Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011: Year In Review

This past year was a challenging one.  Finances strained; tempers flared; lies told; heartache suffered; tough decisions were made.  And yet we survived as a family unit and are still going strong, despite early predictions of falling apart.

Jan:  One deliberate lie designed to hurt was hurled at the tail end of 2010 and rudely interrupted our New Year's Eve party.  The SU and daughter's relationship was never quite the same, and in fact, grew worse.  We did get our internet and TV back, but not the phone.  My cell phone became our primary source of communication with the outside world who was not connected by facebook or email.  An ice storm hit and I don't think the bookstore had any customers this month.  In fact, I quit dressing up and dressed for the weather, not caring what I looked like.

Feb:  A deliberate act of defiance caused us to fear we would have a runaway on our hands, or maybe retaliation from a rebellious person who has no respect for authority, parental or otherwise. Thankfully, the daughter agreed to follow our rules, though we did have to make it perfectly clear to the 'rebel without a conscience' we were in charge of her, not him.  Received the heartbreaking news the bookstore would be closing the next month, as the community was just not as supportive as they claimed to be. Our tax refund allowed me to buy a laptop and wireless router, which has brought peace to our house, as there are no more complaints over who's spending too much time online!

March:  I spent this month boxing up what books I wanted to keep.  The SU wasn't happy with boxes of books I lugged to the basement, but too bad.  The kids and I took a three day vacation to Lafayette and had a wonderful visit with friends and the college kid.  We said farewell to the Mockingbird Book Emporium on the 31st and handed over the keys.  We discovered my laptop had Skype on it, so was able to celebrate the youngling's 7th birthday with his brother face to face:)  Same with the spouse's birthday.

April:  With me back on After School Homework Detail, I discovered my now-7-year-old 1st grader still couldn't read.  I went to the school with the suspicions he was dyslexic and could we have him tested?  And why hadn't the Reading Lab noticed anything?  They shrugged their shoulders and told me it was too late to have him tested.  We'd have to wait until September, and oh, the budget had been cut, so summer school was out of the question.  We now had a decision to make:  retain him; hope he was placed with a teacher capable of working with him to bring him up to 2nd grade level; or see if the proposed program would be accepted:  He would be allowed to attend 1st grade reading class, but for the rest of the time be in the 2nd grade. The SU decided to take early retirement and filed the papers.  This would double our current income and make life a little easier.

May:  I met with both the principal and his teacher, and decided to put my summer promotion plans on hold so I could work with my baby and get him tutored. We also decided not to retain him.  The first retirement check arrived, and it allowed me to have the funds to spend a day at the zoo with my sister and her her family, who were in town for two weeks.  I also made the heartbreaking decision to end a friendship, but the next day received the news my Arbor U series was being given a home with Secret Cravings Publishing.  Coincidence or Divine Guidance?  All I know is my writing career was suddenly on the fast track after being towed by dogged determination and a few wrong choices.  The rest of this month's retirement money arrived, which allowed us to spend one more night at the hotel with the water park and enjoy the company of MDQ and ME, who wanted to spend a week with us.  I also reconnected with an old classmate I'd not seen in 30 years.

June:  I launched Aunt Molly's Summer Reading Program for the three kids after the stepdaughter informed us she no longer had a place to live.  I decided we'd keep hers for the summer and if need be, we'd shuffle things around and put them in school down here until she got her act together.  I arranged for a tutor, but a series of issues arrived, and it would be weeks before anyone received tutoring.  I dragged the kids to the library twice a week; we took 'field trips' around town and read signs.  I had them read me labels at the store.  And at the end of June, I discovered my 3rd Kenzie title had been moved up and had to do a massive 5 day edit-proofread-write the dedication-upload book-promote it schedule.  I think the kids were thrilled to have Aunt Molly otherwise occupied for a while, lol!  I also reconnected with a dear friend from high school, and we spent two weeks emailing each other and catching up.  I also set up at one festival, but rain kept everyone away.  The kids were able to Skype with their mother several times a week, which both helped and hurt.  Helped, because they missed her; hurt, because then they realized how much they missed her and wanted to go home.

July:  Daughter turned 17; Kenzie's Appetite For Desire was launched; MDQ and ME went off with another set of grandparents for a week with them.  The temperature soared; we spent time at the pool plus took them to see the movie Cars 2 in order to escape the heat. I also kept the Skyping to once a week, to cut down on the homesickness.  One of my adoptees stopped coming around; it would be two more months until we saw him again.  Met relatives on my SU's side and had a good picnic, only to be saddened by a death two weeks later.  Relatives were thrilled I'd taken his picture before he left on what would be a fatal vacation.  My SIL decided to move her daughter and kids into her home if their mother's job offer fell through again.  We discussed it, along with our offer to keep them, but since she's their true grandmother (strange family dynamic....if you're confused, email me and I'll explain it!), we agreed to pack them up and return them on their collective birthday (yes, they were born one year apart and on the same day!) I also had to rewrite large chunks of Kenzie's Teacher's Pet.

