Tag Archive: to do list

( Photo by MobilFunk7 on Foter.com / CC BY )

Here we go again.

I expected the past week to be smooth sailing after we got through our busy day on Tuesday at the day-job. I had a vacation day planned for Friday so I could have a long weekend (haven’t had one of those in months!). I had plans for the weekend. And then we had a major schedule shift at the day-job, which basically accelerated two weeks’ worth of work into five days. Yikes! I could have still taken my vacation day Friday, but I would have felt really bad about it, since Friday is one of two busy days in this five day stretch, and I hate leaving my work for others, even though we work as a team, so I rescheduled my day off for the next week.

We made it through Friday, smoother sailing than we expected, which was great. I still had some weekend goals–one errand I had planned on, the usual household chores, writing, all the usual things.  Then my one errand turned into most of Saturday, with three people to meet at different times, instead of one meeting. Needless to say, no chores got done yesterday.  But I am glad to have gotten the meetings out of the way. Not so glad to have to try to cram as much as possible into today, including one more unplanned but necessary errand, but I’m doing the best I can. Not everything is going to get done today, but some of the important chores–laundry, taxes–are checked off my list. I also feel like I’m getting a head-cold–you know that icky feeling you get when it’s just getting started, the itch in your sinuses and throat–so I’ve been popping vitamin C, chugging orange juice and tea. I’m about to put some leftover curry in the microwave and may add some more hot oil to it, just because I want to head off this ick so I can make it through the next four very accelerated days at the day-job without having to also deal with being sick. I just keep thinking, ‘I don’t have time for that.’ I know no one has time to be sick, and there is never a good time for it, but this is definitely not the week.  Besides the crazy work schedule, we have concert tickets one evening (in the middle of the work-crazy, of course), and a couple other appointments.

The upside is that I’ll have Friday off, so I’ll get my three-day weekend in this week.  I am not going to try to ‘catch up’ on the things I missed this weekend.  I am hoping to spend one of those three days doing nothing but reading and writing. That isn’t too unreasonable. I’ll still have the regular weekly things to do, and possibly by the weekend other things will pop up, but those are my aims for the weekend.

Now, though, I am heading off to get some writing time in.  Before I do, I have a little snippet from Hunting Medusa to share with you.


Kallan Tassos sat at the foot of the mountain, tapping his fingers on the steering wheel of the rented truck. Getting to the Medusa had been a lot easier than he’d been led to believe. He wondered why.

She was also a lot prettier than he’d imagined.

Sure, he knew the original Medusa had been so beautiful and confident she’d angered a Goddess. But this one wasn’t what he’d expected. She had short, dark hair framing very expressive blue eyes. Somehow he’d imagined long, blonde hair for a woman whose hair turned into snakes. And cold eyes like those very reptiles. Maybe not with a mouth that made him wonder how she’d taste.

He frowned, tapping his fingers faster on the wheel. Someone had left out a lot of details in the legends. Or the reality had changed much in the generations since the last Harvester had done his duty in killing the monstrous Medusa.

He shook his head. No, his imagination was simply working overtime. And when he got home to Baltimore—or even when he went to Greece to visit Uncle Ari at the family’s ancestral home—he needed to find a willing woman, as it had clearly been too long if he was finding his quarry so attractive.

When his phone rang, he hesitated for a second at the name on the tiny screen. He finally thumbed the button after the third ring. “Stavros.”

“I hear you may have a promising lead. It is past time one of us killed this monster.” His cousin’s everyday accent thickened when he was excited, and judging by the way Greece flavored his words, he believed they were getting close.

“I’m sure one of us will,” Kallan said mildly, drumming his fingers on his knee.

“I keep imagining taking her head after all this time. Perhaps before I do, I can make her pay a little for her family’s existence.”

Kallan frowned. Stavros didn’t care who knew about his penchant for cruelty.

“Where are you now?”

Again he hesitated. He rarely lied, and never to his family. “Oklahoma. I’ve found some information on a young woman closely related to the last Medusa that perfectly fits our profile.” He didn’t feel bad about the lie, since he knew his cousin would be there within twenty-four hours if he told him where he really was and that he’d found the Medusa.

“Where are you heading?”

“Northeast.” He hoped Stavros would be satisfied with the vague answer for now. But he didn’t want his cousin breathing down his neck. Stavros had a vicious streak miles wide, had ever since they were children and just beginning to explore and use their individual talents in their hunt for the Medusa. Kallan could undo any lock with just a touch. Stavros could sense and undo any magical spell he found in his path. When they were teenagers, Kallan had seen him use his magical skill to kill innocent animals just because they were nearby. On occasion, he’d used any handy weapon or his bare hands, simply because he could. Kallan knew Stravros’s cruelty had intensified in recent years based on things not only Stavros had mentioned, but whispers from his other cousins. While he knew as well as everyone else in his family the sort of monster the Medusa was, he didn’t think it necessary to make her suffer the way Stavros would. Especially now that he’d met her.

“Ah. Well, I wish you luck in your hunt, Cousin. Goddess bless our quest.”

He repeated the mantra, then thumbed off the phone, thinking. Hopefully his cousin would take the lack of a specific answer to mean Kallan was simply searching and not really onto a solid lead. That would keep Stavros on his own hunt and out of Kallan’s way.

He smiled grimly, turning the key in the ignition. Now he had plans to finalize. Supplies to purchase. He put the truck in gear and steered the vehicle back toward Ellsworth.

Now that he’d found her, the Medusa would die by his hand.


What does your week ahead look like? Crazy-busy? Or maybe a little down-time? I’d love to know!



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

This past week felt more like a normal week, though after Wednesday, I wasn’t nearly busy enough at the day-job. But I have projects to work on, there and at home. Like prepping for a few crazy-busy weeks coming up there, and writing and photo-scanning here at home.  We have a few big things left to wrap up with my aunt’s estate before I feel like I can relax.  Who knew settling an estate could take so long? (Don’t tell me if you did, I just wish I had known before now!)

So I have been making progress with the fifth (final??) shifter story when I’ve been on breaks at work. I had intended to write only three of them, with this hero being the last, but then one of his siblings needed a story, and one of his cousins.  I hesitate now to say this will be the last one, since I had other plans when I started writing the first one.  But at the moment, anyway, Joe will be the last of my shifters.  I need to revisit the first stories in the series, though, before I can do anything with them–one of the perils of not plotting before you write a book is that sometimes you get a few stories in and realize something that needs to happen earlier in the series. Too bad my brain doesn’t work the way it would need to for me to plot out my stories before I write them. I’ve only pulled that off once, with a synopsis worksheet from a writer-friend of mine. But mostly my brain just needs to tell the story as it goes, not figure it out beforehand, and I’m okay with that.

Since the first part of my year hasn’t gone according to plan (when does it ever?), I’ve dug out my writing goals for the year so I can make use of some of that wiggle room I built in to try to rearrange things so I can still accomplish some of the things I wanted to accomplish this year. One of the top priorities is my Medusa trilogy–re-releasing the first book and then sending the other two books out into the world, hopefully still later this year.

Right now, I’m about to go back to hot Joe the tiger shifter, but I think this week I’m going to share a little of the first Medusa with you.  I know some of you have read it, but a lot of you have not.  I hope you enjoy.


Andrea rested her head on her folded arms on the kitchen table, only half listening to Kallan typing on his keyboard. She didn’t want to die just yet. She knew for sure she didn’t want to be mutilated before she died.

But she didn’t look forward to killing the Harvester either.

She never should have had sex with him. She knew it. She’d known it beforehand.

And she should definitely not still want him.

When the phone rang, it was a relief. For a few seconds. Until she realized it was Thalia. “My cousin.” She didn’t think she needed to explain her mental caller I.D. to him.

Kallan held her gaze for a long moment. “Don’t try to let her know what’s going on,” he said at last. “I know where a lot of your cousins are located, and I’m not the only one.”

Her heart pounded harder at the implication, but she got to her feet and picked up the receiver. “Hello, Thalia. How are you?”

“I’m fine, Andi, but I think you need to get away for a while.”

She frowned, feeling Kallan’s presence behind her. Close behind her. Close enough to hear her conversation. “What do you mean?” His body heat teased her.

“The Harvesters are out and about. I’m afraid for you.”

Andi shut her eyes for a second, then opened them again when he put his hands on her shoulders. She shot him a glare and moved away, back toward the table. “I’m fine.”

“Please don’t ignore this, Andi. You know I’m hardly ever wrong.”

That was true. But she wondered if her cousin realized she was very often late with her flashes of intuition. Far too late in this case. “Okay. I’ll give it some thought, all right? Mom said something the other day about visiting.” Gods, had it only been two days ago? “And Aunt Lydia just called yesterday too. I could go to see either of them if anything seems odd.”

His hands settled on her shoulders again, massaging the tense muscles there.

She didn’t bother to shrug him off this time. He was persistent. “I could even come visit with you,” she teased, forcing a lightness into her tone.

Her cousin cleared her throat. “I actually have company right now,” she said after a moment, and Andi could almost see her blushing. “You remember I met someone in Athens last summer? Well, he’s come again to stay for a while.” Even over the phone, the emotion in Thalia’s voice was obvious.

One more cousin safe—none of the cousins who’d fallen in love ever had the curse land on their heads. A tiny bit of relief made her relax further under Kallan’s touch. “That’s terrific, Thalia. When do the rest of us get to meet him?”

“We’re talking dates,” the other woman said, a hint of a smile in her tone now. “I’ll be sure to let you know.”

“Good. And thanks for the warning. I miss you.”

“I miss you, too. I’ve got to go, Andi. Talk to you soon. But promise you’ll be careful. Danger is coming from more than one direction.”

She pushed the off button on the phone and shut her eyes, ignoring the slight sting in them. She was not envious of Thalia’s good fortune. She was just in an impossible situation here.

His warm breath brushed the top of her head a second before his lips. “That was good.”

She wanted to tell him to go screw himself. She wanted a weapon to swing at him. She wanted him to wrap his arms around her and carry her down onto the nearest flat surface.

Her eyes popped open. Damned hormones.

His hands slid down her sides and wrapped around her, settling her back against his chest as if he’d read her mind. She hoped he didn’t have that ability.


This reminds me–I got to keep the cover for my first Medusa, which I love.  But one of the things on my writing goals for the year is to find a cover artist for the other two books in the trilogy. Which made me wonder if I really will need a whole new cover for Hunting Medusa as well, so the three look like they belong together? What do you think? Am I going to be able to find someone to design the second and third covers so they are similar to the first one, or am I going to have to redo that one, too?



( Photo by Un ragazzo chiamato Bi on Foter.com / CC BY-SA )

The day-job has been just as busy as I expected this past week, and that will continue for the next couple of days, but I actually spent part of my weekend relaxing. Of course all the chores still had to be done, as well as work on my aunt’s estate, but I took yesterday afternoon to spend with a friend. We were way overdue, and both of us have had a crappy couple of weeks, so it was nice to just sit and talk, without having to try to figure anything out, and just hang out. Of course, we had a little wine and watched a movie full of pretty faces, which made it even nicer.  Easier to get back to chores today after that.

Today would have been my paternal grandma’s ninety-seventh birthday.  One of my aunts shared a picture earlier of my grandma with her five kids at her seventy-fifth birthday party. It was a little bit of a jolt to realize that only two of the people in the picture are still living, and more than a little sad, considering the loss of one was just a couple weeks ago.  But it led me to dig through a couple of other old pictures of my grandma, and I stumbled on one another of my aunts shared some time ago, of my grandparents when they were much younger.  The first time I saw it, I was surprised to realize I look like my grandma.  I’d never heard that from anyone when I was growing up–it was always, ‘wow, you look just like your mom’, which I did (the only difference between some of my childhood pics and my mom’s is that hers were black and white).  Evidently that changed somewhere along the way, but I’d never seen any pictures of my grandma when she was young until my aunt shared that one. As an added bonus, it included my grandpa, who died way before I was born.  Family was always a big deal when I was younger, and sometimes I miss having everyone closer, rather than spread out over most of the country.

This is just me meandering around to a story snippet to share with you, where family is also a big deal.  I debated which family to share today–Medusas or tiger shifters, and the tigers won today.  This little snippet is from the first story.

( Photo on Foter.com  )


Tessa watched India dance with one of the groomsmen. The man was good-looking, dark blond hair, green eyes, nice physique, and he was obviously interested in India.

India, on the other hand, held herself stiffly in his arms, her mouth turned down at the corners, and her gaze slid from one spot to another, never meeting his.

Tessa wondered if India missed Jon, even though she’d never have brought him along for this. All these shifters in one room, and there was bound to be a display or two of shifting. Tessa had already seen several partial Shifts. It was only a matter of time before someone Shifted completely.

Harley lifted her hand to his lips. “You’re a million miles away, honey.”

She forced a little smile. “Sorry.”

Before he could speak, Boris appeared. “Come dance with me, Tessa.” He didn’t give either of them a chance to protest, but pulled her out of her seat and onto the dance floor.

“That dress is too pretty to sit all evening,” Boris said, smiling.

She shook her head. “I was good with the sitting.”

He grinned. “You just hate the heels.”

Tessa laughed. “You’re right.”

He spun her around until she laughed again.

* * *

Harley glared daggers at his brother for several minutes, and then his father cut in. Boris flashed an “I know something you don’t know” grin before returning to his wife’s side. Marigold didn’t look like she was enjoying herself, which surprised Harley. Mari was a social butterfly, and usually at an event like this, she’d be everywhere, whether she was wanted or not. Tonight, she’d been quiet and had mostly remained in her seat. Maybe she was still sick with whatever bug she’d had earlier in the week.

Harley turned his attention back to Tessa, and he watched his father laugh at something Tessa said as they danced around the crowded floor. When his cousin Alec cut in, Harley realized he’d clenched his fists.

It was just a dance.

He repeated that to himself several times as Alec flirted with her, making her blush and laugh. When Alec leaned closer to hear her speak, Harley’d had enough. He charged through the dancers to where they swayed together. “My turn,” he growled, shoving his cousin away from her.

Tessa’s eyes rounded and her mouth dropped open before color rushed to her face.

Alec raised one eyebrow. “Really?”

“Don’t make me kick your ass in front of the whole family.” Harley gave him a hard look for a long moment before Alec looked away.

“It was nice seeing you again, Tessa,” Alec said, moving away.

Harley pulled her into his arms.

She didn’t move with him, digging her heels in. “What was that?”

“Me rescuing you from Alec.” He finally gave up trying to move her, though he knew he could–but not without attracting more attention.

“I hadn’t realized I was in need of rescue.” Her words were as stiff as her body. “There was no need to make a scene.”

He realized some of his extended family were watching them closely. Too many of them. “I didn’t like him touching you,” he said after a moment.

She frowned up at him.

“I didn’t like him flirting with you.”

Her eyes narrowed.

“Not because I don’t trust you,” he said quickly. “But because I’m discovering I’m jealous.”

Her mouth dropped open. Then pink tinted her cheeks. “Harley–”

He bent and nudged her nose with his. “I didn’t say it was rational. But it’s how I feel. You’re mine.” He brushed his lips over hers, lightly, and held his breath.

Tessa sucked in a quick breath, and her eyes went shiny with tears.

He hoped that was a good thing.


Before I go back to my writing, I have a question for you all. Is your family close, distance-wise? Or are you all spread out, too, making regular visits a challenge?



It’s been a busy week here, which is good. No time for thinking, and then exhausted by the end of the day.  But I did get a lovely present from my brother yesterday–a flash drive full of old pictures.   Some of them I remembered, some I didn’t, but most of them made me smile, at least a little, including this one.



The house where I grew up was one we rented.  It had an enormous yard, front and back, with more acreage that was wooded. There was also a giant barn, and the landlord’s horse.  I used to ride that horse with my dad quite a lot, sometimes just in the yard, but often up onto the wooded ridge beyond our yard and the horse’s fenced-in field.  Seeing this picture definitely made me smile.

I’ve also been writing.  I was actually a little surprised by that this week, but a few paragraphs in the morning before starting my workday, and then again on my lunch breaks. Another way to keep my brain busy, I suppose, but I’ll take it. I’m only about a quarter of the way into this fifth tiger shifter story, and I’d hoped to be working on revisions/rewrites on something else at this stage of the month.  Then again, that’s why I try to leave myself some wiggle room when I’m planning my writing goals every year–for the things that come up that you just can’t plan for.

So I think once I get through this crazy week and next week at the day-job, I need to revisit my writing goals for this year so I can make some tweaks. I also need to start scanning old pictures that I have–from my own albums, and from both my grandparents and my aunt, so can share those with my family, because I’m sure I have some that they don’t yet. That will be a long-term project, though, because I have a lot of photos.  I hope my scanner holds up for all of them.

For now, I am going back to my writing, but have a little snippet of Medusa #3 to share with you for the week.


Finally, Hunter sat back in his chair when he’d polished off his own lunch. “Okay. Hit me.”

She blinked at him. “What?”

“Give me your best argument.”

That wasn’t what she’d expected. She frowned again, pushing her empty plate aside and resting her forearms on the edge of the table. “I shouldn’t need to convince you,” she said after a moment. “You saw him. You heard how determined he is. And there are more just like him. Lots more.” She brushed her fingers absently over the smooth surface of the table. “My best bet right now is to hook up with one of my cousins or their husbands who’ve dealt with the Harvesters before. Then you’ll be safe.”

“That’s the best you can muster?”

Katharine glared at him, more annoyed when he just continued to smile at her. Only half a day ago, that look would have killed him. Now, it didn’t even make her feel better to know that. “I shouldn’t have to convince you that you’re unsafe as long as you’re with me.”

He shrugged. “I’m not the Medusa. They’re not interested in me.”

That was true.

She shook her head. “That doesn’t matter. My cousin Philomena, who was the Medusa before me, had Harvesters target her family to try to reach her.”

He shrugged again. “I’m not family. They have no way to connect me to you.”

“Except for the one who saw you Monday.”

“But he doesn’t know who I am. I didn’t introduce myself while I was holding him at gunpoint.”

Her pulse quickened. “That doesn’t mean he didn’t wait around to see you leave so he could follow you or try to track you down.”

Hunter shook his head. “Didn’t follow. And he definitely didn’t stick around after I made him ditch his knife.”

Her frustration level jumped up. He wasn’t understanding. Why wasn’t he understanding?

Why did it matter? She was an adult and could do what she wanted.

“Don’t even think it.” His tone was mild, but there was something in his eyes that made her hesitate.

“I am not going to stay here and put you in danger,” she said finally, working to keep the edge out of her voice. “I’m going to call my cousin and get a little advice from her husband, and then get out of your hair.”

Hunter’s smile disappeared. “No.”

She covered her face with her hands.

“I’ll talk to your cousin’s husband and see what he thinks, but you’re not going off on your own.”

She dropped her hands. “I can defend myself just fine, at least for the next four weeks,” she pointed out.

“I’m sure you can. But I’d rather keep you where I can see you.”


His expression softened a little. “I already know how to deal with this guy. And I’ve already gotten you to safety. Oh, and I have the new code to your alarm system for you, not that you can go back there.” He dug a piece of paper out of his pocket and handed it across the table.

Katharine sighed. “You’re going to be difficult about this, aren’t you?” She took the paper and unfolded it, staring blankly for a few seconds at the numbers. She swallowed, wishing her brain was functioning a little more quickly. Evidently, the residual effects of three days of painkillers hadn’t yet gone away.

“You’d better believe it.” He set one hand over hers on the table, his fingers warm. “I’m in this thing now, Kat, and you’re going to find it hard to shake me.”

That’s what she was afraid of. She looked away, her gaze catching on the fruit plate. The green of the grapes contrasted sharply with the whitish flesh of the apple slices.

“So,” he said at last, giving her fingers a squeeze, “which cousin are you calling? Didn’t you say there are two now who used to be the Medusa?”

Katharine rested her face on her other hand, shutting her eyes, then sighed. “Yes. Andi’s husband is the one who was a Harvester, and Phila’s husband owns a security firm.”


She opened her eyes to find his gaze had sharpened.


“Then I’m going to want to talk to him. I’m sure between the two of us, we can come up with something nearly foolproof to keep you safe.”

She shook her head slowly, noting the stubborn set of his jaw. “You’re serious.”

“As a heart attack.”


Before I go, I wanted to say thank you to the very kind notes after last week’s blog post. I appreciate them all, and all of you for thinking of me and my family.


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.



( Photo on Foter.com )

We’re heading into Valentine’s Day this week, so it seems like a perfect week to talk about romance, in our books and in real life. I regularly see posts on social media asking about the book that hooked someone on romance novels, and I always feel a little guilty because I don’t remember the first romance I ever read.  Other people can name their first, so why can’t I?  Probably because I was such a voracious reader when I was in school.

When I was much younger, it just about killed me to only be allowed to borrow two books at a time from the public library.  I would wind up reading them over and over during the week.  When I got to the high school (ours included grades seven through twelve), one of my favorite things was joining the library club and working in the library each week during one of my study halls for six years. Not only did I get to play in the books, but eventually, I got first dibs on anything new coming in, before it went out for anyone else to borrow.  I would go home on Friday afternoons with as many books as I could carry, and have read through most of them by the time I went back to school on Monday (at least until I was old enough for a job).  I remember the first time I read Gone With the Wind–that was one of those Friday books I borrowed, and by the time I went back to school Monday morning, I had read it twice, though I wasn’t happy with the ending.  I worked my way through most of the school library by the time I graduated, non-fiction and fiction, and every kind of fiction…classics, mysteries, romances, science fiction. You name it, I read it. I didn’t discriminate.

