Tag: sale

Get Some Elven Magic FREE Today

Do you love elves? Magic? Maybe a little romance?

I know you love FREE stuff.

Today you can download a short story from Roane Publishing that will give you a glimpse at one of the characters from “Duty or Desire.”

To whet your appetite for that, here’s a snipped to introduce you to the hero of ONE SAVORY SUMMER, Holt d’Wyrden.

An Excerpt from “Duty or Desire” part of Masked Hearts:

Masked_heartsA strip of trees and grass added charm to the brick and wood monstrosity. Alyona slithered up an elm on the north side of the walled-in estate, then a maple located east of the ten-foot mortared wall. As she scaled an oak tree on the western edge, the amulet throbbed between her breasts. A slow, hot pulse, reminiscent of an elven heartbeat.

Holt is here.

Late spring foliage offered cover to her dark-clad form. Not that she worried about being discovered. Although three guards paced the grounds in odd rotations, meant to keep intruders off balance, they looked bored. Handguns similar to the one pointed at her chest on her very first day on Earth rode their hips. A club and another black-handled, wide-barreled item fitted in slots at the other hip.

Twilight curtained her position. New guards with large, sleek-bodied dogs relieved those who traced the perimeter. Alyona studied the windows, hoping to catch a glance of her brother. She wasn’t close enough to attempt telepathy, which worked best within fifty paces. A niggle in her mind assured her Holt resided within this compound. As a guest or a prisoner, she didn’t know.

Light flickered in a third story window. A covering whisked back. Doors opened onto a narrow, iron-railed balcony. A woman with auburn hair pushed through them, her twittering laughter preceding her. Behind her glided the lithe form Alyona knew as well as her own.

Holt pinned the woman to the railing, pressing his body against her. His hands rested on her voluptuous hips. He bent his face toward her neck. His black hair flowed across his shoulders, shielding his actions from sight.

The woman flung her head back. Her laughter broke into a sigh of desire.

Of course he’d be with a human woman. Women should be sampled like fruits in an orchard. His words and a sentiment many elves shared. After all, who wanted to spend centuries bound to a single person?

No one from Alyona’s generation chose a mate. Even her parents had waited until they were nearly in their third century of life before entering into a matrimonial covenant, considered essential if reproduction was planned. Many such contracts were for a specified length of time, perhaps until offspring reached maturity at age forty. Her parents, their bonding stretching well beyond 150 years, were unique in the elven society.

Alyona narrowed her eyes. Holt seemed to be a willing occupant of the fortress. Or this earthen prison offered a brand of permissiveness she’d never witnessed. Once the couple disappeared inside, the door pulled shut behind them, Alyona scanned the wall, grounds and house.

****

I hope it makes you want to read more.

Check out the purchase links for MASKED HEARTS. Get your FREE reads here.

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Celebrating a “Sold” Sign

sold sign

If you’ve been reading this blog for long, you’re familiar with the “we’re trying to sell our house” woes faced over the past two years. In light of that, with a solid offer and a “Sold” sign out front, there should be plenty to celebrate.

Don’t think I’m ungrateful or anything, because that’s what the rest of this post might sound like. I am supremely thankful for the buyers God sent in answer to our prayers. (And He sent them in December – but the couple was divided about this house being perfect for them.)

I mean, we dropped the price of our house three separate times since signing the original contract to sell it in September. Our original listing price was $5,000 below the tax assessed value. (Actually, they call this the Real Market Value on the tax bill. Doesn’t that mean I should have been able to get someone to pay that much for the house?)

Living here has been a cross between staying at a hotel and a museum. Everything that made it feel like our home was stripped during the staging process. Since the house had to be ready to show at an hour’s notice, everything needed to find its proper corner and stay there.

Sometimes, I felt that meant even me.

After having two separate couples love the house – one of them sending a verbal offer through their Realtor (if you call $30,000 below asking price a real offer) – we finally have a written offer to purchase.

I smiled when I heard it, even though it would be another two weeks before I smiled about it again.

The Offer

One week before, we had reduced the price from $245,000 (which was $20,000 below the initial listing price in September and $25,000 below the County Assessors ridiculous idea of our home’s “market value”).

