Friday, April 28, 2017

The joy of braces... and bath bombs

This Easter since my nieces all had brand new mouth jewelry and couldn't enjoy sweets or chocolate, oh horrific I know, I decided to make them all bath bombs in easter egg molds.

They are so easy to make:

1 cup baking soda
1/2 cup citric acid
1/2 cup Epsom salts (I used with and without fragance)
1 tsp. water
2 tsp. essential oil (my oil of choice for the kids lime and grapefruit)
3 tsp. oil (olive oil)
food coloring (any color you want)
bowl
whisk
jar
bath bomb mold

These little babies were so popular that last weekend I had to make more for my nephew the only one not sporting new braces!

I hope all of you as much fun making these as I did! And yeah these puppies can make great give aways at your signature table.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Romance Observations from the Librarian's Desk. @LeoRosanna

Hi everyone! I recently submitted an article to my local RWA chapter, the Toronto Romance Writers, and thought it might be fun to share here. As some of you may know, not only am I an author, I also work at my local public library and in seven years there, I've collected a lot of "unofficial data" about reader preferences. Of course, when I see romance readers, I love chatting with them and seeing what they're borrowing. I compiled some of these observations in my article and hope you find it interesting.



ROMANCE OBSERVATIONS FROM THE LIBRARIAN’S DESK

As a romance author, I often find opportunity to talk about books with others. As an employee at my local library, I also have the opportunity to see what others borrow on a regular basis. I thought it might be fun to share some of my observations.
I work at a busy branch in southern Ontario, just west of Toronto. Our library community is vibrant, passionate about reading and vocal in their preferences. They love to talk to us about books and many of them attend library events. 
We cater to many romance lovers. Their appetites are hearty and in many cases, they won’t simply check out one or two books. They will borrow up to twenty books at a time. In many cases, they are repeat customers who come back the next week for another twenty books. I know several who leave the library, their arms full of books. I’ve known many to share them with family members or friends and several host book clubs.
Our customers do not simply read print books. Although a majority of our older customers still like a nice paperback, many romance readers are savvy and computer literate. They are known to use our electronic databases and more and more of them are becoming comfortable with downloading ebooks from Overdrive.
The majority of our romance-reading customers are women but it’s not unusual to find men checking out these hot reads. In fact, at a recent romance themed event at our branch, men were in attendance and showed great interest in the material and in connecting with the writers.
As far as our senior customers, many of them still prefer historicals, faith-based romances and sweet contemporaries over paranormal or steamy romances. However, I have had some pleasant conversations with ladies over sixty who are ravenous for hot romance. Our younger clientele tends to be more varied in their tastes and are more likely to seek out werewolves and vampires for their book boyfriends.
I think what strikes me most when I go to work and see what people are reading is the very fact they are reading so much and so often. Our library is well used and for many reasons. Customers check out displays and take suggestions. Most are proud to show off those racy covers but some are still shy. It doesn’t matter. They are reading and they are reading our books in droves. It puts a smile on my face every time I walk inside the library.





Friday, April 21, 2017

Busy, busy...

Happy Spring!

The Canadian weather has finally taken a turn for the better! I love the blue skies, warm air, birds singing, and flowers growing. I've packed away the winter coats and boots and don't want to see them for a long time. We'll be doing a spring cleaning this weekend inside and outside. 

Although winters can be tough, I wouldn't want to live anywhere else. I think the winters are necessary to really appreciate the three other seasons—all wonderful, in my opinion. Winter is part of what keeps Canadians strong and unique, and I like to think the cold air keeps us young ;)


On the writing front, I'm getting my feet back into the water. I haven't written in years and I've missed it so much. I used to write 2-3 books a months, so this has been unnatural for me. To kick it off, I have a 15K alpha shifter story called Finders Keepers in the Owned by the Alpha anthology releasing April 25th. It's on pre-order now, and I can't wait for everyone to read my story and the eleven others in this amazing line-up of authors. 

