Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Road Kill Peeps

Road Kill Peeps
15 April 2014

Job Opening: 
Easter Bunny Peeps: Applicants apply immediately. 

This Easter Bunny Peeps was found in a local parking lot, fully flat, tire tread across his snout. He will be recovering at the Peeps Spa until next Easter. 

Kath who will make do with Reese’s Eggs. Which come to think of it, need taste testing before Easter to make sure they will be acceptable. :) 

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Taxes and my Desks

Taxes and my Desks
3 April 2014

I’m late with my blog this week. That’s all the taxes' fault. I had to start the taxes. ARGH!!! Today is day three of trying to unwind this tangled ball of @#$$%%$^. 
That means I’ve lost three days of working on my latest manuscript. It needs a plot line. The characters have presented themselves, but I’m not convinced they’ve thought this through. So I’m brainstorming an adventure for them.
Meanwhile I’m doing taxes, on my faithful office desk. Rescued from a corporate office that was closing down and about to toss it, my Six feet long desk holds not only the beloved books I need around me, but until they’re finished, the mess of tax forms and figures. A burden this desk has borne year after year each spring. 

When my parents passed away, my sister and I adopted their furniture. My clever brother-in-law took one look at all the furniture my sister scattered around their home and said, “Looks like a furniture store!” He may be right, but my furniture store provides me with a LOT of options for writing while the tax mess takes up the office desk. 

There’s the stand up desk I made with a lap desk and a plant stand so I can look out onto the front woods. Which doesn’t mean I’m not writing. It may look like I’m spending more time keeping an eye on the critters, but I am writing. Really. 

Or there’s the nook in the dining room where the wingback chair The Prince Consort and I reupholstered sits with a table I found at a discount store. Great place to cozy in and write. NikkiCat thinks so too, which is why there’s a soft blanket on the seat. A little crowded. 

So I move onto the back bedroom where there are Three desks! Yep. The first, which NikkiCat likes for its location at the window where a certain cardinal hangs out when the crepe myrtle is in full leaf. This desk once lived in Professor Daughter’s room, but now a lively red belongs to Nikki and me. 

Next comes the carved desk I grew up with in my parents’ house. I loved this desk. The carved scenes fed my imagination. 

Now, I’m exhausted and NOT going back to the taxes. So I pull up pillows and stretch out with the lacquer lap desk,  inherited. 

That doesn’t last long. Guilt. So I move into the living room to the table and Painted Lady chair, inherited. 

Kath who may live in a furniture shop, but its gloriously filled with options when taxes drive me away from my beloved office desk.  

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Cold News is Good News

Cold News is Good News
26 March 2014

Rufus, our American Foxhound, is pleased to report that the weather guessers were indeed  correct about snow. I thought yesterday’s snow storm would pass north of us, but (no surprise) I was wrong.

 I should have known from the odd sunset we had the night before. Usually the sun goes down over the ridge in  layers of clouds and color, but this time there was just this glowing ball. 

It  snowed from pre-dawn until mid morning yesterday. So The Prince Consort, Rufus, and I hurried OWT to play ‘catch the snowball.’ Which involves Rufus jumping and catching snowballs, not the other way around. He’s pretty good at it, but if you don’t throw fast enough, you get tackled. Not that I read through the rules before play began, so I was a little slow at first. I caught on.  

The snow started melting even as we finished the final inning of ‘catch the snowball’. By early afternoon we were about snow free. 

And then things changed. Huge snow flakes started falling. Not everybody was pleased. Like this cardinal who seems to be saying, “WHAT?”

This red-eyed squirrel, who I call Demon Squirrel, was not all that thrilled with the new snow as he sat beneath the bird feeder snarfing up sunflower seeds. 

Rufus was HAPPY DAWG! 

A taste of the last of the last of winter? 

Cold Nose, Warm Heart! 

Kath who is waiting to see lots more of these daffodils. 

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Are We There Yet? Where’s Spring?

Are We There Yet? Where’s Spring? 
19 March 2014

When we lived in Tallahassee, March meant Spring and full blown azaleas! Spring was warmth and color. But it’s March in the Kentucky Bluegrass and there aren’t even any daffodils yet. This is the longest winter in our ten years here. Not that we haven’t had the random snow in April, but it’s mid March and no sooner does the snow melt down, than the weather guessers start muttering about more (like next Monday!). 

Anyway. I’m not the only one ready for Spring. This past Monday when I opened the front door  these three were staring at me. They didn’t say it aloud, but I knew what they were thinking, “This is your fault, all this snow. So hurry and get the corn out here so we can have breakfast!” 

As cranky as the deer were, our Foxhound Rufus was in heaven. He LOVES snow! Although I’m pretty sure he’ll love Spring when it is fully here. There’s nothing like his wide-eyed appreciation for life in general. 

The Prince Consort took Rufus to walk across the street. 

