COLOR ME MONEY
We all know that Black Friday is officially day after Thanksgiving, right? The beginning of the Holiday shopping season.
Says who? Says, well...I guess a lot of us don't really know who gets to decide the "official" Black Friday.
This year, because Thanksgiving falls on November 28, we experienced an "unofficial" Black Friday on November 22. As it turns out, in the US we have quite a few “black” days—in fact, nearly every day of the week—and they are all driven by economics and spending.
ORIGINS OF BLACK FRIDAY
Actually, the term “Black Friday” is used in several contexts and dates back to the US financial crisis of 1869. That seems to be the first recorded use, and the term has been used for many events marking financial downturns.
In 1966, the term "Black Friday" was applied—and not as a term of endearment—to the day after Thanksgiving...by Philadelphia Police Department. That day officially opened the Christmas shopping season and usually brought massive traffic jams, over-crowded sidewalks, and general chaos. The Philadelphia Police Department hated it.
The designation came into more general use around 1975 and by the 1980s, merchants were objecting to the negative connotation. So, being the innovative business people that we are, someone came up with the theory that this was the point in time when businesses (which traditionally operated at a loss or “in the red”) started making profits and operated “in the black.”
Tah-dah! Now, merchants love it.
October 19, 1987, is when the Dow Jones Industrial Average lost almost 22% in a single day. That event marked the beginning of a global stock market decline, making "Black Monday" one of the most notorious days in recent financial history. By the end of the month, most of the major exchanges had dropped more than 20%.
"Black Tuesday" is the day marked as the end of the Roaring '20s and the great Wall Street Crash of 1929. A second Black Tuesday event was the Tasmanian fires in 1967.
September 16, 1992, is commonly known as the day that George Soros broke the Bank of England. He made one billion dollars profit that day, and the British government was forced to withdraw the pound from the European Exchange Rate Mechanism.
Thursdays seem to be “black” for a lot of reasons, some of which include:
•February 6, 1851, a day of devastating brush fires in Victoria, Australia.
•The Panic of 1873 when the US bank Jay Cooke & Company declared bankruptcy, triggering a series of bank
•October 24, 1929, was the beginning of the Crash of 1929, followed by “Black Tuesday” on October 29, 1929.
•October 14, 1943, when the Allies suffered large losses during bombing in the Second Raid on Scheweinfurt
during World War II. And so on.
MORE COLORFUL DAYS
There are some “good” days out there, too. At least, days with different colors and some dedicated to more socially-worthy endeavors.
The day Green Monday (coined by eBay) is the second Monday of December. Also economically driven, Green Monday is the biggest online shopping days of the year with only ten more days until Christmas. Experts project consumers will spend $1 billion on holiday shopping this day alone. It also refers to a network of sustainable development practitioners in the UK, which meets on the first Monday of every month to discuss critical environmental issues such as climate change.
March 26, 2014 will be the Global Day of Epilepsy Awareness. People in countries around the world are invited to wear purple and host events in support of epilepsy awareness.
Purple Day was founded in 2008, by nine-year-old Cassidy Megan of Nova Scotia, Canada, with the help of the Epilepsy Association of Nova Scotia. Cassidy chose the color purple after the international color for epilepsy, lavender. The lavender flower is also often associated with solitude, which is representative of the feelings of isolation many people affected by epilepsy and seizure disorders often feel.
Wednesday, April 4, 2014, will be the next "Pink Wednesday", the International Day against Bullying, Discrimination, Homophobia and Transphobia in schools and communities.
We also associate pink with Breast Cancer Awareness month.
There are a number of Red days for different purposes. "National Wear Red Day" is the day when Americans wear red to show support for women's heart health. It was on Friday January 31 in 2013. Sources indicate it is February 1, which in 2014 is Saturday.
Red Friday, also a day for wearing red, is a way for Americans to demonstrate their appreciation to our soldiers for their bravery and sacrifice. It is the same in Canada, where wearing red on Friday shows support for Canadian Troops.
Who can tell us about more "colorful" days of the week?
Today is November 11, Veterans Day. A day off! No Mail! We get to wear red poppies, wave flags, and go to a parade!
Many American tend to think of Veterans Day as just another day off. Or, if you don't have a holiday, it may be just another day when the mail isn't delivered.
That's too bad, because it should be a day of reflection and thanks to the multitude of armed services veterans, and their families, who have kept our country "the land of the free, and the home of the brave."
Don't confuse it with Memorial Day, which honors those service men and women who have died in the service of their country.
Nothing is easy when it involves the federal government.
US President Woodrow Wilson first proclaimed Armistice Day for November 11, 1919, one year after the armistice between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month and brought to a halt the actual fighting in WW I. The Treaty of Versailles was signed seven months later, on June 28, 1919.
I was surprised to read that Congress didn't officially recognize the end of WW I until June 4, 1926. It's hard for me to envision signing the treaty without acknowledging the end of the war. However, in the same resolution, Congress requested President Coolidge to proclaim November 11 as a national holiday. This is the same day celebrated in other parts of the world as Remembrance Day, Armistice Day, Victory in Europe Day, and other names.
An act approved in May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November a legal federal holiday, known as "Armistice Day", dedicated to the veterans of WW I and the cause of world peace.
Something as non-partisan/non-controversial as this took almost ten years. No wonder we're in trouble.
Then, on June 1, 1954, Congress approved legislation changing the name from Armistice Day to Veterans Day, a holiday which honors of the veterans of all wars, not just WW I, and celebrated on October 25. The first Veterans Day was celebrated on October 25, 1971. Confusion ensued. No one was happy.
On September 20, 1975, President Gerald Ford signed a law which returned Veterans Day to the original date of November 11, beginning in 1978.
Sigh of relief. This pleased just about everyone, although I used to wonder why my employer gave us a union-negotiated holiday on October 25, when the official holiday was November 11. Now I understand.
Hopefully, everything is settled for a while. And it pleases me that Veterans Day hasn't been moved from the specific date. That's not an accident. The proponents wanted to preserve the significance of November 11 and to focus attention on the purpose of Veterans Day.
Just a note: According to Yahoonews.com, "In 2013, there are no longer any living World War I vets among us. A woman named Florence Green was considered the last surviving World War I veteran. Green was a waitress with the Women's Royal Air Force at an air base in England. She died in 2012. [Flying Saucers to Mind Control: 7 Declassified Military & CIA Secrets]" A TIME FOR REFLECTION AND THANKS
As Senator Mike Johanns said,
"Nothing we can do in Congress will ever fully return the favor of those who have given so much for America. But we must do all we can to honor them. All Americans share in the responsibility of caring for our veterans who have defended our freedom.
Fewer causes are so imperative or so noble. This Veterans Day, we remember the service to our brave men and women in uniform. We thank them for their sacrifice and for their service."
THANK YOU TO THOSE WHO HAVE SERVED IN THE PAST AND TO THOSE MEN AND WOMEN WHO CONTINUE TO SERVE AND PROTECT OUR FREEDOM…AND THEIR FAMILIES.
By R. Ann Siracusa
An expansion of a blog originally posted on Melisa Snarks blog on 11-04-2013.
THE SETTING OF THE ALL FOR A BLAST OF HOT AIR
In the simplest terms, the setting of a novel is the time and place in which the action of the narrative takes place. Without place, the characters are just there without reason to act or care. Setting is not only the time, location, and circumstance of where the story takes place, but the social milieu which shapes values and the characters. Not only the mood and texture of the place, but also attitudes, values, and issues of that point in time.
Interesting settings can be a challenge. At best, they can become a character in the story. Since my brand is "Travel to exotic foreign lands for romance and intrigue", my goal is to make my readers feel as though they've been to the place they've read about.
Author Susan Meissner writes:
"We are wired to assign value to places. That's why home is so sweet, Yosomite is so beautiful, Paris so romantic, and a moonlit beach is so calming. It's also why dark houses scare us, crumbling cliffs intimidate us, and foggy moors depress us. Place communicate something to us. A spider doesn't care it if makes a web in a dark, musty cellar or under a chair in an opulent ballroom. But we care!"
