After a long illness, my father passed away in March. His care, up to the time of his death, placed a pall over everyone. We knew what was coming. We took care of his needs—getting him to dialysis, cleaning the ulcers on his feet, the day to day of helping a mostly wheelchair-bound man get around… We didn’t mind any of that. We just wanted him comfortable and happy. After his death, personally, I felt drained of energy and creativity. Mourning is a malady, just like flu, and it also makes you susceptible to every bug going around. So, I barely wrote.
That’s why this list of releases for 2019 is so short. I’ve always been a prolific writer, but I couldn’t make myself sit at my computer and do the work. If you missed any of these releases—some new works and some re-worked previous releases—the links are embedded here:
My favorites projects to work on from the list were…
We lost my grandmother, who also lived with us, in 2018, after months and months of in-home 24/7 care. We lost dad in 2019. At the end of this year, my mother’s health has taken a hit. She’s spending the New Year holiday in the hospital, while we wait for the doctor’s to tell us what her future will be.
I’ll be glad to see the end of this year. I’m not very hopeful on the home front for 2020, but I do have a plan to do better on the writing front… More about that tomorrow.
I’d love to hear how you deal with sadness. Any advice would be appreciated.
Nothing in Margo Simmons’s life comes easy. She can’t claim the inheritance on a condo apartment her uncle has left to her until she is gainfully employed in a job for a year. She meets the man of her dreams but anguishes over a loving relationship because he is still emotionally tied to his deceased wife. With great difficulty, she becomes the guardian to a recently orphaned child she had been tutoring. Margo evolves from an insecure, newbie elementary teacher into a woman determined to fulfill the secret desires locked in her heart. My story speaks to anyone who has suffered a loss and had to start over.
Hello, everyone! I want to start with a giant thank you to Delilah for letting me play on her blog again. It’s always a blast!
So, it’s the end of the year, time to take stock of what we accomplished in the past twelve months and take a look at what we want to do in the next twelve. I had big plans for 2019, and I’m sure many of you did, too. Did you reach those goals you set for yourself, or did you aim a little too high?
I started looking at my 2019 list back in October and shaking my head. They seemed perfectly realistic when I put them on paper last year. Since I managed less than half of them, I have to say that wasn’t true. Oh, sure, if I wrote full-time, I don’t doubt I could have pulled them all off—they were nowhere near the amount of writing I did when my kids were little and I was home full-time. But I have a day-job now, so I should have been more realistic, clearly.
That made me take a much harder look at my goals for 2020. I had already scaled them back a little, realizing my 2019 list was too much. Then I looked at them again and chopped off some more, thinking how much more discipline I could exercise in the new year to make things happen. Then I looked at them again the other day, with a voice in my head telling me it was still too much. Sure, lots of people can pull off half a dozen book releases in a year. But I haven’t done the self-pub thing yet, so it’s going to have a learning curve for me, and I don’t want to screw it up when I get there. That lopped a couple more things off the list, in case I need more time than I’m anticipating to navigate those new waters.
I’d like to say I have a perfect goal list in front of me right now, but I think I am still going to do some fine-tuning in the next couple of days before the new year starts. The way the past few years have gone, with family things and the day-job, I’m leaning toward giving myself plenty of elbow-room for my goals, enough time to actually make them happen, and happen right, not half-assed. I’m sure it still won’t be the perfect goal list—I’m far from perfect, so why would my goals for the near year be perfect? But it will be closer, and if I exceed my expectations, well, that would be great, too, and give me a boost of confidence when I start on goals next fall for 2021, right?
How much time do you take to work out your goals for each new year? Do you obsess over them (as I feel like I’m doing this year), or do you just put them down on paper and leave it at that without too much debate?I’d love to know—I’m always looking for new ideas that might help me out, and they may be useful to someone else as well—and I have a shiny new 2020 Llewellyn’s Witch’s Calendar (wall version) to give away to one commenter.
