Thursday, August 9, 2012

Ready For Another Preview?

Here's the next 1k words of "Jen Morales Gets a Clue"--if you want more, you can find it on Amazon starting September 18th! :) _______________________________________________________

I suddenly notice the dark circles under her eyes. Since Lucy usually enters the room farting rainbows, I can tell immediately that something’s up.

“What’s wrong? You look like shit.” She does, but I still feel horrible when she plops down on the tiny sofa in the corner and begins to sob. Even I can’t stand the sight of Lucy crying—it’s like watching Hitler kick puppies in the rain.

“What? Tell me, you’re freaking me out,” I wail.

“I’m freaking me out!”

“How? Why?” Ugh, I really don’t do tears, but I can’t kick her out of her own office, so I move to sit beside her on the lumpy couch.

“I’m pregnant,” she whispers. I’m not sure why, as we are the only ones in the room, but I follow her lead.

“You’re what?” I whisper back, although my whisper sounds more like one of the asides in a junior college production of Macbeth.

“Knocked up. Bun in the oven. In the family way--”

“Yeah, yeah, I get it. That was more of a rhetorical question.” I place my hand tentatively on her shoulder, which is still heaving with sobs. When that doesn’t seem to stop her, I pat her back a few times, like I’m trying to persuade a particularly annoying child to move along.

“This was so not supposed to happen,” Lucy moans. “Not yet. Will and I aren’t even married--”

“But you’re engaged…or, you know, engaged to be engaged,” I interject.

“Yes, but we haven’t bought a house, and I haven’t found a job, and God, his mother’s going to be furious, and my Dad, jeez…”

“Whoa, whoa…slow down, Sassypants. Let’s look at this logically, okay?” Lucy nods, still cradling her face in her palms. “First things first—do you know who the father is?”

Her snort of laughter makes tears, and possibly a bit of snot, fly from between her fingers. I reach for the tissue box on the credenza and toss it on her lap. She takes one and begins smearing mascara all over her face. I decide not to mention it. It’s so rare that I have the opportunity to look better than Lucy.

“Okay, let’s just assume it’s Will’s, at least for the time being. What does he have to say for himself?”

“I haven’t told him yet,” Lucy mumbles into her chest.

“Figures. Why bother him with the tiny detail of your knocked-up-ness?” For the life of me, sometimes I just don’t get Lucy—I’d go after Dax with a baseball bat the second I found out he got me pregnant.

“Jen, I just found out for sure, like, an hour ago. I’ll tell him as soon as I can.”

We sit silently for a few long seconds, until the sound of boots advancing down the hall paralyzes us. Shit, is that Will? What’s he doing here so early?

“Gooood morning, ladies.” Will scoots through the door with his usual lazy smile, but stops short when he sees Lucy’s obvious distress. “Hey, hey…what’s wrong here?” He kneels in front of her, a concerned look on his face, and I stand quickly—this is my cue to leave, so Luce can give Will a little refresher course on the birds and the bees.

“I’ll leave you guys to it,” I murmur quickly, grabbing my bag and a cup of yogurt from the fridge. “Have a nice talk.” I can feel Lucy’s eyes stabbing me in the back as I scoot quickly out the door and down the corridor to the much smaller, much messier office that I share with Kevin Ho. Kevin’s okay, I guess, but he’s in a constant state of eating (or preparing to eat) fried rice, which he carries with him everywhere in a yellowed, filmy Tupperware dish.

“Hello, Jennifer,” he says from behind his immaculate desk, where he’s grading perfectly stacked papers, his bowl of rice sitting at the ready. He calls me Jennifer because it’s the name listed on our office door. That’s the level of intimacy in our relationship, and I’m good with it.

“What’s shakin’, Ho?” This greeting is purely for my amusement, since it’s the way I greet Lucy ninety percent of the time. The look he gives me could curdle milk, but if I spent my life worrying about what the Kevin Ho’s of the world thought of me, I’d end up in a fetal position on the floor.

