Coffee & Naughty Thoughts

Author Linda Bolton - Writer, Blogger

Tag: writing (page 1 of 2)

Changes Can be a Good Thing

This new year has brought all kinds of changes. We have a new president (no, I don’t do political posts – just stating a fact), this will be my first full year married to my new husband, and this is the first year since I’ve been writing that I don’t have a publisher.

For those of you who are familiar with the publishing industry, I know you’re asking if I’m going to self-publish or find a new publisher. I don’t know yet. I do know I’m making some changes to my first two books. I’ve learned a lot about writing since I started and I know there are some things I’d do different, especially in Take 2. I’m working on those now.

My third book, Final Chance is finally finished. I think I’ve made all the edits I can at this point. I’d like to share a little of it with you here.

Chapter 1
“You have got to write about someone more relevant!” Cassandra Tate repeated for the second time that week, her bun pulled so tight her face barely moved when she spoke.

“I am,” Mac defended herself.

“Pocahontas isn’t relevant. No one cares.” Cassandra flipped through her reports. “Your sales are down, way down. The only thing keeping you afloat is the Marilyn Monroe biography.”

“Einstein still sells!” Mac argued.

“Ten copies this month. That’s not called sales. Mac, please, if you’re sticking with biographies find someone interesting,” pleaded Cassandra as she waved Mac out of her office, dismissing her.

Cassandra Kapshaw had been a commissioning editor at Barnes and Clifton for twenty years. She’d run across few talented writers. Mac was one of those talents but her topics weren’t attracting readers or buyers anymore. Cassandra tried to be fair but, truth of the matter, it was all about the money. If Mac couldn’t bring in the sales, Cassandra would have to cut her loose.

Someone interesting, Mac repeated in her head as she grabbed her bag and headed out of the office. Who’s interesting? Mac tossed ideas around in her head as she drove up the Dallas North Tollway toward her apartment in Uptown. She came up blank. How could she have writer’s block if she wasn’t writing anything?

Blain ‘Mac’ McClain had been writing for ten years, every since she’d graduated from college. Her dissertation was impressive and began her writing career. A career that looked like it was heading for a plunge.

On her drive home she tossed her conversation with Cassandra around in her head over and over, getting no light bulb moments. She needed a distraction. Good thing she had a party to go to tonight. At first she wasn’t looking forward to going but after a day like today – the possibility of no career, no rent, and no food – a crowd of strangers and free drinks was what she needed.

“Emily, what time do I need to be ready?” Mac answered her phone seconds after it rang.

Mac met Emily in freshman biology. They were doing an experiment and needed to spit in a test tube. Mac’s mouth went dry and Emily volunteered to spit for her. They’d been friends every since.

“Gee, Mac, no hello? A bit anxious? I thought you didn’t want to go?” She laughed.

“I need a night out. It’s been a rough day.”

“I see! Ok, be ready at seven. I’ll pick you up. You sure you want to go to my office party?” Emily double checked. She didn’t think it was going to be that kind of distraction. Her work functions were usually pretty sedate.

“Oh yes, I’m sure,” Mac hung up and spent the rest of her drive to her uptown Dallas apartment mentally going through her closet.

Once home, Mac settled on wearing an emerald green sweater and black slacks. Emily picked her up and, seeing her reflection in the glass doors, she thought she looked dull compared to Emily in her zebra stripped wrap dress as they walked into the office building. Glass and marble shined throughout the foyer. Their four inch heels echoed as they stepped. Mac glanced at their reflection in elevator doors as they waited for them to open. Damn, they looked good. The outfit Mac wore hugged her curves and made her red locks glow. Emily’s animal print couldn’t be missed. It fit her personality to a T – bold, daring, audacious.

Emily had always been the shining star in their relationship. Mac had been shy and withdrawn in high school. Emily knew everyone, got invited to every party and was an average student, Mac stayed home, studied and made straight A’s. They were yin and yang. Their personalities complemented each other. Emily enticed Mac to be more open and daring, Mac encouraged Emily to have a good job and work hard.

