Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Fan Mail

Had a nice email from a fan in CT today who wrote that she felt like she'd won the lottery when she received the books she bought in the mail, plus a manuscript copy of this year's annual Christmas story. She's already read that story plus two of the four books.

Thanks, JoAnn- you made my heart happy!

So far everyone who has contacted me has been happy/excited by the books they've read.

Guess I'll keep putting together books and writing more! :)

Work in Progress on the Talon Series

I have been rereading the two published novels in the Talon trilogy and revamping/proofing and editing them. Just when you think everything is perfect you sit down to read and enjoy the novels and BAM! find typos and comma errors and missing words. Thank you Microsoft word for changing words on me because a computer thinks it knows what I want to write! Ha! Not so! So, once again dealing with some frustrations but in general I am happy/satisfied with the stories in each novel and now motivated to finish the third and final book in the series which will include the few years into the future Christmas story that is the companion piece to the trilogy and only available to readers of the series (like The Archetypes has a Christmas story bonus at the end of book two in the series and Life Skills also has its bonus Christmas story added as chapter 40.) It's just something I like doing since I have been writing Christmas stories since 1997.

I will be working on Talon:The Familiarity of it All in January 2016. It's about half written.

This is the series about the icy cold MD/ME and the flame-haired, volatile night desk clerk at City Morgue who are destined to be together as partners in this world and beyond for he is a grim reaper and she is his chosen portal- but Bryce Briscoe is much more than a mere portal!

In Talon: An Intimate Familiarity it is time for Talon to begin training his portal but he is being distracted from his task by a sultry doctor who has no love for Bryce. Talon and Bryce's relationship is fiery and volatile with misunderstandings, communication failures and an underlying smoldering passion for one another that leads to confusion and flares of temper before Bryce begins to understand who and what she is, and who and what her frosty yet steamy lover is.

In Talon:A Sense of Familiarity their relationship has leveled out. Bryce is expecting Talon's heir (a son) and Talon wants her to mend fences with her estranged family. They have been locked out of Heaven while the Council argues about what to do about Bryce. Meanwhile, a romantic week at the lake leads to a nightmare situation causing an old friend to come back to earth to offer his help. Bryce makes headway in re-establishing relations with her family. Powerful demons threaten them and Bryce loses a cherished friend. And their baby makes his arrival a little earlier than expected.

In Talon: The Familiarity of it All there will be more surprises, loses, gains and battles to be fought before Talon and Bryce's long awaited wedding.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Next Goodreads Giveaway

I've decided to giveaway three copies of the first book in the Talon series-  Talon:An Intimate Familiarity.  There're a lot of grim reapers out there but none quite like Dr. Giles Talon, the icy cold Medical Examiner who infuriates and inflames young, flame-haired nightshift morgue clerk Bryce Briscoe.. Watch for the giveaway beginning in seven days on Goodreads!

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Twas the Nght Before Christmas...

...and I have the house to myself for an hour and a half while John takes Kelly to his parents' house. I am not going this year because his mother should be in hospice and not bothered by a houseful of people and there are already a slew of people living with them and off of them which irritates me no end.  So I have elected to stay home and finish getting our home ready for Christmas tomorrow. I've cleaned a little more, made deviled eggs, hauled some presents up from the basement and picked up a book I've been wanting to read for months. I worked a half day today and need this quiet time to regroup after the neediness of patients and being unable to do everything that needs t get done...I am just one person and the demands on me are overwhelming at times. But I had a great doctor on duty today whom I work well with-and he was wearing his Christmas best!! You've got to love a man who is not afraid to wear a long red and white striped stocking cap, a bright green Christmas vest with appliques and a blinking Christmas light necklace- and we are not in pediatrics! We treat only adults! He certainly brought a lot of Christmas cheer to the office today! And before we left everyone gathered in the business office for hugs, kisses and Christmas wishes before flying out the door to head home for the holidays. We take time to be there and support one another...and to make sure we'll all have a good Christmas. One co-worker was short on cash this year so four of us got together, donated what we could afford after our own holiday shopping and then two of us went shopping for that co-worker's daughters to help make their Christmas merry, plus what we had left went to our co-worker who is always doing nice things for us and makes us smile and laugh because she deserves a nice Christmas, too. In a world seemingly full of self-centered people we are a pocket of caring people who take care of one another when we need to.
   So, on this night while I sit in the peace and quiet of my home I wish you all a very Merry Christmas.. Twas the night before Christmas...take a minute to find your own peace this year.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Playboy

