What Awaits in 2018? #MFRW


Week 52 – the last, final post for 2017 blog challenge.

Colorful fireworks over a night sky

I gave up on New Year’s Resolutions several years ago,  but I do set goals for myself for the coming year. What’s the difference? A resolution is something you hope happens.  A goal, a smart goal is something you set for yourself with a specific framework and a deadline.

This past year – 2017 my goals were as effective as resolutions. Why? CANCER.

I’ll admit, I didn’t see that one coming.  I let it derail me. I was shocked, stunned, reeling from the diagnosis. Then the whirlwind of prompt action from the doctors had my head spinning. The only time doctors act swiftly is when it’s a serious matter,  so I felt an additional stress imagining the worst –  what if it was stage 4, what if it had metastasized, what if . . .  but it wasn’t the case. THANK GOD, mine wasn’t nearly as bad as some. Praise the Lord –  it was found early.

The point is though,  they were swift in all their actions and then rushed me to treatment. I barely had time to think. It was the next appointment, the next treatment.  I lost control of my life from March through August.

In August, I evaluated where I was in comparison to the goals I had set for myself and cried. Seriously,  I just sat there crying for nearly an hour before I decided to do something about it. Then I looked at what I could do and pushed myself to get Roxy completely revised so that I would have at least one book for Penned Con.

I did manage to lose some weight, although the goal I had set for myself was 50 pounds,  I have lost 46 pounds. Still a win! (It was a 48 but I had extra portions over the holidays.)

From September through now, it’s been a difficult battle with dropping pounds as the medication that I have to take is known to cause weight gain. In addition to my slow fat storing metabolism,  I now have an additional obstacle, but I’m winning, slowly!

I had set a goal for myself to read 100 books this year, didn’t make that one.  I have read 25. Most of those have been hard copy print books. The ability to focus was lost during treatments. Chemo brain is a very real thing. So, I’m cutting myself some slack and counting this as a win as well because I have managed to read most of those since August.

What about 2018?

What goals will I set for myself this coming year?

  1. Publish 5 books in 2018: Valkyries Curse: The Awakening, Book 2: Trial of Aegir, and Realm WArs book 1 –  I haven’t decided on a title for that one yet. This is the precursor to Faere Warrior: Passion’s Price – which has been finished for ages,  but held back because my former media coach advised me to write the prequel first. In addition,  the release of The Blood Key in a fantasy anthology, then I will release in paperback in September. And one other one – I may have to do a poll with my readers to see which one they are more interested in because I can’t decide.
  2. Continue with healthy eating and lose 40 more pounds.
  3. MOVE! We plan to move closer to where my husband works because now he commutes for an hour each way. I have discovered one major flaw in our moving plans,  they don’t have a community pool in that area, so my aquacize classes will be gone. My solution?  We need a pool of our own! (You like how I worked that in there?  You think I could maybe get a tax write off for medical therapy??)
  4. Finally get my office! We’ve been through this before, I’ve worked hard to clean an area in the basement, shared pictures on here then it was promptly taken over for another use. Can’t even tell you how pissed off it made me. Then with cancer, I honestly didn’t have the energy to fight it.
  5. Enjoy living! Carve out time to spend with ones I love and care about, do the things I enjoy, have some fun in life! This will become a priority because I am prone to get overwhelmed with all the things that should happen that I forget to enjoy everyday life. Stress less and live more!

That’s it. Those are my goals for this next year. Not a twenty point bulletin of overachiever perfection. Not a ten point attack on every area of my life. Not even a 12 month, 12 item list of things I’d like to see happen. Simple, basic, achievable yet challenging goals that will improve our quality of life.

Cancer changes things.  It really made me see how much time I waste on fretting over things that don’t really matter, conceding on things that do matter to me, and wishing I had more time for what really matters –  the people in our lives.

What about you? What are your 2018 goals and dreams? Not going to say resolutions, because we blow those before the end of January!

You can find the other authors participating in this blog hop HERE!

This post is included in the prize drawing for the flash fiction fest –  so leave your comment!  All commenters are entered in drawing for this week’s prizes. (See post yesterday for the list of prizes, I don’t feel like typing it in yet again!) All entries will be put through randompicker and the winner will be selected!

Best wishes to each of you, and have a Happy New Year!

Write on my friends, write on!

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Feliz Navidad


Welcome to Flash Fest December!

I have some author friends who have joined me in this challenge, and are contributing to the prize baskets!

This week’s prize basket:

  • $10.00 Amazon gift card
  •  your choice of one of my ebooks
  • swag bag
  •  handcrafted quality jewelry!
  • ebook of Clockwork Nutcracker

This is how the prize giveaway will work:

Leave a comment throughout the week on any blog post, whether it’s the blog hop, flash, guest spot, or weekend writing warriors. I will select one of the commenters through Randompicker and post it on Monday’s post ( or rather Tuesday as it’s been lately, since my internet connection has been sketchy.) That person can contact me on Facebook or email me at: l.e.mcatee@gmail.com.

Winner for the week of December 17 thru December 23- Carol Gyzander!!!  Carol has deferred as an author in the giveaway, and our prize winner is: Cindy Webb!

The challenge is to write a flash piece, 500 to 1000 words based on a Holiday tune as a prompt. The author was given the option to select their own or I would assign one. Trust me,  my list of holiday tunage is anything but traditional!

Feliz Navidad by Jose Feliciano

Feliz Navidad

By Shellie Brown

Angie was looking forward to her session today with Mary but she was also a little nervous. Angie never asked the counselor to hypnotize her before and she was only doing this because she and George were finally beginning to connect again. She wanted to do something special but she was so shy that she couldn’t think of any other way to come up with the courage to give him the gift she wanted to give him.

