Jul 31, 2005

The Results Are In...

...and "Spoiled Rotten" placed third in the 2005 Fire and Ice Writing Contest (Chick Lit Category.)

Congratulations to Wendy Tokunaga for first place and Rene Hagar for second. It will be interesting to get the scoresheets back. I'll let you know what the judges' comments were when I receive them in the mail in the next couple of weeks.

Romance vs Chick Lit


Over 3,000 romance writers, agents and editors finished up the last day of the Romance Writers of America annual conference in Reno last night. The conference tends to slow things down in the publishing world, which is bad news for someone like me who isn't at the conference and is waiting to hear from New York. So frankly, I'm glad it's over.

I've been a member of RWA for about three years now and I've learned a lot from this organization. I went to the conference last year and it was AMAZING being a part of that creatively energized group. Most of the information I've received is applicable to any genre so even though I write Chick Lit, being a member has helped my writing immensely. If you're interested in writing commercial fiction it would definitely be worth your while to check out the RWA chapter in your area. There is a link to their website on the sidebar of this blog.


I have also gleaned a lot of information on writing romance, which I've found interesting. There are very strict rules for the genre. It's generally written in third person. There can be only one hero. The heroine is nearly perfect inside and out. The hero and heroine must meet in the first chapter. There must be conflict between them that keeps them apart...


There are several stages of sexual tension starting with a look, proceeding to a touch, kiss...etc. until they end up in bed. Romances are written in different "categories" which basically mean levels of sexual tension, starting with sweet romances where the sex is implied and ONLY after they are married all the way to the Blaze which is much more explicit and Romantica which has graphic erotic elements.


Then there are the sub-genres of romance which pair other genres with a love story. They include romantic suspense, historical romance, paranormal romance, time-travel romance, romantic mystery, etc. All of the rules I mentioned apply to these sub-genres.


But the one thing that is a MUST in Romance is the HEA (happily ever after.) When you pick up a romance novel you are GUARANTEED that the hero and heroine (who met in the first chapter) will ride off into the metaphorical sunset in the last chapter. Not that there's anything wrong with that...


But THAT among all the other rules is why I don't write or really even read romance. I want to be surprised at the end. My favorite movie of all time is "Sixth Sense"...what an ending! I also loved "Gone With The Wind" and "Titanic" both definite romances, but with decidedly unhappy endings. As a matter of fact, today Margaret Mitchell would be asked to rewrite her ending.


With Chick Lit all the rules are out the window. You can write in first person, there can be multiple points of view, multiple boyfriends, or no romance at all, the heroine can be flawed and therefore much more believable, and you don't know how the story is going to end. It can go either way. Generally there is a comedic "voice" which I love writing, too. Chick Lit is really more about the heroine's journey.

And in Chick Lit there are sub generes, as well, including Mommy Lit, Lady Lit, Lad Lit, Paranormal Chick, Time Travel Chick...you name it...

CurvyKathy31: Confessions of a Chat Addict is almost an anti-chick lit...and probably why it's been a hard sell. The manuscript I'm working on now is much more of a classic Chick Lit with a mystery as a sub-plot, so hopefully Chick Lit Mysteries will be hot when I'm ready to sell.

Jul 28, 2005

Doot, doot, doot...Lookin' At My Back Door

Page 1
For those of you new to the site, welcome! Freaky Friday is the designated day for sex talk on my blog.

***IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER*** This is sexually explicit material and may not be suitable for younger members (or anyone for that matter) in our blogging audience.


I'm going to go ahead and get this topic out of the way because I'll have to post about it eventually. You know what I'm talking about...it's the back door. (For the sake of this discussion I would like to narrow the topic to two consenting heterosexual adults.)

Now I make no claim one way or the other that I have any experience in this sensitive area. But I do know there are many who have done it, some who enjoy it, others who can only fantasize about it and still others who want to avoid it at all costs.


