Happy Holidays y Que le Vaya Bien!


I hope you all had a wonderful holiday, filled with the people you care about most in the world. If you couldn’t be with them, I hope they were in your heart.

My youngest son, my partner, and I are far from our New Zealand home… in Fort Worth, Texas. We had quite a different Thanksgiving holiday. Matthew had never had one, being from the UK and then NZ, and my son Elliot has only had what I could cobble together in New Zealand for the traditional dinner. For me, this was my first one in a restaurant! 

Luckily we booked a few days in advance and actually found a restaurant with room for us which did a non-yuppie thanksgiving feast. I ate too much… once again. I could seriously have done without the pumpkin cheesecake.  I ate it like it was pie…but it was far from that… being mostly cream. A few miles’ walk back to our hotel helped considerably.

 

The dinner was spectacular and afterwards, the entertainment was hysterical…some people at the next table had their turkey hats on…complete with gobbling and wriggling legs.

Last week, we enjoyed some great Southern hospitality in San Antonio, where we exhibited our Equi-Still Portable Equine Stocks at the AAEP (American Association of Equine Practitioners) Convention last weekend.  6000 equine vets all in one place! This was just one lecture!

The stocks are pretty versatile….here’s our smallest visitor to the booth!   

We headed out east three times to eat at Taqueria Los Dos Laredos Mexican restaurant where few spoke English. The best kind.  Plus, I got to practice my rusty Español. 🙂

We stayed at the historic Menger Hotel, established and in operation since 1859. Carriage horses from the Lollypop Carriage Company waited right outside

and the Alamo is across the street! Right up my alley. 🙂

I’ve had a week off from writing, but after publishing three books so far this year, I guess that’s okay.  Plus, I’ve been accumulating new stories…

I hadn’t known the history of the Alamo before, but “Battle for Texas” in the mall nearby gave much more detail on it than was even present at the Alamo site itself.

I’m already ruminating on how to include it in one of my upcoming stories…maybe in one of the novellas I’d like to write about Krzysztof’s life!  We’ll have to work on that one. 🙂 It’ll have to be heresay, as the Alamo fell in 1836 and the Galician Slaughter, the stimulus for Aleksandra’s father and mother leaving Poland, occurred in 1846. :/  That’ll take some thinking.

Today we visited the historic Fort Worth Stockyard Station. It was pretty cool.

Instead of tearing the old stockyards down, as often happens, they transformed much of the site into a tourist attraction, full of stores, restaurants, and wedding venues, with some of the old stock areas still in evidence. It’s lucky for people like me, who want to see those too!

Billy Bob’s famous honkey tonk/ dance hall is there, but as it was Thanksgiving today… well, everyone was home with their families. Few places were open. But that, too, I liked. We got to see the place without hordes of people!

Have a wonderful holiday, talk with you next month!

Hasta luego y que le vaya bien from the travellers!

Thanks for coming by!

xx

Lizzi

PS…

If you haven’t yet ordered your copy of Christmas Babies on Main Street, it’s available now!  Click here to get it now!

Hope you love the heartwarming stories therein. If you do, we’d love you to leave a review on Amazon!

Thanks again for visiting

xx

Lizzi

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Thanksgiving is tomorrow! It’s hard to believe another year has gone by so quickly.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been to the grocery three times this past week. I work from a list, but there was always something I’d forgotten, or decided on another dish or dessert to make and needed extra items.

The past few years have been easier. We spend Thanksgiving with my daughter-in-law’s family. We all pitch in, take a few dishes, add with multiple others, then the table is full. Wonderful day with extended family.

I used to make the entire dinner myself for anywhere from fifteen to twenty-something people. My home filled with family, love and way too much food. I loved every minute of the day! I also miss those times terribly.

Kids grew up and had their own families. They stayed home and prepared their own dinners. New families making their own traditions, yet still shared with family.

I am thankful for my family and friends.

I wish you a Wonderful Thanksgiving with family or friends. May the day be a blessing to you.

What are some of the ways you celebrate Thanksgiving?

If you haven’t gotten your copy of Christmas Babies on Main Street, please consider checking it out! http://amzn.to/2xQ5Lsj
Please check out these links to my books, available at Barnes & Noble, and Amazon. http://caroldevaney.weebly.com/my-books.html

I wish you Butterflies, Music and Love…

Justice, Love, and being Thankful

blind-justiceI’ve been thinking a lot about justice while I’ve been writing: A Time to Kill (working title).  This is a story, a legal thriller, that deals with themes that are hard to tackle in real life. Even for those whose jobs require dealing with application of law to a particular set of circumstances.

Law, even the equal application of it, often has little to do with accomplishing a just result. Odd for a lawyer with twenty plus years of trying cases to admit, but there it is. It is a dichotomy a lawyer—an active one anyway—shouldn’t delve too deeply into.

