Friday, August 28, 2015

Just a little Teaser...

Thought I would post a few pages from one of my favorite scenes in The Key to Her Heart-- just for
something different to do.  If you want to buy it here's the linky on Amazon:

Here's the teaser.  Hope you enjoy--

Laguna Beach, California
Patrick followed Anna inside. Looking down, they were walking on marble floors. Looking up, the ceiling seemed to go to the sky.
It’s larger than most museums I’ve been in.” She chuckled a little at him.
Wait until you come here for their Christmas party or their Fourth of July blast.” He didn’t have a chance to respond as a fit looking elderly gentleman came into the room. By the cut of his pinstripe suit, Patrick was pretty sure he was not the butler, and to look at him it was hard to really say he was elderly. He looked healthier than most men half his age.
Anna! My dear! You look wonderful!” Anna grasped the extended hands as they kissed each other’s cheeks with the familiarity of close friends.
Anthony, I’d like you to meet Patrick Rueschel.” She turned to him.
Patrick, this is Anthony Wolffe.”
Patrick, welcome to my home.” Anthony smiled and was instantly friendly. Anna was right, he was easy to like. As Anna went to change, Anthony showed him around the grounds and explained what they would be doing with the commercial.
Anna quickly went upstairs to the room Anthony kept there for her. The thought of it made her smile. It was what her mother would do if she went home for a visit. Her mind focused back on the present as she opened the door to the room that was almost the same size as Gracie’s apartment. This time, though, as she went inside she froze to her spot by the door. Matthew was less than ten feet away, smiling wickedly.
Oh, no you don’t.” She shook her head.
You can leave this instant, or I will.”
What and disappoint my father? You wouldn’t dare. Besides I wouldn’t touch you.”
Why am I talking to the devil?” She turned and started to leave. Quickly he jumped up from his seat, and grabbed her by one shoulder, pulling her back in and shutting the door.
Or would I?” Fear encircled her, but she knew better than to show it. She’d known since the first moment she met him he was not trustworthy, and the longer she knew him the more she hated him.
I’ve got to get my clothes. I’m expected downstairs in a matter of moments. I don’t need more of your power plays.” She tried to move out of his grasp, but with his other arm, he pulled her close so she could feel a growing part of his body against her tail bone. His hands reached underneath her waist band massaging her hips and forced her to move with the rhythm of his body.
In a matter of minutes we could do something else. You have to dress in those clothes, after all.” His lips moved along the back of her neck as he spoke.
I could help you undress...” Fear and emotions she had never felt before pinnacled inside of her. Her body quivered and shook. How did she get out of this situation?
No.” She forced out the word that should have stopped him.
No, this is not what I want.” She spoke louder, but he kept up, unzipping her pants.
Matthew stop, this has gone too far.” She tried to wiggle free, but that only made it so he could turn her to face him. Then his arms wrapped around her again and he pulled her close, pushing her pants down.
No, Matthew! Stop!” She screamed hoping someone would hear her.
Matthew, stop!!!!” Quickly he covered her mouth.
Shhh. You don’t want anyone to hear. I might have to go after someone you care about.” He stepped her back until she stumbled and then forced her to the floor.
Don’t do this.” The words were muffled. Slowly he took his hand away from her mouth.
I’ve never been with anyone!” She screeched as she tried to wiggle free of him. Surely he wasn’t going to rape her. He wouldn’t.
I don’t want the first time to be like this.” He looked up with a smile as if she had given him some kind of gift. For a moment he did stop, and she thought for a brief second he was going to listen.
That makes it all the more fun. I’m the first... Wow. Not even my father could win that lottery.” Then with his legs he forced hers apart, unzipped his pants with one hand while he held her wrists with the other. When his pants were undone, he grabbed her hips and started to forced her to him.
With everything inside of her she bellowed. He was not going to do this! Someone would hear her! She twisted and tried to get away.
You fight like you have something to protect. You weren’t joking, you really are a virgin. How about that!” Once again his hand covered her mouth.
Listen, sweetheart.” He whispered threateningly.
I know about you, Anna Lattimier......” Suddenly the world was dark.
I know all about you, Pastor Anna. Your church raves about you. Those teenagers really look up to you.” Tears swelled in her eyes and ran down her cheeks.
I always get what I want, and if you’re not quiet maybe I’ll go visit one of those girls...” Horror filled her soul. Then she thought of the nails she so tediously took care of.
You will not go near them!” She roared. The long nails were only good for the modeling world, and perhaps escapes from these kind of situations where she had no other way to fight. Without warning she clawed him.
You bitch!” The back of his hand slammed into her cheek as she drew blood on one side of his face.
I will tell your father! As soon as I’m downstairs I will be calling the police!” This would be a narrow escape, but it was an escape.
Those sweet girls will be delicious...” She turned back to him terror settling deep inside of her.
You say a word to anyone and I will haunt them, find them, and have my fill.” She reached down and gave him a second scratching just for good measure. Sometimes cat nails had their uses.

