Friday, April 27, 2012

Flashback Friday: 'Ch-ch--changes....'

April 2002:
My son's 4th grade teacher approached me in mid-April, to tell me she was no longer the HS Girl's Softball coach, and told me who the new coach would be, so concessions would be taken care of.  I told her I'd been replaced, but would pass along the information.  She expressed her disappointment.  Later that month, K's class took a trip to Conner Prairie, and I enjoyed going along as chaperon.

Toward the end of April, the phone calls began to come in, with complaints.
"L didn't have the stand open for my daughter's HS game..."

"L's not letting me work in the stand..." (this from one of the HS boys who particularly loved to help out)

"L's making all sorts of dumb changes....and I don't think she's cleaning the cheese machine properly..."

"Can't you open a rival stand?" (This from my own child, lol!)

L herself asked me if I'd be willing to help out; I told her to contact me when she needed me.

My spouse hadn't returned to work yet, so finances were tight.  Instead of just putting a $20 bill in the cash box every game day, we didn't have the cash to access the stand, and my spouse was still furious, and refused to buy anything.  So I packed a cooler full of drinks and snacks.  And later heard a rumor that we were boycotting the stand.  I told my friends about our financial situation, and the rumor was squelched.

Next month:  Disappointment from Visiting Teams and coaches.

At work, a story began swirling in my brain, begging to be written.  I found out the monitor I'd replaced was about to return to work; I began counting down the days til I could 'sleep in' again!

Present Day:
Have a busy weekend ahead!  Tonight, depending on the weather, we will either be at baseball practice with the youngling, or bowling with the Cub Scouts.

Tomorrow, we begin the day with 1st Communion practice for youngling, then while he's at his 1st game, I'll be throwing the daughter a baby shower.  Hopefully I'll be able to see at least an inning or two of my baby's first game afterward!

Sunday is 1st Communion, and I'll be singing in the choir before the service.  At this point, I'm not sure if the grandparents or my oldest will be able to attend.  My mother's not well, and K's been trying to switch his work schedule for two weeks.  But no one will swap his 8:15 Sunday shift.  He's bummed out, but I reminded him we'd see him the following week after his finals.  We'll see what happens Saturday night.

I'm off to clean the house:)  Have a good weekend!

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Awesome Concert and Reality TV Update

No karaoke last night; I attended a free concert in which a friend's band performed, and it ran long.

This is my friend Nathaniel McQuaid (acoustic guitar), and a former classmate of son K (on drums), and their band Eric Blair and the Absolute Nothings.  I shot a video of them before my camera batteries quit, and hope to get it uploaded to Face Book sometime today.  This was the first time I'd heard the band perform; Nathaniel and the bass guitarist had performed acoustically at the bookstore last year, and I was impressed by their talent.  Hearing it all put together....I hope these boys have a good future.  And BC Brown's SO, Brannick, has written at least one of their songs.

Before Nathaniel and Co. took the stage, several other bands played.  The above is the other band I was most impressed with; I admire any musician who can play keyboard and sing at the same time!  Michael Cochren has another bright future if he stays with it, imho.  I even acquired one of their CD's.  Haven't listened to it yet, but I will soon.

What about the other bands?  The 1st band was a cover band, and I shot a video of their best song.  The first singer was drowned out by the music; the 2nd singer I could both hear and understand; the female vocalist needed to stand a little closer to the microphone.  She had a nice voice; I just couldn't hear her.

I had to leave for choir practice and arrived back just as Michael was setting up; I'd missed 4 bands.  Band #7 was a rap artist, and I don't particularly care for that, so stepped outside and spoke to Nathaniel, BC, and Brannick.  Band #8 was a cross between Nickleback and Fall Out Boy; I enjoyed the antics of their lead guitarist jumping around the stage.  So a good time was had by all:)

Reality TV Update:
Amazing Race:  I was soooooo happy this leg was not an elimination one!  Mark gave his all, trying to learn a Bollywood dance, and finally nailed it on the 11th try.  He was worn out and dangerously close to heat exhaustion or even stroke.  But after some discussion about dropping out, he gave it one last shot and was finally able to move on to the next challenge:)

Survivor:  I was really sad to see Troy voted out.  I'd hoped he would rally and either win immunity or sway the others into seeing what was about to happen.  Didn't work, so by by Troy.  I can't wait to see what he looks like w/o his beard!  I'd join him on that private island, heh heh heh.....

Currently Reading: 
Still on To Wed A Wild Lord:)  I'm loving it; just haven't had a lot of time to read this week.  I DID finish the 2nd round of edits yesterday, and opted to catch up on my DVR'd shows instead of reading, plus took part in my publisher's chat.  Received some favorable comments on both Love Finds A Way and Kenzie's Appetite For Desire, so hope some lurkers enjoyed the excerpts too.  I'll find out when the sales reports arrive.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Major Oops.....

It's no secret I based my 4th AU book, Balancing Act, on a painful experience in my life.  I tried to show how even an intelligent person can possibly sucked into a destructive relationship, and in fact, used many of the same instances and arguments in the book to show both sides of the issue:  The controller's wish to get his way and to twist everything around to his advantage, and the victim's wish to keep the peace, defend her choices, and ultimately try to reach a compromise.

I set up Gretchen's story in book #1:  She loses her virginity in an uncaring one night stand, which makes her distrustful of the opposite sex, then meets a good friend who shows her that not all men are that dishonorable.  She's 'safe' with him, because he's got a girlfriend in another town, and doesn't feel any sexual attraction to Gretchen.

