You can check out my books on, and at Barnes & Noble too.

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Room With A View

Every significant conversation of my life has taken place in the kitchen. The living room is for TV and lounging. The bedroom is for sleeping, reading and writing at my desk. Every room serves a purpose, and somehow, the kitchen feeds us, acts as office, craft table, and Christmas present-wrapping station, and manages to catch all our most serious heart-to-hearts somewhere between the plates and cups. It's the center of every home, really. The ceiling echoes our laughter and the table top soaks up our tears. It's where the food is. It's where we gather, with our families. It's where the wine is - don't forget that.
When we live in a kitchen, we want an outward view: a nice picture window to watch the birds through while we sip coffee (or wine!). But when I'm writing a kitchen, it's the inward view that's important. It's what's inside that room, the laughter and tears of the characters, that matter. It's the heart of their homes, and I want my readers to feel that. And it seems only fitting that the characters have their big talks, their heart-to-heart game changers, in their kitchens too. I'm guilty, I'll admit, of using imaginary kitchens a lot. I love them. I love designing them in my head.
These kitchens - white and butcher block and Southern - remind me a lot of Jess's kitchen at Rosewood.

Rosewood has a rocking chair front porch too. Porches are for easy, aimless conversations. Maybe more wine. Gentle breezes. And dreams. So many dreams. I dream my dreams on the front porch, amid the smell of gardenias.

Paint this house white, slap some black shutters on the windows, and it looks a lot like a section of wraparound porch at Rosewood.

Don't mind the fat cat...

I do a lot of writing in my bedroom. Ellie's a writer too, so I always wanted her to have a dreamy, romantic vibe to her otherwise subtle and tasteful bedroom. I love this bed.
While characters are looking out, we're looking in. That sounds peeping tom-ish, doesn't it?!
Some characters haven't found their homes yet. I'm still helping them with their search...

Saturday, June 29, 2013

It's Hot. That is all.

It is hot. It is a humid, soggy, wet kind of hot. It is gummy. It is melt-your-popsicle, glue-your-shorts-to-the-lawnmower-seat HOT.  That kind of heat takes your energy level from this... this.

Tired baby! And he's not the only one. It's time for a frozen Gatorade, a salad, and an hour or so of pretending to write.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Introversion and Extraversion

It can be challenging when one of these personality traits is viewed as more desirable than the other. While it's true that extroverts and introverts are best suited for different careers, and may interact in different ways, one trait is not "superior." I'm an introvert, and knowing this about myself helps me utilize my energy and imagination in the most effective way. Understanding your personality type enables you to adjust your learning and working styles so they work best for you.
Myths about introverts:
  • They are unintelligent
  • They are unhappy
  • They are afraid
  • They are incapable of interacting with others
  • They will be unsuccessful in business ventures
  • They wish they were extroverts instead
  • They spend time alone because they feel ostricised
I feel happiest when I've had time throughout the week to write, read, reflect, and spend some time inside my own head.
Quoted From the Myers & Briggs Foundation:

Extraversion (E)
I like getting my energy from active involvement in events and having a lot of different activities. I’m excited when I’m around people and I like to energize other people. I like moving into action and making things happen. I generally feel at home in the world. I often understand a problem better when I can talk out loud about it and hear what others have to say.
The following statements generally apply to me:
  • I am seen as “outgoing” or as a “people person.”
  • I feel comfortable in groups and like working in them.
  • I have a wide range of friends and know lots of people.
  • I sometimes jump too quickly into an activity and don’t allow enough time to think it over.
  • Before I start a project, I sometimes forget to stop and get clear on what I want to do and why
Introversion (I)
I like getting my energy from dealing with the ideas, pictures, memories, and reactions that are inside my head, in my inner world. I often prefer doing things alone or with one or two people I feel comfortable with. I take time to reflect so that I have a clear idea of what I’ll be doing when I decide to act. Ideas are almost solid things for me. Sometimes I like the idea of something better than the real thing.
The following statements generally apply to me:
  • I am seen as “reflective” or “reserved.”
  • I feel comfortable being alone and like things I can do on my own.
  • I prefer to know just a few people well.
  • I sometimes spend too much time reflecting and don’t move into action quickly enough.
  • I sometimes forget to check with the outside world to see if my ideas really fit the experience.
Adapted from Looking at Type: The Fundamentals
by Charles R. Martin (CAPT 1997)


Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Whatever happened to...

