Intentions of the Earl, Just for Fun, Scandalous Sisters Series

Wicked Wednesday! Intentions of the Earl Style

[A NOTE OF CAUTION: Please skip today’s post if either A. we know each other in person, or B. kissing or other intimacies make you uncomfortable.]

A huge thanks to Sharon for suggesting I have a “Wicked Wednesday!” feature, so here it goes…

I have two excerpts, today. The first is a favorite of my husband’s, for obvious reasons. In fact, from time to time I’ll ask what his favorite scene in all of my books is and he ALWAYS says this one. When Darah read this book looking for scenes to post, she specifically mentioned this one, but said it might be a bit risqué and might be unsuitable. Immediately, the challenge bells in my head went off along with the words: Wanna bet? 

So, here it is, the infamous orangery scene!

Would you like to see the orangery?”

Yes,” Brooke said uneasily. They had barely walked down one row in the conservatory and he was already rushing her off somewhere else. How was she supposed to work her magic?

At the end of the row was a door. When they walked through it, they entered the orangery. “I hadn’t realized we were so close to the orangery,” she murmured.

Yes, they are connected, quite unusual really. The orangery was not always here. About five years ago Alex decided he would like to raise orange and citrus trees, but there was no space. His father wouldn’t allow a new building to be erected. Alex talked him into a compromise. The conservatory was to be split in half. A wall was put in to divide it. That way Alex could use one of the sides to grow his citrus trees.”

A bench was positioned on the opposite side of the orangery, and without a word, Brooke started to walk over to it. Her hand was still on Andrew’s forearm, forcing him to walk toward the bench along with her. “I should like to sit a few minutes,” she said when they arrived at the bench.

Andrew waited while Brooke took a seat on the bench first. When she was seated and rearranged her skirts around her, he sat down and left only a few short inches between them.

Brooke pretended not to notice how close they were already and swung her right leg, even if it were considered unladylike to do so, slowly brushing his calf with her bright blue skirts with each swing.

Andrew didn’t move away. He just looked at her. Then slowly, ever so slowly, he moved his leg closer to hers. He kept moving closer until with one of her swings, she made direct contact with his leg. Well, as direct as one can get through a massive amount of fabric fashioned into a skirt.

Her leg stilled. Heat radiated from his leg all the way through her skirt, petticoats, and stocking. It felt as hot as the iron Mrs. McNaught had used to steam the wrinkles out of their gowns back in Bath. For a moment, they both just looked at each other.

Andrew’s eyes changed. They were growing darker and more intense. Desire made them become a new shade of blue. A shade she had only seen once before, in the museum when they were alone in the empty room.

He leaned closer, so close that his face was less than two inches from hers. His eyes seared into hers and his lips were so close she could almost feel them.

Brooke’s mind barely registered what was going to happen. The realization he was about to kiss her made her snap out of her lusty trance. This was her chance. She had to be strong. She had to resist. If she didn’t, her plan would come to naught and she would be even more heartbroken than before.

With shaky legs, Brooke abruptly stood and moved a few feet away to an orange tree that had several ripe oranges hanging on it. “Do you…umm…think that uh…Alex would mind terribly if we…er…I were to eat one of his oranges?” she stammered.

Andrew was by her side before she even finished her question. One of his bare hands plucked down an orange while the other dug into his pocket. A few seconds later he pulled out a penknife. Wordlessly, he peeled the orange with his knife. In a minute, the rind was gone from the orange and he was breaking it into sections.

Brooke peeked at his eyes. The look was not gone. He still had the deep look of desire in his eyes. Brooke smiled to herself. It was working. He was going to find her, and only her, irresistible by the end of the day. She would make sure of it, even if it drove her crazy in the process.

Once Andrew had the orange completely separated, Brooke reached for one of the pieces. Andrew was quicker though and pulled them back. “It would be a pity for you to ruin your gloves by touching the orange,” he said, looking down at her gloves. “I think the better solution is to let me help you eat this. Come, let’s sit back down.”

They walked back to the bench they had both vacated in haste just a few moments before and regained their seats, sitting just as close as before.

Are you ready?” Andrew asked hoarsely.

Yes,” Brooke whispered. Reason told her to put him off a little longer, but her body was screaming something else entirely.

Andrew took one of the orange slices and gently ran it over her lips—just enough to let the juice from the wedge moisten her lips.

Brooke’s lips parted a little further and her tongue came out to lick up the juice the orange had left in its trail. Andrew swallowed visibly then shifted on the bench.

After running the orange around her mouth a second time, he slowly slipped it into her mouth.

The slice was a bit too large for one bite, and a little stream of juice came out around the corner of her mouth and dripped to her chin. Embarrassed she was making such a mess on her face while eating the orange, her hands flew up to wipe the juice from her chin. But Andrew was quicker. He grabbed her hands, bent closer to her, and whispered, “Allow me.”

