What a girl wants…

I’ve been getting a lot of flack lately.

I’m a military wife.  My husband was deployed aboard the USNS Comfort for the Haitian Earthquake Relief effort.  As the mission wound down and the Navy began to send extra staffers home, he asked what he should do if he were offered one of those tickets off the ship.  Stay or go?  My answer was STAY.

Everyone seems to have interpreted that as me not wanting him home.  They have implied that I don’t care for him like I should.  That I, in fact, do not love my husband.  That I’m not interesting in sharing BLOOD AND DESTINY’s success with him because I do not value his opinion.  Nothing could be further from the truth.

I would have loved to have had him holding my hand when BLOOD AND DESTINY jumped to the 2nd place spot on the MB&M’s top ten list, or any of the variety of lists it’s popped up on.  It would have made the experience that much more complete.  But it would have been incredibly selfish of me to expect it.

You see, we have children.  Three delightfully precocious and exhausting elementary schoolers that I homeschool.  The eldest is in third grade…and her FCAT testing was hanging over her head like Wylie Coyote’s Acme anvil.  Because we homeschool, that standardized test is especially important because it tells me if we’re providing her with the level of education she needs to be academically successful.

Now, nothing would have made me happier than to have my husband fly in the door on the first plane home.  However, after weeks apart, could my darling Daddy’s girl concentrate on doing her absolute best on her testing knowing that as soon as she’s done, she gets to come home and play with Daddy?  Nope – she would have slapped down whatever answer caught her eye first and rushed through the test…bombing the score.

It’s about priorities and being able to put my personal wants and needs behind those of my children.  My husband understands that and agrees with me.  If he had been sent home before the testing cycle, we would have made it work so that it was as non-disrupting as possible.  But, the best case scenario was for him to come home after the testing cycle completed so we could take an entire week off for Spring Break and everyone could enjoy the family time.

I gave up being able to satisfy my personal (and selfish) desires when I became a mother.  I can wander by a department store window and admire the outrageously priced display without grabbing my debit card to rush in to make a purchase.

Now days, I look at the price tag and equate it to how those funds are better allotted in our budget.  After all, the kids have activities and lessons that will lay the foundation for their personalities and successes for their entire life.  They don’t run cheap, either.

My life is in the years where I have become the sum of my experiences.  There may or may not be triumphs and successes in my future.  If there are, it’s gravy on a life already well lived.

My children are just starting.  They’re building their personalities and sense of self-worth with every step they take.  Every time they accomplish something, their faces light up and they glow with pride as they set the next goal higher.

So, yes.  Daddy will be home soon.  The testing cycle is over.  And my children are excited over Spring Break (which starts Monday).

BANG HEAD HERE!

I have a sign that says that with a bullseye on it.  It’s supposed to be for stress relief.  Unfortunately, I’m having heart-pounding, anxiety-laden stress attacks for no good reason.

BLOOD AND DESTINY is doing well.  The reader feedback has been awesome and the reviews have been favorable.

My husband, while still in Haiti, is anticipating a safe return home SOON.

My current WIP (the follow-up St. George novel) is smokin’.  The words are flying on the pages and I’ve had to adjust the outline to filter in all the new ideas and developments.  The flood gates of creativity are open.

My children are excited about school again and seem to be over the struggle brought on by the winter doldrums.  We have scheduled Spring Break next week because their renewed dedication has put them well ahead in their work.

So why am I on the verge of panic attacks?  Simply put, I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.

I’ve always been the glass is in the middle kind of person…neither half-full or half-empty.  It’s been my experience that life comes with an innate sense of balance.  The highs are balanced by lows.  And, in my case, in rapid fire succession.  This many good things can’t possibly be happening at the same time.

Or can it?  Do you believe in serendipity?  That fate sometimes plays a hand in bettering one’s fortunes?

