Friday, January 29, 2016

Flashback Friday: Unexpected 'Staycation'

Jan 2006:
A and J had gone to spend the weekend with their mom; my daughter was having spending the weekend with a friend; spouse and K were on a Boy Scout camping trip.  I called a friend and asked if she'd like some time with the baby, then drove him over and prepared to spend the next several hours watching my Oprah 20th Anniversary DVD and eating potato skins:)

I had an enjoyable time, just vegging out, and when a phone call arrived from another friend, inviting me to an early dinner, I jumped at the chance for some 'Adult Conversation' time, instead of being in Mommy Mode.  I didn't know when I'd get the chance again to hang out with friends and not have my kids tagging along!

Next Month:  Spouse Takes A Trip!

Present Day:
I'm off to the Indpls Women's Expo this weekend!  I'll be leaving bright and early in the morning, so no karaoke this week, unless I go with the stepdaughter up in Indy.

Have a great weekend!

Friday, January 22, 2016

Flashback Friday: Crossroads

Jan 1996:
Recap:  Our storage unit had been broken into after Thanksgiving and several items, including all the Christmas presents I'd bought, were stolen.  Heartbroken, furious, and feeling extremely violated, I demanded we  look  for someplace new.  Also, New Year's Eve Day brought a phone call from an old friend, who said he'd be up to visit me on Jan 5th.  I was thrilled!

After spending several hours with my friend TS, which had included a trip to the Olive Garden for an early dinner, I returned home to find an irritated spouse, who was none too pleased by the fact I'd walked out the door with T and never once invited him or the kids.  T and I shared a secret past, which I'd never told him (and that story will be told in two more months), so didn't feel I would be able to speak freely in front of my spouse and kids.  T was also married, and I'd met his wife, so knew their history.  We'd spent three hours reminiscing, talking about what had happened in the six years since we'd last seen each other, and sharing marital woes.

When I arrived home, the apartment was seven-thirty at night!  D had put both kids to bed early and had locked me out.  He let me in....and we proceeded to argue for the next three hours.  I even went so far as to tell him that come morning, I'd take the kids to my mom's and we'd end this issue.  He looked startled, then told me we'd talk about it in the morning.

I was furious; I'd had a wonderful time, and now he'd ripped  away the good feelings and replaced them with anger.  Instead of going to bed, I was hit with a bout of insomnia and spent the evening in front of the computer, working on either #3 or 4 of the Arbor U series.

Tensions remained tight between us the rest of the month, and by Super Bowl Sunday, we weren't even speaking to each other.  My mother had been awarded guardianship over my great-grandmother, who enlisted my help in looking for an assisted-living facility for her.  This gave me a much-needed break from the daily arguments with my spouse.

Next Month:
Cleaning out Grandma's house and a disastrous Valentine's Day.

Present Day:
Don't know if we're supposed to get more snow or if the system missed us:)  Today, I'm doing laundry and giving the youngling his History test over the first seven presidents.

IF I am able to go to karaoke tomorrow, the following songs will be sung:
Jar of Hearts-Christina Perri
Juke Box Hero-Foreigner
Just Between You and Me-Lou Graham
Bad Romance-Lady Gaga

Have a great weekend and stay warm!

Friday, January 15, 2016

Flashback Friday: Heartache and New Distraction

Jan 1986:
Story Recap:  I'd become close friends with BWG and looked forward to spending more time with him.  Despite a few uncertain months of getting to know him, I thought things had smoothed out in December, and looked forward to seeing him again when I returned from Christmas Break.

I returned from Break, excited to share my first-time winter Florida experience and ready to tackle my new semester of classes.  There was just one problem: BWG was nowhere to be found.  He'd moved out of his cousin's house, and no one would tell me where or why.  I began classes with the knowledge my hopes were again shattered and I was facing Tuesday night dances again partnerless.

The bright spot was having my roommates, EY and BJG in one of my classes:)  We quizzed each other and kept each other on track, but I was disappointed:  Due to the size of our class, Mr. D said he would only be handing out multiple choice and T/F tests instead of his usual essay ones.  I always did better on the essay tests, having made 'As' in all the classes I took under him (and usually w/o having to read the chapters!).  Now, I had to read the material and struggled to make a low 'B' on the tests.

