Snippet Sunday 10/23-New book

I finished my short story and sent it off to (hopefully) be accepted for publication in a holiday anthology. Otherwise,I’ll self-pub it. This week, I’m submitting a snippet from my new book, a historical set in the same town as the contemporary in 1896. It’s called “Honeysuckle for Honey,” and this first part of Chapter One is written from the hero, Wes’s, POV. As a side note, I had a dream about this setting set in 1896, and my friends and I were the characters.
Any feedback would be appreciated.

“I own a profitable saloon in the town of Dannville, Colorado. I have mo children and have never been married. I have my own home, and all of my teeth, although the front ones are a little crooked. People tell me I have a good sense of humor…”
I’m so intent on reading the ad I plan on placing for a mail order bride that I don’t see a young woman with hair the color of wheat leaving Samson’s General Store–until she collides with me. Tendrils of blonde hair come loose from her topknot as she glares at me with blue eyes full of beauty and anger.
“Sir, you should watch where you’re going!”
“You weren’t looking where you were going either, y’know? Are you all right?”

Snippet Sunday 9/25

“Hi, Sis.”
I glance in the direction of the deep voice and brown eyes that remind me of a cup of hot coffee.
A handsome man with golden hair the same color as Sirena’s is glancing down at us. He’s wearing a navy blue sports jacket, a white collared shirt and a Chanukah tie with pictures of dreidels on it, as well as a yarmulke. I’d seen pictures of Sirena’s brother, Byron, but they don’t do him justice. He’s tall and muscular, but not too muscular. I could develop a serious crush on him.
Sirena makes the introductions.
“Byron’s taking over for a few weeks since Rabbi Goldsmith is in the hospital.”
Uh oh. I shouldn’t be thinking of Byron’s muscles or eyes or anything else. Not only is he a man of the cloth, he’s Sirena’s brother and he’s only here temporarily.

Snippet Sunday9/11

My mom speaks again. “Please tell me you have plans for Chanukah and won’t be sitting at home by yourself.”
I stroke my kitten’s ginger and white fur. “I do.” My temple is planning a Chanukah dinner and service, but I don’t reveal this tidbit to them. “I have a new man in my life.”
“What’s his name? Is he Jewish? What does he do for a living?”
“His name is Simba and yes, he’s Jewish. He sleeps a lot and he really likes tuna.”
“What’s his last name? Does he belong to your temple?”
“Preston, and I’m planning his Bar Mitzvah as we speak.”
They can probably hear my mom’s skriek on Dannville’s Main Street. “Oh, my God! How old is he?”
The jig is up. My mom’s not laughing, so I guess I have to stopjoking around. “Mom, Simba is my new kitten.”

Snippet Sunday 9/18-Grandma

The sanctuary at Temple Beth David is decorated in royal blue and gold. There are all kinds of Chanukah decorations–made by the religious school kids. Paper dreidels and menorahs hang from the walls and ceiling on fishing wire. Since it’s the fifth night of Chanukah, a five candles in a menorah sits on the podium in front.

I’ve belonged to Beth David for a whiile, and it feels like my home. My best friend, Sirena Sachs, is a member, and so is my grandmother, Bernie (short for Bernice). I moved to Dannville and joined the temple because of Grandma. When I was a kid, I spent summers here, and now Grandma and I are housemates.

Sirena approaches us carrying two pies–one Dutch apple and one pumpkin. She hugs my grandma who is tall and slender. Grandma’s gray hair is cut in a bob and her blue eyes twinkle. Grandma isn’t one of those women who whips up batches of cookies, or watches cooking shows on TV, but I’, closer to her than to my parents.

I tease Sirena when we all go into the temple’s kitchen. “Thanks for bringing me the pies. What’s everyone else going to eat?”

Snippet Sunday 6/12-Sing

I head toward the kitchen. I notice a dishwasher, but I ignore it and start cleaning a skillet and pasta pot. Grease is caked on, and I’m tempted to make a crack. Instead I start singing “Bie Meir Bis Du Schoen,” remembering my mom and grandma, who used to sing when they cleaned.
“What in the world…” Max murmurs.
I stop in mid-song. “I like to sing while I work. It makes the job go faster.”
He rolls his blue eyes at me. He was the first guy I’d ever met who could make an eye roll look sexy. “Why don’t you put the pans in the dishwasher?”
“I like cleaning them by hand.”
“Seems like a lot of extra work.”
I switch songs, deciding on “Over the Rainbow,” and return to cleaning the pans. The singing and the warm soapy water is great therapy. I think I’m going to like this job—if I can manage to hold onto it for more than a week.

