Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Happy New Year! New Years History + Traditions

Welcome January!  Although often bitterly cold here in the Northeast, January is still one of my favorite months, as it's both a new beginning and my birthday month.  While 2014 wasn't entirely terrible, both my kids had serious sports-related injuries (a badly broken leg for my older son in Feb., and a badly broken right thumb for my younger son right before the start of school.  Yes, he's right-handed.  Both breaks required surgery, and in the case of my son's leg, there was quite a bit of rehab and many, many visits to Children's Hospital), so, we're ready to put last year behind us.

Many of my most popular blog posts have discussed some of the history or mythology behind holiday traditions, for example, St. Nick, Finding Easter's date, and the Origin of Halloween. For the first week in January, I thought I'd list some facts about New Year's Day and the month of January itself.  (Also, my January birthday is on the 13th - see this post for reasons people fear that number).

New Year's Day is the first day of January according to both the Julian calendar (introduced by Julius Caesar in 46 BC) and the Gregorian calendar (named for Pope Gregory XIII, who introduced it in 1582).  The difference in these two calendars is a .002% change in the length of the year.

The Roman god Janus,
looking both forward and back

The Julian calendar was based on the Roman Calendar, and the name of the month of January is generally attributed to the Roman god Janus, the god of beginnings and endings, who is depicted with two faces looking in opposite directions: into the past as well as the future.

Since the Gregorian calendar is now used, at least in practice, by most countries, New Year's Day is considered the world's most celebrated public holiday.

The ancient belief that the beginning of an event impacted the whole led people to offer good health and well wishes on this first day of a new year, as the long, dark days surrounding the Winter Solstice were being left behind.  A prosperous January first with plenty of food and drink would hopefully lead to the same for the entire month and year.

Of course, local traditions abound to mark this day, and a big one in the United States is the making of resolutions.  For many people, this involves a commitment to a healthier lifestyle--as a fitness instructor, I see my classes absolutely explode each January!  My own personal resolutions, since I'm also a writer, usually involve devoting more time each day to my craft so I can meet deadlines without the stress of a last minute rush.

Aside from goals related to my two jobs, though, I think my most important resolution this year will be to try harder to live in the moment.  As I cleaned out closets this Christmas break--an attempt to start the new year with a more organized environment--I stumbled across a very old video recorder.  So old that it involved tiny cassette tapes.  I powered up the camera and hit play, and suddenly my first born child appeared, not quite two years old, toddling across the screen in overalls.  I watched him look for Easter eggs, attempt his first trip down a slide, try to rake leaves, and wrestle with the new kitten, who is now a 16-year-old cat.  The same age, in fact, as my oldest son is now.

The soccer net we built in the
backyard so the boys
could practice.  Otis enjoys
it as well :)
Where did that time go?  Can my kid really be two years away from leaving home?  So, while he probably won't be thrilled about the idea of spending more time with me, I'm planning on making sure I don't miss one soccer game, track meet, or awards assembly.

Best wishes, everyone, for a happy, healthy, and meaningful 2015.  Happy New Year!

PS - if your resolutions include more reading (one of the best stress-reducers, by the way!) - check out my books.  Romance and suspense - something for everyone :)

Monday, December 29, 2014

New #Kindle? Forbidden Love + Supernatural Suspense for #99c!

The custom cover
I designed for my
Kindle - love it!
Did you get a new Kindle or Nook for the holidays?  I'll admit, I was conflicted when I received my first Kindle.  I love the feel of books.  But you absolutely can't beat the ease of an e-reader when it comes to downloading new reads immediately, searching for certain passages, and looking up definitions right on the spot.  Not to mention, you can carry hundreds of books with you at all times, in one lightweight tablet!  Perfect for this girl, who never goes anywhere without a book.  I even made a custom cover for mine, with the covers of my first two novels on the front and back.

