Category: holiday


That is what the roof of my car looked like a week or so ago when I went out to go to work one morning.  We had a bit of rain the night before, and then it cleared up overnight and got really cold, so I got treated to a pretty frozen picture on my car.  Even better, yesterday, we got our first snow, and I’m not talking flurries.  I’m talking between four and five inches of snow, starting in the morning, and going on all day.  It was gorgeous.  Of course, it’s already been melting, since it was sunny today, so by the time the really frigid temps get here later in the week, the snow will be gone.  Unless the “snow showers” in our forecast for Thursday turn out to be something more.

And (I can’t believe I’m saying this) I actually hope they’re just snow showers, because it looks like I have a long drive into another state for a family funeral at the end of the week.  So I will be okay with no more snow for the next week or so.  After that, maybe we can have a blizzard.

On a more positive note, we have a very pretty tree in our living room right now, with purple lights on it.  And I am working on my writing goals for 2018.  I did get a lot of writing done this year, but with all of the other things that have occurred in the past twelve months, I haven’t managed to get any of these things to the next step.  That needs to change for in the next twelve months.  I’m ready for the new year to kick off with all kinds of great possibilities, and I’m going to get my goals fine-tuned in the next week or two so when we get to this point next year, I have more than new words to show for my efforts.  Like re-releasing Hunting Medusa, and getting the other two books in the trilogy ready for readers, too.  I’ll have my work cut out for me in 2018, and I’m ready.

Goal Target Aiming Success Vision Concept

 

Are any of you working on your goals for 2018 yet?  How’s your list coming?  Almost there, or does it still need some fine-tuning like mine?

Here’s hoping you all have a wonderful week!

 

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I’ve been thinking about this for a while.  We’re always busy, whether it’s with household chores, or day-jobs, or family things, or any of a thousand other things.  Responsibility trumps all else.  Sometimes, I think we should ditch the responsibilities for a few moments of relaxation and enjoyment.  Maybe more than just a few moments.

( Photo by jmd41280 on Foter.com / CC BY-ND )

This time of year, things get really crazy, and many of us forget to stop and breathe.  In my day-job, I’m always reminding people I work with to stop and breathe.  But I realized I sometimes forget to take my own advice.  This weekend, now that my day-job crazy season is winding down, I decided to get all of my chores done today, so that tomorrow I can spend my day reading or writing. Maybe a little bit of both.

We had a low-key Thanksgiving here, and I spent most of it in the kitchen.  It was a little weird without my aunt here, but I thought of her all day.  And the turkey looked and smelled amazing, but I didn’t miss it on my plate at all.

So today, I’m finishing my chores, and then tomorrow, I have big plans that involve only doing things I enjoy, like the big fat book sitting on my desk, and getting some of my handwritten pages from my breaks at the day-job into my laptop so I can keep going on this shifter story.

Speaking of shifters, I think I might have mentioned a story snippet last time, didn’t I?  And it’s been ages since I shared a little bit of story with you all, so I think I’m going to dig into the fourth shifter to give you a little bit of Laney and Anton today.

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Laney smiled, watching Anton sitting on the floor with Boris’s youngest, in the center of a jumbled mess of blocks and toy cars, gamely making engine sounds and listening to the boy’s chatter. Perfectly at ease.

As if he sensed her gaze on him, he looked over and grinned, winking.

Her breath snagged. Gods, she was falling in love with him. Heat rushed to her face.

Anton’s grin faded, and his eyes darkened.

Shit. She swallowed and made her lips curve again. She could not fall in love with him. Lust was fine, but not anything more.

He pushed to his feet, slowly, holding her gaze, and her mouth went dry at the intent in his eyes.

She was supposed to be doing something, she thought, over the quick thumping of her pulse in her ears. She just couldn’t remember what, with Anton stalking her through the crush of his family, all male predator.

