4.24.19 InstaShortie – Anything for the ‘Gram

Worst case scenarios are always running through my mind. An untimely sneeze causes a fender bender. A simple paper cuts gets infected and I lose my entire arm. You name it and I’ll tack on the worst possible outcome.

More than half of my waking hours are often spent imagining these unlikely scenarios and plotting my escape.

The one I didn’t plan for? Having my pants split right down the ass in the middle of Barnes & Noble while trying to get the perfect Bookstagram Photo. The sound reverberated through the quiet store. The slow rip of the seam filled the air as it exposed what I’d hoped were at least cute undies. Did I wear the pink lacy ones or my laundry day granny panties?

Snickers echoed through the silent aisles. I didn’t dare turn around. My face was pinker than then underwear I hoped I was wearing. If I didn’t turn around, they’d never have a face to put with the ripping pants.

God, I hope they don’t follow me. I thought. If they follow me, they’ll recognize this photo when I post it know it was my ass that exploded through the ripped seam. I wasn’t even planning to buy the book. All I needed was a photo.

“Ma’am?” a timid voice behind me said. The hand belonging to the voice tapped me shoulder.

“Yes?” I replied and stood. I attempted to pivot so my mishap wouldn’t be on full display. Riiiiip.

I failed. As I stood, the rip deepend. A breeze hit my upper thigh. You know the spot just under your cheek? The one women’s magazines ask you to hold a pencil under to see what type of ass shape you have? The other butt cleavage, if you will. The stale, cold air tickled my bare skin. I reached behind me to pull the fabric tight and confirmed it was not the pink lacy underwear. Great.

“Your pants ripped,” she observed.

Thank you, Captain Obvious. “Yes, I believe the whole store heard that.” I looked down at the young employee, her cheeks as red as merlot.

“Are you buying that book?” Not only had my pants ripped, but I was being asked if I intended to shoplift.

I shook my head. “Just needed a photo.” And to expose my ass.

“I’m afraid we’re going to have to ask you to leave.” Another voice joined the conversation. This one less timid. “We have decency standards.”

I started to argue that I did too, but considering I was exposing half of my unmentionables to his staff, I could see where he was coming from. So, I just nodded and turned to walk away. The draft reminded me of my… situation.

“Could I possible borrow a shopping bag? To cover my, um, you know.” I gestured behind me, fanning my cheeks.

Without cracking so much as the hint of a smile, he nodded and dismissed the girl to retrieve a plastic bag. He left before she returned. I kept my back facing the shelf, careful to not brush my skin against it. I was fairly certain they’d make me purchase any books my ass touched and my TBR was big enough already. Besides, what would I write in the caption? I picked this book because the author is an always buy, and my ass cheek skimmed it in the store so I had to.

Standing this still and tense should count as a lower body workout.

“Here,” she said and handed me a bag. “You look familiar.”

Please, no.

“Are you on Bookstagram?” When I nodded, she laughed and said, “Anything for the ‘Gram. Right?”

Verity, Colleen Hoover

**Review**

Verity, Colleen Hoover

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

This book was intense and disturbing. The plot was well developed, as were the characters. 

This would have been a five star for me if it hadn’t included graphic details on harming children. As a mother, it was hard to read. I had to put it down and walk away a few times.

The book kept be captivated and engaged, it just gutted me too. I also felt it ended abruptly without fully diving into some of the questions it created.

Looker, Laura Sims

**Review**

Looker, Laura Sims

⭐️⭐️⭐️

I had low expectations coming into this one. I’ve seen mixed reviews and reactions. It was a quick read, but it was a lot of exposition; I could have used a bit more dialog.

I didn’t connect to the main character at all, which I felt should have been important since we are inside her head the entire book.

It was a quick read, but I felt like the ending was abrupt, and it could have used a bit more character development.

Collision, Kristen Granata

**Review**

Collision, Kristen Granata

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Whew. We all need a little Chase Brooks in our life. The perfect balance of sensitive and manly.

Merritt is a girl after my own heart – Marvel movies, Journey and enough sarcasm to woo Chase Brooks.

Collision is a perfectly executed, unconventional romance that will leave you both satisfied and craving more.

4.17.19 InstaShortie – Damn The Man

In hindsight, telling the CEO (and my boss) of a major Fortune 500 company that his mind was as small as his penis was ill advised. Following that statement up by throwing his cup of coffee in his face was also not the best career move. Nor was storming out of his office and announcing to the whole building that he was an impotent, incompetent tool. Looking back over the morning, I can easily see what led me to career-assassination, and while I should regret it, I find myself not caring as I pack ten years of work into a shoebox.

Hastily, I throw what I can into the box and ignore the whispers in the hallway outside my office. I can feel their eyes staring at me. A few paused at my door as if they are trying to decide whether or not to approach me to offer words of wisdom or sympathy – none of which I was particularly in the mood for. Occasionally, I’d glance up and glare at the unlucky soul who decided to linger a little too long. It wasn’t their fault, but in a way I blame all of them for not having the balls to do what I just did.

