Monday, November 23, 2009

TEASER TUESDAY...The War Within

So, I decided to do a teaser from The War Within rather than Life is a Highway. Why? Well, because...I can, that's why!LOL. Actually, I've been wanting to to this teaser for about a month, but I would always forget to bring the picture drive I needed with me to school. So, I'm getting it done while I'm off this week.
To set the scene, it's at Isabella, Joaquin's sisters Quinceneara. Mia and Joaquin have been dancing together, heightening the mood and all, and now the music has stopped for this scene.

While Isa effortlessly performed her musical medley with her escorts, Teresa began working her way through the crowd. To several of the male family and friends, she handed a long stemmed pink rose. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw her hand one to Joaquin. He smiled broadly and nodded, but I didn’t think much of it.

The song ended, and the crowd erupted in applause. Isa flushed the color of her glittering pink dress, but she did manage to grin when someone cat called her. Since my Spanish was still sorely lacking, I didn’t have a freakin’ clue what Teresa said when she took the microphone from the DJ. The next thing I knew, a slow song had started, and Joaquin was striding across the floor to his sister.

Isa smiled when he offered her the rose. She took it from him as he swept her into his arms. For a less than a minute, they swayed under the twinkling lights. Then Juan Manuel approached. Joaquin released his sister, and Isa took the rose from her cousin.

I watched in amazement as Isa slowly collected a dozen pink roses and dances from her male family members. At last, Ruben approached her. His rose shook his hand, and there were already tears streaming down his face as he took his baby daughter in his arms.

As she gazed up at her father, tears glistened in Isa’s eyes. And at that moment when father and daughter looked at each other with such love, my heart constricted in my chest. Suddenly, I couldn’t breathe. The pain spread throughout my chest, threatening my ability to breathe. Reality rained down on me like a firestorm.


My father would never look at me that way. Only disappointment would radiate in his eyes. We would never move past the incident that had banished me. He’d always see me…he’d always look at me the way he had that day when he caught me with Him.

There was only one thing I knew for certain. I had to get out of there before my heart shattered further into a thousand tiny pieces.

I turned on my strappy sandals and started fighting my way through the crowd. No one stopped to notice the tears streaming down my face—they were all focused on the emotional scene on the dance floor. I threw open the double doors, racing into the night. The cool tears streaming down my cheeks were met by the intense July heat.

As I weaved my way through the cars, I tried to clearing my mind. But no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get Ruben and Isa out of my memory. My chest began heaving with sobs. I wobbled on my heels and fell against a car. I wanted to be home. I wanted to feel my mother’s arms around me. I wanted things to be the way they were before Him. Before I threw it all away. And strangely, I even longed for Livia—to feel her arms around me—her grandmotherly voice soothing me.

A voice brought me back to reality. I rose up from the hood of the car and peered at the person. It was Joaquin. His perfect model face was etched in concern. He shuffled on his feet—unsure of what to do. Finally, he took a step towards me. “What happened? Are you all right?”

“No,” I whispered.

That simple word had him at my side. He pushed my hair back and stared into my eyes. I closed them and ducked my head—desperately wanting to shield myself from his questions. Instead, I felt his hand cup my chin.

“He loves you, Mia. No matter what you think or what he said, he does love you,” Joaquin said, softly.

*Here's the actual Quince I attended in Guadalajara, Mexico. It was for Tania, the niece of my BFF's hubby. I'd met Ruben's family when I went down for my goddaughter's baptism. We all got along so well that they invited me back for her Quince. It was a lot of fun, and here's some pics!

Tania with her dad, Jimmy, that inspired the scene with Ruben and Isa














Tania dancing with "Jack" to Titanic





















Music of the Night with The Phantom of the Opera

















With all of her "escorts"
















Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Teaser Tuesday from Life is a Highway

Okay, kiddies. Here's my first teaser on my new blog. How exciting! It's an inaugral post! Anyway, it's from the first part of Life is a Highway. Liam, who has a heart condition collapsed while hanging playing Rockband with the group, and he's been rushed to the hospital. The friends are waiting to get to see him after he's admitted.

At the sound of Chloe’s sobs, Aidan’s grip tightened around my hand. When I glanced up at him, his jaw was clenched. Before I could say anything to him, he bolted out of his chair. “I need some air,” he muttered, before he hightailed it across the waiting room and shot out the sliding doors into the dark night.

Christian looked helplessly at me before I headed outside. Scanning the shadowy parking lot, I didn’t see Aidan. Finally in the beam of one of the street lights, I saw him leaned face first against the corner of the building. I jogged over to him.

As I got closer, I heard the sound of his cries. His broad shoulders shook as he pummeled his fist against the concrete. “Aidan,” I whispered. He ignored me and kept hitting the wall. I gasped when blood stained the spot. I ran my hands over his back. “Aidan, please stop. You’re hurting yourself,” I cried. When he didn’t respond, I wrapped my arms around his waist and tugged with all my strength. He collapsed into me, and his weight caused me to slam into the wall. My sweater tore across the concrete, and I cringed. Aidan's arms dropped to his side, the blood on his fists smearing his jeans.

