Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Blog Therapy: Writing when you have nothing to write about

Someone once said you should write about what you know, and I know sometimes I simply have too much going on in my life to give my creative writing the time it deserves. So, over the last 10 months or so, since I have moved to Michigan and joined the writer's group, when I have been uninspired to write on my creative projects, I have taken to a blog I created on the move from Vermont to Michigan of my wife, TJ, our dog, Rastus, and yours truly.

Those of you who have ready my blogs here before have heard this before, if not read my blog before, but writing about the move and becoming accustom to my new home has helped me break out of writing funks and get moving on other projects.

This link is for my latest bit of blog therapy:

The Ties that Bind; The Ties that Break

I don't know it the blog entries have done anything more than keep my friends and family a  little in tune with my life ... I used to be a great letter writer; now I send cool post cards to people to tell them "Hi". But I know all writing is good for writer if not the reader.

Thanks for reading.


Friday, August 23, 2013

My latest conundrum

     A year ago at this time I wandered into Walmart with way not enough coffee in me, that was bad to start with. It was the beginning of the school year and kids were leading the whiny charge through the store with their parent(s) stumbling around behind them. I lost count of how many girls I saw  in pajama bottoms, with the top rolled down to show off their thong (ugh) and a cell phone plastered to their ears as they ranted and raved through the store, with at least 2 kids in the cart. By the time my son and I escaped I really wanted to do great bodily harm to a few of these paragons of virtue. (Two phone calls were a discussion of a sex act in detail with kids in tow) On the way home, my son & I got into a discussion about an old administrator at one of the many schools he attended. (we were military) and from that came the idea for a story involving a school shooting. Carried out by a school official.
      Yes, I killed off 97 people in the first chapter (I needed more coffee, remember.) but the biggest share of the story was based around how a broken family becomes more broken and has to come together for the sake of their 2 daughters, 1 was injured, severely, and the other escaped. The dynamic of the family trying to not be in crisis, trying to be there for some close friends, trying to be all for everyone and being very fragile while trying to put on a bad ass front is real for so many families for various reasons. It's full of twists and turns and the night I finished it, at near 4 a.m., I passed my son in the hall, he gave me a high five and I staggered off to beddie-bye. The next morning was like any other--almost. I record Good Morning America because my morning rarely begins before 10, I hit the button and leaned back in my favorite chair, my coffee appeared with the warning it was really full (good to know) and I watched as Sandy Hook unfolded. It was also the same date I had set for my story...I immediately changed that aspect.
         For almost a year I have sat on the story, until my daughter called and asked if I had any stories she could read. So I sent it to her. We have a unique relationship- she is quite comfortable telling me when something stinks and why she feels that way- which is why I trust her, she sent a text at the half way point and said she thought it was the best yet, so I sent it off to my other readers to see what they thought...they all said it was top notch and I needed to pitch it.
     I just sent it for edits, with the paranormal erotica series, it was what it was and I didn't apologize for that at all, if you were going to be offended, don't read it. I really haven't worried too much about any of the others...putting this one out there has me questioning several things. I know first hand what it's like to lose a child, I wouldn't wish that one on anyone. As a reader, you do know when a book strikes you and drags you in and you become invested in the characters- that its a good thing. As a writer, you strive for that...obviously I'm still struggling with this. Do I keep it in a box in my desk or do I put it out there? I'm not sure yet. My brain is also muddled by a nasty cold, and I'm not making much sense of anything right now. Cough, sore throat, yuk...the same ol' stuff going around and the weird weather isn't helping any.
   Input always welcome, especially if ya have a good cough remedy, I can't do the over the counter stuff with the heart/lung damage.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Excerpt from "The Super Spies and the High School Bomber"

Hello everyone. I hope all is well with you! Today is my son's birthday and I've been frantically trying to get ready for it. :) So, I thought today I would share an excerpt from the second Super Spies novel. I hope you enjoy it! It's titled "The Super Spies and the High School Bomber."


