I don’t usually share my personal struggles on this blog.
I really don’t. Talking about writing or my issues with writing isn’t what I mean. Yes, I do discuss those, but they are pretty innocuous topics.
I mean, I don’t usually go deep and write about the daily struggle I have with my weight, my eating disorder, and my body image.
But…first I want to share something with you that I saw the other day that just RESONATED with me sososos much. Please take a few minutes to watch this. If you’ve already seen it, watch it again because every single person on the planet needs to hear this.
I’ve been fat shamed my entire life – by others and by myself. I know, I know! You’re supposed to love yourself for who you are, not what you look like. The reasons behind my eating disorder are lifelong and involve things said to me while I was child by my biological father and my grandmother. When people who are supposed to support you tear you down instead as a child, well, let’s just say that baggage gets carried into adulthood. I’ve never been able to look in a mirror and tell myself “you’re enough the way you are, because I was never able to feel that way.”
That’s on me.
When my daughter got engaged on Christmas eve, my first emotion was elation. For her. My second was terror. For me. As mother of the bride, I’m going to be front and center at all events looking….not good. Not the way I want to. Not the way I should. To have two opposing emotions – happiness for her and sadness for me – at the same time sent me into an emotional spiral that ramped up my eating disorder. Just like James Corden says in his video, shaming someone leads to depression, decreased feelings of self worth, and ineffective coping mechanisms. For me, that means an increase in my bulimia.
There. I said it. I admitted it out loud. Well, in print, anyway. But you know what I mean.
The first step towards fixing a problem is to admit you have one. Just like with alcoholism and drug addiction, you first need to recognize, name and accept that you have an issue, before you can begin to heal, fix, and help yourself.
So here’s my admission. My name is Peggy and I’m a bulimic.
First step? Check.
The second step is to come up with a plan for dealing and/or changing the issue. Way easier said than done, for sure. But now that I’ve said out loud what my issue is, I can devise a plan to fix it.
First step in this is to stop binging and purging whenever my emotions get out of hand.
Again, easier said that done, but if I think it, speak it into the air, and tell it to myself often, I know I can combat the desire.
Maybe this is all a little TMI for you. Maybe it is for me, too, but I am determined at almost 60 years old to finally FINALLY squelch this behavior. If writing about the struggle will help me attain that goal, so be it.
My goal is to eradicate my eating disorder, lose the excess weight pulling my health down, and in so doing, be the best, healthiest Peggy I can be. If that means that ultimately I am a size 8 or a size 18, so be it.
Until the next time I feel the need to talk about this again! ~ Peg
Full disclosure here, kids: I rewrote this article three times before hitting publish. The first time was written from a place of emotion and anger. Not a good head space to write from. The second was a little better, but still sounded too mean girl to me. Third time’s a charm, right? I hope so.
***takes a breath.
Okay, here goes…
Two days ago, this article was circling around the internet, twitter and facebook. It concerns a debut author, the advances she received on her books, and her claim that no one told her the real meaning of the advance and the true workings of the publishing industry when it came to money, promised money of the future, and the possibility of no money in the future.
The author makes ( or tries to make) several points in the article, that had she known the true workings of the publishing business with regards to marketing, author and book promotion, and royalties, she would have done several things differently when she received her advances for her debut novel and the series that came after it. The series she was contracted for and for which she received an ADVANCE.
Let’s look a little closer at those words: Her ADVANCES on her DEBUT novel.
She got an advance – a large one – on her DEBUT NOVEL. She was an unknown author and by the grace of GOD ( and probably a really good Agent) she received a sizable advance against the sales of her books. And she spends the entire article restating that no one told her what an advance really was and that the large one she received on her first book was not promised on future books.
Girl, for real? ( this is the part I had to edit because I didn’t say girl the first time, but something not very nice.)
It’s literally called an ADVANCE against Book Royalties. Even someone who isn’t in the writing/publishing business can deduce from that description that the publisher is giving you money BASED On the projected sales of your book. I find it hard to believe the author didn’t understand what that term meant, and because she didn’t, but thought she’d be making oodles of money in the future, she made some not great financial decisions.
She does admit, that’s on her, so good for that. But then she states that she grew up poor, and never learned the concepts of saving or investing. Well, I’m sorry, but that doesn’t wash with me. I grew up in the PROJECTS. We weren’t even able to live paycheck-to-paycheck because my mother had so many jobs when I was a kid, continual paychecks were never a guarantee. I grew up before social reform and there was no welfare, SSI assistance, or even a free lunch program in my public schools. But you know what? Even though my mother was barely literate, never finished highschool and could barely do basic math, she KNEW that when we did have a little money from a job that lasted more than a month, we saved it. Since every day was a rainy day, we saved it for a catastrophe day.
No one taught her to do this; it was basic common financial sense, something that this author states NO ONE TAUGHT HER.
To quote the author, “Did anyone working with me — agency, publishing team — tell me that a staggering advance was not something I should depend on or get used to and that, in fact, it’s extraordinarily common in the publishing industry for untested debuts to be paid large sums they will never see again? No. Did anyone in the publishing house take me under their wing and explain to me how the company made decisions about future book deals? No. Did the publisher tap a more seasoned author on their list to mentor me, as many major corporations encourage within their companies? No. Did the MFA in Writing program I was part of in any way arm me with the knowledge to protect and advocate for myself in the publishing world? No.”
