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I admit, I got giddy when I saw that this month’s song prompt was “Pinch Me.” It’s a song I’ve sang to more than a few times and the “I just made you say ‘underwear’” part makes me giggle every time I listen to it. But this time, when I started the song for inspiration, it wasn’t the words that started my muse. It was the title and the overall thought of “Pinch me, because there’s no way that actually happened” that stuck in my head.
I’ve been talking about writing this book for about a year now, and I talk to Chris Allen-Riley (AKA Bronwyn Green) about it on an almost daily basis. She’s trying to convince me to write this book RIGHT NOW because I’m a little bit obsessed with the storyline. Apparently, she’s right because this little song fic turned into 1500 words when I normally only write around 500.
Here’s the song. The prompt (which is basically the first part of my doctor book) follows.
No. Fucking. Way.
I stood frozen to the spot at the door to the Starbucks across from the street from the hospital I worked at and stared at the table at the other side of the room. A group of men in white lab coats chatted amongst themselves, completely oblivious to my sudden inability to move. Maybe if I turned to leave quietly, they’d never realize I’d been there to begin with.
Someone pushed their way around me, muttering at my rudeness before taking their place in the unusually long line for this time of morning. Of course, that was when my klutz gene decided to rear its ugly head and I stumbled into a display of bagged coffee that’d been in the same freaking place since I started going there a year and a half before. The crash of coffee and cardboard display was spectacular and everyone in the store, including the very person who’d made me forget how to walk in the first place, turned to stare at me.
Nope. Don’t need coffee this morning. I’ll just grab some from the radiologist’s office. I did a quick about-face and scurried out the door, my bag flinging against my leg and nearly knocking me over yet again in my haste.
My face burned with embarrassment and would undoubtedly be red for the rest of the day. My Irish heritage was never more evident than when I made an ass out of myself, and literally falling over myself in front of Dr. HottiePants himself definitely made the top ten of most idiotic moments. That week.
I’d started working at Mercy General two years ago and didn’t run into Dr. HottiePants until about six months later. It was toward the end of the day and I’d just finished xraying a rather… shall we say robust gentleman in the cardiac ICU. The nurses had disappeared the minute they heard my portable xray machine come off the elevator, so I had to do the exam on my own. Which, let’s face it, wasn’t entirely unusual, but I was so tired that it took me an extra ten minutes to take the damn picture.
The largest of the elevators opened up and I silently thanked God that it wasn’t the elevator on the opposite wall. I’d already been stuck in that fucker three times in six months and I’d vowed never to take that one again—no matter how big a rush I was in or how exhausted I felt. No amount of time saved was worth the risk.
Trudging in with my thousand plus pound machine, I leaned against the wall and closed my eyes, heaving a long sigh.
“They really should put a cot in this thing,” a deep masculine voice said from across the elevator.
I jerked upright, nearly smacking my head on one of the framed information boards posted in all the elevators, but everyone ignored. “What?”
My heart nearly fell out of my chest when I saw the man that belonged to the voice.
Dark hair that curled just past his ears, deep brown eyes, full kissable lips, scruffy five o’clock shadow… pretty much everything I’d dreamed about since I first discovered the wonder that was the male species—including the doctor’s lab coat on the tall frame. Okay, (roughly) six foot might not be considered “tall” by everyone’s standards, but at five-four, he basically towered over me.
And he was standing there, staring at me and waiting for some kind of response while I ogled him like an idiot.
“If there were cots in here, I’d probably never leave,” I giggled like a fucking twelve year old and mentally slapped myself. “They’d have to install a TV in here. Or maybe a bookcase.”
He grinned and my ovaries exploded. “I’d definitely never leave, in that case. It’s probably best that this stay the Life Flight elevator, then. We can’t have all the staff moving in. Think of all the overtime!”
God, the accent. It sent tingles directly to my naughty bits and made me weak in the knees.
