Wednesday Randomness: January 2018 Brain Dump

This is likely to be all over the place. Lots going on. It was a snow day today, so my quiet day of working and writing quickly disappeared.

I’m still desperately trying to find the balance in life. Some days, I think I’m getting closer, but other days… Like now, mostly what I’m thinking about is how behind I am on pretty much everything.

The hubby is traveling again, so I’m taking another trip on the single parent train. It’s not too bad, though, with 2 of the kids driving – drastically cuts back on my running around. And the oldest just got his own car, so that helps even more. But it’s still not easy when he’s gone…not just because of day-to-day logistics…

BUT…after he gets home, I’m running away. I’m going to be in Michigan for a bit – which includes invading Bronwyn’s house, likely driving her family nuts, and getting to see some of my other fave people, including some of the other Wed bloggers. I can’t wait. I need the break away from everyday craziness, the chance to see friends I don’t get to see often enough, and the time to just write without other things pulling at me.

I’m having conflicting feelings about the fact my oldest is turning 21 in a week. He’s a great guy, and I’m so proud of him, and I feel like I’ve done something good and right in this world when I see the man he’s becoming, but omg, my baby is turning 21 – how is that even possible?

So, yeah, that’s what’s been on my mind. I need to play catch-up tomorrow, so I’m going to sign off and get my ass to bed. 🙂

Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Jessica De La Rosa
Kellie St. James | Kris Norris
Siobhan Muir | Torrance Sené

Wednesday Randomness: Brain Dump

Well, a lot’s on my mind, right now. Forgive me if this post is a bit…all over the place. It will be truly representative of my brain. LOL

Life is a bit crazy – the hubby is overseas for work (again), but HAPPY HAPPY, he’ll be home tomorrow, a day earlier than expected. And yeah, that day is a BIG deal.

We are heading to a family reunion over the coming week. I’m very much looking forward to that – seeing family I don’t get to see very often and having some down time with the hubby and kiddos.

My youngest daughter is preparing for a trip overseas. Very exciting, but a bit nerve-wracking getting everything ready and making sure she has what she needs. But I’m excited for her and know she’ll have a wonderful adventure and I can’t wait to hear all about it.

After the reunion, I’m getting a bit of a break, as well. A working break, as I’ll be writing, but a break all the same. One of my besties (and fellow Wed blogger) Bronwyn is picking me up from the reunion, and I’m invading her house for a little over a week. And while I’m there, towards the end of my visit, we’ll be attending Rust City Book Con. It’s going to be an amazingly fun time – and I get to hang with Bron and Jenny Trout – no way a good time will not be had. 🙂

Finding the balance of writing and…well, everything else is still an ongoing battle. I’m trying not to get all up in my head about it, because that never leds to anything productive. I need to focus on making time to write. Luckily, I will get that when I’m at Bron’s house. Whenever I visit, I end up getting a ton written, so I’m fully expecting it to be the same this time.

There are other, not so great, things rambling through this mind of mine, but those are things I’m not giving voice to – because they don’t deserve it. LOL Honestly, those things can just…

Because I’m focusing on the positive…at doing my damnedest to. 🙂

Make sure to check out the other brain dumps posted today.

Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn CeaseKellie St. James

Wednesday Randomness: Top 10 Things I Learned From My Parents

I’ve learned so much from my parents, too much to fit into a top ten list and some hard to put into words.But I’ll attempt to do that for ten of’em. 🙂

 Family first. Always.

Work hard. Do your part.

Marriage is work. But you love each other…it’s worth it.

You have to be a parent first, not a friend. If you’re really lucky – and I am – the friend part comes later in life.

Don’t make a mistake worse by lying about it.

Love of reading. Because reading is awesome.

Some of the best times are the simplest – like sitting around a camp fire, just talking.

Be respectful and kind.

I can only control my actions and how I react to others.

I am loved. Unconditionally.

Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Jessica De La RosaKellie St. James | Paige Prince

Wednesday Randomness: What would be the title of my memoir? And why?

Seriously, I’m getting that frame and putting it on my wall. LOL Mostly because, no matter the successes, the failures, and everything in between, I try. Despite things blocking my way, I try. No matter how many times I stumble, I try. Even when that stumble leads to a spectactular face-plant, I try. Even when it’s my own mind trying to push me down, I try.

So all joking – and tongue-in-check mock cover – aside, I’m damned proud of that fact.

Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Gwendolyn Cease
 Jessica De La Rosa | Kellie St. James

Wednesday Randomness: Musical Musings #2

Hey all. Time for another Musical Musings. I limited myself to 1-2 for each one… LOL And here we go…


SONGS THAT MAKES ME HAPPY – “Can’t Stop The Feeling” & “Best Day of My Life”

SONGS THAT MAKES ME CRY – “It’s Quiet Uptown” & “Supermarket Flowers”

Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Gwendolyn Cease
Kellie St. James | Torrance Sené

Wednesday Randomness: Top 10 Things I Avoid

In no particular order…

(10) Being outside in winter. I hate being cold.

(9) Commenting on Facebook. And every once in a while, I seem to forget why I avoid this, but don’t worry, I’m reminded oh so very quickly every single time.

(8) All the “news” on FB that gets shared again and again. Kinda goes along with the previous one. Don’t get me wrong, I love FB. Love being able to keep in touch with friends/family who live far away, rediscovering friends from years past… But I try very hard to keep it to just that and avoid the rest of it.  But there is always that one person who shares and shares and at the rate they are doing it? There is no way they are even reading the things – they just like the headline because it fits their view. *sigh*

(7) People who don’t listen. Because they are always right. Don’t think I have to elaborate there, do I? Nah, didn’t think so. 

(6) Feet. Just…feet. I don’t know what it is, but I don’t like feet, don’t like touching them, sure as hell don’t want anyone near mine… No. Just no. And this is one top ten item, that is NOT getting a pic because…pics of feet? Avoid because they fall under the umbrella of “Feet”, thank you very much.

(5) Bugs & Spiders – It’s not going to shock anyone to learn that I’m not an outdoorsy kinda gal. It’s mostly ’cause bugs, spiders and creepy crawlies…well, creep me out. And the ones that don’t, are just plain annoying.

(4) Sometimes, I just wanna be alone. Alone and silent.

(3) Web MD –

(2) Toxic people – the drama-seeking, issue-creating, lie-to-your-face-and-everywhere-else-and-can’t-keep-their-lies-straight, will-do-anything-to-satisfy-themselves-and-to-hell-with-you kinda people

(1) Negativity – This is a work in progress (and avoiding the toxic people? Biggest step I’ve taken in my life to avoid negativity) I’ve been trying very hard to be more positive and not let negative situations, negative people and negative thoughts overwhelm me. Not always easy, I’ll admit, but it’s amazing how differently I function when I focus on good things, on what I’ve accomplished rather than what I didn’t get done… Does it make everything perfect? Do I only have good days, brightside-Barbie-ing my way through life? Nope, but I’m better for it – I’m happier and more productive because I do everything I can not to get sucked into the vortex of negativity.


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullen | Gwendolyn Cease
Kellie St. James | Kris Norris | Torrance Sené

Wednesday Randomness: Top 10 Ways to Hook Me as a Reader

10 – First way to hook me? An amazing cover. Not saying a cover will make or break it for me, but if you can catch my attention with a cover…you have your foot in the door, my friend.

9 – Brilliant description – This is a fine line to walk. Some books give hardly any description, while others go a bit overboard – I really don’t need a run down of every piece of furniture in the room, thank you very much. There needs to be enough that I can picture it in my head but not so much that it’s tedious and obtrusive.

8 – Internal conflict – I’m more drawn to internal conflict. I find it more compelling. I don’t know why, exactly, but I will usually choose an book that is driven by internal conflict over one driven by external conflictl. Maybe because it’s more identifiable? I can relate and sympathize more? Well, whatever the reason…there it is.

7 – But…give me a really freaking good external conflict…I won’t walk away. I can really dig a story where the character(s) is on the run from or fighting a big bad or having to survive a really horrible situation or environment.

6 – Angst… DUDE. Give me an angst-filled story…. Le sigh. I eat that stuff up with a freaking spoon every single time. I will ugly cry and re-read again and again. Yes, I will. 

5 – Good characterization –  Well written, fully developed believable characters that grow throughout the story is a surefire way to hook me. No too-stupid-to-live characters, no major alphaholes that have no redeeming qualities whatsoever… Hell, even a villain should be more than a flat, one-dimensional representation of a bad guy. Some of my all-time favorite characters are villains – usually ones I could identify with, sympathize with and understand why they were doing what they were doing even if it was horrifying and/or wrong. The biggest thing is they just aren’t 100% evil to give the story a bad guy. They have layers, dammit.

4 – A good friends-to-lovers story. Oh, be still my heart. My all-time fave trope.. Seriously, I go looking for these, and I will hold onto the ones I love to go back to time and time again.

