Thursday, March 12, 2015

Through The Cat's Eyes...

Howdy everyone...

I'd like to introduce you all to my latest release:

Through the Cat's Eyes!
It's the story of hot-than-sin Ex-Marine Sergeant Tucker West and his new Service Animal, Shapeshifting Callista Sundance.
All Marine Sergeant Tucker West wants is to be left alone! He’s no Hero, despite what his extensive family and the residents of Carson Creek, Texas seem to think. Injured on his last tour and discharged from the only place he’s ever thrived, he returns to his small-town roots and buys his grandparents falling apart ranch, intent on living out his days in solitude.

Just as it should be. It’s more than he deserves, but he’ll take what he can get.

But life has other plans.

Instead of leaving him to his nightmares, Fate throws a coffee drinking stray Calico Cat into his kitchen one morning, and his desperate desire for peace turns on its head.

Callista Sundance is not your ordinary Shifter. She works for the non-profit, Anonymous Heroes, a group of Veterans that have decided to use their extraordinary abilities to pose as Service Animals. They help those suffering through the effects of Post-Traumatic Stress deal with the real world until they can get their feet back on solid ground.

Her new assignment: the grumpy, stubborn as a Texas Longhorn, former Marine Tucker West. Her goal is to help him find a new life…and if she’s lucky, happiness.

But just as Fate and a broken down truck throw them together, Tucker’s past comes back to haunt him. In more ways than one…

Is Calli strong enough to save Tucker? Or will Tucker be the one doing the saving and get the 2nd Chance he truly deserves…

Find out for yourself in first book of The 2nd Chance Shifters Series…
It's available through all major retailers today, 03/13/2015 and I hope you enjoy it!

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Until next time,

Margaret Taylor

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

An Update...

So, I'm back from the Doctor -- again -- and I'm proud to say, despite the lack of nicotine and caffeine this AM, I did *not* kill said doctor, nor did I blow up that blasted treadmill!

Now, I don't know if you've ever had this procedure done, but when you have heart issues, a nuclear stress test feels like you're going to die! As in D-I-E!

They start by putting in an IV and then run a dye through your body. After that, they take a "resting" MRI of your heart. Then they let you percolate for about an hour. *THEN* they drag you into another room, hook up a bunch of monitoring devices all over your chest and make you walk on a treadmill for about four minutes, ALL the while shooting yet *more* dye into your IV!

It is not fun!

As the dye circulates from your walking, you get these little mini hot-flashes all over that make you want to just stop and hurt someone!

And the four minutes you're moving along on this bloody, friggin', frackin' treadmill...Is. The. Longest. Of. Your. Life!

And then finally -- after you percolate *again* -- you go back in for another MRI.

Now, the MRI itself isn't all that bad. Unless you need to cough and are told not to move!!! (But, it was much more dealable than the rest...)

Anyway, after it was all said and done, the good Doctor decided that I do in fact need surgery -- of a sort. So, on Monday, I'll be going to the hospital for a Left Heart Catheterization. Now, this could go very well -- IE: I'm in and out -- or, it could go very bad. It will depend on what he finds once he's in there. We'll see. Either way, when it's all done, I will be feeling much, much, better!

And thank the Gods above, cause frankly, I'm just sick of being *sick*!!!

But, that's not the funny part of today's adventure...

Here's the best part. Being an Author means I can jokingly threaten those around me and have a good deal of fun with it!!!

Now, being that I've smoked for 30+ years and I like my caffeine -- Don't Judge Me peeples! -- going without either of those for any length of time is trying at best. So, by the time I reached the Doctor's office and was put through this torture, I was just a bit grumpy!!!

Ok, *more* than a bit, but you get the idea...

Anyway, as the morning wore on, I ended up coming up with a "plan" for all the staff at my Doctor's office and the roles they shall play in my current WIP (To Fight A Dragon's Past - Book 5 of the Dragons, Griffons and Centaurs, Oh My! Series):

(Now, keep in mind, normally I *do* love these people -- They're very professional, very personable and I've had nothing but good dealings with them!!! And after the last eight months of IDIOTS, that's saying a lot, trust me!)