Special Pre-Order Only Price of $2.99
NEW Dark Paranormal Romance Stories by Bestselling Evernight Authors!
amazon-bestseller-icon.png 
OWNED BY THE ALPHA 
The Alpha lives for the hunt...
Driven by instinct, an Alpha shifter recognizes his fated mate from one scent, one touch. He'll pursue his woman, regardless of the cost, and anyone else would be smart to get out of his way. He won't stop until he takes possession of his prize.
Although the hunter doesn't need convincing, his mate certainly does. The Alpha will have to prove himself as a lover and convince his woman that he plays for keeps.
160,000 words

Scent of Destiny by Rose Wulf
Taken Mate by Sam Crescent
Finders Keepers by Stacey Espino
The Hunt by Doris O’Connor
Alpha at Altitude by Lily Harlem
Fated to the Razorback Demon by Maia Dylan
Running Home by Michelle Graham
Alpha’s Sunshine by Elyzabeth M. VaLey
Checkmate by Wren Michaels
Frozen Heart by Beth D. Carter
Wolf Hunter by Elena Kincaid
Returning to the Coyote by Roberta Winchester


Wednesday, April 19, 2017

World Book Day Is Coming April 23, 2017!







Hey there, Romance Lovers!

It's Kali Willows, that crazy Canadian author with a little spring fever and a lot to do these days. So what is world book day? Great Question!

World Book Day is a celebration! It’s a celebration of authors, illustrators, books and (most importantly) it’s a celebration of reading. In fact, it’s the biggest celebration of its kind, designated by UNESCO as a worldwide celebration of books and reading, and marked in over 100 countries all over the world.

Currently, I'm in the middle of a fantastic internship as I complete the final requirements for my Post-Grad Public Relations Course. I was fortunate enough to land a position with a Toronto-based company: MMK Marketing. This fresh, brainy boutique agency of retail and digital marketing specialists have got it all, and they're showing me the way in a heavy duty learning opportunity of a lifetime.

How could this experience be related to this author? Because today, I received an assignment that was like the Mother Ship calling me home!

I was assigned to collect answers from my teammates about favourite books and authors and created an MMK Marketing Pinterest account and board to showcase their choices.

If you click on the above Pinterest link, you'll see all the amazing books they listed and perhaps even discover a few new-to-you books and authors. There are three boards: favourite children's books, favourite business, and the one that sang to my heart today, favourite Canadian authors/books!

Here are just a few samples of these selections! See any favourite Canadians here? *cough*








So now I'm back to the grind, work, work, work, but this Canadian has a shared anthology out right now, and it's my pleasure to share this contribution with you in time for World Book Day!




What are some of your favourite books / authors?

Happy Reading,



Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Getting Dirty with @elle_rush

I'm not going to lie. Starting a date with a bouquet of flowers and a box of chocolates, moving on to a fancy dinner with wine and a decadent dessert, and ending the night with rose-petal strewn sheets is romantic as hell.

Other things rating highly on the romance scale? A significant other who throws in a load or three of laundry without being asked, or does the dishes if you cook, or thinks it's sexy to get dirty--outside.



It's spring, when a young man's fancy gently turns to thoughts of love...of tomatoes and green beans. Technically we have another month to go before we plant, but the snow is gone so it's time to prep the garden beds. I need to  pull the weeds that have sprung up since the spring melt, loosen the snow-packed dirt, and dig out all the little critters who made their winter burrows in my topsoil. Then I can get to the gardening portion of gardening.

Shovelling wheelbarrows of topsoil and weeding isn't innately romantic, but spending time with the object of your affections is, no matter what your doing. Fortunately for me, we both enjoy gardening. (I almost said being outside, but that might lead to camping, and I'm too old for a no-electricity, no-running-water, mosquito-filled campsite.) A yard - even a small one - is a big job, and it's much easier to keep it in line with two people. When it comes to gardens, one person can keep them running, but two is more efficient. Plus, puttering around in silence has its own charms.

Even better, puttering in a vegetable garden leads to vegetables in the second half of summer. Also romantic? Cuddling on the sofa planning out where to put a new garden and what to plant in it. Cooking said vegetables together is another great couples activity (unless your kitchen is the size of a postage stamp and you are constantly in each other's way.)

I'm going to get lots of gardening in this summer. I'm redoing my front flower beds; the perennials currently there are out of control, so I'm pulling them all. I'm also putting in a new vegetable garden in the back yard. My list includes: tomatoes, raspberries, zucchini, carrots, green onions, green and yellow beans, and peas. And maybe something green and leafy.  Oh, yeah, my garden brings all the rabbits to the yard :)

So, gardening. All kinds of romantic. Sadly, it's not a common setting for books. Ranchers, yes. Farmers, less so. I don't write either. I do have a florist and a landscaper coming up (in separate books), but that's as close as I've come in Romancelandia.  If you have any that you'd recommend, please let me know in the comments.

*** 
When she's not writing, you can find Elle and her garden on Twitter, Facebook, and on her website.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Swans and Sunshine #HappyEaster #Spring (@KaceyHammell)




Good morning. And Happy Easter! All of us here wish you and your families all the very best for a safe and fun-filled holiday.

It's been a crazy busy month for me. I've finished one story and started another, while doing self-edits to polish up the first story. It has to be near perfect in order to be sent off to a publisher. This is a second in a series so will be sent to Evernight Publishing, I believe this week (if I can stop tweaking it), so keep your fingers crossed for me!

I've loved watching the weather change and the skies open up with the sun. Hasn't been wonderful for my sinuses and allergies but with the good we have to deal with the not-so-good as well. But seeing the sunshine, being able to ditch the heavy coats and jeans has been awesome. The birds have woken me a few times early in the mornings as well. Love that sound, and thank goodness for the ability to catch up on sleep with a wee nap in the afternoon here and there. Love the birds but I can't sacrifice my sleep.

With the lovely weather comes yard work. The clean up of all the nastiness that gets blown around or discarded by evil people and freezes to the ground. And because of a couple brutal ice/windy storms during the winter, there have been many trees to lose branches and hundreds of twigs end up on the ground. On Good Friday, hubs, kid, Peaches and I ventured over to hubby's Grandfather's to clean up his yard. What a beautiful day. Grandpa lives on the shoreline of the Bay of Quinte. The kids have loved kayaking from Grandpa's dock and wading through the water a bit here. It's very rocky beneath the water but once out a bit further it's lovely. On the shoreline he has two once-gorgeous willow trees that have been fading fast, but too dangerous to cut down because of hydro lines and the one dwelling over the water. Every year there are many branches and limbs to clean up, but it makes for a great family day, we throw on a few burgers on the BBQ and make a day of it.There were people out in boats and the breeze off the water was glorious. And two friends came up to the shore and visited a while. No doubt, these two beauties have been fed along the way by some people since they were so friendly, but I sat for a long while watching them float around near Grandpa's and they came and went a few times. I love birds a lot, wish I knew how to identify more on sight, but I have picked up a couple books to assist me in this. I want to learn something new. We're never too old to learn.
Here are a few pics of our swan beauties who came to visit us.




Tomorrow we are off with our oldest son to look at a house he and his girlfriend and friends may be renting for when they start college in September. He wants Mom & Dad's stamp of approval. I want to run the other way and forget this whole thing! I love how he is shaping his future and knows what he wants, I just don't want him leaving home to do it! But I must. He has a great head on his shoulders and knows how to take care of himself. I'm not ready to give the job up yet. LOL

I hope your Easter holiday is full of love, family and laughter. Don't eat too much chocolate! Oh who are we kidding? I already had two chocolate eggs this morning. LOL


Be well, be safe. xo





Friday, April 14, 2017

Happy Canadian Easter! @tdanielsauthor



Happy Easter! 