3 – Originality & Variety – Have you ever really loved an author but then after a while it seems as though are reading the same story again and again? That it’s just slightly different look for the heroine or the setting is a bit different but it’s basically the same story you read before? No one wants that. 

Or sometimes it’s the same character (unintentionally) popping up in every book…with just a slightly different face.

Though I’d like to point out that in Doctor Who, even though each actor is technically playing the same character, they make the Doctor their own. Each incarnation has its own characteristics, mannerisms and quirks. And that’s one of the things that makes it freaking brilliant.

Obviously, we all have our favorite types of stories. Like I said, friends-to-lovers is a big one for me. So are books based on Arthurian legend. I love me a good vampire or shifter book too. But what I really, really love is when an author puts new spin on it. They take something and make it their own. I think, as authors, we have a responsibility – not only to readers but to ourselves – to stretch ourselves, to move beyond our comfort zones. And that includes looking at our body work and making sure we aren’t writing the same story or the same character again and again.

2 – A balance of information – There is a fine line authors walk when writing. The reader needs to be given enough information to follow the story and to (eventually) understand why characters are doing what they are doing, but they don’t need to be hit over the head with every single detail or reason characters are doing something. It’s playing in the middle ground, really. The reader isn’t stupid and doesn’t need to be spoon fed – which will just annoy and lead to a book being set aside – however, they can’t be expected to make huge leaps of understanding with nothing in the book to support it – which leaves the reader scratching their heads and leads to a book being set aside.

1 – And finally… Write me a long, well-written, angsty as F&$k with lots of kinky sexy times (and no freaking slow-burn, thank you very much) Merthur fanfic, and I am yours.

Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Gwendolyn Cease | Kellie St. James | Kris Norris

Wednesday Randomness: Promptly Penned #13

This month, I’m going to revisit some of my favorite boys – Michael and Aric – sort of. This is a snippet seen through the eyes of Michael’s sister, Trina.

If you want to see the other pieces with the boys, here you go:

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

The prompt will be bolded in the story itself. 🙂

“I’m coming, for fuck’s sake!” Trina called out, supremely pissed at whoever was banging on her door, interrupting her Criminal Minds marathon. The rest of her words – all cuss words, sure, but that wasn’t important – died on her tongue when she yanked the door open and found her brother, Michael, standing on her doorstep in the pouring rain. With a huge shit-eating grin splitting his face.

“Hey, sister,” he said, swaying side to side.

She grabbed his arm and yanked him inside, shutting the door behind them. “What the fuck, Mikey?”

He stumbled slightly and laughed brightly. “Oh shit, you were doing Criminal Minds tonight, weren’t you? Sorry to interrupt your gawping at Derek Morgan times.” Another laugh burst from his lips, and he covered his mouth, eyes wide as he stared at her.

“You’re drunk…and you’ve got glitter…” She gave a vague gesture in his direction, because honestly, the sparkly shit was everywhere, and she’d probably be finding it on her carpet for years to come, now.

“I am, but not too drunk. Just…happy.” His words were muffled against his palm as he nodded. He lowered his hand and continued, “It was a good fucking night. Until he got called back into work. And your place is closer to his so I had him drop me here. Figured you loved me enough to let me take your spare room for the night.” He batted his lashes playfully. “Pretty please?”

She sighed and stopped herself from asking who “he” was. Michael never shared about the guys he hooked up with. Part of her was grateful – because who wanted to hear about who their little brother banged? – but another part was sad he didn’t even try to find someone to be serious about. Then again, it was a Saturday night, and she was in her jammies, watching TV by herself. Who was she to judge on that point?

“Go on.” She shooed him toward the spare bedroom. “Shower that shit off yourself, and I’ll grab you some dry clothes. Then, it’s back to Criminal Minds and Derek Too-Hot-For-His-Own-Good Morgan. You can join or not…”

“I’ll join, but you know I’m more of a Spencer Reid man. Rowr.”

She snorted as she strode into the laundry room to grab some sweats and a t-shirt from the stash of clothes Michael kept at her place.  When she went to the bedroom, Michael was standing in the middle of the room, bare from the waist up, still swaying slightly, Her eyes widened when she took in the marks on his neck and shoulders and the ones – definitely from rough fingers there – peeking from beneath where his jeans hung low on his hips.

“Fuuuuck, Mikey.”  She whistled low and tossed the clothes onto the bed. “Did you send him to work looking like you? Sparkly and marked up?”

