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Nov. 20th, 2015


(personal/goals) The Pursuit of Knowledge

knowledge meme


I’ve been thinking a lot about knowledge lately, in the aftermath of the attacks in Kenya, Paris, Lebanon, and Mali, among others. I’ve been listening to all the calls for war, for peace, for understanding, for hatred, and I’ve been trying to sort out what I know and what I don’t.


I know that not all people are terrorists, no matter their religion. I know most people of the world decry these actions, and want to see peace in their lifetime. But I don’t KNOW about the religions/philosophies they follow. Not as much as I want to.


So I’ve set a goal for myself for the next 13 months. I’m going to read all the religious/philosophical books I can get my hands on. I’m going to educate myself. And I’ll probably be commenting on the blog here as I do. I’m still trying to decide what to start with – it will either be the Bible, the Koran, or the Torah (as I’ve got copies of them all on my Kindle). This is the rest of my list so far:

– The Books of Mormon

– The Havamal

– The White Goddess

– Arcadia

– The Bhagavita Gita

– The Art of Peace

– The Tao te Ching

– The IChing

– The Tipitaka

– A Course of Miracles

– Dhammapada


Anything else I should read? Any suggestions? Want to join me?

Originally published at The words of Valerie Griswold-Ford. You can comment here or there.

Oct. 26th, 2015


(writing/personal) Nano on the horizon!

Maple leaves in Autumn.

I can’t believe it’s nearly November. This year has flown by. You know what else I can’t believe?

I’m going to try and write two novels in November. Yes, I’m probably insane. But, well, what are goals for if not to inspire us, right?

I’ve started going to the studio first thing in the morning (6:30 am is an EVIL, EVIL time) and writing before work. I have a blessed studio mate who makes sure I’m fed and not bumping into walls, and so far, it seems to be working. I’ve got the first outline for Nano done (the Advent story, which is going to be awesome, you guys), and this week, I’m working on the second one (for Resonant Frequencies). I’ve got the edits back for Winter’s Secrets as well, and although I won’t make a December 1 deadline for getting that published, I do promise you it will be coming. I just want it to be perfect, and it’s not yet.

I’m hoping this helps combat some of the SAD that I know is coming. As the days get shorter, and the air gets crisp and cold, I can feel it creeping in at the edges of my mind, sinking icy fingers into my heart and turning everything pale and cold. I don’t like feeling that way, and in the past, writing has helped me stave it off. I’m hoping to repeat that success. Wish me luck.

Originally published at The words of Valerie Griswold-Ford. You can comment here or there.

Oct. 11th, 2015


(weekly update) It’s Sunday again – a day of rest, right? No.

Well, in a way it is. I’m in my favorite sweat pants and my DKP teeshirt, and I have no intention of changing. I’m going to move at a pace that still gets things done, but doesn’t wear me out. I’m getting my next Remicade treatment on Wednesday, and I’m still nurturing a cold (which needs to get the fuck out, because they won’t give me my meds if I have a cold), so it’s going to be a slow, steady mosey all day. And I can do a lot of it sitting down.


In writing news, I have the edits back from the lovely Sue Baiman for Winter’s Secret, so I can get working on those this week. Yay, this book is getting closer to being real! I also need to get cracking on the last of my beta read for Ripley Patton and get those back to her (omg, you guys, this book is SOOOOO good and she is amazing and you should go buy Ghost Hand now so you can start catching up). And of course, NaNoWriMo is coming, and I need to get moving on the outline for Advent #5.


In non-writing news, I’m holding on to an 18-lb weight loss in two months, and looking forward to doing more. I’ve gotten rid of my YMCA membership and started a membership at my work’s gym. No excuses! Also, Herbalife is awesome.


Well, the laundry isn’t going to fold itself, sadly. Time to get moving!

Originally published at The words of Valerie Griswold-Ford. You can comment here or there.

Oct. 3rd, 2015


(health) Personal updates

Usually, fall is the time I start going into hibernation mode. By this, I mean that I start craving tons of carbs, bundling up in every blanket I can find, parking myself on my couch and refusing to move until spring. Yes, I’m probably more than part bear. Or cat.


