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Yesterday was a very lovely day, though it was spent on household chores rather than enjoying the nice weather.  Today wasn’t as lovely, which was just as well, as I went in to the day-job to start my crazy week early.  The rest of the week should be warm, but I think rainy, which seems fitting, since the calendar is about to roll over into April by the weekend.

( Photo credit: Thomas James Caldwell via Foter.com / CC BY-ND )

There are flowers blooming, and there is even a magnolia tree at the office that had flowers opening a couple of weeks ago when we got the first rush of warm spring weather (before the snow finally came).

So what will I be doing this week?  Working like a crazy person at the day-job, and, hopefully, getting in some writing time if my brain doesn’t turn to complete mush.  Last week was almost as crazy, but I still managed new pages in the mornings, before starting at the office, and a little during lunch breaks mid-week, so I’m hoping I can do the same this week.  I’m actually ready for a vacation, I think.  Too bad I didn’t schedule one until the end of July.

I think I’m ready for spring, since my winter was a total bust.  The only trouble with it being spring is that means summer will follow close behind, and you know how I feel about summer.

Once we get through this week and next at the day-job, the craziness will abate for a little while, which is nice.  And I’ve had some good news about the friends I was worrying about.  Both have made it through their surgeries, well, so now they just have to be patient about recovering.  A little stress off my plate.  The ill family members are still worrying me, though I know worrying is a waste of energy.

So how do you stop yourself, or at least distract yourself from fruitless worrying?  I could use a few pointers.  And maybe you would like a snippet of a tiger shifter and her wolf?

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India wasn’t sure how she made it through the meal. She didn’t taste anything, couldn’t even concentrate on the food she put in her mouth.
All her attention was on the man sitting too close to her, the fresh, wild scent of him driving her slowly mad, the feel of his warm fingers on her back reinforcing the throbbing in her belly, his hard thigh pressing against hers all through the meal.
She should never have agreed to meet him for dinner. What the hell had she been thinking? She needed to get out of here.
Rory’s big hand settled on her nape again. “You’re not eating, love.”
She stifled a little shiver. When he called her that, it had always made her melt, and she needed not to do that. Not tonight. Not ever again. “I’m not hungry.” She finally set the fork on the side of her plate.
“I was hoping to share dessert with you,” he teased, leaning closer so his warm breath brushed the top of her ear.
Heat burst in her middle at that. They’d shared many desserts, a long, long time ago. Damn him. “I can’t eat anything else.”
“Then maybe a walk.” He tipped his head to look at her, and she couldn’t look away.
“I need to go home.”
Instead of looking disappointed, Rory smiled, his bright eyes knowing. “Then I’ll walk you to your car.”
That was too easy. She frowned up at him, trying to figure out what was going on in his head.
He gave her nape a stroke, fingers and thumb coming together at her spine, that made her suck in a shaky breath. “Let’s go.” He reached into his pocket and took out some money, then pushed his chair back without releasing her. He held out his free hand.
If she took it… She tipped her head back to meet his gaze, unsurprised to see the heat flare in his eyes. Gathering her courage, she put her hand in his.
Rory pulled her to her feet, and into his arms.
She knew this was a mistake.
His hand slid down from her nape to the small of her back and settled, while his eyes darkened. “Come, love ,” he said softly after a moment, his hand slipping away from her spine, though he kept his other hand wrapped tight around hers.
And she let him. Just for a minute.
Or until they got outside.
Or maybe, she thought when they stepped out into the warm evening, until they got to her car.
His hard fingers were relaxed around hers, but she knew if she tried to withdraw, they’d tighten quickly, like a trap on a rabbit.
She had no intention of withdrawing her hand from his. She wanted just this little while. This moment would have to hold her for a very long time again.

_______________

Hope you all have a great week!

 

 

Evidently my snow from earlier in the week is all I’m getting this year, as it’s warmed up so much that there are huge patches of grass and much smaller patches of snow in the yard.  There are miniature daffodils in the side bed that are on the verge of blooming in spite of the snow.

( Photo credit: Derek N Winterburn via Foter.com / CC BY-ND )

So instead of wishing we’d had a better winter, a more wintry winter, I’ve moved on, I surrender to the inevitable .  I do love spring, with all the flowers, including tulips, which are my very favorite, and the lilacs that smell so wonderful.  And for me, the change of season this year is a fresh start, kind of like the new year, with revised writing goals since my original goals for the year didn’t include finding a new home for Hunting Medusa.

Do you take the chance to start fresh when the seasons change?  Setting new goals for the new season?

