I'm back from vacation and resuming participation in the #MFRWAuthor 52-week blog challenge. If I haven't miscounted, this week's writing prompt is "Gift getting - what I always wanted, but not very much."
My first reaction to this prompt was the response one gets or gives after receiving a gift one doesn't much like. It goes along the lines of "You shouldn't have. Really, you shouldn't have" and "That's interesting" after the obligatory thank-you.
I have an aunt who was notorious for giving the ugliest gifts. If there was something hideous and cheap, then she'd give it as a gift. I think I've taken over that spot in the family tradition, but with my own twist. I like to shop in small towns and patronize the little mom-and-pop shops rather than chain stores. Last year, I bought my middle brother four handcrafted glasses (art glass). They're irregular and perhaps a little misshapen, but I thought them charming. They certainly weren't cheap. One year I bought my parents a set of wind chimes made from bamboo. They had a lovely, low, mellow sound. One niece received some handmade jewelry that repurposed a vintage piece.
I enjoy handcrafted items myself and don't begrudge the expense. Perhaps that's because I'm a freelancer and I don't appreciate clients haggling over every nickel when I work damned hard to serve them.
But I digress.
Things I've always wanted, but not to the extent that I'll actually make an effort to acquire them, include ... well, I can't think of anything. At my age, I pretty much have what I want, except youth, beauty, and perfect health. As it stands, I won't go to extremes to obtain those either, although I'll never regain my youth. Perhaps that laziness or merely acceptance and contentment with what I already have.
The Dragon Wore A Kilt
In the northern reaches of Scotland rests Loch Saorach, home to an ancient legend—a dragon. The Matasan family has guarded the loch and its dragon for centuries.
Over the years Saorach has claimed humans, imbuing them with his fae magic. Connor Matasan, the arrogant Earl of Glencarol, is a recent acquisition. Like all those possessed and transformed by the dragon’s ancient magic, Connor is sith, immortal and commanding powers beyond the human norm.
Middle aged wife and mother Lila is vacationing in Scotland when Saorach chooses her to join his brood. Her transformation to an eternally young sith is painful and compounded by the loss of everything she holds dear. Waking to a new life, she is utterly dependent upon Connor and his family. Lila feels trapped and resents that the dragon has bound her to Connor, soul to soul, passion to passion: a passion Connor cannot control, a passion Lila fears.
Will the magic that brought them together destroy them?
“Not so fast now,” the cheerful voice cautioned and the mug drew away from her lips. “You’ll not wish to hurl it back up.”
No, she did not wish that. But if more than a mouthful of water risked intestinal revolution, then how long had she been unconscious? And where was she? Maggie concentrated on focusing her eyes. As she looked about herself, the mug was again brought to her lips and tilted to trickle more sweet water into her mouth. She accepted it without reservation.
The room was not large, although neither was it cramped. She lay in a narrow, four poster bed covered in homespun blankets, worn and soft with age and many launderings. The body that supported her shoulders and against which she leaned heavily was well padded and soft and smelled faintly of roses. A man loomed just beyond the footboard. The dim lighting shrouded him in shifting shadows, but Maggie could tell that he was large and that he was intently focused on her. That focus made her nervous. Had she done something terribly wrong? At her age, wild and crazy behavior was far beyond her inclinations.
“What happened?” she asked, her voice rusty with disuse … and something else.
“Never you mind that,” the woman holding her said, her voice both soothing and adamant. “You’re safe here.”
And why would I not be safe, Maggie wondered.
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On May 10, my younger son came home for a visit. Months after he received approval for his request for leave and after I already purchased nonrefundable tickets, a sergeant nixed his leave. To be polite, we were displeased. My boy petitioned the base's commanding officer who restored his leave. Many thanks go to the commanding officer of Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson for enabling our son to come home. I hadn't seen Brian since November 2017. He flew back to Alaska on Friday, May 24.
On Mother's Day, May 12, my older son graduated from the University of Dayton with a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering. He moved back home and will again leave in late June for his new job in South Carolina.
