The Joy-Dare for Day 3 is to find three blessings in things that you wear.
Luckily, wearing things happens all day long. And, I know that there are some special things that I wear that are blessings and that bring joy.
1. For my birthday my oldest gave me a necklace that touched my heart. She bought it with her own money and planned for the delivery date after I left for San Francisco. It is a pendant necklace that has the storybook from Once Upon a Time. That’s my favorite show. And every time I see the necklace it brings a smile of joy to my face.
2. It might seem like a typical response for this challenge but it is something that touches my heart and means so much to me, so number 2 is my anniversary band. It is the exact cut of the diamonds that I like and the gold band is shiny but simple. I got it for my tenth anniversary. We are nearing year 17 and the ring is still as beautiful as it was when hubby first put it on my finger.
3. After that sappy little joy bringing item, the third entry will probably seem ordinary. I’ve never had boots before. I thought my disability would make it difficult to walk. But for Christmas and then again on my birthday I got boots. And I love them. They make me feel pretty and stylish and taller. That combination brings me joy.
Day 4 Looks like a huge challenge: 3 gifts that are hard to give thanks for. I promise that I won’t choose PMS as one of the entries.
Is there anything you are wearing that brings a smile to your face?
The challenge for Day 2 is to find three things that are joyful and the color green.
I thought this would be a huge challenge.
But, I was optimistic. Here’s what I found:
1. First thing in the morning of Day 2 I found a green thing to be joyful for–coffee, specifically Green Mountain. For my birthday I was given a big box of my favorite flavors: Spicy Eggnog, Gingerbread and my most favorite French Toast.
I thought that number 1 “Green-Joy” was quite simple to find so the next one should be a piece of cake. However, the day began in a rush and there were many frustrating and stressful moments. For several hours, I forgot completely to look for the green challenge. Closer to the afternoon as we were leaving Los Angeles, I remembered that Carmageddon 2013 was tying up the freeways right where I was heading. My next driving choice ended up being the catalyst for my second “Green-Joy” challenge.
2. I was about to get on the freeway when my daughter said she was hungry. Figuring that I could find a place for a quick snack, I bypassed the freeway entrance and took a city street. Unbeknownst to me, that decision saved me hours of horrendous LA freeway traffic. We sailed down the city street and missed all the congestion. On top of that, we had straight green lights for many miles. It was a joyful drive home.
It took a while for me to recognize the third of my green joy moments. It happened when I went to tuck my oldest into bed. I was sitting on her bed and just talking with her when something caught my eyes.
3. I have to smile as I realize this is a green-joy blessing. Crocodiles and alligators, oh my. But, those stuffed animals and other knick-knacks are my daughter’s favorite animals. They define who she is–unique, creative, driven, and artistic. I know it sounds strange, that a crocodile collection can show all those descriptions but how many little two-year old girls like crocodiles instead of dollies? Mine did and still does at age 14 going on 15. She even won a collection award at the fair. Whenever I see a crocdile or alligator, it reminds me of the special and wonderful girl that I’m priveledged to be the mom of. (The following is a photo of her collection.)
The challenge for Day 3 seems like it should be a simple one. It has to do with something you wear.
Has anything green brought you a blessing of joy today?
Vivien Jackson tagged me for the Next Big Thing blog post. Thanks Vivien, it is always fun to play along with these fun activities.
The deets: The Next Big Thing blog post is basically answering 10 questions about your wip.
So, these are the questions I have to answer:
1. What is your working title of your book? Bound By Compassion
2. Where did the idea come from for the book? Continuation of the Kan Asma story arc from my last release, Bound By Obsession.
3. What genre does your book fall under? Paranormal romance featuring vampires.
4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
For Gunnar I would cast Trevor Donovan.
For Nadia, I would select: Beren Saat a beautiful Turkish model and actress.
5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? By mating in secret, they defied the dictates of their people but now they must decide to accept the consequences or join forces against those they love. (This blurb is a work in progress.)
6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? I intend to keep this series published through my publisher.
7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? Still writing it, so I don’t have an answer to that. I’d say from start to submit-ready about 9 months to a year.
