Friday, January 23, 2015

Flashback Friday

Jan 2005:
I honestly can't remember what we were doing ten years ago this month, unless we were taking 10 m/o youngling to basketball games, to support his big brother playing in Pep Band.

Present Day:
Did I mention I turned in NiKoh's Chosen?

Now my time is divided between two wips, SaLie's story and another one, both due about the same time.

This time last week, I turned in my cover art for NiKoh, so hopefully I'll be sharing new cover art soon.

Other than that, haven't got much to say.

Karaoke Songs for Tomorrow:
Hurt So Bad-Linda Ronstat
Invincible-Pat Benetar
I Remember You-Skid Row

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Insomnia Ramblings

I don't know whether to blame the insomnia on the red velvet latte and two glasses of sweet tea I drank between 7-9pm or the fact a character decided at 1:30 am to finally tell me his career choice for one of the new wips.

Probably a little of both...

Anyhoo, after he decided to settle down, I tried to go back to bed, only now my heroine decided to go to her piano and write a song.  A SONG.  Which means, author get up and write it down, because you'll forget it in 5 hours.

Sigh...after that was finished, I decided to troll Face Book for a while, and saw the NFL concluded the Pats had intentionally deflated 11/12 balls in Sunday night's playoff game.  This earns then a fine and a loss of a draft pick.

Of course, my 1st reaction was 'keep them out of the Super Bowl and let the Colts go instead.'  But I stayed silent and read the comments before speaking up.  The general consensus was to let the Ravens go instead, since they scored more points against the Pats.  So then I had this thought:

Why not have another playoff game between the Colts and Ravens?  THEN let the winner go to the Super Bowl!

But I chickened out and stayed silent on FB.  Probably a good idea.

Anyway, since today's also Hump Day Hook Meme Day, here's a little of what I wrote between 1:30-4:30 am:

                "My dad had a mild stroke, so I came home to help out for a few weeks, until he gets back on his feet.  What about you?”
                “I’m sorry to hear that, Shana.”  Blake swallowed the food in his mouth.  “If there’s anything I can do to help, let me know.  Your dad’s a great guy.”
                “Thank you.  Are you in town on business?”

                He shook his head.  “I moved up here two years ago when the company I work for opened an office in Cedar Rapids.   When the Iowa River overflowed, I became the claims adjuster for the area, and then my home office was caught in last year’s tornado.”  Blake grinned.  “I had the unusual task of filing my own insurance claim.”

Okay.  Enough sleep-deprivation rambling.  Have a good day, everyone.  I know I'll 'crash' tonight and most likely be in bed before 10pm.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Shame On You!

If you're a regular reader of this blog, or even my Monday morning FB status, then you know I love watching Celebrity Apprentice.  While I don't love the drama in the boardroom, I do enjoy watching the challenges, and can usually predict who's going home on the losing team.  Once in a while I'm shocked and surprised.

Take last night.  When Vortex lost, I knew Shawn and Kate would be brought back in with Vivica, and I sincerely hoped Shawn would defend herself against allegations she was blind sided.  To my utter disgust, she was not given that opportunity, and was fired.

Maybe it was edited out?  I don't know.  Here's what happened, since she wasn't even given a chance to tell her side of the story on the Today Show (I DVR'd it, that's how mad I was, lol!).

The task was to create a mobile media event in a truck (think food truck, only with shoes).  Shawn (who I do agree should have stepped up to be Project Manager), came up with a fantastic concept of turning the truck into an elaborate Nordstrom dressing room, then was sent off to get props with Kate and Sig.

Meanwhile, Vivica, Geraldo, and Lorenzo scope out the truck and guess what?  Shawn's idea won't work.  So they switch gears and go with a different concept.  When they called Shawn and Co about the change, Shawn said they'd already bought, paid for, and cut the fabric.

"So we just wasted $500 on fabric you're not even going to use?"

"Sorry...get something else."

Both Shawn and Kate were dismayed.

They didn't show the fresh vs fake flowers debate; that came up in the boardroom, so really can't judge there.

Yes, Shawn showed off a laid-back attitude, but that's because when she and Kate arrived back, she found her concept GONE and a new one already in place.  It was too late to do anything about it, so she sucked it up and tried to work with the 'sinking ship'.

But what really got me mad was this:  Once Vivica brought her back, I really thought Kate would be fired.  But no, The Donald focused on her non-PM status, and never gave her the chance to voice WHY she felt railroaded by Vivica.  In all honesty, Vivica or Kate should have been fired.  Vivica, because it was HER idea for the coffee bar experience, and Kate due to her...I don't even know what she contributes, other than getting lucky in Challenge #1 and shopping for props.  In Challenge #8 last night, she held up Lorenzo's production of the video while having her hair styled ala 50's.  Couldn't she have done it herself, or called the guy to arrive earlier?

