Tuesday, 29 November 2011

In a Writer's Mind

Not to sound too much like a needy, whiny ingrate in need of therapy, but my kids don't understand me. They have no idea why I'm so tired by the end of the day, since I "don't anything all day" while they're at school. I try to explain what I do all day, but about four words in, their eyes glaze over and they stop paying attention--these are the same children who beg me to come to school on Career Day to talk to their class about life as a writer (well, the younger child does; the older one cringes at the thought of my even acknowledging my relation to her, much less having me talk about writing romance books!). If you're a mom (or a dad), you can probably relate to this (even if you don't write romance). I don't know about your schedule, but mine looks something like this:

6:50: Crap, the alarm went off again! Try to make retain some nuggets from the dream that might turn itself into a good story. Get up, stagger downstairs to make breakfast and lunch for Grumpy Child #1. Convince GC#1 that yes, she has to go to school, no, I can't drive her, and yes, she has to let me give her a hug goodbye (in the privacy of my kitchen away from sight of anyone that might see) and that she has to also say goodbye to her father and sister. In between staggering and hugging, provide fashion advice when asked, but duck when she dislikes what I say.

7:15: Somehow manage to say goodbye to Grumpy Child #1 and good morning to Slightly Less Grumpy Child #2. Make breakfast and lunch for SLGC#2, convince her that yes, she has to go to school, no, she can't watch TV or play on the iPad until she's dressed, packed and ready for school. Get dressed while de-itchifying SLGC #2's clothes, convincing her that yes, these are the same clothes she was dying to have me buy at the store and fix her hair after she declares she hates it. Fantasize about "perfect life" of story characters.

8:00: Walk SLGC#2 to the bus, with the dog. Hug and kiss child, while trying not to feel badly that the dog gets a bigger farewell than I do. Plan revenge scene for next book.

8:07: Meet dog's boyfriend for a walk around the lake. Watch as dog's boyfriend tries to stick my dog's head in his mouth and pray it doesn't swallow. Race around lake in attempt to keep up with dog's boyfriend's owner, whose legs are much longer than mine. Refuse to climb hills. Hope the adrenaline will translate into really good writing.

9:15-3:00: Attempt to do multiple errands (while dodging endless construction and following detours created by city planners on crack), Bat Mitzvah planning, school volunteering, Temple volunteering, laundry, housecleaning. Oh, and find time to write. Preferably the sex scenes that are impossible to do with the children around. Market books, write blogs, respond to others' blogs so that they'll read mine. Realize that about half of what needs to get done today will not actually get done today. Add to tomorrow's list (which won't get done either).

3:00: Grumpy Child #1 returns from school, transformed into Moody Child #1. Attempt to keep up with mood swings while listening to her day, feeding her a snack and getting her organized for homework. Realize this is why I don't write YA.

3:20: Slightly Less Grumpy Child #2 returns from school. Not really transformed. Oy. But very hyper. Attempt to follow her around the house without getting motion sick while feeding her a snack, listening to her day and convincing her that homework must get done before TV, iPad or anything else.

4:00-7:00 (on most days): Shuttle any number of children to after school activities, while making sure those who are at home (if any) do homework. Try, unsuccessfully, to get left-at-home child to walk the dog (only to be told they have homework to do). Sigh as phone rings and talk to people who, by all that is holy, should know better than to call during these three hours of chaos. Hang up on telemarketers who have managed to avoid the Do Not Call List. Attempt to make dinner, amid calls of "Ew, I don't want that!"

7:00-9:30: Eat dinner while trying to maintain enough brain power to follow and engage in conversations with children and husband. Try not to explode when kids ask why I'm so tired. Deep breathing exercises during requests to stay up late, watch TV, not shower or skip remainder of homework, music practice or Bat Mitzvah practice (Lamaze comes in handy here).

9:30-11:00: Try to stay awake long enough to talk to husband, watch TV and find some semblance of self before crashing into bed and repeating the process the next day.

Someday, my children are going to find someone to marry and have kids of their own. I'm going to show them this schedule and ask what THEY do all day! And then I'm going to write a book and dedicate it to them, my inspiration. ;)

Blurb

The last thing Valerie needs, after escaping an abusive marriage to an alcoholic and rebuilding her life, is a broody, secretive, standoffish man. But that's exactly what she gets when she becomes a makeup artist on the set of a hit sitcom and draws the attention of the series' star.

John Samuels hides a terrible past--a life of abuse and neglect. A successful acting career and the affection and support of cast, crew and friends, does nothing to convince him that he is anything other than an unlovable monster.

Will he learn that the life he's been living has been built on a lie or will he be doomed to repeat the sins of his father?

Excerpt:

The square, plastic bottle crashed to the floor, the white cap skittered under a cabinet, and bisque-colored foundation splattered across the tile floor, where it made a Rorschach pattern within the large white squares. With a groan and a roll of her eyes, Valerie searched under the makeup table, found the errant cap, replaced it on the bottle, and returned the foundation to the tray. She grabbed a damp rag and wiped up the mess.

She looked at the shooting schedule and smiled as she ran her fingers down the smooth laminated page. Only three weeks into this job, she loved working as assistant make-up artist on "Oddballs," a Top-10 weekly TV sitcom. She double-checked her kit for the supplies she'd need that day. So engrossed in her work, she didn't notice her boss' purple-spiked head in the door of the make-up trailer, or the ever-present smell of hair gel that hovered around her, until Michelle called her name.

"Hey, Valerie, a bunch of us are going out after work. Wanna come?"

Flashes from her past competed with images from the present at the sudden voice and Valerie stiffened. She shook her head to clear the jumble of images.

"Where are you going?" She wiped the remains of the foundation on the short cotton apron over her turquoise shirt and faded denim jeans. Eyes closed, she inhaled. The thick weave of rough fabric scraped her fingers and anchored her in the present, despite her body's momentary lapse.

"Tico's for some drinks. There's about eight of us going. It'll be fun and you can meet some of the crew."

Valerie's hands shook and knocked into the plastic bottles on the tray. They clinked together as the tubes slid into the scissors and destroyed their recent orderliness. She kept her face down, eyes averted, as her cheeks heated and her palms became sweaty. She had dreaded this moment. If they'd been going anywhere but a bar, she'd have joined them, but she couldn't bring herself to go there. So, she had to perform a delicate bal-acing act. Somehow, she had to refuse this invitation, but leave open the possibility for others. Despite their different personal styles, she and Michelle had formed an instant bond. The last thing she wanted was to hurt their new friendship.

"I can't tonight. Thanks for asking though. Maybe another time." She took a deep breath and pasted on a smile.

"Hot date?" Michelle raised a perfectly plucked black eyebrow and grinned. Valerie grinned back. "Just with my laundry."

"You're turning me down for laundry? Come on, you can do that tomorrow."

