Monday, March 18, 2019

It's starting to warm up....

....ready to get into a summer mood?

Grab your copy of About That Summer to read now. Guaranteed to warm you up while the snow melts into spring!



He smiled, and I closed my eyes again. Mother of pearl, I was tired. It felt like I’d taken enough Xanax to put a horse to sleep. “It’s all going to be all right now,” Jamie told me in an unbearably gentle tone. “Don’t panic. You’re in the hospital, and—”
            With a gasp, I lifted my head off of the pillow. “Jamie! The baby! I had a… there was…” I shut my eyes and tried to rub them, realizing that I was hooked up to an I.V. “I’m pregnant,” I said feebly, my words slurring. What was I on?
            Flashes of the last few things I could remember popped into my mind. Feeling the tendons in my abdomen stretch and ache at work. Going home and starting a bath without waking Jamie. Hemorrhaging in the bathtub, and the water going pink. Slipping on the tile floor.
            My IV tubes pulled when I reached up to touch my head. There was gauze wrapped around it, with a large patch of cotton pressed tightly to my temple. “What’s going on?” I asked, trying to focus on Jamie’s green eyes. Over his shoulder, I saw my mother in a chair, crying. “What happened?”
            Jamie’s face dropped. It was then I realized his eyes were circled, and his skin pale. The crying I’d heard in my sleep wasn’t just a bad dream. “You fell getting out of the tub. Hit your head on the corner of the countertop, and cut your temple open.” He forced a smile that did not meet his eyes. “It’s okay now, though. They stitched it shut. You’ll have a cool scar to brag about.”
            I pressed my hands to my belly and yelped in pain. My insides felt like they’d been removed with a garden rake, and everything felt oddly hollow. “What about the baby? I… I didn’t tell you. I wanted it to be a surprise.”
            He pressed his lips together and shook his head. “The pregnancy wasn’t viable.”
            Anger flooded my foggy mind. I hated it when Jamie used clinical terms like that. He started that habit after our fourth miscarriage. Instead of calling them what they were—babies—he called them embryos, cells, viable, aborted… words that made the loss, the deep, seemingly never-ending loss feel clinical and impersonal. And above all else, losing pregnancies was really damn personal. It was as personal as something could get, for hell’s sake.
            I closed my eyes and held my breath. For five seconds, then ten, trying to gather my tsunami of thoughts. That was the last time Dr. Felgenhaur was willing to work with me, so we would have to find a new reproductive endocrinologist. Then, judging by the IV and level of pain I was in, I’d clearly had another dilation and curettage procedure, so we were going to be forced to wait another nine to twelve months before a new doctor would be willing to inseminate me again. Which meant I would be thirty-seven when it happened. My head swam. There was so much to do, and I wasn’t getting any younger. Time was no longer on my side.
“It’s okay,” I finally told him, my voice tight. “We have two more embryos. We’ll have them transferred to the new practice, and—”
A line appeared between Jamie’s eyebrows. “Molly—”
“We might have to sell the house,” I told him quickly, my words all mashing together. “We’ve got equity because we finished the basement—”
“Molly,listen.”
“—we won’t have to pay for another retrieval—”
            “Molly, stop!” Jamie squeezed my hand. “You need to listen to me.”
            I rested my head against the scratchy white pillow. My mother stood up and excused herself from the room, and dread settled over my body like a lead blanket. My mother never missed out on a dramatic moment if she could help it. “What’s going on, Jamie?”
            He closed his eyes and drew a shaky breath. For the briefest of moments, his lips started to tremble, but Jamie cleared his throat fiercely. Then he opened his eyes and focused on the wall behind my head. When he finally spoke, he slipped into his role as teacher, making his tone businesslike and void of almost any emotion. “Your uterus ruptured, and there was three and a half liters of blood pooled in your uterus. The doctor on call couldn’t control the hemorrhaging, and the uterus couldn’t be saved. They were forced to remove it.”
            The blood rushing through my IV suddenly ran cold. “They took it?”
            Jamie didn’t meet my eyes. “Yes.”
            “All of it?” My voice cracked. “Fallopian tubes, ovaries, all of it?”
            “No. Just the uterus.” His fingers gripped mine so tightly it hurt.

