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Happy Thanksgiving!

1024x768-Thanksgiving-Wallpaper-5Happy Thanksgiving to all of our US readers! It is the national four day holiday dedicated to eating too much, shopping, and football. 🙂 Okay. Not really. Or at least, the last two aren’t supposed to be the point. Family, tradition, giving thanks – those are the actual purpose of the holiday. I’m already at my parents’ house to help with the preparations for our (in theory) drastically pared down feast. We used to do the whole BIG meal: Turkey, Oyster dressing, squash casserole, green bean casserole, baked beans, Brussels sprouts, sweet potatoes, rolls or biscuits of some kind, and finally, pumpkin pie and pecan pie. Every single year, that meal was followed by an emergency room run for me because of a blinding migraine. I finally worked out that turkey and the oyster dressing are migraine triggers. THEN my mother began adding salmon to the Thanksgiving feast. Just for me. But, you know, my folks are in their 70s. Neither my sister, nor I, have houses, thus there’s no place else to host Thanksgiving. I feel like my parents shouldn’t have to host – not at their age. So last year, we tried going out to Thanksgiving dinner. Not a success. We paid too much money for a solidly mediocre meal, though everyone agreed that trying to take the burden off of my parents was the right thing to do. We just didn’t know how to do that and still have food we liked. That we could afford. Then, late last year, my mother was diagnosed with Celiac. Do you know how many things have wheat and gluten in them?? So much for casseroles. We finally settled on a reduced menu that we made at Mom’s house for this year.It was supposed to be fried chicken (we have a wheat free, gluten free flour mix for coating the chicken), baked beans, Brussels sprouts and biscuits. Easy, right? That menu has since expanded. Sweet potatoes, green bean casserole (my sister found gluten free cream of mushroom soup…we’ll see), and mashed potatoes and gravy. Not the simplified, pared down meal prep I’d envisioned. And hey! We’ve already had one family holiday meltdown! 🙂 Still. I am grateful. I still have both of my parents to worry over. I spent Tuesday evening taking my sister’s 15 year old daughter to her first concert. We saw Bastille. It was awesome. I’m in a privileged position in that my family is healthy and happy. I get to do the thing I love most – write stories. I get to live where I want and in the alternative residence I love – even if hauling out the boat and doing the bottom stressed me in October. Worth it. And above all, I am eternally grateful for my readers. Whether you are in the US and celebrating this weekend or not, I wish all of you good health, prosperity, joy and peace. (This is from a Buddhist compassion exercise: May you have good health. May you have wealth. May you have great joy. May you know peace.) I’ll add in: May you have plenty of your favorite things to eat. 🙂

What’s the one thing your family holiday meals cannot be without? It used to be oyster dressing for us. Until the Celiac thing. Now it’s the baked beans. What’s yours? Pie? Turkey? Football?

Tradition of Change

We’re a family cut adrift from our roots. Dad was in the military. When he enlisted, he left his Midwestern family behind. He married my southern mother and ended up being stationed far, far away from *her* family. They started a family of their own – by adopting cats. I was a distant second thought. At least you know I come by the cat thing honesty. Regardless, the point is that my folks came from two very different cultural holiday traditions. They had kids in a state as far away from their respective families as the Air Force could possibly send them. Alaska. In 1964 (fortunately after the massive earthquake).

We moved often. Including overseas to Iceland. Each place we lived had it’s own set of traditions.

So we cherry picked. Nothing was sacred. Some of the food came from my dad’s family. Most came from mom’s. Everything else? Totally up for grabs. In Iceland, post Christmas, there’s a midwinter/early spring holiday wherein kids put a shoe in a window sill. In the morning, the shoe is filled with candy, treats and coins. My folks were willing to play that game, but only while we were in Iceland. Once we got back to the states, that was over. 🙂 We settled in the US after Dad retired and we fell into a set of traditions – maybe habits. They weathered me getting married – even reached out to encompass my husband’s family, and welcomed my younger sister’s baby into the mix.

