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It is now week TWELVE of my workout extravaganza. TWELVE! Let’s discuss results:

  • NO weight loss has occurred (because it’s impossible to give up wine and other than that I don’t know why I wouldn’t be losing weight, oh yeah except for HORMONES). But I haven’t gained weight either.
  • I have lost NO inches except for maybe a quarter inch around my waist, but really that could just be the time of day I measured it, you know?

So all of my over reached expectations (fitting into special jeans by Thanksgiving, wearing more than two outfits in my closet) did not only NOT realize themselves after six weeks, but not even after twelve!

Honestly, I have never worked my body so much in my life. It just seems impossible that nothing has changed; impossible and yet here I am three months later exactly the same except for some more defined shoulders and a glimpse of biceps, which is great, but jesus. Give me a break. Its hard not to think I am a failure. SOMETHING has to be happening, right? I mean, you can’t just work a body the way that I have and have no change. RIGHT?

I’ll attribute it to my age and to hormones. It may take twenty-four weeks instead of twelve to jump start this body. And probably calling it quits on all alcohol for a month or two at least. Just in time for the holidays! YAY! :(

Truth be told, I was at pilates a week ago (I go once a week to stretch out my muscles) and we did this move called Teaser, which is pretty much sitting on your tailbone, holding your body in a “V” shape, arms overhead, legs at 45 degrees. You get the picture. It is all abs. And I not only got myself into that position with ease, but held it the whole time without groaning or quitting half way through. When I returned to a normal position the instructor said, “Dude! You are so much stronger!”.

And she’s right. I AM stronger. Beneath the surface of this still hot-flashing body, my muscle groups are forming an invisible army of strength. Hopefully, they will become more visible and less stealthy beneath my quivering flesh as I begin the next session, this time for seven weeks.

And that’s enough about that.

This past week I have been thinking a lot about what’s important in life. How what we talk about and engage in shapes and informs our lives. And about compassion for other people. And how thinking and writing about my workout struggles and hot flashes are so utterly UN-important in the scheme of things, yet can fill my mind completely. It’s time to start building some other muscles; strength based in giving more, loving more, caring more, and being a little softer towards myself and towards the people who matter the most to me. And especially towards the people I come in contact with on a daily basis that I know nothing about. I’d like to start thinking and writing about those things. Hot flashes be damned.





The warmest (and longest) summer we’ve ever had is happening now. In October. And has been since September. So hot, and so sweaty for so long, but don’t worry about climate change! The polar bears are FINE! :(

I’ll share a little something with you; I’ve been having hot flashes every day for the past five or six weeks – perfectly timed to coincide with our super solar heat wave. Yay! Let me tell you, this makes for some long nights. During the day I can pretty much deal with it, but at night with the electric fan chugging along trying to cool down two sticky bodies and a fur coated cat, let’s just say the nights are miserable.

Last night I was woken up every two hours with an intense heat that starts in my torso and radiates through the rest of my body up into my brain. As it radiates it triggers anxiety about everything my doomsday imagination can latch onto: the plight of the polar bears, what people are thinking as their plane is crashing from thirty-thousand feet, that I forgot to turn off the propane grill so now we’ll breathe it in and die in our sleep, that if there’s an earthquake at that moment I have no clothes on and none nearby so I will be naked in the aftermath, that I’ll be alone and penniless in my old age, that the hot flash is actually some form of nuclear hot cancer, that someone I love will die in a tragic accident, and on and on. It’s as if the hot flash occurs solely to trigger every scary thought I’ve ever had. And then when I finally sleep, I wake up from nightmares. Ugh.

A new development is that after the night time hot flashes, I’ve been getting intense cold flashes. I mean REALLY cold. You’d think the cold would feel good in these current hot nights, but it doesn’t. It’s a cold that comes from inside me, not an outside source. It’s as if the origin of this ice blast is my bone marrow and an over compensation to the surrounding heat. No number of heavy blankets on top of me will stop it. It’s quite awful, to be honest. Once the cold flash ends I have a brief period of time when I am lulled into a half sleep of nightmares only to be woken an hour or so later by another wave of heat from the general air and from my body and the cycle starts all over again.

