Friday, December 02, 2016

New Release: CAPTURING THE COWBOY, by Sineth Killiri

Capturing the Cowboy
by Sineth Killiri

Available from Amazon ~ All Romance ~
and other ebook outlets

Librarian, Braden Hollace wasn’t open about being gay in a small town, so whenever he saw the gorgeous cowboy across the street from the library, he refused to approach him and shatter his fantasy about the man. Instead, he put his focus on stopping the town council from banning gay literature. 

Rancher, Eric McCaffrey kept his sexual preferences to himself. He devoted his time to things he found important, and the impending ban wasn’t on his list and he told that very thing to the librarian that called him to protest.

When Braden and Eric hookup at a nightclub in the city, they never imagined their night of passionate sex could turn into an affair of the heart.


Braden Hollace peered between the shutter slants on the conventional colonial wood window. He watched the cowboy across the street. New in town, coming from the city, he’d seen lots of men in western attire. 
It was Texas after all. Yet, he was from the city where everyone exaggerated their ensemble by classying up every item they wore. If they had boots, they were snakeskin. If they wore a hat, it was an expensive, high grade felt with a satin lining. Shirts had real pearl buttons, and pants were from European designers. Something about this man’s outfit wasn’t just a fashion statement. He had that real, down to earth, outdoorsy aura about him.

For months, while working in the town library, Braden had seen the tall, ruggedly handsome fellow at least two or three times a week. His very athletic build forced his clothes to follow every contour as if tailored for him. But they had that look of practicality. It drew his gaze to the littlest details. From the leather boots and the tight fitting jeans, right up to the black, wide brimmed hat on his head. The magnetic sight of maleness mesmerized him. Every day he felt helplessly trapped by his cowboy obsession.

Where did he come from? Why was he always in town? What was his name? Braden had a load of questions, but none he felt like asking anyone. He learned the first day not to divulge too much about himself when he overheard a group of men talking crudely about homosexuals. He had yet to figure out why he had left the big library in Houston to run a small town one. Why put himself in plain sight of people that had nothing better to do than know everything they could about their neighbors. City people minded their own business.

As the cowboy walked farther away, Braden moved to another window. He squeezed behind a bookcase to the last glass pane. With a duster in hand, he pretended to clean the shelf behind him, even though no one could really see him. The blinds half-louvered weren’t enough for anyone to know he was ogling the eye-catching cowboy like a stalker.

There hadn’t been a man in a long time that had captured his undivided attention. The good looks and his commanding strut put out an air of confidence. He wanted to meet him, hear his voice, know him intellectually, and touch him intimately. What he really wanted to know the most, but was afraid to find out, what was the man’s sexual orientation.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Wednesday's Words, by Morgan Ashbury

I’m a creature of habit, and I’m willing to admit that my habits may not all be completely healthy ones. I don’t know if it’s always been an aspect of my personality, this tendency I have now toward hermit-like behavior, or if it’s a development arrived at through necessity.

I suppose the fact that I’m happiest at home with only the fur babies for company is a natural result of living with the daily reality of arthritis. When every step and ever movement is painful, it’s natural to want to limit those steps and movements. And while I do wear a step counter every day, and I do aim for four thousand steps a day often achieving or surpassing that number, it’s much easier walking around my house than it is trying to navigate the outside world.

It’s also easier not wearing a smile every minute of the day, which is me at home. The puppy and the puddy are fine with my ordinary every-day, non-smiling, writing-jammie clad self. They’ve not issued a single complaint—as long as I keep the treats coming, they’re happy.

I have my routine, something I refer to as “multi-tasking”. That just means that I don’t let myself sit too long at my computer before getting up and applying myself to the housework. My husband works outside at his job, but is on his feet for a good part of the day now, which is always the way it is for him in the last few weeks of the year. Once he comes home at the end of each day, he may nap or he may play at his own computer, but the only thing I ask of him is that he set the table. He’ll do the supper dishes, or not, depending on the day he’s had. I’m fine with that, even though it means I have to pick up the slack when he opts out.

My beloved reminds me that he has less than a year now until retirement; I remind him that retirement does not mean doing nothing around the house. This is an ongoing discussion between us—a negotiation, if you will. He’s all, “I’m not leaving one job to pick up another,” and I’m all, “so does that mean I get to retire, too, from feeding you?”. As I said, a negotiation. I believe we’re close to settlement as he agrees that taking a couple of hours every morning to help out isn’t so onerous a prospect, after all.

I think I’m in the catbird seat here, as he hates cooking with a passion—but loves eating nearly as much as that.

It’s going to be an interesting dance the two of us will be doing once he is officially retired from the EDJ (evil day job). Someone asked me just last night if I was looking forward to his being home full time. The question gave me pause, as I didn’t really know how to honestly answer that and come out looking like anything other than the worst kind of bitch.