Another potential bright spot reared its head later in the month.  BJG's 'boyfriend' sent word he was coming down to see her, and for a week, all we heard from BJG was 'Whew!  Now I can break up with him and get my ring back!'  She'd also apparently talked me up, and he was looking forward to meeting all of us.

When he arrived, I wasn't interested.  Their 'break up' consisted of BJG wanting to see her ring; he handed it to her; she placed it back on her own hand.  We then went to lunch and suddenly he began paying attention to ME.  What sort of guy does that, comes down to see one girl, then takes interest in another, an hour later?  I decided I wasn't going to give him any encouragement, but to see how far he'd take this sudden 'interest'.

After an afternoon of laughing, talking, playing cards, listening to music, and this very warm male paying an awful lot of attention to me, I did something I'm not proud of.  Instead of telling him 'no thanks', I returned to his motel room at the end of the day, knowing full well we were both on the rebound.  I really didn't think anything would come of it, but the next morning agreed it was nice to say I had someone (never mind the fact I'd received another letter from S that he still loved me!).

Still, I continued my downward spiral of making wrong choices.

Jan 29, 1986, we were all sitting around watching an exciting half hour of Loving, and the killer was just about to be revealed when all of a sudden, with two minutes left, the network flipped a switch.

"We interrupt this show to bring you an ABC Special Report..."

Space shuttle Challenger, which carried the 1st teacher in space, Christa McCaulliffe, had exploded within seconds of take off.

Our first reaction was typical.  Couldn't they have waited TWO MORE MINUTES to tell us the news???

Then as we settled down and realized the impact, we skipped our afternoon classes, ordered either pizza or sandwiches from Italian Village, and spent the rest of the day watching the news coverage of the accident.

Present Day:
The weather's been cold, but began warming up on Wednesday and yesterday.  Today, though, the temps are supposed to head back down, and rain/snow coming back in this weekend.

IF I go to karaoke tomorrow night, and brave the 20 degrees, I'll do the following:
Jacob's Ladder
Jar of Hearts
Jesus Take The Wheel

Stay warm this weekend!

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Welcome Iryna K Combs

I have a treat for you today!  Brand new (and former SCP) author Iryna K Combs is here to share her debut novel, Black Wings.  Give her a warm welcome:)

A new time. A new planet. A new world. New technologies. Two new humanoid species. A new war.

The two species separate, but in the removal, some of the best are left behind among the worst. Captured and held as slaves, they are treated cruelly for entertainment. Torture. Pain.

Annabel, endures a year of such cruelty, kept alive only by way of syringes which, while healing, cause a greater agony. She discovers a secret held by their leader, and decides to help her own kind by escaping–even if it means a final death, preferable to the life she has endured.

Her escape succeeds, and she joins her own kind at the other end of the planet. Among her new friends she meets many who help her adjust to their happier life. Will Annabel find romance? Or will another war break her down?

Annabel stopped at the end of the pier, and covered her face with her hands as tears rolled down her cheeks. That emotional moment had triggered memories from the Old Land and the Varkins. She remembered Kate, and how she had promised her freedom but was not able to keep that promise. She remembered her family she had lost, and her boyfriend who’d betrayed her. She wished the Big Change had never happened and she was still a human, with her family and friends. She thought she missed the Old Land, even the Varkins. She would never have thought she would think again about that dark place. Annabel stood at the pier and cried as the wind was blowing her tears away. She heard footsteps approaching her from behind.

"Excuse me?" One of the fishermen was talking to her, a crying stranger. "Something happened? Do you need help?"

"No...Nothing," Annabel replied and turned away.

"I know we don’t know each other," he continued, "but I have never seen an Anlight with black wings crying on the pier, so I wanted to make sure you were okay."

Annabel couldn’t say anything to him as she knew she was not okay.

"My name’s Robin," he introduced himself. "I come here sometimes when I feel sad too. I very well know this..."

"Why would you feel sad?" Annabel whispered, not looking at him. "Isn’t this a paradise here?"

"It is what you make it to be," he replied. "But I have my sad days too...I lost my son before we Anlights came to the New Land and I didn’t know what happened to him. He just disappeared right before we had to leave the Old Land."

