couple of minutes, honey.” He pushed the off button on the phone and dropped it to the table beside the door on his way out.

It took him seven minutes and a lot of miles an hour over the speed limit to reach Tessa’s place, and he saw the flashing red lights on the police cars before he even got in view of the house. When he jerked his car to a stop at the end of her very crowded driveway, he saw her, standing outside the front door, arms wrapped over her middle. Shaking.

His protective instinct rose up with a growl as he shoved the door open and climbed out of the car. The cops had left her standing there alone. Unprotected.

Her front door had been smashed in, shattered. There was no need to use that much force, he thought as he strode nearer. Whoever did it had done so maliciously, simply to destroy it.

Tessa had been watching the proceedings inside her house, but she glanced over her shoulder then, her wide eyes dark with fear.

He held up his hands, though he knew she was aware he meant her no harm. “Hey,” he said softly.

Her lower lip quivered, just a little, and then she sank her teeth into it, to keep it still.

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Hope you enjoyed that little taste of Harley and Tessa.  I also hope you all have a wonderful week, full of only happiness and good!

 

( Photo by jakeprzespo on Foter.com / CC BY )

 

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( Photo on Foter.com )

It’s been a busy week. I expected the day-job to be busy, and it was. I didn’t expect to be so busy outside of there this week, though it turned out that way. I got quite a bit of writing done this week, in spite of the day-job craziness.  I also got some things done (or at least moved further alone) with my aunt’s estate, too, and I feel better about where things stand there right now.  Work should be a little quieter for me after Tuesday (at least for a few days), so I’m hoping to get more writing time in. And I know a few more estate things will move progressing as well. All this forward movement is making me happy about January this year.

One of the other things I want to work on this month is some of the household tasks I didn’t get to last year (other things took priority), like clearing out my work area here in the office and getting rid of some unnecessary things in the basement. Both of these were on my to-do list for my vacation week last year, but you know how I spent my vacation last summer–doing those same sort of tasks at my aunt’s house instead. This year, I’m going to get them done here.

I really do need to clean up my office. Since mid-summer, I’ve been accumulating things not just of my own, but for my aunt’s estate–bills we’ve paid, bills we will need to pay, etc.  It goes without saying that my work area here is a cluttered mess right now, and it’s really beginning to bug me. So I am plotting a couple of long weekends so I can get this project started and wrapped up.

Speaking of writing, I also started digging into my second and third Medusa manuscripts this past week, to try to figure out how much work is ahead of me getting them ready for the world. I’m a little nervous about the whole thing, but excited, too, because I’m overdue to make this happen. Real life does sometimes throw a wrench into your plans.

Since I have dug back into my Medusas, I think today’s little snippet is going to be from the second story.  I hope you enjoy!

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That left Philomena alone in the kitchen with him, and the tension ratcheted up a few more degrees.

“You don’t think he’ll come back here, do you? Tonight, I mean?” She remained seated, not wanting to bump into him while she cleared away the remains of their meal, keeping her gaze on the table. Flitting from her plate to the leftover peas and sloppy joes. The open bag of rolls. Jason’s empty plate.

“I don’t know. He seems to believe this is your primary residence, so that means your mother and Jason need to be out for now. But I winged him earlier, so he’ll have to patch it up before he comes back.” He inhaled deeply. “We’ll be fine until my buddy gets here.”

She arched one eyebrow. “‘We’?”

His lips curved again with that cocky smile that made goosebumps lift on her arms. “Yeah. I think I can protect you.”

“Who’ll protect me from you?” It was out before she could stop it, and she colored again.

“If you need protection from me, I’m sure you’ll do fine. You wear that knife of yours all the time, right?”

“Not to bed.” Dammit, what is wrong with my mouth? She felt more heat crawl up her throat to her face.

“Well, that’s reassuring,” he drawled, his eyes darkening even more. “Why don’t you let me help you clean up?”

“Why don’t you go sit with Jason while I clean up?” she countered, pushing away from the table and to her feet. Standing made her feel a little better, though he still towered over her by a good six inches. “I’m sure he’ll be happy to catch you up on his show.” She carried her plate to the sink and scraped the remains of her meal into the disposal, turning it on and drowning out any response he might have made.