But these days, change is once again the name of the holidays. For all of us. My husband’s family moved to sunshine. Florida. After last holiday season, my husband and I looked at my folks, you know, the only people with an actual house, and we realized they were exhausted after hosting the holidays. Mom had been doing most of the holiday cooking for the past fifty years.

It was time to cut my parents a break. Either my sister or I had to step up and host, or we had to come up with some new traditions again. I live on a boat with an oven the size of a bread box and maybe 400 square feet of living space. My sister lives in a trailer with her daughter. She has a real oven, but no more space than I have.

So this Thanksgiving, we’re going out for our dinner. I’m still at Mom and Dad’s doing the holiday baking. For Christmas? We’re not sure yet. Yes. My folks will put up a Christmas tree (for the granddaughter – but the girl is old enough now to do a bunch of the work herself). My husband and I will likely sail the boat over for the week of the Christmas holiday. But at this point? We’re playing tradition by ear, because really? All my life, my parents attempted to make my weird, nomadic childhood as normal as possible. Now, they’re in their 70s. It’s my turn to make their lives as easy and comfortable as possible.

Oh. And there’s still a cat. He’s gotten into the spirit of this season of change. He decided to contribute to Thanksgiving Dinner. Behold, Nicadeimos, the mighty hunter and his offerings for the feast:

grasshopperFirst – grasshopper. Crunchy!

ShrewSecond: the shrew. He is SUCH a good provider. 🙂

Better late than never…

And, for once, my caption doesn’t refer to me being late to post!

For us Canadians Thanksgiving has already gone, but there’s never a bad time to count one’s blessings! For me this is actually a particularly good time, since we just had a loss in our family so profound I’m still trying to come to terms with it. When you lose someone you love with all your heart so many emotions come to the forefront it’s sometimes hard to sort through them. But one thing that usually happens too is that you learn how important the people and systems you’ve built are, just by the support you receive.

So, in honor of my dear brother, here are the three things I’m most thankful for today.

Ann Aird

Me, at about two- or three-years-old

I’m thankful for my past. This isn’t something I’m usually thankful for, because it’s a checked, rollercoaster ride of profound highs and lows, and I’ve often looked back at parts of it with confusion, regret and even shame. Yet it gave me the family I have, the friends I love and the memories that make me smile, even when I feel like crying. I’m glad to be at a stage in life where I can now appreciate who I am, rather than constantly wanting to be someone, or something else. The past made me this person, honed my talents and gave me my perspective on life, and so I give thanks for it.

Sable, aka Beansie-Pup

Moe butt warm

Moe last winter, warming her butt

That probably seems like an all-encompassing kind of thankfulness, but I’m also thankful for my present. The here and now. My hubby, who is my rock and soft place to fall. My kids, who have grown into adults I truly enjoy being around. Even my furry friends, both of which seemed to know that ‘Mummy’ needed some extra attention over the last few days. The friends, old and new, who rallied around and carried me through. I’m even thankful for Facebook, without which it would have been almost impossible to connect with everyone and also express some of my emotions. That last one is one for the books, since everyone knows social networking isn’t usually my favorite thing!

And lastly, I’m grateful for whatever the future will bring. No matter what that is. If I can feel joy or sorrow, happiness or fear, it means I’m alive and that’s enough.

Peace and love!

In Gratitude (Believe It or Not)

In the last week of October, as we slide toward November, our theme for the next couple of weeks is the three things we are grateful for.  Mine are simple.  And I’m doing four, because I could not get it down to three.

