Archive for April, 2020


( Depositphotos )

That is where I would like to be right now. I’m not, but I would like to be.

Usually one day of the weekend is my do-all-the-chores day, and one is for relaxing a little, maybe cooking dinner, maybe a project, and definitely for writing. Not this weekend. I had an errand to run yesterday, and then I worked some OT for the day-job, and I have to say, my brain is pretty fried this week. Today should now be do-all-the-chores day, but I just can’t. I do have the laundry going, but otherwise? I don’t wanna. I want to crawl into bed, or make a blanket fort and hide away. I can’t even settle long enough to read, which is awful. It’s been a long couple of weeks, but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, at least as far as the day-job, this week. We just have to get through our busy day Tuesday, and then hopefully we can catch our breath and start working ahead a little again so the next busy round isn’t this crazy.

The whole world’s gone crazy, I know, and other people have it far worse than I do, so I’m not going to complain too loudly. I have work, I have food, a healthy family, and the option to stay home away from fatal germs. But I miss my boys, and I miss seeing my day-job team. Still, if it means we all stay well, I can deal. It’s just that, occasionally, a little pity-party happens.

Before I try to go accomplish something–dinner, maybe?–I have a little story snippet for you from Hunting Medusa.

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Andi couldn’t shake the feeling something was wrong. She’d worked into the night after the vacuum salesman’s appearance, until she couldn’t see straight to continue with her beading. Then she’d sunk into the bubble bath long enough to be nearly asleep. Today, she’d repeated everything but the bubble bath. Plus she’d driven into town to ship the big order she’d finished early.

Now she sat in the dark beside the front window, watching the forest. Waiting. Trying to convince herself nothing was coming. No one.

When the phone rang, she jumped about two feet in the air, barely keeping in a shriek. She shut her eyes and took a deep breath, forcing herself to laugh weakly as she picked up the receiver. “Hello, Aunt Lydia.” She didn’t need caller I.D. to know when one of her cousins or aunts was on the phone.

“I didn’t mean to startle you, my dear,” came the quavering voice. “I just wanted to touch base with you. It’s been ages since I’ve seen you.”

Her slightly psychic great-aunt must have spoken to Andi’s mother. “I know. I’ve been busy working.” She thought of the small stack of boxed beaded bracelets sitting on her desk upstairs for another customer whose order wasn’t even due for a month and a half.

“You’re aware you could do that here, too, right?”

Andi smiled in the darkness. “I know. I’m not feeling much like company right now.”

“You don’t have to visit your parents, you know.”

Her laugh escaped before she could stop it. “That isn’t very nice of you, Aunt Lydia.”

“Maybe I’m getting selfish in my old age.” Her great-aunt chuckled. “But I’d like to see you.”

“Maybe in a few months.”

The older woman sighed. “All right. But I wanted you to know I was thinking of you. I love you.”

Andi felt her eyes sting a little. “I love you too.”

“Your mother knows she wasn’t there for you eight years ago, Andrea. Perhaps it’s time to let her be there for you now.”

Andi’s eyes dried. “I need to go, Aunt Lydia.”

“Of course, dear. I hope you’ll come soon.”

She looked back at the window and murmured, “Maybe. I’ve got to go, Aunt Lydia.”

Something had moved outside.

Something too tall to be one of the does that frequented the clearing each evening, though not tall enough for the bull moose who came occasionally. Just the right size for a sneaky Harvester posing as a vacuum salesman.

She thumbed off the phone and sat up straighter, her other hand coming to rest on the dagger across her knees. For a long moment, she didn’t see anything. Then a dark shape slid between the trees, a few yards nearer to the house.

Her heart hammered against her ribs and she curled her fingers around the dagger hilt. That was no animal. At least not of the wild variety. No, this was a two-legged animal, and she had the terrible feeling this one really was a Harvester, no matter what her mother had said yesterday.

Let him try, she thought, setting the phone back on its base. He’d find this Medusa wasn’t going down quietly. She only wished she were PMSing so she could take him out without too much effort. Or mess. If only he’d waited just a few more days to make his move…

She stifled a hysterical giggle at that last thought, glad she’d listened to her instincts this evening.

