Wednesday, January 28, 2015

First day of class

Ya'll, I had some great lists today. And I couldn't choose, and wanted to use all of them. So I thought we'd do a multiple POV scenario about the first day of a college semester.



Cassie crossed her legs and pressed them tighter together. My gosh, she had to pee. But what do you do, stand up the first day of class and tell your professor that you need to use the bathroom? Geez, she’d sound like a five year old. Might as well pull out a pillow and lay down for a nap. Was this girl even a professor? She looked young, like maybe a GTA. Would she mind? Oh gosh. Dying. To. Pee.

Cassie cleared her throat and the guy in front of her turned to glance over his shoulder, as though he had never heard anyone clear their throat of phlegm before. She ignored him and focused on the professor, who was reading the blurp of a book. Blurp? Blurb? She couldn't even think because she had to freaking pee.

She drummed her fingers on the table and glanced at the clock. No way she could wait until this class was over. Could she just get up and go? She was in college now. And if the professor called her out and asked her where she was going she’d calmly reply that she was going to the loo. Yes, that sounded okay. Mature, confident. That’s who she was.

Oh who was she kidding, she was 18 and scared out of her mind, trying to act all grown up when in reality she had slept last night with her childhood teddy bear tucked under her chin.

She was, in fact, pathetic.



Ami was so angry she thought for sure she’d burst into flames at any moment. Who knew you could get in trouble over a toaster?

First week away from home, and her RA had written her up because she and her roommate had and illegal appliance in their room. What rubbish. Her roommate Gwen had said that to the RA, in other not so elegant terms, to which his only response was to point to the sign by the elevator stating that all burners, hotplates, skillets, and toasters, were not allowed.

Ami sighed and scribbled on her open notebook. Why had she ever listed to Gwen?? It’s not like she was getting kicked out of school, but there was $100 fine her Dad would be furious over. And here she had let Gwen talk her into this! She had been so sure that if she could only get to college she’d turn into this confident woman, comfortable with her own decisions and her own tastes. But no. It hadn’t happened. She was a doe eyed idiot who had showed up to college like it was a seventh grade slumber party, complete two baskets of colorful school supplies and the comforter from her room with the owl and flowers on it.

And there was Gwen, her roommate with the J Crew bedding and a debit card and all the coolness Ami wanted. Gwen who had brought out the toaster and dismissed Ami’s rule abiding analness. And landed them in trouble on their second night in the dorms. Ami flipped a new page in her notebook. How much would new bedding cost? Maybe she didn’t need to be a grown up version of herself. She was a little girl, and she needed to grow up. Maybe she needed to get a part time job. Then she could pay the fine and Dad wouldn’t even need to know.



The girl behind me just cleared her throat and I swear to the skies, it sounded just like my Grandma Macy when she does it. This class sucks. Intro level English Lit, and here I am, a senior and stuck in it, because it’s the only class that fit my schedule that gives me the credits I need. And I need to get the heck out of this place. Five years is long enough, and even if Dad wasn’t threatening to cut my funds, I’d probably still be dying to get out. Pressure builds in my head and I take my baseball cap off and run my fingers through my hair. A headache is going to dominate this class each and every time. It's practically a class on chick lit and I’m the only guy in here.

The GTA teaching this class mentions that part of this semester will be spent on Jane Austen books. Great gosh, I want to drive a pair of scissors into my eyes. The sweet tranquility of an easy semester has been blown to bits. The GTA is a chick and wears her black rimmed glasses like her entire outfit is a badge of honor. As if her pencil skirt is a testament to her brains. Granted, she looks pretty cute in the pencil skirt. It hugs her hips in a non slutty way, not like the girls that hang around the frat house on the weekends. Her eyes flicker to mine and the image of her with her hair down and in jeans and a t shirt flashes through my brain. And that image pretty much tops the charts.

Man, maybe this class won’t be so bad after all.



I nearly stumble walking through my syllabus, but make myself keep going. I hate this part. This is the third class I’ve taught since starting grad school, but the first day is always the worst. There’s no enthusiasm in this room, just a bunch of kids that look either pissed to be here or bored out of their minds. One girl is drawing in her notebook, focused on it so much you’d think she was drawing up a treatise for the UN. What’s got her so wound up? I continue on and mention Jane Austen and the guy in the back looks as though I’ve just told him to eat a stinkbug. Geez. He’s probably only of these frat boy morons who can’t even read a menu well enough to tell lamb from mutton, but thinks a literature class will get them an easy A.  

Lovely. I wish it were different, and that I could paint smiles on all their faces. Or at least tolerance. Geez, this class isn’t that bad. The guy in the back takes off his hat. Finally. I hate kids who wear hats in class. What do they think this is, a football game? He runs his hands through his wavy hair and a shudder goes through me. His grey t shirt stretches across his biceps. I stare at his arms and for a second, lose my train of thought. I stare at the class for three seconds before continuing. My stars, lust will sweep through me like a conflagration and burn me to shreds. My academic career over because I can’t keep her eyes off the hot slacker guy in class.

What the heck was wrong with me?


yo mama

She's cute.

Really cute.

How old are GTA’s anyway?

I lean forward and can just see the tips of her toes where they peek out from her heels. They’re painted pink. My buddy James says you can tell a lot about a woman by what color she paints her nails. I wonder what he’d say about pink. Then again, James also still tells yo mama jokes like they’re still funny, so what does he know?

Her pink toes are pretty adorable.

She continues to talk about Jane Austen, and leans back against the desk as she talks. Her eyes light up. She actually enjoys teaching this class I think. She seems casual. Confident. Not what you’d expect from a GTA. Normally the serious ones who love teaching are some sort of flabby future cat lady. Not her. And she’s definitely not like the sorority girls who’s idea of a nice outfit involves spandex and glitter.

I stare again at her pencil skirt and force my eyes up. Her shirt is green, a nice color with her dark hair, which is pulled into a ponytail, all sleek like a dolphin. My gosh, I just compared by hot GTA to a fish. No wonder I’m such a winner with the ladies.


Thursday, January 22, 2015

On My Bookshelf

I told myself that in January once all my final line edits were done on my current Work In Progress, that I would go on a book binge. And I have, and ya'll, it has been wonderful. Here's a sampling of what I've been reading.

Stitching Snow: by RC Lewis

This I loved. It's a Sci-Fi retelling of Snow White, and it is so well done. Essie lives on the planet Thanda, making money by beating up boys in boxing matches and tinkering (aka 'stitching' up) machinery. She has seven little robots (there's the dwarves!) with names like Cusser because, well, he has a cussing malfunction. Essie is smart and lovable, and I adored her from page one.

The storyline here was really well done. Essie's not a damsel in distress but she isn't all She-warrior either (a theme totally overdone in YA right now in my opinion). She's brave but vulnerable and ends up confronting some horrible things from her past and some truths she can't keep pretending don't exist. Really well done, and it's a stand alone (AKA, no trilogy, which is nice sometimes). Definitely recommend!

You can read the blurb here.  

(buy it!)
A Mad, Wicked Folly: by Sharon Biggs Walter

Ah, I love good historical fiction that shows the history through the fiction (and not the other way around!) This was good. It's set in Victorian era London and focuses on Vicky, an upper class girl who gets kicked out of school and has her reputation tarnished because she poses nude for the art class she attends in secret (scandal!). This sheds great light on Victorian times and as Vicky tries to get back in her parent's good graces and attend art school at the same time, she gets caught up in the women's suffrage movement. This was great because of it's historical accuracy and because Vicky is such a believable character. She doesn't blow off her family in a gung ho "I shall be who I want to be!" crusade, and she has to walk that fine line between keeping important relationships and following her dreams. Really well done, and I adore this cover! 

