Posted on February 16, 2014
One of the greatest things about being an author is that I can, through my stories, encourage readers to think about things differently. Maybe even radically differently.
At the most basic, there is this: I write M/M romance. I write YA M/M romance. My goal is to have YA LGBTQ romance mainstreamed into all YA romance, which is certainly a challenge, but quite achievable. You see, I want young adults to think about romance differently. I want them (gay, lesbian, bisexual, straight, transgender teens) to see love as love.
Not gay love or lesbian love or het love, but simply love. I dream of the day that a romance is just a romance, without qualifications. That is thinking about romance differently, is it not?
I have written YA and adult novels that encourage readers to think about family in a less traditional way. In fact, most of my novels deal with the concept of a “family by choice.” Brett and Corey, in Beggars and Choosers, come together as family, as they truly have no one else in their corners. In A Package Deal, Tristan and Savannah come to Robby as a “package”; not in the traditional sense of a threesome, as their bond is not sexual. They are bound as a family of choice by shared experiences, total commitment to each other, the building of mutual traditions, and time spent together. One of Out of Hiding’s primary conflicts is the need and willingness to accept others as your family, even at the risk of your heart.
In my YA novels, the flexible concept of family is also evident. In Intervention, Kai belongs to a strong family unit, and Jamie to a dysfunctional one. Kai’s family extends their love to encapsulate Jamie, and that sense of secure belonging allows Jamie to flourish. Not Broken, Just Bent also deals with the concept of family, as each character must recognize that, although their family units are far from traditional, they work, and are valid. Clearly, my goal is for readers to open their hearts and minds to the concept that simple love and commitment are the basis of familial bonds.
Another issue I hope readers will look at with new eyes is the essence of communication. Sometimes speaking directly just doesn’t work to express your love, hurt, anger, frustration or fear. Through music, dance, and art Kai, Dario, and Jamie are able to express emotions that words just can’t touch. Look at self-expression in a new way!
And finally, I hope to encourage readers to open their hearts to non-traditional ways in which love can function, and function with purity and innocence and beauty. This relates closely to the concept introduced in A Package Deal, the emotionally intimate love shared by three people, and a theme that I will continue to explore in future works. At its basis, is the question, “Who makes the rules for love?” Who is the powerful one who gets to say- ONE MAN and ONE WOMAN equals a LOVE RELATIONSHIP?
I say, there is no all-powerful being who cares to use his/her energy to dictate the exact equation of what comprises love. Why can’t three or four people (or whatever number of people) come together with a sense of fidelity, commitment, romance, and innocence, if it works for them? Why is that considered somehow kinky or perverse? If the love is pure and the participants are satisfied, who is to say that it is wrong? I encourage my readers to see these types of non-tradtional love relationships as potentially perfect.
This is a release week for me. The Red Sheet, that comes out on Thursday, February 20th, asks you to see the concept of a miracle as a possibility. A complete overnight personality change? Can it happen? Are you able to open your heart to see things with new eyes?
Posted on February 12, 2014
I have been so freaking busy. Seriously. (This is weird…it is kind of like having a REAL JOB!!!) In any case, I have been writing guest posts for blogs and review sites I am going to visit (for my release of The Red Sheet) like it was the reason God put me on Earth. In between writing guest posts, I have been doing edits for my next book for Harmony Ink Press. And in between all of that raising kids, drinking champagne with Mr. Mia, still not cooking decent meals, a little Face-booking, and emptying the dishwasher. And feeding cats. There it is…I have summed up my life.
Next week, I plan to do a post right here about FLASH MOBS!!! I am probably a little bit too excited for this. So stay tuned.
Here is where I’m going to be over the next few weeks, in the incredibly likely event that you start missing me desperately and you crave a few words of “Mia wisdom”:
PLEASE VISIT ME!!! (and maybe you can win some fun stuff!!)
Here are a few of the AMAZING PROMOS that my wonderful assistant Beckey White has created for the release of The Red Sheet.
I’m thrilled beyond belief!! There are many more promo pics to come, so keep an eye out for them on Facebook.
Leave me a response– I’d love to hear from you!!
Back to writing my guest post about miracles…
Posted on February 10, 2014
Posted on February 9, 2014
Cody Kennedy is an author I have come to admire over the past year for creating convincing YA characters who have great depth, as well as for devising I-can’t-put-down-the-book-although-it’s-2AM kinds of plots. I thoroughly enjoyed Omorphi and then Safe back in the fall of 2013, and since I was having trouble waiting for the release of Tharros, the sequel to Omorphi, I searched around a bit to find another work of Cody Kennedy. On Cody’s website: http://www.fairybycodykennedy.blogspot.com, I found a serial story, Fairy, and set about reading it in its entirety over the course of several days.Here is my 5 star review:
Fairy by Cody Kennedy should be a full-length novel.
Now that I said that, I feel better and I can offer my honest review.
I have never before read very much fantasy, as I feared I would not be able to relate to it. But because I enjoyed Omorphi and Safe by Cody Kennedy so much, I decided I would read his serial story, Fairy, from his website. Lucky for me, Cody had already written 20 chapters, so I wasn’t forced to wait for each of these segments to appear on his website. And I’m really glad that I got to read twenty chapters in only several sittings, as I was able to get a sense of Fairy as a more complete work.
