Saturday, February 27, 2010

Saturday's Stupid Saying and Did I Make The Right Decision?

Bluepoint Oysters Opened While You Wait In Their Own Juice

roadside sign in Cape May, New Jersey

Another Ultimate Dilemma:
The SU promised me a laptop. And when he also pointed out a local store was now carrying the Sony E-Reader Pocket Edition for less than $200, I took it to mean he was buying me one.

Last night, we went to said store. The laptop I wanted was out of stock, and two more were due to arrive this morning. We thanked the clerk and headed back across the electronics department.

I paused by the Sony display.

"Here's the e-reader..."

"Which one do you want? One or the other."

I thought for a moment. "I really want the e-reader. I can use it immediately at my signing tomorrow."

"But what about when S is on the laptop and K's at the desktop and you want to write?"

"I can write in longhand."

(Heavy sigh...) "All right. I'll go get the clerk."

Brought it home, charged it up, and aside from the minor fact the two book covers are in black and white, it's easy to use. I've not figured out how to take books off of it, in order to put them on my flash (it only holds 350 books, and since I'm only going to keep on it the books I absolutely love, I'll eventually have to shuffle the files around), but I suspect another day of playing with it should reveal the answer.

But on the way home, the SU brought up the fact that now he won't have peace and quiet, since he also bought the wifi router and will still be hearing at least one person complaining of not being able to use a computer!

So I'd like your thoughts: Did I choose the wrong electronic 'toy'? Should I take back the e-reader and get the laptop tomorrow, and wait for a Nook? Or re-buy the Sony in a couple of weeks (Easter's a month away, grin!)? Or should I simply accept my decision and wait until the SU returns to work or even this time next year?

Which one would YOU have chosen?

I'm off to my signing in a couple of hours. Here's hoping many stop by the table to see the e-reader!

Update on kids' mom:
She had a CT scan yesterday which revealed nothing. She's getting a second opinion and the exploratory surgery will either be done and she'll be out of the hospital by Tuesday, or one of us is going to have to take the kids up and stay with them so they can at least attend school and be near their mother.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Flashback Friday: Oops!

Currently Reading: I'm up to Chapter 7 on Tymber Dalton's Love At First Bight:) Still loving it!

I promised to take you through my Valentine's Day issues in the nineties and forgot all about it! So today you get an overview.

1990: I still think this was the day I threw my engagement ring at The Idiot and screamed at him to leave my apartment. Diary is in storage, so I can't confirm this! But anyone who's wanting to break their engagement...I tell 'em to pick a fight and throw the ring across the room. He'll get the picture!

1991: The SU and I had been dating for two months. He brought me a gigantic Hershey's Kiss, complete with its own glass container. The cover broke several months later, but the bottom half became a nice place to hold his Rosary. I also got a chocolate rose.

1992: My son K was two months old, and our tax money was in the bank. We went out to a nice dinner at the Olive Garden.

1993-Present: I usually cook a nice dinner, complete with a Red Velvet cake or cupcakes for the kids. Romance has slacked off, since the arrival of W in 2004, but I try to buy myself something and make it good for the kids. Sometimes we seem to do a 'Bundy Valentine's Day'; if you've ever seen the show Married With Children, you'll know what I'm talking about:) And today is the day I'm finally getting my laptop. He's reneged on the E-reader, unless he was only teasing me. I'll let you know tomorrow.

Feb 2000: I attended my second meeting as Concession Manager and felt better when a woman I recognized also attended. I asked more questions concerning my new duties, including one which had bugged me since the previous June: If the two home teams were playing each other, which team was responsible for the workers, the assigned 'Home' team or the 'Visitors'? The previous year, it hadn't taken me long to figure out the concession rep of the other Pee-Wee team didn't take her duties seriously. Several times, setting up the stand had fallen on me, even though we were supposed to do it together. And on the day our teams played each other, I took my camera, since we were the 'visiting' team. I opened the stand, let one of the teenagers work it until an adult showed up, and went to videotape my kid playing baseball.

The game began, and suddenly word came down that I needed to find someone to work the stand. I sent a message saying it wasn't my responsibility this week. Word came back that no one had shown up and the teenager was all alone with a crowd. I put down my camera, walked over to the OTHER team's parents, and asked for volunteers. Thankfully, two moms stepped up and agreed to relieve the teenager.

I was fuming. I'd provided workers faithfully each week, even working it myself, since we had two pregnant moms; only one mom who knew how to keep score; and the regular 'dugout mom'. So why was everyone upset with ME, when the other rep was clearly at fault?

And at the meeting, I learned there had been numerous complaints about the other rep, and yes, I had every right to be angry.

Next month: The shopping spree!

Olympic Update:
Women's Figure Skating Finals:
Gold: Korea
Silver: Japan
Bronze: Canada:)

The USA's medal streak came to a screeching halt. We placed 4th and 7th.

Nordic Combined:
Gold: USA's Bill Demong
Silver: USA's Johnny Spillane
Bronze: Austria

Freestyle Aerials:
Gold: Belarus
Silver: USA's Jeret Peterson
Bronze: China

Women's Hockey:
Gold: Canada
Silver: USA

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Interesting Question....

"What is your goal for your writing?"

That question was posed by one of our newer members at crit group. Due to the weather, only three of us showed up, and this person went on to add, "I notice you're always talking about your characters and upcoming signings, release dates, edits....are the others as serious about their writing as you seem to be?"

I answered carefully of what I knew about the other's goals, then went on to state my own. Which includes:
-Building up a solid word-of-mouth group of readers
-Getting my stories published
-Hand-selling as many as I can and encouraging others to follow their own publishing dreams
-Keep writing and improving. And remembering I'm only as good as my next book.

I want to be successful. I also want to one day be able to support myself, or at least substantially supplement our income with my books. At first, my goal was to simply get these stories out of my head and onto paper. Later, I discovered people actually wanted to read them. So if what I'm writing seems to make others happy, why not earn a little money at the same time, and try to reach a broader audience?

I was so thrilled when my sister and I walked into a bookstore in Vancouver and I inquired about my book. was in their system, and the book seller was happy to meet me. My sis has even talked to her coworkers about my publishing venture and has passed one of my books around her office. So maybe one day I'll be able to write off a trip to Canada as a business expense, ha ha?

Or venture out of state, or even more of my own state, in order to sign copies of my books and meet readers and potential writers? Most of all, I would dearly love to attend two or three yearly conferences in order to a) learn more about my craft; b) meet agents and editors face to face; and c) meet my blogmates and other favorite authors in person!

So what are your ultimate goals? Did you start out writing for fun and then be more ambitious about it? Or has seeing your work published always been the goal? And what about, despite your best efforts, you seem to fall short?

Yes, constant rejection can be disheartening. I realized I have been taking many baby steps in the past two decades. The first was to simply keep writing. Then I found out people were interested in the stories. Queries to NY and agents fell flat. I self-published and not only learned I like to talk to people, I'm a good encourager. And I'm also good at promoting other authors. I'm a traveling 'look only' bookstore for my favorite authors, lol:)

But the bottom line is this: If you have a dream, don't give up. You have to have faith in your abilities/talents or you'll be miserable. And I'd rather be a positive person. I don't want to reach the end of my life with a bunch of 'should've, would've, could've' regrets. I want to be able to look back with satisfaction and know I've brought happiness to others.

And hope that in my climate controlled library in God's mansion, He'll also have a laptop.

Olympic Update:
Did you see Lindsay Vonn's accident on the Giant Slalom? I think Julia Mancuso got a raw deal. Apparently, the skiers are allowed to start down the mountain one minute after each other. And when Vonn wiped out, Mancuso was already on the course, and they had to motion for her to stop, for safety issues. But instead of bumping her to the back of the line, she had to get back to the top and start over. And with her concentration rattled, she placed in 18th place, well out of medal contention. I don't think that was fair.

And with the stress of having my grandkids here, I put them to bed, watched the Olympics until ten-thirty, and went to bed myself. I've been staying up until midnight and getting up at six; I was tired and needed my sleep! But tonight is the final women's figure skating; I WILL be watching:)

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Most Memorable of 2009

I forgot to do this last month. But since the LRC polls closed yesterday, I decided to go ahead and post mine today. Apparently last year I did this in January, after the P&E poll.

The publisher I bought from the most? Three way tie between TEB, EC, and Siren/BookStrand.

Most Frequent Author? Tie between Ashley Ladd and Regina Carlysle

New Author? Regina Carlysle

Now to the actual books. I couldn't just pick a top 5, so I went back and picked the most memorable for each month. How did I choose? I looked at the beginning of the week or month where I posted the books and if I could still recall the storyline, I picked the one that jumped out as the most memorable. And in some instances, choosing just one was impossible.

Jan: Brit Party antho by Brynn Paulin, et al. And Twilight by Stephanie Meyers

Feb: Tie: A Psychic Hitch by Bekki Lynn and The Best New Toy of the Season by Elaine Cantrell.

Mar: This month was tough. I read books by Jodi Picoult and Michael Palmer, plus more of the Twilight saga. As far as the e-books went...tie between To Hate and To Hold by Dakota Rebel, Jake's Return by Liana Laverentz., and Soul Stone by Elyssa Edwards

Apr: Thin Ice by Liana Laverentz, American Beauty by Ashley Ladd, and Flavia's Secret by Lindsay Townsend.

May: E-Book: Stone and Sea by Cindy Spencer Pape and Killer Curves by Regina Carlysle. Print: Marriage Proposal by Kelly Kirch and Wind Dancer by Jamie Carie

June: Memories I Choose To Keep by Kazuko Sato and Drake's Rules by Barb Huffert

July: To Love A Hero by Mona Risk

Aug: Babies In The Bargain by Mona Risk and Julie and Julia by Julie Powell

Sept: Last Man On Earth by Ashley Ladd

Oct: Second Sight Dating by Marianne Stephens

Nov: First and Ten by Fran Lee

Dec: The rest of the Carnal Reunions series.

So what's your opinion? Agree with me or am I showing favoritism? And if you've not read any of these books, please put them on your TBB list. IMHO, you're missing out.

Olympic Update:
Women's Figure Skating (Short Program):
1st Place: Korea
2nd Place: Japan
3rd Place: Canada's Joannie Rochette (the one who lost her mom several days ago. WONDERFUL performance!)

USA's Rachel Flatt is in 5th place, and Mirai Nagasu is in 6th.

Men's Giant Slalom:
Gold: Switzerland
Silver: Austria
Bronze: Austria

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Terrific Tuesday with Julia Rachel Barrett:)

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

Hi, and thanks for hosting me. I’m Julia Rachel Barrett and I write contemporary romance, romance/suspense and I’m branching into paranormal and science fiction. My first release with Resplendence Press, Beauty and the Feast, comes out March 10. It’s a humorous contemporary featuring a personal chef, Eva Raines, and her client, winery owner, Gabriel Abbott. Eva manages to seduce Gabe with the flavors of the food before he lays eyes on her.

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

Yes and no. I’ve had ideas that got my heart racing, but nothing that scared me. One story, in particular, was tough to write as it is semi-autobiographical. The title is Cara and it will be re-releasing with Resplendence Press in 2011.

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

Yes. See above! Actually, every one of my books contains a part of me and a piece of my life. My stories are set in places I’ve lived. My characters respond to events the way I would respond, at least my hero and heroine tend to. Even the bad guys are modeled after people I’ve known, for better or for worse.

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

I tend to just write. I research as needed. I guess a lifetime of experience equals a lot of research.

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

What’s that saying…the heart wants what it wants? We love who we love and the meeting of souls makes for a great story. I guess I want my readers to finish reading my book with a smile on their faces.

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

I am not a plotter. I make a few notes as I write, but that’s about it and yes, my stories always take on a life of their own. I merely go with the flow.

How long did it take for you to be published?

I was published back when I was in college – poetry. Over the years, I’ve had the occasional article printed in medical and nursing journals…I’m a registered nurse. However, once I wrote my first nonfiction book, it took me a year to find a publisher. I’ve learned to take rejection letters in stride. My first romance was easier. Anytime Darlin’ got picked up right away and it will be re-released next year.

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

I don’t generally look back and wonder if I could have done things differently. Life turns out the way it turns out. I’m happy with my current writing career.

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

Laptop. Espresso. Double espresso. Espresso machine. Background noise – usually my birds chirping. No music – I spend too much time singing along and I am easily distracted.

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

Oh wow. I have so many favorite authors. I read like crazy. Who influenced me? My favorite romance writer is Linda Howard. My favorite science fiction book is Dune. My favorite television series – great writing – is Battlestar Galactica. I love Cormac McCarthy. James Clavell. Charlotte Bronte. Louisa May Alcott. My house is filled to the rafters with books…makes it tough to pick favorites.

What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?

I am totally and completely into horses. Have been all my life. I believe there is nothing in the world as good as a good horse.

For Fun:

What is your favorite love scene to write or read? (ie: First kiss, passion after a fight, reunion)
My favorite love scene to read is always the first physical or sexual encounter, even if the two characters don't actually 'do it.' Sometimes I like it better if we have sexus interruptus!

What is your favorite Valentine’s Day memory?
You know, I am not a big Valentine's Day person. I would say my sweetest memory is a valentine I received in the fifth grade from a boy I had a crush on. He gave me a great big, beautiful card. We were an item off and on for several years in high school. Tragically, he was killed in a car accident graduation night.

Sweetest gift ever given to you?
Gifts are another thing I'm not too big on. Hmm. I guess my kids! They are my three favorite things!

Beauty and The Feast, available March 10th
Eva Raines is an uncomplicated country girl who’s all about food. Eva moves to the Napa Valley where her culinary skills come to the attention of the owners of a start-up and Eva finds her niche as a personal chef. Now all she needs is a man as perfect as her cooking, but she has serious doubts such a creature exists.
When wealthy entrepreneur, winery owner, and noted lothario, Gabriel Abbott, makes plans to seduce his flavor of the month, his assistant hires All Things to All People to cater a gourmet dinner. Eva expects to use her way with food to showcase the startup. What she unexpectedly discovers is that her culinary skills showcase far more. Gabriel Abbott finds himself seduced by her voice and the sensual flavors and textures of her food and his previous plans are quickly forgotten. He begins to obsess about meeting his little chef in person. He’s not alone. Once Eva hears Gabe’s voice and spends time in his home in the Napa Valley, she begins to wonder about the real man and her dreams of him are so hot they could ignite a barbecue.
When Eva and Gabe finally come face to face, the question is, how hot will their fire burn?

Gabe woke to singing. The room he lay in was dark and it took him a moment to remember where he was. When he smelled Eva, he knew. Gabe reached for her, but the spot where she’d lain was empty. He leaned back on the pillows, crossing his arms behind his head, and listened. It was an old Bonnie Raitt song, one he’d always loved—Angel from Montgomery. He closed his eyes and enjoyed the music. At first he thought Eva had turned on a CD player, but after listening for a few moments, he realized that there were no instruments accompanying the singing voice. It was all Eva. When she finished the song, she launched into a raw rendition of Lowell George’s Dixie Chicken. Gabe found himself grinning. If Eva would be his Dixie Chicken and he would most definitely offer to be her Tennessee Lamb. Gabe reached down to make sure he was covered in case she happened into the bedroom. He was relieved to find that she had thrown a quilt over his open fly. Maybe he’d covered himself. His memory was pretty vague.

Eva must be feeling better or she wouldn’t be up and about, and singing her lungs out. Her singing voice kept a smile on his face. It was smoky, peaty, and right on key. She sounded exactly the way she sounded when he’d awakened her with his late night phone calls. Warm, cuddly, sexy as hell. Just as Gabe began to wonder what she was up to, his nose started twitching and his stomach began to growl. She was cooking. If his nose was right, she was making Reuben sandwiches. Shit, he hadn’t had a good Reuben since the last time he was in Chicago and he’d taken his sister and her family to a deli.

Gabe adjusted his jeans and made sure to zip them up before he climbed out of bed. He stepped into the hallway and looked for the bathroom. When he came out of the bathroom, he ran into Eva just coming to wake him. He took a look at her long legs as she approached and he noticed that she wasn’t quite as stiff as he expected her to be. Despite the scrapes on her knees, she moved with an athletic grace he found extremely appealing. She still wore the man’s boxers she’d slept in. They hung on her slender frame so she’d rolled the waistband several times to keep them up. The ragged tee shirt didn’t cover much. Light from the living room shone through the thin cotton, framing her narrow waist and the gentle flare of her hips. He felt himself stir at the sight of her erect nipples poking against the material. He decided to be polite and look at her face.

“How’s your head?” He asked, studying the bruise on her forehead. She’d pulled her dark red hair back and braided it.

“It’s all right,” Eva replied. “It’s just a bump.”

“And the knees?”

“Sore.” She shrugged. “They’ll be better by the end of the week. Gabe…” she began.

“Hmm?” Gabe raised his eyebrows and waited.

“Thank you. Thanks for bringing me home and cleaning me up. I’m… I’m… I have to admit I’m more than a little embarrassed.”

Gabe felt his mouth twitch. “Why would you be embarrassed? Because I cleaned your cuts or because I stripped you naked and feasted my eyes on your beautiful body?”

Eva’s mouth opened and she sputtered for just an instant before she covered her flaming cheeks with her hands. Gabe heard a muffled, “Oh crap,” and he laughed.

Gabe took hold of her hands and he lifted them away from her face. “You have nothing to be embarrassed about, Eva. It was my pleasure. Truly. I would go so far as to say you are now in my top ten list of remarkable experiences.”

“Really?” Eva shot back, grinning now. “How high do I rank?”

Gabe ran a thumb across her luscious bottom lip. He heard her sharp intake of breath. “Number two, maybe.”

“Not number one?” she whispered.

“Give it time,” he teased, “I haven’t tasted you… yet.”

Eva lifted her chin. Gabe stared into her eyes, asking permission without saying a single word. He could see uncertainty warring with her strong desire to challenge him to do exactly what he threatened. Taste her. Everywhere. Starting with that delicious mouth of hers. He watched as Eva’s lips parted in anticipation, and he knew which side won. Before she could change her mind, Gabe slid a hand under her braid and he cupped the back of her head. He rubbed his lips against hers, as if testing the waters. Eva sighed softly in response, accepting him, but at the same time Gabe felt one of her hands press firmly against his chest as if holding him at bay. For an instant, he didn’t know which part of her to listen to, but then her tongue flicked delicately over his lips and he shut his mind up and kissed her.

The moment Gabe’s lips touched hers, Eva felt like butter left too long in the hot summer sun. At the same time, a tiny voice in the back of her mind reminded her that she really didn’t know the man at all. She’d been in his home, even in his bedroom. She’d strolled his gardens, picked his herbs, cooked for him, tasted his wines. Yet she truly didn’t know a thing about the man. The idea of pushing him away flashed through her brain, but her body decided not to listen. Her body responded automatically to the delicate touch of his mouth against hers. Before she knew what she was doing, Eva had licked his lips. Gabe’s body replied instantaneously. In fact, he practically combusted. An arm slid around her waist and Eva found herself drawn firmly against his hard chest, while the hand at the base of her skull tilted her head back to allow Gabe easier access to her mouth.