A whoosh of roiling hot air lifted Sarah Cole and flung her against the kitchen wall like a fumbled football. At the same time, the windows burst into millions of pieces, showering everything with tiny shards of glass. Sarah crumpled to the floor, still clutching the phone. She lay there stunned, unable to inhale or exhale.
“Sarah! Sarah!” her younger sister, Lacey, screamed from the bathroom, where she’d been drying her hair.
The ringing in her ears was so intense, Sarah could barely hear her. Groaning, she opened her eyes and saw only red through her right one. Dread rippled through her body.
“Sarah! Sarah!” Lacey cried again.
Sarah dropped the phone, and put her hand up to her eye. She fingered the area gently before pulling her hand away. Blood.
“Lacey,” she croaked, unable to manage more than that.
“Sarah! Where are you?”
“The kitchen,” Sarah said, finally able to breathe. She blinked her eyes twice and her vision cleared. Relief flooded her body and she wilted against the floor.
“Holy Moley!” Lacey shrieked.
Sarah jumped at the sound of her voice. She didn’t realize Lacey had come up the stairs and into the kitchen. The ringing in her ears was almost gone.
“You’re bleeding!”
“No kidding,” Sarah said, covering her right eye with her hand and glaring at Lacey with her uncovered one. She brushed her shoulder length blonde hair away from her face and gasped at the blood running down her arm.
“We’ve got to get you to the hospital!” Lacey screamed in a voice edged with hysteria.
“Stop freaking out!” Sarah gave Lacey the old one-eyed glare again.
“Sarah, there’s blood everywhere,” her sister whimpered as she wrung her hands. She gazed around her. “What happened? Did our furnace blow up or something?”
“I don’t think so.” Sarah shook her head, dust particles and slivers of glass cascaded to the floor. She furrowed her brow and absentmindedly brushed off her clothes. “I think something exploded outside. Help me up.”
Lacey held out her hand to Sarah and pulled her into a sitting position.
Blinking, Sarah gazed around the kitchen. On most days it was a sunny room with pineapple wallpaper and pine cabinets. It was the most popular room in the house—everyone congregated there during the holidays.
Sarah blinked again. Dust floated through the air and glass littered the yellow linoleum floor. She groaned and turned her attention to her arm.
As she examined the blood running down it, another wave of panic flooded through her body. Sarah’s legs wobbled when she stood and she stumbled as she reached for a kitchen towel that lay on the counter. She used it to blot her eye. When she pulled the towel away, she was shocked to see the amount of blood that had soaked into it. Sarah gulped, trying to swallow her fear as beads of sweat broke out on her forehead.
With unsteady feet, Sarah stumbled into the hall where a mirror hung.
She was afraid to look. Taking some deep breaths, she  stared into the cracked mirror and noticed a cut in her eyebrow. The amount of blood that seeped from the cut was enormous compared to its small size.
Lacey walked past Sarah on her way to the den. The crunch of glass under her sister’s feet caught Sarah’s attention, and she sighed.
Thank goodness we had our shoes on. A wave of relief washed over her body and she exhaled another deep sigh. The girls had been getting ready for school when the windows exploded and covered everything with glass.
“Sarah, come here! You’ve got to see this!” Lacey yelled.
Sarah whirled around and spotted her sister walking from the den—her eyes were round and full of shock.
“I think all the windows have been smashed. Come and look.”
Holding the towel against her cut, Sarah followed her into the den. “Holy crap!”
She gazed into the room. Shards of glass covered the furniture and the floor. The sun streamed through the window, shining on the jagged bits embedded in the carpet. It appeared as if tiny diamonds were buried within the fibers.
“What in the world happened?”
Sarah shook her head. “I have no idea.”
The shrill ring of the phone made Sarah jump. She dashed back to the kitchen and found the phone where she had dropped it earlier.
“Yeah, it’s me.” Jackie’s voice eased some of the tension in Sarah’s body. Jackie Jenkins was her best friend. They had met when Sarah and her sister moved in with their aunt and uncle three months earlier.
Sarah glanced down at her legs and for the first time saw tiny nicks where she had been hit by flying glass. She bent down and examined the cuts further. They were not deep, and were already clotting.
“All of our windows exploded! Do you know what’s going on?” Sarah asked.
“There was an explosion at the high school.”
“There was an explosion?”
“How do you know? Was it a bomb?” Sarah brushed her hair away from her face and watched as more dust cascaded to the floor.
“I heard it on the police scanner.”
