Archive | July 2016

Manifesting Love #16

This is a new work in progress, The Manifesting Love Club. Four friends. All single. Some looking for love. Some not. Join these ladies as they take their friendship into a new direction, to manifest love.

Earlier, Heather introduced her idea of affirmations to manifest love. When her path crosses a handsome fellow – wearing a clown nose in public – she couldn’t be less interested. Even if he is the brother of a work associate across the hall. But he’s persistent.

This week we’re writing to a picture prompt, so the snippets are short – only 300 words each.

Return to TUESDAY TALES to read the rest of the story snippets.

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As much as she enjoyed the evening, the long week placating a difficult client got the better of Heather. She had difficulty keeping her eyes open. “I’m sorry. This has been fun, but I’m dead on my feet.”

Brian, usually such a clown and a jokester, was sympathetic and understanding. “Let’s get you home, before you fall face first in that chocolate martini.”

As they exited the comedy club, he nodded towards the barn red sign hanging across the street. “I was going to suggest a nice dinner afterwards. They have the best poached salmon. But I don’t think you’re up for it tonight.”

“Definitely not tonight. It sounds delightful. Raincheck?”

“You free tomorrow night?”

“I am. I even promise that I’ll sleep in the meantime so I can keep my eyes open.”

“It’s a plan. I have a children’s party in the afternoon. It should wrap up around four. Five at the latest.” A sudden twinkle made his eyes shine brightly. “I can come straight from the party and pick you up.”

“Oh no you don’t. I’m not tired enough to catch that. You’d pick me up in full clown regalia, wouldn’t you?”

A satisfied smirk was his silent answer.

“You’d enjoy that, wouldn’t you? Taking me out to a nice restaurant clad in your ruffles, big shoes and clown makeup.”

“Bet you haven’t been on a date like that before.”

Heather laughed in response. “No. That would be a first. But that’s okay…I can live without that experience. You go home first and change into Regular Brian. Then come pick me up.”

He reached up and flicked her nose. “Party pooper.”

“And then…the next date I get to choose. To make up for you using our meeting in your routine.” Heather rubbed her hands together in devious delight.

Manifesting Love Club #15

This is a new work in progress, The Manifesting Love Club. Four friends. All single. Some looking for love. Some not. Join these ladies as they take their friendship into a new direction, to manifest love.

Earlier, Heather introduced her idea of affirmations to manifest love. When her path crosses a handsome fellow – wearing a clown nose in public – she couldn’t be less interested. Even if he is the brother of a work associate across the hall. But he’s persistent.

This week we’re writing to the prompt ‘write.’

Return to TUESDAY TALES to read the rest of the story snippets.

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Instead of a hot date with her pillow as expected, a few hours later Heather found herself parked at a table at the local comedy club.

Her mind drifted to her friend’s proclamation about the newest wonder guy in her life. She’d tried calling Corecia back before she left the house. To her dismay, it only rang and went to voice mail. Heather knew that Corecia’s phone was a permanent extension, always in hand or on the table in front of her. So if she didn’t answer, she must be doing the hot and heavy with the new guy. After hearing her pal’s enthusiasm about the affirmations, she couldn’t wait until she talked to her and heard more about her experiences and how she’d met this new guy. Especially since Corecia claimed that she hadn’t met him at a club. That in itself was a remarkable step forward.

A round of applause brought her attention back to comedian on the stage. She wondered what she’d missed as her mind wandered. She doubted she’d missed much. So far the fellow performing wasn’t anyone she’d make an effort to see again. Oh, he tried, she’d give him that, but as far as making her laugh, he fell far short in that arena. He got an ‘A’ for effort, but not for results. She hoped that when Brian’s turn came up, he was as funny on stage as he was in person.

Half-hearted claps signaled the end of this performer’s fifteen minutes of trying to woo the audience. As if summoned by her thoughts, Brian was the next one to step out on stage. Heather had wondered if he’d appear with his favorite clown nose perched in the middle of his face. He didn’t. Evidently, he saved that for his children’s shows. The dapper young man in the navy linen shirt over freshly pressed khakis wouldn’t be mistaken for a comedian out trolling for laughs. Until he opened his mouth.

The crowd responded to his routine with hoots, hollers, and genuine belly laughter. The lines rolled off his lips with a blasé casualness that Heather knew by now was anything but casual. He’d heard him studying his lines and working on the timing of jokes. She knew that hours of careful work went into his skit. She laughed so hard that she clutched her sides.

The laugh caught in her throat when she heard these words come out of his mouth. “So, you know what happens when the guy with the clown nose runs into a gorgeous blond at the snack machine?”

ACNJ clown nose guys he described a buffoon of a guy running around in public, complete with clown nose and clown car, the audience roared. When he talked of the disdain the beautiful girl showed, Heather wante
d to curl up and die. She hadn’t realized that he was totally serious about using real life experiences as material.
When he pulled the infamous red bulb from his pocket and stuck it smack dab on his nose, the group cheered. He winked at Heather before uttering his final line. “But, ladies and gentlemen…write this down…the clown always gets his girl.”

As the applauding audience stood and gave Brian a standing ovation, Heather joined them. Everyone had enjoyed his routine so much, she decided that she’d forgive him for talking about how they met.

Manifesting Love Club #14

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This is a new work in progress, The Manifesting Love Club. Four friends. All single. Some looking for love. Some not. Join these ladies as they take their friendship into a new direction, to manifest love.

Earlier, Heather introduced her idea of affirmations to manifest love. When her path crosses a handsome fellow – wearing a clown nose in public – she couldn’t be less interested. Even if he is the brother of a work associate across the hall. But he’s persistent.

This week we’re writing to the prompt ‘smudge.’

Return to TUESDAY TALES to read the rest of the story snippets.

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Heather worked like a frenzied madwoman the next few days. Although she and Brian had exchanged numbers, she hadn’t heard from him. About par for the course, she muttered. But the other half of her was relieved. It gave her time and energy to pour into this proposal. A lot was riding on getting this huge job. She really needed it for the business. It would keep McKinney Interiors going for another few months.

She searched through every sample in the office, discarding ninety-nine percent of them. The heap of the few selected ones gradually turned into a color scheme for Mrs. Jamison. Friday afternoon, when she finally lugged the proposal boards out of the office, Laura held her crossed fingers high in the air, wishing her luck.

Laura was making the rounds through the office, turning off lights and computers, getting ready to shut up for the week before Heather returned. She pushed one final button putting the computer at her desk to sleep. “How’d it go?”

Heather’s silent response was simply waving a check in front of her face.

“Yippee! She liked it? Tell me what she said.” Laura grinned like a banshee.

Plopping down in one the plush chairs in the reception area, Heather groaned. “Oh, Lord, she put me through the wringer at first. Questioning every single item I’d chosen. What fiber is this? How do you care for it? Why did you choose this? And the cost of each and every one. Even though she had a detailed line item projection sheet right in front of her. About the time I’m thinking she didn’t like this proposal either…and I was seriously rethinking my decision to enter the interior design field…she up and says ‘All right,’ whips out a checkbook and writes this huge retainer check.”

Leaning over to take the check Heather held out, Laura yelped with excitement. “Woohoo! Guess I’ll get paid next week after all!”

Laughing in agreement, Heather stood. “And now…I’m going to go home and sleep for two days straight.”

landlineExcept, when she walked in her back door, the light on her landline was flashing. Pushing the button, the automated voice told her she had five messages. She kept listening as she rummaged through the cabinets for a mug and dropped a bag of peppermint tea in it.

‘Hi, girl. It’s Tracey. Just checking to see how your week’s going. Give me a call when you have a free moment. Later.’ Beep.

Click. Hang up. Beep.

Another hang up with no message.

‘Oh. My. God. You have to call me. Oh…it’s Corecia, in case you couldn’t tell. I have met the most amazing guy. And not at the club. These affirmation thingy’s are the bomb. You’ve made me a believer. Call me!” Beep.

Heather grinned and popped the mug in the microwave, then reached for her favorite organic, raw honey.

The deep voice that spoke next sent a tingle down through her toes. ‘Hi there. Heather? You must still be working. This is Brian. Wanted to check and see how your proposal went over with the dragon lady. And, I wanted to see if you wanted to come to the comedy club tonight? I know its short notice. I got a stint there tonight, with a group of several of us. You’d be my guest. You can sit up front with me, in the VIP section. If you’re up for it after your horrendous week. Let me know.”

As the microwave beeped, she pushed stop on the recorder and dashed to the restroom. Taking a quick look in the mirror, she hesitated when she saw the dark smudges under her eyes. What the heck. Sleep’s highly overrated anyway. I can always catch up tomorrow. Besides, a night filled with laughter will do me good.

Return to TUESDAY TALES to read the rest of the story snippets.

Once Upon a Lie – Blogging Fun

“Today I’m participating in a group blogging! WOW! Women On Writing has gathered a group of blogging buddies to write about finding love in unimaginable places. Why this topic? We’re celebrating the release of Michael French’s twenty-fourth novel. Once Upon a Lie (Terra Nova Books) is an exploration of the secrets families keep, and the ways those secrets can tear a family apart. Visit The Muffin (http://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com) to read what Michael has to say on finding love in unexpected places and and view the list of all my blogging buddies. Visit Michael’s website (http://www.michaelrfrench.com/) to find out more about the author.”
 
About Once Upon a Lie:

Front Cover.jpgTwelve-year-old Jaleel Robeson is on the run after the police in his tiny Texas town try to frame him for the death of his father. A world away, Alexandra “Alex” Baten is growing up amid all the material comforts a wealthy Los Angeles lawyer can provide. One day, a simple cup of lemonade unites their lives, leading to a maze of adultery and murder that shatters Alex’s youthful innocence and Jaleel’s struggle to reshape his life.

While the forces of the law try to unravel the mysterious death―or at least find a scapegoat―the two youths see the trajectories of their lives entwine, unravel, and come together again. Justice, Alex learns, can be a strange and nebulous thing, easily enmeshed in webs of loyalty and betrayal. Justice, Jaleel finds, can be a powerful―but dangerous―rock on which to build a life of honor and courage. As their stories play out over the years in cities far apart, best-selling author Michael French fills the world of Alex and Jaleel with a cast of vivid characters both supporting and threatening their efforts to build a life that “works” amid the expectancies of others and their own conflicting drives.

About the Author:

MichaelFrench_PhotoA graduate of Stanford University with a degree in English and of Northwestern University with a master’s in journalism, Michael French is the author of twenty-four books: adult and young adult fiction, art criticism, biographies, adaptations, and gender studies. A native of Los Angeles, he also is a successful businessman, an avid high-altitude mountain trekker, a world traveler to developing countries, an activist, and, with his wife, Patricia, a philanthropist raising money for programs aiding teachers in Santa Fe, N.M., public schools, which are some of the most challenged in the country.

Author Links:
Purchase Link:

Manifesting Love Club #13

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This is a new work in progress, The Manifesting Love Club. Four friends. All single. Some looking for love. Some not. Join these ladies as they take their friendship into a new direction, to manifest love.

Earlier, Heather introduced her idea of affirmations to manifest love. When her path crosses a handsome fellow – wearing a clown nose in public – she couldn’t be less interested. Even if he is the brother of a work associate across the hall. Unfortunately, he seems intent on getting her number.

This week we’re writing to the prompt ‘necklace.’

Return to TUESDAY TALES to read the rest of the story snippets.

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He strode forward, hand extended. His cautious words seemed out of place with his confident manner. “Ummm…We met earlier in the breakroom…I’m Brian, by the way…”

“Why yes we did.” Heather wanted to stand where she was and freeze him out. But good manners overcame her inner desire and she shook hands, albeit reluctantly.

“I’m afraid I got off on the wrong foot. Wearing the clown nose out in public and all.”

A bemused grin snuck up on Heather, thawing her inner chill. “I must admit…it’s not every day I run into a grown man running around with a red, plastic glob stuck on his nose.”

“I’m a comedian, part time party clown on the side, and I find that doing something unusual creates situations that I can use as fodder in my standup routines.” His grin showcased a dimple in his left cheek. “But then…there are days that a blond goddess enters the room and I’m standing there feeling like a fool.”

CNJ_necklaceA hot rush flooded Heather’s body with embarrassment – and a bit of an excited tingle. She didn’t know whether she was mortified at his statement, or pleased. Her fingers flew to the silver chain around her neck, as if stroking the simple necklace would give her an answer. “Ah…well…I don’t know about the goddess part…” She stammered her reply, her thought processes suddenly incoherent.

“So…could I buy you a coffee? To make up for being such a doofus? I’d like a chance to chat with you. And maybe show you that I’m really a normal guy. Well…kind of. But I’m harmless. Sarah can vouch for me.”

“Now?”

“Now. Tonight. Tomorrow.”

