This blog is for those 18 and older.

Friday, August 28, 2015

DIVINE INTERVENTION REQUIRED!

You all know how I hate stupidity.  Well, it's alive and thriving at one of the local banks today, who shall remain nameless.  But I'm a little worried that these people and these systems manage our vast fortunes!  So here's what happened...and I'm tickled as hell to report that Stupid Girl had absolutely no involvement this time.

I logged onto the online system to update the phone number on my mom's account to my cell number.  I decided to do this because I manage her finances and when there is a problem at the bank, they call her and she usually does not understand what they are talking about.  But because she is nice and wants to be accommodating, she tells them whatever they want to know.  Sometimes it's really the bank, sometimes it's someone she just thinks is the bank.  Very confusing for her, and very risky for her finances.

A few months ago, someone hacked into her account and tried to spend her money.  So the bank called and explained the problem, got a bunch of information from her, and then told her they had straightened out the situation.  I was not involved in these discussions at all, so was unaware of what had transpired.  Not knowing all the complexities of banking and how her account is set up, she had no clue that some of her auto-pays had been turned off when the bank declined payment while they were straightening out this mess.  Or rather, she didn't know they had been turned off until the lights, phone, and TV went out.  That's when I was called in to straighten things out.

So...long story short, I decide it would be best if they call me directly so the right hand knows what the left hand is doing and everything stays aligned properly.  I'm the Power Of Attorney and a signer on her account, so no problem...I should be able to just log into the online system and change the phone number on the account.  Oh, silly me!  That would be way too easy and make just too damn much sense.  LOL

So I log in and the system does allow me to change the work phone number and the mobile number, but apparently people are never allowed to change their home phone number.  Really?  I look at the screen and think maybe it's because the home number is listed as the primary number.  Okay.  So once the work number is changed to my cell number, I try to change the primary designation so that the work number is primary.  Nope.  Apparently that's not allowed either.  Crap!  All right, so now I have to call the bank

I get a guy on the phone and I explain the problem and tell him I am listed on the account as the POA and a signer.  He asks me for the last 4 of my social and I give it to him.  Then he asks me to confirm recent deposits and debits and I read them to him straight from the bank's online screen...because I am still logged into the online system that allowed me to change the work phone number.  He tells me those amounts are not correct.  Really?  I tell him I'm reading them straight off their online system.  So then he asks me what my login account name is and I tell him.  Then he says that doesn't exist.  Really?  What part doesn't he understand of..."I am logged into my mother's account right now on your freaking online system with that login name"?

He says he's very sorry, but that's an invalid login id and he's not allowed to give me information on my mother's account anyway.  Steam is coming out of my ears by this point and I again point out that I am the POA and I am listed as a signer on the account.  He puts me on hold and goes for help.  When he comes back, he has a list of questions I have to answer about myself personally.  Ok.  Yeah, I know the amount of my mortgage payment and yes, I can confirm that a previous employer was Honeywell and yes, I know what state issued my birth certificate.  Hmmm...now he gives me a question that has multiple correct answers, but he insists there can be only one.  He repeats the 4 choices...and again tells me I have to pick just one.  I have to pick the right area code for my phone number ending in 5532.  Really?  My cell phone number and my land line both end in 5532, but they have two different area codes...which are both on his stupid freaking list!

It takes me 10 minutes to get him to understand the problem.  In the meantime, he just keeps reading the digits to me and saying I must choose the area code for the number that ends in 5-5-3-2...like I'm the village idiot.  Seriously?  So I start reading full phone numbers back to him like he's the village idiot and the light bulb finally comes on.  Oh...you have two phone numbers that end in the same numbers but they have different area codes and both of those area codes are on the list?

(YES!  Here's your freaking sign!)

So he puts me on hold again and goes for help one more time.  When he comes back, he asks me which one I use the most.  Seriously?  You're going to make me guess the answer?  Can't I have another question?  I don't like this game...I am not having fun!

Okay, now it's clear...we're just gonna have me guess and hope I get it right.  What a process!  So I think hard and since I hate banks (shocker, right?), I figure I probably gave them the throwaway land line number.  So I guess the area code for the land line.

Ding...ding...ding...we have a winner.  Yeah.  Thank you, God!!! 

(Because this was truly an act of God.  Textbook case, actually -- bank employee following stupid process needs impossible information from woman who already has access to system that won't work as advertised.  Don't think that didn't require divine intervention!)

So now that I'm officially "ok", he goes to the personal information page and asks me what I want to change.  I tell him just make the home number match the work number.  He says, "Oh, that's all you needed?"

Yeah.

Barely after noon and already I need a drink!

And here's another brilliant piece of information I got today...the weather service just sent me an extreme heat warning as an emergency notification on my phone, complete with bells and sirens.  I'm in freaking Phoenix, Arizona in August...two feet from hell and miles from water.  The only place on this continent that's hotter is Death Valley.  Really?  I needed an emergency warning to tell me that?  Wonder if the folks out in Death Valley got that warning.

(Now there's shit that don't happen everyday.  Oh wait...yeah, it does.)



That's my story--idiotic and impossible--and I'm stickin' to it.  Hang on real tight now, cuz we're gonna go real, real fast!


Love ya,
Kayce

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Old friends....


     I recently re-read (for maybe the 20th time) The Kadin. This is one of my favorite stories from Bertrice Small. The book is tattered and dog-eared and held together with tape and rubber bands and yet, it remains one of my favorites, despite its well-loved appearance. I fell in love with it the very first time I read it soooo many years ago (curled up on the corner of my couch, wearing my favorite bathrobe—I had that robe for 35 years…it was pink and fuzzy and oh so warm…..what can I say? I hang on to things—I brought that book with me from New Jersey when I moved to Arizona). Every time I read that story again, it feels like getting together with a cherished friend….and I adore my friends.
     I’ve said before that I’ve been fortunate and blessed and I truly believe that. A lot of those feelings stem from having such wonderful friends in my life (people as well as books). There are a couple girls from High School I’m still in touch with….we haven’t seen each other for years, but I know if I pick up the phone (or message on Facebook), it’s like we just saw each other yesterday—we seem to pick up right where we left off. There is my Friday night group (although we’re much more than a Friday night group—we are family, there for each other through good times and bad). I’ve known some of them for almost thirty years, some not as long, but time doesn’t matter….I love them all.
     There are friends from the neighborhood and from where I used to work and ones from where I work now. Friends I met through my writing (I now consider these ladies my sisters). And there is my DH—we were friends before we married and he’s still my best friend thirty-six years later.
     So next time you’re perusing your bookshelf, looking for something new to read, don’t pass by that beaten and battered old book. Take if off the shelf. Sit down, get comfortable and reacquaint yourself with a long-lost, treasured friend.

As always, happy reading!
Marie

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Something meaningful

When I read romances, especially my favorite regency romances, I tend to let the light flowing words trickle over me, never seeping in. Most of the words are fluff and unimportant. They don't strain my overworked brain and they allow me to detour life for a brief moment. As soon as the book is done, I immediately forget the characters and story line. I'm happy with that. While I love reading, I don't want book characters to take up too much time or space. Until I met Harry.

Lorraine Heath's The Duke and the Lady in Red didn't capture my attention at first. In fact, I was about ready to delete it from my library. It was too much of the same old stuff I had been reading. But then something happen. Something remarkable. A side character took over the story.

Harry.

Harry, a very tortured, unconventional character, made me cry (big crocodile tears), and I don't like to cry. I turn all puffy and red. Harry made me want to meet him. His story, so filled with tragedy and yet unconditional love, made the story so much more meaningful. With his simple, quiet way, he stole the entire story and thereby gave every other character a breath of  life.

I've often found that books that can hold my attention and transform my living room into a new world, were those that had memorable side characters.

And that is what Harry is: Memorable.


Friday, August 21, 2015

Ronnie Allen's Debut Book GEMINI


Lexi,
 
Thank you so much for hosting me today. This is an excerpt from GEMINI: THE SIGN BEHIND THE CRIME, BOOK1, with the protagonist, forensic psychiatrist Dr. John Trenton and his love interest, Vicki, on their first date. Black Opal Books released Gemini on June 6th. This is the first time I’ve revealed this excerpt. I hope your readers like it.


Excerpt from Gemini:

She returned moments later with their drinks and a basket of fresh, right out of the oven, piping-hot, steaming sweet rolls, and two-ounce cups of cinnamon butter. “Enjoy, y’all.”


