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Monthly Archives: March 2013

A Real Life Heroine Fitting of Any Novel – And You Can Send Her On Another Wild Adventure!

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I’ve wanted to start interviewing on my blog along (along with my excerpts of course).  And I am very excited that my first interview is with Leslie Carter.  Leslie is one of the first people I followed on WordPress and I don’t think I could write the adventures that she has been on!  And for the record last November Leslie asked her readers what their bucket list would be.  I put one thing on mine.   It was the only thing I could possibly dream of wanting on my bucket list – to be a published author.  The best part?   A month later my bucket list wish was a reality!

Even better, she has the opportunity to keep fulfilling her Bucket List – and she needs your help.  She needs votes to win the Biggest Baddest Bucket List Contest so please stop by The Biggest Baddest Bucket List and lend Leslie your support!  

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What was your favorite scene (landscape) on your travels.  Where was it?  What did it look like?  Why was it your favorite?

Big Sur, California.  With the majestic mountains in the background, the pristine ocean in the foreground, and the bright sun shining down from above, it was like a dream world.   I’ve never witnessed something more beautiful.

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Tell us about the most interesting character(s) you’ve encountered. Where did you meet them?  What did they look like?  How did they interact with you?

The people of Fiji are the most unbelievably friendly people in the world.  I wrote a post called The Faces of Fiji that really explains the Fijian people and what makes them so unique.  You can check it out here: http://www.bucketlistpublications.com/2013/01/17/faces-of-fiji/2/.

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What was your most exciting adventure?  Where was it?  What did you do?  Why was it the most exciting?

My most exciting adventure was performing aerobatics in a biplane in southern California.  Flipping, spinning, and spiraling seemingly out of control over the Californian coast was like something you’d see in a James Bond movie.

Who has been your biggest supporter?

My husband shows me daily that we can live a life without restrictions.  He encourages even my most unrealistic dreams and aspirations.  He is, by far, my biggest supporter.

What would you tell someone who has a dream they want to chase but are afraid to try?

In The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom, my favorite author, he says, “The true value of time is that you’ve got to make your decisions in each day count, otherwise you could live forever and it won’t make much difference.”  I try to reflect on that quote or at least that philosophy daily.  We are only given one shot at this life, as far as I know, so it’s important to live life to the fullest.  If you dream of visiting Italy, go!  If you dream of skydiving, get up there and do it.  Make this life count.  Don’t ever wake up and say, “I wish I would have….”  Your older, happier self will thank you.

Bucket List Publications

Thanks for stopping by, Leslie!  And please remember to stop by and vote for Leslie at The Biggest Baddest Bucket List!  And you can read more of Leslie’s adventures at http://www.bucketlistpublications.com/http://lesleycarter.wordpress.com/ and https://twitter.com/#!/LesleyMCarter!

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A Real Life Heroine Fitting of Any Novel – And You Can Send Her On Another Wild Adventure!

20110219_LasVegas_0877

I’ve wanted to start interviewing on my blog along (along with my excerpts of course).  And I am very excited that my first interview is with Leslie Carter.  Leslie is one of the first people I followed on WordPress and I don’t think I could write the adventures that she has been on!  And for the record last November Leslie asked her readers what their bucket list would be.  I put one thing on mine.   It was the only thing I could possibly dream of wanting on my bucket list – to be a published author.  The best part?   A month later my bucket list wish was a reality!

Even better, she has the opportunity to keep fulfilling her Bucket List – and she needs your help.  She needs votes to win the Biggest Baddest Bucket List Contest so please stop by The Biggest Baddest Bucket List and lend Leslie your support!  

IMG_9634

What was your favorite scene (landscape) on your travels.  Where was it?  What did it look like?  Why was it your favorite?

Big Sur, California.  With the majestic mountains in the background, the pristine ocean in the foreground, and the bright sun shining down from above, it was like a dream world.   I’ve never witnessed something more beautiful.

