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Sunday, May 21, 2017

The Flowers That Bloom in the Spring Tra La

One of the great things about my property is that when I moved in, a lot of my favorite flowers were already here, including a bunch of lilac bushes. Most of them bloomed this week, and I thought I'd share. Sorry you can't smell them!

I've also got all sorts of birds nesting in bird houses, and in one case, on top of a bird house (apparently it didn't like the house itself, go figure).

Plus I put in a new flowerbed where there used to be strawberries (they're in the main garden now). This year it has annuals in it, but I'm planning to plant some perennials for next year.

What are your favorite spring flowers?

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Closet Construction Chaos

It has been a fun few days at Casa Deborah...

As some of you know, I live in an approximately 130 year old farmhouse. It's not large--only 1,200 square feet, and most of it has been added on to the original even smaller structure over the years. Usually by people whose ambitions clearly exceeded their skill sets. In short, there are lots of crooked walls, slanting floors, and odd bits and pieces.

Take my bedroom closet, for example. This is what it looked like Monday morning.

The outside
 It looks like a small closet, right? (And it is short, only about 68" high instead of the normal 80".) But in actuality, the closet runs the length of the wall to the left towards the dresser.

The inside
Of course, the problem was getting at anything shoved in that far side, since you kind of had to sidle in sideways and pray the giant spiders didn't get you. It was, in short, a pain in the patootie. The door was also sort of jury-rigged and only half attached. I put up with it for 15 years, since I moved in, and finally hit the wall this spring. Or maybe hit the closet. Anyway, I decided to have it redone. I also discovered that the overhead space was actually empty--a continuation of the cupboards on the bathroom wall on the other side, so I figured I'd get them cut out too, so I could actually access the whole space.

Easy, right? [Any of you who have ever had work done will be laughing at this point.]

So the Guys Who Do Stuff came in and did the work yesterday, and it was sort of right, with a lot of not so right mixed in. (Also, the cats were very indignant about having to be locked in the upstairs room so they wouldn't accidentally get out while the Guys were running in and out.)

This is what it looked like when I got home yesterday.

Two of the three Guys Who Do Stuff

The mess, to be expected
 Even Magic, when she got to come take a look at the "finished" project, was not impressed.

That's not right.

The doors didn't line up

Seriously? WTF is this?

Nails coming through on the inside of the door for me to get snagged on
I'm a pretty easy going person, in general (stop laughing, people who know me) but if I pay for a job, I expect it to be done right. Also, HELL NO.

So the Guys came back today and fixed it. It's not perfect, but that's at least in part because nothing in my house is straight, including the walls, ceiling, and floor in that room. But it is a lot better.

Much, much better!
 I still have to paint it (or maybe stain it, I haven't decided). Probably paint. But now I can actually access the whole closet, so I get to reorganize All the Things, and hopefully move some stuff from other closets into this one. I'll probably get a few organizer thingies to help with that. I love organizing messy things and making them neat. Even though I know it won't stay that way. I call it my "Organizational Neurosis." LOL.

Look, I can get to the whole closet now!!! (Don't look at how ugly it is in there. There are limits to what I can fix.)

Of course, now I have to take the original contents of the closet and put them back in. I'm pretty sure I have too many clothes. My plan is to look at each one as I get ready to put it back, and hope that about 20% of them will go to the Salvation Army. Do I really need 8 black sweaters? (The answer to that, of course, is YES. They're all different!)

I have too many clothes.
 Still, at least one of the things that has been bugging me since I moved in is finally fixed. Only 527 left to go...

What construction project have you ever lived through? Did they go well? Or did you want to kill the Guys and bury them in the back yard?

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Birthday Bonanza Giveaway

My birthday is this week--Friday the 28th. I'm kind of in a funk, so not feeling terribly celebratory (nothing terrible, just life and stuff). It's my 57th (eek!) so not really a big deal. Other than a traditional lunch with a couple of friends, one of whom has a birthday on May 2nd so we always do a group thing, I'm not really observing it at all.

Which seemed kind of sad, so I decided to celebrate with all of you the same way I did last year: by giving away a gift to someone else!

Some people have asked me what I'd like as a gift. Pretty much what any author would like for his or her birthday, probably. Buy a book, or put up a nice review, or spread the word about a book you read that you liked. I admit, I'd love to see a spike in my book sales on my birthday :-) [Plus Berkley is about to make a decision on whether or not to contract for the 3rd Rider book, and it may not be going well, so a jump in book sales would be helpful.]

