Watching Pixar films boosts my creativity. And a creative writer is a happy writer. That's my reasoning for going to the movies, and the ice cream we eat first enhances the experience. Really.
Inside Out has the usual excellent animation and enchanting humor and fun we've come to expect from Disney, but what's going to make this movie a huge hit, I do believe, is the message it conveys. I won't spoil it for you, but since you've probably seen trailers, you know it's about a young girl dealing with her emotions.
All through the movie, I tried to remember what is was like being 11. I won't tell you how many years ago that was, but it's been awhile. My honey and I discussed the movie and even though neither of us had the kind of upbringing Riley did, we could totally empathize with her plight. We all get Mad, Sad, Scared, and Disgusted, even when we try to keep Joy in the forefront. Riley feels all these sensations and attempts to sort them out. Sometimes one rules, sometimes another. How Riley works out her feeling and how all the emotions come to peace with each other is a great message for everyone, young or old.
You can read the full plot at Wikipedia, but I recommend seeing the movie first so you can be delightfully surprised.
Happy Summer Solstice! What better way to celebrate than with a hot book. Isn't this a beautiful cover? Makes you want to head right down to the Bayou, doesn't it? Enjoy this post by my guest, Haley Whitehall.
I’m getting personal today. Writing is not always easy. Sometimes when you’re not even feeling an ounce of creativity it is quite a chore. My newest release Alpha’s Voodoo is the first romance I have published in almost a year. Needless to say it has been a rough year for me. I took care of my grandma who had Alzheimer’s for several years. After she passed away I suffered from depression. It was a major life change for me and I didn’t know what to do.
I started writing short stories in January forcing myself to get back into it. I’ve wanted to have a career as a writer since I was four years old. I knew I had to break through my mental block. While many writers can produce wonderful work when they are in a dark place I wasn’t one of them.
By March I had finally recovered enough to dust off and edit a novella I had written a long time ago. This paranormal historical romance became Alpha’s Voodoo. My excitement over a new contract was dampened when my Grandpa was rushed to the hospital in April. He took a turn for the worst and after moving into my house under Hospice care, he passed away.
Grandpa was one of my biggest supporters. He believed I could make it as a writer. I know he’d want me to keep writing, and I’m forcing myself to make writing a habit again. I will succeed.
With her reputation in tatters, debutante Violet Creed is forced to exchange her life of luxury for one of uncertainty. Mark Afton wants nothing more than to take his rightful place as the leader of the Bayou Pack, but he needs a mate. Is Violet Mark’s destined mate, or is their attraction merely Voodoo magic? Haley Whitehall is pleased to present Alpha’s Voodoo, Book 1 of her hot, new, paranormal romance series, Bayou Pack.
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Mark stiffened in his seat, sitting across from the daughter of the Voodoo Queen. Coming here had been a terrible idea; however, he couldn’t back out now. The young woman would realize he’d lost his nerve if she couldn’t sense his apprehension already.
“Let me take your hands, Mr. Afton. Please relax your mind.”
Marie Laveau’s tender dark fingers closed around his rougher white ones.
“This won’t hurt, I assure you,” she said with a hint of teasing. “I’m sure you have a bright future ahead of you, sir. Let me peer into your soul.”
Mark tried to relax, focusing on her sonorous voice, but his inner wolf remained alert, afraid to let his guard down. When he’d received word that Marie Laveau had taken to bed with fever, he’d jumped at the chance to have his fortune read by her daughter. He didn’t trust any of the other Voodoo practitioners in New Orleans. Hell, he didn’t even trust her mother.
He blew out a breath softly, trying to banish all thoughts from his mind. Perhaps his wolf did not want to be seen by the Voodoo Queen’s heir. The fact his family were shifters was a closely guarded secret. He knew his mother would not approve of him seeking out Marie Laveau’s services, but he was a grown man and did not need her to treat him as a child when it came to matters of the heart.
Marie Laveau’s energy pulsed from her hands into his body. Their connection grew stronger and then suddenly ceased as if her magical power had been dowsed. She drew a deep breath. “I cannot see your future if you keep this wall between us.”
Mark looked into the Voodoo priestess’s hickory eyes. The contrast of her brightly colored red, green, and yellow head wrap against her dark skin was striking. Golden hoops dangled from her ears. Her mother’s pet snake, Zombi, rose behind her and rested his white head on her shoulder, similar to a pup seeking affection.
Seeing the large snake, Mark bristled and his inner wolf snarled.
Unfortunately, the snake seemed very content perched on her shoulder and did not feel threatened.
Marie Laveau stroked Zombi’s scaly head. “He bothers you,” she stated.
“Yes,” Mark admitted, hoping she wouldn’t take offense. He knew the snake wouldn’t harm him, but his inner wolf did not like him nonetheless.
Marie Laveau petted Zombi several times and then spoke softly to him. The snake slid off her shoulder and curled up in a large wicker basket sitting by her chair.
“Now, perhaps you will allow me to work. You have paid me handsomely, Mr. Afton, and I do intend to tell your fortune.”