A ding let us know that we’d reached his floor and I wanted to make up an excuse to go with him. But the second floor was for surgery, and the machine I had definitely wasn’t allowed on the sterile unit. Even if he were brand new at the hospital, everyone knew we kept dedicated machines on the surgical floor so that we didn’t contaminate everything with the rest of the hospital’s germs.
He turned and gave me a smile that melted my panties right off my body. “Nice to meet you.”
When the doors closed, I realized that I’d forgotten to ask his name or look at his ID. Stupid, stupid, stupid. What if I never saw him again?
But I saw him plenty after that day. It seemed any time I’d go to a unit for the day, he was there. Cardiac, in-patients who were stable enough to be on the regular floor, ICU, even the ER. I used to joke with him on the rare occasion that I remembered how to speak that he was stalking me. He just laughed and said it was possible before darting into a patient’s room.
Today was the first time I’d seen him at the Starbucks I visited every morning for my caffeine injection, and I wasn’t sure if I should be happy that I’d caught a glimpse of him or worried that I’d have to find a new coffee spot.
I stood on the corner of Main and University, waiting for the traffic to stop long enough so I could dart across the street. Yeah, I was jaywalking, but the crosswalk lights were notoriously unreliable. I didn’t fancy standing there for another fifteen minutes waiting for the correct signal that may never actually come.
I felt a light tap on my shoulder, “Hey.”
Spinning around, I came face-to-face with Dr. HottiePants, himself. Well, that was what I called him until I learned his real name. It wasn’t easy to remember English when he was around, much less to have the presence of mind to look for a name tag when you were too busy tripping over your tongue.
“Are you okay?” Dr. Marcos Gutierrez, one of the top cardiothoracic surgeons in the state and current star of every fantasy that kept me awake at night, stood in front of me with a smile on his face and a tall cup of steaming Starbucks coffee in his hands.
I nodded and looked away, pretending to check my watch as though I were going to be late. Even if he hadn’t known me for a year, the day shift in radiology didn’t start until seven—which was forty five minutes from then. “I’m good. Just forgot I had feet there for a second. But I need to get in to work. I’m on the early shift.” Liar, liar, pants on fire. “I’m sure I’ll see you later.”
He held out the cup before I could tuck tail and run, “Here. I figured you might need this today.”
Raising an eyebrow, I took the cup from him and immediately smelled my usual black coffee with a dash of cinnamon. Either he’d been coming into Starbucks every day and paid far more attention to me (highly unlikely since I’d never seen him in there before), or Michelle—my usual barista—had blabbed my order. I’d bet five bucks it was the latter. Michelle was a fantastic coffee slinger, but she was a hopeless romantic and incredibly perceptive. Tripping over myself at the sight of Dr. Gutierrez wasn’t exactly the most subtle of signs, but still.
“Um… thanks? I’ll have to pay you back another time. All I have is my Starbucks app and I really do need to get going.” So I don’t make a bigger ass of myself in front of you… good Lord, you smell good today. Shit! He’s talking! Pay attention Calleigh!
“Maybe you can get my coffee tomorrow morning? Say… around six? I’m coming in for rounds a little earlier than usual and if you’re on the early shift this week, I don’t want to make you late.”
I nodded dumbly and wondered if someone was playing a cruel joke on me. “Sure. I’ll, um, page you or something if I’m going to be late.”
He handed me a crisp white business card, “My cell is written on the back. I don’t carry my pager with me unless I’m at the hospital. Text me your number when you get to work. I don’t want to make you late.”
As he shot me one last grin, he walked back into the coffee shop to sit back down at the table full of doctors who were pretending that they hadn’t just been gawking at the exchange.
“Ow…Ow, fuck!” Hot coffee scalded my wrist when I jumped after pinching my arm a little too hard.
Well, fuck me. That just happened.
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For the dayjob, I work in a hospital, which is pretty high stress in and of itself. Most of the time I let things roll off my back because there’s not a lot I can do about certain things (like the new policies coming down from the new owners of the hospital) and I know that it only adds to my tension to fret over it.
But there are times when I just can’t help it. I curse, I cry, I vent/rant.
I’m also an author/editor. Sometimes the story just isn’t coming to me and I sit at my laptop for hours, staring at a blank screen while that stupid cursor just blinks at me. Or I have…shall we say an author with special needs. They’ve done this more than once, but they need me to explain everything over and over again or just to hold their hand.
Topping off my list of jobs is that of wife and mother. I love my family. I do. But sometimes I want to crawl in a corner and hide from them. They can’t find their socks. Oh my God, where are their shoes? Monkey’s life will absolutely end if she can’t find her favorite teddy bear RIGHT NOW. Hubs is hungry but he’s too tired/sick/in pain to get up and make himself a sandwich. It’s 11pm, but he suddenly remembers that he has no pants to wear tomorrow and oh guess what – he doesn’t know how to use the fancypants front loading washing machine.
So, how do I relax when I’ve had it UP TO HERE?
Music. I listen to music, for one. I have playlists for every mood because that’s how I roll, but sometimes I just want to listen to a certain artist. It used to be Norah Jones until someone fucked that up for me. Now, I mostly listen to Amos Lee or Jack Johnson when I want to run away from the world.
Writing. If the words aren’t what’s causing me to have a temporary mental break, then I’ll sit down and write something. It doesn’t even have to be the story I’m currently working on (like I said, sometimes that causes stress), but I do like to jot down a quick story about a side character or whatever gets stuck in my head at the time (sometimes inspired by the music I’m listening to).
Cleaning. Okay, this is kind of a funny one because it’s also one of my stressors. I’m a bit OCD so when things aren’t put in their place it drives me batshit insane. I’ve been known to stay up for days on end cleaning (although that’s part of my bipolar disorder). I pop in my headphones and listen to something upbeat. Usually Backstreet Boys or 90s pop because that’s what I grew up listening to. Don’t judge me.
Reading. Books are an escape from reality for me. I can travel anywhere. I can do anything. I can be anyone I want to be. I can be with the handsome doctor/lawyer/construction worker/musician/movie star/teacher/princewhatever. And I can do it all in the comfort of my own home. I don’t even have to leave my couch! How awesome is that?? I binge on audiobooks a lot, since I have a 40 minute (one way) commute to the hospital I work at. Thank God for Kindle Unlimited. You can get books that have narration as long as they’re part of the KU library.
Exercising. HA. Just kidding. Well, I do miss running, but my arthritis and back pain say nooooo to that.
Baking. I started culinary school before I went to xray school. I love to bake cookies, cakes, cupcakes, pie… you name it, and I probably love to bake it. The people at work both love and hate me–love because I bring delicious treats in, and hate because it adds to their waistline. Most of the people I work with actually do like to work out. I think I need to bake more cookies for them.
Phone. Okay, I actually hate being on the phone. But sometimes there’s nothing more relaxing than hearing your best friend’s voice telling you everything is going to be all right and planning exactly where you’re going to bury the body. I mean….what kind of cookies you’re going to bake together. Yup. That’s what I meant.
Eating. My ass didn’t get this big on its own. Nope, I tend to eat my feelings. Something I’m working on, but there are days when nothing will get better until I’ve had the perfect slice of apple pie. I know I joke about drinking ALL THE WINE on Facebook, but I don’t actually drink all that often. I’ve had the same bottle of wine in my fridge for over a month. Which reminds me, I should probably toss that out… Occasionally there are days when I just want to have a glass of wine and hang out in front of the boob tube.
TV. Sometimes I can’t focus on a book no matter how much I want to. I’ve been turning to Netflix or Amazon Prime more and more lately. I’m currently watching The Vampire Diaries as well as Grey’s Anatomy (which depresses me more, so I can only watch a few episodes at a time) over again. I’ve also got a TON of shows saved up on my DVR.
