Spring is Coming

Spring is already showing itself here in the SE corner of Virginia. While most of the U.S. has been inundated with snow, we’ve had rain. My yard is like a trying to walk on a soaking wet sponge. Squish, squish! Even my dog is complaining. She’d rather stay on the sidewalk, which means I find little “gifts” all around the edges of the walkway. That’s not a big problem until she leaves one in the walk area and I don’t see it. That’s a different squish and usually followed by a few expletives.

I’ll admit I’ve been envious of those with snow. How I would    love to have that pretty white stuff that so many have posted in pictures of their yard. But I don’t feel like shoveling it. I don’t mind driving in it, but I don’t want to clear the car and defrost the car door so it opens. And considering the way my roof is made, I’d have to shovel it. Sorry, I’m too lazy for any of that so rain is what I get. And I’ve got lots of pretty flowers smiling at me.

My teacup for my mini bucket list (see my January 2019 post) for February is actually almost funny for some of you, but I got prescription sunglasses. I’ve never had them. I had the ones that are supposed to darken. That was a long time ago and they never lived up to their claims. I was going to try them again and I was told I wasn’t going to be happy because… So I got these super glasses that are polarized with all the alphabet additions of protection added on to them. I love them! And they made them so that I can read outside, in case I want to sit on my daughter’s patio with my Kindle like I did last summer. I love them so much that I’ve wondered why have I never purchased them in the past? What new thing have you done?

I’d give you another little peek at my newest story. Now available in paperback in stores everywhere and on Kindle. Read for FREE with Kindle Unlimited!

Thursday afternoon it decided to rain. Not a little drizzle, but a full downpour that showed no signs of stopping. Savannah pulled on her beige slacks and paired them with a soft sage-green cable-knit sweater. She studied herself in the mirror. I don’t care if it’s raining. I want to look good. Besides, I’m not a child who will play in the puddles. I’ll wear my boots and my raincoat, and I’ll stay dry. This time she tried wearing a little more makeup. That meant she used some eyeliner and a dash of green shadow on her lids. Please be there and notice me.

“Ready?” Ashley called.

“Yes, let me grab my slicker.” She slipped her feet into her orange rain boots and pulled on her yellow slicker with an orange-billed hood.

“You look like a goofy duck!”

“It keeps me dry.”

“Why can’t you wear an ordinary poncho?”

“Because I have this. And for your information, it was the rage a few years ago.”

“And how old were you?” Ashley groaned. “Two?”

“No! I had one when I was eight. I found this one before I started college and couldn’t resist.”

“You look so ridiculous.”

Savannah grinned at her friend. “Maybe the bright yellow will catch his eye.”

“Are you going to Aldo’s to practice signing or to wrangle a date?”

Savannah rolled her eyes as she pulled her door closed. “I’m going because I need that extra credit. If I get a date out of it, that’s even better.”

Ashley opened her umbrella and squealed as she stepped into the pouring rain. “It’s raining sideways!”

“Ahh! We’ll be soaked.”

Both of them took off in a run towards the large, decorative baldachin that protected the entrance of the art building. Then they made another mad dash to another covered area. By the time Savannah reached the restaurant, her wet slacks clung to her legs and the moisture was seeping down to her boot covered feet.

“Ugh!” Savannah pulled open the door to the restaurant, then gasped as her hand flew to her mouth. Wide-eyed, she prayed that they wouldn’t be tossed out for making noise. Ashley stifled her laughter.

“You are early,” the hostess said. “The silence doesn’t start for another few minutes.”

Savannah’s gaze caught the droplets of water that ran off her billed hood and dripped onto the floor in front of her. Oh, no. I’m a drooling duck. She flicked the orange bill so that the hood flopped onto the back of her slicker. “I’m so sorry.” Her words were forced as she caught her breath. “We just ran all the way from Brindlewood dorms.”

“Oh, you live in those? Didn’t anyone tell you that they are the pits?”

“They’re cheap!”

Someplace from within, someone started a countdown from ten.

“…three, two, one, silence begins now!” The hostess picked up two menus and showed them to a table on the far side of the almost empty dining room.

Savannah hung her slicker over the back of her chair and looked at the menu that hadn’t changed, knowing she’d order the same thing, except she wanted a cup of hot tea. She tried to sign to Ashley but kept messing up. Her frustration level was rising along with the growing chill that covered her legs and feet.