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Jealousy.

Today I was thinking (as I laid in my bed and contemplated getting up and starting to work for way longer than what is appropriate) about my first book, and the varied responses I got to achieving my goal of being traditionally published.



Spoiler alert: it wasn't all sunshine and rainbows.

Sure, most friends were ecstatic. Over the top supportive and kind and excited for my upcoming release (which was none other than my debut novel, The What If Guy) I was met with what can only be accurately described as jealousy by a select few. It hurt my feelings at the time, and stung for quite a few years after. Even today, nearly ten years later, when I think about it...I get twitchy and aggravated.

Jealousy is an ugly beast.

The definition of jealousy is as such:



I've been jealous before. I'm human. When I was a single, divorced mom of two little kids, I was jealous of the happy, healthy couples around me. I resented their joy and comfort within their relationships, when mine had been so tumultuous and chaotic. I wished I could find someone to be with, someone who would treat me with the respect and kindness that I watched between other couples, sometimes to the point of making really poor decisions when it came to dating. Loneliness and desperation do a real number on a person's judgment, and that's a fact.

But I never felt tempted to tear down or take away someone's functional relationship. I never felt tempted to insert myself, or drive a wedge between married friends, or to critique their relationship--pointing out the cracks and flaws I saw--and reminding them of what they'd done wrong over the years. It never occurred to me that my unhappiness needed to be shared, therefore I left them alone. I smiled and nodded and told them, "I am so happy for you. I hope I can be this in love one day," even when I felt like this on the inside:



So when my first book was met by haters....it threw me for a loop, and I took it more personally than I should've.

I'm not talking about random internet trolls, either. Those are the strangers that I'll never meet, who read my books, give them poor reviews (which I am okay with--any review is a good review, baby!), and find me elsewhere on the web to harass me. Those people are just keyboard warriors, and aren't to be taken too seriously. We all know that.

I'm talking about couple of people in my actual circle who trashed my work. The random friend or relative who took it upon themselves to make sure I knew that they didn't enjoy what I'd created, or worse yet, that they wouldn't ever be reading it, because "romance novels, ew." Yes, it's happened. And yes, it sucked. And it wasn't their unkind words about my life's work that hurt my feelings as much as it was their need to negate, minimize, and invalidate something I worked very, very hard on.

For example, shortly after the release of my debut novel, I got a phone call from a relative that (at the time) I wanted desperately to impress. (I've long since grown up and stopped trying to gain approval from folks who are fully committed to never accepting me, but that's a blog for another time.) But, I digress.....


During this phone call--which lasted for well over an hour, because I was too naive and stupid to hang up--this person went through my book, line by line, chapter by chapter, telling me all the things that they found confusing, boring, unnecessary, excessive, or just plain ridiculous. Because I had this stupid need to please and impress that person, I allowed it. With every unsolicited criticism, I explained myself, explained my reasoning for writing that section that particular way, even going so far as to apologize for why that annoyed that reader so much.

I mean......like, really? Who does that?

In retrospect, I think I hung on throughout that entire, agonizing phone call for two reasons: first, because of my aforementioned need to impress and please said person. And second, because I had this Pollyanna mentality that if I listened long enough, let this person criticize my life's work thoroughly, eventually the conversation would shift, and I would be told the list of things they did enjoy about my book. There would be one of those "...all of these things sucked, BUT you really nailed the....."

But it never came. After an hour of criticisms, the person said, "Well, gotta go. Bye." And the line went dead.

My disappointment was positively palpable. You could've hung wallpaper on the wall with the sticky, oozy, persistent discouragement that was positively dripping off of me for the next several weeks. Months later, whenever I thought about that phone call, I would bristle, and immediately go into a bummed out state for days at a time. Even now, years later, when I think about it, I feel agitated, despite having long since stopped trying to impress the un-impressible.



It doesn't stop there. I've been told that people I love won't or haven't read my books, because it's not their preferred genre. I'm reminded--often--that they prefer "literary fiction," because they're so much more evolved and educated than a romance reader. I'm informed that my writing style is "juvenile" and "unsophisticated," and reminded condescendingly that they support my career, but simply aren't interested in reading my work. Which is fine...........except that it's not.

