Life Isn’t Always Beautiful or Fair

Me and My Girls

It feels like a lifetime ago instead of 8 years. My heart aches for the loss of the beautiful soul taken way too soon. It’s hard to believe that nearly two weeks ago we lost you.

The picture above was one of those rare, magical times where we all seemed to be of the same color coordinated mind and it was too perfect not to convert into a photo op. Now I’m just grateful to have this little memento.

These women and their smiling faces held many of my cherished moments in my memory bank of a prior career. They were all smart, kind, well meaning, and with good hearts filled with kindness. They cherished their families, especially their children.

Imagine my shock when two of the ladies here (and one of the men not pictured) reached out to tell me that the lady in the white blouse standing on the far right was dead. Not only dead, but violently murdered. Shot and killed by her ex in what was being called a domestic violence case.

The response from all of us who knew and worked with her was utter devastation. What about her two young daughters who she used to bring by to show off? The ones she couldn’t stop talking about? They were her whole universe! Her reason for being. What was their world going to be without her? Weren’t they teenagers now? To lose a mom at any time is hard, but in this way during this time? My heart still bleeds for them. I can’t begin to imagine their devastation.

The news reports say she’d finally permanently broken it off and had stopped by the house one last time to get the last thing she’d left behind. Her cat. Because that was a big part of who she was. A lover of animals. She shouldn’t have lost her life.

Truth is, we all remember her ex. I remember thinking he was a bit of an ass and way too possessive. Hot headed, too. But never in a million years did I expect this. I knew they fought sometimes, but I never had any inclination that he had been this violently volatile. So many memories tumble out and I wonder what we missed and if there was anything we could’ve done that might have altered this path and then I realize that those thoughts are pointless.

Live in the here and now. Ache for those left behind, and do what you can to live life. Don’t squander it. In my own way I’ll try to do right by her girls as they deserve to be taken care of and to know that their mom was loved.

And if you are reading this and you are a victim of domestic abuse, know someone going through it, or even suspect it… PLEASE, I’m begging you, reach out for help. Call the Domestic Abuse Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or check out their website HERE!

Yeah… as if COVID, quarantine, and murder hornets weren’t enough, right? Don’t worry, I’m hurting, but ok. My support system is strong and I’m working both my day job and writing my next novel. What’s been going on in your world?

Putting Words Into Your Characters’ Mouths and Feeling Grateful #NewRelease #AmWritingRomance

As many of you know, I recently released my first full sized novel. So far it’s been well received and I’ve been blown away with gratitude. One of my coolest experiences came from a Facebook book club I’ve been involved with for years.

They chose to make my book their January Group Read, and as a newish author that meant everything. What was really amazing was that they decided to a thread focusing in on their favorite moments and quotes…. I was blown away and way too entertained. Seriously. Just when you start to second guess yourself, moments like these come up. Moments where someone decides to share YOUR writing and you’re both laughing hysterically because it’s both funny and you forgot you made a character say that, but also you realize…that was legitimately a great line! And it builds your confidence.

The quote at the top of this post was the “kick-off” quote coming from Drew, one of the male leads in this book.

Other honorable mentions? How about these:

“That’s what best friends do for each other.” Ty raised an eyebrow. “Did you think that would change just because you’ve smoked my pipe?”

Ty to Drew in A Way With Words

The above quote was in reference to Drew and Ty and their first intimate moment with each other.

“If you think it sounds like an uptight douche bustin’ a nut, I’d say ‘hell yeah’.”

Ty to Drew in response to overhearing someone having sex

This quote in particular had me laughing so hard my hubby asked if I was ok.

“… apparently waiting to show you her tricked out twat.”

Kalina to Drew

This quote was made by Kalina to Drew when they discovered a woman had sneaked into Drew’s bed, complete with decorated lady bits…

What has this taught me? That I’m extremely fortunate to have amazing people in my life who appreciate my snarky dialogue and that sometimes I actually am kinda witty.

What has chasing your dreams taught you? What’s something your friends/tribe done to support you that’s blown your mind?

And if you’re looking for my book link…Click the book cover on the side and it will lead you right to it. BTW, it’s FREE on Kindle Unlimited and check out THIS REVIEW!

