Saturday, February 27, 2010

Powerless and Pissy

(The kid and I wrote this blog yesterday, but I'm happy to say we now have power!)

Oh. God. Killlll meeeeeee! It’s Friday night and we haven’t had power since just before midnight on Thursday. I’m a baby about this. People have gone without the comforts of electricity for much longer than this, but I am near the edge of insanity. I have zero coping skills.


12: 10 a.m.: Wind is atrocious. Howling, annoying, relentless. The last woman is about to skate her individual Olympic performance and the power cuts out. Not that I even really follow women’s ice-skating, but I was following it at the moment. The noise outside is enough to wake the dead and I’m hearing something suspicious going on with the deck. I could maybe tolerate noise and fear of exploding transformers, but I cannot sleep without my beloved white noise machine. Will pray that husband falls into some sort of rhythmic and soothing snoring pattern.

12:35 a.m.: Husband is indeed snoring, but sound is laced with aggravating snorts and is completely not relaxing. He’s so insensitive. God, at least he could snore effectively. Manage to locate bathroom without smashing into any furniture and return to bed uninjured. Hear small peep noise and know exactly what this is. Use vulgar curse word. Twice. Put two pillows over head. Peep! Damn fire alarm is pissed off about lack of electricity. Every sixty seconds supposed safety device expresses displeasure by producing peep! Sure I cannot locate one of two flashlights in pitch darkness, so stumble around and shut doors to muffle noise. Eventually peeping becomes reliable somehow soothing noise. Think nice thoughts about previously disparaged fire alarm, and manage to fall asleep somewhere around 2:30 with the belief that I will awake to power.

4:30 a.m.: Am woken up by husband’s cell phone alarm. Hear racket and loud thud as he gets for work. Giggle maliciously because I am sure he has fallen and nothing is funnier than when people fall.


8:30 a.m.: Kid wakes me up. “You know those triangles on the deck? They’re coming off.” First thought is that I couldn’t care less about “triangles” because I am well aware, even in my exhausted state, that I cannot make coffee. The world is clearly ending.

9:30 a.m.: Oh. “Triangles” means the lattice on the deck. We are missing three pieces that have blown off the pergola. They are nowhere to be seen. Huh. Assume they have flown into neighbor’s house and caused expensive damage that we will be sued for. Cannot tolerate this thought without caffeine.

10:30 a.m.: Spent an hour getting to and from lone reachable Dunkin’ using circuitous route to avoid down trees and power lines. Got two large coffees and an earful of colorful swear words from fellow caffeine seekers. That was fun actually. Kid wore Mario pajamas and played DSi via car charger. He kept saying profound things like, “Oh, the carnage!” as we drove by messes on the street.

10:45 a.m.: Already violently bored and ashamed at utter dependence on technology. Want to cry because I can’t visit the site where my guest blog is sitting without me. Blog hosts probably think I’m despicable. I call my mother on my cell and insist she post a comment. More importantly, though, I need to know what Perez Hilton has to report. And I need to know who has sent me a glittery postcard on Facebook that I will immediately delete. And there could be something urgent in my e-mail, like a link to a store that wants to sell me products to enhance my penis. I need this. My penis is obviously so small that people I don’t even KNOW are worrying about me. Power cannot possibly be out much longer. 

11:45 a.m.: Coffee is cold, despite my having stored it in various metal thermoses. Locate fondue pot and heat coffee over sterno flame. Kid is thrilled. Kid is then immediately bored again. Appropriately enough, we play board games, which we now refer to as “bored games,” because they’re boring. I particularly hate Monopoly. Even though I won. And even though I bought The Mall of America and Disneyland. Both of those places probably have power. Resent Monopoly purchases.

12:00 p.m.: Officially in sweaty panic now because do not have Internet access. Am strung out and in severely foul mood. We are near the airport so should be one of the first streets back up. At least it’s not freezing out, so the unheated house is tolerable. State of mind, however, not so much.

1:00 p.m.: Make ramen soup for the kid in the fondue pot. I eat weird assortment of olives, cheese, and hummus and stray piece of salami. Crave steaming hot meal cooked on modern miracle known as “stove.” Would even accept “microwave” as substitute. Already hear repair noises outside that surely indicate workers are rapidly restoring power! Stomach growls in anticipation.

1:30 p.m.: Tour neighborhood with kid and dog. Turns out repair noises are actually sounds from many generators on street.  Observe trees ripped out by roots, broken fences, and general signs of wind damage. Still can’t find lattice. Get to neighbor’s house across from the common land in our backyard. “Any chance you’ve seen the lattice that blew off of our deck?” I ask. “Sure,” he says. “Want to come see it?” I’m thinking, not really. If it’s been jettisoned into someone’s car window, then definitely, no. Turns out lattice is laying on our roof. Like looking for glasses that you’re wearing. Kid is toting around a long tree branch and nearly removes our eyes. That might be less painful than this day.