She then goes on to state (blame) that no one in her publishing realm told her about how to market her books and the publisher didn’t really market them for her. Again, if she truly had an agent, I wonder why the agent never helped her with this or steered her toward the knowledge of how to do it. You can see where this was going for her: her sales weren’t great and future advances were lower than that $100,000 advance she got for her first two books.
$100,000. That amount is mind boggling to me. Why do I not feel sorry for her? Because I really don’t.
I’m a traditionally published author of 15 + books and have never received an advance of any amount on ANY OF MY BOOKS. Not one. Any money I’ve made has been solely royalty based.
And you know what? I KNEW THAT going in. I knew that was the way traditional publishing worked. No one taught it to me. No one sat me down and gave me a blueprint for how to make money with my books. No one had to tell me I had to hustle and sell my soul so I could sell those books.
The article’s author makes the point because she ASSUMED she would be getting more and more money and higher advances for future books, she never thought to save the advance she received. Instead, she spent it. She spent it and racked up more debt, almost to the point that she was bankrupt.
While I find her NO ONE TOLD me defense suspect and, let’s face it, whiney, it’s not an uncommon phenomenon. Athletes who come from humble beginnings and go on to sign multimillion dollars playing contracts, tend to spend their new-gotten money like no tomorrow. If they get hurt, fired, or if their careers end because of injury, and all that income now stops, they have nothing to fall back on either because they didn’t save for the rainy day that was sure to occur.
And we’ve all heard the stories of people who’ve won Lotto or Powerball who wound up penniless and in debt because of bad investments or hungry spending.
So, from that perspective, the author’s point about not knowing how to manage her money is correct. What I really find issue with is the fact that she thought she was all that and a bag of chips and would continue to ring in the cash with her books. To quote the article:
“After that second advance came through, I stepped into my dream life: quit my day job to write full time, moved to New York City, bought fifteen-dollar cocktails, and learned with astonishing speed to not bother worrying about the prices when I ordered at a restaurant.”
She goes on to state, “I said yes to travel (often book research I wasn’t reimbursed for), said yes to concert tickets, to new shoes, to finally being able to buy people the kind of presents I felt they deserved. I gave large sums of money as donations to organizations I cared about, delighted to feel like I was making a real difference. Did I pay off my student loans? No, just a few large payments. Did I set money aside for retirement? No. My reasoning was that the next book I sold, I’d take care of all that. “
I’m being 100% truthful when I say if I won Powerball tomorrow, or, if by the Grace of God I was given a $100,000 advance, I would SAVE SAVE SAVE and not spend with abandon. And you know why? Because I WAS that poor kid who never knew if there was going to be food in the cabinet come the end of the week, or if a paycheck was going to cover more than the rent with little else left for food. Once you’ve been without, once you’ve experienced real hunger, you learn to never take any money you get for granted, and, like squirrels storing nuts for the winter ( and yes, that’s a miserable analogy, but you know what I mean) you always ALWAYS save.
That’s just my opinion for the two cents it’s worth.
And just FYI, when the article hit Twitter, the twitterverse went nuts with people jumping on the author about her complaining and whining. The author tweeted that she received nothing but supportive comments OFF TWITTER from authors who told her that they felt just the way she did and they thanked her for her honesty in bringing this “problem” to the forefront.
Again, just my opinion here, but the only problem I could identify in the article was the author’s hubris, arrogance, and conceit in assuming she was going to continue to make oddles of money in an industry in which only about 0.001% make any real, livable money.
I know many people are going to disagree with what I’ve written, and that’s fine. This is still America and we are all entitled to our opinions. Since this is MY Blog, this is MY opinion.
Until next time ~ an-always-dreaming-of-an-advance-Peg
So, this week’s prompt is a thoughtful one: WHAT IS MY SUPERPOWER?
Easier asked than answered.
I can tell you what it isn’t:
I can’t –
Fly, read minds, become invisible, breathe underwater, teleport.
I don’t –
have xray vision, bat-hearing, a dog’s sense of smell, inhuman strength, eidetic memory, or the ability to heal someone with a simple touch.
I’m not –
strong, agile, quick/fast, charming or compelling, brilliant, telepathic.
What I CAN do is simple and extremely valuable, though: I’m a human bullshit detector.
I can spot a lie coming from a liar’s mouth after one sentence.
With this superpower I’ve been able to spot con-men, cheats, narcissists, thieves, and psychopaths in a heartbeat.
I’ve known when children are lying to get out of being punished for naughty behavior and adults are lying to avoid censure for bad deeds.
I’ve known when someone is bullshitting me, flattering me for nefarious reasons, attempting to steal from me, and sucking up to me for their own ends.
It’s a gift more than a superpower, I think, and one I am sososos thankful for. It’s helped me remove myself from tricky situations and helped me shove people who were up to no good from my life. It’s saved me from being a lemming many times, too!
I flirted with being a lawyer or an FBI agent for about 5 minutes when I was in my 20s due to this talent. But I liked Nursing more.
Let’s see what some of the other authors in this challenge consider their superpower; L&SR
Last month I finally had the shoulder I injured 2 years ago repaired, surgically.
Long story short: I fell in a department store while looking for a dress for a wedding. Pain lead me to my PCP who thought I’d simply bruised my arm. Xrays showed nothing so he sent me to Physical Therapy for 6 weeks. It helped…some. Pain continued and I was told a biceps bruise can take up to a year to heal. Didn’t think an MRI was warranted when I asked.
