03 November 2010
08 September 2010
03 September 2010
Subtitle: In order to remember what it's like to feel alive, sometimes it's necessary to do something that scares the sh!t outta you.
So, I've been a little MIA this summer. As soon as the weather got nice, my husband and I have been out on his Harley whenever it's a nice day. This is our second summer with the bike, a '99 Ultra Classic, and while it's a blast riding behind my husband, I've been getting the itch to learn to ride, myself. I figured, hey, I know how to drive a stick shift. How hard can it be?
[insert hysterical laughter here]
Those of you who know me even a little know that I've had rheumatoid arthritis virtually all my life. I've done pretty well overall, thanks to modern medicines and joint replacement technology. Normal, everyday activities are usually not too big of an issue. Still, the prospect of working a clutch with my teeny little hands and not my foot had me working on strength training for a few weeks leading up to a weekend beginning riders course.
Day 1 of the riding portion of my Motorcycle Safety Foundation class dawned dreary and rainy, and I'm thinking, "Perfect! If this doesn't cure me of my fear of wet surfaces, nothing will."
I arrive, gear up, and walk down the row to select my bike, preferably one with a low seat. I got on a Honda Rebel, red, and my tush went "aaahhhh!!" It seems to be a good fit. Next step, overcome my first fear: balancing the bike. I put the kickstand up and leaned it back and forth, not real far, but got a feel for the weight. Okay, seems doable, and it's clear I'm not going to tip over just sitting still with my feet on the ground.
Did I mention it's pouring rain by now? I'm glad I put the visor back on my helmet.
Finally comes the moment to start the engine. I hit the button and how can I describe the feeling? I can't. Those of you who ride know what I'm talking about. Next, power walking, which brings me to my second concern - the clutch. First power walk completed, though I'm the slowest in the class. I'm struggling to find the friction zone as my hand strains and quickly starts getting sore. I manage a couple of sloooow power walks and by this time my fear of balancing while the bike is in motion is gone.
The trainer encourages me to go a bit faster and get my feet up. Nope, still can't find the friction zone (the point where you're letting out the clutch and the engine catches hold), and as I fight a losing battle with the clutch, I forget about the throttle. I give it a little gas, feel the engine staaaaaart to engage, then my clutch hand slips and, to my great surprise, I'm zipping along at maybe 8 to 10 mph but it felt like lightspeed!
There wasn't time to be scared. It was more like, "What the...? Oh. Let off the throttle, retrieve the clutch. Oh, and braking would be handy!" I get it stopped quickly, hit the kill switch and sit there for a minute to assess. Yeah, I know what happened. Still, I'm not really scared, just a bit startled. The trainer comes over and laughs, and cheers me back to the starting line. Okay. One more time. No more clutch slipping, but I still can't find the friction zone and I turtle across the range, straining with my left hand at the clutch. The I fought with it, the less my throttle hand cooperated.
Still raining. Oh, and I can't seem to get the bike from first to neutral without accidentally popping into 2nd. Balky gear shift, or rider ineptitude? At this point, hard to tell.
Meanwhile my clutch hand is getting increasingly tired and sore, and it's only been an hour since I started the engine. It's clear that my learning curve is going to be way too wide for this class - which by this time have all mastered power walking and are waiting for me after every revolution. After yet another of countless stall outs, I signaled the trainer and withdrew. My hand wasn't going to make it through the five hours ahead of me.
I sat down to watch the rest of the session. I held back tears for a few minutes, mainly because I'd wanted to ace the class in memory of my Dad. But as the class wore on I knew I'd made the right decision. I learned tons just by watching. It was fun to watch the beginning riders' faces light up and grins get bigger as they mastered each step.
At the end, both trainers told me that I was the first person who'd ever actually stayed to watch the rest of all-day session after withdrawing. They could see I'm determined and encouraged me to try again. A couple of the more experienced students in the class also talked to me and gave me advice, which was really nice. They all said I could work on my hand strength, but they thought might do better on a scooter, which doesn't involve a clutch. At least to build my confidence until I'm ready to look for that elusive friction zone again.
