Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Warning...You are Now at the Correct Site

So weird...I sent out a link to my blog with a typo. Instead of kristystories.blogspot, I accidentally wrote kristystories.blogPSot which when clicked on takes people to a scary Biblical warning about the horrors of the last days sort of site (strange, right? that they would pick a domain name so close to mine?) Anyway, if you think you're going to my blog and you end up there, please know that I am in no way affiliated with that site. I intentionally didn't put in the link because I don't want to drive people to their site.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Free Books and a Kindle Fire Giveaway

This includes my book The Little White Christmas Lie, which is free for this weekend only!



Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Ginger Root Tea

You can make your own ginger tea by adding one two-inch slice of fresh ginger root to two cups of water. On your stove, bring the ginger water to a boil and then let steep for about half an hour.

Ginger is one of the healthiest spices in the world. Originally from Asia, ginger has been used for medicinal purposes for thousands of years. Below is a list of the top 22 health benefits of ginger root.


1. Fights Cancer

2. Protects Against Alzheimer’s Disease

3. Helps with Irritable Bowel Syndrome

4. Relieves Gas

5. Relieves Heartburn

6. Aids Weight Loss

7. Suppresses Appetite

8. Helps Manage Blood Sugar Levels

9. Relieves Tired Muscles

10. Boosts Nutrient Absorption

11. Helps with Morning Sickness

12. Reduces Arthritic Inflammation

13. Opens Up Inflamed Airways

14. Improves Circulation

15. Heals Frostbite

16. Stops Motion Sickness

17. Provides Pain Relief

18. Clears Sinuses

19. Improves Your Breath

20. Increases Sex Drive

21. Boosts Immune System

22. Protects Against Nuclear Radiation

As you can see, Ginger Root Tea is a medicinal miracle, but one thing it doesn't do is cause forgetfulness. Ginger Root Tea gets a bad rap in my novel, Menagerie, and this blog post is my apology to ginger. Go ahead and imbibe freely. I promise, nothing bad will happen. (Sadly, the same can't be said for my ginger root drinking characters in Menagerie.)

Menagerie is FREE for this weekend only. Get your copy here:

Everyone talks to animals. Some do it every day, although very few stop to listen for a reply. Lizbet Wood does, and this is just one of the things that set her apart. She really doesn’t understand how different she is until violence shatters her solitary existence. 
While Lizbet seeks to understand why mother sought refuge on a deserted island in the Pacific Northwest, she comes face to face with the dangers her mother tried, but failed to escape. When her mother is gravely injured, Lizbet is forced from the island and thrust into a world even more complex and threatening than she could have ever imagined. A world where the animals have no say…or do they?