2:30 p.m.: In exciting activity (well, exciting compared to the rest of the day), the kid and I get the lattice off the roof. Seems his tree branch made perfect tool for snaring lattice! Kid is genius and I apologize for having said something along the lines of, “I SWEAR TO GOD, IF YOU DON’T DROP THAT GODDAMN BRANCH I’M GOING FREAK OUT!”

3:30 p.m.: Still hate Monopoly. Spend ten minutes cleaning out the junk drawer in the kitchen and assess battery situation. Not terrible. Also clean out Chia Pet seed that has spilled all over drawer. Arrange mini-screwdriver set. Throw out five thousand packets of duck sauce and then wonder how they would have fared in the fondue pot.

3:40 p.m.: Play Scrabble on the kid’s computer. For someone who likes words as much as I do (I’m a f’ing WRITER, for Christ’s sake), it is quickly revealed that I am terrible at Scrabble. Game starts and I spell D-E-P-O-R-T. Computer immediately spells R-E-T-C-H. I take this as a sign and shut the game down. I play Hearts and kick some ass. My jubilation is absurd. Wish I was drunk at a college party playing Hearts and forcing others to down disgusting keg swill.

4:10 p.m.: Mom calls my rapidly draining cell to say that the news is reporting this situation, “is like the ice storm of 2008 without the ice.” Oh. The ice storm where people lost power for ten days? That sounds great. I really hope that happens.

4:40. p.m.: Yay. It’s getting dark. Have reheated morning’s coffee, using almost all the sterno, and am now drinking lukewarm sludge. Realize that I had a cleaning fit a few weeks ago and tossed a bunch of candles that had been unused for ten years. “We’ll never use THESE,” I’d screamed like a fool. Lit three wasabi-scented candles and house now smells idiotic. Stupid Party Lite parties.

5:00 p.m.: Pouring out now. Am wearing two pairs of socks, t-shirt, Patriots’ mock turtleneck, maternity sweater (because loss of electricity apparently causes obesity), a vest, and sweatpants. Outfit will be a great hit at f’ing Olive Garden. Realize am hideously high-maintenance because will not be able to flat-iron hair before going out to dinner. Am decidedly un-pioneer like in approach to day, but am willing to accept any derogatory label right now in exchange for electricity. And heat. And Internet. And hot water.

5:30 p.m.: Oh, joy! Thunderstorms! Can’t imagine this will impede electrical repair, right? Kid says, “Yeah, because… Can I say wuss?” I let kid use the word because, hell, it’s just that kind of day. “Yeah, because some power men are just like wusses.”

5:40 p.m.: Living room bears strong similarity to candlelight vigil that would be held for missing 80s actor. Or gaudy church display. Or Wiccan ceremony. Consider pros and cons of attempting to summon spirits and decide this will only be done as a last resort for entertainment. Note: I do not smell good. Will go with “putrid” as most accurate term.

6:29 p.m.: We’re sitting on the couch, writing this blog together. He is eating pretzel fish and I think I’m eating a piece of bread with cheese. It’s hard to be sure, though, since I can’t really see what I grabbed from the fridge. The cheese will probably give me food poisoning, but whatever. The kid is glad the freaked-out dog is with us. “It wouldn’t be a party without him,” he says. I sigh, and point out, “It’s not much of a party now, is it?” Nick agrees. “It’s more like a candle party.” He pauses. “Or the Worst. Party. Ever.”

6:35 p.m.: I tell a story from when he was three-years-old. He was really sick with a stomach bug and so we had him in our bed. Yes, of course he threw up there again at two in the morning. (Live and learn.) I change all the bedding and we are all finally about to go to sleep again. Then Nick says sternly, “P.U.” I don’t say anything. “P.U.” I still don’t talk. “P.U. SOMEBODY ‘frowed’ up!” We had a good laugh despite the smell of vomit hanging in the air. Oh, those were the days… Nick likes this story. Good. I have plenty of ‘em.

6:49 p.m.: Nick pretends to puke. I realize I have stooped to telling throw up stories. We need to regroup.

Nick whistles. Catcall style. “Hey! Look what I learned how to do!” Lovely. A silver lining from the day is that he can harass women.

If the kid and I are still blogging tomorrow, then God help us all.  But even the Mac battery probably won’t make it until then and so we’ll really have nothing left to do.

The kid’s thoughts on the day: “Last night was torture. Today was a rough day for me. We went looking for the lattice and we found it and I used my awesome stick to get one of the lattice pieces off of the roof. Also me and my mom, we played Monopoly. I think it was pretty great. Also I went to my friend Ethan’s house. That’s all I got, I guess. Oh, I got something else to say: Why does my mom hate Monopoly? Inga was trying to eat your cheese, but I said she better not or she might get food poisoning.”