About the Author
Elizabeth Andrews has been a book lover since she was old enough to read. She read her copies of Little Women and the Little House series so many times, the books fell apart. As an adult, her book habit continues. She has a room overflowing with her literary collection right now, and still more spreading into other rooms. Almost as long as she’s been reading great stories, she’s been attempting to write her own. Thanks to a fifth grade teacher who started the class on creative writing, Elizabeth went from writing creative sentences to short stories and eventually full-length novels. Her father saved her poor, callused fingers from permanent damage when he brought home a used typewriter for her.
Elizabeth found her mother’s stash of romance novels as a teenager, and-though she loves horror- romance became her very favorite genre, making writing romances a natural progression. There are more than just a few manuscripts, however, tucked away in a filing cabinet that will never see the light of day.
Along with her enormous book stash, Elizabeth lives with her husband of more than twenty-five years, and frequent visits from her two young adult sons, though no one else in the house reads nearly as much as she does. When she’s not at work or buried in books or writing, there is a garden outside full of herbs, flowers and vegetables that requires occasional attention.
As we approach the end of the second decade of this millennium, I thought I would share a few lessons that I’ve learned this year. For me, 2019 has been a bit of a rollercoaster ride. I’ve had a few highs and acquired some deep bruises. The good news is that I’m going to learn from these lessons.
#5- You might want it but you don’t need it. I inherited our home from my grandparents who were packrats. They survived the Great Depression and thought everything should be kept, because “someday” they might be able to use it again. The house is big and has allowed us to collect things—too many things. Things that we have never used, those items that we have for those “in case” moments.
So 2020 is going to be the year of culling.
#4- Don’t let fear stop you from trying something new. I’m fifty-six so I’m not talking about an extreme sport—hospital stays are very expensive. In the last year, I’ve discovered that I really enjoy writing short stories. Listen, I love to tell a long tale of how a couple falls in love and get their happy ever after but sometimes, it is fun to simply share a little bit. As a writer, it makes me stretch different muscles. To give the reader a hint and then trust them to fill in the rest of the scene. Romance readers know the signs and I trust that with a few words, they will grasp that if I say the man is a “total alpha” that my reader will know that he is a take-charge type and bossy. Writing a short story is like having a conversation with a close friend. I don’t have to fill in the entire back-story, I only have to hit on the high points.
It’s fun and so fulfilling to learn something new. In fact I released two compilations of short stories set in my Novus Pack world, Impressions and Moments.
#3- Giving another a compliment will make you feel better. My Leo tendencies will now make an appearance. Last year I was in a rut. Most of my interactions with others were through the internet and I felt a part of myself withering. I took a part-time job at a local hair salon. At Luminosity, my role is to be the hostess. I chat with clients, fetch drinks, hang coats, and compliment. I listen and look at photos of their ideas for a new look. I hear stories about a special night out or a visit from an old friend. After the stylist is done with the transformation or simple trim, I pour on the praise.
I am amazed at how even the grumpiest customer will smile and stand straighter, and I feel so good after. I use my love of words to describe their new look. They usually giggle and wish me a great day. My goal is that everybody leaves feeling a little better than when they arrived.
Giving a compliment costs me nothing but it gives me so much in return.
#2- Friendships can become toxic. I would describe myself as complex, I have many layers. I also know that not everybody is going to find me delightful. In the last year, I have decided that there are several people that don’t add goodness to my life. There are a myriad of reasons. This isn’t entirely their fault or mine; we have stopped being good for one another.
The tough part is breaking the cycle of acceptance and forgiveness. I have made up so many excuses for hurtful behavior and overlooked some actions and now it is time to stop. I hold no ill will toward these people. I wish them happiness on their journey, but I no longer will be by their side.
#1—Every win is because of hard work. Every good thing that has happened in my writing career can be attributed to hard word and hustle. I have amassed a good team of people with different skills and experience. I ask them for advice often and more importantly when I take their advice, I let them know. If I choose not to follow their recommendations—I thank them for their time. When I sell a book, get a positive e-mail, it is because of the work we put in on my product.
This past summer, I had the opportunity to meet with a baby author, and she was clearly looking for the “golden ticket” to success. I told her that I didn’t know it, and let’s be honest if I did, I wouldn’t give it away for free. Success comes from hard work, making mistakes and learning from them, and luck.