When she turned around again, she saw the back of him as he went into the living room, where Jason greeted him enthusiastically. The back looked as good as the front, she admitted, faded jeans clinging to a tight ass, strong thighs and calves.

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( Photo by x1klima on Foter.com / CC BY-ND )

How are you all doing with your goals for the new year? Forward progress? Still planning? It would be nice to hear someone else’s good news, or just commiserate if things aren’t going as fast as we’d like.

 

 

Hot Chocolate

How has the first week of your new year gone? As well as you’d hoped? Better? Not as well as you wanted?

I haven’t gotten as much writing-related work done this week as I would have liked, but I have been writing, in spite of the absolute craziness at my day-job–way more insanity than I anticipated, and the next week is probably going to be even busier.  I’ve also been working on getting a new-to-me computer set up in the home office, which is taking some time, since I have to move things onto it from my laptop and the old desktop computer, and some of those things take way too long–finding disks, trying to figure out how to install an older program that might need tweaking on a newer system…   Some of those are frustrating.

I also had to figure out if it made sense to me to participate in the very fun booksigning I’ve done the past couple of years, since I haven’t yet got Hunting Medusa ready for reissue, and settled on dates, etc. for the second and third books in the trilogy. I was disappointed to have to say no, but it doesn’t make sense to me to do it when I don’t have something new, so I’ll be bummed to miss this year, but then should be good for next year, because I am aiming to have at least the first two books in the trilogy out before the end of this year.

I know the weather has been in full-on winter mode in a lot of areas this week, but it has been extra-cold here.  I have had quite a lot of tea this week, and some very yummy hot chocolate to stay warm.  How about you? Lots of warm beverages while you’re reading?

I think I promised a little snippet of story for this week, didn’t I?  So how about a little taste of Hunting Medusa for those of you who haven’t read it yet (and those who haven’t read it in a while!)…

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Andrea rested her head on her folded arms on the kitchen table, only half listening to Kallan typing on his keyboard. She didn’t want to die just yet.

She knew for sure she didn’t want to be mutilated before she died.

But she didn’t look forward to killing the Harvester either.

She never should have had sex with him. She knew it. She’d known it beforehand.

And she should definitely not still want him.

When the phone rang, it was a relief. For a few seconds. Until she realized it was Thalia. “My cousin.” She didn’t think she needed to explain her mental caller I.D. to him.

Kallan held her gaze for a long moment. “Don’t try to let her know what’s going on,” he said at last. “I know where a lot of your cousins are located, and I’m not the only one.”

Her heart pounded harder at the implication, but she got to her feet and picked up the receiver. “Hello, Thalia. How are you?”

“I’m fine, Andi, but I think you need to get away for a while.”

She frowned, feeling Kallan’s presence behind her. Close behind her. Close enough to hear her conversation. “What do you mean?” His body heat teased her.

“The Harvesters are out and about. I’m afraid for you.”

Andi shut her eyes for a second, then opened them again when he put his hands on her shoulders. She shot him a glare and moved away, back toward the table. “I’m fine.”

“Please don’t ignore this, Andi. You know I’m hardly ever wrong.”

That was true. But she wondered if her cousin realized she was very often late with her flashes of intuition. Far too late in this case. “Okay. I’ll give it some thought, all right? Mom said something the other day about visiting.” Gods, had it only been two days ago? “And Aunt Lydia just called yesterday too. I could go to see either of them if anything seems odd.”

His hands settled on her shoulders again, massaging the tense muscles there.

She didn’t bother to shrug him off this time. He was persistent. “I could even come visit with you,” she teased, forcing a lightness into her tone.

Her cousin cleared her throat. “I actually have company right now,” she said after a moment, and Andi could almost see her blushing. “You remember I met someone in Athens last summer? Well, he’s come again to stay for a while.” Even over the phone, the emotion in Thalia’s voice was obvious.

One more cousin safe—none of the cousins who’d fallen in love ever had the curse land on their heads. A tiny bit of relief made her relax further under Kallan’s touch. “That’s terrific, Thalia. When do the rest of us get to meet him?”

“We’re talking dates,” the other woman said, a hint of a smile in her tone now. “I’ll be sure to let you know.”

“Good. And thanks for the warning. I miss you.”

“I miss you, too. I’ve got to go, Andi. Talk to you soon. But promise you’ll be careful. Danger is coming from more than one direction.”