So, the bottom line is, by charging head-on into doing something that scares the crap out of me, I put a few unfounded fears to rest. And I'm confident that someday soon, I'll finally feel the wind in my face under my own power.
It was a pretty awesome day. :)
Special shout-out to my new friends at VTwinMama.com. You ladies rock!
30 August 2010
The World Pipe Band Championship is complete! Click here to read Scottie's diary and photos of the event.
For full results, visit the Royal Scottish Pipe Band Association's web site.
View Scottie's slide show, set to music by Moira Kerr, on Youtube.
26 August 2010
29 July 2010
The Long and the Short of It Reviews is celebrating its third anniversary in style -- by giving away THREE Nook eBook Readers that come with $50 BN.com gift certificates AND are already pre-loaded with dozens of romance and juvenile fiction eBooks.
How to win? They're having a scavenger hunt that runs from August 2-29 and culminates in a two-day chat that final weekend in their Yahoo groups, during which they'll be announcing the winners.
06 July 2010
(Note: This is a cross-post from the Beyond the Veil blog.)
Their love could save the planet—or blow it all to hell.
PIACT Undercover Agents, Book 3
Two years on the Separatist-controlled planet of Dante I, and undercover PIACT agent Tomas Valcino is no closer to contacting the underground rebellion. As if imminent mission failure isn’t bad enough, he can’t shake his lust for the prefect’s beautiful daughter, Yumi Rebyj. The distraction must not tear him away from duty.
Every time Tomas’s eyes find her, Yumi’s insides melt like the molten planet below them. But she’s got her hands full leading the rebels, caring for her sick father, and fending off the Separatist leader’s advances. Plus, she already knows that Tomas isn’t who he says he is. She just isn’t sure whose side he’s on.
An assassination attempt drives Tomas to take Yumi into hiding. In close quarters, all is stripped away. Secrets. Lies. And clothes.
Then the discovery of a new technology drives the Separatists to step up their campaign of cruelty to expose the rebels, once and for all. Tomas and Yumi’s connection is Dante I’s only hope—but it could be too little, too late.
Warning: Hunks, Heroines and major warfare in close quarters—and locked cells. Ahem. We won’t forget the pair of panties that bravely gave its all in the making of this novel.
Yumi Rebyj closed her eyes and breathed in the scent of the man beneath her. Tomas Valcino, a special metals consultant, had arrived on Dante I a mere two years ago. He’d driven Yumi crazy every day since, simply by being around. It must be illegal the way his muscles rippled as he moved; just watching him made her shiver with lust. When he gazed at her, those pale blue eyes never failed to send a tingle running through her body. Still, none of that could compare to having him in bed. Now that was—
“Would you like me to put it in now?”
Startled, Yumi opened her eyes and peered over the railing. Lying on the floor below the catwalk, long black hair splayed against the steel floor, Tomas poked amongst the circuitry of the Secondary Mining Terminal. In his free hand he held a datacard loaded with clean datacubes. His puzzled look as he watched her made her blush. What would he think if he knew the daydreams she had about him? Not that they would be anything other than daydreams. Between running the Bolgër—the resistance forces—managing Dante I’s constant flux of mining skippers, and Tomas’s very obvious lack of interest in her, Yumi very much doubted her dreams would come true.
Suppressing a sigh she leaned back, staring up for a moment at the rock above her. Living in an asteroid circling the molten planet below had a lot of advantages, but unfortunately being able to see anything other than rock wasn’t one of them. Forcing her heart and mind to calm she looked down again.
Tomas still looked at her, expecting an answer to his query.
Yumi glanced over to the main control panel. Zshanna stood there, a curious smile playing over her lips as she waited for Yumi’s directions. Damn. Yumi knew from that smile she’d just told Zshanna far too much, given away too many thoughts. Zshanna, a Poseidian by birth, may be one of the most proficient data operatives Yumi had, but the tech’s psyche abilities could be embarrassing as well as extremely useful. Zshanna had filtered out almost all of the Separatist infiltrators who attempted to worm their way into the Bolgër. Without her abilities the resistance would have been crushed years ago. Of course, it also meant Yumi barely held a secret she could call her own.
There had been only two people Zshanna couldn’t get a fix on. Both were natural Melds with thought patterns so stubbornly fixed and immutable Zshanna was unable to single out anything but the most basic thoughts. The first, five years ago, had turned out to be a Separatist spy who eliminated several of the Bolgër cells and the Federation agents assigned to them, before he was discovered. The second was Tomas, a man with an ironclad history woven in the Ultranet. A history that was a little too perfect. There were also the odd things he did now and then, almost as if he were looking for the resistance forces. The Bolgër kept a careful eye on him, taking no chances that he might be a second Separatist spy.
Still, after one intense session where Zshanna attempted a Meld breakthrough she determined, other than personal things, Tomas’s absolute hatred of the Separatists. The images had been enough to satisfy Zshanna that Tomas posed no threat to the Bolgër. They knew too little to invite him into their fold, and enough not to be concerned about his poking around, so the surveillance on him was light. This was great, not only because of his good looks, but he’d also turned out to be one of the best damn SpecMets Yumi had ever known. In the two years since Tomas arrived he’d improved the special metals extraction and purification process by almost two hundred percent. Incidentally saving a few lives at the same time by meeting the absurdly high Separatist quotient demands. Personal feelings aside, Yumi, and the colony, couldn’t afford to lose him.
She couldn’t afford to lose Zshanna either. If the Separatists ever discovered Zshanna’s abilities the Poseidian would be in the grunge tank, brain dissected, faster than a plasma bubble burst. Yumi would die before she let that happen.
“Ma’am?” Tomas asked again.
“Yes, just a moment, Tomas,” Yumi blurted out, amazed he didn’t show even a trace of impatience. She became too easily distracted nowadays, maybe because the uprising was so close. “Zshanna, how are the multiplex Riener circuits doing?”
“Around seventy-five percent optimum,” Zshanna answered, grinning back. “They’ll hold if the Secondary burns out again.”
“Okay, Tomas, you can put it in.” Yumi almost cursed, blushing bright red again. Fortunately Tomas had slipped under the unit and couldn’t see her embarrassment. She definitely needed a break from Dante I and the oppressive Separatist culture. Time away, with someone really sexy—like Tomas.
They were rewarded when the Secondary hummed gently back to life. Yumi relaxed a little. It wasn’t a vital piece of the colony’s systems since it mainly worked as a backup in case the Primary failed. Experience, though, had taught Yumi not to delay repairs even on the secondaries.
“Well done everyone,” she congratulated them. “Repaired in less than five hours and we didn’t have to call the Techs in. Good work!”
Her own work had begun though. The Secondary had been sabotaged and she had to find the saboteur before the occupying Separatists did. She’d already set several cells of the Bolgër on the task. It certainly wasn’t the work of the underground resistance themselves. The sabotage had been sloppy and the Secondary of too little importance to destroy. This had been something personal against the Separatists, through a relatively easy target.
She watched Tomas edge out from under the terminal, and the familiar feeling of lust coursed through her. When this was all done, maybe…
“Ah, I see you have it working. Good.” Colonel Marcus Saeger walked up to her smiling. “And I have several pieces of good news for you.”
Yumi grimaced. Good news to a Separatist colonel wasn’t normally something people wanted to hear. Not that she had much choice nowadays. Ever since her father’s illness—losing the supply of Federation anti-aging drugs had finally taken its toll—she’d been called in more often than normal lately to represent him on matters of colony policy. Not for the first time she wished Father hadn’t surrendered so easily to Separatist rule. Yes, they probably would have all died trying to stem a Separatist invasion. Surely, though, it would have been preferable to dying like this, one day at a time.
With a shock, Yumi realized this was the seventh year of Separatist occupation in the Dante system. During those years she’d seen their population steadily decline despite a steady influx of workers. Only seven thousand now lived in The Rock, instead of the nine thousand there used to be. She’d heard rumors the losses were even greater on Dante V, or The Fiver, as her people called the frozen planetoid that spun in the lonely fifth orbit. All the losses, it was pretty obvious to everyone, could be traced to Marcus’s administration, his treatment and frequent execution of Dante’s colonists.