So today at her therapy session she was going to be hypnotized and have the hypnotic suggestion planted that only on Christmas Eve and only when she heard a certain song, a certain Christmas Carol that was George’s favorite, Feliz Navidad. Which she never heard anywhere else except in her home that she would begin a slow sensual striptease for him.

That was where the misadventure began. The session went fine and she had almost forgotten about the hypnotic suggestion until they were wrapping presents on Christmas Eve for their son and they ran out of tape.

George asked her to run to the store quickly and grab another roll so that they could finish wrapping presents before he got up in the morning.

Angie walked into the store, the type of big-box store that was the only place still open on Christmas Eve after 8 p.m.  She started to wander back towards where the tape would be by where they kept all the school supplies and craft supplies, and then it happened.  Feliz Navidad came on over the intercom and she completely forgot why she was there.

Angie started to slowly and sensually dance and begin to take off her top. She was in the process of unzipping her skirt whenever security caught up with her and took her to the back which snapped her out of it because she could no longer hear the music in the security office.  Angie looked around bewildered and covered herself realizing she wasn’t wearing a shirt.

The security guard handed her her top and asked if she would please put it back on. He then asked if there was someone they could call to pick her up since she didn’t seem well.

They called her husband George, who arrived within ten minutes. She had to explain to him what had happened. At first he was shocked but, when she explained what she had been trying to do for him, he just laughed and kissed her and asked if she had gotten the tape.  When she said she didn’t think so, they walked back hand in hand and got the tape before driving home together.

They finished wrapping  Michael’s presents and put on Feliz Navidad so that she could give him his present. What Angie didn’t realize it that officially Christmas Eve is over at midnight and it was 12:32 a.m. when they turned on Feliz Navidad but it didn’t matter anymore, she had all the courage she needed.

Angie gave him a slow sensual striptease which led to the best Christmas gift either of them had ever had and a closeness that would last for all of the coming year.

About the author:

Shellie Brown

Shellie Brown born and raised in Marietta Georgia has lived all over the country including the DC area and New Orleans during the time of Katrina moved after Hurricane Katrina to the Northern Ohio area near Cleveland where she resides with her two very spoiled kitties and makes jewelry and write stories. She is owner and designer at Mysticware Jewelry.

Leave a comment and let Shellie know what you think!

Write on my friends, write on!

 

Mall-Knapped


Welcome to Flash Fest December!

I have some author friends who have joined me in this challenge, and are contributing to the prize baskets!

This week’s prize basket:

  • $10.00 Amazon gift card
  •  your choice of one of my ebooks
  • swag bag
  •  handcrafted quality jewelry!
  • ebook of Clockwork Nutcracker

This is how the prize giveaway will work:

Leave a comment throughout the week on any blog post, whether it’s the blog hop, flash, guest spot, or weekend writing warriors. I will select one of the commenters through Randompicker and post it on Monday’s post ( or rather Tuesday as it’s been lately, since my internet connection has been sketchy.) That person can contact me on Facebook or email me at: l.e.mcatee@gmail.com.

Winner for the week of December 17 thru December 23- Carol Gyzander!!!

The challenge is to write a flash piece, 500 to 1000 words based on a Holiday tune as a prompt. The author was given the option to select their own or I would assign one. Trust me,  my list of holiday tunage is anything but traditional!

Christmas Shopping Song

by Bev Harrell

Mall-knapped

by Cindy Webb

Christmas was over.  The January retail slow down had hit. When I cashed my drawer at J.C. Penney, I was in a hurry to get to my youth meeting. I was twenty but my favorite people were there.  I made the long trek to the employee parking lot to my Chrysler Calais. When I took off, I heard breaking glass. Apparently, someone had place bottles in front of my tires.

Later, I would figure out that ugly green car that went speeding off had left them for me.  That same car tracked me onto I-55.

 The driver hollered out the window,  “Hey lady, you have a flat tire.” He wove in and out of traffic relentless until I pulled over.

I am embarrassed to tell you this next part, but I got out despite my better judgment. This guy was unintimidating, even pitiful.  His university sweatshirt and pants were baggy. His high top shoe-laces were not tied. He was homely.

Huge black circles indicated he wasn’t getting much sleep.

I checked my own tire in the dark. Seemed fine to me. There were no cell phones. I didn’t have a flashlight. The shoulder of the highway was dark. I argued that  I couldn’t see anything wrong.

 He checked the pressure with a gauge and insisted on checking my trunk for a spare. He gave me a little push. I pushed back. Heels and all.

I said “Hey.” and told him I was in a hurry and I would just pray. I told him that God would take care of me. He always had and He would do it again. He offered to pray with me.

We did. I went to get into my car.

 He insisted on airing my tire up but, he had made me miss the ramp to the gas station. Annoyed and needing to get this over with, I caved.  I got into his car.

He put in a Wayne Watson cassette and played “Watercolour Ponies”.

When he headed down to the apartment entrance, a bad feeling swept over me. I knew I was in deep trouble. I clenched my knees together. Why did I wear a bubble mini-dress today?

 I figured out quickly that he parked too close to the nearby car for even my tiny frame to open the long heavy door.  I panicked. I got mad. I tried and tried.

My inner voice cried out to God! I turned to the man.

He had a gun pointed at me. I threw my head between my knees like some kind of ostrich, putting my hands over the back of my head. My imagination produced images of brain splatter of the car window.

 I couldn’t breathe.

