Six Sentence Sunday

six sentence sundayFor the last post of 2012, I’m going back to my first ever published story, PRIESTESS OF THE NILE, which came out from Carina Press in January of this year. This excerpt is near the end:

Eventually, Merys took a deep breath and stood, using the wall for support… Every Egyptian, even the children, knew at the end of this tunnel lay the Hall of Judging, where her heart would be weighed and her spirit’s ultimate fate decided. It is no less and no more terrifying than what I have already endured. It doesn’t matter what happens to me now that I can no longer have Bek. A flash of painful sorrow shot through her at the thought. She walked on.

Here’s the official book blurb:

Egypt, 1500 BC

Drawn to his abandoned temple on the banks of the Nile by an enchanting song, Sobek the Crocodile God is even more captivated by the sight of the singer herself. Appearing to her as a man, he learns she is Merys, a descendant of his last priestess. Though filled with lust, Sobek believes Merys deserves to be more than just his mistress. But the rules that govern the Egyptian pantheon forbid anything beyond a physical joining of a Great One and a human.

Merys is attracted to the handsome stranger, who arouses passions in her that no man ever has. But with no dowry and no hope of ever leaving her village, she dares not dream of the future—or love.

Sobek takes every opportunity to visit Merys, taxing his resolve to leave her pure. When he saves her life, their mutual desire must be sated. But can a love between a human and an immortal survive the ultimate test of the gods?

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I LOVE and appreciate your comments….

Please go to http://sixsunday.com/ to find all the other great excerpts.

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One (or Two) Last Things!

You know me and how much I enjoy answering the questions posed to celebrities in various magazines! (No, not the ones about who they’re dating or their latest embarrassing social faux pas LOL)  Here goes with a quiz on “Last Things”:

   028 029Last thing I purchased: Disney Mickey Mouse Ears Aurora Ornament (I want them ALL; so cute and clever!!!)

Last thing I prepared in the microwave: hot water for my tea which I drank at breakfast in this seasonal cup! I got the cup years ago at a charming local store, Turnabout Tea Cup, which alas, no longer exists. (But that’s probably good for my budget!)

Last playtime with my grandson: yesterday, as we celebrated a belated Christmas. And wouldn’t you know it, his very favorite toy was an M&M’s filled light saber that I picked up on an impulse, for next to nothing!

Last book I read on the kindle: Christmas Bliss by A. S. Fenichel.

Last book I read in paperback: Alas, Babylon by Pat Frank – one of my all time favorites about the End of the World As We Know IMG_4765It.

Last magazine I read: InStyle (Reading an old issue of  Oprah’s O  currently)

Last time I was starstruck: When Ken Wahl Favorited one of my tweets!

Last indulgence: homemade pumpkin pie yum!

Last reality show I watched: Top Chef Seattle, last night. Tonight Project Runway All Stars! (Go, Anthony Ryan Auld!!!)  Over the past weekend I watched a marathon of season one of Undercover Boss. As an author, that one strikes me as the age old myth about the king who goes among his subjects disguised as a peasant and then showers riches on the heads of those who were kind to him. I have to admit I cried a few salty tears over a couple of the episodes, especially Mr. Roto Rooterguy.

Jeremy-Renner-as-Aaron-Cross-in-The-Bourne-LegacyLast movie I watched: “Bourne Legacy.” Jeremy Renner. Sigh. But wow, did that endless motorcycle chase remind anyone else of “Terminator”? Had to remind myself Jeremy R wasn’t playing John Connor!

Last movie I saw in the theaters: “The Hobbit.” Love Middle Earth but missed Aragorn and Eomer….

Last song I couldn’t stop humming: “Anything Goes” from the 1930’s musical. Saw the current road show last Saturday at the Ahmanson Theater with my younger daughter and my best friend – wow, that was GREAT. I love tap dancing!

Famous last words: “In a hundred years this won’t matter…” Or as Jake the kitten sez, “Is it all over????”017

Hope your 2012 will be ending on a high note and that your 2013 will bring lots of good things!

