Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Humorous Work Stories

As I commented on Kelly's Place yesterday, my parents told work-related stories during and lingering over the dinner table. It was my favorite time of the day, so here are a couple that are high on the memory bank.

MOM:
Occupation: High School nurse.

One day, a kid came into the health center, looking rather embarassed.

"Can I talk to you in private, Mrs. Mac?"

"Sure." Mom led him into the inner office. "What seems to be the problem?"

He looked around nervously, put his hand on his crotch, and whispered, "My Gentiles hurt!"

Mom managed to keep her composure, and calmly told him to go into the boys' bathroom (she had 2 rooms...one for each gender...the girls' room had about 11 beds, the boys' only 3!) and to drop his pants, and she'd be in to check on him. When he left the room, she closed the door and doubled over with laughter!


DAD:
Occupation: Utilities Mgr at Frito-Lay

I really don't remember any stories, but when the plant opened, they held a special Open House, and the visitors were given paper hats to wear. Dad brought home the official ball caps for us to wear, and I soon discovered the power of looking official and acting like you belonged.

The Visitor's line through the plant stretched around the perimeter, so people could watch the chips being sorted and bagged. For some reason, I was told to return to the lobby (I don't remember why), and instead of fighting my way back through the line, I ducked under the rope and took the shortest route across the room! Nobody questioned me; I had my official ball cap and was rapidly walking toward the exit! When I was finished with my errand, the devil got a hold of me and I repeated the act...again, no questions! Not even when I briefly paused beside one of the packers to get a closer look!

Hubby:
Occupation: Operating Engineer (the guy everyone yells at March-November because his machine is blocking the lane you think you need to be in, or has torn up the lane! He's actually improving the road to make you safer as you drive! Don't yell at him or try to run him off the road...News Flash...your car is no match for that paver! Ask the drunk who hit it when the HyperFix was in progress...)

Anyway, he was working on a pipeline, and in order to clear the pipe of debris, they shoot a steel ball, called a pig, through it. Well, one day, they were applying pressure, and the pig didn't appear out the other end as scheduled. More water pressure was sent. Finally, 2 superintendents, a state man, and one of the guys on the crew went to investigate. Just as they reached the exit pipe, and stood, scratching their heads, wondering if they were going to have to start disconnecting the pipe in order to find the blockage, the pig broke through. Water spurted; one guy fell down; two ran into each other and fell down; the others scattered! D said it looked like a scene from the Keystone Cops, and of course, this was back in the early 90's, when camera phones were yet to be invented...and no video cameras on site!

Me:
Occupation: At the time, I was working at a country club in central Indiana. This is one of my all-time favorite stories, and I've been told it shows my people skills with teens...

I was popular with the younger kids, mainly because I was good at fixing milkshakes and took the time to ask them about school, friends, etc. I was also good at remembering details, such as which kid liked a lot of cherries in their kiddie coctails, and who liked Sprite instead of Coke, or even on child, who preferred chicken fingers over the Sunday Buffet.

One day, one of the girls was having trouble deciding which ice cream/sherbert to order with her fruit plate, so I told her I'd surprise her. This girl was on the shy side, and her face always lit up when she saw me.

Anyway, one day, I was working a private party and all the girls were seated at the same table. Some of the more popular girls came to me complaining.

"Molly, we don't want to sit with (shy girl)! She's weird!"

"You all go to the same school, don't you?" (Nods) "Well, your mothers like each other, and you only have to put up with her for an hour during dinner. Surely you can be polite for an hour?"

Grumbling, they agreed, and returned to the table.

I took their order and every single girl ordered the fruit plate (I should stress these were 13 and 14 year olds!), and I saved my girl's order for last. The others specified the ice cream they wanted, and when I got to Shy Girl, I simply winked and asked, "Your usual?" She nodded, smiling brightly, and I returned to the kitchen.

When it was time to serve, I again saved hers for last. And when I placed it in front of her, there were gasps from the others. "Why does she get all that? You didn't tell us we could do that!"

I simply put my arm on her shoulder and calmly stated she was one of my special friends, who was polite to others, and therefore received special treatment. If they wanted to join my select group, they could show me their manners as well.

The surprise? I had used the tiny scoop and dished up smaller scoops of various flavors, saving Rainbow Sherbert to put on the top.

And during the rest of the party, I noticed a distinct change in the other girls' attitudes!

Who says you can't make a difference in a lowly job?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Let's Lighten Up!

Currently reading: The Palace Guard, by Dan Rather and Gary Paul Gates. It's another book about the Nixon presidency. No, I'm not political or anything; I was just too young (and really didn't care!) about this era in our history. And frankly, I'll be glad when I'm finished with it. There's a lot I'm skimming over, and I'm glad the next book in the box is fiction!

First of all, apologies for going hormonal...I think it's a combo of PMS and pre-menapausal...

I bought my own Christmas present this morning.

Yes, I'm aware Halloween isn't even here! But this is classic Econ 101...law of supply and demand...

For weeks, I've been silently drooling over the pink #18 jerseys (Colts' Peyton Manning for those who don't follow football!) and the blue pj pants with the horseshoes and 'Go Colts' on them. Hubby (typical hubby!) keeps saying 'next week' (hmm...where have I heard that before? Ah yes...last June...). Finally, I appealed to my mother, and we went shopping. Guess what? Found a jersey, but it's only a large, and while we bought it, it's slightly tight. Mom kept the receipt; maybe an XL will come in, and she can exchange it. And no pj bottoms anywhere.

"They're in my store, Mom...can you give me the money and I'll go get them?"

"Sure, honey...no problem."

Today, there's a problem. I couldn't find them anywhere!

"Oh, we had some yesterday..." (sales clerk)

So, I bought some blue plaid ones, with a white horseshoe on the left thigh and a waistband with 'Go Colts' written on it. And I found an XL pink T-shirt with Peyton's name and number on it. Still not XL jerseys. But I'm not giving up hope...somewhere, there's a truck with my desired size, and the items will be on the shelf...and at Super Bowl time, I will be decked out in my pink jersy, blue pj pants, and football earrings, cheering on my team to victory!

And since I have my T-shirt, I'll tell my mom if an XL jersey cannot be found with #18, then I'll take #29...Joseph Adai's number! He was the 'star' of the final playoff game last year, who intercepted the ball and sealed the victory over the Patriots!

In other news, Mom also bought me the Doughtry CD...again, I was about to buy it here, but Walmart was sold out. And I'd already bought Bon Jovi's through BMG, and won't be able to order again for another month (don't ask...it's complicated!)

I saw him at the Indy 500, and he sang "It's Not Over", and the acoustics were so bad, we could hardly hear him. I do have a nice picture of the band!

Anyway, I'm claiming his song "Over You" as my current theme song.

The chorus goes,

"Well I never saw it coming, I should have started running a long long time ago..
And I never thought to doubt you, I'm better off without you, more than you know...
I'm slowly getting closure, I guess it's really over, I'm finally getting better...
Now I'm picking up the pieces spending all of these years putting my heart back together...
'Cause the day I thought I'd never get through, I got over you..."

I also love Heart's "You Ain't So Tough" and Tina Turner's "I don't Wanna Fight".

Okay. Time to move to another track and get some housework accomplished.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

What a Difference Pt 2...

As I stated yesterday, a year ago today we moved to southern Indiana, a town my hubby hates with a passion, and a school district whose academic standards are slightly lower than the school my children had attended since kindergarten.

After securing a storage unit and emptying the contents of a 27-foot U-Haul truck into it, we began the task of setting up beds for everyone. Hubby and I, of course, got the queen-size bed in what used to be his parents' room. K got his old room with the double bed. S took the couch, and the baby slept in the Pack-n-Play (portable playpen). We made another trip back to the old house and loaded kitchen stuff, clothing from my closet, and assorted odds and ends. Went to the neighbor's house to watch 'Heroes', then slept on air mattresses for one last night in the old house.

Tuesday, we convinced two of our three dogs to go with us, and returned south. Started unpacking and getting the dogs settled on chains in the unfenced backyard. Mom's china angels were in danger of being broken by the dogs and toddler, so as I unpacked boxes, I immediately refilled them! I also called the cable company and phone companies so we could watch TV and have our unlimited long distance and voice mail activated. I didn't worry about the internet; my computer was still in storage.

Wednesday, I enrolled the kids in school, and we made one final trip back for our Norwegian Elkhound. D had returned to work, and had been taking care of him at the house. I timed it so we were leaving the old neighborhood as the bus was arriving, and the kids were able to say one last goodbye to their friends.

Thursday, they started at their new schools, and discovered they were ahead of their studies, even having been out for nearly a week. My freshman had all but one credit for the sophomore level; most of his classes were with the upperclassmen. My daughter struggled at first; she was thrust immediately into a middle school situation, instead of being in the elementary school. But she soon adjusted, and was the first to make friends and discover the rollar-skating rink.

I called every daycare in town, but there were no openings for my toddler, not even for half a day. That first month I packed my mother-in-law's stuff; unpacked ours; sorted through closets, cabinets, and drawers; kept an eye on the baby so he wouldn't wander off; and patiently learned to deal with 3 angry people.

It's been a year; I've gotten everything organized the way I want it; the kids 'still don't know where' certain items are supposed to go, and they pick this up from their father, whose excuse is, "I'm gone all week; I don't know where the hell it goes..." and I can't just stop and fall apart, because that will accomplish absolutely nothing. If I had fallen apart last year, we would have all fallen apart, and the kids needed at least one strong parent to lean on.

I've managed to make a couple of friends, both by internet and through my children, and I've also marketed my first book at a local event and gotten a few books sold on consignment in 3 stores. My second book is due out in a few weeks, and I've a signing booked. I've also finished one WIP; worked solidly on another back in April (the muse left before I could finish it; I need to return to it and maybe outline the remaining chapters!); started 2 more, and want to finish #8 in the series.

My kids are back on the honor roll; my baby's in preschool and blossoming (even potty-trained...about 80%!); we've lost 2 dogs due to old age; and hubby's had somewhat of a good work season. And, we've managed to attend 2 county fairs, see a couple of movies, and treated the kids to almost daily trips to the pool during the summer.

Kelly asked me about knowing when my last straw was coming...it's just a feeling. And it's the overcautious part...I can sense a change coming, but I want everything in place when it arrives. I want to be able to prove I can support myself and my kids. The last time I reached the wall, I had someone to help me make the change; I don't have anyone this time. It would mean striking out on my own, and for my kids' sake, I don't want to hit that wall without the safety net of a job and a place to live. Does this make any sense?

Yes, I need a break. I thought I was getting one last spring at the Writer's Conference, but my van broke down and hubby ended up staying at the hotel with me (and interrupting my 'reunion' with 3 friends!). During the summer, my mother refused to take the baby when the older ones spent a week at her house. I did get 6 hours one day....it was heaven! And even this past weekend, the original plan was to ship the kids north, and only have to worry about keeping quiet so D could sleep on Friday. But, I ended up staying until Saturday, and bringing 2 kids home with me. So much for Fall Break. Don't know what the Christmas Break will bring...Maybe next spring/summer when I'm promoting the 2nd book I'll get some 'me' time? In the meantime, I've got my 4 hours every M-Th:) And when Jackie and I get well, we'll resume the 'Friday Writer's Lunch' again:) After Thanksgiving, when D is laid off for the winter, things will be tough, and then it will be decision time.

