Wednesday, 30 March 2011
Tuesday, 29 March 2011
Monday, 28 March 2011
Friday, 25 March 2011
Gigi loves shiny, sparkly things. It’s not a new affliction. This is something that has been going on for a very long time, but now her favorite color has aligned with it. Once, she loved blue. She was all about blue. Seriously, she was. If she did not wear blue every day, she would get upset. It made for interesting days sometimes. (Have you ever tried to find blue clothes for a little girl? It’s gotten easier, but for the most part, everything is pink, pink, pink.) When asked what colors she liked, her answer was always the same: blue. All others paled in comparison. It may seem that I am going on and on and on about this (and I am), but her love affair with blue was such that we believed her first car would be blue. (At one point, she wanted blue hair and whenever she had her face painted, her face was…you guessed it: blue.)
Back to the shiny, sparkly things. One day, we were walking back from the park--she must have been three or so--and scattered all over the ground was a bunch of shiny, blue, metallic confetti. We had to stop and pick up every single piece she saw. My pockets were loaded down with this trash. Unlike many three year olds, she had a great memory. When we got home, she insisted I hand it over so she could add it to her stash of shiny things.
The other day, when I picked her up from school, we were walking home when she pulled me to a stop, said, bent down, and picked something up. She handed me one of those plastic jewelry stickers (no longer sticky).
“Look how it sparkles in the sun,” she said.
(And, yes, she does talk like that. g)
I looked down at this tiny sticker. It was no bigger than 1/8”, and I wondered how she had seen that with all the masses of people walking around. That was when I realized that my daughter is part crow. It’s the only explanation. (And yes, this sticker did make it’s way back to our house into her stash of shiny things.)
This attraction to sparkly things has only grown. It has grown to the point that her favorite color has changed to--can you guess?--that’s right, gold and silver. Gold first, of course. (I’m not sure if these are really her favorite colors because when she’s tired she still wants blue. HAHAHAHAHA)
I do have vague recollections of being enamored of shiny, sparkly things as a child. And I do think that at some point, my favorite colors were gold and silver, too. Matter of fact, I distinctly remember using the gold and silver crayons to color any a number of things (even animals) and usually being disappointed that the gold and silver colors on the page were never shiny or sparkly enough. (g)
Now, a couple of Gigi’s friends really like gold and silver, too. So, it makes me wonder if this attraction is something that is hard coded into women’s DNA. (That’s our excuse, right?) I eventually grew out of it. Oh, I still like gold (and diamonds and emeralds and rubies and…), but I don’t pick up a piece of trash because it’s shiny…at least not anymore. (g)
So, I have to ask: were you, or are your daughters/granddaughters, crows, too? Or are only some afflicted with this?
Tuesday, 22 March 2011
Kids are smart, funny, and downright maddening. My child is no different, but I have to say that she's never been so entertaining as when she started having play dates. Yes, play dates. You know, those wonderful occurrences that provide them with playmates and give Mommy (or Daddy) that little extra time to accomplish things. When they are at our house, I rarely accomplish as much as I could because I have one ear listening in on their conversations as I chuckle quietly in the other room. The way their brains work amazes me. Sometimes, they make such profound observations that I have to stop and think. I wonder, "Did my brain work that way, too?" If so, what happened? (g)
Some of my favorite play date moments are:
Charlie and I were sitting in the living room a month or so ago. Gigi had a friend over. They had asked if they could have a tea party. And this is how it went down:
"Mommy, we need some water," Gigi said.
"Mm..hmm..." I didn't get up because the magic word was missing.
Five or ten minutes passed before she says again, "Mommy, we need some water."
Again, no magic word, so nothing happened.
Another five or ten minutes went by and suddenly, Charlie and I heard them in the kitchen. I smiled because, well, this was how we learned as kids, right? Most of the time, we had to figure things out on our own...within reason.
Her friend: "You get the water, and I'll get the sugar."
Gigi: "We'll need the stepladder because we won't be able to reach the sugar without it."
The sound of the stepladder being dragged across the floor filtered out of the kitchen. I heard a thud, something being pounded against the kitchen counter, and then some frantic whispering.
Oh, this couldn't be good. My eyebrows rose, but I was trying not to laugh. How many times had I done something like this as a child?
Gigi: "I didn't spill that."
Friend: "Don't worry about it. I'll try to clean it up. You take the tea set to the table."
"Clean it up" got me out of my chair to investigate. Sure enough, the two conspirators were standing on the stepladder, the bag of brown sugar sitting on the counter in front of them, and a nice light coating of the same sugar all over the counter, the floor, and my stove. I struggled to keep a straight face and said instead, "You know, white sugar would have been easier to pour."
Friend: "I know, but I don't feel like white sugar." She held the little container she'd put some brown sugar in. "Do you think this is enough?"
There was probably a quarter to a half-cup of sugar in it.
Me: "More than enough."
Friend: "Well, if there's too much, I'll just eat the rest."
To myself, this was what was going through my head: HAHAHAHAHAHA. Outwardly, I said, "Um, yeah, I don't think your parents would care for that too much." (Sugar high here we come. grin)
So, they went over to the table and had some sugar water...for as long as it lasted, which wasn't very long because a few minutes later, her friend said: "We're out of sugar."
When I walked over to them after cleaning up the kitchen (it took me five or ten minutes to clean up all of the sugar off the kitchen counter and floor), there was a layer of brown sugar on the dining room table and on the floor. The girl was licking (yes, licking) the bowl that had held the sugar.
HAHAHAHAHAHA It still makes me laugh. It was hilarious. What can I say?
Now, just the other day, I was looking through Gigi's homework and came across this (Gigi is the blond girl in the drawing):
It made me stop and question why everything costs something. Why we can't just be sure everyone gets what she/he needs to live comfortably and be happy. I'm still pondering it. Is there a way? I honestly don't know, but they do say the darnedest things.
I'll wrap this up as I have to pick up that child right now, but I encourage you to share with me some of your favorite moments from your kids/grandkids/neighbor kids/any child you've witnessed doing something incredibly sweet, funny, poignant...
Friday, 18 March 2011
Today, as I was surfing from one group to another, a post about Japan’s earthquake caught my attention and I clicked on it out of curiosity. I recommend surfing over to it. The author has a very thought-provoking post with several great resource links. I missed yesterday’s post here—once again family drama and chaos reared its head—so since L.K. inspired me, I thought I’d have a change of pace here on 4SW and consider the reality of how fragile our lives, our worlds and our outlooks really are.
One thing I mentioned in comments on the author’s blog was that my hubby and I were discussing the amount of national and world disasters we’ve witnessed during our life spans. We’re not old by any means, so as I reflected on the fact that I’ve watched the upset of Mt. St. Helen’s eruption, horrible tornados that have literally wiped towns off the map, Hurricanes Katrina, Hugo, Andrew, Francis, Ivan (and so many others), the last years of the Viet Nam War (police action? Not!), Desert Storm, the Gulf War (and so on), the horror of 9-11, the California Quake of 1989 that shredded I-880, the Haiti quake…
Get the idea? It’s scary when you think about it. My mother calls me and goes on about the Later Days, and once she’s finished, I say, “Gee, thanks for cheering me up, Mom.” She chuckles and replies, “I can always count on your sarcasm, Faith.”
I may be sarcastic, but there’s a note of seriousness in such a reply. My mother’s worries make me pause and think: Is all this craziness over the last 50 years normal? Is Mother Earth gearing up to shake her coat and send all the fleas on her back flying to the four winds?
I don’t mean to be all doom and gloom, but it’s human nature to take things for granted, so when disasters such as the Japan earthquake occurs and the threat of radiation hangs over our heads, it should force us all put our lives in perspective. So what if you couldn’t buy those delicious steaks because you were $50 short on the grocery budget. At least you have food. I’m sure there are many in Japan who would give anything for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich right now. So what if your mattress is lumpy. At least you have a bed and a roof over your head.
We all complain about things, but when it all boils down to the base of the pot, we have a lot to be thankful for.
And I believe there are blessings born from disasters. Perhaps this will wake up the world and make us all realize the human race will be further ahead by helping one another and tossing prejudices aside.
Next week Marci will be blogging here at 4SW, so be sure to follow us, if you haven’t already, and check our blog to see what Marci comes up with.
Oh, btw, today is my last day at Long and Short Reviews, so be sure to answer the mini essay questions (scroll down on the blog page there to access all the posts) or comment on one or all of them for a chance to win a $10 gift cert from Silver Publishing.
Have a great weekend, and pray, light a candle, or whatever practice you observe for the people in Japan, and everyone throughout the world during these frightening times.
Wednesday, 16 March 2011
This is an age-old question. From the time romance novels became popular, women have been asking why their men can’t behave/look more like the heroes in their stories. I am here to offer a few reasons why:
Real men don’t just “have” great bodies. They have to spend a significant portion of their time exercising. And when they’re at the gym that long, they aren’t attending to our “needs”, whether that means a foot massage, a night of hot sex, or doing the dishes (hey, I don’t know about you but I fantasize about my man doing the dishes without being asked!).
Real men aren’t all brawny, virile beasts who make you feel like a small, delicate flower in comparison. Some are tall, some are short, some are thin, some are beefier. But do you want a perfect-looking guy? Personally, it would give me a complex. I’ll take my five foot six husband, thanks very much. I can’t wear high heels, but they pinch my feet anyway and I don’t have to crane my neck every time I want to gaze upon his hotness.
Real men don’t have unlimited supplies of testosterone. I mean really – what woman wants to put up a guy who’s constantly up for sex? (Wait, don’t answer that…) And what about a guy who lasted all night? Craig Ferguson is on, people!
Real men don’t all have exciting careers as international spies and special forces soldiers. Truthfully, I wouldn’t want my man to have either occupation – neither is home very often, which leads me back to that whole “attending to my needs” thing. My hubby has a fairly regular nine-to-five job, which means he’s home at night. He entertains my daughter while I write and then keeps my bed warm at night. How could I ask for more?
Then there are the things that make real men better than romance heroes:
Real men aren’t fazed by the minutiae in life. They pick up the kids from day care, wipe the runny noses, fix the leaky toilet, and trim the bushes. They go to the grocery store, crawl through the bounce house, and change the sheets in the baby’s crib after she spits up. How many of us can actually picture the typical romance hero doing all of that?
So there you are, ladies. Real men aren’t like romance heroes, but when it comes down to it, do we really want them to be?
Excerpt from Talk To Me:
Bio: Cassandra Carr lives in Western New York with her husband, Inspiration, and her daughter, Too Cute for Words. When not gleefully torturing characters Cassandra enjoys watching hockey and eating. For more information about Cassandra, check out her website at http://www.booksbycassandracarr.com, follow her on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/cassandra_carr, or "like" her fan page at http://www.facebook.com/authorcassandracarr.
Talk to Me, coming from Loose Id on March 22nd!
Uniform Behaviour, out now from Andrews UK!
Tuesday, 15 March 2011
Yeah,I know. I missed my first day to blog yesterday. It seems that the gals who compose Four Strong Women are going through chaos of late ranging from family crisis to new jobs to all the irons in the fire falling out and setting the hearthrug on fire.
Pardon me a moment while I scream.
Seriously, February and March have been insane for my household. I am now three weeks behind in my work as a result, and I thank God all my editing for clients was finished before the crap hit the fan.
I thought this week would be quiet, but no! It has started off with a bang, and I’ve leapt from the chute to thunder down the road leading to the weekend. Today I’m heading to another appointment, and since it’s in the middle of the afternoon, it messes up my entire day.
So after a crazy day yesterday of dealing with my grandson, whose doctor wouldn’t see him due to a packed schedule, my dau and I ended up taking him to the ER to get drops for pink eye in both his eyes. Next, the pharmacy refused the insurance card because Human Services doesn’t seem to know how to update his card (we’ve been waiting 9 months for a new card), so the druggist tells her she has to pay for it out of her pocket. We tried to call my dau’s caseworker only to find out the woman was out of the office—again.
After I did a bit of cussing—hey, it’s been a long month and a half!—I marched into the drugstore. After I grouched about Human Services being so slow and the fact the caseworkers are always out of the office or on vacation, and the fact that they seem to have problems updating and cutting simple ID card for the baby. The druggist, bless his heart, gave me the store discount, and I only had to pay a third of the cost as a result.
After I marched back out to the blazer, I said to my dau, “You have got to learn out to talk to people to get your point across.” And then handed her the prescription.
So, on top of everything else, I’ve been under the weather going on a week. I got home in the late afternoon and crashed on the sofa, body thumping like a marching band. After hanging out with my two youngest for a while, I decided that since the pain reliever wasn’t getting rid of my achiness, I’d take a long, very hot bath.
My oldest son shows up and asks if he can take a shower after a day at the coalmine. And since we’re on well water, it’s not like we can run a lot of water at one time, so...
