Am I or Am I Not? Stages in My Life

I’m at one of those stages in my life where I find myself again asking the question, “Am I, or am I not?”

stickman on a question mark
On my thirteenth birthday, my parents congratulated me for becoming a teenager. I was a clumsy child and think they’re joviality was more because I’d lived that long without killing myself; but they said it with a smile so I rolled with it. I was overjoyed because now I was old enough to do teenager things like babysitting and staying home alone. Depressed teenagerWell, it was more like staying home and babysitting my younger brothers. During the next few years, I know I repeated the same question several hundred times. “Am I, or am I not?”

Although I’d lived long enough to be called a teenager, I still wasn’t old enough to do all of the things teenagers did, like dating, driving (legally), etc. I remember sitting in my room dreaming of a day when I would be “old enough.”

When I turned eighteen, I was elated at finally being considered an adult. Yea! I quietly congratulated myself for not killing my younger brothers during the babysitting phase of my life. I could vote for the leaders of our country, and even buy beer and wine. Wow, what a combination. Party on Garth!cbace868d185e8a2162c45c522f56f40.640x356x36
Like a punch in the stomach, déjà vue struck with that stupid question. “Am I, or am I not?” I was now old enough to get my own bank loan to buy a car. I was even old enough to own a tavern (if I’d wanted one), but I wasn’t old enough to buy hard liquor, so what good would that do me. Girl in a car ©Wynn Bullock, 1960There was no Long Island Ice Tea for me at the pool side yet. I remember sitting in my car and dreaming of a day when I would be “old enough.”

The day finally came. I lived to the ripe old age of twenty-one, I smiled as I ordered my first hard liquor drink. I moaned for two days after trying to forget it. Once the hangover subsided, life was good. I woman-writing-checkhad a full-time job, time restrictions, responsibilities, and debt. That nagging question never came back. Instead, I remember sitting in my house, writing out payments for bills, and dreaming of a day when I would be “old enough” to retire.

Today, I turned fifty-eight years old, but I’m not ready to retire yet. I did sit in front of the computer this morning browsing through retail sites for discounts. The ancient old question crawled its way up through the dirt. “Am I, or am I not?”
There are several sites with listings of eating establishments and retail stores offering senior citizen discounts. One of them has Denny’s Restaurant listed as having an exclusive menu for anyone fifty-five and over. I amused myself by thinking it’s probably similar to the kiddies’ menu, but with softer foods and no salt. If I go in with AARP’s endorsement, I could get 15% off my order! I love breakfast any time of day, but I don’t want it for my birthday dinner.
As I read the pages, the differences age requirements confounded me. I pictured myself walking into Burger King, or the Waffle House and asking for a senior citizen discount. They wagged their finger at me. “You’re not a senior citizen until you turn sixty.”
I blushed and replied, “Aw shucks fellas.”Rotting Corpse
At Boston Market, I imagine them laughing at me and saying, “Foolish child, you aren’t a senior citizen until you turn sixty-five!”
I’m going with the idea it’s because they wanted to flirt with me, rather than they don’t want a bunch of old people flooding their establishments on Wednesdays.

Tonight, my husband, Dave, took me to Ruby Tuesday’s for my birthday dinner. They didn’t have any senior discounts, but they do have a kid’s-eat-free on Tuesdays discount. Ah, sometimes I wonder what it would be like to be young with no responsibilities again.
After a long moment of introspection on making it this far in life, I suppose I’m as old, or as young, as I want to be at any given time. I’ll still pursue those senior citizen discounts with a mindset of the money feels better in my pocket, rather than one of it’s because I’m old enough to get them.

My HP Photosmart C4640 Printer

This week I accidentally learned something new about my HP Photosmart C4640 printer.

I hate it when I try to print out a page and my printer refuses to cooperate because one of the cartridges is empty. Continue reading My HP Photosmart C4640 Printer

Whisper by Heather Hildenbrand

Whisper by Heather Hildenbrand

New Adult Paranormal Fantasy

The Cherokee believe when a person dies, their soul is reborn. Life is repeated. An endless cycle of lessons to be learned, love to be found, destiny to be fulfilled. For the past six months, in every flower, every bird, I’ve imagined my parents, relieved of their human forms.