But a novelist can.

Where law, the equal (or unequal) application of it, and a just result each diverge is visceral stuff. The kind of gut-wrenching stuff every good vigilante story, legal thriller, or under-dog super-hero story is woven from. Might means right is enough to get most people’s blood boiling and it’s all about the details from there. Details a novelist can turn and twist and revel in. Sometimes when there is little we can do as individual citizens, there is much we can accomplish by writing about injustice and making those who meet out injustice feel the blunt edge of our pens (or keyboard). It’s cathartic—hopefully for the reader as well when the bad-guys fall.

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In, Black’s Law Dictionary, Fifth Edition, there are two entries for the word, ‘justice’. The second entry is a noun and refers to the title of judge, generally a title given to federal court and state supreme court judges. The first is a verb. The definition reads, “To do justice, to see justice done; to summon one to do justice.” Law, not moral theory. Consequently, no real definition here. It may be like Justice Potter Steward’s Supreme Court short concurrence in Jacobellis v. Ohio (1964) when he said he couldn’t define pornography, but, “I know it when I see it.”

I love that line. I think it can be said of love, self-sacrifice, honor, integrity and justice. I may not be able to define any of those things, but I know them when I see them. When a writer gets it right, the reader also experiences each of those things without the author ever having to define them.

Just one of the reasons I’m enthused about writing and I love to be enmeshed in great story-telling when I read a great novel—I get to add my own version of love, honor, duty, integrity and yes, what is a just and an unjust result to every word I write as well as every word I read.

I’ll have more about plot and less about themes next month. Suffice it to say the plot of A Time to Kill involves finding legal solutions to the very real issue of child victimization. When the law doesn’t have solution, those who can enact justice, will.

During this month of Thanksgiving, I am grateful for the ability to write about these themes and conflicts. Especially love. Because without love of something or someone, a story just isn’t worth reading.05a4d20237c5652eb3dc7504a8c280c9

Happy Thanksgiving to Everyone. May love, family, great food and at least one good story find you this Holiday. For those of you doing NaNo—you Rock!

Leigh

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Home Front

November 11 was Remembrance Day here is Canada. On this day, we pay tribute to all those in the armed forces who have sacrificed their lives to ensure the peace and freedom we enjoy today. The ceremonies of remembrance always touch me deeply. I am overwhelmed to think of the millions who lost their lives in World Wars I and II, and specifically the 105,000 Canadian soldiers who perished.

I can’t help but think of the families left behind; as a mom, I put myself in the place of the mothers who lost their sons. Imagine the agony of each of those women, going about her days in fear of a telegram arriving at her door with the dreaded news that her child will not be returning home.

Imagining this inspired me to begin myAt Home.indd latest novel, set in 1943 in a fictional Ontario city. The heroine, Grace, is a young widow whose only son has enlisted in the army. Grace spends her time taking care of everyone else, keeping herself busy and thinking little of her own needs. When she meets Max, a mortician with a captivating smile, she realizes there is room in her beleaguered heart for the exhilaration of falling in love. But when Grace discovers a painful secret from Max’s past, she can’t help trying to set things right, whether he wants her help or not.

I started this story last year and had to put it aside to work on my Christmas novella. The research required to get a handle on the time period has slowed me down as well. I have a cover, because a cover always inspires me to continue writing, but I’ve only drafted three chapters and made a general outline for the rest. I have no timeline for finishing it – I don’t want the pressure of a deadline to prevent me from getting it just right. This is a “book of my heart” sort of project that I work on whenever I have time. Hopefully it will be available by next Remembrance Day.

The Author’s Promise

An author’s promise lets you know, as a reader, what you get when you get that author’s books. A guarantee that their book will be what you expect from them.

Mine is: A little sweet. A little sexy. A lot happily ever after. So, no matter if I’m writing contemporary romance, paranormal romance, or even my zompoc romance, you will get a story that is a little sweet, a little sexy, and a whole lot of a sappy, over-the-top happily ever after. I am a true romantic and that is what I put into each and every story I write.

Now, sometimes a story will skew a little more heat in the little sexy. Nothing over the top, just a little hotter. Or, like my stories in the boxed sets, a little more sweet. But always, that lot of happily ever after.

So many of my auto-buy authors make this promise and keep this promise. I can pick up a James Rollins and know I’m about to go on an amazing adventure. If I pick up an Allison Brennan, I’ll get a tense thriller with just the right amount of love and romance.

Do you have an auto-buy author? Have you ever been disappointed that an author didn’t keep their author’s promise?


Jill James, author of Baby Steps and Snowflakes in the Christmas Babies on Main Street boxed set.

