Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cover Art Decision Time....

Sorry I've been AWOL the past two days; Monday I had a dental appointment in the morning, followed by a trip to Evansville for the SU's disability hearing, then a mad dash back for the youngling's wrestling tournament.

Dental:  No cavaties, which THRILLED me!  I was concerned about one tooth, and then another as she was poking around with her instruments, but nada.  Just two sensitive areas, so we're good and he'll see me back in six months:)

Hearing:  We did not get an instant ruling, but the judge seemed to be leaning in our favor.  For whatever reason, the eye doctor refused to release the newer records, so we could not present them into evidence.  However, we DO have thirty days before the judge will make an official ruling, so there's time for the Medical Records person to release them to our lawyer, who will then give them to the judge.  So we wait.

Wrestling:  Youngling got a buy the first round, then lost the 2nd round to a pin.  And then to top off a disappointing day, his jacket came up missing.  I spotted a kid wearing one that looked like it, but before I could inquire, the fire alarm went off.  I notified the coach and the concession lady and told them I'd be back tonight, in the hopes it was a mistake, and the mom brings it back.  Otherwise, my child has lost his favorite jacket.  And as we were driving home, my cell phone came up missing.  We turned around and went back; fortunately someone HAD turned it in to the concession stand!  At least that crisis was averted!

Now to my dilemma for the day:  Which of these covers do you think best expresses book #4, Balancing Act?  Here's the blurb:

Gretchen McLaren has her life mapped out. A tour of duty with the Peace Corps, then working as a social worker for the elderly. But her boyfriend Joe Walker doesn’t agree with her plan, and tries everything in his power to change her mind. But will he succeed? Or will his efforts drive her into the arms of another man?

Troy Anderson finds himself hearing the words no man wants to hear, “I just want to be friends.” But when a skilled manipulator tries to tear down the woman he loves, will he fight for her? Find out what happens when jealousy upsets the balance of love and ambition. Has Gretchen been blind to true love the entire time?

I posted this on Face Book and instantly opinions came in.  The male appears too casual, by having his eyes open while hers are closed.

I like this one better; however, I sort of wanted more of the 'love triangle' to be represented.  But my cover artist said she doesn't like covers with more than two people; it creates a 'busy' cover.

So if you saw this cover, would it entice you to click on the link and go 'Hmmmm....sounds interesting!'??

Yesterday was another busy day.  The daughter had an appointment before school; we discovered our tax refund (federal) had been deposited; I went to Writer's Guild for thirty minutes, then went to the Community Pool meeting.  And discovered I still have expensive taste, even when it comes to concepts for a new pool or water park!  There was even a picture on the news of the crowd, and yes, there I was in my red snowflake sweater, listening intently to the presentation.  Going to buy a paper today to see if I'm in any of those pictures.

And then the spouse treated us to our favorite Mexican restaurant for dinner.  I indulged and drank a Pina Colada-flavored margarita, and for dessert ate a slice a cheesecake with chocolate sauce.  It was heavenly!

No karaoke tonight; BC and I are going tomorrow.  This is my compromise; I'll only go one day a week, no matter how  badly I want to get through my list of songs!

Let me know which cover you like, or if you like neither, can you make a suggestion?  Thanks!  I'm off to go grocery shopping, but I'll be back later.

Happy Leap Year, and a special Happy '5th' Anniversary to my friends Ted and Susan!  They married on this date back in 1992:)

Friday, February 24, 2012

Flashback Friday: Reluctant Coach

Feb 2002:
I walked into the preliminary Coach's meeting with trepidation.  I really didn't want to be known as an assistant coach, and I was also unsure of my feelings toward H and L.  After harboring resentment, and not seeing either of them all fall (with the exception of L; I saw her occasionally at school), what would my reaction be?  Would seeing them bring back all the anger, or was I capable of putting my hurt feelings aside?  After all, it would be a new season, with a new President, new Board, and new coaches and players.

The spouse objected to my attending the meeting, but then agreed I needed to go.  And thankfully Amy  was already there, saving me a seat.  But the first thing I saw when I opened the door was the eyes of H, glaring at me in a 'what the hell are you doing here' look.

I slid into my seat and greeted Amy, and then kept my mouth shut while H and other coaches explained the new rules, fundraising events, and signup dates.  Rob, the Girls' Rep, greeted me and asked if I would at least consider being the concession rep for his daughter's team.  I told him I was still considering it; the community was still divided over my rude 'ousting', and some were encouraging me to boycott the stand, while others were begging me to stay involved, so that it would run smoothly.  L didn't even acknowledge my existence that evening, even though I forced a smile and waved at her.  She looked away; Amy was one of those who asked if I'd consider helping parents provide our own snacks for the games. I replied I was still torn as to what to do.

On the work front, things were stressful.  One of the bus monitors suffered a heart attack, so I moved into his place.  A kid had moved into our community and would be on our bus, and was a 'high risk' kid.  My boss was unsure if I could handle his behavior issues; I told him I had a history of taking tough kids and making them 'agreeable'.  But the first two days with this kid nearly wore me out.  And even when I met his parents, I was baffled.

Normally, when I meet new people, I can usually find common ground within at least five minutes.  Not the case with this couple.  Not exactly rude, but also not that friendly.  I was definitely going to have to draw on every rusty skill I possessed.  And ended up writing him up several times.  Which broke my heart, since he was the same age as my oldest, only here was a prime example of bad parenting.

I reported to my boss, and to the kid's counselor at school, and began to keep a behavior diary, to document every thing I was observing.  His counselor appreciated it; my boss just rolled his eyes, but agreed it needed to be done, concerning this kid.

