Fractured Facade

"A fathers death...a daughter's life...a sociopath's vendetta...FRACTURED FACADE ...a novel written as memoir. Only $4.99 and available exclusively on Amazon. Kindle Unlimited members read for free! Click here for direct link.


THE VALENTINE'S DAY CURSE -- A Short Story, Free everywhere...except on Amazon (boo! hiss!) where it's $.99 to buy! Click here for direct link! Let them know it's free at these stores and they may price match it! Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books...more to come.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Bella's Chaise

When I was in Steinmart last week I saw the cutest little doggie chaise lounge. I wondered if Bella would use it if I bought it, or if I'd be wasting my money. So far, any of the other beds she's had she has used so I thought why not give it a go? Although it was $59.99 I had a 30% off coupon so I figured it wouldn't be too bad.

I hefted the chaise lounge up to the register only to find out they wouldn't honor the coupon as it was only good for items already on sale. That didn't make much sense to me, and I relayed that to the cashier but her attitude pissed me off so I walked out without it. Two days later I saw in Steinmart's ad that doggie beds were now 50% off. Score!

I ran back, but was disappointed to see that the cheetah print chaise was gone and there were only zebra print ones left. I corralled an associate who was walking the floor and asked her if she would check in the back to see if there were any cheetah ones left. She returned to tell me the only one they had back there was a jaguar spotted one. I never realized jaguars had spots, but apparently they do. It was still in the box and all I'd have to do was put the legs on myself, so I asked her to bring it out so I could see if that was the one I wanted. It was. She put it on a hand truck and brought it to the register.

The cashier rang it up and it showed it was $59.99. I whipped out the ad and pointed to the doggie bed 50% off picture. She pointed to the word "select" and said this one was not one of the "select" ones on sale. And no, I still couldn't use my coupon. Against my better judgment I said I would take it anyway, and they helped me load it into the car.

Well, I am thrilled to report it was not a waste of money. Bella actually loves it! Naturally I had to stop her from trying to chew the one string that was hanging from it, and clawing at the back of it. And anytime one of her toys goes under it I have to lift up the lounge or she will use her paws like shovels and try to dig through it to get under it. Yeah, she's not the brightest bulb.

So without further adieu, here are a couple of shots of her on it, before the Christmas tree went up. That's another story, for another day...

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

One Year Gone

It's a sad anniversary year since I lost my best friend, and cousin, John Paul. I blogged about him last year in this post entitled Rest In Peace John Paul. I've got nothing more to say except it hasn't gotten any easier. I still cry for the loss.

I picked up my cellphone three times on Thanksgiving to text him about "our movie" March of the Wooden Soldiers" and the only reason I was able to watch it was because he had bought it for me right before he died. I cried at the end.

Before I put my cellphone down I read the last message he had sent me, one from another of our favorite childhood movies..."Poppies will put them to sleep....yes poppies." As long as I keep that message I feel there is a part of him with me. My phone is five years old and I refuse to upgrade because of that one message. It's a poor substitute, but besides memories and photos, it's all I got left of him.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Cyber Sunday & Monday Freebie

With all this puppy & holiday business I had forgotten that I had scheduled two free days for Fractured Facade. Luckily I received an email from Michael from Free Kindle Books and Tips alerting me that my book was being highlighted! Thanks Michael!

So...if you've been waiting for the ebook to go free, today and tomorrow is the opportunity to grab it. And after you read it, if you know someone who could benefit from it, but who doesn't use an eReader, say like an elderly parent, by all means please consider getting the paperback as a stocking stuffer. That life you save could be theirs!

"Fractured Facade"

"Marie's peaceful life in Virginia is shattered the moment she receives word from her brother: “I just got a call from a detective. Daddy’s dead.” Rushing to her family home in Brooklyn, New York, Marie seeks answers to her father’s mysterious death only to discover disturbing occurrences and encounter acts of betrayal.

After her questions are amplified and suspicions confirmed surrounding her father’s ex-girlfriend, Marie becomes frustrated by how oblivious so many had been, and continue to be, to the wily con-artist.