Valerie shook her head. "I really can't tonight, Michelle. Next time."

Michelle muttered under her breath as she left. Valerie sighed as the door banged shut and left her alone with her memories.

* * * *

That night, after all the scenes had been shot, Valerie waited for everyone to leave. She didn't want to answer questions or receive pity.

She arranged and rearranged drawers and tools. The trailer contained three stations, each with its own make-up chair. A long table ran down one wall, with plenty of drawers for storage space. Well-lit mirrors hung above the table. Un-able to find anything else to do, and convinced by the silence that everyone had to have left, she took out her keys to lock up. She jumped as a knock sounded at the door, the trailer rattled, and a head peeked in.

"Valerie?"

"Oh, hi, John." She expelled a deep breath and willed her heart to slow its frantic beat. "Do you need something?"

"No." He entered and stood by the door. John Samuels played the lead. At almost six-foot three, he dwarfed the trailer and had to tip his head to fit. He folded his muscular arms across his chest and spread his feet apart. "Michelle told me you were not joining us tonight. I thought I would see if I could change your mind."

Valerie rolled her eyes. "She is persistent."

"You noticed." John's dark eyes twinkled. His mouth widened with a ghost of a smile. Valerie tried not to gasp.

He reminded her of a rugged cowboy--broad-shouldered, with a prominent brow, dark piercing eyes, high cheekbones, and a cleft chin. When he smiled, even a slight trace of one, his eyes looked like liquid velvet and his dimples twinkled like stars in the night sky. A five-o'clock shadow covered his cheeks. Her fingers itched to brush against their rough texture, to tease his mouth into a full-blown grin.

"So, what can I say to make you join us?"

As he leaned against the wall in well-fitting jeans and a T-shirt that left nothing to the imagination, Valerie's mind said, "Sleep with me." Heat crept up her neck, over her cheeks, and continued to the roots of her hair. A thin sheen of sweat dampened the space between her breasts. She felt the sudden urge to fan herself, like a damsel in distress in an old B-movie. Instead, she ignored her traitorous thoughts. Her balled fist pressed into her tight stomach.

"Tonight, not even chocolate will change my mind."

She didn't exactly lie. She had no intention of going to the bar, or of sleeping with him, no matter how her thoughts might try to sabotage her good intentions. She'd been fooled by surface finery before, and it had almost killed her. She wouldn't let it happen again.

"I will remember that," he promised. "But next time you will not get off so easy." His eyes bored into hers for a moment, and then he turned on his heel and left.

* * * *

True to his word, John arrived the following day pre-pared for battle. With a cursory knock on the door, he dangled a bag of M&Ms inside the trailer, but snatched it back be-fore she could grab them. "We are going out for pizza. I will pick you up in ten minutes." Before she could answer, he walked out.

Valerie shrugged as she finished her work. The new Val-eerie never allowed other people to make decisions for her, but she'd practically handed John a permission slip. And, he had M&M's. How could she refuse?

Ten minutes later, he returned, ushered her out the door and down the steps. Although he didn't touch her, she could imagine the warmth of his hand on the small of her back, and feel the gentle puff of his breath against her hair. The angle of his body steered her toward the others in the parking lot as if he had taken her by the hand and dragged her with him. An invisible electric charge pulled her. Or maybe it was his Dial-soap scent. That scent--soap and man--made her stomach flip flop. Her uncontrollable reaction to him disturbed her, especially since he appeared unaffected.

He remained silent, strode toward their meeting place, and studied his surroundings as if he expected someone to pop out of the shadows and yell, "Boo!"

Then she saw the brown bag of M&Ms sticking out of his white shirt pocket. Before he could stop her, she reached around and grabbed them, opened the bag and popped three in her mouth.

"Hey, those are mine!" He reached for the bag, but not fast enough to retrieve them.

"Not anymore." As she danced away from him, she stuck another handful in her mouth.

He brought his hand up to his heart, as if she had wounded him deeply, but the twinkle in his eye gave him away. Valerie had all she could do not to burst out laughing.

"You did not have to take them, you know. I was plan-nine to give them to you later." He pouted and his dark hair fell across his brow, but not before Valerie saw a flash of a smile turn the corners of his mouth up.

"Oh really? When?"

"After dinner, of course. I would not want to spoil your appetite."

As if that were possible. Valerie laughed again and John grunted, a deep hoarse sound that climbed from the pit of his stomach and thrust its way out his mouth.

"What's so funny?" Lara, from editing, asked as they joined the group of friends clustered outside the lot. All other conversation stopped as everyone waited for the answer.

John looked at Valerie and his ghost of a smile disappeared. He remained silent and backed up a pace, as if need-in to put distance between them now that there were others around. Lara rolled her eyes and walked on ahead as Valerie bent over and massaged the stitch in her side. She watched his feet walk away from her, listened to the crunch of gravel be-Neath his shoes as the warm, funny man disappeared.

"What, no laundry tonight?" taunted Michelle when Val-eerie looked up. She smirked and headed down the street with the rest of them as she stared at the broad expanse of John's back up ahead and wondered about John's sudden coldness. The connection she'd started to feel between them disappeared. He walked a pace or two in front of her, his back stiff, his arms held at his sides. With a shrug, she joined in the conversation around her and put John's odd behavior out of her mind.

Three blocks later, they approached a dark, noisy pub. Valerie's stomach clenched as the door opened and the smell of beer floated outside. Spots floated in front of her eyes and for a moment, she thought she would faint. Her throat con-stricter and she paused as she clamped her mouth shut against the bile that rose in her throat. She leaned against the cool brick wall and willed herself to breathe, even as the rough surface dug into her back. Her gaze darted down the crowded street, but before she had the chance to flee, John towered behind her.

"Don't back out on me now," he whispered. "I already gave you the M&Ms." His warm breath blew against her shoulder and she took a jagged breath.

She turned, grateful for the distraction, and stared at his massive chest. Rock-hard muscles confronted her beneath his black T-shirt and for a moment, the clink of glasses on the bar and the grainy smell of beer faded away. All she could see was his immense body; all she could smell was his fresh, soapy scent; all she could feel was his solid chest in her imagination. Imagination wasn't enough.

She lifted a trembling hand to touch him and he backed up just out of her reach. Blue eyes met gray and held for a moment. She swallowed, the gulp audible, and the spell broke. The sights, sounds, and smells rushed back to her. She ran her tongue across her lips, tasted the waxy flavor of her lipstick, and closed her eyes as she swayed.

John frowned and placed himself between her and the crowd at the bar. Out of the corner of her eye, she watched him nod to one or two people who smiled in recognition, but he remained at her side. Together, they walked across the sticky floor and past the loud band up front to their table in the back. He pulled out her chair and sat next to her, and she released a pent-up breath. She felt safe with him close to her. It's not a bar, she told herself. It's a restaurant that happens to serve drinks. She'd be fine.

