Monday, November 23, 2009

Crawling Out from Under the Plague Rock

Yes, for those of you keeping score at home, I'm sick again. I find it grossly unfair that I'm allergic to all flu and pneumonia vaccines. Even more unfair is the fact that Starbucks doesn't deliver.

I want a Bat Signal, only instead of Batman's bat, I want it to show a venti cinnamon dolce latte in the sky, and then I want one of those super nice Starbuck's employees to deliver it to me. I'd tip, for God's sake. And I'd promise only to use it in times of great need. Like today. Sigh...I want some damn coffee.

In other news, Mist and Stone was released today from TEB as a single title - yay! And tomorrow...or maybe it's Wednesday...I dunno (lack of decent coffee does that to me) it comes out in audio book!

Here's an excerpt:

“Touch her, and I will geld you before you take your next breath.” Rage filling her vision, Willow stepped in front of the young priestess at her side and blocked the advances of the man before them.

His thin lips peeled away from his teeth in a poor facsimile of a smile. “Mayhap, I will touch you instead.”

As he reached for her breast, she drew her dagger from the sheath attached to her kirtle and pressed the blade against the man’s groin. Unprepared for her bold move, he gasped and froze in place. She did not bother hiding her smile as she pushed the blade upwards bringing him to his toes.

Hooves clattered over the courtyard’s stones and a rider dismounted, but she refused to look away from the man in front of her.

The rider moved beside her and locked a warm hand around her wrist.

She turned to glare at the second man. “Have you come to protect your brother in arms from my blade?”

Recognition hit her low in the gut as familiar eyes, blue as a bright autumn day, crinkled with poorly concealed amusement. Gareth.

A crooked smile quirked his lips as he ignored her question as well as her barb. “While I am tempted to allow you to make good on your threat, I do not think the King would appreciate you spilling the blood of one of his knights.” He paused and eyed the man at the end of her dagger. “No matter how much he likely deserves it.”

“Release me,” she demanded. She refused to allow either man to think she was a helpless child.

In response, Gareth grabbed the other man’s tunic and gently, but firmly, pulled her weapon from its intended target. “The priestess is none of your concern, Maleagant. You will give her a wide berth or Arthur will hear of this.”

The other man narrowed his eyes, rage bright in the icy depths. “They are pagan whores.” Yanking free of Gareth’s grasp, he stumbled backwards. “God does not care for them. Why should Arthur?”

Willow shook with anger as he disappeared from view. She turned her scowl on the man who still held her wrist, caressing the underside with a callused thumb. A shiver worked down her spine as he continued to stroke the sensitive skin.

“Ever the protector of the weak, Sir Gareth the Brave,” she scoffed as she shook her hair from her face, taking care not to reveal how his slightest touch affected her. Though she had taken pains to pretend otherwise, her childhood infatuation had never truly gone away. If anything, it was worse than ever. However, it was difficult to rectify the noble knight before her with the boy who had pushed her into mud puddles and put frogs in her hair.

Gangly, red-haired Gareth had become a knight to be envied. Gone were the knobby knees and clumsy feet of a boy. In his place stood a man, tall and broad shouldered. If the heavy mail covering his body was any indication, he was also thickly muscled—he would have to be to support the weight of the metal as if it were no more cumbersome than his tunic. His hair had darkened to a russet brown, and his voice had deepened, though it still held the rich accent of the Orkney Isles. Only his eyes remained unchanged and right now they bored into hers.

She attempted to tug her arm free of his grasp, but he held firm, pulling her closer until she needed to tilt her head to meet his gaze. The heat of his body surrounded her, chasing away the chill of the spring morning.

“You have made a fierce enemy in Malaegant,” he growled.

She shrugged. “I do not fear him.”

“You should.” He tightened his grip on her wrist. Plucking her dagger from her fingers, he slipped it into his belt.

How dare he appropriate her weapon as though she was a child who could not be trusted to handle sharp objects? Her irritation deepened.

“You have humiliated him, and he will not soon forget it. If ever.” Lifting her chin, he forced her to meet his gaze. “You must take heed, Willow—especially while you are at Camelot. He is a dangerous man.”

She leaned closer and gently lifted his hair from his forehead, enjoying the sensation of his silky locks sliding through her fingers. Squinting, she peered intently at him as if searching for hidden secrets.

Frowning, he caught her wandering hand and pressed it to his chest. “What do you play at, woman?”

“I play at nothing. I am simply searching for hoof prints.”

His brow furrowed and confusion spread across his features. “Hoof prints?”

She bit her lip, stifling the smile that threatened. “Your solicitous behaviour is so unlike your usual treatment of me, I can only assume your mount has kicked you in the head recently.”