She's not in book #2, but in Forbidden Love, Gretchen keeps boyfriend Lance at arm's length, since her roommate has a major crush on him, and Stephanie is resentful of the fact Lance chose Gretchen instead of her.      And when Lance is tired of Gretchen's 'eggshell' attitude, she meets Shawn, with whom she works while on Christmas vacation.  Turns out they went to the same high school and now attend the same college, but didn't know each other until now.  Shawn is a member of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity, and the two share what is now known as a 'Friends With Benefits' relationship.

Enter Joe Walker.  Gretchen is attracted to him when she first began working at Service National, and when she asks for her job back during the summer, Joe is thrilled she's back, and decides to express his feelings for her.  She's not sure about it, but agrees to date him, even though she discovers a handsome pilot is also interested in her.  But since Troy is military, and she doesn't want to raise her future family moving from base to base, or even having her husband deployed on long missions, she fights to keep Troy at arm's length and concentrates on Joe.

Are you still with me?  So what does this have to do with the 'oops' I mention in the title?

When I finished the book, I was so anxious to get to the 'good part', I left out a major Human Emotion in the breakup scene.  I have one person telling the other, "We're done', and leaves the restaurant.  I have that person talking to a friend for 30 minutes (this was before Call Waiting and Caller ID, remember), and two days later leaving on vacation.  Three weeks go by, and suddenly NOW the offended person decides to get confrontational?  What the hell was going on during those 3 weeks?  Surely not simply stewing about it; no, the person would demand answers.  Do everything and anything in their power to find out why their loved one would suddenly call it quits and leave without a warning.

Especially when six months earlier, the wronged party did just that during an earlier attempt at a break up.  So I had to go in and 'fix' this part.  Hopefully I got it 'right'.

When Balancing Act arrives, which should be some time in June, I hope people will find Gretchen's story uplifting.  Before you can take steps to pull yourself out of 'victimhood', you have to hit rock bottom first.  And as you'll discover in books #1-3, it takes a lot to bring a strong, independent person to their knees, emotionally.  And no matter how hard friends try to 'fix' a problem, it's something that only the 'victim' can do.  They're the only ones who know where that imaginary 'line in the sand', or 'last straw' will be crossed/found.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Weekend Pictures and Recommended Read:)

Did I mention friend and fellow author BC Brown was in the production of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory over the weekend?  Here's B in her Oompa-Loompa glory (right side, back row)

Here's the kids and parents (l-r) 'Violet'; 'Augustas'; 'Veruca'; 'Charlie'; and 'Michaela' (Mike Teevee was rearranged into 'Michaela Teevee for this particular adaptation!).

'Augustas Gloop' and the chocolate river

'Willy', 'Charlie', and 'Grandpa Joe' in 'Great Glass Elevator'.  I'd taken several videos of B's niece A, who played Veruca Salt, and wasn't sure how long the batteries would last!  There was more life in them than I thought.

Charlie's grandparents, who stole the show:)

B with her nephew R ('mini-oompa-loompa) and A (Veruca Salt).

On Sat, our District Pinewood Derby was held.  This is my youngling's 1st heat (red car).  His car jumped the track and didn't finish; come to find out he'd dropped it earlier and damaged the wheel.  The SU did a quick repair and he finished heats #3 and 4 in 2nd place.  His average wasn't enough to place over all, but he had a great time!

Recommended Read
I LOVED this book!  I'm in total agreement with one of the reviewers at the beginning of the book; this is Desiree Holt's best book ever:)  Now granted, I've only read 6 of her books, and she told me at RT she's about to publish book #132!  So yes, I have some catching up to do on her back list....but this one grabbed me from the blurb when she first posted it, and it's been near the top of my TBB list (in e-book format).  So when I discovered she had the print copy at RT, I grabbed it!

This is another Definite Recommended Read:)  If you like paperbacks, buy it here.  If you prefer the kindle edition, get it here:)  Whatever format you prefer, this is an awesome story of a bass guitarist who doesn't fit the Rock Star stereotype, and a woman who discovers she needs more out of life than the safe path.

Next Up:
Reading Sabrina Jeffries' To Wed A Wild Lord.  I'm halfway through it, and loving it:)

Monday, April 23, 2012

Welcome Author J.E. Taylor:)

Peace and quiet…
Hi folks,
Molly was good enough to let me visit on her blog today.  My blog tour has another week to go and all I can think of right now is the beach.  April is always a tough time of year for my family because we’re just itching to open up our beach home on the southern shore of Maine.  Unfortunately, opening weekend is usually the first weekend in May, so we have just a couple weeks left, and just like those couple weeks before Christmas a kid, this goes excruciatingly slow. 

We’ve had the same ritual for the past thirteen years ­– from May through September, the beach is our refuge.  A little slice of sanity in an otherwise insane schedule of work, kids activities and all the running around that accompanies the multitude of events packed into a week.  Between baseball and other activities, we really don’t get to utilize the property until summer, but still, it’s much needed R&R when we arrive and collapse on the deck, soaking in the sun and the sounds. 

Beyond our getaway, I find I can escape the demands of the world when I’m in the writing zone.  When I’m in that special place where words spill from the keyboard at a frenetic pace, and they paint the picture I’m seeing in my head – that’s the sweet spot and there’s nothing quite like it. 

If I had to choose between our beach home and writing, I’d have a difficult time because while one gives me peace and relaxation, the other sparks a life in me that is hard to quantify and I’m not sure I could shut off the stories building in my mind anyhow now that the floodgates have been opened.

So what is your refuge?  The beach?  A mountain cottage? A quiet stream in the woods? A good book? 

Thanks for swinging in to listen to me babble a little.  If you’re in the market for a good mystery, check out my new release – Crystal Illusions:
Assistant D.A. Carolyn Hastings has an uncanny knack for putting away criminals. With one of the best prosecution records in recent history, her future as Manhattan’s next District Attorney looks certain. But her sixth sense for winning cases threatens to work against her when she starts seeing a string of murders through the eyes of the killer.

With suspects piling up as fast as bodies, and the motives of those closest to her questionable, Carolyn doesn’t know who to trust. When the FBI assigns Special Agent Steve Williams to the case, Carolyn discloses her deepest fear - that the man she loves may be the one responsible for the city’s latest crime spree.

The only thing Steve knows for sure is Carolyn has an inexplicable psychic connection with the killer, and all the victims have one thing in common…a striking resemblance to Carolyn Hastings.

And he knows it’s only a matter of time before this psychopath knocks on her door.

Taylor has a strong thriller where every single character has reasonable doubt flashing like a neon sign hanging over them, and right from the beginning you are trying to guess who the killer really is. Gripping, rich and magnificent - crime whodunnits don't get any better than this!Author Poppet / Gemma Rice – Author of Quislings, Blindsided, Djinn and Dusan

J.E. Taylor is a writer, a publisher, an editor, a manuscript formatter, a mother, a wife and a business analyst. She lives in Connecticut with her husband and two children and during the summer months enjoys her weekends on the shore in southern Maine.

Visit her at and check out her latest release Crystal Illusions available on Amazon and other e-book venues.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Flashback Friday and Recommended Read:)

April 1992:
The weather was getting warmer, and the spouse returned to work:)  Baby K was now four months old, and I received a phone call, asking if I'd agree to babysit for a Parent's Group.  It would be the first Monday of the month, and I think K enjoyed being around all the activity the first time I took him (there were five kids, ranging from age 2-5, with various disabilities).  Plus, I was meeting more people in our community, and attending church once again.

Recommended Read:)
Remember back on the 11th, when I posted I had a good excuse for not writing?  Jean very nicely sent me the sequel to Sunny Days, Moonlit Nights, and once again, I had a very hard time putting down April's Kiss in the Moonlight!  If you'll remember, I've been a little sleep-deprived this week, and off schedule.  Well, deciding to open AKITM at 10:30 pm 'to read just one more chapter' was a mistake.  I had to force myself to put it down two hours and four chapters later!  And then took it with me to appointments and upset my daughter because 'I'm almost finished with the chapter; then we'll go to the car.'

So yes, this is another Definite Recommended Read:)  Open only when you have a large block of time, lol!

I'm on the last story in Flavors Of Ecstasy 4:)  I've enjoyed most of the books in this antho, and nearly skipped the final one, Stick Up, but decided it was the late hour affecting my judgment.  I'll read it today, and then start Joy Ride by Desiree Holt:)

This weekend's Agenda:
We're setting up for District Pinewood Derby tonight, with the event being held tomorrow.  Then depending on what time we finish, I'll either go see BC Brown perform in Willy Wonka or wait until the Sunday show.  Either way, I'll have more pictures to show you next week:)

Thursday, April 19, 2012

After The Signing....

Brannick had gotten bored about halfway through the room and took off on his own.  He found Rog's Pub about two miles away, so after BC and I left the hotel, we joined him.  What did we do before cell phones and texting, lol?

The three of us relaxing after appetizers.

We decided to catch the train to Wicker Park, and wander around before finding a place to eat.  I bought two more books at Myopic Books, an awesome used bookstore crammed full of shelving units upstairs and down!  We also went in a hat shop, and found this antique typewriter.  We wandered through a couple of vintage clothing stores, and had a drink at another bar.  It felt good to get off our feet again, before trying to find a place for dinner.

We found The Blue Line Pub and had more drinks plus sandwiches.  BC had chicken; Brannick, BBQ, and I had a lamb burger with smoked gouda cheese.  I'd not had a lamb burger since the last time attending the State Fair:)  I wasn't too cracked up about their garlic friench fries, though.  My drink was a Vanilla Shake martini:  Chocolate vodka, Bailey's, and cream, plus garnished with chocolate:)

BC and Brannick:)

Before catching the train, we stopped at The Tavern for another drink.  No, I'm not intoxicated; just wanted to inject a little personality into my photo!  B had given both of us white roses from a street vendor:)

Snapshot of the Wicker Park area while we were waiting for the train back to Rosemont.

Another view from the platform

Proof we rode the train:)

Do you think I've got enough reading material?

And that all this......

Fit into this back pack?   We saw women toting rolling suitcases.  Maybe I'll take one with me next time.  I'm surprised my back wasn't killing me by the time we left the hotel!

And now you know....the rest of the story:)

Scroll down for more pictures, or go over to the RBRU blog for a condensed version:)

Tomorrow:  Easter memories of 1992:)

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Authors We Missed:( RT Chicago Pt. 3

I'd hoped Cindy would have Djinni and The Geek on hand, but I settled for Dragon in the System and her vampires:)  She was seated not far from Brynn Paulin, who told us Cindy was on a panel discussion at 2pm; it was now closer to three o'clock when we arrived at this point.

BC had wanted to meet Kelly Armstrong, and we somehow missed her in the first few minutes.  Her table was along the side, and there must have been a crowd of people gathered in front of her. Plus, it turned out we'd misread the seating chart!

Sue Grafton's table had a line which snaked past several rows.  Apparently, visitors with certain wristband numbers could only be in her line during a specific time.  And since we were late arriving, I opted not to wait in line.  She did leave some signed copies of V, so I bought one for my mom, who turns 70 this year.

Sabrina Jeffries was another author I wanted to meet.  And again, her table was mobbed.

If you don't get to meet your favorite author, why not give yourself a thrill and sit in their chair?

We didn't get this brilliant idea until we arrived at Charlaine Harris and Anne Rice's tables!

Kenzie has some 'out takes' on her blog; why don't you hop over for some more stories?

Currently Reading:  Finished Tease The Cougar antho last night, and LOVED it!  Recommended Read:)  And I kept waiting for one of the women to accidentally leave their laptop open to the blog and have the man get upset by the 'TMI' postings!  Didn't happen; I guess my world of 'be careful what you post because it WILL get back to your S.O. at some point' only exists around here?  I need to find the others in this series; I'm curious about Monica's story now.

Next up:  The awesome Jean Joachim sent me the sequel to Sunny Days, Moonlit Nights, April's Kiss in the Moonlight.  I reached Ch 4 yesterday during errands, and had to force myself to put it down at 12:30 last night at the beginning of Ch 8!  If I attain my goals today, I'll reward myself with more of this story.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Terrific Tuesday With Rue Allyn:)

Apologies; I'd forgotten I'd scheduled an interview for today!  For those who tuned in for Part Two of the RT trip, please visit Kenzie's Place:)

Welcome!  Please introduce yourself and tell us about your latest release.
Hi. I’m Rue Allyn.  My latest release is Off Limits, an erotic romance from Red Sage Publishing and the first in my sexy sailor series.  Here’s a quick blurb:  For Senior Chief Hank O’Mara no woman could compare with the sea until he met Lieutenant Bethany Morton. Only the sea could draw two passionate people of such opposite backgrounds together, and only US Navy regulations could keep them apart. Because fraternization between Officer and enlisted is forbidden, both Beth and Hank do their utmost to resist the passion and love growing between them. However, love proves stronger than either the sea or the USN. If they are to be together, Hank must sacrifice his career and Beth will risk the destruction of her professional dreams.

Have you ever had an idea for a story which scared you after you began writing it?
Only in the best way.  I’ve had several story ideas that caused me to wonder if I could do the story justice with my writing.  I’m still working on a number of those.

How much research do you do?  Do you research first and then write, or do you write first, then research as needed?  
I believe that too much research is not enough, so I am always researching.  Right now I anticipate writing a contemporary romance with a Native American character, so I’m reading everything I can get my hands on about that character’s culture and talking to anyone who will share with me about that culture.  I will continue my research until I send the manuscript out for consideration and maybe after, since I might discover new material that I need to include on revision.  Research is an ongoing process and is never done.

Is there any message you want readers to take from reading your work?  
Life is short, live it.

Are you a plotter or a pantser?  And have you ever had a story take on a life of its own?
I guess you could say I’m a pantser with a little plotter thrown in.  If a story doesn’t take on a life of its own, then I’m not doing my job correctly.  LOL:)  I know what you mean!

How long did it take for you to be published?  
I started writing professionally in 1996 and received my first offer in 1999.  The book (no longer in print) came out in 2001.

If you could go back and tell yourself anything when you first began your writing career, what would you say?  
It’s all about the reader.  Give the reader a great story and everything else will fall into place.  Oh yes, be very patient.

Laptop or pen and ink?  What are your ‘must-haves’ when writing?  
Laptop and music, that’s pretty much all I really need.

Who are your favorite authors?  Who would you say influenced you the most? 
Chaucer, Shakespear, Dante.  Of the three, I’d give most credit to Chaucer.  Reading his work and studying his life convinced me that ‘literary’ writing is for academics.  Chaucer and Shakespeare wrote for the masses, for entertainment.  Dante was a bit different.  I believe that his primary audience was God.  I’m not certain I could or would ever aspire to that height.  The Canterbury Tales by Chaucer was my favorite book in my World Lit class:)

What would your readers be surprised to learn about you?  
I answered this somewhere else recently, so I hope I don’t duplicate my answer or reveal too much.  I hope my readers would be surprised to learn that I think I’m boring.

For Fun:
 Are there any Easter scenes in your books? 

What is your favorite Easter memory?  
Singing the Easter cantata in my church choir.

Do you garden, or do you have a black thumb like me? 
 I tend to have a black thumb, so I’ve learned not to keep house plants.  In the yard I only plant stuff that will survive being neglected.

