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.
Ever.

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!

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.
Ever.

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!

Snippet Sunday 5/8–Max’s POV

Here’s another snippet from my WIP, “Cinderella Wears Blue Jeans.” It’s very raw, so any feedback will be appreciated. This is six months later, and is from Max’s POV.

“Oh, how the mighty have fallen.” Eve Preston gives me one of her killer grins.
“Can it, Preston, and see what you can do about getting me the hell out of here.”
Eve feigns a southern accent even though Colorado isn’t in the deep south. “Why, sir, how could a simple small-town girl like me be conversant on the subject of making connections. You’re the one who knows everything.”
“Leave it to you to use the word ‘conversant’ and call me a Mr.-Know-It-All in the same sentence.” Yesterday, I was a hot shot paramedic saving lives. More than three hundred people in Dannville depend on me. I think of the woman who’d fallen in her house and never bothered to call me and ask for help. She probably needed me, too, but had been too proud, or too embarrassed about her crappy cleaning skills, to call. Then I’d fallen on the ice in a stupid skiing accident so I couldn’t lend a hand anyway. “I want to get out of here and go home.”
“All in due time, Hot Shot.”

Snippet Sunday, 5/1, new story

I finally finished Garrett and Van’s story, which is now at the publisher. Meanwhile, I’ve had enough of getting sick, being in hospitals and therapy rehab places. So this is a snippet from the new series I’m starting that takes place in the fictional town of Dannville, Colorado. I had a dream about a historical, and have a few chapters written, but it’s “not quite ready for prime time.” This is the beginning of the contemporary called “Cinderella Wears Blue Jeans.” It’s very raw (I’ve been sick). It’s been edited to fit the line limit, but it might still be over. Any feedback would be appreciated.

I stare into the sky blue eyes of the paramedic who’s just rescued me. He’s just given me a lecture about my housekeeping skills (or lack thereof). All I want to do is get to Dannville Hospital—stat. I’d gotten out of bed to go to the bathroom and was walking back when I blacked out. When I came to, I was on the floor.
“Dude!” the female paramedic, who was driving the ambulance is on my side. “You need to lighten up or you’ll have a heart attack!”
Ol’ Blue Eye slaps a hand to his forehead. “Women! Did you see the condition of the house? It’s not fit for her cat to live in!”
I can’t see the woman’s expression because I’m lying on a stretcher but I can sense she’s rolling her eyes. The man ignores her and starts asking about medications I’ve been taking.
When we get to the hospital, he hands me his card. “When you get out of here, call me. I’ll come over and help you with the house.”

SnippetSunday Garrett’s POV

More from “Geek in Disguise,” this time from Garrett’s POV. I’ve moved ahead—Van had a mishap with the dogs, who took her for a walk along the muddy creek bed in Garrett’s backyard. Garrett feels bad, so offers to wash and dry her clothes while she takes a shower. I might have gone over the 10-line limit. Any feedback is appreciated…

From the time Garrett Berkowitz pedaled his blue bicycle to his job at the Cincinnati Observatory, to the time he arrived home, he questioned his judgment at leaving the boys with Vanessa Brown. Especially when he found them dragging her along the muddy creek bed. Sure, she’d come highly recommended. He felt bad about leaving Neptune and Jupiter alone all day, and her dog-sitting and walking service seemed like the perfect solution.
Not to mention, she was very pretty. She had shoulder-length strawberry blonde hair and blue-green eyes that sparkled whenever she spoke.
Garrett pushed those thoughts away. She was his complete opposite. She’d teased him about being serious. It appeared that she never worried at all. As long as she never discovered one of his troubles, they’d be okay.
Come on, Garrett. You have to trust her. Don’t do this to yourself.
He couldn’t help but remember the last serious relationship he’d had. His girlfriend hadn’t understood that he was dyslexic. So they’d broken up, leaving Garrett with a broken heart and a lack of confidence in the opposite sex.

Snippet Sunday,1/3,Dogs

Today, January 2, would have been my parents’ 66th anniversary. They met at my mom’s best friend’s wedding. I am planning a Chanukah short story collection that spans three generations. The hero, Noah, and the heroine, Rachelle, of the first story, are loosely based on my mom and dad. I don’t have anything written yet, but I do have the next snippet for “Geek in Disguise,” which I’m trying to finish. Here, we meet Garrett’s dogs. Any feedback is appreciated…

Suddenly, the Shetland started to bark and the puppy followed suit, earning a stern look from Garrett. “Boys, behave!” he said, but the puppy kept on barking. Van spoke softly, calming the canine down with a gentle tone.

Garrett shrugged his shoulders. “This is why I called you. Not only do these guys need to be walked, they need someone to look in on them during the day. I’m very busy what with working at the observatory and all.”

“What are your dogs’ names?”

“Oh, sorry. I should’ve introduced them. The Sheltie is Jupiter, and the puppy is Neptune. Guys, this is Vanessa Brown.”

“So you named them after planets?” That didn’t surprise Van at all.

 

Snippet Sunday 12/27–Garrett

More from “Geek in Disguise.” This has been edited to fit the line limit. Any feedback is much appreciated—I’m trying to get this done so I can send it to the publisher. “Mr. Tall, Tan…& Tasteless” fans—my re-write got put on the back burner so I can finish this.

