Category Archives: Friends

Friends Make the World Go ‘Round

And I have some amazing ones.

No matter what’s going on or where I am, I know I have people there.  From the tiniest bit of entertainment to the most momentous problem, there is always someone in my life to turn to.  Because it’s Wednesday and today hasn’t been the best of days, I want to share some love, because I do love my girls.

First…my sprinting buddies –

Dakota Trace
Sharita Lira
Shay MacLean

My constant source of online amusement and companionship –

Alexx Momcat
Kharisma Rhayne

And the best real-life friends a girl could ask for-

Alexandra Christian
Amy Ravenel
Crymsyn Hart
Selah Janel

Last but not least, I have to give a shout out to my boys…

My Husband, who is awesomer than awesome.
Tally Johnson – because he’s a media ho, my husband’s best friend, and my best friend’s husband.

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CALLING ALL AUTHORS!

Earlier this week, a good friend of mine offered a fantastic opportunity for all of us literary types.  As a newspaper editor, Alan has spent quite a bit of time minding other people’s business (but we won’t hold that against him), and has decided to put his big brain to good use for all of us lowly writer types.

The Project:

A recurring online anthology of free reads to launch January 2012.  Whether it comes in website/blog form or e-zine form, it will be free for the first few issues.  There may come a time in the future when authors are paid for their submissions, but that depends solely on the popularity of this project.

Think Reader’s Digest in short e-form.

What Alan Wants:

Flash-fiction, 750 words or less in length.  Any genre, any style.  All he asks is that each piece be well written and edited for grammar and spelling, complete, coherent, and engaging.

Non-fiction tidbits, 750 words in length or less.  This can be anything from short essay to personal experience.  Same rules for fiction apply – well-written and edited for grammar and spelling, complete, coherent, and engaging.

Non-fiction stories also have the chance to follow-up with a companion interview for the edition if they’re attention-grabbing enough.

Where To Send Them:

You can contact Alan here:  johnalanjenkins [at] gmail [dot] com

If you have any questions about the project, please feel free to contact Alan at the above email address.    An exact release date has not been given yet, but anyone interested is welcome to contact him, he will certainly keep all of us well-informed.

Saturday, Coffee, and Friends

The most wonderful part of living near a city as large and eclectic as Charlotte has to be the strange little places it contains.  There’s a French coffee house here named Amelie’s, and I would go so far as to consider it a hidden gem of the city.  The walls are stripy and the furniture is mismatched.  The coffee is very French (meaning strong and bitter), but the Chai is out of this world and the pastry cases are absolutely to die for.

Me, I’m partial to the salted caramel brownies.

Because this place is over an hour away from home, it’s rare that I get to come up here.  When I do, it is almost exclusively on Saturdays when my husband has made plans with his best friend to go and do boy-things.  (Get your mind out of the gutter!  I don’t mean actually doing “boy” things… I mean going out hiking or on day-trips in the car… stuff like that.)

And when I do come up here, it’s always with one of my best friends in the world, Lexxx Christian.  Her husband is my husband’s cohort, so when they disappear, we get to play with each other.  (Out of the gutter… yes, you.  You know who you are.)  Amelie’s has sort of become our weekend writing haven.  It was introduced to us by the fantastic Dahlia Rose, and we sort of ran with it.  We even have a tendency to drag others along with us.  When others are around, we get very little done for the eating and the chatter, but just the ability to sit with friends and be silly is worth the drive.

The music in Amelie’s is a little eclectic (read: SCARY AS HELL), and fits well when writing murderers, so I suggest taking headphones and another source of music if you don’t like French Cabaret and Michael Buble.  I also suggest getting there early, because while there are lots of tables, they fill up quick…especially when you need to be near a power outlet.

The atmosphere in this place is wonderful, though, despite the musical stylings (they’re playing BB King right now, and it’s so wonderful to hear something NORMAL for a change), and they’re open twenty-four hours.  Large portions of my stories have been written in this building, drinking this chai, sitting next to Lexxx, and to be perfectly honest, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

In fact, I feel very blessed to have such a good friend alongside me in the chaos that is an author’s world.  She understands the insanity in my head.  She doesn’t look at me funny when I talk about all of the people screaming in my brain at one time.  And she gets it when I get impatient waiting on cover art or want to complain about a set of edits that made me mad.  There are a lot of people that don’t have that sort of companionship, and to be perfectly honest, I don’t know what I’d do without her.

I just wish our friend, Amy, lived closer so we could hijack her on Saturday mornings and bring her with us.  I don’t think we’ve managed to get her up here yet, and I know she would love it.

As much as I love this place, I do have one complaint.  There’s a lamp hanging next to me that’s made from driftwood and chicken-wire.  It has this little crystal finials hanging from the bottom, and they’re all unevenly spaced.  And Lexxx won’t let me fix it.  She keeps telling me it’s part of the artistic style of the piece… but it’s bugging my poor, little OCD brain to no end.