Several people entered the dining room and took seats, but then he came in with the same people he dined with the last time. It’s got to be his family. Savannah couldn’t prevent herself from staring. He was tall – not too tall, maybe the height of her dad. She figured that meant he was at least six feet, but probably not much more. The whole family seemed to sign with ease. I wonder if my parents would learn to sign? Wouldn’t that be fun? Dad wouldn’t have to hush us when he was watching something on the TV.

Ashley kicked Savannah under the table and she realized she’d been staring at the family for too long, but she couldn’t help the feeling that flowed through her. Never had she been that attracted to anyone in her life. It was as though some inner part of her leapt towards him and refused to return.

She managed to tell the waitress what she wanted to eat by pointing.

Ashley rolled her eyes and signed her menu choices.

Savannah scrunched her nose at her friend and mouthed show-off.

Ashley shrugged and made a face. Using the pad of paper, Savannah wrote the words.

Ashley grinned and stuck her nose in the air.

It was all Savannah could do to keep from laughing at her friend’s smug response.

When the waitress brought the hot tea, Savannah picked up the cup and wrapped both hands around the steaming warmth. She wasn’t certain if she wanted to drink it or pour it over herself in an attempt to get warm. Drinking it was the proper thing to do in public, so she politely lifted the cup to her lips and sipped.

When their salads came, Savannah ate hers, but constantly slid her gaze to the table where he sat. It wasn’t until she was halfway finished eating her spaghetti that she caught him staring at her. He quickly looked away, and her heart fell. Maybe he doesn’t like me and that’s why he turned away.

She swirled some pasta on her fork and attempted to keep her attention on her food, but she couldn’t help glancing in his direction.

He was looking at her.

She smiled. Did he? Was that a smile? Was it directed at me or at someone else? Her heart decided to do little flip-flops. She put her fork down and tried to steady the jitters that had taken hold of her guts but she couldn’t resist looking in his direction one more time.

He was signing to someone at the table. But the young teenage female member of that table was now looking at Savannah.

Ashley stuck a note in Savannah’s face.

STOP STARING!

Savannah grimaced and reached for the pad of paper, but Ashley was too quick, snatched it back, and wrote,

BEHAVE!

“No!” Savannah mouthed. But deep inside she knew she had probably made a fool of herself. How many times had her mother told her it wasn’t polite to stare? That’s what she had done almost through the entire meal. She tried to finish her spaghetti, but her appetite was gone. Part of her was elated and the other part was busy berating the euphoric portion. The waitress took their school meal tickets and scanned them. Savannah would forward that emailed receipt to Prof. Stockton for her much-needed credit.

She pulled on her slicker and caught the young man’s gaze. There was no question in her mind that he smiled at her. She winked at him as she snapped her slicker closed. A warm pulse shot through her as she turned away and left the restaurant with Ashley.

The restaurant door had barely closed behind them when Ashley let loose. “Have you lost your mind? You were worse than a love-sick preteen with a first crush.”

“I was not. And he smiled at me.”

The rain had slowed to a drizzle.

“He was probably laughing at you. I can’t believe you spent the whole meal with your eyes glued to him.” Ashley fumbled with her umbrella.

“I did not.”

“Yes, you did!” The umbrella opened as a gust of wind caught it, snapping a little metal piece. “I think my umbrella is hosed.”

“My slicker still works.”

“How did I manage to gain a best friend who impersonates a duck and acts like a fool in front of a guy? He’s probably going to be looking over his shoulder to make certain he doesn’t have an oversized yellow duck stalking him.”

Wind whipped down Kings Street and brought with it more rain. They both yelped and took off running at full speed towards their dorm.

Ashley swiped her electronic key, allowing them to enter the main lobby of the old building.

“What are you going to do now?” Savannah whispered. Every student in the building had signed a no excessive noise contract before moving in. It was extremely rare to hear more than muffled voices, even in the lobby.

“A hot shower and I’ve got to study. I’ve got that test tomorrow in chemistry. What about you?”

“I’ll take my shower before I go to bed. I’ve got a paper to do on propaganda techniques over the years.” A little chunk of frustration fell into Savannah’s overly filled stomach as she faced the evening’s workload.

“How boring.” Ashley rolled her eyes.

Savannah nodded and raised her hand in a wave as Ashley opened the door to her room. Savannah stepped into her own room and closed the door. She knew she needed to concentrate on her paper, but that little part of her wiggled and jiggled over his smile. No matter how much Savannah tried to concentrate, the memory of his handsome face seemed to constantly flash in front of her. I don’t even know his name.

