Category: Uncategorized

In Need of Motivation

( sticky notes with the word everything – Depositphotos )

Right now I’m looking at my to-do list, which looks about two miles long, and I can’t seem to motivate myself to do anything about it today. What I’d like to do is crawl into bed early tonight. To be fair, I spent most of last night sick, so I’m more tired than usual, but that isn’t everything.

We’re about to go into a busy stretch at work, with a weird schedule, and part of me is stressing about that. Plus I’ve looked over my goals list from the beginning of the year, and that has left me more than a little disappointed with my lack of progress on some things. I’m also behind on my Common Elements Romance Project novella. I kind of wish I could take a vacation. Not necessarily to go anywhere, just to stay home and do some of the things on my to-do list.

So how do you motivate yourself when you don’t feel motivated? I need a jump-start.

While I’m searching for some motivation, I have a little story snippet to share with you from my Common Elements Romance Project novella.


Lucie didn’t argue when Nate refused her help with the dishes. Her insides were still shaky from the realization that he was attracted to her.

“I’ll see you in the mornin’, Lucie!” Hayden shouted, hopping on one foot.

She smiled as she put her sweater on. “Yes, you will, buddy.” They’d already decided that Hayden would join her after breakfast so Nate could cram in a few hours of work before he headed to the hospital to see his dad and try to get his mother to come home to sleep in her own bed rather than the less-than-ideal pull-out chair-bed in his dad’s hospital room.

She wasn’t sure that was a battle he would win, but she understood his concern.

Hayden gave her a quick hug and then ran back to his book in the living room.

“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 the 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 made her look up, 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 his footsteps behind her.

Within reach of the back door, she whirled around. 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, then stepped back.

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

His dark gaze followed her out the door, and she turned away, feeling a smile curve her lips.

Well, that was nice. She could deal with the repercussions another day, and, for now, be reminded she was still alive.


Okay, I’m off to figure out supper and work on some cards that have to go in the mail tomorrow. Hit me with your best ways to self-motivate when you’re not feeling any.


Welcome September

I know, I know. Just because September is here doesn’t mean fall is. But we’re closer, so that’s enough for me today.




( Autumn trees – Depositphotos )

I’m writing today and tomorrow now that the household chores are out of my way, as are the errands, so today is just a quick fly-by post with a short excerpt from my novella for the Common Elements Romance Project, due out late this year.


Nate schooled his expression to neutrality before he turned around. Hayden’s chin jutted stubbornly, and his blue eyes were narrowed. “I’m saying Lucie might be busy with something else right now,” Nate said evenly. “Maybe we’ll see her outside tomorrow.”

“I can knock on the door.” He crossed his arms on his chest, covering the spotted blue dog graphic. “She said we’d play later, and it’s later.”

“We can check,” Nate said, “but, buddy, you have to promise not to be upset if she’s busy right now. It’ll be suppertime soon, too, so we’ll be busy here.”

Hayden’s chin jutted out further.

“Just don’t get your hopes up,” he said, trying to keep his even tone from dropping in defeat.

Hayden bolted for the back door.

Nate followed more slowly, picking up his son’s jacket from the chair inside the door. By the time he stepped onto the bottom stair, he heard his son’s voice, then Lucie speak in reply, though he couldn’t hear the words. He expected to see Hayden’s shoulders droop when he cleared the lilac bush.

He was a little surprised to see the two of them walking into the middle of the neighboring yard while Lucie bounced the big yellow ball on one hand. Huh. He would’ve bet on her putting Hayden off. He paused at the open gate between the yards to watch them for a moment. They’d stopped in the middle and she crouched in front of Hayden, who chattered a mile a minute, and then she nodded as she pushed upright again.

Hayden jogged backward a few steps, grinning, then held out both hands.

Lucie gave the ball another little bounce before she tossed it to him.

His son caught it, giggling. “Too easy,” he shouted. He jumped once, then moved a few more steps away from her. “Ready?”

“Ready!” she leaned forward and held out her hands.

Nate wished he could see her expression.

Hayden lobbed the ball at her, and she caught it before it hit her in the face. His son’s laughter made him smile, shaking his head a little when the boy danced backward a couple more paces. “Throw it again!”

“You sure you can catch it so far away?” The tease in her voice made Nate relax. So Lucie Russo might be a nice woman. Obviously, Mindi and Harry trusted her, which meant she was okay.

But she seemed to be enjoying his son, genuinely enjoying him. Maybe she had nieces or nephews–she was comfortable, chatting with Hayden as they played catch.

He leaned on the fence to watch them.

“Daddy, come play with us!”

Lucie straightened and looked over her shoulder, eyes widening a little.

Nate felt a little kick in his gut at the appealing image–pink cheeks, pretty green eyes that tipped up just a little at the outer corners, full lower lip dropping a tiny bit. Lucie Russo was pretty.


What are all of you doing on this long holiday weekend? Or during this holiday-shortened work-week? Extra reading? Something else fun? Let me know.


And here’s hoping we get to see some pretty fall leaf colors soon!


reading book by fireplace – Depositphotos

Technically, today was a warm one for December in Pennsylvania, but it was wet and gloomy all day, so even though the temps were above normal, it was still a very good day to stay inside and read with a hot beverage at hand, and it looks like it’s going to cool down a lot around here, so definitely reading by the fire weather now.

I realized last weekend I have a lot of short work weeks coming up again. It seems like that time of year at the day-job: I worked only 2 days Thanksgiving week, and left early one day last week. This week, I have Monday and Friday off, but then I have two full work-weeks in a row, before two more short weeks. Two of my days this weekend were spent partially up at the boys’ place, working more on clearing out their basement so they can set it up the way they want now that the old walls and ceiling panels full of 30+ years of cigarette smoke are gone. For a brief moment, the basement looked like it did when I was a kid visiting my grandparents–a wide open space where we could play on rainy vacation days, maybe roller skating (until we were tall enough to hit our heads on the duct work), or just running around playing like kids do. Then a new wall started to go up, in a new spot. When they’re finished, there will be a nice-sized music room for their drums and guitars, and probably my electric keyboard which they used to borrow when they still lived at home.

It makes me happy that my boys are now in a house I’ve spent my whole life visiting. They’re making changes to it, as they should, making it their own. Visiting now makes me think of visits long ago, with my parents and siblings. We used to spend a week with my grandparents each summer, two of us at a time–I have five younger siblings, so that would have been a lot for my grandparents all at once. Some years, we spent Thanksgiving there, and I remember there always being a houseful of guests for dinner, including my great-grandma (my Pop-pop’s mother) and usually a friend of hers, sometimes my aunt would be there with a friend. From our house to theirs was a three hour drive, and it always seemed to take forever to get there. Kid time is different from adult time. Even then, I was a reader, though. Some visits, the weather was too wet for us to play outside, so we might clamber up into the attic to the store of books and toys my grandma kept there. The books kept me entertained, as my books now do.

Though we haven’t emptied it completely, there aren’t any more books or toys up in the attic. And everyone in my family now is too tall to roller-skate in the basement without knocking themselves unconscious on the duct work, but we still love being there, and I love that the house is still in the family for a fourth generation.

I have a little story snippet to share with you today, from the first story in my shifter series, with a little reminiscing on the part of the heroine Tessa.


Eight years ago…

Tessa bit her lip. How had she managed to get caught in the library when Boris brought his latest girlfriend in for a quickie? At least, she hoped it was just a quickie.

The other woman moaned and made high, breathy sounds while Boris grunted. Tessa squeezed her eyes shut tighter and tried to find something to distract her.

“Oh, baby, that’s so hot,” Boris growled.

Tessa stifled her own aggravated sound and settled back into her corner, resting her head on her knees. At least she’d been in the farthest corner when the pair stumbled into the big room, clothing already half-undone. They didn’t realize she was there. Boris would eventually, though. She hoped he ignored her presence and didn’t make a big deal about it.

Something touched her bare toe, and she jumped, barely keeping in a shriek of surprise. Her gaze landed on Harley, who wore a wicked grin as he eased down on to the floor beside her.

Her heart beat way too fast now, from the scare a little, but more from his presence.

“You into watching, Tessa?” he breathed.

She shook her head, feeling heat rush to her face. “I was here first.” She held up the books in her hand. The sounds from the other pair grew louder.

Harley shook his head. “He knows better.” He glanced in the direction of his brother.

Tessa shut her eyes again when his thigh brushed against hers as he shifted beside her. Her best friend’s older brother. She’d had a crush on him since she was seven. She’d hoped it would have faded by now, especially since she hadn’t seen him in nearly a year.

But no, her heart started beating faster as it always did when he was in the vicinity. That he was pressed up against her side from thigh to shoulder made it that much worse.

If she were still dressed, it wouldn’t be such a big deal. But she’d stripped off her jeans and sweater a couple hours ago and put on her nightshirt and robe for the trek downstairs to the library after India had passed out from sheer exhaustion.

“Oh, Boris, harder,” the girl whined.

Tessa covered her face with her free hand.

Harley’s shoulder shook against hers, and she knew he was laughing, both at her embarrassment and his brother’s slutty girlfriend. “Knowing Boris, this won’t take long,” he whispered near her ear.

That only made her want to laugh, and the effort to keep her laughter contained made her shoulders shake, too, brushing against his.

Still, it seemed an eternity before Boris and his girl of the moment both groaned loudly, their ragged breathing echoing around the big room. Then, as if he’d suddenly realized they weren’t alone, Boris growled. “Come on. We need to get out of here,” he muttered.

Quiet shushing noises meant they were adjusting their clothing, and then soft, quick footsteps left the library.

Tessa let out the breath she’d been holding and pushed to her feet hurriedly, ignoring the cooler air brushing against her side where Harley’s warmth had been only seconds earlier.

“Good night, little Tessa.”

She froze. Little Tessa. He’d been calling her that since she was seven, when they’d met. Apparently he still only saw her as his younger sister’s best friend even though she was an adult now.

She swallowed back the disappointment and managed a wave as she hurried out of the library.

When she got back to India’s suite, her friend was still sound asleep, and Tessa dropped her books onto the low table by the balcony, her interest in reading gone for the night. It seemed there was no way to make Harley see her differently.


While I’m reminiscing, I wonder if any of you are getting in any good reading now that December is settling in and feels more like winter this week. Let me know if something really great comes out of your to-be-read pile! I’ll be writing between chores on my extra days off, but I am aiming to make some reading time, too!

hot chocolate with books – Depositphotos 



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.


“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?”


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.



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)


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

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


( Photo credit: hanna_horwarth via / 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.


( Photo credit: MattysFlicks via / 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…



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!


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





( Photo credit: arnie2105 via / 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.).


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!



Distractions and Complications

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.


( Photo credit: skyesacreep via / 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.


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

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


Welcome, July!

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

Elizabeth Andrews Writes


( 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.


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…

View original post 40 more words

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)