Animism (from Latin anima, "breath, spirit, life") is the worldview that non-human entities—such as animals, plants, and inanimate objects—possess a spiritual essence.
From Declan’s Research
 CHAPTER ONE
The birds heralded the storm, as they always did. They liked to be the bearers of scuttlebutt Although, as Lizbet had learned long ago, not all birds were created equal, and some species were much more reliable than others. Not that they lied, very few creatures had the ability or cunning, but rather in their haste to be the first in the know, some blurted out misconceptions and half-truths.
Not that Lizbet had much familiarity with liars—or people, in general—but she’d read of several, as Rose, her mother, had accumulated an impressive library over the years. Not that Lizbet was in any position to know what was and was not impressive library-wise, or any otherwise, since Lizbet herself had never been off the island she and Rose called home.
The howling wind drowned out the calls of birds, and the chatter of squirrels and chipmunks. Opossum, skunks, and fox sought shelter in the forest’s thickets. Rats and mice scurried to find hidey-holes. Lizbet fetched an armful of wood from the shed to stoke the fire while her mother gathered candles.
Wind rustled the tarp protecting the woodpile. The pine trees, used to standing straight and tall, moaned as the wind whipped through their canopy, and bent them in directions they didn’t wish to go.
A man approaches,” Wordsworth whined, terror tainting his words.
Lizbet looked over the German Shepherd’s furry head to the storm-tossed sea. The Sound, normally a tranquil gray-blue slate, roiled as if shaken by an invisible hand. Lizbet couldn’t see anyone, but her heart quickened. “Are you sure?” She saw nothing but a curtain of rain, an angry sky, and churning tide. The gulls, who generally swooped above the bay, had wisely found shelter. The otters, too, had disappeared, and for once the noisy, boisterous sea lions, were silent.
The dog nodded. “He’s lost, but hopeful.”
“Hopeful? Of what?”
Wordsworth shook his head. When another flash of lightening lit the sky, his ears flattened and his tail drooped and he cowered as the thunder boomed.
“Come,” Lizbet said, “let’s go inside. Only an idiot would be out on the water today.”
“He’s no longer on the water,” Wordsworth whined. “His boat has landed.”
Lizbet peered into the storm, saw nothing more than before, and added another log to her collection. Their cottage was made of stone, but the adjacent shed which housed the woodpile, gardening tools, and bird seed, was constructed of recycled wood. Wind blew through the slats and rattled the shake roof. The cottage would be warm and dry in a way the shed never could.
Wordsworth whimpered again. Lizbet knew he longed for the comforts of the house as much as she did, but she also understood he had an important job to do, and he would never back away from protecting her and her mother from strangers.
“There’s no one there,” Lizbet said, stomping toward the cottage. She climbed the steps and pulled open the Dutch door. The warm comforting scent of the crackling fire mingled with the aroma of ginger cookies welcomed her in.
Rose stood at a large pine table, stacking the cookies onto a plate. Lizbet stared at the number of cookies, knowing that she and her mother would never be able to eat so many. Her mother was waif-thin with flyaway blond hair as insubstantial as her slender frame.
“There’s a man in the cove,” Lizbet said, wondering if her mother already knew, and if so, why she hadn’t warned her.
Rose kept her gaze focused on the cookies and blushed the color of her namesake. She was as fair as Lizbet was dark. We are as night and day, her mother would say, Together, we are all we need.
“Are you expecting someone?” Lizbet demanded.
“No, not really, but I…” Rose’s voice trailed away.
Lizbet clomped through the kitchen to the living room, weaving through the stacks of books to the fireplace. She dropped her logs onto the hearth, placed her hands on her hips, and marched back into the kitchen. She hated surprises, but she was also curious.
“Who is this man?” Not Leonard, the postman—her mother would never blush for the potato-shaped letter carrier. Besides, Leonard would never venture to the island in a storm. He only came every other Tuesday. Today was Saturday.
“You don’t need to worry about him,” Rose said without meeting Lizbet’s eye.
“Why is he coming? Will he bring books?”
Rose laughed, but it sounded strange—strained and nervous. Lizbet decided that she already disliked this man. She plucked a cookie off the plate.
Rose looked up sharply, an expectant look on her face.
Lizbet studied her cookie, suddenly suspicious. Her mother studied and experimented with herbs and she’d taught Lizbet a variety of recipes. Dandilions to lighten the mood, lavender to soothe worries, chamomile to bring sleep, basil to stimulate energy, and gingerroot to make one forget. Lizbet sniffed the cookie and touched it with her tongue.
Her mother watched.
Lizbet smiled, took a big bite and left the kitchen. In the privacy of her own room, she went to the window and pulled it open. A cold breeze flew in, ruffling the drapes, and blowing about the papers on her desk. Ignoring the wind, Lizbet stuck her head outside and spat the cookie out into the storm. She slammed the window closed.
