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A bit late and a few dollars short 2

It’s been a wee bit hectic around here and that’s putting it a bit mildly.

Can you say AAAAAAHHHHGGHH with me?

Between deadlines, revisions, more deadlines (btw my Navy Dr was just accepted so yay!), health stuff and struggling to get my son the help he needs it’s just been go, go, go for the longest time.

I was going to put up this post this morning, but then I remember I had to go to the dentist. Hence the few dollars short. And I just learned I grind my teeth at night now and also clench my jaw. So yeah, I need a night guard. Dear Money, Good-bye.

It’s just been one thing after another. I’m starting to somewhat relate to the Beast in this picture when more stuff is added on to my plate:












Except for the hair. It’s more the expression. LOL

Hopefully, things are starting to wind down on the personal front. Things are FINALLY happening for my son which will set him off on the right track. The more weight I lose the better I feel. I really don’t want to have a hiatal hernia repair. Right now the weight loss, diet and medication is controlling it.

I can’t have ice cream, which SUCKS. Ice cream sends my poor hernia into such an attack I’m in agony for hours. It’s not worth it, but it SO sucks.


Oh well. ‘Tis life.

At least things are starting to look up.

Now, I’m taking a couple of days off before diving back into my next book which is due January 2015. I’d like the bulk of it done before New Years, because that’s when my friend is getting married. The DH & I get to have two whole days away together.

There’s no way I’m missing that or worrying about a deadline.

So I’ll take my short break now and crochet or knit. Maybe read a book and binge watch some TV.


At least my Christmas Shopping is done.

Thanks for letting me vent. How do you relax after a long period of stress?









2 COMMENTS | Categories,Amy Ruttan, ENLR Blogger | Tags, , ,

A Thrilling Thanksgiving 7

I’m a huge fan of author Kylie Brant who writes some of the most sensational romantic suspense and thrillers available today. As such, I asked her to guest blog for me today and describe what it takes to make a “thrilling” Thanksgiving. Looks like her house is going to be “the” place to be this week. Please welcome Kylie Brant! ~ P.S. I’ve already preordered Eleven — Cannot wait to read! ~ Donnell

The word ‘thrilling’ is probably a bit of an overstatement. As far as Thanksgivings go, ours certainly can’t compete with arriving in a new land and sitting down with the natives for a big meal. If by thrilling one can mean loud chaotic family fun, though, we’ve got that at our house. In spades.

The cooking starts four days prior to the day. There are usually a couple dozen of us. With five kids that doesn’t seem like a big group. I cook for larger groups at tailgating! But we fill the house with kids, grandkids, extended family…and dogs. For some reason every child has to travel with their canine. I like dogs. One at a time. I am less fond of them when they are the kitchen when I’m cooking. Or when I’m not in the kitchen at all and they find a way to knock the pans of potatoes on the floor and have themselves a little feast. In that particular instance my fondness for canines vanished completely!

A couple of Thanksgiving traditions at our house are a little unusual. Thanksgiving night we load everyone up and go bowling. The sport is perhaps not the best avenue to show off my catlike speed and reflexes. Or even an ability to walk and talk at the same time.

The Saturday after Thanksgiving is the annual Stud Bowl. Of the five kids four of them are boys, but make no mistake their sister is every bit as tough. They invite whatever friends are in town and everyone wears their old high school football jerseys. We troop down a couple blocks to a field and play the game of the year. By we I mean I am there with refreshments. The bowling maxxed out my athletic (dis)ability. They have an old trophy that gets passed back and forth. After the game the winners exult in their glory; the losers complain bitterly about cheating (probably valid). Then everyone files home for soup and injury assessment.

The house–so loud and chaotic for a few days–seems curiously empty when everyone leaves. Clean. But empty. But the memories made during the holiday time are the real thrill. Regardless who you spend it with, togetherness is the true thrill of Thanksgiving, don’t you think?

Kylie Brant is the author of 34 romantic suspense novels. Her upcoming release, 11, is available for pre-order now.

Back cover blurb:

Eleven. For three long years that’s what she was called by The Collector, the sexual sadist who enslaved her.

