Sunburns and rum punch Summer 2019

Sunset at Myrtle Beach

A couple weeks ago, my daughter said to me, “i want to go to the beach.” I was all, “I hate the beach. Sand gets in unmentionable places. We don’t have the money. The ocean is too far.” Etc. Etc. Etc. (Ha! Identify the musical!)

She brought her father in and started on the both of us. I was sure he would brush her off because of the expense, but he took her seriously. We’ve gone tot he beach before, we usually visit his family in NJ and visit the beach for a few hours. It’s a production, food must be sourced and packed, towels, sunscreen, and other necessities must be packed. We go there for a few hours getting beaten by the sun and waves and then go home, exhausted, sticky with salt, and even though there’s a shower at the beach, the tub back at wherever we’re staying is covered with sand and even pebbles 😳 that escaped the shower due to their, eh hem, — inaccessible position. So I threw a spammer in the works. “If we’re going tot he beach,” I said. “We have to stay on the beach. No driving in and driving out.” There I thought, there’s no way they’re are hotels in our budget available directly on the beach!

Guess, what. Challenge accepted. My husband found the Hampton Inn Myrtle Beach. Fast forward to last Monday. We all piled into the car and head for Myrtle Beach.

I have to say, the drive wasn’t that bad. My husband drove the whole way like a champ. The kids, my son 14 and daughter, 16 didn’t fight too much. We started later than we usually do. We typically leave while it’s still dark for long road trips so the kids sleep part of the way, but My husband had flown back from a trail race the night before and his plane kept getting delayed so it was after midnight when he finally got home. We got in time to see a gorgeous sunset and a big yellow moon.

I, the beach grinch, now I have to eat. my words. It was awesome! The water was warm, (yes, the sand got everywhere but it’s a small price to pay). The hotel had lovely pools and complimentary breakfast. We hung out in the water, laid on the beach, and generally relaxed. Believe it or not I had never had a rum punch so I ordered one from the little bar in the pool area one day. I also enjoyed frozen drinks like frozen strawberry daiquiris, mango somethings, and the like.

The only downside is, despite my absolute devotion to re-applying sunscreen and badgering everyone in the family to use it, I was the one who got sunburned! Just my back and the back of my upper arms, but it kind of put a damper on the last day for me cause I wasn’t feeling too well.

It’s healing now, but yikes! It’s itchy! Where did you o for you vacation? Do you like the beach?

The moon was gorgeous every night. The last night it was so red it looked like a giant mars. This picture is from day two.

I had assumed the fun for the beach was all about the day, but after it got dark, people, mostly with kids, were down on the beach with flashlights. I was like, “What are they doing?” Apparently, they are looking for crabs, seashells, shark’s teeth, anything that gets washed up on the beach after the tide comes in. My husband, trailrunner guy, always takes a headlamp everywhere, so the last night he and my son went down. They didn’t find much other than shells, but they enjoyed it.

And the firework restrictions in South Carolina are apparently pretty loose, so all along the beach people were setting off fireworks.

Even just sitting out on the balcony, at night reading and watching the moon and few visible stars was fun.

Now to get ready for the RWA National Conference! Come and see me if you’re at the Conference or live in NYC or environs. There will be big name romance authors and the whole thing is for charity. I’ll have this guy with me.

This dragon can be yours! All newsletter subscribers will be entered!

So you can see it in person. I have free swag, dragon and lion pendants and my new book! But don’t worry, there’s no pressure to buy my book, I’m happy just to chat! Stop by and say hello, you’ll make my day!

Beast…

Stolen off the street as a teen, tortured for months, altered into a monster, and dumped with only vague memories of his past, Ronan found refuge in the sideshow of a traveling carnival. It’s a lonely life, but it’s all he’s known for years—until he finds himself transforming further day by day, his temper becoming more and more volatile, his body changing into what he can only label as a beast.

Beauty…

Sofia Flores always knew what she would do when she grew up, help run the family-owned carnival. She’s been studying for years, first as a scholarship student at boarding school, then college, and finally getting her MBA. Now, at last, it’s time to take up the reins. But she never bargained with her own fascination for her Tia’s star attraction, Ronan. Not only does he appear not to return her interest, he seems to actively dislike her.

Nothing could be further from the truth, however. Ronan is immediately captivated by the carnival’s curvy new business manager, but he knows the score—beautiful women like Sofia aren’t meant for men like him. 

