Archive for March, 2018


Not an actual picture of me, but a fair representation of this weekend. Only there should be more crumpled up papers.  I’m not trashing one of my stories, just revising my writing goals for the year now that I’ve survived the craziest week I’ve had in three years at the day-job.  And as I’m revising, I’m really glad I built in some padding for my original goals, though I had no idea how much of it I was going to need when things went south.

I think in the next day or two, I’ll have it fine-tuned and then I can get back to rewriting Medusa #2, which I was enjoying, right up until the start of crazy week.  And can I just tell you, in the midst of all the insanity, I finally got my snowstorm–on the two craziest days, of course.  It started snowing while we were in the office Tuesday, and I had to clear off my car before I could go home. Then I had to clear off even more to go to the office Wednesday morning.  And then, after almost 11 hours at work, I had to not just clear off more snow, but shovel the car out, since the maintenance guys had been plowing all day.  And now most of my 12″+ of snow is gone already.  Spring in Pennsylvania. I didn’t even get to take any pictures of it, and it was beautiful, no matter what my summer-loving friend says.

The timing of the storm was fun all the way around–we had tickets for a concert Tuesday night, so after I got done with the crazy at work, then we had to drive through the snow to dinner and the show, and it was totally worth it.  It was a nice reprieve before the extra-long Wednesday.

I have done some writing this week, on hot tiger shifter #5.  But I’ve been doing more rewriting on other things than new writing for poor Joe.  Fortunately, Joe is patient, so he’ll be ready when I get back to his story.  Which might be a little while, since I’ve reworked the writing goals for the rest of the year.  Poor Joe, but first up will be Medusas, and then tiger shifters.

And since I’m in Medusa-mode today, how about a little taste of Medusa #3?

________________

Katharine had had enough. Her skin was tingling with the need for release again, and her heart beat too fast. And she hadn’t seen any likely candidates. Even a desperate Medusa had standards.

Which meant it was time to go home and break out a couple more vibrators to get through tonight. Dammit.

She took another sip from her glass, smiling at Ramona from her post on the deck. Her friend danced enthusiastically with someone she’d greeted even more enthusiastically just a little while ago. She hated to interrupt, but it really was time to go home.

Katharine sighed and shifted her shoulders, trying to loosen up the tight muscles there, turning her gaze over the crowd one last time. Her breath caught in her chest.

He was gorgeous, in a rugged sort of way. His nose had been broken at least once, but it didn’t matter. A dimple dented his chin, and he had the brightest blue eyes she’d ever seen, black hair dipping over one of them. Even better, his green shirt stretched taut over strong shoulders and a wide chest, then tucked into a pair of jeans that fit nicely on narrow hips.

Her heart beat faster in anticipation.

Then he glanced up from his conversation with a shorter man whose arm was wrapped around an even shorter woman and caught her eye. A slow smile curved his mouth as his gaze slid down the front of her, then back up, making her skin warm in anticipation, lingering on her mouth.

Her lips tingled hopefully.

She took a drink from the cup she still held. Whatever frozen thing Ramona had given her was melting and slushy, but she could still taste the bite of alcohol as it hit her tongue.

He moved away from the couple he was with, toward her, and her temperature went up a couple more degrees. His long-legged stride was confident, though he didn’t rush.

No, damn him, he made her wait, pausing once, briefly, to greet someone along the way.

She tightened her grip on the stem of the plastic cup and took a quick breath.

He finally stopped about two steps away, and she could smell his cologne, something musky that made her pulse race even faster.

She felt her nipples tighten inside her vest.

“Hi.” The low tone of his voice raised goosebumps on her arms despite the warm evening air.

“Hi.” She put out her right hand. “I’m Katharine Vardos.”

He smiled again, that slow curve of his lips that made heat spread in her belly, from the inside out, until her panties were damp when she shifted her weight from one foot to the other.

Then he wrapped his long, strong fingers around hers. “Hunter Phelps. Nice to meet you.”

Heat shot up her arm from where he held her hand, rising into her face. “Are you a friend of Ramona’s?” She left her hand in his, her brain already imagining his long fingers elsewhere on her body. The mental images made her breathing quicken.

He shook his head, sliding his thumb across the back of her hand. “My buddy Lance is, though.” His bright gaze dropped to her mouth again.

She inhaled slowly. “Are you a dancer, Hunter?” Blue eyes she could drown in, she thought when he met her gaze again.

“Occasionally,” he said, tightening his hold on her hand. “Was that an invitation?”

“Yes.” Oh, please let him say yes, she thought.

He set his beer bottle down on the deck railing, then took her cup and set it aside, too. “Let’s go.”

________________

Katharine and Hunter had some surprises for me when I was writing the first draft of their story, and I hope when the time comes that everyone else enjoys those as much as I did.

Before I go, I wonder how many of you have had to rearrange your plans already for the rest of the year? Surely I’m not alone in having something unexpected happen that pushed your goals off-track.  How are you managing with getting back on-track?

 

 

Advertisements

( Photo by MobilFunk7 on Foter.com / CC BY )

Here we go again.

I expected the past week to be smooth sailing after we got through our busy day on Tuesday at the day-job. I had a vacation day planned for Friday so I could have a long weekend (haven’t had one of those in months!). I had plans for the weekend. And then we had a major schedule shift at the day-job, which basically accelerated two weeks’ worth of work into five days. Yikes! I could have still taken my vacation day Friday, but I would have felt really bad about it, since Friday is one of two busy days in this five day stretch, and I hate leaving my work for others, even though we work as a team, so I rescheduled my day off for the next week.

We made it through Friday, smoother sailing than we expected, which was great. I still had some weekend goals–one errand I had planned on, the usual household chores, writing, all the usual things.  Then my one errand turned into most of Saturday, with three people to meet at different times, instead of one meeting. Needless to say, no chores got done yesterday.  But I am glad to have gotten the meetings out of the way. Not so glad to have to try to cram as much as possible into today, including one more unplanned but necessary errand, but I’m doing the best I can. Not everything is going to get done today, but some of the important chores–laundry, taxes–are checked off my list. I also feel like I’m getting a head-cold–you know that icky feeling you get when it’s just getting started, the itch in your sinuses and throat–so I’ve been popping vitamin C, chugging orange juice and tea. I’m about to put some leftover curry in the microwave and may add some more hot oil to it, just because I want to head off this ick so I can make it through the next four very accelerated days at the day-job without having to also deal with being sick. I just keep thinking, ‘I don’t have time for that.’ I know no one has time to be sick, and there is never a good time for it, but this is definitely not the week.  Besides the crazy work schedule, we have concert tickets one evening (in the middle of the work-crazy, of course), and a couple other appointments.

The upside is that I’ll have Friday off, so I’ll get my three-day weekend in this week.  I am not going to try to ‘catch up’ on the things I missed this weekend.  I am hoping to spend one of those three days doing nothing but reading and writing. That isn’t too unreasonable. I’ll still have the regular weekly things to do, and possibly by the weekend other things will pop up, but those are my aims for the weekend.

Now, though, I am heading off to get some writing time in.  Before I do, I have a little snippet from Hunting Medusa to share with you.

________________

Kallan Tassos sat at the foot of the mountain, tapping his fingers on the steering wheel of the rented truck. Getting to the Medusa had been a lot easier than he’d been led to believe. He wondered why.

She was also a lot prettier than he’d imagined.

Sure, he knew the original Medusa had been so beautiful and confident she’d angered a Goddess. But this one wasn’t what he’d expected. She had short, dark hair framing very expressive blue eyes. Somehow he’d imagined long, blonde hair for a woman whose hair turned into snakes. And cold eyes like those very reptiles. Maybe not with a mouth that made him wonder how she’d taste.

He frowned, tapping his fingers faster on the wheel. Someone had left out a lot of details in the legends. Or the reality had changed much in the generations since the last Harvester had done his duty in killing the monstrous Medusa.

He shook his head. No, his imagination was simply working overtime. And when he got home to Baltimore—or even when he went to Greece to visit Uncle Ari at the family’s ancestral home—he needed to find a willing woman, as it had clearly been too long if he was finding his quarry so attractive.

When his phone rang, he hesitated for a second at the name on the tiny screen. He finally thumbed the button after the third ring. “Stavros.”

“I hear you may have a promising lead. It is past time one of us killed this monster.” His cousin’s everyday accent thickened when he was excited, and judging by the way Greece flavored his words, he believed they were getting close.

“I’m sure one of us will,” Kallan said mildly, drumming his fingers on his knee.

“I keep imagining taking her head after all this time. Perhaps before I do, I can make her pay a little for her family’s existence.”

Kallan frowned. Stavros didn’t care who knew about his penchant for cruelty.

“Where are you now?”

Again he hesitated. He rarely lied, and never to his family. “Oklahoma. I’ve found some information on a young woman closely related to the last Medusa that perfectly fits our profile.” He didn’t feel bad about the lie, since he knew his cousin would be there within twenty-four hours if he told him where he really was and that he’d found the Medusa.

“Where are you heading?”

“Northeast.” He hoped Stavros would be satisfied with the vague answer for now. But he didn’t want his cousin breathing down his neck. Stavros had a vicious streak miles wide, had ever since they were children and just beginning to explore and use their individual talents in their hunt for the Medusa. Kallan could undo any lock with just a touch. Stavros could sense and undo any magical spell he found in his path. When they were teenagers, Kallan had seen him use his magical skill to kill innocent animals just because they were nearby. On occasion, he’d used any handy weapon or his bare hands, simply because he could. Kallan knew Stravros’s cruelty had intensified in recent years based on things not only Stavros had mentioned, but whispers from his other cousins. While he knew as well as everyone else in his family the sort of monster the Medusa was, he didn’t think it necessary to make her suffer the way Stavros would. Especially now that he’d met her.

“Ah. Well, I wish you luck in your hunt, Cousin. Goddess bless our quest.”

He repeated the mantra, then thumbed off the phone, thinking. Hopefully his cousin would take the lack of a specific answer to mean Kallan was simply searching and not really onto a solid lead. That would keep Stavros on his own hunt and out of Kallan’s way.

He smiled grimly, turning the key in the ignition. Now he had plans to finalize. Supplies to purchase. He put the truck in gear and steered the vehicle back toward Ellsworth.

Now that he’d found her, the Medusa would die by his hand.

________________

What does your week ahead look like? Crazy-busy? Or maybe a little down-time? I’d love to know!

 

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

This past week felt more like a normal week, though after Wednesday, I wasn’t nearly busy enough at the day-job. But I have projects to work on, there and at home. Like prepping for a few crazy-busy weeks coming up there, and writing and photo-scanning here at home.  We have a few big things left to wrap up with my aunt’s estate before I feel like I can relax.  Who knew settling an estate could take so long? (Don’t tell me if you did, I just wish I had known before now!)

So I have been making progress with the fifth (final??) shifter story when I’ve been on breaks at work. I had intended to write only three of them, with this hero being the last, but then one of his siblings needed a story, and one of his cousins.  I hesitate now to say this will be the last one, since I had other plans when I started writing the first one.  But at the moment, anyway, Joe will be the last of my shifters.  I need to revisit the first stories in the series, though, before I can do anything with them–one of the perils of not plotting before you write a book is that sometimes you get a few stories in and realize something that needs to happen earlier in the series. Too bad my brain doesn’t work the way it would need to for me to plot out my stories before I write them. I’ve only pulled that off once, with a synopsis worksheet from a writer-friend of mine. But mostly my brain just needs to tell the story as it goes, not figure it out beforehand, and I’m okay with that.

Since the first part of my year hasn’t gone according to plan (when does it ever?), I’ve dug out my writing goals for the year so I can make use of some of that wiggle room I built in to try to rearrange things so I can still accomplish some of the things I wanted to accomplish this year. One of the top priorities is my Medusa trilogy–re-releasing the first book and then sending the other two books out into the world, hopefully still later this year.

Right now, I’m about to go back to hot Joe the tiger shifter, but I think this week I’m going to share a little of the first Medusa with you.  I know some of you have read it, but a lot of you have not.  I hope you enjoy.

________________

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.

His hands slid down her sides and wrapped around her, settling her back against his chest as if he’d read her mind. She hoped he didn’t have that ability.

________________

This reminds me–I got to keep the cover for my first Medusa, which I love.  But one of the things on my writing goals for the year is to find a cover artist for the other two books in the trilogy. Which made me wonder if I really will need a whole new cover for Hunting Medusa as well, so the three look like they belong together? What do you think? Am I going to be able to find someone to design the second and third covers so they are similar to the first one, or am I going to have to redo that one, too?

 

 

( Photo by Un ragazzo chiamato Bi on Foter.com / CC BY-SA )

The day-job has been just as busy as I expected this past week, and that will continue for the next couple of days, but I actually spent part of my weekend relaxing. Of course all the chores still had to be done, as well as work on my aunt’s estate, but I took yesterday afternoon to spend with a friend. We were way overdue, and both of us have had a crappy couple of weeks, so it was nice to just sit and talk, without having to try to figure anything out, and just hang out. Of course, we had a little wine and watched a movie full of pretty faces, which made it even nicer.  Easier to get back to chores today after that.