Not that many years ago, our subdivision was a collection of tenant farms, and there are treasures of all kinds to find on undeveloped lots. (Like the still over by one pond.) Rufus and TPC found a mysterious something in a sinkhole. It looks like some kind of farm machinery, maybe. A mystery we’ll delve into when the snow is gone, and we can scale down into the sink. 

Nikki Cat and I are on the lookout for SPRING. We’ve had enough of the wet icy white stuff. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Fire Storm: Alex and Ari

Fire Storm: Alex and Ari 
12 March 2014

There was something about the cover to Ally Shield’s Fire Storm,  http://allyshields.com, that haunted me the first time I saw it. It wasn’t just that the depiction of Ari was absolutely ethereal. Something about the cover itched at me. One of those things that wouldn’t leave me alone. 

And then it came to me. The cover resembles my eldest niece, Alex! 

And that got me to thinking. As far as I know Alex did not pose for this cover (although before she was born her beautiful mother was asked about posing for a book cover), but the resemblance between real life Alex and paranormal Ari is uncanny. 

That Alex looked like the cover was interesting. But was that all that itched at me? I thought about how a good book draws the reader with elements that feel familiar. Elements that don’t have to be exactly like real life, because when a writer is told to write what she knows, it doesn’t mean only witches can write about witchcraft. It means the writer takes the attributes that make a live person special and give them to a fictional heroine. 

Both Alex and Ari are determined and don’t take failure for an answer. Her path was not easy, but Alex let nothing stand between her and getting her Bachelor’s degree. Ari will not give up just because Andreas may be inside an impenetrable fortress guarded by nasty foes. Two goal-driven young women with steel inside holding up the beauty outside.

Both are magical. Ari is a witch, and Alex enchants pre-schoolers. Children, like magic sensors, come to Alex attracted to the special person she is. I can hardly wait for her to get her own classroom. 

I want a happy ending for Alex even more than I want one for Ari. And I’ll be on the lookout for a cover that looks like Alex’s equally beautiful and accomplished little sister, Jillian. After all, it’s a small world. 

Kath who is thinking about her own daughter, writing a paranormal heroine, and … 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Putting a Fire Storm on my iPad

Putting a Fire Storm on my iPad
7 March 2014

My day is heating up with today’s release of  Ally Shield’s ( http://allyshields.com ) entry #5 into the Guardian Witch series. I’m headed to buy Fire Storm. Hope to see you there clicking on Ari’s newest adventure as a Guardian Witch (and her delicious love interest Andreas). 

Needed to be further tempted? 

Sometimes you just need to stay alive to fight another day.

Six months ago Ari moved in with the vampire prince Andreas. They defied the vampire elders in Europe, killed their enforcer, and have waited for retaliation that never came.

Until now.

On a trip to Italy, Andreas is captured by the vampire rulers, the notorious O-Seven, and taken in chains to their stronghold in Germany. Ari goes after him, even though it’s against the orders of her Magic Council. She is fired for her actions, losing her special Guardian powers at a time she needs them most.

But the vampire rulers are not through with her or with those who attempt to help her. They launch attacks in Europe and at home in Riverdale. Ari is forced to fight them on several fronts, and victory grows increasingly uncertain.

Her last chance to rescue Andreas is a daring plan that places her in the hands of the O-Seven and relies on untested witch magic, the final hope for their survival.

Youtube book trailer: http://youtu.be/cer_uURx62s

Excerpt from Chapter Four: Andreas is missing in Italy. Ari and her friends are tracking him and his abductors.

“The scent stops here,” Ramon said. “They followed it to some kind of circle drawn on the ground, where it ended. To be certain, they’ve searched a half mile radius.” 
Samuel and Ramon pulled back the brush, and the group entered the clearing. Ari drew back a step. An oppressive black aura, a dark thundercloud of haze, hung over the immediate area. She didn’t say anything, because the others couldn’t see it, but other remnants of the sorcery circle were obvious to all. The scent of sulfur, the ring of ashes. She moved forward to examine the ash used to draw the circle and recoiled in disgust. Human ashes. Not unexpected because the ability to teleport was produced by a dark arts spell. The most complex spells required a level of power typically achieved through human sacrifice or at least the use of human remains. 
She stood and walked the circle. Sophistrina’s coven used black magic to teleport, but this wasn’t big enough to hold thirteen witches. This ring held no more than five or six creatures, and some of them had been werebears. And Sophistrina didn’t use human remains. At least not when Ari knew her. 
The air at the edge of the circle shimmered. “Intruders,” she shouted. “Get out of here.” She leaped forward to protect her companions, throwing up a temporary barrier with the magic powder she always carried in her pockets. Lilith pulled both her guns; Samuel began to morph into tiger form, and the foxes snarled a warning, but backed away, ready to run. 
Energy crackled, and as if Ari’s earlier thoughts had pulled them in, Sophistrina and her coven materialized outside the prior circle. 
“Hold everything. It’s Sophistrina.” Ari thrust out a restraining hand to keep her companions from attacking, but she kept her eyes on the witches, waiting to see the coven’s mood. The last leader of this group had indeed tried to kill her. It paid to be cautious. Especially when they showed up at this particular spot. 
“Why do you seem so surprised?” The high priestess smiled at her from the other side of the barrier and cocked her head to one side. “Didn’t you call me?”

