Stacey Turner

Someday I'll be your favorite author

Fiona stirred the ingredients from the recipe in the metal bowl, carefully scraping the dry ingredients clinging to the side into the middle to wet them. She set the bowl down and turned back to the paper. She loved the old book of recipes her Gran had left her; she always felt closest to her when baking. She measured the herbs and dropped them in the bowl, picking up her wooden spoon and mixing again. Once, twice, BOOM! The mixture exploded, shooting the spoon across the room one direction while the bowl zoomed in the other. Fiona’s mouth made a perfect “O” as she stared in dismay.

Her family clamored into the kitchen, summoned by the commotion of bowl and spoon smacking opposite counters. Fiona stood in the middle of the mess, covered in what was supposed to be cheddar herb scones. She sighed as she met their disapproving faces; her brother barely managing to turn his laugh into a cough, her sister shaking her head, her father giving her a pitying smile, and her mom scowling. Just her luck to have this kind of incident happen when Cat and Charlie were both visiting.

“What happened?” her mother asked.

“I don’t know.” Fiona shrugged. “I was just mixing and then next thing I knew it exploded.”

“Were you mixing too hard?” Cat asked.

Fiona rolled her eyes. “Is that even possible?”

“Not with those stick arms,” Charlie shot back, no longer trying to conceal his laughter.

“I put the herbs in and poof!” Tears pricked the back of her eyes. I will not cry, I will not cry, she thought.  At least not in front of them. “Don’t worry, Mom. I’ll clean it up.”

“Alright, Fee. Just try not to create any more disasters in the process.”

Her family returned to whatever they’d been doing before she’d so rudely interrupted, and she set about cleaning up her mess. She gave up trying to stop the tears from falling as she knelt on the floor, scrubbing up dough from the new flooring. She wondered why on Earth she was so different from the rest of her family. They were all so good at everything. And smart, and always looked perfect, and knew what they wanted to do with their lives. But she was a ditzy mess, who only wanted to be more like them. And she had no clue what she wanted to do with her life. Well, that wasn’t exactly true; she knew she wanted to travel. There just wasn’t much call for it when one worked in a floral shop.

Her phone rang as she finished cleaning up the last of her mess— a video call from Max. Sighing, she swiped a quick hand over her eyes to erase the remains of the tears before hitting the button to answer.

Max’s perfect face came into view, and Fiona groaned inwardly. Even her boyfriend always looked impeccable. She often thought he fit in with her family better than she did.

“Hello,” she said.

“Hello, Fee. Good lord, what happened to you? You look as though you got in a fight with a can of crescent rolls and lost.”

“Very funny. Charlie texted you, didn’t he?” There were definite downsides to dating a friend of your brother’s.

Max chuckled. “He did. And you know I think you look adorable when you’re a mess.”

“Well, you must think I’m pretty adorable a good portion of the time then. Seems I spend most of my life messy.” Fiona wrinkled her nose and sighed.

“Oh, Fee, don’t be like that. I hate it when you get down on yourself. No one is perfect.”

She groaned silently. The old “no one is perfect” line was easy to spout when you were practically flawless. And lately, she was getting a little tired of the constant pep talks. What was wrong with the occasional pity party? But she didn’t want to fight.

“You’re right, Max. Listen, I’m bushed after cleaning up the mess, and I have to be at work early tomorrow. Can I let you go?”

“Of course, sweetheart. I just wanted to make sure we’re still on for dinner tomorrow night? James and Rachel are coming. That’s okay, right?”

Awesome, now his scientist buddies were coming, and she could spend dinner feeling more incompetent then ever while they discussed work. Work she barely comprehended and had absolutely no interest in whatsoever. But what could she say?

“Um, sure. The more, the merrier.”

“Great! I’ll pick you up at six.” Max smiled, and Fiona wondered why her tummy didn’t flutter anymore. The sight of his dimples used to stir up butterflies like mad, but lately all it stirred up was a mild apprehension. Loving someone should not cause anxiety.

