Wednesday, April 8, 2020

Welcome Back, Stephen King

Domin8
By Stephen B King
Psychological Thriller/Police Procedural/whodunnit

Twitter: @stephenBKing1
Facebook: @stephenbkingauthor

Blurb

After his wife loses interest in him, fifty-year-old Dave Barndon turns to the dark side of the Internet and sex chat rooms.  There he finds willing partners who are happy to fulfil his needs with no strings attached.  But they aren’t the only ones looking to play.     
When a woman he had an affair with is murdered he becomes the prime suspect.  He thinks his alibi is solid until a second woman is murdered, and then a third.  He fights for his freedom and redemption while the body count rises.  He must figure out who is framing him and why before the killer strikes again.  

Exclusive excerpt:

A constable opened the door and informed me my lawyer was waiting. I had pulled myself together by then, found some determination and I wanted to fight. No more tears, I determined. I had replaced grief with rage to somehow get even with the killer and protect my kids; I couldn’t do that from inside prison. I had no idea of the time as they had taken my watch from me. I was led to a room where Tom sat. He stood to his feet as I entered.
“Thanks for coming, Tom. I appreciate it very much. I didn’t know who else to turn to.” 
He shook my hand shaking his head and said, “Dave, I’m so sorry to hear about your wife. This is nonsense; I’m convinced of that, but I’m not a criminal lawyer; I’m corporate, as you know. I can help today and see what they have on you and depending on how that goes, I know someone I can recommend. Now, sit down; we have about forty minutes before your interview. I’ve told them they have to wait until we have spoken. Tell me what the hell has happened.” 
He placed a recorder on the desk and turned it on, to save taking notes I supposed, and I told him every sordid detail of what I had been doing.
“Dave, why didn’t you contact me after the first murder when the police spoke to you?”
“Because I was innocent, and once I told them everything, they seemed to believe me. Apparently, the timing was wrong. There was no way I could have done it, and gotten to the casino to meet my brother, without a drop of blood on me.”
“And after the second homicide, why not call me then?” He tapped the end of his biro on the table, and I sensed a touch of annoyance.
“Same story; the pen incriminated me, but it disappeared earlier in the day. A guy called in at work while I wasn’t there on the pretense of leaving a note on my desk, and I’m sure he stole it. Therefore, he must be the murderer. I convinced the cops it couldn’t possibly have been me. They called Dianne to confirm what time I arrived home, and again there was not enough time for me to have done it and get home without being covered in blood. I couldn’t have beaten both victims to death without being splattered with it; it was messy and gory, apparently. Yet I was home in twenty minutes or so, and clean.”
“Hmmm, you do realize the police tell lies, don’t you? They may well have evidence they have not disclosed to you leading them to think you are guilty, even though they appear to believe you.”
“Tom, there is nothing, because I didn’t do it. You’ve known me twelve years. Do you think I could have murdered three women in six days, including my wife of twenty-six years? Is it not more plausible someone has it in for me and has set me up? What I can’t understand is why? I have no idea.”
“Please understand it doesn’t matter what I think. Of course, I think you’re innocent, but that’s not the point. It only matters what they think they can prove. There are three things they look at: they are means, motive and opportunity.” 

