The Opposite of Maybe: A Novel

Sandi Kahn Shelton aka Maddie Dawson knows how to create wild and wacky and fascinating characters. This is what I love most about her books. She is a fabulous storyteller, and she knows how to tell a story that many women can relate to. In this case, The Opposite of Maybe hit a little too close to home for me.

In another post, I said that I related more to Jonathan because he was artistic and wasn’t like the average norm. I really don’t think I’m like Rosie, although I understand the story she’s telling. And I’m getting all flummoxed the way the story is heading – that she will not choose the father of the child and will choose the other guy instead. This is what the modern woman is cheering on. I am not.

Beware of the guy hanging around the pregnant woman while her pregnancy hormones are raging.

From The Opposite of Maybe by Maddie Dawson:

He gives her a funny smile, and then he pulls her over to him and wraps his arms around her and looks down into her eyes. And then he kisses her. His mouth is warm and insistent on hers, and she feels herself buckle, as if she’d never had a first kiss before. She puts her arms around his neck, and she kisses him back. That’s the most surprising, remarkable thing, she thinks, the way she’s just willing to let herself slide right into this with no fight to her at all. But in her own defense, it has been so long since anybody has kissed her, and she has been watching him for so many days and weeks— his arms, his hands, the way his hair flops. His eyes. Oh God  …   and she has such rampaging pregnancy hormones.

And when she finds out how her mother really left her:

“I wish I didn’t know. I wish you didn’t tell me.”

Soapie looks at her sadly. “I know. I wish I didn’t have to tell you either.”

“Maybe I should have never known. Why did you tell me now?”

“Sometimes we have to know things just because they’re true. And you can handle it now. We both can. It had a hold on us long enough.”

It had a hold on us long enough!

The good news is that the truth finally came out and so the lie can let go of its hold on the relationship. I’m curious to see if her biological father will enter the picture and what he will say.

Will he ask the adult daughter the question he’s longed to know the answer to for most of his life? Will he say, “Why did she do it?” hoping for the impossible answer he needs to hear and wondering if she had ever regretted her decision.

In the end, the story will break my heart. But for most people out there, they’ll rejoice because they believe that romantic love trumps all and to hell with a child needing the security and love of their own father growing up.

 

The Mid-List Writer

When I first started writing, I heard a lot about the disappearance of the mid-list. In fact, I got the feeling that had been a popular topic for long before I started writing.

The mid-list is the category of books that most writers are writing. It’s not a mega hit but it’s not a category romance either. One thing I’ve had to learn too many times is that you can’t squeeze a mid-list book into a category romance. Unfortunately, I learned that lesson once again recently.

If you’re a category romance writer, well, you can probably find a publisher out there – there are many digital publishers who specialize in romance and when I say romance I mean category romance. But if you don’t write category romance or write a mainstream bestseller, where is your publisher? In other words, what’s a mid-list writer to do?

Indie publishing seems to fill that space where the mid-list used to go. But that means you have to create it all yourself – write, edit, publish, cover art, promotion. That really shouldn’t be surprising, though, because that’s also what’s happened in the technical writing world. At one time, different specialists performed the different publishing tasks: there were separate writers, editors, production editors, and graphic artists. Now a tech writer is expected to do most or all of that.

I’m that mid-list writer and while I’ve had publishing contracts, those were with publishers who were experimenting with mainstream or mid-list type of books. In the end, they failed because their readers are found and money is made in category romance, from sweet to erotica. And if you don’t write that, you’re on your own.

But with that independence comes the freedom to publish the book the way you want to. So I’m super excited about making these final edits to French Martini so that I can tell the story the way it’s mean to be told.

I’m so busy with my musicianship certificate program that I almost gave up on this book. But I know I must release this book so I’m going to work on the edits in-between music classes.

 

 

Too Many Men

One thing I’ve learned about this long and winding road as a writer is that my writing is often praised but it never quite fits “the box.” In fact, readers call my books a “Kathy Holmes” because they are unique. Still, weary of the Indie life, I tried again to find that publisher who would have a box big enough for me.