“Wow, this is a really nice place,” Mac whispered to her as the elevator doors opened onto the fiftieth floor, Cameron Financial.

Mac clutched Em’s arm, her eyes wide as they walked into the fanciest office she’d ever been in. She giggled at Mac’s wonder. She led her through the crowd to a group on the far side of the room.

“Mac, Blaine McClain, this is my boss, Mitch Cameron. Mitch, this is Blaine McClain, my best friend,” Emily introduced.

“Nice to meet you, was that Mac?” Mitch replied, reaching out to shake Mac’s hand.

“Nice to meet you.” Mac’s breath caught as their hands touched and they looked into each others eyes. The silence was palpable.

His warm smile reached his dark chocolate eyes and melted her. The suit he wore was tapered to accentuate his very firm, six foot frame. His hair color matched his eyes and the front slightly covered a scar that ran down the side of his face, and begged for her fingers to touch it, running the length of it, from temple to just under his cheekbone. A question lingered at the edge of her tongue dying to ask where the scar came from, but she refrained.

“Uh, Mac, didn’t you want a drink?” Em asked, trying to break the third-wheel silence.

Mitch grinned from woman to woman, “I have to mingle. You two have fun. It was very good to have met you, Mac.”

Mac felt her cheeks flush. She watched Mitch walk away without saying anything. What was wrong with her? Had it been that long since a man breathed in her direction.

“Ugh,” she grunted as Emily took her arm and led her to the bar.

“I know. He has that effect on all the women in the office,” she chuckled.

Em showed Mac around her office, stopping at the doorway to Mitch’s office.

“This is it. End of the tour,” she waved her arm with a flourish as if getting ready to add “Ta-da”.

Mac was impressed with the elegance of her friend’s workplace. Everything about the it said class and style, from the plush carpeting to the solid oak doors to each office. Looking into Mitch’s office, she noticed the rich walnut desk and the brass accents. Something caught her eye that pulled her into the forbidden den.

“Mac, where are you going?” Emily whispered as loud as she dared, looking around wide-eyed to make sure no one saw them entering.

Mac stopped in front of what looked like a black and white photo on the wall. It appeared to be over four feet tall and over three feet wide, a huge representation of what had to be Mitch’s father. As Mac moved closer she realized it was a pencil sketch, an amazing sketch, so detailed. Her hand instinctively reached to touch it but stopped inches away, frozen in mid-air.

“Mac, we need to get out of here. Do you want to get me fired?” Emily begged, shifting from side to side, scanning the area continuously, fearing Mitch would catch them. This was his domain and no one entered unless invited.

“Em, this is amazing! Is this Mitch’s dad? Who drew this?” She asked to no one in particular as she leaned in to see the signature. E. Hawk. She made a mental note and took a deep breath.

“I’m sorry. I just had to see who drew this. We can go,” Mac replied, finally back in the moment.

As Emily grabbed Mac’s arm and turned to leave, Mitch stood at his doorway. A questioning look on his face.

Mac saw his wide eyes and narrowed brows and worried she had put her friend’s job in jeopardy.

“Mitch, I’m sorry. It’s my fault. I saw the sketch and had to get closer. Please don’t blame Emily. She asked me not to come in here,” she reasoned, hoping she sounded convincing.

Mitch thought about what she said a few seconds. Curious about her motives he asked, “Are you interested in art?”

“I write biographies about artists, famous people. I’m always looking for a new subject. Do you know if E. Hawk is alive?” Her mind raced with ideas for a new book.

“Ethan, yes, he’s alive. He’s gotta be in his late fifties. Lives in Sunset. My father and Ethan were great friends back in the day.” Mitch stated more matter-of-factly than he intended.

“Ethan Hawk, the actor?” Mac scanned her memory for things Ethan Hawk. She couldn’t remember a fact about him being a sketch artist.

“Oh no, different Ethan. My father mentioned he was a colorful character. I don’t know that he’d be book-worthy. Aren’t artist more interesting dead?” Mitch responded. His crooked grin made her believe he was entertained by her query.

“They’re usually famous after they’re dead, yes. My publisher is wanting me to find someone ‘interesting’ to write about,” Mac gestured with air quotes. “Maybe having a famous name will help. Did you say he lives in Sunset?”

“Last I heard, yes. Now, can you two leave my office?” Mitch demanded more than he requested.

“Ok, let’s go!” Emily snatched Mac’s arm and pulled her over the threshold. Mac glanced back and saw Mitch looking at the sketch on his wall as she was drug down the hall toward the bar.

“Ok, no more getting me in trouble tonight. Let’s drink.”

She handed Mac a glass of wine and both women headed toward the windows in the alcove to look at the view and hide from Mitch. Mac hoped she hadn’t got Emily fired. Em had been a contract manager for the last five years and really loved her job. Tonight was supposed to be a distraction, the last thing Mac thought she’d find at an office party was a writing lead. She was antsy to get home and see what she could dig up on E. Hawk.

Mitch stared at the sketch. He remembered when his father had it done. Ethan Hawk. He was a character, lived life to the fullest and them some, his dad would say. That was a lifetime ago. Mitch never thought he’d take over the business. After high school, he went as far away as he could. Ten years ago, after receiving his degree and a successful bout on Wall Street, he got the call from his dad’s lawyer. The old man finally met his maker. He should have taken this picture down but it reminded him how far he had come, despite his upbringing.

He looked toward the bar and saw the women walk out of view. What did Emily say her name was? Mac. Startling red hair, blue eyes, curves. He felt his body react as he thought of her, his pulse quickened and his palms were sticky. No woman had ever made his palms sweat, except for Melissa Tate in seventh grade. She had made all the boys sweat.

He shook his head to focus on the party. He didn’t need a distraction tonight. This party was for the employees and he was just the chaperon. His physical desires needed to be put on hold. Damn, but she was attractive.

 

Hope you enjoyed Chapter 1. If you’re interested in Take 2 or Incantation in a signed paperback, I have them for sale under the Books tab for $10, US only. Get the first editions before they’re gone.

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A Guilty Pleasure to Share

It’s been a while since my last post. The year has been busy, but I’m back. My plan is to post fairly regularly about coffee, writing, and random ideas. If you enjoy my thoughts, let me know by leaving a comment below, and sharing with your friends. I’d love to hear your thoughts. Don’t be shy.

OK, I have to confess, I have a guilty pleasure I’ll share. I’m so excited about the Gilmore Girls revival on Netflix this Thanksgiving weekend. I mean, I’m really excited. So much so, I have started watching the old seasons of Gilmore Girls in prep. I forgot how much coffee they drank! Ah, a kindred spirit.

If you’re wondering what the big deal is, you’ve never seen an episode of the Girls! It’s funny, touching, sarcastic, with a cast of crazy fun actors. My favorite are Lorelai’s parents, Emily and Richard Gilmore. They both have that stern exterior but with a few soft spots when you least expect it.  And, of course, there’s the men, teenagers to mature adults, all are good looking, bad boys, sweethearts, lost souls, riding motorcycles and owning businesses. It’s all there. I can’t wait for the Revivial! It’s going to be great!

Do you have a favorite guilty pleasure? If you aren’t too embarrassed, please share!

 

 

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The last 500 words

***UPDATE BELOW***

I have been writing my book since March.  Some days flowed like a river other days my muse was on vacation.  Then I finished but didn’t have enough words to call it a novel.  That was frustrating.  But my muse came back from vacation  – Vegas!  – and off we went.  500 to go.

I’ve been dawdling at finishing. I don’t why.  Too many things going on and I really want to focus.

Have you ever tried to write while you were out of town.  Its the strangest feeling.  I usually sit on my big, fluffy sofa, early in the morning when everything is quiet (except for the cats) and write until I have to get ready for work.  I took my laptop with me out of town a couple of months ago and thought I’d write a bit.  I stayed at a quiet bed and breakfast (www.Sparhawk.com) in Abilene, Texas.  No television, beautiful garden, peaceful.  I couldn’t write! I tried, really I did. It just felt uncomfortable.  Like I was cheating on my sofa.