My third novel, a Young Adult Paranormal Romance that reviewers have called "nail-bitingly good", is currently on sale for only 99 cents for both the Kindle and Nook formats.  That's a pretty great deal for a book that will pull you into a forbidden first love and a dangerous supernatural secret, with plenty of action and romance along the way.  Give it a try!  The premier annual Romance Convention, RomCon, has already picked it as a 2015 nominee for their coveted Reader's Crown Award!  Links and blurb below, and check out the Pinterest board too.  Happy Reading--Enjoy the "Fall".

After tragedy tears Jamie Brandt’s life apart, her only goal is to finish high school so she can leave her small hometown behind. In the meantime, riding her horse is her main source of solace, until a mysterious stable hand shows up at the barn. There’s something not quite right about the handsome new employee, and the more Jamie sees of him, the more determined she becomes to figure out what he’s hiding.

Dothan Reed came to historic Huntsville, Maryland, for one reason—revenge. But his plan can’t move forward until he finds the missing piece he needs to enhance his powers. As the only surviving Nephilim, Dothan is not only weaker than full-blooded angels; his forbidden lineage makes him an outcast in both worlds. When he discovers Jamie is the key to locating an ancient weapon, he’s forced to interact with a vulnerable human girl—a task that becomes more appealing with each encounter.

Jamie soon learns Dothan isn’t the only one with a dark secret. Each new revelation further threatens her safety, and Dothan’s betrayal shatters her heart. Forgiving him seems impossible, but the thought of turning her back on him is equally painful. 

As their connection deepens, Dothan will have to make his own difficult choice: continue on his path of vengeance, or protect the girl he loves. And when Dothan’s actions thrust Jamie into an unforeseen danger, he must seek the help of his enemy…or risk losing her forever.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Happy Holidays for Shelter #Pets - #ShelterPetLove

I love animals.  And I come from a long line of animal lovers, on both sides of my family.  Growing up, we had at least 2 cats and a dog in the house at all times; we also owned a horse that lived at my mom's best friend's barn (that's the setting I used as inspiration for the stable where Jamie keeps her horse in my Young Adult novel DIVINE FALL).  I have many fond memories of playing with the barn cats and "camping out" with the other kids on the patio, under the stars, while all the dogs that lived on the farm tried to squeeze into our sleeping bags.

My mom, waking up with 350,
plus two cats.  I love this pic
We often took in rescues from shelters.  When my parents married, our first family dog was a St. Bernard named 350.  Why?  Because that was his cage number at the shelter, and that was how much his adoption fee was - $3.50.  Of course, this was 1969.

Sadly, my mom is gone...but I've continued the tradition of making animals a big part of our lives.  Right now at home we have a rescue cat (he's 16 now, and he's had several brothers over the years, both his actual brother and a few other rescues, but he's the only cat at the moment) and a rescue dog (see his story here) who is a 2-year-old Border Collie mix who could power the entire U.S. if we could figure out how to tap into his energy supply.  Luckily, my husband is a runner who takes him on 10 mile jaunts almost daily.

I wish I had a bigger house, a bigger yard, and a bigger income to be able to afford more.  If I could, I'd rescue them all.  Maybe someday we can have a farm too, that would have enough land to support a lot more.  In the meantime, I donate what I can to organizations that help homeless animals.

My younger son playing with one of the shelter cats
A few years ago, I decided our new Christmas tradition would be buying all the things on the local shelter's "wish list" and delivering it during visiting hours, with my kids, so we could also give the animals some extra holiday love.  The very first year we did this, the strangest thing happened on Christmas - a psychic medium at a party (who had never met me), gave me a message from my mother about this trip to see the animals.  More on that story here. While I write romance mixed with ghost stories, I'm a bit of a skeptic about "readings" and such.  But this was enough to make me believe some gifted people can talk to spirits, and I truly believe my mother wanted me to know how happy she was that we made that trip.

This is the stuff my sister got for
the dogs - she had a cart of
treats and supplies for cats too
This year, I posted some pictures on Facebook, in the hopes I might inspire others to visit their local shelters.  My sister saw the post and immediately said she'd do it too.  We live eight hours apart, which I hate, but I was thrilled that this gesture connected us in a small way for the holidays.  And I hope this tradition reminds my children of the importance of showing kindness to all the creatures of the world, especially those in need, and of the joy you can get from picking out presents for animals without a family.  My hope is that my boys, and my sister's girls, will continue the tradition with their children someday.  Happy holidays!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

History of St. Nick + Santa Claus - #Christmas Traditions

I love doing posts about the origins of our holidays and the reasons we celebrate in certain ways or fear certain dates.  Some of my most popular posts have been on the Origin of Halloween, Finding Easter's Date, The Number 13, and Origins of Superstitions.

When my kids were younger, I taught Sunday fact, a passage from the Book of Genesis about the Nephilim, the offspring of male angels and human women, inspired my Young Adult Paranormal Romance DIVINE FALL.  For years, I taught the class every week, and my favorite lessons touched on the historical and religious roots of our holidays.  The lesson on Saint Nicholas was obviously something I made sure we discussed every December.  While most people are familiar with the story of Jesus's birth in Bethlehem, many are unaware of how a 4th century Bishop influenced the legend of Santa Claus.

Saint Nicholas, or Nikolaos of Myra, was a bishop in an ancient town in Lycia--now Demre, in the Antalya Province of Turkey.  One of his most well-known deeds involved giving unexpected gifts, one of which landed in a stocking.  In the story, Nicholas wanted to help three young girls, whose father had no money for their dowries.  At that point in history, such a fate would result in a life of prostitution. Not wanting to embarrass the poor father, Nicholas threw bags of gold coins through the windows.  In one version of the tale, the father laid in wait to discover who was doing this...and so instead of throwing the third bag through the window, Nicholas dropped it down the chimney, and it landed in a stocking hung to dry by the fire.

Sinterklaas rides
a white horse
The Dutch figure of Sinterklass is based upon Saint Nick, and he more resembles the white-bearded man in red we're all familiar with. In turn, our Santa Claus is derived from Sinterklass, and it's widely believed that he was introduced to North America around the time of the Revolutionary War, by inhabitants of New York City, which was once New Amsterdam, a Dutch colony.

Of course, many other sources have combined to shape both the modern-day image of Santa Claus and the various legends and traditions which have evolved (decorating trees, sleighs pulled by reindeer, winter feasts and festivals, etc.).  Those will be topics for another day and another blog!

I'm hoping my blog readers who celebrate Christmas have finished the gift-buying and food preparation that comes along with the holiday, and have some time to relax and enjoy the magic of the season.  And if you need a book to help you de-stress, check out one of my novels - each one is filled with romance, mystery, and suspense - something for everyone!  Also perfect as a last-minute gift, since all you need to send someone a Kindle copy is an email address.  Each one is less that the price of a card, and DIVINE FALL is only 99 cents right now!  The tabs at the top of the page will take you to the blurb for each book, but I've also included links below.  Happiest of holidays!

SILVER LAKE - A haunting, an old flame, and secrets from the past

GULL HARBOR - A dangerous ghost and an ex-boyfriend await Claire in Cape Cod's Gull Harbor

DIVINE FALL - Romance, Revenge, and a Rogue Fallen Angel

Friday, December 19, 2014

Homemade #Christmas Gifts - Rosemary Nut Mix #Recipe

I am not a crafty person.  I'm creative, in terms of dreaming up intricate plots and developing characters, but the closest I get to designing gorgeous gifts or beautiful centerpieces is adding pictures I love with instructions I know I can't follow to my Pinterest boards.  I'm in awe of people who have that kind of talent.

But I *can* follow simple recipes, and last year my sister-in-law, who always hosts Christmas with a dazzling display of gourmet food and stunning displays, served a nut mix that I just couldn't get enough of.  And hey, it's nuts--a good for you food, packed with protein, omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals.  Even with the seasoning, it's a better choice than baked goods filled with refined flour and sugar.

So this year, I asked her for the recipe, and I made huge batches to send to friends and family.  It's both spicy and sweet, and--warning--highly addictive.  I bought cute jars with chalkboard labels to package them in, and I sent them out to the people I won't be able to see over the holidays.  Here's her recipe, in case you want to try it:

Love these cute
chalkboard jars!
2 1/2 cups of assorted unsalted nuts - I used cashews, almonds, walnuts, and pecans

2 T fresh coarsely chopped rosemary - luckily, I have a rosemary plant on my patio!

1/2 t cayenne pepper - use less or leave out if you're adverse to spicy

2 t dark brown sugar

2 t sea salt

1 T melted (unsalted) butter

Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and cook for 10 minutes at 350 degrees.  Mix the remaining ingredients.  Toss the nuts with the mixture in a large bowl.

Yes, that easy!  Enjoy :)

And remember - reading is the ultimate stress-reliever, so if you need a good book (at a great price) to help de-stress during the holiday rush, try my new Young Adult Paranormal Romance for 99 cents - relive first love and lose yourself in supernatural secrets and suspense!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

My Interview with a Creative Writing Student - #amwriting #romance

Darcie and her friend made a day trip
to Bethany Beach for a
book signing event
Most authors tend to do a lot of networking. Personally, I love to connect with both readers and other authors (who also tend to be passionate readers - I know I am!) on social media.  I first met my friend Darcie Morin via a Facebook connection, but we were able to meet in person when she traveled to a book signing I did in Bethany Beach, Delaware. Incredibly, Darcie has already written several full-length novels at a very young age, and she's currently honing her skills in college with a creative writing degree.

I was honored to be chosen as the interview subject for her recent class project.  She forwarded me the finished product, and I copied it below.  Oh, and we got a 100% - woo hoo!

It is a young author’s dream come true when they have the opportunity to interview an author who has inspired them. There are so many authors who have inspired me in one way or another but this one is especially inspiring to me and to be able to interview her for this assignment and learn from her even more is a chance I welcome. Paranormal Romance Author Kathryn Knight took time away from her very busy schedule to talk with me and help with this assignment.

Q1. When did you know you wanted to be a writer?

Answer: From the time I was very young, my absolute favorite pastime has been reading, so I always dreamed of someday writing a novel that would provide other readers with the same sort of pleasure I get from a great book. From childhood through adulthood, if I couldn't be reading, I'd spin my own stories in my imagination to keep myself entertained. I started writing my first novel at age 39, when I basically had the entire manuscript of Silver Lake written in my head.

Q2. Why did you choose a pen name? What are the benefits?

Answer: I have a marketing background, so I view a pen name as a brand name. It should be memorable and catchy, as well as easy to find in an online search. People often spell my real last name wrong, so I chose "Knight", which also conveys the mysterious and romantic feeling I'd like associated with my books.

Q3. What advice would you give to young writers?

Answer: Keep at it. The more you write, the better you get. Study successful books in your favorite genre, looking for things that make the story work. A critique group is very important--your family and friends rarely give honest advice that makes your writing better. And anyone interested in writing commercial fiction should have a copy of Debra Dixon's Goal, Motivation, and Conflict.

Q4. Do you think there are benefits to having a creative writing degree? Does it make it easier to get into the field?

Answer: I think a creative writing degree is definitely an advantage in this field, as anyone who has earned this degree has already shown an ability to exercise their imagination, to explore different story possibilities, and to allow others to critique their work. In addition, those with writing degrees have shown they have the discipline to sit down and actually write! That said, agents and editors are looking for the next groundbreaking story, and the writer’s background is less important than a fantastic, fresh idea with huge marketing potential.

Q5. Is there a benefit to publishing with an Agent? Without?

Answer: Having an agent is usually the only way to have a manuscript considered by one of the big five publishers—having someone champion your work and possibly broker a deal with a big publishing house is a dream for many writers. However, the market has undergone massive changes in the past 10 years, and agents are more selective than they’ve ever been when it comes to choosing who and what they’ll represent.

Smaller presses such as my publisher don’t require an agent to submit. Some authors still choose to have an agent submit to small or digital presses on their behalf; those manuscripts usually move to the top of the pile for consideration. The downside would be sharing all royalties (usually 15%) with an agent as well as the publisher and the distributer. Since profit margins are already razor thin, this is something to consider.

Q6. How did you come up with the idea for Silver Lake? Gull Harbor? Divine Fall?