Before I head back to my writing, I have a little snippet of the first tiger shifter for you.

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Tessa wasn’t sure if she should be scared or not when he guided the car into the family compound a little later. Back to the house. She hadn’t thought this far.
She couldn’t do that.
Not after everyone in the house had watched them leave together.
She shut her eyes. Her body hummed, too hot, too aware. Harley hadn’t stopped touching her, whether he was brushing his fingers over hers, or settling his heavy hand on her knee or her thigh.
The car stopped moving and shut off, and she realized he’d just driven to the guest house. Far enough away from his family to be alone. No audience.
“Don’t move.” He released her knee.
Like her legs would hold her up to go anywhere. She opened her eyes slowly, inhaling deeply to try to calm her pulse a bit.
Then her door opened, and Harley’s hand caught her wrist.
Her heart beat faster again. She met his gaze and couldn’t look away.
The heat in his golden eyes stole her breath.
“Those shoes are very pretty,” he said, his voice a low rumble, “but it’s a shame you can’t run in them.” He pulled her out of the car and into his arms. He scooped her up against his chest, and she braced herself with one hand on his shoulder. “But we’ve waited long enough.” He kicked the door shut and strode to the house.
Tessa swallowed.

She was really doing this.
Harley.
He carried her inside, never stopping until they reached the master suite at the back of the house, and then he set her on her feet.
She realized she was breathing much too quickly, that her pulse thumped crazily in her ears. And excitement pumped through her with every beat of her heart.
Harley turned on the light beside them, then yanked the blankets down on his way around the bed to turn on the light on the opposite night stand, too.
Then he faced her, smiling. And shrugged out of his blazer.
She heard it swish to the floor behind him.
Then he started undoing the buttons on the front of his shirt, watching her instead of what he was doing. “Take off your dress, Tessa.”
Her mouth went dry. Her knees knocked. Holy shit.
He held her gaze as he unbuttoned his shirt the rest of the way, baring more of his wide, tawny chest. “You like what you see?” He grinned at her, shrugging out of the shirt and dropping it carelessly to the floor, too. “I know you do. I can see your pulse racing there, in the hollow of your throat. You’d better get that pretty dress off, or it’s going to get torn.”

His conversational tone made her panties even wetter as her brain flashed images of him carrying out the sexy threat.
“Tessa.” His tone remained even, but the heat in his eyes flared hotter. “Take it off. Now.”
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( Photo credit: azjeepmusclestud via Foter.com / CC BY-ND )

That is a fair representation of Harley in that scene, I think.

On that note, have a good week!

 

 

 

Since last week, the weather forecasters have been talking about this huge snowstorm headed our way, and how we would be getting a massive amount of snow.  When I went to bed late last night, we were still supposed to have about a foot of snow on the ground by morning, with another 8-12″ still to come.  Ha!  When my boss texted me early this morning to say the office was closed, it was sleeting, and it continued to sleet for about four more hours before changing back over to snow.  The sun has been out a couple of times now, though it is snowing again, lightly.  This is my ‘snowstorm’ accumulation…

Not all that impressive.  I think if it hadn’t changed to sleet early this morning, we might be a lot closer to where the forecast promised we would be by this afternoon.  Oh well.  I think this is all the snow I’m getting this year.

On the other hand, even though my snowstorm was a bust, the extra paid day off has been good for doing some necessary clearing out, and even some writing, which I’m aiming to get back to soon.

I need to redo my goals list for the year, too, though that will wait till the weekend, because it’s going to be a pretty massive redo, since my original list didn’t involve figuring out what to do with my book when my publisher went out of business.  I still haven’t made up my mind if I will head into the big, scary world of self-publishing to re-release Hunting Medusa, or if I will see if another publisher may be interested in it and the two other books in the trilogy.   Either is nerve-wracking.

But today, I am working on my tiger shifter.  He’s not ready yet for public consumption, but I have a snippet from the second tiger shifter story I think might be suitable for a cold, snowy March afternoon.