He didn’t even startle, just looked at her, strangely somber, as his cheeks pinkened. When he didn’t say anything, she prodded. Just a little.

“You normally don’t go for the club scene.” She walked up to him and thumbed some of the glitter from his cheek. “I’m assuming that’s where your night started…”

“I normally don’t,” he agreed. “Neither does Aric, but he needed to let off some steam, and so did I.” He sighed and lifted his shoulder in a weak half-shrug. “Dad called.”

Fuck. No need to explain, she thought. Their dad had been mostly absent during their childhood, but when he bothered to show up, emotionally and verbally abusive, homophobic asshole didn’t begin to cover it.

So she did what she had to do, to spare her brother more pain he didn’t need. She sidestepped that particular landmine and grasped onto the other nugget of information he’d given.

“Aric? Are you actually seeing someone? Regularly enough to actually learn his name?”

He narrowed his eyes. “I always learn their names, I’ll have you know.”

“Mm hmmm.” She crossed her arms. “But you never share them with me. So…”

His Adam’s apple bobbed as he swallowed. “Been seeing him for about a month. He’s…he’s…” He looked at her, expression almost panicked. “I love him, Trina. Fuck me, but I love him. Enough to go to a damned club, get all sweaty and glitter-bombed just to see him freaking smile.”

“Wow.” She took a deep breath then grinned. “Okay, you go shower the stink and sparkle off. I’m going to pull out the wine, and you’re going to tell me all about this Aric.”

“I mean it, Trina. He’s…he’s it for me.” He scrubbed his hands over his face then met her gaze. “That’s the real reason I had him drop me off here. I needed you to know. You two are the most important people in my life.”

Chest aching, she closed the distance between them, braved the glitter and kissed his cheeks. Then, grasping his shoulders, she turned him and gave him a push towards the bathroom. “Can’t wait to hear about him, so hurry.”

Once she heard the shower turn on, Trina went into the kitchen. She couldn’t help but laugh as she opened a bottle of white. How does she find out her brother has found someone to love and be with? He showed up at her door, soaking wet, bruised and covered in glitter. So fucking typical…

Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Gwendolyn Cease
Kellie St. James | Kris Norris | Paige Prince

Wednesday Randomness: Finding the Balance


Ah, balance. I have yet to find it. I’ve come close…really close at some points in the past. Now is not one of those times–believe me. This year has been rough. A lot of stuff that just…sucked. The last of which was surgery – minor but the recovery is taking a bit longer than expected.

Anyhow, so I have no great insights on how to find balance. I wish I did. I do know that what works for me…isn’t going to work for everyone. Heck, my way may drive other completely batty and vice versa. So, it’s about finding what works for you.

These days, as I mentioned, I’m struggling. Aside from the challenges this year has thrown at me, I have… Well I have a lot of stuff to juggle. Family stuff, more than one day/other job, in addition to writing. Writing, all too often, gets shuffled to the end of the pile. Which triggers mental crap that is all to familiar. The endless cycle of self-doubt and recriminations.

My inner voice at these times is:


I’m getting past that. I’m definitely better at that than I was years ago.

One thing I’ve found that works for me, that gives me a chance of grabbing hold of that balance, is having a routine (or more than one throughout the day). My brain works better with routine – hey, my kids come by that honestly! A tool I’ve found that helps me so much with that…a bullet journal. Thank you, Jenny Trout, for introducing me to this fabulous little tool! It is literally keeping me on track lately. Ticking off the boxes every day is keeping me in forward motion.

(Here’s a link that explains and layouts the basic idea of it. There is a crapton of stuff on bullet journals online. A google search will yield a lot for you. Can be as simple/minimalistic or elaborate as you want it to be.)

So, for me, continuing to use my journal is my stepping stone to finding, and keeping, the balance I need in life.

And that is it for me this week. I’m off to get some much-needed rest after maybe…probably…okay, definitely overdoing today.


Bronwyn GreenKellie St. James

Wednesday Randomness: Promptly Penned #2

Promptly Penned

For this week’s prompt (In bold in the story), I revisited my boys–Michael and Aric. Well, kind of. It’s a flashback to Michael’s past. Here are the other pieces of their story so far.

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Michael clenched his fists in his lap, staring as his sister stormed out of the restaurant. Not that he blamed her. Hell, he’d give pretty much anything to be right on her heels at that moment, rather than sitting here listening to his father’s homophobic slurs and insults. Actually, he was surprised Trina had made it for—he glanced at his watch—a whole twenty minutes. Of course, it was only when dear dad’s comments became personal and aimed with precision toward Michael that Trina had been unable to take it any longer.

