Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Why Love A man Who Loves An Ugly Car?

Due to my recent medical issues, I've missed two month's worth of the updates on this story. So...
In true daytime drama style- When last we left our hero's Alex was on her way to meet her boyfriend in New York City. Her best friend Jay sold his classic Nomad to pay for her trip. Unbeknownst to Alex, Charles, her boyfriend, is drunk in Manhattan while she is  snowed over in Chicago. Jay has discovered her true plans from her Dad, and now finds more than his wallett regretting her trip. Alex's mother, Tricia, desperate to make Alex see what she was giving up by leaving Jay sent a manuscript of journal entries along for Alex to critique on her trip. The journal entries convinced Alex her mother's story is one of cheating and betrayal, just as Charles' drunken revelation of his hesitancy to marry her comes out. Now Alex has determined to fly to New York to meet Charles and work it out. Can Alex untangle her heart from her desires? Will Jay find the courage to tell her the truth about his feelings? Does Tricia's story of love lost help Alex see her own heart?
Find these answers and more as we read the reasons you should love a man who loves an ugly car. To read the story from the beginning go to the archives and find 'For The Peanut gallery, Ugly Car week 2 and everything titled Why Love A Man Who Loves An Ugly Car. In the meantime...

The morning crowd at La Guardia, teemed like a tide pool of colorful sea life. The swirling faces and mixture of languages pulsed around her.  Alex felt as if she were floating on a cloud of caffeine and chaos.  Her flight had landed at 7:30. After retrieving her bag from baggage claim she looked for Charles at her  gate again.  She  called his cell phone a dozen times, becoming frustrated when it only went to his voice mail. Now, after what seemed like    a lifetime later, she passed  through terrified, to sit, huddled against a wall fighting back tears.  Reaching into her large over shoulder bag, she pulled her cell phone out again. She should call her dad and ask him what to do. The panic that would  crease her mom’s expression when Tricia learned Alex was abandoned, alone in New York city, clamped her cell in her hand. She shook her head to dispel the throbbing behind her temples. She couldn’t spend any more time refusing to make a decision. Her watch of the pulsing  stream of people flooding by her didn’t help. The vibration of the phone startled her frayed nerves and she nearly dropped it. Frantic, she  forgot  to check the number before answering
”Hello?” she choked, desperation clinging to the short syllables.
. The brief moment of silence draped across the phone made her heart jump, as her mind feared it'd been a wrong number and she was indeed alone again.
 “Lex.” Jay’s voice said. “What’s wrong?”
 Alex took a deep breath to calm herself but only managed to dislodge her tears from where she’d been ’fighting them back from her eyes.
His  calm reassurances      and understanding of the whole terrible morning  only made her tears spill the story more dramatically through the phone. She could hear him breathing, with only a deep grumbling growl of protest escaping when she explained her current predicament. Except for a few dark threats against Charles, his voice remained steady as  he promised  her that she was fine and there was nothing to worry about. She blewout a stream of soggy air, scrubbing at her tears as she settled her emotions. The muscles bunched in her neck  relaxing in the embrace of his patience.
“Listen,” he said.. she flicked tears from her eyes, biting down on her bottom lip.
“Here is what I want you to do. Do you see the main doors?”
 Alex looked around the wide expanse of airport, following signs with her gaze to where the main exits and entrances were marked.
. ”Yes,” she said the edge of hesitance in her voice.
“Good. Now, there are ten, ten dollar bills in the front pocket of your bag, take five of them out and put them in different pockets of your clothing. One in your jeans a couple in your coat and a couple in your wallet. Take the other five and put them into your shoe.”
     Alex waited, expecting him to go on. When he was silent, she began fumbling  with her bag. She gulped back  the catch in her breath as her shaking fingers closed around the stack of money. “Jay, Where did this come from?”
A slight chuckle drifted through the phone, and Alex stared out into the swarming airport crowds..
      “Wha, how?”
 “Just do it Lex.” He said softly, “I put them there before you left in case of an emergency.  I think this counts. 
     She began scattering the money as he directed but continued her questions.
      “Why am I doing this Jay? Am I going somewhere?” 
    “Yeah, I’m sending you to my grandmother’s brownstone.  She’s in Florida for the winter and its empty, but she lets me stay there when I come, so you’re going to go there until you, figure out what to do next.”
      Her eyes filled with tears again.
     ,” How, Jay? I don’t know anything about New York? And what’s a brownstone?”
      He cleared his throat as his voice caught and tripped on  the words
     “, Lex I’m sorry this is the best I can do, but you need to Just listen. My Grandmother’s house is a two story brownstone building, kind of narrow and tall. It will be on a street with a bunch of other brownstones. Various colors and designs but all looking like shoeboxes stacked side by side standing on end.” Alex nodded and tried to form the picture in her mind. “I’m going to a shoebox?””
“It’s an apartment,  kinda. You’ll be safe there.”
