Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Only a Kiss ~ From Novella to Novel

I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has continued to follow Only a Kiss over the past year. It has become clear to me, as I look at my outline, that we've only gotten half-way through which means it would take another year to complete Only a Kiss in an episodic format. So I've decided, with some reader input, to pull Only a Kiss from the blog and publish it as a novel early next year.

I hope you'll tune in for a new novella, The Dark Heart: A Magical Novella, on August 2nd.

Coming to Bookstores in 2017!!


Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Only a Kiss ~ Part 70

“They hold their meetings just up the street. From what I’ve been told, usually one person will say they are coming to buy shoes, for whatever occasion, and then everyone else thinks it’s a good idea. They also go to Sally’s in swarms and some of the other area businesses. I personally think it’s because they’ve been in the meeting and after they want to socialize while doing something they enjoy, like shoe shopping…”
“And eating Sally’s famous bacon,” said Ana with a grin.
“Exactly,” said Phillip. He opened her portfolio. ‘I’ve sent these five designs off to be made, but I think we’ll put them all on the website. Now that I have a moment, I’ll send the rest to their graphic designer. She’s excellent at transforming sketches in to real-life mock ups, from there we’ll put them on the website.”
“We have a website?” asked Ana. “I guess I’m not the only one who’s been a busy bee.”
“What can I say,” said Phillip with a shrug. “You’ve got me excited.”
“Good, because we need to talk about catering,” said Ana. “I’ve tried every place in town that is reputable catering company and they are all booked.”
“Of course they are,” said Phillip with a sigh.
“Any suggestions?” asked Ana.
Phillip shook his head. “Afraid not.”
“Okay,” said Ana, pulling out her laptop. “I’ll start seeing if I can find anyone outside the San Francisco area, but it may cost us more for their travel.”
Phillip ran his fingers through his hair. “Man, I really hate that. I know my aunt wants as much as possible to go to the dogs. I’ve really let her down. Maybe I should cancel the event.”
“Don’t you dare,” said Ana, folding her arms. “I’ll make it work and you haven’t failed anyone. Canceling this event will hurt your aunt more than spending a little more money on the catering.”
“You’re right,” said Phillip. “I’ll make a few calls, see if we can’t hire someone’s private chef or something.”
“That’s the spirit,” said Ana.
Phillip’s stomach growled. “Speaking of food, I skipped breakfast to get Tess to the day care, want to catch an early lunch and then hit the ground running?”
“Sure,” said Ana, realizing she was feeling pretty hungry herself. She, too, had skipped breakfast. “Sally’s?”
“Kind of,” said Phillip with a wink.
“Kind of?” Ana scrunched her face.
“Today is puffed pastry day at Bay Bistro, which is also one of Sally’s restaurants,” explained Phillip.
“That’s impressive,” said Ana. “How many does she own?”
“Four, I think,” said Phillip. “She may have invested in a couple of others, but today at the bistro they’ll have fresh puffed pastry filled with crab or lobster. They are almost as good as the bacon.”
“But only almost,” said Ana with a smile.
“Nothing beats the bacon,” said Phillip. “So shall we?”
He held out his hand Ana took it. “Sounds great.”
Phillip was quick to hail a cab and within twenty minutes they were entering Bay Bistro. The hostess gave Phillip a sly smile.
“Have you ever missed puff pastry day?” she asked.

Phillip shook his head. “And I don’t intend to miss one either.”

Saturday, June 18, 2016

History & Lore ~ Pearl



The pearl has been beloved by royals throughout history. Queen Elizabeth the First is adorned with huge pearls in many of her portraits. Cleopatra was said to have two of the largest pearls in the world in her possession. Legend has it that she dissolved and drank one of them at the world’s most expensive banquet. The other pearl was cut into two pieces and placed in the ears of Venus in the Pantheon at Rome.

