A really great friend of mine, who is also an author, prompted me last week to submit one of my books to Kindle Scout. I have been waiting to decide what to do with Outliving Her Past for a couple of months, and when she emailed me, I took it as a sign and entered!
The nomination period runs for thirty days and will end on May 12th, which, incidentally, is the day before my birthday! This is the kind of present I would love!
I was reading a Dear Abby post today about a woman who'd been conversing with a man online for a few months. She knew the time was getting closer to meet, and she was concerned the man might not like what he saw because she was overweight and had some dental issues. Abby reminded her that beauty is in the eye of the beholder and advised her to deal with her weight and dental issues if they were affecting her self-esteem.
Of course, after reading this, I started to think about why we think we have to measure up to someone else's beauty standards. We've all looked at the popular magazines that feature glamorous models and perfectly-toned women with flawless makeup, and we feel like we're lacking. Honestly, I used to feel that way myself, but the older I get, the more I realize that beauty on the outside doesn't matter if there's isn't any on the inside.
To me, beauty is the person who'll stand by your side no matter what, the smile you get from a complete stranger when you feel like your world is upside down. Beauty is the hand holding yours, the person applauding you for your accomplishments, and the words of encouragement when you're about to step outside your comfort zone.
Beauty is the voice on the other end of the line when you just feel like chatting, the arms wrapped around you to let you know you are supported, and the kiss on the cheek to say goodnight. It's shared laughter and adventures, exchanging secrets, that sense of urgency to share an important part of your day, and the voice of reason when you're out on the ledge.
Beauty isn't how many dimples a person has or the blindingly-white teeth. Yes, we can all appreciate an attractive person, but the interior is far more important because that's the beauty that will last a lifetime.
I was born in 1968 which, now, seems like a very long time ago. I have now lived 17, 841 days. Now it really seems like a long time.
In less than 56 days, I'll turn 49, and it's made me reflect on how different things are now than when I grew up in the seventies and eighties.
I lived in a time where technology was a telephone, a color television, and, if you were lucky, a microwave which we didn't have at all. I never had a microwave until I was in my twenties, and I didn't have cable TV until I was in my late twenties.
I still remember having to pay for long distance on a landline, stopping to use a payphone when I was on a long trip, needing cash to buy practically everything because you could only use your ATM card to extract cash .
When I was born, gas was $0.34 per gallon. Where I live now, gas is $2.04 a gallon. The average cost of a new car was less than $3,000. A new car in 2017 is easily over $14,000, most even higher than that. The hourly wage was $1.60 an hour, and when I was able to work when I was sixteen, the hourly wage was $3.35.
In 1968, you could buy a new house for less than $15,000. Where I live today, it's not easy to find a house for less than $80,000, and those usually aren't in the best neighborhoods.
I didn't get a car when I turned sixteen or even when I graduated from high school. My first car I bought myself when I was twenty. Before that, I took the bus, walked, or rode with friends, but then taking the bus and walking was a lot safer than it is now.
In my teens, everyone knew everyone in the neighborhood, and the neighbors had no problem with ratting you out to your parents if you skipped school. Ask me how I know. The parents all watched out for one another's kids. Most nights and even weekends, we were home because movies and going out to eat were luxuries that didn't happen very often.
We had to find free ways to entertain ourselves, and that's what drew me to reading. I could check the books out from the library and read a dozen in one weekend. I still miss having that kind of time.
What do you remember about your childhood? What do you miss?
I write about killers a lot. When you write suspense, that's not unusual. In my latest suspense release, Last Showing, I introduced you to Stefan Greenwald, a particularly nasty guy who liked killing because he could. I won't tell you what happened to Stefan in my book because I'd like for you to read more about him first.
I like killing. I know what that makes me sound like, but it’s who I am. There’s just something about watching the life drain out of someone’s eyes. It makes me feel powerful. I like to hear them beg me to spare them. If they looked close enough into my eyes, they’d see it wasn’t going to happen. I’m not the sparing kind.
I’ll bet you think I started killing people when my mama walked out on me and Luther. You’d be wrong. It didn’t have anything to do with her. I think I was born this way. All I know is I’ve had this desire inside of me since way before I can remember. And I ain’t interested in it going away.
Having the power to allow someone to live or die is exhilarating. Of course I never let them live. That'd be too merciful, and mercy ain't ever done anything for me. Besides that, I can't leave behind witnesses. I have enough trouble keeping up with my dumb brother who, by the way, is the reason I was caught and sent to prison the first time.
Do I think the cops will get me again? I never really think about it. If it happens, it happens. I’ve already been to prison. I can go back. I killed people in there, too, and I got away with it. It’s hard to prove who killed an inmate when no one’s talking. And no one talked about me in prison. They knew better.
I suppose this will all have to end some day, but until then, I’m going to keep having fun. And before you think you’re safe, I ain’t particular about the women I kill. I’ve even taken out a few guys. No one is safe when I’m in their town. So you’d better hope the cops catch me again.