But I digress.  Yes, Shawn is young.  Yes, she should have been the PM for Challenge #7.  But should she have been fired?  NO!

Then I woke up this morning and turned on my DVR'd Today show, expecting a more in-depth look at the episode.  Nope, all we got was a brief recap and a 'yes, that's it." from BOTH contestants!  Where's your side of the story that the first six contestants (supposedly) got?  Since I didn't watch, I don't know if they got the same less than 5 minute treatment also.

Shawn was let down TWICE, in my humble opinion.  Once by The Donald, then by the Today scheduling.

And one more note:  Ivanka even told Shawn her initial concept would have been on target, but before Shawn could explain WHY they hadn't gone in that direction, The Donald fired her.

Unless that footage is on the cutting room floor.  Either way, she needs to be given a second chance.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Flashback Friday: Saying Goodbye

Jan 1995:
Just a few short weeks after spending Christmas in Florida with my grandmother, who had esophogeal cancer, my mother called me one evening, stressed.  Grandma was getting worse, and Mom feared the end was in sight.  She asked me if I wanted to come down for the pending funeral, if my spouse was available to watch the kids.  D had already decided to take the winter off from his normal winter-time temporary job, since he barely saw his now 6-month-old baby girl for the first several months of her life, and wanted to spend some time with her.  He told me to go.

After hearing about what Grandma was going through, and the stress my mother and uncle were under, I simply sat on the toilet and cried, praying to God to please end my grandmother's suffering soon.

The next morning, I got the call Grandma had passed away.  Dad was on his way to collect me, so would I please be ready in an hour?  I threw a bag together and when Dad arrived, we caught a flight back to Florida.

I'm somewhat ashamed to say I enjoyed the first four days of that trip.  I didn't have any 'mommy' responsibilities, so my sister and I ran errands for Mom, went shopping, fielded phone calls, and revisited many of our favorite childhood restaurants, including Crabby Bill's with the entire extended family.  We also spent one wonderful day going through Grandma's closet and dresser, laughing over the many broken gold choker chains found in every drawer, and the many bottles of Primo body spray.  We picked out what we wanted to keep, and my aunt picked out mementos for our cousins, who were not there because of being in school.

Meeting with the pastor was both fun and tearful, as we recalled stories about Grandma for him to use at the funeral.  When food began pouring in, W and I joked about when the green jello salad was going to appear, and my grandmother's friends didn't disappoint, ha ha!

It was also during this time I wondered if my father had developed sleep apnea. The first night, neither W or I wanted to sleep in Grandma's bed.  We knew she hadn't passed away in it, but the hospital bed which had been removed, but the memories of her occupying that room were too fresh.  She and I slept downstairs on the floor, while our dad slept on the couch.  Night #2, W moved upstairs, but I stayed downstairs....and noticed my father would snore, then be silent...he'd snort, roll over, then the pattern would begin again.  I told Mom about it, and she said she'd talk to him once everything in Florida was settled.

The day before the funeral (I THINK), W and I arrived from an errand to find our old childhood friend KB, his wife D, and their newborn daughter, C at the townhouse, talking to Mom.  I hadn't seen KB since his sister's wedding four years earlier, so it was nice to meet D and baby C.  I joked I wished I could read K's reunion 'memory book', since we'd gone to different high schools, and it would be interesting to see who among our old class ever dropped out, got pregnant, got their act together, etc.  Yes, I was still a little vengeful about some girls from jr. high.

The day of the funeral, I was a wreck.  Before heading to the church (Grandma had been cremated, so  we gathered at her church), our family gathered and prayed together, but I couldn't get through mine.  During the service, I broke down during "How Great Thou Art", and all of a sudden, I felt my sister nudging me and hissing at me to 'stop it'.  WTH?????  I was in tears, and yes, my nose runs, so I was blowing it a lot.  I tried to hold it in and control it a little better, but I was really confused.

I did better at the reception, and discovered I LOVED cucumber sandwiches.  What I was NOT thrilled to discover was, afterwards I had an hour to pack before my departure flight.  Dad was staying behind a few more days.  I was angry, but left anyway.  I was even less than thrilled to discover my seat was in a full row, while the next row up had two empty seats.  I asked the flight attendant if I could move up, and she said after take off, if they weren't taken.  But as the plane began to taxi, I moved up anyway, and spent the entire flight looking out the window and crying.

A week later, I was thrilled to learn I was getting another momento of Grandma's, her car.  We were driving a two-door Ford Escort, and Grandma's Chevy Celebrity was only two years old.  My Uncle Ed had gone to bat for me, saying we needed a four-door car worse than my single cousin, who didn't even attend the funeral.  We would get it sometime in the coming months, after Mom settled everything.