There are many ancient myths associated with pearls. Ancient Greeks believed that Aphrodite, the goddess of sensuality and beauty, adored the beauty of pearls, and the Chinese believed there was a link between the moon and a pearl’s soft glow. Wearing pearls is believed to bring mental clarity.


http://4csblog.gia.edu/2013/history-lore-of-june-birthstone-pearls

Friday, June 17, 2016

Only a Kiss ~ Part 69

“Come on,” said Sharon. “I know you haven’t worked here that long, but we both know Phillip would never look at it like that. He’d love this shoe and see it for what it is, a beautiful design that belongs in this store.”
Ana shook her head again. “No, it really isn’t my place.”
“Fine,” said Sharon following with a big sigh, “I’m just going to put it behind this back flap. Regardless, of the shoe I think Phillip is going to love these.”
“Love what?” asked Phillip coming in the door.
“Ana has been a busy bee overnight,” said Sharon.
Ana shrugged and looked at the floor. “I’m afraid I might have gone a bit overboard. I was struck by inspiration and just couldn’t help myself. It all might be too much.”
“Nonsense,” said Phillip. “Bring it on back to the staff room and we’ll take a look at them on the big table.”
“Where’s Tessy?” asked Ana.
Phillip grinned. “I enrolled her in doggy day care today. She doesn’t need to be cooped up in my office all day when she can run and play with other dogs. When I left she was jumping head first into their doggy pool.”
“Doggy pool?” asked Sharon, wrinkling her nose. “I can’t even begin to imagine how many filters they go through with all that hair.”
“Probably why it costs an arm and a leg for a couple of days a week,” said Phillip with a laugh. “To cover their cost of pool filters. Come on, Ana, let’s look at these sketches.” He turned to Sharon and grabbed the portfolio. “June will be in at 11, but let me know if you need any help before then.”
Sharon nodded as Ana and Phillip made their way to the back of the store. Entering the staff room, Phillip began to lay out all of Ana’s designs on the table. “Wow, Sharon wasn’t kidding, you have been a busy bee. These are great.”
“I just became really inspired last night,” said Ana.
“I’ll say,” said Phillip.
A buzz echoed through the room. “Phillip,” came Sharon’s voice over a grainy speaker, “the Women’s Guild is here … all of them. I need your help, please.”
“I’ll go,” volunteered Ana.
“If all the Women’s Guild is here, then it’ll take all of us,” said Phillip. “But if you wouldn’t mind going ahead. I want to get a few of these designs to the manufacturer and then I’ll be out.”
Ana hurried out to help Sharon. As she entered the store from the back room, she stopped in her tracks. Phillip hadn’t been exaggerating, the place was packed.
“Oh good, reinforcements,” said Sharon. “Most of them are pretty patient, but you’re gonna earn your money today.”
Ana let out a low laugh as Sharon continued in the back of the store to gather some shoes for the customers to try on. Taking a deep breath, she approached the nearest group of ladies and asked if she could help.


Ninety minutes later Ana sat at the staff table and rubbed her feet. Sharon had been right, Ana had earned her money. She silently chastised herself for wearing the low heels instead of the flats she had been contemplating that morning.
Phillip entered the room. “Gotta love the Women’s Guild.”
“They were a lovely group of women,” said Ana. “Although I’m not sure why they all come at once.”
“They hold their meetings just up the street. From what I’ve been told, usually one person will say they are coming to buy shoes, for whatever occasion, and then everyone else thinks it’s a good idea. They also go to Sally’s in swarms and some of the other area businesses. I personally think it’s because they’ve been in the meeting and after they want to socialize while doing something they enjoy, like shoe shopping…”
“And eating Sally’s famous bacon,” said Ana with a grin.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Only a Kiss ~ Part 68

Ana opened her mouth to speak, but Brett stopped her. “I could see I was rubbing you the wrong way when I talked about the caregivers. You were ready to grab your sword for them and, that, I admire. Shows how loyal you are to people. That is very rare and I can’t help but want you to be loyal to me that way as well.”
He leaned down and kissed her and Ana could’ve sworn she felt her toes curl.


