~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~it's all about the love~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Monday, July 11, 2016

Flash Fiction Monday - Shipping Out

Hey, look at that. I'm dusting off the blog after a really long time - too long actually. It's time to become more active and I'm starting with something I've wanted to do for a while - flash fiction.

I joined a group on Facebook, Monday Flash Fics, so I'm going to give this an actual try. The photo was actually my idea and it was originally posted on July 4th, making it kind of special. I'm really rusty when it comes to this stuff so I hope I do it justice.

The rules of the group are under 500 words but I cheated and ended up with 506. It's better than the 582 I had to begin with though. Here we go.



Shipping out

Shipping out—two simple words meaning so much to so many. Two simple words with opposing, yet important, meanings: pride and shame, love and hate, life and death. And Ryder experienced them all every time Mark had to ship out.

Pride was the simplest. Ryder was proud from the tips of his ears to the heels of his feet of the brave, patriotic, and strong man he intended to share the rest of his life with. And Mark deserved every ounce of pride Ryder felt.

Shame rolled around in the guilt that consumed Ryder during quiet moments of contemplation. It came when soldier-Mark was packing his duffle, making sure everything was ship-shape and up to code, on his way to make a difference in the world. Ryder's hockey career didn't exactly gain him any points for heroism, and though he was doing something he loved, it was hard to measure up to a man risking his life for his country.

Love was a given. He'd loved Mark since college, loved him in a way he fought and struggled against for too many months while Mark waited patiently for him to figure himself out. Love kept Ryder going when his world became suddenly smaller, when his family didn't quite accept what he was and whom he loved. Mark was there with gentle encouraging love when Ryder was afraid to come out to his teammates. And not just there metaphorically, he'd been at Ryder's side, one strong hand pressed to Ryder's back in silent support.

Love was Mark and Mark was love.

Hate was entwined with anger, fear and sadness. When Mark put on the uniform, when he became soldier-Mark, Ryder was ashamed to admit he hated it at first. He hated army green and camouflage, field caps and tucked-in pants, combat boots and shoulder patches—but never for long. It was always an initial response to Mark leaving. But in reality, Ryder knew the uniform was part of what Mark was…for now, so how could he possibly hate anything about it?

Life and death went hand-in-hand when someone you loved shipped out. Mark was Ryder's life, but the repercussions of him leaving were terrifying and all too real.

"Hey." Ryder turned to look at his partner, suddenly aware the hot coffee he'd been clutching was lukewarm and Mark was staring at him. "Where'd you go?"

He ducked his head. "We should get married."

"What…what did you say?" Mark slid an arm behind Ryder, wide grin blocking out the sun. "You got something stronger than java in that mug?"

Ryder's confidence soared when he finally met Mark's gaze. "I don't plan on getting down on one knee and I don't have a ring, but I'd really like to marry you when you get back."

A breath-stealing kiss seemingly sealed the deal. And the rib-breaking hug that followed was all the answer Ryder needed. Shipping out was still stressful but Ryder felt he'd made the right choice in all the right ways—pride, love, life, and Mark.

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Gratitude & Giving Day 30 - NJ Nielsen

Hi everyone,
Firstly, thank you K-lee for letting me be a part of this hop. The theme is Gratitude & Giving. So I thought today I’ve decided to review the year that’s coming to an end and talk about 12 things I’m most thankful for—one for each month of the year… Most will revolve around my family.

·      My family, for always having my back no matter how stressed our lives become. They always make me see that life is worth living. Plus, Mum and Ethan (my son) for making sure I have my first cup of coffee every day. Also thanks for keeping me supplied in loose leaf paper and a multitude of pens.

·      Again my family for making me minimalize my life and the house… if we haven’t used it in over a year then it has to go… I have lost half my wardrobe because I wear the same handful of things over and over. I’m grateful I have a family I can dole things out to… I had a shitload of plastic wear in the kitchen that will soon be housed at a childcare centre… now that it’s just Mum, Ethan, and me at home I didn’t need it.