Inheriting her father’s scheming ex-girlfriend becomes a journey Marie never imagined she’d be forced to travel.

Written as memoir, and based on a true story, "Fractured Facade" is a cautionary tale for anyone concerned about a parent after the loss of their spouse. The survivor, often thrust into an unfamiliar world, can find it quite different from the dating scene of their youth; one where some people create facades to mask their true intentions. Sadly, loneliness can cause an otherwise intelligent person to behave foolishly.

"Fractured Facade" is the tale of a father’s death, a daughter’s life, and a sociopath’s vendetta."

Author's Note -- Some may find language they deem inappropriate...I don't.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving from our house to yours. And for those who have an empty chair around the table this year...hugs and puppy kisses!

Monday, November 19, 2012

What's Going on with Bacon?

I've always been a fan of bacon, not in the Homer Simpson "mmmmmm bacon on everything" vein, but enough so that I usually have a package in the house. I wouldn't try chocolate covered bacon, bacon cupcakes, or bacon ice cream, and yes, I've seen all three of those choices. As long as it's not Canadian, or slabs of Virginian, I'd pick bacon over sausage as a breakfast side any day. My preference would be for the bacon strips to be well-done, just short of burnt, nice and crispy with blackened edges. But lately I'm not liking bacon too much.

At first I thought it was because I bought the off-brand that was on sale. In case you haven't noticed bacon has gotten a little more expensive this past year. I think it was Armour, or something else that I don't normally buy, so I wasn't surprised by the taste of it. I just threw it out and told myself to stick to what I know.

I usually buy Kroger bacon so the next time that's the brand I went with. I noticed it was pretty fatty which normally isn't a problem for me, but when it was cooking the fat was not getting golden brown and the red part was looking strange. It even smelled "different." When I tasted it, yuk! And, I could barely chew it. My husband thought it didn't taste good either and scolded me for being so cheap, "Just buy Oscar Meyer, will ya?" The last time I checked Oscar Meyer was going for $6.99, so when I saw it on sale for $3.99 I jumped.

Well, Sunday morning I tried making bacon again, with the brand name expensive Oscar Meyer. Didn't make a difference. It sucked. It smelled weird, the texture was off and it tasted piggy-like. Yeah, I know where bacon comes from, but this tasted like I was licking a pig's skin that had been rolling around in mud or something. When my husband complained about me "cheaping out" again, I showed him the Oscar Meyer package. So we sat down and tried to think about the reasons bacon has gone downhill.

I thought it could have something to do with what the pigs are being fed. Maybe all this Monsanto-franken foods are doing something to the pigs. Unless you pick them from your own back yard, tomatoes no longer have taste. Same thing with a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, which I attribute to the Monsanto seeds they are grown from. My husband said he had heard that the corn crops were bad this year, too much corn was being used for ethanol, and that many pigs couldn't be fed and had to be killed younger than they usually are.

I don't know what's going on, but I swear something is not right. What about you, have you noticed bacon isn't what it used to be?

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Saturday Scores

Today was the second year I've been to the Roanoke Civic Center's holiday flea market. Both times I've been pretty lucky. There were a couple of items that I told myself to be on the lookout for, and I actually found two.

The first one is what my daughter considers the ultimate Christmas movie, Elf.

I don't know why we didn't already have a dvd of this movie...ummm, maybe because it's on as much as "A Christmas Story" is. The girl was quite happy with this $2 find. The second was a woodworking tool. I don't know what it is, but it looks old and has something to do with wood, so I figure my husband would like it, so I bought it for $5. But the best finds were musical ones.

I found the original 45's of Elvis Presley's "Blue Suede Shoes/Tutti Frutti" and "Guitar Man/Faded Love" for $3!

For another $3 I bought these LP's-- First is a signed copy of "20 Bluegrass Originals Instrumentals."

I happen to like bluegrass, but am not familiar enough with any names or titles. I liked the sound of the titles including "Foggy Mountain Breakdown," "Kentucky Shuck," and "Train 45." Although I wasn't familiar with the '83 signature, when I Googled Bill Monroe I found out he is known as the Father of Bluegrass.