Mia Deleon fought the odds and escaped only to discover that no one would believe her about the ordeal she’d endured. Not the police. Not her family or friends. Even the investigators she hired couldn’t find a trace of the sexual predator. So with help she disappeared, always looking over her shoulder, living in the shadows. Knowing she’d never be safe while he was still free.

Security expert Jude Bishop had helped her vanish. Now he’s been hired to bring Mia back. A criminal profiler may have discovered a tenuous link to her case. But Jude is nearly too late because The Collector has already found Mia, too. And their race to trail the sexual sadist turned killer brings Mia ever closer to the man obsessed with her.

Because she became his prized possession the moment she’d evaded him. And he’ll stop at nothing to see his collection finally complete…

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All Good Horses Have A Story 12

A little while back I talked about a young mare that I hauled to her first show under saddle and how she turned out to be the best horse that day even though she was the greenest. Well, it turns out that little mare has quite a story behind her.

“Mo” is a special project that my stepdaughter, Katie, and I took on when Mo was just a yearling. One of the things that Katie and I have in common is a love of animals. I never had children and I grew to love Katie like a daughter. It was that common passion that allowed me to bond with Katie during the difficult years of her growing up. I would learn later that love of animals would play a crucial role in all of our lives.

Katie was in the army so Mo stayed at my house for training and care. My goal as a trainer was to make sure that Mo was well broke so that Katie could enjoy her and eventually barrel race her when she came in on visits.

This is a picture of Mo when she came into our lives as a shaggy scrawny yearling.

mo yearlingmo katie

You couldn’t even get close to Mo when we first got her but it didn’t take long at all for her to learn that petting was a good thing. By the end of the day, she was following us around like a puppy dog.

For the first year at our place, I let her grow up and just be a horse. I worked on small things like ground manners, ponying, and learning to lunge.

Mo Pony

The fall of her second year I finally got on her for the first time and rode her. Although she was full of mare attitude and needed to be handled a certain way, she wasn’t too hard to break as I knew my boundaries.

Mo fenceMo firstride

I gave her the winter off and that following spring we hauled her to her first barrel race to just hang out all day. Katie just happened to be in on leave so she went with us. I hopped on Mo to test the waters, and although she rode great she was a bit forward being in a new place.

Katie got on Mo in the pen and rode for just a few moments. Riding a young horse can be a bit intimidating, especially if you’re not used to it. Although Mo did everything she was asked, Katie could feel the nervousness in the mare and made the wise decision to step down. Unfortunately, that would be the only ride Katie took on Mo.

katie harriman

The following year, Katie was in an accident that resulted in a traumatic anoxic brain injury. The initial MRI showed between 50-60% damage in all areas of the brain. She was in a coma and on life support for several weeks.

We’re now eight months in and although her doctors classify her as slow to recover due to progress and inconsistent responses, considering where she was and that we almost lost her, she has come a long ways. Although the improvements have been small, they are still improvements and that is what we focus on.

Once again, Katie’s love of horses got to play an important role in her life. A few weeks ago, Katie was able to visit a local Equine Therapy facility in Tampa for a therapy session to see how she would react. The pictures are pretty clear as to the impact that they had.

KATIE THERAPYkatie therapy1

We have a very long road ahead but it’s a road going forward. Mo will continue to play a role in all our lives as Katie progresses. While the plan has always been for Mo to be a good barrel horse, she now has bigger plans to also be a therapy horse. I think she’s got a good start in that direction. One of these days, I’ll be sharing pictures of Katie’s second ride on Mo.




12 COMMENTS | Categories,FJ Thomas | Tags, , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

REVIEW: Fearless by Brynley Bush 0

Fearless (Black Brothers Trilogy #1) by Brynley Bush
Published:  November 4, 2014

Fiercely independent and newly single mom Emmaline Hart has spent the last thirteen years putting everyone’s needs before her own. Secretly afraid that her ex-husband’s assertions that she’s too uptight are right, Emma nonetheless keeps her life, and her emotions, firmly under control, fearful of getting hurt again. However, when she meets the dangerously attractive Beckett Black on a job assignment, the way his casual touch sends her pulse racing forces her to acknowledge her growing need to move beyond her fear. When Beckett offers her a job writing the memoir of his father, a renowned cancer researcher, Emma jumps at the career opportunity and the chance to get to know Beckett better.