Apply to Healthy Families (or even Head Start)?
Go back to school in January?
Or just become a regular volunteer in W's classroom?

Everything will happen in God's time...not mine. I have to keep remembering that. The past several years have been blatantly obvious in hindsight!

Saturday, October 27, 2007

What a Difference a Year Makes...

One year ago this Saturday (it will actually be tomorrow, but I'm choosing to post this today!), the Great Upheaval in our lives culminated in a frantic packing session.

For months, we had been living in Limbo...would HUD allow us to stay and defend our home against the proven destructive vandalism that sweeps our neighborhood everytime a house is left empty due to a move? Would we be able to find a rental house in the school district, so our kids could stay with their friends? Or would we find something in the larger school district, one where my oldest could dust off his rusty football skills and live up to his "Thunder" nickname his teammates on the Youth Football team dubbed him, because he spent more time in the opponant's backfield than any other member? (I'm being serious...one game, every other announcement was "tackle by KH..." )

But no. Out of the blue, a letter arrived in the mail. Consultation with our (useless excuse of a) lawyer led to more gathering of boxes, and on the last Saturday in October, friends and family members arrived to help us pack.

I'd already gathered most of it; but you never realize how much crap you accumulate in 10 year's time! We started at 9am, and by 6 pm, everything except the beds, our clothes, and a few items we couldn't fit in the U-Haul were left. Dad took us all out to dinner before he left, and we sank exhaustedly into bed.

Got up the next morning and went to church; I believe I started crying midway through the service. Ate a farewell lunch with some close friends who hadn't been able to help the day before, and returned home to finish. At 6pm, we admitted we'd packed the truck to capacity and decided we'd just have to make a second trip. We began the 2-hour trek south, stopping halfway to get something to drink (I was tired and needed caffeine) and to switch kids (K wanted to ride with me because I listen to the music!). We didn't even bother to unpack when we arrived at hubby's childhood home; just turned on the heat, found the pj's and went to bed.

Monday, my father showed up and helped us unload everything into a new storage facility. He treated us to lunch and we headed back north for the rest and the dogs.

I need to digress here...you know Indiana's been wrestling with the Daylight Savings Time issue? Well, this time last year, it went into effect. And as a result, we lost two hours in the same day. I dutifully set my clocks back an hour before the move; on Monday morning, I started calling around to see which school my daughter would attend, and couldn't get any answer! Finally, at "8:00", I called the neighbor.

"Connie, is there some weird holiday down here that I don't know about?"

"Molly, the schools don't open for another hour...it's only 7 am..."

"You mean to tell me we've lost ANOTHER HOUR?"

Don't you just love Indiana? We don't know what the weather will be like from one hour to the next, and we don't know what time it is!

And now, our county has decided NOT to change it's clocks this fall; we're going to finally be back on Indianapolis time!

Back to the move:

We've been in our new home for a year, and the past 3 days have shown me how bad the lighting is in my bathroom. When I look in the mirror, I see my blonde highlights sliding down the back of my head (it's really noticible when the hair is wet!), but otherwise my blonde/dark blonde roots don't look that bad.

And then I looked in the mirror at my mom's. OMG!!! I badly need a touch-up...the silver streaks are threating to overtake my scalp...I look like the women I used to privately make fun of for not paying more attention to one's hair...I've got dark blonde (okay...almost brown!) from the top of my head to my ears; silver strands twinkling here and there; and blonde tips from my ears to my shoulders, nearly the same color I had my entire life until I started having children. How blonde? Picture a tub of butter. Nearly that yellow!

Yesterday:

Mom: "What do you want for Christmas?"

Me: "I want my hair re-done. New eyes. A trip to the dentist. My book to be a best-seller."

I can dream, can't I?

More on the move later this week. This has taken longer than expected, and I need to get moving (pun intended!)

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Insomnia...

Good morning from a semi-sleep deprived author:) I sent the household to bed at 9pm, and found myself suddenly awake shortly before midnight! After tossing, I realized there is no one in bed with me...I can turn on the light and read! I couldn't go to the computer, as that would waken my daughter. So I sat up and finished The Brethren and I must say I don't have the awe I used to hold for the Supreme Court! I guess it was an uninformed awe...after all, aren't these the judges who uphold our Constitution and laws? Well....according to this book, the judges squabble among themselves; they have personal agendas ('scores' to settle with lower and former competitor judges), they nit-pick at different drafts of the opinions (final decision on the issue), and in general, act no better than anyone. Enough said; I'm not up on my Supreme Court Justices at the moment, and this was the '69-'75 court. A lot has changed, and I'd be interested in reading a book dealing with Sandra Day O'Connor's nomination and the Clarence Thomas/Anita Hill scandal. Why? I was in college and didn't care; didn't watch the news; and what I did hear, I scoffed at. Yes, it brought sexual harrassment out of the closet. But sometimes it goes too far. Go ahead; tell me I'm wrong. I'm sleepy, and when I'm like this, I'm likely to say a bunch of bs...

Anyway, I finally finished the book around 2:30; snapped off my light and tried to return to sleep. All of a sudden, there is heavy breathing in my ear and my right arm is being stroked with a wet tongue. Surely hubby's not home...or a perverted intruder...I crack open my eyes; it's an hour later, and Lucky (Black Lab) is pleading with me to let her outside. So much for the weird sensation I was part of an e-book....oh wait...I wrote one!

Put her outside and returned to bed. No dreams. And then the phone rings. Did I mention I'm not a morning person? I get up, noting it's 6 O'F---ing clock.

"What..."

"Good morning:)" (It's hubby) "What's the weather say for tonight?"

"How the hell should I know? Let me start up the internet..."

In the meantime, I also put down the phone to shut off my alarm which will be going off soon, if it didn't already, and I don't remember hitting the 'snooze' button!

"Oh shit...that's right. K doesn't have his 7:00 class today...you didn't have to be up yet..."

"So what else is new? I've been up and down all night...weather says a chance of showers...Microcast shows rain at 3 pm...and maybe another chance around 11..."

"Well, they're going to try to work us tonight. I'm going to breakfast, then check into the motel so I can sleep. If they call us off, I might be home before you leave today. Otherwise, I'll see you on Friday."

So...I have a choice. I can return to bed, or I can start the coffee and read Kelly's installment. And I promptly recognize myself on AJ's blog.

It is now nearly 7:30. Time to run the high schooler to school and return for the 7th grader and my 3 little ones. Take my two to school, and entertain a 6-yr old and her 5-yr old brother until noon. And at 3:30, when everyone has packed, we meet my niece and deliver her kids, and then it's travel up to Lafayette to spend the night at Grandma and Grandpa's house!

Oh...and the Family Fun Night? I was an Iron Chef; the little ones were a ballerina, Spiderman, and a farmer! And since it was cold, we only stayed for 90 minutes! They played, we ate pizza, we drank hot chocolate, took pictures, and came home in time to watch Kid Nation.

Don't know if I'll post tomorrow or not, so don't panic if nothing appears:)

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Who Knew?

Breaking News: I just opened up my royalty statement from iUniverse, and discovered I sold another book in July:) Wow...5 more to sell before I get another royalty check:) Maybe the signing next month will help...

I learned something yesterday.

Before you keel over in shock, it wasn't something intellectual; it was about my HS principal.

He and his college roommate at Purdue, right before graduation, were sitting in the Student Union, discussing their future plans.

Dennis Blind said he was going to turn down the contract from the Pittsburgh Pirates, because he and his young sweetheart were going to get married, settle down, and start a family.

"I'll have my teacher's certificate, and we'll have a good life, making a difference in the lives of other children." He later went on to become one of the best principals at Lafayette Jefferson High School. He encouraged my mother (high school nurse) to start several programs, such as education for teen mothers, better sex-education in the entire school district, and even supported her decision to get her master's degree in Health Education.

He hired Richard Miles, the man who took our lowly marching band and turned us into fierce competitors. My sophomore year, we placed 17th in the state...no finals for us. My jr year, we not only marched at the World's Fair in Knoxville, TN, but we placed 10th in state and 10th in the nation at the National Competition in Johnson City, TN (we called it The Land of the Little People, because we stayed in an elementary school, and the toilets were only as high as our shins!). My Sr year, we did even better, winning MBA (Marching Bands of America) at Joliet, ILL and completely losing our composure on the nightly news (correction: The Brass and Drum lines were jumping up and down; us girls in the Color Guard stayed at attention...although we were screaming, We won! We won!); we placed 5th in the State (in the new Hoosier Dome!), and 5th in the nation. And somewhere, there is a tape with my close-up as I'm tossing my flag into the air and catching it, in perfect harmony with the others!

Back to the conversation in the late 50's/early 60's...

Dennis Blind looked at his roommate and said, "What do you think you'll do?"

The roommate said contemplatingly, "I think I'd like to take a walk on the moon..."

Any guesses who the roommate was?


Neil Armstrong.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Aunt Mommy...

3:40 pm- More Breaking News: Just submitted Wild at Heart to Cerridwen Press. Say a prayer they accept it:)

Breaking News: I just officially signed off on the 2nd galley of Love Finds A Way. This means it goes to the printers, and will be available in 3 weeks! Hope so...my signing at the Lost Mermaid is scheduled for November 17th! Say a prayer, keep your fingers crossed!

My honorary grandchildren are arriving today:) Ariel and Jaevon are 6 and 5, and have the honor of being born on the same day, 1 year apart! I don't know how their mother managed to do that...how often does that happen?

I call them 'honorary' because there is a strange family dynamic here. Their mother came into D's life when she was about a year, and he helped raise her and her older brother for the next 3 years. She considers him her dad, since her own father has no interest in her. So even though I'm Aunt Molly, I also jokingly call them my grandkids.

I began watching them regularly back in 2004. They had moved to our town, and needed someone to watch them while J worked nights. They ended up staying at our house Sunday through Friday, and sometimes even half a day on Saturday so J could sleep. When she changed jobs (and shifts....and housing...) they continued to live with me.

Why did I title this 'Aunt Mommy'? At the time, A was 3, J was 2, and my own little guy was 1. "Aunt Mommy" rolled off their tongues as easily as "Aunt Molly", and even W, who heard them call me "Aunt Molly" all day, even began calling me that! Brought several smiles to people when they heard it, and eventually, even their mother began referring to me as "Aunt Mommy"!

The kids are on Fall Break at the moment (A is in Kindergarten; J in Pre-school); their mother is once again working nights; their father has been out of jail for nearly 2 years, and is going to school (he has night class on Wed). Could they come and stay a few days with their aunt and uncle, whom they've not seen in several months? Sure...bring 'em on down! We also just happen to have a 'Family Fun Night' to attend Wednesday for W's school! I'll have 3 ghosts, ages 6, 5, and nearly 4 running around the park, provided it doesn't rain! And I've 'voluntold' my older ones to work the games:) Should be a fun 3 days...and we'll meet up with their mom on Thurs, when I take my kids to their grandparents' house for our Fall Break!

Monday, October 22, 2007

Typical Mon...

