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Sunday Summary: A New Release

I couldn’t come up with a clever title today. I’ve got some sort of cold coming on. Sinus pressure, sore throat, cough. Oh, yay, what fun. But, I did release Healing the Heart on Friday, so you can grab that if you want. We also went and got a new bed yesterday. Well, kind of. We’ve been talking about getting a bigger bed. My husband found one on a sale page on facebook, and they only live about 3 miles away from us. So, we picked that up and had to haul all the pieces into the house Friday night. Usually, when we get something like that, husband backs the truck up through the yard to the door. Well…he got stuck in the muddy yard. So, we actually had to carry it. Yeah, that was fun. Right now it’s all sitting in our living room, so we don’t have any space. Hopefully we’ll be getting it into our room later today then we just have to figure out what to do with the old bed.

I’ve gotten almost all the Christmas presents I’ve ordered so far. All the shopping is actually done. Friday I got all my kids’ gifts wrapped, and the box of dinosaurs that came in the mail for my younger nephew. 4 boxes came in all at once on Saturday, so I’ll have to get around to wrapping those this week. One of them is for my niece’s birthday this coming weekend. And I’ll have to save one out for my nephew’s birthday next month(I’ve found it easier to get their Christmas & birthday presents all at once). I think I only have 2 more packages waiting to come in now.

My progress was pretty good for the week, though Thursday and Friday I didn’t write nearly as much as I had been. I think I needed the break after NaNo, but I’ll hopefully be back on track next week. I also)even though it wasn’t on the list) started plotting a new standalone story. I actually got the spark of this idea a few years ago, and it’s been simmering since.