The Receptionist - gets to live. (She was nice enough to give me correct directions when the GPS got me lost on the way to their new office, which I had not been to before.)

The MRI Tech - will live as well - though he may have a scar or two to show for his adventures in The Five Kingdoms!

The Nurse - I like her, I do, so I'm going to make her death quick, even though it will be decidedly painful when Golix (the Black Unicorn and main bad guy in the series) steps on and crushes her head.

The Doctor - oh, now he's going to die a gruesomely AWFUL death. He will be gutted by Golix's horn (not enough to kill him, mind you) and then tossed in The Pit of Ne'lo's prison. From there, the Neebe's (think NY sized Rats covered in scales and spikes, who are quite intelligent, mind you, and have developed a taste for Human stomach acid...) will take great pleasure in "sipping" from the good Doctor's tummy juices over the next several months. They will nibble tiny holes in his stomach and Sip from the juice -- they know not when another human might be given to them, so yeah, they tend to savor it! When they're done sipping for the day, they'll burrow into his chest cavity, curl up around his heart to keep it nice and warm and pumping to make more of the delectable juice, and sleep until they're hungry again...

Now, here's the best part. I made that scenario up, on the spot, while sitting there staring at the treadmill and after I described it to both the Nurse and Doctor...I got the following comments.

Nurse: Has anyone ever told you how twisted your mind is?

I merely smiled and replied: Ahyep. My Beta's tell me daily...

To which the Doctor said: Thanks, I'm going to have a nightmare tonight.

And, of course, I beamed a smile and said: You're welcome. Sleep well.

Now, I wouldn't swear to it, but I do believe from the look on his face that my eyes probably glittered a bit...maybe...MUHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Anyway, that's the story from here. I'll post again after the surgery on Monday to keep everyone up to date.

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Until next time,

Margaret Taylor

Monday, March 2, 2015

The Good and The Bad...

So, if you've read To Win The Guarded Heart by now - Book 4 of the Dragons, Griffons and Centaurs, Oh My! Series then you know for the last six-eight months I've been dealing with some pretty serious health issues.

If you haven't, I'll bring you up to date.

I've been publishing now since 2012 (June to be exact and it's unbelievable that it's almost been 3 years already...!) and at first everything was great! Fantabulous even! What I didn't know, is that virtually around the corner, I'd be knocked on my ass by something I thought was a good many years away...

But, I digress.

Anyway, in July 2014, I got sick. At first, I thought it was nothing more than your standard cold. I'd attended the Romance Writer's of America convention here in San Antonio and being around that many people, one is bound to pick up the standard summer sniffles!

So, off to the doctor I go when it didn't go away on its own.

But, I should tell you, I HATE doctors. I do. I'm worse than some men I know when it comes to being sick. I will kick and scream and cry like a two-year-old getting a shot before I break down and go to see an actual, real, live medical professional...

I have my reasons for this, I promise you I do, but there you are.

But, in this case, nothing I was doing was helping! No amount of Nyquil or Dayquil or OTC stuff that you typically take to fight off such things was being effective. So, I broke in my suffering and staggered my happy little feeling-like-death-warmed-over-ass down to the clinic right near my house.

"Oh, it sounds like you've progressed into Bronchitis. Here's some antibiotics, and a breathing treatment, have a nice day..." is what the nurse/physician's assistant said to me after much poking/prodding and such.

Ok, fine. That sounds reasonable. I've had Bronchitis before, so I filled my prescriptions, took them faithfully and curled up on the couch for a couple of days.

But, that didn't work! Even 10 days later, after all the pills were gone...I still had all the same symptoms! I was coughing every five minutes. My chest and lungs felt like a Giant had shoved his hand down my throat and was taking great delight in squeezing me to death! My head pounded with every blink of my eyes!!!!