Currently reading: The Brethren (still!) by Bob Woodward
E-Book: Overloard's Vessel by Bronwyn Green. I'm on Chapter 11...

What did I do before blogging or working on a wip? Mondays were always busy.

Doing laundry.
Dusting and vacuuming LRM.
Taking out the trash.
Doing my daily FlyLady task.

What have I done since June?
Post my blog or entry
Read Kelly, AJ, and Anny's blogs.
Comment, if I had one.
Do a light swipe at the dust in the noticible places, and maybe even run the vacuum.
Take out the trash (it comes at 7:30 am, so it has to be out there!)
Maybe do a load or so, and take all day to do it.
Check my FlyLady list and maybe I'll have time for the task.
When kids get up/come home/or an hour before hubby is due home, do a massive clean up, where everyone takes a room and it looks spotless in an hour!
Finally, write, write, write, and write some more!
And oh yeah...field complaints from kids wanting to check their mail, play games, etc...

Since I've finished my wip, and I'm in the process of checking over facts, doing some minor rewrites, and making sure I've covered everything for the submission package, today is a more typical Monday.

So far, I've taken out the trash (pulled an AJ...only was wearing white fleece pj bottoms with black polar bears on them, red t-shirt, and tennis shoes!), gotten dressed, taken the kids to school, and drank my last cup of coffee. The laundry is down the chute, waiting to be sorted. Fleetwood Mac is on my CD player. After I post, I'll read the others' blogs and maybe comment. Then I will check my other mail, then force myself to go downstairs and start the laundry. I'll clean the living room and start on my office/S's bedroom/W's toy room and get rid of anything I'm tired of looking at/tripping over. Did some of this over the weekend, but honestly, do I need to have all these toys he doesn't play with? I'll keep the Tonka trucks, and the John Deere tractors, and yes, he's played his Whack-a-Mole game, so that can stay...but the puzzles, toy laptop, and some of the smaller stuff I'll box up and take downstairs.

And I'm also going to go through these piles of paper/notebooks/mail on my desk and toss anything I don't need. Unfortunately, the bills will have to stay...

At noon, I'll pick up the baby, and we'll watch "Wonder Pets" or "Air Bud"...or whatever movie he's addicted to. Yesterday, it was "Monster's Inc" on the Disney Channel...we watched it twice, as our copy is on VHS and in storage at the moment!

While he's doing that, I will do some minor research and start editing chapter 4. My older kids arrive home later, and I'll get to read another section in "The Bretheren", the book I'm reading about the Supreme Court. I'm in the middle of the Roe Vs Wade decision, and it's fascinating to see how they operate. Not like your typical court judges...they all write opinions, draft memos, and then argue over everything until they reach a decision! I'll take my older one to swim practice, come home and fix dinner, and then take some to him so he can eat while I'm driving him to Scouts. I'll return home, pick up the other two and the dog, go visit the MIL at the nursing home for an hour, and then pick up the scout. Supervise any homework still needing to be finished, bathe the toddler and put him to bed. I'll check the email and blogs again, and then head to bed myself.

Just a typical day-in-the-life...

Oh yes...if my galley of book #2 arrives, I'll be checking for the corrected errors and hopefully will sign off on it and tell them to go to print! I need my books in 3 weeks!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

80's Music

Does anyone know who sings this song?
"I want you, I need you, I'll always be with you.
I found out the hard way I can't be without you,
I'll always be with you..."

I know it's called "I want You I Need You", and have a delightful memory of my record player skipping in middle of the chorus...

"...I'll always be with...be with...be with..." until I could get up and place either a light finger or a penny on the needle arm!

Heard this on the radio the other day, and sang it with gusto (thank god the windows were up and the only child in the car was the toddler!), but the radio personality didn't announce it.

Came across 'Saturday 80's' last night while driving to collect my daughter. Go ahead...sing along!

Debbie Gibson's "Foolish Beat"
Autograph's "Turn Up the Radio"
Duran Duran's "View to a Kill"
Irene Cara's "Flashdance: What a Feeling"
Starships "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now"
Wham's "Careless Whisper" and "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go"
Lisa Lisa and Cult Jam's "All Cried Out"
Belinda Carlisle's "Heaven is a Place On Earth"
Pointer Sisters' "Jump For My Love" and "I'm So Excited"
(Did they do "Baby Come and Get It" also???)
Pat Benetar's "Invincible"
Police's "Every Breath You Take"
John Couger (Mellencamp...was added later and then he dropped the Couger)
"Jack and Diane"; "Small Town"; "Pink Houses"; "Rain on the Scarecrow"; "R-O-C-K in the USA"
Bruce Springstein's "Glory Days" and "Born in the USA"
Bob Seeger's "Old Time Rock-n-Roll" (Remember Risky Business? Tom Cruise in his tighty whities...)
Roxette's "The Look" (personal fav from 1989!)
Richard Marx. All of his:)
"And We Danced" by The Hooters?? Heard the last half of this as I was taking the kids to CCD/REP/whatever Sunday School is called! And yes, I've had my shower and will attend Mass in 30 minutes with them!
Poisen's "Talk Dirty To Me" and "Fallen Angel"
Aerosmith's "Angel"



Remember "We Don't Have To Take Our Clothes Off"?
"Somebody's Watching Me"?
"Let's Go All the Way"?

And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention at least one Michael Jackson song. "Beat It" was my fav...and so was Weird Al's take, "Eat It"

Or Madonna..."Material Girl", "Like A Virgin" and "True Blue"

Post your favs in the comment section!

Saturday, October 20, 2007

American Girl...

I've been immortalized by a doll. And an entire series of books:)

Seriously.

With the exception of my hair color, and the fact I was born in 1965 (yup, gave away my age there...), I'm an American Girl!

My maiden name is Molly McIntire, and if anyone is familiar with the American Girl craze, she's a brown-haired nine year old living during WW2:) My mother was so tickled by this, she bought the doll, some of the books, and even sent me 'Molly's Wartime Cookbook' or something to that effect!

My parents went to Europe in 1990, to visit my sis at the London Centre, and decided to look up the old family crest in Scotland. Mom found the plaid, and discovered an ancient story, which is sad, hilarious, and kind of weird.

Before I dive in, my parents' best friends are the Campbells.

Way back when, the McIntires (I think it was spelled McIntyre at the time) rented land from the Campbells, and the rent being one snowball a year. My ancestors apparently thought it too tedious to traipse into the mountains and collect said snowball, and so they lost their land! Granted, I have no idea where the land was, or how far away it was from the mountain, or even if this was the malicious idea of how to steal the land away (remember, no freezers, no Coleman coolers to keep it from melting!). Or if my ancestors were just plain lazy.

I like to think our work ethic has improved...

We all own our own homes now, and those of us who don't, aren't renting from anyone named Campbell:)

Kelly, if you're referring to my long and unusual married last name...I knew my hubby for 4 years before he convinced me to quit dating losers and give him a try. He 'rescued' me from a bad situation...long story short, I ended up marrying him. On our wedding day, after the ceremony was over, and I had to add my signature to the marriage license, I literally looked at his typewritten name, and in front of Dr. T, exclaimed, "Oh that's how you spell your name!"

Dr. T looked taken aback for a moment, and then he threw back his head an laughed as I hastened to explain I'd been spelling it wrong all those years!

No, I had not gotten some guy off the street to marry me because the groom chickened out, ha ha:)

Have a great weekend, and check out how Anny has managed the saga today. Emmaline is currently traipsing through her book Chysanthemum today, and has even tied one of AJ's books into it! Before you know it, Emmaline will end up taking on Puck, from Kelly's book...I don't think she'll ever end up in Arbordale, though...

Friday, October 19, 2007

Several Things...

"From your mouth to God's ear..." Where have we heard that before? In my family, it's true. My mother has God's Hotline. Why? When she prays, miracles happen!

Take for instance my friend's mom. In ICU; prognosis not good; family members are quietly and tearfully saying goodbye. I call my mom; tell her to keep Mrs. G in her prayers...tah dah! Two days later, the vent is removed and she's going to recover!

Mom had her knee replaced last year, and she recovered in record time. I know another person who had their knee replaced three weeks earlier than Mom, and is still using a cane. Mom hasn't used hers in 6 months.

Today is my parents' 44th wedding anniversary. Back in 2002, the entire family met at Nicky's in Estes Park, Colorado for a week of fun and relaxation. Our friends who live in Fort Collins came down for a night of memories, laughter, and a fantastic Prime Rib dinner. My sister and I decided to make the night even better by celebrating Dad's birthday, Mom's birthday, and their anniversary with gifts, special tributes, and goofy songs! Mom was moved to tears by the poem I'd written, extolling their virtues as parents. And was in tears of laughter a moment later when Dad opened his presents and discovered we'd gotten him a book titled "1st to Die" by James Patterson! No, hopefully we were not predicting anything!

And we joked with my sister when two months later she discovered she was pregnant. No, she did not name my nephew Nicholas...

Switching gears a little, my oldest son did something very sweet this morning. I have to take him to school an hour early in order for him to take a physics class; we left a little early this morning, and he stopped at the gas station (he's got his permit, so he drives, and I sit in the passenger seat and calmly tell him to slow down...). He bought not only a bottle of Pepsi, but a PB Twix for his dear old mom! He loves me:)

Or, he's tired of the PMS and it was an effort to mellow me out?

Anny's having title anxiety on her blog this morning http://www.annycook.blogspot.com/ I think it's going around. I can't seem to come up with an appropriate title for my Indiana-meets-Colorado/prison reform-wants old girlfriend-back book. Check out my entry a couple weeks back (Oct 2...Work in Progress) and see if anyone has any suggestions. Post them on the comment section, and I'll tell you what...if I end up using one, I'll send you a free copy of Love Finds A Way. It's being released soon! I'll also post your name in the acknowledgment section of the new book.

AJ had a bad Friday. Pop over to her blog and leave her an encouraging note http://www.amarindajones.blogspot.com/ as well as reading the next wacky installment of the Emmaline blogga saga. Kelly hasn't posted yet, but I'm sure she's written something profound! http://www.kkirch.blogspot.com/

Thursday, October 18, 2007

What Am I Up To?

Update: The respirator has been removed! I've been told not to come today, after all, and maybe tomorrow I can go down...

Hahaha..."What am I up to," asks Kelly. This week has been so crazy...

I am dealing with the aftershocks of the stomach/intestinal flu raging through my kids.

I'm dealing with the death of my beloved paster, Dr. T.

I'm dealing with the knowledge a dear friend's mother lies in ICU on a ventilator, and the news is not good. In fact, I'm heading to Evansville today to see her.

I'm dealing with a child who doesn't want to go to school, and if she misses one more day, she and I will face inquiries from the school administrators. And I really don't want that to happen...

I'm dealing with my overachiever, fretting over his PSAT scores...and his rank in his class. Out of 200 students, he's in the top 20...but at his old school, he was ranked #3...out of 30!

I'm dealing with an independant toddler. Enough said.

I'm trying to get my house under control...I was gone yesterday, and of course I'm the only one who knows how to crack out the ice trays, make a pitcher of iced tea, and pick up the baby's toys! Not to mention doing the dishes...they can lie in front of the TV and email their friends, but can't pick up their socks or take their soup bowls to the kitchen...come on, Mom! What are you thinking? I know...single parenting, hee hee...

