April brings more than showers this year…

That’s right! I’m announcing the arrival of two new bouncing baby books in the next several weeks. I hadn’t planned for them to come out at the same time, but…who’s complaining? Not me!

First, check out book two in the Clan Elves of the Bitterroot series, THE ELF CHILD. It’s available at Amazon.com in ebook form, at Qoop.com in hardback, and currently at Createspace in paperback, but to Amazon and Barnes and Noble within the next few weeks. Here’s a little teaser for it:

  The moment Astan Hawk accepts his clan’s challenge to protect the young Elf Queen Jelani, trouble dogs his heels. Jelani’s human upbringing clashes with clan tradition and spurs dangerous intrigues within the Circle of Elders.
   Seeking revenge against Jelani for the loss of his mentor Bartolomey, outcast Grigor Biren finds powerful elf mages deep within the forest and sets out to prove himself worthy to learn their secrets.
     When Astan finds that his father Daven supports the agenda of the Circle, he has no choice but to turn to Jelani’s human friends for help.  Paranoid Crispy, empathetic Iris, and computer whiz Lane complicate Jelani’s unexpected pregnancy and the young queen’s attempts to rule her people. After the child is born, everything that could go wrong does.
     Can Astan carry through on his promise to keep Jelani safe when the whole world seems to have turned against them?

Hardback available at Qoop. Ebook at Amazon, Omni-Lit and Fastspring…more to come!

Urban Fantasy not your thing?  Try a little gritty romance in the New Mexico desert.

After a run of bad relationships, Lily Pearl Evans has finally become an independent woman. In the New Mexico desert town of Chaparral, she works for herself, sets her own rules, and is determined no man will hold her back again.

Gene Nicholas worked for more than a decade to achieve his dream to be a doctor. Wanting to share his gifts with those less fortunate, he leaves south Florida to volunteer for Doctors Without Borders in Mexico.

When Gene provokes a showdown with the local Mexican drug cartel, he becomes a man with a price on his head. On the run, he ends up on Lily’s doorstep–a mystery man forced to conceal his past to protect them both. With the cartel’s dangerous web drawing tight around them, can Lily and Gene survive a drug lord’s revenge?  (check the link for an excerpt)

But I’m not taking the rest of the month off. I’ve got another romantic suspense in final edits for TWRP, a science-fiction novel under consideration at Spectra/DelRay, and The Elf Mage is reeling out nicely too.

Now if I could only get my personal life to fall into place….life could be perfect.

Drop by the blog of Emma Lai for my post on how writing helps keep me sane in an insane existence…

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Where’s Bob Barker when you need him?

So now here’s a pretty lame excuse for staying home to watch the NCAA basketball tourneys: male sterilization.

Yes, the trendy new way to get yourself a few days at home on the couch to watch the March Madness extravaganza is to schedule your vasectomy.

Various medical practices have pitches like:  Come in before the tournament, and come out with your vasectomy and a survival kit: coupons for free delivered pizza or other food discounts, a sports magazine, and a bag of frozen peas (for recovery, not for dinner).

(Why peas? Because they pack in real good around your stitches and help with the swelling, apparently.)

I’m all for male participation in contraception, along with spaying and neutering anything that might accidentally procreate. I guess, if it comes with a side of B-ball, who can complain?

Le bon temps, for sure

I paid a visit today to Little Miss’s classroom today to talk about Mardi Gras. The students were attentive and interested, even if I don’t think a lot of them understood it.  Little Miss was my Vanna White, holding up papers, showing memorabilia, and so on, but the best part were the throws. Not long ago we found a whole bag of throws buried in a closet from our trip back in 1998, with all sorts of Krewe doubloons, beads and Krewe markers. (The Geaux cups we use all the time at home.)

So we divided the bag into three sections, one to go to school with Little Miss and me, one to go to school with the Cabana Boy for his students, and a third to go to the courthouse with me, to brighten everyone’s little corner of the world. It was a delightful way to add a bit of special color to people’s lives on a dreary late winter day.

The beads also brought back some great memories from our first visit to Mardi Gras all those years ago, when myself, B and K were welcomed like family at the home of my old newspaper reporter pal Hank and his wife. Though he and Teri have moved on since Katrina in many ways–he’s now a novelist like me!– our gratitude for that visit still shines as bright as any of the gold, green and purple beads we handed out today. Happy Mardi Gras, one and all!

Idylls in the south

We took a trip south for a brief respite from the cold. adding in a short visit with the in-laws and a stop in Asheville to see K’s new apartment and to meet the son of her steady girflfriend.

The in-laws, of course, complained about the cold as we stripped to T-shirts and sandals, as we enjoyed a few meals together and a visit to Hollywild Animal Park.    Because it’s still winter, we had limited access to animals, but everyone seemed to enjoy feeding the hooved ones old bread. Thy had longhorn steers, a donkey-zebra mix breed, all sorts of cows and even a white buffalo.

Here’s most of us , Memaw, aunt, cousins by the handfuls. And the Cabana Boy, looking suave. (Special thanks to him for editing these photos so I can post them all. It’s been a nightmare. 🙂  Thanks! )

After the animals, we had a picnic at Cleveland Park, which the folk said was family-friendly during the day, but at night was taken over by assorted people (and women) of the night. Nice to be sitting in the sun! That’s all I was worried about, for sure.

 The  high point of Cleveland Park is usually the train, but it was closed for the 50-degree winter. Ha!

 

Dr. Doo-Be-Do in particular, took charge of watching over his little cousins, and even flirting a little. He’s definitely girl-oriented. But they didn’t seem to mind.

The next day, K wangled us several surprises, including a free tour of the Biltmore house in Asheville. We had the audio extras–definitely worth it– and enjoyed the whole multi-floor building. I was grateful it wasn’t my house though. No wonder they needed a staff of thirty!

        You couldn’t take pictures

inside, but outside it was gorgeous. No gardens yet, but I understand that in the next several months as the spring flowers, then the summer flowers come in, the gardens and greenhouses will be a thing of beauty indeed.

Our second surprise was a lunch at The Stable restaurant on the grounds. So named because it used to BE the Stable back in the day. Some of the ironwork of the individual stables is still there. The food was fabulous. The butternut squash soup was creamy and smooth, and permanently etched in my mind. The special of the day was a vegetable quiche, which the Cabana Boy ate, since he’s a Real Man. 🙂 

K’s manager and all the staff were delightful to us, stopping by to tell us how proud they were of K (Us, too!) and to make sure we had just everything we needed. Thank you all for making our visit so extra special. AND for the creation of K and her friends shown here to the right– a sampling of the incredible desserts available at the Stable: lemon meringue pie, cherry cobbler, spice cake with homemade caramel ice cream, and best of all, a chocolate fudge pudding that was like PURE chocolate. And a special signature K described as “the kind of sweet tattoo I’d get on my shoulder.”      Right on.