One of the main goals of Reading Until Dawn Con is to give our readers a chance to get silly and have fun with our authors. We’ve got a full schedule of games planned for October… but we thought it would be great to get the party started a little early. That’s right… some of us Featured Authors and Bloggers are getting a head start on the fun times and hosting a SCAVENGER HUNT!
Authors and bloggers will be posting their logo/game graphics from August 17th through the 21st, and Reading Until Dawn Con will accept entry emails through August 25th. Since the Scavenger Hunt IS a game, there has to be a prize, right?? One grand prize winner will win DINNER WITH OUR EMCEE, DARYNDA JONES at Reading Until Dawn Con!! That’s right, just you and Darynda, chilling out and chatting over a meal, our treat. We’ll also have four runner up winners, who’ll each receive special book and swag packs from a few of the Featured Authors.
So… who’s ready to start playing?? If you haven’t registered for Reading Until Dawn Con, now’s the time to get that done, so you’re ready to enter to win a meal with Darynda!
Good luck, everyone… and happy hunting!
Scavenger Hunt Details:
There are twenty (20) logo/game graphics hidden on 20 of the feature author and bloggers websites. A schedule is posted at Reading Until Dawn Con, so you can see who will have their graphic up on which dates. All you have to do to play, is check out the website and/or blog posts of each of the authors or bloggers on their scheduled date. Keep track of who has which graphic, then once you have all 20, just email your list, along with the name/address you used when you registered for Reading Until Dawn Con, to ReadingUntilDawnCon @gmail.com with the following information
Jed Hendrix has always put family first, doing whatever means necessary to take care his mother and younger brothers to provide for them- even if it meant breaking the law. When things catch up and he ends up in the back of a cop car with cuffs on, the last thing he expected was to be given leniency from the judge and sent to a work release ranch.
Bryson Sandreaux is a horse tamer at Second Chance Ranch. A hardworking cowboy, he doesn’t suspect he would be working with a traumatically damaged man who has more issues than Bryson could keep up with.
Between the two of them, there is tension, but definitely attraction. Is there a chance for love? Or would it all fall apart at the seams?
I hadn’t planned on participating in this month’s photo prompt because I’m on deadline for my next book and the picture was just too sunny to fit into a vampire book. How could I possibly include it in my book?
And then I got a touch of writer’s block. So, I decided to just look at the picture again and see if there was a way. And then an image popped into my head, of my heroine walking to the lake to talk to the hero. Suddenly, there were words on the page and celebrations could be heard in the Prince household.
The grass crunched beneath Caitlin’s bare feet as she made her way down to the lake. The well-worn path should’ve worried her—it meant that humans were well aware of the area and not afraid to wander around. At the moment, they needed to avoid everyone, human and vampire alike, but this was the closest safe house that Alaric had.
The short white dress she wore was purely for anyone who might’ve wandered into their territory. As far as anyone could tell, they were simply vacationing at a cabin far off the beaten path, a couple so in love they wanted to lock the rest of the world out. And while her fingers itched to touch that hard, tanned, seriously toned body, Alaric’s aversion to vampires made that little fantasy impossible.
A breeze blew through the trees, rustling the leaves. The sound had always been soothing to her, appealing to her earth witch nature and calming her nerves. After she’d been turned so many years ago, her vampiric hearing amplified the sound, which in turn intensified those feelings.
Yet another vampire myth that wasn’t inaccurate. Everything was heightened when you were turned into a vampire—senses…emotions…hunger. Sunlight was a joke, as evidenced by her current tan, she liked garlic on her pizza, and she wore a little cross that her previous lover had given her—what seemed like so many lifetimes ago. She could bathe in holy water, but that seemed like a waste of a blessing.
Her vamp predecessors knew a thing or two about spreading rumors to keep themselves from being staked by random kids who fancied themselves hunters. Only true hunters knew what would actually kill a vampire. Wood from a Japanese cedar, carved into a stake and driven directly into the heart. Beheadings were a tried a true method. Fire only worked when purifying rosemary was scattered on the ashes.