222259_10151285181854375_133165155_n

Tell us about the most interesting character(s) you’ve encountered. Where did you meet them?  What did they look like?  How did they interact with you?

The people of Fiji are the most unbelievably friendly people in the world.  I wrote a post called The Faces of Fiji that really explains the Fijian people and what makes them so unique.  You can check it out here: http://www.bucketlistpublications.com/2013/01/17/faces-of-fiji/2/.

5-27-2012 5-50-45 PM

What was your most exciting adventure?  Where was it?  What did you do?  Why was it the most exciting?

My most exciting adventure was performing aerobatics in a biplane in southern California.  Flipping, spinning, and spiraling seemingly out of control over the Californian coast was like something you’d see in a James Bond movie.

Who has been your biggest supporter?

My husband shows me daily that we can live a life without restrictions.  He encourages even my most unrealistic dreams and aspirations.  He is, by far, my biggest supporter.

What would you tell someone who has a dream they want to chase but are afraid to try?

In The Time Keeper by Mitch Albom, my favorite author, he says, “The true value of time is that you’ve got to make your decisions in each day count, otherwise you could live forever and it won’t make much difference.”  I try to reflect on that quote or at least that philosophy daily.  We are only given one shot at this life, as far as I know, so it’s important to live life to the fullest.  If you dream of visiting Italy, go!  If you dream of skydiving, get up there and do it.  Make this life count.  Don’t ever wake up and say, “I wish I would have….”  Your older, happier self will thank you.

Bucket List Publications

Thanks for stopping by, Leslie!  And please remember to stop by and vote for Leslie at The Biggest Baddest Bucket List!  And you can read more of Leslie’s adventures at http://www.bucketlistpublications.com/http://lesleycarter.wordpress.com/ and https://twitter.com/#!/LesleyMCarter!

Breaking The Cycle – Post Three

restaurant

It’s Tuesday so I feel like I should post something so here is the next section of Breaking the Cycle…

The small Italian restaurant was bathed in an amber gold light.  The booths and tables were stained in a deep chocolate brown and each table was draped in a red and white checkered tablecloth.  Max smiled.   He loved small independently owned places like this, not the big chain restaurants.

He glanced over to Chloe standing beside him.  She was biting her lower lip with an anxious look in her eye.  He hoped she would like this place as much as he did.

They were escorted to a table and given their menus.  Max pulled Chloe’s chair out for her to sit.  Anything I can do to impress her.  He took his seat at looked up to start a little small talk.  She had buried herself in her menu, blocking her entire face from his sight.  With a sigh he reached across the table for a breadstick.

He jumped back as his arm knocked over his water glass soaking the front of his lilac dress shirt and black tie.  He ripped his napkin from the table and blotted at the blossoming ice cold spot.

Max looked up as her heard the sound of giggling.  Chloe pressed her hands against her mouth to hide her laughter.  It was no use.  Max chuckled as he sat back in his seat.

What a way to break the ice.

“Are you all right?” Chloe asked.

“Yep.  Nothing but a little hurt pride.”

She reached across the table and wrapped her hand around his.  “If it means anything I thought you handled it gracefully.”

He felt the surge of electricity jolt him by her touch.  “Well, thank you.”

They talked as they waited for their food.  They chatted through their meal.  They talked so long past finishing supper they ordered dessert.  Chloe told him about growing up in Minneapolis.  She still lived with her mom in the house she grew up in.

Max told her about growing up in small town Minnesota – New Ulm to be specific, a town known more for its German heritage than health and fitness. He went to college in Mankato to study physical fitness before moving to Minneapolis.

Chloe reached across the table and brushed a blonde lock from his forehead.  “I can see the German heritage in you.”

Max couldn’t speak.  Her touch sent his heart racing.  He nervously returned her smile before handing the server his credit card.

Max wrapped his arm around Chloe’s as he led her outside.  The rain had stopped.  The street lights reflected in the puddles randomly scattered around the street and sidewalk.  They stopped as they reached Max’s car.

