Wayward Words

Image by Alejandro Tuzzi from Pixabay

Let us paint the world
With our wayward words
From fingertips and tongue.

Letters mixed and swirled
Trilled by mockingbirds –
Poet, not poem, unsung.
~~*~~
Written for World Poetry Day 2019, this little verse gave me a reason to switch hats from novelist to poet. And now, I’m switching once again from poet to blogger. I know. I know. I’ve been lax in updating this blog.

Mea culpa.

However, that doesn’t mean I haven’t been busy with writing projects. Because I have!

Thanks to my small but fierce team of beta readers, I’m 80% done with rewrites, edits, and whatnots of The Call. The plan is to have the entire manuscript polished by the end of the month. Incidentally, The Call was a finalist in the Sexy Scribblers contest and a partial manuscript (the first 14 chapters) is being read by an Editor at Carina Press who promises feedback. If liked, they may select it for publication, too. Fingers crossed.

Now it’s time to put on my laundress headwear before I get back into novelist-mode. I’ll save you the suspense and let you know that tomorrow’s attire includes both housekeeper and novelist. A writer’s life is so sexy ain’t it?

Blame it on Valentine’s Day

I opened the door and there he was holding a heart-shaped box of chocolates and a fistful of roses, beaming proudly, “Happy Valentine’s Day!”

“Damnit! Not you, too!” I blasted him and shut the door as I turned on my heel.

He opened the door and followed behind me. “What? It’s Valentine’s Day. I brought you gifts,” he whined.

I spun around to face him and snapped, “No. You brought you gifts. Those aren’t for me.”

His brows furrowed as we stood there staring at one another in an awkward silence. I folded my arms over my chest, not budging. Finally, his shoulders slumped and his arms dropped to his side, still holding the offerings in his hands. He eventually just looked down at the floor.

He was crestfallen, but I kept at him. It was for his own good, “I get it. You got all caught up in momentum of the day. But, that’s just not me and I thought it wasn’t you either. You were quite clear about that last year after that girl broke your heart,” I reminded him.

No more stupid, messy, useless love for me,‘ you said.

I drove the point home, “Remember? We…you and I…both of us…we were crystal clear about that.”

He shrugged and looked back up to me with that sheepish smile of his and those big, soft puppy dog eyes. “Well, it’s also our anniversary today.” He said. “One year since we met. I wanted to make that special at least.”

That’s when I felt it.

Love.

I thought I’d sensed it for some time, now. Those all too familiar angsty pangs were hitting my heart. The butterflies were fluttering in my stomach. Tendrils of aching need began to slither along my flesh. My mouth went so dry that I could barely speak. Somehow I managed to croak out, “Leave.”

But, he didn’t leave. He began walking towards me, his arms wide. I stumbled backwards trying to get away from him and his gifts and, mostly, his Love – that all consuming human emotion that wraps its hungry, suffocating tentacles around you squeezing until you gasp your last breath. Then he uttered that phrase, those three cursed words.

I tried to make him stop – to make it stop. Truly, I did. I demanded that he go away. I pleaded with him to just go outside and walk it off. By then, he was too far gone, I think. That damnable holiday pushed him over the edge. And, by the way, how they co-opted cupid into that commercialized mess is disgusting.

Now, I know what you’re thinking, so you can just spare me the disapproving look. I’m immune to it by now. It’s all my fault, right? I should know better. Blah, blah, blah. I’ve heard it all before. So, you can save the lecture.

In any case, I didn’t do away with this one altogether. Surprised, huh?

That’s right. While he was unable to maintain his self control, I kept my head and let him keep his…sort of. Let’s just say that he’s not the man he used to be and leave it at that, okay?

In all sincerity, I’m going to miss him. I really thought this one was a keeper. I thought he’d be able to resist the urges, the compulsion. Silly, weak mortals.

It’s a pity. Things were going great for almost a year. A year! Instead of blaming me this time, I say that we blame it on Valentine’s Day.

Passionate Hearts & Sexy Scribbles

January was a blur of excitement and I’m shickled titless to share two tidbits of uberniftiness with you.

First – A Hot New Release!

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the Passionate Ink chapter of the Romance Writers of America has a hot new book out called Passionate Hearts: A collection of Erotic Romance.

Guess who has a story in there? Yes, really. I want you to guess.

No, not her.

No, not him either. Guess again.

Yup. I do! I have a naughty little tale in this steamy anthology. It is called Fluidity.

“Cool title. What’s it about?” you ask?

Well, I’ll give you a hint.

Fluidity is a gallery that draws an audience with very specific tastes. The management caters to those preferences with an ever-revolving selection of art offerings exclusively for those with a refined appetite for the heightened pleasures that flow like sweet honey – thrilling, expensive and utterly intoxicating. Tonight’s Valentine’s Day theme is Living Art for Lovers.

Want more details? Buy the book!

But, wait. There’s more!

From dancers at a masquerade ball to Olympic ski medalists to bakers to lovers from out of this world, there is something for every romantic to savor in this sexy collection! Erotic adventures include:

The Crazy Chick from Valentine’s Day by Cameron Allie
The Huntress and the Hawk: A Masquerade Club Story by Kim Allred
Lower: The Real Fling #1.5 by Lyla Bellatas
Flame’s Burning Valentine by Trinity Blacio
Accidental Cupid by M. Jane Colette
A Jinx, a Journal, and a Juliette by Jane Colt
Just Friends by Cynthia W. Gentry
Fluidity by Moxie Malone <—This is mine!
The Masquerade by Katherine McLellan
Forever Valentine by Kathleen Samuels
Valentine Cookie Magic by Cadence Vonn

All profits from sales will benefit the American Heart Association and ProLiteracy. So, click a link to get your copy.

AVAILABLE ON AMAZON:
USA: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07MMKM1NM/
CANADA: https://www.amazon.ca/gp/product/B07MMKM1NM/
UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07MMKM1NM/
AUSTRALIA: https://www.amazon.com.au/gp/product/B07MMKM1NM/

Also, I’m a finalist in the Sexy Scribbles contest for my entry of The Call. It’s a story about…oddly enough…a phone call. More details about that story can be found on this site on the “Coming Soon” tab. Feel free to click it right after you click the Amazon link to get your copy of the Passionate Hearts anthology.


Dear Naughty Girls

Dear Lizzie,

Thank you for your inquiry.


In response to your question, please be advised that “milk and cookies” is absolutely NOT a euphemism for something else. 

Kindly limit your special treats for Santa to an actual glass of milk along with chocolate chip or oatmeal cookies.

Merry Christmas.

Candy Cane
Department of Naughty & Nice

Dear Staci,

This is to confirm receipt of your resume. Your extensive experience and letters of recommendation are very impressive. However, we regret to inform you that we have no positions available for your unique skill set.


Best of luck in your knob and pole polishing job search.

Pixie Glittertits

Personnel Department

Dear Staci,

Enclosed herewith is the original copy of the demonstration video that you sent in today’s mail.

We appreciate your eagerness to work with us, but as mentioned in my previous letter, we do not have need of a knob and pole polisher.

Kind regards,

Pixie Glittertits

Personnel Department

Dear Staci,

My apologies for not responding to your fifteen voice mails sooner. Please understand that this is a very busy time of year, here, at the North Pole. We make every effort to respond to all job applicants within three days.

In your case, I thought I had already made clear that we don’t have any positions available that are a good fit for your special talents. 


You certainly are tenacious. Have you considered a position in sales?

If I find openings that are suitable for you, I will reach out to you. There is no need for you to contact me. Trust me, I will remember you.

Pixie Glittertits
Personnel Department

Hi Staci!

Thanks for emailing me with you idea. We are always interested in innovative approaches to North Pole maintenance. I must admit that we’ve never considered switching to human snow blowers. Your employment and environmental arguments are compelling. I’m forwarding your email to Pixie Glittertits in our Personnel Department for consideration. Happy Holidays!

Tommy Tinker
North Pole Maintenance Department

Girl in Santa suit.

Dear Candace,

Thank you for your letter and for allowing us the opportunity to clear up any confusion before you proceed with your plan.

We wish to be absolutely clear. The activities you described are not the kind of reindeer games referenced in the song, regardless of location, attire or prosthetic antlers.  

We recommend spreading cheer in more conventional ways.

Warm wishes for a safe, sane, and consensual holiday season.

Freddy Elfstein
Department of Naughty & Nice


Dear Lara,

I’m so sorry to hear about your recent Santa-related experience.

I can assure you that the real Santa Claus would never show up to your door unannounced on October 31st requesting tricks or treats. As you might imagine, there are many St. Nick impostors.

Now, about the special “Naughty Girl” presents. Regardless of what was guaranteed, there is not a separate class of gifts given from Santa Claus to girls who perform the acts that you outlined in your letter.

Clearly, it is unreasonable to expect the real Santa to be held responsible for anything promised by a Santa Claus impersonator. We will make a note in your file for special  consideration, but please do not expect the new car and house.


Lastly, Mr. and Mrs. Claus remain happily married. They are not separated or divorced nor would Santa leave her to run off with you or any other girls, naughty or otherwise. I believe if you check the “engagement” ring he left, you will find that the diamonds are not real.


We have opened an investigative file regarding this incident. I suggest you contact local law enforcement to report this as well.


In the future, please be very careful about letting anyone into your home who you don’t know.

Officer Buddy McJingles
North Pole Security


Thanks Giving

Whew! What a month!

I survived NaNoWriMo and am proud to announce that I knocked out 50k words in 29 days, even with family visiting for a week during the Thanksgiving holiday.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, I would be remiss if I didn’t give thanks to the many people who helped speed me through the month-long challenge. Most of you were enthusiastic cheerleaders and partners in crime. Some of you were unwitting accomplices who may recognize your contribution in the final product.

Of particular note are:

  • The wonderful staff and volunteers at NaNoWriMo who manage to pull off this event annually. It’s no small task! I’m especially grateful for the opportunity to connect with other writers around the globe to attempt the impossible – which magically becomes possible. Please take a moment to check them out and possibly support their ongoing efforts.
  • My fellow RWA – Passionate Ink Chapter members who helped keep the momentum going with word sprints, friendly competition and unending encouragement. You can learn more about the Passionate Ink Chapter of the Romance Writers of America here. If you are a writer or aspiring writer, please join us.
  • Andrew A., Lizzie W., and Stacey G., for your unfailing moral support, input, feedback and for being my go-to sounding boards. Oh! And, I mustn’t forget Adam W. for providing soundtracks, laughs and a sympathetic ear.
  • You who have shared a path with me for a spell, crossed my path for a moment or just plain crossed me. By being your glorious self, you’ve ensured that something heartwarmingly marvelous or unspeakably terrible will befall a character that reminds you of…someone you know. <Insert evil laugh here>
  • Readers and followers. Thank you for reminding me that there is an audience for the stories that I tell. You motivate me to keep writing even when my muse takes a ridiculously long coffee break.

Truly, I couldn’t have done it without you.  

Beyond NaNoWriMo, since many have asked, the answer is, “Yes. While I do write fiction, it is often *inspired by the people, places and events that are familiar to me.”

*Pursuant to the insistence of my lawyer, I direct you to the word “inspired” and its definition. I further point out that any resemblance to events, locales, or persons – living or dead, especially the dead (trust me, no one wants to piss off the dead) – are either products of my imagination, used fictitiously or are coincidental. 

So, If you recognize a location or a similar experience in any of my stories, it may be loosely based in reality. Likewise, if you think you’ve spotted something of yourself in any of the characters that make their way onto the page, consider it a compliment.  If you are certain that it is uniquely you, that means you are very vain or, at the very least, memorable and may have taught me a life lesson or ten. Most likely, there was something about you that I fell in love with – the glint in your eye, the flicker of your impish grin, the color of your hair, a tiny endearing gesture or even a wicked turn of phrase.

You probably tickled me in some way and made me laugh, smile or squeal with delight. You might have filled me with hope or left me in awe. Maybe you made me shiver or curled my toes. Oh, baby! You possibly scared the living daylights out of me. What’s wrong with you? Don’t do that! You could have even broken my heart and left me a tear stained mess. Again, what’s wrong with you?

In any case, if you did any or all of those, know that I remember you. Of course, I remember. I remember in exquisite detail.  Usually, the experience filled me with unexpected joy. On the rare occasion when I was not fully appreciative in the moment or even at this particular moment, I’m confident that in the greater scheme of things, I will be grateful for the experience in the very near future. Or down the road a bit. Or a long, long time from now. Or maybe in the next life.

Conversely, it’s possible – even probable – that I dredged up all of the bits and pieces from the depths of my depraved imagination. Who knows?

I do.

You probably do, too.

So, I Exposed Myself…

I’m finally home again!

Actually, I’ve been home for a couple of weeks with every intention of posting an update about my summer adventures, but…

There’s always a but! But, I’ve had a gazillion interruptions. Well, maybe not a gazillion. Probably, a million. Possibly, just a thousand. Most likely a  dozen. Stop judging me! The important thing is, here’s the quick and dirty on the past couple of months.

Moxie’s Birthday Surprise

I celebrated my birthday in August by attending a writing conference, Author You Extravaganza 2018,  in Breckenridge, Colorado. My wonderful family had champagne, chocolate covered strawberries and assorted goodies waiting in my room upon my arrival!

On the first day of the conference, I participated in a pitch session with 16 other writers and was awarded $1,000 toward publication of  Unlocked Diaries: Dirty Little Secrets. Woohoo! Many thanks to the event sponsor, Thomson-Shore and their representative, Tamra Tuller, as well as the other judges.

One of those judges was the delightful and brilliant Barb Wilson, Word Slayer and Editor. If you ever get the chance to work with Barb, do it! Between sessions, I got to hang out with Barb, her other half, “Big Guy” and my bestie, Stacey G.

Did I mention that I exposed myself? It’s true!

This would be a much more interesting story if it was about riding naked on horseback in the Rocky Mountains. Alas, I’m speaking of something far tamer.  My exposure was limited to  relevant and timely publishing information (and maybe a few minutes of ill-conceived, champagne-induced nudity on a hotel balcony, but the details are a bit fuzzy. Though, I can now sing all of the lyrics to Trap Beckham’s Birthday Bitch)

At the conference, I learned from industry experts at the many workshops and networking events where I rubbed shoulders with the likes of Judith Briles, The Book Shepherd; Kathy Meis, CEO of Bublish; John Kremer, Book Marketing Expert; and Joan Stewart, The Publicity Hound – just to name a few.

The next leg of my “Birthday Tour” took me from Colorado back to New Orleans where I stayed long enough to do laundry and repack my suitcase. Then I was off to Sunny South Florida – where it rained every.single.day. Still, it was a marvelous, albeit wet, visit with those nearest and dearest to my heart. In summary, lots of love, laughter and too much food.

I returned to New Orleans long enough to unpack then found myself repacking an overnight bag for an unplanned road trip to Mississippi where Stacey G’s mom was in the hospital. Thankfully, she’s on the road to recovery.

In between and during my stays, I was drafting and editing a short story that will be included in an upcoming anthology. Now I’m back home doing re-writes and more edits. Some of that might have been done while naked. I like to think of it as exposing myself to the arts.

Closed Doors

 
 
To the women who knocked on closed doors
until their knuckles bled,
so that we who follow might walk through an open door unscathed,
Thank you.
 
(140 grateful characters in honor of International Women’s Day)

Distractions, Excuses and a New Chair

Wow. I can’t believe the last time I updated here was when I posted the Bootleg XXXmas album link. I swear I did not run away with Santa…or did I?

I mean, when you think about it, what do we really know about what that guy does after December 25th anyway? Does he hook up with a naughty girl or two…or ten and vacay in sunny South Florida? Maybe the big guy takes the Mrs. and elves to Disney, perhaps? And, why is he really so jolly? For that matter, what do you actually know about me and my potentially nefarious encounters with jolly men who bring me sacks full of goodies?

Now, I’m not saying that I actually ran off with St. Nick to South Florida…and Disney. I’m not even suggesting that he and I used fast passes to “ride a banshee” at animal kingdom in a way that ensured my spot on the 2018 naughty list, but I would like to show you my new writing chair. Coincidence?

Okay. Okay. I will admit that I was in south Florida and I did go to the Magic Kingdom. I’m just not saying I was there with Mr. Claus. Who knew that some elves are attorneys capable of writing brutal, iron-clad non-disclosure agreements?

Anyway, I returned home to beautiful New Orleans just in time for snow. Snow! Of course, we also had Mardi Gras season and it all just recently culminated on Valentine’s Day…and I’ve run out of the distractions (excuses) that have kept me from posting here. So, you can expect more frequent updates… at least until March 17th when the whole city becomes Irish. Erin go brah!

P.S. I can also be found on Facebook and Twitter. Stop by and say, “hi.” I don’t bite…too hard.

Strength

Some men show their strength by lifting weights;
Others claim to move mountains.
But, only Daddy has the power to lift up and move this girl.


(140 powerful characters for Daddy’s Day)