Excerpt Sunday 9

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Today’s excerpt comes from a book I started last year. I was sailing along and then I got sidetracked by another idea, probably Beyond the Cracks. This is Fighting Forty which I not only have two thirds of the way complete, but I also have the title and a cover concept all worked out.

It began the day after my fortieth birthday. Matt came sauntering into the kitchen in nothing but his boxers, a boyish smile on his face, his hair falling in his eyes, and I instantly hated him. Well, maybe I didn’t hate him exactly. That might be a little strong. Maybe I just resented him. There was definitely a feeling of animosity, lets say.

He looked happy, and although up until that morning I’d have told you I was happy too, suddenly I was miserable. I felt as though I had been slapped in the face, and not only was  it startling, but it was painful. Everything about Matt’s appearance screamed young and content, while I was no longer either of those things. I was just forty. Not in my twenties, not in my thirties, but now in my forties.

Never mind the fact that Matt is two years older than me. He is a guy and I’m a girl. At least I used to be a girl. Once you hit forty, you can’t really refer to yourself as a girl anymore, now can you?

Matt kissed my forehead.

“Good Morning Beautiful,” he said, moving towards the coffee maker.

“Nice of you to dress up,” I grumbled.

He laughed and went about the business of making our usual morning coffee. We’d been together for twenty years at this point, so my grumbling was nothing new to him. He knew I required a wide berth so to speak, on most mornings, so it came as no surprise that after a late night party I would be less than pleasant. Casual as he appeared, he had to know that my turning forty was bound to have some repercussions. After all, we are both actors and everyone knows that forty is the kiss of death for an actress. Thus the reason my party had been celebrated in the theme of a wake. Up until that point it had all seemed funny, but that morning the humor had suddenly and abruptly, worn off.

“What time will your mom be returning the kids?” Matt asked, a few moments later, handing me a cup of coffee with my usual three heaping teaspoons of sugar and a beautifully swirled spray of whipped cream on top, just the way I like it.

I had been leaning against our new farm-style sink, a birthday gift I had campaigned hard to get, and which had been installed the day before, staring out into the backyard with it’s beautiful  Jacaranda tree. A tree that in the light breeze was dropping purple blossoms directly into our gorgeous swimming pool. I have a real love/hate relationship with that tree.

“Yoo-hoo, Emily,” Matt said, waving his hand in my face.

I slapped it away and he grabbed my wrist, leaning in to kiss my neck.

“What are you doing?” I growled.

“Has dementia set in so soon?” he teased. “When are the kids coming home? Have we got time to go back to bed?”

“What for?” I asked, sincerely not knowing.

Now lest you should think I’m an idiot, remember that I just told you, we had been together for twenty years. We had children that were teenagers. There were no romantic trysts in the morning, even when I still liked him. Not in the past ten years at any rate. There was the occasional quickie when he woke up aroused, but that usually consisted of my merely leaning into him, while hoping he wouldn’t disturb me so much that I wouldn’t be able to get back to sleep. Passion was reserved for vacations away from the kids, and lately those had been few and far between.

“Let’s go back to bed,” he grinned, pulling me into the hallway.

“I’m forty, get real,” I objected.

“Exactly, use it or lose it babe,” he laughed. “We can’t have you rusting up like the tin man.”

“I’m not in the mood,” I snarled, breaking free of his grasp.

“Because you are forty?

“Sure, whatever,” I said, turning to leave.

Much to my surprise, he grabbed my hips and ran me back to our bedroom, despite my objections. He then lifted me and tossed me onto our bed, another clear indication that while I was ageing, he was somehow managing to get younger. That only increased my dislike of him.

“This isn’t happening,” I announced, as he leapt onto the bed and I rolled away from him.

“Why not? How often do we get the house to ourselves? Come on Em, even if you aren’t into it, take one for the team,” he pleaded, giving me his most charming smile.

“My life is over!” I wailed, collapsing back onto the bed to have a big old, self-pitying cry.

“There, there old woman,” Matt teased, “you’re only as old as you feel.”


Matt continued trying to tease me out of my mood for the rest of the day, but to no avail. My mom returned the kids and sympathized when I stood on the front porch complaining, but her only advice was that I should lie about my age from now on. Either that or prepare to become a character actress. My fifteen year old, Samantha, heard that and groaned.