John turned to her and leaned forward, his elbows on his knees. He clasped his large hands together and looked into her eyes. He held her gaze and as she stared into his thunder-head-colored eyes, she relaxed. "So, how do you like things so far, Valerie?"

"Here?"

"Well, I actually meant at work, but here too."

Valerie blushed as she tried to focus on his words. "Oh, well, I love working on the show. I was a huge fan before I got the job, so it's amazing to be a part of it now." I sound like a babbling idiot.

John smiled. "What may I order for you?" He flagged down a big-bosomed, tight-shirted waitress with bright orange fingernails. She walked over, pen and pad ready. Every-one ordered beers. Valerie ordered a diet soda.

"Not ready to let loose yet, huh, Valerie?" asked Miguel, one of the crew, with a soft chuckle. Valerie smiled, but her cheeks felt as if they would crack and she looked away. John caught her eye and smiled at her. His unexpected warmth re-assured her almost as much as an arm around her shoulders.

She sat back and listened to the conversation at the table. All around her were people from work--Harry, the first AD; Ken, from production; Lara, and Tony, from wardrobe. Tina and Jeremy, John's costars, had joined them as well. She crossed her fingers and joined in.

The waitress returned with their drinks and took their orders. Her ballpoint pen scratched across her pad as each person ordered a personal pizza, but changed the sauce, type of crust, and combination of toppings.

When the waitress turned to her, Valerie ordered a mushroom pie and a house salad.

The waitress paused, expectantly. As the silence continued, she raised an overly tweezed eyebrow.

"Is that it?"

"Yes," Valerie answered.

"Are you sure?"

Valerie furrowed her brow. "Of course." With a shake of her head, the waitress turned to John. She asked for his autograph and after he scrawled his name across a napkin, gave her his order, also simple but large--two personal pepperoni pizzas. During the course of the evening, John kept an eye on Valerie, made sure her drink never ran out, and that she par-tic pated in the conversation. When talk turned to something unfamiliar, he filled her in.

When they finally left, the muggy night air wrapped around Valerie like a cocoon and muffled the smells and sounds from inside. She stretched her spine and threw her shoulders back as she inhaled deeply for the first time all evening. John fell into step next to her and offered to walk her back to her car.

"Are you sure you don't mind?" she asked, as they crossed the street.

"No one should walk by themselves at night."

"Thanks, that's really nice of you." Although they walked next to each other, John left plenty of space between them. In spite of that, his size made her feel smaller than her five foot six frame. He didn't intimidate her, and she peered sideways at him as she considered her lack of fear. Maybe because of the physical distance he maintained around her--he couldn't hurt her if he were far away--or maybe his manners and the careful way he spoke put her at ease. Whatever the reason, she felt as comfortable walking with him as she would have with Michelle.

"Here's my car." She pointed to a blue Honda Civic parked under a lamp. "Thanks again for walking me out."

"See you tomorrow." He waited, hands deep in his pockets, feet spread apart, while she started the engine. He watched her wave and pull away. Something about her intrigued him--more than just her mysterious nerves or her simple pizza order, although those things contributed to it. She didn't behave like the typical LA actor crowd who usually surrounded him. Her vulnerability aroused his protective nature. Not that she'd asked for his protection. She'd never ask him to take care of her, no one would. But still...

Bio:

When I was a little girl and couldn't fall asleep, my mother would tell me to make up a story. Pretty soon, my head was filled with these stories and the characters that populated them. Each character had a specific personality, a list of likes and dislikes, and sometimes, even a specific accent or dialect. Even as an adult, I think about the characters and stories at night before I fall asleep, or in the car on my way to or from one of my daughters' numerous activities (hey, anything that will drown out their music is a good thing).

One day, I started writing them down (it was either that or checking into the local mental hospital--the computer was way less scary) and five years later, I've gotten two book contracts from Whiskey Creek Press. A Heart of Little Faith came out in June; Skin Deep is coming out in November.

In the real world, I'm the mother of two amazing daughters and wife of one of the smartest men I know. I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, reading, traveling and watching TV. In between chauffeuring my daughters to after-school activities that require an Excel spreadsheet to be kept straight, I serve on our Temple Board, train the dog we adopted from a local shelter, and cook dinners that fit the needs of four very different appetites. I also write freelance articles for magazines, newspapers, and edit newsletters.

When all of that gets overwhelming, I retreat to my computer, where I write stories that let me escape from reality. In my made-up world, the heroines are always smart, sassy and independent. The heroes are handsome and strong with just a touch of vulnerability. If I don't like a character, I can delete him or her; if something doesn't work, I can rewrite it. It's very satisfying to be in control of at least one part of my life. My inspiration comes from watching the people around me and fantasizing about how I'd do things differently.

I can be reached at www.jenniferwilck.com or http://www.facebook.com/pages/Jennifer-Wilck/201342863240160. My blog (Fried Oreos) is jenniferwilck.wordpress.com and I contribute to Heroines With Hearts at heroineswithhearts.blogspot.com. My books can be purchased through Whiskey Creek Press www.whiskeycreekpress.com or via Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Monday, 28 November 2011

The Too Big, The Too Little, and the "Aahh" Just Right

The other day, I ran across a link to a blog on Twitter about the average size of penises around the world. (I don't remember the blog nor the person who tweeted it, but I found the map again.) I had to check it out because, well, this could only be amusing, right? And it is. There are some places where I might avoid having intercourse with a native. Er, or, armed with this information, I would choose not to were I single. I am not, so I don't have to worry about making that decision. (g) That being said, this is rather enlightening and kind of funny.

Before you go off half-cocked (pun intended), remember when you are looking at the color chart it is in centimeters, not inches. Were it inches, I'd never visit some of those places without wearing a chastity belt, 'cause that thing isn't getting anywhere near me. (g)

Americans are closer to the smaller end of the spectrum. Lowering, but logical. I mean, we have a lot of immigrants from all over the world, right? (g) That's bound to bring the average size down...maybe. If it makes the men feel better, we can say that. Some claim dicks are shorter after circumcision. That is possible. (g)

The Asians (as in continent, including India) have the smallest. (South Korea "weighing" in at 3.8".) The largest? You can find that out for yourself. (g)

In case you missed it, here is the link again: http://www.targetmap.com/viewer.aspx?reportId=3073

When I first saw this compilation, I was a bit surprised. I don't know why. I mean, men are so fascinated with all things penis and a bit fixated on the size of their penises, that it's not that surprising there have been numerous studies conducted all over the world and someone then took the time to compile all of that information to create this map for our entertainment, er, edification. You have to wonder how many penises were measured to get what they considered enough to term "average." I could probably dig deeper to find out, but do I care that much? No.(g) If you do, please do the research and let us know. (g)

To be fair, some of the data is old, so it's possible the average sizes have changed (up or down). It also doesn't state whether this is at attention or flaccid. (If it's flaccid, God help those women in the 8" areas. Eep!) Or if measured during the summer or winter, as temperature certainly affects size.

