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Archive for February, 2016

February Wrap-Up

So, it’s the last day of February, which means it’s time to look back at my goals for the month, and see where I’m going next month.

I adjusted my way of doing things a couple times during the month, but I still got stuff done.

Plotting:

  • Protecting the Heart(BC Security 2) – Brainstorming & Back stories – I finished the last back story this morning, so this is done.
  • Rylan & Kirsten(Gilbert, CO 4.75) – Brainstorming & Back stories – these are all done for this one, too.

Writing:

  • Ready When You Are – get to 2000 words – 9078 words
  • Love Who You Love – get to 36000 words – 40039 words
  • By the Gun – get to 6000 words – 10763 words
  • Come Back Down – get to 26000 words – 22051 words

Editing:

  • My Way to You – 1st Revisions, Read Through, 2nd Revisions, & Polish – I got through the 1st revisions then decided to set aside for now. Have a new revision plan in place.
  • Flames of Recompense – Organize for Revisions – nope.
  • Stained Snow – Continue editing as I get chapters back – This is done & has been uploaded to Amazon for release on 3/11.
  • Edit anything I get back from critique partner – did some of the revisions for Stained by Ashes. Will pick that back up this afternoon. I also got Healing the Heart back last night, so I’ll be adding that to my editing list, now.

Reading:

  • Listen: 2 audiobooks – 4/2. Truthwitch, Take Me Home, The Glass Magician, & Dorothy Must Die. Also about halfway through The  Conspiracy of Us.
  • Read: 27 books – 24/27 books. I may finish one more before the day’s over.
  • Read: She Sat He Stood(Ginger Hanson) – finished this.

Crafting:

  • Knit: Zig Zag Rib Scarf – finished this
  • Crochet: Leaping Stripes & Blocks Blanket – got more than halfway through this
  • Loom: Figure-8 Ribbed Keyhole Scarf – didn’t have the right loom for this.

Not too bad at all. Now, for March:

Outlining:

  • Protecting the Heart – Outline
  • Rylan & Kirsten – Outline

Drafting:

  • Protecting the Heart – get to 8000 words
  • Ready When You Are – get to 25000 words
  • Rylan & Kirsten – get to 12000 words
  • Love Who You Love – get to 56000 words
  • By the Gun – get to 26000 words
  • Come Back Down – get to 28000 words(or finish 1st draft)

Editing:

  • Stained by Ashes – finish CP edits & find beta readers(if you’re interested, let me know in the comments. I’m hoping to have it ready by the end of next week.)
  • Healing the Heart – apply CP edits

Reading:

  • Listen to at least 2 audiobooks
  • Read: 29 books
  • Read: Write Great Fiction: Description & Setting

Crafting:

  • Knit: Mug Hug
  • Crochet: Finish Leaping Blocks and Stripes Blanket & Half and Half Slouch Hat
  • Loom: Morning Light Cowl

And as a bonus goal:

  • Draft 25 A-Z posts(I already have 1 of them finished)

Sunday Summary: Back on Track

I mentioned on Wednesday that things weren’t going as well as I’d like. But, after that everything settled down again. I was able to get caught up and even ahead by Wednesday. And even with moving things to a new device. I’ve been thinking about getting a new computer. The netbook I’ve had for about 2 years now(I think) had been giving me a lot of problems. Well, my husband is going to be getting a new Surface Pro from work when he goes back next month. So, he suggested I take his older surface. I started putting my stuff on it. The only big problem I have with it is that I can’t install Scrivener on it. So, I compiled all the projects I was working on and saved them in one drive and have been working on them in Microsoft Word, which I don’t particularly care for. I did find another program that’s similar to scrivener called Quillerous. But, I can’t import my projects into it. I will be able to export them as an rtf file(which is usually what I use when I compile on scrivener), so I can always transfer them back to the computer to organize and format back in scrivener before I publish. Once I start one of the projects I’m plotting, I’ll try out Quillerous and share my opinion of it.