She found him sitting next to the water, staring out at the horizon. “Mind if I sit?”
He gestured to the ground without a word. They sat together in amiable silence for a while, listening to the sounds of the afternoon and enjoying the feel of the sunlight on their skin. They’d been hiding for weeks, now. Ducking into Alaric’s hidey-holes along the Texas-Louisiana border while trying to avoid Bastian and his merry band of soulless bastards, intent on not only killing Caitlin and Alaric, but sucking the very world they enjoyed living in down to Hell.
They’d come up with a plan, but it required some very serious magic and she was only one witch. She needed the help of the ancestors of her old coven—if they didn’t try to kill her on sight. Vampires weren’t exactly enemies, but witches tended to shy away from the undead. As evidenced by her own brush with them, it wasn’t exactly safe for a witch to fraternize.
They were on their way into Grosse Tete, a place she hadn’t been in since 1904, before it was officially incorporated by Louisiana’s Parish municipalities. Caitlin had kept track of her people throughout the years first by using word-of-mouth, and as technology progressed, by newspapers, television, and finally the internet.
“What are you thinking about? You look like you’re a million miles away.” Alaric’s questioning gaze sought hers, something he’d rarely done since they set out on their journey.
His barely concealed hatred of all things vampire had a tendency to sting if Caitlin thought about it too long, but every now and then she’d catch him looking at her with something like lust in those deep brown eyes. But then he’d blink and his frosty stare would be back in place, making Caitlin sure she’d imagined the whole thing.
Visions of the past flooded her mind. Playing with her sisters in the fields. Her mother brushing out their hair every night before bed. Casting with her coven. Spending hours in bed with Ric—before he was Ric—talking and making love until they passed out from exhaustion.
“Home. I haven’t been back in a long time.” Her hair fell into her eyes as she looked down. “Since before I was taken. Before I was turned.”
He brushed her bangs away from her face and she nearly jumped at the spark of electricity she felt at his touch. No matter how many times it happened, it always surprised her. She wondered if he felt it too.
“How did it happen? I mean, I know the logistics, but…”
Her heart did a little flip inside her chest. She wanted so badly to be hopeful that a part of him would remember. Would feel even a fraction for her what she felt for him. But they hadn’t spent much time together, and the dream walking had only just started to work.
“You want to know about my past?”
Alaric turned his body to face her. “Yes.”
I can’t wait to see what my blog sisters have come up with!
Well, this should’ve gone up yesterday, but I had a terrible day at the dayjob (several, actually) and when I got home I pretty much just went into a coma. So, I’m a day late but not a dollar short because I found one floating around in my car! Anyway.
I’ve said it a few thousand times. I love music. Absolutely, totally, and completely. I can’t write without it. So, this week’s topic should’ve been super easy for me to do, right?
I love music a little too much. I listen to every genre. Except opera. That’s a little too much for me. And metal. That gives me a headache.
(SOME OF) MY FAVORITE ARTISTS/BANDS:
Norah Jones. Amos Lee. Jack Johnson. Maroon 5. Matchbox Twenty. Backstreet Boys. Nickelback. Carrie Underwood. Nick Jonas. Randy Travis. George Strait. Travis Tritt. Blink 182. Ray Charles. Johnny Cash. Adam Lambert. Blake Shelton. Breaking Benjamin. Bruno Mars. Bush. Smashing Pumpkins. Silverchair. Fall Out Boy. Florence + The Machine. Garbage. Ed Sheeran. John Legend. Taylor Swift. Katy Perry. Miley Cyrus (only the Bangerz album). Juanes. Pepe Aguilar. Lifehouse. Nelly Furtado. Michael Buble. Michael Jackson. Sleeping With Sirens. Rascal Flatts. Nine Inch Nails. Adele. Disney music. Miranda Lambert. Clint Black. Steve Wariner. The Temptations. Percy Sledge. Hozier. Sam Smith. Ariana Grande. Walk the Moon. Christina Perri. Sarah McLachlan. Reba McIntyre. Toby Keith. Tracy Byrd. Andy Griggs. Brad Paisley. Chris Cagle. Gavin DeGraw. Justin Timberlake. Within Temptation. Stabbing Westward. My Darkest Days. Sugarcult. Saliva. Seether. Linkin Park. Theory of a Deadman. Rufus Wainwright. Amy Winehouse. Corinne Bailey Rae. Stevie Ray Vaughn. Peter Gabriel. Seal. Paolo Nutini. Billie Holiday. Muse. James Morrison. Eric Clapton. The Beatles. MercyMe. Three Days Grace. Three Doors Down. Casting Crowns. Elton John. Evanescence. Josh Groban. Fiona Apple. Third Day.