Max gazed Chloe meeting her blue eyes with his.  His breath caught in his throat as his eyes wandered to her lips.  He dipped his mouth against hers for a soft kiss.

He thought he felt he sink into the kiss.  He thought he felt her deepen it.  Suddenly she pushed against him pulling out of his grasp.  There was a look of terror in her eyes.  She backpedaled several steps then turned and rushed around the corner.

Max stared at the empty street.  He wiped his hand across his mouth.  Was kissing me really that bad?  He shook his head frustrated.  Part of him was ready to walk away.  But he knew he couldn’t.  He brought Chloe to this restaurant.  It was several miles from her home.  He had no idea if she had enough money for cab fare.  He certainly didn’t want her to take public transportation home.

With a sigh Max trotted off after Chloe.

Black Irish Cover Art!

I got up this morning to take Jon to robotics and thought I’d check my e-mail before I climbed back into bed.  This was what was waiting for me!  The cover artist for Secret Cravings, Dawné Dominique, is AMAZING!

BlackIrish_LRG

Breaking the Cycle – Part Three

sandals

Got lots going on.  It’s crazy…crazy…crazy!  My muses have decided to come out to play and are working me overtime.  I really wanted to post another segment of Breaking the Cycle before the chaos really begins.

Max put the car in park then glanced up at the two story white house with the wide front porch.  His heart raced in his chest.  He watched as the front door then the screen door opened.

Max scrambled for the umbrella sitting on the passenger seat of his ’57 Ford Mustang.  He left the car running as he flung open his door and opened the umbrella.  He jogged to the base of the porch steps and smiled as he greeted Chloe.

He gazed up at Chloe as she stopped on the top porch step still protected from the rain by the porch roof.  Her brown hair was held up on her head in a mass of curls by a barrette.  She wore a burgundy spaghetti strap sundress that ran down her fit body and ended at her knees.  Her feet were nestled in a pair of strappy sandals.  He stared at her in fascination for several moments.

“Are you alright, Max?” Chloe asked concerned.

Max shook his head, bringing himself back to reality.  “Yeah, sure.”  He leapt up the stairs to her.  “You are so beautiful.”

Chloe’s cheeks flushed pink.  “Thank you.”

Max took her arm in his as he held the umbrella over their heads.  He escorted her to the waiting car being careful to maneuver her around the puddles.  Once she was comfortably inside and the door was shut he walked to the other side and climbed in.

“I hope you’re hungry,” Max began.  “I thought we’d try that new Italian restaurant near the gym.  I hear the lasagna is incredible.  What do you think?”

“Sure.  That would be great,” Chloe answered weakly.

Max gazed at her for a moment stifling a sigh.  She really isn’t into me I guess.  He slid the car into gear and pulled away from the curb.

Tuesday Tales – Tight

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This week’s Tuesday Tales word prompt is tight.  I’m continuing with Thatcher and Miranda.  Didn’t think I could work the word tight into it but I did!  Hope you enjoy – and don’t forget to check out the other incredible tales written by the talented authors of Tuesday Tales!

The authors of Tuesday Tales are taking a week off next week so remember to stop back on April 2nd to see what our next word prompt is (and what we do with it!)

dark woods

Thatcher’s horse sauntered behind the others weighed down by the bulk of the three knight’s belongings.  He walked alongside the grey steed holding the horse’s lead tight in his hand.  He didn’t have the heart to abuse the animal further with his own weight.  He silently cursed the oafs who drug him along on this mission.

Thatcher and his horse followed six of the king’s knights.  Each had been chosen by his majesty himself to attend this training.  Ahead of the entire band proudly rode King Thaddeus.  Thatcher’s heart wrenched when it came to the monarch.  Just like the other citizens of the kingdom he was devoted to the just and fair king.  However, he was also the bastard who took his Miranda away from him.