Now, this got me to wondering if any studies had been done to find out about the average depth of a woman's pleasure palace. This would be a bit more difficult to do, as we are innies instead of outies, and I don't know very many women who'd agree to having a ruler stuck up there, myself included. (g) Not surprisingly, I couldn't find one, but I did find something else. What could it be? Hm... what else are men fascinated with? Women's breasts. (I have had men tell me that if they had breasts, they would play with them all day. O.o It's a good thing women have them then, isn't it. g) Apparently, American women fare better than their male counterparts when it comes to size. The average cup size is D. I, obviously, was skipped and am part of the group that keeps the US from having the largest breast size. (g)

For the entire "study" on breast size around the world, here's the link: http://www.geekologie.com/image.php?path=/2011/03/25/breast-map-full.jpg

I wonder how many women don't wear bras at all because they can't find any that fit. Now, that would be a useful study.

Now that I have armed you with this information, are there any countries you might consider visiting more or less? Or does it make a difference? If you do visit the country, will you be staring at the men's crotch wondering if their package is average?

I will refrain from asking you which "country" appeals to you the most, as that is private information. However, you can certainly decide which one would be the best "fit" for you without sharing. (g) I know I have. (g)

Addendum: Apparently, there are studies out there about the average depth of a woman's vagina, but there is none as not only do they vary from woman to woman, but also the size changes with experience and other factors. So, as is typical for women, it's much more complicated than measure a man's penis.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Thanksgiving with a Twist

by Valerie Mann

I'll admit it...I'm always looking for the funny and romantic in my day-to-day dealings, because I write romantic fiction and need fodder for Ms. Muse. I also edit erotic romance and let me tell you, some of the stuff I edit curls my hair, right along with my toes. I found out just how much I've learned about the erotic world we live in when I recently had to edumacate my niece on the difference between menage and polyamory relationships. I don't think she understood the distinction, nor did she truly care since she's expecting a proposal and a big, fat diamond very soon from a super-hunky former Marine. Sharing him with anyone else is so not on her radar. But I digress...
Today is Thanksgiving here in the United States. For you readers not of the US American persuasion, Thanksgiving is a holiday where we use history as an excuse for gluttony in its many forms...food, sports and shopping. Turkey being the main food ingredient, American football the sport ingredient and Best Buy (at least  for me) being the shopping ingredient. Add salt and pepper to taste. M-m-m good.
So...I'd like to bring some humor into our Thanksgiving tradition, putting an erotic twist on the translation. Hopefully, these pictures will give you a lift and keep the stress away. Or maybe this blog will help the turkey and stuffing put you into a cozy stupor for a much-needed rest before you hit the stores on Black Friday. 


See you at Best Buy! 
~A BDSM Thanksgiving Dinner~
Bondage style 

~GLBT Thanksgiving Romance ~
Tom Turkey crushes on Peter Pilgrim
~Sci-Fi  Thanksgiving Romance~
Alien Poultry
~A Rubenesque Thanksgiving Romance~

~Military Thanksgiving Romance~
(featuring Captain Tom Turkey )

~An Interracial Thanksgiving Romance~
Have a wonderful, Romantic Thanksgiving  Day, 
no matter how you choose to celebrate it!




Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Racing the Clock...& the Holiday!


This is my week to blog, but I have a big deadline looming in a few short days and I'm hosting Thanksgiving in my home for up to twelve people. The hubby is baking the turkey, but I have the rest of the dinner to plan/make and I still have to meet that deadline and clean the house.

One of the other 4SW might post this week, so please stop back.

Until next I snark, quip, or rant here, I leave you a cute cartoon and an easy contest for the avid reader.

I wish everyone who observes the U.S. Thanksgiving a beautiful holiday and many blessings!



Thursday, 17 November 2011

When Cougars Attack: Acknowledging & Adapting to Limits

Hi all, please allow me to introduce myself before I get too far into this. I’m Becca Dale, and I write and edit steamy to erotic romance. My children (22 and almost 21) are aware Mom writes romance, but they are blissfully ignorant of the heat level as they have no interest in the genre, which is fine by me. I really don’t want them to know the things that flirt, bump, or grind through their mother’s mind. However, they seem to have no problem sharing things with me. Which brings me to today’s topic. I have read some pretty hot cougar romances and have even written one; however, a recent conversation with my son has brought a question to mind: are erotic authors creating fantasies that real women should be cautious in fulfilling?

I’m all for fun in whatever package it arrives. As long as it is consensual, go for it. However, at twenty-two my son, an attractive, dark-haired man with a preference for dress clothes over jeans, tends to attract older women. Now, by this I do not mean those five to fifteen years his senior, though he gets attention from them, as well. I mean double to triple his age. Last Saturday he was hit on by five different women ranging in age from mid forties to early eighties. I tried to tell him they just thought he was cute—like a son or grandson—until he shared the things they said.

Nope—no motherly or grandmotherly feelings there.

The poor kid was at a loss on how to react. He has always been taught to be respectful of his elders, but what should he say when someone his mother’s age offers to teach him things he has only imagined? Or a woman older than his nana asks if he’d like her to demonstrate how flexible she still is? He was downtown with several other young people, so not quite sure how he wound up talking to these women, but his friends’ explicit ribbing confirmed he had not imagined the situation after a few too many beers.

Despite how heartwarming it was to hear he had been polite and sweet and even a little flirty to save their feelings, images I did not want flooded my head and made me generally concerned for these women. What if he had taken them up on the deal? So here is a chart on how to address and adjust to very real issues for anyone engaging in a cougarish situation with a young man barely over the age of majority.


Age

Acknowledge
Adapt




40's

You do not want to be pregnant and afraid.
Buy condoms in bulk. Recovery time may be shorter than you remember.
50's

Massage Therapy is expensive.
Stretch well before playing.
60's

Your granddaughter may have dated the target.
Consider hunting in a different state or country - I hear Frenchmen are Fabulous!
70's

Your knees may not hold out.
Avoid Doggie Style.
80's

Certain positions could break a hip.
DO NOT - under any circumstances - allow the kitten to throw your legs over his shoulders.

Remember, Medicare is not designed to pay for sexual injuries, ladies, so approach kittens with caution. However, if you Acknowledge your potential limitations and Adapt accordingly, you should be fine. On a more personal note, if you succeed in seducing my son, I don’t want to know about it.

Born and raised in rural South Dakota, Becca Dale represents the girl next door personified. The open prairies and quiet, pine-covered hills of the Upper Midwest feed her creativity and keep her work grounded in reality while the stoic can-do attitude and twisted sarcasm of her family and friends provide endless inspiration. A farmer’s daughter, an engineer’s wife, and a high school teacher, she brings a hint of the common woman to her writing. Although her characters, especially the paranormal ones, sometimes reflect the ordinary on steroids, there remains a sense of reality.


As a multi-published author Becca strives to walk the line of romantic erotica—venturing into the wild while never forgetting that the main focus should always be love.  Her work has received top reviews world wide, and she loves to hear from fans and critics alike. Contact her on Facebook or Twitter or visit her blog at http://beccadale.blogspot.com 

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Dating….The Second Time Around

My name is Katie Harper and I am a widow. My husband died almost five years ago on Christmas Day when I was twenty seven. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Feel bad for me. Are you done? No. Well get over it!! I have. After almost five years of having only a pillow to sleep with, I have decided to venture into the treacherous waters of dating. I hated dating before I got married. Now, I’d like to kill it, roast it, and serve it for Sunday dinner.

I’m not big on going to a bar and trolling for a date. You have to like, take a shower and get dressed and act like you’re interested in Mr. Dirty Martini’s night elf druid World of Warcraft avatar.  So I joined an online dating site. You can date in your pajamas! And if you don’t like someone you can just not respond to their “flirt”. There is no pressure! But, there’s a downside to the whole online dating thing. People are comfortable hiding behind their computer, eating Cheet-os in their underwear. A little too comfortable. A guy who, in a traditional dating scenario, wouldn’t have the balls to hold your hand on the first date, is totally OK whipping out his wenis to give you a taste of what’s to come. How do you not laugh when that happens? I laughed. I pointed and laughed. We haven’t chatted since. Oh well, trust me, it was no big loss.
You also have to be very careful of what you believe on these sites. According to most of the profiles I’ve read, the world is populated with men who are 6’4”, 220 lbs, well built, active billionaires who have gotten tired of the endless parade of women running through their bed and are really looking for that one woman they can take to Paris for a romantic dinner.  They like to spend their time taking care of the elderly and desperately want a family. They are independently wealthy and need someone to travel the world with.


Let me translate this profile for you:  Mr. Right is 6’4” when he straps on his six inch heels. He’s 220 well-built pounds of spare tire and man boobs. He actively plays multiple online, role-playing games where he is the well-respected billionaire prince of his very own kingdom. The parade of women running through his bed are all stashed under his mattress. Their names are Miss January, Miss February, Miss March, etc. He likes French cuisine--French fries and French toast are staples in his diet. He lives in his elderly mother’s basement and only wants children so he’ll have someone to hand his mint condition Star Wars action figure collection down to. “Independently wealthy” is code for “hasn’t worked in four years, but makes enough money to support his Little Debbie habit by mowing his neighbor’s lawn”.  And yes, he is looking for someone to travel the world with. He just needs someone to pay for his ticket in to every Comicon on the planet. And just in case his profile didn’t entice you, he whips out his junk live via webcam. 
Another pitfall of the online dating world is that you can say things in an email or chat that you’d never say in real life. The guy who has a hard time asking you if he can kiss you good night on a real date is the same guy who’s telling you he’d like to tie you up and eat Jell-O salad off your stomach in a chat. He’d never ask you to wear a maid’s costume on that ever important third date, but on your second chat he’s asking you to lick chocolate syrup off your breasts and describe the sensations of your “tongue on your fun bags” (direct quote). And when you say hell to the no, they act like you’re the prude. It’s not that you have dignity or are just not comfortable sending something out into the electronic universe that might embarrass you at a future parent teacher conference. In their opinion, you’re sexually repressed and they have been sent to you by the fates to pry open your chastity belt. And to prove it, they whip out their manhood.

Dating sucks. It sucks hard. And dating online seems to be the hardest. Maybe I’m not looking at this in the right light. Maybe I need to change my view of dating and my view of myself. Maybe I need to “embellish” my profile. “Former Victoria’s Secret super model looking for love. I am 5’10”, 110 lbs, 38-26-36, long blond hair, sparkling blue eyes, and flawless skin. I enjoy spending my Saturdays in front of the TV cheering on your favorite team. I like to clean and I hold a degree from the Culinary Institute of America. I enjoy long nights playing Halo with your friends and my greatest wish in life is to attend a Stars Wars convention dressed in Princes Leia’s bronze bikini. I look forward to meeting you. ;)” That little wink at the end is to tell everyone my profile is complete bullshit. Do you think it will help?

Katie Harper started writing when two people showed up in her head and wouldn't leave until she told their story. They had a party. Invited a few friends over. Now she spends her days doing the bidding of imaginary people. She lives in a city made for sin on the edge of a desert with her daughter, no pets, and enough lemon bundt cake to feed a refuge camp.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Happy Birthday to me...

My birthday is this week. 
I will be forty-nine years old.
A couple of years ago (okay, about 40 years ago), having birthdays was fun, and I looked forward to them with great anticipation and planning. My mom always made a big fuss, including letting me have a party with all of my besties and even a few girls I didn’t like, but who always brought cool presents. Plus—make that a BIG plus when it came to holidays, anyway—my mother had remarried. I had nine grandparents as a result, between grandparents, great-grandparents, step-grandparents and great-grandparents. Holy crap, it was a veritable gift bonanza! Why wouldn’t I relish celebrating my birth??
Nine years young and dig that cool Barbie cake.
Now, I’m staring another November 16th in the face and wondering where the hell the years went and how the hell did I get on the way wrong effing side of forty-five? Seriously, that’s freaking old. At least that’s what my kids think. I’m a mother of five and everyone keeps telling me kids will keep you young.

Liars.

Time has continued to march on, and will continue to do so. Result? My right knee hurts and the left one is considering joining the Arthur club. I think about my bowels more (TMI? Sorry).  I have chin whiskers, or as one of my author friends calls them, chin pubes. I have decided chiropractors are necessary, instead of the snake oil salesmen my college anatomy and physiology professor warned us of. I don’t have many gray hairs (at least not where you can see them. ‘Nuff said). Classic rock is now 80s music. So what does that make 70s rock? Oldies, but goodies? OMG, just shoot me now. But wait! There's more...

I got an invitation to join AARP.

Holy. Shit.


No, I really DON'T want to join, thanks, though.

But moving on and finding the silver (albeit tarnished) lining to this old cloud?
 *I can shave my legs. Or not. My choice.
*I never get asked for ID anymore. Ever. Take that for what it’s worth.
*I can claim forgetfulness. And people believe me.
*When I’m too hot, I can blame it on menopause. And people believe me.
*When I’m a bitch, I can blame it on menopause. And people really believe me.
*I am wiser. I really am. And I’m less judgmental and think that no matter who you are or what you believe in (well, almost anything), I don’t really care as long as you’re a good person and follow the golden rule.
*I can do what I want to do now, with less fear of what others think. I want to cut my day job hours and make half of what I was making so I can follow my dream and work in the publishing business? Go, me.
*I write erotic romance, but others think I write porn? Whatever. They’re just ignorant idiots. (Hey, I said I’m wiser and less judgmental…but I can still have opinions!)

Yes, with age come changes. But most of them are good ones, once I wrap my brain around them (except that damned AARP thing). I like myself better than I ever have, I’ve surrounded myself with people I like and I’m doing what makes me happy.  

Happy Birthday to me.

Friday, 11 November 2011

There's Always Something...

So many rants, so little time...

So to pick one out of the hat, let's talk today about how one thing or another always seems to come into play to make life difficult. You know, that whole, just when you think you've crested the hill and coast down the other side, you see that there's just more uphill in front of you?

Mostly, it's about finding time to write. Now a long time ago, we (my family and I) made the decision that I would be the wage earner and Hubs would be the primary care giver. I am in no way regretting that decision. The kids have reached an age (and frankly, I think so have I) where i can no longer effectively home school them.The arrangement works tolerably well. More than tolerably, actually.

I like my day job. I work part time making sandwiches for business men and cheerfully taking their money. It's a fun job, not very taxing, and it has actually got me moving enough I've lost a bit of weight. WOOT!

I don't hate my other day job, working occasional full time for the government. Lots of aspects of the way the government handles their workers, I take exception to, but that is not something I can publicly rant about :D The people are nice, the job itself is not terrible. 'Nuff said.

There is also the matter of the 'volunteer' work I do for my daughter's dance studio so she can take all teh dance classes she wants to do. I don't mind any of that. Mostly, it's pretty fun, and stuff that's desperately in need of getting done.

What irks me are all the little inconvenient happenings that screw up the schedule. Like a writing conference I would not have missed for the world, that was piles of fun and a wonderful time. And kept me from writing for about three weeks with any sort of consistency as I prepared, made swag, traveled, decompressed afterward... And there are the small issues of hubs health messing with what he's capable of doing. So totally not his fault. But kids still need to get to lessons, the house still needs to be cleaned etc, etc, and while I'm doing his job, his job is getting done. Mine is not.

So when I get a royalty check, and it's smaller than I had hoped and he says why haven't you had a release lately, I want to...yes. I'll say it. I want to rip his arm off and beat him with the bloody stump. Only then he'd have another injury he wouldn't be able to work around....

P.S. don't get me wrong. I'm not blaming him for anything, and more than I am saying I would have forgone GayRomLit so I could stay home and get more writing done. He can't help it. He does the best he can, and I have so very many things to be grateful for where he is concerned. I just wish, for a little while, nothing would "come up" that interferes with MY TIME. damnit!

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

I Am the Addams Family

Not kidding.

Usually, I'm a nice, affable, happy-go-lucky kind of gal, just like old Gomez. Would that I was also independently wealthy like him, but hey, we can't all have everything, right? I do have the two kids, the adoring spouse (most of the time) and the unfailing belief that the world is a good and decent place, and the people in it are good and decent people (despite all that pesky evidence to the contrary). I'd even be willing to bet that on some days, my girl has a little bit of Wednesday's 'sisterly love' brewing away in her clever, pretty little head. And my boy? If it looks fun, he'll go along with it, never suspecting...

Then there are the other days, when I fee a little more like Morticia: aloof, slightly mysterious, perfectly safe until you piss me off, then better not come too close. I haven't yet cut the heads off any of my roses, but you don't want to be taking any chances. Now, if only I had a head of hair like that woman! I've always envied those long, black tresses.

Sadly, most mornings especially, far from the elegant, graceful matriarch I'd like to declare myself, I'm pretty much a cross between Lurch and Cousin Itt. All shambling, grumbly-voiced, piss-poor attitude curtained with a mop of waist-length, every-which-way hair. Not. Pretty.

So, my pretties, what fictional character (or multiple characters) are you? DO share!

Monday, 7 November 2011

So, You Really Want Me 2 Follow You?

Please help us welcome author Lynn Crain.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

When I sat down at my computer today, trying to think exactly what I wanted to vent about, I had to give myself some boundaries. See, there is so much in my life to vent about, a major move to a foreign country, a husband who is so attentive he's driving me crazy, a new puppy who we call piranha boy because of his puppy teeth but so many of you would see those things as living the fairy tale that I decided to do one that should be nearer and dearer to our author hearts. But I get ahead of myself here as introductions are definitely in order.

My name's Lynn Crain and I write hot, sexy romances for the over eighteen crowd. Right now I'm living in Vienna, Austria with my husband of thirty some years who is following his dream to work internationally. Notice, I said his dream but that's another story and a whole other rant. None of our children or our pets came with us for various reasons: the oldest has his own family, the youngest is in college and the animals couldn't successfully travel the ocean so they are stuck at home with said kids. This is why we have piranha boy, a Parson Russell Terrier the breeder named Harry Potter that turns fourteen weeks old today. Because of this move and the tribulations it brought me I haven't had a book published in a while but that's going to change real soon as I expect to have about ten or so within the next coming year. The first one is a re-issue of a story called, A Lover for Rachel, and it's got one hot cover. It's schedule to be released between November 27 to December 3rd, 2011.

Now back to the meat of this blog ~ I don't know about you but I do daily research on the internet for various projects. Now those who know me well would say that I'm just cruising about looking for the best time possible but really I'm not. Part of that time is spent looking for like minded individuals who I can share blog space with, toss out a comment on twitter and generally share good news and happenings. To be honest, that's how I found this wonderful gem of a blog and I've recommended it to a lot of people and plan to do so even more. Networking is how many books are sold and it's a very important aspect to one's writing career.

It's taken me years to develop this tack on just who I want to follow be it on twitter, a blog or sharing a link on another's website. Too many places and you'll over-saturate those you want to admire you and your work, too little and they will never know your name. I have heard there are many ways to do this. Only follow those who are like minded ~ what does that mean? Only re-tweet those things that will bring you more followers ~ no, really, what does that mean? Never follow those whose background pictures you like ~ why not? Come on now, it's a really cute setup! Some people have even gone so far to tell me that I must maintain a professional attitude one-hundred percent of the time ~ how fun is that?

One is supposed to have fun in their career and if you can't what is the point? Live, love, laugh ~ that's my philosophy and I'm sticking to it. Therefore, when I peruse the net looking for new followers and those I can follow, new places to blog or just new people to hang out yet, I expect the kind courteous response that I would give them. But in the last few months, I've hit a stumbling block or two or maybe it's fifteen as right now I'm so irritated, I could bust a gut.

It's been my habit to follow a few new faces on twitter weekly and to add a blog or two to my list of ones to follow if they're lucky. I choose my victims - er - friends through a careful search and by looking at their tweets or blogs and websites to make sure they are people I want to be around. Doesn't everyone? First, I have to feel I have a genuine connection to them and then I have to want to give my time to them as it is a precious commodity to me as well as to them.

