When I saw Jenna Da Sie’s topic this week, I couldn’t say no to joining! She asked:
If you could renovate one room in your house, which one would it be and why?
If you joined me from Clair Brett, welcome!
One reason I was excited to see this topic is that we are actually in the middle of a minor renovation right now. Well, I call it minor, but I’m not doing any of the work. It is keeping Mr. C busy, though!
Also, I love renovating in general. We’ve lived in our current home twenty-five years, and we have renovated all the bathrooms (one of them twice!), the family room (three times), and the kitchen. And I’m not just talking paint and new flooring (we’ve done that in every room of the house more than once). I’m talking taking walls down and putting them back up in new places. For some reason, the chaos and clutter of renovating doesn’t bother me at all, and the results are always worth it. Luckily, Mr. C and his brother love this kind of hands on work—and they are good at it—so we don’t have to hire people other than for some of the more specialized tasks.
If you’re a subscriber to my newsletter, then you have already seen the cover to Richly Deserved, my next release coming March 29. But for those of you who haven’t, click here to see it and learn what this story is all about! I absolutely love the the cover, and can't wait for you to meet Titus and Claudia!
The last week or so has been VERY COLD in much of North America, so this week’s topic on the Romance Writers Weekly Blog Hop seems just right for while we are all hunkering down and staying warm!
Let’s talk about food. What’s your favorite food or dish? Does it evoke a memory or is it something new that you adore?
I am not a picky eater. If I don’t like something it is more because of the texture than the taste. So, when I started thinking about what to write for this blog, I had too many choices. But then I started thinking about the memories behind the food, and that made it easier.
One dish that evokes a strong memory for me is moules et frites. In 2017 my husband and I went to Europe with my parents. We visited my mother’s family in Belgium, and then spent a week in the south of France. One day we drove to a village on the Mediterranean and had mussels and French fries at a restaurant overlooking the sea. While the food was amazing, the view, the company and the experience made it all one of the best days of our trip. Every once in a while I make the dish here at home and it never fails to remind us of that trip.
I don’t think I ever realized how much sharing a meal contributed to our human experience until this past year. Eating together deepens the sense of community and belonging between family and friends in a way I don’t fully comprehend. It is that new understanding that made me choose my other favourite meal – turkey dinner.
Like many families, I don’t think we’ve ever roasted a turkey for anything other than a special occasion. That must be why it has extra meaning. Of course, the trimmings that are served along side contribute to the “specialness.” Who can resist stuffing, after all!
What about you? What meal has deep significance for you? Let me know in the comments!
Then, hop on over to Leslie Hachtel and see what she has to say.
Don't miss the countdown to my next release, RICHLY DESERVED! Click here to Join my newsletter to see the cover first, read sneak peeks, and generally keep up with the news leading up to the launch day on March 29. Here's what it's all about:
More than twenty years ago, Claudia Aronson escaped an abusive marriage. She built a secure, stable life, and is now only weeks away from realizing a long-held dream—opening her own art gallery. But her well-ordered world is threatened by the compelling, abrasive man essential to bringing her new venture into the spotlight.
Artist Titus Wilcox is reclusive, nomadic, and passionate. His solitary, drifting habits have fed his creative soul, but played hell with his love life. Soon after he meets the statuesque, seemingly-serene Claudia, however, he feels a compulsion to paint a new reality—with her.
When an antique painting reveals mysterious documents concealed behind its frame, Titus and Claudia unite in a hunt for lost riches—a pursuit that takes them into the remote hills surrounding the fabled gold rush town of Barkerville.
To these two skeptics, true love is as phony as fool’s gold. But this improbable search for buried treasure could lead to their hearts’ hidden desires.
This week on the Romance Writers Weekly Blog Hop, we’re indulging in wishful thinking. 😊 A.S. Fenichel says:
Describe a perfect day either in your life or in your imagination. What would it be like?
If you joined me from Leslie Hachtel, welcome!
I am a firm believer in cherishing what you have, and not angsting over what you have not. By extension of this thinking, I don’t believe you can plan the perfect day. Expectations will colour everything, and humans are easily disappointed. It’s a phenomenon you often see at big celebrations like Christmas or birthdays, especially with small children. They’ve built the day up so much in their head that nothing will be able to match it.
That being said, I’ve been lucky enough to have many, many days where I can look back and say “There. That was a near-perfect day.” And if I study those days, they have a few things in common.
