Tag Archive: Valentine’s Day


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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.

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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 )

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( 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.

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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.

Yet.

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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!

 

Hot Chocolate

How has the first week of your new year gone? As well as you’d hoped? Better? Not as well as you wanted?

I haven’t gotten as much writing-related work done this week as I would have liked, but I have been writing, in spite of the absolute craziness at my day-job–way more insanity than I anticipated, and the next week is probably going to be even busier.  I’ve also been working on getting a new-to-me computer set up in the home office, which is taking some time, since I have to move things onto it from my laptop and the old desktop computer, and some of those things take way too long–finding disks, trying to figure out how to install an older program that might need tweaking on a newer system…   Some of those are frustrating.

I also had to figure out if it made sense to me to participate in the very fun booksigning I’ve done the past couple of years, since I haven’t yet got Hunting Medusa ready for reissue, and settled on dates, etc. for the second and third books in the trilogy. I was disappointed to have to say no, but it doesn’t make sense to me to do it when I don’t have something new, so I’ll be bummed to miss this year, but then should be good for next year, because I am aiming to have at least the first two books in the trilogy out before the end of this year.

I know the weather has been in full-on winter mode in a lot of areas this week, but it has been extra-cold here.  I have had quite a lot of tea this week, and some very yummy hot chocolate to stay warm.  How about you? Lots of warm beverages while you’re reading?

I think I promised a little snippet of story for this week, didn’t I?  So how about a little taste of Hunting Medusa for those of you who haven’t read it yet (and those who haven’t read it in a while!)…

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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.

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Have a great week!

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

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.

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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!

loveisintheair2017

 

 

 

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.

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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.

_______________

 

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.”

_______________

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

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

 

 

 

It actually looks and feels like winter here, finally!  We got another six or so inches of snow yesterday–not so much fun to clear off the car after an extra-long day at work, but I won’t complain since I enjoy the season.

You know what else I enjoy? Booksignings!  I love going to signings for authors whose books I enjoy.  I really liked taking part in the Valentine’s Day booksigning last year.  I liked it so much, I’m doing it again.  Though, to be accurate, it’s really the day before Valentine’s Day this year.  Still going to be a whole lot of fun:  a toasty warm greenhouse full of romance authors.  What’s not to like?

Ashcombe 2016

Eighteen romance authors!  Like who, you say?  Like…

Natalie J. Damschroder writes high-stakes romantic adventure, sometimes with a paranormal bent. She’s published 22 novels, 8 novellas, and 15 short stories, and has launched a young adult series as NJ Damschroder. Learn more about her at her website, http://www.nataliedamschroder.com, follow her on Twitter @NJDamschroder, or like her
Facebook page at /NJDamschroder

A USA Today bestselling author, Roz Lee is a displaced Texan who lives in New Jersey with her husband and dog. She has two grown daughters, collects antique glass, and has never met a piece of chocolate she didn’t like. When Roz isn’t writing, she can be found traipsing around the country on one adventure or another. Learn more at
http://www.rozlee.net/

Susan Kelley is a full-time writer from Central Pennsylvania. She’s multi-published in space opera romance and in epic fantasy as Susan Gourley. One of the administrators of the Insecure Writers’ Support Group, she has worked as an editor to publish a non-fiction writing manual and an upcoming short story anthology. Find her at
http://www.susangourley.blogspot.com/

Misty Simon loves a good story and decided one day that she would try her hand at it. Eventually she got it right. There’s nothing better in the world than making someone laugh, and she hopes everyone at least snickers in the right places when reading her books. Find her at http://www.mistysimon.com

Amazon bestselling and multi-published author Sara Walter Ellwood writes sexy contemporary western romances about cowboys and the women strong enough to love them that will pull on your heartstrings. Although she grew up on a farm in Western Pennsylvania, she now jokes she’s a cowgirl at heart stuck in Pennsylvania suburbia. Find her at http://www.sarawalterellwood.com

Andrew Grey grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He is blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Learn more at http://andrewgreybooks.com/

Cate Masters made beautiful Pennsylvania her home, but she’ll always be a Jersey girl at heart. When not spending time with her family, she’s in her lair, concocting a magical brew of contemporary, historical, and fantasy/paranormal stories with cat Chairman Maiow and dog Lily as company. Visit her at http://catemasters.blogspot.com

One very early morning, Allison B. Hanson woke up with a conversation going on in her head. Unable to go back to sleep, she went to her computer and began writing. It still hasn’t stopped. Her romances include paranormal, sci-fi, fantasy, and mystery suspense. Visit her at http://www.allisonbhanson.com/

