Ahhh, the joys of spring. It seems everyone eagerly awaits springtime. The newscasters are all pumped up because there are warmer days. People here in Southern California complain when we get one semi-rainy day in a month. They can't wait for 80 degree weather. Me? I loathe the heat and the sun. Spring for me is all about complaining there aren't enough rainy days. (Actually, where I live, I complain about not enough rainy days year-round.) On the up side, I plant my garden vegetables and herbs at this time of year. I love watching plants grow. For me spring represents a new beginning.
Spring also indicates that we're heading for summer and heat that often continues clear to Thanksgiving and occasionally beyond. You see, I have SAD: Seasonal Affective Disorder. The sun and the heat depress me. This is difficult for so many to understand. They think I'm nuts. Well.....maybe I am. But SAD is a bonafide disorder. About 4% to 6% of the population in the U.S. suffer from depression when the days get shorter and colder. However, 10% get SAD in reverse. The onset of summer triggers their depression symptoms. As I grow older, the symptoms are more severe. I can't even handle temperatures in the upper 60s.
So the next time you're celebrating spring and the person next to you is depressed about it, have a little empathy. Or say what most say to me: Why don't you move? I'd love to, but it's not that simple.
I am more prolific at writing in the dreary, blustery, rainy days. When the heat picks up, I become lethargic and suffer from headaches. The darkness I crave may have something to do with the reason I write dark stories. But all is not lost. I slip in humor now and then to break up all the drama.
In my latest book, CHARLOTTE AND THE GYPSY, the hero and heroine lean more to the dark side. I think the nature of the story--Gypsy life in 15th century Andalusia--tends to be serious, moody. The hero brooding. The heroine sobering. Add in her psychic power and the story becomes intense.
CHARLOTTE AND THE GYPSY is book two in the Sisters of Destiny trilogy. (Book one is CARINA AND THE NOBLEMAN.) Below are the cover, blurb and a scene. The story is not about springtime and sunshine, but Rafael is a to die for Gypsy. Charlotte, who was raised by the Gypsies, knows just how to handle him.
Setting up the scene: Char heard her father's thoughts about marrying her off to Rafael immediately. She rashly goes off on her horse, and Rafael gives chase. You get a glimpse of Char's strong will in this scene.
Char jerked out of Rafael’s grip and marched off with her horse in tow. At the forest’s edge, she climbed atop Martiya and sped off without a backward glance. She’d owe her father an apology when she returned, but for now, she rode fast and hard to ease her frustration and clear her mind. She had to think up a viable scheme to avoid being trapped with Rafael for life.
"Leave me be," she shouted over her shoulder, panicking when she saw Rafael’s huge horse eating ground faster than hers. Blinded by unwanted tears and the fear that he’d force her into an immediate marriage, she failed to notice a low-hanging branch. Martiya ducked her head; Char wasn’t so fortunate. Her stomach took the brunt of the hard bark, throwing her backward in a summersault to the hard forest floor and brutally stealing the wind from her lungs.
As she gasped for air, she held her hand out to Rafael to stay his approach. She wanted naught of him, not his care or his concern. Or his scolding over her rash decision to flee. To her misfortune, her inability to catch her breath put her at his mercy.
Rafael squatted, rubbing her back in fluid, upward strokes until her hard-fought breaths came easier. He saw no bones protruding from her clothing and realized she was stunned more than injured. No doubt she hurt badly and would likely find a bruise in the shape of a branch across her stomach.
Tears streaked down her face, giving him pause. He cupped her cheek and used his thumb to wipe away the wetness gathered in the corner of her eyes. She turned her head aside. Would that he could take her pain away, but he had the distinct feeling that those tears weren’t solely from her fall.
She dragged her feet to her body and attempted to stand. Rafael placed a hand on her shoulder, keeping her down. "You should wait until your bearings return."
A frown followed her grimace. "My bearings are mine. So move away. I do not need your assistance."
"You think not?" Rafael rose and stared down at the stubborn set of her mouth. "Then you may stand."
"I will stand when I please."
"Bedamned, woman. You are as indignant as the day I left."
She inhaled carefully and gripped her middle. Ignoring him, she moved to stand but quickly gasped and dropped to her knees. He used every ounce of his will not to coddle her.
"Mayhap you will take my advice the next time."
She angled her perturbed visage up at him. "You do not need to gloat."
He wasn’t. More was his genuine concern for her well-being. Offering her a hand, he said, "Will you now allow me to help you stand?"
Her wary glance at his outstretched hand shucked his concern. He snapped it back and walked off to retrieve her horse grazing a few yards away. When he returned, she was sitting in the same spot where she had fallen. No sympathy would she receive. He tamped down his compassion and let the wench help herself. Char’s staunch independence bore little room for her to be self-effacing.
"Get up," he commanded even though he knew well her adverse reaction to being commanded to do anything. "I’ll accompany you back to camp."
Another wary glance. "I’ll return after my mind’s cleared of its unnecessary muddle."
"Have I your word?"
She frowned before nodding.
Against his better judgment, Rafael looped the bay’s reins around the same branch Char ran into. "If you are not in camp by mid-day, I’ll come looking for you."
CHARLOTTE AND THE GYPSY is available in print and ebook from www.moongypsypress.com.
Book one, CARINA AND THE NOBLEMAN, is available in print and ebook from www.eternalpress.ca.