“What are you doing?” Rose asked.
Lizbet started. She hadn’t heard her mother come in. Wrapping her arms around herself, Lizbet said, “I was looking for the man.”
Rose’s lips lifted into a smile. “Please don’t worry about him. Here, I’ve brought you some tea.” She set down a steaming mug on Lizbet’s bedside table. “Gingerroot, your favorite.”
“Thanks.”
“Want to come and read by the fire?” Rose asked.
Lizbet glanced back at the storm on the other side of the window. An idea tickled in the back of her mind. “In a second,” she said. After plopping down on her bed, Lizbet sipped from the mug, but she didn’t swallow. Instead, she let the tea warm her tongue.
Rose lifted her own mug to her lips and watched Lizbet.
Lizbet set the mug back down and met her mother’s gaze. After an awkward moment, Rose lifted her shoulder in a halfhearted shrug and headed down the hall.
Lizbet bounced from the bed, closed the door, and spat the tea back into the mug. She poured the entire cup down the toilet in the adjacent restroom, flushed, and climbed back onto her bed. She lay perfectly still, waiting for her mom to re-enter the room. She didn’t have to wait long.
A few moments later, her bedroom door creaked open. With her eyes firmly closed, Lizbet practiced her corpse pose and didn’t even flinch as she heard her mother steal into the room. Rose tucked a quilt around Lizbet’s shoulders before creeping back out and closing the door with a whisper click.
Lizbet peeked open an eye and met Wordsworth’s steady, brown-eyed gaze. “Who is he?”
“I don’t know,” the dog whimpered, “but he isn’t scared.”
“How can you tell?” Lizbet asked.
“The smell. All emotions have a smell.”
“My mom—what’s her smell?”
Wordsworth jumped up on the bed beside Lizbet and nestled against her. “She loves you.”
“I know. But I don’t know what that has to do with anything.”
Wordsworth whimpered again and snuggled closer. “You have to let me out so I can meet this man.”
“I can’t. If I do, she’ll know I’m awake. You’re on your own.”
Wordsworth blew out a breath, stood, shook himself, and jumped down. He went to the door to bark and whine. It didn’t do any good. Her mother ignored him, which told Lizbet two things. One: the potion Rose had given Lizbet must have been so strong that Rose didn’t worry about Wordsworth waking her. Two: Rose didn’t want to be interrupted.
Lizbet sat up as a thought assaulted her.
Wordsworth, as if reading her mind, jumped back up beside her and gazed into her eyes.
“This man is my father!” Lizbet blurted out.
“You cannot know this,” Wordsworth whimpered.
“She loves him enough to drug me just to spend time with him! Of course he’s my father!”
Wordsworth moaned a disagreement.
Lizbet had a lot of questions—mostly because she was only twelve, but also because she lived a solitary life with her mother on an uninhabited island in the Puget Sound. She had faith that all of her questions would eventually be answered, but the biggest questions in her heart and mind all centered around her father.
Lizbet kicked off the quilt and crawled off the bed.
Wordsworth placed his nose against her thigh, stopping her. “There must be a good reason your mother doesn’t want you to meet this man.”
“She never said she didn’t want me to meet him.”
Wordsworth snorted. “If she had wanted you to meet him, she wouldn’t have given you the ginger root tea.”
Suddenly Lizbet hated her mother. “She can’t keep me from my own father.”
Wordsworth parked his butt against the door like a giant hairy roadblock. “You do not know he is your father.”
“Of course he is. Who else could he be? Now move.” She grabbed Wordsworth’s collar to pull him away. His fur bunched up around his collar, but he wouldn’t budge.
Lizbet tried the doorknob, but since Wordsworth outweighed her by nearly fifty pounds the door wouldn’t open. Lizbet flounced to the window.
“Where are you going?” Wordsworth asked, his ears poking toward the ceiling.
“To meet my dad.” Lizbet threw open the window. The wind spat rain in her face and carried a breath of bone-chilling cold into the room.
Wordsworth stood and shook himself, but didn’t move away from the door.
Lizbet had one leg thrown over the sill, and her exposed foot was already soaking from the storm.
“You’ll look like a drowned cat if you go outside,” Wordsworth said.
She sent him a dirty look. He gazed back at her. She clambered out the window. The rain hit her like hundreds of shards of ice. The cold stung her face and pierced her clothes. She ran around to the side of the house so she could look in the windows.
Inside, sitting side by side on the sofa amongst the towers of books, snuggled together in front of the fire was her mom and a man. Lizbet knew she’d never seen him before—not that she could remember, at least—but there was something in her that recognized him. She felt as drawn to him as a bird to a worm.
But as she watched him laughing with her mother, Lizbet had another realization. She knew that even if she introduced herself to this man, because of the cookies on the platter, in time, he would never remember her. She’d only be a vague recollection—a face he couldn’t place.
Lizbet never drank gingerroot tea again.
And the man returned, year after year.




