This is our new bundle of joy … Indiana Jones, Indie for short. It took us a couple of days to name this little guy, but after watching him bounce around the house and fly (yes, that’s the right word) off the furniture we figured his name fit his adventuresome nature.
This little guy was the runt of the litter, but what he didn’t get in size he more than makes up for in spirit. He has learned to scale a human (back or front) in 2 seconds flat (a bad habit that we can’t stop at the moment because it’s too darn cute). He can jump at least three feet both vertically and horizontally to reach sleeping spots. And has no problem taking on our older cat (who is easily five times his size) in knock-down-drag-out wrestling matches that make me wonder if he has all his marbles. And he has most definitely wiggled his way into our hearts.
And just watching him has made me think about how I approach life and more specifically, my writing. There are so many new things Indie encounters every day, yet I haven’t seen him shy away from any of them. He fearlessly goes through his day with a cocky arrogance that makes me laugh … and I totally admire. Which made me think that I should approach my writing that way.
When I first began this adventure I didn’t know enough to stop my muse from playing gleefully. We romped around wherever the spirit led us. But then I learned some “rules” and well … started to worry more about whether the story I was writing would be good enough. And the more I write and learn, the more cautious I become. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve floundered because I was overthinking a particular scene, too worried about how the readers (and reviewers) might not like a particular approach.
I want to boldly write my book and shut off my internal editor. I’d love to jump into scenes with both feet, eyes closed and land where I may. I keep working on it. Perhaps some day I’ll be able to achieve that goal and get back to when writing was a joyfully journey into new settings and characters.
How about you? How do you approach life? Do you feel (like me) that more experiences seem to make you more cautious … in everything.
It appears I’ve done it again. I’ve frittered away the month of December and Christmas has crept up on me like an old pair of panties.
And I can only hope this letter finds its way into your hands before Rudolph is hitched to your sleigh. You see there’s only one thing I want for Christmas. I’d really like… if it’s not too much trouble… a doover.
It seems like only yesterday it was the week before Thanksgiving and I was thinking “oh, another whole month stretches out ahead of me to enjoy the holiday season”. *Gulp* Where did the month go? I want it back. If you could turn back the clock I promise the second time around I’d use my allotted time more wisely.
I won’t wait until the week before Christmas to start shopping and picking over the clothing racks with only size 0 or 26 left. I’d send out my Christmas gifts in a timely fashion so the man at the post office won’t laugh maniacally at my feeble attempt to get packages to loved ones. I promise to plan my Christmas dinner waaay before the grocery shelves hold only pickles and day old bagles. I’ll not eat so much at the Christmas parties so the cute outfit I bought for Christmas Eve mass will still fit. I promise to keep the house picked up so when unexpected guests arrive to share some holiday cheer, I won’t be scrambling to clear the laundry off the couch and they’ll have a place to sit. I promise to buy tape, ribbon, and wrapping paper right after Thanksgiving and not pull the funnies section of the newspaper out of the recycling so my gifts are covered with something. I promise to put up the tree before Christmas Eve and have it down waaay before Valentine’s Day. I promise to wrap gifts and stack them happily under the tree and not wait until two days before the holiday to think perhaps I should have asked for gift boxes.
So, if I promise to do all these things, Santa… could you just deliver this one little gift. ‘Cause I could really use a “do over” for Christmas.
PS Anyone tell you… you’re looking good for a jolly old elf!
I was listening to yet another famous single woman being interviewed on television today. When asked what she was looking for in a man she replied, “a sense of humor.” Is she kidding? Does she not date men? Does she not have any brothers, nephews, uncles, cousins, or male friends?
Because, in my experience, asking for a man with a sense of humor is like asking for washing machine with a rinse cycle or a new car complete with four tires. Humor comes standard on most male models. I mean really.