And then the issue of changing our routes was raised.  And suddenly my driver rebelled.  But that's next month's story:)

Present Day:
We're getting ready for our Blue and Gold Banquet tonight, for Scouts.  We're also having the Cake competition, so today I'm baking the cake.  When the youngling and S get home from school, their job will be to decorate it.  Youngling wants to make it a car, so S will carve it and then they will attempt to decorate it accordingly.  I hope three cans of icing and one tube of food coloring will turn it into something good!  I'll post pics next week.

Have a good weekend:)  And don't forget to check out Kenzie's post on The Writer's Evo on Sunday:)  Topic?  The Most Romantic Proposal:)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Re-Thinking My Heat Level

Recent discussions and comments have prompted me to think maybe my thinking is a little off.  When I first began writing my Arbor U series, I thought what I was writing was pushing the proverbial envelope during my sex scenes, since I actually described The Act, with part A sliding into part B, and the shower scene in book #3.  Twenty-five years later, I find what I've written is more the mainstream, since I don't use any terms other maybe 'cock'.  The penis is described as a 'shaft', 'male member', or even 'dick'.  But nowadays, you hear 'cock' being used in R movies and even TV after 10pm.

And since my early beta readers were kids around age twelve, plus my own thirty-something self, and the occasional senior citizen, so naturally I thought this was my target audience.  My own mother voiced her opinion that my books be required reading for all HS seniors....'If only you would take out all those bad words!'

And indeed, in the past nine years I've been doing the craft fair circuit, I've only had the occasional teenage bookworm stop by my booth.  The majority are women my age, or even twenty-somethings, wanting anything from Fantasy to Christian Inspy.

So maybe it's time to kick the heat level up a notch?  After all, my 1st agent called Forbidden Love 'erotic romance'.  And its heat level doesn't even compare with Teacher's Pet.  On the heat scale, Keri and Kyle check in at about a slow-burning candle, while Tammy and Kevin are maybe a campfire hot?  Harlie, feel free to voice your opinion here, lol!

I noticed when I was rereading book #4, Balancing Act, that the final sex scene takes its time; describing everything they are feeling and experiencing (nope, not gonna tell you who!), and that with a small amount of rewriting, I can make that scene come alive a bit more.

So anyone who read the love scenes I posted between Elicia and Eric; Amy and Matt; and most recently, Keri and Kyle, let me know if you think I need to kick the sex into high gear?  I can always make a tame version for the more reserved readers; I've already done that for Kenzie's books.

Karaoke Update:
For the first time since I began going to karaoke, none of the songs I sang last night will be repeated.  Why? Too low.  I only sang four songs:  Bye Bye Bye (although at times I was okay, overall, yuck!); Bye Bye Love (again, I was okay on the chorus, but not the verses, so 'Bye Bye'!); Beds Are Burning (awful!); and Being With You (sounded okay while singing to YouTube, but on my own....nah.).

And because B and I caught a train on the way home (a train!), the spouse griped because I was home at 2:30am.  I nearly got up and slept in the other room.  I'm rapidly losing my patience with his snide comments.

But On A Good Note....
Balancing Act is formatted!  All I have to do today is double check a few areas and send it back:)  Then my editor can start hacking my scenes to pieces.  I hope she'll be kind to Gretchen....the poor girl just fell down the slippery slope of trying to please everyone.  But more about it as we get  closer to publication!

Come back tomorrow for more of the 2002 saga of the Youth League Baseball:)

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Psst! Did You Know It's February?

We're nearly to the end of February and I wanted to do a recap:  On Groundhog's Day, Phil saw his shadow, predicting six more weeks of winter.  I think Phil's lost his touch....but no, I'm not complaining about it!


Our temps have hovered in the 40's, high 30's, and even some 50's scattered around.  And any snow we get has been gone by the next day.  In fact, today it's predicted to be in the 60's, and I'm loving this weather!  Other people have complained, because everyone is suffering colds, nasal congestion, or other illness 'due to the fact we haven't had any significant cold weather to kill the viruses/bugs'.

But this is Indiana people.....and correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't we get snow in April the last time we had a nice winter?  Cold weather lasting into May, in fact?

I wish I could remember what our winter had been like the year we suffered 33 degrees at the Indy 500 in 1992.  That was the most miserable race of my life....but you'll hear more about it in May:)

So for now, I'm enjoying the warmer weather, drinking cough syrup every day, taking my decongestants, and buying lots of Kleenex.  Yes, it's annoying, but this is my 'normal'.  Yes, with small exceptions, I suffer year round with this.  I'm a human barometer:  drop the barometric pressure and my sinuses drain.  Drop the temps and I catch colds.  Welcome to my world.

Now the right scientist needs to suffer a little of this and maybe he (or she!) will invent the perfect cure?  Invent that suction device I've needed for my vocal cords so I'm not constantly clearing my throat?  Or my other malady:  Getting the fluid out of my right eustation tube, so I can hear.  I've had this for the past two months, and it's beginning to get really annoying at night, hearing a constant 'whine' in my ear.

And It's Wednesday!  And That Means....Karaoke Night:)
Here are the songs I plan to sing tonight:
-Bye Bye Bye (N'Synch):  Yes, I sang it last week.  But I want to HEAR myself.

-Bye Bye Love (Everly Bros):  Darrell didn't have this, but Cheryl does:)

-Beautiful Goodbye (Amanda Marshall):  Again, Darrell didn't have this last week.

-Beds Are Burning (Midnight Oil):  The lead singer's voice isn't that great, so after midnight, I might even sound okay!  I will most likely only sing this once, lol:)

-Being With You (Smokey Robinson):  I think this will be a good one:)

-Best of Times (Styx):  Did this a few weeks back with Darrell's equipment; I couldn't hear myself and his microphone shorted out, so want to hear what I sound like.

And if there's time....Born To Be My Baby (Bon Jovi):  Can't go wrong with channeling Jon!