Using Personal Disasters in Your Novel: The Lost Finger Nail

Funny things happen all the time. Sometimes, what seems disastrous at the onset is funny in hindsight. Case in point: a few months ago, I helped serve a luncheon to about thirty “silver sisters” (an over eighty crowd). While pouring water cups, I noticed I had lost a fake fingernail. Horrified, I peered into all the cups of ice water I’d just poured. Not seeing my nail, I returned to the pasta salad. I couldn’t find it there, either. I spent the entire luncheon in fear that any moment a little old lady would bite down on my nail and dislodge her dentures, or worse, choke on it.

After the luncheon while we were cleaning up, a friend and fellow volunteer found my nail in the box of our cleaning supplies. Everyone laughed, but I tucked the experience away knowing it would make a great scene in a novel. (I also went home and removed the nails, vowing to never wear them again---at least not when I’m preparing food.)

An excerpt from Menagerie:

Declan watched Lizbet walk away wishing he could go with her. He went through the motions of setting up tables, chairs, spreading the white linen table cloths, and placing the flower arrangements as directed, but his thoughts kept wandering back to Lizbet.
Was he so into her because he couldn’t have her? She refused to take him seriously because she thought they could still be siblings, despite his father’s patent denial. A few weeks he would have eaten his shirt just to have Nicole smile at him and now that he and Nicole were both going to Duke—and Jason was not—he wasn’t interested in Nicole anymore.
Was it possible that he only wanted what he couldn’t have? What did this say about him? Declan ran a finger around his shirt collar. He wasn’t used to wearing a tie and he didn’t like it. It reminded him too much of a noose.
Someone in the catering van yelped.
“What is it now?” Mr. Croft barked from behind the bar. The goblets jiggled as he bobbed up and hit his head against the shelving.
“Nothing,” Missy said in a trembling voice that clearly said something was wrong. She stuck her head out of the van and waved Declan over as soon as Mr. Croft ducked back behind the bar again.
Declan tried to casually stroll across the astro turf. He climbed into the van where Missy shook with distress. He liked Missy and he knew she was a talented cook. Everything she made not only tasted like it heaven but also looked like a work of art.
“What’s the matter?” he whispered.
“My nail,” she whimpered.
“Your what?”
“My nail!” She held out her hand, showing him her four long creamy fingernails embellished with daisies. One finger had a stubby plain old fleshy looking nail. “My nail fell off. It’s somewhere in here.” She looked ready to cry.
“By in here, you mean in the van?”
“Scary scenario—in the food.”
Declan studied the platter of fresh shrimp and poked at it with his fork. Then he went to the pasta salad. Both dishes seemed like the perfect hiding place for a fake fingernail.
“What are we going to do?” Missy asked.
Declan thought about pointing out that since he had all of his fingernails intact, “we” wasn’t the real pronoun she was looking for, but he just shrugged. “I guess we wait for someone to bite down on it and hope no one chokes.”
“Missy! Declan!” Mr. Croft barked.
“I’m so fired,” Missy moaned.
Declan patted her back. “Maybe it fell off before you got here.”
Missy shook her head. “No. I know they were all here when I put on my apron. I would have noticed when I moved my ring.”
Declan knew it was a standard practice for the married caterers to move their wedding rings to their right hands. It helped them get bigger tips.
“Missy! Declan!” Mr. Croft repeated. “What are you doing? It’s time to get this show on the road!”
“Don’t tell anyone, okay?” Missy whispered.
Declan nodded.
“I’m so fired,” Missy groaned, exiting the van.
Small, slimy, and green, the tree frogs dropped from tent poles and landed on the bar.
“What the—hey!” The bartender used his white towel to swat at the jumping frogs.
A lady in a white sundress screamed when she opened her purse and a mouse climbed out.
A wren flew beneath the tent and beat his wings against the canopy, making the sound of jungle drums.
Declan watched his mom frantically totter from one end of the hospitality tent to the other in her three-inch heels as she waved a napkin in the air and shouted, “Shoo!”
A black and white spotted goat darted inside, jumped onto a table and began wolfing down an overweight bald man’s steak. “Hey!” the man cried, pushing the goat to the floor.
The goat let out a bleat that sounded like a laugh before bounding onto another table and scarfing a bleached-blond woman’s chicken breast. The woman screamed and backed away, taking down chairs in her hurry to distance herself from the creature eating her lunch.
Declan watched, his mouth dropping with amazement as squirrels, mice, and rats scampered across tables, ran over chairs, and scaled the tent poles. Throughout it all, Lizbet’s giant marmalade cat sat in the corner watching. Declan swore it looked as if it were grinning. But that wasn’t possible. Cats couldn’t grin.
Right?
If Lizbet’s cat was here, did that mean Lizbet was, too? He scanned the room, taking in the chaos, the screaming women, the flustered men, the cavorting animals. It seemed almost staged. Choreographed. Intentional.
But that was impossible.
He’d heard of lion tamers, of course, but no one he knew of trained frogs, or squirrels, or goats…and was that an opossum waddling across the Astro Turf?
A lady in a sapphire-colored sheath began to scream. She fished a finger into her mouth and pulled out an object seconds before fainting.
“What’s going on?” Missy whispered as she climbed from the back of the van.
“I think Mrs. Dutton found your fingernail,” Declan whispered back.