Some would protest saying that you should never treat an output area like an input area. It doesn't "go with the flow." Some would even say it's a sign of the "End Times."

Then there are those who say the human body did not come with an instruction manual so if it feels good, do it. All I know is, it's a sexual topic that can not be ignored, especially when teens are engaging in this activity in order to "save" their virginity.


There was a bald-headed HBO comedian who mentioned a pamphlet he received from the American Heart Association warning against back door action after his heart attack. He was going to call the receptionist at AHA and ask if they meant giving or receiving. Cracked me up...


I don't know. Maybe sometimes you just want to change things up. Maybe the front door is temporarily out of order. The back door dimensions mean a tighter fit for the person trying to get in. That would explain why it's generally the male who likes to park in the back. As you will notice, the female's sweet spot isn't anywhere NEAR the back door...it's more of a Welcome Mat to the front door.

Note: Since the back door tends to be a really tight fit, lots of lubrication would be in order, especially if you're moving in a really big piece of furniture.


Oral lubrication involves opening the door with your tongue, which can be tricky. I understand the back door has a beefy taste unlike the fishy front door. This makes wine selection during foreplay a bit complicated unless you plan ahead. But a bottle of wine and a talented tongue are a great way to pry the back door open, especially if it's locked up tight. (Rim job sounds like a basketball player's employment description, doesn't it?)


I figure the man in your life is always going to push for something new and different in the bedroom. So once you give in to one (perverted) act it will just lead to another and another. What's next after the back door? A window? The disappearing stairwell? Or why not just come in through the doggy door??? I think the best thing to STOP THE MADNESS is to purchase (or, in my case, pull out of the bedside table) the largest purple vibrator you can find and tell your man you've decided to let him come in your back door--right after you barge into his...

Jul 27, 2005

Sunrise, Sunset...

ATT241439b2.JPG 1

I love this picture of the sun setting over Europe and Africa. I look at it when I want to make my problems seem insignificant. The big white area in the middle is the Sahara Desert. You can see the lights from metropolitan areas as night falls.

Jul 26, 2005

I Count With My Heart


Age is a number
A symbol for time
A theory the left-brain
Can grasp on a dime

But love’s not of that side
It’s more from the right
It breeds on pure passion
And inspires me to write

True love is blind
To the dates on a page
Love transcends symbols
Or numbers or age

My right brain is savvy
It’s smarter than smart
Because as I love you
I count with my heart

The time that I’m with you
I treasure each bit
In you I find kindness
And fortitude and wit

And while you are wise
From all that you’ve done
With you in my life
You make me feel young!

Your passion is ageless;
It speaks without words
You tell me you love me
And no sound is heard.

Wrapped in your arms
Feels just like pure heaven
And I’ll love you even when
You're a-hundred-and-seven

Jul 24, 2005

Sometimes Being A Parent Sucks

It's hard to take a car away from a 20 year old who makes the payments on the car. But we didn't know what else to do. Technically, he still has his license. (Something about innocent until proven guilty.) But he still lives with us so we have some control over him. And he's been very cooperative with the stripping of his keys. I will be driving him to work and he'll be walking home. He's depressed, but knows he can't blame anyone but himself. Sometimes life just sucks.

Jul 22, 2005

It's Been a REALLY Bad Week


Do you remember the court case for my son where he was facing charges of DUI and open container? Remember how he didn't call me for almost 24 hours while he was in jail because I told him if he was arrested to never call me? And do you remember the attorney with a conscience who told me we didn't need him?

Well the trial was yesterday at 3 p.m.

But yesterday at 9 a.m. my son called me (immediately, I might add...at least he learned SOMETHING from this).

Me: Hello

Him: Mom, I'm in jail.

Me: (Laughing) Very funny.

Him: No, really. I'm in jail.

Me: This is not funny. Don't kid me like this.

Him: I wish I was kidding.

Me: You can't be in jail (Sounds of "losing it" in my voice.) You have to show up for court today.

