Thursday, February 28, 2013

#IOBookTour - SEDUCED BY INNOCENCE by Kimberly Kinrade

Howdy, all! I'm thrilled to offer you a review of Kimberly Kinrade's SEDUCED BY INNOCENCE. I was given a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review on a book tour.

Okay, disclaimers out of the way, let's get to the good stuff--the book!
Rose Wintersong didn't have an ordinary upbringing. Raised in what most would call a hippy commune, but what is actually a powerful coven of witches, she never questions the life fate chose for her.
Until she meets Derek O'Conner.
Derek challenges everything Rose believes and forces her to see the secrets hidden beneath the whitewashed walls of her idyllic country life.
Rose knows she should walk away, that the sexy martial arts instructor is bad news bred to create discord in her tight community… but the animal magnetism between them is impossible to fight.
Caught between the passion of first love, and the steady beat of the life she's always known, Rose must choose between the innocence of her youth or the pleasures of womanhood—but lost innocence comes at a price, and Rose harbors a dark secret that could destroy everyone she loves—including Derek. 
I very much enjoyed this charming look at first love and passion in this paranormal romance. Rose is a young witch who lives alone though in the shelter of a coven. Derek--a wolf shifter and druid--is trying to escape the expectations of his family. I love that Rose and Derek's plights parallel each other and is ultimately what drraws them together. And when they are drawn together...oh boy!

Passionate, sensual and full of delicious exploration and tension, I thought Ms. Kinrade did a wonderful job with the attraction between our hero and heroine. Both characters grow and change throughout the book making for a well-rounded read. My favorite part of the book are the twists at the end which left me dying to read the sequel, SEDUCED BY PAIN. My praise to Ms. Kinrade and I recommend fans of this genre pick up the series. From what I've seen so far, you won't be able to put it down ;)

Buy-it-now link: http://www.amazon.com/Seduced-Innocence-Paranormal-Shifters-ebook/dp/B00B751B6E/

About the author:

Kimberly Kinrade was born with ink in her veins and magic in her heart. She writes fantasy and paranormal stories for all ages and still believes in magic worlds. Check out her YA paranormal series The Forbidden Trilogy, her lower grade fantasy series The Three Lost Kids, and watch for her New Adult romance and fantasy books coming in 2013 including The Seduced Saga, Sunrise and Nightfall, Death by Destiny and The Fallen Trilogy and her next YA fantasy adventure, The Reluctant Familiar. You can find her books on Amazon, B&N and Goodreads among other fine retailers.

 

When she's not writing, she runs Daring Books Design & Marketing with her husband, Dmytry Karpov, where they help authors with all manner of marketing, editing, and design needs until such a time that their brilliant children take over the business for them.

 

She lives with her three little girls who think they're ninja princesses with super powers, her two cats who think they're gods (and probably are), her two dogs who think they're humans and her husband, also known as the sexy Russian Prince, who is the love of her life and writing partner.

 

ONLINE LINKS:

 Website  http://KimberlyKinrade.com 

Twitter: @KimberlyKinrade 

Facebook: /KimberlyKinrade 

Amazon: http://Amazon.com/author/kimberlykinrade 

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4687115.Kimberly_Kinrade

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

In love, with food by Jacqueline George

Please welcome my regular guest and a wicked author, Jacqueline George
Cheers,
Cindy

________________________________
In Love,

  With Food

 

I have been thinking recently about food. In fact, I think about it far too much, as the shrinking clothes in my wardrobe will tell you, but that’s not what I meant. I have been thinking about humanity and food, and the way we really, really enjoy making a meal of things. Sitting down with friends and family, and eating good food. This is not just about providing the fuel for living, but something much more fundamental.

I was reading the first proper novel in Western culture - The Odyssey - and I realised that the Greek heroes kept stopping the action to have barbecues. That’s right. Whenever they landed on a strange beach, the first item on the agenda was a barbecue. A funeral for an unfortunate colleague? Let’s have a barbecue. A ceremony to honour a God? Let’s sacrifice a sheep (and have a barbecue, of course). I’m afraid women did not feature at the feasts. They stayed in the tents and kept the bearskins warm for later.
 

 

All through history, the way kings and emperors celebrated their power and glory was by giving banquets. The bigger the Big Man, the bigger the feast, with tables groaning under weight of food and drink.

