That time I was a page

This should start with an apology because it’s been much too long between blog posts. In my defense, I finished my second novel in the interim. (It’s in the editing stage now.) I’ve also been reading a lot. Not to say I ever read a little. But I had a superhero fanfiction obsession (Stucky) for a while and then I had a nonfiction kick (politics) and then I was browsing online. Now I’m back to novels. Discovered some fun mystery romances (Josh Lanyon) that reminded me of those early days of coming across a writer that just makes you smile whenever you read them.

In a roundabout way this reminded me of my first job.


When still in high school, myself and a friend got part-time jobs in the New York Public Library at our neighborhood branch. I was lucky in that my branch was barely half a block away from home. I’d already spent most of my time there so the job hardly changed my life. My title was Page. The job entailed shelving books and very occasionally helping to check out books.

The librarians were middle aged, wise women who indulged us by letting us eat the cookies they kept in their break room and turning a blind eye when instead of shelving I  sifted through the books in search of what made me tick. I discovered Robert Heinlein, Ray Bradbury, Robin Cook, Daphne du Maurier and Mary Shelley. That was followed by Sylvia Plath and Jack Kerouac, who allowed me to feel considerably older than my sixteen years. For romantic escapism there was Sandra Brown and Julie Garwood. Not to mention Colleen McCullough’s epic The Thorn Birds.

Being a Page among the pages doesn’t get better for a would-be writer. Even if the fruition of that early love affair didn’t bear fruit for many a decade. Ah, but as ol’ Jack once said, “Something that you feel will find its own form.”



That time I wrote for four days straight

So I spent most of Labor Day Weekend 2018 writing. I took off Friday and also Tuesday and it gave me a feel for what it would be like to be a full-time writer. It’s really quite nice. Coffee as constant companion. Maybe I got a bit carried away with that as my eye is now twitchy. Instrumental music. Thank you, Amazon Prime Music. And puppy Noodle occasionally kept me company.


The goal was to the finish the holiday novel. I got close. Like last chapter close. Maybe there will be an epilogue but it might not be necessary. It’s about 5 PM now and I just had to quit. Burn out, I guess. That means I won’t finish until next weekend. But I do feel confident about that. We are down to boy getting back together with boy. And I do love those reconciliation scenes.

I haven’t shared any of the WIP here, so I thought maybe it was time I did. Here’s a taste. Merry Christmas!

Cheryl took pity on Baz and began explaining what Chance had meant. “There’s a silent auction for charity and we contribute ornaments.” She tilted her head toward Matt. “Matt’s figurines bring in the most money, of course. It’s held during the charity dance.” Glancing at Chance she added, “Chance calls it a ‘New Year’s Eve ball’.”

“I don’t remember that,” Baz said.

Pushing her empty plate back away from her with a low groan, Stephanie patted her stomach. “Ugh. That was just too good.” Returning to the earlier topic, she explained, “It started three years ago. I joined that committee, remember?”

Baz tilted his head to the side considering, “The Chamber of Commerce charity group?”

“Yep,” Stephanie said, popping the ‘p’.

“Steph thought up the dance idea.”

Answering his mother, Baz asked, “Where do you hold it?”

“The Elk Lodge donates their space.”

Chance interrupted Baz’s next question. “They create a fairy land.”

Smiling, Matt nodded. “We light the place up and Cheryl can do wonder with some cheap tulle fabric we got in bulk. I bet you got your party planning skills from her.”

Blushing, Cheryl dipped her head. “I don’t know about that.”

“Don’t get bashful. You make it magical.”

The words hung in the air with no one speaking for a long moment. Matt recalled last year’s charity dance. The first year he’d accompanied Cheryl and Stephanie. Last year, his best friend had a date. Hanging with Ma was fine but it had left him a little lonely. Later that same evening he’d disappeared and drove a few miles out of town where a dive gay bar resided. As usual some men home for the holidays and also lonely were partying and it didn’t take long to select someone to share a few hours with.

His eyes instinctively turned to Baz. He’d never met anyone as good looking or accomplished as Baz at that place, at any time of the year.

“We usually all go together. You’ll come, right Sebbie?”

Bug-eyed, Baz dropped the bread he’d been holding. “What?”

“The New Year’s Eve dance. You have to come. In fact, you should help—I mean that’s what you do, right?”

“I don’t really dance.”

Steph was having none of that and rolled her eyes exaggeratedly. “I know that. But nobody plans an event like you do. I mean, we don’t change it up much year to year because if it’s not broken, why fix it? That said, we do try to introduce a new theme each time. We’ll be meeting up soon with the Committee to plan for this year.”

“But its not just about the dance. We raise money for Holiday Helpers. They help provide meals for the needy all year round, but during the holidays, like Thanksgiving and Christmas and such they go out of their way to ensure special meals. Matt’s been helping them out for years.

Face warming Matt felt all eyes on him. “That’s what the event is about. Nobody should be hungry ever. But around the holidays…well, it’s worse somehow.”

The intensity of Baz’s gaze caught Matt’s breath. “Guess I’m going to a ball, then.”

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That time I invented a poop rock

Those following along know that nearly seven months ago, we adopted Noodle, a Golden Retriever puppy. And you might know that dogs and I are not exactly mixy things. Before we brought her home I had flow charts with the things I would and would not do in relation to the canine. But, as it happens, once she was here, things changed. The time came that nobody was around and she had to go. As in go-go. I tried to avoid it but she was still young and I didn’t want another indoor incident.

Of course, it’s raining. But I’m only heading to the front yard. How hard can it be?


We go and she goes and I’m soaked and it’s slippery and I can’t get a grip to pull a bag out and she starts tugging and finally I go inside and figure I’ll go back out to clean it up. (Sidebar: Did I mention it was nighttime? Yeah.) So I go back in the rain, puppy safely back on her couch perch. Ever try to find wet dog poop among wet mud in the rain? Cue anxiety overload. By the time the family returned I was wet, livid, and questioning all my life choices. Oh, and the manure went to fertilize the yard. So be it.

Aware that I did not handle this situation as smoothly as I might have, I decided to search Amazon for a solution. Don’t they solve every problem? Alas, they did not solve this one. Google failed me too. So I got inventive. And put my daughter to work. We bought neon yellow paint and painted a smooth round rock we had laying about for reasons unknown. It took 10 coats (according to her) to finally glow enough to be noticeable.

Here was the master plan: Next time I had to deal with taking out Noodle to do her business, I’d bring the rock. I’d place the rock near the deposit and that way I could easily take Noodle inside, then go back and easily find and dispose of her excrement. Easy peasy.

So that’s the story of how I’m not only an author, but also an inventor.

Go me.

That time my book only cost $4.19

Dreamspinner is offering an exclusive, limited-time discount code for The Music of Love. If you use the code “MoL40” at Dreamspinner Press you can get the e-book for $4.19 (40% off). This sale is from July 29 to August 15.

On a private note, July 29 is an anniversary for me that’s bittersweet, so it’s a special day to start the sale. He would have been pleased. And the sale ends on my parents’ wedding anniversary. Let’s call it the anniversary sale. 729.


That time a YouTuber reviewed my novel

The fun, smart and talented YouTuber, Amy Tasukada, has reviewed The Music of Love. All reviews are great because you learn about your characters from an outside perspective. Is Julian dramatic or anxiety prone? Was Zachary too patient or was his loyalty a sign of his commitment? Is the roach story gross or funny? (Actually the verdict seems to be both!)

Amy’s viewers who stay ’till the end will hopefully end up back here and get a chance to win a free copy of the book. And with luck this review will beget others … like bunnies … because everyone loves small furry animals. Sandine, maybe it’s time to not blog when feeling giddy.

Source: whedonversegifs