Archive for January, 2019


It’s been a gloomy afternoon here, though it looks now like the clouds are lightening a little. Just in time for sunset. But my house smells amazing: there is double-chocolate bread in the bread machine, and just about ready, and a hearty vegetable soup in a giant pot on the stove, so it’s not a bad way to end the day. Plus…writing time!

I’m working this month on the novella I committed to for this fall. There is lighthouse in the story, and I’ve been looking for a while for just the right one. I haven’t found it, so am merging a couple different ones in my head to come up with the perfect one for the setting–an island in Maine, where the lighthouse stands about three stories high and overlooks a rocky cliff and narrow, rocky beach beneath. The lighthouse adjoins to a house with a workshop attached, and the hero and his young son live there.  This one is close, though the island is much too small, and the lighthouse not quite tall enough, but it is pretty.

(Depositphotos.com – Nubble Light)

I expected the day-job to be quieter than it was last week, so I’m not sure that bodes well for the next two weeks, when it was scheduled to be busy. That’s my long-winded way of saying I have to get back to my writing so I can finish this novella by the end of the week. Before I go, I have a little story snippet to share with you from the second Medusa story in my trilogy.

________________

Philomena parked beside her mother’s house. She was the first one home, and she needed to get dinner on in a hurry. Once Jason got in, there’d be no time.

She went in the back door, balancing a grocery bag while she reset the alarm system, then hit the light switch with her elbow as she continued on into the kitchen.

She took her mother’s cast iron skillet from its hook over the counter and put it on the stove, turning the heat up high and dropping in the ground beef before she took her coat off. While the meat began to sizzle, she left out the other things she’d need for supper, then put away the rest of the groceries.

She rolled up her sleeves and dug a spatula out of the utensil drawer, but stopped when she heard something creak upstairs. She waited, then shook her head. It was an old farmhouse. It made noise sometimes.

She stirred the beef in the pan, adding chopped onions she’d picked up at the store–not because she was lazy but because she’d known she needed to get dinner together quickly after three days away and with an excitable six-year-old on his way home.

The sound came again. She set the spatula on the spoon rest and turned the flame under her pan down to low, then tugged up the hem of her long skirt to pull her dagger from its leather sheath on her thigh.

A loud thud reached her ears, and her heart beat a little faster.

Dear Gods, someone was in the house.

She crept up the back steps, keeping to the edges where she knew her weight wouldn’t make the stairs creak, the handle of her knife comforting in her sweat-damp hand.

More thumping, and now she heard water running.

She frowned as she got to the top of the steps, wincing when she heard something hit the porcelain bathtub followed by muffled cursing.

She stuck her head around the corner, but the partially-closed bathroom door at the other end of the hall was in her way. All she could see were shadows.

Two people? In her mother’s bathroom? She wished she’d grabbed the phone on her way up so she could call the police. No, she should’ve called first, then come upstairs. Too late now.

More thumping and a crash.

Her jaw clenched, and she stepped up into the hallway, her pulse pounding loudly in her ears.

“I’ve called the police,” she lied, moving slowly along the hall. Frigid air drifted toward her. Either the bathroom window was open, or something was seriously wrong with the furnace vents on the second floor. She frowned, holding tighter to her knife.

She caught a flash of something dark going out the window, and her eyes widened. That was quite a drop to the ground, even with the snow piled up below from all the big storms they’d already had this winter.

When a naked man with a gun went to the window, looking out to see where the other man had gone, she froze in the middle of the hall, her dagger shoulder high.

Naked.

She swallowed, and then he turned around, and her lungs stopped working.

________________

What did you do today to make a gloomy January Sunday better at your house?

 

 

Advertisements

( Hot Chocolate – Depositphotos)

Another week, another non-snowstorm. We got off to a good start with the snow in November, but Mother Nature has been slacking since then, at least in my neck of the woods. I shouldn’t complain, I guess, but it’s winter, and you know I like winter to be, well, wintry. I was ready to indulge in some adult hot chocolate tonight and watch the snow, but the forecasters botched the forecast once again. Instead of 5-8 inches of snow (Friday morning’s forecast), we’re currently getting a mix of snow, sleet and rain, which will turn to all rain in a couple of hours, before the temperatures plummet and freeze everything tomorrow. The good news is I don’t have to go anywhere tomorrow, except here into my office to write.