8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? I’m not sure, I’d say there are a few Prime novels from Susan Sizemore that have some of the forbidden lover tropes, and there are many books with paranormal societies that have tight regulations about mating.
9. Who or what inspired you to write this book? I wasn’t going to have this book be next in the series but Gunnar, the hero, gave me a nice look at what he was suffering through and I just had to write what he was showing me.
10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? Mikhail shows up and reveals a little more about his very secretive backstory. Also, there is an across the railroad tracks romance and a huge rift that happens within the Kan Asma culture. Things are really going to get heated between the high born ruling class and the average citizens.
This has been fun. Anyone who wants to take this blog prompt for their own, consider that my passive tagging style.
Over the years I’ve had the honor of participating in many Halloween blogs and the following is the entry that I posted a while back. (For 2012, you can click on over and participate in the post that Vivien Jackson and I did together. It is all about 4 of our heroes and their choices for Halloween Costumes. You can check it out here: Spookapalooza 2012)
Now, here is a vintage Halloween post that I thought would be fun to reblog for today.
Sexy Trick or Treats for your Halloween Party
Halloween is chock full of fun things; from candy to costumes, parties to haunted houses, and, of course, the sugar rush. One of the most inherent symbols of Halloween is the fun of Trick or Treats.
Today, I thought it would be enjoyable to list a few Halloween items and show how they can be either a trick or a treat with a sexy spin.
Sensual depictions pumpkin carving- For those adult-themed parties, break out the carving knife and a naughty stencil set. You can free-hand your carving or, if you don’t have the steady hand to sketch one out, there are a few kits for purchase. One very naughty package allows you to choose from ten wicked designs that will spice up any Jack O’ Lantern. Is that a treat for your guests or a trick to shock them with? You decide. (Warning, if you do a google search for sexy pumpkin stencils you will find some explicit designs that are NSFW)
Frighteningly Fun Decorations-These can add a spooky ambiance that will liven up any party. Milk cartons transformed into eerie ghosts, blood-red punch in a bowl with vampire fangs made out of ice, and creepy, crawly cupcakes will have your guests wondering. Don’t forget to set the scene with flickering candles and a playlist of Halloween-ish tunes. Cry Little Sister by Gerard McMann is a good song to get things started.
Healthy snacking-You can trick or treat your friends by setting out delectable snacks that are healthy but entirely themed for the holiday. A skeleton cat made of crudités and black bean dip can set the scene. Stack up a platter of melon brains or “eyeballs” made out of dried fruit. Those will surely be the talk of the table setting. Encourage the attendees to enjoy the finger foods made out of carrot-shaped fingers, topped with almond fingernails. and everyone will surely giggle and indulge.
Finally, you have to get ready. A whole head-to-toe ensemble requires preparation. There are some eerily fun manicures that will make any nail catch the eye. From candy-corn french-tips, to black bat wings, any Halloween paint theme will have your party-goers doing a double-take. You can paint a collage of thriller-esque designs on each nail, and draw the notice of everyone as they try to make out what the scene is; both a trick of the eye and a treat to decipher. For those who are naughty and wicked, a do-it-yourself, sugary spider-web recipe could add to any undergarment. Treat your lover with a trick to the senses while making your own personal lingerie out of edible spider-webs! Then, cover it up with a naughty costume. Now, you are ready to kick-off your Halloween Spook-tacular event.
I hope you have a fantastic Halloween with many wonderful moments filled with tricks and treats.
If you are in a paranormal mood, please check out my vampire romance novel series, The Blood-Vine.
There is something alluring yet mysterious about wearing a veil. In my first Blood-vine story, Bound By Deception, the heroine Anna has a veil on during the blood-rite ceremony. She hates the archaic practice and yanks the material from her head the first chance she gets.
Fast forward a few books to the current story that I am writing. This time, the heroine Nathalia has no choice but to be veiled. She wears a traditional covering for a while in the story. The customs of her people demand that she conform to the dictates of their culture.
It is also a contentious point for the hero, Sevastian, because the reason she is wearing it is a constant reminder of the circumstances that are keeping them apart.
I thought I would share with you a few snippets from the story that pertain to the veil.
