June Wedding: 5:47 P.M. – The Bride’s Great Aunt

“Naomi, aren’t you dressed yet?” Bitsy asked.
She’d been waiting for twenty minutes and it was time to leave for the wedding if they were going to get a seat up close.
“I’m coming, I’m coming, just hold that old nag while I buckle this strap.” Naomi’s voice came from her bedroom where she disappeared to ‘get ready.’
She’s wearing strap on shoes?
Bitsy finished drinking her second cup of coffee, then went to the kitchen to place it in the sink. She turned on the tap to fill it with water and heard the clump, clump, clump of Naomi walking down the hall.
Turning, she gasped when she saw Naomi.
“Whiskey Tango Foxtrot, what are you wearing?”
Naomi was decked out in her prom dress.
“Ain’t it grand!  And it still fits.” Naomi turned around so that Bitsy could stare in shock at the decades old dress.
It was faded from the hot candy apple red of yesteryear into a softer red. It did look lovely, but would the aged fabric last the evening?
“Naomi, you’ve got to be kidding.”
Naomi gave her the mischievous grin that Bitsy knew so well. “Oh, yes.”
Bitsy looked down at Naomi’s shoes and gave an inward groan. “Are you serious?”
Naomi held up her foot, showing three inch heels. “These babies make me taller.”
“Those babies will make you fall on your ass. You’d be lucky not to break a hip.”
“That’s why you’re my date. I can’t let my grandniece down on her wedding day. You can make sure I don’t fall.”
Bitsy closed her eyes and swore to herself. “They make you five foot three, what do you need the three extra inches for?”
“You don’t think I’m gonna wear my waitress shoes, do you?”
“They’d be safer.”
“Oh Bitsy. Just think how Joanna will turn green when she sees them.”
Bitsy thought for a second. “Well, yes. That would be worth it, but I’m telling you, if you fall, it’s on your own. I don’t intend to break my hip because of your foolishness.”
Naomi laughed. “We could be roomies at the hospital.”
It was Bitsy’s turn to laugh, “More like roomies at the nursing home while we try to learn how to walk again.”
They both laughed as they walked out the front door.
“You are a lot taller with those shoes on, I have to look up to you,” said Bitsy.
“I know. I might wear heels more often.”
red high heels with strap
~~~
Bitsy and Naomi are characters in The Devil Has Dimples.

June Wedding – 9:30 A.M. The Groom’s Ex-Girlfriend

You are cordially invited to the wedding of
Samantha Hunter
daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Hunter
and
Greg Williams
son of Theresa Morrison and Matthew Williams 
at the First Christian Church
On Saturday, June 29th at 6:30 P.M.
Reception will follow at the Bride’s Home
~~~
Tina ran her thumb over the printing. 
Cheap.
Computer generated invitations. Not embossed like they should be. She never would have allowed cheap crap for her wedding. 
Her wedding! What a joke. 
This was the second ex-boyfriend who found someone after they finished with her. 
A bitter taste formed in her mouth.
She was a better choice than Samantha would ever be. She could get Greg invited to important events to help his career. What did Samantha offer that she couldn’t?
Tina threw the invitation on her bed.
She was going, no matter what. Walking over to her closet she started moving the hangers, looking for a dress, The perfect dress. Her hand paused on the light pink cold shoulder sheath dress. Her hand lingered on the fabric, it was a delicious dress that looked fabulous on her, but the color would make the old biddies in attendance chatter on and on about ‘only the bride should wear white’ it was pink, but barely.
She pushed the dress aside with a vengeance.
She didn’t want ugly comments, she wanted attention. Several hangers away, the perfect dress awaited.  Tina yanked the hanger off the rod. Yes. It was perfect.
Red silk would cling to her body like a second glove. Everyone would be looking at her. That’s what she craved. Attention. She deserved it.
Wait until she walked into the church. Every head would turn in her direction. The thought made her smile.
It wasn’t pretty.
~ ~ ~
Tina was introduced in The Devil Has Dimples by Pepper Phillips.

Alone in the Writing Turret – with Stephanie Queen

The TurretSo there I was, yawning in my turret when my typing fingers ran out of running room. Even a standing stretch had no effect. This called for drastic measures–no, not the gym, I can’t’ recall the last time I was that drastic, or perhaps it’s my memory failing. Wasting no (more than usual) time, I banged the gong and instructed Myren my Chauffeur to bring around the car–we traded in the limo for a new-fangled smart car–all electric–only good for short escapes and only good for drives that don’t pass by the orbit of any malls, outlet stores or back allies where there’s an oldsmobile trunk open and a man selling hot toasters. The luggage capacity of this so-called smart car is only the size of a 1/2 karat diamond.  So I suppose we could stop at a jewelers…. but I digress.