I'll report back tomorrow and let you know how it went:)

Formatting Update:
I got the bright idea to uninstall Word Starter, and it messed up every single document on my laptop.  So my daughter converted my files and now I can format Balancing Act from here:)  I'm up to Ch 5, and with my schedule becoming busy tonight at 6pm, I should have a good day ahead of me:)  After all, yesterday I accomplished more in two hours at Zanders than I had all afternoon yesterday!  Here's hoping the spouse leaves me alone today.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

New Books I've Discovered

I'm recovered from my 'tantrum' yesterday:)

If you'll remember, I lost my Granny Christmas Day, and was able to bring home most of her books (there were several I, quite frankly, did not want) from her bookshelves.  Over the past several weeks, I've reread Eight Cousins, skimmed an original Prince and the Pauper; and devoured some tame, older romance books (Susan Wiggs comes to mind, but can't remember the title).  But the next three caught my eye because of the titles, and I liked the back cover of the first one, so I loaded the other two in that series into my 'take home' box.  I've just spent the past four days reading the first book, and I'm disappointed to learn Granny didn't have the second.  I began the 3rd book yesterday, and now want to own the entire series.  So here are the covers and a brief description; check them out for yourselves:)

This is the first in the series.  It tells the story of how Precious Ramotswe from Botswana, Africa, came to open her detective agency and solved several complicated cases, including twin 'doctors'. It's available on Amazon

 This is #3 in the series; as I said, I'd love to read the 2nd, Tears of the Giraffe.  I'm currently on Ch 7 of this book and am enjoying it!  Precious becomes engaged at the end of book #1, so I didn't miss much there, but in this one, her fiance' is depressed, so she's taken on management of his office as well.  It's humorous in places, and I'm up to where an important Government Man has asked her to investigate his sister-in-law.  This book can be found here.

Number #4 is intriguing by the title alone, isn't it?  And while finding these books on Amazon, I discovered there are about 13 in the entire series:)  So I will be putting the rest on my print TBB list, or at least seeing if these are available at our library.

The African names are hard to pronounce, but after a while I found myself compensating for them.  Sort of the same way I had to for one character's name in Marian Keys' Sushi For Beginners.

So there's my Recommended Read for the month.  Any new series (or books) you've discovered you'd care to share?

Have a great day!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Catching Up

My kids are enjoying their 2nd day off from school, a scheduled 'make up day', in case of a snow day.  I'm thinking, why not just add these 'extra' days at the end of the school year, or tack them on to Spring Break?  Currently, if school isn't cancelled for any reason, they do not have to attend any Fridays in the month of May.  Why not let them out of school a week early?  Makes no sense.

And right now, with only two computers in the house, and four people who like to use them, this creates a schedule issue.  Technically, only 3 people argue over the usage, since the spouse really doesn't use it as much as S, youngling, and myself.  And right now S is still asleep; youngling is happily watching cartoons, so I get to work.  But in four hours, there's going to be an issue.

My new editor is trying to walk me through the formatting process.  I have two versions of Word on my laptop, but everything opens in Word Starter, which a friend inadvertantly installed the same time he put Photo Shop on my laptop.  The formatting symbols don't show up, and when I tried to do as she wanted the 1st time, it wasn't right.  The 2nd time added a line between paragraphs.  So I went to the desktop and tried her instructions there.  The first two paragraphs 'behaved', but the subsequent paragraphs added another extra line!

So my 4th attempt will be to add an extra backspace, in order to 'mimic' what I saw the 1st two lines do.  And since my editor had to leave at the exact moment my desktop came to life, it's going to be 3:30 this afternoon before we can communicate again.  And to make things easier on myself, I'll talk to her through face book on the laptop, while working on the document on the desk top!  Can you hear the howls of indignation yet?  Yes; I'll be using both computers....when the daughter will want to be checking HER face book; the spouse wanting to watch TV and the youngling wanting to get on Math Circus.  Someone's not going to be happy, unless maybe the youngling is outside with friends or the daughter with her friends.

And the spouse is grouchy, due to a broken tooth which can't be repaired until next week.  I think this is beginning to be a 'Calgon, take me away' week, and it's only Monday!

We did get our taxes filed, and the refund should leave us enough to fully stock the pantry and freezer, plus pay off the dentist.  I'm also hoping I'll be able to buy a substantial number of e-books, as well as purchasing promo items.

And I'm also going to upset the spouse on Wednesday, since B can only go Thursday, and I want to go Wednesday for an hour, so I can sing a few songs and hear myself through the speakers.

He's currently in 'clean up' mode, so I need to wrap up my online stuff and go help him out, rather than suffer his passive-aggressive snide comments about my 'job'.  See you tomorrow; hopefully I'll be in a better mood!

Friday, February 17, 2012

Flashback Friday: Sleep Deprivation

Baby K had his days and nights mixed up.  Daddy worked 2nd shift, so I fell into a habit of fixing him a hot meal at midnight, then watching reruns of Hill Street Blues.  K would be ready for a bottle by 12:30, so  after we'd eaten and the table cleared, Daddy would do the dishes while I fed K (He'd refused to breastfeed after two weeks; don't know if I mentioned that or not.  Enfamil had sent me a free case of formula, which was a godsend!).  We'd watch HSB, then Daddy would go to bed while I would turn the channel to VH1 and rock K to sleep.  And soon noticed a funny thing.

One of the popular songs at the time was a remake of Elton John's 'Don't Let The Sun Go Down On Me', sung  duet-style between George Michael and Sir Elton.  If K heard it at 1am, he went right to sleep for the next several hours.  If he didn't hear it, he stayed awake until 3am, when VH1 played it again, with the same results. I really wished we'd had a VCR at the time; I could have gotten him to sleep soooo much sooner than 3AM!

I was also going through an identity crisis:  I'd been raised in a 2-income home my entire life, and that's what I'd expected of my own marriage.  D and I sat down to crunch the numbers as I approached the 12th week, and realized if I returned to the workforce, day care would take my entire paycheck, plus $20 from his.  So what was the point of me working?