Needless to say, productivity is out the window.  I’ve written a grand total of 450 words on the current WIP, but I have scheduled posts for both upcoming dates (Six Sentence Sunday and Tuesday Tales), so that’s good, I guess.  I’ve also waited in line for ridiculous amounts of time for the restroom (this being pregnant thing means having to pee constantly, and that’s no fun).

It’s 3:30 now, so that means I should probably stop babbling into the internets and get back to work.

In closing:  If you live in the Charlotte area, come to Amelie’s.  If you’re here on a Saturday, there’s a good chance you’ll find Lexxx and me and our computers… and a whole pile of cups and dishes.

 

New Release: Second Skin

"Second Skin" by Alexandra Christian

When Catherine Spencer meets the seductive Jack Leannan at her company dinner party, she could never have imagined how fast she’d fall for him. He’s everything her husband isn’t—older, confident, and highly sexual. He lures her under his spell with promises of passion beyond her wildest dreams, and she finds herself ready to give up everything. But Jack is no ordinary lover, and the secret he harbors could destroy her.

~+~+~+~

Fresh this morning for your reading pleasure, a new short story from the lovely Alexandra Christian, “Second Skin.”  What you have here is a 12,000 word Paranormal Erotic Romance with a new twist on an old myth.  It’s beautifully executed with plenty of sexy, plenty of scary, and a whole lot more of everything we love from Lexxx.

Click on the photo above or visit the Sugar & Spice Press website to read an excerpt or purchase it now.

To play with Lexxx, CLICK HERE TO CHECK OUT HER BLOG.  Go ahead…I know you want to.

Kittens and Warcrack

Morning, y’all.

The last thirty-six hours haven’t been the best, for a variety of reasons.  The day job is still awful in comparison to the dream of setting my own hours with a true writing career and a laptop.  A coworker who caused some problems for me last year is back at it again, and the thought of even coming into this place makes me feel sick.

The lowest point came at about 8:00 Tuesday night, when Rooster and I were outside burying one of our new kittens.  Remember my post from a few days ago about Honey Badger?

Yeah.

Poor thing was really sick, and just couldn’t hold on.  I should know by now not to let my silly heart get so involved with little animals, but I can’t help it.  I’m as big a sucker as Rooster, just in different ways.

The only saving grace?  Coffee with Lexxx a night early.  We didn’t even have to order last night… they know us so well at Starbucks.

So back to Tuesday night… after taking a break in the middle of the evening for an impromptu kitty-funeral, I went back inside, sat down at the computer, and proceeded to play World of Warcraft until I thought my eyes would bleed.

I don’t know if it was the disappointment over losing the sweet little ball of fluff or the simple fact that we all wanted revenge on the system after the near-fail on Sunday night, but we ripped through that dungeon pretty well.  It wasn’t our best attempt, but it was still pretty darn good.

Apparently my Snow White powers permeate every facet of my life.

Not only did I fall into the role of Guild Master when a friend decided to hop realms, but I also fell into the role of Main Guild Healer.  We have a couple of others who do really well, but I seem to be the one that ends up keeping everyone alive while they take down the bosses.

Like I said before, I have a tendency to take in poor, unfortunate creatures.

Our guild is small – there are ten warm bodies that control the majority of the fifty-something characters contained therein.  Some of the guilds on our realm have hundreds, if not thousands, of members, but we like being small and unnoticed.  We’re all friends, and we care about each other.  What we do, we do as a team.  Our newest recruit held out for the longest time – he tried to tell us to drop our guild and join one of the huge ones.

I am proud to say that my stubbornness won.

After Cataclysm was released, he discovered just how much there is to be said for a small guild.  He has been part of the guild in spirit if not name for a LONG time now… but I brought him over to the dark side (or are we the light side? I don’t know anymore!) and he’s playing again regularly.  With us.

Now if we can just get Rooster in gear and get our shaman back, we’ll be all set.

What I love about the game isn’t necessarily the story line or the hack-and-slash play style… It’s the people.  The friendship. The sense of belonging and teamwork.  The knowledge that when we accomplish something, we accomplish it together.  No, we don’t always see eye to eye.  No we don’t always get along.

Yes, we fail.  A lot.

But those are learning experiences, and without them, we wouldn’t grow.  Individually, or as a guild.

I’ve been working on our guild website in some of my downtime (when I get it), and while we aren’t actively recruiting new people, we’re always open to someone hopping in and becoming a friend.  A few more people would be helpful so we could have a full crew to run various parts of the game we’re otherwise missing, but we probably need to work on getting the ones we have ready first.

If anyone out there plays WoW as Horde, stop in on Llane and see us.  Look for <lords of anarchy>.   Most days you’ll find me lurking about as a Tauren Druid named Slapchop – the original.  Not the one with the funky symbols and such.  Mallhek, Frostmonger, Valoros, Deeohgee, Necrom, Phukyocouch, Boogerfinger, Zarnicky, and Tomokhan are all pretty good targets too, if you really feel the need to poke at someone.  If you’re looking for a guild or just want a dungeon run, stop on in.  We’ll be glad to have you.

“Friend”ly Female Inspiration

My friend Lucy blogged about playlists yesterday, and it has me thinking.  I’ve been working on something music-related for a couple of days now, but it’s not ready yet.  In the meantime, enjoy her music!

She constantly amazes me.   I can see her now, scrunching up her face and shaking her head and telling me that she’s not doing anything special, but she is.  Every day, she lives the dream that I’ve had since I was a child.  No, it isn’t a glamorous life, but it’s still a life filled with satisfaction.

She’s a writer.  Lucy has published lots of books, and is still going strong.  She’s an intelligent, talented, beautiful woman, and I can only hope that when I grow up, I get to be more like her.

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It’s Thursday again, which means that tonight is my night to go play with Lexxx.  I don’t know what it is about sitting in Starbucks with her on Thursday nights, but for that span of time, I feel more creative, less likely to be an idiot, and… well…  like a writer.  She’s not afraid to verbally smack me and tell me that I’m being an idiot, and I like that.  She’s also pretty good at fixing my problems when I get stuck.

Lexxx is my sounding board and my cohort, and my partner in crime.  It is never, ever, ever safe to leave the two of us alone together for more than a few minutes at a time.  She shares my love of wine and cheesecake, and when we’re in north Charlotte at the little French place, she’s an evil enabler that lets me buy all those pastries.

I wouldn’t have her any other way.  Lexxx’s wicked imagination and sense of humor fuel my own.  She lets me be myself and accepts me for it, even with all of my faults.  She puts up with me… which is one of the best gifts she could give me.

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I am truly blessed to have these two wonderful women in my life, but there is one more that I absolutely have to talk about.  When I’m talking about my girls, I tend to save her for last because she has the best story, and in the past ten years, has really taught me the value of both friendship and hope.

She’s a cancer survivor.

Amy married my best friend, and I love them both like family.  She makes him happy… and that’s just one item on a whole list of reasons why I love her.

Anyway, they hadn’t even been married a year yet when she found out that she had developed breast cancer.  Then she told us, and it devastated Lexxx and me.  We were both shocked and horrified.  Neither of us knew what to do – we felt like we had to do something… but what?  They were in Charleston and we were here.

Through her treatments, she maintained a level of strength and grace that still astounds me.  She never once lost hope, even when she was so sick that she could barely move.  Even when she lost her hair, she simply threw on a hat and kept going (we tried to tell her that she was cute without it – she has the most perfectly round head I’ve ever seen!).

Even after her surgery while she was laid up in a hospital bed on good drugs, she was still smiling and laughing and showing off  what she’d begun to refer to as “Frankenboob.”

Rooster and I married in November of that same year.  She had just been cleared, and was even able to walk in my wedding.  She had a head full of baby-fine, fuzzy red hair, and she was beautiful.

This year makes four years that Amy is cancer free.  Every year with her is a new celebration.

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There are so many others as well… women who have come into my life and touched my soul, and made me a better person for it.  I don’t have time to name all of them, and I’d run out of space on the internet telling how they’ve affected me.

I love these girls.

But there’s one more I have to talk about, because to not do it would be a tragedy.

Raven.

She’s my daughter… step-daughter, actually, but I don’t let that title get in the way.  I’ve had a hand in raising her for the last ten years, and she’s a part of me.  I’ve watched her grow up, become independent, and evolve into the beautiful young woman she is today.  She’s so smart…and absolutely a riot when she gets started.   She’s open and honest and loving… and no a day goes by that she doesn’t change one more little part of me.

She has taught me patience and understanding.  She proves to me every single day that there is still hope for the younger generations.  She and I haven’t always seen eye-to-eye, (but what parent/child combination does?) but we work well together.  Yes, there are days when we make each other completely batty, but that’s to be expected, too.

She’s like a big ray of sparkly sunshine right in the middle of the room that makes everybody want to smile.  The girl has a quick wit and a sharp tongue, though, and she can cut right through a person without even realizing it.  I’m glad she can do that, because neither Rooster or I could when we were her age.

This kid has no hope of ever being normal.  She has, since birth, been surrounded by intelligent, sarcastic people that have shaped her into what she is today.  I feel honored that I can be counted among those people, because without her in my life, it would be a much, much darker place.

I love her, and I want the whole world to know it.  I’m proud of her every day, even as I sit here thinking that I need to be thanking her for making me who and what I am.

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So there you have it…  the four lovely women that make my life complete.  I would waste another thousand words talking about my mother, too… but I’ve already told everyone that she’s my hero and why.  What more is there to say?