But we were talking about romances.  I have no idea what the first one was that I read.  My mom read them, along with lots of other books–that’s where I got my reading bug, from her and her parents–and I read a lot of her books that I wasn’t supposed to be reading at age thirteen.  Lots of steamy stories, romance and otherwise, but the romances were my favorite. I was always hooked on a happy ending.  If it didn’t end well, I wasn’t satisfied.  We had an assignment in English class around eighth or ninth grade to rewrite the ending of a classic story–mine was to rework the end of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow so Ichabod and Katrina lived happily ever after.

Did I read Kathleen Woodiwiss? Of course.  But was she first? I have no idea. Judith McNaught? Maybe.  Johanna Lindsey? Who knows? And you know what? I’m okay with that. I’ve read a lot of great romances in my life, and I know I couldn’t list them all. There are simply too many, and I enjoyed them all, no matter which one came first.

I was trying to decide if I’ve read any Valentine’s Day romances lately and having a hard time thinking of one I read recently. Which led me to wonder if I have written any yet. The answer to that is definitely not, though I do have some stories that take place over the winter.  And you know what? For today, that’s close enough for me, so I have a steamy little snippet from Medusa #2 for you.


The heavy weight of Ryder’s arm settled on her shoulder. “They’ll be fine for tonight,” he murmured near her ear.

Philomena nodded, biting her lower lip. They had to be. If anything happened to them, it was on her head.

“And I have to go.” He stepped away and picked up his own coat from the hook behind the door.

She grabbed the nearest jacket, which was too light for the brisk winter night, but she pulled it on anyway, then walked outside with him. “You’re going to be careful, aren’t you?”

“I’m always careful.” He shot her a bad boy grin that had her heart racing as they made their way along the sidewalk to the front of the house, where she saw his pick-up truck parked out front beside the mailbox now.

“Nothing can happen to you, Ryder. You have Jason to worry about.”

He kept walking.

“Are you listening to me?” She glared up at him when he came to a stop beside the truck.

He put his arm around her shoulders again. “Are you more worried about Jason? Or me?”

She blinked. “I’m worried about what will happen to Jason if something happens to you.” He smelled really good. Her pounding heart sped up even more. He was too close. She needed to distract herself again. “You know Desi is a lousy parent. Might as well not even be a parent.”

“What if something did happen to me? Would you miss me?” He bent nearer, his mouth almost grazing her temple.

She tried to concentrate on his words, but the awareness rushing through her made that difficult. And dammit, she couldn’t even blame it on pre-PMS hormones.

“Would you be upset if I were hurt?” His open mouth slid down her cheek, hot, damp. Tempting.

Desire raced along her veins. Under her sweater, her nipples tightened in anticipation.

“Mena?” He licked the corner of her mouth.

She gasped, and he swooped in, covering her open mouth with his, pressing her back against the side of the truck, his warmth more than making up for the cold metal at her back.

He was aroused again. Or still. When his hips rocked into hers, the heavy erection against her belly made her panties even wetter.

Shocked by her reaction, she still couldn’t resist, lifting into his kiss.

“Wrap your legs around me, Mena,” he whispered against her lips.

She forced her eyes open, trying hard to distract herself from the temptation of Ryder.


Now I am going back to work. I have rewrites waiting for me.

At the risk of making someone else crazy, do you remember the first romance novel you ever read?

(  Photo on Foter.com )

( Photo on Foter.com )

It’s February, and a lot of people automatically think ‘Valentine’s Day’. Now I may be a bit biased, being a romance novel writer and reader–okay, I’m a lot biased–but I think romance shouldn’t be limited to just one month of the year.  I’m guessing lots of you feel the same way.  I’m not complaining about flowers, or sparkly jewelry, or chocolates (especially from my favorite local candy maker!) on Valentine’s Day, but it makes me a little sad that there seem to be so many people who do only think about making romantic gestures on occasions like this.  As if the rest of the year doesn’t count. As if they only feel it necessary to make sure their significant other realizes they’re loved at Valentine’s Day.

I’m not suggesting everyone feels this way. I know a lot of people who make romantic gestures all year round.  I just feel like maybe sometimes we forget, and we should make more effort to remind ourselves and our S.O.s that we care.

( Photo on Foter.com ) A little breakfast in bed once in a while, maybe? Help folding the fifty gazillion loads of laundry? I know there are a lot of ways we can do that, but maybe it wouldn’t hurt for us to have more ideas, so I’d love to hear some of yours, or maybe some way your S.O. surprised you and reminded you they love you.

And in the meantime, I have a little snippet of one of my tiger shifters. Anton is shopping with his new mate for a formal event, and he’s about to do something sweet for her.


Laney paused inside for a second, looking around to get her bearings, then headed directly for the back half of the store.

Anton frowned at the displays around him at the front of the shop–some very pretty things there, from what he could see. He ambled after her, noting the way she skipped right past the sparkling and shiny gowns on mannequins and wall displays before she started to dig through a tall round rack. He turned around, still frowning at all of the things they’d passed by.