“Was it a bomb?” Sarah asked again.
“They don’t know, but what else causes an explosion?” Jackie said with a voice edged with apprehension.
            “Crap,” Sarah gasped, as the energy seemed to drain from her body, replaced with heavy dread. Sagging against the kitchen wall, she clutched the phone as if it were a lifeline. “Uncle Walt.” She choked, and then turned toward Lacey and stared.
            “Sarah? Are you there? Are you all right?” Jackie yelled from the phone.
“Sarah?” Lacey’s lip quivered.
Tears welled in Sarah’s eyes as she spoke to Lacey. “There’s been an explosion at the high school.”
            “What? No way!” Lacey shook her head and swung away.
“Sarah, I’m coming over!” Jackie screamed.
 Sarah nodded numbly as she watched Lacey. Her sister’s breathing was labored and her face turned pale.
“I feel like I’m going to faint.” Lacey’s knees buckled and she reached for the kitchen chair.
“Put your head between your knees!” Sarah dropped the phone, grabbed Lacey and helped her to the floor. She gently pushed Lacey’s head down between her knees. Her sister’s face and knees disappeared behind the curtain of her long blonde hair.
“Now, take deep breaths.”
Lacey inhaled deeply and let her breath out slowly. The two girls sat like that for a few minutes, Sarah holding her sister’s head down and Lacey breathing.
“Thanks. You can let go now.” Lacey raised her head and smiled at Sarah.
Sarah nodded and peered into her sister’s green eyes that were so much like her own. “Better?”
“Yeah.” Lacey let out a long shudder. She sat back on the floor. “I’m not ready to get up yet.”
“Jackie’s coming over.” Sarah picked up the phone and pushed buttons with a shaky hand.
“Who’re you calling?” Lacey whimpered.
“Uncle Walt’s cell.”
Sarah listened to the phone ring, as her stomach tightened into a knot. “It went right into voicemail.” She gulped as the enormity of the situation hit her. Fear ate away at her self-control and her stomach clenched tighter. Taking some deep breaths, she wondered what she should do next. Without a doubt, Sarah knew that Lacey was going to lose it at any moment, and someone needed to take charge. “We have to call Aunt June.” The quiver in her voice betrayed the fear she tried to hide.
“I hope he’s okay,” Lacey whimpered and then sobbed as she sagged against the cabinets. Rocking back and forth, she tried to calm herself.
“I’m sure he wasn’t near the explosion.” Sarah cast a sideways glance toward her sister, hoping to reassure Lacey, but her words rang false in her own ears.
“He went to school early today,” Lacey whimpered as she rocked. She rubbed her hands together as if they were cold.
Sarah dialed her aunt’s office and waited for Beatrice, the receptionist, to answer. Pacing, she chewed on her nail. What was taking Bea so long? While Sarah waited, the wails of police sirens and the blare of fire truck horns filled the air as they rushed past. Panic gnawed at her gut. She fought to keep it at bay and won for the moment.
Beatrice answered the phone and informed Sarah that her aunt was with a patient.
“Bea, this is an emergency.” Sarah’s voice cracked. “I really need to talk to her.”
“I’m sorry Sarah. I didn’t recognize your voice. Just a second. I’ll interrupt her session.”
Sarah waited on hold, listening to the elevator music filtering through the phone. She paced and chewed her nails. “Let’s go in the den.”
 Lacey, still wobbly from her near faint, stood and clung to Sarah, as Sarah guided her into the den.
“Turn the TV on and see if there’s anything on the news,” Sarah instructed.
She paced back and forth while her sister stumbled toward the TV. Lacey walked hunched over and slow. With a trembling hand, she finally pushed the power button on the television.
Stifling an irritated sigh, Sarah peered at the TV and caught a glimpse of a scroll at the bottom of the screen. It said Harrisburg High School and Jr. High School closed today due to faculty meeting. Please stay away from the High School. There has been an explosion and emergency personnel need to be able to get to the scene.
Sarah stifled a growl of frustration. That’s it? That’s all they’re going to tell us? She continued her pacing, growing more agitated by the minute.
Sarah chewed on her lip as frantic thoughts ran through her mind. It was her first day at her new school and it explodes? What is going on?
Her aunt’s voice came through the phone. “Sarah? What’s wrong?”
Sarah let out a strangled sob. The sound of concern in her aunt’s voice was enough for her to lose control of her emotions. “It’s Uncle Walt. There’s been an explosion at the high school and all of our windows exploded!” Sarah sobbed. Her best efforts to keep it together were unsuccessful.
 “An explosion? What kind of explosion?”
             “I don’t know,” Sarah cried. “I just know there was some kind of explosion.”