Defeated, his head drooped against my shoulder. I ran my fingers through his hair and then down his back in wide circles. “Shh, don’t cry. It’s going to be okay. Liam is going to be okay,” I said. He continued sobbing, his tears soaking through my shirt.

My mind spun as I tried to figure out how to comfort him. Finally, words began spewing out of my mouth. "Okay, just let it all out. It's going to be all right, I promise. I’m here for you, and I love you,” I whispered into his ear.

He jerked his head up to stare into my eyes. “You love me?” he questioned, in a strangled voice.

My face flushed with heat of the mistake I’d made with my words. I’d wanted to tell him I loved him for a long time, but at the moment, those feelings were the farthest from my mind. I loved him then like the aggravating older brother and best friend he’d always been.

“Well, uh, yeah, of course, I love you....and I love Liam,” I stammered.

His eyes burned into me, and my cheeks became enflamed. I wanted him to say something, anything, but he didn't. Finally, he bobbed his head. But he still kept staring at me. Grief had been replaced by a questioning look, and I felt like he was searching me for answers I wasn’t sure I had. His piercing gazed stripped me down to my bare soul, sending liquid fire scorching from my cheeks down to the pit of my stomach.

As we hovered together in the darkened corner of the parking lot, I found myself aching for him in different way than I had just minutes before. I hated myself for the feelings that coursed through me. Liam was lying in the ER, and I was having lovesick--even impure-- thoughts that about his brother. I shuddered.

But by the look on Aidan’s face, he was just as bad. His breath hovered over my cheek. “Maddie,” he whispered. He pressed himself against me, pinning me harder against the wall. His chest crushed mine as his arms encircled my waist.

His lips almost grazed mine when I heard Christian’s voice cutting through the haze. Aidan’s head jerked back, and when he stared back at me, he looked stunned at what had almost transpired between us.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Cast for Life is a Highway

So, yeah, I've got a new WIP. Yes, I know I'm supposed to be finishing The War Within. Poor thing. I started in after Don't Hate the Player, then abandoned it to write Nets and Lies, and then just when I'm finally showing it somemore love, BAM...another runaway SNI hits me while watching Last Holiday(gah, I adore Queen Latifah!). Like I said, I was watching the movie, and I thought there should be a kinda Bucket List/Last Holiday for YA and HUZZAH...the tentatively titled, Life is a Highway, came to me. And I'm LOVING IT! I totally see myself finishing it in November and December...


Well, whoopity do, but what's it about? There's five friends from childhood who even through puberty have hung together and kept their friendship alive. One of the friends, Liam, has always had a bad heart, and he needs a transplant to survive. After graduation, he requests that his three best friends and brother accompany him to his UncleJack's ranch in Montana. It resembles something out of Legends of the Fall and The Horse Whisperer. Since Liam can't fly due to his heart condition, they set out in Chloe's grandparents RV. Along the way, Maddie and Aidan will fight their growing feelings for each other.
So, without further adieu, here is the cast!!!


My MC...Madelyn "Maddie" Nicholson






















THE CLEARY BROTHERS.....

Older Brother, AIDAN, whose fighting his feelings for Maddie


















Younger Brother, LIAM, who needs a heart transplant or he'll die


















CHLOE POMANSKI...raised by her retired airforce grandfather and grandmother, the group jokingly calls her "Mutt" since she's of Polish, Indian, and Italian descent.





















CHRISTIAN VANDERBURG: The Cleary brothers next door neighbor and best friend since birth.


















UNCLE JACK CLEARY: Aidan and Liam's uncle who is a rancher in Montana













Jack's wife, KELLY, a rancher's daughter




















The RV for the Epic Roadtrip to Montana!


Friday, November 13, 2009

25 Things about ME!!!

So, I've decided since I changed over from Livejournal that I would make an effort to blog more. Not that I think the world is desperate to hear what I've gotta to say, but you know, just for kicks and giggles.

With that said, I saw this on someone else's blog, and I decided to do it. Here's 25 things you need to know about me! I could probably ramble for at least fifty, but I censored myself, lol.

(1). My favorite movie is It’s a Wonderful Life. I love it so much I have the Christmas villages of the places in the movie. Sometimes I’d love to keep them out all year!

(2). After an acclaimed performance as Auntie Em in The Wizard of Oz, I dreamed of being an actress, and I still feel the theatrical pull from time to time. I usually achieving that desire by talking to my students in different accents, lol.

(3). I have a half way decent voice, and I love to sing at church, in the shower, etc. Many times you’ll find me cleaning house and belting show tunes to Evita, The Sound of Music, etc.

(4). I love going to the Fox Theater in Atlanta to see musicals. I’ve seen The Phantom of the Opera twice, Les Miserables, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, The King and I, Cats, Chicago, and Evita. I’ve also seen the Nutcracker.