                                                                                            

Chapter 12


Ana floated through the park the next morning as she walked to work. Her lips still tingled from the kiss she had shared with Brett and the numerous ones to follow. She knew he wanted to stay, and a part of her wanted him to stay as well, but she was also glad she had refrained from her desire to curl up next to him in bed.
Her heart buzzed with delight at the thought of snuggling next to him all night, but her mind told her to be patient. They had only started dating and the smart thing to do was wait.
“Good morning,” said Sharon as Ana entered though the front doors of the store.
“It is a lovely morning,” said Ana. “Is Phillip in? I have a ton of sketches to show him.”
Sharon shook her head. “He’s running a bit late this morning. Could I see them?”
“Of course,” said Ana, taking her portfolio over to the cashier desk. “I wouldn’t mind getting female opinion on them, since women are the biggest buyers of pet accessories.”
Sharon opened the portfolio and immediately started gushing. “Ana, these are amazing.”
“You really think so?” asked Ana. She was so pleased to have someone else love them as much as she did.
“They really are. What’s this?” asked Sharon, holding up a sketch.
Ana felt the color rush to her cheeks as she saw the beach shoe inspired by Brett being held in Sharon’s hand. In her euphoria of her evening with Brett she had redrawn the sketch after Brett went home.
“Oh, that’s nothing,” said Ana. “It’s not supposed to be in there. I was just messing around after I finished with the collars and leashes.”
“It’s beautiful,” said Sharon. “You should show it to Phillip.”
“No,” said Ana. “I’m here to help him organize the ball, not throw my shoe designs in his face hoping he’ll have pity on me.”
“Come on,” said Sharon. “I know you haven’t worked here that long, but we both know Phillip would never look at it like that. He’d love this shoe and see it for what it is, a beautiful design that belongs in this store.”
Ana shook her head again. “No, it really isn’t my place.”
“Fine,” said Sharon following with a big sigh, “I’m just going to put it behind this back flap. Regardless, of the shoe I think Phillip is going to love these.”

“Love what?” asked Phillip coming in the door.

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Native American Animal Symbol

If you were born May 21 - Jun 20
You are a Deer

This Native American animal symbol is the muse of the zodiac. The Deer is inspiring lively and quick-witted. With a tailor-made humor, the Deer has a tendency to get a laugh out of anyone. Excellent ability for vocalizing, the Deer is a consummate conversationalist. This combined with his/her natural intelligence make the Deer a must-have guest at dinner parties. Always aware of his/her surroundings, and even more aware of his/her appearance, the Deer can be a bit self-involved. However, the Deer's narcissism is overlooked because of his/her congeniality and affability. In a supportive environment the Deer's natural liveliness and sparkly personality radiate even more. He/she is an inspiring force in any nurturing relationship. Left to his/her own devices the Deer can be selfish, moody, impatient, lazy, and two-faced