Six Sentence Sunday – About That Necklace

six sentence sundayReturning one more time to my Ancient Egyptian paranormal WARRIOR OF THE NILE, to be published by Carina Press in September 2013. Khenet the warrior of the title, and Lady Tiya are sailing down the Nile on their journey…I had so many people wanting to know last week whether Khenet bought the necklce for Tiya, I promised to provide the answer today – but no more excerpts from this until closer to the publication date LOL!  Their ship has put into the harbor of a small city for a day and Tiya has asked Khenet to accompany her on a trip to the marketplace. An old shopkeeper offered them a necklace, trying to entice Khenet to buy it for his “sweetheart”…upon which Tiya puts the necklace down and walks away…

Khenet took a few steps before gazing over his shoulder at the old woman, already offering the enamelled beads to another couple who’d approached her booth. Decision made, he plucked the trinket from the seller’s hand, tossing her a gold coin as he said, “The necklace is ours.”

Catching up to Tiya at the next stall, half regretting his impulsive purchase, he draped the necklace around her slender neck, his fingers lingering a moment too long on her smooth skin as he fastened the clasp.  “A souvenir.”  What a ridiculous trinket to offer such a highborn lady – I’m a fool, no doubt of it. “From one friend to another,” he improvised.

Here’s the unofficial blurb:

The goddess Nephthys informs Pharaoh he must send his best warrior to accompany a young noblewoman on her journey to marry the ruler of an Egyptian province – a man who is experimenting in dangerous black magic. Nephthys plans to use the warrior and the lady to defeat the schemer but the successful outcome of the magical struggle will also mean their deaths. Khenet, the warrior, takes an oath to accomplish his mission, while secretly hoping to find another way to achieve what the goddess wants without either Lady Tiya or himself perishing. And of course it never crosses his mind how much Tiya will come to mean to him on their voyage down the Nile and across Egypt – he despises high born Court ladies. But even when his heart has become involved, can he trust her? Will they survive, while still saving Egypt?

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I LOVE and appreciate your comments….

Please go to http://sixsunday.com/ to find all the other great excerpts.

A Personal Perspective on Grief and Loss

The recent horrific events in Connecticut make my heart ache for all those who are grieving and trying to figure out how to cope, what to do, what the next steps are.

No one can ever understand how another person actually feels. No one should ever try to tell them “how they should mourn” or “this is how it will be”. Each journey though the time is individual. I offer my experience today in case it might help anyone in even the slightest way…and I send hugs and prayers to all those who are suffering right now.

Quite a few years ago, my family lived through our own private tragedy, somewhat public, nothing on the scale of the Sandy Hook school and – thank God – I didn’t suffer the loss of a child. I can’t imagine the sorrow and despair of that…although the lives of my children were altered forever by the events. I can’t discuss their grief because it is theirs, not mine.

I know for me the first few weeks I was in shock. But I stayed in motion. There were things that had to be done, arranged, attended to…my community rallied around me, my children’s teachers and school rallied around us…I NEVER could have managed without all their love, comfort and help.

The reality of the situation, of the rest of our lives stretching forward without our loved one really hit me as the door closed behind the last departing guest at the reception following the memorial service. The moment is still vivid in my memory, heavy on my heart, even after all these years. The door closed, I turned around to face the empty house and the next thing I knew I was on my knees weeping, feeling like I had the entire world on my shoulders. Well, I did.

For the next year I managed. I had good days and bad days. The children went to therapy, I went to therapy. We spent the first holidays at other homes…but nothing really helped fill the person sized hole in our lives. I knew I had to survive or my children wouldn’t survive and that kept me going. I did stupid things, I did smart things, I managed to work. Some days being able to escape into my job was all that kept me going.

One of the hardest aspects was that everyone else moved on with their lives. Why wouldn’t they? It’s what you do after the funeral, right? Oh they still honored my grief and my right to grieve, but it wasn’t their sorrow any more. I understood that. Some friends made amazing gestures of support during the next year, which I appreciated but I also understood this was their closure and then, sure enough, they drifted away, out of our lives, because their connection with us had really been the person we all lost. Many other dear friends stayed close and are our “family” to this day…

Do you want to know when I fell off the cliff? After the one year anniversary of his death. Oh, it was hard, as each holiday and birthday had gone by, each being “our first without”…but somehow, deep down I had expected a release from grief, some blessing, some miracle if I just soldiered through 365 days, was a good girl, made it through that one year anniversary in stoic heroic style like Jackie Kennedy (my role model for being a widow).