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I’ve been getting a good bit of writing done this week. Particularly on Friday. I really wanted to meet my word count goals for the week, so I put in some extra time on a couple of the projects. And the words were flowing pretty well. I’m changing how I’m doing things for next month. I’ll be working on one project at a time, kind of. It’ll be on a day to day basis. Each day being something different. I’m hoping it will appease my side that feels I need to focus, as well as the side that wants to work on all the things. There’s actually 6 projects(the 5 in plotting or drafting stage & 1 editing). So, I won’t be working on the same one on the same days of the week.

She so takes after me. I used to draw pictures from my horse books too.

She so takes after me. I used to draw pictures from my horse books too.

Now, for how I did on this week’s goals:

  • Ready When You Are – 100 minutes/2000 words – 165 minutes/2607 words
  • Love Who You Love – 100 minutes/2000 words – 135 minutes/2139 words
  • By the Gun – 100 minutes/2000 words – 135 minutes/2062 words
  • Protecting the Heartfinish Declan’s backstory, start Eva’sI did finally finish Declan’s. About 2500 words. A little over 9 pages in my notebook.  I got about 1 paragraph of Eva’s written.
  • Rylan & Kirsten – finish Kirsten’s backstory, start Kenny’s – finished Kirsten’s(about 4.5 pages) & Kenny’s(a little over 3 pages).
  • Stained Snow – finish read through, format, upload to Amazon(HAVE to have this done by 3/1) – all DONE. DONE. DONE. And now, I just have to wait and panic that there’s *something* I forgot or got wrong(this seems to be part of my publishing process)
  • Come Back Down – write 60 minutes/1000 words – closer to 90 minutes/1512 words. and finally worked in the twist I thought of a few weeks ago. Coming up on to the climax.
  • Read: She Sat He Stood – 100% – finished this. It wasn’t quite what I expected or as helpful as I’d hoped.
  • Read: Flirting with Scandal(Chanel Cleeton), Unscrupulous(Avery Aster), Extraction(Stephanie Diaz), Full Position(Mari Carr), Midnight Thief(Livia Blackburne), Slow Ride(Cathryn Fox), & Fall for a Seal(Zoe York) I set Extraction aside. Just couldn’t get into it. Not sure if it was the book itself or the fact I was more in the mood for some light, sexy romance instead of a more dystopian. Started Midnight Thief, but it wasn’t really pulling me in either, so read Slow Ride and Fall for a Seal(1st 3 books in her Seals Undone series). Then I finished Midnight Thief. I enjoyed it, but it didn’t really pull me in that much, either. Then, I started Out of Bounds(Erin Nicholas). This is the last book on my list for the month. So, looks like I’ll hit this goal this month.
  • Crochet: Leaping Stripes and Blocks Blanketdidn’t get very much done on this, but I finally got the yarn I need, so hopefully I can finish it this week.
  • A-Z Challenge – Plan posts(just going to work on these as I finish everything else) I finished this and even got the first post drafted.

A little green mixed in with the blue. Just the way I like it(Okay, it’s a little better when it’s all blue. But, I’ll take this). Now, for next week:

  • Work for 20 hours on plotting/writing/editing projects
  • Come Back Down – 1 hour/1000 words
  • Read: Description & Setting – 20%
  • Read: Finish Out of Bounds then read some I have from Kindle Unlimited. Once the new month starts, I’ll start on next month’s list and read: Sutphin Boulevard(Santino Hassell), See Them Run(Stacy Green), Own the Wind(Kristen Ashley), Made You Up(Francesca Zappia), Opening Act(Suleikha Snyder), Combust(Tessa Teevan)
  • Crochet: Leaping Stripes and Blocks Blanket – hoping to finish this week
  • A-Z Challenge – draft posts as I have time

 

WeWriWa: “Last Warning”

Welcome back to another meeting of Weekend Writing Warriors, the blog hop for anyone who likes to write. This week, I’m coming to you from my “new” Microsoft Surface. More on that later. First, I have another 10 sentences from Come Back Down, picking up where last week’s left off.

