No, I’m not talking about books (quite yet). We’re at the start of February this week, which means Valentine’s Day is coming up, the one holiday devoted to romance. I know some people don’t like it, but I’m a romance write and reader, so it’s one of my favorite holidays.
One of the complaints I hear about it is that it’s so commercial. Sure, cards and presents are nice, but it doesn’t have to mean spending too much money on a gift at the last minute. It can mean doing something nice for the one you love. Actions speak louder than words, after all. Though it is nice to hear words like ‘I love you’, or ‘I appreciate you’, or ‘I’m glad you’re in my life’, or something like that. You get the idea. But just as nice are little actions, like cleaning the snow off your sweetie’s car in the morning before they go to work, or making their favorite meal just because. Plus it’s been such a bizarre year since Covid started, we may have forgotten little niceties like showing our appreciation for those we care about in the midst of dealing with craziness like toilet paper scarcity or scavenging hand sanitizer when you finally find a tiny bottle and pay twice the usual rate. So why not make this Valentine’s Day truly tailored to your Valentine, something more personal than a drug store card? True, we’re not all artistic–if I drew my own Valentine card, it would look like a toddler did it, because my creativity doesn’t go that direction–but we can all do something different, whether it’s making dinner, or hunting up our sweetheart’s favorite songs to make a soundtrack for a lazy evening by the fire. Nothing too elaborate, unless you and your Valentine like that sort of thing.
While I have been thinking about Valentine’s Day already, I have also been working on wrapping up my January goals, and just in the nick of time, too, since I’m writing this on the last day of the month. Last week, I was stressing over finding those two covers for the rest of the Medusa trilogy, and I’m happy to say they are officially in the works, which is a huge relief. I would have liked to get more revisions done on the second Medusa this month, but since I only specified that I wanted to work on that in January, not how much of it would be done, I’m okay with where it is. Between the covers, those revisions, writing blurbs for the second and third Medusas, and getting 10,000 new words in the second shifter manuscript, I feel pretty good about making my writing goals for the first month of the year. Now to keep it up for February!
Before I go print those new goals out and get back to work on those revisions, I have a little story snippet for you from Hunting Medusa.
Andi couldn’t shake the feeling something was wrong. She’d worked into the night after the vacuum salesman’s appearance, until she couldn’t see straight to continue with her beading. Then she’d sunk into the bubble bath long enough to be nearly asleep. Today, she’d repeated everything but the bubble bath. Plus she’d driven into town to ship the big order she’d finished early.
Now she sat in the dark beside the front window, watching the forest. Waiting. Trying to convince herself nothing was coming. No one.
When the phone rang, she jumped about two feet in the air, barely keeping in a shriek. She shut her eyes and took a deep breath, forcing herself to laugh weakly as she picked up the receiver. “Hello, Aunt Lydia.” She didn’t need caller I.D. to know when one of her cousins or aunts was on the phone.
“I didn’t mean to startle you, my dear,” came the quavering voice. “I just wanted to touch base with you. It’s been ages since I’ve seen you.”
Her slightly psychic great-aunt must have spoken to Andi’s mother. “I know. I’ve been busy working.” She thought of the small stack of boxed beaded bracelets sitting on her desk upstairs for another customer whose order wasn’t even due for a month and a half.
“You’re aware you could do that here, too, right?”
Andi smiled in the darkness. “I know. I’m not feeling much like company right now.”
“You don’t have to visit your parents, you know.”
Her laugh escaped before she could stop it. “That isn’t very nice of you, Aunt Lydia.”
“Maybe I’m getting selfish in my old age.” Her great-aunt chuckled. “But I’d like to see you.”
“Maybe in a few months.”
The older woman sighed. “All right. But I wanted you to know I was thinking of you. I love you.”
Andi felt her eyes sting a little. “I love you too.”
“Your mother knows she wasn’t there for you eight years ago, Andrea. Perhaps it’s time to let her be there for you now.”
Andi’s eyes dried. “I need to go, Aunt Lydia.”
“Of course, dear. I hope you’ll come soon.”
She looked back at the window and murmured, “Maybe. I’ve got to go, Aunt Lydia.”
Something had moved outside.
Something too tall to be one of the does that frequented the clearing each evening, though not tall enough for the bull moose who came occasionally. Just the right size for a sneaky Harvester posing as a vacuum salesman.
She thumbed off the phone and sat up straighter, her other hand coming to rest on the dagger across her knees. For a long moment, she didn’t see anything. Then a dark shape slid between the trees, a few yards nearer to the house.
Her heart hammered against her ribs and she curled her fingers around the dagger hilt. That was no animal. At least not of the wild variety. No, this was a two-legged animal, and she had the terrible feeling this one really was a Harvester, no matter what her mother had said yesterday.
Let him try, she thought, setting the phone back on its base. He’d find this Medusa wasn’t going down quietly. She only wished she were PMSing so she could take him out without too much effort. Or mess. If only he’d waited just a few more days to make his move…
She stifled a hysterical giggle at that last thought, glad she’d listened to her instincts this evening.
The shape disappeared again in the dark trees, and she held her breath. Then he reappeared for a few seconds, much closer to the house this time.
Her pulse pounded in her ears. He was determined. And now out of her line of vision.
A loud, sharp beep indicated her alarm system had shut down, and was accompanied by the sound of every appliance in the house also turning off. He’d killed her power at the junction box outside.
Andi got to her feet, then tried to decide which door he’d come in. She heard the soft sound of a footfall on the back porch. She crossed into the kitchen, not needing to feel her way around the furniture, and positioned herself beside the refrigerator. He wouldn’t make it far into the house, and then he was hers.
It will be a little while before Hunting Medusa is back out in the world, but I’m hoping by mid-summer. In case you need something to read now, though, Light the Way Home is available anywhere you can buy books, and by clicking the title, you can go grab a copy from any major bookselling site. I had a lot of fun writing that one, and I’m having a lot of fun getting the Medusas ready for the world, too.
So…what are your plans for your Valentine? I’d love to hear, and maybe someone else is looking for ideas, too.