The second book in my ridiculous gladiator shapeshifter paranormal romance series is out today! GLADIATOR CHEETAH link, for those of you who are all business! (Book one, GLADIATOR BEAR, is here. :))

For those who have read the book early: if you wanted to leave a review, that would be AMAZING. Generally, Amazon needs 50 reviews to start boosting books, & every 50 thereafter increases its visibility that much more.

He’ll make her heart race….

Shannon had her life planned out right up to the Olympic gold medal, but she never predicted the fall that ended her biathlete career. When a South African game reserve puts out a call for sharp-shooters to help guard their animals, Shannon leaves the wreck of her life behind in exchange for danger, excitement…and an unexpected chance at love…

Cheetah shifter Aeolis Savio is cautious about telling people the truth regarding his sanctuary: that it’s not only protects ordinary endangered species, but is also a refuge for shapeshifters whose gladiator ancestors once fought, and bonded with, the beasts of the Roman Colosseum. But when intelligent, brave Shannon Kavanaugh joins the park rangers, Aeolis must betray his secret in the first moments that they meet, in order to save a newborn from certain death.

But the natural circle of life isn’t all that threatens the sanctuary. Elite hunters who know that shifters exist are looking for their next big kill, and have their sights set on Aeolis’s refuge.

Can fated love hold the line against hard-hearted humanity? Find out in GLADIATOR CHEETAH!

Picoreview: Season 10 Supernatural: Honestly, I suspect I enjoyed this a great deal more after a 6 year hiatus than I would have if I’d continued watching it at the time. I’m watching the THEN/NOW recaps because it’s been years, and they’re generally helpful, and I spent all of April doing a more or less daily picoreview of the episode I watched on Twitter, so I’m just gonna drop that behind the cut for … the hell of it. :)

(more…)

I’ve sort of started getting into a schedule. Most of March was a complete wash, to exactly nobody’s surprise, but I’ve been working on a book since the end of March, and early in April I started (*shudder*) exercising. We’ve got an exercise bike in the shed, and–

–see, so, like, 6 years ago I’d given up on Supernatural, but then I was CONVINCED it was gonna wrap up with season 10 and I wanted to watch the end of the series with everybody else, right? So I started catching up, but just as I finished watching s9, they announced s11 and I threw the towel in. And of course when they announced s15 was gonna be the last, I had a moment of “Oh, too bad I won’t be caught up,” because I’d still like to, y’know, like, Be There At The End Of The Road, right?

Only know what’s happened now?

Like everything else, production on Supernatural has been shut down…with 2 episodes left to film. And I thought, “Well, if I start watching RIGHT NOW, I might be able to catch up and STILL BE THERE FOR THE END WITH EVERYBODY ELSE AFTER ALL.”

So on the 6th I started with s10, an episode a day while I use the exercise bike. I’m up to 60 minutes now, which is 1.5 episodes, so at the end of this first week I’ve watched 8 episodes, which…I’m pretty pleased about, actually. It’s proving to be entertaining enough to get me out to the bike so I can find out what happens, anyway.

Ultimately I hope to be watching 2 episodes a day, because my ambition right now is to get through the seasons available on Amazon Prime by my birthday, and that’s, uh, well, I had like 92 episodes and 55 days to watch them in. So. Yeah.

Anyway, the whole thing is like, this is both a very concrete goal (catch up before the last 2 episodes are aired) & a very nebulous one (because WHO KNOWS when they’ll film them, much less have them aired!), so…yeah, it’s like a thing. Of some kind.

And now, at the end of April, I’ve cycled 19 of the past 25 days, which is…pretty good, actually, isn’t it? I’ve just finished s10, having earned 2 non-exercise-bike episodes by cycling on a REAL bike, so I’m got to sit around like an actual lump and eat cookies and finish season 10 tonight. And I was VERY BRAVE and didn’t start s11 despite the cliffhanger, ’cause I HAVEN’T EARNED IT.

Which leaves me with 3 seasons to go by my birthday, EXCEPT s14 dropped on Amazon a couple days ago so now I have FOUR seasons to go by my birthday, which is 100% Not Happening. I’d have to watch a season a week, which would be…oh. hrm. well. hrm.

Ok, I’d been thinking THREE HOURS A DAY, NO WAY, but they’re 42 minute episodes so it’s actually just a smidge over 2 hours a day, which is UNLIKELY, but not IMPOSSIBLE. I mean, it might render me dead and unable to do anything else, but it wouldn’t be IMPOSSIBLE.

(I do not realistically expect to get through 4 seasons in 1 month. )

Anyway, this is the most consistently I’ve exercised in years. Granted, it’s a very, very low-key workout, bc the settings on the bike are something like the equivalent of
1=peddling on a flat surface
2=peddling up kilimanjaro
5=peddling thru granite

so i’m using 1.

