Tuesday, September 2, 2014

September $229 Giveaway

229 giveaway

It’s time for September’s $229 Kindle Giveaway Hosted by I Am A Reader.

The winner will have the option of receiving a 7" Kindle Fire HDX (US Only - $229 Value)
  Or a $229 Amazon.com Gift Card (International)
  Or a $229 in Paypal Cash (International)

Each of these bloggers/authors paid to help sponsor this giveaway.

Sponsor List:

Giveaway Details:
One winner will receive their choice of an all new Kindle Fire 7" HDX (US Only - $229 value), $229 Amazon Gift Card, or $229 in Paypal Cash (International). Ends 9/30/14. Open only to those who can legally enter and who can receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter, or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the participating authors & bloggers. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW.
How to Enter:
Enter by clicking the link below and following the instructions. This is not a blog hop. Not much is required.  Like or follow authors and bloggers of clean books.  Yes, it takes a few clicks but look what you could win!!

Monday, September 1, 2014

The Case of the Lunatic Lawyer

Despite being an honor roll student, a sought-after portrait artist, and a legal secretary for a small group of lawyers, at sixteen and still in high school, I didn’t exactly glow with self-confidence. I had grown up without my parents telling me much about life off the farm. I trusted too easily, gave my heart too easily, and I certainly wasn’t wise to the grownup games people play.

The head lawyer, Jacob, had always been kind, fun, understanding, and caring. With the win of an important legal case, involving millions of dollars, he soon changed. By the end of my senior year in school, he hardly ever came to work. Two of the other male lawyers gossiped that he had opened a law practice in Salt Lake with an influential woman, however this woman had supposedly gotten him involved in drugs and alcohol.

I found myself dealing with clients without him by duplicating standard divorce papers, and when Jacob didn’t show up for meetings, I ended up forging his signature and signing as a witness, despite being underage, just to save his practice. The other lawyers were slowly leaving, looking for work elsewhere. I didn’t know what to do.
I finally turned in my two weeks’ notice, and Jacob wrote me a lovely recommendation. He began interviewing secretaries without much luck. Still today, I have to admit these were two of the worst weeks of my life. The woman attorney, Jenay, started coming out to our office. She gave me complicated, dictated documents to type up that I had no idea what they meant, let alone how to spell the words. In the small community we lived in, we had mostly done divorces and wills. She continually chastised me with a red pen. (I’m positive that’s why I don’t edit my writing with red to this day.)  You have to realize this was before computers and word processors. Yes, I had an electric typewriter but you had to put in carbon paper to make copies. (I’m so old.) And, our dictation equipment was staticy.

Jacob’s behavior became more and more erratic as he tried to find a secretary who would do everything I had done and for the little pay I received. I was receptionist, typist, office cleaner, coffee maker and plant waterer all in one. With only a few days left of work and not knowing when or if he would show up for work, I made out my check through to the end of the week and left it on his desk.

The next day, after my half-a-day at school, I drove to work. Despite it being early afternoon, the door was locked. I pulled out my keys, went inside, and looked at the pile of work the high and mighty Jenay had left on my desk. I wandered in to see if my check had been signed. Nope. I shrugged, pulled off the cover on my electric typewriter, and turned it on.

I kept gazing out the window as dusk fell over the small town. The office was located just down the street from the liquor store and I had had one or two incidents with drunks wandering inside. I was just about to get up and lock the door when Jenay came in. She didn’t even speak or look at me, just headed down the hall to an office.

Shortly after, Jacob who had hired me, who had given me my first job, who had written that wonderful recommendation, and who I had admired and trusted also came in. He couldn’t walk straight. He ran into the corner of his office. He smiled, went inside, and accidentally banged his glass door shut. Moments later, Jenay joined him. I tried not to look up from my typing.

“Cindy, would you come in here?” Jacob asked.

I startled, having a bad feeling about this. I reluctantly entered his office. I could feel an electrical intensity in the room.

“Did you type this?” Jacob slurred.

Jenay handed him a document that he immediately thrust in my face. Every other word was circled in red.