"Monroe was an American musician who created the style of music known as bluegrass, which takes its name from his band, the "Blue Grass Boys," named for Monroe's home state of Kentucky." Score!

Next was a Lawrence Welk LP, "Winchester Cathedral."

If you read Fractured Facade, you may remember the mention of my grandfather (my father's father) belting out this song. This was purely a memory purchase. The last LP, "The Best of Christmas" was also a memory purchase of the times spent at my grandmother's (my mother's mother) apartment every Christmas Eve with my cousins.

Check out some of the songs and singers --
"Do You Hear What I Hear?" - Bing Crosby
"Late in December" - Jackie Gleason
"I Like a Sleighride" - Peggy Lee
"The Christmas Song" - Nat King Cole
"Silent Night, Holy Night" - Wayne Newton
"The Wassail Song" - Tennessee Ernie Ford
"God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" - Ella Fitzgerald
"Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer" - Dean Martin
"O Holy Night" - The Lettermen
"Little Drummer Boy" - Marlene Dietrich
and many others. A double LP for a buck. Can't wait to transfer it to CD. Score!

Other finds included this 1934 framed cover of "Open Road for Boys" illustrated by Raymond Lufkin.

The cover appealed to me for two reasons -- the words Sentimental Cyclone on the bottom right. Just like the way it reads and rolls off the tongue, and figure one day I'll use those two words in a story, or as a title. This was $1 too.

The last find from the fleabag was this New York World's Fair Unisphere ash tray.

I was at that World's Fair and figured paying a quarter for the memory was well worth it. My wrists started to ache from the plastic bags cutting off the circulation. I had to have all bags on one arm as the other arm carried a $2 cork board that I really needed for the story I'm working on. Going old-school, by using hand-written colored index cards that I could easily manipulate for my scenes. Anyway, it was not heavy, but it was awkward, so I decided to head on home.

But first, hunger called, so I decided to stop downtown and check out that New York deli that opened up. I really wanted a knish, but they didn't have any left. I was glad to see their cold cuts were all Boar's Head, but I really wasn't in the mood for a sandwich so was going to pass and then I saw this:

I lived on these cookies in high school. They were a quarter for a pack of three. I paid $1 and hoped they tasted like I remembered. They did. I also bought this:

I will let you know if it tastes like a real New York one, but I don't have high hopes as all the black & whites I ever bought were from bakeries, and not plastic packages. But, I'll give it a shot and if it does, then today was truly a major score Saturday.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Heron on a Roof

As my daughter was blow-drying her hair she heard a loud fluttering sound and saw something huge fly past her window. She peeked through the blinds and was astonished to find a heron perched upon our neighbor's roof.

She called me to come quickly, "Your heron is here!" I didn't understand what she could be talking about. She pointed to the window and said, "Look out there." When I did and I saw what she was talking about I ran to get my camera. It's not every day you find a heron perched on a roof.

Unfortunately, when I began lifting the blinds so I could get a better shot he must have heard me, so he flew off. I haven't been to the Roanoke River in a couple of weeks. Maybe he's missed me, or maybe he found my pond and has been helping himself to some sushi. I'm well over a mile away from the river so I wonder if herons migrate further south and he saw the pond on his trek. Time to put the game camera back out.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Think Before You Boycott

I've been seeing a lot of "BOYCOTT!" certain restaurants postings on social media websites, especially on that bastion of common sense, Facebook. It seems many people are pissed because those particular restaurants have made statements to the effect that they will have to reduce employee hours, or something like that, in order to be able to afford Obamacare, or something like that.

I don't know the entire details, but here is a link to an article regarding Darden's, "experiment." Darden is one of the companies people are boycotting. After reading the article, I agree the "experiment" sucks. And I  understand they will not be the only company to find a way around the cost of Obamacare, and frankly, I don't have the answer. One would think that the powers that be would have taken into consideration the possible repercussions, and devised a safety net for the employees, and not just a fine for the companies who can afford to opt out. I don't get it.

