Category: event


( Photo credit: Foter.com )

We are officially into my birthday month now, so the party is on!  I’m not counting anymore, but this one is a big one, which means lots of celebrating this year.  Cake and balloons and probably a new tattoo, too.

How do you mark a big birthday?  Something casual or understated?  Or a giant blow-out party?

I’m going to start the party with a snippet of story for you.  Maybe a little snippet from the shifter story I’m hoping to finish this weekend?

________________

Then she realized he’d asked her a question, and her cheeks flamed hot again.  She dragged her gaze back up, expecting him to be smirking.  Then she realized he’d asked her a question, and her cheeks flamed hot again.  She dragged her gaze back up, expecting him to be smirking.

But he wasn’t, just watching her with those somber green eyes.   “I’m not hungry,” she managed.

He nodded, then turned away again.

She heard his light steps on the stairs, and she dropped flat onto the pillow behind her, eyes shutting.  Holy shit, she needed to get herself together.  She wondered if she could get dressed and go across the hall to the guest room.  Then frowned.  What was wrong with her?  A gorgeous man who had been very pleasant company earlier had just made her brain melt down.  If she got dressed and went down to sleep in his guest room, he think he’d done something wrong.

And he had definitely done everything very right.  She totally understood what the fuss was all about.  She hadn’t before.  Self-induced orgasms were nothing like that.  At least hers weren’t.  totally understood what the fuss was all about.  She hadn’t before.  Self-induced orgasms were nothing like that.  At least hers weren’t.

Anton reappeared, water bottles in hand.  She swallowed and pushed herself upright, then fumbled for the rumpled sheet.

He caught her wrist before she found the edge.  “Are you getting modest now?”  One of his eyebrows quirked up a little.

“Too late for that, I guess,” she muttered, taking the water bottle he offered.

“Oh, much,” he agreed, uncapping his water while she took a drink.  “I’ve already seen it all.”

She choked on her first sip of water, and he patted her helpfully on the back, then sat down facing her on the side of the bed.   She wiped at her watering eyes a moment later.  “That wasn’t nice.”

“Sorry.”

She gave his unrepentant expression a narrow-eyed stare, then she shook her head and took another careful sip.  “You know,” she started, cautiously, “I can go back to the guest room.  I mean, you said last night you don’t bring anyone home, so I don’t want this to be weird for you.”

His green eyes went to slits.  “What?”

________________

So tell me.  How do you celebrate milestone birthdays?  I really want to know.  Especially if you’ve come up with something I should have on my list for this month.

 

 

 

Sounds like the perfect day to stay inside and read, right?  That’s the sort of day we’re having here, grey skies and random showers, plus it’s cool enough to actually feel like spring outside.

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

So what have I been doing?  Writing, and household chores.  I should be figuring out supper, but I’ll wing it.  I have chicken breasts and sausage both defrosting, so I’ll just make whichever appeals most when it’s time, and make the other tomorrow.  My mind is too full of story today, deliberately.  Yesterday was a difficult day, so I made up my mind that today had to be better, and the best way for me to do that is to immerse myself in a story, whether it’s one I’m writing, or a great book I’m reading.

So I’m working on my shifter today.  Anton is not a bad boy like some of his cousins, but he is definitely wounded and in control.  Until he takes a mate he hadn’t planned on.  Then he finds out being in control isn’t as easy as he’s always believed.  I’m really enjoying his story, especially since I hadn’t intended to write one for him when I started the shifter stories.  He was just a background character in the first story.  But then he kept coming back in the next two, and I finally realized he needed a mate to shake up his world, that he deserved a mate who would heal his wounds.  So he’s got one, he just didn’t know what to do with her once he mated her.  Silly tiger.  So I think I’ll share a little snippet of his story with you today.

_______________

Anton still watched her when she glanced over again, and she smiled a little. “What?” he asked.

 
“I was thinking about that kiss earlier.”

 
He didn’t reply, but she noted the way his eyes darkened.

 
“Would you kiss me again?”

 
He frowned, and she braced herself for a refusal. “Why?”

 
She blinked, then frowned, too. “Because I liked it. Because it’s been a long time since a man kissed me. Never mind.” She shoved to her feet, but he caught her wrist. She gave him a glare.