How does your man court you? He takes you out to dinner. How do you keep your family together? You all sit at the same table and eat.

Eating together is hard-wired into the human psyche. It’s what we do, it’s what we are. Humans eat together to be human.

Thinking about my writing, my stories always seem to have food in them. I don’t plan it that way, the food just happens. If I am writing romantically, it is natural to drift off into the erotic and it’s equally natural to bring in good food and drink.

Perhaps there is more to it than that. If you are telling a story, it is handy to have a setting in which the characters can just sit and talk. People don’t say much when they are being erotic (perhaps because it’s rude to talk with your mouth full), but they can say all sorts of things over a good meal. The writer can advance a story, fill in the characters or paint a beautiful background in a way that does not noticeably commit the sin of ‘telling, not showing’.

Would you like an example? Here is a short piece from The Prince and the Nun. Not one of the erotic bits because I don’t want to distract you, but just a step in the story. When you have finished, try and imagine the same scene without the soup; it wouldn’t be the same at all.

Therese has been taken to the front line one winter evening. As she arrives, she finds a poor soldier has wandered into a minefield, and she says the last words over him as he dies. The experience leaves her cold and shaken...

Shivering now, she picked her way step by step back to the road. The soldiers helped her back over the bank of snow beside the road and steered her back to Strelnikov.

“Follow the Sergeant, Therese. He’ll get you something warm to drink. Wait for me; I’ve got to have a word with Captain Stumpfl when he gets here.”

The sergeant led her along one of the paths into the trees. He was taking the death of his comrade calmly. He had probably seen many more on his journey to Tergov. After a few minutes, he turned abruptly aside and stepped quickly down into a hole in the ground. When he pulled aside the curtain at the bottom, candlelight fell out from the bunker beyond. She bent to enter and stepped down into a low room roofed with pine trunks.

To one side a crude table was squeezed between benches built against the walls, and the sergeant laid a greatcoat for her to sit on. A small pot stove kept the cold away, and on top of it a saucepan steamed. In the darkness beyond, Therese could make out bunks against the walls and clothes hanging to dry. The atmosphere was close and smelly.

“You’re in luck, Your Honour. We got some beetroot sent up today. No pierogi to go with it and make it proper-like, but it’ll warm you up anyway.”

He ladled the blood-red borscht into a large enamelled mug and gave it to her with a hunk of bread. It was hot and rich, and flattened drops of fat floated on its surface. She sipped at it eagerly. The sergeant sat opposite her in silence. She presumed he would be eating later, after the General had left.

“Where are you from, Sergeant?”

“Me? A long way from here, Your Honour. I come from a small place near Yegorlykskaya, on the other side of Rostov. It’s a different world, Your Honour. None of these mountains there.”

She sat and pondered his answer. It seemed strange to her that a young man from so far away should find himself sitting in a bunker in the forests of Krasna Dolina. Strange that another young man should have just died in the snow for no sensible reason. Strange that she should be here, her world turned upside down. There was a noise outside and Strelnikov pushed his way in. The sergeant writhed out from his bench and let Strelnikov sit down.

“Are they taking care of you?”

“Oh, yes. This borscht is good–try it.” She pushed the mug across to him.

The sergeant started to fetch another mug, but Strelnikov stopped him. “No, Sergeant. Save it for the men. I know they love it, and there’s never enough on a cold night. We’ll share this one.” They finished the soup turn and turn about, sitting in a bunker on a frontline that had never been fought over but was still lethal for the unwary.

As she followed Strelnikov out of the bunker, the sergeant stopped her. “The boys would like to say thank you, Your Honour. For what you did for poor Piotr. There’s none of us would have done it, not when you could see there was no hope for him. At least he died shriven, poor bastard, begging your pardon. We can tell his mum, and it’ll be some comfort.”

 



Jacqueline lives in Far North Queensland, on the shore of the Coral Sea. She keeps herself busy with her cats and garden, and by writing books - some of which are far too naughty for her own good. You can find out more about Jacqueline and her books at www.jacquelinegeorgewriter.com
 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Sailor's Knot #ReleaseDate and #CoverReveal


I am thrilled to announce the release date for Book Three in the Pirates at Heart Series titled SAILOR'S KNOT. March 22nd, the Logan family saga continues!
 