Well, I was wrong to worry that I mightn’t be able to relate fully to the experiences of the characters in this fantasy story, because, thanks to the main character Merry’s authentic voice, I found myself able to know and care for him from the very first chapter. Merry is a character with whom I, and anybody who has experienced bullying at the hands of others, in particular in a school setting, can relate to. He is a young man who spends a lot of time feeling as if he is in some way less than others. His internal language was exactly as I would imagine a shy, insecure, and persecuted, but somehow still self-respecting, teenage boy’s voice should be. (I am at my happiest as a reader when I truly believe in the character; when I can picture him thinking and feeling and saying the words I see on the page.) And, yes, there was fantasy… and there was world-building, but nonetheless, I had no problem connecting with Merry.
Speaking of world-building, at different points in my reading, I often stopped to wonder just what the landscape looks like inside the author’s brain, because what he put down on paper was imaginative and colorful and sparkling and original. And in regard to his fae characters (I hope that is the right way to phrase it), each was rich and quirky and brilliant. I know them well, in particular Lady Sadb, and in her case, I know people like her and I will admit to not being their biggest fans. Maybe in future chapters she will redeem herself.
Quinn, the fairy prince, leaves nothing to be desired as a hero. And he is the kind of hero I like best, tortured in his own right, but fully selfless when it comes to the one he loves. I like it best when Quinn reminds Merry to stop being so hard on himself.
The greatest strength of Fairy, in terms of taking me to another place and holding me there, which is ultimately why I read, was Cody’s use of language. With the fairy language, which sounded to me Gaelic and old-fashioned, the writing was consistent and believable. I admired the intricacy and the flavor that never wavered. Writing in that kind of dialect must be very challenging.
Fairy is a wonderful YA serial story–filled with color and imagination and problems we all can relate to that make us pull for the good guys. There is more than a touch of sweet and poignant romance. The story is simple, in some ways, but quite complex in others. And so, on that note, I will not conclude by labeling the first twenty chapters of Fairy by Cody Kennedy as a fulfilling portion of a “YA novel”, but instead I will call it a heartwarming serial story (maybe someday a novel?) filled with the hope for better days, from which all readers, young and old, can benefit.
Posted on February 7, 2014
Posted on February 4, 2014
Readers connected with Philippe in Out of Hiding. Here’s my proof:
Sandy says: Ms Kerick does a fantastic job with her character development. We fully understand where Philippe’s pain comes from and can sympathize with him. So much so that I may have shed a tear…or two. Okay, more than two, but this poor broken man, who felt all alone, who thrived on being invisible needed someone strong to love him and care for him.
And Tina agrees: Philippe is so sad and so broken, I just loved his vulnerability and the great deal of love stored up in him.
Mare saw him very clearly and loved what she saw: I loved Philippe. I loved his vulnerability, his fears, the way he hid. I loved every single solitary random thought that he had in his head. I loved him. I loved how insignificant he thought he was, he was anything BUT insignificant. Philippe had a wealth of love stored up in him that he was so SCARED to let come out. I sympathized with him, I routed for him from beginning to end. I waited patiently for him to figure it out. I let out a breath of relief when self discovery was made. He’s so sad and broken really.
Christy also appreciated Philippe’s broken soul: Philippe is introverted, shy, vulnerable, scared, simple in his tastes, loyal, a free-spirited hippie, loving, smart, and completely adrift in his life with absolutely no idea who he is or what he wants. A shoulder injury has sidelined Philippe’s job as a commercial fisherman, and it is that, along with love for his brother and his niece, Sophie, that has him chaperoning her around New York City for a summer.
AJ phrased it simply: Phil- a very lost soul
TM’ comments showed that her grasp of the character was clear: …Philippe just wants to be invisible. After the death of his mother years ago, something inside him broke. He’s spent the last several years literally hiding out, until his brother talked him into chaperoning Sophie this summer.
Anna’s remarks let me know that I had hit a home run with my characterization of Philippe: The MC, Philippe, was quite convincing to me, his inner monologue rang true, and the telling of his story soon found me rooting for him, hard. His vulnerability was what struck me the most. I so adore a character who stands there and learns how to say what he feels in his heart.
And Kimber’s comments were simple and to the point but spoke very clearly: Phil was a lonely man who learned to turn off his feelings when his mother died.
PMG’s relates to his experience as a fisherman: This book takes place in NYC, and the fisherman, Philippe, is really a fish out of water. But Philippe is another of Kerick’s sensitive, damaged men, and he soon realizes that he can hide from all his pain as well in the crowds of the city as he can in the empty expanse of ocean.
Celina said: Philippe Bergeron thought he was pretty good at hiding away from the world. After his mom’s passing, he pretty much left it by taking up work with fishing boats and fishing off the New England coast for a couple of years. Lost among the stars and the sea, he worked on his armor and isolation.
But I think the most profound and rewarding words (to me as an author) came from CC: It has been a very long time since I connected so strongly, right off the bat, with a character written by an author who is totally new to me. ‘Out of Hiding’ is my very first Mia Kerick…I guess you could say I was a Mia Kerick virgin up until now. There was something about her writing, and about Philippe in particular, that just reached out and grabbed me in the most astonishingly visceral manner. I almost felt as if I’d been punched in the gut, and for someone who reads as much as I do, it was a very pleasurable change of pace.
Philippe is introverted, shy, vulnerable, scared, simple in his tastes, loyal, a free-spirited hippie, loving, smart, and completely adrift in his life with absolutely no idea who he is or what he wants.
How amazing it is to be an author. To create a character and to have him seen and understood, even cried for…and truly KNOWN by my readers. There is nothing better!!
