Friday, September 30, 2011

the Friday song

You know those moments that stay with you even though they're completely unimportant? I remember a night long ago, I was in my mid 30's. I had gone dancing with some girlfriends to a new club in St. Louis where I lived at the time. The club was in an old, huge bank vault.
The moment came when a certain song came on. I loved the song so I was dancing pretty much oblivious to my surroundings. Suddenly, unexpectely, a hat plopped on my head. It looked kind of like this hat:
except it was very dark brown.

The plopper was a handsome man who looked around the same age as me. He had wild curly brown hair, sexy lips and dark brown eyes lit up with 'interest' in me. He was average height and weight. We danced the whole song and just as it ended and he started to say something to me, his guy friends called out to him that they were leaving. He turned and shrugged to me, took his hat and went off.

For years there was a radio station that played that song every Friday at 5o'clock to celebrate the end of the work week. And every Friday I would remember that moment and smile.

I give you the Friday song:

Thank Goodness It's Friday, Y'all!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Romance Novels: Ain't Too Proud To Beg, Author: Susan Donovan

I'm reading some Susan Donovan books right now; a romantic comedy trilogy. There is a group of women who work together at a newspaper. They form a very dysfunctional dog-walking group. Each book is the story of one of the women.

You know how all romance books have similar scenes, etc except you, well I, don't get tired of them because the voice is different and they're not exactly the same, like snowflakes?

Well, Susan Donovan is an exception to that. In each of her books there is something wildly different. I don't want to spoiler so I'll just say -

in Ain't Too Proud To Beg - the first book, about Josie Sheehan and Rick Rousseau - the scene where she first has Rick to her apartment made me almost wet my pants from laughing and it's - UNIQUE.

in The Night She Got Lucky, about Ginger Garrison and Lucio 'Lucky' Montevez - a natural human phenomen occurs during an unusal weather phenomenon leaving you shaking your head in wonder - UNIQUE.

in Not That Kind of Girl  - the third book - about Roxie Bloom and Eli Gallagher - the scene where they first make love - very entertaining and very UNIQUE.

There is a fourth woman in the dog-walking group, Bea, her lesbian love story is briefly told in Not That Kind Of Girl and it's sweet.

In all the books there is a wonderful woman, Mrs. Needleman. We meet her in book one when Josie writes the obituary for her husband of umpteen years (she herself is in her eighties). She's a matchmaker full of wisdom.

In Ain't Too Proud To Beg she says: "And from the beginning of time, anger and fear had been love's most formidable foes."

In The Night She Got Lucky she says: "You could still get lucky, but if you spend all your time worrying that you're over the hill, then you'll miss your chance to be over the moon."

In Not That Kind of Girl "...she'd picture the passing of time as a kind of poem, a poem that looped around and repeated itself in places, yet always charged ahead toward the inevitable end. And when it was over, love was the only thing that remained."

Over in Julieland Saturday's blogpost led to a discussion which unsuccessfully tried not to be about  double-clicking-one's-mouse which reminds me of a book one of the characters is reading - the DIY Guide To Female Orgasm. That book doesn't exist but this one does - Amazing DIY Orgasms: A Girl's Guide to Pleasuring Herself by Roseann D. Bell - but only on Kindle. Makes me want to go out and buy a Kindle. I will probably not write a blog about it, though.

You can find more about Susan and her books on her website.


Kris showed us her work space here. Delia showed us her writing space here.

For a brief glance into my other life - here is the space where I find myself 40 hours a week -

Whoops - it's a little blurry. Oh well, you can see it's pleasant. That red cup is a nice company issued cup so that no one spills on the computer. Being a spiller, I greatly appreciate it.

Here is a close up so that you can see - the only decoration I've added so far is the kaola bear cup that Kris sent me from Australia. It's filled with hard candy peppermints in case I have throat troubles while talking.

Here is a pic of the bookmark she also sent me. It's not on my desk because while stealing has never been a problem at this company, I might be able to replace the cup with another cup with koala bears (though not the exact one) but I don't think I could replace the bookmark.

The dark brown is a wooden bookmark. The light brown is the packaging. Beautiful, huh?

Thanks again, Kris.

