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It has been a rough week here.  I got word last Monday that my dad’s cancer was back and all the doctors could do was pain management at this stage.  He’d known for some time that he was sick again, but he had made up his mind he wasn’t going to have more surgery or go through chemo again, and he kept his secret as long as he could, stubborn man.

The only good part of this week was getting to visit with family and other loved ones.  The loss is too awful, though, and it will be a long time before we are even a little bit better.  We’ll get together again in a few months, when the weather is nicer.  My dad adamantly did not want a service, just cremated so his ashes could be sprinkled.  So he won’t have a service, and his ashes are going to be sprinkled in a couple places that were meaningful to him, but we’ll also get together at the cemetery where much of my dad’s family is buried, and we’ll say goodbye to him there.

My brain is not in the right mindset to write at the moment. I’ve opened several story files and scrolled through them, but I don’t have words to add to them right now.

So instead, I’m going to share a snippet from my third shifter story with you and think about some supper.

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“Hey, what’s up with Mom and Dad?”

He squeezed his eyes shut. “I don’t know. Not sure I want to know.”

Harley laughed. “I’m pretty sure she spent the night last night.”

Boris groaned. “Why did you go there?” He turned around and glared at his brother.

Harley grinned and shrugged. “I’m not any more excited to be speculating about that end of things myself, but it’s fun to make you uncomfortable.”

“Because we’re still ten and sixteen?”

“Occasionally.” His brother sobered a little. “A baby, huh?”

Boris thought he hid his wince. “Yes.” He didn’t really want to have this conversation any more than the one about their parents.

His brother studied him for a few seconds. “Well, thanks for hanging with Callie,” he said finally.

Relief flooded his system. “No problem.” He pivoted and strode from the room.

The treehouse. He imagined it filled with his children and the three women, and he smiled reluctantly. That was going to be a sight.

Only he saw a small blond head bent over the arm of a chair just inside the library. Berdine.

He turned in there instead of continuing toward the French doors. “Hey,” he said softly.

Her head shot up, and she swiped the back of her hand across one cheek before she glared at him.

He scooped her off the chair, then sat on the seat with her on his lap. “Are you okay, baby?”

“Fine.”

He hid a grin. He’d heard that enough from women in his lifetime to know it was a big fat lie when uttered in that tone. “How come you’re in here all by yourself?”

“You were busy with Callie, and I didn’t want to hear baby stories.”

“I hear everyone else is out in the treehouses.” He rubbed her stiff little spine.

“I didn’t want to.”

He studied her profile, her mouth all pinched up in annoyance, the remaining moisture on her lashes. “I didn’t realize you would be so upset about a new baby,” he said after a few seconds.

“I don’t care about a baby.” She slanted him another glare.

“So it’s just Vivi you don’t like.”

Her mouth pursed a little more. “I don’t need a new mom. I have a mom.”

“Yes, you do.” He didn’t point out that Marigold hadn’t seen any of them, or even bothered to speak to them in well over a year, since way before the divorce had been finalized. “Vivi isn’t here to take your mom’s place, Berdine.”

His daughter sucked in an unsteady breath. “But she’s your mate.” She looked up, her blue eyes full of fresh tears. “Mom was never your mate. Why not?” She sobbed once. “If she was your mate, she would have stayed, right?” Tears rolled down her face.

“Oh, baby, I don’t think so,” he murmured, gathering her close.

She cried into the front of his shirt, and he was a little surprised she didn’t try to move away.

He hugged her close, stroking her back, brushing her hair away from her face. He’d never considered for a minute that any of his kids would be this upset about Vivi.

Finally, she sniffed, wiping her face with both hands, trying to ease away.

Boris held on, smoothing his other hand down her wet cheek.

“Why is she your mate?” she asked again without looking at him.

He didn’t want to tell her about the danger, which they all sheltered the kids from, or that he hadn’t even asked Vivi first. “It was just the right time,” he said at last. “You liked her at school, right?”

Her lower lip stuck out when she looked up at him. “That was different. A teacher isn’t a mom.”

“Well, a lot of teachers are moms, you know,” he pointed out. “But Vivi doesn’t want to take your mom’s place. And she’s not used to this craziness. You might try being nice to her–this bunch is pretty scary.”

Berdine huffed out a breath, giving him a doubtful glance. “Yeah, right.”

“No, really. She’s been on her own a long time, and there are a lot of us. That’s a big change.” He winked at her.

She still didn’t appear convinced, but at least she’d stopped crying.

“Give her a chance, okay?”

She heaved a sigh. “Fine. I’ll try.”

“That’s all I ask.” He bent and kissed her head, then her cheek. “You know I love you, right?”

“I know.” She started to slide off his lap, then turned back to look up at him again. “Mommy’s okay, isn’t she?”

He swallowed. “She was last time I heard from her.” Which was a long time ago.

“So she’s busy.”

“Probably.” Telling his eight-year-old daughter that her mother was a selfish bitch wouldn’t be helpful, so he kept that to himself.

She nodded. “I love you, too, Daddy.” She smiled as she slid to her feet and headed for the door.

________________

While I spend my week looking for something positive, why don’t you tell me what is making you happy this week? I might not be the only one who needs a little cheer.

 

 

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Year-end Guest Blogging!

Just a quick note to let you all know I also have a guest blog post up at Delilah Devlin’s blog with a giveaway that closes at midnight, December 31, 2016.  Happy Friday!

Guest Blog Post:  Looking Forward (Giveaway)http://www.delilahdevlin.com/blog/2016/12/29/elizabeth-andrews-looking-forward-giveaway/

 

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

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

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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.

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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 )

 

 

 

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( Photo credit: arnie2105 via Foter.com / CC BY-SA )

Seems like a given, right?  October, Halloween, spooky stories, witches, vampires, and all kinds of other things we find in our reading.  Of course, some of us don’t wait until now to find the time to enjoy all the lovely paranormal reading choices out there.

One of my favorite paranormal stories is time travel.  A long time ago, there used to be lots of time travel stories available to readers.  Like everything else, ‘fads’, for lack of a better word, come and go–fashion, television.  And in publishing, there are the same cycles.  Remember when there were more vampires on the shelves than anything else?  Or when the small town craze started a few years ago until that was all you could find?  I was pretty unhappy when time travels got nudged aside for other kinds of stories.  I’m sure other readers were equally disappointed when vampires finally faded away a little so there was room for other stories on bookstore shelves.

So what kind of romance novels would you like to see more of when you go shopping?  Something paranormal?  Or historical?

I have a little snippet of paranormal for you, from my third tiger shifter (which is waiting for rewrites while I rewrite the first one.  Again.).

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Boris looked around, noting the spare decor, the casual furniture, and made a mental note to ask how long she’d lived here. It didn’t look like she’d settled in. Or maybe she hadn’t planned to stay. He frowned.
Vivi squared her shoulders. “Why don’t you sit down?”
He waited until she sat, perching on the edge of an overstuffed armchair, then he dropped onto the sofa to her right, sprawling comfortably, but still within reach. “Are you hiding from someone?”
She looked at him, confusion wrinkling her forehead. “What?”
He shook his head. “Just a thought. You don’t seem like you’ve settled here, and I just wondered if it was because you thought you might have to leave fast.” At her perplexed expression, he shook his head again. “Never mind.” He rested his right ankle on his left knee, studying her. “Ask me something.”

She blinked, then shifted on her seat as she looked away. “Like what? If you’re an axe murderer?”
He laughed. “If that would make you feel better. The answer is no, by the way. Are you?”
Vivi smiled reluctantly, just a little. “Why are you here?”
His smile faded. “Because we’re having a baby.”

_______________

Don’t forget to let me know what kind of romances you wish there were more of in the bookstore!

 

 

I have so many things waiting here for my attention, in particular the weeds in my side flowerbed.  But the weeds can keep control over the flowerbed for now, because it is much too hot outside to do more than go from house to car and vice versa.  By the end of the week, it is supposed to be slightly cooler here, but then I have other things that require my time.

So from now through Thursday, I’m aiming to finish the first draft of this tiger shifter manuscript.  Then I have a road trip planned Friday, and will get to see my sister for the first time in a year, which makes me happy.  That tunnel below is along my way.

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

She lives about four states away, so it is usually a long time between visits for us, and the last time was for a memorial service last year.  I wish my sister lived closer.  Since she doesn’t, we have to make the most of the visits we get.

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

Do you have family close by or far away?  And do you wish it were the other way around?

 

Giveaway date extended until Monday, July 11. Just tell me how you spent July 4th weekend!

Elizabeth Andrews Writes

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( Photo credit: Aurel___ via RemodelHackers / CC BY )

The long holiday weekend is almost a third of the way over already, and all I have accomplished is household chores.  Not what I was hoping for today, but that’s okay.  I won’t get any chores done tomorrow, but I’m fine with that–I’m going to trek halfway across the state to see my dad, which makes me happy.  Then on Monday, writing time, since all of the weekly chores are out of the way.

Before I start getting my things together for the day trip, though, I have another box of goodies to give away for week two of my birthday month celebration.

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Half a dozen books, t-shirt, backpack, lots of little goodies.  So this time, every time everyone (over 18, U.S. resident) who comments by 5 p.m. EST on Friday, July 8, 2016 will be entered for this one…

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I have a guest blog post up today at the awesome Delilah Devlin’s, and there’s a giveaway.  I hope you come play!

 

Hi, everyone!  It’s lovely to be back, and I want to send a huge thank-you to Delilah for letting me return. I’ve been thinking about family in story lately, mostly because I’m working on the third…

Source: Elizabeth Andrews: Family in Story (Giveaway)

In case anyone else needs a kick in the pants this weekend, a wonderful post from one of my favorite authors.

The View From Here

What would you risk in order to get the one thing you truly desire?

dsc 0028 Susan at Ross Lake. Looking for a metaphor.

Seriously, what would you risk?

When I was an emerging writer in my 20s, trying to sell my first book, I risked a lot. I had a great life–wonderful teaching career, adorable baby, cute dogs, a house in the ‘burbs, good family and friends. Why would I take on the stress and struggle and uncertainty of a career as a novelist? It was a massive risk on many levels.

In practical terms, I was subjecting my daughter and myself to financial risk, because writing is about as stable as betting on horses. I also gave up social time with friends. I had to forego my book-a-day reading habit, entire series on TV (okay, not a huge sacrifice there) and forget sleep. There was at least one night when I…

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Right now, I am secure and warm in my living room while the sun is glaring off a few feet of snow outside (which has given me a monstrous migraine).

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The picture above is what our backyard looked like last night before the snow had fully stopped.  My glider is well and truly buried there–the front looks worse than the back, even now that the sun has been shining on it.

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And this is what it looks like from my front door right now.  The street is semi-clear, but I’m hoping that a township truck makes a trip down dropping salt before nightfall.  Otherwise tomorrow morning, it will be an ugly, icy mess.  On the other hand, I got a message that my day-job will be starting late tomorrow, as they haven’t yet cleared the parking lots around the office.

But I am thrilled that we finally got some snow.  And not just ‘some’ snow, like a dusting or nuisance slush.  No, we got a beautiful, substantial snow.  Winter at last!  Some of my writing friends aren’t nearly as thrilled about it, but that’s okay.  We’ll be even when summer gets here and I’m miserable while they are ecstatic.  For now it’s my turn for seasonal happiness.  In a little while I’m going to start a pot of homemade tomato soup to go with grilled cheese sandwiches for supper–my guys spent quite a while outside with shovels and the snowblower, clearing off the cars and helping out the neighbors without their own snowblowers.

My writing for the weekend is actually rewriting.  This shifter story is still frustrating me, but I know when I finish and polish it up, I’ll be so much happier with it.  Then I can go back to actual writing on another manuscript that isn’t quite complete.

Also, I have a booksigning coming up on Valentine’s Day weekend!  I have all of the info on my Facebook page about the signing, and I would love to see some of you there.  There will be 17 other romance authors signing as well, so I know there will be something there for everyone.

How many of you are as happy as I am to finally see some snow to get this winter moving?

I’m always looking for new things to figure out my characters–and I have a pretty long form I use already, though for each different character, I don’t always fill in each section’s info or answers. Anyway, this looks like a very useful worksheet! I might have mentioned previously how much I love Susan Wiggs, but I really do love Susan Wiggs!

The View From Here

Wow, people. I’m thrilled–and also humbled–by your response to Starlight on Willow Lake. The most frequently-asked question about this book is “How did you come up with a character like Faith?” (She’s the protagonist.)

Pleased to meet you! Pleased to meet you!

It’s a good time for me to answer this question, because I’m meeting with a bunch of writers at a Seattle7Writers event on Bainbridge Island. Here is how to make a fictional character seem very real to the reader. Get her talking. Make sure she’s talking in her own voice, not your voice. If you want to write a lot of different characters, you don’t want them all to sound like you.

The key for me is to have her speak in first person–on paper. I’m quirky, as you know, so I write this out in longhand as a free-flowing conversation with my newly-invented character. If you’re a writer, give it a…

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