Indie Spotlight – Tara L. Ames – How much heat do you like in your romance?

Today, please welcome romance writer, Tara L. Ames. Her new book The Risk Taker looks like a real steamy page turner and you can find the link to it at the bottom of this post. Tara is talking about the different types of and the level of ‘heat’ in romances, today. Take it away, Tara…

Romance is a billion-dollar industry and still leads the market in sales compared to all other genres. Readers want to escape for a while and be swept away to that wonderful world of fiction, whether it’s a sweet love story or an erotic adventure. That’s the beauty of books, there is something out there for everyone. And that includes varying degrees of heat in a romance novel.

Heat Scale 1-5

0-2 Clean Romance

If writing a sweet, clean romance, the hero and heroine may not kiss until the very end of the book, when all their troubles have been resolved and they discover they can’t live without one another. The TV series and movies aired on the Hallmark Channel is a perfect example of this genre. My favorite series is When Calls the Heart.

3+ Steamy Romance

While some readers prefer their hero and heroine to only hold hands or kiss each other lightly on the lips, other want the heat turned up a few notches between their two main characters—such as with mine in The Risk Taker, Book 1 in the Alpha Aviators Series. Top Gun Navy Aviator LT Commander Michael Merrick wanted Commercial Artists Samantha Jackson to be a distraction, not the main attraction, morning, noon and night. I can assure you they are doing a lot more than just light hand holding and spooning—but not to the point where it involves other couples or whips and chains or colorful dialogue, which leads me the next two degrees-whew!! These will really sizzle you.

4 -5 Erotica vs Erotic Romance

Erotica romance actually has a plot, three dimensional characters, who have problems to overcome or resolve. Their love scenes, however, may involve colorful dialogue, sex toys, more than one partner: Vampire/Werewolf/Shifter (V/W/S), M/M/F, F/F/M—the initials go on, but you get the jest of it. Many books include BDSM (Bondage/Discipline, Domination/Submission, Sadism/Masochism) scenes. Fifty Shades of Grey by E L James is a perfect example of this genre.

Erotic Romance has two or more characters and the whole story may be nothing but getting it on. I don’t think I need to go into any more detail here.

Most importantly, as a writer, if you state you write sweet and clean or erotica romance then your book better be at that expected heat level, or you’ll really upset your readers. Thank you for having me. Feel free to check out my website at https://www.taralames.com. The Risk Taker, the first release in the Alpha Aviators Series, is on sale at the following retail sites: iTunes  Amazon  KOBO  Nook  Google Play Newsletter 

Have anything you’re dying to know about romances? Feel free to ask Tara your questions in the comments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Friend or Foe?

 

I have, as I’m sure all of you have, encountered some snaky people in my life. Unfortunately, it seems something no normal person can dodge. You are destined to meet and experience at least one. And if one is all you ever have to deal with, consider yourself lucky.

It seems I sort of have this sort of thing happening again. It’s very subtle, so much so that I wonder if I’m imagining it. I wonder if I am simply being paranoid, finding things where in fact nothing exists? It’s possible – I’m not brilliant or anything, nor am I without mistakes (a buttload of them) or flaws (an even bigger boatload of them) – yet I can’t quite shake this sense…of something.

Have you ever had someone in your life who seems to covet, maybe even crave what you have? Now it may be good, great or even not so great, but this person really seems to want it. Whether it’s a pink sweater or an easygoing friendliness with the mailman. You can almost see the craving in the eyes, hear it in their tone and words. Yet when you try to look at it directly, it seems to disappear out of view. (Anybody ever see that movie, Gaslight? I’m saying…)

Naturally, you chastise yourself, believing you are being overly sensitive, imagining motive that isnt there – giving that person the benefit of the doubt, while with yourself you will cut no slack.

Then you start to notice little things – they are suddenly using phrases that you use, making similar jokes, in subtle ways assuming your…I don’t know…is it style? personality? what? And it’s a sort of creepy Twilight Zone experience. First of all, who the hell would want to be me? you ask yourself. What the hell is there to covet? Who knows? Still, you can’t shake the feeling.