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Then his pale blue gaze swung back to her face, and she couldn’t look away.
Holy hotness!
Even though she couldn’t pull her gaze away from his sky-blue eyes, she still noticed his rumpled white-blond hair brushed back from his face, the sharp angles of his cheekbones, and the width of his shoulders beneath a red polo shirt.
Wowza.
Vivi swallowed and dragged her gaze away finally. It landed on her drink, and she picked it up, taking a sip to wet her dry lips.
A tiger.
She needed to get away before her hormones got any happier. She put the glass down on the bar and sat back in her seat.
“Don’t let me chase you away,” the blonde said, his voice a low rumble that made her stomach clench.
She glanced toward him, but didn’t meet his eyes. “You’re not. I’ve just had a long day, and it’s time to go.”
“Without any supper?” He turned on his stool a little to face her.
Oh Gods. Vivi couldn’t help the flush burning her cheeks. The red shirt stretched over a broad, muscled chest, and it took her a few seconds to force her gaze up to his.
At least his mouth wasn’t curved in a smirk. Though if he’d been smirking or appeared as if he knew exactly what was going on in her head, she’d have found it easier to get off of the stool. “I didn’t actually come in for supper, just a drink with a friend.” She inched to her right.
“Have dinner with me.”
She froze. “What makes you think I’d be a good dinner companion?” she asked after a second.
His mouth relaxed a little, as if he might be on the verge of a smile. “Just a hunch. I’m sure you’re a far better dinner companion than I am. Sorry I bothered you.” He picked up his glass and took a sip of the golden liquid in it.
Vivi studied his profile for a few moments. There was something familiar about it. And something very appealing about him, aside from the face. Especially that, aside from not pushing her to stay, there was something lonely about him. “You know, telling a woman what a terrible date you are isn’t really the right approach. Probably going to bring your success rate down a little.”
He finally smiled, a slow, wide grin that revealed dimples.
Gods, she was a sucker for dimples, dammit.
He met her gaze again and stuck out his right hand. “I’m Boris.”
“Vivi.” She tamped down the little voice in the back of her head shrieking this was a Bad Idea. When his warm fingers wrapped around her hand, she shivered.
“Vivi, would you have dinner with me? You can give me some pointers on how this should work.”
“What the hell.” She was certain she’d regret this later, but it had been a long time…

_______________

I do love Boris, and when I started the first shifter story, I didn’t realize he would be getting one, too.  After all, he was married.  Then his wife turned into a selfish dirtbag and left him and their kids.  Poor Boris.  And lucky Vivi.  Eventually.

Now, I’m heading back to shifter #4, and then maybe making some grilled cheese sandwiches for supper before I write some more.

 

 

 

It was a busy weekend, so I am late.  I know it, and I’m sorry.

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

It’s been a rough week here.  I keep thinking that things should settle down, that some of the people in my life who have had bad news should start getting better soon.  So far, not so much.

I had been making pretty good progress on the fourth shifter manuscript in the past week, in spite of all of the distractions and worries.  Even with a few really busy days at work.

But I’m determined to get that forward motion back tomorrow, even if I have to shove all the worry and distraction into a tiny box and lock it in the back of my mind.  Even if it’s only for fifteen minutes.  At least to start.  I can work back up to where I was, and I will.

I do love this shifter hero, too.  He is damaged, and he is protective of the heroine, from the first time they meet, and he is so hot.  Boy, is he hot.  I may do some re-reading tomorrow, just because.  The weather-guessers are saying we might get some snow later this week, which means I will have plenty of time to stay in and dig back into the story.  And then a shiny new blog post as well.  Hopefully one where I can say I’m back to being actually productive again.

Until then, I hope the rest of your week is wonderful!

 

 

 

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

I want to say it’s been a good week.  The beginning sure wasn’t, but the end was much better.  I’ve told you that I have a couple of sick family members, and I have a couple of friends who are going through some very difficult things now as well.  These things take up a lot of space in my thoughts these days, but I am trying not to worry so much about things I cannot control.  So when I have time to write, I am writing.  or editing, depending on the situation.  Today is for both.  Also, I’m watching a strange little movie called The Lovers with Josh Hartnett right now, while I write my blog post for the week.  I’m not in love with the story, but since I’ve invested so much time in it, I have to watch to the end now.  Plus, there is the eye-candy.  But if you haven’t watched it, I’d say even for the eye-candy, find a different movie to watch.  Or maybe re-watch Penny Dreadful instead, if Josh is your eye-candy of choice.

I’m wondering how other people manage to keep working and finding inspiration when there are so many bad things going on around them.  Some days, it’s really difficult not to worry, let alone how to summon up any creativity.  My brain is too full some days, which means I might only get a little work done, not the bigger chunks I hope for.

I think the inside of my brain some days looks like this…

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

Now imagine that tangle is moving, about five hundred miles an hour.  That is what my brain feels like some days.  How do you untangle that?  Or at least slow it down when you need to stop thinking so hard about one thing and redirect your brain to something else?   I can do it when I’m reading a great story, tune everything else out.  But with everything that’s been going on since last summer here, I’m finding it more of a challenge to do it otherwise.  But I am still making progress, which is a good thing, though it’s slower than I want.

