Thursday, April 12, 2018

A little about my passion: yoga (#yoga)

A five-thousand year-old practice, yoga has steadily been gaining practitioners in the West since the Beatles made a now-forgotten but then much-publicized trip to India in 1968. That visit, which was to study with the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, kindled interest in transcendental meditation as well as all things Eastern, including yoga.


But what is yoga? Most people think that body-bending postures, called asana, are the be-all and end-all of yoga. They look at pics of people standing on their heads in the lotus position, and figure, I'll never be able to do that, and why would I want to? and don't look further into the practice. 


But as stated, yoga has been around for five thousand years, and anything that's been around so long probably has value. So why has yoga lingered? Simple answer: yoga works.

That begs the question: works at what? Why do people do yoga? What do they get out of it? What is the purpose of yoga?

Quite simply: People do yoga because it makes them happy. The result of the practice is a calm mind integrated with a healthy body...a great prescription for happiness. The word yoga means union, which refers to union of the disparate parts of ourselves--mind, body and spirit. It also refers to union with the universal all.

Yoga sees each of us as an energetic being in a universe likewise composed of energy. This view is in keeping with modern physics, which posits that everything is energy, but that which we perceive as solid and liquid isn't moving fast enough to appear as energy. Einstein told us in E=mc(squared) that anything with mass becomes energy when accelerated to the speed of light.

Thus, everything is energy. The only difference is due to a temporary condition, i.e., speed.

The sage Patanjali, who wrote the yoga sutras two thousand or so years ago, stated in the first sutra: "The purpose of yoga is to calm the disturbances of the mind."

We calm ourselves and integrate the disparate parts of ourselves--mind, body and spirit--by utilizing techniques embodied in the Eight Limbs, or Petals, of Yoga. These are not to be confused with the Eight-fold Path of Buddhism, which is also useful; these two great streams of thought complement each other and are not in conflict.

Asana, the postures, are one of the Eight Limbs. The others can be seen in the
drawing to the right, which I created for a workshop I recently gave to a writer's group on using yoga to improve creativity.

Two of the petals are prescriptions for living: the yamas and the niyamas. These embody the usual ethical precepts that most of the world's great religions and plilosophies espouse. If a person lives ethically, s/he lacks disturbances of the mind. Our consciences don't bother us if we live rightly.

Asana and pranayama embody the physical practice. Asana are the postures, and pranayama refers to breathing to push energy through our bodies.

The four petals high on the flower are the more difficult and subtle parts of yoga. Pratyahara--going inward, which enables dharana, mental focus, and diyana, meditation.  

And all of the above lead us to samadhi, oneness, a state of OM which unites us with ourselves and all else.

Remember: yoga sees everything as energy. Samadhi refers to that oneness with all.

Practicing all eight limbs of yoga with consistency, focus and determination will engender samadhi. 

I am a believer in the lifelong practice of yoga, so much so that I have spent thousands of dollars and a considerable amount of time not only to practice consistently, but to complete yoga teacher training. I look forward to spreading the word about this wonderful practice in any way I can.  Others I know who are more casual practitioners report weight loss and a generalized feeling of serenity and happiness. Many report that stretching has resulted in another inch of two of height. One man I know swears that his improvement in vision is due to yoga.

Please contact me if you want to know more. Can't hurt to try, right? 

And by the way--you don't need to stand on your head in the lotus or any other position. We do plenty of sitting and lying around, just...being.

Next month I'll blog about yoga to enhance creativity and mental function,
So stay tuned!




Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Meet the "Queen of Shadow" (#futuristic #romance)

http://a.co/192YziO
One of the most common and disliked questions readers as writers is "Where do you get your ideas?" Quite honestly, we don't always know. Sometimes it's obvious--the germ of a story I wrote for Harlequin/Silhouette under a different pen name, His Baby, Her Heart, came from a magazine article about in vitro fertilization I read in a medical office waiting room.

But most of the time, the line from idea to story is not so clear.

