Snow, Snow and More SNOW!

Okay, I’ve had enough. We’ve had bad winters before, we live in the Northeast, snow is to be expected in the winter. And this one probably isn’t as bad as others we’ve endured. But it seems worse.
In the last several years, we’ve had very unusual weather events. The year before Hurricane Sandy hit, we had a huge snowstorm in October, right before Halloween. The leaves hadn’t even finished falling off the trees, making the load of snow even worse. The sound of a tree snapping as it falls over is one of the worst sounds I’ve ever heard, right up there with the crunch of metal during a car accident. We were lucky it didn’t hit the house, but it did take out power lines. That was three days of missed school, but the rest of that winter was relatively calm.
Then there was Sandy, which devastated so much of the NYC Tri-State area, and the Jersey Shore. I had friends who had to be rescued from their homes by boat – out the second floor window! They lost everything below their second floor, all of their cars, and most of their belongings. Schools were closed for at least a week, some longer, because it took so long to get power restored, flood waters drained, etc. Again, the rest of the season was thankfully major event free.
But this just feels worse than usual. I’m not sure why – maybe because the kids have already used up their allotted snow days and are moving into the “take back days off in the spring” phase.  Or worse, add days to the end of the year! Maybe it’s because I’m still unemployed and having the kids here is a death blow to my productivity. Maybe it’s because my 17 year old daughter is not happy when I won’t let her take the car out on icy roads. Or maybe it’s because even my kids are sick of snow (not the snow days though – that’s ALWAYS good for them!).
Or maybe it’s because we’re barely halfway through February. Winter isn’t over and that damned groundhog predicted 6 more weeks of winter. I’d like to have a word with that rodent – and the people who shine a million lights on him as he comes out of his home. Of course he’s going to see his shadow with that many watts blasting directly on him!
Today’s storm is going to last until tomorrow. Which likely means another snow day, though at this point, I’m hoping for a delayed opening. The rate we’re going, the kids will be in school until July, though there are a couple towns considering Saturday classes to avoid other methods of make-up days. I can’t see that going over too well here, but anything is certainly possible. Once one town does it, and it works, others will follow suit.
All I know is, it’s getting to the point I’m afraid to drive just because I can’t see around the ten foot piles of snow when trying to make a turn. If I can’t see, the other drivers can’t see me, and with slick roads, it’s a recipe for disaster. I haven’t seen grass in weeks. Even squirrels and birds have been mostly scarce.
Maybe I should go write a few of my signature love scenes – will that melt the snow? It should, but then we’ll have a flooding issue. Never a dull moment!

Welcome Angela Aaron!

<!–[if !mso]>st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } <![endif]–>Today, I’ welcoming Angela Aaron to my blog. She’s the author of some yummy books, The Fire of Beltane (one of my favorites!) and Pleasure Island, as well as her newest release, A Mediterranean Affair. I’m grilling Angie a little bit and she’s also sharing a bit about A Mediterranean Affair. So take it away, Angie!

Hi Gianna and blog guests.  I’m so very excited for the chance to visit.  Thanks so much for having me and for giving me the space to tell you a bit about myself and to promote my latest steamy romance, “A Mediterranean Affair.”
When did the writing bug first hit?
Believe it or not, I was really young, ten years old.  I remember watching a TV show called Here Comes the Brides (I know, I just dated myself- ugh) where Seattle logging men were looking for brides from a group of women from the East coast who settled in their town. Bobby Sherman was the teenage heartthrob actor that played Jeremy Bolt. He fell in love with “Candy,” and of course, every week there was something that kept them apart and their relationship from developing. I would write page after page of “happy ever after” endings to the episodes, creating my own stories for these characters.   Even earlier than this, I was fascinated with the characters of Don and Judy from “Lost In Space.”  Funny, but I seem to always have been attracted to the “will they ever get together” aspect of stories whether they be TV, books or movies. Even to this day, this is what continues attracts me. Yes, I am still a hopeless romantic.
Are you a plotter or a pantser?
When I write, I usually have a rough outline of major points in the story, but I refrain from putting down too many details on how to get to those points.  I don’t want to lock myself into a place I can’t get out of.  So many times, as my characters develop, they begin to act or do things that I hadn’t expected and if I’ve mapped the story out too tight there isn’t room for changes or growth.
How much of your personal life inspires your writing?
“A Mediterranean Affair” (my latest) and “Pleasure Island” really have nothing to do with my life and are pure fantasy feel-good romance stories. My big novel, “The Fire of Beltane” and my current work in progress, “Shadowtone Legend: The Guardian” are most definitely influenced by my Irish and Scottish heritage, my art background and by my love of history and all things ancient- and of course my adoration of big, beefy, alpha males. I often wonder what it would be like to be a modern woman confronted with the past. This is where the ideas for both of the novels came from.
What inspires you to write?
I am inspired to write because I love romance. I’m in love with the idea of romance and love. I love the feeling of being in love and I love creating characters that are destined to be together or over come insurmountable obstacles to be together. I love that breathless feeling when hero and heroine are finally able to be together.  **Sigh** I get sucked into the story the same way the reader does and I have to keep writing to see how it ends.
How do you set your writing atmosphere – with music, lighting or something else?
I have kind of an odd writing pattern because I have a full-time job and have to write when I can in between work and family obligations. I have my own space on the dining table with a view out a window that overlooks our backyard. In a music dock on the shelf behind me I have my ipod which has over 6000 different songs and playlists.  I have everything from Celtic, to bagpipe to 60’s, 70’s and 80’s rock, to medieval, to Nora Robert, to classical, opera, to independent music from Sweden and Germany- you name it, I’ve got it. Music is essential for my writing. I mostly write on the weekends.  I love to get up early, put the coffee on, pick out a playlist that matches the scene I need to write and type away. 
What was the first book you loved so much that to this day, you can still pick it up and read it and savor every word again?
As a child I remember being fascinated with two books that even to this day still really stand out in my mind: A Big Ball of String by Marion Holland and Go Dog Go by  P.D. Eastman.  As an adult I have read “Miranda’s Viking” by Maggie Shayne repeatedly.  There is just something about that book I love.  Again, it’s the idea of the past coming to the present day I find very fascinating.
What was your favorite childhood game/toy? What happened to it?
This is such a fun question.  I have three toys that I love and still have.  A Spirograph, my Gumby and Pokey and my Troll Dolls.  I’m such a 60’s child.
Coffee or tea?
Coffee.  Any flavor.
Beer/wine or hard liquor?
You pouring?
Chocolate or vanilla?
Are you kidding?  CHOCOLATE!
How would you react if you lost your cell phone?
If I ever lost my “phablet” I would be totally lost.  Not only would I lose my contacts, but my writing notes, work for my job and my levels on Candy Crush.  I would be devastated. I really do use my phone/tablet in every aspect of my life. I would probably turn into a creature you would not want to know.
Which childhood memory is your favorite? Why?
When I was a young girl, I used to babysit for a family that had a wonderful dog a Bouvier des Flanders.  This dog had puppies and I used to go down the block to their house every day to play with the puppies. Another neighbor across the street from my family adopted my favorite puppy.  They allowed me to come every day after school to play with this puppy since they were at work and couldn’t give it all the attention it needed.  I would run home from school every single day to play with this pup right up until bedtime and then again on the weekends. This pup and I were inseparable. One day, when the pup was about 9 months old, I learned the family was going to move away just after Christmas and was selling the puppy. I was devastated. My heart broke thinking I’d never see this dog again. I can’t begin to tell you the times I cried over losing the dog. Christmas day came and after all the presents were open, I was in my room with my sister playing a game and heard my father calling me, telling me there was another present I forgot to open.  He came in my room, and in his arms was the puppy, decked out in a red Santa hat and huge green bow around her neck. My parents had purchased the dog from the family knowing how much I loved it.  Missi was my best friend and companion for fourteen years; a huge part of my life. I have had four rescued Bouviers, and several other smaller dogs since then that have all taken my heart, but Missi will always remain the first and most special.
