Saturday, October 27, 2018

Time To Finish "Thank You Ashley Madison"

Dear Faithful Reader,

Thank you for reading roughly half of my new book, Thank You Ashley Madison, on this bi-weekly blog.  I finally wrote the ending. YAY! I'm hunkering down to edit, tweak, and polish Thank You Ashley Madison for publication and last Saturday's post was the final book excerpt. Many of you have shared comments and opinions with me on Facebook. Thank you! Your comments and opinions are hugely important. Please continue to tell me what you think here. I can't wait to share my completed book with you and will let you know when it's done. Thank you for taking this ride with me.

Yours Truly,


Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Screw Golf Guy--"Thank You Ashely Madison" excerpt

Saturday, July 6

     I lay in bed aching. I was supposed to golf with Golf Guy tomorrow but he hadn’t mentioned our date since he made it. Bet he never planned to follow through.

     "Hi,” I texted Golf Guy. “Are we on for Sunday? My horse knocked me unconscious last night so I have a good story.”

     I made breakfast for Tom, cleaned the house, ran errands. Six hours later, as I was wrapping things up with my banker, my text alert dinged.

     "My god, I'm soo (sic) sorry, are u ok?” Golf Guy texted. “I think I have to raincheck tomorrow, I'm sorry, my partner is out of town so I have to see some of his people tomorrow late afternoon.”

     I threw my phone in my purse. Screw Golf Guy and the club he swung in on. I took Tom to lunch and ordered split pea soup, the only thing my throbbing jaw could handle. I let the croutons turn to mush in my mouth before maneuvering them to the back of my throat and swallowing. My left shoulder, arm, and hip were throbbing, too.

     “How do u feel?” Golf Guy texted another six hours later.

     At 10:30 pm, he sent “?”

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Jack The Ripper--"Thank You Ashley Madison" excerpt

Friday July 5

     The boys and I packed up the Tahoe and I hauled our last bags of garbage to Tim and Donna’s. I saw Ben’s dog, Spot, and Ben quickly walked into view.
     “I thought you’d already left,” he said.
     “Thanks again for helping me. It was so nice meeting you and hanging out.”
     “My pleasure,” Ben said. “Come back in the fall.”
     “I’m going to,” I said. I walked down the path and turned. Ben was still standing there. We waved at each other.
     I threw a load of laundry into the washing machine at home and drove to the barn. I found BlackJack in the pasture and began leading him to the stable. Plague-like fly swarms blackened the air. BlackJack swung his head, bit at his sides, and swished his tail. Suddenly, he jumped straight up into the air stumbling as he landed. We jogged into the barn and I tied BlackJack’s lead rope to a ring. I began digging impacted mud out of his hooves. Next thing I knew, I was opening my eyes and laying on the concrete floor five feet away from BlackJack.
     I slowly pushed myself up to sitting. My head was spinning. The left side of my jaw ached.  My glasses were missing. I carefully stood and began searching for my spectacles with very nearsighted eyes. I ran my tongue along my teeth. None felt broken. I pressed my teeth together. A molar on the bottom left was elevated. I pressed down harder and there was an audible crack as the molar clicked into my jawbone. The screen door to the barn squeaked open and slammed shut.
     “Hello,” I called, walking to the stairs leading up to the door. No one was there. I climbed the stairs. I pushed opened the door.
     “Hello,” I yelled.
     “Hello,” a voice answered.
     “Can you help me? I need help.”
     “I’ll be right there,” the voice said.
     I descended the stairs and continued searching for my glasses. Minutes later, Big Anne appeared.
     “I was knocked unconscious,” I told Big Anne. “I don’t know for how long. I don’t know what happened. My jaw is killing me. It’s swelling and getting hot.”
     Big Anne found my glasses ten feet from where I was laid out on the ground. “I’ll get you an icepack,” she said. She returned with one wrapped in paper towels and I pressed it to my jaw. “You don’t have any kick marks on you,” Big Anne said. “You don’t have dirt marks or abrasions. He must have spun around really fast and threw you into a wall. You probably bounced off the wall and landed on the ground.”
     “My left side, my shoulder, hip, and elbow hurt. But I came-to laying on my right side.”
     “Your elbow is turning black,” Big Anne said. “I think you should go to the emergency room, get yourself checked out.”
     “I think my jaw or molar might be fractured.”
     “How does your head feel? You sound coherent.”
     “A little loopy.”
     “Do you feel sick?”
      “A tiny bit nauseated.”
     “You should go to the hospital. I’ll take you.”
     We climbed the stairs. My Tahoe was parked at the top. I opened my car door.
     “You shouldn’t drive,” Big Anne said. “Hop in my truck. I’ll bring you back to your car if everything checks out.”
     I got into Anne’s truck and called Blake.
     “I’m okay, but I had another horse accident,” I told Blake. “Don’t worry. I’m on my way to the hospital but I’m sure I’m fine.”
     “Damn it Mom! You have to get rid of that horse. He’s going to put you in a wheelchair. It’s not a question of if he does, it’s a question of when. Bet you weren’t wearing your helmet were you?”
     “I wasn’t even on him.”
     “You need to wear my goalie gear whenever you get near that asshole. He’s Jack the Ripper. He’s going to kill you.”
     “I’m at the hospital now. Take Tom out to eat and tell him I’m okay. Okay?”
     “Call me when you know something.”
     “I will.”
     The ER doc looked at my CT scan. “You didn’t fracture your jaw but you stressed your TMJ. Don’t open your mouth wide. See an orthodontist in the next two or three days. There’s a lot of swelling back there by that molar. I’m writing you a prescription for pain medication. Don’t drive when you take it. And read the information I’m printing for you about concussion.”