Annabel opened her eyes and her heart jumped as she turned to look at the Anlight who was talking to her. He was tall, wearing dark pants and a brown shirt, holding his fishing pole in his right hand. Annabel looked at him for a moment and her eyes widened when the moon appeared from behind scudding clouds and she saw his face in its light. He looked so familiar she was...she knew the reason for his son's disappearance. She turned away from him hiding her emotions.

"What was his name?" she asked quietly, predicting the answer.

"Markus!" he said. "I called him Mark. He looked a lot like me."

Annabel closed her eyes and took a deep breath, knowing exactly what had happened to him. She bit her bottom lip, trying to hold tears from washing out of her eyes.

"He was about your age..." the fisherman continued, happily talking about his son, "Very brave young Anlight. Sometimes even too brave for his own good."

Annabel stood quietly, trying to calm down. She took another deep breath. She knew his son was that brave Anlight who had been doing most of the talking when they were first captured by Varkins.

"I know what happened to him," she whispered, wondering if she should even tell him the truth. Her voice began to shake.

"Oh, you do?" The fisherman sounded curious—after all, how she could possibly know?

"I was there too...I was with him...and others..." Annabel spoke while catching her breath, trying her best to talk normally without giving in to her emotions. "Nobody lived..." she finished as more tears quietly ran down her face.

"Nobody?" he questioned, needing to be sure.

"Only me..." She finally could not take it anymore and burst into tears, sniffing and catching her breath.

The fisherman sighed and put his head down, in sadness for his son—even though he had already accepted his disappearance and possible death. He came close to Annabel.

"I knew one day I would know the truth.” He spoke calmly, and with sorrow. “Thank you for coming here tonight."

"I am sorry about your loss," Annabel sobbed harder with every word said. "He and others were in a lot of pain...and those who died…were the lucky ones. They are in peace now and will not feel any pain again."

The fisherman took a step closer and put his hand on her shoulder. He smiled slightly.
"Sometimes it’s hard to accept what happens to us. Sometimes the reality seems too much for us to take. But we would not appreciate the good if we did not know the bad. We are writers of our own lives, and we decide when to close a chapter, and when to start the new one."

Annabel wiped cold tears from her cheeks as she looked at him.

"Cheer up," he continued. "You’re the lucky one! You can continue writing your life." He paused for a moment. "And I need to get back to my for dinner!" He laughed, picking up a small bucket full of fresh catch. He walked slowly back along the empty pier, disappearing in the darkness.

Annabel stood on the pier for a while longer, thinking about what he had said. She calmed down, as the wind picked up and she began to get cold. She returned to the car and drove back to her house. When she pulled up, nobody seemed to be there. She looked around as she walked to the porch door, hoping nobody was waiting for her. 
Annabel entered her house and locked the door behind her. She was just going to call her cousin about her visit when, again, someone knocked on the porch door. Annabel recalled what had happened before, and was not in the mood to continue talking about her own or Dexter's relations. She crossed to the door and moved the blinds to see who was knocking. However, as soon as she saw it was Dexter outside, she slid the door open. 

Buy links:

Author Bio:
Originally from the Ukraine, I am still considered a new face to America. Speaking three languages including English, that became just as natural to me as my native Russian.

I grew up in a town on the south of Ukraine doing the same things that other kids my age did. Dreaming, hoping and wishing. Growing up, I spoke absolutely no English and never even saw myself somewhere abroad. Nevertheless writing a novel in another language!

I went to the local school that brought mostly negative experience in my life. But it shaped me throughout the years. My college life was much better. I was known to study well and to go out partying as much as it was possible.

In my first year of college I began to work in the marriage agency and met my future husband. We dated and traveled to most of the Europe along with Egypt.

When I finally got my fiancée visa, we both moved to the states, where soon after, got married. In the first few years I did some modeling and acting. Photo-shoots, run-way and photo in the magazine fulfilled my childhood's dream.

A few years later I became a mother of a wonderful and most handsome little boy. Along with learning and experiencing motherhood, I began to make hand-made jewelry and organic soaps. This hobby turned into my small business and became bigger than I thought it would.

In the last year I discovered: an author lives inside me. Never did I think that I would write an English book and that I would love doing it. But I did! And I loved it!

Here is where you can find me:

Thanks for being here today Iryna!!!

Friday, January 8, 2016

Flashback Friday: Fun In The Snow??

