This blog is for those 18 and older.

Friday, February 24, 2023

IS “CLOSE ENOUGH” REALLY GOOD ENOUGH?

Hey, gang, how are ya’all? Doing good, I hope! It’s been great weather here in the Valley of the Sun…at least, great for me. I love colder weather and we’ve had a cooler than usual winter this year. YAY! Not everyone is happy about it, but this is my story, so I’m gonna call it a huge WIN.  ๐Ÿ˜Š 

Now, my tale today is all about the big question that is on my mind tonight…What the hell happened to the way things used to be? And when did “close enough” become the acceptable standard for delivery on a promise? 

Okay, I’m a bit of a perfectionist. I’ll admit that. But I’m also reasonable and don’t expect perfection from everyone I meet. That would just be stupid. But I do miss the days when you could hire someone to do a project and they would do their best to give you what they said they would deliver…when you did business on a handshake and their word was their bond (and they valued it)…when they took pride in a job well done. 

All too often these days we run into the wall ‘o greed…that burning desert zone where it’s all about getting the biggest profit margin you can, even if it means short-cutting the process or lying to the customer about what you will deliver…or maybe setting up a help desk process manned completely by AI. Okay, I got a little excited and got us off topic. 

Sigh. 

Well, I’m sittin’ at the edge of that hot zone with my feet dangling over the edge, wondering if I’m gonna finish this week pissed off as a wet rooster under a bucket, or if someone is going to restore my faith in human nature. Why? I’m glad you asked. 

I had a leak in my patio roof that was leaving a wet spot on the floor when it rained…then that leak turned into two leaks and two wet spots…then those wet spots became two rivers that eventually merged into one and ran the length of the enclosed patio wall every time it rained. Bottom line, I needed the roofing over the patio replaced. The house roof is only about 3 years old, but the patio roofing got a 2nd layer put on about 20 years ago, so it was time. 

So I got a referral to a roofing company and asked for an estimate to replace the patio roofing. Now, the house roof that was replaced about 3 years ago was twice the amount of the quote for the patio roof. Twice. That might sound reasonable until you realize that the house roof was probably 2300 square feet of roofing, all new drip cap, several lengths of fascia board, several pieces of plywood, working around 2 AC units and various exhaust vents with architectural shingles, and the project took a full crew 2 days to complete. The patio roof is less than 400 square feet with nothing to have to work around with peel and stick roofing, required no wood replacement whatsoever, and took about 10 manhours to complete…at half the price of a full roof replacement just three years prior. 

So, here we are in hyperinflation and using a different roofing company (because the previous company whom I LOVED went out of business during the pandemic), and I find that the pricing for roofing work has jumped to mind-boggling levels. Okay, I have a conversation with them to understand exactly what I’m getting for that price, how they will match colors, etc. I sign on the dotted line. 

Now they have me. 

The bottom line is that the two-man crew finished up by about 3pm and hurried away as I was rather loudly questioning why the hell my patio is now four different colors. I let them go. After all, they were not the guys who would be looking for the final check. Nor were they empowered to make any conciliatory offers. 

But they were the guys who did the work. So, where’s the pride in a job well done? How could they look at a house with a medium brown roof, a sand colored patio roof that is nowhere near the color of the roof, and dark brown trim that is supposed to be the same color as the rest of the trim on the house, which is gray…and call it good? 

Really? 

Okay, this is where I came smack dab up against the loss of pride in a job well done. Oh, don’t get me wrong…it does appear that they did a good, solid job of applying the roofing. (We’ll see how it holds up if the predicted rain hits tonight.) But I was told the drip cap and any fascia board that had to be replaced would be painted to match the trim. Nope. Half of the back side of my house has dark brown trim, and the other half has gray trim. I’m sorry…this does not scream pride in my job to me. No one even questioned it. And when I did, the guy tried to tell me it wasn’t noticeable and ran like the wind. 

Really? 

So, I fired off an email to the company who is still expecting the last half of the payment, explaining just how unhappy I am with their idea of what it means to come “as close to the color of the roof as possible” and with leaving me with a mishmash of colors and trim that doesn’t match anything else on the house. Never mind the fact that they haven’t lived up to their word. 

I am expecting that tomorrow will be the day when I find out if they restore my faith in human nature by trying to do something to make it right—or at least slightly more palatable. On the other hand, I could find myself running head-first into the corporate wall o’ greed. Being a project manager in a previous life, I understand budgets and profit margins…and I also know that there is a minimum of a 50% profit margin built into this job. The least I expect them to do is spring for a $50 can of paint and a man with a ladder to paint that damn trim—like they told me they would. 

So, cross your fingers that the door that opens tomorrow is Door Number One and they will at least try to soften the blow of a two-color roof that I will have to live with for at least the next 10 years of my life. After all…“close enough is good enough,” while wrong at its very core, still only applies if it’s actually close. This color difference would only count as “close” if you were a mole or a flatworm viewing the house from a distance of a mile-and-a-half. 

