Thursday, December 31, 2015

Happy New Year's ... Resolutions

I do, do you?

New Year's resolutions are my siren song, my candy at the end of the year, my guilty pleasure. Anything that promises a new beginning whether a new year, a nano novel, a new job are all exciting. The chance to look at the past and decide what's worked, what hasn't and what you want to attempt going forward; these are the things that make my heart beat faster.

I'm not one of those 'lose 20 pounds' or 'eat healthy only' kind of resolutioners. It's not about lying to myself. I know I won't cut sweets out of my diet because cake is awesome and eating cake is the best. An occasional margarita fueled night makes me extremely happy. And I like a burger and the fries that come with it.

This year my resolutions are smaller in scale but very exciting to me. And there's only two.

My first is to turn my bedroom into a color filled haven of creativity. I want a room that makes me feel like I'm in a place where imagination is limitless. I know it's just a room and one can be creative in a hovel or a mud shack but there's something about having a space that is yours alone, unshared and made just to please you. And since I live in someone else's house and have no say about how furniture is arranged or what's put on the coffee table: I need my space.

I bought the furniture paint today.

Resolution number two is to rewrite my nano novel.

That's it.

I have other goals for the year, mostly involving my finances and getting them in a more manageable state as well as improving my cooking skills and getting my car taken of and such.... but those aren't resolutions.

I'd love to know if anyone else out there also does the resolution thing.

And more than anything:


Here's hoping that 2016 leaves more laughter than tears, more happiness than sadness and more dreams fulfilled.

Mazel tov.

Friday, December 25, 2015

And from us too.   :-)

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Twas the Night

Twas the night before Christmas
and all through the blog
the ladies were giggling
tipsy on egg nog.

"Dig this cover," said Red
"with a hunk I'd kill to bed."
"Oh my," Lea sighed
"I'd like him buried tween my thighs."

Aztec shook her head
her mind on serious things
such as the rules and the rights
and the chance Trump might be kinged.

In Aloha garb, Lori did plan
a traditional feast of turkey and ham
and poi and and the fruits
of this tropical land.

The Kindles were charging
on the mantle with care
in the hopes that the wifi
would be clear in the air.

There were books to be read
and books to be writ
and plans for trilogies
and standalone titles which are really my preference because I'm tired of reading series.

Grace Draven, Lisa Kleypas
even Eloisa James
are some of the authors
we're hoping to name
for many more books
for many more years
that we can all enjoy
and we can all share
and we'll keep this blog
lit up through the night
so we can talk about books
and hot men who are a sight
and things that matter
both far and quite near
because being with all of you
fills us with cheer
so from two old farts
who talk romance
Happy Holidays to all
and to alla Bonne Chance.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Hey From the Other Side

Happiest of holidays!!!!

I'm slipping in and writing this from work since I've lost my computer to a Windows 10 virus that destroyed it completely. I'm trying to spin this as a positive as a way to cure my internet addiction... ha!

However, I'm raising a cyber glass of champagne and toasting anyone reading this. Here's hoping for a happy, sassy, successful 2016.

To those we've laughed with, here's a toast for more laughter.

To those we've cried with, a toast for comfort.

To those we've shared screams in the cold, dark night: may our voices be heard.

Carolyn and I are hoping to update ye olde blog in 2016 and get back to more blogging and reviews.

Happy holidays friends.

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Life is So Weird

So, my eldest son had a heart attack.

I feel like I'm living in a mind bubble, where my kids are always young and relatively safe from life. Certainly my eldest shouldn't be 46 years old and having heart attacks.

It's bad enough when a life is on the line, but we had to do some digging to find out absolutely nothing. No information. None. You see, my eldest son is in prison and $25,000 dollars later, we have been unable to get him an appeal hearing. Of course, since I'm his mama, I think he's innocent, but just looking at the facts, I know he's innocent and has been railroaded.

If one of his cellmates hadn't called us, we would still know nothing. Not one official has contacted us, despite my husband calling the prison system. I suppose they don't think a 46 year old man's parents need to be advised of everything that happens to him, but I beg to differ.

He had two stents put in and now I'm worrying about his followup care. What kind of followup care will he get in prison?

I apologize for dumping my personal life like this. It's something I don't usually do, but I needed to vent. Thank you for listening.