Hope everyone is having a good week.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Weird encounter, Romance Novel: Deep Down True, Author: Juliette Fay

My new job is with a small part of a big company. But even my small part is a building full of people, at least one hundred. (A building with no windows, btw, who does that?) Now you would think the big, boss over all the bosses would operate at a certain professional level, wouldn't you?

So imagine my surprise when I found myself in an encounter with her and I had no clue who she was. She was telling me to do something in contrast to what my boss had told me to do. I thought she was just one of those people who wants to be a chief when she's really an Indian. Why? Because she was dressed like a bimbo. Seriously. It's a casual week and she had on jean capris and a low back blouse with loads of make up and her hair in a messy ponytail. Would you have seen that and thought 'authority'?

It was no big deal, just a little unsettling.

Deep Down True by Juliette Fay - outstandingly good book. It rocks. I'm not going to spoiler but there's a scene near the end that makes me laugh every time even though I've read those 2 pages twenty times. Course it could just be my irreverent sense of humor.

I'm just starting Not That Kind Of Girl by Susan Donovan and it has potential also.

What's everybody reading?

Judy, Judy, Judy

Friday, September 16, 2011

Romance Novel: The Goddesses of Kitchen Avenue, Author: Barbara Samuel

"My mother said she was a drunk, but she wasn't. I knew even then that my mother was just afraid of Lucille. Afraid of her sexuality, afraid of her courage, afraid of her version of womanhood. Afraid it would leak out of her house somehow, like bad water, to poison the whole neighborhood." The Goddesses of Kitchen Avenue by Barbara Samuel

Why are people like this? Why do they see someone living a genuine, fulfilled life, true to themselves, and instantly fear their lack of conformity? Why do they have to squash such people with lies and harmful gossip?

Clearly, if one person has the courage to be uniquely themselves even when it means flying in the face of societies expectations, it makes it easier for another person to do it also. Isn't that a good thing?

"The men stopped to admire her back...But mostly they stopped to hear that wild, bold poppy laugh come out of her throat. Stopped to have her admire them. Stopped to be watered by her joy." The Goddesses of Kitchen Avenue by Barbara Samuel

"watered by her joy" I love that. I hope that I have that effect on people sometimes. I hope that I water people with my joy sometimes.

"We've had our share of dark times, too, times when I wanted to take a meat cleaver to his stubborn old head." The Goddesses of Kitchen Avenue by Barbara Samuel

Been there, felt that. Glad it passed without incident.

"It helps to say fuck a lot." The Goddesses of Kitchen Avenue by Barbara Samuel

I find that to be true. However, I do subscribe to the notion put forth by George Carlin or Lenny Bruce (I've heard it attributed to both) that it isn't an insult to say 'fuck you'. If you want to insult someone you'd want to deprive them of pleasure so better to say 'unfuck you'.

"Work is's not the job I thought I'd end up with..." The Goddesses of Kitchen Avenue by Barbara Samuel

Having just started a new j.o.b. I completely resonate with this. It's just a place to work. It's a paycheck. If I could do anything for a living that I wanted to, I'd either read or write or both.

"Here is one thing that is good about being forty-six: I Have A Granddaughter." The Goddesses of Kitchen Avenue by Barbara Samuel

Substitute fifty-four for forty-six, add 'And A Grandson' and this could be me talking. ;)

The book is full of quotes like this one:
"Many suffer from the incurable disease of writing and it becomes chronic in their sick minds." Juvenal (A.D. 60-130)

And quotes from a Spanish poet I never heard of before named Federico Garcia Lorca:
"And at the full of night,
The night benighted by nightfall."
"Cuando llegaba la noche,
Noche que noche nochera."

"I used to think I was a pretty nice person...But here is what I've learned: It's easy to be nice when everything is fine. Take a few body blows, and the character shows up in a hurry. I am as evil as anyone I've ever met." The Goddesses of Kitchen Avenue by Barbara Samuel

I feel bad for people who rush to turn a negative situation around immediately without really looking at it for what it is. It's like they are afraid of experiencing their sadness or pain. I don't think it goes away with no consequences, though. Instead it turns on you in the form of illness or limits you because you spend so much time and effort avoiding it.