You can set a novel in a place you've never been and pull it off, but having been there is better. Physical presence gives you a sense of how the location feels, tastes, and smells. You hear the background sounds, feel the rhythm and pace. These things are often hard to research. Even if you've never been to the location where your novel is set, thinks about those characteristics of place.
I use international travel for the settings in my novels. The uniqueness of each location is my inspiration. When I travel, I look for locations, attitudes, and customs that result in a story that couldn't happen anywhere else and be the same story.
The setting for my latest novel in the romantic suspense series "Tour Director Extraordinaire" is southern Africa. I traveled to South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Zambia in 2008. The trip inspired the novel "All For A Blast Of Hot Air."
Everything in Africa moves at its own pace, which tends to be slower and more laid back than the urban parts of the US. When tourists get frustrated about this, the response is a shrug and the words, "This is Africa." The phrase is delivered as more of an explanation rather than an excuse, and they don't understand why we have our panties in a wad.
While I was there, someone we met spoke of having taken a hot air balloon safari. About all that I heard was how wonderful the experience had been—I'm not even sure where in Africa she'd been—but the comment struck a chord, and set the stage for the novel.
SETTING OF EACH SCENE
I was intrigued by Author MaryLu Tyndall's list of six ways the setting can help or hinder the protagonist in achieving his/her goals in general and in a scene. It's worth the time to read her article. http://www.rachellegardner.com/2012/06/using-setting-as-a-character-a-tip-for-novelists/
Here's a recap of her points.
● The setting as a friend / a comfortable, relaxing place where protagonist can reflect, or a safe place to hide from enemies.
● The setting as an antagonist / introduce conflict, trouble, thwarts protagonist's plans.
● The setting as a mentor / a place to learn or make discoveries, a place to prepare to take something on.
● The setting as a shadow for protagonist / a shadow reflects the deepest flaws of the character / a setting that opens the character's eyes to his/her own flaws.
● The setting as a model of what the protagonist wants to be / a setting that fosters qualities to which the protagonist aspires.
● The setting as an example / a setting that either assists or hinders the character in the particular scene.
WHAT DID WE DO IN AFRICA?
So, how does a trip to Africa translate into a unique setting?
We didn't take a hot air balloon safari, but we did go on ground safaris. There were so many amazing locations and activities in those four countries that just didn't fit into my book. I find that unless I have a rough outline already when I visit the setting, I may or may not pay attention to the details that will end up enriching the story. I've learned to be more astute about things that may end up having a place in a novel.
The following are only mentioned in passing in my novel, if at all, but the experience added to my sense of what it is like in Africa. Think about them and see if these minimal descriptions bring any ideas about settings to your mind. In what kind of book would any one of these setting be appropriate?
We rode "rescue" elephants. These are sick or starving elephants that have been abandoned by the herd. When found, they are brought back to health and used for tourist rides. The money earned goes into the upkeep of the animals.
We walked with lions. Walking with the Lions is part of the "ALERT" program which is intended to reintroduce lions into parts of Africa where the population has been reduced due to farmers killing them to protect their farms and livestock. A century ago, the lion population in all of Africa numbered about 200,000. Now the population is between 20,000 and 30,000. Again, the money earned for these tourists walks (which are actually part of training the lions) helps to fund the program.
We visited Victoria Falls. Victoria Falls [Mosi-oa-Tunya of The smoke that thunders] is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
These falls are not the highest or widest in the world, but Mosi-oa-Tunya is the largest falling sheet of water in the world. The full width of the Zambezi River (5,604 feet – over one mile wide) plummets straight down for 354 feet in a single sheet.
Part of the uniqueness of the falls is that there aren't any mountains or deep valleys as you would expect. Just flat land with a wide river…and then you see a billowy column of what looks like white smoke. It's actually the spray from the river plummeting into a deep vertical chasm caused by water erosion over thousands of years in the fracture zones.
We baboon-watched. A baboon actually made it into the novel as a secondary character. To the right is Manny Balz-ac. He and Harriet spend the night together in a tree.