Answer: I’m fascinated by all things supernatural, and I read a lot of ghost stories and watch all the movies. And in most of the stories and films, one big loophole consistently bothered me. More often than not, the ghost writes some cryptic message somewhere—in a fogged-up mirror, on a wall, in spilled food on the kitchen counter. Of course, this serves as one more clue in the mystery, but what I always wanted to know was—if the ghost can write a message, why not just spell out exactly what it needs? The ghost never says “Look for my body in the basement” or “The butler did it”. And so my initial idea was born. The ghost in Silver Lake, Brandy, needs help—a certain set of circumstances—to get her message across. The rest of the story filled itself in from my affinity for “reunion romances”—novels that explore a second chance at first love. The friends Brandy needs to come together include a tight-knit group of men and women who bonded during high school, a time when emotions are intense and choices can be difficult and life-altering. I was lucky enough to have a similar group of friends during those tumultuous years, and I drew from those experiences as well.

The initial idea about barriers in communication between desperate spirits and living humans generated a new idea that became Gull Harbor. I envisioned a medium, newly accepting of her gift and eager to begin a career, who cannot understand what a desperate and destructive spirit needs or wants. The reason is--of course--a big reveal in the plot, and as the main character begins to solve the mystery behind the haunting, she winds up in even greater danger. I again went back to a reunion between two star-crossed lovers for the romance aspect, and I gave them both a reason to essentially despise each other (which became their backstory), despite the physical attraction that remains.

Interestingly enough, the inspiration for Divine Fall came from a Sunday school lesson I taught. In the beginning of the Bible, the book of Genesis discusses the Nephilim—the offspring produced when male angels took human women as their wives. The Nephilim were strong and virile, but they were also aberrations, and their kind was wiped out in the Great Flood. Of course, in my novel, at least one still exists. And since I knew how I was going to connect this fallen angel to the young teenage protagonist, her backstory came about fairly easily. I grew up in Maryland and spent a great deal of time at our friend’s barn, riding horses, and I wanted to give the main character a similar passion. Her love of riding brings her to the stable on a regular basis, where the mysterious new stable hand has found an off-the-records job. It seemed like the perfect setting for two lost souls to start to trust one another.

Q7. What is your writing ritual?

Answer: Usually my mind is always working on the story, and since I’m always on the go, I write ideas down on slips of paper or on my phone as things come to me. I like to sit at my kitchen island and do my typing there when the kids are in school or after everyone has gone to bed.

Q8. Why paranormal romance?

Answer: It’s the perfect combination for me. I love romance—all the emotions that come with falling in love and making yourself vulnerable to another person. And I’m also very interested in anything supernatural—ghosts in particular. I read a very sweet Young Adult ghost story/romance when I was about 8 years old (Jane-Emily, by Patricia Clapp); it became my favorite book and a bit of a blueprint for the kind of novel I wanted to write someday.

Q9. What made you want to write a young adult novel?

Answer: I had a great idea for a young adult novel, and I was looking for a new challenge. Writing YA is very different from writing genre romance for adults, because most YA novels are written in deep first person point of view (POV). This creates an intense connection between the character and the reader, but the writer must find a way to convey all the information through that one protagonist. If the main character didn’t see, hear, smell, taste, or touch it, it can’t go in…otherwise, the author becomes an omnipotent narrator. I read exclusively YA novels the year I wrote Divine Fall, both to remain in the right creative place mentally and to identify methods various authors used to show the internal motivation of other characters or to relay a scene that happened to another character.

Q10. What do you do to plan out your novels?

Answer: I’m a “plotter” in the industry’s “plotter vs. pantsters” debate—I plot an outline as opposed to writing “by the seat of my pants”. I have to have a fairly good idea where the story is going and how it will end before I’ll start. Once I have the bones of the plot, I allow creativity to take over. I also make charts to map out each character’s goals, motivations, and conflicts (both internal and external), and I make pages of notes for each character’s personal history, physical appearance, hobbies, habits, fears, etc.

Q11. What kind of have research have you done to prepare for them in the past?