Him: I know, Mom...I'm sorry. They say I won't be out in time.

Anyway, the upshot is he was parked in front of an abandoned grocery store listening to CDs after work (his story) when police pulled up. He looked suspicious so they searched his car and found a half of a xanax (prescription drug for anxiety, says he got it from a friend at work, but hadn't taken any). So they arrested him for possession of a controlled substance (another misdemeanor). We did not get him out of jail until 8:30 p.m. So needless to say he missed his other court date.

I called the lawyer we didn't need. He suggests that now we need him.

More updates as they occur.

Jul 21, 2005

No Freakiness This Week

In light of the occurances and my somber mood, Freaky Friday is postponed until next week.

Thank you all for your kindnesses about Carly and her mom. Of course, there's always more to the story...in this case, things like drug abuse and mental illness, which are impossible to understand. And usually those things are accompanied by loss of job, which invariably leads to financial problems. I'm not trying to excuse Carly's mom's selfishness...only making stabs at trying to explain it.

Carly is a strong person. Her mom's inability to cope all these years has turned Carly into more of a parent than a child. We are making sure she knows she has a big support group to help her. I think she's going to be okay.

Jul 20, 2005

Heart Failure of a Different Kind

My best friend's husband's sister, Carly, and my daughter, Katy, are the same age (25). My friend and I coached a competitive dance team for 13 years (a part time job for both of us, to go along with our full-time jobs) and the girls grew up together and were star performers on our team.

When the girls were about 8 years old, Carly found her father lying on her living room floor due to a fatal heart attack. I took Katy to the funeral to be with Carly and then we went back to their house afterwards. It was a sad occasion, especially because Carly's father was so young.

But even during that kind of sadness, life goes on for resilient 8 year olds. I will never forget watching out their picture window, which looked onto the backyard. Katy and Carly jumped gleefully on her trampoline, while the mourners inside brought casseroles and their deepest sympathies.

Carly didn't know it, but that day her world was spinning completely out of control. And it hasn't been back on track since. Carly's mother never recovered from the loss of her husband and the wonderful life they'd made. Her Mom lost her job, their family business, and somewhere along the way, her will to live.

This Saturday I'll be taking Katy to another funeral.

Carly found her mother's body in the same spot in the living room where she found her Dad. But this time it wasn't because of heart failure...or maybe it was. The suicide note beside her said she loved her family, but didn't want to be a burden to them anymore. She was lonely and wanted to go to heaven to be with her husband.

Jul 19, 2005

Poetry Wednesday

I'm switching it up a bit from Short Story to Poetry Wednesday. Now calm down. I know it's a big adjustment. Just keep repeating, "Change is good, change is good..."


you’re such an opposition!
the separation between us is unbearable
yet we’ve never been together.
i miss you
and I don’t even know you.
yet, every time I check e-mail
my pulse quickens
hoping for even a single word from you.

“0 new messages” stabs at me across the screen
like a rusty letter opener.

when like flames licking up,
words flash across your screen
announcing I have arrived--
does your heart race, too?

at last I see the words I crave
like a junkie taking in a long-awaited needle.
you’ve slid something into my box
and the act is almost as satisfying as making love.

“1 new message.”
i savor the fullness you’ve made me feel--
the connection, one to the other.

that’s what it is, you know
two humans connecting
as best they know how--
primal in this new age
where passion is passé.

and there at the end of your words
is what my ears cry out to hear
but only my eyes are privy to.

“i miss you.”

yes, i miss you, too,
you who i have not seen
or touched
or smelled
or heard.

you who are merely

Jul 18, 2005

Sometimes He Just Cracks Me Up...

We have a Dallas address, but we live in Carrollton school district and Denton County. The good news is we pay lower insurance premiums and taxes than the Dallas folks. The bad news is we're a little schizzo about where we belong and we are just now able to sign up for DSL.