Blurb:
The year is 2037 and the next generation of the Logan family pirates have taken over the helm of The Yellow Rose. Running bootleg booze and smuggling runners from the Reformed States of America into the Republic of Texas, business couldn’t be better …that is if brothers Marcus and Nathaniel don’t kill each other in the process.
Captain Marcus Logan is serious, brooding and haunted, carrying a torch for his first mate, Amelie. Nathaniel—the resident party boy—is none of those things, but somehow they’d made their differences work for them until recently. When the tall, leggy blonde, Captain Ruby Delaney, is a guest aboard The Rose, she turns Nathaniel’s head and stirs up all sorts of trouble, not the least of which is winding up in Marcus’ bed one drunken night. This ill-advised one night stand ignites a love quadrangle so intertwined that the phrase “it’s complicated” doesn’t begin to define this sailor’s knot.
A Romantica® futuristic erotic romance from Ellora’s Cave
Excerpt: 
Humiliation and admiration flooded Marcus with equal measure. Ruby was far craftier than he’d given her credit for. His earlier words to Nate echoed in his mind. He’d accused his brother of ineptitude when Marcus himself couldn’t tie a restraint that could hold her.
Shaking his head, he passed her the bottle. “Glad I could entertain you.”
“Aw, don’t be like that. I’m still trapped here.” She ran a hand over his sheets, leaning forward and spreading her legs a bit. “In your cabin.”
Bad girl. He arched an eyebrow. Usually he’d be immune to such an obvious overture, but in his current state, she was hard to ignore.
His cock stirred at the thought of her in his bed. Maybe it was the whiskey or maybe it was the fact that he hadn’t had a woman in… How long had it been? Several months at least. A smile crossed his lips. That barmaid in Belize. He usually steered clear of one-night stands, but she’d been so insistent, hadn’t she?
And his last relationship before that, over a year prior. It had lasted a couple of weeks at best. Sticking around wasn’t his forte. Not since— No, he wouldn’t think about Amelie anymore. Not with a beautiful blonde next to him. For once, couldn’t he do what any man would do in this situation? For once, couldn’t he give in to his base desires instead of suppressing them, struggling to keep them under control?
“You’re gorgeous when you smile.” Ruby intruded on his thoughts.
Marcus stared at her, weighing his options. Her full breasts rose and fell with every breath, her voluptuous thighs grazing past his leg as she shifted to make herself more comfortable. She smelled like his soap but there was an undercurrent of her own scent. Rich and sweet. He wanted to taste her.
“Are you flirting with me?” he asked, leaning closer.
“Obviously.” She licked her lips, meeting his hungry stare.
Scooting closer, she pressed her breasts to his arm. He dipped his head a little to the right. Her quick exhalations skimmed his cheek. She wouldn’t run away, disappear at the crucial moment. Quite the opposite. With one finger trailing beneath his chin, she drew him nearer, daring him to kiss her.
She was offering herself up to be had, for him to take her. And why not? There was no one waiting at home for him. He was a free man with a cock so hard it hurt. And this woman—a dangerous and wild woman—wanted him. At least for the night. And he wanted her. Hell, who wouldn’t?
He cradled the back of her neck, kissing her hard. “If you steal from me again, I’ll kill you.”
“I wouldn’t cross you again. I know when I’m licked.”
Pushing her back onto the mattress, he nipped at her ear. “I haven’t even started licking you yet.”
She laughed, wrapping a leg around him.
Haven't read books one and two? Find LANDLOCKED and SMUGGLER'S BLUES here: http://www.ellorascave.com/series/pirates-at-heart.html

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Sensual Treats Spring 2013 #Giveaway


New issue of Sensual Treats available today! It's a wonderful ezine devoted to the readers of fine romance with a sweetly sexy flavor. It's put together by author Denysé Bridger , Brigit Aine
and Kayden McLeod so you know it's got to be good ;) Plus I hear there are two exciting giveaways in this issue. Get your free copy today!
http://sensualtreats.webs.com/archives.htm

Thursday, February 14, 2013

#BlogHop - Hearts on Fire #Giveaway



Thanks for stopping by my entry in the Hearts on Fire Giveaway! I'm giving away bath goodies, a signed poster calendar and a signed copy of my book RECLAIMED. Just leave a comment below for a chance to win. Winner will be chosen at random and posted February 22nd.