·      My husband who has let me be a writer, while he worked to support us… I love him more with every passing day—even if he is now living in a whole different country, and we only get to see him every couple of months or so.

·      My son, Ethan for trying in school and getting better grades than last year… he’s improved enough to be offered a spot in the alternative year 10 program, which is for boys that find it hard in school… instead of normal subjects he will be learning how to run a business. I know next year will be even better for him. He also went out and got a part time job to be able to chip in with paying for his schooling.

·      For my daughter, Emily for sticking it out in uni—even with the really tough subjects she struggled with. I know in the end she’ll be excited that she did it, even if it does mean a course change.

·      My pets for loving me unconditionally—even on the hardest days they are there listening and giving me their silent support. I never really wanted cats, but now I love them all (in case you are wondering I have 3: Droogie, Willow, Toby, and a peach face named Hector).

·      My characters, even though they drive me to distraction most days. At least while they are there harassing me, I know I still have many more stories to come—may they be as annoying next year, and for all the years that follow.

·      To my readers… For those who read my blogs—thank you for letting me ramble, you wouldn’t believe how helpful that is when I’m trying to sort shit out in my head…. For those who read my books—you make what I do worthwhile. I know that I can’t please everyone, but as long as one reader is happy than I know my job is done.

·      My wonderful editors: Christie N… Faith BB… Jamie DR… without you all I would be a mess. Thank you for your patience when it comes to explaining things to me in a way that I can understand.

·   My wonderful publishers: Fireborn Publishing… MLRPress… Totally Bound (Pride Publishing) Thank you for giving me the chance to live out a dream I’ve had since I was a child. Hopefully we will have many more years to come.

·      My friends on social media (you know who you are) I may not join in the conversation every day, but I love reading your words… whether they be about your books, real life, or just bitching about having a bad day—because it tells me I’m not the only one in the world who has problems. Also thankful every now and again I get to have my own drama filled rants.

·      Most of all I’m thankful I finally have my office back to myself. I never realised how hard it is to share—even if it is with family. I struggled this year to get the peace and quiet I need to write… Now Emily has moved out and has taken all of her uni books I once again have my private space… I will be able to spread out and have my research a fingertip away instead of having to search it out because someone else has moved it… I know this one sounds like I’m bitching, and I probably am—but I really am thankful to have my own space back, because I have a full on writing schedule for 2016.

I hope everyone had a very Merry Christmas, and the Happiest of New Years. May the new year be more productive than the year just past for us all. I look forward to reading everyone’s new works.

GIVE AWAY

In the season of giving—I’m offering two books from my back list (even if it’s the new Hidden Hearts Book: One last Kiss Goodbye—which is an old story that has been heavily re written and extended—releasing January 1st from Fireborn Publishing). All I need is for you two give me your two choices and what format you need them in and I will get them to you as soon as possible—Good luck everyone.

ABOUT NJ

NJ needs to write like she needs to breathe. It’s an addiction she never intends to find a cure for. When you don’t find NJ arguing with Vlad, her muse, or writing about the wonderful men in her stories, you’ll find her reading work by other authors she greatly admires. NJ lives on five acres situated in the SE of Qld, Australia with her family who all encourage her writing career (even if she does occasionally call them by her character’s names), and her variety of pets. NJ thinks anyone who takes the time to read her stuff is totally awesome, and wants to thank you all.

FIND NJ HERE
My Blog (where you hear about everything)  
WordPress (mainly book related)

PUBLISHER PAGES


Monday, December 28, 2015

Gratitude & Giving Day 28 - Teodora Kostova

I’ve never been religious, but I’ve always been spiritual. I believe there’s unseen energy in the world around us, energy that can help us or ruin us depending on how our mind works and what’s in our hearts.

In my early twenties I was plagued by negativity and strong bounds of depression. There was nothing particularly bad going on in my life, but I wasn’t happy. Seeing no reason for feeling that way made me feel guilty on top of everything else.

Things needed to change.

