Monthly Archives: December 2011
I still can’t believe it’s already December and rolling into January 2012! This year has flown by at a crazy fast pace, probably because roughly two months (right after the birth of my son) are a total blur to me. Feedings every couple hours, no sleep, a bazillion dirty diapers…all you moms know what I’m talking about. It’s like the entire summer is one giant haze. 🙂
Luckily the haze faded and it’s been pretty awesome ever since. This is my last post of the year so I just want to say that it’s been so much fun blogging here at Darker Temptations with such a fabulous group of authors and I’m really looking forward to the New Year! What are my plans for New Years Eve, you ask? Staying home with a bottle of champagne and we probably won’t even make it to midnight. I’m not even ashamed to admit it 😉 Whatever you do for New Years Eve, I hope you stay safe and have a good time and I look forward to seeing you in the New Year. My next blog post is 1/10/2012 (omg, I love typing 2012!) and I’ll be hosting a fun guest author and giveaway so see you then!
December 22nd marks the winter solstice in the northern hemisphere. Those if us at higher latitudes watch the sun go down (if we can actually *see* the big yellow fire ball at all) ridiculously early. Here in Seattle, sunset will be very near 4pm. Sunrise is after 7am. We’ll have 8 hours of daylight. And 16 hours of dark. Yule is one of the turning points on the Wheel of the Year. From this point forth, the light increases – unless, of course, you’re down under – then you’re marking the dying light while we in the north celebrate the lengthening days.
It’s the appropriate time for beginning new projects. For though winter officially begins on December 22nd this year, and the coldest of our days lie ahead, the fire is returning. The dance away from light and life pauses for a split second, then the planet spins back toward warmth and growth. You may feel as if an ice dam of some kind has broken up in your own life after the solstice even as the snow falls outside. (Yes, the southern hemisphere has reached midsummer – it isn’t distance to the sun that determines summer or winter, it’s the angle of solar radiation either penetrating atmosphere or bouncing off said atmosphere – check out space.com for all kinds of geeky detail. For those people in the tropics: A. You have my envy. B. Most of this solar dance is unnoticeable – at the equator, planetary tilt shifts the sun a few bare degrees in the sky and varies the length of day versus night very little.)
A very Merry Yule from those of us in crystal clear, startlingly cold Seattle. The actual solstice in the Pacific Standard time zone is 1:30AM December 22nd.
16 hours of dark. 16 hours for the weres, demons, aliens, and vampires to wander the chill night. Do they feel the cold, do you think?
Happy Holidays, everyone! Whether you celebrate or not, I hope you have a wonderful and peaceful end of the year. Today I am Christmas shopping with my husband. We’ve both been busy, and this is the first chance we’ve had to shop. All I can say is…wish me well. 🙂
Yesterday was our 14th wedding anniversary. We celebrated by planning to celebrate after Christmas. This works for us. Of course, his birthday is the day after Christmas, and we’re having a big party with both of my brothers in law because their birthdays are close together. So, we’ll celebrate our anniversary after that. Maybe in February.
I love the holidays. I come from a large family, as does my husband, so we have many people to celebrate with and are so fortunate. I married an Italian, but my family is mainly Irish. So, as I head off to brave shopping with my stubborn Italian, I leave with you a blessing that strikes a chord with me, not only because I’m Irish, but that I (and several of our authors here) visit a dark, paranormal world often in our thoughts.
May you have warm words on a cold evening,
a full moon on a dark night,
and a smooth road all the way to your door.
Thanks so much to everyone who entered our Kindle and Book Bundle Giveaway! The winner was randomly selected, and that person is…Allison Westcote. Congratulations, Allison! You will soon be contacted about your prize package.
I hope that everyone has a safe and happy holiday season. I know it’s a crazy busy time. Always rushing around. There are presents to buy. Gifts to wrap. Cookies to bake. In the middle of all that madness, I hope you can find a little time to just sit back and relax and to appreciate all of the wonderful things that you have in your life.
So grab a tall mug of hot chocolate. Put your feet up. And take some good, old-fashioned me time. You deserve it.
