Friday, January 31, 2014

Fabulous, Fantastic Friday

Label this one Toys I Love! Rated G edition

Perplexus original

So as many of you know, DinoBoy is in the Gifted program at his school, which thus far this school year has caused me many a stressful diorama/craft-related moment. (Don't worry. The second half of the year it's Ancient Greece, which just gives me all KINDS of happies, no kidding!)

Anyway, one of the things in the Gifted classroom, for students who have a few minutes, is a Perplexus. I had never heard of these dealies before, but DinoBoy fell in LOVE.

My mom tracked them down, and for Christmas, both DinoBoy and VelcroBoy got Perplexuses (Perplexi?) -- DinoBoy got the Epic, and VelcroBoy the Original.

Best. Presents. EVER.

I don't think those things were still for 20 minutes over the 3 days my parents, sister and husband were all here, and they're still hardly out of somebody's hands. We were all instantly addicted. They take a nice clear plastic orb, fill it with random curvy tracks and rails and obstacles, toss in a little ball, and... your challenge? To get it from the start point along the numbered course to the end. You flip, turn, tap, fall off, and start all over again.

Seriously, if you have never played with one of these, do it. If you have kids, get them one! Among other things, it helps develop hand-eye coordination and fine motor skills.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

My Heartache Cowboy
(Cowboy Series, Bk #2) By Z.A. Maxfield
Can love conquer all? Jimmy Rafferty and Eddie Molina go way back at the J-Bar ranch. They’ve worked together, bunked together, camped out, and drank together. So how has Jimmy failed to notice that Eddie is gay? Eddie has not failed to notice that his friend has a serious drinking problem, and he’s determined to help Jimmy kick the booze cold turkey. Taking him up to a snowbound cabin to detox, Eddie is confronted with Jimmy’s fierce denial. But the pains of withdrawal are nothing for Jimmy compared with the heartache of denying his true feelings and his deep longing…for the one man who cares for him more than anyone else on earth.
Available for purchase at
When I woke, I was alone and the truck wasn’t moving.
Who the hell did Eddie think he was, leaving me asleep by myself in a truck outside in the freezing cold? My pa and my older brother, Jonas, used to do that. We’d be on the road, and when I fell asleep, they’d leave me in the parking lot of some dive bar or motel—just leave me asleep outside in the dark. I’d wake up with no clue where I was, no idea if they were coming back or if I should go in and try to find them.
My first useful thought was to look for the keys, because I hadn’t forgotten what Eddie said. I hadn’t forgotten the plans him and boss Malloy made for me behind my back. It would serve them right if I up and hightailed it back to the J-Bar with Eddie’s truck and no Eddie.
No keys.
Not like that was going to stop me. Where the hell did Eddie get the idea I’d go quietly? I slid over and tore the wiring out from under the dash. Found what I needed without hardly even looking.
I hated waking up alone like that. Unwanted. Abandoned.
One twist. Two. Touch the wires together and the engine should . . .
What the hell? I checked I got the proper color-coated strands and tried again. I was frowning down at the mess of tangled wire when someone tapped on the window behind me.
I glanced up and saw Eddie frowning down, no doubt pissed at what I’d done to his truck. Serves you right for leaving me like that, you prick.
“You need a working engine for that,” he told me as he opened the door. “One that has a battery.”
“Fuck you.” I spilled out of the car ready for a fistfight.
“What?” Eddie jumped back.
“Why did you have to leave me like that? What did I ever do to you?”
Eddie shook his head at me. “I don’t have a clue what you’re talking about. You were sound asleep and I thought maybe you needed it.”
I took a swing at him. “I hate waking up alone in a car like that.”
Ed plucked my fist from the air and peered at me like he was trying to see through my skin. “I didn’t know.”
“I hate that. Left behind in the car like a damn dog. Like a fucking duffel bag. You can’t be bothered to even wake me up and take me in out of the fucking snow.”
Now Eddie frowned like he was thinking about it. Now, after the fact. “I’m sorry, Jimmy. I didn’t think how you’d feel waking up alone like that. I won’t do it again.”
“Would have served you right if I took your truck and left you up here to walk back to civilization, wherever the hell that is. Would have served you right if I’d died out here.”
“All right, all right. Simmer down now.”
I glared at him. “Fuck you.”
“It’s pretty civilized inside. How about you come in with me.”
“How about you suck my fucking—”
“That’s enough.” He turned and headed toward the cabin’s welcoming front door. “I almost didn’t bother to disable the damn thing, but I thought on the off chance you knew what you were doing and could—”
“Which I did,” I pointed out.
“Come inside.” He jerked his chin toward the cabin like I was a dog and I was supposed to just follow along and yip around at his heels.
I debated making a run at him, but frankly, Eddie was a tough buzzard. He wasn’t too much older than me, just forty-two compared to my thirty-eight. But I was a lover, not a fighter, or at least that’s how I thought of myself. Back there on the road, Eddie had proved he wasn’t above using violence to get his way in this, so I went along.
You’re going to have to sleep sometime.
Eddie led me into a rustic-looking cabin that seemed awful nice for the middle of nowhere. There was a place for us to hang our hats just inside the door, over a table with a passel of pictures on it. There were old time black-and-whites of families and framed pictures of a good-looking man, a pretty woman, and some kids. There were some of the kids alone, and holy cow, there were probably a dozen pictures of Ed. He looked so young in a couple of them, they must have been from before we met.
One of Ed and the unknown man caught my eye. Something about the difference in height, the casual way they leaned together, the way they looked at each other, made me think this was Ed’s friend from the road, Don. Even though they’d both aged some since it was taken, I was almost sure of it.
No knobby hands, no weathered angel, this Don was good looking, without a doubt. He was lanky and chiseled. He had an intelligent face and a smile that drew the eye. He seemed sure of himself and charming. Whatever I’d seen in the darkness outside the car had to be a trick of the light.
Ed looked so young and earnest next to him it took my breath away. Brawny and tan, he wore a yoked Western shirt with the sleeves rolled up past well-muscled forearms and he eyed Don like he would follow him anywhere.
And that Don, he looked like he could appreciate a guy like Ed, as well.
Hadn't I seen firsthand how much he did appreciate him?
About the Author
Z. A. Maxfield started writing in 2007 on a dare from her children and never looked back. Pathologically disorganized, and perennially optimistic, she writes as much as she can, reads as much as she dares, and enjoys her time with family and friends. Three things reverberate throughout all her stories: Unconditional love, redemption, and the belief that miracles happen when we least expect them.If anyone asks her how a wife and mother of four can find time for a writing career, she’ll answer, “It’s amazing what you can accomplish if you give up housework.”
You can find ZA Maxfield at
$50 Gift Card