If you could work less, or do more work that you actually enjoy, which would you choose?
I love my career.  I love getting up in the morning. I love what I do.  I also love writing.  I have the best of both worlds. What I would love is more of a balance so I could do more writing.
What’s your favorite color? Why?
Green.  The color of nature and earth. 
What’s the one thing you could never live without? (besides air, water, food)
I cannot live without my computer.  Period.  Everything I do, I do on a computer.  As much as I spend a lot of time out-of-doors, camping, boating and such, I always am connected via my computer or phone.
List 5 things that people don’t know about you.
I love bagpipes, I met Donny Osmond when I was a teenager, I love to swim and be in the water, I played clarinet from 5th grade through college, I hate winter- although I don’t think this is much of a secret anymore.
Thanks so much, Gianna for giving space on your blog.  I’d like to extend the invitation to your readers to feel free to contact me with any questions or comments. I love to meet new people and enjoy great conversation.  We can talk books, history, dogs or any old thing.
Thanks for coming by Angie. Donny Osmond?!?! I am so jealous, he was one of my most intense childhood crushes! 😀 My mom was great – she and my aunt got tickets to see all the Osmond Brothers at MSG for me and my cousins! Cool, but not as cool as meeting him in person!
Here’s a bit about Angie’s latest release, A Mediterranean Affair. And an excerpt for your reading enjoyment!
A Mediterranean Affair
By Angela Aaron
A sizzling romance on the high seas!
 When Andrea’s boyfriend presents her with a romantic cruise through the Mediterranean on Cupid Cruise Lines, it seems just the inspirational backdrop needed for him to finally pop the question.  However, when her boyfriend is a no-show and sends yet another consolation gift to make up for his absence Andrea knows any hope for romance is extinguished.
      Lorenzo has better things to do than play delivery boy to a spoiled cruise ship passenger.  
      Returning to his native Italy, after swearing off love, he spends his time in solitude working at the vineyard. Nevertheless, when his grandfather asks him to make the special delivery, he can’t refuse. From the moment he walks in on the scantily clad American woman he knows his life is about to take an unexpected turn.  
      Now Andrea and Lorenzo must each let go of their past to make room for each other. Can they accept the lure of Cupid’s arrow despite the miles that separate them?
**Content warning.  Explicit Scenes.
Available at Amazon, Nook, Smashwords (iTunes, Sony) and Kobo
Soon to be available in print at Amazon
Enjoy this sexy sample from A Mediterranean Affair:

             Lorenzo slammed the car door with too much gusto. He had better things to do than deliver gifts to some spoiled Yank, even if the gifts were the best bottles of vino produced at his winery. His job was the vineyard and the grapes, not playing delivery boy to spoiled cruise ship passengers.
Despite his displeasure at the prospect of driving all the way into town and to the crowded docks, Lorenzo couldn’t turn down his grandfather when asked to make the delivery. He’d seemed rather distraught at the message he brought with the wine and had asked Lorenzo to pick up a bouquet of flowers to accompany the delivery. Though he hadn’t revealed the details of the message inside the envelope, Lorenzo guessed it wasn’t good.
            “Just perfect.” Lorenzo mumbled under his breath, spying the volume of passengers he would have to wade through to reach the ship. Letting out a huff, and tucking his hair behind his ears, he trudged forward into the crowd, weaving his way in and out and around until finally reaching someone who could help him. In his haste, however, he nearly knocked over the crewmember as he approached. It was the quick action of a man who dodged out of the way that prevented a collision.
            “My apologies, signore, but I have a delivery for one of your passengers.” Lorenzo held up the bottles of wine he juggled and waited for directions to the delivery area. The young crewmember looked at him curiously for a moment before an impish smile graced his boyish face.
            “And what passenger are you here to see?” he inquired, rather hastily, scanning the sea of remaining passengers who needed to board.