“Hey,” he said softly when he reached her, his warm fingers brushing her hair back from her cheek. He dipped down to feather a kiss on her mouth, still holding her gaze. “You ready to get out of this insane asylum?”

She took a shallow breath, inhaling the scent of him, and her pulse tripped up a notch. “Aren’t you playing with Bryce?”

“I’d rather play with you.” He nudged her nose with his.

Laney set one hand on his shoulder to anchor herself. “Shouldn’t we–” Her breath caught again when he settled his hands on her hips and drew her closer.
“Yes, we should, but we’re going home instead,” he whispered, his breath warm on her lips.

She flushed when someone catcalled from the other end of the room.

Anton’s slow smile made her heart beat faster. “Time to go.” He turned her and steered her out of the room with his hands on her hips.

The hallway was cooler, but she was still too warm, and when he bent to plant a quick kiss on the side of her neck, her temperature rose a few more degrees. “Anton?”

He turned her again and pressed her against the wall. “Say that again,” he growled, one hand sliding down to squeeze her ass.

“An-Anton,” she managed.

“Fuck.” He caught her mouth roughly.

She hung onto his shoulders and let him take what he wanted. What she wanted.

He lifted his head too soon, eyes dark and dangerous. “Let’s go.”

Laney nodded, breathless, and pushed away from the wall. He found their coats in the hall closet and helped her into hers. Laney shivered, watching him shrug into his own.

When they got into the car, he set his hand on her leg and squeezed. She sucked in a shaky breath at the rush of need that shot into her belly.

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Tomorrow, I won’t be working on Anton and Laney, but his cousin Joe’s story.  I hope you all find some time to stop and breathe this week, to find a little enjoyment amid all the busyness of your everyday life.  Let me know how you spend your few moments of down-time this week.

( Photo by scott1346 on Foter.com / CC BY )

 

 

( Photo credit: Foter.com  )

We’re heading into Thanksgiving week here in the U.S, which just happens to be one of our busiest weeks of the year at my day-job, though our crazy-busy is Monday and Tuesday, and then we’ll be a little slower the rest of the week.  Which is why I took an extra day off, so I can do less work in the kitchen on Thursday and enjoy the holiday more than some years when I spent most of the day working in the kitchen.  I think Thanksgiving is probably my favorite holiday all year long, though it is probably the one that is the most work.  Hours and hours in the kitchen cooking, baking, and in under an hour, the meal is over.

I should probably finish planning our meal–I have no idea what is for dessert yet, and I haven’t figured out what I’ll be eating instead of turkey.  This is my first holiday season since I quit eating poultry, so no turkey for me this time.  Maybe I’ll just be satisfied with all the sides and dessert.  I don’t know, but I’ll figure it out in the next couple of days.

But in the meantime, I’m going to work my butt off at the day-job and get in some writing time between bread-baking (gotta have homemade sage and onion bread for the stuffing!).  And I hope that all of you who will be celebrating Thanksgiving this week have a wonderful day, with lots of amazing food and great company, and maybe even some reading time!  Next time, I should remember to share a little snippet of story, because we haven’t done that in a while.

Maybe some pumpkin cheesecake for dessert…

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

 

Here it is Sunday evening, and I had planned on getting this up hours ago. Turns out the chores took longer than I expected, but they’re finally done, and now I get to relax just a little bit before calling it a night.  It’s crazy season at the day-job this month, but I am still making time to write in the mornings (and on the days when I have time for a lunch break). I would love a day, though, where I could sit with a big, fat book and a bottomless cup of tea.  This is the perfect time of year for it, and it finally feels like fall here.

Autumn leaves, book and cup of tea on wooden table isolated on white background

I should be thinking about Thanksgiving dinner and what we’re going to have for dessert, and what I’m going to eat with my vegetables and stuffing now that I have quit eating poultry. I haven’t missed it since I quit, but I am a little concerned about missing it on Thanksgiving–Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, mostly for the food, including the turkey.  I would love some suggestions on ways I can still enjoy the holiday without being tempted to eat something I’ll regret later. I’m also going to miss my aunt. She always spent the day with us, and it’s going to be weird not to have her here.

