Thursday, December 31, 2009

Horace Celebrates The New Year

"You are so taking me to the party!" Horace hopped up and down on the polished wood surface of Stasi's dresser as she rummaged through her closet.

"No." Her word was muffled but that didn't stop the power she exuded.

The six-inch grayish stone gargoyle snarled as he absently chewed on a razor sharp claw. "It's New Year's Eve."

"And your point is?" Stasi pulled out a cobalt silk strapless dress with a flirty hem that revealed more than it covered. She hung the dress on a nearby hook and returned to the closet to find shoes.

"I don't want to be alone."

The 700-year plus witch ignored his mock-sorrowful tone. "You won't be alone. Bogie isn't going either." She looked over her shoulder and smiled at her beloved and magickal Yorkie/Chihuahua that tended to float along the floor instead of walking and disappeared if he thought he was in trouble. At the moment, the dog was sleeping peacefully in the middle of her bed and looked as if he could care less the New Year would ring in in a few short hours.

"You're going off to have champagne and all sorts of fun food while I have to stay here and dogsit?"T

his time Bogie did raise his head with a curled upper lip and snarl sounding.

'Yeah, well, you'll probably go out and find yourself a dog to hump while I'm stuck here listening to everyone shout "Happy New Year" and doing the kissy face thing. What've I got?" Horace marched across the dresser surface, only barely avoiding kicking perfume bottles into the air but aware the consequences weren't worth the crime. Not when Stasi's best friend was an expert in revenge spells and Stasi would let Blair loose on him. He may be a gargoyle, but he wasn't stupid.

Stasi ignored his mutterings and stuck him in a drawer while she dressed. He was still complaining as she and Blair swept out the door to their party.

"You'll be sorry!" he shouted after them.

"There's pretzels in the cupboard!" Stasi called back to him.

"Pretzels. Big friggin' deal. I get crunchy salty twists while all over the place midnight madness is going on." Horace skidded to a stop and ran back to the back door. He smiled as he watched Stasi and Blair drive off.


"Some guys don't understand boundaries and a New Year's kiss doesn't mean a tonsillectomy," Stasi grumbled as she drove the SUV down Moonstone Lake's main street leading to the building that housed her and Blair's shops and second floor apartment. "

What is this?" She slowed down at the cars lining the road and lights flaring from the building on the corner. A building that shouldn't be that lit up.

Blair leaned forward. "Your shop is open!"

Stasi ended up stopping her vehicle in the middle of the road and jumped out, running over to her lingerie boutique's front door that stood open while women roamed in and out.

"Great sales in there and they're even serving champagne!" One woman walked out with an armful of bags. "75% off!"

Stasi's voice strangled inside her throat as she stared at her shop sadly depleted of stock while women, obviously coming back from parties elsewhere on the mountain, had stopped in for a midnight madness sale.

A smiling Horace sauntered out of the dressing room behind a shapely brunette. He didn't look the least bit guilty as Stasi loomed over him.

"What have you done?" Magick flew around her like a tornado.

He shrugged, looking not the least bit guilty. "I told you not to leave me alone."

Happy New Year from the Hexy Witches!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

What Are Your New Year's Resolutions?

I used to make them then realized they’d be forgotten all too soon.

I do have goals. I know what I intend to do the coming year for my writing. Such as I have a few new projects in the works and hoping to see them through. My agent and I do the cheerleader bit “Two, four, six, eight, who do we appreciate? Each other!”

And another goal is walking Barney a few times a week. Yes, it will be good for me and even better for him since I’ve learned that mini Schnauzers are prone to gain weight. He’s gained two pounds since he came to live with us in July and he looks more roly poly now. So we’ll do the walkies.

I’ll also be teaching some writing courses on line which I’ll be talking about more soon.

So what about you? Do you make resolutions and keep them? Make them and not keep them? Or just totally ignore them?


Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

A wonderful holiday to you all.
Linda and the witches

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Nick's Holiday Hell

Many men would rather poke their eyes out with a stick and Nick, Jazz's vampire honey, is no different as you can see.