These folks also other funny little things. If they feel you’ve been ignoring them, they call or write complaining of it. Acting hurt or worried that you’re upset with them or don’t like them anymore. Honestly, after the age of 10, isn’t this a little strange? In my case, if one of my chums is upset with me I usually know and if I don’t I simply ask, ‘hey, did I piss you off or something?’ Isn’t that normal?

Anyway, I’m not even sure I know where I’m going with this post – maybe it’s a cautionary tale. Maybe it’s just ramble. But I’d say, beware of people who fawn a little too much at you. Beware of those who pursue you a little too often and enthusiastically. Be careful who you take into your confidence and introduce your friends to – because frankly, some people have more than one face and honestly, neither one is very pretty.

WC

Bad Thoughts

https://i2.wp.com/i106.photobucket.com/albums/m246/writerchickamr/prayingcat.jpg

 Okay, I admit it – I’d sell out a friend just to get rid of my fat ass. Shallow, huh? Still, the fantasy of wearing a size 8 again makes a woman do desperate things. What’s your bad, evil wish? Hmmm? 😉 I know you got one. Eveybody has at least one. Right?

WC

Would You Put That Spam in a Can?

 

It used to be that Spam was just a really poor imitation of canned ham. I believe it was developed during World War II when meat was pretty scarce (as were all resources) and people were willing to give mystery meat a try. And heck somebody must have liked it cuz, you know they are still selling it today.

I think I tried it once and that was really enough – sort of like balloons with a bologna-like flavor and a might too much salt – but I have a finnicky palate. Kudos to those who can enjoy a hearty meal of Spam and eggs or Spam samiches or spam-hash. Bless you all.

However, the original Spam is not the topic of this post. Nope…

We are talking about the evil Spam. The type intended to overrun mailboxes, websites and blogs. It is junk mail gone wild. If this stuff was on paper, there would not be one tree left standing on the planet. It can be vicious, gross, mean, annoying and bizarre – but mostly, to me, it is really fucking STUPID! Yeah, stupid. I mean, come on already – do these idiots really think that we think that we just won an Irish Sweepstakes or a UK Super Lotto? Do they not know that we know that one must enter these contests in order to win? Do they really think we are as stupid as they?

They don’t even try to be smart about it. They don’t use demographics or any real marketing tools. It’s just so amazingly stupid it boggles the rational mind. For example, why send viagra ads to females? Sure maybe one or two will want to buy some for their disgusting, decrepit, alcoholic old man – but with all the marital aids on the market these days (many of which can be purchased at Amazon for cripes sake) why bother? And hot nude girl pictures also sent to women – now granted there may be a percentage of women who like that stuff but do you really think you’re hitting your niche market by sending a gajillion links to hot teen sex to a bunch of middle-aged soccer moms who blog on the side? Get real.

Here is a recent list of spam caught on my blog –

MedsMan – he is offering me honey in a lovely nonsensical comment that I supposed was designed to make me so curious I would click on his link and end up on his hideous website.

Stinky – He’s selling sex and cars or maybe it is sex with cars – didn’t really want to follow the link – know what I mean?

JohnB – This one really got me – pictures of Chlamydia AND Hot Mature Babes. Now given that Chlamydia is sexually transmitted disease I can only imagine what the pictures would look like. But really, if I want to see a disease can’t I go to the Discovery Channel or something – with Scientists and lab photos?

752njpgh – Thinks I’m a candidate for viagra.

BadGirl apparently works with Stinky since they hawk the same goods and have the same links.

451yhafft – Kindly offered me amatuer porn – now if I was into porn would I really want to see the amatuer stuff? Couldn’t I do that myself?

Kolia would like to send me some bad nude celebrity photos. Since I’ve seen plenty of bad celebrity photos I’m quite sure I don’t want to see any of them naked.