"That skirt is to young for you..."
"I have good legs and my generation invented miniskirts, so we get to wear them as long as we want." The Goddesses of Kitchen Avenue by Barbara Samuel

You tell 'em, sister!

"-"You know what I want to do to you?"
I laugh. It's an old game. One we invented to survive PTA meetings and boring recitals and long events we didn't particularly want to attend." The Goddesses of Kitchen Avenue by Barbara Samuel

Now this is a fun husband. Where do I find a husband like this? Or do they only exist in romance novels?

"My wild Celtic heart." The Goddesses of Kitchen Avenue by Barbara Samuel

I have a wild Celtic heart. I only have one ancestor who wasn't Celtic. I don't believe in god. I do believe in cell memory. And in my cells there is the memory of worshipping goddesses; of dancing on moors under the moon on windy nights around balefires.

This book has several entries about goddesses. I like them all but this one is my favorite:
"Kali is depicted with black skin. She wears a necklace of skulls, carries a knife to cut through illusion, a mirror of reflection and drinks from a skull cup of blood. She stands above her disemboweled lover, phallus erect, his blood feeding the earth. Her visage is terrifying. She is loved and feared for her destructive powers, for she is both womb and tomb simultaneously."

Whether she's writing as Barbara Samuel as she does for this book, or Barbara O'Neal as she does for some other books we've talked about, Barbara never disappoints. It's a beautiful book that I thoroughly enjoyed reading.

Gotta get to sleep now so I can go to my j.o.b. tomorrow. It felt good to spend some time in the world of putting words to paper for a while.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Blessings and Curses

Hey everyone.

This is not my usual Novel Truths blog. Some changes are afoot in my life and they take some getting used to. I'll be back to normal soon, I promise.

Over in JulieLand for a couple of days now part of the focus has been on things that are a blessing and a curse at the same time. That's what's happening for me.

I've gotten a new job. Blessing right? And it is in many ways. I'm grateful for it. I've been able to transition from caretaking, which I was burnt out on, back into office work. I'm ready for it. And the pay is decent. And the people appear to be nice. And it's similar to work I've done before and enjoyed.

Unfortunately the hours are difficult for me in a couple of ways. Right now they're 8am to 5pm for the next 2 weeks. If you know me, you know I'm not a morning person. After the first 2 weeks they shift to 10am to 7pm. Better. I'll be happier. And unhappier. Because all the routines I had established with my gkids are gone. And sometimes my gkids are the reason I get up in the morning.

But even the hours have a blessing side. I'm in the same city as the pool everyday and I can head for the water Monday to Thursday. Very, very happy about that. Everything looks better for me after a little time in the pool.

Also, I am going to have some different kind of fun with my gkids on the weekends. Starting with attending some demolition derbies and drag races in a few weeks.

Why demolition derbies and drag races you ask? Because a new protagonist who drives in one or the other or both is making herself at home in my brain. A host of other characters are moving in behind her. And a plot is taking shape.

Romcom this time. You saw it, Delia!

Anyhoo I have notes for a couple of Novel Truth blogs and a couple of $10. word blogs for the Bettyverse and they'll come spewing out my fingertips very soon.

While I adjust to someone else being in charge of a large chunk of my life for the first time since the year 2000, y'all hold space for me, okay?

Friday, September 9, 2011

Paranormal Romance Novel: How To Flirt With a Naked Werewolf, Author: Molly Harper, Recipe: Chocolate Chess Squares


"When I was a kid I welcomed every birthday because it put me one year closer to my moving out on my own." How To Flirt With a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper

I remember that feeling. Of course, then it happened and I had bills to pay, dishes to do, laundry to wash. It was enough to make a grown woman want to play dress up and pull out the minature tea set and have a tea party with the cat.

"And if he had an incredibly small penis, it might explain why he was such an ass all the time." How To Flirt With A Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper

So true. Especially if you consider he's probably doing all his thinking with that tiny head as they're often inclined to do.