Now, after five months at the Skye View Wellness Center, it was summer. A time for parties and friends, but that’s the last thing I want to do. So when my best friend Erin convinces me to attend a bonfire at Eagle Point, I can’t handle the crowd full of sympathetic stares or drunken class clowns who would use my tragedy as a way into my heart – or my pants. The solitude of the woods offers an escape, until I stumble upon a boy, unconscious and bleeding, his pockets stuffed not with identification but with poetry illustrating the beauty of dying. I’ve seen enough death. I will not leave this boy’s side.


Even after he wakes, when the only thing he can remember are visions of events that haven’t happened yet…

Add to Goodreads

http://bit.ly/1jv9kbT

Purchase

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/143027

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007VDNIQM

About the Author:

Author of Across the Galaxy, Whisper, and the Dirty Blood series. I write, read, and fuss at my kids. Oh, and I do laundry, lots of laundry. I’m pretty good at it, too. Sometimes I even read WHILE doing laundry – and fussing at my kids. I’m a multi-tasker.

For more information on my books, release dates, or just general stalker material, um, I mean FAN material, visit my website. www.heatherhildenbrand.blogspot.com. I love hearing from readers!

Likes and dislikes? I love vintage tees, hate socks with sandals, and if my house was on fire the one thing I’d grab is my Amazon Fire TV! (oh yeah, I’m a fan of puns.)

Website / Facebook / <a style=”font-weight: inherit; color: #502914;” href=

River’s Remorse by Charlotte Abel

 
After waiting for…ever, it’s finally here. The sequel to River’s Recruit is now available! 
To thank her loyal followers for their patience and encouragement, Charlotte Abel is making it available for the first twenty-four hours for just $.99. On June 21st, the price will go up so grab it while it’s a bargain.
 
 
http://bit.ly/RiversRemorse
 
Here’s an excerpt from River’s Remorse:
 