Including a dark green gown the same color as her eyes had been in bed last night. He stepped closer. Shoulder straps an inch or so wide, with a neckline that didn’t dip down too far to be decent, and a skirt closer to the slim end of the range than some of the full-on Cinderella gowns nearby. He flipped through the hangers until he thought he’d chosen the right size, then moseyed back to join her.

She had pulled a slim black gown from the rack and was studying it, a frown furrowing her brow. After a moment, she put it back on the rack.

“What’s wrong with it?” he asked.

She glanced up. “Cut too low.” Her gaze flicked to the gown he held. “Too much.” She went back to the rack beside him, flipping through hangers.

One of his eyebrows rose. “What?”

She sighed, then glanced toward the front of the store where the saleswoman was still occupied at the cash desk. “I don’t shop the front of the store, because they always put the most expensive gowns there.”

“I like this one. It matches your eyes.” He held it forward.

She met his gaze again, not looking at the dress. “My eyes are hazel.”

“Sometimes,” he agreed, “but they’re this color when we’re in bed.”

Her cheeks went red, and she cast a horrified glance around to be sure no one was close enough to hear him. “Anton,” she whispered.

He smiled. “You have to at least try it on.”

Laney shut her eyes for a moment. “Fine, but I’m not getting it.” She tugged another black gown from the rack to study while avoiding his gaze.

If the green fit her, he was buying it, he decided as she rummaged through the gowns on the next rack.

The saleswoman finished up with her other customer as Laney added a purple dress to the black and red gowns he held with his own choice.
“I can take these to the fitting room for you,” the older woman said, reaching for the dresses.

“I’m actually ready to head back,” Laney said with a polite smile.

Anton trailed after them, then dropped onto the overstuffed armchair in the waiting area. Laney shut her fitting room door, and he listened to the soft rustling of her clothing behind it–first her coat, then the sweater and tank, her wool pants. In his head, he imagined each piece coming off. He wondered which gown she’d try first.

He found out a minute later when she emerged in the purple. He kept his mouth shut as she crossed to the big mirrors, but her wrinkled nose told him exactly what she thought.

The color was pretty on her, but the dress had an odd, angled neckline, and the ‘sleeves’ barely covered her shoulders.

Before the saleswoman had made it back to them, Laney was already on her way back into the smaller room. The older woman’s mouth pursed a little.

Anton shrugged when she looked at him, and she smiled.

When Laney came back out, it was in the green gown he’d chosen. He had picked the right size–it hugged her torso perfectly before the skirt belled out a tiny bit and swept to the floor.

“Oh, you look beautiful in that,” the older woman said. “And it doesn’t even need alteration.”

Laney met his gaze in the mirror, and she didn’t look happy that she looked so good in the dress. Anton wondered just how expensive it was. He let his gaze wander lower, to the pretty hint of cleavage the dress framed, then he met her gaze again with a little smile.

She blushed and murmured something to the saleswoman, then hurried back into the smaller room.

The other black gown fit well, too, though she looked appalled at the cleavage exposed in this one. The red was okay, he thought, but it covered everything, with sleeves that went almost to her elbows, a swingy skirt, and a squared off neckline sitting just an inch or two beneath her collarbones.

He didn’t eavesdrop on her short conversation with the saleswoman, but got up and stretched. This might be the shortest gown-shopping trip in the history of womankind.

The saleswoman took the black, green and purple gowns from Laney, who retreated into the smaller room. Anton frowned when she put the green gown on a small rack with the purple. He shook his head, and she caught him, her mouth opening.

He pressed one finger to his lips, and she shut her mouth, understanding him perfectly. She retrieved the green dress and nodded to the front of the shop, smiling.

The woman hung both the black and the green gowns on a hook at the cash desk. “That’s a nice gift. She looked beautiful in the green.”

“Yes, she did.” He withdrew his wallet from his pocket while she punched some numbers into the small computer on the counter. He didn’t even wince when she gave him the total, just handed over his card.

By the time Laney arrived at the front of the shop, he had the garment bag holding both gowns slung over his shoulder. She frowned, but glanced at the older woman and kept her protest to herself. “Thank you,” she murmured, nodding to the older woman, who winked at Anton when he turned Laney toward the door.

“Shoes next?” he asked when they got outside.

“You didn’t have to buy my dress,” she said, looking up at him. “I have money.”

“Call it a gift.” He unlocked the car and hung the gowns from the hook in the backseat. She hadn’t noticed there were two hangers.



Don’t forget to tell me the romantic little things you and your S.O. do when it isn’t Valentine’s Day, while I go back to work on Medusa #2!


( Photo on Foter.com )

I’ve been digging through manuscripts a little bit this week, and a lot this weekend–Medusas, tiger shifters, and a contemporary that I had intended to finish and polish last year before my writing schedule went kaput in the face of family stuff.  I never stopped writing last year, though I didn’t get to do any of the polishing and publishing things I had planned.  The first part of my year this year will be finishing and polishing Medusas–tweaking and polishing the second one, and finishing and polishing the third–so I can get them out into the world.  Tiger shifters are next on my list, and there is a lot of polishing to do there, from the first book to at least the third this year, and finishing the fourth and fifth, at least first drafts.

