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Category Archives: Unusual Poetry & Writing

Be Careful What You Wish For is NOW AVAILABLE!!!

I am proud to announce the publication of Be Careful What You Wish For, Book 3 in The Riley Sisters series!

This is a stand-alone book, as are all the others in the series.

Have Miley's Hollywood dreams blinded her to true love?

Have Miley’s Hollywood dreams blinded her to true love?

Miley Riley always dreamed of being famous in the spotlights of Hollywood. Achieving those dreams seemed pretty unlikely coming from the Podunk farm town of Oakley, Alabama. With no talents and no college education, she had settled into her career as a party planner and sharing an apartment with her on-again, off-again boyfriend. When the movie based on her twin sister Kiley’s book begins shooting in California, Miley wastes no time in making the trip with her for a once in a lifetime vacation. Her wildest fantasies come true when she meets a dark-haired heartthrob, rising movie star Mark Tennyson. Their relationship heats up quickly, much to the chagrin of Miley’s family and best friend Travis.

When her new L.A. life begins to publicly crumble, Miley discovers who she can really count on. The road back to her real life returns her to Alabama, but will be filled with unconventional risks. Miley will learn to Be Careful What You Wish For…

For an excerpt of Chapter 1, click here: http://imnotstalkingyou.com/2015/12/30/excerpt-chapter-1-of-be-careful-what-you-wish-for/

For the first time, it is available for a limited time FREE with Kindle Unlimited, Amazon’s subscription eBook service. I must admit, this service tempts me more every day. If you have already given in and signed up for Kindle Unlimited (or if you want to do a free trial), then please check out Miley and her adventures in Hollywood.

This story really feels different in a lot of ways than the other two in the series. For one, it takes place largely outside of Oakley. And second, there are no Tucker boys left to be a love interest for Miley. Whatever will she do? Don’t worry, she does just fine.

And for those of you who have been with me since Book 1, The Wind Could Blow a Bug, there is a little bit of surprise closure for you (& Jane).

Maybe you have read Book 1 but have not yet got your hands on a copy of Book 2, When You Least Expect It? Check back soon for a Goodreads giveway of two copies.

I kept my promise. If you check the official date on Amazon, you will see that I did indeed publish this book before the end of January 2016. (I may never give myself a self-inflicted deadline again, especially post-Christmas.)

Want to accumulate some good karma and help me get the word out about my new release? Then join my Thunderclap.

Don’t know what that is? You just sign up to post the message I created to all your social media websites that you want to participate with. It is easy and only takes a minute. It is a great way for me to spread my message from a few hundred people to a few hundred THOUSAND people!

The power of social media is awesome. Click here to help a sister out!

Excerpt: Chapter 1 of Be Careful What You Wish For

I admit, my posts have been a little slack-a-lackin’ lately. But there are all sorts of big things going on in my life stirring up all sorts of anxiety in my world. All good (I think).

I have a great gift for all of you for the new year.

What? You ain’t never heard of New Year’s gifts? Don’t look a gift chapter in the mouth!

I present to you the first chapter of Be Careful What You Wish For, the third book in The Riley Sisters series, coming late January 2016.

BCWYWF_med

1

MILEY

“Just take a deep breath. We have it all under control.”

“HOW CAN YOU SAY THAT?! This is MY WEDDING, NOT YOURS! There is no cake, no groom, and it is going to rain on my outdoor reception,” the young bride collapsed in tears into Miley’s arms.

“Vanessa, you have to stop this. You will ruin your makeup. We have sent a car to go fetch the groom. He wants to be here, but his car broke down. It is the ones that don’t want to be married that are the hardest to resolve. And 20 years from now, all you will see in the pictures are your makeup and the groom. So, you see, your job is to stop crying. Let us take care of the rest,” Miley reassured her.

“But the rain—,” the bride insisted.

“I once attended a wedding that got hit by a tornado, and it all turned out OK. We have tents being erected as we speak.”

“Tents? In the yard?” The bride dashed to the bedroom window to confirm the news. Now she began to cry again; this time with tears of joy.

Little did the bride know that Miley had actually ordered the tents a week ago, based on the extended weekly forecast. The outdoor reception would certainly need them. The uncertain part was that until the bride’s father actually saw the impending storm clouds blossoming in the sky himself, he wouldn’t agree to pay the added cost.