It was awful! I wanted to die! No, really, I did!

So, back to the clinic I go.

Again, the Nurse/PA said, "Oh, it's not bronchitis, but it *could* be pneumonia!"

Ugh! Ok, fine. Again, I know how these things progress. Fine. More pills. More still feeling like death warmed over on an unsalted saltine cracker, but, fine!

I take the stuff they gave me, laid on the couch for a couple more days...and NOTHING!

10 days later and I'm still in the same shape!


I'm fortunate in that the insurance from my day job no longer requires a referral from a Primary Care Doctor, so I started putting things together myself. (Now, in my defense, I probably could have saved myself about six months of agony if I'd listened to my own instincts here and gone straight to a Cardiologist at this point -- but I'm getting ahead of myself!)

Anyway, some digging around on the Interwebs, I thought maybe it might be allergies.

I wasn't sure what I might be allergic too -- I've had cats for years, been in San Antonio for years, etc. so the typical stuffs wasn't jiving, but I was desperate for relief by now, so anything was possible.

SIXTY-SIX allergen tests later and guess what?

I ain't allergic to SHIT! Nada. Nothin'. Zip. Zilch. Zero! That's right ladies and gents, you're talking to probably the one person on the planet that doesn't have at least *some* allergy to *something*!

Which is awesome!!!! But, still didn't solve my problems. Even after that particular Doc gave me a string of inhalers and antibiotics to try and relieve what I was going through.

So, allergies out the window!


Next up was an internist. Maybe she could help! Yeah, that's it.

Once more into the breach I go...but...HER solution?!?!

"Try and breathe through your nose more..."

What?!?! Are you serious?!? Don't you think if I COULD breathe through my nose, I would?!?!

But, fine. I tried her "solution" for about a week and it didn't do a damn thing. Still had all the symptoms of a cold/flu but no relief!!!

Next up, on the recommendation from the Internist, was a pulmonologist. This guy does a bunch of blood work and x-rays and finds a "spot" on my lungs. A tiny little corner of black gunk that I'm immediately thinking is probably cancer or some such and now I'm really panicked!!!

But, the good news here, is it wasn't cancer. Two rounds of x-rays and an MRI later, and said black spot is gone!

And the pulmonologist is CLUELESS!!!! The blood work is normal. All the things he *thought* it might be -- Lung Cancer, Tuberculosis, or Emphysema are ruled out!!!


But, nothing has changed! The inhalers only cause me to cough harder and spit the gunk they use -- the medicine -- back out. The pills they gave me don't do squat and I'm still miserable!!!

By this point, I'm seriously at my wits end. No, I am.

I have *no* energy. My body feels like it's not much more than a puddle of black goo! My chest is in a vice -- again, Hello Mr. Giant! Are you enjoying yourself there?! Cause I'm not!!! Every cough causes muscle cramps that literally stop me in my tracks, bend me over and leave me in tears, until it eventually passes!!!

Finally, when I just couldn't take it anymore, I sit down (right before Christmas) and plop all my symptoms into Google and click search.

A list of crap comes up and I go down it, checking each off as a likely "thing" because I've already spent the last six months going to Doctors and eliminating them, gosh darnit!!!!

At the very, very bottom of said list though is "Congestive Heart Failure." It's less than a .05 % chance that that's what this is, but still. I've eliminated all the other 99.95% of the things they say it might be, so what the hell, right?!?!?!

So, yet again, into the breach I go...this being my last resort. At this point, I figure if this *isn't* what it is, I'm just going to cut myself apart between the neck and the waist and replace the whole kit-and-caboodle and be done with it!!!!

But, I will say, the Cardio Doc I found is one of the best in the state. After one appointment -- and my long and sorted retelling of events -- he nods and says, "Yep. That's exactly what it sounds like!"

It might have helped that I was wearing my hoodie that says, "Careful, or you'll end up in my novel!" but I could be wrong.