His firm lips twitched, but whether in amusement or annoyance, she was unable to tell. She fought the urge to smooth her fingertips across them.

He leaned towards her, bringing his face so close she could feel the warm flutter of his breath upon her skin. Was he going to kiss her?

Holding her gaze, Gareth slowly raised her palm to his lips and brushed a kiss across the centre. Nervous excitement trembled through her middle as he raised his head slightly. “Have a care, Willow, lest I feel the need to remind you that Malaegant is not the only dangerous man nearby.”

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Riding in Cars with Boys

I think some of you know that I am the carpool mom extraordinaire. Not because I'm a great driver, just because I'm super tolerant of teenage boyness.

In the afternoon, I pick up my son, Killian, and his friends Justin and Mitchell from school. They're tall and gangly with long hair and loud voices. They laugh too loudly and have wicked senses of humor. They're jaw-droppingly wise and ridiculously stupid all at the same time. In short, they're teenage boys, and I adore them.

A week or so ago, they were talking about annoying preppy girls.

Me: So what makes them annoying?
Justin: Seriously. Have you ever heard one talk?
Me: Not What's the prob.
Killian: Everything's a question.
Me: What do you mean?
Justin: It's the upward inflection at the end of every single freaking sentence.
Mitchell: What's an upward inflection?
Killian: You know, the last word in every sentence goes up like they're asking questions even when they aren't.
Mitchell: Whaaaat?
Justin: (speaking in a high girly voice) I'm gonna go to my locker. It's lunchtime.
Killian: (also using a falsetto voice) I have gym class now. My name's Brittany.
Mitchell: Can I copy your homework?
Killian and Justin: That is a question, Mitchell.
Me: (muffled laughter)
Mitchell: Oh...right.
Justin: It's just so annoying.
Killian: Totally.
Mitchell: Huh...I just thought they were all really dumb.

Then there was today's conversation.

Mitchell: There's something wrong with a bunch of the dudes in my gym class.
Me: Oh?
Mitchell: Yeah. They run around the locker room all naked and stuff.
Me: Well, it is a locker room. I assume they're either changing or showering.
Mitchell: Well, yeah. But it's just not right, man. I mean, I shouldn't hafta see another dude's junk. It's not right at all.
Me: Maybe they're just comfortable with their bodies.
Mitchell: Maybe they're just freaks.
Justin: Maybe they're nudists.
Mitchell: Maybe, but they gotta keep their junk at home then. Duuuude...what would happen if you went to your friend's house and they were all naked?
All three boys: collective groan
Justin: I wouldn't sit down, that's for sure.
Killian: Unless there was plastic on the furniture...maybe then.
Justin: Yeah. Plastic. Lots of plastic. Everything else is lava!

Then totally out of the blue, Mitchell who happened to be sitting in the front seat, turned to me and said, "So, my friend came out to me today."

Me: Came out-came out?
Mitchell: Yeah. He said he was gay.
Me: What did you say?
Mitchell: I said, I did not expect that, but that's cool.
Me: I think that's great. A lot of guys wouldn't have been very comfortable hearing that from a friend.
Justin: Was it in gym class?
Killian, Mitchell and me: Shut up, Justin.
Mitchell: No in the hallway. Some asshole was picking on him and calling him gay, and he said, I am.
Me: (fearing the worst) What did the other guy say?
Mitchell: He looked surprised for a minute and said. Really? Oh...okay. I guess I won't pick on you then. You have enough to deal with. And then he just walked away.

I couldn't have been more shocked. I know sometimes teenagers are a pain in the ass, but they're all finding their way in the world. I have to say, they're doing a great job. If a boy had come out like that when I was in high school, he would have likely gotten the crap kicked out of him and he'd have been run out of the school. I love progress and I love these boys. These are the ones I get to spend time with, and I couldn't be happier. Being the carpool mom sucks because I really do hate to drive, but days like today make it all worthwhile.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Writer's High

This week on the Writer's Evolution blog, we're talking about the writer's high and what it means for us. If you get a chance, please stop by and let us know what it means to you!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I Has a Happy

Matt, my husband, has been working in Russia for the last two weeks, and he's finally coming home today!!! Several of my friends have husbands that go away for up to a month at a time, so I know I'm really lucky - two weeks isn't all that long. But, it is the longest we've been apart since college, and I can't wait to see him!!!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Orb-tacular Spectacular

On Halloween, I friend and I decided to visit some local graveyards to see if we could photograph any orbs that might be hanging around. Halloween, or Samhain, is the time of the year when the veil separating the dead and the undead (seen and unseen, the various planes - however you want to look at it) is the thinnest. I'm here to say, it was pretty thin last weekend. Look what we found!