I saw his point, and while I enjoyed being with my little guy every day, and doing what I wanted, I felt as if I wasn't contributing anything to the household.  I'd meet people, and when the dreaded question arose "What do you do?", I'd respond, "Stay-at-home mom."

Crickets chirping.  Blank stares. That moment of panic as the other person realizes you have nothing in common and don't know how to make a graceful end to the conversation.

"Oh....that's nice....Oh look, I see someone I must speak to...."

This really became apparent at a friend's wedding on Feb 29, 1992 (yes, they married on Leap Year; this will be their 6th anniversary, lol!).  I was looking forward to showing off K to old friends, but once they oohed and aaahed over the baby, they drifted away.  And I was cranky, because D was no longer working 2nd shift, but had returned to 1st.  I was now expected to get up and pack his lunch at 7am, when I'd only had maybe four hours of sleep.  But that's what a good wife did, right?  At least that's what I'd been told.  My mom had gotten up every morning at six am to shower, do her Quiet Time, pack Dad's lunch, then wake us kids up.  And after he left, I'd try to go back to bed, only to  have K wake up.  So I'd nap with him, but it was so hard when I seemed to get more cleaning done while he was asleep, only to have a tired spouse come home to a dirty house and the complaint, "What the hell did you DO today?  The apartment's a MESS!"

I wanted to scream, "You try being tired all the time and feeling as if you have no friends anymore!", but we'd already had that conversation.  I felt washed up at 25.  No life; just taking care of a colicky baby and crabby husband.  Something had to change.

And thankfully it did....but that's next month story:)

Present Day:
Great time at karaoke last night!  Friends J and M joined us, and Darrell dubbed us the 'karaoke bombshells':)  Warmed up with 'Baby One More Time' and the nearest table cheered when they heard the opening notes:)

Afterward, my lineup was this:
-Bye Bye Bye (N'Synch):  Going to do this next week at Cheryl's karaoke, as I couldn't hear myself very well.

-Behind Closed Doors (Charlie Rich):  Ugh.  Taking this off my list!

-Alone (Heart):  Received a hearty round of applause:)

-Blaze of Glory (Bon Jovi):  This one ended with cheers from the nearest table:)

-Black Velvet (Allaynnah Miles):  My power was back!  Received high-5's from the other 'bombshells'!

-New Divide (Linkin Park):  M didn't know I knew this one, so she congratulated me afterward.

By then, it was 2am; the smoke was bothering my asthma, and the spouse had grouched 'Be home at a reasonable time; no more of the 3am sh*t.'  So I told Darrell goodbye; I was turning into a pumpkin.  He told me I sounded really good that night, then B brought me home.

My edits arrived for Balancing Act yesterday, and I'm a bit confused.  First of all, T's not editing this one, and she'd told me she was looking forward to reading it.  Is she too busy?  Or is she no longer editing?  And secondly, I have to format my MS before the editor will begin editing.  HUH?  Thankfully, Kenzie's edits for Class Reunion came first, so I'll do those first.

Have a good weekend!  Sunday I'll be doing double duty so check out my posts over at RBRU and The Writer's Evo.  Cheers:)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Have Some Schools Lost Their Minds?

First there was the story of the self-proclaimed 'Lunch Police' in North Carolina.  If you missed it, it was reported a cafeteria worker though this was not a 'healthy' lunch:
-Turkey and cheese sandwich
-Potato chips
-Apple Juice

And so the child ate the school lunch, consisting of
-Chicken nuggets
-French fries


And now the school is back-pedaling, saying the child 'misunderstood; we wanted her to have milk.'

Not sure if this is true or not, but I've also heard the school now wants the mother to PAY for the lunch her child ate.  NO WAY!

I'll agree; if the kid came to school with a handful of cookies, some chips, and a soda in her lunch box, by all means; get the kid a nutritious meal.  But there is nothing wrong with the meal the child brought to school.

I used to take Spaghetti-O's in my thermos.  Mom made it boiling hot, and by the time lunch arrived, it had cooled enough so it wouldn't burn my tongue.  And when I did purchase a school lunch, I only ate what I liked.  And usually bought on Tuesday or Thursday, because that was when Chocolate milk was available.  I can't stand white milk, and am (was) a picky eater.  If you ask my spouse, he still can't understand how I survived childhood because I don't eat fish, beans, chili, or even canned veggies.  I also dislike fruit, unless it's in the form of an apple, banana, or grapes.

I digress.

The other jaw-dropping news item this morning was a HS in Ohio is now passing out Visa Gift Cards for students who show up for class.  Again, WHAT?  The teenager I happened to be taking to school said she'd attend regularly if our school did this.

I guess we know what motivates HER!  And no, this was not my daughter.

I agree with one caller; she said there was enough incentives in place:  Attendance awards; class parties; and other prizes.  I remember working hard to keep up with my class, because I didn't want to be seen as 'dumb'.

However, now I'm a mom and am watching my youngest closely, because of undiagnosed health issues.  He's making progress, but the big question is, will it be enough?   I might have to retain him this year, just for Math and Reading test scores.  I have a 3rd grade neighbor; I'm not sure my child would be able to do the work next year, unless the work he's doing right now suddenly improves in the next four months.  And if I DO have to retain him, I want him to have the same teacher.  She's been excellent with him!

Karaoke Thursday:
My partner has tonight off, so I skipped last night.  And the songs are not chiseled in stone; Darrell doesn't have the same list as Cheryl.  But if the following songs are available, I'll sing 'em tonight:
-Bye Bye Bye (N'Synch)
-Bye Bye Love (Everly Brothers)
-Beautiful Goodbye (Amanda Marshall)
-Beds Are Burning (Midnight Oil)
-Behind Closed Doors (Charlie Pride)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Ode To My Valentine

Since coming across my notebook of poems last year, I thought I'd post a poem I wrote in 1997.  Enjoy:)

Roses are red
Violets are blue
Sugar is sweet
And so are you

After the tax check arrives
Let's plan a nice meal
Steaks, wine, and me....
What a hell of a deal!

