Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Goodreads GIveaway


    Goodreads Book Giveaway


        Port Hope by Clover Autrey



          Port Hope

          by Clover Autrey


            Giveaway ends January 09, 2020.
            See the giveaway details
            at Goodreads.

    Enter Giveaway

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

A Book and a Cause

Amazon            Barnes & Noble              Smashwords

Sunday, March 10, 2019

A cruise, a cruise, we went on a cruise

Image may contain: Clover Autrey, smiling, indoor

Going on a cruise has been something I've wanted to do for a while and it finally happened. My husband, two youngest sons and myself drove down to Galveston (only a 5 hour drive away) to get on Carnival's Valor. The entire process of checking in, moving down the gangplank, was new to us, and exciting.

We had a wonderful time, even though my men were not the funnest travel companions as they didn't quite stick with me. We pretty much met up for meals. But being the kind of person who enjoys my own explorations, I walked all over that ship, went to whatever show I wanted to see, wrote a little, and gained four pounds.

Image may contain: 2 people, including Clover Autrey, people smiling, closeup and indoor
Pat and I on deck
I'm an early riser so I went to breakfast by myself before the rush. It was awesome having time to myself while gazing out to sea, well, the Gulf of Mexico. Our ship went straight through the gulf down to Cozumel. We never made it to the open sea, but the gulf is so huge it looked like it. Felt like it too. Whoever told me that you don't feel the ship move was incorrect. We felt the sways, but I kind of dug it. Gave the experience a kind of not-your-everyday feel to it.

The ship was smaller than I expected, but I've since learned that the Valor is one of the smallest. It reminded me of being in a Las Vegas hotel, just on water. It had the same type of atmosphere...the gambling, the buffets, the entertainment, the extravagant decor. But better as there wasn't anybody waiting on the curb to hand out stripper flyers.
Carnival Valor cabin window
Sam in our cabin's window, looking out at Galveston
By far the highlight was scuba diving with Sam and Tate. They had never been before and Pat and I hadn't been for long time. We went through the short--extremely short--orientation. They basically went over the hand signs, how to clear your ears, and your mask...and off we went. But we were diving off shore at only 20 feet so all the depressurization stuff was a non-issue. We had a blast. As a mom, I was really enjoying watching my boys experience this new thing. They were great at it. And all too soon it was over. 30 minutes in the water was not long enough.
Image may contain: cloud, sky, outdoor, water and nature
First view of Cozumel
 Image may contain: 3 people, people smiling, people standing and sunglassesImage may contain: 2 people, people eating, people sitting, drink, food and outdoorScuba diving

Then we sailed back to Galveston and drove home, tired and refreshed and ready to do it again. Next time, I think I'll go with my sisters or girlfriends. I love my guys, but not the best traveling companions. November 2020 my writers group is going, which will be nothing short of awesome. Ha! A group of romance writers on a cruise together...grinning at the thought. In between I'm going to try and get my sisters on board. Sisters trip, yay!

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Waiting at the Airport

People watching at the airport is an interesting thing. I get there early because I'm a nervous nelly and want everything to go smoothly so, of course, I have nothing to do for two hours but wait.

Parking myself in one of the starched seats is critical. I want to sit by myself. If there's several seats alone I'm drawn there, but that's risky. I try to find a couple empty seats between a few people where I can leave an empty seat between us. Bonus if I can find a person who already has their earphones and is engrossed in their tablet or phone. The universal I'm-not-here-to-chat sign. My people. We can ignore each other in peace even as we side-eye to see what has the other so engrossed on their tablet.

Then it's all about propping my feet up on my carry-on and watching people.

There's the mom on the layover with two kids. Her hair's in a messy bun, she has no make-up, and her eyes wander the area as she stands guard over her chicks who are sitting, playing video games and eating the bags of chips she has just gotten for them.

There's the entire family, mom, dad, a couple of kids and baby. They are a controlled unit unto themselves, the parents tag-teaming duties.

There's the business folks, computers out. There's the guys and gals, loose shorts, sandels, sloppy buns, tats, frayed backpacks, who look ready to step off into the wilderness. There's the young women dressed for success or the runway. Maybe on their way to a wedding?

There's the sweet old religious lady who looks like the typical grandma. She's even wearing a gingham dress. She's zeroed in on a younger woman whose expression I'm trying to gauge as grandma is sharing her religion. Does she want to hear this or is she held hostage by politeness? And being the awful person I am, I don't save the young woman. Instead I worry that I'm going to be stuck next to grandma on the plane. Will earplugs be enough to fend off a two hour sermon from someone who genuinely feels it's her duty to save all she can?

