Sunday, May 31, 2009


When did pink become a feminine color? I recently read a book set in the Georgian period, back during the time of powdered wigs, lavishly embroidered clothing in rich purples and reds, and high heeled shoes decorated with jewels. And that was the men's clothing. They carried beautifully painted fans, engraved and jeweled snuff boxes, had lace ruffled cuffs and carried beribboned canes. Oh, yes. They fought duels with real swords, rode horses, and er, gambled.

While I'm not advocating their lifestyle, I do find it curious that real men are only now daring to wear pastel colored shirts with their suits and it's still not acceptable for a boy to play with any thing that could remotely be called a doll. Why?

How can masculinity be determined by the color of clothing or a toy? My children grew up playing with dolls, trucks, Lincoln logs, and all sorts of sports equipment. They rode bikes, played baseball, went swimming, and climbed trees. Two boys. Two girls. Toys were share and share alike.

When we stop determining masculinity by clothing colors and toy types, then perhaps we'll have boys who grow up to be nurturing fathers and real men.


Friday, May 29, 2009

Dark Stormy Night

We've had quite a few of those lately. As I write this it is lightning and thundering overhead. Rain is rain is rain, but a thunderstorm is completely different. The wind, the rolling rumble of thunder, the flashing and crashing of lightning. That's God's own light show.

When I was a kid about nine or ten years old, we lived outside the small town of Globe, Arizona. Our house was a cement block building that sat on a hillside. Further up the hill, a similar house sat on a lot that was level with our roof. Our yard on the other side fell away on a sharp drop-off so that our yard was above the roofs of the houses below us.

Arizona thunderstorms in the desert are abrupt and violent. One particular storm howled and crashed overhead while dumping an incredible amount of rain in a very short time. The water rolled down the hill like a series of much water that it rolled through the house in an inexorable wave.

I remember my mom piling all of us kids on top of the bed and yelling over the growl of thunder for us to stay put. We huddled in the center of the bed with blankets and pillows piled all around us. And then, as suddenly as the storm arrived, it moved on leaving a ringing silence behind.

And the storm was over.


Thursday, May 28, 2009

Midnight Hour

It's called a mixed up biological clock. I've always been a night person. Inevitably, the house hunk is a morning person. And never the twain shall meet.

If I watched television, I suppose it would be understandable, but since I don't, then there are other things to occupy me. Reading. Beading. Writing. Even internet chatting is I find someone else awake. If all else fails, there is always Solitaire.

But when midnight rolls around, the eyes get heavy and I can tell it's time to turn off the lights, shut down the computer and hit the hay. I start to yawn. My eyes blur. And the cat starts nudging me to get out of "her" chair so she can curl up and go to sleep.

In the morning I stagger around for the first hour, wondering what type of truck hit me. It doesn't matter whether I sleep five hours or ten hours. That's just who I am in the morning. Occasionally, there's sufficient reason for me to get up "early". I'm cranky for hours when that happens so I really try to arrange things so I don't have to get up early.

And food? Don't talk to me about food for the first hour. You can probably tell that I'm not a gracious hostess in the morning, huh? Coffee is my speed for the early morning.

So how about you? Are you a morning or a night person?


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Playing in the dirt

An important part of my grandchildrens visits to Baltimore is the time they spend with my neighbor Jane. Their first words (as they came in the door and gave me perfunctory hugs) were, "Can we go down to see Jane and the doggies?"

Since it was 2:30 AM I regretfully declined after pointing out that Jane was sleeping--and so should they. The next morning bright and early they stumbled out of bed, yawning and half-awake. "Can we go down to see Jane and the doggies now?"

"No. Jane is not up yet. You can go later."

After a full day of bowling, shopping and eating out, we arrived home dead tired and ready to flop on the beds. Not so with the kids. "Can we go down to see Jane?"

Just then the phone rang. It was Jane asking if the kids could come down to visit. Yawning, their mom gave permission and they were out the door like a shot. It was late so their visit was relatively short, but it included them hauling the doggies, one at a time up the stairs so everyone could meet them.

The next day we spent at the zoo. By the time we stumbled through the door, the adults were ready for a nap, but the kids wanted to go visit Jane. She was potting her herbs and flowers on the patio downstairs. All excited the girls raced down around the building to the patio.

A couple hours later, I noticed the time! Jane usually is serving dinner at her place at seven and it was five til seven. So I called to see what was up. They were still planting flowers. Seems that the younger granddaughter D (she's five) was "helping" put dirt in the pots. One scoop for the pot. One scoop for Jane's feet. One scoop for the pot. One scoop for T's (her older sister) feet. One scoop for the pot... and most of those scoops also ended up on D's feet. Nice black dirt.

Then they watered all the plants. See how that could be fun?

Yesterday when I was talking to Jane on the phone she said that every time she looked out at the plants on the patio she smiled, remembering the great time she had with the girls.