 
“Sit down, Laney,” he said firmly.

 
She considered the grasp he had on her arm–tight but not painful. If she pulled, she thought he’d let her go. Instead, she sat on the edge of the sofa, not looking at him.

 

He released her arm and moved forward to the edge of the cushions, too, his leg brushing hers. “You don’t owe me anything, Laney,” he said gruffly.

 
Irritation flared, and she shot to her feet again, to glare at him. “You are a moron.” It escaped before she’d formulated anything besides the annoyance. She bit her lip, realizing what she’d said. Gods.

 
To her surprise, he smiled, just a little. “Not the first time I’ve heard that.” He reached out and touched her balled-up fist at her side. “I just meant you didn’t need to–”

 
“Offer sexual favors in exchange for saving me?” she asked, chagrined.

 
“Yes. I didn’t mean that I didn’t enjoy the kiss.” His fingertips stroked the back of her hand from knuckle to wrist, and he met her gaze. “But I did mean it when I said I wasn’t looking for a relationship.”

 

“So did I.” She made her fingers uncurl, then sucked in a little breath when he laced his fingers through hers.

 
“Sit down again, Laney,” he said softly.

 
She swallowed, searching his face for a moment, and then eased onto the sofa once more.

 
He lifted their joined hands and brushed his lips along her knuckles. Warmth spread over her skin, and she took a shallow breath. “Anytime you say stop, I’ll stop.” He held her gaze, waiting.

 
She nodded. She trusted him, she realized. That hadn’t happened in a long time either. She set her free hand on the edge of the cushion and curled her fingers into it to steady herself. Then leaned toward Anton.

 
He brushed his lips against hers, just a light caress. Warm, a tease. He did it again, a whisper-light kiss.

 
Laney wanted more. She tipped her chin up when he didn’t come back right away, and opened her eyes.

 
He watched her, from only inches away, his green eyes focused on her.

 
“Kiss me,” she whispered.

 
One corner of his mouth twitched. “No patience,” he teased gruffly.

 
She remembered the kiss earlier and shook her head.

 
He released her hand and brushed her hair away from the side of her face. “Haven’t you heard anticipation is a good thing?” His fingers slipped down from her cheek to her jaw.

_______________

Now I’m going to figure out what’s for dinner and then get back to Anton and Laney, see what kind of trouble I can get them into.  Hope you all have a great week!

 

 

We are missing out on the snow, again.  Our weather here this week has been extra-messed-up–mid-week it was 60, before the temps plummeted and we got a couple inches of heavy, wet snow that melted already, because the temperatures went back up into the 50s.  I want a real winter! Right now, it’s raining and looks like an early spring day more than a mid-winter day.  Of course, if we were a few states north, we would be getting buried in snow, and I would be thrilled about it.

So, what is a rainy Sunday good for?  Plenty, I suppose, like household chores and reading. Or visiting with family.  My day will probably combine some of the latter and a few of that first item.  And hopefully later some writing time before the second half of The Walking Dead season begins and our whole family settles in to watch.

I’m going to miss seeing some reader and writer friends today, but I got to see a whole lot of them yesterday, at the annual Valentine’s Day booksigning.  This was my third year of participating, and they’re always a lot of fun.  Talking books with readers and other authors is one of the best ways to spend a few hours, right?  This one was a little sad for me, though, because earlier in the week, we got the official news that my publisher is going to close up shop at the end of the month.  So I have to figure out what to do with Hunting Medusa (and the other two books in the trilogy, finally!) when I get my rights back.

Most publishers don’t want to publish a book that’s already been available from someone else, though it happens.  A better option, I suppose, is self-publishing the trilogy.  Scary thought!  I have to give this more time, to figure out the best thing to do, and then devising a plan to get it done.   Guess I’ll be reworking my writing goals for the year, once I figure this out.

Now, though, I need to go do some of those things on my rainy-Sunday list.  The pics below are some of what you missed if you weren’t at the booksigning yesterday.

