by Christine | Writing
My publisher has me polishing up the three Caine novels for a re-launch (new covers!), and adding or extending the books. Books 1 and 3 (Demon Soul and Demon Rage) have epilogs…book 2, Demon Hunt, has an extended ending, and I was so excited to revisit this world!
shhh….possible new cover design! Not sure yet!
As a teaser, here’s a bit of the new section of Demon Rage…hope you enjoy!
Kellan wasn’t hers, despite what she may have thought around the time of the Solstice. Despite the longing that surged through her veins every time she saw him. She’d just have to put on her big girl panties and deal with it. Let him go.
She knew it, but every part of her rebelled against that course of action.
Sighing, Aubrey continued to the great room.
The lights were off. Kellan sprawled in one of the chairs in front of the fireplace, his chin resting on his folded hands. He’d added wood to the coals and now the fire crackled and burned, sending out welcome warmth.
Aubrey kept walking to the mantel, ignoring the heat of Kellan’s gaze. She collected the first candle at the end farthest away from him, moved to the middle candle.
Kellan’s voice was husky.
“Yeah.” She didn’t look at him, just moved to the last pillar candle that brought her within touching distance of him. Added it to the other two, now cradled against her chest. “Megan thought the scent would be soothing.” She finally chanced a quick look at him and the pain in his eyes caught at her heart. “Kellan.”
“Don’t.” The planes of his face looked carved of stone. “You’re going to take the job with my cousins, aren’t you.”
Everything inside her stilled. “Yeah, I am.”
“Good. They need the hand.”
“You could stay, you know. Help out. They need you, too.” Fuck. She hadn’t meant to say that. “Never mind. I know you’re already out the door. You need to get back to the desert. I’m sure the cacti miss you.” She headed to the door. Every step she took felt like a thousand.
He waited until she was at the doorway before he spoke.
“I can’t stay. You’re better off without me. Safer, without me.”
Internally she writhed. So he’d known of her crush. Damn it. She turned and drew herself up to her full height. “Thank you, so much, for clearing that up.”
“See, your words sound all right, but the tone? That’s the queen telling off her subordinate. Pissy, highborn queen, lacerating the lowly worker in front of her.” His voice had taken on an insolent tone.
She knew he was trying to make her angry, to burn out the feelings, and deep down, a part of her appreciated it. But the surface of her blazed hot with pain. She threw a candle at him, hitting him in the chest.
“Bastard. You don’t get to just waltz out of here, wreaking havoc in my life as you leave.” She was proud of her controlled voice even as she threw another candle at him, this time catching him on his shin.
“So while you sit over there, feeling sorry for yourself, and all righteous macho-ness as you sneer at me, just know one thing.” Aubrey hefted the last candle and eyed Kellan, who hadn’t taken his gaze off her.
Her voice deepened. “You are never. Getting. Rid. Of. Me. This I swear. I will be there when you need me, whether you want me there or not. This I swear. I will be a burr on your ass, a thorn in your side, a glass of water when you’re thirsty, a crown on your head. This I swear. You can run from me, but I will always find you. This I swear.” She lifted her chin and set the third candle on the mantel in a carefully controlled gesture.
“I’m leaving, as it’s past time for me to figure out my life. You can take the candles up to Rose, who undoubtedly has need of them by now. And when you are asked where I am, you will tell them the truth. That you drove me away while Rose is giving birth, but I will be back. When it comes to you, I will always come back.”
She blinked then, wavered a little on her feet. “Yeah, all of that.” Aubrey turned and this time didn’t stop when he called her name. Instead, she went to the bedroom that she’d been assigned, packed up her stuff, and let herself out of the house she had dangerously begun to think of as home.
So, shhh…Kellan and Aubrey’s story takes a new twist. They’re the kickoff in my new series, A Covenant of Witches – The Hidden One, which will release for a limited time in December. More news to come!
Haven’t read a Christine Ashworth book yet? Check out her Amazon Page…and may your day be filled with good things.
by Christine | Observations, Writing
I know, I’ve been sporadic on my blogging again, so sorry. But something in me (or the universe) has shifted, and the words are getting demanding again. Projects are piling up, and I’m carving more time out of my downtime to getting the words done.
This time around, I’m hitting up coffee shops after work to grab an hour (or two, or more). It’s strange to come home after a session and be high on caffeine when I should be winding down for the night.
Cafe au lait at the JumpCut Cafe
Here’s the skinny. I’ve got two more books in a brand new contemporary romance series that I need to write this year. I’ve got two shorter, short novella-length stories I need to finish because they’re just cool – those are more along the paranormal lines. Plus, I have two more pieces – one novella and one novel – to finish to complete the first Caine Brothers series.
Hence, hiding in coffee shops. The JumpCut Cafe is in Studio City and is one of my favorite places to write, because I’ve been going there to write or talk about writing for over ten years, back when it was Lulu’s Beehive. The only bad thing? It closes at seven.
So for now, I’m haunting various Starbucks and Coffee Beans, looking for a non-chain cafe that stays open past nine.
In other news, I really need to start a Street Team…anyone interested out there? If so, let me know. And sooner or later I need to start a newsletter, too…there is just so much to do beyond the writing it’s scary, somewhat.
So if I miss posting here, you know why. Words. I’m getting them down as fast as I can.
Street Team! Interested? Let me know in the comments below. And if you’re not interested, that’s fine too – I know how busy we all are. Squishy hugs to you all!
by Christine | Observations, Writing
What Do I Want?
In August, I had the pleasure of going on a writer’s retreat with the East Valley Authors chapter of Romance Writers of America. The speaker that day was the talented Shannon Donnelly, and her focus was on storytelling (which also included writing well-rounded characters).
