Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Shh...Maeve doesn't know I'm on her computer

Hi everybody. Jasper here. I’ve gotta make this quick. Maeve’s cleaning up the kitchen and she doesn’t realize I’ve commandeered her laptop. Dang it. I wish the keyboard on this thing wasn’t so freakin’ sensitive. Please excuse any typos. Toshiba obviously DID NOT take into account the size of a fella’s paws.

In case you don’t know, I’m Maeve’s writing partner and I REALLY need your help. You see, Maeve reads all her stories aloud to me and I let her know what I think. Old Maeve’s pretty perceptive and not half bad as a writer –for a human. But her tales have one problem that I just can’t seem to get corrected. Would you believe that woman doesn’t put enough dogs in her stories? It’s criminal!

BEYOND A HIGHLAND WHISPER (coming in February from The Wild Rose Press) only mentions a dog one time when Nessa (the heroine) says dogs are the only creatures capable of unconditional love. My Maeve nailed that one. Even though I’m sometimes forced to pee in her house-shoes to punish her for leaving me home alone, I’m doing it because I love her. AND I’ll always love her, no matter what. But she only mentions dogs ONE TIME in that story.

Her other story, ETERNITY’S MARK,  is a little better. Hannah (the heroine) is a vet with an uncanny ability to know an animal’s thoughts. There’s a few more dogs in that story but not nearly enough to do us justice. By the way, ETERNITY’S MARK is the one she’s entered in some kind of contest. I think she called it Writing With the Stars? If you go to this link:  and vote for her, I would really appreciate it. Around here, if Maeve ain’t happy –NOBODY’S happy. She gets too quiet and wanders off into the woods when she's sad. Then I have to go find her and act like some sillly pup just to make her smile. You understand.

And one more thing, could someone please explain to me why it’s okay to pee on the trees in the yard but it’s NOT okay to pee on the fancy one that Maeve put in the house?

Whoops! Gotta go. I hear her heading this way. Remember, tell Maeve: MORE DOGS!

Friday, December 17, 2010

Christmas is EVERY day for me...

Hubby and I finally got the last of the gifts wrapped and stowed around the tree. He scanned the packages and said, “You don’t have anything under there.”

I laughed and replied, “I don’t need anything under there and besides, YOU already broke our agreement of not buying gifts for each other.
He grinned and shook his head. “I told you. That wasn’t a Christmas gift. It’s an I love you gift.”

If you happen to visit my Facebook page, this is the picture I posted of Mr. Sneaky’s I love you  gift.  This behavior is just ONE of the reasons I feel like every day is Christmas and have felt that way pretty much since June 1979.
That was when my knight in shining armor rescued me from an emotionally abusive hell. It’s been a long road and a painful struggle, but he’s taught me (and is still teaching me) the meaning of love, acceptance and trust.

Along the way, I received the wondrous gifts of two amazing daughters. Sometimes, I still look at them in disbelief. How could I have given birth to such two beautiful individuals? And then there’s my granddaughter. *sigh* Such a delightful gift. She gifts me with joy every day.

I’ve worked at the same job for twenty-three years. My co-workers are more like family than long time friends. I know there are lots of folks who’d love to have that gift.

Every day of my life, I receive more gifts than I could EVER begin to list here: laughter, renewed health, the devoted love of my dog, generous folks who take the time to let me know they consider me a friend. Never underestimate the power of something as simple as a smile or telling someone you care.

So, while I treasure this time of year. Christmas is every day for me.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Patience is NOT one of my virtues.

Looks serene doesn’t it? This view of Loch Ness from the ruins of Urquhart Castle? Wish I felt as peaceful as this picture.

But Monday, December 13th is the start of Round Three in the Kensington Brava / RT Book Reviews Writing With the Stars contest. Yep. That’s right. Monday, December 13th unveils the six remaining finalists. *GULP*

To urge the day to arrive a bit faster and half-heartedly attempt to make myself useful, I thought I’d post a brand new excerpt from ETERNITY’S MARK −my entry that’s been battling for the win. Hope you enjoy it (and keep your fingers crossed that ETERNITY’S MARK makes it)!


