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Archive for 'winter'

Saturday Puzzle-Contest: Snow-pocalypse!
Saturday, January 13th, 2024

UPDATE: The winner is…Tara Leavitt!

Here in Central Arkansas, we’re getting ready for a snow-pocalypse! It could last well into Wednesday and maybe Thursday. We may get as much as seven inches of the fluffy stuff, which folks in the north would think is not such a big deal, but we’re not made for that kind of weather. Our roads crumble, our road crews aren’t equipped to service the rural areas, and folks here don’t know how to drive on snow or ice. We have to have all our prep complete by tomorrow around 3 PM, then hunker down and pray our power doesn’t go out.

Today, the Devlin household will be deep into preparations. We’ll do a last grocery shop and pick up feed for the horse and goats. Empty the ducks/geese/chickens wading pool. Throw straw into the goat’s little hutch and the horse’s walk-in lean-to attached to the barn. We’ll get two large containers of fuel filled for the generator—just in case. Not that it will do more than power the fridge and our phones/laptops. The kids are downloading movies to their phones.

We’ll be dripping water in our sinks. Refreshing batteries in our lanterns and flashlights. Have we forgotten anything? Thank goodness for the holiday on Monday. We won’t have to worry about school until Tuesday but expect the schools to close on Tuesday and likely Wednesday. It’s going to be so much fun! Or we’ll do our best to make it so.

Anyway, here’s hoping anyone else facing this arctic blast is ready for it. Stay warm and safe! I’ll have to remind the SIL to make sure there’s fuel in the tractor in case he wants to drag an innertube around the yard for the kids. 🙂

With all this on the horizon, of course, I have a snowy landscape puzzle for you to play with today. Solve the puzzle and give me ideas for keeping three younger ones (19, 15, 10-years-old) entertained while we’re snowed in for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card! 

Saturday Puzzle-Contest: Ice Crystals on Glass
Saturday, January 6th, 2024

UPDATE: The winner is…Jennifer Beyer!

Winter has finally arrived in Central Arkansas. Our winters are generally mild compared to the rest of the country, but we do get cold weather. Last night was 23 degrees, so we dripped faucets and ran the pool pump to keep the pipes from freezing up. From here through mid-March-ish, we’ll be checking the weather nightly to take precautions, like making sure we have gas to run the generator when ice takes down a power line. When Spring comes, it’ll arrive quickly, and we’ll have a bit of Spring before full-on Summer arrives. If we can get the pool cleaned quickly, we could be (temperatures permitting) getting into the pool by the end of April. God, I hope so. I live for summers, which are muggy and intolerably hot, but I LOVE swimming and hanging in the pool with the kids. Yes, I talk a lot about the pool because I am obsessed. Water baby, here. I’m a Cancer, so yeah, I love any excuse to don a swimsuit. Right now, I’m dreaming about floating in the river, renting a pontoon for a lake party, and slicing up watermelon and cantaloupe to eat beside the pool… On and on. My daughter loves “sweater weather” but I love flip-flops, shorts, and pool time.

However, the winter does have its moments. We had snow falling yesterday, which didn’t stick because it turned to rain mid-morning. Still, I snapped some pictures because it was pretty. But I wasn’t sad when it melted. My dd was. She loves nothing better than when we get a couple of feet of snow, and my SIL ties an innertube to the tractor to pull the kids across the snow. They love building igloos (again, aided by the tractor to push up the snow high enough) and snowmen. Yes, we’re redneck as hell with our winter activities, but you use what you’ve got when you live in the South and want to enjoy the weather while you can. 🙂

In the meantime, I have a puzzle with ice crystals stuck to a windowpane. Solve the puzzle and tell me what you and your family like to do in the cold weather for a chance to win a $5 Amazon gift card! 

Candice LaBria: Southern Girl’s First Snow
Thursday, February 10th, 2022

In December, this Southern girl packed a 26-foot rental truck with all my worldly possessions, hooked up a car trailer, and left Alabama, my grown children, friends, job (and oh yes, my ex-husband) and pointed the car/truck contraption to a destination 1,300 miles west. To a new life and a new adventure—the physical journey known! The life journey and ultimate outcome, not so much. As I was climbing out of my car through the window, fielding questions from my midnight, dog-walking neighbor inquiring if I was moving, I looked down at my “Follow your Dreams” T-shirt and for one last time questioned my decision to move west. That’s another story. Let’s just say reading is a valuable skill and the importance of reading instructions, even on your T-shirt, is underappreciated. 