Not this year. In August, I met up with one of my friends, who is an Herbalife coach, and it changed my entire outlook. I’m not normally a shake person. I don’t like the idea of not eating real food, and the chemical smells of most commercial shakes make me nauseous. But I agreed to try a 3-day trial, figuring at the worst, I’d make my way through it and then be done.


It was amazing. World-changing. When I got on Shannon’s scale that day in August, I was shocked to see the scale read 321 lbs. Yeah, that’s not a typo. I’d known it was bad, so I’d been avoiding my scale, but not that bad. No wonder my hips and knees were killing me, and I could barely walk 2000 steps a day. I knew I had to do something.


Before trying the shakes, I’d reached out to my gastroenterologist, to make sure this wasn’t going to be bad for my Crohn’s disease. To my surprise, he told me that Herbalife was actually one of the companies they suggested when folks were going through a flare, or had to give up solid food for a while (yeah, that happens. It sucks). So with his blessing, I started the trial.


I’ve been on Herbalife now for almost 2 months. I stepped on my scale this morning, and it said 303 lbs. My hips and knees don’t hurt much. I’m up to an average of 3500 steps a day, and steadily working my way towards 5000 (my first goal) every day. I don’t just use the elevator at work anymore – I take the stairs, about half the time. I’m starting to park farther away, because I can.


Best of all, when I’m having a flare, I know I can make myself a shake with protein and complex carbs that WON’T aggravate my symptoms, instead of filling up on white rice or applesauce.  I’m definitely a work in process, but it’s finally going the right way.

Originally published at The words of Valerie Griswold-Ford. You can comment here or there.

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Sep. 30th, 2015


(writing) NaNo is coming!

It’s getting colder. I have my first cold of the fall (joy. It didn’t even wait for September 23 to come in, and it’s really overstaying its welcome. But I digress.) and the leaves are changing. And you all know what that means:

It’s NaNoWriMo time again!

I’m on the site as captain_hobbes, if you want to add me. I’m going to do the next Advent story (imaginatively titled “Advent #5, Pavel takes us traveling”) and so I’ll be working on both my playlist (which will be on Spotify) and my outline for the next month. I’m determined to have everything ready to go for November 1. Despite everything, I’m going to win NaNo this year.

I’m still working on Resonant Frequencies as well, but I don’t know if I’ll finish it before NaNo. If I don’t, I’m not worried – I’ll come back to it in December.

I’m also still battling depression. It gets worse in the winter, and it’s not being helped by circumstances here in my life right now. But I’m hoping to get through it. After all, my average so far is 100% for making it through.

Hopefully, I’ll have some more blog posts for you guys as well. The website needs an overhaul and I want to get some more stuff out. But all in good time. Right now, you can also catch me blogging Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at Dark Knight Paranormal’s blog, the TAPS affiliate that I’m a part of.

Originally published at The words of Valerie Griswold-Ford. You can comment here or there.

Sep. 20th, 2015


(personal/writing) A blissful, lazy Sunday

I don’t get many of these anymore. I slept late, had my shake for breakfast (for those who don’t know, I’m doing the Herbalife program right now, and it’s FABULOUS), and already folded a load of laundry while watching last night’s Ghost Adventures. Now, I’ve got a cup of tea, because it’s getting cool again, and instead of iced tea, I’m craving hot tea again. That’s part of fall I love. The fact that snow is coming? Well, having the snowblower means I don’t worry as much, so yeah, I’m okay with the fact that the seasons are moving on.


I’m baking bread today as well. I’ve figured out that it’s not the gluten that bothers me – it’s the artificial preservatives. Which is awesome on the one hand (Yay, real bread again!), but dude, do you know how much of what is offered at the grocery store is full of artificial preservatives? I can handle guar gum, xanthum gum, salt, and citric acid. That’s about it. But that’s okay, because it means I can use my bread machine again! Yay!