Her lip burned where her teeth bit into the tender flesh. “Okay, how do I get there?”
“Go out the main exit and have one of the concierge’s flag you a cab.  There should be plenty at this time in the morning. The envelope with the money also has the key to the brownstone and the address on it.  Give the address to the cabbie and tell him to take the bridge, not the tunnel to west 86 th”
      Alex dug in her bag for the envelope tucked between her ticket and the printout Jay gave  her before her flight to Vegas.
     ”How did you know I need this?”    
“I didn’t. I just couldn’t stand the thought of you alone in New York if something went wrong. So I had a back up plan.” 
     Alex sniffed and took a shuddered breath.
     “I...don’t know what to. I…Thank you.” she said finally, “What would I do without you?”
      “Let’s not find out OK.”
      His voice was suddenly flat and hollow as it broke with his next words.
     . “Alex,  New York City can be a dangerous place for a beautiful, young, inexperienced woman, traveling alone.  You need to be careful. Hang your bag over your shoulder and across your chest, and make sure it’s zipped closed and you tie it shut with that string thing.”
     Alex laughed a forced  gasp to break a strange tide of emotion welling inside of her. He was talking about the dangers of this city and she knew it, but somewhere in the deep tones of his voice she thought she heard him whispering an altogether different plea.
      “The toggle?” she asked her voice quieter  now.
      “Whatever.” Jay said the edge still in his voice. “When you get a cab, I want you to write down the medallion number and the cabbie’s name.  It will be on his license hanging from the rearview mirror.  And then call me back.”
     Alex shook her head as if Jay was sitting next to her watching the dismay scamper across her features.
. “Wait, The what? She said unzipping her bag and pulling a pen and paper from it. 
“The medallion number.” Jay reiterated. “It’s the number on the light on the top of the cab.  It identifies which cab it is and which cab company they drive for.” 
     She scowled. “And why am I doing this? “
     Because no one knows who you are or where you’re going, including you. I want you to get the number and the drivers name and then call me and give it to me. Do it from inside the cab and let the driver hear you.”
     With a groan into the phone, she turned her head, searching the teeming crowd for Charles’ face once more.. “Jay” she complained. ”He’ll think I don’t trust him and then how helpful will he be.”
     Jay’s teeth snapped together and Alex heard it, along with   a  growl from his throat. Her eyes left the swarming faces and focused back on his words as he enunciated them. “You don’t trust him, Alex. He’s not going to help you.  He’s going to do his job and take your money. if you’re lucky. Even if he offers to take a shorter route, or show you the city, tell him no thank you . Just go to my Abuelita’s. Even an honest cabby is still going to leave you alone in Manhattan.  He’s not going to become your new pen pal, or save you from all the other creeps out there.”
      Jay’s voice was starting to pick up remnants of her panic. She felt his growing anger.. “Okay, Okay,” she said, “I would just feel safer with the cab driver on my side.”
     “That would be great, but neither of us know if he’ll be.. I need to be able to track you down if anything goes…”
Alex felt her heart rate quicken as Jay’s tight words suddenly broke off. She bit her bottom lip and then whispered.
. “Okay, I’ll call you back once I’m in the cab.” 
     She stood from her corner glancing around and grasping the handle of her suitcase. “Relax.” She said with a shaky laugh, “I’ve come two thousand miles on my own, I can make it another couple of thousand feet.”
      Jay’s voice was so quiet now, that she could barely hear him over the noise of La Guardia. “I know, Lex, You just shouldn’t have to.”
Following Jay’s directions to the letter, Alex climbed into a yellow cab before calling him. The driver, a heavy set Jamaican woman in her  forties, just smiled as Alex whispered her name and the number to Jay. Glenda Robinson’s  coffee brown eyes sparkled in the sunlight streaming through the windshield as she turned up the volume on her radio and hummed along with the music.
      With her aching head resting against the back of the seat, Alex brushed ice from her coat to absorb  the warmth of the sun filling the windows. Her bleary gaze studied the light  dancing off the water all around her, like tarnished aluminum instead of ocean.
     “What time is it?” Jay asked, the strain in his voice making it obvious to her that he was  trying to hold back a yawn.
     Alex looked around at the crisscrossed veins of automobiles honking and bleating like multicolored sheep headed for the same slaughter. Her gaze fell on the clock in bedded on the dash before she closed her eyes.      “It’s after nine." She settled back into a puddle of sunlight drifting through the window, her yawn going unrestrained
     . “Good. That’ll get you into the city after rush hour and you should be at my grandmother’s place in a half hour or so.”
“I don’t know about this Jay. Won’t your grandmother be upset when I just show up?”
“She’s in Florida, no one’s there. Just find My room at the left of the stairs and there’s towels in the trunk at the end of the bed.  There’s  no food in the house, but next to the phone in the kitchen, there’s a list of takeout places that deliver. There’s a bodega up the street that will deliver stuff like milk and bread if you want it too.