“You know I’m always interested in your good news,” Yumi lied. As she spoke she walked toward the Prefect’s office—officially her father’s office though Yumi would be inheriting it soon. She tried not to think about that too often. “So what’s happened?”
Marcus brushed a hand through his hair. The shocking red color, like the dusky red tone to his skin, had been genetically induced to increase his natural resistance to solar radiation. Marcus’s home, Stallas VI, was one of the nine foundation worlds of the Separatist Dynasty. Its people had been engineered to survive on the planet surface in the high radiation system.
“Well,” Marcus said. “We found your saboteur last night. She was trying to stow away on a shuttle flight to The Fiver.” Marcus spoke loudly, making his presence felt amongst the nervous Control Room staff. “One of your Techs, Stela Magrow, seems she had some complaint with our policies.”
Damn! Yumi swore at herself. She should have seen this happening. The policy Stela felt unhappy about occurred five months ago. The distraught Tech had filed charges against five Separatist soldiers who’d spent one night raping her—simply because they were bored. The charges were instantly dismissed by the Separatist legal system as trivial. The Separatists even refused to undergo tests to determine the father of her unborn child.
Yumi, like every other Dantian, hated the Separatist policies that left Separatist soldiers free to terrorize the colonists. She knew she’d been stupid, but now it was too late. She should have smuggled Stela out of system months ago to one of the Federation-owned safe quarters the Bolgër maintained. Then again, there’d been no physical contact with the Federation for almost five years and no radio contact for almost two. Getting Stela to safe quarters, which had more than likely been compromised, would have killed everyone involved.
Yumi was left with the task of rescuing Stela from the grunge room and hiding the poor woman from the Separatists somewhere in the belly of The Rock. Probably with the small Bolgër army she had in The Crypts. God knew how they’d managed to maintain their forces there for so long without anyone noticing.
Yumi turned into a small tube-like corridor. Here the walls were highly polished, indicating the tunnel had been cut by the V.T.M., the superbly efficient Vinder Tunnel Drill. A few more yards down and she stopped in front of the Prefect’s office. Marcus, with that damned superior smile on his face, stopped with her. Short of taking a small tank into the heart of Separatist territory there was very little she could do for Stela. Unless, and it was rare, Zshanna could find a bribable guard.
“I’m glad you found her.” Yumi smiled as the doors automatically slid open. It was a lie, of course, but she daren’t let him know how she truly felt. “We need more manpower on the ore-smelting line. She can join the other prisoners there. It won’t take more than a few days for her to regret her actions.”
Yumi walked into the outer office, passing Vhal and Melindra. The two assistants sat behind their desks busily working on the latest ore shipment and mining figures. Their desks, like most of the furnishing in Dante I, were fabricated from crushed rock obtained from the tunnel drills. Here and there within the highly polished surface of the dark-gray stone was the sparkle of silver, copper and gold.
“I’m afraid Stela can’t join the line,” Marcus said. Yumi’s stomach twisted, anticipating his next words with dread. “She died an hour ago while under questioning.” Marcus made sure Vhal and Melindra heard everything he said.
Stiffly, barely able to keep her temper, Yumi walked the last few steps to the inner office in silence. Touching her fingers to the lockpad she stepped back and let the door slide open. Once inside, with the door closed, she turned to face Marcus. Only sheer determination prevented her from shouting at him.
“I wish you would refrain from this continued depletion of our personnel resources.” She spoke calmly in spite of seething with every word. “We’re twelve percent undermanned as it is and we’ve had no replacements from The Fiver, or out of system, for over six months.”
Marcus, unruffled by her words, simply sat on the edge of the desk and looked at her. A knowing smile pasted on his face. A stupid, aquiline face she wanted to slap silly.
“The second piece of good news,” Marcus continued, “is your father has given us permission to marry.”