****


The above excerpt is from a pivotal point in the story of Dave’s descent after he has been arrested for three murders, the last being his wife who was his alibi for the second homicide.
Dave is a handsome, successful fifty-year-old man who is general manager for a large Toyota Dealership. He adores his wife and grown up children, but some years before, when his wife approached early menopause, she lost all desire for him sexually but he never stopped wanting to make love with her. Through a series of events, beginning with a murder/mystery TV show Dave discovers a fascination for submissive women and decides, purely from a research point of view, to find out more. He discovers a dark internet world of sex chat rooms, and eventually a dating site specializing in married people looking for NSA meetings. Dave thinks that his wife Dianne has given him tacit approval for him to play around if it doesn’t impact on their life.
Unknowingly, while Dave has discovered a treasure trove of willing partners, he has also attracted the attention of a murderous stalker. Suddenly, Dave’s lovers are killed one by one in such a way that Dave is the prime suspect. When Dianne is murdered while Dave is in the shower, he is arrested for three murders he didn’t commit.
Dave is faced with serious problems. He must fight for his freedom, face his children and admit his secret life, find who has targeted him, and somehow find redemption to ease the guilt he feels.
Domin8 was the second book I wrote (I’ve written twelve more since) when I was contracted to a major UK publisher. They wanted everything from me and I gave them the outline for D8 and they offered a contract. But that’s when the wheels fell off, the publisher was bought out by one of the big four and they closed the line I was contracted too. In desperation, while the legal battle continued, I hired an editor, finished the book and self-published it. Truth be told, I was never entirely happy with it, and in my heart knew the story demanded better from me, though it did pick up some fantastic reviews.
Time and books passed and I found a new home with my wonderful publisher, The Wild Rose Press. About eighteen months ago, when I completed Book 3 of the Deadly Glimpses Trilogy, I picked up Domin8 and read it. I was horrified at the errors it contained, and I realized the editor I hired, perhaps wasn’t as good as I thought. I removed it from sale and began a major re-write, confidant that I could do a better job.
I mentioned the outline, and what I was doing to my TWRP editor, Melanie Billings and she was intrigued, in fact, she asked to read it. I was delighted when she loved it and wanted to contract it and so began twelve months of editing. 
The nature of the story makes Domin8 hard to categorize. For me it’s a thriller and a whodunnit (only one person in ten has picked the murderer before he was revealed) but for TWRP the nature of Dave’s dalliances made it more erotic, and that made it hard to place in the right line. With Melanie’s help, I found the right balance, and from the very first draft of 150,000 words cut 43000 to the finished 103000. This is a case of less is more; fewer words told a much better story.
My Beta readers, without exception rate Domin8 as one of the best stories they’ve read, and I am thrilled, finally, with the finished story. 
Thanks to Jennifer for letting ramble on about, what is, my favorite story, Domin8.

Monday, April 6, 2020

Back to Basics

I’ve lost track of how long we’ve been quarantined. I know it’s absolutely essential to continue. I know essential workers have a much tougher time than I do, risking their lives daily so I can eventually get back to normal. I know I’m lucky to be with my family.

I tell myself those things daily. It’s my new mantra when I wake up. But that doesn’t stop me from frustration. And it didn’t stop me from completely melting down this weekend.

But it’s Monday, my used-to-be favorite day of the week. I say “used-to-be” because back when we were allowed to leave our homes, Monday was the day my life at home got back to normal when everyone else left for school and work. Now? Our daily routines are the same and everyone is always here.

However, it’s a new day and a new week, and I’m actually able to see some benefits to this situation.

My kids have been amazing. Humble brag here, but they haven’t fought. I know, I just jinxed it. They’ve gotten along, they’re actively practicing tolerance with each other—I can see it, although I’m smart enough not to comment on it. They’re not perfect and they have their moments, but considering their lives have been completely upended, they’re doing better than I ever could have predicted. 

The Princess is finally enjoying family games. She never likes them, so this is huge. Granted, it’s only one game, and the rest of us are going to get tired of it (especially since she’s good at it) eventually, but I’ll play it every day just to see the smile in her eyes.

We’re doing a family puzzle. My husband has tried for years to get everyone to do a puzzle together. He was so unsuccessful that I managed to convince him to get rid of all the ones we had put away for the family to do, since the family wasn’t going to do them. Well, guess who asked to do one? So we pulled out one that we’ve had for twelve years, still shrink wrapped, from our family vacation to England and France (remember those days when we could travel???). And we’ve started working on it. Together. Did I mention no one is fighting? Despite the very different ways we all approach puzzles. 

My girls are cooking and baking. On one of the days this weekend when I completely lost it, my husband took me on a walk to clear my head. I grumbled the entire time. But I came home to a meal cooked by The Princess! And yesterday, Banana Girl made slutty brownies (oh my god, they’re delicious and I don’t care that Passover is right around the corner).

We linger over dinner, the four of us, finding things to talk about other than our day, which remains the same. We check in on each other and our family and friends. And while life is definitely smaller and more contained, I also feel like it’s growing—kinda like the Grinch’s heart, but without the cheesy music.

So, no matter how bad it is, and I recognize it’s bad, work hard to find the small joys. They’re there. And identifying them just might make them grow.

Stay safe, stay inside, and flatten the curve!

Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Welcome, Claire Marti!



