Friday, 25 July 2014

A "buffet of oddities"

Hubby and I were cracking jokes the other day, something we do far too often for it to be considered healthy for some folks. I said something silly, as I usually do.

He turned to me and said, "Woman, you are a buffet of oddities."

I smacked him but I also laughed really hard.

Our relationship began when we started working at the same summer job one year. We were both university students, broke, and looking for adventure. Working for the Toronto tourism board, we found that and a whole lot more. Our friendship was based on lots of laughter, gentle ribbing and private jokes. And I don't think I'd want my relationship to start any other way.

Doug and I laugh a lot, mostly at our kids, but we laugh a lot. ;) I truly believe this is a strong foundation. Say what you want about chemistry, sex, looks. A marriage built on laughter can stand the test of time, in my humble opinion. I think it really helps to be able to laugh at the same things. There's nothing quite as awkward as giggling like a madman, when your partner sits stone-faced next to you. I wouldn't want that. Heck, we still cackle over jokes that fizzled years ago.

And here we are, about to celebrate our 18th anniversary in September. When I look back at our marriage, I remember our shared smiles, tears and proud moments, but I really remember the laughs. I know the laughter will sustain me long after other memories have faded.

My advice to young people looking for a mate? Look for someone with whom you can share the "buffet of oddities" we know as life.

Friday, 11 July 2014

Dating advice for my sons

My house is currently full of raging teen and tween hormones. It occurred to me the other day that it won't be long before my sons want to date. I've already spotted the interest.

My first reaction, of course, is to cry like a baby because my boys are growing. However, at 11 and 13, I think they'll still consider me their main gal for a little while longer.

Even still, I couldn't help but try to encapsulate all the advice I wish I could share with them. As teens they don't always want to have these discussions in person. What would I tell my soon-to-be-dating children?

1) The world is full of girls. The first one who breaks your heart will not be the last, or the best.

2) The girl who points out one's zits or imperfect nose is not the one for you. Share yourself with the one who sees past these things.

3) Look for girls who share your interests. In some measure, opposites will always attract, but at the end of the day, you need to have something to talk about.

4) Teen boys may feel explosive chemistry for any girl who walks by. This is normal and don't let it freak you out. But when you settle down as an adult, make sure you have chemistry with your chosen woman. You should curl her toes, and she should curl yours.

5) Keep talking to us, your parents. It can be easy to feel so alone as a teen. Life is less lonely when you share your feelings.

6) And most of all, don't be afraid to love. Don't be afraid to try. Great romances weren't born of fear.

7) As you head out into the big, bad world, please know your parents will always support you and you can always come home. We love you.

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Haley Whitehall...Wild and Tender Care.

I'm always pleased to welcome Liquid Silver Books pub sister Haley Whitehall to my blog. She has a wonderful new book, Wild and Tender Care, and a fascinating post about "painted ladies" in the Old West.

Painted Ladies of the West

Many people do not realize there were two kinds of “bad girls” in the Old West. There were saloon and dance hall women who danced with men and offered music and conversation while they drank, but did not engage in prostitution. In the shabbiest saloons – the brothels – the women also took customers up to their rooms. Of course, some of the whorehouses were of higher class than others serving to the more well to do, but most serviced the dusty cowboys, drifters, and miners.
The saloon and dance hall women were considered respectable company by the men who enjoyed their company and were treated like ladies. These ladies looked down upon the working women and would not want to be in the company of a prostitute. I find it interesting that even among painted ladies there was a social order.
The Puritan women in the East considered both types of women as “fallen” not differentiating between the two. To them a painted lady was a lady of sin. Girls did not work in saloons in the East. Of course, women were plentiful in the East. The desire for female company in the West made being a saloon girl a profitable job especially in the boomtowns. I have read many stories of women making a fortune during the gold rush. Many widows and farm girls were lured to the West and entered this profession looking for easy work and high wages. The work was not really easy not matter if the lady worked in a dance hall or brothel. As Ida Page points in Wild and Tender Care she’d seen the roughest side of the West and all the worst men could offer.
Dr. William Steere is different. He is a refined gentleman who doesn’t even carry a gun. She is intrigued by his manners and handsome looks. Could he really have feelings for her—a former madam?


The following day she focused on her usual pile of laundry. Scrubbing a pair of trousers, she did not know anyone had approached until she heard a man cough.

Stomach tightening, her spine snapped straight.

Dr. Steere nodded to her. “Miss Page, I did not mean to sneak up on you.”

“That’s quite all right, Doctor,” she said, her insides slowly unwinding.

“I see you are enjoying the sunshine.”

“If you consider running clothes over a washboard as enjoyment.”

He glanced up at the sun. “Colorado Territory does have pretty skies, don’t you think?”

What was this, a feeble attempt at small talk? She didn’t have the strength to keep up the charade any longer. It was much easier to be friendly. “A blue sky is a blue sky.”

He shook his head. “But this sky has horses and castles and giant flowers.”

She peered up at the clouds dotting the stretch of endless blue. Looking for shapes in the clouds had been a fun game when she was little. She pointed to a large cloud. “That one looks like a boat.”

Dr. Steere sidled up to her and followed her finger to where she was pointing. “Yes, it does.”
His masculine musk filled the air, surrounding her. A deep-seated ache migrated through her body and settled between her thighs. It had been a long time since she’d been with a man. Even though whoring had been her business, she’d learned to derive pleasure from her clients. A pleasure she’d been long denied. Dr. Steere was not like any of the usual men who had called upon her nightly services. His presence alone aroused her. She didn’t even need his touch to remind her body what to do.

Her long-suppressed need for male companionship rose to the surface. Watching him out of the corner of her eye, she noticed the corners of his lips twitching. Had he caught her looking at him?

If this was a game for him, she’d be happy to lose. Her heart raced, beating with eagerness to be with him. It would be more than sex with him. They had a deeper connection. He wanted to court her, make her his wife, and she longed for him to drop on one knee and ask her.

She could enjoy his strong, steady presence all day especially if it led to the bedroom. Damn, this was a precarious situation. He wanted her and her body wanted to be with him, but she knew the people of Big Rock better than he did. Was she ready for the storm that would follow?
While she was in charge of her own life, not the good Christians passing judgment on her, she did have to live within their community. Would it be more or less painful to live as Mrs. Steere?

Clearing her throat, she got his attention. “What is your business here, Dr. Steere? I take it you no longer require directions around town.”

“No, you explained the surroundings very well. It will just take time for me to get to know everything.” The way he looked at her left no question of whom he wanted to get to know.

Her pulse skidded out of control and her core heated. She put both her hands in her apron pockets to keep from running them up and down Dr. Steere’s broad shoulders.

She gulped air, grasping for her resolve to keep things strictly professional. “Did you come out here merely to discuss the clouds? I figured a doctor would have more important things to occupy his time.”

He put a hand on his chest. “The lady’s wit strikes again.”

She scowled. His sarcasm was not becoming.

“I was actually hoping you could get out bloodstains.” He took off his frock coat and then his vest, standing before her in a white shirt, tie, and trousers.

He was stripping in front of her. She couldn’t believe it! Yes, she’d seen many men strip for her before but that had been in the privacy of her room, not on the front lawn where anyone could see. Heat spread from her ears all the way down to her toes, and yet she could not tear her eyes away from the enthralling sight.

She wetted her lips and clenched her thighs, already feeling the moisture down below. He slipped off his tie and then proceeded to take off his white shirt.

Speechless, she gaped at his toned chest covered in a dusting of black hair.

“I suppose I should have changed at the office,” he said in an apologetic tone. “I wasn’t thinking.

I knew it was best to clean the bloodstain quickly. I was changing the bandage on a patient and my sleeve fell down.” He handed the shirt to her.

The right sleeve was coated in blood, still damp.

Somehow her lust-filled mind still managed to form a coherent sentence. “I will see what I can do.”

“Thank you. After medical school and the war I don’t have too much savings. I figure I’ll be scraping by until I build up a good practice. Of course, I realize many patients pay in kind out here.” His gaze migrated lower, pausing for a hairbreadth at her thighs and she pulsed with need.

“How much do you charge?”


He pointed to the shirt she was holding. “For the washing,” he said, a taut smile tugging at his lips.

“Oh. Two bits.”

He nodded and began buttoning up his frock coat to hide his bare chest.

“I-I can deliver your shirt tomorrow,” she stammered.

“That will be fine, Miss Page. You know where my office is.” He walked all the way to the street and then stopped and turned around. “A doctor keeps long hours,” he called to her. “My door is always open.”


Ida Page has seen the worst the west has to offer. Snubbed by the citizens of Big Rock, Colorado, ever since the town cleaned up its act and became civilized, she has tried to change with the times. No other line of work available, she became a laundress after the mayor shut down the whorehouse, but the good people will not allow her to forget her past as a shady lady. She has given up on ever being accepted, let alone falling in love, until a handsome half-breed stranger arrives in town.

After the War Between the States, William Steere has been looking for a town to build a medical practice. He answered a newspaper ad placed by the mayor of Big Rock and hopes their desperate need for a doctor will overrule their race prejudice against his half-breed status. At the Independence Day picnic, he is introduced to all the town citizens except for one woman sitting off by herself. This redhead draws him to her with merely a gaze.

Can the two outcasts find love and acceptance in each other's arms or will the town’s cruelty and a smallpox epidemic tear them apart?

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Author Bio:
Haley Whitehall lives in Washington State where she enjoys all four seasons and the surrounding wildlife. She writes historical fiction and historical romance set in the 19th century U.S. When she is not researching or writing, she plays with her cats, watches the Western and History Channels, and goes antiquing. She is hoping to build a time machine so she can go in search of her prince charming. A good book, a cup of coffee, and a view of the mountains make her happy. Visit Haley’s website at

Where to find Haley Whitehall: