Archive for October, 2018


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This past week has been a doozy. My little world has been just fine, exactly what I expected when I wrote here last weekend, busy at the beginning, with a little more breathing room toward the end, but the bigger world has been filled with all sorts of terrible news this week. Because I could use something upbeat, I thought others must need the same thing. So today, I’ve got a few happy pictures to share with you.

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The ocean makes me happy, and I know some of my friends are happiest at the beach, too.

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Tulips make me happy, too. They’re actually my favorite flower, and I carried pink tulips when I got married.

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And pets make many of us happy, too.

( Photo by sayamindu on Foter.com / CC BY-SA )

Right now, I’m happy that my family is safe and healthy, and that we have safe homes and good food to eat, jobs to pay for those things. I am also happy that I can write, and that I can share some of that with you, this week from Hunting Medusa.

________________

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.

“What have you found?” she asked instead, keeping herself upright instead of relaxing further.

“Not a cursed thing.”

She blinked. She hadn’t really expected he’d tell her, but the resignation in his tone told her his reply was the truth. She inhaled unsteadily. “I guess you have to make up your mind then. You or me.”

“There has to be something else.” He sounded frustrated now, as if he were gritting his teeth, and his grip on her tightened marginally.

Andi shut her eyes. No matter how torn he seemed to be about his destined tasks, she had no doubt he’d do them eventually. And if not, she’d do what the Medusas had been doing for millennia and eliminate the threat to her. That was her destiny.

________________

Now, before I get back to some writing, I’m going to do something else that makes me happy–I have potatoes cooking to go with my fish for supper. Potatoes make me very happy, I could eat them every day.

I would love to know some things that make all of you happy. Maybe we can keep each other happy this week in a world that seems determined to do the opposite to us. What do you rely on to make you happy when you’re sad?

 

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I am back from the New Jersey Romance Writers conference, full of ideas and inspiration, and so happy to have spent time with friends I haven’t seen in too long. Plus I’ve made a few new friends, too!

I have a longer to-do list in preparation for getting my Medusa’s Daughters trilogy out into the world, thanks to an indie publishing session I went to yesterday, and notes from other workshops that I want to go back to after I get through the next couple of crazy days at the day-job. I can’t wait to dive back into my shifters (hence the pretty tiger above). I’m also looking forward to listening to the recordings of sessions that happened simultaneously with some I attended (it would have been a very good weekend to have clones!), so I can see what I missed in the other panels. And I’m already looking forward to next year’s conference so I can see my long-distance friends again, though I hope that I’ll see some of them between now and then.

Besides the wonderful conference this weekend, it finally feels like fall here, so I am really a happy camper now.

Before I try to get myself ready for the day-job again, I have a little snippet of the novella I’m working on for release next November to share with you.

________________

Lucie had been on the island for almost two weeks, but the view from the back door of her temporary home still took her breath away. Right now, she realized she’d been standing there staring, slack-jawed, at the sunlight glinting off the bright blue ocean waves for a good five minutes. Shaking her head, she pulled the door shut and stepped down onto the sidewalk, feeling in her purse for her car keys.

She closed her fingers on the fob as a giggle reached her ears. She turned to the white picket fence that bordered the property next door as a big multi-colored ball sailed over it, toward her. She caught it before it hit her in the face and started across the grass, balancing the ball on her hand.

Another giggle sounded as she neared the fence, and she adjusted her direction a tiny bit, so she came to a stop and looked directly down onto a blond head with tousled, curly hair.

“I think you lost something,” she said.

The little boy’s face tipped up quickly, his blue eyes wide with surprise–as if he couldn’t believe she’d found him so easily.

Lucie grinned and held the ball higher.

He smiled back and got to his feet, brushing off his jeans-clad butt.

From seeing him playing outside several times already, she’d guessed he was three or four, and now that she was seeing him at closer range, she scaled that back to three.

“Hi, I’m Hayden,” he said, holding out his right hand.

It was her turn to be surprised. She shook his hand, bemused. “Hi, Hayden, I’m Lucie.” Not too many three-year-olds had such good manners. Aside from the ball toss at her face, that is. “Nice to meet you.”

He glanced up at his ball. “Me ‘n’ my dad are your neighbors.”

“I see that.” She noted he hadn’t mentioned his mom. “Who were you playing with?” She gave the ball a little bounce.

“Maybe you wanna play with me.”

Ah. She squelched the pang in her chest. “I wish I could, but I’m on my way to town. Maybe we could play another time?” she added when his grin vanished.

“Like this afternoon?”

“Hayden!”

The deep voice got her attention, and the little boy’s, just before a tall, sandy-haired man rounded the back corner of the next-door house.

Lucie’s mouth went dry. Wowza!

________________

Now I have to get back to reality for a few days. How is your October looking this week?

 

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

Finally! It finally feels like fall here in Pennsylvania the last few days, and I’m so happy about that. Even better, it looks like the fall weather is going to stick around all week. That will certainly make it easier for me to pack for the New Jersey Romance Writers conference later this week.

I’ve been taking a harder look at my first couple of shifter stories, and how I need to tighten up the over-reaching conflict for the series.  Going to have to do some more rewriting. It will make the stories better, and it’s a definite pitfall of being a write-by-the-seat-of-your-pants writer, rather than a plotter. My brain just doesn’t work that way, and I’ve tried more than once to plot out my stories.  I guess the good news is the only deadline I had for wrapping these up was my own, and not a publisher’s deadline. (Though I would rather have the publisher’s deadline, because I work better with real deadlines!)

Anyway, I will be spending some time working on making this series conflict stronger, but not until after I get back from the conference. We have an insanely busy week coming up at the day-job, and I’ll be out of the office for the conference for two of those five days. I’ll do my best not to feel guilty about that, but I am absolutely going to have a great time at the conference and attend some workshops bound to get my creative juices flowing. There is one on my must-list about self-publishing that will come in handy for my Medusa trilogy.

I’m also looking at my goals for this year with an eye to revising them (yes, again). There are some that are just not doable in the next two and a half months, but some things I can still accomplish that will put me closer to making more of my goals next year. Yes, I do start thinking about goals for the new year this early. I had a good chat with a writing friend yesterday that made me take a fresh look at some of my goals for the future, and I’m sure a few of the workshops on my list for this weekend will also give me ideas for refining and adjusting my goals, too.

( Photo by Glen Bowman on Foter.com / CC BY )

Before I go back to my notes for my shifter series, I have a little story snippet to share with you.

________________

India closed the file full of wedding pictures on her laptop and set the computer aside. Tessa and Harley had sent the rough shots as soon as they arrived from the photographer. Dozens of them, including one of her looking wistfully at her brother and new sister-in-law. She pushed to her feet and paced to the window.

Sighing, she reached up with one hand to unclip her hair from the neat twist she usually wore for work. That alleviated a tiny bit of the pressure in her head, but the rest was internal. She tossed the clip onto her desk and used both hands to rub at the base of her skull.

It had been a long week. Her uncle Adar had stormed into her office early Monday morning, growling about her treatment of his shiny new wife at the wedding reception, then a report she’d sent to Boris’s secretary had gone missing before lunchtime, and things had gone downhill from there.

Her only consolation right now was that she had one day left till the weekend. Of course, next week, she’d be stuck in Shifter Alliance Conference meetings in New York City all week. She stared down at the traffic and pedestrians on the street below, resting her forehead against the window. If she were going to New York to shop, that would be one thing, but with the conference schedule, she wouldn’t have time to wander the city on the hunt for any fabulous shopping opportunities or bargains.

She shut her eyes and took a deep breath. Work. She needed a vacation. Somewhere on a beach, with room service.

She straightened and returned to her desk. She needed to get through next week before she could think about time off. And right now, there was a scheduling report on her computer–she should have been looking at that instead of Harley and Tessa’s wedding pictures, since the report was due this afternoon.

She leaned forward in her chair and turned the computer back around, tapping the keys to bring up the report again. Rubbing her temple to ease the ache in her head, it took her a few minutes to refocus her attention on the screen. Work.

An hour later, she’d nearly finished compiling the report, when India felt eyes on her, making the fine hairs at the back of her neck prickle. She looked up, frowning. No one. She tapped her fingers on the desktop, shifting her gaze to the window.

And then she saw him, standing at the window across the street.

Her heart leaped into high gear, and she tried to slow it down, tried to convince herself it was just her imagination, just a little wishful thinking left over from the weekend. Her imagination.

Even though she knew it wasn’t.

Rory was here.

Heat flashed through her, molten, and left her shivering. If she tried to leave the office, her legs would never hold her.

She couldn’t see his face clearly from here, but she didn’t need to. She knew it almost as well as her own, even after all this time.

She shut her eyes and turned back to her desk.

Her phone rang, and she nearly jumped out of her chair. Laughing at herself, she picked it up. “Hello?”

“Hello, a rúnsearc.” The lilting Irish accent teased her ear, familiar, sexy.

She went still, except for her racing heart. “What do you want?” The question came out hoarse, but she couldn’t help it. Her imagination went wild. Memories, good and bad, flooded through her.

He chuckled, and arousal stirred in her belly, spreading outward. She knew what he wanted. “Have dinner with me,” he said after a second.

“No.” She was a little surprised she’d managed to sound like she meant that.

“You’d really make me wait until the meeting next week to have a meal together?”

India shut her eyes. He would be there. Dear Gods.

“India, a rúnsearc?”

“Why are you here?” She should have just repeated her refusal and hung up.

“Why do you think?”

To torture her, obviously. Every part of her wanted to go to him, even now. “Because you’re a glutton for punishment,” she muttered.

He laughed again. “For you? Of course.”

She’d meant herself, and she flushed, trying to ignore the slow, thick trickle of heat in her veins, the building throb in her belly.

“But the pleasure is so much better,” he whispered.

A moan tried to climb her throat, and she covered her mouth with her free hand to contain it.

“I know you remember, too. How good.”

His words had every part of her body on high alert. Of course she remembered.

“Have dinner with me. Please.”

“When?” She’d meant to say ‘no’ again. Really.

________________

I was on the verge of saying how much I love Rory, but then I realized I said the same thing about Harley. I meant it, too, about both of them. It’s true, I love them both, and all of the other heroes in my shifter series. Someday, I hope readers will feel the same way.

Now I’m going back to work, and I’m going to enjoy my fall weather all week long. I hope you all do the same!

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

 

 

( Photo by Kate#2112 on Foter.com / CC BY )

It looks like fall outside, with leaves falling and changing colors, but it sure doesn’t feel like it. It was almost 90 degrees here today. I’m really ready for fall.

Things have been hectic since my vacation ended, and I’m already ready for my next time off–I have a conference to go to in less than two weeks, and will have a four-day weekend for that (which will be right in the middle of another crazy-busy week at the day-job, naturally).  I also didn’t get to see my sister due to an unavoidable change to her travel plans, so I’m bummed about that. Next trip, I suppose.

The good news right now is the extended weather forecast tells me it will actually feel like fall by the end of the week. I might get to wear long sleeves finally, not just in the office where the thermostat is set on Arctic-blast and we wear sweaters most of the year. That will help me figure out my conference packing, too. Of course, conference rooms are notoriously chilly, too, so sweaters will definitely be on the packing list.

I have to narrow down my workshop wish-list, too. There are a couple of blocks when there are 4-5 great workshops all at the same time, and I’ll have to figure out which 1 is an absolute must and then maybe get recordings of the others afterward so I can still listen to them. One of the best parts of the conference will be seeing writing friends (and hopefully making some new ones!) I haven’t seen in a while. The last few years kinda put a wrench in my usual conference-going, so I haven’t seen most of my writing buddies in a long time. This conference is one of my favorite October things every year, and I’m excited to be able to go back finally.

Before I get back to my re-read of this shifter manuscript, I have a little  snippet from the first shifter story to share with you.

________________

All he wanted when he got in the house was to find something to eat, perhaps a cold drink, and then to park himself in front of something mindless on the television for the rest of the evening. But when he walked into the otherwise silent house, the phone was ringing. No other cars were in the drive, which meant either he needed to answer it, or listen to it ring until the machine kicked in.

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.

“Ah, Tessa.” He stepped nearer and tugged her against himself, feeling the shivers racing over her. He also noticed the way her spine stiffened in his embrace, but he held her securely anyway, rubbing one hand up her back, her soft work shirt warm under his touch. “It’ll be all right.”

She didn’t reply, just hid her face against his shoulder, her breath coming in quick bursts.

He was afraid she was going to cry.

He’d never seen Tessa cry, not in all the years he’d known her. Not when she’d been a scared little girl visiting his rowdy family for the first time. Never when she’d fallen and wound up with bloody knees or hands from some harebrained idea India had had during their play visits. Not when she went away to college on her own. Not even when she’d returned for first her grandma’s and then her aunt’s funerals.

This scared the hell out of him.

Then he noticed the scent, and all his senses went on alert.

Of course he could smell Tessa’s familiar scent, but nearby, he scented shifters. Not his family, not tigers, but something vaguely familiar.

Shifters had done this to Tessa’s house.

________________

Harley is one of my favorites (at the moment, anyway), and I really want to finish polishing his story so he and Tessa can meet the world (not sure when, exactly). Anyway, I’m going back to them.

So how is your fall so far? Actually fall, or is it still more like summer where you are, too?

(   Photo by RebeccaVC1 on Foter.com / CC BY-ND )