War

The Magic Men Live show is coming back.

So far, I haven’t bought a ticket.

I have been thinking about these dimples though.

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And that got me thinking about another set of dimples I rather admire.

It happened on Facebook, about a year ago, I minding my own business, when my friend and fellow author Liz Madrid tagged me in a post. Of course, I immediately wanted to see what she was up to and I innocently clicked over to where she was….

She was at Photographer Michael Stokes place.

Uh-oh

Mr. Stokes said, No Valentine yet? How about BT Urruela?

 Oh boy.

Liz Madrid said, Dimples, Carly Quinn

 I said, “Seriously Liz? You think I have time for this?” Sigh, “It’s such a busy weekend what with the kids off school and so much writing to do. What? Oh fine, if no one else is willing to step up for this poor man.”

A face only a mother could love.

 

If you know nothing about BT Urruela, you should go look the man up and not just because his gigawatt smile could light up the entire East Coast. In a world that seems to be spiraling downward in hate, fear and apathy, his story is a little flame of hope.

 And to make things a little more interesting, he’s also a romance novel author.

Yeah, you read it right.

I bought his book, co written by the talented KL Grayson 

I was curious about his depiction of war, given his personal experience. The title, A Lover’s Lament didn’t give me much hope for a happy ending, but I was quickly pulled into Katie and Dev’s story. The book is fast paced, gives a sometimes hard to read perspective of life as a soldier and as a loved one left at home. If you love a good second chance story, this is a great one. Oh, and the sex is smoking hot.  As an aside, I found the book flowed beautifully between the two author’s voices, and I felt it was one of the best depictions of a male character I’ve ever read in a romance novel, a real man. Dev is just a man trying to do his best in his chosen profession, a breath of fresh air in the romance world. Katie is a girl still smarting, wounded in high school, struggling as life piles on the traumas that come with living.

I love Realistic Romance, I love reading stories that could happen to the people in my life, to people I know.So, if you are looking for a bit of real romance, I’d encourage you to check out A Lover’s Lament, I think it will warm your heart, cough, and a few other spots as well.

Buy me, you’ll love me!

Read it and weep…

I mean really, you will cry. Some with laughter and some with regret! I love it when a writer hits that perfect spot where hilarity meets the horrors of everyday life.

As a mother of two I’m going to let you in on a secret closely guarded by the parents of the world: having kids is overrated, and you don’t have to do it. No matter how many women (it’s always the women) accost you at dinner parties demanding to know why your uterus remains a […]

via By the Way, You Don’t Have to Breed — The Disco Pants Blog

Creating Consequence

It amazes me, how much time I spend making messes future me will need to clean up. My satisfaction with the clarity of thought I’ve been enjoying is tinged with worry that I do not have enough spit reserves for the cursing that might be required every time I hear 2016 in the coming years. I wonder what consequence I’m creating for myself this time?

I might not look like it, but there was a time I was quite the outdoors-girl. My father was a geology instructor at the local college and every fall for eight weeks he took a class of thirty college students camping. As each of his children grew, he would give us the option of accompanying him on different weeks. The favorite trip of most of his kids was the two week long haul that covered almost every national park in Utah including a boating weekend on Lake Powell and hiking rim to rim in The Grand Canyon of Arizona. It was the Super Bowl of camping trips, and year after year I managed to be incredibly busy in October.

Not long after I turned sixteen, my dad put his foot down. I was going and I would love it. I protested, I cried, I said I wouldn’t go. I was and still am deathly afraid of heights. My knees go weak, my legs shake, my stomach somersaults. He didn’t care. It would be good for me.

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The worst section of the North Kaibab Trail
The first day of the hike, we left a snowy North Rim and descended seven miles to Cottonwood Campground. I was surprised how pleasant I found the trail, excepting that bit pictured above. The scenery was like nothing I’d ever seen before. I was tired, but exhilarated.

The second day we hiked to Phantom Canyon, the official bottom of the Grand Canyon. On the way there we took two side trips, one to Ribbon Falls and one to a little swimming hole up a side canyon with no discernible trail except whatever rabbit scat dad pretended to see.