Emma spends her days with the renowned doctor, who has spent his career studying a plant in the Amazon that has the potential to cure cancer, and her nights with Beckett, who slowly pushes past her fears and breaks down her barriers, introducing her to a passionate and forbidden love that surpasses her wildest fantasies. As the doctor’s story of secrets and cover-ups unravels, so does Emmaline’s view on everything she thought she knew about herself and the power of surrender.

**Hotness Rating 4 out of 5**

Fearless by Brynley Bush is the first book of the Black Brothers series.  It could not have been a better start to a series.  When I started this book my first thought was “not another Fifty Shades of Grey knock off, please”.  There were similarities, but there were even more differences.  This book definitely gives you the hot, dominant alpha male and equally sizzling sex with some bdsm thrown in.  Seriously, you maybe should keep the fire extinguisher close.  But, we also get a strong single mom and great supporting characters.  There is emotion, dialogue and love, as well as, a bit of intrigue.  I loved that Ms. Bush didn’t go for the “suck the life out of you” secret keeping just to create unnecessary drama.  She had faith in her story and characters to hold your attention.  And it did!  I was hooked right away.

Dr. Beckett Black has devoted his life to helping others.  He and his family are huge cancer advocates and do all they can in research to find a cure.  When the beautiful Emmaline Hart pops in at his practice with a proposal to update the pamphlets he’s fascinated by her.  After careful research he has a proposition of his own.  He would like Emmaline to help his father write his memoirs.  The man is brilliant and has spent so much of his time in the Amazon searching for a cancer cure.  His story deserves to be shared.  If he’s being honest and Beckett is always honest he wants her for himself just as much.  With the high pressure job that he has it’s not surprising that he has control issues in every aspect of his life especially in the bedroom.  Now, if only he can convince Emmaline to let him show her the pleasures that only he can give her.

Emmaline Hart is a single mom that does it all.  When she was married her husband just sat back and expected her to be the responsible one and now that he’s gone nothing has changed.  With everything always on her shoulders it’s no surprise that she holds so tight to her control that she’s almost rigid.  Heck she’s never even had an orgasm she’s so tied to her control.  The more she gets to know Beckett the more she likes about him.  Of course, she finds him sexy as sin, but he’s also compassionate, brilliant, and thoughtful.  But, his dominance scares her more than a little bit.  It’s a lot for a control freak to accept especially when Beckett wants nothing more than for her to surrender her all to him.

I definitely recommend this book and cannot wait to read more about the dominant Black brothers.  It’s going to be hard to find one I like more than Beckett, but I have a feeling the other two brothers are going to give it their best.   The elderly Dr. Black is wonderful and such a good man.  I don’t know that it’s possible for the next two boys to be anything but.

I give Fearless 4 Flaming Hearts
4 Hearts

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The First Snow Day 8

We had our first snow day, Monday, which almost, but not quite, broke records.

I knew it was coming weeks ago, however. I can predict snow days based on when my husband has his winter conferences. When Dr. Stevens leaves, he sucks a polar vortex into his wake.

It happened the first time in 2003. We lived in balmy North Carolina, two hours from the beach. We had magnolia trees in our yard. Our neighbors were genteel. But he went to conference, and I found myself in the middle of an ice storm with an infant, a toddler, and no power for a week. Like most of the folks in our neighborhood, we ended up abandoning our home and staying in the basement of one of my husband’s coworkers—people I barely knew.

But fear not! By the time his plane flew back again, the electricity was on.

Summer conferences aren’t safe, either. Four years ago we adopted a pregnant cat two days before Dr. Stevens left for a week. While he was gone, I was hand-feeding premature kittens every two hours around the clock, traveling back and forth with cats and three boys to the emergency vet, getting those three boys into their first day of school, and taking breaks between kitten feedings to bury the ones who didn’t make it (all but one) in the backyard.

