No Year's Resolutions

There isn't much to say except this: I hereby resolve NOT to make any New Year's Resolutions about ANYTHING! Now, that said, I'm incredibly guilty of benign (and not so) neglect of web sites. Years ago, when I was volunteering as a web site builder and maintainer for a local charity or two, I was pretty reliable about keeping the sites updated. My own sites? Not so much. Mostly, I didn't think I had anything to say.

My brain has kicked into gear in the (Oh my bloody hell!) 35 years since I built websites. For a long time, I suffered from writer's block. I blame inappropriate medications and concussions for my blockage. What bothers me most about those decades I lost to writer's block is that I could have been writing and publishing novels that could now be considered "foundation works." It takes all my self-control some days not to be snarky with younger paranormal romance authors who weren't even born when I wrote my first two vampire trilogies. I just hope I haven't been passed by.

Since you're reading this, I want to reward you. Below you'll find a scene from a cozy mystery I'm working on. Richard Darling-Hunny is a former SEAL turned travel writer. Joe Darling-Hunny is a former homicide detective turned hairdresser. When the two married, they moved to a small Iowa town. In the first novel (Alimony and Acrimony), a local divorcee and client of Joe's runs afoul of the law when her ex-husband turns up dead. The excerpt is from one of the early chapters. Enjoy!

From Alimony and Acrimony

Joe entered through the French doors that looked out on the garden. He had hoped he could leave Reebok with Rich in the garden but he wasn’t working there. He unhooked Reebok’s leash. Reebok immediately went for the water dish. Nike wound herself around Joe’s legs then ignored him as he headed for Rich’s office.

“Look, Pep, there’s enough to that subject, I can do ten-thousand words easy. I’ll take my nephew along and have him take pictures so we get his perspective. He’s the perfect age for the demo you want. Plus he’s a makeup guru,” Joe shook his head as he leaned against the door-frame and watched Rich prevaricate to his editor.

Reebok bumped Joe aside and trotted up to Rich to put his head in his daddy’s lap. Rich kissed the dog’s head then stroked his ears. He turned and saw Joe then waved. Joe waved back then went to sit on Rich’s reclaimed barn-wood desk. Finally, Richard made his bid to say good-bye. “Listen, let’s talk about this later in the week, okay? My next interviewee is here. Talk to you later, boss.”

When he hung up, he leaned against Joe with a heavy sigh. “She wanted me to cover Comic-Con. That is sooo not gonna happen.”

Joe petted his hair then smiled. “Poor baby. Reeb’s all caught up on his shots and he’s perfectly healthy. I gotta get back before Maisie gets blitzed.”

“Ah, okay,” Rich stood and gave his husband a peck on the lips. “By all means, head back. Far be it from me to stand in the way of the feminine pulchritude of our fair town. See you at supper time.”

Joe caught Rich’s hand as they headed for the front door. “What are we having?”

Rich shook his head. “No, you don’t. I want you to be surprised. Get a move on, babe.”

Rich patted his rear and sent him on his way. Joe was grinning goofily as he walked the few blocks back to the salon. He noticed the paint on the side of the building that read: “Be your own kind of beautiful” was flaking. He’d have to hire Ed to repaint it.

As he stepped into the salon, he could hear Maisie speaking to Nick. “Oh, sweetheart, make sure you get a partner who will let you be yourself. Herbert, my jackass of an ex, did nothing but bitch and moan about everything. If I spent a lot of time working, he bitched that I wasn’t home enough. If I spent a lot of time at home, he yammered on about how my lazy ass should be working to bring home more money.”

Nick caught Joe’s eye and glanced at the Swear Jar. Joe shook his head. He stepped forward and scooped up Maisie’s well-manicured hand. “Ah, Maisie, my love. What can we do for you today? I am truly at a loss.”

Her eyes narrowed. “Are you shittin’ me? You don’t see all those grey hairs? Dammit, I look like, well, like an old hag!”

“Nonsense,” Joe stepped behind her chair and began to gently run a comb through the blonde locks. “Remember what I told you? Platinum is your color. Blonde shows all those horrid greys. Let’s go back to where you belong, shall we? I see you remembered Nick’s lesson from last week.”

Nick tried not to smile too broadly. Maisie was normally seen around town with bright blue eyeshadow. Today, she had managed to give herself a beautiful peach and coffee smoky eye. She grinned at Joe.

“Joseph, you know what I said when you first asked me to take cosmetics lessons from Nicky!”

She’d said ‘Hell no!’ but seeing a few of her fellow church-goers looking a lot more stylish after a few lessons from Nick made her rethink her opposition. Joe didn’t bring up her real answer. “While we’re getting you back to Foxy Silver, maybe Nick can give you the lesson of the week. What is that, Nickolas?”

Nick picked up a tube and approached them. He opened it and dabbed the back of his hand with the color. He held his hand out then beside Maisie’s mouth. The color was so purple it was black. “Finding Your Electrifying Lip Colors. Red, pink, mauve, and gloss are passé. If you want to rock a youthful look, you need to make your lips pop. Not to mention that handsome guys will be curious to try out those new colors to see if they smudge.”

Maisie stared at him for a minute then she laughed and smacked him lightly on the arm. “Oh, Nick! Well, all right, sweetheart, let’s give it a shot.”

Joe went into the backroom to prepare the color while Nick began the lesson. He had his uncle’s charm but his mother’s sweet good looks. It made the cosmetic sales end of the salon the most profitable part. Joe stepped out to see how far along the lesson was. In the little wicker basket that Nick placed her purchases, the mound of lipstick tubes was close to spilling over.


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