Almost as long as she’s been enjoying great books, Elizabeth Andrews has been attempting to write her own. She found her mother’s romance stash as a teenager and was hooked. She loves a variety of genres, mostly hot. You can find out more at http://www.elizabethandrewswrites.com

Award-winning author Delynn Royer pens historical fiction for the light of heart. Whether it be romance, mystery, western, or adventure, two essentials are guaranteed: A strong hero and a fetchingly troublesome heroine who gets in his way. Aside from the research that inspires her novels, Delynn adores classic movies. Visit her at http://www.delynnroyer.com

A genealogy search led Julie Doherty to the Celtic countries, where her love of all things Irish/Scottish blossomed into outright passion. She came home with a handful of beach pebbles, a husband, and an overwhelming urge to write historical fiction that’s plaid to the bone. Visit her at http://www.juliedoherty.com and http://www.facebook.com/juliedohertywrites

Wade Kelly lives in conservative, small-town America where it’s not easy to live open in one’s beliefs. She writes passionately about controversial issues and strives to make a difference in the world by bringing hope and making people think. She likes snakes, can’t spell, and has a tendency to make people cry. Her online home is http://www.writerwadekelly.com/

Taryn Plendl has always had a love affair with reading, but writing has been a way for her to step away from reality and live a bit through her fun and sometimes damaged characters. You will almost always find a Happy Ever After at the end of her stories. Learn more at http://www.tarynplendl.com

Victoria Smith lives in Central PA with her high school sweetheart and way too many animals. She writes paranormal, urban fantasy, and dystopian—all with romance, because who doesn’t love a happy ending? She publishes with Liquid Silver Books and coming soon from Soul Mate Publishing. Visit her at http://vickismith.blogspot.com

A U.S. Naval Academy graduate and former Naval Intelligence Officer, Geri Krotow has lived in such far-flung places as Whidbey Island, Washington State, and Moscow, Russia. She creates powerful love stories with settings she’s personally experienced. Her books include bestselling Whidbey Island Series for Harlequin Superromance and Silver Valley Series with Harlequin Romantic Suspense. Her website is http://gerikrotow.com/

Holly Bush writes historical romance set in the U.S. in the late 1800s and in Victorian England, and recently released her first women’s fiction title. Her books are described as emotional with heartfelt, sexy romance. She and her husband live in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Connect with Holly at http://www.hollybushbooks.com and on Twitter @hollybushbooks and Facebook at Holly Bush.

A former innkeeper and radio talk show host, Heidi Hormel has always been a writer. She spent years as a small-town newspaper reporter and as a PR flunky before settling into penning romances with a wink and a wiggle. Heidi has trotted around the globe from Death Valley to Loch Ness in Scotland. Visit her at http://www.heidihormel.net

Gerri Bowen lives in south Pennsylvania with her family, dogs, and cats. She loves to read, write her stories and travel. Medieval, Regency and Contemporary are some of the eras visited in her books while maybe Time Travel, always romance, fantasy, paranormal and humor are what you get. Check out her website: http://www.gerribowen.com

With that line-up, there is a romance novel there for every single reader!  So it’s going to be one of the coldest days so far this winter? Big deal, we’ll be inside the greenhouse, snug and warm.  I hope you’ll come join us.

And happy Valentine’s Day!

 

 

lgheartbook( Photo credit: Viola’s visions ◕‿◕ / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA )

We’re less than a week from Valentine’s Day as I write this, and I am extra-excited about the holiday this year.  Why?  Because I’ll be participating in my very first booksigning!  A writer friend I have known for more years than I can count invited me, and I get to go on Saturday to play with twenty other romance authors.  Though I haven’t met them all yet, I know some of these ladies and am just delighted to get to do this with them.  I’m going to actually get to sign my very pretty book! HuntingMedusa72web

 

If you’re in the central Pennsylvania area this weekend, maybe you’d like to drop by and meet everyone, perhaps find something great to read.  All the details are here, and the host, Ashcombe Farm, also has details on their Facebook page.

I’m trying to get everything together for Saturday, the chocolate, the bookmarks…and hoping I don’t forget anything!  Plus I have a second interview for a job mid-week, and I’m kind of nervous about that.  It’s going to be a good week!

I hope to see some of you on Saturday.  It would be lovely to meet you.  And I do have chocolate…

kisses( Photo credit: C.P.Storm / Foter / CC BY ).