My Review ♥ Free, a novella

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My Review

Title: Free, a novella
Author: Felicia Denise
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Length: Novella
Rating: 5 ‘s

I first started reading “Free” on Felicia Denise’s website and like all of her readers, I was captured, pulled right into the highs and lows of the main character’s story. Lennie and her memories are so real, I felt as if she’d taken me by the hand so I could walk beside her, a silent witness to the ‘walk-through’ of her life. I was so happy when the author decided to turn this into a novella and even more thrilled with the promise for more!

Though shorter than I wanted it to be, don’t let the size of this *Ahem* prequel, fool you. It is cleverly stuffed to the point of overflowing with emotions; good, bad, ugly and joyful. So, stick some Kleenex in your pocket, grab a glass of wine and meet Lennie on the threshold of the Porter House on Linden Lane, because this is not a read. It’s an experience.

Lenore ‘Lennie’ Porter is every woman. She’s not perfect or overly flawed, she’s just human. A loving daughter, supportive wife, successful entrepreneur and dedicated mother. Her story is all about the joys, hardships, tragic loses, mistakes, fears, illnesses, frights and turning points that brought her to the present. Simultaneously, it’s about those little moments within the bigger ones, that become the linchpins of future outcomes. Those moments of regret, revelations, tough choices and self-honesty.

The memories she shares are full of family bonds, endearing friends, and a cowardly bully of a husband. Most revolve around her three sons and range from laugh-out-loud humorous, to heartwarming, to downright heart-wrenching.

I honestly can’t say much more without completely spoiling it, but if you are a reader who enjoys learning all about another’s life through their eyes, then you will love Free! This is not a romance – though, I am really, really hoping that will come next – and it’s certainly not a fairytale. This is one woman’s journey back to self, through the realistic obstacles life throws in her way. Or perhaps, it’s merely the beginning of a discovery of the woman she’s hoping to become…I’ll leave that up to you to decide.

In a final note about this novella, I can’t end without expressing that Felicia Denise’s style is such that even her antagonists don’t get to just exit stage left without evoking some kind of empathy from her readers. To take a clear picture of bad and turn it into something a little more human is sly, underhanded and brilliant. It’s a true talent to nudge the emotional table off center for the reader with such a brief insight. Yet, in less than a page, it happened. You’ll just have to read it to believe me!

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I Wish I Had That Bumpersticker

It’s my son’s birthday week, so this special edition is for him and for all of the other proud moms & sons living with Autism Spectrum Disorder out there.  Dads, you rock, too! Honest! I just made my bumpersticker personal so…  Happy Saturday!

 

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The Age of Social Media

The Daily is asking: 500 years from now, an archaeologist accidentally stumbles on the ruins of your home, long buried underground. What will she learn about early-21st-century humans by going through (what remains of) your stuff?

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image: dzeyznfiverr.blogspot.com

Are you just trying to be nosy?  Okay, well, I don’t mind… after all, this is the Age of Social Media.  Nothing is sacred anymore, because everyone has become addicted to sharing every aspect of their daily lives via Social Networking from the big celebrations all of the way down to the “OMG, I really didn’t need to know that, and now I do, and now I hate you because you made me know that.”

Seriously, do you have to tweet every time your newborn has a bowel movement?  Because, I have 2 kids and trust me, what use to happen in their diapers was not that interesting!   I mean, you know it’s a sad state of affairs when the NSA can admit to spying on their own people all along – proving thousands of conspiracy theorists not crazy – and no one really balks at it.  They’re still monitoring our phone calls, our email and watching us through the web cams imbedded in our laptops, but no one cares, because they’re already living completely open lives via FACEBOOK.   😐

So, if there is an archaeologist in 500 years that doesn’t already know EVERYTHING there is to know about how we lived in the 21st century, hand them a dunce cap and then direct them to the excavation site of my house.  Here, they will see that single mom’s with teenage boys owned a LOT of entertainment equipment.  Like multifunctional stereos; not 1, not 2, but 3 television sets!  XBox 360’s and PS3’s, Wii’s, Kindle Fires, iPods, laptops and all of the games and apps that go along with them.  They’ll also see that this girl loved to read, as 90% of my possessions are books on all kinds of topics, from every kind of genre.  I even have a tiny, pocket size Works of John Ruskin from 1911 that’s seen better days, but I love its tattered character.

Aside from the sports equipment, gaming systems, vast library and collection of movies, the archaeologist will also find that I love pictures of my family and have walls dedicated to my favorite candid shots, shelves of albums for all the rest.  She’ll also discover that we 21st centuriests are pack-rats.  We keep far too many things, like 10 year old documents we should toss in the shredder, receipts from 3 Christmas’s ago (just in case), those broken things that we might be able to fix one day if we could just find the right superglue, screwdriver or metal hinge.  We also enjoy surrounding ourselves with ‘dust collectors’ (aka nicknacks), movie stubs, guitar picks… what?  Okay, that’s just me, then.

Well, I’d love to say that if I forgot anything you can always find out the rest on Twitter, but I don’t tweet… I’m being stubborn about it.  I’d kind of like to keep some of my privacy intact and don’t feel that my life is interesting enough to constantly update my status about it!  I guess that means you’re stuck reading long, drawn-out blog posts like this one… sorry.

Not really. 😉

Leaving a Legacy

So, I’ve been absent a lot lately from the wonderful world of blogging.  I’ve been in with the chiropractors dealing with a pinched nerve that has been causing severe pain in both of my hands, rendering them practically useless.  A writer’s worst nightmare.  During which time, I was battling against the deadline for The Zen Lounge’s final edit – and if it hadn’t been for my amazing and patient mom, I never would have made it.  She dealt with me being right beside her, supervising her editing my book, using software she’d never seen before let alone knew how to navigate.  She poured my coffee, did all of the driving and opened doors I couldn’t manage so I just want to give a big shout out to her for a moment:

♥THANKS A MILLION MOM!♥

 

Unfortunately, it’s an ongoing battle.  I still need to go back to the chiropractor and get the rest of my adjustments, which means I’m limited on how much I can write in between.  So my answer to today’s Daily Prompt will be rather short.

Q: In 300 years, if you were to be named the patron saint of X, what would you like X to be? Places, activities, objects — all are fair game.

I already have a t-shirt proclaiming my Coffee Goddess status, and I’m not sure sainthood is recognized by how much of one thing you can consume, but perhaps.  I’m not the only writer of erotica and far from the best.  I’m not the only single mom and again, haven’t received any nominations for ‘Mother of the Year’ awards.  I doubt any of my job skills would land me as the Idol of any given group or location.  I can’t sing, play a musical instrument or harbor any kind of unique talent.  Even my art is… eh.  Mediocre.

So, if I were to be the Patron Saint of anything I’m actually known for and good at, it would probably be something like procrastination, multiple hobbies or unfinished projects… Or, I know…

I’m the Patron Saint of Unsaintliness

🙂  There, that about covers it.

Moments of Fate

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I’m going to take creative license and combine today’s and yesterday’s daily prompts.  Mostly, because I don’t have a whole lot to say about the matter of Fate.

I’m not sure which I believe and to be honest, I don’t really care either way.  It’s a lot like I mentioned in my chapter series about dying.  Why waste time stressing over things you cannot control?  I think the whole lot of us tries to control our own destinies to varying degrees, regardless if it’s futile or not.  That’s just human nature.  We’re tenacious that way.  We want to believe that we can make things happen, even if the romantic in us holds onto some shred of hope that Fate will intervene to see us through to happier times.  We’re simply a complex, complicated and often confused species with a whole lot of free will that allows us to change our minds as frequently as it suits us – and that’s okay.  Whatever makes us happy, which should be the main goal in everyone’s life, anyway.  I believe everything happens for a reason, but whether that’s fate or destiny, I don’t need to know bad enough to over-analyze it.

Now… moving on to yesterday’s prompt…

Congrats

Three moments to remember – I just have to say, I’m certainly glad I only have 2 kids, otherwise Daily, you’d be in a heap of trouble.  Fortunately for me, this is easy:

1. My oldest son was born.

2. My youngest son was born.

3. I opened an e-mail from Red Sage Publishing saying that they wanted to publish my book.

I can’t think of anything more memorable than these events, even if other moments have played a significant role in my life, these three definitely take the proverbial cake.  😉

Au revoir ~ A.C.M.

My Heart’s Ambivalent

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What are your thoughts on aging? How will you stay young at heart as you get older?…

…is the Daily Post’s question of the day, to which I answer… I still get carded for everything.  I’m not saying that’s a bad thing by any means, but as I look around at other women my age, sometimes I can’t help wondering when I, too, will show some signs of adulthood.  I have two teenage sons, yet it feels like I’m still waiting to see what I’ll look like when I grow up.  About the only thing time has decided to throw my way is lack of metabolism and gray hair – nothing exercise and a box of L’Oréal can’t fix.

