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Self care

I just realized, I don’t get the idea of self-care. I think it’s a myth, like unicorns or all the laundry being done.

I thought I’d try it, this elusive beast of self care. I took up yoga for a month. It took about a week to fully realize that yoga took up the time I used to spend doing the dishes. We all ate off paper plates, and that’s bad for the environment, and I’m pretty sure I read in some magazine the toxins in paper plates give you wrinkles. Or smallpox. Maybe it was hemorrhoids. I’m sure it was something. Collapoxarhoids. Yeah, I’m pretty sure that was it.

I don’t hate yoga like I hate running from killer clowns or trying on bathing suits under fluorescent lights. Actually, I kind of liked it. But I either have to get up at the crack of dawn (like 4:30 AM), or I have to do it in the evening. I’ve got three kids, man. My evening are booked… and the morning? Well, I think my bed can be considered self care, right? I mean, it’s warm and cozy and holy cow why do I have to get up at such an ungodly hour anyway? And anything at a more reasonable hour is reserved for the cardio I get as I frantically put together lunches for three kids while attempting to put a face on and get ready for work. I feel pretty successful, because most days I get mascara on both eyes and my shoes often match one another. #winning

See, there’s always something to be done. It’s a myth that we can have it all. I want a clean house, but it’s not going to clean itself. As much as I fantasize about a hunky house boy (that sounds juvenile, I don’t want a boy. I want a house man) who feeds me whatever floats my boat while I never gain weight and look effortlessly like Cindy Crawford as my self-cleaning house does all the dirty work, it’s not happening. I barely find time to blog, and in theory, that’s part of one of my jobs. I’m pretty sure most humans can relate.

Self-care. It’s a nice idea. Maybe I’ll try it someday. Maybe after I find that damn Leprechaun.


It’s Been a Long Road

I haven’t written here in an age. I was kidnapped by aliens. Uh… No, I took in a family of squirrels and we sang songs and had  some crazy adventures.  Actually, I joined a circus.

Haha, no on that last one for sure. I am terrified of clowns. No slight to Stephen King, but I won’t be seeing It any time soon. I’m just not that kind of girl. I can barely tolerate the clowns at the rodeo, but that’s like combining two things I am rather afraid of–cows and clowns–and putting them all in one space. I tolerated the place once for the kids. NEVER AGAIN.

I know, I know, you want to know who is afraid of cows. This girl, right here. They’re big and they stampede, and, I don’t know, they look at me funny. Whatever. Don’t judge. Or go ahead and judge. It’s not like I’m not aware of the weirdness.

Anyhoo, I’ve been gone for a long time from the blog. Like, a long, long time. Admittedly, I didn’t write much either during that time. I tried to, but I didn’t. Life gets in the way sometimes.

For instance, I got an endorsement on my teaching license. Then I decided that another master’s degree would work, in a field completely different from both my first masters and my endorsement. So I got to take a whole new set of classes, because none of my previous coursework could transfer. That’s just how I roll. All that school took a lot out of me, and what writing I did–usually to the tune of 20-50 pages a week–went to that.

During that time, my job got insane, and even when I wasn’t doing schoolwork, I was living in my office.

That first spring of grad school, we decided to move. Put our names on a list for another house in a new development further out in our desert valley.

We somehow got picked first round, and we had to fix up our old house and put it up for sale. That was a trip. We’d been there for 15 years, had two kids there, and let me tell you, kids are gross. Since I’m not the best housekeeper in the whole world, the house needed some gussying up. That took a about a month.

Selling a house with two cats, two dogs, and two children to clean up after, while going to grad school and working full time, wasn’t fun at all. Every showing, one of us would have to come home, pack up said dogs, cats, and children, and load everyone into the car for anywhere from 30 minutes to three hours. The cats loved going on car rides, so they were a joy to locate any time we brought out the crate. It was a laugh riot. I’ll admit I was a little relieved when we lost the new house–at least my house was fixed up and I wouldn’t have to get up at 4:30 AM to make sure it was spotless in case someone came over to look at it.

