Must Read Monday

I’ve been on a reading rampage lately, so I’ve pasted some links of books I’ve read below with comments.


Clover Autrey’s latest, Extracted, kept me up until 3 AM. If you like the Maximum ride series by James Patterson, be sure and check this one out.


Jamie Wesley’s Tell Me Something Good reminded me of the movie The Ugly Truth with Gerard Butler and Katherine Heigl – cute and funny with a sexy man as the hero.

I’ve been on a space romance kick lately. So the following series, I’ve blown through in record time and thoroughly enjoyed them both.


For the m/m romance lovers, this one was fabulous.


For the m/f romance lovers, this was puts a whole new take on demons and sci-fi that I absolutely loved.


I also read Susan Sheehey’s Audrey’s Promise, a contemporary romance. Beautifully written and will make you FEEL. Bonus – it’s only $0.99 right now.

 

Those are some of the books I’ve been devouring lately. What have you been reading?

The Captain, part II

It’s different now. The sun has risen and set many times, and now I stand at the helm. He leans against the rail, gaze on the horizon. My white-knuckles grip the wheel. I’ve been sailing along quite contentedly for a while now.

It happened slowly for me. I didn’t even notice it at first. I thought I was okay. I thought the waters calm, the skies crystal clear. They weren’t. But I didn’t notice. I was too busy sailing along.

I glance at him and am surprised to see his hair standing straight up, the winds ripping it apart in all directions. He no longer faces the horizon, but faces me. I see his lips move. What’s he saying? Why can’t I hear him?

“What?” I say, only to have the winds snatch the words from me.

I glance around. The skies are dark, gray, vicious. The winds a terminal force causing the rock, rock, rocking of the boat. Little faces press against the windows, tears running down. How long have they been crying? I haven’t noticed; I can’t hear them. It swirls around me, the storm, while I stand in its epicenter.

I’m reminded of his time at the helm, of his storm. And now, he pushes away from the rail and struggles against the wind toward me. I feel it now – the hard, steel fist in my heart, the heavy, dark clouds overhead. The weight of it forces me to my knees. My fingers slip from the wheel.

Instead of angering me, the grief of the storm paralyzes me. I slide to me knees. The wheel spins aimlessly. I curl into a ball as the hard planks of the floor digs into my flesh. The wind rages overhead.

Suddenly, strong arms surrounds me, holds me close. The wind lessens as his body blocks the brunt of it. One huge hand grips the wheel in an easy hold. His gaze is focused and determined. He helps me to my feet, keeping me safe all the while.

We face the horizon together. I can stand strong with him beside me.

Even when my knees are shaking.

Dressed Up

Little Man attended his cousin, Brianna’s, 15th birthday party. He insisted on dressing up so he wouldn’t embarrass her. Check him out.

What do you think? Should I be worried about the girls during his teenage years?

Courage

I’ve watched every season of American Idol except one – the season where Carrie Underwood won. This season I think they have some of the best singers the show has ever had. I realized tonight, an epiphany of sorts, just how courageous these kids are.

Last weekend I attended Dreamin’ in Dallas, a writer’s conference. Writers, agents, and editors flew in from all over the US, some as far away as Seattle. There were NYT and USA Today bestselling authors as well as writers who have just begun to write their first novels. I just recently completed my second manuscript. I celebrated by starting my another. At the conference, I pitched my second, Illegal Activities, to an agent. She requested for me to send it to her.

Some athletes are superstitious. They wear the same colored socks for every game or some other bizarre thing all in the vain hope it will help them repeat a previous win. We writers have our own idiosyncrasies. I, by no means, am an exception. I don’t like talking about my current work, whichever story I’m writing at the moment. I’m afraid if I talk about it I’ll lose the desire to write it. So, I don’t talk about it. I don’t like letting other people read it. Not because I’m afraid of being criticized or even lauded as the next best thing, no, it’s none of those things. It’s because if you bare your soul, or even part of it, essentially giving that to everyone who reads your story, what do you have left? What will I have left?

But, Kim, you say, you write the blog and don’t care if anyone reads it. The blog is all true. Maybe a little exaggerated in certain parts, but true.

And then there’s the American Idol contestants. How brave they are. They stand, center stage, before millions, and sing their hearts out. Then, after the applause dies down and the people sit,  they stand, soul bared, before three people who critique them while millions watch and pass judgement in the form of voting for their favorites. And they do this week after week until only one is left standing, center stage.

That’s courage. To do something despite your fear.

I’ll send the agent my work. I know, intellectually, my soul is still my own, that I haven’t bled onto the pages. Because, honestly, after it’s written, it’s no longer mine anymore. I have a hard time remembering this though. I still want to clutch it to me, greedily, and keep it as only mine, not sharing.