On the one hand, and really, most importantly, I’ll be glad he no longer has to push himself, doing what for him has become increasingly more difficult with age. I’m glad that he’ll no longer have to go in every day and face a job he no longer loves, working for a company he no longer respects. He’s looking forward to his future, and I want him to have that.

On the other hand, I am going to have to learn how to share my domain. I know it’s a dilemma faced by every couple in this situation. I recall my old High School history teacher, married for over forty years. Within a year of his retirement, his wife divorced him. Since the man had been my husband’s history teacher for one semester, I remind him of that case as well.

The secret is going to be in compromise—not a dirty word for either one of us. We’ll be embarking on new territory, after all, very much like we did when we first got married forty-four and a half years ago.

But unlike then, we’re a little more mature, and a little less quick to take offense these days. I’m thinking the bumps in the road ahead of us will be solid, but minimal.


Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Wednesday's Words, Morgan Ashbury

Be kind to one another.

If you watch daytime television—specifically, if you watch Ellen—these are words that are familiar to you. You may have caught a part of her show, or heard those words, and thought, “oh, what a nice sentiment”. And then you went back to whatever it was you were doing without another thought.

Be kind to one another.

Only five words, but if you let them sink in, if you let them permeate, they’re powerful, aren’t they? Now, some of you might wave them off, because I mentioned Ellen DeGeneres, a comedienne with a daytime talk show. I have to admit I don’t generally watch her show myself, although I have caught the odd episode, and seen the occasional YouTube clip. But then I don’t watch television in the daytime, period. I’m here, at my desk, in the daytime, half of the time writing, and half of the time pretending to write. If the day was longer, I might watch her show, because she has interesting guests, and she’s generous, not just to members of her audience, but also, and most usually to public schools and families of US military personnel, and worthy people in true need. So, in that way, I guess you could say she lives up to the words she uses at the end of every one of her shows.

Be kind to one another.

But what do those words mean, really? And, where did she get them, anyway? Here’s where my essay today might get a little sticky, but I won’t apologize for that. You see, those words are from the Bible. Ephesians 4:32, to be exact. And while I don’t usually do this, I’m going to write out that verse here, and I have a reason for doing it, so I hope you’ll allow me this indulgence and bear with me. The verse, as it appears in the New American Standard Bible: Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.

Here’s my reason for reproducing that quote, and I guess I’m directing this chiefly toward the self-righteous out there, especially in light of not only the storm of “unfriending” and hate-filled diatribe that I see taking place in social media in the last week, but also the hate-related attacks that have occurred in the United States since November 8th.  I fear that some of you are certain you know those words already. I’m sorry, but no, some of you don’t know those words at all.

That is the entire verse, as I presented it, and looking at it, we can all agree it doesn’t say “be kind to one another but only if you’re of the same color”; it doesn’t say, “be kind to one another but only if you’re of the same political party”; it doesn’t say, “be kind to one another, but only if you go to the same church”; it doesn’t say, “ be kind to one another, but only if you’re of the same ethnicity”; it doesn’t say, “be kind to one another, but only if it’s convenient for you”.

No. It says, simply, beautifully, and in words that are all-encompassing and easy to understand: “be kind to one another”.

When is kindness warranted? Always, but especially if you see your fellow human being vulnerable, depressed, suffering, or in need. If you see kids being threatened with violence, women being abused, those of another religion scorned and beaten. We are called upon to be kind in all that we do, aren’t we? There should be no meanness and no striking out—if only because being mean and striking out brings no lasting peace to ourselves. Being kind costs nothing, mostly, except a moment of your time—a smile, a word of encouragement, letting someone go ahead of you in a line. It can be anything from simply offering a helping hand, to something more demanding, as in standing up for someone who is being treated badly, or bullied.

There are no prerequisites to the ability to offer kindness—because kindness is already within us to give. In fact, that is the only reason it’s within us.  And oddly, the more we give, the more we have available for us to give.  The more we give, the more we gain for ourselves. We gain a sense of having done something right, something worthwhile, something good. The truth is, we feel good when we do good. Always.

These are difficult times. People are hurting. Hearts are broken. Dreams have been dashed. People who once felt protected, now live in fear. Whether you believe these emotions are justified, or not, does not change the reality that this is what it is. Feelings are real to the one feeling them.

So please, I beg of you. Be kind to one another.


Sunday, November 13, 2016

Sadie Hawkin's Day!