“I want to know who I am to fall in love with,” Mark clarified, not wanting to get her distracted on financial or other matters. He had heard that the Voodoo Queen’s specialty lay in matchmaking. Hopefully Marie Laveau had trained her daughter in that specialty as well. Surely, she couldn’t do any worse than his mother when it came to finding him a suitable wife.
Most wolves knew their mates instantly, but that was not the case in his family. They had become wolf shifters against their will and the curse made finding the perfect mate difficult. Thus, he came to the daughter of the Voodoo Queen as a last resort. He needed to know which woman to court and woo. Who was the perfect woman to stand by his side and help him lead the Bayou Pack when it was his time to take over for his uncle?
Marie Laveau took his hands again and began humming in a soft, sweet voice. His inner wolf fought to remain alert, but the woman’s power was too strong. Slowly he felt the beast relax, lulled into a sense of security, as if wrapped in a protective embrace.
The young Voodoo priestess quit humming and instantly the trance ended. His inner wolf rose to just under the surface. Mark opened his eyes slowly and blinked, struggling to keep his facial features from turning wolfish. How long had he been under her spell?
“A half hour,” Marie Laveau announced as if reading his mind. “Normally my readings are a lot shorter, but I had much to see. You, Mr. Afton, are more than meets the eye.” Her tight smile and the knowing glint in her eye made him swallow hard. She was aware he was a shifter.
Damn it, he knew this was likely to happen.
“Your family has been cursed,” she said. “By my mother no less.” She tilted her head and looked wistful. “I learned to recognize her magic at an early age. It is like a signature.” She let out a small sigh and then returned her attention to him. “My mother cursed your family and yet you come to me. Why?”
“I knew nowhere else to turn.” The honest ring to his words made him wince. He was desperate. “Being a wolf shifter is all I know.” He shrugged. “I suppose my grandfather deserved to be cursed. When I was a young boy he told me the story, and I have since learned more details.”
“Hmm. Interesting.” She hummed a few notes and tapped two fingers to the side of her cheek. “You don’t come to me asking for the curse to be removed?”
Mark’s eyebrows winged up. “I never figured there was a way to revoke the curse.”
Marie’s feminine laugh filled the room. “There is always a way to remove a curse. However, it is seldom easy.”
Did he want to give up his duel nature? Running wild in the woods was freeing, and taking over leadership of the Bayou Pack had seemed his destiny. No, it was something he’d have to think over long and hard. Whether living as a man or as a shifter he still needed to find a wife. Love first.
Where to Find Haley Whitehall
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Midnight Caller – Moonlight Romance Book 1
Midnight Heat – Moonlight Romance Book 2
Midnight Kiss – Moonlight Romance Book 3
Soldier in Her Lap
Wild and Tender Care
Civil War Valentine
About the Author
Haley Whitehall lives in Washington State where she enjoys all four seasons and the surrounding wildlife. She writes historical romance set in the 19th century U.S. When she is not researching or writing, she plays with her cats, watches the Western and History Channels, and goes antiquing. She is hoping to build a time machine so she can go in search of her prince charming. A good book, a cup of coffee, and a view of the mountains make her happy.
Who loves thrift stores, raise your hand? The one clutching all that money you saved by shopping at one of these fine establishments. I'm fortunate to live in an area that has a great selection of used goody stores, from higher end consignment shops to kind of junky places that you need to dig long and hard to find treasures. And wash your hands real good after. No matter, I visit them all, and here are the top four reasons why.
1. Cool stuff you won't find at WalMart. Nothing against the big box store. I shop there a lot. It's convenient, open twenty-four hours and has everything in stock all the time. Can't say that for thrift stores, but WM lacks charm and character. If I buy decor or clothing there, everyone else will have one too. And as big as they are, those super stores only have so much room. They can't have a hugely diverse selection and certainly don't have one-of-a-kind items.
2. Cheap. Yep, I'm a bargain shopper. If I can find what I want, gently used at a discount, I'm tickled pink to have not paid full price. I can come away with a bag full of goodies and still have money left for groceries.
3. Keeping Mother Earth happy. Reuse, recycle. The more we follow this pattern, the better for everyone.
4. Treasure hunting. When I'm on the prowl for a specific thing, nothing beats zipping around from shop to shop in my quest to snag the item. I map out my route and away I go. Usually, I'll find something else totally unrelated, and that's okay too because (see number 2 above) I'm not shelling out big bucks to indulge my shopping habit.
This picture below, it's from a vintage "re-purposing" store, a new trend I hope will catch on. Don't you?
This is why I love summer. The chance to get outside, even for a short time, and see what Mother Nature has cooked up. Isn't she awesome? Below, pictures of a recycled lamp and chair, welded together and adorned with butterflies, to form a beautimus plant stand. A creative couple came up with this idea. Further down, kids playing in a fountain in the park. When I get to take time and enjoy all this lovely, it does my heart good. Literally. My blood pressure drops, I'm sure, during these moments of relaxation and appreciation of pretty.
Even though it's already cookin' outside in my part of the world, I'm making it a point this summer to seek out interesting views. I'll make sure to share with you!
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