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Really Didn't Mind---"Thank You Ashley Madison" excerpt

Thursday, July 4

     Blake and I tried installing the new jet ski battery. We couldn’t get ahold of a rubber strap that snapped over the battery in its ridiculously tight compartment and, after spending hours, gave up. Maybe the next-door neighbor was handy? I grabbed several bags of garbage—we paid our neighbors to use their trash service—and walked down the wooded path between our houses to their garage. The driveway was packed with vehicles. No one was outside. I dumped what I’d hauled into Tim and Donna’s cans, walked back to the cabin, and grabbed more garbage hoping I’d run into someone the second time. I reentered the garage and a tall blonde man was pulling drinks out of a refrigerator.
     “Hi,” I said.
     “Hi,” he said looking puzzled.
     “I’m from next door. We pay to throw our garbage here. Are you related to Tim and Donna?”
     “I’m their son-in-law. I’m Ben.” He extended his hand.
     I’d just thrown a bag of bottles into a recycling bin and my hands were sticky with beer and soda.
     “You don’t want to shake my hand,” I said. “I’m Brenda. Can I ask, are you handy? My son and I’ve been trying to put a new battery in our jet ski and we can’t get it in.”
     Ben resembled Mark Ruffalo. “Yeah. Let me take a look.”
     “Thanks. Sorry to ask.”
     “No, don’t be,” he said. He paused a moment. “You’re in great shape. What do you do?”
     Showing up in a bikini had helped. “I teach yoga. You’re in good shape yourself.”
     “No,” he said. “I don’t look like I used to. I used to play basketball but I’ve had some injuries.”
     “Me, too. Don’t bounce back like I used to.”
     “That’s for sure,” Ben laughed.
     We walked to my pier and Ben spent the next couple of hours trying to snap the strap over the battery before tying it down with bungee cords.
     “I’m sorry for taking you away from your family,” I said. “Anyone who’s tried to install this battery—my dad, my ex, my brother-in-law—had a hell of a time and I know you’d rather be relaxing on your pier.”
     “No, not really,” Ben said, sweat dripping down his face. “When did you get divorced?”
     “My sister got divorced. Her husband was not a good guy. I don’t think she’ll ever get involved with another man. Have you dated?”
     “A little,” I said. “Your mother-in-law was sick last winter. How is she?”
     “Good. She’s a lot better. She gave us quite a scare. She’s a great person and so is Tim. I’m lucky to have great in-laws.”
     “I liked my mother-in-law better than my ex,” I laughed.
     Ben gave me a knowing grin and nodded. “Yeah. I hear you. My wife doesn’t like my mother. It makes things very hard. You are in phenomenal shape. Is it just the yoga?”
     “Stress from the divorce melted off ten pounds,” I said. “I wouldn’t recommend it, but I’m down to my high school weight.”
     Ben laughed. “I played high school and college basketball. I wish I could still play but I had a back injury. A bulging disk moved into sciatica. The pain was debilitating. I could barely move. I had my leg electrocuted with what looked like a cattle prod in physical therapy. It made my leg shake spasmodically. It was horrible. But after several treatments it worked. One morning I woke up and the pain was gone.”