Thankful for Friendships and Feedback

This last year has been a challenge for me. I’ve had a sexy scene written for years, but knew it was incomplete. There was a story marinating around in my brain, but I didn’t feel up to writing it yet.

One thing I’ve learned in my writing journey as that pieces come together when you’re ready. Sometimes this is a mental thing. Sometimes it’s skill development. Either way, I’ve learned to trust my instincts.

With the love and support of my family and critique partners, I finally finished, got my edits completed, and have the book to my awesome Betas….which means….

Release day is COMING SOON! (Like December, soon.)

Several of my author and blogger friends have known what I’ve been up to and have rallied to show their support by offering to share and/or review my book, and I’m so grateful! I could use all the help I can get. So if you’re interested in helping me out, please let me know! I’d be in your debt and thrilled to do what I must in whatever capacity you’d like to help.

Can you tell I’m EXCITED? IT’S MY FIRST FULL SIZED NOVEL!

What are YOU grateful for this year?

Damn You, Dorian!

Hurricane weather can be hell on productivity.

First, I’m so excited to share with you all that I’ve completed writing my first full length novel (100K words) and that I’m in the pre-editing stages. Second, I’m thrilled to share that I had brunch with my editor today and I gave her a firm date with which to expect my finished product. This has me both excited and anxious as my deadline is mid September, just in time for my wedding anniversary.

The issue? This damn hurricane may make me late. The last hurricane that rolled up this way was Irma, and we lost power for nearly a week. That would put a huge crimp in my plans should history repeat itself. Icing on the cake? My current day job is in alarm dispatch monitoring. Natural disasters have a way of fucking with jobs like that…and we’re all on call in case an all-hands-on-deck situation occurs.

But this is the one getting to me… My beautiful senior fur baby, Izzy, somehow managed to injure a back paw and is now limping pretty heavily. Normally I’d just be worried about her anxiety in a storm, but now that she’s started taking doggie CBD (bacon flavored) that’s more of a non-issue. But the paw injury? Breaking my heart. So, with a hurricane bearing down, we have a vet appointment for her tomorrow.

And if you think I’m crazy to give her CBD tinctures for storm anxiety, consider watching this video of this afternoon’s storm (which isn’t even hurricane stuff yet). I know humans who would be anxious. Sorry in advance for the sideways video….

Fuck You, Cancer!

Insidious,

You sneak in,

Like a thief,

Unseen.

Entering the body,

Forcing it

To wage war on itself,

Sapping strength,

Muscle and bone,

Like a pestilence,

Stealing health.

And much needed time.

Confusion, devastation,

Questions and doubt…

“Why me, God?”

Or maybe

“Why them?”

Like a vampire,

You suck life and vitality

Leaving behind

A hollow reflection

That reverberates,

Aftershocks of destruction

To crumble

friends and families;

Those left behind,

And think you’ve won.

But that’s the battle,

Not the war.

Some things you can’t

Take.

They belong to the fighters.

The fierce warriors

Who stare you down,

Refusing to let you take

The love they give,

The life they live,

They never back down.

They fight and believe.

They are heroes,

Fortitude and fury

They battle until the body grows

Weary.

They teach…

Love, compassion,

And take back

What you sought to destroy.

For friends, family,

And mankind.

Help and hope–

To restore faith, belief,

And healing.

The beauty of sharing strength

Of loving support,

Of community and humanity,

And remind the world…

It’s not how you die

But how you LIVED!

I lost a dear childhood friend to cancer today after a 6 year battle. Even more, two amazing kids lost a mom and a loving husband lost his wife. A brother lost his baby sister and two parents lost their baby girl.

A year and a half before that, there was my father-in-law. And before that there was another few friends and an uncle…and the list goes on. Cancer has reared its nasty head in nearly everyone’s lives, but the miracle is in their relentless pursuit of life. Of living. Of never giving up, even if their bodies give out.

https://youtu.be/AHZCAcSh7ls

Make It Memorable; Love’s Many Faces

Valentine’s Day. The day for lovers, right? Romance, flowers, whatnot…

Yeah, maybe.

But that’s not my most memorable Valentine’s Day.

Don’t get me wrong, there were elements of those things in that day, but that’s not the BIG MOMENT.

My day?

It was supposed to be my day off, but I had to finish making a schedule (and hubby was working anyway) so I stopped in to work for a few hours. I didn’t stay long; was out by noon. No sooner had I left that my office was calling again. Turned out Edible Arrangements had been there and delivered a gift from my guy.

GREAT start to my Day, right? I headed home to start cooking hubby his favorite Filipino dishes…chicken adobo (adobong manok), fried rice, and broccoli.

Hubby walked in to a great smelling house and a hot, tasty meal… There were probably gifts, but I can’t remember now. What I do remember is that he loved the meal, that I went to bed early as I had an early work day & a 14 hour shift the next day….

Right about now you’re scratching your head and wondering what is so memorable, right?

Well, I hadn’t gotten there yet.

Sometime after 11 pm, hubby came in and woke me up. Said he was having pretty severe abdominal pain and wanted to make sure I was ok. Apparently, he was worried it might have been food poisoning except I’d been sleeping like a baby. So then he narrowed the pain to his lower right side.

Googling his symptoms, I realized it could be his appendix. He was scared, but also worried about me and work. So I talked him into going to the ER alone, making him promise to call me if it turned out to be anything serious. At about 1:30 am, I got the call. He sounded a little terrified.

Him: Lovey, they told me I have a necrotic appendix.

Me: Oh no!

Him: Can you come here? They told me I need surgery. I tried to ask if they could write me a prescription to slow it down in the meantime so I could call a doctor and schedule it.

Me: (choking back a chuckle) Yeah. Pretty sure that’s not gonna happen.

Him: Nope, but it was worth a shot. They told me they didn’t think I understood. The ambulance is on the way now to take me to surgery. Can you come, please?

Me: I’m on my way.

Him: I can’t believe you poisoned me for Valentines Day.

Me: I did not. And stop saying that or there may be people who believe you or at least start to wonder. I’m on my way.

And that’s how I found myself in the emergency room on the 15th, calling out from my job, calling friends to walk my dogs during the day, and headed for the hospital to be with my husband.

So, yeah, my most Memorable Moment had everything to do with the ‘For Better or Worse, In Sickness and in Health’ part of our vows. Those moments mean more than any random superficial stereotypes. And that he hadn’t lost his sense of humor, even through his fear and pain? That just shows I married a badass.

So tell me about your most memorable Valentine’s Day. Did it embody any part of the wedding vow? Or are you an non-believer, feeling this only lines Hallmark’s pockets with gold?

Life’s Too Short

I’m baaccckkkk!

Ok, so many of my friends here noticed my short hiatus turned out not to be so short. And yes. There were a few adventures along the way, but really, deep down, I got stuck again. I somehow found myself living one of my favorite melancholy Manilow songs…

Ok, replace “my woman” with just plain ol’ me (or my inspiration would probably be more accurate) because the other isn’t quite an accurate fit, but you’ll basically get the gist. Once again I allowed myself to get sucked into a career that drained me of some of my most valuable commodities.

Time.

And energy.

And once again it was for people who didn’t even know, understand, or appreciate my personal sacrifices. But that’s in the past.

I took a new job that is not nearly as demanding of my time, nor is it as draining of all my mental capacities. So, despite some personal tragedies along the way that I’m not quite ready to talk about (too fresh), I’m finally getting back to me!

Yesterday was my first time in a long time to post something I’d been inspired to share in quite some time. 1. It was great to be inspired. 2. It was awesome to have time and energy to share. See the theme?

I even got the chance to meet up with a friend for lunch, then brainstorm and information gather from a friend I’ll be using as a resource for my next book! He helped me flesh out characters that would work with the plot line I had envisioned. It felt great!

As always, there’s a song that helped inspire and engage my creativity with this relationship. Apparently it’s from a movie. I’ve never seen it, but the undercurrents spoke to me…

So I’m sorry I’ve been away so long. Hopefully I’ve learned my lesson. I’ve missed you guys. Am I forgiven? What’s new in your worlds?

Gone; Never Forgotten…

Jonathan, circa 1988

I remember driving in to work, singing along to the radio, when the emergency interruption happened. The announcement? That a plane had just flown into the first twin tower. I got a sick feeling in my gut.

I pulled into the parking lot and rushed into work, only to be interrupted by our loss prevention guy asking if I’d heard, ifI thought it had been done on purpose. At that moment I responded with, “God, I hope so…” But that niggling feeling would go away. And then the second tower fell, the question was answered.

As it was, I’d been barely holding it together before the towers. I was reflective; missing my baby brother who died in August of 1988. His birthday? September 11.

So on this day I miss him, I grieve with our country, and I wonder who he’d have been…

Thankfully, in a couple of days I’ll have something to celebrate….


My anniversary is coming up!

Thankful and Thoughtful

Today I’m Thankful. For friends. For family. For freedom. For success.

And for heartbreaks. And losses.

Because they gave me a chance to experience the love and friendship that came before.

This last week I lost a close personal friend. It was unexpected. Came out of nowhere. I stood up in her wedding. She was only 30. She was one of those people who asked me for sex advice. Who laughed and flirted with me. Who I Dommed, just a little bit…all for fun. She’d come to my pleasure parties. In fact, I threw her a pleasure party before she got married because she had a dear, adventurous heart and wanted a sex swing. But at the core of it all, we were friends of the heart.

I was a mentor for her professionally. She was a supportive friend. We shared a passion for dogs. Talked about arranging a play date for our girls. Sadly, it never happened, and now it never will. Life happening, and us not spending as much time together as I’d have liked are my big regrets. But she lived big and loved bigger, so I’m thankful for the time I had with her.

I’ll never forget her. And I know she’s smiling down at me as I remember our shared laughter and the irreplaceable moments. We had a friendship that lasted a lifetime.

I’m also thrilled and thankful to announce that I’m sharing a part of myself in one of the coolest projects with one of the most amazing people I have the pleasure of knowing.

Yep! I’m finally announcing my super secret surprise.

August McLaughlin, the host of Girl Boner radio and author of suspense thriller, In Her Shadow, invited me  along with several other authors and experts to contribute to  a project of love.

Embraceable
This book, all about empowerment and strength, will be coming out soon. Isn’t the cover charming? To read more about the book and the various contributors, CLICK HERE! If you’d like to help spread the word and join in the blog tour for the book, click there, too. The way to sign up is there, too.

Finally, I’m also thankful for my newest nephew who, after a scary introduction into the world, is thriving. My sister was due to have her first child this May. He actually arrived much earlier… Like. February. He was in the NICU for a long time as he was a micro premie, born at 1.5 lbs. It was a scary time for our family, and was the beginning of my radio silence. These days, though, he’s a ray of sunshine and a ball of energy…and enjoying his first snowfall. I’m sure my brother is looking down from heaven, enjoying his nephew’s laughter and grins.

So, despite all the craziness and challenges…. I’m both thankful and blessed. God is good, and I have faith that he has a plan. I just don’t know what it is. 😉

What are you grateful for?

Celebrate Love

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Today is hubby and my anniversary, so I wanted to take a moment to share how utterly amazing it feels to have someone who loves and supports you and your dreams through thick and thin, good and bad, and the failures as well as successes.

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He waited patiently for me to be ready, and it took me years. He took the heat as the guy dragging his feet about getting to the altar when it was really me, not wanting to rush or make a mistake…because I will only marry once. Yes, I believe in happily ever after.

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I’m blessed with a guy who loves God, me, and the Dallas Cowboys.

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Someone with whom I can share my adventures.

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Who isn’t afraid to get up and dance..

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Who appreciates my brand of humor and my naughty mind…

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Who loves coming back to Chicago as much as I do…

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Yup! He’s my home, my soul mate, and my best friend….and he’ll be my life long adventure.

My wish for all of you today is that you all have or find someone who loves you unconditionally, flaws and all.

(BTW, in honor of our anniversary,  my book Three For All is only $.99. Click the link on the sidebar if you’re interested.)