Over the next week, she watched for him on campus, but she didn’t see him. It wasn’t a huge campus compared to those with enough students to create a small city, but the campus covered a lot of acres. Maybe he is someone who lives in the community and doesn’t attend the university. He does look older. She tried to conjure up every possible explanation for not running into him. Maybe I should ask Prof. Stockton. He’s probably in an advanced class, perhaps taking it at night. The best that she could do was content herself with the hope of seeing him at the next Silent Spaghetti Supper. That’s not what she wanted. She wanted to spend an afternoon talking over a cup of coffee or maybe laughing about the day’s events while eating pizza at Sal’s.

I could get lost in that man. Sharing days, plans, and dreams for their future… Oh, yeah! There was no question in her mind that she was hopelessly hooked on a total stranger.

All she needed was an actual chance to talk to him. Conversations that will last all night…oh, and kisses…yes, kisses…lots of those. Her mind wandered to places where it didn’t need to be. Where are you hiding? When she wasn’t in class, she checked all the normal places where students hung out, but she never saw him. She finally came to the conclusion that he was not on the campus.

She rushed to her textual mediums class and took a seat just in time to hear the professor say to take out a piece of paper and pen. What? A quiz? Paper? Really, paper? Oh, I hope I have a pen. She dug through her purse until she found one. A half hour later, she sighed with relief. Now, she was glad she had studied. But she was facing a test in ASL, and she probably had more than two hundred words to memorize. I can do it. It’ll be easy. I just need to concentrate.

Did you love that book? Want to make that author happy? Please leave a review. Reviews are important to authors.

It’s February!

It’s the first Monday of the month. That’s me. So I thought I’d let you know what’s going on in my life. Sign language class is killing me. I’m far from conversational. I can say things like I’ll met you. I can sign several foods, and I can count. Does it matter that I take forever to sign anything? Not to me. I’m proud that I’ve done as well as I have. But quite honestly I’m really lousy at this but I refuse to give up. I WILL learn. My Deaf friends keep cheering me onward.

I haven’t figured out what I’m going to put into this month’s teacup. But I’m certain something will magically appear and beg to be this month’s teacup. (If you don’t know what I’m talking about  CLICK HERE.)

But my real excitement is that my newest book, Silent Journey is now available on Amazon. And for a short time, it’s being offered at $2.99. As soon as the paperback becomes available, that will be on the 12th of this month, the price of the ebook goes up. BUT, if you have Kindle Unlimited, you can read for FREE! (Everyone should have Kindle Unlimited if you or a member of your family is an avid reader!)

I keep getting notes from folks saying how much they have learned by reading the book. They had no idea. My editor, who is also a professor, told me that she has a Deaf student in her classes this year. She felt as though the story helped her to understand her student’s situation. WOW! That’s powerful for a little romance, although I’d say the romance is minimal. In fact, it’s rather a sweet romance. It’s a story that follows two students through not quite a full year of college, one as an undergrad and the other is in his final year of architectural school (engineering degree).

What if your daughter brought a Deaf man home as her boyfriend? It didn’t go too well for Savannah. But when Alex took her to meet his family… A Deaf family and a young woman who could barely sign, fortunately hearts don’t seem to care about things like that.

Two excerpts for you enjoy.

 

HER PARENTS

The trip to her parents took several hours and they stopped once for a snack and some coffee. According to the GPS, they were getting close. He hated to admit it, but this was very similar to going for a job interview, except this job was for a lifetime.

Savannah pointed to the next exit. The town was small, barely a blip on the map, but it had a major grocery chain store, a big name shopping mart, and handful of gas stations, a pizzeria, and two fast food restaurants. They made a turn into an older neighborhood. The houses were tiny, but most were well tended. This was a blue-collar neighborhood. She pointed to a house with beige siding and faded brown shutters. It looked like every other house on the street.

She turned to him and smiled. “We are here.”

As he got out of the car, she bounded up the narrow walk to the door and opened it. A rather large dog immediately danced around her and then came to him with teeth showing between curled lips.

Savannah caught the multi-colored, mixed-breed dog by the collar and introduced her to Alex as Lady Floppy-Ears Chisholm. “Affectionately called Lady.”

He held his hand to the dog that sniffed it warily. The feeling is mutual. Having never owned a dog or any pet, he wasn’t certain what he should do. But he watched Savannah who beamed with love for the large animal, and the dog seemed to return it.

Meet the parents. Something inside of him crumbled. He stepped across the threshold into a tiny living room and closed the door behind him. Blinking a few times, his eyes adjusted to the interior. A large screen TV glowed with a sports channel, showing a panel of commentators talking about several teams and the players.