I know this guy who is probably in his early 70's. He's athletic and has kept himself well over the years and he's good looking. He's been married several times but is not married now. He's a casual acquaintance but he likes to share stories and pictures of his adventures in the, well...what do we want to call this?...senior dating scene? May-December conquests? I'm not really sure. Let's just say that his days are spent in the pursuit of pretty ladies he might get lucky with. He likes to travel. He is currently entertaining himself chatting with Russian girls on senior dating sites. He knows all they're interested in is his money, finding a rich sugar daddy but he enjoys the flirting. It seems to be his main hobby these days, although he has a Jamaican young lady who works at a resort as a companion also. He bought her a nice bracelet for Christmas. I keep telling him that one day I'm going to write a book about his exploits, but in reality I might turn him into a fictional character one day, one that has some of his attributes but not enough to make him recognizable to anyone who might know him and read the book he'll waltz into. He is the first true playboy I have met in my lifetime.
   An author needs to meet all sorts of people so that when we create a character we can make them vibrant and realistic. I'm grateful for the variety of people who pass through my life.

Sunday, December 20, 2015

Gift Exchange

Holy moly! My big sister and little brother came over this evening for our Christmas gift exchange and for my sister's birthday (she's how old???? OMG!) When the three of us get together it's verbal chaos and belly-busting laughter. The big story tonight was how when my sister's husband picked up their tree to carry it upstairs his pants fell down! Better get that man some suspenders for next year!!!
We also shared crazy cat stories about our cats. We have just 2. My brother has 18 and my sister has 7 or 8 plus a Sheltie dog. One of my cats has a 2-second attention span. I'm not going to get into all the cat stories- they could fill a book! My brother, the baby of the family at 14 months younger than me has had a number of encounters with the police. He's never been arrested but he is known for stupid stunts...any night now I expect him to call to ask to be bailed out. I will tell him I will be right down and then I'll go back to sleep! On the way out my sister lost her jingle bell earring for the fifteenth time in an hour and a half. Out came the Maglite and the search party. Just as they were about to drive off in defeat the flashlight beam landed on the earring in the driveway and I am out there yelling in the dead of night, "Stop! Stop!" Earring reunited with big sister we wished one another a goodnight and off my brother goes tooting the horn all the way up the street. Oh yeah, my neighbors just love it when we get together!
   If there isn't a dose of family chaos it isn't Christmas! I'm ready now!

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Holiday Movies

While struggling through a rheumatoid arthritis flare-up I am pretty much laid up, so today, while a few snow flurries fell outside the window, I cuddled up under a flannel blanket and watched some movies. The afternoon started with The Pilgrims, a PBS presentation on DVD. It was pretty good at presenting how bleak it was for the pilgrims arriving in November, having to build shelters, more than half of them dying through a dismal winter with little food. It definitely wasn't the Hallmark, grade school history version. They used the replica Plimouth Plantation and Mayflower for this. It was well done. Then John came out and we watched the George C. Scott version of A Christmas Carol and ate dinner during this movie on TV. He made a nice chicken stew. It was cold and windy still so that hit the spot. Tonight we watched Danny Kaye and Bing Crosby in White Christmas. We'll watch Holiday Inn another time when Kelly is home. Today she worked in the trolley restoration barn and then this evening she's been running the trolleys at the museum for Winter Fest. She'll come home half frozen if she's been operating the open air cars!! I feel a little less stiff and sore after a day of resting, but I am definitely not the kind of person who can lounge around and do nothing all day. I feel frustrated and like I failed to accomplish something.

My brother and sister are coming tomorrow to exchange gifts. My big sister celebrates her birthday December 23rd. If I can move easier tomorrow I may bake something- not sure what- maybe bar chocolate chip cookies to share with them.

It doesn't look like a New England Christmas outside but watching Christmas movies helped put me in a better mood about the rapidly approaching holiday.

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

A Strange Dream

I had a strange dream this morning. I was in a senior assisted living apartment with my daughter and she had invited a singing duo she was familiar with whom I'd never heard before to play for her grandfather. They were set up in a corner of the living room and suddenly the apartment was full of senior citizens all having a blast dancing to the music. I was standing in the kitchen area and the elderly women were fussing about poking into cabinets and cupboards and admiring the kitchen's features (which included a lift-up section that revealed a small propane tank!) During a lull in the music I asked Kelly to dig out a CD case for the duo and I would try to get their autographs on the case liner for her. The director of the assisted living facility came up to me and told me what a marvelous idea we'd had arranging live entertainment for the seniors- that they were all having a "blast." (I felt a little apprehensive about his use of that phrase with the old ladies having just been admiring the propane tank in the kitchen)...but then one of the duo was walking by and I stopped him and asked if he'd sign the case liner, and he took the pen and signed for Kelly...but there were thirty other signatures on the other side of the liner already! The room had emptied out during this "intermission" time and I couldn't see my father and that troubled me but there seemed to be refreshments being served elsewhere- perhaps in the apartment opposite his? I could hear people out in the hallway.