I’m so tired today. This week has been hell in the sleep department. It might be time to get a prescription sleep aid. I’m not ready to do the hormone treatment thing yet (Pride? Still thinking I’m younger than I am? Stupidity?), but I am doing the herbal hormone treatment thing. It takes a while to kick in, but I’m optimistic.

All of this venting about hot/cold flashes was to lead into a story about working out last night. So picture this: I went to work out for the last session of the day, after the workout space has had a few hundred bodies in it throughout the 85 degree day, all sweating and breathing and OMG sweating in this room. I showed up at 6:15 and the room was warm. It was cardio night which means we were about to get REALLY warm. We started working out and half way through I got so hot I thought I was going to throw up. I must have been be having a hot flash, but there was no discrepancy between my body heat and the heat of the room. I reached a point that felt like the space between my workout pants and my skin was flowing with liquid magma. I stopped high kicking toward the ceiling while balancing a ball on my head or whatever the hell we were doing and put my hands on my knees. I rested for a minute, had a long drink of water, then was back at it and I completed the whole thing, which was a minor miracle. I actually started laughing at one point because it was so ridiculously hot and my face was tomato red.

Tonight after work I’m going back for more. I’ll be wearing running shorts (no more lycra pants) and a looser fitting cotton T-shirt to help with the heat factor. If I could, I’d like to work out in my bikini, but dear God the visual of all that visible jiggling… No.

The original point of this post was only to say, “Hey it’s week four, my shoulders and biceps are much more defined (go shoulders!), I’m still working out, and I hate the  stationary bike with all my heart” and then it turned into this totally TMI hormone rant, but whatever, my brain is fried. So, thanks for reading if you made it this far.

Rock On.



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A vacation to the Land ‘O Lakes, a neck muscle issue, doubt, frustration, sleeplessness, procrastination, and work have kept me from working out as much as I would like to in the last few weeks. Although, sometimes I would just not like to.

This week I have been back on it, however. The woman who teaches the course is very motivational. As in, a cheerleader who is one-thousand percent rooting just for you to be your best self possible (inside and out) in a way that is infectious, loud, and nuclear in energy. In a conversation with her yesterday, my introverted self stared at her, eyes wide, mouth hanging open as she bounced and gesticulated and talked at warp speed, not one negative word coming out of her mouth. I admire people like that; the infinite energy, the positivity, the visibility and conviction of their beliefs making a difference in others lives. She makes you want what she’s got and she’s got some great stuff.

Her words and attitude shone a light on how I have been thinking and speaking a lot of negativity lately; complaining about work, lousy drivers, my body, the fall weather that thinks it’s high summer. They’re little things, but I realized that’s all that I’ve been speaking. Why is it so much easier to nit-pick and complain than it is to stop and consciously acknowledge my life and all the parts of it that are so wonderful?

The work-out that followed my conversation with her was hard. Really, really hard. Or should I say challenging? Nah, it was hard. But I made it through, staggering across the finish line, red-faced and slippery with sweat.

Her final words to us were, “Look at yourself naked in the mirror this weekend and say aloud three positive things about your body”. That is my goal for this weekend. To not only be body positive, but to be conscious of what is coming out of my mouth. To choose three or more things about today and tomorrow that are wonderful and to voice them. To not speak the negative as much anymore. It affects me and therefore the people around me. I’d like my legacy to be one of laughter and light, not melancholy mixed with a daily dose of downers.

So three positive things for today:

  1. I’m working in an air conditioned space while it’s 90 degrees outside. NICE!
  2. I get to wear my favorite summer dress in October because it’s still warm enough to do so. SWEET!
  3. Tomorrow I get to go to the beach with my daughter and grand daughter and then have a BBQ with friends at my house and that makes me happy today. YES!

And as a body positivity statement: All this working out is really defining my shoulders. Too bad it’s not something more crucial like my butt or torso, but I’ll take it. Go shoulders! WOOT!

Life is good. :)







Soooo, I’m a little late writing this IN-THE-MIDDLE-OF-MY-SIX-WEEK-WORKOUT post. Partially because I got so burned out in week two I had to disappear from everything for a bit, and partially because sometimes I just get tired of the computer, you know?