Today would have been my paternal grandma’s ninety-seventh birthday.  One of my aunts shared a picture earlier of my grandma with her five kids at her seventy-fifth birthday party. It was a little bit of a jolt to realize that only two of the people in the picture are still living, and more than a little sad, considering the loss of one was just a couple weeks ago.  But it led me to dig through a couple of other old pictures of my grandma, and I stumbled on one another of my aunts shared some time ago, of my grandparents when they were much younger.  The first time I saw it, I was surprised to realize I look like my grandma.  I’d never heard that from anyone when I was growing up–it was always, ‘wow, you look just like your mom’, which I did (the only difference between some of my childhood pics and my mom’s is that hers were black and white).  Evidently that changed somewhere along the way, but I’d never seen any pictures of my grandma when she was young until my aunt shared that one. As an added bonus, it included my grandpa, who died way before I was born.  Family was always a big deal when I was younger, and sometimes I miss having everyone closer, rather than spread out over most of the country.

This is just me meandering around to a story snippet to share with you, where family is also a big deal.  I debated which family to share today–Medusas or tiger shifters, and the tigers won today.  This little snippet is from the first story.

( Photo on Foter.com  )

________________

Tessa watched India dance with one of the groomsmen. The man was good-looking, dark blond hair, green eyes, nice physique, and he was obviously interested in India.

India, on the other hand, held herself stiffly in his arms, her mouth turned down at the corners, and her gaze slid from one spot to another, never meeting his.

Tessa wondered if India missed Jon, even though she’d never have brought him along for this. All these shifters in one room, and there was bound to be a display or two of shifting. Tessa had already seen several partial Shifts. It was only a matter of time before someone Shifted completely.

Harley lifted her hand to his lips. “You’re a million miles away, honey.”

She forced a little smile. “Sorry.”

Before he could speak, Boris appeared. “Come dance with me, Tessa.” He didn’t give either of them a chance to protest, but pulled her out of her seat and onto the dance floor.

“That dress is too pretty to sit all evening,” Boris said, smiling.

She shook her head. “I was good with the sitting.”

He grinned. “You just hate the heels.”

Tessa laughed. “You’re right.”

He spun her around until she laughed again.

* * *

Harley glared daggers at his brother for several minutes, and then his father cut in. Boris flashed an “I know something you don’t know” grin before returning to his wife’s side. Marigold didn’t look like she was enjoying herself, which surprised Harley. Mari was a social butterfly, and usually at an event like this, she’d be everywhere, whether she was wanted or not. Tonight, she’d been quiet and had mostly remained in her seat. Maybe she was still sick with whatever bug she’d had earlier in the week.

Harley turned his attention back to Tessa, and he watched his father laugh at something Tessa said as they danced around the crowded floor. When his cousin Alec cut in, Harley realized he’d clenched his fists.

It was just a dance.

He repeated that to himself several times as Alec flirted with her, making her blush and laugh. When Alec leaned closer to hear her speak, Harley’d had enough. He charged through the dancers to where they swayed together. “My turn,” he growled, shoving his cousin away from her.

Tessa’s eyes rounded and her mouth dropped open before color rushed to her face.

Alec raised one eyebrow. “Really?”

“Don’t make me kick your ass in front of the whole family.” Harley gave him a hard look for a long moment before Alec looked away.

“It was nice seeing you again, Tessa,” Alec said, moving away.

Harley pulled her into his arms.

She didn’t move with him, digging her heels in. “What was that?”

“Me rescuing you from Alec.” He finally gave up trying to move her, though he knew he could–but not without attracting more attention.

“I hadn’t realized I was in need of rescue.” Her words were as stiff as her body. “There was no need to make a scene.”

He realized some of his extended family were watching them closely. Too many of them. “I didn’t like him touching you,” he said after a moment.

She frowned up at him.

“I didn’t like him flirting with you.”

Her eyes narrowed.

“Not because I don’t trust you,” he said quickly. “But because I’m discovering I’m jealous.”

Her mouth dropped open. Then pink tinted her cheeks. “Harley–”

He bent and nudged her nose with his. “I didn’t say it was rational. But it’s how I feel. You’re mine.” He brushed his lips over hers, lightly, and held his breath.

Tessa sucked in a quick breath, and her eyes went shiny with tears.

He hoped that was a good thing.

________________

Before I go back to my writing, I have a question for you all. Is your family close, distance-wise? Or are you all spread out, too, making regular visits a challenge?