Jonathan closed Ephraim’s journal then put it in the fireproof safe in the basement. He rubbed his eyes. He had no trouble seeing the tiny words, thanks to his enhanced vision, but it didn’t help him decipher Ephraim’s nearly illegible handwriting. It was pretty to look at but a bitch to read. 
Thanks to Dad’s genealogy addiction, he was used to reading that type of stylized writing. He’d already studied the book with a magnifying glass and was able to tell Jonathan what he needed to know. He knew not to eat or drink anything in wolf form—unless he wanted to be a wolf for the rest of his life. He also knew he needed to be careful about how much time he spent as a wolf and that he needed to stay in charge. He’d figured that part out on his own the night he merged.
There was a lot of stuff about shifter history and lore, but that could wait. It was fascinating, but Jonathan needed to focus on the things that would keep him alive and human. 
He hadn’t shifted again since merging, and didn’t want to, but apparently he didn’t have a choice when the moon was full.
He locked the basement door, double checked the plywood sheets he’d nailed over the windows then stripped and removed his prosthesis. He wrapped a towel around his waist then FaceTimed Dad. “Okay, I’m ready.”
“I wish I could help you.”
“You are helping me.” Jonathan didn’t know how out of control things might get so there was no way he was endangering Dad by letting him stay in the basement with him. “Promise me you won’t try to come down here.”
“I can’t even get out of bed without help.” Dad’s bitter tone surprised Jonathan. It was the first time he’d heard him complain about anything to do with his illness.
“There’s nothing you can do down here that you can’t do over the phone. The sound of your voice will help me remember who I am.” Jonathan hoped it would be enough. According to Ephraim’s journal, he should be surrounded by older, more experienced shifters. He hoped River was with Reuben. 
The thought of her ignited a radiant heat deep inside his chest. Ever since he’d merged, he felt her presence. It was a blessing and a curse. Their connection was real and tangible and he was grateful to have it. But the need to find her ate at him like an addiction. 
Electricity charged the air. Jonathan’s hair stood up on end. He didn’t want to short out his phone, so he propped it up on a box then scooted over until his entire body was in view of the camera. “Can you see me okay?”
Dad nodded. “Plain as day.”
“Can you reach your water?”
“I’m fine, son. How are you feeling?”
“Itchy.” Jonathan scratched his chest. His bones ached, but he wasn’t going to complain about pain to Dad. “I feel like bugs are crawling all over me.”
“Don’t fight it. Embrace the change. Let your wolf help, but stay in control.”
Tremors racked Jonathan’s body as fever consumed him. His connection to River intensified exponentially. She must have shifted. 
Yes! Run. Find mates!
Jonathan felt as if someone had embedded a giant fish hook in his heart and was trying to reel him in. Beads of sweat popped out across his forehead and upper lip. He gritted his teeth to keep from screaming.
“Jonathan? What’s wrong?”
Dad carried enough guilt about delaying Jonathan’s search for River. He wasn’t going to add more weight to that burden by confessing how much it hurt to fight against their bond. “The fever’s started.”
“It’ll break as soon as you shift.”
Jonathan’s body convulsed then exploded in a blinding flash of pain. But it happened so fast, and disappeared so quickly, he wasn’t sure if the pain was real or imagined. He scrambled to his feet and howled.
Escape. Run.
There was nowhere to run.
Jonathan trotted around the perimeter of the basement, knowing it was futile. He scratched at every board covering every window, but was thwarted by his own prior diligence. A corner piece of plywood splintered under his front paw. He wedged his muzzle into the triangular opening and bit off another chunk. 
“Jonathan? What are you doing? I can’t see you.”
Dad’s worried voice pricked Jonathan’s conscience, but his wolf refused to acknowledge it. He was hellbent on escape. He could almost feel the wind in his fur and the damp gravel under his paws as he ran along a river bank. The sharp tangy scent of pine layered over the sweetness of meadow grass called to him. He knew that he’d find River there. He intensified his efforts, digging and biting at the wood. Splinters pierced his gums and paws, but he barely noticed.
“Jonathan, please, I can hear you tearing something apart but I can’t see you. You’re not on camera.”
Jonathan tried to regain control of his wolf when he heard Dad’s plea, but the beast was too strong. Too determined to escape and find his mate. He knew he wouldn’t be able to shift back until after the moon set, but he tried anyway.
That got his wolf’s attention. He trotted over to the box where Jonathan had set up his phone and hiked his leg.
“No! Jonath—” The screen flickered then went black, silencing the distracting voice.
A feeling of pride and ownership flowed through the wolf. He sniffed his mark then moved to the next box and claimed it, too. 
He marked each wall, establishing his territory. Mine. Mine. Mine. He sniffed the pile of clothes his man had discarded and marked that, too. Mine.
He scratched the floor with his hind legs three times then trotted to the window and got back to work. He would find his mate and bring her here to his new den. They would stay until the man upstairs died then go home.
Happy?
Jonathan was glad that his wolf at least acknowledged his existence, but he was not happy. I can’t believe you pissed on my clothes!

If you haven’t read River’s Recruit yet, pick it up today. And grab River’s Remorse while it’s on sale.

About Charlotte Abel

Charlotte Abel was born and raised in Oklahoma where she met her soul mate, Pete. She chased him to Boulder, Colorado and finally convinced him they were meant to be together forever. They’ve raised three kids, two ferrets, three dogs and countless hamsters — and are still happily married.
She’s in love with “real” life and paranormal romance. When she’s not reading or writing, Charlotte enjoys hiking, bicycling and primitive archery (although she’s never shot at anything other than a target!)
The final book of The Channie Series, “Finding Valor,” is now available!
Look for “River’s Revenge,” the third book of “The Sanctuary Series” in early 2015.

Prologue

Prologue – The Beginning

Life was good. Well, it was easy; boring as hell, but uncomplicated. All Eli had to do was place a few binding spells on the portal that had opened up in this minuscule speck on the planet, and then wait until he felt its fabric begin to fray. Lather, rinse, repeat. He’d lost track of how many years had passed while he’d guarded the invisible passage—hundreds, he thought.