So for 2020—I will keep working, listening, and thanking those around me.
If you enjoy reading romance with a healthy dose of learning life’s lessons, check out my Cameron Farms Trilogy. You Only, Your Always, You Forever. They are available from Amazon and are currently in KU.
You Only is a second chance love story. You Always is the rare glimpse into the perfect marriage that isn’t so perfect. You Foreveris about the aftermath when the little window shows a plus sign and all of your plans are in disarray. For the Boxed Set— https://amzn.to/33pui4O
I’m about half way through my pre-release journey and boy, I can’t tell you how long this seems. But, I did and still do need this time to get a lot of balls balancing in the air in beautiful harmony. And I still hope (fingers crossed) one of those balls won’t come crashing down on me.
I’ve received three good reviews from as many ARC readers. It is not nearly enough to get my book on reputed-maybe too hyped?-advertisers sites. All of them require at least five four-star reviews. Which is understandable due to the over-whelming numbers of books being released. Which is a downer for an indie author like me. I have to keep working to find those choice spots so my book does not fade into oblivion even before it is released!
Then there are the shenanigans with Amazon about getting those two reviews on my book’s page. The only place to put a review not posted by an Amazon buyer (they can’t because my book in not yet available) is to get in touch with Amazon. Days 1,2. Then they send me a link I can use to send them the reviews, which they will enter on my book page for me. The email they sent is invalid and my email bounces right back. I again send them yet another email, through KDP, Author Central or Customer Service? Aargh! Too many choices. Day 3. They send me the right one but meanwhile I can’t schedule any actual promotion because my book details are not current. Double aargh!
Now that the issue has been resolved, I heave a tiny sigh of relief. Now I have to see how I can get those precious reviews on Smashwords. I will need a barrel of luck as it does not look good.
Sportswriter Karma Huntington is going to hit Rafael Henley, star pitcher for the Sliders, hard to avenge her husband’s death. Rafael cannot ignore the chemistry between them and decides a one-night stand is in order. Karma agrees. Just to get that itch off. But once they get into each other’s pants, things get complicated. Revenge and guilt take a back seat with sizzling chemistry in control. Rafael likes willowy blondes and women who don’t look to him as their protector. Yet here is, lusting after the complete opposite: petite, raven-haired, Karma with a rose tat running up her neck. Can Rafael overcome the dark secret he hides and give in to what his heart wants? Will Karma finally admit she needs Rafael?
Excerpt from Karma’s Slow Burn:
As Karma drove home, the large orange globe of a full moon hung before her eyes, bathing the countryside in its silver glow. The deserted road stretched in front of her, turned and disappeared between the trees. It was a magical and beautiful night. The scent of lilacs wafted from the back seat of her electric car. Trudie had cut her some lilac sprigs. He had three different colors growing in the yard.
Karma listened to Linus Radisson’s music. She waited for the part where Radisson’s voice became husky and slithered all over her. She waited for the part where it cracked at just the right spot. He had a very sexy voice and she sighed, her shoulders falling and her arms dropping from the wheel, carried away by the rhythm in the ballad. There was a jolt and her butt lifted up from the seat. As it sunk back, there was a loud thud. She felt the car pulling to the right.
Dammit! A bloody pothole! A flat. Immediately, there was a ping. Her overly environmentally friendly car had just run out of juice.
She eased her smart vehicle slowly to the grassy side where it stopped of its own volition. She got out and inspected the damage. In the light of the moon, she could see the right front wheel sagging. Karma opened her trunk, got out the jack and began the intricate process of changing the flat.
Rafael Henley started his Harley Street Glide and eased out onto the open road from his home in the country. Lush woods surrounded the ten plus acres. Hidden deep in the greenery, a stream trickled down ancient rocks. It was a good place to raise Ali.
He’d left an exhausted Ali asleep, with Rosita close by, after an afternoon of splashing in the pool, leaving him a bit of time to indulge in his passion. It was something only Linus knew about. Helmet donned and he could be anybody.
It was a beautiful evening, the sun leaving pink streaks in the darkening sky. The sliver of the moon turned round and yellow. Soon, he would be alone with the wind in his hair. It was another secret he kept: out on the road with nothing in sight, he took off his helmet and was one with the countryside.
It happened half an hour into his ride. He saw her illuminated in the pale glow of the twilight just as he was coming out of a bend. It couldn’t be anyone else but Karma. Not with those long, black waves rippling down her back. Not with his senses all on alert. There was a tiny something-could be called a car-parked by the side. She was at work at one of the tires. She paused, made a movement with her hands and there was no more hair rippling down her back. Her almost naked back. Her dress glistened in the glow of the moon. It was pale, strapless and the back dipped in a sumptuous V. He could make out the way it hugged her curves.
It was enough to make him hard. What was it about this woman? She was not good for his sanity. She brought up bad memories. But his cock didn’t know any better. It wanted what it wanted. And it wanted her.
As he killed his engine and walked toward her, he untucked his T-shirt. It fell below his fly and he was grateful to be able to hide the evidence of his arousal. She was kneeling on a rolled up blanket, a pair of pale shoes by her side. In the glow of the portable light by her side, he saw her arms move. Gravel crunched beneath his shoes.
Karma was almost done with the last bolt when she heard the crunch of gravel behind her. A sleek road hog pulled up beside her. She put the wrench down and sank down on the grass. Of all the people to run into, it had to be him.
“Need help? A ride?” The familiar voice rubbed into her skin and seeped in like the lavender lotion she loved.
Just his voice gave her goose bumps. Karma turned to look at him. Moonlight glinted off the chrome on his motorcycle.
“Nope, Henley, I’m all done. Thanks for stopping, anyway.”
“Mind if I keep you company?”
Karma hesitated for a brief moment before she said, “No.”
She got her phone out to call her father. And a tow truck. He got off the magnificent machine and stood by her with his hands in his pockets.
“Lovely night,” he sniffed the air. “Fresh air.”
“You don’t live around here.” A statement not a question.
“Nope don’t. Visiting my father. Thought you lived in the city. In a penthouse.”
“Yep. But I also have place in the country. Not far from here.”
He came down on his haunches beside her. He was wearing a pale colored T-shirt: either blue or white and jeans. Dark hair, in sexy disarray from the bike ride, fell over his eyes. There was a faint aroma of something smoky. It was seductive. She took a deep whiff of it.
“What are you doing with a flat at a time like this?” She caught a flash of his smile in the night.
“Well,” Karma began slowly. “I had no choice. It chose me.”
“That can happen,” he laughed softly.
She stuck the phone back in her pocket and gave the bolt a final twist. Then she stretched her arms over her head, leaned them back on the soft grass and looked at the sky.
“I can’t believe it. Just a couple of months ago all this was under snow.” She looked around her.
“It’s pretty amazing, isn’t it? That the cycle goes on and on seemingly forever?”
When she was done, he got to his feet and gave her his hand. He pulled her up. She made sure not to get too close to him. She put the wrench away and he handed over the rest of her stuff.
“Who’re you calling?” he butted in when she began her second call.
“My father. Need a ride home. My zero emission wonder is out of juice.”
“I can give you a ride. No need to disturb your father.”
Karma debated. On the one hand she’d promised herself she’d focus on her plan. On the other, the Harley was hot and she wanted to feel it beneath her. It was no contest at all. Prudence lost by a mile. But they still had to wait for the tow truck.
She pressed her phone and soon Linus Radisson’s voice flowed through the moonlit countryside.
“Are you still in touch with Linus?” With those words she opened the can of worms.
Any desire he had for her screeched like a banshee and made for the hills. “Yes, we’ve stayed friends.”
“That’s nice. Like Kim and I.”
He was damned sure it was not the same. What he had with Linus was way beyond simple friendship. It was karma. They were brothers in every way except blood, drawn to each other from the moment they met. They were two kindred souls who’d found each other in an ocean of souls. They were two sides of the same coin, each unique and distinct.
“He has the most amazing voice. And the guitar….it rips me apart.”
His sentiments exactly, though he didn’t say it out loud. His grunt should have been agreement enough. Linus’s music was the balm to his wounds. It took him places. He never needed anything else to keep him soaring, always lifting him up when he was down. And when he felt like wallowing, Linus was there too with his dark lyrics and brooding harmonics.
“Isn’t he up for a Grammy?”
“Or more, I wouldn’t be surprised. His latest album packs quite a punch, both lyrical and musical.”
“How’s your daughter?”
He knew what she was doing. She was controlling the conversation. The thing was, he couldn’t have cared less. He was content to sit by her side in the moonlight, let her fragrance soak into him, knowing something was about to change.
She plopped down on the grass again and he followed suit, his hands braced behind him. She hitched the dress up to her thighs and sat cross-legged, her hair tumbling over her shoulders. She didn’t seem to notice when a breeze picked up strands and blew them across his body, the silky fingers whispering around his biceps. He snagged a wayward strand. It curled around his finger as if it had a life of its own. He resisted the impulse to rake his fingers through her hair. He resisted the urge to pull her into his arms and wrap them around her to make her disappear in them like he’d done outside Josh’s.
And he was back where he’d started. As desire for her surged in him, he beat it down with an iron fist even as his dick thickened and hardened to wood. He shook his head to empty them of lustful thoughts and focused on what she was saying.
Recipe from Karma’s Slow Burn.
Karma’s Axle Grease Smoothie
-1 ripe banana
-1 ball frozen spinach
-10 raw cashews
-1/2” piece of ginger root, peeled
-1 tsp each of hemp flour, nutritional yeast and flax seed powder
-up to 2 cups liquid (water, almond or soy milk) for desired consistency
Buzz in a high speed blender. Pour into tall glasses and enjoy.
Fireflies in the Night
Literary Fiction, winner of the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Award; Best Books of 2016 by Kirkus Reviews; Starred Kirkus Review; Finalist Foreword Reviews Indie Fiction Award. A historical, coming-of-age novel.
Nalini Warriar dreamed of being a writer then forgot the dream for a bit as she went on to garner a Ph.D in Molecular Biology. While in her lab, the dream came back and hit her on the head and she’s never looked back writing through her years as a scientist. After more than a decade in cancer research, Nalini returned to the creative part of her soul and now devotes her time to dreaming up the perfect alpha male and feisty woman to appear in her books. Her novel, Fireflies in the Night, was a Foreword Reviews Fab Award finalist and won the Next Generation Indie Book Award in 2017. Kirkus Reviews awarded Fireflies in the Night a starred review and named it Best Books of 2016. Karma’s Slow Burn, a contemporary romance will be released in February 2020. She’s working on her next romance, a Crenshaw Brothers book, to be released in 2020. She lives in Ontario, Canada.
Those of you who didn’t solve the snow globe puzzle from earlier this month missed out on a lovely holiday picture! I love snow globes. I hope to start a collection of them one day—after I finish working on my Marvel and DC figurines! I’ll have to make space.
Here’s hoping you have a wonderful celebration today, filled with gifts, and family, and good food—and most importantly warm hugs.
And because I know at some point you will want an excuse to sit down in the quiet, here’s one last holiday-themed puzzle for you enthusiasts!
Santa came early this morning to the Devlin house! Since one of the children would have missed opening pressies with her siblings, we made special arrangements with Santa for him to arrive early Christmas Eve morning! And it’s a good thing, too. Later in the morning there was a family emergency, and it looks like Christmas Day will be spent shuttling back and forth to the hospital. Nothing horribly serious, so far, but disappointing just the same.
I was up at 5 AM to be at my daughter’s so I didn’t miss the kids sneaking into the living room for a peek, and wouldn’t you know they all slept until 7!! Gah. It’s mid-afternoon now, and I’m ready for a nap! But the kids were over the moon with their presents, and there were plenty of hugs all around. (Well, worth losing a couple of hours of sleep.)
Anyways, I had something wonderful planned for today’s post (not really, I always wing my posts), but I’m too tired to think of what might be fun or wonderful, so I’ll just end with my wish that you all have a very, Merry Christmas!