May 30, 2005

Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith

Took the boys to the theatre today to see Star Wars III. Even though we hit the matinee showing, I still managed to spend $30. For once, I think it was worth it. This movie rocked.

Before it began I had wondered how George would turn a decent man to evil. Sure, I had seen Anikan's temper and shortcomings in the first two movies but he had a long way to go before turning into Darth Vadar. The movie didn't disappoint. A lethal combination of fear and arrogance made the young man vulnerable to sinister influences. What I found most compelling about the transformation from good to evil was the fact it was based on decisions made out of love. Had he not feared Padame's death, had he not been determined to save her, I truly believe Darth Vadar would not have been borne. The Chancellor exploited Anikan's weaknesses.

Witnessing the evolution of a villian is so helpful when it comes to my own writing. Villians are difficult for me. I tend to deal in absolutes (like the Sith?!?!). Shades of gray are difficult to distinguish. I've never been able to understand how someone could purposely do things so wrong and still believe they were in the right. Yet, Anikan's transformation to a Sith Lord opened a world of possibilities. When creating villians I think I'll start looking for the subtle shades of gray preceding the darkness.

My favorite part of the movie, though, didn't happen on the big screen. It happened in the row I sat in. My youngest son, who is 4, was standing next to me when Darth Vadar discovers Padame's death. When Vadar throws his arms out and yells "Nooooo", so too did my 4 year old. This tiny little voice mimicking the dark lord's wail was just too precious. Even as I'm laughing and shushing him, I notice those few people in the theatre with us were laughing at him, too.

May 29, 2005

Home

The kidlets and I got back today around 2:00. I had driven our camper (it sits in the bed of our truck) up to our family property where my dad, aunt, uncle, grandma, and a half dozen cousins awaited us. My sister followed me to make sure I had help if I needed it. Luckily, I didn't!

It was a too-short vacation but I'm glad I said yes when I was asked to go. I don't recall ever taking my youngest up there and he's almost 5. It seems impossible. Surely my husband and I have been up there at some point in time over the last few years. Yet, I can't think of when. That's so sad. The only camping I ever did as a kid was done at the property and it's an awesome tradition to pass down, which means I'll have to see how the hubby feels about making at least one annual trip up there during the summer.

Sitting around the campfire reminscing about all the trips we had taken up there as kids was a lot of fun. I think everything we did with our kids this weekend (there were a total of 9 kids ages 7 to 3 weeks old) was in part due to the memories of what we had done up there as kids ourselves. Roasting marshmellows, walks down the two-track, ice cream, hobo-pies over the fire, and letting the kids stay up later than normal. I hope someday they can sit around the fire remembering how much they loved going "up north" and realize it's something they want their kids to experience.

May 25, 2005

A Week of Season Finales

The run-down according to yours truly:

Vegas
It doesn't look good. The characters are all running in different directions. Nessa and Delinda are on a plane with what appears to be an assassin with a mark on Nessa's head. Sam quit when she realized her husband was going to buy the Montecito. Mike agreed to go on the road singing with his aunt (what the hell??). Ed's chasing after Nessa and Delinda. And Danny-boy? His dad died and his girlfriend the cop had to break the news.

I can't wait to see how the writers pull everyone back together. I'd like to see Sam and her husband battling it out instead of her leaving the show. Not that I've heard she is...I'm just saying.

NCIS
All I can say is OMG. What the hell? They can't kill off Kate! I'm hoping that scene was just another dream sequence but it sure seemed "real". I'm still in shock.

House
Major threads of conflict were set up by the finale on this one. House's ex-wife, Stacy, is going to be working in the same hospital. Of course, he's still in love with her and she's happily married elsewhere. The mistake she made was in telling House he would always be "the one" but that she couldn't be with him.

Stacy's husband has issues with House, no doubt because he knows his wife still loves her first husband. No doubt he'll make some serious waves in upcoming scenes.

Then there's the three muskateers. I feel so bad for Cameron. Even though she knows House loves Stacy, I don't see her feelings dying a sudden death.

Lost
I don't watch Lost very often but I had heard it was going to be a two-hour finale and I figured it might give some answers. It didn't. Not really. I figure the men who kidnapped Walt are slavers and intend to sell him to the highest bidder; I think that's what they did with the crazy lady's kid. I figure they'll start trying to figure out a way to get to the bottom of the tunnel they opened at the very end of the show. The broken ladder was a nice touch, meaning the characters are going to need to get inventive if they hope to discover where the tunnel leads.

New story?