“Hawk is certainly a better man than you could ever be. And what is between Trace and Birdie is none of your concern. It certainly isn’t disgusting or deviant, though. They’re both mine, though in different ways, and that is none of your concern, either. This is your last warning. You start something with me or mine, and you won’t like the way I finish it. Keep that in mind.”

Icarus didn’t wait to see if Brad had a response to that. He just turned and walked back to us. “Come on, we’ve got people who need the help we’re giving today.”

Is Brad going to cause more trouble? Just what is going to happen next? You’ll have to wait and see.

Really not new. My husband’s had it for a couple years. He’s going to be getting a new one from work once he goes back next month(and we’re both hoping we don’t get dumped on with more snow that keeps him from going back to work then). So, he gave me this one. The only problem I really have is that I can’t install Scrivener on it. I think if it was the Surface Pro, I’d be able to. I found another program, Quillerous, that is at least similar to it, though. I haven’t really tried it out, since you can’t seem to import documents in and I’m in the middle of several projects. I’ve just been using Word instead. I prefer Scrivener for being able to organize scenes and chapters, but I may just have to do it this way for now.

Also the spacing of the keys on the attached keyboard is different than what I’m used to, so I keep making mistakes. I think I caught all of them here.

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Food

Today’s Stream of Consciousness prompt is food. I’m not sure exactly where this one is going to go. Let’s see, shall we.

So, food. We’ve all got have it, right? If not, we’d starve. And that wouldn’t be much fun. And some of us do eat for that: fun. We could get by with just what we need. But, most of us eat for more than that. There’s the social gatherings where we consume a lot more than we probably should, especially around the holidays.

I like food. Eating it at least. Don’t care as much for cooking it. For a long time, I mostly only cooked stuff that came out of a box or can. In the last year, though, I’ve started planning out most of our dinners. I say most, because I only plan for Monday-Thursday. Friday we either go out(if we’re out getting groceries) or we have leftovers. Okay, and a lot of time the kids choose cereal that night. I’ve gotten a lot of recipes from Allrecipes.com and for this past Christmas, I got a Dump Dinners cookbook from my Mom. There are some nice and easy recipes in there, though there were a couple that didn’t turn out right.

I don’t always incorporate a lot of food into my stories. I mean the characters have to eat, so there’s usually at least a couple scenes that mention food. And I mostly write contemporary romance(and romantic suspense, but even that is in a contemporary setting), so it’s normal for the characters to go on at least one date. Which usually involves food. This is fine, particularly if ‘m sticking with them going to a small restaurant. But, when it gets fancier, I can be at a loss. I mean, for me, Olive Garden is a fancy dinner. So, there are a lot of diners and small or family-owned restaurants in my stories.

The diner in my Kurztown series is based on the one that used to be in my hometown. Yes, I said used to be. Now, it’s a Subway. I combine that with a few other small places, like a restaurant in the town where I live now. A lot of the places in this series are like that. Which makes sense, since I did base the whole town on the town I grew up in. I always wonder if other people from there will recognize those places.

And, I’ve gotten off food now, I guess, as I just finished my breakfast, too(honey wheat bagel with peanut butter…one of my go to breakfasts).

Writing Wednesday: Starting Behind

So, this week has been unusual for me. Monday, I finally went up and got my new Photo ID. I don’t have a driver’s license, I could go into all that, but I’m not going to. Having an anxiety attack every time I get behind the wheel(hell, just riding in a car induces anxiety for me) makes it difficult to drive. But, my ID expired back at the end of October. I’d done the renewal and had my camera card, but hadn’t made it up to the driver’s center to get my new picture taken. We wanted to open an account at the new credit union in town, though, and figured I’d need the up to date ID for that. So, we went up once the boy got home from school(he only goes in the morning). They’re only open for photo services on Monday, so that was taken care of quickly. Then, we went and opened the account at the credit union and went for lunch at Pizza Hut.