So it is good I’m feeling inspired tonight. I spent a large chunk of the afternoon at a friend’s bookstore with another friend who was doing a booksigning, and a friend who used to be one of my romance regulars when I started working at Waldenbooks, many years ago. We talked books and writing and authors and everything else under the sun for several hours, and it was lovely. We also decided we need to get back to our monthly writing sessions–we use to meet a a friend’s house one night a month for supper and writing. It was a lot of fun, and we were pretty productive, but the friend who hosted has moved away, and we haven’t done it in about a year. But we’re going to start up again, which makes me happy for several reasons. Meeting with like-minded friends is another motivator when it comes to writing. Yes, we’ll do some chatting, and we’ll still have dinner, but we’ll also be productive, which is a really good thing. We used to track our word count when we met, though I don’t know that we’ll do that in our new incarnation. We’ll figure it out. But this is another way for us to be accountable to ourselves for our writing goals and productivity. And hey, more words on the page is a very good thing. I’m looking forward to this.

I’m also excited because we are going to paint my office. When we bought our house almost 18 years ago, we moved our office furniture right in and didn’t paint. (We actually didn’t paint anywhere in the house until after we’d moved in.) But with desks for both me and my husband in the room, there was nowhere for us to shift furniture to do anything in this room, so we didn’t. But my hubby has moved his desk and office for his business into the basement, leaving this room on the main living level to me. Right now, the room is half empty, so the plan is to primer and paint the open half, then move my things over and do the rest. I even settled on a very pretty color this afternoon while with my friends, so I am feeling more inspired for this project. The paint won’t be the only thing different in the room either. I’ve been wanting a double-monitor set-up on my desk (I’ve gotten spoiled at my day-job with two monitors to work on), and my desk right now isn’t meant to accommodate two monitors, so I am looking at desks, or at least another table that I can set up so I have an L-shaped workspace where I can set up my second monitor. And if we wind up doing the latter, I’ll be able to keep the hutch on my current desk, which is good, because it is well-used, filled with reference books, and pretty things for me to look at while I’m at my desk.

So while I’m feeling inspired, I’m hoping for a lot of new words on pages tomorrow. I’m finishing the laundry tonight so I can spend tomorrow writing. I didn’t get any of that done last weekend, because we were moving furniture into the basement.  So the to-do list for Sunday is short: wash dishes, roast vegetables, and write.

Before I go switch more laundry around, I have a quick story snippet to share with you from my third shifter story.

________________

“Tell me about the dream,” he said when she was completely boneless in his embrace.

She shifted, suddenly not so relaxed. “I’m sure it was just because of that woman being taken earlier,” she said after a few seconds.

Boris tightened his arm around her. “Tell me.”

She shook her head. “It was just a dream.”

“What happened?” He slid his hand down to the little bulge of their baby and covered it.

Vivi went still at the movement.

“Vivi.”

She inhaled slowly. “It’s stupid.”

“Tell me anyway.” He rubbed his hand over her belly. Too early to feel the baby moving, but he imagined the baby still inside, kicking and shifting anyway.

“I was driving somewhere, no place I recognized, and the baby was in the backseat. It was bright and sunny, and then suddenly it wasn’t. It was raining and dark, and another car forced us off the road. We crashed.” He heard her swallow. “And we were surrounded by strangers. Shifters. They dragged me out of the car.” Each word had her muscles tensing more and more.

He waited, but she didn’t continue. “Sweetheart?” He kissed the top of her ear. “What happened next?”

“You were there, too, and got the baby out of the car.”

He frowned.

“You were angry, and you told them to take me.” She whispered it in a rush.

He shut his eyes.

“You said they could have me.”

“Oh, sweetheart.” He tightened his hold on her. “I told you I won’t let anything happen to you or the baby. I meant that.”