“purple your profile for cancer survival”
Posted on January 28, 2014
My number one writing song lately. It speaks to me…
Posted on January 27, 2014
Okay, so I had a great time…no, make that a FABULOUS TIME at my Facebook Party. And I will admit that although the champagne was merely “virtual”, I was pretty buzzed by the end of the event. Was this due to an adrenaline rush thanks to the need for super-speedy typing? Too much sugar in the online-rainbow-cake? Or was my buzz caused by the thrill of recognizing the reality of my “virtual” friends?
I’m not sure which of these had me flying high, but I would like to thank you all for coming!!
I was able to discuss Out of Hiding, as well as to introduce my next release, which is a Young Adult read, The Red Sheet.
WITH A FOREWORD BY CODY KENNEDY!!
What? Speak up? Don’t be shy!! You want a few excerpts…to see what you will be getting yourselves into. DONE!!
Or try this one on for size…
I’m not even slightly ashamed to admit it: I’d been thoroughly enjoying that morning’s walk to school when I heard it—a plea for help, an appeal for attention… a prayer for deliverance.
I’d swear to this on a tall stack of bibles, not that Mom and I owned even a single one (or a Torah, or the Koran, or even a pamphlet about horoscopes): each of my five senses snapped to alert attention. It was as if I was being summoned.
My feet started to move faster, pounding the sidewalk’s pavement purposefully. I responded to my suddenly uncontrollable urge to help the innocent, or so it seemed, by racing toward the biggest maple tree of them all, the legendary Big Ben on the corner of Maple and School Streets. The very monster that Mark Edgars, Gregory Waldorf, and Tina Lee had each attempted to climb in fifth grade and failed, to the tune of two broken arms, a fractured pelvis, and a dislocated shoulder. (Tina had tried and failed on two separate occasions.)
Warning: this next part is all fucked-up.
As I sprinted, my only thoughts were: Delicious egg scramble omelet that I get every single morning before homeroom, despite the fact I already scarfed down two bowls of Froot Loops at home, be damned! Tardy slip to homeroom that adds up to five already this semester, which will require me to serve detention, be damned! First-period calculus quiz that needs to be passed if I want to play preseason basketball, be damned too! This guy has a job to do!
And before my brain had fully engaged (and without even a small remnant of red fabric waving behind me), I was on my way up that tree. Fulfilling my purpose in life. (I told you it was fucked up.)
A champion of the innocent, the helpless, the forsaken descended the enormous maple tree, forearms adorned in bloody scratch marks, a white fur ball of a kitten tucked safely under one armpit. When my feet met with the spongy surface of the grass, and the tiger—I mean, the kitten—had been deposited into the hands of a waiting little old lady, I experienced a sense of completion I had never known was possible. More than twenty-five points, ten rebounds, and six assists kind of satisfaction, even.
“Dammit, kid, I was trying to teach friggin’ Snowball a lesson. If he can get his puny ass up there, he’d better have a plan to get his puny ass down.”
Did you really read it?? DID YOU?? Now, go back and read it…you are going to like it. I promise!!
Would Mia Kerick lie to you? NEVER!!
PLUS, there is going to be a quiz, so…..
Soon I will be back to discuss with you, my innocent victims, or rather, my wonderful followers, the significance of a “red sheet” to Bryan in The Red Sheet.
I know, I know… it is going to be difficult to wait. But you know what they say about all good things!!
Love and appreciate you all!!
Posted on January 25, 2014
Today is a big day for me because it is the day I take a dive. Hopefully a pretty, graceful swan dive and not a face-planting belly flop!!
January 25, 2014 from 3-5 Eastern time is Momma Mia’s BIG UNVEILING!! MY LIVE FACEBOOK EVENT.
Don’t get scared. It is a rated PG 13 event, so I will not be “unveiling” anything that you do not want to see. Momma Mia will stay fully clothed at all times. (that’s a good thing) I promise.
Unlike the lovely pole dancing woman below.
(I could do what she is doing above if I wanted to– just saying.)
But I will be answering questions, playing games, showing my new video, playing music, DISCUSSING MY BOOKS (kind of what we’ll be there for), introducing my new YA book, The Red Sheet -my friend and colleague Cody Kennedy is the writer of the foreword- serving bubbly (and to the youngsters lemonade), and “working the room.” WITH THE MAJOR LEAGUE HELP OF MY ASSISTANT BECKEY WHITE. (a genius and a patient person who puts up with me)
This is about the biggest party I’ve ever held. I hope I bought a big enough cake.
And really, I am not nervous, because the party’s attendees are some of the best people I know- my FACEBOOK FRIENDS- who have shown me so much love and support!! It is totes coolio (Cody taught me that expression and now he is totes sick of hearing me say it) of all of you to attend.
LET’S HAVE SOME FUN!! WOOT! WOOT!
will you be there?
Posted on January 23, 2014
Pre-order at Dreamspinner Press/Harmony Ink Press: http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4725
Posted on January 18, 2014
For a girl who avoids parties in her real life in the way one might avoid a nasty stomach virus, my online life has certainly turned into PARTY CENTRAL. You see, joining Facebook in the name of promoting my books has successfully managed to drag me out of my shell and has motivated me to socialize. And yes, at first I went into social media kicking and screaming, but now it’s… well, it’s kinda fun. Let’s face it: two parties in two blog posts is nothing to sneeze at.
So anyway… here is my awesome invitation created by my even more awesome assistant, Beckey White.
Please excuse my dreamy-faced selfie, but in my photograph’s defense, I DO write romance so I look like this a lot.
Here’s the link to the party:
DATE: Saturday, January 25, 2014
PLACE: Your lap (if you have a laptop), if not, your desk, kitchen counter, coffee table, iPhone etc.