Tuesday, we went to look at a truck my husband wants to buy. We didn’t get it(yet. Waiting until he gets back to work and starts getting the monthly allotment toward the vehicle payment again). Then, we got lunch and some other stuff. Got home just a little bit before the girl got off the bus from school. So, needless to say, my progress on goals was low. I did mostly get caught up yesterday afternoon, but that’s mostly because I couldn’t go any further on my crochet goal since I ran out of the color I needed(the only one I didn’t buy the other week because I thought I was going to have enough) and cut a book off the list because it wasn’t drawing me in. Hoping to get ahead today, but we’ll see.

Since it’s Wednesday again, time for another snippet. Another one from Love Who You Love, picking up from where last week’s left off. I have 24 paragraphs(+1 line of dialogue at the beginning) for the day.

“But, you were-”
“A total ass to anyone who wasn’t the white, straight, male default in school? Yes, I know. You’ve met my father, right? I repeated everything I heard from him. Call it a defense mechanism. I was trying to survive, and I didn’t cope in the best of ways. It wasn’t only the drugs that made him give me the choice between turning me in or sending me to the Army. The fact he caught me with another man had more to do with it, I think. Apparently, he thought the discipline of the military would change that part of me.” He gave a little shrug. “It did help with the drugs. I haven’t touched any since shortly after basic.”
“But, you’re still gay?”
“Actually, no,” Erik said, standing a little straighter. “I’m bisexual, and that doesn’t change no matter who I’m with. Though I do tend to be more attracted to men. But, you don’t have anything to worry about. You’re not one of them, little Saranno.”
“Never said I was worried.” But, his gaze flicked over to Kendall. She had her head in her hands, with her elbows resting on the counter.
Erik laughed. “Told you, Ken. Worst best kept secret in this town. Don’t worry, I’m sure none of us will spill.”
She looked up then and met Chris’ eyes. There was something almost haunted in them. “Does Sue know?” he asked quietly.
She nodded then let her head fall back into her hands. Something twisted through him, even though he’d already given Susan the out. “Does she know you want her?” he asked.
She didn’t even look up this time. “I don’t want to ruin our friendship,” she said in a strained voice. “I’d do anything not to do that.”
He rested a hand over one of hers. “I think she’s worried about the same thing.”
Her head shot up at that, and she could only stare at him. “Why are you telling me this?” she finally asked. “You’re dating her.”
He shook his head. “We just went to dinner. We’re friends. That’s really it.” Even though it continued to twist his stomach, he thought that’s all they’d ever be.
A tense silence settled over them for a moment until Gabriel finally broke it. “Didn’t tell me you struck out, brother. No wonder you didn’t want to talk about it.”
“Shut up, Gabe,” he muttered, but his lips still twitched.
“I guess this means you don’t have a place to stay,” Gabe said, and it took a moment for Chris to realize he must be talking to Erik.
“Just my car when her brother gets it finished. I don’t know…I might be able to find a bed in a shelter somewhere.”
“Absolutely no way, man,” Gabriel told him. “I won’t let a fellow soldier go through that. I’ve got an extra room at my place. You can crash there as long as you need.”
“You sure about that?” Erik asked. “You won’t be worried I’ll try to come on to you?”
Gabriel laughed. “You forget. I still got both my legs. I can still kick your ass. I don’t need two arms for that. And, it comes down to it, I can always outrun you.”
Chris drew in a sharp breath, but Erik just laughed. “Leave it to you, Saranno.”
Gabriel just grinned as he headed up to the counter. “Any word on my truck, Kendall?”
She shook her head and let out a huff of breath. “Doren told you last month that unless you want to put more money into it than that thing’s even worth, there’s nothing he can do.”
“I hoped by some miracle that had changed.” He turned to Chris, then. “Can you fit an extra body in your truck?”
It would be a little cramped, but… “Yeah, I can. I’ll even help load and unload your shit, Morrey. As long as you swear you’re not still the asshole you used to be. You hurt a lot of people back then.”
He gave a little nod. “Most of all your best bud’s girl. I know. I’ve made amends with her, and I hope I can with the rest as well.”