She pushed the off button on the phone and shut her eyes, ignoring the slight sting in them. She was not envious of Thalia’s good fortune. She was just in an impossible situation here.

His warm breath brushed the top of her head a second before his lips. “That was good.”

She wanted to tell him to go screw himself. She wanted a weapon to swing at him. She wanted him to wrap his arms around her and carry her down onto the nearest flat surface.

Her eyes popped open. Damned hormones.

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Have a great week!

My shiny new cover art! isn’t it pretty?

I’m writing this on New Year’s Eve, and I’m still debating whether I’ll be awake at midnight to greet the new year.  I’m not going to be unhappy to kiss 2017 goodbye (or kick it in the pants on the way out, maybe!), since it was a rough year.  I have made up my mind that 2018 is going to rock…or else!

My plate is pretty full for the new year. Some of the things I didn’t get to do in the past year are on my new goal list–like figuring out how to get Hunting Medusa back out into the world, followed by the second and third books in the trilogy.  My writing goals for the year are a little daunting, to be honest, because I’ve never dipped my toes into the self-publishing pool before, and I think I will probably be doing that this year–it’s hard to persuade a publisher to take on a book that was already released by another publisher (not impossible, but not easy).

Guess it’s a good thing I have my shiny new planner ready to go tomorrow, all full of lists and steps and plenty of room for me to add notes and more steps once I figure out everything else I need to do along the way.  Are you a planner? Or do you wing it? I don’t make resolutions (though I should put ‘get healthier’ on my goals list for the year, it can’t hurt, right?), but always goals for the year.

How are you celebrating the new year? At home, quietly? Out with friends? Some other way? We’ve got a quiet night ahead, and now that I think about it, I’m actually going to see in the new year at midnight, maybe with a glass of something bubbly.  I can use the time between now and then to keep working on my planner, and maybe to sneak in a bit more reading before the year officially ends–I’m less than 100 pages to the end of the book out in the living room right now, and I can easily finish that in a few hours, too.

I hope you are all kicking off the new year with your own kind of fun, and that the new year kicks butt for you, too! I’ll see you in the new year, and I think we’ll sneak in a little story snippet next time, just to start things off on the right foot in 2018.

 

That is what the roof of my car looked like a week or so ago when I went out to go to work one morning.  We had a bit of rain the night before, and then it cleared up overnight and got really cold, so I got treated to a pretty frozen picture on my car.  Even better, yesterday, we got our first snow, and I’m not talking flurries.  I’m talking between four and five inches of snow, starting in the morning, and going on all day.  It was gorgeous.  Of course, it’s already been melting, since it was sunny today, so by the time the really frigid temps get here later in the week, the snow will be gone.  Unless the “snow showers” in our forecast for Thursday turn out to be something more.

And (I can’t believe I’m saying this) I actually hope they’re just snow showers, because it looks like I have a long drive into another state for a family funeral at the end of the week.  So I will be okay with no more snow for the next week or so.  After that, maybe we can have a blizzard.

On a more positive note, we have a very pretty tree in our living room right now, with purple lights on it.  And I am working on my writing goals for 2018.  I did get a lot of writing done this year, but with all of the other things that have occurred in the past twelve months, I haven’t managed to get any of these things to the next step.  That needs to change for in the next twelve months.  I’m ready for the new year to kick off with all kinds of great possibilities, and I’m going to get my goals fine-tuned in the next week or two so when we get to this point next year, I have more than new words to show for my efforts.  Like re-releasing Hunting Medusa, and getting the other two books in the trilogy ready for readers, too.  I’ll have my work cut out for me in 2018, and I’m ready.

Goal Target Aiming Success Vision Concept

 

Are any of you working on your goals for 2018 yet?  How’s your list coming?  Almost there, or does it still need some fine-tuning like mine?

Here’s hoping you all have a wonderful week!

 

I’ve been thinking about this for a while.  We’re always busy, whether it’s with household chores, or day-jobs, or family things, or any of a thousand other things.  Responsibility trumps all else.  Sometimes, I think we should ditch the responsibilities for a few moments of relaxation and enjoyment.  Maybe more than just a few moments.

