Just a Taste of More Than Words

Just a Taste of More Than Words

more than words

My other job, aside from being a romance author, is being a voiceover artist. I absolutely love it and it was the perfect job for my heroine Skye. I also gave something I love to my hero Aidan. He plays hockey in a men’s rec league. I heart hockey so much. But that’s a post for another day… Please meet Aidan and Skye below. 🙂

This excerpt is from Chapter One:

 

Aidan MacKay prided himself on staying cool under pressure. His army days taught him the importance of an even-temper and self-control which served him well in civilian life, too—at work as the head of HR and at play, guarding the net for his hockey team.

But even Zen masters had a limit.

Waking up to a sick dog, followed by a dead car battery, two employee emergencies, then a showdown with the new payroll company had him clock-watching. At three o’clock, he’d barely made a dent in the pile on his desk, wading through seventy-five resumes for only three job openings, two of them temporary. Aidan teetered a breath away from his breaking point.

His head pounded. His mind swam with his never-ending to-do list. And his muscles ached from too many hours hunched over a desk.

Email after email appeared in his inbox and frustration mounted again. Blood pounded in his temples. He forwarded what could wait into Angie’s inbox, and then glared at the rest.

“Might as well get started,” he mumbled, scrolling down.

A name popped out at him from the mass of emails. A pleasant surprise. He lifted his fingers and sat back, staring at the screen.

Sky Galen.

The voiceover artist had been working with the company for the past six months, voicing sales training tutorials and workplace safety videos. Her friendly emails always made him smile. He closed his eyes and leaned back in his chair and hit play on the sound file.

Her voice glided out of the speakers, enticing him to open his eyes as if he expected her to be standing in front of his desk. Calming. Soothing. Like a spring rainfall cooling his hot skin. His heartbeat slowed. Breathing eased and his taut muscles loosened.

The recording ended all too quickly.

Holy shit.

He sat up straight, staring at the sound file on the screen, and hit repeat.

Wonderfully modulated.

Slightly husky.

Completely sexy.

Her voice contained magic. Real magic. No recording had ever affected him like that before.

He hit repeat again. Then, continual repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Perfection.

Her voice possessed the same relaxing effect as an hour’s worth of yoga, or several minutes of deep breathing, or time spent playing with his dog. Instant, utter peace.

Heartbeat quickening, he clicked on the link for her website below her email signature. A background in swirly shades of blue as peaceful as her voice, countless testimonials, and demos showcasing a broad range of projects, including a few for Kallis, filled his screen. Her About page spoke of a previous career in radio before pursuing voiceovers full-time. He’d known she liked music; they’d had an interesting email exchange on rock bands when he’d mentioned his hockey team listened to eighties hair metal bands in the locker room before games.

He clicked through each page. Unfortunately, no photo. He would have loved a face to place with the name and voice. They’d emailed back and forth, quite a bit during her last few projects. He’d learned that she loved scary movies, Italian food, and lucky for him, hockey—even though they rooted for two rival professional teams. Hell, he knew more about her than the last three women he’d dated—combined. And when was that last date?

She was funny, sweet, and now, he was eager, more than eager, to get to know her even better.

Screw it—why wait?

He jabbed his fingers at the keypad and dialed the number listed in her email.

Two rings later, she answered, “Hello?”

“Skye?”

“Yes?”

“It’s Aidan. Aidan MacKay. With Kallis Toys.”

“Aidan, hello. It’s nice to hear from you.” Her voice flowed around him like a gentle breeze. The way she said his name… He wanted her to say it again.

He shifted the phone to his other hand and relaxed against the back of his chair. “I wanted to let you know how happy we’ve been with you.”

“Thank you. I’m so glad. I love working with you. Kallis is one of my favorite clients.”

Damn. He was consumed by the urge to see her. Hearing her voice live only heightened his craving for more. Nothing short of face time would do. “I’d love to meet you sometime.”

“Yes, well—” A blast of hard rock music echoed through the speaker, drowning out her voice. Two feminine voices mixed in before he could hear her close a door. Quiet returned.

He glanced at the phone, wishing he could see her through it. “Uh… Are you okay?”

“I’m sorry. My sister is here visiting, and she accidentally turned on my sound system. In hindsight, having a universal remote wasn’t a smart decision.”

“Good taste in music. Can’t go wrong with The Fury. Great band.”

“I’m so embarrassed—not about the band—I saw them in concert twice, and they were amazing. I’ll be hiding the remote from Terri for the rest of her stay.” Skye spoke louder, over the other voice profusely apologizing in the background, strong enough to penetrate the closed door.

He chuckled, more relaxed that he’d felt in ages. “Don’t worry about it. I’ll let you get back to your sister.”

“Wait. Did you need something specific?”

She seemed flustered. And he didn’t want to continue the conversation when she had a captive audience. “It can wait. I’ll be in touch with more projects soon.”

“I look forward to them.” Her voice softened, and he smiled.

He was still grinning like a fool a full minute later.

He returned to her website and played the various demos. Her voice changed from friendly to informative to concerned, but each one had the same effect on his system—utter peace.

He’d give anything to bottle that up. And maybe, with Skye, he’d find something more than the words filling the air.

 

More Than Words is Book 2 in my Holiday Hearts series. It’s available at all retailers. You can find the links, and lots more, by visiting me at susanscottshelley.com.

Happy Reading!

Susan-Sig

 

National WHAT??? Day

National WHAT??? Day

holiday

I love that every day has a holiday. Just last week, we celebrated National Pumpkin Day. While some people may think it’s silly, I think it’s fun.

And today, November 1st, has several for you to enjoy.

Up first – National Calzone Day 

Confession: I’ve only had one once. A long, long time ago. At the Philadelphia Art Museum’s cafeteria, believe it or not. And yes, it was artistic.

calzone

 

It’s also National Authors’ Day.

YAY! *jumps up and down* How did this one start?

In 1928, Nellie Verne Burt McPherson, president of the Bement, Illinois Women’s Club had an idea of setting aside a day to celebrate American authors. She wrote a fan letter to fiction writer Irving Bacheller. Upon receiving her letter, Bacheller sent her an autographed copy of a book. McPerson decided to show her appreciation by submitting an idea for a National Author’s Day to the General Federation of Women’s Clubs.

author

So, what can you do? Send your favorite author a note to brighten their day.

 

Fitting in nicely with celebrating authors, it’s also National Family Literacy Day.

If you have kids – read to ’em. My mom read to us every night when I was little, and she loved books. She passed along that love to me.

family

 

And because pets are members of the family, you can celebrate with National Cook For Your Pets Day.

I don’t have a pet, but if I did, I might try this one, even though I avoid spending hours in the kitchen at all costs. Per the experts, consult your vet first.They’ll know your pet’s nutrition needs and can also tell you foods to avoid.

grain-free-sweet-potato-dog-treats-4

 

Now, this is an interesting one. It’s also National Vinegar Day.

This household product can be used for SO MANY THINGS, from cooking to cleaning to gardening. Yay for multi-purpose items!

vinegar

 

Hungry? It’s also National Deep Fried Clams Day.

According to research, fried clams have been on restaurant menus since 1865. And the modern deep fried version since 1916. 

clams

 

And after eating those clams, you can celebrate National Brush Your Teeth Day.

This holiday is designed to remind and encourage parents to get their kids brushing their teeth for just two minutes, twice a day.

brush

 

So there you have it. All of today’s holidays. Now, which one are you going to celebrate? 

I really love that there’s something to celebrate every day because every day should be a celebration anyway. (Let’s hear it for the optimists!)

Susan-Sig

p.s. According to National Calendar Day, there are over 1200 national holidays. Want to know what to celebrate next? Check them out: http://www.nationaldaycalendar.com/

Falling for Foliage

Falling for Foliage

foliage

As the only travel I’ve been doing lately is logging tons of hours and miles traveling along the New Jersey and Pennsylvania Turnpikes en route to physical therapy (yes, that is as glamorous as it sounds…) I thought we could have a fun post today. A where would you go post, if you wanted to see pretty scenery for Autumn.

And so, I bring you a small taste of few of the top places in the States to view the change of seasons.

First up, we’ll start in the Northeast with Stowe, VT: (Where sugar maples sparkle in shades of fire and gold.)

Then, we’ll head down to Oakland, MD, and Swallow Falls State Park: (The oldest stands of eastern hemlock and white pine—more than 360 years old—blanket the area in gold, orange, red, and evergreen.)

Next, we’re heading over to Michigan, and Porcupine Mountains State Park: (Talk about variety – this park has more than 100 species of trees and more than 300 waterfalls.)

Then, we’re off to the west coast, and Leavenworth, WA: (SO pretty and peaceful! I want to go!)

And finally, back to my hometown: Wissahickon Valley Park in Philadelphia, PA: (I LOVE walking/running the trails here.)

 

I so love this time of year. Nothing could be better that spying some pretty colors while drinking a pumpkin spice latte. (Though, to be honest, my preferred version is sprinkling pumpkin pie spice into my coffee). Where do you think is the best place to see fall foliage?

xoxo,

Susan-Sig

Labor-intensive Dessert for Labor Day

Labor-intensive Dessert for Labor Day

Labor-intensive

I love watermelon. And I’ve volunteered to bring one to a Labor Day picnic. But I can’t show up with one as-is. No, it needs to be impressive. And so I ask you, Spice Aisle readers, to help me decide…

 

Do I make a dolphin fruit party?

dolphin

 

Do a fish filled with fruit?
fish

 

Go for the top of the ocean food chain, and create a shark?

shark

 

Maybe something sharp?

porcupine

 

Something slow-moving?

turtle

 

Or something stunningly feathered?

peacock

 

Or is there something else I should sculpt? Let me know your favorite!

I’ve never attempted to carve anything other than a pumpkin before, so tips and tricks are appreciated.

And so, if all else fails, here’s my back-up plan:

pops

 

 

Happy Labor Day!!

Susan-Sig

Made in the Shades

Made in the Shades

madeintheshades

You already know that you should be wearing your shades when you step outdoors. (Full-spectrum UVA and UVB protection). But, if you’re confused about which frames suit your face best, I’m here to help!

ROUND FACE (Full cheeks with wide forehead and rounded chin (other sources say: Full cheeks with narrow forehead and jaw))

Choose square or rectangular designs. Over-size frames work well. Avoid round frames.

SQUARE FACE (Broad forehead, strong horizontal jawline, proportional in width and length)

Go with round or oval designs. Aviator and over-sized will suit you too. Make sure frames are wider than your cheekbones.

OVAL FACE (Proportionate forehead, cheekbones, and jawline)

Lucky you – All styles will suit you.

HEART-SHAPED FACE (Broad forehead that extends down to a small chin. Can have high, angled cheekbones)

Pick round or oval designs with wider tops. Cat-eye, Aviator, wayfarer designs work well too.

DIAMOND FACE (Wide cheekbones and narrow forehead, angular jawlines)

Oval designs work well.

OBLONG FACE (Face gracefully tapers toward chin. Elongated features from forehead to chin.)

Choose over-sized, square frames.

Made (1)

If you can’t really tell your type, grab a soft tape measure, and measure from forehead to chin and then from cheekbone to cheekbone. (Yes, there are online tutorials for this…) Enlist the help of a friend. “Hey, can you help me measure my head?” is something people do not hear every day. My husband thought I was nuts when he heard that question ringing through the house last week.

My face shape is a cross between round and heart-shaped and my personal taste for sunglasses is THE BIGGER, THE BETTER, so even if I look like I’m being swallowed up by them, I grab over-sized frames every time. I like to channel my inner Audrey Hepburn.
AUDREY
Bottom line: Wear what you love, and make sure you wear them year-round. Sunglasses aren’t just for summer. Protect those peepers Winter, Spring, Summer, and Fall. But maybe not a night…no matter what Corey Hart may say…

Which shape are you wearing?
Susan-Sig
Vacation

Vacation

 

It’s that time of year… Summer has arrived and that means one thing. VACATION!

My favorite place to vacation has always been the beach. Salt air, sand, the sound of sea gulls and waves crashing against the shore, it all feeds my soul.

 

I think it’s one of the very best places to watch a sunrise or sunset. And it’s the first place where I saw a glimpse of how many stars number the sky. You can’t see very many stars, living in the city, but out on a beach at night, in the absence of artificial light, the view is breathtaking.

Growing up, I spent summers at the Jersey shore. (Fun fact: people who go to Jersey beaches don’t “go to the beach,” they go “down the shore.”). I was used the dark blue waters of the Atlantic. But a few years ago, I had the chance to go to Miami, and the ocean there was light, pretty, and clear.

MIAMI

I’m looking forward to adding other beaches to my list. Give me sun, sand, and surf, and I’m happy.

Cue the Go-Go’s: 🙂

 

 

What are your favorite places to vacation?

Susan-Sig

Cover Lover

Cover Lover

There are songs we love, there are songs we don’t discover until another band performs a cover version of it, and then there are the songs that have cover versions so good, I dare say they are better than the originals. That’s what I’m talking about today.
 

First up:

 
“Sound of Silence” – The Simon & Garfunkel original is iconic. BUT metal band Disturbed recently released their version of it, and I absolutely love the orchestration and the way lead singer David Draiman seems to growl some of the lyrics.

 

 
One of my favorite hard rock bands, Halestorm, absolutely rocks their cover of hard rock/heavy metal icon Dio’s “Straight Through the Heart”.

 
And, one of my favorite Dio songs, “Rainbow in the Dark”, also has a great cover version, courtesy of Corey Taylor (of Slipknot and Stone Sour).

 
For my Philly peeps, I give you “No Easy Way Out.” Robert Tepper’s song is on the soundtrack to Rocky IV, but heavy metal band Bullet for My Valentine’s version is a head-banging good time. 

 
And, you guys! I’ve saved THE BEST for last! Our very own Xio Axelrod is an amazing singer. And her take on Coldplay’s “Yellow” will leave you feeling all shades of happy. I love her voice! Check her out: 

 
I could go on and on… but I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts, and if there are any cover versions you love, feel free to add them in the comments!
 
Heading back into my playlist,
Susan-Sig
The Best Medicine

The Best Medicine

Lifeis better
In honor of National Humor Month, we’re talking laughter.
smile
 
So. True. 
And it really is the best medicine:
 
bubbles
 
Laughter releases bunches of feel-good hormones. Research finds that humor can help you cope better with pain, enhance your immune system, reduce stress, even help you live longer. So you should, you know, do it a lot. 😀 
 
And how’s this for an “aww” moment:
makeherfall
 
I’m lucky that I’m married to a man with a wonderful sense of humor who makes me laugh every single day. But the best feeling is when I make him laugh. 
In books, movies, and real life, I always fall for the funny guy. And in friendships, I’m lucky to have several shades of humor in several different people.
wasted
 
Which leads me to one more quote:
favthings
 
So there you have it. Celebrate the folks who bring laughter into your life. 
 
And if you need more laughs, check out National Humor Month’s official website: http://www.humormonth.com/
 
 
Wishing you a day filled with belly laughs and giggles,
Susan-Sig
Go-to Tunes

Go-to Tunes

Go-to Tunes

We all have playlists — for working out, primping for a night out, relaxation, driving, etc. But do any of your songs cross over? 
Here’s a song that pulls double duty for me: “Eye of the Tiger”.
I’ve seen the Rocky movies countless times over the years. Maybe there’s an extra affinity because he’s from Philly and he’s Italian…I don’t know…but I like them.
This song works not only for working out (it’s on my running and kickboxing playlists), but it’s also background music when I’m writing or editing against a deadline. If Rocky can run through South Philly and up the Art Museum steps (if you come to Philly, you HAVE to run up those steps!), and can train like crazy in all sorts of weather, then I certainly can bust through whatever task is at hand and pound it into submission. 😀
 
For your viewing pleasure, here’s Jensen Ackles from Supernatural lip-syncing the lyrics. Enjoy 😉

And one full of Rocky highlights:

What are some of your go-to tunes?
Susan-Sig
Christmastime in the City

Christmastime in the City

I love my hometown, especially during the holiday season. Welcome to Philadelphia. I’m taking you on a tour of not-to-be-missed local traditions.
First up, the Macy’s Christmas Light Show.
The Christmas Light Show and Wanamaker Organ Concert at Macy’s is a Philadelphia holiday tradition that dates back more than half a century. The store, in Center City (downtown Philly) — housed in the historic Wanamaker Building — in the Grand Court atrium. You can do your shopping and when your spirits sag, stop and watch snowflakes, ballerinas, snowmen, and angels light up the screen along with the giant Christmas Tree. The finale of the four-story-high light show is accompanied by festive music from the Wanamaker Grand Organ. We visited the light show every year when I was growing up.
Up next, for the history buffs, we have Deck the Alley — Elfreth’s Alley
America’s oldest street, Elfreth’s Alley, decks the halls for the holiday season. Residents of the historic street open their homes to the public on December 5 as carolers and colonial reenactors create a festive mood. It’s a cool place to visit at any time of year, but especially when it’s all dressed up for the holidays.
Food-wise, Philly has more to offer than just cheesesteaks. So let’s go to Reading Terminal Market.
The Reading Terminal Market, at 12th and Arch Streets, (established in 1892) is the nation’s oldest continuously operating farmers’ market. Cool, no? Here, you can find virtually every type of cuisine, (yes, even those cheesesteaks). During the holiday season, the market sets up a very cool holiday railroad. It has fourteen working train lines and miniature scenery of Center City and the countryside, surrounding almost one-third of a mile of track.
Let’s get physical! I’m talking ice skating, of course.  I have two awesome locations for you:
                       
The first is the Blue Cross RiverRink, an Olympic-size skating rink overlooking the Delaware River. During Winterfest, they also have a ski chalet-style lodge and winter garden, a heated tent, holiday trees, and fire pits. 
 
Option two is in the heart of the city at the ice rink at Dilworth Park, right next to City Hall. You’ll skate under great views of the city skyline.
If you’ll be in the city through New Year’s, then a tradition that’s a MUST is the Mummer’s parade on New Year’s Day. 
The Mummers Parade dates back to 1901. Men, women and children dressed in colorful, lavish costumes dance, perform, and strut down the one of biggest streets in the city. Mummers belong to more than 40 organized clubs. The clubs split into five divisions: the Comics and Wench Brigades satirize issues; the Fancies wear glamorous outfits; the String Bands play banjoes, saxophones, percussion and other reed and string instruments; and the Fancy Brigades are known for fantastic choreographed performances. The clubs are in it to win it – local bragging rights.
 
You have to see it to truly appreciate and understand: 

This is only a sampling of all the city has to offer for the holidays. Come for a visit!

Happy Holidays,
Susan-Sig