There wasn’t much to do out in the middle of what was now known as the Arizona desert. Most days he watched tumbleweeds race over the crusted ground, or had a face-off with a scorpion to see who would back down first. The boredom had become intolerable for him. It was enough to drive a sane druid crazy.

Eli had been out on one of his many explorations when he spotted a car sitting on the side of the road. The steam that billowed out from beneath the open hood evaporated almost immediately under the sun’s heated glare.

He watched the dark-haired woman from a distance, unsure how to approach without frightening her. Maybe he should just walk away, he thought, until he saw her stumble as she walked toward the driver’s door. A moment later, she slammed it closed, and used the handkerchief she’d retrieved to dab at her neck. When she looked back in the direction she’d come from, he knew there was no way she would be able to walk to town without breaking her ankle in those high-heeled shoes. Curiosity got the better of him, and he stepped out from behind the large rock formation he’d used as cover. “Hello!” he called out. When her head jerked in his direction, he gave her a friendly wave and proceeded toward her.

She was a woman alone, stranded on a deserted road with a stranger approaching. Her reaction was the one he’d anticipated. Her eyes widened, and he saw her apprehension as she glanced first at her car, and then toward him. He smiled and kept his body language friendly, looking at the ground and back up at her. Even though he didn’t spend a lot of time mingling with the people of Cracked Creek, he wasn’t a stranger in town, and hoped she would recognize him. The moment he saw her posture relax and a relieved smile greet him, he knew she’d done just that.

“It looks as if your car has overheated,” he said as he walked up to the engine compartment and leaned in to assess the obvious problem.

Her frustrated sigh had him glance up, but her earlier concern about being alone with a strange man out in the middle of nowhere was still on her face. “Yes, and I just had it serviced at Granger’s Garage for this very thing last week.”

He held his hand out to her and smiled. “I don’t think we have ever been introduced. My name is Eli.”

After his introduction, she seemed more comfortable in his company and took his hand. “Mavis. It’s nice to meet you, Eli. I’ve seen you around town.”

With his other hand, he slowly rubbed his thumb over one of the many gnarled knots on his long, twisted walking stick. Reaching inside his cloak, he pulled out a canteen of water, and slowly poured the liquid into the radiator. It didn’t seem to catch her attention that the small container held enough water to fill a radiator, and he smiled to himself at how little most people paid attention.

He closed the hood and smiled at her. “That should get you back to town.”

Mavis frowned as she walked around to get in the car. “You used all of your water, and it’s several miles back to town. Please, let me give you a lift and maybe fix you something to eat as my thanks for helping me.”

Bowing slightly at the waist, he smiled at her. “Thank you, that sounds splendid.”

The trip to town was a long one with her driving as if the car were a carton of eggs. It gave Eli an opportunity to study her a little longer, so he wasn’t too upset about it. She had her dark auburn hair pulled into a tight bun at the crown of her head, revealing how the warmth of the day had made her cheeks flushed. Her features were not what he considered beautiful, but she was pleasant to look at. The heavy clasped earrings weighing down her lobes made her ears look ridiculously small for her head, and he resisted the urge to remove them.

 

Eli and Mavis were drawn to each other, and in a matter of weeks, they were inseparable. Soon their relationship had become a distraction to Eli’s purpose in the desert. Unwilling to leave the only true companion he’d had in countless years, he neglected to strengthen the spells on the portal.

The passage finally opened, allowing others to move through it. And move through it they did—opportunistic travelers from another place or possibly another time took advantage of the vulnerable opening so close to the small mining town. After a short time, the portal was no longer a peaceful shimmer against the desert horizon. It had absorbed the essence of those who had been using it.

As the portal transformed, soon Eli wasn’t able to ignore the disturbance that pulsed through him. Knowing he had to reinforce the binding spells, he set off on foot into the desert.

When he reached the shimmering portal, he realized it was too late to bind it. In the weeks that had passed, the portal had taken on a life of its own. His magic had weakened with the portal’s pull, rendering him powerless to close it.