But this much I do "get"...the only people you will hurt by boycotting these places are the people who work there, the people who need that job, and yes, my daughter happens to fall into that category. She is one of the "saps" who works as a hostess at one of the restaurants that are being boycotted. And she not only loves the job, she needs the job.

She applied to many, many places before being called by this restaurant. In fact, this restaurant was the only place that even responded to the dozens of applications she placed everywhere. This is her first job. She is learning how to deal with the public (good luck with that!) which will come in handy in her future career plans. They started her at a fair wage and have been very supportive of her education, working with her to schedule her around her classes. They've said that a job would be waiting for her in Richmond when she transfers to VCU. That's a big load off of her, and my, shoulders.

We don't know yet what the costs will be for her to enroll in the company's health care plan as open enrollment doesn't begin until later this week. We're hoping it's affordable as that's really her only option. You see, health insurance companies in Virginia will no longer write a policy for a 19 year old. That's their way around Obamacare's  mandate to cover pre-existing conditions...a good idea that was poorly executed. You don't hear much about that though, do you? No, instead you hear how awful these other companies who are giving jobs to those 19 year olds are.

Sometimes not everything is so black and white. So, if you want to boycott, go ahead, but I won't be joining you. I saw this somewhere...

For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, plus a social media overreaction!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A Yankee in Richmond?

Who would have ever thought that this damn Yankee would like the confederate capital of the south so much? After visiting Richmond last weekend, the first time in over 20 years, I have to say I was pretty impressed with it. Well, it's not like I have a choice since my daughter has decided that's where she wants to continue her VCU.

VCU held an open house last Saturday at 7:30 in the morning. We booked a hotel room the night before and had a little time to explore the city. By the time we got there it was pretty dark so I didn't see as much as I liked, but saw enough to realize Richmond has a happening scene. Frankly, if someone held a gun to my head and said you simply must get a college degree somewhere in Virginia I probably would pick VCU as well.

Just as my daughter does, I like the urban setting much better than any of the other campuses we have visited in the past. The Mass Communications program is very good and with Richmond being the 58th market, as well as its proximity to other top 10 major markets such as DC & NYC, more opportunities will be available to her in her field especially for interning. I'll never forget the student at JMU who gave us a tour, and majored in Mass Comm, said he was interning at a wheelchair company. Ummm, yeah, no.

Since she'll be entering the school with an AS degree as a transfer student, she will not be able to get on-campus freshman housing. However, her friend is also transferring so they plan to room together. They're excited and I'm nervous. Ideally, I'd like to see them as close to VCU as possible. Like any big city, Richmond has its sketchy parts and I'm not familiar at all with it, so don't know where to avoid. The girl said Olive Garden will transfer her so she'll have a job. I hope so because from what I've seen, rents are not cheap!

It was very unlike me to not take any photos, but I did take a photo this morning of the one souvenir I found at the local Kroger near the campus.

Friday, November 2, 2012

In a Poe Tale

On Halloween evening I went to see a performance by Edgar Allan Poe. As I waited for him to emerge, I whipped out my pad and wrote the following...

In a Poe Tale

I saw the back of your silver head
From five rows back
I didn’t know you liked Edgar Allan Poe
I thought O. Henry was more your cup of tea
A person in the row in front of me asks to change seats
I gladly comply
He sits next to his wife
I get closer to you
I see the lint on your jacket
From four rows back
I want to pick it from your shoulders
I notice an empty seat in front of me
I step on a woman’s foot as I scoot into it
I get closer to you
I see a smudge on the corner of your eyeglasses
From three rows back
I want to wipe the print off for you
A mother leaves with her crying child
Her empty seat beckons me
I get closer to you
I hear you sneeze
From two rows back
I say, “God bless you”
And you turn around
“Thank you”
I smile
But it quickly fades
You ruined the moment
You’re not my father
After all
I knew you couldn’t be
He’s been dead five years now
But I pretended
For a brief moment
We were in a Poe tale…

Today would have been my father's 80th birthday...