Archive | May, 2012

Small Gestures: A Stolen Second by Tamara Morgan

30 May

The minivan door slid open and children started spilling out like they’d been shoved inside a clown car. From where I stood across the parking lot, I counted five little ones ranging in age from two to ten, all of them clearly siblings.

I generally watch in moments like these to catch a glimpse of the parents. Not because I worried about them—the kids were well behaved, the older ones making sure to grab little hands and prevent untimely dashes across the pavement—but because as the mother of just one kid, there is a fair amount of Schadenfreude that accompanies moments like these. I always think: surely these parents must be holding onto the vestiges of their sanity by a thin, single thread? Surely they’re so sleep deprived they can only look like a pair of zombies after a particularly grueling battle?

Not so with this couple.

Younger than I expected, the parents exited the car and promptly set to work. It was like watching a well-oiled machine. Mom reached into the back seat and extracted a baby. Dad helped attach baby to a sling on Mom’s chest. Mom made a brief survey of her brood. Dad grabbed a diaper bag the size of which I never expect to see duplicated again in real life. Mom shut the car door. Dad pushed the key to lock it. Mom began ushering the older children toward the store. Dad gathered up the youngest two and plopped them into a grocery cart shaped like a car.

All of this took thirty seconds, tops—and the whole time, they didn’t exchange anything more than a brief smile and a touch of the hands, so fast I almost missed it. The entire moment was a dance these two had clearly perfected over the years, a dance only they knew the steps to, and it carried its own kind of grace.

So often, parenthood intrudes on our idea of the perfect romance, but this couple didn’t need a showy flash of affection or hours in which to gaze longingly at one another’s eyes—they just needed one stolen second.

Sometimes, that’s all it takes.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Thanks to my lovely guest Tamara Morgan for stopping by!

Tamara Morgan is a romance writer and unabashed lover of historical reenactments—the more elaborate and geeky the costume requirements, the better. In her quest for modern-day history and intrigue, she has taken fencing classes, forced her child into Highland dancing, and, of course, journeyed annually to the local Renaissance Fair. These feats are matched by a universal love of men in tights, of both the superhero and codpiece variety.

Her home is in the Inland Northwest, where she lives with her husband, daughter, and variety of household pets. Feel free to drop her an email at tamaramorganwrites (at) gmail (dot) com or follow her on Twitter at @Tamara_Morgan.

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Manolos to Mary Janes

14 May

I love Chicklit. It’s a wonderful escape. And so, when Tracie Banister invited me to be part of the ChickLit Blog Hop, how could I say no? The chance to get to rub shoulders with these ladies couldn’t be missed. Plus, we’re giving away some AMAZING prizes.

Like so many other women, my first ChickLit was Bridget Jones’s Diary. It was easy to relate to. Her earnest, quirky, messed up life reflected what I was feeling putting myself through college. I mean, I would totally turn soup blue.

One of the things that was so wonderful about the book was that we got to laugh at ourselves as much as Bridget.

But, soon after that (at least for me personally) came a long string of books I struggled to relate to on the same level. They left me feeling confused with things that felt like inside jokes.

I’ll be honest, I once read a book where they argued the merits of strappy Manolos versus Jimmy Choos. I had to look those up to make sure that 1) I remember correctly they were shoes, and 2) I had no idea how to spell them.

Just in case you’re in the same boat, check them out:

$1,695 Jimmy Choos

$945 Manolos

Those books were the first time I heard about this ‘Fabulous’ items, but not the last. It seemed the down-to-earth, quirky girl I came to love and respect was gone. In her place were these characters who cared about social-climbing and over-shopping and alllll these shoes I’d never heard of.

The shoes!

I’d never heard so much about shoes in my life. But, more than these hard to spell shoes themselves, it was what they stood for. They stood for money spent often frivolously, of lifestyles I not only know nothing about, but didn’t care about, and of women I’d never know, and probably not even run into.

The Every Woman was gone, replaced with the Carries and Beckys of the (literary) world.

I edged away… slowly. Taking quick, silent steps away from the genre and toward other things I could relate to more easily.

Then, and I’m not sure when it happened, a slide started. And, not surprisingly, it happened with another shout out to our dear Ms. Austen. Austenland.

Someone handed me a copy. I was already a Shannon Hale fan from her YA books, so it wasn’t much of a challenge to open it.

Inside there were no questionable shoe choices. There wasn’t a life so glamorous or expensive or elite or Page 6’ish that I couldn’t ever imagine (let alone achieve) it. There was a girl, a bit quirky, in love with an idea (also a bit quirky) of just who Mr. Right was.

This girl ~Jane~ was smart, funny, independent and touchable. I’m betting she wore Mary Janes.

Mary Janes

Somehow — while I wasn’t looking — we’d gotten back to a life that was dreamable, women that I could like and respect and worlds that weren’t so obscure I wondered if they truly existed.

This isn’t to say one is bad or one is good or the whole genre should be one way. That’s the joy of the journey. Chicklit has something for every woman. No matter what your dream is, if you’re a woman, you’ll find a literary partner willing to open a door to that dream and let you escape there for a few hours… Shoes optional.

So, tell me what shoe makes *you* feel like the heroine of your own novel to enter to win a kindle copy of It’s in His Kiss. ~~> Drawing Wednesday Night.

Jenna’s been letting life pass her by as she works on her career. But, when she needs to do some research of this kissing kind, things may get a little more heated than she expected.
Research has never been so fun.

WARNING: This 11k novella has no vampires, shape shifter or scorching sex, but it might make you snort your diet Coke out your nose.

~~Caitie~~

For a chance to win the Chick Lit Author Blog Hop Grand Prize of a $150 Sephora gift card, simply do the following: 

  • Collect all 34 of the secret words (you will find a secret word in each of the blog posts on the hop.)  The word will be italicized, so it will be easy to locate.  ***HINT*** The secret word in my blog hop post is near a shoe. 
  • Submit your list of 34 secret words to CLABlogHop@aol.com before midnight on Sunday, May 20th and you will be entered into the Grand Prize Drawing! 
  • The Grand Prize winner will be announced on Monday, May 21st, and the $150 Sephora gift card can be redeemed online, or at any Sephora store in the US.
  • Chick Lit Author Blog Hop contests are open to residents of the United States only.
Please see the post below for a Linky list with all 34 participating authors/blogs.  You will have an opportunity to win a different e-book at each blog hop stop.  Good luck! CHECK THEM OUT HERE AND COLLECT THEM ALL TO WIN!

Small Gestures: Crossing the Street

2 May

I was coming down the street, walking, groceries in hand when I saw what was probably going to be the most horrific accident of my life waiting to happen.

On the opposite side of a busy street, an elderly woman with a walker was waiting for someone to stop and let her use the crosswalk. I didn’t start to worry until she eased her walker down over the curb as none of the cars on her side stopped to let her go.

Coming from the other direction, a compact car had already stopped, forcing those behind him to wait in hopes someone coming from the other direction would stop for her.

They didn’t.

When he saw her push that walker over the edge, he did something ridiculously brave.

He got out of his car and started pointing and waving at the oncoming cars to stop.

It took four more cars for someone to bother.

He then walked across the street, helped her to the other sidewalk, made sure she was okay before he got back in his car and zoomed away.

Such a little thing, stopping your car. Such a big thing to reach out to a stranger in need.