A loud crash followed by a roared curse brought her attention back to the bedchamber. Taggart stood in the doorway, sword drawn, eyes glowing with a murderous light. A tall, wispy man with thin trailing hair stood slightly behind him.

Padding into the room, Hannah crossed her arms over the front of her skimpy nightgown and scooted for her robe draped across the end of the bed. She glanced at the strange man behind the breakfast cart, then turned to Taggart with a frosty hiss. “Would you mind telling me what you think you’re doing? All you had to do was give me a few minutes and I would’ve eventually answered the door.”

Taggart sheathed his sword with an irritated thump as he scanned the room. “Why in the hell did ye no’ answer the door when Thaetus knocked and asked ye to allow him entry?”

As she yanked the belt of her robe tight about her waist, Hannah envisioned wrapping it around Taggart’s neck. How dare he talk to her as if she was a child! Who did he think he was? “He only knocked twice and I was busy. All he had to do was wait a minute. Since when do you break somebody’s door down when they don’t open it after a couple of knocks?”

“Actually, I knocked thrice.” Thaetus cleared his throat and folded his pale, narrow hands atop the brass handles of the cart. “And I called out to ye twice and asked if ye were unwell. When ye didna answer, I could only assume something had gone awry and ye needed immediate assistance.”

“Thaetus.” Hannah stalked across the room, hands clenched into the folds of her robe, struggling to channel her irritation. “Do you know what happens when you assume?”

Thaetus raised his chin, his spectacled eyes narrowed as he replied with a delicate sniff. “No. What would that be, Lady Guardian?”

Hannah glared at the stone-faced servant. She itched to fire back her standard smartass reply of it makes an ass out of you and me. She gritted her teeth and decided the phrase would be lost on the stoic-faced man. She might as well save her breath. She doubted Thaetus would get it. “Never mind, Thaetus. You’d never understand.” This was ridiculous. They guarded her like she was some national treasure. There hadn’t been any attacks since they’d left Jasper Mills. Surely, she was safe here at Taroc Na Mor.

“What were ye doing, Hannah? Why did ye no’ call out and answer Thaetus?” Taggart slapped at the twisted hinges dangling from the chamber doors, scowling at the damage he’d done to the paneling and the surrounding doorframe.

“I don’t believe that is any of your business.” With a huff, Hannah poured a cup of coffee and curled up on the settee to return Taggart’s fuming stare. She had to admit she rather enjoyed irritating him. And this was the second time she’d gotten a little more than breathless by seeing him rush to defend her. When he brandished his sword, his wondrous muscles bulged, leaving no doubt he’d slay anything foolish enough to cross his path. Hannah cradled her cup between her palms, remembering the warmth of Taggart’s essence when she’d helped him heal Septamus. She shifted on the settee, drawing in a rapid breath. These chambers suddenly seemed very warm.

Thaetus’ eyes widened with a horrified look and he tapped nervous fingertips atop Taggart’s arm. “Ye need to leave this room and allow the Lady Guardian to compose herself. Ye have upset her and you know that is forbidden.”

With an arched brow, Taggart studied Hannah closer then sidled a glance back to Thaetus’ bug-eyed expression. A roguish grin crept across his face as he crossed his arms over his chest. “Truly? Are ye absolutely certain, Thaetus?”

“Aye, Taggart. Ye know the rules. The Lady Guardian must be left alone.” Thaetus plucked at Taggart’s tunic with long, narrow fingers and jerked his head toward the door.

“Thaetus, I know we might’ve gotten off on the wrong foot and please don’t take this the wrong way. But you are acting strange. What exactly is your problem?” Hannah stretched forward, sliding her china cup onto the marble slab table squatting in front of the damask settee.

Taggart’s warm, rumbling chuckle bubbled up from the depths of his chest and echoed off the walls of the high-ceilinged room. “I have to tell her, Thaetus. ‘Twould no’ be fair to keep the lass in the dark. Ye’ve already given yourself away.”