Savannah turned to him, pointed down the hall, and signed bathroom. He nodded his response.

By the time he washed his hands, whatever had been crumbling inside him, he decided there was nothing left but the weight that now lay deep in his gut. It was a modest bathroom designed with pale blue tile and white porcelain that looked as though it hadn’t had a shiny finish in years. There was a hot-water faucet and a cold-water faucet. The chrome on both was blistered and missing in places. The house appeared to be a WWII residence and he was expecting to see a Rosie the Riveter, We Can Do it! poster someplace. The bathroom had been decorated in seashells and mermaids and smelled faintly of bleach. He dried his hands on a little baby-blue guest towel that hung from a ring on the wall. At least Savannah was waiting for him as he opened the door.

“Come meet my parents.”

He smiled back at her and followed her down the hall through a dining room and into a kitchen. Any preconceived notions he might have had about her family vanished instantly. Her dad greeted him with an outstretched hand. They were probably close in height. Savannah was a clone of her mother, except her mom’s hair was shoulder length and she had bangs.

“Would you like a cup of coffee or a…” Mr. Chisholm opened the refrigerator.

“I have…” Her mother turned to the counter.

Savannah fingerspelled beer, signed coffee, and then pointed to the little kitchen table.

He signed coffee as he slid across the bench of the table’s booth seating, even though a beer would have probably helped him to relax.

Savannah’s mom put a loaf of white bread on the table and plastic zip bags containing several types of lunchmeat, another group with cheeses, and then added a jar of mayonnaise, along with several other condiments and pickles.

Savannah’s father sat at the table with a bottle of beer. “So what are you going to school for?”

Here goes. He signed architecture.

The man looked slightly puzzled and then turned his gaze to his daughter before returning it to Alex. “Is this some sort of joke?”

Alex shook his head, spotted Savannah’s giggle, and signed. “I read lips.”

“No, Daddy. He’s deaf. I told Mom and told her to tell you. As long as you look at him when you speak, he can read your lips.”

“Can you hear me?”

Alex shook his head.

Mr. Chisholm appeared to be confused. He looked at his daughter and then at Alex before beginning to prepare his sandwich.

Savannah handed Alex a mug filled with coffee. “Make a sandwich.”

Her father passed the loaf of bread to Alex.

He accepted the bread and withdrew two slices from the plastic sleeve.

She passed him the meats and then the cheeses.

Savannah’s mom sat across from Alex. “So how do you manage to go to college?”

Alex pulled the notepad from his shirt pocket.

The same way as everyone else.

She took a sip of her coffee. “I thought people like you went to special schools.”

People like me? What’s that supposed to mean? Stay calm. She doesn’t understand.

No. I went to the local public school. No special classes. But many Deaf will attend dedicated schools.

“And you’ve always been deaf?”

He nodded.

“So how do you talk?”

Before he could write an answer, Savannah said, “Mom, he uses his hands. It’s sign language, and it’s a real language. I’m taking it instead of Spanish. I told you that’s how we met, the Silent Spaghetti Supper.”

“Like Helen Keller used?”

He shook his head and Savannah watched him.

“Not exactly.” Savannah translated. “It’s changed over the years, and she couldn’t see. She fingerspelled. We’ve come a long way since those days. Fortunately, I can see. I am merely Deaf.”

“But you’re dumb, too.”

“Mom, he’s mute by choice, not stupid.”

“What? What is mute by choice supposed to mean?”

Alex pressed his lips together and then forced himself to answer the question verbally, “I cannot hear therefore my voice is not good.”

The look on Savannah’s mom’s face told him she understood.

Savannah put her hand on his arm. “It’s easier for him to use his hands.”

The family barely said a word. It was Savannah who did most of the talking.

Obviously, her parents were concerned about his relationship with their daughter. Yet he would make more money and be better able to provide for their daughter than her father had provided for his family.

Mr. Chisholm glanced up at Alex and then turned his attention to his daughter. “I thought maybe he’d like to hang out with me and look at the car I’m restoring. But I guess that won’t work.”

A little time with Savannah’s father might be good. He nudged Savannah. “What kind of car?”

Savannah turned to her father. “He wants to know what kind of car.”

“A 1950 Town and Country Newport with only 23,000 miles on it. It was in my grandfather’s barn. I inherited it.”

Alex grinned and gave the thumbs-up sign. In the barn? A family owned antique car? Super low mileage? Oh yeah!

A few minutes later, he followed Mr. Chisholm out the back door and into a detached garage. He was on his own with a man who did not sign. Alex had to win the man’s trust.

~*~

As soon as the men left, Savannah’s mom turned her attention to her daughter. “Well, he’s cute as a button. But how is he going to make a living? Or do you intend to support him?”

Savannah shook her head and began to clear the table. “He’ll get a job as an architect. I’ll never make the money that he will.”

“You mean someone will hire him?”

“Yes.” She had to tamp down her frustration with her mom, but she also understood for she had asked herself those same questions.

“Is that your engagement ring? It doesn’t look like an engagement ring.”

“Yes, Mom. Isn’t it beautiful?”

“What happened to a simple diamond? Are you certain those stones are real?” There was the sound of disgust in her mom’s voice.

“Mom, he bought it from a local jeweler. I think it’s beautiful. It’s different.”

“If you wind up marrying him, what will you do, adopt?”

“You mean because he’s Deaf?”

Her mom nodded.

“We haven’t talked too much about children. The odds of us having a deaf child are minimal. And Alex doesn’t understand why there would be any concern about having a deaf child.” She remembered a conversation Alex and she had and began to giggle. “Mom, do you miss your third arm and hand?”

“What?”

“It’s simple. Do you miss your third hand?”

“Don’t be ridiculous.”

“I’m not. A third hand might be super wonderful, but how would we ever know because we’ve done quite well with two. Hearing is the same for him. He’s never had it, so he really can’t imagine it – he’s never heard any sound in his life. As a result, he can better comprehend having a third hand, because he has two hands, than he can comprehend sound. He can’t miss something he never had.”

“Oh, Savannah, I worry about you in this relationship.”

HIS PARENTS

The trip to his parents didn’t take long. He hit the remote for the garage door, and it opened. Gwen had arrived and pulled into what he considered his parking space. He parked his car by the garage wall knowing that barely gave Savannah enough room to open her door.

He got out and held the door for her. She squeezed out and smiled, as he apologized.

“I’m not the one who is pregnant.”

He helped her remove her coat and tossed it over his in the backseat. Then he snatched the box of monogrammed golf balls wrapped in birthday paper and tied with a large bow that also was on the backseat.

“Do I look okay? Is everything still in place?” She smoothed out the skirt of her gown.

He laughed. “Looking at you makes it very difficult for me to keep what I have in place.”

She gave him her evil glare, and he laughed some more. “Ready for a Deaf night like you’ve never experienced?”

~*~

Savannah walked into the house where Alex’s mom was giving last minute instructions to several people in black and white uniforms with embroidered interlocking letters that formed the caterer’s logo. The amount of food in the kitchen was unreal and more was in the ovens and on the stovetop. If the white aprons were any indication, there had to be three people cooking and at least five people listening to Alex’s mom. In the other room, there were even more uniformed people. So this is how the rich throw parties.

Arrangements of white lilies accented with tidbits of midnight blue and silver decorated tables and the place seemed to glow with a party atmosphere. Alex took her hand as they walked to his father’s office. There they left the box on his dad’s desk, along with the card they had signed. Then they went upstairs to what was once his childhood bedroom.

He closed and locked the door behind him. “I can’t handle looking and not touching you. You are incredibly beautiful. And that is doing things to me.”

His lips devoured hers. She was lost in his kiss and the sensations he produced in her. And when his kiss ended, he stood staring into her eyes with such intensity that she couldn’t catch her breath. She touched his cheek and gasped for air, without letting go of his gaze. There was no question in her mind that their feelings matched.

He went to his bathroom and she waited for him to return. After checking the decorative mirror on his bedroom wall, she slipped her lipstick from her small silver purse. She inhaled a few times before redoing the pink gloss on her lips. Even though it was a special occasion, she still didn’t like wearing much makeup. The colors she wore with her gray dress were as pale as always, light brown mascara with just a touch of pale blue shadow that shimmered on her lids. As she stared into the mirror, she thought of Ashley with her dark hair and eyes that allowed her to wear bold colors. Savannah envied her friend.

Alex reappeared and smiled, but his smile was a little sheepish.

She went to him and wrapped her arms around his waist. “I love you. You look so handsome in your suit. How did I find you?” She stared into his eyes. With heels, she was almost equal to him in height. “Maybe I should thank Prof. Stockton.”

He grinned. “You can do that tonight. Because I can’t imagine him not coming.”

“What?”