Aug:  This was a busy month.  I had a min-class reunion planned on the 5th, and the SU didn't like my plans, so I called my father, who agreed to come get me.  I spent an enjoyable evening with old friends, then on the 6th met my family at my SIL's for the kids' birthday party.  Stepdaughter was doing well in her first week at an warehouse, so things were looking up.  A week later, we returned to Lafayette to move our oldest into his new fraternity apartment and had a nice picnic with my parents and two other families.  Two weeks later, I was back in Lafayette because the friend I'd reconnected with in June had suddenly passed away.  Mom and I attended the funeral, and his parents were thrilled to see me and to learn their son had sent me several of his songs he'd composed.  My kids returned to school, and my youngling's new 2nd grade teacher pulled me aside with her suspicions our baby was NOT dyslexic, but ADD, and recommended we have him tested for that instead.  I looked it up online and discovered I think my elementary issues stemmed from the fact I was an undiagnosed ADD myself!  WOW....I also began walking 3 miles a day, at least 4 days a week.  And a friend and I decided to karaoke every Wednesday night, and to go through the song title book to get some variety.  I began with the A's while she went to the other end of the alphabet.  And even picked up some drunken fans, lol!  Writing-wise, I was self-editing Love On The Rocks.  The daughter broke up with the boyfriend for four hours.

Sept:  With my kids finally on medicaid, I took them both to the dentist and doctor.  Youngling was tested and an appointment was made.  I received an email from my editor, asking if I would modernize my series.  I went into panic mode; asked for advice online, and received terrific feedback!  Emailed her back with a polite 'no' and spelled out the reasons.  She and publisher conferred, then agreed to keep my setting in the 1980's.  Huge sigh of relief!  I began revisions for Love Finds A Way, then put them on hold when edits began arriving for LOTR, plus was thrilled with both covers! My neighbor's blood pressure spiked and was put in the hospital; I looked after her kids for an entire week while she was recovering.  Received word the stepdaughter was doing well in her job and they were considering hiring her full-time.

Oct:  Began to have a suspicion when I noticed certain supplies in the bathroom were not being used.  Since I myself am entering another phase of life, I decided to pray about it and give my family member the benefit of the doubt.  But after two weeks, I decided to confront her, and was heartbroken to learn the truth.  But, someone has to be the adult in the family, since I knew more fireworks would be arriving, so I've become the Head Advocate around here.  And as for the youngling, we started him on ADD meds and saw a 180 in his behavior two days later.  No more three hour homework issues and even his teacher is thrilled with his progress!  Love On The Rocks debuted the same week my world fell apart; plus my right foot was having pain issues and I twisted my left ankle on Release Day.  Three days later, I went to the doctor; had both feet X-rayed; left ankle was put in an air cast; I was told to stay off my feet for a week and to do exercises on my right foot.  A week later, I was good:)  My neighbor's health went downhill again; I joked about there being some sort of end-of-the-month special! This month was also particularly hard on my oldest:  He'd lost his best friend suddenly in a freak health care accident.  She'd gone to the dentist on Monday for a gum infection and given meds.  Tuesday, was in the ER because she could hardly stand; Wednesday was life-lined to Indianapolis in renal failure; Thursday was pronounced brain dead.  The family held off on pulling the life support until friends could arrive to say goodbye.  K was heartbroken beyond belief.  The SU and daughter went up to be with him at the hospital, since S had also worked with the girl.  Stepdaughter reported they were considering her for Safety Officer and she now had the funds to have her own apartment again.  She'd ditched the deadbeat boyfriend and was doing well.  The kids were very happy in their new school and my efforts over the summer had paid off:)  The daughter broke up with the boyfriend again, this time for three days.

Nov:  Busy with appointments for both my daughter and youngling.  Began to notice the youngling's appetite was slightly affected, and he was having problems going to sleep at night. Thanksgiving was good, but received word my grandmother had fallen and cracked her pelvis.  We hoped Granny would recover in time for Christmas. I finished edits for LFAW and the self-edits for Forbidden Love, which was good, since final edits for Teacher's Pet arrived!  Also received the heartbreaking news an old boyfriend had passed away, and met his widow, who joined us for karoke a few times.  J had been one of my first serious relationships, but wasn't meant to be.  I also breathed life into a potential zombie story, so I hope to continue writing it soon. Finished self-editing book #4, Balancing Act, and submitted it. And surprise surprise...after a three year campaign to join The Writer's Evo blog, I was finally asked to contribute:)  I just hope this means the current contributors aren't getting ready to jump ship....(crosses fingers no!)

Dec:  The daughter finally had enough of the boyfriend and broke it off, even taking back her class ring.  We celebrated K's 20th birthday via Skype.  I reconnected with my #2 adoptee, who started coming around again when he realized I was baking cookies, lol!  We also attended his 9th birthday party and found out what the heck some of the items were on my youngling's Christmas Wish List!  I celebrated the release of Teacher's Pet with cupcakes and karaoke.  Granny took a turn for the worse on the 16th, and my mother wasn't doing well, so I went up to spend five days with her.  I ran errands; did her last-minute Christmas shopping; and helped her clean the house.  Granny passed away peacefully on Christmas Day, and this past week spent an emotional week between my aunt's house; my parents' house; and the funeral home.  We also cleaned out Granny's apartment yesterday and I'll be writing another 'Treasures Found' post in a week or so.  Celebrated my birthday away from my kids, and then with my karaoke friends as I did a 'Best of' night.  Daughter's resolve lasted 3 weeks this time, but two days ago was already beginning to regret her decision to take him back.  We'll see what 2012 brings for those two as they prepare to bring another life into our family.  Yes, you read that correctly.  Our first real grandchild will be born June 11, 2012.  And yes, my daughter will finish high school if I have to chain her to her desk(s). Got word Love Finds A Way will be released Jan 3rd, 2012.  Which is good; I wouldn't have been able to promote it very well the past week!  Edited half of Forbidden Love, and will continue once everything settles down.  I also received a contract for Balancing Act, book #4.