My very first book, gosh, four...? Five years ago? A while ago. It was about a girl in her twenties going "home" to Georgia and meeting her father's side of the family for the first time in years and years. It was part-mystery, part-romance, part-action/adventure, part-outlaw and part-gritty. I was so happy. All this time I'd wanted to write a novel, and I finally had. It was huge - 150k words or thereabouts. It was - when I go back and look at it now - nowhere near up to snuff. But I wasn't worried about that. In those first precious weeks before I began the arduous querying process, I was on cloud nine about finishing that book. After a truly disheartening round of rejections - and it hurts; I don't care who you are or how cynical you are (like me), it hurts so bad, worse than any boy leaving you in the dirt - I nursed my wounds, concentrated on college, my horses, and dabbled in fanfiction. But the trusted few who'd read that first novel kept asking me about it. They really liked it. Sly was sexy, they thought, and Layla was relateable, and the plot was grabbing. (Their words, not mine. I just wanted to stick my fingers in my ears and pretend I'd never written the thing).

When I started blogging, I dusted off the characters from that first novel and wrote a sort of prequel, about Layla's cousin Lisa, and her guy. It was really fun. And then, like I always do, I got discouraged and backed off of it. And when the Walkers slammed into me, I shelved Made for Breaking indefinitely.

I picked it back up a few weeks ago, and to my shock, I stepped right back into the story without a hitch, like I'd been working on it all along. And even scarier, I liked it. Those characters, I realized, are pre-Twitter, pre-blog, pre-discouragement, and pre-second-guessing. They're shadier than the Walkers, morally sound and legally gray. They were straight out of my imagination, from a simpler, braver time, without the taint of "market." Sometimes ideas should be shelved. They weren't strong enough. But is this one of them? Was I way off base, or closer to it than I ever thought? The Russells - and all their devil may care Steve McQueen coolness - are a lot like the heroes dominating the ebook sales right now.

My cousin, a few weeks ago one night at dinner, told me, "Stop saying 'if' and 'maybe' and 'I hope. You ARE a writer. You WILL make this work. No more doubting yourself.'" It was a good little kick in the pants. I have worried, for almost five years, that readers won't like the Russell clan - won't like Sly and Layla - because they felt daring, and I was too scared to be daring.

So I figure...yeah, why not? Made for Breaking is getting a big face lift, and I'm hoping to release it and Remains this summer. Panicking? You bet!

Chalk Effect Ponies

Playing on Photoshop...

Sunday, June 23, 2013

A Happy Nerd

Yaaaaaaaayyyyy!! I can't wait to load this and start fumbling my way through it. Expect lots of experimental photo overload while I figure out what to do with my book cover. I don't ever ask for anything for my birthday, but this I had to have. Now to see just how technologically challenged I really am...

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

At The End: The Last Chapter

By the time every vacation draws to a close, I'm ready to go home. I'm ready for my own bed and my own stuff and my regular routine. I'm a creature of habit. And I don't have the darndest what to do with myself when I'm not writing something. That last day is all about Let's-hit-the-road-already.

Up until that last moment. That last glance back at where you've been. The day I left Wyoming, I had this grand pause-and-turn. I looked at the Tetons one last time. I smiled at the dark dots of the bison moving through the fields. I breathed in that cold mountain air one last time before walking into the airport. The last morning, the last drive through town, the last photo, felt like trying to cram the entire week into ten minutes. What if I don't ever go back? What if this is the last time to remember this place? I tried to capture so much in such a short amount of time, to store away in my mind for however long I needed to keep it.

That's what it feels like writing the last chapter of a novel. It feels like sitting back and passing my eyes over the landscape one last time; taking one more deep breath. Hugging each character and absorbing the feel of them. As I wrote Remains, I couldn't wait to get to the end...but now the end is here, and I'm a little sad. And more than a little stressed about capturing that last perfect photo for the readers. The end of a book should be that melancholy moment on the tarmac, casting one more look over your shoulder at the mountains, thinking, "If I never come back, I'm glad for the week I had."