"Have a wonderful Christmas!" one perky clerk chirped.

"Only fourteen shopping days left!" Another had to chime in.

Jingle bells, jingle bells, jingle all the way!

I saw Santa kissing Santa Claus.

All I want for Christmas is ---

"Peace and quiet," Nick growled, literally, as he prowled the mall from hell. He really should have chosen the Magick Mall for his gift shopping needs, but since they don't have a Nordstrom, Sephora or Victoria's Secret, he was screwed and doomed to shop at the mall that offered all three and more since he doubted Jazz would appreciate receiving a check or even gift cards. Not to mention reloading her Starbucks card wouldn't go over too big either. No, he had to vampire up and do this thing.

He hadn't celebrated the holidays in decades and couldn't remember if he and Jazz ever had, but he vowed he'd do what it took to do it this year, even if he began to think a stake through the heart wouldn't be all that bad after all.

And what idiots are at a mall at eleven o'clock at night?! Other than him, that is. And all for those holiday bargains. The late night shopping hours were great for him since he was a vampire, although he could venture out during the day when it was cloudy. But we're talking sunny California and lately, December was more like July. Hence, his showing up now.

He hated shopping. He tended to order his clothing on line and have them delivered. But he doubted that Jazz would appreciate the personal touch, although he did find something for Krebs on line and even an elegant dog bed for Fluff and Puff that he knew they'd enjoy reclining on when they were on Jazz's feet. He even picked up a few DVDs for Irma's collection.

Now was the most difficult, yet interesting, shopping chore ahead of him.

"Would you like to try our new perfume, Midnight Madness, for your lady's pleasure?" One clerk asked, holding out a crystal bottle.

He reared back and just barely kept his fangs hidden. No way he could tell her he could smell that one and more.

"No thanks, but I may be back." He knew Jazz loved different perfumes to wear according to her mood and that one should work for her.

And what did Nick learn? That Sephora held more smelly stuff than his enhanced senses could handle. That he could see why Jazz spent a small fortune on skin and body products and he REALLY WANTED OUT OF THERE.

Victoria's Secret was another hellish trek as overeager clerks were only too happy to assist him and he didn't think it was because they were thinking of sales. Not when he kept finding notes with names and phone numbers tucked into his jacket pocket. He winced at the grand total of his purchases, but the idea of Jazz modeling the colorful silk chemises and thongs he picked up helped soothe the pain.

By the time Nick left the noise and mayhem of the mall and walked out to his Jeep Wrangler, he experienced something he hadn't felt in centuries.

He had the headache of all headaches and the knowledge the way things were going he'd be doing this again on Jazz's birthday.

"This was much easier in the Dark Ages."

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Hiding Behind Words

A writer’s life is a solitary one.

We sit at our computers writing words that turn into sentences into paragraphs into pages and ultimately into a finished book.

One of the good things about this? You can be anyone you want to be.

Why is that important?

I’m shy. Oh boy, I’m sure there are friends laughing themselves silly at that declaration.

But it’s true. Growing up I was painfully shy and why I buried myself in books and writing stories. Call it the peril of being an only child with an overactive imagination.

But it was the beginning of what I do now. Back then I wrote about characters that became real to me, my very own invisible playmates. I could thrust myself into a new world where I was brave and confident. Where I could be anyone I wanted to be. Not the shy gawky kid I was.

I was very lucky. Teachers encouraged my love for reading and my need to write stories. Thanks to them I grew in that respect.

What it showed me was that my characters could say what I didn’t have the nerve to say. Do what I wouldn’t be able to do.

Talk about the perfect way to be what you want to be!You run into a rude person in a store. So many things you’d love to say to them, but you don’t.

No problem, go home, create that character for a book and blast them. You’ll feel so much better. Maybe that’s why my favorite alter-ego is a pair of man-eating bunny slippers.

And even now I’m shy. It can be difficult for me to enter a new situation unless a friend is with me. I’ll do it, but I may not be as talkative as I normally am.