My heart pounded in my ears.

 I reasoned with God. “I thought you had good plans for me. I thought I was going to do great things for you. I thought I would go into ministry. But if this is it, I know I am safe with you.” I know, I heard the God of the Universe shake me out of my tail-spin.

 A still small voice said, “Cindy, guys do not pull girls off of the side of the road, just to kill them.”

I answered in my head, “NOOOOOOOOOO! Not this way! It is not ending like that.”

At that point, I stepped through the iconic eye-of-the-needle.

I asked God, what to do.

He said, “Ask him, why is he doing this.”

So through tears, I asked.

That’s all it took.

He began to talk to me. He told me he was going to commit suicide. He even set the gun down.

He poured out his heart about how terrible his life had been. Story after terrible story of how he had lost family members in tragic accidents.   Although I didn’t realize it at the time, I was counseling him.

I would listen and tell him about my God who cared.

I talked to him about how God is love and how I wouldn’t want to go to hell because love must not exist there. In my head, I was standing on scriptures I had heard at a recent meeting.I was thinking about how a little old lady had subdued a burglar with nothing but saying scripture out loud.

To him, I was just willing to let him talk to someone. I kept praying under my breath. Throughout the conversation, he kept scooching further over onto my side of the car. I told him that there were angels right in that backseat. I told him we were not alone.

 I offered to pray with him. He let me.

Then he came too close. I put my hand on his chest and commanded him to get back on his side of the car. To my surprise and relief, it worked. He took his gun and threw it out of the window and into the nearby weeds then offered to let me go.

I had to promise that he could come see me at my work. He even gave me his full name and made me promise not to call the authorities. I knew I had to.  I also knew that I had to get free. I agreed.

He took me to the gas station and sped away.  I asked the gas station attendant if I could use his phone to call the police.

“Why lady, did your boyfriend just dump you off? Did you have a fight?”

“No. I was kidnapped and I used the power of Jesus’ name to get away.”

 “You know what, I believe you,” he walked me to the phone.

The next couple of hours I sat with the crime unit.  I still couldn’t tell you the make and model of the car. Mine was covered in fingerprint ink.   I honestly could not relay a good description of his face.  In the darkness, I just saw a weary, worn, desperate young man.

I had won his trust. He had given me his full name. It was strangely close to that of an author I had followed as a child. I gave that to the police.   I arrived home around 2:30 am. I reveled in my relationship with Jesus.  When I got under the covers, I sought out scripture to relate my experience to and found this:

Psalm 18 New King James says: 1) I will love thee, O LORD, my strength. 2)The LORD is my rock, and my fortress, and my deliverer; my God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my buckler, and the horn of my salvation, and my high tower, 3)I will call upon the LORD, who is worthy to be praised: so shall I be saved from mine enemies. 4)The sorrows of death encompassed me, and the floods of ungodly men made me afraid. 5)The sorrows of hell compassed me about: the snares of death prevented me .6)In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears.

About the author:

Cindy A. Johnston Webb

CINDY WEBB has a desire to inspire and entertain while exhorting others through life experiences. As a wife, mother, lay-minister and this comes naturally. Her life has been full of endeavors such as selling out everything to go to Rhema Bible Training Center, pursuing an acting career and pioneering a church. Her greatest accomplishments are not in the things that she does, but in being obedient to do what her Heavenly Father has called her to do. Cindy has been a faithful much member of Victory Church in Pevely, MO over thirty years serving in a wide scope of lay-ministries.

Leave a comment and let Cindy know what you think!

Write on my friends, write on!

 

Blogger Interrupted


Welcome to Flash Fest December!

I have some author friends who have joined me in this challenge, and are contributing to the prize baskets!

This is how the prize giveaway will work:

Leave a comment throughout the week on any blog post, whether it’s the blog hop, flash, guest spot, or weekend writing warriors. I will select one of the commenters through Randompicker and post it on Monday’s post ( or rather Tuesday as it’s been lately, since my internet connection has been sketchy.) That person can contact me on Facebook or email me at: l.e.mcatee@gmail.com.

This post will count as well so leave a comment!

 

Ahem!  So,  my apologies for missing the last few days.  Our internet has been down, and I didn’t have my posts prescheduled as I was planning to fine tune them and run a spell check. Trust me,  I need the spell check! Had plans to get things straightened out today –  only I’ve been to one appointment after another and just got home at 4:30 central.  It’s now 5:30 and I am exhausted so y’all have to wait.

So, for these last few days, I may have to double up on flash features. Also,  I will announce the winner for this week tomorrow, so tune in tomorrow!!

Write on my friends,  write on!

It’s Cold Outside


Merry Christmas!

I hope you were all good boys and girls and Santa got you what was on your list.

Welcome to Flash Fest December!

I have some author friends who have joined me in this challenge, and are contributing to the prize baskets!

This week’s prize basket:

  • $5 Amazon gift card
  • 3 Free e-books 
  • Swag bag

 

This is how the prize giveaway will work:

Leave a comment throughout the week on any blog post, whether it’s the blog hop, flash, guest spot, or weekend writing warriors. I will select one of the commenters through Randompicker and post it on Monday’s post ( or rather Tuesday as it’s been lately, since my internet connection has been sketchy.) That person can contact me on Facebook or email me at: l.e.mcatee@gmail.com.

The challenge is to write a flash piece, 500 to 1000 words based on a Holiday tune as a prompt. The author was given the option to select their own or I would assign one. Trust me,  my list of holiday tunage is anything but traditional!

