When Embarrassing Your Adult Children Is Fun

For those of you with adult children, you know that sometimes it’s fun to mess with them. Two of my kids live near me, two do not.

When I embarked on this writing adventure, the only person who knew was Garage Guy. Obviously, there was a reason for wads of pet fur and piles of dust (okay, dirt) on the floor, late dinners or meals consisting of hastily slapped together cold sandwiches. Trooper that he is, he snarfed down those ham and cheese confections like they were a four-course dinner.  At least I kept up with the laundry!   LOL


In writing 42 Rue de Jardin, a pub scene needed a signature cocktail for the heroine, Cullan. Youngest child was a bartender for years, so I sent a text:

Me: <would u suggest a cocktail for a woman, not too sweet, just a little tart?>

Her: <vodka, cranberry and lemon-lime soda>

Me: <thanks, honey. what do you call it?>

Her: <don’t know. just made it up.>

A few minutes later:

Her: <mom, what r u doing???>


Garage Guy and I chuckled. He asked if I was ready to out myself. Hmm, I had to think about that for a bit. I wasn’t ashamed of what I was doing. But the whole ripping my chest open to bare my thoughts and imagination was (and still is) scary. Magnified by what I was writing – erotic romance. With graphic language.


I decided to dip my toe in the bathwater and talk about my writing. When former bartender daughter came over, I broached the subject. She was thrilled! Encouraged, I elaborated and told her the story context. She was quiet then said in a quavering voice, “Do you expect me to read it, Mom?”

This child reads history, political science and an occasional chick lit. Not romance. “No, it’s enough that you support my efforts,” I responded with a smile.

The relief on her face was comical.


The next child I told lives out of state and is a voracious romance reader. On the phone, she asked what I’d been doing. When I told her, she squealed, “That’s so cool! I wanna read it. Wait until I tell Gram. She reads romance all the time.”


Yikes. Do I really want my mother-in-law (or my mother) to read words I’m not supposed to know? Ai-yi-yi. Do we ever outgrow being a little girl in our own minds?


We discussed generalities about the book. She paused and said, “Um, you didn’t write about you and Dad, did you? Because I really don’t want to read about y’all’s sex life. That’s just…eww.”

*Cue hysterical laughter* No, it’s fiction.


My son didn’t bat an eyelash, though the romance genre isn’t on his radar. He prefers Stephen King, sci-fi and anything sports related. When he said he wanted to read it, I told him he didn’t have to just because I wrote it. “No, I want to,” he said.  *Happy dance*


Fourth child was told over Thanksgiving. Reaction? “That’s neat. When can I read it?”  *Happy dance times two*


Ah, yes, Thanksgiving. My first holiday with the family when they all knew about my writing. Mother-in-law’s comment? “You know I want to read it.”  Me: “Mom, my book isn’t like the ones you read. It has graphic sex and profanity.” Her: “Don’t care. You wrote it.”

With apologies to MasterCard – Family love and support. Priceless.

Frost, Foliage and Fun, Oh, My.

Winter has arrived in South Carolina. Because I’ve been a little preoccupied with writing, my yearly routine is out of sync. My first clue came last night when Garage Guy (GG) went into the backyard with a flashlight. Next thing I know, he’s dug out his fabricated aluminum hoops and drop cloths to cover his garden.

What? *Cue frantic scrambling to pull up the Weather Channel* Oh. That’s why.

So today, I postponed writing to prepare for the annual rite of passage – bringing the outdoor potted plants to overwinter in the house. Garage Guy despises this ritual.


GG, grumbling: “Why do we have to have the house full of oversized green stuff?”

Me: “One, it makes me happy and you like making me happy. Two, it keeps me from buying new ones every year and that would cut into your golf budget.”

End of discussion.


I have 2 Kimberly Queen ferns I have salvaged this way for almost 20 years. I do have a pretty good track record for growing things. As an undergraduate, I took a horticulture class for kicks and giggles. An easy elective. HA. They lied. I received an ‘A’ in the class. But I also ended up with over 100 plants in my 2 bedroom apartment. My roommate loved me. At least, I tell myself that.

Over the following years, most of those plants died as I schlepped them around the country during assorted moves for my career. Imagine the look on the United Van Lines movers’ faces as they scanned an entire room full of plants.


“You sure you want to take all of these to Oklahoma, lady?”


Note to self: some plants don’t travel well.


Now, my green thumb has come back to bite me in the ass. Hard. I’ve learned not to trust anything written on those little tags stuck in plants. You know, the ones with the proper light and water requirements along with the maximum height of the mature plant? I have yet to plant one of those that ended up at the detailed size. It wouldn’t be so bad if we were just talking about small houseplants. No, I’m also referring to flowers, bushes and trees.