A year came and went. Still in pain. Went to an orthopod. More xrays showed nothing wrong. He diagnosed a “frozen shoulder.” Never heard of that before, I gotta tell ya. Treatment was pain meds and exercise. Didn’t get better. In fact, got a worse. Sent me for a cortisone injection. Worked for 3 days. Pain increased. FINALLY, after 20 months of this crap, sent me for an MRI. Diagnosis? Torn Rotator Cuff, biceps tendon and muscle.
Ya think they’d have listened to me from the beginning when I asked for the MRI.
Treatment? Surgery was my only option because the more experimental ones aren’t done at my hospital.
Went for my surgical preop. The doc who did it ( not my PCP) diagnosed a heart murmur. I said I didn’t have a heart murmur. She insisted I did and wouldn’t clear me for surgery unless I had an echocardiogram.
I went for the echocardiogram
$5,000 later, no murmur.
Ya think they’d have listened to me when I said I didn’t have a murmur.
SO, surgery. Went well, according to my orthopod. Yeah…from his perspective it did. Textbook case of a repair.
From my perspective? Not so much. First, I’m allergic to narcotics so the typical stuff they give for the excruciating post-op pain of this surgery, I can’t take. And believe me, Motrin does NOTHING to alleviate bone pain. Once the nerve block wore off I was in agony and I don’t use that word lightly. Coupled with the fact you aren’t/can’t lie down after this surgery, but need to remain propped up, like in a recliner, on your back, and my agony was increased fifty fold because I don’t and can’t sleep on my back. The torture device of the rotator sling that needs to be worn 24/7 for 4 weeks doesn’t help with sleeping, either.
I’d asked my orthopod about my postop time frame. With any other surgery I’ve had over the years, I’m up and at’em and raring to go after about a week of down time.
His response? Well, because of your age now, you’re gonna take much longer to heal. You’re not 25 anymore but knocking at 60’s door. I almost knocked on his door when he said that.
So, I’m old, I take longer to heal, I can’t take anything for the ridiculous pain, I can’t sleep, and since this is my dominant hand I’ve lost all independence with normal things, like getting dressed and performing personal care issues. If you think I’m being dramatic, YOU try putting pants on with one hand and cleaning yourself after going to the toilet with a hand you’ve never used for that purpose before, then tell me I’m still being dramatic!
I can’t do simple things like brush my hair, put on makeup, feed myself without all my food continually dropping back to the plate.
I can’t drive.
The hair in my armpits is long enough to braid because I can’t lift the arms to shave them.
I haven’t slept more than 1.5 hours a night since the surgery. When you only sleep 3 hours a night to begin with, having half of those hours taken away from you will make you cranky, to say the least.
Getting out of the chair is tantamount to giving birth: I grunt, wheeze, sweat, and push myself to a standing position, then need to catch my breath from all the effort.
It’s not pretty, kids. Not at all.
I’m on week 4 of this post-op period now. Still in the torture sling; still trying to sleep ( and failing) in the recliner. Still cranky, still in pain ( although not as much), and still unable to shave my armpits.
Romance readers love series. So do writers of the genre.
Last week I gave you a sneak peek at book 2 in the MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN SERIES, TODAY, TOMORROW, ALWAYS, which should be out in the book reading world sometime this year. Today, I want to give you a little insight into book 3, which I’m currently writing.
The title? BAKED WITH LOVE, and if you’ve read book 1, you know the sister who bakes is sister Number 4, Maureen. Maureen owns and operates Inn Heaven, the award winning B&B in her hometown, in addition to being a fabulous baker. This is the first scene I’ve written in the story. It’s unedited, but you can feel the relationship that’s blooming immediately.
“Oh, my God, Maureen.” My sister Colleen’s voice rose a good two octaves from its normal sultry timbre. “Are those…penis pops?”
“Lower your voice,” I told her as I continued to pipe buttercream roses on the cupcakes I’d made for tomorrow’s wedding. “My entire Inn doesn’t need to know I’ve got those”—I grinned—“hardening in my kitchen.”
“Why, in the name of all that’s holy are there”—she counted out loud—“seven chocolate candies in the shape of male genitalia on your counter?”
“Because your bride’s maid of honor special ordered them for the attendants. I tried to talk her out of it, but she paid me triple to make them and wouldn’t take no for an answer. Be happy there are only seven. Originally she wanted one for each of the fifty females on the guest list. I was able to talk her out of it by promising to make those”—I chinned the pops—“for the bridesmaids. She’s going to present them tonight after the rehearsal. Thinks they’ll be, quote, a scream, unquote.”
My wedding planner and getting-bigger-by-the-second pregnant sister plopped herself down onto one of my kitchen chairs and sighed. Heavily.
“Oh, good Lord. Thanks for the head’s up. I’ll make sure the moms are nowhere in sight when she gives them out. I don’t relish having to listen to one more complaint about this wedding. I’ve had enough for the past week to last me until junior here”—she patted her round tummy—“is off to college.”
I flicked a glance at her and said, “Put your feet up, Coll. I can see how swollen they are from here.”
With more effort than was probably warranted – she is after all, related to our grandmother, who corners the market on theatricality – she hefted her feet onto an opposing kitchen chair then extended and flexed her toes a few times. This time the sigh that blew from her lips was thick with fatigue, and if I wasn’t mistaken, pain.