“Oh god, just retire. The last thing I need is to become the daughter of a character actress.!”

Although perfectly normal at her age, Sami, as I was no longer allowed to call her, felt everything revolved around her. Anything any of us did, reflected on her and if we knew what was good for us, it had better reflect positively.

From a very young age, she had always been far more accepting of Matt’s career than mine. Matt could be killed off, or the one doing the killing on any TV show around, and he was considered cool. When I was killed off, or killing, I was dressed wrong, or my dying was lame. Matt, she felt, was far better at dropping dead than I was. Likewise, when Matt played a love interest, it was just funny to her. When I did so, I was slutty or just plain pathetic. Whenever Matt got a role in a film, it was cause for celebration, but if I did the same, I was an absentee parent who didn’t care enough to be there for her when she needed me most. It was a battle I had long since given up on trying to win.

“Maybe I will,” I told her.

“Maybe you won’t,” Mom said. “Not if you know what’s good for you.”

“It’s just going to be demeaning from here on out,” I sighed.

“Absolutely,” Mantha, as I was now supposed to call her, concurred. “Quit while you’re ahead.”

“You know what, maybe you are right,” Mom said. “Stay home and help Mantha navigate the tricky road of dating boys and when to first become intimate.”

“Oh Frick my life!” Mantha dramatically declared.

My mom smiled and gave me a hug.

“You are every bit as young and beautiful today as you were yesterday, and don’t you ever forget it. I love you.”

“I love you too. Thanks for taking the kids.”

“No problem,” she smiled, walking back to her car.

“You realize she’s only saying that because she’s your mother,” Mantha told me.

“You realize she only took you for the same reason,” I muttered.

“Real mature, Mom,” she said, rolling her eyes and going inside.

I walked over to the rose bushes that line the fence between our house and the Rosenfield’s and began picking at dead leaves. Max, our thirteen year-old, burst out the front door, skateboard in hand, and flew by, saying he was going down to Kevin’s.

“Kyle is having a shit fit, btw,” he called back.

“Why?” I asked, but Max was already out of earshot, having jumped on his board and skated off.

Kyle was our surprise. The result of one of those aforementioned vacations eight years earlier. I have read somewhere that seven is the age of reason, but at seven and a half, Kyle had yet to have more than a moment’s reason. Matt takes his volatile personality in stride, whereas I find him to be overwhelming. I love him to death, but I would be lying if I said I understand him, or know how to reason with him. Because of this, I pretended not to have heard Max and continued hanging out with my bushes. That is until I saw Carolyn Rosenfield drive into her wrap around driveway. Then I rushed back into the house in an effort to avoid being dragged into an awkward discussion as to why we had held a party and not invited the entire neighborhood, not to mention given fair warning as to how loud it would be. Much like Mantha, but far less understandable, Carolyn also believes the world revolves around her. She is a master at sticking her nose into everyone’s business.

As soon as I shut the front door I realized the flaw in this was that I was then thrust into Kyle’s meltdown. He was standing in the living room, facing off with Matt who held both remotes to the TV. Kyle was yelling that something was stupid and upon seeing me, he did his best to bring me around to his way of thinking, tearfully explaining what he perceived as a great injustice.

“Daddy won’t let me watch the movie and I have to watch the movie because everybody, all my friends get to, and I don’t, and it’s not fair!” he cried.

Let me state, just for the record, that Matt and I have incredibly beautiful children. They have each managed to gather the best features between us and come out as stunning physical specimens. Kyle has the most incredible blue/green eyes, and sun streaked dark blonde hair, as well as a year round golden tan. He is on the small side, so he looks even younger than he is, and there is a sweetness about his face that makes you want to side with him even when he is clearly in the wrong. This time was no different than any other.

“What movie?” I asked.

“The Avengers,” Kyle sniffled.

“He is seven and a half,” I reasoned.

“Yeah!” he huffed.

“It will give him nightmares and we’ll be up all night, not to mention, I have already told him no,” Matt informed me.

“No it won’t. Mommy tell him!”

“Is it really that violent?” I inquired.

“Yes, for a kid like him, yes,” Matt insisted.


It was true, Kyle is very sensitive. Even a lyric in a song can set him off.


“But sooner or later, he’s going to see it.”

“Not today, he’s not.”

“Sorry Babe, I tried,” I shrugged.