He fell to his knees and fought the urge to walk through the opening. Confusion clouded his mind and he thought he saw Mavis running toward him. Before he realized she wasn’t an illusion—before he could warn her to stay away—she had reached his side. Under the spell of the portal, Mavis didn’t stop as she walked by him. Eli grabbed for her arm, catching her only by his fingertips, but she wrenched from his inadequate hold. Pinned to the ground, weak and confused, he was only able to watch as she disappeared into thin air.

“No!” He struggled to his feet and ran into the portal after her. Grasping her arm, he flung her from the portal opening, returning her to the desert. He tried to follow, but the portal had sealed him inside. The invisible elastic barrier that separated him from Mavis was unaffected by the pounding it took from his fists. All he could do was stare at his beloved lying motionless on the ground.

UtopYA 2014

One of the many incredible people I’m looking forward to meeting at the UtopYA 2014 Con in June is Jo Michaels.

As the weeks close in on the arrival of UtopYA 2014, Jo is doing unofficial author interviews, and guest posts on her blog with a few of the indie authors that will be at the convention. I’m one of those authors! Last year I went as an attendee. This year I will going as an exhibitor. Have you bought your ticket yet? I would love to meet you!

Why am I excited about meeting Jo? Besides the fact that she is a brilliant author, editor, blogger, and all around nice lady? I want to give her a hug for helping me when I thought all was lost.  

About two months ago, I had all of my ducks in a row gearing up for my debut novel release, or I’d thought anyway. I found out at the last minute the tour host I had scheduled months in advance had disappeared. Well, I saw recent activity on Facebook, but my messages and emails remained unanswered.

There I was…lost, and left standing in a leaking canoe, holding a broken paddle. Okay, maybe that’s a bit melodramatic…oh alright, it’s over the top, but I was extremely saddened. My hopes of having a December release date were gone. I had no idea whom I could call on such short notice who would have a package to fit in my budget.

I just happened to mention to Jo in an unrelated email, that my host was MIA. Within a few back and forth emails, Jo had renewed my hope. She told me to try contacting Enchanted Book Promotions because they had a large assortment of packages to fit almost any budget. Jo even answered all my questions about what I would need to have ready for a tour. Between Jo, Majanka at EBP, and Amber of Lady Amber’s Launch Party on Facebook, I was able to reach the potential readers my book needed.

Blog Tour

I want to give an enormous shout out to Enchanted Book Promotions. They have done a fantastic job helping me spread the word about The Druid’s Doorway. There will be several stops on this tour over the next month. Visit back in here to see the latest. Be sure to enter the giveaway that’s posted some of the stops!

Links to each article will be updated as we reach each exciting stop along the way!

Without further ado…here’s the tour schedule:

December 15th: Starter Day Party @ I Heart Reading

December 16th: Book Excerpt @ I’m an Eclectic Reader

December 17th: Author Interview @ The Single Librarian

December 18th: Book Review and Giveaway @ Forever Book Lover

December 19th: Book Excerpt @ Bookish Madness

December 21st: Book Review, Excerpt and Giveaway @ My Tangled Skeins Book Reviews

December 22nd: Book Excerpt @ 365 Days of Reading

December 23rd: Author Interview @ Cassidy Crimson’s Blog

December 25th: Book Review and Giveaway @ I Heart Reading

December 27th: Book Excerpt @ Hollow Readers

December 28th: Book Review and Giveway @ Cassidy Crimson’s Blog

December 29th: Author Interview and Giveaway @ The Most Happy Reader

December 31st:Book Excerpt @  The Reading Guru

January 1st: Book Review @ The Book Daily

January 3rd: Author Interview @ Editor Charlene

January 5th: Book Review @ Endazzled Reading

January 6th: Book Excerpt @ The Book Gazette

January 7th: Author Interview and Giveaway @ Majanka’s Blog

January 9th: Book Review @ For The Love of Books

January 11th: Book Excerpt @ Bookaholic Ramblings

January 13th: Book Review @ Readers Writers Connect

January 15th: Book Review, Interview, Excerpt and Giveaway @ Dalene’s Book Reviews