Excerpt from Off Limits:
Chapter One
  That’s not a batter; that’s a walking wet-dream.  Through the grid of his catcher’s mask, Senior Chief Gunner’s Mate Hank—The Wall—O’Mara watched the opposing team’s last minute addition to the roster approach the plate.  Usually, he liked his women on the long, lean side.  Small women made him feel awkward in his solid 6’ 4” frame.
For this woman, he’d put up with feeling awkward.  She had all the right pieces in all the right places—curves, bumps, satin-skin, ocean deep green eyes and dewy, pink, kiss-me-naked lips.  He licked his own lips at the thought and gave a low, soundless whistle.
Down boy.  He crouched, holding his mitt at half-mast.  The last inning of the command fast-pitch softball championship is no time to get distracted.  From the look of the batter, we’ve got no worries.  So calm down and concentrate.  You can put your moves on her after she strikes out.
As she settled in at the plate, Hank couldn’t help but appreciate the compact lines of the woman.  He ran his eyes boldly up her trim ankles and sleek calves, past slender thighs, and round hips to a tiny waist.  All encased in skin-hugging denim.  Above that waist, the gentle swell of her breasts arrested his inventory.  Bigger than a mouthful, smaller than a handful, they gave a pleasant distortion to the hot pink letters, L-T.-S-L-U-G-G-E-R, scrawled across her black T-shirt.  Resisting the urge to discover the exact color, shape, texture and taste of those twin mounds caused Hank no small amount of pain.
Uh oh.  The meaning of that lushly stretched phrase finally registered.  Lt. Slugger.  Why did the wet dream have to be an officer wet dream?
Off duty, off base, he didn’t mind an occasional outing with a female sailor, even one with bars on her collar, but he drew the line at climbing into bed with one.  Sleeping with officers was just plain stupid, and 
Hank wasn’t stupid.  What a shame that God created Lt. Slugger with beds in mind.
She shifted, and her breasts swayed.  Mesmerized, Hank licked his lips again.  Somebody coughed.  Still 
Hank stared.  I bet she’s soft.  Real soft.
Another cough, louder this time, followed by, “Hey Wall.  Play ball, will ya.”
Hank shook his head and raised his mitt.  “Uh, yeah, sure thing Ump.”  As he lifted his gaze, he caught speculation in the Lieutenant’s misty green eyes.  He looked away and focused on flashing signals to the pitcher. 
Hank motioned for a straight pitch.  With a batter this small, the worst they’d have to sweat about was a line drive.  Even the rookie right fielder could handle that, especially with the rocket he had for an arm.
But Hank figured he didn’t have to fret on the rookie.  The Lieutenant couldn’t possibly have much power in her slim shoulders.  Even if she hit the ball, those shapely legs weren’t long enough to carry her very far, very fast.  She’d be out before she got to first base.
He balanced on the balls of his feet and nodded to the pitcher.  The guy wound up and let go with a straight slow ball that crossed the middle of the zone.  The Lt. swung and fanned air.  The ball smacked into Hank’s mitt.
He grinned and raised his gaze to hers.  Her eyes filled with a sea of cool assessment.  He lofted the ball toward the pitcher and cocked an eyebrow.  “Too fast, Ma’am?”
She blinked, quirked one corner of her mouth and settled into position again, giving a sexy little wiggle to her hips.  Hank felt his jaw go slack.  She turned her head back to him.  The action rubbed pale, silky curls across her nape, just where Hank imagined placing a tiny bite. “Not me, Chief?  How about you?”
“Uh, no Ma’am.”  His grin broadened, and he aimed a quick glance at her hips.  “You’ve got a nice swing, real smooth and easy.”
She smiled and once more blinked spiky black lashes at him.  Her voice came at him low and inside.  “Why thank you, Chief.”

His heart skipped.
The ump shouted, “Play ball!”
The Lieutenant turned away and resettled her stance.
Hank signaled for another strike.
She tipped it back.
The ball plopped gently into his mitt once more.  Damn, this is too easy.  “With all due respect, Ma’am, that’s our best pitcher out there.  He can’t throw ‘em much slower.”
She gave Hank an easy grin.  “I like mine hard and fast, sailor.”  Her smoke and whiskey voice licked at his ears, then bit down hard.
Every nerve in his body stood on alert.  How could he refuse a challenge like that?  “Whatever you say, Ma’am.”
Hank sent the ball back to the pitcher and watched the petite officer sway into her stance.  He crouched.  Then signaled for the outfield to move in.  When they had, he gave the sign for low, fast and away.
The pitcher nodded, wound up, and let ‘er rip.  Hank heard the bat crack and stared as the ball took high flight into right field.  The batter sprinted toward first.  Hank kept the ball and the rookie in sight.  Back, back, keep going.  The kid back peddled, his eyes on the ball.
No!  Hank knew the moment his teammate looked into the sun and lost the ball.  It fell to earth ten feet to the rookie’s rear and bounced hard all the way into the farthest corner of right field.  By the time the kid found the ball and was set to throw, Lt. Slugger rounded second and picked up speed.
We’re still okay, Hank told himself.  If the rookie sends it home, we’re fine.  Hank tensed and set himself to catch the throw from the kid.
What the…?  Damn rookies, he cursed silently as he watched the right fielder fire the ball at the third baseman.  With the runner nearly at third, he’d never make it.
“Cut it off and throw it home, Joe.”  Hank yelled to the shortstop.  Joe would get the job done, they’d been playing ball together ever since A-school.
The Lieutenant sailed onto third.  Joe leapt.  He landed hard, nearly losing his balance.  The runner kept going.  How could such a small woman move so fast, Hank wondered and set himself to catch Joe’s bullet.
The ball hit the edge of Hank’s mitt.  He reached for it.  Felt it settle into the leather and turned.
The woman steamed on.  Damn she’s a game little thing, but she’s up against The Wall.  Just where I want her.  Hank grinned and waited, defending home plate as if attacked by an entire fleet. 
 Crunch time!
Five feet away, the runner should have stopped.  The only way she could score would be to literally knock him off his feet.  Hank’s grin broadened.  She’d never make it.  Nobody ever broke through The Wall.
Just as Hank decided the game was in the bag, her ball cap flew off.  A blinding light flashed out, surrounding her head.  A stream of red-gold floated on the air behind her.  He’d never seen hair like that.  Hank blinked at the sight and leaned back.
She blasted for home.
The next thing Hank knew, the ball rolled on the ground, and warm sweaty female filled his arms.  His senses registered the softness of her breasts.  A fresh minty scent teased his nostrils.  Pink lips hovered close to his cheek.  Sea green gleamed between sooty lashes.  A throaty laugh bubbled against his ears.  Hank sat up.  The Lieutenant dropped to the ground.  He placed his mitt over his lap before his body could tell tales.
“I did it.  I did it.”  The woman chortled and turned over in the dust beside him.  “I knocked down The Wall.  The command’s very own immovable object, and I knocked him down.”