I could go on all day. This isn’t even skimming the surface of my favorite artists/bands.
I admit, I got giddy when I saw that this month’s song prompt was “Pinch Me.” It’s a song I’ve sang to more than a few times and the “I just made you say ‘underwear’” part makes me giggle every time I listen to it. But this time, when I started the song for inspiration, it wasn’t the words that started my muse. It was the title and the overall thought of “Pinch me, because there’s no way that actually happened” that stuck in my head.
I’ve been talking about writing this book for about a year now, and I talk to Chris Allen-Riley (AKA Bronwyn Green) about it on an almost daily basis. She’s trying to convince me to write this book RIGHT NOW because I’m a little bit obsessed with the storyline. Apparently, she’s right because this little song fic turned into 1500 words when I normally only write around 500.
Here’s the song. The prompt (which is basically the first part of my doctor book) follows.
No. Fucking. Way.
I stood frozen to the spot at the door to the Starbucks across from the street from the hospital I worked at and stared at the table at the other side of the room. A group of men in white lab coats chatted amongst themselves, completely oblivious to my sudden inability to move. Maybe if I turned to leave quietly, they’d never realize I’d been there to begin with.
Someone pushed their way around me, muttering at my rudeness before taking their place in the unusually long line for this time of morning. Of course, that was when my klutz gene decided to rear its ugly head and I stumbled into a display of bagged coffee that’d been in the same freaking place since I started going there a year and a half before. The crash of coffee and cardboard display was spectacular and everyone in the store, including the very person who’d made me forget how to walk in the first place, turned to stare at me.
Nope. Don’t need coffee this morning. I’ll just grab some from the radiologist’s office. I did a quick about-face and scurried out the door, my bag flinging against my leg and nearly knocking me over yet again in my haste.
My face burned with embarrassment and would undoubtedly be red for the rest of the day. My Irish heritage was never more evident than when I made an ass out of myself, and literally falling over myself in front of Dr. HottiePants himself definitely made the top ten of most idiotic moments. That week.
I’d started working at Mercy General two years ago and didn’t run into Dr. HottiePants until about six months later. It was toward the end of the day and I’d just finished xraying a rather… shall we say robust gentleman in the cardiac ICU. The nurses had disappeared the minute they heard my portable xray machine come off the elevator, so I had to do the exam on my own. Which, let’s face it, wasn’t entirely unusual, but I was so tired that it took me an extra ten minutes to take the damn picture.
The largest of the elevators opened up and I silently thanked God that it wasn’t the elevator on the opposite wall. I’d already been stuck in that fucker three times in six months and I’d vowed never to take that one again—no matter how big a rush I was in or how exhausted I felt. No amount of time saved was worth the risk.
Trudging in with my thousand plus pound machine, I leaned against the wall and closed my eyes, heaving a long sigh.
“They really should put a cot in this thing,” a deep masculine voice said from across the elevator.
I jerked upright, nearly smacking my head on one of the framed information boards posted in all the elevators, but everyone ignored. “What?”
My heart nearly fell out of my chest when I saw the man that belonged to the voice.
Dark hair that curled just past his ears, deep brown eyes, full kissable lips, scruffy five o’clock shadow… pretty much everything I’d dreamed about since I first discovered the wonder that was the male species—including the doctor’s lab coat on the tall frame. Okay, (roughly) six foot might not be considered “tall” by everyone’s standards, but at five-four, he basically towered over me.
And he was standing there, staring at me and waiting for some kind of response while I ogled him like an idiot.
“If there were cots in here, I’d probably never leave,” I giggled like a fucking twelve year old and mentally slapped myself. “They’d have to install a TV in here. Or maybe a bookcase.”
He grinned and my ovaries exploded. “I’d definitely never leave, in that case. It’s probably best that this stay the Life Flight elevator, then. We can’t have all the staff moving in. Think of all the overtime!”
God, the accent. It sent tingles directly to my naughty bits and made me weak in the knees.
A ding let us know that we’d reached his floor and I wanted to make up an excuse to go with him. But the second floor was for surgery, and the machine I had definitely wasn’t allowed on the sterile unit. Even if he were brand new at the hospital, everyone knew we kept dedicated machines on the surgical floor so that we didn’t contaminate everything with the rest of the hospital’s germs.
He turned and gave me a smile that melted my panties right off my body. “Nice to meet you.”
When the doors closed, I realized that I’d forgotten to ask his name or look at his ID. Stupid, stupid, stupid. What if I never saw him again?
But I saw him plenty after that day. It seemed any time I’d go to a unit for the day, he was there. Cardiac, in-patients who were stable enough to be on the regular floor, ICU, even the ER. I used to joke with him on the rare occasion that I remembered how to speak that he was stalking me. He just laughed and said it was possible before darting into a patient’s room.
Today was the first time I’d seen him at the Starbucks I visited every morning for my caffeine injection, and I wasn’t sure if I should be happy that I’d caught a glimpse of him or worried that I’d have to find a new coffee spot.
I stood on the corner of Main and University, waiting for the traffic to stop long enough so I could dart across the street. Yeah, I was jaywalking, but the crosswalk lights were notoriously unreliable. I didn’t fancy standing there for another fifteen minutes waiting for the correct signal that may never actually come.
I felt a light tap on my shoulder, “Hey.”
Spinning around, I came face-to-face with Dr. HottiePants, himself. Well, that was what I called him until I learned his real name. It wasn’t easy to remember English when he was around, much less to have the presence of mind to look for a name tag when you were too busy tripping over your tongue.
“Are you okay?” Dr. Marcos Gutierrez, one of the top cardiothoracic surgeons in the state and current star of every fantasy that kept me awake at night, stood in front of me with a smile on his face and a tall cup of steaming Starbucks coffee in his hands.
I nodded and looked away, pretending to check my watch as though I were going to be late. Even if he hadn’t known me for a year, the day shift in radiology didn’t start until seven—which was forty five minutes from then. “I’m good. Just forgot I had feet there for a second. But I need to get in to work. I’m on the early shift.” Liar, liar, pants on fire. “I’m sure I’ll see you later.”
He held out the cup before I could tuck tail and run, “Here. I figured you might need this today.”
Raising an eyebrow, I took the cup from him and immediately smelled my usual black coffee with a dash of cinnamon. Either he’d been coming into Starbucks every day and paid far more attention to me (highly unlikely since I’d never seen him in there before), or Michelle—my usual barista—had blabbed my order. I’d bet five bucks it was the latter. Michelle was a fantastic coffee slinger, but she was a hopeless romantic and incredibly perceptive. Tripping over myself at the sight of Dr. Gutierrez wasn’t exactly the most subtle of signs, but still.
“Um… thanks? I’ll have to pay you back another time. All I have is my Starbucks app and I really do need to get going.” So I don’t make a bigger ass of myself in front of you… good Lord, you smell good today. Shit! He’s talking! Pay attention Calleigh!
“Maybe you can get my coffee tomorrow morning? Say… around six? I’m coming in for rounds a little earlier than usual and if you’re on the early shift this week, I don’t want to make you late.”