“Thank you. They make them from scratch here.” Vicki helped herself to one, almost dropping it. “Yikes, that’s hot.” She tore the soft, fragrant roll apart, gently collapsing it in her fingers, and spread a tiny amount of cinnamon butter on a small piece. Then, with the smile of a temptress, she slipped it into her mouth, enticing him. “That’s so good.”


“Now who’s starting?” He enjoyed her playfulness. He adored her softness and innocence. She was angelic. John grabbed a roll, ripped it apart, spread it with the butter, and popped it into his mouth. “Oh God, this is good. Really good.” He downed the remaining part of the roll in less than a minute. He could relax with her, not be on edge. He could just be a man with Vicki without the tough upscale image he had to uphold in New York.


Their dinners arrived and her plate overflowed with the ribs and enough mashed potatoes for a few heavy-weight Sumo wrestlers. 

“You’re going to eat all that? Don’t you even think it. And you needed the extra bacon? Really?”


“John, I didn’t start yet, and the calories only count if you consume them. And I just like a little of the bacon for flavor. And—who died and left you my boss?”


“We’ll see how much of it you eat.”


“So you only eat healthfully all the time?”


“Ninety-five percent. I work too hard in the gym, but I’m sure tempted to make an exception down here.”


He dove into the chicken while she teased him with the ribs. She broke one apart from the rack on her plate. The meat fell apart with her touch, and the tangy and sweet sauce spread onto her fingers and around her lips. She nibbled on a rib, moaning with satisfaction. Bite by bite, the meat came off the bone as she devoured it. Then she slowly licked it down to its barren white core with her saucy tongue and held the bone by her teeth as it dangled from her lips, giving him the distinct signal that she was ready to be consumed by him, tonight. He didn’t need to be psychic to understand that one.


Laughing, he dug into her plate with his fork and helped himself to two ribs. “You better feel honored. I don’t play ‘Have Fork Will Travel’ with just any woman.”


The owner of the restaurant, a woman in her forties, approached the table. “Hi, Miss Vicki! How are y’all enjoying dinner? Everything yummy?”


“It’s very yummy, Sally, thank you.”


“And you, sir?”


“Very good, thank you.”


“Good. Send my regards to your father.” Sally walked off to another table.


“I will. Thanks.”


“Do you come here often?”


“Yes, but everyone here in the county knows me.”


“Ah, the sheriff’s daughter. Okay.”


“Does that bother you?”


“No. Not at all.” But deep down inside, he was knocked off his throne.


“Betcha just can’t eat just those two. These are addicting.”


He chomped on the ribs without taking his enraptured eyes off her. “Oh man, these are good. Order more. I can see how my father gained so much weight down here.” He winked at her and she blushed again. “You really have to tell me what that’s all about later.”


“What what’s all about?” She knew darn well. She stopped dead in the middle of salivating on a rib, receiving his signature look.

Here is the video trailer of Gemini

Buy Links:


B&N







Blurb of Gemini:

His life is exactly the way he wants it to be—until he meets her…

Both psychic and clairvoyant, Dr. John Trenton is a forensic psychiatrist who has a wife he worships and a position as a department head at a hospital for the criminally insane in Manhattan. His patients—young adult men, who are some of the most psychotic and psychopathic criminals in NYC—enable him to live his life on the edge, just the way he likes it. Then he meets a woman who changes everything.


She is two days from accomplishing the revenge she lives for—until she meets him…

Stripper by night, school psychologist by day, Gemini obsessed Barbara Montgomery, makes a critical mistake and is committed for seventy-two hours of observation, where she risks it all in an unnerving escape. Furious with Dr. Trenton for interfering in her life, she is now determined to kill his wife and unborn child, along with everyone else who has ever caused her pain—real or imagined.


As the killing spree continues, John is forced to use all his ESP, as well as his knowledge and expertise, to interpret this psychopath’s Gemini obsession and unravel her dark and murderous past. But can he track her down and bring her to justice—before she destroys his world completely?


About Ronnie:

Ronnie Allen is a New York City native, born and bred in Brooklyn, New York, where she was a teacher in the New York City Department of Education for 33 years including the obtaining of a New York State license as School Psychologist. Her various roles included classroom teacher, staff developer, crisis intervention specialist, and mentor for teachers who were struggling. Always an advocate for the child, Allen carries this through as a theme in her novel Gemini, with the reader seeing the horrors of child abuse through the eyes of three characters.

In the early 1990s she began a journey into holistic healing and alternative therapies and completed her PhD in Parapsychic Sciences in 2001.


Along the way, Allen has picked up many certifications. She is a Board Certified Holistic Health Practitioner as well as a crystal therapist, Reiki practitioner, metaphysician, dream analyst, and Tarot Master Instructor. She has taught workshops in New York City and in Central Florida where she now lives.


Combining a love of the crime genre and her psychology background, with her alternative therapies experiences, writing psychological thrillers is the perfect venue for her.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Virtue Falls by Christina Dodd


Virtue Falls, Washington sounds like such an innocent and charming place.   For twenty-three years it’s been quite the opposite.
A heinous murder is reported as “husband kills wife while four-year-old daughter watches.” Elizabeth Banner, the former four-year-old, returns to Virtue Falls over two decades later as a renowned geologist with a closed personality.
An earthquake at Virtue Falls is Elizabeth’s first dream-come-true.  Studying such a phenomenon is a once in a lifetime opportunity.  Her second dream-come-true is to visit her committed father, committed for Alzheimer’s and committed for a murder he might not have performed.
Garik Jacobsen, an ex-FBI agent and ex-husband to Elizabeth finds out trouble is brewing in more than the collateral of an earthquake in Virtue Falls and comes running to save the ex-wife he still loves.
That would be Elizabeth’s third dream-come-true even though she’s not aware of it early on.
What I like about this story is the amount of suspects Dodd places in strategic positions throughout the search of Elizabeth’s mom’s murder.  Not even sure if her dad is innocent, a handful of culpable suspects surround the town.  Even more, the reigniting of love between two people who learn problems can be solved.
This is the second of her "Falls" series and well worth the enjoyable time.
Happy reading,
Dawn

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Interview with Anna Small and a Giveaway!


Alexis: Today we have Historical Romance author, Anna Small, and she is giving away an ecopy of STORM OF THE HEART, so be sure to leave a comment below for a chance to win!


Hi Anna, when did you know you wanted to be a writer?



Anna:  I’ve been writing stories since I was very young. My first attempt at a novel was in 7th grade, about a dog who was half-wolf and escaped to Alaska! I was always making up stories for my younger sister, and we would write out and draw stories we came up with together. I lived in England during my high school years and, one summer, decided to write a “love story” about an English pirate and a French governess, set during the French Revolution. It ended up being about 350 pages, and I wrote another book when I went back to school in the Fall. By the time I graduated college with an English degree, I had completed 4 historical romance novels!



Alexis: Wow, that says a lot about your time management skills! Which authors inspire you?



Anna:  I stopped writing once I had kids, but still missed it. One day, a friend gave me Diana Gabaldon’s OUTLANDER, and her writing and the characters reminded me how much I loved writing. I joined RWA again and started going to meetings. A year or so later, my 7th romance novel I’d ever written, was published by The Wild Rose Press.



Alexis: Everyone has their own writing process…how they come up with ideas, how they name their characters, how they choose the setting. Can you describe your writing process?



Anna: It usually starts out in a flurry of ideas. I will start to play with either a character or theme or a scene – sometimes it comes from something I saw in a movie. There is literally a whirlwind of pictures and dialogue and plot points that swirls around for a bit, and I immediately scribble them down in bursts and bits. I do this for about an hour, detailing character descriptions, key scenes, dialogue, setting, conflict, etc. Once I have it safely out of my head and into the laptop, I can take a breath and go back to it later! 



Alexis: What are you working on now?



Anna: I usually work on several things at once, so I have probably four or five novels in various states of completion. That’s how I avoid burnout or writer’s block. Somehow, I never get characters or plots confused and am able to jump right into any novel and pick up where I left off. Currently, I am almost done with the first book of a new Regency historical romance series, and have the second book started. I pitched these at the RWA conference in NYC this summer! The third was scribbled down in the way I mentioned above, and as I get ideas for it, I write them down. I also have a contemporary/paranormal erotica that’s almost done, and a Viking era-set novel. And then there’s my western series I want to finish….



Alexis: I can tell you are at no loss for ideas :-) What has been the most memorable fan comment you ever had?



Anna: I offered to critique 20 pages of a manuscript for my online chapter, The Beau Monde, as a fundraiser and was very surprised to hear that I had actually been bid on. The winner was an aspiring author who, it turned out, had read all my books and was a fan. I had no idea until then that I actually had fans out there! So that was thrilling to receive her enthusiastic letter and hear how much she loved my books.



Alexis: How fun. What was the first romance you ever read?



Anna:A historical romance called KATHERINE, about Katherine Swynford, the mistress and later wife of the enigmatic John of Gaunt, the grandfather of Henry V. Imagine my surprise when I researched my husband’s English ancestry and found out that he is a direct descendant of John and Katherine!



Alexis: That is quite a coincidence. What has been the best piece of advice you ever received for your writing career?



Anna: Take your time and never submit your manuscript until you know it’s ready!



Alexis: What was the funniest thing you did wrong when you first started writing?



Anna: My first finished novel actually used the word “wenches” twice on the first page.



Alexis: Ugh :-) What was your first writer’s conference?



Anna: The NJRW conference, probably around 1992. I met Nora Roberts, who was our speaker, and bumped into a hunky cover model who was also a speaker. When I bumped into him, he looked down at me and smiled…and I literally felt a blush run from my toes to my ears! So I love writing about that deep, all-over body blush in my books, because I know it can happen.



Alexis: Thank you so much for visiting with us, Anna. It was great having you on Happily Ever After Thoughts.



For a chance to win an ebook copy of STORM OF THE HEART, leave a comment below.



Excerpt from STORM OF THE HEART

The moonlight only emphasized her loveliness. He brushed a tangled strand of hair from her wet cheek, and her eyelids fluttered. Her lips parted with a gasp, and he wondered if she kissed her ghostly husband in her sleep. Before he could stop himself, he gave in to his pent-up frustration and longing and brushed his lips across hers.

He expected her to sink back into the bedclothes, dead asleep, or, worse, wake up. Instead, her lips quivered against his. Her arms tightened around him, sliding up to grip his shoulders. The pads of her fingers dug into his back. He couldn’t help himself. He deepened the kiss, aware of his rising ardor, but unable to contain it. She twined her fingers in his hair, pulling her to him with an urgency he didn’t want to fight. Every fiber of his being vibrated with sparks ignited by her kiss. His muscles weakened with each passing moment, as did his resolve to leave in the morning. How could he sneak out of the cottage like a criminal, when she was so alone, so desperately alone?

He would have to go soon, regardless. His presence was too much of a risk for her. For himself, he cared little. But he could not put the burden of harboring an enemy upon her.

He broke the kiss gently so as not to awaken her. Cradling her in his arms, he lowered her to the pillow and pulled the quilt up to her chin. He kept watch by her side to ensure she didn’t have another nightmare, but she slept heavily. She resembled an angel in sleep, with her golden hair tumbled across the pillowcase. In sleep, she was more the young woman he sensed dwelled beneath her daily sorrow and mournful burden. It was a shame, truly a shame, that she could not cast the burden aside and give her heart again.

Despite the almost painful urge to hold her through the night, he pulled up a hard-backed chair and sat beside her. He did allow one indulgence, which was to take her hand from the coverlet and hold it lightly. Her fingers closed around his.

Just before dawn, he staggered from her room and unpacked the flour sack of Caleb Quinn’s belongings before falling into a dead sleep on his pallet.

Buy links: 





About Anna:

Growing up in England fostered my love of history, and I spent many happy weekends wandering the gardens and salons of stately homes and castles, imagining the people and events that used to be. Now, my romance novels are set in the old American West, the rocky shores of Maine, the French countryside, and many more to come. My sources of inspiration are limitless – I only wish there were more hours in the day!


I'm a member of Romance Writers of America and its Florida chapter, Sunshine State Romance Authors, as well as the Beau Monde Regency chapter. STORM OF THE HEART is my sixth published novel. When I’m not writing, I enjoy scuba diving with my family, traveling, boating, scrapbooking, reading, and quilting.




Twitter:  @annasmallbooks


Alexis: Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win STORM OF THE HEART.