Unfortunately, Ronan has more to worry about than unrequited feelings. Since meeting Sofia, his body reshapes more each day. He’s losing himself to the beast. And the shadowy remnants of the people who did this to him are hot on his trail. 

The path to a Fairytale ending is never smooth…

Shiny Things June 28, 2016

IMG_4250

A look at the things distracting me this week.

My books arrived in the mail! It’s lovely to hold your physical book in your hands. The thrill never goes away!

I’m busy as a beaver working on getting Lion’s Prey ready for its August release. I hope the extra weeks I took will translate into a real keeper.

We romance readers are different from regular readers, we really do keep and re-read our old favorites. In fact, when I’m done with writing for the day, I’ve been reading some of my old category romances (and I mean old! One of them was from 1984!)

The book from 1984 is Ghost of a Chance by Jayne Ann Krentz. I have to say, the sexual tension holds up as does the central plot, but the hero is pretty high-handed and the heroine actually slapped the hero! Times have certainly changed.

I’ve also been watching So You Think You Can Dance. I didn’t think I’d enjoy the kids, but they’re amazing!

Life has been rather overwhelming recently, good and bad. On the good side: My husband and I celebrated our 18th wedding anniversary this week.

Here’s a pic from our Hindu ceremony which was followed by a wardrobe change and a Christian ceremony.

FullSizeRender

Meanwhile my clothes washer died and my passport application I sent in six weeks ago was returned sans passport. I have to redo it and pay more money! Ugh! We were hoping to take a cruise this summer, but given the wait time for a passport…sigh.

I’d love to hear from you. Do you have keepers? How old are they? Who are they by? Do they still stand the test of time?

Best,

Karin

PS If you haven’t joined my newsletter, please consider doing so. Newsletter readers get first shot at free ARC’s and other giveaways, and of course, news!

 

 

 

 

Do I Scare You?

Is there a demon in her house?
Is there a demon in her house?

What scares you?

Just like humor, everybody has a different threshold for what scares them. I can watch all kinds of “reality” shows about hauntings and not get scared, but there have been times in the past when I have scared myself just by thinking about something (clips and images from things I’ve seen, like a black eyed man in A Haunting in Connecticut). I don’t watch horror movies for this reason. (I do watch Supernatural, but in that reality I can always imagine Sam and Dean will come and save me.:-) )

When I was writing ENTITY MINE I had to think about what specific things really scare me and hope my readers would feel the same (while knowing it will all be fine in the end).

Here are a couple of (I hope) scary scenes from ENTITY MINE.

Excerpt 1:
The repetitive chirp of crickets alerted Devon to the fact that the long, Western New York twilight had snuck up on her and now the entire house stood cloaked in heavy shadow. She placed the last glass in the upper cupboard nearest the foyer and closed it with a decisive click. She swept her gaze across the dark kitchen, satisfied that everything was closed and put away.

“Looks good, huh?” she said to the Honey, who lay half in the kitchen and half in the bedroom.
The dog lifted her head an inch. Her back end was in shadow, but Devon could hear the thump of her fluffy, scimitar tail whacking the carpet.

Devon smiled. “Well, maybe not good, but neat anyway.”

She groped her way to the kitchen wall, fumbling for the light switch. The bulb in the fly-specked dome overhead flared on and then winked out, killing her night vision and leaving her standing in darkness so total her eyes conjured nonexistent patterns in the inky blackness. “Damn.”

She felt behind her on the wall for the switch by the front door, and flipped it up.

The light came on, filling the small foyer and spilling into the kitchen.

She gasped, her heart rate skyrocketing. Every carefully closed cupboard door hung completely open. She swallowed. “I hope that was you, Ethan.”

But somehow she knew it wasn’t.

A black figure coalesced in the doorway to the living room then crawled toward her, exuding oily menace.

Excerpt 2:
A foul odor dragged her from sleep.
Devon blinked into the darkness, confused. How much time had passed? Had she been asleep for seconds or hours?

The smell intensified, seeming to wrap around her, sticky and pungent like dead things preserved in formaldehyde.

Honey growled, low and menacing, and Devon froze, the hairs on her arms prickling, her pulse mimicking the tempo of the drumming rain.

Her face was toward the window, but a sticky sensation of malevolence crawled over her skin, as if she’d walked through a woman-sized cobweb.

She could hear Honey pace, whining and panting.

“Devon.” A raspy voice breathed in her ear.

Adrenaline shot through her veins and rebounded in a continuous loop. All the moisture in her mouth evaporated. Her rational mind told her to turn and look, that she was
probably imagining things. No spirit she’d ever encountered had been strong enough to be active two days in a row, but terror held her glued on her side.

Finally, through sheer force of will, she wrenched onto
her back.

And found herself face-to-face with the black figure.

A scream beat against her control, but she gulped it back. She sat up and the nasty spirit vanished. Her hand rose to her collarbone. For a second, her heart slowed, marching back toward its normal beat, then something grabbed her throat, shoving her back on the bed with bruising force.

She flailed, grabbing the slippery edge of the bed for leverage, digging her nails into the mattress. Her airway constricted. She fought to suck air past the demon’s manacle-like grip and clutched the collar of choking pressure around her neck, scrabbling to get under it, but only scraped her own skin.

Honey barked, black lips drawn back to display sharp white teeth.

Barking and the sounds of her own choking reverberated in her ears, drowning out the cadence of the rain. Her vision frayed around the edges.

She gasped, to no avail, fighting to draw air, but the apparition’s punishing grip tightened.
There was nothing she could do. She heard roaring in her ears. The sound grew louder.

The inhuman spirit was too strong. Oh, my God! She was really going to die.

For more: http://www.amazon.com/Entity-Mine-Karin-Shah/dp/1619354950

So what do you find scary? Are you a scaredy cat? Does your imagination get to you, the way mine has done, while sitting in your own back yard listening to the crickets and remembering clips you’ve seen of movies like Friday the Thirteenth? “Jay, jay, jay. Kill, kill, kill.”

Or do you laugh in the face of paranormal danger and watch movies like Ouija with impunity?

Karin

Do You Believe in Ghosts?

Do you have a ghost story to share?
Do you have a ghost story to share?

Do You Believe in Ghosts?

With Halloween approaching there are all kinds of spooky shows on TV and I thought it would be fun to talk about ghosts.

I am a “Ghost Investigator show” fanatic. I’ve watched Ghost Adventures, Ghost Hunters, Ghost–well, put “Ghost” in the title and I watch it. I even watched Deep South Paranormal once, but they pulled over to the side of the road on the way to an investigation, pulled out a cooler of animals they had shot and fish they had caught,and proceeded to deep fry them. That wasn’t too bad, but apparently they were still hungry, so they tried frying up the earthworms they had brought as bait. That was my limit. Possible demons, yes. Eating worms, no.

Ghost Adventures is my favorite of these shows. I love Zak, Nick, and Aaron. Their excitement and personalities are as much a part of the show as the investigations. Once, part of the episode centered on them finding a stray dog a home. GA is just plain fun. Zak can be over the top melodramatic, “Welcome to Hell!” Nick is the calm foil and Aaron the wildly excitable one.

Despite the fact that I love these shows, I consider myself an open-minded skeptic. I enjoy coming up with my own explanations and de-bunking. Sometimes I can’t, but since I’m experiencing the unexplained through the filter of television, I sleep just fine.

Thanks to watching these shows, I know about EVP, EMF, and things like Spirit Boxes, (whether they’re SB7, SB11 or whatever 🙂 )

You can see my addiction in my latest release, ENTITY MINE when the heroine, Devon, a psychic medium, goes to her friend Beth’s house to investigate a possible haunting.

Excerpt:
“So what kind of things have you been experiencing?” Devon turned away from Beth and scanned her friend’s restored Victorian with a practiced eye.

A beautiful hanging staircase of varnished, dark wood graced the dramatic foyer. A formal parlor balanced a richly, paneled dining room on the other side. The house smelled of wood, floral polish, and peanut butter cookies.

Beth sucked her lower lip for a moment. “Dark shadows. Cold spots. Lights going on and off. Footsteps. And I’ve woken up several times to see a figure at the foot of the bed.” She stared at Devon, her face ripe with expectation.

“Optical illusions. Drafts. Faulty wiring. Loose pipes.” Devon ticked off on her fingers. “Rattling window panes and—”

“—and I know, I know. Ooh, ooh, call on me, professor.” Beth waved her arm wildly. “A hypnagogic state.”

 

Still, despite my interest, I’ve only experienced the unexplained personally once. When I was in high school, I was home alone after dark and the power went out. I got candles and sat in the family room, reading a book. Since it was hot, I had put the screen on the sliding glass door in the kitchen which adjoined the family room. A pony wall stopped me from being able to see the whole kitchen.

Suddenly, there was a loud long scraping sound in the kitchen, as if something big were being dragged along the floor.

I looked in, but saw nothing. Unnerved, I closed the sliding door, in case the sound had come from outside. Eventually, my pulse settled down and I went back to my book. That’s when it happened again. I was out of there!

I sat on the curb and waited for my family to come home. I never found out what made the sound and it never happened again.

How about you? Any ghost stories to share? Are you a fellow Ghost show aficionado?

Do you believe in ghosts?

Am I weird? Part 5

Lali  vizsla watching ANTM with the family
Lali vizsla watching ANTM with the family

How Weird Am I? part 5

I let my eleven year-old daughter watch America’s Next Top Model as an educational experience.

Let me ‘splain. The young models say and do things which I would hope my daughter never does. They make ignorant comments and they trash their fellow contestants.

One of the latest contestants claimed to be a witch, but made comments about doing spells to get rid of contestants, etc. I don’t have an extensive knowledge of witchcraft, but I know about the three-fold law (and pretty much every culture has some version of this) whatever you put out comes back to you three-fold. I pointed this out to my daughter. Sure enough, a few episodes later, this person got himself ejected from the show because of being violent with another contestant.

I’m also trying very hard to make my daughter understand that in life we are only competing against ourselves. Concentrating on what others are doing takes the focus off what we need to do to succeed ourselves. This shows up over and over again on ANTM.

So what do you think? Am I weird? You’ve gone off the deep-end, Karin! ANTM is just fluff!

Sort of odd: Ok, I can see your point, but I wouldn’t let my daughter watch it.

Or am I: Spot on. Shows like these offer a chance to discuss character-building with our kids!

Let me have it! Or feel free to share how you are weird (or not).

 

Karin

Am I weird? Part four

My late basenji, Banner. He says, you're not weird, Mom!
My late basenji, Banner. He says, you’re not weird, Mom!

Here’s the fourth way in which I may be weird–or not.

I don’t want to look like any of the “Real” housewives.

I think I’d rather grow old gracefully than look like one of these women. There’s something hard and fake about their looks, like they all came from the same mold.

Is this: You are crazy, Karin! They are (not) ageing with style!

Moderately weird: I can see your point, but I’d rather look like them than most women that age.

Or: You hit the nail on the head! They all look like they came from the same Barbie factory. My crows feet give character!

Ok! Let me have it! Am I weird or what?

Karin

How Weird am I? Part 2

Things Ranger "says."
Things Ranger “says.”

In order to discover how weird I am. Here’s question 2.

I talk to my dogs and sometimes I answer in their “voice.”

Is this: a ten on the weird things to do scale! You are crazy, woman!

Moderately Weird: I don’t do it, but I would associate with people who did.

Totally normal: All dog owners do this! It would be weird if you didn’t!

Drop me a comment and let me know how weird (or not) I am!

Karin

How Weird am I?

In order to discover how weird I am. (And I suspect I’m pretty darn weird) I’ve decided to ask a bunch of questions over the next few weeks. I’d love to see some answers in the comments.

My belief number one: Life is too short to fold underwear.

Am I way off base? Of course, every piece of clothing should be folded.

Moderately correct? I always do it if time permits.

Or Right on? I’d rather have that five-ten minutes for something else.

Ok? What do you think? Let me know how weird I am?

Karin

 

Announcing the 2013 Ignite the Flame for unpubbed Manuscripts

My friends, there comes a time when you must give back to your RWA chapter. To that end, i am running our contest this year. 🙂 Please forward, tweet, RT and x-post 
**************************************************************************************************************
Central Ohio Fiction Writers announces the 2013 Ignite the Flame Contest
Let us feel the heat of your first meet! (or just the spark:-) )
Who can enter? Anyone with an un-contracted Romance manuscript interested in getting great feedback and possibly on the desk of these fabulous final reader/judges:

*Romantic Suspense — Rebecca Strauss literary agent Mckintosh and Otis Inc
*Historical — Julie Mianecki Junior editor Berkley
*Single-title Kate Dresser editor HQN 
*Paranormal Alicia Condon editor Kensington 
*Young Adult Annie Stone associate editor Harlequin TEEN 
*Erotic Romance Nicole Fischer Editorial Assistant Avon 
*Category-length contemporary Allison Carroll editorial assistant Harlequin Desire 

First round judges RWA PRO or Published

Contest Deadline: May 11, 2013
More details http://www.COFW.ORG
Questions Karin@shahs.com