As you can see, this list has no specifics on it. It doesn’t say my perfect day MUST have this, that or the other. This leaves me open to experiencing a near-perfect day almost any day. Although a day where I haven't read can NEVER be a near-perfect day LOL!
What about you? Does your perfect day require certain things? There are no wrong answers. Leave a comment below, then hop over to A. S. Fenichel's blog to see what she wrote!
I took a few weeks off from the weekly blog hop to celebrate the end of 2020 and welcome the beginning of 2021. But it’s time to get back into the groove (especially since I have a new release coming up in March. More on that in future blog posts!).
This week, I challenged our members to write Flash Fiction using the phrase/words: Happy New Year, cigars, and orchids.
If you joined me from Clair Brett, welcome! Here is my contribution:
Eloise had never felt the slightly hysterical excitement so many others did watching the seconds tick down to the new year. It was a completely arbitrary distinction between one moment and the next, something dreamed up by whey-faced administrators centuries ago. There was no magic in it. Nothing ever changed. It was the same old same old, just with a new number next to it.
She had planned to sleep away the last hours of the year, much as she'd slept the last week away. Instead, she found herself curled in bed, the glow from her phone the only light in the room, streaming the countdown from New York City that had already happened three hours ago but was being replayed for those in the Pacific Time Zone. Just one more indication of how fake the whole celebration was. Like another version of the movie Groundhog Day, only without the saving grace of Bill Murray’s comic insanity.
“Happy New Year!” the crowd in Times Square shouted.
“Yeah, yeah,” she mumbled. “Happy freakin’ New Year.”
The doorbell rang.
Eloise blinked. Had it really been the doorbell, or was it one of the bells and whistles shrieking from the video on her screen? She muted her phone.
The doorbell rang.
Who could possible be at her door at midnight on New Year’s Eve? Well, it was New Year’s Day, she supposed, but midnight New Year’s Day was still twenty-four hours away technically, so it seemed calling it New Year’s Eve made more--
The doorbell rang a third time, cutting off her dribbling thoughts.
She flung back the covers, trod barefoot through her darkened home to the front door, and peered through the sidelight.
Jax stood on the stoop and she recoiled, pressing her back against the wall, her heart racing.
Rapid knocks thudded on the wood panels of the door. “Eloise! I know you’re in there. Please, I just want to talk.”
“Go away!” The words blurted out and she shoved her fist against her mouth. Damn it. If she’d stayed silent, he would have left eventually. Now she’d given him proof she was home, he’d never leave.
“Please, Eloise.” His tone softened. “I made a mistake. It’s a new year. Can’t we start over?”
A mistake. Hah! That’s what he called it? “Go back to your whiskey and cigars or whatever it is you rich people do on New Year’s,” she said bitterly. “I’m just the poor waitress you had a fling with. No need to worry about me.”
“It was more than a fling,” Jax said.
“Really? Then why did you pretend you didn’t know me?”
What they’d had was still so new, they’d agreed that meeting each other’s families over the holidays would put too much pressure on their relationship. But that meant they wouldn't see each other for a few days, so when she’d gotten off work earlier than expected on Christmas Eve, she’d gone to his apartment, hoping to surprise him before he joined his family that evening. Instead, she’d been the one stunned when he’d opened the door with a tall blonde in a sleek, simple black sheath that screamed expensive draped over him. He'd stared at her in shock as the heavy scent of orchids had wrapped itself around Eloise, the woman’s perfume as cloying as the smirk on her face.
“Who’s this, Jax? A friend of yours?” she’d said.
Which was when Jax had broken Eloise’s heart. “No,” he’d said, “she’s not a friend.”
She hadn’t stuck around to hear more, simply spun on her heel and fled.
Now, in the silence of a new year, his voice came muffled through the door. “I was surprised to see you,” he said, “but I didn’t say what you thought I did.”
“Oh, trust me, I heard exactly what you said.” The words were branded on her brain, still sizzling and smoking more than a week later.
“You heard the words, Eloise. But you didn’t hear what I meant.”
“What the hell does that mean?”
“You aren’t my friend. You’re so much more.”
Eloise realized she was standing with her palms pressed against the door's surface as if she could reach through to Jax’s warmth and strength. “I’m wh-what?” she stuttered.
“I love you, Eloise. Please, let me in so we can talk properly.”
“If you love me, then who was that with you on Christmas Eve?”
Eloise closed her eyes. “I don’t believe you.”
“Her name is Helene. We were driving to my parents together that night.”
“If that’s the truth, why didn’t you call me to explain? Why did you wait until now to come see me?”
“Because I was scared. I was scared you wouldn’t listen. I’ve never felt this way about anyone before. I didn’t realize how much it would hurt, to have the person I love distrust me.”
They came from such different worlds. The dress his sister had worn was probably worth more than Eloise’s monthly rent. But when she was with Jax, all she could feel was how right they were together. Did she love him enough to work through her issues, to find the trust he deserved?
She opened the door.
I hope you enjoyed this little story. Now hop on over to Jenna Da Sie https://jennadasie.com to see what she came up with!
This is probably going to be my last blog post of 2020. And what better way to end the year than by sharing some of my Christmas decorations? A.S. Fenichel asks:
Are your decorations up? We’d love to see some pictures and if you have an ornament with some special meaning, how about the story?
In our house, my husband is the King of Christmas Lights. He makes sure both inside and outside are bright and cheerful—which, given how early it gets dark in Northern British Columbia at this time of year, is wonderful. He is also in charge of putting up the tree, though it is my job to decorate it. This year felt like it needed some extra cheer, so we’ve had everything up and on since November 12 (we like to wait until after Remembrance Day).
Speaking of decorating the tree, I found myself needing to buy more ornaments this year. You see, ever since our son was born in 1998, I’ve bought him and his two sisters a Christmas ornament for their stockings. For a few years, I had so many I couldn’t put them all on the tree! But then the girls left home and took their ornaments with them. Then our son moved out this summer, so his ornaments moved, too. All of a sudden, the tree looked very bare!
One of my favourite ornaments is made from dough and has five snowmen, one for each of us in the family. Even though we’ve added two sons-in-law and have grandbabies on the way, it is still a wonderful memento of the many Christmases we’ve shared. I also treasure homemade ornaments and decorations, and a special one featuring the Nativity that we were given for our very first Christmas as a married couple.
I just spent fifteen minutes writing and discarding introductions to this week’s topic. I give up, so I'm just going to dive in.
This week on the Blog Hop, A.S. Fenichel says:
December seems like a good time to tell us all about your writing plans for next year. Tell us what’s upcoming and why you’re excited about it.
I am really hoping to finish my current work-in-progress before Christmas. That means I will have worked on three manuscripts this year, which for me is amazing. That includes AFTER WORDS, which I completed in January and published in September. The other two stories are what I am planning to release to the world in 2021, and I am very excited about both of them!
RICHLY DESERVED will be the second in my TIMELESS Season Romance Collection. I need to write the formal description still, but here’s the gist: Claudia owns a frame shop and is opening a private gallery. Titus is the artist she lures into doing her grand opening exhibition. They become involved in a mystery that involves Barkerville gold miners and long-lost artwork. I just sent the second draft off to my editor, and I’m hoping to release this in March of next year.
THE ROOTS OF THINGS will by my third seasoned romance. It revolves around the search for a child given up for adoption sixty years ago. Aubrey and Phillip, the main characters, are the daughter and nephew of the birth parents, now in their 80’s, who are reunited in a seniors residence. They have their own troubled past, and I am having a lot of fun exploring their relationship. The plan would be to release this book in September 2021.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that plans can change at a moments notice. But having goals is healthy, as long as you can roll with the punches, be flexible, and look for the positives.
Now hop on over to Jenna Da Sie to see what fun she has in store for next year!
Make sure you don't miss out on any book announcements by joining my newsletter! I usually only send it out once a month unless I have really exciting news. You get a free short story just for signing up, will be able to tag along on my dog-walking adventures, find out what I'm reading when I should be working, and other randomness…along with all my writing news, of course! Just click here.
Sometimes being grateful isn’t a feeling. Sometimes it’s an act of defiance. 2020 has been that kind of year. That’s why this week’s Romance Writers Weekly Blog Hop is so important.
Leslie Hachtel commands: Tell us what you are most grateful for.
If you joined me from Clair Brett, welcome.
It will be hard to write this post without being too maudlin. 2020 has had its challenges – COVID and non-COVID related – but in the grand scheme of things, it would be selfish of me to complain. There have been a lot of wonderful things, too, including the announcement of two grandbabies soon to join our family.
So what am I most grateful for?
The way this year has forced me to realize how much I took for granted.
Hugs from family.
Face to face visits with friends.
The freedom to come and go when and where I please.
Days unburdened by anxiety.
Once these trying times have passed, it will only be human nature to relax back into the casual acceptance of all these things. But I hope the memory of 2020 will help me take a little extra joy in the ordinary everyday.
I’d love to hear what you are most grateful for. Leave a comment below, then be sure to hop over to Caro Kinkead who is next on the list.
The Bendixon Sisters Series is on sale this week!
ALLEGRO COURT – FREE! (was 99 cents)
Mattie thinks she sees a way to save her beloved construction company—if she can convince world-class cellist Marcus Temple, the man who destroyed her dreams once before, to stay in his hated hometown for one month. All she has to risk is her heart.
GATEWAY CRESCENT – ONLY 99 CENTS! (was $2.99, will be going up to $3.99 after this week)
Jo is flighty and scattered and impulsive – or that’s what her sisters think. Luke Donwell is destined to be a Catholic priest – or that’s what his parents hope for. Neither is prepared for the heat between them. Jo’s heart will break when he leaves her, but how can a girl compete with God?
CROSSROADS CORNER - $2.99 (will go up to 3.99 after this week)
Nothing will stop Camryn from dragging Bendixon and Sons back to profitability—especially not Will Danson, the sexy single dad who is standing in her way. Soon the two are competing for construction bids and career-making contracts. But it is Camryn’s battered heart that Will truly wants to win.
New Release from Caro Kinkaid - To Lure a Lord
She must find a husband quickly or be forced into an arranged marriage. But can the man trying to scuttle her efforts be the answer to her prayers?
The London season is a ticking clock for Augusta Eastleigh. With her mother’s help, she has a marriage prospect she hopes will satisfy her grandfather, the Earl of Forebridge. But Lord Blair MacDonald, recently returned to London, does not look kindly on her efforts to snare his friend. Nor does he hesitate to make his views known about Augusta and the rumors surrounding her birth.
Blair has more than one reason to dislike the girl. With his older brother Hamish critically wounded while fighting on the Peninsula, and his eldest brother refusing to marry, the Marquess of Rutherglen has decided his third son will be the one to carry on the family line. Which means he needs to marry. Now. The girl his father has chosen for Blair? None other than Augusta Eastleigh.
The situation pleases neither of them. But with the heads of the families set on the match, can they find common ground together, or will they face an unhappy future?
Amazon B&N Apple Kobo Google Play
As seems to befit 2020, winter has come early to Northern BC. At least, that’s what it feels like. And while the holidays aren’t going to be the same as in previous years, we’ll still do our best to celebrate with family and friends.
That being said, on the Romance Weekly Blog Hop today, we’re sharing our favourite holiday recipes. Leslie Hachtel has asked us to name our favorite Thanksgiving food and provide the recipe. Since we Canadians have already enjoyed our Thanksgiving meal, I’m sharing a recipe that is often requested no matter what the occasion – Portuguese Red Potatoes.
This is a recipe I learned from my mother-in-law. I have no idea if it’s a traditional Portuguese dish or one that she created herself. But if you’re looking for an alternative to mashed potatoes and want to add some colour to your table, it’s pretty and delicious.
Portuguese Red Potatoes
5 lbs. medium potatoes (any kind) peeled and cut in half if on the very of large. Do NOT quarter as they will cook too quickly.
1 tbsp. paprika
2 tbsp. oil
¼ tsp. black pepper
¼ tsp. white pepper
1 tsp. chicken boulion
7.5 ounce can tomato paste
4 tbsp. sweet red pepper paste (see note below)
Put potatoes in large casserole dish or slow cooker. Mix remaining ingredients together and pour over potatoes. Mix well so all potatoes are coated. Cover.
If using oven, bake at 350 for 1 hour and test for doneness.
If using slow cooker, cook on high 2.5 hours or low 5 hours.
Cooking times may vary depending on how well done you like your potatoes. I prefer them firm, not mushy, so this might not be long enough for you.
Sweet Red Pepper Paste is a very simple mixture made with red bell peppers cut or ground into small pieces seasoned with a little salt and preserved in jars. My mother-in-law made her own, but I believe it is available in delicatessens.