I’m writing again too. The current novel involves a poet and a watercolorist – both things I have very little experience with. So it’s a learning experience. But I’m enjoying it. I’m also writing it without an outline, and it’s not an urban fantasy that involves the world as we know it ending. It’s a reminder that even if there isn’t a super-evil coming to destroy us all, there are stories that are woven in the tapestry of time. Hmm, I might have Mark use that. A tapestry of time would be a lovely image for Abby too.


In addition, I’m working on the concept for the next Advent story. Since I introduced some of Drew’s family during the Wedding story, I thought I might investigate some of the other people important in Molly, Drew, and Schrodinger’s life. And how to do that? With books, of course. (I also admit to being inspired by a Pintrest post about doing a 25-day book Advent calendar. How cool is that?)


Today, I’m blogging, both here and setting up the week’s blogs over at Dark Knights Paranormal. We’ve got another investigation coming up on October 12 – if you’re in the New Hampshire area (or New England, really) and want to come along, you can sign up here to join us!  We’d love to have you along!

Originally published at The words of Valerie Griswold-Ford. You can comment here or there.

Sep. 16th, 2015


(writing) More words!

So, um, yeah, I haven’t been writing. *sigh* Well, I am now! Not only am I working on a new book (titled Resonant Frequencies, and quite possibly the beginning of a world that I could write a few books in, if I wanted to), but I’m blogging now over at Dark Knights Paranormal! This is the TAPS affiliate for New Hampshire that I’m a part of, and we’re going to have some interesting things going on over there! Check us out!


Oh, and yes, there WILL be an Advent story this year. I’ve gotten an interesting idea, and it’s going to involve Pavel. Lots of Pavel. And we’ll get to see some of the Sea Roads. So I think you’ll enjoy that.


In conclusion, let me leave you with a little bit of Abby, one of the protagonists of RF:

She wandered down the broken fieldstone path to the old stone bench that some former owner had planted under what might have once have been a well-groomed apple tree. Now, the tree was sprawling and gnarled, covered in the remains of blossoms that smelled of sweet decay and sent pale flower petals up into the air with every breeze, and it curled around the bench like a lover. The bench itself was bathed in sunlight, and sitting in the middle of it was a very large long-haired black cat that was snoring.

“Cats are not supposed to snore, Timothy,” she said, and he deigned to open one green-gold eye at her. “Really.”

He snorted at her and closed his eye again. Abby grinned, her mood starting to lift, and settled in next to him, stroking his soft fur. The snoring became a purr.

“Where’s your brother?” she asked. Timothy didn’t answer, but as she continue to sit and pet him, she saw another fluffy black tail come sauntering through the weeds towards them.

Sheridan burst out of the grass, his copper eyes wide and his pink tongue lolling from one side of his mouth, his smushed Persian face covered in random pieces of green. He looked as if he’d fallen into someone’s grass pile.


Originally published at The words of Valerie Griswold-Ford. You can comment here or there.

Aug. 19th, 2015


(writing/personal) blowing the dust out of the corners

Good thing that it’s only electronic dust, because lord, there is a lot of it! I have been dealing with depression, family illness, and stress, so I haven’t been writing. Or blogging. Or really doing anything, to be honest. And I don’t know that the stress is going away soon, so I’m trying to pick up the threads as I can.


We got Molly and Drew safely married, and the stage is beginning to be set for the next Advent story that will be posted in December. Winter Secrets, the first Advent book, is off to the editor, so I have to make a decision of how I’m going to do that. I know folks want actual books, but that might have to wait until I can sell some other books (ahem). Self-publishing is expensive. But I’m still hoping to do it! It will at the very least be available as an ebook this Christmas.


I’m also working on two other books right now: Deep Waters, the first Sapphire Pendragon novel (yeah, I know, it was supposed to be a novella, but it decided against that); and Resonant Frequencies, which is an urban fantasy that isn’t about saving the world. Which is odd, but there you go. It’s about elves, artists, and the need we all have to be connected to someone.


I’m also now blogging for Dark Knight Paranormal, the NH affiliate of TAPS (The Atlantic Paranormal Society), so you can find me there Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. I’m hoping that between there and here, I actually start getting a presence out.