Alex followed the flurry of information, wondering if she should be taking notes. Jay seemed intent on telling her everything in the next few seconds and her heart momentarily panicked with the thought of him hanging up.
. “The gas and water are still on for these last minute visits.” He was saying, as   Alex heard fatigue slowing down his speech. “You’ll have heat and hot water so you should get some sleep and take a shower at least before you try to track Charles down again.” Alex swallowed hard but didn’t answer. “Are you still there?” he asked, his  voice tightening again.
     “Why are you up so early? How long have you been awake?"
     “What are you talking about? Nine isn’t early for me. I open this place up at eight.” His words were innocent and the edge of panic was gone but she could still hear something in his voice. 
“How much sleep did you get last night, Jay?”
“Can you give me a number?”
“I can, but you won’t like it,” he mumbled. 
Alex yawned again . She heard Jay echo the exhaustion from across the line. Her mind sharpened as she stared at the water surrounding the traffic. The golden globe of the sunrise sparked her mind to clarity.
“It’s nine here, Jay.” She said. “Its seven in the morning where you are.”
     Jay’s low chuckle drifted quietly in her ear and she frowned.
. “You know me. Lots to do, not enough time in the day to do it.”
     Alex grimaced, the spurt of guilt stabbing in her chest again.. “You’re not getting anything done being my travel agent.”
      “Your travel plans were the only work I had this morning that couldn’t wait. It will all still be here once I know you’re locked behind three deadbolts and two security chains at my grandma’s house.”
     Alex laughed,  hearing Jay take a deep breath. “Are you going to stay with me until then?”
     “At least until then,” he promised.
She said goodbye to him as her car pulled up to the row of brownstones. With a shaky sigh, she paid the driver with the two ten’s from her wallet, pulling another from the pocket of her jeans, afraid of the cabbie’s  scowl at the amount.  When the cab pulled away in a cloud of gray exhaust,  she dragged her bulky suitcase across the uneven sidewalk. She stopped and stared at the brick houses, appearing just like Jay said, towering tightly and  stacked beside one another. The only alterations between them were the placement of the windows and the color of the doors. Kids on scooters sped past her, their voices melding with the rush of morning traffic as she made her way up the stairs and inside the bright blue door. Heavy wooden construction blocked the street noise out as  she slid the thick locks and chains into place. Abuelita Maria’s key was dropped in her coat pocket as she faced a crowded, but organized living room. Scattered couches and chairs, along with doily draped tables beckoned her into the dust of an empty house. The sparse layer  clung and drifted slightly in the streams of light breaking from the eastern windows.  Alex shuddered in the brisk cold of the unheated room. She went to the open mouthed fireplace flipping the switch for the gas flame to ignite. Just as Jay promised, the pilot light hissed and caught in a burst of blue fire.  Shivers stole over her body as she crouched before the flames, her heavy eyes glancing  around as she began to feel like a burglar. Her nervous perusal of the house brought her gaze to rest on a familiar face, settling the tightness in her chest.  Jay and his parents peered out from a silver framed photograph atop the mantle. This is his Grandmother’s home, she soothed.  Jay told her stories of Maria Sanchez’s life in New York City since 1924. Jay spent summers with her following the death of her husband three years earlier.  According to his tender memories, she was the toughest lady he knew, living alone in the city despite her ninety years.  Alex caressed the gilded frame of a faded photograph. The smiling face of a dark haired young man in a dress blue uniform, looking strikingly similar to Jay also graced the shelf above the flames. She smiled feeling a little less intrusive with the heat, but  no longer able to keep her drooping lids open. Her legs protested as she  trudged up the treads of the steep staircase, too tired to haul the enormous suitcase with her. Hall ways stretched out in a hardwood tongue away from her, a slim rug rolling its pale blue welcome as she turned toward a narrow archway. An antique, glass door knob at her left flashed a beckoning ray of light into her eyes when she grasped and opened it. The room was paneled in cherry wood, it’s long window opening to the west and looking out onto the flat stone face of another building. The navy blue curtains were held back with replicas of classic cars, confirming she’d  found Jay’s room.  It was narrow and the pitched ceiling’s plaster rattled slightly as she turned the light on. The heavy trunk at the foot of the bed was open, thick green towels folded neatly on the top, the lid forming a footboard at the bottom of the full size four poster bed.  She laughed under her breath, trying to picture Jay’s long legs finding a comfortable spot to rest in the small room. With a quiet sigh, she took her coat off laying it across the patch work quilt spread on top of the bed.  Caution lowered her slowly on its edge., expecting to hear the creak of floor boards or the groan of old springs. the soft bed only invited her tired limbs into its serene comfort. Alex obliged by  crawling between the crisp linen and snuggling under the warm blanket.  The scent of clean sheets and Lysol numbed her mind as  she sank into welcome slumber, Jay…or Charles…or whomever drifting through her dreams.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Why Be A Blogger?

