Changes!

Hello!  

How are you?

I am doing better since my last post.  

I came through Term 1 with a 4.0 average and I look to be going that way again this term.  Mid-term grades come out next week, just before Reading Week.  I don’t know what I will do for reading week, I do know I will not be making a trip.  

Perhaps, just perhaps, I work on some research for these changes I’m about to show you.  

In Demon Plague, HW2, there came a visitor to the pack home, a large African Jaguar shifter by the name of Sentwali.  He wanted Anna, Liam and company to go to the Congo to save them from a witch stealing their shifter magic.  Anna and Liam agreed, though they stated they couldn’t go until after they’d helped find justice for those massacred at Glen Coe so many years ago.

I was struggling with the research because there is little available (that isn’t government or scholastic) information that would help me gain a feel for what it’s like to be in the jungle and on the waterways that run through it.  I was determined but it still wasn’t happening.  

I argued with myself for months about making Sentwali  from somewhere else.  I didn’t want to change the book, especially one that’s been published.

Now, I have to say a couple things:

  1. If you purchased the book already, the copy you have is now special.  Out of print.  
  2. I am much more excited about HW4 now.

Sentwali is now Damir, a Sabre Tooth Tiger shifter from Belarus.  The premise remains but the locale differs.  He’s still a large man, but almost as pale as Sentwali was dark.  

The new edition has gone out on Kindle and Createspace and will be available in print on Amazon in the next few days. 

I am satisfied with the arrangement and more eager to begin the research.  It’d be cool if I could go to Belarus to do the research (a terrifying prospect for the Congo!).  A brief search already yeilded much in the way of visuals and links to locations.  Maybe I will narrow down which part of Belarus he is from while on my short break from school.

There you go!

Today, it is hovering just around freezing.  We’ve had freezing rain, snow, wet snow and general dampness.  I saw some photo ops and went to see if I could manage any decent ones.  I did get the most perfect shot.  I am going to share it with you.  

I have to go.  Have a wonderful week!  And remember that Valentines Day isn’t just about your romantic partner, it’s about the people you love.  All of them.  

Muah!

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A Spider, an Event and a Freebie

Good morning!

On Saturday, I did two things and I’ll talk about about the second one first because it’s really cool and really creepy.  

Talk?  Nah… I’ll show!

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Isn’t he wonderful?

He’s creepy, yet fascinating.  

Okay, mega-creepy.  I do not like spiders anywhere near me, which totally does not explain why I got so close to that one.  Zoom is a wonderful feature for a camera too. *laughs*   The lighting and his position were just perfect and I needed it.

Just like I needed this one:

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Beautiful, busy bee.

It amazed me that I managed to catch him, he was, well, busy.  I love the detail in these two pictures.  A friend of mine suggested that I enter two photo contests.  One is the Lambton County guidebook cover contest and the other is a macro contest for National Geography, I think.  I might use one of these two for that NatGeo contest and this one for the Lambton County contest.

The other thing I did was attend an author signing called Ignite Your Soul Author Event 2016.  It’s the third year they’ve been in London (mine, not England’s) but the first time I’d heard about it.  And the only reason I heard about it is because my friend Sue – a bestie from high school – told me she was attending.  We hadn’t laid eyes on each other in 21 years so what was I to do?  

I spent three hours getting toxed stupid, laughing my ass off and meeting some wonderful people.  I have several new books to read, a lead on a couple of publishers and a call to submission that could prove incredibly lucrative if I’m accepted.

I’m not going to talk about that last one though.  It’s my secret until I actually make that submission. 

What else have I done recently?  Why, I started school on the sixth.  I started out with a full load because I’m home and I’m smart, right?  

Pfft.  Thanks to Fibro and MCS I no longer learn like I used to.  I don’t learn as easily and I don’t learn the same way.  I take copious notes to prove to myself that I get it and because it’s easier to remember if I read it and write it.  So it’s taking me 2 or 3 times as long to get through everything.  I’m down to 3 courses per term now and it’s better.  I’m enjoying what I’m doing better.  And I’m not missing anything anymore. 

I’d rather succeed more slowly than not at all.  My business idea has huge market potential and I want to do it and do it well.

What’s your dream?  What are you doing to make it a reality?

I gotta hit the accounting book again.

Oh, wait!  I almost forgot!

Because I’m so damn happy with Saturday’s event, even though I was there as a consumer, not a creator, I decided to put Witch Hitlist up for free again!  If you didn’t manage to grab it last time, now’s your chance!

GET IT HERE!

Enjoy your day, folks!

Muah!

 

A Swan Song

Good evening!

I just had to share some of my favourite pictures with you.  I know that it’s been a while so I will catch you up but first, these completely and totally awesome photos.  

Last weekend, when I was in Grand Bend, I turned from the BBQ and what did I see?  

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Swans and their cygnets!

They wandered into the backyard to pick at the weeds and grass, not entirely sure why they went for a walk, they have a pond about two blocks away.  We were quite delighted to see them for the cygnets were adorable in their ugliness and the parents fierce in their protectiveness, though they were quite relaxed here.  They stayed about ten minutes before wandering off across the street.  

This summer, my daughter decided that her dog needed to live with us full time, rather than her dad, so she could train her and try and get some of her worse behaviours under control.  It’s fallen to me to walk the dog first thing in the morning, invariably just as the sun is coming up.  

So I’ve been appreciating the walks.  I get to see things that a lot of people don’t that early in the day.  We go to the same spot, because it’s easier on me to take her out on the long leash and mostly stand there (sometimes we walk, but it’s before breakfast and before my pills).  I was watching the progress of a large thistle bloom until the municipality mowed everything down on the hillside, I listen to the birds waking up and take time to look for the little things.  Which led to two of three of my most favourite pictures ever.  

 

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This snail resting on the slab of sliced off tree.

Which the dog decided to explore…

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And, thankfully, decided wasn’t food.

My third favourite picture is one I took just this evening after we dropped Girlkid off at work.  We went to the beach to take a gander at the water.  I love the beach when it’s windy and on the edge of being stormy (and when it is stormy).  The colours and movement of the water are amazing.  

The Boyfriend sat down to enjoy the view while I wandered down to the water’s edge then up the pier and around to the boardwalk.  Came up from behind him and saw a picture that had to be taken.

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It was a peaceful moment.

So, those are my favourite moments from the last little while.  

And now, time to catch up!

I decided not to write July Camp, for reasons that are my own, and chose instead to edit HW2.   I’m 43 pages from the end!  That means that it will be published, barring any unforeseen circumstances, on August 1st.  

And THAT means free books! The HW1 ebook will be made available for free for three days (maybe more, depends on mood and options *laughs*).  I will probably make Lizendale for free too.  And then I will begin the research for HW4 and the slow, painful process of editing both HW3 and A Year in the life of S. Claus.  

I don’t have the plot set for HW4 and I am hoping that the research will give me some inspiration for the rest of it.  

AND I have decided to go back to school.  Hopefully, I’ll be starting in September.  I plan on being a busy girl.  The government finally acknowledged that I AM disabled (we knew that, eh?) and that relieved so much pressure in my head, released a huge cloud of depression and anger that was hanging over me that I wasn’t even wholly aware of.  

Happy days!

Time for me to go to bed.  Have a grand night and a great weekend!

Muah!

 

Brrrr

Sand and snow and water

So pretty, oh so pretty

It is storming today and looks nothing like the above photo (taken last month).  It looks more like this:

Snow Storm

Crappy. Blowy. Colder than a witch’s elbow.

I’m not entirely sure about that particular expression but with a windchill of -31*C (-23.8*F) I’ll use it.  It’s one of my Dad’s go-to expressions. *laughs*

I, who refuses to go out if it’s eight below, got dressed up and went outside to take pictures.   I put on jeans, a long sleeve tee, two pairs of socks, ski pants (snow pants?), my boots, a vest, a heavy sweater, scarf, gloves, snowmobile minutes, a hat and my coat.   I think I gained five pounds just in fabric and insulation.  

I trudged around looking for photo ops and ended up taking eighteen photos.  Not all of them made it to the folder but I wanted share what I like best with you.  Pull on a sweater and take a look!  