Buy Off Limits here

Monday, April 16, 2012

Destination: RT Chicago:)

Fellow author and BGF/P (Best Gal Friend/Pal) BC Brown, her SO (Brannick), and I left around 8am Saturday morning.  Destination?  Chicago, Romantic Times (RT) Convention!  One wrongly-filled McD's sweet tea, one pit stop for breakfast and to confirm we were headed in the right direction (we'd missed a turn and thankfully the person we asked was a local trucker!  He drew us a map for a short cut and sent us on our way:), plus a wrong turn on said short cut, and we found ourselves on the I-90/I-94 loop!

I had stupidly left my camera in the back seat with the slumbering Brannick, so BC has pictures of the yellow submarine we saw in someone's yard, plus another picture I asked her to take, which is currently choosing to not be remembered!

Anyway, we arrived safely and in one piece, and here is the Hyatt sign where the convention took place.

We arrived; somehow we got it into our heads the festivities were being held in the convention center across the street, so we drove and extra three blocks (or maybe 5, depending on how far back the hotel was!) to the Convention Center Parking Garage.  And through trial and error, finally figured out how to get IN to the garage, plus where to park!  If you're not familiar with this garage, it's rather poorly marked, IMHO!  And getting out was another oops; instead of a live attendant, you pay by credit card to get out.  Problem was, both BC and myself had no $$ left on our cards by the time we left; only cash.  Thankfully a nice person in the car behind us was gracious enough to accept our cash and inserted her card so we could leave:)

This is the movie theater which is across from the garage.  I thought it was pretty:)

And inside the Hyatt, there is this huge sculpture:)  This was taken from the 2nd floor and looking up.

So that was the first part of the trip:)  Pt. 2 tomorrow will introduce you to some fantastic authors:)  Please don't shake my blog and yell 'Show me the authors!'  I promise you won't regret the next three days:)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Saturday's Stupid Saying

This is for all my techno-challenged friends:)

Tech Support:  I need you to right-click on the open desktop.

Customer:  OK.

Tech Support:  Did you get a pop-up menu?

Customer:  No.

Tech Support:  OK.  Right-click again.  Do you see a pop-up menu?

Customer.  No.

Tech Support:  OK sir.  Can you tell me what you have done up until this point?

Customer:  Sure, you told me to write 'click' and I wrote 'click'.

actual call to a computer helpline

I'm off to Chicago!  Leaving around 7:30am and going up for the Giant Book Signing.  Hoping for good weather; a good time, and coming home with lots of books and cemented friendships among those of you I've been chatting with since 2007.  I hope we 'click' in person as we seem to have over the 'net.  And even better....Sue Grafton, my mom's favorite author, will be in attendance, so I'm really hoping to get a picture taken with her, plus an autographed book for Mom.  It will be an awesome birthday gift this year!  Charlaine Harris will be there also.  I've not read any of her books, but I think I have one in the TBR pile of paperbacks.

It's nearly 7 and the coffee has finished perking.  I need to finish getting ready; drink my coffee; and wait for Billie and Brannick will be here in thirty minutes.  I'll post pics on FB tomorrow, and will sprinkle a few throughout the next week:)  That's assuming, of course, I remember I have it with me!!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Flashback Friday

April 1982:
I did get selected for a slot in the Color Guard again, and was thrilled:)  K and I began making plans for Band Camp, such as taking boat rides during the free times; sitting together at meals; walks after dark until 'curfew'.  During 6th period Band, I was still performing the harder pieces out of the back of the book, while everyone else had reached the center.  Mr. M told me to go ahead and sign up for Concert Band the next year; I was much more advanced than he'd thought, and apologized for not having me try out sooner.

I finally cornered B about his attitude, and he informed me his friends thought I was only friendly with him because of his b-ball status.  I rolled my eyes and said, 'If you remember, I liked you before I found out you were on the team, and afterward, told you we couldn't be friends!  You're the one who insisted on it, not me."  And walked off.

He later began seeking me out in the halls again, but the damage had been done.  And when he called me for the first time, I said, "If you're so insecure and believing what your friends say, then we really have nothing to talk about."  He got mad and hung up on me.

Shopping for Easter clothing that year was a frustrating experience.  I tried on two dresses and was happy.  I think my sis tried on every dress in the store before finding one she liked!  Mom would bring her a dress in a different size, then also two or three others, which she would then try on, but would need a particular one in another size.  Mom would head out to the racks and the process would repeat itself.  I was bored and wished I'd brought a book or Mom would let me go down to either Waldenbooks or Musicland.  Nope; she didn't want to 'lose' me, so she made me stay with her.  Finally, W settled on a dress; Mom paid; we left.