Kazbert is a GP spammer and is offering directv with a little Disney Channel shopping on the side.

Green simply claims to be a sex teacher – wow they have teachers for that now? I sure hope they don’t get any federal funding for it.

FouFoun – has some cheap airline tickets to Russia. Now I ask you, how many out there want to go to Russia under any circumstance? Cheap tickets or no, I’m gonna pass.

Mr. Carrot works with BadGirl and Stinky – cute names though, eh? Sort of like Porno stuffed animals or something.

Dertaer apparently works with FouFoun to trick people into going to Russia by giving them cheap tickets and lots of black market smokes.

Huss just dropped by to thank me for my site and tell me how much he enjoyed it. Oh sure he did.

Helga Ferg seems to be offering drugs, sex and rock and roll – I’m asking you will the Baby Boomer generation ever get off that anthem? Shouldn’t some of them be dead by now?

Hillary Ferg I’m guessing is Helga’s sisters although she is offering balloon art. Now one could wonder what kind of ‘art’ is on those balloons or maybe just take a pass altogether.

So, there they are folks, the stupid spammers who tried to put stupid spam on my blog and were caught by the spam filter. May they all end up in Spam Hell where they are forced to read their own disgusting crap 24/7 because they are permanently installed in front of a computer screen, have no eyelids and their screams can’t be heard because they are in a hermetically sealed cubicle.

WC

Oy Carumba, the Guilt!

Recently I’ve mentioned problems on the job front – the company I worked with for almost 3 years was having trouble. Well, I’m sorry to say that the trouble didn’t end and I have left what I affectionately called The Land of Fun.

It was a fun, easy-going place to work – since we made movie props and I guess were sorta kinda in show business, there was no end of make-believe going on. But I guess there is more than make-believe needed to keep a business going.

No worries about me, as I’ve gotten another job, which I start Monday. It’s a far cry from the Land of Fun and it will be a brand new adventure for me – or them, I guess we shall see who experiences the most surprise. 😉

I felt kind of guilty leaving my old job. We’d all become such comrades it rather felt like deserting the ship – but I had to admit that I needed to take care of me first and so left I did.

Now, I could have started my new job this week actually. I could have just jumped right into the fray and let the chips fall where they may. But, I decided (since the folks at Land of Fun didn’t require me to work out any notice) to just take a few days off.

I reasoned that there were lots of stupid, little things that needed to be done that I never seem to get around to doing. That I was some time to decompress and chill out. I wanted to go to my new job, fresh and relaxed. That I deserved a break. Because truth be told I don’t take vacations. Oh sure, I went away for a few days over Thanksgiving and as much fun as it was to see my friends, it was work. Try tagging along with a mother of three ages 9, 2 & 1 and you’ll know what I mean. Hell, I needed a vacation after the vacation.

So, okay, I’m having a little vacation. I’m catching up on sleep. Reading. Doing things around the house. Reveling in the solitude (did I mention roomie got a job?) and silence. I’ve been taking long walks with the dog – collecting bouquets of wild flowers – taking long showers, tweezing my eyebrows. Really important stuff.

Yet…the guilt. After a day and a half I started feeling like I was committing a crime. I felt like I should call my new job and confess that I was goldbricking for a few days before I decided to come in. I’m blowing off that idea the consultant had about going in on Saturday to get a little orientation. I’m not answering the phone for fear it might be someone who might want me to do something. I peer through the kitchen curtains to see if the Job Police are cruising my neighborhood, looking for layabouts.

I’ve parked my car a few houses down from mine, in case somebody I know drives by won’t think I’m home. When I go out I wear dark glasses and slouchy clothes so I won’t be recognized. I haven’t called any friends because I don’t want them to know I’m slacking. WTF is wrong with me? I mean, why the guilt?

I’ve been on my own and working for a living since I was 17. Even when I lived with my parents, I worked, bought my own clothes and textbooks, was always doing something. I’m not wired to lay around and do nothing. I mean, not that I’m doing nothing – I’m doing stuff. And it’s stuff that needs to be done but…I still feel guilty.

If I’m not out somewhere doing something, or writing about something or reading about something then I feel like I’m letting my fellow man down. Why can’t I simply enjoy my sloth week? Why can’t I revel in being bad. In being lazy. In doing nothing? Why????????

Do you think it has anything to do with being raised Catholic? I man people always say that the Jews have the corner on guilt but maybe they haven’t had any run ins with the Nuns. The ones who give you the look. You know the look? The one that can put a crease in your slacks, while you’re wearing them? The one that can make you pray for forgiveness even if you haven’t done anything? I’m telling you – the guilt, the guilt, the guilt. I can’t take it anymore!

Gotta go…somebody is lurking outside my house and I’m afraid they can hear the keys tapping.

WC

How to Tell if Your Christmas Eve Bash is a Success

christmas-tree

I’m not really one of those people who throws holiday parties. I’ll definitely do the dinners and cook up a storm, but when it drifts over to the party category I defer to ones better than I at such things. Happily, I have friends (Zelda) who do parties and I’ve been able to get a real observer’s station at same and feel I can pass along a few tips:

Your Christmas Eve bash is a success if:

1. Your guests don’t use the deserts as an ashtray.

2. The gag gifts you pass around don’t actually gag anyone.

3. You have no one by the name of Skip, Muffy or Biff on the guest list.

4. None of your guests notice the wee paw prints left by your several pets in the dip.

5. The groans you hear whilst guests are munching is because of the deliciousness of the food, not because they have broken a tooth.

6. Your choice of music does not prompt your guests to ask why you are playing funeral dirges.

7. The Christmas movie you make especially for the occasion is coherent and possibly causes your guests to chortle with laughter.

8. Guest do not refuse to take home leftover food and deserts when offered.

9. You do not require a first aid kit to have a fun time.

10. You do not invite people who discuss their recent operations around the fondue pot.

11. Your guests are too drunk to notice you have broken out the cheap wine.

12. You remember everyone’s name through-out the entire evening. Or they don’t hear you when you call them buddy.

13. No one shows up in surfer shorts and asks why all the old people are there.

14. The pets do not break through the barricade you have spent the last three days building.

15. You manage to delete and/or photoshop all the pictures of you before they are viewed.

16. You get through the evening without losing a pet or a guest.

17. Everyone leaves before you fall asleep in the family room.

18. The following morning you wake up to discover Santa’s elves have cleaned up the entire mess and you can go back to sleep.

There may be more and perhaps you can add a few – but in the meantime…

cookies

 

I’ve Got a Branch, Let’s Make a Tree! 12 days of xmas #12

For many years I had the best room mate ever. Let’s call her Buffy. We met while we were both working at a cute, little dive called New York George’s. It served tacky New York Diner food and was a very popular place, especially considering it was tiny and had no real designer ambience to it. What was fun about the place was that everybody was a wise guy and the customers really delighted in being harrassed by the waitresses. Which of course, was right up our respective alleys.

Now Buffy is a very cute girl, who is very tall, has big feet and a laugh that can split your eardrum if you get too close to her when she lets one rip. She also has a heart of gold and I love her like a sister. Truly family in all the really great sense that that word can conjure.

We became fast friends and I convinced her to become my room mate and share the house I was renting from a friend (henceforth known as the Psycho-Lady). The house was cute and pretty comfortable but it was basically in the ghetto section of Pasadena. Which may not exist now but did then. We were the only non-ethnic folk in the neighborhood and I guess were regarded as a sort of oddity although no one ever hassled us, nor did we feel unsafe – it just was what it was.

Both Buffy and I are Christmas nuts. We would die happy if we could permanently live in a Hallmark card. Buffy has her own collection of glass reigndeer ornaments which she has been collecting since she was a child. These are like gold to her. And they are amazingly beautiful – the first time I saw them I think I let out a little orgasmic Christmas gasp. Even today they sparkle in my mind.

Needless to say, like every other year before it we were excitedly anticipating Christmas. Our favorite time of year – an excuse to act like a couple of big dopes, eat lots of great food that is bad for you and your thighs and santa hats, reindeer ears and lightable Christmas ornament earrings – what could be better?

Well, this year was a bit different. For reasons I can’t remember, we decided to work retail sales at shopping malls over the holiday season. We’d both done it before and for some reason we thought it’d be different this year. Dreams of big commission checks and taking a couple weeks off at the beginning of the year spurred us on. Also, Zelda got in on the act. So, the three of us signed on with Gold Exchange.

Oh yes, you read it right – Gold Exchange. Now can you imagine the tacky shit we were hawking from a place with a name like that? I know, I know – we were adding to the evil propagation of commercialism, but hey we needed the money and wanted presents, so….

Either our memories were really selective, we were out of our minds or we were just getting too old for this shit but man, it kicked our asses. For that six or seven weeks we just worked and slept and barely had any fun at all. With the schedule we had there was no time or energy to tend to things like trees, decorating, Christmas movies or anything. Luckily we were working in shopping malls, so buying gifts wasn’t an issue.

Anyway, Buffy and I were kind of glum because we weren’t being able to dramatize our insane love for Christmas and we knew we’d be way too beat to try to put a Christmas dinner together. And at the time, I guess we didn’t have any Martha Stewart type friends so we were pretty much on our own. But Zelda piped up and said her roomie was a Martha Stewart type and did all that Christmas junk every year and we had only to arrive on time and we too could have a big Christmas dinner and enjoy and admire the whole Christmas ambience created by another.

Well that kept us going all the way through the selling season – which was hideous and exhausting. And through til Christmas morning. We got up and had coffee and toast and exchanged gifts and chatted. But then we noticed the time was ticking away, tick, tick, tick. Still no word from Zelda. Hmmmm. We started getting those knots in our stomachs. As if the Grinch had been by the night before and we just hadn’t noticed that it was really December 26th. I called Zelda a couple times but no answer.

Our stomachs were growling and we were starting to get really bummed out. Finally, the phone rang and it was indeed Zelda. Yay! Christmas was saved! Except…Well I guess Martha Stewart roomie decided she wasn’t into it that year (and hadn’t mentioned it to Zelda) and they decided they were going to order some deli samiches and did we want to come over and do that.

Well no fucking way did we want to do that. So then there we were sitting in the living room completely bummed out, with no tree, no food, no hope. We were sad – big time. Then I said, ‘screw this shit.’ There was no way we just weren’t going to have Christmas. So, we jumped in the car and went to the local grocery store.

Of course it was slim pickings, no turkeys to be sure – but they had chicken, and instant mashed potatoes, and stuffing mix and corn. No pumpkin pie but I think we got twinkies or chocolate cupcakes or something. So, we paid for our stuff and went home.

While I started dinner, I told Buffy to get out the ornaments and lights. She squealed with delight. She strung lights on the walls, put ornaments out on every flat surface – now we were having fun. But we didn’t have a tree. We HAD to have a tree. Oddly enough about a week before we’d had some pretty bad wind storms – so bad in fact that a huge branch got snapped off the Wisteria tree in the front yard. I told Buffy to get the Christmas tree stand ready then went outside. After some looking and thinking and finding a hacksaw I found a branch that had some shape and might fit in the stand.

I brought it inside and we managed to get it to stay upright with some jury-rigging, spit, chewing gum and prayers. We strung it with lights and hung a few ornaments, plugged everything in and turned off the lights. “Ah….” it was Christmas after all.

Dinner was ready and though chicken isn’t turkey and the potatoes were kind of soupy and our tree was really just a branch I fished out of the yard, it was grand. Just as we sat down to eat, “It’s a Wonderful Life” came on television and we both let out a hoot. It was the finishing touch to our chia pet Christmas.

Ironically, of all the many Christmases I have celebrated in my life, this is truly my favorite. Because it was our spirit and spirit alone that made it happen – despite all the many pitfalls. And the utter spirit of play of Buffy who was with me all the way in making Christmas happen. And I really loved that little tree more than any other because it proved that even a lowly stick could be something beautiful. In fact, I loved it so much that this year I found an even bigger stick and made another ‘unique’ Christmas tree – it’s pictured above.

For me, Christmas isn’t what other people make it for you, it’s what you make it for yourself.

Thanks for reading (putting up with) this series of memorable Christmases. Much of it was probably too warm and fuzzy or just plain boring – but hey, that’s my life.

Merry Christmas everybody.

WC

Boycotting Christmas – 12 days of xmas #9

 

Yep, even I have had my Christmas spirit dashed, beaten and abused. I don’t really even remember the reason but I decided I was sick of Christmas and was therefore boycotting it. I merely decided I could cancel it. I’m sure it had something to do with being broke. Boy there is nothing like being broke at Christmas to send a person into a snit.

So I did nothing. I didn’t get a tree. I didn’t dig out my silly collection of ornaments. I didn’t bake cookies or pumpkin loaf or buy a turkey. I didn’t wear red. I avoided Santa Hats and jingle bells and refused to listen to Christmas music or watch Christmas movies. (I know! Scary, huh?)

I just happened to talk to a dear friend (and ex room mate, Buffy – more on her later) and told her I was boycotting Christmas that year. As far as I was concerned it didn’t exist and I was really looking forward to December 26th a lot!

A couple of days later, I recieved a package at work from Buffy. The card said ‘you don’t get to cancel Christmas!’ In the box was a miniature tree, ornaments, candy, confetti and a bunch of other sweet and silly Christmas stuff. I was so pissed at her (not really) cuz she made me cry at work.

So, a little glimmer began to warm around my icy resolve toward Christmas. I couldn’t very well insult my friend’s truly sweet and caring jesture. I would just take it home and put the tree and little things on my coffee table and I’d have a tiny little Christmas, just like the tree.

Of course, then there were a couple of movies that came on television which I sort of watched. I believe I nibbled some candy canes. And then I just faced facts. I was so broke I couldn’t pay attention. I just simply couldn’t buy gifts for anyone and I’d have to be all right with that (you see this was the really crushing thing to me) – so I just made myself be okay with it.

After aforementioned movies I started thinking. What gift could I send to my loved ones that could maybe mean something? Maybe something that I could make? I am a disaster at crafts and really cookies don’t like to behave when I make them so the choices were limited. So, I did what any broke writer would do – I wrote a Christmas story. Even though I knew it probably wasnt’ going to please some people on my list – even though I thought it was kind of hokey, I wrote it anyway.

I printed out about 20 copies and sent them off. Explaining that this Christmas it was my best offering and written and sent with love. Afterwards, I really didn’t even care if anyone acknowledged it or said they liked it – something about having done it made it okay in and of itself.

The really funny thing is that it turns out it is one of my favorite stories. And one I have shared with people many times over the years. And I suppose if I truly have a tradition of my own making it is that story. Because in that story I was able to express my true heart about family, love, my fellow man and most especially about Christmas. So maybe in a way…it was my gift to myself more than anything else. And a good one it was.

WC

Retail Sales & 12-Yr Old Chivas – 12 days of xmas #8

 

Unencumbered and foot loose and fancy free and…unemployed….I agreed to do one of those Christmas sales stints. It sounded very good during the talking part. 30% of the sales, they provide the space and the goods and after 6 weeks I’d be about 5 grand richer. It sounded VERY good.

Now, I don’t know if any of you out there have ever worked in a mall during Christmas…but if you want my advise…DON’T. Frankly, you’d probably do better washing windshields in the 7-11 parking lot and the hours are much kinder.

This particular group of yahoos had a system are taped out. They’d been doing it for years and they knew just how to make it work for me. First I started ‘training’ under another guy so I could learn the ropes (read that as working for free). Since he was a friend of mine – a british chap and fellow writer, Giles, was pretty easy to work with. Of course there was that working for free part which I didn’t care for, especially since any sales I made went into his pocket but I agreed anyway because I’d passed up a couple of jobs for this adventure so now I was committed (or I should have been).

So for about 10 days (straight, no time off) I worked Giles’ stand and made some pretty good sales. Of course the company was real swell and paid me a ‘draw’ from my future sales at my own stand, just to help me get by.

Anyway, I finally got my own stand – in West Covina. Which may sound nice and everything but it was about a 30 mile drive from my house and it was a particularly cold and rainy winter season – oh and I really hate to drive the freeways. Oh and I had to go through downtown L.A. to get there. Yeah, that was really great – especially since my heater decided to quit on my and I had to keep a steady supply of napkins handy to wipe away the fog on my windows.

Anyway…I got my own stand in the mall and honestly it was a pretty nice mall. And to be fair to Giles he did come and help me set up and hire some high school girls to do some selling for me – and the sales, well they were smoking. I was able (because of my desparate financial situation) to justify selling gold and silver plated jewelry by just completely ignoring the fact that it was junk. But if you put anything sparkly in front of a person during Christmas they just want it. Truth.

So for 6 weeks, 16 hours a day (not including drive time), no days off I sold. I sold and I sold and I sold some more. I learned how to take naps with my eyes open and while talking to staff and/or customers. For a release I would walk the mall and buy things. Once a week I made a field trip to the company office to restock and get my ‘draw’. Happily gas prices were dirt cheap at the time and with as hyped up as I was on coffee I hardly ever thought of food.

Forget the fact that I didn’t know what I looked like without the pallor and blood shot eyes, that I ended breaking up with my boyfriend over the phone and quite frankly, if I was even conscious by Christmas day there really wasn’t anything to remain conscious for. The minutes, hours, days, weeks went by in a blur of Christmas muzac and the eternal hum of hundreds of shoppers.

Finally came Christmas Eve. The mall was closing early and so I’d only have to work ten hours that day. My girls who had worked for me were so sweet that they pooled their money to buy me a plaque to commemorate an ‘in’ joke we’d developed over those few weeks. And honestly, it was one of the best Christmas presents I ever got because it was so unexpected and it spoke of true affection and good times from some girls who probably should have spent their money on clothes, make up, jewelry and their boyfriends.

Finally, six o’clock rolled around. The big boss came by and congratulated me on my sales which apparently was WAY over what they expected and told me to roll around on the first to pick up (what was left) of my commission check. I gave him the keys to the safe and the receipts and off to home I went.

Giles and I had planned to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day together since we were both on our own for the holidays. So I got home, showered and changed, plastered on some make up and went over. I looked like I’d been on a 12 year drunk and didn’t know my name (see picture above).

When I got there Giles was all smiles, wished me a ham sandwich and a happy Christmas. Then he whipped out the big surprise he’d been holding back on for weeks. A 12 year old bottle of Chivas. Now, from what I’ve heard that’s some pretty impressive stuff. I believe it is scotch but maybe it’s whiskey but really I couldn’t tell you the difference anyway.

So me and my pal Giles drank off that bottle of Chivas for the next two days. Occasionally pausing for ham sandwiches or an old movie on the telly. We were so exhausted I’m not sure we even spoke all that much. It was more on the order of grunts and groans and “I’ll have another.” By December 26th we had finished that bottle and were ready for the New Year. Sometime in the next couple of days we got some sleep and finally I went to get my commission check.

Sadly, Santa didn’t have much leftover for me. Just enough to pay the coming months bills and maybe a little extra if I was strict. I actually sat down and computed my hours against what I made and it turns out I made about $3 an hour. Who knew? I could have worked at Kmart and done the same, plus I woulda had that 10% discount. Live and learn and don’t do mall sales! 😉

WC