Kyle fell to the ground in what looked like a convulsive fit, and Matt simply went to where he was flopping about, threw him over his shoulder, and carried him back to his room, where he told him to stay until dinner. It was a futile attempt at domination. The kid was out of that room like a shot, collapsing in front of us, yet again, but with the same result. This went on for a good twenty minutes until he had sufficiently exhausted himself to the point of no return, literally.

With this ugly reality refreshed in my mind, it became crystal clear to me that retirement was not an option. No matter how small or embarrassing the part, I knew that were it offered, I would accept it. Leading lady or hideous side kick, it would still be an excuse to get out of the house, and out was where I needed to be.

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A Bumpy Ride


I just spent ten days in Northern California, enjoying my sister, her Grandbabies, and the open sky that I notice more and more each time I visit. My flight up was delayed by 40 minutes, but I had the pre-check so I was able to breeze through security and simply killed the extra time listening to one of my Spotify playlists on my phone.

It was warm in N. Cal. as it is back here in S. Cal. but the days went quickly and there were some beautiful sunsets.


Before I knew it, it was time to come home, so once again I headed to the airport.  My sister dropped me off, I stood in line to check in, and Surprise! I was told my flight had been cancelled. Of course I had gotten to the airport early for my 11:55 a.m. flight and now I would have to wait for the next flight at 1:45 p.m.

Now I realize to the seasoned traveler, this is hardly the worst that could happen, but I was hot and tired and annoyed. Of course, as luck would have it I didn’t get the pre-check this time, so I stood in another long line and had to take off my shoes, take out my laptop, etc. Then I was put through the body scan. I turned to pick up my belongings and my laptop was missing. I kept trying to get the attention of any one of the many TSA workers but they ignored me. Finally one of them  casually told me it had to be looked at. Why, I can’t imagine. I finally got it back and then discovered my phone was missing! Ugh! Found that buried in a bin and went to my gate to wait for the next three hours.

Once again, thank God for Spotify! Finally got on the plane and was pleased to see that it was not as crowded as the flight up. We took off and I breathed a sigh of relief. Then the turbulence began. It was a perfectly hot, sunny day, and out of nowhere we started bouncing.

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Fortunately it was short lived, but it was not fun. Now I am home safe and sound, but I can’t wait to go back up! Those Grandbabies are just too perfect!


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Another Excerpt Sunday


Life has been more than a little intense the past few weeks, and therefore I never got around to posting last weeks excerpt. Today O’m going with an excerpt from Hanging From the High Wire

Chapter 22

 When we got back to the house it was so quiet that I was sure Gavin would be asleep, but he came wandering down the hallway, asking if we’d thought to buy any food while we were gone.

“Only cereal and milk because I need to do a real shopping tomorrow.”

“Cereal and wine?” he frowned.

“It’s a western delicacy,” Corky assured him. “You place a bowl of dry cereal on the table and nibble it like a snack while drinking your wine. It’s a big thing in all of the finest establishments.”

“Is it now?”

“Oh, yes!”

Gavin smiled at me and I smiled back, grateful to have Corky in our lives again to lighten up all that had become way too serious.

While Gavin opened the wine and poured us each a glass, I filled her in on what had so far gone down between Gavin and Sirri Bingington. Then I asked Gavin if the book had at least made sense as he had read further.

“Sadly, no,” he said.

“But it was her you were meeting with tonight, right?”

“It was.”

“And how’d that go?”

“Not real well,” he sighed, before taking a slow sip of wine.

“Take us through it from the beginning,” Corky told him. “First off, where did you meet?”

He glanced over at me before mumbling that he’d met her at her house.

“Uh oh!” Corky laughed, “Were advances made?”

“Advances may have been made.”

“What?” I shrieked.

“Don’t wake the children. It’s not as if I acknowledged them. I could be off my game here and imagining it all anyway. I’m really quite knackered.”

“Start at the beginning,” I told him.

Gavin sat across from Corky and I as we were curled up on the sofa. Taking another drink of wine, he sighed and said he’d asked to meet her in a more public location, but she’d guessed that he wished to discuss the book and she wanted privacy.

“I must say, at that point I was hopeful that this was another of her tests, and that what she had given me was a massive joke, although I couldn’t make sense of its sheer volume,” he told us. “She lives in the Bel Aire end of Beverly Glen Canyon, in a gated Mediterranean with manicured grounds. It’s quite the show place, you’d abhor it,” he smiled at me. “Pretentious as can be.”