Brooke relaxed her hands in his hold. His left hand came up and wiped the bit off her chin, then he brought his fingers to his mouth and sucked the juice off.

Brooke’s eyes widened. That was not what she had expected. She wasn’t sure what she had expected, but it wasn’t that.

All thoughts of holding him off vanished when he leaned a little closer. “It seems I missed a spot.” Then, within a blink of an eye, his lips were on the corner of her mouth.

He nipped the corner playfully before moving over to be dead center on the middle of her lips.

Brooke’s arms went around Andrew’s neck and her fingers sank into his hair. She twirled her fingers into his black curls, holding his head close to hers. His tongue ran along the seam of her lips. This was new to her, yet it felt so natural. Other men had just tried to shove their tongues inside, but this, this was much better. It felt so good, she gasped.

Andrew took advantage of her gasp and pushed his tongue past her lips. He ran his tongue along her perfect row of teeth before doing a full exploration of her mouth.

Brooke had never been one to only observe. Boldly, she slipped her tongue into his mouth and mirrored all his actions. She explored his mouth just as fully as he was exploring hers. She had never been so bold before. She enjoyed this kind of kissing with Andrew.

Brooke tightened her grip of his hair, and groaned, “Andrew.” It was the first time she’d called him by his name, and she hoped she hadn’t overstepped by doing so. But at present, she couldn’t care enough not to do it again.

Andrew said her name while running his fingers up to her soft brown hair. He grabbed one of the curls that were overflowing from her coiffure and wrapped it loosely around his finger before giving it a gentle tug then letting it go. Then he moved his hands, reached right into the back of her massive knot of hair, and caressed her scalp with his fingers.

Brooke had been aware that it was bad form not to wear a bonnet outside, and had thought to grab hers when Lady Olivia had donned hers, but Andrew had been in too much of a hurry. Now she was glad she hadn’t bothered. His fingers tenderly dug into her hair and massaged her scalp.

Suddenly there was a distinct clink, clink, clink. Breathing raggedly, both of them drew back and looked around the room to see if they had a visitor. 

~*~*~

The second excerpt is more of a quote that I never really gave a lot of thought to until it was bandied about all over the Internet two years ago as one of the most unbelievable or strange or bizarre or worst (or something like that) quotes to ever be written in a romance. Apparently there is a website dedicated to this sort of thing and my book was fortunate enough to be featured! How wonderful! Anyway, at first, I was mortified as I imagine most people would be that someone had gone through enough trouble to try to publicly humiliate me this way and my knee-jerk reaction was initially to remove it ASAP, but the more I thought about it, the funnier it seemed to me for some reason! I cannot explain why, it just is and every now and then my husband ask me to recite it for him, after which we immediately dissolve into laugher!

Setting the scene: Brooke and Andrew have just gotten married and they’re about to consummate their marriage.

The quote: “Her eyes were fixed on that part of Andrew that had just been revealed like it was a novelty in a curiosity shop. “

There you have your first Wicked Wednesday. I’m sure you all probably think I’m a total nut now if you didn’t already think so before!

I'm the victim of myself, Just for Fun, Randomness

A Day in the Life: You did WHAT?!?!?!

Well, in my corner of the world the school year is in full swing. I’ve mentioned before that my kids attend a smaller, rural church school, which I love–except when I don’t. I’m very fortunate that the school is small enough that my kids get plenty of individual attention and I get to go on all of the field trips I could ever want to; but there are drawbacks such as everybody knows more about everyone else than they ever thought they needed to.

For example if Billy’s parents have a fight on Tuesday night, you can bet by six o’clock Wednesday night, everyone including the teachers and their families, and all the other families who send students to school there will know not only that there was a fight, but a few extra details, too. Needless to say, Bob and I learned very early on (and thankfully not firsthand) that if we have an argument, it’s best to wait until the kids are asleep, then go hash it out elsewhere. That or use code words.

This is also true in trying to keep up ANY type of pretense. You can’t. “Oh, my mom didn’t really make those cookies. Our babysitter did.” Well, thanks, son! I’m so glad you announced that and now everyone knows I can’t cook/bake.

Last Friday was what had to be my tipping point and for me one of the most humiliating moments of my life.

Now, please bear in mind, I’ve attended the church this school is attached to for about 12 years now and have a spot on both the church and school boards and I write cough, cough classy romance novels. Okay, even if I don’t write totally pristine books, they’re not total smut. Not to mention, every Friday almost all four of the mothers who have kids in school there go out for breakfast and have tea and scones, one of my favorite things to do with others since I’m such a tea connoisseur and could eat scones and pizza every single day–but not at the same meal. So anyway, I try to keep up my image as a somewhat classy lady raising two perfect gentlemen for children…

Or I would be if my parents didn’t insist on giving my children absurd things like a boxed set of books titled Fart Powder that came with an added bonus of a certain type of cushion. Just sayin’.