(buy it!)
The Future of Us: Jay Asher

Ya'll, you need to read this.

It's 1996, and Emma and Josh are neighbors, and used to be best friends before Josh confessed his more-than-friend feelings, which Emma did not reciprocate. Awwwwkkkward.

So, now Emma's dad gives her a computer with good old dial up and AOL. And somehow Emma and Josh end up having access to Facebook and their future selves on it.


Yes. Imagine being 16 and seeing what your 30ish year old self is putting on Facebook. Oh, and then seeing how the decisions you make today can change your Facebook...aka, your future.

Great concept, and this is so well done. Especially if like me, you are in your 30's, and remember dial-up and all the things circa 1996. (some teens reading this now probably have no idea what some of these things are. A Discman? What the heck is that??!)

What I particularly loved was the reactions of these two teens to the things their older selves are putting on Facebook. 

"Why would someone put that online where everyone could see it?" they ask.

*Cue good dose of "Please stop being so melodramatic on Facebook".

This one was great. An easy read, but thought provoking. If I taught High School, I would have my students read this and use it as a catalyst for conversation on social media and living life versus broadcasting it. 

Go read it!!  It's charming and sweet, and will make you think. Triple Win!

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Prom and donuts and elevator music...

So, I had three tremendously fun lists given to me for 5 word Wednesday today, and I just couldn't decide which one to use. So I didn't. And instead, I used all three :)

And because my coworker and I were talking about doughnuts this afternoon, and I got to craving them, I had to throw those in here, too. *nom nom*


Here are my lists:

row boat
apple pie



Blair twirled a strand of her strawberry blond hair around her finger as she lay sprawled across her unmade bed. Elevator music drifted through her open bedroom door. She rolled her eyes and groaned. All the innovations and technological advances in the world and her dad still played Muzak from a cd player plugged in the dining room. Geez. But the boring music wasn't the only thing that would waft up the stairs. Dad was making dinner, which meant it would be something tasty.

And it meant she didn't have a lot of time. She needed to decide before her parents asked about it.

Graham Turner had asked her to prom.

Which was great. She was only a junior, and hadn't expected to get invited. But Graham Turner? Blair stared at the ceiling fan, watching the blades run round and round until they blurred and the fan danced in the middle of her vision, like she was a cyclops staring at it out of her third eye. Gah, she needed to focus before her plans to analyze Graham's every detail were thwarted by a text or a phone call or her dad calling her down to dinner. Did she want to go to prom with Graham Turner? If only she could be Sleeping Beauty and wake up to her true love staring her in the face, assured of who he was. Minus the whole being taken from your family and pricking your finger on a spindle thing.

Blair flopped over onto her stomach. Graham was a year older than her. Not popular but not unpopular either. They had calculus together and had talked a bit before, but never really been friends. He hung out with the senior football players. She hung out with her flag corp friends.

Graham wasn't bad looking. He was big but adorable, like an elephant. A little pudgy but in a cute panda bear type of way. He had blond hair that often flopped over his eye. And a smattering of freckles over his nose.

Graham hadn't dated anyone all year so far as she knew. He wasn't a hottie all the girls gushed over. He probably had never seen a chick flick before. There'd be no romantic dinners with candles for the girl that dated him. No rowboat picnics, or swirling hearts in the froth of your latte. He wasn't the kind of boy that made your heart thunder and your palms sweat.

He was just a good guy who would probably grow up and be a policeman and buy you a little house with three bedrooms so your four kids would have to share. He’d stop and get you flowers on holidays and you’d splurge on the powdered donuts he likes at the store. Yes, that was Graham Turner. Boy next door, as american as apple pie. The type of guy who would never cuss at you or tarnish your reputation. The kind of boy who gets up when the rooster crows and makes his mom breakfast in bed on her birthday, and who is so sweet it makes you want to throw him against a wall and make out with him like crazy.

Blair sat upright on her bed. What the heck was she thinking? Of course she wanted to go to prom with Graham. She'd text him right now and tell him. Scooting off her bed, she grabbed her phone where she had left it on her desk earlier. But no. Not yet. Cause what if they got to texting and then she got called to dinner? Daddy had a strict 'no phones at the table' policy. And if she wanted to grow up and marry Graham so that she could buy him donuts and make out with him after their kids had gone to bed, well then she should be available later to chat, right?


Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Sister love...

So,I thought I would stretch myself and try writing a little Middle Grade today. Ya'll, middle grade is tough to write. It's a really, really hard voice to nail. And I am not good at it! But hey, that's what practice is for, right? See what you think about this one -

(this cuteness via wikipedia)

Here are my 5 words:

Cadence hugged her bear tighter. She was too old to need a stuffed animal, but at least hugging him kept her from throwing the bear at her sister’s face. 

Emmie bent over the carpet, dragging a roll of blue painter’s tape behind her. When she reached the wall, she tore off the tape and stood. “There. Now we don’t have to share.”

Cadence stared at the blue line running down their room. On Emmie’s side the bed was neatly made, her sneakers lined up in a row along the bottom of her closet. Her stuffed animal, Glenda, a pink rhino, was perched on the top of Emmie’s closet, hidden there since their last sleepover.

Cadence glanced down at her bear. One of his button eyes was missing, and his fur was matted from years of being hugged tight to Cadence’s chest while she slept. Cadence’s leg brushed against the sheet of her bed. Still unmade, because she hadn’t had time to do her chores before Mom had to take them to school this morning. Something that drove Emmie crazy.

Emmie picked up one of Cadence’s socks from her side of the room. “This is yours.” She tossed it over the line onto Cadence’s side.

Everyone at school thought it was cool to be a twin. Cadence thought it was horrid. Especially when your twin didn’t even like you anymore. “My little spork,” Daddy always called them. One a fork. One a spoon. Useful apart, a spork together. Both useful and unique, Daddy said.

They’d always been different. They didn’t look alike, so sometimes people didn’t even think they were twins. But they’d always done everything together. And now Emmie acted stuck up half the time. She was the better twin. At everything.

If Cadence made a B plus, Emmie made an A minus.

Emmie had more stars on her chore chart.

Emmie’s blond curls bounced like Mom’s, whereas Cadence’s hair was flat and brown.

Emmie lay down on her perfectly made bed, and pulled out her book. Cadence peered past her to the bathroom. It was on Emmie's side. What now? Wait until Emmie fell asleep and then tiptoe to the bathroom? Emmie and her stupid tape and stupid rules.

She didn't even know why Emmie was so upset. It hadn’t even been that big of a deal. Cadence had borrowed one of Emmie’s shirts. Yellow with ruffles at the bottom. It was new and cute, and seemed just the right thing on wear today. She’d thrown a sweater over it because it was cold this morning, so Emmie hadn’t seen it until school. She’d been so mad she’d yelled then left the lunch table, taking half their friends with her.

She’d ignored Cadence all day, and when they got home she had rummaged in mom’s craft room for the tape, then divided their room in half.

I’m tired of being your twin, she had said.

Cadence’s stomach tightened like when she had to give a report out loud in class. Normally she and Emmie drank smoothies and watched TV after school. Now everything Cadence did seemed wrong. "Walking on eggshells" is what Mom called it after she and Daddy had a fight and things were tense and quiet the next day. That’s how Cadence felt, like her insides had been thrown into the blender and chopped up like pieces of strawberry Mom put in their smoothie today.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Because winter is dull, and we need a beach vacation

Christmas is over, which means that winter needs to leave, yes?

It's supposed to be 8 degrees here tonight, and this is the South! Excuse me weather, but you are very confused. *Sigh...*

A friend suggested a Caribbean setting for my 5 word story today, which is perfect. An escape from winter, even in my mind, sounds fabulous. Can we all just hop in a plane and go here?


