Courtney S. Barr

Welcome to My Kingdom!
Join me, the Princess, on my Royal Adventures in the Land of Writing!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wednesday's Written Word: Volition

Last day of the month.
Last Wednesday in March.
We sit in the living room.
We face each other.
He looks at the bowl.
I stare at his hand.
He reaches into the slivers of paper.
I see the white strips shift.
He unfolds the paper.
I shift towards the keyboard.
He raises his head.
I wait for the word.
He speaks:

Volition

I begin.

*****

Silence.

Her feet pad across the hard slats of pale golden wood. A step towards the hall and her hand braces against the door frame. She does not need another reason to showcase marks of black and blue.

Gerald must have waxed recently.

Pausing, she observes the false rays of moonlight creating slotted designs on the white walls. Prison bars. It looks like prison bars. A tight grin flits across her face before she moves on.

Her toes adjust to the coarse tile in the foyer and she no longer worries about slipping. The texture keeps her steady and the cool touch of the stone keeps her aware. Beside her shelves are stacked with photos. She stops as one catches her eye.

A young blonde haired boy showcases a lopsided grin. In right hand is a long fishing pole and in his left is a large mouth Bass. His feet are bare, his clothes are soaking wet and his eyes are shining. She never knew him like that. The boy is a stranger, a ghost that haunts the stairwells and slithers down the halls. Her fingers lightly roam the photo before she lays it face down on the shelf.

Shaking her head she bends down to pull her shoes from the basket beside the door. The soft leather is worn and the soles are beginning to breakdown. She doesn't care. They are the one comfort she allows herself these days.

Her keys lay on the bottom shelf and her purse is hanging on the wall hook. She knows opening the door will cause attention but she has to risk it.

A creak above her stops her heart. She jerks upright and waits, counting the breaths she takes with slow precise calculation. Above her footsteps are heard and panic creeps into her chest. Carefully she moves towards the purse. Slipping it over her shoulder while grabbing the keys. Her house key collides with her car key and a jingle echoes on the bottom floor. She inhales. Upstairs the footsteps stop.

She counts to ten. The footsteps move towards the bathroom and she exhales. He is awake. She knows how disoriented he is this time of night. He may not notice she is gone now but he will when he gets back into the room. One more glance at the shelves has her catching site of the one picture that causes her conflict.

It was taken five years prior. Her hair was swept back in a soft updo and her arms were wrapped around the neck of a handsome young man. She was leaning over his shoulder laughing. He was laughing too. They stood in front of a simple two story building. White wooden panels peeled along the corners. The door was painted a bright hunter green to match the shutters. She loved those old shutters.

For a moment she remembered.

The warm sunshine on her back, the ripple of his muscles as he laughed, the strength in his hands - she had been too young to notice the signs. If only she could have discovered his secrets earlier, if only he would have let her in rather than push her out.

Resigned she shook her head and reached for the doorknob.

Trickling water filled her ears and she knew he was headed back to bed. She was wasting time.

Shaky fingers curl around the knob and she pulled it towards her. Cold night air washed over her face. Her body froze for a second, adjusting to the cold. Thirty feet later she opened the door of the SUV. As she climbed in she heard him yell.

Her fingers fumbled with the keys as she hastily jabbed them towards the ignition switch. In her purse is a small round key fob the size of a half dollar. In the center is a green button. The memory of the door swamps over her and she hesitates. Glancing up she sees the lights on the second floor turn on. He will be downstairs soon.

A deep throated yell pierces the night and she realizes the door is still open. Closing her eyes she wipes the memory away. She starts the car and throws it into reverse.

Her hands shake and the keyfob now dangles from her finger. She remembers the last time he was angry. The way his eyes grew wide, the strength and its betrayal. Squeezing her eyes she presses the button.

In her rear-view she sees the orange brilliance against the night sky; white panels no longer encase her prison and for a second she sees the dark deep green door as it splinters.

Her home.
Her house.
Her life.
Her freedom.
***
Public Service Announcement: I do not condone this type of behavior in either men or women. If anyone or anyone you know deals with any sort of abuse - verbal, physical, mental. Please talk to someone. Vengeance isn't the answer, no matter how badly you want to hurt the other person.
Here are some links that will help:

***
Have a wonderful Wednesday!
Ends at 11:59 p.m.

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

What?! It's research.... isn't it?

My fingers curled and uncurled as I stared at the bedside table. The joints flexed from typing all evening. An audible sigh escaped my lips as I trailed them along a stack of glorious spines. Different colors, fonts, pictures assaulted my eyes as I lay each treasure on the bed. My husband chuckles as he pulls down the covers and my dog curls up with his nightly snack. I am oblivious to their needs at the moment, giving in to the delight that begins at my toes winding up my body.

I pause only to twist my hair into a messy ponytail. My focus still on the options before me...which one...which one calls out to me...

In the corner of my eye I see the blinking green light of my laptop. I know it needs to charge, it needs a break...it needs me to ignore the itch it creates and think only of the beauties on the mattress.

They gaze up at me, each one, side by side...I pick up the first..

its glossy pink and white is so utterly female;

then there are the dark tones of the next one - a carriage sits below a tree with eerie metal instruments dangling above it, a shiver slides over me;

a familiar frost tone and silver-blue vines appear serene if not for the red dot in the title (I have read this one 3 times yet it still remains an option);

fabric reminiscent of a world gone by wraps around a young woman in a cemetery, her head thrown back towards the reader beckoning you to read the poetic verses;

my eyes shine as topaz blue blinks in the light - a stone nestled in a dark chain curls across the black surface;

a woman shrouded in green mist seems to rise off the cover of another - her arms are graceful yet the reader knows the story will not be a soft one;

tattered edges fray on the last option, its cover smells of age and wonder...it was a discovery of epic proportions yet it is a story I know by heart...