And it’s not the kind of humor I get. My teenage son watches Red/Green, The Simpsons, Arrested Development, Family Guy, and a host of other programs and just howls with laughter. Me? I watch them and think meh… amusing, but not… roll on the floor, split a gut, or even gaffaw kind of funny. I’ve never even made it through a whole Three Stooges movie–and I’ve tried. At hubby’s request, I sat next to him trying to laugh at all the slapstick humor. Didn’t happen.
On another occasion hubby and brother-in-law watched the same home video of one of their friends slamming into the camera at his wedding–for hours! They laughed just as hard the 87th time it replayed as they did the first time they saw it. Huh? When I was young I used to sit with my older brother and watch the Road Runner cartoon, just to listen to him laugh. And I giggled at his obvious delight in the coyote’s mishaps. But did I get it? Nope.
Now, just so you don’t think I’m without a funnybone… I do find a lot of things very funny. I love the movie Big. Tom Hanks plays a thirteen year old in an adult body… when he pushes caviar off his tongue at a dinner party… I just crack up–everytime! It’s one of my all time favorite scenes. Or the scene in The Grinch when the sleigh is headed down the mountain and poor Max the dog ends up on the back and the Grinch turns around and the dog waves and shrugs his shoulders… makes me smile just remembering. And don’t even get me started on I Love Lucy, because there isn’t an episode that doesn’t make me laugh out loud.
So what’s my point? Well, if you had just one wish to make your guy perfect, I just don’t think you should be wasting it on humor. It’s already there. They’re hard wired with it! Romance, kindness, bedroom eyes, need I say more? Pick something from the dessert side of the menu! Why would you ask for more veggies when it already comes with the main course? I’m just saying…
I can’t let today go by without telling everyone how fortunate I am to have such a wonderful mom. She raised 5 children (each of us a year apart … you do the math … FIVE teenagers! And she survived!) She’s been wonderful as I’ve become a mom. She hangs back until we ask for advice and then gently shares her wisdom. Mom lives far away from me and though we don’t talk on the phone very often, I think about her every day.
But 28 years ago when I married Mr. Nina another wonderful mom came into my life. I’m so fortunate to have someone else who loves me unconditionally, supports and encourages. I truly am doubly blessed.
Though my life is in complete turmoil, these two women have stepped forward to do what they can to bring order to the chaos. They both bring me to tears every day and I don’t think they realize how much their love and support has meant over the past few months as the bottom tumbled out of our world.
I also have three beautiful children, one love-sick son-in-law whom I adore and a cute-as-a-button-never-stops-running grandson.
I have a trunk full of all the cards and little goodies my children made for me when they were little and though it is in storage at the moment, the memories never fade. Little Boy Blue (who’s now 22) made me a hand pressed in plaster that hangs from a pretty ribbon. Beautiful Girl (now 24) made me a clay mask of her face in second grade and painted it all kinds of whimsical colors. Baby Girl (who’s now a mom) weaved a yarn thingy that fits just perfectly over my body moisture bottles that sit on my bureau. There are countless gifts of weaved baskets, clay pots, and a wooden treasure chest … all gifts my children made and gave to me on Mother’s Day. They are more precious to me than all my fine jewelry.
Now that they’re older, my children give me gifts of words. Hallmark cards scrawled with a little note at the end, loving words from the heart that make me cry. Every. Time.
And despite all the other #%@^ of my life … all these things I hold onto ever so dearly and realize how truly blessed I am. I know many of my blog readers have moms looking down on them from heaven. The reminder that everyone’s days are number makes me appreciate the small gesture of love even more.
If you’re a mom … Happy Mother’s Day. And I hope this day finds you counting your blessings as well.
I know, I know, I’ve been missing in action. *sigh* Life in the Pierce house has been a little out of control. This is the first week in the last couple of months I didn’t manage to pre-load my posts. Shame on me.
Anyway, here’s part of what’s been happening. MY DAUGHTER, BEAUTIFUL GIRL, GOT MARRIED! I know, right? *sniff sniff*
Mr. Nina and I were realizing it was just a year ago this month that our future son-in-law, Lover Boy, asked Mr. Nina for our daughter’s hand in marriage. They were on the golf course doing the “guy” thing where it all began.
Fast forward to a year later. My daughter (and her fiance) was a crazy-woman doing all kinds of crafty things for her wedding. They made all of their wedding invitations. She created gorgeous table numbers with baby photos of the two of them. She made all the place cards. She made a “card cake” for the gift table. She made allllll kinds of things. But the day before the wedding (when her mother assumed everything was finished) she hadn’t done the BIG things. Oh, like pick up all the flowers for the wedding. Find her wedding rings … yeah in the craft/laundry/dishes mess that had become her livingroom floor over the past two weeks. Create the soundtrack of music that would be played at her wedding. Pack for the wedding weekend … just to name a few things she hadn’t done THE DAY BEFORE THE WEDDING, ONE HOUR BEFORE REHEARSAL!
So two days before the wedding when her future mother-in-law took several family members and my daughter to a spa for mani’s and pedi’s, we thought it would be relaxing. Only, the nails Beautiful Girl had been nurturing for a month (for the “ring” picture) got cut off by the manicurist! Cut off! Which meant a quick trip to the salon the next morning for nail tips. And THEN I found out everything that still needed to be done.
The laundry list of stories that will be retold in the Pierce house is long. (Because we never do anything easy.) But include:
– Beautiful Girl 30 min late for her own rehearsal
– Sex toy party thrown by her bridesmaids in her wedding suite
– Forgotten wedding veil that required a 40 minute road trip at 1 am
– A light mist that turned into a full blown rain 20 minutes before ceremony
– Makeup person doing funky things on bridesmaids that needed to be remedied
– Beautiful Girl plugging her ears singing “la la la la … I can’t hear you” as they’re doing her hair (because she was done making decisions)
– Moving the wedding indoors and starting 30 min late
All of which ended with a beautiful, heartwrenching ceremony that had everyone in tears. A fun reception. And a couple of kids who couldn’t be happier. Crazy, wonderful times. (And I’m glad we survived. LOL!)
The Pierce Family
THE HAPPY COUPLE
(Photo by KATE BAKER PHOTOGRAPHY)
You’re probably not going to let me get away with this and I have to say … I’m soooo sorry! This week has gotten away from me AGAIN! I have no excuse. My head was in a bad place and I just couldn’t get my act together to blog. I know … shame on me.
And I can’t even say I finished the rewrite of my vampire romantic suspense, though I have been working diligently on it. One of my beta readers had some really good questions and I’m mulling them over and figuring out how to clarify. Still… it’s not a good excuse. Now I’m travelling to visit my family in Maine. Looks like it’s going to be a wonderful week at the lake. There will be a lot of laughter and too much wine and probably several nights of card playing. All fun and games. (Though I am bringing the laptop and have explained to my muse that she can’t play the whole week away). Yay!
Next week, despite the fact that I’ll be away, I’ll actually be pretty good about posting. (Because of course I, ummm … have them preloaded.)
And a happy wave to all my writer friends in Anaheim enjoying the final weekend of the RWA national convention. I’ve got a really good friend Meg Kassel whose YA manuscript has finalled in the Golden Heart! w00t! w00t! Go Meg! I’m lifting a margarita to all of you!
I love summer. More than anything, I love getting together with my very large family. Eventually you’ve got to offer them more than a blender full of margaritas and coolers overflowing with microbreweries. And there are only so many hamburgers and hotdogs a family can consume between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
So, if you’re looking for something easy that can be prepared ahead of time AND will fit everyone’s individual tastes, I’ve got a great recipe for you. Even better, this meal is done completely on the grill.
PITA BREAD GRILLED PIZZA!
Enough pita bread for each person to have one or two pizzas
Shredded mozzarella cheese
White pizza sauce (alfredo is yummy)
Red pizza sauce
(2-3 tablespoons sauce for each pizza)
Left over chicken (from yesterdays BBQ)
Prepare all toppings ahead of time (or in my case get the nephews and nieces to cut them all up while they’re sitting around chatting) and put in individual bowls. Set everything out buffet style. Give each person a whole pita on a paperplate. Cover with 2-3 tablespoons of red or white sauce. Sprinkle with mozzarella. Let each person work their way down the buffet, building their own pizza with individual toppings.
Place on a medium-high grill for 5-10 minutes until cheese melts. Eat them while their hot.
If you want to add a side dish without much work put corn-on-the-cob directly on the grill IN their husks (keeps corn moist). Rotate corn as it cooks 15-20 minutes. Try mayo, lime zest and cayenne pepper for toppings instead of butter and salt.
So, I hope you’ve got something fun planned for the weekend. Me? I’m finally taking some quiet time alone to finish book that should have been written months ago. Enjoy!
I’m feeling very nostalgic this week after attending the funeral of my dear friends’ mother. Technically the woman is my brother’s mother-in-law. But since he literally married the girl-next-door, this woman was for all intents and purposes, she was the neighborhood mom to all teenagers.
I don’t remember a time in my youth when this family wasn’t part of the landscape of my day-to-day life. My brother spoke eloquently at her funeral about being a young teen and hanging out at the house, raiding the pantry and cleaning the leftovers out of the fridge. Another friend of mine talked about all the crazy times the gang spent at their house. This woman and her husband were married 55 years. There are all kinds of memories that make me smile about this gruff truck driver coming home to his wife and three girls. Despite his prickly exterior I never had any doubt they filled his heart with unconditional love. I was too young to see the difficult times that no doubt clouded their marriage, but still, they were able to weather every storm.
My brother has been married to his wife going on 29 years. We even have pictures of them, complete with minister (my younger brother), wedding dress, bridesmaids and groomsmen in their backyard getting married … long before they were even officially teenagers. I’ve watched these two go through some wonderful times and some very hard times. And what I’ve come to know is that loving someone for a looong time isn’t always easy and definitely not always pretty.
Thirty-seven years ago this fall I began dating my husband.
We’ve raised three babies to young adulthood. Gutted and remodeled two homes. Buried eight grandparents and a father. Persevered through three major job losses, four family divorces and a sibling’s affair. Survived the diagnosis of a life-altering chronic disease. And lived in the middle of nowhere for over twenty years. And currently counseling a child to get herself and our grandson out of a terrible living situation. Yeah, romance isn’t the happy-ever-after-ride-into-the-sunset the romance novels seem to tout for their heroes and heroines. Romance in real lives is smiling despite the fact you never managed to squeak in a shower and saying “I love you, you’re beautiful” even though there are dirty dishes in the sink, laundry piled on the bed and baby puke on your pants.
Through all the hardships of daily life I still believe in soul mates and forever loves. In my immediate family we have 5 couples who have been married nearly 30 years. 2 nearly 20. And now another generation begins the journey into marital romance with 4 weddings in the coming year.
I’ve been blessed with one of those marriages that romance novels promise. How could I not be a hopeless romantic at heart? There are no flowers on my counter or diamonds dripping from ears, but there’s a guy sitting in the chair next to me as I work tirelessly at my computer who laughs at my corny jokes, doesn’t roll his eyes (too much) at my lack of geographical acuity, holds me when I cry and is willing to discuss (with a straight face) whether vampire assassins make worthy romance heroes. And just being with him makes me feel romantic.
There are many moments in our lives together that hold a special place in my heart. Moments that bring a tear to my eye when I talk about them. Moments when we were first dating. Moments when our babies were growing up. Moments of quiet when it was just the two of us away from the noise of the world. All of them hold a certain kind of romance that makes me smile when I think of them.
This week I watched a man openly weep as he said goodbye to a woman who no doubt was the other half of his soul. I listened to his daughters talk about their parents’ love with a lump in their throat and a tear in their eye. And it just brought home a stark reminder that no matter how hard life gets, it’s important to cherish my marriage. I can only hope when it’s all said and done that my children will have all those wonderful memories of their parents.
When my son wanted to buy his first car many moons ago, he was pretty amusing to watch as he tried to find something juuuuust right. It was a long process and needless to say the learning curve was steep. This post originally ran in 2008 and since I’m in the middle of finishing the last book in my XTC resorts series and this list STILL cracks me up (mostly because he did all of these things) … I had to share an encore!
2. It probably isn’t a good buy if the seller has to empty out boxes, small appliances and various other crap so you can test drive it.
3. You might have a problem if you stand looking at the car for ten minutes and the seller only peeks at you from behind the kitchen curtain, but never comes out.
4. You probably should walk away if you ask the seller where the title is and they say “the what?”
5. It might not be worth buying If you have to tow it to get it to the mechanic to check it out.
6. You might not want to pursue it if the For Sale sign has no phone number listed.
7. Remember — leather repaired with duct tape doesn’t mean luxury.
8. If the seller won’t talk to your mother you might have a problem.
10. You might really want to walk away if you do pursue it, by googling the yellow pages with the address where the car is parked — and they say there’s no phone number available.
11. It’s not a keeper if you walk around the rear of the vehicle and one side of the back bumper is propped up on blocks and they say “It’s no problem, the spare tire’s in the trunk”.
12. There could be a problem with it if the inspection sticker is three years old.
13. It’s probably not a good idea to buy a car if the seller tells you the odometer no longer works, but it only broke last week.
But here I am. And I’m loving it. Don’t get me wrong, it’s hard … really hard. But there’s nothing like the kick-in-the-pants feeling of joy you get when a book has your name on it. Even more when readers email to tell you how much they love your story.
Wellll, okay, some people.
There are members of my family who just can’t wrap their heads around the sexuality of my books. Mostly I don’t care. It is what it is. But my new print book Dangerous Affairs has been edited down from an erotic suspense to what I call a “sexy” romantic suspense. I’m very proud of the book. I worked really hard to get it out into the world.
Of course there’s one member of my family who wanted to read it. (Mistake #1 … I should have talked her out of it.) Even after I offered to get her a copy, she insisted she wanted to buy it. (Mistake #2) I didn’t really tell her anything about the book and exactly what “less sex” meant (Mistake #3). So of course when I saw her this past weekend she had to give me a critique. The conversation went something like this: (I’ll use MIL for the family member to keep her identity hidden 😉 )
MIL says, “speaking of books I have a little critique.”
Forcing a smile, Nina sweetly replies “oh, you read my book?”
“Do you have any idea how expensive it is?”
With an eyeroll behind MIL’s back, Nina happily says, “it has to do with distribution channels. It’s as low as I can get it.”
“Well, most people can’t pay that much with shipping and all … can’t you do free shipping?”
“That’s Amazon, not me. But thanks for supporting me. What’s for dinner?”
“Well, I had a few other things I wanted to share with you. You messed up some facts.”
I did lots of research, what did I miss?, Nina thinks.
MIL turns, hand on hip, “withdrawal is not a form of birth control. You shouldn’t let people think it is.”
“It’s a story.”
“And that paranormal stuff. You told me it was one woman and one man”
“It is. And there’s nothing paranormal…”
“There were people everwhere doing things! That’s not normal, it’s paranormal.”
“No, that would be vampires, ghosts and werewolves, these are contemporary stories.”
“Well whatever. I just know everyone seemed to be having sex with everyone. Though the second story seemed like it had a good mystery.”
“They’re all mysteries.”
“I wouldn’t know, I couldn’t read them all the way through. There was too much paranormal sex.”
ARRRRRRG! Like I said. Most of the time I can let this stuff go. But then she went on to say there can’t possibly be a market for those kind of books (again with this discussion) and why can’t I use my writing talent to write something she would enjoy. It’s just getting old, ya know? I’m proud of my stories. I have readers who enjoy them. I wish this unidentified family member would stop trying to “enjoy” my books.
So I’m curious, do you get grief for writing/reading romance? Does it get to you or do you just let it go? Do you have a couple of one liners that get the point across to your critics?