And that’s exactly why I gonged for Myren.  I needed a digression (otherwise known as a diversion). A change of scenery. What the heck–I needed people around me. I worried my  ear drums would turn rusty with all the turret-induced silence surrounding me all day.

So I hopped into the oversized electric shaver on wheels and we buzzed to a non-shopping related hive of activity buzzing with people talking into the space of the real world and making an impressive amount of noise. The rush of excitement slapped me in the face and Myren said, “You look pink. You want a cold drink?”

No, we weren’t at a  bar. But maybe next time. We were at the local hangout, a coffee shop called Beantowne. Not it’s not in Boston. Maybe next time. I cleared a path as I strode through the shop aimed toward the comfy yet regal sofa in the corner. It was occupied, so we had to share and I pasted on my gracious smile–the one without the bared teeth–no need to scare away the natives since they were the ones creating the buzz of excitement–the very origin of the stimulating atmosphere.

To add to my stimulation, I ordered a super espresso mocha caramel extra shot latte grande–or something big and peppy to drink.coffee drink

Then I ripped out my MacBook and let my fingers run. Back in business.  The buzzing of the coffee shop faded to white noise and the people faded from sight.

The writer could be anywhere and surrounded by anyone, but she’d still be alone in the writing turret.

My dream office

For years, I used either my son’s– or later my daughter’s– bedrooms for office, but I had to vacate the place when they came home for a visit. Surprisingly, it’s when we moved from the big house into an apartment that I designed my own office. And I share it with my dream hero. You see, I hate to be stuck alone in an office with my husband watching TV or more exactly dozing in front of it in a ???????????????????????????????different room. So we both enjoy this office.

My big desk is very heavy, an antique that was left in the apartment by the previous owners who couldn’t move it. My husband’s laptop sits on a black glass table. His yellow chair came to us from an old uncle. I like the mix of traditional and modern furniture in this room where every piece holds a memory or represents a special moment.

I use the left side with the desktop computer and big monitor. My chair is cushioned with a special therapeutic back support that belonged to my father thirty years ago. I kept it preciously. It helps me a lot.

???????????????????????????????The FTHRW chapter offered me the white, pink, and red silk flowers for making PRO, contests wins, books published. I cherish theses flowers that represent my achievements as a writer and I keep them in a Morano vase I bought in Italy. In the big plastic box under the credenza I save cards, pictures and memorabilia. Space is very limited in an apartment.

Under the window you can see the cherry wood desk my husband gave me many years ago when I graduated with my PH.D. in chemistry. The little laptop is the one that travels with us. We also use it as a back up. My husband is a computer wizard who’s networked all computers. I’m not supposed to touch any wire under my desk!

???????????????????????????????I have to confess that my desk rarely looks so neat. It took me three days to organize and clean its top so I could see the desk wood. I frame the monitor with pictures of my grandchildren. The big mug has the  avatars of my first on-line friends from the Playground loop. By now, all its members are published with several NY bestsellers and Rita winners.

The bookcase behind my husband’s glass table holds my dictionaries, craft books, my father’s books, and French books I like to keep–all half-hidden behind many framed pictures.

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On top of the bookcase we keep a maquette of the first plane my husband sold, his bigger tennis trophy and a framed picture of me with VP Al Gore at a VP fund-raiser I attended on behalf of my company president in 1995.

So this half of the room is the office. The other half is our family room.

My husband’s old stereo system that he’ll never let go sits on a file cabinet. The sofa bed the kids use when they visit faces the TV. I keep on it a therapeutic massage mattress I use for half an hour at night. On the??????????????????????????????? back of the sofa, a bear that was a gift from my Playground friends. The bear is dressed as the hero of my first published book, To Love A Hero, General Sergei Fedorin. My grandchildren know they are not allowed to play with Nonna’s bear, only hold it for one minute!

Beside my bear is a small pillow, with Too Many Books, Too Little Time, gift from a dear writer friend.

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Across from the sofa is the TV and another bookcase with my own books, autographed friends’ books and a lot of novels I want to keep–and always a lot of frames and knickknacks around the books.

Above the TV a caricature,  Mona The Chemist, done many years ago when I was still working on my Ph.D, and next a picture of the house where we lived for 25 years, and a picture of my first book.

When I write, my husband use headphones to listen to the TV which is alomost behind my back and doesn’t distract me. Besides, when I write I become deaf to my surroundings.

When my grandchildren are visiting, my office/family room become their playroom and the TV is on all day on Dora, or Thomas the Train, or any shows they want.