  • Write: 12500 words(sticking with this until I see how my time range goal works out) – Only managed 11910/12500 words.
    • Defending the Heart – 2572 words – He grabbed his niece and lifted her up to his hip. “Uncle Xavi,” she cried. “I missed you. I haven’t seen you in forever and ever.”
      He laughed and pressed his mouth to the top of her head. “You just saw me last weekend, Josie. At Casey’s wedding.”
    • Crash and Burn – 2069 words –  “I’m not a mind reader. If you want me to know something, you have to say it.”
      She was afraid she’d been too sharp, but he laughed and shook his head. “Sorry,” he said, pulling her closer so she was tucked against his chest. Oh, so he was a cuddler. She wasn’t sure how she felt about that, either. But, again, she’d let it go for now. “I was just trying to organize my thoughts before I got started.”
    • Not Meant to Be – 1226 words – But, she caught the slight curving of Jared’s lips as Toby stepped out of the way. What did he think about the way Toby had acted? hell, what did she think about it? She couldn’t right now. Maybe later it would make sense.
    • Stay a Little Longer – 3085 words – Jess had to bite her tongue not to retort. That wasn’t the way this was supposed to work. But, he liked to adjust the rules as he went. It was typical Frank.
    • In the Moonlight – 2958 words – It shocked me, more that she was the first one to say it than that she did at all. I hadn’t even figured out yet how to put my own feelings into words, so I just stood there as she pressed her lips to mine. I hoped she understood what it meant as I poured everything I felt into the kiss, holding her tight against me.
  • Guarding the Heart – finish polishing – I got this done. Cut at least 2244 words(there was one day I forgot to check word count before closing Scrivener, so didn’t get it for that day).
  • Side Projects – Write 2000 words(since this will now include fleshing out Midas’ Daughter) – 2377/2000 words
    • Midas’ Daughter – 524 words – “Have you seen Flip? When he’s working one of the horses. Those muscles…”
      She sighed and Calla laughed again, even though the heat burning through her didn’t come from amusement. Yeah, she’d seen him. And promptly turned away so she wouldn’t stare.
    • Dance with the Devil – 568 words – “I know.” His voice was hard, and I jerked back, needing more distance between us. His eyes closed, but not soon enough to keep me from seeing that same anguish that had been there that night. “My father was the same,” he said without opening his eyes again. But, I could almost feel the pain drip out with the words. “And I swore I would never become like him. It’s why I hold on so tight to my temper, Damon. It’s why I let almost everything roll off my back. I can’t become him.”
    • Snow White Twist – 624 words – “You naïve little child,” the queen taunted. “It’s all about power. Everything is about power.”“No. Tarian said, forcing her feet forward even though every step made her feel sick. “Some things are about love. And I won’t let you take one more thing I love from me.”
    • Patrick & Sarah – 185 words – But, there was something about her that made that so difficult to do. How could he just walk away? No, that was something he definitely was not going to do. Not yet.
    • Tavin & Haiwee – 141 words – Haiwee. He wanted to know what her name meant. He wanted to know a lot more about her, too. But, from the looks her brother and cousin had given him when he’d shown any interest, that wasn’t likely to happen.
    • Roman – 136 words – He was surprised to see the boy exert some effort at controlling himself. He certainly hadn’t expected him to be capable of that. But, he was glad to see it, too. “Now, are you ready to answer my questions?”
    • Dougal & Shae – 199 words – She grinned at him, and Dougal very nearly groaned. Her brother. Well, brothers. No wonder the other one had gotten miffed by his comment to her. If she had been one of his sisters, he’d probably have planted a fist in the man’s face. Not that he thought she was much like Carina, Letitia, or Annabella. She’d probably be the kind to put the fist in a face herself.
  • Listen: She Can Tell(Melinda Leigh) & Soldier(Julie Kagawa) – I finished both of these. Enjoyed She Can Tell and loved Soldier. The ending was killer and I have to wait until April until the next book comes out. I started listening to Soulless(Gail Carriger) and really enjoying it so far.
  • Read: Finish Fatal Secrets(Allison Brennan), Right Wrong Guy(Lia Riley), Anxious Love(Sydney Aaliyah Michelle), His to Protect(Elena Aitken), Bladelore(Krista Walsh), Raptor(Lindsay Buroker), Perfect Fit(Carly Phillips), Against the Tide(Kat Martin), Honor’s Flight(Lindsay Buroker), Dare to Touch(Carly Phillips) –  I finished Fatal Secrets(liked), Right Wrong Guy(really enjoyed), started Anxious Love but couldn’t get into it, finished His to Protect(liked). Then, my kindle battery nearly died, so I started Perfect Fit since it’s in paperback. I enjoyed that. I picked up Raptor, then saw there was a novella that came right before it so grabbed that(Under the Ice Blades) and read it before flying through Raptor. And I had to find out what happened next, so I grabbed the next book(Soulblade) and started it right away. I’m about 70% through that right now. I might get to Against the Tide today but not sure if I’ll finish it.
  • A-Z Challenge – yes I know I have several months before this happens, but I’m planning now. Already have 15/26 post titles figured out. Need to finish this and start planning the posts. This one is going to be a serial in my Riders of Justice series. – I got the rest of the post titles figures out and went through and created all 27 posts(including the theme reveal). Now, I just have to plan each out and actually write them.

A lot of blue there, though I’d like to see less red. Oh well. Maybe next week 🙂

  • Write: 12500 words
  • Edit: Let It Begin(Kurztown 2.5) – Pre-revision items(filling in all the [xx] I left through it, story map, timeline, etc…)
  • Plot: Loving the Devil – Back Stories
  • Side Projects: Write 2000 words
  • Listen: Soulless(Gail Carriger) & The Last MacKlenna(Katherine Lowry Logan)
  • Read: Finish Soulblade(Lindsay Buroker), Against the Tide(Kat Martin), Honor’s Flight(Lindsay Buroker), Dare to Touch(Carly Phillips), The Vanishing Throne(Elizabeth May), Romancing the Holidays(various), A More Complicated Fairytale(Emily Witt), & The Distance Between Us(Kasie West)
  • Crochet: Dashes Beanie
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Fiction Friday: Goin’ Down – The Change

Last week I started sharing my short story “Goin’ Down” that I’d submitted to the World Unknown Review but wasn’t accepted. Good things were said about it in the rejection letter, though. This week, I have the second scene for you.