The other night after contacting Verizon online,

I looked over the computer at my technically-challenged husband and very seriously said, (as though to imply there would be no discussion about how it would fit into the budget), "I'm getting DSL."

He was thoughtful for a moment, and then said with a heavy sigh, "Well, I'm not surprised. You don't take care of yourself."

You gotta love someone who makes you laugh till Diet Cherry Vanilla Dr Pepper shoots out your nose.

Does Size Matter, Part 2


Jul 17, 2005

Vacation: The Final Day

It's been a wonderful week! Thursday night we went to eat at Mi Cocina. This particular location in Plano is built next to a lovely duck pond so eating outside is like taking a trip to the San Antonio Riverwalk

Well, okay...not quite, but almost...very vacationy!

Then we went to see...

I highly recommend it if you like extremely intense movies about aliens (which I do).

Friday I went swimsuit shopping. The men probably won't understand this, but just to let you know most women compare this event to a double root canal. I would wager there aren't very many women who enjoy looking at themselves in a three-way mirror in spandex (for obvious reasons.)

Having a pool, I go through swimsuits like Kleenex during "Old Yeller". It seems clorine's main food source is spandex, which manufacturers thought would be a good fabric for women's swimsuits. So I've learned if you wait until after July 4th, swimsuits go on sale, at which time I can stock up on chlorine food. But there is only a very small window of opportunity until they're gone...never to be seen again until the spring, kind of like some migrating birds. Anyway, I bought three of them

and was very happy when that chore was over.

Saturday we began preparing for our belated July 4th swim party (we were out of town on the actual day). It was a great party, (considering the weather was a bit iffy) which included volley ball,

cheeseburgers on the grill and hot tubbing.

Today is a "lounging around the house" day which hopefully will include some kind of fine dining and a final vacation NAP!

Jul 15, 2005

Look But No Cigar

For those of you new to the site, welcome! Freaky Friday is the designated day for sex talk on my blog.

***IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER*** This is sexually explicit material and may not be suitable for younger members of our blogging audience.

My parents belong to a charismatic Methodist (is that an oxymoron?) church. A couple of months ago my father (a recently born-again Christian) attended a men's retreat and learned that to "look" at another woman is a temptation to sin. He seemed quite surprised by this new information. I assumed his surprise meant he'd been a girl-watcher from way back. But now he is looking forward to his new path of averting his eyes.

You must understand that while my Dad is an attractive man...at 76 I don't think he has to worry about something "happening" between him and the hot 20-somethings he's been admiring from afar. I'm certainly no theologist but if you ask me, Carter's "lusting in his heart" just doesn't compare to Clinton doing Monica in the Oval Office with a cigar. But I digress.


I know my husband looks at other women. And most of the time I don't blame him...I'm looking, too, if the woman is especially voluptuous and scantily-clad.

A long time ago I realized it was better for me to point out those women to him if I happen to see them before he does. That way I can be a part of the girl-watching game. Do you think that spoils the fun?

Of course, all's fair in love and looking. Women have been known to seek out eye-candy, as well. I can't tell you how much I've mourned the sight of men's butts in tight jeans. Those baggy, relaxed, loose, oversized and sagging Levi's can NOT go out of style quick enough.

But truthfully, I think men-watching is a defense mechanism for all the ogling the men are doing. Women are turned on by what we feel, not by what we see, right?

I also understand that men are hunters by their very nature (women are gatherers, is that how it goes?) With keen eyes, men are always scouting for prey...even if they've already been gathered, washed, peeled, pickled and put up in a jar by their wives. They look so left-out with their noses pressed up against the glass. I figure the least we can do is let them girl-watch.

Jul 14, 2005

Vacation Update

Well, let's see. Tuesday we went to Pappadeaux's
images-7(one of my favorite seafood places) for lunch...(you MUST try the crawfish bisque), I edited 10 pages to turn in at my Wednesday critique group, and then we had friends over for a little P & P (pizza and pool).

