I won’t be raising a glass tonight. I’m not much of a drinker. However, I will be burning sage and a handwritten note wishing only good things for the New Year. 2020 has been such a powerful mix of horror and happiness that I’m ambivalent about its ending. Let me explain.
The year started with the death of my mother in January. That was bad enough and required a lot of adjustment. My dd and her family moved into our family home, and we’ve been unpacking and decorating, and making this place into OUR home.
The pandemic has, of course, dominated the year. Like many, many people, our family hunkered down, starting in March, unsure of what the future held. When the initial lockdown ended, we enrolled all four kids in online instruction. We’ve masked, done no traveling, and ordered our groceries for curbside pickups. We’ve watched the news for every bit of new guidance regarding safety and shared what we learned. We’ve done our part and kept our loved ones safe. We’re crossing our fingers that we’ll be able to do the same in the new year.
All those things could have hung like a dark cloud over us. Instead, we’ve managed to find ways to make this time very special as a family. We make everything an event. We’ve learned to FaceTime with those we love. For example, a couple of nights ago, we “met” with my son and he participated while we went through destashing bags of old jewelry that I’ve collected from flea markets and eBay. We spent three hours online, laughing and trying things on.
My dd has thrown herself into new hobbies—like sign-making with her Cricut and creating book graphics for me for use on Instagram and Facebook. I threw myself into painting. We’re looking forward to re-opening my Etsy store in January with all-new offerings of art and jewelry. She’s experimented with new recipes for the fabulous meals she’s cooks.
We have movie nights, family game nights. In the summer, we spent many, many hours in the pool. We’ve all grown closer. Even the teenagers aren’t dark and gloomy about the prospect of another year of restrictions because we’ve put in the work to make this work.
So, we’re now a glass-half-full family. I hope that you’ve found your silver linings, too!
New Year’s Eve Puzzle Contest
For a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card, tell me how, or if, you’ll be celebrating tonight! Enjoy the puzzle!
Nearly twenty years ago, a white doe roamed the forests south of Raleigh, NC. A true albino, the deer was a ghost bounding through the trees. She walked the miles around the protected lake, the pride and joy of the town in which she wandered.
But life is never safe. Humans paved roads, mowed down trees for houses, and children filled the air with their screams and squeals. One night the white deer tried to cross the road but never made it with her two babies.
This doe had been named the town mascot. As such it was a beloved member of the community. The town raised funds to stuff and eventually house the deer. Before a permanent home could be built, it was located in the local high school and the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences.
In time, the deer returned to her natural habitat. But she still wasn’t safe. Vandals burned the structure and the deer’s body. Once again the town raised funds to repair the stuffed animal and eventually it found a home at the Nature Center in White Deer Park.
When my family bought our current house, we were told the tale of the White Deer. She became the inspiration for my Capricorn character in my final Zodiac Shifters story. There aren’t many myths surrounding red-tailed deer, but the White Stag is one of the most well-known.
Whether he is a part of the Fae’s Wild Hunt, the Guardian Protector of the forest, or a messenger of the Gods, the White Stag is very powerful. But what happens when humans cheat and use magic to hunt? Will the stag be able to outrun them, even injured? Find out in Sundered, the third and final story in my Willows Haven series.
For years, reluctant earth witch Daphne Lowe has feared the strength of her powers. When she loses control, people are harmed. She already ruined Deputy Sheriff Stanford Morgan’s life once, when their relationship ignited his dormant magical powers and turned him into the legendary white stag. Getting involved with him again would just hurt him more. She has to ignore her feelings for him, and hope that someday he’ll stop loving her too.
Except the paranormal sanctuary of Willows Haven needs Daphne and Stanford together—she must anchor the town’s mythical willow trees, and he serves as guardian. Only then will the town’s supernatural residents be safe from the outside world. Trapped together by a snowstorm, Daphne and Stanford have a second chance at happiness if they can resolve their past issues.
When a dark witch invades the town, a final test of their commitment emerges. To succeed, they’ll have to truly trust in each other and embrace the power of their love.
Can a second chance at love survive vengeance from the past?
A print version will be available in the new year.
For a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card, leave a comment telling me your favorite character from Disney’s Bambi.
