Month: January 2017

The Writer’s Room- Backstory

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Good morning,

I hope you had a chance to read Watching Mia. Yes, it was a bit different from what I normally write, but I am a storyteller.  There are so many stories in our lives that have a happy ending, just a different way of getting there. I hate cookie cutter stories. Therefore I refuse to write any. I never want a reader to finish one of my stories and say it was predictable. If it’s predictable, why the hell are you writing it?

One of the things I really wanted to touch on in Watching Mia, is the idealism which many attach to marriage.  The real story is about the relationship. A great deal of sub context was embedded in this telling of a man’s fantasy to have him woman see him for who he really was.

  1. It was obvious that he wasn’t very attractive outright, but the man himself was pretty awesome.
  2. She was a very attractive woman.  At times, you could almost sense that she may have thought she could have done better than “settling” for Franklin.
  3. She is sitting on top of 40. If she did get a divorce, would she still be able to attract a good looking man to keep her in her lifestyle. 

Franklin made the offer for Mia to “take the step” hoping in his heart, she would not. However, when she did, there was nothing he could say or be angry about because he did make the offer.  I mean really, don’t say I can have the last slice of cake then judge me for eating it. I say that to say this, it is a very well written story.  You may not approve of the way the characters handled the crisis in their marriage, but don’t judge them for eating the cake. We all have friends who have made some less than favorable decisions in their lives, but they still remained your friend.

We would love to hear your thoughts. Here are some questions I want you to think about in your responses.

  • Could you relate to any of the characters in the story?
  • Did Franklin think Mia would turn down his offer?
  • Why do you think Mia went through with it?
  • Have you ever done or felt some of the things, the characters did?
  • What was your favorite part of the book?
  • Do you have a least favorite part of the book?
  • If you could change something, what would it be? (If you wish you could change the ending, don’t reveal it!)


Happy African American Man & Woman Couple

What do you think it takes to make a happy marriage?

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What I am Writing: Oregon Trails

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Good Morning Lovers, Bibliophiles and Romance Enthusiasts,

I wanted to take a few minutes to introduce you to my newest stars Paul and Kalinda Darton.  Paul used to be the philanthropic arm of his family’s business Darton Industries, ensuring the family did it’s part to protect the environment. After a fall out with his brother, he goes for a hike in Eastern Oregon, falling in love with the land.

This isslide1 where he will stake his roots.  Nearly two years pass and Paul is a little lonely. He advertises for wife who can cook.

There is a whole backstory of this man and his relationship with food.  Eating is not as easy as you would imagine for some folks.  Paul also hopes his bride to be will be internet savvy to help him sell his idea to dazzling urbanites who crave a weekend away from it all to enjoy some “Wide Open Spaces.”

Enter Kalinda Marsh.

On the outside it looks like she has it all together down to her color coordinated socks and shoes. Inside, she is a hot mess with Daddy issues that is a laundry list long.

It is not an ‘I’m angry at the world’ laundry list which makes you hate her character, you like this woman. Her laundry list is an inner dialogue of a woman trying to find her place in the world and fit in. She simply wants to belong.  Kalinda is also very likable from the beginning all the way to the end. Her mother didn’t make it easy.  Her father, Lord knows he has made it tough, but she missed so many of the smaller details which make up the big picture.

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They are an adorable couple who aren’t worried about figuring out how to make the relationship work, they are more concerned with dealing with their crazy families. Launching a new business in the middle of nowhere is also a concern. Then there is the two families. Very different, in every way, but downright loving.  In the end of the story, that is what it all boiled down to is family.

Now, let me introduce you to the town that has goats wandering in the middle of the street. That part is actup10604781-300x225ally true. There is one street that runs through the town.

The town of Imnaha, Oregon, named after Chief Imna, the HA is added at the end of special people.  Yep. That’s true as well. It has one store, a bed and breakfast and a restaurant which serves local fare like rattlesnake, coot, venison and other stuff they catch out in the woods.  

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This is the post office.  Paul is the post master, post man, mail carrier, and staff. He delivers mail to 80 stops in a town of 175 people. I am not sure if he is a good post man or not. He manages to deliver the mail each day, but his main concern is getting home to that sexy wife of his.

I like to add quirky supporting characters to my stories. This general store for example, in this novel is owned by a fella named Curly Joe and his blind brother. The brother is constantly half nekkid in town because each time he tries to cross the street, the goats eat his clothes. 

Curly Joe is married to QT, which is pronounced Cutie and she has been endowed with a rather large bottom.  It is the topic of much conversation, questions, and mathematical analysis. It even knocked over a child.

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This is a full length novel of about 65k words.

Since it is a novel, it is up for pre-order on Amazon. I really enjoyed writing this story. In these words I get to address what people are willing to do to maintain certain types of relationships with the one they love. I dance around some social mores that we don’t like to discuss and poke fun at some silly things we slip under the table to avoid discussing.

In the end, it is all above the love.

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I hope you enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed crafting the lives of these two funny and wonderful people encouraging others to get out there and enjoy some Wide Open Spaces.

Pre-order it here.

 

 

Getting Married and Running Off Into the Sunset for a HEA is Bullsh*t!

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My goal in 2017 is all about vision.

A good story requires vision. It is easy to write boy meets girl, couple falls in love then moves into his mansion for the happily ever after, but that is not how it works. I am challenging you to read past the surface. Happily ever after requires some work.

Some people have opened this story and see nothing more than a man offering his woman a chance to cheat. If that is all you get when you read this, you have missed so much. Put aside what you believe is right and wrong and truly look at the two people who are struggling to save their marriage.  It has been eight years in a stagnant relationship. The shine is off the penny and now this couple has to make a decision. Marriage is the fantasy. The relationship is the real story. You are reading and seeing just an onion; allow me to help you unpeel it.

franklinIn the old days, it was called the seven-year itch. Most people thought it only applied to men. The itchiness also applies to women. Gentlemen, it is very common for a woman to question if she could have done better. At some point in a long term relationship when the real you comes out, other people start to look a whole lot better. Especially, if the whole lot better, looks a whole lot better.  It doesn’t mean that it is.  It just looks really good on the surface.

On the surface of this story, you see a man, Franklin giving his woman, Mia a pass. If you look deeper you see a man who loves a woman that he truly is questioning whether she married him for security or if she really loves him. He knows he is not the best looking man, but he is a good guy. He tells her from the beginning when he meets her that he is the man to give her a home, a three car garage and great vacations. Eight years later, childless and uncertain of what to do with herself, Mia starts to doubt her good guy, thinking maybe he is not so good after all.

He is a good man.

Something, the other women on the island also see. For the first time in a long time, his wife is starting to see it as well. Sweetheart, other women want what you have. It’s time for you to open your eyes and figure out if you truly appreciate and want it for yourself.

Mia, is staring down the barrel of 40, her husband has said he wants a divorce and vanity is miakicking her in the butt. Her thoughts, although unspoken, comes across in her actions. Insecurity shows up in the oddest way and she is reacting. In the back of her mind other thoughts pop up. If he leaves me, can I pull another man? Will I have it as good with who comes next as I have it with Franklin?

The trip to the island is an opportunity for them both to take a hard look at their lives and what is truly important. Mia wants to feel attractive and beautiful again although she swears she is ready to be a mother. Franklin knows that this is only a ruse and something more is going on. He wants to get to the bottom of it. 

A sexy bartender named Diego serves as a catalyst. Not only does the barkeep make Mia feel attractive, he sparks something in her that is real.  Honesty. A little something which has been missing in her relationship with her husband. Franklin has been honest with her; yet she is realizing, she has been less than honest with him.

Being married is not easy. Being honest is even harder.

So now I get to be honest with you. I am okay with lazy readers.  Be as lazy as you want but not all of my stories are for you. My job as a writer is to make you think.  When you finish the story it should stick with you. A good story is not junk food for your brain.  Bouncing from quick romance to quick romance to get a love fix isn’t how it works.  Understandably, reading should be an escape.

I don’t believe you should escape to feast on junk food.

We all love in different ways. Morally, staying married to someone for security is reprehensible.   Love is subjective. Romance is subjective. Finding your way back to each other to build a solid life is romantic to me because then the happily ever after is real.

Read it for yourself on Amazon or for free with KU. Click here for your copy.

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Leave me note to share your thoughts.


The Office Wife, January 5, 2017, Issue 1, Olivia Gaines

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The Vicki Chronicles, January 5, 2017, Issue 1, Olivia Gaines

Kelson H.H. Herman


The corporate offices of American Conglomerate in Burbank, California towered above the other offices in the San Fernando Valley as if it were looking down its glass nose at those less worthy.  Thirty-five floors of brutish power flexed its muscle while entering almost every home in the world with the braggadocio of 675 officebillion reasons annually of why consumers should continue to allow it to show up unimpeded. Guided by twelve individuals overseeing every aspect of fiduciary responsibility, the Board of Directors, hand selected, served two terms. The replacements were staggered bi-annually to ensure a smooth transition and the status quo of world dominance would continue unchallenged.

Today, not only did the board begin with a new Chairman, it also began with a new executive assistant.  Victoria Lawrence, often called Vicki by her closest friends, was the number one candidate for the job. The salary, commensurate with her experience, was as hefty as the responsibility she held to keep twelve people who represented twelve arms of American Conglomerate from killing each other.  It may have been easier said than could be done, especially considering the new Chairman of the Board was as green as a pregnant woman on an elevator ride going down from to the twenty-ninth floor.

“Good morning, Ms. Lawrence,” three people she didn’t know said to her as she entered the building on her first day of work.

“Good morning to you,” she responded, her eyes on the elevator and day ahead.  The past week, spent in training with PowerPoint slides and notebooks that tried feebly to prepare for the job at hand, were of little comfort as the weight of her next undertaking pressed into her chest. When she entered the thirty-fifth floor, the air too was weighted with tension thick enough to part the hair on an eighties glam rock singer.

When she’d interviewed for the position, it was on the ninth floor in Human Resources.  Per her request, Vicki was shown to the potential work space which consisted of a very large desk, hand carved from an unsuspecting oak tree that died an unpleasant death. The desk sat twenty feet back from double glass doors and was strategically placed outside of a soundproof glass door of the office of the Chairman of the Board Kelson H.H. Herman.

Unlike many boards for corporate entities, these board members came directly from inside of the company. Hot shots in their fields as many labeled them, the up and comers from twelve divisions of American Conglomerate were hand selected to spearhead the company.  Outsiders argued that this practice was nepotism at its worst and a guarantee that the company would implode upon itself.  For 125 years, the model had worked; no one saw a reason to alter the platform which crushed it’s competitors.

This year, 2017 heralded a changing of the half the guards. Six of the members of the board were scheduled to be replaced, alternating months of fresh blood coming in, while the old blood was surreptitiously transfused into the oncoming replacements.

“Our approach ensures that there are no gaps in the processes and everyone has a clear understanding of their roles on the Board of Directors,” Veruka Monmouth-Stallings, Director of Human Resources informed Vicki. She was also polite in letting Vicki know that she too had been appointed to the board and would be moving into the position in March.

“Congratulations,” Vicki said softly.

In a rare moment of unfettered honesty, Veruka Monmouth-Stallings let her hair down, telling the new hire a very important bit of information.

“I don’t really know if it is congratulations or a death sentence. I am pulled out of my job for two years and moved to the 35th Floor to oversee HR policy and practices for the entire company.  I lose all of my power players, my power, and my plays,” she confessed.

“Not really,” Vicki told her. “You now have two years to really take a look at the real issues in the company from a birds-eye view without being in the middle of the fray. Being upstairs almost makes you impervious to the daily politics, giving you a chance to get to the heart of the real HR issues at AC.”

There was no doubt that this response is what had earned her the position that she was starting right now as the doors closed behind her, dinging it’s departure all the while announcing her arrival on the 35th floor.  The current person who held the board seat, or rather was warming it for Veruka, was a short pudgy man with a rotund belly which jiggled when he walked. He mentioned his name but Vicki saw no real reason to commit it to memory since he would be the next guard changing his post.

“The Board has convened and is waiting on you,” the little potbellied man said. He was one of the members whom she had not met during the interview process.

“Wonderful,” she replied. “I am going to set my bag down and grab a notepad, and I will be right there.”

A young temp sat at her new desk, bright-eyed, too energetic and overly eager to please. “Good morning, Ms. Lawrence.  Here is a notepad, a pen, and a cup of coffee, and the board is waiting to greet you. I am at your disposal today as you get set up.  I am Konnie with a K.  I was sent up by Ms. Monmouth-Stallings to assist you,” the young woman said with a big smile.

“Hold the coffee, Konnie with a K until after,” she said, handing the girl her lunch bag and purse.  “I am off to see the Wizard.”

“What wizard?” Konnie asked. 

Millennials. 

The one thing which impressed the board members about Vicki was that she was far wiser than her years.  The years in which she lived on the planet did not represent themselves as etched lines of experience on her face.  At thirty-five years old, she looked twenty-two.  The long blond hair also made her look far younger than she was, which worked in her favor.  Many people underestimated her and the skills which she possessed. She was qualified for the job in more ways than one.

“Good morning, everyone,” she said, walking into the board room.  Twelve pairs of eyes looked her up and down, noticing every detail of the black suit she wore. Mumbled responses were returned as she took a seat at the large mahogany table.

“I gathered everyone this morning so that you could officially see the entire board.  Most of us, though based out of this office, have a heavy travel schedule throughout the year to outlying divisions, branches, and facilities. We convene on the second Tuesday of the month here to review, plan, vote, and oversee American Conglomerate,” Kelson H.H. Herman told her.

“I am ready to get to work,” Vicki responded with a smile. The members of the board introduced themselves as she made notes on her pad.

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Kelson H.H. Herman, Chairman, American Conglomerate

The fifteen minutes spared for her was just enough  to get a feel for the members of the team she was charged to support. Her first ward was Kelson. His family were founding members of American Conglomerate. However, this family member had run out of excuses to not be appointed to the board.  He didn’t want to be here, everyone knew it, and he made no qualms about giving up two years of his life to babysit overpaid grown people.

“My office, Ms. Lawrence,” he said with a sneer as he walked past her. Looks of sympathy crossed the faces of the other members as Kelson hurriedly moved to his office.  Today was his third day as board chairman.

“How may I assist you, Mr. Herman?” Vicki asked politely.

“Maybe you could start by shooting me and putting me out of my misery,” he mumbled under his breath.

“Okay, but my gun is in my other purse.  Besides, if I did that, how will others learn how great of a job you are going to do ushering in the new era of American Conglomerate with you at its helm?” she added.

Kelson watched the young lady. There was something about her that didn’t jibe. She eyed him from behind the over-sized black framed glasses, weighing and measuring him. he was one of those types.  It would take her only four more sentences to know for certain if he was a passer. Vicki called passers those men of wealth and status who passed through many doors, but never leaving a mark. 

“Honey, you can blow smoke up someone else’s ass. There is nothing I can do for you in this job,” he said with a harshness to his tome.

“Good.  Maybe there is something I can do for you,” she said to him.

“Like what?” His beady eyes stared at her face.  Bonus.  He didn’t immediately go for my boobs.

“I can help you appreciate the irony of this situation,” Vicki said with a smile.

“I didn’t think anything could be more ironic than this conversation,” he told her. It was the dismissive way he said it which made her change tactics.

Vicki didn’t have time to listen to a rich middle-aged white man have a pity party.  He probably had more money in loose change in his top desk drawer than she currently had in her bank account. She needed him to be successful so she could keep her job. Her whole life she had been waiting for the chance to prove that she wasn’t just another pretty face. She was qualified to do a lot of jobs, but one look at her and others dismissed her.  This man was not going to do the same thing.

“I am certain that many members of the Walton family don’t want to work at Wal-Mart, but it is something that has to be done.  No one is expecting you to be successful at this, so they have surrounded you with people to make you look good as if you were some incompetent book mark stuck in to press open the pages for others to peer inside the spine.  Is this what you want?”

Kelson leaned forward in his chair.  “How dare you walk in here and proceed to tell me…,” he started to say but was silenced by her hand.

