Friday Sinema: Not a Cat

It’s a Cat’s Life…or not. 😉 And I probably should not have gigglesnorted so loud. I disturbed Adidas and she found nothing funny about the video. Nothing. At. All. *tail flick* Have a great Caturday! 😉

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Thursday Thoughts: Universal Path

So… What am I afraid of? Not spiders. Or snakes. Not haunted houses or graveyards. Walking down a deserted street? Piece of cake. Heights? Other than wanting to jump to feel what it’s like to fly (yeah, I know…that’s a bit on the crazypants side), I’m good with ’em. I feed a feral black cat and wish I could domesticate him and bring him inside. I’m not superstitious. Well, not much anyway. I knock on wood, throw a pinch of spilled salt over my shoulder, and say “bread and butter” when someone I’m walking with and I pass on opposite sides of a pole (don’t ask, I have no earthly clue, it’s just a thing in my family). I don’t like making telephone calls but I’m not phobic (much anyway) about them. When this bit from the Universe dropped into my inbox, I got to thinking…

Should you ever find yourself on your path, Silver, moving along in spite of fear, wondering if you’re ready or not to rise to the next level, chances are great that you will not be ready.

Rise anyway.

Tallyho,
The Universe
© http://www.tut.com ®

You see, Silver, wondering means you’re not ready, doing means you are.

Want to know what I’m afraid of? I’m afraid that I’m a fraud. That I can’t write. That I’m beating my head against a brick wall and I’m suffering from concussion syndrome because I keep doing the same things over and over. But ya know what? I keep writing. I keep publishing. I keep walking my path despite the fear, worrying if I CAN rise to that next level. In my head, I’m ready. But maybe I’m not because yeah…I still feel like a fraud. But I keep doing it. Writing. Publishing. Wash, rinse, repeat. I’ll get it right one of these days. In the meantime, one foot in front of the other. Someday I’ll “find it, the rainbow connection.
The lovers, the dreamers and me.”

Caveat: Feeling like a fraud is a common thing among writers, dreamers, and me. We got this.

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Wednesday Words: Pretty as a Picture

Another Wednesday, another snippet for #1lineWed of Twitter fame. Today’s theme, **PICTURE** could paint a thousand words, so take a PICTURE, it lasts longer. Do you get the PICTURE? *waggles brows* So anyway. I had to dig around to find an excerpt that fit the theme. It’s a good thing I’m a puzzler. This is from Jen and Wizard’s story and it’s a little longer than usual, but what the hey!

Jen
I woke up with a crushing headache and the sad realization that I would never be the heroine of my own romance story. It hurt. A lot. But I didn’t have time to lie there rolling in my pity party. My last girl was getting married in a couple of hours and I had beaucoup stuff to do. Later, after the wedding and the reception and an after party of one, because my life sucked, I could contemplate my fate.

I was the epitome of the sidekick–the slightly overweight and klutzy BFF. Drunk at three in the morning? Yeah, I was the designated driver. Breakup with your man? I’d be there to help you pack and move. Need a good cry because your boyfriend was being a dick? See me raising my hand and offering my shoulder and tequila shots. I was the perpetual wingman—or wingwoman—or whatever the heck the female version of that was called. Perpetual bridesmaid? Oh yeah. I had the ten dresses to show for it. Ten years. Ten girls. Ten awful dresses. And me. I was number eleven in our posse, the odd girl out. Yeah, my life totally sucked.

I glanced at the digital clock on the nightstand. I needed to shower and get on with my maid of honor duties. I had this down to a science. First, though, I needed coffee. A whole pot, except I’d have to trot to the ladies room all day. I loved coffee. My bladder did not. One cup. I could handle one cup.
*
Alyssa freaked. This was not unusual. I calmed her down. Calmed down Brian, her groom. Got Lyssie’s mother out of the bride’s room, got her father in. Threatened the best man over the rings, Brian’s hangover, and the toast he hadn’t written yet.

I got everyone down the aisle to the strains of Pachebel’s Canon in D. Lyss looked stunning. Brian just looked stunned. They each said “I do.” They kissed. The background of St. Luke’s Chapel was perfect. The Grand Ballroom at the Elms was perfect. Everything was perfect.

Except all the bridesmaids were married to the groomsmen. Well, except for Doug, Brian’s best man. And he’d brought his significant other, and boy oh boy but she was definitely significant. Supermodel tall, legs that went from here to there, magnificent hair, magnificent face, magnificent boobs. Yeah, she had it all going on and despite the wedding protocol, when the dancing started, Brian led Lyss to the floor and she melted into his arms. Her parents and his joined them and there was some trading around of partners—Lyss with her dad, Brian with her mom and then vice versa with Brian’s folks. Then the wedding party was to join but Doug led his SO to the floor and there I stood—the last BFF standing, the full-figured, klutzy sidekick, the designated driver, and healer of broken hearts with tequila shots.

I didn’t miss the looks. Would have been hard not to see the expressions on people’s faces as they watched me. Pity. Embarrassment. Humor. There I stood in my fushia—what the heck color was fushia anyway but bright freaking ugly pink—dress with ruffles and lace and gussets and bows. All the other bridesmaids wore champagne pink that looked more the color of taupe, sleek and frou-frou free. My dress was meant to compliment the bride’s. Yeah, right.