I take great joy in finding new authors and people to follow. It amazing me that there are others out there that think in a somewhat similar mode as I do. I want to be with those people, I want to see what they are saying, learn about what they are reading and I want to share my goals, aspirations, listening and reading habits with them. After all, we may share a common bond and never know it unless we can connect somewhere. The internet is a perfect way to connect to like minds, to those who are in the same struggles, are writing the same genres or reading the same authors. It truly is a reach-out-and-touch-someone moment when you find another like mind on the internet. You can share writing snippets, trade blogs posts and links, talk family, kids, marketing and a host of other important topics.

Imagine my surprise when recently I've run into validation services for everything imaginable. Are you kidding? The one true way to turn off readers, followers, bloggers, reviewers and whoever I haven't named, is to say you don't trust them right off the bat. Sure, I can understand if they have come from a questionable IP address or they have a questionable name as some do but to send the person an email, a tweet, a comment with a link and say, "Hey, if you want to follow me via twitter, my blog, my website or whatever, you have to pass this test! Aren't you happy to do it?"

Sorry, I'm not happy to do it and got carried away there. Frankly, I don't have time for validation services. I can understand the ones where you have a quick email back that says you're a real person but to send someone to an outside vendor and make them answer all sorts of questions about themselves and why they want to follow you, well, you've made an enemy for life and you can be word will get around. After all, I'm writing this blog, aren't I? If I am, there are others out there not venting about their not liking validation services.

Now, if you were a Nora Roberts-type person, I can understand it...after all, you have thousands upon thousands of followers and probably don't need me anyway. If you are just starting out, honey, I would rethink your stradegy as there is no quicker way to piss someone off than to tout your sense of importance. Yes, you are important but some am I...and it makes me wonder...just why am I wasting my time on you again? Those people who you are trying to validate are asking themselves the same questions and trust me, if they can't justify following you in whatever manner they've tried, they just won't answer you back. If you send them something asking why, they will ignore you. Who knows what they're saying to their friends? Are they giving you a good name or a bad one?

As for me, I'll continue to slog through the people who follow me wherever and ban those who are truly bad. I don't know about you but I can spot them a mile away...after all...just how many of them can be on twitter or blog for over a year and not know how to add a picture? Not many. Trust me.

Lynn Crain bio:

I'm a writer of sexy romance. I live in the hot southwest where I weave my tales for various publishers in the sci-fi, fantasy and paranormal genres. I have one husband, two sons, one daughter-in-law, two grandkids, two dogs, three cats and I've gotten rid of the snakes. I love hearing from all of you at lynncrain@cox.net. UPDATE: Wait - if you've read any of this blog recently you'll see that obviously, I'm not in the beautiful southwest right now. I'm on the adventure of a lifetime in Vienna, Austria. An adventure with issues...yup...that's me!

You can find her on her blog at www.awriterinvienna.blogspot.com on any given day as she tells you about her adventures abroad.

Friday, 4 November 2011

Foot-in-Mouth Syndrome

Please help us welcome Nicola E. Sheridan.

~ ~ ~ ~

Foot-in-Mouth Syndrome:[fʊt-ɪn-maʊɵ sɪndrəʊm] a socially crippling condition in which the sufferer regularly says inappropriate things at inappropriate times and causes offense or unintended embarrassment to themselves or others.

Embarrassing situations, they happen all the time and I personally love to read about them. They make me laugh and as long as they haven't happened to me, I find them highly entertaining. One of most common causes of embarrassment is due to 'foot-in-mouth syndrome. I'm sure you've all met someone who has it, or you may have it yourself. Sometimes an inappropriate word or thought slips out and causes offense or embarrassment and you're left thinking "Why on earth did I say that?!"

I'm fairly lucky and can quite honestly say I do not suffer this condition. However, I know several people who do.

I have a female relation, who for the sake of this blog I will call *Gloria. Gloria is a wonderful person. She's caring, kind, creative and an all round good woman. However, Gloria has a dreadful case of 'foot-in-mouth'.

One amusing example of Gloria's foot-in-mouth, was actually at my house. We were having a mother's day lunch with everyone coming. My sister-in-law unexpectedly invited a single friend to join us, as she had nowhere else to be on this particular Mother's Day.

When *Lisa entered, the family was surprised. No one other than my sister-in-law had ever met her before, but it didn't matter. I like to think we're a welcoming family, and if she had nowhere else to be, she was more than welcome to join us.

Lisa was a very large girl, to this day I have never seen breasts larger than hers. She loved cats, and even had one on her t-shirt. The lunch was delicious and food and conversation flowed freely. After we'd eaten, I noticed with some trepidation Gloria deep in conversation with Lisa. Apparently they were having a discussion about being 'single'. Soon however, Lisa decided it was time to leave. As I walked Lisa out, Gloria followed, along with several other family members. As we all called our farewells to our new friend, Gloria shouts out above all "Good-bye, Lisa, enjoy your solitary life!"

What?! Did she really just say that to this motherless, lonely, cat-loving single lady?

"Gloria!" I hiss, as Lisa hurries into the car with a worried glance back. We smile cheerfully, hoping she doesn't think we are rude freaks out to torment her.

"What?" Gloria replies, still waving and smiling benignly as Lisa roared out of our lives forever.

To this day, Gloria swears she said nothing wrong. "She likes being single!" Gloria still insists.

There are many types of foot-in-mouth and Gloria's is always unintentional, which makes it funny. However, I have another friend whose foot-in-mouth syndrome is at times quite intentional. This makes for insanely awkward situations, which sometimes result in amusing but permanent changes of opinion.

Here's an example. My friend *Nova, was chiding her husband about their non-existent sex life - in front of me and two other friends. Why you'd do this is still beyond me, but there you have it.

Imagine the scene if you will:

We're all sitting around the coffee table and Nova is enthusiastically, but bitterly lamenting her lack of rumpy-pumpy.

"I could be in my sexy lingerie, doing a lap dance and he'll roll over and tell me to go to sleep." Nova complains.

*Jose looks stony faced, crosses his muscular arms and stares into his coffee. "I'm tired," he grunts. "I work hard."

My other two friends give weak embarrassed laughs.

I am struck mute. I'd always presumed Jose to be a red hot-latin-lover sort, and now all I can imagine is a tiny dysfunctional penis and a man as frigid as England. Unfortunate isn't it? Yet, Nova doesn't stop there, oh no. She waxes lyrical about her high, but neglected libido, and praises the Lord for her secret (now not so secret) drawer of 'goodies' that satisfy her because her husband (still sitting there) apparently won't. It was one of the most cringe-worthy conversations I've ever had the misfortune of being involved in.

Had Nova decided to have this conversation away from Jose, it could have been funny and although I'd still have left the conversation thinking Jose harbours a soggy jellybean in his jocks, we wouldn't of had the awkwardness. In hindsight, I wondered why Jose didn't defend his masculinity, his libido, anything. A grunt explaining his tiredness wasn't sufficient! Perhaps he couldn't defend himself without looking like a bastard. I don't know. What I do know however is that I will not sit opposite Jose and Nova around a coffee table again. Not without a light and witty response poised on my lips at any rate.

A witty response is the only remedy for an awkward situation (other than running screaming). If you, like me, find yourself regularly in the presence of an awkward moment due to your friends 'foot-in-mouth' syndrome, the only real cure is a sound repertoire of witty rebukes and comments. Alas, retrieving said witty rebuke is notoriously difficult during a time of awkwardness. So while the awkward moment ticks by in complete lip chewing silence, here are a few easy comments to remember:

"OK then... Someday, we'll look back on this moment, laugh nervously and change the subject..."

"Hmm, you've got a point there, keep your hat on and it won't show."

"Be careful, that halo may slip and choke you..."

"That's a bit rich from someone who collects Metallica figurines."

"The next time you speak to me, I'm going to have to insist you do not eat shit sandwiches."

*names and relationships have been changed to protect the embarrassed.

Thanks for having me ladies, and remember, everyone is someone else's weirdo, and if you don't have anything nice to say about somebody... come and sit with me!

Nicola E. Sheridan is a West Australian author of paranormal/fantasy romance with a humorous/quirky edge.

You can find her:

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Are You Fucking Kidding Me?


It's been one of those weeks. Who am I kidding? This started about two weeks ago, although I didn't suspect those next two weeks would basically be in the toilet. Oh, there've been some summits that have kept me sane, but the nadirs... Yeah, they've been pretty good. It could be worse, of course.

So, it started with quarterly reports. I wanted to complete them a week ago Monday, and I have this fabulous accounting program that cuts the time down by nearly two weeks. It's just that I have a knack for finding all of the bugs in this program. It seems every time I use it, I break it. (It's a gift, truly.) This time, I accidentally put in a date when importing some data that made the program crash. (See, I told you I'm good.) They knew about this bug, but no one in the history of the program had found it until...me. (g) I had to send my database to the programmers to fix. Luckily, they work fast. However, this, and a few other things, put me back a day.

I suppose this should have been an omen of sorts for these next two weeks. It wasn't. I mean, I'm used to screwing up the program. (g) It was par for the course, and all was well until Saturday night.

That night Lily came down with a really nasty cold and a fever so high she burned to the touch. This was particularly scary as Lily has had seizures. For two days, sleep did not exist.

It's been up and down from there on out with too many troughs and not enough summits that it's almost funny.

I managed to finish quarterly reports and send them all out a week ago Tuesday, nearly a week in advance. That was a first. Yay me! But Wednesday saw me cleaning the biohazard of a front shower as Mom and Jan, a family friend I haven't seen for 7 years, were coming to stay with us on Friday. If I didn't clean it, Mom would, and I'd be embarrassed to let anyone use it.

Mind you, sleep had still eluded me even though Lily's cold had improved to just a cough. With each successive day, I was growing more exhausted and grumpier. They were scheduled to arrive Friday. They did, but not until midnight. Mom had a key, but couldn't get it to work so she called me. I was sleeping, and despite being exhausted, I pulled my ass out of bed and sat up for another hour. I could sleep in in the morning, right?

Hahahahaha

Um, no. Lily was so excited that Grandma was here, she was up, which meant I was up because she had to come into our bedroom first and wake me. (I love her, but sometimes... ;))

My Saturday plans were shot to hell because Jan wanted to go to Malibu and spend the day on the beach. Lucky for him, we had a beautiful day. Besides seeing them, this was one of the bright spots of the past two weeks. I played with Lily, and we built a sand castle. Of course, I ended the day with a migraine. O.o

Note: From here down, my original blog post was eaten by Google mail. This is why the original post was only partially uploaded by Valerie. (Thank you, Valerie!) Because I wrote it on my iPhone, I do not have a copy, so I am having to rewrite this section. Somehow, I don't think it will be quite the same, but it's what I've got. End Note

Things managed to be okay until Monday night. Around 11 pm, I wandered into the bedroom to grab my night clothes and shower. I opened the underwear drawer and...what was that? Something scurried across my skivvies. Oh, my God, it was a baby cockroach. Seriously?

(sigh)

A cockroach had taken up residence in my underwear drawer. A black cloud quickly formed around me. Although few words slipped through my lips, a virulent stream of obscenities swirled in my mind. The drawer came out, and I took it outside where I searched for the little fucker (Never found it, but it's not in there anymore.), sterilized the drawer after getting all of the cockroach turds out of the back (yes, I know. I know. It was disgusting. Even now, my mouth turns down in a moue of distaste, and I shudder.), and threw all of the underwear into the wash.

That done, I peered into the dresser for no particular reason and saw another baby hiding in a groove. Crap! Now the entire dresser had to be torn apart, the cockroach killed, and the cause of the infestation discovered. )They liked my sock drawer, too, but stayed out of the others. Thank all of the powers that be!)

The cause? One of the dresser feet was wet from a shower leak. Yay! Something else. How exciting! (Insert more swear words here.) However, I was taking a shower despite all of that and going to bed.

But, wait! I don't have any clean underwear. (Head to wall) Since I wasn't going to continue wearing my dirty underwear and I wouldn't turn it inside out, it was commando. While I don't mind going commando on occasion, I want the choice. That night, I had no choice, and this just added to my ire.

And then, the final straw came yesterday when my laptop turned off for no apparent reason. It was plugged in, it should have been working, but it just turned off. Frantic, I called my husband Charlie the computer god. Of course, there's nothing he could do from work. So, I tried plugging it in again and turning it on. Voilà, we were in business again for the time being. A few hours later, it died again and wouldn't turn back on.

Charlie came home and pulled out one of the spare laptops we have lying around. One that someone gave him because it was broken, but he magically fixed it. (I have long since stopped trying to figure out how he does that. Truly, he's a magician.) They no longer wanted it and gave it to him. (This does happen on occasion. It's an occupational hazard of being an IT professional.) It's four years old, but runs. I'm happy and love my husband. (g)

Although we'd decided it was just a bad battery, he'd decided to transfer my data to the "new" laptop anyway. I'd be without my laptop that evening. As I'd planned on working after Lily went to bed, this was not good. But I could give up a few hours if it meant having a newer laptop, right? Except, there was an issue with my old laptop's disk, and the data wouldn't transfer properly. And because he has to go to work, I could be without a laptop for several days.

HAHAHAHAHAHA (breath) HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA (breath) HAHAHAHAHAHAHA

I am blessed. Truly, I am. (The only reason I am able to amend this post is because I am able to use the "new" laptop.) I know this, but, oh... if one more thing happens, I might need a straight jacket.