“Yes, but—“

“This is inexcusable. And, to top it off, you steal from me.”

Steal! What on earth was he talking about?  With a roiling stomach, I listened to Jacob slur his way through a host of insulting accusations and lies. I fidgeted, kept rubbing my lips, tapped my leg, dry washed my hands, and stared at the floor. I never once thought of defending myself, telling him off, or confronting the both of them.

As his tirade went on, I peeked up and noticed the smile on Jenay’s face. I didn’t understand any of this. I had never met or associated with people like this before. I wanted to get up and bolt out the door, never to return. Jacob threatened to not sign my paycheck. Jenay hopped to her feet, turned, and gave me a devious smile over her shoulder before leaving. What had I ever done to her?

None of this made sense. All I knew was that I had never been accused of being dishonest in my life. I couldn’t figure out how someone could turn on you. I didn’t think about the alcohol or drugs. I’d had no experience with that.

Jacob made me redo the paycheck so that that night was my final day. I left in a flurry of confusion, insecurity, and tears. My understanding of what took place didn’t come for a long time. The event shaped my future and robbed me of my trusting innocence. A sense of security in myself didn't come for many years later.

Cindy A. Christiansen
Sweet Romance, Humor, Suspense...and Dogs! 
Fly into a good book at:  http://www.dragonflyromance.com
Copyright: damedeeso / 123RF Stock Photo

Friday, August 29, 2014

Falling for Fall

“At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us.” — Albert Schweitzer

School has started and the weather is changing.

Yes, autumn is my favorite time of year. I have fond memories of life on our farm with my family and harvesting what we had worked so hard to produce through the year. I remember peeling and coring apple after apple for bottled apples and applesauce, my mouth watering for one of my mom’s homemade apple pies; the canning season coming to a close as we gathered the squash to store in the cellar; and finally putting the garden to bed for the dormant winter months ahead.

Memories of my dad’s hardworking hands, my mother’s gentle smile, and my siblings’ playful banter take me back to a picturesque time when life was slower and more people had sense of gratitude instead of entitlement.

But most of all, I remember being together as a family, sharing a story and a laugh while we worked together and the feelings of love, contentment, and peace that radiated from our home. I am so very thankful for these memories and hope the home life I have tried to create for my children will provide them with the same wonderful memories I enjoy because there really is no place like home.

Although I am grateful for my family and friends who light the flame within me, often times it’s the memories of life on our farm which help to rekindle my passion for life. For this, I am forever grateful.

I thoroughly enjoy watching this Siberian Husky named Butch playing in the fall leaves. Hope you enjoy it too. Have a wonderful weekend!  

Cindy A. Christiansen
Sweet Romance, Humor, Suspense...and Dogs! 
Fly into a good book at:  http://www.dragonflyromance.com

Monday, August 25, 2014

Give Me Lipizzaner Stallions or Give Me Death!

I was sick all the time. This time, I was particularly ill. The doctors had finally combined penicillin and cephalosporin antibiotics to try to attack whatever was wrong. Meanwhile, I was still working and remodeling our house.

The Lipizzaner stallions show was in town, and I desperately wanted to go. I bought tickets for me, my husband, my brother, a friend I’d made at work, and her husband. We were all set to go. I had the tickets, and we were to meet at the Fairgrounds that evening.

Boy, I felt awful!  But then, when didn’t I? My brother came over and the three of us headed out, my husband driving. I told myself I’d be fine, it would pass. Then it hit. My mouth filled with water and the cords in my neck tightened. My stomach blew up, and I felt a rippling in my colon. The car ride dizzied me. I could make it. Didn’t I know every bathroom stop from Salt Lake City to Ogden? I was used to being sick to my stomach.

I cursed myself. Hold on! It will pass!

I had to make it. Everyone was counting on me. I had all the tickets. We had to make it to the show. Even if I spent the night in the restroom, at least everyone else could watch the horse show. I held on, grasping the seat with both hands and trying to keep everything inside.

“Are you okay?” my husband asked.

I couldn’t even answer. The rushing street, bright headlights, and changing street lights caused my head to swirl. Don’t mention swirl, too close to hurl!  I can’t make it!

“You’re going to have to stop somewhere,” I told my husband. “I’m sick.”

“Let me take you home.”

My brother nodded. “We shouldn’t have gone in the first place.”

“I can do this,” I responded. “Just get me to a restroom. I’ll be fine after that.”

My husband pulled into a restaurant parking lot, and I had the door open before he came to a complete stop. I rushed in, found the restroom, and bolted through the door. Both stalls were taken.

I beat on one of the doors. “Lady, you’ve got to let me in there, and I mean now!”

I have no idea how long I took. From the looks on both my husband’s and brother’s faces, I’d say quite awhile. However, I was determined to continue.

“I think we better call it a night,” my brother said. “You don’t look well at all.”

“He’s right,” my husband said.

“No. No. I can make it.” I slipped into the backseat and rested my head. I scratched my stomach.

He pulled back onto the road, rain starting to drizzle. My vision whirled like a merry-go-round—round and round, up and down. My stomach itched again.

“Could you turn on the overhead light?” I asked.

I pulled up my shirt just as the light came on. Three red welts graced my stomach, and I gasped.

My brother turned around and spotted them. “That’s it. Where’s the nearest hospital?”

“I’ll be fine. Let’s just go to the show. I at least need to give our friends their tickets.”

“Pioneer Hospital is the closest,” my husband said.

“I am not going to that hospital.” I leaned forward and touched his shoulder.

My husband did a U-turn. “I’ll take you back to the house so you can get your truck,” he said to my brother. “If you want to go see the Lippizans without us, you should.”

“You just get her to the hospital.”

“You both are making a big deal out of nothing.”  I stirred through my purse. “I’ll see if I have some allergy medication.”

I would not, could not give up. My next breath was constrained. I grabbed at my throat. Was my breathing blocking off? My chin trembled, and I shrunk back on the seat. I closed my eyes, not wanting to face reality. We weren’t going to see the horses. My friends would show up and not have their tickets. My brother wouldn’t get to see them either. I gave a half-hearted shrug and mumbled under my breath, “I ruin everything.”

“Better safe than sorry,” my husband said, looking at me in the rearview mirror.

I agreed, emotionless. I wanted to see the Lipizzaner stallions.

We took my brother back to our house. By then, I could hardly breathe. My husband rushed me to our local hospital. I can’t quite remember what happened from there except for the chewing out my husband received from the doctor.

“You should have called the paramedics or taken her to the nearest hospital,” the ER doctor said. “She’s in anaphylaxis shock. She’s allergic to one or the other of the antibiotics. She would have been dead in another twenty minutes.”

“But you don’t know my wife,” he answered.

And, not much has changed in all these years. “Give me death” has happened on more than one occasion because of my stubbornness and unwillingness to succumb to health issues. I guess I’ll never change. 

Cindy A. Christiansen
Sweet Romance, Humor, Suspense...and Dogs! 
Fly into a good book at:  http://www.dragonflyromance.com  

Friday, August 22, 2014

Tell Me It's Not A Chihuahua!

When we rescued Chloe, her paperwork said she was a Tibetan terrier mix. She was in a kennel with three Chihuahuas, and she only weighed six pounds at nine months old.  The Humane Society told us she came from the streets of Los Angeles and had been on the euthanasia list.

Our family teased about taking her back within the thirty day period if she was part Chihuahua.  Of course, we wouldn't do that, but it has been fun teasing her about it.

Chloe has been quite difficult to train.  Although we have worked extensively with her to "come", she runs from everybody. The other day, she was asleep on the couch and a commercial came on with a Chihuahua in it.  I said something in Spanish and her head popped up. We all started laughing, thinking she understands Spanish better than English.

After that, my youngest son sent me the video below about Chihuahuas.  It is really cute and the tune seems to stick in your head.

Have a wonderful, fun weekend!

Cindy A. Christiansen
Sweet Romance, Humor, Suspense...and Dogs! 
Fly into a good book at:  http://www.dragonflyromance.com