She shuddered. “I know. It was just a dream.”

He realized they were no longer bonded, and he rolled her to her back, then to face him. “Nothing is going to happen, and I certainly wouldn’t let anyone take you.” He brushed a kiss on her mouth and tasted tears. “Come here.” He wrapped his arms tight around her, pressing one knee between hers, and she slid her leg over his. “I promise, Vivi.”

She ducked her chin lower and hid her face against his collarbone. “It was just a dream.”

One that bothered her more than she’d admit, he realized. He wondered who had abandoned her. Maybe now wasn’t the time to ask, though. He settled her so close he could have been buried inside her again, smoothing one hand over her hair, down her spine, over and over, until the tension gradually seeped out of her again. Until she settled back into sleep.

Boris stared into the dark for a long time, questions chasing each other in circles. Who had abandoned her? Why had she dreamed he’d tell rogues to take her?

Finally, scowling, he forced his mind to settle, to focus on breathing evenly, to enjoy the feel of the warm woman in his arms.

They had plenty of time for old hurts and secrets.

________________

So, who else is feeling inspired this week?  What are you going to do about it?

 

 

 

( Speedometer – Depositphotos.com )

One week down in the new year, fifty-one more to go.

This year, one of the things I am hoping for is keeping myself accountable with some writer friends. I reach my goals better when I have to be accountable to someone–whether it’s a real deadline, like a date a manuscript is due, or if it’s a deadline I’ve set for myself, if someone knows when I have said I need to be finished with something. A few of my friends like the accountability as well, so we’ve started off the year together.

The other aspect of this group is cheering each other on, which is always a nice bonus, especially on a day when you feel like you haven’t accomplished much, or enough, or what you have done is crap. Some days it might be crap, or maybe you did only dredge up a few hundred words instead of the larger number you wanted or needed, but at least it’s something, and something is better than nothing. You can fix something. Nothing, well, you can’t do anything with that. As my role model Nora Roberts says, you can fix a bad page, but you can’t fix a blank page.

So how are you doing with your New Year’s goals or resolutions so far? Pretty good? Not so good? Maybe you need to round up a couple of friends to help each other out with your goals, too. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy or formal. Maybe just text messages or emails. My writing friends’ group is a little bigger, so we actually have a group set up for ourselves, so we can chat comfortably. Find what will work best for you.

Before I get back to my writing, I have a little story snippet to share with you from Hunting Medusa.

________________

“Give me your mouth, Andrea.”

She bent back to him blindly, sliding one hand into his hair to catch him, and the kiss this time was savage, all heat and reckless passion. When their hips shifted together now, the motion was instinctual, primitive, wild and fast. There was no Medusa, no Harvester. Simply man and woman. Mated. Fated.

And the pleasure was ten times more powerful than what she’d felt that morning. The explosion sent her into the abyss, tumbling freely, breathless.

Andi couldn’t stop shaking. Even minutes later, the trembling in her limbs wouldn’t stop. Aftershocks made her body tighten on his and his hips shifted against hers. He murmured into her hair, and she heard his wild heartbeat beneath her ear.

She wanted to stay right where she was.

It was the stupidest thing she’d ever wanted. Especially since freedom was not too far away. Just as far as her dresser, clean clothes, the door downstairs.

“Easy.” His lips grazed her forehead this time.

Her eyes burned, and she cursed her stupid hormones. She blinked hard and steeled herself. Lifted her hips away from his. Her breath hissed in as he groaned a protest. She felt cold suddenly.

Ignoring that, she clambered off the bed, searching for some piece of clothing to put on. She’d never felt so naked.

“Andrea.”

She ignored him too, moving to her dresser and taking out some clean clothes. She didn’t even notice what. With her stinging eyes, she couldn’t quite see the things she’d grabbed.

“Andrea.” His tone this time was harder, more insistent.

She glanced toward the bed.

“Don’t do this.”

“I have to.”

“It’s not safe.”

She forced a laugh. “Yeah, you’re so concerned for my safety. Does it really matter which one of you kills me? As long as it gets done?” She jerked on panties, then jeans before wrestling with a bra.

Kallan sat up, gripping the headboard with his cuffed hand. “Stavros won’t be as concerned with how he kills you, or how he gets the amulet.”

Andi swallowed as she yanked on her shirt, then froze when he put his free hand over the cuff on his wrist. She heard the unmistakable sound of it releasing before it jangled to the pillow.

Impossible.

He got to his feet, his green eyes dangerous now.

She dashed toward the door. She only made it halfway before he caught her, ripping one of the belt loops on her jeans in the process. She fought, striking whatever she could reach and wishing she’d at least gotten shoes on so she could do some real damage since he was still naked.

But the Harvester was stronger than she was, and he simply held on until she wore herself out.

Andi finally stopped struggling, her head drooping, breath coming hard again, but with far less satisfaction this time.

He carried her back to the bed and snapped her wrist into the handcuff, his mouth set in a hard line. “I have another set, if I need both of your hands out of commission,” he ground out.

She didn’t bother to answer, struggling still to catch her breath. And against more of the unexpected tears. Damned hormones.

He sat down beside her, hands braced on his hair-spattered knees. “I thought we were going to each do a little trusting,” he said finally.

She looked at the wall to her left, rather than at him. “I saw the handcuffs and I had to try.”

“Was it worth it?”

A scalding tear rushed down her cheek, making her glad she’d turned her face away.

“I know you weren’t faking,” he whispered, leaning nearer. “You can’t fake that.”

She bit her lip, swallowing around the giant lump in her throat.

“And neither was I.”

She barely kept herself from turning to look at him, but the shock still made her body jerk.

He rose and drifted a kiss on the top of her head. “Try to get some sleep.”

Behind her, she heard him gathering his clothing before he padded into the bathroom next door. The water ran briefly, and a few minutes later, she heard him slowly go downstairs.

She lifted her free hand at last to swipe at the tears on her face, closing her eyes.

She should have known this would turn out badly. Who knew the Harvester could undo locks without keys?

Her eyes flew open. What other abilities did he have that she didn’t know about yet?

Gods help her.

________________

Let me know how you’re doing with your goals for the new year!

 

 

(Depositphotos)

Today officially winds down the winter holiday week here, and we wrapped up our week with our usual family New Year’s dinner. Tomorrow, it’s back to work. I have my writing goals nailed down for the year and have made sure I’m going to be accountable for working toward them with some writer friends. Now we get to the fun part–balancing the writing plans with real life.

I actually spent some time today looking at my day-job schedule for the year to see where I’ll have down-time there to work on other things. Oh, the day-job schedule rarely stays the same from the beginning of the year to the end–people take vacations so the rest of us on the team help out, or something changes on the schedule at the last minute, you all know what I mean. But I have a game-plan, which is a good start. Of course, I also realized that not only is my busiest sales rep scheduled for the week in July when I’ll be in New York City for the annual Romance Writers of America conference, but several others are scheduled that week as well. I do feel bad about leaving that for someone else to handle, but since RWA’s conference only comes to NYC every four years, I don’t feel bad enough to take the conference off my schedule.

I’ve added my goals and dates to my pretty new 2019 planner, which is already in my work tote bag (with my current work-in-progress), so I will be seeing those goals every day. They’re posted on my bulletin board here in my home office, staring at me every time I sit here at my desk. And I’ve shared them with a small group of writer friends so I am not the only one who knows about my plans.

Before I call it a day, I have some writing to do, but I have a little story snippet to share with you first, from the second story in my shifter series.

________________

The elevator came to a smooth stop on the conference level, and Rory used his grip on her hand to steer India from the car.

She strode beside him, then realized if anyone came out and saw them there would be questions. She tugged on her hand.

He shot her a sidelong glance.

“Let go.”

Reluctance flattened his mouth a little, but he did as she asked before they reached the meeting room. She preceded him inside, her gaze sweeping over the occupants–the Russian from Chicago was still there, along with the bear from Washington, and her father.

Adar hurried in a moment later, and heat crawled up her throat. If her uncle had caught her with Rory, he would have had a stroke. And a screaming fit. No wonder half of his kids didn’t speak to him, and the other half were miserable.

A few other envoys returned momentarily, and India relaxed a little. Back to business.

Her father cleared his throat once everyone had reclaimed their seats. “We need to decide what our next step is with these rogues,” he began. “Our sources suggest their growing numbers are in preparation for a bigger, wider-spread attack than last time.”

“What do you suggest? Attack first? Try to negotiate with them? Arrange a union between our groups and theirs as a show of good faith?” the Russian asked.

Adar leaned forward. “India would be perfect.”

Before she could protest, Rory growled.

Adar either didn’t notice or just ignored him. “She’d be a perfect candidate,” he continued, and she narrowed her eyes at him. “She’s diplomatic and able to take care of herself–”

“You are not giving my mate to anyone, old man,” Rory growled, shoving to his feet.

India’s eyes widened, then she shut them for a second. Shit.

Adar gaped at Rory for a moment, then narrowed his eyes. “She is not your mate, wolf, or have you forgotten?”

Rory leaned over the table. “I have forgotten nothing, including my mate.” He held Adar’s gaze, a dangerous glint in his eyes.

Damn him. She could not believe he’d just blurted that out. After all this time… Her pulse quickened.

Her uncle pushed to his feet, slowly. “You won’t have her.”

“She is mine already.”

“Stop it,” she said, at the same time as her father.

Adar looked at her, anger turning his cheekbones ruddy. “You had better not–”

She swallowed back her own growl, though she couldn’t do anything about the anger she knew he would see in her eyes.

“Enough,” Boyd shouted, rising as Rory reached over the table for her uncle. “Adar, you need to stop interfering. Their mating is none of your business.”

She blinked. Then glared at Rory and Adar.

“Can we get back to the issue of these rogues?” Boyd asked gruffly.

India fumed for the next hour, though she found it harder to concentrate on the discussion when everyone in the room kept sneaking furtive glances at her and Rory.

Boyd put both hands up finally, when the discussion had degenerated to random, shitty ideas or accusations of stupidity. “Ladies and gentlemen, I think we need to take a break. Let’s reconvene in the morning, when we’ve all had some time to think about this, all right?” He looked around the room, holding gazes and waiting for nods of agreement. “Great. I’m sure we’ll come up with a workable solution to deal with these rogues.”

India pushed to her feet. Steam must be coming out of her ears by now. Adar rose and started toward her.

“Adar.”

She glanced over when her father spoke again.

Her uncle’s mouth pinched, then he turned to face his brother.

“You will mind your own business,” Boyd repeated, giving his brother a hard stare.

Adar scowled, but nodded finally and changed direction, heading out the door.

She let out a slow breath.

Boyd held her gaze for a second, then looked at Rory. “I think you two need to hash this out privately.”

“Of course.” Rory nodded and rounded the table.

She blinked at his hand wrapping around her arm, then frowned up at him.

“Let’s go, a rúnsearc,” he said softly.

She opted not to protest while her father watched them.

“I’ll see you in the morning, India,” Boyd said.

Rory ushered her from the meeting room, and she let him. Until they were in the hall.

Then she tugged on her arm.

Rory’s fingers tightened. “Don’t make me put you over my shoulder,” he said in a low rumble.

India’s eye widened. “You have got to be kidding me.” Though she remembered a time or two when he’d carried her off somewhere, over his shoulder. Usually shortly before he– Don’t go there, India.

“Even though everyone knows now, I’m sure there will still be plenty of speculation on why we haven’t been together. You can feed it, or let them wonder.” He kept his grip on her arm all the way into the elevator.

She shut her mouth when several of the delegates joined them on the elevator, eying them curiously. She caught and held the gaze of one of the Russian tigers, until he finally flushed and looked away. Damned nosy busybodies.

She kept a bland expression on her face while more people crowded in the car, though she finally realized her father had called Rory earlier to tell him about the rogues.

He already knew.

________________

Now I’m off to do some writing before bedtime. I wish you all a very happy new year!

2019 goals banner – Depositphotos