I wrote Queen of Shadow when I was living in Thailand. I was attempting to recover from a particularly traumatic time in my life. My father had died in 2002 after a two-year-long bout with cancer. My best friend and her husband killed themselves in 2005 in an incomprehensible double suicide. My eldest brother had died in 2006 after a year-long fight with, again, cancer. I now understand that I had experienced a nervous breakdown without knowing it, desperately flailing about to keep my life together as everything fell apart. But under the stress, my marriage had failed, also.

Some believe that "wherever you go, there you are," meaning that running away doesn't solve problems. But for me, it does. Physical distance often results in emotional distance, and leaving helps me gain objectivity, perspective and detachment.

After spending a couple of months in Europe, I traveled to Thailand and made a nice life for myself in Chiang Mai. As I settled into the structured serenity I


created, I found myself able to write again after a prolonged absence--all the trauma had created a writer's block about the size of Gibraltar.

I had seen a science fiction movie about ten years before that had posited a planet strictly divided into bands of light and darkness. It wasn't very good, but the concept had stuck with me, and I decided to write my own take on what such a planet would be like.

Thus was born Queen of Shadow, a full-length, 55K+ word novel. Here's the blurb:

Looking for the next GoT? Here you are.

My little studio apartment in Chiang Mai,
where I wrote Queen of Shadow
A brave queen struggles to control divided kingdoms on a terraformed planet thirty thousand years in the future.

Janus is a planet which lacks both tilt and spin, and its Shadowlands are the pewter band of dusk dividing the violently hot Lightside of the planet from its Darkside, imprisoned by eternal night. Because of the peculiar conformation of the planet, birthrates are low and indiscriminate mating encouraged.

Audryn, Queen of Shadow has reached that time in her life when she must choose a king to rule with her or fail to bear an heir, casting not only her realm but all of Janus into chaos. Despite her duty, she is reluctant to share power, even a bit distrustful. Janus’ nobles vie for Audryn’s hand. Although she enjoys trysting with all her suitors, none seize her heart.

Then Storne, the warrior Prince of Darkness, arrives to claim her as his bride. Will his masterful ways allure or repel the willful Queen?

And a sexy little snippet (NSFW) to brighten your day:

Although I believed I could trust Storne, I couldn’t stop the nervous flutters in my belly. I occasionally allowed myself to be dominated by Rall and Parron as a change from the norm, and because their loyalty was absolute. Each would give his life for me.

But Storne wanted the throne, wanted his blood and bone to rule even after our deaths, or so I surmised. He did not hesitate to kill in order to win; what stopped him from taking me against my will?

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/743053
And my will was strong. After learning that someone that we had trusted had plotted to kill my family—and had succeeded—had seemingly strengthened my unwillingness to hastily make the choice that must be made.

My worries must have showed, for he asked, “What’s wrong, Audryn?” 

He slid his fingers out of my pussy and laid his hand on my belly. His gray eyes were steady, his gaze fixed on my face.


I breathed deeply. “I want you, but—" 


“I won’t take advantage of the situation.”

I sighed. “I hope you are not insulted.”

His brows raised. “Your decision is momentous and final. I can afford to wait.” His voice oozed confidence.

“You are sure you are the best candidate.”

“Yes.” He leaned closer and purred against my ear, “I’m bigger, stronger, tougher and I don’t look like your great-grandpa."

I giggled.

He chuckled, a deep, sexy growl of a sound and bit my lobe. His fingers again busied themselves inside my pussy.

Like what you read? Find all ebook formats here:




Friday, February 2, 2018

A Fortune To Win: A Romance Miniseries by Suz deMello (#romance #miniseries #99cents)


Drug addicts Harvey, Lord Darlingside, and his supermodel wife, Mara, died by drowning in the Trevi Fountain while on a heroin binge. In a previous rare moment of sobriety, Harvey created a trust for their three children with a peculiar stipulation designed to ensure none would go his way: each must demonstrate maturity by making a substantial non-monetary contribution to others.


A Fortune To Win is the story of the Darlingside heirs' journey to love and their legacies.