Well, I'm a lot later posting today than usual. Normally I would have pre-prepared an indepth and awe-inspiring blog and been up at the crack of dawn to share it with you. However today I'm going to keep it short and sweet. Between the sunshine and the deadlines, I ran out of time.

This is our second Easter as a blended family in the Daniels household. When Mr. D gets out of the shower I'm going to send him down to the crawl space to get the Easter decorations. I won't tell him that they are behind fifteen containers of Christmas decorations. In there I'll find the Easter wreath that I've had as long as I can remember, my childhood Easter baskets full of plastic eggs and the Scholastic Easter books that I read every year to my kids when they were young.


When I was a kid I remember waking up Easter morning and running around the house looking for eggs and putting them in my basket.  Of course I'm four years older than my brother, so my basket always seemed to fill faster. My mother tried to even the playing field by making a rule that I could only collect the eggs that were hidden up high. When we got older we could turn searching for Chocolate Easter eggs a full contact sport. lol Eventually the rule became that we each got a basket to look for eggs but when we were done, we dumped our baskets out on the table and she would divide them up equally. Our wee granddaughter is just over  a year old, so she's still too young yet, but I'm going to hide a few eggs anyways. That's if there's any chocolate left by then. I've had to hide the remaining Easter candy until Sunday.

Everyone will come home for dinner and we'll cook a turkey and a ham. It will be the first time that we'll get to pump the kids full of sugar and send them home. lol Problem is that there are just too many cool treats to make. Mr. D. shakes his head as I scroll through pages of brightly colored ideas! However, as we've discussed previously, domestic goddess is not one of my skills. Things never seem to turn out looking like they should. Plus, I find myself short of time. Soooooo  I think this years dessert is going to be store bought apple pie and rice krispie treats made with peeps.


I have to get back at it now, if I'm going to get the house cleaned and a book written. I hope that you're able to be with your family, and friends this Easter, celebrating with your usual traditions or starting new ones.


Coming soon! Follow me on facebook for updated release information.




Hope to see you soon at one of my confirmed signings.




Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Spring brings a new Defender to the shelves. Plus, sales and giveaways! @jsubject #romance


Happy Spring! While we had some snow last week, this week has granted us much warmer weather. Yet, it's not spring without some rain. I am happy to be able to get out on my bike again, and am starting to prepare for Rugged Maniac in June.



Spring also brought about the release of my second Galactic Defenders book. Jager is the scifi adventure romance story of a dedicated Defender, getting ready to take his squad on their first mission and the Princess who is determined to prove her worth as a Defender. While they are in the same squad, they don't get along. When they are forced together, sparks fly. But that doesn't mean they'll get out alive.



JAGER is now available, and the first book in the series, BRYCE is on sale for 99¢ until April 19, 2017. If you prefer paperback, enter to WIN a signed paperback on Goodreads...

JAGER Available from:
AMAZON US | UK | Canada | Germany | Australia | Japan

BRYCE only 99¢ from:
AMAZON US | UK | Canada | Germany | Australia | Japan


Goodreads Book Giveaway

BRYCE by Jessica E. Subject

BRYCE

by Jessica E. Subject

Giveaway ends April 30, 2017.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter Giveaway

For more 99¢ sales, check out these promos...

April 12-16, 2017

April 14-18, 2017

Until next month...




Tuesday, April 11, 2017

How'd I get here? Musings on a meandering career path and taking chances with @susanhayes

I have always been a writer. Even as a kid, I loved to write stories, poems, limericks, and even the occasional haiku. (Confession, they were not good haikus.) I dreamed of being a “real” writer, but somehow that plan always got pushed aside for other things. Work. Marriage. Reality in general. Someday, I told myself. I’ll write someday.

It took the sudden death of my little brother to make me understand that someday wasn’t a sure thing. If I wanted to write, then I should be writing. So, I did. In 2009, I became a professional writer. No, I wasn’t writing romances, not yet. Before I wrote happily ever afters and hot sex scenes, I wrote comedic, list-style articles for a website called Cracked.com. Yes, you read that right. I was one of the people creating internet content like 6 Horrifying Ways to Improve your Sex Life. Not the career I had envisioned, but hey, I was a paid writer.