So what about you? Do you have the shy gene? How do you cope?


Friday, December 18, 2009

When Old Friends Meet

There’s nothing better than good friends getting together.

So many of my friends live in other states, so our communication is email and phone. Face to face is only at conferences or if we’re just darn lucky.

One of those times was last month when awesome buddy Beverly Barton was in San Diego speaking to my RWA chapter along with equally awesome Linda Howard and Linda Winstead Jones.

Beverly and I planned to have dinner after the meeting and we made sure the last third of our divahood, Paula Detmer Riggs, would be there also. Quite an undertaking when I live here, Beverly’s from Alabama and Paula lives in Oregon. But we did it!

We sat in the restaurant for hours just talking and laughing. What mattered to us was having this time together. And as you can see by the pictures, we did have fun. Paula’s the brunette in front, the laughing blonde and I’m the redhead.

We don’t know when we’ll be able to hook up together, but you can be assured when we do, we’ll be having just as much fun even if we’re in wheelchairs or using walkers!


Thursday, December 17, 2009

30 Years and Still Hexy!

Thirty years ago today I managed a personnel office where I placed executives in the accounting field. I also had written two romance novels.

I’d begun reading romances and tended to say, “I could write one of these!” After all, I had wanted to be a writer since the day I could pick up a crayon.

They say write what you know, but I’m not entirely sure I did that since I chose a ballerina heroine and we won’t even talk about my time in ballet class. And I even based the heroine’s looks on my best friend, who was also my first beta reader.

What I thought would take a short time to write actually took close to nine months and after I finished that book, I wrote another. Now it was time to find out if my efforts could find a home.

Silhouette Books was brand spanking new, not even on the shelves yet, and looking for authors.

What a great place for my books! A month after they were submitted to the publisher, I got THE CALL.

And what a day for that. It was my wedding anniversary and I had a gorgeous silk plant arrangement in my office courtesy of my husband, good boy for remembering, and I had lunch with a client who, for some reason I talked about my writing, and he was genuinely interested! Who knew I’d return to my office and be there for barely five minutes when my agent called to say Silhouette wanted to buy both books? I’m sure the entire building heard my screams.

What a beginning for me.

A month later, I was writing full time. Ironic thing about that was because my boss fired me accusing me of writing my books on company time. Considering all that I did, there was no way that happened, but that was fine. It meant I had to see if I could make it as a writer.

So what do you think? I’m still writing 30 years later.

And an easy way for my husband to never forget my anniversary!


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A Favorite Recipe

What can I say? I love making goodies! And I share since they're too dangerous to leave around the house.

This fudge is really fun and tastes just like a creamsicle and a favorite with family and friends.


Marbled Orange Fudge

1 1/2 tsp plus 3/4 cup butter--divided
3 cups sugar
3/4 cup whipping cream
1 pkg vanilla or white chips
1 jar marshmallow creme
3 tsp orange extract
orange food coloring

Grease 13x9 pan with 1 1/2 tsp butter. Combine sugar, cream and remaining butter. Cook and stir over low heat until sugar is dissolved. Bring to a boil, cook and stir for 4 min. Remove from heat, stir in chips and marshmallow creme until smooth. Remove 1 cup, set aside. Add orange extract and coloring to remaining mixture. Stir until blended. Pour into pan. Drop reserved marshmallow mix by tablespoonfuls over top. Cut through mixture with a knife to swirl. Cover and refrigerate until set. Cut into squares.

try chocolate and mint, chocolate & coconut and put coconut in the coconut part, lime extract and vanilla, peppermint, maybe even cinnamon!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Horace Goes Holiday Shopping

"Where did all these new people to buy presents for come from?" Horace grumbled as he surveyed his shopping list. "Like I'm made of money." He thought of the bag of gold coins he had secreted away on his stone person that he hoped to use most of it on himself and not others. Looked like that wasn't going to happen.