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And, before I go, maybe a little bit of Hunting Medusa for you…

_______________

“Aristotle Tassos.”
The elderly man started, jumping from his chair so the papers he held fluttered to the floor beside his desk.
Athena remained standing in the doorway to his office, watching his olive skin pale before he dropped to his knees, bowing his head.
“My Lady.” His voice shook.
“Your nephew has taken the Medusa away, Aristotle. How could a Tassos do that?” She glared, noting his silver hair was thinning far more than the last time She’d deigned to visit him.
“My Lady?” He straightened slightly, though not far enough to actually look directly at Her. “My nephews burn to kill the Medusa.”
“Not Kallan.” She watched his mouth drop open. “He has helped her escape.” She narrowed Her gaze on his stunned face. “How could you not know this about him?”
Her Harvester shook his head slowly. “I am so sorry, My Lady. I assure You I will find him. And her.”
“I am sure you will. I expect you will.” She set Her hands on Her hips. “Do not fail Me, Aristotle. It has been many years since your family has fulfilled its duty. It may be very bad for you and yours if you fail again.”
Aristotle nodded, bowing, his face flushed a ruddy color. Embarrassed, She was sure, by the reminder of the failures of recent years. Good. He and his should be humiliated to have been outwitted by the Medusas of the past several generations.
“I would hate to have to return to see you on this matter again, Aristotle,” She said, gentling Her tone just a little. “I understand you are loyal to Me, even if one of your number is no longer.”

His mouth tightened. “I will make sure we get her this time, My Lady.”
Athena nodded. “I will be monitoring your progress.”
She was gone before Aristotle looked up.

_______________

Oh, one last thing!  If you’ve been meaning to pick up a copy of Hunting Medusa (or any other Samhain title) you’re running out of time now.  Plus I just realized this morning (2/12/17) that it is on sale in the Samhain store for half price, so it’s probably a really good time to grab it in its original form.

Valentine’s Day is this week, so here’s hoping for a much better week this week, full of love and chocolate!

 

7024607531_cc3a6b87cc_z( Photo credit: RDECOM via Foter.com / CC BY )

It’s been a long month here.  Aside from the crazy first few weeks of the year at the day-job, things otherwise have been both busy and awful, and I have taken a real butt-kicking.  Until I got the ick and cough last week, though, I was still doing really well with my daily writing.  Last week kind of messed that up, and the best I could manage toward the end of the week once the fever finally went away, was working on revisions, and I’m sure I’ll need to look over those again before I actually finalize them, just to be on the safe side.

So this week, I have got to get back into my routine.  I am still coughing, but I feel like it’s slowly going away.  (Which is good, since I have the booksigning on Feb. 11; it would be terrible to still be hacking all over the place then.)  So I will ignore the coughing.  Harder to ignore will be the other distractions in my life, the family members who are ill, as those are ongoing and not going away like my cough.  If I thought they would help, I’d find myself a set of blinders, to keep my attention on the pages in front of me, but that doesn’t do anything for the constant flow of thoughts in my brain.

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

Hard to concentrate on one thing with that going on in your head.

So I’m looking for ideas on regaining my focus.  The things that are going on aren’t going to stop any time soon, which means they’re going to remain on my mind, but I still need to get back to being a productive writer.  So when you have a lot going on and still need to get things done, how do you manage to make your brain cooperate?  Meditation?  (I’ve tried it and am terrible.)  Something completely different?  Give me your suggestions.  I’m game to try some new things, as long as I end up back where I need to be.

And before I go, just wanted to remind those of you in the south-central Pennsylvania area, come see me and a whole lot of other romance authors the weekend before Valentine’s Day!

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Writing Hot

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( Photo credit: Frank Lindecke via Foter.com / CC BY-ND )

Yes, I’m sick this week.  Coughing from an annoying tickle in my throat.  I don’t do sick days.  The last time I had a day off for a medical issue of my own was when I had my gallbladder out a number of years ago.  I took a day off last month for someone else’s medical issue.  Today, I actually left work early because I felt so terrible, just so I could come home and rest.  So that blog title isn’t just about the sort of stories I write, but about the fever I’ve had on and off all week.  I would love it if went away now.  My brain doesn’t have room for creativity right now, when it’s full of hot and headache.  So, instead of thinking so hard I make the headache worse, I’m going to tell you about the Valentine’s Day booksigning I’ll be taking part in this year.

Saturday, February 11, 2017 from noon to 3 pm at Ashcombe Farm & Greenhouse, I’ll be hanging out with around 18 other romance authors, talking books and signing them, too.  This is the third year I’ll be participating, and they are always so much fun.  Plus for the readers attending, there are always giveaway goodies.

And now, so my feverish brain can rest, I think just a little snippet of Hunting Medusa for you.

______________

Perhaps he was a sick bastard, he mused, slowing his pace as they went deeper into the woods and the trail narrowed. Realizing the woman he wanted most was his enemy had just turned his world upside-down. His family’s enemy, a monster created by the Goddess.
He frowned up at the dark canopy of leaves above them. He wondered if any other Harvester had ever been tempted by his quarry. Or had surrendered to the temptation. If so, he was certain he’d never find that in the lore.
“Wait.”
He stopped walking at her quiet command, his gaze shifting in the same direction she looked. A doe and her fawn looked poised for flight several yards away, the mother watching them closely. Kallan held his breath as the fawn bent back to the small patch of grass. From the corner of his eye, he saw Andrea’s smile. He caught her hand in his without thinking about it first.
Her fingers were stiff in his for a long moment, then relaxed a little.
He turned to look down at her, studying her. The top of her head reached his chin, her dark hair curling in the slight humidity. Her bright gaze stayed fixed on the deer, but he knew she was aware of him by the way her pulse skittered in the hollow of her throat.

“Did I hurt you?” He kept his tone low, trying not to frighten the nearby animals.
She didn’t move anything but her eyes, shifting her questioning gaze up to his face.
“Earlier. Was I too rough?”
Color washed up her cheeks, and she swallowed, turning her attention back to the doe and her fawn. “No.” It was barely a whisper, her reply.
His heart pounded a little harder as he thought about taking her here, right here in her forest. It was foolish. He couldn’t. She would never agree to it anyway.
But he couldn’t stop the images behind his eyes, not now that he knew what she looked like, what she felt like around him, the way she sounded.

When she turned to look up at him again, he realized he’d tightened his grip on her fingers. Her expression was quizzical, then awareness surfaced, turning her eyes darker, like midnight velvet.
Kallan lifted their joined hands slowly, giving her time to stop him. When she didn’t, he dragged his open mouth along her knuckles.
Her lips parted slightly.
He bit one of her knuckles lightly and felt her shiver. “Maybe I am sick,” he breathed. “But I still want you.”
She shut her eyes, her throat working as she swallowed. “Bad idea, Harvester.”
His jaw tightened. For some reason, hearing her use the name his family had claimed many generations ago made him angry. He wanted to hear her use his name instead. Preferably while they were naked in her bed, bodies joined intimately as they had been earlier.
Instead of protesting, though, he nibbled his way down her finger until he could capture the tip in his teeth, then sucked it into his mouth.

_______________

 

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

 

I hope you all stay healthy! And if the ick strikes your house, I hope you have a sufficient stash of reading material!

 

 

How many of you make New Year’s resolutions?  Or goals of some sort, even if you don’t call them resolutions?  Hands up!

 

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

I learned a long time ago that making resolutions doesn’t really work for me, so I quit that a long time ago.  Instead, I focus my efforts on goals, broken down monthly, and sometimes weekly,  and mostly writing-related.

I’ve taken part in a goal-setting workshop the last couple of years with Delilah Devlin and her sister Elle James (which is wonderful, if you’re a writer looking to set better, more achievable goals for yourself).  I’ve whittled down my writing ‘wish-list’ each year to something I can actually do, as well as building in time to allow for unexpected things cropping up.  But this year, even though my writing output was really good, I had some serious distractions in my personal life pop up that put a huge damper on my  achievements.  Some of those things, I have mentioned here in previous blog posts, so I won’t go into them again.

So right now, I’m reworking my goals list for the new year while allowing for these big, personal things to still impact my plans (and I already know they will, unfortunately), but still actually achieving my goals.

 

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

Part of my planning is to figure out everything that I want to accomplish, then break down the list by month, and sometimes even by the week within that month depending on what is going on.  I started with a pretty good list, but I’ve pared it down a bit, knowing that things that impacted my plans for 2016 will still be ongoing (and possibly bigger goal-killers than they already have been), and I’m fine-tuning now so that by the end of the week, I will be ready to kick 2017’s ass!