I’m also going to be honest – I could use the support now. For the folks who want to know how they can help: buy my books (especially the ones I have on Amazon). Promote my books. And for the sake of all the gods, remind me to write! :)

Originally published at The words of Valerie Griswold-Ford. You can comment here or there.

Jul. 25th, 2015


(advent) Day 5 – The Wedding

It was raining when Drew woke up – just a light rain, almost a mist, really, but enough that everything was soft and faintly glowing. Molly had spent the night at her brother’s house with her part of the wedding party, although Schrodinger had opted to stay with Drew.

I’m standing with you, he’d told Drew, when asked. And all the other guys are with you here, so that’s where I should be.

Now, Drew turned his head to the side, where Molly normally slept. Schrodinger had claimed her portion of the bed, and he was curled up with her pillow between his paws, his nose buried in the fabric, still asleep. Drew chuckled softly and slipped out of bed, padding down to the kitchen to start a pot of tea brewing.

To his surprise, Pavel was down there, and there was a pot of tea on the stove, steam coming from the spout. “You’re up early,” Drew said, getting a mug out of the cupboard and pouring himself hot water. “And you made tea. You’re almost domesticated, Pavel. We’ll have to find you a wife soon.”

Pavel shuddered. “Perish the thought. I’ll leave that to you, my friend.” He watched Drew make a cup of tea, and then pull out a loaf of freshly baked bread. “You are better this morning.”

“Yes.” Drew started slicing thick pieces of toast. “I told Molly about Phoebe yesterday.”

“Is that what’s been bothering you?” Pavel asked. “Phoebe?”

“She’s coming to the wedding today,” Drew said. “And I never told Molly about my ancestry.”

“And you thought Molly might leave you, because you are part faery?” Pavel guessed, and snorted when Drew shrugged. “You, my friend, are a moron. Of all of us, Molly would not care.”

“Molly is the one who’s going to have to raise a part faery child, and she might not have realized yet what that means,” Drew said.

She still won’t care, said Schrodinger sleepily, coming into the kitchen. That’s just Molly.

“Even Molly has her limits,” Drew said. “And it wasn’t fair not to tell her before.”

“Would you have told her if Phoebe wasn’t coming?” Pavel asked.

“I would hope so,” Drew said. “But I don’t know.”

Who’s Phoebe?

“My grandmother,” Drew said. “My faery grandmother.”

Schrodinger considered that as he sat in his chair opposite Pavel. You will have interesting children, then, he said finally. I’m glad I’ll be able to help. Between her genes and yours, who knows what you’ll get.

“A faery kitchen witch,” Pavel said. “The best of both worlds.”

By the time the carriage showed up to collect them all, the rain had subsided to a silvery-grey mist that softened the edges of the world. Drew could smell the sea and the aromas of flowers twining together in the gentle breeze that touched his cheek, so different from the smells of corn fields and farms that he had grown up with. Sometimes he missed those other smells – the dry dustiness of the wind over the fields in late summer, for example – but he couldn’t imagine not smelling the sea anymore.

“I can’t wait to see how this looks in the summer,” Luke said, as they clambered into Pavel’s carriage.

“Probably very similar to winter,” Tom said. “After all, it’s still the Snow Queen’s ball room.”

“I think you’re in for a surprise, if you think that,” Jack said, but refused to say more.

The ride to the clearing where the Snow Queen’s ball was held every December was full of good-natured ribbing and laughter. Drew had given out his groomsmen gifts the night before – hand-tooled flasks with his and Molly’s initials on them, and full of a smooth whiskey that Pavel would only tell them was something to be sipped and enjoyed. Drew had reminded them that if they showed up to the wedding with hangovers, Molly had threatened to have Jack howl the entire way into the wedding, just for them. It had been enough to keep the drinking to a minimum.

Once the carriage came to a stop, Pavel pulled out a different flask and passed it to Drew. “This is your last drink as a single man, my friend,” he said. “In my hometown, it was the duty of the best man to make sure that the groom was well-hydrated before he walked into the ceremony. So here’s to you, Drew.”

