The Billionaire, or an Average Joe – which do you prefer?

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This is my official post for the Home for the Holidays Hop.  Like this post or Follow my blog to be entered to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card (from me)!  Be sure to leave a comment below along with your email to enter the drawing for the Home for the Holidays Hop Prizes!

(Since my blog mentions Billionaires I thought this yummy recipe was appropriate. I’ve been making these every Christmas for the last ten years).

Holiday Nuggets

Holiday Nuggets

Ingredients
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sifted confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped nuts
Confectioners’ sugar
Colored crystallized sugar

Directions
In a bowl, cream butter and sugar. Blend in vanilla and almond extract. Gradually add flour and salt. Stir in nuts. Shape into 1-1/4-in. balls; place on ungreased baking sheets. Flatten slightly with fingers.

Bake at 325° for 25 minutes or until the bottoms are lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack. When cool, sprinkle with a mixture of confectioners’ and colored sugar. Yield: 3-1/2 dozen.
Originally published as Holiday Nuggets in Reminisce November/December 1991, p31

I made the mistake of turning on the television the other afternoon when I should have been writing and came across Pretty Woman about 15 minutes in to the movie. What is it about movies like Pretty Woman, or The Proposal, or Sleepless in Seattle, that I start watching them if I happen upon them while flipping through the channels? Do you do this to? It doesn’t matter that I might have them on DVD or could watch them on Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc. I am caught like a fish, hooked in to watching them for the umpteenth time—even sitting through the commercials! I know exactly what’s going to happen next, I could quote the dialogue word-for-word, but, still, I sink down into my sofa, pull the comfy throw over me, and snuggle in to watching yet again. It’s kind of like having a “remember when” conversation with a dear friend.

As I watched Pretty Woman (laughing out loud at that scene on Rodeo Drive showing the father and son talking on giant cell phones in a convertible—you know which scene I’m talking about) it struck me that things really haven’t changed much since the first fairytales came to be. Little girls grow up believing that some handsome, wealthy Prince Charming is going to swoop in on his white charger and carry them away into their Happily Ever After. Cue sunset and fade out.

Plug in “Billionaire” or “Billionaire Romance” on an Amazon book search and you’ll get page after page after page of results. All pretty much follow the same theme: girl meets (or works for) extremely wealthy and extremely good-looking and powerful man who eventually (if not a first sight) falls in love with her and guarantees her a lifetime of pampering and riches beyond her wildest dreams.

Funny thing is, these billionaires are so busy wining and dining (or flogging and spanking) their woman, that I can’t possibly see how they get any work done! Sure, you might see them occasionally sitting at their desk, or speaking with a colleague or client on the phone (until they are distracted by their woman), but most of the time they’re playing. After a while, for me anyway, it just all becomes one big yawn.

Give me the working man. Give me the average Joe who works with his hands, be he a plumber, electrician, builder, roofer, welder, floor installer, you name it. He gets up each morning, throws on his Carhartts and Timberlands (Love me a guy in blue jeans and steel-toed boots), and hits the road running. You may see him on the jobsite wearing a hardhat with a clipboard under his arm, or straddling the ridge of a roof, hammer in hand, or wielding a bulldozer over a tricky excavation site. He brown-bags his lunch and drinks his coffee from a thermos. His face may be lean and sunburned, maybe with a little bit of bristle, or a full beard. He has crinkles around his smiling eyes. He may come home smelling of sawdust, or grease, and good, honest, hard-working sweat. He picks you up in his strong arms—arms with muscles earned from manual labor, not a gym workout—plants a kiss on your lips, looks at you with love in his eyes. You ask him, “How was your day?” And he says, “It was good, and now it’s even better.” And he smiles the smile of satisfaction that comes with knowing he put in a long day of good, honest hard work.

You’ll find this average Joe (maybe more than one) in my next novel. I’m falling more in love with this guy with every word I put on the page. Follow my blog for sneak peeks and updates on the release date!

Thanks for reading! If you’re reading this as part of the Home for the Holidays Romance Troupe blog hop, please be sure to leave a comment with your email address in order to be entered in the Grand Prize Giveaway! First prize= $450+ Gift Card, Second prize = 1 eBook from each participating Author.

After leaving your comment/email, please return to the Troupe page for the list of stops: http://www.theromancetroupe.com

Happy Holidays!

Sophia

Get up and make your bed

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I don’t watch much television, but I’ve become a fan of The Bridge on FX.  I spent a sick day catching up on all of the episodes on On Demand and now I’m hooked.

One scene in the most recent episode I watched struck a chord. Without giving too much away, the female lead, Sonya, a detective with the El Paso police is trying to offer some kind of solace to her partner, Marco, a detective with the Juarez police. I say “try” because Sonya has Aspergers, and she struggles with basic social skills and emotional interaction.

Marco has just suffered a traumatic loss. Sonya has experienced personal tragedy as well. In the scene, she’s made Marco breakfast, probably his first real meal since he fell into a bitter depression. She asks him simply:  “Did you make your bed?”

“What are you, my mother?” he asks.

Sonya goes on to tell him (and I’m removing anything that might be a spoiler if you haven’t watched this show) that after she experienced her loss she lived with an older couple. Every morning, the wife would ask Sonya if she had made her bed. That was the one house rule she had for Sonya: Always get up and make your bed. No matter how bad you feel, you have to face the day.

Many of the characters in my books have experienced some kind of trauma, whether that be the loss of a loved one, abuse, bullying–it runs the gamut. But, by the time I introduce these characters, they’ve reached a point in their lives where they’ve let go or are ready to let go of their past hurts, or to at least move on to a “new normal.”

Getting up and making the bed. Such a simple, ordinary thing to do. Most of us do it without giving it much thought. For some, though, it’s the first of many challenges they will face throughout the day as they move through the many stages of healing.

I love scenes like this that serve to remind us that there are no obstacles we can’t overcome. It may take days, months or years of doing the ordinary things–making your bed, brushing your teeth, preparing a good meal–before you eventually find the strength to move forward.

Get up, make your bed and face the day.

She opens the door…

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She opened the door.

He turned to face her directly, his eyes—a clear, vivid blue—took a burning sweep from head to toe and up again. “Hello,” he said, his voice low, soft as kidskin leather.

“Hello,” she breathed.

Up close, he was taller than he’d appeared in the lounge. She was five feet seven inches in heels. The top of her head was even with the bridge of his nose. This close, she caught the fragrance of his cologne, a hint of citrus with cedar undertones. God, he was so handsome. She swayed slightly and grabbed the doorjamb to keep upright. His eyes followed the motion before returning their piercing directness to her face. He frowned in question, dipping his head towards her. “Is your offer still on the table?”

“Y-yes.”

His eyes narrowed at the telltale quiver in her voice. Several seconds that seemed like eons went by during which he seemed to be locked in some inner debate. He inhaled sharply, closed his eyes for a moment before he lightly touched her waist and gave her a gentle nudge backwards. The brief flicker of indecision—or had it been nervousness?—in his expression had vanished. “Let’s continue this in private.”

She released her grip on the doorjamb and her hand drifted down to his shoulder—his broad, strong, firm shoulder concealed under the fine, clearly expensive, fabric of his black suit jacket. It was almost like a slow dance as he continued guiding her further into the room until the door clicked shut behind them. He turned slightly to flip the safety latch, quirking one eyebrow at her as he did so. “Okay?”

She nodded.

They stood close together in the narrow hallway, his hand still at her waist, both of hers now resting lightly on his shoulders. Her unsteady breathing seemed to echo his. She’d never, willingly, been this close to a man before. She lost herself for a giddy moment in the vibrant male warmth radiating from his body. His fingers tightened against her waist, tugging her forward until her chest brushed against his. He set the knuckles of his other hand under her chin, tilting her face up and capturing her eyes. “What’s your name?” he rasped.

“You can call me…Joan,” she whispered.

His mouth twitched as his eyes took in her red hair and vintage attire. “How appropriate…Joan. Call me…Don.”

What will happen next in Room 1208?

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Joan

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She removed her earrings and necklace and placed them in the safe along with her purse. She closed the closet door, concealing her suitcase and coat, then paused a moment to study her reflection in the full length mirror. The dress was her most recent find, ordered from an online boutique that specialized in vintage clothing from the Fifties and early Sixties. It was periwinkle blue and white floral chiffon with a ruched waist and full skirt. It had a bateau neckline in front, and a deep curved back neckline that came across the middle of her shoulder bones. Matching suede periwinkle pumps completed the look.

It was a dress that spoke romance. It was a dress, she hoped, that begged an easy touch and slow hands, not one to be torn aside in a rush of passion. Oh, she wanted that mad rush eventually, but not for her first time.

Her hands shook slightly as she skimmed them down her waist and over the skirt. She loved wearing dresses. For too many years, she hadn’t been able to wear them, not without feeling like she was on a poster advertising a carnival sideshow. She’d had to content herself with cutting out pictures of dresses she liked, taping them to her bedroom mirror or tucking them in a scrapbook. Someday, she’d promised herself. Someday.

[What happens next in Room 1208?]

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