The rest of that month passed, with me growing increasingly irritated with a spouse who was constantly around all the time.

Next Month:  Snap Decision

Present Day:
I sent Niko's book to the publisher!  Now to tackle the next project, promo for our upcoming Hotel Stories Anthology.  I should have a finished proof copy in my hands next week:)

Tomorrow's Karaoke Songs:
How You Remind Me-Nickelback
Hungry Eyes-Eric Carmen
Hot Stuff-Donna Summer
And Still-Reba
Invincible-Pat Benetar

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Character Photo Bomb, Blog-Style:) Happy Birthday SCP!

*clears throat*  Hear ye, hear ye...Secret Cravings Publishing is turning FOUR this weekend, so please, everyone, click HERE to see the list of participating authors.  No gifts, please...simply comment on each blog in order to entered to win the various books, swag, etc, which each author is offering.  Any questions?

Caitlyn raises her hand.  "If this is an anniversary/birthday party, why aren't gifts being GIVEN?  This makes no sense."

Tricia nudges her.  "This is what cyberspace calls a party.  We invite readers to our author's sites, and give them gifts, for reading our stories and being loyal readers or customers.  Get it?

Keri looks confused.  "Wasn't Amy's book released this month?  So why is Molly offering a copy of Caitlyn's book?"

Amy hugs Caitlyn.  "Because Cait's won the award last year!  I don't mind not being the prize."

(off camera)  "Thank GOD!  That book has gotten me into SO much trouble with my fellow fly boys!"

All:  Shut up, Matt!

Caty glares.  "If anyone should be upset about the content, it should be me.  I can't believe-"  She stares at the envelope thrust into her hand.  "What's this?"  Scans brief message, then adopts regal posture.  "I take that back.  I always knew my story would be her highest seller."

*collective groans from the cast*

Keri rolls her eyes.  "Thanks a lot.  Now she'll have a swelled head and lord it over the rest of us."

Caitlyn McCarty plans to marry her high school sweetheart, Bryan Johnson, and teach elementary school after graduating from Arbor University.  But after Bryan's life turns upside down with an unexpected turn of events, Caty begins to question her goals and every decision she’s ever made.

Peter Criswell fell for green-eyed, opinionated Caitlyn when he first met her.  However, her determination to hold onto a dream frustrates him.  Sometimes you meet the right person at the wrong time, and falling for a woman who’s caught between her parents’ wants versus her own desires isn’t always easy.

When the foundation of Bryan Johnson’s relationship with Caitlyn is tested not once, but twice, he faces the possibility of losing the only girl he’s loved since high school.  When Caty does make up her mind, will she stand by her man or run into the arms of another?

"I'm holding your friend for ransom.” He stopped Caitlyn as she made a move to get in the car.
“What?” Caty whirled around, shaking off his restraining hand and watching Stephanie drive away. “Why did you do that?” I don’t want to be alone with him!
“You and I need to talk.” He glanced at her finger. “Still with Bryan?”
“Yes I am.”
“Okay. Why?”
Caty’s panic turned to anger. “Why not? It's none of your business.”
“Well, let's see... You're standing on my used car lot, you've seen what I look like in the morning, I've been with you intimately...yeah, I'd say it was my business.”
“I love him. I've been with him for almost eight years. What right do you have to question that?” Calm down…be calm.
“Maybe you're having second thoughts?” Peter leaned against a green Chevette and raised an eyebrow. “Do your eyes always flash green fire like that?”
“How the hell should I know?” Caty lost her temper. “And no, I'm not having second thoughts. This mess will be over soon, and-” she clapped a hand over her mouth, regretting her last statement. Great, just great. See what happens when you lose your cool?
Peter pushed himself away from the car and moved closer. “What mess will be over soon?” he asked. “Don’t tell me there's trouble in paradise.” His voice mocked her.

To win a free pdf of Endless Love, which of the above characters does NOT belong in the Arbor University series?  Caitlyn, Tricia, Keri, Amy, or Matt?  Don't forget to leave your contact information along with your answer:)

Friday, January 9, 2015

Flashback Friday: How To Scare Your Boyfriend:)

Jan 1985:
Over Christmas Break, my great-grandmother handed me a tiny zirconian ring and said she didn't want it.  Since it perfectly fit my ring finger, I decided to wear it, even going so far as to tease Grandma..."Does this mean we're engaged?"

