RSS Feed

What I Learned This Week – 1/10/2016

This week I learned that hot young rising country music star Thomas Rhett is the son of 1990s hot young rising country music star Rhett Akins.

Thomas Rhett is actually Rhett Thomas Akins, Jr., but I totally get why, for business purposes, he would want to be his own guy with his own name; makes for less confusion that way. His voice has been on the country airwaves lately with “Make Me Wanna” and “Crash & Burn”. I especially like “Crash & Burn” because it doesn’t sound like a typical country song. I am sure many other people hate it for the same reason. I’ll admit, he’s a hottie. But the cover of his latest album Tangled Up bothers me. He is standing there in a holey T-shirt. Is that supposed to be like “Hey, I need a new shirt so you should buy this album.”? I am a forty-year old mother now. I just want to call him up and tell him to put on a new shirt.

His father Rhett Akins had several great hits while I was in college, at the height of one of my country music phases. “That Ain’t My Truck” has a great country title and lyrics, but “Don’t Get Me Started” gives me the good song neck tingle (link).

Rhett Akins was cute, but I couldn’t be fully on his bandwagon. Because, you see, I was already taken.

I was way ga-ga over Ty England. I had been ever since I saw him singing behind Garth Brooks on the 1990 American Country Music Awards. In fact, I had it on VHS so that I could watch it over and over again. (Holy hell, how has it been 26 years!) I couldn’t have been happier when he got to step into the spotlight. I bought his CD. I joined his fan club, which afforded me the chance to meet him backstage at the Hillsdale County Fair in 1996. He was my world until I began dating my future husband the next February. I think my mom still has the picture of Ty and I hugging displayed in a frame in her apartment somewhere. A burglar breaking in might assume that Ty was my husband.

My, how young we both used to be!

My, how young we both used to be!

If you wonder how Ty fits into all this, I’ll tell you. Ty’s debut single was steadily climbing the country charts, although not fast enough for me. At the same time, Rhett Akin’s “That Aint My Truck” was charging up the charts and taking over the radio airwaves. “Truck” made it to number 3 on the Billboard US Hot Country Songs chart the week of September 16, 1995, while Ty was only at number 6. Within my head, it was a competition between the two of them. The next week, “Should’ve Asked Her Faster” made it to number 3. That would be the peak spot for both artists for those songs. “Don’t Get Me Started” would be Rhett Akins only number one.

Here is a YouTube link for the song “Don’t Get Me Started.”

It makes my heart hurt just listening to it now, it is so good. Makes me wish I had had a chance to see him perform it in concert. With songs like this and Ty England’s, I wonder why I ever switched over to alternative.

Oh, right. Songs like “Plowed” by Sponge and “Doll Parts” by Hole and “Just a Girl” by No Doubt. They awakened something deep and primal within me with their unique sounds. They helped me realize that there was more to sing about than trucks and dances and tractors. Although, when it came time to write my first book series, I would return to the familiar comfort of those things had always brought me.

Here is Ty’s video. Isn’t he an uber-cutie? If you are interested in purchasing some real estate in Oklahoma these days, give him a call ;-)

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 Christmas Gift

My husband got me a rather extravagant (for our household, anyway) Christmas gift.
He got me a Kindle. I had told him how I had accumulated a handful of eBooks, but I just couldn’t make myself read them on my laptop. After all, I do enough of that when I am writing and editing my own books.

Hmmm...that book looks good.

Hmmm…that book looks good.

I made him sad when I unwrapped it, because I didn’t open it right away.

Number 1: Because I knew I should return it and buy a new cell phone, as mine no longer has a functioning camera, and the on/off button sticks, causing it to enter a restart loop that I have to pump the button to stop. When trying to get a job, it is kind of important to have a little thing like a phone.

Number 2: Our Internet quit working three days before Christmas. With no WiFi, I knew I couldn’t get it set up anyway.

Christmas depressed me, so the day after I decided if he wanted me to have my gift of a Kindle, then I was going to keep it and open it. Our local library was closed due to the holiday weekend. We decided to park outside McDonald’s and use their free WiFi. We didn’t want to go in because then my son would want something to eat, and fast food was not in our non-existent budget at that particular time.

The first book I read on it was a short story by Neil Gaiman called How to Talk to Girls at Parties. I had never read anything by him before, only shared his quote memes on Facebook which always struck a chord with me. It was good.

Next I read Pride & Prejudice. I know, probably an unconventional choice. But right after I watched the miniseries (date), I got the eBook to read. Since my eyes had been opened that P&P was the romance standard by which most modern tales seemed to originate, I wanted to read the source material. But, well, I had only made it a few chapters in on my computer before I had abandoned my previous attempt.

So, with my Kindle in hand, I tackled Ms. Austin. I was glad I did. I was also very glad that my Kindle has a built-in dictionary function, because I used it often, even if not all of the old-timey British words were in it. I wonder what other classics I should be reading?

My first eBook I read taking place in this century and located in the United States of America was Holding On by Rachael Brownell. Rachael organized an awesome event I attended last fall called Great Lakes Book Bash. If you are an author or a reader, you MUST attend the next one, coming fall of 2017. Holding On was a great book. I loved that it took place in Michigan and Tucson. I am not much of a traveler, but Tucson is one of the only two places I have ever flown to (the other being Phoenix). The characters were well developed and I cared about them and their circumstances.

Next I read Chasing Rainbows by Linda Oaks. I really meant to only read a few pages. I was waiting for something to download on my computer and had just a few minutes to kill. But, as in usual fashion with me, I found myself compelled to finish it the same night. Linda’s writing really meshed with how my own thoughts rattle around in my own head. It felt awkward to me that the main character of Addie was involved with three different guys all in the length of just one week. But, maybe I am just jealous. That is pretty ambitious for a high school girl. And the first week of school too! I bet she got absolutely no homework done. I am glad that she ended up with the right man in the end.

What will I read next? Hopefully my own Be Careful What You Wish For. Need to finish up work on it.

After that? Probably Frozen Dreams by Cori Williams, A Place to Stand by Meg Farrell, Wolf Spell by M.R. Polish, A Reliant Love by Taylor Lavati, and something by Casey L. Bond.

I am in the midst of starting new employment. It is terribly scary and overwhelming. My anxiety has been working overtime lately. The fact that Southeastern Michigan was like the land of the eternal gloom over Christmas break didn’t help matters (or my Seasonal Affective Disorder). I put a solar light in my front yard. Literally, the damn thing never lit up at night until just two days ago. There had not been enough sun for two weeks to recharge the solar battery. Even with just the two days of sun (plus a few other factors), I am feeling slightly more like myself. But reading is a great escape from the stress of reality, even if just for a little while.

My Kindle is just a basic model, 7th generation. While I feel a little deprived of the bells and whistles of a K Fire, I also know that I am constantly tempted to check my Facebook as I am reading. Which I cannot do on it (or, at least I haven’t figured out how yet), which is good because then I keep reading.

The verdict? A Kindle has certain advantages, but it is just not as good as having a print book in my hands. A highlighted Pride & Prejudice just cannot compare to my underlines and stars in my hardcover copy of Twilight (autographed by Peter Facinelli!), but it is way better than trying to get lost in a book on a reflective screen while sitting at my desk.

A Kindle is just way easier to take to the bathroom than my laptop ;-D

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!

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!

Merry Christmas

To get you in the Christmas mood, here is the gingerbread train station my son made for preschool.

MERRY CHRISTMAS-gingerbread station

I hope everyone has a joyous day and stuff.

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 Favorite Christmas Ornaments

To be truthful, I actually have several favorite ornaments I make sure get hung on the Christmas tree every year. But these are probably the oldest.

Antique icicle ornaments

Antique icicle ornaments

My gramma had these ornaments. My mom had these ornaments for our tree the whole time I was growing up. And now my son watches me hang them on our tree every year. (But he doesn’t get to touch them, because I don’t trust him any further than I can throw him.)

Does it get anymore Christmas than this?

Does it get anymore Christmas than this?

For more on my childhood Christmases, click here: http://imnotstalkingyou.com/2014/12/12/christmas-the-im-not-stalking-you-way-part-1/

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!

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 297 other followers

%d bloggers like this: