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Quotes and thoughts

Current Listening:  Spectrum of Sky – Break of Reality

Current Reading:  The Constant Princess – Philippa Gregory  (Great read if you love historical fiction)

So my favorite hostess got me thinking with this week’s prompt.  I had to think about this one and put it in some kind of context of the insanity we are smack dab in the middle of today.   For those of you that consider what is happening today in our country a “return to normalcy”,  you’re part of the problem.   There is nothing normal about what is happening in our country today.  Blame people, blame the opposition, blame politics, blame whatever suits our little fancy but calling it “normal’ is like trying to convince a fussy toddler to take a nap.  Good luck with that.

Moving on,  this week our hostess gave us the following quote:

“Above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” ~Roald Dahl

So  I had to think about this one a bit to decide what I wanted to say.  I could go the easy route.  I mean, hell, I write fantasy so that isn’t too much of a stretch, right? Today, in light of the current state of affairs,  I decided to go off the rails.  If you don’t care to read anything more about the political/social climate in this nation, stop reading here.  If you want to know this writer’s thoughts on the matter, keep going.   Is there magic left in the world or are we all to jaded to appreciate the simple beauty of living?    If you do see magic in the world still,  where do you see it?  Humor me in the comments if you do.    I see it in the laughter of good companionship.   I see magic in a child’s laughter.  I see magic in music that goes for the gut.  I see magic in the power that words have to challenge our way of thinking.

Challenge is a hell of a word right now.  From a political standpoint,  we have a hell of a challenge before us.  To the people that are stating “let it go, he won”,  enough already.   This country is built on the freedom to speak up when we disagree.  Civil discourse and debate are woven into the fabric of our nation.  This has nothing to do with anyone being liberal or a sore loser.  This has to do with people standing for what they believe is right and guarding what they believe their personal ideologies are.   People standing for a right that people have lived, bled and died for.  I do not mean our soldiers though I have the utmost respect and love for them because of the decisions they are faced with.  Many things they are required to do by their very nature I cannot fathom.  I mean people who have protested, marched and given their lives to see what is wrong with our country righted.

I am a middle aged woman and I have seen my share of justice and injustice in the world.  I have criticized and been criticized like most of us have.  I have debated and argued and left things at agree to disagree.   If you want to see what true non-violent civil discourse looks like,  go look up some of the news footage from the civil rights movement.   (Check out CNN’s special on the 60s.  There’s an entire episode dedicated to the civil rights movement with news footage and interviews with many civil rights activists at the time. People who stood up for this came from all walks of life. I personally learned a great deal from it. If anyone has any other great references on the topic, drop me a line. I’m listening.)

For those of you that think these problems do not exist today,  you have your head buried in the sands of complacency. The problems never went away.  Ask an African American.   Ask a beautiful woman what happens when she walks down the street.  Or any woman when she talks to a mechanic for that matter.  (Personal experience on that.)  People have a right to protest what they disagree with.   People have a right to that civil discourse on either side of the aisle.  This is how change happens in our nation regardless of what you believe or think,  whether you are liberal or conservative.   The labels do not matter.   To believe otherwise is to betray the foundation of our nation.   If you want change, get involved in your local communities.  Stay informed.  Ignorance of the problem will not give anyone a resolution.

That, my friends, is the magic of our country.  Other countries would kill to have our freedoms.  People have traveled from all over the world to live here.  Speak up. Make a difference.  The words “I do not agree” are not offensive.  The words “I stand for (insert issue here)”  are not offensive.  Do not be afraid to use them. If you think about it,  those same sentiments birthed our nation.

I think I am going to leave you with a quote from a man that has always impacted me in his words and thoughts about our nation and where we need to go as a people. The first quote is often shortened but the entire quote seems more relevant today than any words I can personally think of.

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. Hate multiplies hate, violence multiplies violence, and toughness multiplies toughness in a descending spiral of destruction … The chain reaction of evil – hate begetting hate, wars producing more wars – must be broken, or we shall be plunged into the dark abyss of annihilation.” – Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.   (1963)

One more…

Nonviolence is the answer to the crucial political and moral questions of our time: the need for man to overcome oppression and violence without resorting to oppression and violence. Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.
– Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.   Nobel Prize acceptance speech, Stockholm, Sweden, 1964

What do you guys think?  Inbox is open, comments are open.  Track me down on Twitter if you want,  I’m always up for a lively discussion.  Attackers though,  will be deleted or ignored so keep it civil gang.