I'd rather sit by the dog-mama. Because yes, dog-mama has just sat down beside me with her little dog in a baby wrap against her chest. The dog is well behaved, hasn't made a peep. On second thought, no, I'm hoping I'm not next to them either. I say that, hoping I haven't just offended all dog lovers here. Not my intent and no animals were harmed in the writing of this post. But the truth is, I've had a deep seated fear of dogs since I was a young kid. It's never gone away. Sorry. I'm sure I could handle sitting beside a well-behaved dog for two hours, but the relief was real when I didn't have to.

Yep, as boring as the airport is, it's also fairly entertaining. I make two trips to the bathroom because I want that bladder as close to empty as I can get even though I could guzzled down a bottled lemonade. Who wants to make the I-didn't-go-while-I-had-the-chance walk to the back of the plane with everybody glancing up to see who is moving past them? I hate people looking at me, but it's more ick when they know where I'm going--literally going. Taking care of my business is nobody else's business, especially a plane full of people I don't know. No thank you.

I'll pull my big girl panties up, or down as the case may be, if I have to, but I'd rather not, so bathroom visits while waiting is key for me.

Then the boarding begins. We are a patient society, yet I can still feel the eagerness of getting on the plane even though that means we'll just be sitting in the same seat longer. Truth is, we all want to make sure our carry-ons get to be close to us. Turns out mine isn't close to me at all, but I stuck a big patriotic scarf on it that I can see once the overhead bins are opened. I feel better about that, even though if I saw it being grabbed, I'm not exactly going to hurdle over twenty seats to bypass everyone in the aisle waiting to get out.

As it turns out, I'm in the last seat, last aisle in the back. How did that happen? I checked-in a day early online. It's a window seat except there aren't windows in this aisle. Upside, I'm sitting by the two fashionistas who don't talk to me at all. Score! And the plane has movie choices. I have my earplugs and get to spend the entire flight watching Pitch Perfect 3 and the first half of Black Panther. Just perfect.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Authors in Bloom

7th Annual Authors in Bloom Blog Hop
Monday April 18th — Wednesday April 27th 2018
10 Days of Giveaways, Gardening Tips, Recipes and More!
Dianne Venetta_AIB Logo_2015

My awesome boss visited Ireland over the summer and brought me back this cute little recipe book. Did I tell you my boss is all kinds of awesomeness?

Inside I found this cute potato pancake recipe I thought I'd share today called Boxty

250 g/9 oz raw potatoes peeled
250 g/9 oz mashed potatoes
250g/9 oz plain flour
good pinch bicarbonate of soda
pinch of salt
225 ml/8 fl oz buttermilk plus extra if needed
butter, for frying

Grate the potatoes into a colander lined with kitchen paper.
Press another paper on top and squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
Mix in mashed potatoes.
Add flour, soda, and salt. Mix in enough buttermilk to make a soft batter.

Melt butter in frying pan. Drop in large spoonfuls of batter and cook each side for about 3 minutes until golden brown.
Serve like a crepe with stuffing of your choice.

Highland Chieftain cover picture
Highland Chieftain

As it happens, my Highland Sorcery series came to a conclusion with the final book that came out last month. I am going to miss writing about this time traveling magical family. Okay, an Irish recipe doesn't have much to do with Highlanders, but I didn't have a a recipe book from Scotland yet.

Anyway, look for the complete Highland Sorcery series at these retailers

My personal giveaway for 3 peeps will be a book of your choice in that series. 

Sunday, July 09, 2017

Speaking of Weddings

Peyton and Kyle June 16, 2017
We welcomed another person into our family as Peyton and Kyle were sealed for all time and eternity in the Provo City Center Temple. 

I am thrilled with my new daughter-in-law. She's sweet and easy-going, has an inner strength and beauty that will serve her well throughout life. The Ginger boy did well.  
I have to tell you a little story. For us Mormons, having your son serve a mission for two years is a big deal. Four years back, Kyle was ready and prepared to go, then one dumb thing kept him from going for a year. It really was a ridiculous circumstance and I kept wondering why this had happened. What's the point? He was ready. He was a great kid and was ready to serve. But instead, he stuck around home and got his first year of college in. Not a bad thing either. And the gut feeling I kept getting when I asked why, was that he was going to meet the girl he was going to marry on his mission. If he went when he was supposed to (my timeline, not God's),  he would have been sent to a different area and missed the time when Peyton was there altogether. 

Fast forward two years at the completion of his mission in South Dakota and he tells me he's met a girl who served in the same place that he'd like to date when she gets home in another month, this momma knew she was the one.  

