When I received the topic for this week’s blog post, I thought, “Name three things I’m most grateful for? Easy peasy.” Turns out that’s not quite true. I think I wrote this post four times, and every time I started fresh, there were three new things in my life I found myself grateful for. I decided to go with the first version because, while it’s much more personal than I tend to ever get, it’s the most authentic. Here’s what I came up with.
#1: My Husband
It might sound a bit trite, but he’s the thing I’m most grateful for in life. There are too many reasons to list, plus I’d probably get all sappy, so let me hit the high points. First, that man loves me more than anything else in the world, and he makes sure I know it–texts, notes, voicemails, emails, flowers, surprise dates. He is a cuddling machine. He listens to what I have to say. He’s brilliant and not stingy in sharing the knowledge, so I’ve grown marginally more intelligent over the years. (Yay, osmosis!)
Above all, when the shit really hit the fan and I found myself in a very precarious emotional spot due to some serious ongoing health issues, he stood by me, behind me for support and in front of me as interference. He was where I needed him to be when I needed him to be there without my ever having to ask. He simply loved me harder.
This man has taught me more about love than I ever thought possible, and I am a better woman for having been his partner for eighteen years.
#2: My Friends and Family
So simple. So true. I have a very, very small inner circle of people who surround me. There are quite a few people who orbit the group, people whom I value, but those closest to me? There are only a handful. These are the people I can call at 3:00 a.m. when my old Labrador Retriever had a seizure and my husband was out of town, the person I meet at Starbucks in “our spot” and can count on to be honest no matter how hard it is to hear, the person who goes to doctors’ appointments with me so I don’t have to be alone, the person who calls and says, “My Spidey Sense was tingling…what’s wrong?” and the person who simply shows up with a cold Dr. Pepper despite her personal war against sugar and says, “You need a little sunshine, Denise. Let’s sit outside.”
I do my absolute best to be worthy of their friendship, be they blooded family or not. My life is richer because of these people who form the nucleus of who I am.
#3: My Writing
This one might strike you as odd. Let me explain. Several years ago, I lost my job after a back surgery gone wrong. My job had become my life. It was everything I identified with, everything I used to define the parameters of “me.” When those parameters crumbled, I was left a shivering mass of naked regret. A decade spent building a career — gone. Disability was suddenly an unavoidable reality, and I hated myself for it. For a long time, I sulked. I didn’t want to rediscover joy in life. I didn’t want to find new passions. I wanted my old life back, and was so busy looking over my shoulder that I nearly missed what was right in front of me. Remember my darling husband? He bought me a laptop, brought it home and said, “Write. It used to make you happy.” I sulked a bit longer, then got up in pain in the middle of the night and went to the living room. There sat the computer. I opened it up and wrote the first few pages of Legacy, the first book I sold. Writing helped me rediscover who I was, who I am, and it gave my flagging sense of productivity an outlet that I could physically, safely, manage. I found myself in the words when I thought I was lost, when things were so bleak for me that I went to a very dark place I don’t talk about. My imagination was unlocked and I found my happy inside. How can I ever thank him for that?
Take a second and let me know who or what you’re most grateful for. I’d love to celebrate them or it with you.
Asking me to pick a favorite romance novel is like asking me to pick which of my dogs I love the most. Im-fricking-possible. So here’s the story of the first romance novel I ever bought.
When I was about eleven years old, it was an odd thing for me to have money. I’m not sure where I’d come up with the few dollars that I was going to use to buy my mother’s birthday present, but I was excited about it.
I went into the tiny bookstore in our tiny mall. B. Dalton Booksellers. I was a little embarrassed when I walked into the Romance novel section. After all, I was eleven. I blushed when I saw people kissing. But I’d read several of my mother’s collection of them, and I knew that she’d love whatever book I could find for her. And also, that eventually, I might be able to read it too. (She kept the spicy ones on a bookshelf that my big sister and I weren’t supposed to read.)
There were several thicker books that I wouldn’t have money for. I looked for her favorite authors, but they all had the thick books. I’d only have enough for one of the skinnier ones.
I picked up a slim volume with a purple spine. The cover, edged in the same purple, had a swarthy, tanned, shirtless man standing behind a pale blonde woman with short curls. She was dressed only in a white towel. A massive ship stood behind them both.
SCARLET BUTTERFLY by Sandra Chastain.
With burning cheeks and a sweaty palm gripping my wad of dollars, I went up to the counter. I put the book face-down, and looked at my feet while the woman rang it up. She drew me out in conversation, and when she found out it was my mother’s birthday, she let me select from a pile of free books too. I got my mother two books with my few meager dollars. I was over the moon.
Me and my first romance purchase.
Mom was delighted with the gift, both the free book and SCARLET BUTTERFLY. As time went on, and I plowed through my mother’s entire collection of Romance novels, I finally read that very first Romance I’d purchased. It became one of my favorites, and I re-read it several times. When I moved out of the house, and my sisters, mother’s, and my reading collections had become muddled and mixed, SCARLET BUTTERFLY came with me.
In October of 2011 I had the pleasure of attending my first writer’s conference. I met several very interesting women, made some life-long friends, and learned so much. One of the coolest people I spoke to just in passing, was a white-haired, elderly lady with a walker. She wasn’t physically strong, but she was sharp and clever. I laughed with her a couple of times over the weekend. I don’t think she wore a nametag, so I didn’t catch who she was.
At the Maggie Ceremony, the GRW chapter presented their awards. They gave several to their chapter members. I clapped, smiled, and tweeted the winners. But then they got to the Nancy Knight Mentorship award. They described the winner’s willingness to help other writers, how sweet, caring, and wonderful this person was, and then they announced her name.
