No Freaking Rest for the Wicked

no sleepOkay so I’ve been sick with this cold, upper-respiratory, and sinus crap for a month. To say I’ve not been sleeping well is an understatement. But, now that I have some antibiotics, I was really, really looking forward to a good night’s rest (and hopefully sleeping late). So much so, that the hubby and I went to bed around 9:00 (yep, 9:00, on a Friday night) to get that good night’s sleep. Ha ha, silly me, what was I thinking? Oh yeah, did I mention we decided to sleep with the windows open because of the unseasonably warm weather? Here’s how the night went:

10:15 pm: Our little canine diva rouses me from my peaceful, albeit short, rest because she needs to go outside, again. At least I think that’s what she was saying. The saucy little bitch never communicates clearly. Anywho, I get up (mainly because my adorable husband is sawing logs and hasn’t so much as bobbled in his rhythm of sucking all the air from the room and whistling as he blows it back out). So, I let the dog out. She goes tearing from the door and runs around the house like she’s after something. Who knows? The dog is nuts. After about 15 minutes, she cuts a meandering path back to the house, stopping to smell of two trees, a bush, and a rock because, you know, she has all the time in the freaking world.

11:00ish: I start hearing the most unnatural and disturbing sound. It honestly sounds like one of the neighborhood kids is getting murdered (which is not an altogether unpleasant thought—don’t judge me). I lie there listening for a few minutes trying to decide what I’m hearing—“okay, it’s not a kid. Is it a bird? God, I don’t know. Well, it sure ain’t a cow or horse doing that kind of screeching.” After much thought and getting up from the bed to listen at the window, I was sure I had it. “It’s a goat. It has to be. So now what? Is it a baby goat (is it a kid after all)? Is it a momma goat? Are coyotes attacking or something?”

11:30 pm: The hubby finally breaks his peaceful slumber to get up and pee. By then, the bleating had become less frequent. As he crawls back into bed, I ask him to listen, but we only hear the strange screaming sound two more times. Then it stops all together. “I wouldn’t worry about it,” he says. Easy for him to say.

12:30 am: I’m still lying there trying to figure out what could have been happening to that poor little goat to make it cry like that. I consider getting up and walking through the woods, down through the creek, and up to the place where I think the goat must have been. But that’s just stupid. I mean, I’d have to get up, find my good waterproof boots (you know, so I could walk through the creek), etc … You get the point right? My brain was in overdrive.

1:45 am: This is the last time I remember looking at the clock. At some point, thank God, I finally fell asleep.

7:00 am: “Bam, bam, bam. Get up everybody, get up! Na, na, na, get up, get up.” I’m startled awake to this catchy little tune. My husband says, “What the hell is that?” Once I realize what I’m hearing, I get up and go to the window opposite the goat fiasco. There, across the street, are two kids (human ones) running around the neighbor’s yard, singing their little get up song, and banging a stick against a trashcan lid. To beat all, those kids don’t even live there. That’s their grandpa’s house. I answer my husband’s question. “Well, babe, it seems Bob’s grandkids want the whole damn neighborhood to get up [name changed to protect Bob—even if his grandkids are little asshats].”

So now, I can’t go back to sleep. I’m up at 7:15 writing a blog post to keep from marching across the street and choking out two kids (human ones). I’ve learned three valuable lessons from last night and this morning’s festivities: 1) never sleep with the windows open when you want a good night’s sleep, 2) keep your waterproof boots beside the bed just in case, 3) it’s a good idea to invest in a tranquilizer dart gun—preferably one with a pretty long range.

My Review of…Enough Isn’t Everything by K.L. Shandwick

5.0 out of 5 stars 5-stars for Enough Isn’t Everything by K.L. Shandwick

Warning: You will be hooked on this series!

KL Shandwick has created quite the interesting couple in Lilly and Alfie, two talented music students who find a strong attraction for one another. Lilly is just trying to find her way in a new place when she meets Alfie. He is that typical gorgeous rock star type that women find irresistible—all arrogance and sex appeal. The only problem is that he is not exactly emotionally available. I won’t give away too many details. I’ll just say I found myself caught up in their story. At times I wanted to strangle both of them, but the chemistry when they are together is undeniable. Together, they make one hot couple. And speaking of hot … if you like steamy sex scenes, this book is for you.

I loved it, but I do have one warning: if you read this book, you will want to read the entire series. I can’t wait now to read the next one and find out what happens between Lilly and Alfie.

Did Ammy Forget It Owns Goodreads?

I suckYou know what I find interesting? Amazon limits certain reviews because it somehow, mysteriously deems that the reviewer is a friend of the author (even if the book sale is a verified purchase). HOWEVER, Amazon doesn’t seem to care about the validity of the reviews/ratings on Goodreads (owned by Amazon). For example, (and let me preface this by saying I realize I may sound like I’m whining over a bad review, but that’s not the case) when people rate/review my books, I want to see what they said or check out the other books they’ve rated for comparison. I just noticed I have a 1-star rating on one of my books on Goodreads. Since the reader left no review, I went to check out her other ratings just to see if I could gain any insight—you know, I’m always looking to improve my writing. What I found was interesting. This particular reviewer seems to have a pattern of posting multiple ratings on the same day (like 18 one day, 10 three days later, 35 the following week). Now, I guess it’s possible that she read books for a few months but decided to save all her ratings until after she had read like 200 books, but I highly doubt it. Additionally, most of her ratings are low. Call me crazy, but doesn’t this seem odd? Shouldn’t Amazon take notice? I mean, I can handle a bad review/rating. Of course, I know you can’t please everyone all the time. A bad rating from time to time is to be expected, but damn, is it too much to ask that the reader has actually read my book?

So, Amazon, is this a problem, or what? Well . . . ? Nah, I’m sure it’s just me. I’m sure she read 63 books in two weeks and just didn’t like any of them. Okay . . . rant over and rating lowered.

True Love & Biscuits

A love story…

This morning, I was craving a steak biscuit and some dirty rice from Bojangles’, so I went. As luck would have it, I arrived at the peak time to dine with the retired and elderly crowd, or as they’re known around here, the old coffee drinkers. What I didn’t expect was for one of them to remind me of why I write romance novels, nor did I expect for one of them to make me cry.

I was tucked away at a corner table playing invisible woman and tap, tap, tapping away on my tablet screen when I overheard one sweet little grey-haired man talking about the loss of his wife. I didn’t hear him say how long she had been gone. I didn’t hear what she died of. What I did hear was him saying, and I quote (I recorded it on my tablet so I wouldn’t forget), “You know, when my wife died, I actually though about pitching a tent up at the cemetery, up at the edge of the woods, so I could be right there with her.”

I’ve been writing some emotional stuff the last few days, so I’m sort of a wreck anyway. Hearing that sweet little man speak of his grief broke my heart right in two. I actually had to turn my head, so they wouldn’t see my eyes welling up. That’s right, I cried over what was left of my biscuit and dirty rice. Shoot, I’m getting misty-eyed now just thinking about it.

The rest of the conversation only drew more tears from me. One of the ladies at the table asked him what he does to keep busy during the day. Of course, he said he visits his wife’s grave every day, sometimes three times a day.

“Do you, really?” the woman asked.

He shrugged his shoulders and said, “Sometimes I stay up there for 30 minutes or more just talking to her. I know it’s just her body, not her soul, but that’s all I know to do. I just talk to her.”

I believe my unintentional eavesdropping this morning confirmed for me what I already knew—true love does exist. I would even argue that, aside from the need of food, water, and shelter, the human need to love and be loved is basic to our existence. This is why I write romance novels—because they chronicle the basic human quest of finding that one true and devoted love and overcoming adversity to make it work.

Naysayers of the genre speak of romance novels as if they are ridiculously corny, completely unrealistic, and not representative of real relationships. All I can say is, tell that sweet little grey-haired man that his devotion to his wife, a devotion that had him considering living in a tent in the cemetery just to be close to her, tell him that his love for that woman was/is unrealistic. And me…I cried all the way home from Bojangles’ because that sweet little man made me consider what it would be like to live on this earth without my husband of twenty-four years. Just the thought takes my breath and wrenches the heart in my chest.  The thought of losing him—my partner, my best friend, the love of my life—kills me. I’m sure I would be lost, just like that sweet little old man. Tell me the love I have for my husband is unrealistic?

When I write, it’s not from some fantasy land of emotion. It’s from a real place in my heart. I don’t pretend relationships are easy. Whether real or imagined, they take work. But to say that adversity cannot be overcome, to say that people cannot work through problems to achieve a real and lasting love is just stupid. So to the naysayers I say, it’s okay. Perhaps you are not emotionally ready to find meaning in my writing. Perhaps the current state of your relationships will not allow you to have hope in your heart. Don’t worry, when you’re ready, the romance genre will still be around.

My Review of…Perfect Plans by C.J. Wells

5.0 out of 5 stars 5-stars for Perfect Plans by C.J. Wells

Left me wanting more! 

I think most women (and maybe men) can, at some point in their lives, relate to the plight of the main character in this book. I mean, who hasn’t dreamt of having the perfect life, the perfect love? Aby’s desire is a common one, but most people don’t have her bravery to give up everything to go after it. This makes her an interesting and appealing character, and it makes for an interesting book.

As for Alex . . . who wouldn’t find him attractive? He is literally every woman’s dream man. Sexy, sweet, beautiful, and, luckily for Aby, has his own perfect plan. The question is, can Aby allow herself to love him? I’ll not give it all away, but I will say that the development of their relationship involves some seriously hot sex—seriously hot!

This is a well-written, addictive romance. I loved this book, and I can’t wait for the next one! I’m dying to find out what happens with these characters.

My Review of…Wolf Eye Sly by Terri Lyndie

5.0 out of 5 stars 5-stars for Wolf Eye Sly by Terri Lyndie

A Lighthearted, Feel-Good Read.

I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It’s a lighthearted jaunt through the developing relationship of a made-for-each-other couple. There is nothing quite as sweet as a love that is meant to be. There is just one problem; these two lovers are surrounded by just about the craziest small-town inhabitants that one could imagine. The antics that ensue are hilarious–attack bats, an impromptu wedding, a politician who aspires to impersonate Johnny Cash–need I say more?

This one will have you laughing, and hoping, and cheering right up to the end. I also think the author does a great job of revealing enough plot details to satisfy the reader while still maintaining a few mysteries to be revealed later in the series. She even gives us a little jewel of a preview of the kind of side-splitting scenes we can expect from the next book. I can’t wait to read more.