After the debacle of 2020, it’s great to be venturing into a New Year with new possibilities. It may take a while for life to return to “normal” after the past year, but let optimism abound. I wish all of you a healthy, happy, and successful 2021 along with plenty of time for writing and plenty of sales!
Happy Halloween! Wishing you plenty of treats and no tricks!
As I mentioned earlier this week, I’m going to take a break from blogging for the month of November. I’m focusing on NaNoWriMo and attempting to finish a WIP that has been languishing far too long (wish me luck!).
I’ll be popping in at Story Empire from time to time, and hopefully, can make a few rounds of the blogosphere as well–especially if I get stuck. Although I’m hoping that won’t happen…er, the getting stuck part. Please pardon my absence.
Here’s wishing everyone a Happy Halloween. Regardless if you’re participating in NaNoWriMo, or working at your own pace, I hope your muse is extra generous. See you in a month. 🙂
On this wondrous and magical day,
I wish one and all,
creatures great and small,
joy and peace.
Merry Christmas to you and yours.
See you in 2020!
Are you in the holiday spirit? I’ll be the first to admit I turn into a sentimental sap for the entire month of December. I’m kind of a sentimental sap the whole year, but I’m extra sappy during the Christmas holidays. Among other things, I love reading Christmas stories (and watching holiday movies). Which is why I’m excited to be part of Harmony Kent’s blog tour for her new release, Oh, Baubles. I’ll let her tell you about the book, but be sure to check out my review at the end of this post!
Hi everyone, Harmony here. I’m so thrilled to be visiting with Mae today to tell you about my latest book, a Christmas Romance Novella. It’s a fun, quick read at around 80 pages, and I had fun crafting this one. Below is a ‘sneek peek’ from Chapter 3 of ‘Oh Baubles.’
The line rang once, twice, three times, and more. On and on. Eventually, after sixteen full rings, it went to voicemail. Flustered, John hung up and cursed himself. How stupid could he be? If she reported him, he wouldn’t just lose his job but his whole career. Was some woman worth that? No. But then Charlie wasn’t just some woman, was she? No, she was a whole lot more than that. And John felt as though he would never feel happy again unless he at least took this chance and told her how he felt. So, with another heave in of air, he redialled—ready for the voicemail this time.
‘You’ve reached … Charlene Matthers … She cannot take your call right now. Please, leave a message after the tone.’
John waited for the tone, and sweat pooled in his arm pits and palms, and a cold droplet oozed down his spine. Then he caught an unpleasant whiff of man-pits. He’d have to do something about that as soon as he’d hung up. At last, the beep sounded.
‘Hey, Miss Matt—Charlene … Charlie, erm, this is John. John Andrews? Erm, oh god, I … er …’ He cleared his throat, determined to see this through before the damn machine cut him off. ‘Charlie, this is John. I’m sorry I haven’t called. Idiot that I am, I completely forgot to give you my number. The thing is … I want to see you again. Um, not in clinic. Oh, hell. I like you.’ He took a breath and wiped sweat from his brow. His words were all wrong.
‘Charlie, I don’t know what else to do, so I’m just gonna blurt it out … I love you. There, I’ve said it now. If you never want to hear from me again, or see me, I get it. Just don’t, please, report me. Lol. Ahem … I’m sorry I left things so long. I was a stupid damn coward. But I love you and want to get to know you better. The real you, not the hospital you.’ Flustered beyond belief now, and out of breath, John hung up, disappointed with himself. He’d messed that up badly. And only after he’d disconnected did he remember that he could have pressed the hash key and done a re-record. Too late now.
After a tragic accident one Christmas, Charlene loses her husband and her leg.
Scarred and damaged, the losses leave her lost and reeling, and a long recovery lies ahead of her.
When John, a hot young physiotherapist, comes into her life with his ripped abs and good-god good-looks, she can’t imagine he’d give somebody like her a second glance.
Then she falls for him.
Can Charlene overcome all obstacles to gain back her life and find true love once more?