I hope you give this wonderful dish a try. Now hop on over to Clair Brett for another holiday treat!
This week on the blog hop, A.S. Fenichel says:
It’s been a while since we shared anything about our own books. How about we share an excerpt from our work in progress and the inspiration for the book?
I have two works in progress right now. One is the start of a new series about a book club that is so much more than reading and drinking wine. I’m still feeling my way around those characters and settings (though you can be assured it is set in Prince George as usual).
The other manuscript I’m working on is my next release (I think it will be ready for the world in January 2021). It is called RICHLY DESERVED, and features a heroine who runs a frame shop and the bald, bearded artist she is trying to lure into exhibiting at her brand new art gallery. Once again, the characters are around fifty years old, and bring with them baggage from past relationships, family and careers.
This is how their story begins:
It is a truth universally acknowledged that a businesswoman acting as her own general contractor must be in need of a large hammer.
With which to hit recalcitrant sub-contractors on the head.
Unfortunately, bastardizing Jane Austen wasn’t going to fix the current situation.
Claudia Aronson bared her teeth. The grizzled man in front of her jerked a shoulder toward his ear and looked away.
“Tell me again, Cecil, why the paint on that wall is not the colour I chose?”
Cecil spun the roller in his hand. Claudia took a step back to avoid the drops flicking off the fuzzy head and almost stumbled, her heel catching in the drop cloth protecting the floor. Her temper flared and she clamped down on it.
“You said you wanted white,” Cecil said, waving a hand at the wall behind him. “This is white.”
“I chose Dove Wing in a matte finish,” Claudia said with what she thought was admirable patience. “This is Super White in glossy.”
Cecil squinted at the wall. “Well, sure. But they’re both white. And this was on sale.”
“I don’t care. It is not the white I chose.” She nudged the paint can with the toe of her shoe. “Return this, get Dove Wing, and redo the wall. And if there is no refund, you’ll have to absorb the cost of the correct colour. I did not order Super White, so I am not paying for Super White.”
Without waiting for a reply, she sailed through the door leading to the main room. Thank goodness she had caught Cecil’s error before he’d finished more than one of the smaller walls in the rear of the gallery.
The main exhibition area was still in the throes of renovation, but Claudia could already see the finished space in her imagination. She stood in the middle of the room with her hands on her hips and let the vision that had been dancing in her head for months erase the tension of the last few moments.
The entire front of the building was a wide expanse of glass that allowed muted daylight in—enough to give the room a natural glow but not enough to cause issues with potentially fragile artwork. Of course, it would be supplemented by discreet, appropriate lighting where necessary. Half the space soared two storeys high, while the other half had a twelve-foot ceiling that didn’t detract from the lofty, airy feel. The walls, now a bedraggled canvas of unfinished Gyproc and drywall mud, would be the soothing, classy shade of white she’d lost sleep deciding on, now that she’d sorted that issue out. Drawing a deep breath through her nose, she reminded herself there were still four weeks until her soft opening, and there was plenty of time to correct Cecil’s mistake.
He wasn’t all bad, after all. While he might have rebelled over her choice of paint colour, he had followed her instructions exactly when it came to the false walls she’d had him construct. These were currently lined up like dominoes, waiting for their own coats of paint, but when completed she’d be able to place them in various locations throughout the space, giving her the ability to customize traffic patterns and displays. She’d even gone to the considerable cost of having an electrician run wiring under the floor—being careful to preserve the original hardwood as much as possible—and installing discreet outlets in a number of places so that the portable panels, each wired internally, would have proper lighting.
She heard the backdoor slam shut and deduced that Cecil had left to get the correct paint. Stepping carefully around the piles of construction paraphernalia, she manoeuvred toward the folding banquet table placed near the front windows that was serving as her desk until her office—in the back, next to the smaller gallery that was also going to be a client lounge—was completed. Her heels clicked on the floor, which still needed to be sanded and refinished, but that would be one of the last steps to avoid any potential damage. The deep honey colour she’d chosen for the stain would soften the white of the walls even further and warm the space from industrial to natural.
Flipping open the lid of her laptop, she began reading and replying to emails. While the gallery was taking up a lot of her time and energy, she still had her framing business to run. Its decades of success were the foundation on which she was building this new venture, and it deserved her attention.
Dreams were all well and good, but they needed to be rooted in practicality.