“Old friends of the family. Remember I said his wife is Deaf.”

“Oh, I guess with your mom being a dean she has lots of friends within the faculty.”

He nodded. “Don’t concern yourself. This will mostly be Deaf friends. My father is not comfortable around the hearing and it’s his party.”

“Your father seems to like me.”

“He thinks you are adorable. But don’t forget my mom hears and he fell in love with her.”

“I never asked. How did they meet?”

He shrugged. “On campus, except someone set them up. Someone knew that she knew sign language. And if we don’t go downstairs soon and join the party that’s about to start, we’ll be in trouble.”

She captured his hands and held them. The look in his eyes said everything she wanted to hear. Bringing his fingers to her lips, she kissed them. “Yes, we need to join the party before I totally chicken out.”

His mouth moved before the sound came out. “You’ll be fine.”

She kissed his fingers one more time.

Downstairs, guests had begun to arrive. It seemed as though everyone signed, yet a few voices rose above the sounds of those in attendance.

Savannah spotted Gwen who called to her, “Come meet my in-laws.”

Slowly Alex and Savannah made their way through a group of people who were excited to see Alex and wanting to know who she was. Alex introduced her to so many people that she knew she’d never remember all the names. But when they reached Gwen, she was standing with two people who could hear. Dustin’s parents were probably feeling as out of place as she was. She also realized that their ability to sign was rather limited. Knowing Dustin had spent his life deaf, she found it odd that his parents struggled to sign. Didn’t they learn to communicate with their own son?

Another couple came to Alex and hugged him. As though being pulled by a tide, Alex continuously introduced her as he chatted with so many people. And when they landed by Prof Stockton and his wife, they both embraced Alex.

“Welcome to the Deaf community,” Prof. Stockton signed and gave Savannah a hug. “You have a lot to learn, but you also have a good teacher. This is my wife, Kathy.”

Savannah signed that she was pleased to meet her professor’s wife and then quickly signed, “Slow down,” as the woman signed at the speed of light. She hardly caught anything the woman had said. Apparently Alex knew that, because he laughed silently. She turned to Alex. “What is so funny?”

Alex kissed her and she could feel the blush rushing to her cheeks. His sign of affection was a bit much in front of her professor. Then Alex slowly signed that Stockton and his wife were his godparents. He took her hand and showed off her ring.

Savannah caught the word pretty from the professor’s wife, but by the look on the woman’s face there was no question that she loved Savannah’s ring.

“Savannah, you’ll need to work extra hard. There’s a lot you still don’t know.” Prof. Stockton warned. “Not only do you have vocabulary to learn, but you will need to pick up some speed. You have to learn to automatically sign and not think about each word.”

She nodded her response.

As the night went on, she discovered that this crowd seemed more tactile and openly affectionate. Even the men hugged one another. But when a pretty blonde came up to Alex and hugged him, Savannah could feel that green jealousy running through her veins, especially when Alex returned her hug.

“Meet Elise.” Alex practically pushed Savannah to the woman. Then he held out Savannah’s hand and showed off her ring.

The young woman instantly hugged Savannah. “Make him happy. He’s impossible.”

“I am not!”

“Yes, you are. I want to know what she did to grab your heart.” Elise laughed as she signed.

“Chemistry,” Alex answered. “She’s got it.”

The woman looked around and then signed, “She can also hear.”

Alex nodded. “She’s learning to sign, but…” he looked at Savannah, “Who needs to talk when you are in love? I can think of better things to do with my hands.”

Savannah had been following along, piecing the conversation together because Alex was signing slow enough for her to understand, but with that last comment she thought she’d hit him. Elise did it first, except hers was playful.

“You are so bad!” She turned her attention to Savannah. “Savannah, make him behave.” Elise signed extra slow. “He’s terrible. I’ve known him all my life. You’ve captured the top dog, and every eligible female in this room wishes that ring was on her finger instead of yours.”

Savannah smiled and signed, “You?”

“Of course. Together since we were old enough to see a movie.”

Savannah smiled at the young woman, but deep inside she wasn’t happy. Whoever this gal was Savannah figured she would be waiting in the wings to snatch Alex back, except he seemed to take it all very lightly.

I loved writing this story. Years of research went into it and so far the reviews have been phenomenal. The Deaf community has been wonderful. Alex has proved to be a worthy hero.  Two young adults, their families, their friends, and the atmosphere of a small university are stuffed between the pages of this groundbreaking novel.