Answer: I always visit the setting of each novel. Although I give towns or lakes fictional names, I set them in well-known areas, and I strive to capture the local environment and history. Since I write paranormal, I do have free reign to make things up in terms of supernatural aspects, but I try very hard to keep events and explanations within the realm of something that could be possible. Readers don’t have to travel too far out on a limb to believe the paranormal plotlines.

For the books involving hauntings, I’ve done online research, interviewed mediums, gone on ghost tours, and attended séances. For research into angels, I read passages from the Bible as well as other books involving Nephilim. I also research the characters’ hobbies and careers, and interview people with knowledge in these areas. Finally, I rely on friends and acquaintances for help with specific scenarios—I’ve talked to teachers, detectives, nurses, doctors, competitive riders, boaters, firemen…this list goes on and on, and most people are thrilled to share their expertise for a novel.

Q12. How well do you do with marketing your novels yourself? Does your publisher do any kind of marketing?

We have a marketing director who helps us with all our online marketing. She organizes promotions, runs sales, sends books out for review, and sets up ways for all of the authors at my publisher to connect. We have an online forum to enter book links or news events we’d like her to send out via Facebook, Twitter, and the website’s blog. Right now she’s running a “#HauntedGarden” promotion, highlighting paranormal novels or topics, so I’ve been very actively participating in that!

In this competitive market, however, it’s absolutely necessary for authors to contribute to the marketing effort. I have a graduate degree in Marketing, so I like to think I do a good job of finding ways to connect with readers and increase the visibility of my titles. I request reviews from new book blog sites, I arrange local presentations and signings, I do interviews on local television shows, and I maintain an active presence online. In addition, I will be teaching a non-credit evening class at the local community college this spring on “Fiction Writing and Publication.” It takes effort to balance all this with my writing, but since this is my passion, I’m truly enthusiastic about promoting both reading and writing.

From Kathryn’s interview, I learned the value of a pen name and how it can act like your brand name if you allow it to. It’s actually made me consider using a pen name. I’ve learned her methods of sitting down to write out the next amazing ghost story. I’ve learned about things that could help me get to the career I have dreamed about since I was a child. I found this interview to be very informative and beneficial to me. It only makes my intention to be a full time writer that much stronger.

Thank you, Darcie!  We look forward to great things!

Monday, December 8, 2014

Traveling with a #Dog Who Gets Car Sick - Motion Sickness in Pets

Otis's picture on Petfinder -
How could I resist?
Whenever we're able to add a new pet to our family, we adopt--often, via the website Petfinder, which does a great job of allowing you to search for homeless animals that would be a good fit in terms of age, breed, and personality.  I often try to rescue the older dogs, since they have more trouble getting adopted, but a few years ago a search for a Border Collie mix turned up Otis, a puppy who'd been found on the side of the road in Alabama.  For more on his story, click here.

As his foster mom nursed him back to health, it became clear the car trips to the vet were a bit of a problem...he usually got nauseated and vomited.  We hoped it was a puppy thing that he would outgrow, especially since we are a family that loves to travel with our dogs.  Short trips to hiking trails, beaches, and lakes, as well as seriously long trips to visit family and friends.

Both his foster mom and I fretted about his long trip up north on the doggie rescue transport, but he did okay.  He was probably too keyed up to eat much, with so many other excited dogs headed to forever homes.  Once my husband picked him up (still two hours from home), he collapsed on his lap and slept that way the entire ride to our house.

But he didn't outgrow this affliction, which was a shame.  He wanted to drive to school with me to pick up the kids, but he'd throw up.  He loved the dog park, but I'd have a big mess to clean up from just a 15 minute ride.  At least twice a year, we drive eight hours to where I grew up, and dogs are always welcome on our visits.  But we had to leave him behind, which he didn't like--he's part of our "pack", and he prefers to be with us.  Not to mention, it's expensive.  We'd rather only go through all that when there's no other solution.

I talked to the vet.  I asked the women who come to my fitness classes who have dogs.  I got lots of thoughts on how to make it work, and last spring, we decided to bring him along on our semi-annual trip.