Playing in the dirt can be wonderful.


Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Croc Hunting

I haven't quite figured out why Crocs stir up so much fury. I find mine incredibly comfortable. And the bonus is that my podiatrist informed me that they were the perfect shoe for diabetics.

But I've noticed that some people despise them with a passion. I just can't think of a reason for that. They're shoes. They're comfortable. And if someone doesn't want to wear them, then that's their loss.

The house hunk was looking for a pair of slippers. After a while he decided to try a pair of Crocs. Black, of course, because he's not really into colors. He's a pretty conservative guy. And his are Mammoths--Crocs with a furry lining. Well, he loves them.

So love 'em. Or hate 'em. Just don't tell me about how they're not really shoes. Because according to my doctor, they're the real deal.

Besides. Where else can you get shoes in frog green, grape purple, and bubblegum pink?


Monday, May 25, 2009

View from the chair...

Physically I've reached the point that I can no longer traipse along on long hikes. This weekend my daughter and her family came to visit. While here they took a notion to visit the Maryland Zoo. When I regretfully pointed out that I wouldn't be able to walk that far and suggested that I would stay home, they proposed renting a wheelchair at the zoo.

After some discussion, that's what we all agreed would work. We left pretty early for the zoo, but it was already hot and muggy when we arrived. On the drive, I had second thoughts about the wheelchair solution, mostly because I felt like a fraud. But the quarter-mile walk from the parking lot to the main entrance quickly disabused me of the false notion that I would be able to spend the day at the zoo on foot.

So, without further reservations we rented the wheelchair and began the day. Immediately, it became apparent that there was more to spending the day in a wheelchair than just renting one. First of all, the zoo is one hill after another. Someone had to push the bloody thing!

Fortunately the zoo is laid out with the idea of being stroller and wheelchair friendly. There were very few steps and all of those had an "alternate route" planned. Fellow travelers were gracious and friendly. I had a lovely time, though I'm not so sure that my son could say the same since he was the main pusher.
Here's a picture of my two granddaughters and my step great grandson in the heron's nest in the Children's Wilderness Park. There was a bog complete with giant lily pads for the children to use as stepping stones across a brook, giant tortoise shell for them to crawl inside and a couple other "nests" for them to try on for size.

What I discovered spending a day in a wheelchair was that most people were unfailingly polite. But there were a few that pretended that I didn't exist. It was difficult to give up my autonomy, my right to go where I wanted to, when I wanted to. And as much as the zoo really worked hard to make the paths "accessible", they obviously forgot to test them out with someone who was actually seated in a wheel chair. Every single one of the heavy railings that lined the path had a broad cap that was exactly at my eye level! It made it tough to see the animals and impossible to take pictures.

It definitely wasn't a chair with a view!


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Surpassing Pleasures

Look at my pretty cover! Surpassing Pleasures is scheduled for release on July 3, 2009. It's the second book in the Ardent Angels series about a family of angel shifters.

Want a little taste???

Blurb: Special Agent Sebastian Spade, has worked hard since he met Zipporah Jericho to convince her that he’s her man. But every encounter ends with Zip dancing out of reach to protect a family secret. When they are brought together by a murder, Seb determines this time he will never let her go.

In the bedroom, on the road, in a secret cabin in the woods, he masters her body by daring to satisfy her deepest desires. Together as they explore the forbidden pleasures that await them with every touch they discover trust is another word for love.

Four days later a small gray-brown dog sat patiently on Seb’s porch waiting for him to come home. After a while, the little Yorkie curled up in front of the door, resting her head on her front paws. In a dog’s life it seemed like there was a lot of waiting.

The sky darkened as the air grew chillier. A fine sleet began to fall. Shivering, the small dog pressed closer to the door, keeping watch. Her eyes brightened and she came to quivering attention as a cab pulled up in front of the house. A man opened the back door and climbed out.

Slamming the door behind him, he hurried up the walk to the steps. The little Yorkie stood stiffly and yelped a sharp bark. The man halted, staring down in amazement at the dog that waited, waggling its tail in welcome.

“Well. What have we here?” Seb bent down to scoop up the little dog. “Where did you come from?” He mounted the stairs, unlocked the door and carried his visitor inside. “It’s kinda cold out there for you, isn’t it?” he crooned as he snatched the afghan from the back of his couch and wrapped it around the shivering dog. He settled her on the end of the couch. “You stay right there while I hang up my coat.”

She cocked her head to one side, regarding him with shining black eyes. Then she gave a short yip before curling up contentedly in the soft blanket.

“So you’ve decided that you’ve found a sucker, eh?” Seb grinned reluctantly. “We’ll have to see about that. Somebody’s probably missing you about now.” He sighed. “I suppose I better post some notices tomorrow and check with the vet.” He turned away and went into the kitchen to locate the box of doggie things he’d put away when he lost his own dog the year before.

The dog snuggled contentedly in the soft blanket while Seb puttered around in the kitchen. Tomorrow—or the day after that would be soon enough to reveal the truth, she thought. Seb wasn’t gonna like it. No, not at all, but the little dog knew that sometimes life didn’t go the way people thought it ought to happen.

Pa? I’m all set.

All right. Quill’s hopping mad at the moment. He thinks he should be there instead of you. She could hear the echo of laughter as Pentecost Jericho chuckled over Quill’s reaction. You be careful, Zip.

I will, Pa.


Saturday, May 23, 2009

In the night

So my kids came down to visit me this weekend. And basically drove three times further than they planned to because they uh, went on the tollway going the wrong direction.

I'm not sure exactly what it is about driving at night, but it sure is easy to get turned around when it's dark. If you're also tired because you've worked all day and you're getting a little punch drunk, well then it's no wonder that you end up going the wrong direction.

I'm old enough now that I realllly don't like driving any distance at all after dark. Perceptions change with limited light. Peripheral vision is hampered. And color cues are mostly missing. Pedestrians don't realize that drivers generally don't see them until they've already hit--or near missed them.

If you're on the road this weekend, travel safely. Take your time. Get plenty of rest. And try to travel in the day time.


Friday, May 22, 2009

Mugging the writer

Take a good look. That's me. I'm an ordinary everyday kind of woman. No glamour. No high living. My office is in the living room squashed in with all the other odds and ends. The sole advantage I have over most other writers is that I'm retired with no children at home. It could be that you won't see me again. Why?

Google my name.

In the first page, you'll likely find that my books are listed on multiple piracy sites. Just like everyone else in the world, I work for money. Oh, you thought I wrote for love of the word? Well... not!

Writing is a difficult, thankless calling. In order to write well enough to be published, I must have a workable idea, write a story a publisher will contract and a reader will be willing to buy. For every story of say... fifty thousand words there is an initial time investment of approximately six hundred hours. Hmmm.

Current minimum wage in my state is $6.55. So my initial time investment is worth $3,930. That does not cover my taxes, supplies, or Social Security. In order to recoup my investment I must find a publisher willing to offer me a contract (for most e-pubs there is no advance!) Then I will spend additional hours on edits, final line edits, and promotion--again all without receiving a dime. So let's add in that additional time... That's another $786.

Eventually, approximately eight months after the initial contract, my book is released. Now I'll tell you a secret. The most that I've ever made on a book is $3, 260. That was for sales over a year. That's the only book I made that much money on. My average sales over a year for an individual book are about $1200.

For my best selling book I'm in the hole to the tune of $1456. For my average sales, I'm behind (in time invested) $3520--per book!

As the proliferation of piracy sites and theft have increased, my sales have steadily decreased. In the last six months alone my sales have dropped over 50%. A glance at the download numbers on the piracy sites make it clear where those sales are going.

In effect, I'm mugged by my readers every time I contract a book. I don't know a single person who would continue to work at a profession if they were robbed every time they were paid--if they knew that more than fifty percent of their wages would be stolen by thieves. Why should I?

Quite frankly, the local McDonald's is hiring and I doubt that I would face the same kind of theft there. If I worked the same number of hours--at minimum wage--I would net at least $11,921. That's $2,500 more than I made last year from writing.

So...what would you do?


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Long day

Loaded the dishwasher.
Put some laundry away.
Cleaned off the desk.
Went to the bank.
Went to the pharmacy to pick up prescription.
Read a book.
Read another book.
Fed the cat.
Cleaned the litter box.
Swept the floor.
Put away the groceries.

It's been a long day.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Posting my picture has netted me several inquiries. They mostly begin with, "Have you lost weight?" I wish. See that pic up there? That's pretty much what I look like. All I have to do is inhale the scent of a chocolate chip cookie and I automatically gain three pounds.

Enough of my troubles. Recently read an article about a study done in Australia. The study concluded that taller people are paid better than short people. Ahhhh. It all makes sense now. I'm only 5'1" so that's why I didn't get the big bucks.

On the other hand, the study concluded that obesity did NOT make any difference in pay. And why was that? Because the majority of workers are obese. Hmmm. That would make it tough to discriminate, wouldn't it?

I have a neighbor who was recently informed that he would be charged an extra fifteen dollars per pay period for his medical benefits because he smokes. I'm trying to figure out what would happen if the insurance companies started charging people extra for different things. What if they charged by the pound? Or charged you extra unless you could prove you never eat at McDonald's? Or... what if they charged you extra because you have blue eyes? So where does that stop?

I've been trying for three days to get my medicine refilled. Two months ago I went to the doctor because they wouldn't refill my meds without a visit. Then they were supposed to fax all my refills to my prescription plan which is a "90 days by mail" plan. All scrips are written for 90 days at a time and they're filled and sent through the mail.