But I do try to keep up a pretense that we’re a nice, decent family and send them to school in collared shirts each day.

So, last Friday, we were on our way out of town for my grandparent’s 60th wedding anniversary when Eddie, my second grader, sighs and makes a sad announcement.

“We don’t get to do show and tell at school for the rest of the quarter.”

“Oh, I’m sorry, why is that?” I ask as I set the cruise control to 70 mph.

“Because people keep interrupting me.”

“Does everyone get interrupted?”  Seriously, if I was in a room with a gaggle of kids doing show and tell where they all interrupt each other I’d have put a stop to it a long time ago.

“No, only me. I bring the best things!”

“You do?”

“Yes! A few weeks ago I brought my walkie talkies and everyone wanted me to leave the room with one and give the other to Henry while he stayed in the classroom so we could talk back and forth. Then last week, I brought Stinky and…”

Oh my lands, Stinky?! He brought Stinky?!  If you’re unfamiliar with who/what Stinky is,  he was the “Toy of the Year” a few years back. He’s a battery powered garbage truck that will “eat” a Hot Wheels car then make a commotion about how his stomach is upset and proceed to “poop” the car out the other end, complete with sound effects. Awesome gift from my father-in-law!

“Then today–”

My ears perk up. I cannot imagine what he brought that could top Stinky and whatever fuss he caused

“–it was really bad because I couldn’t hardly talk without being interrupted with questions and the kids getting out of their seats.”

“What did you bring?”

“My glow in the dark dog poop that MiMi gave me last weekend.”

I could have died.  Absolutely died as images of this sticky neon green glob made to look like a pile of dog feces popped into my mind along with all the uncouth things I know they might have done with it in the classroom–such as throw it on the window or ceiling where I know for a fact it DOES stick. Don’t ask, use your imagination of how I’d know.

I know, I know, to most, it’s not THAT big of a deal, but to me? The field trip driver and school board vice chairwoman who writes those high class novels? I was mortified.

On the plus side, I guess I can let down whatever pretense of being a lady I ever tried to erect because the cat is out of the bag. I ain’t no lady and my boys aren’t perfect gentlemen (still gentlemen though, just not perfect) and if anyone needs further proof of how “normal” my life and family is, they only need to come into my living room and look up on the ceiling… That, or ask my son to tell you how he managed to get show and tell shut down for the rest of the semester.

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and could at least snicker at my crawl-under-the-seat-and-die story.

I'm the victim of myself, Just for Fun, Randomness

A Day in the Life: A First for Everything!

A few weeks ago my mom came to town for a much-needed “girls day”.

In my excitement for this weekend, I didn’t ask too many questions–and for this lapse in judgement, I shall forever bear the following shame…

The month is October AKA Breast Cancer Awareness Month, something we take very seriously in this part of the state. So when my mom said she’d scheduled us to go do one of those paintings I love so much with part of the proceeds to go for Breast Cancer, I didn’t bat an eye.

I did, however, find it odd that where we were going was way, way, way far away from me. But that’s okay, I can do that. The whole while as we drove we chatted it up as if we didn’t have a care in the world.

When we arrived at the place, we found our seats and put on our aprons. Then spotted the food table. I wasn’t overly hungry, but I certainly could use a drink. Oh, and wow, when we got close the strawberries looked delicious! Oh, and look, there’s an eclair!

I know, I know, I’m on a strict diet and shouldn’t be eating anything between meals. But once in a while… Besides, I did limit myself: three strawberries, two cheeses and one two-bite eclair; and a bottle of water. With a plate and water in hand, we go back to the table to sit (and eat) and wait for the class to start.

Then it did.

The artist got up there and asked her usual questions about how many had painted there before and how many it was the first time, blah, blah. Then, she continued on, thanking everyone for coming out to support [Beep] in her fight against cancer.

And at that moment, my entire world was knocked off kilter. “Huh?” I mouthed to my wide-eyed mom.

Oblivious to our own sudden discomfort, the lady continued thanking everyone for coming and how it was good for [Beep] to do something fun with all of those who know and love and support her and raise the money she needs for her treatments.

It was at this point I seriously thought my eyes were going to pop out of my head. This wasn’t a general fundraiser for Breast Cancer, it was for a specific person who had it!

It only went from bad to worse, when the guest of honor thanked everyone for coming, told us how much she loved us and we were her friends and invited everyone to eat of the food that had been catered in for her special event today…

Strangely, those strawberries I’d just eaten tasted bitter in my mouth as the full reality had just sank in: I’d crashed a party!