To re-cap, by the middle of week two I was done. DONE! Working out that hard every day really took a toll on my body, but not because I was sore or injured, but because I was just TIRED. Seriously fatigued. All over. Like I was made of lead and the earth was a big magnet. So I backed off the workouts. After a five day breather and a reminder from my pilates instructor that I didn’t have to go EVERY day (To quote her, “Dude, what are you trying to win?”) I felt ready to return with a new attitude.

What WAS I trying to win? I was trying to win the workout game. I thought since I signed up for six weeks I’d better use as much of that six weeks as I could to work my ass off (yes, literally). But IT won instead. I felt defeated physically and emotionally. I had failed the work out game and none of my over the top expectations were going to come true.

After listening to my pilates instructor’s wise words, I decided that I would face week three with a new attitude; work out every OTHER day, don’t push myself quite so hard during the work out, take a breather now and then, set personal goals to do maybe one more push up than the time before, to breathe a lot more, and to really focus on the joy that can be exercise, not the “work”.

And I have to say, week three breezed on by. My brain was saying “you can do this” during the workouts and smiling at the end of the hour. It’s a totally different ball game, now. Unless I just jinxed it all by writing that.

So now, in the middle of week four, the stationary bike doesn’t make me want to cry (the trainer dude even noticed that I was up out of the saddle for the “hill” climbing portion of the session and gave me a thumbs up), and my mental approach to every station is “you can do this” and with short breaks and modification, it gets done.

Today I decided that I’m going to sign up for the next six week course, because this isn’t about sprinting through a workout for six weeks; this is about re-learning how to enjoy exercise and transforming my body AND mind at the same time. Ugh, that sounds so lame. Next thing you know I’ll have it printed on a artisinal coffee mug for sale in my Etsy shop.

On another note, I come to work directly after my workouts and seem to always forget to bring something from home. One day it was undergarments (!!!), another it was shoes (thanks to Old Navy across the street for supplying some new ones), another day it was my dress (had to drive home and get it), and today it was my hairbrush. I have A LOT of hair and to not be able to brush it after a sweaty work out and try to look even sort of put together for work is pretty impossible. Thank god for French braids.






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Ballerina Julia Makhalina.

The head games in my work out process are working out at full force. It is day two, week two of this six week course. A “runners high” was not gifted to me on the treadmill today. The three rounds I did on the stationary bike were brutal. Stand up and pump legs as if climbing Everest? No. Not happening. The kind coach person said, “You can stay seated in the saddle and just keep moving your legs if you need to”. I needed to. I thanked him and then had to stop talking, because I thought I would burst into tears.

My body was just plain tired today. Heavy and tired. I could not ride the stupid bike at any speed other than slow, I could not complete the sets of the dreaded mountain climber movements, I wanted to quit half way through and all the while my mind was busy pointing out all these “failures”. I wasn’t having fun. My fear is that I will start dreading these workouts and stop going. The fact that I wanted to cry during a workout is not a good sign, right? How hard do we push ourselves? Did I do too much? Am I not doing enough? All of that over and over in my head.

At the end of the workout we were reminded by the head cheerleader that where we are right in this moment is exactly where we should be; no comparisons to how we were in the past, no thinking about where we should be, but to experience the present for what it is. She also said that the first time she had done that particular circuit session she threw up afterward. That made me feel a little better.

I stumbled out of the class and found my way to the car half blind from sweat and in an exhausted daze thinking I would get in the car and unleash the tears, but it didn’t happen after all. I drove to work, stripped down and sink-showered in the bathroom, changed into my work clothes noticing at the last minute that I had forgotten to include any undergarments in my duffel bag. So today I am wearing my work shirt with a sweaty sports bra and a mid-length skirt with nothing underneath. Nice.

Three hours later there’s a soft voice in my head saying, “You did it. You went to class and you did it.”. And that just has to be enough.

I’m too tired to even proof this post correctly. So much for exercise giving one mental clarity! My brain is as sharp as a wet dish rag.




After working out for maybe one day a week for the last few months, I worked out HARD (oh my god so hard) five times this week and I’m still standing. I was going to work out tomorrow as well, but you know? My throat is a bit scratchy and my body feels very heavy and tired so I think I’ll take it east the next two days.

All in all I am pretty surprised by myself. I actually did it. It was hard and I couldn’t wait for it to be over, but I also had the endorphin rush on the tread-mill again a few times and I use that as a place to go back to in my mind when the rubber bandy things around my ankles are sabotaging my balance on purpose making me stumble in front of the class like an adult sized toddler.