Heather spread her hands out, showing the disarray scattered around the office. “Now’s not really a good time. I’m knee deep in a difficult project.”

“Anytime. Just thirty minutes and a cup of coffee. That’s all.”

She glanced around, looking at the piles. She stood silent in thought for a moment. She decided to break out of her typical predictable routine and do something impulsive. “You know what? This will all be waiting for me when I get back. A half an hour won’t hurt. Besides, maybe a quick break will clear my head and a new design concept will come to me when I get back.”

Brian’s brilliant smile showed his delight with her answer.

She grabbed her purse sitting under her desk. “I don’t drink coffee though. But they usually have some type of tea or something. I’ll tell Laura on the way out.”

As they left the office, he stopped to offer her choices. “There’s a diner down the street, if you want to walk over. Or a Java Hut three or four blocks away if you want me to drive.”

“Java Hut sounds great. They have a smoothie I adore. We can walk, if it’s not too far for you.”

“No, it’s not too far. On my off days, I hike. Usually five to ten miles. I think I can handle a few blocks.” He laughed before continuing. “That’s probably the safest decision too. You’re probably not off to a drive in my clown car yet.”

“You have a clown car?” Oh, good Lord, what did I get myself into?

He had the grace to blush and lowered his head. “Um….yeah. Actually, it’s over there. You can see it from here.” He pointed to a bright red minivan parked across the street.

Sure enough. He was right. Huge, vivid, smiling clown faces filled the sides of the vehicle, with his name and phone number plastered across the images.

“Okaaaaay…I’ve never ridden in such a…festive car. Yep. Think we’ll walk.”

Although when they began walking towards Java Hut, Heather turned for another glance at his conspicuous transportation. It did make sense, she had to admit. Good advertising. And hey, even a happy clown isn’t too happy when there’s no food in his belly or no roof over his head. And that takes money, which you get from jobs. She knew all about that. She had to admire someone that used good business sense, even if it was for such an unusual profession.

By the time they reached the coffee shop, Heather’s spirits had lifted. “I don’t think I’ve ever laughed so much. You do have the gift of gab. I think you’re a natural born storyteller.”

“Not really all that natural. It takes a lot of work and practice to make it seem so effortless. Although, if you ask my mom, she’ll probably tell you all about how I kept her on her toes while I was growing up. Even Sarah. Hey…” he paused as a thought crossed his mind. “Hmmm…maybe it’s not such a good idea that you know my sister.”

He opened the door and stood back to let her enter.

She smiled a demure Mona Lisa grin as she passed by. “Maybe I do need to have a chat with Sarah. You know, checking your credentials and all.”

“No. No. On second thought. I don’t think you should talk to her.”

“You’re backpedaling now. Singing a different tune, I see,” she teased.

“Let’s go order. Do you know what you want?”

“What? Trying to change the subject? Get me distracted? Trying to make me forget about grilling your sisters?”

“Better go order, gorgeous. You don’t want me to put this into my comedy routine, do you?”

“Oh…you wouldn’t…” Heather sputtered.

“Try me. It’s my ultimate threat. Works like a charm.” The grin he sported proved that he was enjoyed the banter as much as Heather was.

The barista stood behind the counter, patiently waiting for the two to stop chatting and place their order. He put his hand over his mouth and whispered to his co-worker. “First date. You can tell. The way they can’t stop looking at each other, even to stop and tell us what they want to drink.”

Over an hour later, with their drinks still largely untouched in front of them, Heather glanced at her watch and gasped. “Oh my! Look at how the time’s gotten away. I do have to get back and get some work done. I have a proposal due Friday afternoon.”

Brain stood and held out a bent arm. “Then let’s get you back. Your chariot awaits m’lady.”

Heather chuckled and linked arms with him.

On the walk back to work, Brian cleared his throat. “I take it you like to walk?”

“I love walking.”

“Maybe after your proposal is done we can find a free morning for both of us and hike up to Turner Falls? It’s a short hike. Only about two miles in.”

Heather stopped and tilted at him calmly. “No clown nose on the hike?”

“No. For you I’ll leave the clown nose at home.”

“And I can drive? Instead of the clown-mobile?”

He sighed a huge mock sigh in resignation. “All right. All right. I can see my mode of transportation isn’t appreciated by all in this world.” A twinkle appeared in his eyes. “It’ll cost you though.”