Walks Like A Panther

red-river-wayneHow many times in numerous books have we heard the hero walks like a panther or tiger or some creature on the prowl? They’re cliches, but I understand the concept. He has a smooth step with a determined gaze.

It makes me think of a certain actor named John. No. Not John Travolta. He’s known for his walk going up stairs (Get Shorty) and his moves on the dance floor (Saturday Night Fever and Pulp Fiction). It’s John Wayne who is known for his walk.

With that thought, I went searching for videos of John Wayne’s walk. Of course, I came across the hilarious scene in The Birdcage with Robin Williams trying to instruct Nathan Lane’s character to walk like a man. He’d suggested John Wayne’s walk. Luckily, I found one where it shows both clips (John Wayne’s and Nathan Lane’s) along with the original French film and “the walk.”

Click here to go to YouTube and watch.  It has Spanish subtitles.

One thing to remember, John Wayne was so much more than his walk. The way he held his head and shoulders. He stares straight ahead. He doesn’t look down. The man didn’t worry about tripping over his feet. His sureness in where he was going and what he was going to do next is so obvious. Yes, he’s an actor, but don’t you know part of his own persona shows in that stride.

John Wayne was a man’s man. Lordy! Not many of them anymore.

Here’s another video on how to walk like a “badass.” The guy tells it like it is. Click here and enjoy.  LOL!

Love My Shirt

img_1260For those who don’t know, I love hockey. See the jersey my husband’s cousin and his wife got me? I LOVE IT! I promise, Dan, I’ll get hubby to take my picture when I wear it. I’ve worn it at home a couple times already.

I have three favorite hockey players on the Nashville Predator’s team: Forsberg, Johansen, and Arvidisson. So I cherish my Forsberg jersey. It’s fantastic! I have tickets for a game this month and will be wearing it proudly.

If you don’t know, my love of hockey blossomed only a little over a year ago. Hey, I am a southern girl and most people in the South do not watch it, but I have to point out it’s becoming more popular each year down here. What with the Nashville Predators (Go Preds!) and the two teams in Florida. But people ask me all the time, why?

Think about it, college football is king in the South, but football has never caught my interest. I swear I’ve tried.

I love NASCAR (I haven’t turned in my Southern Belle card yet) and 48 Jimmie Johnson (yum), but the fast cars no longer hold my attention like when Dale Earnhardt, Sr. was alive.

Truthfully, I could tell you all the things that led me to it, but mainly, I’ve found that I enjoy it for many reasons.

The fast pace:  The NHL players hit speeds of 20 to 30 miles an hour during 60 minutes of play, broken up in 20 minute periods. Each player will be on the ice for spurts of one to two minutes. Usually adding up to 15 to 20 minutes of play during the whole game. That doesn’t sound like much? Let me see you run with anywhere 15 to 25 pounds of equipment for that long. And that’s with someone chasing and slamming into you.

The strategy:  Think of it, they have to figure out how to get that little puck around that huge goalie and into the net while everyone else is wanting to take it from you. Teamwork is a major part of winning. Of course, that’s all true of any team sport.

The athletic stamina:  Re-read what I said in “fast pace” above.  OMG! Those big men on thin blades, falling or being pushed down or into the boards (the sides of the rink) and then jumping up as if nothing happened. They freaking amaze me.

The fights: Of course, I do get a little excited — no matter how sick it sounds — when a good fight breaks out, even if they are only shoving at each other. Men will be men, and I love celebrating that, especially since it is in a controlled environment. (Though I don’t care for boxing if you’re wondering.) Besides, next year, those same men could be traded to the same team and be best buds. I swear, that’s one of the things I love about men. They know how to prioritize.

And I’m not a violent woman, though I write about violent men all the time in my books. Maybe there’s something deep inside I’ve never been aware of until I got older. Neither here or there.

Graceful, healthy men:   Yes, all things come down to men in my interests. I’ve come to terms with my hang up, so everyone needs to get over it.  *smirk*

Let me enjoy my sport. I’m proud that I finally picked one, and I personally think it’s the best.