As usual, I resorted to books to help me out. Thanks to some very inspiration biographies and books on positive thinking I was able to re-program my whole mindset. I consciously strived to think positively – find that silver lining – even in the worst of situations. And it worked.
Nowadays I go to bed every night with the thought of being thankful for what I have instead of focusing on what I don’t have. And then I wake up every morning, appreciating the new day and what it might have in store for me.

Being thankful for the smallest things has helped me through tough situations and family tragedies. I don’t tolerate negative people in my life anymore.

I have a pretty box in my living room where everyone in my family puts little notes or mementos all year around. Then, on Christmas morning we open the box and relive the best moments of the year together. It’s one of the best experiences anyone can have!
We’ve been doing this for a few years and every year the box gets more stuff in it than the previous year. This year the box was so full the lid could barely close.

That’s not to say that this year we haven’t had our heartbreaking moments, everyday worries, and tough decisions to make. But focusing on the positive, on what we’ve actually achieved despite the hurdles life has thrown our way, we made it another year with a box full of goodness.

I can make a huge list for what I’m thankful for, but I won't bore you half to death with it. The most important thing I’m thankful for every single day of my life is my – and my family’s – good health. This year I’ve seen firsthand how devastating illness can be and realised that our good health is the most important thing in the world. We can always make more money, buy more things, help more people... But we can never get our health back once it’s gone.

A huge thank you to K-lee Klein for asking me to be a part of this amazing, and so inspiring, blog tour.

I’m giving away an ebook copy of any of my books (winner’s choice) as a thank you for reading my post. For a chance to win, just leave a comment below, telling me what you’re most thankful for every day of your life, and a contact email. I’ll draw the winner on the 8th of January.

Happy Holidays! May the odds always be in your favour ;)


Author Bio and social media links:

Hi, my name is Teodora and I live in London with my husband and my son. I've been writing ever since I can remember, but it became my full time job a few years ago when I decided that everything else I've tried bores me to death and I have to do what I've always wanted to do, but never had the guts to fully embrace. 
I've been a journalist, an editor, a personal assistant and an interior designer among other things, but as soon as the novelty of the new, exciting job wears off, I always go back to writing. Being twitchy, impatient, loud and hasty are not qualities that help a writer, because I have to sit alone, preferably still, and write for most of the day, but I absolutely love it. It's the only time that I'm truly at peace and the only thing I can do for more than ten minutes at a time - my son has a bigger attention span than me.

When I'm procrastinating, I like to go to the gym, cook Italian meals (and eat them), read, listen to rock music, watch indie movies and True Blood re-runs. Or, in the worst case scenario, get beaten at every Nintendo Wii game by a kid.

Don't be shy and get in touch - I love connecting with my readers.


Sunday, December 27, 2015

Gratitude & Giving Day 27 - Sharita Lira

 Thanks to K-Lee for having me. As always, the year had its highs and lows, but I’m grateful to say there has been more good than bad. Of course there are things I’d wish to be better, but I’m looking forward to a great year to come. With today being my 44th birthday, here are the wonderful aspects of my life I’m very grateful to have.


Family – I don’t have a huge one beyond my husband and kids, but other members of my family including the in-laws have made things a lot easier. When I lost my father to cancer in September and my hubs lost his grandmother just about a month later, everyone was very supportive. My lovely husband was right by my side when I visited my father in the hospital, he did favors for my mother in her time of need. More than that, he supports me in everything I do. I’ll always be grateful to God for giving me the ultimate partner.

Friends – I don’t have a lot. Um, you know I’m an author right? *laughs* I keep my circle small, mostly because outside of Facebook, I’m a boring person. My best friends forever supported me through thick and thin all this year. BFF one helped me with my father’s memorial preparations and all my other friends, including Facebook buddies sent me words of encouragement.

Readers – For everyone who has taken the time to read my work, I thank you. I couldn’t be happier when I hear from you in emails, Facebook posts, messages, and/or reviews. I don’t think I say how much I appreciate my readers. I’d hope they would continue to read my work going forward because I have a bunch planned for the new year. I got three muses you know. *winks*

There are more things to be thankful for, but those are the most important. I did mention how boring I am, right? *laughs* I do thank you for taking the time to read my post, and again, thanks to K-Lee for letting me take a space on her blog.