Will Alice break through her emotional shell to find love?

Can supermodel Sophie survive repeated attacks from someone who seems bent upon her death?

Alcoholic Peter is accused of murder...can he get his head out of the bottle long enough to beat the charge and maintain his freedom?

PLUS A SPECIAL HISTORICAL PREQUEL!

Here's a snippet to pique your interest...from Peter's Story:


Prologue


LORD DARLINGSIDE AND WIFE MARA FOUND DEAD

DRUG OVERDOSE SUSPECTED

[ROME] The jetsetting couple known as ‘Marvey,’ Harvey Fortune, Lord Darlingside and his supermodel wife Mara Tove, were found at three a.m. today (local time) drowned in the historic Trevi Fountain. An autopsy is planned, which many fear will confirm the initial assumption that the couple’s known heroin addiction caused their deaths. Reportedly, used syringes were found on the fountain’s marble balustrade… They leave three adult children: Peter, age 26, the new Earl Darlingside; daughter Alice, 23, a teacher; Sophia, 19, a model.


…one week later…


CONTENTS OF ‘MARVEY’ WILL REVEALED

[LONDON] …Though the Fortune family solicitor, Rabbie White of White, Cheshire and Queen (Lincolns Inn Fields) remains closemouthed, an unidentified source close to the family states that the Fortune fortune, encompassing a manor house in Kent, a mansion in Hampstead, and invested monies totaling some 50 million pounds, will be divided between ‘Marvey’s’ children. However, the ‘Marvey’ trust requires the heirs make a substantial non-monetary contribution to society. Whether each child’s acts are sufficient to inherit is a decision left solely to White’s discretion. Apparently Lord and Lady Darlingside wanted to ensure that their progeny did not follow the same dangerous path they trod…

...eighteen months later...

Chapter One


One cool, bright summer morning, Peter Fortune, Earl Darlingside, awakened in a big, four-poster bed covered with a fluffy white duvet with a woman beside him. She was dead.

Until that moment, he’d been doing quite well, thank you very much, considering that he’d spent the night before drinking Remy Martin Black Pearl with a number of equally dissolute young noblemen and getting drunk as, well, drunk as lords. He should have had a throbbing head, unclear eyesight and a belly that pitched like bloody hell, but he felt great. And, given that he’d won rather than lost betting on billiards was another point in favor of the day.

Which was, he remembered blearily, Monday, perhaps? Or maybe Tuesday. Did it matter?

The window was open to the Hampstead sunshine and also admitted birdsong. Every once in a while he heard the sound of a distant siren, reminding him of...of…?

Oh yes, the dead girl.

Melanie.

He supposed he ought to call 9-9-9 and get an ambulance, though judging by her total lack of movement and warmth, the authorities would get to her too late. Far too late.

He rolled to the side, reaching for the bedside table where his mobile reposed. Something jabbed his arse, and he threw back the sheet to find a used syringe. A needlestick from an addict’s rig. Oh, shite, I’m fucked. He grabbed the thing and flung it across the room, then called for help.

*****

She’d been called Foxy Roxy for as long as she could remember, but she hadn’t embraced the nickname until her fifteenth birthday. That day she’d visited a charity shop with friends. One had spotted an old fox stole on a mannequin and bought it for Roxanne Fox as a gift. She’d worn that fox pelt around her neck on cool days until it had fallen apart, then bought another and then another. Only from the charity shops, though—she wouldn’t be directly responsible for the death of an innocent animal. Later she’d found a source for high-quality fakes, which fit her vegan habits far better.

This morning, she was nibbling a gluten-free currant scone slathered with soya cream cheese whilst enjoying her second flat white of the day (made with soya of course), reading a fairly interesting case file about a fellow who had been recorded by the many CCTVs roundabout London. Unfortunately for the client, he’d been taped with his zip open whilst fondling an impressive erection. Even less fortunately, the Crown was not amenable to letting the incident go by even though he claimed he’d been “pissed legless.”

Roxanne’s secretary stuck her head into the open doorway, her eyes round. “That prat Darlingside has gotten himself arrested again.”