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( Photo credit: C. VanHook (vanhookc) via Foter.com / CC BY )

How do you work out your plans for the new year?  Just a vague list of things you want to achieve, or a day-by-day breakdown of everything you’ll have to do to make it happen?  If you share by Friday, December 30, 2016, I’ll put your name in a drawing for an ebook of Hunting Medusa.

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

 

 

 

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

 

Usually, I look forward to the end of the year.  December is family time for us, plus lots of good food from Thanksgiving through the new year.

This year is different.  Right now, I have two close family members who are sick, and our not-quite-17-year-old kitty is going downhill in a hurry.  In fact, it’s been a really crappy week and a half here, and I am not looking forward to seeing what comes next.

So.  Tell me something awesome that’s happened to you since December 1st.  I could use some cheering up, plus everyone who shares their ‘awesome’ happening from the past 17 days by this Friday, December 23, 2016 will get their name entered into a giveaway for an ebook copy of Hunting Medusa.

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

Bring on the awesome!

 

Here in the U.S, we’re getting ready to celebrate Thanksgiving this week.  Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, mostly because it’s all about family and some of the best food ever.  For me, this is also the busiest week of the year at the day-job, and it has been a doozy so far.  That probably sounds odd, since it’s Sunday when I’m writing this.  I work Monday through Friday (usually) at the day-job, but our weeks technically start on Wednesday and run through Tuesday, and right now, we’re heading into the finish of this crazy-busy week.  So, of course, I have picked up a cold from somewhere.  Because why not this week?  I have an insane Monday coming tomorrow, and then not so bad for Tuesday, but I took a vacation day for Wednesday so I can prep for Thanksgiving dinner–because I didn’t want to spend the entire day in the kitchen this year.  I want to actually get to enjoy it with my family.

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( Photo credit: timsackton via Foter.com / CC BY-SA )

While the turkey is awesome, I’m really a big fan of the stuffing, and the cranberry walnut relish, and the corn pudding.  And dessert, which will be a pumpkin spice cake this year.  Yum!

So I’m going to keep popping vitamin C like crazy, while sipping hot tea and chicken noodle soup to make it through the next couple of days so I can enjoy my Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday.

And for now I’ll leave you with a little snippet of ‘bad timing’ from the hot tiger shifter I’m working on now.

_______________

Laney shook her head a little. “I’m sorry,” she said, meeting Anton’s gaze again. “This evening–”
“Has been an unexpected pleasure,” he finished, leaning closer so no one else could hear him. His breath warmed her ear.
He was too close. Her gaze stuck on his, only inches away. “You like playing cat and mouse on a Friday night?” she murmured.
“I like having a good dinner with an attractive woman.” His gaze never strayed. “I don’t do it often.”
She frowned. “Why not?”
“Because I’m not in the market for a relationship, and most Friday night dinners lead to expectations.”
Laney swallowed down a laugh, though she couldn’t stop a smile. “Well, you got very lucky then, because I’m definitely not in the market for a relationship either.”

“Very lucky,” he echoed, his gaze finally sliding down.

She felt it on her mouth, and she took an unsteady breath.
His green eyes darkened a little when he met her gaze again.
She wondered what his kiss would be like. Stupid, she knew, but it had been a long time since she kissed a man.

“Dessert,” Tomas said, startling her.
Anton gave her nape a gentle squeeze. “It looks great,” he said without looking away from Laney.
She caught herself leaning toward him and stopped. Stupid. She started to straighten, but his big hand wrapped around the back of her neck kept her where she was. Her heartbeat kicked up a few notches when she read the intent in his face–and the question in his eyes.
Swallowing hard, she weighed the wisdom of it against the curiosity and unexpected want.
The latter two won, and she lifted her chin as she leaned toward him.
A flicker of surprise lightened his eyes, right before he bent to catch her mouth with his.
He kept the kiss light, but he lingered, and Laney wanted a better taste, but he lifted his head when she touched his jaw.

______________

I hope you all have a wonderful week, and if you’re in the U.S, that you get to celebrate your Thanksgiving in the way you love best! I’m looking forward to the cake.

