Free Read Monday

Every Monday and Saturday in October, I’m going to post a snippet from Inheriting a Curse at the end of the month, the entire novella will be available as a free download. All snippets will be ‘g’ rated (no swearing or sex) BUT the novella will have some hot scenes.

Blurb:

Recently Katie Alstrom’s life had been one bad event followed by another so when she received a letter from a lawyer saying she’d inherited a house on ten acres of woods in a remote part of Oregon, she thought her luck had changed. She packed up all her belongings and left the city to peruse her dream of being a full-time writer.

Only when she arrives, she finds her dream house is something out a horror movie complete with seven gargoyles under a curse.

Ashton has spent the last five hundred years as a gargoyle. The moment Katie steps into the house, he begins to wake. His only desire is to kill Katie in a slow painful way as retribution for placing him and his six warriors under the curse. Yet to break the curse, he must trust Katie.

Pax, Ashton’s loyal friend and second in command, must make his friend see reason before the end of the month, October 31 or they all will be condemned to spend the rest of eternity as gargoyles. As the days fly by, Pax finds himself faced with a bigger problem, he’s the one falling in love with Katie and the thought of Ashton touching her makes his blood boil.

Chapter 1

Katie Alstrom stood, frozen, unable to make any of her muscles move. Her brain was too busy screaming NO to relay the necessary messages to her nerves that would have her running away. Matter of fact, it was a struggle to breathe. In and out, she told herself. Forcing the cold September air into her lungs. Tears rolled her cheeks. She hated to cry. She never cried, yet here she stood in front of a complete stranger, bawling.

“Are you alright, Ms. Alstrom?” The town’s clerk asked. “Well, here are the keys.” She forced them into Katie’s hand before she could reply. “Welcome to Hapsville.”

By the time Katie could turn to ask the woman about local hotels she could stay at, the woman’s car was disappearing down the long drive. Katie turned back to the house. She was fairly positive the Adam’s family would have found the place too creepy to stay in. Three large gargoyles were perched above dormers. Another loomed over the door and two more resided on the ground next to the stairs. And a massive one with wings stretched wide and hideous snarl at hate on it’s face sat on the chimney.

Her inheritance from an aunt she’d never heard of. The place she was going make her dreams come true. She should have known her luck hadn’t changed. After being let go from her job and dumped by her boyfriend, she’d thought inheriting the house had been a shift in karma.

“I must have been a serial killer of puppies in a previous life,” she whispered. The only explanation she had for being on the receiving end of such awful karma. She really wanted to follow the clerk but she had nowhere else to go. A muffled bark, forced her attention away from the house to her car. Gillian barked and clawed at the window.

She’d found the dog three years ago, abandoned in the alley behind the apartment complex where she’d lived. He’d been a cute small puppy, she’d taken home cleaned up and cuddled. Now he was a hundred and five-pound bed hog. Sighing, she walked toward the car. She’d terminated her lease thinking this would be the start over, she needed to become a full time writer.

Opening the car door, Gillian leapt out and raced toward a squirrel. The squirrel scurried up a tree and sat on a bare branch chattering an endless string of taunts.

(skipping ahead to the end of the chapter)

“Are you sure, she’s the one?” A harsh male voice whispered.

Gillian growled and pressed against Katie’s legs confirming the whispers weren’t in her head. She’d hoped the voice had been a hallucination caused by exhaustion. No such luck.

“I’m positive. You dare to doubt me?” A woman’s voice retorted.

Flinging the blankets back, Katie swung her legs off the bed. “Come on let’s see who our house guest are.”

As she stood, a roar tore through the night making the windows rattle and the floor shake.

“I told you, she’s the one.” The woman’s voice now held a smugness to it. “Now, the trick is keeping him from killing her.”

Writer’s Wednesday

Today I’m going to start a new series for Writer’s Wednesday on writing prompts…I know some writers use prompts daily to ‘start’ the juices. I’m not that but I do occasionally like to do prompts, mostly when I’m ‘stuck’. I use the prompt as a free writing tool to let my mind wander (like it doesn’t do it enough on it’s own that I need to encourage this behavior).

The series I’m doing is how to turn a magazine into a writer’s prompt journal. I came up with the idea last week as I sat at the beach relaxing and thumbing through the pages of the latest InStyle magazine. I often use magazines to make story boards/pages for a story I’m working on but I realized a lot of the pages sparked different ideas. For example, here is the second page of the magazine….