I had a title and a little else to go on. I started writing with nothing more than a vague idea of what kind of story I wanted to tell. I probably should have been working one of the many projects I already have underway but this story seems determined to find its way onto paper.

I don't know that it's a story I will share with anyone. It could be but, for the moment, I'm inclined to think this one will purge itself and be filed away under "too strange to share". Only time will tell.

May 23, 2005

Tagged

Okay, this is Michelle's fault. :)

Total Number of Books I Own:
Hm. A lot. They're stacked on bookshelves and stowed away in boxes. If I had to guess I'd say maybe 300 or more. That might be too conservative. Or not. I don't know...I've never counted them!

Last Books I Bought:
Both books were purchased on my last trip to Borders: Wi'tch's Gate and Wi'tch's Star by James Clemens. I already had the first three books and wanted to complete the series. Note: The apostrophes sprinkled here and there for no apparent reason made my fingers itch for a red pen. Otherwise very enjoyable.


Last Books I Read:

Those would have to be the last two I purchased. I'm currently reading Binder's Road by Terry McGarry, the book I had bought on a previous trip to Borders.


5 Books That Mean A Lot To Me:
This is a mean one. It's like making me choose which child I love more. It's just not possible! So I'm going to cheat.

Johanna Lindsey introduced me to the world of adult fiction. Not all of her stories work for me but more do than don't. If I had to single out a single title I would have to pick Captive Bride. It was the first historical romance I ever read and I loved it. Since then I've become very attached to her Mallory series, which begins with Love Only Once.

I don't particularly care for Stephen's Kings more recent releases but one of his books will always be right up there at the top of my favorites list. The Stand is a simply amazing story. If you haven't read it, you really should. The movie they made is crap compared to the book.

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I hestitate to say this was the first fantasy I ever read but I can't think of any that preceded it. The magic of the wardrobe still enchants me. I can't wait until my boys are old enough to appreciate it. Maybe the movie they're releasing in December will help!

The Anne of Green Gables series will always hold a special place in my heart. I used to read these stories to my little sisters. Of course, I was mean and made them rub my feet while I read. LOL

Oh, there's so many more! I could go on and on. But I won't.

100 Things

1. I have two beautiful little boys.

2. I started scrapbooking in 1998. I've been addicted ever since.

3. I am a book junkie. I may need professional help.

4. My biggest aspiration is to become a published writer--one that makes enough money to quit her day job.

5. Wait. Biggest aspiration might actually be to be the best mother I can be.

6. I am a Christian.

7. I have one dog and one cat. Both are black.

8. Def Leppard is one of my favorite bands of all time. My husband makes fun of me because I love attending their concerts.

9. I may bitch about Michigan but I wouldn't want to live anywhere else.

10. I have been out of the country several times, mostly to Canada. Once to the Bahamas. For the record, Customs makes me nervous even though there's absolutely no reason why it should.

11. I want to take my kids to Disneyland before they're too old to enjoy it.

12. I went to Disneyland when I was 5. Don't remember a damn thing but I've seen the pictures, which always bring a smile to my lips.

13. I have 2 sisters and 2 brothers; one of my sisters isn't by blood.

14. Technically, I have 8 step-siblings but the other 7 really don't count.

15. My parents divorced when I was 10. Nasty business.

16. I want a Yorkie.

17. My favorite romance author is Johanna Lindsey. I so wish she had a blog. Hell, even an official website would be nice.

18. I usually manage to kill house plants within two weeks. Oddly, I have a plant in my office that has managed to survive for 4 1/2 years.

19. My husband helped build our house.

20. I work a 40-hour a week desk job. Have I mentioned I'd rather be writing?

21. I married my high school sweetheart.

22. Someday I want to visit the Pyramids.

23. I can't spell without a keyboard.

24. Favorite color: green.

25. I enjoy camping but not in a tent.

26. Rock, country, pop, rap...I listen to a bit of each.

27. Naked hottub parties are a thing of the past.

28. I've danced on the bar at Coyote Ugly in Las Vegas, Nevada. Yes, I was drunk.

29. I don't like to drink water even though I know it's good for me. It's too bland.

30. Some people have a cabin up north. We have a trialer we call a cabin.

31. As a child I painted broken glass with nailpolish.

32. I hate onions.

33. I love hot chocolate with whipped cream on top.

34. I ran track my sophomore year of high school. I totally sucked!

35. I can't read music.

36. I love watching Disney cartoons with my kids. When they move out of the house or outgrow them, I'll have to fess up to buying them for myself.