Gargoyles tended not to wear clothing with pockets. Actually, gargoyles didn't wear clothing at all, so secreting the bag wasn't easy and wise to never ask just where it might be. Although Horace did sport a jaunty purple and gold knitted scarf wrapped around his throat. Since he was cursed to be grayish stone, he liked to look colorful when he could.

The Magick Mall was as colorful as the shops on either side of the stone road with fragrant spices scenting the air that even drifted from one color to the other like a never-ending rainbow.

Horace rubbed his horns in thought as he traveled down the main road of Dragon Lane that forked at the end with a 100-foot fiery fountain. What else do you expect from a road named Dragon Lane?

"Stasi gets wyrm weave silk shawl, Blair, one of those funky pieces of jewelry from Fastan's Jewelers," he muttered, pausing every so often to look inside a shop window. The warm yeasty scent of zerxe bread drifted out of the bakery and reminded him he hadn't eaten since he came to the magickal plain that offered every item known to wizard, witch and sorcerers the world over. "Guess Jazz wouldn't appreciate my buying her thong underwear. Come to think of it, Nick might. Nah, he'd just try to strangle me with it."

The Magick Mall was one of the few places Horace could visit and not worry about being stared at. Gargoyles that walked and talked were plentiful here along with every creature known to man and many they'd never seen nor would they if the creatures had their way about it.

"Hey, baby, so what do you look like without all the robes?" He grinned at a shapely witch who passed by him. As one who appreciated the female form, even more so when he hung out in one of the dressing rooms in Stasi's lingerie boutique, he never let a good looking female pass him by without offering up an opinion. He left the less than good looking ones alone after one crone covered him with a nasty smelling slime that he couldn't get off for a good month.

The witch cast him a glare, and luckily didn't cast anything else.

"Treats for Bogie," he continued reading his list. "Polish for Felix," he named Blair's retro Kit-Kat clock that not only kept excellent time, but enjoyed offering an opinion whether it was wanted or not. "Bunny slipper shampoo for Fluff and Puff. At least I don't have to shop for Irma and Sirius." He stopped and studied a shop sign that read they had the latest gadgets for the recently deceased. "The old lady isn't even close to recently deceased."

Since Horace hadn't been to the Magick Mall for some months, he was determined to enjoy his day before he got down to serious shopping. Plus, there were a lot of new shops and items that tempted him to investigate."I'll get their gifts," he vowed, ducking into the bakery for a thick slice of bread warm out of the oven and a tankard of ale.

And after that, Horace found himself in a gaming hall, betting on which crimson midnight roach would reach the finish line first and having a bit of slap and tickle with a sexy female gargoyle.

Before he knew it the day was almost over and he still hadn't picked any gifts and his sack of gold was a lot lighter."Oh man." He ducked down another road and peered in shop windows, looking at those that advertised major sales.It wasn't until he reached the last shop that a brightly colored window display caught his eye."Perfect!" He ran inside before anyone else saw it and handed over coin.


"Wait 'til you see what I found!" Horace announced, dragging a heavy canvas sack behind him."What have you been doing?" Stasi asked, hurrying to help him but he waved her off.

"Don't tell me. You went to the Magick Mall," Blair said.

"I got you and Blair the perfect gift. You can share it between your shops." He carefully set the bag upright then lifted it off with a flourish. "Ta da!"

Silence reigned in the shop as Stasi and Blair stared at Horace's find.

"Is that what I think it is?" Blair asked in a low voice.

"Only if you're thinking what I'm thinking," Stasi squeaked. "Horace, why did you buy this?"

"What do you mean? What's wrong with it? How cool is it? A pretty statue that's tall and sort of undulating but with that double base." He beamed with pride.

"It's a penis!" Blair clapped her hands over her mouth.

"We can't have a six foot high penis on display here," Stasi pointed out, sounding as choked as Blair.

"It's not a –" Horace moved backward to get a better look and tipped his head from one side to the other. "Oh wow, it is." He ignored the two witches who made gurgling sounds. "And here I was told it was a modern version of a baby dragon. Maybe they used a baby dragon penis as an example."He turned around and found Stasi and Blair hunched over and holding back shocked laughter."So you're serious? We can't use it in one of the display windows? What if we put a Santa hat on it?"

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

News and A Holiday Recipe

It’s the time of year when decorating, shopping, and baking come to mind.

How are all of you doing with your gift shopping? I know what I’m getting people, I just have to sit down and order along with heading to the mall.

But I’m also working on another Hex book that’s due soon and you can guess which comes first. But somehow I’ll get it all done.

First the news. Hex in High Heels has been nominated for Best Paranormal/Indie Press Category for the RT Reviewer's Choice Awards! Couldn’t you see Fluff, Puff and Horace at the awards ceremony hoping they could snag the award? Scary stuff.

Now for the recipe. I admit I’m a total peppermint and chocolate addict. Peppermint mochas at Starbucks, Candy Cane Blizzards at Dairy Queen and I love peppermint bark. This cheesecake recipe covers it all!

Frozen Peppermint Cheesecake
1 ¼ cup chocolate wafer cookie crumbs (about 24 wafers)¼ cup sugar¼ cup margarine or butter, melted1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened1 (14-ounce) can Eagle Brand sweetened condensed milk (not evaporated milk)1 cup crushed hard peppermint candyRed food coloring, optional2 cups (1 pint) whipping cream, whipped (or nondairy whipped topping) Combine crumbs, sugar, and margarine. Press on bottoms and halfway up sides of two 9-inch springform pan. In a large mixing bowl, beat cheese until fluffy. Gradually beat in sweetened condensed milk. Stir in crushed candy and food coloring if desired. Fold in whipped cream. Pour into prepared pan, and cover. Freeze 6 hours or until firm. Garnish as desired. Return leftovers to freezer.Alternate crust: Purchase two prepared chocolate pie crusts. Follow rest of recipe.Yield: Two 9" pies.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Magickal Tree

"It's listing to the right."
"It's straight."
"You call that straight? I called it old man crooked." Jazz shot Krebs a look that said 'fix it or else!'
Her housemate blew out an exasperated breath as he stepped back a few paces and studied the tree. She was right. It was leaning a little too far to the right.
"I'll have to secure the damn thing to the wall," he muttered. "You had to have a ten-foot tree, didn't you?"
"The room cries out for a large tree." She held her arms out to encompass the huge living room that was bright with twinkle lights threaded through green garlands decorated with red velvet bows. Holiday music played in the background.
Krebs grunted as he struggled with the heavy tree. He shot a glare toward the man lounging on the couch. "You could help, you know. Vampire strength. Pick the tree up as if it was a toothpick and all that."
"This is your tradition, not mine." Nick grinned. "Besides, I'm enjoying the show you and Jazz are giving me as you argue about decorations and a tall tree." But he took pity on the human and went over to help steady the tree. "Perhaps someone will add her magick to the tree." He lifted an eyebrow at Jazz.
"What would you guys do without me?" She held her hands out. "Getting close to the date. Want the tree to be long. So stand up straight and stand up strong. Because I said so, damn it!" To go with the holiday spirit her magick left her fingertips in red and green sparkles, traveling to the tree and wrapping it in power. The tree immediately stopped listing to the right. "And no holes in the wall," she told Krebs.
"That works for me. Think you can do the lights too?"
"Putting lights up is guy work! I put up the ornaments and icicles." She held up a silvery strand of tinsel.
Krebs gritted his teeth as Jazz directed the placement of the strands of lights. "I thought this was guy work."
"It is, but you still need to know where they go." She handed him the star tree topper.
"What did you do before you had me to boss around?" Krebs asked.
"I had a three-foot tabletop tree, but this is so much better." Jazz sorted through the ornaments until she found the one she wanted and carefully placed it on a branch.
Fluff and Puff slid into the room, chattering away to themselves. They headed for the red basket filled with candy canes and grabbed one, growling and snapping at each other as they fought over the peppermint treat until it broke in half. Each retreated to an opposite corner to enjoy their booty while keeping an eye on the other to make sure it wasn't taken away from them.
"No, the angel has to go up there." Jazz pointed up and up and up.
Krebs sighed. "I'll get the ladder."
"I can take care of that." Nick levitated to the branch Jazz indicated and carefully hung the ornament.
Between Jazz's direction, Krebs and Nick doing her bidding the tree was decorated from top to bottom.
"Any reason why you couldn't do the witchy thing and just send the ornaments onto the tree?" Krebs asked.
"Sure, but it's not as much fun as making sure they're where they belong. I do great work." She beamed as she studied the tree.
Nick and Krebs exchanged a look. "Who does great work?" They asked in unison.
"I was the brains, you were the brawn." She waved off their words. "It's a beautiful tree."
With the drapes open, the tree was perfectly framed in the huge bay window that faced the street. With icicle lights decorating the house, twinkle lights blanketing the shrubs and lighted lollipops and candy canes along the cement walkway, the house was a holiday confection.
"Let's go outside and see the full effect!" Jazz grabbed the men by the hand and pulled them outside. They stood on the sidewalk to admire the final effect.
"Even prettier than last year," she pronounced.
"I have to admit you do good work." Krebs hugged her.
"Jazz has always loved the holidays," Nick said.
"Especially presents." She looked from one to the other.
"You know the rules. We wait until the morning of December 25 and not one minute sooner. It's cold out here. I'll make Irish coffee," he offered, heading for the front door. "You can drink that, right, Nick?"
"Thankfully, I can." He slipped an arm around Jazz's waist as they walked up the walkway.
"Gross!" Krebs stared at Fluff, or maybe it was Puff. "They ate peppermint and that came out of them?"
Jazz held her nose as she waved her hand through the noxious air that seemed to get worse by the minute. "I should have remembered that peppermint doesn't agree with them."
"I guess we'll be drinking our Irish coffee in the kitchen." Krebs led the way.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