But it doesn't have to be my books. Buy any book by an author you like, even if it is just a .99 cent Kindle eBook. All book sales are a good thing. Review anyone's book; it doesn't have to be mine. Positive reviews help authors sell books, and as I might have mentioned, book sales are a good thing. (What can I say--I have a lot of friends who are authors too!) Or just tell someone about a book you read recently that you loved. Be pro-book, mine or anyone else's. Heck, go support your local library. That's what I want for my birthday. (Although cute cats and dragons are always on my list too...)

In the meanwhile, here's what I'm giving YOU for my birthday. A chance at one of three prize packs--winner's choice. With the help of Magic the Cat, I give you:

The Tarot Package
 A signed tarot deck with a limited edition tin, plus a broom pen.

The Signed Book Package
 A set of all three Baba Yaga books and the first Broken Riders book, all signed by me.

The Dragon Package
A cute stuffed dragon, a broom pen, and the signed book of your choice, fiction or nonfiction.

And really, you don't have to buy one of my books to help me celebrate, although you know I'd love that. Just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. As always, no purchase is necessary to enter, and you can get credit for things you have already done, like following the blog or following me on Twitter. Spread the word, since it's a party! I'm looking forward to spending the next year with all of you.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

VEILED MENACE Release Day is Here!!!

VEILED MENACE IS OUT TODAY!!!! Have you gotten your copy yet?

Be sure to enter the contest HERE at the blog. I'm giving away a Kindle Fire HD Tablet and a $10 Amazon gift card!

And check out the exclusive excerpt of the first chapter and a fun giveaway at Literary Escapism, plus a guest blog and giveaway at Fang-Tastic Books.

Here are the goodies in those giveaways:

Haven't picked up a copy yet? What are you waiting for?

Buy Links

Happy release day to me!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Fire HD Tablet Giveaway to Celebrate Book Release!

THIS IS IT, PEOPLE! This is not a drill. I repeat, this is not a drill! VEILED MENACE is out this week on Tuesday, April 18th. Whoo hooo! The second in the Veiled Magic series, the book is filled with magic and romance and well, menace. I really hope you like it.

I'll be showing up at a few different other blogs this week, usually with fun giveaways there too, plus extras like exclusive excerpts, in case you'd like to get a peek at the book before laying out your hard earned $4.99

Check out the first chapter and a contest at Literary Escapism to get you started.

But the big giveaway is right here. I know that some people are disappointed that VEILED MENACE is only available as an eBook, so I am giving away a FIRE HD TABLET plus a $10 Amazon gift card so one lucky winner can run right out and get the book (or, you know, any book, really).

As always, cat not included.

The giveaway at Literary Escapism!
I hope you'll join me this week in celebrating the release of my seventh novel (not counting novellas).

Can I get a WOOT!!!?

Here's the Rafflecopter contest form. Just fill it out (and yes, you get credit for things like joining the blog or following me on Twitter if you've already done them). *No purchase necessary, ever.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

One Week 'Til Veiled Menace Giveaway!

Holy crap--how did it get to be a week before the release day for Veiled Menace already? First winter was lasting forever, then spring finally showed up, and now we're almost to release day, April 18th!

I hope you're as excited as I am. In case you haven't seen the blurb for VEILED MENACE, here's a quick glimpse into the second book in the Veiled Magic series:

Since Witches came out of the broom closet in the early twenty-first century, they have worked alongside humans as police officers, healers, stock traders, and more. But they aren’t the only paranormal entities in our world…

Witch and police officer Donata Santori is no stranger to magical mayhem, but lately her life has been unexpectedly charmed. Her job as a Ghost Yanker now includes the occasional paranormal investigation, and she’s advancing her magical abilities with the help of an ancestor’s treasured spell book. And while both of her former love interests—reclusive half-Dragon art forger Peter Casaventi and disgraced Shapechanger Magnus Torvald—are nowhere to be found, she’s not averse to being wined and dined by wealthy businessman Anton Eastman.

But Eastman isn’t what he seems, and what he wants from Donata is far more than she’s willing to give. When a mysterious relic, the Pentacle Pentimento, resurfaces, along with Peter’s Dragon father and a shocking Santori family secret, Donata must fight to save herself, her friends, and just maybe the fate of the world from a magic as old as it is dangerous…
 I love this cover sooooo much!

If you've been hanging around this blog for any time at all, you know what a book release means--GIVEAWAY!!!! Check out this cool bunch of goodies I've put together for you this time.

There's a notebook, postcards, and a magnet with the cover on them, a cute stuffed dragon (I just love these little guys), a broom pen, chocolate, and a $10 Amazon gift card so you can buy yourself a copy of the book to read. In fact, since it is only $4.99, if you haven't bought VEILED MAGIC yet, you can get them both!

As always, all you have to do is fill out this simple Rafflecopter form. And yes, you get to take credit for things if you've already done them in the past, like following the blog or following me on Twitter. Have fun, and be sure to come back the day before the book comes out for the BIG giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Be sure to spread the word. *smooches*

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Updates on Mystic, the Knee, and Other Stuff

So, it's April.

No, not this April. (Yes, I'm one of the people obsessively watching a pregnant giraffe. She lives in a park 45 minutes from me, for one thing. Also, this is my happy place right now. Don't judge.)

April, as in one year from the date when I twisted my knee really badly coming down the stairs and screwed it up beyond belief. (It turned out to be a bad bone contusion, which is a bunch of microfractures, plus I sprained every muscle, ligament, and tendon in the knee.) One year on, it is a lot better. I got to go back to the gym--carefully--in March, and I can actually kneel--carefully and on a soft surface. But I am not even close to "all better," which I expected to be by now. Knees. Argh. I'm still using ice and heat on it twice a day, doing PT exercises at home and going for ultrasound treatments at physical therapy, although that's about done with. Still, better this...

 Than this...

(Okay, I know they look pretty  much the same, but I haven't used the cane in ages, and if you look carefully, you can see that the knee in the second picture is about twice the size of the knee now.)

Many of you know that Mystic, the brother of Magic (and son of Minerva, who I lost March first a year ago) hasn't been doing well. As far as my vet can tell, it is a flare up of his continuing digestive issues (he has the kitty version of irritable bowel syndrome, poor boy). He's lost a lot of weight--although he's still a large cat--and doesn't have much appetite, which is unusual for him, to say the least. He's on prednisone and special food, but he clearly still doesn't feel well, and I'm spending a lot of time trying to get him to eat more. Still, he mostly acts like a healthy cat, and we haven't found anything dire (although it is always possible we're missing something), so I'm trying to stay positive.

Mystic last April
Mystic now. Yes, he's standing next to a box of tarot decks!
So mostly, we're doing the best we can and hanging in there. I'm working on Veiled Magic #3 and getting ready for Veiled Magic #2 (Veiled Menace) to come out in a little over two weeks!

And waiting for that silly giraffe to have her baby.

How are things with all of you?

Sunday, March 19, 2017

One Month To Veiled Menace Giveaway Celebration

I can't believe it--Veiled Menace is coming out in less than one month! The book releases on April 18th, which is suddenly closer than I thought it was. Look out for various giveaways and other promos, including an exclusive excerpt, on a few different blogs, as well as here. In the meanwhile, let's start with this fun giveaway!

Veiled Menace notebook, postcard, magnet, a $10 Amazon gift card, a witch broom, and chocolate!
I put the gift card in there so the winner could buy a copy of the book if he or she wants to, although of course you could use it for anything you want. Since VEILED MAGIC (the first book in the series) and VEILED MENACE are each only $4.99, you could actually get them both! (If you haven't bought the first one yet.)

Entering is simple--just fill out the Rafflecopter form below. You can still click on things like "Follow the blog" for credit if you've already done it. And there is a special "fill in the blank" extra credit option where you can choose to do something nice for me, whether it is spreading the word so others will learn about the books, posting a review, or buying a book. (You don't need to do any of these options to be entered.)

The book is only out in eBook form, but if you don't have an eReader, you can always read it for free on your computer using the Kindle app. And I'll be giving away a Kindle Fire HD Tablet in my last giveaway here, as well as one on Fresh Fiction, so who knows, maybe you'll have one soon!

One last note: Berkley, my publisher, still hasn't decided whether or not to give me a contract for additional Rider or Baba Yaga books. If the pre-orders for this book are really good, it might help to give them a push in the right direction. Just sayin'.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Snowpocalypse 2017

So, about that storm...