So here we go:
Kholed and Covered
Vastian looked on as she stepped into the antechamber. Her eyes were heavily kholed, the eyelids dusted with a shimmering eye shadow. He grimaced at the sight of Thalia all covered up, completely hidden from his view. The garment cloaked her from head to toe with an embroidered cloth arranged like a heavy robe. One little push and the thing would slide off of her, revealing her to his gaze.
Fucking archaic practices, he seethed. She looked shrouded, like a Bedouin princess. His fingers itched to reach out and tear it off of her, to reveal the youthful bounce of her ringlets and show the sweet dimples on her freckled cheeks.
Then, later in the scene:
“Take the damned veil off.” His growled demand startled her.
“I’m not supposed to.” Could she sound anymore childish? Thalia groaned inwardly.
“You will for me.”
Even though he didn’t speak it out loud, Thalia heard the underlying statement of ownership in his tone. It said, you are mine now, and that didn’t settle well with her. So, she acted like any frustrated girl and shook her head in defiance.
She didn’t even see his hand snap out and take hold of the tie. In a blink of an eye, the cloth covering her face swung loose. Next, the heavy shroud situated on her head was pushed off, the thick material of the hood draped across her shoulders.
“Shit, you’re pale as a ghost.” Vastian’s fingertip tracked across her tear-stained cheek and glanced along her lower lip. “You’ve tortured this spot here with your teeth.”
Thalia shrugged, defeated. “Your mother told me not to cry.”
The symbolism of Thalia being shrouded goes further than an actual covering of her body. Throughout the story there is much secrecy going on and she is in the center of it all. Sevastian and Thalia have a lot to overcome in order to find true love because they are both hiding behind more than the veil she wears.
What do you think about veiling practices? Do you think veiling can be beautiful and sexy? Or, do you think it takes some sort of freedom away? While Thalia is being covered for a religious-type ceremony, it is a religion wholly designed and created for the vampires of the Blood-Vine.
*All images posted are royalty-free and the rights for use purchased from Dreamstime.
I spend a ton of time driving my kids hither and yon. Thursdays kick my butt ’cause I feel like I spend hours just driving back and forth to places. I have been listening to the Love Never Dies soundtrack as a way to balance the non-stop One Direction noise my kids are obsessing over.
Have you heard the song Beneath a Moonless Sky? I don’t think I have ever heard a song so precisely written about the intimate act of loving paired to such a melodramatic tune. My kids hate it for the sheer operatic moments. I love it for the one line where Phantom croons, “And, then I TOOK you.”
Yes, please may I have another?
So, after listening to several of the songs my dancer began to protest and I agreed, simply because hearing that shrill vibrato Christine is belting out can become tiresome after a while…unless we are talking Phantom of the Opera and Past the Point of No Return with Gerard Butler. Hello, eye candy in sexy tight pants and black mask.
But, I digress. To appease my youngest, who has a great deal more flexibility when it comes to music, I thumbed through my CD collection. Since traffic wasn’t being kind, I blindly grabbed for a CD. The one I selected is a play list I made a while back for Sevastian and Nathalia, the vampire story I am supposed to be working on right now.
I started envisioning a scene that has been out of reach for a long time. Just as the picture became clear and things started turning into actual musing, everything went blank inside my mind (Phantom are you in there?) Nope! There was just a blank canvas of white. Oh, and this tall, imposing male was standing there with his arms crossed over his massive chest. He was precisely dressed in an expensive suit. His hair was perfectly styled. The harsh glint in his cobalt gray eyes pinned my inner muse in place. I had to slam on the brakes to avoid rear ending the dude in front of me. Because, I wasn’t paying close attention to the road due to the male’s narrowed gaze and hard-assed expression. I knew in an instant who was hijacking my mental thoughts, so, I confronted him.
I said, “What the hell are you doing, Ivan?”
Both his eyebrows went up and his glower could have frozen sunshine.
“I’m not afraid of you, Mister Vampire hard-ass,” I added with a harrumph.
“You should be.” That was all he said but the edge to his words would make a lesser being shiver in dread.
As a side note, I know I should be freaked out, the bastard does bad bad things to people he doesn’t like or who disagree with him.