The day before we were going to take the house off the market–after all, we’d lost the other house–we sold it. We thought maybe the builder of the new house would take our money, because our buyer’s were paying cash and wanted to close in two weeks. Our other house wasn’t supposed to close for almost six more weeks after that, so we thought, maybe….

But the builder had already sold our house, so we totally lost out on that. So we went house hunting, since now we needed a place to live.

We found another house (one I like better! And the backyard is mature and done! Woot! I do need to fix the bathroom, though), so we wound up moving after all.

Six weeks after that, we went on a family vacation to Mexico. It was fantastic!

Except that I came home so sick. So, so sick. Pretty sure that the Health Department made a logo for Norovirus that very accurately explains my life for about two months. You can find it if you look for it. It cracked me up when I saw it.

Six weeks after we got home, just as we were finding out that I had had a raging case of strep for ALMOST TWO MONTHS, the dog died. He was old, but he hadn’t been sick, and even the weekend before, he’d been okay. Unbeknownst to us, he was riddled with cancer. True to form, he decided to die on my daughter’s birthday. While I was in my roughest semester of grad school, and had been sick for two months. When I’d sort of delayed getting her birthday presents (grad school, work, sickness, still unpacking boxes, etc). In my defense, they were supposed to arrive on time–on her exact birthday. I figured I’d have time to wrap them up, right? But then my town flooded, and the presents got stuck on the other side of the hill, and the bakery lost my order for the cake that I knew I wouldn’t have time to make, so my kid had her 12th birthday with no presents, no cake, and a dead dog. I freaking owned parenting that day. Thankfully, I had friends who came through for me, and I think she had a nice day. We got our toes done, a friend brought over some presents, and I made her a cake. It wasn’t red velvet, as she had requested, but she was still happy about it. My kid freaking rocks.

A few weeks later, we were in PetSMart and found another dog. A rescue dog. One who is so much like Frank that sometimes I look outside and I don’t see the dog I affectionately call “Beet Juice,” I see Frank.

In any case, my plate was pretty full for about 16 months. I fell off social media, I didn’t blog, I didn’t even watch TV. I worked, I cooked, I sort of cleaned sometimes not really, and I did school work.

But now I’ve graduated, we’re all moved in, we have our dogs and cats, and life has sorted itself out. And I finally finished the book I started way back in 2014, when I started on my various endorsements/moving journey.

Coming at the end of this month is The Devil of Dunmoor, the follow up to Highland Deception. I’ve worked on this book gradually for three years now, and I have to say, I am really proud of how it came out. After many fits and starts, and several complete rewrites, it’s finally out, and done, and it’s coming out soon! (October 28, to be exact). I’ll keep you posted when it’s up for pre-sale. 🙂

I hope all of you have a wonderful day.



THURSDAY THREADS Welcomes Cathy MacRae

The Highlander’s Reluctant BrideAuthor: Cathy MacRae

Genre: Scottish Medieval Romance

Heat level: Sensual
Determined to keep the Macrory clan’s holdings out of the clutches of marauding pirates, King Robert II sends his man, Lord Ranald Scott, to hold Scaurness Castle. There, Laird Macrory lays dying, awaiting word from his son who is missing on the battlefields of France. If the son is not found before the old laird dies, Ranald will take over as laird—and marry Laird Macrory’s headstrong daughter. 

Lady Caitriona sees no reason she cannot rule the clan in her brother’s stead, and is bitterly disappointed with the king’s decision to send a man to oversee the castle and people. Not only is Ranald Scott only distantly related to the Macrory clan, but he was her childhood nemesis. She has little trust or like for him. 

Her disappointment turns to panic when the king’s plan is completely revealed and she realizes she must wed Ranald. Pirates, treachery, and a four-year-old girl stand between her and Ranald’s chance at happiness. What will it take for them to learn to trust each other and find the love they both deserve? 

Absently Riona brushed a wayward strand of dark auburn hair from her face as she took two quick paces to catch up with him. The movement reminded Ranald of her as a child.

“I don’t suppose ye were too anxious to come here,” she said.

He formed a rueful expression. “Nae. ‘Twas no’ my first choice.”

“I know ye dinnae like it here. Ye always seemed relieved to depart.”

Ranald laughed. “‘Twas ye I dinnae like.”

Rather than take offence, Riona nodded again. “Nor I ye.”

“Ye were a difficult lass.”

She drew up short, staring at him. “Me? Difficult? All I ever wanted was to be included. Ye were forever running off, trying to leave me behind.”

Ranald did not check his pace. “Ach, we did let ye play sometimes.”

With a huff, Riona scrambled to his side. “Oh, aye. Ye let me play ‘princess.’ The princess ye kidnapped and held for ransom by tying me to a tree all afternoon.” She grabbed at her skirt again as she stumbled and caught herself.

Ranald paused and his horse tossed his head at his master’s sudden halt, but Riona didn’t slow her stride. With one long pace he was even with her again.

“And what about the time ye let me go fishing?” she tossed at him. “Except I had to sit in the bottom of the boat and use my skirt to hold yer catch. I smelled of fish for a week.”

Ranald chuckled and shook his head. “That wasnae me, lass.”

She bit her lip, and Ranald wondered why her straight, white teeth fascinated him so. He stared at the reddened mark her bite left behind.

“True,” she allowed. “Ye dinnae like the water, do ye?”

Ranald swallowed back his wayward thoughts. This was Riona, his childhood nemesis, not the sweet widow he’d left behind at Scott Castle.

He caught her sideways glance at him and realized he’d not answered her. “Nae. ‘Tis all that up and down and sideways motion. Makes my stomach churn.”

“How do ye intend to be laird of a people who live by the sea?”

“I cannae say if I’ll ever be much of a sailor, but I will be laird.”

Author’s links:


Twitter: @CMacRaeAuthor



Romance Writers Weekly: What does Romance mean to you?

image001Welcome! If you’re here, I hope you’ve come from Katie O’Connor. This week’s questions comes from Jenna Da Sie, and she asks this: “Romance. There are so many different meanings. What does it mean to you?”

Well, when I first read this question, I got the lyrics from Human Sexual Response’s What Does Sex Mean to Me? stuck in my head. Which is made all the more disturbing by the fact that it’s been over a week, and that particular ear worm (and the one god-forsaken line I know) has been running on a continuous loop in my head ever since.

In any case, thinking of this question… It’s loaded, for sure. This question could be interpreted in a variety of ways. I mean, are we talking books? Well, in a romance novel, you have a couple who meets, fall in love, have a variety of difficulties, and then, in the end, wind up with their happily ever after. Of course, that’s over-simplifying it, kind of like if I described literary fictions as “blah, blah, blah, convoluted mess, sadness. Pain. Misery. Death. The human condition. The end.”

So… for me, the genre of romance is, just like lit fiction, about the human condition… but, the better part of it. That’s what I like about it. My life has enough turmoil in it, what with jobs and school and kids and husband; when I read a book, I want the best parts of life to go into it. I can’t read a book built entirely on misery anymore, because I just don’t have it in me be sad when I read (that sounds rather dull and trite, doesn’t it? Ah, the human condition sometimes is that way, right?) I want a happy ending, I want to know that, no matter what is thrown at a character, it will all work out, because my life doesn’t always fit into those nice parameters. No one’s does.

As for romance in real life? Well, I suppose that changes as one ages. Gah, when I was significantly younger, it was grand gestures of undying affection. Think Say Anything. I mean, for real, I wanted to marry John Cusack. Or, if we’re going with strict 1990s references, a sensitive ponytail man (as in Singles, but I would have happily taken Cameron Crow, too), who would write poetry about me and sing my praises and tell me how utterly fascinating every word I’ve ever spoken truly is.

Only the majority of what comes out of my mouth is hardly fascinating, and I never met a sensitive ponytail man; I married a cop.

So, romance is in the little things. It’s in the face that he will let me sleep in on a Saturday, or that he might make me coffee in the morning. Sometimes, he’ll do the dishes, and I would seriously weep over how romantic that is. Or he’ll take the car to get it registered or get the oil change, or he’ll check my tire pressure when I’m about to go on a long drive. It doesn’t sound romantic, and it doesn’t sound all “knight in shining armor” romance novel worthy, but I assure you, after 18 years of marriage, two kids, a mortgage and two jobs, it really, truly, honestly is.

Why not head on over to Jenna’s page and see what she had to say?


THURSDAY THREADS Welcomes Viola Russell

Buccaneer BeautyBy Viola Russell

Genre: Historical Romance

Heat Level: Sensual
BUCCANEER BEAUTY is the story of Grace, Graínne, O’Malley, the beautiful daughter of a powerful Irish chieftain and a conventional mother. At the age of eleven, Graínne cuts her hair and sneaks aboard her father’s galley ship, determined to follow a life at sea and to seek the company of a handsome Scottish gallowglass, Bruce Donnel. Graínne proves herself a budding warrior when Spanish marauders invade her father’s vessel, but her parents have other plans for her. Though she proves an able sailor, Graínne is forced to marry Donal O’Flaherty, another powerful chieftain. Though enamored of Bruce Donnel, she nonetheless obeys her parents and proves an able helpmate to her violent and rash husband, continuing her own adventures at sea while raising children and supervising her husband’s home. Her heart, however, still belongs to a handsome Scot who she can never have. 
Upon Donal’s death by ambush, Graínne continues her adventures along the Irish coast and Europe, secretly battling England’s growing power in her country. Alternately sleeping with the devil or manipulating the British authorities to her own ends, Graínne is determined to save her family and people from the tyranny imposed upon them by England. To make her family stronger, she weds Richard Bourke, one of the most powerful men in the region, but she can never forget Bruce Donnel and the passion he incited within her soul. Richard proves Graínne’s most stalwart supporter and she his, their minds and bodies uniting in an almost mystical union. Together, they faced the English with no fear—with only audacity and boundless courage. Still, the shadow of a youthful gallowglass intrudes on Graínne’s peace.


 “I wish you could come with me to Bunowen.” Grainne heard Bruce’s footsteps when he stepped on the hay spread along the barn. She looked up from grooming her chestnut horse. 

“Now what would I be doing there?” Bruce ambled toward her and began stroking the mare’s nose. The horse stomped on the ground with her right front hoof and let out a fierce snort. The Scot took a step back. 

“She thinks you mean to dishonor me.” Grainne grinned at him as she combed the horse’s mane. “My da gave her to me after that first voyage. Before that, I’d only had a pony. He said I could handle Anu after that.” 

Bruce had regained his courage. He searched within the folds of his cloak and offered the horse a carrot. Anu gazed at him with what looked like suspicion, sniffing the tempting vegetable. “She’s a wild one.” 

Grainne laughed and threw her arms around the animal’s long neck. “She’s a smart one, you’re meaning.” She stared at the now fully-grown man before her. His fair hair fell lightly onto his shoulders, and he wore the tartan trews typical of his people. She glanced at the way his muscular legs bulged within the tight material of his tartan trews. He’d spent most of his life yielding an axe, and Grainne didn’t want to admit to herself how lonely the months were when he returned to his native land with the rest of his men. “How old are you now, Bruce Donnel?”

Bruce watched as Anu took a generous bite from the carrot, then he lifted it to his own lips, grinning. “Older than you, Lady Grainne.” He studied her for a few minutes. “Twenty.” 

“So no Highland Lass has won your heart, has she?” Grainne swept the coarse mane from the comb and tossed it aside. She wiped her hands on her trews and pushed a stray strand of hair from her face. 

“No, my heart’s been stolen by an Irish goddess, but I can’t have her.” He turned to the pawing horse and shared the rest of his carrot. 

Grainne’s heart hammered inside her breast. She took a deep breath and forced levity into her voice. “Who is she, pray tell?”

Bruce was suddenly so close to her that she could feel his hot breath feathering the slight hairs on her neck. “Don’t play with me, Grainne. It hurts too much.” 

Grainne swallowed hard as her very being lurched with desire and aching need. Every sinew in her body wanted to wrap him within the all-consuming fire of her passion. She forced a laugh into her voice. “What hurts? By what I hear aboard ship you waste no time pining for the chieftain’s daughter. You’re quite the man about port. Many a Spanish and French lass can attest to that.” 

“They mean nothing.” His fingertips lightly touched a strand of her hair, but he jerked away as if an electric jolt raced through his body. He added bitterly, “But you’re the daughter of one of the most powerful men in Connaught, and you’re soon to be the wife of another. I’m a poor mercenary.” 

“Not so poor by what I’ve heard.” Grainne struggled to control her own rapid breathing. The heat of his body infiltrated her very pores. “Rumor has it you’ve farmland in the Highlands.” 

Bruce’s face was very close to hers as he moved closer to her, his breath fanning against her lips as they lightly touched hers. Grainne involuntarily touched his cheek, her fingertips on fire and her own breathing sounding loud in her ears. “You’ve heard right. It would be a great place to raise sheep, if I had the right woman.” 

“Aye. It would be in a place with the right woman.”

Grainne looked away, but she still felt his heat. He cupped her chin under with his thumb and forefinger, forcing her to look at him. His brown eyes bore into her soul. Grainne’s whole body grew hot, and she gently slapped away his hand. Turning from him, she replied softly over her shoulder, “I have to finish with Anu.” 

“Would you leave with me, my wild rose?” Suddenly, Bruce’s powerful arms encircled her waist. He ran his lips along her neck as his hands shifted to her breasts. 

Grainne turned to him, almost against her as though she couldn’t help her conscious will. In his arms, she wasn’t possessed of a mind at all, only an aching body that longed for sexual release. During her long journeys at sea, Grainne had acquired many unsavory sailors’ habits. She loved to game and swore in such a way that made her mother cross herself before flailing her only daughter, but Grainne had never given of herself to man. She’d purposefully withheld her sexual favors from the men inhabiting her father’s ships. Grainne was a chieftain’s daughter. She wouldn’t disgrace him or herself.



TITLE: The Turning Stone Chronicles: “Son of the Moonless Night”AUTHOR: C.D. HERSH

GENRE: Urban fantasy, Paranormal, Romance

Currently available in eBook on Amazon at:
Owen Todd Jordan Riley has a secret. He’s a shape shifter who has been hunting and killing his own kind. To him the only good shifter is a dead shifter. Revenge for the death of a friend motivates him, and nothing stands in his way . . . except Katrina Romanovski, the woman he is falling in love with.

Deputy coroner Katrina Romanovski has a secret, too. She hunts and kills paranormal beings like Owen. At least she did. When she rescues Owen from an attack by a werebear she is thrust back into the world she thought she’d left. Determined to find out what Owen knows about the bear, she begins a relationship meant to collect information. What she gets is something quite different-love with a man she suspects of murder. Can she reconcile his deception and murderous revenge spree and find a way to redeem him? Or will she condemn him for the same things she has done and walk away from love?
Excerpt from Son of the Moonless Night:
A crash in the alley stopped Katrina Romanovski mid-stride. Like the October mist swirling in off the lake, her gypsy blood stirred sending her intuition into high gear. Something unnatural was happening.

Go see what’s wrong. She heard her father’s voice as clearly as if he stood next to her.

On the heels of his words came her mother’s pragmatic warning in clipped British tones. You know what curiosity killed. Katrina pushed the ever-present warning aside. Mom never approved of Dad’s supernatural hunts and even less of his drawing her into them.

Pulling the oversized cross she always wore out from under her shirt, Kat looked around for a weapon. Please, not a vampire. I hate vampires! A piece of wood sticking out of the trashcan at the front of the alley caught her eye.

Grabbing it, she broke the end off into a sharp point. The mist-filled air filtered the light from the single bulb over one of the alley doorways. The wind swirled the loose trash around making a quiet approach difficult. Sidestepping the paper, with the stake in one hand and holding the gun she took from her purse in the other hand, she crept into the alley.

A roar echoed against the buildings, the sound nearly sending her running. That roar wasn’t a vampire. It sounded more like an animal. Kat inched closer. In the yellow pool of light from the back door of the building, a black bear, over seven feet tall, reared on its back legs and swung its paw at the man standing at the edge of the light. He crashed to the ground, shirt torn open from the slashing claws. Blood covered the fabric, and he clasped his left hand over his shoulder to stem the flow. The bear bent toward him, teeth bared in a smile. A wicked smile.