And it's not just me. This isn't a Brooke Moss B*tching Session, as much as it seems like one. Almost all of the authors I know--and over the decade long span of my career, I've met a lot of authors--have expressed the same sentiments. They all have their stories of friends or relatives who refuse to read their work, refuse to buy their work, negate their accomplishments, or criticize their writing. It's par for the course for all authors. Where there is a positive, (i.e. being a published author, which is truly one of the hardest goals to accomplish, career wise,) there is, and always will be, a negative. All of us authors experience it.

But that doesn't make it okay. It still sucks to be invalidated by someone you love.



I know plenty folks who have written and published books that I would otherwise never read. I have read work written by people I know that have downright sucked. (Mind you, I've also read some completely, mind-bogglingly great work, also, but that's not what this blog post is about.) But, once again, I digress...

I've always bought and reviewed their work, even when I didn't enjoy it at all. I am never such an accomplished author that I can't lower myself to drop $1, $3, or $5, on an acquaintance's eBook, and frankly....I expect the same in return. Even if their genres weren't of interest to me, or their work was subpar or pretentious drivel, I bought it, read it, and reviewed it, because that's what real writers do. We support and encourage others. This business is big enough for all of us.

But you know what I've discovered over time? Jealousy usually rears its ugly head when things are going exceptionally well for me. When I have found success within my career, and I have a loyal readership, and I am being told that my words touched someone in a way that was particularly positive or pleasant.....that's when other folks feel jealous. It should be viewed as a reflection of my success, not a reflection of someone's disapproval. I should be grateful that there is something in my career that another person feels jealous of, rather than being hurt that they're responding negatively.

Additionally, I should be sympathetic to the haters.


If someone is so critical of my work--which was picked by a professional publishing company to publish--then it likely reflects a disappointment in their life. A resentment that their career hasn't hit a level they expected it to hit, and a setback in their own career trajectory. If someone refuses to buy or read my work, because they "don't read romance," then they deserve sympathy because dang! They're missing out on the country's best-selling, and undoubtedly most uplifting and enjoyable, genre! If someone negates my accomplishments, then it's likely because someone in their life is negating their accomplishments, and frankly, that hurts like h*ll. It never feels good to have your accomplishments minimized, no matter what career field they're in!

In a nutshell: jealousy shows more about them, than me.

I wish being an author was all awesomeness and success. I wish all authors could hit JK Rowling status, or Danielle Steele status (the woman owns an island, for pete's sake!) But that's not the reality. Most of us make a humble living, most of us work second jobs, and most of us are far more critical of ourselves and our work, than anyone else could possibly be. We should be lifting each other up, rather than tearing each other down, regardless of how "constructively" or subtly it is being done. It doesn't hurt anyone to be kind and supportive.

And if jealousy still plagues you.....

Get your a*s in front of a computer and start freaking writing. You think you can write better than me? Do it. I'll be the first in line to buy a copy. And I'll even read it and review it, too.



xoxo
Brooke

Monday, February 18, 2019

I hate addiction.

I have been avoiding writing this blog post, because I knew it was going to be incredibly difficult, and because it felt like my words would undoubtedly come up short. I mean, how can a person possibly write enough words to honor someone who was magnificent, but left this earth entirely too soon?



It's impossible!

So I guess I'll just do what I do best, and lay it all out there: addiction sucks, and I am d*mn sick of it taking away people I love.

I got in trouble when I spoke blatantly after my father's death two and a half years ago. I openly wrote about how he was, for lack of a better term, a drunk who'd vacated his responsibilities as a father and grandfather, and ostracized himself until his sad end. I was bitter about how my father's life came to a close, and I told people as much. I told them to sober up and fix their relationships before it was too late, and not everyone appreciated being told that.



But I have had too much loss in my life, and too much hurt in my life, and too much grief in my life at the hands of addiction, and I am ready to climb the walls because of it. Truly. I feel like I could bite my laptop in half, with how angry and sad I am. I lost my father to addiction, long before he actually died. I lost my first marriage to addiction. I lost a relationship with my sibling in part because of addiction. I was a foster mother to children who'd been abused and neglected by addicts.

