News From the Divine Creek Ranch…

Operation Ginger Avenger releasing December 22nd

The next book in the Divine Creek Ranch Collection has had a reserved spot in Siren’s calendar for a while now. I don’t generally like writing with a deadline but sometimes I need a push, so I reserved the spot and set myself a deadline to submit this story in time for it to be published by Christmas. That’s four books released in a calendar year, which I haven’t done in a while. Even more extraordinary for me, it was four books in one quarter. That’s stressful because I need to be online promoting at a time when I also want to spend time with family and friends celebrating and doing all the activities leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas. But the majority of the work: writing, revising, editing, writing blurbs, creating graphics, shopping for stock photos, and all the other gazillion tasks were done up front, to make the fall and holiday season spent promoting go more smoothly.

I typed “The End” on Operation Ginger Avenger (Divine Creek Ranch 24) just last night. I fell into bed early last night, and woke up ready to work this morning.

Today, the work to revise and promote the story begins. I’ve built and published a page here on my website for Operation Ginger Avenger, but at this point, it’s really just the bare bones, since the blurbs are my next order of business. I hate writing blurbs, but right after I’ve finished the book is the best time for me to write them. If you check back in coming days and weeks, I’ll be adding more info to that page as I have it ready.

Divine Creek Ranch Boxed Sets

While checking Siren’s calendar, I also discovered that the 4th volume in the Divine Creek Ranch Boxed sets is scheduled for release on November 21st. I’ll add the pre-order/buy link when I have it. This set will include:
Their Divine Doctor (Book 9)
Divine Phoenix (Book 10)
Sparks Fly! A Divine Creek Ranch July 4th Family Reunion (Book 11)

Tangere Tales Trilogy Progress

All of the rounds of edits for Midnight of the Fae (Tangere Tales 2) are completed and returned to Siren-BookStrand, and it will be releasing on November 10th. It has a preorder link available now and I hope you’ll order your copy today.

 

 

Author “Appearances”

I’ll be attending a Facebook event this Saturday, at 1:00pm (Central) at the next Author Takeover for Romance Readers Recommend. These events are a great way to interact with your favorite authors as well as authors you may not have met yet. I’ll be answering questions about Divine, Texas and the Tangere Tales Trilogy, and also doing a prize drawing for all attendees. If you’re Interested, click over to see the awesome lineup of authors and let the ladies know you’ll be attending. No obligation, just come and have fun.

Slices of Life from the Rainier Household

I titled this post “News From the Ranch…” and I meant that both figuratively and literally. We’ve gotten pretty much settled in our new home. For those of you who may have missed it, we sold our place and downsized just a bit. We had a dream to own acreage in the area Mr R grew up in, but we’ve found that as we mature, so have our dreams. He’s been self-employed all of his life, in a line of work that’s extremely physical and in Texas heat, also very taxing. So we downsized and we’re leasing until we find the place that’s the right size for us. The rambling, old ranch house we’re leasing is on a large cattle ranch, and I enjoy that aspect of our current home way more than I thought I would.

Fall wildflowers in South Texas
The view from our new home. Wildflowers in the fall…

Our house is fully fenced so the dogs are contained and don’t bother the cattle, beyond barking at them occasionally. Eli has settled in and resigned himself that he can’t just go “walkabout” when he wants to. He’s getting a little old for that anyway.

The calves and yearlings are a hoot to watch, and there is this old bull…

Let me tell you…

One day I noticed Eli barking, and it wasn’t his irritating “I’m barking cuz I’m bored” bark. This was “Stranger-Danger! WTF!” Mildly curious, because our house is located within the gated ranch and people can’t just walk right on up, I wander up to the kitchen to see what’s going on. Eli is strutting up and down along the fence, all stiff legged and jaunty, like “I’m the man and this here is my property. Be gone, foul interloper.” The herd roams loose all over the property, and it’s not unusual at all to look out the bedroom window and see one grazing not ten feet away. So I see a cow close by the fence, roll my eyes, and begin to walk away, and then Eli growls and marks his territory.

It’s a scary sound.

I take a closer look and there’s a cow on the other side of the fence. Our vehicles are parked outside the fence under or near the carport. Hasn’t been a problem so far. This cow is grazing between the fence and my Tundra. Also no biggie. I’ve seen them do it before. They’re docile and even the dogs barking doesn’t faze them all that much. Closer inspection reveals its the bull. The Bull. I’ve affectionately named him Horny Toad. That should tell you all.

I’m curious what’s going to happen next. He’s a thick, beefy sort, as you’d expect. He’s staring at Eli while he’s grazing and then he gives Eli the same stiff-legged and jaunty “I’m the man, and this here is MY property. You are a rodent I want to stomp.”

The bull turns to my truck, and not surprisingly licks the bumper and trailer hitch. *shudders*

Okay, you pervert, lick my bumper, just have at it.

As I watch, the truck starts rocking up and down ever so slightly. (Not to worry, y’all. It’s an older model 4-door Tundra we bought as a ranch truck, and to fit all four of us as the kid’s legs got longer, and for the kids to learn to drive in. It’s had a full life.) Anyway, the bull starts rubbing against the truck and it really starts rocking.

Son of a bitch!”

I spill my coffee, run outside in my nightgown and robe, “Get on outta here, you horny mother–

Thank goodness the landlord was nowhere in sight, because I scared the dogs for sure. The bull was less than impressed but he left off from humping my truck, for softer and perhaps more receptive hind quarters elsewhere on the acreage.

If I ever go outside and find my tail pipe broken off, y’all will be the first to know.

This place is beautiful. The property is thick with mature oak trees and this fall the fields were thick with yellow wildflowers. I don’t own this bit of heaven but I sure am enjoying it until we find our own.

Vain Heifer!

One day, I was working under the covered picnic area in the backyard. It’s fenced off from the house so I can work in peace without the dogs cold nosing my elbows every few minutes. (Surely I’m not the only one who is bugged by that sensation). The cows were wandering all around the house, grazing, and then I noticed one of the cows had gone over by my Camaro, which was parked under the carport.

Being protective of my car, I sneak over to investigate. The heifer was looking at her reflection on the side of the car. I caught her with my camera, peeking over the hood. Yes, I’m a tad nervous about the car, but I like our landlords, and the property. They’ve assured us any damages would be taken care of. Of all the things I have to worry about lately, this rates pretty low.

While I’m writing this to you, the bull is outside my window, singing his snort-y song of unrequited lust for my Toyota Tundra. The saga continues…

 

I hope you all are having a fine start to your fall and upcoming holiday season. There will be more updates in weeks to come, and probably more news from the ranch.

Seize the day, baby!

~H

I WRITE FAIRY TALES! There, I said it!

After so many years of writing a contemporary erotic romance series set in a small Texas Hill Country town, why did I decide to write fairy tales?

That question has a few answers, and that’s what I thought I’d write about today.

I suppose anything I write could qualify as a fairy tale happily ever after. The heroine winds up with her heroes (usually multiples) and they do live happily ever after. That’s my job and I love it.

Then I decided to dabble in a true fairy tale world.

A land where magic exists. Beasts, princes, kings, and fae are bad ass and sexy. Oh, and hello, dragons! Villains, adversaries, and evil queens who are “I will eat your soul” kind of ominous and scary (mostly). But through it all, love prevails.

Taking a detour through the land of Tangere was refreshing because there are so many options in a magical realm.

Anything can happen.

I needed that uncertainty and opportunity, I suppose. And in the end, with the finished product in hand, I hoped readers would approve.

A close associate asked me a good question this morning.

“Have you really billed this trilogy as fairy tales?”

The question gave me pause. At Siren-BookStrand it’s categorized as “Contemporary, Fairy Tales/Myths, Fantasy, Menage a trois, Paranormal” in alphabetical order. I’ve mainly promoted the series as fantasy. I mean, obviously, with a titles like Beasts In Winter, I knew readers would see what I was going for, but when asked about this trilogy for the last year or so, I would always hesitate before calling them fairy tales. Why on Earth would I do that?

Fairy tales are simple bedtime stories that have been told to children for hundreds of years, embellished in our “modern” times for a wider audience. Maybe it’s because the themes seem so simple on the surface–how could they be made any better? Is it because some people still see fairy tales as childish, and why would I reinterpret a childish thing? Maybe because there are so many retellings already?

I don’t talk about what I write much to people in my everyday real life, but that’s because of privacy. I realized even in my online activity, the fairy tale aspect of what I was writing was not the first thing that I mentioned. Why? My best guess is that as a grown woman, I worry what people will think about me dabbling in fairy tales. After all, the classic fairy tales, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, and Snow White, are first read to us when we’re little. Or we grew up watching the Disney interpretation of those fairy tales. And in the back of our minds, my mind, maybe that was always my ideal for a happily ever after. Now, here we are, grown women.

