Friday, May 26, 2017

This I know for sure...

I have today and all of next week off from the day job. As I wrote that sentence, my brain was jumping for joy thinking of how I could spend all that time. Sleeping in, reading as many books as I can just for the pleasure of it, and spending time doing nothing if I feel like it.

The reality is I rarely sleep past 7:00am even without having an alarm set. I also have a semi-long To Do list of things I want to get done. These are the things I never seem to find the time to get to or that I've been attempting to do for months and have accomplished very little on. I'm hoping to get at least a few of these crossed off the list completely.

That being said, I am taking today and the rest of the holiday weekend to enjoy having the time off to do anything I feel like or nothing if that's what I feel like.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress): I only managed 3 pages of new material last week. I've been having a lot of things come up that need to be done during the time I normally reserve for writing. If it doesn't change this week, it will definitely change next week and I'll have my writing time back for writing.

Quote of the Week: "Your mind is a powerful thing. When you fill it with positive thoughts, your life will start to change." ~ Unknown

What I'm reading: Lawless in Leather by Melanie Scott. This is the third book in the NY Saints baseball series. I read the first book in the series, skipped the second book because I couldn't find a copy at my local library and am now reading the third book. Each book works well as a stand alone novel.

Random Thoughts: On January 2nd, I started a gratitude journal. Every evening I write down three things I'm grateful for that happened that day. Some days it's really hard to come up with three things. Other days, it's amazingly easy and I could list more than three things. Keeping the journal has helped me get through some difficult days the last 4 weeks or so. Yesterday I received news that will make those difficult days a thing of the past. Despite the change that will be taking place, I'll keep doing the gratitude journal because not only did it help me get through the hard days, it reminded me that no matter how crappy the day was, there's something, no matter how small or seemingly unimportant, to be grateful for.

Random Photo of the Week:


Somebody likes to try and cuddle with his brother who usually wants no part of it.

Monday, May 22, 2017

Please Welcome My Guest

Please welcome my guest, Author Jean M. Grant.

 Jean is a scientist, part-time education director, and a mom. She currently resides in Massachusetts and draws from her interests in history, science, the outdoors, and her family for inspiration. She enjoys writing non-fiction articles for family-oriented and travel magazines, and aspires to write children’s books while continuing to write novels. In 2008, she visited the land of her daydreams, Scotland, and it was nothing short of breathtaking. Jean enjoys tending to her flower gardens, tackling the biggest mountains in New England with her husband, and playing with her sons, while daydreaming about the next hero to write about...

Tell us something about yourself both writing and not writing related.

I love sharks and originally I wanted to be an ichthyologist. But even as a girl, I loved art and writing. Ultimately, I chose the science path and I got multiple degrees in Marine Science, Biology, and Microbiology and Immunology (wow, that’s a few -ologies, huh?). Writing was a hobby pursuit for many years. I needed something creative on the side to stay sane in graduate school. Over time it became a career-goal. A Hundred Kisses is my fourth manuscript but the first to be published. Perseverance is essential if you want to succeed as a writer. I began this journey almost 20 years ago.

Do you have a writing routine?  Where do you usually do your writing?

My routine is to write when I can in nooks and crannies but also in intentional blocks of time! I do enjoy morning writing, even before the sun rises. Coffee. Must have coffee. I gather ideas in the usual places – while driving, exercising, or showering – so those ideas get quickly jotted down for later. My kids keep me on my toes so finding quiet time alone is also imperative to keep the words flowing.

Why do you write in the genre/sub-genre that you do?  Any plans in the future to write in a different one?

I love happy endings so I adore romance. Diana Gabaldon’s books baptized me into this fulfilling genre. My latest manuscript (in submission process) veers off the romance road toward mainstream Women’s Fiction and I’ve drawn from my personal experiences for that book. I also have a few children’s picture books that I hope to acquire literary representation for. Tucked away in my brain is another mainstream idea, and of course the prequel to A Hundred Kisses (I am going to tackle that one next). Plus a few more romances hang out in the processing queue of my daydreaming mind…

How do you stay motivated when writer’s block hits or your muse won’t cooperate?

