Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Secret is Out

Secret File Drawer Label Isolated on a White Background. | Stock photo          Pssst. Riley Martin here. Boss Lady doesn't know I've commandeered her blog and she'd be pissed if she found out, so you have to swear you won't tell. She's trying to be all "hush-hush" about what's going down, but I decided to let you in on the secret. She gets all anal about things having to be "perfect" before the world sees her stuff. She keeps holding "staff meetings" going over and over and over scenes, trying out different scenarios. All I want to do is get to the parts where I'm making out with Taylor. Finally, though, she got brave and made a decision.

At our usual Monday 5 AM staff meeting she made the announcement. Of course Taylor, Jax, and I, try to arrive early to get the best seats. She's got one of those desk chairs that spin and Taylor loves to tuck her legs under her chin and let me twirl her in circles until she's dizzy. I love when she stands up and has to lean into me for support. I try to keep her in my arms as much as possible. I'm seventeen. My hormones are on overload, and Taylor's gorgeous. What can I say? I'm a teenage boy. I'm the epitome of the cliche.

But this particular Monday, the cast from Designer Genes beat us to the office. The Jordan dude really bugs me. All suave, and tall with thick wavy hair and these eyes even Taylor gets lost in, which ticks the Marli girl off. I'd like to see a chick fight between them to see who kicks ass. Marli's from the future so Boss Lady probably gave her laser fingernails or something. Personally speaking though, Taylor beats out the Marli girl in the looks department. Especially on the "upper floor" where a couple of favorite body parts drive me insane. I'm sure Jordan would disagree, but I could care less about the silver-spoon-trust-fund baby's opinion.

When we were first introduced to the competition - Jordan, his cocky twin brother Jesse, and yes, his hot heroine, Marli, I'll admit to being jealous. I mean come on, Boss Lady gave the Jordan guy a Porsche for crying out loud! I got a used Toyota truck. What's up with that? His twin got a red Ferrari! Even my older brother Jax, got a cooler set of wheels than me. A Mustang Boss 302. Candy-apple red, a souped up engine, and chrome mags that blind you. My truck doesn't even have leather seats, and according to my dad, tires so bald they shine. When Taylor arrived on the scene in a blue and white Mini-Cooper, I developed some serious ego issues. Did Boss Lady have it in for me? Granted, she does allow me and Taylor some really hot scenes, which the "other team" can't have because the government owns them or something. Guess driving an old truck isn't so bad after all. Backseat works great.

Anyway, I'm already wanting to get in this Jordan's face because his brother is ribbing Jax about his fatigues. Hey, Jax is going into the Army. I figure Ferrari Boy has his tighty-whities in a wad because he wants his brother's girl. I don't even know their story, but the guy's crushin' so bad, it's pathetic.

Uh-oh! I hear Boss Lady. Quick, come close. I've got to whisper. You see, even though Designer Genes has all the fancy cars and lifestyles of the "rich and famous" they're going to have to take second position behind Riley's Pond. Yep! Boss Lady announced she's printing my story first! My. Story! (Okay, maybe Taylor and Jax say a couple of things, too.) Dude the look on the precious "first born" was priceless! "Country hick" with the used pick-up truck is going to lead the pack! Take that and stuff it in your designer jeans.

Just caught a peek of the cover.  I'll sneak it at the bottom, but don't say anything. I remember that night with Taylor - gets my heart racing just thinking about it.  Oops! Crap, gotta go!

Riley Martin! Did you tell? He looks sheepish and darling twisting in my desk chair. He's one of my favorite characters, although I do admit to blushing when he started telling me his story. He holds nothing back. That's what makes him adorable, frustrating, and vulnerable, with his heart plastered on his sleeve all the time. He gives me a wink and mimes a zipper closing his mouth just before he disappears. Such a tease...and a horrible liar.

Yes, I've made the decision to jump into the fast-paced, frightening, but exhilarating world of self-publishing. Not an easy decision, and made after a lot of sleepless nights and endless research. Our world keeps changing, and the publishing world is no exception. I predict soon the "big six" publishers of New York will be replaced by the "three powerhouses"... Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft (in case you haven't heard, there's been a digital marriage between Barnes and Noble and Microsoft). Anyone remember the little film depositories outside all the grocery stores, years back? Kodak is struggling to stay alive now that cell phones take pictures and videos without film. The stigma of self-publishing is almost extinct and I want to be on ground floor of this movement that is growing larger by the second, instead of scrambling to catch up late in the game. I've already seen enough changes in the four short years I've been an author to know the trends are shifting rapidly.

