Review Excerpts

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

On Fire!

Mark your calendars, Fire Beyond the Frost has a tentative release date of October 4th. I hope to have a sparkling new cover to present to you in the next couple days, but in the meantime, have this picture of me jumping over some burning logs.

I did complete that obstacle course race I mentioned in my previous post. It was one of the hardest things I've ever done and the thought of quitting absolutely crossed my mind at least once, but I hauled my butt over that finish line (and then made a beeline for my free beer). I also climbed that big cargo net you see in the background, which was another triumph considering I'm afraid of heights. Well, not necessarily afraid of heights, but afraid of falling. Same difference here.

I crashed hard when I got home and went to bed earlier than my kids that night. As everyone had promised me, I went from "Okay, that's over with and out of my system, don't need to do that again anytime soon" to "Weeeeeelllllll, the Long Island course in November is probably flatter..." within, like, two days. So yeah, of course I eventually signed up. But I vow to get some new writing in between now and then!

Friday, August 23, 2019

Making Up For Lost Time

Hello, my lovelies! I'm just briefly checking in here because guess how much writing I've done since the last time I posted - NONE. ZERO. ZIP. NOT A SINGLE WORD TO BE SEEN. The first round of edits for Fire Beyond the Frost should be coming in soon, but other than that, I've barely even thought about writing.

To be fair, I did spend almost the first half of the year stuck on the couch, not doing much of anything. It sucked. I know everyone says they could use sometime camped out at home doing nothing (and trust me, I could use a few days like that right now), but six-ish months is too much. There's only so much reading, knitting, and TV watching one can do.

So what have I been doing? In no particular order:

Work! Work work work work work. Some interesting stuff, some not so interesting stuff, and one annoying trip an hour away into the middle of New Jersey, where there was a lot of traffic in both directions. Also, a lot of stuff involving cell towers. Go figure.

Exercise! I got back to the gym, and while the first few classes were frustrating, it actually didn't take me as long as I'd expected to at least get close to the level I was at when I had to stop. I guess your body does remember what to do. Before I got sick, it had been a goal of mine to do an obstacle race/mud run in 2019, and then I figured I'd have to put it off until 2020, maybe. But nope! I was feeling good enough that I took the leap and signed up for one. It's in two days. My goal is to just get across the finish line in one piece. (Okay, and hopefully in less than two hours, since it's only four miles and twenty obstacles. "Only." Ha. Hahahaha. Ha.)

Vacation! This entry on the list is a bit of a misnomer, and one of my coworkers summed it up perfectly: When you have young kids, it's not a "vacation," it's a "family trip." Yuuuup. We had our ups and downs, and I wouldn't necessarily say I relaxed, but overall, we did have fun. Plus, my mom and I bought a pair of inflatable stand-up paddleboards for ourselves and considered them a worthwhile purchase. (No one drowned, and Harbor Patrol only showed up once, but that's another story.)

Reading! I never get any good writing done while on vacation anyway, so I figured I might as well read some books. I stuck with the thrillers I got for free with my Amazon Prime account (I'll Never Tell and What You Did by authors I can't remember) and enjoyed both of them, which isn't always the case with free books. Mr. Landen read the same ones, so it was fun to compare notes and opinions.

So summer is winding down. The girls go back to school in less than two weeks, and I'm hoping to get a lot done with that added free time, writing included. I hope you all are having a great summer!

Thursday, June 20, 2019

Fire Beyond the Frost - Coming Soon!

Not only do I love making these announcements, but apparently, this is also my 300th post on this blog! Yay for milestones, I guess? I've felt like a slacker here at times, but 300 unique posts over *coughmumble* years is nothing to sneeze at.

Anyhoo! I just signed the contracts for Fire Beyond the Frost, which has had quite the journey to get to this point. Longtime readers may vaguely remember I was working on a lesbian romance several summers ago. Long story short, certain things just weren't working out, and the book sat on the shelf in time-out for a long time. This past winter, while recovering from my illness/surgery, I decided to revisit it and see if I could give it the overhaul it needed. I did love the characters and story, after all. So many changes later—including the title—here we are! Current blurb and excerpt are below, and I'll share further details as I get them.

Following a failed relationship with her supervisor at work, Dr. Catalina Frost volunteers her services with a charitable organization providing medical aid to those in need. In her first journey away from her home planet of Earth, she travels to the opposite end of the galaxy to the icy world of Ruvuk. Dismal weather conditions and an unfamiliar species of aliens take her far outside her comfort zone, but she’s determined to fulfill her obligations.

When Sari, a human settler on Ruvuk, first heard about a doctor being assigned to lend assistance to her health clinic in a remote village, she never expected the gorgeous woman who walked through her door. She introduces her to the planet’s ways of life and is impressed by her skills and experience. Though she drops hints about her growing attraction to Catalina, she’s shocked when those feelings are reciprocated.

The pair embarks on a romantic fling, but the definitive end date of Catalina’s assignment approaches quickly. She wants to plan for the future, but Sari has been hurt by false promises before and asks that they simply enjoy the time they have left. Will they each return to their separate lives or can they find a way to reunite somewhere in the galaxy?

The music stopped. Hundreds of heads tilted back, excited faces turned skyward in a synchronous movement threaded with palpable anticipation. Four incandescent orbs loomed overhead, shining in radiant shades of orange and gold. The spaces between them measured a similar distance, yet Catalina couldn’t understand why the lopsided figure was cause for such a tribute.

A near-imperceptible shift in the spheres’ positions removed all traces of her skepticism. Murmurs fluttered through radiating circles around her as the moons locked into place, creating a flawless square with the plateau at its center. In that instant, she was struck by the magnitude of the perfect alignment and its effect on her. While her journey to Ruvuk had been arranged due to her professional expertise, it turned out to serve many other purposes. The magnificent sight erased her doubts regarding her reasons for leaving Earth. Her decision had proved to be the right one.

Someone’s hand rested on the small of her back. Catalina looked away from the moons, her head swiveling to the side. All sets of eyes were focused on the sky, save one. Sari stood at her shoulder, her face bathed in the lunar glow. Beneath the edge of her knit hat, her round eyes gleamed with their usual liveliness. There was a slight change, however, something darker in their depths.

Her sly remarks and pointed comments had always been couched in a tone of flirtatious teasing. Tonight, there was no denying the hunger revealed in her sensual expression. Berry-red lips parted, silently asking the remaining question. The harmonious combination of the symbolic moment and her alluring charm made the plea impossible to refuse.

Catalina turned her body to allow Sari’s arm to circle around her waist as she leaned forward. She hesitated, letting the proximate warmth of the other woman’s mouth dispel the cold air between them. Another hand settled on her hip. Its blazing intentions were clear, even through the thick padding of heavy outerwear.

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Getting Back Into the Swing of Things

After what felt like forever, I finally got the thumbs-up from my surgeon last week to resume normal activity. The PICC line is finally out, and I'm no longer on antibiotics, so I'm feeling pretty good. All this happened just in time for me to be a bridesmaid in a friend's wedding this past weekend, so I jumped right back into things. I figured if I could last on the dance floor (barely) until midnight, everything else would come back easily. I went back to the gym yesterday, I go back to work next week, and I can take care of my own kids again. I'm sure my mom is glad she packed up all her stuff and my husband likes having that room available again.

And, of course, we all know what else is on this list - writing! I did manage to knock out a few paragraphs for Sonata for Springtime last week before getting back to living my life, and I'm hoping more will soon follow now that my head's not all fuzzy from the antibiotics. I probably haven't gotten very far since the last time I blogged about this project, so I might be repeating myself, but this is sort of a transitional chapter, and then the next three will be FUN. I don't want to call it filler, but, well, it's not the most exciting part of the book. Now I just have to get to the end of it and I'm hoping the middle third of this book will just fly out of my typing fingers. I'll consider anything a win at this point!