Baboons run free like squirrels. They're incredibly smart, can open most locks, and harass the tourists by breaking into cars and homes looking for food. To the lower right, a troupe is hanging out on the road to stop cars. In the second phone, the baboon on the right is taking the woman's purse. The one below is in a golf cart at a golf course. He's looking for food, but it looks like he's stealing the golf cart. They also steal the golf balls.
We photographed Baobab Trees. These are unusual trees that grow only in Africa and Madagascar. The branches look like spread out like roots, hence the names "upside-down tree".
Every part of the tree can be used, which the primary reason it is called the tree of life. It's fruit, bark, roots, and wood provide innumerable products used by the native African peoples for thousands of years. Food, red dye, Vitamin C, medicine, rope and strings for musical instruments. Canoes are carved from the wood. The list goes on and on.
We ate weird foods. Zebra pate, Mopani worms, and soup with crickets. Oops! That wasn't the way the soup was prepared. The cricket flew into the open-air restaurant at our very nice hotel in Zimbabwe and landed in my friend's soup...but it didn't have anywhere to land in the book.
The Mopani worms, which are actually caterpillars, don't look like this when you eat them...well, not exactly. These are the staple protein for much of Africa.
We slept under Mosquito netting. This definitely made it into the book with some interesting consequences when the hero and heroine make love. Below was our room at one of the Safari Lodges where we stayed.
Watch for the rest of my blogs about Africa, including more about the worms and a recipe for them.
Happy Halloween to all you humans, ghouls, elves, werewolves, vampires, demons, gods and goddesses, and everyone, whoever and whatever you are.
You all know the meaning of Halloween, right?
Yay! Costumes. Candy. Parties. Ghosts and things that go bump in the night.
Okay, and you all know the origins of Halloween?
Yay! Samhain. Harvest festival. Food. Singing, dancing, booze, bobbing for apples, sexual rites.
The origins of Halloween began several thousand years ago with the Celts, who believed pagan gods controlled nature and were responsible for the four seasons, a belief held by many cultures throughout the world.
Samhain was the third day of a Druid festival that marked the change of seasons from the Season of the Sun (Summer) to the Season of Darkness and Cold (Winter). New Age, http://www.new-age.co.uk/celtic-festivals-samhain.htm states:
“This [Samhain] is the beginning of the Celtic and Wiccan New Year. Samhain is Irish-Gaelic for 'the Summer's end', and is pronounced 'sow-in'. Samhain represented the death of the summer sun god, Lugh.
his festival celebrates Nature's cycle of death and renewal, a time when the Celts acknowledged the beginning and ending of all things in life and nature. Samhain marked the end of harvest and the beginning of the New Celtic Year. The first month of the Celtic year was Samonios - ‘Seed Fall’.”
You knew that, right?
When the Romans conquered the Celtic territories around 43 AD, they brought their own festivals and traditions with them, and several of those merged with the celebration of Samhain. Anyone interested can find information on the Internet, but be prepared for conflicting information.
The Roman festival Feralia, commemorating deceased ancestors, is one that went with the Romans on their missions of conquest. According to some sources, Feralia occurred in late October, meshing well with Samhain.
The writings of Ovid, the famous Roman poet (Publius Ovidius Naso, born 43 bce – died 17 ce) describes the Roman year and its religious festivals his work Fasti. There, he indicates that Feralia was the last day of the Roman festival Parentalia, a nine-day event from February 13 through 21 (Julian calendar). On February 21, Roman citizens—and remember, everyone the Romans conquered had the choice of becoming a Roman citizen as long as the individual complied with Roman law—brought offerings to the tombs of their dead ancestors to honor them. Those offerings consisted of wreaths, a sprinkling of grain, salt, bread soaked in wine, and violets.
Okay, so maybe someone got the dates mixed up, or the Romans decided to celebrate the event at the same time as the Celts celebrated Samhain, since they both shared the concept of the dead returning to this world and making mischief (or worse). In the Fasti, Ovid tells of a time when the Romans, because of war, overlooked Feralia and failed to honor their ancestors. The ancestors’ spirits rose from their graves and roamed the streets howling until the rituals were performed. No wonder the festivals meshed so well.