My place card on the head table had been moved to accommodate Ms. Significant. Not that I cared. Much. My dress was hideous. I wouldn’t want me in the wedding pictures either. Snagging a flute of champagne as a waiter walked by ignoring me, I faded back to the edges of the party. My job was done. This was a destination wedding. Everyone was staying at the hotel or nearby. There would be a farewell brunch in the morning before Lyss and Brian headed to the airport to start their Aruba honeymoon. I just needed to stick here long enough to make the toast and then I could fade into the woodwork and go hide in my room with a good romance novel.

Yeah, about that.

Four hours later, I was still in the stupid dress, with the freaking bridal bouquet that Ms. Significant Other dodged so I had to catch it or look like a complete idiot instead of just idiotic. Then I found people in my room, my bags packed and at the bell captain’s desk because Brian’s Aunt Ramona from Minneapolis was having gastro-intestinal problems and couldn’t drive to her hotel across town so they moved her into my room because hey, why the heck should I care, right?

There was no place for me to change clothes so I threw my bags in my car and left. I’d go find a motel somewhere, spend the night and just go home in the morning. They wouldn’t miss me at the brunch. Ms. Significant could make my toast with the mimosas. That was my plan but then I just kept driving. I figured I’d get a head start on my morning drive. More miles behind me and all that.

I pulled into a convenience store and debated whether to actually get out. I wanted a Diet Coke in the worst way. A big one. With chipped ice. And a whole box of donuts. Or a bag of Cheetos. Heck. Why not live recklessly. I’d get both and eat myself into a sugar-carb coma.

Gathering my full skirt, I managed to get out of my Tornado Red VW Beetle convertible. He had all the bells and whistles except for the iconic vase attached to the dash. I’d wanted that but would have had to go used. My boy was brand new. And sporty. And had been my first step toward the new me. At least the new me I hoped I’d become.

I didn’t pay much attention to my surroundings. I vaguely remembered seeing an exit sign for Mission Springs and I’d gotten off. Because I wanted a Diet Coke. And donuts. And Cheetos. And saw this place from the interstate. I pushed through the door and walked into a nightmare.
***
And that’s the way our heroine’s day started. You’ll have to wait a bit to see how it ends, though I will give you a hint. Wizard was filling the tank on his Harley when Jen pulled up and got out. I’ll give you three guesses as to what emotional Charlie Foxtrot our Nightrider finds himself, and the first two don’t count. 😉 Do any of y’all have a 1000 words to paint a picture? If so, share! If not, I hope you enjoyed this peek into a future Nightrider book. 🙂

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Tuesday Treats: Creamy Chicken Tortilla Soup

Baby, it’s cold outside and I’m a firm believer in hot soups when the weather is frightful. I love a good tortilla soup but most of them have way too many tomatoes cooked down where I can’t pick them out. Allergy, so this is a thing with me. When I came across this recipe, my brain automatically started making substitutions. I tried it last week and the recipe got two thumbs up from Lawyer Guy and a thumbs up from me. Subs are mentioned below in the recipe.

Prep Time: 45 min.
Total Time: 45 min.
Servings: 8 servings, 1 cup each

Warm up with a delicious bowl of Creamy Chicken-Tortilla Soup. This Creamy Chicken-Tortilla Soup is full of amazing Tex-Mex flavors everyone loves.

What You Need
1 tsp. oil
1 cup chopped red onions
1 can (14.5 oz.) fire-roasted diced tomatoes, drained (I left this out, for allergy reasons and substituted one 4 oz. can of chopped, green chilis)
1 can (11 oz.) corn with red and green bell peppers, drained
3-1/2 cups fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
3/4 cup TACO BELL® Hot Sauce (for those who like not as spicy, use mild or medium sauce)
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breasts
6 oz. Queso Blanco VELVEETA®, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 Tbsp. lime juice
1/2 cup crushed tortilla chips (I used blue corn tortilla chips and served them on the side so they could be crunched “individually” because I don’t like mushy chips in my soup.

Make It

Heat oil in large saucepan on medium heat. Add onions; cook 5 to 6 min. or until crisp-tender, stirring frequently.

Add tomatoes, corn, chicken broth and hot sauce; mix well. Bring to boil; simmer on medium-low heat 15 min., stirring occasionally.

Add chicken, VELVEETA and lime juice; cook on medium heat 5 min. or until VELVEETA is completely melted, stirring occasionally.

Serve topped with crushed chips.

We like things really spicy around here, which is why I added the chopped green chilis. If you aren’t a fan of SPICY spice/hot, you can ease the heat level by using mild or medium hot taco sauce instead of the hot taco sauce. I served this up in large soup “mugs” so I’m pretty sure there was probably at least 2 cups in each serving. We did have leftovers so I froze what was left and defrosted then heated the servings in the microwave. It worked just fine. Want full nutritional information? CLICK HERE. This was an easy soup to make, though I did have to go shopping for the ingredients. Well worth it! I hope you enjoy if you give it a try.