The shape disappeared again in the dark trees, and she held her breath. Then he reappeared for a few seconds, much closer to the house this time.

Her pulse pounded in her ears. He was determined. And now out of her line of vision.

A loud, sharp beep indicated her alarm system had shut down, and was accompanied by the sound of every appliance in the house also turning off. He’d killed her power at the junction box outside.

Bastard.

Andi got to her feet, then tried to decide which door he’d come in. She heard the soft sound of a footfall on the back porch. She crossed into the kitchen, not needing to feel her way around the furniture, and positioned herself beside the refrigerator. He wouldn’t make it far into the house, and then he was hers.

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Anyone else having a pity party even though you know you shouldn’t? Are you indulging? Or trying to trudge on through the rough patches with a stiff upper lip? I think we’re probably okay to indulge a little, as long as we acknowledge that things could be worse, and we don’t wallow.

What coping strategies are you using right now? Ignoring? Lots of talking about it? Some of both? Neither?

I wanted to bake this weekend, but there isn’t time for that now, so it’ll have to wait until next week. But I am aiming to get back to my revisions this week. Thursday, since we have an appointment for the cat to see the vet Wednesday after work.

Something to look forward to, like my shiny new Stephen King book. How about you? What are you looking forward to this week?

In case you are looking for a distraction from the real world this week, Light the Way Home is available at all your favorite places.

I hope you all have a wonderful week!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I bet I am not alone in having fantasies about what it might be like to work from home. The last time I worked at home, I was running my husband’s office while our boys were small, so it had its challenges, but I managed it, and still wrote every day. That was a long time ago. Now the boys are grown and in their own place, and I work a full-time day-job in an office, in the normal world.

Probably most people’s expectation is that top left image, being super-productive and happy while they’re safely at home, everything goes smoothly, and they’re thrilled with the whole thing.

The reality is sometimes more like the bottom right picture, when your remote server locks you out, the neighbor’s dog won’t stop barking while you’re on an important call, and you want to curse or cry, or the kids want to play, the cat wants to be on your nice warm laptop, and you just want to crawl in bed and pull the blankets over your head.

Either one is okay. Really. We’re in uncharted territory right now: the last time something like this happened was a little over a hundred years ago, and, while the men would have been going off to work, most of the women probably stayed home already, there was no technology to let any of them do their jobs from home, and there was no 24/7 news feed.

I am thrilled to be home, away from contact for the most part with anyone who might be carrying and sharing germs, even with some technological glitches. I do miss my day-job team, though. Most of the group has been together for over 2.5 years now, so it’s like a family. A normal work day is 16 of us in talking distance, some desks butted up against one another, so people are face to face, which makes working through any issues really simple. It’s a lot different working from home, with only a third of us still working, and having to communicate differently all day.

Add to that the stress of the outside world that isn’t just impacting our work lives, but our whole life, and it makes for challenges. We had a particularly rough day to start the week last week, and it went downhill from there, so by the time we got to Thursday, I was to that point of frustration that usually has me in tears. The good news is I’m safe at home and I still have a job. The bad news is, this is probably going to be our day to day for another month or two, at least at work.

I should be further into these revisions, but it’s hard to concentrate on something creative when I’ve spent nine hours dealing with other things, much more stressful things. I’m trying to be kind to myself, but there are times I need a reminder that this isn’t normal, so it’s okay to step back and catch my breath. Which makes me think that some of you also need that same reminder.

We are all struggling at one point or another right now, and that is normal. Our world’s gone crazy, and for some of us, it’s harder to acknowledge that the things we usually do to cope may not work now. I remind a friend periodically to stop and breathe. I need the reminder myself sometimes, and in case you do, too, well, consider yourself reminded.

Before I go try to figure out something for supper, I have a little snippet from Light the Way Home for you.

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“This is really good, Lucie,” he said when Hayden had a mouthful of potato. “I appreciate this so much. You’re a great cook.”

She smiled, looking at her plate for a second. “I like to cook. For five minutes in high school, I thought I’d have a restaurant when I grew up.” She met his gaze. “But I was a good daughter and headed off to college instead of the culinary institute.”

