Pink

I’m not talking about the singer–though I love her stuff–I mean the color. Pink. All over my head.Cotton Candy

This year I’ve taken to coloring my hair. For my anniversary, in February, I went blonde. It was a difficult change. I had to muster all of my courage. Then it was very difficult to get use to. I’ve been a brunette of one shade or another for all of my life. When I looked in the mirror, it wasn’t me. As the months passed I came to enjoy the blonde. The reason why they have more fun is because they get tons of positive attention. I had more come hither smiles from men in the five months I was blonde than I ever did as a brunette.

After I found the courage to go blonde, Hubby mentioned how he would be interested to see what I would look like as a redhead. To be honest, I was a little curious too. I picked up the stuff and did my hair for father’s day. I chose the wrong dye. The directions said rinse until the water runs clear. I kept rinsing and it kept coming out. Then, instead of the deep raspberry my hair should have been it was pink cotton candy with streaks of the old blonde with brunette roots. Ack!

Upside? Hubby thinks it’s cute and doesn’t want me to change it. Unfortunately, that is also the downside. I’ve got cotton candy on my head for Pete’s sake. When he actually caught me pouting (I haven’t pouted since I was ten) he said for me to do whatever I had to so I could be happy.

At least I work from home; otherwise I would have to call in sick until this is resolved. The day job would have an absolute bird.

The problem now? I have to go out in public to get the stuff to fix it. Do I wear the insanity proudly or do I put it in a bun and wear a ball cap?

Did you see that?

My son graduated this past Saturday. Yes, I’m the mother of a high school graduate. No, I didn’t have him when I was twelve. I just look that good.Cap

We’ve struggled with grades this year. He got a part time job at the beginning of the year and I think that took away the energy and time he would have used for studying. If I had it to do over again would I forbid him to work…no, but perhaps I would have insisted he wait a month or two until his grades were higher.

But, despite the job and other distractions, he passed. Our family spent Saturday morning at his commencement. The valedictorian won national awards for the debate team, and his speech was inspirational. So much so, I wish it were on you tube so I could share it with you.

 
A strange thing happened to me while we waited for the ceremony to begin.

 
We arrived at the school at 8:00 am. The ceremony didn’t start until 10:00, but my son wanted to be sure we got the best seats.
The gymnasium has a stage in it and was decorated beautifully. Chairs were set upon the stage to hold the graduating class. All ninety of them. In front of the stage were row upon row of chairs. Some reserved for the school board, some for guest speakers, and some for the press. Our family sat directly behind the school board, on the proper side to see my son’s face as he walked across the stage.

 
Eventually, people started filling in. At 9:00 they really began to arrive. Quite a few would stand at the front near us with their hands on their hips and loudly lament that they missed the “good seats.” (It pays to get there extremely early.) On our row, there was another family on the other end, which left two seats between us and the family next to us. Most other groups had over five and therefore no use for our two seats.

 
About 9:30 a man come up the row behind me. He leaned down into my field of vision and asked, “Is this seat taken?”

 
I gestured toward the chair next to me. “No, it’s all yours.”

 
“Thanks,” he said. Then he griped the seat, lifted it over his head, and walked away with it.

 
The woman from the other family on my row, whom I’d been chatting with, blinked a few times. “I guess he took you literally.”

 
Of course, I immediately wrote it down. As I’ve said before, sometimes real life is where awesome stories are born.  I think my husband, mother-in-law, and daughter laughed more at me than they did at him.

Have you ever been so surprised by someone’s actions you have to look around to be sure others saw it too?

Once Upon a Couch RELEASE DAY!!

 

Available December 10, 2012 wherever eBooks are sold

Available December 10, 2012 wherever eBooks are sold

 

Today is Once Upon a Couch’s release day! Happy birthday to my light paranormal romance, may you transport many readers to the town of Villa Hollow.

And now, the very last excerpt. This client, Amanda, is the one that turns Josie’s world upside-down. Josie’s first impression of Amanda certainly isn’t the most normal.