It’s available on Kindle and on Kindle Unlimited and will be in paperback everywhere. Grab your copy today!

The Blues Before the Book Releases

All the pesky thoughts fly through an author’s brain as a book gets ready to release, the self doubts, the worries…it causes the blues. If you’re an author, you’re not alone, but if you’re a reader, you get to patiently wait for the book as though it’s an early Christmas gift that will land in your lap. But while we wait for that book to fall into your hands…

Is the book good enough? That depends on quite a few elements.

Is the story any good? It’s usually not the story that is lacking, but rather the way the story is crafted together. It’s something that few people do automatically unless they are voracious readers. They pick up the way stories flow with the various plot elements, and how they arc through the story. I think most of it is mentored into us. (I am so lucky to have had some wonderful mentors over the years.)

Is it well edited? That one is tough. I’ve known plenty of authors who have paid for and received terrible edits.Why? Because their own grammar skills are lacking and they are totally dependent on the editor. I’ve also seen authors who blindly accept an editor’s suggestion. The editor might make suggestion here and that affects something else.

But once we’ve reached a certain point, then we can only wait for the readers to decide.

That’s where I am…times two!

My contemporary, full length novel Silent Journey is available on NetGalley. If you love to read, this site is perfect! You’ll get to read about to be released, books from major publishers for free. They only ask for reviews once you sign up.

https://www.netgalley.com/catalog/book/146924

Silent Journey

This is not the finalized copy, it’s still in edits, nor is it the final cover. Wait until you see the cover! The hero is everything you want except you might have a problem understanding him. He understands you so why…? He’s Deaf. He’s Deaf of Deaf. So come step into his shoes as he faces a world geared to those with hearing, and join the woman who has so much to learn.

Enjoy a little snippet of Silent Journey.

Aldo’s was situated across the street between an art gallery and an upscale boutique. Taped on the door was a warning. Silent Spaghetti Supper Tonight, Absolutely no talking allowed! Public welcome.

“Here goes.” Ashley opened the door and held it for Savannah. The place was strangely quiet. Not completely devoid of sound, because there was still the sound of movement and dishes. But there wasn’t even music playing softly in the background. A hostess held up two fingers and, when Ashley nodded, the woman picked up the menus and led them to a table.

The table contained another warning about no talking, a small pad of paper with Aldo’s logo, and a plastic-coated sheet with some suggestions should they need help. The menu was simple: spaghetti: white, rosé, red with meat, or marinara, with a choice of plain, meatballs, shredded chicken, or sausage. Then there were some specialty items such as shrimp, but they couldn’t use their meal cards with those. Savannah chose the creamy rosé sauce with chicken. Then she looked around.

That’s when she realized there were sounds, vocal sounds, just not words. They were primitive sounds. The slapping of hands, low dissonance of grunts, and punctuated higher notes that were almost animalistic. It was disconcerting and fascinating at the same time.

Most of those in attendance were using sign language. Now she knew why Professor Stockton gave extra credit for attending. A redheaded waiter came to their table. Savannah instantly recognized him as Andy. He frequented the coffee shop in the technology building where she often stopped between classes. She smiled at him and pointed to the items she wanted, but then couldn’t figure out how to tell him she wanted unsweetened iced tea with lemon. Finally she took the pad of paper on the table and wrote it. Andy grinned and signed what she had written. She lifted her eyebrows at him, and he shook his head as though admonishing her.

Next to what she had written, he wrote: You will learn. Is this your first semester signing?

She nodded.

Ashley did a little better and Andy left them.

All the normal small talk was gone. She wanted to sneak her phone from her purse, but there was a huge warning not to use phones or to allow them to ring. It was a little boring staring at Ashley who seemed to be struggling with the same silence.

Andy brought their drinks and salads to the table. The salad was appealing, not that horrible shredded lettuce that was served in the cafeteria. This was mixed greens with lots of feta crumbles and Kalamata olives. About half way through her salad, Savannah stopped with her loaded fork poised in front of her face.

Across the room, there was a young man sitting with an older couple, a female around his age, and a younger female teen. Maybe it’s his family. He was a golden blond and the only description Savannah could think of was drop-dead gorgeous. He was signing with one hand as he ate. The younger girl seemed to be playing with him, as though they were teasing. Someone must have chastised the teen by the look on her face and the way she sat back in her seat.

Ashley touched Savannah’s arm and made a face as if to ask what was happening.

Savannah lowered her fork and motioned for Ashley to look behind her.

When she turned back to Savannah, Ashley grinned and fanned her face.

