You’ll know from reading my column what I did for Valentine’s Day. Whether you have a significant other or you're content with your own company, I hope you did something you love on the day too. Though just quietly, you should be doing that every day and not just on a date dictated by the calendar.
I hope you had a wonderful February fourteenth whether you celebrated with a romantic partner, a group of friends or took time out to spoil yourself.
This Valentine’s Day hubby and I had a wonderful dinner with friends before attending a comedy show. I believe shared laughter is something special. The fact that we were laughing so hard we could scarcely breathe was beside the point. Romance is supposed to make you breathless, right? And we witnessed a lovely surprise marriage proposal after the show. However, it seems we have no idea how to have a real date.
Not that my teen cared, (as if we’d know anything about romance anyway), but my youngest child’s expectations were another matter. Apparently, if you don’t hold hands, kiss, and tell each other ‘I love you’ then it’s not a real date. Also, since we didn’t give each other a card with little love hearts on it, then we couldn’t be real valentines either. I’m not sure I want to know how she came upon such ideas, but until then, I’m sure we’ll be receiving the proper instructions from our little cupid.
You know another of my loves is reading, just as you’ve probably realised that I love Jenny Schwartz’s stories. This month’s review section shares some of her short stories.
Kiss Me Quick – A Cowboy for Valentine’s Day – Lily Gibb visits cowboy, Ross Fortescue with chicken soup for the flu from which his well-meaning aunt insists he suffers. She feels she owes him after he rescues her from an unfriendly horse. Upon arriving, she discovers he’s not ill at all and that Ross’ aunt has invited three other women to take care of her nephew. Ross begs her to help him encourage the other women to leave and since it’s Valentine’s Day, what better reason is there than a first kiss in view of everyone – and what a kiss it is.
Dare: Sensual Tales of Fantasy and Suspense - What a wonderful collection of stories.
Denying the Dragon is definitely my favourite. The sensuality displayed in that story was decadently delicious. ;) This is about an earth dragon who finds real estate for the supernatural. In saving a water dragon from the clutches of goblins, she acknowledges her dragon gifts and helps him save a goblin princess from the group who attacked him.
Journey to the Shassa – This is the kind of story that leaves you wanting more. Sweet and full of promise, one yearns to know what happens next.
Embracing the Ghoul – This is my next favourite. I have never thought to make a ghoul romantic or appealing or turning their supposed curse into something so positive but Ms Schwartz certainly did. I was very impressed with this story about a doctor (the ghoul) who uses the anguish from the people and patients around her to give her energy to help heal them long after the human doctors collapse from exhaustion. When a demon escapes into the human dimension she uses her ability to detect anguish to help the police (whose captain is a dragon and aware of her abilities) locate it.
The Lion Hearted – another one where I want to know what happens next. I loved the main character's inner strength and belief she was caught between doing her duty and protecting herself only to discover she was no longer alone and had a partner that was worthy of her with secrets of his own.
Can you Arrest an Alien? – I loved the twist in this story. Can’t give away more than that.
Up in Flames – another one where I wanted more. Love how the main character's magical list of priorities kept changing and sending her messages she knew damn well weren't on her list. I like the idea of a mage for hire. And as for the salamander feeding off our duo’s ‘sensual energy’... that was different. I’m going to have to do some research on that. :)
Release the Djinni – I’ve never read a Djinni story before so I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was imagining a very dark character. As for her angel lover, I loved the masculine ‘human’ quality Ms Schwartz gave him. Loved their first meeting. This story also has a twist I didn't see coming and it was the most poignant and emotional twist in the collection, which was the most beautifully sad thing I read in the whole book.
As always, you can find more about Ms Schwartz and her stories here - http://authorjennyschwartz.com/
Apart from having what vaguely resembles a social life this month, I’ve been busying myself helping in my youngest child’s class. I have such a thrill when one of the kids enjoys reading their book to me. Witnessing the look on his or her face when they comprehend what they’re reading, write a sentence to explain their book and follow it with perfect punctuation make my day. Best of all, I love the look on their faces when they’ve struggled with a word or sentence and suddenly they ‘get it’. They are so proud of themselves and rightly so. These are the moments where I can see how amazing it can be to be a teacher and why I think so highly of those who bring out the best in their students. I then have to remind myself that I’m not there the whole day and that I have limited patience, which is why my dubious teaching skills work best in small doses.
On the writing front, I’ve sent away two competition entries. One was a last minute – what the heck – decision, so I don’t have high expectations for that one, but on the plus side, I know I’ll receive feedback that’s important to the creative process. The other is a competition I’ve entered previously and did well in, but again, there’s always room for improvement. Homework is complete and the novella is coming together. It will be time to rip it apart again before I know it. :)
As for those seasonal shenanigans, things haven’t been the best weatherwise in my part of the country. Tropical Cyclone Marcia made an unwelcome visit a few days ago, and while my town was extremely lucky not to bear the brunt of the category five storm, the towns and cities around me were not so fortunate. I’m happy to report no loss of life and that my friends in these areas are safe too. I can’t say the same for their homes and in some cases, their livelihoods. Many people are without power, fresh water and fresh food. ERGON, our power company, is doing a brilliant job or restoring power as quickly as they can and it makes me proud to see our communities band together to help those less fortunate. For those able to do so, please check in with your local radio station for further details if you can help in any way.
For those in my area, any help, whether it’s physical labour (because those trees won’t move themselves) or the simple act of donating tinned food, clothing and sanitary items would be greatly appreciated.
In all it’s been an interesting month. We also had an earthquake a few days before Marcia arrived. This can’t have been as much of a concern considering I slept through the 5.4 quake felt by people over a several kilometre radius in the wee hours. Quakes occur along our coastline all the time, but it’s been a while since one occurred in the middle of Queensland. I’d prefer neither made a repeat performance but as cyclone season doesn’t officially finish until April and earthquakes make a grand entrance any time they like, I don’t like my chances.
Fingers crossed March is just as exciting, but in a more positive fashion. Take care everyone.