The pictures were taken at St. Mary's in New Salem, MI, Visitation in North Dorr, MI, St. Sebastian's in Bryon Center, MI and at an abdondoned, one room schoolhouse, also in Bryon Center, MI. This is the school where my Dad and my uncles attended first through eighth grade many, many years ago.

You may want to click on the pictures to enlarge them so you can see all of the orb-y goodness. There are no orbs that I can find in the last picture, I just thought it looked kinda cool...and also really creepy!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Cool Stuff

I have to tell you about my very dear friend, Margaret. We've known each other forever...seriously...since we were fifteen or sixteen. I'm so excited for her. She recently won the Ann Arbor Book Festival's Short Story Contest!!!! YAY MARGARET!!!! Here's a link to her wonderful, winning story, Entertaining Guests. If you get a chance, I hope you'll pop over and read it. It's great!!!

In other news, Valerie, from Manic Readers 20 Questions Blog, interviewed me! It's here. If you get a chance, we'd love it if you came over and left a comment!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Cuffed and Dangerous is Out Today!

Well, my first menage releases today from Resplendence Publishing and I'm pretty excited - and of course, a little nervous!

After the blurb and excerpt, I've posted what Gideon and Jude look like in my head. :)

When a bounty claim becomes a fight of five against one, Jude Caulfield and Gideon Wells step in to help hunter, Wrenn Saunders, before she’s mortally injured. Wrenn soon learns that three is a good number whether in a fight or in the bedroom. Especially in the bedroom—and that’s just where Jude and Gideon want to keep her.

She might be fooling some of the regulars at the Jack Pine tavern, but she sure as shit wasn’t fooling him. Gideon Wells eyed the blonde as she nursed her drink like a broken heart. Her depressed demeanor was Oscar-worthy, but this girl was hunting. He’d bet his right ball her prey would walk through the door any minute.

He leaned back in his chair and observed her reflection in the mirror behind the bar. Short, honey-blonde hair framed her face, stopping just past her chin. She had pale, almost translucent skin that reminded him of an angel’s or a vampire’s—but he knew she was neither. His gaze rose to her full lips. God damn if she didn’t have a mouth made for sin. His cock stirred behind the fly of his jeans, and he shifted uncomfortably in his seat.

He watched her scan the room in the mirror, stopping when she met his gaze. Huge eyes the color of melted dark-chocolate glared at him, and he couldn’t help but smile. She was a bounty hunter. He’d never seen her, but he’d heard plenty about her over the last three years. While most members of the shifter community might not be best buddies, they kept each other apprised of shared dangers—like bounty hunters with hard-ons for feline shape shifters.

Her short, snug skirt rode up her legs, giving him a tantalizing glimpse of her thighs. It was impossible not to imagine how the creamy flesh would taste as he lapped at her. As if she knew his thoughts, her frown deepened and she looked away. He took that opportunity to continue his perusal of her gentle curves, following the delicately muscled line of her leg downward. Her feet were encased in impossibly high heels and thin bands of leather wrapped around her ankles. The sharp contrast of the black leather against her porcelain skin hardened his cock further as he imagined her bound to his bed, wide leather cuffs securing her hands and ankles, her body open and weeping for him.

Her foot tapped in an agitated rhythm against the metal rung of the bar stool and he dragged his attention upward. Her full lips were pursed in annoyance as she stared at him. Raising his bottle, he saluted her, barely stifling a laugh when she flipped him off.

The door of the bar swung open and her eyes darted almost imperceptibly toward the doorway. He followed her gaze and nearly groaned aloud as he saw his best friend zero in on the woman at the bar. This wouldn’t end well.

With an easy grin, Jude Caulfield approached the blonde and leaned on the bar while he ordered a beer. His smile faded as he crossed the room and sank into an empty chair next to Gideon. After a nearly draining the bottle, he set it on the table and sighed.

“The Montgomery build is on hold and I’m laid off indefinitely, the bar’s out of Killian’s Red, and I just got shot down by the hottest woman I’ve seen in months.”

Gideon grinned. “So you’re writing country songs now?”

“Fuck you.” Jude nodded toward the bar. “Who is she?”

“If I’m not mistaken, that’s Wrenn Saunders.”

“The bounty hunter?”

Before Gideon could respond, a triangle of dull light slid across the floor as the door opened, and Spencer Dane entered. Besides being a werelion and an all around dick, he was also the head of the local lion pride. While Spencer might masquerade as a reputable businessman, he was nothing more than a drug dealer using his import company as a front and the members of his pride to distribute his product. The tiny hairs stood up on the back of Gideon’s neck and the need to shift burned through his veins. It was more than cats not playing nicely with those outside their own genus. He hated this guy.