Is anyone watching "Empire", the mini-series on ABC?

I couldn't believe after the orgy Mark Antony killed Octavius...I guess I don't know my Roman history very well...and why he's not in the picture. Too bad, he was cute.

Wednesday was chore day. My husband had a doctor's appt. while I went to work and took care of a few things and then went to my noon writer's club. That was fun. We took a NAP yesterday afternoon. That was fun. Then we went to see "Mr. and Mrs. Smith." That was fun.

Especially if you like Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie (she has some REALLY big lips) and guns. We went to the Studio Movie Grill where you can watch the movie while they serve you food and drink (even alcohol). The spinach and mushroom quesadilla's are excellent.

My husband says the Coors Light on draught wasn't bad either.

Jul 13, 2005

The Jump Rope Murder, Final Installment

This is the final installment for Short Story Wednesday's Jump Rope Murder. If you missed the first installments you might want to catch up by going

The Sheriff walked outside to explain to the girl he was taking her to stay with the Sister.

They drove through the town square in silence.

She finally spoke. “Are you ‘resting me ‘cause it’s my rope?”

“No, silly, I know you didn’t kill him.”

“I really didn’t,” she explained. “He was already dead. The horn woke me up and I went over to the diner to see what it was. But every time I let go of his head it would press on the horn and honk really loud. I was afraid it would wake up Daddy! So I tied his head up with my rope. That was okay, wasn’t it?”

This case just kept surprising Sam. “Of course it was. But, Sissy, do me a favor and don’t tell anyone else. Other people might not think it was a proper thing to do.”

That night after Sissy was tucked in safely at Sister Mary Ellen’s, Sheriff Westin lay in bed trying to sort out the day.

“Nothing like a good murder to flush out the new town’s troublemakers,” he thought. “To solve a murder is a quick way to get in good graces with the townsfolk, too.”

Now he had to decide who to pin this one on. He had his choice of anyone named Sister. He chuckled at the thought of that stupid parrot on the witness stand.

He wouldn’t mind putting away that manipulative Brother Burns and exposing the tricks he and the Father played on the town. Or he could rid them of that horrible eyesore, Mother.

He laughed again as he imagined headlines in the local newspaper:


But no, the real pest in town was that snooty Mrs. Whittington. She was the one who called incessantly about trivial things like the cow on the highway and the builders dumping trash. Without her his job would be a lot easier.

He’d smudge some of her lipstick on the headrest tomorrow. And maybe smear some on the jump rope, too. Coming up with a motive, though, was tough. But he always enjoyed a challenge.

Then he thought of the night before when he’d slipped quietly into the Father’s bedroom. He could vividly picture the priest passed out across his bed, the strong smell of liquor expelling into the room with each snore.

“A religious figure who drinks is not a good example for the rest of the town,” he thought. Then he pictured jabbing the needle into the crease between Father Pendleton's toes. Sam's hypodermic filled with bee sting serum always did the trick.

When the priest realized he couldn’t breath he must have jumped in the car for help. After he passed out, he coasted into Mother’s parking lot and fell on the horn. Sissy’s jump rope was something Sam hadn’t planned on, though.

“What a stroke of luck—saving her from that monster she calls Daddy.”

He wondered if the father had died from the deadly injection or if an innocent child and her jump rope had actually finished him off. He would probably never know.

“Sister,” squawked the parrot.

Jul 11, 2005

Vacation: Day Three

Well, we broke down and did the most vacationy thing I can think of. We went to Six Flags. I haven't been there since the kids were little...and the place hasn't changed much. I really enjoyed all the shows, especially the Chinese Acrobats and the River Dance dancers. We had a great time even though it was 98 today. Here's a pic of my daughter with one of the gunfighters:


Bits 'n Pieces

If anyone is watching this excellent mini-series on TBS, are you finding it a little painful? If I have any Native American readers all I can say is, I'm truly sorry.