We KNOW that fairy tale happily-ever-afters are all too imperfect,

short-lived, or just plain non-existent. That doesn’t make us want them any less, but it did make me hesitant, I suppose, to talk about them.

I think part of me also kept this series close to my heart, giving as little information as I could without being downright reticent, because I feared that devoted readers of my contemporary series might not want to “jump” genres with me, although I know plenty of readers who do. Or maybe they would find that my interpretation of them would be repetitive of what other authors have tried to do.

We authors are a neurotic lot. Haven’t I ever mentioned that?

Anyway, I am over that reluctance. The truth is that my heart, sweat, and tears have gone into all three stories, even surprising myself with the elements that leaped from my imagination onto the page.  And I laughed and laughed while writing them. Maybe that’s why I loved them so much. But the love scenes are the heart and soul of the stories. I can make you laugh all day long, but if I haven’t made your heart swoop and pound at least a little, I haven’t done my job and merited my reader’s business.

These are not your mama’s fairy tales.

They certainly aren’t Hollywood’s politically correct fairy tales. And I hope you will discover between the pages that they are unlike any erotic retelling of a fairy tale that you have ever read before.

I’ve taken many of the familiar, well-loved landmarks from Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, and Snow White, embellished them with vivid imagery, added new elements, introduced a new set of secondary characters, and heated them up to the top of the scale for erotic romance. Oh, and they’re all ménage happily-ever-afters, if you haven’t guessed by the covers.

And here I am, loudly and proudly proclaiming

I WRITE FAIRY TALES!

Information about each story is located on my website. Just click on the menu button and select Books in the Tangere Tales Trilogy, or click any of the links from the Home page to read the blurbs and excerpts. And read on for a fun look at Beasts in Winter, as well as snippets from Midnight of the Fae, and Dance of the Dragon Sorceress.

~~~

A rumbling sound nearby startled Angel,

and she opened her eyes, not remembering why they were closed. She couldn’t possibly have dozed off. Her awareness returned, along with a blast of freezing cold, and she gasped.

“Ho-Holy shit! Where am I?”

Meow,” the cat answered, its bright white fur blending in with the snow scene surrounding her. Brilliant sunlight lit the frozen landscape and another wave of chills hit her, reminding her she was clad in denim shorts, hiking boots, and a tank top—because it was summertime. As if to reinforce her confusion, snowflakes drifted around her and caught in her long auburn hair and sifted into her cleavage.

“We need to get out of here, wherever the hell here is. I know I promised to take you home, Miss Priss, but I’m freezing my ass off. You wanna go back home with me? It’s warmer there, and

I can hook you up with all the catnip your heart desires.”

The feline shimmied against her as if trying to keep her warm and then turned her shapely head and gazed off into the distance. Her purring grew loud enough to be audible over the gusting wind. A soft ringing sound drew Angel’s attention, and she noticed a bauble made of glass or crystal hung from the cat’s collar. Within the clear material was suspended a blue flower, like a violet. The cat looked into her eyes, as it began a pumping motion with its paws, “making biscuits,” as her grandmother would’ve said. The cat’s eyes were the same brilliant blue as the flower within the bauble.

The cat looked to the horizon again, and Angel understood why when she spotted the castle across a clearing, its roof peaks, chimneys, and architectural features piled with snow. Was she directing Angel there?

Wait, what? Directing me? I must be hallucinating.

Sunlight poured down on the palatial fortress, and the ice crystals covering the structure glittered, dazzling her for a moment. “Whoa. Sorry, pretty girl, but I need to go back. This…this is crazy.”

“Put down the animal.”

Chills rippled down her spine at the gritty, almost inhuman quality of the voice.

Don’t show fear. It’s not a bear or a monster. If they can speak, they can be reasoned with. Just don’t…show…fear.

“Are you deaf, or do you have a death wish? Put down the animal.” A hint of aggravation was plain in the accented syllables.

Angel turned and nearly lost her footing. Her knees wobbled, as well as her grip on the cat, who just kept purring and making biscuits. What stood before her was something out of her wildest, darkest dreams—no, not dreams. Nightmares.

“Holy…” Did one cuss in front of a monster? “Shit. What-what are you?”

Two massive beasts loomed before her.

Steam puffed from their mouths and their nostrils as they breathed the wintry air. Clothed in leather in an antiquated fashion, as if they were warriors of old, both also wore shaggy hooded cloaks that appeared to be made from the hides of bears.

She blinked up at them towering over her from several feet away and then looked at the blue-eyed cat, who seemed pleased to keep rubbing on her and purring, as though two hairy, threatening beasts weren’t standing ready to tear her limb from limb. Feeling as though she was standing at the widening void between reality and a really fucked-up fantasy, she realized she must be dreaming or losing it, and a hysterical giggle erupted from her throat.

“Did I trip and hit my head in the cave? Am I hallucinating? This can’t be real.”

Her moment of levity was cut short by the bulkier and scarier of the two, who growled again. “Put. Down. The. Animal.”

Totally real. Really real. Really really real. I’m gonna die.

Such a wave of terror coursed through her at the ferocious voice, she froze and slammed her eyes shut. The cat hissed and growled at the beast, and over the pounding of her heart in her ears and the chattering of her teeth, Angel thought she heard an amused snort.

“Fine,” the angry beast snarled, its voice as rough as a gravel truck driving on a bad road. “You’re not an animal. Woman, put down the feline and don’t move.”

Angel’s pulse roared in her ears, and her throat went dry as she darted her gaze around, looking at the snowy ground, anywhere but at the monsters. Looking for the cave. If she could reach it, it was her best chance for evasion. Her only chance. But the cave was nowhere in sight. Not hidden from view by the snowfall. There was no cave opening anywhere in sight, just a bare slope.

Normally the strategist among her friends, Angel could see only one option as she looked at the snow caking her boots and the castle beyond the clearing. The snow wasn’t terribly deep, and no way was she letting herself or the cat get eaten without at least trying to escape.

Woman, do as I say.

Put down the cat and do not think to run.” Another growl, angrier and more ferocious than the first, vibrated from his massive chest as she tucked the cat to her side and backed up a step. His eyes glowed silver as he advanced. The cat mewed plaintively to her, which she took for fear, and she exercised the only option her mind would consider.

Run! Now!

Beasts in Winter is available for pre-order now and releases Friday, October 20th.

~~~

And now, a snippet from my retelling of Cinderella, entitled Midnight of the Fae, coming Friday, November 1st…

“I thought you were a harmless little puppy, or I never would’ve slept with you, or undressed around you…told you all my secrets. Shit.”

“Or checked under my tail?” Leandre asked with a chuckle, feigning to defend himself as she glowered at him. “Sweet Caresse, every moment is a fond memory already. I never would’ve taken advantage of your vulnerability.”

“Oh, and licking my boobs isn’t taking just a little bit of advantage?”

~~~

 

And a little tidbit from my retelling of Snow White, entitled Dance of the Dragon Sorceress, coming December 1st…

The flickering firelight illuminated the resolute angle of Elaina’s jaw. “I don’t leave my friends, or the people I love, just because things get tough. If Angel and Caresse were here, they’d tell you the same thing. We stick together, or what good are we?”

“Elaina—” Rainger murmured, taking her other hand into his.

“No,” she replied, mirroring his gentle, cajoling tone.

Zayrgrud made a grating, rumbling sound deep in his chest and then let out a sigh—and a puff of black smoke.

A beaming smile transformed Elaina’s face, and she said, “Well, at least Zayrgrud the Terrifying can see reason.”

Basile smirked. “He just knows a stubborn woman when he sees one.”

“Pigheaded,” Bleu the Irascible muttered.

“Imprudent,” Jaune the Cautious agreed.

“Foolhardy,” Vert the Protective said.

“Tenacious!” Orange the Amiable crowed as he reached over and yanked at the rolls of cloth that still waggled from Bleu’s broken nose.

“Ow! What did you do that for?” Bleu howled as he put his hand to his nose, as if checking for blood.

“It was time, you ninny! You left them in just to gain Elaina’s sympathy.”

~~~

Okay, I’m done teasing…for now.

I just can’t wait to share with you what it looks like in my imagination when the fairy godmother isn’t a fairy godmother, and when the seven dwarves are actually seven brawling knights dedicated to saving the dragons of Tangere.

Seize the day, baby!

Love, Heather

Books in the Tangere Tales Trilogy

Wonder Woman…with really REALLY Sore Feet.

A lot can change in a month.

In my case, a lot of progress has been made behind the scenes; not all of it is visible to my readers because I’ve become even more careful about sharing, unless, it’s on my terms.

The books, and all the work involved in bringing them to fruition, are coming along and looking beautiful. I’ve gotten new covers, new graphic artwork, both for the trilogy but also for the boxed sets coming out in conjunction with the fantasy trilogy.

 

 

 

A tough year…

The last twelve months have been varying degrees of heaven and hell but I honestly think it’s all worked together to help me create what could be my best work this year.

I made the mistake of posting a warm, relevant, and encouraging meme on Facebook last month. You’d think I’d know better after seven years, but no good deed goes unpunished by the perpetually offended. I stay away from politics and try to stick to encouraging readers when I’m not actively sharing about books coming out. I subscribe to the belief that entertainers, of any kind, owe any following and success they have to the people they entertain. Having amassed that following doesn’t give them to right to step on their fan’s toes by getting political. A true artist knows that the best way to express themselves is through their art and not through an unwilling audience. It destroys the escape and disillusions our audience about who we are.

Maybe I’m being hypercritical,

but I agree with the moviegoer who said (paraphrasing), “When you’re not entertaining me, I want you to go back in your box and shut up. I’m not interested in your political views.” Harsh? Maybe, but I agree. I’ve got a 50/50 chance of offending someone if I start sharing my political views. Having worked (literally) as hard as I can to create a world where readers can escape reality, why would I shoot myself in the foot just to vent a little steam? Professionals should know better.

Long story short, that meme I intended for comfort and encouragement got hijacked by people who, up until that moment, I’d truly respected, one of whom was a personal hero of mine. I was unfriended because I refused to sign on to an (at the time) politically correct ideology. I wound up taking down the graphic and walking away from the whole conversation, reminding myself I’m here to write love stories, not argue with trolls. And time showed that I was correct in that earlier choice.

On the home front…

While all this was going on, we were selling our home and packing up and moving. Sometimes dreams, even good ones, are temporary things. Mr. R and I are building a new dream after coming to the conclusion that we’d bitten off more than we could chew with 25 acres that needed constant care, repair, and maintenance.

Yes, I mourned leaving my house, my quiet privacy, my bees, my built-in book cases, my whole house wired for sound, and my enormous closet. And that huge shower with enough elbow room for five people, much less two.

We’re downsizing but Mr R knows better than to think that means tiny-sizing. He’s a generous man. We’ve moved into a leased home that has a similar amount of square footage. It’s an older, rambling ranch-style home located in the midst of a huge cattle ranch. The dogs love the yard, and I love the hundreds of acres of majestic oak trees. The interior is rustic and quaint, and I still have a separate office space, so I’m happy. I’m better than happy, actually. I’m relaxed. Relaxed means I’m open to possibilities, and renewed creativity.

I don’t want to even think about moving again right now, but Mr R is already sketching new house plans. It’s what he does, and one of the things I love about him. I hope y’all will stay along with me for the ride like you did with the last one.

One last note about the new place~

We have an unusual neighbor. A badger lives beneath a shed near one of the ranch barns, right near our house. I don’t want to meet him. At all. Oh, and there are calves! They’re so cute gamboling around their mamas between naps and grazing.

Somehow I managed to get books submitted, the house packed up and moved in August and then unpacked in September.

I’m fricking Wonder Woman…with really really sore feet. 😀

Besides writing this post, I spent today updating the website with book covers and cool graphics for the Tangere Tales Trilogy and the two new boxed sets (Volumes 2 and 3). I hope you’ll take a few minutes to look around and let me know what you think of the new appearance. Make sure to check out the trilogy book pages for extra goodies like this one…

Some dates for you to mark on your calendars before I sign off…

10/10 ~ release date Boxed Set Volume 2
10/20 ~ release date for Beasts In Winter, Tangere Tales 1
10/31 ~ release date Boxed Set Volume 3
11/10 ~ release date for Midnight of the Fae, Tangere Tales 2
12/1 ~ release date for Dance of the Dragon Sorceress, Tangere Tales 3
12/22 ~ release date for next Divine Creek Ranch story (Website page coming soon)

Join my Book Discussion Group on Facebook to participate in conversations about the series and the new releases.

~Seize the day, baby!
Love, Heather

Works in Progress

Coming Up For Air…

May 8, 2017

This is quick update shared from my Work in Progress page about what I’m working on. At the beginning of April I was working on an update to this page. I was in a hurry then, too, because we were in between severe thunderstorm warnings and tornado watches. I thought I’d posted the update before I shut things down, but I guess I wasn’t successful.

Anyway, things have progressed at a steady clip since then so I’m giving it another go with the update.

Personally, I’m doing fine. I’m still battling frequent tension headaches and migraines, with some sinus pressure thrown in just to keep things interesting. My thyroid medications have been adjusted so I’m doing well in that regard, too. Hypothyroid brain fog is not a symptom that should be disregarded. I tried to tough it out for years but I’m making my well being a priority now.

Feeling better means I feel like working again. My writing routine is back to “normal” and I look forward to continuing this journey as an author.

In Divine, Texas…

Operation Ginger Avenger is progressing. It looks like this book spans several seasons, which it should, since Jessica’s issues are not the kind of thing a heroine could overcome in the span of weeks or a month.

Jessica Bright was introduced in Divine Charity (Book 18 in the series) and she’s popped up in a few of the subsequent books, obviously reluctant to take many personal risks in relationships. And who could blame her? Her daughter Bella is a toddler/preschooler in the scope of this story, and full of spunk and giggles. The redheaded heroes, Tank and Troy, are helping Jessica stretch out of her comfort zone and reminding her that she’s more than just a mom, she’s also a woman with needs.

Here’s a brief taste from Operation Ginger Avenger

Tank turned to find Jessica standing in the doorway to the living room, watching them, wringing her hands together. Where Jessica and her nerves were concerned, to hesitate was to lose the moment.

“What were you talking about?” she asked.

Before Troy could say something about the weather, Tank blurted, “Keeping you warm when it’s cold.”

Her half smile disappeared and she wrapped her arms around herself. The way she turned to the doorframe and hunched her shoulders was the last straw for him. “Come here, Jessica.”

The Tangere Tales Trilogy

I know that title sounds odd coming from me, because up until now I’ve kept my work firmly in the contemporary world. I started this project last year. A trilogy of erotic ménage retellings of classic fairy tales with my own personal twist. I’m approaching these differently than I do my other works. I’ll complete all three tales and release them close together, since there is some synchronicity to the story lines.

All went well in the writing of the first story, Beasts In Winter (You guessed it! A retelling of Beauty and the Beast, my own personal favorite fairy tale).

A Snippet from Beasts in Winter…

The feline shimmied against her as if trying to keep her warm and then turned her shapely head and gazed off into the distance. Her purring grew loud enough to be audible over the gusting wind. A soft ringing sound drew Angel’s attention and she noticed a bauble made of glass or crystal hung from the cat’s collar. Within the clear material was suspended a blue flower, like a violet. The cat looked into her eyes, as it began a pumping motion with its paws, “making biscuits,” as her grandmother would’ve said. The cat’s eyes were the same brilliant blue as the flower within the bauble.

The cat looked to the horizon again and Angel understood why when she spotted the castle across a clearing, its roof peaks, chimneys, and architectural features piled with snow. Was she directing her there?

Wait, what? Directing me? I must be hallucinating.

Sunlight poured down on the palatial fortress and the ice crystals covering the structure glittered, dazzling her for a moment. “Whoa. Sorry, pretty girl, but I need to go back. This…this is crazy.”

“Put down the animal.”

Chills rippled down her spine at the gritty, almost inhuman quality of the voice.

Don’t show fear. It’s not a bear or a monster. If they can speak they can be reasoned with. Just don’t…show…fear.

“Are you deaf or do you have a death wish? Put down the animal.”

Angel turned and nearly lost her footing. Her knees wobbled, as well as her grip on the cat, who just kept purring and making biscuits. What stood before her was something out of her wildest, darkest dreams—no, not dreams. Nightmares.

“Holy…” Did one cuss in front of a monster? “Shit. What-what are you?”

Two massive beasts loomed before her.

Steam puffed from their mouths and their nostrils as they breathed the wintry air. Clothed in leather in an antiquated fashion, as if they were warriors of old, both also wore shaggy hooded cloaks that appeared to be made from the hides of bears.

She blinked and looked up at them towering over her from several feet away and then looked at the blue-eyed cat, who seemed pleased to keep rubbing on her and purring, as though two hairy, threatening beasts weren’t standing ready to tear her limb from limb. Feeling as though she was standing at the widening void between reality and a really fucked up fantasy, she realized she must be dreaming or losing it—and a hysterical giggle erupted from her throat. “Did I trip and hit my head in the cave? Jeez, and we tease Elaina about being the clumsy one. Am I hallucinating? This can’t be real.”

