The Best Advice I’ve Ever Gotten…Or Sometimes you Get Onions

Earlier this month, I was given the opportunity to guest on the Fantasy, Futuristic and Paranormal Romance Writers blog . Here is my article on the Best Advice I’ve ever Received… Enjoy and please check out FF&P here


When I was little, I had this weird habit of sucking my index and middle fingers the way most kids suck their thumbs.  It was a bizarre habit that stayed with me well into kindergarten until one Thanksgiving, my mother offered to paint my nails and informed me that if she did, I could no longer suck my fingers. Believe it or not, it worked.

But that is completely off topic.

This is about the best advice I ever received, not my odd habits and idiosyncrasies, but that little quirk plays a major role in this story.

As I said before, I sucked my fingers and used that as a reason not to speak.  It’s not that I couldn’t, I just wouldn’t because, well, in all honesty, I never had to.  My nods, grunts, gestures and giggles were perfectly understood by all those around me. I could point to something and my mother, aunts, uncles, cousins all knew what I needed or wanted without me taking those two fingers out of my mouth.

That is, everyone except my paternal grandmother known to all as Ms. Delores. She was smart, funny, caring, and honest and my very best friend until the day she died. She was my babysitter, confidant and the one person who was on my side not matter what.

Now, don’t get me wrong, she was great, but she was unflinchingly honest and told me exactly what she thought about my behavior.  When she thought I was acting like a spoiled brat, and I could, she would tell me in no uncertain terms that I was being a jackass.  Over the years, she gave me lots of advice, mostly during my pre-teen and teen years. Those hard years when your parents don’t quite know what to do with you and you don’t know what to do with yourself. When you’re body rebels and boy did my body rebel.   By the time I was twelve I was five foot seven, with a 36 D bust and muscular thighs. I was black Barbie and I had no idea how to handle that body with the geeky, nerdy brain that rattled around in my head.

“Biggums,” She called me that because she said she could hear me coming through the house like a freight train, a ‘big’un’. “You’re going to be who you are and nobody can change that. Don’t let people think you’re less than you are.  No matter your size, you skin color or the kink in your hair, you’re beautiful and you’re smarter than you let people know.  God made you the way you are for a reason, don’t let anyone tell you any different.”

That stuck with me and formed who I am but… that’s not the best advice she ever gave me.

Back to the fingers.

I would stand beside her as she cooked in heavy cast iron skillets on her old gas stove in her shotgun house all the time. This particular day, I stood watching her chop something thick and white then put a piece into her mouth and chew.  She looked down at me and asked, “You want some?” With fingers securely between my lips, I nodded.

She handed me a slice, a thin sliver and I greedy removed my fingers and took a big bite. Then I spit it out and looked at her with tears stinging my eyes.

“You thought it was an apple, didn’t you?” She asked and again I nodded. “Well, if you never take those finger out of your mouth and use your voice you’re going to get more of that. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and say how you feel  or else …sometimes… you’ll get onions.”

And that was the best advice I’ve ever received.


How Old Is Old Enough??

I’ve been wondering lately, how old is old enough. Okay, let me start at the beginning…

I have a thirteen year old daughter and no…she is not asking about sex or anything like that. As a matter of fact, she finds the entire topic inappropriate and should never be brought up unless she brings it up and it should only be spoken of euphemistically.  (She would probably be pissed to know I ‘m writing this, but since she doesn’t read my site, I won’t worry about it.)  She’s very Victorian in her morals   I mean she covers her eyes just in case someone kisses and has run from the room more than once when a boob made an appearance on a TV show or movies we were watching, (But she did find Magic Mike interesting as she lingered in a hallway to see some “things”)and I have no idea where that comes from because I am as open and honest with her as I can be.

And I think I just answered my own question.

Anyway, the issue that I’m having is how old is old enough to let her read my books.  She has read some of my short stories and I even attempted to write a novel just for her but it didn’t turn out as I expected.  I will probably revisit it in the future, but not now.

I began reading romance novels in at about her age, but they were all very pure, all of the heroines were virgins and the men gentle and sweet princes…I don’t write that.  I write true relationships and things aren’t always pretty.  Heroines aren’t virginal women waiting for her savior, the heroes  aren’t always noble and heroic…so do I allow her to read my writing or let her stay as she is, even though she persists on asking to read my books?

My problem now is wondering if she’s old enough to read my current novels. They are romances but they are full of sex and violence and I don’t want to warp her delicate sensibilities.  On the other hand, I don’t want her to be a prude forever.  I also don’t want her to read what I’ve written and get ideas like maybe her mom is a sex maniac of former porn star.

Along that same vein I think it’s why my mother has yet to finish reading my first novel, which she’s had for three years now.  She just can’t seem to separate me and the story even though she knows perfectly well I am nothing like the characters. Sometimes I think she thinks, I’m not old enough to write what I write because I’m her little girl and always will be.