When I got my first contract to publish back in 2012, my editor told me I had to have an on-line presence.
Wait, my mind protested. I'm blind. I have just figured out how to make my word processing program work . How am I going to show up on-line?
For most sighted writers this is not that big of a deal. A twitter account. A facebook page. An author websight. These were all offered as good ways to make your books, and your voice/face known in the greater world.
"If you have a blog," my editor said. "You can use it as your author page."
"What's a blog?" I asked.
Yes, its true. Even as recently as 2012, I was hopelessly behind with modern technology. When my editor wanted an on-line presence, I set out to get one.
Now blind people in general are very well versed in computers, smart phones, technology and just about every modern convenience sighted people are. Some of them are even better than their sighted counterparts. I, though, am a "twidiot", a facebbok freak, and a techno-moron. I learned some of these skills, and I'm getting better, but the one that always made sense to me as a writer was a blog.
A page where I write, tell stories, laugh at myself, and connect with my readers. Being proficient at other social media outlets may make the rest of you still shy away from starting a blog though. The following are a compilation of tweets, blog posts, interview, and articles listing the top five reasons agents recommend having a blog.
-#1. Practice--One important facet of having a blog is consistency. You don't have to post every day, or every other day, but you do need to be predictable and consistent with your readers. Posting on your blog when your in the middle of editing, having writer's block, or just feeling burned out, will keep you writing regularly.
-#2.Platform-- Even before your publishing contract or first published article, professionals in the publishing industry want to know where you are, what presence you  have, and what your credentials are. A blog is a quick way to post pictures, publishing credit, or just make your voice heard.
-#3.Superfans-- To take a regular fan and make them a super fan you need a place to call home. The normal fan will follow you on twitter, facebook, and other social media, but your fans will become devoted to your work when they feel they can connect with you personally, regularly, and leave you messages or comments on your blog. It is also a great opportunity to give them back story, and hidden secrets about your characters making them fall more in love with your work.

#4Networking-- Some of the best opportunities to meet other authors, publishers, agents and professionals are through blog tours, goodle posts and links to your blog on twitter. It expands your knowledge and experience as well as spreading your contact information to readers outside of your network. You have access to more writers, readers, and professionals when you expand beyond your little world.
#5. It's free and easy-- There are a lot of helpful articles, books, and classes you can take to set up your blog and make a difference in your career. It doesn't take a lot of time and it doesn't cost any money. You can get a domain for your blog free with blogspot or wordpress and its not much more to buy your own from either site.
Not every writer, agent, publisher or publicist will tell you to blog. A lot can tell you why its a waste of time. For me blogging has expanded my horizons, my circle of friends, and my view of the world. Read a few blogs of writers you admire and see what the blog buzz is all about.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Author Review: Michelle Hauck

I always know when a story  or author interests me. I dream about their characters at night and I think about them while I go through the rest of my day.This was my experience with "Kindar's Cure", the story and characters have been with me for weeks now.
 When I started Michelle Hauck's work, it was as a follower of her blog. She runs great competitions and I've found some good  books through her reviews. I got to experience some of her talent reading short stories and advice from her blog but it wasn't until I read her novel "Kindar's Cure" that I really fell in love with her work.
She has a fantasy element to her stories that has historical or non-contemporary settings but they feel very modern.   Her heroine's are powerful, yet vulnerable. Her love interests are brutish, strong, patient and true to character. Her hero's aren't knights or princes, an element I actually loved,  and they are compelling all the same. Her heroines possess nobility and  strength along with human flaws. Their emotional arc from beginning to end makes them relatable.
The story was full of magic, twists and plot turns, and troubles enough to keep  me  turning the pages. Although she uses the suggestion of sexual content, in "Kindar's Cure" the romance was clean and appropriate. After having read this first of her novels, I will be shopping for more of Michelle's work in the amazon store and in The Library for the blind's reading lists as well.
You can become a follower of Michelle's blog at the above link, follow her on Twitter
Facebook, or Goodreads. @

Monday, June 9, 2014

#Monday Blogs

Our special Monday blog to join The Writing Process tour is thanks to April Khaito,  a writer based in Las Vegas, NV and working on her first novel. Once upon a time she wanted to be an architect until she realized that words often last longer than buildings–if they’re formed of sturdy construction and easily inhabitable by those seeking shelter in their pages. She has an accounting degree from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas, but don’t hold it against her. The right and left brain aren’t so far apart. She is one of the contributors
for  The Write Shelf.