Massage. Oh, how I wish I had more time (and money!) for this one. I literally have a pain in my neck most of the time because my bed SUCKS and my back is constantly killing me because my days are spent lifting patients for xray who are routinely twice my size. Yes, I use proper body mechanics and I wear a back brace to help with stability, but when I get up in the mornings before I’ve had the chance to stretch out or put on the brace, I walk like a 90 year old woman.
Want to see what my blog sisters do to relax? Click the links below.
I’ve loved this quote since middle school, when we first read the poem. It gives me the courage to take my own path, rather than the one that so many others have trodden before me, and to be my own person.
I’m actually the quintessential goody two shoes (any time I attempt to toe out of line, I inevitably get caught), but when I’m writing, I cackle with glee at all the trouble I can get my characters into.
I don’t drink often, but I do like to have a glass or two of wine while I’m writing. When editing, the wine stays put away. Maybe Hemingway knew what he was talking about?
Even though a writer’s life is a fairly solitary existence, with the invention of the Internet, we have found out that we’re not alone and there are MILLIONS of people who love books as much as we do. And there’s always someone around to chat about books with! It’s a lovely feeling – knowing you’re not the only hopeless book worm out there.
Biblical verse. My favorite one. It reminds me that God has a plan for me and to trust in it, no matter what obstacle I’m facing at the time. There is light at the end of the tunnel.
Another bible verse. This one literally saved my life. No matter what trouble I’m going through, I know that God has it in His hands and there is no problem too big for Him to handle. This one taught me to “Let go and let God.”
Want to see my blog sisters’ favorite quotes?
Today’s Wednesday Randomness is about our favorite beauty products. I’m not really picky when it comes to my makeup. I mostly shop at Kroger or CVS when it comes to makeup (something my hairdresser neighbor cries over) and I tend to just grab whatever’s on sale for my hair.
I am never without at least one tube of Maybelline 14 hour Timeless Crimson lipstick. I actually have four tubes, since I have a knack for losing lipstick and this is my trademark color. If I’m not feeling well or just don’t feel like putting makeup on, people at work ask me if I’m not feeling well. It should upset me, but I get so many compliments on how awesome it looks that I’m okay with people wondering where it is when I forget it.
I stick to Revlon Color Stay black eyeliner (NOT brown!) and Full & Soft mascara (it doesn’t clump as much as it doesn’t make my lashes as stiff). I’ve changed mascaras a few times, but I always come back. I’m a creature of habit, apparently.
The only other thing I’m known for is my signature scent – Amazing Grace by Philosophy. One of the speech therapists actually seeks me out just to smell me. Her nickname for me is “Delicious” because I smell delicious. My nickname for her is “Awesome” because she’s one of the best speech therapists I’ve ever seen. Amazing Grace is a soft scent that isn’t overwhelming and I can wear it around even my most sensitive patients, but it smells good enough that I’ve had several people walk by me and ask what I’m wearing. Win/win.
I’m not that much of a girly girl. I wear ivory foundation and powder (whatever’s on sale – as long as it’s ivory. Anything else is too dark), black eyeliner and mascara. Crimson lipstick. Perfume. I put my hair in a ponytail every single day so that a) I don’t overheat while I’m running around doing portable xrays and b) patients can’t yank it out of my head. I’m simple.
Want to see what my blogging sisters have chosen? Click the links below!
Normally while writing a book, I’ll have music playing in the background. I make playlists for everything I write or do. But while writing Lost Treasure, I couldn’t find music that inspired me. Instead, I had several movies on heavy rotation. In no particular order, here is my movie playlist for Lost Treasure:
I don’t normally watch TV while writing because it’s such a distraction (especially my favorites, several of which are on this list) but watching all the treasure hunting (or in the case of Labyrinth, David Bowie shaking his ass – my hero is named after Bowie’s character in Labyrinth).