Don’t get me wrong, I love that I still look young, but as with everything in life, there are always two sides to the coin.  Many strive to keep their youthful appearance.  They spend thousands of dollars on anti-aging serums, wrinkle creams and… ahem… hair dye.  Yet these amazing women seem to have forgotten what it’s like to never be taken seriously because they appeared too damn young to know anything.  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been left feeling more than a little chagrined after being completely dismissed and looked down on like I was 12 instead of… well, three times that… all due to some pretty wonderful genes.  Personally, I’d rather my voice be heard than my face be 100% wrinkle-free.

These are mere blips on the radar of my world, though, truly.  Small annoyances that don’t happen frequently enough to change my outlook on life.  To answer the Daily’s question more accurately: I hardly ever think about it.  I’m ambivalent about the topic of age for the most part, and it usually just depends on what mood I’m in.  Some days I feel the same way I’ve always felt; that despite time flying by like it’s been given a Red Bull with crack, I’m still a kid.  I’m still that teenage girl with big dreams and plenty of creative imagination to see them come true.

Then the bills come in or my kids start fighting, and I’m pulled into the realm of overtaxed, under-appreciated, exhausted mom and that’s just fine with me, too, because I love being a mom.  And when the smoke clears, my kids and I throw on some random mix CD and dance all over the house, or grab our Nerf guns and go to war – cuz that’s how we roll.  😉

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Oh, but I can say that regardless of how young I look or feel on any given day – I guarantee you this girl wouldn’t be caught dead (or alive) twerking.

Firsts

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Baby’s First Step image: webmd.com

Tonight, I’m not writing to you as an author, folks.  Tonight, I’m joining the plethora of mommy-bloggers out there.  Like most parents, I have spent my children’s lives documenting all of their major milestones.  Their first word, first tooth, first haircut, first step, etc…  It’s important, to us, probably more than them.  I thought I was doing a great job.

While my kids are close in age, they are completely different, so as they’ve gotten older, their ‘Firsts’ have taken separate routes.  Their milestones are now personalized and that’s fine.  I’m glad that they can be their own people and still be siblings.  My youngest is my sports fanatic and tonight at our post-season tournament, he got his First Touchdown.

Or, so I thought.  I quickly realized, as I’m standing there in the grandstands cheering my little head off to the point of losing my voice, that my son wasn’t nearly as excited as I had imagined he would be when he accomplished this personal goal.  This year is his 3rd season in youth football.  In our neck of the woods, that’s a full-on contact sport, not flags hanging out of the back of their belts – and he plays both Offense and Defense, yet rarely gets the opportunity to carry the ball.

Not only did he get a touchdown, he got a two-point safety, a first down and a beautiful sack, on top of his normal beast-mode tackles.  Yes, I’m a proud mama and no, I don’t care if that’s completely biased, it’s my job.  Needless to say, it was a great game and with icing on the top, our team won.  After the players did their end of the night huddle, where the coaches praised each one for all of their good sportsmanship and hard work – even when they lose, they get these morale-boosting speeches – I was right there to congratulate my son on his first touchdown and make a big deal out of it.  He was already grinning, they all were, but when the words “first touchdown” left my mouth, my son looked at me soberly, blinked and said:

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Youth Football Players image: ideas.time.com

“Mom, I got my first touchdown mid-season against the (not naming the team here), remember?”

WHAT?!  NO!  No, I do NOT remember!  How in the hell did I miss my son’s FIRST touchdown???!!! I was at the game!  I’m at every game!  I’m a horrible mom!  I should be fired.  Someone should be investigating my parenting skills, is there an Internal Affairs attached to this bureau?!  How could I have not known that my baby had already accomplished such a tremendous goal?  What was I doing?  Talking to one of the other parents?  Watching the coaches, the other team, the cheerleaders, had my head been turned at just the WRONG time?!

The mom-guilt got worse, spiraling further down, as I realized that my ‘baby’ is going to be in junior high next year.  That not only had I missed his first touchdown, but I’d probably missed the last of his ‘Firsts’ that I would ever be allowed to witness.  I’m not going to be privy to his ‘first’ kiss, his ‘first’ serious girlfriend.  I’m not going to be attending his ‘first’ school dance or his ‘First’ fight with a good friend.  I’m done.  I’m done being the one to be there to enjoy his milestones.  I will be here.  Here for him when he’s gushing over that girl or his brother rat’s him out for the kiss, I’ll be here for the anger and hurt when he has that fight, but I won’t be there.

This whole mom business should come with flashing, neon warning labels:  “Watch out for those FIRSTS!” Buy lots of cameras, camcorders and whatever you do…  don’t blink.