I don't need flowers or jewelry
To know you love me
I see what you've fixed
To know you're the world to me.

For my part I could do better
And not be such a bitch
Until the weather improves
And we'll find our niche

In the meantime
We patiently wait
Happy Valentine's Day....
Later we'll have our date.
(Feb 13, 1997)

(Bad, yes; but this came a year after he announced he was thinking of leaving me.  Obviously, we worked through our differences!  And after the tax check arrived, he took me to St. Elmo's restaurant, a fancy place downtown Indianapolis, where the steaks melted in your mouth!  I would LOVE to go back someday!)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Introducing Kyle Sampson

I sat down with Kyle Sampson, leading man of Fobidden Love.  He's fresh from his shift at the hospital, and decked out in green scrubs.  His vivid blue eyes are tired, but they light up whenever Keri's name is spoken.

M:  Welcome Kyle:)  It's been a long time.

K (nodding his head):  Yes it has.  How've you been?

M:  Doing well.  Inquiring minds want to know:  What possessed you to get involved with a college coed eleven years younger that you?

K:  Ever walk into a room and just know you're meant to be with someone?  That's what I felt when I looked into her eyes.

M:  Wow....that's romantic!  But another question I've been getting is why did you try to keep Keri a secret?  I spoke to her the other day and even she doesn't fully understand.

K:  At the time I thought I was doing the right thing.  Lisa, my ex-wife, has a nasty streak in her, and I didn't want Keri to be the target of her wrath.  And with my son Rusty to consider...I just did what I could to protect Keri from all that.  She had enough to worry about, with school, her job, and working at the 500.  She didn't need any extra baggage; not when she needs to concentrate on the team.  What I regret is not meeting her before Lisa and I married....but she would have only been fourteen, so that would have been a definite no-no.

M:  Yeah....let's not go there.

K:  I appreciate you giving me a voice in this book; it shows I have a heart instead of just wanting her for her body.

M:  I decided it wasn't fair to you, to only show her side of the story.  I hope I got it right.

K:  I just wish you'd left in the early parts.  Couldn't you have squeezed it in somewhere?

M:  When I wrote Elicia's story, I didn't know I'd be cutting the first six chapters of yours and Keri's.  And then I had to cut the last few chapters because it bled into Gretchen and Caty's, so I felt it didn't need to be told three times.

K:  'Bled into'....I'm assuming you mean our story does continue?

M:  Oh yes.  Anyone who reads books 4 and 5 will read more.  She doesn't graduate until book #6...I think.  I might have graduated her in #5.  If she is in #6, she only plays a minor role.  Moving her age didn't bother you?

K:  Not in the least.  She doesn't act young; she's focused on her studies and future career; and I'm thrilled she chose me to be her first lover.  You have to remember; I grew up during the 70's, when sex was synonamous with 'Hello'.  It was actually refreshing to meet someone who had never even had a serious boyfriend before.  I was able to show her- teach her, if you will- how to live with a member of the opposite sex, and encourage her to explore her sexuality.  I borrowed the Kama Sutra from Sid's girlfriend Carole and-

M (holding up hand):  I get the picture! Thank you for sitting down with me today, Kyle.

K:  Thanks for giving me another chance to explain my side of things!

Forbidden Love is available now:

Friday, February 10, 2012

Flashback Friday: What Not To Do On Valentine's Day....

I have to preface this post with something I forgot to mention last month:  My youth group planned a skiing trip, and my parents let me go.  We drove up to Timber Ridge near the Kalamazoo area, and checked in.  Six of us shared a motel room, and I was surprised the next morning at how many girls put on makeup just to 'play in the snow'!  We met up with the rest of the group and headed to the lodge.  Five of us had never skied before, so after paying for our equipment rental, we followed an instructor to the Bunny Slope, where he taught us the basics.  I learned how to fall down, snowplow to a stop, and more importantly, how to put my skis back on my boots!

One of my good friends, DH, spent the better part of the afternoon with me, trying to improve my skill level.  But it soon became clear downhill skiing was not going to be my forte, so I went inside to warm up with hot chocolate and sit by the fire and let him get back to the more challenging courses.

My best friend J was about to undergo knee surgery, but had come along to cheer on her boyfriend and the rest of us.  I joined her upstairs after thawing out, and watched my other best friend, K, who was decked out in purple from her hat to her ski pants.

Woke up Sunday morning with my right arm extremely sore from the rope tow of the Bunny Slope, so didn't ski again, but enjoyed hanging out with K and everyone else in the chalet until it was time to load up and return home.

Now before the trip, B had learned of the trip and warned me not to break my leg, 'because the Valentine's Dance is coming up.'  I had told him I had no intention of breaking any bones, and when I related this conversation to BFFs K and J, they soon convinced me this meant he was going to ask me to the dance.

But before the trip and the conversation with B, the fact I saw ex-boyfriend K every day soon had me longing for male companionship again, so I screwed up my courage and asked him out.  He'd agreed, and then made me a silver ring in one of his shop classes.  I hadn't told B of the new development....and left for the weekend.

When I got back, B met me at my locker, wanting details of the ski trip, and seemed happy I was still on two feet.  I then revealed I was back with K, and he acted upset.  Later, one of B's friends indicated B had been thinking about asking me to the upcoming dance.  And in my turmoil, I did something rather stupid.

One week before the dance, I broke things off with K....only to discover B three days later B wasn't attending the dance.  And through a friend, I learned he hadn't been thinking of upgrading our friendship to dating status.  I was crushed....and spent the next six weeks campaigning for K to take me back again.  I was also slightly jealous of BFF's J and K's relationships with their men, and often felt like a 5th wheel every Wednesday and Sunday night.  And since my parents' Bible Study now met the same night of the week as mine, I could no longer group date, since I already had a ride home every Wednesday.  I began to resent the fact we lived so far out of town.