The cats woke me up at this point but the dream has lingered with me. My father never lived in assisted living. We do not know any musicians/singers. I know a lot of elderly people from places I have worked here in town and they can be quite boisterous and funny when given the chance...maybe this is a story idea?

I was kind of kicking around the idea of a down-on-their-luck sort of washed-up band being invited to play at a Christmas party. They travel out into the country to this crumbling old estate and when they enter the house they are thrown back in time to early Victorian days, candlelight or gaslight, no electricity for their electric guitars and keyboard so they have to improvise with acoustic guitars and piano and whatever they have...and they get the party rocking? I don't know, it's not fully formed yet, just sort of starting to congeal in my brain at the moment.

But that certainly was a strange dream....

Sunday, December 13, 2015

5 STARS For Miss Peculiar Volume I

I had a thrill this past Saturday when I was on Goodreads and noticed Miss Peculiar's Haunting Tales, Volume I had a new review posted. The review was by one of the ten giveaway winners for this book and she rated it 5 but wished she could have given it 6! She called the stories amazing and wanted more. There are two additional volumes in the series already, and I wrote two new stories for a future volume 4 this past October. I will keep writing the haunting tales as hey are near and dear to my heart.

Thank you, Galina, for taking the time to review the book- and for making my weekend!!!

Friday, December 11, 2015

I Can't Put It Down!

Had a phone call from a woman I used to work with. I gifted her the three collected Christmas story volumes last week or so. Today she called me and said, "I can't put the book down! I love your stories!"

Apparently once I get my books into someone's hands they can't put them down. It's the putting the books into the right people's hands that has stymied so far.

I do not dumb down my books for quick and easy, mindless reads. I use language like an artist uses color, light and texture. I create characters you feel you know better than you know your own family members. I create characters who are far from perfect but they don't give up.

I'd love to have you contact me and tell me, "I can't put it down!", but first you have to pick it up.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Goodreads Giveaway #3- Your Input Needed

What title do you want to see as the first Goodreads Giveaway book for 2016? You can suggest a title on my facebook page, as a comment to my post on my Goodreads blog or as a comment to this post, or you can email me the title you'd like to see offered by sending me a message at  Which ever title generates the most interest will be the next Goodreads Giveaway book offered.

It was 60 Today

Today is December 10th and in western Massachusetts it was sixty degrees. So far it has been pretty mild weather. The last hint of snow in the air was back in October when we were selecting pumpkins to be carved for Halloween! I hear it's supposed to be a mild winter. Earlier in the year they were saying it was supposed to cold and snowy. In New England it's always a crap shoot because thr weather is entirely unpredictable.

I kind of wish it would snow a little...but it's not even winter yet, so we'll see what we shall see, as they say.

Meanwhile, not in a very Christmas-y mood, I sat down and edited The Christmas Angel but I'm still not sure that this will be the Christmas story for 2015. It's okay, but not great. Maybe with a little more tinkering this coming weekend I'll get it to where it meets my personal standards.

I shipped copies of The Subtlety of Light and Shadow to the six winners of my second Goodreads giveaway. The line was not horrendous at the post office at twenty past one. No one else was shipping anything while I was there. Then I went to the pharmacy to pick up some prescriptions and gifted the two pharmacists there I deal with for my own medications as well as for those of many patients in the practice where I work as a secretary doing Prior Authorizations for medications with a set of the three collected Christmas books. Liz is on vacation next week so she's taking them with her to read. Mark wasn't in today, but she'll get the books to him.

For whatever reason, my rheumatoid arthritis has flared up big time. I am limping around and suffering with stiff, sore, achy joints from neck to toes. The weather is mild but the nights are cold. Maybe it's that combination of cold nights, warm days that's wreaking havoc on me? It's been coming on since last weekend...was so bad yesterday I did a rare thing and just sat in my chair and did nothing but hold the cat and watch a few westerns on TV with my husband. I really am not one to sit and watch TV- it doesn't interest me but my hands hurt too much to hold a book for long. I couldn't type. I just wanted to go to bed.

And that's where I'm going now. Have to work tomorrow- hopefully I'll be able to move! I have so much to do!