Drew accepted the flask and sipped. The liquid exploded on his tongue, dancing in fiery drops of ice and heat down his throat, spreading warmth edged with a sharp chill through his body. He shuddered and handed the flask back to Pavel. “What was that?” he wheezed.

“Mom’s homebrew,” Pavel told him. “Is mild, no? She sends her regards.”

“If that’s what your mother considers mild, remind me never to try anything she thinks is robust.” Drew’s eyes were watering. “I might need help getting down.”

“No worries,” Jack said, taking his arm. “Let’s get you inside.”

Drew was fine by the time they stepped into the main room. The Snow Queen’s ballroom had some small rooms off on the sides, something Drew had never really realized. The smaller room held chairs and a small table, just enough for them to straighten their tuxedos and make sure they were all together. Jack joined them after a few minutes, which told Drew that Molly and her attendants had arrived.

“Now, you two, these are for you,” he said, kneeling down in front of Jack and Schrodinger. Both had bow ties that matched the groomsmen – sapphire, of course. He held out baskets for each of them. In the center of each basket was a sapphire pillow, with a silver ring tied onto it: Molly’s a delicate filigreed circle and his more substantial but still interlaced, both having tiny sapphires on them. They’d commissioned the rings specially. The two ringbearers accepted their charges with gravity.

We won’t lose them, Jack assured Drew.

Not at all! Schrodinger agreed.

“I know you won’t. You two will escort Lily and Zoey down – just like we practiced yesterday.” Drew stood back up and squared his shoulders. “Everyone ready?”

“I’m supposed to ask that,” Father Christopher said, chuckling, as he stuck his head in the door. “We’re ready for you.”

When they entered the main ballroom, they all stopped short in awe. The ballroom was normally all in white, with icy white flowers and vines twining up the pillars, and the ceiling was full of stars. But today, the vines held sapphire flowers, the white ice floors had transformed into a grassy lawn, and the sky above was silvery-grey. Birds sang from hidden alcoves, and there were chairs set out.

Father Christopher waited for them at a small dais that normally held the Snow Queen’s throne. Today, it held a small table, covered in a white tablecloth sprinkled with sapphire snowflakes, on top of which was the unity candle that Molly and Drew had picked out. In the center of the dais was a large crystal vase.

Drew took his place next to Father Christopher, and Pavel stood behind him. Jack and Schrodinger had gone off with their baskets to the room where Molly was, and the groomsmen were escorting guests to their chairs. It was happening. Finally.

And then he saw her. She glided into the room, one hand lightly on Jack’s arm (probably a good thing, since Jack would be immune to her touch), laughing at something he said. His grandmother was dressed in a long, flowing dress of warm gold, as if she were sheathed in sunshine, and Drew could smell her perfume reaching out to envelop him. He looked at Father Christopher, who nodded, then hurried over to her.

“Drew, darling boy,” Phoebe said, letting go of Jack and enfolding Drew in a warm hug. “I’ve missed you.”

“I’ve missed you too, Grandmother,” he said, returning her hug. For a moment, he was a child again, looking for her comfort in the dark night. She had been his sun for so long, and it felt right to step back into her light.

“Are you happy here, Drew?” she asked him, stepping back and looking at him. “Truly happy?”

“I am, Phoebe,” he said, and knew it was true. “This is where I need to be.”

“Even though it’s far from your roots?” she pressed. “Far from me?”

“Yes,” Drew said. “It’s not that far, via the Roads. And it’s time for me to put down new roots, Grandmother. Marionville isn’t home anymore.” He looked around the room, at all the people filling in, and felt his heart overflow. “This is my home now. With Molly. With the Cove.”

Phoebe searched his face, her golden eyes intent, and then she smiled and hugged him again. “Yes, I see that. I’m so happy for you, Drew. May you and Molly have the same kind of love that your mother and father shared.”

“Thank you, Grandmother.” He kissed her cheek and then went back to stand behind Pavel.