We've talked about lines that inspire envy in us as writers because we really wish we had come up with them. Well here's another one:

"Cooper was exactly the type of guy I would have had sex with before the first date..." How To Flirt With a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper

Maybe it will help us to forgive Molly for being so brilliant if we find a recipe for something yummy she talks about in the book - chocolate chess squares.
1 (18 ounce) box light devils food cake mix
1 egg
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tablespoon water
8 ounces light cream cheese
1 lb powdered sugar
3 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
Coat a 13 x 9 pan with cooking spray.
Combine cake mix, egg, butter, and water by hand.
Now, pat the batter mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan.
In a mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and egg whites until smooth.
Add the vanilla extract. Pour mixture over batter.
Bake 45 minutes or until top is golden, cool and cut into squares

"Just then the loud screeching of a smoke alarm sounded over Alan's shoulder. As he turned, I could see smoke billowing from the kitchen." How To Flirt With A Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper

Lately for me that just means dinner is done. I can't cook anymore. Not that I want to, mind you.

"If I go into your office and find an Alan doll with pins stuck in its crotch, I will be super-pissed." How To Flirt With A Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper

I wonder where one finds those kind of dolls. And do they make special crotch pins? I can think of a few politicians I'd like to jab in the crotch with a nice sharp pin.

"It took too much energy to keep thinking up all those clever insults." How To Flirt With A Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper

Yeah like - I hear you changed your mind! What did you do with the diaper?
OR - Do you have to leave so soon? I was about to poison the tea.
OR - Who am I calling "stupid"? I don't know. What's your name?

You have to set the bar lower or else you'll be trying to think up something nasty but witty when you really just want to say "Yeah, so's your mother."

"Until then, I see myself as a conservationist, protecting the local wildlife from idiots with firearms."  How To Flirt With A Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper

We all need someone to protect us from idiots with firearms. Especially if he is the same kind of someone who makes a romantic gesture by giving us a 'thunderegg' and then cracking it open so it looks like this"

"...I was going to evaluate what it said about me as a person that I had some strange kind of relationship with a man I didn't particularly like, in which he was naked at least half of the time we spent together." How To Flirt With A Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper 

Yeah I'd like to figure out that myself about a couple of past relationships.

"By the way, did you say 'galdamn' back there? "
"There's an inverse relationship between my temper and my ability to control my accent. If you hear me say 'fiddledeedee,' run for the hills, because I'm getting ready to take out bystanders."  How To Flirt With A Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper

I'm proud to say that both of those classy Southern words are part of my vocabulary.

"There's some sort of instinct coded into Southern DNA that sends us all running for the bread and milk aisle at the slightest sign of frozen precipitation."  How To Flirt With A Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper

According to Garrison Keeler, Minnesota natives stock up on water chestnuts. I'd rather have milk and bread.

"And I assume that she doesn't settle for the time-honored Southern tradition of passive aggressive comments and insulting your cooking?" How To Flirt With A Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper

I bet y'all thought we were all sugar and spice. Ha!

This is not a book I would ordinarily have chosen to read. I picked it up because Molly lives in Paducah, KY. That's only 45 minutes from me. I thoroughly enjoyed it, though. It's part of a series and I can't wait to get book 2, The Art Of Seducing A Naked Werewolf.

She has another series about vampires. I'll let you check that out for yourself on her website as, if you know me, you know I don't like vampires. If you do - go to Molly

Then come back and join me in watching a youtube video of Teddy Bears Picnic by Jerry Garcia which she also mentions in the book.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Romance Suspense Novel: Not One Clue, Author: Chrissy McMullen


"I have a deep and abiding affection for sleep and tend to get somewhat miffed when I and my beloved are separated." Chrissy McMullen from Not One Clue by Lois Greiman

I feel the same way, Chrissy. If only I could figure out just what to do to lure sleep back into my bed on a regular basis.

"There's nothing like a trash-talking stalker to make a girl feel special." Chrissy McMullen from Not One Clue by Lois Greiman

Damn straight. And if I have a yummy Lindt Touch Of Sea Salt dark chocolate bar to eat while I'm listening to his filthy propositions, all the better.

"I heard him sigh. It sounded like the conversation was kind of making him old. I decided to change the subject before he needed an oxygen tank." Chrissy McMullen from Not One Clue by Lois Greiman

Oh for the days when I had a man whose buttons I could push until his eyes popped out.

Ah well, until I can find another one (as in, never) did you know that in I, Robot, the movie, there's a shower scene with Will Smith? The things you learn in fiction novels.

