Friday, November 25, 2016

Thanksgiving and shopping

I hope everyone's Thanksgiving yesterday was wonderful. Good food and good company.

And today, if you're braving the crowds, stay safe and as sane as you can manage!

I had to go out for a little bit to get a few things (against my better judgement, but I got swept away into activity by others) and it was busy and congested out there.

I am home now, with a cup of tea at my side, and the very real possibility of taking a nap tempting me.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

hiking reward

I went hiking yesterday and today my reward is a very sore body.

It was a gorgeous day and I did overdo it a bit. I suppose I'm not surprised at how I feel. Looks like today's focus will be on stretching!

Friday, November 18, 2016

Free Fic: New and Improved

"New and improved! Get super silky hair with a special formula that heals damaged hair."

Yes, Erica thought, but can it heal a damaged heart?

The commercial ended, moving on to another one selling vacuum cleaners, and Erica covered herself with her green and blue afghan as she snuggled deeper into the sofa. She used the remote to flip through the stations on the tv. Lots of interesting shows were on, but she didn't want to watch any of them. She wanted something comforting.

Erica sniffled. She wasn't feeling very comforted at the moment. Janelle had been very gentle and very kind, but also very direct, in saying that she didn't want to date Erica anymore.

Part of Erica thought she was being ridiculous. It had only been three months. It wasn't a lifetime wasted. She'd had fun and been flying on cloud nine for three months. But it wasn't as if she had incredibly deep feelings for Janelle. She had really, really hoped there would be more, though.

Erica flipped through more stations and then turned the tv off. In the quiet, she felt suddenly very alone.

Was there something wrong with me? Erica knew in heart there wasn't, but asking the question was like probing a wound. She couldn't seem to stop doing it. Anguish gathered in her chest and Erica closed her eyes.

There hadn't been anything wrong. They'd had a blast together. They'd eaten out at restaurants, gone dancing in clubs, taken in a few concerts, and even driven out of the city to go hiking on one super pleasant day. They hadn't seriously argued, just a little squabbling. They'd had interesting conversations. They'd even been able to share shoes.

It had felt--

Erica sat up straighter. It hadn't felt very much like dating.

It definitely felt more like friends. Sisters, even.

Erica didn't have a sister, but she had grown up with plenty of friends who did, and she was familiar with the wide range of dynamics. She'd always been on the outside looking in, wishing she did have a sister, so she'd paid a lot of attention.

Well, crap.

Erica spent a moment to search her heart. She had a desperate fondness for Janelle, a burgeoning love, but it wasn't romantic. And it certainly wasn't sexual. In three months, they hadn't been celibate, but neither had the drive seemed imperative. Not like other, past relationships.

Erica pushed the afghan off to the side. Her heartbreak was transforming inside her chest into something else entirely. Anger. And a lot of pique.

How come she hadn't realized this earlier? How come she was so dense?

Erica got off the couch. She stomped into her bedroom.

Stupid. Stupid. She was wasting her time crying on the couch. Crying over what? Janelle?

Erica scoffed. She'd go talk to Janelle later. Maybe next week or next month. They were obviously very suited for each other, just not in the romantic relationship sort of way.

Right now, Erica had better things to do than wallow on the couch. There was that super cute girl at the gym that she'd been flirting with before Janelle came into her life and put that on hold, and there was a brainy sort of girl who often came to the coffee shop and read books with titles in foreign languages.

Erica glanced at her wardrobe. Pencil skirt, silky blouse, and suede boots to go to the coffee shop? Or running tights, tank top, and sneakers to go to the gym?

Erica reached for her sneakers. She could use a good work out.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Prevailing Zzz's - Love Wins - artwork

I've got the cover artwork for the Love Wins anthology, with my story title and my name on it.

Look, look, look:

This is feeling mighty awesome.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Love Wins - Charity Anthology

The charity anthology by Dreamspinner Press, Love Wins, is now available for pre-order. I have a fic in there: Prevailing Zzz's. I'm very happy to be able, in some small measure, send some comfort to those in Orlando.

The other stories in the anthology look very captivating too. I'm quite looking forward to having a chance to read them over!

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Sunday is for cooking

So, Sunday.

Yesterday I got a lot done in terms of cleaning, but today is no longer about cleaning -- Sundays are for preparing lunches for the week. I've got a few things planned for today: a black bean curry, a lemon poppy seed cake, and ginger bread, and possibly a quiche.

I already have all the ingredients for the first three. I do not think I have everything I need for the quiche, so I am debating. Is it worth the effort to go to the store?

Is it just me, or does anyone else find themselves trying to avoid stopping at the store? I wouldn't mind--when I get there, I usually like looking things over, making choices, discovering new things to try--except that no matter what I go there for, it always takes a minimum of an hour. Sometimes two. And suddenly, a huge chunk of my day has vanished! I could be going for just a loaf of bread, and it'll take the full hour.

Saturday, November 5, 2016

queen of the anthologies! sticky post update

I'm taking a break from all that housework -- to update my sticky post that contains all the stories that I have available. I noticed it needed a little editing. If anyone is so inclined to spend some pocket money on my available stories, I'd be very appreciative. If not, I'll keep writing free ficlets for those without that much in their pockets. (I've been there, so I totally understand.)

Here's the link to the sticky post at my Dreamwidth blog:

And, here's the entry (below) for anyone who doesn't want to click over:

Simmer Anthology — including my story "Operation Wild Thumb"

Errant, wild squash are taking over Heath's and his sister Sara's back yard. During a middle of the night operation to gift the neighborhood with the bountiful vegetables, Heath is caught in the act by sexy neighbor Alex. Will Alex reveal the scheme, or join in the fun?

Snowed In Anthology — including my story "Taking the Fall Line"

Leon bluffs about his skiing abilities on the chairlift and Beau follows the blowhard, expecting to observe expertise and instead witnesses a spectacular tumble. While helping Leon get safely down the hill, Beau learns he’s friendlier after being humbled, and very handsome when he takes off his goggles. Leon invites Beau to spend time with him and his family, who are there to compete in a charity event. High-end ski gear, expensive restaurants, and a top-dollar charity event unsettle Beau and reveal to him he’s not quite in the same league. Beau isn’t easily intimidated, though. The glades and fresh powder are waiting, but Beau keeps choosing Leon over the slopes.

How Sweetly the Whippoorwill Sings

A free extra that goes with this story can be found here: The Nightingale's Confection

Molly and Irving are getting married, but some very real sparks are also flying between Irving's best man, Everett Donnelly, and Molly's brother Jake. After all the speeches and traditional activities are over Everett finds Jake to see if they can make a little romance of their own.

Never Waste a Good Left Turn, part of the Random Acts of Kindness Anthology

It’s often said there’s not enough kindness in the world. The men in this collection want to change that by reaching out a helping hand to a stranger or friend in need. They prove that an act of compassion—no matter how big or how small—can make a difference.

Never Waste A Good Left Turn:
Just about every morning, the friendly hatchback let Leif take a difficult left hand turn on his way to a stressful, uptight IT job. Leif appreciates the mystery man’s kindness, but doesn’t think much about it until he finds the hatchback in a ditch and Jason trapped behind the wheel. Now Leif has an opportunity to repay all those left hand turns, if he can figure out how to deal with a free spirit in his home.

Pouring a Brick
High-energy Spence joins a Brazilian jiu-jitsu school looking for adventure and meets Will, an advanced practitioner of the gentle art. After training for a tournament, Spence realizes that pushing the boundaries may be the only way to take their friendship to the next level.

The Way to a Fisherman's Heart, part of the Snow on the Roof Anthology
Jim loves fishing, but there's more than just the water and fresh air that lures him out to the fishing hole. Franklin is often there, with tips and tales of a well-spent lifetime of angling. Will Jim find out if the attraction is mutual, or will this be the one that got away?

Cotton Candy Deceit

Jack Abbott has forbidden his son, Zeke, to attend the local circus. When Zeke goes against his wishes, Jack must rescue him from the clutches of a world he once escaped, but only at the cost of his lover, Jonas. Returning to the circus brings back nightmares, but Jack learns that Jonas is still alive. Now an opportunity arises for Jack to rescue Jonas as well as Zeke, and to stop the dark dealer at the circus… forever.

Free Reads

As part of the Free Fiction Friday group, most Fridays I put up a short ficlet. These are generally unedited, randomly inspired, and a great opportunity for me to explore topics and ideas that may not need an extensive (long) story, or to return to characters for bits and pieces of their lives ( I have at least that I find myself gravitating back to). For readers, it is a perfect way to get a sense of my style! Check out the Free Reads link here.

Saturday: a day of many tasks

I'm sure I'm not alone, but two days of a weekend are not enough to get all the things done that need doing.

I have a task list that's as long as the Mississippi River!

If I am very lucky, there will be time to write later today, but that's a fleeting dream. I've got laundry, bills, dishes, and brick-a-bract that need tending.

Okay, I'm putting on my game face and charging into the fray! I will tame this household! (Or maybe take a nap first....)

Friday, November 4, 2016

Free Fic: The Carrot Remains

The popping sounds were unmistakable.

Silvio hurried to the kitchen and pressed the release lever that opened the door to the microwave and stopped the machine. The food inside the bowl sitting on the spin-plate of the microwave gave one last pop.

Silvio opened the door and peered inside. Orange globs were stuck to the ceiling of the microwave. Orange speckles dotted the inner wall. Brown liquid had bubbled over and run over the edge and down the side of the bowl to pool at the base of the bowl. Now it was dried out and cooked on.

The entire thing was a serious mess.

Silvio groaned. He gently touched the bowl with one finger. Very hot. He pulled the hand towel out of its holder and used it to wrap around the bowl for hand protection and pulled it out. He set it on the counter.

"I just cleaned this," he said.

His husband, Carl, walked up behind him and gazed over his shoulder. "We'll clean it up now, before it crusts on. It won't be so bad."

"I know," Silvio said. "But, still. I just cleaned this."

Katarina twirled into the room. Today she had decided she wanted to be a dancer when she grew up. She'd spent the morning practicing her jazz hands and handstands, and the afternoon seemed primed to be ballet practice.

Silvio looked at the microwave-safe bowl and frowned. "Katarina. Did you try to microwave your lunch?"

"Yup," she said. "I poured the soup out of the open box, just like you said, and I used the blue bowl, just like you said." She twirled again and finished with a grand curtsy. "And I remembered to put the box back in the fridge, just like you said!"

"She did do what you said," Carl whispered in Silvio's ear.

Silveio swatted him on the hip. "How much time did you punch in?"

Katarina poked her finger into the air. "One one one, just like you told me!"

Silvio checked the remaining time on the display. She must have entered four ones, not just three, to get 11:11 because eight minutes still remained. He was just thankful she hadn't entered a hundred and eleven minutes. That could have turned out very badly.

"Honey, next time, I want you to get one of us to help you with the timer on the microwave, okay?"

"Okay," she said. "Can I have my soup now?"

"In a minute, it's still too hot."

"Okay." Katarina returned to twirling.

Silvio cleared the display and reached for the kitchen sponge. He faced off against the sad, exploded remains of several carrot chunks. At least, he thought they were once carrots. It was hard to tell. He sighed, and went to work.

Carl hugged him from behind and kissed his neck. "If this isn't love," he said, "I don't know what is."

Thursday, November 3, 2016

fall back, spring ahead

For those who tend to forget which weekend this happens (for those of us it does happen to): it is *this* coming weekend!