She had worked her way well into her to-do list when a shadow crossed her desk—and stayed. Assuming it was just a lookie-loo wondering about the work going on in the long-abandoned space, she ignored it. When, after long moments, it didn’t move on, she looked up.
Silhouetted against the sharp June sunlight was a man. A large, broad-shouldered man with a shaved head, heavy eyebrows, and a short dark beard. He wore stained, ripped jeans and a slouchy black hoodie and stood with his hands in the pockets, staring intently past her into the interior of the gallery.
Still expecting him to move on, she waited. He didn’t appear to have noticed her, tucked into the corner against the wall, and his gaze swept the room, sharp and assessing. An uneasy feeling trickled down her spine. No artwork was stored in the building yet, but the tools and supplies visible were worth hundreds if not thousands of dollars.
She reached slowly for her phone, before remembering with relief the front door was locked. The movement must have caught the man’s attention, though, as he turned his head toward her.
The glass did nothing to dim the concentrated focus in his eyes. Claudia blinked, frozen with one hand on her phone and the other gripping the edge of the table.
“Can I come in?” he asked, his voice muffled but audible, and moved to the door.
Not on your life, Claudia thought, and remained in her seat.
He grasped the handle and tugged firmly, rattling the frame. “It’s locked,” he said, though this time Claudia couldn’t hear the words, could only read his lips. He raised his eyebrows and smiled, gesturing her to approach.
Cautiously she rose, circled round the table, and stood in front of the door. Now she was no longer seated, she realized he wasn’t quite as tall as she’d thought, probably only a couple inches taller than herself. But since she was wearing two-inch heels and was five-eleven in her socks, that still put him well over six-feet.
“What do you want?” she said.
“Are you Claudia?” he said. “Claudia Aronson?”
Most of the tension leaked out of her shoulders. “Yes. And you are?”
He placed a small square card flat on the glass. A stylized rendition of a mountain framed three words forming two lines of text.
Titus Wilcox. Artist.
She unlocked the door.
Titus was used to being regarded with caution. His size made many women—and some men—step warily around him. He didn’t mind. He wasn’t one for small talk, didn’t enjoy meeting strangers, and was happiest on his own. If others preferred to keep him at a distance, he was fine with that.
Once he’d made up his mind to interact with someone, he wanted to get it over and done with. Claudia Aronson had initiated the contact, so now she’d have to deal with him on his terms.
As he waited for her to release the deadbolt, he scanned the small, professional printed sign fastened to the glass just beside the door. Future home of FAUNA, it read in large font, and below, in smaller type, Art Gallery Opening Soon. He liked the name. It gave him a good vibe.
Claudia swung the door open, stepping back to allow him in. “Thanks.” He moved past her, deeper into the large room. The multi-level ceiling gave it character, made it feel less warehouse-redone chic. “Nice,” he said. “Versatile. Location’s a little out of the way, though.”
“Prince George isn’t a big city. Nothing’s that out of the way,” she said with a faint bite. He imagined she was holding back a none of your business retort. “We’re only a few blocks from the downtown core.”
“In a light industrial area.”
“It’s changing. There’s a craft beer pub just down the street and a communal artists workshop one block over.”
He’d obviously poked a sore spot given the blue fire in her eye and the faint flush rising to her pale cheeks. He liked the vigour of her response, though. If he was going to allow her to show his work, he’d want her to tap into that passion to make sure it sold.
“You never replied to my emails,” she said.
“I read them. That’s why I’m here.”
“I appreciate that,” she said, not hiding her sarcasm quite as well this time.
She hadn’t moved from position near the door. She stood straight-spined with her hands clasped at her waist like a nun in a medieval painting. An Amazonian-nun, he thought, one confident in her height and voluptuousness. An electric blue skirt clung tightly to generous hips and her white blouse was unbuttoned at the neck, not indiscreetly low but enough to hint at abundant breasts. Her shoes were an eye-catching blend of colours with slender heels high enough to emphasize the strong curve of her calves.
“I rarely do exhibitions,” he said, wandering around a pile of supplies to get a closer look at a row of unfinished, free-standing panels. They were placed like books on shelf, spines facing out, each about ten feet square and fifteen inches wide.
“I know. But you’ve just moved to town. I’m opening a new gallery. It would benefit us both.”
“I’ve been here ten months.” And would be moving on in two more. A year was the most he stayed in one place. “I hate schmoozing.”