Thatcher’s eyes snapped to attention as he heard shouting ahead.  A band of rowdy cloaked marauders rushed the path approaching the group.  Even from the distance Thatcher was he could see the army uniforms beneath the robes.

This was the biggest farce Thatcher had ever seen.

The knights disembarked from their horses and engaged in battle with the marauders.  The sword fight was brief.  The mob fled into the forest before any blood was shed.  Thatcher glanced at Thaddeus.  The king was far from impressed.

“Good work, men,” Thaddeus praised, his voice flat and unemotional.  “Let’s return to camp.”

Thaddeus urged his own white steed to return down the path they had come.  Thatcher bowed his head reverently as he passed.  The group weaved their way through the countryside back towards the camp.  The path grew narrow pressing the entourage through the tight wood.

Thatcher searched around as he heard a dull thud land nearby him.  He looked up to the thick, tightly woven overhanging branches.  Like evil, gigantic raindrops black garbed men fell from the trees.  He instinctively reached for his scabbard and drew his own sword as an attacker grasped Thaddeus and pulled him to the ground.

Thatcher ran through the horses, his voice shouting in warning as he charged the attackers.  He swung his sword engaging one black garbed man after another.  His final blow against the assailant who assaulted the king sent the rest retreating into the wood.  Panting Thatcher surveyed the scene.

Thaddeus lay crumpled on the ground, his hand gripped tight around his forearm.  A thin stream of blood trickled through his fingers.  Thatcher dropped to his knees next to Thaddeus then turned to the six knights for help.  He froze in shock as he found them still mounted on their steeds their eyes equally opened wide in surprise.

“Don’t sit there like frightened children,” Thatcher chided.  “Get down here and help him!”

The knights each slid tentatively from their horse and rushed to Thaddeus’s side to care for him.  Thatcher felt a hand wrap tight around his bicep and rip him from the ground.  He was slammed against the nearest tree, the rough bark scratching his flesh through his tunic.  The burning furious eyes of one of knights glared at him.

“You made fools of us,” the knight growled.

“You are the king’s brave knight.  Where were you when he needed you?”

The knight shook him violently.  “You will regret it when we reach camp.  There will not be anything left of you to send home to your father.”

“Sir William, unhand the soldier,” Thaddeus commanded.

William slowly let go of Thatcher.  Thaddeus slowly, painfully stood then motioned Thatcher to him.

“Boy, what is your name?” the king asked gently.

“Thatcher, your majesty.”

“Your quick wit and courage are great assets to my army.”

“Thank you, your majesty.”

“They would be an even greater asset to my inner circle of knights.”

Thatcher’s eyes grew wide.  They both turned as they heard William clear his throat.

“My liege, you already have the maximum number of knights you need for your protection.  I cannot see how you can do this,” William objected.

Thaddeus’s eyes drew to slits.  “I could get rid of one of you.”

William’s eyes grew wide in panic.  Thaddeus laughed and continued.  “There are two of us in the palace now that need protection.  Another knight in our ranks would be beneficial.”  The king turned to Thatcher.  “Kneel.”

Thatcher dropped to his knee as Thaddeus drew his sword.  He gently laid the blade on Thatcher’s left shoulder than the right.  “Rise, Sir Thatcher, Knight of the King’s Army.”

Don’t forget to stop by and check out the stories from the talented authors of Tuesday Tales!!

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Breaking the Cycle – Post Two

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I have been waiting all weekend to post this.  I wanted to wait until after the Blog Hop and Tuesday Tales so I wouldn’t take attention away from them. 

One of my intentions when I started this story was to keep the reason I am writing it anonymous.  Well, I am about to blow that out of the water.  We went to Ali’s basketball tournament this weekend.  I’ve tried raising her to never see her disorder as a crutch.  I want her to live her life despite the fact she has CVS (I have Intracranial Hypertension so it’s a shared philosophy).