DRESS CODE: Come as you are!! PJ’s, sweatpants, T-shirts, silky negligees, boxers or briefs- very relaxed attire
There will be prizes. These are very valuable…extremely rare and highly sought after. Be prepared for a stampede.
And as Keith Urban would sing, “You (would) look good in my shirt!”
I wouldn’t mind seeing Keith in just my Mia Kerick shirt. Did I ever tell you I touched him? Truth be told, I have touched Keith four times as he walked by me in concerts (aisle seats). My husband touched him too, and I’m a little jealous because he touched the side of Keith’s face and I only got his arm. But we agreed that Keith Urban’s skin is very smooth.
I kinda went off on a Keith Urban tangent, but who can blame me? Back to the launch party.
I did mention I touched Keith Urban, right?
There will be excerpts and hot pictures and YOU CAN ASK ME ANYTHING.
My policy can be summed up in three letters: TMI
So are ya gonna come by and check me and my party and my books out??
It is going to be THE PLACE TO SEE AND BE SEEN this Saturday 3-5PM!! ALL OF THE COOL KIDS WILL BE THERE!!
(BTW I only invited cool kids.)
You never know who might show up!!
On a serious note, I appreciate all of the support you give me and all of the fun and laughter we share!!
Hope to see you at my Facebook Launch Event Party Thingy!!
Posted on January 16, 2014
For a girl who avoids parties in my real life like a nasty stomach virus, my online life has turned into PARTY CENTRAL.
Posted on January 16, 2014
Posted on January 13, 2014
Yes, today is the official “Welcome to the World” party for two young men who have become very near and dear to my heart.
and Dario Pereira:
As you can see, neither man can keep his hungry, searching hands out of his own hair, but that will change when they finally meet and their needy hands GET BUSY in each other’s very pretty hair. And see that tortured look on Philippe’s face… well, Dario knows how to “turn that frown upside down”, in a manner of speaking.
As their creator, I feel it is my obligation to help them celebrate their big day. Unfortunately, they don’t know many people around here to help them put this shindig together, so I will be in charge of decorations:
I will also supply a wild crowd.
Yes, it will be Party City. It is possible that Banana Man (above) will be asked to leave before you arrive. He has had a few too many daiquiris. (yes, banana daiquiris)
Did I hear you ask, “Mia, I want to come to this awesome party!! What can I bring??”
Well, please don’t tell him I told you this, but Philippe wondered if you could just arrive at the party having already read his story, Out of Hiding. He hates to have to re-tell the story over and over as he is trying to get to know you.
So I look forward to seeing you all here!!
Party on, dudes!!!!
Posted on January 11, 2014
One big, huge JUST SAYIN’OUT of HIDING by Mia Kerick is novel that EXPLORES…
* It explores a man’s tentative journey into rejoining the human race—starting with furthering his relationship with his niece, extending to developing a true friendship, further reaching out to involve a part of him that wants to teach, and finally touching on falling in love.
* The concept of hiding is deeply explored and with it, the answering of a profound question: can you ever truly escape from your own feelings?
*Dominance and submission, not through a formally agreed upon contract, but simply in the context of a natural evolution, both in and out of the bedroom, is revealed.
*Dance educational programs in New York City are explored. **Familiarity with the arts, in this story it is the art of dance, is essential to our very humanity.** (my opinion)
*The actual movement of dance, itself, as perceived by a sensitive onlooker is examined. Philippe relates what he sees and hears of dance, and the accompanying music, to his understanding of life.
Out of Hiding is a novel in which I, as an author, allow myself to explore. I teach a bit—you will be exposed to an art form that is very important to my life—and I take a chance at making the backdrop to Philippe and Dario’s experience falling in love, as rich and vibrant as the love itself.
Out of Hiding by Mia Kerick
Monday, January 13, 2014http://www.dreamspinnerpress.com/store/product_info.php?products_id=4571
Posted on January 9, 2014
Good morning to my MOST AWESOME 22 followers! and guests who are welcome to join us
Just a note today to let you know what is up in Mia Kerick’s world…
BOOK RELEASE MONDAY!! Out of Hiding comes out Monday, January 13, and I am already experiencing the “preliminary” anxiety to baring my soul to the world.
Will the readers like it?
Will the readers be sufficiently patient with learning about Philippe Bergeron’s sensitive and complicated nature to be open to the romance with his niece’s dance choreographer, Dario Pereira, when it gradually unfolds? (However, I will say this: (TEASER) I describe the SEXUAL HEAT between Philippe and Dario in much greater detail than of other couples in my previous novels, as the dominant/submissive component of their sexual relationship is critical to understanding this couple’s connection.)
In Out of Hiding, my intention was to provide the reader with something “more” than romance. I have had the opportunity to experience what few people do: exploring in depth the educational/training aspects of the dance world of New York City. My goal was to share it.
With my seventeen-year-old dancer daughter, I have explored the world’s greatest modern dance education programs.
The Ailey School
The School at Mark Morris Dance Group
The Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance
Peridance Capezio Center Certificate Program
I have toured dance colleges in New York City.
The Juilliard School Dance Program.
The Fordham University/Alvin Ailey BFA Program
SUNY Purchase Dance Conservatory
Marymount Manhattan Dance
And I’ve accompanied my daughter as she trained in ballet, modern, contemporary, and tap.
The life of a dancer is not easy. It requires discipline, physical strength, dietary control, the ability to take criticism, musicality, tenacity, sensitivity…the list is endless.