It's stressing me out, guys.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Currently Reading: Dracula

I'm doing a reread of all the classics I didn't appreciate to the full extent when I was younger. Learn from the originals, ya know? And it just doesn't get more blood-sucking original than Bram Stoker.

I love vampires - and werewolves and ghosts and supernatural beasties - or, at least, I used to. I prefer vamps sinister. For me, the paranormal genre is at its finest when it's written as horror. And, with vampires in fiction so popular these days, creatures of the night are taken more and more for granted by both writers and readers. Everyone knows of/understands all that it means to be a vamp, so why waste time establishing that with the reader? Just dive into the vamp action! This works for a lot of people.

Personally, I like to be convinced by the author. I appreciate atmosphere: the fog, the howling wolves, the craggy peaks. Whether it's Transylvania or NYC we're talking about, I like paranormal stories to be steeped in atmosphere, and handled with the subtle nuance that keeps a horror story crawling up the back of your neck for weeks to come. 'Salem's Lot was fantastic: I had a good nightmare or two about those nails at the bottom of the stairs. *Shudders*

I'm fifty pages into Dracula and at the moment, we'll leave the Victorian female sexuality analysis on the shelf, shall we? We shall. I'll get to that once I'm done with the novel. Right now I'm digging the atmosphere. And poor Jonathan Harker's tumble into nightmareland. I don't write horror, but I can take what I learn about delivering a proper scare and apply that to a mystery or action novel. Never limit yourself to one genre. Incorporate elements of all genres in building a complete picture of your novel's world and mood.

A great example of this - using horror within another medium - is in George R.R. Martin's A Storm of Swords. Although a fantasy novel, the Red Wedding chapter seems to pull deeply from horror: the tension, the building suspense, the sense of doom, Catelyn's escalating terror as she begins to realize the surreal plot unfolding around her. It is a gracefully, beautifully written scene, taking the horror seriously rather than treating readers to a glorified medieval Die Hard moment.

(I just had to squeeze an ASOS reference in there. I'm still reeling from disappointment at the show deviations from the books, and talking about the source material comforts me)

One of my favorite contemporary mysteries, Broken Harbor, utilizes atmosphere in a heavy-handed, very effective manner, bringing the horror of murder to the forefront, and propelling the novel beyond a procedural cop drama and into the realm of psychological thriller, with a certain local flavor that keeps it literary.

All of my favorite novels, I've begun to realize, are genre-bending. That's something I want to utilize in my own writing, to the best of my abilities.

So it's Dracula for me, right now, as I finish up my current mystery novel and begin piecing together my next one. This has been a Classics appreciation post.

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Saturday Snippet

Ben leaned in his car and shut off the engine; then he hovered a hand at the small of her back as they started up the drive. The night was still a spilled-ink mess of dark sky and endless shadows. The rain was lashing now, pelting at her face under the hood; Ben would be soaked by the time they reached the house. But Jade was calm, his presence a shield against the terrors that lay hidden along their path. Safe. It was one of the things, back when, that had cut above all the unsettling aspects of the man: he made her feel safer than she had at any point in her life. With no small amount of surprise, she realized that she could have called Jeremy – he wasn’t a helpless damsel when it came to this dark-of-night stuff – but instead she’d called Ben. Without thinking, on instinct, she’d reached for him when she was frightened. What did that say about her? So much for moving on.

            At the door, he hung back on the mat, rain pelting him as she stepped into the kitchen and stripped off her jacket. “Don’t just stand there and get wet,” she admonished as she hung her jacket on its peg and shucked her boots.

            Ben put a hand on the doorjamb and made a face. “I should probably…”

            She didn’t want him to go. That was a stupid sentiment, most like, but she didn’t care at the moment. “Did you have dinner yet?”

            The face twisted into something more comical. “I was gonna grab something – ”

            “I dragged you over here,” Jade said, and put her back to him, going to the fridge in the hopes that playing it casual would work better than the doe-eyes routine. “I can at least feed you.” She flipped a quick glance over her shoulder, hand on the fridge door. “I’ve got leftover Alfredo bake. With chicken and broccoli. It’s good stuff.”