Monday, January 13, 2014

Minion Monday

Just for funsies, here's a picture my youngest did in art class.
"Pumpkins at Night"
I’m a bit late with this, I know, and I think I missed a week entirely. For this I apologize; things have been a bit crazed around here since… OK. Things are *always* crazed around here. But they’re a little EXTRA crazed at the moment. We’re still trying to catch up on bills after my husband changed jobs, and part of that means that we currently don’t really have internet at home (I’m managing by using my data through my cell phone as miserly as possible and making regular trips when possible to the library).

So, anyway, what with that and Christmas and all, it’s been a busy month(ish) since I last posted here. Christmas, I guess, was the big thing – I crocheted like crazy & managed a little blanket for my youngest, who does the whole ‘Security Blanket’ thing – his old one is disintegrating, and he’s slowly moving his affections over to the new one I made. I also found a cute pattern for a really easy scarf (since I’m basically just barely past beginner stage) and made a TON of those – black and gold ones (Pittsburgh colors) for my middle child and my husband, Gryffindor colors for my daughter and sister, blue and grey for my brother and my youngest, then after Christmas a couple more for my neighbors who are moving from GA to VA in a couple of days. I’ve promised one to my middle child’s best friend as soon as he can pick his colors, and I’m making a slightly modified version for myself. I don’t like stuff around my neck; I won’t wear turtlenecks, I cut the necklines off of most crewneck tees, I don’t wear chokers anymore, and my hair clinging to my neck drives me batty, so mine is supersoft yarn, it’s about 5 time wider than the basic ones I made everyone else, and I’m making it with a HUGE hook. It’s going to be, I think, almost more of a wrap than a scarf; I’ll be able to drape it over my hood and wrap it loosely to keep my head warm. Maybe. I’m also a bit weird about hats. (Oh, God, so very weird about SO MANY THINGS!)

Anyway, really, that’s about it. My parents and sister came down to spend Christmas with us, my hubby was home (he’s doing long-distance trucking and we usually only see him once a month on his reserve weekends). We went into Savannah for the day right after Christmas; just wandered along the riverfront, which was nice. Mom & the kids & I finally managed to stumble across the “used bookstore” I’ve heard rumors about – it’s really just the back room of a little antique shop that…well, it’s two rooms. The front room has old glassware/Fiestaware (which I drooled over) and the back room has OLD books. If they didn’t mostly run in the $50+ range, I would have scraped money to buy a lot, because they just had *shelves* of old novels of the “Early 1900s Girls’ School” variety, and nearly as much of “Boys’ Adventures” and I just… I have a weakness. All I can say is THANK GOODNESS for Project Gutenberg; so much of that stuff is finally out of copyright and free. One of my favorites is the Molly Brown series. I could go on at great length about this, but I think I’ll save it for a Friday or another Monday.

Oooh, one other thing! Today, DH & I finally were able to take the time to go get his Army Reserve ID, and my dependent ID. I can go back on post again! I am probably more excited about this than is really warranted; the only things I’m really likely to use are the Commissary and the old gym they converted into a roller skating rink (it has a little mini-golf course, too, and is right across the street from a small bowling alley. But I really really suck at any bowling that’s not Wii bowling, so… we don’t do that often.)

Anyway, that’s my life right now. How’s it been going for all of you?

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Work in Progress Wednesday

As Rose said to the Doctor, my head is killing me. But because I lurve y'all beyond all reason, I do have a snippet from my upcoming release for you to enjoy today... it's up over at Lia Michael's House of Taboo. Go on. Get you some. There are prizes, witty repartee, and salacious snippets from both mine and Kenall McKenna's stories from The Big Bone Lick Pack Anthology.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Tuesday Newsday: Stuff and things for the upcoming week

Tomorrow kicks off the Big Bone Lick Pack Anthology Blog Tour--yeah, try saying that twice at high speed. I bet you start giggling halfway through. I know I do--okay, so tomorrow I'll be at the House of Taboo, with my co-authors and all around anthology pals, Jambrea Jo Jones and Kendall McKenna, to share about the silly shenanigans we get up to on facebook, and how Jayne Rylon started off the whole shebang that ended in our fantastic and fun little book of stories. We're offering prizes, funny behind the scenes sneaky peeks at the making of our over the top tales, and general good times. Please be sure to stop by and join us at one or more of our stops.

Oh, by the by... The blog tour name, and any other names (place names, other author names, etc.) are linked back to their sources if I know them. That's just how I roll.

Okay, so here's the plan for the upcoming week:
Wednesday 8 January 2014- Official kickoff of Big Bone Lick Pack Anthology's Blog Tour at the House of Taboo.
Friday 10 January 2014- Current WIP (work in progress), 1000 Cranes is due to be completed and sent to betas. (Yes, yes, it was done before. I just added a lot of material, and made the story a zillion times better...true story) I'm actually really excited about this story. I love all my little paper children, but this one is something special.
Saturday 11 January 2014- Second Big Bone Lick Anthology Blog Tour stop. We'll be cruising into the ultra swank Purple Fantasy Den, sharing more stuff and things about the making of our funny paranormal paradise in Kentucky.
Monday 13 January 2014- My m/f paranormal romance is due to my editor... and heya, I think I'm actually gonna make this deadline... Now that *is* news!
Tuesday 14 January 2014- Third Big Bone Lick Anthology Blog Tour stop. This one is at The Kimi-Chan Experience, and I gotta tell you, just the name give me a happy. Indeed it does.

Okay, that's all the news that's fit to print regarding my authorly meanderings for the upcoming week. See you tomorrow for some work in progress fun.

Later, gators!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Monday's Mayhem and Foolishness: Real Place Names that are Stranger than Fiction

In honor of this month's fantastic Big Bone Lick Pack Anthology blog tour, I'd like to point out a few really funny things I ran across in the course of researching for this project.


Big Bone Lick Park.

Seriously, who could make that up? Not me. He he he. I mean, I could, but I wouldn't. Mostly because I'd be convinced that my readers would deem such a name to silly to be real. Which is exactly what makes the name so very perfect.

The park is located in Kentucky.  No, really. Here's  a link to the State Park. He he he. I cannot say or even see the name without giggling.

But it gets better. Just down the road, you can find the town of Beaver Lick. I am so serious I make Honest Abe Lincoln seem flighty right now.


I think you know by now that I write gay romance, right? Usually M/M or male/male? So to have a baptist church named, "Beaver Lick Baptist Church" right down the road from where my paranormal gay romance takes place makes me giggle. Not because of God. Nope. It's the licking of beavers that has me reacting like a twelve year old. That name is another hilarious one I would never in a million years have come up with on my own. Not unless I was writing a farce.

Okay, that's it for today's mayhem and foolishness. Please stay tuned throughout the month for more tantalizing tidbits and surprise prize offers in honor of the wolves, bears, and foxes of the Big Bone Lick Pack. :)

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Thursday Think Tank: What a Wonderful World

So, I was thinking today about how the world can be full of good, too. I mean, we are so quick to point out the dark times, the vile acts, the mean spirited actions, right? So let's roll into 2014 with a different perspective. Let's re-frame the picture we view... of ourselves (yeah, go on and dare to see yourself as beautiful inside and out... and then watch how that changes how you respond to the rest of the world). See your neighbor as well meaning (perhaps misinformed, but still kind at heart)...

See your kids as being characterized as responsible, loving, and brimming with integrity... and most of all? Remember that the girl in China who works for pennies sewing the jeans you love to get for only  twelve or seventeen or twenty bucks is as surely connected to you as the neighbor across the hall or down the street. Be mindful that little choices push at the roots of mountains, nibbling them down into sand, or building them ever higher toward the sky.

Don't freeze in place, but yeah, babies. Weigh your choices. Think about who your decision touches, think about how what you choose to do or not do moves you toward the person you see in the mirror when you look with your Aphrodite Gaze. *the eyes of love* And then go live big. Muah.