Grant Edmonson, CEO of Yearly Enterprises, had it coming. He’d grabbed my ass and eyed my chest a few too many times over the last ten years. Not to mention all the times he stole ideas from those around him and used them to earn himself a plush corner office and a half million-dollar paycheck. Every last one of us thought about saying those things to him, but unlike me apparently, they all wanted to retain their employment status and as a result, wisely kept their mouths shut. Don’t get me wrong, I am in no way in a position where being unemployed is an option.

Maybe I shouldn’t have skipped my morning latte, or maybe I just finally snapped under the abuse and pressure. Whatever the reason, I was trying to remind myself that all things happen for a reason and I would be just fine. Sure the economy was in the toilet, but I’d saved a decent nest egg that should carry me into my next opportunity. Of course, I had no idea that Grant was currently in his office calling every firm in the state of Tennessee and blacklisting me. Again, in hindsight, I should have expected this.

With my shoebox full of a decade of office hording under one arm and my hand bag in the other, I nodded to no one in particular and lifted my head. If I was going to do the career walk of shame, I might as well do it with my head held high. As I made my way down the (what felt like) mile-long hallway to the elevator, I avoid eye contact. My pride may be intact, but my dignity was still a little bruised.

For most of my adult life, Yearly Enterprises has been my home. From the tiny cubicle my assistant now sits in to the almost-corner office I’d just left, this place was where I’d honed my skills and made a reputation for myself. I’d met my husband in the elevator after getting trapped in it with him on my first day. My group of girlfriends had all passed through these doors at one point or another and some of my closest friends still work here. Today, I could feel their eyes on me, but rather than make a joke or ask how the family was, I just made my way to the elevator.

I pressed the down button for the last time and patiently waited for the doors to open. When they did, I was greeted by the mirrored walls that had been my signal that my day was both beginning and ending. I fought back the tears I’d managed to avoid all morning and drew in a deep breath as I turned back to the office. I lifted me head and met the faces of my co-workers. They were gathered in a group just outside the elevators. I smiled and waved.

And then I shouted, “DAMN THE MAN!” and threw my fist in the air, dropping my shoebox. As the doors closed, I heard laughter and applause. At least they didn’t see the tear that finally escaped. Their last image of me would be of a strong, independent and defiant woman.

 

The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo, Taylor Jenkins Reid

**Review**

The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo, Taylor Jenkins Reid

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

After finishing Daisy Jones and the Six, I needed more TJR in my life. The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo did not disappoint.

I was intrigued on page one. I was hooked after the first husband. I couldn’t put the book down.

It was also heartbreaking. The love of her life was someone society refused to accept. For that reason, Evelyn and her true love were kept apart for decades.

The book surprised me in many ways. One, I loved Evelyn Hugo and a few of her husbands. The story was relatable and felt real. I very much wanted all of the characters to be real. In the end, I struggled with Evelyn – should I like her? Should I hate her? I still don’t know.

At its core, this is the story that should inspire you to be true to who you are, society’s expectations be damned.

Ask Again, Yes, Mary Beth Keane

**Review**

Ask Again, Yes, Mary Beth Keane (release date 5/28/19)

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Ask Again, Yes is a gut wrenching family drama about love conquering all. The Stanhopes and the Gleesons begin their tale with Brian and Francis attend the police academy together and ultimately become neighbors. Though not close, their two children, Peter and Katie, begin a friendship and relationship that spans decades.

There is a lot of story packed into this book. It spans decades and generations. Not short on tragedy, Ask Again, Yes was ripe with family drama, relationships, love, personal growth and a long-hard look at mental health in America. The story captivated me, but I wanted more – each character got limited page time, but they were such complex characters that they needed more.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for an eARC to review.

4.9.19 InstaShortie – Redesign

“Ok. Deep breath. Exhale slowly. Now, open your eyes. Take in your surroundings. Process it all with an open mind.”

Callie opened her right eye, slowly and with just a hint of skepticism. She then blinked and both eyes popped open. The room was covered in the colors of both diarrhea and Pepto. Pepto diarrhea. How was that even possible, she wondered. Her best friend has managed to mix the two things that are meant to counteract each other. She inhaled sharply and let out a quiet, polite sigh. Turning to her friend, she was greeted with a huge smile and a face that said, “please don’t crush my dreams.”

Callie looked from the hot pink shag rug to the shit brown sofa, and the even brighter pink walls to the crystal brown chandelier. She took it all in, eyes wide and a fake smile plastered across her face. Gritting her teeth, she returned her attention to Tia.

“Oh, Tia, it’s just… ” Callie paused, waiting for the words to come. She had to be delicate. She had to be polite. She could feel the desperation seeping off of her friend. “It’s pink shit.”