My dog and I left the sultry south for the wild west. We successfully managed to drive and admire the American landscape for that 1,300 miles in the largest, longest vehicle I have ever driven. No one was maimed, no gas pumps blown up, and I didn’t get lost. We even managed to navigate the Dallas traffic without incident. I felt on top of the world. I could do anything. I was invincible. 

My string of good fortune continued. The universe had more than just smiled on me. I had the best friends that sheltered me as I settled in and played find-a-house in a hotter than hot market. They fed me local favorites, served me champagne from the local winery, and showed me around town. I fell in love with my new home state of New Mexico. As a curly-haired Southern girl, frizzy hair has been the bane of my existence. No one ever told me about the miracles of the moisture-less air out here. “Come to New Mexico for amazing hair” should be the state motto. The hiking, the Hatch green chilis, the many bounties of this state are extra. 

Until the snow. 

It all started last week. The weather forecasters were in a fever pitch. The Super Bowl of weather was coming. They got major airtime. It was going to be cold. The conditions were perfect for accumulation. I lived in the city. I was a veteran of hurricanes. I had boots, gloves, and a long down jacket. I was invincible, have I mentioned that? Winter watches were posted for days. I was excited for snow. It was supposed to start after midnight. I waited up. At midnight, I threw open the doors, the artic blast created instant goosebumps, and the dog and I plunged into the darkness. We gazed up. Nothing. Not even the spectacular universe of stars was present. No precipitation from the sky. Deflated and shivering, I headed to bed. 

My alarm roused me from dreams of a winter wonderland. I bounded out of bed, tossing the comforter and three blankets to the floor and threw open the drapes. Nothing. I trudged to the kitchen, started the coffee, and let the dog out. Wait. There was something falling from the sky. It wasn’t perfectly formed works of art. It was more like ugly little ice shards. The weather people lied. Where was my first snow? The fluffy, pristine white miracles of Mother Nature that made you want to curl up by the fire with a hot drink and hotter book? Ice. Hmm. That possibility never entered my mind. How do you drive in that? Luckily, there was nothing on the streets. My commute to my new job—oh, another story—was without incident. The feeling of being robbed of a milestone event lingered as did the sleet. 

Throughout the morning I wandered past the windows, assessing the weather situation. People started leaving around noon. As the parking lot emptied, I noticed there was ice. I heard a passing comment of “Got to get the ice scraper out”. That got me thinking and wondering, “What’s an ice scraper?” and “Why isn’t there a winter storm prepared checklist?” Just then my email dinged with a note from the Safety department. I was supposed to wear my boots to the office then change into regular shoes. Note to self as I looked down at my winter boots. I did not dare venture out for lunch. What was I thinking? Did I not follow that thought through – like I wouldn’t have to drive home? I hunkered down in my jacket and boots working at my desk, apprehension growing. 

My trips past the windows grew in frequency. It was bleak outside. The wind was blowing great gusts of ice, and dare I call it snow, around the lot and building. Where was the picturesque, magical snow? Where were my co-workers’ cars? How do you drive in ice? Visions of news stories from the great Birmingham ice storm flooded my mind. By three, my excitement for snow was completely extinguished and fear of the commute home made work impossible just as the Director of Safety walked past. She noticed me. “What are you still doing here? Haven’t you seen the roads?” I explained that I was new and this was my first winter storm in town. She stopped and gave me a quick overview of winter driving: go slow especially around corners, leave lots of room between cars, and don’t brake when you slide. And I thought driving cross country in a pseudo tractor trailer was daunting! 

I made it the 1.7 uphill miles to my house, again without incident. The invincibility feeling was not coursing through my blood like previously. I was cold, hunkered down in my house looking out wistfully, grateful to be home safe. The pantry was not stocked with hearty foods. Spring mix lettuce ruled the fridge along with a nice bottle of Gruner Veltliner. Apparently, I was still a shopping southern girl. Night fell on the confused Southern girl with the meteorologists still predicting snow. 