Present Day:
Edits:  Made it all the way to page 94 last night, then decided to 'spice' things up and hit a creative wall.  My writing style has changed, as far as the sex scenes go, so trying to write 'with the bedroom door open slightly' as opposed to 'door wide open', AND keep it fresh is a challenge.  But I've had sleep, so I think I'm up for it today.

RT12:  Gearing up for our trek to Chicago tomorrow:)  I've got my list of authors and books I plan to buy; authors I want to meet; the directions to get there; and what I plan to wear. Bought a pair of black flats, since I have no 'dressy' shoes, other than my 1.5" boots (and lately they've been hurting my feet if I wear them too long), and wore them all day yesterday, to make sure they'll last me an eighteen-hour day.  I plan to wear them again today, just to make sure.  The spouse has promised me some money on my charge card, as well as some cash, so hopefully he'll go to the bank today.

Baby Shower:  I have to go down and put the deposit for daughter's shower, to ensure the venue.  More on this later:)

Currently Reading:  Finished Hunger Games the other day, and was a bit nauseated by the way the 'game' finished.  And now I'm wondering what happens in the next two books, so may have to go buy them.  Also received a surprise in the mail:  Linked by Barb Huffert arrived:)  I'll probably start on it today or next week; depends on if I have time today.  I read the e-book version a year or so ago.  Also forgot to mention:  I finished Tracy DeVore's Scent of The Wolf, and it was good, in the scary-what's-going-to-happen-next kind of way.  I like my Wolves a bit less scary, so if you're into the old school werewolves, pick this one up and see what YOU think:)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Karaoke Thursday

Had a BLAST last night:)  Now that Dart League is over, and Cheryl mentioned last week Wednesday nights were pretty much dead, B and I decided to show up around 9:30 and see if she would let us sing earlier.  And she did:)

We got the party started, and soon others were putting in their requests.  In two hours, I managed to sing six songs:

Bleeding Love (Leona Lewis):  I still need to work on the ending of this song!  And it was a good warm up:)

Born To Be My Baby (Bon Jovi):  I might do this one better if we can raise the key a bit; it's still too low for me.

Bop (Dan Seals):  Tried this one again with the key bumped higher.  Still too low in spots, so I'm officially scrapping this one.

Boys of Summer (Don Hendley):  Raised the key a full step and while I was comfortable singing it, it's not one of my favorites.

Call Me When You're Sober (Evanescence):  Nailed this one last week; this time I could hear myself.  Received a round of applause, plus the request to sing this one more often!  My Happy Dance moment of the evening:)

Calling All Angels (Train):  I love this song, and wondering maybe if bumping it up a half step will help in some spots???  This is my absolute favorite Train song, so keeping this one.

On the agenda today, I'm still working on Balancing Act's edits.  I managed to rework an argument yesterday that occurs 'off-camera' and is repeated the next day 'on-camera', so after I fix the transition, then I have to make sure the second argument isn't too repetitive.  And hopefully things will flow smoothly and I can send it back.  Is this the way the entire series is going to go?  The odd-numbered books being a snap to revise, while the even-numbered ones have me questioning my sanity, lol?

Sigh......and you thought being a writer was easy.......;)

Tomorrow:  Memories of April 1982.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

So I Have A Good Excuse For Not Posting Yesterday....

Received this book in the mail on Monday, and yes, after posting my goals and staring blankly at my MS, I shut off the computer and started reading it.

And could. Not. Put. It. Down!  I literally had to  be dragged away from The Birches (setting of this book) because the family was about to go Angry Lynch Mob on me if I didn't get up and fix dinner.  I was already about to start Ch 15.  Yes, you saw that right.  I was on page 108/185.

And then decided to watch Celebrity Apprentice before any 'spoilers' appeared either on FB or twitter.

Tuesday:  Read all the way to page 180 during the daughter's half hour appointment.  Yes, she refused to stay in the waiting room with me while I finished the final 5 pages, so AGAIN I was forced away.  (Damn teenager.....can't she see her mom's occupied?  LOL!)  Came home; took her to school, and curled up to finish it.

WOW!  It's been a loooong time since I've been so engrossed in a story!  Jean does an awesome job of setting the scene, the tone, and weaving this beautiful love story.  I chuckled at an 'innocent' mistake; grimaced at a 'predictable' scene, but yes, it helped move the plot forward; and was thrilled with the pace of the ending.  Nothing rushed, and very sweet.

And while going to her blog to swipe this picture, I discover (drum roll please....) there's a SEQUEL!  Oh happy day!

I will definitely be buying this one!

So there you have it, my latest book on a short list of 'To-Be-Read-Again'.  Excellent job, Ms Jean!  A Most Definite Recommended Read from this fan:)  You can buy both books here, as well as her others:)

And the prequel is free when you click the link on her blog.  So what are you waiting for?  Head over to Jean Joachim's links above and be sure to block out PLENTY of time.  You will be sucked into these stories and deadlines, family commitments, and chores forgotten.

On The Edit Front:
I did manage to get another four pages accomplished yesterday.  Yes, small, but I was kinda occupied yesterday!!  Jean made me forget about my own story, lol!  Today I hope to be more productive.  Laundry is finished; my only appointment is later this afternoon, and tonight I have choir and karaoke.  So expect a karaoke update tomorrow:)

Monday, April 9, 2012

I Am A Writer.....

With that stated.... 

What is that I really want out of this career? 
I want to see my name on a book.  I want people who send me letters or stop me on the street to let me know how much they enjoy what I've written.  I want to sell out of my entire inventory whenever I do a public signing.  And yes, I want to be able to support myself 'when I grow up'.