“Father has what!” Yumi held onto a tall cabinet next to her. Weakness washed over her. What had he done to her father! No. Doctor Lasky ranked as Second Lieutenant in the Bolgër. He’d never let a Separatist, even a colonel, near her father. Not while her father remained too ill to care for himself. Walking carefully to the desk, Yumi went behind it and sat in her father’s chair. She refused to show her fear to this murderer. “I understood Dr. Lasky’s orders were no visitors,” Yumi said. “I’m surprised he let you in.”
“Dr. Lasky is in the infirmary.” Marcus’s face held a look of, Yumi assumed, mock sympathy. “Several members of the Bolgër assaulted him last night. He’ll be lucky to survive.”
Yumi shook her head sadly. It wouldn’t be the first time Separatist soldiers had disguised themselves as resistance fighters, just enough of a disguise to confuse the few witnesses who’d see the attack.
Marcus’s men always made sure there were reliable witnesses to make the Bolgër unfavorable to the frightened colonists. “I took the liberty of assigning Dr. Krog to your father,” Marcus added. “He assured me a short visit wouldn’t tax your father too much. Just long enough for your father to understand my arguments for a strong male leader in the colony. Appreciating that, he agreed to our wedding.”
“Ah.” Yumi nodded. In other words Marcus’s men hospitalized Dr. Lasky so Marcus could install his favorite toady, Dr. Krog, in Lasky’s place. Then Marcus had the freedom to torture her father until he agreed to the wedding. It had to have been torture. Yumi knew her father enough to know he’d never go against Dante I’s deeply ingrained custom of Prefect inheritance. Neither would the workers accept non-family inheritance—which was why Marcus forced her father to approve of this marriage.
Seriously concerned for her father’s safety, and that of the colony, Yumi shuffled the papers on the desk. Trying to calm her nerves, she filed the unneeded ones in a drawer—she’d sort them later. For now she daren’t allow her thoughts to wander through dangerous assumptions. She needed to think clearly. The stakes in this deadly game of occupation and resistance had suddenly tripled.
“So when is the wedding date?” Yumi continued as steadily as she could. “How long do I have to get the wedding dress ready?” By how much did she need to accelerate the rebellion preparations?
“Three weeks,” Marcus said, looking way too smug. “My Procurer is already working on your wedding chains.” He took the remaining papers from her hand and scanned through them as he spoke. “You should be proud. General Tarug himself will be arriving on the Ultimate tomorrow. He’s decided to stay for the wedding.” He extracted a couple of the reports, folded them and put them in his pocket, then dropped the rest on the table.
Damn. She’d have to see if Vhal and Melindra could work out which reports were missing and duplicate them.
Obviously deciding business was over, Marcus leaned forward. He grasped her around the back of her neck and forced a hard, unwelcome kiss on her. Stunned, Yumi couldn’t react immediately because Marcus stepped away before she could brain him. Being out of reach and unable to cause him physical damage was, in itself, probably a good thing.
“I’ll call on you later,” he told her as he stepped toward the door. “I’m going to start organizing this colony the way it needs to be done.”
Organizing the colony? Chains? For her wedding?
Yumi shuddered. The chains meant Marcus planned for a typical Separatist ceremony. Yumi couldn’t let it happen. She refused to be given to his best men the night before the wedding then dragged to the ceremony the following day—bruised, beaten and very naked. In a true Separatist marriage the woman became little more than a slave.
Yumi gritted her teeth. Thanks to the Federation’s anti-aging drugs she’d had seventy-three years to learn how to control what her father called her hair-trigger temper. Somehow they’d accelerate the rebellion by three weeks. The only trigger Yumi intended to pull then was one that blasted a bullet through Marcus’s heart…
Ahem. Dying to read more? You don’t need to go quite that far. Simply click here to order the book from My Bookstore and More.
01 July 2010
30 June 2010
I stood in the center of a small, round, high-ceilinged room. Indentations on the floor marked the place where an altar once stood, leaving enough room for only one, maybe two people. The rough stone walls, which were probably once whitewash-clean, bore signs of many years of candle soot. Soft sunlight filtered down from narrow windows above my head.