Monday, March 27, 2017

Sixth Annual Authors in Bloom

Dianne Venetta_AIB Logo_2015

Authors in Bloom is one of my favorite blog tours. And this year we have a Facebook Party going on as well.

Gardening is on my mind lately. In fact, I'm about to go in the back yard and work after I post this. You see my ginger son got down on one knee in a proposal of marriage to a sweet gal.
They are doing a tour of sorts of their own. He's working and going to school in Idaho. She's working in Tennessee where he'll be heading to pick her up and then they are off to visit her family in Pennsylvania, then flying out here to Texas before the wedding takes place in Utah.
Proposal of Marriage picture

And my son told me recently, very recently, "Oh Mom, we're having an open house in Texas."

"You're what?" Yes, I have a month to get my yard in shape. Yes, the yard I have pretty much ignored this past year as I've taken on new challenges with work that leaves me zero free time and less energy. Yes, that yard.

And my lawn mower won't start. Off to get new spark plugs.
Fortunately, I also have a 16 year old who is very eager to earn money by tackling the harder jobs so he can go back into his batcave and order more part upgrades for his super computer that he built. I only hope that he uses his genius powers for good.

My gardening tip is pretty simple. Know your property.

  • Walk around and notice what areas of your yard get the most sun and which are shaded. That will help you know where to best plant which kind of plants. 
  • You can also have a simple soil test done at your local garden center to see if your soil is well-balanced in nutrients and pH. Mine is not, so that's another thing on my to-do quickly list. 
This is the first of my flowers to keep alive until April.


Wednesday, April 06, 2016

Authors in Bloom Blog Hop

Happy Hopping Everyone!
I love to participate in these blog hops, because even though I'm a writer, I'm also a reader and get to learn about new books I haven't heard about before. I also get to know some of you readers better too. Win/Win

The giveaway for visiting my blog is two lucky commenters will get their choice of any one of my ebooks.  Just say which one you'd want in the comments.
Snippets of each can be found on the Kindle Preview page of this blog.
Don't feel like commenting? You can also enter by simply Liking my Facebook Author page at 

My recipe comes from the cafeteria at Cook Childrens Medical Center in Fort Worth. The Crazy Reid. Have no idea where the name comes from. It was my favorite dish they had on their menu so I started making it at home.

The Crazy Reid

Boil some penne pasta or rice and set aside.

In a fry pan add garlic salt to a few Tablespoons of butter and heat.
Add cubed or sliced chicken pieces and cook. (I like to precook my chicken, but you don't have to).
When it's done, lower the heat and add fresh tomatoes, cut up
And a few handfuls of fresh spinach on top and cover with a lid or another fry pan upside down to let the tomatoes and spinach steam a bit.
Meanwhile heat up either Mariano or Alfredo sauce. (I get mine from a jar, but you can make it from scratch if you prefer. I prefer the Alfredo.)

Pour the chicken/spinach mixture and the sauce over the top of the penne or rice and top it all off with fresh Parmesan cheese.  It's delicious. I have leftovers from when I took this picture last night. My mouth is watering so think I'll go get me some. Bon appetit.

Please remember to leave a comment. Good luck and have fun hopping around this week!

Thursday, March 03, 2016

if we were a movie

if we were a movie
If We Were a Movie by Kelly Oram (Power of the Matchmaker #3)
Music meets Movies in this sweet college romance from the bestselling author of Cinder  and Ella.
NYU freshman Nate Anderson is a triplet who is desperate to escape his wild and crazy brothers. After they screw things up for him one too many times, Nate flees his housing situation and takes the first available room for rent as far from his brothers as he can get.
Enter his new roommate Jordan–a quirky LA girl who believes that everything in life has already been done in the movies. In this heartfelt tale of love, friendship and family, Nate learns how to deal with his new adult life using Hollywood films as a guide.
* Content – Please note this is a New Adult title – I consider this book to be clean but there is implied content (not on the pages of the book but sex is implied), mild innuendo and mild language.


What readers are saying about If We Were a Movie:

"WOW! This book is great! The concept is so inventive, and the writing is brilliant."

"I thought Cinder & Ella jerked with my emotions too much but this one might have
it beat."

"I finished reading If We Were a Movie yesterday. I loved it! I fell hard for Nate. Jordan was amazing! And Pearl's timing was perfect! "

"Amazing concept with movies as chapters, and fantastic storyline." 

"I loved this story and was humming along to the songs from the book whilst reading. I can see this book becoming the movie it was written to be."

"If We Were a Movie made me want to binge watch movies, listen to old playlists, and re-read it all at once."