I may share more from this WiP next month. But, I may share from my editing projects instead. We’ll see.

As for my progress for this week:

  • Ready When You Are – 100 minutes/2000 words – 90 minutes/1092 words
  • Love Who You Love – 100 minutes/2000 words – 75 minutes/1059 words
  • By the Gun – 100 minutes/2000 words – 80 minutes/1038 words
  • Protecting the Heart – finish Declan’s backstory, start Eva’s – still haven’t finished Declan’s, but it’s up to 2260 words. I think I’m getting close now, so hopefully tomorrow or Friday. My characters don’t usually have so much to tell me about their history.
  • Rylan & Kirsten – finish Kirsten’s backstory, start Kenny’s – I did finish Kirsten’s this morning(at 1122 words – Declan should take a hint from her), so I’ll be starting Kenny’s tomorrow.
  • Stained Snow – finish read through, format, upload to Amazon(HAVE to have this done by 3/1) – I’ve read through Chapter 25/28. Hoping to finish it today and have it ready to upload by Friday.
  • Come Back Down – write 60 minutes/1000 words – weekend project
  • Read: She Sat He Stood – 100% – 85% through this
  • Read: Flirting with Scandal(Chanel Cleeton), Unscrupulous(Avery Aster), Extraction(Stephanie Diaz), Full Position(Mari Carr), Midnight Thief(Livia Blackburne), Slow Ride(Cathryn Fox), & Fall for a Seal(Zoe York) – finished Flirting with Scandal, set Unscrupulous aside, jumped over Extraction to read Full Position(it was short, and I was in the mood for it). Planning to start Extraction later today.
  • Crochet: Leaping Stripes and Blocks Blanket – I got about a row and a half done before I ran out of yarn.
  • A-Z Challenge – Plan posts(just going to work on these as I finish everything else) – I got through ‘F’ Sunday night. Hoping to get to a few more of them today.

Not too bad with all the running around we’ve done the beginning of this week.

Teaser Tuesday: Almost Here

Only about 2.5 weeks until Stained Snow comes out! You can add it to your Goodreads or pre-order it for Kindle. But, for now, here’s another little teaser:

William should have stepped away when Maggie came to him. He’d already told her the promise he’d made to her father. She hadn’t been happy about it. Her tears nearly ripped his heart out. It was the right decision. Even though he still couldn’t bring himself to ride out.
In the morning.
That’s why he hadn’t pushed her away. Why he said he’d wanted to take a walk with her. He wanted to tell her first. He couldn’t put it off any longer. After he tracked Thomas down and made sure he paid for his crimes, he could return. He’d marry Maggie if she wanted him. After that, he didn’t really know. He was almost afraid to even plan that far ahead.
When she pressed her lips to his, a walk was the last thing on his mind. If George hadn’t been standing on the porch watching them, he may have pulled her away to do more than kiss. He couldn’t risk it. He’d kept his hands to himself for more than two days. He wanted to touch her so bad, but he wouldn’t go back on his word. Still, a kiss was innocent enough.
He broke away after a moment but kept his hands on her shoulders. “We need to talk, Maggie.” He cast a glance over her shoulder at her father. “Will you walk with me?”
A nervous look fluttered through her eyes then she nodded, and he reached down to take her hand. They turned away and walked toward the corner of the barn. “What’s going on, Will?”
His stomach twisted into knots. He didn’t want to leave her, but it had to be done. The fact Thomas remained out there ate away at him. He couldn’t rest easy until this was over. He cleared his throat but didn’t look over at her.
“I’ll be riding out in the morning.”
She gasped and tore her hand away from his. He finally looked over at her and the hurt in her eyes. “Maggie.”
She shook her head. “You brought me out here to tell me that? Why didn’t you just leave then?”
He reached out for her again. “I don’t want to go. I have to finish this with my brother though. I can’t live with myself if he remains free. I can’t start a life with anyone else either.”
Something bloomed in her eyes. “You want to start a life with me?”
He took her hands. “I don’t have anything to return to back in Lander. My family’s gone, my ranch is gone. The land’s the only thing, and Patrick can take care of that. My heart’s here with you, Maggie.”

And watch for it March 11!

Sunday Summary: Derailed

This week was…not my typical week. Part of that was the kids having Monday and Tuesday off from school. The rest was…well, I’m not really sure what happened. I just had pretty much no motivation to do anything Thursday and Friday. So, I didn’t. Well, except for reading. I got a lot of that done. But, I’m hoping to get back on track starting tomorrow. I think I just needed to take a little break.

  • Ready When You AreWrite 100 minutes/2000 words – 100 minutes/1928 words. Got really close to the word goal.
  • Love Who You Love – Write 100 minutes/2000 words – 80 minutes/1280 words.
  • By the Gun – Write 100 minutes/2000 words – 80 minutes/1144 words.
  • Protecting the Heart – finish Declan’s backstory, start Eva’s – still working on Declan’s. I did a bit of free writing on his back story this weekend. Hopefully I will actually finish it this week.
  • Rylan & Kirstenfinish Rylan’s backstory, start Kirsten’s – finished Rylan’s and got some of Kirsten’s done, though I haven’t made more progress since Wednesday.
  • Stained Snowfinish Polishing, final read through – finished polishing and read through Chapter 8. Also revealed the cover for this on Friday.
  • Come Back Down – write 40 minutes/1000 words – Not completely sure of time, but wrote 889 words on it this weekend.
  • Read: She Sat He Stood – 75% – made it to this point
  • Read: Sins of the Warrior(Linda Poitevin), Double Play(Jill Shalvis), The Darkest Flame(Christina Lee), Carry On(Rainbow Rowell), Against the Storm(Kat Martin), Craving Flight(Tamsen Parker), Brash(Nicola Marsh), & Verum(Courtney Cole) – finished all of these but Verum. I started it last night but just couldn’t get into it. Usually I’ll push through for a second book in a series, but I set it aside instead.
  • Knit: Zig Zag Ribbed Scarf – finished this. wp-1455725888008.jpg
  • Crochet: Leaping Stripes and Blocks Blanket(finally got the yarn I need to finish this) – made some progress on this. About halfway through it now.
  • A-Z Challenge – plan through G post – didn’t work on any of these yet.

I did make some progress this week, even if it wasn’t as much as I’d like.

Just because I managed to snap the 2 seconds he wasn't jumping all over the older dog.

Just because I managed to snap the 2 seconds he wasn’t jumping all over the older dog.

Goals for next week:

  • Ready When You Are – 100 minutes/2000 words
  • Love Who You Love – 100 minutes/2000 words
  • By the Gun – 100 minutes/2000 words
  • Protecting the Heart – finish Declan’s backstory, start Eva’s
  • Rylan & Kirsten – finish Kirsten’s backstory, start Kenny’s
  • Stained Snow – finish read through, format, upload to Amazon(HAVE to have this done by 3/1)
  • Come Back Down – write 60 minutes/1000 words
  • Read: She Sat He Stood – 100%
  • Read: Flirting with Scandal(Chanel Cleeton), Unscrupulous(Avery Aster), Extraction(Stephanie Diaz), Full Position(Mari Carr), Midnight Thief(Livia Blackburne), Slow Ride(Cathryn Fox), & Fall for a Seal(Zoe York)
  • Crochet: Leaping Stripes and Blocks Blanket
  • A-Z Challenge – Plan posts(just going to work on these as I finish everything else)