And by the way, the word naso in Italian means nose (nose is nasus in Latin). That was his real name, but if the drawings of Ovid are anywhere near accurate, it was prophetic.
Pomona was the Roman goddess of fruit trees, gardens, and orchards and, according to some sources, the goddess of orchards and the harvest. There is a difference of opinion when the festival honoring Pomona (a celebration shared with her husband Ventumnus, the god of the turning year or seasons) was celebrated. Various sources cite August 13, August 23, and November 1.
Pomona is also considered a wood nymph, as well as a Numina, one of the guardian spirits in Roman mythology who watched over people, places, or homes.
The goddess’s name comes from the word apple, which is her symbol. Samhain and the festival of Pomona fit well together in relation to celebrating the harvest. I guess we can cut them some slack regarding the actual date. We dunk for apples, perhaps in her honor.
A third Roman festival that influenced Samhain was Lemuria. As part of this ancient feast (celebrated May 9, 11, and 13 - Julian calendar), the Romans exorcised malevolent ghosts of the dead (evil spirits or lemures) from their homes. The ritual, again according to Ovid, involved the head of the household walking barefoot around house at midnight, throwing black beans over his shoulder (nine of them to be exact) and chanting, while the rest of the family clashed bronze pots. Sounds like a good Halloween party game.
ALL SAINTS DAY AND ALL SOULS DAY
The Roman Catholics, like many faiths, honor the dead with their own festivals. All Saints Day honors the lives of saints and martyrs and became a day of obligation in the ninth century. Later, Pope Gregory IV confirmed celebration of All Saints Day on November 1 and All Souls Day on November 2, coinciding with the festival of Samhain.
Because the festival of All Saints was sometimes known as "All Hallows," or "Hallowmas," and because October 31 was the eve before All Hallows, the celebration on night before All Hallows became known as All Hallows Eve and eventually Halloween.
And we’ve come full circle. Happy Halloween, whatever it means to you, and however you celebrate it. Take a look at the interesting scarecrow lawn décor.
HALLOWEEN IN THE CATACOMBS
By R. Ann SiracusaA short story with a twist of fantasy from Breathless Press.
When my editor suggested I write a Halloween story featuring the heroine in my Tour Director Extraordinaire series, I thought it was a cool idea. Having been born without the pithy gene, I’m not good at short, but what the heck. After doing research on Halloween and reading about the influence of the Roman celebrations on Samhain, an idea kicked in. The result is a fun short story about tour director Harriet Ruby taking an unusual tour group through the catacombs in Rome on Halloween, with some surprising results. If you read the story, you’ll understand where this blog came from.FREE DOWNLOAD LINK
Harriet Ruby: Tour Director Extraordinaire, had had some real winners when it came to tourists, but this group, wearing Halloween costumes on an all day tour of Rome, took the cake. Well, it was Halloween, but these folks were seriously…different.
When nine of them decide to explore on their own and take off down a restricted tunnel of the Roman catacombs, Harriet has to find them—for their safety and her reputation—and ends up involved in something she never expected.
A blast of cold air sliced through me. “Yikes!” I screeched with surprise and almost dropped the flashlight. My body trembled, and I tightened my grip on my young charge.
“W-what w-was that?” he stammered.
For a moment my chattering teeth kept me from speaking. I had no clue. “An air vent, probably. They have to get fresh air down here somehow.”
Still shuddering, I inched forward, dragging the boy with me. “We should be close to the steps to the next level, so be careful. What were these people thinking, taking off like this? You’re absolutely sure you saw them go into this gallery?”
“Yes. I’m sure.”
“Then—aiii!” My foot slipped on a loose rock. I stumbled to one knee, flapping my arms for balance, and ripped my hand from Calogerus’s. The flashlight sailed out of my grip.
Smash! Ping! The light went out.
Swallowing the string of curses that rose in my gullet, I crawled to my hands and knees and felt around for the lost light. “That’s just great. Are you all right?”
“I’m okay, but I think your flashlight is toast.”
Right. Okay, Harriet, now what? “Well, we can’t go any further without a light. We’ll have to go back and let the security guards find them. All we have to do is follow the wall. We didn’t make any turns so—”
“They went that way,” the boy cried and tugged on my arm. “C’mon. Let’s go.”
“What? How do you know?” With one palm against the cold damp wall for balance, I scrambled to me feet.
“I told you, I can see in the dark.” I sensed him move away from me and almost screamed.
In an instant, he returned to my side. “Here. Open you hand.”
In a frightened daze, I complied, and he placed something soft in it. “What is it?” I fingered the object, like pulpy but thin vegetation.
“It’s an apple blossom.”
Whatever I might have said to that morphed into a startled gasp as an uncanny inhuman howl resonated through the enclosed space, coming from a distance in front of us.
“Let’s go. We’re running out of time.” Calogerus grabbed my hand and pulled me unwillingly along behind him. “Hold onto me. I’ll lead the way. Be careful on the stairs.”
An apple blossom? The stairs?
Two brownie points for Calogerus.
What could I say? This was going to be a tough one to explain, even to Will. Okay, God. You and I need to talk. This is all about the sex without marriage, isn’t it? You know we’re working on that.
We clambered down the steps as fast as we could with a nightscope-equipped ten-year-old leading the way and me as blind as a bat without sonar and shivering with trepidation.
On the last step, I smelled it. My stomach churned as though I was about to hurl. Formaldehyde? L’Amour’s aftershave. Squeezing my lids tight, I swallowed hard and forced the sense of sickness back into my belly. When I opened my eyes, a faint glow shone from a room at the end of the long hall.
We both ran toward the light and the smell, and in seconds burst into another wide cavern with pictures and symbols painted on the walls.
I skidded to a stop, and wrapped my arms around my middle against the frigid damp air, which mitigated the surge of panic I’d experienced. Burning incense sticks filled the space with a dim, diffused luminosity and the exotic scent of sandalwood, reducing the intensity of the essence of L’Amour.
My eight missing tourists stood with their backs against the walls, watching the old woman Bria, on her hands and knees, drawing a large circle in the center of the rock floor.
Today I'd like to welcome Author Michaela Rhua as my guest. I'm featuring her most recent book.
By Michaela Rhua
The full moon is always a time for danger and mating. This month it brings the scent of Louisa's mate. Jorie is on the run and in grave danger. Being rescued by Louisa brings safety and a new temptation. As the girls act on their feelings, and passion overtakes them, they are unaware of the danger surrounding them both. When Jorie is kidnapped, it's a race against time. Will Louisa be able to save her mate, or will the past and all its secrets destroy them before they even have a chance at forever?
"I am so sorry to draw you into all this Lou, I … I didn't mean for it to get this far." Jorie put down the hot mug on the table next to the sofa.
"It's okay. I asked you to stay, you didn't force this on me, so chill," Lou said. "Anyway, I'm going to take a shower."
Lou got up from the sofa and disappeared into the bedroom.
Damn it! Jorie kicked herself mentally. Why did I not just do what I wanted to, just touch her. She knew exactly how she felt about Lou. She wanted her as a lover and mate. Things were so complicated now. Sleeping with Malachi had been a colossal error. Every time she looked into Lou’s beautiful brown eyes something melted inside.
The noise of the shower interrupted her thoughts. Jorie fisted her hands and gritted her teeth. Then, with decisive steps, she walked through the bedroom to the bathroom. The door was ajar, almost inviting her in. Once inside, the hot steam fogged her vision. Her eyes adjusted quickly, and she made out water cascading over golden brown skin. Rivulets journeyed their way down the perfect body, which was all curves. Jorie wanted to stroke Lou’s round ass, and kiss it all over. She stretched out her hands. Her skin tightened, and heat radiated throughout her body. She knew exactly what was happening. Her wolf begged to be let out to play with her mate.
Breathing deeply, Jorie stepped forward. The steam cleared at little more and Lou turned around. Jorie stared at Lou's round breasts topped off with dark chocolate nipples, and licked her lips. Lou glanced up. Her eyes deepened then a ring of copper formed around her pupils. Lou continued to soap her body. Jorie watched Lou's hand circle down to her bare pussy with the sponge. Her own pussy ached with need. Lou dropped the sponge and leaned her body into the water, washing the suds off her skin. Jorie wanted to touch her so badly.
Lou turned off the water, and stepped out of the shower. Jorie took a deep breath, trying to get her wolf under control. She wanted Lou in human form, to delight in her body. In her wolf form it would be fucking. Her animal instincts would take over like it had with Malachi. There had been little tenderness. When he’d realized she was willing, it became all about taking her quickly. The act had been painful and cold. Where she’d wanted to take it slow, this would be about making love. She wanted to experience love, an all-consuming love. Tender and soft, not hard and fast.
"You're so beautiful, Lou. I want you so much. I've never felt this way before," Jorie whispered.
"I want you, too, Jorie. Only if you’re sure?" Lou gave her a tentative smile.
"Yes, so sure, like never before," Jorie said.
Jorie unbuttoned her shirt. Lou came closer still, helping Jorie to release her arms. Warm hands massaged her breasts. Jorie untwisted Lou's hair and let those dark curls loose. They were silky smooth, and Jorie massaged Lou's head then cupped her face.
Their lips met. Heat surged through Jorie, the air hot and heavy. Lou pushed her toward the bedroom. Jorie delved deeply into Lou's mouth with her tongue, tasting and licking. Her beast growled with delight. This was good, this was right.
"You taste so good, Lou," she said.
Lou pushed her onto the bed then stood over her. A flicker of hesitation registered in her eyes. Jorie undid her jeans, ridding herself of any clothing to reassure Lou this was what she wanted. Words were irrelevant. Lou seemed like watching her strip because intensity deepened her gaze. Once bare, Jorie sat up and held out her hand. Nothing happened. Lou looked at the offered hand. Afraid Lou would back away, Jorie slowly opened her legs. She wasn’t fully bare as Lou, but she hoped Lou would understand.
"I can't wait, Jorie, I have to taste you." Lou licked her lips.
She watched Lou lower her head and inhale the scent of her arousal. Lou growled then pounced on her.
"Get ready, honey." Lou winked.
Mated Forever by Michaela Rhua is an All Romance ebooks BESTSELLER!
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Michaela Rhua always dreamed of writing but this never happened until she met the lovely group of ladies known as UCW. Their passion for writing and encouragement inspired her to see if she could do it too. Now she loves writing!
She has teenage children and a husband, who also keep her busy. However, it is whilst travelling into work that she has time to create her characters and imagine other places in which they exist as her world skims by the window. Conversations overheard often lead to the birth of new ideas that she scribbles down in her trusty notebook.
Michaela is a multi-published author with Breathless Press, Evernight Publishing and a self-published anthology with authors from The Nuthouse Scribblers.
Feel Free to Stalk here (click below)
I'm sure Michaela would love to hear from you.
By Chris Redding
Designing a room is a lot like writing a book.
I have two friends who are interior decorators. One taught me to sew (thank you Emily!). The other taught me about color and how to decorate a room.
You begin with a focal point. This is the piece the theme of the room revolves around. We have a front room. One of those rooms people make a formal living room then put a velvet rope across it. Me, no velvet rope across mine. We use it. Or at least I do to write in the winter. It’s the warmest room in the house.
DH and I didn’t begin the room with a focal point. We were going to paint the walls a Kelly Green. Through some odd circumstances we did not get around to buying the paint before we started shopping for the couch. Good thing.
We went to our favorite furniture store to see our favorite salesperson. They don’t make commission and spend a lot of time with you. We’d bought stuff here before this adventure. She ended up showing us a couch that we fell in love with. If you had said I would love a couch in this shade of green, I would have laughed. But I loved it. Too bad it would not go with Kelly Green.
Oh well. We can rethink the paint.
This is what it’s like when an idea finally congeals for a book. I think I’m going to write about A when I finally think it through or it goes to that place in my brain that solves these problems, I end up writing about B.
While at the furniture store, I sat in a wing-back chair. I hate wing-back chairs. I’m short and that hump in the back hits my write at the top of my head. I swore once I’d never have a wing back chair. This one was different. This chair was also a recliner. And it fit me. Perfectly when I flipped up the foot rest. And it matched the couch.
This is like using a plot device you swore you’d never use. For me it would be changing your identity to hide the past. My heroine in A View to a Kilt did it to hide who her ex-husband is. You must use the tools around you. Never say never.
So now we had a couch and a recliner. So now was DH’s turn to pick a chair. We went somewhere else for that. He picked what I considered something that didn’t match. At all. I could not talk him out of it.
Guess what. It has aged and now looks great in that room. On top of that, it’s the most comfortable chair in the house. Sometimes your editor has an idea for your book and you don’t want to do it. When you finally do, your book is so much better for it.
So now we had couch, two recliners and DH was going to make the tables. We found a paint and the next thing we needed were window treatments. I was going to sew these (thank you Emily). I called on my other interior decorator friend for a fabric book. I described the paint and the idea behind the room. She dropped off a book and I chose the fabric before she’d even driven out of my neighborhood.
This is like brainstorming with your critique partners. Sometimes they come up with some fabulous ideas for where your plot needs to go.
Writing a book and making it the best it can be is just like decorating a room. You need a clear idea of what you want. Input from others is always welcome and never put aside a plot device that might actually work in the long run.
ALONG CAME PAULY
A contemporary romance about a dog that brings two people together who don't want to be. She's a vegetarian veterinarian who needs cash for a no-kill shelter. He's the heir to a hot dog fortune who must give away money before he gains his inheritance. Sounds like a perfect match. It isn't.
EXCERPT She didn’t have time to soothe his ego. If he couldn’t understand about animal emergencies than she couldn’t explain it to him.
Not now. Not ever.
Running down the steps in front of the hotel, she stumbled. When she landed upright, the heel of one shoe broke. “Damn. Cheap shoes.” She pulled them off, standing in her stockinged feet.
She gave the valet her ticket then waited for her car. A light drizzle, dropping the temperature. She shivered hoping the valet hadn't parked too her car far away from her.
After what seemed like an eternity, the young man pulled up. She shook his hand, slipping him some bills for his trouble. At least she tried. She ended up dropping the bills. He reached for the money the same time she did. Her shoulder hit him in the eye.
The parking guy managed to stay on his feet. Daria landed on her butt in a puddle. Another dress ruined. “How about I let you get the money?”
"Can I help you up?”
“Maybe you better not.”
Along Came Pauly: http://amzn.com/B00EN33QNI
Thanks for having me today.
We all know the cliche "back to the salt mines" means it's time to return to school, work or something unpleasant (like finishing that last scene that's been so hard to write), by implying the speaker is a slave to the salt mines.
Yet the Wieliczka Salt Mine in southern Poland was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978 and proclaimed by Poland as a national monument in 1994.
A salt mine?
This article by Ann Siracusa was originally published on the Romance Books 4 Us Blog, April 10, 2013
A few weeks ago, a friend sent me some pictures circulating on the internet showing body painting by nineteen-year-old Japanese artist student Chooo-San. She uses acrylic paint to transform herself into a mutant or cyborg. I was so intrigued that I had to find out more.
THE ORIGINS OF BODY ART
Body art is art made on, with, or consisting of the human body with painting, tattoos, piercings, branding, or scalpelling. Body painting is temporary, painted onto the human skin, and last for a day or two. Mehndi henna or temp tattoo and glitter tattoos may last a couple of weeks.
Tens of thousands of years ago, our early human ancestors used painting materials for cave paintings. Many scholars believe that before interior cave-decoration became a prehistoric fad, early humans used the same materials for painting their own bodies, primarily as camouflage for hunting and to defend themselves from predators. They certainly had many examples in nature to learn from.