(5). I’m a huge Shakespeare fan! Not only do I love his plays, but in my classroom, I have a Shakespeare bobblehead doll, an action figure, pop-up book, calligraphy set, and bust. He’s the man!!! I also love going to the Shakespeare Tavern in Atlanta. I’ve seen Macbeth, Hamlet, and Romeo and Juliet there.

(6). Since I was a child, I’ve loved Scooby Doo. I collect figurines and other memorabilia. I have a Mystery Machine, Bobble head, pillows, character dolls—even Christmas ornaments, etc. It’s a CRAZY obsession!

(7). My faith and spiritual beliefs are the most important aspects of my life. I’ve attended the same church since I was a baby. Both my mother and father’s families go to the church, and my grandfather was a minister there before his death.

(8). I never moved houses until I was nineteen. Since then, I’ve moved twice. I grew up next door to my dad’s parents and one street over from my mom’s parents.

(9). I’m a child of the old Southern storytelling. I grew up hearing stories from my Papa Ashe and Big Mama about their childhoods. I was also a huge family nerd, and I loved hearing stories and “yarns” about my ancestors. Those stories greatly influenced The Road to Damascus, my adult literary fiction book.

(10). I started teaching when I was barely twenty-two. Since then, I’ve taught 7th, 8th, 9th, and 11th graders at four different schools in two different counties. I’ve even taught some Adjunct College class. A cool fact is I’ve taught students that my mom taught their parents back in the day.

(11). I won an WXIA 11Alive News Class Act teaching Award. I was featured on a morning news segment teaching my kids with a highlight of using the song Colorblind to apply poetry terms. For the most part, the kids who were interviewed didn’t boast of my wonderful teaching ability…instead they talked about my sense of humor and how I made their day!

(12). I’m a huge animal lover and a firm believer in animal rights. I can watch a movie and see 50 people die, but if the dog or cat gets it, I’m outta there!

(13). I’m a firm believer that anyone who harms animals, children, and old people has a place in Hell….just saying!!!

(14). All three of my furbabies have interesting stories on how I adopted them. My cat, Sassy, was a bottle fed kitty after her mother was killed. She and her littermates were only 24hrs old when we started taking care of them. My cat, Sam, was one of a group of kittens that were born in the ceiling of the school I was teaching at in Forsyth County. The way we found them was we heard meowing in the bookroom. Then my dog, Chance, was found on the side of the road one morning on my way to school. He was just an eight week old puppy who’d been left by a major highway. There was two weeks to school being out, and my principal was nice enough to let me bring him. He was a celebrity!!!

(15). I love inane comedies like Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Robin Hood Men in Tights, Hot Shots Part Deux, and Scary Movie!!!

(16). According to my mom, I wrote my first story when I was four…although it was mainly pictures. It was about three cats creatively named Mat, Dat, and Lat who went on a camping trip.

(17). When I was in 5th and 6th grade, I constantly wrote stories. Most of the time I tried to illustrate them—poorly since I’m no artist. Some of them memorable ones were, “The Mystery of Captain’s Overlook”, “Life of a Divorced Kid”, and “Switched at Birth”.

(18). When I was twenty-eight, I finally got to achieve a life long dream of going to Europe. I got to go to London and Paris for six days. I’ve also been to Mexico twice, and I got to experience real Mexican culture when my goddaughter was baptized. I was serenaded by a Mariachi band at 6 in the morning, and I partied on the roof until 3 am.

(19). I’ve been blessed to be a part of a family of strong women—aka Steel Magnolia. My great-grandmother raised thirteen children primarily on her own during the 30’s and 40’s. My grandmother is a rock of faith and courage. In their twenties, both my mom and her sister were diagnosed with Mytonic Muscular Dystrophy and faced many obstacles because of it. My aunt eventually passed away from it at the age of fifty.

(20). I am not a fan of camping. As a child, I was forced against my will, and I have no tolerance for not having bathrooms or running water, lol.

(21). I love learning about other cultures and denominations/religions. I’ve been to the Temple in Atlanta, Midnight Mass at Transfiguration Catholic Church, and I’ve gotten to experience real Mexico at a Baptism and Quinceneara.

(22). Even though I’m an only child, both of my maternal grandmother’s came from large families so I have a butt load of cousins—most of who live close by and I see on a regular basis. Family is very important to me….they’ve seen me through some of the toughest times of my life.

(23). It has been my dream since I was a little girl to have a large family. I hope someday to have at least three children.

(24). For me, death has very much been a part of my life. I’ve lost a great-grandmother, two very beloved grandfathers, a grandmother who I barely got to know, both my parents, and my mom’s sister. My dad also owned a marble and granite business and made gravestones for a living. I grew up in cemeteries going with him on jobs. I also find that cemeteries have great writing karma!

(25). I’m a firm believer of laughter through tears, and I’d rather find the humor in a situation than the negative aspect. My sense of humor has gotten me through some dark times of my life.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Hello World!!!

Since most of my writing peeps blog on blogger, I decided I needed to pack up the old Livejournal and head over here!! So, I'll start blogging here, doing teasers, and writing updates, etc.

Hope to see ya!!!