Saturday, January 31, 2009

Cleaning the Pouch

When's the last time you cleaned out your purse? Come on, now. Fess up. I am a terrible terrible packrat when it comes to my purse. It nearly takes an act of Congress to get me to clean out my purse... or if I buy a new purse. Then of course, I can't put all the old stuff in there.

Recently, I bought a new purse (that came with a new wallet) so you can see that this was a double whammy as I had to clean out both purse and wallet. I found the most amazing collection of papers... receipts, business cards, notes, grocery lists.

In one pocket in the old purse I found a twenty dollar bill. Hmmm. That could be incentive to clean out my purse more often. That same pocket had three pennies, a paper clip, a chapstick and a purple pen.

What's the strangest thing you carry in your purse? At one time I had a roll of duct tape, a multi-tool, and a Swiss army knife--the real deal with about twenty tools. Of course it's missing the toothpick. Have you ever noticed that the toothpick always seems to be the first thing to go?

What do I have in my purse? Wallet, Sony reader, sugar meter kit, inhaler, medication, notepad/folder, sticky pad (bright yellow), tissue packet, reading glasses, brush, six pens (various colors), cell phone, cough drops, Zone bar, flashlight, nail file and clipper, small Swiss army knife, and address book. Of course, you understand that's after I cleaned it out two weeks ago.

The thing that puzzles me is what to do with all the other stuff I accumulate over time. It's all good stuff. I just don't have any other place to keep it. I usually end up leaving it in the old bag until I decide to switch bags again. Then I move it to the new old bag.

Maybe I should just carry a suitcase...

anny

Friday, January 30, 2009

Love Never-Ending

Release day for Love Never-Ending! In honor of the release of book five of the Mystic Valley series (they can be read in any order... Really!) I'm posting an excerpt. In this excerpt Panther and Llynx have been punished for stealing a photograph. Their punishment ruins some very special plans Panther had for the Midsummer Gathering. Understandably enough, he isn't happy with Llynx.
Want to buy it? Just click on the book cover! Thanks!

In the boys’ bedroom, Panther flung his body facedown on the bed, stunned at the total ruin of his plans. Hot silent tears soaked into his pillow while he wept for the loss of his opportunity to compete. Every morning he had met Falcon on the practice field and worked harder than he had ever worked in his short life to meet Falcon’s challenges. Now it was all for nothing.

Llynx scowled at Panther. “What are you crying for? Who wants to go to the stupid Midsummer Gathering, anyway?”

Panther lunged from the bed and grabbed Llynx by his shoulders, shaking him in a wild rage. “I do!” he shouted. “I was going to compete in the warriors’ games and you ruined it! You and your stupid photograph!” Abruptly, he flung Llynx away from him, sending him stumbling across the room to end in a heap under the window. “Stupid! Why do you have to always get us into trouble?” He stomped back to the bed and curled up on it, facing the wall.

Under the window, Llynx didn’t stir until he was sure that Panther had moved away. Very slowly, he sat up, biting back a scream when he put pressure on his arm. Lightning zipped up the arm to his shoulder and just for a few moments, things went dark around him. Stunned at Panther’s incredible rage, Llynx cradled his arm against his chest while he thought about what Panther had said. He had never seen Panther angry before. Never. Llynx cringed at the thought that he had driven his gentle older brother to such anger. Shame warred with indignation. He should have told Arturo at once that Panther wasn’t with him when he stole the photo. Pain pulsed and burned up his arm. But Panther shouldn’t have thrown him across the room, either! he thought indignantly.

He tried to work up a good mad at Panther. His arm hurt too badly for him to care about how it happened. He needed Llyon and he wasn’t sure he could find him without passing out. One thing he didn’t want to do, though. He wasn’t going to ask Panther for help. With typical bullheadedness, Llynx was determined to set things right all by himself.

It took a few minutes but he was upright at last and headed for the door when Panther came off the bed in a rush. “No! You’re not leaving this room! For once, you’re going to do what you’re supposed to do!” When he grabbed Llynx’s arm, Llynx crumpled to the floor in a merciful faint, leaving Panther to stare at him in horror. Without a thought, Panther sent out a silent scream for his older brother. Llyon! Help!

Llyon rushed down the hall from Trav’s room where he had just completed his healing for the day. Arturo was hard on his heels, followed more slowly by Bishop.
They burst into the boys’ room.

Immediately, Llyon went to Llynx, his sharp eyes noting the arm, already swelling with a hint of the bruising to come. A swift examination of the arm confirmed his initial guess. His eyes met Arturo’s. “Broken,” he said curtly. “We need to get him to bed.”

“I’ll do it. You’re already weary from healing Trav.” Arturo lifted Llynx, waiting while Llyon tucked the broken arm close to his little brother’s chest, then carried him over to the bed. When Llynx was settled on the bed, Arturo turned back to Panther, still crouched on the floor, rocking and moaning. “Stop, Panther!”
But Panther was wrapped tightly in his own misery and guilt. He was in a place where nothing reached him, nothing but the knowledge that he had hurt his brother. Hurt him to the point that he had fainted from the pain. How could he do such a thing? His belly clenched. Heartsick at the result of his loss of control, he curled in a rigid little ball and wept.

Without any hesitation at all, Arturo brushed his forehead, sending him into a deep sleep. Whatever had happened in this room had clearly wounded more than Llynx. Bishop helped him move Panther, now a heavy, limp heap to the bed.

“What happened?” Bishop asked in bewilderment.

“That is what I am going to find out.” Arturo’s grim tone boded ill for the perpetrator. Without compunction he rested his hand on Panther’s forehead and dived into rapport with his brother. The deep mind sharing was normally reserved for mated pairs but in cases such as this where speed was of the essence, morkerts exercised the ability to determine where the danger lurked. Arturo didn’t use the ability lightly, for in rapport there were no secrets. Nothing was hidden. Nothing.
By the time he broke his link with Panther, Llyon had completed his preliminary healing of Llynx’s arm. Wolfe and Arano had arrived, followed by Tyger and all were patiently waiting for Arturo’s directions. With an irritable shake of his head, Arturo said, “Sit down. Llyon, is he asleep?”