“Easy there,” Jude murmured. “The last thing I need today is for you to go panther on him. I can’t afford to bail your ass out of jail.”

Nodding, Gideon took another swig of beer, attempting to swallow his dislike with the cool liquid and watched as the creep made his way toward the blonde at the bar. His beast rose in his chest at the sight of Spencer’s hand stroking her forearm, his meaty paws caressing her bare skin.

Gideon’s fingers clenched around his bottle as she leaned toward Spencer, giving him a clear view of her ample cleavage. Forcing his grip to relax, he drained the last of his beer. What did it matter that she was flirting with a lowlife like Spencer? Gideon would love to think that she was in the Jack Pine to haul the bastard in, but so far, the other man had managed to keep his illegal dealings unproven, letting his pride members take the fall for him.

The bounty hunter swiveled on her stool. Buttons near to popping, her tight blouse left very little to the imagination, including the hint of black lace that cupped the full mounds of her breasts.

“Holy Mother of God,” Jude breathed.

“Yeah.” It was the only word he could choke out.

Equally enamored, Spencer laid his hand on her bare thigh as she giggled, peering at him through her lashes. In a move so fast, it must have taken years of practice, she pulled a pair of handcuffs from her waistband and snapped one of the bracelets around his wrist.

Spencer stared at his hand, dumfounded. “What the fuck?”

Hopping off the bar stool, she dragged his hand behind his back as she shoved his torso toward the bar top and wrestled the cuff around his other wrist.

“You’re under arrest, asshole,” she said.

“I think I’m in love,” Jude breathed.

Spencer pushed himself back to an upright position. Straining his muscles, he fought against the restraints. “You’ve got nothing on me, bitch.”

She grabbed the cuffs and pulled them upward, twisting his arms in his sockets. “Don’t bother—they’re silver. And actually, I do. There’s a bench warrant from a judge in Detroit for your arrest. You’re more than two years behind on child support.”

“That’s bullshit.”

“That’s life.”

“Look, I can triple whatever your bounty is. Just unlock the cuffs and the money’s yours.”
With her free hand, she removed a colt from her purse and pressed the muzzle into his back. “I’ve got a full cylinder. The rounds aren’t silver, so you’ll heal, but I can make sure it hurts like hell before you do.”

“Yep,” Jude nodded. “Definitely in love.”

“Whore,” Spencer growled.

“Helplessness is a bitch, huh?” Keeping a tight grip on the chain connecting the cuffs and the gun pressed against his spine, she shoved him toward the door.

Meet Jude and Gideon.

( real life, they're really Jensen Ackles and Keith Hamilton Cobb...but in my head, this is who I see when I think of these two.)

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The One I Have

So I found out that my kid rickrolled the school cafeteria for two entire lunch periods the other day.

If you're not familiar with the term rickroll, it's when someone sends you a link and you click on it, but instead of being taken to where you thought you were going, you end up here, with the 80s song, Never Gonna Give You Up, by Rick Astley, stuck in your head for days. It also means ambushing unsuspecting people with this song. Killian does this to me all the time while I'm driving. He sneaks the earbud of his mp3 player into my ear and plays songs that I hate, because it amuses him.

Okay, back to Killian and his friend Justin. The high school just installed one of those digital jukeboxes in the lunch room, which seems like an exercise in excess to me, but whatever. Justin decided to play some All That Remains, but before he could punch it in, Killian entered Never Gonna Give You Up.

Then they got an idea. An awful idea. The boys got a wonderfully awful idea.

They pooled their money (more than five bucks) and cued up the song over and over and over. Apparently songs cost fifty cents on this jukebox. However, if you put in seventy-five cents per song, that song supersedes any other song played. So of course, that's what they did.

The first time the song played, they got some weird looks. The second time it played, there were outright glares and a lot of WTFs. The third time it played, people were shoving quarter after quarter into the machine to no avail. That song played seven times and they managed to rickroll about 66% of the 4000+ students and staff.

I laughed so hard when they told me what they did. I never would have had the guts to do that in high school, but I love that they do. I'm not sure what it is, but my kids never worry about what people are going to think or if they're going to be judged when they're being silly or dorky. They just are who they are. I was talking to a friend about that the other day. Her kids are the same way. They just have so much more self confidence than we ever did at that age. I really admire that about them.

Sigh...after writing this post, I have that damn song stuck in my head. I blame Killian and Justin.