Every Little Thing He Did Was Magic

Every Little Thing He Did Was Magic

From Sting.com

I’ve had a lifelong crush on Sting…first when he was with the Police and later when he launched himself as a solo artist. His harmonics and lyrics have always fascinated and surprised me. He isn’t afraid to experiment with sound and rhythms. Some of his boldest work has been his least acclaimed, but they’ve been CD I listen to over and over and over again.

Here are two of my favorites.

Songs From The Labyrinth was performed on a lute. Songs that told a story of life and love in the 16th Century. Tales of courtly love, and allegiance and intrigue.

An album dedicated to Sting’s favorite season, according to his website. “If On a Winter’s Night… presents an arc of songs that conjures the season of spirits, resulting in a haunting, spiritual and reflective musical journey.” Soul Cake on this album is maybe my favorite.

I still remember when the Police hit it big. Their music was revolutionary (Who can forget Roxanne or Message In A Bottle), at least to my way of thinking. And I know it made for hours and hours of great listening. Even still today.

I know I listened to If On A Winter Night on repeat while writing Hate, the 5th book in my Goddesses of Delphi series. Even though it wasn’t Christmas time. The haunting, soulful melodies helped set the tone for me on several crucial scenes. BTW – Hate releases today. I probably should have dedicated the book to Sting. LOL

Confessions Of An Over-Decorator

Confessions Of An Over-Decorator

Oh my gosh! It’s fall. Finally!

Every year I desperately wait for the season of my favorite colors to arrive. I have to be physically restrained on Labor Day to keep from hauling out my season decor. I go crazy, even when my life is out of control busy, and there aren’t enough hours to sleep, write, work, read, play, exercise … you get the idea. But I always make time to deck my halls.

It all starts by moving my fall mugs to the front of the cabinet. This is today’s designer cup. I bought this beauty 13 years ago at Hobby Lobby (or as I like to call it, the mother ship). One year, I confess, I left it out all year.

Next comes the mantel. I use orange lights and a pricey piece of garland, because it holds up so well. I put the lights on a timer so they come on without me even thinking about them. I scatter vases, candles and gourds in among the leaves for a fuller effect. It’s so pretty when the sun goes down.

This year tragedy struck when I was pulling out my pumpkin stack. When I first saw the idea in a Martha Stewart’s magazine for carving and stacking pumpkins and lighting it, I was entranced. But I decided to make mine with poly-resin pumpkins so it would last a really long time. And it has. For 10 years I’ve been pulling the protective plastic bag off this and dragging it out of storage. This year, it was just too wobbly for me. It needed redoing anyway.  Eventually, it will look like this:

And even though I miss carving a real pumpkin, it is still beautiful.

So there you have it. Fall is my jam. And I’m not ashamed to admit it. Well, at least until Christmas comes. Happy leaf peeping!

 

A Twist On Zucchini

A Twist On Zucchini

Last year for Amazon Prime Day, I invested in a fancy-schmancy vegetable spiralizer. You know, the kind of kitchen gadget that turns ordinary, healthy veggies into what looks like pasta. If you sauce it just right, you’d never even know you’re eating good-for-you-zucchini, instead of carb-loaded spaghetti noodles.

4 Blades to choose from, but I’ve only used one!

So I thought I’d share an simple 7-ingredient recipe featuring the zucchini noodles.

Zucchini Noodles Caprese
Pesto (I use store bought because it is easier and it’s a truth that I’m lazy)
Zucchini- spiralized and raw
Tomato Slices
Fresh Mozzarella Slices
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Fresh Basil

Yep- that’s it. Toss the noodles in the pesto, layer thick slices of tomato on top, then add a slice of fresh mozza. Drizzle with oil and vinegar, and spice it however you want. Top the whole masterpiece with a sprig of basil and dig in.

Bon Appetite!

Battle Music

Battle Music

I am in the process of editing the next book in my Paranormal Romance series, and there is a riot scene in the heart of the book. I enjoyed the research, actually found the videos I watched informative. But when it was time to write the actual scene, I struggled to find the correct way to string the words together. The words wouldn’t come, because the last place you’d ever find me is in the heart of a demonstration or riot. In this case, I’m just not a joiner.