Kelly Oram picture
Displaying Kelly Oram.jpgDisplaying Kelly Oram.jpgDisplaying Kelly Oram.jpgAbout Kelly  
Kelly Oram wrote her first novel at age fifteen—a fan fiction about her favorite music group, The Backstreet Boys, for which her family and friends still tease her. She's obsessed with reading, talks way too much, and likes to eat frosting by the spoonful. She lives outside of Phoenix, Arizona with her husband, four children, and her cat, Mr. Darcy.

Connect with Kelly on social media:

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Cowtown Critiquers Christmas

I love my critique partners. They have literally rescued my characters out of plotting wells I let them fall into...or helped me shovel crap onto ones that needed it. I so admire these ladies and their intelligence and creativity. And they are so fun to be around. When I can't make it to one of our monthly plotting sessions at The Cotton Patch (we're the noisy laughing ones at the long table in the back who never leave--our poor waitress) I really miss them and can't wait for the next month when I can be with them. 

Seriously. Even when my personal life feels as bleak as wading through a quagmire with leeches in a dark jungle with vines slapping my face, a few hours laughing with the cowtown critiquers strengthens my lungs to get back at it and keep swinging that machete.  

We usually exchange small gifts at Christmas time. This year I wanted to add a personal touch and thanks to Pinterest (Best ideas ever. I want to do everything and I don't even like crafts.) I saw these personalized frames that would be perfect. So I had each of my critique partners write down what they love about writing or reading. Printed it off, and voilĂ ! 

personalized picture frames

Turned out pretty nice if I say so myself. Below are the quotes they each gave me.

"I write because it's who I am. I've been writing so long, I can't imagine not putting words to the page. It would be like a chunk of me is missing. Writing is just me. Besides, it's the only way to keep the voices in my head subdued."  C.A. Szarek

"I write because there are too many stories floating around in my head. Sending a story out into the world makes room for the next book and the next, and the next…"  Michele Welsh

“Sometimes, you read a book and it fills you with this weird evangelical zeal, and you become convinced that the shattered world will never be put back together unless and until all living humans read the book.” 
― John GreenThe Fault in Our Stars

“The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug.”
― Mark TwainThe Wit and Wisdom of Mark Twain

"I read to escape, to ride the roller coaster, to marvel at the journey. I write to humble myself, to embrace the challenge, to throw caution to the wind and soar."                    Gina Lee Nelson 

"I love to read because I love to learn new things, not just facts and figures, but words and ideas. I love to feel the highest highs and the lowest lows and to be moved to tears, laughter, or breathlessness. I love to be able to experience other times or other worlds through the eyes of characters that I have come to love and who resonate with me." 
Jen FitzGerald

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

It Happens Sometimes

I ran into an old friend I haven't seen in at least a decade, if not more. We had kids close in age. We each had kids with health issues, but you know how it goes, you just push on, keep them healthy and happy and do whatever needs to be done. Live life the best you can.

We moved out of the area first and then they moved. So it was an unexpected surprise and pleasure to run into them.

We hug. We exchange pleasantries. So good to see you. You look great. How is everyone? Then she asks, "Is everyone healthy?"

And that tiny part of my heart that is still hiding, still whimpering, tucks farther away and I hear myself answer, "No, we lost Chase five years ago."  Even as I say it, my mind is reeling. How can it be five years? It still hurts so bad.

She nods gravely. Her expression is different than the usual wince of sympathy. It's calm. "I'm sorry. I had no idea. It's not a club we wanted to be in."

It takes a few seconds for that to sink past the focus of trying to push it all down and keep my emotions from bubbling out "What?"

"We lost Spencer two years ago. Tumor in the brain. They gave him eight months. I'm sorry, I thought you knew. His wife was pregnant. He wanted to live long enough to see the baby born."

"Did he?" I ask with a little hesitation.

"Yes." She smiles and I look past her shoulder at her family, at her daughter-in-law, sitting behind her. And I understand her expression now. The calmness, the understanding. It's the difference of having gone down to all the depths of hurt and loss that would take lifetimes to express them all unless you've been through it. Funny how all that hurt can be conveyed in one look. That club no one wants to belong to.

I remember Spencer well. He was a light. A smart funny kind kid who took every obstacle by the horns and rode it through. I'm glad he had a child, that they have a little piece of him in another person.

Our exchange was brief. I was already tearing up, even though I knew I could get it under control in a few minutes. Even though there was so much I wanted to say, most of it wouldn't have gotten past the lump in my throat anyway. But there really wasn't anymore we needed to say anyway. We get it. We're members of the same club.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

My Book Cave

Here's a cool new site that lists books according to violence and/or heat level. So if you like certain things and don't want to read about other things, this is a good list to sign up for and find the promotions on books you like reading. 
My Book Cave - Free & Discounted Ebooks
MBC Blast ad 1
Movie-like Book Ratings for Books?
Have you ever started reading a book, only to be shocked at the content? Or have you ever read a book that bored you to tears with its lack of heat or action? Well, someone has finally created a site for you, taking the guesswork out of finding a good read that hits your comfort level. The best thing is that the books are always discounted and there is no cost to subscribe.
My Book Cave is the company behind this ingenious idea. The concept is simple.
Just sign up for the genres and ratings you want to see, choose your heat, violence, and swearing comfort level, then My Book Cave delivers ebook deals to your inbox. Rating include All Audiences, Mild, Mild+, Moderate, Moderate+, and Adult.
And right now, My Book Cave is having a huge giveaway with two ereaders and three cash gift cards. Just for signing up, you’re entered to win one of the ereaders. Visit My Book Cave to sign up or check out their blog for the rest of the prizes.
Happy reading!

Happy reading!
MBC Blast ad 2

P.S. If you’re an author and have a fantastic book you’d like to feature for free on My Book Cave, go on over.  I did. They’re always looking for great books.


$50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash

Ends 11/18/15

Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Traditions of the Wedding Ring

wedding ring
My daughter and SIL

Rings as body adornment have been around for quite some time. Close to 5 thousand years ago, we get our first written hit of a circular band for finger wear from the Egyptians. All those thin reeds growing along the river? Not just for weaving baskets, girlfriends. Some ancient enterprising young lass or laddie braided the sedge into jewelry (minus the jewels) and the first known rings became a trend. 

According to their writings on papyrus scrolls, the betrothed couple exchanged these braided rings as a circular symbol of eternal love without end. They placed the rings on the left hand due to the belief that the vein that led to the heart ran from that finger. 

Caveat: I'm sure the cavewomen in their day had their own rockin' styles of body wear, but since they didn't write it down, they get no credit. Document people, document.

Moving on. As can be imagined, the reed rings of the Egyptians weren't exactly made to last. Not to worry. There was plenty of leather around. Rings were also made out of ivory or bone and just like today the more costly the material was apparent proof of how deep the love. 

The Romans put their own spin on ring giving. Maybe "giving" isn't the right word because for them, it was a stamp of ownership, instead of undying love. Ouch. "if you liked it, then you shoulda put a ring on it Oh, oh, oh, oh, oh, oh."  These betrothal rings were often made of silver and often engraved. They did sport a romantic side with also wearing the ring on the heart vein finger. They termed it vena amoris (vein of love).

It actually beats some of the traditions of the wedding garter. 

It was the Christians around 800 years A.D. that started using rings in the actual wedding ceremonies. The rings were at first very ornate but somewhere along the line some uptight priest decided that was unholy so the rings became more simple, closer to what we have today.

Then when the colonists shipped out to America, the bride was given a thimble by her groom. Yeah, about as exciting as getting a vacuum on your anniversary. But they were puritans so excitement wasn't exactly what they were after. Still wanting a little frivolity or more likely an outward sign that they were a respectable married woman, some of the women took the top of the thimble off and wore them as marriage bands. 

Many cultures throughout the world have their own symbolism, myths, and practices associated with the marital ring. At its core, the circle is a symbol of no endings or  beginnings. One eternal round.  Even the hole symbolized more than dead space, but more of a gateway that led to unknown events. Which, pretty much sums up marriage.  


Why my sudden interest in bridal traditions? I'm researching for my up-and-coming Chantry Inn series, which will feature several weddings and one long-lost wedding gown. To be notified when these books will be released follow me on Facebook or my newsletter

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Morning Pages

Last night I read an article in the RWR (Romance Writers Report) about a writer, Sheila Athens, who attended a recent workshop with Julia Cameron, author of The Artist's Way. Apparently this book is a must-read for authors, painters, singers, actors, pretty much anybody who yearns to delve deep into their artist spirit. Okay, I just made that description of the book up because I have no idea what the book is really about other than hearing other writers talk about it. I've never read it.  
The Artist's Way article
Article from July 2015 RWR (trademarked)

But the article was only a little over two pages long... so I've got time to see if everything worthwhile in the book is cramped in there.

Anyway, the writer (Sheila) summed up a few things she learned from the other writer (Julia).
What caught my attention was the tool of "morning pages".