I lay down the pink & white one...gingerly pile them up on the side table and sit on the soft mattress. My husband sighs and turns his own reading lamp off to watch television...I pull the dark spine from the pile...the ominous metal objects blink in the soft glow of my lamp...

I slide down on my pillow and the dog settles against my leg...

I ignore the urge to lay it back down & answer the demands of the blinking electronic light...

Research, I tell myself, this is merely research...

Opening the pages I see a sweet dedication to her David...then I am at chapter one and I tell myself...yes - research...

until 3 a.m. I am lost in the "research"... closing the book I grin...

what a fulfilling way to research one's craft...
***
Do you read while you are writing? Do you justify it by calling it research? Do you truly try to learn from your selections in order to better your craft? If you do, what books lately have made it from just an average TBR pile to a true research pile?

"There is nothing like looking, if you want to find something. You certainly usually find something, if you look, but it is not always quite the something you were after..."
-J.R.R. Tolkien

Monday, March 29, 2010

Monday Memos & A Special Shannon Squeeeee!!!

To dream anything that you want to dream. That's the beauty of the human mind.
To do anything that you want to do. That is the strength of the human will.
To trust yourself to test your limits. That is the courage to succeed.
-Bernard Edmonds

Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.
-Henry David Thoreau

Before I get to the reminders, contest, etc. I want to say

CONGRATULATIONS SHANNON!
My Photo
I have been holding in some seriously important news...THE Ms. Shannon Whitney Messenger has SIGNED A CONTRACT WITH AN AGENT!!

*thecrowdisontheirfeet*confettirainsdown*

It has been quite hard to keep my fingers from typing this information! For those of you unfamiliar with her blog, (which should be NONE of you), she is a fantastic blogger to follow (soon you should see her in action in a certain VLOG...)but more than that she is an AMAZING Author! I cannot wait to see her book on my bookshelf & all around the world!
Congratulations Shannon. You deserve this ;o)
***
Add your name & see who is on the sign up sheet over at Anne Riley's Murder Scene Blogfest

The amazing Elana Johnson has a post about Natalie Whipple's Success as an Author including links to some of my favorite writers/bloggers. Natalie has a great story & a wonderful blog. She is both author & artist!

Don't forget about:
My 100+Followers Contest ends on 3-31-2010
La Femme Readers contest ARC of SIREN 3-30-2010
LaFemme Reader's Blowout!
Bloody Bookaholic hosting an amazing contest! RIDICULOUSLY AWESOME CONTEST
Liz over at Cleverly Inked's Before I Fall Contest! Ends 4/1
Tales of the Ravenous Reader is hosting an awesome March Madness Contest Ends 3-31
Summer over at "...and this time concentrate..." is holding a Does this make me an author?Cntest since she finished her novel.
&
If you can Donate to Team Brooklyn Rose via the widget on the right!

Happy Monday Everyone!

Friday, March 26, 2010

What do you do to climb outside the box?

Just the other day my sister & I were talking about the writing segments I do weekly (Wednesday's Written Word). She asked me how it works, really. I told her exactly what I did that first week that I posted an entry:

We have a bowl, one word for each letter of the Alphabet, Marcus pulls it out and I write. She asked me WHEN was I given the word. Well, to be honest I am given it around 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday night & my husband gives me 45 minutes to write the entry. It has to be immediate, it cannot be something to stew over & flesh out.

That is not what I am trying to accomplish.

For my readers I am hoping to give them a short story or scene to read for pure entertainment.

For me it is something entirely different.

I created Wednesday's Written Word so that I could have a fun, creative break during my current manuscript. It forces me to react in a creative manner - I don't know what word is coming (in fact I don't know what words are in the bowl, I let Marcus create them all), I have to create on the fly, and I have to write around subject matter that might not be my norm. It pushes me outside my 'creative box'.

When I was in High School my Creative Writing teacher loved to do this. We would walk into class (all 10 of us - small town - told ya) and on the chalkboard he would have a word or a picture or a letter. Our assignment may be to create a singular word - first one that comes to mind or we could be told to write a descriptive paragraph.

My personal favorites were:
1. Describe a grape to a blind man.
2. Explain to a child who has never experienced it, what WIND is.

College brought me a Creative Writing teacher who loved Graphic Novels. She would place a scene from a novel, blown up on her whiteboard. We had to go from there. We could write what lead up to the scene, what happened after the scene, what was going on in the scene or choose an individual element of the scene. This was to get our creative juices flowing. They knew we had other classes, other projects on our minds that might influence our creativity.

These were activities meant to break away from those projects if only for an hour. To relax and just let the words & thoughts come out. No pressure. The only guidelines were time & reaction.

A world was opened the first time I participated. My vocabulary was tested, my descriptive skills reached a level of importance that I had overlooked and my appreciation for the written word became even more deeply seeded. I love doing this. I even catch myself doing it mentally - seeing a word and taking a moment to spell it out, then create a snippet about it.

Be warned though: it can be a distracting technique! Keep your eyes on the road if you do this while driving... ;o)

So what do you do when you need to flake out from your current project but still create? To still feed the hungry writer on the inside?
***********************************
&
If you would like to donate to Team Brooklyn Rose on my sidebar widget!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wednesday's Written Word: Chopsticks

Welcome! It is Wednesday,we all know what that means!
WEDNESDAY'S WRITTEN WORD!
*crowdgoeswild*
In the right corner we have Marcus - hubby extraordinaire!
He holds in his hand a word...one word!
In the left corner we have Courtney - writer, Princess!
She waits to see the word!
*awhistleblows*
They meet in the middle, Marcus uncurls his hand:
CHOPSTICKS!!
And
WE ARE OFF!

***
A soft melodic tinkling filled the air when the door opened. He glanced furtively around the shop, nervous fingers clenched and unclenched at his side. The shopkeeper barely glanced up from the register.

He stepped towards the counter on his right. Gazing down his eyes met a myriad of shiny objects. Small red flowers clustered around a white lily, a turquoise the size of his fist sat nestled in a cage of silver and beside it lay two long gold sticks. Excitement filled him. His hands splayed against the glass he tried to look even closer. They lay upon a velvet pouch; at the thickest part were small silver cherry blossoms, the branches curled down the length and at the smallest part the petals seemed to fall.

Without hesitating he turned towards the register. The shopkeeper no longer stood behind the counter. Frantically he searched the store. His feet stopped shuffling when a young girl stepped from the back. Long black bangs partially hid deep blue eyes. He waited a moment then pulled the money from his pocket.

"I have this, will you help me?" His voice was soft almost a whisper. Cobalt eyes stared at the money in his hand then moved to his face. Their eyes met and he felt a blush creep into his cheeks. Struck by her beauty he stood numbly waiting for her to respond.

"What do you want to buy?" Moving towards him as she spoke had him almost stepping back.

"Those." He pointed to the glass case, walking to the side where the chopsticks lay on the velvet pouch.

She followed his hands and looked back at him. She opened the door to the cabinet and reached almost to where his fingers lay. All that separated her touch was the thin clear glass; startled by the nearness he placed his hands at his sides.

After laying the velvet pouch on the counter with the sticks on top she waited for him to appraise them.

Licking his lips he gingerly lifted one then the other. She wore a small smile while watching him. He nodded and she began to wrap them. On impulse he grabbed a bright red candy sucker.

A clock behind the counter chimed and he jumped. Hastily he handed her the money. Her eyebrow rose as she counted it out. After the purchase he was left with only one bill. Stuffing it into his pocket he stepped back. She stood staring at him until he felt the blush rise to his cheeks again. The smile had returned and she seemed to be waiting for him to speak. He started to say goodbye when he heard a man's voice in the back room.

She turned towards the sound, her hair swinging across her back. He hesitated wanting to stay for a moment; then moved quickly to the door. The tinkling sound filled the air as the girl observed an empty shop.

His feet pounded against the cement. Moving quickly in and out of the crowded streets he finally arrived at the tiny apartment. The door was jammed so he climbed the fire escape. Sliding the window up he crawled into the room. Dresses were everywhere. Bright fabrics lay haphazardly covering every piece of furniture. Perfume filled the air as women moved around the room in an ordered chaos.

His younger sister sat pulling the petals off a lily. He stooped down and pulled the flower from her tiny hands. She started to pout but before she could make a noise he handed her the candy. She grinned from ear to ear, the few teeth she had would surely rot after the sugary treat but it kept her occupied.

His mother spotted him and rushed over.

"Where are they?" She exclaimed fishing through his coat pockets.

He pulled the small velvet pouch out and handed her his purchase. The chopsticks were still intact; their golden tone glowing against her olive skin.

"Perfect! Eliana! Eliana - we have them. No worries." She kissed him on the cheek and turned in search of his older sister.

He stood a moment before wandering to the hall. The men were all clothed in dark suits. His cousin grabbed him by the arm and handed him the bag with his own attire for the evening.

The next few hours were a blur. The grownups talked over him as he watched after his younger sister. He helped her with the basket, washed her sticky fingers and promised to get her another candy if she would just walk down the entire aisle.

Later when the music played softly on a patio and the grownups laughed amongst themselves he collapsed on a bench. Eliana swirled on the dance floor, the golden chopsticks caught the twinkling lights as they held her long blonde hair in a simple loop against her neck. He watched her dance then he closed his eyes.

He felt someone on the bench before he heard them. At first he thought to just ignore them, but it could be someone who would tell his mother that he had no manners. He straightened up and looked over.

Cobalt eyes stared back at him as dark black ringlets lay on bare shoulders. The bangs that had hidden the blue depths were swept to the side. He lost his breath as he held her gaze. She smiled and he blushed again. Her head tilted towards the dance floor and he began to panic. Slowly she stood up her hand held out. The pale peach dress flowed around her and he swallowed. His eyes swept the room yet he still landed on her.

Nervously he stood. They walked together to the dance floor. His hands were damp; he desperately wanted to run them over his pants leg. She stopped and lay her delicate hands on his shoulders. With care his fingers fluttered against her waist. The music was slow and romantic. It made him blush again. For a moment they just stared at each other, listening to the music, focusing on the rocking from side to side. Then she smiled again.

This time he did not blush he just looked in awe at her beauty. She moved closer, her arms around his neck. He could feel her breath against his skin and his heartbeat quickened. She shifted her head and feeling the brush of her lips she whispered.

"My name is Kairi, it is nice to meet you."

**************************

Happy Wednesday!

P.S. Don't forget to enter the 100+Followers Contest Extravaganza!
AND
Donate to Team Brooklyn Rose via the Widget on my right sidebar!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Monday Memos...

Life is short and we have never too much time for gladdening the hearts of those who are traveling the dark journey with us. Oh be swift to love, make haste to be kind.
-Henri-Frederic Amiel

Just a reminder that there are tons of things going on out here in the blogging world!

Shannon's 400 Follower Hush, Hush Contest Shannon is giving away a (SIGNED) copy of Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Frankie's 400 Follower Body Finder Contest! Frankie is giving away (SIGNED) The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting & some Swag!