The new price was $239,900 (“It sounds like so much less than $240,000” our Realtor said).

My husband and I discussed our “bottom line. ” We hoped to net enough from the house to put $40,000 down on the new one – without touching our savings – and replace the furniture we’d sold to make the house less cluttered.

The offer matched our lowest price. Before I could do a jig of joy, I learned that our buyers wanted us to pay their closing costs – to the tune of $6,800. Oh, and since they were getting an FHA loan, there was another government fee we were required to pay.

its.only.money

Further, they wanted to close in six weeks, and they wanted us out five days afterward (rent amount to be discussed if this offer was accepted). Our new house wasn’t expected to close until four days after their requested  closing date, giving us one day to move into the new place.

(Did I mention that my husband attends this computer conference in Las Vegas the last week of March? Yeah, he wouldn’t even be in the state on that single day they gave us to move. In their defense, they didn’t know where we were moving or that our new house isn’t completed.)

Give-and-Take Fallacy

After taking a look at the estimated cost sheet, we realized we would barely net the exact amount we needed for the down payment and purchases at the new house.

Okay, no need to be greedy. The Lord handed us buyers that could exactly meet our expectations. (Sad how I now feel we should have held higher expectations.)

However, the possession date wasn’t doable.

Our builder would not finish the house early. We will record that sale on March 30 and can take possession that day. Me and the cats – since my tenant son is getting his own place before that and my itinerant husband will be out of state.

For some reason, the mental picture of the cats and I loading the piano into a moving van won’t come into focus.

As a counter-offer, we agreed to all their terms except the possession date. We asked for 30 days after closing to vacate these premises. Seventeen years’ worth of memories aren’t going to be boxed up in 24 hours. Of course, since we had made concessions in price and closing costs, we asked for that time to be granted rent-free.

“That’s $1,650 you’re asking for,” my Realtor said.

No money for this rent would actually be changing hands. They weren’t making a payment until May 1.

“But they’ll have to pay rent on their current place when they’re expecting to have that money for other things.”

I admit my brain had already done the math. We had conceded nearly $12,000 to them and they weren’t willing to pay rent for an extra 30 days? I know we will be out before that time because Mr. Travels-a-lot will be heading out of town on April 5-12 and April 23-29.

In the end, they agreed to ten days rent-free. But the inspection of the premises they ordered could still throw a hand-grenade in our tentative peace treaty.

Next week I’ll share the results of the fiasco inspection.

Do you think real estate contracts should give buyers an upper hand? Do you have any advice or words of encouragement for me?

Reflections of an Open House

Welcome to our Open House
Welcome to our Open House

For a week before the big day, I deep-cleaned some room or focused on brightening the appearance of another room. My son got enlisted to scrub floors (in addition to toilets) and dust off the ceiling fans.

I’m not saying I own too many pairs of shoes (an impossibility in my world), but I had to remove all of my boots so the floor of my closet was visible. Apparently, anything that looks like clutter has to go!

In the hours leading up to the event, every floor got cleaned and every surface was set to sparkling. Lit candles added wonderful atmosphere. Fresh-baked peanut butter chocolate chip cookies invited people in to stay.

Time to Start

My husband agreed to be the guide of the upstairs and I would be the official greeter. He put a movie in the DVD player – something that seems to be happening in every house we’ve walked through – and settled in.

Hubby's Vantage Point
Hubby’s Vantage Point

I parked myself with my iPad in a chair facing the front door. Breathing deeply, I practiced my casual, welcoming smile and greeting.

We’re ready. Let the games begin!

After 1 Hour

My husband comes down and snags a couple cookies. He gives me an encouraging grin.

I decide to read a collection of short stories on my Kindle application. This way, it should be easy to set things aside when people show up.

Ready, set…Begin – anytime now. May the odds be ever in our favor!

After 2 Hours

I’m reading the encouraging comments from my friends on Facebook. I’ve moved to the kitchen counter so I can visit blogs and post comments. After all, I have a platform to build.

My Perch in the Kitchen
My Perch in the Kitchen

Apparently, things started happening in The Avengers because I didn’t see my husband for quite some time. Later, I learn he has fallen asleep.

Must be rough.

After 3 Hours

I’m pacing to the front windows every few minutes. I stare out at the Open House sign and mentally will people to pull up. Apparently, this is not one of my super powers.

Every sound outside perks up my ears, and I think someone is finally coming to see all this work I’ve done. All this cleaning and straightening won’t be for nothing after all.

My husband comes downstairs and reminds me that most people will come later. Any time now, they’ll start showing up.

After 4 Hours

I must have been insane to dedicate five hours on the second day of National Novel Writing Month to something like this. Who knew it would be a total waste of time?

Even real estate agents plan to get paperwork done or catch up on reading when they host an Open House. Why did I expect anything different?

Okay, I didn’t. I did hope someone would come to see the house, though, even if they were just out for a drive and saw the sign.

Instead, I wasted hours cleaning, straightening and fretting about every little piece of lint in my house. Further, I didn’t get to meet my writing goal of 3,000 words for the day because I knew I would be a bear if interrupted during my writing time.

When someone asks if we’re having another Open House, I don’t feel like slapping them anymore. I laugh. Sure, if I want to waste a week of my life. Why not?

Do you have any experiences with trying to sell a house? Maybe you’ve experienced another time when you’ve gone overboard preparing for some event and then it failed to meet your expectations.

Of course, I’ve talked about that whole expectations thing before. What was I thinking?

Commercialism: Christmas and Beyond

Image courtesy of 123rf.com

Two weeks before Halloween, I walk into the local WalMart to purchase some mums. Through the sliding doors and into a time warp.

Five artificial trees decked in lights sparkled to my left. Ahead, rows of wrapping paper, greeting cards and ornaments announced the Christmas season. Uh, what was I looking for again? Suddenly, I’m overtaken by disorientation.

It used to happen on November 1st. Halloween candy and costumes at discounted prices sat beside all the Yuletide trappings. In my mind, even that was too early.

What about Thanksgiving? This is my favorite holiday. This preference has only a little to do with the fact that I love stuffing. And nothing at all to do with college football games (just another form of commercialization, I say).

In American society, every little event is a reason for marketers to put up a promotional display.  Lose a tooth? Here are some envelopes signed by the tooth fairy.

This lambasting from marketers doesn’t just happen inside retail outlets either. Vendor carts at home shows try to sell everything from central vacuum systems to yard maintenance services. In the mall, walking down the expansive thoroughfares reminds me of going to the carnival.

“Care to get your hearing checked?” “Ma’am, one moment and I can show you how to look ten years younger.” (Does he really think I’m going to listen to him after he just called me OLD???)

You’ve been there. You know what I mean. Even your child’s Saturday soccer game is subject to people peddling shirts, snacks and soda. Can’t we just watch our kid without someone trying to extort a dollar?

Commercialization minimizes the significance of events. Maybe you disagree, but it only took one bridal convention to convince me. I didn’t want people hawking their photo services or cake flavors. Weddings are once-in-a-lifetime events and should be treated with respect and awe.

Courtesy of embedded-lab.com

When they replaced “Christ” with an “x” everywhere to make advertising easier, my temperature spiked. Then they told me saying “Merry Christmas” was politically incorrect. Offensive even.

The fact that I’m offended when Santa and snowmen are made into ten-foot-tall yard ornaments, while locating a lighted nativity set is like searching for a needle in the haystack? Whatever. My problem, not theirs.

Once all this hype begins, I tend to stay away from retailers and watch even less television until after January 1st. All these advertisements and extra emphasis on shopping drains the significance of this holiday for me. You know, the religious aspect.

I’m not trying to push my idea about focusing on family and faith during December on anyone else. It sure would be nice if I received the same sort of consideration from those who want to push shopping and Santa and reindeer to the forefront of my mind.

Turkey and stuffing are great, but Thanksgiving is about sitting around the table with people I love and sharing our blessings. My favorite Christmas tradition centers on reading Luke 2 by the light of the Christmas tree on Christmas morning.

I don’t want to think about Black Friday or post-holiday returns. Come January, I don’t want a credit card bill that makes me consider a second mortgage.

What is the sign of commercialism that bugs you the most? Maybe you disagree with me. I’d love to have a conversation about it.