He heard the note of regret in her tone. “Did you add that to your list of potential jobs for your search?”

Her eyes widened, and her smile faded. “I…no, I didn’t.”

“Why not?”

She looked at him blankly for a moment. “It didn’t occur to me,” she said finally.

“You should do it.” He stabbed a carrot with his fork. “You’re a great cook.”

She frowned as she picked up her water glass. “Maybe.” Her doubtful tone made him smile.

“You should do it, Lucie,” Hayden chimed in. “The restaurant closed an’ now we don’t have anywhere to go out to eat.”

She shifted her gaze from his son to him. “What?”

Nate rested his fork on the edge of his plate. “There was a family restaurant here on the island until about two months ago. The owner had a heart attack, so he can’t manage it anymore, and his wife didn’t want to do it alone, so they closed it. That’s a really good idea, Hayden.”

Lucie looked perplexed, a faint frown line between her eyebrows, her fork held loosely.

When Hayden scrunched up his face, Nate winked at him, prompting a grin. “Can I have more ’tatoes, Daddy?”

“Sure. Let me have your plate, buddy.” He noted Lucie’s little head-shake as he rose from his seat. She smiled at his son again, and he noted the affection in her eyes.

Lucie laughed in all the right places as Hayden chattered around bites of his meal, and Nate realized he was staring.

She was pretty. Her green eyes crinkled at the corners as she smiled across the table, briefly. His gaze slid to her mouth for a moment. Tempting.

He jerked his attention back to his meal. He had no time for tempting. Or for anything, really. There was enough on his plate–his son, his cabinet-making business. And now he’d spend more time running back and forth to his parents’ once his dad got sprung from the hospital, until Max was mobile.

His gaze landed on her again, in spite of his best intentions, and she met it, her smile softening.

Fuck him.

Her eyes widened, darkening, and her smile faded. Awareness shifted her expression, and she dropped her gaze to her plate.

At least one of them had enough sense to know that would be stupid.

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If you haven’t yet, I’d love if you picked up a copy of Light the Way Home. It’s a quick read, just enough to keep your mind off of reality for a few hours.

Besides reading, what else are you doing to distract yourself when the real world gets to be too much for you? Baking? Puzzles? Something else? I could use some ideas when the things I’m already doing don’t work. Hope you all have a great week!

 

 

( Young woman reading book – Depositphotos )

I think right now, there is probably a lot of this going on, sitting somewhere comfy with a good book and a hot drink. Reading is a good way to get away from all the bad news around us right now, an excellent distraction from worry. For some of us, it’s the writing of those books that helps us to think about something else, something positive for a while.

For a lot of people, today would be a day for their religious celebrations and family time. For us, it is just a family day, so I’m missing seeing the boys for dinner. Some of the other people in our neighborhood don’t seem to care that it’s not a time for company or visiting, but for stopping the spread of this virus, and are just doing what they would normally do. It’s frustrating, because that behavior will just have us all stuck at home for even longer.

But my husband and I will still eat well today. I have veggies roasting right now that smell amazing, and we’ll throw some fish and sausage on the grill in a little while. And then I’ll go back to work on revisions for Medusa #2, Protecting Medusa.

Before I go back to dinner prep, I have a little snippet of story for you from Light the Way Home which is available now from all your favorite booksellers.

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Nate set the juice glass down and crossed the floor to where she stood. “I need to know,” he said, bending to catch her soft mouth with his.

She made a startled sound, then set both of her hands flat on his chest, her lips parting.

He’d been right. She tasted sweet. He slid one hand into her loose hair, ignoring the slight dampness to tip her head so he could delve deeper.

She let him. God, she let him.

He pulled back, his heart knocking hard against his ribs. Lucie’s eyes opened slowly, and he noted the way they had darkened. “Tell me I’m being stupid.”

“Maybe we both are,” she said huskily, a faint smile curving her puffy lips. “I haven’t been stupid in a long time, and right now, I have no idea why.”

“Shit.” He dragged in a rough breath. “One of us should be smart, right?”