Needless to say, I was thrilled that we might have finally figured out what was wrong with me!

(Shush over there! Yes, I know I'm slightly off-kilter as an Author, but that's *above* the neck, thank you very much!!!)

So, a round of testing later -- which included an oh, so, lovely (NOT!) walk on a treadmill where I thought I was going to D-I-E!!! -- and he discovers I have three clogged veins leading into my heart.


Now, I should admit something here. I smoke. I have for 30+ years.

I eat. I'm Italian, I love my pasta! (Don't judge me!!!)

I love salt!!! Don't know why, but I do.

I *abused* my body when I was younger. No, I did. And frankly -- at the time -- I didn't care. Who does when they're 21-22, right?!?

I'm about 50 lbs. overweight -- Again, Italian, LOVE to eat! (Don't judge!)

So, I'm not -- by any means -- blaming anyone or anything but myself...*laughs* This whole mess sits squarely on my shoulders and I won't cry and complain and ask Why me!?! Cause I know. Deep down in the very pit of me, I knew I'd eventually have problems, but as I said, I thought I'd have a couple more years, ya know?

Anyway, at the discovery of what this actually is, the Doc put me on stuff to try and clear the blocks naturally. Sadly, it didn't work. Oh, for a while it did, I felt marginally better, but eventually they stopped and I'm getting close to being back where I was -- same aches/pains/coughing and etc.

I've gone back to the Doc and now we're talking surgery. Last week I had another love/hate day with the blasted treadmill -- which I threatened to plant some C-4 in I think at one point and blow to smithereens!!!! -- and another round of dye run through my veins. (I swear I was glowing that night like some alien from the planet Xenodofunk!)

But, that's not why I was really writing this blog today. Yes, I wanted to let my die-hard fans know why I was in and out of things for so long, and yes I wanted to get a little personal because it needed to be said.

And what spurned my admissions today was a post I saw in a group on FB. It said:

This NOVEL you're working on right now: If you knew this would your LAST one, would you still be working on it? Or would you choose another novel that's closest to your heart if this, instead of your body of work, would be what you were known for, for all time as an author?

And that caused me to wonder. Could this -- Book 5 of the Dragons, Griffons and Centaurs, Oh My! -- really be the last thing I ever put out?!?

Given my current health status, it's a distinct possibility.

No, no, don't panic. I'm going to finish it and hopefully the others in the series. (There's supposed to be 8 total, but depending on how evil Golix wants to keep being, maybe more!)

But it did make me wonder...

And since I'm having "one of those days" -- where Mr. Giant is on a tap-dancing rampage in my chest and everything aches horribly!!!! -- I'm going to sit and reevaluate my priorities in life. (Yes, I'm working on the whole smoking thing -- and bettering my diet (or at least not eating so *much* pasta...*laughs*) and getting some exercise, at least as much as I can -- but I mean, do I really want the added stress of everything else in my life?

Yes, publishing is stressful in its own way, but I'm talking other factors. The day job, the household dynamic I have atm, etc. These are added things that I could eliminate or at least modify to the point that it wouldn't be so *many* additional issues, ya know?

Anyway, that's my story. I know Authors tend not to get too personal, we try and set ourselves up there, just out of reach, behind the scenes as it were and let you -- the fans and readers -- focus on the stories we write.

But, you know what? We're human too. We have families and lives and issues beyond those we create for you to enjoy. We have drama and death and life and all the things that you deal with too.

And sometimes, I think even we forget that it's ok to admit we're just as human as you...

So, there we are. I'm waiting on the results from the last tests and we'll decide whether and what type of surgery is going to be the best option for me to finally feel like my old self...

Thanks for listening and as always, thanks for stopping by.

Until next time.

Margaret Taylor

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Even Authors make themselves Giggle from time to time...


Sorry, but I have to share this...

As most know, us Authors have moments of levity and if you're halfway decent at this writing gig, you try your best to interject them at just the right moment.