When the fuck did life get so crazy? When the fuck did I get so old?

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Done Did It

For the second time ever: I completed nano. Thank you Lea so much for your constant encouragement and the fun.

November turned out to be one of the hardest months ever for my family. My SIL ended up in the hospital for three weeks because the chemo killed her white blood count so she couldn't fight infection, she got e-coli growing in her blood and she was running a fever. Plus something was going on with her liver.

She's home now and still has to do more chemo. So we've all been miserable. I've been a cleaning, cooking, laundering maniac and if it wasn't for nano I probably would have fallen apart. But having the word count to focus on and letting my story grow organically has been an amazing journey for me.

I have a very very rough first draft that has maybe less than half of it usable but the story grew, the characters changed and I love what I have to work with now.

And I finished nano. Life is nothing if not a roller coaster.

Monday, November 30, 2015

More Prejudice?

I don't read many literary books (make that none, I think ...), but this piece made sense.

Bad, bad critics

Thursday, November 19, 2015

It's All About Me

You ever have one of those people in your life that no matter what you say, she tops it? The 'I lost three pounds' and she says, 'that's great, I lost 100 pounds.'

I work with her. I said, "My SIL went into the hospital this weekend" and she said "My aunt died this weekend".

So today...

Our other coworker was saying that she's nervous because her mother is coming to visit and "we have a difficult relationship."

Topper girl says, "Well, my mother is dead."

Um... what? She's been dead over 20 years. So what? So I said, "Yeah, so is my mother. And we had a hard time too for many years. So what's the general problem with you and your Mom?"

And we got back to the conversation on hand.

Still... to respond with a 'my mother is dead' was both the funniest and most pathetic thing I ever heard.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Day Twelve

I have 4 writing buddies on nano and three have much better word counts than I do. Part of me is jealous but then, I've written over 20,000 words on this story so far and that's more than I've written in all the last year. So my jealousy won't define me.

SIL should finally be coming home tomorrow. She had a liver biopsy and it doesn't look like the cancer spread. They've cancelled any further chemo (thank you Lord!) so maybe she can come home and start healing.

Work has been interesting but I'm keeping it from getting important to me. I love the work I do, enjoy most of my job and most of my co-workers and the rest of it I don't have to hold onto. So it's good.

And the writing... is awesome. I wrote two pieces today that mean I'll have quite a lot of rewriting later because it changed the nature of earlier conversations. But that's okay.

It's interesting to write about religion when one isn't that well versed in it. I'm learning a lot about Judaism and Christianity and I find it fascinating. In my next life I want to be a Rabbi.

Another excerpt:

"Can you have good without evil?"
Rhonda Stein looked up from her desk, surprise on her face. It was rare that the Reb interrupted her when she was working at her computer; he was like the specter of the synagogue, seen and rarely heard. Never had he asked her a question of religious importance.
"I think maybe Mother Teresa was an example of good without evil," Rhonda said thoughtfully, "but then again, we don't know if she was pulling the wings off flies in her spare time."
"Why don't Jews believe in the devil?"
"Some do." Rhonda leaned forward onto her elbows and peered over the rim of her computer glasses at the Reb. "Of course there are those who are into the Kabbalah so they have the mysticism teachings But there are those that believe in the devil as Ha-, the challenger."
"To make the choice to sin a serious one."
"Yes. Which really stinks if you think about it. That God has an angel on his staff whose job it is to tempt them into bad choices. Temptation isn't a problem if it isn't on the table, you know?"
He smiled and Rhonda thought how nice it is to see the Reb alive. He'd been so emotionally deadened since Rose passed.
"And you? Do you believe in the devil?"
"That's a brilliant question Reb. I'm not always convinced that God exists so imagining the devil is even trickier."
"So you don't?"
"No, I don't." She sat back and looked at him, his sleeve cuff was fraying slightly, his glasses were smudged. He was a man who needed a wife and didn't even know how lost he was without one.
"My husband wanted me to convert to Christianity," Rhonda said. "I know, I should have married a nice Jewish boy. I heard it from my parents plenty. But the heart wants what it wants. And my heart wanted Paul. Still does, even after eighteen years of marriage."
The Reb sat at the folding chair next to the desk. "I didn't even know you were married to a goyim."
She shrugged. "It stopped being a big deal since we didn't choose to have children. Without worry of how the kids will be raised, there was no reason to care about religious differences. Anyway, he stopped asking me to convert when I started asking him to. The problem was that Judaism is just more appealing if you break it down. We believe in personal responsibility. We believe in social responsibility. We like learning and logic. And we don't have a convenient 'the devil made me do it' in our religion. You make a bad choice and it's on you. You want absolution? Get your ass into gear and earn it yourself. Pardon my French."
"I believe the French is derriere."
She grinned but he seemed to be a million miles away.
"Why the questions Reb? Has the devil been knocking on your door?"
He started, a quick intake of breath and sudden flush to his cheeks. 'What the hell is going on with the Rabbi?' Rhonda suddenly wondered.
"I've been wondering," he said finally, "about the goodness in bad people. Or the rightness in wrong choices. If we believe in haSatan then we believe that goodness can be swayed and in essence, that God is sending a challenger, perhaps even should be swayed. God encourages evil, He wants us to make the choices that go against His teaching."
"That's an interpretation," Rhonda answered, "but in that would it be that He wants you to learn or that He wants people to fail?"
"And then what would Satan be?" the Reb asked. "Still an angel of the Lord doing His bidding or a force or evil, trying to ruin the goodness He gives us?"
"Why are you thinking about Satan? Is someone in trouble Reb? Is there anything anyone can do to help?"
"No, no." He shook his head and slowly got on his feet. "It's just large thoughts for my small brain. Trying to understand the world and realizing how it’s much too large for any man to understand." Rhonda knew their conversation was coming to an end. She still had more data to enter, payments to process but something about the Rabbi's questions stirred.
"Maybe the point of the Devil," Rhonda said, "is to help us love God even more. We know that sin and evil is common, bad choices are as natural as breathing. But God still loves us. He always loves us. And in God's love we know that the devil can deceive us but can never trick us into believing he has us in his heart."
He leaned over and touched her hand, resting on the computer keyboard. "Thank you Shayna."

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Day Seven

Well my word count is 13,688 which means I lost my great lead in but I'm still ahead and still writing. I need to pull it a little more together and get more plot aware because I'm kind of writing all over the place.

My SIL is still in the hospital and not looking to be out yet. Her white cells are up but red cells are down and now there's a need for an endoscopy and check out if she had kidney stones. It's ridiculous.

There probably won't be any more chemo because this reaction just trumps any good the chemo might do. Yeah, the drug is effective but unfortunately it killed the patient. Nah.... even the doctor is recoiling.So we're all just waiting to see what's going to happen next.

My daughter went and shot guns again today. And I'm going to turn in.

Tomorrow is another day and hopefully about 2000 more Nano words.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Nano: Where I Am

So today is Day 5 and already my plans have been kicked black and blue.

But I'm still writing.

On Day 1 of Nano, my sister in law went into the hospital. The chemo has been riding roughshod on her and she had two days of a fever so they admitted her. The fever thankfully passed but her white blood cell count is dangerously low and she tested positive for e-coli. We're hoping she comes home tomorrow but if she does then we have to be totally prepared.

So tonight I have to clean her room, wash all her bedding and make her space as germ free as possible. And I'll probably have to keep that up until she's done with this entire chemo journey.

I was hoping to write at work during my lunch breaks but so far this week I only got one day to write. Obviously this would be the week where we have meeting scheduled (twice) during lunch breaks and of course, I want to go to the hospital and see my SIL.

So my confession: I started Nano with almost 8,000 words written. Yes, I cheated. And thank God I did because otherwise I'd already be so far behind and discouraged that I wouldn't complete. Instead last night I wrote 1000 words and I've averaged 1000 words daily so far so I'm still writing and still ahead.

And the story is just.... this is the happiest I've been in ages in writing.

“If you put three Jews in a room, Shayna, you’ll have four opinions.” Reb Zimmerman grinned. “It’s the greatest pleasure sometimes for us. We like to argue, we like to disagree. A Jew will demand proof and then even question the proof you have.”
“Basic Jewish teaching is that there is a life after death. You believe in the resurrection with the coming of the Messiah.”
“For those who believe that the Messiah will truly come.”
“Aha, a chink in the holy armor. Reb, do you not believe?”
He obviously didn’t mind her teasing. “I doubt. I think our people needed the Messiah many different times in our history and he never came.”
“It might be a she.”
“Shayna, it could be Lassie but she never showed up. Personally, I don’t believe there is going to be a Messiah to lead us all back to the Holy Land. I think that was wishful thinking from a long ago time. What we have here is what we have and the afterlife is best left to the dead.”
“Do you worry?” She leaned in, interested.
“Worry about what? Do I worry I might go to Hell because I might have flirted too much with the President of the Sisterhood when my Rose was alive? Or is the worry that this is all there is and it will end?”
She was like an eager Bat Mitzvah, finally getting the personal time to ask the most important question of her existence: will I end one day? Will the future happen without me? Do I matter?
“I believe in God, Shayna. I believe He hasn’t turned His back on us even though most of us have turned our backs on Him. I believe that each one of us is a seed in his garden and like any garden we sprout, we grow and we die. We can live on through our offshoots, perhaps through the seeds we spread through our lives. Some grow to be great trees and shade millions. Some are weeds who strangle other plants before they can bloom.
“I believe we are all given the chance to bloom and it’s our job to leave our spot in the garden to the next generation.”
She sat back, her disappointment not hidden. “Reb, I’m right here. I have the answers. I am the proof.”
“The proof of what Shayna? Proof of your existence and your experience. If you mean to tell me that we all go to either Heaven or Hell based on random judgements from moments in our lives then I’d be disappointed in you.”
“You disappoint me.” She stood and looked down at him. He could see the tension in her shoulders. It seemed so at odds with the woman he was beginning to know. Then again, how much did one ever truly know the devil? Perhaps this was one of her best deceptions yet.
“I don’t want to believe in it, Shayna.”
He looked away from her. Was he making a mistake? How much did he dare expose? How much could it hurt him?
“Eternity is for angels.” He sat back slowly in his chair, he could feel the slight burn between his shoulder blades, a muscle was protesting or maybe something was sprained. He should see a doctor for it but it was just another ache in a long list.
“Live a moment in a human body and you’d wish against eternity. The bladder is weak and the eyesight is weaker. Everything hurts. A good day is the one where you make it to the bathroom in time without dripping in your pants. God made us weak and we get weaker by the year. What does eternity promise except more pain and disappointment?”
“You could go to Heaven and have the perfect life.” She sat back down, her interest engaged again. “Maybe you could be 30 years old once again and back with your love.”
“I’d give almost anything to believe in that.” He closed his eyes so the wet wouldn’t gather and make a tear. “But I don’t. If there is any kind of afterlife Shayna, I imagine it’s almost as you described your birth: little specks of happy nothing in the eternity of the universe.”
“Do you want me to tell you?” She was searching his face for something.
“I wouldn’t believe you if you tried.” He looked at his watch. “I have a class in a half hour Shayna and I need to gather materials as well as my wits.”
“So I’m dismissed?”
“I need to be a part of my own life now.”
She nodded. “I’ll give you that Reb. Do you want me to come back?”
“Do you want to?”
She barked a short laugh. “Put one Jew in a room and every question will be answered with two more. Rabbi Nathan Zimmerman, I still haven’t answered your call. I would like a piece of cake tonight if you’re willing to share.”
He nodded. “You’re beginning to define my nights Shayna. I would miss you if you weren’t there.”
“That might not be a great decision, Reb. But then, I’d miss you too. So maybe we’re both on the same track. Right or wrong, I’m not sure yet.”
He smiled. “And now even the devil sounds like a Jew.”
She left on the echo of a laugh.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Why I'm Going To Complete Nanowrimo This Year

I know, every year I do it and every year I fail. I think the last time I did it I got about three days of writing before I stopped.

But this year I'm going to complete it and for entirely different reasons that before.

1. I'm not writing a romance novel. I love romance and love reading romance but it's not what I ever planned on writing. And it's not my first love. I love general fiction and that's what I'm writing. Just a story with no HEA but an interesting main character and a theme that intrigues me.

2. I'm not planning on writing 50,000 words. Nano is based on writing 1,667 words a day and at the end of the month you'll have written a 50,000 word novel. Except my intent is to aim for 80,000 words with this story. Not all written in the month of November. But as much of it as I can do. So I'm aiming higher.

3. My friends are doing it. Lea, Cheryl and Clark are signed up and what's better than nano-ing with friends? Completing nano with friends.