“Oh, happy day.” Roxy wiped her mouth with a hanky. “What is it this time? Dead drunk? Car crash?”

“No, it’s more serious. Unless someone’s having a go at us.”

“Not chundering onto some poor copper’s shoes?” That had been a memorable case.

“No, murder.”

Roxy sat up straighter. She’d been White, Cheshire and Queen’s criminal defense specialist for four years, having left the Crown Prosecution Service to pursue more lucrative options. At WCQ, she’d had the opportunity to sample a more varied menu of cases than she’d expected. Along with the anticipated tax avoidance schemes and family squabbles regarding bequests—which occasionally devolved into wine-throwing and fistfights—a prominent client occasionally committed the odd sexual peccadillo, like the fellow diddling his dong in Notting Hill.

And then there was Peter Fortune, the Earl of Darlingside, who seemed intent upon imitating his parents’ strikingly self-destructive ways.

Bless him—he’d brought her a case she could really sink her teeth into. “Where’s he being held?”

Like what you read? GET IT HERE and get it soon--99 cents until February 8!








Thursday, January 18, 2018

She's through with love and just wants to have some wicked fun - with TWO hot cops! WICKED TIMES TWO by #TinaDonahueBooks #menage #SouthFlorida #HotCops #Tattoos

I loved writing this story. Noah and Kyle are so freaking hot, I'd love to take Jasmina's place in their arms.

I'm hosting a FB party on January 26th to celebrate my release. There will be guest authors, contests, giveaways, eye candy, and more! Please join me and the others.

Click HERE for party site.



Series Blurb:

South Florida just got a helluva lot steamier… During the day, the staff at Wicked Brand makes ink dreams a reality for their appreciative clients. After hours, this naughty crew engages in sensual delights as wild as the designs they’re selling. Their motto? Nothing forbidden. Nothing held back. 

Wicked Times Two Blurb:

She’s through with love and just wants to have some wicked fun...

Burned by her cheating boyfriend, Jasmina is finished with the idea of forever after with any guy. That fairy tale doesn’t exist—at least not for her. From now on, protecting her heart and letting pleasure rule is her motto.

Lucky for her, she has the perfect men in mind. Noah and Kyle, two of the hottest cops in West Palm Beach. She hasn’t been able to get them out of her head since they handled an altercation at Wicked Brand, the tattoo parlor she manages. When they come back to get inked, sparks fly.

Noah’s ready to play, and Kyle’s on board. All they want is her—submission, bondage, spanking…no strings or regrets. Seductive days roll into steamy nights, igniting feelings the guys hadn’t expected and Jasmina can’t deny.

What began as a sensual adventure could turn into so much more…if Jasmina can risk a different kind of love.



Excerpt:

Kyle and Noah strode inside, wearing their cop authority like a second skin.
Jasmina fought dizziness, drawn to them effortlessly and recklessly.
Tor hurried past the guys and reached her first.
She ignored him.
Kyle’s fragrance wafted close, an intoxicating cedar and suede mixture. She struggled against taking another sniff, not wanting him to think she was weird, but it wasn’t easy to restrain her desire. The disillusionment in his eyes had faded, replaced by male interest…almost as if he couldn’t help himself.
Nice.
He smiled at her, the gesture easygoing yet confident.
She liked that.
Noah brought up the rear, his scent tobacco, with a hint of coffee and musk. One thousand percent male, like his assured bearing and attentive gaze.
Ambrosia to a woman who hadn’t had fun in months.
Her cheeks stung. So much for playing things cool. “Hey. What’s up?”
Kyle rubbed his mouth, but it didn’t entirely hide his smile.
Color darkened Noah’s face.
Jasmina had to keep from leaning over the counter to check out the prizes between their legs and asking if they were still seeing the women they’d brought to the wedding. Or maybe they had someone new? She hoped not. “Is everything going okay with the trial? Ethan didn’t bust out of jail, did he?”
Kyle laughed. “Nope.”
Noah chimed in. “He wouldn’t dare.”
Their voices rumbled; her lust spiked to overdrive. Calm down before you make a fool of yourself.
It wasn’t like her to become unglued around guys. She’d always been herself whether they enjoyed her personality or not. Of course, Noah and Kyle were the first men she’d been interested in post-Brad.
Maybe that’s why Tor stood to the side like a chaperone.
She knew she’d been in bad shape after being cheated on, but she didn’t like or need his intrusion and turned to him. “Can I do something for you?”
“I’m good.”
“Awesome.” She slapped on a smile and gestured to the waiting area. “Your client will be glad to hear that. He’s ready to get inked.” She lowered her voice. “He’s the elderly man wearing the bright orange shorts. Nice guy.”
She gave Tor the work order that detailed the tat the man wanted: a 3-D design on his left pec that depicted an opened zipper. From inside his heart, his late wife smiled at him.
The sweetest gesture Jasmina had ever seen. If only all guys were loyal to the ones they were supposed to love.
Wasn’t going to happen, especially to her.
With the forever-after fantasy in her rearview mirror, she was ready to cut loose and enjoy herself. Not once but twice. Wicked times two. She faced Noah and Kyle, attracted to both and eager to know what it would be like to be with them at the same time. A threesome was the safest way she knew to have fun and indulge in her carnal fantasies while also protecting her heart.
However, whether they would go for the idea or think she was crazy was a huge if.
They shot loaded gazes at Tor.
He fired one right back but collected his client.
“Hey, I’m Tor Avana.” He stuck out his hand. “Ward, is it? Nice to meet you.”
“Same here.” They shook. “Hope I’m not too old for this.”
Jasmina cut in. “Not at all. Go for it.” She gave him two thumbs-up.
He laughed softly.
“This way.” Tor gestured for Ward to take a seat in the front chair.
The poor man shrank back. “You’re going to tattoo me in public?”
“Sure.” Tor clamped Ward’s shoulder. “It’ll be fun.”
“Oh no, please.” He waved his hands. “I wouldn’t want anyone except Sheila seeing this old body.” He lifted his droopy shoulders. “She loved me. She didn’t mind how I looked.”
Jasmina’s throat tightened with emotion. “It’s okay. Tor can ink you in his workstation in the back. Totally private.”
Tor gave her a look. She gave him one right back, annoyed at his behavior today.
He ushered Ward down the hall but kept glancing over at her, Kyle, and Noah.
Jasmina recalled when she’d first started to date. A big thing, given she was the youngest in her family, not to mention the only girl with six brothers. Her mom and dad had been pretty cool about the whole thing, trusting their daughter to make the right choices and not to be a pushover for anyone. Her brothers were a different story.
Tor had shot the same look to Noah and Kyle that her brothers had given the guys she’d dated, which said, “Back off.” Until Brad had messed with her heart and dignity, Tor had never questioned her good sense. She knew she’d been hell to live with around here, acting like a damn zombie. But that was in the past. She was ready to move on, and he should trust her to know her own mind. The last thing she needed was a damn bodyguard. She regarded Kyle and Noah. “Something bothering Tor?”
Kyle lifted his eyebrows slightly. A mellow response that told her nothing.
Noah showed no reaction, his mood reserved, thoughts masked, taking her in as though it was his right. Just as a cop would do. Pure authority.
If he behaved the same in bed…
A pleasant thrill ran through her, dulling the outside world. Sounds and colors faded.
For him to play Dom to her sub would be the absolute best. After he worked his wicked ways on her, Kyle would be there for comfort and tenderness. They could even switch things up, taking turns playing good cop and bad. To have their passion released at the same time…




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Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Say "Hello" Again to WALK LIKE A MAN! (#sportsRomance #medicalromance #legalromance)

I started writing in late 1996 and wanted to write a classic romance, "Boy Meets Girl, Boy Loses Girl, Boy Gets Girl Back" sort of thing. I wanted it to be a contemporary, even though I really loved Regency--I just didn't think I could write a historical yet, because I was a total newbie. Unfortunately, I didn't know much about romance other than that formula, so when I sat down and thought about what kind of hero I though would be appealing, I came up with...a football quarterback. Not only a quarterback, but an injured one.