Leigh Daniels, the heroine in NIGHT FIRE, likes to play with hot stuff–like her hero, Nightrider nomad and Wolf shifter, Smoke Jenner. As an arson investigator, Leigh is used to firehouse food and while a lot of firefighters are known for their 5-Alarm Chili, Leigh is known for her cheesy tortilla soup. Smoke agrees.

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Mid-January Monday

It is Monday, though here in the States it’s also a federal holiday celebrating the life of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. As a writer, most holidays don’t mean much. Writers just keep writing. The same goes for first responders, the military, and those who work retail/food services. Hats off to y’all! It’s also mid-month. There have been two Mondays, and after today, there will be two more Mondays. Weird how that happens. 🙂

There was a weekend. Part of it was cold, part of it was sort of cold. I spent most of the time indoors, either writing, listening to audio books or watching “Live PD.” And reruns of Lonestar Law and Northwoods Law. Don’t judge me. 😉

I’m doing a minimum of two Kindle World books this year. The first one releases in early April, working title MONTANA MOON and it takes place in Elle James’s Brotherhood Protectors world, and is my first venture into that world. Then I’m writing another installment in Susan Stoker’s Special Forces: Operation Alpha world with a mid-July release. The working title for that one is UNDER THE ASSASSIN’S MOON, which is, in part, a follow-up to ASSASSIN’S MOON. A lot of readers wanted to know more about Siri, the orphan girl. She’ll play a role in the new story. UTAM will be my 4th venture into Susan’s world. So many worlds, including my own, and so little time. LOL Still, ALL the characters are jabbering at me, so that’s a good thing. Sure beats the alternative.

I’ve been on a dragon kick this weekend. I have an idea why. I’m using my Audible Romance subscription and Hoopla, an app that my local library is using in addition to Overdrive. I finished up the last book in Michelle Sagawa’s Chronicles of Elantra fantasy series, which completed my reread in preparation for the new release next week. There are dragons in Elantra so that may have been why I kept checking out dragon books. I listened to the first book in the Stonefire Dragons series by Jessie Donovan. It was okay but I didn’t feel pushed to read the next book in the series. Then I grabbed Ruby Dixon’s Fireblood Dragons series. She’s better known for her Ice Planet Barbarians SciFi romance series. This series is more…dystopian? Or maybe apocalyptic. There was a tear between realms, dragons fell to earth and started burning stuff up. So far, it’s okay. I like the narrators. Since Ariel’s book is next up in the Penumbra Papers, I need to start reading some books about the fae to get in the mood. 😆

Life is pretty boring at the moment. Writing and listening to books, with the occasional dash of TV. We’re about a month away from Pitchers/Catchers with MLB. I’m ready. I don’t want the NFL and have little interest in the Super Bowl, beyond commercials and with the internet, so many of the ads are released early so…

What about y’all? How’s your weather? What are you reading? Any TV shows or movies that have caught your attention?

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Friday Sinema: Bohemian Soaring

Tuesday was International Kite Day. This is too cool not to share today. It gives the phrase, “Go fly a kite!” whole new meaning. Enjoy! And have a great weekend. 🙂

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Thursday Thoughts: Universal Lost and Found

Regular readers have heard me explain my writing process before. I’m a puzzler. I often use prompts, get wild hairs, get hit by a lightning bolt of inspiration, and other craziness. I haven’t written a book in linear fashion, ie. from start to finish, in a long while. This is why I love Scrivener. I write in bits and pieces, unrelated scenes, and sometimes the end before the beginning. There was one book where I wrote the middle then worked both backwards and forward to tell the story. Crazypants. I know. That’s why this little ditty from the Universe made sense to me. At least in relation to my writing. Probably in my life as well.

When I start a book, I’m always lost. I have characters I know nothing about. I have a beginning or an end and no idea how to find my way from here to there. I have a small idea I must turn into many thousands of words. Since I write romance, I have to make two people fall in love, which is always fun if they happen to hate each other to begin with. I love adventures and my characters are far more demonstrative with the expletives than might be normal. What can I say? Anyway, here’s what the big U had to say this week:

I know you already know this, but Silver, the only way one can find their way is to first be lost. To make it big, start out small. To fall in love, first feel none. Yet, when these adventures begin and the dreamers suddenly find themselves lost, small, and alone, you should hear the “expletives”!

So, look at it like this: Any such feelings are simply a sign that you’ve made a really, really big and daring “wish,” and its manifestation has already begun.

Foxy, clever, wry –
The Universe
© http://www.tut.com ®
Pssst… Silver, are you starting to feel the love?

Have I mentioned that I love my books? That’s why I write them. I love my characters and their stories. I’d like to be brave enough (or is it strong enough?) to say that I don’t care if anyone reads them or not. That’s not quite true. I do care. I want people to love them too. And if they do, I hope they share that love by telling their friends and family and strangers. Because whenever I’m feeling lost, small, and alone and I discover a good review or I get an email from someone telling me they enjoyed reading my books, I do feel the love. And I smile. A lot. And I want to write more books. It’s a “vicious” circle. Do me a favor, go get lost in a book today! Pssst. It doesn’t even have to be one of mine. 😉

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