“I can’t believe you’re still wearing those ridiculous heels when you’re almost eight months along,” I chided. “Standing in them all day can’t be good for the baby. Or your back.”
“Stop scolding me.” It was impossible not to miss the whine in her voice. “I refuse to take advice from someone who thinks flipflops are the greatest invention known to the shoe wearing population of the world. And just for the record, my back is fine and my feet don’t hurt.”
“No, they just look like flesh colored water balloons.”
“When did you turn so mean? You’re usually the supportive, quiet sister.”
In ordinary circumstances this was true. But with my heavily pregnant and three-inch heel wearing sister, I was more than willing to make an exception.
I piped the last rose on the final cupcake, laid my pastry bag down on the counter, and turned to face her. Camera ready face with her professionally polished outfit perfect and not a tendril of hair out of place, the middle of my three sisters looked something she rarely did: tired. With her hands folded over her protruding belly, she’d dropped her chin to her chest and closed her eyes.
The snarky remark I was going to make about the benefits of wearing flats died before I gave it breath.
Since lunch service had finished a half hour ago and my serving staff was done with cleanup, Colleen and I were alone in my kitchen. I put the kettle on for tea for the two of us and asked, “Did you have lunch?”
Colleen lifted head. Her eyes took a moment to clear and focus on me, lending credence to my thought she was tired. And maybe more than simply tired.
“There’s a salad waiting for me at the office. Charity texted me while I was with the florist that she’d gotten me one.”
“Text her back and tell her to put it in the fridge. I’ll make you something to eat.”
While she contacted her assistant, I plated the luncheon salad I’d concocted for today’s menu and then put half of a ham and cheese sandwich into my Panini maker.
“Eat this until the sandwich is done.” I handed her the salad and a bottled water.
“What is it?”
“Spinach, cranberries, walnuts, raisins and carrots with a light pomegranate dressing and shaved Parmesan.”
Colleen shoved a forkful in and groaned. “Oh. My. God. Honestly, Maureen, you should have your own cooking show. This is insane.”
“Everything she makes is insane,” a male voice said from the doorway.
I knew that voice well, since it was a frequent inhabitant in my dreams most nights. Husky and deep, with a dash of just woken smoke, it was a voice that could cajole a lover into seduction and cut off a criminal at the knees.
Unfortunately, I’d never been either.
“Truth,” Colleen said through a mouthful of salad. “Why are you here?” she asked Heaven’s Chief of Police, Lucas Alexander before I could. “Somebody call a cop?”
Lucas flicked his moss green, heavily hooded gaze from my sister to me, one corner of his mouth tilting up. I actually had to contract my pelvic floor muscles whenever he looked at me so I wouldn’t melt to the floor in a pool of want. My ninety-three year old grandmother, Nanny Fee, calls this girding your loins. As far as a descriptive phrase for the maneuver, it’s a good one.
“You got a minute?” he asked me.
I nodded. “A few. Then I have to get the dining room reading for tonight’s rehearsal dinner.” I turned and pulled Colleen’s sandwich from the press when the bell tinged. Lucas, always comfortable in my kitchen, moved to lean a hip against the counter and then halted mid stride.
I knew the cause of his sudden stop. I bit down on the inside of my lip while I handed Colleen her sandwich plate. She caught my eye, and my stifled grin, and realized the cause. Her lips lifted in a wicked grin.
Lucas cleared his throat. “Are those–? Wait. What, what are those? Are they…?”
“Are they what?” Colleen asked, innocence dripping from her voice, at the same time I asked, “Want one?”
Lucas turned to find the two of us staring at him, expressions blanked, and waiting for him to continue.
He huffed out a breath and dragged a hand through his hair. “Nothing,” he said, with a nervous shake of his head and shoulders.
Colleen glanced up at me, winked, and then took a huge bite of her Panini. “Oh, good Lord, Mo.”
I smiled and told her, “You’re welcome,” before I said to Lucas, “What’s up?”
He tilted his head to the right in a come-with-me move I’d seen him make innumerable times over the years.
In the breezeway that separated my private kitchen from the commercial one I used for the Inn I own and cook in, Lucas stopped, bit down on a corner of his mouth, and twirled his hat in his hands. If I didn’t know better, I’d think he was nervous, but nerves weren’t an emotion that lived in this man. His training as an army sniper had taught him how to remain calm in any crisis, cool under the hottest of circumstances. I’d never even heard him raise his voice in all the years I’d known him.
I repeated the question I’d asked in my kitchen.
“I need a favor.”
I rolled my hand in a go on gesture.
“Cathy might have mentioned that Robert’s coming to spend the summer with me and dad. Nora’s getting remarried this weekend and then leaving on a month long honeymoon.”
I nodded. “I’d heard that, but not from Cathy.” To the question in his eyes I said, “Nanny told me the other day when I dropped off her scone delivery at the nursing home. She heard it from Tillie Carlisle who got it from Maeve Capshaw, whose granddaughter, Olivia, told her. Nanny said Olivia was the one who introduced Nora to her intended at a divorced-and-looking event she’d hosted.”
“Jesus.” Lucas shook his head. “Small towns.”
I couldn’t help but smile. “A curse and a blessing, as Cathy is fond of saying.”
“Yeah, well, your sister is one of the smartest people I know. Anyway. Nora doesn’t want to leave Robert home alone for the summer. He’s too old for a babysitter, but at fifteen, still too young to be left to his own defenses. He just started driver’s ed but doesn’t have a valid license yet, so it was easier to take him for the summer while she’s gone.”