Thaetus shook his head and backed against the wall, pulling the breakfast cart in front of his body as though it were a shield. “She will not be pleased. Consider yourself warned, Taggart. And ye might want to step behind here with me.”

Taggart rubbed his nose with the back of his hand as he gave a wink and a nod toward Thaetus. “Thaetus is an empath, Hannah. Ye might say he’s very sensitive to your…um…needs.”

Hannah looked from Taggart to Thaetus and then back to Taggart’s knowing grin. That son-of-a-. Thaetus had picked up on her very private case of the hornies and alerted Taggart in code. Embarrassed heat of this revelation stormed its way through her body. Her cheeks burned hotter than they had in high school when the zipper split on her jeans during her speech in the middle of assembly.

“Get out.” Hannah pointed at the door hanging off the hinges while fixing her gaze on the center of the coffee table.

“It’s all right, Hannah, I understand how ye might be excited by−”

“I said get the hell out!”

Thaetus took the lead and hurried toward the door, dodging the coffee cup Hannah lobbed at their heads. He only paused long enough to hiss to Taggart. “I advised ye she would not be pleased.”


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Inspiration or over-active imagination?

Sights? Sounds? Scents? What triggers your dream-state? What tickles your muse? We've all heard the expression, "a picture's worth a thousand words".  Do pictures send your mind reeling, make your palms itch to jot down the story before it escapes?

Consider these ruins atop the Rock of Cashel in Ireland. After I snapped this shot, I lowered the camera and though I stood among several other tourists, I was all alone.  My mind whirled through the ruins, searched over the landscape like a bloodhound led by a scent.  Hubby had to touch my shoulder to break my reverie because I wasn't there.  I was watching ghosts of the past fit together chiseled stones and build walls without mortar.

Or what about this woman playing the harp along the path winding up the Cliffs of Moher? My mind painted her as a trapped soul, unable to communicate in any other way than the magical sound released by her instrument.  Perhaps she waited for a hero?  A hero to break the curse and release her from the prison of silence.

 Did this gentleman ride his pony to the town square each day waiting for a lost love who promised she'd someday return? 

You see? I'm hopeless.  Ever the dreamer, I never know when it will hit.  And it doesn't take far away places to send me into my own little world.


The sight of my granddaughter singing her heart out at the Christmas play triggered visions of a self-assured young woman waiting in the future.

Her serious admonition while singing this song showed me the headstrong side to the young lady coming in the years ahead.

And then there's the little wood imp, hiding in the forest among the trees just itching to whisk away a passerbye and sweep them through the gateway into the land of Fae.

Sights? Sounds? Scents?  What sends YOU into a dream?

Friday, December 3, 2010

At our house, it's all about the memories

I believe one of my favorite things about the holidays is all the gorgeous decorations. I love the lights, the velvety ribbons, the sparkling baubles gleaming at every turn. I so admire those talented folks able to turn their trees into designer-inspired works of art. But those of you who know me, know all too well that I’m just plain old me. And our family’s tree doesn’t quite fall into the “carefully decorated” category. We don’t have a perfect, color-coordinated decoration that’s suitable to grace the cover of a magazine. Our delightfully chaotic tree is all about the memories.

Hubby and I have been together forever. This is our thirty-first Christmas shared and we’ve collected a dated ornament for every year. You’ll also see a U.S. Air Force ornament commemorating the years he served our country.

Look a little closer and you’ll see the wonderful ornaments my granddaughter made. Those ornaments are more precious to me than all the gold in the world.

There’s also ornaments both daughters made. Their creativity makes me laugh. She told me the word “earth” was too long for the ornament –so she improvised.

Every time I look at that tree, I relive the happy times, hear the laughter, feel the warmth and love of all the Christmas’s past. So, looking back on this post, maybe it’s not the actual decorations that bring me such joy –maybe it’s just the loving memories they trigger. *Sigh*