Friday, June 10, 2016

Only a Kiss ~ Part 67

Ana stood and stretched her back. She knew she should’ve moved to the large dining room table when the sun went down and she lost her light, but she wanted to remain close to Brett.
“That bottle of Merlo my neighbors brought me is calling my name,” she said, walking over to the couch where Brett sat. “Are you at a place you can stop and join me for a glass outside by the fire pit?”
Brett closed his laptop. “Even if I weren’t I can’t resist that offer. I’ll go start the fire if you want to get the wine.”
Part 67
Ana nodded and headed back into the kitchen while Brett went outside. Just a few minutes later he had a nice fire going.
“Well aren’t you the boy scout,” said Ana, placing the bottle of Merlot and wine glasses down on a wood table that sat near the fire pit and in-between a love seat and chair with fat blue cushions.
“Hardly,” laughed Brett. “I met the caretakers, Jeffery and Katie, they had been enjoying the fire pit and were about to put it out when I arrived. I asked them to leave it.”
“Oh I wish they would’ve stayed long enough for me to say hello,” said Ana. “They really are nice people.”
“Do they usually use the Windsor’s stuff?” asked Brett, walking to her. “Seems odd for caretakers.”
Ana waved him off. “Jeffery and Katie are like family to the Windsors. They allot them the same graces they allow me.”
“But you’re Cindy’s sister,” said Brett. “That’s different.”
Ana handed the bottle and corkscrew to Brett, so he could open the wine. “Technically, she’s not related to me. Yes, she’s my stepsister by marriage, but she and Charles owe me nothing, especially after how my mother treated her. They’ve allowed me to stay here out of the kindness of their hearts. I’m they don’t mind Jeffery and Katie using the fire pit while they’re gone.”
“While they’re gone is the key there,” said Brett.
Ana narrowed her eyes at Brett. “What’s your point?”
He shook his head. “There isn’t one. Let’s sit.”
Ana was glad he dropped the subject. She knew it was about to lead to a fight since she didn’t like the way he was implying Jeffery and Katie were in the wrong. They had worked for the Windsors a long time. In fact, they knew the Windsors much longer than Ana had, they had more right to use the property than she did.
Ana sat next to Brett on the loveseat and he wrapped his arm around her shoulder. She felt her anger melt away as he pulled her close. She laid her head on his shoulder and looked up at the stairs as the ocean waves sang their melody.
“This is really nice,” she whispered.
He gave her a squeeze. “It is.”
“I’m really glad you came over. I’m sorry I was so rude at dinner.”
“Please, don’t give it a second thought,” said Brett, tracing his finger up and down her arm. “I can’t promise you I will never have to postpone a dinner or rush off to work. I’ll try not to let it happen often, but I can’t say it never will. As long as we understand that about each other, then neither of us needs to apologize.” He kissed the top of her head. “But know, that when it does happen and I have to leave, it won’t be because I don’t want to be with you. I don’t know what you’ve done to me Anastasia Durrant, but I can’t stop thinking about you.”
Ana felt herself blushing. “I’m sure you say that to all the girls.”
Brett delicately tipped her head up towards his and Ana was shocked to see his eyes were serious. “No, Anastasia, I don’t. I’ve never met anyone quite like you. You’re passionate about your work, you’ve boldly moved across the country for a new start, and you stick up for the little guy.”
Ana opened her mouth to speak, but Brett stopped her. “I could see I was rubbing you the wrong way when I talked about the caregivers. You were ready to grab your sword for them and, that, I admire. Shows how loyal you are to people. That is very rare and I can’t help but want you to be loyal to me that way as well.”

He leaned down and kissed her and Ana could’ve sworn she felt her toes curl. 

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Only a Kiss ~ Part 66

She opened the door a crack, to tell the delivery man he had the wrong address and then gasped. The delivery man was Brett, holding a paper bag bearing the logo of the restaurant where they had just been. She opened the door wide and shook her head in disbelief.
“I do understand,” said Brett, holding up his phone to display the text she had just sent. “God, knows I’ve skipped out on my share of dinners due to business. But I also understand, even when inspiration strikes, a person has got to eat. I’ve got seafood alfredo for two.” He shook the bag a little.
Ana’s stomach growled in approval, causing Brett to laugh. “I’ll take that as a yes.”
“Yes, please,” said Ana, letting Brett inside the house and then closing the door behind him.
“And don’t worry,” said Brett, putting the bag on the coffee table in the living room. “I’ll let you work, as long as you don’t mind me watching the game,” He pulled a thin laptop out of the bag the food was in, “and get a little work done myself. I’ll keep the volume low. I just want to be in the same room as you.”
Ana felt her heart do flip flops as Brett gave her a sad look that reminded her of a lost puppy wanting inside. She was sure he would be angry at her for leaving the restaurant like she had. If the tables were turned she’d probably be mad at him, but here he was bringing her dinner and offering that they just be close together.
“That sounds great,” said Ana. “I’ll get us some silverware and plates.”
“Don’t worry about the plates,” said Brett as she hurried into the kitchen. “I eat out of to-go containers all the time.”
Ana grabbed the silverware and made her way back to the living room. “That’s the saddest statement I’ve ever heard.”
“What?” Brett shrugged, remote in hand.
“That you eat most of your meals out of to-go boxes. That you don’t take time out to enjoy a good meal on a solid plate. I’m guessing most of the time you eat alone in your office, without stopping work.”
“Says the girl who just ran out on a date to work.” He gave her a sexy smirk.
Ana looked over at her pile of sketches. “You’re right. Who am I to talk?”
Brett grabbed a container of food and walked it over to her. “How about we work for a couple of hours and then go sit out back for a while. No one says we workaholics can’t enjoy both work and life.”
Ana gave Brett a little peck on the cheek as she took her food. “Thanks for understanding.”
Over the next two hours the two stayed in their separate corners. Each doing their own work to the faint sound of the game announcers on television. Ana found herself stopping more than once just to gaze over at Brett. His fingers were hoping all over his keyboard, pausing for only moments as he caught a play of the game.
Ana stood and stretched her back. She knew she should’ve moved to the large dining room table when the sun went down and she lost her light, but she wanted to remain close to Brett.
“That bottle of Merlo my neighbors brought me is calling my name,” she said, walking over to the couch where Brett sat. “Are you at a place you can stop and join me for a glass outside by the fire pit?”