4. I need this. My life has changed so much in the past year and in the past month it's changed even more. I've become a caregiver to my family in a greater way than ever before. And this is how I plan on taking care of myself. I need to concentrate on doing this for me because I deserve the time and energy devoted to something I love.

5. I've been planning. I have an hour lunch daily and if I bring my laptop, that will equal a solid 45 minutes of writing and 15 minutes of eating. I can get up a half hour earlier every morning which will give me time also. I need to accept that I don't really do much writing at night because I'm tired after work and cooking and cleaning and need to zone more than I need to write. So I have to compensate for it in other places.

So Happy Nano-ing to everyone doing it this November. Remember: Write Or Die is killer successful at making word count appear (cause it deletes your words if you start slowing down). I think I'll be on Twitter this month for writing sprints and I'm always here and there on FB to sprint also.

Let's do this folks. A successful month to us all!

Thursday, October 29, 2015

The End of My KA Glom

Sorry... the glom has died. Her last novel, a Chaos novel is basically going to take everyone in the Chaos world and make them unlikable while pretending to be something else.

I'm done. I cannot read her again.

And calling your friends 'bitches' and men calling women 'bitches' while pretending that isn't demeaning just will never work for me.

Done. Sorry. End of story.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Cold Hearted Rake by Lisa Kleypas

So, Lisa Kleypas has a new historical romance out, the first in five years. I really can't imagine any Kleypas I wouldn't like, but this one won't make the top of my OMG it's amazing! list. Also, I don't like the cover. 
Have a cover:  

I don't like the dress - why would a lady be outside with her dress hanging off her, especially when she's in mourning and wore black for the whole damn book! I don't like the pink or the weakly colored background; the whole cover is insipid.
Now have a blurb:
A twist of fate . . .
Devon Ravenel, London's most wickedly charming rake, has just inherited an earldom. But his powerful new rank in society comes with unwanted responsibilities . . . and more than a few surprises. His estate is saddled with debt, and the late earl's three innocent sisters are still occupying the house . . . along with Kathleen, Lady Trenear, a beautiful young widow whose sharp wit and determination are a match for Devon's own.
A clash of wills . . .
Kathleen knows better than to trust a ruthless scoundrel like Devon. But the fiery attraction between them is impossible to deny—and from the first moment Devon holds her in his arms, he vows to do whatever it takes to possess her. As Kathleen finds herself yielding to his skillfully erotic seduction, only one question remains:
Can she keep from surrendering her heart to the most dangerous man she's ever known?

Okay, I suppose this is a ....................   SPOILER:      The heroine is a virgin widow, a trope I hate. The hero "vows to do whatever it takes to possess her", except offer marriage. Frankly, I liked his brother West better.

I didn't like the way Kathleen treated her SIL Helen, deciding what would be 'proper' for her, when she's the same age and Helen's guardian is Devon, her cousin and the new Earl. Kathleen rode roughshod over her, without even listening to Helen, but I suppose it was necessary for the next book. 

However ...

I did not particularly care for Kathleen. 

Actually I didn't particularly care for Devon either.

So, that didn't leave me with much. The writing was good as per usual, the plot was not out of the ordinary for a Regency except for all the pre-marital sex. And boy, were they obvious about it. They had sex in the carriage house where any stable-hand/groom/coachman could find them, sex in HIS bedroom during the daytime, sex all over the place.

And that reminds me - there's too damn much sex in some of these historicals. These women were watched like hawks, chaperoned everywhere and even a widow did not screw around where she'd become fodder for gossip and certainly not with three unmarried young women in the same house. I know historical romances are not necessarily historically correct, but c'mon now!!

Anyway, it'll be interesting to see how Ms Kleypas handles Helen, Devon's shy, young SIL, who is the heroine of the next book. She didn't even like it when her hero kissed her for the first time. 

But the book I really want is West's book, because I really, really like West. Hope I'm still around. ;-)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Just Breathe

So Planned Parenthood is under attack again and this might become the defining fight of the next election. They want to take away our choice. They want to say what we can or cannot do with our bodies. They want us to have babies we don't want and might not be able to support but they don't plan to increase the programs and funding to take care of those children.

In fact, they want to decrease the help that's made available.