Really! 

If I ever come “close enough” with any story I write, I expect my readers would send me a note demanding a rewrite…and they would be entitled to it…because I do not believe close enough is good enough. For me it never will be and I’m sad that for some, it has become the norm. 

I’m proud to say that it’s not good enough for any of the writers I know either. So, if you read a book that goes above and beyond, stand up for doing a great job…leave that book an outstanding review. Use that vehicle to tell the world that this is a book written by an author that delivered on their promise, took pride in their work, and did not believe close enough was good enough.

Well, that’s my story, disappointed and disillusioned, and I’m stickin’ to it. Hang on tight now ‘cuz we’re gonna go real, real fast!

Love ya,

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Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Going to Dallas!


        Hello, gentle readers! Hope you are all well and staying safe!
        So, what shall I talk about today? Oh, I know! Good stuff! Taxes are all done and submitted, the day job is crazy busy (but I love it), the search for a “new-to-me” car continues (I know what I want and how much I’m willing to pay), I think I’ve found the cover for Wife for Hire (I plan on putting that out within the next couple months) and the rewrite of the love scene for Wife Wanted continues (can’t tell you how many times I written and ripped out, but that’s okay. It happens—I’m just trying to get right), but I’ve saved the best stuff for last.
        I just purchased my ticket to Dallas, where my son lives. He’s getting married to a beautiful young woman who is the sweetest thing on two feet. I just love her (and truthfully, she’s already my daughter in my heart)!
        Anyway, this trip isn’t for the wedding, but rather to go wedding dress shopping with her. Yes, she asked me and I can’t tell you all how thrilled I am. I’ve never done this before. Heck, I didn’t even shop for my own wedding dress forty-two years ago (I repurposed something I already had….what can I say? We were broke at the time).
        So this is a whole new experience for me and like I said, I’m just thrilled. The other great thing about this trip? I’ll get to see a dear friend who moved to Texas several months ago! Whoooo-hoooo! Double WIN!
        My biggest problem now will be keeping my feet on the ground until I board that plane!

Stay well! Stay safe! And remember to spread kindness wherever you go!

Marie

Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Just A Kiss (A Fake Boyfriend Billionaire Romance) by Tabatha Kiss

 Millionaires don't appear to be enough anymore, so let's hit on the billionaires.  They're people, too.

Penelope has a hated family reunion at an all expense paid high-class resort.  I think I could tolerate that just for the fact of a free sort-of vacation.  Penelope's problem is that the family has a perfect match for her, and it's the same Dillweed every year.  Family friend, of course.

The fake boyfriend she set up ditched her last minute, so with a desperate plan and a good-looking man at the bar twenty bucks might by her freedom for the weekend.

Hayden hangs out at the Botsford Hotel while he recovers from a baseball injury and is bored.  Bored enough to play the game with a beautiful, desperate, but not eager woman.  Game on.


I mentioned Penelope's desperation.  Her mom is leery of the "new" boyfriend.  Mr. Dillweed doesn't like or believe it.  Penelope's dad loves Hayden.  Hayden is surprised at his interest.  Mainly because she's not gushing all over him like most other women.  He's had a lot of girlfriends/one-nighters.  

There are a few hurdles to leap for an understanding between Penelope and Hayden to come to at the same time...over zealous reporter, parents, Dillweed butting in, Penelope's dream job as a hair stylist, and Hayden's bank account with his family's name on it.

It's a delightful ride from the first kiss for money and the last kiss which could be real!

Happy reading,

Dawn

Friday, February 10, 2023

WTH? I DIDN’T SIGN UP FOR THIS.

 Well, this day has gone seriously off the rails! 

Oh wait…I didn’t say Hi. Where are my manners?  Hey-Howdy, folks.  I hope everyone is doing great out there, that life is giving you time to plant a garden, and that it’s all coming up roses.  I truly do! 

Now, back to my melt-down.  ๐Ÿ˜Š  Because we all know it’s gonna be spectacular.  LOL 


So, tell me…are you the person who gets up smiling and chatty (say it ain’t so), who rises early without an alarm, and sails into the day full-speed-ahead, wide eyed and optimistic, with no need for coffee, booze, or anything added to that orange juice or protein shake?
 

Or are you the one (like me) who drags out of bed late because you stayed up too late with a good book and have hit snooze on your alarm for the fifth time, who desperately needs coffee to function, but cannot safely make coffee without having coffee, who will need a pair of pliers to pry her eyelids open because there is ten pounds of sand in each one, who shuffles to the kitchen desperately hoping no one is awake to mess with her?  Why is it that people always love to poke at the person who is not a morning person? It’s a good way to lose limbs.  And still, they do it, and are surprised when they pull back a bloody stump.  Well, I’m here to tell you…no poking! 

