A Fireside Read

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I don’t think about it very much. Maybe if we had a real fireplace it would come up more often, but I do fireplacelove to read on a cool day under the afghan. Fall is my favorite time of year, it begins to cool down from the oppressive heat and humidity of summer and the world gets more colorful with hues of brown, orange, yellow and red. I was always okay with Spring but since Hubby is allergic to everything about it, and it leads to all that heat, it was an easy shift to Autumn as my true favorite. But I’m enjoying winter as well this year since I don’t have to get out and drive in the snow and can let nature melt what needs to be out of the way.

For me, since I’m already “protected” by the covering of a warm afghan, I’m going to want something scary. Of course Dean Koontz or Stephen King come immediately to mind. Science Fiction and paranormal stories, even before paranormal had a true name, have always drawn me. It doesn’t have to be scary out of your mind terror (like Salem’s Lot) as much as twisted (like Dumas Key). Even the slightest of twists will do.

Knight's AcreI remember reading Norah Lofts when I was younger and not even understanding the twists the first time I read them, but being drawn back to the stories to read them again. A Wayside Tavern, Knight’s Acre and Lovers All Untrue were favorites of mine and made her the master of that slight twist. She is still a good one to curl up with and read or re-read. Sherri Tepper – Gibbon’s Decline and Fall and The Gate to Women’s Country, can invoke those same feelings with me and also come with the highest recommendations.

I’m reading a lot of… I guess you’d call them thrillers now. Cherry Adair, Suzanne Brockman, Sherrilyn Kenyon, Heather Graham, Dianna Duvall and someone new to me, Robin D. Owens—each of these women bring a different perspective to their stories and drag you inside, locking the door behind you. As with Norah you become invested in the characters and have no intentions of leaving and then the dang book ends and throws you back out into the ‘real’ world. (It doesn’t hurt that I’ve met all of these women at conferences and they are as supportive and incredible in real life as their characters are in their books.)

So that’s what I’ll be reading—when I take a break from writing myself—under the covers, protected from the bogey man and enjoying the heck out of it.

As for my stuff, if you’re looking for that twist, I’d recommend Wraith’s Heart – a ghost story/romance, or The Melting Trilogy – now available as a boxed set, a twist on the end of the world and the next step in evolution (a short story in this universe in currently under construction).

Here’s a short excerpt from The Melting, Book Three, Cohesion – Melting 3

Sid wanted to take Rachel’s hand. He purposely wasn’t reading her, but he could feel her nerves. He knew where they were headed. David had given him a basic layout of the place. Repairs were needed. He wasn’t sure there was a lot he could do about the structure and no way to install thermal heat in these floors, but there were things that could make life better.

They turned into the cafeteria and found Briana there alone. She backed away from them immediately. “Who are you?”

After only a minimal hesitation Rachel spoke. “My name is Rachel. This is Sid.”

“Where’s the other man? The one that’s been coming.”

“He’s very busy, and he thought you might be more comfortable talking to a woman.”

That seemed to stop Briana in her tracks.

“Briana? He wants us to help you. Are you okay with that?”

Briana shook her head. “This is only a dream. I don’t understand what’s going on.”

“Yes, it’s a dream, but you have good ideas, things that could help this community to survive better. We’re the thoughts that will help you.”

“Thoughts?”

“Yes. We’ll exchange ideas and see if any of them will make life easier for you.”

“I don’t understand.”

“I know. But let’s talk for a few minutes. We want to know how you’re handling some things.”

Briana didn’t respond to that, and Rachel glanced over at Sid. <bathhouse> appeared in her head.

“Have you ever thought about building a bathhouse to help out with bathing? I would think there aren’t enough private baths for everyone here.”

“Not nearly enough. A lot don’t want to bother anymore.”

“People can get sick that way. Building one large bathing facility shouldn’t be that difficult. Women could use the baths certain days and men the other. Everyone might feel better about themselves that way.”

“How?”

Rachel breathed a sigh of relief. At least Briana was listening. Rachel and Sid described a simple structure and the woman nodded a few times.

“Do you think we could really build something like that?”

“It wouldn’t be that hard. Are the military still helping out?”

“Yes, most of the time. But they’re not going to listen to me.”

“Would your husband put the idea forward? The women will know who is really behind the idea, and the men that wouldn’t accept instructions or assistance from you don’t really matter, do they?”

That seemed to startle Briana, but then she smiled. “It’s worth a try.” Melting trilogy box set close up

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