Her moment of levity was cut short by the bulkier and scarier of the two, who growled again. “Put. Down. The. Animal.”

Totally real. Really real. Really really real. I’m gonna die.

Such a wave of terror coursed through her at the ferocious voice, she froze and slammed her eyes shut. The cat hissed and growled at the beast, and over the pounding of her heart in her ears and the chattering of her teeth Angel thought she heard an amused snort.

“Fine,” the angry beast snarled, its voice as rough as a gravel truck driving on a bad road. “You’re not an animal. Woman, put down the feline and don’t move.”

Pulse roaring in her ears, Angel’s throat went dry as she darted her gaze around, looking at the snowy ground, anywhere but at the monsters. Looking for the cave. If she could reach it, it was her best chance for evasion. Her only chance. But the cave was nowhere in sight. Not hidden from view by the snowfall. There was no cave opening anywhere in sight, just a bare slope.

Normally the strategist among her friends, only one idea came to her mind as she looked at the snow caking her boots and the castle beyond the clearing. The snow wasn’t terribly deep and no way was she letting herself or the cat get eaten without at least trying to escape.

Woman, do as I say. Put down the cat and do not think to run.”

Another growl, angrier and more ferocious than the first, vibrated from his massive chest as she tucked the cat to her side and backed up a step. His eyes glowed silver as he advanced. The cat mewed plaintively to her, which she took for fear, and she exercised the only option her mind would consider.

Run! Now!

In the midst of writing the second story,

Midnight of the Fae (a retelling of Cinderella) I hit a wall creatively, personally, and online. I set the project aside, promising myself that I’d go back and figure out where I went wrong in telling that story.

The last couple of weeks I’ve been working on the trilogy, writing the second draft of Beasts In Winter, and then moving on to Midnight of the Fae. I’m happy to say that with a little help from my muse, inspiring music, and my awesome PA Lily Castle I found the problem. It’s fixed now. I can move forward and complete that story and move right into The Dance of the Dragon Sorceress(retelling Snow White) as soon as I finish.

I know fantasy is not every reader’s cup of tea

but I’m counting on a simple belief that I hope readers share with me. If I love an author’s style, I will read everything they write. I hope my readers will make this jump with me from contemporary. I’ll still be writing Divine Creek Ranch stories, don’t worry. I’m just stretching my creative wings. I can’t tell you how much of a relief it was to finally pinpoint the problem in that story. Nothing throws an author quite like not being able to figure out where they went wrong in a story.

If I can go back to Divine for a minute…

(and yeah, I know this is no longer a short update, but when have I ever been able to say hello in less than 80,000 words? 😀 )

Readers have told me over the years how much they enjoy the appearances of past main characters in my Divine Creek Ranch stories, whether it’s a major role or just a simple cameo. If you’re one of those readers, you’re going to love Operation Ginger Avenger. Because of certain story elements, past characters are popping up all over the place. Grace is pregnant up to her eyeballs, Lydia is cooking up all kinds of mischief, Bunny is in trouble again, or still, and Hank’s fan girls find the map to Divine and finally come to town. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

You can follow me on Facebook and Twitter for updates about the series, and join my reader’s group, Divine Divas, for insider information about what I’m up to. There is also a Divine Creek Ranch Book Discussion group, where the stories are discussed regularly. I share excerpts from my works in progress from both groups as well as inspiration pictures, eye candy, music, and whatever else pertains to my writing the series.

Email me to be added to the Divine Divas, and you can click the link below to be added to the Book Discussion Group. You’ll also find links on my Contact Heather page. Just click on the menu button.

I know many of you want one question answered.

“When are these books coming out?” This year is my plan. I appreciate your patience, and count on the fact that when I have release dates I will publicize them here and online. I love making readers happy but I’ve come to terms with the fact I can’t rush the creative process. I’d rather take the time and make it worth your wait than apologize for hastily written stories. Just know that I’m at the keyboard on a daily basis now.

That’s it for now.

Seize the day, baby! ~H

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discussion group pic 2 (1)

Do you like book discussion groups? Consider joining the Divine Creek Ranch Collection Discussion Group on Facebook to discuss the series. It’s a moderated, closed group so posts are private, and you won’t get fussed at for sharing spoilers, either. Just follow the link and click to join.

Works in Progress

Books in the Tangere Tales Trilogy