Monday, September 19, 2011


Last month, I accepted Laurie Halse Anderson's challenge to write 15 minutes a day for the month of August. I DID IT! Some days it was actually revising what I'd previously written in my current WIP, but that still counts. Overall, I managed to write three entirely new chapters of PENANCE, my YA paranormal novel about a dead girl named Jada.

In celebration, here's a little teaser of what I wrote:

He was in front of her in three steps and tried to grab her arms, but she met him with a forearm to his throat that sent him reeling backward, coughing and gasping. He managed to stay on his feet, but Jada didn’t give him a chance to attack again. Mimicking one of the roundhouse kicks she’d seen in countless action flicks, her foot connected with his hip and knocked him completely off the deck onto the lawn.

Before he could recover, Jada dropped to the ground on top of him. With his arms pinned under her knees, she gripped his throat with her left hand and held her right over his face in a claw, like Mr. Miyagi in The Karate Kid.

“Time for your lesson, jockstrap. The next time you and your football buddies decide to put the new cheerleaders through an initiation at one of your parties, you’d better stick to dunking them in the pool. I don’t care how stupid or slutty or willing to grovel they are, they don’t deserve to be drugged and raped.”

Obviously, Scott still didn’t realize his precarious position, because he tried to argue despite Jada’s hand around his throat. “I told you I don’t know what you’re talking about. Me and my boys sure as hell don’t need to drug nobody. We got girls begging us for it all the time.”

“Liar.” Jada released his throat and drove her knuckles into the bridge of his nose, hard enough to break it but not hard enough to drive bone fragments into his brain. Scott uttered a decidedly unmasculine scream and tried to free his arms, but Jada held him down effortlessly.

“Okay, I’m sorry!” Blood ran into his mouth from his shattered nose and sprayed when he spoke.

“Better spread the word to the rest of the team too,” Jada said, “because if I hear about anything like this happening again, every guy on the team is gonna pay with a broken bone. And it’s gonna be whichever bone they need the most to play football. You’re the quarterback, huh? Right-handed or left?”

“No, please!” His eyes widened with fear. “I swear it won’t happen again!”

Jada shrugged. “Guess I’ll just have to break both of them.”

“The left! The left!”

Jada lifted her knee so she could deliver a faux karate chop to his right forearm. “Sorry. Don’t trust you.”

She stood and watched him rolling on the ground, holding his broken arm and crying. Was she a monster because she didn’t feel even a shred of sympathy for him? Nah. He sure as hell hadn’t felt any for the girls he’d drugged.

“Okay, Scott, let’s review our lesson, shall we? Girls are not objects created to amuse the male of the species, and even when they’re drugged or too drunk or too stupid to make intelligent decisions and tell you no, that doesn’t give you the right to take advantage of them. Got that?”

“Yeah, I get it,” he whimpered.

“Good. And don’t forget to share your newfound knowledge with the other guys, ‘cause I’m holding you accountable for anything they do. Oh, and in case you’re curious about how I found out about your little ruffie parties, you can thank Fallon and her bitchy cheerleader pals for gossiping about the new girls without checking to make sure nobody’s in the bathroom stalls.”

Jada went back to the deck and picked up the tub of ice and beer, even though it probably weighed close to seventy-five pounds. Scott was still on the ground, although he tried to scramble to his feet when he saw her coming back.

“Hey, I said I’d do whatever you want! Please don’t break anything else!”

“Dude, how cruel do you think I am?” Jada looked offended and pushed him back to the ground with her foot. “I’m not gonna break any more bones. I just think you need one more little reminder about why this happened in the first place.”

She set the tub on the ground beside him and smiled.

“Take off your shorts.”

~Stay true to yourself and your dreams will come true.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Can I Do It?

I am ashamed to admit that I'm notorious for accepting writing challenges that I don't follow through on. I know that makes me sound like an unreliable, irresponsible person, and I'm really not--I swear.

This time it's gonna be different!

Award-winning, best-selling YA author Laurie Halse Anderson has issued a writing challenge for the month of August. Participants are to write at least 15 minutes a day, every day. Laurie even helps out by posting optional writing prompts on her blog every day to get folks going.

I think maybe my failure in the past has been because I have a deep-seated obstinate gene that makes me resistant to writing what I'm told to write--even if it's my own book! I hated when my teachers did that and called it "creative writing." Essays were different. I didn't mind writing about a topic for an essay assignment, but, by God, if they were going to call it "creative" then I didn't want them telling me what to write! (Yeah, I was a real rebel, huh? Valedictorian with a vendetta!)