Somehow, amid a sea of tourists, I had ended up alone in the hushed chapel of Conwy Castle. I closed my eyes and imagined it as it might have been in the past. A woman kneeling at the altar, praying for a loved one off at war with the rebellious Welsh.
For though it’s located in Wales, Conwy is very much an English castle, one of Edward I’s “iron ring” designed to intimidate the locals into submission.
Glancing furtively over my shoulder to see if anyone was near, I quietly tested the acoustics with a passage from a Schubert mass I had recently performed, a simple, pure melody that still sticks in my memory today.
The echo that floated back down to me from the domed ceiling sounded so unlike me, I stopped and listened. The tone seemed to split and reform into someone else’s voice. A voice from the past, answering my kyrie with his eleison? It must have been a he…the only women trained to intone the sacred words would not have lived in this place.
The hair stood up on the back of my neck and I hurried out to find where my husband had wandered off to. Blinking up into the sun, I found him pacing the top of the walls like a knight assessing the strength of the castle’s defenses.
That was years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. It occurred to me recently to me that every time I pick up a piece of music, I am in a sense putting myself in that composer’s place for a short space of time. Whatever was in their heart at that moment – pain, loss, love, joy, spiritual ecstasy – that moment is reborn in the vibration of my throat, the push of breath from my lungs. Pulled forward through time, through my body, into the present.
Music is a silver thread that connects us to the past. Have you ever heard small children chanting the same playground tunes that you sang at that age? Did you stop to wonder where they learned it – because you yourself hadn’t sung it for decades. Kinda spooky, when you think about it.
These days, I perform regularly with an Early Music ensemble, singing music from the Medieval, Renaissance and Baroque eras of Europe. Wearing authentic clothing and accompanied by historically accurate reproduction instruments, it’s easy to close my eyes and imagine myself in a candle-lit chapel or smoky hall of some castle, providing music for lords, ladies and knights gathered for a feast.
For that moment, suspended in time, we are an unbreakable link to the past. And, somewhere, a composer with ink-stained fingers is smiling.
(Cross-posted from the Samhain Publishing blog.)
17 June 2010
Next week I will return with my mother and sister to my childhood stomping grounds of the southern North Carolina Coast. Of course, I'm already searching for spooky legends of the area, among them the Maco Light.
We'll be staying up the road from Fort Fisher, a fort that saw key action in the Civil War. Ghost investigations that have been done there confirm that the place is, indeed, haunted. Here are some videos of a local paranormal research group conducting an investigation. Enjoy!
29 May 2010
Today I'm so proud to call myself a Tarheel. These are "my people" - Guildford Countians who pulled together to save a horribly burned puppy and pursue tougher animal cruelty laws.
Beautiful video, but if you don't have a strong stomach, don't watch.
Donate: Susie's Miracle Fund
11 May 2010
Want a chance to win a tote bag stuffed with RT loot? Easy - sign up for my newsletter list! Everyone who signs up is automatically entered in all my prize drawings.
Don't worry, it's not another chat list you have to keep up with, and I promise not to spam you with silly stuff. Plus, it's a closed list so no one else will get ahold of your info to spam you, either.
(Small print: You must set your membership to at least Special Notices. "No Mail" members are ineligible. U.S. shipping only - non-U.S. winners will receive an alternative prize.)
Click here to sign up! Winner will be announced June 5, 2010.
26 April 2010
"Faun"atical in Scotland
Scotland is increasingly marketing itself as Europe's leading wildlife destination, and with an incredibly diverse range of habitats hosting dozens of top quality projects and experiences, it's an idea that's becoming plausible. Home to vast expanses of protected ground and two spectacular national parks, rural and marine Scotland are awash with wildlife-watching opportunities, from bottlenose dolphins in the Moray Firth to golden eagles on the west coast or sailing among seals and puffins in Shetland. Read more
Scottish Lochs Slide Show
Landscapes of Scotland
Gorgeous landscape photos from David W. Robertson. Check out the "Glasgow Smiles" section - fun!