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I used both pages for this prompt

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I added the admit one ticket I had in my storyboard stash

 

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She’s going to be my focus for these prompts…

 

 

 

My plan is to focus on the same character through out the magazine. I don’t know her name yet (I struggle with names) but I do know that

  • she has a daughter – one of the phases above the admit one ticket is… she lures men to their death to protect her daughter. I’m not sure what that means exactly.
  • I know her eyes are going to have something to do with the story…
  • My hero is aware of the stakes because one of the lines in my free writing is…He has one chance to save her … 

I’m going to definitely use the next two pages and I plan on doing those this week so make sure to check back to see how the prompts are going.

Do you use writing prompts? If so what kind are they and when?

 

Tasty and Thirsty Thursday

This week’s Thirsty and Tasty features one of my summer favorites – strawberries. While, I’m a vodka girl at heart, rum enhances the tones of strawberries to entirely new level of yumminess.

For the thirsty portion… this is the lovechild of a wild night of ‘romance’ between a rum runner and daiquiri on a Caribbean beach 😉

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You’ll Need…

1 cup fresh lime juice
2 cups strawberries

2 cups spice rum (Caribbean rum)
1 cup coconut rum
2 cups pineapple rum
Orange juice or soda (depending on your preference)
Soak the strawberries in the coconut and pineapple rum overnight. The day you are serving, mix in the spice rum. Add the juice or soda at the time of serving.
For the tasty portion is a jelly I love – I mean will pick an English Muffin over a doughnut if I can have this sort of love.  While, I know few people still can because the stuff in the store is close to the homemade stuff without the gross sticky mess…. But this is unique and sooooo soooo tasty that it’s worth the mess.

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You’ll need:
2lbs 3oz strawberries
1/3 cup water
½ cup lemon juice (fresh or bottled)
3 tablespoons powdered pectin
4 cups sugar
4 tablespoons coconut rum

 

What you’ll do:
Wash, hull and chop strawberries. Place strawberries and water into a large pan. Bring to a boil, then simmer uncovered for 5-10 minutes, until very soft and ready to puree. Puree in a blender, food processor or in the pan using an immersion blender or mash to leave chunks if you like! I’m a chunky girl 😉

Cover jars with water and bring to a boil, boiling for 10 minutes while you prepare the jam. Once the time is up, turn the heat off and leave jars in canner until ready to fill with hot jam.

 

Whisk lemon juice and pectin into strawberry puree. Bring to a boil over high heat and then add the sugar all at once. Bring to a rolling boil (will foam a lot, and you cannot stir it down) and keep at a rolling boil for 1 minute. Then turn the heat off and whisk in the coconut rum. Bottle the jam immediately into hot jars.

While you are boiling the jam, place the lids into a pan of previously boiling water. Do not simmer or boil, just let the lids heat through in the few minutes while you make the preserve and then fill the jars, removing the lids from the water when you are ready to place them onto the jars to seal.

 

Immediately spoon the hot jam into hot jars, leaving a 1/4 inch (0.5cm) headspace. Remove bubbles, wipe rims and seal.

 

Process sealed jars of jam in boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes (start timer once water returns to a full boil). When time is up, turn heat off and rest jars in water for 5 minutes before placing onto a towel-covered bench overnight to cool.

 

Check jars have sealed before labelling and storing in a cool, dry and dark place for up to 12 months (I’ve never had a batch last that long). Jar lids should not flex up nor down when pressed.

Writer’s Wednesday

I haven’t shared a “tease” in awhile and since I have strawberries and rum calling my name (No, I’m not drinking this – yet. I’m still in coffee and doughnut mode) here is the opening for my latest WIP – The Jester.

The Chapter One

Estella looked inside the blood soaked box. “Shit. This is bad.”

When the doorbell had chimed at two minutes after midnight, she’d assumed it was the jester’s first prank before leaving Shadow for the human world.

She never thought she’d be staring into Sam’s dead eyes. Looking up, she scanned into the dark. Of course, she saw glowing eyes and shifting darkness, she lived in Shadow. Minutes past midnight meant every nocturnal creature was prowling…and hunting.

Slamming the door, she leaned against the wood and muttered a protective spell. Who killed Sam? And why leave his head for her?

She mentally went through the list of Shadow residents. None of them stood out as likely candidates in Sam’s murder

Heading upstairs to her bedroom, she picked up the telecom. She pressed Zek’s number and after a dozen buzzes, he answered.

“Whhhhaattt,” he slurred. She tried to decide if it was a drunken or I’m-still-asleep lisp but it was too hard to tell from one word.

“I have trouble.”

After a long stretch of silence she pressed the disconnect button and threw the telecom on the bed. As she pulled on her clothes, her mind raced. Why had she called Zek? He’d proven he couldn’t be trusted. Yet, she’d called.

Shaking her head, she started toward the bedroom door when a shadow formed. Her heart slammed into her ribs with enough force, she half expected to see it laying on the floor in front of her. Someone had broken through her ward.