“Alone?” Corky asked.

“Alone,” he confirmed.

“How old is she? She’s older than us right?” she asked.

“She’s forty.”

“Does she look good? She’s pretty, isn’t she?”

“She’s alright I suppose,” he said

“Breathing and with ample bosoms then?” Corky laughed.  “What was she wearing?”

“I don’t know, some sort of billowy thing. I think it was a long dress of some sort.”

“Meaning he couldn’t see past the bosoms,” she told me.

“Stop that. Do you want to hear what happened or not?” he asked.

“Sorry,” she laughed. “I’m just teasing you, go on.”

“Right, so she greeted me at the door and led me back to her study. She offered me a drink which I declined, and which she made anyway, telling me it was just in case. Then we sat on a sofa much like you are now, and her eyes sparked as she asked me to tell her what I’d thought of the book. She said she couldn’t wait to hear! Well, I breathed a sigh of relief didn’t I, because the smile on her face was so broad that it could only mean that she knew it was shit.”

“Oh no,” I moaned.

“Kelly, if you’d seen the smile you’d have thought the same,” he insisted.

“Don’t interrupt,” Corky said hitting my leg. “Go on,” she told Gavin.

“I told her I was going to be honest, and that I’d never read anything like it, which I suppose would have been fine if only I’d left it at that, but then I proceeded to let her know that I’d never been so bored in all my life.”

I cringed as Corky laughed, and asked what she’d had to say about that. Gavin cringed too and went to refill his glass.

“It was bloody miserable from that point on,” he sighed. “I said it was a joke, expecting her to say well of course it was, but instead she began weeping, and told me she’d spent months writing this, and nearly a year researching it beforehand. I couldn’t stop myself from asking her, researching what, strip clubs? Male prostitution? And I told her I was only guessing that that was what the book was meant to be about, because it was so lost in descriptive details that a plot of any substance was impossible to unearth. I really thought even then she’d begin to laugh Kel, I promise you I did.”

“Oh, God,” I groaned, wanting to laugh, but it wasn’t funny, at least to me, Corky though couldn’t stop laughing.

“Then what happened?” she asked, eager to hear more.

“I apologized, and said I wished I could tell her it was fantastic, but it’s not, and she told me to get out. I got up to leave and she followed me to the door, stopping me at the last moment to say that she couldn’t believe I was being so hurtful. I apologized again and said I was disappointed too, at which point she fell against me sobbing wildly. It was terribly awkward.”

“Terribly, terribly awkward,” Corky giggled. “God love you Brits! Go on,” she told him.

“I led her over to another couch in another room, desperately trying to come up with something positive to say, but I was coming up blank, when she told me that her previous agent hadn’t thought it was crap. However a moment later, she admitted she’d severed all ties with him because he’d told her it wasn’t commercial enough. And yes,” he said to me, “I told her that is because it is crap.”

“So that’s that, then,” I sighed.

“She’s said she’s going to take some time to reconsider, and that she has an idea for another novel, but she’ll have to consider if she’s up to showing me the outline or not. I’ve told her I’ll understand if she wants to part ways.”

“I’d think you’d be praying for it, if she’s half as bad as you say,” Corky said.

“She’s a huge name in the industry, I need her,” he sighed. “Scott said there had to be a catch that she was coming to an agency as small as mine. I should have known this was coming.”

“Scott is a giant shit if he told you that!” Corky exclaimed, and I agreed.

“You’re a great agent, Gavin, I know that, and the truth is, you didn’t tell her anything that she didn’t need to hear,” I said.

“She was our ticket, I was so sure.”

“I know,” I swallowed.

“There will be others,” Corky insisted.

Gavin said he was going to bed, and told us not to stay up all night, as was often our tradition. Corky and I finished our wine and I told her I wanted to hear what Scott had said on their drive from the airport.

“Apart from what the hell have you been telling people?” she laughed.

“Yes. I want all the details. Have you guys even spoken since you left?”

“Not unless you count the night I got drunk and wanted to hear his voice so bad that I prank called him with the old, is your dishwasher running, and told him he’d better catch it.”

“Did he know it was you?”

She just looked at me and laughed.

“We were together for almost five years, of course he knew it was me.”

“And you talked?”