She managed a halfhearted smile in return. “See you then.” She logged off before he could say, “I love you.” She didn’t want to feel obligated to parrot the words back.

***

Fiona juggled her coffee cup, purse, and the container of muffins she’d made after cleaning up the cheddar herb fiasco last night, while trying to unlock the door of “Kimberly’s Kreations,” the floral shop where she worked. She dropped the keys and bent to pick them up. As she did so, she noticed a trio of strangers standing on the porch of the Hotel Marmont, just down the street. All three wore dark trench coats, and while she couldn’t tell much with their backs to her, she thought the woman had blue hair. Fiona thought it was lovely. She couldn’t help but wonder who they were. Hanson Mills was a small town, and while tourists were common, these folks stood out like a sore thumb. Realizing she was wasting precious time, she grabbed the keys and opened the door.

She briskly went about setting the shop to rights before heading back to the cooler and retrieving the flowers she’d need for the first order of the day. An anniversary arrangement for Mrs. MacMillan, forty years with Mr. MacMillan, and he still sent her flowers at least once a year. Fiona wondered what it would be like to be with Max forty years from now. She simply couldn’t picture their life together. That apprehension in her stomach stirred again. She pushed it aside. An anniversary was a happy occasion and deserved her good wishes. She pulled red roses for true love, magenta zinnias for lasting affection, ivy for wedded love and fidelity, and baby’s breath to fill in the gaps. She hummed to herself as she arranged the flowers, picturing how happy Mrs. MacMillan would be. She whispered a wish for the couple’s continued happiness and health as she tied the ribbon bow to complete the arrangement. The doorbell tinkled as she stepped back from her work.

“Good morning, Fee,” Ashley called as she breezed into the back. She stopped to stare at the flowers on the table. “Oh my, I think this is your loveliest yet!”

Fiona grinned with pleasure. At least she was good at something. “You think the MacMillan’s will like it?”

“I think they’ll love it,” Ashley said. “I’d love it. Of course, Brian never sends me flowers.”

“He doesn’t have to, he knows you’re well and truly his.”

“Never stops your Max from coming in to pick up a bouquet now and then.”

Fiona shrugged. “Yeah, I never get that. I work with flowers all day, if I wanted some I’d just bring them home.”

Ashley laughed. “Oh, Fee. It’s romantic. It shows he’s thinking of you.”

“But is it? I mean, if he was truly thinking of me, wouldn’t he put more effort into it? Flowers are just so routine. If he wanted to be really romantic, he’d pick me up my favorite coffee, or dessert, or a new book. You know?”

“What’s gotten into you this morning?” Ashley shot her an inquisitive glance.

Fiona sighed. “I don’t know. Existential crisis, I guess.”

“You’re too hard on yourself. Stop trying to live up to everyone else’s idea of perfect, and just be you. Crisis solved.” Ashley winked at her. “By the way, I love your hair this morning.”

“Oh shoot!” Fiona put a hand to her head. “It was drizzling when I left the house this morning so I didn’t do anything with it. I meant to fix it when I got here, but I forgot.” By now her cloud of auburn ringlets must resemble Little Orphan Annie’s ’do. She grabbed a clip and swept it up and out of her way. No time to worry about it now. The day passed quickly; Mr. MacMillan stopped in to pick up his arrangement, one of the Laughlin boys stopped by to get a rose dipped in glitter for the Lewis girl, and a very embarrassed Frank O’Hara asked for a special “apology” bouquet for his fiancé. Fiona accommodated them all while Ashley manned the phones and carted in deliveries. Before she knew it, five o’clock rolled around.

“Oh no,” she cried, glancing at the clock. “I have to go! Max is picking me up at six and I have to change and do something with this hair.” She frantically ran in back to grab her coat and purse.

“Go,” Ashley replied, laughing. “Although, I’d just let your hair down. People pay money for curls like those.”

“But they’re so messy, and we’re eating with two of his perfectly polished colleagues.”

“The messy look suits you though.”