“Ten months is nothing. I’m good at schmoozing. And making sales.”
“I don’t need the money.”
“Everyone needs money. But I agree, it’s not about the money. It’s about sharing your art.”
He shot her a glance over his shoulder. Did she really understand that was the basis of all creativity? Or was she just that good at her job?
She had left her sentry post and now stood a few feet away, neat and pristine in the middle of renovation rubble. Her blond hair was textured and wavy, slightly longer than chin length, and if it was coloured to hide the grey a woman of her age might be expected to show it looked natural and flattering. Her blue eyes met his with calm assurance.
Before he could say anything further, the front door opened, reflecting light like a sword-stroke across the room. Claudia turned her back on him.
“Mae,” she said, striding toward the young woman standing uncertainly in the entrance. “Is it that time already? I’ll be ready for you in a moment.”
Titus noted the narrow, rectangular, paper-wrapped package clutched in Mae’s right hand. Was she another artist Claudia was courting? The young woman had straight dark hair and, next to Claudia’s vibrant persona, appeared slight and frail. When Claudia gently took her arm and escorted the younger woman toward the table in the corner, he noticed tiny arms and legs dangling from a baby-carrier strapped to her front.
Claudia hurried across the dusty floor back to him. “I’m sorry, I have another appointment.”
“That’s okay, I can wait.”
“I want to get a feel for the space,” he said. “It will help me decide about the show.”
“It’s a construction zone.”
“I’ll use my imagination. I am an artist, after all.” He nodded at the panels. “Movable walls?”
She nodded. “Yes. Almost any configuration you want.”
She hovered, a frown creasing between her brows.
“Go.” He shooed her away with one hand, and she went, giving him one last puzzled glance over her shoulder.
Like most writers, I found my way in the writing business because I am a voracious reader. This week on the Romance Writers Weekly Blog Hop, Christina Alexandra says:
“I can’t imagine a man really enjoying a good book and reading it only once.” ~ C.S. Lewis
Do you reread books? Are there certain books you reread at certain times of the year?
If you joined me from Leslie Hachtel, welcome!
I DEFINITELY reread books, and always have. It’s a different kind of enjoyment when you’re reading something that you know the ending of. Romances are especially easy rereads for me because even on a first read you know the couple will get together—it’s the journey that’s intriguing. But a well-written suspense or mystery is fine, too. You see nuances of the story that you might not have noticed on the first read. And sometimes the characters are just so amazing it’s like visiting with old friends.
I’ve slowly curated my collection of physical books over the years. Now, I only keep (and buy) books I know I’ll be rereading. Some of them are from my childhood. I had to buy new copies of my Lord of the Rings books because I reread them so often the paperbacks were wearing out. And my Anne of Green Gables series is almost as worn – I think I’ve read it more often than LOTR but I took better care of it. Then there’s my Rex Stout and Dick Francis collections, of course.
Ebooks are great for re-reading, since they never wear out LOL! I own all of Courtney Milan’s historical romances as ebooks and have reread them numerous times, along with books by Jennifer Cruise, Susan Elizabeth Phillips and Eloisa James. And while I have the Outlander series in physical form, I also bought it in ebook – Jamie and Claire’s story is simply so massive that having them digitally makes it easier to reread.
As for rereading books at a certain time of year, I don’t think I do that. But I do go through stages when I can’t find anything new to enjoy and I fall back on my old favourites as comfort reads. Sometimes the world feels too uncertain to take a chance on anything new, and an old book friend is the best way to go.
Now, on to Christina Alexander, the instigator of this topic, who is next in the blog hop.
The honor of your presence is requested by The Earl and Countess of Stapleton at their house
party to celebrate TWELFTH NIGHT. Festivities include: a titillating masked ball, ice skating, a
romp in the local village, a naughty treasure hunt, midnight kisses in the garden and the Twelfth Night Ball where holiday magic brings about seven perfect matches.
This week only, the holiday anthology ONCE UPON A TWELFTH NIGHT is only 99 cents!
It includes "A Twelfth Night Wager" by Christina Alexandra.
After spending half her life in service, lady's companion Adelaide Shipley longs for a modest life of her own making. But a midnight wager with Win Maddox has her dreaming of more. Losing to the silver-tongued barrister would cost her everything, but winning could lead to her dreams coming true forever.