A change of plans …

Nope, no Part Three of my Misfits today. Say goodbye to Maxine for a while and hunker down for wonderful news worth celebrating.

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Graphic credit

Today, I would like to celebrate two women I consider talented and inspiring, women who encourage and cheer others, women who worked harder and longer to accomplish what most of us aspire to achieve. I am honored to count them among my writing friends and to highlight their good news here today.

Like so many of you, I met Laura Drake on line. She has generously offered her friendship, critique of my lame synopsis and waning plots, and she has encouraged me to keep on during those times when I wanted to quit. I borrow her short bio from Writers in the Storm, a group  blog she helped to form and where she contributes monthly.

Laura Drake is a city girl who never grew out of her tomboy ways, or a serious cowboy crush. She writes both Women’s Fiction and Romance.

She sold her Sweet on a Cowboy series, romances set in the world of professional bull riding, to Grand Central. The Sweet Spot (May 2013), Nothing Sweeter (Jan 2014) and Sweet on You (August 2014). The Sweet Spot has recently been named a Romance Writers of America®   RITA® Finalist in both the Contemporary and Best First Book categories.

sweet spot

Her ‘biker-chick’ novel, Her Road Home, sold to Harlequin’s Superromance line (August, 2013) and has expanded to three more stories set in the same small town. The Reasons to Stay will release August, 2014.

This year Laura realized a lifelong dream of becoming a Texan and is currently working on her accent. She gave up the corporate CFO gig to write full time. She’s a wife, grandmother, and motorcycle chick in the remaining waking hours.

 

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I could not break the link to show you, but this url will bring you to the video of Laura accepting her RITA at the RWA Nationals this weekend. And tingles all around, she was hugged by NORA. list=UUexKC_mroN5YluFQ2pDJjHw

The purpose of the RITA award is to promote excellence in the romance genre by recognizing outstanding published romance novels and novellas.

RITA AWARD

The award itself is a golden statuette named after RWA’s first president, Rita Clay Estrada, and has become the symbol for excellence in published romance fiction.

 

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Christi Corbett was the first person to subscribe to my blog and she has been a loyal reader for over four years now. We met on-line in a Writer’s Digest group, we exchange comments, emails, and phone calls. I can’t ever list three items with an “and” and forget the comma because she has drilled the Oxford Comma into my brain.

I have taken her bio from her blog.

From a young age, writing was an integral part of Christi Corbett’s life. It was a skill she further developed during her career as a television writer. Now, Christi continues to broaden her writing horizons with her novel, Along the Way Home, a Historical Western novel about the Oregon Trail.

AlongTheWayHome-ChristiCorbett-.04

After graduating from Western Washington University with a degree in Communications, Christi took a job with a CBS affiliate in the Creative Services Department. Over the years her lifelong love of writing was put to good use; in addition to writing over three hundred television commercials, she earned the position as head writer for a weekly television show. Furthermore, she was responsible for writing over one hundred press releases detailing the station’s various special events, community programs, and news department awards.

Currently, Christi lives in a small town in Oregon with her husband, and twin children. The location of the home holds a special place in Christi’s writing life; the view from her back door is a hill travelers looked upon years ago as they explored the Oregon Territory and beyond.

Christi is a member of Women Writing the West and The Ridge Writers, a local writing critique group.

 

christi.rone award

 

This is Christi this past weekend at a book signing. She was unable to attend the RONE awards in person, but the thrill was certainly the high point of her family’s week. The RONE … Spotlighting the very best and rewarding excellence in the 2014 Indie and Small Publishing Industry.

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Congratulations to both of these amazing women.

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How many times?  I mean, count to yourself and tell me … how many times have you heard … all good things come to those who wait??

I would amend that to say … all good things come to those who work hard, believe in themselves, and never give up. I mean don’t just sit there and “wait” for the knock on the door. Prince Charming never knocks and opportunity is inside your soul … listen for it … know it when it comes … and grab onto the gold ring and never let go.

see you in sept

 

This will be my last blog post until September 3rd. Read, write, play and enjoy the balance of your summer.

Do you have good news to share?.

Yours or a friend. Tell me.

fOIS In The City

 

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Mismatched Misfits-Part Two …

Once again, I combine the hilarity of Maxine and my own brand of funny.

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Credit for all Maxine Cartoons

For years I had the habit of watching a particular type of TV show just before rolling over. The programs included Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman, and reruns of The Odd Couple and Murphy Brown. My all time favorite was Faulty Towers with the comic genius of John Cleese.

My daughter once commented, “Mom, I could hear you laughing all the way down the hall.”

“It’s good for your mental health to laugh just before going to sleep.”

Of course, I never told her that her father always gave me a good laugh before sleeping.

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On to a darker comic side of Viola and her cast of misfits.

From “The Human Gnat” …

Fifty weeks a year, Josephine Napoli  lived in a strange place called Brooklyn. The other two weeks each year, her parents sent her and her siblings to spend time in the fresh air of the country. Because it was good for them, because they wanted their children to get away from the bad influences on the streets of their neighborhood in Brooklyn, and because mom and dad needed a rest.

Not caring for this forced exile from her home turf, Josephine, or as most of the family called her, Josie, made it her mission each day to be as erasable and annoying as humanly possible without any of the adults in her life causing her permanent physical damage. Josie was a kin to living with a small gnat, who for some un-Godly reason never settles on any hard surface so you can happily squash it, is fond of flitting in your peripheral vision, and the moment you turn, the damn thing vanishes.

She was a small, spry girl with a long ponytail and crooked feet, crooked feet that could run faster and longer than any boy in Bath Beach, and could peddle on any bike from the endless supply of bikes left in her cousins’ garages..

Up and down the Hudson River, Josephine’s extended family totaled, twelve first cousins and forty-two second cousins. Five of them were within her age, and not a one shared her desire to escape the open fields and the sloping hills near their houses on the right side of town. Unlike their Brooklyn cousin, they rode their bikes along safe country roads, never rode to Main Street without adult supervision, and to a one, never rode the length of Main Street, careening down other hills on the wrong side of town.

On this sunny summer day, Josie skipped out on lunch with the folks and pointed her roadster towards Main Street. Without a single thought and absolutely no guilt, she rode her bike to Lucy’s store looking for Viola. Aunt Lucille was on her perch behind the counter, her chubby fingers busy stacking quarters.

Josie shouted in the door. “Aunt Lucille, where’s Viola?”

She looked over her glasses and barked, “It’s long past lunch and she ain’t here.”

Josie backed out of the door. “Mind me, you little pest. When I get my hands on that girl, she’ll be as sorry as sin; that I can tell you.”

Not ready to tangle with the big lady, Josie closed the door and took one spin around the block. On the return, she saw her cousin and Billy Conway in the doorway of a house across the street. Billy was rubbing himself against Viola, their lips locked. As Josie glided by and found a better angle for snooping, she saw Viola’s skirt was up to her waist and her panties were around her ankles. She had seen all the pictures of the thing in the books her brother hid under his mattress. But to see it up close and personal, and standing, was more than she ever believed possible.

She put her foot on the ground to keep the bike from rolling and watched as Billy continued pushing up against Viola’s body. Viola had a big smile on her face and kept running her hands through his long blonde locks.

Josie thought Billy wasn’t much to look at but she guessed Viola really liked him because she kept smiling and meeting each of his movements. He pushed in and then back, then again back and forth getting faster and faster, until he finally stopped and put his head on Viola’s shoulder. In the next instant he did a quick check, zipped his pants and patted her cousin on the head. Josie let the bike fall and bent down behind a parked car.

When she looked again, Billy was gone and Viola was pushing her hair back. Then she hoisted her panties, pulled down her skirt, and checking in both directions, came out of the doorway into the sun with a big grin on her face. Josie was certain it wouldn’t be a good idea for her cousin to see her, so she waited until Viola was down the hill and around the corner to Lucy’s before she moved again.

She counted one-Mississippi ten times before she pulled into the back of the store. Beyond the back door, she heard a slapping sound. And after each slapping sound, she heard the sound of her cousin yowling in pain. Josie guessed Viola was getting a bad licking.

She crouched low and inched towards the door of the first storeroom to get a better view. Viola was bent over, her bare bottom exposed, and Aunt Lucille, actually on her feet, stood behind her wielding a thick barber strap.

Josie registered that Viola’s panties were once again around her ankles, but this time she wasn’t having such a good time. She remained frozen in place as again and again the strap came down on her cousin’s bottom. When Aunt Lucille could no longer lift her arm, she threw the belt and yelled. “Hang it back up so it’s good and handy for the next time.” And she waddled out of the room.

Viola wiped her eyes, pulled her panties up for the second time, fixed her skirt and picked up the strap.

She counted to twenty this time and then pulled her bike out of the storeroom. After one more revolution around the block, she went into the store. Aunt Lucille was back at her post busy with a huge platter of food.  Josie wiggled her fingers to her cousin. “Hi, Viola.” Then to her aunt. “Hi, Aunt Lucille.”

“If it isn’t the pest again.” Lucille wagged a finger behind her. “One of these days I’m gonna tan your hide.”

Jose spied the barber strap hanging behind her aunt and grinned. “You’d have to catch me first, Aunt Lucille.”

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What classic movie or TV show is a sure hit to make you laugh?

And who … pray tell … is your favorite comic writer?

fOIS In The City

 

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Mismatched Misfits Ride Again …

I am the original mismatched misfit, tripping down the road of life, doing  prat-falls on God’s little green apple peels.

The truth is … I can’t go for too long waxing nostalgic prose without my snark giving me a head slap. And the last three weeks whilst I rummaged through my virtual trunk of black and whites to bring you some captioned delights, my alter-ego was pitching a bitch.

“Give me a damn break,” she snarled. “It wasn’t all that.”

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This link is for all Lucille Cartoons. 

Today, to uphold my love of the snark, I combine my current alter-ego … Maxine … with two snippets for your reading pleasure.

And because I have this thing about trilogy postings, we will finish up the month of July with more comic relief.

Viola, Aunt Lucille and the pesky Josephine, are three characters I so love to play with.

I give you the first snipped from a piece I haplessly titled “The Human Gnat.”