Whether you're using it as something to lighten a tense situation, or just as an aide for the reader to keep things on a somewhat even keel, when true levity happens, even us Authors can have an uncontrollable fit of the giggles...

Case in point...

I present you with a moment from Through The Cat's Eyes, Book 1 of The 2nd Chance Shifter Series...



Give him a mission to plan. No problem!

Give him six squads of Marines and a firefight to coordinate. Awesome!

Hell, even the life and death scenario that had played out in his kitchen not five minutes ago and he knew exactly what to do and more importantly how to do it!


Watching the woman he may and—or may not be cautiously falling in love with, slowly bleeding to death…

And hardened, rough and tumble, Marine Sergeant Tucker West was at a complete loss!

Stroking her head, he wiggled out from under her massive body and gently laid her on her side. “Calli? Come on girl, open your eyes for me.”

She didn’t respond and he wondered where a Leopards pulse was. Feeling along her neck, he found nothing but relaxed slightly when her chest lifted.

He tried again. “Come on, Cal. Please. Open your eyes. Tell me what to do!”

No. Wait. He knew. He’d had enough basic first aid in the Corps! He had this.

First rule, stop the bleeding. Check!

Scrambling for the kit under the sink, he set it down between her front and rear paws and again, searched her coat for the wound.

It took him an eternity – at least it felt that way – but he finally found the three, no, wait, four punctures. Pressing against them, he shot a silent prayer of thanks into the air for his family’s oversized hands. His palm covered them well enough, but blood still seeped through his fingers.

With his other, he flipped up the lid and dug through the supplies until he found several large gauze pads. He ripped them open with his teeth and stuffed them against the wound, adding as much pressure as he dared.

Her lungs inflated, her chest jerking roughly and there was a rattle to it he didn’t like at all!

“Come on love, just hang in there.”

Help. He needed help!

Eyeing the phone on the counter, he let go of her long enough to grab it and dialed the number he’d seen her call via Skype not half an hour ago.

“Yes?” a curious female’s voice answered. “Who is this?”

“I don’t have time for pleasantries. Where’s J?”

“Who is this?” she asked again.

“My name is Tucker West. Callista’s hurt. Where’s J?!” he barked into the phone.

“Shit!” she cursed. “What happened?”

“She’s been stabbed, dammit! Now get me J!?”

Sheesh! How hard was this!?

But the female wasn’t following his commands and asked, “Cat or human?”


An exasperated sigh and she repeated the question slowly, as if he were stupid. “Was she stabbed as a cat or a human?”

He almost growled but managed to keep it behind his teeth. “Cat.”
“Large or small?”

He rolled his eyes and propped the phone against his shoulder, ripping open another pad as the ones he’d used were already soaked. “Large!!! Now will you get J?”

“One moment please…”

The line cut off and musak, the kind you hear in the elevator of a hospital, began to play through the ear piece. He stared at the phone, almost threw it across the room but the realization that this might be Calli’s only hope to survive kept him from crushing the handset to bits.

“Hello? Hello?”

Hearing the male voice now, he tucked the phone back against his ear. “J?”

“Yes. Ok, listen. Do not let her shift…”

“She’s unconscious,” he replied tightly.

“Good,” J returned. “Can you move her?”

He blinked and almost laughed. “Seriously, man? She’s a thousand pounds of leopard right now! Even at my best, that’s a no.”


See? Trust me, when I wrote this scene -- and the four or five or six times since that I've reread it in the editing phase -- has nearly collapsed me into a fit of the giggles...

Anyway, this book is now with my Beta's -- whom are all hot for Tucker now...*laughs* -- and with my lovely editor. I should have the cover very soon (In the next day or two!) so be sure to come back here and check it out.

Otherwise, you'll be able to get your hands on this hot number -- Through The Cat's Eyes -- no later than March 15th!

I'll be putting together a blog blitz as well, so be sure to keep an eye on my FB fan page for details:

Thanks as always for stopping by!

Until next time...

Margaret Taylor