December Means

Cleaning off shelves and spaces around the house so you can fill them again with holiday decorations and that 12-foot tree you saw in the lot. Well, maybe not 12 feet. My husband had enough trouble putting up our 10-foot tree one year and said never again. Something about wires, bolts in the wall and a ladder to put the decorations near the top. But it looks so pretty when the lights are lit and the colorful packages are arranged underneath.

Holiday scented candles scattered around so the house will smell like candy canes, fresh pine, sugar cookies, and maybe a bit of spice in there too.

Or standing outside saying "but honey, the lights really need to go higher." On our block the men like to decorate the outside when a female neighbor puts up her lights since she always wears shorts. Still, it gets them working!

And the mall. Yes, we have on line shopping, but it’s still fun to brave the mall to see the decorations there. I always enjoyed the animatronics carol singing bears at ours. You look for the perfect gift. The one that screams a family member or friend’s name. When that happens to me for a friend’s gift I have a family member looking at me skeptically saying “Are you sure she’d want this?” and I’d be so positive, “Definitely.” And I'm always right. :}

Baking a variety of cookies, whipping up candies and perhaps digging out some tried and true recipes that never go wrong for the season. I have some that I make without fail and always make more than enough to share.

Thanks to the post office we don’t have to stand in long lines to mail out packages, and they’re picked up at the home.

There’s even more to add to our holiday mix – the music that has us singing along and movies that make us alternately laugh and cry.Our CD player is loaded with holiday music and I switched over the music on my iPod so I can listen to it in my SUV and I also dug out our holiday DVD collection that I always add to every year.

And family and friends. Last month, we gave thanks for them and this month we celebrate with them.It’s also a season that can go all year long.

Just one tiny reminder – take the tree down. Do you really want a Charlie Brown tree dying in that corner? And after awhile Jingle Bell Rock will get on your nerves.

So from January 1 on just celebrate the color and energy and the meaning. Okay?


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Hex in High Heels Cover Is Up For An Award!

But Blair needs your votes. After all, would you really want to cross a witch gifted with the ultimate revenge spells?
Voting is between December 1 and December 31st.