 

 

Radio silence and other news

Inspired by:  Promises to Keep – Trans Siberian Orchestra ;   Where Are You Christmas? – Faith Hill

Current Reading:  Taking Suggestions

So, please forgive me for the hiatus.  For those of you that are unware,  November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo for short),  and the goal of this free program is to inspire writers to produce a 50,000 word manuscript in 30 days.  I participated in this event for the first time last year and was quite pleased with the result.  The rough story for Light’s Guide was written in 22 days. The revisions took longer than normal but to me, the work produced a better story.

So,  I met this goal on November 23,  2016 but,  this year the story was not told.  I wanted to go out in style this month.  So,  I finished the book 5 manuscript on the 27th.   Maeseloria: Shadow’s Journey is ready for revisions–at 55,000 words.  With that being said,  I decided it was time to pull my head out of the shadows and say hello.

My November was a busy month.   I had my first author event ever and my first book signing.  Both events were an amazing experience and my warmest thank you to anyone who stopped out to purchase a book or just for a chat.   And to the lovely person who brought me coffee at my book signing,  you are a goddess.    Lastly,  a sincere thank you to Denise at Gathering Volumes for being such a huge support and allowing me to have my signing in your shop.  To my fellow bloggers and authors,  if you have an indy book shop in your area–support them.  Shop in their store.  They will be your biggest advocate.

The events were nerve wracking but I learned a lot.  I managed to learn how to talk to people about my book without stammering and blushing.  There’s room for improvement but I learned.   I also realized how many dear friends came out to see me–one of whom I had not seen in a number of years.   Here are some pictures from both events:

 

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I hope everyone had an amazing Thanksgiving holiday and are looking as forward to Christmas as I am.  Christmas is my holiday at our house.   The good will of the season is a huge deal to me.  I try to do right by people at all times—even when I have been wronged by them—but at Christmas time it always seems that much more important.    I had that kind of wonder as a child and I do not know if I have ever really let it go.  There’s something magical about the season to me. What is your favorite part about the Christmas holiday? Or are you a Grinch?

The two songs listed above kind of emphasize that wonder for me.  I love TSO in general but Christmas Eve and Other Stories has to be my favorite album of theirs.    Promises to Keep highlights that childlike wonder that,  for me, comes with the season. .  The second song I heard at a time in my  life when I was struggling,  or maybe transitioning might be a better word.  I was looking for me and, for that reason,  the song will always remain special to me.  It struck a nerve.    So,  with that being said,  I have a gift for you.  A short synopsis from Maeseloria:  Shadows Journey:

Peace in service to the Light…

Peace was an illusion, Jaylor Vincenzo thought.    In his line of work,  peace was harder to maintain than war.   With the wars end, the political structure of Maeseloria was tenuous at best.  Factions birthed in the South would be problematic.  Could he protect them all?   He served his Queen as her shadow, her brother and her friend.  The fate of the realm was often decided at dagger point and his hand.   Was this all Fate would ever require him to be?

Where was his peace?

He stood between Light and Shadow.   His duty was eternal. Would he ever have more?

 For those  subscribed to the Maeseloria Monthly,  the newsletter will be back January 1, 2017.  I look forward to sharing more of  The Guardian’s Fall.    Until then, stay tuned readers.  The Figment weekly writing prompts will return this Thursday.   Let’s see what our hostess can throw at us, shall we?

Take care guys,  stay out of trouble.

 

 

 

Nerves and Nanowrimo

Current listening:  Lost Stars – Adam Levine 

Brought to you by: The Figment

So, the first week of Nanowrimo is nearly over  and it’s super exciting to me.  I have a few new characters I’m introducing  in this book and new storylines and intrigues and just…fun.   I will do my best to keep going on the blog but I make no promises.  I have super tunnel vision when I’m working on a new book—especially during this time of the year.  I’m 16000 words into Shadow’s Journey and I don’t show any signs of slowing down.    If you want to make sure I’m still breathing, stalk me on Twitter and Facebook.

This week’s prompt is the song listed above.  It’s funny the things you learn from experience.  To me this song is about youth and trying to find your place in the world.  Everyone, I think, deserves a learning curve.  God knows I needed one.  I’m happy where I am and have been for almost a decade now.  I  keep pushing and working at this dream of mine.  The dream is to be published.  I got that back in 2012.  Then I met Becky Robinson and the amazing folks at Hometown Reads and that’s challenged me to be better.  I learned to market a little and approach my work from an avenue other than “the girl who tells stories”.

Next Sunday I have my first event as an author.  First…ever.    I have to figure out how to be comfortable in front of people and talking about my work.  I’ll work it out.  I’m too stubborn not to.  Also,  I have a huge aversion to sounding like an ass in front of people who have just met me.  I never realized until this week exactly how much goes into putting an event together.  I’m sitting here planning table layout,  to do lists,  creating email sign-up sheets,  fixing newsletter sheets so I can have something interesting for people to take home.  The good news is I’m just about settled on the planning.

I am trying so hard not to spaz about it.  I can’t even begin to explain but I will say this.  This is where I wanted to be,  what I wanted to do.  I wanted to share my stories with people and this is the next logical progression.  As terrifying as it is,  it’s where I need to be.   Another scary step forward I suppose.     What’s the most terrifying thing you’ve ever had to do to push yourself forward?   What’s the scariest dream you’ve ever pursued?  This is it for me.  Just getting up and talking about what I love to do.  So if you show up for me on the 13th,  thank you for the support and please be kind to the very flustered author.

 

 

My Shot

Inspired by:   “My Shot”  Original Broadway Cast of Hamilton

Current reading:  Three Sisters,  Three Queens – Philippa Gregory

Brought to you by:  The Figment Writers

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The above quote was our weekly prompt  from my friends at The Figment.  The quote was provided by yours truly because the wording struck me.   I am a dreamer. I always have been.  I used to wish as a child and, I suppose like any other child,  I wanted those wishes to come true no matter how  outlandish the wish in question.  Life has a tendency to beat the dreamers.    Maybe that’s just reality setting in or maybe that beating is the question as to whether you can stay in that fight.  Staying in the fight can sometimes be a victory in and of itself.

Honestly,  I had to learn to fight.  I had to learn to be willing to chase that dream down, grab it by its heels and beat the bastard into submission.  We have to take our shot.  That’s how I interpret that quote.   We have to face our destiny unafraid and once we decide that destiny we have to be willing to fight  to win.     Ten years ago I decided to move forward and learn to do what was necessary for my happiness.  I burned bridges.  I lost friends.  I lost track of a lot of people.

Along the way I learned a lot.  The people that matter in your life,  they respect your space and give you the time to process what you need to.  Others kick,  claw and push their way in to stay even when you’re at your worst.  You know who you are,  sir.    Some people are in your life for a season,  others for a reason and I think hardship really teaches that lesson more thoroughly than anything else could.

I never imagined how hard I would have to work to get where I am.  To write, to tell my stories has been more work than I could ever have imagined.   In a way it’s my raison d’etre.  If you know what that means, more power to you.    I do not function right if I cannot write or have time to put thoughts to page.    I’m just not me.  The thing is,  this gift was in me the whole time.  I had to find it and fight for it.

So work for it if you want it.  Be patient.  Good things come to those who work hard and have patience.

In other news,   Maeseloria: Light’s Guide  is a little over a week away from publication!  I  am so very excited by this!  Also,  I scheduled my first book signing…like ever…this week.   See? Still learning. Still fighting.

Keep at it guys.

Stay out of trouble.

 

In the silence…

Inspired by:  The Sounds of Silence – Disturbed

Current Reading:  The Borgia’s – GJ Meyer

Brought to you by:  The Figment Writers

Gee,  my dear hostess,  you really know how to throw a curve ball to the sick author.  This was out of left field so my response is very loosely tied to the image.   So this was our prompt this week:

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The curve was not as far out of left field as I thought but we are back to fiction this week.  This ties into book 5,  The Shadow’s Journey,  but I have not yet figured out how.  I do think this story line may be very important in light of things to come for Maeseloria.  As soon as I saw this image,  I knew who wanted to talk. Hope you enjoy!