“Oh God no. He said my name and I hung up and cried myself to sleep.”

“When was this?”

“About two months ago, when I was agonizing over sleeping with that guy.”

“What guy?”

“The guy, Mark. I know I told you. He was going to back the show, or maybe he even did for awhile, I’m not sure. He looked like James Franco in that movie where he cut his arm off.”

“I remember you saying there was a guy hanging around who looked like James Franco, but you didn’t tell me you slept with him.”

“I didn’t in the end. I couldn’t. How stupid is that?”

“I guess we’ll never know.”

“He was a really good kisser,” she smiled, “But it was just too soon.”

“Which brings us back to Scott,” I said, unable to hold back a yawn.

“You’re tired and so am I. Lets save this discussion for tomorrow,” she suggested.


“Yeah, so am I in with Nick?”

“Either that or out here, whichever you prefer.”

“I’ll take Nick’s room with a real bed,” she said, and gave me a hug. “I’m glad I’m here,” she told me.


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Excerpt Sunday 7?

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I think that’s right. The world woke up to another senseless shooting so it’s hard to concentrate and yet the world spins on. So enjoy a break from the harsh reality of today and remember that we all need to pull together in love and peace.

 This is from my latest novel which you can get here: Beyond the Cracks


Emily texts me that Milo asked about me at bedtime, and says she hopes this text finds me well. This is a reference to the summers we spent in Wales when we were younger.

Every once in a while our mom would decide to tour with our dad, and when they were away I missed them terribly. Emily would distract me by reading Jane Eyre novels aloud, and then concocting imaginary games in which we were separated from one another by a great distance, but looking forward to reuniting at a huge ball we would both be attending. We would write one another long letters about our lives, mine in the country, and hers in London among high society. We both always ended our letters with, I hope this letter finds you well.

I stare at my phone wanting to reply, but not certain what I want to say. I know she had every right to be angry last night. I was the one who was late, and I was the one who drank before going into church. I tell myself to forgive and forget is divine, and begin composing the following text.

“Although better now, it has been a difficult season. Father has had to return to the city to tend to business, and I am left here alone to navigate what can at times be overwhelming. Sir Jeremy is here with me now, strictly for a platonic visit. Alas, I feel him pulling away as his memory returns (he must have fallen off a horse or something). Cousin Tim is in the guest house with his young bride (who is not his bride at all) and theirs is a volatile relationship that exploded this very evening into cries and accusations. What I am trying to convey is that these are troubling times in our kingdom (that is no kingdom at all) Stay Calm and Carry On is the motto by which I desire to live, but as you can no doubt understand, it is not always easy. Forgive me my indiscretions, for I am trying my best. (Translated: I haven’t had a drink all day). I hope this text finds you well.”

I hit send and wait to see if she will respond. She does so a few minutes later.

“Dearest Ellie, I too have been inundated with my share of challenges of late. I am sorry to hear of Sir Jeremy’s recent fall. I know his departure was painful for you, and can only assume his return in any capacity is confusing at best. It was glorious to hear your sweet voice singing out in choir last night. It is my upmost desire that you will reconsider your stance, and join us on Sunday. I promise you, your absence will be felt should you decline. Perhaps we could lunch after mass? Hope you remain well. All my love, Emily.”

“I’ll think about it,” I reply, adding, “I love you too.”


I wish I could go back to those summers when we were so close. At the time Emily was the best big sister there could be. We did everything together and I idolized her. After Ethan’s accident though, our world changed. We stopped playing games because suddenly life had become too serious. I still needed the escape, but Emily grew up fast. She became my mom’s confidant when my dad had to travel, and I was suddenly discarded, and told I was too young to understand. They didn’t want to hear my questions, or maybe they just couldn’t. Maybe they knew my doubts would prove toxic to the only belief they had, which was that God would protect them and spare Ethan.

I fall asleep with the TV on and wake up the next morning alone. I go looking for Jeremy and find him asleep in the screening room. I debate waking him, but don’t. Instead I go upstairs, put on that ugly floral bathing suit, and jump into the pool determined to swim at least two full laps without stopping. I fall short.

Discouraged, I catch my breath and try again, falling even shorter. God, I feel old! I float face down, wondering what the point is. I’m feeling really sorry for myself, and about to start crying when something hard hits me in the back. I flail onto my back only to see a tennis ball floating next to me, and Jeremy sitting on a chaise lounge with a cup of coffee in his hands.