Fiona rolled her eyes and stuck out her tongue at her friend as she turned to leave. She walked right into a solid wall of muscle, and nearly bit the tip of her tongue, which had still been sticking out, clean off. She might have fallen, if strong arms hadn’t caught her and steadied her back on her feet.

“Omigosh, I’m so sorry!” She raised her gaze to face the customer she’d run into. Deep blue eyes stared back at her from a visage some might call too angular to be handsome. But Fiona found it interesting. A slight smile twinkled in the eyes and crinkled the edge of the man’s mouth. Stepping back, she realized he was one of the trench coated strangers she’d spied earlier.

“My fault,” the stranger said. He smiled for real then, and Fiona’s tummy butterflies fluttered to life. Well, they aren’t dead, just dormant, she thought and then blushed furiously.

“I, um, I have to go.” Fiona swept around him and hurried out the door while trying desperately to push the embarrassing incident, and her reaction to the stranger, to the back of her mind.

***

Two hours later she was stifling a yawn and pretending to follow the conversation. Max and his colleagues were talking about microbiology and genetics, and all Fiona could hear was “blah, blah, blah.”  Rachel smiled at her across the table. “I’m so sorry we’re all work and no play, Fiona. It must be very boring for you.”

“Oh, um, no, not at all,” Fiona plastered a big fake smile on her face. “I know how much Max loves his work.”

“Not as much as I love you,” Max picked up her hand from the table and kissed it. Fiona smiled weakly and turned back to Rachel in time to catch both her and James staring at Max in complete admiration. Well, she thought, this is an interesting kettle of fish. Then she tried not to sigh. That had been one of Gran’s sayings. For the millionth time, she wished Gran was still here to advise her.

Finally, James roused himself from his contemplation of Max’s profile enough to ask, “So, Fiona, you’re a florist?” Fiona thought she detected a note of condescension in his voice. And she guessed he didn’t even realize it was there.

“Floral designer is my actual job title. I make arrangements and bouquets.”

“Oh.” Both James and Rachel tried desperately to appear impressed. They both failed miserably.

“It’s not how it sounds,” Max cut in, her knight in shining armor always hurrying to her rescue, whether she needed it or not. “Fee does the most amazing arrangements. They’re almost magical. And she knows all about flowers and their language.”

“Language?” James glanced at Fiona. “Flowers don’t talk, do they?

“Not with words, no,” Fiona answered. “But each flower variety has its own meaning, and the colors add nuance. It really is like a language. The way they are arranged, the species used, and the color combine to communicate sympathy, love, happiness, apology. They can convey what the giver can’t necessarily put into words.”

“Wow. I guess I never put that much thought into flowers,” Rachel said. “But then, I don’t think anyone has ever ordered any special for me. I most often receive those scraggly bouquets you can buy at the grocery store.” She stared off wistfully, and Fiona made a mental note to send Rachel an arrangement in the near future.

“Well, this has been fun,” Max said, rising and grabbing the check. “But we should probably get home. I’m sure Fee has to work tomorrow, and it’s a bit of a drive to Hanson Mills and back.” He gave her sad, puppy dog eyes. She raised her eyebrow in return.

James considered them both for a minute. “Why don’t you just stay with Max?”

Rachel punched him lightly on the arm. “That’s none of your business.”

Fiona smiled. “He’d just have to get up extra early then. Saturday is a huge day in the floral business. I have two sets of wedding flowers to deliver.” She certainly wasn’t going to discuss her sex life, or lack of, with two people she’d only met two hours ago. Let them think what they would. Her refusal to stay at Max’s place had less to do with sex and more to do with her not wanting him to see her first thing in the morning. She was not a morning person, and it took her a good hour and a half to pull herself into some sort of semblance of human being. Whether she succeeded or not was debatable.

“What did you think of James and Rachel?” Max asked once they were ensconced in his Mercedes, the trees bordering the two lane road flying by.

“They seemed very nice,” she replied.

“You thought they were boring, just like me.” He turned his head to wink at her. “I saw you stifling yawns.”