So my 10-year-old daughter plays basketball (and volleyball and throws for track) with a disorder that can flare up and attack when she gets too hot.  She plays with a cooling vest to keep her body temperature level.  She’s had two minor episodes this season.  I spent a lot of the weekend wondering what possessed Brian and I to let her even do this.  She spends a lot of time on the bench because she cannot physically keep up with everyone else for long periods of time.

But she tries.  She is living her life despite her disorder – just like I want her to.  She loves her team and she loves her coaches.  She’s proud to be a Crusader.  And I am proud to be her mom.

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Max hung up his jacket in the employee locker room then checked his watch.  Seven-thirty.  He could get a couple miles in on the treadmill before his shift started. He lifted his foot onto the bench anchored to the ground to retie his shoe.

“Hi, Max.”

Max looked up at the soft feminine voice that greeted him.  Chloe stood in the doorway, her purple tank top and running shorts clinging tight to her small frame.  Her brown hair was tied up in its customary ponytail brushing lightly against her shoulders.

“Hey, Chloe.  How are you feeling?”

“Better, thanks.  Thank you for covering for me yesterday.”

“No worries.”  Max dropped his foot to the floor and stood straight.  He was pretty tall at 6’4″.  Chloe hardly made it to his chest.  The huge difference in size made him feel instinctively protective of her.

“Well, I have Zumba so I better go.  I just wanted to thank you.  I know I put you in an awful position yesterday.”

“Chloe, wait,” Max rushed.  “I have something to ask you.”

“Yes?”

“Do you want to go to dinner with me tomorrow night?”

Chloe frowned slightly.  “I don’t know.”

Max’s heart plummeted in his chest.  She wasn’t as interested in him as he was in her. “Come on, Chloe. It’s just dinner.”

Chloe stared at him wide-eyed for several moments.  She finally smiled.  “Sure.”

“Pick you up at seven?”

“All right.”

Max grinned excitedly as Chloe waved goodbye and jogged off to her class.

Tuesday Tales – Picture Prompt: Autumn Lane

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It’s time for another Tuesday Tales!  This week we wrote to a picture prompt provided by the lovely Tai Vicari.  We start where I left off last week with Thatcher and Miranda…

walk in the woods

Thatcher stepped from his tent clasping his book tightly to his chest.   He inhaled the warm autumn air.  The army had spent two weeks in this forest practicing drills.  It was the most intense training he had during the three months he was a member of the King’s Army.  Today was a well deserved day of relaxation.  Thatcher looked up as he heard his name called.

“Thatcher!” a large soldier several years older than Thatcher shouted.  “Come with us to the village for a pint of ale and a bar wench or two!”

“Thank you but no,” Thatcher declined.

“Of course Thatcher won’t come with us,” the large soldier’s tall, thin companion replied.  “Thatcher has no use for alcohol and certainly no use for women.  All he has use for are those good strong knights.  Tell me, Thatcher.  Why are you so fascinated with the king’s knights?  Is it more than admiration?”

The two men stumbled away doubled over in laughter.  Thatcher’s sapphire blue eyes narrowed in furious slits.  He cast a glance over his shoulder towards the cliffs to the palace.  Yes, he spent an extraordinary amount of time serving the knights as a squire to men that were half the man he was.

However, contrary to his companion’s opinions, it was for a woman- one who lived in the king’s palace.

Thatcher strolled silently down the leaf strewn dirt road to find a quiet place to read.  He jumped to the ready, drawing his sword as he heard horses.  He dropped to his knee as he saw three knights approaching.

“Thatcher, where are you going?” the first knight demanded.

“To find a quiet place to read, sire,” Thatcher answered.

“No you are not.  Get your horse and load our things.  We need a squire to accompany us.  We are training with the king.”

Don’t forget to stop by and enjoy more incredible short stories from very talented writers at Tuesday Tales!

Secret Cravings Just Desserts Blog Hop!

just desserts blog hop

Welcome to my Secret Cravings Just Desserts Blog Hop page!  This is my first really big thing I have done with Secret Cravings.  My first book with SCP, Black Irish, will be released this May and my second book, Sorceress of Savon, will be released in June.