Kat aimed her gun, but before she could pull the trigger, a shot rang out. The flash of gunpowder lit the face of the injured man. The blast reverberated against the buildings. With an enraged bellow, the bear staggered backward against the wall. Shaking his head, the animal dropped to all four paws. Weaving like a drunk, he lumbered toward his attacker. The man took aim again, shooting the animal between the eyes. Animal and human collapsed on the dirty, littered pavement.

As she started to move forward, Kat’s gypsy senses crawled over her skin like angry red ants. As she slipped back into the shadows, the bear shed fur. Changing size. Then, finally, turning into a man.

Shape shifters. Her stake wasn’t any good against them, and her bullets weren’t silver. This one appeared dead anyway. Had the wounded man seen the shift? Tossing the stake aside, she paused by the shifter and quickly moved to the wounded man. Out cold. Still human.

When she touched him, his eyelids fluttered open. “Did I get it?”


“The bear.”
Where you can find CD:

Soul Mate Publishing:


Amazon Author Page:



Romance Writer’s Weekly: Guilty Pleasures

If you’re here, you’ve hopefully hopped from Dani Jace, so welcome! Today’s installment is from the ever-delightful Sarah Hegger, who asks: What is your secret passion? I have a thing for shoes and B-grade fantasy movies, what are some of your guilty pleasures?

Well. Hm. While guilty pleasure implies I feel bad about this–and I don’t– I have a thing for pens. I love pens. Fountain pens, fine point pens, calligraphy pens. I even have a thing for a certain edge on my Expo markers. Buying a pen (if I care about it; I do own BIC pens, after all, but I hate them) is a very personal thing for me. I like a certain weight of pen, not too heavy, but not too light, something firm with a certain weight so that the ink falls just so–except for fine points, which are supposed to be light.  The right pen just has a certain… je ne sais quoi about it. The type of pen, to me, determines the optimum weight and the optimum width. Not every pen has to be the same, but I do like them when they are the right pen for a given task. I’ve even been known to go out on a hunt for the right pen, and gotten excited when I found a pen that I knew was THE PEN (I once got breathless with excitement over a pen that was pewter, engraved with Celtic symbols, fine point–shoot, it’s almost like I’m describing a wand in Harry Potter. I then gave it to my husband. I must like him.)

Gah, I sound like such a weirdo. “I like pens.” Who says that? Well, me, I guess. I suppose am that weirdo.

Why not take a peek at what JJ Devine has to say on the subject?


Romance Writers Weekly: Favorite Quotes

This week’s installment comes from Jeanne MacDonald, who writes, “What is one of your favorite quotes from one of your book(s). Explain the reason why its your favorite and its significance to the characters and your story.”

If you’re here, hopefully you’re hopping from Tracy Gee. This is a hard one, because I usually have a line or two in each of my novels that I really like. But the following section from Jessie’s War is, I think, one of the best things I’ve ever written, maybe because it means so much to me. I suppose it’s not the words so much as it is the significance behind them. So here you are!

Jessie sank to the ground in a heap of sodden skirts. The heat of the fire burned, and she moved away from it and toward the dark, gentle warmth emanating up from the lower chambers of the shaft. Their chant nothing more than murmurs on the wind, she heard her ancestors’ voices, strong and unafraid.

They beckoned to her, and her Paviotso heart responded.

She closed her eyes for a moment, and the song washed over her as she took up the chant. Only for a moment, out of deference to them. In her mind’s eye, she danced with them. She danced with her mother and her people. Danced with them into forever.

Wake up, that voice whispered.

She ignored it.

The fear and the anger and the hurt were washed away as her ancestors greeted her and accepted her as one of theirs. For the first time in a long time, Jessie belonged.

Calm and at peace, she was stone and sand, the pinion pine and the fast-moving waters of the river in spring. She was sagebrush and scrub and the sky, filled with bright stars.

Wake up, Jessie.

For a moment, she was pulled away from her people, but she reached into the abyss for them again.

She was tufa and hot springs, the scorching sun and the thunderous clouds of summer storms. She was snow-capped mountains and dry, desert valleys. She was the rabbit and the coyote. She was the sleek fish of the great lake, and she was the fisher. She was the mighty hunter and the prey.

She was one and she was nothing. She was so very small and she was infinite.

A sharp sting pierced through the dream vision. She ignored it. Another one broke through. Beneath the chant, she heard something discordant and angry, breaking the melody. The dark pulsed, and the magic began to crack.

I’ve always been a sucker for setting, for mood pieces where the setting acts as another character. In most of my stories, the characters are the main focus, with the internal setting being more important that the physical environment. Jessie’s War, though, is both a steampunk and a western, and setting is part of the backbone of story. In this case, Jessie is a product of her environment, and tied to the land all the way to the core of her soul. For her, the land is a living, breathing thing, and deeply important to her.

But I suppose I like it not just because of the symbolic weight it carries for the character. I’ve lived in this desert since I was eight, and it wasn’t really my choice to stay here. Ever since I can remember, I’ve had wanderlust. I never considered this desert to be my place, my home. But my husband has a job that he can’t really do anywhere else, so here we stayed.

I longed for… green. For lush valleys and deep, green rivers, and rain.

But I guess that, over the course of these last years, I’ve come to accept that the desert is my home. There is nothing quite like the green that happens after a summer rain (or for a brief two to three weeks in spring), when the hills are bright with new growth. Sure, it’s about 14 seconds long, but it’s the most amazing color, the most amazing smell. Every time I experience it–the sight, the smell–my heart clenches, just a little. It’s not something easily forgotten. There is something starkly beautiful about the desert, from the exposed, jagged rocks to the petroglyphs that one can find, to the old, abandoned mines and homesteads, where people fought against the landscape to try to make their fortunes.

So that up there is my love letter to the desert. The place that I can finally call home.

Why not click through to Collette Cameron and see what her favorite lines are! (Love her stories, by the way!)


THURSDAY THREADS Welcomes Stella Marie Alden

Title: How to Train Your KnightAuthor: Stella Marie Alden

Genre: Historical Medieval Romance

Heat: Sensual

Year of our Lord, 1276. 

In the hours just before dawn, blasphemous curses echo throughout the stone manor. A knife clatters to the floor and a feisty young widow is bound, blindfolded, and led to the marriage alter. The king couldn’t possibly have sanctioned this farce of a marriage, could he? After all, she alone transformed a few mud huts and starving serfs into a flourishing town, never once hesitating to pay generous taxes to his royal kingdom. Abandon her beloved people to be ruled by her new husband, an ignorant Templar knight? Never! 

A murderous witch for a wife? The Beast of Thornhill finds himself in the middle of either a cruel jest or an evil conspiracy. After returning from the Holy wars, he accepts endowment of a small parcel of land in return for saving King Edward’s life. But the reward comes with a warning regarding the estate’s mistress. Despite his insatiable attraction to the black-haired beauty, he allows her time to warm to him while observing her strange, forward-thinking ways. But when all is on the line, will he stand by her through the inquisition or will they both hang for her secrets?

Hook: A feisty widow and a Templar knight? What could possibly go wrong?
Book excerpt:
Year of our Lord 1276

“By God, drag her down here! Naked if you must! Bread and water from now to eternity if you can’t!” Sir Marcus Blackwell slammed his fist on the well-worn table and the sound echoed back from every direction. Of all the bad luck. Forced into marriage with a foul-mouthed, murderous widow.

He clenched his teeth when the next bout of high-pitched screams and curses exploded from the floor above. Crashes, clanging, and banging followed. He cringed as the Lady Ann’s strident screaming rang throughout the stone manor and probably into the courtyard.

“He can’t steal my lands this easily. He’ll live just long enough to rue this day. I shall never, ever, turn my people over to a blood-thirsty, gold-grabbing beast. I’d rather be cursed to hell. Nay, verily, I’d rather marry the devil himself than see myself married to him.”

Beast? He’d strangle the minstrel who’d taken his sword’s moniker and baptized him with it instead. He was a holy crusader, deserving of respect, not an animal.

Crossing himself while counting to ten, he paced the dark hall lit by a single weak torch. Shadows danced across dark tapestries, beyond a hearth the size of two horses, and over enough tables to feed a small army. Thatch crunched under his boots, releasing a perfume of lavender and grasses. He stopped for a respite of blessed silence. What in God’s creation have I stepped into?

When the mayhem started up again, it was from his first-in-command, Thomas D’Agostine. “The devil take it, watch out. A knife!” A dagger fell upon stone with a metallic clatter.

“Damnation. The bitch nicked me.” The smack of a hand against skin, a female yelp of pain, then the battle paused momentarily.

“Enough!” The king’s command would be obeyed. Certainly, she’d have to understand that. He stood at the foot of the massive stone staircase and waited for the thundering echoes to cease before continuing at a lesser volume. Envisioning the vile creature, he shuddered. It was far too late to retreat now. He’d wanted the land and bedding the ancient hag was part of the bargain. “I said, do her no harm. Gag, bind, and blindfold the wench if you must. For the love of God, she’s but one woman.”

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Cupid’s Angels



Release Date: June 3, 2015

Ellie Childs isn’t looking for love. She’s looking for an AC technician for the Forest Wood Senior Center. But, when the repairman happens to be tall, dark, and handsome, he has the goods to make her change her mind. Unfortunately, he’s taken by a blonde Barbie.
David White moved to Cupid, Arkansas, to be closer to the woman he loves, his grandma, and away from his ex-fiancée. Believing his broken heart would never work again, he’s proven wrong. Ellie’s shimmering auburn curls and compassionate nature sends his heart thumping. His mind soars with thoughts of giving love another shot. But as luck would have it, she’s taken, and the guy she’s seeing is a real jerk.
When David’s grandmother sees how perfect Ellie would be for her grandson, she gathers the troops. She and her three friends form Cupid’s Angels. Their mission, to bring David and Ellie together. Despite their best efforts, the Angels’ plans backfire, pushing David and Ellie farther apart and into the arms of others. Or, so they think.
Will the Angels’ good intentions win out, or will their plots and schemes undermine what could have been the love of a lifetime for David and Ellie?
She opened her office door ready to face the damages. Expecting another sweat covered Neanderthal in Bib Overalls, her mouth fell slack at the sight of a handsome man at the end of the hall. She gasped and gripped the folder tighter, blinking to make sure she was seeing clearly. The only attractive men that ever walked into the Center had been over the age of fifty. To see one so young, so striking, made her light-headed.

A tight white undershirt gripped sculpted bicep muscles and broad shoulders. His jeans hung low on his hips and sported holes in the knees. His suntanned skin accented his bronze hair, and an easy smile spread across his face. He carried a toolbox in his left hand and held a bouquet of roses in his right.

Everything about him caused her knees to go weak.

“Hey, Grandma.” He kissed Mary’s cheek and placed the roses into her small hands. “These are for you.”

“Oh, David. You shouldn’t have. They’re lovely. Come over here. I want you to meet someone.”

Before Ellie could get her wits about her, the two walked toward her. She straightened her blouse again and wished she would have taken the time to do something more with her hair, or maybe apply a little lip-gloss. Her ginger curls were a frizzy mess, and her blouse still had the coffee stain right on her breast.

“Ellie, I’d like you to meet my grandson, David. David, this is Ellie. She’s the Center’s Executive Director and a dear friend.”

“Nice to meet you.” He extended his hand.

“You, too.” She slipped her clammy hand in his. Rough calluses scratched her palm and his touch sent a shiver through her.

“Gran tells me you’re having trouble with your air. You mind showing me where the unit is?”

She saw his lips move, but didn’t understand a word he said.

“What?” She asked dumbly.

“The AC unit. Is it outside?”

“Oh, yeah. The unit.” Ellie wondered if her voice sounded as shaky as her knees were. He flashed her another smile that made her want to grab his hand and go find a utility closet somewhere. His strong build, handsome face, sparkling green eyes, and the fact that he brought his grandma roses had her heart beating like a nineteenth century drummer boy heading into battle. She fanned her face with the folder. Her sweaty palms had caused the thick Manila paper to go limp.
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