How can you make that happen? 
Keep writing books; promote myself online and in person; I will participate in blog hops/interviews/chats;

How much time are you going to devote to the "job" each day/week? 
A few hours each morning for social networking; more in the evening if able.  Writing in the afternoon.

How will you make yourself accountable? 
I just wrote these goals on a public blog.  If I slack off, I know my readers and friends will figuratively poke me if they see me (ie:  send me an email) and say "Hey....whatcha doing?"

How much time do you want to give yourself to accomplish these goals?
I'm already off to a good start.  I've got seven published books, with four more due out this year (or only three), and I need to get off this apathy I feel toward promotion.  I seriously spent more time promoting myself when I only had ONE book out!  What the heck is going on with me?

Back to the question at hand:  I figure I've got another twenty years before finances become an issue again; maybe fifteen.  I'm 46, and the rest of my AU series should be out by the time I hit fifty.  And by then, I will have hoped to accomplish some name recognition, plus built up a solid readership under both pen names.

What are you going to do when you reach a goal? 

Drink wine; go out for a nice meal.  Sing karaoke.  I know how to 'pamper' myself!

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Happy Easter!

Christ the Lord is risen today

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Saturday's Stupid Sayings

Warning label on a Roll-A-Hose garden hose:

May Cause Cancer In California

I guess people in the other 49 states are safe?

Happy Easter; today we're coloring eggs and I need to double check the supplies for all six baskets and go get anything else I need.

Plus, laundry; finding a place for all the canned goods we bought yesterday; and working on edits.  I'm singing tonight at the 9pm service, then have to turn around on Sunday morning and sing at the 8am service!  And will probably have to sit through the 11am service with the family.....(*head desk*)

Have a good weekend!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Productive vs Unproductive

Currently Reading:  Symbiosis by Tracy DeVore.  An interesting 'what if' tale that explains Ancient Egypt:)  And Recommended Read:  Maiden's Promise, Tracy's Regency I told you about earlier in the week.  Go pick this one up!
(Admit it; you've missed this segment of my blog!  LOL:)

I'm beginning to think 'productivity' is a state of mind.

I felt 'unproductive' yesterday when 5pm rolled around and I realized I'd not been near a computer since 10am.  But if you look at everything I did, it WAS a productive day.  Just not how I wanted to spend my time.

The daughter's dental appointment was supposed to last 90 minutes, and I thought I'd taken enough reading material with me.  But I was so caught up in the story, I finished it PLUS next week's TV Guide in an hour.  Great; I'm now stuck with watching the rest of Price Is Right, the noon news, and what little I can stomach of Y&R without getting sucked into to 'WTF is going on in Genoa City?'  Fortunately, daughter appeared during the commercial break after the 'teaser' and opening credits.  I don't care about who's conspiring against Victor or if so-and-so will take Jack and Jabo's offer....I really don't!

Then since it was too late to take daughter to school, we went home and picked up the spouse, who then drove us to Ft. Branch.  Good; I was able to nap a bit.  Thirty seconds after we arrive, I'm back in the car, and we notice gas is ten cents cheaper.  We fill up the tank.

Next stop, Sonic.  I love their bacon cheeseburgers and chocolate malts.  We eat, then head for the youngling's school; we are barely on time.  I drop in to see the nurse and sign the paperwork, then head down to the classroom.  I tell her we're going back to the meds he was on in Feb; she exclaims 'Hallelujia!', then we talk about his progress.  And yes; it looks as if retaining him will be in his best interests.   And yes, he can have her again, so she can more effectively chart his progress.

SU picks me up; we go find out which pharmacy will have his meds.  An hour and 3 pharmacies later, I'm home.  I cook the chicken for dinner, check FB and emails, and then toddle off for a thirty minute nap.  Yes; I'm tired.

Forty-five minutes later, I'm rudely jolted from my slumber by the SU exclaiming 'We forgot about his shot!'

I jump up, grab his standing order and a book, and we take off for the hospital.  Too late to check him in at the usual spot, so we head over to the ER and check him in that way.  Another half an hour passes.  As soon as youngling receives his shot, I get the okay to walk over to the church for choir practice.  I call the daughter, who informs me dinner is already waiting for us.  I tell the spouse; kiss youngling, and head over to church.

9:30pm:  Choir practice runs over, since I've missed a crucial song we need to practice.  And since this is the first time I've sung it, our choir leader is thrilled when I tell her I know the notes I'm supposed to be singing by the 3rd verse.  Now if I can remember them again when we sing it.....:)  I head home, again on foot.  I warm up the rest of dinner, then the daughter reveals she wants to go shopping.  And the youngling's meds haven't been picked up yet.  So I drag myself out the door and she drives us first to the pharmacy, then to the store.

We're home by eleven-thirty, and all I want to do is kick my shoes off and fall into bed.  But first I scroll through FB again, and clean out my mail.  Then I relinquish the laptop to the daughter and go fall into bed.

So.....was I productive or not?  From a writer's standpoint, no.  A reader's standpoint, yes.  And as a parent, yes.

So maybe there are days I'm strictly in parent "Taxi Mom' mode, and others, like today, I can put on my writer's hat?

Let's face it; if I could afford to give up sleeping altogether, I'd be able to get everything done!

But I value my 'pillow time'.  So what about you?  Are there days when you feel 'unproductive', but in reality you're just wearing another hat?