“Mr. Herman, I am telling you exactly what you need to hear to get you up on your feet and working for American Conglomerate. My first job was at a fried chicken restaurant.  Day three on the job I had to clean out the deep fryer.  I found unspeakable remnants in that grease, but I couldn’t quit because tuition was due and I needed to eat.  I didn’t eat that chicken or anything else they served, but I did take some of the uncooked pieces home to cook it for myself,” Vicki told him.

“How does this relate to me, young lady?”

“Mr. Herman, sometimes we have to do what we must in order to live.  You have to do a great job here because your family is counting on you.  It is your turn to lead. I need you to lead because I still have to eat.  The check for tuition has been replaced by an automatic bank draft for my mortgage. I have every intention of doing a great job here for you and this board. At least give me the bragging rights to say that Kelson H.H. Herman is the greatest boss ever,” she said. “I have loads of things on my list to clarify with St. Peter; please don’t make me add liar to the running tally.”

Kelson began to laugh.

“If that is your pep talk on day one, I am interested to see what else you are bringing to the table,” he said to Vicki.

“I have all kinds of goodies in my other purse,” she said with a smile.

“Welcome aboard, Ms. Lawrence. I look forward to working with you,” Kelson said with a half-smile.

“Likewise,” Vicki said as she stood, leaving his office with a nod of her head and going back to her desk to deal with Connie with a K.  Lord, what have I gotten myself into now?

The next year would be life-changing for Vicki as she soon learned that twelve people would connect with her on a level she never imagined.  She would become integral to their professional success and necessary for support in their personal struggles. The one thing she never wanted to be she would inadvertently evolved into as the office wife for twelve very unusual people.

“I’m going to make it work,” she said softly as she stood by her desk, anxiously greeted by Konnie.  The woman reminded her of a little Pomeranian happy it’s master had returned home.

“Where do you want to start, Ms. Lawrence?” Konnie wanted to know.

“We are already at the the top, let’s start here  Konnie,” Vicki told her.  It was all she could do to begin to learn her new job as the executive assistant to board of directors at American Conglomerate.

-Fin-

Next Month we continue Victoria’s chronicles at American Conglomerate as she finds a rhythm with her new team and creates bonding relationships.


Let us know what you thought. We welcome positive feedback.

What I am Reading: Not Giving a F*ck

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THE “GENIUS” (Cosmopolitan) NATIONAL BESTSELLER ON THE ART OF CARING LESS AND GETTING MORE.

Are you stressed out, overbooked, and underwhelmed by life? Fed up with pleasing everyone else before you please yourself? It’s time to stop giving a f*ck.

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I don’t agree with the title and even less about not caring about a lot of things, which this book makes a point of singling out, but seriously, that title is raw.
“This brilliant, hilarious, and practical parody of Marie Kondo’s bestseller The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up explains how to rid yourself of unwanted obligations, shame, and guilt–and give your f*cks instead to people and things that make you happy.”
I do like the idea of mental de-cluttering and having an opportunity to truly focus on the things which really matter and are relevant. Most days, my head is filled with ideas which feels like a bag of cats are chasing a red dot, but hey, that’s just me. I downloaded a copy to read the words, get inspired, and clear my head of nonsense.  I also had to clear it of voices which were mumbling negative words trying to bring me down.
Image result for cluttered mindThe easy-to-use, two-step NotSorry Method for mental decluttering will help you unleash the power of not giving a f*ck about:

  • Family drama
  • Having a “bikini body”
  • Iceland
  • Co-workers’ opinions, pets, and children
  • And other bullsh*t!

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Hey Look—Bullshit! Guess what? I don’t give a side ways nut sack holding F*ck. Whoot.  I can do this!

This book  will free you to spend your time, energy, and money on the things that really matter. So what are you waiting for? Stop giving a f*ck and start living your best life today!

I found this on Amazon for $1.99 on Kindle. Hardcover is like $12.00.  I don’t give enough F*cks to spend $12 on this book, but I will use the money to buy a dozen Krispy Kremes.
See I am learning. You can too! Let’s do this!  Here we come 2017!!!