( Photo by jmd41280 on Foter.com / CC BY-ND )

This time of year, things get really crazy, and many of us forget to stop and breathe.  In my day-job, I’m always reminding people I work with to stop and breathe.  But I realized I sometimes forget to take my own advice.  This weekend, now that my day-job crazy season is winding down, I decided to get all of my chores done today, so that tomorrow I can spend my day reading or writing. Maybe a little bit of both.

We had a low-key Thanksgiving here, and I spent most of it in the kitchen.  It was a little weird without my aunt here, but I thought of her all day.  And the turkey looked and smelled amazing, but I didn’t miss it on my plate at all.

So today, I’m finishing my chores, and then tomorrow, I have big plans that involve only doing things I enjoy, like the big fat book sitting on my desk, and getting some of my handwritten pages from my breaks at the day-job into my laptop so I can keep going on this shifter story.

Speaking of shifters, I think I might have mentioned a story snippet last time, didn’t I?  And it’s been ages since I shared a little bit of story with you all, so I think I’m going to dig into the fourth shifter to give you a little bit of Laney and Anton today.

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Laney smiled, watching Anton sitting on the floor with Boris’s youngest, in the center of a jumbled mess of blocks and toy cars, gamely making engine sounds and listening to the boy’s chatter. Perfectly at ease.

As if he sensed her gaze on him, he looked over and grinned, winking.

Her breath snagged. Gods, she was falling in love with him. Heat rushed to her face.

Anton’s grin faded, and his eyes darkened.

Shit. She swallowed and made her lips curve again. She could not fall in love with him. Lust was fine, but not anything more.

He pushed to his feet, slowly, holding her gaze, and her mouth went dry at the intent in his eyes.

She was supposed to be doing something, she thought, over the quick thumping of her pulse in her ears. She just couldn’t remember what, with Anton stalking her through the crush of his family, all male predator.

“Hey,” he said softly when he reached her, his warm fingers brushing her hair back from her cheek. He dipped down to feather a kiss on her mouth, still holding her gaze. “You ready to get out of this insane asylum?”

She took a shallow breath, inhaling the scent of him, and her pulse tripped up a notch. “Aren’t you playing with Bryce?”

“I’d rather play with you.” He nudged her nose with his.

Laney set one hand on his shoulder to anchor herself. “Shouldn’t we–” Her breath caught again when he settled his hands on her hips and drew her closer.
“Yes, we should, but we’re going home instead,” he whispered, his breath warm on her lips.

She flushed when someone catcalled from the other end of the room.

Anton’s slow smile made her heart beat faster. “Time to go.” He turned her and steered her out of the room with his hands on her hips.

The hallway was cooler, but she was still too warm, and when he bent to plant a quick kiss on the side of her neck, her temperature rose a few more degrees. “Anton?”

He turned her again and pressed her against the wall. “Say that again,” he growled, one hand sliding down to squeeze her ass.

“An-Anton,” she managed.

“Fuck.” He caught her mouth roughly.

She hung onto his shoulders and let him take what he wanted. What she wanted.

He lifted his head too soon, eyes dark and dangerous. “Let’s go.”

Laney nodded, breathless, and pushed away from the wall. He found their coats in the hall closet and helped her into hers. Laney shivered, watching him shrug into his own.

When they got into the car, he set his hand on her leg and squeezed. She sucked in a shaky breath at the rush of need that shot into her belly.

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Tomorrow, I won’t be working on Anton and Laney, but his cousin Joe’s story.  I hope you all find some time to stop and breathe this week, to find a little enjoyment amid all the busyness of your everyday life.  Let me know how you spend your few moments of down-time this week.

( Photo by scott1346 on Foter.com / CC BY )

 

 

( Photo credit: Foter.com  )

We’re heading into Thanksgiving week here in the U.S, which just happens to be one of our busiest weeks of the year at my day-job, though our crazy-busy is Monday and Tuesday, and then we’ll be a little slower the rest of the week.  Which is why I took an extra day off, so I can do less work in the kitchen on Thursday and enjoy the holiday more than some years when I spent most of the day working in the kitchen.  I think Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday all year long, though it is probably the one that is the most work.  Hours and hours in the kitchen cooking, baking, and in under an hour, the meal is over.