Silent Spaghetti Supper is getting interesting. But Savannah decided that catching the eye of such a guy wasn’t going to be easy when he was across the room, and not looking in her direction.

She ate her spaghetti and instantly rated it the best she had ever tasted. But she kept watching the table across the room with the hopes that he would look at her. The young man left, never once gazing in her direction. As he walked away, it felt as though something had been pulled from within her.

Ashley tapped her foot against Savannah’s. In Ashley’s hand was the pad of paper with the words, Stop staring!

Savannah snatched the pad and wrote, I want a date with that guy.

Ashley stifled a laugh, but a small sound squeaked out, causing several people to look in the direction of the table.

Savannah ran her hand over her forehead hoping to shield herself from the deadly glares. I didn’t do it. But we know who hears us.

When she was certain she could no longer eat another bite, Andy placed a small plate of grapes, apple slices, and sharp cheese on their table. Between Ashley and Savannah, they ate every speck. Oh, roll me out of here after this meal.

That night Savannah tossed and turned in her bed. She attempted to tell herself it had to have been all the food she had consumed, but deep inside she was certain it was that guy. It was like a magnet pulling them together, but he must not have felt it. It’s the food. I’m not used to eating that much.

No longer did she walk the campus oblivious to the students around her. Now she scanned the landscape for him. Nothing. It was as though he didn’t exist and had merely been a figment of her imagination.

 

My other book is part of the Authors of Main Street Boxed set, Christmas Wishes on Main Street. There’s a second Joe Wags book called Christmas Paws. Yes, Flint returns as he opens another Joe Wags. Paisley has found her dream job managing a coffee cafe where dogs were welcome.

Paisley forced her body to vacate the bed. All I need is another ten minutes. Her mind pushed her to get into her shower, but her body was refusing to cooperate. Her shoulder blades and her hips must have joined forces as she slept because they were saying no to all movement. The simple act of getting dressed and going to work became an endurance challenge worthy of reality TV.

Flint had warned her that Saturday would be twice as busy as Friday. She couldn’t imagine being busier. She set up the brew stations, made certain the ice machine was working, emptied the dishwasher from last night, and checked to be sure everything was prepped and ready to go.

A man waited outside the door with his big dog. She didn’t know what kind of dog it was, but she assumed it was a fancy breed because it looked too cute with its reddish coat. She had another three minutes to go on the clock, but she opened the door anyway. “Come on in, coffee is still brewing, but the pooch food is ready as are the doggie drinks.”

“I’ll get a couple of those dog cookies for her, and I’ll take a plain, black coffee as soon as it’s ready. Is it still a quarter?”

“Yes, this whole weekend. Every penny we take in goes to the shelter.”

The man nodded and dropped a twenty into the jar.

“Thanks, that was very generous.”

He chuckled. “I’m a gold medallion supporter. The shelter gets me for a whole lot more than that.”

She passed him the dog cookies and then a cup of freshly brewed coffee. “Stick around. We have free Internet.”

“We just finished our morning run. Furthermore, it’s Saturday. I don’t want to go near a computer on the weekend. I get enough of it during the week.”

“Wow, I thought everyone was lost without their computer.”

“Not me. There might be internet on my phone, but I don’t use it.”

She kept waiting on other customers, and continued to converse with him. “Here let me give you another cup.”

“Are you doing that to see if I’ll drop another twenty in the jar?”

“No. I’m doing it because you already dropped a twenty.” She smiled brightly. “Let me guess, you have a wife, two kids, a cat and a dog, and you live in one of those big houses off of Claymont Road.”

“You only got one right – the house. I’ve got a grown son and a furry daughter.” He looked at his dog.

“Oh dear, I have one word for your daughter. Wax.”

“She goes to the groomer once a month. She can stick with the usual.” He sipped his coffee. “Okay, my turn to guess; husband, three kids, your mother-in-law, two cats, and a house that’s too small for all of you.”

“Not even close. The husband is an ex, and there’s a reason for that. His mother is welcome to get on her broom and leave town as long as she doesn’t come to Fullerton. I’ve got two girls, no animals, and for the first time in my life, I’ve got an apartment that is actually roomy.”

“How old are your girls?”

“One just turned eighteen, and the other is four months from being sixteen.”

“Ouch. That’s a difficult age for them and for their adult.”

She turned her back to him long enough to start brewing more coffee.

“I’ll let you do your work. See you later.”

She turned around to wave, but he was gone. He’d left too soon. She didn’t even know his name.