So Valentine's Day that year was a huge disappointment, other than the chocolate heart my mother had given me.  Would I ever know the joys of spending Valentine's Day in the company of a boyfriend?

Present Day:
Youngling is now in wrestling, so no more getting up early on Saturday to attend ball games:)  However, if you're on Face Book tomorrow, please feel free to join myself and other Secret Cravings authors in an all weekend chat on our face book page.  Contests, fun, trivia, or just hanging out with us:)  And don't forget to stop by The Writer's Evo on Sunday for Kenzie's post!

Have a great weekend!  And if you missed it, scroll down for two excerpts from Forbidden Love:)

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Karaoke Update

Thanks to everyone who helped make yesterday a good release day!

Last night at karaoke, there were only three of us, so was able to sing eight songs:
-Barbie Girl (Aqua):  Had fun with this one, but probably won't sing it again:)
-Back To You (B. Adams):  Thought I'd practiced it, but bombed.  Am skipping this one.
-Baby I Lied (Debra Allen):  LOVE this song, and have ever since I first heard while in HS!  This one's a keeper on my list!
-Bad Day (D. Powter):  Did an okay job, but probably won't do it again.  A little low in spots.
-Barely Breathing (Duncan Sheik):  Ugh...waaaayyyy too low!
-Be Good To Yourself (Journey):  Did okay, but not my best....
-Blue Bayou (L. Ronstadt):  I wanted Cheryl to hear me sing this one; one couple even got up and danced:)
-Smile (Uncle Kracker):  This is what I get for asking C to pick out one.  I can't sing this; it's too low, so C helped me out, and I asked her to erase this from my song list!

Plus, handed out one of my business cards, and two others congratulated me:)

Here's another excerpt for you, this time from Kyle's POV:

"What's taking so long, anyway?" Sid joined him at the table and asked for a cigarette.

"Lisa." Kyle handed over the pack and lit his own. "She still wants more money for child support so she can save enough money to get her own place, plus enough for baby-sitters, and her 'extras'."


"Yeah." Kyle blew a cloud of smoke toward the ceiling. "Her nights out after work, going to the bar with her co-workers to wind down, her makeup every three months, her trips to Walmart…God! She spends around one hundred dollars every week in Walmart alone."

"What the hell does she buy?" Sid choked and stood to pull a beer from the refrigerator.

"Clothes, toys, music…You name it; we had it. Hey, toss me one, will you?" Sid handed him a can, and Kyle popped it open, shaking his head. "She's finding out her salary won't support her habits, so she's dragging her feet, hoping we'll reconcile."

"Which makes it hard for you and Keri." Sid's steady brown eyes gazed at his cousin. "Whatever happened to cooling things off?"

"I don't know, I left her alone for a while, but when we got back together it was like fireworks going off. I feel as if I can't get enough of her." He puffed on his cigarette. "It's like being on drugs…the more you take, the more you want? Well, Keri's my drug."

"Maybe you need to o.d., man, then go to detox." Sid saluted with his can. "But what happens next?"

"I can't just dump her after that. She wasn't exposed to the happy-go-lucky sex we were. She'll see it as a deeper level."

"Christ! Whatever happened to one-nighters? No commitments, no feelings to consider, no promises, no relationships. That's the difference between you and me, Carole and I don't make any promises. We get together when we can. She has her life and doesn't bug me about mine." Sid got up and crushed his empty beer can, throwing it into the trash. "What, are you 'in love' with her or something?" He pulled another beer from the fridge.

Kyle shrugged and took another drink. "What if I told you the feeling was mutual?"

Buy Forbidden Love here:)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Forbidden Love Releases Today!!!

Book #3 in the Arbor University Tales:
Meet Keri Patterson, a sophomore at Arbor University, pursuing a ­dream to one day be a part of an Indy car racing team. Along the way, she meets and falls for an older man. With the innocence of her first love, Keri tries to balance her ambition to be the first female member of a racing pit crew and her awakening femininity. Will Keri and Kyle's romance survive the hairpin twists and turns, or is disaster looming?

Kyle is not without problems of his own. He wasn't expecting to meet the girl of his dreams before the ink is dry on the divorce petition. Trying to keep the two facets of his life separate, he discovers there is a fine line between love and hate, as well as deception and protection. But life doesn't always get wrapped up in neat packages. Sometimes it blows up in your face.

Excerpt: (Birthday scene Keri mentioned yesterday)

"Birthday girls get their pleasure first." Kyle dipped his head lower.

Keri closed her eyes and relaxed, smiling to herself. If I am ready for the next step, how do I let him know? Soon, the now-familiar ache in her stomach began to grow, and Keri let go of Kyle's head, grabbing her pillow as she moaned and whispered his name. Minutes later, he had made his way back up her body.

"Oh, Kyle…" She panted, wanting more. "Don't stop, please?"

"Baby…you mean…?”

Keri nodded. "Be gentle?"

"I'll try to make it good for you," he promised, rolling on top of her. She felt his fingers inside her again as she reached for the growing sensation. All of a sudden, he stopped and scrambled out of bed.

"What's wrong?" Why did he stop? What’s he looking for?

"Nothing, sweetheart." He searched through a dresser drawer. "Ah, here they are."


He came back to the bed and took her in his arms. "For your protection.” He waved the blue square package at her.

"Oh." Thank God one of us remembered; birth control wasn’t on my mind! Brilliant, Keri…just brilliant. You’re acting juvenile again.

He caressed her body again then pulled on the condom and start probing. "Honey, this may hurt a little at first," he warned. "But it's got to be done. I'll be as easy as I can. Just say the word, and I'll stop right now."

Keri shook her head. "No. I love you, and I want you."