Anyway, that's what I like about Laurie's challenge. I can write whatever I want as long as I write for 15 minutes every day. This blog post takes care of today, but you know what? I think I'm gonna go write a new chapter in PENANCE, the book I'm working on.

Thanks, Laurie! Your non-dictatorial challenge has helped!

~Stay true to yourself and your dreams will come true.

(Note to Aston West: Every 8 months my butt, Flyboy!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Tag, You're It!

Yep, it's another blog tag meme! I was tagged by my "friend" Carrie Cox, also known as Wonderwegian Here are my incredibly pithy responses. Feel free to leave your gushing admiration in the comments section!

What do you think of when you the hear the word tag?
Toe tags. Yeah, I know it’s morbid, but I am writing about a dead girl, you know!

Do you think you're hot?
No, but my husband does, and that’s all that matters to me!

Upload a picture or wallpaper that you're using at the moment.

When was the last time you ate chicken?

Thursday night. Foosackly’s chicken strips with honey mustard—yum!

The song(s) you listened to recently.
Seeing as how I am listening to music most of my waking hours, there are way too many to list, so I’ll just go with a couple of favorites—“Simple Man” by Lynyrd Skynyrd and “Perfect” by Pink.

What were you thinking as you were doing this?
I really should be writing, but at least this will update my woefully outdated blog!

Do you have nicknames? What are they?
Toyce (my husband doesn’t call me anything else!) and my daddy called me Hot Shot. Can you tell I was a Daddy’s Girl?

Tag 8 blogger friends:
Lee Ann Ward
Joyce A. Anthony
Aston West
Chris Cox
Ryan James
Wanda Argersinger
Janet Elaine Smith
Ron Berry

Who's listed as No. 1?
Lee Ann Ward, my best friend and literary sister. (Yes, I know there’s a space in her name because it goes there!)

Say something about No. 5

One of my fellow members of the Mobile Writers’ Guild and creator of Elwood Cox, librarian extraordinaire!

How did you get to know No. 3?
We had the same first bad publisher! Fortunately, we both got our rights back and went on to find another publisher. Aston is my favorite intergalactic flyboy, even if he does have a weakness for a certain yellow liquor!

How about No. 4?
Chris is so many things to me—circulation manager of the library, fellow MWG member, facilitator of the Classics Revisited book discussion group, critique group partner, and favorite faux-British actor!

Leave a message for No. 6.
Wanda, I know I’ve been MIA from Jay’s group lately, but I promise I’ll be back as soon as school starts and a certain—ahem—distraction is gone from my days. I’m glad we’re friends on Facebook so I can still keep up with your hilarious adventures!

Leave a lovey dovey message for No. 2.
Joyce, you are one of the most compassionate, loving people I’ve ever known, and you never fail to brighten my day when I read anything you’ve written. I’m so proud to call you my friend (or fiend as we call ourselves in Jay’s Playhouse!)

Do No. 7 and No. 8 have any similarities?
Hmm . . . well, they’re both Yankees. And they’re both talented writers with a great sense of humor! But I have to point out that Janet is way better at self-promotion than Ron. Of course, Janet is way better than everybody I know!

~Stay true to yourself and your dreams will come true!

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Challenge Me, Will Ya?

Desperate times call for desperate measures.

FACT: I need to finish my work-in-progress, a YA paranormal novel titled PENANCE.

FACT: It has already taken me longer to write this book than it took me to write my first three.

FACT: All productivity on my part comes crashing to a halt whenever my husband is home.

FACT: My husband is a teacher.

FACT: School is out for the summer.

Consequently, I have decided to join author Theodora Goss in her YA Novel Challenge, a NaNoWriMo type event meant to inspire/boost/dare/taunt some of her fellow writers into writing or revising a YA novel, or part of one, between June 1 and August 31. Obviously, she understands flummoxed writers like me since she’s made the rules so flexible!

I have every intention of winning this challenge with a completed manuscript. I’ve even got a big head start since I’ve already written almost 40,000 words of it. However, if I don’t finish my book, at least this challenge will make me update my woefully outdated blog more often, so I shall be claiming success either way!

Time to get off now and write. My mantra for the next few months is “BICHOK now, BICHOK forever!”

At least until August 31.

~Stay true to yourself and your dreams will come true.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Number Three--Jess and Lee

From my third book, SYMMETRY:

When Lee picked her up, they drove to a roadside stand that sold wildflowers. Jess helped him select a mixed bouquet for his dad, their simple beauty fitting for a man as down-to-earth as Hal had been. Lee made no effort to hide his tears when he placed the flowers on his father’s grave, and Jess had to wipe hers away as well.

Lee took her hand when they started back to the car, and she let him hold it.
They didn’t talk much on the drive back to the house, but when Lee parked in the driveway and shut off the engine, he took her hand again. “Thanks for going with me, Jess. Dad always loved you, so I know he’s happy you were there with me.”

“I’m glad you asked me to go,” she said. “Really, Lee.”

He lowered his gaze. “I miss him like hell, but I’m kinda glad I don’t have to face him right now and explain why I’ve screwed up my marriage and haven’t accomplished anything he could be proud of.”

“That’s not true, Lee. Your dad was always proud of you.”

He shook his head. “I know how disappointed he was when I had to quit playing football. I thought if I could make it big as a sportswriter, it would make it up to him a little.”

“Your dad just wanted you to be happy,” she said, wondering why she’d never guessed before the reason he was so driven to succeed. “He was upset over your injury because he knew you loved playing, not because he cared if you ever became rich or famous.”

“No, he told me when I was in high school that he didn’t want me to have to work myself to death just to provide for my family the way he did.”

“That’s right, Lee. He didn’t want you working in a factory doing manual labor, and you accomplished that by going to college and getting a degree. He was proud of you for that, but I think he was even more proud of you for being such a devoted son and brother.”

He looked up at her. “You sound like my mom. I know you’re both just trying to make me feel better.”

She pushed his shoulder. “That’s ridiculous. Neither one of us even likes you.”

He smiled and gave her a look that made her heart beat erratically. “I’m trying to understand what you want me to do so I can come home, Jess. I swear I am.”

She sighed. “I believe you, Lee. To tell the truth, I’m not even sure I know what I want you to do. I just know I want things to be different.”

“Today was a good start, wasn’t it?”

“Yeah, it was.”

He squeezed her hand. “I want to do something special for you like you did for me today. Whatever you want. Just tell me.”

“You don’t need to repay me for anything, Lee. I was glad to go with you.”

“No, there’s gotta be something I can do. Think about it and let me know, okay?”

“Okay, I’ll think about it.”

“Jess . . .” He twisted his wedding ring on his finger. “Please don’t go out with that guy if he starts calling you again. I know you wouldn’t sleep with him, but I can’t stand the idea of him even touching you.”

She sighed. “I don’t think that’s an issue anymore. I’m sure he wants to stay as far away from me as possible now that he knows I have a violent lunatic for a husband.” She could see his face flood with relief, but she couldn’t quite seem to get mad at him for it.

“Guess he got a look at these pythons.” He flexed his biceps for her. “Must’ve decided he’d better find his own woman and leave mine alone.”

She arched an eyebrow. “You’ve been watching wrestling with Trent, haven’t you?”

He gave her one of his heart-stopping smiles and leaned over to kiss her on the cheek. She was thankful it was only a chaste kiss, because she wasn’t sure she could have resisted him if he’d tried to kiss her for real. Just the brush of his lips on her face was an exquisite agony she knew all too well.

Sensing that she needed to put some space between them, she opened the car door and said, “I’ll see you at work tomorrow, Lee. Don’t forget to ask your mom about letting me come over to see Lexie.”

“Okay. Bye, baby.”

Once she was safely inside the house, Jess fell onto the couch as she listened to the sound of his car pulling away, near panic at the realization that she was always going to love a man who hurt her on a regular basis and would likely keep doing so, because he did it unintentionally. And the thing that scared her the most was knowing she was probably going to sacrifice everything else that was important to her and let him go on hurting her, because the times in between the pain were the moments she lived for.

Buy Your Copy of SYMMETRY Here

~Stay true to yourself and your dreams will come true.

Amorous Excerpt #2

This one features Jaycee and Bud from DIFFERENT ROADS, so be prepared for some steam!

The middle-aged secretary who worked for Bud, Mack, and Luke told Jaycee that Bud was on the phone with one of the mill managers, but she could wait on the couch in his office for him to finish the call.

Jaycee had worn a short denim skirt with a sleeveless blouse, and Bud leaned over in his chair in an exaggerated effort to look at her legs while he listened to the man on the phone. The door was open, but no one could see Jaycee from outside the office, so she slid her skirt a little higher on her thigh and gave him a suggestive look.

“No problem, Phil,” Bud said into the phone. “I’ll be there in the morning with two more terminals and have them up and running by noon. See you then.” He hung up and started around the desk toward Jaycee just as a young blonde woman in a short red dress came through the doorway.

“I brought you some coffee, Mr. Stanton,” she said. “Extra cream and sugar, just the way you like it.”

Bud stopped and glanced at Jaycee. “Uh . . . thank you, Bridget. My wife’s here right now. Want some coffee, Jaycee?”

Bridget froze when she saw Jaycee on the couch, and a little coffee sloshed out of the cup.

Jaycee folded her arms across her chest. “No, and since when do you drink it, Bud?”

“I drink it now and then,” he said. “Just put it on the desk, Bridget. Thanks.”

She set it on a coaster. “I’ll come back for the cup when you’re finished, Mr. Stanton.”

“Don’t bother,” Jaycee said. “And close the door on your way out.”
Bridget left without another word.

“That’s not my fault, Jaycee,” Bud said when she was gone. “I’ve never asked her to bring me anything.”

“Uh-huh, and you obviously haven’t spread the word that your wife won’t hesitate to kick somebody’s over-ambitious little ass either, so maybe that’s what I need to do.”

He walked over to the couch and sat beside her. “Come on, Jaycee. All she does is bring me coffee sometimes. I’m sure she does the same thing for Dad and Luke.”

She pushed away his hand when he tried to hold hers. “I don’t give a shit what she brings them. You’d better tell her that I’ll make her spill more than coffee if I catch her offering you anything else. I’ll fix you a frigging thermos if you like coffee so damn much, and what the hell are you smiling about?”

He answered in a singsong voice: “Jay-cee is jeal-ous. You’re afraid somebody’s gonna steal your Sugar Daddy, huh?”

She threw a punch at his arm, but he caught her hand and pushed her back on the couch to lie on top of her. “Get off me, shithead! I’m sure as hell not jealous of a little twit like her, but if you think you want somebody else then you can just—”

He covered her mouth with his and forced his tongue inside. Jaycee was a stronger-than-average girl, but there was really no comparison of her strength to Bud’s. She gave up struggling after a minute or so.

“I hate you,” she said when he let her speak. “Your little office fan club can have you. All I care about is Junior anyway.”

He laughed and kissed her neck with her hands still pinned to the couch. “Don’t worry, Firecracker. Junior doesn’t like anybody but you.”

She gave him a sly look. “Let go of my hands and I’ll say hello to him.”

“Uh-uh, I don’t trust you. You’ll punch me.”

“No I won’t, Bud. I promise.” She pressed her hips upward and moved against him. “I like it when you act all tough like this. You caveman, me woman. It’s making me so hot.”

He narrowed his eyes suspiciously. “For real?”

She smiled and nodded. He hesitated a couple of seconds more and slowly released her right hand, still holding her left above her head and watching her closely. She put her hand on his cheek and slid it down his neck. Just as it reached his chest and he shifted his weight so she could get her hand between them, she pinched his nipple between her thumb and forefinger and twisted.

“Ow, shit.” He grabbed her hand and pinned it again. “You lied to me, Jaycee!”

“No, I promised I wouldn’t punch you. Now get off me.”

He kissed her again until she returned it.

“Still hate me?”

“More than ever.”

“If I make love to you right here and shock the employees by making you moan with ecstasy, will you like me again?”


He got up and went to his desk to press the intercom button on his phone. “Mrs. Patterson, hold all my calls until further notice. I’ll be in conference with my wife until she likes me again.”

Jaycee laughed. “But your coffee will get cold, Mr. Stanton.”

He came back to the couch and started to unbutton her blouse. “I just thought of a new game for us to play, and I want you to call me Mr. Stanton while we play it.”

When Jaycee left, she stopped by Bridget’s desk in the clerical office next door and set the empty coffee cup in front of her.

“I’m afraid Mr. Stanton’s coffee got spilled while we were . . . working on his desk, so I brought you the cup to get him some more. But, if I were you”—she leaned toward her conspiratorially but didn’t lower her voice—“I’d focus my efforts on one of the single Stanton men. Not only is Bud a waste of your time because he’s not interested, he’s got a wife who’s been known to cold-cock women over a lot less than your pathetic attempts at getting him to look at your ass. You might want to write that on a sticky note and keep it on your monitor so you won’t forget.”

Jaycee waved congenially to all the open-mouthed women in the room as she left.

Buy Your Own Copy Of DIFFERENT ROADS here

~Stay true to yourself and your dreams will come true!

Valentine's Day Love Fest!

In celebration of love and romance, three amorous excerpts from my books. Up first, TRUE BLUE FOREVER:

“My Jeana,” he whispered. “You’re so beautiful.”

She stiffened involuntarily in his arms. “Don’t say that, Mickey. I believe that you love me, but don’t lie to me. You promised you wouldn’t.”

Mickey looked at her in confusion. “I’ve never lied in my life, Jeana. You’re the most beautiful girl I’ve ever seen.”

She tried to shake her head, but he wouldn’t let her.

“Don’t you know how incredible you are?” Mickey’s eyes searched her face and slowly widened. “You don’t, do you? God, you’re like a perfect work of art, and you don’t even know it.”

Jeana had never thought of herself as even close to beautiful, but now—looking into Mickey’s amazing eyes so full of his love for her—she had no choice but to believe him. Even if no one else ever thought she was beautiful, she knew Mickey did. And that was all that mattered to her.

“Then you’re the artist, Mickey, because I didn’t exist until you kissed me.”

They lay beside each other on the couch, and Jeana sensed immediately that they’d moved to a deeper level in their relationship. Their kisses were more intense, and when Mickey’s lips moved to her neck, a warmth started in the pit of her stomach that spread over her entire body. She felt that odd pulse between her legs again, and it was as if every nerve and synapse were electrified. She’d never felt so inflamed, and her only thought was of more.

Every brush of his lips on her skin was like a tiny shock that elicited little whimpers from her, meant to tell him how much she liked it and that she wanted him to go further. She knew he got the message because his hands began to explore, and when he touched her breasts through her thin T-shirt, she felt as if he had ignited a fuse that ran to the most sensitive parts of her body. Her chest rose and fell with her rapid breathing, and Mickey misread her reaction.

“Do you want me to stop, Jeana?”

“No, Mickey.” She put his hand back on her breast. “Please don’t stop.”

He smiled as he lowered his lips to her neck again. He was lying with one of his knees between her thighs, and Jeana discovered that it felt wonderful when she moved her lower body against his leg. She knew he shared her arousal because of the hardness she felt against her thigh, and also from the way he moaned when she pressed her body against him.

“You gotta stop that, baby,” he said breathlessly. “I like it, but you gotta stop.”

Instead of stopping, Jeana’s hands slid to his hips and pulled him against her.

“No, Mickey. I want you to make love to me.”

He tensed and tried to pull away. “We can’t, Jeana. I want to, but—”

“I love you, Mickey.” Her hands clutched him tighter. “It’s not wrong if we love each other.”

“I love you too.” He buried his face in her hair. “But, we have to wait.”

“I don’t want to wait, I want you.” Jeana knew she was being reckless and irresponsible, but the pounding of her heart drowned out the voice in her head telling her to listen to Mickey because he was right.

“You know I want you, baby. So much...” He closed his eyes and gasped when her hands found their way inside his jersey and touched his chest. “Jeana, stop. You’re driving me crazy.”

He took her hands from his shirt and sat up. She pulled herself up beside him and put her head on his shoulder.

“Why do we have to wait if we love each other, Mickey?”

He told her the story about his parents, how his birth had changed the course of their lives. When he finished, he said, “I don’t want us to make the same mistake, Jeana.”

“Don’t say it like that, Mickey. You’re not a mistake.”

He smiled. “You’re so sweet. But, do you understand what I’m talking about, baby? You’re gonna be the valedictorian, with the sky as your limit after that. I promised my dad I’d play baseball. If you got pregnant—”

“We can be careful, Mickey. We can wait until we have protection.”

“Nothing is a hundred percent safe, and that’s not the only problem, because I know once we made love I’d want you all the time. We’d be tempted every time we were together, and pretty soon we’d start to take chances.” He covered his face in frustration. “Please try to understand.”

Her laughter surprised him.

“I’m sorry,” she said, “but don’t we have our roles reversed here?”

Mickey smiled wryly. “Let’s face it, Jeana. There’s nothing typical about you or me.”

Buy Your Copy Here

~Stay true to yourself and your dreams will come true!