37. I paint ceramics. Mostly holiday decorations.

38. Exercising is torture.

39. Favorite movies: Star Wars (the original series), Dirty Dancing, Pretty Woman, HellBoy, Lord of the Rings, Tombstone, Young Guns, Lost Boys

40. I'm a sucker for the Sci-Fi channel.

41. Know-it-alls annoy me.

42. I read books and watch television in the pursuit of entertainment. I'm not concerned with how smart my reading material or channel selection makes me look.

43. I've cried watching Winnie-the-Pooh.

44. Encouraging people to follow their dreams is important to me.

45. I'm afraid of what it'll be like to have 9 teenage boys in the family. They're so close in age and most will attend the same high school....

46. Family is forever.

47. I don't have to like you to love you.

48. I'm a bit of a snob.

49. I have no reason to be a snob.

50. Bath and Body Works rocks.

51. I'd be lost without my camera.

52. Being a parent is one of the hardest jobs I've ever had. Luckily, I love it too much to complain.

53. Hawaii is in my future if the hubby knows what's good for him. ;-)

54. I took three years of foreign language (two years of French and one year of Spanish) while in high school. I hardly remember any of it.

55. When in the sun I tend to burn and peel. Burn and peel.

56. My children's artwork decorates my office.

57. I wish I could draw.

58. My senior year of high school I wanted to be a marine biologist. Yet, I decided to pursue a medical assisting degree upon graduation. Oh, the things we do for love...

59. I am not a medical assistant.

60. I am related two two medical assistants.

61. I'm the first born in my family. If you don't know what this means, there's lots of books out there on the topic.

62. I love soaking in a bubble bath with a good book for company.

63. I've only been in one fist-fight. With my cousin.

64. I lost touch with my best friend from high school. Emails once or twice a year really don't reflect how much she meant to me during those trying years.

65. I have thick hair. Hairstylists love me. (That's sarcasm, people.)

66. I'm embarrassed to admit I had a crush on Michael Jackson during his Thriller days.

67. I played with Barbies way after I should have stopped.

68. I don't own a globe but would like to. Why I just don't buy one is beyond me.

69. I have an incurable sweet tooth.

70. Blue Moon ice cream is scrumptious.

71. Life without pizza and pasta would be tragic.

72. I have the best husband in the world. Seriously. I'm so spoiled.

73. My husband and I met on a rafting trip when I was 15. We started dating two months later.

74. I've received a hand-written rejection from Tor Books with rather vague recommendations on how to improve the story. Someday I will rewrite that story and resubmit it.

75. I'm going to school for a Bachelor of Applied Science degree. I have 10 classes left. At the rate I'm going, they will take me approximately 5 years to complete.

76. I look good in turquoise.

77. I hate driving at night.

78. I never throw away a scrapbooking magazine. This could become an issue someday.

79. My favorite suspense writer: Dean Koontz.

80. I have a lava lamp in my office.

81. I also have several pictures of my kids decorating my office.

82. My husband agreed to let me turn a corner of our basement into a scrapbooking room. He even built shelves for me to put all my stuff on. What a man!

83. I love dried fruit.

84. Stargazer Lilies are my favorite flower.

85. I grew up in the country.

86. I lived in the city for 7 long years.

87. I'm so glad to be back in the country!

88. I have spent hours wandering through a bookstore. Of course, I didn't leave empty handed.

89. Clearance sales rock!

90. Las Vegas is one of my favorite adult vacation spots.

91. I'd wear jeans every day if my boss would let me.

92. Dairy Queen blizzards can cure my blues.

93. I've driven over 350 miles just to go scrapbooking.

94. When we'd get bored, I force my cousin to write stories because I thought it was fun.

95. I used to have a recurring nightmare about a big, green, slimy thing that would come out of the swamp next to my childhood home and chase me until it trapped me in the basement. (Apparently, my parents used to tell me to stay away from the swamps because that's where the boogeyman lived.)

96. My great-great grandma used to live right next door to me.

97. My great-grandma lives with my mom.

98. I had my ears pierced in first grade.

99. My first novel was a historical romance. As a reader and a writer.

100. It has taken me three days to do this 100 things list.

May 18, 2005

Getting Ready for the Party

I'm having a jewelry party on Saturday. Pretty, sparkly stuff that girly girls tend to covet. Not that I'm a girly girl. Heavens, no! I just wanted that one necklace enough to actually inconvience myself by booking a party.

Getting ready for a party is never fun. It's work. Lots of it. First you have to get all the addresses together in order to make sure you might have 5 or 6 guests show up (typically I send out 15-20 invites). Then you have to go around telling everyone you invited it doesn't matter if they come and, if they do, please don't feel obligated to buy ANYTHING. Really. I only booked the party so I could buy that $110 necklace for $25.

Guests invited and reassured they don't need to spend their life savings on jewelry they feel obligated to buy just because they're kind enough to come to this silly thing, it's time to focus on the house. Cleaning is not my favorite pasttime. It ranks right up there with going to the dentist. However, I can't stomach the thought of a dirty house when I have guests, so I do what needs to be done to prevent needless embarrassment.

Tonight's objective was to clean the boys' rooms. While my hubby took our oldest son to baseball practice, I took a garbage bag upstairs. I filled the first 40-gallon bag with the broken toys in his toybox. Then I decided to clean out his dresser. I can't believe how much stuff I threw away! Strangely, he hardly seemed to notice when he got home from practice.

The youngest's room went much quicker than his brother's. I think most of the toys that used to be in his toybox had been relocated to his brother's room. The only thing I didn't do was clean his closet...closing the doors worked just fine.

I took before and after pictures. I intend to do a scrapbook page comparing the reality (messy) to the fantasy (clean). The difference is just so startling I can't resist the impulse to commemorate the moment. LOL

May 17, 2005

Time to get serious.

Got on the scale this morning. Egads! I can't take it any more. I know I'm hitting that middle-age spread but please! This is ridiculous. Ignoring the effects of age, shameful eating habits, and my tendency to avoid physical exertion must come to an end.

I need to eat better and I need to exercise.

Excuses be damned. Somehow I always manage to find time to read, to play on the computer, or to watch tv. Giving up one or more of those activities isn't going to be easy but I know I have to do it. I'm thinking the tv is the easiest to live without.

I also need to stop eating so much. I love food. Apparently it loves me, too, because it's taken up residence around my mid-section. Ew. Double ew. I want to look cute and adorable in my clothes again. And let's not even mention bathing suits, shall we?

Here's my plan (please pray I find the will-power and self-control necessary for follow-through):

-No more pop (a.k.a. soda). Quitting cold-turkey today.

-Reduce the amount of food consumed. Gorging will not be allowed.

-Eat small, healthy snacks in between meals. Denying myself snacks will be the death of this. I am a snacky person. Instead of reaching for a piece of chocolate or a bowl of ice cream, though, I'll try to eat more fruit and vegetables.

-Exercise for an hour three times a week.

This isn't going to be easy for me but I'm tired of hating myself every time I look in the mirror.

May 13, 2005

Redeeming Angels - Chapter One

Redeeming Angels
© Krista Heiser, All Rights Reserved.


This is a rough draft. It likely contains typos and other errors, and may not be copied, reproduced, or quoted in any form or format.

Chapter One.

Chapter One



Makenna Wilkensen felt the darkling stir to life deep within her. The first tendrils of a thirst so compelling she would never completely slake it crept through her veins, demanding replenishment. Instinct created a pressure along the roof of her mouth and in her teeth.

Her mood, already soured from the last hour spent trying to balance the bookstore’s accounts, darkened even further. She glanced down at the calendar on her desk. November 10th. Early by two weeks and wholly unwelcome. As she studied the calendar she knew waiting for her next night off would become an agony. She’d have to make some adjustments to the store schedule.

Just as soon as she finished cashing out.

She recalculated the figures only to come up short once again. Damn it. She slammed her hands down on the oak desktop and cursed long and loud, her voice easily carrying over the jazz sweeping out of her computer’s speakers.

She needed to calm down. Getting out of the office and away from the source of her frustration would help. Like any other negative emotion, her anger lent power to the fledgling entity trapped within her. Her small outburst had quickened its awareness and heightened her captive senses.

Coffee mug in hand, she pushed away from her desk. The realization that she couldn’t trust her staff made her pause to lock the door behind her. “They have no idea how lucky they are I make it a policy to never kill my employees,” she mumbled as she slid the key into the pocket of her jeans.

As she moved in the direction of the stairwell leading to the main floor, she couldn’t help glancing longingly over her shoulder toward the reinforced steel door at the opposite end of the hall. It opened into a spacious three-story apartment. As the owner and sole tenant of the building, she had spared no expense in remodeling and decorating the space. She often retreated there when a little distance from her business became necessary.

She glanced at her watch. Her nightshift help would be leaving in an hour. She needed to resolve the monetary discrepancy and readjust the schedule before then. She didn’t have time to do more than fill her coffee cup.

The stairwell led to the rear of the bookstore where she had installed a trendy cybercafé. She could hear the clacking keyboards before she reached the landing. She pushed open the door and smiled in greeting to the customers who sat at the surrounding computers. A couple of them had become regulars and she knew them by name. They smiled or waved but didn’t break from their online pursuits.
Respecting their privacy, she moved silently past them and into the bookstore proper. As she moved through the labyrinth of bookshelves the smell of newly installed carpet competed with the rich aromas originating from the small café counter at the front of the store. Coffee dominated the other scents as she drew near.

“Among the living again?” Chelsie Roberts asked, grabbing the nearest coffee pot as Makenna approached the counter. “I just made this, so it should be nice and fresh.”

“Thanks,” Makenna said, watching the dark brew fill the mug as she considered the irony in the sales clerk’s innocent question. She’d never been among the living. She had been created a vampire and would always remain one. She smiled and gripped the mug with chilled fingers, savoring the warmth emanating through the ceramic. “Let’s just say I’m temporarily free of my crypt.”

Chelsie laughed at the pun and returned the coffee pot to its rightful resting spot as Makenna inhaled the aromatic bitterness of the house blend, delighting in the very real pleasure the smell gave her. The brew couldn't sate her darker thirst but she'd enjoy every last drop. She made sure to carry the best quality blends.

“Does that mean you're done balancing?”

“I wish. Unfortunately, it’s not looking good. Either I don’t know how to use a calculator or someone’s ripping me off.” Makenna took a sip, thanking her regenerative healing powers for their quick response to the sting of burned taste buds. “I’m hoping it's me. I’d hate to fire anyone this close to Christmas.”

Chelsie grimaced but looked as innocent as a newborn babe, which Makenna believed she was. “Any idea who it might be?”

"No, not really." Makenna had her suspicions but she had no desire to trade in gossip with an employee, not even one as likeable as Chelsie. Especially when she didn’t have any proof.

Hoping to distract the growing curiosity she could see in Chelsie’s eyes, Makenna redirected her thoughts to a more mundane topic. "How’s business been so far tonight?"

The bookstore had opened a year ago and, although most of her serious concerns had been laid to rest, Makenna wasn't naïve enough to think the store was free and clear. The area had earned a poor reputation for commerce in the past and it was taking time to overcome the stigma. People didn’t trust the neighborhood after dark. They expected thugs on the streets, homeless sleeping in the alleyways, and prostitutes grouped together on the corners.

The effort to clean up the city’s image had been made possible only through great effort. The local University had added student housing on their downtown campus. City planners, taking this influx of viable consumers into account, had worked long hours trying to bring large and small business alike to the area.
Makenna had been one of many to take advantage of the opportunity. She had stumbled across an online article and, in less than twelve hours, she had decided to take a chance in moving here and opening the store. Luckily, it seemed to be paying off. Business was good and getting better. Her nocturnal habits and the odd hours she kept coincided with the needs of the nearby students.

“It’s been pretty steady,” Chelsie said, sipping from her lipstick-stained cardboard cup. "Not too bad for a Tuesday anyway."

Makenna knew by smell Chelsie had filled her cup with hot chocolate and not coffee. Another sign the darkling had emerged; her heightened senses would continue to sharpen until she satisfied her body’s needs.

She tried not to think about the thirst. “No problem costumers?”

While not likely, the possibility existed. The late hours attracted trouble-makers as well as honest citizens. On more than one occasion Makenna or one of her employees had been forced to either take action or pick up the phone.

“Not a one.”

“Good. Let’s hope it stays that way.” She was about to retreat to her office and the accounting books when the door opened, ushering in more than the brisk November air.

The man might have been a model with those cheekbones and that chin. It was his eyes, though, that commanded attention. Even at this distance the bright blue irises stood out in stark contrast to his black hair and tanned complexion.

Tall, dark and handsome took off his gloves and shoved them into his coat pockets. His eyes scanned the bookstore. With a determined stride he moved past table displays, end caps, and bargain piles and straight into the horror/suspense shelves.

Chelsie sighed, her eyes admiring his backside as he disappeared into the horror section. She flashed Makenna a wicked smile. “He’s gorgeous, isn’t he?”

Makenna nodded. “Yes, he is.”

“He’s my English prof. Every woman in his class has the hots for him, married or not.”

Makenna could appreciate the reaction. She felt a little hot herself. “I’ve never seen him in here before.”

“Me, either, but he could come in before the late shift begins,” Chelsie pointed out, shifting her position in an attempt to keep him within her sights.
Makenna refused to admit she catered to the darkling’s wanton reaction as she flashed her employee a wicked smile. The thirst wasn’t the only manifestation which accompanied the darkling’s emergence. “Maybe I should find out.”

Chelsie smiled knowingly. ”Good luck. He’s not much on flirting. Some of the guys even think he’s gay. The way most women throw themselves at him and he hardly seems to notice, it might be true.”

Makenna’s gaze roamed over his broad shoulders, tight ass, and everything in between. “That would be a complete waste.”

“Couldn’t agree more,” Chelsie said, reluctantly turning her attention to a mousy coed who had approached. “Hi, what can I get for you?”

Makenna slipped away, leaving her employee to her work. Coffee cup in hand, she walked across the bookstore, noticing more than one admiring glance directed at the handsome professor. It seems she and Chelsie hadn't been the only ones to notice his entrance. The girls on the computers monitored his progress with hungry eyes, as did a couple of young women seated around the café's small, metal tables.

When Makenna approached, the man looked up from the jacket of the horror novel in his hands, a polite smile fixed in place. His eyes locked on hers and Makenna felt something spark between them in that instant. Yet, his expression and body language told her he either hadn't felt it or refused to acknowledge it.

She could taste the pheromones; the darkling’s ascendance made her sensitive to their presence. His heartbeat pounded in her ears and the hormones began producing in excess, signaling her body on what would normally be a subconscious level. She thought of Chelsie's comment and had to smile. The man was far from gay.

Feeling empowered by his reaction, she stepped closer and glanced down at the book in his hands. The title brought an ironic grin to her lips. “Hm. A vampire fan?”

He didn’t retreat but his body language told her he meant to keep his distance. He glanced down at the glossy jacket and a rueful smile appeared. “Research.”

His answer roused a wicked delight in the darkling. She’d happily help him with any research he might be conducting. She offered him her hand and a sensual smile, “Makenna Wilkensen. I own The Scriptorium.”

His firm grip created chaos within her body.

Her hand in his made his blood surge through his veins; the pounding of his heart resounded within her ears. “Gabe Anderson.”

“Pleased to meet you, Gabe. Is this your first visit?”

He shook his head, dropping her hand when he realized he had held it a moment longer than necessary. He seemed perturbed. “No, I’ve stopped by once or twice. I work at the University.”

She nodded, “So my Sales Clerk said. You're an English professor?”

He nodded as he glanced over her shoulder, his gaze seeking and finding the petite brunette behind the café counter. “Chelsie Roberts. Intro to Prose Fiction.” He met Makenna’s eyes again. “She’s a nice girl. Good student, too.”

“I’ll be sure to tell her.” She flashed her dimples, knowing full well how they affected the male populace. "Perhaps I can help you with your research. I happen to know the title of every vampire book we carry."

“Hazard of ownership?”

“Call it a hobby but the truth is it makes restocking much easier,” she said.

He smiled and looked down at the book in his hands. “I’m in need of vampire fiction and non-fiction. I haven’t had a chance to look around much but I assume you carry both?”

“I do and I’d be happy to make some recommendations, Dr. Anderson.”

“Please, call me Gabe. I’m not a doctor yet but, even if I were, I’d rather have people use my given name.” His self-conscious grin gave him a boyish appeal. He relaxed his stance. “Doctor seems a bit pretentious. It’s not as if I save lives or anything.”

Makenna took the book from his hand, scanned the title, and assumed her professional mien. “Are you looking for fiction that sticks to the legends or are you interested in some of the more inventive stories?”

He shrugged, “I’m not sure. Perhaps a little of both would be a good idea. To be honest, I’m not sure exactly what I’m looking for. I’m hoping I’ll recognize it when I see it.”

Her curiosity became as aroused as her body. She hoped the latter didn't show as she handed the book back to him. “While I won't complain if you buy this at full price, I also carried this one in the Used section upstairs.”

“Used would be great,” he said, glancing at the small sign posted above the stairwell leading upstairs. “I tend to forget you sell used books.”

She laughed, her amusement real, as she glanced toward the large window panes facing the street. The word Used was only slightly smaller than New. “Too subtle then?”

He shared in her laughter. “No, I’m sure it’s just me.”

They had to walk past the counter where Chelsie struggled to appear nonchalant. The high-wattage smile she flashed at Gabe made him pause, his smile politely professional. No doubt about it; he wouldn't be forgetting she was his student. “How are you, Chelsie?”

“Oh, I’m good. A little tired but it’s late, you know?”

He nodded, not bothering to look at the neon clock hanging on the wall above her head. “Well, try to get some sleep before class. I wouldn’t want you falling asleep on me.”

Chelsie shook her head, her expression becoming quite somber despite his teasing tone. “I would never sleep through your class, Professor Anderson.”

Makenna saved him from further fawning by moving into the stairwell. She caught Chelsie’s eye as he obediently followed and tried not to smile. The girl looked positively green with envy. “If you need me for anything, Chelsie, I’ll be upstairs.”

“I’m sure I’ll be fine.”

Makenna started up the stairs, the realization he had no where to look but at her derriere heightening her awareness of his proximity. When they reached the second floor she led him through the maze of stacked books, some tattered and worn, others in near perfect condition. The room had a distinct, aged paper smell.

“Wow. I should have wandered up here before now. This is amazing.” His eyes roamed the room, lingering every now and then as something snared his interest. The used section of the bookstore was only slightly smaller than the new books displayed on the first floor. “How long have you been trading in used books?”

“I’ve only been here a year,” she reminded him.

“Really?” His gaze settled on her.

“You must be new to the area,” she said, leading him toward the back corner. The soft lighting on this floor gave off an ambient glow, creating shadows between the rows of books.

“I moved to here in August, right before I started teaching.”

Four months. No wonder she hadn’t seen him before, especially if he frequented the store during daylight hours. “And what do you think of it?”

Her periphery vision caught the slight shrug. “It’s okay. I’m more of a country person so living in the city, even one as small as this one, has been a bit of an adjustment.”

She moved along the row of books, her finger trailing along creased bindings. “Here. This one is pretty good. And this one.” She tapped the outward facing spines, her French manicure in marked contrast against the dark jackets.

He paused to collect the recommended books. “Thanks, this is really quite helpful.”

She plucked one from the shelf and turned to face him. She held it to her chest, holding his gaze with her own. The secluded privacy of the upper rooms, combined with the subtle lighting, put crazy ideas into her head. The darkling wondered what he would do if she pinned him to the bookshelves and had her way with him?

Instincts honed over the last century raged forth. Without conscious thought she projected her will upon him, intent on assuming control of his thoughts and, through them, his body. Lust, both for his body and his blood, filled her.
She bounced off an impenetrable barrier.

A flicker of pain flashed across his face. He lifted a hand to rub the bridge of his nose as if a headache had suddenly hit him square between the eyes.

What the hell?

The darkling howled but Makenna refused to relinquish control. She dampened its reaction to a wry smile and held out the book. “I can also special order anything you might need.”

He held her gaze for a moment and she could see how he struggled against his attraction to her. He might be interested—very interested if his pheromone production had anything to say about it—but he wasn’t going to act upon the attraction.

A man with morals? Oh, he just got better and better. It had been centuries since she had had a true challenge.

“Thank you.” He glanced at the book she offered him, grasping it without touching her hands. Not even a casual caress. “This is a good start.”

Makenna glanced at his hands. No ring. No tell-tale indentation of a recent breakup. Yet, something held him back, something significant enough to drain all the warmth from his expression.

Perhaps he had sensed her psychic probe. The idea disturbed her for reasons should couldn't quite articulate. She decided to retreat, confident this wouldn't be their last meeting. Her store was simply too convenient for him to avoid it, especially when she had given him no reason to do so. “Well, I should get back to work. It was nice meeting you, Gabe.”

“It was nice meeting you, too.” He glanced down at the book in his hand. “Thank you for the recommendations.”

“Anytime. The non-fiction section isn’t as large but you should be able to find a couple of good titles in the back corner, there.” She pointed in the general direction he would need to go.

Makenna didn’t want to walk away but she forced herself to leave him to his shopping. She did have work to do. Besides, he seemed the type who would react more to a subtle seduction than blatant propositions. Despite the mutual attraction he had not responded to her on more than a biological level. His body wouldn’t require convincing but his mind and heart certainly would.

As she neared the stairwell she glanced over her shoulder. He had resumed shopping but she sensed his awareness of her. She felt it along her skin.

The sensation faded as she descended the stairs.

“Well?” Chelsie asked. She brushed cookie crumbs from the corner of her mouth with the back of her hand. Curiosity shone in her eyes.

Makenna moved behind the counter and topped off her coffee. She grabbed a cookie for herself, grateful she could enjoy the taste of it even if it would be unable to satisfy her body’s true hunger. “Well, I can tell you one thing for sure.”

Chelsie met her eyes.