”Write what you know.” It was the first bit of writing advice I got way back when. I don’t really remember how old I was. Probably around 7 or 8? That’s when I remember writing my first short stories (let’s face it – they were NKOTB fanfics before I knew what fanfics were), and I can remember one of my English teachers telling me that the best way to come up with a great story it to write what I know.
So far, I’ve mostly stuck with that line of thinking. In Second Chance at Love, I wrote about a wrestler and a reporter. I was obsessed with wrestling from high school until… about 7 years ago, when I first started dating Mr Prince (who hates wrestling). I may not have had insider knowledge, but I did read several of their biographies, watch every episode, attend several shows… I even took my little brother to Wrestlemania when it was in Houston. As for the reporter part – I studied journalism in high school. I wanted to be a reporter one day, but decided that the medical field was far more interesting (and lucrative, since I didn’t plan to pursue broadcast journalism).
That Was Then, This is Now is about a couple in the military. I was in the Navy for 6 years, so this is the very definition of writing what I know.
Now, my newest book (releasing soon!) is called Lost Treasure, and it’s a step waaaaaay out of my comfort zone. It was originally supposed to be part of the Bad Boy Next Door boxset, but it unfortunately never made it to release day. So, I’m expanding on the story to full novel length so I can print it up and have something beautiful (and signable!) in hand when I attend the Austin Author Affair May 22-24. This book is about treasure hunters and Egyptology. While I wanted to be an Egyptologist when I was younger, I never quite made it to the college portion of that dream, opting for something safer (financially) and closer to home. However, this book was loads of fun to research. I spent hours scouring the internet for all the information I could get on locations I’d never been to and jobs I’ve only dreamed of having.
So… write what you know? I’m on the fence about it.
Want to see what my blog sisters wrote about? Click the links below!
On today’s Wednesday Randomness, we’re talking about things we spend too much time doing. As a self professed obsessive compulsive person with ADD, I spend a little too much time doing everything except what I’m supposed to be doing.
I love music, and I can’t write without it. So, I can spend hours creating and perfecting my playlists on Spotify and Amazon Prime. I post my playlists for each book and WIP (something else to procrastinate on instead of actually writing my books or clean the house). One example can be found on the page for Second Chance at Love, my debut novella.
I love to sing, too. I come from a large family of musicians who all play instruments. I’m kind of the black sheep of the family since I only sing, but I love to sing. Occasionally I post covers on YouTube because I don’t do original music (I may be a writer, but I definitely don’t write music).
WORK! I spend too much time working — and I don’t mean writing. Yeah, it pays the bills and ensures that my family eats, blah blah blah. But it takes up too much quality writing/editing time! So it’s going on the list. Boom.
I definitely spend too much time on Facebook. Way, way, way too much time on Facebook. I check it when I wake up. As soon as I get to work. While I’m at work (despite not really being allowed to have my phone on me at work). Before I leave work. When I get to my mom’s to pick Monkey up. When I get to my house. While I’m supposed to be writing/cooking/cleaning/reading/sleeping. It’s how I stay connected to my friends and family. How I learn what’s going on in my industry (other than reading blogs). How I get cheered up (who doesn’t love cute cat videos or goofy quizzes?) And I definitely use the hell out of the FB chat feature to stay connected to the owner of the publisher I edit for and both of my crit partners.
READING! I listen to audiobooks. I buy print books. I buy eBooks. And I read them allllllllll. I’m a woman obsessed. There’s a picture floating around the internet somewhere of me in bed still wearing my glasses clutching my iPad with my Kindle app still blazing. It happened during my first con, at AAD NOLA and my friend Meredith took the picture the first night we were there. I got my revenge the next night by taking the exact same picture of her, because we’re basically the same person except she’s a little taller and her hair is curlier than mine. Also, she’s Meredith and I’m Paige, but we’re both insane book worms. Because books are our great escape. Books make me happy. I can go anywhere. I can be anything. I can sail a boat or be a trapeze artist or fly an airplane… books are a window to all the dreams we’re afraid to admit to having.