But this contemporary…I had forgotten who much I love this hero.  Oh, I know, I say that about all of my heroes, and I mean it, but this one, well, he’s got all kinds of appealing qualities, and I have him on my list of writing goals for this year, to work on finishing up the first draft of his story, at the very least.  And since he’s taken up more of my time today than he should have, I think I want to share a little snippet of him with you.  I have a face in mind for him, but can’t find a usable pic, so you’ll have to use your imagination–Riley is an actor-bad boy of the first order, though he’s reformed in recent years, because he’s a single dad. Because of his past, he has to work extra-hard to prove he’s changed and is worthy of the things he wants.  He has blue, blue eyes and brown hair, and dimples, oh the dimples! Right now, what he wants is a really juicy acting role in a film that will be amazing, but the director has reservations about Riley. When Maddie drops into his life, having her as a fake fiancee is exactly what he needs to change the director’s mind, plus he likes her. Maddie has her own reservations, though, and, while pretending to be engaged to Riley will fulfill every one of her fan-girl fantasies, it will be hard to keep her heart from believing the lie.


Maddie frowned up at him. “Why on earth would you tell the police we’re engaged?”

One corner of his mouth curved up. “Can you think of a better reason why you would be hiding behind my bedroom?”

She blinked, then shook her head to clear it. “I’m sure plenty of women have been in your bedroom without the benefit of an engagement ring,” she finally said, annoyed when his smile only grew bigger.

“Not this bedroom, sugar,” he drawled.

Heat climbed her throat to her face again. “Look, I think it’s best if I just go. Maybe I can reschedule our interview for another time, when things aren’t so–” she gestured toward the hallway now, floundering–“crazy.” Probably never.

He caught her flapping hand and stepped closer again, too close for her brain to function properly. “I’m going to need a favor from you, sugar.”

He was sucking up all the air, because her lungs were working way too hard. Warmth from his fingers slid up her arm, oozing into her blood, and her heart pounded to hard against her ribs. “A…favor?” she managed, caught in his blue eyes, serious now.

He nodded. “I need you to go along with me on this engagement. At least for a few weeks.” His thumb rubbed along her palm, and sweat broke out on the back of her neck.

“Why?” She needed some space, but her legs wouldn’t move. Dammit, she was turning into one of those mush-brained women who got stupid when one of their dream men paid the least bit of attention to them.

His thumb stroked again. “Because we told the police we’re engaged, and because if I don’t have a fiancee, I’m not going to get the best role of my career.”

She blinked up at him, frowning a little. “Run that by me again?”

His mouth relaxed. “There is a lead part I would kill for that’s being cast in the next few weeks or so, but the director believes all the press about me so he doesn’t think I can handle the work. If he thinks I’m getting to married to you, my agent and I can convince him I’m the right actor.”

Her frown deepened. “Shouldn’t he be choosing based on acting ability, not social skills?”

Riley flashed a grin. “That’s not how his mind works. Instead of seeing me raising my kids and being a responsible single dad who works his ass off, he sees the tabloids’ made-up stories about nightclubs and dinner dates with lingerie models, and that negates any good things he thinks about my acting.” His gaze slid down to her mouth. “If I’m engaged to marry a nice, pretty woman who has her own career and is a great role model for not just my kids but me, he thinks, good actor, someone he can count on to do the job.”

Maddie tried to make her brain follow that logic. “And why would I do this for you?”

Sometime during his convoluted explanation, he’d moved even closer. “You have total access for your interview, anything you want to know.” His warm breath touched her lips.

“I don’t know that that’s really a balanced deal,” she murmured, noting the fresh scent of him, all male, spicy, enticing. “I wasn’t looking to write an expose, or a tabloid piece.” She stopped breathing when his other hand landed on her hip.

“What were you planning?” His fingers flexed, warming her through the thin cotton of her dress.

“Something lighter, something your fans would enjoy.” She tried to rein in her wayward inner fan-girl who was squealing that Riley Hayes was touching her! When his fingers tightened, sending heat zinging to intimate places, her brain shut down everything but life-support.

“Then you’ll have to think of something I can do to make it more equitable.” He nudged her nose with his, lightly. When her breath puffed out, he did it again.

“Are you trying to seduce me into doing what you want?”

“Is it working?” As he spoke, his lips brushed hers.

She shook her head, but she knew she was lying. No wonder his bad boy reputation had hung on for so long.


Now I’m heading back to my tiger shifters for the evening.  Here’s hoping for a productive week for all of us!



(New chapter printed on a tyepwriter -Depositphotos)


My weekend has been busy,though I haven’t gotten all the things done that I intended.  One thing that happened, though, is that we are officially empty-nesters as of today, and I’m torn about that.  I know that’s how life works, but my mom-brain isn’t ready.

To avoid being sad all over (again), I’m going to change the subject.  Writing. I’ve gotten a bit done this week, even though the day-job was busier than I had expected. I’ve also been reading through manuscripts I intend to do something with this year, including the first shapeshifter. I have some work planned for that one, but there are still a lot of things I love about it, including the yummy tiger shifter hero Harley. He has known Tessa most of her life, but he’s ignored the crush she had on him. But now there are a few rogue shifters targeting her, and Harley knows he’s the best man to keep her safe, even if she doesn’t believe him. So I’ve got a little snippet of their story to share with you today.


He debated for half a second: cold beer or ringing phone. It would take far less time to reach the telephone than it would to get to the refrigerator in the kitchen, and he’d be able to hear the phone the entire time. Sighing, he headed for the nearest phone just inside the library.

Harley smiled when he saw the name on the caller i.d. It was about time he got lucky. His evening was suddenly looking up. He snagged the phone from the cradle. “Hello, little Tessa.”