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

One Book's 15 Year Journey

El Patron is finally available! I am so excited about this book. It has been a journey to see this book in print. I don't know if any of our eight readers care, but whatever, I'm gonna "blab" for a minute about this book's journey, and then maybe you will understand why I refer to it as a journey.

I'm going waaaaayyyy back now. In 1991 I gave birth to my first son Alex. He was six weeks preemie and had some health issues that dictated that I stay home with him and not work at the time. I was fresh out of college with a degree in journalism. I chose journalism as my major because my parents didn't think creative writing would be lucrative and since they were footing the tuition, I acquiesced. However, the bug to write fiction never stopped biting at me. So with my baby at home and the urge to write a book, I took a correspondence course through Writer's Digest (these were the days before I had a clue about the Internet). I finished that novel, and sent out submissin to agents and actually had some good feedback but ultimately it was rejected. Two years pass and by then I had a rough and tumble toddler and a new baby on the way. I was now working at our family business, but I still had that need to write. What I would write, I didn't know.

Well as things would have it, some very interesting events took place in my life during that time. I won't divulge but let's just say I might have known someone who was married to someone who had a cousin who knew someone in the Mexican Mafia a.k.a the drug cartels. I had read The Godfather series and found the history, etc., of the mafioso interesting--I didn't want to be involved with that lifestyle though, so I stopped knowing that person who was married to someone who had a cousin who knew someone in the Mexican Mafia a.k.a the drug cartels. But the idea of a book about them intrigued me. I did some research and I sat down with my then six month old baby either in my lap or in a swing next to me, while my two-year-old made a fiasco out of the house. I had just acquired my first laptop. With my baby at times in my lap, I hunted and pecked my way through the first draft of El Patron. Then my life kind of bottomed out. I went through a divorce, I lost my home, I had to file a bk because I was left with a ton of debt I had been unaware of in my youthful naivete (that's a nice way of saying I was a pretty dumb twenty-something). I took a year off from writing and went back to work for my family.

But writing is a passion and once you have it, you want to write. You always come back to it. So, eventually I wrote another version and then another of this big book (450 typed pages). I had the fortune to attend the Maui Writer's Retreat and it was there that someone in the industry said, "Oh no. Organized Crime books and family sagas don't sell." Funny how The Sopranos were on a year later and we all know how unpopular that series was. Instead of focusing on Patron, I wrote two thrillers, a children's book, and then Murder Uncorked, which was the first book I sold to a publisher. But the characters of El Patron kept nagging at me. After putting out a few mysteries, I decided to take another crack at El Patron. I revised it two more times and utilized my Yoda (my freelance editor Mike Sirota). This was three years ago. But then, more mystery book contracts came in and my focus was back on them. I have now written nine mysteries and after finishing up the latest one "A Toast to Murder," and then putting out "Happy Hour," I thought now might be the time to see if El Patron will fly. I hope I'm right.

For those of you (all 8 of our readers here) who are used to reading my comedic mysteries, be prepared that this book is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyy different. I'm not a writer who only wants to write one type of book. I want to write good stories--stories that compel me, wake me up in the middle of the night yelling at me, "WRITE ME!" So, if you do decide to join me on this journey, just know what you are getting into--this is a saga, and there are some not so nice parts, and there are some steamy scenes (compliments of my partner J.P., who is the go to girl when yoou need to ramp up a sex scene. Oh boy, talk about blushing! I can hear J.P. now--you're such a prude." Yeah I know). But on the flip side now that I've told you this book isn't all laughs and light, it is my favorite book. These characters have been screaming at me for 15 years now, and they wouldn't leave me alone. So, even if only the 8 of you here buy the book and read it, I'm good with it. It's been worth the journey all the way! If you want to get the early release copy, order here Amazon and B&N should have it some time in the next two weeks. It is also available on Kindle for only $3.99!


P.S. Here's a link to my latest newsletter where you can get some cool free stuff.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

New Book Out Next Week!

It's almost here! El Patron will be out next week! Check out the book trailer here, and be sure to sign up for my newsletter off my site at which will go also go out next week, and readers will have an opportunity to win gift cards to your favorite book stores.



What began as an innocent love affair for one young woman, Marta Peña in 1969 in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico sets in motion a series of event over the next thirty years that will bring heartache, loss, love, fortune, and despair.

This is the story of two men-Antonio Espinzoa of Calí, Colombia and Javier Rodrigues of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and the women who love them, and the children they fiercely vow to protect. These men have to determine if sacrificing the ones they love for the money and power they desire.

When the discovery of a secret comes to light, it may be a bastard son who brings down the empire the two Patrónes have built.