On May 13, I celebrated my 53rd birthday. 'Nuff said there.
On May 14, our llama passed away. Booboo was 19 years old and quite the best llama ever. He came to us, a broken down wreck from years of neglect, and showed the county what such a decrepit creature could do. His stellar disposition paired him with disabled children in 4-H who always--always--brought home ribbons when they showed him. We'll miss the old gentleman.
On May 17, Brian and I went to the training stable to visit Diva, the horse I purchased last summer. To put it simply, the trainer did not uphold her end of the agreement and the visit was horribly disappointing. After eight months of training and an investment of nearly $10,000, I have put Diva up for sale. If anyone is interested in an equestrian challenge, I have the perfect horse for you. Contact me and let's make a deal. I will trade her for a mature, sane, sound, well-trained horse (Morgans and Arabians preferred). Diva comes home on May 30, because there's no use in throwing good money after bad to a trainer who doesn't do as promised.
On May 22, the lovely Lady Anastasia, my 34-year old mare, gave us a scare. You know that ominous feeling of dread when you step into a room and know something very, very bad has happened? Yeah, that feeling. I had that feeling when I stepped into the barn that morning. Stasia was down, cast against a stall wall, exhausted. We called the veterinarian to deliver a final mercy. However, the veterinarian could not come immediately, which gave Stasia sufficient time to rally. My husband and older son rolled her over. Stasia summoned the strength to stand. At her ancient age, the end for Stasia will come soon, but it would not come that day.
On May 24, I finished my latest manuscript. Well, the draft. Now it goes to my editor whose digital red pen will hemorrhage all over it. If she can edit and I can revise quickly enough, The Eagle at Dawn, will be released in time for Independence Day reading. This story will be the fourth book in the Immortal Shifters series, following Bear of the Midnight Sun. As always, each book in any series I write can be read as a standalone novel.
The next project--I'll keep everyone updated--will be another collaboration with Russ Towne. We enjoyed the last one so much, we decided to do it again. This will be a collection of western romances. Look for PG-rated romance set in the 19th century American West. I also have a more story ideas simmering on the back burner, one of which will likely follow Triple Burn. The other may be a May-December romance, or as younger readers may know as an older man-younger woman romance.
During the past couple of weeks, my husband and I have enjoyed being a family again; however, soon we'll have the quiet of an "empty nest." Once I manage to transfer Diva to someone else who can handle her (which isn't yours truly), I'll begin looking for another horse: something quiet, sedate, and well trained. I no longer want a challenge when it comes to horses.
Don't forget to check out my upcoming events. I'll be at the Author's Best Book Fest on June 14-15 in Matteson, IL. August has two events scheduled: the Summer Book Fair and the Mid-Ohio Indies Author Book Expo. In October, I'm returning to the Imadjinn Book Fair & Expo, held in conjunction with the Imaginarium Convention in Louisville, KY. My first excursion to the Imadjinn Book Fair & Expo was both expensive and disappointing, but I've heard it's really improved and hope that a second try will justify the excursion. Registration for the 2019 Summer Book Fair, which will again be held at Mother Stewart's Brewing Company in Springfield, Ohio, is open. Author tables are limited, so any author who wants to participate should register quickly!
Now that I'm back to work, I'm accepting new clients for writing and editing projects. Anyone looking for someone to write blogs, newsletter articles, case studies, white papers, fiction, etc., please contact me. Review my online portfolio of business-oriented projects. Feel free to check out client testimonials. Anyone seeking a detail-oriented, thorough editor, please contact me. I particularly enjoy working with new(er) authors to help whip their manuscripts into shape.
So, welcome back to my blog. Check out my catalog for some summer reading. Drop me a note. I like hearing from people.
Hard boiled, scrambled, over easy, and sunny side up: eggs are the musings of Holly Bargo, the pseudonym for the author.
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Looking for a place to swap blogs? Holly Bargo at Hen House Publishing is happy to reciprocate Blog Swaps in 2019.
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