What’s interesting is the personal challenge aspect of this whole experience. While I want to push myself, I also don’t want to hurt myself. While I want to keep going, it’s good to know when to stop. And yet… there’s a little voice in my head saying are you realllllly pushing yourself enough? Really?

If I’m in this is for the long haul then I should pace myself, right? There’s such a mental battle going on during these workouts – a battle for the balance of going juuuuust that much farther and knowing that I’ve had enough and done enough and am good enough right where I am.

The grossest part of the week is that I come straight to work from my work out. I camp out in the restroom for about 20 minutes trying to take a bath in the sink, but the results ain’t pretty. I emerge shining with sweat, my face nuclear pink and my hair is so gross I won’t even share about that. Eventually, I need to figure out how to work out and take a shower afterward because it can’t be good to stew in my sweat all day and I’m sure the general public doesn’t care for it either. Grossss.

This first week has been a complete 180 from where I was last week and that is more than enough. It just HAS to be. In the next five weeks I will push a little bit more on each activity (pump up the incline on the treadmill, pick up the heavier kettle bell thingy, high-five other participants with energy instead of a sweaty limp hand). I’m really looking forward to the mental battle subsiding and just enjoying the process.

This is all new. This is all different.




OLY137-THE+PERFECT+10Do you have those days or weeks when the same ideas keep popping up in front of you? Sometimes it’s just as unusual word that keeps inserting itself into random conversations with others. Sometimes it’s a whole phrase, sometimes a person or experience.

Two things have been throwing themselves in front of me in the last month; first the phrase, IF YOU WANT TO GET TO SOMEPLACE DIFFERENT THEN YOU HAVE TO DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT. Secondly –  a person named JENNY who runs a fitness program in town.

I do want to get somewhere different primarily in the personal fitness department. And this lady named Jenny would seem to be the person to do it and do it differently than I have in the past, so I signed up to take her classes for 6 weeks. At the risk of turning this blog into a record of my fitness experience, which is kind of over-done, slightly boring, and totally self-indulgent, I’m going to have to say SUCK IT, blogoshpere. It’s important for me to write about this experience to keep myself accountable and also, to map the journey for my own curiosity. If you don’t want to read about it, I DON’T BLAME YOU! But rather than write in a regular journal, I thought I’d re-charge my cob-webbed blog and just put it all out there.

There’s a big birthday in my not so distant future and in the last few months I decided that rather than stroll across the line of demarcation from one decade to the next complaining of the pain in my knee and diminished energy level, I want to sprint across that line taking on whatever comes next while moving forward, swiftly and with strength.

They say the portions of a workout you dislike the most are the ones you need to DO the most. What do I dislike? LUNGES. I mean, does anyone really like them? I find them incredibly difficult and there is SO MUCH BURNING in the thighs. Dear God, the burning. Strangely enough (or not, really), my lower body used to be much stronger than my upper body. My legs used to be locomotives. My teenage-self goal was to have thighs like awesome-sauce gymnast, Nadia Comaneci (yes, I am dating myself there). But used to be’s don’t count any more (name that lyric), so I will take on the lunges with the goal of having NOT perfect-tenOlympicgymnast-with-the-power-of-a-locomotive-thighs, but maybe the thighs of a fit-ish nice lady powered by a Vespa.

I’m currently on day 2 of this program with only(!) six more weeks to go. But I have to say, this morning I was doing sprints on the tread mill (one minute sprint, 10 seconds rest and repeat) and that glorious endorphin drug I remember from my days of running many miles at a time kicked in and I was smiling. Sweating, tomato red in the face, workout clothes straining to contain the jiggly bits, but smiling. It felt really f-ing good. It felt familiar and yet… different.

Lunge on, my friends.



I’m Thinking I’m Going to Live


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Instead of getting out of bed at 6am this morning to go for a walk, I sunk back into a dream.

I’d written a play – my first play ever titled I’m Thinking I’m Going to Live. It was making its debut at Santa Barbara City College in one of their studio classrooms, you know the kind with all black floors and walls. I was ushered in and took a seat in a comfortable rattan chair with cushions rather than a chair with a desk attached to the arm. A chair of honor. I was holding my daughter who looked to be about 8 months old, all cheeks and chubby thighs. She was sucking on a pacifier and I realized that I hadn’t given her any food for hours and that she must be hungry, but the play was beginning so she would have to wait. Pacified. We settled into our cushions and the lights dimmed.