Eva had been kissed, but not like this. Not by a man this hungry. Not ever. His tongue explored her mouth liberally, uninhibitedly. It tangled with her own, tasting her as if she were a rare wine. Without realizing it, Eva dug a hand into Gabe’s thick hair and pulled him even closer, while her other hand clung to his shoulder. Eva felt the wall behind her back as Gabe rubbed his long, hard length against her, the material of her boxers moving with him as he pressed himself against what Eva considered her sweet spot. Caught entirely off guard by the strength of her desire, she heard herself whimper, feeling helpless, pleading for more.

A warm hand slid under her tee shirt and fingers moved up her belly. Eva found herself arching her back, giving him easier access. Gabe wasted no time in discovering the sensitive underside of her breast. He stroked the satiny skin with his fingertips and then, as his big hand cupped her breast, his thumb circled her nipple. Eva’s legs shook when he rolled her aching tip between his thumb and forefinger. She tore her mouth away from his, and tossed her head back, moaning, while his teeth sought her neck and he nibbled his way down her collarbone. Eva knew where his mouth was headed and she nearly screamed in anticipation. Abruptly, he shoved her tee shirt up and he arrived at her breast. Gabe closed his hot, wet mouth around a nipple that had become almost painful with desire. He sucked, closing his teeth around her taut point, biting, the action deliberate yet delicate at the same time.

Eva did scream, at least, she thought she did, and her hands sought the front of his jeans. She stroked his hard length through the taut material. She heard Gabe groan, his mouth still on her breast. He sounded as if he was in agony. In one fluid motion, Eva unzipped his jeans and she moved his boxers and freed him. A single thought raced through her brain as her hand ran down his steely length, Oh my God, and then it disappeared as her tee shirt was torn from her and her boxers were shoved down her thighs. Gabe’s fingers searched the delicate folds between her legs. She could tell she was incredibly wet and very slippery.

“Jesus Christ,” she heard him grit out between clenched teeth as a finger was thrust carefully inside her. Her body welcomed the intrusion and her mouth trembled as he took her lips again, thrusting his tongue inside, matching the rhythm of his finger. Eva teetered on the brink of what seemed like either a precipice or a cataclysmic orgasm. She wasn’t sure which. She slid her thumb over the tip of Gabe’s big cock, finding a drop of moisture there. The image had her panting. She heard him growl deep in his throat and her boxers vanished. She felt his hands reach beneath her bottom. Gabe began to lift her off her feet and… suddenly Eva smelled smoke. She pried open her eyes and watched, puzzled, as a gray haze drifted their way from the kitchen. For an instant the sight didn’t register, then the smoke detector above their heads began to shriek.

“Shit!” Eva yelped. “The potatoes!” Her feet found the floor. She shoved Gabe backward and bolted for the kitchen.

“Fuck the potatoes!” she heard him rumble from behind her retreating back.

Thank you for being here today! Please tell us where we can find your books.

You will be able to find my books with the following publishers:

Logical Lust – The Cougar Anthology – coming Feb. 14. My story is – You Might Just Get It.

Resplendence Press – Beauty and the Feast – March 10, a contemporary romance.
Daughters of Persephone, Book One, Exile, Book Two, Return, and Book Three, Reborn, coming in July and August, an exciting, action-packed, three-part futuristic romance.

Siren – Captured – coming in April, a lovely sci fi romance.

Cobblestone Press – My Everything – a re-release of one of my favorite romance/suspense novels, a super fun read.

Resplendence will be re-releasing Anytime Darlin’ and Cara within the next eighteen months so I’ve got a bunch of stuff coming out all at once!

This had been a busy year so wish me luck! Thanks again, Julia

Olympic Update:
Ice Dancing Free Dance:
Gold: Canada!!! Theirs was beautiful! One particular lift really showed Tessa Virtue's strength!
Silver: USA's Davis/White. They skated to Phantom of the Opera and did a wonderful job!
Bronze: Russia. I kept wondering if she was having a 'wardrobe malfunction', but no, just a strategically placed set of sequins.
4th place: USA's Belbin/Agosto.

Due to limited time and two extra slightly high maintenance children in my house, my Olympic viewing was limited last night. It's still on my DVR, and hopefully later today I'll get to see the qualifying runs of the aerolists and team ski-jumping.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Stepping Up Vs Dropping The Ball Or Do I Have Sucker Written Across My Head?

Currently Reading: Hopefully I'll be able to start Tymber's book today. Keep reading to see why my schedule's been slightly interrupted.

If you read Saturday's post or saw my status on Facebook, you know Life exploded on me again this past Friday.

I just don't understand some families.

Here's the condensed version: Stepdaughter J was admitted to the hospital on Friday for some tests. Those tests proved inconclusive, so more tests were needed. Sunday, the doctors did exploratory surgery. Still no idea why she's having so much abdominal pain. So today it's the colonoscopy.

Her children are with me, because her mother had to work; one brother is in college; the other brother has his life. Her fiance' is holding her hand in the hospital.

Now maybe this is just me, but I know if my daughter was in the hospital and her kids needed taking care of, I would tell my employer I needed either a few days off to take care of my grandchildren or at least flexible hours so I could get them off to school. Same with my sister's children, if they lived in the same town.

But no...her family needs to send the kids two hours south. I hope someone remembers to call their school and arrange for their schoolwork to be emailed to me. And since only two sets of clothing was sent, I'm either going to have to go buy some clothing or do laundry every day.

The SU and I have discussed the situation many times. Last year, I was ready to accept both MDQ and ME into my home and enroll them in school down here. J assurred me she'd gotten her act together.

And now this.

Am I doing the right thing? Part of me is furious at J for not providing a stable home for her kids. The other part commends her for her cat-like tendancies to always land on her feet. But this last issue is nearly the last straw for me. Her kids need to be in a STABLE home, instead of changing schools/homes every six months or so. Part of me wonders if by us stepping up and becoming temporary guardians for these kids, are we enabling this 30-year-old child to opt out of her responsibilities? Or does there come a time when we need to step in and do what's best for the kids?

MDQ expressed her sadness at not being able to be in Brownies because 'Momma doesn't have time to take me to meetings.' And ME wondered if he was still a Cub Scout 'I haven't been to any meetings this year.'

Breaks my heart.

I'm not sure how long J will be hospitalized. At this point, I'm ready to simply have their records transferred so they can attend school instead of being held in limbo.

Keep us in your prayers? We joked last night that we're sending one off to college and taking in two to replace him:)

Olympic Update:
With the above situation, I was only able to watch the Ice Dancing Original Dance this weekend.
So far, Canada is in 1st place, with USA in 2nd and 4th.

And discovered USA beat Canada 5-3 in hockey:)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Saturday's Stupid Saying

Tech Support: What is your problem?

Customer: I was going to send an email to someone and wanted to know---will it get delivered today even though it's President's Day?

actual call to a computer helpline

I saw this on Monday and just knew I had to use it today! The header reads 'On those little computer postmen deserve a break too!'

Change of Plans:
Last night, I envisioned going to bed after the Olympic coverage or even before, and getting up early this morning to settle in with my L&O episodes before the rest of the family awoke. The SU and kids were going to J's house to finish hanging her kitchen cabinets, leaving me to basically repeat last Saturday. But at four-thirty, everything changed.

Seems my niece/stepdaughter J was about to be admitted to the hospital for more tests on her lower abdomen, and despite her brother, mother, and fiance, needed us to watch the kids for the weekend. Why? Everyone else was 'too busy'.

So the SU and I took off. We made it up to my SIL's house and visited for about an hour before loading the kids into the car. We stopped at one of our favorite buffet places (there isn't one in our town) and not only ate a delicious meal, but saw an old friend and chatted with the people at the table next to us. The son had overheard me talking Boy Scouts to Mr. Energy and joined in the conversation. Turns out he's about to go through his Eagle Board of Review, so yes, we had a lot to talk about:) The daughter is almost twelve, so naturally I told her mom what I happen to do for a living. I had almost taken my promo items with me, but at the last second had decided to leave them behind. The mom found a scrap piece of paper in her planner and wrote down my wordpress site address. Maybe I've picked up a customer or two; maybe not. But it was an enjoyable hour, talking with this family.

We arrived home around midnight and put the sleeping kids to bed. K and his friend D were still up; S had gone to J's house; W had been bathed and in bed for two hours. J had fed them pizza earlier in the evening.

Thankfully, the dogs let me sleep until 7:30, and Miss Drama Queen was already awake and trying to turn on the TV. She and I watched some of the Olympic coverage I'd DVR'd last night until ME and W woke up. I opened up the doughnut holes and sent the three younglings downstairs to play.

I THINK plans are still in place for everyone to head back to J's house. I think my hopes of a quiet writing day are gone. And tomorrow's going to be a challenge, with attending College Bowl Sunday and returning the grandkids to their home! Let's hope the snow holds off. Didn't have any weather problems last night, other than mild flurries thirty minutes from home.

Good news!
I went over to the university book store yesterday to inquire about another signing during Parents Weekend. Not only was it a definite YES, but my books are on the 'Local Author' shelf! I'll have someone take my picture next weekend next to it:)

Olympic Update:
Men's Super G:
Gold: Norway
Silver: USA's Bode Miller:)
Bronze: USA's Andrew Weibrecht

Ice Dancing (Compulsory dance):
1st place: Russia
2nd place: Canada
3rd place: USA's Davis/White
4th place: USA's Belbin/Agosto

Women's Skeleton:
Gold: Great Britain
Silver: Germany
Bronze: Germany
4th: USA
5th: Canada

Medal Standings:
USA: 20 (6 g, 6 s, 8 b)
Germany: 13 (4 g, 5 s, 4 b)
Norway: 10 (5 g, 3 s, 2 b)
Canada: 8 (4 g, 3 s, 1 b)

Have a safe weekend!

Friday, February 19, 2010


Currently Reading: Enjoyed Amber Skyze's Ignited:) Talk about a hot read! Whew...I was fanning myself and having to quickly scroll down during the final five pages, due to my teenagers hanging over my shoulder, wanting their turn at the computer.

Next up: Love At First Sight by Tymber Dalton.

This is the first day the kids have had a full day. But the SU has to have a chest CAT scan, because his cardiologist is concerned about his ascending aorta, and wants a better picture. Keep your fingers crossed everything is normal.

Writing News:
The last two months, I've been writing three hundred words here, six hundred there, and only two or three after that. So yeah, nothing is really 'flowing'. I got a mini-brain storm about my requested rewrite, but the family interrupted and the whisper left. We're supposed to get more snow tonight and Sunday, so maybe Saturday I'll be able to concentrate?

Get OVER It Already!
Yes, a certain personality will be making a statement later today. But do we really need story after story about either speculation about what he will say or the 'impact' this downfall has had on society? Let him and his family heal, people!

Olympic Update:
Women's Half Pipe Snowboarding:
Gold: Australia's Torah Bright (Pretty awesome; she went from last to first!)
Silver: USA's Hannah Teeter
Bronze: USA's Kelly Clark

Men's Figure Skating (final):
Gold: USA's Evan Lysocek!!! He skated flawlessly and proved that yes, you can win the Gold without a quadruple jump!
Silver: Russia's Yevgeny Plushenko (so much for his trash-talking attempts. Proof you should check your ego at the door, dude!)
Bronze: Japan's Takahashi. I don't get this decision. Takahashi fell down while USA's Johnny Weir was flawless, save for a slight bobble during a spin when his blade hit a rut. So why was Weir scored lower? I don't get it.

And yay for Canada's Patrick Chan for landing in 5th place, plus kudos to the other Japanese skater who had a skate lace malfunction and yet still went back out and finished his program!

Have a good weekend and stay warm:)

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Future Hulk Hogan??

W's first wrestling match was last night. Imagine sixty boys, ages 5-11 after being cooped up at home due to cold temps and snow days. Yes, they were hyped up and ready to burn off some energy!

W's team, sponsered by Oink's Restaurant.

What this picture doesn't show is my little guy jumping off the bench onto the mat. Or other kids jumping up and down, anxiously waiting for their turn to square off against their opponent.

Some of the matches were over in seconds. Others went into the second or third round. And at least two others went into overtime:)

I've seen W wrestle in practice only twice, so I knew he really didn't know what he was doing. But I was thrilled his match wasn't over with one take down:) Here he is, right before the kid in orange got both of his shoulders pinned to the mat.

And afterwards, he informed both the SU and his older brother, 'That was fun! I can't wait to do that again! Next time, I'm gonna get grab him around the waist and jump on top of him."

He wrestles again tonight. And my camera batteries are charged and ready:)

Olympic Update:
Men's 1000 Meter Speed Skating:
Gold: USA's Shani Davis
Silver: Korea
Bronze: USA's Chad Hedrick

Women's Downhill:
Gold: USA's Lindsay Vonn (W announced he's going to marry her when he grows up!)
Silver: USA's Julia Mancuso
Bronze: Russia

Men's Half Pipe Snowboard:
Gold: USA's Shaun White (was there really any doubt?)
Silver: Finland's Peetu Piroinen (I like his name!)
Bronze: USA's Scotty Lago

Talked to my mom last night: They went out to dinner wearing only light sweaters, it was so warm in Vancouver! She's bought T-shirts and stuffed Olympic items for the kids, and is currently looking for sweatshirts and the red mittens. K asked if she could get Shaun White's autograph and maybe a gold medal!

I think my nephew will be making one for him, ha ha!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Recommended Read:)

Cross Country Chaos by Lesli Richardson, available at

Divorced mom Kelly Alexander wants her younger son, Denny, who is in a wheelchair due to spina bifida, to participate in sports. Kelly finds out about the Junior National Disability Games, but they're in Spokane, Washington, a continent away from her Florida home. She's clueless about what to do next.

Mart Rawlings is a single, handsome wheelchair athlete who volunteers to coach Denny and helps him qualify--and falls hard for Kelly. But past heartache over her cheating ex fuels Kelly's reluctance to get personally involved with him.

Kelly must survive a grueling cross country drive to Nationals with her sons and mother, but more importantly, can she make herself take a chance on love?

Cross Country Chaos is a funny, passionate, and at times cringingly honest story of healing broken hearts, rebuilding trust, finding love in unexpected places, and realizing sometimes the greatest disability is between a person's ears, not their body.

BookStrand Mainstream Romance

I loved, loved, LOVED this book! Yes, it took me over a week to read (thank you snowfall which kept my kids home and limiting my time on the computer, grrrrr....), but I found it to be a wonderful and humorous story about trust, love, and patience. I particularly enjoyed the scenes when Kelly was traveling to Spokane, Washington. I have visited some of the cities and sights described, and was disappointed to learn I missed a couple more 'must-see' attractions, lol:) It also painted a realistic picture of how guilt, mind games, and trust issues can affect even the most promising relationships, and how patience, plus actions instead of words expresses a person's true nature.

I've been told that at long last, I'm getting an e-reader. This book will always be on it, should my e-library get too full. Lesli joins a short list of e-authors whom I will gladly showcase their books wherever I go.

Next up: Amber Skyze's Ignited. I was slightly shocked when I read the first couple of pages, and had to scroll down to see if what I suspected was true:) Sorry Amber; I'll go back and read the first few pages in their entirety; you had my jaw hitting the floor and hoping fervently my knee-jerk reaction was false! Thankfully, it was, so I can relax and read:) Don't scare me next time!

Olympic Update:
Women's Luge:
Gold: Germany
Silver: Austria
Bronze: Germany

Women's Snowboard Cross:
Gold: Canada:)
Silver: France
Bronze: Swittzerland
(I felt sooooo sorry for USA's Lindsay Jacobellison! She had a rough landing in the first turn and just couldn't hang on!)

Men's Figure Skating, short program:
1st place: Russia's Yevgeny Plushenko
2nd place: USA's Evan Lysocek (LOVED his routine to Firebird!)
3rd place: Japan
4th place: Japan
5th place: Switzerland
6th place: USA's Johnny Weir (I won't repeat what my kids were saying about his costume!)
7th place: Canada's Patrick Chan

Six tenths of a point separates the top three. And nine points between first and seventh. The long program tomorrow night should be fantastic!

Medal Standings:
Germany: 9. 3 gold, 4 silver, 2 bronze.
USA: 8. 2 gold, 2 silver, 4 bronze.
France: 7. 2 gold, 1 silver, 4 bronze
Canada: 5. 2 gold, 2 silver, 1 bronze

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Terrific Tuesday with Lynn Hones:)

Welcome! Please introduce yourself and tell us about your latest release. Please tell us a little about yourself.
First of all I’m a wife and mother. I have two beautiful daughters adopted from China and am still, to this very day, amazed that I’ve been blessed with them. They are first and foremost the world to me. I hope they feel the same, however we have a running joke in our house, which is, “reason number 1,416, they’re grateful not to be my biological offspring.” This is usually said after I pay for our McDonalds at the drive-thru window and pull away without our food. Or, as I trip in the aisle of the local grocery store, and fall into the display of stacked cans knocking some of them down. (I’m a bit of a klutz.) It’s also hard being blonde with two black haired beauties constantly reminding me of such happenings.
My book is a paranormal romance. My great, great grandfather was a guard at a Confederate prison. I got to thinking about what a great ghost story it would make.

Have you ever had an idea for a story which scared you after you began writing it?
No, but I do have a pretty bizarre mind and some of the stories I think of scare me before I write them, so I don’t.

Have you incorporated actual events from your own life into your books?
Yes. My brother’s dog, Vinnie, is in my book, Those Who Wait. Also, I went fishing once and described it in my book. My heroine catches a Walleye and freaks out, not knowing what to do.

How much research do you do? Do you research first and then write, or do you write first, then research as needed?
I do research at the end of my books when I’m cleaning them up.

Is there any message you want readers to take from reading your work?
I guess that ghosts were once people with personalities. My ghosts are friendly and have something to say before they go to the light.

Are you a plotter or a pantser? And have you ever had a story take on a life of its own?
I am a panster, but I’m seriously going to work harder on making an outline for my next book. The reason I want to outline is because my books always take on a life of their own and get me sidetracked.

How long did it take for you to be published?

I kept all my rejection letters and told my kids that I won’t be a real author until I have over one hundred rejections. I was close.

If you could go back and tell yourself anything when you first began your writing career, what would you say?
I’m still new to this, so I sure wish my aged, more informed self would come back and tell me something now. Does that make sense?

Laptop or pen and ink? What are your ‘must-haves’ when writing?
When I started I was pen and ink and thought I’d always do it that way, then I came to my senses. I am now laptop. My must haves are my reading glasses, a cup of iced coffee and gum. I also love to have my cats sit with me.

Who are your favorite authors? Who would you say influenced you the most?
My fave would have to be Stephen King. I’d say he influenced me the most.

What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?
When I chew gum I can’t do one piece. I usually put the whole pack in my mouth at once and have a great big glob of it and blow bubbles constantly.

For Fun:
What is your favorite love scene to write or read? (ie: First kiss, passion after a fight, reunion)
I’d have to say reunion. In my book, Those Who Wait, there’s a wonderful reunion in the end and I went all out. Something about wanting and waiting for the one you love and finally seeing them, wow…there are no words. (But, I obviously find some.) I volunteer at a USO in an airport, too. When those wives and girlfriends see that man they’ve been waiting for, there’s not a dry eye around.

What is your favorite Valentine’s Day memory?
Probably today. Today is Valentines Day and my husband went out at the crack of dawn and bought my two daughters and I, candy, cards and balloons. He also buys the girls stuffed monkeys every year because he calls them “his monkeys.” He’s very sweet like that.

Sweetest gift ever given to you?
Wow, that’s an easy one. My two daughters are adopted from China. Nothing will ever top having them handed to me in the orphanage. My first daughter was given to us on Valentines Day and the news made a big deal of that when we got home.

And since I originally sent you the wrong questions, I'm including two of the January ones!
What are your goals for the coming year?
To have a couple more books published.

What is your favorite New Years’ Eve memory?
My husband and I spent the night in an old hotel slated to be torn down. We dressed in jeans and t-shirts, planning on ordering room service and watching the ball drop on TV. They discontinued room service and we were starving. We finally found a restaurant that would seat us, but everyone was dressed to the nines. Ball gowns, tuxedos. They didn’t care and we danced and drank all night long with these strangers, who quickly became friends, even though we looked like bums.

Thank you for being here today! Please tell us where we can find your books.
Go to for purchasing information. You can go directly to to purchase also. Check out my website,, and if you have time, check out and read my blog about sea glass. Take care, and have a great day.

Raised in a convent, shy and beautiful Simone O'Henley is innocent in her understanding of men. When she meets handsome, self-assured Jackson Taylor while resting at a friend's remote cottage, he leads and guides her to trust him. She trusts him enough to fall in love, and in her naive way, hopes he feels the same way as he brings her to wants and needs she never knew existed in her small, secular world. When phantom voices and groans come from a grove of nearby trees, she's relieved to have him by her side. However, it's the day he disappears without a word that has her terrified. Did he love her? Was he a land developer the locals told her he was, or simply a caretaker of the property nearby? Join Simone as she travels far and wide looking for the only man she has ever loved and watch as she discovers the truth. A truth that turns her simple world upside down and into the winds of thought and reason.

Here’s an excerpt from my e-Book, “Those Who Wait.” Published by Devine Destinies. As a special thank you, to anyone who buys my book, I’m sending a pair of earrings and matching sea glass necklace. Not sure what sea glass is, check out my website at

Leery of the grove, she slowed and bent between two branches to look inside. She chewed on a hangnail as she tucked her head through, and deemed it safe to go in. Cold drops of rain fell on her head when she moved intermingled branches to clear a path. The quiet calmed her fear and knowing her Vinnie lay peacefully among the trees, also helped quell her trepidation. Careful, because the storm uprooted a few smaller trees, she stepped gingerly and pushed aside the young, wet twigs not yet ready to succumb to the strong spring winds.

Beyond Vinnie’s grave, she came upon a tangle of branches from the fallen tree. Amazed at the immensity of the trunk, even lying on its side it reached to her shoulders. Abandoned squirrel and bird nests, made of dead foliage, hid among the lifeless branches. Where the old tree once stood tall and proud, the roots jutted to the sky like an old woman’s dark, arthritic hands, reaching out for help. Close to two hundred years old, the ancient oak left a huge crater where it pulled from the earth. In the raw hole, now filled with muddy water, leaves and sticks floated around something shiny that stuck out of the dark, gray clay.

Holding onto one of the slimy roots, she bent for a closer look. Large worms, busily burrowed their way back into the soil, but that didn’t stop her from using only her hands to dig around the object. She leaned in and tried desperately to extract it from its home. Her fingers eventually dug deep enough to pull free a gold box. She fell back onto the wet earth and the cold water soaked through her pants, but mesmerized by her good fortune, she didn’t feel a thing. She rose and sat on a nearby log, enchanted by the rectangular shape in her hands. Covered in mud, she wiped it off with the sleeves of her sweatshirt until the moldings of old showing through. After a few more wipes, she tried to figure out how to open it. The stuck lid proved her new treasure wouldn’t be easily persuaded to relinquish its hidden cache. She grabbed a nearby stick and scraped mud off the crevices and tried again. Slowly the hinges squeaked painfully open, a strong musty odor assailed her nostrils.

Excited the contents survived a long burial near the tree, she carefully pulled out a brittle, yellowed envelope. Mud covered her hands, so she quickly put it back, not wanting to harm the items in any way. Another storm loomed beyond the horizon and she didn’t want to get stuck in the middle of the grove when it came. She closed the lid, hugged the box to her chest and jumped up to hurry back to the cottage, momentarily forgetting Jackson. Changed and cleaned up, she excitedly brought the box over to the couch and put it in front of her on the
coffee table. She cleaned the outside with a wet rag and again opened the lid. The musty aromas of age hit her with full force, setting the mood of a time long gone. She tenderly took the envelope out and ran her fingers over the brittle paper. She put it on the table and her gaze fell upon a brooch hidden underneath. The artfully sculpted piece of ancient jewelry fascinated her as she scrutinized it. Holding it gingerly, her nail softly picked at the inlaid pearl design. She trembled somewhat from the wet and cold, but mostly from anticipation at what other marvels the box held.

She put the brooch on the table, then noticed the clasp on its side and picked it up again. It’s a locket! She clicked the gold clasp, the locket sprang open and a lock of baby fine, blonde hair fell into her hand. The dainty curl, tied with a minute black ribbon, could have been cut yesterday it was so well preserved. Carefully she placed the treasured curl of hair back
into the locket and clicked it closed. Enthralled in her discoveries, deeper in she went. An antique handkerchief, the letter A embroidered on it in fancy script, amazed Simone with its intricacy and she pictured a woman from another era, a tiny needle in her hand, taking hours to create the silken letter. Underneath, a toy horn made of brass and turned green with age, surprised her most of all. Why would there be a toy? But, then she remembered the little curl
that obviously came from the hair of a baby or small child. Simone placed these items next to her and dug deeper. A tintype photo of a family formed the corners of her lips into a smile. An extremely handsome man in a confederate uniform, stood behind a woman of extraordinary beauty. Regally posed in an ornate chair, two small children leaned into her lap. A girl of around three, dressed like her mother, was possessed of blonde ringlets that circled her chubby face. A boy about five, stood next to her. No one in the picture smiled, as the fashion of the day dictated, but the woman’s face held something. A visible projection of peace and serenity, the look of a woman steeped in tranquility, shined out at Simone through the centuries.

A small bible, the last item she took out, the spine crumbled with age, seemed the worst for the wear. She didn’t want to harm it any more than it was, so she closed it, but before she did, a small item dropped into her lap. A tiny bouquet of flowers, so old they disintegrated right in front of her eyes held her spellbound. Lily of the Valley. These are my favorite flowers. She smiled and remembered how they grew around the convent and the sweet May alters she’d make with
them. How odd that well-over a hundred years ago, someone placed these little lilies in this book. They meant something to somebody at one time. She thought back to the flowers Jackson gave her on their first real date and her mind went momentarily back to him. Where is he?

She took the rest of the petals, slipped then in between the pages of the bible and laid it down.
Gingerly, she picked up the envelope and took out the letter. Old paper covered in the handwriting of someone schooled in the art of lettering over a century before, greeted her eyes. The fancy flourish of a pen dipped in ink had small blue stains surrounding the words.

My dearest Ezekiel,
Our little lamb has gone to the Lord. A valiant fight she
maintained to the end, but alas the sickness was too great a
foe and Boo succumbed to its torrents of horrifying and
unyielding tenacity. God alone knows the suffering I am
enduring while you are absent from me. I surrender to the
fierceness of this most awful, bitter tragedy alone. I asked our
faithful neighbor, John, to bury her in the garden behind the
main house, until a more suitable place of rest will be found
for the precious body that was our daughter. Our little girl is
no more. She so wanted her daddy to come home, her last
breath whispering his name. I do believe she clung to the
hope of you walking in our front door, but she could endure
no longer. In her frail, pale hand she held this shiny horn,
waiting to blow it in the great merriment, when her Papa,
the big, brave soldier gallantly rode home to us. I send it to
you now, in the anticipation it will give balm to your heart,
knowing the precious hand that held it, left her life’s imprint
upon it.
Your dearest little, Zebulon, is in superior health. He has
weathered this sickness like a courageous soldier, like his
father and only stands firmer and stronger for the good of it.
My heart aches so Ezekiel. I feel your arms around me in the
night and then I awake and find myself unaccompanied in
our bed. You are the solace needed to soothe my aching heart.
I love you my darling and I miss you so. I will never be at
peace until you are back with me on our land. Promise me,
oh my sweet darling, pledge to me you will come back to me
rapidly. Come home to me, come home, come home. All my
heart and love is yours now and for all eternity.
Your Loving and Devoted Wife, Arabella.

Simone couldn’t put the note down. Emotions she hadn’t foreseen hit her hard. This is priceless. She reached for the locket, opened the latch and took out the blonde curl. It’s from the little
girl in the photo. Boo is the child who died. I’m holding a memento of her life. Part of her. The curl, silky and smooth, broke Simone’s heart. This man, whoever he was, must have held tightly to this box and the treasures it contained. How on earth did it end up in this grove? She shook her head trying to figure it out. The wrath of the waves that crashed vengefully against the shore pulled her out of her complicity. Another storm headed in and she gathered the items she found and placed them into the box and closed the lid.

Olympic Update:
Men's Downhill:
Gold: Switzerland
Silver: Norway
Bronze: USA Bode Miller:) (placed 5th in Torino)

Men's Snowboard Cross:
Gold: USA Seth Wescott
Silver: Canada
Bronze: France

Pairs Figure Skating Long Program/Final:
Gold: China (First ever!)
Silver: China
Bronze: Germany

Monday, February 15, 2010

Weekend Recap

Currently Reading: I made it up to Ch 28 on Cross Country Chaos! I would have read more yesterday, except daughter's laptop does not have Adobe Acrobat on it. S was doing puzzles on Facebook, so I fired up the laptop. I can hardly wait till I get my own...and the taxes were done over the weekend. I'm hopeful that some sort of electronic device might be forthcoming!

We received six inches of snow overnight. The kids are already out of school for President's Day, and from watching the ticker during the news this morning, all schools who decided to use today as a make-up day are now looking for another one.

Meanwhile, up in Vancouver, where they actually need the snow, the temps are in the 50's. How do I know? First of all, during the Olympic coverage yesterday, they announced they were having trouble keeping snow on the ground, and the downhill events had to be rescheduled. Secondly, I talked to my sis, who confirmed that yes, temps were slightly above average. They can come get my snow; I don't want it! Or, the skiers are more than welcome to compete at neighboring Paoli Peaks. There might be enough powder on the slopes for them:)

I had a fantastic Valentine's weekend. Not the typical one, mind you. Normally it's the day to spend with your loved ones? Mine did me a huge favor and left! Saturday, I caught up on my L&O episodes; I read up to Ch 28 on Lesli's book (see above); I even got a brainstorm and sketched out an idea before joining the family at a friend's house, stopping to buy my bottle of chocolate wine before it was too late.

Sunday, I watched another friend's child; we had a Confirmation meeting for S; went out to eat after church (Mexican restaurant) and drank a slightly strong chocolate martini; came home and wrote 600 words while watching the ski jumping competition. Fixed dinner for the kids (adults were still too stuffed to eat) and watched the pairs figure skating. Drank one glass of the chocolate wine and crawled into bed.

Olympic Medals/Standings:
Sat: Men's 1500 Speed Skating:
Gold: Korea
Silver: USA's Apolo Ohno
Bronze: USA

Women's Moguls:
Gold: USA's Hannah ??
Silver: Canada
Bronze: USA's Shannon ??

Sunday: Men's Freestyle Moguls:
Gold: Canada (first ever gold medal at host Olympics!)
Silver: Australia (he was favored to win)
Bronze: USA (two other USA competitors wiped out on course during finals)

Pairs Figure Skating:
1st place: China (world record for highest ever score in short program: 76.66) Beautiful program!
2nd place: Germany; also well executed!
3rd place: Russia. The long program tonight should be veeeery interesting!

In other news...
I may have to bite the bullet. Someone actually commented yesterday they'd love to follow me on Twitter. They didn't leave their name, so I have no idea who they are. Is there anyone else who insists I become a Twit? Sigh.....that just sounds so wrong....

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Saturday's Stupid Saying


Remember To Unlock The Bicycle Before You Ride It.

on a tag attached to a bicycle padlock made in China

Olympic Moment In History
A humorous moment occurred during last night's Opening Ceremonies: The torch lighters passed the final torch to Wayne Gretzky; he went around to his rehearsed spot...and stood there....and stood there....and suddenly the look on his face said it all. Something had gone wrong.

Was another torch carrier not where they were supposed to be?

"It appears something will be rising from the floor momentarily," toned Bob Costas.

"Technical difficulties; please stand by," I joked.

Two seconds later, Bob announced, "It appears that one of the doors may be malfunctioning; we can see one hatch isn't as open as the others..."

And when the torch did appear, only three columns were visible, but it still managed to light. When they showed the outside torch, you could see the difference between the two. The outside one had four columns.

And I was very impressed they observed a moment of silence in honor of the Georgian luge competitor who lost his life earlier in the day. That showed class.

In other news...
Daughter S and her friends went to see The Lightening Thief. S hasn't read the book and loved the movie. Her friend C read the book and was disappointed some scenes were left out ala Harry Potter. I'm looking forward to seeing it for myself.

Don't really have anything planned for the day, other than buying myself some chocolate wine for tomorrow, unless the SU goes out and gets it. Maybe I'll finally get the rest of Lesli's book read, and some more writing accomplished, should S decide she 'needs' the PC. Then again, I could always hook up her laptop on the kitchen table...

Stay warm and have a good day! Got news that Anny is home and doing well.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Flashback Friday: Valentine's Day

Currently Reading: Took some time yesterday and read some more of Cross Country Chaos. And found myself traveling Memory Lane as Lesli and her characters took me through Mitchell, South Dakota; Mount Rushmore; Cody, Wyoming; western Montana (I've been to Missoula); and Yellowstone National Park. The characters are on their way to Spokane, Washington (I've only been there briefly, to visit a former pastor's church and then to only drive through to Seattle) for a Special Olympics/Nationals competition, and where I'm at now, they're on their way to Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helen's. I've only seen Rainier from a distance, so I'm hoping to read more today. I'm going to go ahead and call this a Recommended Read, even though I'm only on page 129 and chapter 19!

I've said before I have a history of bad Valentine's days. They all started out good; Mom always had our Valentine candy and cards on the kitchen table when my sis and I straggled out of our rooms. But as far as romance and the opposite sex...forget it.

I still had my first boyfriend, acquired back in 1978. We saw each other every Sunday and during the week if our parents got together. This particular Valentine's Day, I was sinking further into a pit of despair, while trying to maintain a sense of normalcy. In my mind, my friends were disappearing; I couldn't vocalize what I was feeling or even why I felt that way. One innocent remark would get blown out of proportion and there was no way to stop it. Soon it was better to simply push everyone away; if I didn't care about anyone, I wouldn't accidentally hurt them. So in order to protect my boyfriend, I quit speaking to him except when necessary.

Last night, I thought back to other Valentine's Days.
-1984: I broke down and wrote my crush a letter, plus had a heart-shaped cookie delivered to him with 'Te Amo' written on it. Then I deliberately avoided him the rest of the day. Yeah, I was a coward...

-1985: My 1st college boyfriend and I had broken up, but I called him and invited him to lunch. We ended up spending the day together, but ultimately decided to stay apart.

-1986: The guy I was seeing lived two hours away; however, he sent me my first rose. With his approval, I went to a dance with another friend, who ALSO brought me a rose. A good time was had by all.

-1987: I got a phone call from the man I was seeing.

-1988: I broke up with my boyfriend, but my future husband and his bff took me out to dinner and gave me a tiny teddy bear, who I named 'Copilot', as he lay on the dashboard of my car until 2000.

-1989: My boyfriend had yellow roses delivered to my dorm room via his mom. Since I was trying unsuccessfully to dump him, I was rather upset.

So yeah, my dating life was good....until I got to this date. What about you? How was your luck in the romance department on Valentine's Day? I'll give you a hint: Mine improved slightly once I married. Next week I'll take you through the nineties.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Finally Did It!

I subbed both Forbidden Love, book #3 in Arbor U, and Class Reunion (Kenzie's sequel to All She Ever Wanted). Now crossing fingers both are accepted:)

Nothing new to say; keep both Anny and Cindy in your prayers! And a huge congrats to Linda Kage; her daughter Lydia was born yesterday, via C-section!

Two-hour delay for kids; I should be able to get some work accomplished today. Stay warm!

Correction: Apparently I don't know what I'm reading! I'm still on Cross Country Chaos, not Blue Gold! My little note to myself, reminding me where I've left off, is missing. This is what happens when LIFE interferes with one's reading...and no e-reader! Grrr....

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

All Caught Up!

Currently Reading: Second Opinion by Michael Palmer. I'm enjoying it, but I have to put it down every so often, to clear my head of medical terms. E-Book: Still on Blue Gold by Lindsay Townsend.

Weeeelll...okay; sort of caught up. My email has been cleared; I've blogged; and my L&O episodes are down to five. Thank you W for spending your snow day at a friend's house, and thank you SU and K for putting up with the marathon yesterday afternoon and last night after my meeting! In fact, K told me this morning he's getting somewhat addicted to the show! Now all I have to watch, besides the remaining episodes and the regular, 3 per day ones, is my DVR'd episodes of Life Happens, of which tonight is Episode #3. And with the Olympics beginning next week...I may have to let something go.

My dental appointment went well. Yes, a filling fell out, but I have no ultra-sensitivity in the tooth, so he's not going to crown it; I go back on March 9th to get it and another tooth on the right side filled. And probably in April, two more on the left filled. And since I consented to have my teeth cleaned and X-rayed, today's bill came to $250. The SU is furious. But's MY teeth, not his. I have no intention of losing any teeth until absolutely necessary. In fact, I already made the appointment for another cleaning in six months. My SU is from a family who have mostly 'summer teeth'...if you're not familiar with the saying, it's 'summer there, summer not'. And since we have no dental insurance, I'm lucky to have found a dentist who will take payments!

AND... here's the best part. He read my info and when he discovered I was an author, he asked me about my work. His kids are too young for Arbor U, but in a few years, his oldest girl will reach age twelve. He said he'd bring her to the festivals next summer:)

The snow arrived with a vengeance Monday night. Kids had no school yesterday, and until an hour ago, were on a two-hour delay. We were just notified they are now closed. K made pancakes for everyone, and W is watching 'Toot and Puddle'. My friend M has to work, and is bringing her daughter C over to play. Later, I'm sending them out with shovels to clear the sidewalk, unless neighbor D beats us to it!