It made it past the editor and to their reading team but, alas, the readers said it has “too many men.” How can you have too many men? There’s nothing scandalous about them. There are only three and there’s a reason for every single one of them. What would they think about my manuscript in progress I’m calling Raining Men? lol! Once again I’m confronted with the reality that I can only write for “Kathy Holmes” readers and not romance readers because my books do not fit into that romance box.

I’m reading The Ear of the Heart about the story of Dolores Hart who went from “Hollywood Actress to Holy Orders.” I’ve been a big fan of hers since I saw her in Loving You with Elvis and again in Where the Boys Are. She has this quiet intelligence, wisdom, and wit with a down-to-earth fun attitude. And she speaks her mind! I admire her. And if I look closely, we have a few things in common.

We see things like every woman but we also see things other women don’t see. And that sets us apart. Since my conversion, I no longer fit in with the old gang and I don’t quite fit in with the new. It’s like living in a social convent. People are confused by me. But I must be myself and I encourage you to be yourself.

I’ll continue to publish my novels as an Indie author as long as there are readers out there who want to read them or as long as I need to express myself that way. It’s not easy, it requires you to believe in yourself, it requires bravery. I applaud all of you who are out there doing the same.

But most of my focus will be on my music. Perhaps music is my real calling. It’s certainly a more direct way of expression and that suits me.

And now here’s “No Bravery” by James Blunt. I also don’t know why he gets so much flack but maybe it’s because he’s a throwback to an earlier time and people don’t get him either. I think he’s fabulous!

Excerpt from Real Women Sing the Blues

rwstb3smI rolled out of bed, still naked, and searched the room for a hint of Jon’s whereabouts. Perhaps he’d gone out to bring back breakfast. But this was L.A. and not New York and nobody really did that here.

A pit of disappointment lodged in my belly. The only evidence that he’d ever been in this room—his room—was a note on the desk next to the phone that said, “Last night was terrific, but business with the vineyard calls me to Hawaii. See ya ’round, kid.”

“A vineyard in Hawaii?” I tried to wrap my head around so many things at once. I fell back into bed and propped myself up against the pillows. I began ticking off on my fingers the mind-boggling events of the past few days.

(1) My mother appears out of nowhere and announces that my father is not my father.

(2) I leave my apartment and job and everything I know about my life in New York.

(3) I reunite with Jon.

(4) My mother shows up.

(5) Right behind my mother, this Monterey Jack, this man my mother claims is my father, appears.

(6) I have wild sex with Jon.

(7) Jon disappears, leaving a note, claiming to own a vineyard in Hawaii, of all places.

What the hell should I do now? The old Robin would have limped off, nursing her wounds when it came to her personal life, writing it all off as a failure. But the new Robin would take her old business aggressive self and use it in her personal life. Therefore, there was only one choice: chase Moondoggie all the way to Hawaii.

I showered, got dressed, and then made a few phone calls, culminating in a First Class ticket to Hawaii and a hotel reservation at the Halekulani. Then I went down to 25 Degrees to get some breakfast before the hotel limo shuttled me to LAX. Thank God I still had business connections and could make arrangements at such late notice. But my mother, Millie, had taught me everything I knew about getting things done. Everything in business, that is. It was time to put those Millie lessons into practice in my personal life and chase after the man I wanted.

Okay, so maybe my mother had let this Monterey Jack get away—I still didn’t know the exact details there. Perhaps, my mother had wanted to let him get away. But, apparently, something had changed because she was here and he was here with her.

Scanning the menu, my heart stopped when I noticed the chorizo egg quesadilla—the Latin breakfast brought back last night’s memories of my Latin lover—the same one who had fled this morning with nothing but that note “Last night was terrific, but business calls me to Hawaii” replaying in my mind. And then there was something else. Oh yea, something about “See ya ’round, kid” just like he used to say to me back in high school.

“I’m surprised to see you having breakfast here, Robin. I would have expected breakfast in bed with your Latin lover.”

I turned my head. My mother was dressed in a pair of white slacks and blue jacket, with red and white polka dot blouse tucked inside the slacks. A pair of red and white Spectator pumps completed her outfit, confusing me as to whether she was conducting business or pleasure this morning.

“I could say the same for you, Millie.” My mother preferred I call her by her first name in public, and I happily complied. There were times when I didn’t want to admit that Millie was my mother.

Millie gave her order to the waiter, a “Bloody Mary with Grey Goose vodka and a soft boiled egg” and said, “So, where is he this morning, Robin?”

“Monterey Jack or Jon?”

“I know where Jack is, but do you know where Jon is?”

“Hawaii. He had business in Hawaii.”

“Oh, Hawaii is it? Wonder what her name is this time? You didn’t buy that, did you? Because if you did, I’m embarrassed to think we’re even slightly-related.” Millie turned around, peeking to see who might over hear her and say, in a conspiratorial whisper, “Certainly, no daughter of mine.”

“Like mother, like daughter, I would say. Cuz I don’t see Monterey Jack here and if he had been, surely the two of you would be having, now what do you say, oh yes, breakfast in bed.”

Millie laughed, shook her head, sipped the Bloody Mary she’d ordered and said, “On second thought, isn’t Jack a form of Jon? Maybe we and our men are more alike than I’d thought.”

I sipped my coffee, “Our men?”

Millie ignored my question and asked one of her own, “Where are you headed now, dear daughter?” I knew I was in trouble now when she called me that.

I attempted to dive into my breakfast with the enthusiasm of the hungry, but after two bites, I realized I wasn’t hungry after all.

“Mother, I’m going to Hawaii,” I glanced at my cell phone and noted the time, “and my limo will take me to LAX in about twenty minutes, so I’ve got to run.”

I signed the bill, kissed my mother on both cheeks, and walked away, waving off any attempts at stopping me or going with me. The last thing I needed was for my mother to chase after my while I was chasing Moondoggie.

Excerpt from Real Women Sing the Blues – available FREE on amazon.com Oct. 22-24:

Real Women Sing the Blues – Free on KDP Select

Excerpt from Real Women Sing the Blues – available FREE on amazon.com Oct. 22-24:

I rolled out of bed, still naked, and searched the room for a hint of  Jon’s whereabouts. Perhaps he’d gone out to bring back breakfast. But this was L.A. and not New York and nobody really did that here.

A pit of disappointment lodged in my belly. The only evidence that he’d ever been in this room—his room—was a note on the desk next to the phone that said, “Last night was terrific, but business with the vineyard calls me to Hawaii. See ya ’round, kid.”

“A vineyard in Hawaii?” I tried to wrap my head around so many things at once. I fell back into bed and propped myself up against the pillows. I began ticking off on my fingers the mind-boggling events of the past few days.

(1) My mother appears out of nowhere and announces that my father is not my father.

(2) I leave my apartment and job and everything I know about my life in New York.

(3) I reunite with Jon.

(4) My mother shows up.

(5) Right behind my mother, this Monterey Jack, this man my mother claims is my father, appears.

(6) I have wild sex with Jon.

(7) Jon disappears, leaving a note, claiming to own a vineyard in Hawaii, of all places.

What the hell should I do now? The old Robin would have limped off, nursing her wounds when it came to her personal life, writing it all off as a failure. But the new Robin would take her old business aggressive self and use it in her personal life. Therefore, there was only one choice: chase Moondoggie all the way to Hawaii.

I showered, got dressed, and then made a few phone calls, culminating in a First Class ticket to Hawaii and a hotel reservation at the Halekulani. Then I went down to 25 Degrees to get some breakfast before the hotel limo shuttled me to LAX. Thank God I still had business connections and could make arrangements at such late notice. But my mother, Millie, had taught me everything I knew about getting things done. Everything in business, that is. It was time to put those Millie lessons into practice in my personal life and chase after the man I wanted.

Okay, so maybe my mother had let this Monterey Jack get away—I still didn’t know the exact details there. Perhaps, my mother had wanted to let him get away. But, apparently, something had changed because she was here and he was here with her.

Scanning the menu, my heart stopped when I noticed the chorizo egg quesadilla—the Latin breakfast brought back last night’s memories of my Latin lover—the same one who had fled this morning with nothing but that note “Last night was terrific, but business calls me to Hawaii” replaying in my mind. And then there was something else. Oh yea, something about “See ya ’round, kid” just like he used to say to me back in high school.

“I’m surprised to see you having breakfast here, Robin. I would have expected breakfast in bed with your Latin lover.”

I turned my head. My mother was dressed in a pair of white slacks and blue jacket, with red and white polka dot blouse tucked inside the slacks. A pair of red and white Spectator pumps completed her outfit, confusing me as to whether she was conducting business or pleasure this morning.

“I could say the same for you, Millie.” My mother preferred I call her by her first name in public, and I happily complied. There were times when I didn’t want to admit that Millie was my mother.

Millie gave her order to the waiter, a “Bloody Mary with Grey Goose vodka and a soft boiled egg” and said, “So, where is he this morning, Robin?”

“Monterey Jack or Jon?”

“I know where Jack is, but do you know where Jon is?”

“Hawaii. He had business in Hawaii.”

“Oh, Hawaii is it? Wonder what her name is this time? You didn’t buy that, did you? Because if you did, I’m embarrassed to think we’re even slightly-related.” Millie turned around, peeking to see who might over hear her and say, in a conspiratorial whisper, “Certainly, no daughter of mine.”

“Like mother, like daughter, I would say. Cuz I don’t see Monterey Jack here and if he had been, surely the two of you would be having, now what do you say, oh yes, breakfast in bed.”

Millie laughed, shook her head, sipped the Bloody Mary she’d ordered and said, “On second thought, isn’t Jack a form of Jon? Maybe we and our men are more alike than I’d thought.”

I sipped my coffee, “Our men?”

Millie ignored my question and asked one of her own, “Where are you headed now, dear daughter?” I knew I was in trouble now when she called me that.

I attempted to dive into my breakfast with the enthusiasm of the hungry, but after two bites, I realized I wasn’t hungry after all.

“Mother, I’m going to Hawaii,” I glanced at my cell phone and noted the time, “and my limo will take me to LAX in about twenty minutes, so I’ve got to run.”

I signed the bill, kissed my mother on both cheeks, and walked away, waving off any attempts at stopping me or going with me. The last thing I needed was for my mother to chase after my while I was chasing Moondoggie.

Release Day for Real Women Sing the Blues

REAL WOMEN WEAR RED/REAL WOMEN SING THE BLUES

Real Women Wear Red continues to be my best selling novel. After 3 days on the Kindle Select program, 1300 downloads later, Real Women Wear Red made it to #13. I’m happy to announce that the sequel, Real Women Sing the Blues, is now available on Kindle. (If you haven’t read Real Women Wear Red or it’s been awhile, you may want to download a copy of RWWR for your Kindle.)

REAL WOMEN SING THE BLUES

cover_Blues_150“In that moment, I knew I could no longer be a Wall Street monkey, and somewhere out there the Blues were calling my name.” – Robin

When the women of Real Women Wear Red return from their Caribbean cruise, each woman must deal with the consequences of secrets shared onboard ship.

Millie’s secret sends Robin reeling all the way to Blue Hawaii, and she finds herself chasing Moondoggie and singing the Blues. This sets off the “Millie Domino Effect.” Millie chases after Robin and Monterey Jack chases after Millie. Cyn joins Robin and Millie on the cruise when her “Cary Grant” gets too serious too fast. And Sandy runs to Cyn for motherly comfort when her shipboard romance blows up.

Four women, four islands, and a seven-night cruise to Paradise. Is there life after Blue Hawaii or will they end up singing the Blues?

READ Excerpt

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