Thirty seconds later she left the room with the clothes she was suppose to change into, while Matthew lay on the floor holding his face and his groin, wreathing in pain. Her world was dark. His threats reverberated inside of her.
After scrubbing clean those precious nails that bought her way out of the almost rape, she changed her clothes with lightening speed in one of the downstairs bathrooms. Trepidation filled her. What if he did as he had said? She paused. For the sake of her youth girls she had to keep her silence. What if Anthony noticed? Or Patrick? She glanced in the mirror. Purplish pink bruises were already showing up on her face. Closing her eyes, she pushed the fear deep down where she would deal with it later. She brushed her hair and left it down to shield her face. Then she noticed the discoloration beginning on her wrists. There was no way Anthony wouldn’t see. Could she get to the make-up crew before Anthony would see her? Could Anthony’s experts cover this up? She didn’t know, but there was no more time. She was supposed to have been dressed and ready fifteen minutes ago.
A few moments later she found Anthony, Patrick, and Cheryl by the swimming pool. Thank goodness the patio was shaded and they couldn’t see the damage she had suffered. With a deep breath to keep the pain out of her voice,
Here is the first outfit...” she twirled in a circle as she called. The skirt swirled around her like a flow of teal water.
Oh Anna, you look like an angel.” Anthony cooed, as she put on her best fake smile. He was too far away to see the damage she had sustained.
I’ve the hair and make-up team ready for you over there.” He pointed to the terrace close to where she stood. She turned without a word and slowly walked across the shaded patio as Frank Randolph, the make-up and hair man arched a brow. She stopped before him and his knowledgeable gaze took in every imperfection. Her skin was crawling from Matthew’s abuse. What she really needed was a good stiff brush and a boiling hot shower. Could she scrub away this dirty feeling? With a deep breath she focused on what she needed to do here.
Mon Cheri, you look as though you’ve been through ze French Revolution!” The tenderness in his French accent promised help. Arching one brow, she smiled slightly barely hiding the strange vulnerability.
You’re damned close.”
Randolph clapped, grabbing the attention of all his helpers.
Strong lemon water now! You...” He pointed to another assistant.
Ice mask now!” He turned to another as the other two ran to do his bidding.
You-- My make-up case. Now!”
Frank, can you cover the bruises?” She looked up to him, worried. Randolph was the only person Anthony trusted for his models.
Anthony has enough problems with his son.” She excused, but she was not prepared to expose her life in Chicago and the threats made to anyone.
He doesn’t need to know about this.”
Oui, Cheri. I’ll hang Matthew by the danglers between his legs for doing this to you, but that’s after I teach you how to hide such things as zis. Forget that bourgeois now. You are one of the most elegant ladies around and you deserve to be tres belle.” She smiled a small but sincere smile.
Thank you, Frank.” His kindness and comedic vengeance helped her to relax and to her surprise Randolph made the damage disappear.

An hour later, she joined Anthony, Cheryl, and Patrick, laughing at the stories and jokes that were told. Within her hid the threats that had been made; frightened that Matthew would act. To Randolph’s request she sipped on lemon water all day, and each time she changed outfits once more he applied a new ice mask. Even the film crew knew nothing except she was beautiful like nothing was wrong.
Come with me, Patrick.” Anthony instructed as Anna was changing into the last outfit for the commercial. Patrick went with the older man into the house and into a large room. In the room he opened doors to an even larger walk in closet.
I keep extra suits and tuxedos in here in case I have a guest and something happens that they need one.” He explained as he pulled out a few different suits.
Would you mind humoring an old man? Anna seems so happy with you here, and I’d like just to have a little fun.” Patrick half smiled.
I guess...”
Fifteen minutes later, Anna quietly stepped by the pool, slightly worried about Anthony and Patrick’s disappearance.
You know my father, better than almost anybody...” Cheryl sighed with a shrug.
Anna nodded as she slowly spun around in the pale pink chiffon gown she wore. The sun was dipping closer to the horizon, and so she silently walked over to the edge of the yard near the gazebo. From there she could hear the Pacific surf. The crashing sound of the waves off in the distance brought a melancholy little curl to her rosy lips. This was where Patrick found her when he returned from changing into the navy blue tuxedo. She was amazing in her own world walking and every once in awhile slowly twirling. He wasn’t sure what she was thinking about, but she was lovelier than anyone he had ever seen. He was about to cross the grounds to her when a hand on his shoulder halted his advances.
Patrick, wait.” He stopped and turned back to Anthony.
Take off the tie. No tie, and unbutton that top button.” Patrick did as he asked then he hurried across the yard as Anthony cued his film crew. They had been waiting ever since she came back out to the yard. Now they filmed both Patrick and Anna.
Anna...” She turned and her smile returned.
Oh, you are dashing!” Exclaiming she grasped both his hands.
Anthony did this, did he?” He laughed.
He asked me to humor him.”
Yes, he likes this kind of thing.”
Together they danced to an imaginary song and all the while oblivious to the filming cameras.