Brett closed his laptop. “Even if I weren’t I can’t resist that offer. I’ll go start the fire if you want to get the wine.”

Friday, June 3, 2016

Only a Kiss ~ Part 65

She hurried out of the restaurant and then stopped in the parking lot. She had no idea how she was going to get home. Just then Brett’s car pulled up and his driver stepped out.
“Ms. Davis, Mr. Morrow has asked me to drive you home,” he said, opening her door.
“Is he coming?” asked Ana, getting into the car.
“No, ma’am, I’m to return after dropping you off to retrieve him,” said the driver, shutting the door.
Ana sighed. She was sure Brett thought she was a total fruitcake, but as she looked at the folded tablecloth in her hand, she wasn’t sure she cared. All she really cared about was getting home so she could do the sketches properly in her sketchbook. She wanted to be able to give them to Phillip first thing in the morning.
They arrived back at the beach house faster than Ana had anticipated. Had she known it was so close, she could’ve walked home. She had done plenty of walking around the city when she lived with her mother and sister. Ana made a mental note to start learning San Francisco better, in case she ever found herself stranded again and Jeffery or Katie weren’t able to pick her up.
Ana hurried into the house and immediately began sketching as she sat on the floor by the big picture windows in the living room. She didn’t want to lose her rush of inspiration and the early evening light was perfect for her mood. She couldn’t believe how easily the designs were flowing from her pencils. Brett had talked about the surf shop, sending images of the ocean and beaches into her thoughts. The last time she had been so excited to design was when she designed the shoes inspired by her first kiss with Brett.
She thought about him for a moment. He would probably never forgive her for causing such a scene. She could only imagine he was not the type that liked scenes. The memory of her surprising Brett at his offices flashed in her mind and her cheeks grew hot. He definitely did not like scenes.
She picked up her phone and sent him a quick text, “I’m very sorry. Inspiration hit and I just had to come home and sketch. I know it sounds crazy, but I do hope you understand.”
Just a minute after hitting send the doorbell rang. Ana had no idea who it could be. Katie and Jeffery usually knocked at the back door and Phillip knew she had dinner plans. As she wondered if it was a lost pizza delivery man her stomach growled and the doorbell rang again.
Ana got up, vowing to give the pizza guy directions if she could, and then order a pie for herself. She looked out the peephole and all she could see was a white paper bag. She couldn’t see what was in the bag, but she could smell it. Definitely not pizza, but it was food.
She opened the door a crack, to tell the delivery man he had the wrong address and then gasped. The delivery man was Brett, holding a paper bag bearing the logo of the restaurant where they had just been. She opened the door wide and shook her head in disbelief.
“I do understand,” said Brett, holding up his phone to display the text she had just sent. “God, knows I’ve skipped out on my share of dinners due to business. But I also understand, even when inspiration strikes, a person has got to eat. I’ve got seafood alfredo for two.” He shook the bag a little.

Ana’s stomach growled in approval, causing Brett to laugh. “I’ll take that as a yes.”