That's common fare now, but back in the 90s, no one but Susan Elizabeth Phillips could make a sports hero work. I found the book unsaleable for nearly a decade, before Five Star published it in a lovely first edition.

The hardcover edition of Walk Like A Man is still available on Amazon--print never quite goes away. It may still be sitting on the shelves of your local library.

It got pretty good reviews:

...a very enjoyable contemporary romance between a major sports figure and the therapist whose skill is all that stands between him and life in a wheelchair. 

Lynn Welch, Booklist
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved



Sue Swift...is an author to watch. WALK LIKE A MAN is an altogether enjoyable reading experience. Jane Bowers, Romance Reviews Today


"... such a delight to read...tantalizing sexual tension, witty banter... not only a beautiful love story, great characterization and a good plot, but ...emotions that will reach in and squeeze the breath out of the reader... a fiery read. A must buy, a must read, this story is not to be missed!!" 
loveromances.com/walklikeaman_valerie.html


(In case you're wondering who Sue Swift is--that's me. Just a different pen name.)

But time marches on, and, delightfully, reversions happen. That the rights to the book returned to me gave me the opportunity to update and re-edit the book...and here it is. Hope you love it!






Buy it here:


Smashwords

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
Apple iTunes
Google




Monday, December 25, 2017

A Very Lovely Christmas Tale for You by Catherine Cavendish (@CatherineCavendish #Christmas #Free)

For the last couple of years, I have run a beautiful little Christmas shortie by one of my author buddies, Catherine Cavendish. I was lucky enough to edit Cat professionally, and not only is she very agreeable to work with, she's also a very creative writer. I love her work and hope you do too.


Dance Me To The End Of Time
by
Catherine Cavendish

          I’ve always loved Christmas. The tree, tinsel and a roaring fire… Candles flickering and the sound of carollers striving to hit the top register in “Hark the Herald Angels Sing.”
           This year’s no different. Of course, there’s no roaring fire anymore. That’s been replaced with one of those living flame gas affairs. Quite nice, but you never could beat the real thing.
            “Penny for them.” My husband, Charles, interrupts my reverie.
            “Oh, nothing. I was just musing and remembering Christmases past.” I smile at him.
             