Claire is a writer friend of mine, and her stories are amazing. More than that, she's a fascinating person. She's also a yoga person and actually successfully convinced me to give it a try--if you know anything about me, you know how impossible the is! So here are some tips from her, which will definitely help you cope in today's crazy world:
Yoga and Meditation Techniques to Stay Balanced and Healthy

When I’m not writing romance, I teach yoga and meditation. Yoga/Meditation is the practice of learning to feel happy despite what’s happening in the external world. We all need that, especially right now. Yoga is a three-pronged approach—Emotional, Mental, and Physical. These are all connected and one can’t exist without the other. I’ll share some simple tips and techniques to integrate into your day. 

Emotional Benefits of Yoga—Pranayama/Breath Control 

Pranayama or breath control is an essential part of yoga. The way we breathe impacts how we feel. For example, by extending your exhales, you can tap into your parasympathetic nervous system or relaxation response. You can also heat up, cool off, and energize yourself. Here’s a Pranayama practice to help you cope with anxiety and stress by soothing your nervous system and adrenals. 

*Breath for Relaxation:  Vishama Vritti or Uneven Breath:

It’s simple: Inhale for 4 counts and exhale for 8 counts. What’s challenging is extending the breath out evenly. Repeat for a minimum of 10 cycles and see how you feel! This technique also helps before bed.

Mental Benefits of Yoga/Meditation

Meditation teaches you how distracted you really are. We just don’t usually notice because we are so distracted. In yoga, we often refer to learning to “quiet the monkey mind.” The definition of yoga outlined in the Yoga Sutras, is to learn to direct the attention of your mind, to control the wanderings and focus on what you choose. Meditation helps you filter out distractions and focus. 

The benefits of meditation are well-documented—clear mind, better sleep, sharper focus, and a greater ability to manage stress. Here’s my favorite meditation technique. 

*Mantra meditation:

Take 3 cleansing breaths: Inhale, filling up your lungs all the way up to your collarbones. Exhale, empty out to the base of your spine. Repeat 2x.

Rest your hands comfortably in your lap. Sit tall. Don’t close your eyes yet—this is hard with no visuals! 

Our mantra is “So Hum” which means, “I am.”  This mantra is universal and said to aid in self-confidence. It’s simple…but not easy. We’ll use it with the breath.

As you inhale, silently say “So”
As you exhale, silently say “Hum”

Now, close your eyes and repeat the mantra for 5 minutes. Feel free to do longer sessions as you progress. It’s better to do 5 minutes a day as opposed to 30 minutes once a week. Consistency is key. 

The PHYSICAL practice: Yoga is designed to strengthen and open up the body to enable you to sit still for prolonged periods of time to meditate without getting distracted by physical aches and pains. Physical yoga postures can also prepare us to sit still longer and focus on our writing to create the next NY Times bestseller! All physical yoga is housed under the umbrella term Hatha yoga. Many styles exist, like Vinyasa, Ashtanga, Iyengar, Yin, Restorative, and Hot. Find one that resonates with you.

In the Yoga Sutras, the seminal text on yoga, physical poses are guided by one primary principle: Yoga Sutra 2:46: Sthira Sukham Asanam All poses are a balance of “Sthira”—steadiness or strength and “Sukham”—comfortable or lightness or ease.
In each asana, we seek to find a balance of steadiness and ease. We explore asanas with and through the steadiness and ease of the breath, continuously connecting the breath with the body-mind.  

Anytime yoga poses you can do at your desk: 

Here are a few poses to do from your chair

1. Scoot to the edge of your chair and place your feet flat on the floor. 

Inhale, sweeping your arms out to the sides and up overhead. Exhale, lower them back to your sides. Repeat 3x.


2. Sit tall. Place your left hand on the edge of the chair

Exhale and lift your right arm up and reach up and over toward your left. Reach out of your waist.

Release the right hand down and reach up and over with the left hand. Reach like there’s something you want just out of range.

Repeat 3-5 times each side.

3. A twist. Inhale, reach your arms up over head.

Exhale, twist to your left. Release the right fingertips toward the left knee and reach the left fingertips behind you toward the back corner of your chair. 
Inhale, reach your arms overhead and exhale to twist to your right. Release the left fingertips toward the right knee and the right fingertips toward the back corner.

Repeat 3-5 times. Make the range bigger or smaller.

Book Blurb:
For a French soccer icon, and a gifted artist, a fake engagement is the perfect solution for their current dilemmas. But when last summer’s fling slips from lust to love, their pretend relationship becomes too hot to handle. 
Gabriel DuVernay is heir to one of the oldest wineries in France, but his passion is playing soccer, not tending vines. When he signs a multi-million dollar deal with the Los Angeles Galaxy, he’s able to postpone his unwelcome duties and help his younger sister convince their old-fashioned father she should be their family’s first female winemaker. Another bonus of moving to California is reuniting with the striking redhead who snuck out of his apartment after the hottest night of his life. 
Last summer, artist Dylan McNeill’s life on her family’s Southern California horse-breeding ranch was thrown into chaos and she escaped to Paris. One electrifying night with a gorgeous playboy athlete helped her forget her problems. She’s never forgotten Gabriel, but aspiring artists trying to break into the elite art world don’t have time for romance. She’s determined to get discovered without trading on her family’s famous name. 
When Gabriel suffers a career-shattering injury, he needs to buy some time to figure out how to remain in America and choose his own future. His influential mother can open important doors in the art world and help Dylan fulfill her dreams ––for a price. A fictitious engagement seems like the simple answer until living at Pacific Vista Ranch and pretending to be in love starts to feel real. 
Can last year’s one night stand and this year’s fake engagement turn into true love forever?
Buy Links 

THE ENTIRE SERIES IS GOING UP ON KU ON APRIL 1!

Amazon:  https://amzn.to/3a95T7l

EXCERPT: 

Hands linked, they ascended a single flight of broad wrought iron stairs. When he opened the large door, her lips parted in wonder at his home’s simple classic beauty. Wide honey-colored plank flooring set off the soaring ceiling, stark white walls, and midnight navy couch and loveseat. Nothing distracted from the main attraction: enormous glass doors revealing the unobstructed view of the wide golden sand beach melting into the cobalt blue Pacific Ocean. 
“Wow. So I guess you signed on the dotted line the minute you saw this view?” Dylan drank in the beauty of the late afternoon sky.
Gabriel’s laugh was a low purr in his throat. “Exactly. Come.” He slid the French doors open and led her out to an immense deck. 
Immediately, the warm, salty breeze caressed her skin and the shriek of seagulls filled the early twilight sky. Streaks of mauve and raspberry and tangerine turned the horizon into a watercolor tableau worthy of its own canvas. She leaned against the white wooden railing and sighed with pleasure. 
“This is amazing. When did you arrive and do you get to spend much time here?” The Major League Soccer season ran from March to December. Professional athletes didn’t get much downtime, even in the off-season.
He was close enough that the clean fresh scent of soap and shampoo tickled her senses. His hair held a hint of curl and glints of chestnut and caramel. He angled his head toward her. “The transfer came through a few months ago, but I finished up my contract with Barcelona. I was at practice the morning after I arrived. So, no, I haven’t spent enough time here yet.” 
 “Thanks for sharing it with me.” 
He reached for her hand again, lacing their fingers together. “Let’s have some wine and choose something to order for dinner. What are you in the mood for?”
“Italian or maybe French?” Her cheeks flamed. No innuendos there at all. Nope, not a one. 
He waggled his eyebrows. “That can be arranged.” 
Before she could react, he pulled her into his arms and lowered his head. He paused a few inches from her lips and slid one hand up her back to clasp her head. His minty breath mingled with hers and her lips parted in anticipation. His pupils dilated, his eyes black. With a growl, he captured her mouth and stroked and swirled his tongue with hers. 
She melted against him, her knees buckled, and only his powerful embrace saved her from sliding to the deck in a boneless heap. She wove her arms around him, gripping the thin material of his t-shirt. 
 “Get a room!” A shout from the boardwalk below doused them like a bucket of freezing water. Gabriel’s hold softened and Dylan stepped back.
She exhaled a shaky breath and smoothed back her hair. Worked to slow her thundering heartbeat and gather some composure. When she’d agreed to come over to his house, she’d been anticipating flirtation and conversation, but nothing could have prepared her for experiencing the intensity of their chemistry again. They’d only spent one night together, but he’d left an indelible impression on her. Apparently, it was mutual.
Gabriel flashed a cheeky grin. “I’ve got several rooms inside, care to join me?”
“Aren’t you the clever one? Maybe we should slow things down and have that drink. And I am hungry.” Everything about him was seductive and she was inexorably drawn to him. If she didn’t at least gently tap the brakes, they’d be in bed before dinner. Or instead of dinner.