1)        What am I working on? This is always a complicated question for Traci to answer because she doesn’t have a single project she  is working on. "I just finished my follow up novel “Burning Bridger”, the parallel novel to my debut “Killing Casanova. I’ve reworked, resubmitted, and revised it a number of times. I’m currently looking for a publisher because my publisher Crimson Romance, no longer represents clean romance. ‘Behind Closed Doors’ is its official rating. I also have an urban fantasy that I’ve been working on since 2009 that may be an endless project.  I’m just at the beginning of an alternate POV story I’m writing with a friend of mine. I do the heroine’s POV and she does the Hero’s. It’s a fun way to play off each other and see the distinct difference between two different voices. I’ve got outlines, synopsis, and queries that I practice with, My blog, my short stories and my hit and miss poetry, but mostly I’m writing every day until I can master the craft."
2)     How does my work differ from others of its genre? I am not your traditional romance writer in that I write clean romance. Most of the advice, classes, and workshops that are available for romance writers include the importance of when, how, and where to write the “Love Scene”. For me the fun, excitement, and allure of a romance is the sexual tension that comes in the wanting, the thrill of the chase, and the process of falling in love. The dirty details are much better left to the imagination and experience of the reader. When we picture the characters, setting, and struggle’s in a good story the writer hasn’t given us so much detail that we can’t or don’t use our imagination to feel the experience our self. Romance is the same way. Whatever your experience has been, it will automatically color in the details of the scene. If I did my job you don’t need me filling in the blanks, you’re better at it anyway.This limits my audience which I don’t mind because anyone can sell sex. I’m trying to sell great stories.
3)     Why do I write what I do? For me, writing has always been a personal experience where I tell a story. A story I’d like to read myself. When I was a kid it was therapeutic. When I was a young mom it was a distraction, and now that my kids are at school every day it has become an obsession. I love mysteries, thrillers, westerns, historical fiction, and anything I can learn from. If I can combine some of these elements together to form a good story that reminds us that the world is a good place full of bad things and real love to heal our wounds then I have brought a little more light to the mind and heart of my reader. A little more to my soul as well.
4)     How does your writing process work? I’m not sure it does. If my process worked I wouldn’t have to revise and rewrite all of the time. I start with a character I want to meet. My inspiration comes from songs, other books, real life people, or experiences. I will do a character interview that begins with a physical description (just so I have a picture in my head), and then I write a short piece on the most important thing that happened to my character at age 16. I will do this for both hero and heroine, antagonist, best friend or helper character and anyone else who is a prominent figure in the book. Once I’ve established the backstory and wound of my characters, I figure out how their stories will interact. I’ve been taught that the two main characters need a reason to fall in love besides “the author wants them to” so I will arc their stories from identity-who they think they are- to essence-who the person who loves them knows they are. This gives me a start and a finish for the love story. I admit I plot the drama, action, and suspense portion to keep the middle from getting boring, but where the plot goes is very fluid. It  changes scenery, gets cut down, and shifts directions as I listen to where the story wants to go. I started my last novel from a strictly plot perspective and ended up spending more than two years trying to fill in my character gaps. I’m a character driven reader and my writing is always more successful when I let my characters drive my stories.
For me, the most important thing I do for my writing process is read. I read a lot. Every chance I get to read, I’ll take it. I’ve learned to listen for stories that work, too much back story, the correct use of dialogue, and soggy middle’s when I read a book, good or bad. This process is also changing all the time. The more I learn about the hard work of being a writer, the harder I practice. That’s the only part of the process that stays the same.
Come visit some of my blind friends for next weeks tour June 16. Look for #monday blogs or #the writing process to find these great authors.
Abbie Johnson Taylor is the author of a romance novel, We Shall Overcome, and a poetry collection, How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections
of a Family Caregiver. Her work has appeared in Serendipity Poets Journal, Emerging Voices, and Magnets and Ladders. Her Poetry chapbook, That’s Life:
New and Selected Poems, will be published by Finishing Line Press.

Deon Lyons, with his lovely wife of 32 years, lives in Central Maine.  Upon losing his vision in 2010, Deon learned touch typing, and with the help of assistive technology, has enthusiastically rediscovered the digital world, along with a lifetime passion for writing. His creative works revolve around fiction, poetry, personal essays, short stories and apersonal blog  . In the past year, Deon has self published a novel entitled Sully Street, along with a collection of poems


Donna W. Hill is a writer, musician, speaker and avid knitter from Pennsylvania’s Endless Mountains. An online journalist, her subjects range from music and knitting to blindness issues and chocolate. A songwriter with three recordings, she is marketing her first novel, The Heart of Applebutter Hill, a high school mystery with excursions into fantasy. The book has received prepublication reviews and recommendations from professionals in education, rehabilitation and the arts as a valuable tool for diversity inclusivity and anti-bullying initiatives for middle school and older students. You can find her on twitter@dewhill

Bruce Atchison is a legally-blind Canadian freelance writer with
articles published in a variety of magazines. Bruce  has also authored three paperbacks. "When a
Man Loves a Rabbit: Learning and Living with Bunnies" is a memoir of the surprising facts he discovered about house rabbits."Deliverance from Jericho: Six Years in a Blind School" is his
recollection of being sent five hundred miles from home for months at a stretch. "How I Was Razed: A Journey from Cultism to Christianity" shows how God led Atchison out of a legalistic house church.