Moving Forward

I don’t know about you, but I’m really glad to have Thanksgiving in my rear-view mirror. I hosted this year and for the first time ever, there were more strangers than family. Everyone seemed to have a few friends of friends with nowhere to go and of course we welcomed them. No one should be alone at the holidays. They’re tough enough to get through when you are surrounded by people you love. Going through this time alone is twice as tough.

Unfortunately, it didn’t go as well as I’d hoped. We live in a rural community and we have large dogs as house pets. Since my kids are adults and moved out, they’ve become my babies. And I love them. However, I won’t say they are the most well adjusted animals on the planet. They’ve never been around children, especially squealing, jump-on-the-furniture, type children.

When my 100+ pound pups took an interest in these poorly behaved mini humans, I left my post in the kitchen and spent the remainder of the dinner on the patio with my dogs. If I hadn’t, they would have barked non-stop and ruined everyone’s day.

My absolutely wonderful husband and kids took over. They finished the meal and served it as gracious hosts. I’m so proud of them. They handled everything beautifully.

My dad came out and visited. He shared that even my daughter’s boyfriend stepped up. He doesn’t know it, but it earned him plenty of brownie points.

Now that Thanksgiving is over and we’ve decorated the house for Christmas, it’s time to finish the edits for Against the Grain.

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Another holiday season in the bucket…

The decorations are stored away for another year and the house is feeling ‘normal’ again. It’s funny how outwardly things can remain the same, but inside, where it matters, nothing is ever stagnant.

This year’s family event was much easier to handle than 2013. The uproar about my books has died down and while most of my family is convinced I’m going to hell on a fast track, they’ve decided to let the subject go…for the time being. I have little doubt it will make the rounds again, but this year all was calm.

They’d found a new victim to annihilate. My sister was their whipping boy. I sat there silently while my brother berated her. It was like a car accident unfolding before your eyes. You want to stop it, several scenarios flash through your head, but are discarded immediately. Would they make the situation worse? Would it draw more attention? Would they dig their heels in and go for the jugular?

Once wounded, the vultures circled and each took a turn picking away at her. It was unpleasant to watch, painful even. Now she isn’t a nice woman. She’s been leader of the pack attacking others, with a voraciousness that’s truly startling, ever since I was a teenager. She’s turned her forked tongue on me more than once, but to see her standing there confused and out of her element hurt.

I couldn’t defend her. She’d brought the dog pile down on herself, though I don’t believe it had been intentional on her part.

The only thing I could do was deflect the attention. Ignoring the byplay and the tears slowly tracking down my sister’s face, I turned to my brother. “Did you hear I have a new book series coming out in March? It’s about a serial killer that rapes and murders women over a twenty year span. I think it will be a big hit. It comes out in March. Isn’t that when you’re going deep sea fishing in Mexico?”

After a few moments of stunned silence, the conversation turned to fishing. My sister shuffled out of the room and I hit the dessert table. I deserved a few pieces of chocolate after wading through that mess.

Now that the event is over and everyone is back to their daily grind everything appears to be business as usual. We’re one big happy family. No lasting grudges.

But in my heart I know my time will come around again. I’ll be the poor shmuck in the barrel. Each time they tear each other down, a piece of me dies, a portion of the love I feel for the family is tarnished. At this point, the emotion is so dull it barely resembles the radiant shine it once had.

The crazy part is these are happy people. They have successful marriages, prosperous careers, good kids and yet they feel the need to snipe away at the ones they love. I don’t get it.

The next family event is in February. In the meantime, I guess I’d better get out the buffer, find some polishing compound, and put a shine on this mess.

MOVING ON

Bondage Anniversary is finished! After completing the edits, I was so excited I called a dear friend of mine and shared the news. She asked me if I felt a sense of sadness to have worked so hard to bring these characters to life and now have to move on to another story. Honestly, I felt quite a few emotions, but sadness sure wasn’t one of them.

I understand where she was coming from, though. Think about the holidays. So much planning and energy goes into making the event as perfect as possible — then poof! it’s over. No matter how great it was, there is still a sense of the doldrums that it’s over.

Thankfully, I’m still riding a crest of excitement. I’ve finished the rough draft for book two (tentative title Bondage Celebration) and I’m working the kinks 😉 out of book three (tentative title Bondage Wedding). I suspect when the series is finished, I may feel the sense of sadness my friend predicted. For the moment — life is good!