I'm blogging today about my upcoming release, BLACKEST NIGHTS. This book was a journey for me, not only as an author, but personally as well. I did a great deal of research into the Washington DC BDSM scene and also experimented a little with dominance and submission. Thanks to the hubby for being such a sport *wink*. I pride myself on writing about aspects of sexuality that I've either experienced first hand or have at least have several insiders who are willing to share their experiences with me. I also endeavored with this work to present a heroine who is fully engaged and receptive to BDSM, who craves submission and a dom strong enough to control her.

While I applaud the attention the Shades of Grey series has garnered for erotic romance (which existed loooong before Ms. James's novels), the execution of said series left me with a bad taste in my mouth. I feel like in this day and age we have moved past the depiction of female sexuality that requires the heroine to play gatekeeper and portrays an inherent reluctance on her part. I mean a college senior who's still a virgin is a rare breed to say the least. If good girls don't, I'm glad I'm a self-proclaimed bad girl. I also wanted to show a hero who is unapologetic about his desire to be dominant. There's nothing wrong with Mr. Black, he's not damaged and he has a great deal of respect for his submissives.

Here's a peek at BLACKEST NIGHTS. Hope you enjoy!

Blurb:

BDSM curious, Georgia aka Red, attends a lunch meeting of the Rocky Road Social Club where she meets a dom who introduces himself as Black. Tall, caramel-skinned and truly gorgeous, Red is drawn in by Black’s commanding presence.

After one dinner together, Red agrees to explore a weekend as Black’s sub. He pushes her to the limits of pain, pleasure and beyond. Though she delights in his firm hand and even firmer lash, when Black proposes a more permanent arrangement, Red wonders if she’s ready to submit―body and soul―to the man who dominates her blackest desires.


Excerpt:

For our first play session, I arrived early, reciting, “Scarlet, slow. Midnight, stop,” as I parked in his driveway. Once I’d inspected my makeup and smoothed my black skirt and spaghetti strap blouse, I propelled myself out of the car. The humid night air threatened to kink up my hair. A smile on my lips, I hoped my hair wouldn’t be the only thing kinked up that night. My stomach did flipflops at the thought of what Black had in store for me.
At 8:55, I knocked on his door. I heard him moving inside the house, but he didn’t answer.
A couple minutes passed and still I stood on his porch, the crickets chirping in the cooling night air. Maybe he hadn’t heard my knock. I rang the doorbell.
Another minute or so passed and every second that ticked by left me feeling foolish. Why was he making me wait? Finally out of patience, I fished my cell phone out of my purse and hit the auto-dial for his number.
As soon as Black jerked open the door, I knew I’d made a mistake. His lips down-turned, his eyes narrowed, he folded his arms over his chest.
The intensity of his stare unnerved me.
Fixing my gaze on the ground, I offered an explanation though he hadn’t demanded one, “I wanted to be sure I was on time.”
“But you aren’t on time, you’re early. Nine o’clock means nine o’clock.”
“Oh. I’m sorry.”
“Go into the dining room and sit.” He moved aside to let me pass. “To your left.”
Hurrying to do as instructed, I didn’t have much time to take in the decor of the house. Once I’d taken a seat, I studied the austerity of the mission style dining table, chairs and china cabinet. One massive photo―at least four feet by six feet―hung on an otherwise bare wall. It depicted a close up of a fig sliced in half. So suggestive was the imagery of female genitalia that I found myself averting my eyes, sneaking furtive glances. Every time I dared to look at it for more than a couple of seconds, my cheeks burned and butterflies flitted around my stomach.
The door clicked shut and I heard his footsteps head in the opposite direction. Then he returned, his cell phone in hand. Drawing his finger across the screen, he turned it so I could read. The glowing display showed his call log.
“Read the most recent entry,” he said.
“It says, ‘Red’.”
“And is it an incoming call or an outgoing one?”
“Incoming,” I mumbled. I knew exactly what I’d done wrong.
“I said never to call me.” He grabbed me by the hair and I flinched more out of surprise than pain. He wasn’t pulling all that hard…yet.
“I’m sorry.” I looked at him out of the corner of my eye, excited by the control he exerted over me.
Setting the phone aside, he moved behind me. Leaning down, he let his lips brush past my ear. I could feel his breath on my cheek and neck. Inhaling his cologne, I closed my eyes, my heartbeat quickening.
“You don’t listen.” He tightened his grasp, shaking me a little. I gasped, the pain sharper now, the throbbing of my pussy radiating throughout my body.
I didn’t reply, struggling to suppress a smile though I couldn’t figure out just why I felt like grinning.
“What’s funny?” He tugged at my hair.
The tug hurt so much my eyes watered. “Nothing.”
“Say it. Say, ‘I don’t listen’.” His held my head held back, forcing me to make eye contact.
“I―” My voice cracked, arousal and agony gripping my throat. “I don’t listen.”
“Do you need me to make you?”
“Yes…please.” My legs trembled, my pussy quivering at the thought of what he would do to punish me.
Bending me over the table, he pressed my cheek to the cool surface, hand still tangled in my hair, but he’d eased up on the agonizing hold.
The skirt I’d taken so much care to pick out wound up crumpled around my waist. He ripped off my panties then caressed the swell of my ass. I heard the jangle of his belt buckle and the woosh of it sliding out of his belt loops. Oh God, he was going to―
Crack!
I cried out and squirmed, the initial sting so intense I could hardly stand it, but he held me down.
Crack!
The belt smacked against my ass, heat spreading over the entire cheek. I yelped and whimpered. A sharp burning sensation ran along the junction of my buttock and my thigh and I was sure he’d given me a welt. The thought turned me on to no end. I was bare-assed, splayed out across a table and one of the most gorgeous men I’d ever met was punishing me. Oh yes, I wanted more.
Another crack of the belt and I could feel my juices wetting my pussy lips. The pain transformed from an unpleasant sensation to the heat of a lover’s touch. Instead of a cry of objection, I moaned, writhing against the table.
“You like that?” He growled the words, his voice even deeper than usual.
“Yes.” I arched my back, thrusting my ass toward him.
“Yes, what?” He caught me by the hair again.
“Yes, sir.”
He whipped my buttock again and I called out, the skin raw now. My cunt contracted, so swollen and wet he could’ve easily slid inside me, no more foreplay needed, but I knew he wouldn’t give me that kind of pleasure yet. I hadn’t earned it.
“Your pretty little ass is the most lovely shade of red.”
I felt him drop to his knees, running his tongue over the areas that stung the most. A hiss escaped me. Parting my labia with two fingers, he swiped at my slit.
“You’re so wet. You’re going to be fun to play with.”
I panted, desperate that he continue my training, but instead he righted my skirt and helped me up. Swiping the finger coated in my cream over my lips, he moved in for a kiss. His tongue flicked at the musky fluid then plunged inside my mouth. I inhaled, the scent of pussy mingled with his cologne, unable to get enough of the heady scent.
As the kiss tapered off, a smile formed on his full lips. He took my hand, gently interlacing our fingers. “Let’s go to the play room.” 

________________________________________
Like what you read? Find out more about BLACKEST NIGHTS and my bad girl fiction here:
https://www.ellorascave.com/index.php/authors/index/author/slug/cindy-jacks/
http://cindyjacks.com/

Don't forget to check out the other hot, hot authors in the Heart on Fire Giveaway blog hop!
http://closeencounterswiththenightkind.blogspot.com/2012/12/hearts-on-fire-giveaway-hop.html

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Sir Francis Dashwood, Medmenham and the Hellfire Club by Jacqueline George

 Please welcome a regular guest, the incomparable Jacqueline George!

Cheers,
Cindy
________________________________________________________

Sometimes I get so fed up with our politicians. They are so negative, so small minded, and they treat us like idiots. You know, and I know, that many of them would love to behave like lecherous old goats. (I am pointing at the boys here only because they are the most common offenders.) Given half a chance and a locked door, they would be all over their interns, and secretaries, and constituents, and anyone else who offers.

It is what rich and powerful men have always done. That’s OK by me, as long as it is truly consensual. If a silly girl or boy wants to give the old goat a thrill, that’s their business. Go right ahead - I don’t care. What makes me sick (gets my goat?) is the hypocrisy we have to put up with. Someone’s mistress is pregnant, or he has been caught playing with pretty young men in an airport toilet, and The World As We Know It is about the end. Their photograph is all over the papers, and talking heads everywhere are condemning the politician’s frivolity. His career is on the scrap heap, and reporters are badgering his wife and family with inane questions like How do you feel about your husband’s/father’s mistress? In fact, the only question that matters is the one we would like to ask the sinner himself - if you lied to us about your morals, why should we believe anything else you told us?