“You’ve had three students in here looking for you this morning. Your office hours started thirty minutes ago.”

“Sorry,” I sigh, even though I’m not. “I had some personal business to attend to.”

“It’s your students who deserve the apology,” he replies tersely.

“Yeah, well, I’ll get right on that,” I grouse. It’s not like my students want anything more than to grade-grub. Luckily for both of us, it’s time for Kevin to go to class.

Will, Lucy and I teach political science at Southeastern State University, in Houston, Texas. Will’s the bigwig in the crowd, with his tenure-track job and his covered parking space. Lucy just completed her PhD and is searching for a full-time teaching position. I’m still working on my dissertation, hence my office-share with Kevin the crank. If I were a bigger bitch than I already am, I might take pleasure in the fact that Lucy’s percolating ankle-biter has the potential to move me up at least one rung on the employment ladder.

But I don’t think like that.

When I’m finally alone, I spread out my grading, dig a red pen out of the second drawer of Kevin’s desk, and open the first of the several hundred ungraded research papers littering my desk. In the first page alone, there are no less than twenty grammatical errors, and a reference to Thomas Jefferson as “Tom”. I toss my (okay, Kevin’s) pen on the desk and pick up the phone to call my mom.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Check out the first 1k words of my new chick-lit novel, "Jen Morales Gets a Clue"

I’m still half-asleep, dreaming about eating chicken tacos in the library, when Dax storms into the bedroom, looking for toenail clippers. I know this because he’s demanding “where the fuck are the toenail clippers?” as he pulls out every drawer in my antique dressing table. I pretend to sleep through his mini-tantrum, but I’m not fooling anybody.

“Jen.” I pull my pillow over my head. “Jen! Have you seen them? They were in the kitchen drawer last week. Did you move them?”

God, I’m actually going to have this conversation. I throw the pillow off my head and glare at him through sleep-encrusted eyes. “Yes, I saw them. Yes, I moved them. You don’t keep toenail clippers in the kitchen, you foul, filthy man.”

“So where did you put them?”

“From now on, we’ll be keeping them in the bathroom drawer. You know, like the rich people do.”

Completely ignoring the sarcasm in my voice, he retrieves the clippers and plops himself on the edge of the bed, snipping away as slivers of toenail fly across the floor. Some even land in the bed. Lucky me.

I roll over onto my stomach, hoping to recapture the bliss of tacos in the nonfiction stacks, but my irritation has rendered me fully conscious. Shit.

“I’m out of here,” Dax announces. He reaches over to slap my ass, like I’m the heifer he’s just entered at the county fair, and I flinch under the sheets. “Do you want to meet me after work at The Duck?”

“Umm, did you forget that my mom and sister are coming in tonight? We’re meeting them at Papasitos? Does any of this ring a bell?”

“Oh, shit. Yeah. Okay. Do you think they’ll mind if Ollie tags along? I told him he could stay over tonight—they’re replacing the carpet in his apartment.”

Ollie is Dax’s younger brother. He’s a sweet kid, but not someone I want my family to interact with—he’s one spliff away from permanent brain damage, and he manages to make Dax look ambitious, if such a thing is even possible.

“Dax…” I whine. I don’t whine very often, but I really don’t want to spend an evening with my mom and Jeff Spicoli. Seriously, the kid walks around in haze of smoke and Hot Fries crumbs.

Dax sighs heavily, but I know I’ll get my way. “Okay, I’ll see if he can stay with Jim. What time is dinner again?”

“Seven. Meet us at the restaurant, and don’t be late.”

“Yes, dear,” he says in his most nasal, hen-pecked voice. He leans over and kisses my neck, right behind the earlobe, the exact spot that makes my toes wiggle reflexively. “I’m sorry I woke you, go back to sleep,” he whispers. I give him a begrudging hum as he plants a few more hot kisses on my bare shoulder. “I love you.”