 

Hope you enjoyed 😉 I’m off to finish the sauce for Rum Runners this weekend. I’d love to hear what everyone else is working on – writing or otherwise.

#Listifylife Monday

This week’s listifylife topic is … What do I splurge on/indulge in?

I really only have one that I consider a splurge item (drum roll because I know everyone is holding their breath in anticipation)…

#1 – books. I consider books a splurge item because I could easily get all my reading material from the library but also because it represents me time. Time I could be dusting, vacuuming, doing the laundry, or cleaning out a closet. My favorite two reading spots…

Other items that I indulge myself in or buy on a ‘whim’ (not in any order)

#2 – card making supplies – I have enough stickers and supplies to last a life time. Of course, I also use these supplies for writing boards, my daily planner, and scrapbook pages.

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A card I made for a friend who loves butterflies. I included a package of seeds for a butterfly garden flowers

#3 – yarn. My goal is make a one baby blanket a month for the Linus Project.

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This months blanket…

#4 – lotions/body wash. There is no doubt that a cheap bottle of lotion and body wash from Walmart will clean my body and moisturize it. I really really really (like almost to an addiction level) bath and body works.

#5 – candles – I have them for seasons, for holidays, for their name (Margaretville and blackberry martini for example). I have them in every room of them house.

So do you consider splurges and indulgences different? What are some of your favorites?

Tasty and Thirsty Thursday

This week’s tasty and thirsty is brought to you by International dark sky week. I’m so lucky to live less than 2 miles from Lake Michigan, I enjoy the stars often (unless mother nature is having issues and has decided it needs to snow the entire first week of April).

I’m calling the martini – The stroke Of Midnight. While vodka is my go to for martinis, I made this with dark spiced rum for two reasons.

#1 – One of my good friends perferres rum over vodka

#2 – it gave me the color I wanted 🙂

Stroke of Midnight….
1 ½ ozs kahula
1 oz dark spiced rum
1 oz amaretto
½ oz coconut flavored rum

Combine in shaker with ice. Shake until blended. Enjoy 🙂

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I love this cake… it’s moist…it’s chocolate without being in your face chocolate. And it’s dark going with my dark sky theme.

What you need for the Cake:

  • ⅔ cup dark cocoa powder (Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa to get that deep dark color and less of the make your teeth hurt sweet)
  • 1 cup hot brewed coffee (I used kahula flavored)
  • 1 pinch cayenne
  • ⅓ cup shortening
  • ⅓ cup olive oil
  • 1⅔ cup sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • ⅓ cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • Butter for greasing the pans
  • Cocoa for dusting the pans

What you need for the Frosting:

  • 1 ½ sticks butter, softened
  • 1 cup dark cocoa (again I used Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa to get that deep dark color)
  • 4 ½ cups confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract

What you do to prepare the Cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a small bowl, dissolve cocoa powder and cayenne with hot brewed coffee and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment, cream shortening, oil and sugar until well combined.
  4. Add eggs and beat until light and creamy, about 1-2 minutes. Slowly add in coffee/cocoa mixture, buttermilk and vanilla and beat until batter is smooth.
  5. In a separate bowl, sift flour, salt, baking soda and baking powder. Add dry ingredients to wet and beat on low speed to incorporate. Scrape down bowl and beat until all ingredients are well combined.
  6. Butter the bottom and sides of two cake pans and sprinkle the inside of the pan with cocoa powder, shaking out excess. Pour batter evenly between two pans and place in center of oven.
  7. Bake 30-40 minutes or until tooth pick inserted in center comes out clean. Depending on your oven, you may need to rotate cake pans half way through. The use of olive oil in this recipe requires it to cook a few minutes longer than most cakes.
  8. Cool pans on wire racks for ten minutes then carefully invert out of pan onto rack to cool further.

 

What you do to prepare the Frosting;

  1. Sift cocoa powder with confectioner’s sugar in a large bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer or hand mixer, cream butter until smooth. Add sugar and cocoa powder mixture along with buttermilk and vanilla and beat until smooth and creamy. Add additional buttermilk or whole milk if frosting is too thick.
  2. Place a small dollop of frosting on a cake dish to hold the cake from sliding and place one cake on the frosting. Frost the top of that layer. Place the second cake on the first and frost the entire cake, top and sides.

Have a great week!

Writer’s Wednesday

Here is the UNEDITED opening for my new WIP…Mock cover

 

“What’s mine is mine, and what’s yours is up for grabs,” Jennifer giggled as she snatched Geoff’s doughnut.

“There’s an entire case of them.” He pointed the counter.

“Good, now I don’t feel guilty at all.” Jennifer sunk her teeth into the chocolate cake donut and her crystal blue eyes danced with merriment.