With a mental nudge, Llyon urged Llynx into a deeper sleep. “He is now.”
Gathering his thoughts, Arturo explained the train of events leading to the confrontation in the bedroom. When he finished, there was quiet in the room as each of them assessed what Arturo shared with them.

Finally Wolfe asked in an odd tone, “He thinks we’re ashamed of him because he’s not a good warrior?”

“No.” Arturo shot them a sad look. “He believes that he shames us because of his inabilities. That he has nothing to offer the Llewellyn name. Stefan Cowal agreed to take him on as an apprentice next year. And he hoped to redeem himself by competing in the warriors’ games. Then when he was denied the games…”

“Why take it out on Llynx?” Bishop frowned as he tried to work out the puzzle.

“Because technically, he was not guilty of taking the photograph. I asked the wrong question. Were you in Bishop’s room? Yes, he was. But he left before anything was taken. He was out at bonding circle three when Llynx took the photo.” Arturo sighed impatiently. “Apparently, he did what he has on more than one occasion. He took the blame for something Llynx instigated. And in this case, it had more serious consequences than he was prepared for.”

“Now what?” Bishop stifled the urge to find the photo and burn it. After all, it wasn’t even his property but it had certainly caused a lot of trouble.

“I will wait for them to wake up. When they do, we will have a discussion. Llynx’s punishment will stand. In addition, I must think of something to impress on him the seriousness of letting others take his punishments. Panther’s punishment will also stand but I will make it clear that now his punishments are for losing his temper and taking the blame for Llynx’s actions.” Arturo fetched a chair from the corner and sat next to Panther’s bed. “I suggest that the rest of you return to your responsibilities. There is nothing more to be done here for the moment.”

As the men prepared to leave, Arturo said, “Uncle, I would talk to you for a few moments, please.”

Leaning against the wall next to the door, Bishop waited for the others to leave. Idly he wondered what Arturo had to say that was so important that it couldn’t wait for another time.

When the door was closed and they were alone with the sleeping boys, Arturo turned to him and observed abruptly, “It is a dangerous game that you play with Samara.”

“What?”

“If you and Samara wish to play bed games, then you should do so indoors. Panther saw you.”

“Fuck.”

“Yes, I believe that is what he saw,” Arturo agreed.

And then...

anny

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Cheerleaders!

Yesterday I discovered something disconcerting about myself. I need a cheerleader. Not just any ol' cheerleader to yell "Rah, rah!" and tell me I'm a fabulous writer. Nope. I need some poor devil who's stuck reading every word of my deathless prose--and yelling, "Rah, rah!"

It was a pitiful realization. I like to think that I'm independent and mature enough to write without constant encouragement, but apparently that is not the case. Yesterday all the usual suspects who get stuck reading my work were busy so I had to loaf along all on my own. I kept itching to send the bit I was slaving over to SOMEONE but everyone was gone! How dare they all desert me?

Sigh...

It's very lowering to admit that I'm addicted to instant input. In much the same way a singer or dancer performs for the crowd, I suppose I am performing for the vocal few who are willing to provide feedback.

My apologies to those individuals (you all know who you are!) whose good natures I've taken advantage of, especially in the last couple of weeks. I promise to cease and desist and get a life. Or at least pretend that I have a life. Or perhaps I'll go take a nap until the urge to post my latest three pages of brilliance finally passes.

anny

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Upsizing

Companies announced several more thousand lay-offs today. For every person laid off, there is a family that will live a leaner, hungrier existence. They'll do without food, necessities, and clothing.

If they haven't already discovered the joys of shopping at the dollar store, they soon will. Things like papertowels, tissues, and fresh fruit will be a distant memory. So will doctors, children's vaccinations and replacement filters for the heater.

I've been there. Unemployment is roughly one half of the person's salary--if they qualify. Unemployment is not taxed so at the end of the year, Uncle Sam shocks you with a demand for taxes due. And unemployment only lasts as long as it takes you to get a job at the nearest fast food joint or gas station. Once you take that job, you're employed and no longer eligible for unemployment.

Food pantries truly try to stem the flood of hungry, needy families, but the demand is greater than the supply of food. Many of the companies that used to routinely donate surplus food are now in financial trouble themselves. People and churches in the private sector that used to give so generously of their wealth are now on the other side of the fence.

It's a normal reaction for us to be ready, willing and able to help--yet hesitate as we don't know exactly how to do so. Some hold back, not wanting to embarrass or humiliate the very people they want to help.

I can only give my personal thoughts on this, garnered from my personal experience. A gift card from a grocery store or super Wal-Mart will never go amiss. Stick it in one of the many "encouragement" cards that are on the market. Add a note of well wishes or "wish I could do more". Every dollar not spent on groceries out of the family budget can go on other pressing items like shelter and heating.

We all hope and believe that things will get better eventually. But in the meantime, a little boost never hurts. So if you have it to share, please do. And if you don't have monetary resources, perhaps offer to babysit or tutor a child or help someone with a resume. All good things. All ways to Upsize our neighbors in a downsizing economy.

anny

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Spirit of generosity

I had another post prepared for today, but a friend has been struck by tragedy and I find that I just can't ignore that.

Frequently when disaster knocks on the door, the very best in our neighbors and friends comes out of hiding. I am so proud of the generous spirit of my fellow writers, editors, and other co-workers.