As I look at a text message from her, informing me that she is going to a friend’s house, and yes she has her key and yes, she has taken out the trash…and smiles Mommy, smiles… I think I want her to stay just as she is for as long as she can be.


Mini Me at 6 years old.

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Fallen Cover

For a moment she thought she’d imagined him, but there he was sitting near a window, looking delicious in a dark blue t-shirt, a gray hoodie with a spiraling navy design running up one arm and bursting into an eagle across his chest. He wore dark denim jeans that wrapped around his muscular thighs and white sneakers.    He was reading the sports section of the paper, sipping a cappuccino.  When she received and paid for her coffee and cookie, she walked over, making sure he was alone, before she approached.

“Are you stalking me, Dr. Kent?” He asked as she approached his eyes still on the paper.   She took off her hat and tossed it on the table, a sly grin on her lips.

“I’m not interrupting anything am I? I don’t want to impose.” He shook his head, folding the paper and putting it aside.

“Not at all. Please.” He motioned for her to take the seat across from him. She sat and suddenly became nervous.

“So,” She started. “I guess the whole missing body case has been closed.” She said in a nervous rush.

“Yea, I guess the higher ups thought it would look bad to have the police force lose a body. Either that or some big muckity-muck used his pull to avoid media frenzy. You wouldn’t know about that would you?” He was looking at her so intently, that she found it hard to concentrate on anything other than his steady gaze on her face. He was watching her every move as if he half expected her to disappear in a puff of smoke.

“I’m surprised to see you here. I come here a lot.  I would have remembered seeing you.” She offered him a piece of her cookie, he politely declined.

“It’s my first time here.” He admitted. “It’s my day off. Riley and his boyfriend invited a bunch of us over for brunch.  I just didn’t feel like heading home yet.”

“Boyfriend?” She raised an eyebrow.  It was rare to come across a man like Elijah Cain, handsome, smart, overtly male and obviously enlightened.

“Yea, Adam. He’s a uniformed patrolman. Nice guy makes a terrific Belgium waffle. He’s a step up from some of Riley’s other boyfriends.” She nodded, a slow smile forming on her lips, and looked down at her cookie

“I’m not gay.” He said before the question arose.

“Oh, there was never a question.” She briefly met his gaze, her cheeks flushed hotly.  His phone buzzed to life on the table. He looked at it and rolled his eyes, but didn’t answer.

“Problem?”  She asked, taking a sip of her drink, her eyes on him.

“Just someone I would rather not talk to right now.” He sighed

“Ahh, Ms. Deadwood, I presume.” She deduced and he chuckled.

“Yes. She’s been calling me non-stop. I tried to let her down easy, but she’s persistent and doesn’t seem to understand subtlety.”

“She understands. You’re just a hard man to forget.” She met his eyes and he paused, his cup half way to his lips. Silently, he placed the cup back on the table, his eyes smoldered and she could feel the room warm as the electricity in air rose. The lights dimmed slightly and flickered. The other patrons glanced up a few groaned but no one paid a great deal of attention to the change.

“Really?” He asked a twinkle in his eyes. In this light, they seemed more of an aquamarine than turquoise. He leaned back in his seat, openly observing her. She waved a hand at him.

“Please,” She snorted, trying to rein in the growing warmth of her body. “You know you’re gorgeous.” She said her voice low. “Just look around the room. The women are eating you up.” He glanced around the room and found that a few women and a couple of men were openly ogling him.  Slightly embarrassed, he shook it off.

“Once Ms. Deadwood got a taste, albeit a tiny taste, she realized that you are something special.”

“What about you?” He absently reached for her hand; his thumb stroking the delicate skin of her inner wrist, and her mouth went dry.  She looked down, loving the feel of his thumb against her skin.  Just a few years ago, she would have pulled away. She had always been sensitive to anyone holding her like that, touching the delicate skin of her wrists, but with Eli it was okay, it was actually arousing.  His voice deepened and he leaned closer, his eyes darkening to a deep navy.

“Would you like a taste?” Her cheeks grew hot and she crossed her ankles squeezing her thighs closed as a new heat began to grow.  He gave her a wicked smile and in one swift movement, he pulled her chair closer until her thighs were trapped between his legs, holding her still just in case she’d planned on running again. His smile widened and those dimples made an appearance. Damn those dimples.

“Are you flirting with me, Detective?” She finally managed once she found her voice. She’d meant for it to sound light and fun, instead it came out low and throaty.  She couldn’t help but focus on his lips; they were full and soft, tilted up in the most delicious smile. She wanted to nip his bottom lip with her teeth.

“Well, I’m trying my damnedest.”