             A low moan escaped her aunt’s lips. “Oh, no. Walt!”

Thanks for stopping by! My social media information is below along with the buy links for my book. Leave a comment and tell me what you think! I'd love to hear from you! :)

Social Media Links:

“The Super Spies and the High School Bomber”

Friday, August 16, 2013

Never Underestimate the Power of a Cookie.

As I've been working on my cookbook, I've been compiling a list of stories involving my "famous" Snickerdoodles. These are the cookies that have made me amazing connections across the globe. So, yes, when you eat one of my Snickerdoodles you're eating a cookie that has been eaten by people from nearly every country on the globe (definitely from every continent).

I often use my cookies as "bribes" and they have gotten me any number of fun items in return. Most of the time I simply use them as a calling card of sorts, never really expecting anything in return but they do make a great conversation starter. Recently, I had an unexpected benefit from sharing my cookies.

I often travel to my home office for special projects or on-site training. We normally stay at a nearby chain hotel, which happily directly bills my employer so there is no need for using my credit card (huge plus!). There is a very nice woman who works the desk there that I met on my first visit. She is usually the one to check me in and I always give her some of my cookies when I check in, as I invariably have dozens in tow anytime I visit our home office.

A few weeks ago I had to travel to my companies home office for a week. Our new assistant was booking my travel only to find out the hotel was sold out for part of the week that I would be there. While working on alternative options, she decided to try to call the hotel directly to see if there was any space. By pure luck, she got my favorite desk clerk who, upon hearing my name, promptly responded "Oh, she's our Cookie Lady!".

It just took a few minutes, and my friend had not only gotten me a room, but upgraded it and made sure it was billed at the regular rate. Our new assistant called me back to confirm my reservation and asked about the Cookie Lady response. I explained about my cookies and promised to bring her some as well.

So, not only did my cookies get me a room, it got me an upgrade for free, saving my employer quite a bit of money. I was pleasantly surprised, as was my boss who got a good chuckle from my story. My boss is quite familiar with the history of my cookie scores, everything from backpacks, pass to conferences, and more recently a very nice, large bottle of my favorite Jack Daniels.

My motto: Never underestimate the power of a cookie!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

New Release

by Patricia Kiyono

It's August, which to me signals the end of summer. The school year for me will begin in three and a half weeks, and again several items on my summer to-do list will remain undone.
But I'm pleased to announce that my summer regency novella, Love's Refrain, was released last week at Astraea Press, so I guess the summer wasn't entirely wasted! Here's the blurb:

Lady Laura Montgomery would much rather spend her summer at the family estate, but instead she must act as her stepsister's chaperone for the London season. She takes solace in her poetry books and in her love of music. They're all she has to comfort her as she once again faces the one man who stole her heart ten years ago.
Andrew Bradford, Earl of Covington, needs an heir, but he's not looking for love. His mother has made her selection, but he can't help being drawn to the girl's chaperone. Can he hope to make a match based on more than beauty and suitability?

Love's Refrain can be purchased at Astraea Press, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other ebook outlets.