About the Author
Although Beth grew up in West Virginia, she currently resides in North Carolina with her husband, two sons and a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who makes an excellent lap warmer. Blending the analytical and creative sides of her brain, she delights in creating fantasy worlds for others. She loves fairy tales, fantastical creatures, and stuffed animals.
I can’t believe I forgot to post this notice on this page. I did post on the Collections site and put out FB and Twitter notes to advertise the new story, but for some reason, probably the holiday “fugue”, I didn’t post it here. But it’s never too late to pick up your copy of this holiday story!
Love in Lockdown: The Gift by January George!
Download your FREE copy of the latest installment of the Love in Lockdown story, THE GIFT!
An ICU nurse yearns for her family at Christmas…
The LOVE IN LOCKDOWN authors are back with another short story! This one’s written by a nurse about an ICU nurse! January George’s short story is filled with details only a healthcare worker can provide. Read it for a little look inside at the hardships these brave folks face during these challenging times.
UPDATE: The winner of the Amazon gift card is…Brenda Rumsey!
I bought this little brainstorming tool years ago at some writers’ conference. “Story Cubes” is a brainstorming game. You roll the dice and whatever pictures appear face-up are the ones you use to riff off a story. However, today, we’ll use the cubes to set goals for your New Year. Don’t take the challenge too seriously. Be as silly as you like. Have fun with this!
Here’s the roll…
Do any of these symbols tell you anything?
You can pick some or use all of them.
The prize, if you win this challenge, is a $5 Amazon gift card!
UPDATE: The winners are Sheryl Stark and Theresa Piper!
Does this picture stress you out? The Christmas tree branches beside the notes that will fill up a New Year’s resolutions list…?
My professional background, before I became a writer, was as a project/program manager. So, lists, plans, goals are kind of in my DNA. I know, I’m one of those people. A “To Do lister”, a planner. Not that having a plan guarantees I’ll follow it. Still, I love this time of year. The decorations are coming down. My “mind map” for the coming year’s work and personal goals is starting to take shape. For years, I ran online workshops, teaching other writers how to construct a mind map and a project plan to get them where they wanted to be. I kind of miss teaching, but a couple of years ago, I decided to pull back from online teaching. I wanted more “me” time.
However, I still do the planning—even if my plans go awry. Having a vision of what I want to achieve keeps me moving forward. Yes, my plans are less aggressive now. They allow for lots of downtime. This year will have even more, since we’re in the midst of the pandemic and this household has moved toward supporting the kids’ education from home. There won’t be any travel plans that include overnighters anywhere. If we can’t go somewhere that’s within a couple hours’ drive, and where we can keep isolated from other people, we’re not doing it. Yes, safety is part of this year’s plan. It wasn’t anywhere in last year’s goals but we adjusted rapidly. To me, that’s how plans roll. There has to be room for adjusting to unexpected events.
So, if the thought of planning your New Year’s goals doesn’t make you break out in hives, when do you begin? Have you been jotting down notes already? Do you have home improvement plans? Online classes you want to take? Places you want to visit (which I hope include safety measures!)? Work goals you want to strive to achieve?
Share a few of the things you have on your list or in your mind for a chance to win your choice of one of my downloadable stories! I will choose two winners!
I’ve been up since O-dark-thirty! Had to beat the kids out of bed to get ready for the big day! Presents have been opened, and everyone was thrilled with their gifts. Watching the youngest kid open her gifts was so much fun! She’s still into Cabbage Patch dolls and Barbies, and her face lit up with every gift. I got her a fancy karaoke microphone. Her mom gave me a “you’re so dead” look before telling the wee one how cool the present was. (I love this part of being a grandma!)
My dd has already started preparations for our meal. We’ll have it early so one of her daughters can spend the rest of the day with her dad’s family, so we’re having a very early meal. A Christmas tradition we began three years ago (because, after Thanksgiving, we get pretty sick of turkey and ham), is to serve an international meal. So far, we’ve done Mexican, Senagalese, and today, we’ll have a German meal, complete with jaeger schnitzel, brats, sauerkraut, etc. And of course, lots of German cookies for snacking while we watch Wonder Woman 1984!
Here’s hoping you are enjoying your day, too.
I wish you all the merriest of Christmases!
Merry Christmas Puzzle!
When you have some time for yourself, enjoy the puzzle version of the ornament! My Christmas gift to you!