“What the hell was that for?” I demand.

“Just making sure you’re alive,” he says.


I flip him off and get out of the pool, grab the towel hanging on the chaise next to him, and march back into the house.


“Don’t be mad,” he calls after me.

I’ll be lucky if I don’t have a giant bruise to go with the one on my arm. I pour myself some coffee, mostly because it smells amazing, and leaning against the center island for a minute, watch Jeremy, wondering what he is thinking. He lays back on the chaise lounge, sets his coffee cup on a side table, and folds his arms behind his head. He looks comfortable. In fact, I realize he always looks comfortable. I tell myself I want to be just like him if I ever grow up.

I go upstairs, take a shower and consider trying to seduce him. I debate which I want more, to have sex with Jeremy, or to get drunk. They are neck and neck, but before I can make a decision he yells upstairs that he needs to leave. I walk out to the hallway, drop my towel, and ask if he is sure about that.

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Hey, Hey It’s My Birthday!!


So why not buy a book? That way we both get a gift! there are six of them you know! 

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And look, here’s a link to my Amazon Author Page! Click right here and read all about them!

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Excerpt Sunday 6


This is another excerpt from a book I have yet to publish. It’s working title is Freezing My Ass Off!


Chapter 1

I am sitting at the top of the bleachers in a cold high school gymnasium, freezing my ass off. My eleven year old daughter Nicole is down on the floor with her best friend Danielle shooting hoops, missing shot after shot. She’s a better defensive player than she is on offense.

Next to me, sighing on her cell phone is Lana, my best friend. Lana is about to leave her husband, Jeff. I always knew this day would come if for no other reason than the fact that his name is Jeff. Jeffs don’t stay married. They are too invested in having fun. I love Jeff, but I wish they would just get on with it now.

Lana hangs up and looks at me. She wants me to run away with her next weekend so that she can figure this all out, and my husband Luc has told me I can’t go.


“He’s not the boss of you, you know,” she tells me.

I can’t help but laugh at her.

“I need you,” she whines, adding, “a lot more than stupid old Luc.”


A whistle is blown and the kids are told to clear the floor because the game is about to start. Corey yells up to Lana that Garrett won’t move. Corey is Lana’s eleven year old son and Garrett is her four year old, and a brat. Like Jeff, he has the most irresistible smile I have ever seen. Garrett won’t be able to stay married either.

Lana climbs down to grab him, and as she does so, Luc comes in with our other three kids and the box of donuts they have picked up for the team snack. Like Lana, we, too, have a bratty four year old, Gatién, who has a devilish smile as well. As Luc stops to say hi to Nicole, Garrett breaks free to run over to Gatién and have a grand old reunion. You’d think they haven’t seen each other for weeks, when in fact they attend the same preschool and were together just yesterday.

I blow on my hands and wish Luc would get up here so that I can steal his jacket. Adrian, our eight year old and the easiest going of our kids, waves and goes over to sit on the floor with our six year old, Rain.

Just for the record, I have to say that I cannot believe I have a child named Rain. His full name is Rainier, and I blame his difficult delivery for the reason I gave into Luc so easily that time. I usually at least fight him on his French names, but that time I was too tired to care.

Lana gathers Garrett and Gatién and tells them to sit down in front of us where we can see them.


“I want to sit on the floor,” Gatién whines to me.

“Just sit here with Garrett,” I tell him, pointing to the bench directly below me.

“Garrett can sit on the floor, too,” he insists.

“Just stay put,” I say, as Lana sits next to me and we huddle together trying to stay warm.

“Mommy,” Gatién objects, “you’re no fair!”


Luc starts over but is stopped first by Marianne and Steve Sumner, and then by Shauna Lewis.

“Luc,” Lana yells impatiently. The game is starting and he’s blocking her view.


She motions for him to move and he turns to watch the game as Shauna touches his arm and laughs a little too hard about something. Luc is a successful director and Shauna is an actress. She makes her presence known to him every chance she gets. In Hollywood connections are more important than talent.

Nicole gets the tip off and runs the ball down court before passing it to Danielle who quickly passes it on to Corey. He shoots as Lana and I both draw in our breath, letting it out in slow disappointment as it hits only the rim. They all run down to the other end of the floor, their footsteps thundering in the echo of the half empty gym.

