Wednesday, December 23, 2020

A Special Christmas Tale: Dance Me to the End of Time by Catherine Cavendish (#fantasy #romance #ViennaChristmas #ChristmasRomance)

       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


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 Glühwein.  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 soon.
     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:!/cat_cavendish      


Thursday, July 23, 2020

Too hot for Ya? Read coooollll... (#hockeyromance, #sportsromance, #romance #militaryromance #veteranromance #alaskaromance)

For many of us, late July is a time to stay at home in the air conditioning. And with Covid-engendered fears, this year more than ever. 

I live in Mazatlan, Mexico, a great place except for the excessve humidity in the summer months. Today, for example, is a balmy 90 degrees Fahrenheit that my weather app claims "feels like 99." And it does, due to the 63% humidity. And it never cools down. 

Northern California was my home for most of my life, where we enjoy the breeze flowing from the Pacific Ocean, along the delta of the Sacramento River, cooling us every evening. For example, the high in Sacramento, my former hometown, is going to be 91 today, but it will drop all the way to 57 tonight--deliciously chilly. In contrast, the low tonight in Mazatlan will be 77, really not cold enough for relief.

So if you're living in a similarly hot clime, may I invite you to enjoy a couple of books set in chillier environs?

Irresistible force, meet immovable object
Veteran Fisher Chugatt has withdrawn from the world, retreating to the Alaskan village 
where he was born and raised.

Can a sexy, lively DJ from Los Angeles 
break through his shell?
DJ Valerie Percy rejects the phony life she's lived and travels to remote Takinsha Island determined to start over. She looks for an FWB, an accessory she considers more important than mascara. She wants a warm, outgoing man to laugh with her, 
hang out with her, and shag her silly.

And then she falls for Fisher Chugatt, a loner who rejects any relationship.
Can Valerie's love heal the pain Fisher carries?
What Goodreads reviewers thought of earlier editions:
"...enjoyable... Sweet story, steamy sex and very likeable characters."
"...a good read by the pool in the summer or by the fire in the winter."
"I enjoyed this one... I liked their chemistry..."
--Heather in FL

Set in lovely, cool Alaska, this book is
guaranteed to help you think cool thoughts even though the sex is seriously hot.

Buy it here. Free with KU!


Also guaranteed for sexy thrills 
and chills is my hockey romance.

How far would you go to win your lifelong dream?

When filmmaker Zoë Whipple agrees to shoot a documentary about a hockey team’s season, she doesn’t sign on for scandal, crime and murder. But she discovers that players, rabid to win the championship, don’t let morality or the law stand in the way of their ambitions.

When a rookie dies from cardiac arrest, Zoë is saddened but not suspicious until another player, in the grip of ’roid rage, goes berserk on the ice and ends up in the hospital. Digging into the mess reveals illegal painkillers and steroid abuse among most of the team. Zoë, whose reputation for honest filmmaking is at stake, threatens to expose the scandals.

Is her new lover, team captain “Crash” Crasseau, responsible for the harassment and vandalism meant to scare her into silence? When Crasseau’s ex-wife is murdered, and Zoë’s daughter is threatened, Zoë must choose between her career ambitions and her child’s safety.

What others have said about a previous edition:

Five stars! I genuinely enjoyed this book.
--John W. Cobb, Amazon reader

Whether you are a fan of sports or not, I have no doubt you will enjoy this romance.
--Detra Fitch, Huntress Reviews

Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Spice up your isolation with a little PERILOUS PLAY--on sale for 99cents! (#99cents, #KU, #BDSM)

It's no secret that this quarantine is grating on everyone's nerves, so much so that many of us are becoming sloppy about staying home and wearing masks when outside. I know that I've had it literally up to my eyeballs with my sweaty nose and absolute boredom. Couple that with a new home with a bad TV system and there's a recipe for COVID disaster.

So I've been reading a lot, and looking for new, well-written material. If you're in the same situation as I am--and a lot of you reading this are--try this:

Available in both paperback and ebook, this stunning memoir has garnered many five star reviews lauding it for its good writing and excellent, helpful content. Here are just a few:

Five stars! A candid and page-turning account.
--Tina Williams, Amazon reader

Five stars! I wish more people knew about this book - especially any sub who is either incredibly curious about this lifestyle or those serious in their wanting more knowledge or needing to find some answers.
--Kathleen Rivest, Amazon reader

Five stars! I have been active in "the lifestyle" for almost ten years and Perilous Play is a must read.
--Elena J. Kelly, Amazon reader

Five stars!  A great read for both sides of the "/" and was enjoyable to read.
--Greg W., Amazon reader



Monday, May 25, 2020

Honoring our Military---Veteran Romance on Sale Now! (#99cents #KU #militaryromance #alaskaromance #PostCombatSyndrome)

Irresistible force, meet immovable object


Veteran Fisher Chugatt has withdrawn from the world, retreating to the Alaskan village where he was born and raised.