The instant the last guests were seated and the groomsmen joined Drew and Pavel, the birds stopped singing. Then, a single flute began at the back of the room, and the large doors opened. As the music continued to grow, Lai and Noemi stepped through the doors, wearing sapphire blue dresses that left one shoulder bare and carrying a single white rose in their hands. They walked slowly up to the dais, put their roses in the vase, and stepped to their places opposite Drew and his attendants.

Once they were in place, Corrine and Jade came down and placed their roses as well. As they passed by him, Drew realized the dresses had silver snowflakes all over them, and he grinned. Jade winked at him.

The music changed, and Sue came down the aisle, carrying a single white rose as well. Luke sighed as she walked past him, and Drew wondered how much longer it would be before there was another wedding.

Then a chorus of “aawwww” filled the room. Lily and Zoey, each wearing sapphire dresses and the coronets that Molly had given them, carrying baskets full of white rose petals, flanked Jack and Schrodinger, who were carrying their own baskets. Rose petals floated down through the air as they danced down to the dais, where Schrodinger and Jack set their baskets down in front of the vase, and went to flank Drew.

The music changed one last time, and Molly appeared on her father’s arm. Drew nearly forgot to breathe as he watched her come down the aisle.

Her gown was white, a pale silvery white like moonlight, and it too left one shoulder bare. The other one held a waterfall of crystal snowflake beads that fell from her shoulder across the front of the dress to her opposite hip and continued down to the train that swept out behind her. Her coronet was silvery snowflakes and held her veil in place across her face, resting on top of her hair, which was pulled up in an intricate braid. In her left hand, Molly held a single white rose, just like her attendants.

Mr. Barrett escorted her to the dais, and then lifted her veil. He turned to Drew and said, “Welcome to the family, son.” Then he stepped back and sat down next to Mrs. Barrett, who was already crying.

Molly put her flower in the vase, and looked up at Drew, smiling. “Are you ready?” she asked quietly.

“I’ve been ready for this forever,” he said, taking her hand. They turned to Father Christopher, who smiled down at them.

“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today…”


Originally published at The words of Valerie Griswold-Ford. You can comment here or there.


Jul. 24th, 2015


Day 5 – The Rehearsal Dinner

“Oh my.” Aunt Janice took a look at the loaded tables in the backyard and blinked. “Molly really doesn’t like sending people home less than stuffed, does she?”

“She’s a kitchen witch,” Drew said, laughing. “It’s genetic.”

“She would have gotten along so well with Alice,” Aunt Janice said, and Drew saw the shimmer of tears in her eyes at the mention of his mother. She took his arm and squeezed it, adding, “She’d be so proud of you, Drew. They both would be.”

“I know.” It seemed inadequate, but he had to say something. “I wish they were here.”

“They are,” she said. “In here.” And she touched his chest, right above his heart.

He covered her hand with his own. “I’m really glad you and Uncle Larry could come out, Aunt Janice. I’ve missed you.”

“You should come out and visit sometimes,” she said. “Bring Molly and Schrodinger. It’s not as if we don’t have a Gate Station too, even if your uncle hates traveling that way.”

“Maybe.” He didn’t want to commit anything yet. “We’ll have to see.”

“You have to face it at some point, Drew.” Aunt Janice’s voice was gentle. “You can’t run forever. And there are still living people who would like to see you.”

“I know,” Drew said. “I…we’ll see.” Then he looked down at her. “So, tell me all the news.”

And she did. He was surprised to learn how many of his old classmates, who had loudly announced at graduation that they couldn’t wait to leave their town, had moved back. Then again, look at the Cove, he thought. How many of them moved back as soon as they could? Maybe Molly’s right – those born in a CrossRoads town find it hard to leave.

“Now, tell me all about your town,” Aunt Janice said, as they collected plates of food. Deprived of the right to cook her own wedding feast, Molly had gone all out on the rehearsal dinner. They’d decided to go easy: burgers, hot dogs, BBQ chicken and all the fixings, and Molly had been cooking for the past week in between other things. The rolls were homemade, of course, and so were all the salads.