Will their generosity reverse the disaster that has befallen our friend? No, but hopefully it will ease the terrible burdens set upon her. Our prayers and thoughts are with you, M and family.

anny

Monday, January 26, 2009

Love Never-Ending

This coming Friday, January 30th Love Never-Ending, the fifth book in the Mystic Valley series will be released. In honor of my new release, I'm posting an excerpt from Love Never-Ending.

In this snippet, Bishop, newly arrived in the valley, is struggling to cope with the strange inhabitants and surroundings.

With growing confusion, Bishop watched the two men trot off in the same direction that Wrenna had gone. The strange turn of events had no sane explanation. His brother and sister-in-law were here—and yet, not here. He couldn’t fathom any process that could turn the skin blue, grow fangs and change the shape of ears. For a wild second he considered the possibility of some alien body snatchers and then realized how silly that sounded.

Their small group was moving along a rough path that ran through a forest. He caught glimpses of strange trees and weird flowering bushes. Very little looked familiar. Then they passed a pale blue domed building. A low stone wall separated the neat yard from the surrounding woods. Blue and green birds about the size of chickens pecked at seeds and worms in the front yard.

“What are those?” he muttered just before tripping over a tree root.

One of the red-haired twins tossed a glance over his shoulder and answered, “Peekies. They lay eggs.”

“Peekies.”

“Think of them as blue or green chickens.” Jade grinned at him, flashing her dainty little fangs, and observed, “Lots of strange stuff, huh?”

“You’re blue, you know.”

“I believe that you mentioned that once or twice.”

“Doesn’t it bother you?”

“Not so much. I’m sure there are worse things.”

“Name one.”

“Being blind.”

There was a long silence. Then Bishop said, “I’m sorry. It’s been a rough couple of days.”

“I believe you.”

They were approaching a scattered group of domes that were situated around a wide green lawn. “How did you find this place, Jade?”

“We arrived the same way you did, Bishop. Actually, we were also greeted by Dai.” A small secret smile flickered across her face. “We were stark naked at the time.”

“I’m not far from that myself,” he groused. “Trav snatched me out of bed in the middle of the night.”

“Really? Why would he do that?”

“Because he lost his mind.”

“Yes, well. That would explain it, I suppose. How did you come to be in the cave?” she asked with irritating calm. He wanted her to be excited or appalled or show some emotion. Instead she acted like strange people dropped in every day.

“Trav has a price on his head and he thought the cave would be a safe place to hide.” Bishop gave her a quick rundown of his adventure after his abduction.

“Fascinating.”

“Not as fascinating as this place."

And then things start to get interesting...

anny

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Conkered!

This sort of reminds me of our foreign policy since World War II. And I wonder why we're always surprised when the dog wakes up?

anny

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Now what?

Heh. Don't have much to say today. Please come back tomorrow. Orrrrr if you have an idea, fork it over.

anny

Friday, January 23, 2009

Evolving Others...

I find the numerous ways that authors make paranormal characters their own creations fascinating. There are ever evolving breeds of vampires, shifters, and mythological critters out there. Actually, you could even throw in aliens for good measure.

The most interesting thing to me is the way that these characters have shifted from the villains to the heroes and heroines. What drives us to find redeeming value in them? Is it because we are fascinated by the possibilities that they offer? Or is this drive to redeem them our attempt to limit the fear factor of the originals?

I have a friend who theorizes that there is an actual underground movement to desensitize the public so that when the others finally reveal themselves to ordinary humans, we'll not panic. And of course that very theme has been explored in several books.

If that were true, then what is the real agenda? Are we the patsies to be controlled and subjugated? Or are we the partners in the future?

I'm reminded of that scene in Independence Day (the movie) when all the people are dancing on top of a tall building with signs of welcome... and then the spaceship blast the building to bits. Unlike so many of the "alien" movies in recent times, that particular movie took the position that aliens would be hostile.

I remember an old black and white movie from my youth where the space ship lands and the alien appears and demands, "Take me to your leader!" And I wonder, who would that be? Who would be in charge of the alien negotiations? Don't we have enough troubles working with other countries without having to deal with aliens and others?

Perhaps that's the real reason we choose to humanize all of our boogey men--because the idea of actually having to cope with the real thing is more than we want to think about. It's more than we want to face. And it's certainly less scary to give them human ideals than to deal with the possibility of their decidedly unfriendly agendas.

So what's your take on them? Good? Bad?

anny

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Hardly workin'...

So. I was up really late the other night working on FLEs (final line edits) and naturally I planned to sleep in the next morning. Naturally. Except the next day was a sunny nightmare with light glaring in the windows from the snow cover and sleep just wasn't happening. At nine AM, after just three hours of sleep, I was wide awake.

Thought about it. Rolled out of bed and plodded around the house, figuring that eventually I would get tired or sleepy and then I would take a nap. It didn't happen. At eleven that night, I toddled off to bed, more or less ready to sleep. Slept nine hours. Eyes popped open and I was wide awake!

Reluctantly crawled out of bed and meandered about the house. Not nearly as alert as I was the day before. Muzzy headed and bleary-eyed.

So my question is: How long does it take to get back on track? Or should I just take a few more days of vacation? Hmmmm.

anny

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

In my day...

I remember watching a news reel on my girlfriend's television--black and white, of course--of when the Beatles landed in New York City. My family didn't own a television. Some afternoons my mom let me go to my friend's apartment to watch television and "work on homework". The Beatles were subversive, disrespectful, and furthermore, they had long hair.

In case you think I'm referring to their later stages in life, you're wrong. I'm talking about when they first burst on the world stage with their trademark bowl cuts. At the time, they were wildly exotic. Their hair was quite long compared to the way all the other young men wore their hair. Nowdays we would call it a military cut, but back when I was in high school, everyone wore their hair that way. Certainly no young man would wear a hairstyle with bangs (fringe for you Aussies).