I nodded dumbly and wondered if someone was playing a cruel joke on me. “Sure. I’ll, um, page you or something if I’m going to be late.”
He handed me a crisp white business card, “My cell is written on the back. I don’t carry my pager with me unless I’m at the hospital. Text me your number when you get to work. I don’t want to make you late.”
As he shot me one last grin, he walked back into the coffee shop to sit back down at the table full of doctors who were pretending that they hadn’t just been gawking at the exchange.
“Ow…Ow, fuck!” Hot coffee scalded my wrist when I jumped after pinching my arm a little too hard.
Well, fuck me. That just happened.
Want to see what my blog sisters wrote? Click the links below!
For the dayjob, I work in a hospital, which is pretty high stress in and of itself. Most of the time I let things roll off my back because there’s not a lot I can do about certain things (like the new policies coming down from the new owners of the hospital) and I know that it only adds to my tension to fret over it.
But there are times when I just can’t help it. I curse, I cry, I vent/rant.
I’m also an author/editor. Sometimes the story just isn’t coming to me and I sit at my laptop for hours, staring at a blank screen while that stupid cursor just blinks at me. Or I have…shall we say an author with special needs. They’ve done this more than once, but they need me to explain everything over and over again or just to hold their hand.
Topping off my list of jobs is that of wife and mother. I love my family. I do. But sometimes I want to crawl in a corner and hide from them. They can’t find their socks. Oh my God, where are their shoes? Monkey’s life will absolutely end if she can’t find her favorite teddy bear RIGHT NOW. Hubs is hungry but he’s too tired/sick/in pain to get up and make himself a sandwich. It’s 11pm, but he suddenly remembers that he has no pants to wear tomorrow and oh guess what – he doesn’t know how to use the fancypants front loading washing machine.
So, how do I relax when I’ve had it UP TO HERE?
Music. I listen to music, for one. I have playlists for every mood because that’s how I roll, but sometimes I just want to listen to a certain artist. It used to be Norah Jones until someone fucked that up for me. Now, I mostly listen to Amos Lee or Jack Johnson when I want to run away from the world.
Writing. If the words aren’t what’s causing me to have a temporary mental break, then I’ll sit down and write something. It doesn’t even have to be the story I’m currently working on (like I said, sometimes that causes stress), but I do like to jot down a quick story about a side character or whatever gets stuck in my head at the time (sometimes inspired by the music I’m listening to).
Cleaning. Okay, this is kind of a funny one because it’s also one of my stressors. I’m a bit OCD so when things aren’t put in their place it drives me batshit insane. I’ve been known to stay up for days on end cleaning (although that’s part of my bipolar disorder). I pop in my headphones and listen to something upbeat. Usually Backstreet Boys or 90s pop because that’s what I grew up listening to. Don’t judge me.
Reading. Books are an escape from reality for me. I can travel anywhere. I can do anything. I can be anyone I want to be. I can be with the handsome doctor/lawyer/construction worker/musician/movie star/teacher/princewhatever. And I can do it all in the comfort of my own home. I don’t even have to leave my couch! How awesome is that?? I binge on audiobooks a lot, since I have a 40 minute (one way) commute to the hospital I work at. Thank God for Kindle Unlimited. You can get books that have narration as long as they’re part of the KU library.
Exercising. HA. Just kidding. Well, I do miss running, but my arthritis and back pain say nooooo to that.
Baking. I started culinary school before I went to xray school. I love to bake cookies, cakes, cupcakes, pie… you name it, and I probably love to bake it. The people at work both love and hate me–love because I bring delicious treats in, and hate because it adds to their waistline. Most of the people I work with actually do like to work out. I think I need to bake more cookies for them.
Phone. Okay, I actually hate being on the phone. But sometimes there’s nothing more relaxing than hearing your best friend’s voice telling you everything is going to be all right and planning exactly where you’re going to bury the body. I mean….what kind of cookies you’re going to bake together. Yup. That’s what I meant.