It turns out that my area was one of the hardest hit by the storm now being referred to as either Stella or Snowpocalypse 2017. As of today we were still under a state of emergency, and all schools and most businesses were closed (including mine). Things are expected to go back to quasi-normal tomorrow, although we'll be digging out for some time. We were lucky in one thing, though, which was that the snow that fell was fairly light, so we didn't lose power. Whew.

I ended up getting about 33 inches of snow, or just under three feet--almost all of which fell in the first day. We've also got blowing winds, though, so the snow is piling up and then moving around. And it is expected to stay cold for at least the next week, so unlike many March snows, this one isn't going to disappear any time soon. Ironically, calendar spring is next Tuesday. [Insert hysterical laughter here.]

Here are some pictures from today:

Thank goodness for my plow guy. If I'd had to shovel this, I'd be here until it melted.

 I coped with this storm this morning the only way I could...with Magic the cat on my lap, a new Katie Fforde book from across the pond, hot chocolate in a mug made by my friend Chris, and BACON.

These bird feeders used to be a lot further from the ground. Look at the snow piled on top!

When the wind kicked up...

Believe it or not, that's my garden back there somewhere. That white expanse, in theory, is my driveway behind the house.

This was AFTER the first pass by the plow yesterday.

Not getting that car out any time soon...

Look how high the snow is!

I think I saw two cars yesterday and two today. At least today the mail delivery was back on.

Has anyone seen my yardstick?

A bright spot in all the white.

The good news is that the worst of it is over (as is my impromptu snow day sale) and I lived to tell the tale. Is it spring yet?

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Snow Day Sale

Holy crap, it's snowing, people.

This is the first official blizzard in NY State since something like 1993, and apparently it is making up for lost time. They'd predicted 14-18" for my area (Delaware/Otsego Country) and I'd hoped they were wrong. Which they were, but in the opposite direction of what I'd had in mind. We're already at 16" at my house and it is still coming down like crazy, and not expected to stop until sometime tomorrow afternoon or evening. They have upped the expected snowfall total to "up to 30 inches." Can I just say, "NO, THANK YOU"?

This was at 10:30 this morning (it's about 1PM right now).

Outside the back door

There's driveway under there somewhere

Garden? What garden?

Yes, that says 12" -- at 10:30 in the morning.

Believe it or not, there is a driveway between those 2 rows of trees...
So, I'm not going anywhere today. I'll be working on Veiled Menace (Veiled Magic #3) and revisions for the 365 Day book for Llewellyn, plus obsessively watching April the giraffe, who is going to give birth any minute now. [Anyone else watching her? Here's a fun fact--the animal park she lives in is about 45 minutes from me. I plan to go visit her and her baby this summer.] Plus, maybe napping with cats.

If you've got a snow day too, what are you planning to do? Read, maybe?

Because the snowstorm is making me a little stir-crazy, I'm going to do something a bit different. I'm having an impromptu Snow Day Sale! Just because I can. Here's the deal:

You can chose one or more of these options, and email me at magicmysticminerva at yahoo to tell me you want to take advantage of the sale. Free shipping is only for USA folks, I'm afraid, but I'll figure out some kind of a deal for those who are out of the country on a per person basis. (Payment will be through Paypal. It's easy.)

Tarot Option 1: (Limited to THREE SETS ONLY)
A copy of the Everyday Witch tarot deck set limited edition signed by both me and illustrator Elisabeth Alba, along with one of her special tins to put the cards in. The double-signed edition would normally be $35 and the tin would be $15, but for today I will have these three sets for $40 plus $5 shipping (shipping would normally be about $7). These are going to go fast, so grab them if you want them.

Or you could get a set signed just by me (which normally sells for $30) for $25 plus $5 shipping. (Be sure to specify which option you want.) This would be Tarot Option 2.

Part Two of the sale is for paperbacks signed by me. This includes Wickedly Dangerous, Wickedly Powerful, Wickedly Wonderful, and Dangerously Charming. These books are normally $7.99 and you can choose either one book with free shipping, or buy one get one half price (no free shipping).

If you want one of the Llewellyn books, I'll take 25% off of a signed copy, since they all vary in price.

All books will come with a few goodies, like bookmarks, magnets, postcards, and whatever else I feel like tossing in at the time :-)

No, the cat is not included.
The sale will continue as long as the snow does, which is expected to be late afternoon or evening on Wednesday the 15th, so if you want to take advantage of my storm-crazed brain, do it now! And be sure to spread the word...

Stay warm and safe, everyone who is in the path of this one.