Ah yes, the arrival of the Beatles was the beginning of the great slide into the pit of excess. Shortly after their appearance, Fashion magazines started displaying pictures of Twiggy, a tall, incredibly skinny model in miniskirts. Real miniskirts that required a matching panty.

When I went to high school, all girls wore skirts, regardless of weather. I lived in Chicago and whether it was rain, snow, freezing blizzards, girls wore skirts. Knee length A-line heather skirts with a matching cardigan, knee socks and a print blouse. And a panty girdle underneath. Everyday. But after the advent of Twiggy in her barely there micro-minis, the skirt hems crept up until you were hard pressed to decide whether the girl was wearing a really short dress or a long shirt. One famous disc jockey was fired from a Chicago radio station for making a joke about skirt lengths so short they were above the water line. Unlike the shock jocks of the current day, that DJ was never heard from again.

The year after I graduated from high school, the rules were changed. The authorities capitulated when the girls' skirts were so short that they proved to be a major distraction for the male teachers, some of whom charged that some of the young ladies were omitting their underwear when they dressed in the morning.

In my day a President, a senator, a governor, and a civil rights leader were all shot in a in a shockingly short period of time. Peace demonstrations were almost a daily part of life. The National Guard was regularly called out to deal with the demonstrators. Every night on television, the body count for the war was displayed in the upper left corner of the television screen during the news. And our young men went off to fight wars in the jungles of Vietnam.

At the Democratic Convention in Chicago, rioting broke out. Eight prominent rioters were arrested and a highly publicized trial for the Chicago Eight was news fodder for both television and newspapers.

When Martin Luther King, Jr. was shot, rioting raged in the cities for days as large sections of the cities burned. Businesses were looted. My fellow workers and I were evacuated from the company where I was employed in armored buses.

When my older children were teenagers, one of them made the mistake of commenting about the dull existence their father and I must have led as teenagers and young adults. Isn't it funny how each generation believes that theirs is the most volatile and difficult? They believe that their music and clothing styles are the most innovative and creative. Their youthful rebellion is a daring new ideal.

The only thing new is the next generation and their chance to make a difference in the world. My generation gave us the nuclear bomb, space travel, hippies, personal computers and heart transplants. What will the next generation produce?

anny

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Decisions, decisions

Well, I'm back from my "vacation"--the one I embarked on so I could have some thinking time and possibly make some decisions. About once a year I take time to re-evaluate my life--where I've been and where I'm going.

It's sort of like a train ride where you have an idea of your starting point and your destination, but it's always a good notion to look out the window once in a while to make sure you're on the right track. I had a few detours and I know of a couple of delays coming up so those are things to plan around. However, I don't want to get so wound up in striving for the destination that I miss the journey. Sadly, I think I missed a few of the sights along the way. Hopefully, that will happen less in the future.

Part of the planning time was spent on deciding how to divide my time--writing, marketing, planning, home, house hunk, and leisure time. What leisure time? Well that's one of the things I need to schedule. Life whizzes by on rollerskates and suddenly its gone. I'm looking sixty in the face and wondering where the time went. No, sixty isn't old. But it's not in the springtime of life, either. If I want to make every day count, then I need to be aware.

So. I'm not going to stress out over my blog. If I have something to say, I'll say it. And if I don't, then I'll just let y'all know that I'll be back soon. Who knows? Perhaps I'll find out that I have a lot to say since I don't feel like I have to write something. Wouldn't that be interesting?

In the meantime, there are some interesting blogs out there. Take a minute to check out Amarinda Jones, Regina Carlysle, Cindy Pape, Sandra Cox, Barbara Huffert and JacquƩline Roth. All the links are on the right side!

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Surprise

On Mondays I'll be posting short glimpses from Mystic Valley in the form of previously unpublished stories. This particular one is about the big surprise that Wrenna and Traveller presented when Llyon dropped by to check on them.

Tyger and Llyon happily packed up and moved to Eppie’s vacant cabin. Robyn came with them to pack the few things Eppie wanted from the cabin. Llyon shoved his files and patient records in a spare basket until he could build an addition for a home workroom.
“Ly? Where do you want the bath sheets and bedding?” Tyger asked as he carried in a huge basket of linens.
They looked around the cabin and finally Llyon shrugged. “I don’t know. What’s in that big cupboard in the corner?”
Tyger checked the cupboard and reported, “It has a couple of blankets and a pillow. Why don’t we make this the linen cupboard?” When Llyon nodded agreement, he put the linens away, emptying one more basket. “Ly? When did we get so much stuff?”
“Twenty years of never throwing anything out.” He finished making the bed and tossed the pillows back on top. “Papa said that the first time he moved, it took a cart bigger than this house to move everything. He called it a truck.” Llyon shook his head. “Why would anyone want a cart that big?”
Tyger looked around the small cabin. “In the spring I want to build on a bathing room and an office for you. I don’t know how Eppie did without a tub.”
“She used the wash tub.” Llyon pointed to the tub hanging by the back door. “I don’t think we’ll fit in that. Papa says that we can have that old portable tub from the workshop at home, but I have a feeling that emptying it will be more trouble than it’s worth.”
Ty shook his head. “I agree. Well, we can always go back to Mama and Papa’s house to bathe until we get ours built or in an emergency, there’s always the brook.” They looked at each other and smiled. “It will still be nice to have our own place.”
“I’m glad Mama suggested it,” Llyon agreed. “There sure isn’t any peace or privacy at home.” He grinned. “I sometimes wonder how Mama and Papa got enough private time to have all of us.”
“You don’t really think they were actually sleeping when they made everyone take a nap?”
“Nah!” They laughed and then Llyon said, “Food is our last trip and we’re through. Do you want to sleep here tonight or back there? If we sleep here, then we have to bring the cart with the food tonight.”
“I want to sleep here. Let’s go get the food now. We’ll pick up extra supplies for Wrenna and Trav, too. We should be back before dark. I may even have time to run out to the cave at the bonding circle and check on them.”