WeWriWa: “Listen to Me”

Welcome back to another edition of Weekend Writing Warriors. This is the third blog post I’ve written today. Usually the most I do in a day is two, but it was a special occasion. Anyway, I’m continuing on with Come Back Down once I check where I left off last week. Skipping over a paragraph, here’s the next 8 sentences:

   ”You listen to me, boy,” Icarus said, not even giving him the respect of a name. “You start something, with me or my kids, and you’ll be the first one I come after.”
I saw the moment that phrase, ‘my kids’, hit Brad…Razor…whatever he was calling himself now. “He’s yours, too? That’s really disgusting, Grady. I always figured you all were into some deviant stuff. I mean everyone knows Hawk-”
“Shut your mouth about things you know nothing about,” Icarus said, taking a step toward him.

What is Icarus going to do next? How will Brad react to his warning? Just what “deviant stuff” does he think they’re up to? Come back next week for a little more.

And if you want to check out those other posts I’ve written today, I hosted a cover reveal and did some stream of consciousness back story for something I’m plotting(and it’s not world domination since it’s not a wednesday). 😉

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Contraction

I’m back for another Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Woohoo! I’ve had a lazy couple of days, my motivation completely disappearing. Which usually means I need to take a break. Not something I do too often. But, I did get a good bit of reading done during that time. Unfortunately, I haven’t worked on back stories for the two WiPs I’m plotting in that time either. So, I figured I could use today’s prompt of “contraction” to work through some of that.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

“Don’t you have anyone waiting for you?”

I’d spent the last twelve weeks with the four men sitting around me. And thirty-five others who had been in our platoon of recruits. The five of us had bonded more than any of the other recruits, though. May be it was having our home state in common. Although there were times I still considered myself a fraud for calling it that. I hadn’t been born in Texas. I was six months old before Mom ever brought me here. But, I’d spent most of my life living either here or with my dad in Ireland. We’d been here exclusively since I was thirteen, though. So, it was home.

And it felt good to be back on home soil.

I glanced back at the two recruits…no, we weren’t that anymore. That’s what the Drill Instructor had said at our emblem ceremony. We were Marines now. Alex and Casey had hit it right off. Who would have known they had grown up only a town apart. After the first few days, you would have thought they’d grown up in the same home. But, not even close.

Casey still hadn’t answered the question Xavier, who brought up the rear of our little pack, had asked him. Alex shot him a look, and I wondered what that was all about. Obviously Alex knew even more about Casey’s situation than the rest of us.

“He’s coming home with me,” Alex said.

“No. I’m not. I’ll find a place.”

“Already told you. You got a place at the ranch.”

I let their argument roll around me. I knew a little about Casey, though he didn’t talk a lot. But, we lived in close quarters. I’d seen the scars on his back. And, I was guessing, Alex knew the story behind them.

“You sure they are not brothers?” Piers asked from my side.

“They say so. What about you? Your family waiting here?”

“Mom promised she would be. Don’t know if Dad could get away.”

That was something Piers and I had in common. My dad had been a soldier in the Irish Army. My mom met him over there. He’d finally left the Army and come here almost six years ago. Piers’ mother was from Canada and had come here after meeting his father, who was another Marine. Piers had been born here but split his time between here and his mother’s family, though not as much as I had.

I knew my dad wouldn’t be here for me. He couldn’t be. And that hit me just as hard as it did every time I thought about it. Alaina said she’d be here with Mom, though. And whoever this new guy was that Mom had found. As long as he was good to her. I told myself that was all that mattered. Even though her being with someone other than Dad just felt…wrong.