After closing the front door behind George, she turned to find Amanda on all fours sniffing the sofa cushions. Okay, sure. A perverse part of her wanted to wait to observe what the woman would do next. Unfortunately, the professional side said, “Excuse me.”

Amanda lifted her head and sniffed.

“Did you still want to talk?” Josie asked.

Amanda rose from the floor, her head tilted to one side. The hem of her skirt had hiked up to reveal about three inches of slip, and one of her shoes lay discarded on the floor behind her.

“Amanda?”

She sniffed again and tilted her head the other way.

“Amanda.” Josie spoke louder. She could be having a seizure. “Amanda.”

Her eyes refocused, and she seemed to wake. “Sorry, I blanked out there for a minute,” she said, smoothing her skirt and retrieving her shoe. “Are you ready for me now?”

“Yes, please go on in. I’ll get the paperwork.” Josie retrieved the clipboard and flipped through the pages.

Amanda worked as a real estate agent and lived alone. In the space where clients could list issues they wanted to work on, she’d started to write, but after the first few words, I think I may have, the pen trailed off the page. Apparently, around that time, she’d begun to sniff the furniture.

This is it.  The last day of our Share and Retweet drive.  So share and tweet this post to get the word out.  You have until midnight tonight to spread the word!  Tomorrow I will post the winner of our gift basket giveaway.

 

Day 6 – Share and Retweet drive – gift basket giveaway (meet client #1)

Available December 10, 2012 wherever eBooks are sold

Available December 10, 2012 wherever eBooks are sold

Where would a psychiatrist be without patients? But what if the client is nocturnal?  Most doctors don’t have hours after dark.  This scene has Josie being awakened from a dream by her would-be client.

“Doctor.” The man reached a hand toward her. “Doctor, I need to talk to you.” Hoarse and husky, the whisper intruded on her dream.  It faded, and she became aware of her bed around her, the sheets on her skin and a hand on her shoulder.

Fully awake, she jumped and searched for the lamp on the bedside table. With a click, its amber glow illuminated the room and the man standing by her closet.

“What?” She scrambled and crouched on her pillow. All at once, she smelled charred flesh and remembered the man from the deli the previous afternoon. “You?”

“Yes, Doctor, my name is Jared. Please, you must help me.”

“What are you doing here? You can’t just come into someone’s house, into their bedroom.” She grabbed the portable phone from the receiver on her nightstand. “My bedroom.”

“I need your help.” He backed up and sat in the little recliner situated in the corner of her bedroom. With the drape pulled shut, not even light from the street lamps filtered in.

His face was clean-shaven and pale, except for red welts where burned skin had healed. He dressed in black jeans and a black hoodie sweatshirt. His wide eyes and half-open mouth made him appear sincere. Clasping his hands on his lap, he leaned forward earnestly.

He was compelling. So compelling she wanted to climb out of bed and onto his lap. Or come closer. He really should come a little closer. She eased off the pillow and pushed her hair back. He should see her neck. She had a very nice neck. “Anything you want,” she breathed.

“Oh, damn, I thought being a doctor…” He raised the hood of his sweatshirt, removed a pair of sunglasses from his pocket, and slipped them over his eyes.

Those beautiful eyes lost to her, she wanted to weep.

It took another moment before she realized she had dressed for bed, a T-shirt and no bra.  Incredibly uncomfortable, she pulled the comforter up to her chin. “What sort of help?” she asked.

“I’m a vampire.”

Does she believe him?  Why would a vampire need a psychiatrist?  You can pre-order Once Upon a Couch here and find out.

There are only two days left to share and tweet and earn entries into my gift basket giveaway!

Day 5 – Share and Retweet drive – gift basket giveaway (the garage)

Available December 10, 2012 wherever eBooks are sold

Available December 10, 2012 wherever eBooks are sold

In Josie’s new town she encounters more than a little strangeness.  Over the next few days I’ll give you a peek.  Today’s excerpt highlight’s Josie’s garage.  I love this garage!  When I was growing up, my Uncle Ray and Aunt Lynn had an attic  with similar qualities, so you know it had to end up in my book.