Smoke flumes curled from her lips as she pulled on a filter-tip cigarette and tapped her foot impatiently. Viola Gambone leaned on a parked car outside her parent’s clapboard house, fluffed up her hair, and turned out her wrist to check her watch for the third time in less than a minute. Five more minutes and he’d be history.

Viola didn’t believe in waiting on any of them. She made it her business to get around town, in the way people knew getting around got young girls into trouble. In the way to remain a moving target and not get nailed by the narrow glare of her mother’s eyes.

The front door clamored open and Lucille Gambone emerged. Gravity and corrosion had tilted the front steps at such an angle that anyone not steady on their feet might fall over or trip. Knowing this, Viola enjoyed waiting each morning for her mother to negotiate the three steps leading to the sidewalk and trek three doors down to Lucy’s Candy Shoppe.

Lucille was sallow and blonde with pale blue-gray eyes. On her face her daughter saw the same expression she had seen her whole life. Lucille was miserable. Most people thought she was miserable because she was as wide as she was tall, that her unfortunate glandular disorder had affected her brain and she was no longer capable of smiling. Others who knew better, understood Lucille didn’t need a reason, she was just plain miserable, first thing, mid-day, and the last minute before she lumbered to her side of the bed at night.

Each morning she made the short trip from their house to her tiny establishment on the corner of South Bradley Street. Viola knew it was there her mother would remain ensconced until late evening, waiting on her daughter for lunch and a late supper. For her frequent mid-morning and mid-afternoon snacks, Lucille relied on her spouse or one of the Bradley Street regulars.

Because of her size, Lucille went down each step sideways, the effort causing her weight to shift like a jello mold when shaken. On the last step, she lunged, enertia flinging her headlong toward the parked car and her daughter.

As a precaution Viola stepped aside as Lucille slammed into the car, kicked the tire, and yanked on the waste of her dress. She turned to her daughter, “Why are you standing there like your planted in concrete?”

“Been waiting on a ride to meet Sandy at the diner.”

Her mother gave her a long fierce look, “Stay away from that trash Billy Conway.”

Pretending to fix her skirt hem, Viola rolled her eyes. “Yeah Ma.”

“You’d better not bring my lunch late again today or I’ll lay into you with the strap.”

Viola blew out a long stream of smoke, let the cigarette fall to her feet, and crushed it with a slow circular motion. “I won’t forget, Ma.”

With that Lucille took one long breath and toddled down the street. After she  disappeared around the corner, Viola stood perfectly still and watched the empty space where her mother had been. The old adage filled her mind with a flutter of apprehension. If you want to know what you’ll look like when you grow up, just take a good look at your mother.

She took out a tube of lipstick, bent into the rear view mirror of the parked car, and applied another layer of Wild Passion.

Viola, the third in birth order, and the only female, had been more on the chubby side until adolescence. Her looks came from her father’s side, with dark hair and eyes, her skin a beautiful olive. The baby fat she had fretted over daily melted, and now a fully grown eighteen, Viola was tall and slender and took pleasure in the curves of her body.

With one shake of her head to eradicate the sight of her mother, Viola made her way up the long hill towards Main Street. “Bullshit. I’m not like either of them.”

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This one is my current profile pic on FB.

I use Gail, the main character in a romantic comedy, as a vehicle to poke some fun at romance novels. I apologize in advance to any of my readers who write romance. All I can say in my defense is that I’ve read at least sixty of Nora Roberts and another couple hundred others. As Joan Rivers once said (I paraphrase of course) … “You can’t make fun of something you don’t know about.”

From Gail and Once More Around the Block. At least this time Gail is not in the snares of another failed blind date.

It’s not like I don’t care where my sister goes for her anniversary. I care. I care dearly for my sister. For instance, I would care if her hair turned into mousy blonde frizz and her narrow, athletic frame puffed up like the Phillsbury Dough Boy. It’s just that I’d rather sit with my latest Silhouette novel, shovel in about ten pounds of Chinese and slowly lick a half gallon of ice-cream.

You know? Straight from the carton. No little dishes with manageable portions. The whole gallon, slowly, spoon by creamy spoon, until the melted ice-cream at the bottom is the consistency of a milk shake and you can drink it. Lick your lips and wait for the rich ranch owner to notice the poor cowgirl who struggles to help her aging grandfather run his failing ranch.

I’m crying and blow my nose, happy the little cowgirl married the rich ranch owner and will live happily ever-after.

That’s the other part of romance novels, fairy tales and Disney cartoons. You never have to see what happens “after.” I mean, do you want to know what happens to Cinderella after?

Does she blow up like a blimp and turn into a shrew, complaining that Prince Charming spends too much time-out with the Knights of the Round Table?

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 Writing is a serious business, and I hasten to add, a difficult and serious business. So how on earth do I have the time to “play” with my characters?

Like this blog, playing games with my mismatched, misfit characters is fun. It’s like a water sport. You can do almost anything in the water. Just don’t try to do any of it on dry land.

Tell me please, do you ever get bored and need comic relief?

How often do you put your main characters into compromising positions

because you can? 

fOIS In The City

 

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