Find out in this fun-filled, clean Christmas romance novella from award-winning author Harmony Kent.
Oh Baubles is available on Amazon for just 99c/99p And the link is: http://mybook.to/OhBaubles
This is a short, enchanting story sure to warm the heart. Charlene, a young widow, requires physical therapy due to a tragic accident in her past. She feels an immediate connection with John, her PT, but can’t believe he’d spare a second glance for her.
Although this is a romantic story, I really enjoyed seeing the progression in Charlene’s character from beginning to end. The author delivered that change—and the build up of romance—in a believable manner. Watching Charlene transform as the book progresses is like watching a beautiful butterfly emerge from a cocoon. With its holiday setting, Oh, Baubles makes a charming novella for the holidays, but it will leave you with a warm feeling any time of year. 5 Lovely stars!
About the Author:
After spending around thirteen years as an ordained Buddhist monk, living in a Zen Buddhist temple, and six years after a life-changing injury following a surgical error, Harmony Kent returned to the world at the tender age of forty.
Now, she is famous for her laughter, and has made quite the name for herself … she’s also, um, a writer … and fairly well known for that too. She’s even won a few awards. Harmony lives in rural Cornwall with her ever-present sense of humour, adorable husband, and quirky neighbours. Harmony is passionate about supporting her fellow authors.
Welcome to the first Wednesday Weirdness of December. At the mention of black cats, most people immediately think of witches, familiars, superstitions, and Halloween. But there is another legend, and because I love both cats and folklore, I couldn’t resist spinning both into a tale called Food for Poe.
Is it weird? Oh, yes. It’s been compared to a cross between Night Gallery and Hallmark. For even more of a mash-up, it’s also a Christmas story.
But what about the legend? I’ll let that unfold naturally. In the scene below, Quinn Easterly, encounters a strange old woman in the grocery store, where she has stopped to pick up food for her newly adopted cat, Poe:
“There’s a legend about black cats.” The woman eyed her critically, continuing as if she hadn’t spoken. “Not the witch legend or the Halloween stuff you hear as a kid.”
What an odd discussion to be having on Christmas Eve with a snow storm brewing outside. “I’m sorry, but I don’t have time to talk.” Quinn started to withdraw, then stopped. There was something in the woman’s manner that made her hesitate. The store bustled with activity, but no one drew near. Not a single person ventured into the aisle where they stood conversing over colorful plush mice, boxes of dried meal, and sparkly ribbons adorned with bells.
“Every pure black cat has a single white hair.” The woman’s voice was low as if she dispensed a timeless secret. “Remove the hair without being scratched and you’re permitted a wish—health or wealth, but you can’t have both. And you must make the wish before midnight on Christmas Eve. Health or wealth. Do you understand?”
Quinn felt caught in a twisted dream. “I—”
The woman pulled her closer. “Beware, girl. Healing often attracts one of the Dark Things. Changelings. Creatures that pattern themselves from the thoughts of others. They live in cesspools, drainpipes, and hollow logs. Anywhere that’s dark.”
The hair prickled on the nape of Quinn’s neck. She glanced over her shoulder hoping to find someone else in the aisle, but it remained eerily deserted as though she stood in a corridor severed from the rest of the store. What she needed was an escape route.
“I’m sorry, but I have to leave.”
“So go already,” a disgruntled male voice chided.
Quinn blinked, startled to find the old woman gone, the aisle behind her suddenly overflowing with people and shopping carts. A mother and two children shuffled past, the youngest trailing a caramel-colored stuffed bear by the arm.
“Look, lady, either pick something or get out of the way.” The grating voice acted like a chisel on the edge of Quinn’s thoughts. The speaker was squat and barrel-chested, pushing a cart loaded with ten-pound bags of dog food.
Quinn smiled politely and shuffled aside.
I admit to twining three separate legends together to suit my own purposes, but the folklore about black cats, a white hair, and a wish for health or wealth is from an old wive’s tale. There’s nothing involving Christmas Eve or midnight, but both seemed like a good fit.
As one reviewer said:
“It is a tale of love, hope, compassion, faith, superstition, and suspense with a touch of horror… I was hooked from the start. If it was up to me, I’d make it into a Christmas movie and watch it every year.”
And here’s the blurb:
When a blizzard strands Quinn Easterly at a handsome stranger’s house on Christmas Eve, she doesn’t realize her newly adopted cat, Poe, is the catalyst responsible for bringing them together.
Breck Lansing gave up on relationships after his wife, unable to cope with their daughter’s illness, left him. But the pretty blonde he rescues from a snowstorm has him rethinking his stance—especially when Quinn’s arrival coincides with a dramatic change in Sophie’s health.
Unfortunately, that change also attracts something only whispered about in folklore. Together, Quinn and Breck must defeat a sinister creature intent on claiming the ultimate payment.
Warning: A clever black cat, Christmas magic, and paranormal trouble
I rarely promote this little Christmas novella, but can’t resist splashing it around a bit in December. If you’re interested, you can grab it from Amazon for .99c through this LINK.
Are you familiar with the folklore I used in this story? It’s also been said the reverse is true—every pure white cat has a single black hair, although I don’t know what wish is granted should the hair be removed. If you like Hallmark Christmas stories and cats, along with a bit of the bizarre, I hope you’ll give Poe a try.
Hi, Friends! I’m later in rejoining the blogging world than I had hoped, but I’m baaack!!
I survived NaNoWriMo, hitting 50,022 words on November 23rd. My project, however, is a complete disaster. It isn’t just in need of shaping up and editing, it’s in need of a complete overhaul—plus an additional 30K to make it into a book. Although I can say I “won” NaNo (YAY!), I’m not sure “Belladonna Cottage” will ever see the light of day.
On the plus side, I came away with three strong characters and a setting I hope to reuse in a different story. The basic premise I developed for Belladonna didn’t work, but there’s enough bare-bones material to build from. And as a winner, I got to purchase Scriverner for half price. Now I just have to take the time to work through the tutorial and learn how to use the program.
Thanksgiving followed by a mini vacation kept me mostly offline, and when I returned to my day job, I was swamped. Isn’t that always the case when you go away? I had hoped to be back to blogging by the beginning of December. I know I’ve missed a lot of your blog posts, but I’m glad to be back and looking forward to engaging.
For those of you who did NaNo—whether you came out a winner or didn’t quite manage to hit that 50K goal—I hope you had a lot of fun participating. And word count of any kind is never wasted (even the hot mess I ended up with)!
I may actually do Camp NaNo in April. And did you know that the NaNoWriMo website, is now open for projects any time? That means you can create your own word goal any time you wish and track your project. I like that idea. 🙂
For those of you in the U.S., I hope you had a fabulous Thanksgiving. Hubby and I enjoyed time with family, then took a mini beach vacation to celebrate our wedding anniversary. We put our Christmas tree up when we got back, and I have been listening to Christmas music on Sirius Radio daily. I just love this time of year!
Even with NaNo in November, I managed to read a few books, and hope to share some of the reviews tomorrow. Wednesday Weirdness will be back in full swing on the eleventh, and by then I should be settled in again. Thanks for bearing with me during my hiatus. I would never have hit 50K in November otherwise. I’ve missed you all!
Let me know what you’ve been up to. Have you started a new writing project? Are you finishing one up? And—most important of all—can you believe Christmas is almost here?I’m scrambling to finish up my holiday shopping. What about you?
Happy Halloween! Sometimes, October feels like one long festive party. We get thirty-one days of shivery movies and books, pumpkin carving activities, hayrides, jack-o-lanterns, hot cider, ghost stories, and spooky decorations.
Trick-or-treat takes place in my neighborhood tonight, so I will be passing out candy to the little ghosts and ghouls who knock on my door. Maybe I’ll pop in a spooky movie or crack open a Halloween novel. Or maybe I’ll be doing my final round of NaNoWriMo prep. Tomorrow—November 1—kicks off the big event.