CLAIRE MARTI BIO:

Claire Marti started writing stories as soon as she was old enough to pick up pencil and paper. After graduating from the University of Virginia with a BA in English Literature, Claire was sidetracked by other careers, including practicing law, selling software for legal publishers, and managing a non-profit animal rescue for a Hollywood actress. 
Finally, Claire followed her heart and now focuses on two of her true passions: writing romance and teaching yoga.

Her award winning debut novel, Second Chance in Laguna, was a Finalist for Best Contemporary Romance in the prestigious Stiletto Contest, won best unpublished contemporary romance in the Heart of the Molly and third place in the Maggie. Book two in the Finding Forever in Laguna series, At Last in Lagunaand Book three, Sunset in Laguna, ​are available everywhere. Sunset in Laguna ​was a Golden Quill finalist.
 
Claire's exciting new Pacific Vista Ranch series set on a horse-breeding ranch in exclusive Rancho Santa Fe, California, launched in September 2019 and will be available on KU beginning April 1.

When Claire's not writing, she's teaching yoga. You can find her teaching at studios in sunny San Diego or enjoy fifty online classes on the international website 
www.yogadownload.com. A breast cancer survivor, Claire is a sought-after speaker on the power of yoga and meditation. She's been published in numerous magazines with articles on wellness and is the author of a memoir, ​Come Ride with Me Along the Big C, on her experience beating breast cancer. 
 

Claire is a member of the Romance Writers of America, Contemporary Romance Writers, and the San Diego Romance Writers.

WEBSITE & SOCIAL MEDIA LINKS:
Website:  www.clairemarti.com
Twitter:  https://www.twitter.com/clairepmarti
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/clairepmarti
Bookbub:  https://www.bookbub.com/profile/claire-marti



Monday, March 30, 2020

Welcome Jean Grant

I usually post on Mondays, but Jean has an audio book out and I thought you might like to take a listen.



Will Rise from Ashes
Contemporary Women’s Fiction
Release date: April 17, 2019, Audio Release date: March 16, 2020
by Jean M. Grant

Social Media links:




Bio:
Jean’s background is in science and she draws from her interests in history, nature, and her family for inspiration. She writes historical and contemporary romances and women’s fiction. She also writes articles for family-oriented travel magazines and websites. When she’s not writing or chasing children, she enjoys tending to her flower gardens, hiking, and doing just about anything in the outdoors.


Tagline: Living is more than mere survival.



Blurb:
Living is more than mere survival.
Young widow AJ Sinclair has persevered through much heartache. Has she met her match when the Yellowstone supervolcano erupts, leaving her separated from her youngest son and her brother? Tens of thousands are dead or missing in a swath of massive destruction. She and her nine-year-old autistic son, Will, embark on a risky road trip from Maine to the epicenter to find her family. She can't lose another loved one.
Along the way, they meet Reid Gregory, who travels his own road to perdition looking for his sister. Drawn together by AJ's fear of driving and Reid's military and local expertise, their journey to Colorado is fraught with the chaotic aftermath of the eruption. AJ's anxiety and faith in humanity are put to the test as she heals her past, accepts her family's present, and embraces uncertainty as Will and Reid show her a world she had almost forgotten.


The Writer’s Journey
Will Rise from Ashes was by far my hardest book to write. For many reasons, some personal, some technical. I’d been writing romances with HEAs for so long, shifting to women’s fiction with grittier topics took some getting used to. The romantic in me though, did toss in a romance subplot, and I am a sucker for a happ(ier) ending.
A few more facts about this book:
  1. I began writing it in 2015, 5 years ago. The first draft took a year while working part-time and around kids’ busy schedules. Editing took a few more years…
  2. It underwent at least 8 full-length revisions before I submitted to my editor at The Wild Rose Press. I’ve also written/edited the entire manuscript at least 20 times.
  3. It’s my first book written in both first person (AJ, the mother) and third person (Will, the son). The dual narrators for the audio book did an amazing job.
  4. My villains are a volcano and humanity in the wake of this natural disaster.
  5. The book spans over a month of time and over 2,000 miles.
  6. My theme of heartache, healing, and hope dominates this book.
  7. It is the 7th book I’ve written, but 4th published. 
  8. The story tackles topics of widowhood, anxiety, autism, addiction, and redemption.
  9. I threw everything but the kitchen sink at AJ. I love an emotional journey, but I do enjoy lots of external conflict and roadblocks (teehee, in this case, literal roadblocks).
  10. Its title was changed from the original. It took quite some convincing from my editor to change it. 
  11. This book underwent the most “killing my darlings” (aka scene slicing) of all my books. All for the better, or course!


Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Welcome, Julie Howard

I spend a fair amount of time conjuring up ghosts and ways to kill people. Fictional people. As a mystery writer, it’s all in a day’s work. Creepy, I suppose. But consider this: There are thousands of mystery writers out there in the world doing the same thing!
 My latest book, House of Seven Spirits, releases today and includes the specter of murder and ghosts. The story is set in Australia’s Outback and I needed to imagine a mystery that would be unique to this setting.
I sipped my morning coffee, recalled a recent trip to that incredible land down under, and began writing. As usual, the plot came to me all at once.
Most of my books arrive fully formed in my mind and it’s just a matter of filling out the skeleton of plot. Because this was the second book in a series that revolves around ghost-blogger Jillian Winchester, I already had a main character. She travels the world to haunted locations and writes a hugely successful blog about her experiences. My experience in Australia brought home how different Australia is to my own home in the United States. Animals, plants, accents, and phrases were a constant reminder I was somewhere very far away. There are animals and plants in this country that are found naturally nowhere else on Earth. I wanted to showcase just a smidgeon of this in my story.
As a non-Australian, I was also very cognizant I was a bit out of my element. I didn’t want to get it wrong. I have an Australian writer friend who read an early version of the book and gave me some tips. Most of the time, I followed her advice – and, in a couple of cases (minor ones), I didn’t. Writers do take creative license with the facts, after all. Like conjuring ghosts and a haunted sheep station in the vast Outback.
I’m very proud of this book and it’s garnering wonderful early reviews. I hope you enjoy!


Blurb:

Some secrets are deadly, and ghost-blogger Jillian Winchester and her photographer boyfriend discover it's true when they set out to investigate an Australian family who disappeared without a trace in the 1880s. 
An abandoned sheep station rumored to be haunted by the long-dead Kinsley family is one challenge. The other is the beautiful but deadly Outback.

As Jillian probes deeper into the mystery, one thing becomes clear: She might not make it out of this quest alive.



Excerpt:

“Don’t go up there,” Mason warned. “The wood’s apt to be rotted in places. The floor may not be safe.” 
She glanced over her shoulder at him and hesitated. Her California beach home was eight thousand miles away—a fifteen-hour flight plus a day’s drive along bumpy bleak roads. She hadn’t come this far to only examine the structure’s exterior. Her work required total immersion. 
She put a foot on the first step and tested it with her weight. Mason strode around the car and halted just below the porch with arms crossed. “Jillian.” 
The last thing she needed was someone hovering, directing her on what she could and couldn’t do. When she worked, the “real” world faded in importance. His uneasy energy interrupted her focus. “I’m fine.”
The stair was solid, at least. Not even a creak greeted her as she advanced onto the veranda. He cleared his throat as she took another step, but said nothing. 
Despite the heat, a sudden chill rippled up her bare arms, sending prickles all the way to her neck. For a split second, her world tilted and her senses were overwhelmed. The musty odor of freshly shorn sheep wool, clothes flapping on a line, young voices chattering, the sharp tang of blood. Just as quick, the images dissolved and all was still, dry and lifeless once more. She let go of a deep breath, and a feeling of exhilaration swept through her. 
Someone’s here. 


Bio:
Julie Howard is the author of the Wild Crime and Spirited Quest series. She is a former journalist and editor who has covered topics ranging from crime to cowboy poetry. Now she edits an online anthology, Potato Soup Journal.

Author Links:









Buy Links for House of Seven Spirits:




Monday, March 23, 2020

Our Corona World

Welcome to the world of social distancing! By now, we’ve all heard of it, and are hopefully following it—seriously, people, you need to do it. Move over. I’ll wait.

Thank you.

In all seriousness, my family has spent the past week and a half trying to get everyone home and now we are self-isolating just in case one of us brought it home. What does that mean?

Well, the Princess is home and is working on her online classes in a very different time zone. She’s recovering from jet lag, being followed around by me with a bottle of Lysol and a Chlorox wipe (and getting mighty sick of it) as she completes the rest of her coursework. 

Banana Girl is also home and completing her online classes online. Also being followed around by me. 