I wrote freelance comedy articles for a number of sites for two years before switching gears and trying my hand at writing romance. It was a completely new field for me, with different challenges and dynamics, but in the end, I had a finished book. *cue trumpets* Arousal has been through a complete revision since then, as well as several covers, and even a title change, but it’s still near and dear to my heart. It’s the book that launched me into this wild and wonderful new career as a romance writer. It also earned me my first rejection letter, which arrived in April, 2012. I still have it that email. It’s a reminder of how far I’ve come, and how much things have changed in the past five years.


..I'm pretty sure my version included sharks in the lake and a river of lava under the bridge.


Looking back, I can see the path I took to get here. It’s a broken, meandering road with plenty of loops, dead ends, and countless zig-zags. It’s a journey I couldn’t have imagined when I started down this path. I have no idea where this road will take me next, or what my final destination will be, but I do know it’s been a hell of a journey so far. I’ve published more than thirty stories, met readers from all over the world, made dear friends, and had fangirl moments with authors I adore.

Most of the time, I’ve been too busy pushing forward to take a moment to appreciate where I am, or how I got here. I think that’s true for most of us. We’re so busy trying to keep up with our lives, we forget to stop and appreciate everything we have. I wrote this blog to remind myself to look around and enjoy the moment, and to remind anyone reading to do the same. Take a moment. Take a breath. Maybe take a chance or step onto a new path. You never know where your broken road might lead you.



Sunday, April 9, 2017

Spring Update from Layna Pimentel

Hello from Sault Ste. Marie!

Yeehaw! Most of the snow is melted from my back yard, and literally all gone from my front yard. We've been busy prepping the yard and the pond to put the goldfish back into it. I can't begin to tell you how much this change of season is appreciated. The last couple of months have been exhausting, stressful on so many levels and depressing. That is, until March 8th rolled around.

Why do you ask? Well, my husband and I became first time grand parents. I won't like that the news of the pregnancy was a shock because it was, but one look at this angel on March 8th and we were in love all over again.

Here's a few pics from her one month anniversary.




She's a snoring, beautiful princess and we love her no matter what. 

In other news, I've been happily working a new regency project slated for a summer release. It's kinda  sorta a secret project. As soon as I can share more I will. I do have another secret project slated for late fall too, and more news will be coming soon about that one down the line. All that news aside, I do have 2 paranormals coming hopefully before the year is out in addition to those historical romances. 

To be honest, I never planned on having all these releases in the last half of this year, much less have to shift my editors around. Things change all the time, obligations and personal stuff alike. So when you have to keep pushing things out I feel awful. Even more terrible when I've noticed now that my one editor has changed a policy to include a deposit at time of booking. So ya. I feel like an ass now. 

Toss in that I have a few rights returning to me in the coming months and I so need to get those organized too. So much to do and such little time. 


Well, there you have it. That's the most recent news coming out of my corner in the province. Hopefully, by next month I can share some more news about my summer release, or even share a teaser from my upcoming paranormal which is a twist on Little Red Riding Hood. See Kacey! I have been slowly working on that beast. That book is due with my editor by June 1 too, so you can imagine the mad dash of revisions I'm in the middle of.

So now that I've shared what I'm working on, do you have any plans for this spring or summer?




Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Las Vegas, Reflections on Virginity, & A New Release @MichelleGAuthor

Howdy, friends! It was touch and go to see if I'd get this posted in time but the internet gods have smiled upon me and restored my connection.

So much to discuss! But where to start?