     “Yeah. So I’m careful now. No more water-skiing, jet-skiing, basketball, nothing that can re-aggravate that condition. Would you mind giving me a tour of your cabin? I’ve always wanted to see what it looks like on the inside.”
     “Yeah, come on,” I said. “I wish I could offer you something to drink, but all I’ve got is water and milk. We’re going home tomorrow morning.”
     “Really?” Ben said sounding disappointed. “You’re not staying through the weekend?” 
     “Another partner is coming up tomorrow. Our weeks are Friday to Friday.”
     I walked Ben through the cabin.
     “Do you come up here other times?” Ben asked.
     “Not really. There’s an hours-long winterizing process we have to go through to open and close the cabin. It’s not worth coming up in other seasons. I’d have to open and close all the valves, drain them, drain the toilets, drain the pipes. . .”
     “Are you kidding me? Why don’t they just leave the heat on so the pipes don’t freeze?”
     “Cabin Nazi’s rules. Do you know Elwood? Come to think of it, Elwood recently hired new cleaning people who will winterize for an extra charge.”
     “You should come up during the fall,” Ben said. “It’s beautiful the last week of September, first week of October. It’s quiet. It’s different than now. Bearskin Bike Trail is phenomenal.”
     “I’ve got that week. I might do that.”
     “You should.”
     We stood looking at each other.
     “Thanks again for installing the battery for me,” I said. “What a shitty job.”
     “I really didn’t mind.”
     “I’ll walk you back.” We headed toward his house and I stopped at the trail between his house and mine.
     “You should definitely come back in the fall,” Ben said.
     “I believe I will.”

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Forgiven--"Thank You Ashley Madison" excerpt

Wednesday, July 3

     “Brenda. I hope you are all enjoying a great week up there,” JB texted.

     “I've forgiven you,” I replied. “I pray for you, too. But I don't want you in my life beyond what is absolutely necessary.”

     “I will try to respect that. I am grateful for your prayers and forgiveness. Every day I wish for you to be happy.”

    I bought a jet ski battery. The old one won’t keep a charge. Blake and I’ll install it tomorrow. I laid on the dock and read a book.

Saturday, October 6, 2018

Within--"Thank You Ashley Madison" excerpt

Sunday, June 30

     We jet skied, shot the compound bow, and I went for a three-mile run down pine-lined roads before grilling steaks for dinner. It was a perfect day, except for JB’s texts.

     “Hi. I hope you are all having fun and good weather up there. I hope you will give my email some thought. I want peace.”

     “Peace and happiness come from within,” I texted.

     “I know all too well now I am trying,” he replied. “I need to try harder. Maybe it's too soon, but I am going to come to you periodically seeking your forgiveness.” 

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Having Fun?--"Thank You Ashley Madison" excerpt

Saturday, June 29

     Blake and Chad were charging the jet ski battery, drinking beer, and smoking cigars by the lake when Tom and I arrived at the cabin. Seeing Blake smoke and drink for the first time made me feel uneasy then disturbingly sad that I’d never have a drink with him. I began thinking about the times I got drunk with my dad on that pier. The heart-to-heart conversations. The laughs.

     “Are you having fun?...silly question, I'm sure you are,” Golf Guy texted.