Thursday, 29 November 2012

Periods, Condoms, Road Trips, and Truck Stops

The family traveled up to my mom's for Veteran's Day weekend. We left early Friday. Whenever we go visit Mom (a 3 hour trip), we always stop at Laval Road West on the north side of the Grapevine on I-5. It's about halfway between our house and Mom's. With food, gas, and clean bathrooms, it's a good place to stop, stretch the legs, and powder the nose. After two hours or so in the car, Lily and I are always ready to powder our noses. We pull in and park. Lily and I do the usual and make a beeline for the bathroom.

Now, mind you, this place started as a truck stop, and despite all of the new fast food joints (McD's, Panda Express, In-N-Out, Chipotle, Starbucks, Subway, Wendy's, etc.) being built there to service all of the travelers, it's still a favorite stop for truckers too. There's even a coffee shop in the original building with a little convenient store.

We always go to this building with the coffee shop because this is where the bathrooms not attached to any restaurant are. When you walk in, the coffee shop is to your right. If you turn left, you'll get Wendy's. Just past the coffee shop is a tiny Baskin-Robbins, and just beyond that are the bathrooms. If you walk a little further down past the bathrooms, there are showers and other amenities. Across from the bathroom is the convenient store.

Lily and I ignore everything before the bathroom. Mother Nature is calling, after all.

I'm feeling great and then I notice it. Crap! I've started my period. I shouldn't have started my period, but I have. And, of course, I have nothing with me because, well, I shouldn't have.

So, I take care of business and stroll across the hall to the convenient store in search of pads. I wander through the store, scanning the shelves, until I see some toiletries. If they are going to have anything for females, it should be in this area. But as I scan the shelves, I can't find anything. I'm about to turn away when I see condoms on the top shelf. Several different kinds of condoms. Probably about eight different types of condoms to choose from. From Trojan to Durex to some other brands. From ultra thin to "ribbed for her pleasure" to who knows what else (maybe even the vibrating kind I've heard so much about). If they were going to have pads, they had to be around this area somewhere.

Aha! There, buried two shelves down, were my choices: Tampax tampons and Stayfree Maxipads. Wow! That's some selection! o.O Tampons (not unless I'm swimming) or throwback pads from the 80s. Yay! Lucky me! Then I look at the price. $5.69.

Holy smackerole! Five dollars and sixty-nine cents for--I pull the package out--six pads. Ooookkkkaaayyy.

Out of options, I took my booty over to the register and paid, even as I chuckled about the condoms. So many options for condoms, but only two, very hard to find options for women in dire need.


We know the audience they cater to. (grin) I guess I should just count myself lucky I was able to find pads at all. Heaven forbid women should actually have periods and men should happen to accidentally see sanitary napkins. If they do, maybe they'll be turned off and not need the condoms anymore.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Being a Morning Person

by Jessica Subject

I’m a morning person. Have been for as long as I can remember. Usually this is a good thing, as I can get a lot of work done, especially related to my writing, while the rest of my family is asleep. Or so I thought.
My husband and daughter are both afternoon people. Not night hawks, but they function better about mid-day after they’ve had a couple hours to wake up. That works for me.
Then my son came along. I hoped he would be the same as them. But no. He has to be a morning person. Just like me.
Only he doesn’t want to get out of bed that early in the morning (between 5 AM and 7 AM). No, he’d rather call “MOMMY!” and have me come running to his room to find out what he wants. Nothing. He just moans on his bed and won’t say a word. He’s awake. After a couple times of him doing this, I don’t bother anymore. And that’s when he decides to get out of bed. Chipper as a springtime bird.
So, that’s what my mornings have become. I don’t get as much work done then, saving it until they are at school and I have peace and quiet again.
There is the occasional day where he does sleep in, but then my daughter, by some miracle, is up early. And it’s usually on a day where she can sleep in, such as a PA Day or holiday. She’s more independent though and will read or watch television until I’m ready to make breakfast.

So, tell me, what time of day do you get stuff done? Are you an early riser, or do you prefer the night?

As his ship plummets toward Earth, Cael believes his life to be over. His last ditch effort to save himself ends in a fiery crash. When he wakes up, he believes he’s entered the afterlife, but his surroundings indicate otherwise. He made it to Earth. But who saved him, and what do they want with him?

Now available from Decadent Publishing and other ebook retailers.
More information and Buy Links here:
Jessica Subject started writing to encourage her daughter to read. Now she writes to keep herself grounded. Although she reads many genres, she enjoys writing Science Fiction Romance the most and believes everyone in the universe deserves a happily ever after. She lives Southwestern Ontario, Canada with her husband and two kids and loves to hear from anyone who has enjoyed her stories.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Motherhood and Insanity

My first time hosting Thanksgiving and my plans were quickly going down the toilet. A month before, I receive a jury summons. (I was not called the entire week. I am done for the year. Yay!) The Monday before Turkey Day, Lily comes down with the stomach flu. She complains of nausea at a friend's house, and when we return home, she has diarrhea. Instead of lying in her bed, she stays on the floor. She hasn't been there long when she leaps up and races toward the bathroom. She hits the hallway, which is only maybe five feet away, and I hear that dreaded sound: she's vomiting.


Okay. It's okay. It's best to get it out, but she doesn't make it to the toilet. She doesn't even make it to the tile floor. There, in the shag carpet-covered hallway, is the vomit, and all I can think is: "Shit! Shit! Shit! How the hell am I going to get that out of the carpet? People will be here in a few days. ARGH!" Part of my brain says this is completely inappropriate to think this while she's sick. The other part knows I will be the one cleaning it up... as usual. She apologizes for vomiting in the hallway. I tell her that it's okay, not to worry about it.

I put that aside because Lily's now lying on the floor and distraught. (Not surprising. Vomiting is never pleasant.)

"It's okay, honey."

"But I didn't make it to the bathroom," she repeats.

"That's okay, too. I'll clean it up."

It's after ten at night. I'm already exhausted and not thinking straight. So, I pull a couple of old towels out of the linen closet to try to sop up the mess. O.o After a few passes, I realize using towels means I will have to take them outside and spray them off before washing them (our pipes are old and clog easily--the last thing I need is to have to call the plumber too). I can't count the number of times I've had to do something similar with the bedding. So, I come up with another plan: paper towels. I try to to pull the white chunks of partially digested cheese out of the shag with the paper towels. It doesn't help. I scrub at it trying to get the cheese out only to make smaller pieces of cheese and work it deeper into the carpet. UGH! (You can thank me for that visual another time. Grin) Not to mention the fact that being on my knees with my nose that close to something that smells this disgusting could result in me adding my own dinner to the floor.

I sit back on my heels and survey the mess. The only way it's coming out is with a professional shop vac. (sigh) This means going to the store immediately because leaving that stench in our carpet in the hallway overnight just isn't an option.

This whole time, Charlie is nowhere to be seen. Apparently, he's in the back bathroom and "indisposed." I hear the toilet flush. I hear it flush again. Our bedroom sliding glass door opens and a few choice words meet my ears.

I look down the hallway to our bedroom. He passes by the open door in his underwear. I ask, "What's going on?"

"I have to plunge the toilet," he says.

Great. "Well, when you are done, can you watch Lily while I go to the store? I need to get a Rug Doctor."

I'm a bit peeved with him. As usual, I am left to take care of everything (from clean up to her) when she's sick. Other women tell me this is typical. I don't care. I don't like it. If he says, "No," about watching her, I'm thinking of things I can do with that plunger. He doesn't say "no." Lucky him. (grin)

Thankfully, I'm still dressed. I run down to Ralph's for the rug cleaner. It takes a bit to gather. I muscle it into my car. (Thank goodness I work out.) When I get home, I muscle it out of the car and roll it into the house. As I enter, the cats see it and stare big-eyed at me. They recognize the machine as the monster that makes a lot of noise and scares the shit out of them. I can see them thinking, "Will she try to suck me up with that thing?" Then they scatter.

Okay. Well, I need to figure this thing out, but first I check on Lily. She's lying on the hallway floor looking very pale, the poor mite. Charlie is just standing there looking at her. No surprise there.