Present Day:
I'm tackling a mountain of laundry today.  I've not been home, nor have done any laundry since last Saturday.  While I was gone yesterday, the only thing the kids and spouse did was clean up the kitchen.  So today will be Operation Laundry and Clean Up.  Hopefully, we will also be going to the store so I can make some appetizers for everyone to eat while we watch the ball drop....and I've been invited to join three friends for a drink tonight at eleven.  There shouldn't be any fireworks, since S's boyfriend has moved an hour south of us.  Here's hoping 2012 will be less turbulent for us all!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Best Christmas Present Ever:)

At 6:30pm. on Dec 7th, the crib my MIL ordered arrived.

Thirty minutes later, I felt my first honest-to-God contraction, and called my mom to see if that's what it was.  She was heading out to a friend's 50th birthday party and told me to walk around; if they continued, then to call my spouse and doctor and go to the hospital.

They came roughly ten minutes apart, so I called the hubby at work and had him come home.  We drove to the hospital where they checked; I was only dilated at 3cm.  We began walking until I got nauseated two hours later.  At 11pm, nothing more had progressed, so they gave me a sedative and sent us home.

At midnight, the spouse decided to watch Predator 2 with Danny Glover.  I lay on the couch and dozed, and did my breathing exercises.  After the movie, D got in the shower.  At 1:30, I rolled over just as he was drying off.

"My body just told me to push; I think it's time."

He threw his clothes on and we got in the car.  I was in pain; I couldn't fasten my seat belt, and the hospital was thirty minutes away.  I think we made it in 20!  I felt as if the baby was going to be born on the sidewalk, but D got me inside and they whisked me back into the LDR room.  I was dilated at 8cm and was begging for an epidural, but it was too late.

When I was fully dilated, we began pushing.  But the baby apparently wasn't progressing, so Dr. Mark looked at the nurse with a devilish grin.

"She's not had any meds; we can have her squat."


So they helped me to my feet in the bed and we pushed that way for a while, then they let me lay down again.  And at 3:41, son K was born.  He was 8 lbs, 7 oz and 20.5 inches long.  He reached up and took the measuring tape away from the nurse who was trying to measure his tiny head; I laughed and told him to behave himself.

And after they cleaned him up, I got to hold him for the first time.  And burst into tears of happiness.  Mom and Dad arrived and were thrilled with their first grandson.  And twenty years later, he's still a blessing to them:)

His 1st outing was up to my parents' house for my birthday.  I wasn't sure I wanted to take an 11-day old baby to a restaurant, so we had a quiet celebration.  And a few days later, he charmed his great-grandmother Jean and great-grandfather Norman at our Christmas party with my dad's side of the family.

He'd made us late to the party because first he hosed down his bed as I was changing his diaper; then he deposited another 'present' in my hand as I was carrying him to his bath; and just as we were ready to walk out the door, he proclaimed loudly he was hungry, and after eating, promptly spit up on my shirt!

And now, twenty years later as we said goodbye to Granny Jean, he was a pallbearer at her funeral yesterday.  So both 1991 and 2011 will be forever special Christmases in our hearts.

Present Day:
I'm heading north again to help clean out Granny's apartment.  The facility 1st told my aunt to take her time, and then told her on Tuesday 'the end of the month'.'s tomorrow!  Thanks a lot....

Yesterday the sun was shining; it was in the 40's and no rain or snow.  A little chilly yes, but otherwise a beautiful day to say goodbye to a beautiful woman.

RIP Granny.
April 8, 1922-Dec 25, 2011

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Quick Update

I'm still out of town, but my mother decided to check us all into a motel for the night in Indianapolis, so we don't have to worry about getting up early tomorrow.   Plus, I have access to wireless, DSL internet!!!!

Granny's viewing is tonight from 4-8pm, and we're going to eat at Damon's tonight:)

The funeral is tomorrow at 10am, and after the bereavement lunch, we will be going to Granny's apartment to see if there is anything we want to take home with us.  I already know we're taking one of her chairs; I want to check out the love seat; bed; and any books she had.  Blogging will resume on Friday:)

Just checked my proof of Love Finds A Way and sent it back.  It will release next Tuesday, Jan 3rd:)

Thank you everyone for the private condolence messages:)  They are greatly appreciated.

Monday, December 26, 2011

God's Newest Angel

RIP M. Jean Dilly McIntire April 1922- Christmas Day 2011.

We always called her Granny; she hosted Christmas parties at her house and also celebrated my birthday the same day.  Beginning in 1985 or 6, we also spent 4th of July celebrations with her and Grandpa, as it was also his birthday.

I have happy memories of her reading books to me; she had my dad and aunt's children's books in her back room and would head for the bookshelf as soon as I could.  When I learned to read them myself, I still asked her to read a few to me, but could always be found curled up somewhere in the house with a stack of them.

One year, my cousin and I coaxed her up to the attic so we could dress up in my aunt's old prom dresses.  Mom has a wonderful picture of us and my younger sister all decked out in satin and sequins.

When my oldest K was born, she was thrilled; he was the first male child born into the family since my dad.  The two formed a special bond when he was five; Granny often went on vacations with us and since both were early risers, they went to breakfast together.  On our Colorado trip in 2002, he tried to block his younger sister from joining them one day.

"This is me and Grandma's special time.  No, you can't come!"

I reminded him S didn't often get up early and that once wasn't going to ruin his and Grandma's breakfast.  So he took her along, and sure enough, she slept late the remaining mornings!

The year prior, we'd taken the Amtrak from Seattle to Vancouver, so we ALL had breakfast with Granny!  But K sat beside her.

Granny was a rare woman; one of my aunts was born with a rare birth defect, and instead of having her institutionalized, she kept her at home and drove her daily to the Noble Center, always calling it 'her work'.  She also took care of my grandfather, who suffered his first heart attack at age 36 and had to retire early.  Granny worked as a lunch lady in my cousin's school cafeteria, and I used to be jealous of the fact she saw Grandma every day.  I only saw her a few times a year, but I think it made my sister and I appreciate her more.  And it always amazed me when I'd go to church with her that everyone knew who I was, even if I was only with my cousin.

Granny attended my high school and college graduations; she was there for my wedding and even came to a few of our fall parties when we lived in Martinsville.  Right after we moved to our current home, Granny moved into an assisted living facility, and I inherited more of her book collection.  (I've tried to locate my post 'Treasures in Grandma's Attic' but can't seem to find it!   I'll keep looking later...)

Anyway, earlier this month, Granny fell and cracked her pelvis.  She'd insisted her furniture be rearranged for her Christmas tree, and apparently had gotten up in the night and tripped over something.  She was doing well until  she was moved to a rehab unit last week, and when Dad went down to check on her, he discovered her sitting in a wheelchair; barely conscious, and demanded answers.

Turned out a) she'd had a piece of pineapple stuck in her mouth; b) she wasn't receiving her breathing treatments; and c) they tried to give her 8 hours of physical therapy!  She'd developed pneumonia and my dad wanted her taken back to the hospital.  But after speaking with my aunt and a couple of the better nurses, Dad felt okay leaving her there.

Apparently, Grandma's been talking about 'being tired and ready to go Home', though the rest of the family hoped she'd recover and enjoy her 90th birthday party we were thinking of throwing her.

But yesterday, God called her home.  At least she got to spend Christmas in heaven with Grandpa, who passed in 1995 and Aunt Julie, who died in 1993, coincidentally, two days before MY birthday.

And as my spouse says, we did have an answered prayer:  She's well again; she's with family members who have been gone the last 10-20 years; and best of all, she celebrated Jesus' birthday with him.

Merry Christmas Granny:)  We love and miss you.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Countdown To Christmas Pt 2....

Off to make chocolate-covered pretzels:)  Next Friday I'll write about my MOST memorable month of December:  1991:)

O holy night the stars are brightly shining 
It is the night of our dear Savior's birth 
Long lay the world in sin and error pining 
Till He appeared and the soul felt its worth

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices 
For yonder breaks a new glorious morn 
Fall on your knees 
O hear the angels' voices 
O night divine 
O night when Christ was born 
O night divine, O night 
O night divine

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Countdown To Christmas Pt 1

Home again!  Arrived back in town just in time for youngling's basketball game; they lost 30-15.  Afterward, youngling fell down the stairs of the gym, but he's okay.  Nothing broken; no blood; no missing teeth:)  Just scared.  Maybe this will teach him to slow down when going down a busy flight of stairs?

Also learned a dear friend of mine lost her husband yesterday.  He'd been battling Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, and a week or so ago, his doctors had given him 3-4 weeks.  He passed peacefully, surrounded by his family.  RIP Danny; you will be missed.

Granny's health is stable.  She's no better, but no worse.  I'll hopefully get to see her on the 26th.

Good night at karaoke!  I took Cheryl a slice of my 'birthday pie', a Marie Callendar's Chocolate Cream Pie.  The freezer in Mom's garage stopped working, so I brought home two pies.  The other one is Apple; the SU is enjoying it:)

Since I was celebrating my birthday, I decided to do a 'Best of' series.  I sang 'Invincible'; 'Alone'; 'Because You Loved Me'; 'Baby One More Time'; and 'Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now' (with Billie).  Bartender even gave me a free rum and coke:)

Afterward, B took me downtown and showed me the rubble from the fire which took out four buildings on Saturday, around the time I was arriving in Lafayette.  The old Gimbal store, one of the oldest in our town, was a total loss.  The cause is still unknown, and one of my friends lost her apartment.  The miracle here is there were no injuries.  No firemen were hurt; no lives lost.  And the beautiful mural which graced the back of the building is being recommissioned.

Received my proof copy of LFAW!  It needed three minor changes; I made them and sent it back.  Hopefully I'll be writing that dedication today or tomorrow and getting word of a definite release date.

Today, I am finishing up the laundry and wrapping presents.  And making some chocolate covered pretzels.  I also need to inspect the cookie supplies and see which ones need replenished.

Have a safe and happy Christmas and I'll be back tomorrow with Christmas 2001 memories:)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Terrific Tuesday with Carol Preflatish:)

I had the pleasure of meeting Carol last year at one of my signings:)  She's a fellow Hoosier and I was mad  thrilled when I learned she was headed to Louisville to a conference where I knew my publisher was attending.  So I emailed her and yelled at her told her to look up Sandy Sullivan and hear more about this awesome publishing company, Secret Cravings.  The rest, as they say, is history.

Welcome!  Please introduce yourself and tell us about your latest release.

Hi, Molly. Thank you for hosting me here today. I'm Carol Preflatish and I write romantic suspense. My newest release is "Saved by the Sheriff" with Secret Cravings Publishing. It's about magazine writer Jaime Wilson who visits Indiana to investigate an unsolved mystery about a missing family and finds herself becoming the next target. Sheriff Ben Hunter has to come to her rescue and together they work to solve the mystery as well as who is trying to kill her. She didn't count on falling in love with the sheriff and he didn't think he would have to work so hard to keep her safe.

Have you ever had an idea for a story which scared you after you began writing it?

I write suspense, but I don't believe I've ever had an idea that scared me.

Have you incorporated actual events from your own life into your books?

"Saved by the Sheriff" is very loosely based on a real mystery that happened near where I live. It's something I was always interested in and I think that made writing the book a little easier. The real mystery was never solved, unlike my fictional story which does come to a conclusion at the end of the book.

How much research do you do?  Do you research first and then write, or do you write first, then research as needed?

I research a lot, doing much of it before I start writing. But, I'm always checking facts and things while I am in the writing process, too. It's an on-going thing for me. I love to research so I can make most things as accurate as possible.

Is there any message you want readers to take from reading your work?

I always hope that when someone reads my books, they can be taken away from real life for a while. I read to relax and hope that my readers can experience the same thing.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?  And have you ever had a story take on a life of its own?

I'm sort of a little of both. I usually work from a very vague outline sort of like a synopsis, but when I start writing I go with it. Sometimes it follows the original outline and sometimes it doesn't. I think all stories take on a life of it's own. Your characters will eventually start talking to you and they will take the story its own direction. For instance, I'm working on a contemporary mystery series right now and the main male character just told me that he and his former girlfriend have a son together. Wow, that just came out of nowhere, but I really like how it can play into the story.

How long did it take for you to be published?

I started writing seriously in 2000 and my first novel was published in 2009. That was the second novel I completed. I still have the first and am going to do a revision and rewrite and hoping to get it published also.

If you could go back and tell yourself anything when you first began your writing career, what would you say?

I would say that besides learning to write a book, I should also learn about the business side of writing. I was clueless as to what to do once my book came out. I realized that I had a lot more learning to do.

Laptop or pen and ink?  What are your ‘must-haves’ when writing?

Laptop and pencil. I sometimes find that I can be more creative when I sit and write with pencil and paper. Lately, I have been sticking to the laptop a little more though. My main "must-have" is sweet tea. I can go through a huge pitcher of tea during a Sunday afternoon of writing. I'm trying not to snack too much, but I do like to take a break with a big bowl of popcorn. That's by far my favorite snack.

Who are your favorite authors?  Who would you say influenced you the most?

My favorite authors are James Patterson, the late Robert B. Parker, and Lisa Gardner. I can't really think of any one author that has influenced me the most, but I find myself inspired by new authors that have really made it in the business, whether that be through self-publishing or with one of the big New York publishers.

What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?

I love the outdoors and camping. We have a tent and try to camp as much as possible in all four seasons. Winter can be a little tricky, but if you're prepared, it can be a lot of fun and there are no bugs to worry about in the winter. Several years ago, I remember us driving home from a camping trip and it snowed on us all the way home.

Thanks again for having me here today, Molly. My latest release, Saved by the Sheriff, is now available at Secret Cravings Publishing as an e-book, with the print version to follow in a few months. You can purchase it here and you can learn more about me at my blog.


Jaime carefully walked up to the old house that stood near a newer home with a barn between the two. She took a few pictures through the windows. The inside of the house looked like no one had been there in years. Perhaps left just the way it was when the Murdock's had last been there. She stood at the front door and couldn't resist trying the knob. The door opened.
"I don't think that's a good idea," he warned.
"I'll just take one picture of the inside and then we'll go." She took one step into the house.
"I don't think that's a good idea," he related again.
"You should listen to the boy," a deep voice echoed from behind them.
She knew that voice.
"Come on out."
Jaime turned to see Ben standing at the corner of the old house, handcuffing Bobby behind his back. "What are you doing?" she asked, walking over to them.
"Arresting him for trespassing. You're next."
"Didn't you see the No Trespassing sign?" Ben asked.
"Yes, but..."
"Then you should have turned back. Now, turn around."
Jaime put her camera on the porch and turned around for Ben to handcuff her. "This isn't exactly what I in mind when I thought of you handcuffing me," she mumbled to him.
He didn't answer, but instead picked up her camera and led them through the trees to his police car that was parked in front of the other house. She assumed it belonged to the Cook family. A woman in a housedress stood on the front porch.
"They won't be back out here again, Mrs. Cook," Ben called to the lady.
"Thanks, Sheriff."
He opened the back door of his car and Bobby got in. Before Jaime got in, she looked up at Ben. "I'm sorry."
He didn't answer, but put his hand on top of her head so she wouldn't bump it as he guided her into the car.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Birthday Greetings:)

First of all, it's my day to post over at RBRU, so won't you stop by and say hi?  It's my birthday, but I've posted a gift for you.

Secondly, I'm enjoying another mini-vacation:  My grandmother fell two weeks ago and has been moved to a rehab facility for her cracked pelvis.  Saturday, we got word she'd developed pneumonia, so my dad had gone down to help out my aunt.  Mom was feeling overwhelmed because she wasn't feeling well herself, so I came up to help her out for a few days.

I've already cleaned up her house and today we're wrapping gifts and I'm doing some of her last-minute shopping.  Dad came home; Granny's doing a LOT better.  I'm going to stay here until Wednesday, just in case anything changes, and we're going out to Mountain Jacks for dinner tonight.

Internet is slow at my parents' house, so I'm limiting myself to twice a day.  My friend Carol Preflatish has a new release today; come back tomorrow for her interview:)

Friday, December 16, 2011

Flashback Friday

December 2001:
The only memorable thing I cam come up with was I had my hair permed during my three hours between shifts on the bus....and then my boss called us in for a meeting.  I was NOT expecting to have my hairdresser rush through the final steps so I could arrive an hour earlier at school!  And our 'office' was a tiny trailer at the back of the school property.  And if anyone as anyone who has ever had their hair permed can tell you....a strong chemical aroma accompanied me back to the office.

In short, Mike had to open the door to the trailer as the fumes were choking all six of us.  But that was the only day my hairdresser could schedule me, and I wanted my hair done before the holidays began.  I promised him it would be another year before getting my hair professionally curled again, and would NOT squeeze it in between shifts!

Present Day:
There's a lot going on beginning today!

First of all, over at Coffee Beans & Love Scenes, Kenzie's giving away a copy of Teacher's Pet.  Go over and show her some love?

Secondly, I'm participating in the Secret Cravings Anniversary Blog Hop (my day is Jan 7th), and we're giving away a Kindle Fire and other goodies:)

Stop by the Secret Cravings Blog for details:)

Last, on Sunday, join myself and several others over at Cassandra Carr's Facebook page!  There will be excerpts, prizes, blurbs, and fun all day long.

Have a good weekend:)  And don't forget to stop by The Writer's Evo on Sunday to find out what made Kenzie proud in the past year:)

Told you there was a lot going on!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Edit Update, Karaoke, and Candy:)

Whew!  I finished LFAW edits; fixed all those !@##$%^ quotation marks (note to self:  double check next MS as you're going through it!!!) and sent it back.  Editor says it might re-release next week!  Yay:)

Also received edits for book #3, Forbidden Love.  Took a glance through it; these won't be too painful!  If I accomplish my baking goals the next two days, I'll work on it over the weekend.  Keri's story is slated to be released in January, so there's plenty of time.

There was a definite 'theme' to my songs last night!  It wasn't planned; I just went in the order they were listed on my song title sheet.  As a result, I think the majority of the male patrons thought I had issues with the opposite sex!

-Band of Gold:  I wanted the Belinda Carlisle version; there was none.  So I tried Kim Locke's; no way.  Botched it on the first two lines, trying to find what octave to be in.  So we switched to another version and did slightly better.  I still crossed this one off my list forever.

-Birmingham:  Nailed this one on the first try!  I love my Amanda Marshall cassette, and would LOVE to have the CD.  I'll definitely be singing this one again!

-Bleeding Love:  I did fine until the end!  Leona Lewis deviates on the last few rounds of the chorus, and I'd only practiced the backup singers!  I'll be singing this one again too, with more practice:)

-Because You Loved Me:  I got a standing ovation after I finished this one, and no, not because they were glad it was over!  One couple got up and danced; Cheryl even activated the applause track.  Another one I'll keep doing:)

-Bitch:  I didn't have nearly enough attitude for this song.  Maybe if I get a few too many drinks in me I'll attempt it again....or sing it with someone else!

-Beauty and the Beast:  I love this song, but it sounds better when Celine is singing along with me!  Maybe I just need more practice?

Next week, I'm planning to go back and sing a few of the ones I KNOW I sing well:
-Baby One More Time
-As Long As You Love Me
-Because You Loved Me

That's if there is time.  The bar might be busy, due to the holidays!  So check back next Thursday:)

Baking Update:

I showed you the cookies on Monday; here are the candy pictures:)

I made blue raspberry and strawberry gummies using three molds:  Christmas figures (Santa, lower right), dinosaurs (T-Rex and stegasaurus at the top); and animals (hippo, bottom left).  The white stuff is cornstarch, so they don't stick to each other!

This may look like a mess, but it is the entire gummy collection.

Oops...I should have flipped this one before I uploaded it.  These are the chocolates; Squares with holly; drummer boy; tree; Santa; wreath; star; bell; snowman.  The reindeer bombed; we ended up eating them.  Some of the antlers or legs didn't come out well.

And finally, the dinos:)  My T-Rexes did better in the second batch (top two have no tails!), but didn't get a picture.

What do I plan to do with these?

In the two bags for the crossing guard and youngling's teacher, I'll put 6 of each kind of cookie, and I'll make a little sack out of cling wrap for the candy and tie it with red and green yarn.  It's not much, but I've discovered they like these gifts better than knick-knacks!

Tomorrow's blog:
Christmas 2001.  Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Making Candy and Edits

First of all, Kenzie has a release tomorrow:)  Want to know the story behind the story?  Check out Kenzie's Place:)

The last thing I have to do for Round #2 edits on LFAW is double-check my quotation marks.  Some are curly; others are straight.  I'm up to page 59/121.  Tedious, yes, but it must be done.

And yes, this week I tackle the candy:)  Haven't decided what to start with first.

Since I promised pictures, here are the cookies I baked last week.  Enjoy!

Here are 12 dozen chocolate chip cookies; I think the total was closer to 16 dozen.

Made 6 dozen M&M cookies; I thought I'd bought more than one bag of M&Ms.  These will be closely rationed.

8 dozen Oatmeal-raisin, with more to be made at a later date.

Hungry yet?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Flashback Friday: Jr. High Vow Returns To Bite Me In The Butt!

Dec 1981:
Recap:  I'd been dating a trumpet player for the past six weeks, and recently sparked the unwanted attentions of a guy in my PE class, who made fun of my boyfriend K.  However, K was none too thrilled B continued to walk with me from the gym to the double-doors of the academic wing, where he and I would meet before his next class and my lunch hour.

K and I continued to argue over B's sudden need to talk to me every day in the two short minutes it took me to meet him after class.  I tried lagging behind; I tried walking ahead.  No matter what I did, B was there, waiting to ask me about my knees, discuss our PE class, or hassle me about K.  And he laughed when I told him it was  making K angry.

Finally, December 5th, the day of the Christmas parade arrived.  I was thrilled to discover my spot in line beside the trumpet players....until we got on the bus to head downtown.

K:  This isn't working for me.  I'm tired of seeing you with HIM every day.

M:  There's nothing going on!  He won't leave me alone....and besides, the semester's nearly over; I probably won't have him in any more of my classes....can't you wait one more month?

K:  No.  It's over; we're done.

And so I marched in the parade, slamming my flag around and nailing the routine.  K managed to switch his position around so he was not in my line, as originally planned.  Mom has a picture of me during the routine; I have a very angry look on my face!

Monday morning, after PE, I walked ahead of B, but then turned around and ran right into him.

B:  Whoa.....where are you going?

M:  I forgot; I don't need to go this way anymore.

B:  What happened?  Are you mad at No-Neck? (One of his friends laughed.

M:  Didn't you hear?  We broke up over the weekend.  Thought your radar was working better than this.  (I couldn't help being a little sarcastic and snide)

B (drapes an arm over my shoulder and pulls me beside him):  Tell me all about it.

Friend:  Are you going to take his place, B?  Good man!

At this point, the only thing I can think is how much this is going to piss K off.  But serves him right, yes?  I know there's nothing going on; and I'm not usually the type handsome boys put their arms around in the hallway.  So I didn't object and we kept walking.

We passed K, whose jaw promptly hits the floor.  And as soon as we passed through the double doors, B dropped his arm, but accompanied me to my locker.  By that time, we were still talking, so I followed him to his locker and back down the stairs (our lockers were on the 3rd floor).  When we reached the main floor, he went one way and I went on to the cafeteria.

Good Gossip Travels Fast!
I stood in line to go through the food line and to meet my friend Kathy for lunch.  A girl in front of me turns around and asks me if I'd just walked down the hall with B.  I said yes.

"Oh wow..."

I shrugged it off and went to sit with Kathy.  As I'm eating, another girl pauses beside our table.

"Is it true B walked you all the way to your locker?"

I swallowed and said yes.

"Oh man...." She sounded disgusted and walked off.  I looked at Kathy and we both shrugged.

Half an hour later, walking into my Algebra class, one of the girls who was in the band with me asked, "So is B your new boyfriend now?"

I exploded.  "What is the big deal about B?  He's a jerk in my PE class; he helped me get back at K for breaking up with me....who cares if he walked me to my locker?"

She nearly swooned.  "He walked you to your locker?  Ooooohhhhh, what did you talk about?"

"Does it really matter?"  I stomped off to my seat.

Two Weeks Later:
I had joined our Pep Block, and we had to be there a half an hour before the varsity game began.  I always arrived an hour early, since my mom always sat with the Pep Band.  I noticed my friend Gwen up in the stands, and went to talk to her.  Neither one of us was paying any attention to our (lousy) JV team, until I heard "Cross in for Jeff."

I looked up and saw B heading out onto the floor.  I yanked the program out of Gwen's hands.  "Let me see that!"

I flipped to the team photo....and sure enough, there was B!

"Holy crap....THAT'S why I've been getting strange comments from random girls!  B's on the freaking BASKETBALL team!"

"Oh heck yes!  He was Mr. Popular in junior high.  I thought you knew!"

I handed her program back to her.  "I do now!"

Monday morning, I made a beeline for B's locker before school.

"Cross, you didn't tell me you were on the JV basketball team."

"I thought you knew.  How'd you find out?"

I explained what had happened.

"This explains those crazy comments I've been getting.  I'm officially ending this 'friendship' with you.  See you in class."

"Hey, wait a minute!"  He slammed his locker shut and caught up with me.  "Why can't we still be friends?"

"Because I grew up two doors down from Mr. All-Around Popular Jock and do not intend to go through that association ever again.  I vowed in the 7th grade to never be friends with a jock, never date a jock, and certainly never be seen in the company of a jock!"

"But that's crazy....what does my basketball status have to do with anything?  And what comments?"

"Go ask your fan club."  And I ran down the stairs and went to my first hour class.

He continued to try to be friendly with me, and after a week, I relented.  Maybe he'd prove me wrong?  And for my birthday, he bought me a Snickers bar and even called me during Christmas Break.