Thursday, August 27, 2015

A Little Soul Searching...

So much has been going on lately that it has me questioning everything around me.  It started with me realizing that nothing was going to change unless I changed it. That is a thought that has followed me all my life.  Since any kind of control has been in my hands, my life has changed when I did the work.  When I decided to graduate from high school I did-- a year late, but a semester before I had been at least two years behind.  When I was in a destructive marriage I realized he wasn't going to change so I did, and kicked his ah-- behind out and began a new path.  Even as a kid I had this pattern.

So now looking around and contemplating has led me to change again.  At first it was moving here-- which has been a complete boon for our family, though it has royally screwed with our finances (On that note does anyone want to buy a big 6/7 bedroom house in Waterloo???).  We've had to completely change the way we are living and I have complained OHH!  I have complained both within my soul and to God. I have tried not to Todd though.  He's under more pressure than anyone should ever be.

  Then I began thinking and searching for answers... I am very grateful for how life has changed.  Everyone in the family is doing so much better than they were a year and half ago ...even with the finances being tanked.  As far as finances go, each month brings unexpected miracles and we get through another month.  I know it can't keep up this way, but for now we are skidding by.

So why am I upset?   Well for one reason every time we start to get a leg up something comes to under cut any effort...  There are still the miracles.  They are little ones-- not the big ones I would like-- i.e. Todd getting a different position, the house selling, book sales getting better, an unexpected windfall (don't discount that one-- How do you think we actually could pull off the move to Moline?).  So do I take the earth shattering amazing and not the simple day to day too?  There is a point.

It was with that thought I decided I needed to change.

First I had go back to being grateful for every little thing... no matter how insignificant it is.
Second is it just up to God to change this?  He gave me hands, feet, and a brain.
Third was simply deciding what to do...  Below is what I came up with.

1. Help Todd.  He is under so much pressure from all sides that anything I can do for him will make his life easier.  So I started giving him vitamins...  Why not?  He needs a little help with the stress.  What I didn't know was that his blood pressure had began spiking and because of that a vessel in his eye had burst.  We found out, and realized those vitamins were more important than I first realized.  Now the real test was on.  I needed to really step up my plan.

2. Encourage Todd to make some changes of his own... albeit gently.  So he started looking at different positions he could apply for within the corporation he works at and I listen as he tells me about them.  Something here in town that won't be forcing him back and forth between here and Waterloo will do.  It might even come with an actual relocation bonus (technically his job is in Waterloo). That would help us with selling the house in Waterloo.

3. I have to work on the marketing for The Key to Her Heart.  There is potential for helping the finances-- even a little bit will help.  It is something I can do...  Megan had been the business end of publishing.  But now she is working fulltime, going to college, teaching birth classes and being a mom.  On top of that she is expecting baby number 2,  So she is not going to be able to help me with marketing The Key to Her Heart.  I have to make it happen. Which means:
     A. Fixing my author page on Amazon.
     B. Talking to other authors to find out what they are doing.
     C. Getting The Key to Her Heart on Smashwords
     D. Fixing and figuring out my profile on Goodreads.
     E. Research ways to reach my audience and begin marketing
It has taken quite a bit of time, but in the process I've learned so much!  Also talking to other authors has a side benefit... I am finding what they do for marketing and finding so many little thing from them that helps me.  It's nice to get to know other writers.  Some are like me, and just beginning.  Some have been doing the same thing I am trying to do and have been wildly successful.  It is really awesome to get to know them (yes that is definitely a plug for BooksGoSocial-- a very well deserved plug I might add.).

4. Financially I have had to make cuts.  That entails simple choices...
I could not stop buying organics or gluten free, but I could buy less fast home foods, and do some more of the prep work.  Example: buying a box of healthy gluten free muffins for the kiddos to snack on (16 in the box) costs close to 10 dollars. Making those muffins (an even healthier version with no refined sugar and high in fiber, low in starch) costs about 2 dollars for 24.
Quick fast food meals I completely cut out.  If I am out and realize I have missed lunch I wait.  A little hunger pains are not going to kill me!  For the kids I bring snacks with me.
I decided we don't need to go out each day, and when we do we can do several errands at once.  We also have found free activities to do.  The park is one of our favorites and there are so many different parks around here it is just amazing.  Yesterday Ali was climbing while Hope was showing Tory how to use her legs to swing, and I was standing near Peter who was at the edge of the river seeing how a stone caused ripples in the water that kept going.  He was amazed and understanding a new concept about this world that I had been trying to teach him the day before.  All of this only cost me a tiny bit of gas in the middle of three other errands.  For those moments we were all at peace.
So here is my peaceful reminder to trust
 even when I've done everything  I can and it doesn't seem to  change

5. We really need to get the house sold, and so there is work to do there!  We have scheduled a work week to help us do more to sell the darn thing!  During that week we will be doing, hopefully, everything that needs to be done to be able to allow people to view the house and with a little grace-- we can sell it!

6. Now after all this, the rest is in God's very capable hands.  I've done and am doing everything in my power.  If God wants to kick it fully with a big miracle I am not opposed.  If the little miracles continue and nothing else makes a difference, then at least I know we are still making it, and that we have done everything that we can...

I don't know how it is going to turn out.  I haven't sold anymore books so far, Todd hasn't found another position, and our house in Waterloo doesn't even have anyone interested.  On the upswing Todd's blood pressure is doing better and his vision has returned to what it was before the vein burst.  I'm starting to overcome my allergies.  Peter is learning not to stress his father out.  I am getting to know some really awesome authors and homeschoolers.  Sooner or later the finances will get better.  We are doing the right things and I know God is much bigger than all of this.  So I've decided to continue doing what I can and trust... This is Cat out.  Hope this helps someone else that is in any kind of similar situation.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Adoption Rocks

I feel blessed to have been adopted.  A few days ago Meg and I were talking about some of my own pre-birth issues.  They stem back to damage that happened well before my birth date.  I was one of the 'unwanted' pregnancies.  And let me tell you I was not wanted-- a mistake or mishap.  Meg really hates when I say that, but I was. You know it is sensitive to me, but something more happened. I was placed after birth with parents that had waited for me and prayed for me even before they knew I was going to be theirs.  They chose me and chose to be my parents. I was never a mistake to them. I became a gift and a blessing.  I became my mother's 'little adopted doll'.  I became my grandma's shadow instead of a mar on my biological grandmother's reputation.  I was given love, and you know that love has conquered so much of the pain from that first nine months. The other thing I know is no matter how much I began as a mishap or mistake God did a miracle.  He made me into something beautiful and wanted and with purpose.  To do that he used two people that by their own devises could not have a child and gave them me, who if it had been up to my biological mother and her mother wouldn't be alive.  Yet he gave them joy and gave me direction. If I had been conceived two years later I would have been an abortion... That was the nice thing my biological mother informed me of nineteen years ago.

Let me clarify something, my biological mother wasn't the enemy or even a truly bad person.  She was just a seventeen year old girl in high school who had a boyfriend and had sex for the first time then oops... Yep that was me-- the oops.  From what I've been able to piece together from what my biological mother told me and the bits of memory I retained (yes for those of you that believe that preborn babies do not have memory or feelings I can prove you wrong) originally I was one of two.  She lost my twin fairly late-- like four months or so-- and thought she had had a miscarriage.  Until she really noticed her stomach moving-- about two months later.  Her mother found out and in horror punched her in the stomach--  By the way I remember that and felt guilty for even existing.  Tell me anyone who is about six months pregnant did you realize your baby can feel emotion?  I know babies of this gestation can because I did.  In fact after I met my biological mother, one day I called her up after wrestling with this particular memory trying to figure it out.  I yelled at her.. "What happened when you were six months pregnant with me!?"  That is when she told me about her mother punching her in the stomach.  Then my memory finally made some sense.

My biological mother and I really didn't get along.  I don't think it was much different when she was pregnant with me either.  I know I was glad to be away from her.  That sounds bad, but those are my earliest thoughts.  For her the pregnancy produced something close to post traumatic stress syndrome.  Afterwards for weeks she woke up hearing me cry even though I was not there.  Later when I met her when I was in my mid twenties we still didn't see eye to eye even though I loved her because she was my biological mother and she tried to accept me as her biological child.

At two months old exactly I was placed in my mom's arms and my life radically changed.  I screamed and cried and caused ruckus like you would not believe!  There are pictures of me as a baby stiff and screaming.  But there are memories of my dad getting down on the floor with my toddler self pretending to be all kinds of animals.  There are memories of my mom and I standing outside of the kindergarten on the first day of school and my mom pointing out the other kids that were crying and praising me for being so brave, and of my grandmother getting up with me and helping change my clothes because I had wet the bed again.  There are memories of my grandmother picking me up from school and bringing me an orange because she knew I was hungry after class, and of my mother quizzing me on my multiplication facts as we drove to school each morning.  There are memories of my dad reading me stories before bed each night and not acting worried as I struggled to learn to read. There are the memories of my mother deciding I needed to be in a better school and fighting the school board to get me in the school she thought would help me with the difficulties I was having.

Yes there were huge problems and yes I faced things that I have discussed in other posts, but I was loved and wanted, and made to feel as if adoption was a normal part of life.  As a kid I was proud of being adopted.  I was chosen!  How many kids could say that?  As an adult I am even more proud.

After two adoptions I realize how much trouble my parents went through to get me, and the two kiddos I adopted were much easier on me than my adoption was on my parents.  They waited two years on a list before they got me.  Which in the sixties was an outrageous amount of time.  Now many would be adoptive parents wait much longer.  Then they went through three different court dates in three different counties over another two years before I was officially their daughter.  Talk about a boost to my ego..  They went through that to have me. Wow!  If for no other reason (and there are many other reasons) I love my parents for that.

I am telling you about this for just a few reasons. One for those of you that think a couple who adopts is just taking over with someone else's kids-- you have no clue how off you are.  Adoption is about making a family, giving love, and receiving love.  I became my parents' child.  I was no longer really the child of my biological mother-- yes genetically I was her offspring, but emotionally, spiritually, and even physically I was my parents' child.
Two every child is wanted whether you realize it or not.  Every child counts-- even a mishap like me.  I was a gift to my parents just like my two sweet adopted babes are to me.  Every one of my birth children are too-- even though I was a confused single girl with one of them.
Three you don't know what that mishap is going to grow up to be because God is in charge and he does love that child you consider a mistake.  They aren't a mistake or mishap or oops in his eyes.  He still has a plan.
Four if I had been aborted my parents would have never known me.  My children would have never been born. This world would have had a void.  Each abortion not only kills a child, but leaves a void where that child is suppose to be.
Five rape does not make that child any less a gift-- my grandson is that case in point.  Meg became pregnant because of a rape.  Her son is a blessing regardless.  The rape was no more his fault than hers.
Six and final point...  I have never regretted adopting or being adopted.  It is not a second classification.  It is just as beautiful as birth.  I am not less of a person because I started out life as an 'unwanted' child.  That also was not my fault.  I was only unwanted to my biological mother.  My mom and dad very much wanted me and were praying for me even then though they did not know I was the child that was coming to them.

One last thing.  Maybe my mother would not have had such a difficult time if she had received a little bit of love.  If her mother had taken her in her arms and realized how frightening this was to her seventeen year old daughter.  She didn't mean for this to happen.  If those around her had talked to her about what she wanted or how she was feeling maybe she would have made better choices.  What about the girls and women in your life that are going through this?  Are you going to tell them to have an abortion, or are you going to listen to how they are doing?  Are you going to whisper about the girl in the youth group that got 'knocked up' or are you going to be her friend?  When she doesn't know what to do or how she's going to handle being a mom are you going to bring up adoption as a viable option-- even a good option?  Or drive her to the clinic as she holds  back her horror and tears acting as if she is brave?

You know I talked to my youngest sister for three months listening to her and helping her in every way I could from two thousand miles away while she tried to make this choice.  She still chose abortion.  It broke my heart, but afterwards I was also one of the first ones to talk to her.  Though it hurt to know she made that choice, I still tried to listen and love her.  That was while I was pregnant with my youngest birth child-- nineteen years ago-- when my biological mother told me if it had been two years later I would have been an abortion.  It hurt.  Especially it hurt because I will never get to meet that niece or nephew.  It hurt because of the pain I heard in my sister afterwards.  It didn't fix the things that were wrong.  She still had to do the healing plus she had healing to do because of her choice.  Abortion is death.  There is no way you can get around that.  It is murder.  It murder's the dream that the little child brings into this world. It murders the emotions of those around watching it happen, and it freezes the mother's heart while it stops the child's heart.  I choose life. Life for the mother.  Life for the child. Life for this society.  I don't want anything to do with death.  I don't mind being a mishap, but I would not have wanted to miss life.

This is Cat out giving you a little to think about.