23 April 2010
I may be a bit scarce next week (I know, don't everyone applaud at once!) as I'll be at RT 2010 in Columbus. Look me up at the Friday eBook Expo and at the Saturday Book Fair. Otherwise, I will be kind of an Author At Large, sampling as many RT delights as possible. Within proper lines of decorum, of course! o_O
The Beyond the Veil authors and I have put together a fabulous gift bag full of goodies and BOOKS! Here's a sneak peek:
(click on the photo for a clearer view)
Exclusive, custom designed BTV INK PEN! ;)
New-with-tags Vera Bradley backsack in Java Blue
Autographed copy of "Love and Lore" anthology
Beaded book thong
Books: "Survival of the Fairest" and "A Spell for Susannah"
Book: "Dream Walk"
Dragon charm book thong
Book: "Obsession" from her Love on the Edge series
Jean Marie Ward:
Brass/mother of pearl bookmark, "Fantasy Girl" key chain
Diane McEntire: Bath & body set
Hope to see you there!!
17 April 2010
15 April 2010
02 April 2010
Thought I'd share a couple sites that feature some gorgeous photos. Enjoy!
iReporters capture castles in Scotland
Photo of the Day (verra cool time lapse)
Drive of a Lifetime: Cornish Coast
30 March 2010
22 March 2010
Ah, spring. The time when bulbs are sprouting, young love is blooming, and the air is filled with the sweet perfume of...exhaust.
My husband is bringing the Harley home from its maintenance checkup this afternoon, and I can’t WAIT to get out and get some bugs in my teeth! Okay, not so much the bugs. I usually wear a bandanna over my lower face to keep my sensitive skin from turning beet red from windburn.
There’s something very Zen about being the Hot Babe On The Back. Um, okay. Just the Babe On The Back. All right, all right! Just On The Back!
We have a cruiser-type bike, which means the rear seat is cushy and wraps around my hips and lower back, so it’s easy to relax without fear of falling off. The only thing to worry about is smacking my helmeted head against the back of DH’s if he hits the brakes without warning. Yep, it’s happened.
The steady roar of the engine (okay, a hum – I wear ear plugs), the scenery rolling by, the sun warming my winter-cold carcass, classic rock on the radio. It takes a few minutes, but soon I feel myself draw a nice, deep breath as if I’m easing into meditation.
It’s amazing how many knotted-plot solutions come to me when I’m on the bike. Invariably I return refreshed and eager to get back to the keyboard.
I’m only one of many authors who’ve found a way to wrap a story around the shiny chrome of a motorcycle—and its bad-boy rider. Wildish Things combines two things I love dearly—Ireland and a Harley. Topped with a bad boy with a heart of gold, the story pretty much wrote itself.
Now you’ll have to excuse me. I have a sexy man in black leather calling my name. Happy spring!
(cross-posted on the Beyond the Veil blog)
15 March 2010
5000 Year Old Westray Wife Tours Scotland
A Neolithic carving found in the Orkney Islands last year is to go on tour around Scotland. The 5,000-year-old figurine, known as the Westray Wife, was discovered in the Links of Noltland on the Orkney island of Westray and is the only Neolithic carving of a human form found in Scotland. Measuring just 41mm by 31mm and made of sandstone, the Venus figure will go on tour around Scotland before returning to Orkney for the summer. Source: Culture24.org.uk
Scotland During World War II
What was life like during the second world war in Scotland at home, at school and on the street? Click here for student and teacher resources.
Ginger Hair Due To Bad Scottish Weather?
Scotland’s notoriously bad weather appears to be behind why more of the country’s population appeared to be blessed with ginger hair, new research has claimed. Read more
08 March 2010
Click here to learn all about this year's Read An Ebook Week celebration, including links to FREE and reduced-price ebooks!
Join Samhain Publishing authors on the Samhain Cafe for a full week of chats, contests and free stuff. Have fun!
01 March 2010
Ran across this nice page of Scottish lighthouses. This is Bell Rock, one of many designed and built by the Stevenson family. Author Robert Louis Stevenson belonged to this family. This is a good book about them: The Lighthouse Stevensons.