Instead of cow-towing, I shrugged my shoulders and tried to be charming. “So, what brings you here, into my head, while I am musing dreamy scrumptious Vastian?”
He licked his lips, like he was wondering what I might taste like and how long it would take to sink his razor-sharp fangs into my teenie tiny human neck. Instead, he took two long steps and stood right next to me. Mental-me, had to look up and up some more just to glance into his austere face. His mouth quirked at the corners as he stared at me all cool and aloof.
Someone needs to put him in his place, I think to myself: Like a mate. That thought gets doused with ice cold water and is replaced with annoyance when he grabbed my virtual chin and forced me to look at him more fully. “What?” I managed to squeak out, though my lips make a little moue and the sound is garbled.
“I didn’t like what you did with Traian. I’m not happy with your thoughts for Sevastian either. He’s important in ways you don’t yet know. Mating him will… add complications.”
Since Ivan is a character in my own head, you’d think I would pop off a one-liner and tell him to knock his shit off.
But, since I DON’T know what is going to happen next in the story, I wonder if Ivan might just give me a hint by his protesting.
Right, big breath and ask….”What, you don’t like him going house shopping with Thalia? You have something against them living in Flintridge?”
He remained motionless, deadly calm. The tips of his fangs were barely noticeable but since I was watching him talk, I got a gander. His thumb traveled along my jaw to my cheek while he scrutinized me.
Then, he shook his head. “Nathalia won’t be able to handle the truth.”
WHAT? What truth? Crap. I thought her part of the heart ache was done. What the hell did Vastian do?
“I’m not telling you.” He simply breathed the answer. Damn, I must have spoken that last query out loud.
“Ivan.” I stomped my foot and the car lurched a bit. And, well, hello there little Prius driver. Sorry I scared you and you can lay off the horn now thanks. “Ivan, damn it. You have a strangle hold on my muses. Let them go. You freakin bastard.”
He lifted that long, muscled arm and my heart beat a little faster knowing that he could zap me with his mind bending powers and I could easily end up in Fantasy Land. But, he simply shook his pointed finger in my face and tsked. Asshole I thought. He’s fuckin with my mind. It must be him keeping me from writing the vamps. SOB needs a kick in the ass.
“Better watch it, Ivan Komar- the Kartal- I can just as easily write your story. Don’t think you want everyone to know where you hid all those bodies…..”
Oh, score. He let go of me.
“Don’t go there with Vastian. He’s important to my cause.” His warning rang loud as a bell toll.
Go where? I pondered again. Come on, throw me a bone. “I am going there Ivan. So, why don’t you just stop playing puppet master and let my muses go free?”
One side of Ivan’s mouth kicked up. “You know I am not the one in charge. That’s Aleksi. But, in this, he and I are on the same page.”
Me, blink…smirk…aha! “Very well then. I will take this up with Aleksi. I’m sure he and I can come to a solution.”
“I wouldn’t count on it.” Ivan pivoted on his heel and strode into the vast white canvas. A few beats passed and he stopped. Peering over his broad shoulder, he pinned me with a heated stare. “You know the scientists would love to get their hands on Nathalia. Her father is searching for her.”
Me…lamblasted. “Huh?” was my stellar reply. But, wait, her father is dead, was my mental rebuttal. HOW do I not know this, aren’t I the author? Sheesh.
“Let that be a warning.” He slashed his hand through the air and on a blink vanished.
And that leaves me with more questions then before. All I could think of was that I could be relieved that Ivan didn’t mention Gunnar at all. If he knew what I was doing with that male and his mate, all hell would break loose inside my head. Ivan is going to be soooo pissed.
Freaking Ivan. Someday, he is so going to get his comeuppance.
A while back, I glutted myself on watching a marathon of back-to-back television episodes. The show isn’t one I would have normally watched and I am quite surprised with my reaction to it. The reason I am so intrigued is because there is such a clear-cut, emotional love triangle going on. I was sucked in from the very first hour because the hero is completely affected by the possibility of losing the love of his life to his nemesis. So, what is this show? It is the BBC adaption of Robin Hood. The triangle is tightly strung between Maid Marian and her duty to marry Guy of Gisborne in order to throw him off of her illegal activities to help Robin. The moment that Guy finagles an engagement from Marian, Robin is standing outside the window listening. When Marian says-yes- Robin’s face is just this picture of agony and defeat. Marian is his woman. His love. And, he can’t stand the idea of another man having her.