There was a time, perhaps even a golden age, when the great and good in society did not lie about these things - because they did not have to. What the upper classes did in private, stayed private. Indulging in a little fun and frivolity was accepted behaviour, although not discussed openly with the priest, or a gentleman’s wife (she did not discuss what she had been up to either, although her opportunities were more limited). A politician could be a man of principle no matter what playthings he took to bed with him.

In the secret English countryside, there is a monument to those enlightened days. Medmenham is a small village on the banks of the River Thames, between High Wycombe and Maidenhead. Nowadays it is a quiet place, home to executives and stockbrokers who work in London. Its past is much more interesting. A few years ago, in 1201, a Cistercian abbey was founded there. It survived for three hundred years until that well known job creator and private equity specialist Henry VIII threw out the monks, trashed the building, and sold the land off to his friends. The abbey remained a peaceful ruin for another two centuries, until it fell into the hands of Sir Francis Dashwood.

Now, if you knew half there is to be known about Sir Francis! Outwardly he was a respectable aristocrat. A member of Parliament, one time Chancellor of the Exchequer, a Royal appointee in the time of King George III and he died holding the office of Post-Master General.

So why do we remember him? As young man he was handsome, dashing, and caressed in the courts of Europe. He was a great success with women, and was even rumoured to have talked his way into the bed of Tsarina Anna I of Russia. Sir Francis was an unashamed party animal and felt that, as good food, good wine and naughty women were so enjoyable, indulging in them could not possibly be wrong. He indulged in all three with such gusto that he became known to everyone as the ultimate rake.
He had also acquired another trait familiar to us today - a distrust or even hatred of organised religion and its pompous leaders. This flowered when he established the Hellfire Club at Medmenham Abbey.

The Hellfire Club consisted of gentlemen who loved the good things in life. They started by simply dining together, but good food and wine were not enough. They needed women too...
The Hellfire Club came to Medmenham, and brought women along with them. What sort of women? The puritans of the time insisted that they were mere prostitutes, but we can be fairly certain that they included wives and sisters of the club members, and especially Lady Mary Montagu Wortley.

What did the Hellfire Club do? What they absolutely did not do was talk about their rural activities when they were back in town. What happened at Medmenham Abbey, definitely stayed at Medmenham Abbey. The few records made were destroyed when the club broke up. Visits to the Abbey were not something a lady would want her grandchildren to hear about. All we know is gleaned from gossip, and solid gold truth is hard to come by.

Secret or exclusive societies were a fashion of the times. They had their own rules and customs, and frequently their own uniforms, perhaps a jacket or special buttons. The uniform of the Hellfire Club went further. It was a monk’s habit. Of course, the women were not dressed as monks. They wore nuns’ clothing, at least until the parties really started to swing.

And then? Well, as far as we can make out, the parties were a strange mixture of religious parody and Roman orgy and sound like a lot of fun. Although there is no positive indication of Satanism, the parties sometimes did involve spreading naked, blindfolded nuns over an ‘altar’, for everyone’s enjoyment. Presumably including the nuns concerned.

That all seems fun, but not so very special by modern standards. Sir Francis’s special touch was in his art and architecture. His personal motto, carved in stone over the Abbey door, was Fais ce que tu voudras or ‘Do What you Wish’, a very suitable thought for a rich hedonist. Inside the house was comfortable and full of erotic paintings and statues. It also held the finest library of erotica in England (long since gone, unfortunately).
Around the house, Sir Francis created wonderful gardens for his guests to wander in and presumably recover from their efforts of the evening before. Even here they were impressed with Sir Francis's towering devotion to sex. Apart from other statuary, by the entrance to a cave on the property was a very famous marble statue of Venus, stooping to remove a thorn from her foot. She was facing away from the entrance, positioned so that an inattentive visitor would bump into the upraised bum of the Goddess of Love. As the famous politician John Wilkes described her, ‘Just over the two nether hills of snow were these lines of Virgil Hic locus est, partes ubi se via findit in ambas: Hac iter Elysium nobis...’ The words over this beautifully provocative statue mean At this place the road divides into two directions; Here is our path to Paradise. Do What you Wish indeed, and at the Goddess’s invitation!

So who were the club members? The rich, powerful and randy. Lords (and a few of their ladies), at least one serving Prime Minister, Cabinet ministers galore, minor royalty. Benjamin Franklin may well have been a member, although you will not find that admission in his own writing.

We don’t do that sort of thing nowadays, and certainly would not vote for any politician who dressed in a monk’s habit and played with half-naked nuns. We’re much more serious now. Still, Sir Francis makes me feel a little wistful. Not that you would catch me at a sumptuous banquet dressed in only a nun’s veil. I would never accept an invitation like that. Although, I wonder... Perhaps just once. Just to have a peep, maybe.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Fake it until you make it


Last night I went to bed full of discontent, knowing that when I got up in the morning everything would be the same old grind. Only it wasn't--it seemed worse. An unexpected snow had fallen overnight and not only that, but now the precipitation had turned to ice.


Bah! Humbug! This meant a wrench in my plans to be productive this morning and it meant that I might have to scrap my entire schedule if school was called off--which it was. As those of you with young children know, the phrase, "Mommy's busy, please try to entertain yourself." carries about as much weight with a bored child as Adam Sandler's comedic vision carries with box office critics. I was in a grumpy mood indeed.

When my son awoke to find a fresh coat of snow covering the hill in our neighborhood, his eyes lit up. "Can I go sledding now, like right now?" he asked, eyes full of wonder and delight.

My internal reaction was less than enthusiastic. Sledding first thing in the morning was really low on my list of things to do today, but he was so cute, vibrating with snow-day enthusiasm, I plastered a smile on my face and replied, "Of course, honey, sounds like fun."

Really it didn't sound like fun at all. Sledding means layer upon layer of clothes that will have to be laundered immediately afterward, slushy residue in the foyer that'll require mopping and probably muddy footprints on the carpet because one or both of us will forget to take off our boots before we venture into the living room. Oh and then there's the whole freezing my butt off for at least an hour while he's merrily oblivious to the fact that I might lose the tip of my nose to frostbite.

Grump, grump, grump. My monologue of crankiness continued to churn in my head, but while we dressed for the freezing weather, I remained outwardly cheerful for my son's sake. He pulled on his snow boots, none the wiser.

Advice my father once gave me ran through my head--"Fake it until you make it." It's a phrase I never quite understood because how can faking an emotion make it real? In a time when we're encouraged to share every thought we have on social media sites--the snarkier the better--and leave reviews or feedback about every darn thing, brutal honesty (and I do mean brutal) is in fashion. But not for me. Not today.

We made our way out to the hill which seems smaller now that he's gotten so much bigger. I'm still in no mood for this. Despite two layers of socks and my all-weather boots by feet are already cold. My face stings, ice is still falling from the sky. I pray that he is as cold as I am and will want to go in sooner than later. Blissfully unaware, he flopped his sled into the snow for its maiden voyage, jumped on and flew down the slope at break neck speed.

And then it happened. He squealed and giggled and when he reached the bottom he popped up to ask, "Did you see how fast I was going? Did you see, Mom?"

I broke out in a smile--a genuine one. "Yes, I saw, baby."

Once he trudged up the hill, he said, "This time you have to come with me."

My reluctance to having fun starting to melt, I acquiesced.

Woosh! We slid down the hill. This time, I wasn't only smiling, I was squealing and giggling too.

Up and down, we rode and climbed the hill over and over until we were both Popsicles and both thoroughly out of breath...okay, so I was probably a wee bit more winded than he was.

Then we walked home, stopping for a brief snowball fight and to make snow angels. At this point, I'd forgotten why I was so put out by the snow to begin with. Once inside, we shed our outer layers of clothing and yes--DS forgot to pull off his boots before he bounded into through the living room and into the kitchen, eager to store a snowball in the freezer. I shrugged and figured I'd clean up the footprints later. No harm, no foul.

We ended our perfect morning with hot cocoa by the fire--four peppermint flavored marshmallows each. Head on my shoulder, his hair scented by berry shampoo and the crispness of winter air, he murmured, "I hope we always go sledding together."

A little misty, I replied, "I do too."

And I meant it.