 

No one answered, but she heard dogs barking from inside. She tried the doorbell and heard its loud ring.

A slender, black-haired man with warm brown eyes hidden behind black glasses answered. His dogs, a black and white sheepadoodle puppy, and a fully grown gold and white Shetland sheepdog, followed on his heels.

“Garrett Berkowitz?”

“Ms. Brown?”

“You can call me Vanessa. Or Van.”

He opened the door, motioning for her to come in with a swing of his slim arm. The living room was homey, with hard wood floors, a comfy-looking tan sofa and white overstuffed chairs. The Shetland sheepdog made himself at home, sitting right on top of Van’s feet. The puppy went straight to Garrett.

Van appraised the man who had requested her help. He seemed the old-fashioned  professor type, probably because of the brown wing-tip shoes and glasses. Van figured him as her complete opposite. She played in a garage band, Van and the Sheepdogs, on the weekends, and was kind of a free spirit.

 

Famous lines of 2015

Now that Chanukah and Christmas are over, next week we’ll start a new year. With that in mind, here are the famous lines of my characters and friends for 2015. I usually have a word of the year, but I can’t think of one this time.

#5) Carson Finney and Malia Crabtree, hero and heroine of my novella, “The Devil in Disguise,” work together at The Morganville Weekly Banner. Malia is Carson’s boss and her mom,who owns the paper, has a strict no-dating policy. Eventually, though, both Malia and her mom have the promise of a happy ending. “Mom finally found her prince.” Malia slipped her arms around Carson’s neck, pulling him close. “And I’ve found mine. You’re my prince, my heart, and my future.” Awww!

Malia Crabtree, “The Devil in Disguise” Coming Soon from Crimson Frost Books

#4) I was walking out the door to go to work when my friend and cab driver, Greg, called to tell me he was waiting outside. When I got into the cab, he started joking around with me about the old “I was walking out the door” excuse.

“I was walking out the door and forgot to walk out the door”

–Greg M., October, 2015

#3) I fought the conspiracy…and the conspiracy won seems to be the theme for 2015. At least for me. Here’s a line from my alter ego, Vi LaNance’s book, “Nutsie in Disguise,” which is out now:

“I kept thinking of another one of Jay’s favorite sayings, “It’s all part of the conspiracy.” He was so right! It’s all part of life’s current conspiracy against me.”

–Nan Moskowitz, “Nutsie in Disguise”

#2) Jay Galloway, my cab driver and part-time musician hero of “Mr. Short, Dark…& Funny” is kind of a work-aholic. He harly ever takes off, and he expects other people to be the same way, which leads to some “differences of opinion” with his friends and customers. This is a line from my updated version of “Mr. Tall, Tan…& Tasteless,” which will be available next year (I hope). Jay’s sister, Lorrie, just found out that her finace, Hugh, cheated on her and Jay is outside, looking up at Hugh’s apartment.

“I have to get back to work since I don’t have a trust fund! Some people have to work for a living.”

–Jay Galloway, “Mr. Tall, Tan…& Tasteless” Update coming, 2016

#1) Another line from the “Mr. Tall, Tan…& Tasteless re-write…After Hugh breaks their engagement, Lorrie goes into a funk, refusing to go on dates again, letting herself and the house she shares with Jay go. Jay wants her to get back out there again, hoping she’ll meet someone who will make her forget Hugh and get back to her old self. (And my friend, Greg, who hasn’t read this re-write yet, said almost the same thing to me when I got really sick and depressed in October and November…only it was about my excuses for taking off work)…it’s freaky (but I love it when art imitates life).

“I really don’t want to go to the singles dinner party, so I start working on my excuse. I can hear Jay’s voice in my head. Whenever a singles event comes up at church or work, or someone tries to fix me up with someone, I always find a reason not to go. “So what excuse are you gonna use this time, Lor? ‘I’ve got choir practice?’ ‘I don’t feel so good?’ I know—you’ve got things to do. You should write a book of all of your excuses. It’d be a best seller!”

–Jay Galloway, “Mr. Tall, Tan…& Tasteless–update coming 2016 or: Greg M. December, 2015 

 

 

 

 

 

Snippet Sunday-12-20-Van & Garrett

I know I promised more of Lorrie and Scotty’s “Mr. Tall, Tan…& Tasteless” re-write, but I’m on deadline to get this one finished—it will be the last in my alter ego, Vi LaNance’s, R-rated romantic comedy “Disguise” series. This is from “Geek in Disguise.”

 

Vanessa (Van) Brown walked up to the door of the white clapboard Victorian home, expecting to hear the “Addams Family” theme song any minute. There were leaves and branches all over the house and sidewalk leading up to it. The windows were dirty and the pretty house seemed kind of neglected. The wooden steps had creaked when she’d walked up to the door.

Of course, she was there to help the owner take care of those pets, not judge them on how their house looked. She loved her business, Lovely Daughter’s Pet Caregivers. She’d gotten to know lots of people—and their animals. She knocked on the door, wondering how this particular job would pan out.

 

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