 

Baby, It’s Cold Outside

“Baby it’s warm inside.”

by Sophie Wootten

A harsh, frigid wind tore through the building, ripping at the curtains, its’ sharp fingers scratching at the windows, whistling triumphant nothings as ice filled air danced a fine line between gifting a pain filled battering to the tired grey little building, and offering a gentle teasing caress to the once lordly seat. On the outside walls every shade of grey and green and brown bore delicate facades, lovingly carved by a previous owner whose new bride had desired to demonstrate the beauty of their home inside and out. She had brought warm fires, gentle laughter and the smell of gorse heather into the heart of every guest that had flung open her door, until quite suddenly she had been left alone, eyes filled with an aching sadness and a distant joy of memories once past.

“…I really can’t stay…”

The radio crackled softly as it shook between stations.

“The weather outside is some of the worst we’ve seen in many years…”

“… (But baby it’s cold outside) …”

“-Terms and conditions apply, please see our company information for more details-“

The firelight danced over the mahogany figurines on the sitting room table and cast soft shadowy silhouettes onto the wall as she fiddled carefully with the knobs on the radio.

“…My mother will start to worry…My father will be pacing the floor…”

The male shadow reached out a hand to his lady, swaying in the firelight.

“…I wish I knew how…” the woman danced away but was drawn back gently murmuring “…to break this spell…”

“… (mind if I move in closer?) …” the man sang softy, brushing her cheek with his hand. Penny touched her own cheek lightly, a long-lost smile gracing her lips.

“…My sister will be suspicious-” She had pestered her for months.

“… (gosh your lips look delicious) …” His had been, so easy to kiss.

“…My brother will be there at the door…” Her father had glared from behind him.
“… (It’s up to your knees out there!) …” It had been freezing, the coldest they’d ever had, feet upon feet of snow, just like today.
“…You’ve really been grand…” He had been. Such a gentleman too, walked her all the way home.
“… (I thrill when you touch my hand) …” Her hands tingled as she stretched her hands out in front of her, rubbing the tips of her numb fingers with her thumbs as if searching for a long-lost feeling.
“How can you do this to me?” Penny’s eyes were closed but her heart was burning. “… (think of my lifelong sorrow) …”

Clear liquid leaked from the corner of her eyes, the cold from the window freezing them into glistening ice crystals upon her face. She laid her hand gently upon the cool window watching for a car that would never come, her eyes resting both on the road and how her breath fogged the pane, absentmindedly drawing swirling circles upon the glass, forehead resting against the heavy worn frame.

Breath in, fade. Breath out, fog. Breath in, fade. Breath out, fog.

Breath in-

The fire had burned low, until a dim, red light was the only thing illuminating the room, the candles had long since been blown out by a gentle puff of air, the cat had quieted and had curled up by the worn slippers of her owner, offering a silent guardian and a quiet vigil as dusk turned to night, became dawn.

“…Penny baby it’s warm inside…”

About the author:

Sophie Wootton, 27.

Born and bred in the United Kingdom she studied English Literature with Creative Writing at York St. John University, UK and is currently working for an investment bank in London.
When she isn’t glued to the computer screen writing short stories and poetry, she spends time studying French, drawing for fun, using her cane to avoid the inevitable lamppost collisions and arguing with her cat in an effort to keep her side of the bed.

Leave a comment to let Sophie know you enjoyed her story!

Write on my friends, write on!

Under the Mistletoe!


Welcome to Flash Fest December!

I have some author friends who have joined me in this challenge, and are contributing to the prize baskets!

This week’s prize basket:

  • $5 Amazon gift card
  • Free e-book for Red Wine & Roses, contemporary romance
  • Swag bag
  • e-book of What We’ve Unlearned: English Class Goes Punk (The Writerpunk Project Book 4)
  • e-book of Holiday Fling, contemporary romance

This is how the prize giveaway will work:

Leave a comment throughout the week on any blog post, whether it’s the blog hop, flash, guest spot, or weekend writing warriors. I will select one of the commenters through Randompicker and post it on Monday’s post ( or rather Tuesday as it’s been lately, since my internet connection has been sketchy.) That person can contact me on Facebook or email me at: l.e.mcatee@gmail.com.

The challenge is to write a flash piece, 500 to 1000 words based on a Holiday tune as a prompt. The author was given the option to select their own or I would assign one. Trust me,  my list of holiday tunage is anything but traditional!

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

by Amy Winehouse

Under the Mistletoe

by Carol Gyzander

I stamped my feet in the snow and eyeballed the decorations all around me as I waited outside my little sister’s school. Some of them I remembered from when I myself had been a third-grader there, ten years ago—the wreath over the door, red and green lights wrapped around the entrance. Non-denominational snowflakes, the kind you make by folding a piece of paper and cutting bits out of it and then covering it, and everything nearby, with glitter.

But the longer I waited, the more new things I noticed.

A Star of David made of blue lights was mounted on a post in the courtyard. Looking inside I saw a menorah on the front desk in the office. Nice, not just Christmas decorations anymore.

A multi-colored green, yellow and orange banner with another line of candles painted on it hung in the hall. Ah, Kwanzaa. Cool.

No Krampus to punish the bad children the night before Christmas—perhaps that was just as well. How about Festivus? No?

Oh well, being away at college had enlarged my world—enough to likely put me on the naughty list. At least it was good to see the old narrow view of things had expanded a bit back home.

When did they get out? Three o’clock, right? One semester in college had totally thrown my memories of grade school schedules out the window. I could stay up as late as I wanted, now, and frequently did. It was just weird being home for the holiday.