So I’ll still make the turkey, stuffing (with homemade sage & onion bread), mashed potatoes and gravy, and corn pudding, but I need to figure out dessert, and I would love some suggestions for my non-turkey Thanksgiving.  Hope you 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…

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“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.

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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!

 

Kicking Off 2017

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( Photo credit: Claudio Gennari …”Cogli l’attimo ferma il tempo” via Foter.com / CC BY )

So, I finished working out my writing goals last week for the new year, and a big chunk of the year is going to be spent on writing/rewriting/revising tiger shifter manuscripts, hence the big, annoyed cat above.  First up will be finishing one last rewrite of the first shifter story.  And I have a fresh copy right now, waiting for my red pen starting on New Year’s Day.  One of my other goals for the year is to write every single day, even if it is only a paragraph or two.   And while I finish my New Year’s Eve champagne, I have a little snippet to share below to share with you.

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He didn’t even protest when she remained mostly quiet for the drive back to the house in the dusky summer evening. They walked into the house in silence. She shot him a curious glance when he continued at her side up the stairs. “Thank you for feeding me, Harley,” she said when they reached the first landing.
“No problem.” He touched her elbow, and she resumed walking along the hallway to the guest room she always used.

She swallowed as she turned to face him.
He gave in to the urge to brush a strand of hair away from her temple, and watched her eyes widen, surprise darkening them.
Harley bent nearer. Her hand shot up, so his mouth ran into it. He lifted one eyebrow.
“What are you doing?” Her voice quavered just a little.
He smiled against her palm, enjoying the warmth of her skin. “Kissing you good-night. It’s customary at the end of a date.”
Her eyes widened still more. “We’re not dating.”
He kissed her palm. “I believe we just returned from a dinner date. Dancing and drinks.” He inhaled her scent, and his desire kicked up a few more notches.
Her throat worked as she swallowed, color tinting her cheeks. “I think this is a bad idea.”
He stifled another smile at the way her voice shook and instead flicked his tongue out to taste her skin.
Her breath caught.

“I think it’s a fantastic idea.” He nibbled his way across her palm to her thumb. “You taste good. I can’t wait to taste your mouth.”
Her breathing resumed, much faster now. “Harley.”
He caught her hand and eased it to the wall beside her head as he closed the distance between them so only an inch separated their lips. “Yes, Tessa?”

Emotion swirled in her wide green eyes. He scented her burgeoning arousal in the air, and his body tightened in response.
He waited several heartbeats, watching her gaze slide to his mouth, and noted the way her tongue slid out just a little at the corner of her lips. Then he ducked in to kiss her.
She tasted better than he’d imagined. Warm and sweet. Her lips parted easily under his, but he deliberately kept the kiss light. She was already spooked, wary. If he dove in head-first, she’d run faster.
Not that he doubted he could catch her. Easily.
When he finally lifted his head, her eyes were shut, and her lips parted and wet. Tempting him to bend back and take them again. Just briefly. Then he released her. It took a few seconds before her lashes fluttered up, and her hand slowly dropped to her side.

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So how are you starting the new year?

 

 

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!

 

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( Photo credit: James P. Mann via Foter.com / CC BY )

Things are kind of weird at this point on the calendar year–my day-job schedule is very light, but we’re heading into peak holiday season, so there are lots of other activities to take up the slack in our schedules.  I’m finalizing my goals for the next year, and working on a few last things to wrap up before the end of this year.  While I keep writing my shifter story. And watching good holiday movies, some of them more than once.  Some more than one time in a single day, if I can get away with it.

We have a day-trip to NYC planned soon, and I’m looking forward to that.  I like visiting New York, but have never been there during the holiday season, so I’m anticipating all sorts of fun there.