Otis got to play with our friends'
boxer, Zoe - fast friends!
Success!  My dog who usually can't tolerate 10 minutes in the car made an eight hour trip without getting sick!  He was fine on the way home as well.  And we just did the trip again, for Thanksgiving, with equal success.  So I'm going to share what worked for us, with the giant reminder that I AM NOT A VET. I'm a romance author.  And a fitness instructor.  But I'm also an animal lover, and maybe this info can help someone having the same problem.  Just remember to ask your vet, as I did, since giving medication to animals is serious business.

Dramamine never worked for us.  Our vet suggested Bonine, which I'd never heard of.  It's another medication for motion sickness, the active ingredient being Meclizine, as opposed to Dimenhydrinate.  Otis weighs about 30 pounds, I gave him one 25 mg. tab an hour before we left, and again halfway through the trip.

We gave him a dose of Benadryl at the same times.  While most people recognize this as an allergy medicine for people, it can be used for motion sickness in pets.  The usual dosage is 1 mg per pound. So Otis received a 25 mg. tablet.

Then, we built a large perch in the back of the SUV for him to sit on.  He does better when he can sit forward, looking out the window.  We stacked luggage, secured it with bungee cords, and covered it with a blanket to make it comfortable and to protect the bags.

More fun!  Otis with my father's
rescue dog, Fiona
I expected the Benadryl to make him tired, but he stayed awake the entire time.  But he's a pretty energetic dog.  When I had him neutered, the vet told me to "keep him quiet" for a few days.  An hour later, he was tearing around the yard, ignoring my demands to calm down.

However, he was relaxed for the entire trip, and each time we gave him a little walk during our stops, he hopped right back in the car willingly.  After all, he wants to be with his pack...and I'm grateful we found a way to make that happen.

Personally, I love car trips...I can read in the car without feeling sick, so for me, the longer the ride, the better!  Once you've got your luggage packed and your four-legged family members ready, make sure you have a good book for your travels!  Try steamy romance mixed with haunting mysteries in SILVER LAKE or GULL HARBOR, or check out my new Young Adult Paranormal Romance DIVINE FALL for forbidden love and supernatural secrets.  Have a safe & enjoyable ride :)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Final Days #99c Ghosts + #Romance #Kindledeals Bestseller

Last few days!  It doesn't happen often, but GULL HARBOR is on sale for only 99 cents - a savings of $4 for this Amazon Bestseller. Who doesn't need a steamy and suspenseful read right now, during the hectic holiday season?  Reading for pleasure is a proven stress reliever, so load up your Kindle or Nook, and then anytime you need a little escape, you can transport yourself to Cape Cod's Gull Harbor, where a dangerous ghost and an ex-boyfriend await psychic medium Claire Linden.  I will warn you that most reviewers say it's difficult to put down, but all the better to hold your attention, right?  Links and blurb below - download your copy before the sale ends on 12/6/2015.

A #1 Kindle Bestseller, less than a buck!

Want to see the story board?  Check out the pictures I used for inspiration on Pinterest!

When Claire Linden’s job sends her to the sleepy town of Gull Harbor, she never expects to encounter her ex-boyfriend. As a medium, the prospect of tackling a haunted house is less daunting than seeing Max Baron again. Throughout their passionate college relationship, he promised to love her forever. Then, without explanation, he abandoned her on graduation day.

Max never intended to break Claire's heart—a cruel ultimatum forced him to disappear from her life. While he's shocked to find her in Gull Harbor, he isn't surprised by the bitter resentment she feels for him...or the fiery attraction that remains between them.

Claire is determined to rid her temporary home of its aggressive ghost, but Max soon realizes she's facing a danger beyond the paranormal. When Claire risks everything to help a desperate spirit, Max must race to save her—before another tragedy tears them apart forever.

~Gull Harbor tends to be a quick read, since it's exciting and fast-paced.  If you enjoy it and need some more new reads, try SILVER LAKE or my new Young Adult Paranormal Romance, DIVINE FALL.  And keep an eye out for HAUNTED SOULS, my current work-in-progress - Claire Linden will make a guest appearance in this novel!~