So over the weekend I discovered that the spare bottle of my blood pressure meds was not in fact full, but nearly empty. Immediately, the house hunk went on the computer to re-order the meds only to find that there were no refills because the doctor's office never faxed them in.

Bright and early Monday morning I called the doctor's office. After some wrangling, the woman on the phone said to me, "We require twenty-four hour notice on prescription refills." I pointed out that they had two months notice! And she said??? "I don't know anything about that."

I think my blood pressure just went up.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A boy named Sue

I'm working on stuff. You know, little story ideas. Had a couple stories where people have commented that they would use a different diminutive for the hero's name. The new suggestions are usually softer.

Diminutives (or nicknames) can really change how we perceive the hero. Consider the case of Daniel. Daniel is a fine Old Testament name that conjures up images of an older fire and brimstone rigid male. Maybe someone's grandfather or the head of an old established firm.

Danny is either a young boy or the bluff slightly overweight life of the party. He's a little to loud and a little too...everything. Just a little "too". He works in construction or maybe even for the Department of Works.

Dan on the other hand could be a cop. Or a private investigator. Or a teacher. He's steady, dependable, reasonably sexy and when he settles on the woman, he's determined.

So which one would I want for the hero?

I know that authors have successfully pulled off using a softer name for their hero, but why start at a minus position? I think that writers can do them the same type of disservice by using a name that's too hard.

My publisher has a list of "do not use" names. I'm certain that most publishers eventually compile a similar list. Some of them are eliminated because of overuse. Others because of negative connotations.

Let's exam "Jake". Generally, it's a diminutive of Jacob. Personally, I find Jacob a masculine name that's approachable and conveys a sense of dependability and capability. I would be comfortable with Jacob. I think he would be a good, patient, thorough lover. Jacob could handle my PMS with equanimity.

Jake on the other hand...well Jake is impatient. He's a love 'em and leave 'em bad boy. He rides a motor cycle and wears a black leather jacket. Maybe he smokes. He likes his women in short skirts and high heels. And if he was presented with the possibility of a permanent relationship, he'd run in a heartbeat.

When settling on a name for the hero, cutesy doesn't do it. At least it won't if it's a running joke. Maybe a one time one-liner would be okay. Especially if it's either at the beginning or the very end of the story. Otherwise it's just distracting. Try out all the variations. Because sure as shooting if there's one that's weird, that's what your other characters will call him. It never fails.

Just don't name him Anny.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Come out, come out, whoever you are...

Yep. That's me in writing mode. I admit that I actually put on a tee shirt and combed my hair, but I didn't want to scare any of my readers. Other than writing in my jammies and combing my hair when I get around to it, this is what you get. The curls are natural though I admit to giving the color a nudge since I'm at that awkward stage where my hair is white on top and dark around the bottom. Since I'm not really inclined to look like a skunk--voilá!

My neighbor, Jane took my pic this afternoon. Hmmm. I think she had too much fun with it, too! There was a lot of muttering and calling on God...

What's it all about?

Well, a bunch of us are getting together at RomantiCon and since we're basically shy and retiring types who all believe that we are the only average woman on the planet, we're starting the Average Is a Goddess campaign.

Here's the challenge, authors! Come out, come out whoever you are. No pretty made up photos... no make-up, no dress-up pics. We want to know the real you. Are you brave? Or are you a wuss? Show us the real you. Post your pic on your blog any day this week.

If you would like to join us to check us all out in person, just click on the avatar for more information!


Friday, May 15, 2009

Mystery Man

Remember when the Mystery Man was the hero? Zorro? The Lone Ranger? They would swoop in, rescue the heroine and then ride off into the sunset.

Wait a minute. Ride off into the sunset? What about the Happy Ever After ending?

I suppose it was a simpler time then, but the rescue was the HEA. There have been similar television shows in more recent times. After all once the hero falls in love and settles down to have little heroes, there isn't much of a show left, is there?

I believe we really don't want to go past that HEA. The few TV shows that finally married off their characters didn't last another season. There's something about striving for that HEA that we enjoy. But once it's reached, we don't want the reality of what comes afterward.

That's why Zorro and The Lone Ranger worked. They allowed us to dream that we might be the one to finally touch the lonely heart of the Mystery Man. We might rescue them from their life of fighting outlaws and settle down with them somewhere in peace.

The reality is once they gave up their crime-fighting lives they would no longer be nearly as fascinating. And we surely find them fascinating even in this day and age. Now they're SEALS and Rangers and firemen and soldiers. But we're still as fascinated with them now--we still weave fantasies around them--we still dream about them long after they walk into the sunset.


Thursday, May 14, 2009

They went thataway...

Have you ever lost your way in a story? I'm talking about the physical landscape. Have you ever read a story where the character enters the front door, goes to the left to reach the kitchen and then the next time the character enters the front door they go to the right to reach the kitchen?