Eating. My ass didn’t get this big on its own. Nope, I tend to eat my feelings. Something I’m working on, but there are days when nothing will get better until I’ve had the perfect slice of apple pie. I know I joke about drinking ALL THE WINE on Facebook, but I don’t actually drink all that often. I’ve had the same bottle of wine in my fridge for over a month. Which reminds me, I should probably toss that out… Occasionally there are days when I just want to have a glass of wine and hang out in front of the boob tube.
TV. Sometimes I can’t focus on a book no matter how much I want to. I’ve been turning to Netflix or Amazon Prime more and more lately. I’m currently watching The Vampire Diaries as well as Grey’s Anatomy (which depresses me more, so I can only watch a few episodes at a time) over again. I’ve also got a TON of shows saved up on my DVR.
Massage. Oh, how I wish I had more time (and money!) for this one. I literally have a pain in my neck most of the time because my bed SUCKS and my back is constantly killing me because my days are spent lifting patients for xray who are routinely twice my size. Yes, I use proper body mechanics and I wear a back brace to help with stability, but when I get up in the mornings before I’ve had the chance to stretch out or put on the brace, I walk like a 90 year old woman.
Want to see what my blog sisters do to relax? Click the links below.
I’ve loved this quote since middle school, when we first read the poem. It gives me the courage to take my own path, rather than the one that so many others have trodden before me, and to be my own person.
I’m actually the quintessential goody two shoes (any time I attempt to toe out of line, I inevitably get caught), but when I’m writing, I cackle with glee at all the trouble I can get my characters into.
I don’t drink often, but I do like to have a glass or two of wine while I’m writing. When editing, the wine stays put away. Maybe Hemingway knew what he was talking about?
Even though a writer’s life is a fairly solitary existence, with the invention of the Internet, we have found out that we’re not alone and there are MILLIONS of people who love books as much as we do. And there’s always someone around to chat about books with! It’s a lovely feeling – knowing you’re not the only hopeless book worm out there.
Biblical verse. My favorite one. It reminds me that God has a plan for me and to trust in it, no matter what obstacle I’m facing at the time. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Another bible verse. This one literally saved my life. No matter what trouble I’m going through, I know that God has it in His hands and there is no problem too big for Him to handle. This one taught me to “Let go and let God.”
Today’s Wednesday Randomness is about our favorite beauty products. I’m not really picky when it comes to my makeup. I mostly shop at Kroger or CVS when it comes to makeup (something my hairdresser neighbor cries over) and I tend to just grab whatever’s on sale for my hair.
I am never without at least one tube of Maybelline 14 hour Timeless Crimson lipstick. I actually have four tubes, since I have a knack for losing lipstick and this is my trademark color. If I’m not feeling well or just don’t feel like putting makeup on, people at work ask me if I’m not feeling well. It should upset me, but I get so many compliments on how awesome it looks that I’m okay with people wondering where it is when I forget it.
I stick to Revlon Color Stay black eyeliner (NOT brown!) and Full & Soft mascara (it doesn’t clump as much as it doesn’t make my lashes as stiff). I’ve changed mascaras a few times, but I always come back. I’m a creature of habit, apparently.
The only other thing I’m known for is my signature scent – Amazing Grace by Philosophy. One of the speech therapists actually seeks me out just to smell me. Her nickname for me is “Delicious” because I smell delicious. My nickname for her is “Awesome” because she’s one of the best speech therapists I’ve ever seen. Amazing Grace is a soft scent that isn’t overwhelming and I can wear it around even my most sensitive patients, but it smells good enough that I’ve had several people walk by me and ask what I’m wearing. Win/win.
I’m not that much of a girly girl. I wear ivory foundation and powder (whatever’s on sale – as long as it’s ivory. Anything else is too dark), black eyeliner and mascara. Crimson lipstick. Perfume. I put my hair in a ponytail every single day so that a) I don’t overheat while I’m running around doing portable xrays and b) patients can’t yank it out of my head. I’m simple.
Want to see what my blogging sisters have chosen? Click the links below!