K applied to be a census worker, and scored 97% on the test! We're pretty sure he'll get the job:)

And finally, the verdict is in on my 1000 Word submission. I need to rewrite it. I've already reassured Travis my feelings will NOT be hurt if he chooses to leave me out, and next time I will ASK him for clarification on the picture! Everyone got a kick out of me mistaking a topless female for a skinny, not-very-attractive male:)

If you haven't done so, scroll down and check out my interview with mystery/suspense author PA Brown. And keep Anny in your prayers; she's been hospitalized. Go over to her blog and tell her to get well soon!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Terrific Tuesday with P.A. Brown:)

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

I'm P.A. Brown and I'm glad to be here. My newest release is L.A. Boneyard. It's the third book in my L.A. series featuring LAPD homicide detective David Eric Laine. The bodies of two pregnant women are found in a shallow grave in Griffith Park. In one of the most puzzling cases he's dealt with David finds himself and his new partner enmeshed in a web human traffickers, smuggling Ukrainian women into L.A. to turn them into prostitutes. The investigation leads them from the bucolic, palm-lined streets of West Hollywood to the dark, gritty trenches of gang-ridden South Central. It's definitely one of my darkest books yet.

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

I think I'd have to say the book I just finished. It's a novel about a young Latino man who lives in Cypress Park in Los Angeles, one of the area most riddled with gangs and gang violence. Gabe is the sole protector of his family after their mother was killed in a drive by. His sister was hit by the same bullet and left brain damaged. The gang who pulled the drive by is run by a man who used to be Gabe's best friend. Gabe wants to keep his family safe but the only way he can is to descend to the same level as his enemies. Along with that, he has to face the fact that his attraction to LAPD officer Alejandro means he's gay, something he refuses to face.

I felt very passionately about the story, but I was afraid. Who did I think I was to write about a gay Latino man torn between violence and self-hatred and his deep faith. But I think a writer needs to be able to explore different worlds. It's up to the readers to judge if a book is no good. But it's nerve-wracking, wondering if I'll be jumped on for trying.

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

Yes, I have. In Memory of Darkness, there are a few of the things Johnny Wager gets into are based on experiences I've had. I just don't plan on telling anyone just which ones those are. I claim the Fifth on that one. Many of my books are influenced by what I've seen and experienced over the years, especially the years I spent in Los Angeles.

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

I do both. Right now I'm researching the 1920s in Los Angeles during Prohibition. It's a fascinating time period – speakeasies, corrupt cops and politicians, Hollywood moguls who had more power than gods and a slew of movie stars whose images were manipulated by all of them. Some of the dirty little secrets would have blown the industry apart if they had even come to light. I'm going to have fun with it, but it means a lot of research now, before I even put a single line of the book on paper, and I'm sure the research will continue as I write. I'm also going to have to unlearn some things. I have a lot of information I've built up over the years about LAPD, but that's the LAPD of today, which I have a great deal of respect for. But the LAPD back then was something else and I need to explore that and not let what I know get in the way of telling it like it was then.

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

Mostly respect for people who might be just like they are. Diversity in lifestyles is something to celebrate not fear or hate. Sometimes I worry that there's a growing xenophobia in the world. People fear what they don't know, they feel threatened by change. I like to show that being different is okay.

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

Mostly a panster. The most extreme case was Geography of Murder. I had nothing but the image of a man rolling over in bed and finding himself beside a dead man he didn't know. I had no names for anyone, I didn't know who the dead man was. All I knew was there was going to be a cop in it, and he was going to be into bondage. I just started writing. Three weeks later I finished the first draft. After some revision and character development with the help of some beta readers, it was published by MLR Press. To date it's been the most successful book I've had. The book that probably took the most plotting was L.A. Heat, my very first mystery and first published book. I rewrote that book completely at least once and did a lot of revising and plot outlining as I built it.

How long did it take for you to be published?

With the first book, L.A. Heat, I got an agent through the recommendation of Lyn Hamilton a wonderful mystery writer who sadly passed away last year. The agent sold it to the first publisher she sent it to – Alyson Books. I thought I was on my way, I was made. But then things fell apart. My agent quit agenting, my editor at Alyson left and they rejected the second book in the series. In retrospect they were right. It wasn't ready when I subbed it. So I took and revised it heavily and MLR Press picked it up. They also wanted to reprint L.A. Heat so I got to do some revisions on that too, making it a tighter book than the first version had been. L.A. Boneyard followed, and what should have been book two, L.A. Bytes, became book four after I wrote L.A. Mischief for Bristlecone Press who had published the ebook version of L.A. Heat. So it just goes to show you that even being published is no guarantee that you stay published. It was 3 years between selling L.A. Heat and any of my other books coming out. But all that while I never stopped writing, so that when I did find a new publisher, I had a good body of work to sell.

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

Don't wait so long. I wrote science fiction for nearly 2 decades and aside from a sending one book in a couple of times I did nothing to find a publisher. I also started writing short erotic stories back in the 80s and again if I had gone after it, I might have been a published author all those years.

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

Mostly laptop. But sometimes I will leave the laptop, or be in a place I don't want to take it, and I'll have big notebook which I scribble in. Sometimes I get more done when I hand write than when I'm on my laptop. I find the Internet a little too beguiling and spend more time online than I should. I like to keep my research books close. I drink a lot of tea while I write.

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

My favorite authors are Michael Connelly, Robert Crais, Robert Ellis, Jeffrey Deaver, Josh Lanyon and Jonathan Kellerman.

What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?

That I like cute little stuffed animals and I used to own pet rabbits.

For Fun:
What is your favorite love scene to write or read? (ie: First kiss, passion after a fight, reunion)

I think the hottest ones I wrote were the reunions after a separation. Like the one in Man's Best Friend, another one in Lynx Woods and the one between Jason and Spider in Geography of Murder when Alex goes back to get Jason, it sort of combines a reunion and passion following a fight.

What is your favorite Valentine’s Day memory?

I guess a box of really nice chocolates.

Sweetest gift ever given to you?

I'd have to say my life. I nearly died 3 years ago. I spent 6 months in the hospital, 4 months of which I have no memory of. I had to learn to walk and write all over again, so I guess you could say I have a real appreciation for both my life and the things I can still do.

Thank you for being here today! Please tell us where we can find your books.

Thanks for having me.

Everything about my books, including buy links and videos, excerpts as well as character interviews can be found at my web site:
On Facebook:
And I Twitter:
Publishers Marketplace:

This year I will be in Los Angeles from March 10 – 14 for Left Coast Crime:

And in September from September 24 – 26 for The Writers Police Academy:

From a shallow grave in Griffith Park, to the bucolic streets of West Hollywood into the dark heart of the gang-infested streets of East L.A, evil is pursued in this dark story of passion and redemption.

Detective David Eric Laine is no stranger to violence and brutality, but even he is taken aback at the sheer viciousness of the murder of two pregnant Ukrainian women. This is just the beginning of a baffling case which leads from their shallow grave to a bungalow community in West Hollywood, tree-lined and tranquil, on to the heart of the gang-infested streets of East Los Angeles, and points in between.

And what of Jairo Hernandez, David's new, young partner? The attraction between them was immediate and intense and growing by the day. Would this be a threat to David's settled life?

COPYRIGHT P.A. Brown/2009

Friday, 8:20 AM, Vista del Valle Drive, Griffith Park, Los Angeles

Something had done a number on the corpse.

The early morning call-out had been brief and to the point. Griffith Park. Shallow grave. Mutilated arm. Probably wild animals.

LAPD homicide detective David Eric Laine hoped it was animals. He crouched beside the makeshift grave, behind the screen of freshly broken branches and crushed vegetation, studying the exposed arm with the manicured nails and winking diamond ring; the animals had nearly worked off the bone. Wondering what her final moments had been like. Knowing it had been ugly. He looked beyond the grave, visualizing. Had he raped her? Had that been the last indignity she had suffered, before the ultimate one?

Overhead, dense black clouds roiled across the western sky, a late Pineapple Express had roared in last night, straight from Hawaii, promising more rain in an already wet spring. The chaparral and Ceanothus had started their seasonal bloom, thin green shoots emerging from what had once been desiccated limbs. Under foot the moisture retaining hydro-mulch, spread after the ravaging 2007 and 2008 fires, soaked his feet, chilling his skin. The steady thump-thump of the LAPD airship called in to do an aerial survey echoed his heartbeat, driving him relentlessly, as unforgiving of failure as he was.

David scanned the ground, taking in the fresh horse tracks, and the fading coyote spore. The animals had scattered when the woman who found the body nearly rode her horse over them. She stood with her shoulder touching her horse's neck, the animal's reins still held in her gloved hand. Blindly she touched the burnished chestnut coat, seeking comfort. David turned away; he had nothing to give her. His promises were for the dead. They didn't ask for guarantees. They didn't get angry when he was called away in the middle of the night to do his job.

"So what have we got?" he asked.

The first officer on the scene, Donald Lessing, pulled out his notes, "I received a call at seven-fifty-six AM that a body had been discovered in a shallow grave. My partner and I were dispatched, and arrived about fifteen minutes later." He indicated his partner, a paunchy, silver-haired Asian, who was adding a second loop of barrier tape to keep out the curious, then indicated the equestrienne, "We found Mrs. Rosenfield right about where she is now. She was pretty upset."

"I'm sure the last thing she expected to find was a dead body on her morning ride."

"Yes sir."