Also Irish lighthouses.This one is Hook Head, which my husband and I visited a few years ago on rare, clear October day. Some sort of beacon has existed on this spot since about 450 A.D., making it one of the oldest (if not the oldest) lighthouse sites in the world!
Related site: Commissioners of Irish Lights
And here we have beacons in Wales. This one is Porthcawl.
Cornwall, of course, has its share! This one is Tater Du, near Penzance on the south Cornwall coast.
21 February 2010
15 February 2010
12 February 2010
The Romance Junkies' Valentine's Day Trivia Contest is live!
I'll be giving away a print copy of the Love and Lore print anthology, which contains my sexy novella Wildish Things along with two other smokin' hot stories by Gia Dawn and Sela Carsen.
How to win? "Stroll" with your mouse through the charming shops and cafes of RJ-ville. Roll your mouse through each location to find live links to participating authors' contest pages. Read an excerpt, answer a trivia question correctly, and email it. Each email is an entry, so the more correct answers you send in, the more chances to win.
Here are the official rules:
To enter contests for the newsletter:
- You must send an email to email@example.com with the author's or publisher's name in the subject line.
- Answer the trivia question and please include your mailing address so if you're chosen, we can email the author immediately.
- Each prize entry must be a separate email sent with the above information.
- Contest ends March 31st, 2010.
So click here to get started! Have fun!
11 February 2010
Loading Scottish music onto my mp3 player got me in the mood for....KILTS!
Should have pulled a book cover move and lopped this guy's head off. His face does nothing for me but hoo-eee, that chest!
I've seen several pictures of Gerard at this event but never one quite this...uh...phallic.
Not sure who this is, some actor, but he's a cutie.
The facial expression makes this picture. :)
Quite the bonny lad...
Another bonny lad...not sure what he's doing toting a pair of skis around in midsummer. But who cares?
Not sure I'd like a guy with hair prettier than mine... lol
*speechless due to overabundance of drool*
Just a guy walking down my street. Uh huh. As if...
This gentleman might be a little on the rough side, but his outfit is awesome. Ever since we brought the Harley home, I have a thing for leather...
08 February 2010
01 February 2010
25 January 2010
Wigtown: Scotland's Book Town
Not that many people may have heard of Wigtown, but this small town in Galloway has many book-related businesses, including the largest second-hand bookshop in Scotland. Read more
Unique Dune Habitat May Be Under Threat
‘Machair’ is a Gaelic word, usually taken to refer to an area of low-lying fertile land. Over the years it has come to be used by ecologists to refer to a specific coastal habitat, related to predominantly west-facing coastal areas backed by sand dunes, which is found only in some areas of northern and western Scotland and western Ireland. Read more
Cold Maintains Grip on Scotland
Forecasters have said temperatures in Scotland will remain very low over the weekend, with little let up until next week and more snow likely. Overnight temperatures into Saturday were higher than the previous night, with a low of -14.9C recorded at Dalwhinnie in the Highlands. However, fresh snow fell on several areas of the country, and forecasters have warned more snow is on the way. Ten Scottish Cup fixtures were postponed due to the icy conditions. Read more
Wales in Pictures
Recent reader-submitted pictures from around Wales.
Scotland in Winter White
Scout Out the Legendary White Stag
Scotland By Sled Dog
Watch Video of Seal Pups
Talisman's Mountain Diary
21 January 2010
16 January 2010
11 January 2010
08 January 2010
06 January 2010
Every time I go to RT, I end up so tired I swear I'll never do it again! But here I am again, conference fee paid and scrounging for fun promo ideas.
The Beyond the Veil blog authors will be putting together a basket of books to give away, so I'm covered there...
My hand-beaded book thongs always go like hotcakes, so I'll be doing another batch of those...
So, readers, when you attend conferences and get handed your goodie bag, what do you like to see in them?
Personally, I don't keep a lot of paper products like bookmarks and cover flats, however I'm aware many readers collect them so I always keep them on hand. Things I keep: pens and pencils, notepads, emery boards...in other words, anything useful. :)
What about you?