Friday, October 31, 2014

Wishing For The Stars

I was very saddened to hear the news today about Virgin Galactic's accident. My heart goes out to the families of the pilots and to Richard Branson himself.  I have been pulling for this project to succeed. 

It was because of Richard Branson that a young Maureen and her best friend got to go to London on a grand adventure. I had just started out as a travel agent and this airline called Virgin Atlantic was offering $25 tickets to London for travel agents. 

When we first boarded that plane it was quite a culture shock. There were no gimmick airlines back then. One would expect elevator music and monotone stewardesses...but not on Virgin.  I actually stepped through the door and pulled one of those, "oops, am I in the right place?" moments.  

First off, Corey Hart's, I WEAR MY SUNGLASSES AT NIGHT was blasting through the plane. The stewardesses were wearing sunglasses and doing some sort of sixties dance in the aisle. When I sat down in my seat, music videos were playing on the screens and the seatback in front of me had VIRGIN LOVER stickers in it, which I quickly grabbed because I though my father would think they were a hoot!

Anyway, during the course of the flight, Richard Branson himself came down the aisle and stopped to ask me if I was enjoying the flight. It must have just been random luck that he was on my flight that day.  He wasn't a 'Sir' at the time. He was just an entrepreneurial businessman trying to sell tickets and records. I don't know if he had notification that I was flying on the travel agent rate. Back in the day the travel industry used to go out of their way to impress travel agents. Maybe he was just picking random people in the plane. Either way, he was extremely cordial and I'll never forget how he topped what was already such an exciting adventure for a young girl. 

After that trip, I was able to take advantage of several more Virgin excursions to London. On one occasion I can recall a customs agent stopping me in London and saying, "Let me get this straight...you're flying to London for one day?"  And I'm thinking, well, yeah, for $50, why not! Ahh youth. :)

Ironically,  my new Romantic Suspense novel is set in London. It's fun to revisit that wonderful city, even if it's just in print. :)

I am still wishing for success for our space missions. There is so much to see and so much to learn.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Spot

Today, I take a step away from writing to talk about fish. I would like to introduce you to Spot.  Spot is a Cory Catfish. Cory Catfish come in several different varieties. I have an Albino Cory and a Pepper Cory. I never like to name my fish because they often don't last. I simply referred to my two little catfish as 'the Roombas'. 

The Roombas are the happiest damn fish I've ever seen in my life.  Cories like to school, or have others of their own kind around them. These two Roombas are best friends. They sleep side-by-side. They play together. I always sing Me and my shadow to them.

I went to Petco for something for the tank. I had no intention of getting another fish. The Roombas were happy and I didn't want to tamper with their peaceful existence. Then I saw Spot. I named him Spot the second I laid my eyes on him, already disregarding my rule. He is a Leopard Cory, and he was the only catfish in a giant tank of other breeds. The poor fellow was all alone, with none of his kind to play with. Huge sap that I am, I knew I had to bring him home.
In this picture, see the long beautiful tail of the fish in back,
and then look at Spot's!
Well, when I got him there I realized that Spot had no fins! He'd lost his tail and he'd lost his top fin. Those bullies in that Petco tank must have been nipping at him all this time, and now he's just a chubby little body who wiggles like crazy in order to move.






I am proud to say that the Roombas welcomed him immediately! They have a habit of touching each other, or laying down next to each other. It's a big tank, and yet the trio all sleep together in a tight little row. (Yes, Catfish sleep). Nobody nips at Spot now, and in time he will heal and grow his fins back.







***UPDATE 8/28
I am happy to report that Spot is thriving and his tail is growing.  This leaf is a common resting place for the other two fish.  Without a tail, Spot hadn't been able to swim up there. Now he's sleeping on it too!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

First Memories

How far back can you remember?  I have snapshots in my head. Images that were seen through my eyes but that contain no cohesive memories to go with them.

My first full-blown memory is one born from sheer panic.  I was four, or possibly still in my late threes. Quite simply, I fell into the toilet. As I was later told by family, we were visiting someone else's house. I went into the bathroom and sat on the toilet and my little butt fell right in, and I was stuck.  

That was probably the last time that my rear-end was small enough to manage such a feat! :) 

Anyway, I don't remember what the bathroom looked like, or what color paint was on the walls. I just remember that sensation of my legs being stuck and trying to scoot myself out of my predicament.

I believe once you turn four or so, the memories start flooding in. Often they are there, but don't emerge unless triggered by something. Smell is a big factor. To this day I can remember the way my great-grandmother's house smelled. No other house anywhere will ever have that distinct scent...and with that scent comes the rush of memories.