And so, in Out of Hiding, I share these experiences, the very nature and dedication of a dancer, with the readers. You, too, can be a part of the dance world!!
With Philippe and Dario, and Philippe’s niece, Sophie, the reader will also tour New York City–the restaurants, the shows, a carriage ride through Central Park. And as Sophie learns, and Dario teaches and performs, and Philippe searches his soul, a love story blossoms.
And I want to know your opinion, do you like the cultural aspects of Out of Hiding or would you prefer that I stick to the romance?? I can handle the truth!!
While waiting for the release of Out of Hiding, I have also been editing and doing preproduction with Dreamspinner Press and Harmony Ink on two upcoming Young Adult novels.
The Red Sheet- NOT READY TO DO COVER REVEAL YET!!! SOON, I PROMISE
??? the mystery YA novel- to be announced later??? (a very different topic that I am sure I will be worrying about before its release)
AND, folks, that is not all, because I have been writing an adult MM romance novel called Random Acts- you can see a sample of Chapter 2 in the January 2 blog post. Note: There is gray hair in this one. And, yup. Random Acts is VERY ANGSTY. CHECK IT OUT!!!
So things have been crazy in Mia Kerick’s world, because of the above, and of course, there are the all-important tasks raising of four kids, caring for four cats, and making the husband smile- but not through my cooking excellence because…I’ll put it this way: HOT POCKETS RULE at our house.
If you have an urge to wish me luck, I’d love to hear from you!!
STAY WARM, 22 COOLEST BLOG FOLLOWERS and guests who may consider joining our ranks!!!
Posted on January 7, 2014
Sometimes when we question others, their feelings and motives and actions, our time and effort would really be better spent by turning that reflection in upon ourselves. This may sound like something to which many would respond by shrugging, and saying, “yeah, I knew that already, tell me something new.” But I gained this golden nugget of wisdom through personal experience, and after all, isn’t this kind of thing exactly what a blog is for? To tell others about some understanding in life that I struggled to acquire, so that maybe they won’t have to struggle quite so hard to get the very same thing.
Or maybe, your memory of having read this, will serve to comfort you when you find yourself walking a mile in my shoes.
So here it is: every once in a while, you come upon a person who is exactly who he tells you he is.
Discovering this truth is a beautiful surprise. As it floods your soul with happy wonder, though, it also shakes the ground beneath your feet, because this type of revelation does not come without a price. And the price–the cost to this life-altering discovery–is the obligation to simply take a look in the mirror.
Posted on January 4, 2014
It takes all types to make a world.
It most certainly takes a number of leaders to shake things up. But please don’t ignore the essential role of the follower. (www.miakerick.com hehehe)
Let’s say you have a dream. Well, most would agree, it needs to be followed.
And another common sense “following” rule of thumb: Follow your heart.
I would argue that you should follow your heart even when it is difficult. And so would Braveheart.
Those two are easy. Cake walks, really…These next ones are gonna take some additional thought on your part.
Sometimes you have a to make a choice about who or what you should follow:
But if it makes you happy and feels good (and isn’t hurting anybody), I say go for it!!
In addition, the concept of following has been spoken of by people of many different walks of life.
Business people have their opinion of following: *Malcolm S. Forbes* “Success follows doing what you want to do. There is no other way to be successful.” Apparently this philosophy worked very well for him.
Cute actors offer their opinions on the subject: “Really try to follow what it is that you want to do and what your heart is telling you to do.” *Jennifer Aniston* I am really trying, Jennifer.
Mavericks consider following, but often reject it: *Adam Lambert* “There’s not a blueprint for me to follow.” Maybe a blueprint would help in Adam’s case…
Greek philosopher *Socrates* chimes in on the subject: “The end of life is to be like God, and the soul following God will be like him.” And who am I to question him?
Even leaders must follow: *Benjamin Disraeli* “I must follow the people. Am I not their leader?”
Supermodels follow things: “Getting as much sleep as possible and following a healthy diet will stop you from feeling run-down if, like me, you’re super stressed.” And I am. Not a supermodel, that is, but super-stressed.
*Dolly Parton* understands the value of a loyal following: “I have a big gay and lesbian following and they’ve been very loyal and kind to me.” So cool.
Revolutionaries draw the line where following is concerned: “Lead, follow, or get out of the way.” *Thomas Paine* I have a tendency to get out of the way.
Even *John Wayne* recognized how powerful the concept of following can be: “If you’ve got them by the balls their hearts and minds will follow.” Well, if you put it that way, John, we’re right behind you.
My final argument to make my case for the beauty of being a follower will be presented in song.
(You know the tune- feel free to sing along with Uncle Kracker)
Follow me, everything is alright
I’ll be the one to tuck you in at night
And if you want to leave, I can guarantee
You won’t find nobody else like MIA!!!
Soooooo, where am I going with this?? (in case you haven’t caught on)
PLEASE FOLLOW ME www.miakerick.com
Posted on January 4, 2014
Is it wrong that I am sitting at my breakfast bar, perspiring profusely with untainted glee?
Nobody announced a wedding engagement…
Nobody is having a baby…
My kids still don’t put away their laundry without being begged…
I still need to lose a few (hmmm) pounds to fit comfortably into my jeans…
But I went on Facebook five minutes ago, and I saw this:
Posted on January 2, 2014
Here is chapter two of what-Mia-has-been-up to! Chapter One is too…uh, I just can’t share it right now, that’s all. It will spill too much of the flavor… (And by the way, my MC “Bradley” looks like Bradley Cooper- it makes Random Acts lots of fun to write!!)