Riley's Pond is going out the chute first. Sent the manuscript to my formatting genius in New York this morning. Sexy, funny, and heartbreaking, but in the end, a tale of compassion, forgiveness, and unconditional love. A romance told through the eyes of the boy who survives it and the girl who makes him fight to keep it alive.

You can stop worrying. I already saw that Riley attached the cover below. I should add "sneaky" to his list of talents. The cover is official, and yes, I too remember that scene.....

…is it love?
Lust is easy, painless, but empty. Love is frustrating, scary as hell, yet totally awesome. Finding a girl who believes you can do…be anything is beyond amazing. It rocks your world. Of course, this from a guy who told Taylor Wilson "I love you" over the phone—inside a closet filled with dirty socks and underwear.
…or lust?
Love or lust? Two very different things and nothing like the movies. Every guy can pull off "lust," but it takes someone willing to risk everything for another, to make it "love." A superhero—one strong enough to remove his cape…and wrap it around you. Riley Martin.
…or a dangerous combination of both?
Riley's Pond
A place where worlds collide, sparks fly, and a kiss "goodbye" means anything but.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mother's Day...bah humbug

Mother's day cupcake     I must confess. Mother's Day is not a favorite of mine. Not because I'm forgotten...the opposite. My kids are wonderful to me. Mr. "Grumpy Pants" always makes the comment, "you're not my mother..." but manages to make sure I don't do anything more than necessary that day.

When I was small, we gathered at my grandmother's house for lunch. Everyone brought something (I had 3 aunts who were amazing cooks, besides my own mother) so there was plenty to eat. I had fifteen cousins and we all lived in the same small town, so when you added the grown-ups, we filled the house. The kids played outside in the backyard, which consisted of rolling grassy hills and large cherry trees we liked to climb in our Sunday clothes. I don't ever remember a Mother's Day that it rained. Sunshine blanketed us and the perfume of flowers blooming everywhere, filled the air.

Then Grandma died, dissolving several of the holiday traditions. Granted, my mom and aunts tried to carry on traditions, but as we grew older, married, and had our own families, "getting together" as a mass soon dwindled to our own family units. The "magic" of my youth slowly faded.

When my mother had her stroke, the burden to carry on the tradition fell to my shoulders, as the only daughter. I tried for several years to make it work, but as my children entered their teens, life got complicated. I worked full time, the kids schedules were hectic, and time became a precious commodity. But my mother, bless her, remained locked in a timeless world and guilt seemed to keep me trying to do the impossible.

Finally, unfortunately because I'd reached the end of a fraying rope with my youngest, I put my foot down. First tradition stopped, and by far the most unpopular, I quit going to church on Mother's Day. I hated sitting there listening to someone speak of a "sugar and spice" world where a perfect mother existed, while my life was anything but that way. Instead of being uplifted and inspired, I went home depressed, questioning my parenting skills, but holding a potted plant.

Second, I stopped making the big meal. Too much work and without anyone to really help, a long day for me. Now, it's dinner at Chuck-A-Rama. I know its not the fanciest, best eatery in town, but everyone gets to eat what they want, how much they want, and immediately, which is important when dealing with little ones. Plus I love their rolls. Afterwards, I bid everyone farewell in the parking lot and go home...alone.

My children, those who live nearby, are fine with my version of Mother's Day. They're especially grateful I don't make them go to church!  My mother still tries to inflict the guilt every year, but so far, God's been pretty understanding. I do wear rubber soled shoes all day, just in case.

Still, if I had my choice, I'd do away with all the hoopla. I ban presents. Cards are acceptable, but mainly, I just enjoy getting together and having a meal with my kids where someone else cooks and cleans up. No pressure, no hassle, and no guilt. Of course, my day isn't complete without a melancholy walk down memory lane to a simpler time when the sun kissed freckles on my nose instead of age spots on my arms, and spinning beneath the cherry trees in my fancy dress and shoes, wouldn't result in a broken hip or a knee replacement.

If I had to do it all again, would I choose motherhood? Put up with sick, colicky babies who grew into petulant teenagers that managed to summon trouble whenever they were awake? You bet. Granted, there are a few moments I'd love to have my "do-over" with, but as the sands in my hourglass sift faster, I don't regret my choice. My four kids rock my world. They keep me grounded and sane. Despite our battles, we've all become best friends. Now, I get to sit back and watch them parent their own offspring. Hopefully, they learned from my mistakes, and even if they don't think so, they're going to make their own. One day, they'll watch from my vantage point.

To all the mothers out there, and that includes godmothers, aunts, sisters, next-door neighbors...any woman who has an influence in a child's life, I wish you a wonderful, guilt-free, and relaxing day. And may there be chocolate close by!  Happy Mother's Day!