            One boot stepped over the threshold. His cheek twitched like he couldn’t decide.

            “Either way, shut the door because there’s rain coming in everywhere.”

            He came in, and something gave a happy flutter in her chest.


His eyes wanted to follow her. Humans, each their own animal, had patterns of movement, unique muscle memories. Women were an odd combination of light and firm, self-assured in their own dainty ways. He’d always liked watching women, and not in a lecherous way. There was something comfortable about it. Jade was as beautiful spooning up leftovers as she was in the old photo he kept in his nightstand, the mostly-naked one she’d howled at him not to take. She was in black leggings and an obnoxiously big sweater with gaping sleeves she’d pushed up to her elbows. Slender, long-fingered hands pressed microwave buttons and her lashes flickered down against her cream cheeks as she worked: efficient, relaxed, homey. She wasn’t nervous about him at her table, dripping rainwater all over everything. She looked to have recovered completely from her ghostly white perch up in the hayloft.

            Damn, he’d been raging. The quivering whisper of her voice over the phone, the thought that she might be in some kind of danger…His reaction had knocked the breath out of him. He hadn’t breathed deeply again until he’d seen her face – wide, startled blue eyes – staring down at him above the stalls. On the drive to her house – sliding through puddles and hydroplaning and damn near killing himself – he’d known that getting to her, seeing that she was alright for himself, was all that would calm his roaring pulse. He was spinning through theories like crazy: someone seeing her at the precinct and following her home, someone thinking of moving on from children to pretty brunettes.
~From Whatever Remains. Be on the lookout for the release date, coming soon!

Friday, June 14, 2013

Necklace for Jade


Bonus Scene: Jordan and Ellie

I miss them. Not sure where this is going, but it'll probably be two or three parts. Set after Dream of You.

Even More Lunch


Jordan would have welcomed a building fire if it meant he could tear his eyes away from the quizzes he was grading. A third of his class had scraped by with Ds. In HPS. In glorified gym class. On a multiple choice quiz. He blinked and glanced at the open door of his office; David, Coach Wyman, stood in the hall beyond, hands in his track pants pockets, giving him a flat, humorless smile.

“Your wife’s here.”

Jordan bit back a frown; the rest of the coaching staff had found it a little too convenient that it was acceptable for spouses to attend the same college, one as a coach, and the other as a student. He wasn’t allowed to date one of his students, but there was no rule against his wife being a student. And none of his colleagues bought his lame-ass story about her transferring to KSU after they were married for a second. They all knew the truth. They all thought he was a skeeze for it.


Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Wisdom From my Dad

Since Father's Day falls on a Sunday, and weekends around here involve multi-acre grass-cutting projects after which I am semi-comatose, I decided to talk about my dad, and his day, a little early.

I've always loved this quote:

“I know how syrupy this sounds, how dull, provincial, and possibly whitewashed, but what can I do? Happy childhoods happen”
Marisa de los Santos, Belong to Me

It's true, you know: not all writers come from dark backgrounds. Writing is imagination. And I was blessed with wonderful parents who fostered my imagination (though they're now wishing, I'm sure, I had a little less imagination and a little more nine-to-five ladder climbing).

Dad and Riddick, off on guy business

My dad's a smart guy. One of four children from modest means, he went to Georgia Tech on a scholarship, back in the day, and graduated with an Aerospace Engineering degree. Like I said, smart. He's always been a military history buff, a movie fan, an avid reader, and a seriously level head when it comes to politics and business. Growing up, my brother and I received so much education at home: he wasn't one of those "because I'm the dad and I said it was so" fathers. He discussed things with us. World events, elections, divided opinions, history, literature, religion...he spoke to us like we were adults, never lecturing, always informing, and leaving us to come up with our own opinions. No textbook or droopy-eyed, tired teacher ever had anything on my dad. You ask him about a war, about the history of our nation, about the Founding Fathers, he knows, man. (I need to pick his brain about some things in my new book, now that I think about it). He works in insurance, in risk-assessment, so my brother and I were on the receiving end of some colorful anecdotes about what happens when you run with scissors...or stick your hand in a lawnmower...or let yourself get stuck to the filter at the bottom of a pool. Nightmares? A few. And I've been known to warn my peers with lines like, "Don't get near that (horrifying piece of machinery) or your (insert body part) will get (maimed beyond recognition)!" Safety first, kiddos. Safety first. And always use protective eyewear!

My poor dad has spent almost twenty-six years tolerating a menagerie of animals he never wanted. Has supported my mom's and my dream of a farm. Has HAND-DUG more post holes than I can count so that we could have a beautiful, safe fence. Has helped us live our duct-taped-together and one-board-at-a-time country life. I worry every day that I've let him down by not living up to the dreams he had for me. And I hope all the time that I can somehow repay him for his kindnesses.

His amazing fencework

So in honor of Father's Day, wisdom from my dad:

Do not run with scissors. Or screwdrivers. Or power tools. Or pointy-ended shovels. Or anything sharp at all, really. You should have closed-toe shoes on while carrying it, too, come to think of it. And safety glasses. And sunscreen. Maybe a helmet.
Do not crack your head open on low-hanging branches while mowing the yard. You will require seventeen staples in your head and be forced to sit in the ER for untold hours.
Always double check that the door's locked. And triple check. And quadruple check. And...what comes after quadruple?
Pertaining to turning off water pumps at the barn: see above about doors.
Never let anyone bully you into agreeing with them. If they have to resort to name-calling, their argument never held any water to begin with, and they're the ones who will look stupid.
Be honest. Don't take more than you paid for.
Take your vitamins.
Your faith in God isn't tied to a brick and mortar church. He hears you no matter where you pray.
George Washington refused to be king: remember that.
A woman is at her strongest when she knows how to be cautious, and how to defend herself in the best way she can.
Read the classics, because we have to know where literature began in order to carry it forward.
Thank you so much, Dad, for all that you do, and all that you will do! Happy Father's Day!!

Monday, June 10, 2013


I mention Butterflyweed in Fix You. Page 165, I believe. It's Jess's birthday and Chris picks some. Because even macho dudes can wander out to the back of the property and pick flowers for their girls. I found some in the pasture and took a picture. Just, you know, in case anyone was wildly interested in the butterflyweed and not the pages of sex that take place before that scene.

Monday Tidbit

       Jade nibbled a piece of bacon, then excused herself. She bundled up three strips and two muffins in a napkin, stepped into her paddock boots, and slipped outside. Jeremy had been busy that morning, and she wondered if he might have been driven from the house by all the “bed-thumping.” The horses were out; the stalls were clean; the aisle swept; the hose rolled up neatly by the spigot. He was in the tack room, buffing beeswax into his saddle with a gummy strip of rag. He was a musical tack cleaner: the radio was always blasting and he was usually whistling and talking to himself. This morning he was silent, glaring at the saddle flap, oiling in fast, angry circles.

            She propped a shoulder in the doorjamb. “I brought you breakfast.”

            He didn’t comment.

            “You have to eat,” she urged. “Otherwise you’ll get all swoony and fall off Rebecca Green’s horse. Then I’ll have to bust out the Hartshorn and revive you Jane Austen style.”

            “Austen didn’t need Hartshorn,” he said, without looking up. “That’s just in those bodice ripper novels you read.”

            She grinned. “Is that the problem? Your bodice too tight?”
~From Whatever Remains, summer 2013

Sunday, June 9, 2013

The Ever-Inspiring Markus

He's got some silver on him now;
he's seasoned. Wise and jaded.
The age adds layers to the eyes:
smoky ochre tones of understanding.
I swear he knows what I'm saying;
I swear he knows things I never will.

Writing the character of Ben in Remains has been an exercise in channeling my horse. To write a man, just another man with a man's ideas and a man's wants, would have been the easy way out. I needed the depth. Those lightning quick shifts between instinct and intelect. And that touch of silver.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Friday Snippet - "Remains"


         Driving back to Canterbury was…a relief. It was the biggest relief in the world not to go back to his empty ranch house and experiment with whatever was left in the fridge. Turning into the farm drive, oaks lined up like sentries whirring past, unlocked the tension across his shoulders. He took a deep breath and the air coming through the cracked windows tasted like leaves going crispy around the edges, and horses, and home. In a week, it had become home.

            He was definitely losing it.
~ Whatever Remains, Summer 2013

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Billingsly Castle

So far, I've set all of my novels in Georgia - more specifically metro Atlanta - because that's where I grew up. I know the feel of the region: the textures, the tastes, the smells, the runny, gummy humid heat of it. I can write about it with familiarity. I flavor the landscape with both real and imagined places, relying on Georgia landmarks to add realism, and using made-up restaurants and stores here and there to give myself more creative flexibility.

I love my Georgia; I love living in it, and I love writing it. But there was just no way Delta Brooks's mother was going to allow her only child to be married locally. Ha! Mike and Delta's wedding in Keep You had to be exotic, and because I want to go there myself, I picked Ireland. Billingsly is an example of one of my fake locales: fake name, fake history, but inspired by real five-star castle resorts. Ashford Castle in Mayo, on Lough Corrib, was a rough inspiration for the location of my fictional Billingsly Castle.

Click on the lick below to go to the home page (it's gorgeous!) and turn up the volume on your computer if you want to hear the Irish background music.

And check out Keep You at Amazon.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

"Whatever Remains" Playlist

My writing playlist for Whatever Remains.
"Hard to Love" - Lee Brice
I am a short fuse, I am a wrecking ball
Crashing into your heart like I do
You're like a Sunday morning, full of grace and full of Jesus
I wish that I could be more like you.
"Sympathy for the Devil" - The Rolling Stones
"Lover Dearest" - Marianas Trench
Sometimes I think
That the bitter in you and the quitter in me
Is the bitter in you and the quitter in me

"Monster" - Paramore
But I let my heart go
It's somewhere down at the bottom
But I'll get a new one
And come back for the hope that you've stolen

"Alright Now" - Free
"In For the Kill (Skream's Let's Get Ravey Remix)" - La Roux
They say we can love who we trust
But what is love without lust?
Two hearts with accurate devotions
And what are feelings without emotions?
"Leave My Body" - Florence + The Machine
"My Blood" - Ellie Goulding
"Whispering" - Alex Clare
Autumn shades, calm my shaking hands,
Tender, cool breeze, keeps me where I am.
Suddenly hearing, when I want to scream,
Oh, please just cut me down, leave me in my dreams.

"Come Round Soon" - Sara Bareilles
"Stranglehold" - Ted Nugent
"Just Got to Be" - The Black Keys
"September" - Earth, Wind & Fire
"The Flame" - The Black Keys
Greater men made it here,
Only to turn back,
So cut me loose, if you want,
Or tighten up the slack

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Let's Talk About Jane Eyre

I had a bit of an Arya Stark complex growing up. (I still have one, but I've become much better at hiding it) I wanted everyone to tell the truth; to behave nobly and kindly and with pure intentions. My illusions were shattered at an early age. When I was at my most frustrated, when I wondered why certain people had come into my life only to cause pain, my mom comforted me with: "Everyone serves a purpose, even if it's just to be a bad example." I took this to heart; she was right, after all. And I did a lot of vicarious learning.

Now, to be less dramatic - I'm still hopped up on cold meds; sorry - this bad example rule applies to so much more than meanies in the schoolyard. In my horse career, I've watched brilliant teachers and bad teachers, learning what not to do just as I learned what to do. Every horse served a purpose: I learned what I wanted, and what I didn't want. What I could work with; what hurdles couldn't be cleared. The same applies to writing.

A writer's most valuable resource? Literature. Hands down. Some books are master works of poetic prose, overflowing with brilliant lines and inspired character development. Some books are not. We learn from them, all of them. Some books, bless their hearts, stand out as examples of what not to do with my own fiction. In that way, every book I've ever read has served its purpose.

Thankfully, Charlotte Bronte's classic love story Jane Eyre is a good example. For whatever reason, I hadn't read it previously. I love her sister's novel, Wuthering Heights, and I love Jane Eyre even more. Bronte's prose is more pleasing than Austen's; Jane is stoic, stern, and resilient; Rochester is eccentric and entertaining; Bronte's affinity for the pastoral and hints of the supernatural make for a narrative that is both real and whimsical. In short: it's a classic for a reason.

My favorite aspect of the novel is the foundation of Jane and Rochester's relationship; it's built on chemistry and compatibility, rather than external traits. "Plain" Jane and "ugly" Rochester become beautiful to one another. While I'm not saying that this circumstance should be employed in every novel, and while there's certainly nothing wrong with having attractive male and female leads (I write mine as such), I appreciate the emotional and mental chemistry. There's beauty to be found beyond the physical. So, in honor of Jane Eyre, a writing prompt, one that I live by:

Describe a protagonist without leaning on overtly sexual language.

      Ben tended to have a dramatic effect on people, and Asher was no exception; Ben was the kind of man other men wanted to fight, or run from. He was friendless and graceless and cold.

            And once upon a time, she’d been so in love with him it had hurt. She felt, as Asher watched her, that he knew that; it felt like he knew Clara hadn’t been the repercussion of some fast, dirty night in a club. Like he knew they’d made her in this house, on the soft leather of the sofa in the den.

            The patio door opened and all of them jumped; it was that kind of night. Ben came in first – tall and big-shouldered and sinister in dark casual jacket and jeans, his deep brown hair windblown along the crown and his lean cheeks dusted with stubble. His eyes – Clara’s eyes; they stared back at her every night when she tucked her baby to bed – raked over them, but he swept from the room wordlessly, going to find Alicia.
         "We don’t exactly…” Specialize in shared time, was what she’d wanted to say. But the way he was watching her, the way the Jim Beam was warming the hard edges of his eyes…she couldn’t make herself say it. She took a deep breath. Careful, a voice in the back of her head whispered. She had to be so careful; this wasn’t Ben: sleepovers and protection and getting himself kicked off cases. She wasn’t sure how to maneuver around the man at her table.
            “Wouldn’t you,” she started again, “like to take this two weeks and catch up on all the vacation time you won’t use?”
            He shrugged. “Does Clara still wanna go to Disneyworld?”
            “Okay. One: yeah. Every kid wants Disneyworld. And two.” She laid a hand on his shoulder – it was hard and smooth with muscle beneath his jacket, but not clenched; not tense – and leaned low over his face, searching the familiar, hard lines of it, amazed at the openness of it tonight. “What’s up with you? Getting kicked off this case should have made you angry enough to punch walls.”
            He smiled: lazy and sideways. “I won’t lie: I had a lot to drink before I came over here.”
            Jade sighed. “My God, you don’t make it easy on a girl.” She stepped around behind his chair and put her hands at the base of his neck. He had a nice neck: lean, corded, strong. He leaned into her touch as she worked her fingers up to the back of his head and raked them across his scalp, through his hair. “Don’t play games with me,” she said softly. “My home is yours; you know that. But don’t yank me around for the fun of it.”

~ Whatever Remains

Monday, June 3, 2013

Stormy Monday (and Sunday)

A thermometer for me; a needle and syringe for my horse. Because it's not enough that I'm sick, but Markus had to have a flare-up of whatever strange infection caused his right hind leg to swell to twice its normal size last summer. The vet doesn't think it's lymphangitis; I don't know what to think at this point. Actually, I think it's really freaking annoying that I feel like crap while he feels like crap and needs to be babied. And it sucks even worse when the weather throws patchy storms at us so there's that to contend with too.
After my busy week last week, I was so ready to dive back into writing, but, as usual, trying to make plans results in a series of "are you kidding me?" events. Every time I get a little chunk of change in my pocket, something rears its ugly head. And when I'm sick, those little setbacks feel huge and insurmountable and I become emotional for no reason. It's the fever - it turns my brain to mush. I know I shouldn't be complaining. I shouldn't. After watching the devastation in Oklahoma, I feel like a tool even thinking complain-y thoughts. So I'll stow them away. Tomorrow is another day.
Getting cold-hosed
Poor baby