I should probably finish planning our meal–I have no idea what is for dessert yet, and I haven’t figured out what I’ll be eating instead of turkey.  This is my first holiday season since I quit eating poultry, so no turkey for me this time.  Maybe I’ll just be satisfied with all the sides and dessert.  I don’t know, but I’ll figure it out in the next couple of days.

But in the meantime, I’m going to work my butt off at the day-job and get in some writing time between bread-baking (gotta have homemade sage and onion bread for the stuffing!).  And I hope that all of you who will be celebrating Thanksgiving this week have a wonderful day, with lots of amazing food and great company, and maybe even some reading time!  Next time, I should remember to share a little snippet of story, because we haven’t done that in a while.

Maybe some pumpkin cheesecake for dessert…

( Photo credit: apasciuto via Foter.com / CC BY )

 

Here it is Sunday evening, and I had planned on getting this up hours ago. Turns out the chores took longer than I expected, but they’re finally done, and now I get to relax just a little bit before calling it a night.  It’s crazy season at the day-job this month, but I am still making time to write in the mornings (and on the days when I have time for a lunch break). I would love a day, though, where I could sit with a big, fat book and a bottomless cup of tea.  This is the perfect time of year for it, and it finally feels like fall here.

Autumn leaves, book and cup of tea on wooden table isolated on white background

I should be thinking about Thanksgiving dinner and what we’re going to have for dessert, and what I’m going to eat with my vegetables and stuffing now that I have quit eating poultry. I haven’t missed it since I quit, but I am a little concerned about missing it on Thanksgiving–Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, mostly for the food, including the turkey.  I would love some suggestions on ways I can still enjoy the holiday without being tempted to eat something I’ll regret later. I’m also going to miss my aunt. She always spent the day with us, and it’s going to be weird not to have her here.

So I’ll still make the turkey, stuffing (with homemade sage & onion bread), mashed potatoes and gravy, and corn pudding, but I need to figure out dessert, and I would love some suggestions for my non-turkey Thanksgiving.  Hope you have a great week!

It’s been a while since I got to share space with another author, and I’m excited that the one to break that drought is Alice Orr, who has a new book in her ‘Riverton Road’ series releasing this week!  At my very first writers’ conference a long, long time ago, Alice was one of the speakers, in her former life as a literary agent.  Now I get to host her here with her own romance novel, so I’m excited.   Welcome, Alice!

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A Time of Fear & Loving – Riverton Road Romantic Suspense Book 5

Mike & Amanda’s Story

by Alice Orr #Romance #Suspense #MFRWauthor #IndieAuthor

 

I’m not used to readers reacting ambivalently toward my female characters, much less getting upset with them, but this is precisely what might happen with Willow Fowler. She’s an old friend of my heroine, Amanda Miller, whom I suspect most people will like, maybe even a lot. Willow, on the other hand, is a restless soul. That restlessness gets her into serious trouble sometimes, and she is about to drag Amanda into serious trouble as well.

 

I might have my doubts about Willow too if she weren’t, now that I think about it, a little like me. She’s headstrong and sometimes impulsive. She knows what she wants out of life and what she does not want. She goes after what she wants, occasionally without as much forethought as would be wise. I’ve been known to do that myself.

 

But, the problem here is this. What kind of mess can Willow get our Amanda into, and how will she find her way out of the mess while saving Willow also? Or, is any of that even possible?

 

 

Excerpt:

Amanda had survived her unexpected encounter with Mike Schaeffer. She’d been cool and impersonal. She hadn’t allowed herself a blink of an eye when the rasp in his voice made her want to touch the tanned skin of his throat where she might feel the sound. Part of her was still infatuated with him, but she hadn’t let a single sign of that betray her and she never would. She was repeating this resolve to herself and fitting her keycard into the slot in her hotel room door when Willow Fowler was suddenly there also.

“Get inside. Quickly!” she said.

Before Amanda could fully comprehend her surprise, Willow’s delicate fingers with their perfectly shaped nails were flat against the door, shoving it ajar. She slipped through the opening as urgently as she’d spoken into Amanda’s ear a moment ago. She followed inside and watched her old friend hurry to the window, yank the draperies closed, then peek between the folds.

“Please, shut the door,” she said, sounding even more anxious than she’d been in the hallway.

