Worlds Collide in a Winter Wonderland

The last month or so have been an adventure.

Yes, sunny Florida girl, yours truly…was sent off to the “Great White North” for three weeks between December and January for new day job training. And by GWN, I mean Syracuse, New York. Okay, so I’m a Chicago transplant to Florida. You’d think that would mean I’m used to winters, right?

Wrong!

Jaunty Hat

Winter Selfie in Jaunty Hat

I haven’t lived in a state that has winter since 1999. I didn’t really even own a “real” coat anymore. My sister had to shop for one for me up in Chicago. Because, you know, Florida sells winter coats in the dead of summer, then gets rid of the inventory. True story.

So the first week up there I realized the weather was bi-polar. I arrived to 50 degree weather. The next morning it was in the 20’s. Here’s a picture of me in my jaunty winter hat.

Yes, that’s snow in the background. Not only did the weather drop 30 degrees overnight. It also snowed…but it was a light, slushy snow and the weather was back up into the 40’s the following day. Like I said. Bipolar weather.

Wegmans

Definitely NOT a Castle

But there were some good things about not being overly cold. It enabled us to explore.

And thus my first Wegmans experience was born. Sadly, apparently it was nothing like it should be. I was told Wegmans looks like a castle and is an amazing place to shop.

As a girl who has Publix supermarkets every couple of miles, I’m not easily impressed. I was told that this particular store was a bit old and not in a great neighborhood, so not to hold anything against the franchise. It was not a “true” Wegmans experience. The store was dingy, the employees weren’t overly helpful….so I’ll trust my friends and reserve judgement. Still, a cherry popped while in New York.

Rockin the Boys

Cowboy Plane Selfie

But despite the cold, both the final game of the season and the first playoff game for my ‘Boys were going on. That meant I wore my Cowboy love quite literally all over my body.

Of course, the first person to taunt me?

The TSA agent. Before I even left Sarasota.

When hubby asked how I responded to the “Go Lions!” taunt, I told him I kept my mouth shut.

Let’s be real for a second…. No matter how much one might love their home team, how likely is a person to respond with a return taunt when the person calling you out is the TSA agent at the gate of the airport? While you’re being patted down…

Even I’m not that brave. Not after a friend of mine practically got cavity searched for forgetting she had a bottled water in her carry on luggage. Nope.

Cold Selfie

Bundled Up Selfie

But finally, January came to Syracuse…and brought me back into the cold. This time, sis had come through with a cute winter coat and hand knit scarf. By then, I’d gotten smart enough to buy boots and gloves. At home, such articles are only purchased for fashion purposes.

These were meant to keep my feet warm and dry. Utilitarian. What a novel thought, right? Well, maybe if you’re from the south.

And I discovered that gloves have come a long way! Now they have these little spots on the finger tips that allow you to work digital devices like touch screens without taking the gloves off.

Who knew?

Well, I do now. And I own a pair. A girl’s gotta stay on the cutting edge of technology, don’tcha know.

WindySnow

This is both wind and snow

I confess. I watched my weather updates on my phone like a hawk. When I started seeing sub-zero temperatures I admit it. I got a bit whiny.

And what’s with these reports telling us what it “feels like” outside? They calculate in the wind, etc. Do they really think that telling me that 0 degrees is going to feel like -14 degrees is going to encourage me to step away from the warmth of my hotel room? Eek!

Windy, Snowy Selfie

Windy, Snowy Selfie

I was just relieved that the couple of feet they forecasted didn’t come while I was there! The wind was bad enough.

You see the picture on the side? My hair was blowing sideways, and so was the snow! Yes, I found a way to keep my ears warm…. Unfortunately, I also forgot my jaunty hat at home this trip.

Just a little hint? That face is not my happy face. It’s my “damn, this is cold” face.

If it weren’t for a friend asking me to take snow pictures of myself and the weather, there’s no way I would’ve been out of doors for more than the short time it took to get from indoors to the vehicle, and back inside.

And, believe it or not, despite having not driven in snow in about 20 years, I drove in this weather. Yeah, I’m feeling pretty proud of that, too.

But none of that compared to the coolest experience of the trip, ever!

It had everything to do with this guy….

Meeting my friend, author Mark Bialczak

Meeting my friend, author Mark Bialczak

My friend, fellow author and blogger, Mark Bialczak braved the freezing cold (and I mean freezing literally) to come out to meet me for dinner. First, if you haven’t met Mark yet, you should check him out HERE. He’s a fun, engaging blogger and an all around great guy.

Syracuse guide

He remembered I love my sports, and was generous enough to bring me a copy of his book, also now a memento of my 3 week stay in Syracuse, and autograph it for me! How cool was that? He even teased me a bit about the book not being about my Cowboys!

Even better, despite the fact that the only place we’d interacted was online via our blogs, it felt like meeting an old friend. We never ran out of things to talk about. There was no awkwardness. Just a lot of good conversation and fun!

Have you ever met any friends from online? What was your experience?

When Ireland Meets #BeneathManhattanSkies

My friend, the beautiful and sweet Emma Meade, has stopped by for a quick chat and to share with us her newest release, Beneath Manhattan Skies.

For those of you who don’t know Emma, she was one of the first friends to welcome me on my blog. Despite our different time zones (Emma’s in Ireland), we’ve forged a wonderful friendship based on our mutual love of hunky heroes from some of our favorite Supernatural tv shows, including Supernatural, and great music.

When I found out that Emma had released a new book I jumped at the opportunity to share her (and her new book) with you. Hope you guys enjoy!

Me:Thanks for stopping by today, Emma! So, as folks probably figured out by my intro above, your love of the supernatural started with TV shows. What was the first show to get you hooked?

Emma:The X-Files. I think I was ten years old when I came across a trailer for a new alien show, and I ran to my dad, all excited to tell him about it. Myself and my big sis, Lucy, would huddle on an armchair together each week for Mulder and Scully’s latest adventure. The X-Files was my first major TV obsession and I fancied Krycek like mad, especially when he went bad. 🙂

Me: Out of curiosity, What made you choose New York/Manhattan as the backdrop for this book?

Emma: In Under the Desert Moon, the protagonist, Erin Harris, always dreamed of going to art college in New York. I never really planned on writing a follow-up novel, but when I decided to go ahead about a year ago and see what Erin was up to after high school. I wanted to make sure her dream of studying in The Big Apple came true. And New York is such a contrast to Erin’s small hometown, a sleepy place in Arizona called Copperfield.

Me: As a follower of your blog, I know you have a passion for music. Were there any specific songs that helped to inspire specific scenes in this book?

Emma: “Use Somebody” by Kings of Leon is one of Erin’s favourite songs. She’s a young woman, it’s her first time living away from home, and she’s looking for romance and passion, and this song makes her think of being with the vampire James, the first guy she fell in love with. The scene on the roof of Erin’s apartment when she and James can’t keep their hands off each other, is a result of this song being on repeat in her mind.

Me: Oooh! That’s great! So, speaking of Erin, what character traits do you like best/least about her?

Emma: Erin’s probably a little too serious for her own good. Her mother died when she was a young teenager, her father is a drunk, so Erin’s had to make the transition into adulthood largely alone. It’s no wonder she’s not as carefree as other girls her age. She has to put herself through college and has no parental support, financially or otherwise to fall back on. I’d like to see her let loose a bit more. She’s a strong women. That’s her best trait. She’s been through a lot and gets thrown into some vampire chaos in New York, yet she keeps her cool.

Me: She sounds fantastic! Just the sort of character I’ve always loved. A bit of a badass Buffy. 😉 Can I talk you into sharing a bit more?

Beneath Manhattan Skies Blurb-

November in New York is cold but full of possibility for college freshman Erin Harris. When her twin brother, Nick, shows up on her doorstep for a surprise visit, Erin is delighted. Unfortunately, Nick’s arrival coincides with the discovery of a body outside her apartment building, a body drained of blood. Right away, Nick assumes vampires are involved. He’s not exactly their biggest fan since Erin dated one in high school.

Juggling nosy roommates, a first date with a gorgeous guy from college and a brother on a Van Helsing kick is enough to keep any nineteen year old girl busy – And then Erin’s old flame walks back into her life.

Is Erin destined to be caught up in supernatural shenanigans, or will she choose a different path?

Beneath Manhattan Skies follows the character Erin Harris from Under the Desert Moon, but it can be read as a standalone story.

Cover Artist: Najla Qamber 

Teaser: Erin is chatting to Tommy, one of her college buddies in a club.

“My father wouldn’t be so understanding.” Erin frowned, not liking to think about her dad. “Did she have a boy or girl?” Erin shrugged in apology for not remembering.

“A boy. I feel sorry for my sister. She was surrounded by us growing up.”

“I’m sure it wasn’t that bad. She had a cool big brother.” She groaned inwardly. Why did she have to say that?

Tommy looked at her. Erin thought she saw a hint of a smile hovering around his lips. Where the hell was Sadie with the drinks? That girl was in big trouble for setting this up. A blush rose in Erin’s cheeks. She was grateful for the dim lighting in the bar.

“So, I’m cool, am I?” Tommy said after a moment, smiling easily again.

The tension alleviated and Erin breathed normally. “I thought you might have noticed that. You have a motorcycle. That automatically puts you in the cool club.”

“I’d like to take you out on the bike.”

And the hard-to-breathe thing started again.

EmmaMeade

About the Author:

Emma Meade lives in Ireland where it rains a lot. Reading and writing supernatural fiction, watching marathon re-runs of Buffy and drinking lots and lots of tea are some of her favourite activities. She’s never met a vampire, but thinks it would be kind of cool to meet one. Visit her on her blog, Emma’s Ramblings on Supernatural fiction at emmameade.com or on her website emmameadebooks.com

Website:  emmameadebooks.com

Blog:  emmameade.com

Twitter:  @EmmaMeadeIrl 

Goodreads:  https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4229395.Emma_Meade

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/emmameadewrites

Amazon Author Page:  http://www.amazon.com/Emma-Meade/e/B0064LKMK2/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

Amazon.com –  http://amzn.to/HZtjxO

Amazon.uk –  http://www.amazon.co.uk/Beneath-Manhattan-Skies-Emma-Meade-ebook/dp/B00GPKHN22/ref=la_B0064LKMK2_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1384966212&sr=1-2

Smashwords –  https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/374189?ref=emmaM83

Barnes & Noble  – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/beneath-manhattan-skies-emma-meade/1117444078?ean=2940045420013&cm_mmc=AFFILIATES-_-Linkshare-_-TnL5HPStwNw-_-10:1&r=1

Kobo –  http://store.kobobooks.com/en-US/ebook/beneath-manhattan-skies

iTunes –  https://itunes.apple.com/ie/book/beneath-manhattan-skies/id747022107?mt=11