“So he’s gonna live with you and your dad until school starts up again?”
“Why don’t you sound happy about that? I mean, whenever Robert’s visited for school breaks before you’ve always been thrilled since you don’t get to see him as much since they moved.”
He huffed out another breath and leaned a shoulder against the wall. My pregnant sister wasn’t the only one who looked exhausted.
“It’s not that I’m not happy he’s coming to stay with us. It’s more, things with dad now aren’t good and I’m afraid he’s gonna make the kid’s life miserable with all his complaining and griping all day. Last time Robert came for a weekend all dad did was harp on him. Get a haircut, stand up straight, stop mumbling. Poor kid couldn’t wait to get back to his mother, and that’s saying something, because she’s just as bad. But, that’s why I don’t want him to spend all his time with his grandfather.”
“And I’m assuming this is where the favor you need from me comes in?”
He nodded. “The kid needs something to occupy him while he’s here. I’ve gotta work and I can’t take any time. I don’t want him sitting home all day fighting with dad or locked in his room playing video games. I want him to get out of the house. Get a job. You hire high schools kids to bus tables and help serve at the weekend events here at the Inn. I’m hoping you’ll take Robert on as summer crew. That way I’ll know where he is every day, he’ll earn a little money of his own, and I won’t have to worry about coming home to World War III every night. Plus…”
“Well, if he’s with you all day, I won’t…worry about him. I know he’ll be in good hands. That you’ll feed him, take care of him like he was one of your own. Like you do everyone else.”
To say I was thrilled by the offhand compliment was an understatement. I didn’t even need to think about his request because even if I wasn’t on the lookout for extra help, I would have hired Lucas’s son.
“Sure. I can always use another body, especially in the summer when I’ve got a full house every weekend with Colleen’s weddings.”
Lucas’s shoulders dropped a couple of degrees from where they’d stationed themselves at his ears and he let out a breath filled with relief. “Thanks, Maureen. Really.”
I waved my hand at him. “Don’t worry about it. When does he get here?”
“Sunday morning. Nora’s dropping him off before she leaves for the airport.”
I nodded. “Get him all unpacked and settled and then you can bring him by Monday. I’ll go over everything with him then, okay?”
“More than okay. Again, I can’t thank you enough. You’re truly a lifesaver.” He took my hand and squeezed it. Lucas had done this hundreds of times over the years and like every other time he had, the wiring in my heart went a little haywire.
And like every other time, I swallowed the temptation to tug on his hand and pull him close enough so I could kiss him.
Intrigued? Me, too. Can’t wait to see how it ends. ( hee hee)
You can catch up on the O’Dowd’s now with book 1, DEARLY BELOVED. As soon as book 2 goes up for preorder, I’ll let ya know.
Today, I’ve got a treat. A brand new DeerbourneInn novella has been released into the bookreading world, and I’ve got the author, Wild Rose Press sistah Samantha Gentry, here with me, talking about her addition to the series, REKINDLING AN OLD FLAME.
Samantha, take it away:
Thank you, Peg, for this opportunity to share my latest release with your readers.
I’m Samantha Gentry and I’d like to tell you about my new release from The Wild Rose Press. Rekindling An Old Flame is an adult romance novella, my offering for the Deerbourne Inn series. The Deerbourne Inn is a charming bed and breakfast in the town of Willow Springs, Vermont—population three thousand. It’s the focal point for the series. My novella tells a story of lost love, reunion, and an attempt to repair the mistakes of the past.
My story is set in the first week of October during the Willow Springs’ annual Fall Foliage Celebration, an arts and crafts event honoring the time of year when the trees covering the New England countryside turn brilliant shades of red, orange, and gold. Cameron Amory, world famous international best-selling author, lives in Willow Springs. Skylar Rogers is stranded in Willow Springs—a place she’s never been before, a place that wasn’t her destination—with car trouble. This chance encounter after fourteen years presents Cameron with the opportunity to try and undo his mistakes of the past and rekindle his relationship with his lost love from college.
When interior decorator Skylar Rogers’ car breaks down in the small town of Willow Springs, she’s unprepared for a reunion with the man who once stole her heart and ripped it to shreds. That doesn’t stop the erotic desires he ignites. She’ll only be in town a few days, though. What could it hurt to take a little tumble down memory lane?
World famous bestselling author Cameron Amory is shocked to discover his college lover in his hometown. He never stopped loving her and has always regretted leaving her behind. Now, he’ll do whatever it takes to win back her trust and her love. Has too much time gone by, or can he rekindle an old flame?
He increased his embrace as he forced his erratic breathing under control. He smoothed her hair back from her damp face while placing tender kisses on her forehead and cheeks until he was finally able to formulate words. “Damn, it’s even better now than it was back then.” He raised his upper body, supporting his weight on his elbows. “I’ve missed you, Sky, missed you very much.” His words came out as a soft whisper. “I thought I’d never have another opportunity to include you as part of my life. We can’t let this slip away again.”
A wariness covered her face. “Slip away again?”
Her expression and tone told him more than he wanted to know, told him how inappropriate his words were, although unintentional, and clearly reminded him whose fault it had been. He was the one who had bolted. He had allowed his fear of making a commitment to overrule what he refused to openly acknowledge as his love for her. A love he now readily admitted had always been there. But how to convince her, how to overcome her voiced and unspoken but obvious concerns. He had to find some way of getting her to communicate more fully with him.
