Tag Archive: Thanksgiving


It’s the start of Thanksgiving week here in the U.S. Along with my normal weekend chores today, I started the bread bake for this week–I normally bake the bread we use for stuffing the turkey. Today the first loaf is done and cooling in the kitchen, and it smells really good. The other two will have to wait until Wednesday, when I’m off from the day-job so I can do kitchen things.

There are a lot of things I am thankful for, there always are. Just today, I can think of plenty. My family is healthy. We’re all well-fed. We have roofs over our heads, and jobs to keep us that way. My washer and dryer work, so all of the week’s laundry is just about finished at last. My bread machine still works after nearly twenty years (and me finding out, accidentally, today that the lid is removable, though it does now have a couple nicks in it), and makes scrumptious bread for us. I have a roomful of books to read. I still have time off to schedule at the day-job before the end of the year. The great 80s music that is playing from downstairs right now. I had an idea for a new story (or several stories?). So many things.

Before I go back to my Thanksgiving prep list to make sure I don’t miss anything this week, I have a little story snippet to share with you, from the fourth story in my shifter series.

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Laney looked like she might cry.

Anton tamped down the urge to smile.

“Oh,” she said after a few seconds, “you really shouldn’t have, Lareina.”

“Nonsense.” His aunt hugged her tight with one arm. “You’re family now. And they’ll look much better on you than sitting in a locked box.”

Laney’s gaze flicked to his, and he grinned at her.

“Put them on, dear.” His aunt winked at him. “Let’s see.”

Reluctantly, Laney took the earrings out of the box and fumbled them on.

“Perfect,” Lareina said firmly.

Laney murmured another thank-you, but he’d bet she was wishing for a way out.

“And they’ll go with Mom’s necklace,” he said helpfully.

Laney shot him a drop-dead look, which he ignored, crossing to sit on the arm of the loveseat beside her. He brushed her hair back to see the platinum and emerald dangling from her ear. “Very pretty.” He leaned down and feathered a kiss at her temple.

Exhaling a long breath, she turned to his aunt. “They’re lovely.”

Anton rubbed his hand in a small circle between her shoulder blades, feeling a little of the tension ease.

His aunt patted her knee. “Why don’t I refill your glass? I need to check the bread anyway.”

He waited until Lareina had bustled away with Laney’s half-empty wineglass, then he claimed the spot beside his mate. “What’s wrong?”

She met his gaze, then dropped hers after a moment. “It’s too much.”

He dragged in a slow breath. “It’s family.”

She swallowed. “But I’m–”

“My mate,” he said firmly, and her gaze snapped back up to his.

She clamped her teeth on her lower lip.

Anton set one hand at the back of her neck and leaned closer. “Merry Christmas, Laney,” he whispered.

She shut her eyes, but not before he caught a glimpse of tears.

Anton kissed her lightly, wondering if she would kiss him back. She did, but only for a moment then leaned away, blushing. He touched her jaw, holding her shiny gaze. “You okay?”

She nodded once, swallowing.

“It’s a lot,” he mused, “all of them.”

Laney shrugged, looking away. “Not so bad. There was always a houseful when I was at home.”

Of course. “How did you spend the last two Christmases?”

She nibbled at her lower lip for a second. “I worked the first one, and last year I spent the day at a homeless shelter, serving dinner. Less lonely, plus I got to remind myself things really weren’t so bad for me.” She shrugged once more.

Anton wished again that he’d done more damage to Shepley the other night. He wrapped one arm around her shoulders and pulled her closer.

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Now I’ve got to finish this list so I can get some writing done before I call it a day! What are you thankful for this week?

 

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The picture above is one I took at my dad’s a few years ago in the fall.  It was slightly earlier than November, but right now here, we have some trees that are still holding onto green leaves, some that are totally bare (thanks to a fall storm system the past two days), and some with a few fall colors holding on, kind of like in that photo.  And it’s chilly here today, though not as cold as yesterday, when the wind was blowing non-stop and the actual high temperature was about forty degrees, so there was wind-chill to factor in, too.

It’s a good day to stay inside. For some, that means chores. I did those yesterday after I finished my errands, so I would have today to write. The trouble is, there are always more chores. Plus I have to figure out what we’re going to be eating for Thanksgiving dinner in a week and a half, because my schedule at the day-job is going to be pretty crazy the next ten days. Of course there’ll be turkey and stuffing (I’ll make the sage and onion bread for that myself), mashed potatoes and gravy, corn pudding, and homemade cranberry sauce…all of our usuals. But I still have to figure out a dessert (no pumpkin pie!), a dinner bread, and maybe a fish dish for me since I don’t eat turkey anymore. We’ll see how things go next weekend–I’ll probably be working at least one day next weekend to get through the beginning of Thanksgiving week a little easier, so that will limit what I can accomplish besides laundry so we have clean clothes for work. If you have ideas for dessert, I’d love to hear them.

Now I’m going to dive back into my novella. My normal write-before-work-starts and lunchtime writing sessions have gone by the wayside the last week or so. I was lucky to be able to get to eat anything at all nearly every day last week, and I’m not counting on too many lunch breaks in the next seven days at the day-job either. Before I go, I have a little snippet to share with you from Hunting Medusa.

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Slowly, Andi walked back down the hallway until she reached the end. The door was glossy, dark wood, and she touched it lightly before putting the key into the lock. It took a little effort to get it to turn, and then she swung the door open onto a big, bright room dominated by an enormous bed.