Standing, Geoff smiled. He couldn’t believe he’d been so stupid to think he’d wanted another woman. Guilt curled its ugly fingers around his stomach and squeezed. No, he wouldn’t let ghost from the past ruin their day. Jenn had forgiven him. End of story. “Do you want more coffee? Or another donut for yourself?”

“Are you trying to get me fat?”

Geoff shook his head and put his hands up in surrender. “You’re beautiful and perfect the way you are.” Leaning over he lightly kissed her forehead and the faint springy smell of honeysuckle from her soap filled his airways. “Love you.”

“To the moon and back,” she completed.

As he walked to the counter, he stopped and turned to his left. From the corner of his eye he’d sworn, he’d seen – nothing. Just people enjoying their sunny Saturday morning.

“A madcap coffee,” he ordered.

The woman nodded, tears filling her eyes. “Please sir,” she whispered handing him a folded piece of paper.

It seemed as if opening it had sucked all the air from room making it possible for his lungs to function and sent his heart into over-drive.

Geoff,
You are a man who holds so many lives in his hands.
You either walk out the back door.
Not a word to your wife or anyone.
Or I blow up the entire coffee shop.
Ask the wonderful barista for a view of the beautiful bomb I created for just this occasion.

Geoff lifted his eyes and the woman held up her arm. It was a bomb. No doubt.
The sweet scent of honeysuckle from Jenn’s soap lingered in his lungs as he stepped out into the alley.

Tourist Tuesday

Pictures by a backyard tourist….I’ve always wanted to travel – still do – but I’ve also come to appreciate the beauty and wonder in my own backyard.

This week’s backyard tourist picture was taken APRIL 2!!!!!! Crazy I know but mother nature is clearly having issues and I’m trying to be supportive… by featuring her craziness in it’s beauty.

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I like this picture for several reason – the stressed out over worked side of me loves the stillness, the solitude. It’s the same solitude that has my writer side vibrating with possibilities…. The way the trees provide a frame but who is looking???? A killer scoping out a dumping spot??? A lover waiting for her/his partner??? Or is the frame a portal into some frozen world???? My writer side is very complex 😉

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the picture and please feel free to share in favorite backyard tourist shots you may have

Little things that make me happy…

This weeks #listifylist is the the little things that make me happy….the list is much longer but I highlighted just few.

Doughnuts…..

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Books…..

Charlie (He’s just 31 lbs so he’s still little)….

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Pink_frosted_sprinkled_donutDoughnuts….

Dog…..

Small sparkly shiny things….

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More doughnuts……Pink_frosted_sprinkled_donut

 

 

 

snowmen…..

martinis…..

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And…. doughnuts 🙂

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What are some of the things of the little things in life that make you happy?

 

When you a teaser what is that you look for? A sneak peek at the romance? This week’s Tuesday Teaser comes from Kick Start – my hot motocross 😀 And is a ‘tension’ teaser….

Danger was what Jada Anderson and Dezmond Blance thrived on. They thought flying through the air on a dirt bike was the ultimate high.  Until they fell in love….then they find themselves racing against a murder.

Danger was what Jada Anderson and Dezmond Blance thrived on. They thought flying through the air on a dirt bike was the ultimate high. Until they fell in love….then they find themselves racing against a murder.

The blurb ~
Jada Anderson had known from the beginning it would only be a three week hook-up. Nothing more than twenty-one days of great dirt bike riding, nights spent drinking bat bites, and making awesome love. So she left without a word on the twenty-first morning.

Dezmond Blance has the chance to take his career as a motocross rider to the next level. He’s been invited to compete for a spot on one of the national top ranked teams. After a great ride, he’s ready to celebrate but he’s missing one thing – the woman who stole his heart weeks earlier. To his surprise Jada is there to congratulate him.

When he wakes the next morning and finds her gone, he thinks she’s done another vanishing act until his mechanic’s wife comes up missing to. Now both men must race to find the women they love before the next try-outs.
Danger was what Jada Anderson and Dezmond Blance thrived on. They thought flying through the air on a dirt bike was the ultimate high. Until they fell in love….then they find themselves racing against a murder.

Dez....sigh

Dez….sigh

Here is a suspense teaser ~
Dez hit one of the hills too fast and at the wrong angle, causing his bike to twist under him.

“Shit,” Rose whispered as Jada sucked in a deep breath of the gritty desert air.

Jada curled her fingers into a tight ball as Dez landed on his extended left leg. He pulled the bike in position and continued to ride. Had he broken his leg? She knew he’d ride as long as he could, the adrenaline pushing the pain into a small box to be dealt with later. Tears filled her eyes as she worked her bottom lips between her teeth.