“Come home with me, Sky. Spend the night with me. In fact, check out of the Deerbourne Inn and stay with me.”
“As tempting as that is, I can’t do it. This has all been too much, Cam, too much too quickly. I need time to take it all in, to digest it. Time to figure out what’s really happening, something other than two people resurrecting a sexual relationship.”
“There’s a hell of a lot more going on here than that. Yes, the sex is great. It always was, and it’s even better now. But there’s more than that. You know it as well as I do.”
“I can’t go home with you, Cam. Certainly not tonight.”
It wasn’t what he wanted to hear, but it didn’t surprise him. He needed to back off, not push so hard. He had to come up with some way that it would work out, to present her with a viable solution, something she could consider in a logical light.
He needed to make her an offer she couldn’t refuse.
I’ve lived most of my life in Los Angeles and earned my living for twenty years by working in television production. I was always interested in writing and dabbled at it, but not seriously. I combined my interest in writing with my avocation of photography and began doing magazine articles featuring my photographs. After selling several articles, I discovered I enjoyed the writing process as much as the photography.
My friends told me I should make use of my television contacts and write scripts. I enrolled in a screen writing class at UCLA. By the close of class I knew screen writing was not for me. The other thing I knew was that I wanted to write novels rather than magazine articles.
I don’t usually post full face pictures of myself on this page for a number of reasons, but the biggest one being I hate full face pictures of myself!!!
Cindy Crawford I am not.
I’m not even Helen Mirren and she’s in the same age group as me.
But when I received this award over the weekend, I also received a letter from FCRW that asked the winners to take a picture with the award and their winning book to post on the FCRWFacebook and Twitter pages. Since it was going to be so publicly displayed anyway, I figured, why not blog about it, too, and post the picture.
I am still rehabbing from my surgery, so you can see a tiny speck of the immobilizer covering my right hand as I hold the beautiful award. Yes, I’m in my nightgown, there’s nothing on my face except Retin A, I’m wearing my daytime glasses and my hair isn’t combed because I can’t do that yet ( due to dominant arm surgery!) But it would have taken too much time, effort, and energy – none of which I have, to look camera ready.
But..all that aside, this award truly touched my heart.
The past two months have been filled with self doubt, feelings of inadequacy, and frustration over my writing career. After being dropped by two publishers and receiving some horrible reviews for my books, in addition to still not seeing my sales and readers increase, I’ve been struggling with the concept that writing for publication is something I’m not cut out for. There’s so much more involved than just writing stories of my heart. The time and cash spent on marketing, the query letters, the waiting to hear back, the time delays between book publications – it’s all starting to take a toll on my psyche.
The endless questions: have I peaked out? Is this all worth the time and expense? What am I killing myself for?
Dramatic? Yeah, maybe, but hey: this is me we’re talking about. Drama in my confirmation name.
And then this happens.
I think sometimes the universe, and/or God knows just what to do to make me realize my decisions and my life are worthwhile.
So…no more moping, overthinking, doubting, bitching or complaining.
Now if I could just brush my hair…..
Oh, and because the marketing aspect NEVER ends, here’s the book that won the award, available in ecopy, print and audio.
With Christmas season in full swing, baker Regina San Valentino is up to her elbows in cake batter and cookie dough. Between running her own business, filling her bursting holiday order book, and managing her crazy Italian family, she’s got no time to relax, no room for more custom cake orders, and no desire to find love. A failed marriage and a personal tragedy have convinced her she’s better off alone. Then a handsome stranger enters her bakery begging for help. Regina can’t find it in her heart to refuse him. Connor Gilhooly is in a bind. He needs a specialty cake for an upcoming fundraiser and puts himself and his company’s reputation in Regina’s capable hands. What he doesn’t plan on is falling for a woman with heartbreak in her eyes or dealing with a wise-guy father and a disapproving family. Can Regina lay her past to rest and trust the man who’s awoken her heart?
I don’t have a cover yet for my next A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN book, just a title: TODAY, TOMORROW, ALWAYS. This is oldest O’Dowd sister CATHLEEN’S story. Widowed, lonely, and bit of a workaholic, Cathy is despairing she will ever find another man to warm her bed at night and one she can love forever. She agrees to attend a speed dating night, organized by her high school friend, Olivia, a local matchmaker. This little scene is after the event:
The lights were still on inside the house when Olivia dropped me back home three hours later.
“I don’t want you to be discouraged, Cathy,” she said as I unbuckled my seatbelt. “This was just your first event.”
And if I had anything to say about it, it was my last.
“Tonight was a mish-mash of personality types and age groups. I’d invited you so you could get a feel for what’s involved in the process. I didn’t expect you to meet or connect with anyone. We need to get together privately so I can figure out the type of man you’re interested in. Then, I can set up something in the future more to your taste level.”
My taste level? Good Lord. If tonight was any indication, there were no men out there who even came close to an appetizer much less a main course.
“Liv, I don’t know if I’m ready for this. I’m busy with the practice, handling Nanny’s affairs.” I swiped my gloved hand in the air. “I’m not sure I have the energy to be involved at the moment.”
She smiled and nodded. “Going out to dinner or a movie with a nice guy doesn’t mean you have to sign a marriage contract, Cath. According to Fiona all you do is work.”
“Well, yeah. Because I’m busy.”
“I get that. But you can take a break every now and again, you know. Just think about it,” she added when I opened my mouth again, ready to protest.