Llyon walked around the circle, and passed the pool. When he got to the waterfall, he called out but they didn’t answer. Uneasy, he sent a mind call, Wrenna? Trav? They didn’t answer so he decided that he would just have to walk in, whether he interrupted them or not. Something was not right. When he got into the cave proper, there was no fire, no light, no sign of life. Fumbling around in the darkness, he found a light stone and twisted it on. Shivering in the cold air, he turned to see Wrenna sprawled atop Trav. They were only covered with a thin sheet.
Tyger! Papa! Come now. Something’s wrong with Wrenna and Trav!
After checking for pulses and finding them reassuringly strong, he covered them with as many blankets as he could find. Then he located their hot rocks and fired them to start warming up the cave. Trav’s feet were turning blue so Ly found two pairs of his socks and slipped them on.
Merlyn answered first, Llyon, what’s wrong!
I think they’re in burda. There was no heat, no lights, and they weren’t even covered up. I can’t rouse either one of them, but they have pretty strong pulses.
Check the baby, Merlyn suggested. Make sure nothing is wrong there.
Llyon squatted and slipped his hand under the covers, between Trav and Wrenna’s bellies. Three times he went in to ‘look’ because he couldn’t believe his senses. Then he dropped his head on his knees and groaned.
Tyger came pounding into the cave in a panic. “What’s wrong?”
“I’m pretty sure they’re in burda. It’s early, but I think I know why...”
“Well?”
“She has three babies.”
Tyger’s eyebrows shot up. “Three? No one has ever had three!"
"Can you talk to Papa? I'm busy linking with them until we can get them warm. Tell him about the babies and ask him to bring extra bedding. And hot rocks. Then, can you please bring some stuff for me? I've got to stay here." Gently, he pulled the socks off one of Trav's feet and held it between his hands, trying to warm it up. Tyger came and worked on his other foot. Trav's circulation was still so poor from his injuries Llyon was worried that there would be permanent damage from the cold.
"I told Papa about the babies. He said they’ll bring everything we need. When they get here, I'll go get our bedding and things." He saw Llyon's startled look. "Did you think I would leave you here alone? Never. We're a matched set now."
Llyon sank down in the sand and leaned against Tyger. "Oh, Ty. I am so glad that you're here with me." By the time Merlyn arrived with Dancer and Eppie, Trav's feet were beginning to lose their blue tinge and turn a more healthy pink. They replaced the socks, and tucked the blankets back around them.
Dancer perched on his heels next to Trav and took his hand in his. Muttering under his breath, he scolded Trav, "You don't ever do anything the normal way, do you? Always the hard way, if there is one. Trav, wouldn't one baby be enough? What are you going to do with three babies?"
Trav stirred slightly and mumbled, "Dance, go away. This is my honeymoon. You have Eppie." Then pulling his hand away from Dance, he groped under the covers until he found Wrenna and hugged her closer, before sliding back into sleep.
Merlyn checked Wrenna and confirmed Llyon's diagnosis. "Definitely three. How did we miss that?"
Llyon dropped his head. "I never thought to check. Too many other things going on... They shouldn't have been in burda for another three or four weeks." He shrugged. "I knew that she was pregnant right away, but as long as everything seemed normal, it just didn't occur to me. Until Silence, Mama was the only woman to have twins in the last century."
"Strange things are happening," Merlyn agreed slowly. "The oath-binding storms, all of these sudden pregnancies, it's like the valley is trying to replace all of the elders we've lost. I think we better check every single woman. There may be other multiples out there. I'll notify Dai and Henry to check the other villages."
Dance looked up at them in puzzlement. "I don't understand," he said. "Why are the pregnancies unusual? I would think with no birth control here, that women would be pregnant all the time!"
"No." Llyon shook his head vigorously, setting his chinkas clinking in the silence. "Most bond mates don't have more than two. Very fortunate couples have three. The reason Papa was chosen clan leader is all of us children. When Tyger and I were born, the people saw that as a sign that Papa and Mama were blessed. And then, after Wrenna was born, well...?"
"I think Papa is right," Eppie agreed quietly. "The valley is replacing all of the elders we lost. If that's true, there will be a lot more babies in the next little while."
Dancer gave them all a peculiar look as though he was really afraid to ask, "How many elders did you lose? And why?"
Tyger chuckled. "Don't panic. They all died from extreme old age. Over the last two years we've lost one hundred and three. Unfortunately," he added more soberly, "they were our best artisans and craftspeople and archivists and healers."
"What do you consider extreme old age?" Dance inquired softly.
Merlyn smiled at him. "Average age was one hundred and twenty. Your Grandfather is over seventy and he's just reached middle age. You and Trav are youngsters." Looking down at Wren and Trav, he sighed. "This bed looks like a rat's nest. There's no way to tell how much padding they have between them and the cave floor. We need to make them a new bed with a lot of padding under them and move them." He studied the pile of bedding they had brought with them. "I'm not sure we brought enough with us," he said doubtfully.
"If not, I'll go back to the cabin and bring more," Tyger volunteered. "Let's see what we can do with this stuff first. We can put all of this under them and use the blankets covering them now for the covering over them. If we drape a couple of blankets over those two boulders there and put some hot rocks underneath, it will warm the blankets for them."
Merlyn nodded. "Good idea. All right, let's get started. The faster we get them settled, the faster they'll get warmed up."
It took a while, but finally, they had Trav and Wrenna settled. While the men worked moving them, Eppie fetched water from the pool and began brewing tea. When they finally moved Trav, they found one thin feather mattress between him and the sand. Dancer carried it outside and draped it over the stone bench near the circle. Tyger gathered up the used sheets and carried them out to dump on top of the mattress. He figured he would take everything back to the cabin when he went to fetch his and Llyon's bedding for the night.
Once they truly warmed up, Merlyn and Llyon were able to rouse them enough to feed them crumbled food bars and warm tea. When they sank back into sleep, Llyon heaved a deep felt sigh of relief. His skin crawled when he thought of what he might have found if he had waited until morning to check on them.
Tyger came and put his arms around him, "Don't think about it Llyon. You didn't wait. You came and checked and now they're going to be all right. We'll stay with them until they can take care of themselves." When Llyon started to shake in delayed reaction, he tightened his hold, "I tell you, they're going to be alright! You came and they're safe now."
Llyon began to cry very quietly, "I almost didn't come, Ty. I was so tired and I almost didn't come."
Pulling Ly's head down on his shoulder as he rocked him, Tyger said gently, "And you are only one man, Llyon. Only one. We will arrange for more people to watch and this will never happen again. Now! Be happy for all of these babies we're going to have around us!"
Merlyn came and hugged both of them. "I've talked to Dai. We will make sure that every pregnant bonded couple is checked every day until all are out of burda. Now, while Dancer and Eppie and I are here to watch them, why don't you two go get whatever you need from your cabin?"
Tyger led Llyon past the waterfall, bundled the sheets up for him to carry and grabbed the mattress himself. "Come on, Ly. Let's get these things home, pick up whatever you need and get back here. We're both tired from moving."
Llyon plodded along in the dark. "I seem to be tired all the time, Ty. Do you suppose I'll ever reach the point that I'm not feeling like I could sleep the days away?"
"I think that watching Trav and Wrenna could be a very good thing," Ty pointed out. "No one will come there. No one will want you to do anything. You may sleep as much as you need because I will be there."
"And what will you do while we're all sleeping day and night?" Ly asked with a slight smile.
"I have a lot of thinking to do. I must decide what I will do now that we have settled our covenant bond. Much as I would enjoy lazing around, that won't feed us."
"You don't think we could live quoltania tea and cookies?" Ly teased softly.
"You're skinny enough. When we fatten you up, we'll worry about that. In the meantime, you will rest and I will think. When Wrenna and Trav are ready to move, we will talk about what we will do next."