(I’m wearing a heavy sweater over my clothes and a large down sleeping bag as a blanket. 😀 )

First up, I gotta say, snow is hard to get focused on when you’re using a lower end camera (The Olympus D-700)  Snow is white, it reflects light [painfully] and makes it difficult for the camera to focus.  (She says like she knows.)  I may not know the mechanics (yet) but I do know that all of the pictures came out with a kind of soft focus.

So, I turned to the backyard when I stepped outside.  The first thing I saw was, well, snow.   It was on everything, everywhere.  Kind of the point to a snow storm, eh? 😉    We have a row of bicycles locked up to the trailer-cum-workshop and they were intriguing.  The shapes, the light, and the shadows all pulled me.  

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I want to ride my bicycle! (And the musical reference is)  …Not. I’d freeze to it.  

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The snow is giving me the gears. (*cackle*) See how off the focus is?  It appears out of focus, kind of makes my eyes argue with me about what’s being seen.

On the other hand, I like the contrast of light and dark,  the white and black.  I like how even the jagged edges are soft yet still menacing. The whole thing just makes me happy, even while I’m infuriated by the lack of sharpness in the focus.

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See? Lack of focus.

And yet, it looks like  the sky on a cloudy day.  It’s snow on a fence.

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Like this.

The snow is so sticky that it just…. foomp…sticks to whatever like fake snow.  The side of the car, the fence, the front door and the living room windows.   It’s kind of awesome (even if it did pull power lines down).

I got heavily involved in light and shadow today (how could you not?) and I’m in love with a couple of the shots.

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This is at the top of the private stairs. The horizon and the lake are one.

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This one is almost Yin Yang in its awesomeness. Hints of light in the dark and dark in the light.

And then there’s this…

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…my absolute favourite.

I love the texture in this one.  The spiky needles, the curves on the pine cone and the roughness of the branches in the background.  It is, as Val says, Christmas card worthy.  

And that’s it, folks.  We are still in the throes of our wee storm and I’m on tenterhooks about the power going out.  I’m off to make soup and get scraps of chicken for the cat that roams the neighbourhood.  

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and take good care of your loved ones.

Muah!

It’s That Time of Year…

…when good feelings abound.

…when family gets together.

…when food is made in abundance.

…when gaily wrapped boxes and funky or cute bags full of goodies appear.

…when depression becomes it’s strongest.

…when the poor feel their empty wallets more keenly.

…when people acquire debt they can ill afford. 

Yule

Yule.  A Google find.

To me, the Yule season is about family.  It’s about showing the love you have for the people in your life.  It’s about gratitude come to life; gratitude that is shown in the hugs, the kisses, the food and warm drinks shared.  

It’s about showing the Gods, (whatever you call them – God, Yahweh, Allah, Isis, the Oak King), your gratitude for your life.  Regardless of your beliefs, this time of year shines with family and love. 

It’s about remembering why we’re here and why we do what we do.  

I have spent some time reflecting on my own family, my obligations, my needs and my hopes and dreams.  There are some things I’d like to change, others I’d like to give sharper focus to.  

Next week, we’ll talk about changes for 2016 and plans for the future.  

This weekend, I’m going to take some pictures with the new GorillaPod Action Tripod my daughter got me!  This is the only time I wish the water was on the east side of me, so I could take night pictures of the full moon on the lake.  It’s the first one on Christmas in 38 years and there won’t be another until 2034.  It’s worth spending some time looking at it, I think.  

But then, I love the moon. 😉

I hope that your holidays see you blessed with love and light, regardless of where you are or your financial station or your health.  Remember, take some time to ease the stress in your belly.  Breathe, enjoy having your family around you.

Muah

The Eyes Have It

Hello!  Happy Saturday!

I had planned on showing you the pretty things in my life, the flora, however, something else came up.  

My inspiration for these photos came to me in the blink of an eye.

My inspiration for these photos came to me in the blink of an eye.

 

Let’s face it, anyone who knows my blog knows that I’m addicted to nature photos.  I love the blooms, the riot of colour, the shapes and details at each phase of growth.  I am editing some sixty pictures for you.  

I will be nice and not bore you to death with 60 flower photos though. *laughs*  I will only share my favourites.

But last night I was getting ready for bed and noticed that my eyes were approximately four different colours.  That led me to wanting to see if I could capture it and THAT led The Boyfriend to wanting to photograph his eye too (seen above at its creepiest).  

My first attempt at trying to take a picture of my own eye ended up like this:

I did crop it some.

I did crop it some.

 

As you can see, I’m not exactly looking at the camera.  I tried to do some colour adjustments to get my iris to show its colours but the lighting in the bathroom was hard to work with.  You can see what I meant about the colour though.

So, because the angle was wrong, (and it wasn’t as close as I wanted before), I tried again.

Caught it this time!

Caught it this time!

 

Bam!  Look at the colours! The white lights are the bathroom lights, forgot to account for them in the angles.  They did allow me to get the colours though.  

Eyes are absolutely amazing in their colour variations.  You can have brown eyes that are the colour of milk chocolate, or dark chocolate, or so dark a brown they’re almost black.  Sixteen shades of blue, fourteen shades of green.  You can have eyes with several colours in them at once or eyes that change colour (like mine).  

Peter’s eyes are blue.  They’re an amazing blue, I like them a great deal.  But! He has blue tinted contacts, tinted so that he can see them if they go in the wrong place on his eyes.  He says they can be tinted any colour, just his are blue because his eyes are blue.

With the blue contact.

With the blue contact.

 

Even with not being able to adjust the colour properly (the lighting made the picture come out tinted yellow) you can see the depth of blue the contact creates.  His eyes are the thing I was attracted to first.

Without the contact.

Without the contact.

And without the contact they’re more like denim blue.  And you can see the starburst is more pronounced.  

His eyes have a wealth of history in them.  They often hold humour and affection for the people around him.  They are full of life and surrounded by the evidence that he has lived.  (And, by the way, he is seventeen years older than me.  It doesn’t make a whit of difference, generally.)

The next time you look in the mirror, see what you can see in your peepers.  What colour are they?  How many shades of that colour are in them?  Do they tell your story?

I hope mine tell people that I’m a survivor, full of humour and affection, and that they hint at the wealth of stories in my head.

I want to hear what you see!

Have a great weekend.

Muah!  

PS  The eyes will follow you wherever you go!  Just ask Tee. 😉

Photo Bonus!

A few bonus photos today! I love them and am too excited to wait for Monday.

The cat woke me at 5:45 this morning, pissing me off, of course. Letting me sleep in for 25 minutes doesn’t cut it. lol But it afforded me the beautiful foggy dawn picture here. Later, I went out to feed the squirrels and ran into two anchor lines for this gorgeous web. Of course I had to photograph it too.

Have a great Saturday. And to my Canuck followers – have a fantastic long weekend!

Muah!

Isn't it gorgeous?  I used the despeckle filter but it still looks slightly grainy.  It seems to work though.

Isn’t it gorgeous? I used the despeckle filter but it still looks slightly grainy. It seems to work though.

 

Spiders certainly are industrious!  One of the anchor lines was to the deck railing and the other to a chair.  Both distances were a good 6 feet.  I turned the saturation down to -80% or so and adjusted the hue just a bit.

Spiders certainly are industrious! One of the anchor lines was to the deck railing and the other to a chair. Both distances were a good 6 feet. I turned the saturation down to -80% or so and adjusted the hue just a bit.

 

For this one I did an auto contrast and the sharpen filter.  I adjusted the contrast and brightness a little more.  I'm quite pleased with it.

For this one I did an auto contrast and the sharpen filter. I adjusted the contrast and brightness a little more. I’m quite pleased with it.

 

Monday Medley – Pretties

Beauty day!

Beauty day!

Good Monday morning! 

This weekend was about contradictions for me – there were some really good things and some really crappy things.  I try to focus on the good so the crappy stuff doesn’t seem so crappy.  

For instance, Friday was so lovely that we sat on the porch with our feet up reading for a spell.  We could see the lake, hear the birds and see all the leaves and flowers waking up.  

Over the last couple of weeks the weather has inspired me to wander around with my camera to capture the blooms.  I was also inspired to do that while I was in a nursery, (Westland Greenhouses for the win. They have a wonderful selection and very knowledgeable staff.  One took a 5 second look at a picture and said, “OH!  I know what that is!), but we’ll get to those pictures.  First, my own gardens – and a couple from goldi’s garden.

The crocuses were my first blooms of the season.  I have this wonderful yellow...

The crocuses were my first blooms of the season. I have this wonderful yellow…

...and this great purple.

…and this great purple.

Even the bugs were starting to wake up a couple of weeks ago.

Even the bugs were starting to wake up a couple of weeks ago.

godli has some marvelous spring bulbs, like this magenta tulip.

goldi has some marvelous spring bulbs, like this magenta tulip.

And these double bloom daffodils.   This picture, by the way, isn't retouched at all.  The lighting was perfect, doncha think?

And these double bloom daffodils. This picture, by the way, isn’t retouched at all. The lighting was perfect, doncha think?

This is also my purple crocus.  I was messing with the hue & saturation sliders again.

This is also my purple crocus. I was messing with the hue & saturation sliders again.

This grape hyacinth is what happens when you go out in the early morning and forget that the flash is on.  I think it's a rather interesting shot but hey.

This grape hyacinth is what happens when you go out in the early morning and forget that the flash is on. I think it’s a rather interesting shot but hey.

We’ve also been to the beach a lot and there have been some really cool finds, like this conch shell.

It is less than two inches long.  And in 20 years of wandering that beach I've never seen another one.  Bits of oyster shells, lots of clam and mussels but never a conch.  I'm pleased with it.

It is less than two inches long. And in 20 years of wandering that beach I’ve never seen another one. Bits of oyster shells, lots of clam and mussels but never a conch. I’m pleased with it.

This weekend, the weather was just as mixed up as the events of my weekend.  We had a couple of rainstorms and I managed to take this wonderful picture of one coming in off the lake.  

I love this picture.  I would love a print of it.  A big print.

I love this picture. I would love a print of it. A big print.

When we went to Westland there were two plants I really liked.  I managed to take a couple of pictures.

This is the Purple Passion flower.  Apparently it's good for restless leg syndrome.  Yay Google.  GK says it's creepy as hell.

This is the Purple Passion flower. Apparently it’s good for restless leg syndrome. Yay Google. GK says it’s creepy as hell.

I forgot to find the name for this one and Google isn't helping - way to let me down this time!  ;)  It looked soft as silk. Also kind of creepy.  Reminds me of a jellyfish in a way.

I forgot to find the name for this one and Google isn’t helping – way to let me down this time! 😉 It looked soft as silk. Also kind of creepy. Reminds me of a jellyfish in a way.

I bought two 4

I bought two 4″ pots of this gorgeous little annual called Landmark Sunrise Rose Lantana. Apparently it’s a prolific bloomer. Plus it’s bright, sunny, very striking visually.

Today is a grey, humid, head-pounding day.  We’re waiting for storms that may or may not arrive.  The atmospheric pressure is intense.  Lots of fun. 

I am going to have lunch and then try to write and THEN I will get to some jewelry making.  I am going to make a healing talisman for someone today.  I think she needs it.  

Have a great Monday, folks. 

Muah!

Monday Medley – Wood

Good Monday morning, folks!  I know, “good Monday” seems like an oxymoron but there’s no reason for it to be.

As promised, here is the new weekly blog experiment.

I have failed big time at posting photo blogs on the weekends for quite some time now.  Part of that was because I wasn’t taking pictures worth noting.  Mostly, it’s because my weekends have been about shutting off and trying to feel better.  They are very much about spending time with The Boyfriend too.  The shutting down is about work, about doing for others, pretty much about doing anything outside of the two of us.

Sounds selfish, I suppose, but to me it’s about looking after me and looking after our relationship.

True, the spasms did break but it didn’t last long.  The only saving grace has been the yoga; it’s prevented the new round from being as bad as the first, so far.  However, lately, days like Friday, where my legs collapsed from under me again, and Saturday, when I spent the day in a fog of pain, barely able to walk, have been happening more and more.  Again.

Monday Medley is about photography.  It’s about the things I’ve found interesting – the subjects, the angles, the shadows and light, the lines – in the last week or so.  And while I do have a backlog of photos, we’re going to start this new experiment with photos from the last two weeks.

This week the theme is wood.  We spent a weekend clearing out dead branches from the bushes and some of the trees a couple of weeks ago.  We found some very interesting (to us, *laughs*) pieces of wood.  Gnarly bits of gnarled wood.  

The Boyfriend did an awesome thing with some of that wood that is a whole other post – he custom made me a cane.  It’s gorgeous.  It’s a prototype, an experiment, he says, but I adore it.  But that’s a show-and-tell for another day.

For now, the other bits we found and some of what he has done with it.  

After this, I am going to continue trying to get to know James, the new computer (an ASUS N551jk 15.6″) , and see if I can get some writing done.  James is still quite a lot toxic and is making me a little brain dead, so we’ll see.

On to the photos! 

A piece of driftwood I found on the beach.  I took the picture with the Rich Format on my camera then used Photoshop to enhance the colours.  I love the textures here.  I love birch trees for that.  They're always interesting to look at.  The fact that the bark is hanging on, still wrapped around the branch, even as the thing is being hollowed out strikes me as tenacious. Especially for a dead thing. ;)

A piece of driftwood I found on the beach. I took the picture with the Rich Format on my camera then used Photoshop to enhance the colours. I love the textures here. I love birch trees for that. They’re always interesting to look at. The fact that the bark is hanging on, still wrapped around the branch, even as the thing is being hollowed out strikes me as tenacious. Especially for a dead thing. 😉

This Rose of Sharon seed pod counts as wood, really!  I like the shapes and colours here.  The fact that the bark is hanging on, still wrapped around the branch, even as the thing is being hollowed out strikes me as tenacious.  Especially for a dead thing. ;)

This Rose of Sharon seed pod counts as wood… really! I like the shapes and colours here. 

We are not sure what this is.  It currently has a pale green bloom of some sort pushing out from the red.  Do any of you know what it is?  Do share, please.  It kind of popped up in the garden.

We are not sure what this is. It currently has a pale green bloom of some sort pushing out from the red. Do any of you know what it is? Do share, please. It kind of popped up in the garden.

Do you see the face?  *grins*

Do you see the face? *grins*

This one just had to be put in black & white so that the colours didn't distract from the lines.    I really like the patterns here.

This one just had to be put in black & white so that the colours didn’t distract from the lines. I really like the patterns here.

This one strikes me as Nature's way of throwing her femininity in your face.   The lines and curves are very sensual.

This one strikes me as Nature’s way of throwing her femininity in your face. The lines and curves are very sensual.

Have a wonderful day! 

Muah!

Fiction Friday Week 11

Good  morning, everyone.   Good Friday morning!  It is time for Fiction Friday!

This week has been busy.   It was Spring Break here, I took Monday as a long weekend at the cottage with The Boyfriend.  Tuesday, thankfully, I had to myself. It was a day of doing nothing, aka a “donada” day.  So, of course, I spent the day trying to figure out a gluten free pie crust.  Took me three hours to make that pie.  Thankfully, it was worth it. 

On Wednesday, we took GirlKid to Little Ray’s Reptile Zoo.  It was a lot of fun and had some really cool animals there.  I think our favourites were Kaiko the Cougar, (of whom I didn’t get very good pictures, sadly), Kara the Reticulated Python:

Isn't she gorgeous?  And huge!  Holy smokes.  Gorgeous colours, more of her tomorrow.

Isn’t he gorgeous? And huge! Holy smokes. Gorgeous colours, more of him tomorrow.

 

And the nameless, sticky-footed Crested Gecko.

Didn't know his name, sadly.

I’m not sure he had a name but isn’t he adorable?

 

It was a good time but toxic as fuck.  Not as bad as I expected, honestly, but still pretty bad.  The Boyfriend picked us up when we were done and he said we stank.  *laughs*  It’s always nice to hear “You two are pretty smelly.”

Yesterday I had my shots.  They’re not making improvements anymore, they’re maintenance but very helpful.  He admonished me for not doing the UCS exercises like I should be.  He wants to stretch the time between shots to more than two weeks. 

Me, I’m just happy that I’m up to two weeks.  

Now, I feel sludgy and achy – the chem exposures exacerbate the pain conditions – and tired.  My brain power kind of comes and goes like waves.  Which is why it has taken me three hours to write this blog. 

Needless to say, I haven’t gotten a lot of work done.  So, I’m going to share with you the HW3 chapter I wrote last week.  

I realized, while reading it through, that I hadn’t had them discover the current author of those smelly journals Marcus found.  I figured that definitely needed wrapped up.  As far as I’m concerned, if I, the author, have questions about a book I’ve written then my readers will too. 

I like the way I tied up that loose end.  I hope you will too.

And now, it’s time for me to go scoop the litter. *le sigh*  

Have a great day, folks!

Muah!

 

Chapter Forty

 A few days later, Anna was being fitted for her wedding gown.  She fretted as she turned and twisted in the mirror.  “Are you sure it will still fit for the wedding?”  She asked the question of all three women with her.

Annalise, the same Tiger who had been there for the shopping of dresses, smiled.  “Unless you’re carrying a litter, Miss Anna, it will.”

Anna blushed as Chelle and Jules burst into peals of laughter.  Annalise looked from one to the other, confused.  Then her face brightened and her mouth dropped open in shock.  “Oh my God!  It’s true?  You are having more than one?  There are rumours that you’re having anywhere from two to six!”

“Three!  Holy hell.  It’s just three.”  Anna shuddered at the thought of sextuplets.

“Oh my word!”  Annalise was shocked.  There were other rumours though and she burned to ask the questions brimming in her mind.  Her store had a strict policy of respecting their customers’ privacy and it wouldn’t do for her to ask anything.  Her store, her policy.  Then she shrugged mentally.  It was her store and her policy, she could break it if she wanted.  She met Anna’s eyes and opened her mouth.

Anna held up a hand.  When Annalise’s mouth closed Anna smiled.  “I know there are a ton of rumours and I cannot, will not, answer to all of them.  You may ask and I will give what answers I may.”

Annalise nodded.  She crouched down to pin the hem and thought.  “Is it true that you carry Demon now?”

“It is.”

“Will the children also be part Demon?”

“I don’t know.”

“Will they be both Vampire and Wolf?”

“I don’t know.”

“Will they be as magic as you are?”

“I’m not sure but if they are they will torment the entire pack from the moment they open their eyes.”  Anna grinned. 

All three women laughed and the bell over the door tinkled.  They looked over as a woman came in.  Her physique and posture suggested great strength and confidence but her expression was uncertain, hesitant, and maybe even a little fearful.  She looked over the women then her eyes rested on Anna.  “Are you Miss Anna Connor?”

Anna cocked her head, curious.  “I am.”

“The same one who was just in Ballachulish?”

At the question, Chelle and Jules both rose, coming to stand in front of Anna like a wall. 

“I am.”  Anna’s curiousity was up so she gathered her long skirts and stepped off the dais.

The newcomer through herself at Anna as her expression changed to one of relief and joy.  Chelle and Jules caught her, held her firmly between them. 

“No one touches the Alpha,” Chelle growled.

“Let her go, it’s fine.”  Anna waved them away and ignored Chelle’s glower.  “Who are you?” she asked the woman.  Chelle and Jules had released her but still stood beside her, shoulder to shoulder, crowding her, making it clear they still considered her a threat.

“My name is Julia Gilchrist.  My many-times-great-grandfather was Father Andrew.”  She paused, letting that sink in.

For a moment, Anna didn’t know who Julia was talking about.  Then it hit her.  “Oh my Gods!  You’re the journal writer.  You’re this generation’s crusader.”  She grabbed the woman’s hand and shook it.  “I am very pleased to meet you.  Your family’s attention to detail was amazing!”

Julia took the opportunity and hugged Anna.  “Thank you for ridding us of those monsters.  My family has been trying to find a way to get close to them for years.  My aunt was even in that house as a housekeeper but she couldn’t find a way to them in the daylight.  We lived in terror that they’d find out she was trying to find a way to kill them.  She told me that a few days ago Kristina had sent her away for a week.” 

Anna allowed the hug then led Julia to a small sofa and sat them both down.  “I thought only one of you was trained as a fighter in each generation.”

Julia nodded.  “That’s true but my aunt and I were very close.  After Grandda died she tried to help me continue with my training.  She insisted on the job.”   She sagged a little and rubbed a shaky hand over her face.  “Thank you so much!  Aunt Alice is all I have left.  I am so glad she’s alive.”

Chelle moved around just behind Julia and mouthed something at Anna.  Anna gave an almost imperceptible nod.  She patted Julia’s other hand.  “I am happy to be of service.  I was doing a favour for Alasdair and Elsie but I am pleased that your aunt’s survival was part of it.”

Julia paled.  “You were doing a favour for… But they’re dead!  They’ve been dead all these years.”

Anna nodded.  “They came to me and asked for help.  No one knew about you.  Their spirits and those of almost the entire clan had been trapped here since the massacre.”

Not one to dismiss anything, Julia still struggled to assimilate this information.  It finally sunk in and she studied Anna’s face, searching her eyes.  What she found there disturbed her.  She paled and shrank back.  “Wh…what are you?  Who are you?”

Chelle moved closer as Anna smiled gently.  “I am the Hybrid, my dear.”

“The Hybrid,” Julia whispered.  “We thought… oh my God.  We thought you were a rumour.  It couldn’t be real.  A Vampire and a Wolf.”  Her fascination with the supernatural, the lifelong drive to study it, came forward and she lifted a hand to touch Anna’s face.  Chelle’s low growl stopped her and she looked around at the others.  “That makes you Supernaturals too.”

Anna chuckled.  “Yes.  The growly one is Chelle MacMichael, pack Gamma for the Four Claw Pack of Glasgow, and the other steely eyed one who looks like she wants to cut your hands off is Jules Verne.”

“Like the author?”  Julia turned an appraising eye on Jules.

Jules sighed and rolled her eyes.  “Yeah, like that.  No relation whatsoever.”

Julia grinned at her.  “Still an interesting name.”

A reluctant grin broke through Jules’ reserve but she didn’t tell the other that she’d chosen the name as a teenager, when she’d run from home.  She had read everything written by Jules Verne that she could get her hands on so when she needed a new name, that was where she went for inspiration. 

Anna smiled and smoothed her hands over her skirt.  “What do you plan to do now, Julia?”  An idea had just occurred to her.

“I…I have no idea.  My entire life has been devoted to researching and hunting.  I don’t know what to do now.”  Julia looked crushed by the realization. 

“I may have an idea but I need to run it by my Mate first.  Do you have a number you can be reached at?”

“Well, I…”  Jules really didn’t know if she wanted to have any association with the Hybrid.  She was part Vampire after all and her first instinct was to kill.  She supposed that maybe Vampires were like humans – good ones existed alongside the bad ones.  With that thought in her head she nodded.  “Yes, do you have a piece of paper?”

Annalise went to get one and Julia watched the way she moved.  “She a Wolf too?” 

“No, she’s a Tiger.”  Anna chuckled when Julia’s mouth dropped open and her head twisted to follow Annalise’s progress.

“She definitely moves like a cat.  This is amazing!  I didn’t know there were so many different Supernaturals!”  Julia looked back at Anna, face excited.

“Perhaps you’ll soon be in a position to learn more.”  Anna rose.  “It’s been a pleasure to meet you, Julia.  Your journals were fascinating.  Your entire family is, and was, astounding and so brave.  I will be in touch.”

“Thank you, Miss Connor.  Congratulations on your wedding.  You look stunning in that dress.”  Julia allowed Chelle to lead her to the door.

Anna grinned broadly, pleased.  “Thank you!”  

Julia left and Annalise began to carefully help Anna out of the gown.  To their surprise, Anna looked about three months pregnant.  “Oh no!”  Anna nearly whimpered.  She rubbed her tummy.  “Please, please don’t get any bigger before the wedding!” she implored the babies.

Annalise looked from Anna to the gown and back again.  “Don’t worry, Miss Anna, it’ll fit.” 

“I hope so.”  Anna got dressed again, leaving the top button of her jeans undone.  She swore.  “Ladies, we’re going shopping.”

Chelle groaned and Jules grinned. 

PS.  I may or may not share Anna’s idea with you.  I may decide you have to read the book to find out. 😉