And the Winner Is…

3 07 2009

SUMMER2Afshan N! Congrats!

And thank you to everyone else who entered our Summer Fun Contest! We hope you’ll check back soon to see our next exciting contest!

(Afshan N, I’ll be contacting you privately to get the address you want your prize sent to.)





Better Late Than Never

2 07 2009

Cliché but none-the-less true. I am so sorry for my lack of posting on Monday. As Staci mentioned in her post last night, I totally forgot. For those who don’t know, my husband is currently in Officer Candidate School in Alabama, so I’ve been going solo with my 2 little girls (both under the age of 4) since the beginning of June. Needless to say, I’ve been a bit scatterbrained as of late. I never quite realized how much my hubby ACTUALLY did around the house, lol, but don’t tell him I said that! Now, back to my post…

June (as with all the summer months) have always been my “sweatin’ off the pounds” time of the year. I don’t know why, but there’s something about summer that’s always motivated me to get (back!) in shape. Maybe it’s the thought of being seen in a swimsuit with all those “winter pounds” still clinging to my butt, hips, and thighs that does it! 🙂 So far during the month of June, I’ve manage to shed 13 pds, and I have no plans on stopping there. I hope to surprise my husband when I pick him up in August. It’ll be fun to see his face when he sees me for the first time in 2+ months, and I’m 20 or so pounds lighter, lol.

I’ve tried to lose weight as part of my new year’s resolution, but when it’s cold outside, all I want to eat is steaming hot bowls of chili—loaded with crackers and cheese—and LOTS of hot cocoa. Not exactly contusive to weight lose! What about you? When is your best weight loss time?

IMG00030-20090629-1619For my addition for our Summer Fun Contest, I’m adding a couple fun trinkets I picked up in Savannah, GA while on a few well-earned days off during my AT (annual training) at Fort Gordon. (Yes, I’m military too!) Not sure the pics do them justice, but it’s a super-smoother whale-shaped stone and a small jar filled with blue sand and seashells. I thought they were too cute! Hopefully, you will too!

Anyway, guys and gals, I’m off to the gym and then to the post office to mail my hubby a letter and some pics of his girlies. (The poor guy has to “pay” 25 pushups for every stamp that’s on any letter he gets!) Good luck!

Jordyn loves to kill people—textually, of course.

Whether a chilling paranormal mystery or a hardcore military romantic suspense, she always writes from her heart, and she never spares her fictional heroes and heroines any pain. Her motto: What doesn’t kill her between-the-pages couple makes for one hell of a read!

She grew up an Army brat, and now, she has a couple Army brats of her own. She even married a fellow soldier. She and her sergeant hubby live in central Arkansas and are both members of the Arkansas National Guard.

You can visit her at her newly launched website www.jordyn-james.com to learn more about her and what’s new in her world.





We are Experiencing Technical Difficulties…

1 07 2009

Okay, maybe not so much technical difficulties as lack of communication. We discussed HOW we would choose the winner but we never actually discussed WHO would choose the winner. Oops! So here’s what we are going to do…

Jordyn will do a final “June” post tomorrow (she so kindly volunteered since she forgot to post Monday—shame on you, Jordyn, lol), and then, at midnight central time, the contest will officially be over. The winner will then be announced sometime Friday afternoon and the prizes mailed out that weekend (or whenever the winner gets us his/her address). Sorry for the delay! Oh, and since I never got a chance to blog this month, I never got a chance to post the prizes I put into the prize basket…

Summer Fun Prize

My first addition is this beautiful necklace. It’s a great addition for that beach outfit, but it’s lousy in a game of tug-o-war between your kids. (And yes, I know this from experience! Grr…)

The second is a colorful, beaded bookmark. I took a pic of this, but because of the plastic wrapping, it didn’t turn out very good. All you really see is the camara’s flash. In the center off the bookmark, there’s a “shoe charm” dangling off. It’ll add beauty and class to your reading experience, lol.

I’m sure you all know our contest rules by now, but if you’re new to The Write Direction, here they are again: you can enter our Summer Fun Contest by commenting on EACH of our June posts. Yes, that’s right.