Television. I spent a lot of time watching TV. The Vampire Diaries. The Originals. Grey’s Anatomy. Castle. Forever. Master Chef. Master Chef Jr. Hell’s Kitchen. Bones. Criminal Minds. Agents of SHIELD. Once Upon a Time. NCIS. I record everything on my DVR and watch it later so that I can fast forward through commercials. Like my books, I love getting lost in the fictional worlds created for me by the writers (although I don’t get as lost in TV as I do in books). I even went with my writing partner to the Vampire Diaries convention here in Houston last March. I got to meet most of the actors on TVD and The Originals and it was like heaven on earth. I’m still flying high because of the experience. Not to mention the fact that it inspired a book (that I haven’t written yet – but I will soon!)
Want to see what my blogging sisters spend too much time on? Click the links below!
Dear Vampire Diaries,
Bronwyn Green told me that it’s perfectly okay for me to write this letter to you, since you are a TV show comprised of living actors playing parts but I’m not writing to them (though I probably should). I’m writing to the show as a whole.
Almost six years ago, we were introduced to Stefan, Elena, Damon, and the little vampire-filled town called Mystic Falls. Since then, we’ve had to deal with various Big Bads and random “WTH is going on” situations – Original vampires, insane witches, doppelgangers, magic rings, werewolves, sire bonds based on gratitude, sire bonds based on “feelings,” Rippers, Hunters, shady college professors, Travelers, hottie sociopaths who get feelings after merging with his little brother, ghosts, vampires who come back from the dead… And this is all off the top of my head (with my crappy memory).
I’ve recently started a Great Rewatch of the entire series and I’ll admit that I’m obsessed. I watch when I wake up before I go to work, I watch when I get home, I watch when I should be sleeping (like now). The storytelling is, for the most part, hit or miss. In the first few seasons I enjoyed it very much. I stuck with the show even when things got a little out there for me, because… well… Alaric Saltzman.
He originally showed up on TVD as a history teacher, which made my little nerd heart jump for joy. I took far too many history classes in college just because I enjoyed them. So, for Ric to show up and make history interesting to the kids at Mystic Falls High, I immediately fell in love with him. And he’s also a vampire hunter. A scruffy, tall, HOT history teacher/vampire hunter.
Wrap him up, I’ll take him home.
When he started going down the path to evil in season 3, I was a little heartbroken. But Matt Davis pulled it off so effortlessly – just a change of his facial expression and you knew that something was wrong with the Ric we’d come to know and love.
I got the chance to meet Matt at the TVD convention here in Houston this year. He was adorable and funny at his Q&A panel, securing my heart forever when he revealed how much he loves to read. At both photo ops (yeah, I ended up with two pictures with him — wouldn’t you?) he was so sweet and smiled at me like he was genuinely happy to see me.
This is supposed to be a love letter to TVD, but it’s leaning more towards a letter to Matt. Oops.
The show’s many characters and (sometimes insane) storylines provide for such a rich playground for a writer’s mind to play. I started out writing fanfic, so sometimes my mind still heads in that direction – especially when someone like Matt Davis is on screen steaming up my glasses.
I’ve been writing in one form or another since I was 7 years old and have never successfully written a vampire story. Every time I try, it’s usually too cheesy or makes no damn sense. I know it’s not entirely because of TVD -I’ve always loved vampires and werewolves- but after spending so many years watching the show and discussing with Elise how things could’ve been different or how we think the writers of the show are on crack.
Recently, I had an idea pop into my head for a vampire rom com. And with Monday’s picture prompt turning into a vampire story (that is super close to my friend Bronwyn Green’s prompt and now has me wanting to write with her even more), that just shows me that I really need to take my love of vampire tv/movies/books and write my own.
So, thank you TVD. Thank you for your characters, your storylines, and your ability to piss me off/make me sob like an infant/make me fall in love with a character. Because of you, I’m expanding my writing horizons.
And having some really awesome dreams.
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