First, I promised some details about my trip to Vegas. As expected, I had an amazing time! We spend just under a week there and crammed in so much that I couldn't possibly go into it all here. Instead, here's the highlights:


You can't visit Vegas without taking in at least one adult show, and we chose to see Fantasy at the Luxor hotel. The singing and dancing was good, the mostly naked girls, even better. After the show, they signed calendars for those who bought them (us included). I was nervous about being a female in the audience, but I was amazed at how many women and couples were there. We also saw Zumanity from Cirque du Soleil and it also featured mostly naked people, women AND men, but the show was so artistic that it couldn't even compare to Fantasy. If you have the chance, definitely check it out! Hubby and I sat in the love seats in the first row and at one point I had two hot guys wearing only thongs making out beside me. *fans self* WOW!

On the G-rated portion of our trip, we visited the Grand Canyon. Absolutely breathtaking! It was a 4 hour drive through the desert but it was worth it.
Taken from a ways back because I was really nervous about getting too close to the edge.

I'd never seen a real Joshua Tree before. They're really beautiful in a deserty kind of way.

A wise warning.
But I figure you mostly want to hear about the naughty stuff. ;)  We went to the Erotic Heritage Museum. I found the historical pieces particularly interesting. When you see a stone dildo that's more than a thousand years old, you realize how central sexuality is to the human existence.

This delightful piece of art is made out of pennies.



The museum is right beside a Gentleman's club (which we didn't visit) and an adult store (which we totally visited). This was my purchase!
Oh my.

Part of the exhibit in the museum included information about the physiological side of the reproductive system, as well as about sexual identity and sex and society. And these next two pics provide a nice segue into my latest release.


What is virginity? In a nutshell, it's a social construct which has little to do with whether or not a woman has a hymen. Although in our time the definition of virgin has expanded to include men, in its strictest definition it's about a sexually inexperienced woman. These days, it's hard to define it as only penis-in-vagina intercourse given the varying gender identities and multitude of 'sexualities' out there. I love this quote from the large blue box: "[S]houldn't we think in terms of what was gained - a new experience, intimacy with a partner, pleasure, a better idea of likes and dislikes?" We as a society tend to be so uptight about sex, worrying constantly about perceptions and moral absolutes, that we forget that being sexual creatures is central to the human condition.



Who says three's a crowd?
This is part of the reason why my Losing It series (apart from the first book) doesn't deal strictly with women with no sexual experience. Book one, Losing It In Vegas, involves a woman who's decided to take charge of her sexuality and finally experience the joys of sex. The second book, Losing It All Over Again, is the wish fulfilment of a woman who's prior sexual experiences were unsatisfactory. Losing It In the Closet has no women at all, but rather a young man who wants to experience sex with another man for the first time. And in my most recent release, Losing It Two At A Time, two women who are married to each other want to have a baby and they decide to go the 'old-fashioned' route to conceive, despite the fact that neither one has been with a man before. I wanted my series to focus less on the act of "losing it" and more on gaining those first experiences.



Whew! This is a long-winded post. Thanks for sticking with me. My latest book, Losing It Two At A Time, just released!

Blurb
Alexa and Vivian Parker have been together since high school. Neither one has ever been with a man, nor have they feel the need. Until they want a baby and can only get one the old-fashioned way. So they turn to hook-up site, Losing It, to find a sperm donor.

Carter Michaels didn’t anticipate having two virgins to please, but he’s more than up for the task, and he’ll help them as often as needed.

None of them planned on it being more than a one-shot deal.
Available now!

And the first book in the series, Losing It In Vegas, is on sale for a limited time.

Blurb
Many people remember losing their virginity as an awkward experience filled with pain and followed quickly by regret. Online hook-up site Losing It, hopes to change that. For those who’ve made it to adulthood with their virtue intact, Losing It matches virgins with experienced lovers who will make their first time unforgettable, with no embarrassing emotional entanglements.

Losing It in Vegas is the story of twenty-one year old Rowan Cassidy who is sick of being a virgin. With no romantic prospects in sight, she turns to Losing It to find her a man willing to do the deed and leave it at that. Bruce McGovern is between lovers and stuck in a dry spell so he takes a chance with Losing It. He and Rowan meet up in Las Vegas and somewhere in the midst of all the hot sex, feelings emerge that neither of them expected.