Most recently, I lost one of my very best and oldest friends. Much like my father, the loss began years ago...and only became official because of actual death this last week. And much to my surprise, I am gutted by this loss. Angered and bewildered and shook to the core by this loss, and it's not because I was so naive to think that she was on the straight and narrow--I've known for years that she was headed down a path that I would absolutely not be following--but because I know, with every cell in my body...that this was not the way she was supposed to go out.



Nope. She was too epic for this kind of a goodbye. She was the kind of person who saw raggedy, strung out, homeless bums on the street, and scolded me for being judgmental. She always told me, "They could clean up. They could get their act together, and be amazing. You don't know. People can change." She saw potential and humanity in every, single person she encountered, and she was willing to fight for their right to be better. She was a humanitarian, in every sense of the word. Helping people, lifting them up, giving them food/clothes/rides/money/a place to sleep. She forgave. She prayed. She rescued. She gave second, and third chances. She believed in every single person she met, and knew their worth was great.

But the cruel irony is, my friend never, ever saw the same potential in herself. She spent her whole life thinking of herself as the dented can of peas on the shelf at the grocery store. The one everyone passes over for the shiny, new cans. The one nobody wanted. That was how she saw herself, despite being willing to put everything on the line to rehabilitate everyone around her.

It started by being born with a birth defect. One so painful and troubling that she suffered and dealt with it's side effects her entire life. Literally 42 years of pain and discomfort, in addition so the social torture that came from being different. She used pain killers religiously, as a means to function like a normal wife/mother/woman, which eventually (after decades of use) grew into a stronger, more frightening dependency.



The last few times I saw her, I could see the difference in her demeanor and her behavior. Her physical appearance started to change. She looked harder, grayer, gaunt. She avoided certain questions and topics. We went from talking about everything to talking about surface level bull****. She wasn't herself. She wasn't the friend I treasured.

It was so troubling that I pulled away. Like I said, she was headed down a path I could not follow. I'd been down it with my ex-husband, my father, my sibling, friends...I couldn't deal with it. So I bailed. We went from being deeply connected, and utterly loving each other in the deepest way two women could be connected (think Idgy and Ruth in Fried Green Tomatoes,) without actually being in romantic love... to texting or messaging every few months or so. My affection was still there.... but I had to maintain space.

I will literally regret that for the rest of my days.



She slipped deeper and deeper in her addiction, eventually turning to illegal drugs, and becoming a full blown junkie. I wish I could scream this to the whole world: That is not the beautiful, loving, epic human being she once was!

She went from loving, attentive soccer mom, to an empty shell of the epic human she'd once been. This was not the girl who befriended me when we were 17, and nobody in my new school liked me. This was not the girl who'd sat on my parents deck until sunrise one night, sharing her entire birth defect/multiple surgeries/social torture story, then listening as I shared how my father had pickled himself while my mom battled cancer, and how I'd never fit in anywhere I'd ever been, including my family. We were both misfits, and we didn't belong anywhere, except with each other.

But she was no longer that person, and I couldn't deal.

From what I am told, she spent her last days stealing from family members, lying to everyone who loved her, going in and out of jail, and burning every bridge she'd ever had...before succumbing to an illness made deadly by a weakened heart from drug abuse and hard living. Her family is inexplicably sad, but also angry and hurt. They're not surprised by the way her life ended, but at the same time, completely flummoxed.



I am utterly heartbroken.

This is not the way she should've gone out. She was bigger than life, hilarious, and passionate to a fault. She was bold, loud, silly, strong, and stubborn. She was the one friend we could all count on to hold our hair back while we puked, and to make sure we didn't get ourselves into a dangerous situation while incoherent. She was the mother, the protector, the guide, the bodyguard. She believed in us when we didn't believe in ourselves. She read all my manuscripts, some dating back to when I was 18 years old, and was the first friend I told when I got my first publishing contract. She was my biggest fan. And now she's gone.

Do not think for a second that you are immune to addiction. Do not fool yourself into thinking that your social status, financial status, location, job, or church participation makes you immune to the stinging, suffocating grip of addiction. Do not assume that you've got it under control. Do not assume people don't know, or that people don't care, or that you're keeping your secret under wraps. If it can happen to my sweet friend, it can happen to anyone, and I implore you to stop right now. Get help, somehow, anyhow....because there are people who do care, who will miss you, and who will ache like I ache if you die.




I am sick of losing people to addiction. Sick, sick, SICK of it. So many lives wasted. It makes me physically ill, not even kidding.

I'm going to my friend's funeral this weekend. I am making a long, uncomfortable journey to a town I swore I'd never go back to, to be there to say goodbye to a friend I loved with my whole heart, and I am not okay with it. I shouldn't be making this journey. I shouldn't be picking out clothes to wear to her funeral. This is not how my winter was supposed to go. More importantly, this is not how her life was supposed to go.

Please reach out to your friends--the ones who have loved every last detail about you, even the ugly ones--and tell them how very much you love them. And if you're close enough to hug them, do it, and do it hard. Because you literally never know when it will be the last time you have that opportunity, and believe you me, you will regret it, if you don't.



I will never stop loving my friend. She will be in my thoughts for the rest of my life, and when I cross through the veil to the next life--at the ripe old age of 80-something, with blue hair and a gold velvet jogging suit on like we always said we would have--I expect her to be standing right there with my dad, waiting to embrace me. Fully whole, completely free. Holy crap, I am so looking forward to seeing her in perfect form.

But in the meantime, I will continue to openly and blatantly share my stories of addiction and loss. I will never sugar coat this awful, ugly disease, and I will never pretend that I don't notice if someone is suffering from addiction. Because I am sick to death of losing people I love.

Please pray for my dear friend's family and especially her daughter. They will need it, and they so deeply deserve it.

xoxo
Brooke





















Monday, February 11, 2019

I spoke in church today...

....about a specific topic. The topic was "I Can Do Hard Things." I was asked to specifically share my family's story of how we went to South Korea for our last school year abroad, in spite of desperately wanting to stay in the USA.



Cliff Notes version for the newcomers: my husband took a job in South Korea, moving my family abroad for three and a half years. It wasn't easy, in fact, it downright sucked at times, and came to an all time head during our last year there. We'd spent the summer in the USA, and my children sobbed and begged me not to make them go back for the last school year in Asia. When we arrived, it was even worse than we expected. My teenage daughter's friendships became toxic and she suffered racism and bullying because of her religion. My son's struggled in their grade school as well. I pulled away from almost all my friendships, because of significant differences in lifestyles, morals, and standards, and was isolated and alone most of the time. We considered moving the children and myself back to the USA, and letting my husband stay in Korea to finish his contract, but ultimately chose in favor of keeping our family together, despite how inexplicably difficult it was.

I didn't mind sharing our experience. It was a lovely testimony in favor of staying together as a family, rather than living continents apart. I know that we made the right choice, as difficult as it was, because we came out of the experience of that last awful year, much closer and tightly bonded than we ever expected to be. My children know, without a shred of doubt, that their family will always have their back, and that they're never, ever alone. In the end, as we climbed on the plane to fly home to stay this summer, I knew that choosing to be together was better than being apart.

And more so than anything, I know now that...

I really can do hard things.

I mean, you would think I would have known that by now. I've seen some bumps along the road of life, some that tried really hard to break me, and I've kept going. But still....I think it took living in a toxic environment for those last 10 months abroad for me to really, truly believe that I can do hard things. That doesn't mean that by doing said hard things, they will be made easy. Nope. Our last school year abroad was awful. Literally awful. And frankly put, it literally never let up. The bad stuff just kept happening, despite having done the "right thing" and chosen to stick it out together as a family. But now I have a strong testimony that my children and I are fully capable of mucking our way through the crap life throws at us, and coming out the other side in one piece. Of this, I have zero doubts.

From here...

We are home now. We have a beautiful house in the woods, surrounded by moose and deer and a ruthless gang of turkeys that I go to battle against at least twice a week. The air here smells clean and fresh, and the people smile and shake hands and help each other. There is a hometown feeling here that I certainly didn't appreciate prior to moving abroad, and I know now that I will never take it for granted again. Sometimes you don't realize how good you had it, until it's gone. My children are still grappling with some of the residual damage that living abroad caused them--but also relishing in the incredible life experience they have that few other kids around here may ever have the chance at experiencing! I am slowly, but surely starting to appreciate certain elements of our time in South Korea. It's taking time. And I'm very bitter.