Available NOW:)  What are you waiting for?  Go buy yourself an early Valentine's Day gift!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Meet Keri Patterson:)

It took some bribery begging heavy cajoling on my part, but I was finally able to hogtie wrangle get Keri Patterson to agree to an interview.  You met her in book #1 as the quiet, determined, studious girl who held her own in a verbal argument with Elicia over fashion choices; spent long hours in her Auto Tech lab; and ended up capturing the attentions of an older man.  Keri's also not too happy with me; I cut out the early chapters of how she and Kyle met and began dating, and then later cut out the final six chapters of her original story.

K:  Yes, and I'm still upset about it.  Right now, you leave us hanging with the ending!  Will they be all right?  Am I stupid enough to believe Kyle's story about still having to sneak around?  Geez, Molly; lots of people get divorced every day and don't give a damn about how their kids or ex-wives feel!

M:  Yes, but you've got to remember; you're still 21 in this book, and you're choosing to believe in your man.  You come from a broken home yourself, so you know all about blind faith and trust....

K:  You've got a point.  But why cut out the early parts?  I thought it was sweet, the way you showed his patience with me, although I admit it was a little embarrassing at times.

M:  You're right; I wanted to show how it was possible for someone to go slowly in a relationship.  Too often I've seen young girls take their clothes off without inhibitions, so I wanted to show how someone more reserved would act.  You were raised with the belief you should save yourself for The One, the man you would marry one day, and Stephanie and Elicia's antics baffle you.

K:  You got that right!  I don't get the whole casual sex thing.  I mean, I do now, but back then?  Hell no.  Jon and I were talking about this the other night, when I told him-

M:  Jon's one of your coworkers on the racing team....and be careful about giving certain details away...

K:  Oh, so we can talk about the past, but not what happens later?  And for the record, he's thrilled about the 'Jonny Joyride' line you left in.

M:  It perfectly reflects his attitude toward the opposite sex.   Your story bled into Gretchen's, and even Caty's, so that's why I had to find a nice HEAFN ending in your book.

K:  Huh?  HEAFN?  What the hell is that?

M:  Happily Ever After For Now.  And I'm sure there are people who will question your naivete.

K:  The ones who do are the ones who have a cynical view of life.

M:  Okay.  Put yourself back into that girl and tell me what you were thinking.  I know it's been twenty five years, but can you recall any emotions?

K:  Oh yes.  You forget what happened in 2003....when will that story be published?

M:  At the current rate of publication....probably 2017.

K:  I have to wait five more years?  Geez....but I guess that's job stability for you....or whatever you call it in the publishing world.  (sigh)  Okay; I love that man, and I know he loves me.  I don't understand why Lisa's trying to hang onto a dead relationship...Lisa's his ex and Rusty's mom....but I do understand a father who doesn't want to lose touch with his child.  Kyle has two little girls who live with their mom in Texas, and he hasn't been able to see them in two years, other than pictures.  He's tried to go see them, but Melinda won't let him.  And since I've been lucky to have parents who made sure their divorce was easy on me and my brother, I just don't understand parents who keep their kids away from each other.  I mean, I see it if there's abuse or something, but just to be vindictive toward the other parent....grow up already.  Put your kids first.

M:  Well said.  So are you ready for the Big Day tomorrow?

K:  I guess.  Elicia managed to have her sex life exposed for all to see and she's doing okay, and I love that you showed Amy's stubbornness to stand by her man too, though I still think she should have taken up with Jason or Troy.  Love just isn't rational, is it?

M:  Not when you're barely out of high school.

K:  I know; we all do a bit of growing up in the pages of your books.  When does Gretchen's book come out?

M:  It should be released sometime this summer.

K:  Good; I can't wait to read it.  I mean, I witnessed it firsthand, but it should be fun to see how you portrayed it.

M:  I'll be posting an excerpt of Forbidden Love tomorrow; do you have a favorite scene?

K:  I know it's embarrassing as hell, but I love the scene when Kyle and I make love for the first time.  He was so sweet, and so caring.  And I also love the scene at time trials, when he came up to see me.  Or the cake scene (blushes and looks down) after taking me out for an early birthday celebration....

M:  Okay, I'll pick one.  Thanks for being with me today Keri.

K:  You know I don't like personal interviews.  Oh, Donald Davidson said to tell you hello.  No guarantees about the Celebrity Caravan though.  You know, they haven't even invited me!  And I was the first female wrench of an Indy racing team.

M:  Did you see that Michael Andretti is going to be on Celebrity Apprentice?

K:  I absolutely love that man; I hope he does well!

Book #3, Forbidden Love, releases tomorrow, at Secret Cravings Publishing!


Meet Keri Patterson, a sophomore at Arbor University, pursuing a ­dream to one day be a part of an Indy car racing team.  Along the way, she meets and falls for an older man.  With the innocence of her first love, Keri tries to balance her ambition to be the first female member of a racing pit crew and her awakening femininity.  Will Keri and Kyle’s romance survive the hairpin twists and turns, or is disaster looming?
Kyle is not without problems of his own.  He wasn’t expecting to meet the girl of his dreams before the ink is dry on the divorce petition.  Trying to keep the two facets of his life separate, he discovers there is a fine line between love and hate, as well as deception and protection.  But life doesn’t always get wrapped up in neat packages.  Sometimes it blows up in your face.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Giants Win!

Enjoyed the Super Bowl yesterday, along with several of the ads:  M&M; 'Man's Best Friend' Doritos; Star Wars Bar Scene for Volkswagon; and The Voice with Betty White:)  What were yours?

Have a ton of food left over; the friends we invited came down with the stomach flu.  The spouse even watched the game with me.