Snippet Sunday 6/5-“But…”

For all of you wondering about the cliffhanger…I’m continuing on with my WIP, “Cinderella Wears Blue Jeans.” This is all I have written so unless I get some more done, next week I’ll be posting a snippet from the sweet historical I’m working on that takes place in the same town in Colorado in 1896 (which I hope is now ready for prime time). Thanks in advance for any feedback!

“I got sick. I couldn’t clean my own house, let alone anyone else’s, but it was a temporary setback. As I said, you have to have help. And I need customers because I’m trying to gain back the clients I lost when I was sick. So…”
“I’m sure there are places in Denver I could call.”
“You could, but you’d probably pay a lot more.”
He sighs and stares down at the wooden cane like it’s a medieval instrument of torture. “I’ll give you a week. If I don’t like the job you do, you leave.”
“I guarantee you will love the job I do.”
“We’ll see about that.”

Snippet Sunday 5/29-Clean sweep

Continuing on from two weeks ago, the latest snippet from “Cinderella Wears Blue Jeans.” This has been edited to fit the line limit and any feedback is appreciated. I’m also working on the sweet historical that takes place in the same town.

I send him a perky smile, just to annoy him. “Never say never.”
“I gave you my card. You didn’t call me for help.”
My smile vanishes. I put my hands on my hips. “Really? You thought I’d call you after you insulted my housekeeping skills? You said my place wasn’t fit for my cats to live in! Besides, if you were so concerned, you could have found me.”
“Owww!” He guides his walker across the room to a royal blue vintage chair. I glance into the kitchen. There are dirty dishes in the sink and wastebaskets filled with paper. The floors need to be mopped—and he’s obviously in serious pain.
“I can’t believe you, Mr. Clean, need a housekeeping service.”
“What I want is a person who has the same standards I do and can take care of the place while I’m incapacitated. That’s not you. Can’t your boss send me somebody else?”
“I told you, I’m the boss. Were my housekeeping skills that bad? Don’t you believe that a little ole slob like me could actually run a cleaning service?”
He looks me up and down with his assessing blue eyes. I stare back at him. “But…”

Snippet Sunday5/15/16-Cinderalla arrives

Continuing with my WIP, “Cinderella Wears Blue Jeans.” Cinderella has arrived at Max’s house and is in for a surprise. This is really raw and has been edited. I’m also working on my historical set in this same town, so it might be ready for prime time soon. Or not. Any feedback is appreciated.

I arrive at my destination—a Rocky Mountain retreat. The man who’d called my cleaning service, Cinderella’s Housekeeping, hadn’t exaggerated when he’d said his A-frame house was in a deserted area.
After arthritis, stomach ailments and a high heart rate, I’m slowly making my way back. Even after six months, I still thought about the paramedic who’d gotten on my case about the condition of my house when they’d found me. He’d offered to help, but my pride kept me from calling him.
I knock on the door of the modern-looking house. I hear moaning and a muffled curse. A walker or a cane clumps against what sounds like hardwood floors. Then the door opens and so does my mouth.
No. The man glaring at me as he grabbed onto his walker was the neat freak paramedic who’d rescued me six months ago.
“You? You work for a cleaning service?”
“I own the cleaning service. I’m Galeigh Frankel.”
“You run a company that cleans houses?” He runs his hand along the side of the stubble visible on his handsome face. “This is never going to work.”

Happy Mother’s Day!