Luc finally makes his way up to us and kisses my cheek as I pull on his jacket and tell him I need it. Ever the gentleman, he takes it off and wraps it around my shoulders. I thank him, and Lana pushes me in irritation.


“Good morning Lana,” Luc laughs.


She glares at him while pulling half of his jacket around her shoulders. I share and we continue to hold our breath every time either of our kids has the ball. Gatién and Garrett climb on Luc and complain that they should be allowed to sit with the boys on the floor. He does his best to ignore them, squeezing my knee when Nicole manages to steal the ball. She throws it to Marshall, our star player, who shoots and makes the basket. We all stand and cheer.

By halftime, we are up by three points and Luc is beaming proudly.


“This iz fantastic, no?” he asks, as Gatién and Garrett pull on him and tell him to come on.


Taking their hands, the three of them jump down each step of the old wooden bleachers. Lana’s phone rings as she mimics, “Theeze iz fantastic, no?” rolling her eyes and putting even more of a French accent on it than Luc speaks with.


“I don’t know why you like him so much. You should really be over him by now,” she says, looking at her phone to see who is calling. “It’s Kaaay,” she says in a tone that always makes us laugh.

The British comedienne Tracey Ullman has a character who is worn down and put upon, and who always checks on her mother by saying, “Hello mother, it’s me, Kaaay,” The way she says it is funny, but if you’ve never seen it you probably can’t understand why it gets us every time. The Kay who is calling Lana used to think it was funny too, but here ten or fifteen years later, she’s over it. Lana opens her phone and we chorus, “Hello Kaaay” cracking ourselves up. Lana listens for a minute before turning to me.


“See? Dennis says he’ll pay Kay to go with me,” she sulks.


Dennis is a first class jerk and should pay Kay just for agreeing to breathe the same air as him.

Lana complains to Kay that I am allowing Luc to control me. She insists that I should come to Tahoe with them not just because it is beautiful, but because I need this more than anyone. She says this out of genuine concern for me.

To say the past several months have been more stressful than most would be an understatement. While Luc was away on a long location shoot in New Zealand, not only did my Dad pass away unexpectedly, but then there was Rain’s accident. Just two weeks after we laid my dad to rest, Rain was at a friend’s house, and new to riding a bike, took a ride without wearing a helmet. He hit a rock, flipped the bike, and fell down an embankment, hitting his head on the pavement below. Rushed to the hospital, he’d sustained a life threatening concussion that has since turned our world upside down.

Luc was only able to fly home long enough to see that he was moved out of the ICU. Once the immediate danger was past, he had to resume production, and returned to New Zealand. I was left on my own to handle Rain’s recovery, which has been long and stressful for us all. Not that I was completely alone, because I did have the support of Lana, Kay, and my mother. My mom has said that although she wouldn’t wish this on anyone, it has served as a distraction for her and helped her to deal with my father’s death. That’s been the silver lining, at least for her.

I watch as Luc runs over and slaps hi fives with our team and then grabs a spare basketball. He dribbles it out onto the court as Garrett and Gatién try to steal it from him. He shoots and makes a perfect basket. He looks up to be sure I’ve seen and smiles proudly. I sometimes think I should be over him by now, too, but I’m not even close. He is unquestionably the best thing that’s ever happened to me.

Again the whistles blow and they clear the court. Both Garrett and Gatién quickly run over to sit with Adrian and Rain. Luc looks up and Lana shakes her head no. She tells Kay she has to go and tells me,

“You know they won’t sit still.”


I can only agree. Luc talks to them, obviously trying to lay down some rules, but when he starts back up to us, I tell him to either stay with them or bring them back up.


“No, they’ll behave,” he insists.

“No, they will not,” I tell him.

“Jess, iz sad what low expectations you have for them.”

“Wrong. My expectations are really rather high, but I know they will not live up to them left down there on their own,” I argue. “Either sit with them, or make them come back up here.”


He stops to consider for one, maybe two seconds before deciding to ignore me. Sitting down, he places his hand on my knee, and tells me to watch the game. I look from him to the boys, where Gatién is already rolling around on the floor, his foot dangerously close to the foul line.


“Seriously?” Lana complains.

“Pay attention. Corey has the ball,” Luc tells her.

“Yea, thanks,” she says, rolling her eyes and marching off to get the boys.