Resigned, I nodded.
“I’ll call you in a few days and we can grab some lunch, okay?”
“Sure,” I said.
The house was lit and warm when I walked through the front door. I’d thought Frayne had left the lights on so I wouldn’t come home to a dark, empty house. The moment I closed the door behind me I realized I was wrong, because the house wasn’t empty at all.
Mac Frayne was seated at my dining room table, a laptop opened in front of him.
“You’re still here.”
Why that blue-eyed and befuddled stare meeting me through those thick lenses was such a turn on is a mystery I don’t think I’ll ever solve, but the moment his dazed gaze zeroed in on me and then cleared, his eyes widening, then narrowing, my legs got a little wobbly and my pulse jumped.
He tugged the glasses off and tossed them onto the table, his gaze never wavering my face.
“And you’re back early,” he said, rising.
I draped my coat over my forearm, kicked off my shoes, and shrugged. “It wasn’t supposed to be a long, drawn-out evening.”
Frayne took a few steps toward me, the lines in his forehead grooving deeper. “How was it?”
“Horrible,” I said, before I could stop myself. I shook my head as I moved towards the hall closet. “That’s unfair,” I added, as I hung up my coat. “It wasn’t horrible, as much as something not for me.”
I turned and barreled into Frayne.
“Jesus.” His hands shot out and braced my upper arms. “You don’t make a sound when you move.”
“A lifetime of apartment living,” he said. Once I was sure footed and guaranteed not to fall into him again, he lowered his hands.
If I’d had any nerve I would have asked him to put them back. Instead, I swallowed, turned, and walked toward the kitchen, as he asked, “Why wasn’t it something for you?”
I ignored the question. “I’m starving. Have you had anything to eat?”
I wasn’t surprised when he followed me.
“Not since lunch at the Inn. Maureen had soup and sandwiches today, which, like everything else she’s served since I’ve been here, were delicious.”
“Mo only knows how to do delicious.” I peeked inside my fridge. “And speaking of,” I pulled out a glass container. “This is fried chicken she gave me this morning. Want some?”
He leaned a hip against the counter and cocked his head.
“You don’t mind sharing?”
“We both have to eat.”
I put the mashed sweet potatoes she’d sent along in a microwave bowl, then set the timer.
“I hope you like your chicken cold because I’m in no mood to wait for the oven to heat.”
That darling little curl popped up in the corner of his mouth.
“Cold is fine.”
“Did you read any more of Josiah’s diaries?” I asked while I pulled plates from the cabinet.
When he didn’t answer I looked over at him. His quizzical head cock was in place again.
“I’m curious why you won’t answer my question.”
I stared at the microwave, taking a moment to formulate my answer.
“The whole concept of dating is alien to me. I knew Danny since the second grade and we got married when we were eighteen. He was the only guy I ever went out with, and it wasn’t even what anyone would consider dating, since we’d been together forever. Having to start all over at this age is”—I lifted one shoulder—“mentally exhausting.”
“Why did you agree to go, then?”
“Because, as my grandmother succinctly put it, it’s time to move on.”
“And you thought hiring a matchmaker was the way to meet someone?”
“I didn’t seek Olivia out. I kind of got railroaded into it.”
I explained how the situation came about while I put the food on the kitchen table. Once seated, I continued.
“Before I knew it, I’d agreed to go to tonight’s”—I waved my hand in the air—“thing.”
“So, again, why wasn’t it for you? I don’t know a lot about speed dating, but from what I’ve read it’s popular among millennials. Along with right-swipe hookups.” The jagged shake of his head told me all I needed to know how he felt about the way people met these days.
“And that’s the problem.” I pointed my sweet potato-laden fork at him. “I’m in the wrong age bracket. Call me old fashioned but I prefer to meet someone and get to know them organically and over time, not try and stuff the story of my life into three minutes before an egg timer beeps. Even though I didn’t participate I was tense and stressed watching the others who were. It all seemed…desperate to me.”
I stopped, mortified I’d admitted it, because in truth, that’s what I’d been feeling watching the group tonight.
From the moment we’d arrived at the restaurant I could tell I’d made a big mistake. The women were all older than me, had hungry, hopeful gleams in their eyes and when they caught sight of me, a few of their stares turned hostile. I was all set to beat a hasty retreat when Olivia’s hand at the small of my back propelled me forward.
Part of the restaurant had been cordoned off, a half dozen tables for two set-up in a semi-circle. Six women, six men, I assumed.
What’s that saying about what happens when you assume something?
A quick glance back at the hostility bowling my way and I realized it wasn’t because of my outfit or my age, but the fact I had the wrong chromosomes.
With me included, there were eight women. I’m better at words than math, but even a five year old knew that left a smaller number of men.
With a gentle prod, Olivia shoved me towards the gaggle of women. For the first time in my life I understood any sympathized with how Daniel must felt walking into the lion’s den.
“Ladies,” I said, with head bob and a tremulous smile.
Silence came back at me. I could stare down the most antagonistic of witnesses in a courtroom without even a thought, but for some reason all my courage flew south as these women glared at me through overly made-up, amateurly applied smoky eyes.
I swallowed the golf ball of fear in my throat.
“How’s everyone doing tonight?” I asked.
Lame, I know, but I was truly out of my element.
“You’re new,” a voice said. “Haven’t seen you before.”