“Where are we going?” I didn’t like having the blindfold over my eyes, but Justin promised he had a surprise for me. He hadn’t thought to surprise me since our early days of dating. I didn’t think he knew how anymore.

“If I told you, that would ruin the surprise, wouldn’t it?”

This was a surprise in itself. I’d spent the last couple weeks doing everything I could think of to bring us back to what we’d been before. He ate my home-cooked dinners without a word, barely spoke to me when I sat next to him while we watched TV, and turned away from my advances. I had started consulting with a divorce lawyer. I told myself I’d go through with it if he didn’t agree to marriage counseling.

Now, suddenly he was attentive, taking me for a surprise picnic lunch. I didn’t know what to make of it.

This was the spontaneous man I’d married. I should probably be thankful something was bringing him back to me.

“We’re almost there,” he told me.

I wish I knew where ‘there’ was. We seemed to have come a long way from home for a lunch. Or he had taken a winding, twisting way to confuse me. Why would he have done that?

Not a lot of this made sense, but I kept telling myself he had a sweet surprise in store for me. None of the rest of it mattered.

I went where he led me, trusting him. Just like I always had. When I stumbled, he caught me. He guided me around trees and other obstacles. I felt the brush of them as we passed. He wouldn’t let me get hurt.

“Stay right here,” he said before stepping away from me.

I tried to listen to him, I wanted to. I wanted to trust him. But, I couldn’t see anything, I only heard the wind…no that wasn’t the wind. It was water rushing over rocks. Where had he brought me? My stomach tightened at being so close to water. It had to be a large stream or river, a lake wouldn’t make that noise.

“Justin,” I called out to him when I still didn’t hear him returning. He didn’t answer me. Where had he gone? He wouldn’t have left me out here. Would he? No, of course he wouldn’t. He loved me, and I trusted him. I called out again but still nothing.

I reached up for the blindfold, needing to see where I was. I didn’t want to trip over something and fall into the water. My chest tightened. I’d been having the dream more often. In the morning, I’d find Justin sleeping on the couch. I guess he had gotten tired of waking me from it.

Just as I tried to get at the knot at the back of my head, Justin’s hand covered mine. “I said to stay where you were. That meant leaving the blindfold alone as well.”

“I was scared. You weren’t answering me. It was like you just disappeared.”

“Really, Heather. You do realize how ridiculous that sounds, don’t you?”

I heard the teasing in his voice and tried to laugh at myself. He knew how I felt around the water. “I was scared, Justin,” I said again. “Why would you do that?”

“I wanted you to trust me. You used to trust me, Heather.”

I didn’t see how manipulating my fears would get that to happen.

“I was going to take the blindfold off while we ate. Since you failed my test, I think I should leave it on as punishment.”

My heart quickened, but not in the way I would have liked. We’d never played these games before, and I was sure I didn’t want to start now. “Justin,” I started, but he took my hand and led me away.

“Come with me. I have a blanket spread out here with our lunch.” He guided me over and down onto it. “You will learn to trust me, Heather,” he whispered in my ear.

How was I supposed to when none of this felt right? He pulled away from me, and I couldn’t feel anything but the ground beneath me. The grass poked my legs through the blanket. I heard the water behind us, and it left me tense. He wouldn’t have us sitting close enough I fell over into the water. Would he?

No, of course not. Things had been tense between us, but he still loved me. He was just trying to spice things up.

“Open up.”

When I did, he set the edge of a glass to my lips. The taste of the wine burst across my tongue then he took it away again. “You don’t want to drink too much, too fast. I know what a light head you have for wine.”