I looked up as my heart skipped a beat. Across the giant white screen at the front of the room was printed the name:
It took a long time for her to reach the stage. After all, a lady with a walker can only move so quickly. But it was her. The person who’d written the very first romance that I’d ever bought.
I wanted so badly another chance to speak with her. To tell her how much I’d enjoyed SCARLET BUTTERFLY. To get her autograph, to tell her how inspiring it was to me to meet her. But I didn’t see her again after that. We had to leave the awards ceremony before it was over, and she wasn’t at the workshop on the following morning.
I may never get to meet her, but I saw her. I put a face to the name on the cover of my dog-eared, read-to-shreds copy of SCARLET BUTTERFLY.
The world may be small, but sometimes it’s freaking incredible.
It’s sidekick time, so we get to talk about our favorites! I know that Sabrina just talked about Doctor Who, but while Martha is her favorite companion, I’ve got to give that particular crown to my favorite companion…
She’s not the youngest companion, or the prettiest. But I’ve got several big reasons why she is the PERFECT companion for the Doctor.
1. Zero Romantic Entanglement.
She’s a woman, he’s a Time Lord shaped like a man. But Donna NEVER had any particular attraction for him. That made their relationship as a team SO much more enjoyable. With Rose, I was always waiting for him to admit how he felt about her. With Martha, I was waiting for her to get over him. But Donna was his friend. His BEST friend. The only companion I’ve seen who could interact with him without giving a shit about how SHE felt. It was such a relief after the angst of Rose and Martha.
“I just want a mate,” he said, an earnestly worried expression on his face.
“You want… TO MATE?” She dropped her jaw in protest while her eyebrows winged to her hairline. “Oi, you’re not mating with ME, space man!”
She walloped him, she corrected him, she said NO. She did things that no other companion would, or could. She was tough and she didn’t mind standing up to what amounts to the most feared being in the Universe. I LOVED that about her.
In “Forest of the Dead” (which is the second part of “Silence in the Library”… Vashta Nerata anyone?) Donna was saved and provided a family by CAL. She had a husband, and children, and while she KNEW something was off about the whole situation, she couldn’t help falling in love with the whole idea. And then, all that was ripped away from her. After that episode, you got the sense that Donna knew a little bit about how the Doctor must feel, having lost so much. They comforted each other, not as potential lovers, but as FRIENDS.
It’s entirely possible for women and Time Lords to just be FRIENDS. And I think that the series is really missing that now. I never bought that Amy Pond lost her hero-worship type love of the Doctor, and I spent so much time wondering if Clara was some kind of regeneration of River or somehow one of the Doctor’s children that I never got a good sense that they were friends, either.
Like Sabrina, I love romance. Heck, I’m trying to make my living off just that! But Doctor Who works better when it’s an adventure between mates, not a soap opera.
So, Mr. Moffat, if you can hear me, BRING ME THE ONE THEY CALL NOBLE!
It’s here it’s here it’s finally HERE!!!!
Yup, that’s it. Today, finally, CAUGHT IN CRIMSON releases from Ellora’s Cave! If you saw my post earlier in the week, you know that this is Day 3 of the Super Awesome Spectacular Caught in Crimson Release Tour! If you didn’t, well, welcome! And you’re in luck. Because today, and several more days from now, you’ll have a chance to enter to win the grand prize. A $25 Amazon giftcard, PLUS the entire upcoming Spellbinding series, starting with Crimson! WHAT??? Yup, win them before you can buy them. Of course, they’ll be delivered on release, but still! The complete set without you having to lift a finger. Sound good? Good. And there are 10 runner-up prizes too! So there are lots of chances to win.
Okay, intro over. Let’s get to the meat of this post. And I do mean, meat. As in, man meat.
CAUGHT IN CRIMSON Character Spotlight: Adam Montague
Meet Adam Montague. Carpenter, divorcee, businessman. Used to being in charge. Is a true gentleman. Opens doors for ladies, says ma’am, leaps to protect them whenever possible.
In short, he’s completely wrong for Delia.
But damn, does he like what she does to him.
After discovering his wife Vanessa’s embezzlement and their subsequent divorce, Adam found it hard to trust anyone, much less women. But at his employee’s urging, Adam reluctantly agrees to an online dating profile. He doesn’t really click with anyone until he happens upon CrimsonLady83’s profile.
She’s gorgeous, sexy, and seems almost completely insane. But Adam can’t deny the magic things happening around him, even though they should be impossible. Thrown into a world he knows nothing about, he’ll have a lot to deal with in order to get out with his life, and heart, intact.
Let’s play questions with Adam!
1. What is your favorite word?
Energy. I like how it makes me feel.
2. What is your least favorite word?
Vanessa. For obvious reasons.
3. What turns you on?
Other than a great body? Intelligence. I love a woman who’s clever.
4. What turns you off?
5. What sound do you love?
The sound of tools on wood. It means progress.
6. What sound do you hate?
7. What is your favorite curse word?
8. What profession other than yours would you like to attempt?
I can’t imagine doing anything but building. It’s who I am.
9. What profession would you not like to do?
I could never sit in an office and handle phone calls. That would drive me insane.
10. If you could paint a picture of your perfect woman, what would it be like?
Well, she’s kind. Brave, and strong, but lets me take care of her too. She’s beautiful, curvy, moves well. But I guess the most important thing is that she’d be trustworthy. I’d have to be able to know she and I were a team.
^^^^^^^^^^CAUGHT IN CRIMSON blog tour giveaway! ^^^^^