            Lorenzo shifted the bottles of wine into one arm and dug into his pocket. He pulled out a slip of paper. “Signorina Andrea McDonald. An American.”
            Half expecting to have the wine and flowers taken from him, Lorenzo was shocked when the man instead referred to his tablet, jotted something on his clipboard, took papers out of his pocket, and handed them to him.
            “Well, Mr. Robinson, your lovely lady has already boarded.”
Lorenzo looked at the number on the paper.
            “It is your cabin number and ticket stub.”
            “But I thought…. Wait…. I’m not…. Don’t I just give this to someone who will see she gets it?” Even Lorenzo knew he couldn’t just wander about the ship.
            “Just go to the left over there and look for the elevators. I’m sure Signorina McDonald will be very glad you have arrived and pleased with your gift.”
            “Wait. This isn’t my gift….” Lorenzo’s protest went unnoticed by the young crewmember who turned his attention to another person. Lorenzo threw a glance to the heavens then scanned the number on the papers before stuffing them in his pants pocket and heading in the direction the crewman had instructed him to go.
            “This is ridiculous.” Lorenzo grumbled, rounding one final corner, halting in front of a door with the same numbers as on the papers given him. He sighed, shifted his packages, and knocked on the door. He waited, tapping his foot impatiently. After a moment, he knocked again.
            “It’s open,” called a female voice from the other side.
            Bena. He thought Good. He was anxious to finish this task. Lorenzo turned the handle, pushed the door open with his toe, and stepped inside,
            Much to his astonishment, sprawled out before him on the bed, wearing nothing more than the skimpiest lingerie, was a beautiful auburn haired woman, posed very provocatively.
            “Oh merda!”
            His eyes raked over the luscious vision an instant before decorum had him spinning around, turning his back to her, but not before noting her long legs and ample breasts that were barely contained by the silky material. Bella donna.
            “Oh!” came the woman’s surprised squeal. “Oh no. I’m so sorry.”
            Lorenzo could hear fabric rustling and assumed she’d covered herself. He glanced over his shoulder unable to resist one final look, smiling to himself at all that lovely flesh hastily concealed by a thick terry robe.
            “I’m so sorry. I thought you were someone else. I expected….”
            She was flustered, blushing and extremely embarrassed, judging by the red stain on her cheeks.
            “Oh never mind,” she mumbled.
            Lorenzo cleared his throat. “I have a delivery for you.” He lifted the bottles of wine and flowers and held them out for her.
            “For me?” She took the bottles from him, still wearing the blush from her indiscretion. “Oh, my favorite wine.” She giggled setting the bottles on a nearby table. “And are the flowers for me, also?”
            “Si.” He held out the bouquet.
            Lorenzo watched as she held them up to her nose and inhaled, smiling at the aroma. While she fished in the bouquet for the card, Lorenzo turned to make his exit. That was, until he heard the wine bottles crashing to the floor. He spun around, finding she had swept them off the table. Her expression revealed her anger and what he recognized as dejection. He turned again ready to make a hasty exit when he heard her speak.
            “He’s not coming. My dream trip to the Mediterranean and I’m on the cruise alone.” The woman flung the card and envelope to the floor.
            Lorenzo watched as tears brimmed in her eyes and spilled over her cheeks as she sank down on the edge of the bed. Utter despair now replaced the sexy, sultry, playful look that only a moment ago graced her sweet face.
             Time to get out of here, he thought, reaching for the doorknob and jerking open the door, not attempting to hide his apprehension. This was exactly why he didn’t like to make deliveries. He didn’t have any inclination to involve himself in other people’s drama. He’d had enough of his own not that long ago and wanted to avoid anything remotely similar for a very long time.
            Against what every instinct told him, he halted when she called out to him, and despite his best intension not to, he turned toward her. She wiped at her eyes and haphazardly reached for her purse. The sadness on her face undid him. His chest tightened then, as a flood of memories assaulted him. In his unexpected disarming, he realized she thought she had to tip him.
            “No. Bella.” Before she even looked up, he fled from the room.