After a couple of false starts, I turned on my Games Of Thrones Pandora station and it was smooth sailing from there. The song selection helped channel the emotion and sense of threat I wanted to convey. Here are a couple of examples:

Here’s another amazing offering I discovered on the station. This really helped focus the emotion I wanted in the scene. It builds to a great crescendo.

And there’s this – did you know if you search YouTube for ‘angry music’ you get and incredible assortment of powerful and threatening options?

I don’t write angry things very often, so it was nice to find some options to help me through. But for the record, I’m an 80s woman. Give me the Doobie Brothers or The Eagles any day of the week.

 

Have you tried the Santa Clarita Diet yet?

Have you tried the Santa Clarita Diet yet?

I’ve been binge watching something lately, and feel like I shouldn’t confess this weird addiction. I can’t even really pinpoint the reasons I’ve been watching NetFlix’s Santa Clarita Diet. Other than it’s a little funny. Oh, and Timothy Olyphant. But for clarities sake, let’s just call this show The Walking Dead Light.

The premise is straightforward. Sheila Hammond (Drew Barrymore) and her husband, Joel (Timothy O (oh, what a tall drink of water)), play Realtors©. Sheila suddenly becomes a member of the undead set. Now, she’s on the most restrictive low carb, high protein diet ever. The couple must learn to deal with her new diet and to hide it from the nosy neighbors. Oh, the plans they hatch to provide her with sustenance. To satisfy all her cravings, they opt to only kill people who are truly awful. It only gets tougher when they find many of the drug dealers/murderers/and arms dealers they target turn out to be not as despicable as they’ve been lead to believe.

I first started watching on the recommendation of a friend. And I’m glad it did. In most episodes, their teenage daughter, Abby, is more mature than they are. This character is played brilliantly by Liv Hewson. Add in the bumbling cop, the affair-indulging neighbor, and a smarty-pants potential love interest for Abby, and I consider this a true winner. Oh, and did I mention the show stars Timothy Olyphant? Here’s a little treat, I mean clip of him talking about the show (and yeah, Drew is in there as well).

I hope you’ll give it a try. It’s very entertaining.

 

 

Closet Confusion

Closet Confusion

In January, I decided I haven’t had enough interaction with actual people. I sit in my house, by myself. And truthfully, I was a little bored with my own company. So I opted to go back to work. The day I asked my old boss if I could have my part-time job back, he asked me to start that afternoon. (It’s good to be missed).

Unfortunately, working in public again presented a major dilemma for me. Most of my professional clothes are out of style, and I simply can’t show up wearing my regular work-from-home uniform of pajama pants and a hoodie. There are limits to decency and nobody wants to see my ultra-thin paisley jammie bottoms. It was time to inventory my closet.

Luckily, I’d bought some dressy clothes to attend a few conventions last year. Dresses, pants that weren’t exactly jeans, silky tops and sweaters that still fit (bonus!). And I’d just bought a couple pairs of shoes while visiting my parents (my mom and I turn shoe shopping in a performance art ). So I wasn’t in as bad shape wardrobe-wise as I’d thought. Plus, with the way fashion works, everything old is new again.

So I toddled off to work every day last week, happy to be interacting with people and looking smart. Now, if only my boss hadn’t decided I should be an bookkeeper. Because no amount of fashionable clothes will ever make me love numbers! I majored in Journalism for a reason.

At least, I’m a fabulously dressed numbers-cruncher.

Just A Taste of Risking the Vine

Just A Taste of Risking the Vine

I’ve got a little secret … I love wine. So much that I’m writing a series set in and around vineyards. The research was fun and informative as I started. Risking the Vine features Jacqui Bishop and Luke Rossi, who have been sent to Team Vino, a team building camp in wine country. They’s met each other before, in Medford where they are from. But now, they are really going to get to know each other. Enjoy!

 

As the wait staff placed baskets of bread on the table, Luke asked, “So we met at a hospital happy hour, but you aren’t an employee. Where do you work?”

“MedServices. We’re a medical records management firm,” she replied.

“Hate to say it, I think we use your competition.”

“I know. Bella’s told me on numerous occasions.”

His eyes darkened. “Bella’s okay. We’ve worked together to settle a couple of issues with the nurses’ union. She strikes me as one of the sane ones in the HR department.”

“Hmm. Well, I’ve never heard her described that particular way.” Jac smiled at the idea of her zany friend being sane.

“In my experience the entire department thrives on a witch hunt.” Luke’s tone was glum. “They are constantly looking for a scapegoat to pin the latest trouble on, instead of considering the source of the trouble.”

“I think that’s the case with most organizations.” She reached for a piece of bread. Time to change the subject. “Where did you move from?”

“Most recently from Tampa. I’ve always lived in the southeast, so this is an interesting change.”

“How so?”

Luke spread butter on the piece of sourdough bread he’d selected. “The climate in Oregon is cooler and more temperate. Still terribly humid. There are a lot of rainy days in the northwest.”

“So right,” Jac replied, tugging on her hair, closer to straight than curly today. Humidity sucked, which was why she typically wore her hair up. She never had trouble making small talk, so why were they talking about the weather?

“Why are you here? And by here I mean at team building camp.” The expression in Luke’s eyes seemed open and curious. But something else lurked and smoldered, more than mere friendliness.

Low in her body, Jac experienced an answering heat. She cast about, trying to recall his question. “Oh . . . um, I’m up for a promotion and since I’ve never supervised people before, the owner wanted me to learn some tricks to boost cooperation between my department and other internal clients. Although, being out of the office hasn’t stopped the calls from coming in. I guess it’s nice to be missed.”

“Trouble?”

“Nothing I can’t handle. I’m in client services and sometimes our customers can be demanding. Medical billing, records and privacy concerns, all can be a bit of a nightmare.”

“Tell me about it,” Luke sympathized. His gaze clouded. “Probably a lot like personnel and budget management.”

Jac leaned to her right as the waiter put a bowl of stew in front of her. Her shoulder brushed Luke’s. Warm, welcome heat from the contact thrilled her. Even though she sort of already knew the answer, she asked, “What brought you here?”

Luke fisted his hand on the table, tapped it a couple of time, while a muscle in his jaw popped.

Oops, sore subject.

“Let’s not talk about work anymore, okay? Honestly, I’d rather talk about the weather or baseball than my job. Or whether or not you have a husband.” He lifted one brow and tipped his head to the side.

A small sizzle raced across her belly. “Uh . . . no, no husband. Not even a boyfriend in sight.” And she hadn’t been heavily involved with anyone since her college sweetheart. Damn him.

He nodded. “Good. I didn’t have a chance to get to know you at happy hour. I’m glad to fix that now.”

The slow lift at the corners of his mouth drew her in. Made her believe he really did think it was good she didn’t have a significant other.

Just a taste of Son of Thunder

Just a taste of Son of Thunder

promio1

“Son of Thunder,” its voice reverberated throughout the room—low, guttural, almost a growl. “We knew you would come.”

Jord raised his sword in readiness.

The giant chuckled.

“You are no longer in the safety of your university, Jord Thorson.”

The giant raised its axe to strike.

“And you are no longer in Jotunheim,” Jord answered as he danced back from the giant’s swing, then countered with a swipe of his sword.

“There is no need to endanger the mortal. Surrender yourself and the belt to me,” the giant grunted, batting aside the sword with its axe.

The mortal?

Now Meghan knew she was dreaming. She’d probably laid her head on her desk for just a moment and fallen asleep. It had been a long, trying day. Any moment now she’d wake up and the real Jord Thorson, the old, gray-haired scholar, would stop by and tell her the strange belt was all just a hoax. It was too bad, she was becoming quite fond of the Fabio-like, sword-wielding college professor she’d dreamed up. Not the Fabio of today, but the Fabio of the past, when he really was Fabio . . . lous.

“I don’t think so,” Fabio-Jord said. He charged at the giant. The big creature swung its axe, but Jord’s sword deflected the blow. Meghan watched in fascination as the man and the giant fought their battle with archaic weapons in the accessioning room of her museum.

Well, if this was all a dream, she might as well enjoy it. The way Jord’s body moved—fluidly dodging and striking at the giant. Watching this man move was a slice of sensual heaven.