I sighed and got him a clean washcloth and towel, then I promptly made a beeline for the bottle of Advil on the kitchen table.
On the bright side, I was finally able to watch Pretty Little Liars and Being Human without any of the usual interruptions last night...well, not AS many.
This morning, I sat down here and thought, “I’ll check all my online work, answer emails, then sit for at least an hour with the laptop and get a li’l work done.”
As I was answering email, I suddenly remembered I have a new release today, so I had to compose a post for it to send to promo loops, post it on the usual social sites, and get another post ready to send through to my newsletter.
Damn! I have an author spotlight this week too! I had to hurriedly dash off another post and send that link through the social sites too.
Oh, wait! I have phone calls to make. Oh, holy heck!
[Stampedes down the stairs.]
I make the turn around the newel post —insert the sound of squealing tires—only to remember my coffee cup upstairs on my desk. “Aw, sh**!”
[Stampedes UP the stairs, grabs cup, hurries back down the stairs again.]
Quickly, I make the phone calls. I rush to the bathroom for a pee break, stomp back upstairs, sit down, and, “I don’t freaking believe this! I forgot to pour my coffee and bring the cup up here!”
With a big sigh of frustration, I head down to the kitchen again, pour my coffee and return to my office.
“Okay, now I’ll...” I frown at the screen. “I’ll...” Blink. Blink. “What the hell was I doing?”
It suddenly hits me, and I return to finishing my posts and promo links. However, as I’m doing this, a thought slams into me. “I forgot to blog at Four Strong Women yesterday! It’s Tuesday! I need to blog about SOMETHING!”
So here I am.
Now that I’ve blogged, I have to... Uhm...what was next on my list? Anyone have a clue?
Well, until I remember, here are the links to what’s going on with my work at the moment.
I have a new science-fiction romance release that comes out today. I hope you’ll slip over and visit it—Queen of the Storm. And from what I understand, this novel will be in print later this year!
This week I’m in the author spotlight at Long and Short Reviews. Answer each day’s question and/or leave a comment on each day’s post for a chance to win a gift cert from one of my publishers. This is the blog link where you can find my posts http://www.longandshortarchives.blogspot.com/ but the question for each day is on the index page here http://www.longandshortreviews.com/LASR/index.htm.
Oh! One more thing. I will be at Love Romances Café http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LoveRomancesCafe on April 5th from 7 PM to 9 PM Eastern Time for the first official chat I’ve had in over three years. LRC has over 3,000 members, so I’m hoping for a great reader turnout.
Now, if someone could hand me the bottle of Gingko Biloba, I think I’ll take some with breakfast. Wish me a good day, folks!
Saturday, 12 March 2011
Imagine my surprise when he divulged he had. He said he'd taken a peep at one his former girlfriend had lying around. After talking about the subject further, he revealed how he felt such books filled women's heads with unrealistic ideas about love, sex and relationships in general.
I thought his argument, though flawed in my opinion; I couldn't deny he posed some interesting questions. Do women develop unrealistic notions about romance and relationships because of the guaranteed (usually) happily ever after stories in their hands? Do women hold real men to an unattainable standard in the bedroom after reading about a studly hero capable of bringing the heroine to an earth shattering climax twice in one night?
I think the keyword in my first question is 'women'. Most women understand that the romantic/erotic fiction they're reading is simply that...fiction. We read them because they give us a pleasurable escape from the mundane, sometimes disappointing side of romance or lack thereof in our own lives. Most women want to be romanced. We want to read the story where the girl gets the guy and where the guy totally gets his woman.
Now, I started reading romance novels in middle school and I'll admit at that age the happily ever after storylines made an undeniable impression on my young mind, but that all changed once I had my heart broken. My pseudo hero didn't do, say, act or react like any of the heroes I'd read.
Hello, real world!
I quickly learned like we all do that you don't always get a happy ending when it comes to matters of the heart. Romance novels are to be enjoyed by readers who understand life is far from perfect and relationships are never as easy as the sexy tales we read within a book.
Yet, that's precisely why for the mature, smart, savvy reader that these novels are so popular. No matter what the conflict is between the hero and heroine, we know they're going get to that happily ever after. Reading romance novels is like enjoying your favourite comfort food when your world is all topsy turvy.
Do I think erotic romance readers hold their lovers to unfair standards between the sheets? No. Again, I believe the age of the reader comes into play here again. Erotic romance is for women and women understand most men aren't going to be able to give them a climax, possibly two every single time they make love, especially by penetration alone. C'mon.