“Well, as you can see, it’s a bit more on the weird side than home,” Drew said, nodding to one side of the table, where Jade and Jack stood talking to Father Christopher, who was officiating the wedding. “And they aren’t the most outlandish.”

“And I thought that pirate friend of yours was odd,” Aunt Janice said, fascinated. “Then, when Schrodinger came out the other night – he’s amazing, Drew! And you see them every day?”

“Yes.” They took seats under one of the large maple trees that took up the backyard behind the farmhouse. Molly already had plans to tap them next spring, and make her own maple syrup, and Drew couldn’t wait. “Then again, Carter’s Cove is a bit bigger on the Roads than Marionville, especially since we have the Sea Gates too.”

“Your uncle wants to see the harbor before we leave,” Aunt Janice said. “He’s really interested in that.”

“I’ll make sure that the Harbormaster knows you’re coming,” Drew told her. “He’ll give you a good tour.”

“He’ll be thrilled.”

They tucked into their plates, enjoying the meal then. As he was finishing his burger, Drew heard bells above the clamor of conversation and he grinned. “Come on, Aunt Janice, you’ll want to see this,” he said, putting aside his plate and grabbing her hand. “Trust me.”

Collecting Doug and Tim as they went around the side of the house, Drew led them out to the driveway. A cool breeze, redolent with the smell of icy mountain sides, wrapped around them.

“Did it suddenly get cold? And what’s with the bells?” Doug said.

“Look!” Drew pointed to the end of the long driveway, where a patch of air shimmered like a mirage. Then the shimmering split down the middle, the two sides drawing back like a stage curtain, and a blast of cold air shot out, snowflakes dancing in the air.

“Drew!” roared a familiar voice, and Old Man Winter’s sledge, drawn by his large reindeer, crashed onto the gravel driveway.

“Welcome back, Old Man!” Drew called out, grinning at his relatives.

The sledge careened up to the house, the reindeer shaking their furry coats as snowflakes danced around them. Considering how warm it was, Drew didn’t blame Old Man Winter for taking the precaution of keeping them cool.

“Drew, where is your beautiful bride?” Old Man Winter demanded, jumping out of the sledge almost before it stopped moving. Drew heard his aunt gasp as she saw who else was with him.

“She’s in the back, making sure everyone is stuffed to the gills, of course,” Drew said, accepting the bone-crushing hug the Spirit gave him, and then gesturing to his relatives to come closer. “But I heard the bells and wanted to come out and greet you, and introduce you to some of my family.” He introduced them, and Old Man Winter shook hands with each of them.

“And this is Ember,” Drew said, as the emerald-green dragon (in her smaller size, he was relieved to see). “I helped Old Man Winter rescue her from a trap a few years ago, and she’s decided to stay around.”

Of course I have, the dragon said, amusement tinging her mental tone. You folks are far more interesting than anyone else I’ve met so far.

“A dragon,” Doug said reverently. “A real dragon. You know a real dragon.”

“And now so do you,” Drew said, pleased that he could make one of his cousin’s childhood dreams come true. “Ember, this is my cousin Doug, his husband Tim, and my Aunt Janice, who raised me.”

I am pleased to meet all of you, Ember said, and then she dipped her head down towards Aunt Janice, who shrank back just a little bit. You did a wonderful job. Drew is one of the best men I have ever met, and I have met many good men.

“Thank you, but I just put the polish on,” Aunt Janice said, her voice only trembling a little. “His mother and father raised him right, and I just took over when they were taken from us.” She raised her hand and hesitantly touched the tip of the dragon’s nose as Ember dipped her head towards her. “My sister would have been amazed to see who her son was friends with.”

I would have liked to meet them too, Ember said. They must have been very good people.

“They were,” Aunt Janice said. “They were very good people indeed.”

“Now, come and let’s go see Molly, who is much prettier than you are, and for whom I have a special gift,” Old Man Winter said, striding off towards the backyard. The moment broken, the others laughed and followed him.

“You have a very interesting life, cousin,” Doug said, as they watched Aunt Janice and Ember walk together, still talking.

“You have no idea,” Drew agreed. “Just wait until Ryan hits about two, then you might have some similar experiences.”

“Not unless we move here,” Tim said, and exchanged a look with Doug. “Which might be in the cards.”

“Really?” Drew stopped, stunned. “That would be awesome! But I thought you loved Marionville, Doug?”

“I do,” Doug said. “And I won’t lie, it will be hard to leave.” He took Tim’s hand. “But not everyone in Marionville is as happy as we are to have a family.”

That, Drew could see. In many ways, Marionville was a typical small town in mid-town America, and it held many different points of view. Just not on every topic.

“It’s not all sunshine and roses here either,” he warned them. “But I know Molly and I would be happy to have you here.” And in truth, he’d love to have some family that was his around. Not that he hated Molly’s family, but they could be a bit overwhelming at times.

“No, but it’s not going to be sunshine and roses anywhere,” Tim said. “And I’d like to see a bit more of the country than just Missouri.”

“And I can teach anywhere,” Doug said.

“Teach?” Drew blinked. “You actually became a teacher?”

“Yep. High school history and baseball.” Doug grinned. “Think I could find a spot here?”

“Sure.” Drew stopped and looked around. “In fact, come with me.”

He led them over to a picnic table, where Steve and Tom were talking to Mark Rineholt. “Mark, this is my cousin Doug and his husband Tim,” Drew said, after apologizing for interrupting. “Mark is the principal at the Carter’s Cove High School. And Doug’s a history teacher who’s thinking of moving to the Cove. He coaches baseball too.”

As he’d expected, Mark’s eyes lit up. Drew knew very well that there were a few openings in the high school teaching staff, and that the baseball coach had retired this past spring. He left them talking excitedly, pleased that he could help both his friend and his cousin.

He ended up snagging a bottle of beer and standing in the shade of the trees, watching everyone. The yard was full of his and Molly’s friends and relatives, all gathered to celebrate the rehearsal dinner. Tomorrow at this time, he and Molly would be married.

And Molly would have met Phoebe.

Drew sighed, knowing that he should probably just own up to Phoebe beforehand, but strangely loathe to go into it. He didn’t know how Molly would react. Truth be told, he wasn’t sure how he was going to react when he saw her again.

“That’s an awfully long face for someone who’s supposed to be happy,” Molly said, coming up next to him and grinning. When he grinned back at her and hugged her to his side, she continued, “Who do I have to beat up for making you somber today?”

“No one,” Drew reassured her, chuckling. “In fact, it’s a good day.”

“Then why are you standing here by yourself, looking like your beer soured?” she asked.

“Just wishing my folks could have been here,” Drew said, and then looked down at her. “Hey, come with me for a second.”

“What?” Molly blinked. “But Drew, we have guests!”

“They can handle themselves for a bit, and I need to talk to you.” He took her hand and led her away through the trees, away from the house and the backyard.

When they burst out of the trees to the small pond that Schrodinger loved to hunt frogs by, Molly said, “So what is so important that no one can hear it?”

Drew pulled her around so she was looking at him. “There’s another guest coming to the wedding tomorrow.”

“Okay,” Molly said, blinking. “That’s not a problem. We have room. Who is it?”

The moment of truth. Drew said, “Her name is Phoebe.”

“Okay.” Molly waited while he paused. “And?”

“And she’s my faery grandmother.”

“Your what?”

“My faery grandmother,” Drew repeated.

Molly, to her credit, didn’t say anything for a few minutes. “Well, that’s interesting,” she said finally. “Wait a minute. Did you say grandmother? Isn’t it supposed to be faery godmother?”

And now the truth would come out. “Usually, yes. But my father was half-faery. Phoebe is my actual grandmother.”

“So you’re 1/4 faery?” Molly considered that, and Drew’s heart sank. Would this be a dealbreaker?


“Then it’s a good thing we have Schrodinger, if we have kids,” Molly said. “I’ve heard faery blood means interesting children.” She grinned up at him. “Are you up for a challenge?”

“Absolutely,” he said, relief washing through him, and kissed her.

Originally published at The words of Valerie Griswold-Ford. You can comment here or there.


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