Good luck!

~Staci

I found my love of writing later in life, after the tedium of my day job finally took its toll. Eight hours a day, alone in a tiny room with only the voices in my head for company, my mind journeyed to other places, spinning tales of love and happily-ever-after.

One day, I decided to put those stories to paper—well at least on the computer—and never looked back. Now, two children later, life isn’t nearly as mind-numbing as it was then, but somehow, I manage to find the time to write heart-warming stories somewhere between diaper changes, hissy fits, and skinned knees.

Please visit me at www.staciculver.com to learn more about me and to get a sneak peak at my upcoming release, J.D.’s Christmas Wish.





Warning: Hot Summer Nights Ahead—at Least They Could Be!

25 06 2009

If a June night could talk, it would probably boast it invented romance. ~~Bern Williams

As children, we lived for summer. No school. No homework. No worries. Two-plus months of pure, unadulterated fun. Then, we entered adulthood. With every wading step through the Workplace Swamp, our zest for summer dwindled and became a drain on our already depleted energy reserves. Isn’t it time we take back the summer season for ourselves–and for that special someone in our lives?  

Summer’s the perfect time to take advantage of the season’s long days and warm nights. They’re the perfect time for rekindling a relationship that got a little cold over the long winter months or connecting with that person you’ve had your eyes on for quite some time. And here’s a few activities to get you started:

  1.   Walk along the beach or on a hiking trail and enjoy the sunset.
  2.   Rent a convertible and go on a scenic drive.
  3.   Go on a moonlight picnic (but don’t forget the bug spray!).
  4.   Share an ice cream sundae in bed–or anywhere else you can eat it naked.
  5.   Dance under the stars to your partner’s favorite songs.
  6.   Go on a naked campout!
  7.   Plant a tree or rose bush together to serve as a visual reminder of the love you share.
  8.   Rent a movie, turn down the lights, and then don’t watch the movie!
  9.   Send your special someone an evite/invite for a midnight rendezvous.
  10.   Go for a boat ride.
  11.   Buy a smoothie maker and make daiquiris.
  12.   During a sudden summer rainshower, drag that special someone outside and dance in the rain—or just turn on the sprinklers!
  13.   Take your partner shopping and model “night clothes” for them.
  14.   Making a kissing date—just sit on the patio or some place secluded and neck like you were sixteen!
  15.   Ready your partner a sexy bedtime story.
  16.   Cook a romantic dinner…together.
  17.   Cut up a bowl of summer fruit, add a dollop or two of whipped cream, and then feed each other in bed.
  18.   Pick flowers together.
  19.   Write “sex horoscopes” for each other and then make them come true!
  20.   Leave/send your partner a sexy I.O.U.

 To go along with my post, I’m adding a “Love Coupons” booklet to our Summer Fun Contest. Enjoy!

Love Coupons

Remember, you can enter by commenting on EACH of our June blog posts! Good luck!

Scarlett Childs currently resides in The Natural State. Both a writer and reader of paranormal romance, she recently decided to indulged in her ‘forbidden’ love of erotica. Her first novella, His Final Seduction is available now from Samhain Publishing. You can visit her at www.scarlettchilds.com.





Mid-Summer Magic

15 06 2009

Sun1Next Sunday is the Summer Solstice, or as many of us celebrate it, Mid-summer’s Night. This magical night has played a part in literature from ancient times through today. It is a night supposedly filled with magic, sensual pleasures, and love.

 Mid-summer has become part of our traditions in many ways. Weddings have been traditionally held in June. Not only is it finally warm enough to take a bath in most northern climes (wouldn’t want the bride to run from the smell. Lol.), but June marriages were thought to be specially blessed by the fairies. The full moon in June is called the Honey Moon. Tradition holds that this is the best time to harvest honey from the hives (and from your sweetie too). 

Titania1Shakespeare found the idea of the magic of midsummer entertaining enough to write a play about it. Mistaken identity, magical transformations, and all the faces of love abound in this raucous romp. Though his Queen Titania rains chaos on humans throughout the night, in the end, love wins out with her blessings.

 grill1Summer is Party season, and who doesn’t love a party. Mid-summer is when festivals and celebrations reach a peak. Even today, in European countries, festivals abound from now through to the harvest season. In America, a plethora of fairs, city, county and state, can be found. And let’s not forget our national celebration, the Fourth of July. 

Elf CoverSo this week, in honor of summer fun, I’m adding one of my favorite midsummer themed books to the bag, Cheryl Sterling’s, What Do You Say To A Naked Elf?

Plain Jane Drysdale supplements her boring day job by selling sex paraphernalia at house parties. One night as she is speeding home, she tries to avoid running over a rabbit and crashes her car. She awakens to find she has gone through a portal into another world.  She’s accused of murdering Tivat, a shape-shifter who happened to be the rabbit she ran over. Her lawyer, Charlie is half elf, half fairy, and way too cute. How does Jane adapt to her unusual situation? Find out in this fun adventure through a fairy tale that’s all too real.

Keep checking back to find out what’s been added to the Summer Fun Tote. Every time you leave a comment you increase your chances of winning. We’ll draw a winner at the end of June.

WidowsPeak_w1019_680Hanna Rhys Barnes is one of those people with an evenly balanced right and left brain.  She has a BA in English, but recently finished her final year as a high school math teacher.  She loves to cook and was a pastry chef in a former life.

 A member of RWA’s national organization and of several local chapters, she currently lives and works in Portland, OR, but occasionally visits her retirement ranchette outside of Kingman, AZ

 Hanna’s Debut Novel, Widow’s Peak, is due to be released September 23, 2009 from The Wild Rose Press. She is currently working on Book 2 in the series, Kissed By A Rose.





To Market, To Market

8 06 2009

fruitAh summertime. Not your favorite time of year if you live in Arizona, like I used to. But if you live in Oregon, you can’t wait for May Day to roll around. Seasonally, May 1st is the beginning of Summer. If you live on a farm, your summer crops should, for the most part be in the ground. You’re early crops are ready for the farmer’s market. If you live in a city, you can’t wait for the market season to start.

 In Portland, if you’re looking for great seasonal food, you go to a farmer’s market. Every city in the Portland metropolitan area has a farmer’s market, and in Portland proper, almost every neighborhood has one as well. You can go to a different one every week all summer long and never hit the same one twice.

 

PDX Sat Mkt1On the other hand, if you are looking for non-food finds, the place to go is the Portland Saturday Market. From May through October, hundreds of artisans and other sellers ply their wares every Saturday and Sunday on the Portland waterfront. You can find almost anything there, from soap to small furnishing, jewelry to long bows. Artwork, herbs, silk dresses, metalwork, henna tattoos, almost anything you can think of, you’ll find it at the Saturday Market.

 

Well into the nineteenth century, the market used to be a place where people met and socialized as well as sold or traded their products and services. Even today, I see the most interesting people at the outdoor markets. Yes there are moms with kids and guys trailing along behind their girlfriends, but there are also, sword swallowers, gypsy dancers, women with fabulous recipes for soap and men who can tell you how to shape a strong bow. The summer markets have provided me with all kinds of information and characters that have ended up in my writing. Great stuff!

 

Here’s a market excerpt from Book Two of my Scorpion Moon Trilogy, Kissed by a Rose. Jamie Barnard, a knight visiting his mother, has decided he wants to pursue Sela de Crecy, his mother’s lady-in-waiting, but for reasons unbeknownst to him, she seems dead set against it. He finally gets her to agree to spend some time with him by asking her to show him the local village.

 

Jamie sat on the steps of the great hall. When Sela had come to get little Marie after dinner, he had reminded her of her afternoon appointment with him and she had promised to be there. He had managed to find a few flowers in what looked to be a small garden along the west wall. Genevieve had produced a blue ribbon of silk and showed him how to tie them into a posy. She had told him it was as easy as tying one’s own lacings, but his large fingers had fumbled with the delicate fabric. Now he nervously played with the awkward looking bow.

“Sir James.”

Jamie jumped to his feet as Sela hurried toward the steps.

“Please forgive my tardiness, my lord.”

“I was beginning to think you changed your mind,” Jamie chuckled as he fingered the silk ribbon.

“I promised to come. I keep my promises. Brother Jacob was a bit late today.”

“I see.” Jamie held out the small bunch of yellow and white flowers. “Un bouquet pour un fleur.

Sela blushed as she took the offering. “Merci, mon seigneur.” Her voice took on a rich tone as if speaking her natural tongue.

He knew for certain she had come from Normandy. “Are you native to France?”

Oui, mon seigneur. Je suis nee en France, mais Cymru dw I’n sydd cartref rŵan.

Jamie was surprised when she switched to the guttural sounding Welsh tongue. She was as fluent as the guards he heard around the keep. No wonder she had been able to go amongst the traitors so easily.

“Shall we go, my lord?” She easily slipped back into English as she put the flowers in the basket she carried.

“Aye, mistress.” Jamie offered his arm.

Sela smiled and laid her hand lightly upon it. “Thank you, my lord.”

“Thank you, mistress, for your time.” No longer quite so nervous, Jamie turned toward the front gate, wondering if the day could get any more pleasant.

* * *

Sela waved as they passed her friends in the village. They made their way through the winding streets and she introduced Sir James to all who stopped her. Most showed due respect to “Lady Cilgerran’s son,” but a few of the more common spoke as familiars. No matter how he was greeted, the knight took it well and each person was left on good terms. Finally they reached the village center.

Sellers packed the wide, open space around the well, leaving just enough room for prospective customers to see their wares. Farmers brought food they had grown on their plots. Men plied their trade, fixing a cauldron or mending a boot. Sela searched for her friend Maudwyn, the village weaver.

From a distance, Sela spotted the tall, thin, woman showing a customer a piece of green wool. “Wyn!” She smiled and waved.

Maudwyn looked up and smiled. “I shall be right wit’ ya.”

Sela smiled excitedly and looked over her shoulder at Sir James. “If you mind not, I have a special errand from my lady.”

“Please. Whatever you need do, mistress. I meant not to disrupt your customary day.”

  They wove through the crowd to Wyn’s cart. Sela looked over the lengths of cloth laid out in the back while the weaver collected payment from the woman who had decided to buy the green wool.

“Hello, my girl.” Wyn kissed both Sela’s cheeks. She turned to Sir James and looked from head to toe and back again. “Well, then. Who be your fine looking companion, dear?”

Sela blushed at the tease in her friend’s voice. “My lord, Sir James Barnard, might I introduce Maudwyn merch Griffydd.”

“Oh!” Wyn clumsily dropped to one knee.

The din around them fell silent as everyone nearby turned to stare.

“I beg yer pardon m’lord.”

As he had done to at least a dozen times that day, Sir James took the hand draped across her knee and lifted it to his lips.

Sela hid a smile behind her hand—it was now Wyn’s turn to blush.

“A pleasure.” Sir James helped the weaver to stand and the noise closed about them as everyone turned back to their own business.

“Wyn is the best weaver in the shire,” Sela bragged.  The red-haired weaver could make any kind of cloth, from a sturdy wool, so tightly woven as to shed water, to the finest linen, so soft it felt like silk.

Wyn laughed at the compliment. “Mi Da’ would have somethin’ to say ‘bout tha’.”

“Your father has not worked in almost two years now.” Sela said. “ I am sure he would not have given his loom over to you if you were not good enough.”

“He did na’ have much choice in the matter. His hands said no to the loom, so now he just stands over me jawin’ while I work. But, I know you did na’ come to hear me wailin’.”

“Did you complete it?” Sela asked as she leaned closer to the stall.

“Indeed I did.” From the bottom of a pile at the back of the cart, Wyn pulled a bundle wrapped in linen and tied with un-dyed wool yarn. The weaver handed her the package.

Sela could hardly wait as she undid the yarn and folded back the linen, revealing a stunning length of brocade.

“Oh, Wyn! ‘Tis the most beautiful piece I have ever seen.”

Sela rubbed her hand over the cream-colored cloth. Intricately woven embossed flowers had been hand painted golden yellow with green centers.

“Indeed ‘tis very pretty.” Sir James’ deep voice interrupted her reverie. “I cannot say that I have ever seen better, even at the King’s court.”

“Thank ye, m’lord.” Wyn’s wobbled through a curtsey, but her smile was big enough to bridge a moat.

“Should you ever wish to make your fortune, I know several court ladies who would pay very well to have you as their exclusive cloth maker.”

“I do na think I shall be leavin’ Cilgerran, m’lord, but I thank ye for the offer.”

Sela re-wrapped the beautiful fabric. She could never afford such an exquisite piece. Aside from which she had no reason to wear such a dress. Perhaps Lady Amye would like it. Sela made note to mention it when they returned to the castle. She sighed and handed the bundle back to Wyn.

“This one is beautiful, but I need another piece. Lady Marie’s birthday is coming soon. My lady would like for her to have her first surcoat.”

“Aye.”  Wyn searched the stacks of cloth until she found what she was looking for. “This be just the thing.”  She held up a piece of finely textured dark green cloth with yellow and white Lilies sewn into the borders.

 “Your weaving ever amazes me, Wyn. How do you make it so fine yet so tight?”

“Tis the thread. The batch was very special. Delwin wanted to try spinning linen fibers with the wool. The threads were wonderful’ smooth, easy to bend into this heavy damask. ”

“The family Gryffydd are all involved with clothmaking.” Sela explained to Sir James as she looked over the piece. “The two oldest brothers grow flax and sheep. Delwin is a master spinner. Wyn here weaves the threads into cloth and her twin brother Lyn makes the most wonderful dyes.” Sela ran her fingers over the cloth. It was soft like silk, yet heavy like wool. “What think you, my lord?”

When he did not answer Sela looked back to find him staring attentively at her. She repeated her question. “My lord, think you this will suit Marie?”

He smiled at her and the dimple appeared on his cheek. He glanced at the piece as Wyn held it outstretched at arm’s length. “Yes, ‘tis fine work.” He started to reach for his pouch. “How much do you want for it?”

“Nay, my lord.” The weaver shook her head. “‘Twould be an honor to make this gift.”

 

Jamie could hardly believe what he heard. A merchant giving away her wares.

She folded the piece and Jamie noted the look of pure joy in her eyes as she handed it to him. “For Lady Marie.”

His mother had said something about how the village folk adored Marie, and now, here was proof. “The house of Cilgerran thanks you.” Jamie turned to Sela. “Perhaps Mistress Sela could select something that my mother would like?”

Sela nodded and began to look through the bolts of fabric. Jamie watched as she bent over the cart. Her hips stood out nicely rounded against her tunic. He wanted to reach out and touch her, but knowing he could not, he imagined a creamy white bottom beneath the offending cloth. His cock stiffed and he looked away, glad he had worn the long tunic.

She stood, holding two bolts of fabric. “My lady would like either of these very much.”

“Excellent.” He reached in the pouch and pulled out two silver sovereigns. He handed them and Marie’s gift back to the weaver. “Have everything delivered to the keep when the market day is done.” He offered his arm to Sela. “Come, mistress. I promised to have you back by supper and we have barely begun.”

 

You never know what might be going on at a market stall. Did you ever meet someone enchanting at a summer market? Ever meet a stranger at a faire and have that one magical day. Did you fall in love with your honey when he bought you the thing you saw at the artisan show that you loved, but would never buy for yourself? Share some of your market adventures for a chance to win our great Summer Fun prize package.

 Our Summer Fun contest is going on all through the month of June. In addition to Estelle’s fun read, The Texas Twins, I’m adding a nice reusable shopping bag that you can take to the farmer’s market (or the supermarket) in your area, some nice sunglasses, so you don’t get caught people-watching (unless you want to get caught), and some sun screen so you can stay out long enough to see everything and everyone in the market. We’ll be adding more to the tote each week and at the end of the month, one lucky commenter will win it all.  Stop back throughout the month and comment on additional June blog posts to increase your chances to win.