Giveaway With Heart Sarah Ann is hosting a contest to benefit NightLight International - an organization that rescues girls in and at risk of trafficking and prostitution in Thailand.

Anne Riley's Murder Scene Blogfest is being held on April 10 so hurry over and sign up on her site!

Don't forget about My 100+ Follower Extravaganza! it ends on March 31!

Also, please don't forget to spread the word and/or donate to Team Brooklyn Rose. The widget for the March of Dimes is on my right sidebar. You can read my original post TEAM BROOKLYN ROSE

If you peruse my sidebar on the right you will see other contests as well!
So go ahead, get to clicking! ;o)
Have a wonderful Monday!

Friday, March 19, 2010

Team Brooklyn Rose

Today's post has nothing to do with writing, has nothing to do with publishing, there is no word drawn from a bowl that will direct where this post is going, nor is it a post dedicated to my or anyone else's contest.

This is something else entirely.

A very close friend of mine who is more sister than friend is going to be walking in the March of Dimes Charity walk in around 5 weeks. Her name is Tracy & she participates not just for a charity to support but because this charity has a special place in her family's hearts.
For those that don't know, March of Dimes is committed to helping all babies, one day be born healthy. Unlike most non-profits where only 50% of the money is actually used for the purpose... March of Dimes uses over 70% of its fundraising and money for their mission. The money raised works harder for it's intended purpose.

This is Brooklyn Rose. She was born at 24 weeks. Tracy & Mike were able to get to know their daughter for 11 days before she was selected to be one of God's most precious angels.

This is Isabel. Isabel was born at 27 weeks and will be 4 in May. The March of Dimes was there to help Tracy & Mike as they spent weeks at the hospital waiting to take her home.

Tracy & her husband Mike, will be walking the 3.1 miles on April 24th, 2010 at Forest Park in St. Louis, Missouri. They walk because they believe in the work that the March of Dimes accomplishes, they walk so that other children will have the care that they need, they walk in thanks for all the March of Dimes did for their oldest daughter Isabel, and they walk in honor of their daughter, Brooklyn Rose, that now watches over them every day.
I want to help. I hope that you can help me spread the word. I've put a widget over on my sidebar for the next few weeks. My personal goal is only $200.00, Tracy & Mike are working to raise $1000.00. Any money you donate whether through my widget or theirs goes to Team Brooklyn Rose. Please if you can donate even $1.00 it is appreciated, if you cannot, then all I ask is you spread the word or look into your local chapter or just click on the below link for ways you can give your time...


Thursday, March 18, 2010

100+ FOLLOWERS CONTEST EXTRAVAGANZA!

A Princess is only as good as the people she surrounds herself with...

So, I realized the other day that I had reached 100 followers!

I could not help but smile, then tear up a little, then laugh, then just give a huge cyber-hug to all of you!

*imaginemeasIcupmyhandandwavelikePrincessDiana*

I am honored and extremely blessed to have 'met' each of you and look forward to those yet to come!

In honor of your wonderful visits to the Kingdom I am holding a little contest...

ahem...

*clearsthroat*

I mean a BIG contest!

So beginning today, March 18, 2010 you are free to enter...

How do you enter, you ask?

Oh that is easy! Just do any of the following

Old Followers +3

New Followers (those clicking from today forward) +2

Sidebar link to the contest +1

Tweet +1

Referral +4

Blog Post +5

Tell me something I don't know question +2

What book do you cherish the most & why?
(I will post my answer when I announce the winner)

*areyoustillimaginingmewaving?...good*

Please leave your email address in the comments

*be sure to use the (at) & (dot) format to keep spammers away*

example: clsbarr(at)yahoo(dot)com

You MUST have a US or Canada mailing address

You MUST be a follower to win

Remember to total up your entries in the COMMENT SECTION!!

Contest ends March 31, 2010 11:59PM

Whew!

Okay get entering...

what?

Was there something else you wanted to know?

prizes?

What prizes?

Ohhhhh.....these prizes...



The Unwritten Rule by Elizabeth Scott
The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
Devoured by Amanda Marrone
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (SIGNED!!)
UNBOUND by Kim Harrison, Melissa Marr, Jeaniene Frost & Vicki Petersson
Glitter Baby by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Here There Be Dragons by James Owen
DragonSpell by Donita K. Paul

ALL of these books are outstanding!
If you have not yet jumped on the ship surrounding James Owen's The Chronicles of the Imaginarium Geographica series, then Here There Be Dragons is your ticket to adventure!
Elizabeth Scott's The Unwritten Rule is fantastic book on that all too taboo subject of liking your best friends' boyfriend.
Then comes Devoured by Amanda Marrone, I guarantee you won't think of fairytales the same after reading this one!
Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins (book 2 after The Hunger Games) continues with Katniss & Peeta in Panem's eccentric world.
DragonSpell by Danita Paul is a book full of fantasy! Dragons, magic, a wonderful heroine and an epic battle you won't want to miss!
Glitter Baby by Susan Elizabeth Phillips gives you a glimpse into the world of entertainment that is not for the faint of heart. A career that fizzled is to be reclaimed and a lifetime of misguided choices will help this main character discover love & life.
UNBOUND is an anthology that will keep the reader enthralled with each story that the authors present. The paranormal, magic, fantasy, romance, violence - no theme is forgotten from cover to cover.
Glitter Baby & UNBOUND really aren't YA, so please note if you share them with a teen, read them yourself first.

Oh yeah along with the books....
Dooney & Burke Purse
Baerksgard Travel Wallet
Twizzlers 4 lb box
A few surprises too..... *wickedlyclaspshandstogether*

So what are you doing still staring at the pictures?!

Hurry up, go, click on the comments, post to your sidebar,Tweet, Blog, go go, GO!!... ;o)

Winner to be announced Thursday, April 1, 2010

CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED!
*updated at 12:19 a.m. 4-1-2010*

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Wednesdays Written Word: YIELD

Wednesdays Written Word is here again! Yep and this time we pulled out:
YIELD!

Simon started the week out with a PG/MG LOVE SCENE Blogfest and well thanks to that my mind has been on love scenes.

So when this week's word was pulled from the hat, it just so happened my head was geared towards this type of scene.
***

His breathing was labored as he lay on the grass beside her. They had raced all the way from the boat house; collapsing in laughter on the ground. His arms were above his head and she lay close to his side. His heart rate was pulsing so loudly he could barely hear her giggling. She rolled towards him and shoved at his side.

"You're faster now! Last summer you barely could beat me!" Her breath echoed his own as she spoke.

He grinned and turned towards her. Sweat slid down his forehead and his side ached from the exertion but looking at her wide golden eyes had him forgetting the pain.

"You've just gotten slow." He reached to tug the brown ponytail that lay against her shoulder but stopped. A small piece of grass was stuck against her smiling cheek and he moved it instead. He felt her warm skin and all at once his breathing changed. The heartbeat that had begun to slow now quickened again.

He had never noticed the freckles that lay across the bridge of her nose before. All at once he saw the light green flecks in her eyes, the way her hair was curling in the heat and the way her mouth seemed to pout even as she smiled. He leaned forward and let his eyes discover something he had overlooked for too many years.
***
Anna's head felt like it was going to explode!

The run from the boat house had her breathing as though she had ran a marathon. She was a good runner and extremely fast but this time it seemed James had beaten her from the get go. The grass was cool against her skin and as she stared at her favorite person in the whole world she felt it tilt a little.

She had loved him for eight years. Ever since his family had begun to vacation at The Bluff. He had spent every summer since with her; every day. At first her parents had thought it great that she had a playmate but now, now that they were older her parents had reservations about someone who could only share a few months with her.

Now she looked at him. His familiar brown eyes were studying her as if they had never seen her before. She wanted to punch him in the gut and tell him how he has just been an idiot for being so blind. Sure, she had never once asked him out; but how could she, they spent every night together for four months straight!

How do you say, well tonight will be the date night?
There isn't THAT much to do in this town.

Her body began to tremble as he moved the grass from her cheek. He leaned in and her heart began to race. She just knew that if he kissed her right then she may never let him go. She had never really dated anyone else. James was the only one she wanted to be with so why string some poor sap along?

She wondered if he realized that this would not be their first kiss. It had been in the boathouse his first summer here when they had seen his older sister making out with that scraggly rowing teacher. They had wondered why anyone would want to stick their mouths together...yuck.

But it wasn't yuck.

It was something she had dreamed of for years. She wanted James to kiss her and she wanted to be with him; only him.
**
Her eyes softened as he stared. How long had he been looking at her? One minute, two, five? He could not stop. He moved to a half sitting position and she mirrored his movements. How long had she been this beautiful? How long had she been this exciting? How long had he wanted her to be his and only his? Inhaling softly his heart slowed down as the answer slammed him in the gut. Since the day he met her. He had dated girls off and on for years at school never understanding why he did not like any of them enough to take the next step.

Now he knew. He had been looking for Anna in every one.

She moved towards him, closing the already small distance and before she could speak he kissed her. At first slow and easy then the kiss became more demanding.

In that second they lost themselves.
**
Anna could not breathe. All she could do was taste. Every muscle in her body ached from the long run yet her heart forced it to ignore the pain. She knelt over him on the soft grass and kissed him again. Her ponytail was hanging limply on her shoulder and he began to remove the elastic band. Her brown hair tumbled around her face and she blushed.

She could not believe that he was going to be hers.

He murmured her name and she almost lost control.

His hands were on her arms and he pulled her down to him.
**
James watched her hair shine in the sunlight. The forest around them was growing dim from the setting sun, but all he could see was Anna. Her golden skin was soft and warm.

At first his hands were clumsy, not yet calming down from the excitement of discovery. But now he watched as she became something even more within his arms. He could feel her heartbeat with his as he touched her and with every touch he discovered something new.
**
Anna's eyes grew soft as she explored every inch of him. The moment arrived where they were no longer turning back. She trusted him completely and without any hesitation she gave him everything she was.
**
James held her tight as they lay beneath a sky streaked with yellow and pink.

He knew that this would change everything.

That there was no way to go back to the way it was before.

For a second he was scared.

She was the most important person in his life. He did not want to hurt her. He looked into her eyes and watched the smile spread across her face. It was then that he realized he had already given her his heart.

Kissing her softly he felt a pleasant shiver as he gave her every ounce of his soul....

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

OMG! I HAVE 100+ FOLLOWERS!!!


OMG!

You guys are amazing!

I am so honored to have 100+ Followers of this Kingdom!

This is mind boggling!

*blushesprofusely*

So you know what that means, don't you?

yep, yessirreee!!!

A CONTEST!!!

So in honor of this wonderful, wonderful discovery

Thursday, March 18th

all the details will be revealed...

I must warn you this one is my biggest yet!!!

oh yeah...

check back for all the goodies & how you can win...

*grinsmischievously*

Monday, March 15, 2010

Simon's PG LOVE SCENE BLOGFEST

Darn you Simon! PG Blogfest..sheesh. Simon somehow got himself wrangled in this idea of a PG/MG Love Scene Blogfest. Yep you heard me, PG/MG LOVE SCENE! Simon, Simon, Simon.... then I HAD to go and sign up because a challenge is fun...yeah fun...*sigh*

Mine is more PG than MG, I mean MG LOVE SCENE? I don't write MG I am definitely YA and mostly upper YA so um, all you MG writers out there - yeah glad LOVE SCENES are not supposed to happen for 12 or 13 year olds. My head just is not wired for this type of scene! I really found myself either too over the top or not enough! Sheesh...

Don't forget to check out the other participants PG BLOGFEST I know everyone worked hard on this one...

***

This is such a stupid idea. What if his mom comes home or worse his dad? His dad LOVES this car. Of course my dad would too. He would call it a muscle car. At least he would if he ever listened to me when I talked to him about stuff. All he cares about right now is some deal he has to get closed.

Chris moved his hands over my hips then started unbuttoning my jeans. His hands are clumsy and I want to tell him to just let me do it but it might hurt his feelings. We had been making out for around an hour.

Karen said that guys were not the most coordinated when it came to this. She said that even if it hurts a little its okay after the first it does get better. I had told her that Chris wanted to and she said its because he caught her with his older brother Dean last weekend. She knows Dean told him that it was what you were supposed to do with your girlfriend. Karen is my older sister and she would know, she has had lots of boyfriends. So many that dad once threatened to lock her in her room if he caught her with another one. She can't wait to turn sixteen. She told me she was going to be driving her way to paradise.

I felt the zipper go down and I inhaled. His hands froze for a second and he looked at me. His eyes are dark brown, so dark that sometimes they look black. It is what made me think he was cute to begin with. That and the lopsided grin he gives me when I laugh.

I nod and he begins to tug my jeans down. He hesitates and then the decision is made. All at once he is against me. His hands are everywhere. I cannot keep up with what he is going to do next. I only recognize a chill on my skin as the air hits me. He slides me down the bench seat and his arms are beside my head. He smiles and it is my smile.

Then all of a sudden I bite my lip. A sharp pain fills me and his breathing has changed. I grab his shoulders trying to ignore it, then it begins to pass. I am not yet comfortable but it isn't so bad. Sweat beads on his forehead; I focus on it and let him finish. He collapses against me and a small smile spreads across my face.

If this is how Karen stays so popular then this will be a cinch.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Who have you talked to lately?

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”

The last two weeks have been a whirlwind for the day-job. Just yesterday I returned from an overnight (yes overnight) trip from Tuscaloosa to Minneapolis. It was planned that I would be home by mid-evening yesterday but...well...the Travel Gods had other plans. Yep Chicago had me for an extra 7.5 hours.

That is a little longer than I normally spend in an airport.

But...there was a silver lining. Once the aggravation, annoyance and realization that the food court had Twizzlers & Fruit Snacks everything was better. On my trip up to Minneapolis I read Old Magic by Marianne Curley (wonderful book by the way - VERY interesting main characters in Kate & Jarrod) and on the way back discovered I was without a book EEK!!! Yep, so I decided to sketch a little, then I bought a magazine, then I wandered around the shops, then I finished the Twizzlers, then I bought more, then I ate the Fruit Snacks, then I bought more...(forget the pattern it is merely a distraction). I finally found a comfortable spot (at what was hopefully but not really the last gate they would move my flight to) and decided to click on the iPod for a little while. It was after doing this that everything shifted.

All around me people were working to decipher how they would arrive at their destination, how they could somehow manage to manipulate something completely out of their control and make it work for them. It is at that moment I laughed..yep you know me.. out loud and quite hysterically due to the tired mind. I was yet again perplexed by the many ways that life steps in.

You see in the 2.5 hours I had already spent at the Chicago Midway Airport I had befriended & shared a pizza with a young man of twenty-four. He is in barber school in Chicago and was headed on Spring Break to Phoenix. He aspires one day to be a musical engineer. He talked passionately about his love for music in every genre and how it lead to his first & only tattoo. We discussed how great Arizona is, how the weather in Chicago was, the crazy way the airlines were acting and just got to know one another. Luckily his flight left after only an hour delay. His name was Darius.

Next I befriended Gloria. She was on her way to Baltimore to visit family. It has been two years since her return home. Work & money has kept her from seeing them. She gave me her copy of LUCKY magazine and I watched her beer & bags for her while she stood at the counter to hear the status of her delayed flight. She made it out of there about 15 minutes after that.

2 more hours pass and I am curled up in a chair listening to music and sporadically watching a FRIENDS episode on my iPod. Then Trina sits beside me and smiles. She is 8 years old, brunette, her favorite word is jelly (oh and she says: jah-el-ly) and her older brother is taking her to see her aunt in San Diego. Her brother is 16. They will be moving in with their aunt for good this summer. I don't know the details other than there are limited options, but I can tell you at 16 Stanley is an awesome young man. He spoke to her in a voice that all little sisters love: the one that says "I am listening, you are important to me". They chatted, we played games on my phone and the DS she had with her. They were not delayed and I was sad to see them go.

Kevin is 31. He was raised in Ft. Lauderdale. He now lives outside Arizona. He was supposed to be in Orlando...yeah wasn't there yet. His final destination was outside Columbus, Georgia. He enjoys traveling, but normally drives. He makes this trek every year during the same time. His grandmother is 94 today. 180 people will commence on her rural town, all related, all excited and all because she said to come. He told me she is still as spry and demanding as always. "The hell you catch if you don't go is much worse than 32 hours in a car to get there." He said with a grin. We talked about travels, about routes, about how far Birmingham is from Atlanta. He told me of how she still lives in the same spot she's lived in since 1934 when she was married at 18. Her husband passed away almost 20 years ago. They could not get her to move, but she did finally allow them to build her a new home where her "shack" used to be. Kevin said that she made them promise it would sit on the same spot of land her husband worked so hard to procure when they were young. He spoke of her with a smile in his eyes and it moved me. I had him from Chicago to Birmingham. We shared a row on the plane and I smiled the entire flight (oh there was a moment of concern when the pilot sort of just dropped the plane down but that is an entirely other story). We parted ways at the exit and I wished him safe travels.