So much for being either polite or delicate. Callie wasn’t usually one to hide her true feelings, but she’d thought she could lie just a little to spare her best friend’s feelings. Even if her words wouldn’t have deceived her, her face would. There was no hiding her disgust, much like the Pepto pink, it was painted all over her face. Her nose wrinkled, her eyes wide and her lips turned down.

“CALLIE!” Tia exclaimed, her spirit dying with each over emphasized syllable. “This is exactly what you asked for.”

“I’m sorry, T. I wanted brown with hints of pink. You know, pink accents,” she paused and walked to the wall, touching it to be sure it was real. “Accents – like, curtains, pillow shams, rugs. And a complementary pink! Not neon, glow-in-the dark pink!”

Tia stared at her friend in disbelief. She’d spent months designing and curating the perfect items for this job; her very first paying design gig. Now her supposed best friend was literally poo-pooing her work. Her creation. Her design. She crossed her arms and narrowed her eyes.

“I cannot believe how ungrateful you are being.”

“Ungrateful?” Callie asked. “I paid you over two thousand dollars to turn my living room into the sanctuary of a ninety-year-old cat lady. The only thing missing are the lace doilies and the porcelain cats.”

Callie waved her arm, grazing it through the air. Her eyes darted from corner-to-corner. She squinted and stepped towards the bookshelf in the corner. Tia flinched and held her breath, knowing full well what Callie was going to find when she took a second look.

“Oh,” Callie breathed.

There sitting proudly on the bookshelf was a large porcelain cat figurine. Underneath it? A lace doily. Tia didn’t say anything. She offered a sheepish smile.

A robust laugh exploded from deep within Callie’s gut. “I hope you haven’t quit your day job yet.”

Tia’s smile faded.

“You didn’t?”

“You have so many well-connect friends, Callie! I just assumed this job would lead to more and I’d be set.”

“Oh, no, Tia. No, no, no.” She realized then how important this job had been to Tia. Everything, not just her dreams, was riding on this. “Do you still have the receipts? I honestly don’t know what made you think that rug was a good idea.”

Tia nodded. Her head dipped slightly. She studied the fibers of the hot pink rug beneath her feet and wondered what had possessed her to buy it. An image flashed through her mind. A smile. Blue eyes peering into hers. Massive biceps straining against a too small T-shirt. It was all so clear now. She hadn’t been in her right mind. Her cheeks flushed.

Callie took one look at her friend and knew instantly what had happened. A boy. A little flirting. The witty sales pitch. An exchange of numbers – his phone and her credit card.

“He better have been cute,” she mused. “Alright, everything pink goes back. The brown isn’t so bad on it’s own, we can work with that.”

Tia nods. “He was sexy AF, Cal. We have a date tomorrow,” she said proudly. For a moment, she forgot all about her friend’s rejection. Callie rolled her eyes. Tia grabbed the box she was handing her and headed towards the bookshelf.

“Wait!” Callie shouted. The corner of her lip twitched, curling into a mischievous grin. “The cat stays.”

The Night Before, Wendy Walker

**Review**

The Night Before, Wendy Walker

⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

(Release Date 5/14/19)

I’ve read a lot of thrillers lately. A lot. This one stands up. Every single chapter left me wanting more. I didn’t want to put it down, no matter how heavy with sleep my eyes were.

I questioned everyone. I didn’t know who to believe. I wish I could tell you I predicted the outcome, but I’d be lying. Okay, I had a small hunch, but no solid proof until the end.

The Night Before was a cliffhanger until the very end.

Misery Loves Company

Writing is often a lonely pursuit. Aside from the characters, dialogue, stories and ideas floating around your brain, writers prefer to be left alone while writing. I’ve also found that many writers, like me, are introverted. Human interaction is taxing and, sometimes, uncomfortable.

For may writers, the process of writing a novel is torture. This is not the case for me. I love writing. Maybe I don’t love editing, but I love what it means… that I have finished a book and am getting it ready to share with the world. That is huge.

Often when I hear other writers talk about spending decades writing a book and bemoaning how miserable they are during the process, I start to wonder if I am doing it wrong. Can I really be a good writer if it only takes me 30-45 days to write a first draft? Does it mean I am horrible at it if I don’t hate it? Am I doing it wrong?

It is so hard to avoid the comparison game. As hard as I try to, I still fall into the trap. But why do I feel bad for not being miserable and hating the process? If a friend were to express these concerns, I would remind them that every writer’s process is different. One isn’t better than the other. What matters is that you produce your best work and deliver a manuscript you are proud of.

As I write this and lament my feelings of self-doubt and impostor syndrome, I am forcing myself to be both mentor and friend. It’s okay to feel this way on occasion, but I cannot let it deter or distract me. I can only write the way I write. My process is mine and mine alone.

Okay enough stalling, off to edit and revise and do it all again.