Am I the only one whose husband becomes almost completely useless when their child gets sick? Seriously, when Lily gets sick, it's as if Hannibal Lecter came in, removed Charlie's brain, and ate it for dinner because he will just stand there and watch as I do everything. As if his legs and arms don't work. However, his mouth does, and he's always full of suggestions/questions that serve to irritate me. He'll say things like: "Well, maybe if you tried this... Or I have found..." In his vast experience of watching me take care of her, he has found... what? That I don't know what I'm doing so I need his advice?

Breathing. Breathing. Just read the instructions, Marci. Vacuum the vomit up and go to bed because, at this point, I am wiped out.

I read the instructions and proceed to pour the water into the container that says, "Do not pour the water in here." Doh! It's past midnight now, so I have an excuse, right?

Finally, I figure it out and am ready to vacuum. I open the door to the hallway and I can't access the spot as Lily is still lying in the hallway. I look at Charlie and say, "We need to move her into her bedroom."

He blinks.


I squat, get my arms under her, and stagger to my feet. (She weighs over 50 pounds now.) Her eyes widen as I continue to struggle to find my balance and her head misses the doorjamb by a few inches. She refuses to lie on her bed, so I set her down on the floor and return to the hall.

In a fit of helpfulness, Charlie closes her door. I maneuver the Rug Doctor into the hallway and start to vacuum. It's very loud, but she is so tired she sleeps through it. When I am done, the vomit is gone. Yay!

Charlie retreats to the bedroom, lays down and falls asleep while I go outside to spray down the towels and PJs. In case you didn't know, sodden towels weigh a ton. I manage to get them into the wash and can finally collapse on our bed. I check to see if the baby monitor is on. (We keep it on just in case.) The hubby is snoring away, but I can't sleep. I am hopeful that was it, but somehow, I know it's not. Every sound she makes, my eyes pop open. And as she starts gnashing her teeth, I know it's going to be a long night.

Unfortunately, my prediction came true. It was a long night. I slept almost not at all. And around 4 am, I wake up to Mother Nature's call. Apparently, I've needed to use the bathroom since before going to bed, but I've been so worried about Lily that it didn't register. At 4 am, my body said, "Go now or explode." Lily had thrown up maybe half hour before, so I figure I have time.

Of course not. o.O

In the middle of heeding Mother Nature's call, Lily starts screaming, "Mommy! Mommy!" Then I hear the sound of her retching.

I am yelling, "I'll be there as soon as I can. I just have to finish up."

While all of this racket is going on, Charlie is still in bed. Frustrated, I yell at him, "Can't you get your ass out of bed and help her?" However, by the time he does, I have finished, washed my hands, and rushed past our bed just as he is climbing out of it.

But it gets better. I have spent the entire night up and down with next to no sleep. He strolls in and sees me holding her hair back so vomit doesn't get in it. As he stands there, he proceeds to give me advice on how to help her. o.O Yeah, that goes over well.

By 5:30 am, it's all done. At least the throw up, anyway. The fever begins. (sigh)

At the end of it, Charlie says, "Thanks for doing such a great job taking care of her."

You know, while his gratitude is appreciated, I'm thinking, "If you are really grateful, stay home so I can get some sleep now." Neither happens, but I survive.

So, Thanksgiving Day will arrive tomorrow. I'm already exhausted, but the girl child is on the mend. :)

As I sit here typing this, I realize that I don't do all of this for my husband's gratitude, or the sweet hugs from my daughter, or the bags under my eyes, the worry, because I like to clean up vomit, or because I like the adrenaline rush. No, I do it because I'm a mom, and somewhere during pregnancy, Mother Nature flipped a switch in me that made me slightly insane.

It's the only explanation.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Mutiny on the Brain

 **Please welcome author Maureen O. Betita** 

Menopause sucks. It has no sense of timing, unless there is a divine force up there laughing hysterically, pointing and chortling away.

Maybe god is a man.

Here I was, trucking along on this great little career. I was on track, had a bunch of books released in less than twelve months…life was good. Not perfect, I wasn’t selling like a house on fire, but it was good. Then…it hit me.

I thought I was going crazy. Talked with my doctor about my mental fog and emotional firestorms. She eyed me, looked at my records and said it was likely peri-menopause, that delightful time before full menopause. I started hormone replacement therapy, my moods evened out and I decided to stop the HRT. I mean, I had a heart condition and HRT isn’t the best thing for me. Now I knew what was going on, I could handle it.

I did, for about a year. Until the night sweats started. And waking up every two hours. No massive mood swings this time, but wow…I once again flirted with going insane. Have you ever done that? Spent a few months waking up every two hours? Most every night?

I stopped writing. I stopped exercising. I stopped eating right. I stopped…having sex. I just spent a lot of time staring at my computer. Or the television. Or at nothing particularly at all. Here I was, books to promote, conventions to attend…agent with books she was pitching…and I was brain dead.

Or at least that is how I felt.

So! I went back on HRT. Damn the complications, if I didn’t return to a normal night’s sleep I was going to turn into Dr. Phil’s newest intervention guest. My heart condition wasn’t the type to specifically put me in danger. And not sleeping was more likely to twist my heart into a tangle than the pills and patch.
Been on the stuff a few months, feeling better. Sleeping thru the night…but my brain has gone on walkabout. Though more likely, my brain is lounging on a beach with my muse, sharing a big bottle of rum and laughing at the fool they left behind.


Modern medicine is miraculous. Certainly saved my life when the heart crisis arrived… But when it comes to things like menopause? Gods. I’m fighting my way back to normality. But I wonder if anything will actually ever be the same. I feel stupid. I have story ideas, but putting one word in front of the other seems far, far away. In the Bahamas, maybe?

Yeah, menopause is much like that other wonderful time of life…remember that? Puberty. We got a book, all about how our bodies were changing. A nice, friendly book, with pictures and simple words…how long it would last, what was next…

I miss books like that. Sure, there are all sorts of medical tomes out there. Thick books, long words, diagrams…

Instead of a simple, easy to follow explanation, I get long internet searches and fabulous mood swings, memory loss and weight gain, sleep loss and lots of sweat.

Nope, not fair.

One day, not too far from now, I hope…the brain will return, the body will regain balance and I will take up my harpoon and find that rotten muse and feast on his LIVER!

   Maureen Betita is a cranky writer who specializes in romantic adventure featuring older-than-your-typical characters. Specifically, she likes to include pirates, krakens, and space aliens. Why? She doesn't know, but she rolls with it. Published by Decadent Publishing, you can purchase her books HERE
   Start with The Kraken's Carribean if you enjoy trilogies, The Ship's Mistress if you like a pair of linked stories. Or Something Different for a short, sweet read.
   Find her on FB, as an author and as a normal Facebook baltherer. She flirts with Twitter but isn't terribly comfortable with it, and she has a lovely website and blog... at

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Sex Advice For Animals

From resident animal sexpert, BarbaraElsborg

 Dear Sexpert,
I’m a honey bee. What’s my best chance of beating off the opposition and ensuring I father the Queen’s offspring?   

Dear Drone,
Get in quick. Then you win by plugging her up after sex. The bad news is the plug is part of your genitals which snap off inside her. The good news is, you won’t survive to worry about it.

Dear Sexpert,
Am I normal? I’m a female but I’m the one with the balls in my relationship. I’m bigger, stronger and fiercer than my mate. I appear to have a pseudopenis I can make erect. Should I be sticking it in him?

Dear Hyena,
Don’t worry. What you have is just a massive clit. Give the little guy a chance—he’ll work it out—or in, if you’re lucky.

Dear Sexpert,
I’m a cichlid fish. I can’t get pregnant. What am I doing wrong?   

Dear Confused,
Oral sex is the answer. Your eggs are fertilized by the male while they're being carried in your mouth. See! He wasn’t lying to you. Think of a blowfish and don’t swallow.

Dear Sexpert,
I’m such a whore. Last night I was at the center of a writhing ball of more than 100 red-side male garter snakes, all trying to have sex with me. And I loved it. Trouble is I’m a male.  Does it mean I’m gay?

Dear Red,
No, it means you were weak, slow and cold. You’ve just come out of hibernation. You pretended to be female to warm up away from predators. Smart move! However if you do it again, you’re gay.