I’d shown up to a private painting party that was to raise money for a specific person, had just been thanked and told I was loved and cherished AND had helped myself to their food and water! Good gracious, I wanted to leave sooo bad. But my mother wouldn’t let me!

Just as we’d given our brushes that final stroke at the end and signed our initials, I insisted it was time to go. The wet paint would dry in the car. There was NO way I wanted my picture taken as part of the group portrait at the end. My mom claims our hasty exit was the most awkward part of the whole ordeal. I disagree. For me, it was far worse during the intermission part when the guest of honor walked around and was hugging everyone, thanking them personally for coming. She looked at us, stood frozen looking at us for a second (and believe me that second felt like forever as I wondered if she was going to give me an awkward hug), then walked on to greet someone she knew.

In all sincerity, I feel very, very bad for crashing this lady’s party! However, on a positive note, I’m sure I’ll use it somewhere in a future book. At least now I know how it feels to show up at the wrong place and stay solely for the purpose of you’d draw more attention to yourself if you left!

Just for Fun

Birthdays…

My youngest son and I are polar opposites. I hate attention, he loves it. It’s only as of late (as in the past two years) that I’d ever consider acting silly in front of others–see the T-Rex story for a month ago. My youngest though loves it and I think he gets it from my mom.

I, on the other hand, hate it so much that one thing I absolutely abhorred and dreaded growing up was going to a restaurant on my birthday.

I know, I know, some people totally love this. I did not. I always wanted to crawl under the table when the entire waitstaff would come by and start singing and clapping, all in the name of delighting my mom who had a camera in front of her face to document this glorious occasion and for me to get a (usually) free dessert.

One of the most memorable times that this happened was for my 13th birthday, my parents took me to McGrath’s Fish House, though I absolutely hated fish. Why did they take me there? Oh, because the birthday boy or girl, man or woman, got to wear something extra special on their head: a giant stuffed fish hat. And for as much as I gritted my teeth and ducked, that damn hat found its way on my head, then they sang and took a polaroid picture that they promptly tacked up on the cork board that lined the entry way to the restaurant.

Now, how is that for love: we go to a restaurant I hate and I’m made to wear a fish hat all for the entertainment of my parents–and it’s not my tainted memory, I will forever remember their cackles and giggles during the whole ordeal.

Fortunately, that’s been more than 14 years ago now, and I am just now to a place where I can talk about it without grinding my back teeth to powder. It has taken A LOT of therapy to get this far. However, I do believe the last hurdle (at least according to the shrink I’ve been seeing about this my entire life) might be to pull a Liberty.

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to be with my mom on her birthday this year, but I can do something special on here!

So, mom, as you might be expecting by now, I plan to post a picture. I spent more than an hour searching through all of my pictures of you and had several very promising choices–50s attire hula-hooping at my birthday,  sponge curlers, tree-hugging (or rather shrug hugging in Salt Lake City), leg modeling in Baton Rouge, and so many others.

But alas, I couldn’t decide on just ONE pictures, so I have to post a few–starting with naughty statue you forced me to buy and place next to my front door:

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And then of course, there is the tin poster I saw in Galveston that YOU inspired:

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Fortunately, that’s not all you inspired, but a fun magnet, too:

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But alas, there is one–or, rather two–other things I know you influenced, because you take every opportunity to inform me that it’s only nine months from your birthday to mine…

Two things

 

 

Mom, I hope you have a wonderful day! Sorry I couldn’t be there, but I’ll try to call when I can!

And to anyone else out there who still has children at home, keep this in mind. Beware of how you chose to embarrass them today, for they could use the Internet to get even in the future! (Which, just in case anyone is totally offended by this post and appalled, you should know I wouldn’t have posted it if I thought it would upset my mom.)

Covers, Just for Fun, My own craziness

FLASH POLL: Is it time for a cover makeover?

As most of you know, I now have four different series out and three of the four have matching covers with text in the same places and a bar or something to “tie them together”. My original series does not.

I’m *thinking* (and fortunately I didn’t hurt myself too badly during such a strenuous process) that maybe I need to change the first three covers to look more like they belong together to a series. Some people do this with their books, others don’t, but I need some input.

Here are the covers as they are and below is a poll. If you have a few minutes, I’d appreciate it if you’d vote for your opinion.

 

 

Intentions of the Earl

Liberty for Paul

To Win His Wayward Wife

 

 

So what do you think? Should I leave them (it has been 2.5 years so it’s not like I’m trying to present these as new books), keep the picture but change the lettering/positioning or have them completely re-done.

 

I'm the victim of myself, Just for Fun, My own craziness, Randomness, Uncategorized

Anyone hearing a T-Rex calling???