So, while I go back to rewrites on tiger shifter #1, maybe a little snippet of story for you.

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Of the cats, only the tiger remained.
Smiling, she went inside to visit with him, but he was napping in the far corner of his cage, so instead, she headed for her office and collected her purse. She could get home without having to call for an escort. It was bad enough Joe had dragged himself out of bed early that morning to follow her to work. She didn’t want to get him back out of bed now.
Convinced, she climbed into her car and steered toward home.
It wasn’t until she was about fifteen minutes from the house that she realized the car behind her had been there for a while. She tried to brush away the concern, but her pulse quickened anyway. Stupid. She was just being paranoid, thanks to all this time with Harley and Boris trailing her back and forth.
Except the car got closer when she turned onto the next road.
Tessa frowned in the rearview mirror. “Are you kidding me?” She pressed her foot harder on the accelerator. The car behind her sped up, too. “Dammit.” There was no talking herself out of this now. She steered the car away from home when she got to the next intersection, doubling back in the opposite direction–toward India’s.

The other car kept pace with her, even on the twisting, windy portions of the road. But when she steered onto the route that led to the Wentworths’, the other driver must have finally realized her destination–he sped up again, coming closer and closer to her back bumper.
Tessa’s heart already beat too fast, but now it pumped so hard, her ribs hurt. She accelerated a little more. Then more.
The other car kept pace, even drew nearer.

Her mouth went dry. “Stupid ass,” she muttered.
When he bumped her, her heart stopped beating for a long, painful moment. The car shuddered a little, slipping before regaining traction. She pressed harder on the gas. Almost there–the gate at the end of the drive was just coming into view.
He hit her harder the second time, making the back end of the car swing out to the side, raising dust and gravel on the shoulder of the road.
Tessa realized she’d screamed even as she fought to make the car go where she wanted it to go. When she had it back on the road, she jammed her foot on the gas.

_______________

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

See you next week!

 

I’m still wrapping my head around knowing that in a little over a week, my first book won’t be out in the world anymore.  At least until I figure out what to do with it and its two follow-up stories. I’m still thinking about that, and when I have made a decision and a plan, I’ll be sure to let you know.

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

In the meantime, I’m still working on my shifters, both rewriting the first book (again; I’ve almost reached the point where I hate the characters and the story, so I must be getting close to where it should be, at last!), and scribbling every day  on the fourth book (for a character I had not intended to write a book for, but he kept coming back to me, all broody and hot).

We’ve been having really ridiculously unseasonable weather here in PA this winter, but I’m still holding out hope that we might get a good snowstorm before this is all over.  It’s only February, and we’ve had snow much later than this in our neck of the woods.  I’m going to cross my fingers we get it.

And, while I go back to working on tiger shifter #4 and his winter story, I’ve go a little snippet from Hunting Medusa to share with you.  If you’ve wanted to get a copy, you only have about a week to do that before Samhain closes its doors forever.

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She glanced at him. “I’m fine. You should get some sleep while you can.”
He sighed, but didn’t reply.
She knew he didn’t sleep, though. Not for a long, long time. She stared out into the dark, trying not to think of the things he’d said to her. The accusation he’d made about her family earlier. That one hurt. The other declaration scared the hell out of her.
It also made her heart beat faster with pleasure.
That was not a good thing. She couldn’t have a man in love with her who intended to kill her.
Then again, that same man had also promised he’d die to protect her. He’d already lied to his family to keep her safe.
Kallan Tassos was a lot more complicated than she would have guessed.
Hours later, her brain had simply given up on trying to figure out the tangled mess of her life when she felt his hand on her shoulder. “My turn.”
She didn’t argue this time, getting slowly to her feet and stretching. He kissed the top of her head.

“Get some sleep, meli. I’ll keep watch.” His hand slid down her back, and he nudged her toward the sleeping bag.
Andi kicked off her boots and rolled into the blankets, which were still warm from his body. She inhaled deeply, his scent making her smile a little. He smelled good. She fell asleep thinking that.
When she woke, there was faint light outlining the cave opening where Kallan stood, every muscle tense.
“Is he coming?” She threw back the blankets and grabbed her boots.

“He’s somewhere on the mountain. And he’s got company.” He glanced over his shoulder at her, but it was still too dark to see his expression.
Her heart pounded crazily in her chest, making it hard to breathe evenly. She fumbled with the laces on her boots for a few seconds, then got to her feet. “How long?”
“If they follow our trail from yesterday, five hours or so. If they follow Stavros’s eye for magic, much less.” He moved away from the entrance. “Either way, we need to be gone long before he finds this place.”
She nodded, folding blankets with trembling hands.
“Andrea.” He caught her wrists as she wrestled the sleeping bag into submission.
She looked up and found his eyes dark with concern, but his jaw hard with determination.
“We’ll be fine.”
She swallowed and nodded. “Okay.” She had to trust him on this—that he would get her to safety and not hand her over to his cousin who wouldn’t care if they got the amulet or not before he wiped her off the face of the earth.
After all, he hadn’t killed her over the past few days when it would have been extremely easy.

She paused in her folding at that thought.
The Harvester hadn’t killed her.

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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…

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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.

_______________

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.

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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!

 

 

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( Photo credit: Kelly Colgan Azar via Foter.com / CC BY-ND )

We have a pair of foxes that wander in and around our development.  I’ve seen them nearby recently, but not in the back yard lately, and not this close.  Of course, I have been putting in some extra hours at the day-job this week.  Probably next week, too.  But I have still been getting in ‘book time’.  Maybe not much, but still writing daily as I plan to do all year.  And working on revising the first shifter.  I’ll be working on that all day tomorrow.  Today was more overtime at the day-job, though, so not as much writing work as I would have liked.  But I’ll make up for it.  Also on my schedule for tomorrow:  figuring out if I’m all set for the big Valentine’s Day booksigning next month.

I found an interesting new-to-me show:  River.  The detective who is the main character talks to people who aren’t actually there, and he’s trying to figure out who murdered his partner.  Interesting story, but it looks like there was only one season, so I’m afraid I’ll be sad when this one comes to an end.  Tonight, though, I’m sneaking in one more viewing of Love Actually.  Yes, I know I watched it about ten times last month.  but it always makes me feel better, and with some of the awful things I’ve been seeing in the news, who doesn’t need to feel better?  My husband might be making fun of me, but I don’t care.  I love the stories and the characters.  I’m one of those people who will recite dialogue along with the characters (which my sons and sometimes my husband really hate–my kids won’t watch Princess Bride, or Robin Hood Men in Tights, or most of the Harry Potter movies with me), and there are whole sections of this that I have to do just that.  And of course, I’ll be crying by the end of it, but happy, satisfied crying.  Plus all this romance will get my brain into romance-writing mode again for tomorrow.

What do you do to get your mind-set into work-mode?  Jog around the block?  Take a long, hot shower?  Eat chocolate?

And while I’m finishing my inspirational movie viewing, how about a little snippet from Hunting Medusa?

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Silence greeted him, and he took that as a good sign. No creaking came from upstairs, as there would be if she’d wakened. Good. Nevertheless, he stepped inside cautiously, listening hard. He took another step after a few heartbeats, trying to remember just where the kitchen table and chairs stood from his limited view the day before.
He made it past the furniture and paused to listen again. Still nothing. He frowned. With the power off, the house was too quiet. Surely the sudden and complete silence would wake her, even if she hadn’t heard the brief noise of the alarm shutting down. He slid one foot forward on the smooth wooden floor, and suddenly she was there. Fiery pain shot up his left arm. He grunted, realized she’d stabbed him deeply. He swung his other hand up, managing to hit her on the side of the head.
She cried out but didn’t go down, swinging her blade again. He caught her wrist, but she managed to get another slice to his already-injured forearm before he yanked her arm behind her.
Her booted foot connected with his knee—hard—and he bit back a string of curses at the pain, but didn’t let her go. Why wasn’t she barefoot? If she’d been sleeping, she should be barefoot. His left arm was nearly useless, blood pumping steadily from his wounds, so he crowded her up against the nearest surface. The refrigerator. He shoved hard, hearing her moan when he twisted her arm a little more.
Her blade hit the floor between them. She kicked backward again, and her foot hit his knee from the other side this time.
“Dammit,” he muttered, flattening her between his body and the appliance’s cool metal surface. His arm burned, warm blood dripping from his fingers.
“Get off me, you murdering bastard,” she said, her words slurred slightly from her face being mashed into the refrigerator.
“Well now, that’s not very nice. Especially since I’ve never murdered anyone. Yet,” he added darkly, tightening his grip on her wrist. The bones in her arm were fragile and he was fully aware he could crush them, render her arm as useless as she had his. But he didn’t. He wasn’t Stavros.
“You’re not going to start with me, either, Harvester.”

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

So, back to inspiration–how do you get yourself inspired?