Amanda dropped her luggage and slammed the door’s lock guard shut as if her friend’s anxiety might be contagious. She’d seen Willow’s eyes just now, and something in their lustrous brown depths had leapt across the room. Amanda found herself suddenly apprehensive and not liking the feeling.

“What’s going on here, Willow?”

“I’m in the most desperate trouble, Amanda. You have to believe me.”

“I believe you. I wouldn’t be here otherwise.”

“And I cannot thank you enough for coming.”

Willow darted to Amanda’s side to grasp her hand.

“I was afraid you wouldn’t be able to tear yourself away from your responsibilities,” Willow said. “I know how busy you must be.”

“I needed a break,” Amanda answered. “Besides, I haven’t forgotten how you helped me all those years ago when I needed you.”

“Be that as it may, I do not recall anyone ever doing anything this kind for me. Not ever.”

Amanda smiled. Willow had always used phrases like, “Be that as it may.” Even when they were girls together, she’d sometimes talked like an old spinster lady with tatted doilies pinned to her furniture. At the same time, Willow was anything but spinsterish in most ways. She was irrepressible. Amanda’d had her own high energy in those days too, driven by her determination to get out of the North Country and never return.

Even so, her father’s relentless need to dominate and her mother’s distracted indifference could deflate Amanda’s enthusiasm. Those were the moments when having Willow for a friend was a special blessing. Amanda would plug into Willow’s exuberance and, before long, feel recharged enough to take on Jake or Millicent or anybody. Maybe Amanda could return some of that gift now. The possibility felt good to her, and right too. What didn’t feel either good or right was seeing Willow’s usual liveliness transformed into a state of near panic.

“What exactly has your husband done to you?” Amanda asked.

Buy A Time of Fear & Loving HERE.

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ALICE ORR is the author of 16 novels, 3 novellas, a memoir and No More Rejections: 50 Secrets to Writing a Manuscript that Sells. A former book editor and literary agent, Alice now lives her dream as a full-time writer. She has two grown children and two perfect grandchildren and resides with her husband Jonathan in New York City and New Jersey.

Alice’s Website – www.aliceorrbooks.com

Alice’s Facebook Page – https://www.facebook.com/aliceorrwriter

Alice’s Twitter Page – https://twitter.com/aliceorrbooks

 

 

Resurfacing

 

My summer took an unexpected turn, as you will have noticed when I didn’t get to the rest of my birthday month celebrating in July.  I had mentioned here some time ago that I had two family members who were ill.  One of them is much better this year.  The other, my aunt, continued on a downhill path that ended in July.  Watching someone you love decline that way sucks.  The only good thing about it was that she did it the way she wanted.  There is a fantastic in-patient hospice in our area, and she was well-cared-for, between me and the staff there.

And since then, when I haven’t been at work, I have been working on clearing out her house, which was my grandparents’ house.  It’s been a huge project, and I am still not finished, but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I think.  It’s also been interesting, digging through old papers that I can’t imagine why anyone left in a box (or in this case, many boxes!) in the attic for over 60 years.  But there have been fun finds, too, like pretty postcards saved from vacations, or adorable little wedding cards, or photos.  I actually spent a lot of weekends there, just to avoid all the driving back and forth.  The sunset picture above is from one evening  a couple of weeks ago after a rainy day had cleared out.

But because the Great Clear-Out is starting to wind down, I need to get back into a more regular routine again.  The one thing I haven’t stopped in the past four months is writing.  Even while sitting in a quiet hospice room, I wrote, which surprised me.  July was exhausting, from start to finish, but my story kept me company, which was a real comfort–I actually got to the end of a shifter manuscript at my monthly writing group, which was a huge boost.

So now I’m back here, too.  My writing goals for the year have all gone to hell, so I guess I should start thinking about what I want to accomplish next year–like what to do with my Medusas since I have the rights to the first one back and haven’t gotten to do anything about that.  I’ve still got some work to do at my aunt’s house, but it isn’t going to be as all-consuming anymore, which is nice.  More time for my brain to focus on writing, rather than how to deal with 8 chests full of blankets, or ripping up carpet that’s been on the floor since I was a little girl.  Nope, I’m coming up for air, and, unlike the humpback whale below, I won’t be diving as deep again into this project.  Now it’s time to breathe and get things back to normal.

Humback whale (Megaptera novaeangliae) breaching.