Menagerie

Monday, November 21, 2016

How to Market E-Books: Review Sites


Whew! I spent the morning updating a list of (mostly YA) bloggers who offer reviews and interviews. It takes courage and steely nerves to share your manuscript with strangers who may or may not love it as much as you, but blog reviews and spotlights are a wonderful and inexpensive way to create book buzz.

As I said, I updated this list, meaning it's something I gathered a few years ago. I removed the blogs that no longer exist or hadn't posted a review within a year. The ones that say OLD mean that that their last post was months ago. I left the ones that say that they're no longer accepting submissions because a number of them will do author interviews.

Good luck!

http://www.fightingmonkeypress.com (Their submissions run from July-September.)
http://www.bibliophilicbookblog.com (NOT ACCEPTING REQUESTS)
http://www.ya-aholic.com (NOT ACCEPTING REQUESTS)
http://romancing-the-book.com (NOT ACCEPTING REQUESTS)

Friday, November 18, 2016

My Warner Brothers' Studio Tour


Last Saturday, I went on a tour of Warner Brothers' Studio with my daughter and daughter-in-law. It was so cool! Our main motivation was to see Stars Hollow, the set of Gilmore Girls, but sadly, it looked as if that wasn't going to happen. Bethany, Jen, and I were sitting in the front of the tram directly behind the tour guide, so she undoubtedly heard our moans of disappointment. The tour guides huddled for a brief moment, and decided to make a short, quick run through the "midwest set" AKA the set of Stars Hollow and Pretty Little Liars. Near the end of the tour, Bethany asked if we'd be able to see Loreli's house, and the answer was maybe. But then the tour ended and the tour guide thanked everyone for coming, said goodbye, while waving her hand at just us, motioning for us to stay.

We got our own private tour of Loreli's house! Just the three of us--four if you counted our fabulous tour guide/photographer. Bethany even got teary-eyed. Cool fact--it's Loreli's house in the front and Suki's house in the back. We got out, walked around, went inside, took pictures...happy sigh.
And I'll admit, I began to fantasize about one of my books becoming a movie. In fact, I decided that The Little White Christmas Lie should be on the Hallmark channel.


After the tour, the freeways must have been jammed, because the GPS took us to Jen's house in Santa Monica via Beverly Hills. It was so fun to drive past all those beautiful houses on the tree-lined streets. (More fantasizing ensued.)
It was a great day and I really didn't think much more about it until I went to my writers' group on Wednesday night and sat next to my friend, Terry Black. He said, "This is a little different, but tonight I'm going to read from a script." (Terry is a great guy, one of my favorite writer friends, and is an incredible writer probably best known for writing Body Heat and his work on Tales from the Crypt. Although, sadly, when I just googled him to see what the internet would say, I found this:
Terry Black (I)
Writer | Miscellaneous Crew | Producer
Trivia:
Brother of Shane Black See more trivia »
Shane is, according the internet, Hollywood's most expensive screenwriter.)
Anyway, back to Wednesday night. Because I was sitting next to Terry, as he was reading, he would put one page down, and I would pick it up and look at it. If you don't know, a screenplay is formatted very differently from a novel. And, of course, it's also written very differently. After the meeting, Terry asked if I'd like to have the copy of the ten pages of his reading. I said of course, and did a little happy dance. The next day, on a whim, I looked up how to pitch a screenplay to the Hallmark channel and found this:
The Hallmark Hall of Fame does not accept unsolicited material. If you have a story, idea or project that you feel could work for the Hallmark Hall of Fame, please have it submitted through a licensed literary agent.
It is the Hallmark Channel’s policy not to accept or consider unsolicited ideas, proposals and/or other creative materials (e.g. scripts, treatments, stories, etc.).

But then, I found this:
Former Script Pipeline Screenwriting Competition finalist Mandie Green began an assignment through Larry Levinson Productions to write a TV movie for the Hallmark Channel, an opportunity credited in part to her contest placements for her script The Michaels, which was produced in 2014.

And this:
2017 Screenwriting Contest
Pre-register Deadline - December 31st, 2016

Terry must be in tune with my dreams because the next day--without being asked--he e-mailed me his entire script. So, while I really don't believe I'll be getting a movie deal, or I'll sell my screenplay to the Hallmark Channel, it'll be really fun to try. I know this all seems very coincidental, but I don't believe in coincidences. I do believe in working hard.
I have to say that for me one of the big take aways from my day at the Warner Brothers' Studio was this: movies are magic. Even the bad ones. As an avid movie goer, I'm too quick to say, "That was so bad," not even considering HOW MUCH WENT INTO MAKING IT! The filming, the lighting, the sound, the makeup, the actors, the camera guys, the editing--making a movie has got to be so incredibly hard and complex. It's so much more than beautiful people in a lovely setting mimicking life, making an audience laugh or cry or both.

It's exhilarating to even try to write a screenplay. Something new. Something I've never done before. Wish me luck.

(Did you know that the Batmobile is a real car? They make like 5 of them per movie and they're serious machines that can go up to 130 miles per hour! Somehow, I thought they'd be little models. The tour made me realize that I'm completely clueless. It was strangely humbling.)

Monday, November 14, 2016

How to Market E-Books: Networking and the ANWA Retreat

I was writing when this picture was taken, so some kind person photo-shopped me in. 
I'm on the very far right, about three rows up.








American Night Writers Association (ANWA) is a unique professional organizations for LDS writers. ANWA helps writers of all levels and genres, published and unpublished. They host a Conference, workshops, and retreats.

 I chose to go to the one in the Pacific Northwest so I could retreat and visit my aging dad all on one trip. It was pretty fabulous. I met some wonderful people. Jordan McCollum, the keynote speaker, gave three amazing addresses. I attended two workshops on marketing. I wish I could share my notes, but sadly, I lost my notebook. Since this notebook also had my outline for my work in progress and my marketing plan for the next 18 months, I'm doubly sad. But all things happen for a reason, and I've since retooled my marketing plan, making it leaner and meaner. Fortunately, while at the retreat I was able to blast out an amazing fifteen thousand words--a record for any three consecutive days for me. I came home with a nearly completed manuscript, making the outline unnecessary.

The location was drop dead gorgeous. However, I knew this going in. The center is adjacent to Bowman Bay state park near Anacortes, Washington, a place of many Dickson family gatherings. And there was So. Much. Food.

Aside from the lovely people I met, the most important take away for me was learning how amazingly wonderful it was to be in a place and situation where nothing could distract me from my story. Even my meals were provided. I tried to go running one morning, but it was too dark, so my exercise routine went out the window. I had my own room so I could stay up late writing, or wake up early to write without worrying about disturbing anyone. As you can see from the my pictures, it was pretty much heaven.


I left the retreat in a happy daze and got to spend the remainder of my time in Seattle with one of my favorite people, my sister-in-law. We went to the Seattle Center where there was a Day of the Dead Celebration. This video pretty much sums up how I feel about my trip.
video

While there, I met a new friend who was a writing a book about a terrible accident where she nearly severed her hand. I decided to use this in my book. (With her permission.) Here's a snippet from my soon-to-be-released novel, Melange (second book in the Menagerie series.)

FROM CHAPTER 10
Ten days and four surgeries later, Gloria was allowed to go home. Declan helped her into a wheelchair, loaded the many flower bouquets onto her lap, and rolled his mom down the hall and out the door to her waiting Mercedes. A nurse carrying even more flowers and Gloria’s bags followed. He held open the door and waited for her climb in. Gloria looked tired although it wasn’t even noon.
“Would you like to stop for lunch?” he asked before starting the car.
“If you want to pick something up, that’s fine.” Gloria wouldn’t meet his eye.
He’d witnessed her attempts at feeding herself with her left hand, and it wasn’t pretty. “Mom, you have to eat.” Declan put the car in gear and headed for downtown.
“Not right this instant, I don’t.”
Declan drove in a tight-lipped silence.
“Where are we going?” Gloria asked. “This isn’t the way home.”
“I thought we’d go to Marciano’s to celebrate.” He slid her a worried glance.
“Celebrate what?” She sounded bitter.
“You’re coming home!”
She made an ugly snorting sound.
“About that…I hope you don’t mind, but I wondered if I could move in,” Declan said.
“Why?” She skated him a glance.
“You don’t sound pleased. If you don’t want me to…”
“Declan, turn this car around right now. I’m not going to Marciano’s and you’re not going to move in unless…You know you are always welcome at my house. I’ve begged you for years to move in, but now, I’m afraid, the answer is no.”
“No? Really?”
“You are not going to take care of me.”
“Mom! That’s not what this is about.” Although it totally was.
“The hell you say.”
“Mom!” As far as he could remember, his mom had never sworn in front of him before.
“You are not going to be my housemaid!”
“Of course not. After all, I’m starting school in a few weeks.”
She bit her lip and tears welled in her eyes.
He reached over and patted her leg. “I want to stay with you. Dad is…dating Daugherty and it’s weird.”
“How are things with you and Lizbet?”
“Even weirder.” He pulled up in front of Marciano’s.
“Sweetie, I really don’t want to be here. I don’t have any makeup on, my hair looks like a rat’s nest…”
“No one will care. You know that Lorenzo will be happy to see you.”
“I care. And if you love me, you’ll stop babying me.”
Declan swallowed hard. “How about we try again in a few days?”
“See? This is what I mean!”
Declan put the car in gear and pulled out of the restaurant’s parking lot. “I’m not following you.”
Gloria jabbed her finger into his arm. “You’re the kid.” She pointed at herself. “I’m the mom.”
He chuckled. “Believe me, I get that.”
“I don’t think you do. Since my accident, you’ve been acting like you wear the britches.”
“Mom, stop. I don’t want your britches.”
She folded her arms and settled back against the seat, looking cross. “You bet your sweet bippy you don’t.”
“Do I have a bippy?”
“Everyone has a bippy.”
“Sounds like a girl thing.”
“See, you don’t know everything.”