"I didn't try to explain my sense of humor. She wouldn't be the first to mistake it for lunacy." Chrissy McMullen from Not One Clue by Lois Greiman

I can't believe how much I have in common with this chick. I kid myself that people just don't get me but really, most of the time they think I'm crazy.

"The grocery carts were mating in the entry way." Chrissy McMullen from Not One Clue by Lois Greiman

I read this line and I'm so envious. Why can't I see the world like this? Like Lois Greiman? Or Tawna Fenske? Or Linda Grimes?

"I tried to console her, but the truth is that overt displays of emotion make me itchy. We Midwesterners are more comfortable with snot than with tears. It's a condition that conflicts almost constantly with the sappy Celt in me." Chrissy McMullen from Not One Clue by Lois Greiman

This is getting downright eerie. I'm the same way and I'm even 7/8ths sappy Celt.

"I'm naturally a trusting sort, but folks have attempted to kill me a few times and that's put something of a damper on my optomism regarding the inherent goodness of the human spirit." Chrissy McMullen from Not One Clue by Lois Greiman

Okay here's where we differ. For me the push towards pessimism doesn't come from someone attempting to kill me, it comes from three men succeeding in marrying me and the harrowing lengths I had to go to in order to regain my freedom and recover my sanity.

"The ice cream was beginning to chill my nerves and restore the usual munificence I reserve for all mankind." Chrissy McMullen from Not One Clue by Lois Greiman

Amazing the restorative powers of a Dove bar. If I eat it while watching that shower scene...what former husbands...who remembers any former husbands...not me.

"Originally I had thought he might also be a murderer. Now I believed him to be a genuinely nice person. Does it seem odd that a licensed psychologist can't tell the difference?" Chrissy McMullen from Not One Clue by Lois Greiman

Why should a piece of paper give you an advantage over the rest of us?

"I had always believed that people were basically who they were. They could change their situations, their surroundings, and their actions. But eventually their true colors would show through." Chrissy McMullen from Not One Clue by Lois Greiman

I believe that. Of course I have been known to be color blind.

Chrissy McMullen is a character that I love. Lois Greiman has written a fabulous series featuring Chrissy and her hot Latin love interest, Jack Rivera. Their relationship is built on witty, sassy, snarky, risque dialogue. There are a number of lovable, wounded, characters common to all of the books in the series.

The books are - in order -  Unzipped; Unplugged; Unscrewed; Unmanned; One Hot Mess; Not One Clue.

It's a cozy mystery series. McMullen is a psychologist. Rivera is a police detective.

Greiman isn't required to give us an HEA since it isn't officially a romance. She's good with the HFN's, though. It's rumored that this is the last book in this series. If so, that's alright with me. The last page of the last book definitely makes me happy.

She has a number of other books in a number of other genres. Check out her website for more information.

I went to her website and found this: "Just got an offer to write a story for the Mammoth Book of Scottish Romance. Fun!"

And this: According to a fan poll this is what Jack Rivera looks like. 

If your mind works like mine and you put those two bits of info together, you're picturing Goran Visnjic in a kilt.

Hot damn I need a cold shower!

Friday, September 2, 2011

The making of HUNGRY GHOSTS

For the past four months I have posted an installment of the modern Gothic romance novel I was writing, titled Hungry Ghosts. I am both relieved and sad to say, I finished the novel last Friday. So I decided we need a wrap up.

Why did I decide to write a modern Gothic romance novel? I've been following the Gothic book club on Jenny Crusie's Cherry Forum. We have been reading and discussing a gothic novel each month for the purpose of learning to write them. I was inspired to try my hand at the genre.

Cherry Forums taught me that Gothic romance novels have specific requirements. You don't have to meet all of them, but you do have to meet some. Those requirements are:

"A Young Heroine who is sent to
A Big House located in the middle of
A Wilderness, owned by . . .
A Threatening Patriarchal/Matriarchal Authority Figure, who has
Endangered Children Who Need a Governess and who are plagued by
Supernatural Elements, all complicated by
A Demanding, Aloof Hero with the Sensitivity of a Wombat (Wikipedia: “They can be awkwardly tamed in a captive situation, and even coaxed into being patted and held, possibly becoming quite friendly. . . . However, their lack of fear means that they may display acts of aggression if provoked, or if they are simply in a bad mood.)" (This quote came directly from the Cherry Forum from Molly.)