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In the meantime, I have a little snippet to share with you from Hunting Medusa.

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She pushed to her feet. “Are you making fun of me?”
He shook his head and felt water drip down the back of his neck. “Just making an observation.” He waited while she shimmied past him, and she seemed very careful not to touch him as she went. Kallan followed her out into the main area of the cave again, where she set the lantern on a ledge midway up the wall.
She faced him, hands clenching and unclenching at her sides, her eyes troubled.

“Go ahead.” He’d been waiting. Ever since he’d opened his foolish mouth along the trail.
She caught her lower lip in her teeth, a tiny frown lining her brow. “You should get dry too,” she whispered at last.
When she turned away, grabbing her pack and retreating to the smaller chamber at the back, he felt some of the stress leave his shoulders but his stomach knotted painfully. Trying to figure out his next move, he dragged his wet shirt off over his head, then bent to unknot the wet laces of his boots.
It would never work. He knew it. If anyone had suggested to him that he’d fall for the Medusa, he would have laughed at them and then punched them bloody.
From the rear of the cave, he heard the same wet shushing noises of clothing hitting the stone floor, and he clenched his jaw, trying not to imagine her wet and naked. And failing.
“Andrea?”
Sudden silence.
“How many sleeping bags do you have back there?” He had to know.

The soft sounds resumed, this time more quietly so he assumed she was quickly pulling on dry clothes. “One. But there are extra blankets.” The reply was unsteady, as if she might be imagining the same things he was.
One sleeping bag. Of course. He shut his eyes for a second. As he went to his backpack, he unbuttoned his cargo pants, then tugged out dry clothing. His fingers were clumsy on the heavy material, made clumsier by the enticing images floating behind his eyes.
He shucked his wet pants and moved toward the front of the cave to dress.
A choked sound from Andrea made him freeze as he stuck his foot into his dry cargo pants. And every nerve in him hummed to life, zinging electricity to his groin.
Slowly, he straightened and turned just far enough to see Andrea still as a statue only a couple yards away. Her wide eyes were dark with surprise and something else.

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I hope you find a little time this week for relaxing amid all of the craziness.

 

 

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

We’re still eating Thanksgiving dinner leftovers here (and enjoying them so much!), and I have a long weekend ahead of me.  Today, I spent it doing little things like looking at cookie recipes and a little gift-shopping, plus watched my first holiday movie of the season, Love Actually.  I have two quick stops to make tomorrow, including one for a couple of gifts.  I’m planning to get my chores out of the way afterward and write in between, and then my extra day off is nothing but writing.

Since we’re getting to the end of the year, I’ve been thinking about goals and accomplishments.  I am about to go into a goal-setting workshop to get my goals set for next year, writing and otherwise.  And I need to whittle down my writing list for next year so I set manageable, realistic goals for myself.  How many of you set goals for yourself each year?  I don’t mean resolutions, but goals, where you map out step-by-step plans to achieve them?

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

I used to be better at the smaller steps in my goal planning, but somehow, I got out of practice with the littler steps.  So for this year, I’m starting with the small steps, and then moving on to the intermediate stages, and then the big picture goals.  Maybe working from the other end this time will give me the nudge my brain needs.

The manuscript I’m working on right now has taken a turn for the hot much sooner than I anticipated.  I should back up a little.  I knew there would be hot at the beginning, but I thought that would probably back off a little, at least for a while.  These two characters are both really messed up, and I guessed that despite their steamy start, it would take them a while to develop enough trust to let that continue.  Only they’ve surprised me and kept it scorching.  which means when they do back off, there will be  major hurt involved on both sides.  And then, of course, more steamy hot when they make up later.  I do love when characters surprise me, and I’m looking forward to seeing where these two take me on the way to their happy-ever-after.

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

Now I’m going to take a little break before I wrap things up for the night so I can get a fresh start in the morning for my next two days of productivity!