I’d slept in late that morning after helping Mom vacuum the house from last night’s family party. She’d been a bit annoyed that we had to hold it the Sunday night before Christmas because that was the only time that Aunt Marge could make it.

I’d told her I thought it had been fine, and I couldn’t believe Dad had still come in Santa Claus costume. She’d actually giggled. What the hell?

Finally, the bell rang, and I stepped back with all the parents and nannies who were picking up the kids after school as a stream of children came running out the door. No Mary. Where was she?

I waited a few minutes and was about to go and look for her, when I saw her trudging slowly down the hall, holding hands with another little girl whose red eyes showed she had clearly been crying.

“Hey! Mary, over here!” I waved my arm over my head because she wasn’t even looking around to try and find me.

My little sister hugged the other girl, who wiped her eyes and trudged off down the street with her nanny, shoulders down.

“Hey bug, how was your day? What’s with your friend?” I hugged Mary and got little response in return.

“Fine. She’s sad.”

Dang. That didn’t sound like a kid right before Christmas. “Why is she sad?” The two of us started walking down the street toward our house.

“She said her parents are getting divorced. Her mom was doing the S – E – X thing. With somebody that wasn’t her daddy.”

“You…you know about sex?” Holy crap, when did they start sex ed in school? I couldn’t remember.

Mary sniffled. “Yeah, we just had a lesson on it in health class. You’re not supposed to do it except with your partner or spouse. Not with other people.”

Ah, so that’s what they’re telling people now. “Well, I’m sorry for your friend. How was your day?”

We had reached the corner house with the big holiday display that I always loved to see, but Mary didn’t even stop and look. She didn’t answer.

“Hey bug, you seem awfully upset, too. Is something else wrong?”

After a silence, I could barely hear the next words from her. “I saw Mommy.”

Okay…

“You saw Mommy what?”

“I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus last night, under the mistletoe. After he came to the party and gave out all the presents. Mommy kissed him and Daddy wasn’t there. And that means they’re going to have to get divorced.”

Oh crap crap crap. She still believed in Santa Claus—didn’t she know that was Dad dressed up? What the hell did they tell me when I’d asked if Santa was real? I took a deep breath and spun her around to face me.

“Oh bug, it’s time you learned the truth. You know the whole thing about Santa traveling all around the world in one night, giving toys to all the good kids? That doesn’t make sense, does it? I mean, even with magic, how could he do that, right?”

She sniffed. “I’ve been wondering about that. Even with reindeer.”

“Exactly. See, there’s more to it than you’ve been thinking. Somebody needs to fill you in on the real truth. Do you think you’re ready for it?”

She wiped her nose with the back of her hand and nodded.

“Santa can’t do it all himself. We all have to help—those of us who believe in Christmas, at least. You know how the family gave each other presents last night? It wasn’t Christmas yet. We were just helping out with the spirit of Christmas. The same thing happens on Christmas Eve. All the moms and dads—even the sisters—who believe help Santa by putting the presents out under the tree. It’s like there’s a little bit of Santa in all of us.”

She thought a few minutes. “What does this have to do with them getting divorced?”

“Well, sometimes parents get so excited to help Santa that they even dress up in a Santa suit. And when daddies do that, mommies want to kiss them.”

She turned it over in her mind. I could see the light bulb forming over her head—then she burst out laughing, yelled, “Eeeew!” And ran down the street toward our house, shrieking with laughter the whole way.

I figured I deserved a spot on the nice list after all.

About the author:

Carol Gyzander writes under her own name, even though few can spell or pronounce it (think “GUYS and her”).

She was a prolific reader of the three “A” writers in her early days: Andre Norton, Aasimov, and Agatha Christie.

Since they moved every two years, Carol had lots of reading time on her hands as the perpetual new kid. But she became adept at people-watching in order to fit in at each new school, and followed this up by studying anthropology—the study of people and their culture—and lots and lots of English literature at Bryn Mawr College.

Now that her kids have flown the coop, she has gone back to her early loves and writes cyberpunk and steampunk stories, with a thriller/detective novel and more science fiction in the works.

She lives in New Jersey with the writer’s requisite cats. You can see some of her work at: Carol Gyzander

Be sure to leave her a comment to let her know how you liked her story!

Write on my friends, write on!

A Word of Advice #MFRW


Welcome to Flash Fest December!

I have some author friends who have joined me in this challenge, and are contributing to the prize baskets!

This week’s prize basket:

  • $5 Amazon gift card
  • Free e-book for Red Wine & Roses, contemporary romance
  • Swag bag
  • e-book of What We’ve Unlearned: English Class Goes Punk (The Writerpunk Project Book 4)
  • e-book of Holiday Fling, contemporary romance

This is how the prize giveaway will work:

Leave a comment throughout the week on any blog post, whether it’s the blog hop, flash, guest spot, or weekend writing warriors. I will select one of the commenters through Randompicker and post it on Monday’s post ( or rather Tuesday as it’s been lately, since my internet connection has been sketchy.) That person can contact me on Facebook or email me at: l.e.mcatee@gmail.com.

The challenge is to write a flash piece, 500 to 1000 words based on a Holiday tune as a prompt. The author was given the option to select their own or I would assign one. Trust me,  my list of holiday tunage is anything but traditional!

So, even though this isn’t a flash feature,  any comments will still count towards the prizes.

MFRW blog hop week 51 – Advice for new authors. Just one more week to go!

What advice would you give newbies? What advice do you wish that others would have given you when you were a newbie?

Those are the two main questions that I ‘ve been contemplating for this post.  I have to admit, it took a bit of contemplating to decide which tidbits to share. A couple of pots of coffee, a few oatmeal cookies – sugar-free of course, to dunk in my coffee, and my trusty notepad to jot down what came to my mind.

These are the three bits of advice that I wish someone would have shared with me. I hope it helps you if you are an aspiring author.

  1. Decide what you want to write. What genre do you feel comfortable with? What length of work do you feel comfortable with?

There are other options for a writer besides book-length novels. When I first began writing,  I wrote articles for magazines, and for a column in our local paper. The short 1000 word articles rolled off my fingers with minimal effort. But, my dream was to be a published author like my idol Katie McAlister. It is difficult to make myself focus on longer length works,  but oh so satisfying to hit ‘the end’.

2. Schedule time for your writing. Make it a priority. If you write whenever you have time,  you’ll find everything in the world crowding out your writing time. Make an appointment with yourself and KEEP IT! Just as if it were a doctor’s appointment. IF this is what you really want, then make your goals a priority!

3. Stick to one project at a time! (Best advice I ever got from my friend Vicki Locey! Thank you, Vicki!) I’m the world’s worst at having too many irons in the fire, with multiple books in the works. It wasn’t until I made myself focus on one project and stick with it to completion that I got my books published. Notice,  that completed does not mean published. I have five books that are completed but need revisions and editing before they are publishable.  It’s ok to jot down ideas for new stories while you work on your current WIP. FOCUS is a key factor to success as an author. I have to admit my ADD tendencies fight me on this point. I made myself a system of rewards for tackling the current WIP first, before anything else. For instance, when I have my writing time, lately has been in the afternoons because of doctor appointments, I set my timer, and write until the timer goes off. Now I may get up and get a cup of coffee or cocoa,  or run to the bathroom, but during that time I write. Most days I manage about 1200 words. Then I reward myself. Maybe it’s coloring in my planner, it’s one of those adult coloring book planners. Maybe I play a game for a bit or jot down notes for another story. If time allows or if I am really in the zone, I may work on writing for a longer period of time.

If you can master those three things, you are well on your way to success!

You can read other participating authors HERE.

Write on my friends, write on!

 

Mistletoe


Welcome to Flash Fest December!

I have some author friends who have joined me in this challenge, and are contributing to the prize baskets!

 

This week’s prize basket:

  • $5 Amazon gift card
  • Free e-book for Red Wine & Roses, contemporary romance
  • Swag bag
  • e-book of What We’ve Unlearned: English Class Goes Punk (The Writerpunk Project Book 4)
  • e-book of Holiday Fling, contemporary romance

This is how the prize giveaway will work:

Leave a comment throughout the week on any blog post, whether it’s the blog hop, flash, guest spot, or weekend writing warriors. I will select one of the commenters through Randompicker and post it on Monday’s post ( or rather Tuesday as it’s been lately, since my internet connection has been sketchy.) That person can contact me on Facebook or email me at: l.e.mcatee@gmail.com.

The challenge is to write a flash piece, 500 to 1000 words based on a Holiday tune as a prompt. The author was given the option to select their own or I would assign one. Trust me,  my list of holiday tunage is anything but traditional!

The Christmas Song by the Raveonettes

Mistletoe

by

Tracy Broemmer

Nic Collins hung her head and huffed out another irritated sigh. She hated Christmas lights, and right about now, she hated her house and the gutter and the light clips and the ladder she stood on, and the neighbor who had called a greeting to her—oh yeah, he’d sounded a little amused and a lot smug—and she swallowed down a prickly, niggling little jolt of hatred for Hailey Gerritsen. The very same Hailey Gerritsen that the rest of the world loved.

Okay, maybe not the whole world, but pretty much everyone in Nic’s world, and maybe hatred was a bit strong, but also pretty darn close at the moment. After all, it was Hailey’s fault that she was all but hanging from her gutter, stringing up the damned icicle lights that were at least a few years out of style.

“Nic?”

Damn. And let’s not forget the part about Scott Walton standing at the foot of her ladder. Holding it steady for her. She almost jumped, because that last wave of frustration with Hailey had trumped everything else, and she had forgotten that Scott was here. To help her.

She rolled her eyes and groaned quietly as she lifted her chin.

“Hmm?” She didn’t trust herself to speak.

“You okay up there?”

Why was he here? Well, yeah, he was helping her put up her Christmas stuff. Nic got that much. Hailey had probably sent him over, but Nic had told him she was fine. She didn’t need help. He could go. He hadn’t, though. He hadn’t left, and he was helping, and he’d offered at least seven times now to do this part. To climb the ladder and hang the lights.

“Yep.”

“You sure you don’t want me—?”

Eight.

She dropped her head back to hang between her shoulder blades. Her hands hurt from the cold.

“I’m fine, Scott,” she mumbled.

“Can I make a suggestion?”

Nic flexed her fingers as she turned slowly on the ladder and shot him a look that said I’m all ears. But she bit her tongue when she met his cobalt blue gaze. How could one guy be that cute and nice?

Scott Walton was dreamy; she’d noticed that three years ago when he’d been new on the crew and Hailey had introduced him to Nic and the rest of the gang. He was tall and a little lanky, but not in a bad way. His long legs weren’t awkward, so much as lean and sexy—not that Nic looked. Much. He had wide shoulders and a tapered chest, and Nic had noticed his butt. What female on the planet wouldn’t notice Scott Walton’s butt?

Best of all? He was nice. No false advertising in his friendly smile. He was mild-mannered, handled himself professionally, sure, but he was fun, too. Always had time to help anyone out. Which Nic supposed was why he had shown up here earlier.

