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?

Warm Up This Winter With #UntangleMe by SJ Maylee

When the weather outside is frightful, there isn’t much I enjoy more than curling up under the covers with a steaming hot romance…except maybe curling up with my guy and a steaming hot romance. Afterall, if my guy is there and I start to smolder…well, let’s just say he can play fireman and put out those flames.

With the cold weather upon us, I invited my friend and blog buddy, S.J. Maylee to stop by and share a little bit about her newest novelette with Evernight Publishing.

So, without any further ado, here’s a bit about Untangle Me.

Untangle Me

BLURB:

Ivy’s revenge on the people behind her family’s downward spiral is simple and it’s working. There’s no need to long for help from the wealthy business owners who turned their backs on her father. Ivy may be worn out, but she’s finding herself again after joining the local BDSM club.

Seth has it all. He has homes around the world and the little red speedster he dreamed of as a little boy, but none of the things he can buy satisfy him, not the socialites hanging on his arm or the submissives falling at his feet. Then, he hires Ivy to plan his next event.

Seth and Ivy enjoy each other’s company in and out of the planning stages for Seth’s charity event. Their playful bets lead them to a first date. When their secret kinks are revealed, the pair fall deep, but it’s not meant to last. Past hurts come back to haunt Ivy. Now, it’s time for Seth to use all he’s learned, regardless if he can win back the girl.

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18710704-untangle-me

EXCERPT:

Where was Seth?

Once in the center of the dance floor she turned in a circle, looking every direction.

There.

From the center seat at the bar, Seth’s direct stare held her captive. A new song excited the crowd and cheers surrounded them, but neither of them paid it any attention.

His jacket and tie were gone, giving her a closer look at his all-male body. The top button on his white shirt was undone. She wanted to undo the rest and get a glimpse at what lay underneath. Round shoulders tapered to his waist. She bit her lip as she imagined his length.

He made no move to come to her, his elbow still rested on the bar. He was a man waiting for the world to come to him.

Not the world. Her.

The comfortable confidence and the heat shining in his eyes turned her on. She swayed her hips to the hypnotic beat. Her hands felt their way up her thighs, around her hips, and an inch past her waist, he got up and walked towards her.

In no time, his feet stepped in between hers and together they rocked to the music. The drums and base from the band pushed a rhythm into her body, driving her desire. Their fingers interlaced. She snuggled closer and breathed in his clean musky scent.

She wanted to touch him, but he kept a hold on her hands. He pushed them both behind her, causing her back to arch and her breasts to press deliciously into his hard body. Heat rolled through her. She let her head fall back, exposing her neck.

His lips brushed across her collarbone. They continued to rock back and forth, their hips swaying and rubbing together. He took her wrists in one hand and his other stroked down her neck, over her shoulder, caressed the side of her breast, and around her waist to land on her butt. He squeezed her ass and pressed her into the hard ridge of his cock. She lowered her chin and moaned as she took in his expression filled with raw desire. A slow devilish smile lit his features and sent a tremble through her.

The song ended and another began while they continued their dance. He let go of her hands and she wrapped them around his neck. Both of his hands molded her ass. She nuzzled his neck, taking a nibble and a few kisses as she breathed him in. She wanted more.

Lots more.

She made her way closer to his mouth. Before she stole a kiss, she looked into his eyes. His brown eyes had darkened to the color of night, matching his hair. She sucked on her lower lip.

“You know what you’re doing, right?” he asked.

“I know I want you.”

“The Masters work the back rooms on club nights. But we can stay on the dance floor all night, if you want.”

“You’re talking about the one on one rooms?” She sucked in a breath.

“I don’t think this crowd is prepared to see what I want to do to you.”

“Can we go back there? I want to go back there.” She looked directly into his eyes.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Of course we can’t let S.J. just leave after sharing such a tidbit… we want to know stuff, right? So here’s what S.J. wanted you to know about some of her favorite things…

Take it away, S. J!

The hero of UNTANGLE ME is a successful businessman. With all his wealth, extravagances are easy to come by. I believe luxuries don’t have to be costly or out of reach. Here are my top five inexpensive favorite things:

  1. Spritz of lavender water on my pillow. Certain smells can take my stress away. There’s nothing like my mom’s cooking or a fresh cup of coffee, but when I need to quiet my mind and breath deep, a simple spray of lavender can help my mind let go and relax.
  2. Chocolate. Any kind of sweet yummy chocolate is an indulgence. It doesn’t take long to enjoy a little morsel either, but they take me to a happier place.
  3. A snazzy drink. For me it will probably be a cup of coffee from my favorite local coffee joint. I make an excellent cup of coffee at home, but there’s something about going out and having it done for me that makes it better.
  4. Watch something funny. It doesn’t matter if it’s an old favorite or something new. Every week, I take the time to sit down, put my feet up, and laugh.
  5. Call a friend. I have several friends that live several states away. Although I might not have seen them this year, a few minutes on the phone will bring us right back together and will do wonders at stripping away my stress.

These are just a few of my favorites. One of them is Ivy’s favorite too. She’s the heroine in UNTANGLE ME. You’ll have to read the story to find out which one and the heart breaking reason why she needs it. I wish I could talk about it more. I love this story and I hope you will too.

Thanks for dropping in, S.J. It’s always a pleasure to have you visit!

Author, S.J. Maylee

Author, S.J. Maylee

Still want to know more about S.J. or where to buy her book? Let me help you…

UNTANGLE ME BUY LINKS: 

Evernight Publishing: http://www.evernightpublishing.com/untangle-me-by-s-j-maylee/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Untangle-Me-Romance-S-J-Maylee-ebook/dp/B00H3WXVTK/

Barnes & Noble: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/untangle-me-sj-maylee/1117667188

All Romance eBooks: https://www.allromanceebooks.com/product-untangleme-1367983-147.html 

BookStrand: http://www.bookstrand.com/untangle-me

S.J. MAYLEE BIO:

S.J. Maylee fell in love with storytelling at a young age and with it came a deep-seated desire for everyone to find their happily ever after. She’s finding the happy endings for her characters one steamy story at a time.

When she’s not reading or writing, you can find her caring for her garden, laughing with her two young sons, or dancing to her husband’s music. She’s a PMP (Project Management Professional), Nia instructor, and coffee addict.

As a writer she has a tendency to break hearts, but she always glues them back together.

Blog: http://SJMaylee.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/SJMaylee

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/SJ-Maylee/339463696094996

Google+ https://plus.google.com/u/0/+SJMaylee

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7224328.S_J_Maylee

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/sjmaylee/

Winter Warm Up

All over my Facebook this morning where freezing cold pictures of snow covered yards, cars, lawn furniture…and even some pets and children frolicking in the white stuff. Brrrr! Do you know the last time I actually enjoyed winter weather?

Winter in Germany

Winter in Germany

Yeah, that’s me with my hands in the air. Many, MANY moons ago. In another country. I’m not without understanding of how winter works… I grew up in Chicago, for goodness sake. I’ve dealt with the wind coming off Lake Michigan. And I moved to Southwest Florida for a reason… So imagine my surprise when I prepared to take my beautiful dogs out for their morning constitutional only to find the temperature was in the 40’s. Yes, a mad scramble ensued to find things like fuzzy socks and sweatshirts. It’s nearly 2 pm here. How warm did it actually get?

So it's not as cold as where you are...don't judge me. I freeze easily.

So it’s not as cold as where you are…don’t judge me. I freeze easily.

To be clear, I left Chicago more than 10 years ago after 2 blizzards in a row. These days I tend to get a bit whiny and cranky when I’m cold. Unfortunately, today, I can’t even shove my ice cube feet under my hubby’s legs to warm them up (and shock his system) because he’s away at training.

So, since most of us agree that cold weather is no fun once you grow up (granted the degrees of cold we all handle is different), I thought I’d go to my happy places and bring you along…

Doesn’t that just call sun and surf to mind? It just so happens that one of my dear friends married a reggae singer named Jah Niceness (well, that’s his stage name) from Jamaica. So I actually know him personally. He’s one of the sweetest, mild mannered guys I’ve had the pleasure of meeting.

This is him singing at another friend's going away party.

This is him singing at another friend’s going away party.

What else makes me think warmer climates? For the smart alecks that may have thought “how about ice cream?” or “what about a dip in the gulf or a pool?” You’re not funny…. But maybe pictures of those things may warm me…

Like snorkeling in the Bahamas...

Like snorkeling in the Bahamas…

Yeah, that water was nice and warm….

Eh… Who am I kidding? What I really need to do is get my juices going! In my universe we all know that’s an open ended prospect that can lead to a dance floor just as easily as a bedroom. 😉 Or it can mean writing all the things that get everyone else all warmed up…. Hmmm… Maybe it can mean all three. Bah! Who am I kidding? Of course it can!

So, when your weather outside is frightful…what do you do to feel warm? Feel free to be as clean or as dirty as you please…LOL!

Irving Berlin and the Holidays

Sometimes I wonder where our holidays would be if it weren’t for the creations of guys like Irving Berlin. I mean, think about it… No Holiday Inn. No White Christmas. Those movies…and the songs that came from them became classic staples to the American culture.

So when I came across this gorgeous rendition of one of Berlin’s classics (and one of my all time favorite Christmas songs) featuring two of my favorite voices, of course I had to include it in my holiday celebration music! I love that technology now gives us these kinds of opportunities.

While I’m at it, I thought I’d also include a clip from my favorite Christmas movie ever… White Christmas. Considering the weather for most of you these days, I figured it was appropriate. (I’m in Florida and only enjoy snow on Christmas Eve/Morning.)

Do you have a favorite Christmas movie? Is there something in particular that sets it apart from the other holiday movies for you? A song? A character? You know me….I’m always curious.

Liquid Libations to Kick Off Winter Celebrations

With the Holiday season comes snowy weather… Of course this is also a time for Snow Angels, Christmas caroling, building Snowmen, putting up outdoor Holiday lighting…all which require tromping into the house to warm up! If you’re not quite at drinking age, that usually means hot apple cider or cocoa…with marshmallows, of course. If you’re a smidge older, it includes adding some liquid enhancements.

So, because my fabulous gal pal at Cowboys and Crossbones got me inspired by our good friend alcohol, I thought I’d share a recipe and the matching song… 😉

First, the recipe…. And please feel free to share your favorite seasonal alcoholic (or non) liquid treat in the comments below…I’m always looking for new additions to my repertoire.

Wassail

6 c. Apple juice or cider
2 c. Cranberry juice
2 c. Orange juice
1/4 c. Sugar
1 Tbsp Bitters
3 Tbsp Lemon juice
In a cheesecloth:
6 Cinnamon sticks cut into thirds
16 whole Cloves
1 tsp whole Allspice
Tie up cheesecloth. Place all liquid ingredients into a pot, then drop in the cheesecloth spice ball. Simmer until ready to serve. Add 1 c. of light/spiced rum if preferred…but please, if you’re going to drink, assign a designated driver. Don’t Drink And Drive!