“You are about the least boring person in the world, Max. I was stifling yawns because I couldn’t keep up with the conversation. You know I don’t do science.”

“You could if you wanted to, Fee. You’re smarter than you let people think.”

For some reason his comment rankled. “Did you just say I act unintelligent?”

“No,” he dropped his voice to a more placating tone. “Not at all. You just don’t let most people in enough for them to realize how intelligent you truly are. You refuse to even try keeping up with my work, preferring your artsy studies and fantasy novels.”

“A. I would not get your work, even if I tried. And I have no desire to. Honestly, it puts me to sleep. B. My, um, unscientific pursuits fascinate me.”

“So you do think I’m boring?”

Fiona crossed her arms and stared out the window. She wouldn’t deign to answer his comment. Max was just looking for an argument because he was frustrated she wouldn’t stay at his apartment. But she’d spoken the truth—she really did have to work early in the morning. She drifted into the zone; going over the wedding flowers she’d already planned for tomorrow, when something caught her eye.

“Stop!” she said.

Max flinched. “What?”

“Stop,” she said again, louder. The car screeched to a halt. “Back up, slowly.”

Max did as she asked without asking why, and Fiona was grateful. She wasn’t sure herself what she’d seen. She gazed out the window, studying the trees in the pale moonlight. The moon was gibbous, almost full. With a clear sky and the light of a zillion or so stars, the road was lit up like day, but the shadows between the trees were dark. The hairs on the back of her neck rose, and she glimpsed the anomaly again.

“There.” She pointed towards the trees. “Did you see that?” She rolled down the car window to get a better view, but whatever she’d seen had vanished.

“See what?” Max asked, peering around her.

“I don’t know what it was,” Fiona said. “It was really large, and blue, and moving relatively fast through the trees.”

Max stared at her. “You saw a blue Bigfoot?”

“Well, when you put it that way, it sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?” She rolled up her window and turned to face him.

“Yes,” Max answered.

“And yet, I saw it.”

Max put the car back into gear and continued down the road. Fiona sat in silence and pondered the strange sighting. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the first time she’d seen something no one else had. She chewed on her thumbnail. She knew she’d seen it though, she never doubted her strange visions, as much as she wished she didn’t have them. But what was it?

Max dropped her off at home, with an apology for their argument and a promise to call tomorrow. Fiona felt a teensy bit guilty for the fight, but mostly intrigued by the glimpse of blue fur she’d spied in the dark woods.

If you enjoyed this chapter, preorder Finding Fiona, the first novel in the Pine Haven Series, on Amazon.

James opened his mouth to say something, but Abby bustled in with the tea tray before he had the chance.

“James Campbell! Ye’ll be putting that pipe away, or taking it outside. Ye ken better. And why ye’d want tae slowly kill yerself with tobacco is beyond my ken anyhow.”

James looked very much like a schoolboy caught with his hand in the cookie jar. “Och, woman,” he replied. “Cease ye’re nagging. I’m an old man, and my time cannae be far in the future anyway. Let me enjoy what little I have left.”

Aileen ducked her head to hide a smile, but Patrick caught it just before a wave of raven hair hid her face. He glanced at Abby. “I take it this is a familiar battle?”

But it was Aileen who answered, lifting her head. She’d composed her features, but he could hear the laughter in her voice. “Oh, aye. They’ve been having it forever. My Da and Abby were sweethearts once upon a time.” She grinned. “But then she met Fergus, and he met my Mum and here I am.”

“Old history,” Abby replied. “Ye’ll pour, Aileen?”

“O’ course.” Aileen reached for the teapot Abby had set on the table. “How do ye like your tea, Patrick?”

“Cream.” He smiled at her. “And one of those amazing looking scones. I’m going to gain about a hundred pounds while I’m here, if Abby continues cooking the way she does.”

“Well, ye could use some fattening up,” Abby replied. She turned to glance at James. He sheepishly laid his pipe on the table, and took his teacup from his daughter. Abby turned on her heel with a satisfied smile and left the room.