Maybe my earlier horticulture class did me a disservice because literally everything I plant in my yard outgrows its space. Perhaps it’s my homemade compost. Or maybe water in the South is different. I don’t know.

I do know Garage Guy growls at me every time he has to prune the overgrown greenery in the yard. (I could do it but it would take away from my writing).  ;D  So I am sensitive to his feelings about bringing plants into the house.

While outside giving the potted plants a bath, haircut and a good soaking, I pondered the lifespan of all five plants. The 2 ferns already mentioned. I like them because they shed less than other species of ferns. Two peace lilies salvaged from my mother. They’ve been split and repotted multiple times due to excessive growth. (See a pattern yet?)

Then there is the mother of all aloe vera plants. Seriously. This plant is so large and produces such copious offspring it’s a struggle to keep it contained. I routinely remove babies and gift them to anyone who breathes. I’ve also cut the mother in half in order to avoid having to plant her in a pot the size of a small Volkswagon. I’ve even searched for plant birth control to no avail. (If you know of any, shoot me a message. Please.)


Monster Aloe Vera
Image by Lucy Lit

So, Garage Guy kept his cucumbers alive for another night. The large potted plants are inside, hopefully spider free. That’s why they get a good soaking outside first. Don’t need another thing for Garage Guy to complain about.


GG: “The cat’s playing with a spider that crawled out of the f*#king plant.”



Why don’t I just keep something small in the house, you ask? Like African Violets?

They are the one plant I kill by looking at them. Seriously. I cannot grow one to save my life. Every African Violet in the world knows if I purchase them, they’re guaranteed to die within 3 months. They shake in their pots when I walk by. I see it.

Now I just keep going. It’s for their own good.




What’s Your Dream Worth?

Have you ever thought “if only I could?”

Of course, you have. Advertising caters to that desire. You know, ads that say ‘if I can do ___ (insert a topic – lose weight, start a business, learn a new language), so can you‘. Usually they contain ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures or testimonials. We all push those thoughts around in our minds. They percolate, bubbling to the surface, teasing our collective senses. Sometimes they resemble the pictures of La Brea tar pits. You know, those blobs of black tar that puncture the earth’s surface and spread to capture anything around them.

My dream was like that. I’ve spent years reading romance, loving the immersion and fantasizing about the characters. That’s what entertainment reading is for me. Losing myself. Being transported to other worlds where my physical body is more perfect than it really is and the love of my life sends me into fits of sensual bliss.  *Sigh*

But I never thought I could write something swoon worthy.

And so I puttered along, reading voraciously, making my contribution to the economy, especially after eReaders and one-click purchasing came along. But I felt guilty. I was using online reviews to help with my selections. Why wasn’t I paying that forward?  

I began posting reviews. It was fun and gratifying when people contacted me to say my efforts helped them.

Then romance-ageddon hit.

I read several romance books in succession that frustrated me and not in a good way. The dilemma? Write a string of less-than-positive reviews or do something else? My inner voice said, ‘Don’t like it? Write your own.’

Yeah, right. I’m no author.

It got louder, more insistent, woke me up at night. I ignored it.

While cruising over Twitter (which I’m still learning – I’m a technology dinosaur – a blog topic worthy of its own post), I discovered an editor/coach whose style resonated. She’s in your face honest about – ‘You wanna write? Then get off your ass and do it.’

Whoa. Are you seeing a convergence here? I did.

So this neophyte, clueless grandmother with a vague idea for a book signed up for a 4-week class on writing a novel. On May 4, I found myself among several talented people who were published or had completed works. All of them knew how to do this thing called writing.

Except me. I was in way over my head. And I knew it.

I have to apologize to my fellow participants because I didn’t add much to the class. Actually, I was too terrified to open my mouth. (And anyone who knows me would be stunned by that admission.)

When the class ended, I signed on for the next one. And the next one. Insecure much? Um, yep.

At 6 pm on August 7, I wrote the final period in my 67,000+ word first draft.

Did’ja catch that? May 4 to August 7, vague idea to full length novel.  Whoa.

I’d like to say that it’s full of melodic words, gossamer threads wafting down, tantalizing, taunting you just beyond your grasp, reaching in to wrap around your heart, changing your world for the better.


What? No, no. That’s not me. I’m not that poetic, lyrical writer who stirs the senses with just the right combination of words screaming up the bestseller charts.

I’m Lucy. With a story that makes me sigh, giggle and tingle with a little swoon. And I’m damn proud of that fact.

So back to the original question —  “If only I could?”

Sorry to add to the marketing hype but… sure you can.