I did take my laptop with me last month to Phoenix and was able to get out 500 or so words before I  had to stop.  I thought I could write anywhere but I guess not.  I can do research anywhere but that’s not the same thing.

So now I sit, writing my blog instead of the book. I need to finish but life just isn’t quiet enough right now. My head is full of ideas, future books, plans, but my muse must be on vacation again. It goes out of town more than I do! Is it visiting you? Could you send it home….I have a book to finish.

**UPDATE**
I wrote this blog in December of 2010. I am happy to say I have found a publisher. It wasn’t easy, but mostly because I was afraid. Afraid all my work was just jibberish. That someone would read it and say, “What is this crap!”. Instead, my first attempt was met with a canned response. They were to busy to go into detail but they just weren’t interested at this time. Whew! Dodged that bullet. Then I tried a second publisher. This one I knew would be more personable. It terrified me. But it paid off. I was private messaged on FaceBook that I’m in! They want my book! I’m am so excited! I have been told by friends who have been recently published this is where the work begins! I am so happy to have this opportunity and I look forward to the hard work! This has all been such a blessing and enjoyable rollercoaster ride!

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An Unromantic Romance Writer

I know, you’re asking,”WHAT?”

I’m really not a romantic. Never have been. But I love writing and reading romance. Maybe it’s my lack of romance that attracts me to it. The sweet love stories, the torrid, stormy romances, the historical highlander-invades-and-kidnaps tales – I love them! Don’t ask me to recite a gushy romantic comment. I don’t have any in my vocabulary. If they are said to me I have to hide the eye-rolling terse comment that tries to escape my thoughts. I know, its sad.

So, now you’re wondering, “How does she write romance then?” Well, I watch everyday life. I listen to other people.  I read a lot! Yes, my friends can vouch for me  – I steal their lines, their stories, their comments. I have many romantic friends who tell me their tales, in confidence of course, and, yes, I use their love, pain and mushy stories. No one is safe!

I can’t help it! They are my muse. Oh, I have the voice in my head that comes up with a bit of gooeyness every now and then, but my friends are my real motivation.  I enjoy reading and, especially, writing romance. The ideas flow but to add that special something – the perfect quote, a great setting, that special description of the perfect kiss – my friends are great contributors.

So, as you read my blogs and, hopefully someday, my books, you’ll know I had a ton of help in writing them.  Oh, I could never disclose who gave me that perfect line or that warm and fuzzy date.  That would be just wrong on so many levels. Also, that friend would stop sharing their feelings with me. Just enjoy the fact that you know the story is a collaboration of great friendships coming together to share their deepest secrets.

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When Is Mid-Life

    I’ve heard about the dreaded “Mid-Life” my whole life.  My parents talked about it like it was a disease.  I’ve had friends who have reached it. But the big question is, “When do I reach it, or have I”? 

    My parents and their friends, all almost forty years my senior, equated “Mid-Life” with menopause (his and hers).  Now that my friends and I have reached our forties, and beyond, we look for the dreaded “Mid-Life Crisis”.  I know those ten years plus my age still considered “Mid-Life” to be a woman’s menopausal years, but with men it was when they bought the red sports cars, divorced their wives and dated their secretaries and assistants twenty years their junior. I have begun to look at it as a turning point. 
    After watching many of my friends divorce in their mid to late forties, find new careers, and see their kids all grown, it gave me a new meaning to “Mid-Life”.  Not every “Mid-Life” moment is a crisis. My husband retired from the military at thirty-nine.  He started a new career with Homeland Security thanks to 911 – 09/11/01 was his original retirement ceremony and was rescheduled due to the terror that day. He found a new career, we moved and started over. I think that time in his life could be considered his “Mid-Life”.  Of course, five years later he dreamt of a motorcycle, tattoo, and helped his daughter buy a red sports car that ended up in our driveway.  He had a relapse….but no crisis, unless you want to count the car payment we added to our budget. 
    I have a friend that divorced her husband of over twenty years, has bought her own house and is going back to school for a new career.  The only crisis is that she was forced out of her old job but it has helped her take a leap of faith into a new career. 
    I have another friend that suffered in a difficult marriage for many years for the sake of her children. Once they were grown, she was able to free herself of the bondage she was in to find true, selfless love with the man she was meant to be with. 
    So why does “Mid-Life” have such a negative connotation? Maybe because many figure out they need to go down a path that their spouse doesn’t want to follow. For many that may mean a divorce. No one ever said life would always be the same or easy. 
   Have I stepped into “Mid-Life”? I think those that know me the best would say, by my definition, I have. I have lost some weight (not as much as I would like – yet), I’ve started a couple new careers (writing being one of them), and my outlook on life has changed. Is it causing difficulty in my daily routine?  Have the changes I’m making made an impact? Oh yeah.  Now what do I do? Not rock the boat or go where I am lead?  Lead and see who follows….
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Do Friends Make Better Lovers

Do friends make better lovers? Do they make better long-term partners?

Most couples become couples first, friends second.  Is it better the other way around? I’ve been told by many, yes. But doesn’t that screw up Dating 101? You know, you meet at a party, eyes link from across the room, you’re drawn to each other, you go have coffee, talk into the night, and BAM, your dating! If you’re friends first, how does that change things?

If you’re friends, from school, neighbors, work and then you start to date, is it because you were always attracted to each other? Or is it because you know each other’s flaws already, know what irks one another, what each one likes, that a relationship can bloom?

Have you ever had a roommate? Was the roommate your best friend? Did you stay roommates for long? I know I’ve had very close friends as roommates and, generally, we couldn’t stay roommates in order to preserve our relationship.  Does that hold true if your the opposite sex? Can a man and a woman be best friends and roommates and not have a relationship? Aren’t we made to be drawn to one another? If you have a best friend that is of the opposite sex are you destined to become more? Is it the nature of the beast?

I’m not saying men and women can’t be friends and not be sexually drawn to one another.  I’m talking best friends. Women know what I’m saying. When we have best friends we do a lot of things together, tell our deepest, darkest secrets, reveal ourselves. Once you’ve done that with a man have you gone too far? Have you pushed your relationship to the next level? Can men process information like that and not see a deeper attraction than just buddies? Can a woman? If you take the next step does it give you a deeper relationship than starting out as a dating couple to begin with?

For example, lets go back to the Dating 101 scenario.  You’re strangers, having coffee, talking about superficial basics of first contact. Next step is the first date.  Then the second, and so on. At what point are you comfortable enough to reveal your deepest, darkest secrets? Will you ever share your lifelong dreams and goals? Oh, you’ll share some but do you share all, without the fear of rejection? Is it easier to share those deepest thoughts with your friend than your lover? Sure it is.

So in saying that, the question is, how do you know if your friend should become more to you? As a friend they accept you, warts and all, usually from the beginning. In Dating 101, you’re much pickier; sometimes dumping someone for a flaw you should have accepted, would have as a friend, to find out they would have been a great catch later on but you blew it.

The only thing I can say is enjoy your friendship.  Don’t push it along.  Let nature take its course. Not every relationship is meant to take the next step.  Sometimes friendship is wonderful just the way it is and sometimes its better when its more.

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How Many Times is Too Many Times

Hmmm…How many times is too many times in a day, an hour, in fifteen minutes? One, three, five?

I’m talking calling and texting your friend/significant other with no response. I think men and women view this same way, some are multiple callers, some are single. Does it really stress the importance of a call/text if it is multiplied by ten? Or does it just encourage the receiver to ignore it?

I’m of the opinion that a single call is sufficient, depending on importance.  If a car wreck or hospital is involved then a possible text and call are needed.  I know my daughter never answers calls but I definitely get her to answer a text.  May take an hour or two, but she eventually answers.  If the call is just to chat I typically do not leave a voice mail and do not back it up with a text.  I figure the receiver will see the missed call and call back if they want to chat. Occasionally, I will leave a voice mail if I have a particular reason to call.  If I receive no response I may call back the next day.

My daughter likes to, as she calls it, blow up the receivers phone.  She will text repeatedly and call repeatedly if there there is no response.  She thinks if there is twenty calls/texts from her then the person will get back to her quicker. I know when she does it to me I am more likely to ignore the calls.

So, back to your significant other.  If you call them and they don’t answer, should call again to make sure your call went through? Should then text to make sure they know you’re calling? And do you get more opportunities to call if you’ve been together more or less time? Hmmm…Are you being needy or pesty? Will multiple calls get you the response you want or will they just get irritated? These are questions you have to answer yourself. You know the person you’re calling.  Are they not answering because they can’t hear the phone, they’re busy and can’t get to it or because you fear they aren’t interested in you anymore? Does multiple calls/texts help this situation? Will it make them realize how wonderful you are?

Thinks to ponder…

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Love Over Forty

I have finally finished my first novel.  And, of course, I wonder if anyone will want to read it. Its not about the typical couple; the hero is in his early forties and the heroin is in her mid-late forties. Will anyone believe you can find love for the first or, even, second, time around?

I’m in my forties and I have many friends in their forties and fifties asking the same question.  Will love be there for them? To find out if my book is realistic I asked the experts, my friends. 
One friend, divorced at forty-six, found love with a younger guy, thirty-eight, within months of her separation from her husband.  Another friend, divorced in her late forties after twenty-seven years of marriage, found true happiness with a man twenty years her junior. And yet another, divorced after five years of marriage, found love with a man twenty years her senior.  
Not all relationships have faired so well.  One other friend who divorced at forty, three years ago, has been struggling just to find a decent date.  And one other has yet to find that special someone after attempting to get married multiple times. 
Is love any easier later in life? After watching my friends I think its just as difficult as in your twenties except you know more of what to expect. If I’ve learned anything in the last twenty or so years its to be honest and up front from the beginning. Life is short and we don’t have time for games and players. In most of the relationships I’ve been exposed to those that are fairing the best are the ones that aren’t afraid to say what they need from their partner. Just because we’re older doesn’t necessarily mean we’re much wiser. Sometimes we need direction. 
So, in light of my research, my book appears valid and plausible. Once it hits the internet (ebooks) I’ll let you know. You can give me your opinion. 
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Bringing Romance Back Into Your Relationship

Remember the beginning of your relationship?  Every time he walked into the room your stomach did flip-flops.  Just the way she looked at you made you weak in the knees? What happens to that feeling? Where does it go?

Life happens and we start to take each other for granted.  You might have children and they take all your focus.  Or you just get too comfortable with each other: pass gas around each other, share the bathroom at the same time, or just stop wearing makeup while your home.  All these little things make us forget why we fell in love originally.

Remember how you tried to look your best, even when it was time to go to bed? How do you get that back? Are you still in love or just in a routine?

I have seen many couples divorce after many years of marriage because they just don’t have passion for each other.  Are those who are still married, feeling a bit stuck in a rut, settling? Or is love just that way?  Does passion have to end?  It’s such a high and makes you look forward to a new day. Why can’t that be something we feel all the time?

I don’t have the answer.  I wish I did.  Is moving on to a new relationship the answer? Will the passion eventually fizzle out of that one too leaving you to hop to the next? Is passion love? Does love have passion? Hmmm….thoughts to ponder.

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The New Year

Can you believe we are starting 2011 in just a couple days?  Is it me or did this year fly by in a blink of an eye?

I look back on the past twelve months and think about accomplishments, failures and unfinished business.  All in all the year has been pretty positive.  I still have a couple things to finish and the failures were stepping stones.  So what to plan next year?

Hmmm, number one on the list is finish my first book.  Editing and a few changes is all it needs. Number two is to start the second book. Number three is to try to get it published.  Then, of course, there a fifty more things on the list that I’ll be working on in between called life. What do you have planned for next year?

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