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And now let me introduce you to the view that inspires me when I write.

And our beautiful sunsets.

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It’s in this office that most of my books were composed.

FB Banner 1 22 2013 publisherwww.monarisk.com

http://tinyurl.com/7y4waxg

MOTHER’S DAY BABIES:    http://tinyurl.com/cz3v5a8

VALENTINE BABIES:      http://tinyurl.com/avb2kbu

RIGHT NAME, WRONG MAN:  http://tinyurl.com/85o4wg7

BABIES IN THE BARGAIN:  http://tinyurl.com/6mcd6e3

ANOTHER TIME, ANOTHER PLACE

Have you ever wondered how life would’ve treated you, had you been born in another time, another place?

I have.

I’ve often wondered why I feel this way. Maybe it’s because I’ve experienced chapter after chapter phases, life has thrown my way. That’s the way it is. Pure and simple. That’s life. One obstacle course after another.

If I live life to it’s fullest, I can’t escape its ups and downs of human survival. And…there has been one valley after another to walk and one mountain after another to climb. I know this is normal. Do I like it? Not much. 🙂 I’d rather live on the mountain top where the air is sweet and the clouds drift in and caress my cheek. But, that’s for dreamers.

I, too, dream.

This week, my dreams lengthened in the form of sadness, but hope, for my brothers and sisters on this earth. My heart aches for the people of Oklahoma, their losses and devastation at what they’ve endured while tornadoes ripped through their town and took away, for most, all they had. Some are left with the clothes on their backs or little else. So I dream a better life for them, and pray that God will ease their heartaches and prepare them for the struggle that lies ahead.

For now, Another Time, Another Place isn’t important, except that I’m thankful and happy that all my family are safe. That’s all that really matters. Things can be replaced, but the loss of a loved one remains forever.

On a note of what I intended to post, is that I’d love to live in a rambling Victorian home and have as much time to write as possible. The time matters not.

Do you wish for another way of life?

My books are available at Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Kobo, Sony, Diesel, Apple and Smashwords.

You can find links on my website, here. http://caroldevaney.weebly.com/my-books

My Writing Space – Jill James

I recently moved up to my son’s old room (Army) so I now have Raiders wallpaper in my office. I had to do some rearranging of my stuff too. I like to be surrounded by controlled chaos. Lots of stuff, but all in its place. I clean the office between books. That is like a sign that one is done and another hasn’t been started yet. LOL

deskAs you can see, I love to be surrounded by stuff. I use the window sill to have family pictures and knickknacks close by. My reference books are on the right and my inbox and day planner on the left. My view is a giant cherry tree.

bookcase 1bookcase 2

I have two giant bookcases. These are for more knickknacks and my hard cover books. A few dolls and childhood treasures sit on there too, along with some family pictures.

corner 1To the left of my desk is this corner with family photos, space patch, Starship Enterprise hologram, programs from Broadway shows, and my poem on a plaque.

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corner 2The corner to the right of my desk has my telescope and my plotting board. Love the pretty colors! LOL

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book coverI got this for my birthday one year. Karin Tabke had Rae Monet, the cover artist make it for my birthday (way before Tempting Adam was published). It was for incentive to keep trying!

Thanks for checking out my writing space.

RT~Girl Power, Hunks, Haggis & the Highlands

RT 2013 was an exceptional experience for my husband and me. Vince and I did an interactive workshop on how to write realistic fight scenes for your female characters. I hope we get a chance to do it again next year and get more people from the audience to try some of the techniques. It’s always easier to describe something when you’ve done, felt, seen or in some other way experienced it. No one wants to experience an attack, so this offers a safe and entertaining environment to see how it may play out for your heroines. DSCN3171DSCN3173DSCN3181

I loved it. Vince loved it. I think the audience loved it.   DSCN3195

Vince also had the opportunity to present on Cathy Maxwell’s panel: Hunks, Haggis & the Highlands, with Susanne Saville, Kimberly Killion, and Jody Allen (Scottish History Scholar). Last year we took our Scottish food business, MACSKIS HIGHLAND FOODS, national. Our flagship food is HAGGIS. Vince and Jody attended Cathy Maxwell’s session on the Highlands at RT 2012 and piped in when some of what was presented about haggis wasn’t accurate. Far from taking offense, Cathy asked them both to join her in 2013. The presentation rocked, not only because all the presenters were wonderful, but because Cathy Maxwell is so darned funny! And, Yes, there was Haggis to Taste! AWESOME….