In this scene Josie is looking for a way to extract her ex-boyfriend from her porch.

({Grins} No, I’m not going to explain more than that.)

Carefully she stepped around him and made her way across the driveway to the detached garage.

It was a dilapidated structure. She’d expected to tear it down once the inspector condemned it, but the garage had passed examination with flying colors. It smelled like paint, motor oil and fresh cut wood. Too bad it looked like termite spit and wishful thinking held the walls together. Wooden shingles that encased the structure had been whitewashed several times, but dark green paint bled through, giving the structure a streaky, stubborn look. Its roof was warped and its windows cracked, but like an obstinate old man, it stood the test of time. She loved her garage. It was a treasure trove.

Inside, she found every kind of tool she could ever want. Everything she could ever need. When she first moved into the house, she came out hoping for yard equipment to get the front looking nice. She found a canvas apron with hand tools and a lovely push mower. It took a weekend, but the front of the house now looked manicured and fresh. When she started painting the office spaces, she hoped to find brushes and rollers. After moving a few wooden milk crates, she found exactly what she needed.

Perhaps one day she’d come out and organize the piles of stuff in here, but the idea of a magic garage tickled her so much she couldn’t bring herself to rearrange.

This time she needed a stepstool. She flicked on the light and scanned the stacks. Nothing. Glancing up, she found a large extension ladder perfect for getting onto the roof, but not for getting her newly ex-boyfriend out of her porch. Darn. Maybe Meranda would have something.

As she turned, she found exactly what she needed. Against the front, a blue three-step ladder peeked out from around a stack of snow tires. “Thank you,” she said and removed the ladder. Why did she thank the garage? Why not? It had what she needed.

Do you want to know what’s up with the garage? Do you want to know how he got into her porch?  Of course you do.  :)  Lucky for you, on Monday, December 10, the wait will be over.  You can pre-order your eBook copy of Once Upon a Couch here.

Have you liked our week of excerpts so far?  Good!  Stay tuned!  Over the next three days you will have an opportunity to meet three of Josie’s clients.  Make sure to share this post with your friends so they don’t miss out!

 

Reading during a storm

My most favorite reading place as a child was under the dining room table.  My parents bought a ninety-year-old house when I was eight, just after my father left the military.  It was the fixer-upper of which they had always dreamed.  One thing about living on the southeastern coast of the US, the summers are hot and humid.  In a ninety-year-old fixer-upper there is no central air.  Window units in those days were large and expensive.  We couldn’t afford to put them in every room in the house.  We had one for the downstairs that cooled the living and dining rooms and two upstairs for my parents’ bedroom and my father’s computer room.

My brother and I slept in the living and dining rooms for the summers.  My brother got the room with the television.  I got the one directly under the air conditioner.  As an asthmatic, I loved the chilled air, and the noise drowned out the television so I could read.

When hurricane season hit I still slept and read under the dining room table.  I have fond memories of reading a fantasy adventure story with rain lashing against the taped windows, the storm providing excellent sound effects for my imagination.

To this day, I look forward to snuggling up with a book during a storm.  These days I’m just as likely to be writing as I am reading, and I’m content to work at the table rather than under it.

We are likely to lose power in the next day or so.  The talking weather-heads say that the power outages could last for days.  If that’s the case, I expect to make substantial progress on the sequel to Creatures of the Moon, though my children and husband may go through gadget withdrawal.

May all of you weather the storms in your lives, be they actual or metaphorical, and come out the other side whole.

Life is made up of small adventures.

Take Sunday for example.  We woke to our dogs making a terrible fuss.   Our home is on one corner of our land, then there’s our driveway, and then there is a field that is adjacent to the road.  To walk the perimeter of the field is a quarter mile. The dogs were fussing at a truck parked on the road in front of our field.

It happens often enough that we didn’t think anything of it until the driver gets out and is pacing beside his vehicle.  So, my husband and I drive down to see if he needs any help.  As it turns out, the fellow was trying to call his hunting dogs back to him.  He had been hunting coyotes and he couldn’t get his dogs to return.

Please understand that where we live coyote hunting is necessary, because the population can get out of control and endanger humans and their pets and farm animals.  We wished him well, but asked him to refrain from hunting on our land.  (We’ve had more than one stray bullet embed itself in our wall.  Just a side effect of living where we do.)

Not that we didn’t trust the guy, but as I’ve said we’ve had issues before, so my husband and I pull on our blaze orange and set about working in the field.  We’ve been trying to create a hedgerow along the road to discourage four wheeling.

To that end, we relocate bushes that grow wild in the field to the row.  One of the more prevalent bushes has large thorns, but beautiful smelling flowers in the spring.  I have no idea of the name.

We move three.  He has a shovel and I’m using a hammer-like tool to break away any rocks.  My husband is doing most of the heavy lifting.  While I’m standing beside him I can’t help but look around.  I’m waiting for a coyote to bolt out of the woods toward us.  I’m on edge.

When I glance back at my husband, who is now setting the bush in place I see what appear to be flies all around him. (This can happen if you are working too close to road kill.  We know from experience)

“You are getting swarmed by flies,” I say.

He says, “That’s weird.”

I scan the tree line again.

Then he says, “Ow.”

My gaze darts back to him and I see the insects for what they really are, “Oh my God, they’re bees!”

Even as I shout he is already running, a cloud of angry yellow jackets swarming behind him.  Then they turn on me.

I hear my husband yelling for me to run and I do.  In my panicked mind, I didn’t want the bees that are chasing me to find him.  So I angle away.  Running for all I’m worth.  I hear him yelp again and I turn to see the cloud is gone, but his cream colored sweatshirt is dotted with black.

“I can’t get them off,” he shouts.

Without thinking, I run toward him.  He’s still swatting at his clothes.  I approach at a run, flailing at him with the only thing I had on hand…the bushes.  Steps away from him my boots catch on something.  I slide into the brush at his feet.  Rising to my knees, I swat at him over and over.  Knocking winged assailants to the ground with every blow.

Finally, the danger ebbs and we are left gasping for air.  My husband smiles at my choice of weapon.  “Pricker bushes.  I’m being stung by yellow jackets and you beat me with pricker bushes.”

I look at what are now merely thorny twigs in my hand and realize my other hand is empty.  “Good thing I dropped the hammer.”

The Haunting Allure of Shoes

I’ve never been a “girly” girl.  I rarely wear skirts or dresses.  I’ve worked on cars, butchered meat, snaked our drain from the clean-out, and cleaned up all variety of…well, let’s just leave it as I’m a mother of two and I own two dogs.

My day job allows me to work from home, and frankly, the ability to work sans makeup is a major perk.

Shoes from Zappos. Very close to the ones I fell in love with at the store.

This past weekend I took my kids school shopping and we ended up spending an inordinate amount of time in the shoe store.  My daughter apparently received the “girly” inclinations I lack.  After she tried on a few pairs of shoes, something strange happened.   I began to ooh and aah.

We aren’t talking the shoes from the discount warehouse store.  These were slick leather and soft suede.  Rich colors and enchanting smells.  What’s more, I looked great in them.  They spiced up the jeans I wore and made my rear look amazing.

I wasn’t expecting this reaction.  This week our budget is slated for back to school.  So, unfortunately, we only purchased the school shoes we needed.

However, the shoes are still calling to me.  The tan strappy pumps.  The blue suede wedges.  These really neat slipper-like house shoes that had a sole so I could wear them when I walk to get the mail.  They are whispering over the miles, “Come and get us.  You know you want us.”  I think I’ll have to return next month to get a pair of them.  Okay, maybe two.

My husband loves it.  He pretends to be impatient, but I think he enjoys watching me struggle with the unexpected excitement.

I don’t know where this came from.  Or why is it that, out of nowhere, the bling that never interested me before is suddenly calling to me?  Last month I began painting my nails pretty metallic shades.  They are currently an awesome frosted green.  This month it’s shoes.  If I start wearing dresses or putting bows in my hair, I think I’ll have to see a doctor.

Have you ever developed a passion for something unexpected?