Or how about the fellow who parks his car in the garage on the side of the house, races into the house through the front door...and later runs out the back door to the garage which has miraculously moved to the alley behind the house?

Some towns even move. In one book Dusty Springs was north of Santa Fe in Chapter Two and southwest of Santa Fe in Chapter Seven. Neeeeeat trick. Sorcerers have nothing on these authors.

I once mentioned that I have maps for all my books. Maps, floor plans, room layouts all for one simple reason. I don't want my boys heading southwest to Dusty Springs when its really north.

One author wrote me a rather curt note informing me that she didn't have time to play around with drawings. She had more important things to do--like writing books. Ahem. She was the one with the shifting kitchen.

I don't advocate spending hours on the project but you know...just a quick sketch with all the pertinent information so that the characters don't get lost. There are a lot of people (like the house hunk) who go through life directionally challenged. He needs a map to get across the street.

However, I am not one of those directionally challenged individuals. Nothing will throw me out of a story quicker than a moving garage, town, kitchen, country. If the couch is positioned opposite the picture window at the beginning of the scene, then by gum, it should still be there unless there was a terrific fight scene and the bad guy shoved it out of the way!

In that case, the good guys have more to worry about than directions.


Wednesday, May 13, 2009

A matter of perspective...

During World War II Winston Churchill observed, "History is written by the victors." In much the same way, the viewpoint of a novel is written from the author's perspective. Evil or good is presented as the author perceives it.

What one person will find very disturbing because of past experience, another will find unremarkable. One writer may find some particular idea exciting or titillating while another can't even envision thinking about it, let alone bear to write about it.

I read a certain book about four years ago and personally, I enjoyed it. I found it very imaginative and exciting. A couple years ago, I stumbled across a review for that book that totally trashed it. Not only trashed it, but since the review was on a blog, all the blog commenters trashed it, too.

What was interesting to me, was when I dared to ask how many of the commenters had actually read the book, none of them would admit reading the book. So, what were they commenting on? The ideas in the book. In the worst form of censorship, they were rejecting the book unread based on another reader's review.

In the past few months, I found a recent review for the same book. That reviewer raved about it, praising the very same points the other reviewer hated. It was a matter of perspective.

In our character presentation we have to choose what to emphasize and what to sort of gloss over. Much of that decision is based on our personal baggage. If we've lived with an alcoholic, then our hero/heroine is not likely to hang out at a bar. If there is some form of abuse in our background, we're less likely to write about BDSM.

Every opinion is biased. When I ask my critique partners or friends or the neighbor next door to read something I've written, all of them will read it from that personal experience. It's impossible to be any other way. We are humans.


Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The plot thickens...

Sounds like the plot for a paranormal... Do you get the feeling that we're reaching a bit far? If one vampire is good, then let's have two or three. If werewolves and weretigers are fabulous, why not weresheep and wererabbits?

Now books with demons, angels, every type of shifter, faeries, elves, gnomes, dragons, witches are the norm rather than the twist. Actually, in more than one book I've read, the human character is the weird one. When did we turn into the bad guys? Why are we no longer the desirable love interest? Why are we not good enough for the hero or heroine unless we have a special talent?

In our rush for the ever more exotic character, ordinary men and women are discarded, thrust aside and left behind except for those instances when we need a villain. Then--then we're good enough. It strikes me as odd that we are powerful enough to be villains when our original position was just the opposite.

In the early days of paranormal the weres and vamps were the bad guys with the humans triumphing over them after overcoming huge obstacles. Now the roles are reversed. Interesting.

Where will we go from here?


Monday, May 11, 2009

Was it good for you?

Of all the genres in the writing world, erotic romance and erotica are the toughest to write. It's not about what you call the body parts. It's not even about what you do with those body parts. It's about how you stimulate the mind.

I've read love scenes that didn't raise a brow. They just left me feeling "Meh." And on the face of it, it was hard to define exactly why. Kinky doesn't do it. Gymnastics don't do it. Variety isn't actually necessary. So... what is it?

I think it's the total involvement between the people. It needs to be mind, body and heart. Without it, it's just sex. Isn't that how it is in real life? Isn't that what we look for in a partner for ourselves? And if so, why are we willing to settle for less in our writing?

I'm not talking about the technicalities here. Almost any good writer can include the touch, scent, taste, visual in a scene. But if I finish reading a scene feeling like there's a director waiting in the wings to yell, "Cut!" then that doesn't do it for me.

When a scene truly touches me, it's because I'm so caught up in the act that I forget that it's a story. It's real. And it has meaning, regardless of the kink factor. If the reader is not enthralled by the way the characters are interacting, then something is wrong.

The other thing that bugs me is when sex is abrupt. I'm not picking on up-against-the-wall sex here because he or she has a sudden uncontrollable urge. But if the couple have had a nice romantic evening by the fire and then without any warning whatsoever he's handcuffing her to the bed, then that totally throws me.

Um, what happened to foreplay? Or even just sexy talk? Why do I feel like the author has a mental playbook and this is position ten? It sometimes seems that the author is fitting in various acts... "Okay, they did this in chapter one, and then they did that in chapter three, so now it's time for them to do that next."

Is there a playbook that lists what positions/acts are necessary in an erotic story? Or has everyone jumped on the same bandwagon because it worked for Randy Writer? Yeah, sex in the hot tub sounds hot, hot, hot, but not when you read about it in every single book. One of the sexiest scenes I've ever read was in Mr. Perfect by Linda Howard. It was the scene with the hose when they were washing the car. Yummmm.

Variety is the spice of life. But just as you wouldn't use the same spices in every single dish you make (pepper in the pudding, anyone?) the spices in our erotic romance should be varied and lively. An editor once told me she was still waiting to be surprised. I would like to issue the challenge to my fellow authors. Notice that the word was surprised--not shocked.

So... can you make it good for us?


Sunday, May 10, 2009


In 1973 my third child was born... the third in four years. About seven months later on May 12, 1974 Erma Bombeck's column was titled
When God Created Mothers. In the way that only Erma could do, she wrote from her heart exactly the things I needed to read.

Three or four years later I was a veteran of the Special Needs Wars. My third child suffered brain damage from a difficult birth and then more damage when she suffered a skull fracture in an accident at six weeks. Every word in Special Mothers spoke to my troubled heart. For the first time in a long time I didn't feel like a failure.

So on this Mother's Day, if your mom is still around call her up and tell her how much you love her. And if she's not, call up someone else's mother and tell them how much you appreciate the great job they are doing--or have done.

Mother--it's the toughest job in the world.


PS: That third child? She got married on Friday. And that's special.

Saturday, May 9, 2009


It's Saturday. Go back to sleep!


Well, that didn't work out. Don't you know that I was wide awake at seven a.m.? Why the heck does that always happen? Saturday morning when I can sleep in late... bummer.

Friday, May 8, 2009


Instead of taking my customary nap, I went with the house hunk to buy a monitor since his gave up the ghost. Now I'm paying for that silly decision. I'm falling asleep in my chair as I try to read a book. When your forehead hits the keyboard, it's time to go to bed.

In the meantime, I want to mention a couple of delicious books that are available this week. One of them is Regina Carslyle's Chasing Temptation, a wonderful hot Regency romance from Resplendence Publishing.

The other is Cindy Spencer Pape's Stone and Fire, book 3 in her Heroes of Stone series--her seriously sexy gargoyles. If you're looking for a wonderful book... or two, check them out!


PS: The dishwasher is fixed and works like a bomb! Yay!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

What tense?

Sometimes I feel like I must be the only person in the world who doesn't quite get tense. Really--what is all this stuff about past tense and present tense and future tense?

You know? Past tense is, like, in the past. Over with, done, kaput, fini, as the Raven said, "Nevermore." Why get all worked up about past tense? There isn't any way to change it. So mellow out. Relax. Let past tense be past.

And future tense is, well... it's in the future. There's no guarantee there will be a future so why worry about the I wills or the I won'ts? Unless you have the secret to the time continuum so that you can travel back to the future, you might not ever have to worry about future tense. And by the time you get there, it might all be different from what you imagined.

Now the present tense is an entirely different ball game. The present is not yesterday or tomorrow. It's right this minute I'm breathing, in, out, in, out... See, that's easy to manage. Minute by minute. It's the kids screaming in the back yard, the spousal unit snoring in the recliner, and the toilet overflowing in the bathroom. Now. And usually, that's enough to worry about at any one time.

At least for me it is. Probably that's why some people think I'm zen....


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

This and That

There are certain truths in life that we must face no matter how painful. One of them is this... the dishwasher never breaks down when all the dishes are done and the house it clean. Never.

My dishwasher died yesterday. With a full load of dirty dishes. And now the sink is also full. And the apartment is a shambles. Like most women, I'm not going to call maintenance to come fix my dishwasher until the apartment is clean. Guess what's in store for me today?

I'm also nearly out of dishwashing soap so I borrowed some from my friend Jane. Thankfully, she's rarely out of anything. But I really detest doing dishes by hand. I know, I know... there are lots of people who do dishes by hand. So suck it up and get on with it.

Yesterday I cleaned the living room and dining room. That also included taking down the Christmas tree. I seriously considered just leaving it up as no one would see it but me. And Jane. But then I thought about the possibility that I might want it in some other spot next Christmas so I bit the bullet and dismantled the thing.

And I also remembered why I rarely put the tree up in the first place. It takes so dang long to unpack/pack all the ornaments and lights and stuff. When I pack them away I spend time remembering where each ornament came from and that reminds me of the many friends who have given me ornaments in the past.

On a happier note... my newest book, Rescuing Clarice, will be released today!