Letter to Realtors

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Picture of our house years ago

In the next six months, hubby and I plan to sell our house of 23 years and move closer to the grandkids and our moms.  Presently, we’re around an hour away and the traffic between the families are getting worse each year.

 
So we’re moving into the country on the other side of the city, and we’re a little excited about it. And if you’re wondering, NO, WE ARE NOT DOWNSIZING. Why do people keep asking that? If we lived in a huge house, I could understand it, but we don’t. I had to tell people, if we move into a smaller home, I will have to strangle my hubby.

 
We have already started looking at homes in the areas we’re interested in. I have to say some people have poor taste when it comes to decorating their homes, while others are borderline hoarders. With that being said, hubby and I plan to donate the majority of our attic to the Good Will. We are presently forcing our daughters to take their childhood stuff that was stored in said attic into their homes. Now they are donating all of their precious memories they asked us to keep. HA! I knew it.

Anyway, we’ve already learned a lot about what we can expect for our money. And wow, there is a lot for the realtors to learn about taking pictures of those homes. So here’s my letter to the ladies and gentlemen selling homes (same goes to the “for sale by owner” sellers).

Realtors, when taking pictures of the houses you have for sale, remember the following.

1. Invest in a good digital camera. Heck, even some (expensive) phones have pretty good cameras in them now. Please have your children, niece, nephew, grandchildren show you how to use it correctly. Then the picture won’t be blurred or too dark.

2. I don’t care what the shower curtain looks like, or the beautiful foyer table. Close ups of those will not sale the house. Those items will be going with the original owners, unless the house comes furnished. Then I will throw away the curtain (yuck, germs), and sell most or all of the furnishings.

3. Similar to number two, but reference house fixtures staying there. Don’t take up-close pictures of the commode (double yuck), sink, dishwasher, or light fixtures. It’s amazing how I can tell what they are by looking at a picture of the whole room.

4. Speaking of dark, take the pictures during the day and not a cloudy day or late evening. Open the curtains. Dark rooms are depressing and I don’t want a depressing house. Or invest in a photographer’s light. Check Ebay or Craig’s list. Photographers are selling them all the time to upgrade or get out of the business.

5. Why are you showing pictures of trees and bushes? Be sure the outside of the house is in the picture if you do. One picture will do for that area. Not ten of the same spot from different angles.

6. Diplomatically, ask the owner to take down family pictures. We must imagine living there with our family pictures. This includes their favorite team’s memorabilia to make it look less obsessed. Of course, the same goes for their turtle collection.

7. Two pictures of the same room from different angles are fine, if you must. But please, I don’t need individual pictures of the window, closet, built-in shelves, and overhead light (see #3 above). I’ll come and visit the house if I’m interested and check them out.

What would you add?

Recommendations

I’ve been thinking about this for a long time. In the past, I’ve done a few blog posts on books I’ve loved but nothing consistently. In fact, the few I’ve done are on my old blog if I remember correctly. So I thought every once in awhile, I’ll recommend books and let you know what I’ve recently read.

But first, I’ll start with a few favorites of mine that I love to re-read. I was talking with some readers the other day and was actually shocked to hear a couple say they never do. Too many other books out there to read the first time they said.

Oh, well. I do know that I find a new book at least once a year that I enjoy re-reading. I guess because I learn something from each one that can hopefully improve my writing.

So here are a few.

The Rainbow Season by Lisa Gregory (aka Candace Camp) 1989 – a bad boy wanting to improve his life and he falls for a good girl. Yet, the girl believes she’s not so good as she’s in love with her brother-in-law. I love wounded misunderstood bad boys and good girls who are not quite good.

The Madness of Lord Ian McKenzie by Jennifer Ashley 2011 – an man with autism (I believe) who pursues a widow. So well written and oddly because of his extreme concentration on the heroine, it’s quite sexy. And unique. I love unique.

All the Queen’s Men by Linda Howard 1999 – A super spy asks for help from a former female associate and during their new mission they fall in love. Doesn’t sound exciting, but the hero is awesome and Linda has a wicked sense of humor that comes out in her books. This book is the one that encouraged me to write Circle of Desire. My female assassin book. I love spy/assassin/mercenary books.