This is the name of my chick lit WIP (work in progress) and I just wanted to report (especially to John) that I completed 10 pages today. Aren't you proud of me? That brings the total to 258 pages or right at 50,000 words. That means I still have about 40,000 words to go. Heavy sigh.


2 days down and 7 more to go. My tan is a little darker, my house is a little cleaner and I'm feeling VERY rested.


Well, another one bites the dust. And he was really cute, too. But she went out with another one today who shows promise. Keep your fingers crossed.

(Isn't jeopardy spelled stupid?)

I just realized today that the final installment of The Jump Rope Murder is on my work computer...ooooops! This means I have to make a special trip in to work to post it. Maybe I'll go to my Wednesday critique group (meets at lunchtime at work) so I can meet my blog obligations to all (2) of my faithful readers. We'll see.

Jul 9, 2005

Why We're Not Going Anywhere On Vacation

One of the reasons is money. Unfortunately most of our discretionary income (what is that?) has been spent on dental work for my husband and me. We are also in anticipation of some legal bills (see "A Lawyer With A Conscience" post) and helping our daughter with some financial hot-water she got into over the last few months.

Another reason we're not going anywhere is because we have made our home (particularly the bedroom and pool area) feel like a tropical resort...so why go anywhere?

A couple of years ago I was watching one of my first HGTV programs. I believe it was Designer's Challenge. Now, if you've never watched one of these programs...DON'T!!! It can only lead to extensive remodelling which is expensive and not very fun to live through.

So, anyway, in this program I was watching, the designer suggested moving the bathtub and toilet. I was shocked! I didn't know you could move those things. I thought they were permanent...er...fixtures. Not so! I was also overjoyed because dreams of having a bedroom view of my pool could come true because the only way to do that was to move the tub and toilet (and a couple of walls.)

Long story, short (ooops, too late) here's a pic of how it turned out:


The french doors used to be a window over a very tiny bathtub and toilet area. The shower to the right used to be a closet. The closet door to the left is now a powder room for the toilet. You can't really tell but those are palm trees on the wall paper. There's even palm trees on the decorative tile in the shower, along with a bench that will seat 4 (don't ask me why.)

This is the view out the French doors at night:


Anyway, we're on vacation this week...Yea! But we're not going anywhere. I hope to get some writing done, maybe an entire chapter. That would be nice. Hopefully we'll get some projects done around the house, see a few movies, do a little shopping and spend some time in our tropical retreat.

Jul 8, 2005

Speaking of Hummers...

Page 1
For those of you new to the site, welcome! Freaky Friday is the designated day for sex talk on my blog.

***IMPORTANT DISCLAIMER*** This is sexually explicit material and may not be suitable for younger members of our blogging audience.

...and I'm not talking about the vehicle, either. I'm talking about the sexual kind of hummer. You know...a blow job, although I can't say as I have ever actually blown while in the act...or hummed for that matter. Wonder where this terminology comes from? Mostly it involves licking and sucking, so why not call it a lick job...or a sucker? Or maybe I'm doing it wrong. But I have a feeling singing to it would take a lot longer.

Sidebar: One time when my husband was at the hair salon he accidentally told the hairdresser he wanted a cut and blowjob. Of course we all died laughing and he turned a hundred shades of red. I always wondered how much THAT would cost.

Anyway, where were we? Oh, yes. The odd phrases used to describe what I understand every man wants and feels he doesn't get enough of. I don't know if my husband knows this, but I never gave my high school sweetheart "one". I thought it was totally disgusting. Now I feel kinda bad about it...like I owe him something. Maybe I should check out classmates.com and see if I can find him (just kidding, Honey.)

Often times, when I wonder about the validity of something in this day and age I ask myself "what would cavemen do?"

Do you think Ugh and his wife Jugs were having oral sex? My first inclination is HELL NO!!! Because I don't think they bathed regularly...at least they didn't in that movie "Quest for Fire." And anything I put in my mouth needs to be squeaky clean. Same thing with the old west. Do you think they were doing that kind of thing in a one room cabin with all the kids in there? I don't think so.