Nothing could be done to process the crime scene until the photographers had taken their shots. Everything had to be kept intact to preserve possible evidence. They had the time; the body wasn't going anywhere. In the distance, thunder rumbled. He amended that, maybe they didn't have so much time.

David studied the dark, crouching clouds, and wondered if Chris would get over his snit long enough to close the windows against the coming rain. Otherwise their newly refinished oak floors were going to get a soaking. One more thing for Chris to get pissed at. He retraced his steps and approached the horse and rider.

He pulled out a notebook and twisted his arm around to check the time, only to discover he wasn't wearing his watch. Right, he'd stuffed it into his jacket pocket after he'd left an angry Chris in bed this morning. Chris always seemed to be angry these days. He got that way when he was between jobs. He drew out the Rolex Chris had given him for his fortieth birthday and wrote the exact time, the crime scene location, and his own name and rank. David studied the watch ruefully. He had told Chris a gift like that was too extravagant, but Chris wouldn't listen. "You deserve it," he had said. "You put up with me for four years, didn't you?" Still, David took it off when he could; out of sight of Chris, who took it as a personal affront when he didn't wear it all the time. David was a Timex kind of guy. Even after four years he never got comfortable with the easy wealth Chris displayed.

Mrs. Rosenfield looked young. David doubted she was more than twenty-five. Under normal circumstances she would have been attractive-large, doe eyes, soft hair flying loose from under her riding helmet. But now her face was pale, and her eyes were glassy with shock. David pushed aside his sympathy and assembled his cop face; the one Chris hated so much, claiming it made him look cold and robotic. Well, there were times when cold and robotic was the right way.

She wore a tailored riding outfit and boots that gleamed, even in the sunless light. A pulse beat in her throat, like a wounded animal.

"Mrs. Rosenfield," he said. "I'm Detective David Eric Laine. Could I have your full name, please?"

"Danielle," she said. "Just call me Danielle." Her gaze darted toward the grave. "Who is it? Do you know-?"

"No, ma'am, Danielle, we don't know that yet. Can you take me back to when you first spotted something out of the ordinary?"

"S-sure." She visibly collected herself, her hand going out to stroke her horse's neck. "Toby and I were on our morning ride, when these coyotes came racing right out under our noses-I thought they were attacking us at first. You hear about how bold they've gotten over the years."

"Yes, ma'am." What coyotes could do was frightening. What people could do to each other was so much worse. "What then?"

"Once they ran away I realized they were just as scared as we were. I was going to head back home. I'm supposed to be to work at ten." She shook her head, a strand of hair falling over her eyes. She swept it aside with a kidskin gloved hand. "I guess I should call my boss. I don't think I'll be in today-" Her voice broke.

"Yes, ma'am," David said gently. "What was the first thing you noticed before the coyotes appeared?"

"Toby spooked." Rosenfield grimaced. "I guess when he got wind of them. He nearly dumped me. That was when I saw the arm. I screamed. That must have scared them away without taking...taking it with them." The grimace deepened and the flesh around her mouth whitened.

More thunder cracked, closer this time. She looked around uneasily.

"Anything else you can recall about your ride?" David asked even more gently, knowing she was very close to losing it. "Before you noticed anything amiss?"

"We rode by the Roosevelt Municipal golf course," she said. "I go that way all the time. Usually it's so peaceful..."

"You see anybody on the links?"

"Two players, and a caddie." Rosenfield squinted as she recalled her morning. "I don't pay much attention to the golfers, unless they're driving carts. Sometimes they spook Toby."

"Would you recognize the golfers if you saw them again?"

"W-what? You don't think they had anything to do with this, do you?"

"It's just standard procedure," David assured her. "Look, I know this is tough. Even cops can have a hard time stumbling across something like this. If you like, I can give you the number of a victim's support group. They can help you with this, if you want."

"T-thank you. I don't think that's necessary..."

David handed her the card anyway. "You might change your mind. I hear they're good."

She slipped the card into her jacket pocket. He knew she wouldn't call. He'd seen it before. Misplaced pride would keep her from seeking help. "What did you see then?" he prompted.

"I didn't know what it was at first, then I thought it was a mannequin." She gave a short bark of laughter, quickly stifled. "That someone had stolen a storefront dummy and was playing a gag. It was only after I saw the teeth marks that I knew." She swallowed convulsively and David wondered if she was going to be sick. The human arm had been heavily gnawed by strong jaws. He distracted her as smoothly as he could.

"I need you to come down to the station, to make a formal statement. I can send someone out to get you if you like-"

"No, that's okay. I'll drive myself. Will I have to go to court?"

"I won't lie to you. It depends on the D.A., and whether a suspect is found, and it all makes it to court. But I'm sure someone from the prosecutor's office will be in touch with you if it becomes necessary."

David watched her stiffly remount her horse and urge it back onto the trail. They broke into a fast trot before they were out of sight. He very much doubted she would ever ride this peaceful trail again.

Out of the corner of his eye, David saw a white Pontiac Firehawk, splattered with debris from the previous night's rain, pull up beside the LAPD crime scene van. It was driven by a lithe, dark-skinned Latino man, with that young urban scruffy beard thing going on. Chris, always quick to adopt new fads, had tried it once, until David complained that it was like kissing five o'clock shadow, all day long, and he reluctantly shaved it off.

The Latino climbed out of the low-slung car. He surveyed the scene of controlled chaos with dark eyes, taking in everything in a sweeping glance, before he shrouded them with a pair of Ray Bans. He looked like he just stepped out of GQ, sharp creases on his wool dress pants and sedate black and blue tie. He wore his gold detective's badge on a chain around his neck. David caught a glimpse of his Beretta nine under his LAPD blue nylon wind breaker. Incongruously, he wore a pair of hand-tooled black and blue Tony Lamas boots instead of the usual military gear most new detectives favored. David wouldn't be surprised if he had a closet full of Levis and Stetsons at home. He was a tall man, though not as tall as David's six-four, dark-skinned, with high cheek bones. His eyes were dark and dangerous. Too dangerous for David's taste.

The guy was going to spell trouble.

Already the eyes of the two female SID criminologists kept straying his way. David had heard rumors about the guy, even before he was assigned to Northeast; he'd ignored them at the time, like he ignored all the trash talk around the squad room. In the stories the guy was a wannabe actor. David had heard-and dismissed-the story about his involvement with a producer's wife that had ended messily. The tabloid press had been all over it. Maybe the guy had a problem keeping his dick in his pants. Maybe he was only guilty of bad judgment. He wouldn't be the first. Cops and badge bunnies went together like chili and fries.

David extended his hand and introduced himself. Might as well give the guy the benefit of a doubt, he didn't like it when people jumped to conclusions about him. Being one of the few openly gay detectives carried its own baggage. "Glad to have you on board."

"Thank you, sir," the detective said. "Detective Jairo Garcia Hernandez." He pronounced it Yairo. "Most gringos call me Jerry." His smile was all teeth and David knew he was being tested by the new D.

He'd nip that one in the bud before it went south. "I think I can handle Jairo." He gave the word a Spanish lilt. The guy wasn't going to catch this gringo ignorant of the language. Good looking or not, he was just another rookie D.

Jairo saw the Rolex on his wrist and whistled. "Nice watch. Your wife give you that?"

"No, I'm not married," David said. Deciding to make small talk, he ventured, "You?"


"How's that going for you?" Cops loved marriage; so many of them did it so often.

"Fine." Jairo grew defensive. "You gonna tell me that's gonna change? Already got that from my smart-ass sergeant first time I showed up for roll-call."

"It's hard," was all David said. "Marriage is a work in progress."

"So you were married? She divorce you?"

David shrugged. He finally slipped the Rolex off and tucked it back into his inner pocket, over his heart. It would be safer there, away from nosy rookies. "It's complicated." Then he saw Jairo had noticed the plain gold band he wore on his left ring finger. The gold band Chris had given him following the first year they had lived together. He closed his hands into fists, but made no attempt to hide the thing. What was the use? He was almost as notorious in the LAPD as Mark Fuhrman.

Jairo's disingenuous eyes widened. "You're the... you're him."

David saw something glitter on the ground at the entrance to the crime scene, and crouched down to study it. It was a bottle cap. Still, he signaled a photographer over to take a picture. Sometimes the littlest things proved useful. Sometimes they were just litter. All around them crime scene techs were placing evidence flags, and doing their best to catch everything, before the skies opened up. He was glad to see that the victim's hands had been bagged, covering the ring he had seen earlier. "You can say it, you know." David stood up and brushed debris off his pants. "I'm the gay cop."

Jairo flushed and looked away. "Yes, sir."

Now what was that all about? Surely as soon as he knew who his latest senior partner was going to be, Jairo would have known all about David's sordid "secret." He would have found all kinds of officers eager to share the scuttlebutt about who he'd been saddled with. "That's Detective, Hernandez." David was already beginning to miss Martinez, his partner of ten years. He had been reassigned to South-Central, for the next six months, to work a gang detail. They had forged a tight partnership; a partnership that even David's abrupt outing over four years ago had not disrupted. David wasn't looking forward to breaking in the new kid, even if he was, as rumor also claimed, top of his graduating class. Good grades, like good looks, weren't everything.

He moved around to stand beside the grave again. A tarp had been laid over the torn earth to protect against the coming storm. He thought he could still see the outline of the arm. He glanced sideways when a flash of lightning illuminated the dense brush. He almost felt sorry for the boots who was going to have to guard this site all night.

He turned back to face the grave and its nameless victim. Jairo came up to stand beside him. David kept his eyes on the tarp, ignoring the man beside him.

"I'll find him," he promised.