The price of patience

I’ve been waiting for the paeonies to bloom. I’ve wanted to grow my own for thirteen years. We were in Invercargill researching for our book How Local Government Works, and we visited a local Council initiative testing cold-climate crops, where the frustrated manager was fuming about the airline bumping from their cargo manifest a container of paeonies intended for New York.

Sucks for them, but lovely for me. I went home on the plane with a bunch of three dozen beautiful opening buds that coloured and scented my house for weeks afterwards.

So four years ago, we planted paeonies. And then we waited. And waited. And waited. Year by year, they produced lovely leafy growth and not a single bud. Until this year, we have four of the nine plants smothered in pink and cream buds, and for weeks, we’ve been waiting for them to open. I took the photo above a few minutes ago. Our patience has finally been rewarded. Aren’t they glorious?

Patience is a virtue

Or so my mother used to assure me. ‘Patience is a virtue. Possess it if you can. Found seldom in a woman and never in a man.’ Hey, don’t blame me. That’s what my mother said.

I’m not good at it. I always want to get to the next bit. I read fast. I write fast. I think about the next thing and miss out on the now thing. I’ve been trying to train myself out of it, but after a lifetime of trying I’ve only been partially successful.

At the moment, I’m neglecting tidying up my website in favour of finishing my collection of Christmas novellas. I want it to be 15 December so it will go live! But I’m old enough and wise enough not to jump to then. I want it to be 15 December, with all my Christmas shopping and baking done, and the rest of the first draft of The Realm of Silence, my current work in progress, written.

Be careful what you ask for

I have, of course, prayed for patience. I did so as a teenager, and I’d like to warn you all now that God works through life. What little patience I have has come from raising six children, one disabled, while establishing and running a full-time business and suffering from a chronic and invisible fatiguing disease. I tell people, only half in jest, that I prayed for patience and God sent me Peter. Love him dearly. Wouldn’t be without him. But boy, has he increased my stores of patience.

They also serve who only stand and wait

The stories in the new box set all involve people who have to be patient. They’re all historical romances, and they’re all previously published: four novellas and two lunch-length reads from my story collection. All together in one 97,500 word volume for your holiday pleasure, at a discounted price over the individual books.

Candle’s Christmas Chair (A novella in The Golden Redepennings series)

Candle, the hero of the story, patiently courts the heroine using the language of flowers.

They are separated by social standing and malicious lies. How can he convince her to give their love another chance?

Gingerbread Bride (A novella in The Golden Redepenning series)

Mary’s patience runs out when her cousin tries to trap her in marriage, so she goes looking for another home.

Mary runs from an unwanted marriage and finds adventure, danger and her girlhood hero, coming once more to her rescue.

Magnus and the Christmas Angel (from Lost in the Tale)

Thirteen years waiting for Magnus to come home, and six months waiting for him to notice her is long enough. Callie is out of patience.

Scarred by years in captivity, Magnus has fought English Society to be accepted as the true Earl of Fenchurch. Now he faces the hardest battle of all: to win the love of his wife.

Lord Calne’s Christmas Ruby

In just over a year, Lalamani will be free. She just has to be patient, and meanwhile find somewhere to avoid fortune hunters and bullies.

Lalamani prefers her aunt’s quiet village to fashionable London, its vicious harpies, and its importunate fortune hunters. Philip wishes she wasn’t so rich, or he wasn’t so poor.

(Due for publication as a stand-alone novella on 20 November)

A Suitable Husband

Cedrica needs every ounce of patience she can find to cope with her cousin’s guests at the Christmas houseparty.

A chef from the slums, however talented, is no fit mate for the cousin of a duke, however distant. But Cedrica can dream. (first published in Holly and Hopeful Hearts, a Bluestocking Belles collection.)

All that Glisters (from Hand-Turned Tales)

Patience is all Rose has, as the unpaid servant of her unpleasant relatives.

Rose is unhappy in the household of her fanatical uncle. Thomas, a young merchant from Canada, offers a glimpse of another possible life. If she is brave enough to reach for it.

Find out more on my book page: http://judeknightauthor.com/books/if-mistletoe-could-tell-tales/

Excerpt from Lord Calne’s Christmas Ruby

Lalamani took Lord Carne a midday meal the next day, too. And the day after.

When she slipped up and called him ‘my lord’ in front of the workmen, he brushed it off with a laugh, but after they had left, asked her to call him Philip. “For if I have adopted Mrs Thorpe as my aunt, you must be my cousin,” he suggested.

“Or your sister?”

He froze, every muscle alert, his eyes suddenly intent. “Definitely not my sister.”

She couldn’t look away. The conversation of the departing workmen faded and the corner they had chosen as their own picnic spot dimmed. Philip was suddenly more real than all of it; the only solid thing in a ghostly world. She swayed towards him and he gripped her shoulders, his eyes fixed on her lips, his face moving towards her… Until he straightened and turned away.

“I beg your pardon, Miss Finchurch.” He kept his back to her, as if the ruin of his Hall was far more appealing than one slightly over-aged spinster.

He must have heard her sigh, because he spun round to face her. “You must know that, if circumstances were different…”

Was she supposed to believe she had swept him off his feet and he was only resisting with difficulty? What he took from her expression she didn’t know, but he suddenly swore, and reached again for her shoulders, crushed her to him, then cursed again and lifted her bodily onto the log they had been using for a seat.

Now her head was a little higher than his, so she had to curve her neck to reach his lips when he lifted his face. She had been kissed before, a few times. Some of the ambitious young men who thought to win her uncle’s favour had been almost convincing in their courtship. Besides, she was as susceptible as anyone to curiosity and the temptation of a private spot in a warm lush garden after a night of music and dancing. On the whole, the experiences had been unremarkable.

She could, were she not so distracted by his firm but gentle lips, catalogue the many differences between those disappointing kisses of long ago and this one, from the setting to the sensations. But he was running his tongue gently along her lips, and she opened, wondering what he intended, then forgetting everything. The oak, the chill wind, the possibility a workman might return early. Philip was all that existed in the world. Philip, and her body coming alive where he touched her, still only with his lips, and a hand lightly kneading each hip.

Until he groaned and wrapped his arms around her, pulling her from the log to mould her against him, his mouth hardening over hers, his tongue stroking even deeper over hers as she clasped him back and lifted her legs to curve them around his hips, heedless of anything except the urge to be closer still.

For one long endless moment, she was lost in sensation, and then he drew his head back, to drop a flurry of kisses along her jaw bone, so she tipped her head back to give him access, and blinked as a large rain drop fell in her eye.

It was followed by others, first a spattering, then a deluge, and Philip stumbled a couple of steps to set her down against the trunk, out of the rain.

His laugh was rueful, and his voice shook as he said, “They said in the inn last night that the rain would set in this afternoon.”

He still held her, and she leant against him, uncertain her legs would hold her up. “That was…” She didn’t have the words. “Philip,” she said, instead. A statement, because she was afraid to make it a question.

“Lalamani,” he breathed back, and rested his chin on her head, which had somehow lost its bonnet in the past fifteen minutes. One hand rested on her waist while the other stroked her back. “Lalamani,” he said again, then, just as quietly, murmuring into her hair. “I owe you an apology, but I am not sorry. To have missed that kiss would have been a crime. But I had no right.”

His obtuse male attitude steadied her, and her own voice was calm as she reminded him, “If any apology is required, it is for me to offer it. I started our kiss. And I am not sorry, either.”

He chuckled. “I am glad. But I still… Were circumstances different, I could court you in proper form and hope one day for the privilege of taking our kiss to its proper conclusion, but I have nothing to offer a wife, Lalamani. It could be five years before the canal pays enough to provide more than bachelor accommodations. Even were you not used to the best of everything, I could not…” He trailed off.

“I do not need someone to provide for me,” Lalamani reminded him. “I have more than enough money for me and anyone I truly loved.” That was as close to a declaration as she dared, but it did not have the desired effect.

“Ah, Lalamani.” He sighed, then kissed her again, a light touch on the forehead, and pulled away. “I cannot live off my wife. Can I?” He shook his head as if to clear it, then held out his undamaged hand. “Come. I should see you home to your aunt’s house.”

Ridiculous man. In their conversations, and in that kiss, she had glimpsed a hope for which she had thought herself too old. If he didn’t see it too, or if he would let his male pride stand in its way, then she was too proud to pursue it.

2017’s NaNoWrimo Challenge

Is anyone else participating in the 2017’s NaNoWrimo Challenge. (Don’t know what NaNoWrimo is? It’s National Novel Writing Month. It’s a big deal.) It’s remarkable to me that I’ve written more than 20 books (this still boggles my mind even though I know more than anyone that it’s absolutely true) BUT I’ve never finished a NaNoWrimo challenge. This year will be different.

And I know this will sound funny, but somehow I imagine that if I complete this goal that all I’ll rock my other goals as well–I’ll lose 15 pounds by my birthday in January, my book business will take off in new and exciting ways, my backyard will magically become a place of peace and beauty…

So here are my goals:
NaNoWrimo: Write for four hours or 4k words a day (which ever comes first) five days a week until I’ve written 50k words…even though my real goal is a 70k word novel. I’ll post each day’s segment so you can follow along.

Health: Exercise an hour a day, six days a week and eat 4 300-400 calorie meals a day.

Backyard: Spend an hour a week (on Saturdays) gardening.

http://davidseah.com/node/nanowrimo-word-calendar/

You can follow along with my NaNoWrimo challenge here:  http://kristystories.blogspot.com/p/work-in-progress-share.html