“Harridan,” James muttered. But he appeared more amused than irritated as he tucked into a scone.

Aileen gazed at Patrick. “Ye said, ‘while I’m here.’ Are ye nae planning on staying then?”

“I haven’t really made any formal plans,” he answered. “I’ll keep the estate, of course, at least while Abby and Fergus are still able to run it for me. But I have to go to New York to meet with my agent and publishers from time to time, so I’m not sure I want to live here permanently. Though, the neighbors seem nice.” He grinned at her.

Aileen laughed. “Well, ye’re a charmer, aren’t ye?” she said. “But I understand yer predicament. I studied in America for a semester. The flight is exhausting in itself, and the time difference, the jet lag.” She smiled in sympathy. “Though, I’d think Grey House the perfect setting for a writer. Love yer books, by the way.”

“You’ve read them?” A sense of pride, mingled with curiosity, and fear struck him, as it always did when encountering someone who’d read his work. He was proud of his novels, but also filled with trepidation, in case the reader remained unmoved.

“She did indeed,” James offered. “Ordered the lot off Amazon as soon as we heard ye were coming. Devoured them, she did. And it was all laughter, then tears, then staring into space for days after.” He harrumphed and took another bite of scone.

Aileen blushed and ducked her head. Patrick’s grin split his face, while he gave a mental fist pump. “I’m so glad you enjoyed them. As an author, one always hopes they’re getting it right. It’s wonderful to get positive feedback.”

“They were fantastic,” Aileen said. “I was verra interested tae meet the man who wrote them. And here we are.” She took a sip of tea.

“Well, you’re right,” Patrick said. “Grey House would be a fantastic place to write, and it’s beginning to appeal more and more. Perhaps you’d be able to show me around the area? I’m between books and actually haven’t gotten a good idea for the next one. If I do some sightseeing, take in some local history, I might find some inspiration.”

“O’ course,” Aileen answered. “I’d be happy tae.”

***In romance, this is what they call the “Meet Cute.” I hope you’ll enjoy this first book, set in Scotland, a place I love. My ancestors lived there, and I feel the pull ever since I visited when I was 16. So, get ready to meet Patrick Graham, Aileen Campbell, and one very interesting Banshee, or Bean Nighe as she’s called in Scotland.

Some of you have already read Stalking Hazel, a novella of Pine Haven. The Pine Haven series launches soon with Finding Fiona, which will be available for preorder later this month! I’m super excited to get this novel out to you, not only because it launches my first series, and one that I’m passionate about, but because I simply love Fiona and my other characters. And I’m positive you will too!

To tide you over until then, and to introduce you to the rogue paranormal the PBI comes to Hanson Mills to neutralize, I have a flash fiction I wrote for the Ladies of Horror Flash Fiction Project. I hope you enjoy the flash as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Beware the Weregon

Mac scanned the horizon from his vantage point high atop the cliff. Before him stretched the glassy expanse of Big Bear Lake, lit by the full moon. The Blue Moon, second full moon of the month, was incredibly bright, illuminating the rocky beach below. The lake was calm, the surface so still it resembled a mirror, reflecting the trees and the moon. Behind him, Samuel stumbled from the forest, trudging towards him across the clearing. He was breathing heavily; he had about seventy five pounds on Mack though he stood two inches shorter.

“You going to make it, bud?” Mac clapped him on the shoulder.

“Yeah,” Sam wheezed, bending forward, placing his hands on his thighs and panting audibly. After a few minutes, he straightened. “I think I heard something in the woods.”

Mac chuckled. His younger brother was not a fan of either nature or physical activity; he was still amazed he’d gotten him to come camping. But after their father’s passing, Mac was determined they spend more time together, even if he had to force Sam to for his own good. The kid needed to get out of the house more, do something with his life besides play video games and watch horror movies while eating pizza.

“It’s probably a deer, moose, or any other number of forest creatures.”

“Um, no. This sounded big.” Sam’s voice was tinged with fear.

“A bear is rather unlikely. Whatever it is, no doubt it’s just as scared of you. We can head back to the campsite as soon as you fully enjoy this view.”