 Basically an artist will write 3 handwritten pages every morning to connect on a spiritual level with her creativity. Just write. And for writers, we aren't supposed to use those 3 pages as part of our WIP (Work In Progress). I admit I winced at that one because if I'm writing I want it to count as something substantial. But no, WIPs are to be set aside and this is free forming. Julia claims that will make our WIPs more productive later when we let everything on our mind flow out.

So bright and early before I had to head out, prepared to sweat while helping out with my son's band's parade. And yes I did get wet and sticky. Not because I did anything strenuous, but because I was outside in Texas in July. Don't know why I bothered with showering.
Keller Central High Band 

Where was I? Oh yes, bright and early I pulled out one of my notebooks, grabbed a pen and wrote. Oh my gosh, I am shocked, simply shocked, at the spew of mucky roadkill that flowed onto my
3 pages. From "I am an introvert and would rather stay home from this parade" with a side helping of "I miss my son." and all sorts of random resentments on top of things I'm grateful for and plain old things that don't really matter at all. It was strange, I'm telling you. And those pages need to be shredded. Anyone who came across them would think I've lost my mind.

Did it clear my mind well enough that my WIP flowed better? Well, I don't know yet. I haven't gotten to it yet. Have to take a second shower first after the parade.

Maybe I better read that book.

Have a wonderful Fourth of July!!!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Tradition of the Wedding Garter

garter from ExclusivelyWeddings

Tossing the garter used to be a custom called Fingering the Stocking back in the old days (Fourteenth Century thereabouts) in England.

Back then, especially among families that were bent on getting the next heir as quickly as possible, making sure the marriage was properly consummated was a big deal. Big enough to have the entire wedding party come into the room (hopefully afterwards, but in some cases not) and take a good look at the stocking for, um, I guess some sort of evidence because apparently it was too easy to spill wine on the sheets.

If that wasn't bad enough, the guests would then fling stockings at the couple for good luck.  Because what is more lucky than stinky socks being thrown at you? Bonus points if you're the guest that gets a sock on top of the bride's or groom's head because you were then the next to get married. Has to be true, the socking said so.

But in France, the socks didn't even make it to the wedding bed. Once the bride uttered "I do" (Or rather a form of ‘I receive you as mine, so that you become my husband and I your wife'--only in French', the guests thronged her, tearing bits and pieces off her marital gown because what's more lucky than leaving your loved one in tatters at the altar? Kim Kardashian's idea of having three wedding gowns for the occasion gains a little more merit here. One gown for being torn apart and at least one other for the reception.
Kim Kardashian Wedding Dress

At some point, I'm sure in desperation, some brides decided to start throwing pieces of their attire out, hoping to avoid most of the rampaging at her and her clothing. Which went to finally the groom started taking the garter off and tossing that out. In my romantic nature I like to think of it as the protective groom stepping in to stop the mob in this manner, but who knows, it could have been the brides' idea for self-preservation. Either way, this new less-aggressive, less-invasive tradition began. Thankfully.

At this point the tradition of tossing the bouquet also arouse arose. Ha! Totally didn't mean to type arouse, but I kept it in there because I thought it was a funny Freudian slip.

There are also traditions that state that the garter represents the bride's virginal girdle so when the groom takes that off it's symbolic of what the bride is giving up to him. Who knows who connected the dots on that one but I guess it fits.

But for our modern times, there is little sock throwing and the wedding guests don't go into a frenzy to ruin that $5000 wedding dress.

Many brides will wear two garters both on the right leg above the knee, one for the toss and the other to keep.

The bouquet will be tossed first, followed by the groom removing the garter and tossing it out.

I read that the single male guest who catches the garter then places it on the leg of the single gal who caught the bouquet and superstition states that they will be the next to marry...and to each other. I've personally never heard of that part of it or seen it done, but, hey, they say going to weddings is a great way to meet people. Why not?


Why my sudden interest in bridal traditions? I'm researching for my up-and-coming Chantry Inn series, which will feature several weddings and one long-lost wedding gown. To be notified when these books will be released follow me on Facebook or my newsletter.  See my post on the Traditions of the Wedding Ring.

Wednesday, May 06, 2015


So I've been trying to learn more about myself as a person, be more positive, that kind of stuff. I've never ever meditated, but I found this on Mindvalley Academy and thought it was a good way to start going about it. At any rate, I'll have a few moments of quiet during the day and if it can help me sleep, win/win.

12 Steps to Thrive

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

Writing The End

There's not many better things than writing "The End" on a manuscript you've been working on for months.Second to that is getting through your first round of edits and sending the thing off to your editor. That's where I am now with Highland Illusion.

Out of all the Highland Sorcery novels this one has given me the most grief to write and I'm really not sure why. It's just been a bear. It's also a little different than the rest so maybe that's it.

First, it's less action and more relationship building than how I tend to write. I love action. About 90 percent of this book takes place in the same building. The Same Building!

Also for a little switch-up, the hero in this one tends to be the damsel-in-distress more so than the heroine. But he's the only human in the midst of a colony of vampires who are all stronger, older, and predatory. Plus there is no hiding anything he is feeling. The heroine--vampire, also stronger and older than him--can sense every nuance of what's going on internally with him so when he's feelin it for her, there's no hiding where the drop in his blood pressure has gone to.

I also go into religion more in this one. I couldn't help it. In the previous book Highland Son where Lance was first introduced, he is the son of a religious fanatic who preaches that anything with magic is as evil as the monsters running around eating people. Well guess what, Dad? Lance has magic. He can cast illusions, the same illusions that have been saving your butt. So dad tries to kill him. Try coming out of that with an intact love of God and religion. I don't think so.

So who does he become attracted to? A Christian vampire. Yup.

Anyway, it's written, it's off to edits. Want to read an excerpt?

Highland Illusion

New York City

Lance stared up at the octagonal tower at the top of St. Michael’s Chapel. The moonlight slashed down upon it, creating intricate shadows across the ancient building. The chapel had survived more than three hundred years, withstanding the great fire, the fall of the two towers, and also the air strikes the navy threw at the city in their attempt to slaughter all the monsters that had flocked to the once densely populated island.
It was almost fitting that the oldest enclave of vampires in America had taken up shelter there.
To say he was nervous to walk inside, even with Deverell vouching for him, was a chasm of an understatement. They’d driven in the old jeep for days, abandoning it when it finally gave out, and then kept to the shadows and traveled mostly at dusk and night to stay out of the sunlight on Rell’s behalf. The sun’s rays wouldn’t outright kill vampires, but rather acted as radiation poisoning to their sensitive flesh, a terminal effect just the same.
Once they had the vampires onboard, their numbers and swiftness of attack in getting the anti-rift serum into the Sifts’ population would give their world—their future—the advantage they desperately needed.
“Are they in there?” he asked around the growing lump swelling his throat.
Oui.” Deverell’s gaze scanned the roofline and then the columns supporting the portico. “They are all around us, dozens of my brethren. I sense their presence.” Which meant they also knew about them being on the street just outside, unprotected, yet what human really had protection around a colony of vampires? Would the old treaties between mankind and vampires still be honored? Or were they long ago forgotten, a casualty of the Sifts’ uprising.
Taking a wary step forward, Lance squared his shoulders, trying to look confident, knowing the vamps inside would detect the frantic racing of his heart. “Well, let’s get this thing done.”
“Hello. You inside.” Deverell spread his arms wide, showing he held no weapons. “We come in peace.” His long coat fluttered beneath his outstretched arms.
Lance crooked a half grin and copied the vampire’s pose, stretching his arms wide. “We come in peace?”
Deverell shrugged. “It seemed fitting.”
“Fitting and ridiculous.” An amused voice spoke right behind Lance’s shoulder, causing him to flinch. Damn, vampires moved fast. He hadn’t felt or heard the approach from behind. He twisted his head to look at a rangy vampire grinning at him, two long eye-teeth pressing against his lower lip. “And you brought lunch.” His nostrils flared, sniffing Lance as though he was meat rotating on a spit.
A hiss of irritation bristled off Deverell. “He’s my friend, August. Under my protection.”
August leaned back, disappointment quieting the eagerness of his breathing and dismissed Lance from his attention to focus fully upon Deverell. “Why have you come then?”
“To help you,” Deverell stated blandly. “To help us all. We’ve a means to rid ourselves of the Trogs once and for all.”
August’s eyes narrowed. He smoothed his hair back from his distinguishable widow’s peak. “You don’t say.” Shrugging, he turned on his heel toward the old church’s entrance. “Come along then. And bring your pet. Don’t want it left unattended out here all alone.” He grinned at Lance. “There are predators about.”
Trogs? Lance mouthed behind August’s back. The humans had first labeled them as Sifts but Trogs was as apt a name for the horrible carnivorous beasts as any.
Deverell shrugged, eyeing the vampires slinking in the shadows around them.
“I thought they’d show a little more enthusiasm at a chance to be rid of the Sifts,” Lance admitted.
“I as well.” Deverell frowned. “They must not believe us.”
“You did say they’d be hard to convince.” They passed through the doors into the muted interior of the church. Light from a dozen tall candles rubbed a low shine upon the large chapel, throwing dozens of marble angels scattered about in shadow and light. Sculptured faces seemed to follow their progress through the considerable space. Most of the pews were gone, the few left were pushed back against the wall or arranged in clusters for sleeping or conversing, rather than in neat rows facing the pulpit and large cross for worship.
Lance blinked, stumbling a step at a flash of memory pushing behind his eyes. Kneeling between two long pews, no, not kneeling, hiding, his small body curled over his knees, his sister pushed up against him, trembling, their mother whispering, “Be still, be silent,” as she dragged them into a church for refuge as though church walls could keep out hungry salivating monsters.
“Deverell,” a feminine voice, brimming with welcome pulled Lance back to the here and now. She glided toward them with the sinuous grace of a cat. Satiny black hair fell to her hips as straight and still as glass. She took Deverell by the forearms and kissed his cheek. “You’ve returned to us after all.” Violet eyes tilted. “I admit I believed you perished beneath the teeth of the troglodyte beasts as so many of our brothers and sisters have.”
The dozen or so vampires within the chapel were gathering closer, fluid of movement, detaching from the walls like fog rolling in from the sea.
Grinning, Deverell ran his hands down the female’s arms until he was clasping her wrists. “Lost to the monsters, Oriana? You know me better than that.”
She smiled demurely.
Standing beside her, August watched them steadily. “Deverell claims he has the means to rid of us the Trogs.” He shared a meaningful look with Oriana.
“Oh?” A sleek brow lifted. “That is…interesting. And unnecessary. We’ve come upon means of our own to rid us of the foul beasts.”
“Means of your own?” Deverell tilted his head, dipping his long dark hair along his shoulder. “And what would those means be?”
“A discussion for another time.” Oriana glanced pointedly at Lance. The vampires obviously didn’t want to discuss anything in front of him, an unimportant human. “For now, you will be our guests. August, be a lovely and show them where they can refresh themselves.”
It took every ounce of Lance’s restraint to remain quiet and let Deverell take the lead. Sometimes playing unassuming was the best course. They hadn’t traveled all this way to be summarily dismissed. They had a way to stop the Sifts and the vampires would listen.
The signs of his frustration must have showed through the rhythm of his pulse or the flash of heat beneath his skin for every gaze turned on him curiously. Deverell’s grimace warned him to get it under control. He couldn’t forget that he was in the midst of predators every bit as dangerous as the Sifts, old treaties with humankind remembered or not.
“This way.” August indicated they go ahead of him through the adjoining door to their right into a narrow corridor.
Coming from the other end of the hallway, a female stormed toward them. Head down, every muscle of her lithe body was tight. Fists clenched, she wasn’t paying any heed to her steps until she was nearly upon them, stopping short before crashing into Lance.
Mere inches shorter than he, her face snapped up to almost the same level. Shiny dark eyes took him in, a flash of scrutiny before they slid away to focus on August.
Lance wasn’t as eager to cease his own scrutiny of her. It would take a lifetime of practice to be able to manifest an illusion as captivating as the reality before him or the expressive qualities of the downturn of her lips.
“What is it now, Celestine?” August asked with the tint of annoyance.
Celestine. Lance stared at the slight blink of inky lashes against dusky skin.
As though feeling his perusal, her gaze fell back to him, and damn if his pulse didn’t set off to win a speed record. The quirk of her brow proved she detected the change in rhythm and understood the cause of it.
Caught, he decided to roll with it and gave her his cheekiest full-of-himself grin.
Amusement curled her lip and she leaned in close, her breath a whisper at his neck and glories help him, if his fate was to be devoured by a monster, let it be her.
Petit chat.” Indulgence purred through her husky voice and then she was pushing past him and Deverell, tossing back to August, “I need to speak with Oriana.” She paused, cautious. “We haven’t enough. It’s too soon to…” She shook her head, setting soft black curls to swaying about her shoulders, then clamping her lips shut, she strode off.
“Problems within the ranks?” Deverell arched a brow at August. “Come on, August, whatever it is you’re planning, you really need to hear us out first. What we have to say may be of a benefit to whatever it is you have cooking. You know me, you know my history. I would never come here if it wasn’t important.”
August stopped, lips flattened, and indicated they go through one of the doors near the end of the hallway. “Yeah I know you. That’s why we’re going to have you wait right in here until Balius returns.”
“Balius is back with the colony?”
Standing outside the room, August’s grin turned predatory. “Back. And in charge.” He swung the door closed in their faces.

Deverell turned to Lance as the bolt locked into place. “Balius. That is unfortunate.”