Real life sex can be far from perfect, if we're being honest, and on occasion isn't even satisfying. I believe romance novels help many women believe real love still exists when real life relationships have scarred their hearts. I believe erotic romance novels can stoke the inner fire that's been banked by real life lovers who've failed to satisfy physical and emotional needs we seek as women. A sexy book can be a literary jumpstart to a noisy bedroom when passion has waned for any number reasons.
It's not just the sex on the pages that we're drawn to. It's the emotional connection between the hero and heroine that captivates us as well. Lovers of romance in any genre understand that what we are reading is a fantasy. It's the fantasy we love. It's the fantasy of the perfect orgasm, falling for the perfect guy that keeps our hearts open and the flame of desire burning bright for the real life heroes with whom we choose to share our lives.
So, grab that unrealistic fantasy and enjoy! Real life will come knocking on your door all too soon.
Huge thanks to Four Strong Women for sharing their blog with me today! I'd like to share an excerpt from Hearts & Diamonds, a contemporary erotic romance available now with Total E-Bound Publishing.
Blurb: Passion sparks the moment Nia Sanders unknowingly meets federal agent Quin Rios.
Nia Sanders knows diamonds. She appreciates and envies the heart-felt emotions of her customers buying them. When federal agent, Quin Rios saves her life in the middle of a violent jewel heist, she finds herself attracted to the sensual possibilities beneath his uber professional, self-contained persona.
Determined to keep her safe as he solves the case, Quin can't let his attraction to Nia distract him. The heat of their fiery passion consumes them as they both struggle to control their emotions...neither are prepared to lose their heart.
Nia gasped as her mouse slipper slipped beneath her and she stumbled towards Quin. The water hit him seconds before she fell to her knees in front of him. “I am so sorry.” She blinked in sheer mortification as the liquid seeped into the dark fabric on his thighs. Her gaze drifted further up his leg to see the unmistakable bulge inches away from her.
Nia dragged her eyes up from his pants to meet his heated gaze. “No, it’s not.”
Quin ran his finger down the tip of her nose. “It is. I needed to cool off anyway.”
A ribbon of desire coursed along every nerve ending in her body as he stood up and offered both hands. “Let me help you up.”
She took them, visualising an actual spark of electricity from his touch as he yanked her up from the ground. “Thanks, Quin.” She lifted her chin, saw the same longing in his eyes and something twisted in her stomach as they stared at one another. She laced her fingers with his as time stood still. “Kiss me.”
The whispered request shocked her. She waited with baited breath for him to move, her words, her heart lay before him. Just when she would’ve pulled away, he groaned and pulled her against his chest.
His hands skimmed up her arms, into her hair as he kissed her. She melted into him, wrapped her arms around his neck and welcomed his fierce kiss. He took over and she wanted him to. Her moan of pleasure only encouraged him to delve deeper, tasting and stroking her tongue as he backed her up against the dining room wall. She could barely breathe, lost in the rhythm of his masterful kisses. One hand left her hair to cup her ass, kneading the soft curve beneath her dress. She ran her hands through his hair, loving the feel of the thick texture between her fingers as he pressed his hard cock against her belly.
“You’re so sexy,” Quin said, breaking away to look down at her.
“Ditto.” She closed her eyes as he claimed her lips again, this time in a soft, sensual caress that left her boneless. He ended the kiss and her body craved more.
“Quin…” She sighed as his lips brushed her temple.
The shrill sound of her phone ringing broke the moment, stopped her from making another brazen request of his body. She pulled away from his embrace to reach for the handheld laying on the dining room table. “Hello?”
“I needed those diamonds.”
The cold voice on the other end of the line was unmistakable.
“Tess?” She whipped around to look at Quin already on alert as he tapped his watch and indicated for her to keep on talking. “Where are you?”
“Closer than you think.”
The line went dead as Nia stared at Quin. She handed him the phone in a daze.
“What did she say?”
“She said she ‘needed’ those diamonds. I think she threatened me.”
“Tell me exactly what she said.” He took out his cell as she repeated the conversation. She watched him for a second, noting how easy it was for him to shift gears. Could he really have just given her the best damn kisses of her life? One wouldn’t think it’d happened now as he relayed what had happened and gave out orders to whoever was on the other line.
Thanks for reading!
I love to hear from readers! Find me around the web here: