Thursday, December 19, 2013


Congrats to our winners! Kendra and Emily Bullock! Yay! *happy dance* I know I only had 9 entries. But I appreciate every single one. Thanks people who entered. Next time I'll try to have an even bigger prize! So everyone will want to win. :) Can the winners please send me their addresses so I can get them their prize? Thank you! To everyone else: Thanks anyways, and good luck in the giveaway for my book! (you automatically entered it by entering this giveaway.) Keep your pants on!

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Giveaway Time!

So guess what guys? It's my release month! Yay!!!

And how shall I celebrate? In the nerdiest manner possible, of course. I'm giving away something super amazing my husband designed for me. And now I want to share with all of you. This may seem small, but it takes a lot of time to make, so I'm sure you'll appreciate that. Maybe...

You should anyways! Also, if you don't know what this prize is all about, you should totally look into Doctor Who. It's a great show.

Oh yes, the prize:

Ta Da! It's Doctor Who's name in Gallifreyan! Kitchenaid not included. You can win either a large or a small sticker to put wherever your heart desires. Also it looks super cool.  So pass it on! Sign up! Win!

Oh what do you need to do to win? Just this:
a Rafflecopter giveaway As always, keep your pants on. Maybe I need that advice more than most right now. I'm so psyched guys! It's almost time!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Did you hear? (Giveaway!)

Why yes. Yes, I am getting published.


Sorry, but you all know you would do the same thing right? Right?

Maybe it's just me. Nah, you're all a bunch of liars.

But in the name of Friday Freebies Nostalgia, I get to announce my own giveaway!  If you sign up to be notified when my book comes out, then you get automatically entered to win a free copy. No joke. No spam. Just one notification of something really cool. My book. Coming out! You don't even have to buy it, though I would love you forever if you did!

So here's the cheese. Okay, it's a link but still. CHEESE!

Also, I'll do my own cover reveal:


And, did I mention the very best part? If I get enough sign ups,, then I get to give away TEN copies. TEN! With my goal of 100 sign-ups, that's a one in ten chance!  Come one, them's good odds. Better than most.  So come on down!  PLEEEASE!  Pretty please?

Anyways, I love you all! Keep your pants on.

P.S. Comment below if you miss the videos and want them back!

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Secret You Don't Want to Keep (Part 2)

Events of July 4, 2012

Remember please, though I may use a narrative style, these events DID happen. I did my best to report conversations as they happened. If I couldn't remember the exact words, I didn't use quotation marks. I am not embellishing for story's sake. This is as accurate as I can possibly be. Because anything else would not  be fair to my neighbors or  to you all. Even if it may seem cliche at times, this is how it happened.

The Preliminary Fun

Tracy: I say fun because the day was fun. Absolutely on of the best Fourths I've had in quite some time. This only served to contrast more with what would come.

Cool breezes drifting through the trees, not a cloud in the sky, and the laughter of children running through Andrew's "Kid Wash."

"It's a perfect day for fireworks," my father-in-law said. And he couldn't have been more right. This was honest to bob, sure enough, no exaggeration, the perfect day. Even with my bulging belly and intolerance to heat, I had only compliments on the weather. The smell of barbeque and hot potato salad (a specialty of my husband's from his time in Germany) lifted the mood.

With plump and rejoicing stomachs, we started the sparkler festivities. The kids ignored my pathetic attempts to impress by bending the metal sparklers and twirling them. They thought spinning their arms worked as well as any silly old mom/aunt trick.

My husband was far more successful with his crazy tank antics. I'll leave that description to him, but as a wife, I shook my head and sighed in relief that his little fires and battles yielded no injuries.

Early Warnings Ignored

Only two homes top our driveway, ours and our neighbor, "S." (I desire to respect his privacy as I know he valued it.) Other houses surround the area closely, but we each have five acres, which provides a little buffer and results in most of our interactions being with "S" in neighborly matters.

Mild curiosity at most attended the approach of "S" to our patio. His high spirits were shared by the group, everyone was enjoying the day. He held a sack of goodies, so I trotted over to join the men. I'm an inquisitive person after all. The more I can witness, the better I can write. Or so I figure.

With pride and manly fun, "S" displayed his prizes: grapefruit sized mortars with arm-length fuses and a rocket.

Note: Mortars is another term for aerial fireworks.

These were professional grade too. My husband, his brother Will, and my father-in-law conspired in the shop talk. He was there to ask permission (can't scare the kiddos) as much as to share his excitement with others. We did not hesitate to give it. I was intrigued by the large explosives' ability to be connected together to start a chain reaction. The boys wanted to know how he planned to light them off. Typical men.

His plan: weld a 3/4" thick steel tube to a launching pad of sorts. He'd set up on the field on the far side of his house. We'd get a great view, but he'd be away from others.

"I'm only going to light them off if I feel safe," he insisted many times over. We agreed, and my husband and his brother offered to help. They had no shortage of welding and engineering experience. "S" refused. "No offense, but I don't want the liability of you two." Bless that man.

The Final Show Begins

We chattered with excitement about the prospect of "real" fireworks with the rest of our gathered family as the sky grew darker, until the show began. Our vantage point on the hill and the open land provided ample opportunities to view the neighborhoods' below bombastic celebrations. Aerials are sold in a nearby town, but still illegal in ours. No one bothers to enforce it though. I shudder now to think of our discussion on the matter.

We're safer here with them than the old neighborhoods with their cedar roofs, we told each other. Besides, the police were probably enjoying the show as much as the rest of us. We even joined "S" in starting our sprinklers up to keep the large lawns a bit safer from fire.

My husband and his brother started their antics again, this time with a collection of fountains they lit off in sequence. We oohed and aahed appropriately, but took a break to visit another neighbor lighting off his own, small aerials. How beautiful they looked up close, how inspiring and impressive to view them from ground level as they exploded overhead. I held my sweet husbands hand in delight at each one.

"What a perfect Fourth of July," my sister-in-law commented on our return to the patio and the fountain extravaganza. "I don't think anything could ruin this day." We all nodded and uttered our concurrences.

The men took up their display and as their grand finale came to a close..Boom!  The explosion rattled our chairs a little as "S" first mortar exploded with perfect timing. We applauded his unintended timing and generosity. What a show. What night. More, we cried. Do it again, "S"! Oh look at the smoke cloud it leaves, someone noted.

Out of our own pittance to the pyromania gods, we awaited "S's" next offering. His wife, "C" drove up in their mule, a higher-powered golf cart-like vehicle, then took off back to the far side of their house, out of sight.

Joy Turns to Terror

The crowd's impatience grew as a few minutes passed. We discussed possible set up time or the wife's appearance indicating a possible problem. Five or ten minutes after the first explosion, we heard another report. The show was back on! But no great display of light followed.

Smoke rose up behind our neighbor's house but too low to be right.

"We should check it out," Will suggested. "Make sure nothing is wrong."

He ran first, then my husband. I paused for an instant. I'm pregnant. Not very helpful.

"But I know first-aid," I told myself, and then took off after them. We heard the screaming before we arrived. The shrill cries of anguish and fear.

"Call 911! Help! Someone help!" a woman shouted. I turned back to the family on the patio and restated her request to call and added the address they would need, then kept running. A bit confused I saw neighbors on a nearby balcony and shouted up at them to know where to go. Shouted to the screaming woman that 911 was being called, help was on the way.  Will arrived first, my husband not twenty seconds behind him, and then slow me. Two others had arrived as well, but I couldn't identify them in the dark. But it couldn't have been more than a minute since the explosion.  A minute for all those conversations. All that thought and worry.

I rushed to "C" as I saw her first, but then looked for "S."  He was on the ground, motionless. His body hunched over, looking so small for his  normal size. I checked him. Lying in his gore, I knew he was beyond any help I could offer. No CPR would fix this man. I couldn't even attempt it with so much damage to his chest. Even his bloody face seemed to say, this is beyond you. So I returned to his wife and started my orders. I knew the voice I would need. Confident, calm, commanding. She needed help, and I could not be ignored by those who might think I was guessing at the right actions. I'd heard of that before.

She was in shock. Her body shook, her skin was pale and too cold, and she was as hysterical as I'd never seen before. This was not a frantic screaming girl hysterical. This was delirium. I called for a blanket. Instructed them that her legs needed raised and her head should be supported off the wet grass. Will took her head in his lap, and I will forever respect that man for his comfort. I don't know who got the blanket for me, but I wrapped her up in it and we talked as we waited for the ambulance. I couldn't practically keep her legs up, and gave up on it when she mentioned the explosion had gotten her on the leg.

The order of our conversation eludes me now. I can tell you what she said, how she sounded, but those details are gone. She cried out for her husband. Cried for his baby (a grandchild) who was only two. They were supposed to go see him tomorrow. What was she going to do now? What would she do without him? Oh a dream, it had to be a dream. It was just a horrible dream.

I managed to learn a little. She'd been standing 10-15 feet away near the mule during the explosion. Even from that distance it had burned her leg and knocked her down. I checked the burn, but had nothing to offer her where we were. Her pants now sported a 3-inch black burn, but nothing like the damage to her husband. I left it for the paramedics. The shock was more important to treat.

I heard my father-in-law talking to the dispatcher. He checked for a pulse. "No ma'am. That's not going to do anything." Later, I learned he meant CPR. I agreed fully. But wished my patient didn't have to hear it.

She clutched my hand to her chest and I stroked her hair and face, trying to keep her from looking. She did not need to see what I saw. Let her remember her husband as he was, not like this. She'd have enough trauma as it was, enough bad memories. And more than that, I wanted to protect her. She was my charge. A neighbor, someone she knew, brought another blanket, muttering we needed to keep her warm. But I knew that. Still, this woman provided a familiar face and more comfort than I thought I could give.  I rose to leave her with a friend, but she clutched my hand tighter still and I stayed. How could I do otherwise?

"Help" Arrives

I heard the sirens and told "C" that help was on the way. So many people get lost trying to find our driveway. I couldn't allow that delay. They could so easily just drive on by.

"Someone needs to go down and get them!" I told my father-in-law. "The ambulance is going to get lost." I saw someone, I wasn't sure who, run down the hill and the paramedics joined us on the grass. They strode over to us, gear in hand, and knelt by "C." Myself and a few others pointed out "S" saying he was the main victim. One of the three paramedics checked his pulse, shook his head to the others, and offered a brief comment to the effect of "we're not going to change anything there."

My turn was over. I told them what I knew of what had happened, the things I had done for "C" and what I knew of her injuries (like the burn on her leg and the shock). They brought over the gurney next and we finally thought over the practical matters. Will asked if the other neighbor could go with her to the hospital, and though she was in her bathrobe, she agreed. Then "C" mentioned her phone. We searched the grass and at last found it underneath her.

"Who can we call?" I asked. She stumbled through people and babbled on about her family until she gave us a last name, and then picked her brother as they wheeled her away. Will took over that terrible phone call, and I turned to cry in my husband's arms. He held me tightly and asked if I would be all right. I reassured him, I would but I did need to cry for a moment. That's all I could allow myself.

By now the police had arrived and talked to us and Will ran to close up their house. We retold them the story I've just told you but in less detail starting at the smoke and knowing something was wrong.

"Can we move over there?" they asked mid conversation. They'd just been told that the whole area needed to be cleared because pieces of "S" where scattered around. I wasn't surprised after what I'd seen, but my stomach wasn't too pleased at the prospect of what might be on my clothes. I held tightly to Andrew's hand as my anchor to the real world. To what I knew still existed and lived. They got each of our names, birthdays, and phone numbers down. Then they explained what would happen. They needed to shut down the area and treat it like a crime scene even though obviously it was an accident. So we didn't need to help move the mule or need to stay any more. If they wanted any more information, they would call. The rest of the story is largely my husband's, and I will let him tell it when he and if he has the time/emotional strength.


I wrote this a while ago. Write after part 1 actually. But my husband hasn't had the time to sit down and write his part. We had a baby. We're moving. Lots going on. But looking back, the memories still bring an upswing of sadness. I can hardly think about it without picturing "S."

His wife, "C" and I reconnected at the funeral and now we are friends. She is a spectacularly strong woman. But we both agree we can't even look at fireworks right now. It's a bit too much still. I skipped the New Year's Eve shows. But I don't want this even to go to waste. It has brought me a new friend and I hope it will bring you all some help with whatever story you want to tell. It certainly has changed how I write certain scenes.

Ask me questions. Please. I have the time to answer those. I promise. I won't disappear from that. I'll see about my husband's side of the story, but I want you to at least have something. I miss you guys. I miss my vlogs. I hope after the move I can start again.

Thank you for reading.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

The Secret You Don't Want to Keep (Part 1)

I have to credit my husband with the title of this post, and the idea for it. He's brilliant like that.

I started this blog not to disprove or poke fun at mistakes in stories. I want to help writers. This was the best I could think of: to test out various things and see if they work, and if they did or didn't, to help others learn more about it. Someone described it as doing the research for you. I love doing it. I've been all pregnant and whatnot so the videos are on haitus, but the desire hasn't diminished. I want to help. Also, it's fun to entertain you all with my antics.

But this post series is different.

Yes, I want you to learn, but there is no entertainment to be found here. I am deeply pained to have learned what I'm about to share. Others are suffering because of this even now. But I want some good to come of it, and I want to talk about it.

On July 4, 2012 my neighbor died when a mortar malfunctioned. My husband, his brother, and I were the first on the scene. This family's pain is very real, so please know I do not treat this subject lightly. I'm not looking for page views or to exploit what happened. I do this to help you and to heal. My husband has agreed to offer another perspective on the matter as everyone really does react differently. Also, he can be quite eloquent (see the title of this post).

All I ask is that you learn. If you have questions, please, please ask them. It helps us to talk about it and to know we're doing some good. We want to share what this is like, and what better way than to spread it to authors?

My husband and I are going to do the next post together. We'll describe the events of that night, taking turns to describe our thoughts on it. Then we'll do a final wrap up post, perhaps one each (I'm not sure) on the after-effect it has had on us and maybe more if you have questions that need a full post. If you want to ask questions now to make sure we answer them, please do.

Thank you for reading. Keep your pants on.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Which would you read?

Since I haven't actually read any of these books and I can't afford to right now, I'm wondering which of the following you all would read. Leave a comment, and let me know your favorites.

These are courtesy of Meredith Barnes' blog.
  • Deborah Camp (A mix of contemporary and Old West Historical romances...over 40 coming in the near future, but here is a list of 10 or so available now)
  • Lorena Dureau (Historical Romance: American Colonial South and West. Very Sexy)
  • Dan Streib (thrillers with a James-Bond-meets-Anderson-Cooper main character)
  • Barbara Keesling (her too-hot-to-blog nonfiction is here, here, and here)

In other news, I'm expecting my second child! So I've put my more dangerous stunts on hold until what I'm going to call "Season 2." In the meantime, are there any pregnancy related tropes or just safe in general ones you'd like to see? Something I can do while I get fatter. Leave comments about those ideas as well!

As always, keep your pants on!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Since I've been gone...

Dude, where did I go? Where did my time go? I still want to do these. Promise. I just got a new camera even so I can! But I also got really busy. To help explain why and where I've been, I asked my friend A.M. Supringer at Inner Owlet to write up my excuse. She's great with words (and she writes stories for free).

So without further ado, JUMPING DAY (or as I'm going to call it: my excuse note).

It isn’t the sky that bothers me, or the endless freedom it provides – it’s the possibility of falling. My son should never have to face that.

When I first realized that his wings were sprouting, like buds on a rose bush, I could have sheared them and crippled him then. That would have been kinder than allowing him to jump from a cloud, arms spread, intuition and hope the only things keeping him aloft. But I couldn’t. I let them grow, feathers forming perfectly.

My son is perfect.

His ten-year-old body gleams with health as he darts around the clouds, jumping from one dense blob to the next. Muscles pump in his arms and bunch in his legs, but it’s his laugh that proves how vital he is. His joy can’t be contained – even I cannot suppress a smile as his grin lights up the sky.

But today is his Jumping Day, his leap of faith. And it is now, as I stand on the precipice of his chosen cloud, waves dancing beneath me, that I regret.

I ache with remorse.

It would have been easy to clip the wispy down feathers from him, but now it’s too late. He is not the sweet cherub I had once thought to prune. My wings flex, revealing my nerves to the many eyes that flicker to catch the movement. Only my son and I have such bright wings, such vibrant colors. I don’t doubt that others expect me to cry, to mourn if the worst happens. Many children die on their Jumping Day, others never recover from the fall. My own wings are distinct, but useless. The clouds are my prison now, and I look at my child and fear only the worst: that my weakness passed to him.

But my fear does not fill him. It is with a bright, full, toothy grin that he looks at me, his excitement energizing the air, and leaps. His small body spirals downward and I am helpless. I cannot catch him…

But I don’t need to.

Faster than any child I’ve ever seen, he adapts. His glorious wings fling outward with a majestic power I will never personally know. His bright plumage glints in the sunlight. Cheers fill the air. He is flying, a child no longer. My baby no longer.

Even though remorse and sorrow had weighted me moments earlier, a stronger feeling rushes through me now. A feeling I’d had countless times since his birth. A feeling I will never grow tired of.


Lovely, right? She made me an angel! Or something like one. And for that I'll always think she's a little nuts. Heh. But I appreciate people not unfollowing me in the meantime. You guys are the awesomest! I will strongly imply that new episodes are coming soon. And if you want my real excuses, I do have them. And they're good. If you want more fake artistic ones, let me know! Or if you want to write some for me, I will accept those as well.

Anyways, thanks for the patience. <3

Keep your pants on!