I was so fortunate to be able to create a series video for Zee Monodee's Corpus Agency ladies. I really enjoyed creating the video, and I'm grateful Zee trusted me with bringing to life her idea!
I read a blog challenge on Tumblr tonight, and the question was: How would your life change if everyone knew your secrets? I cringed and swallowed hard. Wow. That wouldn't be good.
We all have secrets. Maybe it's something simple like you had a crush on your best friend's boyfriend back in high school, or it could be something more sinister. Either way, can you imagine how your life would change if all your secrets came to light? Could you stand in front of a room full of people while your deepest, darkest secrets were read aloud?
I know my life would definitely change. Even my closest friends don't know all of my secrets because, let's be honest, that's why they're called secrets. Would knowing all of my secrets change how they felt about me? Probably not, but I would wonder, and that would change my relationship with them.
So how about you? How would your life change if everyone knew your secrets?
Once upon a time my favorite soap opera was Days of Our Lives. That show could make me call in sick to work, miss lunch with friends, and take the phone off the hook. I watched it for ten years straight until life got too busy. There was so much drama I couldn't peel my eyes off the screen. And the couples were spectacular. Two of my favorites were Shane and Kimberly and Patch and Kayla.
I'll freely confess I skipped class and hung out a friend's house the day Shane and Kimberly got married. When Patch and Kayla got married, I told my boss I had a wedding to attend.
The other day, I was scrolling through YouTube and discovered Shane and Kimberly's wedding from May 4, 1986. Charles Shaugnessy and Patsy Pease nailed these roles.
I watched their entire wedding, first dance, and honeymoon episodes, and before I realized it, over an hour had gone by. It made me wonder why soap operas aren't on DVDs like old television shows and movies.
Have you ever been addicted to soap operas? What was your favorite?
This guy never falls to make me laugh. I've seen him in person once, and I can't remember ever laughing that hard for so long. Listen for yourself!
The past two weeks have been a difficult battle for a family whose beloved daughter, niece, and granddaughter passed away. As they've struggled to obtain the money to bury their loved one, my thoughts have wandered to the brevity of this life.
Whether we like it or not, life is short. It might not seem like it if you hear about the passing of a 90-year-old person, but to them, that life went by so fast, they blinked, and it was gone. That's what happens.
I remember years ago thinking people in their forties were old, and now, I'm in my forties. And it doesn't seem so old. But it does feel like the days are slipping by, and that I'm not focusing on the things that really matter, what's most important in life.
While social media is a great way to get to know people...at least, it used to be...it's not meeting people face to face. It's not getting out into the world and actually talking to people. And looking at beautiful pictures online can be awe-inspiring, but it can't measure up to seeing those same sights in person.
I like to travel, and I spend as much time as possible doing it, but when I'm home, I'm home. Often, too much. That's why I'm challenging myself to do something different each month, whether it's taking a short day trip, visiting a site in my hometown I've never seen, taking pictures of nature, or going for a helicopter ride. I'm going to enjoy this life out from behind a computer screen because, while work is important, so is life. And it's meant to be lived.
Eleven years ago, I met a young woman whose smile lit up a room. Her laugh made me laugh, and she always had a wise-crack or a wry comment that would make me burst into giggles. Beautiful and unique, she brought joy to those around her, although, I'm not sure she always felt that.
Sometimes, she got down and didn't want to face the world, but no one in her life could imagine their world without her in it. Even if all she wanted to do was sleep, we took comfort knowing she would awaken and, eventually, the storm would pass. And the laughter would return. Because that was Lexi. Her strength lay in her love for her family, and she loved with all her heart and soul.
Lexi was a phenomenal baker and cake decorator, created amazing crafts, could put together a baby shower or a birthday party a professional planner would envy, and was the go-to babysitter because she had a way with children who connected with her kind heart. Dedicated to her friends and family, Lexi wore her heart on her sleeve, and sometimes, got hurt because of it. But she would rebound, and her smile would return.
In 2013, Lexi fought a hard battle for her life when she ended up in intensive care and battled a serious illness. She survived only to relapse a couple of years later, but her strength wasn't depleted. She continued to fight and was able to return home again, to the joy of her family and friends. But that was Lexi. She never stopped fighting, and she always had a smile for those she loved.
But our hearts broke on January 14, 2017 when we lost that smile forever. Lexi took her final walk into the arms of Jesus that morning, and those of us left behind are devastated and shaken to our foundation. Loving Lexi was easy; letting her go will be the most difficult thing we've ever had to do. Our only comfort is she is with the One who wipes away all tears, and we've no doubt she is dancing in heaven tonight.
My thoughts, experiences, challenges, and goals. Right here. At least once a week or so. Oh, and opinions, too. Those will definitely come in. Join me!