I'm also trying to get my submission package put together for CP...I still have a few details left to research on the ms before I submit...I told my dad we'd just have to go back to Nicky's, and he asked if I could leave now or Friday...told him I couldn't leave till next week! God I love my dad...

I'm also providing email support to another friend who's going through a divorce.

And finally, an absent husband who is trying to adjust to the night shift and finds reasons to call me three times a day, when he should be sleeping! And, oh yeah...he was rained out last night, and may be again tonight, and if that happens, hey, he'll be home in time for dinner! Oh joy...small paycheck next week. There goes my plans to buy Travelor's Refuge...sorry, Anny. It'll get pushed back a week...

And, oh yes...I'm also dealing with a mother-in-law whom I've not seen since Monday! And the fact her brother-in-law passed away...I'll go see her today, and I'll probably get an earful of "where have you been" and "why didn't you go to Dub's funeral" (His name is Paul, but everyone calls him Dub. Yeah, this is southern Indiana!)

Have I covered everything? I still haven't used my coupon for my free aquamassage...I may use it tomorrow, when the hubby returns. Otherwise, maybe Monday.

Sorry for the Drama Queen-like tone.

Did I mention I'm also PMS-ing?

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Families...

I just love my in-laws...

They only call if they are honor-bound to give information.

They never ask "How are you"; it's always, "Molly, You need to..." or "Molly, Dan has got to..." and half the time it's not necessary that anything needs to be done in the next half hour!

As I've stated, D's uncle passed away. We were told when the arrangements were made, they would let us know. Guess what? They didn't.

My mother called and told me my beloved Dr. T passed away (he was the pastor who I was close to in high school, and he married D and I. And baptized K) and that there is a memorial service tomorrow at my home church. Several pastors I've not seen in over 20 years will be there, as well as my old choir leader, with whom I had a love/hate relationship (loved his wife, hated him, but loved to sing, so I put up with him!). In short, the only thing that would keep me from going tomorrow is a bout of the stomach flu. And I'm perfectly healthy.

Oops, I digress. The point of that is, I've made plans to attend the service (as if you couldn't tell!). I left the house briefly this afternoon to collect K's schoolbooks for him, and 5 hours later he remembered to tell me the great-aunt had called, only he hadn't gotten to the phone in time to answer it. I called back; no answer. I waited an hour; got a "Well we were at the funeral home...the showing was tonight!" (The Where were you was clearly implied in her tone!) I told her we'd had the flu making the rounds, and she said "Don't you show up tomorrow at the funeral! Don't you bring that shit around us!" (Direct quote...)

Yes, I fumed over it. And then decided I didn't care. After all, she could have left a message on the voice mail; she chose not to. Her main problem? D works up in Indianapolis, and I'm a 'married-in'...not part of 'her' inner circle, and therefore do not need to attend her husband's funeral. When she says 'jump', I do not ask 'how high'...it's 'why?' Everyone else...well, you get the picture!

That's okay. Given the choice between saying goodbye to a loved man as opposed to one I've only had minimal contact with in 16 years, I'll take the former.

Single Parenting: Ups and Downs

The stomach flu is going around. My little one caught it last Fri; K has it today. S may even be fighting it as I type this. But if she hadn't used all her allowable sick days, she could have stayed home as well. I hope I don't catch it, but if I do, it had better be on the weekend! Why? I'm a single parent. At least Monday through Friday!

In some ways, I enjoy it. I don't have to put up with another adult 'child' demanding attention; I can keep to the schedule we've established since he's been gone; during the day, I can spend as much time on the computer as I can. It can be trying at times, such as when one child has activities and the other wants to do things at the same time...it takes careful planning and juggling of errands. I'm a glorified taxi.

And it has its drawbacks. For instance, the only tv I've watched since the new shows began is 'Survivor', and I've taped it; I've only showed up for Tribal Council, and haven't watched any details! I forced myself to stay awake during CSI: Miami last night, and slightly overslept this morning (no dreaming about acorns, ha ha!). I've only watched bits and pieces of Kid Nation; taped the first episode of 'Beauty and the Geek' but haven't watched it. Gave up trying to watch the other episodes.

In other family news, we had a death on Sunday. D's uncle passed away, and we have yet to hear about any arrangements. D himself is about to embark on a couple of weeks on night shift, which should be fun when he comes home on the weekends...we may have to attend church on Saturday night! And my other 'mom' is still hanging in there...I just talked to my friend, and she's getting ready to head down there tomorrow. I told her I'd make the trip on Thursday, provided I don't get infected with the 24-hour flu bug or have other family obligations that day. I definitely will not be able to go down Friday, because D will be home, and he doesn't like this particular friend! (I could be wrong...given her mom is special to me, he may give me the go-ahead...and I'm not missing her funeral, when it happens!)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Sleepy Mon

Currently reading: The Bretheren, by Bob Woodward. It's about the Supreme Court from 1969-1974. Tried to read The Final Days, but as I'd earlier read about four other books dealing with Watergate, I decided I really didn't need to know Bob's view!

How do you know if you've been blogging too much? When you wake up and realize you've been dreaming about a fellow author's blog entry...

When you keep hitting the 'snooze' button, because you're caught up in the fascinating dream about the above blog...

Or, when you spend your day 'practicing' your monologue for the next day's entry, to see if it will sound as fascinating flowing from your fingertips as it does in your head?

This is no joke. Anny Cook wrote about the importance of research while writing in her entry yesterday (http://www.annycook.blogspot.com/ ) and for whatever reason, I dreamed she and I had embarked on the Great Acorn Hunt. We found them all over the city (yeah, stupid, but hey, it was a dream!); we made the most delicious foods from the flour; used acorns as one would regular nuts; had our own infomercials, and opened up a restaurant. If the damn alarm hadn't kept going off, and hubby asking why I hadn't woken him up when it went off, I bet Anny and I would have been featured on the Food Network channel, or even Iron Chef. (I had a dream where Bobby Flay about had a heart attack when I told him how I make BBQ ribs...Sat's dream...don't ask!)

And since AJ had sent me a very constructive email concerning my latest book, I pondered that when hubby left and I couldn't return to the dream. (Sorry, Anny...have no idea how Acorn Heaven turned out!)

And then logged on this am and found Marianne Stephens' wonderful quote..."Don't change your voice to suit anyone". Music to my eyes this morning! Why? I'll tell you!

Ten years ago, I decided to seriously pursue getting published. I had three books written, a fourth nearly done, and ideas for four or five more. I bought the Writer's Guide to Publishing (don't know if that was the title or not!) and started eagerly going through it, making notes of who to send my query to and the submission guidelines.

Ten or so rejections later, I was getting discouraged.

Did I have something people would want to read? Was there something wrong with my writing style? Was my language too in-your-face? Were my sex scenes too descriptive?

My best friends loved what I had written, but they were biased. I needed an unbiased opinion, and it came in the form a group of mothers I met when my kids started playing baseball.

I had taken my notebook to the practices and was working on my current brainstorm. My character happened to be divorced, and since I needed insight, I asked one of the divorced moms the reason behind her divorce. When she discovered I was working on cleaning up #3, and the premise of the first 2, she wanted to read them. I said okay, and gladly handed her about 100 sheets of typewritten pages.

A week later, she had finished and wanted the next one. Again, I handed her a folder with another 100 pages. And then she told me she'd told another friend about it, and she wanted to read it!

After getting glowing reviews from four people I only knew slightly, I began to have more confidence in myself, and kept going. Another friend saw an ad in the paper for a literary agency specializing in getting unknown authors published; I contacted them, sent copies of my manuscripts, and got a very enthusiastic reply. Sent my contract to a lawyer friend for his advice; it was favorable. Little did I know I was about to be scammed.

My fraudulent 'agent' claimed to love my work, and had me send out about 25 queries. Over a six month period, nothing. He claimed he'd had people like it, but the fact it was in 1st person was a turn-off, and could I switch it to 3rd person? I didn't want to, but I figured he was the expert, so I spent a solid week changing all the 'I's to 'she's and her name. And then came word my contract was up. So I sent him more money and we started sending out another manuscript. Only sent out 3 queries, and then learned about the POD companies. Contacted him, and he told me about the publisher I used for my 1st book.

Thrilled with the fact I finally had a book in print, I contacted him and badgered him about the contract for book #2. Suddenly, my contracts were being lost in the mail; for 3 weeks, I haunted the post office; called him once a week, and was assured it was 'in the mail'. Finally, I was getting discouraged and told my husband I was feeling lied to. I pulled out the publishing guide, and since we now had internet access, I went to the website. One website link led to another, and I found myself on Preditors and Editors....and there was a warning....my 'agent' was being investigated for fraud.

I called my 'agent'...and did not hear a word back. He didn't return my calls; all I got was his answering machine. Finally, I gave up and contacted the investigator, adding my name to the list of victims. Now, I receive a monthly check of $10...wow! I only cited $360...and had hoped it would be a lump sum. Nope, they have 10 years to nickle and dime me to death.

As previously mentioned, I came across the Ellora's Cave and Cerridwen Press info, and decided to see if my work met their guidelines. While I don't write explicit sex scenes, I have noticed I'm using words I'm not usually comfortable using, and acrobatics not usually described. I've been corresponding with several authors who write erotic romance, and since my 'agent' had told me my work qualified as erotic fiction, I've eagerly read several EC authors' work.

I sent AJ a couple of chapters, and she very nicely told me which publisher my writing fit the criteria for. And said something I've been waiting and hoping...she said I had talent. This means a great deal, as those who have previously told me were friends and people who had bought my first book.

But here's the thing: My series, which deals with college-age kids, does not fit the criteria for either EC or CP. They are too young; they aren't explicit...I've even got one book with no sexual activity (I decided a person suffering from anorexia really wouldn't let her boyfriend undress her...correct me if I'm wrong here! I got yelled at by a friend when I told her I'd removed the sex scenes!) and another dealing with a subject I thought I was open-minded about, but could not bring myself to describe the sexual act...it's all 'behind closed doors'.

So where will my series find a home? Do I change the way I've written them, in order to find a publisher willing to publish them? Do I stay true to the way I've written them and continue to piss off the hubby by spending money on POD? Will I ever find a home for my books? And will my current writings ever be 'spicy' enough for EC or CP?

My second book is only weeks away from being released. I have teenagers, people in their 20's, people my own age, and elderly ladies eagerly waiting for the next installment of Amy, Gretchen, Keri, Stephanie, and Caitlyn. I used to be furious at Aaron Spelling...he took my idea and set in Beverly Hills, only with high school students. And when I started shopping for publishers, Felicity hit the airwaves. So maybe I'm simply a victim of bad timing? One of these days, my books will hit readers with a vengeance, and people will say, "Where the hell was she when I was a senior in college?"

Simple. Trying to attract your attention and getting pushed out because I wasn't marketable yet.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Waiting...

Got some bad news last night. One of my best friend's mothers has been admitted to the hospital, and is on a ventilator. She had been a sort of surrogate mom for the four of us when we were in college. Their house was only an hour away, and we slept over many weekends when we wanted to eat dinner at a 'good' restaurant; shop at a 'good' mall, or just get away from campus without having to drive a great distance!