To here!


Slowly, I hope....that bitterness will wear away, and I will be able to look back with fondness. I'm not there yet, but I will be eventually.



But I am very proud to say that I....or more specifically....we can definitely do hard things. And you can, too.

xoxo
Brooke 

Thursday, February 7, 2019

It's only 12 degrees out!

I need to warm up. Grab About That Summer to read all about the warm summer nights at Camp Chimalis....



It was all so heavy. Staggeringly, bone-breakingly heavy. I glanced around me. Both of my remaining best friends were crying, too. Even Seth and Erin watched the grownups unravel with sober, wide eyes. The last few years of my life—of allour lives—had been heavier than anybody should have to muck their way through. It felt like I was going to splinter and break under the pressure of it all.
Rachael slid her hand into mine, then reached for April. “Come on.”
I pulled my hand free. “I… I don’t want to.”
Rach slid her glasses onto the top of her head. “We should say hello.”
“I can’t.” I backed away. “I’m going to finish this bouquet.”
April tilted her head at me, a tear slipping out of her left eye. “You okay, Moll?”
“Yes!” I answered to quickly, and too loudly, and Jamie stopped walking. Pressing my hand to my chest, I felt my heart thudding so hard, I was pretty sure my clavicle would crack. “No. I just… I… it’s hot out. And I’m feeling... you know…”
“Hung over?” Erin offered from behind her veil of black hair.
“Erin, hush,” scolded April. She reached for me. “Come on. We’ll go together. We’ll say hello, and then you can go to lay down until the service.”
            “I’ll say hello later.” Grimacing as Zane opened the backdoor of the Four Runner and pulled out little Maddie, I drew a shaky breath. “I can’t right now.”
            Jamie wiped his face, watching me. “Moll?”
            Rachael hiccupped. “We need to at least say somethingto Zane. We’re being rude.”
            I bit my lip until I tasted blood. Iwas being rude. But I couldn’t help it. The air felt thick, and my skin tight. Glancing up at the dirt lot, I noticed Zane’s mother had lifted a sleeping Max from his car seat. He opened his eyes with the jostling, and took stock all of the crying adults around him before releasing a pitiful yowl.
            My chest tightened, making each pound of my heart even more arduous. The pain between Bree’s family clung to the ferns and the pine needles like cobwebs. It stuck in my mouth like a gluey piece of gum, choking me.
            Those poor, motherless babies would never know their incredible mother. That poor widower lost the one person he loved above all else. Those poor parents were getting ready to say goodbye to their only daughter. It was too much.
            Maddie joined in Max’s wails, and my stomach twisted itself into a square knot. I observed through swimming eyes as Sue took Max from Zane’s mother, and cradled him. Her shoulders shook as she rocked him back and forth, and my breath caught in my throat. Owen took his glasses off, and used a bandana from his pocket to wipe at his eyes. Aside from a couple moments where she’d lost, then quickly regained her composure, Sue had kept herself together the whole week. She and Owen were the picture of strength. But now that their son-in-law and grandchildren had arrived, their resolve cracked.
            A sob crept its way up the back of my throat, escaping with a jagged gurgle. “I’m sorry. I need to…”
            I didn’t finish my sentence. Instead, I turned and stalked into the woods. The bushes whacked against my arms and legs as I stomped towards the cabin, forgoing the actual path to cut a trail through some thimbleberry bushes. When I reached the leaning front porch, I stumbled on my way up the steps, landing on my knees. I covered my face and let the sobs overcome me.
            How was it that life went on—clouds still dropped rain, sun still shone, plants kept growing, and water kept lapping up on the rocky shore—despite the fact that someone so monumental was gone forever?
            “Come on,” a soft, warm voice comforted me from behind my back. Gentle hands took hold of my shoulders, helping me to my feet.
            Blinking, I looked over my shoulder to find Jamie, his face tear-streaked, his hair mussed, and a streak of dirt on his cheek. “I’m fine,” I lied in a strangled voice, trying weakly to move away from his touch.
            “No, you’re not. None of us are.” 