Sam rolled his eyes, turning to face the ocean. He appeared impressed, even though he continued to throw fearful glances over his shoulder. “It really is beautiful, man. Thanks for bringing me.”

Mac smiled. “You’re welcome. I knew you’d love it.”

“Yeah, now just get me out of here before something eats me.”

Mac shook his head, and they started back the way they’d come. Ten minutes in, Mac stopped. Sam ran into the back of him.

“Shh!” Mac warned with a finger to his lips. He held very still, turning his head from side to side. A loud crash sounded behind them, and thudding footsteps pounded the path, headed in their direction.

Sam took off, moving faster than Mac had ever seen him move, towards the campsite. Mac whirled around and crouched, shotgun at the ready, nerves steady. He took aim in the direction of the sounds, and waited for a visual. The blood froze in his veins. He managed to get off a shot, pumped fast, and fired again. The large blue monster jumped, rolled, and was on top of him before he could do more. The thing stunk of blood, sweat, and an odd rotten smell Mac couldn’t identify.

He grappled with the creature trying like hell to sink teeth into his throat. It was strong; stronger than he, and bigger too, impossible as that seemed. Mac was six foot three of pure muscle, but he was losing this battle. Three tours in the sandbox and I’m going to die at the hands of Cookie Monster’s evil twin, he thought morosely.

Suddenly, light blazed and the thing sprung off him, howling in pain. It hunched a few yards ahead, and Mac took advantage of his unexpected freedom to spring up and grab his gun. The thing growled, but came no closer, furiously patting at a smoking spot on its arm. He risked a glance behind him. Sam stood a few yards away, holding the flare gun in his hands. The expression on his face spoke volumes about his level of terror, but his hand held steady.

“Back up, Mac. Slowly.”

Mac did as told and stopped beside Sam. “What’s going on here?”

“It’s a Weregon. They only come out at the Blue Moon. Most aren’t vicious, but occasionally you get a rogue. Battled them in Merlin’s Saga II on PlayStation 4. We don’t have the resources to kill it, but I’ll report to the Guild.”

“First, who are you, and what have you done with my brother? Second, a where a what? Third, what guild?” Mac kept a wary eye on the monster.

“A Where-a-gon, half blue fairy, half werewolf. Very rare. I’m still Sam, and I’m scared shitless, but I guess playing first person video games isn’t all useless. The fantasy gamer’s guild. They keep track of strange things people actually see in the real world. Get ready to run.”

Sam fired two more flares at the monster, shouted, “Run,” and they both hauled ass. They blew past the campsite, straight to Mac’s jeep without stopping. As they sped away, down the mountain, Mac peeked at Sam. His brother was white faced, wide eyed, and clutching his chest.

Mac patted him on the back. “You did good, bro. Saved my life. I’ll never knock your gaming again.”

Sam let out a shaky breath and tried to smile. “Thanks, Mac. No more camping, like ever.”

I’ll be changing up my free download for joining my newsletter shortly. You’ll still be able to purchase Stalking Hazel on Amazon if you didn’t get the free download, but I’ll be running a different incentive. So if you want to be in the Pine Haven series section of my subscribers…hurry up! The next free download will be a dark fantasy novella based on one of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. It will be ready as soon as I get the cover from the cover artist. Which will be any day now.

***

For those of you waiting for more Pine HavenFinding Fiona will be going up for pre order by the end of the month!

***

What happens when a witch has no idea she’s a witch? Mayhem, that’s what. When PBI investigators Kyle Gibson, Cian O’Malley, and Larry De Groot travel to a small Midwestern town to neutralize a rogue paranormal, they don’t expect to find an untutored witch with no idea what she is.

Fiona MacDougal has never felt like she belonged to her oh-so-perfect family. Even her boyfriend is flawless, while she’s a klutzy, curly-haired, mess who always seems to have the strangest accidents. But when she meets the members of the PBI and learns she’s a witch, she’ll finally realize she doesn’t have to be perfect to fit in or find love. She only has to accept herself.

***

I can’t wait for you to meet my lovable, but rebellious and accident prone heroine. Along with a cast of characters I hope you’ll love as much as I do.

***

The series will continue with Kissing Cian. Cian O’Malley is a century and half year old blue faerie who thinks she doesn’t need love, especially from a fickle werewolf. But when Hazel is kidnapped on the eve of her wedding, Cian will have to team up with Leo’s brother, who happens to be her on again/ off again partner, Larry. Can they save Hazel in time for her wedding? Can Larry show Cian vulnerability doesn’t make you weak–love gives you strength?

***

I’m having so much fun writing this series! I think it’s kind of a cross between Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy. I’ll also be debuting another trilogy in January. Book One of the Touched by Fate trilogy, Kiss of the Banshee, will be released. Stay tuned for more writing news, book cover reveals, and all sorts of other fun things.

♥ Stacey

This giveaway is for lovers of paranormal tales! From the classic Dracula in a cape to the working class werewolf just trying to make it in this modern world. Come one, come dead! https://storyoriginapp.com/to/23hKEWe

I’m taking part in my first Story Origin giveaway. Want tons of free books? Just click the link above and you’ll be directed to the page to pick and choose which free books you’d like to download. Lots of genres, lengths, and authors to choose from. I know I filled my kindle up. But we all know it’s “collecting” when it comes to books–not “hoarding.

If you have any trouble, feel free to contact me or the nice folks at Story Origin (shout out to Evan). We’ll all be happy to help.

So enjoy some free books and let me know what you think!

♥ Stacey

Yep, I have my first new release in, hmm, four years? It’s been a long dry spell, that’s for sure. And yes, I did genre hop. Thanks for noticing. This story was originally written for an anthology that never quite happened. So I set it aside for a long time. But I couldn’t get the characters, or the fun I’d had creating them, out of my head. Then I got the idea for a series, and this seemed the perfect story for an introduction to the series. It’s been reworked, beta read, reworked, edited, and re edited (because I’m picky like that), and got a shiny cover (which I’m really happy with!). Thank you to Broken Candle Designs for the cover.

***

The story is a light-hearted, comedic, paranormal romance. And I hope that readers enjoy reading Hazel and Leo’s story as much as I enjoyed writing it. How do you get it? Two ways…you can download the story for free in kindle, epub, or pdf version simply by joining my newsletter. Navigate to the “Home” page of this website and you should get a cute pop up. If not, there’s a clearly marked link. I promise to only send super cute, non spammy newsletters. Or, if you prefer, you can buy it on Amazon for 99 cents. Your choice. But either way, if you read it, let me know what you think.

♥Stacey

Writing is not easy. Don’t let anyone tell you it is. I know, it seems like a glamorous profession. And there are those authors who make it look easy (Stephen King, I’m looking at you). But it’s actually work, just like any job. That’s the thing about choosing to turn your hobby into your profession–it’s no longer just about enjoying yourself. Now it’s about deadlines, and marketing, and money. Boo.

It’s mostly about me in my comfy clothes (tbh, some days that does mean pajamas), drinking coffee (or water, depending on the time of day), and doing a variety of tasks. I might be writing, or I might have fallen down a rabbit hole of research (this happens frequently), or I might be having a video meeting with my accountability partner (hi, Beth!), or I might be studying (yes, there is ALWAYS more to learn), or I might be banging my head on the desk because I absolutely cannot figure out Mailchimp. Or Google analytics, or the intricacies of Amazon algorithms. Then again, I might be giving my brain a break by doing dishes (usually while watching a podcast because multitasking like a boss!), watching a documentary on 17th century England (even though it has nothing to do with what I write), figuring out a plot hole or scene beat, or I’ve just lost track of time while in Facebook land.

I wish it was easy. I wish I could churn out a book a month, make my own covers, and handle my marketing like a pro. But I’m simply not made that way. So bear with me. I’ll keep putting my butt in my chair and plugging away. Send chocolates. And wine.