I hum again in response. I never give the ILY back to Dax. I know it makes me sound like a bitch, and maybe I am, but I have my reasons. First, I’m not sure if I love Dax. I’m not sure if I’ve ever been in love with anyone. And second, the ILY bomb has been the beginning of the end of every relationship I’ve ever attempted. When men hear it, they start to go all crass and lazy. And believe me, if Dax goes any more crass and lazy than he already is, he might lose his status as a homo sapien.

Once he’s gone, I stretch loudly and peruse my surroundings. Toenail clippings litter the floor and bed, and all the drawers in my beloved dressing table remain pulled out at funky angles. The toenail clippers have been tossed on Dax’s nightstand, right next to an empty condom wrapper and an almost empty bottle of Dos Equis. I slide out of bed and begin to tidy the mess.

He loves me.

But where has that gotten us?


I get to work at ten-thirty, only to find that Lucy isn’t in yet. I dig in my purple plastic messenger bag and use my stolen key to open her office door. Lucy still thinks she lost it when she dropped her purse off the balcony at Will’s apartment last summer. Dumping my bag on her lumpy side chair, I help myself to Frosted Flakes, soaking them liberally with the skim milk I find in her mini-fridge.

It probably sounds like I take advantage of Lucy, because, you know, I do. But here’s my thinking: cosmically, Lucy needs a bit of dissonance in her life. I mean, she’s gorgeous, smart, almost annoyingly sweet, and in love with her adoring boyfriend Will, who resides on a separate but equally irritating level of perfection. Not that I don’t love them—they are my very best friends. But they can sometimes be a bit too too, you know? So, if, for instance, I steal food from Lucy’s mini-fridge, or Post-it Note the rear windshield of Will’s Jeep, I’m actually doing them a favor. They need more adversity in their lives. Plus it makes me laugh.

I’m using a tube of L’ancome Definicils that I found in the lap drawer of Lucy’s desk when she stumbles in, dropping her laptop bag on the credenza under the window. “You know, if I had some funky eye infection, you’d get it from using that mascara.”

“Do you?” I ask, still swiping at my lashes, then blinking tentatively into my compact mirror.

“No. But I could,” she pouts.

Monday, June 25, 2012

We Have Winners!

Congrats to Sherry, Jessica, Margaret, Jonita, Kat and BRN2SHOP9--the winners of my "100 a Day Giveaway"! Ebooks should arrive by tomorrow! :)

Thursday, June 21, 2012

100 a Day Means it's Time for a Giveaway

Wow, I haven't blogged in a long time--sorry about that!

But tonight's post is a happy one. I am a total statistics, umm, prostitute, so I track my Amazon sales nightly. I was thrilled to see that I'm averaging over 100 sales a day, due to wonderful readers like yourselves!

I "sellebration" of this new milestone (see what I did there?), I'm giving away two copies of Lucy Wagner Gets In Shape, two copies of Oh, Baby, and two copies of my new novella, The Way You Look Tonight, to six lucky readers. Just leave a comment below, and six winners will be selected randomly on Sunday night (6/24) at 8 pm CST.

Good luck!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Five Random Thoughts--Thursday night edition

1. My dog is licking my foot as I type. I find this indescribably disgusting, yet I don't stop her.

2. My 11-year-old has taken to blurting out the following statement in a kind of Tourettes-type bark: "We don't want Medda-care, we want Bedda-care!" I'm afraid she learned this when channel surfing the Fox News lineup. I weep for us all.

3. This afternoon, someone introduced me to the Toddlers in Tiaras girl who drinks Mt. Dew laced with Red Bull before pageants. You can't unsee that.

4. My 7-year-old asked that question that all 7-year-old girls eventually ask: "Mom, what's a period?" I mean, you know it's coming, but you're never really prepared, are you?

5. Read the following analogy in a book today, and cracked up: "The Lotto is a tax on people who are bad at math." Soooo true.