But fear not! By the time Dr. Stevens got home, Momma cat and the remaining kitten were safely fostered with a more competent person than I am. T he boys had figured out their bus schedules all on their own.

I always expect some disruption from the routine when one of my men travels (because now I have teen sons who go to camp and band workshops and and and), but it seems that in addition to the usual insomnia, meal disruption and carpool re-sorting that some kind of minor apocalyptic event occurs that has me using oxymorons all over the place.

What throws your life out of whack? And how can you tell if your life is IN whack?

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My Kind of Romance 9


Leah used this the other day, and it was SO great, I had to use it again! Thanks, Leah!

I’ll take my romance straight up, please, with a splash of real life.

Don’t get me wrong; I’ve read countless ‘feel good’ romances, and still go there when I’m down, or on vacation, on the beach . . .

But what I like reading the best, there isn’t a genre for (and there should be!) It’s what I like best, and why I write what I write.

First, and most important, an HEA. I’m all good with a HFN (Happy for now). Just don’t leave me in a bad place. Sophie’s Choice? Destroyed me. Gone Girl? Got the spoiler – not going there. When the hero/heroine die in the last part of the book? This girl ain’t gonna be there (yes, Nick, I’m talkin’ to you). Those books make me either feel down (not why I read) or manipulated (also not why).

Now, that said, I LOVE a book that drags me through real life. I’d better be. I’ve written books about: death of a child, addiction, sexual abuse, prison, PTSD, bullying, and my current WIP features mental illness (not the hero).

Wow, sounds like a downer, huh? Nope. Because my characters always reach the end, though all may not be sweetness & light, or running through a field of flowers, they are better off than when the book began – and happy.

photo credit: BlueRidgeKitties via photopin cc

photo credit: BlueRidgeKitties via photopin cc

If these people, with all their problems, can have an HEA, there’s hope.

Isn’t that like real life?

I’ve GOT to have hope at the end of a novel. I think it’s a perfect blend of Women’s Fiction and Romance.

And dammit, it SHOULD have its own genre! Real Life Romance, maybe? Reality Romance? Hopeful Women’s Fiction?

Hmmm, I may be onto something here . . .

What do you think? Is there a place on your bookshelf for my new genre?


Author Headshot Small Laura Drake is a city girl who never grew out of her tomboy ways, or a serious cowboy crush. She writes both Women’s Fiction and Romance.

She sold her Sweet on a Cowboy series, romances set in the world of professional bull riding, to Grand Central. The Sweet Spot (May 2013), Nothing Sweeter (Jan 2014) and Sweet on You (August 2014). The Sweet Spot won the 2014 Romance Writers of America®   RITA® award in the Best First Book category.

Her ‘biker-chick’ novel, Her Road Home, sold to Harlequin’s Superomance line (August, 2013) and has expanded to three more stories set in the same small town. The Reasons to Stay released August, 2014.

In 2014, Laura realized a lifelong dream of becoming a Texan and is currently working on her accent. She gave up the corporate CFO gig to write full time. She’s a wife, grandmother, and motorcycle chick in the remaining waking hours.

Twitter  Facebook

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Do you love Happy Endings?

Do you love Happy Endings? 8

I write romance. And it’s a given that romances need to end with the couple looking forward to a happy-ever-after ending. You’ll see it shortened to HEA on a lot of webpages and loops. But you’ll also hear it referred to as a happy ending. Especially on shows like Once Upon A Time.


So when I went down to New Orleans for the RT Convention back in May, I wandered around the French Quarter and was excited to find a T-shirt proclaiming “I <3 Happy Endings” (that’s a photo of the actual shirt below) I picked it up and showed it to my friends, saying, “Isn’t this perfect for the conference?”


They nodded and said “Yes it is.” So I bought two shirts, intending to keep one for myself and give one away in a contest.

That night I’d arranged to meet some friends down at the bar so I hurried back to my room, switched my shirt out for the T-shirt and proudly hurried downstairs. I met up with my friends, and about an hour after we’d been sitting talking, one of them giggled (ever heard the minions’ giggle? That’s what I have as my ringtone for her when she texts me, because she sounds just like that when she laughs.)  She then proceeded to tell me that apparently Happy Endings has another meaning. Involving a…service some not-really-masseuses provide for their customer instead of massages.


O. M. G.

Apparently everyone else at the table knew of the alternate meaning. Except me.

I’m a romance writer, an erotic romance writer. How had I never heard of that expression meaning anything else except a romance happy-ever-after ending? It was a face/palm and head/desk moment all rolled into one. When reminded of that night, Nikki still giggles and says “I still remember your face!” Because I’m pretty sure I did that stereotypical jaw-drop.

Still not sure if they were trying to pull my leg, I texted my husband. “Do you know what a Happy Ending is?”

He replied “Yup. And if you’ve having one or giving one, you got some ‘splainin’ to do.” Or words to that effect. Now before you get worried that he’s ticked off with me or suspicious, DH has got the driest sense of humor  to him. He’s really quiet and introverted but when he does speak, and he makes a joke, it’s doubly funny. I’ve been with him on trips when he’s met business people for the first time, or where they’ve only talked with him over the phone and then they get to know him in person, they’ll “get” his sense of humor. Seriously, he cracks me up all the time.

Except I didn’t find it particularly funny that night. (I do now. Sort of.) I ended up spending the rest of the night with my sweater pulled over the graphic. Later that night I checked with Amy, asking her if she knew of the darker meaning of Happy Endings. Her eyes widened and her mouth formed a silent Oh before she nodded and slowly admitted, (again, I’m paraphrasing) “I’m so sorry. I didn’t think about it at the store though or I would have warned you.” Shannon had the same reaction. (I love her enough that I named a character in my book for her–no worries.)

But me? Nope. I had no idea that it meant … “that”.

Now I understand why my husband snorted whenever the characters on Once Upon A Time talk about finding their Happy Ending. And it means now I can’t watch it without giggling like a minion every time I hear it. When I’m not hunching down in my chair, wishing I’d known before I worn it. (and I still hunt pictures of the RT bar to see if anyone snapped of pic of me wearing it.)

I still have the shirts, and after a few months I allowed myself to wear one as a night shirt. But I’m never ever wearing it out of the house again.

And it’s become fodder for a book. Yes, it’s one of the few times where I have actually written myself into a story. If you’ve read my latest story, Feeding the Flames, I’m Mrs. Buckland, the original owner of the shirt Shannon wears in one of the early scenes. I have to admit, I don’t like being a character in my own books.

As for the extra shirt? Maybe I’ll have a contest and give it away one day.

8 COMMENTS | Categories,Amy Ruttan, Leah Braemel | Tags, , , ,

Party Central 6

It’s the middle of the night here in California. I decided that maybe I should climb out of my warm, cozy bed and write my blog a minute while the house was quiet and I could still put two thoughts together and make a rational sentence. Later today that won’t be possible because we are celebrating DriDri’s 2nd birthday. With a bounce house. And a pinata. And snacks. And cake.  And about forty people. Just shoot me now, please?!

I love my grand-daughter very much. She is a delight, she’s loads of fun, and she has personality plus. I just think that she’s a little young still for such a big bash. My daughter has gone all out and has drug us all along for the ride, but even she is beginning to think maybe she has bitten off a little more than she can chew! It’s too late to back out now, so all we can do is throw caution to the wind and hope for the best!

The truth is I am just not a party person. Going to a party is hard enough. THROWING one is just about as far out of my comfort zone as it gets. And then it happened.  Oldest Daughter was turning one and I was faced with the fact that I knew absolutely NOTHING about giving a party and my family began calling me asking what I was going to do for her BIG DAY and I had no idea…

I never had birthday parties as a kid. Not that my folks didn’t think they were necessary. It’s just that my birthday is in August and that was when we packed up the trailer and tents and the boat and went camping for two weeks at our favorite lake in the mountains.  Sometimes Mom would turn on the tiny oven in our trailer and attempt to bake a cake, making sure she made adjustments  for the altitude so the cake would actually rise and not turn into a brownie, but most of the time we just had cookies or went to the little general store and got ice cream sandwiches instead.

Realizing that I didn’t have a whole lot of personal experience to draw on, I began talking to friends and people in my husband’s family. They had great ideas and I listened and learned. I decided that I wanted my daughters to have great memories of their birthdays so each year the parties had to be bigger or better or more creative than the last.

For some reason Oldest Daughter had the memorable parties. The Princess also celebrates the day of her birth in the summer, so her birthdays usually consisted of a day at the beach or an overnight camping trip.  After we moved into this house I just turned on some music, fired up the BBQ and we had swim parties in our own back yard. She was easy.

Oldest Daughter, however, was born a week before Halloween. The weather in California is rather capricious at that time of year so it was difficult to plan anything with an outdoor theme. Because of this I had to be more creative. We did the traditional costume party when she was about 7 years old. We played games and the biggest hit of the day was bobbing for apples. Who knew the kids would have so much fun plunging their little faces into ice-cold water and fishing an apple out with their teeth?!

For Oldest Daughter’s Sweet Sixteen we had the Black and Pink Ball. One of her friends came over and we stapled black and pink plastic table cloths around the rafters of the garage to make walls, We hung silvery twirly things and had a big banner across the garage door that read “Happy Sweet Sixteen”. I had a wing chair that we covered in a pink fuzzy blanket for her throne. My sister in law gave us strobe lights and a fog machine, the kids brought the music, and everyone had to be dressed up and wear black and pink! For the boys who didn’t have anything pink my aunt very kindly made them little boutonnieres that I handed to them as they came in the door.  I still chuckle when I look at the pictures from that night! It was a blast and Oldest Daughter had a great time.

My favorite party of all, however, was Oldest Daughter’s 17th birthday. We had been scratching our heads, trying to come up with something fun, when I had a brainstorm. The girls went to school, and I grew up in, the small town of Ripon, which isn’t very far from Caswell State Park. Caswell is one of the few remaining riparian habitats and as such has these amazing trees with lots of vines climbing up them. It’s open year round for camping and day use. It even has a small beach  that is handy to pull up on when you float the river in the summertime.

I rented a camp space, and with the help of one of the boys I set up three tents. My aunt picked my daughters and their friends up after school (she still lives in Ripon) and brought them to her house to carve pumpkins. We went out for pizza and then headed to the football game to cheer for our home team. I packed all the makings for S’mores and hot chocolate and after the game we headed out to Caswell.

Did I forget to mention how creepy Caswell is at night? All those vines make for a nice shady park during the day, but at night they block out the stars and its more like being in a cave than outside!

We all gathered around the campfire and I set the jack o’ lanterns up around the edge of the campsite and lit them. The flickering candles added to the atmosphere and we told ghost stories in the dark and ate S’mores and drank hot chocolate and laughed and screamed all night. It was an absolute blast!

Tomorrow I am helping give the party for DriDri, but my girls are the one’s who have planned it. The Princess is beyond stressed–she is a perfectionist and wants everything JUST SO! Everything has to match. I’m not sure how much she has spent on Minnie Mouse napkins, plates, and silverware. Even the pinata is Minnie! She and her sister spent a good hour last night stuffing goody bags to go into the pinata. We realized that the children coming to the party are of varying ages and the little ones would be at a disadvantage when it came to the candy scramble after the pinata broke so the girls made up 24 bags of candy. That way everyone will have the same amount of candy and no one will be left out.

I am in charge of the snacks, so when I get up I am slicing the salami and putting together meat and cheese trays, baking the baguettes and slicing them for the spinach dip, and getting the carrots and celery cut up for the veggie tray. Then we will head over to my mother in law’s to set up tables and chairs and decorate. It’s going to be a lot of fun and I am hoping to get a picture of all five of my grandchildren together for the very first time.

So how did you do parties when you were young? Do you have traditions that have lived on from generation to generation? Maybe a favorite food you just have to serve at any family gathering?  We love pinatas! Every birthday until the girls were about 10 or 11 years old had a large pinata as a focal point. Do you enjoy giving parties, going to parties, or would you rather put on some fuzzy slippers and sweats and stay home? I ask this because party season is upon us and will be in full swing in about another two weeks. How do you survive it?! Or do you hide in the bedroom until after the New Year?!