When a fire elemental dragon shifter finds his muirne—his beloved—naturally it’s a joyful event. But she’s a water elemental dragon shifter so there are bound to be a few adjustments. The day that Otis Larssen meets Clarice he realizes their happiness will be threatened by the dangerous forces surrounding them unless he can rescue her.

As they battle murder and kidnapping and race to solve an ancient mystery in time to save the planet, Otis woos his woman with hot sex in the bedroom, the shower, the office and on the run with the assurance that he will always be right beside her. Always ready to rescue her or command her pleasure.

Yeow! That Otis is quite a man. And Clarice really gives him a run for his money.

She bowed her head on the steering wheel, inadvertently pressing against the horn. When it blared, she jerked her head up and thought that things couldn’t get any worse. But she was wrong.

Nothing happened when she turned the key in the ignition. A faint clicking noise filled her with dread. Why did all things mechanical hate her? Whatever was broken on the car, she didn’t have the money to pay for it to be fixed. She pressed her hand to her belly as it roiled with nerves. Then after taking a deep breath, she slowly climbed back out of the car, popped the hood and stood looking at the interior as though it could explain the chaos of her morning.

Pacing the cold sterile office that was his temporary home, Otis was laying down the law to the IT department head when the blare of a car horn interrupted him in mid-rant. Patty had explained that the reason Clarice was under the desk was the seven to ten day estimate before the IT department would show up to fix the system. That was plainly unacceptable. When Otis identified himself and demanded action, he was assured that someone would be dispatched immediately.

Otis tossed the receiver onto the telephone cradle and went to the window to see who was honking so he could report them to the security department. With a complete lack of surprise, he observed Clarice slowly open her door and climb out as though the weight of the world was on her shoulders. A moment later, she popped the hood and surveyed the engine. Uncle Shamus, you sneaky dog, what are you up to? With a sudden flash of insight, he knew why Shamus had insisted he fill in for him during his sick leave.

With a deep sigh, he grabbed his overcoat and left his office, heading for the parking lot. A very black cloud was obviously following his woman around. The fact that she didn’t know she was his woman was irrelevant. Deep in his bones he knew she was and that was all that counted. The rest would all work out. In the meantime, all he had to do was restrain the urge to free his fire element to work on her poor excuse of a car. He didn’t think a fricasseed vehicle would help matters at the moment.

“Trouble, Miss Meriwether?”

For a moment, just a moment, she prayed to every deity she could think of—prayed that she would just drop dead on the spot. But of course, that didn’t happen, so she shot Mr. O.Q. Larssen a laser look that should have leveled him and replied, “No, Mr. Larssen, nothing is wrong. I usually take time to look at my engine before I start the car. You can never tell. Someone might have placed a bomb under the hood while I was working.” Get a handle on it, Clarice. You can’t kill your boss! At least not on the first day… Besides, my element is water. It would be damn difficult to drown Mr. Larssen in the corporate parking lot.

“With your luck, I can see how you would want to be cautious,” he observed solemnly. “However, I don’t see anything that resembles an explosive device.”

“It won’t start,” she replied flatly. Damn, he must think I am an idiot.

“I see. Well, you’ve had a hell of a day so far, so I suggest that I take you home. I’ll call a garage. Perhaps it’s something minor that can be repaired without a tow.”

Of course he has to be the helpful type, she thought in despair. Why couldn’t he be one of those oblivious types who ignore everything around them? After a long moment, she turned to face him. Taking a deep breath, she admitted, “I have exactly four dollars and seventeen

cents until payday. Th
at’s two weeks from now. My sister cleaned out my bank account and took off. She’s a drug addict.” She dropped her head in shame. “I don’t know when she got her hands on my bank card but it’s all gone. I cancelled all my credit cards yesterday. My back rent is due tomorrow. And the electric company is going to cut the power because my check bounced. Because the bank account is empty!”

Otis thought of all the things he could say or do. Abruptly, he stuffed his hands in his trouser pockets to prevent himself from grabbing her in the parking lot. He needed privacy for what he wanted to do. Time for that later. “Get your purse. I’ll take you home. We’ll talk about it on the way.

“Mr. Larssen—”

“Clarice,” he interrupted. “My name is Otis. I would like to hear you say my name.”

“O-Otis,” she stuttered.

“Excellent. Now go get your purse.”


Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Wearing 'em down

"The squeaky wheel gets the grease." Maybe. Possibly. Depending. It's a delicate balancing act. Too much squeaking and the attention you receive is allll bad. Seriously. Instead of greasing the wheel, the target just tosses it out.

It's been a really bad few days for several members of a group I'm affiliated with. Really bad. And there is the tendency to scream and cry and maybe drum the heels. But ultimately, that most likely won't help matters much.

Timing is everything and at this moment, the timing just sucks hairy eyeballs. I've been down this bad timing road before. One small delay stretched out to a delay of months. And when that delay is attached to income, it can be deadly in this economy.