Arriving back on campus, I forgot I even had it on, since I'd worn it non-stop for a week.  I reunited with my boyfriend of 3 months, TM, and my roommates.  At dinner that night, an acquaintance stopped to ask about my Christmas.  Since I'd also been given a beautiful gold watch, I held up my left hand.  She sucked in her breath and nearly screamed congratulations, while holding my hand!  I promptly corrected her, saying TM had NOT proposed, upon which he nearly choked, and my roommates nearly fell off their chairs from laughter!

Friend K was thrilled one of her old HS friends was now attending VU, and while we weren't exactly sure what to think of her, we accepted her into our group and decided to reserve judgment.

Later that month, TM and I seemed to drift apart.  I had changed my major from Early Childhood Ed to Social Work, and was enjoying my classes.  We no longer had the same lunch hour, so the only time we seemed to connect was after dinner.  Which soon put a strain on our relationship, and by the end of the month, we were no longer seeing each other.  I did form a tiny crush on his friend J, but it wasn't returned.  To fill in my empty hours, I began writing.

Present Day:
The temps are in the teens, and thankfully, all we have is snow flurries, nothing on the ground.

My eye surgery on my RIGHT eye on Wed went well, and next week the left eye will be done.  Since the left one is the least cooperative, here's hoping all goes well.

Books Read This Week:
LOVED Seduced; High Stakes Seduction was okay, and now I'm enjoying Kilts and Kraken:)

Karaoke Songs:
Cry-Mandy Moore
How Do I Live-Leann Rimes
How You Remind Me-Nickleback
Hungry Eyes-Eric Carmen
And Still-Reba

Come back tomorrow for the SCP Anniversary Hop!

Monday, January 5, 2015

Starting 2015 With A Bang

Okay, maybe not so much a bang, but maybe a whimper of protest....

I haven't been exactly public about this, unless you're one of my Facebook friends.  So bear with me.

Back in September, when I had my eyes checked, the pressure in my left eye was 'elevated'.  I was told possibly 'Occular Hypertension' or simply a fluke, and told to get it rechecked in a month.  I was happy with my new glasses, with the right eye 'improved' to 20/35, while the pesky left one needed trifocals.

October came, and pressure was slightly higher.  Since the spouse had also seen the eye doctor, and had his eyes dilated, I refused the numbing drops for another test, since I'd never had them, and didn't know how I'd respond.  I needed to drive him home, so was told to return at the end of November.

In November, the pressure was back to the original 'elevated' number, so was referred to the Eye Center for a full glaucoma work up.  This was scheduled for Jan 15th, but when we discovered our local eye center did the same testing, I opted for a five minute drive, rather than an hour long one.  Because, let's face Indiana, you never know what's coming in winter.  The roads could be clear, or we'd face driving in a foot or two of snow.

Dec 15th, I was rather traumatized by the test.  After explaining my excessive phobia, the tech either was having a bad day, or no patience at 8:30 am for a skittery patient, and her compassion was a little low.  I survived the four rounds of drops and the pressure test, though the spouse had to clamp my head to the machine so I wouldn't keep backing away.  I still had trouble keeping my left eye open, so yes, this took several tries before she finally got a reading.

Then the doctor came in, and after examining my eyes, pronounced my eyes 'healthy', with 'just the start of early cateracts', which, given my age, is COMPLETELY normal.  Then he dropped the bomb.

"I've got a laser treatment which can clear up your pressure problems."

I jolted.  "Oh no."

His compassion evaporated.  "Am I just wasting my time?  If you're not going to accept treatment, I can walk out that door, or you can."

I protested that I'd been told for three months 'drops' would be all I needed.

"Do you want pain in your wallet or pain in your eyes?  Laser will clear it up in no time."

The spouse compounded my fears by ganging up on me also by chiming in about me being a 'big baby'.  And after we returned home, he laughed about me getting chewed out by the doctor.

I felt completely alone, humiliated, and as if the doctor had treated me like I was 3.  In fact, as I type this, tears are still forming in my eyes, and this happened three WEEKS ago!

I was scheduled for a follow up pressure recheck today.

I was happy to note that a) my eyes cooperated for the numbing drops, b) both the tech and the doctor's compassion was back in full force, and c) the spouse did NOT need to come into the room with me, since he was again having another exam.

The one BAD note?  Now my right eye has decided to join in the 'fun'.  My pressure was now 26 in both eyes ('Normal' pressure is 20, so yeah, while not too bad, it's still 'elevated').

So now, instead of having the laser procedure on my left eye, I now have to have it on BOTH,  This Wednesday, Jan 7th, is the one on my left eye, then the following week is when the right eye will be done.

Yes, I'm scared.

Yes, I WILL be taking a few shots of tequila to calm me down.

No, they can NOT sedate me or put me under for this.

I'm hoping that after the 1st one is done, I'll be fine to go with the 2nd one, like 'everyone' says.  But still, keep me in your prayers?