Who are they? Unfortunately, it seems to be the loudest mouthpieces in the Republican party. And men like my brother who believes that Planned Parenthood is selling fetuses and will not/can not hear any rebuttal.

I've never before felt like an election was as critical as this one feels. This country is so divided, so completely at war with one another that those who don't vote are doing the greatest disservice ever. If we don't make ourselves heard, we're going to be facing the hardest years we might know.

My brother is concerned that the democrats want to take away his guns and that matters to him. I'm terrified that the Republicans want women to lose everything and become chattel again.

Do I dream of a Hillary Clinton presidency? Oh hell no. But I'd embrace it over anyone the Republicants choose.

Ben Carson said he'd like to see Roe V Wade overturned. Huckabee thinks Kim Davis is a hero. Trump mocks women he doesn't like. Even Carly Fiorina is parroting the Planned Parenthood lies and refusing to admit the truth.

If we don't all register and vote, we can see the end of the rights we cherish. And do you want your daughter living in a world where she has no say in her body or rights equal to men's? I don't. And I think this will be the first time in my life where I'll be joining a candidate's team and working to get them elected.

I've never been more scared for the loss of our rights.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Autumn Beauty

Nature is a wondrous thing.  >3

Thursday, October 8, 2015

That Deadly Ennui

So Carolyn's computer got tired of not being used for more than searching out tentacle porn and it died, leaving Carolyn with nothing to do but hang out in fields at night hoping to be abducted. She looks adorable with the tin foil hat, I must say.

I'm still not reading but thankfully still am writing. Doing an Il Divo fanfic on WattPad with Cheryl and Lea (Carolyn's out since her computer shuddered to its untimely death) and it's been tons of fun. Maybe I'll post it here too for fun.

Working on my non-romance. Lea pointed out that Nano is next month so I'll use that as an impetus to write a lot for about three days before I crap out on it. (#notjoking)

Had a pretty cool birthday. Saw the movie Trainwreck with Amy Schumer which was funny at first (John Cena is a naked God, let me point this out) but then it went with the love of a good guy makes life wonderful shit and both Mollie and I rolled our eyes. I'm waiting for the movie where the happy ending for the woman isn't getting the man but rather making a dream come true. The man would just be incidental.

Have been slowly working on my bedroom, planning on turning it into a gypsy haven. Oh yeah. Color everywhere. I'll do posts of my big projects and I have 2 big ones planned: making my own headboard and stripping and painting every piece of furniture (as well as reupholstering 2 chairs).

Let's see what happens when I glue myself to something embarrassing.

Otherwise, I realized this morning that living with Republicans who love their guns is warping my point of view. Their views have encroached on my good sense and I really don't believe a lot of what I've been parroting. I need to figure this out for myself. It's hard.

And since I'm writing this while at work, I need to get back from lunch and to my desk so let me say... I wrote a line yesterday morning whereas a character thought of another, 'how vulnerable we are when love disappears' and it resonated strongly for me. Of course it would since it was my words, but more than that, those words said a lot about my life and my emotions right now. I miss a lot of people and I'm watching my daughter get older and start planning for when she leaves.

We are all vulnerable and so dependent on being loved and loving. Facing the end of a relationship is devastating. Change can be heartbreaking. Isn't it amazing how strong women are as we lose parents, lovers, children and sometimes pieces of ourselves and just keep going?

Sunday, September 27, 2015

It's My Party and I'll Cry if I Want To

Okay, not crying at all.

Today is another birthday and one year and one month since I moved to Hawaii. It was a hell of a hard adjustment but now we're settled and mostly awesome.

My job is excellent and that took a lot of the grief out. Especially since it's close by so I'm not spending as much in gas, it's challenging so I enjoy it and it pays well. They also pay me under the table to be their cleaner so I can put in 4 - 5 extra hours weekly and get some much needed money.

I'm writing again after a year of not writing. Not a romance, and possibly not even going to be a very successful book. But it's making me happy and closer to who I am than anything I've written before.

A year ago (the day after my birthday) I woke up and saw an email from AztecLady that congratulated me on my good review from Dear Author. One of the best days of my life. A year later and  DA isn't on my blog list anymore and my admiration of Jane Litte slipped. Sad, that.