She blushed.

“Hey.” Kallan’s greeting was soft, but still made her jump. “Nice.”

She stepped aside so he could carry in their suitcase and backpacks.

He dropped them in front of the open closet and pushed the room door shut, then latched it and fastened the chain. “Now, let’s see.” He turned back to her, his eyes bright with intent.

Andi stood on the spot, part of her wanting to run from the overwhelming need rushing through her, and the other part wanting to let him have his way with her.

She’d been reading too many of the older, early romance novels, if she was having thoughts like that, she mused, hearing her pulse pound in her ears. No one said things like “have his way with her”.

But she thought she might like it if he did.

“Are you tired?”

She thought about it. “Yes. And no.”

His lips curved slightly. “Really?”

“Thank you.” Before her brain was useless, she needed to remind herself of one more thing.

He tilted his head. “For what?”

“For reminding me who I am here.”

His expression cleared. “It would have been really hard to explain to that lovely old lady why the name on your passport doesn’t match the name you gave her.” He smiled, squaring his shoulders. “Did you want to take that walk on the shore now?”

She shook her head. “No. Let’s go to bed.” Her tone was husky, even to her own ears, and his eyes darkened in response.

“So you are tired, after all.” He tugged his shirt free of his jeans, whipped it over his head and took a step toward her.

Her gaze slid down over his chest, lingering, then back up to his face. “Not exactly.” She yanked off her own shirt, gratified to see his stunned expression when the garment went flying across the room. She took a step toward him then, and it was his turn to swallow, hard.

She put her hands on his chest, skimmed lightly over the muscles there, before detouring to his sides, then up to his shoulders.

“Andrea.”

She smiled. “Yes, Kallan?”

His throat worked, and she heard his breath catch when she rubbed her palms down over his hard little nipples. “What are you doing?”

“Touching.” She stretched up to drift a kiss on his parted lips, then dragged her open mouth along his stubbled jaw to his throat. Under her hands, his heart pounded faster. “Tasting.” She nipped at his shoulder next, then flicked her tongue over the same spot.

His breathing went ragged.

“Are you tired, Kallan?” She leaned closer to press her aching breasts against his chest, and stifled a sigh of relief.

He captured her waist and lifted her to him, his mouth demanding when it caught hers. Along her belly, she felt his arousal, hard and hot. Her own body echoed the latter, dampening her panties.

She slid one arm around his neck, tangling her fingers in his loose hair while the kiss went on and on.

Agaph,” he rasped against her lips.

In reply, she wrapped her legs around his waist, making him groan when she rocked into him. “Tell me what that means,” she breathed.

“Love.” One of his hands slid down under her, holding her more securely. Temptingly close to where she wanted him to touch, but not near enough.

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I hope you’re all staying toasty on this chilly November day. I may make some soup again today. Probably not pumpkin, though that looks really good, doesn’t it?

If you have dessert ideas for Thanksgiving, I’d love to hear them. Hope you all have a great week!

 

 

 

 

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!

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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!

 

 

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That was here a couple of Novembers ago.  The moon coming up outside right now isn’t quite that full yet.  But it still makes me happy when I look out the window and see it hanging there, fatter than a crescent, but nowhere near full quite yet.

I got quite a lot of writing done today, between loads of laundry.  So I won’t feel bad about quitting for the night and then watching The Walking Dead a little later.  I won’t say I’m thankful that the new season has started, since I haven’t enjoyed the first two episodes.  I’m hoping tonight is better.

It’s time to start thinking about all the things we’re thankful for–here in the U.S, Thanksgiving is just a few weeks away.  I try to be thankful all the time, though some days I need to remind myself of that.

Today, I’m thankful for all the new words I got in my WIP.  And that the spicy chicken noodle soup I had for supper seems to have gotten rid of the beginning-of-the-cold-tickle in my sinuses.  What are you thankful for today?

The heroine in my current WIP is thankful for a few things so far in the story, including the hero’s appearance, just when she needed a hand.  I think I’ll give you a little taste of this one.

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Laney didn’t ignore the prickle of sudden awareness at the back of her neck, but she didn’t react either.
Too many people.
She just kept smiling at Mrs. Wells, who could talk all day about her grandchildren.
Damn. Laney’s awareness of being watched grew stronger. She wanted to look around to see who it was, but she resisted the urge. No need to alert whoever it was.
“Oh, dear, you’ve let me ramble on too long,” Mrs. Wells said a few moments later, reaching out to pat her arm. “You finish your shopping. I’m sure I’ll see you soon.”
Laney murmured the right things, while her instincts screamed at her to flee. Far and fast.
She tamped that down and tightened her grip on her shopping bag. She certainly couldn’t leave the mall while she was being watched. Instead she walked down the mall as if she was in no hurry.

Edwin Shepley and his thugs could go straight to hell.

She meandered through the next department store for half an hour, but there were so many people milling around, she couldn’t tell which one was following her. She just knew they were still there.
She headed into a lingerie store next, and the awareness dampened just a little. So he was afraid of standing out in the lingerie store. Good. Laney stopped at a display of pajamas that gave her a sidelong view into the mall.
There you are, you bastard.
A barrel-chested man with straggly blond hair paced in the center of the mall, right beside a skin care stand. He kept sneaking glances into the lingerie store, but avoiding looking directly at her.
She rifled through the pajamas in front of her. He might be big, but that didn’t mean he was dumb. She’d have to figure something out.

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

So what are you thankful for this week?