Next month:  Second Semester Mishaps.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Happy Birthday Kyle!!!

I can't believe my 1st baby is twenty today....the big 2-0.  How can this be?  Wasn't it just yesterday he was trotting off to kindergarten?  Playing pee-wee football?  Playing football?  Graduating high school?  Going off to college...oh wait.

That would be two years ago.

How time flies.....

I can still see him at age 18 months, chasing my 6 year old cousin around my grandmother's townhouse, yelling at him for singing the wrong Barney lyrics.

Billy:  "I hate you, you hate me, let's tie Barney to a tree...."

Kyle:  "No, no!  I wove 'ou, 'ou wove me, we're a happy family....!"

Age 5:  "I can walk up to my classroom by myself, Mommy!"

Age 10:  "Check out my bruises!  I'm one mean tackling machine!"

Age 14:  "But WHY does it have to be X?  Why can't it be R?  And WHY do I have to show my work when I already know the answer?"

Age 18:  "I got into Purdue!"

Age 19:  "Mom, I've joined a fraternity..."

Welcome to your twenties, Kyle....and next year, you can go to karaoke with your mama!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

I Can Breathe Again!

No, not suffering from asthma attack....I'm finally emerging from a four-day excursion of being locked inside my editing cave.  Saturday, I barely got through the first chapter before just staring at the document, not knowing how to fix it.  Sunday, I burrowed in with a bag of Hershey Bliss and got halfway through the MS.

Monday, I made it to page 96 before hitting another creative wall.  And then yesterday, I burrowed in again (along with the rest of the bag of milk chocolate Bliss, lol!) and finished it.  Then did a search for 'then', which apparently was my favorite word in the MS!  Replaced what I could, then sent it off.  I rewarded myself with The Amazing Race, and when it was over, fixed dinner for the family.

I did NOT make it to crit group last night, due to no transportation (youngling had b-ball practice @6 and scouts after that), but will definitely make it next week, when Kenzie's Teacher's Pet is released.  I'll make my own cupcakes and take them to share with the rest of the group and whoever else happens to wander in.  Why I can't seem to have a release and a royalty check at the same time dumbfounds me, ha ha ha!  Maybe I'm not there yet?  At any rate, I have to have faith that one day I'll have money again to throw myself a decent party....or that my friends will:)

And I hope Round #2 doesn't kick my butt the way this one did, and I can get back to business at hand....Baking!

Yes, today I'm about to start my annual sugar high.  Chocolate chip cookies, iced sugar cookies, and oatmeal-raisin cookies are planned.  I have until the 16th to make enough for the family, one teacher, one crossing guard, and a couple of friends.  I also plan to make gummy bears, peanut butter cups, chocolate-covered pretzels (both white and chocolate), and solid character chocolates.  I'm heading to the candy store today to make out my wish list, then haggle it down with the hubby before returning with cash.  Wish me luck!

And yes, I'll post pictures, so everyone can share in the goodies:)

Friday, December 2, 2011

Friday Flashback

December 1971:
I need to back up a moment; I forgot about school picture time.  Earlier, my two best friends and I had been playing, and my mom took our pictures.  For whatever reason, T curled his top lip over his teeth and when I saw it, I decided to try to copy his expression....the day school pictures were taken.  My first ever school picture shows me looking like the Grinch...I'd even worn a green dress to school that day.  I remember the photographer trying to get me to smile, but I was certain I had the same cute expression as T had in my mom's picture.  And of course, I was 'horrified' to see the end result!  I think this was before retakes; or maybe my mom didn't insist on one.  Who knows?

Back to December:  For my 6th birthday, I had a party and I think the entire neighborhood kids showed up, plus one set of grandparents.  We are all posing in front of the cake, and some kids are even blowing party horns.  A week later for Christmas, I had another party with my other set of grandparents, as well as opening up gifts.  Christmas Day, we opened our gifts, then crowded into the car and went to my maternal grandmother's house and opened more presents and ate Christmas dinner.

I don't remember any specific presents; there are no photos of me with any 'special' items.

Have a great weekend and don't forget to check out Kenzie's post Sunday over at The Writer's Evo:)

Thursday, December 1, 2011

It's December Already???

ACK!  Where did November go?  Oh wait; I spent the first two weeks in the editing week in relax mode...the last ten days working on two different wips.  And anticipating PAYDAY.  That's where it went.

NaNo Word Count:  7789.  But add to it the editing I did....51,337; or, to be more exact, 667.  So add the editing total to the WC and I get 8456.  So I was slightly off by 2k from that estimate yesterday.  But hey; it's a start!  Or, I can be totally cheating if I add the entire thing: 59,126:)  Hey; not bad at all!  LOL!

No; Final NaNo Word Count:  8,456.  I'll keep writing through the weekend, then beginning next Tuesday, Dec 6th, I start my holiday baking.  Look for details next Monday, and don't forget to come back tomorrow for memories of my 6th birthday/Christmas and the link to Kenzie's Favorite Holiday Recipe:)

Stay warm; our temps dipped into the mid-20's last night, though they are expected to rise into the high 40's.

Payday agenda:
-Pay rent and utilities
-Buy needed food supplies and household items
-Take daughter to appointment
-Take youngling to basketball practice
-Dinner out or I'll throw something together while spouse and W are at b-ball:)