Mother’s Day 2016 finds my mom in a nursing home suffering from the early stages of dementia and me getting over some serious health problems that have been plaguing me since last October. I’ve been thinking about my mom and sharing memories with friends this weekend. I have two favorite mom characters from stories, Stella Solomon, from “Sweeter Than W(h)ine,” who is loosely based on my mom, and Regina (Reggi) Drake Crabtree Woodward, from my alter ego, Vi LaNance’s, upcoming story, “Devil in Disguise.” Reggi isn’t anything like my mom, but I like her character, who is a cross between Emily Gilmore (“Gilmore Girls”) and Rae Woodard (“Ryan’s Hope”).
Here’s a scene from “Sweeter Than W(h)ine”, which is based on something that happened when my husband and I went to my parents’ house for dinner.
“Okay, are you coming in or not?” Dina called from the kitchen.
Rafe looked up from the Patrick O’Brian book he was reading. “Yeah. I’ll be there in a second.”
Dina walked slowly into the living room, where Rafe sat on her sofa. She and her mom were cracking up, and Rafe didn’t know why. Dina was probably remembering something funny the peerless Jay Galloway had said, Rafe thought sarcastically. That usually made her laugh at the strangest times.
“What’s so funny?” he asked.
“She was talking to Schmoopie, y’know,” Dina said, when she’d finally finished laughing. “I have his cat food all ready, but he’s not ready to eat yet, I guess.”
Rafe tried to look mad, but he gave in and chuckled, too, especially when he saw Schmoopie stroll into the kitchen.
“I’m starting to think Jay’s date had the right idea,” Stella Solomon said, looking out the window and frowning. “It’s really coming down out there.”
Herman Solomon looked out, too. Rafe heard cars trying to negotiate the side street near Dina’s condo.
“I guess we’d better eat fast,” Dina said.
They rushed through the blessings over the candles, bread and wine, and tried to eat as quickly as they could. Rafe had almost forgotten how much fun Friday night dinners welcoming the Sabbath could be…
Later, the power goes out and Dina invites her parents and Rafe to stay overnight so they decide the entertainment will be playing the piano and singing…
She walked through the house, but her knee started to hurt. Fortunately, she located some flashlights and flameless candles. “Looks like we’ll be singing after all.”
“That sounds good,” her mom said.
“After that, I could read you all some of the book I’m reading,” Rafe said.
Dina’s mom gave him an approving smile. “Sounds like a plan.”
Dina played her battery-operated radio, and they listened to details about the blizzard.
The flashlight illuminated Dina’s piano and sheet music. Rafe sat next to her on the piano bench, and her mom and dad sat on the couch. She felt comfortable having him there; safe.
It was a magical night with the snow falling and swirling around outside and the four of them snuggled inside next to the piano. She played “Beyond the Sea” and “On the Sunny Side of the Street.” Rafe joked about there not being any sunny side of the street with all the snow.
The piano playing went on, with Dina and her mom taking turns playing. Dina’s mom and dad danced to a few of the songs she played and Schmoopie stopped in to watch.

And here’s a scene from “Devil in Disguise,” by Vi LaNance
Regina leaned back in her chair at Bertha Blues Bakery, studying Dex Finney, feeling like a sixteen-year-old in the throes of her first crush again. Dex’s hair and beard stubble were gray, but he still had twinkling dark eyes and the ability to make her feel warm all over despite the frozen temperature outside.
She warned herself to keep things light as Dex sipped his espresso. She took another drink of her mocha latte and a small bite of the gingerbread muffin she’d ordered. Dex reached across the table and touched her hand. The gesture made her just a little bit warmer, but she resolved to stay as cold as the icicles outside the bakery’s window. She wasn’t sixteen anymore—closer to sixty.
“What happened to the girl who was going to pilot her own plane?” Dex asked.
Reggi watched thoughtfully as Dex took a bite of blueberry cheesecake. “She grew up. She got married. Twice. I thought my first husband would be my prince. I ended up broke with a child to raise. I vowed that my daughter would never have to live down by the docks because of a man.”
“What if she meets a man she doesn’t work with and he hurts her? That no-dating policy at work won’t protect her from the whole world.”
“It’s a start.” Reggi didn’t want to talk about this. “Look, Dex. Let’s just enjoy our conversation and get re-acquainted. We don’t have to talk about anything heavy today.”
Dex grinned at her. It was as if he’d turned one of the bakery’s lamps on and it was now shining on that smile. “All right.”
They’d been friends in high school, and not even that close of friends. She was not giving in to him.

My favorite TV mom has to be Lorelai Gilmore from “Gilmore Girls.” My mom and I are that close and like Lorelai, my mom has a great sense of humor. So Happy Mother’s Day, Mom. I love you always!