$0.99 for a limited time!

 See you next month!



Monday, April 3, 2017

Pantsing off to Hawai'i with @NathanBurgoine


Waipi'o Valley, Hawai'i.

I'm not really much of a planner. Even when it comes to writing, I'm generally a pantser—though I learned the hard way novels do require at least a wee bite more plotting than short fiction. I don't mind not having a schedule ahead of me, and for decades in retail that was a good thing: lord knew it didn't matter what I tried to plan there, something would go sideways and throw it all off, be it a home office visit, a sudden change in staffing, some sort of reorganization...

So, generally, I'm the guy who shrugs and says, "I don't mind," when someone asks "What do you feel like doing?"

I also realize this is not at all helpful, and I'm sorry to those who have to pick a place to eat with me. It's likely infuriating.

I'm not incapable of planning. I should be clear: I understand the value of organization, and I do keep myself organized. But it's not an inherent skill for me, and I have the mixed blessing of a solid memory, so I can find things when they're in disarray as I remember where I put them, and my calendar will often remain blank even though I know I've got three major appointments coming up: I'll just remember them.

Well, I'll try, anyway.

You may have noticed I missed last month's blog post. And, to be fair, I did remember it before the day, it's just something came up.

Now, something you should know about my fella? Of the two of us, my husband is by far the bigger planner. When we put together our joint life, he's the one looking at the horizon for specifics. He dots I's, crosses T's, and researches before we even think of leaping.

So you can imagine my surprise when, in the middle of one of the heaviest snow accumulation winters in recent history, he turned to me and said, "We're going to Hawai'i."

And we did. With nearly no planning what-so-ever, we were packed, booked, and out the door before I realized what was happening. He'd hit his limit of winter grey and endless snow, and that was absolutely that.

It occurred to me I'd never written a story about someone who does that thing we all dream of doing: dropped everything and took off on a vacation.

Now I was doing it.

What followed was a brilliant week in a warm place full of lush colour. We often joke in autumn that we need to "fill our colour meters" for the winter ahead (Ottawa winter is unfailingly white, grey, grey-white, and sometimes blue-white), but the sheer relief we both felt after a single day of greens, purples, oranges, blues, reds, yellows and browns?

It was transformative.

Not to mention sitting outside in February in a T-shirt and shorts. Something that would lead to hypothermia back home was a distinct pleasure in Hawai'i.

We saw so many gekkos. At a botanical garden, orchids were growing wild in the open air in more varieties than I'd ever seen in my life. We walked through a lava tube, and wound our way between the steam vents along an erupted volcanic floor. I learned a tonne about various Hawai'ian legends, and we explored the ruins of an original fishing village. We rented a home built out of bamboo. We listened to the night sounds, windows open, and slept better than we'd slept in months.

Frankly, we recovered from the winter more than we ever have in our life. Coming back was a bit painful, but even now, a month later, I'm chipper and upbeat, and spring will come. At some point. I mean, okay, it snowed yesterday (again), but... It'll happen.

And in the meanwhile? I've got a great memory of that time we pantsed our way to a warm escape. And maybe while I was there I forgot to blog here.

I'll plan that a little better next time.

And I totally need to write a story about doing the whole "drop everything and go somewhere warm" thing.

*


Speaking of folks without a plan, one of my favourite completely-without-a-plan characters is one I wrote in the collection Foolish Hearts: New Gay Fiction. In my short story, "Struck," a guy who is very much aware of how important it is to plan for the future, Chris, meets an odd customer at the bookstore where he works. The guy calls himself Lightning Todd, claims to be psychic since he got struck by lightning, and has "tuned in" on Chris in order to fix his life. That his "fixing" seems to have a healthy dose of potentially getting Chris fired doesn't seem to phase him, and prognostications about the Titanic, coffee, and zipper troubles aren't exactly the most useful. Still, there's something about a guy who won't wear pink, and ultimately? Happiness. It's almost enough to make a guy believe in lightning striking twice.