Number one, and far ahead of the others, is my daughter. She is a joy and a wonder and a tenacious bulldog at times, but she keeps me engaged, loving, well-dressed, on my toes, and very close to my inner child and the magic hidden beneath life’s burdens.  And she keeps me loved.  Very loved. Who else would ask me to dress up as Dracula and pop out of a coffin, dance with a one eyed, banana-eating minion (an after the dance party pic) or answer knock-knock jokes for hours.  Minion with both of us

Number two. I am grateful for my health.  As dull as that seems, having everything more or less working, more or less well is a true blessing. One I wish for everyone.  As part of that wish, I happily and proudly contributed a story to the Shades of Pink Anthology, a gift  33 authors are giving to thank those who give to breast cancer research.  You can check out the details here. Empty Bed

Number three, believe it or not, I  am grateful for my fears and flaws.  As much as they create obstacles and frustrations in my life and drive some of my bigger, badder errors,  these also keep me moving forward, humble, creative and compassionate. They are as much a part of the package that is me as the stuff I actually like.  So it seems fit to be grateful and aware of what they bring to the table, as much as they work hard to disrupt said table.

Finally, I am grateful for the little things in life.  That parking space that opens up in the crowded lot, a good review for my book, a text from a friend just when you need it, a stranger on the metro who’s smile and good wishes lifts up a day that looked bleak, a cat curling up on my lap when I’m feeling sick, a good book, a reader who tells me how much they like my story, a strong cup of coffee in the morning, the almost accident that wasn’t, and so on and so forth.

For these, and so much more, I am grateful.  What about you. What little things are you grateful for?

Anya Richards Tells All (kinda)

Hi everyone!

Happy Thanksgiving Day to our Canadian visitors and welcome all to Darker Temptations, where we hope to whet your appetite for everything paranormal, fantasy and SciFi, with a little horror and other bump-in-the-night stuff—not all necessarily horrific—thrown in for good measure.

I’m your host for today, Anya Richards, sometimes a.k.a Anya Delvay—erotic romance/erotica author, tea addict and lazy-at-heart workaholic. Born in the tropics, I now live in Ontario, Canada, and often have to remind myself there was a REALLY GOOD REASON for coming north, although during snowy, frigid months I can’t honestly remember what it was!

I’m married (oh yeah…that was the reason I moved here!) with three children, only one still living at home. We share space with two cats, one of which dances on the back of the couch to gain my attention, while the other looks on in arrogant disdain. The most recent addition to the family is Sable, a puppy of mixed and questionable ancestry, whose street name is Beansie, a moniker that suits her to a “T”.

Being insatiably curious I have a head full of (mostly) useless trivia. I say ‘mostly’ because no one ever knows which piece of esoteric info will spark a visit from the Plot Monkeys, or when I’ll need to heartily kick some trivia competition butt. Along with writing my other loves include crafting, reading (of course!), history, cooking (well, I love eating more, but that’s another story), animals, and too much other stuff to mention. I’m a mental gadfly, and that’s all there is to it.

Some days I feel and act as though I’m still in my teens or early twenties, other days I’m resigned to being a femme d’un certain age, but without the connotation of being chicly French and available to initiate young studs into the ways of sex, unfortunately—on both counts. *wink* I’ve said for years I can’t wait to be a dirty old lady, pinching waiters’ tight butts and going up to strange men and telling them how handsome they are. I’m not yet at the age where it would be cute…but one day it will be, and I’ll be all over that like a cheap suit.

My erotic romance writing subgenres of choice pretty much run the gamut but recently I’ve been on a serious fantasy/paranormal kick, and I’m loving it so much it makes me wonder why I hadn’t done it before. Actually, the very first novel I ever wrote, now gathering dust under the bed, was a historical/fantasy/paranormal mash-up, so I guess the truth is I’ve really gone back to my roots. But with a LOT more sex involved.

The first of my ventures into the world of ‘otherwhere’ published was Awaken, in the Samhain Publishing Enchanted Anthology, then came Rescue My Heart, a Steampunk short in the Steamlust anthology from Cleis Press. Beyond Prudence, a Steampunk romp came next and was a ARe recommended read, called “an awesome and amazing visualization of steampunk erotica” by the reviewer.

Suddenly there was no stopping the flood of paranormal/fantasy themed stories popping into my head, and my love affair with men-with-a-twist was born. Since then I’ve had three more paranormal/fantasy themed books published, Arctic Destiny, with a reluctant polar bear shifter, Fleeing Fate, featuring a West African storm god and a banshee, and Stone-Hard Passion where a jinn seduces her troll client. On October 16th my short, Minions Have Needs Too, will be released in the Cleis Press anthology, Seductress: Erotic Tales of Immortal Desire. Watch out for a few more, already in production!

In honor of this re-launch of Darker Temptations, I’m offering a copy of Arctic Destiny to one lucky commenter, and if you also Tweet a link to this post and include my Twitter handle @AnyaRwrites I’ll enter your name for another drawing for a copy of Fleeing Fate too!

Thanks for stopping by!

Anya

Journeys Through Seduction

Anya Richards/Anya Delvay books available from Samhain Publishing, Ellora’s Cave, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Chapters Indigo.

The Cover for Hunted has Arrived

First, let me say happy holidays to those of you in the USA celebrating Thanksgiving.  If you’ve ever read my blog, you know I’m surrounded by family, which is such a blessing.  I’m thankful for my crazy family, my wonderful friends, my terrific readers, my agent and editor, and my writing buddies.  I’m off school today and trying to decide what hors d’ oeuvres to take to my sister’s house tomorrow.  (Yes, I had to check dictionary.com for how to spell that).  Google will assist me again with recipes after I post this.

Well, I’ve been so busy with promoting CLAIMED and writing book 4 of the Dark Protectors, I haven’t had a chance to show off the cover for HUNTED, which I received last week.  I thought I’d show it here first, and then go Google hors d’ oeuvres.  Here it is:

Ready or Not

Moira Dunne is a witch–the quantum physics kind.  Time and space are her playthings.  Which might explain why her one-night stand from a hundred years ago has turned up to “claim” her–and request her family’s assistance with the war he’s brewing.  But the more she learns about Connlan Kayrs, the more she comes to think this is normal behavior for him…

There’s Nowhere to Hide

When Conn and Moira tumbled on the moonlit grass, Conn hadn’t meant to mark her for his mate for all time.  She was only twenty!  But it wasn’t easy to wait for her.  It was even harder to forget her.  So when he finally returns for his wicked-hot witch, he’s ready to let the sparks fly.  Even if he burns up in flames…

Giving Thanks and a Giveaway!

Since this post will be my last before Thanksgiving rolls on by, I have to pause for a second and give thanks.

Thank you to the random couple arguing in front of Safeway this morning. Your tiny bout of violence gave me inspiration for a scene or two in my next novel. Thank you to the makers of the Settlers of Catan board game for livening up my Tuesday game nights. Thank you to the fanatical Facebook YouTube posters, for allowing me to mooch off your internet discovery skills. I just don’t have time to find the good stuff myself. Thank you Biggest Loser. I’m inspired to get my behind back to regular spin classes…just not yet. And the biggest thank you of all goes to my Western Highland Terrier puppy, Bailey, who decided to roll in chicken manure before coming into the house for the night and crawling into bed with me. I needed to clean my sheets anyway, so…thanks. Really.

Sarcasm aside, I’m thankful for everything. For our home. (Which is nearly done being remodeled, by the way. Click here to see the “before” pictures. “After” pics will come Thursday after next. ) I’m thankful for my husband and children. For the air in my lungs. Not a day goes by that I don’t look at my family and think how unbelievably blessed I am.

I also have to give a huge, warm-hearted Thank You to my readers. I never dreamed I could write…let alone do this crazy gig for a living. I’m floored that there are people who read and love my work, and email me wanting more. I am humbled by the support of total strangers. In light of that, I’m going to give away one print or kindle copy of InterVamption (winner’s choice) to a randomly drawn commenter. I’ll make the cut-off Saturday at midnight and announce the winner in a quick Sunday post.

So…what are you thankful for?

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