 

Son of Thunder is available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Son-Thunder-Heavenly-Series-ebook/dp/B00BJ64GPY

 

Steve

Just A Taste of “Tyranny” Bk 1 of The Goddesses Of Delphi

Just A Taste of “Tyranny” Bk 1 of The Goddesses Of Delphi

tyrannyfinal-fjm_low_res_500x750

About a year ago, I decided to try writing in a different genre. I’ve always written contemporary romances, but I was so intrigued by the idea of writing about Muses, gods, and goddesses that I just had to try. I’m biting my nails waiting on the release of this story. Here’s a little taste from the first meeting of immortal librarian Clio, Muse of History and Jax Callahan, a new professor:

Now she just had to figure out the best spot for the wet-floor warning. As she pivoted, the heavy wooden entry door swept inward again. A sudden gust of wind caught the door and propelled it toward Clio’s head. The dull thunk of the door connecting with her forehead rebounded in her ears. Glittering stars burst behind her eyes.

She stumbled backward, arms flailing. The safety cone flew from her grasp.

“Mother goddess!” The epithet burst from her lips before she could bite it back. Tears watered her vision as a large man reached for her. His big, warm hand wrapped around her arm and steadied her. A barrage of tiny, invisible arrows traveled from his fingertips up her arm.

“Oh, God! I’m so sorry. Are you okay?” When he spoke, his husky baritone voice vibrated through her chest.

She rubbed the tender spot on her head and blinked to clear the moisture from her eyes, bringing the man into focus.

Set under a pair of slashing brows, deep amber eyes reflected warmth and concern. A sexy scruff of midnight black whiskers covered a square jawline. His lips thinned and turned down in a frown. She took a step away, breaking the hold he had on her arm, and immediately missed the heat and comfort.

His broad shoulders, encased in a blue oxford cloth shirt, were wet from the rain. Drops of water sparkled on his cheeks and eyelashes. He probed his thumb over her forehead, gingerly testing the sore spot and rising lump there. When she flinched, he did as well.

She pushed his hand away. “I’m okay. I keep asking the administration to install glass entry doors to avoid things like this happening. Perhaps if I have a concussion, they’ll listen.”

“Oh, hell! Did I hit you that hard?”

She shook her head cautiously to make sure her brain didn’t rattle around. “No, I exaggerated.”

As much as it grieved her to do so, she turned from the man’s gaze and stooped to retrieve the wet floor sign. A moment later, she’d settled the bright yellow cone over a damp spot on the floor. Her thoughts still on the man next to her, she spun around to return to her work area. As she slipped on a slick spot, the stranger reached for her once again. One arm around her waist, the other grasping her arm, he kept her upright, balancing her against his solid body. He saved her from a mortifying tumble to the floor. Although, if he were a cushion, she’d gladly take a fall if landing on him was part of the cost. Preferably straddled on his lap.

And where in Zeus’s name had that thought come from?

Tyranny releases October 4, but is available for pre-order on Amazon

 

Last Chance For Summer Fun

Last Chance For Summer Fun

Don't Go!

Don’t Go!

Summer is fast coming to an end (for goodness sake, school’s about to start). I’ve always had mixed emotions about this time of year. Pumpkin spice everything is right around the corner, but I always worried whether I provided enough summer fun for our kids.

So, every year, we’d load the kids up in the car and go in search of adventure. One of my favorite trips was when we drove to Vermont in search of Larry, Daryl and Daryl from Newhart (Remember those guys?).

We loved that show and were eager to see Vermont, New Hampshire and Maine. We stayed at a country bed and breakfast, The Bailey Mills. We drove up after getting lost on ‘the scenic route’ and drove up around 11:30 at night. We were all a bit creeped out by the fact the front yard was a revolutionary war cemetery. And, the room we rented came with a ghost. Now, I’ve never professed to being afraid of a ghost, but knowing I’d closed the closet door in the bathroom before I went to bed, and finding it open the next morning was…in a word, spooky.

Photo Courtesy of The Bailey Mills Inn

Photo Courtesy of The Bailey Mills Inn

But the grounds were awesome, and the journey together as a family is still a memory we discuss often. School started about a week after we got home and I sent my kids off on that first day, knowing they’d enjoyed the adventure.

I’m curious what you’d do if confronted by a ghost at a bed and breakfast?