I watched this show with a complete affinity for the tortured hero and was totally hooked. At the end of season 1 a tragedy happens. Robin is absolutely gutted and as he kneels over Marian, he tells her he loves her. That’s the stuff of romance novels and it reminded me why I love to write them. But, I digress. Going back to the topic of this post- the love triangle- I started to realize that the Robin-Marian-Guy triangle isn’t the first I fell head-over-heels for. There are several others that call to the sappy romantic within me. I thought I would list a handful of them and see what the common theme is that is so attractive to my romantic muse.
The first that comes to mind is another British hero: King Arthur. What a triangle! I can never choose who I like best. Arthur is a tragic hero full of nobility, skill and good looks. He is powerful and chivalrous. And, he is king. I’d love to “Yes, your majesty,” him simply for a little taste of all that Camelot destiny. But, then, oh my Lancelot. Tortured. Skilled. Oh, so brave. If you watched the Clive Owen version, that sexy knight can wield two swords at the same time. In First Knight, he’d risk his own life for just one kiss of Guinevere. How does a woman choose?
Next is my first love triangle crush. The Phantom of the Opera. However did Miss Christine Daaé end up with Vicompte de Changy? Cause he is hot, rich, and totally in love with her. But, the Phantom….he can croon in my ear whenever he’d like. I can put aside the murdering thing. (Buquet and Piangi deserved it, lol) The fact that Christine makes Eric feel for the first time in his long miserable life just touches my heart and I root for him to win her hand. There is the little forced seduction thing and I for one think it is a little hot to be seduced by a masked man but alas, Raoul has fine horses, a title, estates and in the Gerard Butler movie, is a freaking awesome swordsman. Choices, choices, I think in this instant the Phantom wins my vote.
I feel the need to list a couple honorable mentions. I absolutely adored Kara “Starbuck” Thrace and Lee “Apollo” Adama in the Battlestar Galactica remake. When she ended up married to Anders and Lee married some woman I don’t even want to remember, I was totally peeved. But, that made for a crazy amount of sexual tension neither Kara or Lee managed to get over. Each kiss, every secret moment ended up making me want them back together. Or sweating it out in a hot sex scene. Talk about chemistry, it was totally sparking. I didn’t like the ending. In my mind, they finally hooked up and got their HEA. Also, Jack, Kate and Sawyer from Lost. I never knew who I wanted her to end up with. However, Sawyer was my favorite of the eye candy dudes so, I was gunning for that relationship. When, near the end of the show, Sawyer sees Kate again, the emotion on his face is so strident, utterly stricken, my heart did a little kick. Once again, I was engulfed by my love triangle fascination, this time with Sawyer in the middle of Juliette and Kate. Finally, my sci-fi loving heart has another love triangle to be a shipper over. Stargate Universe has an unusual triangle between oh so soldiery Lt. Scott, pretty aristocratic Chloe and the brainy but sensitive Eli. Now, usually I would go with the soldier. Scott is handsome, devoted, regimental. He can shoot at scary monsters, get his ass kicked and still rescue the fair maiden. But, Eli quotes Star Wars. Eli has a dry sense of humor. Eli makes computers sexy. Too bad the show got the axe. I’d sure like to know which one of those dudes is going to end up with the newly alienized gal.
So, do you have any love triangle recommendations for me? I want to read new stories or watch a show with characters who are seriously conflicted by their circumstances. I especially love it when the hero wants to be with his love but she is kept away by some duty. It tugs at my heart strings to see him so affected by the inability to make her his. And, I adore it when he has to watch her being wooed, touched, kissed or taken away by his rival.
Ah, the love triangle. So, romantic.
Next time, I am going to talk about another trope I adore in romance: Unrequited Love. And first on my list is Mary Margaret and David AKA Snow White and Prince Charming in Once Upon a Time.