Wanting to make it modern the first thing that came to me was - how would modern day children be endangered? I had been reading a lot (thanks to Betty Fokker) about eating disorders in models. So I thought - the threat to them could be that someone is trying to keep them too skinny so they can exploit them as models.

What do endangered children Tamara and Crystal look like in my head? 
Meet Tamara (whose mother gave her the dreadful nickname, Twig, to encourage her to be skinny)
Actress: Yohana Cobo

Meet Crystal - horrible nickname Slinky - same reason; to encourage her to be skinny:

Actress Irene Escolar

Who should rescue children endangered in this way? I figured the perfect heroine would be a former too skinny model who had given up the supermodel lifestyle to make healthy choices and would today be considered plus size. So I made the girls mom a ghost who left their guardianship to Clementine Dancer, formerly Tiny Dancer. (If I had it to do over, she'd have a different name cause I could never figure out how to shorten Clementine.) Meet Clementine:

Plus-size model Tara Lynn

Dead mom ghost Tiffany Dish left the house to Clementine. Easy right? Except that the house is pink stucco and it's not in a dry climate. It has to be tented when it rains. And the grounds are covered in kudzu.

Ghost Tiffany's backstory: smoked & chewed ice to stay thin - smell of tobacco smoke & sound of ice chewing - in one room of the house also the sound of tv & a vibrator humming)
She was dismissed from a model shoot by Malvin Mein at 16 for being overweight at 5’8 and 110 pounds. She was obsessed with being too thin and trying to get another shot at super model or star status. She died of lung cancer at 41 when the girls were 13 & 11
Meet Tiffany:
Actress Cate Blanchett
Tiffany and her girls were living with a photographer when she died. Enter the villain - Nate Ferber - who is suing for custody so he can exploit the girls. Nate is a sleazoid asshole user. He cozies up to movie director Humbert Blatt (yes the Lolita reference is deliberate) in a way that is probably obvious but I'll not give specifics to avoid spoilers.
Meet Nate:

Maroon 5's Adam Levine

Meet Humbert:

Woody Allen

That leaves the aloof alpha male love interest - Danilo Torres; injured pro-soccer player. He arcs throughout the book into a man who can love Clementine and be a good father for Tam and Crys. He will never be wholy tame, though. He will always call Clementine, 'sugar' and pat her on the butt in public, never knowing why anyone would consider that demeaning.
Meet Dan:

Pro-soccer player Carlos Tevez

Of course, Clementine and Dan must fight supernatural elements; three ghosts that haunt the pink stucco nightmare house. These were inspired by a blogpost in JulieLand in which she drew the tarot card: Hungry Ghosts. (Sorry I didn't keep the specific post link.) The ghosts are obsession, scarcity consciousness and attachment.

Obsession is dead mother Tiffany ghost - obsessed with being thin.

Scarcity consciousness is Lulu Magrico ghost who grew up in abject poverty. When she is out of control she scarfs down vast quantities of food in case that is the last chance she’ll have to eat, then vomits. Smell of  bacon cooking and sound of vomitting are indicators of her presence. Haunts the kitchen and bathroom.

Attachment is Elly Magrico ghost who was attached to the notion that she and Lulu had to bring their family out of poverty. Deprives herself of food to remain a super model. She chewed sugar-free grape flavored gum and the smell of artificial grape flavor and sound of gum chewing indicate her presence. Haunts the pool.

Lulu and Elly are modeled after dead super model sisters: Luisel and Eliana Ramos who died for real at 22 & 18 of heart attacks brought on by malnutrition due to anorexia.

The song 'The Wrong Way' by Sublime kept me on focus while writing the scene between Nate and Slinky at the photography studio.

The song 'Long Cool Woman In a Black Dress' by the Hollies subdued Lulu ghost.

And finally my Happily Ever After was powered by The Faders song 'No Sleep Tonight'.

I have questions for you - should I do this again? Another modgothrom? Or what new genre should I try next?

Do you have questions for me?