Meeting an angel
My truck is running like shit, I thought, while trying like hell to pretend it wasn’t sputtering so violently. After one particularly un-ignorable shake, I admitted to myself, I’ll be lucky if I get this baby home so Billy can take a look at it out back in the garage.
As I pondered whether or not I should go straight to the auto repair shop instead of home to our garage, my truck made the decision for me. It gave up a last urgent shudder and died, right there on Main Street in Maddy’s charming North Shore town of Oceanside, Massachusetts.
Oceanside is a great place to visit, but I sure as shit don’t want to get my ass stuck here.
It looked, however, like I didn’t have much say in the matter.
And knowing I’d rather pull the back plates and abandon my truck in the middle of the damned road than return to Maddy’s house to get help, I did take a minute to stop and curse myself up and down for being such a half-assed loser. Last night, in my frenzied rush to arrive at the booty call, I’d managed to forget my cell phone; it was probably buried beneath a pile of dirty boxer shorts in my cluttered bedroom.
Still cursing, I hopped out of my old black Ford F-150. I’d bought it used a couple of months ago at an auction, and had been crossing my fingers ever since that it wouldn’t pull any major shit (like this) until I’d saved up enough extra cash to get it overhauled. I stretched once and I stretched big, out of a combination of shot nerves and habit, and then moved off to the side of the road so I could survey its location on the street. My dumb truck had died smack, dab in the middle of the road, but thankfully it was still early on a Saturday and the yuppies in this part of town apparently were sleeping in this morning. Give it an hour, though, and the road would be overrun with well-rested preppies on their way to the stables, or to golf courses, or to wherever the fuck it was that rich people went after they counted their money over Nespresso lattes on Saturday mornings.
It was gonna be tough, but I was pretty sure I could push this baby off to the side of the road by myself, since I wasn’t gonna have to push it uphill. I went back over to the driver’s side, leaned in and threw the truck in neutral, took a deep breath, and then put my shoulder into pushing. Karma is a fucking bitch, I thought ruefully, fairly sure I was already catching payback for the Houdini Act I was planning to pull on Maddy next week.
And I’ll be the first to admit that pushing my truck bit the big one totally; I could practically feel the back strain setting in. That was gonna suck when I hit the gym with Billy later on today. And probably at work all of next week. On the bright side, the truck was rolling, albeit slowly and painfully. I was managing to inch it over to the road’s shoulder.
“Hey, buddy, need a hand?” I hadn’t noticed a car pulling up, or even heard the guy approach. I turned my neck sharply, mid-shove, to check out the preppy do-gooder who was lowering himself enough to offer to perform this random act of kindness, for me, a now-sweaty, out-of-place, redneck-looking stranger, who was struggling to relocate his piece of shit truck to the side of the road. But who I saw standing beside me was much more than a preppy saint. I was looking at a fucking angel.
The guy who stood there gawking back at me, his thumbs hooked casually in the front pockets of slim cut khaki pants, a snug white polo hugging a perfect torso, both of which were visible beneath a tailored tweed blazer, and with the finishing touch of a dark blue plaid scarf draped loosely around his neck (not that I was checking him out or anything); he was nothing short of the Tommy Hilfiger of the heavens.
I’m talking about blue-eyed boy-angel meets Ralph Lauren.
I allowed myself to smirk at my blunt analysis of the dude. This was exactly the kind of guy I’d stayed as far away from as humanly possible in high school. I hadn’t had to worry too much about running into this type of guy at the various colleges I’d attended in my various less-than-pretty attempts to achieve that elusive bachelor’s degree, because the schools I’d frequented were not listed in the preppy handbook as acceptable institutions of higher education. Just looking at him brought out my deepest insecurities. After all, I knew this from experience: a guy couldn’t appear that put-together, if he didn’t actually have his act together.
“Nah, thanks. I’m all set.” I turned away from him. Mr. Perfect wasn’t gonna want to get his well-pressed khakis wrinkled, anyways.
“I beg to differ; you are not all set. Get in and steer, I’ll push.”
I was about to argue, but he edged up against my side with force, like he meant business. The guy was slim, but he was a lot stronger than he looked. I slid into the driver’s seat like an obedient child, mumbling something like, “Pushy, aren’t we?”
With angel-boy’s help it only took a couple more minutes to get the truck completely off the road.
Jumping out of the truck, I took a couple of seconds to further size up my able, but unwanted, assistant. His face and skin were smooth and he had a leftover summer tan, like he’d spent most of June, July, and August on a sailboat. Which he most likely had, seeing as he lived here in Oceanside where an overwhelming percentage of the oceanfront homes had their own private docks in the backyard, with big boats bobbing in the surf, just waiting to be used. His wavy light brown hair was shaped into a Jack Kennedy-ish cut, which brought to mind the image of an ocean breeze blowing patterns in it. I couldn’t miss the gray that was sprinkled into the light brown, and although his face was young, I knew he was older than me, maybe by even as much as a decade. But the features that stopped me short and frigging held me there were his bright blue eyes. I’d never seen eyes as intelligent on a face so pretty. And since as of late, I’d made a practice of being honest, if not with others, at least with myself, I admitted I was more than slightly attracted to him.
He reached out to shake my hand. “I’m Caleb. Caleb Jorde.”
I wiped off my right hand on my jeans, despite the fact that he’d been clinging to the very same dirty metal I had, and we shook. (He just seemed cleaner than me.) “I’m Bradley Zelder. And, uh, thanks for the help.” I always got tongue-tied in front of people who looked like they should be members of the Harvard Club. “You really didn’t have to.”