The alarm roused me the next morning well before sunrise. I headed to the kitchen for coffee. I didn’t need to turn on the light to see. The moonlight was reflecting off the most exquisite pale powder in my back yard. I ran for my boots and bathrobe. The dog danced at the door. Warm coffee in hand, I opened the door. I didn’t notice the steam coming off my drink or the frigid air blasting. The stars sparkled. It was blissfully still and quiet. Mother Nature had pulled out all the stops. It was all I had imagined. The dog raced through the accumulation like a puppy, barking. Flurries were still falling. It was breathtaking (not just from the temperature). I tossed my head back, twirled, stuck my tongue out to catch snowflakes, and laughed. I threw a snowball at my dog, missed! And, OMG, just missed an attractive, bathrobe clad man, who was peering over the wall at us. I pulled my bathrobe back tight and looked again. No neighbor. My dog didn’t bark. Was there a man or not? The bathrobe had been identical to mine, also loosely tied. I tiptoed over and peeked over the divider. There were definitely tracks, but no handsome man?!? No way I could have imagined that? Could I?

Work had been postponed by several hours. I had a free morning. I turned on the gas fireplace, snuggled into my favorite chair with a steamy novel, and mused about my experience as I finished my second cup of coffee. Yes, there had been a neighbor. No, not possible. But the tracks. Yes. He had been there. I think. 

For the first time, the girl felt like a Western girl, the journey wonderfully unpredictable with endless possibilities. 

I hope the winter storms that have been ravaging the country find you safe, warm, and reading your favorite authors. I had the most fortunate opportunity to contribute to Passionate Ink’s Falling Hard charity anthology. It’s a collection of seven erotic short stories that benefit Proliteracy.  

Check it out if you are looking to discover new authors and stories ranging from historical to paranormal to contemporary. It’s available at Amazon and Kindle Unlimited. Also take a moment to learn about the wonderful work of 

What are you reading and how are you coping with the winter weather? I would love to hear from you.  

Thank you to Delilah Devlin for letting me post on her site and reach her fantastic readers. 


About the Author

Candice LaBria is a writer of erotic romance short stories and a member of Passionate Ink. She is on Facebook, and Instagram and Twitter @Bria_Writes. Her website is


Girl in Snow photo credit
Photo by Brooke Lewis from Pexels

N.J. Walters: Cozy Winter Days
Friday, February 26th, 2021

Winters are long where I live. Since I’m not a big fan of the cold and wind, I tend to stay inside on those days and get cozy. Here are my top tips for staying comfy and content on blustery winter nights.

  1. A fire—if you have a fireplace. I don’t, but if I did, I’d have one crackling away for warmth and ambiance.
  2. A blanket or quilt. I’m a huge fan of a cozy blanket. I have a chocolate brown fuzzy one that is always draped over my legs whenever I’m curled up on the sofa.
  3. Fresh baked goods. I tend to make cookies since I can either make smaller batches or freeze some. But pie and cake work, too. You really can’t go wrong with something yummy fresh from the oven. If you don’t bake, treat yourself to a good quality chocolate bar or something from a local bakery.
  4. A hot beverage. I drink tea, not coffee, but whatever works for you is great. Some days demand hot chocolate, with marshmallows. Some nights call for a glass of amaretto. (Or whatever alcoholic beverage you enjoy.)
  5. I love slipper socks. I find them more comfortable than slippers. I have a pair that are fleece-lined and keep my toes nice and warm.
  6. A good book. There’s nothing like curling under my blanket (with my slipper socks on) enjoying a hot drink, some chocolate, and a good book while the wind howls outside. If you enjoy a sexy sci-fi romance, you might want to check out my latest release.

If you’ve read the Marks Mercenaries series, you might remember that the hero from Salvaging Abby is from Gravas, a highly secretive world with advanced technology and a kickass military. Oh, and their assassins are the best in the known universe.

Gravasian assassins are ghosts, whispers on the wind, and feared by all. Kyler el Darkos is even deadlier, more dangerous. He’s no ordinary assassin. He’s the king’s blade, answering only to the king of Gravas, his loyalty absolute. Few know of his existence. He lives and works alone. Gravasian justice is swift and brutal. His job is to see it carried out.

Kyler’s Justice
Assassins of Gravas, Book 3

Kyler el Darkos is an elite Gravasian assassin who answers only to the king of Gravas. His mission: Find Balthazar and eliminate him and any of his associates for their part in abducting the king’s son and trying to market stolen Gravasian weapons. His search has brought him to the planet of Mortis and Hell’s Gate, a bar owned by Balthazar’s father. The last thing he expects is to fall for Etta Mortis—his target’s sister—a woman who tempts him to risk his honor for a chance at love.


About the Author

N.J. Walters is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author who has always been a voracious reader, and now she spends her days writing novels of her own. Vampires, werewolves, dragons, assassins, time-travelers, seductive handymen, and next-door neighbors with smoldering good looks—all vie for her attention. It’s a tough life, but someone’s got to live it.

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