She shook her head. “I’m tired of being the smart one.” Her fingers slid up to his shoulders, cautiously, warm through his cotton shirt. “Being the smart one got me dumped with no warning, being smart left me jobless.” Her smile widened. “Though that got me here, so that’s something.”

Nate’s fingers tightened on her hip. When had he grabbed her hip? He loosened his grasp. “You’re not staying, so it wouldn’t be smart for us to do this. I’m not looking for a relationship. I have all I can handle with Hayden and my business.”

“Then this might be just exactly what we both need. Something temporary.” Her eyes rounded, and her smile faded. “I’ve never tried temporary until I came here.”

He’d never tried it. Not knowingly, anyway. “Maybe…” He broke off at the sound of running footsteps upstairs. “Slow down, buddy.”

Lucie startled, then stepped away, blushing.

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So, instead of your usual Easter Sunday activities, what are you doing today? And what does the week ahead look like for you? I’ll be continuing my work-from-home for the day-job, and will keep plugging away at these revisions.

And if you are looking for a quick, light read and you haven’t picked up a copy yet, maybe you want to check out Light the Way Home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Really, spring has been here for way longer than it should be this time of year. I shouldn’t complain, because I love spring. All the daffodils and other spring flowers bringing color before the trees start to get green…it’s lovely. But we didn’t get any real winter here, which means that there are going to be an abnormally large amount of bugs here pretty soon, and I am not looking forward to that. I suppose it just means my indoor time will stay greater than my outdoor time. But I have shrubs waiting to be planted, and I need to get some garden clean-up done so I can put in this year’s annual herbs and tomato plants when it’s consistently warm enough. Though I also need this wretched virus to start to be contained for the local garden center to allowed to open again so I can buy those plants.

Our state is one of many under a stay-at-home order, so only essential businesses are allowed to operate right now, and we are only supposed to go out for necessary trips. I’m lucky because my day-job is able to operate with us working from home right now, and I know how lucky I am. I have friends and family who are not that lucky right now, so I am hoping more people will follow the stay-at-home requests to help slow the spread of this virus so we can get back to some semblance of normal in our daily lives. I say ‘some semblance of normal’, because I’m not sure how close to our old normal things will be when this is finally over. Right now it’s hard to imagine that.

But I’m going to hope for it, and in the meantime, I’ll keep working on my stories and reading stories by some of my favorite authors to maintain some semblance of normal in my world. I’m also working with my web designer on some updates for my website, so we’ll have a little unveiling for that in a couple of months.

I have a little snippet of story for you right now from Light the Way Home:

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“I really do appreciate this, Lucie,” Nate said from where he stood at the sink.

“It’s nothing, Nate,” she said lightly. “Keeps me from having to spend endless hours on job search sites and getting more depressed than I already am.” She kept her head down as she buttoned her sweater up to her chin.

“It isn’t nothing to me.”

His firm, quiet tone snared her attention, and her mouth went dry. The shadows in his brown eyes made her curl her fingers around the edges of her sweater to keep from reaching out.

“I’m not accustomed to asking for help.” He cleared his throat. “I appreciate it.”

She swallowed. “It’s no problem,” she whispered. Dammit–hot, attracted to her, and vulnerable. Shit, that was trouble. She took a slow breath. “I’ll see you in the morning then.” She inched toward the door.

A hint of awareness darkened his eyes, but he stayed where he was. “Good night, Lucie.”

She took two more steps, clearing the doorway to the mud room, and a little relief sank into her belly. Until she heard footsteps behind her.

Within reach of the back door, she whirled. He stood at the open doorway of the kitchen, undisguised desire in his eyes this time. Her heart skipped a beat, and she felt a quick rush of excitement that she tried to squash as he stepped into the mud room. She held her breath as he took another step. One more. Until he stood a foot away, and her breath rushed out.

He studied her face for a long moment, and she wondered what he saw, what he was looking for. Impulsively, she moved closer to him, noting the way his eyes rounded, and she stretched up to brush a kiss on his mouth, lingered for a second, then stepped back.

“Good night, Nate,” she whispered, reaching behind her for the doorknob.

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What are you doing this week to keep some sort of normal in your daily life? Baking? Reading? Something else?