She nodded slowly. As the producer on set, Nic was used to doling out orders and taking charge. The crew had been together for five years, and Nic rarely had to flex her bossy muscles. But she could and did now and then.

Not with Scott, though. Nope.

“Sure.” She arched her eyebrows and waited for him to suggest she get down and let him finish the lights for her. She wouldn’t. She’d thank him and go back to wondering why the damn lights weren’t working, and he’d go back to watching her. Either until they were finished or until one of them froze.

Doubtful. It was just cold enough to be miserable, but certainly not freezing.

“C’mere.” He reached for her hand.

Well. This was new. She squeezed her hand into a fist again and then backed down the ladder to the first rung, so she was standing almost eye to eye with him.

“What if…” He took her hand, even though she’d just moved down to look at him. “We…scrapped these lights. And went to get new ones.”

They’d worked together for three years. They were work friends. Period. She blinked at her fingers, encircled in his big warm hand. Warm? How was his hand warm?

“New ones?” She cleared her throat and looked up to find those blue eyes searching her face intently. He nodded, but rather than speak, he stepped toward her. Into the bushes where she’d had to wedge the ladder. His eyes never left her face, so Nic was careful not to look away, though she wondered what he was doing. Why was he getting so close?

“New lights,” he repeated. When he squeezed her fingers, she nodded.

New lights. Of course. Why hadn’t she thought of that?

But he didn’t step back, didn’t look away. Instead, he leaned further into her. Nic caught her breath when she felt him touch her cheek with his free hand. He stroked his thumb over her lower lip and dropped his gaze there when she gasped in surprise again.

He was—what the—oh—he was going to kiss her. Yep. He had that look, that intense look that guys in the movies get just before they kiss the girl. Before Nic could process that, before she could react, Scott brushed his lips—warm and soft—over hers.

Okay, proof that she wasn’t frozen yet, because her heart fluttered in her chest and throat, and a wave of warmth unfurled through her belly and fingertips. Still, in his hand, they throbbed and Nic curled them around his.

He made another pass, this one just as slow and soft, his lips over hers. It had been a damned long time since she’d done this, but she couldn’t recall the feeling of wild horses dancing on her chest before.

Her lips remembered their part, though, and suddenly, Nic realized she was kissing him back. Really kissing him. The lazy stroke of his tongue over hers was delicious and wicked, too, and Nic’s body was warm now.

All too soon, he pulled away from her, but he held her eyes in his gaze.

“What—?” She cleared her throat, but the word still came out like a croak. “What was—?”

His smile was sweet, and the thought of those lips on hers just moments ago made her ache in places she’d thought were long dead. She flicked her gaze up to watch him as he reached to pluck something from her hair.

“You had…” He shrugged, and Nic’s eyes were drawn to his lips again. “Mistletoe…in your hair…”

“Mistletoe?” she whispered, and her heart did a belly flop. She’d fallen for a moment. Believed in the magic of the season. When in reality, Scott had only kissed her because he was supposed to because of the mistletoe.

“Let’s get new lights and start again tomorrow.”

About the author:

Tracy Broemmer

You can find all of Tracy’s books on Amazon: Tracy Broemmer

Leave a comment and let her know what you think of this story.

Write on my friends,  write on!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas At Home


Welcome to Flash Fest December!

I have some author friends who have joined me in this challenge, and are contributing to the prize baskets!

The winner for last week’s Prize Basket is:

Nina Valdez!  Nina, I will be contacting you!

This week’s prize basket:

  • $5 Amazon gift card
  • Free e-book for Red Wine & Roses, contemporary romance
  • Swag bag
  • e-book of What We’ve Unlearned: English Class Goes Punk (The Writerpunk Project Book 4
  • e-book of Holiday Fling, contemporary romance

This is how the prize giveaway will work:

Leave a comment throughout the week on any blog post, whether it’s the blog hop, flash, guest spot, or weekend writing warriors. I will select one of the commenters through Randompicker and post it on Monday’s post. That person can contact me on Facebook or email me at: l.e.mcatee@gmail.com.

The challenge is to write a flash piece, 500 to 1000 words based on a Holiday tune as a prompt. The author was given the option to select their own or I would assign one. Trust me,  my list of holiday tunage is anything but traditional!

The Island of Misfit Toys

Christmas at Home

Black Mountain Pack

by Miranda Lynn

The offkey sound of four young cubs voices ringing together echoed through the house, each throwing their own spin on a classic Christmas song while their mothers warmed the kitchen with baking.

“Why are we all such a misfits?
I am not just a nit wit!
I’m an adorable
Fox…panther…lynx
Why don’t we fit in?”

 

That caterwauling has to stop,” Sterling grumbled.

Rea headed Sterling off as he marched towards the living room. “Let them enjoy themselves. I remember growing up and this time of year was the only happy times I remember. I know their life isn’t like mine was but these classics bring a sense of joy and happiness. Let them be kids.” She wrapped her arms around his neck and silenced his response with a searing kiss.

“Alright for now I’ll leave them. What are you two up to?”

“We’re making Christmas cookies, want to help?” Reana grabbed a pot holder and took out the cookie sheet from the oven replacing it with another full of dough ready to bake.

A cold breeze blasted them as the back door once again opened admitting more of the family. Jerome and Suzanne stomped their boots on the rug before removing them. Suzanne made the rounds hugging everyone. “Where are the cubs?”

In the living room watching Rudolph.” Casey replied kissing Jerome’s cheek in greeting.

“What is that horrible sound?” Mack cringed as he and Sterling came in the kitchen door.