We are all weary travelers. We all tend to get ill when we lose a little control or the end is just out of reach. We forget that every day is a travel destination waiting to happen. We sometimes overlook the fact that being travelers is a gift not a hassle. Yes, things do get a little crazy and we get disturbed when not in our normal habitat but then, then we see it.
I saw how glorious a sibling can be when obviously he has had to be more than a sibling.
I watched a little girl look at a boy already acknowledging that Superman has nothing on her big brother.
I shared lunch with a complete stranger and found a passionate dreamer beneath what stereotypes would call thuggish.
I listened to a woman whose voice caught when she spoke of going home again.
I watched a man describe a woman who is first an amazing person then a grandmother.
“Travel is more than the seeing of sights;
it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.”
– Miriam Beard

This quote is one of my favorites. When I first starting really traveling for the day job I memorized it. Sadly sometimes I fail to bring it forward when my travels don't go as planned. But this time I had some help from some strangers who reminded me that I am not the only aggravated passenger on Southwest flight 283, that I luckily get to visit my family often, that I have two parents who loved me growing up & still do, that stereotypes really shouldn't make us judge, and that living life is an awesome gift - to live it for almost 100 years is beyond phenomenal. It wasn't a Hallmark scripted television show that reminded me or even a fictional story, it was travelers, strangers, new friends, and real characters. It is refreshing to be reminded how real life can be.

Who have you talked to lately? A stranger? A family member? A friend? Whoever it is, why did the conversation leave a mark on your memory?

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Wednesday's Written Word: Posse

Well, I would exclaim my surprise at it being Wednesday again, but well, time passes so quickly that how can I be caught off guard these days!
So Marcus drew out the letter P and goodness help me but it is a word that he submitted to the bowl: POSSE
***
She never noticed the heat.

Sarah Anne Rhodes always had someone to make sure that no matter what season her body temperature was perfect. Lydia currently stood beside her with a small portable fan blowing on her cheek. Sarah's eyes were closed behind her sunglasses and all she could think about was Colin.

Colin Fairchild was her latest goal. His arrival at school was the highlight of her Junior year. Not only was he the hottest guy ever to arrive in Clarke Canyon but his father owned half of the town. Everyone knew he had been shipped off to boarding school his entire life but no one knew why he was suddenly attending Clarke High. Sarah had decided that nothing was going to stop her from adding him to her collection.

A grin slid across her face as she thought about his light blonde hair and pale gray eyes; yes he would be the perfect boyfriend for Junior Year. She was about to ask Danielle for another glass of water when she felt a bead of sweat on her forehead.

Immediately she inhaled, counting to five before reacting. It was only one drop. Then she realized she could no longer feel the breeze. What the...she opened her eyes whipped her head towards the redhead at her side.

Lydia sat beside her holding the fan, only now it was pointed away from Sarah. She was about to scream when she noticed Lydia was not even looking at her. She followed her gaze across the pool and sucked in a breath. Standing on the diving board was the most beautiful guy she had ever seen. His chest glistened with water and his hair lay slick against a tan face. She watched as he raised on his toes and executed a perfect dive into the turquoise water. It took a second before she realized she had her mouth open and was staring.

After watching him break the surface she regained her composure.

She slapped Lydia's arm.

"Ow!"

"Do you realize I am sweating? Sweating Lydia. Actual sweat has begun to collect on my forehead. What will I do when I get a zit Lydia? Huh?!" Her voice rose and Lydia's face immediately lost color.

"Oh my gosh Sarah! I am so sorry. I.. um.. just... well..that guy." She babbled for a second more but Sarah's steely gaze had her readjusting the fan in silence.
"Danielle." Sarah motioned to the young girl sitting at her feet painting Sarah's toenails a bright Coral Cove.

"Yes Sarah?" She was so eager to please Sarah. She was the only Freshman allowed to even be within twenty feet of her. She had gone through a rigorous training for the first month of the summer.

"I need you to find out who he is...now." Danielle nodded and scurried towards the snack bar. Kevin Whitmead worked the counter and he knew everything that happened in Clarke Canyon.

Sarah adjusted the purple bikini top and speculated about the new boy swimming laps below her. It was then that Colin entered the pool area. She watched as he scanned the pool stopping when he saw her. He smiled and began to weave through the lounge chairs. His walk oozed of confidence. She enjoyed watching his muscles move beneath his shirt and wondered just how much fun he'd missed out on at those all boy boarding schools.

"Lydia. Go away." Sarah smirked as Lydia quickly turned the fan off and stood to leave. Colin smiled at her as she passed him. It amused Sarah that Lydia's face was turned shyly towards the ground. Lydia was gorgeous, but no confidence. Sarah liked that about her. It made it easier to keep her place in the group.
Colin slid onto the chair Lydia had emptied.
"Hello beautiful." His voice was like silk as it slipped over her body. Yes, he could make her sweat.
"Hi Colin. At the club for an afternoon swim today, I see." She strategically straightened her legs and curved her back. It pleased her that his eyes roamed her body while she moved to a sitting position. It also made her extremely happy when it took a moment for him to respond.
"Uh, yeah. Ian told me that this club was the best or used to be anyway." Her head tilted at the name.

"Ian?" It was not someone she knew. She knew everyone. Or at least she would once Danielle returned. God why did the remaining members of her group have to spend the last month of the summer in Europe this year! She was left with Lydia and Danielle, the minion league of her social posse. The word had her imagining horse drawn carriages and dry deserts. She would have definitely traveled in style. No dirty dresses and if anyone got in her way...well her diamond handled six shooter would have been infamous. The thought made her smile.

"Yeah, my stepbrother. Don't you remember Ian? We used to come here for Christmas break when we were kids." Colin's voice brought her out of her reverie.

"Stepbrother?" For a moment Sarah's mind was blank then she heard a voice call out from the pool.

"Colin! I thought you were too good to swim today...had tennis or something." Sarah's fingers tightened on the edge of the chair as the swim God climbed the ladder and walked towards them.

"Well that was before I remembered that the pool is much more....refreshing." The last word was spoken with a hint of seduction as Colin touched her shoulder.

Ian sat on the end of Sarah's chair and grinned. Her stomach tightened and she could not speak. His face was perfect. She glanced at Colin and realized that gray was a bit overrated. Ian's bright blue eyes were much more fascinating. For the first time ever she was going to break a rule - brothers were never something to trifle with, it would have to be done neatly. She had a new goal and this one seemed all the more exhilarating. Ian had her nervous just with his presence. This would be a new game, she just needed a little help from her...friends.

Over his shoulder she saw Lydia & Danielle slowing returning to her chair. She nodded at them both and shifted her eyes towards Colin and slid her sunglasses on top of her head. Lydia's eyebrows rose but she returned the nod immediately recognizing the signal.

Danielle smiled and Sarah knew she understood as well. Lydia stepped up to Colin and grinned down at him. He tilted his head at her and seemed to take a second look.

Sarah watched Lydia pout. "Colin, would you mind helping me with some of the towels? I am so tired from being out in all this heat." Her voice was like honey. Maybe Sarah had underestimated Lydia's confidence, this was a development she would have to keep her eye on. Colin glanced at Sarah.

"Go ahead, poor thing has just been dying in this heat. Maybe after you help her you could get us all a round of those pineapple drinks Kevin is a master with." Sarah motioned towards the snack counter.

Colin stood, not quite sure what to do. Danielle did not hesitate in her technique.
"Oh, why don't I help the two of you, it won't be easy carrying all that for the entire group. I'm sure Sarah and Ian will be fine for a few minutes." Her exuberant smile was infectious and Sarah watched with pleasure as her youngest protege slipped her arm through Colin's and began walking towards the towel shack.
Ian watched the entire episode with a sly grin. His brother walked away with the two girls completely oblivious.

"Impressive." His head shook as he watched them walk away. Then he turned to Sarah with a mischievous grin.

"Oh, Ian, whatever do you mean?" Sarah shifted to face him. Slowly she pulled the rubber band from her hair and let it tumble down her tan shoulders.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Dream and A Husband

Just to warn you: this was last nights dream...

Small pieces of parchment fall haphazardly around me....
A glimmer of blue ink catches my eye and I reach for it...
The paper dissolves before I can read the words....
Larger pieces land silently along the ground and I bend to touch them.
Soft green ink creeps along the paper and I yearn to read them before they disappear.
My fingers caress the edge and I watch the language shift,
Each letter disappears...one after the other...I think of dominoes on a kitchen floor...
I straightened. Looking up I see them fall from the dark blue sky....no end...no beginning...
A piece softly touches my nose, eyes closed I remember snowflakes and warm hot cocoa...
The pieces are piling up yet I am not held down...
They are in front of me, yet I know I can step forward...
They are behind me, yet they do not close me in...
A drawing slides to the ground in front of me..
A girl of seven climbs a tree and I smile...the branches were strong, the wind was light and my thoughts were happy...
Another lands upon my head and my hands grasp it quickly...
Soft music from a harp...flowers all around..dancing..laughing...vows...a tear slides down my cheek with joy..
The picture fades and the flashes begin..
Myself at a computer... reading in a wheelbarrow at ten years old...
A father's strong hands...the sweet sound of a mother laughing...
Christmas morning...Thanksgiving in the heat...summer waves along a coast...
Dogs rolling in the grass...cats lounging in the sun...children chasing each other...
The scenes are not all full of beauty but I see the beauty in their existence...
They fall around me as I sink to the soft grass..
I watch them with excitement..
I worry as they disappear so fast..
Then I see it...the paper that is like a mirror...
Its surface is clear and I pick it up...I see my reflection..
Unlike the others before it does not change...
At first I am worried..I look to the sky...
They still rain down but more slowly and fewer increments...
Then I see that they all are like the one in my hand...
All around me the silver surface shines back...a lake...clear and without distinction...
I stand and frown...
One falls... a picture of me standing and frowning...
I smile...

I wake up.

4 a.m.

I was just nervous when I woke up. I was not sure what in the world it meant. I told my husband about it at lunch today.

He laughed at me.
Yes HE LAUGHED!
Then he blew my mind...

Husband: "Don't you see..that lake was everything you have yet to do. The pieces were memories. "
Me: "I got the memory part but was not sure about the mirror pieces."
Husband: "I think it is your own mind telling you that everything you want, everything you are going to do is there... out there... for you to make happen. Whatever step you take next will be the next pieces...So keep doing what you do. Just think if you have it again it might be you sitting with your agent...talking to a publisher..reading aloud from your own book..."

Then he proceeds to eat his lunch as I sit there and think about the dream.

He is right you know and I love him for it...