What really stuck with me was something that I’m using in my personal life now. As I get older, and as the family dynamic around me changes, and as I spend more time getting comfy with the hour of 2 am during bouts of insomnia, I find myself dissatisfied with certain areas of my life; so Shannon’s story question became personal for me.
I asked myself the question. What do I want?
Insert Superficial Answer Here
When I ask myself that question and I’m at the Day Job, and it’s almost lunchtime, 99% of the time my answer will be the Beef Panang from Vic’s Thai. No, seriously. It’s THAT GOOD.
But when I stuffed myself with Beef Panang and asked myself the question again, I came up with a different answer. And it got deeper (the way it’s supposed to) when I applied Shannon’s method of divining character motivation.
What do I want? – A life free of day-to-day financial worry. (And Beef Panang from Vic’s Thai.)
What do I Really want? – The ability to travel to foreign countries with my husband.
What do I Really, Really want? – To hit all the bestseller lists with my novels.
What do I Really, Really, REALLY want? – A successful career in writing that enables me and my family to live without the day-to-day financial worry, whether that career be in novels, playwriting, writing for the movies, or TV.
Of course, there’s a second part to this.
Who am I willing to kill What am I willing to do to get what I want? But that’s a post for a different day.
What about you? What do YOU want? Sound off!
by Christine | Cooking, Life, Observations
It really does take skill to kill a perfectly grown cabbage, but I apparently have that skill down pat. But let me ease you into the horror…
Here’s a photo of my beautiful ruby cabbage, just after being picked.
The garden haul on June 8th. Ruby red cabbage, squash, potatoes, and bell peppers. Yum! (Tomatoes in the background are from the 7th of June)
It was a great day to harvest in the garden. I decided that the cabbage was looking a bit “done” with growing, so decided that Sunday was The Day. I didn’t have a clue as to what to do with it, but I didn’t want the bugs or whatnots getting to it before I could, so I decided to deal with how to fix it later.
When I picked said cabbage, I found the plant marker that came with it when we bought it, and on the back side was a delicious recipe for sweet and sour ruby red cabbage. Perfect! The Answer to my Prayer! How could I go wrong?
It’s An Art. Ruining Cabbage.
No, seriously. I can usually make anything taste good, but I’ve found you need to pretend to follow the directions. Especially in regards to proportions. (Who knew?!)
Okay, so the recipe goes like this – 1 2lb red cabbage, sliced thin (about 12 cups); 1/4 c butter; 6 Tbsp sugar; 2/3 c balsamic vinegar; salt & pepper. And proceed as you would expect.
I fell in love with the patterns inside the cabbage.
The problem? I had one cabbage. Not two pounds. Certainly not twelve cups. But I forged ahead anyway. Pan? Check. Melted butter? Check. Cabbage? Check. In it all went, along with the sugar.
Cabbage, simmering in butter and sugar.
Six tablespoons of sugar didn’t seem like a lot until I was on tablespoon four. And then suddenly, six seemed like too many. But I’d put in the requisite 1/4 cup of butter, so the six tablespoons of sugar seemed necessary. So I went ahead and did that. As well, I added the 2/3 cup of balsamic, stirred it, put it on low and covered it. Thirty minutes? Seemed like a lot of time, but okay.
By this time, the house started to smell like cabbage. With a heady balsamic scent, yes, but…unmistakably cabbage. I began to remember why I liked my cabbage in salads.
I’m not totally sure what happened after that, but I think I was on the computer. Or maybe I was reading…At any rate, the buzzer went buzz and I went to check on my masterpiece.
Um. Well…crispy. Crunchy. Kind of like molasses-covered, fried-in-butter cabbage, only not really. The juices were thick and black as tar. The cabbage was either burned, crispy, or raw. (Not sure how that happened.) I served it at the dinner table, because I wanted the boys to understand that even Mom has a bad day cooking but you should try everything once.
We tried it. I tossed it. A novelty dish that threatened the health of your teeth AND tasted of cabbage? Yeah, no.
(I will say the EPA came around that night, having got wind of something unusual on their smell-o-radar coming from my house. After insisting it wasn’t my youngest son’s room with its dirty laundry, I confessed about the cabbage. They took it away to study. Better them than me!)
Here’s the sticky mess, in all it’s glory…I snapped this photo before the EPA took it away.
Carmelized cabbage. A new taste treat? Prolly not…lol!
Eldest son spent most of Monday afternoon scrubbing the tar – I mean, the carmelized balsamic – out of the pan I cooked it in. He napped for almost two hours afterward, poor dear. And so the carmelized cabbage goes into the family notebook about bad dishes served with enthusiasm. My hubby still teases me about the Spam casserole, and that was 35 years ago!
So what disaster in the kitchen have you had recently, or has someone served you? Let’s laugh!
And just for fun, ANYONE who wants one can have an e-copy of either one of my books (or both!), Demon Soul or Demon Hunt, and my short short, Blood Dreams. Just let me know, leave me your email address, and I’ll send it to you!
~ Until the next time, cheers! ~
Demon Soul and Demon Hunt are available for the Kindle and Kobo! Have you fallen into the Caine Brothers’ world yet?
by Christine | Life
It was not quite a Retreat For One, but it was close. Unfortunately, this morning I am racing against the clock to get everything done and to work on time (too late!), so all I’m posting is this one photo and a teaser…
Photo taken by Tom Ashworth
My Adventure really started very close to home, took almost six hours, and has changed my mind about how to get to the airport from now on. Any guesses? Most creative answer will WIN something! (Don’t know what yet, but it will be something, lol!)
~ Until the next time, cheers! ~
Demon Soul and Demon Hunt are all available for the Kindle and Kobo! Have you fallen into the Caine Brothers’ world yet?