Anyway, I digress.  So, this morning I got up and shuffled to the kitchen.  As I opened the blinds, I made direct eye contact with my horse, Meeko, who stood with his head over the fence, staring at the house and hollering. I was about fifteen minutes late to feed and he knew it. Who the hell ever taught horses to tell time, anyway? 

So, this horse isn’t starving.  He has a half an acre of grass in the pasture that he can pick at.  I’d never have to feed him for a month and he would stay fat just on the grass that’s out there literally at his feet. But it’s not his delicious grain or his to-die-for cookie.  Which means if I run late, he is determined to yell at me until I deliver.  Not fair, but he cannot be stopped. So, I growl a warning about the glue factory and stumble to the barn to the tune of his whinnies and the striking of his hoof against the pipe rail fencing, making the whole fence ring like a gong, as I wonder why I ever thought having horses was a good idea. 

Once Meeko has been fed, I turn and shuffle toward the dog run, where everyone there is barking and turning circles because they are just happy to see me any time, unlike the ungrateful equine who resides at my home. 

After everyone has received their morning cookies, I shuffle back into the house to make coffee.  That must happen, and it must happen SOON!  So, I set up the pot, pour in the water, put in the grounds…I am good to go.  Put the pot in place and hit the button.  Soon I can hear my Java salvation flowing into the pot as I pop some bread into the toaster. 

Wait…I can hear it flowing? That isn’t right.  I turn to look at the coffeepot, only to find coffee flowing literally everywhere.  WTH?  Blinking through my confusion and moving fast, I pull 120 sheets of paper towels off the holder on the wall when I meant to get 3 or 4…because I’m not awake so I pulled too hard. Paper towels everywhere! 

I look back over my shoulder and see coffee spreading fast.  Okay, I might need all of these, so I grab a handful and run to the coffee spill, dumping a pile of paper towels onto the spill as I try to figure out what is going on. I realize that I have apparently set the pot onto the coffeemaker just enough that it pushes up the little stopper on the bottom of the basket, but not enough so it is actually centered under the downward flow of the coffee. 

While mentally troubleshooting through my morning fog, I am moving stuff out of the way like I’m performing a major lava-flow evacuation as I move the pile of paper towels around trying to blot up coffee faster. 

The next coherent moment I have is when I realize I probably should have actually torn the pile of paper towels from the holder, rather than leaving them attached in one long string of paper, because coffee is now being wicked into this long roll of paper and is climbing it like a rope, dripping all across the counter, down the front of the dishwasher, onto the rug, and creating puddles on the floor. 

Seriously, I could not have transferred it from the counter to the floor more efficiently! 

So, I hurry to disconnect the pipeline, scoop up all the paper towels and pile them on the counter to soak up the spreading spill as I clean up the waves of coffee lapping at my feet. Then I return to the countertop to again attempt to stem the flow.  All the while, the coffeemaker is chugging away, the sound adding to my sense of urgency. 

Now my toast pops up from the toaster, screaming that I need to butter it NOW, before it gets cold. Seriously? Like I need one more thing to do?  I grab more paper towels from the pile on the floor and stack them along the edge of the counter to keep the coffee contained while I go butter the shrieking toast. 

Oh-kay, toast buttered, coffee contained, no more pipeline to the floor, I take a breath and assess. Then I carefully pick up the hot coffeemaker and move it to the counter…because it sits on top of a Keurig K-cup storage box that is now also filled with coffee. 

As I’m holding the coffeemaker with one hand because there is nowhere to set it down, cursing because it’s hot and steam is burning my hand, and mopping coffee off the top of the storage box with an enormous pile of sopping paper towels, the alarm on my phone goes off (yet one more time) across the room on the dining room table. 

Are you kidding me?! 

Okay, longer story shorter…I managed to turn off the alarm, clean up the coffee, dispose of almost an entire roll of coffee-soaked paper towels, eat my toast, and am now sitting in a sea of calm in my recliner as I write my blog for this week.  The good news?  An hour ago, I had no blog, no idea, no concept for anything at all I could put down on paper.  I really have to stop asking the universe for help figuring out what to blog about.  That just doesn’t end well. 

And it’s a helluva way to start the day! ๐Ÿ˜Š

Well, that’s my story, frantic and frazzled, and I’m stickin’ to it. Hang on tight now ‘cuz we’re gonna go real, real fast!

Love ya,

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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Scents and Non-sense

 

        

        Hello, gentle readers! Hope you are well and staying safe!
        I wasn’t well last week. Caught a cold, my first one in over five years. Wasn’t happy about that. It wasn’t a bad cold…more annoying than anything else (I did use a whole box of tissues…the soft ones and for a while, I sounded like Minnie Mouse!)
        I have to be careful about what I take because a lot of over the counter “cures” don’t mix well with my regular medication so I did what any desperate to breathe person would do in that situation. I resorted to an old family remedy—Vick’s VapoRub.
        Oh, the rush of childhood memories that invoked as soon as I rubbed it on!
Of course, that brought even more memories because certain aromas will do that to you. Noxema for sunburns. Mothballs in my grandmother’s closet. Fresh ground coffee from the grinder at the end of the registers at the A&P. The brisk smell of autumn and woodsmoke in the air at certain times of year. The clean scent of newly fallen snow, a freshly mowed lawn or rain.
I realize that certain aromas are important as they do invoke memories and leave a lasting impression. I wore Cachet perfume for over thirty-five years (until they stopped making it) and everything I owned smelled like it. My DH still misses that scent (as do I). I now wear Black Orchid and it smells nice, but it’s not the same.
My characters have certain scents that are uniquely theirs. One of my heroines wore vanilla, which reminded the hero of cake (odd, I know, but it worked). My current hero smells like a pine forest, which brings memories for my heroine (she thinks he smells like Christmas and all the happiness that entails). She has a fresh spring rain scent, but I’m thinking of changing that. Not sure what I’ll go with. Musk? No, too strong and not her at all. Lily of the Valley? Again, not her. She’s much too assertive for that light, delicate scent. Any suggestions? 
Until next time, remember to spread kindness wherever you go.

Marie

Monday, February 6, 2023

STEALING THE DUKE by Lexi Post is now available for Preorder at 99¢


Pre-order now!

https://amzn.to/3DTUVTV

Lady Joanna Mabry has many flaws. One is her penchant for stealing books from her peers’ homes. Since she returns them, usually to the same house, she feels it’s a harmless flaw until she’s almost caught by James Huntington, the Duke of Northwick. His outspoken views on a proper woman’s education have left her bristling. So in this case, she’s pleased to have taken his book on what is sure to be an antiquated view of the female sex.

James dismisses Lady Joanna’s odd behavior until he discovers his book on “feminine education” is missing. Guessing she has it, he’s highly amused since the cover concealed the real title, The Illustrated Pleasures of Seduction. He soon finds himself putting off his proposal to another woman as he attempts to trap Joanna into revealing her theft. He enjoys countering her energetic arguments for women’s equal education, while he insinuates what women should be most concerned with, the bedroom.

Before long, the pictures in Northwick’s book, his quiet hints, and his tantalizing touches begin to leave Joanna breathless. Worse, their debates bring her to a state of excitement she’s known with no other. How can such a closed-minded man, be so tempting? But with a spurned woman lurking in the background, Joanna must make the decision whether to let the duke wallow in a bed of his own making, or acknowledge the feelings that have grown between them…neither of which, she’s willing to do.

 About Lexi 

Lexi Post is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of romance inspired by the classics. She spent years in higher education taking and teaching courses about the classical literature she loved. From Edgar Allan Poe's short story “The Masque of the Red Death” to Tolstoy’s War and Peace, she's read, studied, and taught wonderful classics.

But Lexi's first love is romance novels so she married her two first loves, romance and the classics. Whether it’s dashing dukes, hot immortals, sizzling cowboys, or hunks from out of this world, Lexi provides a sensuous experience with a “whole lotta story.”

Lexi is living her own happily ever after with her husband and her two cats in Florida. She makes her own ice cream every weekend, loves bright colors, and you’ll never see her without a hat.

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Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Mystic Creek by Kati Ella

 Mystic Creek, the name gives you an immediate feel for the atmosphere.  A foggy, dark, and mysterious small town.  The curfew was set to keep the residents safe.  Most of them don't know the reason, especially the younger crowd.  those who sneak out at night, and those who don't want to be told what to do.

Rebecca looks young, but feels her centuries of existence.  She's made friends where she works, Joe's Tavern, but her main job is to keep them from being ripped apart and left for the scavengers.

New to the town, she's known to be friendly, but distant.  As a witch, she has a lot of responsibilities while everyone else sleeps.  The demons want to overtake the town, and there's another creature waiting in the forbidden forest.  It's not quite a demon, but it's not human, either.


Her concentration is on pushing back on the evil from the forest, when Brody comes to town in the faรงade of a federal agent.  She hasn't seen him in a hundred years. Really, it seems like it was just last week.  His angel wings are hidden, but she feels the flutter of her heart when he confronts her about the strange being trying to take the town down.

Angels and witches aren't a match in the supernatural world, so why do they want to be together?  Or are there too many forces against them to allow a relationship?  Or are they here on coincidence only to eradicate the evil? Will a kiss tell them?  Or do they have to go further?  

The read is tense, creepy, and full of hormones.  The magic, the reality, and the fear tangle with a romance that wants to live.  A great romance for a cold winter night.