Still... I have to believe that all things happen for a reason--that there are no detours, only alternate routes. Sometimes it seems that the alternate route is a particularly unlovely, barren road, but then we don't always see that the original route had a broken bridge or an avalanche covering it. Sometimes we just have to take the alternate route on faith.

Oh, I don't expect we will finish that route without some squeaking along the way, but really, what other options are there? And how do we know those options are any better?

So squeak if you must, but keep rolling. It's the only way to reach the end.


Monday, May 4, 2009

Run, Don't Run

Over the weekend I read several paranormal romances. Mostly they had shifters and vampires and other things that go bump in the night. In every single one of them at some point, things between the hero and heroine heat up. The hero inevitably gets all fangy with weird glowing eyes and maybe starts to grow fur and in the midst of this changing, he growls to the heroine, "Don't run!"

Is he crazy?

What self respecting woman is going to hang around? Of course if she also gets fangy and hairy then I suppose she's used to the idea, but really... mostly, that's not happening.

Shouldn't he sort of prepare her ahead of time? Maybe give her a partial demo so she doesn't freak out when Mr. Yum-Yum turns into the Hairy Hulk? What kind of nonsense is that?

And she always stays there. No matter how freaky he gets, she hangs around panting and lusting and waiting for him to take her up against the wall. Nevermind that he sort of punches holes in the drywall while he's doing that. Sure and my landlord wouldn't have a problem with that at all.

Shazaam! You wouldn't see me for the dust. Seriously. When some naked dude with fangs and inch long claws starts stalking my way, well love is grand, but every woman for herself. Run!!!


Sunday, May 3, 2009


Birthdays are strange buggers. They're part of our identity almost from the time we're born. The determine when we start school, when we are eligible to learn to drive, when we're old enough to marry, join the army and vote.

And then... well, then there are no more milestones to mark until we retire and start drawing Social Security. So it's small wonder that after a while we stop "celebrating" that turn over to another year. Women seem to do this more than men on a conscious basis. Men ignore the entire concept, mostly.

Actually my sons always seemed to be confused by the idea of celebrating their birthday. I remember one year my oldest son was about seven. With furrowed brow he demanded, "You mean I get presents just for being born?"

His brother at six was more pragmatic. He belted my older son on the shoulder and told him to be quiet. If someone wanted to give them presents, well why not? Presents are a good thing.

So I just want to mention that today is my friend's birthday. Oh, she doesn't celebrate it... so we won't tell anyone, right? But it never hurts to offer blessings and good wishes. Happy Birthday, Jane.


Saturday, May 2, 2009

Queen Frog

About two and a half years ago, I met a frog. The Queen Frog to be exact. She's been my editor since then and in that time, she's demonstrated endless patience and generously shared her expertise and knowledge. What I am today is in large part due to her endless advice and mentoring.

I shall miss working with her. As in all of life, nothing is constant except change. In an internal shuffle at my publisher, I was assigned to another editor. I'm quite certain that I'll get along just fine with my new editor and I'm looking forward to working with her. I'll no doubt learn new things from her as every person we encounter has something different to teach us.

But just before I face the future, I want to say a heartfelt thank you to the Queen. She's on vacation at the moment. I sincerely hope she's stretched out on her lily pad enjoying the catering of some handsome young male froglets. She deserves every bit of pampering that comes her way!


Friday, May 1, 2009

The Non-Prom

It's prom season. I remember my prom. Or rather my non-prom. Baptist minister's daughters don't go to dances--at least they didn't back then. My boyfriend (the house hunk) was a tad put out at that. He asked me to take him to my prom. My folks said a rather emphatic , "No". And that was it.

So he came up with the idea of us having a really nice date. We planned a nice steak dinner, and a few games of bowling. It was hotter than you know where with about ninety-eight percent humidity. I rushed home from school, took a cool bath (no shower at our apartment) and dressed in a very simple classic white dress with white strappy sandals.

He picked me up in his 59 Pontiac Bonneville Convertible and we were off! First we went to a restaurant on the north side, the Black Angus. I have no idea if it's still there or not, but it was very, very nice. We were seated in a cool dark booth that was quiet and private. Dinner was delicious. Finally when we were replete, we went out to the car.

Which had about three inches of water inside. He'd left the top down since it was such a nice night. And while we were inside the restaurant, all that heat and humidity boiled up in quite a storm.

So after opening the doors so the water swooshed out, he dug a blanket out of the trunk to cover the seats and we went in search of a bowling alley. We played several games. I seem to remember winning one and that was a big deal for me because I was a terrible bowler.

And eventually he took me home. When I exchanged prom stories with my girlfriends later, there was a certain amount of vindication. I had been subjected to quite a bit of teasing the week before because my parents didn't allow me to go to the dance. Seems most of them were caught out in the rain storm and ended up with ruined hair dos and wet dresses.

And I still look back on my non-prom with some fond memories...