My SIL's hair is falling out. I was wearing black pants yesterday and she shook her head over my leg and I had to change my pants cause I was covered in short, white hair. Thank goodness she has a pretty shaped head. (She's going to get it buzz cut today and Mollie is going to get a new short cut too. Big changes in hair-do's.)

It's been a hard year but a good one. Lots of family changes but I think mostly healthy now. Cutting the negativity out in many ways. Feeling positive and thanks to my BFF (I love you Carolyn!) and my brother, my room is going to undergo some changes to it's ultimate haven-dom.

Hard year. Not always a good year. I'm thankful for the people here and those who remain. Thank you.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Living With Chemo

God, when I think of how easy I thought my SIL's cancer/chemo was going to be, I'd like to slap myself. I've discovered hell and it's chemo.

Myrna started chemo only a week ago. The first couple of days after, she was fine. A little achey but doing okay. And then the shit got into her system. Really in. Nasty, all the way, in.

My vibrant SIL aged 15 years overnight. She grew paler, frailer. Her mouth is sore and bleeding, her bowels are either stopped up or exploding. She's clammy and cold but running a fever.

She can barely walk from one room to the next, it takes effort just to talk.

I believe in her strength, I believe that if anyone can come out on the other side, it's Myrna. At least, that's what I believed a week ago. Today I feel like we've already lost a huge piece of her. I know she'll come back: it's 12 weeks and then treatment is over.

But it's like living with the shadow of someone you love.

Chemo is hell on earth. Just is.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

#IsWring #IsNotReading

Carolyn and I had a brief chat today and I told her that I haven't been reading at all. I have a Kindle full of books but no interest in starting a single one.

But when I have the time, I'm writing.

I'm working 6 days a week now and time is limited. I have Sundays off all day but with SIL in chemo hell, that means laundry and housecleaning for a family of 5. Not a lot of down time.

I wish there was a book that could sweep me away but nothing is very engrossing right now.

What's the next Harry Potter?

Monday, September 14, 2015

Making the Hardest of Choices

Tonight I'm telling my daughter that I don't want her hanging out with the girls she's been friends with for the last year. I've made that decision because they're bad friends. And I can't abide seeing the hurt on Mollie's face again when she finds out she was left out of another activity because those 14 year old bitches chose not to include her.


I don't expect Mollie to really understand why I'm putting my foot down as I am. But my hope is that in later years she'll remember this and understand. And I hope she'll make the choice for herself that I'm making for her tonight.

Friends are people who make you feel good. If the people you hang with make you feel less then they aren't friends. And you deserve better. She deserves better. I deserve better.

When Mollie is included in things with friends she's lighter in being. She belongs. She's accepted. And when she hears they went shopping and fast-fooding without her and there's no excuse or reason that she was left out... well, let's just say that I'm crying very angry tears right now.

I get where she's at. The text brigade with my SIL and sister and other SIL and brother is still going strong and I'm still on the outside. And it hurts but I've come to terms with it. My sister is Oregon and her partner are not my family any longer. We might be related but we're not family. Because family should be the people who make you feel like you've come home. They aren't the people who leave you standing out in the cold.

Friends matter. They're the people who keep your heart from being broken in this world. They shore you up and act as buttresses against storms. They're there when the sun is out and when the storm is lashing.

I need Mollie to learn that we can't take whatever dregs someone decides to give us. We deserve so much better. And if the people we're connected to don't think we deserve it, then they don't deserve us.

I fucking hate this right now. And I hope to hell I'm making the right choice.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Only A Kiss by Mary Balogh

Have a blurb (from the author's website):

This is Book 6 of the Survivors' Club series—after The Proposal (Hugo's story), The Arrangement (Vincent's), The Escape (Ben's), Only Enchanting (Flavian's), and Only a Promise (Ralph's). This is Imogen Hayes, Lady Barclay's story—and Percy Hayes, Earl of Hardford's. And I must say here that this book is one of my personal favorites, and Percy is definitely one of my best heroes!
Percy unexpectedly inherited his title and fortune from a distant relative two years before the start of the book, but he has never been to his estate in Cornwall, which he assumes is a heap of a semi-ruin in the wilds of the West Country. Now, however, in the dreary depths of February, he is turning thirty, is colossally bored with his life, and decides on a whim while inebriated at his birthday celebrations with friends that he will take a run down there and look about him until the spring Season swings into action in London. He does not know until he gets there that there is indeed a house, that it is in good repair, and that it is occupied by the elderly sister of his predecessor; her equally elderly companion; Lady Barclay, the young widow of the man who would have inherited the title had he not died in captivity in Portugal during the Napoleonic Wars; and a whole houseful of unappealing strays, of both the human and the animal variety.