Dear Sexpert,
I’m a panda and I’m addicted to porn. I blame the keepers taking care of me and my woman. They have us watching panda porn and my mate won’t leave me alone. What shall I do?

Dear Panda.
Stop complaining. Female Pandas only usually want sex on 1-3 days a year. Make the most of her interest and get her pregnant. No wonder you’re endangered. Switch onto sports for the other 362 days.

Dear Sexpert,
I’m a very small duck from Argentina with a very large problem. I’m 17 inches from nose to tail and my corkscrew shaped penis is also 17 inches long. I might have the longest penis in the bird world but it freaks out the ladies. What can I do?
Argentinean Lake Duck

Dear Big Head,
Use it as a lasso, pin her down and screw away. A glass of Malbec afterwards would be lovely if you’ve the energy to uncork the bottle.

Dear Sexpert,
My mate must have missed sex-ed. He keeps jabbing me in the abdomen with his penis and squirting into me. I don’t like to say anything. What can I do?
Bed bug

Dear Bed bug,
Pay attention. That’s the way you mate.  It’s called traumatic insemination. Sadly my ex thought he was a bed bug.

Dear Sexpert,
My Giraffe mate has a disgusting habit. He nudges my backside to make me wee and then he tastes it. Oh, yuk. He thinks that puts me in the mood for sex. Mind you, it’s even worse for my friend the porcupine. Her mate squirts high pressure jets of urine on her before he mates. What is it with these guys?

Dear Disgusted,
Mating for giraffes isn’t easy. He just wants to make sure you’re receptive. He can taste whether you are or not in your wee. As far as the porcupine is concerned, he’s just showing off. But to save confusion, try to ensure you don’t pee on the porcupine.

Dear Sexpert,
I’m a banana slug, a hermaphrodite and I’m worried. I’m 6 inches long and the banana slug approaching me has a penis 8 inches long. It’s going to get stuck. What can I do?

Dear Petrified,
It’ll go in but if it gets stuck, just bite it off. And stop eating my plants.

Dear Sexpert,
As a silverback gorilla, I have a band of 30 females that I service on a regular basis, but I’m a little worried about the size of my penis. Is one and half inches normal?

Dear Worried,
Yes. Perfectly normal. Sorry for sniggering. Try to distract her with a banana. It might work.

Dear Sexpert,
I’m an Australian marsupial mouse and I’ve been trying to work out why there seem to be so few males around at the end of the mating season. This is going to be my first time as an adult and I want to survive the experience. It sounds such fun. Sex with as many females as possible for up to 12 hours at a time? What’s the catch?

Dear Suspicious,
Enjoy it while you can. You’re so exhausted after your orgy, you die. But what a way to go!

Check out Barbara Elsborg's books and other fun stuff HERE!

Monday, 19 November 2012

It's All in our Heads

**Please welcome author Gracen Miller**

Hello everyone! *waves* Thanks to Four Strong Women for allowing me to join them! 

Do we writers spend too much time in our heads? I ask because when I become a writing fiend I’m creating scenes and dialogue in my head almost non-stop. My kids are talking and I’m fantasizing about my characters. My husband is rambling about work, while I’m masterminding detailed love scenes in my mind…or demonic rebellions. On the television is my favorite football team and I’m crafting a new monster to wreak havoc on my heroine/hero.

This daydreaming has gotten me into a spot of hot water, too. My eldest son reminded me that I had promised to let him purchase a Guinea Pig with his Birthday money—he has so much money I’ve asked for a loan. *cheeky grin*. Let me just say…I do not remember having the conversation, much less agreeing to this purchase!

Holy crap!

I’ve been forgetting a lot of things lately. But this is a big one. My youngest son is backing him, arguing vehemently that I agreed, which is odd because they never agree on anything—ever. It’s like a secret brother-law or something that Moms don’t get.

I tried to wiggle my way out of it with a, “No way I’d agree to that,” while in my head I’m thinking, “No way am I taking care of another animal!!” We always have family meetings before we add a new member to the family. With two dogs—a Dachshund and a Great Dane—and my boys’ busy schedule running from guitar lessons and the sport for the season, we’re busy and a new family member is time consuming. 

But they’re not giving up. And to back up his defense he commences to remind me where we were, what we were doing, and the exact conversation when I agreed to the SNAFU. And somewhere along the way of the retelling I have an “A-ha!” moment because that was when the hero in my head said to the heroine, “Either show me your claws, kitten, or purr for me.”

Big freaking gulp!

Yep, you guessed it, hot-freaking-water! Now, how do I get myself out of it? I can’t confess to a 14 and 10 year old that I was thinking about risqué dialogue that ended up in sexual positions during our conversation. And while I’m stuttering to come up with a lame argument, they’re reminding me that I agreed with one stipulation…they take care of the Guinea Pig and if I had to do anything just once, it’d find a new home. 

Whew! That clause, in the deal from Hell, made me feel a wee bit better. You guessed it, we ended up with a Guinea Pig that the boys named Dixie. And wouldn’t you know it, a month later Dixie had babies!!

Holy smokes! I keep getting screwed in this deal. But I’ve learned my lesson. I hope.

A word of warning…writers, get out of your head when chatting with sneaky children!

I hope everyone has a fabulous Thanksgiving!

Gracen Miller

Where you can stalk me—not really!—but I would love to meet and interact with you:

Saturday, 17 November 2012

The Princes and the Peas

Please help us welcome Taryn Kincaid.

~ ~ ~

Be warned: Non-Thanksgiving rant coming.
First: The backstory so you know the characters we are dealing with.
           A million years ago, when I was young and unformed and starting out in the world with bright eyes and my first real apartment (we don’t count the studio where you had to pull a bamboo shade over the sink and stove to hide it from the living room), I thought it would be really cool to invite my brothers and male cousins over for dinner in the absence of their mothers. (But probably at the behest of those self-same mothers.)
           I cannot bake to save my life but I am a pretty decent cook when I have the time and inclination and wherewithal to do it. Especially if you can smoosh all the ingredients around in one big cauldron, er, pot. I made them a delectable  Four Citrus  chicken dish,  I’d gotten from New York magazine, when New York magazine used to do recipes for entertaining .  The recipe called for, among other things, the juice and zest of 1 grapefruit, 1 orange, 1 lemon and 1 lime. Unfortunately, it also called for cumin. My youngest brother, who at that time  was  strictly a chicken drenched in Campbell’s mushroom soup over rice kinda guy, particularly thought he was being  poisoned. While the others just made rude remarks, he grabbed a chicken leg by the knob where the chicken foot once used to go, marched through the apartment with it, and held it under the kitchen sink, returned to the table and tucked in.
            That would be the first and last time any of the men in my family ever discovered the location of the kitchen on their own…at least while anyone else was there to watch. (Because they undoubtedly know how to find the fridge, drink the carton of milk or orange juice down, and return the empty to the shelf.)
            I guess I kind of blame their mothers, who made them all princes.  I am positive they do not act like this elsewhere. But let a holiday roll around and suddenly they are medieval kings banqueting in their Great Hall and expecting the serving wench to be waiting on them hand and foot.
            So this is how a holiday at chez Taryn usually goes:
            “Do we have any butter?”
            “Why, yes. You probably didn’t recognize it sitting right there in its butter dish next to the basket of rolls. I could call Fabio to bring out a plastic tub of ‘I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter’ for you. Do you think that will help?”
            “Do we have any Coke?”
            “Why, yes. It’s in the refrigerator. You know where that is, don’t you? I didn’t realize you’d be wanting Coke, since you asked me to make a special trip to the apple farm for cider and then mentioned you would only be drinking club soda, since you were watching your weight. Hence, the apple cider and seltzer on the table.”
            “What are these things in the peas?”
            “Pearl onions.”
            (Sniffs.) “They look like eyeballs.”
            “I’m surprise you can see them since you couldn’t see the butter.”
            “Do we have any knives?”
            “Why, yes, do you mean that silvery-looking object on the right side of your plate that I will stab you with in two seconds, or were you looking for something fancier, like, say, Excalibur?”

Taryn is the author of Sleepy Hollow Dreams, Healing Hearts, and her two new 1Night Stand releases from Decadent Publishing, Lightning and Thunder