Last night I heard the song, MORE THAN A FEELING by Boston. Immediately I was morphed to Panama City Beach. I was probably around seven at the time. My mother must have been distracted because I somehow got onto the Bobsled ride all by myself. To this day I remember every sense about those few moments of sheer independence. I remember the music. It was so loud. I remember the mountains painted on the wood, flashing by every few seconds. I remember the wind, and I remember the tug of the ride pulling me back into my seat.  That's all I remember. I don't remember if I got yelled out afterwards, but I remember the rush.

What are some of your earliest, most vivid recollections?

Thursday, July 3, 2014

What's Your Favorite Movie?

Okay. Everyone always asks that question.  But can you answer it without hesitation, or do you have to toss a few around before you come up with a decision?

Mine is definitely JAWS. Without a doubt. It will never be surpassed. I don't even hesitate when I pick my favorite scene from the movie.

Chief Brody has had a bad day. A really bad day. Hooper shows up with a bottle of wine. Note in this picture that there is still some iced tea left in Roy Scheider's glass.  In the scene, he proceeds to pour that bottle of wine into the same glass, mixing it with the iced tea and nearly filling it to the top.  He then offers his wife and Hooper a mere shot-full each in their respective wine glasses. The man has had a bad day. :)


Famous movie lines also come to mind. "You're gonna need a bigger boat," is right up there. There are others that I'm sure I'm missing. "Snakes, why did it have to be snakes?" "Luke, I am your father." (which actually was never said...) "Yo, Adrienne." "Frankly Scartlett, I don't give a damn." 


Any HOUSE fans out there?  When that show signed off, it always showed Bad Hat Harry Productions. This was actually a scene from JAWS with Chief Brody talking to one of Amity's fine citizens.

Okay, now the next popular movie question....which movie makes you cry the most?  Perhaps this one will surprise you. Again, without hesitation I will respond, A Walk To Remember.

Heck, I get dribbly-eyed just typing the name. Of course the whole movie is depressing, but the scene that gets me the most is when the son learns that his estranged father is paying for the health care facility for his dying girlfriend. At this point the boy is so despondent he is stripped of all pride. He shows up on his father's doorstep and just hugs him and starts crying.  And then father starts crying...and then I start crying. It's a mess.

Do you have any definitive movie favorites? Movies that you don't even have to think about when people ask you these questions?

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Coffee or Tea?

It sounds like such a mundane question, and yet it is similar to asking someone if they like cats or dogs.

I am a coffee-lover. Okay, more than a coffee-lover. You might one day see me on an episode of INTERVENTION for coffee addiction.

With all respect to the tea-lovers of the world, I never received a fair introduction to the beverage. As a kid, I was always given hot tea when I was really sick.  As such, that is what I've come to associate tea with. Drinking hot tea is a sign that it's time to call in the priest!  

What are the glaring differences? They both contain caffeine. What makes an individual prefer one over the other? I'm certain upbringing is 90% of the factor. 

For as much as I have come to associate hot tea with being sick, I must also tip my hat to the beverage.  It does make me feel better in such a time of crisis. :)

How about you...coffee or tea?


Saturday, May 3, 2014

The BEYOND Series Bundle is here!

All three BEYOND books in one happy package! Available for a very limited time at just $0.99! Almost 700 pages of reading for only $0.99!

Did you ever wonder what it would be like if an alien spaceship took you from your backyard? 

Did you ever think that you would experience an adventure full of danger and romance in a distant galaxy? 

Aimee Patterson was about to start college in North Carolina, but then this happened... 

BEYOND - Aimee Patterson walked into the woods on the other side of the pond. She returned five years later with a tale she could never share. 

BEYOND: TWO SUNS - Alone in a desert world, Zak is now a damaged man. Reckless in his battle against the creatures that destroyed his family, he roams under the glare of the two suns, seeing phantoms--seeing Aimee. Five years had passed since Aimee Patterson left the man she loved. For five years she traveled the path of life, always waiting and looking to the stars, hoping that one day he would return for her. 


BEYOND: THREE PATHS - After spending years in space on an alien ship, Aimee Patterson is finally coming home. But this time she is not alone. Her lover Zak wants to meet her parents, and her friend Raja wants to experience life on Earth. Both get more than they ever bargained for. It was supposed to be an innocent trip to Earth.... now Aimee, Zak, and Raja are fugitives of the ultimate kind.


Join the BEYOND - Series Bundle Release Party for bestselling guest authors, prizes, and overall silliness!


Tuesday, April 29, 2014

What was your name again?

I am going back to tackle a manuscript that I've been away from for quite some time.  I started reading the last few paragraphs to get myself immersed back in the scene, and I'm thinking, "oh yeah, this is good..."

So I pick up with the heroine talking, and she says, "You look like a desperate man, Mr. —"

"Mr. ?"
"Mr. ummm ?"
"Mr. ehhhh?"
"Mr. — Dude, what was your name again?"

Okay, obviously I've been away from the book for some time. I can't remember the lead character's last name!