I am giving one lucky visitor of my blog a free $5.00 gift card to Secret Cravings Publishing!  To enter please leave a comment with your e-mail.  I will draw a winner at the end of the Blog Hop on March 10th!

As ZZ Top has put it so well – Every Girl’s Crazy For A Sharp Dressed Man!  And this weekend that is my theme – the sharp dressed man!  As far sharp dressed men go let me introduce you to one near and dear to my heart.  He is the hero in my book Black Irish, Sloan O’Riley…

black armani suit

A large conference table stretched the full length of the room with several executives in their own power suits seated on either side.  Aubrey motioned to an empty seat near the end of the table as she followed Abbey inside.  Abbey sat timidly in the overstuffed desk chair as Aubrey took her seat at the end of the table.

“Are we ready to start?” one of the other executives, a slightly balding man also in his fifties, suggested.  Abbey prayed silently he was not her illustrator.

Aubrey sighed.  “We might as well.  God knows where Sloan is.  He is the best illustrator I know and a phenomenal artist but that man has no concept of time.”

A woman with frosted gray hair, probably also in her early fifties, sighed dreamily.  “A man like that doesn’t need to worry about time.”

Aubrey glared at her coldly.  “When he’s on my, and Panda Publication’s, dime he does.”

The door opened silently.  “You wouldn’t be talking about me, would you Aubrey?”

Abbey turned as the Irish brogue lilted on her ears like a beautiful melody.  The vision that met her hazel eyes put that melody to shame.

He stood, in his late thirties and well over six and a half feet tall, filling the doorway to the conference room.  His wavy ebony black hair framed a proud angular face.  Stubble brushed his cheekbone, chin and upper lip.  His ice blue eyes glimmered mischievously at the occupants of the room.  An Armani suit worth thousands of dollars draped elegantly against a sculpted muscular body that made Abercrombie and Fitch models look weak and puny.

He took Abbey’s breath away.

“About time,” Aubrey snarled.

The stunning man strode to Aubrey’s side and placed a peck on her cheek.  “You know I’m sorry I’m running late, Aubrey.  My driver got stuck in traffic on Fifth Avenue.”

Abbey watched as Aubrey’s face softened.  The man’s eyes lifted and met Abbey’s.  Her breath caught in her throat as his smile deepened.  He took her hand and pressed his lips to it.

“Good morning.  My name is Sloan.  And you are?”

“Abbey,” she croaked.  Her face reddened in embarrassment.

“You are the author of this fabulous book.”

“And you are?”

Aubrey motioned for Sloan to sit.  “Sloan is your illustrator.”

Abbey’s eyes grew wide.  This insanely gorgeous man was her illustrator?  Her ever-faithful memory flew to Michael even while her ever-traitorous body was ready to cozy up to Sloan. 

Aubrey opened the file before her and began to read the obligations of the contract.  Abbey couldn’t break away from Sloan’s gaze as Aubrey’s words drifted away like background noise.  Michael’s image pounded ruthlessly in her mind.  Abbey stood from the table as several pairs of astonished eyes stared at her.

“I’m sorry.  I can’t do this.”  Abbey flew from the room and down the corridor.

SAMSUNG

And now for what all sharp dressed men wear – tuxedos.  Or in this case – Tuxedo Brownies!  This is my adaptation of a Better Homes and Gardens recipe I found and tweaked.  I hope you enjoy them but warning – they are very rich!

Tuxedo Brownies

1 cup butter or margarine

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate

4 eggs

2 cups sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 1/2 cups flour

1 bag of white chocolate chips (Nestle or Hershey work best)

Preheat the oven to 350*.  Lightly grease a 9×13 pan.  In a medium saucepan melt the butter and chocolate on low heat together until both are melted.  Remove from heat and stir in eggs, sugar and vanilla.  Beat until combined then stir in flour.  Stir in white chocolate chips.