“The children are watching Christmas cartoons and singing with the songs.” Casey answered as she raised her cheek for a kiss.

“They sound like they are dying.” Sterling grimaced.

“Oh give them a break, they are enjoying the classic fun of Christmas shows. Frosty, The Grinch, and currently Rudolph.” Reana laughed.

“Oh for heaven’s sake, we need to introduce them to the real classics. Like Die Hard, now that’s a Christmas movie for the ages.” Mack laughed as he avoided the smack of Casey’s hand.

The singing increased in the living room, the out of tune voices welcome.

“Again, that’s the fourth time today!” Suzanne chuckled moving into the living room. “Who has sugar’s for Meme?” Squeals answered her question.

Jerome smiled as he followed his nose to the finished cookies cooling on the counter. Casey smacked his hand away as he grabbed for one. “They haven’t been iced yet Da, you’ll have to wait.”

“An Alpha never has to wait.” He harrumphed and grabbed for one again.

“If that Alpha wants to eat at all he will.” Casey smacked his hand again.

Mack leaned against the counter enjoying the happiness that filled his heart. His mate, his cubs, his parents, and the rest of those he called family were all gathered for the holidays enjoying some much needed down time. They had gathered at Sterling’s house this year but he planned to have them all come down next year to experience Christmas on a different continent. For now though he would soak up all he could because he knew tomorrow could bring more troubles and dangers. Being shifters, as they were, there would always be fighting one enemy or another.

“What’s running through that head of yours son?” Jerome handed off a confiscated cookie.

“Just trying to enjoy the day, Da. The quiet before the storm you could say.” Mack bit into the gooey chocolate chip cookie his father had handed him.

“As you should, we can’t predict what tomorrow brings, we can only enjoy the joy we find today.”

“Here here.” Sterling agreed handing glasses of eggnog to everyone. “I agree with Jerome, let us enjoy the happiness we have today with each other and let it strengthen us for what may come in the future. Cheers and Merry Christmas everyone.”

Everyone clinked glasses as the cubs ran in hugging their parents and grandparents and stealing a cookie or two from the counter. Jerome and Suzanne gazed on as their son and their closest friend enjoyed the happiness the Fates had provided them and prayed more of their pack would soon find theirs.
~~~~~~

 

About the author:

Travel and Paranormal Romance author. Her Destiny series takes you on a roller

coaster ride through time with sexy

Highlanders and sassy female heroines. If shifters are your kryptonite, then check out her Black Mountain Pack

series, which throws a twist on the traditional shifter lore.

Miranda is a mother to two teenage boys

who are sure they know it all, a 75lb lapdog and a 15lb foot warmer. She is thankful her husband doesn’t mind the extra voices in her head.

Miranda is an only child who grew up on a dairy farm in Illinois which left her plenty of time to make up stories in her head for entertainment. She currently resides in

Tennessee where she wonders if Mother Nature will ever stop with the hormonal mood swings. She fuels herself with coffee, chocolate, and wine.

Social Media Links:

Website: www.mirandalynn.com

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Miranda-Lynn/e/B00P0D9X2S/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/MirandaLynnBks/

Facebook Readers Group:https://www.facebook.com/groups/367841766921211/?ref=bookmarks

Instagram:https://www.instagram.com/authormirandalynn/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/9287768.Miranda_Lynn

BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/miranda-lynn

Twitter: https://twitter.com/MirandaLynnBks

 

 

Don’t forget to leave a comment and show Miranda appreciation for her wonderful story as well as be entered into the drawing for this week’s prize!

Write on my friends, write on.

 

The Song of Making


Welcome to Flash Fest December!

I have some author friends who have joined me in this challenge, and are contributing to the prize baskets!

 

Today is WEWRIWA!

I’ve been sharing from my current WIP, The Blood Key.

Weekend Writing Warriors.

HOW IT WORKS

It’s simple and fun. Sign up on the linky list with your name, blog url, and email address on Mondays, 8:00 AM EST. Each week, the list remains open until Saturday, 11:59 PM. Then on Sunday, post 8 to 10 sentences from a current writing project, published or unpublished. Visit other participants and offer opinions, critiques, support. Writers hanging out with writers, a good time with a great group of people.
~~~~~~~~~
8 sentences –  I can manage that, can’t I?  That sounded like a challenge and I was off!
Yes, it’s late in the year but what the heck! Maybe this will turn into a regular thing.  I ‘ve been thinking I should share more snippets anyway. I’ve had some issues with my links in the past few weeks, let’s hope it’s all straightened out now. Keep in mind, this is truly a first draft. So here goes:
~~~~~~~~~

Raelyn began to sing quietly the song of making before she realized what she was doing. When she came to the chorus, realization dawned and her voice quietly tapered off. She would have to learn new lullabies, new songs of comfort and a whole new way of life. She hoped and prayed that the part she had sung had not alerted one of the high priests to their whereabouts.

She had adapted quickly to life in Faery. Raeylan hoped that she would adapt as easily to life on earth once again.

The emotions rose up inside of her nearly choking her, but she squelched them down. She couldn’t fall apart now, she had to protect Iliana. It would be best if she and her child took on new names so that no one would find them. She offered a prayer to the gods of the Faery realm, offered a prayer to her own God from her childhood, and asked protection for her innocent child.

Whatever was to come, she would face it bravely for Iliana’s sake.

OK, well that was closer to 10,  but I felt I should complete the thought of that scene.

Leave a message and let me know what you think! You can check out other WEWRIWA authors HERE!

Write on my friends, write on!