 

No man need know Fate’s design before his designated time.  In spite of his beloved’s sufferings, he had his own issues to address.  The words rattled around his head like a dead litany and left him adrift at sea.  Nicholas once spoke those words to a beloved sibling.   He wrestled with what he knew Fate would call not only him to do but what simply must be.  Neither brother knew what legacy his sister left them.  His daughter could not be given the Taltos heritage.  She was a royal and would be called to the Light like her mother before her. Thus,  his dark inheritance could never be Kira’s.  Nicholas scowled as he stared out into the night.

The sun had long since set on the capital.  In a way, he was as comfortable with the night as a Kindred.  Nicholas walked the line between light and dark so often that the thought never concerned him as it once did.  Once, ages ago,  he thought his Faith deserted him in that dark cell. He was secure that his soul belonged to the Light. Why else would Fate have shouldered him with this responsibility?  In truth,  he was more secure now than he once was.  Yet, if he was so confident in Fate’s design,  why did he hesitate to bring the truth to light for the Redwynd brothers?

His travels brought him to, of all places, the cathedral.  The hour was late and he expected the holy place to be empty.  Nicholas’ strides brought him through the doors and to an empty pew before he could give it conscious thought. What drew him to this holy place?  Nicholas drew a deep breath and released it.  “You do not wish to disturb the lives they’ve built, brother mine.”  The voice shook him.  Had it really been almost a century since that dulcet voice touched his ears?  His sister’s rich, earthy tones touched his ears.

“Bri…I…”  Nicholas started as the world began to blur.  The specter before him shook her head and silenced him with a raised hand.  This gesture was common signal between them.  Time was short.  These moments would not allow for the way his heart fractured at her face before him. He nodded and locked his jaw to keep that flash of raw pain in.  The wound never healed.  Time did not afford him the luxury of goodbye.  In a sea of loss, this one pained him the most.  Family meant as much to his clan as the one his sister married.

“I know.  I’ve watched. As much as you wish it love, you cannot keep this secret.  You know Fate will call them as it will.  All you can do is protect my boys along the way.”  Brianna’s tones as gentle in death as they were in life.  His sister had fire, to be sure, but she softened that temperament with a gentle grace he had never seen in another until Alexandra.  “Teach them as only you can. Know that I loved you and missed you until the day I died.”  His sister’s dark hair curled in the same mess he remembered in life.  Her amber eyes were the only thing that differed from the classic Taltos looks.

In spectral form, she settled into the pew beside him.  “This was the only place I could break through.  The blessing was strong enough to reach you.  The cleric you trained brought the blessing back.”  His sister’s voice was filled with an awe he never heard before.  “I prayed for this. Wherever you were, whatever you have done, your actions were to this end, Nic. What Jamison destroyed, you brought home.”

“What good did it do you at the time, Brianna?”  Nicholas scowled.  The point brought rage he thought he had long since put to rest. True, he saw her point but Nicholas resented their separation more than most could have understood.  Her chiding look brought a rush of color to his cheeks.  Brianna, he swore, could reduce a man to a child with that look.  “I logically understand.  Truly, I do but this does not mean heart accepts it.  I do not want this for them.  Specifically, I do not want this for the younger one.  You know what heartache this has brought me.  Even now, the secrets keep a wall between me and mine.”

“As they have for generations before us, Nicholas, do not be ignorant. Fate will give them these burdens whether you want to or not.”  Brianna’s matter-of-fact tones, though brutal, were correct.   In life she may have resented the burden her brother carried alone.  In death, she understood their legacy was a larger part of Fates design.  “Teach them. Prepare them, brother mine.  Thank you for putting me to rest with the family.”  Then, with whispered words of love, his sister was gone.  Nicholas sat alone in the cathedral well into the night.  Could he burden the youngest Redwynd with the family legacy?  How long would Fate allow him to leave them to their happiness?

That question battered around his head when his beloved Alexandra interrupted his thoughts. Beloved, would you care to explain this?  She reached for him and replayed her dream’s image.  The string of curses that answered the images indicated to her that the dreams had some relevance.  Fate answered his questions before he was ready to address them.  If you do not speak to Jaylor I will.