No, I’m not talking about the show. I never really watched it because the only thing that could motivate me to do any of those crazy things would be death. As in if I don’t eat that scorpion, I’m going to die. Or if I don’t let myself be slung across a great divide, I’ll die. Heck, I’ve even joked many times that I don’t know if I’d run from anything. Not because I’m brave, but because I hate running.
However, there are times when I have to suck up my fear because there’s no other choice. I work in a male dominated company. A shipyard, to be exact. I do office work mainly, but sometimes my job requires me to face my fears. Mainly heights and water. Yet these are two things I have to deal with on a regular basis.
For instance, when it rains, I have to pretty much hang myself over a bulkhead to take water samples while a river churns below me. No, it isn’t as dramatic as all that unless you’re scared of water, which I am. I always cringe when I have to lean over to catch a water sample because I can too easily imagine my clumsy self tumbling into the river. *shudders*
Then there’s the height thing. Like when I have to climb onto a barge or tugboat. There are stairs, yes, but they’re grated stairs where you can see the ground below as you climb higher and higher. Then when you finally get to the top, you’re twenty-thirty feet in the air. *wince*
But it isn’t just work that requires these things of me. No, family does as well. Have you ever been on a scissor-lift? It’s this machine that looks very innocent. When you press a button the “scissor” folds open up, lifting you into the air. I had to get on one of these when helping my brother-in-law build his
airplane hangar shed. I managed to help bolt two pieces in place before my brain said “You’re so stupid! Get down!”.
Or when my brother-in-law insists I have to go fishing with him. In his 11′ aluminum boat. I’d prefer if it was a yacht or something much bigger so I don’t feel like getting into it will tip it over. That actually happened to me last year (the last time I went fishing with him). I stepped into the boat but pushed it away instead which left me hanging off the dock by my fingernails with both feet in the boat and my butt inching closer and closer to the 30-something degree water.
Yeah, I don’t have much luck with water or heights. But like I said, sometimes you have to suck it up. It doesn’t mean I handle it well, but I do what I can.
What fears have you had to face in your day job/family life?
For some, doing the right thing comes naturally. Giving money to the homeless is no big deal. Helping old men and women with their groceries is simply a part of the normal, every day shopping trip. For others, doing the right thing takes a little more work.
One day this week, I found myself tested more than usual…
Let me break down the day for ya’.
I was running late. Everywhere. Didn’t matter where I was going, or at what time, I hit every damn stoplight and waited at every train track. I went to Target for a few key things, and of course, walked out buying a cart load of items, none of them being the “key” things I needed. Back to Target I went. (It was also rainy and windy and I was lugging shopping carts uphill both in and out of the store…did I mention that?) Anyhow, the day was almost over. I had one last stop to make: Safeway. I filled my cart, happy as a clam that I’d finally got something right. I remembered everything I needed, and then some. The lines were horrendous (of course I chose the longest and slowest line, behind the woman with the hoard of coupons), but that was okay. It was my last stop. I wouldn’t have to fight another line the rest of the day. I skated to my car, unloaded my groceries into the trunk, and there it was…a gallon of milk staring up at me from the bottom tray of the cart.
You’ve got to me kidding me.
That gallon of milk and I had a staring contest for about a minute. Deciding there was no way—not one—that I’d brave that store again, or that line for a measly $3.00 gallon of milk, I plopped it into my trunk. Put my hand on the trunk lid. Started to close it. I looked around—no Safeway employees, police, or FBI in sight. (They wait for unsuspecting milk thieves, you know.)
Then, I heard the jingle of the donation bell from a guy standing at the front of the store.
“Merry Christmas!” he bellowed, full of wretched holiday cheer.
The battle with my conscience commenced. No one would know if I took the milk. I could come back next time and donate $4.00 to the grocer. (More than the $3.00, see? I’d be doing a good deed. Really. Truly.) I could hop in my car, get nice and warm, and come back later when the crowds were gone.