* * * *

CONTEST – For my birthday today, I’d like to give the winner the complete series for N’awlins Exotica. That’s 4 books, including an advanced reading copy of Living in Sin. Just comment and tell me what you’re grateful for? Make sure to include your email address! Contest will be open until January 1st.

Blurb: 

On the cusp of finding his true self, accepting his partner on the force as the love of his life, Vance Morain is ready to live large and proud.

The Big Easy has always been home to the born and raised Texan, however, his desire for Orrin sends him back to the family ranch in Dallas to confess to his parents.

Considering how small minded his dad is, a confession of undying love for another man won’t be a walk in the park. Throw in his father’s discovery of terminal disease and it brings Vance’s plans to a screeching halt.

Can their newfound love handle the distance, or will it break?

This is the follow-up to No Denying Sin N’awlins Exotica Book 3. The series must be read in order.

Excerpt:

Clearly the killer wasn’t willing to allow Vance Morain and his partner, Orrin Daugherty, the chance to enjoy their after dinner romp with friends Kajika Fortier and Frankie Choteau. In a mad scramble, the three cops exchanged kisses with Kajika and ran to the club where another dancer had been murdered. To quell any sort of undue attention, the three of them drove in two separate cars to the crime scene.

Much to Vance’s chagrin, the fifth murder of a New Orleans dancer didn’t afford him any time to think over what had transpired over the past few days with Orrin either. Surprisingly, his thoughts of how to tell his Bible-thumping Republican parents reigned second, compared to the lusty feelings he’d started to feel for his partner. 

Am I falling for him too fast?

Really, Vance couldn’t figure out if he was coming or going. He needed some time off, and fast. Despite this, he didn’t want to give Orrin too much space to change his mind. Something told him that his desired man would run faster than a herd of cattle running from a barn fire.

Vance drove Orrin to the club, arriving within twenty minutes. He parked the car in the alley and immediately jumped out, pulling his badge from his back pocket and putting it around his neck.

Orrin did the same, nodding at the uniform cops as they walked under the tape, avoiding the small crowd of onlookers and news cameras. Seemingly half the neighborhood was gathered in this little spot to find out what had happened and why these crimes were continuing to occur in their city.

“Hey, ya’ll. What’cha finding so far?” Vance nodded at the rest of them and Frankie as if they hadn’t seen each other earlier.

“Hey, Vance and Orrin. We got another one here, I’m afraid.” Waylon, the crime scene investigator spoke first.

“Uniform cops responded to a call around one that a young woman had been found unresponsive and near death in the back of the door.” Frankie briefed them of the situation and took a picture.

“Who made it?” Orrin asked.

“Don’t know. Dispatch has no idea. One of the dancers says Jesselyn got a call right before she left out. The new guy, Brayden, actually offered to walk her to the door, but she refused.”

“Damn,” Vance muttered under his breath.

“I wonder if the killer made that call,” Orrin added.

Vance eyed the body, noticing the same kind of red rope around the dancer’s neck and similar bruises found on the other victims.

“Shit. What a nasty fuck.” Kenina shook her head and placed the sheet back over the corpse. “This monster, male, female, or whatever, has no shame, none at all. Kill her right here, in the back of the club?”

“Yep, but it appears they’ve gotten more clumsy,” Waylon interrupted, still leaning over the body with a flashlight in hand. “Unlike the other bodies, there looks to be some things left behind. Perhaps some fibers or hairs to give us the lead we’re looking for.”

BIO

Author Sharita Lira: In one word, crazy. Just crazy enough to have 3 4 different muses running around in her head, driving her to sheer exhaustion with new plot bunnies and complex characters.

In addition to being a computer geek and a metalhead, Sharita loves live music, reading, and perusing the net for sexy men to be her muses.  She’s also a founding member and contributor to the heavy metal ezine Fourteeng.net.

For more information, please visit http://www.thelitriad.com as well as her Facebook fanpage, The Literary Triad.
  
Links