Yesterday I took my kids to an amusement park in Oklahoma City called Frontier City. This park is decorated with an “Oklahoma” theme through and through. Some dates back to the “old days” of adventure–such as a reference to a “hold up” at the end of a ride called Silver Bullet or the decoration theme throughout where it looks like an old west town (even some of the restaurants are named to support this theme). Then there’s the ride appropriately named “Tornado” to celebrate what we’re known for. And it doesn’t end there. There is also the “cowboy” theme that goes on with rides like: Dodge ‘Em (bumper cars), Rodeo Round-Up and Steel Lasso. Truly, it’s a fun place to go.

One other thing that makes it so fun to go is the staff members. I blogged a few months about about Silver Dollar City just outside of Branson and mentioned how the staff are dressed in costumes, some of which are costumes that reflect themes for the rides they’re operating. At Frontier City, you get a little of that, but not as much. The ride operators are dressed in a uniform shirt and nice shorts or slacks. But every once in a while you’ll see an old west “Cowboy” walking around, such as I did when we first walked into the park.

Now, to back up a bit I don’t live that close to OKC, it’s a bit of a drive. But yesterday was the last weekday it’d be open until next year so it was my final chance to take my boys (I don’t do weekends as those are usually busy days). So not wanting to waste one precious moment, I got them up and out the door, only to arrive 45 minutes before the park opened! This was my fault as I misread the hours on their site. Anyway, we waited for a while, then they let us in, but only into the very front of the park. To keep us all from wandering around, there was a thick rope blocking off the main walkway.

Naturally, my son picked THAT moment to inform me he had to go to the bathroom. Always a mom-of-the-year candidate, I start looking for one only to deduce there isn’t one on my side of the rope. Of course. With a silent prayer my son could hold it (this is the child who denies he has to go until it’s nearly too late), I dig into my pocket to remove my phone and check the time.

Just as I look up, this handsome fellow dressed as a rugged 1800s cowboy walks up and asks my kids if they’re here to have fun.

“Yes!”

He grins. “Where are you guys from?”

I rattle off the name of my no-name town, then further explain its proximity to a larger city that I’m fairly certain he’s heard of.

He nods. “Oh, I graduated high school not far from there. Say, would you boys like to be famous?”

“No,” Eddie says meekly, hiding behind the pillar.

“What abut you?” the cowboy asks my youngest.

With a jump and a grin, Henry excitedly says, “Yeah!”

“Great! Come with me! You guys will be part of our Morning Show.”

With a shrug and what I hope to be an encouraging smile to my oldest, I give them a little nudge forward.

“Oh, you, too, Mom,” the guy said. “Say what’s your last name?”

“Gordon,” I choked as instantly my mind filled with TONS of uncomfortable possibilities of what might be in store for this “Morning Show”. None of which sounded very exciting for me, but hey, they’re little boys and the day was about having fun with them so I force myself to walk forward.

“Great. You guys wait there a minute then I’ll bring you all out in front. You boys will have fun, I promise and we’ll embarrass your mom.”

Grand. Just grand. Hey, I write romance novels that even people at my church read, I can’t embarrass that easily, can I?

Yeah, I now know that I can.

So this fellow goes up and starts off with telling everyone that he’s the sherif of this city, but the mayor has run off and a new one is needed! Quick! So in good ‘ole Frontier City fashion, it’s time to vote. Right now, on the spot. Then he gestures for the three of us to go join him up front so he can explain the voting procedures. Apparently there’s some law saying “He who had the best pig squeal is mayor”. However, in Oklahoma the only place most people like pigs is on their plate, so…his way of deciding on a new mayor was to have the three candidates (me and my children) do a T-Rex calling.

He then goes onto demonstrate the proper form and technique to such a thing:

First one must jump forward into a squat with bent knees, elbows pulled back and hands perched forward because T-Rexes have small arms. Then you bare your teeth, move your head around and squeal!

Once he was done with his demonstration. He looked at the three of us and said, “Mom, you’re first.”

Between trying not to laugh at the absurdity of it all and die from mortification. I jumped forward with my elbows back and half-squealed, half-giggled as the crowed chuckled, howled and giggled at my awful attempt.

Henry went next. Animated child that he is, he put his entire heart into the ridiculous act before looking to his brother to do his part. Though Eddie doesn’t like being up in public nor to be made to act silly, he surprised me by not cowering behind me and giving it a try.

But the torture didn’t end there, it was then time to vote by applause.

Like you see on shows where the host holds his hand over one of the contestant’s heads and the crowd votes. That’s what we did. I, of course, was out after the first round (not unsurprising at all), and after a few hand movements, my youngest Henry was awarded the position of Honorary Mayor of Frontier City for the day and I got asked by more than one park patron to call a T-Rex again.

Truly, I am a magnet for the crazy and sometimes embarrassing, however, I live by the theory that it’s things like this that keep you young and help build the memories (oh, and that make great content for books should I ever write a contemporary).

Just for Fun, My own craziness, Randomness

Mother’s Day treats–A few pall mall pictures included!

Here in the US, last Sunday was Mother’s Day and with such a high profile holiday comes lots of attention, and well, gifts.

This year, I got quite a variety…

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From my oldest son…
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From my youngest, a gift that’s just as prickly as his mama… (I do believe he had a little “direction” from his father on this one.)

The day’s activities consisted of me reading a knock-out book while my husband cooked brunch. Then we went on a hike, ordered unusual shakes from Sonic Drive-In then while I went back to my book, Bob set up a pall mall course in our backyard.

(Before anyone asks, there is NO pink mallet.Supposedly, when I bought the set, I got the set of six, not eight, so there is no pink mallet. However, it was the first thing I mentioned too as we walked outside and before I could even finish my sentence, Bob informed me, there was no pink mallet. Now, whether this is all true and I did in fact buy the smaller set or I did have the set with the pink and purple and he discarded them, we’ll never know as all tags and pictures were gone from the bag the set came in…)

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Bob got the red, it was the closest thing to pink we had…
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Notice you don’t see a green ball in the picture? That’s because I’m waaaay ahead. I had two really good shots right off. This lead did not last long, however. Second, notice how my children’s clothing does not match? Yeah, they get their sense of style from their mama!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend. Once again, I’m just as ordinary as anyone!

Just for Fun, My own craziness

Writers are ordinary people after all–believe me.

I’m sure this week for those who attended, they’re talking about all the wonderful things about RT and what all they got to do. Well…today, I have three stories that happened to me while I was there (or shortly after I came home) that will make you shake your head and wonder why life is so unfair that I get all the weirdness and you don’t.

As a disclaimer, this has nothing to do with RT itself, just being there and on a trip.

A few months ago we moved into a house that had room for me to have an office. It’s wonderful. I no longer have to type at the kitchen table or on the bed. Unfortunately, with the market conditions around here, we can’t sell our house. So we’ve decided to make it into a rental. It was our first house and to two people at 19 and 20 it seemed like a castle when we bought it. A 950-square foot, dirt brown and slightly shaggy carpeted, green, orange, eggshell painted mixed with paneling, castle. Now, of course every castle has its flaws. About two months before we decided to look for a new house, I was sitting down to my desk to write, moved my foot and immediately felt my sock grow wet. Upon further inspection, the carpet was saturated. My first instinct was that we had a plumbing leak, but just to make sure it wasn’t that one of the kids spilled water, I just soaked up the water as best I could with old towels and interrogated them…

Turns out it WAS a slab leak. One that they couldn’t even work on until we were out. But a slab leak wasn’t the only thing that was wrong with the house. No, they had to redo a good portion of pipes, faucets, and other things I don’t really understand. Well, while we have people in the house doing repairs (repairs that would have to be done whether renting or selling), I suggested we hire an electrician. One thing is for certain when two “kids” go shopping for a house, they have no idea what the heck they’re looking for. It wasn’t until after we’d moved in and I went to use the hair dryer that I realized there was NO electrical outlet in the bathroom. Who looks for this sort of thing before buying? It’s a room and the house was built a few decades ago, not a century ago. Electricity comes standard, doesn’t it. Apparently not in the bathroom. So for more than six and a half years we’d have to run an extension cord from the bedroom to the bathroom to use a razor, hair dryer, curling iron, etc. So why not, let’s put an outlet in here for whoever moves in next.

It’s funny how such a simple thing turns into something so complex.

The electrician came over on the Sunday before I left for Kansas City and was supposed to be done that day so imagine my surprise when I get a call Tuesday night as I’m having dinner with a friend I hadn’t seen since last year at RT and the voice on the other end of the phone says, “Good news, the electrician will be done tomorrow. Your house almost burned down, but it was contained in the attic so you can’t see anything and everything is okay now. I gotta go, bye.”

Huh?!?!

As it turns out, the people who lived there before us had made a few repairs themselves. In the attic, they’d run all the ceiling fans off a series of extension chords that plugged into the same outlet. The exterior lights were added after the house was built and were wired with speaker wire… Most of the light fixtures had wires that weren’t covered and were just “taped” together. Around this heating element we had in the bathroom, all the insulation in the attic was charred where it had apparently caught on fire once or twice and put itself out on the insulation. The ceiling fan in the living room wasn’t even mounted correctly. Anyway, it was counted that there were at least 5 major fire hazards and the electrician was thoroughly surprised the house hadn’t burned down. What a blessing! It wasn’t a cheap repair, but it was a necessary one as so many old wires were replaces and fixed and up to code. We used to burn through light bulbs constantly. Now, I know why.

(The next two stories are more perky, I promise.)

Well, actually, I can’t promise that. This next one isn’t as scary as the last one, but it’s not rainbows and lollipops, either.

At 7am on Friday,  I got a text from my husband that read:

“I’ll go ahead and tell you now, Rhett (our dog) puked on your pillow this morning at 4am.”

Um excuse me what? How is that for a morning greeting?

I’ll be honest, I do not like the dog sleeping in our bed. In fact, when I’m at home, I don’t allow it. My husband, however, loves it so I wasn’t exactly surprised to learn the dog had been in the bed, but to have vomited on MY pillow. That goes too far. I once again, had to get on the phone, and get more details. Details I could have lived without, so I’ll spare you. Instead of ending the call with I love yous, it ended with me saying, “That pillow had better not be there when I get back” and his reply of, “Oh, you can’t even tell where it happened…”

Third less than flattering story is probably the most humorous, but it didn’t really happen there so much, more of when I got back.

I’m a procrastinator. I waited until the day before to pack and load my car. One of my essentials is: Megapurse. If you’ve ever heard me talk about Megapurse she’s more than just a purse, she’s like my right-hand woman. This purse is gigantic and can hold a few notebooks, my laptop, pens, loose papers, books and all sorts of other things and still close. She’s great. Bob calls it my mobile office. Anyway, I take Megapurse on all trips. Recently I took her with us to Houston and Galveston for my brother-in-law’s wedding reception. Another object that often travels with us is EneMan.

For anyone who hasn’t subjected themselves to my craziness for very long, I’ll scandalize you now when I say that EneMan is a stuffed, plush enema. Basically a stuffed animal, in the shape of an enema… It’s green, has an orange tip, and wears a cape that says EneMan. My husband worked for more than half a decade in colorectal surgery and was given this by a Fleet representative. Of course, it’s not exactly something you want your kids snuggling up with at night, so Bob decided to hang it from the rearview mirror in my car. Thus, it began traveling with us. As a joke, we started putting him in our family pictures (while on trips, not professional/Christmas photos, although…). Anyway, as the years have passed, he’s just become part of the travels.

And apparently he traveled with me to Kansas City. As a disclaimer, I didn’t even realize he was there, he purse is THAT big.

So I took him out and left him in the room as I carted Megapurse around the conference. I surely didn’t want that thing to be found. Then, it came time to leave. Though I didn’t think I’d acquired a lot of stuff and I did think I’d given tons of stuff away, I was wrong. I had tons of things to cram into my suitcase and boxes. It wasn’t until I got home and began unpacking that I realized I didn’t see EneMan…

Laugh all you want, but panic started to build as I tore through my suitcase and Megapurse, then to my swag boxes and he was nowhere to be found. How on earth would I explain to my husband and kids that I’d lost EneMan? By Wednesday, I was defeated. I’d searched high and low. He wasn’t in the car, he wasn’t in with my clothes, he wasn’t with my swag or the books I’d brought back. He was nowhere and I knew what I had to do: call the hotel.

Now, this isn’t an easy call to make in my opinion. How exactly do you word this, “Pardon me, sir, did one of the maids turn in a stuffed animal in the shape of an enema?” or “Has a fellow who goes by the name of EneMan been spotted around your hotel?”

Seriously, what kind of response am I going to get from the chap on the other end of the line? Is he going to laugh, be aghast, actually page the maids to ask if they’d seen a plush toy in the shape of an enema, hang up on me?

I pondered how to handle this for like two hours. I know, I know, I’m a mom so I’ve had my lady parts on display for the world as my son was born and I’ve had all sorts of bodily fluids on me at some point, I write romance books with intimate scenes and I even rode home with a tape measure with the words: Pecker Checker etched into the side. But, I just couldn’t swallow enough pride to call and ask the man at the front desk. But neither could I disappoint my boys (all three of them) who I hadn’t told yet.

I was in desperate need of some chocolate.

I’d brought a bag of assorted chocolate with me to RT (which no one except me and my roommate ate…), so I walked over to the bag where I’d put it and+ lo and behold as soon as I lifted the bag of candy out, what was looking back at me (and dared to be grinning) but that blasted stuffed enema!

I tell people all the time, I might write books, but I’m still an ordinary person. My house isn’t perfect, my dog vomits on my pillow and like most parents, I’d force myself to call a hotel to retrieve a lost toy–even if I’m the one who lost it–no matter how embarrassing it is to explain!

Well, on that note, I have a couple out in the middle of Indian Territory who are in need of some romance, so I’ll be off! Have a great Friday!

 

Happenings, I'm the victim of myself, Just for Fun, My own craziness, Randomness

Live Chat Tonight 8 EST/7 CST

Just a reminder that tonight I’m doing a Live Chat (which makes me super nervous, by the way).