Monday, March 25, 2019

Still Alive, Still Not Writing, But Getting Closer!

Looks like it's time for my monthly check in! I still haven't been completely cleared by my team of doctors to resume normal activity, but I'm feeling hopeful about my appointments next week. Mostly, I just want the damn PICC line out of my arm and to stop the IV antibiotics, because that's all annoying and the meds make me tired. As the title of this post indicates, I haven't *quite* resumed writing yet. But! Though I didn't know if my brain was up to writing, I figured I might as well give editing a try, thinking that would be a little less mentally taxing. I've been going back through the old files to see if anything is worth rescuing and resubmitting. I don't know if anything will pan out from this, but at least I'm doing something.

Other things I have been doing:

I finally finished the scarf/shawl/wrap thingy I mentioned in my last post. It needs a light blocking, but I took pictures anyway. The pattern is supposed to resemble dragon scales, and we all know how much I love dragons.

I also played a new video game; while nothing I've read recently comes with a strong recommendation, I can wholeheartedly recommend Life is Strange. Even if you're just a casual gamer, the story and characters are fantastic. I don't think I've been as emotionally affected by a game since Mass Effect 3. Plus, due to the structure of the game, there's plenty of replay value. The main game has a prequel with the same characters, which I played and liked well enough, though it didn't have quite the same charm as the original, and then a sequel with a whole new cast and setting, which I haven't started yet. If you're looking to participate in an interactive story, definitely check it out!

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Still Alive, Still Not Writing

When last we left off, I'd been sick for a month and hadn't been doing much of anything. Long story short, I wound up having major surgery for my chronic illness in mid-January. Major as in, "we'll try to do it laparoscopically, but we might have to cut you open," and sure enough, I woke up with a large incision and a temporary drain. At least I'll look like a badass on the beach this summer with my new scars. Recovery mostly went well, though I had a few false alarms in the past week or two, but I seem to be headed in the right direction now. I haven't written anything yet, but I've at least started thinking about it again!

While I was following doctors' orders and sitting at home, resting, I did finally do some reading, which I rarely have time for. As I read some books that have been on my list for a long time, I realized my reading preferences have aligned with the way I write. I discovered that for me, it doesn't matter how beautiful and deeply descriptive the prose is, I prefer a plot that moves along at a quick pace. My reading list does contain a lot of mystery and suspense, and I was trying to branch out, but I guess there's a reason I lean toward those genres.

Other than that, I've just been loafing around on the internet, going to doctors appointments, and working on the neverending scarf/shawl/wrap thingy that Ravelry tells me I started back in August. (Oof.) I've been gradually getting out more, though I miss doing fun things with the kids, going to the gym, and drinking wine. Writing will come soon, I promise!

Friday, December 28, 2018

Happy Holidays, But Let's Get On To 2019 Already!

Two holiday posts back to back, a month apart, with zero writing updates. Uh-oh. I do have an excuse this time - unfortunately, I've been sick for pretty much the past month, and the doctors I've seen have yet to pinpoint exactly why yet. But I'm being taken seriously, which pleases me, and undergoing lots of tests, and I'm hoping to get some answers at my appointment on Monday so we can really move forward in 2019. In the meantime, here is a list of what I DON'T have:
  • Lyme Disease
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • Hepatitis
  • Herpes
  • Chlamydia
  • Gonorrhea
  • HIV
  • Malaria
And probably a couple more I'm missing. I was really concerned about those last two, let me tell you. (Okay, not really.) The mono report was iffy - one doctor said I had it, another said I didn't, but when I saw an infectious disease doctor and he got the lab work, he was the tiebreaker and said nope, not mono. Right now, the theory is I've got an abscess or something similar lurking somewhere in my abdomen, and we just have to track it down.

So there's my dramatic life for right now. I haven't felt up to writing, but I am finally getting the chance to do some reading for pleasure, which I might post about soon. Anyway, I hope you all had a great holiday season, and let's look forward to an even better 2019!