DSCN3252 DSCN3296   I got the chance to meet and get to know Cathy Maxwell, which pretty much made the conference for me; that and tossing my husband around 🙂  I also got some quality time with Mia Marlow, Bobbie Smith and Heather Graham. One of the highlights for me was meeting fellow Authors of Main Street author, Jill James, in person. How wonderful of her to come to our workshop!

The last year or so has been one of jumping in the deep end for my husband and for me. I’m writing full time, attending as many Highland events across the country as I can while we develop more food and gear for MACSKIS and market it to high-end restaurants, grocery stores and venders at Scottish events. I’m also working with historical researcher, Jody Allen to organize a national conference for writers of Scottish and other Celtic historical romance.

Sometimes jumping in is the way to make things happen. Yes it’s scary…believe me, we live that. It’s helpful when you jump in together. I am thankful for my best friend, the man who lets me take him to the ground in front of a group of mostly women shouting, “Kill him again.” And he does it with a smile and sense of humor that never fails to crack me up. He didn’t balk when I said I needed to see how the lambs where treated before we took our haggis nationwide. He flew me to Colorado to tour the meat processing facility. Not only did this vegetarian go, I saw the animals. (No antibiotics, No growth hormones, These animals weren’t scared or jammed into tiny spaces, they were treated ethically.) He also helped develop a vegetarian version and a gluten free version of haggis. Many die-hard haggis makers wouldn’t even consider that.

The best thing about going to RT or any of the conferences within the writing community is the people you meet. I’ve had the opportunity to meet some fantastic people. The thing that makes this wonderful ride so filled with joy is that I’m on it with Vince. Thanks to best-friends everywhere. You make our worlds, which as writers can be filled with solitude, complete.

DSCN3138   Thanks to everyone who came to our presentations! We had so much fun participating! If anyone would like to get a group together for next RT, I’m all over that :). It would be wonderful getting to know you.

Here’s to jumping in with both feet no matter what you decide to jump into,

Leigh

 

Friday Writer’s Forum, The First Glance

I host a Writer’s Forum on my blog, kristystories.blogspot.com every Friday where I talk about the craft of writing and try to give writers the opportunity to share their work. Here’s a recent post.

 

A number of years ago I had the opportunity to hear Linda Howard talk on the twelve steps of intimacy, a talk she based on the works and studies of Desmond Morris, author of The Naked Ape. I found it fascinating. I began watching for intimate “tells” in the people around me. (Yeah, I’m an avid people watcher and eavesdropper, unless I’m thinking about a story I’m writing, then I’m pretty much oblivious. It’s a toss-up as to whether I’m dialed in and taking mental notes or I’m in my own stratosphere. I’m a risk.)

Today I want to talk about that first step of intimacy—the first glance. How many of us can recall the first instance we saw our spouse? I can, although it was more than 31 years ago. He sat on a nubby green, ugly sofa, friends on either side of him. He wore blue corduroy pants that matched his eyes. Of course, I didn’t know I had reached at a life changing moment, but I had. I also didn’t know that after he left, he told his friends that he had first dibs on asking me out. I don’t remember what we said to each other—knowing me, not much. But voice to voice is step three on the intimacy ladder, and we’re talking about step one— the first glance.

Dr. James Dobson, author of  Love for a Lifetime: Building a Marriage that Will Go the Distance, also recounts the 12 steps of intimacy. He wrote:

 A glance reveals much about a person — sex, size, shape, age, personality, and status. The importance people place on these criteria determines whether or not they will be attracted to each other.

When the man and woman who are strangers to each other exchange glances, their most natural reaction is to look away, usually with embarrassment. If their eyes meet again, they may smile, which signals that they might like to become better acquainted.

Here are the first glance moments in three of my novels.

A mean wind blew the clouds shrouding the moon and a beam of light landed on a lone figure near the bow.  She fought the wind for her hat and her hair, a tangle of dark honey, swirled around her head. The hat, pinched between her fingers, caught another gust, set sail and skittered across the deck.

The woman managed to capture her hair into twist, and she looked over the deck in his direction. Her eyes widened when she saw him and she backed up against the rail.

Stealing Mercy

The intruder flipped on the switch in the kitchen—her kitchen—and flooded the dark with yellow light. Penny pressed herself up against a tree, hiding and watching. Tall, thin, blond, dressed in faded jeans and a button down white shirt that offset his tan skin and startling blue eyes—he didn’t look like a Lurk. His gaze peered into the dark, looking past her and focusing on Wolfgang. “Shoo!” he called. “Go home!”

Losing Penny

Blinded by fear mingled with rain, Blair ran into a large, warm expanse of flannel. For a small moment a slicker engulfed her, and then she tangled with an umbrella. She slipped on the wet pavement and fell hard on her hands and knees. The creel landed beside her and the cat cried in protest. Rain and embarrassment washed over her. She pulled the creel onto her lap and checked its strap.

  “Are you all right?” A tall man with wavy, honey colored hair gazed at her with kind green eyes.

Stooping to pull her upright, his large hand swallowed hers. “You’re shaking.”

The Rhyme’s Library

Please feel free to share your own, either real life moments, or story moments…they’re all good.

Dear Mom …

mom&sueUntil I became a mother, I never knew how hard it is to put your kids above yourself, teach them honesty, strength and compassion by example, maintain patience and humour under the most trying circumstances, read Dr. Seuss yet again even though you’re exhausted, shield them from your own worries, love them no matter what they do and give them warm memories to last a lifetime. You made it look so easy.

Now I know just how much it touched your heart to receive those handmade Mother’s Day cards with “I love you” scrawled across them. Whenever I read books to my girls, make them macaroni and cheese with your recipe, tie a pony tail or sew a Brownie badges onto a sash, I remember you doing the same things when I was young. Every day I appreciate how devoted and selfless you were—and still are.

Sometimes I yearn for the day my little girls will become more independent and won’t need me quite so much. At the same time, I dread it. But I know that even after a girl grows up, marries and has kids of her own, she never stops needing her mother.

Love you, Mom. Happy Mother’s Day.

It’s Time to Celebrate Motherhood

Mother’s Day is this Sunday. It’s a time for families to get together to celebrate the most important person in the family–Mom.

Mom is the one who does everything for everyone. She’s the alarm clock, personal chef, tutor and homework monitor, chauffeur, nurse, diagnostician, physical therapist, counselor,        and moral compass. She works from sunrise to way beyond sunset, making sure everything runs smoothly and that everyone has all their needs met. She’s June Cleaver, Martha Stewart, Carol Brady, and Donna Reed, with a touch of Shirley Partridge thrown in for cool.

Okay, so maybe that’s only on TV and in our dreams. When we first get married and decide to have children, we have a dream. A dream that we will be the perfect mother, perfect wife, perfect everything. And we might even be able to hang on to that for a while. But once kid number two, three, or four comes along, all perfection flies out the window. Add a job to that, and we descend into our worst nightmare–our own mothers. We yell to be heard over the din, we leave dirty dishes in the sink, we make the school run in our pj’s.

And that’s okay. You don’t have to be perfect. But you do have to be there for your kids. And if you think that stops when your kids leave home, think again. They will always be your kids. They will always need you. They may fight against it, trying to assert their independence, but when the chips are down, Mom is the one they call.

Whether your mom is still young and active, or is older and not able to get around as well, take one day out of your busy life and make her feel special. I know she’s easy to overlook because she never complains, never lets you know how much she still needs you in her life, but she does. So send her flowers, call her, go visit–and do the cooking and cleaning while you’re there–buy her something she wants but would never “waste” the money on.

Because without her, you wouldn’t be here.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there, and kudos for a job well done.

Lean on Me New copy

 

From the softer side of Tori Scott, a story of two single
parents brought together by a shared accident, a teenager with an attitude, and
a little girl who steals everyone’s hearts.

Sandy Morrow’s four year old daughter is hit by an SUV as
she’s riding her tricycle down the sidewalk near her home. Her new next door
neighbors, Hunter Thurman and his son Jason, had been arguing just before Jason
jumped in the vehicle and took off without looking behind him. Now her daughter
has a concussion and a broken leg, and Sandy has a sexy neighbor who will stop
at nothing to make it up to her. Whether she wants him to or not.

Hunter Thurman has a mission: to fix the mess his son has
made and to fix the mess he’s made of his son’s life. He is determined to take
care of his next door neighbor and her daughter after the accident, but Sandy
is independent and determined to take care of herself, insisting she doesn’t
need Hunter’s help.

“Tori Scott tackles heartbreaking subject matter in Lean On MeLean On Me is a heartbreaker and a heart-mender. These two families are coming from two different places but they need each other to survive what lies ahead. This story grips the reader from the first page as we glimpse a horrific accident. I literally felt like I couldn’t breathe while reading those pages. I cannot imagine how painful it would be to see your beautiful child in that situation the thought terrifies me actually.

Sandy and Hunter are two very strong independent people and they definitely butt heads at the beginning. However, you can feel the heat between them as they are fighting. I just love that Hunter refuses to give up on helping Sandy through the aftermath of the accident. I also love the bond that builds between Jason and Melanie it is such a sweet relationship! Lean On Me is a great story that will make you laugh, cry and believe in love.”–Joyfully Reviewed