Click here to grab your copy of
About That Summer!

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Have you checked out...

...my novella, Breaking Girl Code, in the Once Upon a Summer Anthology from InkSpell Publishing?

Check out an excerpt below, to see if it wets your whistle.


You would get EIGHT stories by EIGHT amazing authors! 

It wasn’t that I was mad at Preston. His sexist methods for getting a girl’s attention had likely been working famously for him—up until tonight—and he’d never had the need to change. I just had no interest in being the one to instigate such change. I wasn’t running a douche bag rehabilitation program.
No matter how much talking with him felt like home, or how his eyes seemed to penetrate into my soul whenever their gaze fixed itself on me. No matter how much we seemed to have in common. And especially no matter how delicious his muscle definition was as he’d pulled his t-shirt back on over his water-slicked body. Nope. I wasn’t going to give into my lustful instincts.
By the time we rolled down the Coeur d’Alene main drag, all traces of pink and orange were gone from the sky, and it was now a dark, deep bluish-black and speckled with stars. The streets were crowded with tourists taking in gourmet trout dinners, purchasing overpriced driftwood art, and listening to acoustical musicians singing away underneath antler chandeliers. I’d never been part of the Coeur d’Alene nightlife, mostly because by the time I was old enough to want to be, I was busy helping my mom stay sober.
Glancing at the side of Preston’s face, and judging by his somber expression, he likely wanted to get back to Becker’s party now that I’d shot him down.
“You can just drop Liza and I off outside my building,” I finally said, voice tight and tense as he turned east beyond the freeway, toward the poor side of town—myside of town. “I’ll take it from there.”
Preston scowled and watched the road, in all of his sopping wet t-shirt and dripping pair of khaki shorts glory. Preppy to the forty-seventh degree. So not my type. At least, not usually…
Gah! What was wrong with me? My interest in him was clearly the result of acute loneliness. I was eighteen. It was the last summer of my youth. I was supposed to be sowing all of my wild oats, and instead, I was working overtime, peddling flowers to (mostly) old people and the occasional rich boy looking to impress.
We stopped at a red light, and Preston turned to me. “What floor do you live on?”
I bit the inside of my cheek. Why did my heart clunk inside of my chest when our eyes connected? I was losing it. Losing it, I tell you.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Sabbatical.

I just got back from a three month sabbatical.

I didn't actually go anywhere, I was just overwhelmed with life, and had to take a step back. Nothing bad happened, per say, just a lot, you know? Life suddenly got very heavy, and I had no choice but to step back and regroup.

Here's what ya'll missed:

My awesome son hit 18 months living and serving in Chile, and we're excitedly planning his return this summer.
I dressed as the Long Island Medium for Halloween.
My daughter went to her first American homecoming! (Center, navy blue dress....she looked so pretty!)
We bought a house in the woods.
As if I could resist this staircase. I mean, come on.
My sweet Rocky injured his butthole. No, seriously.
I packed and unpacked boxes. So. Many. D*mn. Boxes.
We went to Disneyland on a vacation we really couldn't afford, but couldn't get our money back on. 
While in L.A., we found some incredible Korean BBQ and (literally) ate until we were sick.
I discovered Mickey Beignets. This was a problem for me.
Came home from Disney and packed to move this lady in......
My mom lives in the apartment in our new house.
So. Many. Boxes.
Celebrated Christmas in our new house.
Now that we live on a mountain in the woods, we've discovered wildlife again. Currently we have  "gang" of at least (I'm not kidding) 15 turkey living on our property, who are angry that we moved in and displaced them. My kids (and I) like to gobble at them and chase them. One of these days, they're going to chase me back, and scare the bejeezers out of me.

So as you can see, it's been a crazy fall/winter for me and mine. Not to mention the emotional implications of moving back to our hometown and seeing people we haven't seen or kept in touch with for a long time. Repatriating ourselves has been tricky, to say the least.

The good news is, I am back in the game. I am back to working and writing again, and I am back to blogging. I hope everyone enjoyed their holiday season, and that you're all excited for the books I've got coming up soon.

Glad to be back, friends.

xoxo
Brooke