“Not a problem, Bradley. So where are you headed? I’ll give you a lift.”
This dude’s random acts of kindness knew no bounds. But I shook my head sharply. “Nah. You don’t have to do that. Can I just use your cell to make a call?” I figured he was wondering why the fuck I didn’t use my own phone. “I…uh…left mine at home. Last night.”
“An overnight visit, hmm?” He winked.
I just shrugged, not wanting to think about Maddy in the presence of this guy I was basically lusting for. “Whatever.” Non-committal responses usually shut people up and did it fast.
My obvious evasion didn’t deter him. “Come on, I’ll take you wherever you need to go.” He turned abruptly and headed over to his black Volvo wagon…a recent model, too. But what else would I expect of the perfect example of a preppy man, than to drive the ultimate preppy vehicle? I followed him to his car thinking that he was soon gonna be treated to the sight of how the other half lived.
This wasn’t the first time I’d been attracted to a man, so I wasn’t freaking out over my interest in this gorgeous Good Samaritan. And I knew it wouldn’t be the last hard on I’d get for a male, either. I just had this “thing” for people who had their acts together…self-assured people who wore their carefree confidence on their faces, as well in their very posture. Male, female…didn’t matter. I’d always been drawn to those who I knew very well would have absolutely no interest in furthering their acquaintance with a bitter punk-ass like me.
I guess that is the elusive “thing” missing from my recent attempts at relationships; the fact that I only want hookups with those who are way the fuck outta reach. As of late, I’d strictly limited my dates to individuals who were less enlightened and definitely less intelligent than someone like Caleb Jorde. And no, I hadn’t been feeling it with any of them…but I was feeling it now, all right. So much so, if fact, that I had to turn toward the passenger window for a quick moment so I could reach into the front of my pants to adjust my dick, as it had stiffened into an awkward and uncomfortable position.
“I was on my way to pick up a cup of coffee. My Nespresso machine decided to cease and desist, and I haven’t yet had a chance to replace it.” I stole a glance at Caleb’s perfect profile as he drove, congratulating myself on my accuracy in terms of his machine choice for coffee-brewing. “Mind if we swing by Starbuck’s drive thru on our way to Landsbury?”
A few moments ago when I’d filled him in on the lowly town I’d long called home, where he’d offered so generously to return me, Caleb hadn’t flinched even slightly. He’d simply said, “I’m quite familiar with Landsbury. I know exactly where Dennison Street is.”
In response to my open-mouthed gaping (which was in response to his relaxed familiarity with the other side of the track), he’d simply smirked, and said, “I teach school there.”
After a bit more gaping, he’d winked and added, “Middle school social studies.”
“No shit,” had been my genius addition to the conversation.
Studying the road, Caleb had just shaken his head. “Absolutely zero shit.”
After a brief period of silence, and just to keep the conversation going, I asked him, “So you teach at Deering Junior High?”
“It’s called Deering Middle School now.”
“No shit.” Shit, I’d said it again. Shit. “Social studies, you said?”
He nodded. “Can I buy you a cup of coffee, Bradley?”
There I was, sitting comfortably in this guy’s shiny Volvo wagon, on his heated leather seats, after him having just pushed my truck off the road. I knew what to say this time when I opened my mouth. “No way, man. The Joe’s on me.”
He didn’t glance over again, but he smiled and shook his head; those full lips opening just enough to expose straight white teeth. I had to readjust my dick again.
Turns out he bought the coffee. He was fucking insistent on it.
“You teach in Landsbury but you live over in Oceanside?” Small talk wasn’t my strength, but then, I wasn’t sure what my strength actually was. But we were getting along smashingly well, if I didn’t say so myself… Wonders never cease.
Caleb had pulled into a spot in the Starbuck’s parking lot so he could add some kind of a special natural sweetener to his coffee. The guy actually carried it in his glove compartment. Like I said, he had his shit together. (He had thin wooden stirring sticks and plenty of napkins, too.)
“I have an unbeatable deal on an apartment.” He laughed and his startlingly white teeth made a second appearance. How do you get teeth that white, I wondered as I basically feasted my eyes on his mouth. “I live in the guest house on my parents’ estate.”
“Estate? Holy shit!” was what I thought. “No shit,” was what I said. Yeah, there it was again: that very same brilliant input to the conversation I’d been offering so consistently all morning.
“I have to literally force my parents to accept monthly rent payments, but I know that they are stashing the money away to give back to me for summers when I’m in grad school and am not working. They’ll say to me, ‘Here, Cale, take this money. It’s yours—you earned it—we just held onto it for you.’”
I fought against spouting a rude retort, like “it must be nice.” And then I stifled a subsequent wise-assed remark about how painful it must have been for his dearest Mummy to give birth to him with a freaking humongous silver spoon sticking out of his pretty mouth. So I stole a page from Caleb’s playbook, one that I used quite often on the babes, myself; I winked at him and nodded, wisely keeping my mouth tightly shut.
It was just that life wasn’t fair. A single mother, Mom had struggled as a nurse’s aide, for as long as I could remember, just to put food on the table and keep a roof over our heads. She had no cash to provide my sister, Darcy, and me with fancy college educations, and God knew, she had no guesthouse for us to reside in. She’d fed, clothed, sheltered, and loved us. And after we’d graduated from high school, all she did for us was provide love. At that point, it was the only thing she was responsible for, and it was all we expected. We were on our own.