It’s almost 2 AM and my bed is calling me. Wish me luck–I’m going to need it!



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Not into Vampires . . . but 4

I have a group of friends that for our birthdays, it’s dinner and a movie. It makes turning a year older bearable, and I love our get-togethers. It was my birthday this month, and I had to choose the movie. There wasn’t much out, in my opinion, so, knowing these particular ladies are into fantasy, horror and paranormal, I said what the heck and selected Dracula Untold.

Ready to hide my eyes (yes I write suspense), we took our seats. And the film began, with the first scene a bit of backstory about a warrior who had been taken prisoner by the Turks, trained as a boy to fight, lose his emotions, and later grow up to be known as The Impaler. There followed a gruesome scene of a defeated enemy on stakes.

And then a particular character made the whole movie worthwhile. I read that Luke Evans Dracula-Untold-with-Luke-Evanswas in The Hobbit but it’s been a while since I’ve seen the film. But as the camera panned in to the actor who would tell the story of Dracula Untold, I settled back for some fantastic eye candy. All this besides, he was an outstanding charismatic Dracula. His acting was believable and he lit up the screen. As a matter of fact, to be fair, the whole cast did a credible job.

As writers we look for characters that inspire our writing. I read that Luke Evans is a Welsh actor. I know little more than that. Only that if he’s in an upcoming movie, picture me there.


4 COMMENTS | Categories,Donnell Ann Bell, Uncategorized | Tags, , ,

The Deep End

It’s been a few years since I patrolled the sidelines as an athletic trainer, but a conversation with a couple of my cousins who have daughters playing basketball and volleyball reminded me that ankle sprains are the head colds of sports injuries. Everybody gets one eventually, and despite throwing millions of dollars of research and technology at the problem, we can’t seem to prevent either one.

One of my more memorable ankle rehab experiences occurred in Pendleton, Oregon, where I acted as the athletic trainer for both Pendleton High School and Blue Mountain Community College. I arrived at BMCC one afternoon to find Anthony, their backup point guard, nursing a purple, swollen ankle from the previous night’s game. After determining that the sprain was relatively mild, I recommended that he head to the college pool to do some exercises to work out the stiffness and swelling.

“No practice tonight,” I said. “Get an Aqua-Jogger® belt from the lifeguard, then go to the deep end and do some easy, non-weightbearing running. I’ll be down to check on you as soon as I finish up with the rest of these guys.”

Anthony seemed skeptical, but I shooed him away so I could deal with the aches and pains of the rest of the team. An Aqua-Jogger® is hardly the most complicated piece of equipment ever invented, just a wide foam belt that straps around your waist and holds you upright at the top of the water so you can go through the motions of running without touching the bottom of the pool. Any of the lifeguards could show him how it worked.

Except one.

Unknown to me, a brand new lifeguard was on duty that day and he didn’t know an Aqua-Jogger® from a lead weight. Which wouldn’t have been so bad if he didn’t happen to have lead-weighted belts on hand. The kind scuba divers use so they can sink to the ocean floor and stay there, the better to explore corals reefs and play Patty-Cake with sharks. And somewhere in this rookie lifeguard’s chlorine-addled brain it made perfect sense that I would send a basketball player down to run laps on the bottom of the deep end of the swimming pool. So guess which kind of belt he gave to Anthony?

I found Anthony sitting on the side of the pool, sucking air. As I approached, he gave me a look that suggested he doubted my credentials, if not my sanity.

“How’s it going?” I asked.

“Not so good,” he said mournfully. “I can only run about three steps at a time.”

“Three steps?” I echoed, baffled. A college athlete in top physical condition should’ve been bobbing back and forth across the pool like a very gangly duckling. “Why can’t you go any farther? Does it hurt?”

“Not really,” he said. “But that’s as long as I can hold my breath.”


Kari Lynn Dell  – http://www.montanaforreal.blogspot.com


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