He adjusts his tie and smoothes his glossy black hair, 

all  gestures I have seen him perform countless times. “Do you think it will snow this year?” he asks, studying his reflection in the mirror.
            I turn to look out of the window. “It’s too dark to tell, but it looks damp out there. It must have been raining earlier.”
            “I didn’t notice,” Charles says, “but then I suppose I wouldn’t, would I?” He smiles at me and takes my hand, brushing it against his lips. Then I catch him examining my dress.
            “Something wrong?” I ask and instinctively look down at my white, floor-length gown. I see some creases in the silk which I attempt to smooth away.
            “That’s better. It was just a little wrinkled.”
            “Hardly surprising,” I say. “It only gets an outing once a year.”
            We laugh, and Charles strokes away a long, dark brown lock of hair which has escaped my elaborate coiffure and has wandered across my cheek.
            “Shall we dance, Emily?” he asks.
            “Certainly, Charles, it will be my pleasure.”
            We waltz to a phantom orchestra. In my head I can hear the strains of the Blue Danube, and I am transported back to another time and place. I can see a young girl and her young man, their eyes locked in an embrace as they swirl around a ballroom in Vienna while a conductor, violin in hand, steers the orchestra through his latest composition.
            “I miss the scent of roasting chestnuts,” I tell Charles.
           His mouth widens in a grin. “But can’t you smell them, Emily?  Concentrate really hard.”
            I close my eyes and let him lead me round and round as the music grows louder, and now I can smell them. Chestnuts, little fried potatoes and the warming aroma of cinnamon from the Gl├╝hwein.  I can hear the bells of St Stephen’s Cathedral and feel the chill of the night air on my cheek. Little flecks of snow are falling onto my face, and my feet crunch on the icy ground.             
          Charles is waltzing me faster and faster. And now I can hear the voices.  The orchestra has faded and a choir is singing in German: “Stille Nacht, heilige Nacht…”
            “Oh Charles--”
            “No, Emily, don’t open your eyes.”
            I obey. “Don’t let it stop, Charles, please don’t let it stop,” I cry, “Not this time. Not this year.”
            “Dance with me, Emily. Dance with me.”
            The choir has faded, and the orchestra builds to a crescendo. I know if I open my eyes, I will see the wild black hair of the conductor, falling over his eyes as his violin bow slashes through the air.
            But I mustn’t open my eyes.  Charles told me not to.
            “Oh Emily, Emily,” Charles says, “Let us never lose this moment.  Never.”
            “Never, Charles.”
            And then I open my eyes.
            “No, Emily, no!” Charles’ agonized face is before me. But the moment has passed.
            The orchestra is silent. There are no roasting chestnuts, no carol singers, no hot spiced wine.
            Vienna has gone.
            “Oh Emily, you did it again. Just like last year. Just like every year.”
            I am crestfallen. He takes my face in his hands. He kisses my lips, and I close my eyes again, trying to recapture the dream. But it’s too late.
            “Never mind, my love, there’s always next year.”
            “As long as we’re still here,” I say, my old fears returning.
            “I expect we will be. They seem to like us well enough.”
            From the hallway, I hear the unmistakable sound of a key in the lock. It’s time.
            “Come, my love. We must return.” Charles once again takes my hand and together we gaze at the empty picture above the mantelpiece.
            “Until next year and the magic returns,” he whispers.
            “Until next year. Happy Christmas, Charles.”
            “Happy Christmas, Emily.”
            The door opens and a young couple wanders in, each holding a glass of red wine. They are both dressed smartly, she in a navy suit, he in dark grey. She has short blond hair, and his is dark. They look very modern to me.
            The woman’s gaze is drawn to the painting. “I’ve always loved that picture.” She sighs, raising her glass to her lips and taking a sip.
            “That’s why I bought it for you,” the man says and nuzzles her neck.
            “Dance Me to the End of Time,” she murmurs. “Such an evocative title. And it really looks as if that’s what they’re doing, doesn’t it? You feel they could just step out of that frame and glide around the room.”
            Her husband laughs. “You and your imagination.”
            The woman moves toward the fireplace and is peering closer. “There it is again.  The damnedest thing!”
            “What?” he asks.
            “I noticed it last year, but only on Christmas Eve, and it’s happened again this year. Look at her eyes.”
            The man does as he is bid.
            “Can you see it? There at the corner of her eye. A tear. It looks as if it’s just about to spill down her cheek, but I bet you it won’t be there in the morning.”
            The man laughs. “You’re imagining it. Too much wine at dinner.”
            “Say what you like. I know what I saw.” She steps back.
            She’s right, of course.  It’s the tear I cannot cry every Christmas when the magic ends.
            And we are frozen here in time and space.


      Catherine Cavendish is joint winner of the Samhain Gothic Horror Anthology
competition 2013. Her winning novella – Linden Manor – is available in all digital formats and in the print anthology, What Waits In The Shadows. She is the author of a number of paranormal horror and Gothic horror novellas and short stories. Her novel, Saving Grace Devine,has recently been published by Samhain Publishing and her new novel -The Pendle Curse - is coming out on February 3rd.

     She lives with a longsuffering husband in North Wales. Her home was built in the mid-

18th century and is haunted by a friendly ghost, who announces her presence 

by footsteps, switching lights on and strange phenomena involving the washing 

machine and the TV.

     When not slaving over a hot computer, Cat enjoys wandering around Neolithic stone 

circles and visiting old haunted houses.

You can connect with Cat here:

www.catherinecavendish.com
https://www.facebook.com/CatherineCavendishWriter?ref=hl
http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4961171.Catherine_Cavendish