“I’ve actually only lived in my parents’ guest house for a few years.” Caleb’s voice shocked the shit out of me; I’d been so involved in my own thoughts. He then spoke more quietly. “I moved back home after my husband died.”
Yeah. He dropped that bomb on me and then he shut the fuck up to let me stew.
“Uh…sorry.” I literally started twiddling my thumbs. “That sucks.”
Caleb, it seemed, was back in nodding mode. He slumped a bit and then sipped his coffee with those fantastically full lips, which served to distract me again. But I was not distracted enough to have failed to pick up on the fact that he’d basically just told me he was gay. And very likely single, leading to the passing notion that Mr. Boatshoes and I could definitely have some fun between the sheets, if he liked the prospect of slumming it with the likes of yours truly.
Shit, I’m a slut.
Once we got to Landsbury, Caleb perked up a bit. He searched the sidewalks with those smart blue eyes, and every once in a while his expression lit up and then he smiled and waved at a pedestrian he seemed to know. It appeared that it was Caleb’s turn to be lost in thought until an unexpected question burst forth from his toothpaste- commercial-quality lips. (And they really were.) “So, Bradley, do you work in Landsbury, as well as live here?”
It was a fair enough question, despite the fact that I wasn’t crazy about the answer I had to give. “Nah. I work in Danson…at the elementary school.”
With his next question, he didn’t disappoint. I had basically predicted his very words. “You’re a teacher too?” His eyes lit up in the way of kindred souls.
“Nah, not a teacher…a custodian. I work days.” I watched his blue eyes closely for any sign of the expected disappointed shadowing or the eye roll of disgust. And I couldn’t explain it but I just didn’t see that you’re-such-a-loser-wince that I expected. So I pushed just a little harder. I knew that the disgust couldn’t be too far beneath the surface. “Sad fact is that I had to put in plenty of years to even get the daytime shift… A lofty position in life, huh?”
“It is very important that all school employees work together to make a school the best it can be, Bradley.” His tranquil eyes never wavered from the road. “Your role is mandatory, as is mine.”
That was an unexpected response from Mr. Harvard Club. Still, I didn’t waste time in delivering my standard explanation for my lowly job. I got right to it. “Now that I’m on days it has good hours…because, see, I’m taking college classes after work. You know, I’m studying to, uh…” Well, I should leave it right there. I’d had as many different majors as I’d had failed attempts to get through college. This time, though, I’d stuck through it long enough to be almost halfway through my two-year LNA in nursing. Which I fervently hoped would eventually morph into a four-year BS degree in nursing.
Maybe we are kindred souls, seeing as we both like to help people.
Well, shit. I scrapped that thought just about as quickly as I had it. It wasn’t about helping people for me; I just wanted to get myself a job where I’d get a little bit of respect.
And no, I can’t say anyone at Danson Elementary treats me disrespectfully. Not the staff, and not even the kids…
The plain truth was that I just wanted a job where I’d give myself a little bit of respect.
“Nursing is commendable work, as well,” he offered evenly. “I, too, considered medicine when I was an undergrad, but the calling to teach our youth was just too compelling. I had to acquiesce.” He chuckled.
I’ll just bet you did “consider medicine”, I thought snidely. Dr. Jorde fit his persona far better than Mr. Jorde did. “You mentioned grad school. Won’t whatever it is you end up doing with your graduate degree end up taking you away from the youth in the classroom?” I acted innocent, but let’s face it, I was trying to stick it in his face. We both knew that Mr. Jorde was gonna ultimately find himself as Dr. Jorde, teaching at some topnotch university. A guy like Caleb Jorde certainly couldn’t be planning to spend his entire career teaching social studies at lowly Landsbury Middle School.
“It will take me out of the classroom to some degree, that I admit. But a school like Landsbury needs a forward-thinking principal, and I have my eye on that position. But I’ll be sure to make classroom visits a daily part of my routine.”
Shit, is he for real? He’s going to stick it out in working-class Landsbury?
That was when he really shocked me. “I’m enjoying our conversation, Bradley. Maybe we could meet for a beer some night after work to continue it?”
Hell, you could have knocked me over with a feather. I felt my neck jolt in Caleb’s direction, as I blurted, “What?”
Most people would think I was shocked to shit because Caleb was a guy and he’d just asked out me, another guy, on a date. And he’d done it without blinking. But they’d all be wrong. I was simply stunned that Mr. Harvard-soon-to-be-principal would want anything to do with the likes of Mr. Janitor-and-if-he’s-lucky-nurse’s-aid.
Cool as always, Caleb didn’t utter so much as a sound in regards to my shocked exclamation—not an excuse or a further explanation or any hint of a plea. Nope…no sign of agitation whatsoever. He just waited quietly for my response.
“Uh, that’s my house up there…” A total cop-out—I was fully aware of that fact. “The three-story gray one on the left. I live on the third floor…it’s not much, but it’s home and…” Somehow, I ended up being the one nervously rambling.
Caleb pulled over in front of my building, turned to me, and smiled serenely in the face of my rude lack of response to his invitation.
“Thanks for the lift, dude.” I was such a fucking loser.
He just kept right on smiling; the man was unflappable.
I so badly wanted to reply in a stilted babbling stutter, “Y-yes, I’d l-love to have a b-beer with you! Where? When? I’ll be there! And maybe if you let me fuck you after we drink a beer, some of your togetherness will rub off on me.” But I didn’t say anything else. I just got out of the car, turned, but didn’t look at him, and slammed the door, probably with a bit too much force, ran up the walkway, and escaped into my building.