Jan 1976:
I think this was the month we spent sledding down my friend K's driveway or yard whenever possible.  I do remember being on a sled, the steering mechanism freezing up, and going head first into the tree beside her driveway.  I wasn't hurt; just shook up, since I'd dug my toes into the snow/slush to slow myself down.

Present Day:
Youngling and I are headed home tomorrow....we've enjoyed the slower pace of being in Lafayette and sleeping in (with the exception of this week....back to 9am classes!), staying home, watching Netflix, reading, and helping out Mom.  I've also looked at a couple houses, and will see if any are a good 'fit', once I show the spouse the pics.

Mom's wireless is acting up, so can't watch Netflix or even access the wifi with my kindle.  VERY frustrating!

I've also gotten together with friends; gone to karaoke; and taken the Youngling shopping.

IF I get to karaoke tomorrow, I'll sing the following songs:
If You Asked Me To (I'd forgotten my camera after Christmas)
He's So Shy
I'm So Excited
After All

Have a wonderful weekend!

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy 2016!!

2015 Goals:  Did I accomplish any of them?
         -Finish writing/write NiKo's Choice and untitled Salie's story and publish both  check:)
         -For NaNo, either write Renei's story or get back to work on AU #8 or 9 Not even close.
         -Lose 10 more pounds  I did manage to shed 8 pounds, but put them back on again.  Sigh...
         -Get out of this house  Nope; still in it.
         -Attend ONE conference YES!
         -Promote more Definitely:)
         -Step up the blogging  Started strong, but dwindled back to only 4 per month...
         -Reach the mid-to-end of the 'I' songs  Check:)

This Year, I Resolve To:
-Finish writing Heart Song
-Publish KiRah and write RiKar's book
-Get my youngling through the 5th grade
-Lose and keep off 10 pounds
-Buy a banner and more promo
-Attend as many signings as I can, including Writers on the River (July) and Book Blast (September)
-Attend Weekend in Nashville, including some sight-seeing
-Get out of this house
-Reach the 'M' songs and maybe even more
-Stay with the blogging

Books Read Last Year:
                         Print:  29
                         E-Book: 36
                          DNF:  10

Karaoke Songs Added to 'Good' List:  56

January Reading Schedule:
The Queen Mother-Lady Colin Campbell Very good!

The Pleasure of Discretion, #1 and 2-Elle Thorne  DNF:  Just wasn't holding my attention.
Moving Forward-Emily Pearson  Forced myself to keep reading, even though I skimmed most of the 2nd half.  Might try to reread this again at some point.
French Tart-Sloane Tayler Finally, a book I could read all of!  I'll admit, I forgot to reread the blurb first, so was a bit confused at first, but did enjoy it:)
The Vault-Jettie Necole Very good!  Slightly confusing at the beginning, but kept me scrolling:)  Wonderful 'what if' story, and would like to know who dropped the bomb and were they ever able to venture back to the surface?
Ace of Spades-Michelle Iannarellie  DNF:  Just wasn't holding my interest.
A Time for Everything-Mysti Parker Very good:)
Ember's Center-Jillian Jacobs  Very good:)
Drive Me Sane-Dena Rogers  Good:)
Persuading Tomorrow-J. Laslie Thought it dragged in a few places, but otherwise pretty good:)
The Trinket Box-Katheryn Ragle  Not bad.

Karaoke Songs (Thurs):
Isn't It Time-Babys  Did well!
It's Raining Men-Weather Girls  Amazingly enough, it didn't sound too bad!
YMCA-Village People  Bleh....
Yesterday Once More-Carpenters A little low, but okay:)
You and Me-Alice Cooper  Again, slightly low, but not bad.

Karaoke Songs (Sat):
He's So Shy-Pointer Sisters Nailed it:)
If You Asked Me To-Celine Dion  2nd time singing this, and STILL messed up in the same place! Ugh.....
I'm So Excited-PS  Very FAST version, but made it through it:)
Jacob's Ladder-Huey Lewis Not bad...
Jar of Hearts-Christina Perri  Think it sounded okay:)
Jesus Take The Wheel-Carrie Underwood Slightly rough in a few places, but not bad for 1st attempt!
Jolene-Dolly Parton Nailed it:)
Juke Box Hero-Foreigner  Bleh...
Bad Romance-Lady Gaga  Not too bad:)