What really happened was that the next day dawned, the alarm went off, the kids went to school, I had to go sit at my desk and try to read complicated contracts, the car had a flat tire, the boss wanted to schedule a big meeting…in short, nothing changed, life went on…I think that’s when I truly realized the enormity of the years stretching before me without my other half.

Lots of therapy then.

You never “get over” what I’ve been through. You figure out how to go on. I certainly have found joy in life again – the birth of my grandson was a special happiness, my daughters’ college graduations, other milestones for them and for me…although every occasion is tinged to some degree with thoughts of “if only” the missing person could be there.

I’m basically a very joyous, optimistic person, who wakes up every morning ready to start anew. I don’t take the anniversary of that tragedy off work any more, haven’t done that in years. I can look at photos (up to a point). I gave my daughters my wedding ring. I’ve dated… I’ve come to a peace with that part of my life. I believe God has a plan and while we may not ever know the what and the why, the idea that there IS a plan, comforts me. Again, that’s my personal journey, not trying to tell anyone else what to think or believe. I don’t presume to suggest that what comforted me will comfort others in their grief.

My advice is to offer the hug, send the card, honor however the person needs to grieve…be there for them if needed. If you can find specific ways to help – mow the lawn, pick up dinner, babysit a few hours – even better. Don’t expect them to meet any timetable for grieving, remember grief can ebb and flow and hit you unexpectedly, echoing through the years in a way that can surprise you at the oddest moments.

Again, my thoughts and prayers and hugs go out to the families and friends of the latest victims, and to all the others who find their grief spiking as this situation brings fresh reminders of their own losses.

Peace comes, joy returns.  The bridge of time doesn’t get you over your loss but provides a path through it, so although you never forget, life can go on. At least it did for me.

Six Sentence Sunday – Something for Your Lady?

six sentence sundayReturning one more time to my Ancient Egyptian paranormal WARRIOR OF THE NILE, to be published by Carina Press in September 2013. Khenet the warrior of the title, and Lady Tiya are sailing down the Nile on their journey…I left them in such sad state last week, with her suffering from a migraine, so here’s a happier snippet from a bit later in the story. Their ship has put into the harbor of a small city for a day and Tiya asks Khenet to accompany her on a trip to the marketplace.

“Something for your lady?” asked the old crone tending one booth where Tiya lingered.

“Isn’t this necklace clever – see the tiny hippos painted on the flowers?” Admiring her reflection in the burnished metal plate the seller used as a mirror, Tiya turned to show Khenet the effect of the necklace against her elegant neck.

“I see by your golden badge you’re a member of Pharaoh’s own guard,” said the vendor, her next words uttered in a honeyed, wheedling tone. “A high-ranking soldier like yourself can surely afford to buy fine jewelry for his sweetheart.”

Hastily Tiya set the necklace in the midst of the display, stepping away from the booth, smoothing her linen dress with one hand. “We should probably return to the River Horse.”

Here’s the unofficial blurb:

The goddess Nephthys informs Pharaoh he must send his best warrior to accompany a young noblewoman on her journey to marry the ruler of an Egyptian province – a man who is experimenting in dangerous black magic. Nephthys plans to use the warrior and the lady to defeat the schemer but the successful outcome of the magical struggle will also mean their deaths. Khenet, the warrior, takes an oath to accomplish his mission, while secretly hoping to find another way to achieve what the goddess wants without either Lady Tiya or himself perishing. And of course it never crosses his mind how much Tiya will come to mean to him on their voyage down the Nile and across Egypt – he despises high born Court ladies. But even when his heart has become involved, can he trust her? Will they survive, while still saving Egypt?003

I LOVE and appreciate your comments….

Please go to http://sixsunday.com/ to find all the other great excerpts.

It’s Baaack – Mistletoe Madness Blog Hop – Kindle Fire Grand Prize

HolidayGiveaway2012 copy

December 22 UPDATE – the blog hop is now ended and Judy Ree was my randomly selected winner for the $25.00 Amazon gift card! Thanks for all the fun comments and terrific stories about gifts you’ve received in the past! Happy holidays!

Always a fun blog hop! Leave a comment on my blog to enter to win the $25.00 Amazon gift card I’m giving away and then visit the blog hop central for more links and more chances to win prizes, including their Grand Prize, the Kindle Fire. (A comment here only enters you to win my prize, must go to that link to enter for the Kindle Fire.)

So what was the most unusual gift you ever received at the holidays?

The one I’m thinking of was unusual – for years I had said I wished there was a poster of the scene at the very end of Return of the Jedi – the moment (blink and you miss it) where all the main characters are neatly lined up, clapping along with the Ewok music (which I also love), and happy after all the trials and tribulations and death stars…so this particular year (a long time ago in a galaxy far far away…) my younger daughter had drawn the scene for me and framed it! I kept it over my desk for a long time….

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Return of the Jedi Final Scene

What Goes In A Civilization Starter Kit?

005As a science fiction reader from way back, who was always fascinated by End Of  The World As We Know It (EOTWAWKI) scenarios, a recent news buzz about a guy who’d actually created a “Civilization Starter Kit” caught my eye!

While this might sound like something exclusively for doomsday preppers in case of electromagnetic pulse, nuclear incidents, fuel shortages, war, pandemics, zombies….the kit’s  inventor., Marcin Jakubowski,  has his mind primarily set on another purpose.

In 2007, Marcin identified fifty machines he feels are the most important for supporting modern life. With a list including such things as ovens, brick presses, cement mixers and tractors, his goal is to create a low cost, Do It Yourself (DIY) version of each. He civilizationstarterkitbuilt his tractor, for example, in 6 days, after which he made the designs and an instructional video available online for free. The details of his first four machines are now published and he and his team are steadily working their way through the remaining forty six, with 2015 as a deadline for having all 50 ready for civilization-building DIYselfers.

If the doomsday apocalypse hits at some point – on the Mayan calendar or otherwise – these fifty machines won’t immediately reboot civilization everywhere. But if you have his plans and the skills (like welding) to turn them into reality, your little pod of people will be in much better shape than the rest of us.

jericho-pictureIn old science fiction movies and novels about EOTWAWKI, the survivors usually go scrounging through the wreckage of civilization for machines and supplies to use. Jakubowski , who holds a PhD in nuclear fusion physics,  states “If you’re going to try to build any kind of sustainable, model community, you find out quickly that the tools you need break down and are expensive,” he says. (Business Week, 11/1/12). Good point! I guess in the real world we’d be left with, it might not be as easy to repair all those fancy devices as the movies and TV shows make it look.

What Marcin and his supporters actually hopes is if “We can lower the barriers to farming, building and manufacturing…we can unleash massive amounts of human potential.” (TIME, 11/12/12) Highly critical of corporations because “…they spend too much time obsessing over patents, spending millions on commercials, and generally getting in the way of progress….” (BW, 11/1/12), Marcin hopes individuals all over the world will take his basic designs and figure out their own improvements. He’s made good use of such modern communication techniques as the TED talks, Kickstarter, YouTube, websites and other social media to spread the word about his concepts, share his designs and generate enthusiasm for addressing some pressing world issues.

He also tries to live his principles on the “Factor e Farm” in Missouri – the “land based facility where we are putting this theory into practice.”

You can check out his Civilization Starter Kit for yourself over at Open source Ecology. Me, I think I’d better go learn to weld!

What would you miss most if we get hit with EOTWAWKI?

Six Sentence Sunday – Along the River Nile

six sentence sundayReturning one more time for now to my Ancient Egyptian paranormal WARRIOR OF THE NILE, which was just acquired by Carina Press for publication in September 2013. Khenet the warrior of the title, and Lady Tiya have just been through a meeting with the goddess Nepthys and a meeting with Pharaoh. Now they’re sailing down the Nile on their journey but Tiya is unwell. Khenet has brought her on deck to see if fresh air will help matters. Taneb, the captain of the ship River Horse is speaking:

 “Bad luck if she dies on my ship.”

 “She isn’t going to die,” Khenet said, “She has a headache.”

Taneb mulled the problem over, rubbing the bristles on his chin. “I can offer something to help, an old formula my grandmother used for aches and pains.”

 Keeping one hand pressed tightly to her left eye, Tiya moaned before saying, “I’ve tried every foul, vile, nasty concoction the physicians in Thebes could dream up – sawdust mixed with honey, crushed beetle wings, curdled goat’s milk and shredded papyrus buds…nothing helps. The pain and nausea will pass eventually if you both just leave me alone.”

Khenet takes good care of her in this crisis…actually I left out some of the even more unpleasant Egyptian cures for headaches…next week we’ll have an excerpt from something else, since we’re months away from publication on this.

Here’s the unofficial blurb:

The goddess Nepthys informs Pharaoh he must send his best warrior to accompany a young noblewoman on her journey to marry the ruler of an Egyptian province – a man who is experimenting in dangerous black magic. Nepthys plans to use the warrior and the lady to defeat the schemer but the successful outcome of the magical struggle will also mean their deaths. Khenet, the warrior, takes an oath to accomplish his mission, while secretly hoping to find another way to achieve what the goddess wants without either Lady Tiya or himself perishing. And of course it never crosses his mind how much Tiya will come to mean to him on their voyage down the Nile and across Egypt – he despises high born Court ladies. But even when his heart has become involved, can he trust her? Will they survive, while still saving Egypt?

011

I LOVE and appreciate your comments….

Please go to http://sixsunday.com/ to find all the other great excerpts.

What’s IN, What’s OUT, Do We Agree?

Lots of “In and Out” lists going around this time of the year…I tend to be pretty “stick in the mud”, if it works for me why change it…so I thought I’d go through a few of the lists and see where I might stand.

Fashion is always dear to my heart, even if nowadays I’m to be found at Ross Dress For Less or Target more often than the big 004department stores. According to a page I clipped from a fashion magazine I can’t identify (no, really, the page I tore doesn’t show their name – sorry!), what’s OUT would be:

Neon clutches (so far so good, none in my closet, can’t get enough stuff in a clutch)

Tribal beads (nope, don’t wear necklaces because I have to wear the badge on a lanyard for day job)

Go-go Platforms (didn’t wear those even the first time they were in)

Oversize totes (uh oh, wait a minute, did I mention I’m a Mom and a grandmother so I carry basically everything I might ever need in an emergency??? So it can be OUT but I’ll still be carrying it.)

014Multi-finger rings (Don’t wear those but I do wear large rings on multiple fingers – hopefully that’s a classic?)

Moccasins (Not since I was a kid)

Door-knocker earrings (NOW we part ways because huge, long earrings are my 012signature style!)

As to what the magazine feels is IN at the moment:

White~Sleek clutches~Stacked heels~Bucket Bags~Crystal Ball rings~Chunky Cuffs (oh the romance writer in me could do a riff here but no…) ~High Heeled Loafers (not sure I get that concept so it’s not IN at my house)…

 The Washington Post does an annual In/Out List apparently, some of which seems very tongue in cheek to me. I looked over their long list for the year we’re finishing and a few items stood out:

OUT: Tigers

IN: Sloths VS sez: we’re back to tigers, what with the movie “Life of Pi”

OUT: Ryan Gosling

1340119810_channing-tatum-lgIN: Michael Fassbinder VS sez: While Mr. Fassbinder will always be an IN at my house, I think there was a definite Channing Tatum flavor to 2012…

OUT: Portland

IN: Pittsburgh What about Chicago?

OUT: Civil War re-enactors

IN: Titanic revivalists (including me with my SF novel WRECK OF THE NEBULA DREAM – shameless plug there, sorry) I think we’re back to the Civil War now, with the movie “Lincoln”

OUT: Winterfellhobbitgroup_620_112712

IN: District 11 I think Middle Earth is about to overtake us again actually…

OUT: Don’t remake Footloose

IN: Don’t remake Flashdance (or Dirty Dancing…and WHY remake Red Dawn???)

OUT: Debt ceilings

IN: Rock Bottom It’s Fiscal Cliff at the moment…

OUT: Procedurals

Once-Upon-A-Time-New-Fairytale-CharactersIN: Fairy Tales Good call and I think those are definitely still going strong – shout out to Once Upon A Time!

 Not to forget the guys, here’s what the website FASHIONBEANS says is in right now for meanswear fashion:

The color olive green

Oversizing

Animal motifs

Statement outerwear (which seems to be big coats to my uneducated eye)

Fur, Faux Fur & Shearling

 And wow, look at that, I’m OUT of time! What do you think is IN? Or OUT?