Xavier came up to us, and Piers slung an arm over the slighter man’s shoulders. There was something between the two of them, though it wasn’t the same as our bond. I shook off that thought as I recognized a familiar head of strawberry blond curls. I dropped my duffel as my little sister launched herself at me. I caught her easily even though she was a lot longer than she used to be when we played this. It wasn’t so hard to catch a seven-year-old when I was fifteen.

I finally set her back on the ground and looked over her at my mom. She was…reserved. That was the best way to think of it. And I swore I could see tears in her eyes. She hadn’t wanted me to enlist. She’d spent twelve years worrying about Dad, and now she saw the same thing ahead of her. But, she came to me now.

“You look so much like him,” she told me. “He’d be proud of you.”

I’d just gone through a grueling twelve weeks, the worst of it the last 54 hours, and I hadn’t shed a tear. Now, though, my eyes burned. A throat cleared behind her, and she jumped back a little. Her smile wavered. “Declan, this is Jacob. My fiance.”

No. Alaina had told me Mom was seeing someone. But, that hadn’t been until after I’d left. Not even three months. How could he have moved in so quick? “What about Dad?” I said, my voice coming out harsh.

A shutter came down over her gaze. “Your father’s dead, Declan. Me being lonely won’t bring him back. It’s been a year.”

Not quite. And I knew nothing would bring him back. It didn’t make this hurt any less. I forced myself to hold my hand out to him. He gripped it hard, but his smile looked forced, too, and a little hard. “It’s wonderful to meet you at last, Declan. I’ve heard a lot about you.”

I didn’t like him. I know it’s unfair, but instantly I disliked him. “Funny. I have heard very little about you.”

His mouth tightened at that. But, he asked, “Who are your friends?”

“These are my brothers,” I said and introduced each of them. Then, a woman came up to Piers, and they started speaking in French. He’d taught me a few words, but I couldn’t follow their conversation. It must be his mother, who had given him a much warmer welcome than mine had. Soon, I stood alone with my family.

“We should go,” my mom said. “Jacob hired a caterer for your welcome home dinner.”

“I’d like to make a stop first,” I said as we headed out to the car.

“Where to?” Jacob asked as he pulled out of the parking lot.

“The cemetery.”

Tension was suddenly like a heavy blanket in the car.

“That’s not needed,” my mom finally said.

I need it. Please, Mom.”

After a moment, she nodded. I saw Jacob reach over and squeeze her hand. Something inside me seethed. It didn’t matter if they got married, I told myself. I would never consider him my father.

I’d had a good father who I loved. I would never replace him. I couldn’t.

 

Cover Reveal: Bladelore

I don’t typically have cover reveals on my blog two days in a row. But, I was happy to offer to help Krista Walsh with the reveal of the cover for her final book in the Cadis Trilogy. I loved her Meratis trilogy and the first in the Cadis trilogy(yeah, yeah, I’m behind in my reading;) )

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Title: Bladelore

Series: Cadis Trilogy(Book 3)

Release Date: April 2016(tentative)

War has come to Andvell. Enemy after enemy takes its place along the northern border, each one a terrifying result of dark magic and experimentation. In the face of the great army, Andvell’s resources are few.

As the enemy marches, unlikely hero Venn Connell must act or be lost in the flood — one final mission to end the war, no matter the cost.

Standing on the brink of devastation, Venn is forced to question her most deeply held beliefs and trust her friends to see her through the darkness.

And the cover:

Bladelore-lores

Isn’t that gorgeous?

If you haven’t started this series, the first book, Bloodlore, will be on sale for $0.99 from February 23-25.

BL1 promo

Author Bio:

Known for witty, vivid characters, Krista Walsh never has more fun than getting them into trouble and taking her time getting them out. When not writing, she can be found walking, reading, gaming, or watching a film – anything to get lost in a good story. She currently lives in Ottawa, Ontario.

Contact info:

www.kristawalshauthor.com

Twitter: @kwalshauthor

Facebook: /kristwalshauthor

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