“He’s not gay.”

Doll

You know as much as I bitch about my day job, it does have some great perks. I work with some truly interesting and likeable people. Icing is there a few who seem to get me--they're either great actresses or they understand my quirkyness because they can relate to it. In return, I seem to "get" them, as well.

We recently hired a young woman who is an artist. She has writerly (is that a word?) aspirations but her calling is art. I wish I had my digital with me today. She made a doll for another coworker. Doll is too tame a word, though. It's a girl. And she's made out of recycled things. String. Beads. Ribbon. Yarn. Beans. Cinnamon sticks. It's unusual and beautiful all at the same time.

I envy her the vision it took to create this girl. The creativity that went into that doll's creation is astounding. The detail work must have been mind-numbing.

Oh, how I wish I had my digital with me so I could share this with you!

May 11, 2005

I should be writing.

I should be.

I have three more chapters to edit and then it's time for new words. Of course, I could always skip the editing and go right to the new words. Do not pass go. Do not collect $200. Go directly to your word processing software and get busy.

Yep. I should be writing.

Owen--my new nephew. He makes nephew number 8. Number 9 is on his way.... Posted by Hello

soccer uniforms Posted by Hello

Random Items of Interest

Ok, so they might not interest you at all. Apparentely, blogs that talk about the blogger's day-to-day existence are boring as hell. So to my few readers...I apologize. :)

Item #1:
As seen in the picture below, my sister had her baby. Healthy little bugger and cute as can be. 7lbs, 14oz. 20 & 1/2 inches long. His name is Owen Zachary. How cute is that?

Item #2:
Have not been successful in getting in touch with son's school to pass along his hearing test results. Playing phone tag with the Speech Therapist. When I tried to call back yesterday I got a busy signal. Guess I'll have to keep trying or resort to yet another letter.

Item #3:
My boy scored a goal in soccer last night! Yay, little man!

Item #4:
Work sucks. Nothing new. Just thought I'd mention it in case you were under the misconception things had improved.

Item #5:
I've been editing the vampire romance. Very pleased with the results. However, chapter two is questionable in its entirety. I'm not sure if it will stay or go in the final polish. Right now I'm inclined to keep it. It does serve a purpose but I fear it may have negative repercussions on readers. Guess I'll have to trust that to my beta readers, whomever they may be!

May 5, 2005

Good News!

We took our oldest son to the Ears, Nose and Throat specialist today. I don't know if I mentioned it but last Monday he had had his hearing checked and the results weren't good. The tests revealed he could hardly hear out of his right ear. Faced with those results, our family doctor had referred him out.

Well, his hearing is fine. Perfect actually. The problem? Oh, that would be the PAPER stuck down in his ear canal and the wax impacted against his eardrum. Take those minor nuisances out and voila! the boy can hear!

What I want to know? How did he get paper in his ear? And why couldn't our family doctor see it?

May 2, 2005

What My Birthday Says About Me

Your Birthdate: July 20
Your birth on the 20th day of the month adds a degree of emotion, sensitivity, and intuition to your reading.
The 2 energy provided here is very social, allowing you to make friends easily and quickly.
Yet you are apt to have a rather nervous air in the company of a large group.

You have a warmhearted nature and emotional understanding that constantly seeks affection.
You are very prone to become depressed and moody, as emotions can turn inward and cause anxiety and mental turmoil.
It can be hard for you to bounce back to reality when depression sets in.
When things are going well, you can go just as far the other way and become extremely affectionate.

What Does Your Birth Date Mean?


Other than the depression thing--the blues never last for more than a day or two--this is pretty accurate.

Unbelievable

More madness.

I stopped by Laurell K. Hamilton's blog this afternoon expecting to read about her progress on her next book or some other author-related duties. Nope. Instead, she's addressing the piece of crap who tried to call her out of a luncheon by telling her assistant Laurell's grandmother was dying. After reading through her post I realized I really don't understand what drives people to be so cruel. I just don't get it. Someone else's pain, panic, or sorrow should not be source of entertainment. It shouldn't bring pleasure.

I'm so sorry this happened to Laurell, that it would happen to anyone. I know she doesn't read my blog (as if!) but I'm sending lots of warm, fuzzy thoughts her way and hoping she can put this behind her as soon as possible.

What I want to know is: don't these nutjobs have something better to do with their time? There are so many things to do in the world. Why waste precious time and energy thinking up and carrying out such a mean-spirited prank? Get a real hobby. Get a life. If those aren't an option, perhaps a lobotomy would be a good alternative.