Luc just pats my knee and yells to Nicole in French that she should be guarding with her hands up. The other team makes a basket, but Marshall, our star player, gets the rebound, makes a fast break, and slams the ball into the basket at the other end. Our side of the crowd goes wild, but I am distracted by the fact that Garrett is refusing to stand up and Gatién is crawling away. I go down to help and Lana and I drag them back up into the bleachers. Garrett cries and attempts to pull away from Lana the whole way. Gatién just fusses that it’s not fair.


“Papa,” he insists, “tell Mommy that I can!”

“Watch the game,” Luc tells him.


Lana informs Garrett that he is about to lose all electronics. She says there will be no TV, no video games, and no computer if he doesn’t behave.


“No, you will!” he wails.

“I’m counting to ten,” she warns.

“Oh mon dieu,” Luc groans in French, “not the counting.”


He reaches around me and grabs Garrett, pulling him over to his lap and telling him to hush. Garrett angrily wipes his tears and inserts his thumb into his mouth, doing as he’s been told. Brat or not, he’s cute, and he loves Luc almost as much as I do.

Our team goes on to victory after which we all move outside to congratulate them, and of course to indulge in the donuts we’ve brought for snacks.

Gatién, Garrett and Rain are all running wild, which worries Lana because they are near the parking lot. I’m watching too, but since most of the cars belong to the parents of the team, it appears relatively safe.

Melinda, Danielle’s mom, rushes over to thank me again for having brought Danielle to the game. Always running behind, she yells to Danielle that they have to go. She tells us she’s left the baby in the car where she is having a fit with the poor nanny,. We assume she means the baby and not the nanny, but then you never know. We are also informed that they have two birthday parties to attend this afternoon as well as a fundraiser tonight.

Danielle and Nicole bounce up together and Danielle announces that they want to have a sleepover. I catch Luc shaking his head no behind their backs.


“We won’t be home, but the nanny will, so it’s your call,” Melinda assures me.

“Maybe next week,” I propose.

“What? Why?” both girls whine.

“Because for one thing you’re putting us on the spot and I’ve told you I don’t like that.”

“But it’s at their house,” Nicole reasons.

“We’ve got to be going. Just call my cell when you decide,” Melinda says, rushing off.


This is what Melinda does all of the time. She throws that out there so that I’ll be blamed for saying no instead of her. Kay, who was a psychology major in college, feels it’s very passive aggressive. I just find it really annoying.


“I’m saying no right now,” I call to her.

“Okay,” she answers back. “Just call if you change your mind.”

“Why would I?” I laugh to Lana.

“Why wouldn’t you?” Nicole complains. “It’s not like you have to do anything but drop me off.”

“Luc, you want to get this?” I ask.

“Non,” he mumbles checking something on his phone, while adding, “Let it go, Nikki.”

“But Papa, it’s at their house,” she repeats.

“I have to go,” he tells me.

“Couldn’t have seen that coming,” Lana mutters.

“Really? Cuz I kind of could,” I laugh.


Luc touches my back and tells me he shouldn’t be too long. Then he smiles at Lana and tells her to take care.


“Oh, sure. No problem,” she says, as he walks away.

“What are you going to do for the rest of the day?” I ask, as I watch the boys all surround Luc, wanting to know where he is going.


Lana also watches before sighing.


“I don’t know. Avoid Jeff, run errands, avoid Jeff some more, and then attend what will hopefully be the last anniversary party for his parents.”

“Lana!” I object.

“You know what I mean. Not their last anniversary, just the last party I’ll have to attend.”


She signals for Corey to come on and I gather my kids as well, agreeing that I do, in fact, know what she means.

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Hello Out There

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I am not ready for summer, are you? If I had a nice, lush yard with a sparkling pool, then maybe, but I live in a stuffy apartment in the heart of the San Fernando Valley.

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We are talking hot! Seriously hot, and it’s only June. 

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How will you cool off this summer? Do you have a vacation planned? Will you settle for day trips to the beach, or the ice parlor?

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Or will you just hide inside trying to stay cool while getting lost in a good book? On a Hot August Afternoon , Crashing Into Us , Beyond the Cracks , The Salacious Marny Ottwiler , Hanging From The High Wire & last but not least because it was the first! Searching For My Wand See how I did that? Click on any of these titles and just like that, you’ll have a great book to read!

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