As always... copyright January 19, 2009.

anny

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Survivors

Earlier this week a miracle took place on the Hudson River while we watched enthralled as one hundred and fifty people survived a plane crash. Everything went right. The pilot made sound judgments. The crew was well trained and followed that training. Passengers followed instructions and helped each other. And the emergency services and volunteers rushed to the aid of the passengers. For all of these blessings we're thankful.

Now will come the hard part.

Survival after a catastrophic event is not as easy as it sounds. No doubt some will have bad dreams or flashbacks. Some will have new fears to deal with. Some--thankfully a very few--will have physical injuries to heal.

But every person on that plane will have one experience in common. They stared death in the face and saw their own mortality. That is a life altering experience. Regardless of religious beliefs, or lack of them, facing imminent death changes all of us.

I've stared at my own leap into the unknown with a few flashing seconds to think, "This is a stupid way to die." I walked away from that accident unwilling to accept that I still lived. I remember telling the police officer, "I didn't die!" And he merely shook his head and said, "I don't know how you survived."

The passengers on that flight will experience their own amazement and disbelief. And then in the coming days there will inevitably be an evaluation of their lives. Some will make new resolutions. Some will turn over new leaves. Many will embrace life with new vigor.

Their families and friends will probably have a new appreciation of the loved ones they nearly lost. One man met his wife at the airport with a bunch of roses. Another family grabbed their young man and just held on tight.

Perhaps that's the best part of survival.

anny

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Friday, January 16, 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Monday, January 12, 2009

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Back Later!

Today I hurt some feelings. Not intentionally, but intentions don't always count. I think I'm a pretty good writer. I should be able to communicate my thoughts and feelings accurately and clearly, but that doesn't seem to be the case. However, for those I've upset, I am sorry. I can't think of a way to make that clearer. And I'll add that I will try to keep my opinions to myself in the future.

I'm taking the week off for personal business. I hope you'll check the link here where I'm a guest on Taylor Tryst's blog today! No telling what you might find out over there...Until next Sunday--have a good week!

anny

In the meantime, check in on some of the blogs on the list at the right!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Weekend Anyone?


I'm not quite sure why we look forward to the weekend. In my experience there is more stuff to do on the weekend. Shopping, cleaning, shopping, laundry, shopping, cooking, shopping... so why would I want the weekend to come?

All week long I can get away with minimal cooking, cleaning, and shopping, but then the weekend comes and the house hunk thinks I should have time for all that stuff. Ugh.

Tomorrow we'll probably not go out anywhere because it's supposed to snow. Baltimoreans have no notion how to drive in the snow. They stomp on their brakes, slither all over the road, drive too fast, drive too slow and are generally pains in the butt. So I stay out of their way.

I learned that the hard way the first winter we lived here. We moved down from upstate New York. The first snow of the winter just happened to occur on a day that I had an early doctor's appointment. First I tried to call the doctor's office to ascertain if it was even open. No answer.

So my son pointed out that we might as well head out. We might be late but at least we'd show up. We made it as far as two miles away from home. My son had no problem driving. But the rest of the Bozos on the road were downright dangerous.

I told him turn around and go back home. As it turned out, the doctors and staff didn't get there until noon. So on snowy days, I stay home--away from the crazies!

Have a wonderful weekend!

anny

Just a reminder-- All nominees for the Love Romance Cafe Polls will be posting between 4 and 6 PM EST today. (See icon at upper right of my blog.) I'll be posting excerpts from the Flowers of Camelot and Daffodil!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Word Verification


Wow! What a lovely surprise! Dianna at Night Owl Romance reviewed Magnolia and gave it 5/5 and a Reviewer Top Pick. If you'd like to read the review check it out by clicking on the NOR icon above. It was very nice to read pretty things about my book! Thank you Dianna and Night Owl Romance.

Anne Boling at Review Your Book also reviewed Magnolia and gave it a 5 stars! Thank you Anne and Review Your Book. If you'd like to read the complete review, click on the link!

As many of you who read blogs regularly know, a lot of the blogs are set with a word verification facility so that you must type these weird letter combinations before your comment is accepted.

Now most of my friends know that I'm a strange bird, maybe you could even say I'm a crack pot, but since I'm basically harmless, they put up with me. So it seems to me that all these "one-use" words are being wasted. After all, it's a lot harder to make up a word than you might think. I know, as my Mystic Valley glossary has four pages of made up words.

So I started collecting the ones that looked interesting. I have several pages of them now. And I've come up with a use for them. One of my characters uses them for swear words because she's trying not to swear. After all, when you smash your thumb with a hammer, you need a nice satisfying word to say instead of "Oh, darn!" So that's what I'm using my list for.

Some of the best ones almost sound like real words... unnessu, evervit, skegalio, iressnit... Can't you just hear it now? "Skegalio! Aminedeb! Badsalk!" Satisfying without messing with the little ones' ears.

The catch for my character is that she can't use the word more than once so she carries around a list and crosses off the word when she uses it. I'm running out of suitable words. So if you come across a particularly appropriate one, send it along. I'll keep track. Who knows? Maybe you'll end up in the book? Aescomic!

anny

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Crash!

So the house hunk called me yesterdayafternoon to say that the radio reports for road conditions were not encouraging and that he might be a little late. I said, fine, drive carefully. And went back to my writing. When he finally wandered in, he announced, "I had a little accident."

Seriously.

He was on the freeway. The driver in front of him missed her exit. Now what would you do in that case???? Go to the next exit. Right?

Nope. She stopped dead on the freeway.

And he rear-ended her little car with our big SUV. It was raining. The roads were wet. And she stopped.

So her car had some damage to the trunk, fender, bumper... and the SUV lost a license plate. Neither person was seriously hurt though I expect that both will be sore for a while. The woman drove her car away from the scene--after the cop blocked traffic so she could back up to her exit! Sigh.

Well, all's well. But by the time he arrived home and explained his delay, I have to say that I wasn't at all interested in going anywhere so that means that this afternoon I'll have to be ready to go to the store when he gets home. That's okay. The weather was crummy last night with ice and freezing rain on the roads.

In other news, I received a wonderful note from a fellow writer about my book Dancer's Delight. I was so shocked and thrilled that I kept re-reading the note all evening. Dancer's Delight has been out about eighteen months so this was a delightful surprise.

My blog yesterday had some interesting comments. I'm always fascinated by what strikes a chord with readers. I can write the most blah blog and it will elicit unusual interest. Another day I'll really spend a lot of time and thought on a blog and have my wonderful prose completely ignored. Amazing. Anyway--Thank you for all the wonderful, thoughtful comments! I appreciate them.

anny

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

MacGyverizing

I foresee a lot more MacGyverizing in the future. When people can't afford to hire someone else to fix things, they start thinking about ways to manage on their own. It's nothing new. Our parents and grandparents knew all about managing on their own, but somewhere along the line, we forgot. We forgot all about self sufficiency and independence. When the repairman was as close as a phone call, we forgot how inexpensive it was to repair it ourselves.

I've been working on a time travel novel set far back in the past in northeastern America--up near the Canadian border. In my forays into the past, I've encountered all sorts of roadblocks and detours. No corn. Two varieties of squash. Limited beans. No potatoes. No wheat. No rice. No domesticated animals. No eggs/chickens. No milk.

Well, that's just the food issues. Then there are other things such as textiles, shelter, heat, potable water, sanitary arrangements, weapons, food preservation, cooking utensils... and the list is endless.

In discussions with friends and family about the issue of survival, the misconceptions have amazed me. One example--animal skins. One woman said, "They'll just have to make clothes from animal skins."

Uh-huh. Animals--even a fairly large one such as a deer or elk will not yield that much actual usable material. Once the animal is dead, then you have to deal with preserving the meat (what method are you going to use and how are you going to store it?) and you also have to deal with tanning the skin so it's pliable enough to work with. That would be done using... (wait for it!)... the animal's brains.

So for one piece of clothing, it might take two skins. Two skins equals two animals' worth of meat that you don't dare waste. Ah yes, I forgot. How are you going to trap/kill the animal?

Where is MacGyver when you need him?

In the piles and piles of books that I've acquired for this project and the pages and pages I've printed from survival sites on the internet, I've discovered something. Our ancestors, particularly pre-World War II, were a pretty self-sufficient bunch. They knew how to survive on their own. They knew several ways to preserve food. This was pretty much pre-freezer era. No microwaves. No convection ovens. No dehydrators. As a matter of fact, homes out in the country didn't even have electricity or (gasp!) telephones.

How about soap? Do you know how to make soap? Or simple medicines? Or how to use herbs to season your food? I don't. But I'm learning and experimenting.

I asked a wonderful group of ladies about dyes. It took a couple of posts for me to clarify the time period I was interested in, but they came through like champs with all sorts of ideas for natural dyes and mordants. (Thank you, Brynn, for the url!)

I queried a survival group about using superglue to seal a wound. One fellow sent me pictures of his injury--a ghastly long cut--that he sealed close with superglue while out on a hunting trip. A former medic in the armed services answered all sorts of detailed questions.

There's a lot of knowledge out there, just for the asking. I'm not advocating that you stop what you're doing and go into survival mode, but wouldn't it be nice if we all had something to contribute if we needed to do so? The next time something breaks down, wouldn't it be a life saver if we knew how to fix it?

One of my goals this year is to be more self sufficient in my life. I want to rely less on the outer world and concentrate more on what I can do for myself. I'll let you know how it comes out.

anny

Monday, January 5, 2009

Bathroom Wars

Our apartment has a bath and a half. This is very convenient when the main bath is occupied. This morning, since the house hunk was hogging the main bath, I elected to utilize the half bath instead of waiting however long it was going to take the house hunk to finish. After completing my business I flushed, of course, and then heard that dreadful sound that everyone has heard at least once... the toilet NOT flushing. The water kept rising... so I fetched the plunger from the other bathroom--which was now empty--of course!

Back in the powder room, I wielded the plunger until the water went down. Then just to make sure that the toilet was in operating order, I flushed it again. Bad decision. This time, no matter what I did, the water just kept on rising.

At this point, I hollered for the house hunk.

Now on the weekends, the house hunk plays a computer game and when he's playing, he employs selective deafness. So, when I hollered for help, yelling for him to bring some towels, he ignored me!

I bellowed again. Louder. Bring towels quick!

He ignored me! Water was pouring over the edge, pooling on the floor!

I screeched a little louder! Finally he meandered out of the bedroom to see what my problem was, muttering under his breath, carrying one towel!

When he saw the scope of the problem, he told me to get out of the way, stomped into the tiny room and proceeded to plunge the heck out of that toilet. Unfortunately, there wasn't much water left in the toilet when he finished because it was all over the bathroom. Walls. Floor. Door. And the tiny vestibule where our front door is located.

And no towels. I ran to the linen closet and carted armloads of towels to the powder room and started tossing them down to soak up the water that was now almost an inch deep on the floor. At this point, if he had walked away, things might have been fine.

But noooooo. He had to start telling me that the mess was my fault. How was that? I didn't splash toilet water all over the walls and stuff!

Twenty towels later, most of the water was under control. The house hunk loftily informed me that he had to get back to his game.

And something snapped.

I reminded him that the towels would all have to be taken to the laundromat. Not his problem.

The walls, door, floor, etc. would need to be cleaned and disinfected. Not his problem.

The synopsis for my newly contracted book would have to be revised and okayed by my editor. Not his problem.

Huh. Something was gonna be his problem!

After the battle, I went to the laundromat. He cleaned the bathroom, the kitchen, all the dishes, and carried out the trash.

Next time I'll wait for the main bathroom to be available.

anny

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Saturday, January 3, 2009

All the news...

The house hunk has been on vacation forever. He goes back to work on Monday... and I'm ready! You know how you have your schedule all worked out and then the spousal unit takes vacation and messes it up? Yeah? Well, part of that is my sleep schedule. So I'm ready for him to go back to work. He's one of those terrible morning people! I don't mind morning people as long as they don't try to wake me up...

Moving on. I received my report from the annual booby squashing and all is clear. That was good news. Now if all the other reports are as good, I'll be a happy camper.

My lovely editor offered me a contract at Ellora's Cave for Rescuing Clarice. Very nice. One down, six more to go. Write, write, write!

Dawn at Love Romances Cafe sent me a wonderful e-mail notifying me that my book Daffodil was nominated for Best Erotic Novel and
that Flowers of Camelot has been nominated for Best Series. So if you agree, trot over to LRC between the 5th of January and 17th of January and vote! Thank you. While you're there check out all the other categories! I think you'll find some familiar names there--Jean Stewart, Cindy, Bronwyn, Brynn, Desiree/Judith... and no telling how many more.

On January 30th, Love Never-Ending will be released at Ellora's Cave--book five in the Mystic Valley series for those who are anxiously waiting!

Well, that's it for now--all my good news. At the moment I have no bad news so I'll stop while I'm on a roll.

anny

Friday, January 2, 2009

Hack, hack...

I am convinced that somewhere there is something that I'm allergic to. I have sudden coughing/gagging fits for no apparent reason. My eyes water. Strong mentholated cough drops will keep the coughing jags at bay, but I don't want to spend my days sucking cough drops.

I have tried to observe what the possible triggers might be, but so far I haven't been able to isolate anything in particular. For a while I thought it might be our cat, but we went away and I still had the same problem. Hmmm.

Milk? Coffee? Chocolate? No, no, no... I seldom drink any of them in the wee hours of the morning and that's one of my prime times. The other day I was driving down the freeway when I was suddenly overcome with the full monty and had to pull off until I could get it under control. By then, I couldn't see through the tears streaming down my face. Argh!

Yesterday while beading, I went into a coughing fit. Can we just say that it will be months before I find all the beads that went zipping around the room?

So until I get in to see my pulmonologist... I'll be hacking and gagging my way through life. Cough drops, anyone?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Long Day

The wind is howling, the windchimes are blinging. I'm tired. Yesterday I started out the day at Michael's in search of more beads for the promo piks I'm finishing up for the Australian Romance convention. The wind was blowing so hard it nearly swept me off my feet and I'm not small lightweight.

On the way to the store, I ran into a strange little mini-blizzard. Black clouds, thunder and snow. Very odd.

Anyway, after buying out the store, I returned home to bead my little fingers off. Around three o'clock the house hunk asked what we were having for dinner. When I proposed that we go out for a steak, he couldn't get dressed fast enough.

Back out into the wind for the drive to Texas Roadhouse. A fabulous steak and the trimmings livened up the promise for a quiet evening. Back to the house for more beading.

Sammie, the cat meowed until I went to check her food and water. Both were on the skimpy side so I fed her and took her water bowl to refill... except that there wasn't any water. Seems that something somewhere broke. So a large area (about ten miles long) had no water. On New Years Eve.

The water was turned back on at midnight. That seems a good omen for the new year. And the wind died down a little. Yep, those are both excellent look outs for this new year, 2009.

And today... well, there's more beading to finish, but it's a new day with new opportunities and possibilities.

Happy New Year.

anny