"In Li'l Abner, Sadie Hawkins was the daughter of one of Dogpatch's earliest settlers, Hekzebiah Hawkins. The "homeliest gal in all them hills", she grew frantic waiting for suitors to come a-courtin'. When she reached the age of 35, still a spinster, her father was even more frantic—about Sadie living at home for the rest of her life. In desperation, he called together all the unmarried men of Dogpatch and declared it "Sadie Hawkins Day". A foot race was decreed, with Sadie in hot pursuit of the town's eligible bachelors. She specifically had her eye on a boy who was already in a courtship with the cute farmers daughter Theresa. She was the daughter of the areas largest potato farmer Bill Richmand and unlike Sadie, had a lot of courtship offers. Stud-muffin Adam Olis was her target and because the engagement of Miss Theresa and Adam wasn't offical he was included in the race. With matrimony as the consequence of losing the foot race the men of the town were running for their freedom. Turned out Adam Olis was in 4th place out of 10th leaving John Jonston Sadies' catch of the day. it seems likely that the concept's origins lie in an inversion of the myth of Atalanta, who, reluctant to marry, agreed to wed whoever could outrun her in a footrace." ~ Wikipedia

Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Wednesday's Words, by Morgan Ashbury

Yesterday was also a momentous day in the Ashbury family. We had two birthdays on November 8—my husband’s, and our second daughter, Sonja’s. It’s difficult with her schedule and our daughter’s, but we work hard to have a time when we can all go out to dinner together, to celebrate. This year, it was the day before yesterday—Monday, the 7th. It makes for a nice party at the local Keg Steakhouse: there’s ten of us. For this occasion, our instructions to the gang have always been to order whatever they want. We usually get a few appetizer platters for sharing, as well. The main courses by themselves are more food than I can eat, but that’s what ‘doggie’ bags are for.

Our two youngest grandchildren have always had a good sense of gastronomic adventure, willing to try anything once. When they were small, they weren’t interested in eating junk food so much as just basic good food. When I had them overnight, especially during the winter, they would often request hot cereal for breakfast, opting for that over their sugar-sweetened favorites. No instant hot cereals in this house, either. Just regular oatmeal, oat bran, cornmeal and cream of wheat, cereals that require good, old fashioned cooking.

When we’d go to the Keg for our annual expensive pig-out, they would happily try mushrooms stuffed with crab, bacon wrapped scallops, or whatever else we ordered as appetizers. Now they’re 16 (granddaughter) and 14 (grandson) and they spent the first part of the evening with their young cousins, my two great-grandbabies who are 3 and 2. It warmed me to see them encourage the little ones to try the appetizers, too. Abby loved the crab stuffing, and Archer, at two years old, was all about those scallops!

There’s something about the rhythm of day to day life, especially at this time of year, that I find comforting. It’s the beat of the music that our souls recognize as we go through the days, one after the other, as the seasons ebb and flow. Colder weather brings out hearty meals, hot cocoa, and snuggling down with a blanket, often more for comfort than for warmth. There are of course, new episodes of our favorite television shows to watch, and there are always lots of good books to read. It can be challenging sometimes to keep the main thing the main thing and to maintain that rhythm from season to season. Distractions can be…well, very distracting. It’s good to have all the very worst distractions over with, at least for the foreseeable future.

It's also at this time of year, especially, that I rue my advancing age. I agree with those of you who will say, without equivocation, that 62 is not old. However, 62 and riddled with arthritis, and with heart disease thrown in along with a side of diabetes makes me a tad too old or maybe ‘challenged’ to do the things my inner self hungers to do. We’re into the meat of autumn now.  I should be making pickles and jams, freezing the produce out of the gardens, and generally, getting my “den” ready for the winter to come. The fact that I feel these instinctive urges so keenly this year, more than any in recent memory in fact, tells me we might indeed be in for what the old folks used to call one humdinger of a winter.

I miss gardening, and believe it or not, I even miss those times when I would don my winter gear and go out and shovel snow off the walkway. I think it’s that whole “self-sufficiency” thing that I really miss. I am at the point in my life where I can’t live the way I want to live all by myself. Not if I want to keep the main thing being the main thing. 

What is the main thing? For me, right now, it’s focusing on what really matters in life—relationships, community, and a sense that we are all a part of something much bigger than the sum of our parts.


Saturday, November 05, 2016

Love Your Red Hair Day!

This is a personally fitting day since I'm a natural red-head...strawberry blonde to be precise. My hair had that tendency to have blonde highlights in the summer. In the winter, when I was less outside, it leaned more toward auburn. But with age, comes a new color -- Gray. Red heads tend to turn gray slower that other colors, but it doesn't mean the silver strands aren't there, so now-a-days, my hair color comes out of a Nice-n-Easy hair-coloring box. I do stick to coloring my hair the shade closest to my natural color.

Love Your Red Hair Day
November 5, 2016

Me in 1977