It Had To Be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips 2002 – A ditzy blonde (smarter than everyone thinks) inherits a football team. The coach isn’t happy but finds love with the new owner. It’s funny and unique. At the least, that’s what I think.  If you get a chance, read the first line. It’s a hoot!

Ryker by Sawyer Bennett 2015 – A goalie and the team’s female manager fall in love. This book has so much heart. Ryker is the near perfect man and the heroine isn’t no wimp. Strangely, I’ve listened to this at least three times. So it edged out the true favorite of this series, Alex. Alex is the bad boy of the series and you know how I love bad boys.

There are more, but it’s getting late and I need to go to work tomorrow.

Hope you’ll check them out. Just remember the older the book, the older the style and some people don’t care for them. Then again, I consider them classics even if they’re a year old.

Helpful, Friendly Book Stores

Hidden Heat_SwaffordSome of you know (if you live in the Birmingham area) the Book Rack that use to be in Roebuck was bought out years ago and moved to Trussville near Kohl’s.  It has a new owner again, and DeDe is romance friendly.  New address – see below. YAY!

Be sure to go by and visit her store. So nicely put together.

Whenever I go by a used book store, I check to see if they have my book(s) there. So far none.

I believe it could mean 1) not enough were sold to be sitting in a used book store, 2) people hated them so much, they threw them away, 3) they are sitting in TBR piles (that’s why I hate TBR piles) or 4) they loved them, and they’re on their favorite bookshelf.  With my crazy imagination, it’s got to be number 4.  LOL!

DeDe’s Book Rack

104 S Chalkville Rd, Suite 101

Trussville, AL 35173

She’s on Facebook too. Go and click like.

Head Explodes

Angry, Frustrated WomanYep. Some days I feel my head will explode from all that I have to do and remember. I’m sure you’re the same way. So much information is thrown our way each day. Heck! Each second! I think all the information we receive in some ways makes us aware but not really smarter. So we have to decide what is important and what isn’t. So over the years I’ve narrowed down what I watch and read.

I’m looking forward to retiring from my day job. Then I can empty my head of all the useless (will be after I leave) information and make room for what I love. Reading and writing romance. Improving my craft, learning new ways to promote my books (if you don’t know they exist, how would you know to read them?), and so many interesting facets to being a published author.

One of my big drawbacks is my self-confidence. I believe a lot of authors have that problem. So something I read today I have to share with you. It got me to thinking. (HA!)

From Wizard of Oz
Wizard: Not having fear isn’t brave, it’s foolhardy. Any real hero knows fear.
Cowardly Lion: I’ll tell you one thing though, so does a real coward.
Wizard: The difference is a hero masters his fear.

So here’s to mastering my fears.

~~

On January 15, I will be at the Romance Magicians’ blog.  Come by and see me!

Getting Advice From Strange Places

This may sound strange but I rarely ask for advice. I might ask for advice on good restaurants or shoe stores. but little else. Why do I rarely ask? Because too often when I have in the past and followed it, I’ve regretted it. This makes me madder at myself than the other person. But I’ve learned that most people do not know anymore than I do.

Recently, I heard the best advice on how to deal with ignorant and purposely cruel people (E.g., reviews, not necessarily my own), and I want to share this advice with you.

More Pictures From NYC Trip

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Shelf in wall at Madame X’s going up steps to Lady Jane’s Salon
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Picture at Madame X’s going up steps to Lady Jane’s Salon
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Crowd at Lady Jane’s Salon
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One of several seating areas for Lady Jane’s Salon
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Lady Jane’s Salon
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Lady Jane’s Salon
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Lady Jane’s Salon – The MC
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Another picture from the hotel. I couldn’t get over the crowds and the number of taxis.
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Stage set up with big pool for dogs to jump in. Might have been something to do with Good Morning America (building on left)
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Betty, me and Victoria – I look like I’m up to no good. Well, yeah.
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If my feet wasn’t hurting, I would’ve walked across the street and gotten a better picture. Love horses. And cops.
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Beautiful at night, heh?
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So many lights on.
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My buddy, Heather, giving a workshop. She actually made law interesting.
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Me with my 2015 RWA PRO Mentor award. So awesome!
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Almost looks like a painting.
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The ball at top is the one they drop on New Years.
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Yes. Another picture of Times Square. It was amazingly crowded.
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Times Square – buses, taxis and so many tourists!
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See!
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Random House’s cocktail party – view from window.
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Random House’s cocktail party – Some famous names on those books.
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Random House – more books on shelves both sides. I didn’t stop to look.
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Purse I bought in NYC. Love it!
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Loved the little Minion show/ad in Times Square.
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There were a few naked women hanging around (pun intended). The men would pay to get their picture taken with them. One way to make a living.
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The lights fascinated me.
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And the crowds drove me nuts.
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See the M&M character? He was HUGE!
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Don’t know what the ad was, but it was so romantic, I had to take a picture.
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Yes. More of the same, sorta.
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Look close and you can see more naked girls. They had barely there bottoms and no tops. They have red, white and blue feathers on their heads. Just painted breasts.
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My chocolate RITA (Everyone got one at the award ceremony. It tasted like Easter Bunny.)
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I couldn’t resist and got Meda to take this picture while in our cab. HELLO KITTY! GIANT HELLO KITTY that is.

Party NYC

I had a blast in New York City. Here are some pictures to enjoy.

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Sightseeing cruise with buddy, Heather Leonard.
Bar with NASCAR on one of the TVs
Bar with NASCAR on one of the TVs

 

Intrepid Navy Ship in background with planes.
Intrepid Navy Ship in background with planes.
Times Square
Times Square ahead (Heather Leonard and Meda White in front of me)
Times Square
Near Times Square
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Statue of Liberty
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Abandoned building on island
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Yankee Stadium in background with cool speed boat
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Unusual Building near water
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Ellis Island and city in background.
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Heather and my other buddy, Meda. Had so much fun with these ladies.
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Went to see Wicked. Pretty good.
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One of the well dressed men I saw in NYC. SO MANY GOOD LOOKING MEN! My neck hurt from looking.
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They did a presentation and opened this wall. Then you saw NYC from way above.
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Food! This was one of the good restaurants. Sadly, I forgot the name but it was near the theater.
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View from One World Trade Center.
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View from One World Trade Center.
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View from One World Trade Center.
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View from One World Trade Center.
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View from One World Trade Center.
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View from One World Trade Center.
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View from One World Trade Center.
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View from One World Trade Center.
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Inside One World Trade Center.
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View from One World Trade Center (this was a floor – really an outside camera projecting beneath the glass)
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View from One World Trade Center. (Amazing, isn’t it?)
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View from One World Trade Center.
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View from One World Trade Center.
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View from One World Trade Center.
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View from One World Trade Center.
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View from One World Trade Center.
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Inside One World Trade Center.
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Inside One World Trade Center.
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View from One World Trade Center.
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View from One World Trade Center.
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View from One World Trade Center.
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View from One World Trade Center.
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View from One World Trade Center.
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View from One World Trade Center.
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View from One World Trade Center.

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I’m Anti-Martyrdom

tumblr_myfffeXLM61srko8to1_r1_500If you’re wondering what I mean, see if any of this sounds familiar?

  • Everyone ignores me in the meeting/class/workshop/conferences.
  • I’m always dumped on/given more work/forgotten.
  • Others have more fun/time to talk/goof off.

Oh, I’m sure I can think of a dozen more. Some that I’ve even said before I caught myself.

Really, people, most of those statements are simply because you won’t stand up for yourself or open up. Yes. I’m an extrovert, but I do have moments where I feel insecure. You wouldn’t know it but when I was a kid, I stuttered. Not terribly bad, but bad enough for people to poke fun at me. I still stutter when I get angry or extremely nervous. Plus I have difficulties pronouncing certain words. A little quirk of mine. I know what they mean, just don’t use them often enough in speech. And anyone who sees pictures of me know I’m overweight. Over the years, I’ve heard enough about that to be self-conscious.

Okay, what I’m getting to is that everyone have issues and insecurities. When you feel dumped on, ignored, or/and left out, stop and think of how you can fix it. More times than I can count the problem starts with yourself.

If I don’t want to feel that way, I found if I open myself up, things change. If they act like an asshole, the world is large. look for another friend, nice acquaintance or companion. There are others out and about who are in the same spot.

So keep that in mind next time you feel like a martyr.

Why do you think all of those nerd movies are so successful? One nerd finds like minded nerds to hang around.

Chains, Whips and Music

I love writing hot stories. And I especially like hot songs.

Though I’m not presently writing a BDSM romance, I think the following would be some good songs to listen to while doing so. What do you think? What are your suggestions? Put a link in the comments.

How to please every reader

MC910216365Yep. I tricked you. It’s on the Romance Magicians’ blog. HA!

And you’re right. You have to click here again to read the post. It’s my monthly journey to the dark side . . . to my Romance Writers of America chapter’s blog.  *smirk*

I’ll be back in next few days when the urge hits me. For now, it’s time for me to get back to writing my newest book. My heroine is in deep doo-doo and doesn’t know it yet.

Good Bye Bitter Sweet and Hello Brightness

MP900309665Earlier this week, I wrote a long post about the last year and what I have to look forward to and then yesterday morning I deleted it. It was way too sad and wordy. So the short version is this.

2014 had a lot of good moments to celebrate while darkened by one bad event.

At the end of August last year, I lost my biggest cheerleader. My dad. He died unexpectedly. One important thing was he knew I was in the middle of working with a new editor toward a new contract with a new publishing house, and my writing career was looking up. He was very happy for me. Being a voracious reader, he was as excited as I was about me being published and continuing to be so.MP900309596

So in October, I received a two-book contract from a wonderful editor at Penguin/Random House’s Loveswept line. Yay! And then a couple months later, I signed with Prospect Agency. Love my new agent!

I’m starting off 2015 the right way. All fresh and new. I have to pinch myself on occasion. Other times, I freak out and worry that I have lost my mind. Who am I kidding? I can’t write!

Well, this is where I dig in my heels and prove I can do anything, if I want it bad enough. Nothing will stop me but me. And I won’t let that happen. Heck, my daughters and writing family won’t let me. I’m so grateful for them all.

Watch out!  I’M BAAAACK!

One in a Million

The past week, I’ve been on vacation. So nice. Working on my writing during the day and watching TV or reading at night. Mercy, I’ve watched quite a few movies and TV shows on Netflix.

You know, it got me to thinking about the millions of actors and authors who hope to become famous for what they love to do. It blows my mind.

Does it make me want to quit? Goodness, no. All of this makes me want to work harder, to become a better writer. Every author should strive to improve with each book.

Back In The Day

Bikers viewWhen my husband I were dating, he was known for being a bad boy. Since I don’t want to embarrass his family or my daughters, I won’t get into about what he did. But we hung out with some people you would call in a nice way – rough. Now, I’m not saying all of them were that way. A few of the girls were like me, from the middle class part of town and attracted to the bad boys.

I can tell you after a few years, I realized that life wasn’t for me. The drinking, drugs, smoking, cussing (still a bad habit of mine that slips out on a occasion) and living on the edge sucked big time. They cheated on each other, stole from anyone, even their friends, and many didn’t know the meaning of hygiene or taking care of their possessions. And they would laugh about it all.

Thankfully, my hubby grew up to be a good man, though that bad boy mentality (a.k.a. Cranky) comes out on occasion.

Over the years, a few people have recommended to me book series about motorcycle gangs/clubs. My sister even talked about how much she loved Sons of Anarchy. I gave in and bought one book, “sampled” a few others and watched the Sons. The book I didn’t finished, the others I didn’t buy, but I did watch all seasons of SOA. The TV series had some good moments. I think mainly I wanted to see Charlie/Jax’s butt. Otherwise, the show had more violence than plot.

The books and even the show reminded me of those days from my youth.

So now I’m writing a motorcycle club series. It will be toned down (really, I’m known for writing about sex and violence; so there will be enough in it) compared to the series and the partial books I’ve read. As I mentioned, I’ve been around those type of people. You don’t want to mess with them or be like them.

But there is something romantic and sexy about bad boys and dangerous men. Even more so when they’re reformed.