More romantic excerpt #2:

Ari dragged her feet as she climbed the front steps of the Victorian home she shared with Andreas. They’d talked twice during the day. He’d called right after he first awoke, concerned when their magical link telegraphed her unsettled mood. She’d brushed him off, saying it was nothing important, but he hadn’t believed her. There were definite drawbacks to having a strong psychic connection to someone. It made it impossible to lie with impunity. 
He’d called again, later in the evening when she was beginning patrol, but she’d delayed the discussion again until she got home. Well, she was home now and not looking forward to the coming rehash of her meeting with the wizard. 
She keyed in the front door code, raising a brow when Andreas pulled it open. “Hi, I figured you’d at the club.” 
A slow smile parted his lips, and his dark eyes gleamed. “No, you did not. You knew very well I would be waiting.” His magic reached out to brush against her skin, a warm, soothing sensation. 
She sighed. “OK, so I figured you’d be home, but not manning the front door.” 
“I wanted to give you these.” He pulled a bouquet of daffodils, her favorite flower, from behind his back. “You sounded like you could use a little TLC. Consider this my first contribution to that end.” 
She tipped her head and took a long look at him. The black wavy hair, the sexy dark eyes with those incredible long lashes. His black Armani jeans and the bluish-silver silk shirt unbuttoned at the throat couldn’t have fit him better. Long, lean, muscled. And he shared his life with her. Ari smiled and leaned forward, resting her head against his chest. Did he know what one look, one gesture from him could do? And how much she’d come to count on it? 
She turned her head to bury her nose in the fresh, delicate scent of the bouquet. “I won’t even ask where you found them at this time of year. But thanks, I guess I needed this.” She raised her head and brushed her lips across his. “You’re too good to me.” 
He wound an arm around her waist. “Always glad to help, but dinner awaits, and we can talk afterward.”
Andreas steered her toward the study, his favorite room. She was delighted but not surprised to see a candlelit table and bottles of wine. This wasn’t the first time he’d arranged intimate dinners brought in from Club Dintero, his fancy supper club. Nor was the dinner menu a surprise when he pulled the silver cover off her plate to reveal chicken marsala. It was her favorite fancy dish. Well, fancy when compared with the sandwiches, chips or fries that she often grabbed on the run. 
As he pulled out her chair, his fingers brushed her neck. Her breath quickened, and he responded with a deep chuckle. She smiled up at him, and an understanding passed between them. They’d been together long enough that the unspoken promises were comfortably tucked away for later.

Heat level: PG-13

Author Contacts:
Website: http://allyshields.com 

Other books in the series:
Title 1: Awakening the Fire (Guardian Witch #1), GR link to cover: 
Title 2: Fire Within (Guardian Witch #2), GR link to cover: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16283418-fire-within
Title 3: Burning Both Ends (Guardian Witch #3), GR link to cover:
Title 4: Blood and Fire ((Guardian Witch #4), GR link to cover: https://www.goodreads.com/book/photo/18583974-blood-fire

All books can be accessed through my author page at Amazon: http://amzn.to/13LH078 or this search link at B&N: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/?series_id=842187

Amazon link: http://www.amazon.com/Fire-Storm-Guardian-Witch-Shields-ebook/dp/B00IU07K6E/
         Bitly version of Amazon link: http://amzn.to/1f3keBF

Barnes & Noble link: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fire-storm-ally-shields/1118875785?ean=2940149160280
         Bitly version of B&N link: http://bit.ly/1lCYdNP

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Some Like it Snowy

Some like it Snowy
5 March 2014

Seems like I’m living in my long johns. Last week’s soft snowfall gave way to a good six inches of serious snow this Monday. Rufus is ecstatic! Our yard is now Buffet Central for every hungry critter. The Prince Consort thinks we’re buying corn and sunflower seed every day. Maybe. 

The snow fell hard and on everyone. 

Rufus plowed snow. 

The sun came out.TPC and I plowed snow off our driveway for three hours to make sure TPC’s coffee order got delivered. 
Too many songbirds to count showed up for handouts. Usually the squirrels settle inside the feeder to sit and eat. A goldfinch perched on the edge, eyed all those seeds Inside. He flew in and ate while everybody else perched outside. 

Goldfinch inside feeder on the seeds. 

Today we got frozen fog. We had White Hall pond all to ourselves, just TPC, Rufus, and I. 

Kath who has had hot chocolate and feels all thawed out.