Michael, on the other hand, had more experience with dealing with this bullshit. He’d been expecting it from the moment his father had called to set up this little family dinner. He almost hadn’t come, but fuck, there was still a part of him—however, miniscule it had become—that wanted things to be okay with his dad, with their family.

All he wanted right now? To be home, curled up in front of the fireplace with Aric, enjoying a movie and the hot and heavy making out sure to follow. He stared at his father, took in the annoyed, yet slightly amused, expression on his face.

“This is where you make up some stupid excuse to leave early and stop returning my calls.” He leaned back in his chair with a sigh. At least, you’re more polite than your sister.”

“More polite than you,” Michael muttered, reaching for his water.

“I was actually surprised you came. That that…man you’re…” his lips lifted in a slight sneer, “seeing allowed you to come. He always stopped you before.”

“Aric has nothing to do with my not wanting to see you.”

“Right,” his father drawled. “It’s quite clear he wears the pants, rules the roost. Ever since you took up with him, you’ve refused to see me.”

“Not true,” Michael said shortly. “I stopped accepting your invitations when you decided insulting me wasn’t enough and thought hitting me might make me come around to your way of thinking.”

“I was angry.” The older man waved a hand dismissively. “I’d had a few drinks, and I hardly touched you.”

Michael’s jaw ached, from clenching it so tightly and the memory of the jarring backhand his father had delivered months before. Before he could say anything, before he could stand up and say “fuck off”, his father continued.

“I didn’t ask you here to fight or go over old disagreements. I want you to come back and work for me. You made your point leaving.”

“Did I? And what are the conditions for my return? Leave Aric? Pretend to be the good little boy, the perfect son? So long as he’s at least straight on the outside, yeah?”

“You’ve made it quite clear that you won’t leave him or stop doing…what you’re doing. I can accept that.” He took a deep breath. “I simply ask you maintain a better image—publicly. What you do on your own time… As long as you’re discreet.”

This time he managed to get the words out. “Fuck off.”

Before he could push to his feet, his father grabbed his arm, grip tight and bruising. “Listen to me, Michael.”

“No, you listen. I’m not going to pretend to be something I’m not. What do you expect me to do? Date women publicly to please you? Where does it does stop? Am I supposed to get married, have a few kids, all the while keeping Aric on the discreetly on the side? Fuck that, and fuck you. I’m not ashamed of who I am, and I’m sure as hell not ashamed to be with Aric.”

“Why can’t you be sensible? Why would you throw everything away for a perverted, disgusting lifestyle? Is he worth giving up everything you could have, everything I could give you? All that because you like to bend over and take it? I raised you better than that.” His fingers dug into Michael’s biceps.

“Please.” Michael jerked his arm from his father’s grasp. “You hardly raised me at all. That was a job you hired out. And the answer is yes. He’s worth all of that. He’s worth everything. But you know what?” He stood, trying to quell the trembling of his limbs. “Even if I didn’t have him, I wouldn’t come back. Nothing is worth having to put up with you and hate-filled bullshit.”

“Michael, please,” he said quietly. “I don’t know how much time I have left. I’m not a young man. I don’t want…”

Watching the older man bite his lip, Michael almost sat back down, until he saw the calculated gleam in his father’s eyes. Damn it, he’d almost fallen for it—he knew better!

“What you want or don’t want doesn’t make a difference in my life anymore. Do you remember what you said to me when I came out?” His father frowned. “Come on. Think really hard.”

He shook his head and reached for Michael again. He stepped to the side, successfully avoiding the grab.

“You said you’d rather hear I was dying than that I was a fag. When I left the company, you said I was dead to you. Well, I’m returning the favor, Dad. It goes both ways now. You’re dead to me. I don’t want to see you again.”

“You don’t mean that. If I died—”

“I would be happy,” Michael said, nearly choking on the words. Hating himself for saying them—even more for meaning them. He shook himself, allowed every acidic, cruel damning word his father had ever spewed to fill his mind. “I would be free from your hate, and I could finally breathe easy. Don’t contact me again.”

He pivoted and strode from the restaurant and made it to his car—barely—before his legs gave out. Leaning against the cold vehicle, he squeezed his eyes shut struggled to draw in air. What had he done? What the hell kind of son was he?

Bronwyn Green | Jessica De La Rosa | Kellie St. James | Kris Norris