 

As always gang, feedback is welcome.  I hope those of you on the mailing list enjoyed the October newsletter and the second installment of The Guardian’s Fall.   Two weeks until The Light’s Guide release.  I can’t wait to get that book in my hands to see how the physical copy turned out!  I will share with you all as soon as I have it.   Until then,  stay out of trouble, gang!

Getting to know you..

Inspired by:  Come Undone  – Duran Duran

Current Reading (Been awhile since I put this one up):  The Lady in the Tower – Alison Weir

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So a blogger I follow,  The Shameful Sheep,  got nominated for  four questions by a fellow blogger.  I found  her post entertaining—as I always do—and felt the need to pay it forward to fellow bloggers or followers of this page.  If you get a chance,  check out her blog.  She is hysterical and has an honest, brutal wit about her that just adds to the charm. Her questions were entertaining,  so  here are my answers.  (While I figure out what I’d like to ask all of you in return)

  1. Think of the person you dislike the most in this world. If you had the ability to force them to eat a full plate of anything you wanted, what would it be?

Anything?  That’s a tough decision  considering the person I dislike the most.  I’d have to say a plate full of driver ants would do nicely.  (Look them up, they’re nasty little buggers.)

  1. What do you have an irrational fear of? Spiders? Heights? People who pick their nose and flick it at the wall?

Irrational fear for me?  Bugs.  They are my kryptonite.  I don’t do well around them.  Can’t stand them. Can’t go into the bugs IN CAPTIVITY at my local zoo.  Ask my husband. Spiders and me are not pretty scenarios. It usually ends with me in another room while he takes care of the problem.

  1. You’re going out to dinner tonight – what type of restaurant are you going to? Mexican? Chinese? American? Italian?

Mexican.  I love the heat of Mexican food.  Tacos and fajitas are staple dinners in our households and everything I research for that type of cuisine appears to be something I would try to make or enjoy.

  1. If you’re a blogger – do you have aspirations of writing a book at some point? (Really curious about how many bloggers have the end goal of becoming a published author or if you’re just doing it for fun.)

No end goal here per se.  I started blogging after I published my 3rd book in an effort to get some exposure and to let my readers get to know me. The experience is fantastic.  It keeps my brain working creatively rather than running into constant stumbling blocks.   My fourth book is due out 10/17.

 

Now I get to ask the questions.

  1. Name a book that has most influenced you.  This book can be any genre, non fiction, fiction, whatever  floats your boat  (For me, this book was Stephen King’s It.  Weird huh?   The  storytelling and the battle between The Losers and It was so epic and so beautifully done.  That story pushed me towards writing and got me to start wondering “what if?”  I read that book for the first time when I was 15.)
  2. What is your pursuit of happiness? What dream are you trying to chase down?  (For me the answer is simple. This.  This writing gig.  I have no illusions of fame or any of the monetary satisfaction that comes with this.  I just want to keep telling my stories and hope that people want to keep reading them.)
  3. What’s the number one thing on your bucket list? (See London.  I have an avid fascination for Tudor England.  It has developed into a bit of a hobby out side of writing.  The whole investigation started with a book titled The Constant Princess by Phillipa Gregory and has led me to a couple of really fascinating non-fiction authors)
  4. What is your favorite season and why? (Autumn.  The air is crisp and clear. I love the way the leave crunch under your feet when you’re walking.  I love the baking smells associated with autumn—apple,  cinnamon,  pumpkin, the sharp tang of cider.  I love the moderate temperatures where I live.  Hoodie weather. )

Okay guys, your turn.  Play along if you dare.     Have a great night.

 

Phobias

Inspired by:  Lost Girls – Lindsey Stirling

Brought to you by:  The Figment Writers

So, at the request of our hostess, I will answer this week’s writing prompt in two ways—both fact and fiction.  This week’s prompt:

Write about a phobia that you have.

Right. So, very few of you know me in person. (Those of you that do; this is not an invitation to put the author in a box.)  But my biggest phobia:

I am very claustrophobic.  Enclosed, crowded spaces cause panic attacks. So there you go. A quick announcement: The Facebook Live event on Wednesday has been moved to 8 pm.  I apologize!  A work conflict with my 9-5 arose.   On to the fiction.