“Y-yes. I’m a…friend…of Olivia’s.” If they thought I posed no dating threat, I figured they wouldn’t disembowel me.
“You joining in tonight, then?”
“Just an observer,” I assured her.
“Hey, aren’t you Fintan O’Dowd’s oldest?” One of them asked. Well, accused would be more the appropriate word choice.
Another quirk of living in a small community, especially with a well-known parent: everyone knows who you are and who you’re related to whether you know them or not. Since I didn’t recognize the woman asking, I nodded.
“Thought you was married.” Yup, accused was the correct word.
“I was. I’m a widow. My husband died…was killed. In Afghanistan.”
Immediately, their collective animosity flew right out the restaurant’s front door. They approached me in a cluster, cooing, and clicking their tongues in sad support of my plight.
If I’d known that was all it took to get them to put their invisible pitchforks and blunderbusses away I’d have led with it.
And yes, I know that’s dramatic, but their facial expressions up until then were fifty shades of scary.
A few moments later Olivia clapped her hands and called us to order.
I stood with her off at the side while she read the rules and held a stopwatch. A small bell sat on the table in front of her. At the first ding, the room went into motion.
The seven women all took their seats while the five men inspected them like hunters evaluating prey, and then made their way to the tables of their choice. I felt bad for the two women who sat solo.
“Don’t worry about them,” Olivia said, when I voiced my concern. “Everyone will have a chance to meet. You want to sit down at one of the tables and give this a go?”
Having a root canal without anesthesia while simultaneously getting my fingernails removed had more appeal. I declined, nicely, and said I just wanted to watch.
Intrigued? I’ll be posting soon on the cover and the release date, so stay tuned.
I missed posting this last week because of my inability to type yet, status post rotator cuff and torn bicep repair.
Thank you, Jesus, I’m able to type a little now.
This is a little sumthin’ sumthin’ from book2 in my DotComGirls romance series. There’s a good chance I might be self pubbing this in the near future if no one in the industry wants to to that for me (heehee)
Anyway, Heroine is Nell Newbery, hero is Charlie Churchill and this scene is a little banter between them I kinda like.
My ride had arrived during the time we were being questioned and hadn’t stuck around.
I ordered another one.
“Two minutes out,” I said. “He’s around the corner.”
“I’ll wait with you,” Charlie said.
“You don’t have to.”
“I want to.”
I nodded and readjusted my briefcase strap around my shoulder and sucked on the inside of my cheek.
He grinned down at me. “You first.”
“I just want to say…thanks. For everything, from helping me when I fell, to when I banged my chin, and for the burger.” I shook my head. “I feel like I’ve had a black raincloud following me around this entire day and I sucked you into my own personal squall.”
“I’m British,” he said, a bemused expression on his face. “I’m used to the rain.”
“I don’t care about storms, Nell,” he added. “I always have an umbrella stored in my briefcase as a precaution.”
“I bet you were a boy scout.”
It was his turn to laugh. “Something equivalent, anyway. Listen.” He took my hand in his and my nerves instantly ebbed away. “I enjoyed spending time with you this evening and I’d like to do it again.”
“Why do you sound shocked?”
I lifted a shoulder and pulled a corner of my mouth between my teeth. “Raincloud, remember? Plus—”
When I didn’t continue he squeezed my hand. “Did you not have a good time?”
“No. I mean, yes I did, not no, I didn’t. I did. It was fun.”
Lord, when did I turn into such a babbler?
He grinned down at me.
“It’s just, well…I don’t date much.”
“Neither do I.”
My head slammed back up. “I find that hard to believe. I caught some of the looks those women tossed you when they were leaving my lecture tonight.”
“I don’t date students. Ever. That’s a line that never gets crossed. Not by me.”
“Oh. Well.” I swallowed. “I’m sure you know other women who aren’t students.”
He nodded. “None of them, unfortunately, know Dr. Strange isn’t a rapper or confuse Stan Lee with a famous martial artist from the sixties.”
My pulse rate jumped a half dozen beats when he tossed me a cheeky grin, laughter in his eyes.
“I do have some talents,” I said.
He lifted his chin to something behind me. “I think this is your ride.”
With his hand still wrapped around mine, he walked me to the curb. Habit had me checking the license with the one I’d been texted.
He opened the passenger door for me and I got in.
“You never answered me,” he said when I was seated. “Would you like to do this again?”
I’d lived my entire adult life taking chances in my professional life but shying away from them in my personal one. The reasons to avoid becoming involved were valid ones, in my mind, and they’d served me well.
But there was something so different about this man, something that wanted me to finally give in and take a chance that he wouldn’t be like all the other men I’d gotten close to. He wouldn’t use me to his own end purpose; he wouldn’t betray me; he wouldn’t lie to me about who and what he was.
And dammit, I deserved to have some fun in my life.
All this ran through my head as he stood, patiently waiting for my answer.
It really didn’t take much effort on my part to make a decision. With a half grin and my gaze staying zeroed in on his, I reached into my briefcase and pulled out one of my business cards. While the driver waited, I wrote my private cell number on the back of it. There were only five people on the planet who had this number.
Now, Charlie did as well.
As I handed it to him, I cocked my head and said, “Maybe next time we can get through an evening without me needing first aid or being mugged.”
His jaw wide smile made my stomach muscles flutter. He leaned in, gave me a quick peck on the cheek and said, “Where would the fun be in that?”
Intrigued? Stay tuned for my decision on self pub or traditional.