It was clear from the first that the play was a huge hit. I was thrilled to see my written words brought to life for the first time by the actors performing – John Lithgow and Tilda Swinton. Their costumes were regular clothes, he wore a brown suit, she a yellow dress. The stage remained empty of props and sets.

Interviewed post-show by the organizer of the event, I declared that I now understood that actors worked hard to perfect the craft of acting, that they weren’t just reading words off of a page. The ability to bring words to life, to give them human nuance was a skill and a talent. It also didn’t hurt that Lithgow and Swinton were the actors. Him: a face of character continually changing and morphing. Her: fiery hair, ambiguous emotions, and elegance. It was explained to me that there was no director for my play, that after reading the script the actors had chosen the roles and directed themselves.

I handed my baby off to my friend Jennie, and left the room.

In a Starbucks, upstairs with a view, I was interviewed for a local newspaper. I reiterated my awe of good actors and how they really did bring words to life. They were the missing element in writing, were another dimension for words. I explained the play had no director. I explained that I was surprised I had written a play, when in fact I’d never even thought about writing a play. Something splashy for films with moving music and technicolor, yes, but not a prop-less, un-affected, stage play. Plays had always seemed so dry to me. So forced, so in need of filters and soundtracks. But I had written one nonetheless and it was a hit.

The interviewer took copious notes in long hand. She wrote in cursive, slowly, with a blue pen on lined, yellow paper.

Crossing the floor to look out the multi-paned window, I noticed the palm trees were swaying an awful lot in a high wind that must have just kicked up. The view out the window took in the coastline, south east, all the way to Rincon and there were at least six separate fires burning, six plumes of smoke rising into the sunset. I gasped whirled around to the interviewer and said, I need to get to Summerland, wondering if there was a fire in Summerland as well; I need to get home to get my cat.

The interviewer stopped writing mid sentence and looked blankly at me. Everything is on fire, I said. We have to go.

Turning back to the window I could see a fire had spread to a building across the street that housed tanks of explosive gas. We need to go now, I said. The building is going to blow!

She just stared at me, pen poised above paper and as I headed toward the illuminated exit sign I wondered what clothes I would put on when I got home. I wondered what was in the bottom drawer of my dresser that would be appropriate for a fiery, sunset apocalypse.



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I have this actual phone. For real. And it works.

I have this actual phone. For real. And it works.

Yeah, I’m a bit of a dinosaur when it comes to fully embracing the digital age, as my ten-year-junior colleague likes to remind me. His direct quote was, “You’re not an antique. You’re, like, paleolithic.”

But here’s the thing;  I LIKE paper. I LIKE rotary phones. I LIKE getting up to change the channel on the television by twisting a  knob that frequently comes off in your hand.* I still write checks and personally deposit checks in to my bank account even though I was informed (by the aforementioned colleague) that this does not need to happen anymore and that it all can be done with my phone. Ugh. I LIKE writing checks and going to the bank. My phone does not offer me hard candy after every transaction. So suck it, junior.

SIDE NOTE: I don’t even like hard candy.

My significant other gave me a kindle for Christmas to gently ease me into the world of digital books, but also because it is a gadget and he is very gadgety. It’s very cool looking with a hard shell case that is a groovy orange color. It’s light. It fits in my purse and doesn’t need to take up space on the already full book case. It makes me feel tech savvy-er. But here’s what I’ve noticed about reading on a Kindle;

First and foremost, lack of author recognition by my brain. Without googling it, I can’t tell you the author of All the Light We Cannot See, a brilliant and beautifully written book that I’m currently reading. It’s become apparent that when reading paper books I spent a lot of time flipping back and forth from the page I was currently reading to the cover to check out the art, to the back to scan the brief reviews, to the inside page to see what the ISBN number was and when the book was published, all while subliminally recording the artist’s name in my brain for future reference.

On the Kindle there is no book flipping. If I hit the home button, there is a tiny image of the cover of the book, but the type is so small I can’t read the name of the author even with my extra strong reading glasses on. Sad face.




Yesterday, someone asked me what I was currently reading.

“All the Light We Cannot See” I  said softly, knowing what question was coming next.

“Oh, that sounds intriguing! Who wrote it?”, she asked.


SIDE NOTE: After writing this post, I have now committed the author’s name to memory.

* We have an actual remote for our TV, I mean come on!



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Note: This post was originally written in 2012 when I first subjected myself to this book (talk about Masochism!). In “honor” of the movie’s recent release, I am reposting this post. I only read the first book at the conclusion of which I had zero desire to read the other two. I’m thinking I will go see the movie, however. Which is sad. :(


I have a headache. Either from the flying bug repellent that someone just sprayed and is now wafting through the open door, or from reading words that pierced my brain like so many non-acupuncture needles, or rolling my eyes at every other sentence. Or all of the above.


Fifty Shades of Grey, which I am about half way through, is surface material. But not good surface material like frosting on a giant cupcake that is meant only for you. It’s surface in the sense that it skims across the black-top of an empty parking lot with no people or even any litter to make it more interesting. I’m fine with the frosting-like surface that novels can have. I DEVOUR some of them like a cupcake that is meant only for me.

FIFTY SHADES OF GREY is not like this.

Basically Fifty Shades is a study in adjectives. If you’re looking for the many ways to describe eyes in particular, then this is your go-to book!

The “heroine”(???), Anastasia Steele, is so prone to blushing and biting her lower lip that at the end of the series I imagine she will have self-inflicted permanent rosacea topped off with a giant lip scab.

And the “Hero”(???), his name is Christian Grey, is an uber wealthy businessman and CEO of Grey industries or some crap. This surname of GREY is not to be confused with Christian’s GRAY eyes which spend of lot of time glancing, piercing, and smoldering. There was one line, let’s see if I can remember it:

“… his gaze was a smoldering molten gray.”

Yes. Really. Smoldering AND molten. Who knew such eyes existed?

Not Christian Grey or showing his eyes, but what the heck. It’s a good photo.

Although, I have to say, Christian Grey sounds kind of hot, even though he is fictional. I like a man who wears white linen shirts, blue jeans, has adorable bed-head, drives fast cars, and has a really big….. helicopter. He’s a freak though, with his sadistic Dorian Grey (Gray?) persona hidden in the closet or the Red Room of Pain. Oooooh! Titillating. Yawn.

I did feel for Miss Steele, though. At twenty-one years old she chooses to lose her virginity to Mr. Grey, a man whose moods she cannot read, whom she describes as mercurial, who is one man at one moment and another the next. Being with a man like that is Effing exhausting, constantly trying to decipher what is really going on, feeling like you are responsible for his mood swings, all while being sucked in by his charm and delicious physical embrace. Even though it’s fiction, I felt bad for her knowing the hell she was going to have to go through bound to someone like that. Not that I’ve been there or anything… mmmm-hmmm.

The insult to my headache injury is that the “erotic” parts weren’t even that interesting. I’m assuming this book reached it’s #1 NY Times best-selling status from the erotic bits, not from the over abundance of “smoldering” and “molten”. So when the erotic episodes fail to move me, that puts me in the minority category, which is where I would rather be in this instance.

I am yawning, I am so bored by this erotic moment.

I haven’t reached the part yet when, I’m assuming, Anastasia agrees to sign the long legal document reprinted in the book, that will open the door to a world of S and M delights. But since that’s not really my thing, my hopes are not high for a rousing conclusion. All in all, an unsatisfying erotic romp, for this jaded lady. The whole thing elicits a big grey (gray?) Meh.

Part of me feels guilty for bashing this book. I mean Ms. James wrote a popular novel, a steamy, runaway bestseller that is not literature, but it was something she believed in enough to see through to become a trilogy. It will be made into a movie, she will make lots of money. Could I have written it? Sure. And in some ways I already did at age sixteen, when for 20 some pages, I waxed romantic about a teen romance on a Greek Island, but more romantica than erotica. Would I write one of these money making books now? No. Because I only do it for love, not money. Riiiight.

Stay tuned to hear more about The Lip Biter and Mr. Smoldering Molten. Yes, I will finish the book, but first I’m-ah git me some more Advil fer the pain.

Miss MoL


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