 

His beloved was frightened of the gift that ran through her blood.  That blood mingled with the realm’s lifeblood for generations.  Nicholas knew where she was and who accompanied her.  He sent Dominic himself after he explained Alexandra’s situation.  Dominic assured him he could help.  Could he teach her to be comfortable in her own skin again?  Nicholas feared he would lose her to this. Fate had come between them too many times before.

He sat in their chambers and eavesdropped on her conversation with Dominic.  His Alexandra would have expected him to be a silent specter in her head.  His presence was allowed, he understood that.  Her trust in him radiated from that single action.  Marcus was the only other presence she allowed in her head on a regular basis.

His frustration was clear as he felt her struggle.  Dominic could be more brutal than he in terms of teaching.  Dominic did not have a lifetime of teachers at his disposal as Nicholas did.   The Deveraux were never called to educate, to guide.  He almost interceded until her laughter touched his ears.  When was the last time he heard her laugh?  Nicholas’ lips thinned to a thoughtful line.

His gaze drifted to the little form huddled beneath a pile of blankets in their bed.  She came in not long after her mother left. A ghost of a smile that echoed his beloved’s crossed his features.  Kira was one of the few beautiful legacies he would leave.  Their child was bright, apt and he swore before Fate he would do what he must to give her a more peaceful world than the one she was born into. Though they never told her, he suspected she knew her father.  Both he and Alexandra agreed to keep his identity quiet until Kira was old enough to understand both his sins and his redemption.  The child never questioned his presence in her mother’s chambers.

Nicholas straightened when he felt Alexandra pull on her element.  His gaze was locked on the hearth as he felt her emotions swell. He felt her heart and mind panic. Nicholas feared for her as he did each morning she attempted this exercise.  Light damn it! He felt so helpless. Shock rippled across his features as he felt her terror subside and the draw continued.  Hope blossomed in his heart as he felt that draw strengthen and Dominic’s words drifted through his head. When Fate presents you with a challenge, you survive and overcome.  That is your nature, Alexandra Jade. That is your gift.”

Nicholas smiled and murmured. “Thank you, my friend.”   A soft chuckle crossed his lips his best friend’s response.  It’s nice to be the teacher for a change.  Nicholas felt the tone change in Dominic’s next thoughts. Without her there would be no Light. You brought her home. I can teach her to survive what Fate chose for her.  With that, Dominic silenced and focused on his charge.   Another glance at the bed told Nicholas Kira was as much a bed hog as her mother.

Nicholas mentally pulled the blankets up over his daughter and settled in for a long night by the fire.  She would come home, indeed.

 

Holl & Lane

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Holl & Lane, Issue 9

So. About a year or so ago,  a coworker came to me and said “My daughter is starting a magazine.”  Now,  I’m not going to front, I’m not a magazine reader by any stretch of the imagination.  Though I am a bookworm,  I’ve just never really got into magazines.  So I took her request to check it out with a grain of salt. I figured I’d lose interest.   Most magazines do not provide anything I can relate to.

I like to be wrong every now and then.

Their website states this:

“We are more than a magazine.  We are starting a movement for more honest media.

Life isn’t always perfect, and we’re okay with that.  We’re focused on providing stories from real women about real life – the triumphs and the hardships.  We want to show you that you have a voice and a story.  We’re starting the conversations that need to be had.  The mission behind our magazine is simple: each time you open up and share your story, you help someone else feel less alone.”

I find many things in the magazine–new reads, new music.  The staff at Holl & Lane are nearly as eclectic as I am and I love it.  They’ve written articles about abuse survivors,  cancer survivors, battling addiction.  On the flip side they also write about easy, budget friendly ways to decorate your home.  They have a section for recipes that more healthy than decedent and I love that.  Their DIY section is AMAZING.  I am always finding one new thing or another to play around with or dog-ear for when we have a house.  I cannot go on enough about this. I read every issue cover to cover.

So, a year later I am a happy subscriber and supporter.  They do support their mission statement. The honest integrity I find there keeps me coming back. If you want to see what they’re about,  check out their blog here. Everyone has a story and their willingness to share those everyday stories makes the world, I think, a little less lonely. Check out the links to their site, Facebook page and Twitter.