“What did I say was your only job today?” Miley reminded her.

“To not cry,” Vanessa the bride squeaked, smiling now at Miley. The bride stared up at Miley as a kindergartner does to their teacher on the first day of school, her big brown eyes reflecting her helplessness, like a cow at the fair. After a year of planning, Vanessa was finally going to put her trust in Miley to successfully complete the task she was hired to do.

“That’s right. I am going to send your bridesmaids in here to keep you cal—company. I have to go tie-up a few last minute details.”

“Were you really at a wedding that survived a tornado?”

“Yes. A few buildings in town were destroyed, but no one died. A lovely time was had by all,” she replied flippantly. Miley didn’t mention that she had only been fifteen years old and a guest at said event.

With that, Miley quickly excused herself from the room. She speed-dialed a number on her cell phone. A voice quickly responded from the other end of the call through the earpiece in her ear.

“Is the five-tier vanilla with vanilla cream on its way?” An affirmative response came from the other end.

“Did you have time to add some red flowers?” Another yes.

“Thanks. You are a lifesaver. You always come through for me with backup cakes.” Miley had an in with a baker who kept a stash of frozen cakes and an employee on-call at all times. Cake disasters were not common, but were always enough to send an already anxious bride over the edge. Usually a few accents in the wedding colors could be added to an all-white cake. And no one pays attention to the flavor when it is being smashed in their face. She pushed a button and silenced the phone as she hit the bottom of the stairs.

After finding the bridesmaids at the back door smoking pot, she sent them up to be with Vanessa. While Miley did not blatantly suggest it, she hoped they would share their stash with the keyed up bride.

Miley made sure the wedding guests had begun filing into the downstairs of the house. She had personally never been in a house where the dining and living spaces could be opened up enough to hold so many people. Even more would be arriving for the reception. That was saying something, as she had been in many lavish homes in her career of party planning.

“Just as long as the groom arrives,” Miley thought to herself. She pushed through a side door and cut across the impeccable lawn, taking a shortcut over to the reception tents. But she wasn’t quick enough.

“Miss Riley!” someone shouted from behind her. She held up her tablet to block her face and shield her from the shouter. She assumed it was probably the father of the bride. She knew her action was rude, but if he really wanted everything to go off without a hitch, he would let her check on the essentials. Miley had learned a long time ago from her mentor and business partner Jenny Jones, “Take care of the essentials, and the details will fall into place.” All the hardest challenges always happened before the ceremony began.

Miley’s light pink dress that came just above the knee flowed behind her as she hurried down the sidewalk, her high heels clicking all the way. She was glad she had chosen a sleeveless dress and worn her hair up. The humidity had been near one hundred percent all morning. She knew the impending storm would cool off the evening some, but never enough.

“I bet you are ready for vacation,” Travis yelled across the tables to Miley. She made a beeline over to him.

Travis Masen was a caterer that Miley used regularly when she was doing jobs close to home, such as in Huntington or Oakley. He was a great caterer. He made great food. He was very reliable. And he was Miley’s best friend.

Miley knew that after the cost of food, the delivery truck, advertising, and paying his employees, Travis didn’t make a ton of money from catering. But he was a bachelor who knew how to pinch a penny. And he drove a motorcycle, so that didn’t take much gas. Anything for the business was a potential tax write off. He did make enough that he didn’t have to work any other jobs for anyone else.

He hoped to one day get a store front. Not only would he be able to have access to industrial kitchen equipment that he did not have now, but he could also serve some of his specialties in a café-type atmosphere to customers off the street.

Travis used to be a skateboarder. It was still evident in his long shaggy blond hair and the baggy clothes he wore on his days off. Miley always thought of him as a “skate rat,” but she couldn’t remember if that was a derogatory term or not, so she only used it in her head. He probably would still be hanging with that crowd, not doing much of anything with his life, if he had not found his love for cooking. He was mostly self-taught. Miley asked him once if that meant he just sat around and watched a lot of the Food Channel. He scoffed at Miley. He tried to explain how cooking had to be experienced by the five senses. He claimed you couldn’t know how to prepare food until you felt the textures with your hands. He told her you couldn’t smell onions sautéing through a television screen. He was right; at least not until next year, when the Smell-O-Vision 5000 hits stores. She didn’t really understand what he was getting at. But she did always enjoy eating the results.

Occasionally, he could still be seen riding his skateboard through the park on a cool evening at twilight. Miley didn’t understand the hobby. When she was driving and saw an assemblage of youth hanging out skateboarding, she turned up her nose at them. Just a waste of time. No value to it.

But when she saw Travis on his board, she never thought those things. It was the one time he truly looked free; even more so than when he was cooking. Miley suspected that is how he probably started skateboarding—to have freedom from his mother’s watchful eyes, to control when he came and went. Miley saw that board as the gateway drug to his motorcycle. He wanted to be sure he could go anywhere he wanted to—alone, without his mother following. Miley had ridden on it with him a few times. But she missed her radio. And air conditioning.

“This job might kill me before I make it to the airport,” Miley told him, a little too loudly. She looked around to make sure no one from the wedding party had heard. It was very poor customer service to bitch about your client while still at their residence. But this had been a brutal plan from day one. The event fell on a day when Jenny was unable to assist. It also fell the day before Miley’s vacation, which was enough to almost break her. Almost.

“So, you are really leaving me for sunny Los Angeles?” Travis cocked his head to the side in that way he always did, his sandy blond hair shifting to hang in his eyes. He rolled another aluminum food warmer, what he always referred to as a “hot box,” over near the table it would be unloaded onto. Travis moved heavy containers of food and often helped move furniture for events, but he never seemed to develop any more muscle tone. He was skinny, but not tall enough to be lanky. He was F a year older than Miley.

“Hells, yes,” Miley said emphatically.

“You know I hate it when you use that expression.” Travis gave her a sour look.

“Two whole weeks. I can’t remember the last time I took a real vacation. It is going to be so fun hanging out with my sister Kiley.”

“Don’t spend all your time stalking the stars. We don’t want another incident like last time,” he stated.

“What? There was no incident when we waited in the parking lot of the sports arena until GC came out. There was the bodyguard nazi, but we outwaited her lies that the band would never come out.”

“No, I’m talking about when you went to KR’s house and sat in his driveway for three hours until you saw him come out of the house with his gun,” Travis reminded her.

“Oh, ya, well. There was that. But he never filed any formal charges… that I know of,” she shook her head, recalling the experience again. “That totally scared me off of rock gods for good.”

“You just remember to come back home again, capeesh?” Travis stated pointedly. Travis knew better than anyone how a trip to Hollywood for Miley was like a trip to the liquor store for an alcoholic.

Miley dreamed bigger. She felt she was destined for more than merely some office job like her mother had toiled away at. Her dreams had always resided in the entertainment industry, although she had no specific talents of her own to exploit. But that is what was so great about living in the age of reality TV. Anyone could be discovered at any time. Maybe right now an executive wanted a reality show about an Alabama party planner!

“Oh, you’ll just have to wait and see.” Miley smiled at him, then headed back into the house to start the ceremony as the first raindrops started to fall. She could see the groom through the French doors that overlooked the garden. He was fussing with his hair and then his vest, flustered from having arrived so late.

This would be another success to add to her physical portfolio and her mental ego boost.

As the event was winding down, Miley headed out to find Travis to tell him to pick up her mail while she was gone. If he had already left, she supposed she could text him. Or mention it on their bedtime call, which had become routine between the two of them.

Miley soon lost her train of thought when she saw a shirtless an attractive man loading the catering truck. Miley thought she knew all the employees who worked for Travis, but this guy must be new. It was still warm and muggy after the rain. As she approached, she could see the moisture from the air clinging to the well-defined muscles in his back that moved as he worked. He turned so that she could see his nice chest and abdomen, but a box still blocked his face. Holding the box made his biceps bulge under the strain. She felt her whole body flush with the warmth of attraction. He was so yummy, Miley wanted to lick him. Or bite him. Or both.

“Ooo, who is that hunk?” Miley asked a server named Tanya.

“Who?” she asked, perplexed. “I only see Travis over there. You know Travis.”

As the man in question turned and put down the box, Miley could plainly see who it had been. Duh, of course Miley knew Travis.

“Oh, he must have walked away. Thanks, though,” Miley quickly covered.

Making goo-goo eyes at Travis? What was she thinking? She really needed to get laid again soon before her indiscriminate lusting really got out of control.

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
The Wind Could Blow a BugAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It NEW RELEASE!
Be Careful What You Wish For – COMING JANUARY 2016!

My First WiNo RhiNo

Every year my asbestos friend participates in National Novel Writing Month, which is known as NaNoWriMo to people who like to receive strange looks from their friends. My husband began calling it WiNo RhiNo, because he is goofy like that.

But my friend and I have very different writing styles. Even she will tell you that. She writes a big grand story with all the details, then cuts it down to its perfect, beautiful package. I write my first draft lean and mean. Then later I fill it out with descriptions of people and places.

The best advice.

The best advice

It just happened that I had three stories (Yes, THREE!) vying for my writing time this November. I had never participated before, and this was to be my first year. I really should have been spending time editing Be Careful What You Wish For, but that is what December is for, am I right??? I loved all my in-process stories, but the environment in my home during this competition just drained my motivation. I also saw other people’s word counts (posted on both Facebook and the NaNo website) and I got very discouraged that everyone writes faster and most likely better than me.

Now the goal of NaNoWriMo is to start a brand new story on November 1st, and reach 50,000 words by November 30th. All three of my stories were already started, so I sorta already blew that. And my first drafts never reach 50,000–that comes later.

So I proceeded to work on the last half of what has the working title of Troll Gurl and the Cursed Kingdom. When that was completed, I worked on the last 3/4 of what right now I am calling Emma.

When I wrote the first two books in The Riley Sisters series, it felt like I wrote them each in about two weeks time. (Remember, they were lean, not fattened up for publishing yet.) But since that sounds far-fetched even to me, it was probably about a month a piece for them. So, I was not daunted by NaNo’s tight schedule. I would be just as dedicated with my current story(-ies), right?

Wrong. The Wind Could Blow a Bug and When You Least Expect It I started, and then just wrote them every spare minute of the day until I reached the conclusion.

NaNo had a different effect on me. Their suggestion was that I write 1,667 words per day to reach my goal. So, a lot of times, that is all I wrote, or a smidge more. But then there were about three days (Thanksgiving being one of them, another was when I had a book-signing at Barnes & Noble) where I wrote nothing. That set my project finish date occasionally behind. And time I should have been writing, I blew off because “I have all my words for today!” Then I did things like getting hooked on Netflix’s Jessica Jones. (She calls to me even now. I only have one more episode to watch. Who really needs a blog post anyway???)

Jeri: You need to pull yourself together. You are coming across distinctly paranoid.
Jessica: Everyone keeps saying that. It’s like a conspiracy.
Marvel’s Jessica Jones, Netflix

I felt ostracized because I prefer to hand-write a first draft. I know, it is allowed and NaNo even tells you how to use a random number generator to validate your work, but I still felt like a second class writer. I came up with an average word count for full pages, mixed with partial dialogue, and all dialogue. And I was careful to always underestimate my number because, you know, in an honor-system-based website I would hate to get accused of cheating. Despite that, my anxiety-ridden frosting-filled body just felt like I was defrauding the system somehow.

At the start of November, I had no idea what terms such as “word sprint” and “virtual write-in” meant. And I still don’t. I didn’t participate in either. NaNo has a spot for “writing buddies,” but I never really saw the point. If I was supposed to get some sort of sense of support from others while doing this, I guess I was cheated on that experience. My asbestos friend and I give each other lots of support while we write. And we are actually able to provide it better if we aren’t both writing for our lives in the exact same month of the year.

I tend to enjoy the struggle to create my own processes to accomplish tasks that others have already found a better way to complete and have been using it for years (ex. quilting, genealogy). Then again, I also desperately wish to belong. I want to do what everyone else is doing. It is the two sick and twisted parts of my brain that fight each other daily. So, I wanted to do NaNoWriMo because all the cool kids were doing it. But, I also wanted to resist because rebelling and writing in every other month EXCEPT November sounds good too.

I reached my 50,000 words, and two days early, I might add. I am torn about whether I would do this event next year or not. On one hand, I like to write my first drafts as clean as possible, and I feel like these were very rushed and not my best work. On the other hand, without this competition, I probably would have put off working on them for a few more months, and then who knows if I would have ever data-dumped them from my brain onto paper or not.

NANO-2015

My recommendation is that if you are a person who isn’t good at organizing yourself, participate in NaNoWriMo. If you don’t like time restraints put on your creativity and handle your own time management pretty well, you can skip it.

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
The Wind Could Blow a BugAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It NEW RELEASE!
Be Careful What You Wish For – COMING JANUARY 2016!

 

I WANT TO SEE YOU!

I wasn’t planning on posting today, but I wanted to mention that I have a big weekend ahead of me.

EVENTS-bulliten board

I have TWO EVENTS – yes, count them – two events this weekend.

If you live in Michigan (or are willing to drive a little), this is the chance for me to meet you, to maybe buy a book, or get one signed! And you are in luck! One is on the western side of the state, and the other on the east! Have a friend who is an avid reader? Please bring them too. Both are free and open to the public.

Tonight I will be at the Barnes & Noble in Muskegon from 6pm-9pm with 49 other Michigan authors. Come and show some love to local authors!

Sunday afternoon I will be at the Commerce Township Library in Commerce Township with 30 other great local authors.

Pssst… I hear the first 50 guests will be able to grab a swag bag from some of today’s up and coming indie authors, including some signed items!

Saturday I will be at family game night. Sorry. That’s a private event. You can’t come. ;-)

REMEMBER: The best place to find out about my upcoming events is right here on my site: http://imnotstalkingyou.com/events/

Here are the addresses for your GPS or Google Maps. Can’t wait to see ya & meet ya!

Trail of Michigan Authors Mega-50 Signing
Barnes and Noble
Friday, November 6, 2015
Lake Shore Marketplace
5275 Harvey Street
Muskegon MI 49444
Book signing
50 Michigan authors in attendance!
6:00pm-9:00pm

For the Love of Books Expo
Sunday, November 8, 2015
Commerce Township Community Library
2869 N Pontiac Trail
Commerce MI 48390
Book signing
Over 30 authors gathered at the Commerce Twp Library for one afternoon. Your chance to get their books AND get them signed! Admission is free to enter.
2:00pm-4:30pm

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
The Wind Could Blow a BugAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It NEW RELEASE!
Be Careful What You Wish For – COMING JANUARY 2016!

I Tried to Write a Country Song

In the past six months I started listening to country music again. And while I enjoy a good male singer/group as much as the next chick, all the songs start to sound similar. There is lots of “hey baby, let me take you down by the creek.” Um, ew. There are skeeters down there. Below is a Sam Hunt song that exemplifies my point. (And I also put it on here because it is a very hot song ;-) )

So, somehow all this inspired me to write my own country song, trying not to sound too much like “Girl in a Country Song” by Maddie and Tae or “Guys Do It All The Time” by Shania.

I apologize in advance. Just be thankful you are not here for me to sing it to you…

Country Girl (At Heart)
You drive up to my front porch
A cloud of dust billows up from the drive
All over my T-shirt
I climb up into your pickup truck
You want to take me down
To the old mill pond
For some kissing and cuddling after dark
But let me tell you boy, why that’s just whack

I love NASCAR on a Sunday
I grew up on Jones & Straight
I like to listen to a freight train thunder down the rails on a dark night
But fish are icky
The woods have bugs
Tailgates are lumpy
And I can’t be trusted with a gun
But I am a Country Girl at heart

I wasn’t born in the South
But my neck is red
I grew up in a trailer
But I ain’t trash
I’m not model pretty
So I might as well be pretty weird
Maybe you will find it endearing
But remember I’d rather play Skee ball
Than go skeet shootin’ cuz

I love NASCAR on a Sunday
I grew up on Jones & Straight
I like to listen to a freight train thunder down the rails at night
But fish are icky
The woods have bugs
Tailgates are lumpy
And I can’t be trusted with a gun
But I am a Country Girl at heart

I don’t need fancy parties
I’m allergic to designer clothes
I love a big tractor
As it works long hours on a brown fall day
I love wide open fields
And the sight of a barn with no decay
The simple beauty of a dusty sunset
Shared with a guy in a t-shirt & jeans
And a backwards hat for easier kissing

I love NASCAR on a Sunday
I grew up on Jones & Straight
I like to listen to a freight train thunder down the rails at night
But fish are icky
The woods have bugs
Tailgates are lumpy
And I can’t be trusted with a gun
But I am a Country Girl at heart

But I am a Country Girl at heart

My country heart

Follow the romantic entanglements of The Riley Sisters in my books:
The Wind Could Blow a BugAVAILABLE NOW!
When You Least Expect It NEW RELEASE!
Be Careful What You Wish For – COMING JANUARY 2016!

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