Details are below. There is NO limit to how many can join in, so come on out!

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WHEN: Tonight May 9, 2013

WHERE: On my website. Follow this link or click the graphic above.

WHY: Just because! There is no predetermined topic, so bring your questions, thoughts, or just come to lurk.

TIME:  Starts at 8 pm EST  and will go to 9 pm EST.

This is a come-and-go event, you do not have to be there at the beginning and stay to the end. Drop in whenever you’d like and stay as long as you’d like.

Looking forward to seeing you there!

Happenings, Just for Fun, My own craziness, Randomness

I’m baaaaack!

Just in time for lunch, I pulled into my driveway yesterday after spending almost a week in Kansas City where I was scandalized, scandalized others, was insulted to my face (again!), was flattered beyond belief, thought I was going to die of heat, shivered in the cold as the snow fell on the second day of May, hauled 50 books across a giant hotel, was nearly crushed with elevator doors, greeted readers while wearing a Regency style dress, had a near wardrobe malfunction, ate a few bites of fake haggis and burned my nose sniffing some real Scottish whisky. Altogether I had a ball and have a few pictures to show and dozens of stories.

Here are a few pictures and quick stories.

On Thursday, I donned a Regency costume and signed books for a few hours. Last year when I did this, I swear not a single person knew who I was. This year, however, I think at least six came up and knew my name/books! Two of my favorites was this lady who startled me when she literally jumped right in front of my table, and asked me to sign a copy of each of the books I was selling (and the copies she’d picked up in the book room), then went on about how she’d been so excited to see my name on the list of attending authors. Grinning like an idiot after she left, I was caught totally off guard when someone else walked up out of nowhere, pointed at me, and said, “Liberty!” I was so shocked all I could do was stare at her for a few seconds (like a total idiot), then I did it…the “Alex Banks blink”. Yes, I blinked at this poor woman, then stumbled over my words as I confessed that yes, I am the unusual soul who wrote that very unique character. She went on to talk about how much she liked Liberty (at this point you could have knocked me over with a feather), then spoke about the others in the trilogy: Brooke and Madison.

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While at the signing, I got to meet Ruth Ann Nordin, a good friend I made nearly two years ago. (We actually met for the first time the day before, but mindless me, I neglected to snap a photo the day before.)

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As I mentioned, while we were there, it snowed…

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While the snow was coming down, it actually looked like a blizzard. Ironically, just two days earlier when I’d arrived, it was SO hot in my hotel room (even with the air conditioner set at 58) that I thought I was in a slow cooker. Strangely enough, and this falls under the umbrella of TMI, the weather and temperature kept changing so drastically even just between rooms–one workshop was warm, the next cool, the book signing was hotter than hades, the ballroom left me feeling like the tops of my partially exposed bosoms had become chilled melons, and all the while this hot-cold phenomenon left me with crustaceans CONSTANTLY in my nose. You know the ones that you can feel that they’re hard and pointy and you fear it’ll hurt when it comes time to use the tissue.

Anyway…

Here are some other photos I snapped, some of which might actually make my previous statement not seem so bad.

Here’s the real haggis:

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The “fake” haggis:

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Scandalous behavior… (consider this your warning)

Along the sides of the hallways are tables covered with promo items: bookmarks, pens, stress balls, emory boards, bottle openers, etc. While combing through the items on one table, I found a little green square that I immediately recognized as a tape measure. I’m ALWAYS measuring things, namely sizes of boxes that I’ll ship to different places. Anyway, I snapped it right up and handed one to a friend of mine (I’ll be nice and not name her, though she does read this blog…). A few minutes later, we went into a conference room and while we were waiting for the next workshop to start, she asks if I read what was on the tape measurer and before I could reply, she turned hers toward me…

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After the two of us dissolved into a fit of giggles, my friend managed to give hers off to yet another person who follows this blog and I decided to keep mine. Hey, it’s still a tape measurer and it’s still useful. I did whisper a dozen prayers on my drive home that I wouldn’t get into an accident and have to rely on a paramedic to search my purse in an attempt to learn my identity and stumble upon that. It kind of falls in line with always wear clean underwear lest you get into an accident.

Now, for as scandalous as it was for ME to tote this about and show it to anyone who I knew I’d get a rise out of for showing them (no pun intended), I, too, was scandalized when I was at dinner in a fancy restaurant with two bloggers who enjoy wholesome books (who I’d just showed the previous to) when one of them whips out the following:

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If you don’t know what that is, here’s a picture of the back:

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While this would not be an ideal way for me to promote my name/books, it works for these authors and what they write, so in my opinion I think they did a great job of marketing with an item that is certainly catchy and memorable.

The last picture is probably only comical to me, but I just thought I’d share. Sometimes for different games played the prizes are feather boas. There are also escalators that connect the floors…

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