Holl & Lane

Facebook

Twitter

Walking in the Rain

Inspired by:  Listen to the Rain – Evanesence
Courtesy of: The Figment

Our hostess as played stump the author once again with the following quote:

“All truly great thoughts are conceived while walking.” ~Friedrich Nietzsche

And I have to thank her for making me think around corners and about how I want things to develop creatively.  What I bring you today is the next installment of the series I’ve been writing about one Nicholas Taltos and Dominic Devereaux.    Before I do, however, let me encourage you to sign up for my newsletter—starting September 1, 2016.  The newsletter will keep you in the loop about appearances, book releases, and giveaways.  I also intend to start a section called “Sandra’s Corner”.  Please don’t hesitate to submit your questions via email, direct message on Twitter or message me on my Facebook page.  If you closed the pop up when you dropped in, refresh the page and opt in.  If you like the blog, you’ll love what’s coming.

Now, with that shameless plug out of the way,  let’s get on with the story.

Rain battered the campus grounds as she stared into the storm.  Kaylen Burke watched the downpour with a numbed apathy.  The university had offered to give her time off to tend to her affairs but, truth be told,  she would rather be working to ease the emptiness at home.  Her husband was gone.  The police had come to her door two days ago to deliver the news and inform her that his body would be released to her once autopsy procedures were complete.

Her home was empty. Her heart was hurting.   The history professor’s thoughts scattered.  The sleek bob that was her dark hair rested on her shoulders and moved when she did.  She was still dressed for the office in a dark skirt-suit combination.  At least, she supposed, none of her students had come to offer their condolences.  Kaylen did not believe she could sit through another round of  apologies and well-intended sympathy.  Beyond her,  she would swear she saw two figures moving through the increasing storm in the direction of the history building.  Who would be fool enough to brave such a sudden, violent storm? Let alone at night?

She sighed and closed her sapphire eyes.  At times, she wondered if there was not more to their world than what was on the surface.  All her life, she felt as if she was on the precipice of a larger experience,  a larger world but could never quite break through the boundary between the normal and the extraordinary.  Her thumb traced the wedding band that still remained on her left hand with an absent sort of grace.  The gesture was familiar and gut-wrenching at the same time.  They had a comfortable life together.  She and Brad were married three years ago.  They loved each other; shared similar interests but now, now she wondered if she was not at that precipice once again. The thought of more was stirring her blood again.

“Good evening,  Professor.”  She had not heard her office door open and close but the voice she knew.  Director Tammond stood in her office soaked to the skin alongside a man she had only met once before.  His name, however eluded her.  The director was her immediate report. In fact, the man had been delighted to sign off on her tenure.  He said the realm needed more tenacious minds like hers.

Kaylen’s lips thinned to a line as she fought the urge to scream at his sudden arrival.  With a breath, she stilled herself and flashed him a small smile.  “Good evening Director,  what can I do for you tonight?”  That was the moment she absorbed the full shock of two grown men standing in her office soaked to the skin.  They both looked like drowned rats.  “Oh my,  was it so urgent that you both needed to brave the storm?”   An amusement she was not sure she had a right to feel bubbled up in her throat.   The old man, as he was often called by University Faculty,  was cantankerous and stand-offish to most but she found him both endearing and gruff.  His old eyes held secrets she could not begin to understand but she was never brave enough to ask.

As if he read her mind, he responded.  “I did and you should probably get braver.”  Nicholas shook the damp from his hair with a brisk gesture.  There was an easy long-time companionship between the two men—many faculty members suspected they were gay.   That was one of the more prominent rumor on the university gossip mill.  Kaylen never sought to dispel the rumors because she knew they were false.  Nicholas spoke too often and too with a great deal of fondness of the wife he lost many years ago.

“Will you stop speculating for a minute Kaylen?  Light above your mind is making me tired listening to you.” Nicholas interjected.  When she was struck dumb by his statement,  he continued while Dominic began to laugh.  “We have a lot to discuss and very little time.  The precipice you were thinking about a moment ago has arrived.” A glare silenced his companion as Nicholas reeled in his impatience.  Alexandra’s words drifted through his mind.  Be at ease, my impatient heart.  Things happen in Fate’s time, not ours.  With her warmth acting as a balm,  he gave Kaylen a stern glare.   “But,  for the love of Light Kaylen, could you stop the blasted rain?”

“What?”  The disbelief rocked her to the core.  Had the man lost his mind?    “What the devil are you talking about, Director? I can’t—“   Frustrated, her hands plowed through her hair and mussed the dark tresses into disarray.  Her spirit trembled at the force in his eyes when their gazes met.  Why had she never seen that sheer force of will before?  Why did she never feel the quiet resonance of power that seemed to exude from the man?   Kaylen’s gaze flicked past the Director to his pale-skinned companion.  The man had taken to leaning against the closed door and watching the scene as if he were engrossed in a good novel.

“You can. You will.”  Nicholas stepped forward and wrapped the smaller woman in his arms.  She did not know; could not know what she was. She was his.  She was theirs. She was a Child of Light and Fate would call her home.  Nicholas did not know if she was the last but he could feel that she was both a Jade and a Taltos.  He could feel his bloodline singing through her veins.  Of greater importance, though,  he felt his beloved’s bloodline in her veins.   He hugged her tight and set her away from him before he spoke on gentle, consoling tones.  “Kaylen, have you never wondered why it rains when you cry?”

Preparation..

Soundtrack provided by Writing’s on the Wall – Sam Smith,  Throne – Bring Me the Horizon

Today’s blog is brought to you by our friends at The Figment.  As always,  a shout out to the hostess with the mostest,  Mia  Sutton.  Thank you for the inspiration. 🙂  On with the show:

“I have not seen clearly, my Queen, but the Morningstar line does not end with you.”  Alexandra’s words returned to her long after the ride had concluded.  What the path ahead held, Light could only know.  Days later, Christiana Morningstar puzzled over those very words.  Her friend’s messages were often ambiguous at best.  Christiana hardly resent the Sorceress for such things.  Fate blessed where it would.  The thought of children brought both joy and terror to her.

Though she knew her station required her to produce an heir she was in no particular hurry to fulfil that expectation.  All was not right with her realm at this time.  A child’s pattering feet around the palace halls could be a catastrophe that she did not need. At this very moment, Christiana Morningstar sat before petitioners.  Her realm was her primary concern. All the same, Alexandra’s words made her wonder what lay ahead.

Most days, the realm’s Reconstruction occupied her days.  Today was no exception.  Her people brought the realm’s needs to her attention. She was dressed in a rich royal blue satin gown embroidered with pearls.  On another woman, the creation would have seemed ostentatious but on Christiana the attire sang with understated regality.  Her auburn hair was pinned in a loose chignon that was secured by the crown resting atop her head.

The capital, the central focus of Maeseloria, was nearly complete.  Public works were organized and run by the grand cleric, Tessa Starson.  Christiana was still in awe of how fast the woman took the realm’s spiritual matters in hand.  Tessa worked with unparalleled enthusiasm to rebuild schools, libraries, and clinics for the sick. The cleric stood before her now explaining a new plan to revive what once was a thriving scholastic community.  “My Queen, did you hear a word I just said?”

Tessa’s amused words broke into Christi’s errant thoughts.  “Forgive me, my friend.”  The distracted monarch flushed to the roots of her hair. “I appear to have a great deal on my mind lately.” When Tessa gave a nod of acknowledgement, Christiana sighed.  “Please go see Evelyn regarding the funding for this project.  I know you will do as you see fit for the betterment of our realm.”  Tessa dipped a curtsey and disappeared from her chambers. Quite literally, the cleric was there one moment and gone the next.  Much like the Jades, the cleric had a talent for teleportation.

“Usually you aren’t this distracted, Sunspot.”  A companionable voice spoke at her elbow. A gasp would have brought other guards running.  If not for that nickname, she would have summoned help in a heartbeat. Jaylor had a habit of showing up in the oddest places.  “My advice not work out?” He questioned.

“Darkness take you, Jaylor!”  Christi hissed on words well beneath the hearing of anyone else in the receiving chamber. “Your advice worked precisely as you intended.  She got me thinking. Her words stuck with me in a way you likely expected.”  Very nearly, she saw Jaylor crow with delight.  He started to ask what the Sorceress had told her but; soon enough, another petitioner entered the hall.   His curiosity would just have to wait…