Stories are always best when they’re shared. If I don’t share them, what will I have left?

This entry was posted in Writing.

Romance Part Deux

I decided to buy a little something to get the mood started. I spent lunch picking out a pretty nightgown and snuck it into the house when I got home. Little Man fell asleep at a reasonable hour and I headed to our bedroom to get the romance started.

I never try and surprise Hottie. The sad fact of the matter is he always guesses every present I get him for Christmas. The one time I did surprise him for a birthday gift with scuba diving lessons didn’t go very well. Hell, that’s a story all on its own. How was I to know that man didn’t know how to swim?

Every time I sneak off into one part of the house, he inevitably follows. Or Little Man does. Or Beau does. There is no privacy in this family. I was fully expecting him to follow me into the bedroom and ask what I was doing.  I was surprised when he didn’t.

I put the candles in place. Realized I’d forgotten the candle lighter in the kitchen. Snuck into the kitchen, slipped the lighter up a sleeve, and walked back to the bedroom.

“What are you doing?”

“Nothing.”

I didn’t light the candles yet. Didn’t want to risk him seeing them before he saw me. I slipped on the nightgown. Quickly lit the candles, climbed up on the bed. I could hear the quiet hum of the monitor on my bedside table, along with the TV in the living that Hottie was watching.

“Hey, babe? Could you come here for a second?” I expected the automatic pushback that I usually get. Instead, I heard him rise from the sofa, the soft pad of his feet traipsing to the bedroom, all without argument.

He came to the doorway and stood. He ignored me lounging there in the center of the bed- ignored me! – and focused on the insignificant. Just like a man.

“What the hell!” His eyes bypassed right over me in my black negligee and focused on the bedside tables. “Candles! What, are you trying to burn down the house?”

And right at that moment, we both heard, “Daddyyyy!”

This entry was posted in Hottie.

Romance

I was driving to work shortly after the New Years thinking of my past resolutions.  Yes, I actually make New Year’s resolutions.  And even odder – I keep them. One year I decided to give up all soda for an entire year just to see if I could do it. Anyone who knows what a horrible Dr Pepper addict I am was very surprised and doubted my success. Come January 1st, though, and there I stood with a Dr Pepper in hand, ready to take a swig after a year long drought. Hottie worried that I would be too busy gulping it down to kiss him, but I managed to do both somehow. I think I may have kissed him first. Maybe.

Anyway, this year I kept it simple. I decided I was going to write every single day for 2011, a minimum of 100 words on my work in progress. I’ve kept that pledge so far and it’s been easier than I’d thought it  would be.

On this day to work, however, I contemplated my relationship with Hottie. With the demands of work and being parents, maintaining the house, and all the other myriad of details in day to day living, I couldn’t remember the last time we’d taken the time to actually try and romance each other. And I’m not talking about the horizontal tango here, people. I’m talking the romance that couples do when they first start dating – surprising one another with post-it notes all over the house, a surprise dinner with candlelight, simple little things that remind each other that you’re important to each other. That he matters. That we matter.

So, I resolved to add some more romance in 2011. You’ll hear all about my hilarious first attempt with my next post.

Add some romance into your lives this year. You’ll both be grateful for it.

This entry was posted in Hottie.

The Captain

I’ve been neglectful of this online scrapbook of mine. I could ramble off all of the various excuses, but suffice it to say sometimes life just rears its ugly head in all of its Medusa-like glory.

I’ll spare you the details. Trust me, you don’t really want to know them all.

You do?

Let’s just sum it up by saying loss in the family, blood vessels forgetting their true function, and a teething toddler. We seem to have passed the worst of it. Let’s hope that 2011 is a quieter year. A simplier year.

In the mean time, for your entertainment purposes, here’s a little story to keep you entertained.

#

I stand on the bow, face tilts toward the sun. I can feel the heat press down on me and wonder if more freckles are growing. I am happy. Opening my eyes, I see nothing but the cerulean sky. No clouds blemish my view, no other ships on the horizon to distract from the calm waves lapping against the hull. The rocking lulls me, and I am at peace.

I glance over my shoulder towards the quarterdeck. He is there. Only intead of the peace I expect to see, he’s frowning. His hands grip the wheel. I can see the white-knuckled grip from here, the fierce furrow of his brows, the tension of his body.

Between one blink and the next, the sky darkens, waves rise up and crash against the ship. Lightening flashes, striking the water in loud slaps. I throw myself around the foremast, holding tightly against the sudden storm. Electricity ripples through the air as another strike of lightening hits the water. I become drenched. Rain pounds down upon me and I’m blinded. I can see nothing. Not even him.

Only over the loud rumbling of the sky, the heaving of the water against the ship, and the brief flashes of light do I catch glimpses – him struggling to hold on, littles faces looking out from the Captain’s cabin. They appear frightened.

I’d heard of other storms like this one. Storms that came on so slowly they caught the sailors unaware, destroyed the ship and took some lives hostage. Other storms came fast like this one. Sailors could either ride out the storm or let the storm take them.

I refuse to let the storm take us.

I let go of the foremast. Blind from the rain, I struggle across the forecastle to the main deck. My balance is uneven, my arms out in front of me ready to catch hold of something. I reach the main mast, wrap my arms around it. I look towards him. Through lightening strikes I see him there. The grief of the storm is hitting him harder than it is me.

I let go of the main mast. Each steps brings me closer to him. And each step takes me farther into the storm. I go anyway.

I reach him. He screams at me. He’s angry. Angry that I’m there, that I won’t let him ride it out alone.

My hands grasp the wheel. We fight for control. The ship is facing the wrong way. If it keeps facing the wrong way, it’ll capsize. I know this, but he is blinded by the tempest. Against his wishes, I steer the ship into the wind, into the storm. Better to face it head on.

He fights me every inch of the way.

But I know something he doesn’ t know. He is not the captain of this ship. I am.

And there, just on the horizon, is calmer waters. He sees it.

We steer towards it together.

This entry was posted in Writing.

Snippets

Hottie flipped through the channels last night and paused on a singing performance by 4TROOPS on the USS Intrepid. We sat and watched it for a few moments. Little Man paused in his industrious emptying of his diaper bag for the 1,354 time that evening and stood and watched the screen. “Ga!” He squealed. He hurried over to the top drawer of our cabinet, the drawer that contains all of the Xbox and Wii equipment. He can’t see inside the drawer as it’s over his head, but he reached in there and by touch, he pulled out the microphone that we use when we’re playing American Idol on the Wii. He stepped back so he could see the singers clearly. Pressed the microphone against his lips and sang, “Gaaaaa…”

#

It was a Friday evening and I was excited to get home to my boys. Hottie had worked the early shift so he was already home with Little Man. I turned the corner and saw Little Man in our driveway with Hottie sitting on a lawn chair watching him. I love coming home and seeing them. It’s my favorite part of my day – when we’re all together. I rushed into the house, quickly changed, and joined them outside. Little Man was weeding my front flower pot. Dirt littered the walkway in front of our front door. A dark coating covered the bottoms of my bare feet. Little Man had dirt everywhere. All down his basketball shirt, in between his toes, stuck to his hair, and glued to his sweaty scalp. After his evening bath, the bath tub didn’t thank me.

#

Blue Eyes and Little Man occupied the back seat of my Honda, two car seats taking up the entire bench seat. I had just spent the weekend with both of them and loved every minute of it. I don’t get to see Blue Eyes as much as I’d like. I’d always envisioned he and Little Man growing up together, almost inseparable, two cousins so close that they’d almost be brothers. It’s hard for me to acknowledge the reality isn’t living up to the dream. The two little boys are both huge talkers. And I’m talking HUGE talkers. Little Man babbles incessantly. Blue Eyes talks and questions nonstop as only a four year old can. So, I’m listening to them in the back seat when I hear the four year old, in complete exasperation, ask the fourteen month old, “Cole, why you talking so much?”

#

Desi, Little Man’s big sister, spent part of her summer with us. She’s eleven. She dotes on Little Man. Hottie and Desi had gone to a doctor appointment and Little Man was asleep. He woke to find them both gone. His chubby legs swung over the side of the couch until his feet touched the floor. Then he released his hold and dropped to the floor. He ignored me. He may have just woken up, but he had a goal in mind. He toddled down the hallway and turned left. I heard the door to Desi’s room squeak open as he pushed the door wide. “Baby,” I hollered from the living room, “She’s not home.”

#

Desi and I sat on the side of the tub. “A little bit goes a long way, ” I told her as I put a small amount of shaving cream on her leg. “And when you press down, you don’t have to press very hard. The razor is very sharp, so be careful.” Fifteen minutes later, she came bouncing out. “Feel! They’re so smooth!” She held up her leg, running one hand over the newly smooth surface. So happy, so grown up.

Time flying by.

Loving the Outdoors

Little Man’s walking everywhere now. I hate it. He’s not minding me when I tell him he’s not allowed to walk anywhere. Just like he didn’t mind his mama when I told him he wasn’t allowed to crawl anywhere. I’m noticing a trend. I don’t like it.

 

He just walks around like he owns the place. He especially loves being outside.

 

Being outside makes him happy. He can see the birds. He can see the cars go by. He can watch Beau potty in the neighbor’s yards.

 

Yes, being outside makes Little Man happy. Even though it’s a gazillion degrees outside. And when Little Man is happy, his mama is happy.