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Ribbon Falls. The little grotto is heaven on a hot day.

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Hiking in the inner gorge along Bright Angel Creek.
So after hiking another seven plus miles through some of the most fantastic rock formations I’d ever witnessed, here I sit in the Cantina at Phantom Ranch in the bottom of the Grand Canyon. It’s here that I have a painful realization.

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Phantom Ranch Cantina. Best Lemonade on the planet.
It’s all uphill for two entire days to get out of here. I’m already suffering with blisters, bug bites, sunburn, sore knees and mild dehydration. Everything I own is coated with a red dust that will never quite wash all the way off.  Ring-tailed cats will scavenge my food tonight, right out of my carefully strung up backpack, but luckily I won’t forget to shake out my boots in the morning, checking for scorpions and tarantulas. Don’t even get me started on the pink rattlesnakes.

Long before I ever visited Phantom Ranch, I knew it was ten miles of uphill from there to the South Rim. I just never really thought much about it. Even as I sat sipping my five dollar lemonade (and that was twenty years ago), I wasn’t worrying about it. I was still awestruck by joining a somewhat elite crowd of people. I’d witnessed natural beauty that no picture could do justice, come to a whole new appreciation for lemonade on a scorching day, how bad could ten miles of uphill really be?

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Bright Angel Trail. That middle part is called The Devil’s Corkscrew. It’s especially lovely.
When I look down at my feet this year, sigh at my slow but steady pace, I find myself wondering what I haven’t planned for. Often at night as I try to fall asleep, I picture the future, wonder how far away it is, wonder how badly I’m miscalculating. I try to figure exactly how much of it depends on choices that aren’t mine, and then run every possible scenario in my head. It’s serious business to me, recognizing the consequences when they hit.

Oh, the end of the story? I made it out. Then I went back and did it four more times, turns out it was really good practice for that ridiculous thing called adulthood.

 

Flights of Fancy

It was far more satisfying than I expected it to be.

I was nervous as I parked my car and walked to the door. I was a little early but someone was expecting me and the door was unlocked. Settling myself in a comfy oversize chair, I fiddled with my jacket. Should I take it off?

And so begins my nine week Creative Writing course, you bunch of perverts.

It’s a very small class, 6 students, all women, and one very talkative, surprisingly youthful teacher. He talked for almost two and a half hours straight. We did a couple of in class exercises, that I really struggled with and he gave us our first assignment.

Choose a favorite song, write a one page scene not using any of the lyrics. We’ll see if I can guess the song when we read them together next class.

My first thought, I’m definitely doing something by the Bee Gees. Not only because I love the Bee Gees but also because, my teacher was born in 1985. Yup, the year I was a junior in high school. I could be Hemingway in drag and he’d never be able to guess my song from a scene with zero lyrics. I briefly considered, Fat Bottomed Girls by Queen, I want your sex by George Michael and even Tom Sawyer by Rush, but one of the students is a ten year old girl. In a college writing course. This will be more challenging than I anticipated.

So, in accordance with the rules of fair play, I’ve chosen a song from not only his lifetime, but in a crazy moment of benevolence, a top 40 hit from 2016. The movie it accompanied was better than I thought it would be, but not a hit by any means.

 

My favorite song from last year?

 

 

I’m sure the reason I’m always turning the volume up when this song is played has something to do with the eerie combination of singing/speaking lyrics and that bass that vibrates the very seat cushions in my car. That’s the safe answer. Otherwise I might have to admit I couldn’t tear my eyes away from Margot Robbie’s Harley Quinn, every time she stepped on-screen. And if I admit that….

Well, let’s just say I’m sure.

For now.

 

Happy Valentines Day

For all of you who put up with my zig zagging blog, smiling kindly as I post about a gentleman’s delicate parts one day and prayer the next….A little Valentine for you.

 

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My newest published book is live on Amazon and FREE to download to your Kindle on Valentines Day. (click on FREE to go to the site) It’s the first book I wrote, but don’t let that deter you! I’ve been told by many that these are two of the best characters I’ve written. They are so well liked that from time to time people will actually ask me how Mitch and Carly are doing. I kid you not.

It’s a sweet little romance with lots of laughs. For those of you not interested in my steamier fare, this is the book for you.

If you love my little story, perhaps you’ll consider leaving a review.

If you don’t like it, maybe consider not leaving a review. 🙄🤐😈

 

 

Writing, Emotional Cheating?

Earlier this week, I was standing innocently in the lunchroom waiting for chaos to ensue when my boss stepped up and said hello. I’m always caught off guard, seeing him in that particular area and usually start the conversation looking like a deer caught in the headlights.

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Um, what was that?

This particular day, he asked me about my writing. I said it was going slow but I had my first actual book coming out soon and that was cool. He asked me what I write and I admitted it was just fiction, a love story. Every time I answer that question he follows it up with, Is it one of the racy ones? I shake my head, Not this one, I tell him. He kind of laughs, then launches into a bit about how he’d run out of stuff to read last week in the middle of the night and had resorted to the magazines lying around the house. He’d read through Time then found an article in Vogue magazine that asked the question, Is writing romance emotional cheating? He wondered what I thought about that.

I don’t know what I think about that.

He asked if the husbands of romance writers felt threatened by the brawny, thoughtful, rich men that filled the pages of their books and by association, the women’s minds.

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That got me thinking about that place in my mind I go to write. That world where my characters and 99% of my curiosity live. I know three men I’ve invited to see that world. None of whom have ever lived with me. Is that emotional cheating? It’s a place I share only with the like-minded, only with those who’ve shown an interest. No one who lives with me has any interest in that place or what goes on there. They want to know what there is to eat and why must they have a bedtime.

The few writers I talk to on a regular basis also live in their writing space alone, sharing with a select few, none of which are their significant other.

My boss’s question seemed more toward the ‘Are they upset because they can’t live up to the fantasy?’ He’s not read anything I’ve written so I’ll cut him some slack. My men are normal. Okay, except Mitch, he was famous. All the other men I’ve written are just men. They are construction workers, scientists, land developers, a pilot, a cowboy, the last great King Under the Mountain (okay, he was exceptional). In my imagination, men aren’t ultra rich or powerful, they’re super power is awareness. They notice stuff. They want simple things and have learned that the right woman makes it easy. She needs laughter, she needs to feel safe, she needs to be surprised and she needs someone who will show up when it isn’t convenient or desirable.

Perhaps we are filling a need within ourselves. I see how it could make some men uneasy.

Is it emotional cheating or simple cartography, mapping a pathway to a new reality?

 

 

Prayer

I’ve been thinking about prayer this weekend, for a couple of reasons. First, because as I was walking down an empty hallway at school last week I whispered a prayer. An honest to goodness, beginning to ending prayer, professed in the manner with which I was raised. And second, because I’m sick again this weekend. When I’m coming down with some kind of infection, my first clue is everything becomes impossible. Emotions swamp me and next thing I know I’m hiding in my bathroom crying my eyes out because everything I do is hopeless and I will never touch my dreams.

As some of you may have heard, I have a new book available on Amazon. I’ve spent the last several weeks trying to tweak a beautiful cover I purchased to satisfy Amazon. I still haven’t managed it. I’ve kept telling myself I’m not going to blog about it till I have it just so. Thus, partway through the week I found myself fighting tears of frustration while walking down an empty hallway and I tripped and fell headfirst into my childhood. The prayer was short and fervent, after which I straightened my big girl panties and got on with my job. That was that.

By Friday night I was a quivering soggy mess, hiding in my bathroom. Cursing myself for being so foolish as to even whisper the words, heartbroken with loneliness and swearing up and down that I am finished tutoring the sweetest kid on the planet because for the life of her she cannot stop sneezing, coughing and blowing her nose as we crouch over books together in 6X6 room. I mean, the poor kid has been sick since Christmas and my immune system is in full rebellion.

So, what does this have to do with prayer? praying-614374_1920

I’ve learned not to pray and it bothers me greatly that sometimes I slip up and beg for a miracle. I was raised saying personal prayers twice a day, family prayers twice a day, prayers at mealtimes (yes, all three), and was encouraged daily to pray for others, for their health, for their safety, for their blessings. I even knew a girl in high school who prayed before she bought a pair of shoes, unwilling to make even that simple choice without guidance. Just to be clear, back then at the height of my religious practice, I thought she was a nitwit.

What happened? Well, no one thing, that I know for sure.

Life wore me down, blessings were few and far between at a time I was working harder than I ever had to be worthy, and still the water was closing over my head. It was about this time that my mother was diagnosed with stage 4 ovarian cancer. I redoubled my prayerful efforts. I fasted, I donated more time to my church, I laid awake at night crying and praying. I honestly say, I have never offered myself in any more heartfelt manner.

It took a year or so before I realized I couldn’t continue in that manner and survive. A year after that, I finally realized that I was not making any difference, but I was making myself crazy.

I haven’t prayed since. No, not once, until earlier this week. Today as I laid in bed, willing myself to be better by Monday, I wondered, was it the impending illness, the stress of trying to get the paperback ready, the grind of my current personal situation…what brought me back to that childlike place where words we utter into the air, magically bring about miracles? Yes, no doubt the perfect storm of all of the above.

The reason I write about it here, is for my own clarity. I write it down here because I’ve never said out loud that if prayer couldn’t be bothered to save my mom, a woman who never missed a chance to pray, and I mean pray like there is no tomorrow for fifteen or twenty minutes while her children passed out from starvation around her…, what chance do I have, me with my wilful temperament, my carnal heart and selfish dreams.How dare I attempt to fool myself into thinking all is well, by whispering a few words to the sky? If the most devout can pray for years and fail, then what does prayer really mean? What good is a prayer uttered by the wicked and the woefully impious?

 

Hung

Note:  This is an old blog post written a year ago. Sadly, it is still quite relevant, haha. I’ve been kept from my usual blogging by a nagging book launch and a bout of influenza. Fear not! I’m on the mend and will be back to blogging in a day or so, but until then, a little something old.

Carly

 

So, I’ve been struggling to write.

I managed a short story at New Years.

I finished a long overdue edit on a novel.

I started a new story last fall that I love, but lately I’ve just struggled to put words down.

When I want to look productive so my kids will leave me alone, I sit at the computer, open my word document, pop in my headphones and lately, watched HBO’s Hung.

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Yup, you read that right. Yes, it’s about what you’re thinking.

Someday when I look back on my forties, it will be with a secret little smile. It’s when I finally stopped feeling bad/guilty about sex.

What? Oh, you want to hear more about Hung? Okay.

It’s about a forty-something high school teacher, former jock, crashed out of the big leagues due to injury, hits a rough patch in life and comes to believe the only thing he has going for him is his big dick. No, I haven’t seen it yet. I’ve watched enough episodes that I’m beginning to wonder if they’ll ever show me. I’m listening to one now, flipping between screens when something sounds too good to miss. The actor starring in it is that guy from The Punisher, the hardly watched Marvel movie. I find Thomas Jane a bit unassuming, or so I thought. His version of Frank Castle did show up briefly in an erotic short story of mine. Maybe my subconscious knows secrets about me.

Maybe I should write in my sleep.

How can it be so difficult to do something I find so pleasurable? I’m talking about writing now. Everything seems to be plotting against me. My job, my life, my extended family. I feel like the things I currently write, get me nowhere. I write notes about students I work with, I write stupid attempts at blogging, I write notes to my children’s teachers, I write my name on checks, I write letters to my father, in short, I write everything but what I love to write.  I love to write happy endings, happier encounters and witty conversation. How I love good conversation!

Perhaps that’s reminder enough to bring me back and sit me down in front of my page again tomorrow. Well, that and Ray with his big problem solving dick.