Can a sexy, lively DJ from Los Angeles break through his shell?

DJ Valerie Percy rejects the phony life she’s lived and travels to remote Takinsha Island determined to start over. She looks for a fuck-buddy, an accessory she considers more important than mascara. She wants a warm, outgoing man to laugh with her, hang out with her, and shag her silly.

And then she falls for Fisher Chugatt, a loner who rejects any relationship.

Can Valerie’s love heal the pain Fisher carries?


This book was previously published as Seducing the Hermit. It’s been revised and re-edited for your reading pleasure.

What Goodreads reviewers thought of earlier editions:

“…enjoyable… Sweet story, steamy sex and very likeable characters.”


“…a good read by the pool in the summer or by the fire in the winter.”


“I enjoyed this one… I liked their chemistry…”

--Heather in FL

Friday, April 24, 2020

Attitude of Gratitude: COVID in Mazatlan

I don't usually talk about the value of maintaining an attitude of gratitude until November and Thanksgiving comes around. But in these strange and very trying times, I try to keep a positive outlook no matter how distressing the reality. I acknowledge what's going on while still working to find the good in any and every situation.

But there's def good stuff going on. The authorities here, while knowing they're overmatched, are taking intelligent steps.  The beaches are closed, gatherings prohibited, alcohol sales suspended. Social distancing is emphasized--grocery stores will allow only one person per family to enter. No kids and no pregnant women. The streets (at least where I go) are quiet and most people wear masks.

At this roadblock, authroties took my temperature wth a handheld device that didn't touch my skin,  and sprayed down the car with disinfectant. Also received a pamphlet about COVID-19.

There are still wonderful things here to enjoy:

Close-up of a cactus flower
Sheep or goats? I first thought goats, but a closer look revealed that
they're recently shorn sheep. I think.

My big, beautiful, empty beach, Playa Cerritos:

Pineapples growing nearby

Plants that are pathetic little houseplants 
in the USA grow to giant size here

But into each lovely life a little rain must fall. As I mentioned, alcohol sales have been suspended. Below, see my last bottle of red...opened last night (sob sob).


Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Vagina scented candles and other musings; Devere's Ward on sale now! (#RegencyRomance #99cents #KU)

January 2020 has brought us an increase in tensions in the Middle East,  Australia on fire, and Gwyneth Paltrow's vagina candle.  Imagine the hoohah over a hoohah scented candle!  

Amidst the kerfluffle, I read an article in The Guardian asking, 

Why is Gwyneth Paltrow selling a candle that smells like her vagina?

That's easy, you idiots. BECAUSE SHE CAN.

And it SOLD OUT in just a few days.

The Twitterverse has reacted predictably (and hilariously)--just search vagina candle on Twitter and you'll be amply rewarded. Here are a couple of the best:



It is hard to avoid concern about the decline and fall of Western Civilization.

On an completely unrelated note, my award-winning Regency romance, Lord Devere's Ward, is on sale this week. Enjoy!

Will he choose love or honor?

Orphaned Kate Scoville is trapped in a tower prison by her scheming uncle, who plans to wed her to his loathsome son in order to gain control of her fortune. Plucky and resourceful, Lady Kate escapes to London to ask for help from her guardian. She's sure the elderly Earl of Devere will help her in her plight.
Kate is astounded to find that the Earl has died, and his son has become her guardian. Quinn, the present Earl, remembers Kate from his childhood as an awkward child he loved to taunt and tease. 

But now his ward has grown into a beautiful young woman. Though honor prevents Quinn from making Kate his, their attraction is irresistible…

Will Kate tempt Quinn into abandoning honor? Will the wicked uncle trap Kate, compromise her and steal her fortune?

First published as Hopelessly Compromised by Kensington/Zebra Books. Winner of the Beacon Award for Best Historical Romance.

What readers said about previous editions

Five Stars! Regency Romance is Alive!
--B. Berry

Five Stars! Thoroughly Engaging Regency Romp
--Catherine Cavendish

Five Stars!

Five Stars! …so charming and lively…

Five Stars! Regency at Its Best!
--Judith Dedek

Happy reading!