I am solar-powered. Rainy, gloomy, cold days make it harder to write! Sunshine is my muse! And I live in New England. We have long winters. Music helps inspire. Switching up projects also helps. I can get sidetracked with research, too. Although I am an organized kind of writer, I do like to jump around and follow inspiration when it strikes. I don’t have a set number of words or pages per day. I write what I can, when I can. Editing is what usually takes the most discipline.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever done in the name of research?

I’ve learned to take extroverted leaps of courage. I did email a Norwegian crew master who had recently sailed a replica Viking ship across the Atlantic Ocean to the U.S.A. (my prequel to A Hundred Kisses will focus more on Vikings). He actually wrote back! I hope to visit the vessel this summer. My trip to Scotland was a fun way of research after years of just dreaming about it.

What’s the best writing advice you were ever given? 

Never give up. It’s as simple as that. I had contemplated giving up on my dream a few years ago. I changed my mindset. I told myself, that “this is the one.” I even renamed my computer folder file, “This one is going to make it.” No joke. And it did.

What do you like to do in your leisure time?

I enjoy tending my flower gardens, hiking, traveling, and playing with my kids. Baking and decorating cakes encourages the artist in me. I love the outdoors. It’s also one of my muses. I love nature’s beauty, be it a magnificent granite monolith, a bubbling brook in the nearby woods, or a field of wild lupine. Although by no means an expert, I do like a good photograph or two.

Tell us about your current release in a couple of sentences.

Deirdre is a woman living in a country (13th century Scotland) filled with strife, fears, and superstitions. She has a power (to sense the auras, or lifebloods, of those around her) that could cast her out as a witch, and she yearns to travel to Uist to understand her ability, which she believes kills her husbands. Alasdair is a man of secrets with a haunted past. He must travel to Uist on a political mission. Their paths cross and sparks fly. Perhaps Alasdair is the key to breaking Deirdre’s curse, for he is the man from the wood, the man she saw in her visions…

Can you tell us a little about your next project?

The next book takes place 30 years prior to A Hundred Kisses, during the turning point of war between the Norse Vikings and the Scots of the isles. The story revolves around Deirdre’s parents, Gwyn and Simon. The penumbra between reality and the unknown is rich in Gwyn’s family, and she, too, has a special ability. Formidable as he may be, Gwyn’s father tries to capture this mystical power and exploit it. Little does he know that no amount of manmade force could break through the silver veil. Only true love can do that.

Anything else you’d like to share?

Thanks for hosting me!!

Blurb:
1296
Two wedding nights. Two dead husbands.
Deirdre MacCoinneach wishes to understand her unusual ability to sense others’ lifeblood energies…and vows to discover if her gift killed the men she married. Her father’s search for a new and unsuspecting suitor for Deirdre becomes complicated when rumors of witchcraft abound.

Under the fa├žade of a trader, Alasdair Montgomerie travels to Uist with pivotal information for a Claimant seeking the Scottish throne. A ruthless baron hunts him and a dark past haunts him, leaving little room for alliances with a Highland laird or his tempting daughter.

Awestruck when she realizes that her unlikely travel companion is the man from her visions, a man whose thickly veiled emotions are buried beneath his burning lifeblood, Deirdre wonders if he, too, will die in her bed if she follows her father’s orders. Amidst magic, superstition, and ghosts of the past, Alasdair and Deirdre find themselves falling together in a web of secrets and the curse of a hundred kisses…

Excerpt:
She sensed no colors in the murky, lifeless water, and it was freeing. All breath escaped her. Muted visions passed before her eyes—her mother, her father, Gordon, and Cortland. Just a moment longer, she thought…
Suddenly, a burst of warm light invaded her thoughts as air filled her lungs. Red-hot hands burned her shoulders and ripped her from her icy grave. She breathed life into her body. She coughed, gagging on the change.
Muffled words yelled at her.
Oh, God, so hot. His fingers were like hot pokers. Her head pounded as she slowly returned to the present. Heat radiated from her rescuer. Somebody had pulled her from the water.
“Wh—?”
“Hush, lass. You nearly drowned.”
His voice was as soothing as a warm cup of goat’s milk on a winter’s day. A red-hot glow emanated from his body. Never before had she felt such a strong lifeblood, and it nearly burned her. She struggled in his arms to get free. She blinked, only seeing a blurry form before her. “Release me!”
She splashed and wriggled, and he did as told. She clambered to the shoreline. Numb and shaken, she began to dress. It wasn’t easy as she fumbled with slick fingers to put dry clothes over wet skin. She instantly regretted her naked swim. She pulled on her long-sleeved white chemise first.
She faced the forest, away from her rescuer. He quietly splashed to shore. His lifeblood burned into her back. He wasn’t far behind, but he stopped. She refused to look at him until she was fully clothed, not out of embarrassment of her nudity, but for what had just happened. He released a groan and mumbled under his breath about wet boots. His voice was not one of her father’s soldiers.
When she put the last garment on, her brown wool work kirtle, she squeezed out her sopping hair and swept her hands through the knotty mess. She fastened her belt and tied the lacings up the front of the kirtle. Blood returned to her fingertips, and she regained her composure. Belated awareness struck her, and she leaned down and searched through her bag for her dagger. She spun around.
She gasped as she saw the man sitting on the stone-covered shoreline, his wet boots off. Confusion and the hint of a scowl filled his strong-featured face. She staggered back, caught her heel on a stone, and fell, dropping the dagger. Dirt and pebbles stuck to her wet hands and feet, and she instinctively scrambled away from him.
His glower, iridescent dark blue eyes, and disheveled black hair were not unfamiliar. Staring at her was the man she had seen in her dream—it was the man from the wood.
Buy Links: 

You can find/contact Jean at the following: 
Twitter: @JeanGrant05
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jeanmgrantauthor/ 
 

 



Friday, May 19, 2017

This I know for sure...

I love the summer and much prefer the warm weather over the cold, blustery, snowy winter weather we experience here in upstate NY. One thing I don't like about the warm summer weather is the high humidity. It makes me more inclined to serve different types of salads, panini and regular sandwiches, and the like instead of preparing anything that requires the use of the oven or prolonged cooking on the stove top. 

As much as I enjoy the summer weather, I'm usually looking forward to fall by mid-August. Not because I'm in any hurry for summer to end or school to start, but because by that time I'm sick and tired of salads, sandwiches, and all those other types of foods that I rely on too much in the warm weather.

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress): I only managed 6 pages of new material last week. I've been having a lot of things come up that need to be done during the time I normally reserve for writing. I'm hoping that changes soon.

Quote of the Week:  “Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.” ~ Henri J.M. Nouwen  (I'm repeating last week's quote because I need to keep it at the forefront of my mind.)

What I'm reading: The Highwayman by Kerrigan Byrne. This is the first book in the Victorian Rebels series. I'm absolutely loving this book. I hadn't read any of Ms. Byrne's work before. I'm glad I picked this one up on a whim and will definitely be checking out her other books.

Random Thoughts:  I am hoping, praying for a major change to occur and doing as much as I can to facilitate it, but not having total control over when the change will happen is killing me. I'm not very good at waiting for things to happen.

Random Photo of the Week:  

                  
                  Somebody enjoying the empty box my niece's wedding shower came in.

Friday, May 12, 2017

This I know for sure...

Do you have any one food that you can't resist no matter how much you try or want to? My one food is cookies. Well let me qualify that, I should say homemade cookies. I can resist store bought cookies without too much trouble.

But homemade? Especially when they're warm out of the oven? They are irresistible. It doesn't matter what kind of cookie it may be. If it's homemade, I can't leave them alone.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

What's Up Wednesday

This week...

My current WIP (work in progress): I managed to get a small amount of writing done last week. Not nearly as much as I hoped, but had unexpected appointments crop up.

Quote of the Week:  “Joy does not simply happen to us. We have to choose joy and keep choosing it every day.” ~ Henri J.M. Nouwen

What I'm reading:  Deadly Silence by Rebecca Zanetti. I started this book last night. I'm not sure how I feel about it yet.

Random Thoughts:  You know that old adage, "The best laid plans of mice and men often go awry?" That's how I'm feeling this week. I was determined that I would write every day this week when I got home from the day job. Well, I had to take one cat to the vet yesterday after work and was there was for an hour and a half. Today, I have to take the other cat to the vet to see if he has the contagious virus the first cat has. I'm hoping I won't be there quite so long this afternoon.

Random Photo of the Week:


                     Petey recovering from his trip to the vet yesterday afternoon.