We swam in the pool during the summer. After we turned 21, we'd bar-hop, then crash in the spare bedroom. Then it was off to church, and her parents would take us to a favorite brunch place and feed us before kissing us goodbye.

She suffered from crippling arthritis, and though it sounds as if we just took her wonderful hospitality for granted, it was far from the truth. We treated her with respect, love, and kindness. She listened to us moan about various boys, and offered us cookies and advice. She listened the next day after watching "Terms of Endearment" and our stories about deaths in our own families. And whenever she was sent to the hospital in Indianapolis for surgery, at least one of us was always present in order to lend support.

Now I'm the closest one. Tuesday, I may be making a trip to Evansville, with three of my best friends. I don't know if the fourth will be able to make it. I'm not sure how I'll swing it, doing single mom duty, but I'll find a way, hopefully.

Right now, all I can do is pray, and I'm torn between a swift death and holding out for two more days. Or maybe she'll even recover?

Saturday, October 13, 2007

This Is Just Wrong...

I heard a news item on the radio a couple of days ago which really got me steamed. A school district in Wisconsin (or it could have been Illinois...correct me if I'm wrong here!) has decided to ban Christmas/Holiday parties from their fall calendar.

Why? A muslim father decided it was offensive to his children's religion.

What is happening in our country? My jaw drops everytime someone tries to ban a posting of the Ten Commandments. I can't believe my ears when athiests take school districts to court over the recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance or school prayer! I'm not being 'Politically Correct' when I say "Happy Holidays" in my Christmas cards...I simply decided to say "Merry Christmas" differently! Or even "Season's Greetings"! But now, after hearing that "H.H." is the 'PC' term, I'm going back to "M.C."...

Our country was founded on biblical principles. Freedom of Religion was so important, we embraced and encouraged people to become citizens so there would be no domination. But suddenly, the opposition as taken hold. Why is it, if we have the freedom to worship whatever deity we believe in, be it God, Satan, Budda, Mohammad, or any other spiritual being, that those who oppose religion have the right to take our beliefs to court in order to ban our rights to pray in public?

If you are offended by the "Moment of Silence" that is observed, shut up and think about what you've got planned after the event! Don't put your hand over your heart during the Pledge and keep your mouth shut. Don't attend Christmas parties held in classrooms (of course, your child may feel left out, but if you're going to make an issue of it...). Whatever happened to mutual respect? If I meet someone who doesn't share my beliefs, I respect their right to believe whatever they want. I don't push my faith on others; I may talk about it now and then, but if I get a gentle, "don't talk to me about that, please. I'm not interested", I back off! Who gave the athiests and newcomers to our land the right to take away our rituals and let them do as they please?

And I keep getting emails concerning the National Anthem sung in Spanish. I've got to agree with this one. Watch the Olympics...the only National Anthems I know the words to are Great Britain (God Save the Queen) and Canada (Oh Canada), besides my own. I actually like it when a different country wins the gold medal, because otherwise, we don't hear it! And I felt so sorry when the Russians won back in '92?? and didn't have an anthem yet, so they played the Olympic theme.

I've never traveled overseas, but I'm reasonably sure that Americans don't push our traditions/beliefs on other countries. Kelly, you've traveled; let me know if I'm way off base here. I'm pretty sure if American children are attending schools abroad, they are to conform to that country's traditions in school, or have to attend a special school set up by the Embassy. We don't get to take our case to their court system; it's not allowed. So why is it here? Simple. These people have become Americans, and unfortunately, we can sue whomever we want for whatever insane idea, as long as we get a lawyer to see our point of view!

Please stop saying we are in violation of your civil liberties...again, if you don't like the way we practice our religion, stay out of it. I do not want to be told I cannot post the beliefs I hold dear in my front yard or in the Capital Building. I miss saying the Pledge, and think our children are being subject to a disservice by it not being said. It promotes patriotism and love for one's country.

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America
And to the republic, for which it stands,
One nation, UNDER GOD, indivisible,
With liberty and justice FOR ALL.
(Not just a select few...)

Friday, October 12, 2007

It's Finished:)

Currently Reading: I'm Dancing as Fast as I Can by Barbara (print) I'm about a third of the way through it, and should be finished by next week!

Just Finished Reading: Through Shattered Light (e-book) by Tielle St. Clare Excellent read! Kept me at the edge of my desk chair!

Read Wednesday: The Goddess Within (e-book) by Amarinda Jones Finally! Been waiting to order this one since Aug! Very hot, and very good!

Word count: 40,159 words in the ms, and 78 pages. How's that so far?

Just a short post today...my little one vomited every 2 hours last night, and thankfully, by the 3rd time, he got the idea to deposit his stomach contents in the trash can instead of the bed sheets! I hope I don't get it, or that we took it to the nursing home yesterday!

As I stated last night, I believe I have finished that WIP that has consumed my brain this past month. I went back and looked; I started it August 18, in longhand; started typing it the first week of September, and by Sept 11, was hard at work, writing 1500-3000 words per day, and yesterday, October 11, I finally brought my characters' stories to a close. Or maybe not entirely...I haven't written "The End" yet, so maybe there is another scene or two. Or maybe when I reread it later, I'll type those final words. I also have some major description to enter...one of the character's eyes change colors, and I don't think I ever described one of the main character! Then, I need to read the EC guideline submissions and see if my little ms fits the criteria.

Normally, when I finish writing a rough draft, I feel anything from a sense of loss to great euphoria...and while I was somewhere in between those emotions last night, reality intervened in the form of "oops, I'm late picking up my child from swim practice" and 'oh shit...I still don't have dinner ready' and later, as I'm sharing the good news with Anny, Kelly, and AJ, it was 'oh crap..the baby's throwing up' and 'damn it, I need to pick (shudder!) the dead lice bugs out of my daughter's hair'....not my usual "Hurray, I did it! Get me a glass of wine and some potato skins!' reaction!

Anyway, even though I'm sleep-deprived this morning, I'm in a good mood. The story is out of my head (I think!) and I can finally get some sadly neglected chores finished. I might take today and the weekend off and clean my house...and while I'm in no danger of being attacked by killer washing machines, the bookcases are a possibility (see http://www.amarindajones.blogspot.com/ and click on last Sat's entry, ha ha!). And, I read AJ's blog this am, and Zoltan's back! Can't wait to see what Anny has up her sleeve tomorrow!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Circling the Wagons...

Word Count: 3783. And I think it's finished! Have to break for dinner and 'Survivor', so will check back later or tomorrow, and post the final word count on the WIP and how many pages, etc. Also have to come up with a title, add some description, and general editing. Otherwise, I'm happy with it!

First of all, the good news: My nephew Derek is having his Big 3-0 birthday today!!! Welcome to adulthood, ha ha:) You made it!

This kid came into my life as a scrawny 10-year old. His uncle was a friend of the guy I was dating, and we would go to his house and chit-chat. Fast-forward 4 years, and surprise, surprise...I'm dating his uncle! And let me clarify...there is no blood between the two; his mom decided to 'adopt' Dan's family, and consequently, Derek and his two siblings refer to us as Aunt and Uncle, and call D's parents Grandma and Grandpa.

Anyway, on New Year's Day, 1991, D and I traveled to southern Indiana to officially meet the family as D's new girlfriend/significant other/whatever a 36 year old man calls the 25-year old he's dating! To my surprise, this scrawny kid is now a budding teen, and looks surprised when I recognized him! Fast-forward 5 months; he and his sister embraced me as a member of the family, and for the next several years, spent many happy summers at our house, pooling, meeting new young people, and in Derek's case, discovering the 'joys' of taking care of an 18-month-old at the pool while his aunt retrieved a clean swim suit (Swimmies hadn't been invented yet!). I came back; he was surrounded by young ladies, all cooing over my son. Derek was happily collecting phone numbers!

"Go away," he called. "This kid's a chick magnet!"

He had some rough high school years; several friends died in car accidents; his mom remarried and divorced; there was little money for college. Still, he managed to go for two years, got a good job, and met a wonderful young lady he now calls 'wife'. He has fathered two children, Andrew and Joanna. Andrew is the family's angel; he was born with a heart condition and other birth defects, and only lived 10 weeks. His sister Joanna (I have yet to meet her, so I call her Jody!) is about to celebrate her 1st birthday. They have settled into a new home, and from what I've seen on his MySpace pages, they seem very happy.

Good for you, Derek! Happy birthday; you've come a long way. I love you and I'm proud of you. Just bring that baby down here so I can meet her, please? And your card's in the mail. Seriously:)

Now for some not-so-good news: Apparently, there has been some uncalled-for slamming of authors on other sites. Can we stop this, please? It makes you look very unprofessional, jealous, and shows insecurity. We will not stoop to your level and defend ourselves. We believe in our work, and if you choose to dislike what we write, don't read it! That's why they call it "Freedom of Choice" in our country. No one is forcing you to read anything you don't care to read, unless you are taking a class on English Literature and have to read it or fail the class. Otherwise, keep your opinions to yourself. Remember the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." Would you want to see your work/name slammed on someone else's site?

Consider this author's wagon firmly in place around the victim.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Secret Pain

Word Count: 1228. Not as many today, but I'm tired and am headed for bed. I'm also at a critical confrontation scene I need to sleep on before I tackle it! Not to mention computer is throwing a hissy fit again, and I need to run a virus scan on it...I clicked on the internet icon and 'My Computer' popped up! What's up with that?

I had a completely different subject planned...and then read Kelly's and Anny's blogs this morning. I admire anyone who has faced great adversity in their lives and has risen above it to strengthen their character.

Adversity can make or break a person. There are people who, when faced with personal tragedies or suffer horrible trauma at the hands at someone else, have a choice to make. One can become a victim all their life, or one can find the inner strength to use their pain to become role models.

I have had the privilege of knowing both types. I am married to a man who suffered at the hands of a family member, and as a consequence, is still dealing with the aftermath. His self-esteem is low; he takes his inferiority complex and uses it to blame others for his mistakes. When faced with failure, he throws himself a major pity-party and nothing can change his mind. He attends church, but gets no enjoyment out of the service.

Contrast that attitude with two women I know. They also suffered worse tragedies, yet have raised loving families, have been successful at what they accomplish, and both thank God every day for their blessings, and see Him working in their lives.

I, too, faced adversity at the age of 14. Suffered personal humiliation, and brought shame to my family. The one thing that kept me going was my faith in God and the knowledge I was expected to finish school! I held my head high, and lived in my own little world until I met a youth pastor and several new friends who accepted me as I was and showed me I was a lovable human being. What a difference a year can make! Eighth grade tore me down; ninth grade lifted me back up. All because I didn't quit, or give into the 'poor me' attitude. I probably would never have found the courage to pursue my writing career, and I'm still struggling with feelings of inadequacy at times. But I'm getting there!

This past year has been another struggle. Our family faced a humiliating situation, but again, faith has brought us through it. I'm trying to instill faith in my children's characters by talking to them constantly about God's timing vs Our timing. Sometimes we don't always see the Big Picture, but everything happens for a reason, even if we don't understand it. He uses adversity to strengthen us, and uses our secret pain in order that we may reach out to others. I see this in myself when I interact with my children's friends.

When I managed the concession stand, I had a group of 'misfits' who regularly came to me for daily hugs, or just for someone to listen to them. I gave informal math lessons to one boy, to his great shock when he realized what I was doing! When I was ignoramiously kicked out on my arse (as AJ would say!), I was bombarded for 2 years with 'when are you coming back? We miss you!!' And even now, I have 3 young ladies and 2 or 3 young men who are regulars at my house for some friendly advice about boys, girls, peers, homework, parents, or just to find out when my next book is arriving on shelves. My home is a haven, and while they grumble about pitching in with chores, it doesn't seem to keep them away, and they know they will always find a listening ear.

We cannot change the past; we can only change our attitude towards it. Learn from your mistakes and make the choice to move on.

Kelly didn't ask me, so I'm answering her here:

1) I've only lived in the US.
2) I've traveled to Canada. Would love to go to France, Italy, and Greece
3) Given a choice, I'd live in Florida by the beach, or any tropical island. Or, as a Trekkie, I'll take planet Risa! Climate-controlled!
4) What do I want to be when I'm grown up? The wise person who always says just the right thing at the right time! I'm forever putting my foot in my mouth...
5) My mother is my hero.
6) My deepest fears are that I will outlive my children; or something unspeakable would happen to any of them. I'm also with Anny on this one: That I will die before I write all my stories down!
7) My secret dream? To someday have enough money so that I can not only help others realize their dreams, but to fire up the private jet and whisk me away to a warmer climate when the snow gets too much to bear!
8) Right now, I'm happy being who I am...
9) Probably vampire. It's what I keep dressing up as on Halloween.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Celebrities

Word Count: 2152. Had to do laundry. But still a productive writing day:)

Currently reading: Out of Control by G. Gordan Liddy

Told you I had an eclectic library! I just finished Lauren Bacall's autobiography, and was moved to tears over the death of Humphry Bogart, an actor who died before I was born. This got me thinking about other celebrities I mourned.

Elvis. I was in my room, probably listening to the Bee Gees, when my mom came in and told me he'd died.

Paul Lynde
John Lennon
Lucille Ball
JFK Jr
Sonny Bono..I'd had a strange dream about him, and woke up the next morning with a burning need to hear some Sonny and Cher tunes. Even went to Howard's Hard To Find record store and bought an album I didn't own. The following day, he was dead.

Princess Diana. We had just moved into our new house when the phone rang (it had been installed 2 weeks prior to our move-in date) and a friend asked if we had our TV on. We didn't, and he broke the news. We immediately hooked up my small, 13" set which had rabbit ears (remember them? We didn't have an antennae or satellite yet!) and watched the grainy, black and white images of Dan Rather or whoever, reporting the sad news. Made hooking up the TV a priority, and taped the funeral several days later. Have no idea where that tape is now, or if it was taped over!

Don Knotts
I've probably left out a few; as I remember them, I'll add them in.

Celebs I will mourn heavily when it's their time...

Robert Redford
Paul Newman
George Lucas
Harrison Ford
Steven Spielburg
James Earl Jones
Oprah
Tim Conway
Carol Burnett
Peyton Manning
Troy Aiken
Michael Jordan
Danielle Steele
Any member of Styx, Foreigner, Def Leppard, Journey, or Fleetwood Mac
Any other current author I happen to be reading, or known by association.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Traditional vs Herbal

Word Count: 2181. I'm off to bed:)

Our family conducted a little experiment the past two weeks. We wanted to see if my MIL's claims that echinacea really can stop a cold in its tracks, or at least keep one healthy, if taken on a daily basis.

The result? Mixed. For me, it seemed to work. I had just started waking up with a scratchy throat every morning, and had slight sinus problems. I started taking two Echinacea capsules every morning, along with a B-12, and did not have to call the doctor for antibiotics. Nor did I have to take more than two doses of Advil Cold and Sinus. My resut? Worked, and I continue to take it, because since I'm pulling single mom duty, I can't afford to be sick. I used to joke about the flu shot..."That's my vacation time...hubby takes care of everything, and I get to lie in bed and be pampered..." Well not anymore, or at least until he is laid off from his job and can take over for a few days!

Teenagers: Daughter didn't want to take the capsules, and since she's our healthy one (outside of ankle problems anyway!), we exempted her. Son? Gave him horrible gas, and chose to discontinue, to the relief of everyone around him!

Hubby: Same problem as older son...although he did notice his scratchy throat cleared up faster than normal, and he also drank Robitussin daily. So who knows?

A friend of ours sells these little capsules called "All Fruit", and my mom started me on them several years ago. The idea is they combine the entire fruit into these supplimental capsules, and you take two in the morning, and two veggie capsules at night. They are also horribly expensive! For a month, I enjoyed it..I seemed to have more energy, and as I am one who will only eat an occasional apple or bananna, and only carrots, corn, brocolli, and frozen peas (I hate canned!), they were probably doing me a world of good! But then we went away for a weekend, and I forgot to take my little bottles with me. And the weather turned cold and I promptly caught a cold. I got tired of taking all those pills, and stopped taking the fruit and veggie ones, because by now, I was expected to pay for my own supply, and we couldn't afford it.

So for now, I'm sticking with my three little daily pills. And since hubby has to take 8 daily for his heart, I really can't complain, can I?

Anny brought Emmaline back on Saturday! See how Kelly handles her today at http://www.kkirch.blogspot.com/ ! Also, AJ has an interesting take on on the seven deadly sins, and has added her own http://www.amarindajones.blogspot.com/ . Anny interviews another author on her blog, http://www.annycook.blogspot.com/. Or, just click the links to the side if I've gotten these wrong! And did I mention Jackie has posted her character sketch? http://www.jackierogers.blogspot.com/ . Leave her a comment; she's needing encouragement.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Sisters

Updated WC: 3282. Good day!

Word Count: 2866. Time to stop for dinner, and I'm on chapter 6:)

Today is my baby sister's birthday.

I haven't seen her since Christmas 2004, because she lives so far away. Until recently, she was up in the arctic circle, working with the First Nation population in Pangnirtung, Nunavut, dealing with domestic issues and substance abuse. Not to mention polar bear sightings, freezing cold temperatures, and listening to her children speaking Inuit at daycare. In fact, I have a niece I've not even met, since she turned 2 in August.

All that is about to change; she has relocated to Vancouver, British Columbia, and they are adapting to the warmer climate. When she last lived in BC, I saw her once a year. We would travel up to see her. She and her husband would meet us halfway in Colorado. Or, she would travel to our parents' home. So while I was thrilled to announce I had a sibling up in the arctic, I've had to admit a feeling I never thought I'd ever have...I miss her.

Growing up, she was the baby sister who read my diary; pestered me non-stop; asked annoying questions to the boys I liked; and tried to convince me I was adopted (she and our parents have brown hair and eyes; I'm blonde and blue-eyed!). She and I fought constantly; her mouth flapped non-stop, and if I wanted to talk, I had to severely interrupt her or slug her in order to gain attention.

To be fair, she had it a bit rough when she hit the 'tween' years. She had to deal with a sister who was involved in Marching Band, and was dragged every weekend to contests. I was also a source of extreme embarrassment to her, having exhibited anti-social behavior, and she was ridiculed by association. She found a talent for playing the drums, and was the only female percussionist in her section. We laugh about it now, but if we'd known 'sexual harassment' was the term, she'd have been the Anita Hill of her Jr. High...but no...that kind of treatment you dealt with in silence.

I left and went to college, and she blossomed on the swim team. She later joined me at Ball State, and we had lunch together once a week. She ran for a spot on the Student Senate; I campaigned for her heavily. And even arranged for a pizza to be sent to her room, win or lose (she won!).

When I moved into my first apartment, she enjoyed the day I 'kidnapped' her and spent the day with her. She left for the London Center, and I made sure a letter was waiting for her when she arrived. She was supportive of me when a disastrous relationship had me admitting defeat and moving out on the spur of the moment. And later, she stood by my side as I married my husband.

She showed up with a balloon when my oldest son was born. She entered the Peace Corps after graduation and spent 2 years in Ecuador, sending home wonderful gifts...blow guns, darts, spears, stuffed macaws, and alpaca clothing. And I still have all her letters, especially the one where she describes the guinea pig she was served, and the proper way to eat it!

Our grandmother was dying when she arrived home after her tour, and settled in the same town. When grandma died, she inherited the furniture. And she also was thrilled to meet her new niece, born while she was out of the country. Restless after several months, she decided to try something new, and applied to the Japanese Exchange Training (JET) program, and asked me for help in writing her cover letter. I take great pride in knowing that although the words had been rearranged, or paragraphs moved, her opening statement and beginning paragraph stayed the same. Result? My brilliant words got her into the program and moved her around the world again! Yes, we get along well when she's several thousand miles away, ha ha:)

Seriously, though, without my help, would she have met the man she's been happily married to for 10, nearly 11 years?

I'll admit, she's strong-willed, and has definite opinions which she openly expresses. And the word 'compromise' has finally entered her vocabulary. Yes, we have a tendency to butt heads if left alone for more than a couple hours or days. But she's my sister, and I love her.

Happy birthday, Wendy.

Eat some cake for me:)

Saturday, October 6, 2007

My Non-Winning Entry:)

I entered a contest in Writer's Digest last winter. And sadly, I didn't win. Hopefully, when the article is published in the next issue (or it may already be out...haven't received my copy yet!), I'll get an 'honerable mention'?

Enjoy:)

“Mom, what’s for dinner?”
“Food.”
“When are you going to fix it?”
“Soon.”
“Mom! I’m hungry!”
“Let me finish this thought…give me five minutes.”
“Mom! Dad’s fixing dinner. Are you coming?”
“Yeah…I’ll be right there…”
“Mom…we’re eating…”
“Mom? Dad left a plate for you in the microwave.”
“Good night Mom.”
Finally. I have finished my brainstorm, and I’ve not checked any homework, asked about my children’s day, or even fixed or eaten dinner. I’m a lousy mother.
Or am I? After all, these brainstorms where I lock myself in a room and write nonstop don’t occur very often. Maybe once a year. Or, once every six months. But then, I’m a published author with her first book in print, readers eager for the second, and currently working on the eighth book in the series.
I learned early, after the birth of my two older children, to carry a notebook and pen everywhere I go. And I do mean everywhere. I write while in doctor and dentists waiting rooms. I write at sports practices and Boy Scout meetings. I’ve gotten brainstorms in the middle of church services, and covered my church bulletin with notes. I’ve been known to be found in the middle of the night, sitting at the kitchen table, oblivious to the fact the dog needs to be let outside. My husband lives in fear of being trapped in the bathroom while I read him pages of description and dialogue; conversations between characters he could care less about, except for the fact that one day those pages could mean a royalty check is due to come in the mail.
And since the birth of my unexpected blessing three years ago, not to mention relocating to a new home in a new town, I’m finding it hard to carve out time to work on my latest idea Maybe once a week, when my husband leaves for work at three in the morning? Or the weekends, perhaps, when he’s here to keep a close eye on our active toddler? Or should I just tough it out until my child’s name makes it to the top of the waiting list at one of the few daycares in this town?
I know, all too well, that one day the urge to write will strike with a vengeance, and my family will have to fend for themselves until the storm blows over, and my future best-seller is ready for its first rewrite. So until that time, I can be found once a week in the Burger King Playscape, sipping my iced tea and scribbling furiously into my notebook, hoping I’ll be able to read my own handwriting when I get the time to type it into the computer.
“Mom? When you finally come to the end your brainstorm, can I use the computer?”
“Sure honey. Just give me five minutes.”
Or it may be five hours. But she’s twelve. And there’s always tomorrow.

Friday, October 5, 2007

E-BookBandwagon

I'll admit; I'm old-school when it comes to books. I like to hold them in my hand. I love to work book signings, and place something tangible in my reader's hands, and gratefully scrawl my name inside, with a short note. And after sending wave after wave of submissions and getting nowhere, I've decided to try something new.

About two years ago, my hubby was watching Montel Williams, and the subject was new companies that had rocketed to the top of the list of successful companies. One of these owners was Jade Black, founder of Ellora's Cave E-books. D yelled at me to come quick; this was something I had to see. I watched the interview, took note of the website, and thought about e-books.

My intial questions were simple: How do I submit a manuscript? What were the guidelines? My books were slightly tamer in the bedroom scenes...would they accept my work? And what happens if the computer crashes? I'd lose everything I'd downloaded! No...I'd stick with the print books. I did send away for my free newsletter, and promptly put it out of my mind.

Until several weeks later...my newsletters arrived, and sparked my imagination. Also, the stores were getting ready for Christmas, and I happened to pass an electronic store advertising....iPods for E-books! That started the wheels turning...

I went back to the EC site, and read 2 excerpts I found intriguing. Hubby agreed to let me buy them; it was less than $6 for both. We had even bought some writable CDs at the time, and he suggested I save both on the CDs. And so I read my 1st e-books. And kept rereading. I think I read one of them every day for a week! It disappointed me; left me hanging. I wanted to know more about what was going to happen next, after the initial sexual attraction was established! But being the thick-skulled person that I am, the final time I read it showed me that yes, the story wasn't about the relationship and how they learned to live with eachother, or even get married...it was the fact they were from different worlds, and it was about her acceptance of his unusual world, and could she live with that?

The second one was more typical...it was contemporary, and more closely to what I normally read. And it had the HEA (happily ever after) ending I liked. And after seeing that yes, I am willing to read a computer screen instead of holding it in my hand, and if the iPod for E-books would become a little more affordable, I just might jump ship and forget about trying to get my series into a traditional NY publishing company. Especially when I read in trade magazines they were all downsizing, and being very picky about who they published!

A year later, EC began a sister company,Cerridwen Press, and they offer an option. You can download the books, or buy them in print. Again, I went to the site, found one that sparked my interest, and the next time I was in town, went to the Barnes and Noble and ordered it. A week later, I was engrossed in it, loved it, and contacted the author to let her know how much I'd enjoyed it. We emailed back and forth; I was picking her brain...and decided maybe CP was the place for my series. But I was still undecided.

During the past several months, I've had the privilege of corresponding with several authors, all of whom have written e-books. I've downloaded several, and even though I went with a better POD (print on demand) company for my 2nd book, and have been very happy with the process, I have decided to submit my 3rd one to CP and see if they'll accept my work. I have received encouragement, praise, and best of all, I've more reading material and hubby doesn't complain about tripping over my 'damn books'.

If you're wanting to read some explicit material, with good plotlines and enter some different worlds, check out these authors and titles:

Anny Cook: Everthing Lovers Can Know (EC); Dancer's Delight (CP)

Amarinda Jones/Janet Davies (writes under both names): Because I Can;Thief of Mine (and others...these are two off the top of my head!)

Bronwyn Green: I've Put a Spell on You (EC)

Kelly Kirch: Marriage Mart (Coming in December from CP)

Mary Winters: Water Lust (first e-book I ever read...EC)

Lauren Dane: Sudden Desire ( 2nd one I read...EC)

TL Gray: The World According to Ali (CP)

Kelly posted a wonderful essay on the subject of e-books vs print books. As she so eloquently stated, "I don't care if people recognize me, it's a longshot anyway. I do want the money, which is better with Epubs. I think it's the respect..." and she also pointed out, "Epub writers work just as hard at their craft as NY pubbed. In fact, harder. We are responsible for our own promo work and brand name. We must know the business and what sells and we must communicate well with the Editor..." and "We are held to a higher standard..."

Amen, Kelly! In fact, go to her blog and read the whole thing before I completely post most of it! http://www.kkirch.blogspot.com/ I think she posted it on Tuesday??

I began working on an EC submission a little over a year ago. As a mother with teenagers and a small child, I work on it in secret, as anything remotely having to do with romance and sex brings gagging noises from my teenagers. I recently came across it, but with this new WIP that has completely taken over my creative brain, who knows when I'll get back to it. And as always, I'll keep you updated on titles, releases, and the publishes when my work finds a home!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Odds and Ends

Word Count: 931. Told you it would be small!

Just a short post today...you've heard of tennis elbow? I have 'computer mouse shoulder', or something like that. My surfing the web and typing nearly nonstop all week has caused a strange pain from my shoulder to collarbone...yeah, you could say this wip has been a pain in the neck, ha ha:) I've slowed down...maybe it's time to take a step back, get away from it for a day or two and actually get some chores done. The laundry's piling up, and yesterday I actually forgot to dry my son's swim suit and towel...I remembered 5 minutes before practice it was still lying in a molding heap in the chute.

Granted, the kid could dry his own damn swim suit and towel and let his mother work...but no, he and the others who live in this house consider the laundry 'Mom's Job'.

And then there's my daughter. When she was in the 6th grade, her Reading/English class wrote their own books and sent them off to be published. Hers, titled "Frisky", is about a dog (her favorite animal) and his antics when he's separated from his family. So here's a picture of her book, and it's been met with great reviews from the toddler set...mainly her younger brother, and two small cousins. It's not available anymore; we had to purchase copies last year, but it's a start, Sara! You beat your mom's goal...mine was originally to be published by 20...and then 30...and succeeded before 40. And she does it at age 12. The same age I was hoping to see one of my short stories in "Jack and Jill" magazine...don't know it the story was rejected, or if we never sent it off. Maybe one day I'll dust off my earlier work and put them together for that "Molly's Fairy Tales" which I dreamed of so many years ago....

I've got a meeting at the university today, to discuss my options for completing my degree. And with the other things I need to do around here, the word count may be rather low. We'll just see what happens!

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

MIddle Children

10:00-WC: 2589. I'm tired and want to go to bed. Hopefully, I'll be able to recapture the train again in the morning!

4:15-Word Count: 1750. Still rolling along:)

For years, I'd both heard about and seen the 'middle child syndrome'...a close neighbor of ours had three children, all spaced roughly 2 years apart. The oldest was my age and your typical overachiever; all-around athlete, top grades, and Mr. Personality. (There's a whole blog entry by itself...one of these days I tell you about how living next to him 'ruined' my future dating choices, ha ha!) The middle one was content to drift along, do his own thing, and had the misfortune of drawing some of the same teachers in school and was forever being compared to his (cough) brilliant older brother. And then the youngest entered the scene. Conscientious, inherited her father's artistic ability, and also a good student. The middle child was caught. Always being held up to his older brother's example, and now the sister was being praised by teachers breathing a sigh of relief that the third sibling was not going to be a discipline problem, and was turning out like the first one!

Having witnessed this and hearing the moans and groans over the rebellious middle child, I resolved to never have an odd number of children. Imagine my surprise, then, when after 10 years had passed, and oops! Guess what? Here comes child #3! I agonized; I had long conversations with people, and was reassurred my daughter would not get caught in that trap if I worked at it.

Having said that, another close friend has 3 kids, and today is their middle child's birthday. I have lovingly posted the Chi-Chi's version of Happy Birthday on their family's website for the older one, whom I took care of the first 10 months of his life, and more recently, their own 'caboose', who just turned 2 last month. Now it's Kevin's turn...do I continue to send in the same song, and give equal treatment? Naw...I think I'll do something special, to celebrate his status as a newly dubbed 'tween'. His creative honorary Aunt Molly has written the following.

This one's for you, Kevin! Enjoy your day:)

Kevin Nicholas, age 12!!

Kevin, oh Kevin, please don't be blue
I only met you twice; the first you were two...
I've got a sweet picture of you and my Sara
Playing with trucks or books, it really doesn't matter!

Fast forward ten years; you've grown up quite well
From Ozarks to tropical, I think that it's swell
That you live in my summer place; I want to come visit
And see Ft. Desoto, Tiki Gardens...I miss it!

Now you are twelve, and it's gonna be rough;
Voice changes, zits, middle school, but you are tough...
Just be your own boy; don't let Tom put you down;
Be a hero for Stevie, and your parents won't frown!

(cue the music!)

Happy happy happy birthday
Happy happy happy birthday
Happy happy happy birthday
To you, to you, to you, OLE'
(in case you felt left out, LOL!)

Love you, Kevin...Hope to see you again soon!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Work In Progress...

Word Count: 1977. A very good year, ha ha:) The year I discovered how to put pen to paper and create a new world! I think I'm at the end of chapter 5...who knows...

Third time's the charm, right? This is my 3rd attempt to post this!

Thought I'd do something a little different this morning. I've been questioned about this storyline flowing from my fingertips that has even had me waking up in the morning, certain phrases and dialogue running through my brain. So here's a brief description of my cast of characters, and a rather lengthy excerpt. Enjoy:)

Angela Clayburn: Mid-thirties, reddish-blonde hair, green eyes. Co-owner of an artsy gift shop and talented jewelry designer. She's just received news that her HS ex-boyfriend as been released from prison. He served 15 years for breaking into her parents' home, stealing furniture and trying to climb into bed with her, all done while high on drugs. She's afraid of what will happen once he's back in town, and at the same time, she wonders if he's changed.

Steve Blumenthal: Six foot three, ex-HS basketball star, blonde crew-cut hair, blue eyes. Studied Culinary Arts while serving his time, and wants to prove he's turned his life around. He still has feelings for Angie, and wants to see her, to see if their connection is still strong.

Brad Morrison: Six foot five, dark brown hair and eyes, accountant. He's only been in town for 2 years, and has been Angie's boyfriend for less than one. He knows nothing of Angie's past, except knowing something has happened to make her unresponsive to the physical side of their relationship. He travels extensively with his job, and is currently in Estes Park, Colorado, where Fate has just thrown him a curve ball.

Emma Nichols: Twenty-six, five foot four in her cowboy boots, blonde hair and blue eyes. She's the manager of the Happy Trails Riding Stable, located on the Happy Trails ranch. She's burdened by her brother Ethan's drinking and gambling problem, and is concerned his habits are going to cause their family's woodworking business to fold. A good friend of the family has brought a stranger to town, and Emma resents his interference, seeing it as dissatisfaction in her abilities to handle the situation. She is also caught by her awakening feminine side, and doesn't know if what she's feeling is merely lust and gratitude, or the real thing. She certainly doesn't have the same burning desire for her cowboy/ranch hand who's just offered her his heart!

Robert Langly: Mid-thirties, he's in love with his young boss and is wise enought to know when to back off and let life lessons be learned the hard way.

Excerpt:

“What am I going to do?” she asked quietly. “How am I going to explain this to Brad?”
“You’ve never told him? Angie…”
“We’ve only been together for a year. Steve’s last stunt was five years ago, and besides, Brad’s only lived here for nearly two. So of course he doesn’t know! And it’s something that’s never come up.” Tears spilled down her cheeks. “And I told Aaron not to tell him.” Her brother worked for the same company that had hired Brad, but in a different department. “And of course, Mom and Dad won’t say anything…” Her voice dropped to a whisper.
Her parents had never dealt well with the aftermath of the trial, and her mother had had to be hospitalized after each “Steve” headline appearance. Angie’s father had finally taken her to Florida, away from the public scrutiny. But Angie had felt abandoned, and with Aaron’s encouragement, channeled her energy into pursuing her dream of making jewelry. And once she and Diana had pooled their resources, everything had fallen into place. It was Diana who suggested showcasing local artisans, but Angie had been the one who made the initial contacts. And as word flew throughout the local art world, everyone benefited. Tourists dropped in to buy signed artwork or commission Angie for special jewelry pieces. Diana’s clients spanned the entire county, and every once in a while, a particular artist’s work would be bought or spotlighted in a newly decorated home.
Julie’s voice interrupted her reverie. “You need to tell him, sweetie. Brad’s a good man; he’ll stand behind you, you’ll see.”
Angie sighed, getting up to get another Splenda packet from the kitchen. Slowly, she sat down, stirring it into the now-lukewarm tea with a teaspoon.
“I don’t know,” she said softly. “I just don’t know.


Across town, another drama was playing out. Steve Blumenthal paced the length of his younger brother’s living room, chain-smoking and gesturing wildly.
“Damn it Josh! I’ve served my time; paid restitution; been clean for nearly fifteen fucking years; I’m trying to get on with my life…and what happens the minute I’m back in town? That scrawny-assed manager at the cafĂ© downtown refuses to let me in his goddamned restaurant!” He paused to angrily light another cigarette. “If there’s one thing I learned in the slammer, it was how to be treated fairly. I ought to sue his ass for discrimination!”
“Maybe Angie was in there,” Josh suggested wearily. “Her shop’s down a few blocks…maybe he thought he was protecting her.”
Steve stopped in front of the window overlooking the swimming pool, the cigarette halfway to his mouth. Carefully, he sank into the nearest chair and ran his free hand through his blonde crew cut.
“I didn’t think of that,” he muttered. “You told me she’d opened her own business and was downtown. You’ve seen her; how’s she doing?”
Joshua winced. “Look, man. Don’t torture yourself. We need to figure out what you’re going to do next.”
“What I’m going to do,” Steve said firmly, crushing out the cigarette. “Is go see her, talk to her…God, she’s been on my mind for fifteen years! I want to know why the hell they charged me with attempted rape, for Christ’s sake! I loved her…and she loved me. So why the fucking rape charge?”
Josh groaned, covering his green eyes. As far as he was concerned, his older brother hadn’t changed. Every month for the entire time Steve had been incarcerated, he had insisted he had been falsely accused on the rape count.
“Steve, listen to me. I’ve told you; the lawyers told you; hell, even Angie herself admitted you were trying to rip off her clothes! Yeah, nothing happened,” Josh leaned forward when Steve opened his mouth. “That’s why it’s called attempted! Good Lord, get that through your fucking head! I’m tired of explaining this to you every goddamned time!” He stood up, green eyes blazing and breath coming in pants. “I said you could stay here. You’ve got your degree; the law says you’re a free man now. So get on with your life! Angie’s got a new man in her life, dude…she’s moved on! And so should you.” Josh held his little brother’s gaze for a moment, seeing a flicker of defeat, then more defiance. “Fuck it. I’m going back to work. When do you meet with your parole officer?”
“Tomorrow.” Steve lit another cigarette. “I won’t do anything more today, I promise. Go on back to work; I’ll fix dinner tonight. Thanks for picking me up and letting me stay.”
Josh looked at him, then shook his dark head and left the room. He thought about calling Angie, but decided against it. She’s probably already seen the papers, he reasoned. Hopefully, that pig-headed brother of mine will lay low for a while! He sighed, then realized he was driving toward Angie’s store, the opposite direction from his mechanic’s job at the Ford Dealership. He admitted defeat and found a parking spot. But the store was closed. Josh sighed again and went on to work.
Meanwhile, back at the apartment, Steve had no intention of just sitting around. He grabbed the phone book and looked up his ex-girlfriend’s phone number and address. He thought about calling, then decided he’d rather confront her face-to-face. He took note of the address; shit. He’d have to get transportation. And he couldn’t do that until he met with his parole officer. Steve slammed the yellow phone book shut and lit another cigarette, planning what he was going to say when he saw his lost love.

Snap! Brad’s digital camera clicked as the car snaked along Highway 36.
“I just can’t get over the scenery out here,” he enthused, deleting a few blurry shots. “That elk back there, just at the side of the road, was impressive!”
“And that was a small one,” the older man chuckled. Gavin had lived his entire life in Colorado, and it never ceased to amaze him how the tourists reacted to the wildlife. “Come back in June, and you’ll see the bighorn sheep.”
“Why June?”
“They’re still up in the mountains. For some reason, mid-June they all come down to the lower elevations in the park, near the entrance. Can’t damn near get up to the Falls because everyone’s parked alongside the road.” Gavin slowed for another turn. “There’s a coyote. See him?”
Brad couldn’t locate the small animal.
“That’s okay. You’ll see a lot of them in the park.”
Some time later, they were passing Nicky’s Resort. “Best Prime Rib, hands down,” Gavin informed him. “We’ll go there tonight.” He drove on into Estes Park, and laughed when Brad gawked at the huge ark. “Noah’s Ark. It’s a Christian Bookstore.” He found a place to park beside a strip mall and beckoned to Brad to follow him. “I thought you might like to stretch your legs a bit, and get something to eat. I know I don’t have the cabin stocked yet.”

An hour later, they were strolling through the shops. Brad’s eyes sought out the woodworker’s store, and was surprised to see a young woman behind the counter. At the sound of the clanging bell above the door, her head snapped up from the ledger she was scanning.
“Did I leave the door open? I’m sorry…we’re closed,” she said brusquely.
“I’m sorry…I’m only going to be here until tomorrow,” he smiled. “I just wanted to have a look around, if that’s okay.” Without waiting for an answer, he entered and began to appraise the furniture against the wall.
“I can’t sell you anything,” the girl replied, sounding irritated. “I’m sorry you can’t stay in town longer, but I really should lock the door before anyone else wanders in.” She put down the ledger and moved to intercept him before he moved farther into the shop.
Brad changed course and headed toward the counter. He picked up the catalogue and flipped through it, noting the good quality depicted. “Can I take this with me?”
She tried to take it from him, but he resisted. Her blue eyes turned smoky. “I told you, we’re closed,” she said, her teeth clenched.
Brad cocked an eyebrow at her. Her long blonde hair was pulled back in a thick French braid, and the top of her head barely reached his shoulder. “Just let me take this with me, and I’ll order something when I get home,” he cajoled, turning on his charm.
Fire seemed to shoot from her eyes, but she restrained herself. “Fine,” she snapped. “Take the damn thing. I hope when you call, we’ll have it. I doubt we’ll be able to custom-make something, but you never know.” She ushered him toward the door.
“Tell me, are you as rude to all your customers, or just me?” Brad asked when he’d reached the door. His answer was the door slamming in his face and the sound of the door lock clicking into place. Shaking his head, he continued down the row of shops, buying souvenirs for Angie, his parents, and some friends.

Bob watched as a cloud of dust appeared at the entrance to the trail and relaxed. He’d been stunned when Emma furiously saddled Misty and galloped off without so much as a ‘see you’. He knew better than to follow her, though. After becoming lovers, she had ridden off her anger at her brother, and his presence on the trail had only fueled the rage.boiling up inside of her. Two days later, she had calmed down and welcomed him back in her bed, and asked him not to ever follow her again when she was that angry.
He finished rubbing down his own gelding and when Emma dismounted and led Misty into the barn, he tipped his head at her, but said nothing. Emma mechanically removed the saddle and went about her own rubdown chores. Suddenly, she threw down the currycomb and walked over to him, throwing her arms around his waist and nearly upsetting his footing.
He caught his balance and automatically held her tightly, feeling her stiff muscles begin to soften with his gentle circles. A sob caught him off guard.
“Em?” He asked in surprise. He tipped her chin up and saw the tears pooling in her baby blue eyes. “What’s wrong?”
“Everything,” she sighed. “Just hold me.”
He enjoyed her slim form against his hard body; that was the easy part. But what was tearing him up was the racking sobs that shook her body. He shifted his weight, his growing erection getting uncomfortable. God…of all the times…she needed comforting, not proof of his desire! But the contact was unavoidable, and hell, she looked beautiful when she was angry. He bent down to kiss her head and she chose that moment to lift hers. His lips, full and strong, met her soft ones, salted with tears. They clung to one another, each taking the silent comfort offered. Tongues softly entwined, each promising more to come.
Dragging his mouth away reluctantly, Bob gathered her close. “God, Emma!” he whispered fiercely. “I wish I didn’t have another group coming!”
“I know,” she whispered back. “And I’m sorry for running off like that.” She pulled away with a gentle peck at his lips and stepped back, scrubbing at her eyes and cheeks. “I went in to town and ran into Gavin. I told him about Ethan, and he threw me a curve ball.” She picked up the currycomb she’d thrown and resumed her grooming of her horse, unlooping the reins and leading her into the stall.
“What curve ball? And Gavin’s here?” He checked his watch. Twenty minutes until the last batch of riders were due to reappear.
Emma closed the gate to Misty’s stall and gave her a carrot. “He brought some finance wizard who’s always wanted to see the park,” she explained, taking her saddle and putting it on the shelf. She walked over and helped him finish grooming Jester. “And Gavin told him about Ethan and his lousy bookkeeping, so now I have to go meet them for supper and let this…this stranger decipher my idiotic brother’s spending habits!” She stopped to take a breath and raked a hand through her hair, sending several strands flying as they sprang free of the braid. “Why can’t that man just let me handle it?”
Bob led Jester into the stall and slid the gate shut before gathering Emma in his arms again. “He knows you’re overburdened as it is,” he reminded her. “He’s only trying to help…”
“He’s got a funny way of showing it,” she fumed. “He didn’t even ask me! Just said, ‘oh, meet whatever-his-name-is; he’s the answer to all our family problems’…well, I handled them last time, didn’t I? Why does he think I’m incapable? Is it because he still sees me as a twelve-year-old? I’ll show him I’m grown up! I’ll…”
Bob kissed her to silence her and got his lip bitten in the process. “Ow,” he grimaced. “Don’t try to shut me up that way,” she said hotly. “Next time I won’t stop with your lip!” She stalked away, halting at the door. “Here comes the last batch. I think they’re early. I’m going to shower.”