Something about his words struck me wrong, but none of it was false. I could only handle small amounts of wine or any other alcohol. And only when I’d had some food with it. I hoped he had more than wine in his basket.

He murmured something. No, he was humming. Doing this for me must really make him happy. That was good. Why did it send a cold shiver down the center of my back?

What is going on? should she trust that strange feeling she has? What is going to happen next? Well, you’ll have to wait until next week to find out.

In the meantime, I have a new release out today. Healing the Heart is the follow-up to my first book, Duty to Protect. If you were wondering about Garren’s ex-fiancée, Melanie, this is her story. I hope you’ll enjoy it if you check it out.

WeWriWa: “Always Running”

Welcome back to another visit with the Weekend Writing Warriors, the blog hop for anyone who likes to write. It’s been quite a week here. Starting off with me as a potential juror for a criminal homicide case(got excused, thank goodness) and ending with my 10 year wedding anniversary and publishing my 5th book(more on that later). But, right now, it’s time to get back to Devil and Hawk. I didn’t write a whole lot on Dance with the Devil this week, but I’m still ahead of where I’ve been posting. This is a little ahead of what I posted last week, but Devil still isn’t sure of his future with the club due to his own actions.

“You said they provoked you, and I can’t say they didn’t. But, we were told to keep our distance. Which means you don’t go up and confront one of them.”

They badmouthed you. I opened my mouth to say it, but he just kept rolling right on.

“You keep walking right on the edge, and you’re going to end up falling over one of these days.”

“Thought you said you’d always catch me,” I said reminding him of something he’d said in one of the letters we used to exchange.

But, it only brought that hurt look back to his eyes. “I’d do just that if you weren’t always running from me.”

Why does Devil keep running from Hawk? Will he finally stop? Or will he finally step too far over that edge?

As I mentioned above, I released my fifth book last night. Stained by Ashes is the second Stained book. Stained is my western series that started with Stained Snow, which is free now through Monday. I loved writing these books since westerns were one of my first reading loves(I started reading them when I was 12. I was an odd child). Both are also available on Kindle Unlimited. I hope you’ll enjoy if you pick them up.

SOCS: “Strongest, Bravest, Best”

After I read this week’s prompt of using a word that ends in -est for Stream of Consciousness Saturday, a bit of dialogue popped into my head between two characters for the story I’m currently plotting out. Then, this morning I thought about talking about my latest release. But, then I hopped back over to the fiction idea. Though I will probably tag on a note about that release on the end of this post.

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

“It would be better if you stay away from me, Denise. I don’t know-”

“Then, it’s a good thing I do, Toby,” she said, not letting him finish. “I’ve known you at least twenty years now, haven’t I?”

“Give or take,” he admitted. “But, you were a kid. You didn’t know anything about me.”

“Was I ever a typical kid, though? Even before…he died, I knew stuff little kids shouldn’t know. Jared tried to protect me from the worst of it, but that didn’t mean I didn’t see. Just like I always saw you.”

“If that was true, you’d understand why-”

She interrupted him again. She was always doing that, and it drove him crazy.

“I do understand, Toby, I just think you’re wrong. Do you really think you just happened to find me all those times I ran from those homes? I was always trying to find you.”

“Why would you do that?”

She rolled her eyes, and yeah, she must have driven him crazy, because that gesture had him grinning suddenly. “Other than Jared, you were the strongest, bravest, smartest person I knew. You were the best person I knew, Toby, other than my brother. Why wouldn’t I have come to find you?”

He could only stare at her. Yep, absolutely crazy. For her.

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

No idea where this will come in the story. maybe in the middle, so they can think, at least for a little while, that everything will be okay. Cause I’m just mean like that.

As I said above, I have a new release out. Stained by Ashes, the second book in my Stained series. If you have Kindle Unlimited, you can even read it for free. And the first book, Stained Snow, is free through Monday.

Fiction Friday: Stained Snow

Today’s the day! Stained Snow is live and out in the wild! I’m excited and a bit anxious about this one. It’s the first western I’ve written in a while. Though westerns were really my first writing love. The first story I finished writing outside of school was a western. It was probably crappy and short(though I thought it was long at the time), but I was only 13/14 at the time. I gave the only copy to my Dad and almost hope he lost it.

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Stained Snow started out as a piece of flash fiction, the first one I ever wrote actually. Probably about 3-4 years ago. Then, I expanded that into a novella. It still needed more work after that, and got it expanded even farther. Until finally, it’s the book you can read now.

There are two more books coming in this series, and I have ideas for other westerns in the works. I really hope you’ll enjoy this tale if you read it.

Sometimes blood isn’t thick enough.

William Jensen thought he had everything he could ever want: a small ranch in Wyoming Territory, the respect of the people around him, and the love of his wife and son. But, when he comes back from doing a favor for the sheriff and finds most of that gone, he isn’t sure what’s left for him. Other than finding the man responsible and bringing him to justice.

Maggie Barnes can only ever remember living on her father’s ranch in northern Colorado. And for almost as long, has dreamed about getting away. She thought she was close, but one more person left her behind. When her father brings an wounded man home, she thinks there may be more to life than seeing the world.

William starts to see there may be more now than vengeance as he starts to piece his life back together with Maggie. But, when he’s faced with losing it all again, he may just have to accept the truth. The only way he can have everything is by hunting down the man who keeps taking it all until nothing is left. Even if it means killing his own brother.

Teaser Tuesday: World Unknown Review Released

The second edition of the World Unknown Review releases today. So I figured I’d share another snippet from Into the Sun, my novella that is included in this collection.

   I had pulled a chair out at the table when I heard a pounding of feet out in the hallway. I stiffened, but Icarus grinned as the door was thrown open. “Birdie,” he said, “what have I said about flying in the house?”
The light giggle had another part of me stiffening. God, what was wrong with me? She didn’t sound like she could be older than fifteen. I’d just turned eighteen. That was all kinds of wrong.
“I’d heard you were home. I missed you, Dad.”
Dad. If I was right about Icarus, that made what I felt even more kinds of wrong.
“Hey, Trace.”
I still hadn’t turned around. I wasn’t sure I could. But, Icarus said my name softly again. I could hear the worry in his voice. Did he think I was having another panic attack? No, this was much worse than that.
I turned around, and I couldn’t quite keep my gaze from going to the girl. Tall like him, but her skin was darker than either of ours. Her hair was dark too, nearly black. But, her eyes, I couldn’t even say what color they were. Some gold, brown, and green all mixed together. She was beautiful. I wasn’t sure if I could even breathe while looking at her.
“Another one, Dad? You’re gonna run out of room if you keep collecting us.”
“Never,” Icarus said and kissed the top of her head. “My heart grew two sizes that day.”
It almost felt like some kind of inside joke, but I didn’t have a clue what the punchline might be. Now, she looked at me, and I really couldn’t breathe.
I didn’t think I’d ever seen a more beautiful girl. I thought I’d been wrong when I’d judged her age by that giggle. She definitely looked more grown up than fifteen. Especially with the way she filled out those tight jeans and the snug t-shirt. My mouth dried right up.
“Birdie, this is Trace. No last name until he learns he can trust us.” He flashed a smile at me then said, “Trace, this is my little wounded bird.”
“Jeez, Dad, are you determined to embarrass me? My wings certainly aren’t broken anymore.”
More inside jokes, or shared history at least. I didn’t know what any of it meant. “Nice to meet you,” I managed to get out.
She flashed me a smile then Icarus said, “Can you go in and let Cookie know he needs something to eat. I think he’s skipped a few meals.”
I hadn’t had a real one since the night before I’d left home, but I wasn’t going to admit that. “I’m fine, really.”
“Trace, sit down,” Icarus ordered. “You’ll eat then I’ll show you up to your room.”
I found myself sitting without another thought. Birdie laughed and leaned a hip on the corner of the table, only inches away from me. Her chest was right at eye level now. I forced my gaze up to keep it on her face.
She smirked and looked over at Icarus. “This one’s polite at least. I’ll go get his food.”
He stopped her for another forehead kiss. “He wasn’t towards you, and he’d be right back out on his ass.” He said this with a pointed look toward me.
I swallowed and let my eyes fall to the table at the obvious warning. But, Birdie only laughed. “I don’t like ’em polite anyway. I’ve spent too much time around you raunchy bunch.”
“Who’s being raunchy toward you? I’ll-”
“Dad, stop,” she demanded. “None of them are. Just relax. I’m all grown up now. You don’t need to tend to me anymore.”

You can check out the rest of the story, and 9 others now.

Teaser Tuesday: It’s Live

It’s release day, so this will be the last excerpt from First Choice, Second Chance. From Chapter 7, Lila is having dinner with her old friend, Ashley(who happened to marry Mason’s friend, Brian).

Ashley reached across the table and put her hand over Lila’s. “I saw what the papers said. I’d imagine almost everyone in town has. You know there are few around here who will believe it.”
“I’m not sure what I’d rather have them believe. That I really was a bad girl in a good girl’s skin, or I was so deceived by someone like Kyle. Both are humiliating. Now, my career’s over.”
“Don’t say that, Lila. I’m sure you can go back to it. Other stars have had bad press, and it’s forgotten the next time someone else’s name is splashed across the tabloids.”
Lila shook her head. “You don’t understand. It’s not just the tabloids. He spread lies to producers, to the venues. No one wants me. He’s essentially ruined any chances of me performing again any time soon. I don’t know if I could even handle going back on the stage. It was never easy for me before. I don’t think I have the confidence to do it now.”
“I’ve never known you to not have confidence, and I’ve known you a long time.”
“Getting on stage, especially the bigger ones, scared me to death. It was easier that summer I was home. When I knew Mason was out there. When I had his support.” She dropped her head into her hands. “God. Why was I so stupid?”
When Ashley didn’t respond after a minute, she looked back up and realized her friend’s attention had focused past her. “What? What is it?” A stone weighed heavy in her stomach.
“He’s here. With his parents.”
She wanted to turn and look too much. She kept her eyes trained ahead of her and saw the sadness in Ashley’s eyes. “What is it? Is something wrong with him?”
“You never heard about Scott, either? About his accident?”
“What happened? Is he okay?”
“Well, since the doctors didn’t expect him to live, I’d say it’s a pretty good thing he’s walking, even with the use of a cane.”
“What happened?” She wasn’t sure she wanted to know. She had always cared for Scott. Had loved how he supported Mason even when he didn’t agree with his choices. So many times she had wished her father was more like him.
“An accident with his tractor. I’m not exactly sure what happened. Mason found him out in the field, stuck under that big beast. He was in the hospital for nearly two months. Like I said, the doctors said he was lucky to still be alive, let alone walking. Mason’s handled most of the work on the farm since.”
“How can he do that on his own? I can’t imagine one man handling it alone.”
“They hired a couple of high school kids. I know they’ve sold off close to half of the cows. Scott has started talking about finding a buyer for it. He told Brian he’s tired of feeling like a burden. Thinks if he sells, it will make things better for everyone.”
“Poor Mason.” She hadn’t meant to let the words slip out. “Poor Scott, too. I know how much Mason has always loved that place. What will he do if they sell it?”
Ashley shook her head. “I don’t know. Brian’s talked to Scott about it. They’ve been tossing ideas around, but Scott hasn’t been ready to sell. I think it’s getting to be too much now, and he’s ready. From what Brian says, Mason’s the only resistant one now.”
“It’s his home,” Lila murmured. “It’s his whole life.”
“For being gone seven years, you still know him pretty well.”

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