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( Photo credit: Tavallai via Foter.com / CC BY-ND )

 

 

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( Photo credit: hanna_horwarth via Foter.com / CC BY-ND )

I have the candy ready for the little costumed monsters and other assorted characters who will come knocking on the door this week for Halloween.  I even have my “The Witch is In” sign on the door, though that isn’t necessarily for the trick-or-treaters.

We used to decorate when the boys were little.  I’m not much for dressing up myself, but I do have a witch hat that I wore a couple of times while walking them down our street so they could trick-or-treat.  My husband dressed up in scary costumes a couple of times–one little girl refused to come up the driveway for candy one year, because she was too frightened.

I expect we’ll see more superheroes than monsters again this year.  I’m not sure when monster costumes went out of fashion, because there are always monsters, right?  Real and imaginary.

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

My quest for good, scary movies is over for now.  It’s actually kind of disappointing, really, how many ‘horror’ movies aren’t scary at all.  I’m still enjoying Penny Dreadful (and wishing I had taken Megan’s advice to watch it sooner!), and am trying to wait as long as I can to watch the new season of The Fall, knowing that there will be a very long wait if there is going to be a fourth season.  There are real monsters in both of those series, human and otherwise, in case any of you are also looking for shows to keep you on the edge of your seats.

And since it’s Halloween week, I think my own ‘monster’ might be appropriate to share this time.  Maybe the legend.

_______________

Millennia Ago

Medusa knew he was coming. She always knew when the next one approached to try to kill her. But she had not been ready to die—until now.
While listening to the soft, sneaky sounds of his footfalls on the rocky path, she studied the golden goblet. It had not rid her of Athena’s curse, but it would help her daughters. As long as one of them had it, the amulet would stop them all from suffering constantly as she had all these years, limiting the effects of the curse to only a few days each month for the keeper of the goblet. Until the Goddess forgave Medusa’s foolish bragging.
Her killer drew nearer, still attempting to be quiet. Something about his deliberate pace—unhurried, careful—made her grateful she had already finished her protective spell for her children. This one would not have died as easily as the rest.

She looked around, from one statue to another—men of all ages and sizes, various weapons in their hands or tucked into their belts, all wearing the same horrified expression. Her eyes burned. She knew she was a monster. She had known not to brag so about her hair. Athena did not suffer braggarts. She had ruined Medusa’s hair, had cursed Medusa to live in exile this way—on this Gods-forsaken island, with no company but her own—as well as all her offspring.
Medusa despised living this way. She was not meant to be alone. She had never enjoyed her own company more than others’. When this hunter came, she would let him kill her.
He did not come into the clearing as the others had, charging forward recklessly. No, he came in with his back to her, watching her reflection in a shield. Clever, this one. She pretended to not have seen him, very aware of each step he took.

Soon. It would be over soon.
And she could not wait for the torment to end.
When he came nearer, she closed her eyes and prayed to Athena for forgiveness.
His blade whistled through the air. Closer, closer…

________________

HuntingMedusa

Hunting Medusa

I hope you all have a spooky fun Halloween and that the monsters are only imaginary!  And help yourself to some candy while I go back to working on hot tiger shifters!

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(  Photo credit: sumeetjain via Foter.com / CC BY-SA )

 

 

 

We had a gorgeous fall day here today–bright blue skies and lots of sun, with a brisk wind tugging leaves off the trees.  I think the rest of the week is supposed to be more of the same, which is what I waited for all through our hot, horrible summer.

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( Photo credit: Jayt74 via Foter.com / CC BY-SA )

Halloween is a few weeks away, so I’ve started digging through movies I like.  I watched Corpse Bride yesterday, and Sleepy Hollow today.  At some point soon, I’ll break out  The Nightmare Before Christmas (it’s a dual season movie!) and probably some Stephen King flicks.

I do love a good horror movie, but it’s hard to find really good ones.  Sometimes they’re so cheesy, they’re fun anyway.  Other times, not so much.  When I want to see cheesy flicks, though, I turn to the SyFy original movies, which are hilarious.  But this week, I’m in the mood for more actual horror films.  So I would love some suggestions for really great, scary movies.

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(Photo credit: mari27454 (Marialba Italia) via Foter.com / CC BY )

And in the meantime, I have a little snippet from Hunting Medusa for 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.

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