But things are different now. We have privacy, we have hygiene and we have porn to show us the finer techniques. And women are more open-minded and less prudish than, say, even as recent in history as my Mom's era. (Okay, erase that visual from my brain....erase, erase, erase.)

Now, it's expected. And with the right attitude it can be enjoyable, especially if he is willing and able to return the favor. I never have been able to figure out an acceptable way to talk about oral sex for women. Fellatio is too medical sounding and according to the dictionary is strictly for males. Muff diving implies way too much hair. I don't know. I think we need to come up with a new word. Hmmm...how about Hermmer?


It's got to take some of the enjoyment out of the act for your partner if you are holding his love-blast in your mouth, while making faces and gagging noises. Scientific studies indicate that the calories are insignificant (wonder how much the govertment spent on that one), so that won't work as an excuse.

Here's my theory. If he is willing to kiss you immediately afterwards and share in his abundance of good joy, then you should be willing to swallow. If not? It's only fair that you run (don't walk) to the nearest sink and spit immediately.

Happy Humming!

Freaky Friday Delayed

Sorry, you'll have to wait till later this evening. Time flies when it's a 4-day work week.


Jul 7, 2005

Alesia Holliday's Virtual Book Tour

What a great idea! Forget schlepping around the country eating bad airplane food and missing your family. The latest promotional tool for publicizing a new novel is the blog book tour. Ever striving to be on the cutting edge of Blogworld, I'm proud to introduce one of my favorite published author friends, Alesia Holliday and her newest book:



So one day I was thinking about today’s woman, as I often do, considering that I write funny books about the everyday (and not so everyday!) things we all go through, and I was wondering about that perpetual dilemma – the Myth of the Nice Girl.

Somehow, through a peculiar evolution of the professional environment, women today are finally recognized (mostly) as equally competent, ambitious, and dedicated as men in the workforce. (We’ll leave the “we have to work smarter and harder” argument aside for now.) But yet, we have an added burden: we have to be NICE.

Now, this isn’t really tough for most women, most of the time. We were raised to be nice. That’s what little girls do, right? “Play nice!” “Be nice!” Except, well, there are times when you can’t be all that nice . . . Boyfriend cheating? Kick him to the curb! Um, in a nice way? Opposing counsel trying underhanded tactics? Notify the judge and get him sanctioned! Er, nicely?

The idea of a character who is very ambitious and a great person, but a little bit of a tough chick on the surface, really intrigued me. And I had the perfect character in Kirby Green, newly-hired exec at the Whips and Lace Co. She’d pretty much stolen every scene she was in in AMERICAN IDLE (Double RITA finalist, how cool is that??). Then I wanted to compare and contrast Kirby with a character who was so nice that she was in danger of becoming a doormat. Brianna sprang to life. My good friend who is an opera singer (no, really!) provided some great background for her. Then I set the two of them loose to play on the pages – each helping the other learn something about life, and about herself. That’s how NICE GIRLS FINISH FIRST was born.

Can we be successful as women today and still retain some of that niceness that was so valued in earlier years? I think so. But nice doesn’t mean dumb, and today’s nice girls DO finish first. They might just have to kick a little ass along the way.


Thanks for helping me celebrate the release of my second novel!! – Alesia Holliday

p.s. This nice girl is frantically polishing some pages due to Hollywood interest – you can see the details at my online journal Daily Dish

Jul 5, 2005

The Jump Rope Murder, Installment Five

This is the fifth installment for Short Story Wednesday. If you missed the first four you might want to catch up by going

After stopping by the Five & Dime around dusk, Sam walked up to the house next door to Mother’s Diner. The door on the dark, screened-in porch gave an eerie squeak then banged shut behind him. He could hear loud TV noises coming from inside, and he could smell supper cooking.

After he knocked, a tall, thin man with a scowl on his face came to the door. He was bare-chested with baggy work-style pants and stood in sock feet.

The little girl’s daddy snarled, “What do you want?”

“I need to talk to you and your daughter about Father Pendleton’s death.”

The man stared at the sheriff for a while then pushed back the door to let him in. “Sister…get in here.”

“This morning you called her Sissy.”

“Sister…Sissy. What’s it to ya?”

The little blonde peeked around a doorway, looking like she was in trouble.

“The sheriff wants to ask us some question, Sissy. You just answer honest.”

The little girl looked at her Daddy as though trying to read what he really meant. “Okay,” she said almost inaudibly.

Sam patted the green divan for her to come sit by him. She obliged and he pulled the new jump rope out of his jacket.

“Here, I bought this for you.”

Her eyes lit with excitement. “Thanks, Mister!”

“I need to know if you knew the man in the station wagon.”

“That was Father Pendleton. He's my priest.” Sissy pushed her hair out of her face and the Sheriff could see her make-up was an attempt to cover a black eye. Then he noticed some finger marks on her bare arm. “I gave my first confession to him on Sunday.”

“You did what?” yelled her Daddy. “We ain’t even Catholic!”

“Well, maybe YOU aren’t, but I can be Catholic if I wanna.” The six year old seemed brave with the Sheriff there to protect her. “Besides, they have the best socials. And that’s what Mama was—before she went with the angels…” Her voice trailed.

Her Daddy shot her a “you’re gonna get it” look.

“Did you see what happened to Father Pendleton?”

“No,” she said defensively. “I would never hurt the Father. He was my friend.” Tears started to roll down her face.

“Now, don’t cry. I know you wouldn’t hurt anybody. Why don’t you go outside and play. Let me talk to your Daddy.”

The girl’s mood lightened and she ran out the front to try the new rope.

Alone, the sheriff and the girl’s father sat facing each other.

Finally Sam spoke. “What if I told you Father Pendleton came to my office Sunday afternoon and said your little girl confessed that you were physically abusing her?”

The girl’s Daddy said nothing.

The Sheriff continued. “That would give you a motive to kill the Father, wouldn’t it?”

“I didn’t kill that priest!”

“But it sure looks like it, doesn’t it? Especially with the bruises on her and the murder weapon from your house.”

The man stood up and so did Sam.

“Now, I’m not saying I would, but I could pin this murder on you.”

“What are you getting at?”

The sheriff thought for a moment. “Let me take your daughter away from your abuse. Sister Mary Ellen can help find her a good family--one who deserves a sweet angel like her.”

“Now, why would I let you do that?”

“Because if you don’t, you’ll go to jail for murder. And I don’t imagine they go too lightly on someone who’s killed a priest.”

The girl’s daddy was speechless. Finally he said, “Take her. She’s just a sassy little bitch anyway—more ‘an I can handle.”

The Jump Rope Murder.

Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity Jog

Well, we're back from the family reunion in San Angelo, or as I like to call it our annual test of endurance. The reason I call it that is I am the designated driver so it's a long haul down there and back in such a short time and because the scenery is rather monotonous (or as my Dad likes to call it: miles and miles of nothing but miles and miles.) And even though the new car was roomy and drives smooth, by the end of the trip everyone was tired and a little bit grouchy. But we passed the test one more year. I will say that the food was EXCELLENT! I love reunion food...

although I'm not sure it's worth a 10 hour drive.

I bring back no anecdotes, well, except I did get pulled over by the Highway Patrol on 277 near Bronte for speeding (79 in a 70.) I had already deducted $150 from my mental checkbook before I rolled down my window...so it was like getting a $150 bonus when the patrolman told me he was letting me go with a warning. My passengers couldn't believe my good luck (and neither could I.) Especially when I heard my cousin got pulled over by the same guy later that day and got a ticket.

Hope everyone had a fun, safe Fourth!