I do.  And I find myself closing my eyes to calm my pounding heart and offering up a little prayer of thanks for the good things.  And when I open them, I promise myself that if (or when) the pendulum swings back the other way, I’ll smile and remember that everything happens for a reason…and with a little balance.

BLOOD AND DESTINY and Yes, there’s a Contest!

BLOOD AND DESTINY
Click for Buy Link!

The Day is HERE!

That’s right, folks.  BLOOD AND DESTINY has officially launched onto the world.  This book is near and dear to my heart.  I’m very excited to say thank you to Anne Scott for helping me make it the best story it could be.

And Yes, to celebrate, I’m having a contest!

The Grand Prize:  A Sony Pocket Reader

There will be several, smaller prizes, given out as well ranging from an Amazon $25 giftcard to a $50 Prepaid Visa giftcard.

Details can be found on my website.

Additional prizes will be given out on my yahoo group:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/paranormalsociety/

Here’s a little bit more information about Destiny:

When the past bites, bite back.

Ladies of St. George, Book 1

For Destiny St. George, shapeshifting lioness and private investigator, her best friend’s looming wedding is little more than a reminder of her failed relationship with vampire king Marcus Smythe. Tired of being only one of many mistresses—and dinner entrees—she’s stayed away from the vampire scene altogether. Until a missing-person case forces her to seek his help.

Knowing that pressing Destiny is not the way to convince her to give their relationship another try, Marcus has been waiting her out—and his patience is rewarded when she steps into his nightclub. Now is his chance to lure her back into his arms. This time, he plans to keep her there.

Destiny’s not sure which is worse: working with Marcus, or trying to remember all the reasons she called it off with him. And when it becomes clear the case is an elaborate trap to avenge a millennia-old grudge, she finds herself caught between love and instinct—while the clock ticks down on an innocent victim’s life…

Product Warnings:  Vampires determined to take more than a bite out of the heroine. A lioness sure that she’s going to have the last word.

Holiday Cheer…

I went to the grocery sans husband and children yesterday.  It was my effort to get the hated deed done before the chaotic crowds started.  I was glad I did.  It offered me the opportunity to do a fair bit of people watching while I marked things from my list.

The biggest change in the store was the patrons.  Instead of couples or women doing the weekly shopping, the majority of fellow shoppers were fathers with children in tow, most clutching lists and looking a touch frantic.  More than one stopped to text from his phone more than once.

Some of the children were wonderfully well-behaved…and others, not so much.  Both extremes were vastly entertaining.

That’s one of the things I love about the holiday season – watching the people.   Have you ever just sat and watched strangers as they bustle about in the malls, grocery stores, and streets?

Imagine a day in their lives… Hum.  I think I already do that when I sit down to write every day.

Merry Christmas!

Eating CROW for the Holidays…

No need to roast that luscious turkey thawing in my spare fridge.  I’m having nice tasty crow for my holiday meal.

🙂 For the past two years or so, I’ve been on a rampage.  An ANTI-SONY READER campaign.

When the Sony Readers came out, my husband braved life and limb to find one for me.  It was wonderful.  I fell in love with it the first time I held it in my hands.  Like all passionate affairs, the initial lust factor lasted a few weeks and then began to settle.

The PRS-500, the first generation model, had flaws.  As long as I was reading a book purchased by the Sony store or from a publisher who specifically formatted for the PRS model (like Samhain Publishing), I was fine.  However, books by other publishers and through other retail outlets didn’t always work well.  More often than not, those books loaded in such a tiny font as to be unreadable.

I finally resorted to trying to obtain help from the Sony Customer Support.  After two weeks of emails back and forth with suggestions from them, and reports of failure to resolve the issue from me, the Sony Support representative finally sent an email saying they were aware of the problem and regretfully informed me that it would be resolved on the NEXT PRS model.  In other words, I was out of luck and they were closing my case.

I was angry.  Less than a year into ownership, Sony abandoned me with a critical flaw on my device.  I read the books I had already purchased on it, but didn’t buy any more.  Eventually, the device was put back into its box and put away.

Sony offered to take it back on a trade-in when they came out with the PRS-505, but I was still upset at that point.  I didn’t want to give them any more money.

The PRS-505, PRS-700, and the next generation – the PRS-300 and PRS-600 – have improved upon the original.  Each and every issue I had with my PRS-500 has been resolved and a few extra benefits added.

You can now borrow from your local library.  Granted, it’s a limited selection; however, it’s definitely a start!  I’d love to be able to borrow books for my daughter to read without having to drive all over town.

They are also now Mac compatible.  My PRS-500 doesn’t interface with my MacBook and the new firmware update option won’t help that hardware problem.

They’ve changed their digital format to the EPUB standard.  No more worries about where to get the titles I’m searching for.  No more worries that the publisher my best friend’s new release is out with can be read on the device.

They’ve lowered their device cost.  Whereas the first generation device cost $400, the newest generation weighs in at half that with the Pocket Reader’s $199.  And there’s a new trade-in option ($50) for those of us still using the PRS-500 as paperweights.

There is still one major issue with the Sony Readers, but it’s really only an issue if you’re an international customer – and that includes a service member deployed to an overseas assignment and family members living on military bases abroad.  The Sony Store will not sell books to foreign IP addresses.  With the new EPUB format, it’s not really such an issue because the same digital books carried at the Sony Reader Store are also available at other digital retailers.

Anyone know a good seasoning for crow?  It’s certainly beginning to look like I’m going to need it.

*grins*

Do you have an EBook reader on your wish list this Christmas?  If so, what kind?

Bodies in the driveway…

You know, it rains every day in Florida.  The state is famous for it.

Why, then, are there still chalk outlines of bodies in my driveway?  That’s right, folks.  For Halloween, we decided to do a CRIME SCENE motif.

The kids posed for chalk outlines of bodies all the way around our driveway.  We put up “TURN BACK NOW” and “ENTER IF YOU DARE” police style tape.  Stretched spooky spider webs, and put out “TRICK OR TREATERS WELCOME” signs that were unhinged so they looked as if they were decrepid.

It made for a really great look.  And we didn’t get a single monster at the door.

The day after Halloween, we took down all the decorations and expected the rain to erase the chalk evidence.

Nope.  No such look.  Now, people walking their dogs are staring at the driveway as they past.

I suppose I could drag out the hose and wash it down.  It seems like a waste of water, but my house would look respectable again.

Though it was fun to give directions to our house yesterday with the added…it’s the one with bodies in the driveway.

*evil laugh*

UPDATES, Contests, and Coming Soon!

Hello!

BLOOD AND DESTINY returned to Anne in the weee hours of the morning.  I’m excited to say that it was bleeding to death in the comment margins.  Why?  Because every change only makes it a stronger book.

What am I working on while I wait for it to come back to me for the next round?  Two free reads written in the same world as BLOOD AND DESTINY.  The Ladies of St. George’s Home for Abandoned Children have a lot of stories to tell.

For Christmas and Valentine’s Day, there will be two shorts involving Yasmine St. George.  She’s a werewolf who longs for the home and family she never experienced as a child.  Can she find that with Kale Henderson?  Can Kale convince her that his pack will embrace her as his mate?  Tune in for the answers starting in December.

What’s better around the holidays than the word FREE?

Speaking of December and free, there’s a BIG CONTEST about to happen.  Do you have a Sony Pocket Reader?  Do you want one?  If so, read on.

Beginning BLACK FRIDAY, there will be a FIND THE ICON scavenger hunt involving about 30 authors (give or take).  What do you have to do?  Simply tune in for the list of participating authors and browse their sites looking for the contest graphic.  More specific details will follow.

In January, my novella LOVE AT FIRST SHOT releases from The Wild Rose Press.  There’s a lot of happening things over the next few months to talk about.

Is it too early for Christmas music?