Imogen, who was in Portugal with her husband and present when he died, has indelible memories of that time. She spent three years after her return to England at Penderris Hall, which the Duke of Stanbrook had opened as a hospital for seriously wounded officers. Now she lives a secluded life in the dower house on one corner of the estate, but at present she had been forced to move to the main house while the roof of her own is being replaced. She is less than impressed when the new earl turns up behaving like God's gift to womanhood, too handsome for his own good, oozing charm when it suits him to do so, but ill-mannered and irritable and downright rude when it does not. Percy for his part is irritated by his beautiful distant cousin-in-law, who seems to him to be made entirely of marble.

Soon Imogen's quiet life of self-imposed mourning is turned upside down by the constant interference of that man in her life and by the inexplicable and quite unwelcome attraction she feels toward him. And soon Percy, who has spent thirty years deliberately avoiding all that is troublesome and dark and potentially upsetting, is drawn quite against his will into wanting to understand what troubles Lady Barclay, though he suspects that he really does not want to know. He also finds himself wondering if someone is trying to drive him from his bedchamber at the front of the house, overlooking the sea, and even perhaps right out of his home and Cornwall. His curiosity begins to lead him to uncovering dark secrets involving the past and the present, secrets that may or may not involve smuggling and violence and even murder.

I have thoroughly enjoyed all six books of The Survivor's Club. There is no one, absolutely no one, who can write emotions like Mary Balogh. I love character driven stories and she delivers every single time.

The books in this series tell stories of healing. All these men, and the single woman, have been horribly maimed, not only physically but also mentally and emotionally. And Imogen Hayes is a broken woman, more or less taped back together by her time at Penderris Hall, but still not ready, after three years, to live a whole and reasonably content life. The reader is with her as she agonizes over her past, her present and her future. I admit I had tears in my eyes, something I rarely do.

I loved Percy. His character growth was very satisfying to watch and, as I do with most of "my" heroes, I fell a little in love with him. At times he reminded me a bit of Freddy Standen, in Georgette Heyer's Cotillion.

This is just an all round good book, with a mature, slow burn romance, and some mystery and murder which ties into the loss of Imogen's husband. I am not usually heroine-centric, but this heroine tugged at my heart strings; I felt sorry for her and I admired her courage. Her turn around at the end of the book was perhaps a little quick, but it's difficult to say how long these things should take and it had been four years since her husband's death. It was just time, I think.

I do recommend this book and all of the Survivor books. The first one, The Arrangement, belongs to Vincent, who is blind and in danger of being smothered by his womenfolk. Oh, and there's to be a seventh and final book about George, Duke of Stanbrook, who lost his son to the war and his wife to suicide. I wsa hoping he'd get a book, so I'm very happy!

Only a Kiss at Amazon

Saturday, September 5, 2015

LOLing While I Read

Oh Carolyn, why do you do this to me?

So Kristen Ashley's latest/newest book is out Hold On and it's the last in her Burg series (also the last in the series) and so I have nothing to say about it cause I'm barely into it but the thing is, I just realized...

the people in the Berg don't speak English. None of them do. They have their own language called Tough Tongue.

Tough Tongue (copyright pending) is what white people whose greatest tragedy is breaking a nail would sound like if they were trying to sound super tough but not ghetto.

An example of speaking in tough tongue (copyright pending):

So I was at the mall at that hopped up new store Shizzle and eyeing a leopard print throw but thought I was done with that shit, I mean I got shot of the tiger skin and I'm face-timing with another cat. I know the kind of woman I am, I got my shell and my cage and my hard hearted but angel kissed self on display because who I am is what I am and I know it, deep inside where these things matter and I'll never be shot of the past but I got a clean and shining future for some other bitch, not me, even though he fed me his cock fifteen times last night but that doesn't change my super complicated life. Yeah. I got the leopard throw and it's fucking awesome.

So I'm not far at all in the book but I had to stop reading Because I was laughing too much.

Kristen Ashley sucks at dialogue.