Spread batter into the 9×13 pan.  Bake in the 350* oven for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean when you insert it.  Cool then cut into bars and serve!

And a reminder to leave a comment for your chance to win a Secret Cravings $5.00 gift certificate!

And don’t forget to “keep hopping” to the other incredible Secret Cravings author’s blogs for more delicious desserts!

Eight, Nine, Ten…Let’s Do It Again!

My life has been chaotic.  Between the Black Irish series and Sorceress of Savon plus the husband, three children and all the blessings and tragedies that go along with them I don’t have a lot of free time.

There are, however, things that have to be done – or in my case stories that need to be told.  And I can’t wait any longer with this one.

If I learned anything with Black Irish I learned I have two major motivators:

– a deadline or

– family, friends and loved ones demanding to know more of the story.

And the latter usually gets me moving faster.

Before I invite you to step inside my rabbit hole I offer a warning: this story may contain situations that might make someone uncomfortable.  This is a zero flame kind of story.  However the heroine has a chronic medical condition – and those rarely are pretty.  

Thank you for coming along and keeping me on track.

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A Very Special Thank You to Keoni and everyone at Hard Drive MMA in Cedar Rapids for being patient with me and teaching me the ins and outs of Mixed Martial Arts.  Hopefully my version of a MMA gym will do you proud.

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If the blessed day arrives that this book is published along with my others, I am sure the publisher will have to cut off all my dedications.  But on this blog I dedicate this to just one:

To my Sissy – until we find a cure

roadies

Breaking The Cycle

It was the sound of machinery and iron, the smell of sweat and strong disinfectant.  Max bent under the dead lift rack to pick up a couple of discarded towels.

Max loved his job at Roadie’s Gym.  The place was modern and state of the art.  The exercise equipment was calibrated and perfect.  Roadie made sure of it himself.

Roadie wasn’t his real name.  Truthfully Max wasn’t sure what it was.  Roadie’s wife signed the paychecks.  Roadie got the nickname from working on the road crew of one of the big time pro-wrestling companies.  He learned work out tips from the trainers there and when the time was right he quit and opened his gym.

Max smiled as he gathered the roaming disinfectant bottles scattered around the free weights area.  This is the life he wanted- Roadie’s life.  Not that the constant travel all over the world assembling and disassembling wrestling rings appealed to him.  Max wanted to own his own gym.  He wanted to know he made a difference when it came to someone’s health.  Max envied Roadie.

Max spun as he heard a long string of curses come from Roadie’s office.  Roadie stormed from his office, his face and nearly bald head growing redder by the second.

“Blast it!” Roadie fumed.  “Chloe called in sick again!”

Max slowly exhaled as the rest of the personal trainers he worked with started to gripe.  Chloe called in sick a lot, at least once a month.  Everyone at Roadie’s Gym was sick of covering her classes and personal training sessions.  Even Max used her name in vain a time or two especially when he was stuck training Mrs. Rozinski.  The rotund woman liked to flirt a little too much and stunk of cheap perfume.

It didn’t make sense to Max.  Chloe seemed to love her job.  The petite brunette was always happy, always energetic when she was at the gym.  Her big deep brown eyes were always sparkling.  Her shoulder length brown hair was always in a neat ponytail.  The clients all loved her when she was there.

Max sighed.  The clients weren’t the only ones who loved her.  He had to admit he had a huge crush on Chloe.  He had since she started at Roadie’s.  He worked up the courage a couple times to ask her out.  It always happened on those inevitable days she called in sick.

Max looked at the nearest calendar, a puzzled look etching on his face.   Thursday.  Chloe always called in on Thursdays.  What bar in Minneapolis had ladies night on Wednesdays?  And why was Chloe only getting drunk every third week?

Roadie’s voice broke Max from his thoughts.  “Max, you are going to have to cover Chloe’s kickboxing class.  And her appointment with Mrs. Rozinski.”

Max groaned as he threw the dirty towels he held into the hamper.