I’ve plotted as much as possible. I have my character sketches, my setting details and a number of scenes mapped out, but NaNo is still going to be a challenge. Especially because I work thirty hours a week. That’s less than many people, but still enough to limit the hours I can devote to writing.
As a result, I’m going to take a one month hiatus from blogging. I won’t be online much, if at all, which means I’m going to miss your November blog posts. I hope you’ll bear with me while I tackle NaNo. I’ll pop in, if and when I can, but for the most part I don’t expect to be visible. Wish me luck! 🙂
In the meantime, I cobbled together some Halloween superstitions and folklore for your enjoyment.
Did you know:
You should turn your pockets inside out when passing a graveyard on Halloween. That way, you won’t inadvertently bring a ghost home in your pocket.
To ward off evil spirits, walk counterclockwise around your house backward, three times before sunset on Halloween.
If you hear footsteps behind you on Halloween, do not turn around. It could be Death or the dead following you.
If, however, you spy a spider on Halloween, consider yourself lucky. It means a departed loved one is watching over you.
If you happen to see a bull lying down on Halloween night, the wind will blow most of the winter from the direction he’s facing.
Finally, if you were born on Halloween, you can see spirits, chat with faeries, and interpret dreams!
Happy Halloween, and good luck to everyone who is participating in NaNo!
I’ve been off the radar for several days, taking some time to recuperate and unwind. My husband and I decided to celebrate his birthday by taking an extended weekend trip to the beach. The weather in March along the eastern shore is hit or miss. We’ve been visiting this particular beach since we were teenagers in high school. When we were in our twenties, his family owned a modular home there, and we became part owners in a pontoon boat. During the summer, we spent most every weekend at the beach for approximately fifteen years. It’s a four hour drive from Central PA, but for fresh seafood, crabbing, flounder fishing, and sunning on the shore, those trips were worth it.
These days, we normally head to the beach once or twice a year, shelling out for a hotel. I’ve been at the shore when it’s been 80 degrees in December, and when it was freezing cold in June. This trip, the weather was perfect—full sun and only a light breeze. We were able to be outside in sweatshirts.
As we’re much older now, we did a lot of reminiscing of those early trips when we were just kids, and how much the area has changed. We’re no longer “June bugs” but prefer the less crowded months of March, September (still hot enough to use the beach) and December for our trips.
Here’s a few shots from the hotel where we stayed. The place is styled after an old Victorian boardwalk hotel, and is one of the two hotels we regularly use. This trip, they were hosting two weddings in the banquet rooms, but other than closing their cocktail lounge for three hours one afternoon (I vented to the front desk when leaving), the stay was one of the best we’ve had. More memories of our “home away from home.”
This is the entrance, with registration and the main lobby up on the second level. If you walk back through the hall there are elevators to the upper floors, or you can continue straight to the beach.
This is the main lobby. There’s a jewelry shop off to the side where I’ve purchased multiple pendants through the years. There’s also a huge covered porch that faces the beach and extends the entire length of the hotel. It’s lined with high-backed rocking chairs, perfect for enjoying the view with a drink or reading.
The view from our hotel balcony. My husband took shoots of the sun rising each morning but I was slept through it. Something about the coastal air always makes me sleep extra soundly.
We spent an afternoon on the boardwalk. See the huge JEWELRY sign in the background? I picked up a sun pendant there, while hubs checked out M.R. Ducks, next door.
Now that I’m rejuvenated, I’ll be concentrating on finishing my WIP, End of Day. I have an April deadline, so if I’m a little scarce over the next few weeks, it’s because I’ll be burning extra hours trying to reach “The End.” Cross your fingers I can finish it up by the middle of the month. I normally treat myself to something when I finish a manuscript, but in this case, I put the “treat” ahead of the finish. *gulp*
For all of you trying to pummel your WIPS into submission, I wish you happy writing—and a break to rejuvenate, even if it doesn’t involve a beach town!