Saturday, the youngling had a 9am ball game, and his team even led at the end of the 1st quarter.  But the other team 'woke up' and took it away, winning 25-11.  And that evening, we went back to the high school so youngling's team could be the half-time entertainment for the JV game, and then all the tournament winners were honored before the Varsity game.  So this was a rare sports weekend for us; youngling and I attended Friday night's game; we all went to Saturday night's game; and then yesterday's Super Bowl viewing.

I'll be back tomorrow with more news; I've got to 'find' my kitchen.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Flashback Friday

Valentine's Day 1972:
I don't particularly remember it, but I'm assuming Mom and I spent an evening filling out my cartoon valentines to take to school!  Mom always made sure we had chocolate hearts, or the filled chocolates in the heart-shaped box, plus a special card, when we woke up on Feb 14th.  There would also be cards in the mail from grandparents and aunts and uncles; some with money, sometimes just a signature or a special note.

My favorite candy is still solid milk chocolates, or the vanilla cream kind.  I can't stand the coconut; the strawberry-filled; chocolate covered cherries; and especially dislike the ones where you can't tell if you're about to bite into something your taste  buds are going to reject or enjoy.  I know there's a site out there which tells you what the little swirls mean; however, would it be too much to ask to simply print out a CHART on the inside cover of the box?

Present Day:
OMG....saw a 'blast from the past' last night.  This obnoxious guy, MW, came up to me, insisting he knew me.  I kept shaking my head no....and Billie even told me he asked her 'Please tell me she's single?'  Thank god I'm not!

After several attempts to keep his hands from my shoulder, something he said clicked.

" know N....("Yes!")....Fall of '85....("Yes!")....You loved that song 'We Built This City' by Starship'...("Oh Lord!  You remember THAT?")...I thought your name was Wes...("See there? I told you I knew you!")....OMG!"

He finally left me alone, somewhat, after that, but I noticed his hands kept getting draped lower around my shoulders, and I wondered if I needed to make it even more clear I was NOT interested.  But thankfully, he sat at his own table after that and would only 'check in' with me every half hour.

My wicked sense of humor set in during the last rotation, and sang 'We Built This City', dedicating it to MW.  He laughed, shook his head, and cracked up when I sang 'his' line:  "We built this city on LOVE!"

Thankfully, he was so drunk last night, he won't remember any of it....

I did attract the attention of three other (better looking!) guys!  One I dance with twice (to avoid MW); one I sang 'Paradise By The Dashboard Light' with; and the third hugged me after I sang 'Bed of Roses'.  Harmless fun, and it was a night I really needed!  I'm paying for it this morning; got in at 3am; Roxie insisted on being let outside at 4 (just as I was finally drifting off to sleep!); I woke up at 7:15.  Probably going to need a nap this afternoon, or at least go to bed early!

But after a week or two with an irate spouse, it's nice to know I can still attract my share of attention from the opposite sex, no matter if they are old enough to be my son, lol!

Just keep the obnoxious ones away from me?  I like a guy who can take a hint and knows when I'm not interested!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Karaoke Update

There were three birthdays last night, so we had a good rotation for karaoke!  And surprise surprise...I sounded pretty good through the speakers, and was even applauded!

Bed of Roses-Jon Bon Jovi:  I loved this song when it first appeared, and even though it was a bit low in places, a bar patron came up to me and told me how much he enjoyed hearing me sing it:)  He then went on to tell me he was having issues with his girlfriend....I managed to work 'I'm married' into the conversation, then suggested communication pointers.  He thanked me for listening, then returned to his table.

Back in My Arms Again-Supremes:  I practiced this beforehand, and did a passable job:)  Was tripped up by a few lyrics/rhythmn, but I think with more practice, this song will be a good one for me.

Breakaway-Kelly Clarkson:  I nailed this one!  I'm thrilled to find a Kelly C one I can sing!  I'll try Behind These Hazel Eyes again, and maybe with practice I'll be able to sing it as well?

Breathe-Breaking Benjamin:  Two girls cheered and gave their thumbs up when they saw the title on the screen, but as much as I love this song, I just don't think it's a good 'fit' for me.  This is the only song I sang which did not garner applause.

The SU leaves for Indianapolis tonight:)  He has an early morning cardio appointment tomorrow, and will stay with his sister tonight.  After his appointment, he's heading up to Purdue to spend time with K before heading back home.  I'm picking up a rental car tonight; there are no full-size cars available, due to being Super Bowl weekend, so I'll be driving an economy car which will be enough for myself and two kids.

I might even be going to the other karaoke place tonight with BC Brown:)  She might not have to work tonight, and will let me know if she's available.  Haven't seen her at all the past month, so this will be nice:)

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Traditional Vs 'New and Improved'

Does anyone remember when McDonald's restaurant looked like this?  We had one in our town when I was growing up, but the majority of them looked like this:

And now the Powers That Be have decided to 'modernize' the one in town:

I don't know about you, but I hate it.  Why mess with perfection tradition?  I want my old McD's back!

And yes, I've been a bad blogger again.  In my defense, I've been busy writing and doing other stuff.  Yeah, my time management has sucked this week.  I get up, get the youngling off to school, watch the news until 9am, then get online.  By 10:30-11am, I'm done with facebook and checking my emails....I might even read a blog or two (usually click the link from FB or email).  Then it's get off; get dressed, make the bed, eat lunch,take the daughter to school, and then do the dishes.  By 1pm I'm back online to check FB and email again, and then write for an hour or two.  The SU has been sick, so I've been picking up the kids in the afternoon.  I might write for another hour, and then it's time to get dinner ready; the youngling to whatever practice or Cub Scouts; and then the nightly TV show.  Daughter has been taking over my laptop, so I'll check my email and FB again around 10pm, right before bedtime.  So yes, this site has taken a back seat again this week.  But things are slowing down, so I should be back on the regular schedule once more.

I actually planned this post two weeks ago, but didn't get around to taking a picture of our local Mack Shack until Monday!  Couldn't find any pics on photo bucket.

What's your take?  Which one is 'your' McDonald's?