Sadly, we cannot. But travel with me in your mind to some place warm and sunny! Here are my five words for today:

roller coaster

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The wave that hit her had no mercy.

Cleary, as it spit her into shallow water in a heap, her legs sprawled out behind her. Another wave hit, sending her flying once more. Dark hair flung across her goggles and her snorkel flushed ocean into her mouth. Brooklyn spit out salt water just in time to hear Jack laughing.

“That was awesome!”

Brooklyn peeled the goggles off just in time to glare at him. And see his iPhone pointed her direction. Great, because what she wanted was for her most embarrassing moments to be caught on film and then broadcast over the internet.

“It’s going on Facebook, Brooks.” Jack hit a few buttons on his phone, too engrossed in making an internet spectacle of her to bother offering her a hand up.

Which turned out to be a blessing considering the bottom of her suit had hijacked her butt crack and embedded itself there. She righted herself quickly before Jack could notice and share it with the world.

“Are you going in?” she asked Jack. 

His snorkel gear still lay on his beach towel. First day in paradise and she’d been the only one in the water so far. How the others resisted she had no idea. Spring break in the Bahamas was something she wanted to soak up and savor.

“Waiting for Sam,” Jack said.

Just on cue, Sam called out to them. His swim trunks hung loosely on his hips and Brooklyn made herself look up at his face and not at his belly button. He carried a chair in one hand, two towels in the other, and had a bag slung over his shoulder. Casey, walking beside him, carried nothing of course.

“All hail the queen,” Jack said under his breath.

Brooklyn bit back a grin. She tolerated Jack just barely, but at least they had a mutual loathing of Sam’s current girlfriend.

Brooklyn removed the hair elastic from her ponytail and swept her hair back while they waited for Sam and Casey. Sam deposited everything in a heap on the sand, until Casey whined and asked him to lay out her towel for her.

Which Sam ignored.

Interesting. What was going on with them? Casey rolled her eyes and shook her towel out before putting it on the ground. The girl was a first rate moron. Solid B’s and not overwhelmingly stupid, but my gosh, Casey Langston needed a calculator to figure out how many minutes were left in biology each afternoon. What did Sam see in her?

Casey bent in front of the boys to flatten out her towel, her ample chest barely contained in her green bikini.

Well, that solved that mystery.

Still, Brooklyn knew Sam. The fact that he was with Casey and had been all spring semester of their senior year was crazy.

But probably only because Brooklyn was still crazy for Sam.

She pulled her eyes from Casey’s goods and smiled at Jack. “You gonna join me this time?”

Sam spoke before Jack could answer. “I’m in.” He stopped to pick up his own gear. “Let’s go.”

Brooklyn gave one last look at Casey, who stretched out with an issue of Cosmo. Sam was already headed to the water with Jack. Brooklyn trotted to catch up with them, her emotions a roller coaster

She’d dated Sam over the summer. And she loved him.

And hated him.

He infuriated her like no one else could. Got under her skin like an itch you couldn’t scratch and made you so consumed with irritation that it drove you to the worst version of yourself. Which is exactly what she had become when they were dating.

When they reached the shore Brooklyn bent over to rinse her goggles. Sam watched her and squatted down. "I’ve never snorkeled before," he said. "How do I do it?"

"Ah, watch and learn, Grasshopper."

He chuckled, and Brooklyn melted. This is what she loved - the banter between them. The quick wit, that had quickly spun out of control when they were dating and became shouting matches and horrible put downs. 

She swirled her goggles in the water beside Sam and his fingers brushed against her hand. The same way they did parts of Casey.

Brooklyn jerked her hand away and stood. Stuck for five days in paradise with the boy she still loved to hate, and his current girlfriend. Jack posting her fight with the ocean on the internet was just the beginning. Nothing about this trip was going to be merciful.