There was silence for a moment, and then he heard her inhale shakily. “I need to speak to India please.” Even her voice trembled.

Surely she wasn’t that upset by having him answer the phone. He must have startled her. “She’s not here.” He wasn’t sure he managed to keep the smugness from his tone.

Another shaky breath reached his ear. Then a sniffle.

On alert now, he frowned. “Tessa? What’s wrong, honey?”

“Someone broke into the house,” she whispered.

His heart pounded faster. He stuck his free hand into his pocket and grabbed the car keys. “Call the police, Tessa.” He strode out of the office toward the entry hall.

“I did. They’re here, but they won’t let me go inside. They said I won’t be able to stay here tonight.”

And he could hear in her tone that right now, she didn’t want to stay there. He stopped near the front door. “I’ll be right there. Are you okay? You didn’t walk in on whoever it was?”

“I’m fine.”

He resisted the need to snort his disbelief at that claim. He could hear in her voice that she was far from fine. “I’ll be there in just a couple of minutes, honey.” He pushed the off button on the phone and dropped it to the table beside the door on his way out.

It took him seven minutes and a lot of miles an hour over the speed limit to reach Tessa’s place, and he saw the flashing red lights on the police cars before he even got in view of the house. When he jerked his car to a stop at the end of her very crowded driveway, he saw her, standing outside the front door, arms wrapped over her middle. Shaking.

His protective instinct rose up with a growl as he shoved the door open and climbed out of the car. The cops had left her standing there alone. Unprotected.

Her front door had been smashed in, shattered. There was no need to use that much force, he thought as he strode nearer. Whoever did it had done so maliciously, simply to destroy it.

Tessa had been watching the proceedings inside her house, but she glanced over her shoulder then, her wide eyes dark with fear.

He held up his hands, though he knew she was aware he meant her no harm. “Hey,” he said softly.

Her lower lip quivered, just a little, and then she sank her teeth into it, to keep it still.


Hope you enjoyed that little taste of Harley and Tessa.  I also hope you all have a wonderful week, full of only happiness and good!


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


( Photo on Foter.com )

It’s been a busy week. I expected the day-job to be busy, and it was. I didn’t expect to be so busy outside of there this week, though it turned out that way. I got quite a bit of writing done this week, in spite of the day-job craziness.  I also got some things done (or at least moved further alone) with my aunt’s estate, too, and I feel better about where things stand there right now.  Work should be a little quieter for me after Tuesday (at least for a few days), so I’m hoping to get more writing time in. And I know a few more estate things will move progressing as well. All this forward movement is making me happy about January this year.

One of the other things I want to work on this month is some of the household tasks I didn’t get to last year (other things took priority), like clearing out my work area here in the office and getting rid of some unnecessary things in the basement. Both of these were on my to-do list for my vacation week last year, but you know how I spent my vacation last summer–doing those same sort of tasks at my aunt’s house instead. This year, I’m going to get them done here.

I really do need to clean up my office. Since mid-summer, I’ve been accumulating things not just of my own, but for my aunt’s estate–bills we’ve paid, bills we will need to pay, etc.  It goes without saying that my work area here is a cluttered mess right now, and it’s really beginning to bug me. So I am plotting a couple of long weekends so I can get this project started and wrapped up.

Speaking of writing, I also started digging into my second and third Medusa manuscripts this past week, to try to figure out how much work is ahead of me getting them ready for the world. I’m a little nervous about the whole thing, but excited, too, because I’m overdue to make this happen. Real life does sometimes throw a wrench into your plans.

Since I have dug back into my Medusas, I think today’s little snippet is going to be from the second story.  I hope you enjoy!


That left Philomena alone in the kitchen with him, and the tension ratcheted up a few more degrees.

“You don’t think he’ll come back here, do you? Tonight, I mean?” She remained seated, not wanting to bump into him while she cleared away the remains of their meal, keeping her gaze on the table. Flitting from her plate to the leftover peas and sloppy joes. The open bag of rolls. Jason’s empty plate.

“I don’t know. He seems to believe this is your primary residence, so that means your mother and Jason need to be out for now. But I winged him earlier, so he’ll have to patch it up before he comes back.” He inhaled deeply. “We’ll be fine until my buddy gets here.”

She arched one eyebrow. “‘We’?”

His lips curved again with that cocky smile that made goosebumps lift on her arms. “Yeah. I think I can protect you.”

“Who’ll protect me from you?” It was out before she could stop it, and she colored again.

“If you need protection from me, I’m sure you’ll do fine. You wear that knife of yours all the time, right?”

“Not to bed.” Dammit, what is wrong with my mouth? She felt more heat crawl up her throat to her face.

“Well, that’s reassuring,” he drawled, his eyes darkening even more. “Why don’t you let me help you clean up?”

“Why don’t you go sit with Jason while I clean up?” she countered, pushing away from the table and to her feet. Standing made her feel a little better, though he still towered over her by a good six inches. “I’m sure he’ll be happy to catch you up on his show.” She carried her plate to the sink and scraped the remains of her meal into the disposal, turning it on and drowning out any response he might have made.

When she turned around again, she saw the back of him as he went into the living room, where Jason greeted him enthusiastically. The back looked as good as the front, she admitted, faded jeans clinging to a tight ass, strong thighs and calves.


( Photo by x1klima on Foter.com / CC BY-ND )

How are you all doing with your goals for the new year? Forward progress? Still planning? It would be nice to hear someone else’s good news, or just commiserate if things aren’t going as fast as we’d like.