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

First Christmas Story Written

I'm not sure if this will be the one or not, but just finished the first Christmas story of 2015. It's three minutes past midnight. This one is The Christmas Angel. It's about a young man who fathered a child but the mother got primary custody of the girl while he only got partial custody because he had issues with alcohol. He had cleaned up his act as the mother has sunken into drug addiction and picking up men which has upset Somer. He has been taking the little girl, Lily, to the Starlight Diner when he's had her on weekends and for a week during the summer. There is a waitress there named Ginger who has caught his eye, but Ginger has some issues of her own, having been raised by a single mother who never made her feel wanted. Lily gets hurt by one of her mother's male friends and lands in the hospital. Somer is having trouble dealing with it and asks Lily to go with him to see her. Ginger is shocked by the abuse Lily has suffered. She encourages Somer to pursue sole custody of his daughter, and offers to help him as much as she can. He actually had a good home life but fell in with the wrong crowd and fathered this child by a girl he did not marry who had no real feelings for him. Now he is anxious about being a single dad so Ginger helps him to see that he will be a good father, that he had a good father as his role model. He tells her tat he has feelings for her and she gets frightened by that because of her low self esteem issues. But little Lily is the catalyst that helps them both decide the path they want to follow. Lily has one wish for Christmas- she wants a tree with a Christmas angel on top. Somer and Ginger can only find stars to top the tree with. A truck driver who frequents the diner where Ginger works as given Ginger money several times to buy things for Lily. It turns out that he lost his six year old daughter to cancer a number of years ago. On Christmas Eve a tragedy occurs at the diner where Ginger is working. The diner is robbed. Ginger is hurt and other patrons are shot, several killed and the rest wounded. The truck driver is among the dead, he had brought a small box with him and his last act while alive is to push the box over the counter to Ginger who is lying hurt on the floor behind the counter. The box travels with her to the ER, to her apartment and then to Somer's apartment where it is forgotten until the wee hours of Christmas morning. The last gift from the trucker for Lily is the Christmas angel that once graced the top of his own daughter's tree. It is a gift to a child who needs to believe in Santa and everything he stands for. It is a gift that helps all three of them begin to heal and to form stronger bonds toward becoming a family.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Connecticut Trolley Museum Winter Fest

Kelly worked Friday and Saturday evening/night at the Connecticut Trolley Museum in East Windsor, CT, operating the trolleys for the annual Winter Fest event. She went over after work on Friday night, then yesterday volunteered first in the trolley restoration barn, something she has been doing for almost four years now. I love to see her dressed up in her trolley operator's outfit- black slacks, crisp white shirt, black vest with pocket watch and fob, black jacket. She doesn't have her operator's kepi-style cap yet so she has been wearing a vintage black bowler. She put a red ribbon with white snowflakes band on her hat for Winter Fest. She is like an anachronism, especially last night with her plaid scarf wrapped around her neck! I like that she enjoys being part of this living history museum, and has the time and energy to volunteer so many hours there while working full time. People her own age (24.5yrs old) usually have no appreciation for the past, but Kelly has always loved steam trains and electric trolleys, coaches and carriages and horse drawn vehicles and automobiles up to just past the brass era. She collects antique fire grenades, the decorative glass bottles the Victorians kept in their home to throw at fires which were a common crisis in those days. She also collects antique inkwells, certain soda bottles (embossed), and ice picks. Her bedroom is like a museum Thank God she hasn't asked for a real trolley car for the back yard and is content to go to CT to restore and operate their trolley cars there!! You don't see too many young ladies with that kind of passion and enthusiasm these days!

Friday, December 4, 2015

Brainstorming for Christmas Story Ideas

Today, on the way to work, I loaded up the CD player with Christmas CDs to put myself in the mood for writing this years annual Christmas Story. On the way home tonight I was making myself all teary-eyed while kicking around  a few ideas while listening to Celtic Women sing carols.

Oh, tis the season for sentimentality and nostalgia...

NaNoWriMo Edits Completed

I finished the first edit of Life Skills last night. What a lot of story to edit and revise here and there but it's done. I put it into a 6X9 trade paperback format and came out with 383 pages! Tis is probably the longest novel I've written since the epic and still as yet unpublished Medina that would probably come in at twice that many pages if ever put into print!  When I was done I went on CreateSpace and created a book so I will have one print copy of this. Unsure if I will offer it for sale or not at this time. It probably still needs work, but Kelly, my chief editor and proofreader, will have a hardcopy to work her critical magic on. The hardest part was finding a cover that would work. I finally chose the linked hands because through all their trials and tribulations, Remy and Lissa forge a strong bond- they hold on tight to one another through life's wild ride.

Now I can move on to writing this year's annual Christmas story/ stories. I have no idea yet what I'll write but it'll come to me as it always does. All I need is a hint of snow int he air to put me in the mood!