But it makes me sweat &unlike a real bike, I’m peddling almost constantly bc there are no downhills to coast on. I have A Dream that eventually I’ll set it on Kilimanjaro instead of flat surface, but I thought I’d try to get to where I could get thru 2 episodes without dying, first.

(tbh, i could 100% do 2 eps without dying right now, as i’m not dying at 1.5 episodes. i’d probably even remain conscious the rest of the day. But that extra 20 minutes seems like A Lot, somehow. It’d probably seem like less if I was getting to the bike a little earlier, say, AT 7 instead of getting out of bed around 7. But…bird by bird, right? Right.)

I’ve been mucking about with chili recipes for ages trying to come up with one that I particularly liked, and I think I’ve finally nailed it.

Catie’s Chili
2-3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion
2 bell peppers
4 cloves garlic, smashed
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp oregano
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 heaping tbsp tomato paste
1 c vegetable stock
2 cans kidney beans, rinsed
1 c frozen corn
1 lb (500gm) stew meat, if desired

Heat the oil a bit while you chop the onions into whatever size bits most suits you. Throw the onions into the oil, turn the temperature up to pretty high, and stir occasionally while you’re chopping up the bell peppers into whatever size most suits you. (I like red & yellow ones, which has no bearing on how they’re chopped.) Throw the peppers in with the onions. Stir whenever you remember to. Let them get nice and soft. This takes more than 5 minutes, no matter what other recipes want you to believe.

Put all the spices into a small bowl together. Stir, if you’re feeling really into it. Chop up the meat into smaller bits, if you’re having a chili con carne. Smash the garlic, toss it in, & stir for a minute or so while it browns. You actually have to do this particular bit of stirring or it’ll burn, and burned garlic is nobody’s fave.

If you’re having chili con carne, throw the meat in now & brown it up. If you’re not having chili con carne, skip this paragraph.

Stir the spices in, likewise stirring so they blend and don’t burn. Turn the heat down a bit.

Add the rest of the stuff. Tomatoes first. Maybe you like quite dry chili. Put the first can’s worth in, decide if it looks wet enough. (I didn’t think it did.) Put the second one in. Oh, wait, the tomato paste, put that in. When we say “1 heaping tablespoon” what we mean is “2 tablespoons but who could possibly be bothered to measure two tablespoons of tomato paste.” Maybe you don’t need vegetable stock. Probably you do, though. It’s got all those flavoids. Add the stock. Yeah, that looks about right, now. Oh shit, don’t forget the corn! Okay, the corn is in. Hey, that smells pretty good and it looks nice. Whew, that’s a relief.

Put a lid on it. Set to simmer and come back to stir occasionally. Worry that probably that’s too much liquid after all. Try to set the lid on an angle to let some more of the heat escape. The lid falls back down to fitting properly, but it turns out that’s okay because the amount of liquid when it’s done, after about an hour of simmering and then another hour of sitting on the stove with the heat off while you Skype with family, ends up being exactly perfect.

Eat with cornbread muffins.

(This is definitely good chili, but I also have a cold and may need to tweak it some when I can taste things more, uh, better. Still, it’s a good place to start.)

So a little bit ago my dad, who is notorious for leaving his glasses lying around, was looking for them. We looked in the kitchen. We looked in the library, and I checked the bathroom while he went up to check his room.

Then I went into the living room and called, “I found your glasses, Dad!”

And I HAD found them.

On MY FACE.

*MY* glasses were lying on the coffee table, because I, too, have developed a terrible habit of leaving my glasses lying around (only since my eyes got to be about 45 years old, mind you, and Dad’s been doing it since at least his mid-thirties). I’d picked up Dad’s, which were on the kitchen table, after I’d eaten lunch.

I’d put them on. I’d thought, “Wow, God, how did my glasses get SO DIRTY since I last wore them?”

I took them off. I cleaned them. I thought, “Ugh, I didn’t do a good job, my right eye’s vision is poor.” I took them off again to check, but the lenses looked quite clean. I put them on and, no, my vision was still funny.

I took the glasses off AGAIN and tried to clean out the corner of my eye, in case that was where the vision problem was. Put them back on, nope, still fuzzy. “Christ,” I thought, “I only got a new prescription last July or something, has my vision changed again that much already?”

No. No, it hadn’t. Dad’s prescription and mine have always been quite close to interchangeable, but my right eye has always been worse than his, so while I was fine with the left lens, the right just wasn’t quite strong enough, BUT I DIDN’T REALIZE THE PROBLEM.

And NEITHER DID THE TWO PEOPLE WHO HAD _LOOKED AT ME_ WHILE I WAS WEARING DAD’S GLASSES!

It turns out that our glasses are shaped quite a lot alike, as well as being similar in prescription. Mine are purple, but dark enough, apparently, to be mistaken for Dad’s very similar black-rimmed glasses.

We’ve been laughing about it for about fifteen minutes now. :) :) :)