Is it feeling like the holidays yet?

Is the weather where you are starting to cool off? Can you drink a cup of hot cocoa without feeling foolish? Does your chimney need cleaning (no, that’s not a euphemism)?

I just took a sweet potato pie out of the oven. It’s the first time I’ve made this recipe and I’m testing it on my friends tonight before I bake it for my dad. That’s what he wants for Thanksgiving. He’s always loved sweet potato pie, and it’s gotten so hard to find a ready made one any more. And now that Patti LaBelle’s pie has gone viral, it’s even worse. So, I took the sweet potatoes I was going to use to make a virtuous, fat-free, vegan stew, and mixed them up with a bunch of butter, sugar, eggs, and milk to make a pie. My family probably thinks that’s a better use of sweet potatoes anyway, so it’s feeling festive for them!

For me the holidays have lost some of their thrill. Thanksgiving was always my favorite because I loved planning the meal and getting up early to prep the turkey and cook and drink wine and boss everyone around. But now the day is just my dad, brother, husband and me. All the food comes from Trader Joe’s and I stick it in the oven to warm up. I still drink wine, though. And my husband, brother, and I hang out in my brother’s kitchen eating cheese until they go to the assisted living facility to pick up my dad and bring him back. Afterwards, maybe we’ll watch a movie or something, but it’s just not the same. Rinse and repeat for Christmas.

New Year’s Eve we traditionally spend with friends, at someone’s house, and we dress up and bring fancy food and it’s a lot of fun. That’s my idea of festive – gathering with people and sharing the day with food and laughter.

My old traditions for Thanksgiving and Christmas just aren’t working anymore. I’m feeling frustrated because I’m ready to start new traditions with my husband, centered around our own home and city rather than requiring us to drive halfway across Texas. Or maybe traveling to experience the Christmas traditions of another culture. I’d love to have a big Thanksgiving dinner at our house, with friends who linger and spend the day and pick at the turkey until it’s time to eat again. We’ll all drink too much and play games and no one will want to watch the Cowboys game.

We’d be able to go to all of our friends’ holiday parties, even the one on Christmas Eve, because we wouldn’t have to leave town. We could sleep late on Christmas day and have lasagna for dinner, or go to Chinatown for dim sum, or wear our pajamas all day while we watch movies and drink mulled wine and eat cheese and crackers. In other words, we could just do whatever we damn well want.

I could decorate the house, and I wouldn’t stress because we’d be leaving for days. Instead of planning a portable menu, making hotel reservations, and getting the car checked out for the drive, I could bake cookies, go Christmas shopping, wrap gifts, and knit a pair of socks for my husband.

Anyone else stressing about the holidays? Are you imagining your ideal season? Or are you already enjoying your dream?

A quick update!

I’ve taken some time off this last month, dealing with the fallout of my mother’s passing and trying to get back into some kind of routine. Things are settling down now, though, and my mind is turning back to writing!

I am plugging away at the second Jake & Boo book, and you know what November is… NaNoWriMo! I will be using NaNoWriMo to draft the third Jake & Boo book – Not a Zombie.

My ambitious goal is to have both books ready to publish by the end of the year. Think I’ll make it? We’ll find out. In the meantime, here’s a sneak peek at the cover of Book 2:


Cable’s Bend Update and Other News

First off, I have to say that the weather in Houston this weekend has been amazing – we opened all the windows (because we weren’t stupid enough to paint them shut) and let the fresh air in. These older homes were really built to catch the breeze!

There are probably, oh, two of you out there waiting for the next Cable’s Bend book – Jon’s story. I’m afraid you’re probably going to have to wait a bit longer than expected. Looking it over, it just isn’t moving me. It’s long, and it’s not just a slow-burner, it’s a freakin’ crock pot. It needs trimming down and spicing up. I can’t in good conscience, send a boring book out into the world – and that’s what it would be at this point.

So, I’m going to write a few more erotic shorts, another Jake & Boo novel, and maybe turn my attention to other Cable’s Bend characters. I need a break from Jon and Drew, and hopefully when we get back together there will be sparks.

The first Jake & Boo story, Not a Werewolf is scheduled to be released this week – Tuesday, if the internet cooperates. I’ll post an announcement here when it goes live.

Also, did you see where I mentioned those erotic shorts? Yeah, thought you might have noticed that. I tried it as an experiment over the summer, and had a lot of fun with it, so I’m going to write some more. I’m writing under the pseudonym Angèle Aurore in case you’re in the mood for some modern m/m fairy tales.

Not a Werewolf Sneak Peek

Closing in on the release for “Not a Werewolf”! Here’s a sneak peek for y’all – cover and blurb:


When perpetual student Jake Hillebrand starts having strange dreams, no theory is too outlandish – even the possibility that he has become a werewolf. His best friend Don is no help, though – he doesn’t even believe in werewolves!

When the dreams lead Jake and Don to the body of a despised developer dumped along a Houston bayou, the only ones listening to Jake’s theories are Detective Ruben Petreski and Jake’s feline visitor, Boo.

In a historic neighborhood under threat from developers, everyone is a suspect, but so far all Jake’s new-found psychic abilities seem to be good for is finding kittens and talking to squirrels. He’s really going to have to up his game if he wants to escape the killer’s attention – and catch Detective Petreski’s.

Note: Contains excessive caffeine intake, cats, irritable detectives, lots of carbs, and no werewolves.

What’s going on, you ask?

Oh, summer, you take up so much time! So much travel, so much editing, so much everything…

In July I participated in Camp NaNoWriMo for the first time – I was lucky to be in a great cabin with some determined ladies, and while we didn’t reach our cabin goal, we all did our best and now I have my first mystery novel completed. Pinning down the right category for it, though… that’s a tough one.

It’s a mystery, but there’s just a touch of romance, and oh yeah, the main character is a psychic and at least one of the other characters is a shape-shifter, but, as the title tells us, “Not a Werewolf”. And it’s humorous, but not quite cozy because there’s some cursing, some f-bombs, and a couple of joints get smoked. So, if that’s not your thing, it’s cool.

And what’s up with the cover for “Saving Grapes” you wonder? I got a professionally made cover, and I thought it looked great, but a lot of the feedback that I got after publication was not so great, sad to say. Also, when I got the Createspace proof to review, the red was so intense it looked like someone had bled all over it. People were confused and thought it was an inspirational/religious romance, which it is definitely not. So, I dialed it back a notch, which it pained me to do.

And that’s what’s going on.

Saving Grapes – Now Available!

The first book in my new Cable’s Bend series is now available at Amazon! Right now only the ebook version is out. The paperback will be available in a couple of weeks. I have enrolled Saving Grapes in Kindle Select, so it is available for KU download!

I’d put the steam level for this book in the medium range – it’s more about the characters and their stories this time.

Writing/Cable’s Bend Update

The first book in my new series is on track to come out in June! I’m so excited! It comes from an idea that I first started toying with a few years ago, then put aside to work on other things.

About the series: The series is set in and around Cable’s Bend, a fictional town in the Willamette Valley in Oregon.

About the first book: I had so much trouble coming up with a title, but finally decided on Saving Grapes. Here’s the blurb:

Thom Caldwell was used to being on his own, working his vineyard and dreaming of the future. Against his better judgment, he agrees to hire his friend’s nephew for the summer.

Ben Loomis heads west to the Willamette Valley to get his life together. He never expected to fall for his uncle’s friend, the shy and sexy vineyard owner he now works for.

Thom can’t let himself fall for a man ten years his junior who’s only passing through. Ben refuses to let Thom shut him out and just needs one good reason to stay.

Between long-lost relatives, over-sexed contractors, exploding homebrew and natural disasters, Thom and Ben have their hands full. But if they’re going to save the vineyard, they’ll have to save each other first.

What’s next: I’m already working on Book 2, which will be about the long-lost relative mentioned in the blurb. It’s coming together great, and I’m enjoying writing this one.

What’s distracting me now: There’s another story I’ve been trying to get a handle on – the untitled paranormal mentioned on my Works in Progress page. I swear, I wasn’t even thinking about it and a brand new opening popped into my head. It was awesome, and it takes the idea in a completely new direction. I’ve got a couple of scenes and a skeleton outline down, but I need to learn more about writing mysteries before I go much further with it. If if comes together the way I’m hoping, I think it’s going to be the start of a light paranormal/humorous/mystery series. There will be a slow-burn romance that develops over the course of the series between the main character and a police detective who the main character is convinced is a werewolf. He is NOT a werewolf.