Neither one of them is particularly glad to be here and not be allowed to see their friends, not that any of their friends is allowed to see them either. They’ve discovered the joys of taking walks outside (6 feet away from everyone else) and sitting on the deck when it gets slightly warm. They’re bored, but managing.

The husband is working from home, holed up in his office with the door shut for a majority of the day. Which is better than when we were driving to pick up Banana Girl, and he was working in the car, the hotel, the dorm and anywhere else he could find WiFi. Especially because he is a very loud typist and talker.

I’m having my home space invaded by three people who aren’t usually here all at the same time. It’s lovely to see them and have them here, but I really, really, really need a door. I have no idea how to buy food for four anymore, or supplies. I’d mention toilet paper, but we’re okay for right now. In a week or two, who knows?

I know it sounds like I’m complaining, but not really. We’re fine, we’re healthy and we’re lucky. We’re lucky to be together, and we’re lucky we’re not in worse shape, like some others. For us, this is an inconvenience. But it’s essential to help others in this time of crisis. So, make sure you’re staying away from people, if not for you than for others. Stop buying more than you need. Donate to a food bank or a domestic violence shelter (seriously, can you imagine having to shelter in place with your abuser?). Put up with the inconvenience and remember it’s temporary. Nothing lasts forever and this will end. 

But feel free to find the funny. Because no matter what is happening, humor always helps.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Blogging Challenge

There’s a blogging challenge that a bunch of my writer friends are participating in this week, and while I’m not officially playing, the topic is one that interests me. What is one skill you wish you had, but don’t.

Well, I have always wanted to learn how to hot wire a car. Must be the inner rebel in me—I certainly don’t have an outwardly rebellious streak, but I know it hides inside somewhere—but I would LOVE to learn to do this. Every time I see someone do it on TV, I tell my husband I want to learn.

No, I have no desire to steal a car. In addition to not having an outwardly rebellious streak, I’m a hopeless rule-follower. If there’s a rule, show it to me and I’ll follow it. So the “Thou Shalt Not Steal” pretty much guarantees your car is safe from me. Well, that and the fact that I don’t know how to hot wire it.

Must be all the crime TV shows I watched as a kid—Magnum, Simon & Simon, CHIPs, etc. I know, everyone thought I was watching because of the cute guys (and it’s true in the case of Magnum), but what I was really doing was drooling over the hot wiring. Zip, zap and the car zoomed away.

I really want to know how to do that! 

So, who wants to teach me?

Monday, March 2, 2020

Packing

We’re getting ready to go on a big vacation, and I’m breaking one of my habits. I’m laying out clothes early.

I never do this. I scoff silently at those who do—sorry, but I’ve always wondered why this is necessary. Of course, we haven’t gone on any big vacations in a long time, so obviously I was scoffing out of ignorance.

Because we’ll be gone for two weeks and I have no idea how to pack, what to pack or how I’m going to fit anything into the suitcase.

Originally, I thought I could take the big suitcase, so I didn’t worry about it. An entire suitcase to myself? No problem. The weather will be warm, but there’s air conditioning, and potential rain and different outfits and shoes and stuff. But a huge suitcase to myself? Awesome.

Then I found out the big suitcase was too big for some of our air travel. We lent the perfect sized suitcases to the Princess for her world travels, leaving less than ideal ones for us. My husband showed me what he thought might work and I yelled. Because there was no way two weeks worth of clothing would fit in the small suitcase. 

He measured and figured and measured and borrowed and measured some more. He bought new suitcases to get me to be quiet and they’re still awfully small. There’s no way I can fit my clothes in them.

Then again, I can’t visualize worth anything. Just ask anyone whom I feed. I’m convinced we’ll need way more food than we actually do, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise I can’t visualize what will fit.

The Princess even asked me to help her pack for her travels, but when she saw how I was doing it, she asked me to sit in the corner and look pretty while she did the work (I might have slightly exaggerated my ineptitude in order to get her to do the work, but still...).

So I decided that maybe, perhaps, there might be a reason people who travel more often than we do start laying out clothes ahead of time.

There is. I did a first round laying out and I think there’s a chance I might be able to fit my clothes in the suitcase my husband is suggesting for me to use. Of course, I haven’t yet done shoes. Or toiletries. But we’re not camping, so I should be able to get anything I can’t bring with me. 

I still have two weeks to play around with things. But I might have learned my lesson.