But would I really remember to pay $4.00 next time? Would I really want to come back into town? Was the desire to escape really so great that I’d be willing to steal some milk? Even if I hadn’t meant to steal it?
People must’ve thought I was having some kind of breakdown. I probably was. I kid you not, I stared into my trunk for a good five minutes.
Until I realized how utterly ridiculous it was to be having this inner war with myself.
The answer to my dilemma was simple and staring me in the face:
What would I tell my children to do, if they were in the same situation?
Damn. Damnity damn.
Back into Safeway I went. I grumbled every step of the way. I waited in line. Forever. I dropped that milk on the counter like it weighed a ton and sighed when I paid for it. I hated that damn milk. And hated that I had to make the trek back into the store to pay for it.
But I absolutely loved the feeling when I got home. It didn’t matter what kind of day I had; I felt good about doing the right thing, for the sake of it being right. I finished what I needed to and accomplished what others might not have. I fought the allure of the easy path and did what I should have.
If I’m ever asked the question, “If you found a wallet full of cash that wasn’t yours, would you return it to the rightful owner?”
I now know my answer. I’d hate every last number I punched to ring the person up, but I’d give the wallet back, and my spirit would glow.
This holiday season, remember what we tell our children: Be good. Do good things. Santa is watching. The Christmas Elf is reporting. But go one step further. Set an example that you should be and do good, when no one is watching at all.
My husband and I moved out to Arizona a while back so I could go to grad school at ASU. A couple years later, we had our first child, and a year after that, bought our first house. I am very enthusiastic about Christmas, so that first year (about 7ish years ago) we got an upstairs tree (a smallish one) for the loft and a full size for the family room. Christmas spirit everywhere. I had a house, a family, and was ready to start my own traditions. I was so excited, I was a menace.
I did not understand why so many people in Arizona have artificial trees. I couldn’t see any fun at all in pulling an artificial tree out of a box in the garage. No matter how nice they were, the trees didn’t feel right, didn’t smell like Christmas. Plus, I had warm childhood memories of hunting through Christmas tree lots for the perfect tree.
We got our trees, the big and the mini, Thanksgiving weekend. Two weeks later, both were so dry they could only be good for kindling. Likewise, I started seeing articles and news reports about what a fire hazard Christmas trees are out here where it’s so dang dry in the winter. I saw a very sobering YouTube video showing how fast a whole house could catch from a Christmas tree, and soon I refused to turn the lights on the trees on at all. They sat there—dry, decorated sticks. Needles were everywhere—fantastic for our toddler. We finally decided to take down our ornaments and lights and drag the kindling into the back yard, before Christmas. My good friend and neighbor didn’t try to mask her laughing, and to this day, won’t let me live it down.
We bought a third tree to fill the depressing hole in our living room. Trees are inexpensive out here (a fraction of what they are back east!) and we couldn’t afford an artificial one that year. Decorating for the third time was not as much fun as you’d think. The mocking from my mommy friends was less so.
In the years since, we’ve had a gorgeous artificial tree. I love it. We got it at Costco. It came in a big box. The branches have pre-strung lights so bright you could probably see them from space. But best of all, the tree won’t burn my house down, which fills me with all kinds of Christmas spirit.
(Update: My husband just read this post and he said I left out the part where he tried to save the big tree. One night he took off all the ornaments, left the lights, dragged the tree to the garage, and sawed off a little more of the trunk so that the tree could get more water. Then brought it back in, put it up, and put the ornaments on. He tells me now he did it when our daughter and I were sleeping. That, right there, is why I married him.)
I was checking off the people I’ve already bought gifts for this year, feeling all proud of myself that I’m ‘officially’ done when I realized I’ve managed to get all my presents early but ONE. Normally my mom is the hardest person to shop for, but this year I knew exactly what to get her. And normally my husband is the easiest, but this year it’s like their roles reversed. I’ve bought my husband a few small things, but we usually get each other one big present in addition to the little ones and for some reason I sort of skipped him.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve got some ideas, but one of them involves going into a sports/fishing/hunting store and the most ‘guy’ section there. Don’t know if I’m brave enough. The closer December 25th gets, the more I’m dreading making that final shopping trip.
Since my mom sometimes reads my blogs I won’t say what I got her, but I did get my new baby a bunch of fun interactive toys, stacking blocks, books (which he’s definitely too young for but come on, I had to get him a few), a toy phone which I think he’s going to love since he’s always trying to take my real one and a giant stuffed penguin. He doesn’t have a lot of stuffed animals and the penguin is kind of for me because penguins are awesome!
So what about you? Who do you find it easiest to shop for? Who do you find it hardest to shop for? And why?
First let me just say I sure hope today is my day to post. I’ve been a little out there lately and can’t seem to keep up with time. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m spacey anyway or maybe it’s the new book I’m writing. You see, for years I’ve writtten just about everything from young adult (yeah my young adults were way too advanced 🙂 ) to suspense. While I’ve loved writing in several genres there are two that I have no ventured into. One, historicals. Maybe it’s that I’m a tad lazy or that I would rather read them then write them, but I just can’t write historical romances. Two, science fiction. All right, I fully admit without any shame that I will stay up until one in the morning to watch Star Trek. I love this genre.
I’ve always yearned to write a science fiction story, but until a few nights ago I didn’t think I could. I’m still on the fence on whether I actually can or not. I get concerned that my wording isn’t syfyish enough. I mean, how human/earth should my characters talk and think? I don’t know!!!
But so far I am liking my GS 1 males and human pilot. I think my pilot, Melinda is going to keep those ultimate male GS 1’s in line. Maybe. Right now they are about to find themselves in a black hole traveling through space. Ok, so here is when I start to panic. What does this feel like, look like, and sound like? What exactly should be happening while in a black hole?
Maybe my imagination isn’t big enough for this afterall? Or maybe I need to read more 🙂 yeah I like that section option much better. Time to grab Marcella’s second book and read up on my new genre 🙂
Happy Monday Folks!!
Quite by accident this past week, while registering for the Romantic Times Book Lovers Con in Chicago, I discovered that Enemy Games is a finalist in the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards. Yay! And a great big “Thank You!” to the folks at RT Magazine. That was first.
Second, I bring you a public service announcement: When the instructions on your heating pad say “Don’t fall asleep with heating pad on” – they mean it. I’m sporting a jaunty red burn on my throat from possibly having disregarded those instructions. What? I had a migraine and no meds. The hot pad was my only hope of sleep. It worked. Even if I look like I need to come up with some kind of new supernatural sexy hero type in order to explain the burnmark hicky. (Happy ending. A quick call to the MD on call next morning resulted in meds being refilled in short order. The local pharmacy handed me my drugs within the hour and I had my day back. But I’ll have that compromisingly placed burn for a few days.)
Lastly: One of the joys of living aboard a boat is all the wildlife that hangs around on the water. On Monday, I had a wildlife close encounter. It was a rare sunny day – notably not warm – but sunny. I was sitting with the cat in my lap when the boat dipped to one side as if someone had stepped aboard. I’d have looked up to see who’d come aboard, but we’d dipped the other way *AWAY* from the dock. Then I hear the scrabbling of claws on gel coat. What the hey? The cat and I glance at the window. There’s a wet, brown, furry critter shuffling down my side deck past my galley window. The cat levitated off my lap and ran for a better vantage point. I stood. The critter paused and looked in the window at me. River otter! Not two feet from my nose. I waved. I swear that otter blinked, then turned and continued on his merry way to my foredeck. He lolled around in the sun where I was able to snap a truly craptastic photo with my cell phone. Here he is:
Cheeky little bugger. Cute. From a distance. Thing is – otters stink to high heaven. Of fish. And dear GODS do they make a mess. The cat desperately wanted to go out and have words with the interloper. Did not happen. Those otters have great big claws and jaws designed to crush shell fish. The visit didn’t last long, if only because the sun didn’t last long. He bailed overboard when I stepped outside to get a better glimpse of him. You’d have thought *I* smelled bad rather than Mr. Otter.