Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

Excerpt from Just Married Again, a Romantic Comedy

Sunday, November 29th, 2015

Here is an excerpt from Just Married Again, a Romantic Comedy, by Charlotte Hughes, released Nov 25, 2015:

Just Married AgainChecking the cooler, Maddy found the meat and re­frigerated items icy cold to the touch, but not frozen. She pulled the turkey out and slit open the plastic cover­ing so she could wash the bird. It wasn’t huge, but it was a respectable size and would provide leftovers for a cou­ple of days. Since it was close to lunchtime, she decided she would serve Thanksgiving dinner that evening. The bags she used to bake her turkeys in usually cut the cooking time in half.

Michael gazed at his wife from over the rim of his coffee cup as she prepared the turkey. Had he known he would be spending the holiday with her, he wouldn’t have dreaded it so much. She was the picture of domes­ticity, her shoulder-length hair pulled back, a clean apron tied around her waist. She had a tempting back­side, made even more so by the tight jeans she wore, and the cropped, dusky pink sweatshirt that rose beguilingly when she moved, offering him a glimpse of honey- colored flesh that made him forget about everything else. She reached into an overhead cabinet, and the hem of her shirt inched up her spine. He would have given his entire retirement account to have her turn around slightly and flash that delectable navel. He sighed heavily.

“Are you hot yet?” Danny said.

“Huh?” Michael glanced at him quickly. Was he that obvious? He could almost imagine his eyes rolling in his head and steam spewing out each ear.

“Have you warmed up enough to go back out?”

“Oh.” Michael took a shaky breath. Warm didn’t come close to describing how he was feeling, and if he stood up, it was likely his nephew would figure out his problem in one glance. “Let me finish my coffee,” he said, although he was in no hurry to leave the warm kitchen and the woman who made it seem even cozier.

“I’m going to visit the dogs for a minute,” the boy said.

“They’re in the bedroom,” Maddy told him. “Be sure to keep the door closed.”

Michael was only vaguely aware of Danny leaving the room; his eyes were trained on his wife. He didn’t know what she was looking for, but as she searched through one cabinet after another, she left the doors standing open. How many times had he warned her against that very thing? And how many times had she knocked herself silly as a result?

“Uh, Maddy—” he began, then winced when her noggin collided with the comer of one cabinet door.

“Ouch!” Maddy cried.

Michael jumped up and hurried toward her, closing cabinet doors in his path. “I knew that was going to happen. Here, let me see how bad it is.” He tilted her face back slightly. A red welt lay in her hairline. “It didn’t break the skin, but there’ll probably be a bruise.” He held up three fingers. “How many do you see?”

“Eight. But I was never good at math. Do you think I’ll need plastic surgery?”

“I’m afraid plastic surgery won’t work in your case. You’ll just have to be scarred for life. Probably, no man will ever look at you, so you might want to reconsider divorcing me.”

“Oh, my. I think I may have amnesia.”

It took only a second to realize she was kidding. “Oh, boy,” he said, affecting a serious tone. “Do you know your name?”

She looked thoughtful. “No, but I think I come from royalty. I seem to recall being addressed as Queen something-or-other.”

Grinning, Michael took one of her hands in his. “You’re Queen Mary, named after a prestigious ship. And I’m your most trusted servant, here to please you in every way, if you get my drift.” He gave her a hearty wink.

The touch of his hands on hers sent Maddy’s stom­ach aflutter. She tried to hide her discomfort. “Does the king know about this?”

“The king is old and blind and deaf.”

“The poor thing. I must go to him.”

“He still manages to drink and gamble and run with tainted, women, though, which is why you have no qualms about taking lovers.”

“Oh, is that all.” She tried to pull away.

“I’ve also seen him kick your dogs from time to time.”

Her eyes narrowed dangerously. “I’ll kill him.”

The bedroom door opened, and her dachshunds darted out before Danny could grab them. “Who’s that?” Maddy whispered, nodding toward the boy.

“He empties the palace chamber pots,” Michael re­plied, a split second before Rambo sank his teeth into the hem of his jeans and tugged with all his might. Mi­chael sighed and shook his head sadly.

“What’s going on?” Danny asked, his eyes widening at the sight before him.

“Your Aunt Maddy hit her head on a cabinet door.” He glanced once more at her wound. “You should be okay as long as you remember rule number one.”

“Which is?”

“Don’t leave dangerous, life-threatening cabinet doors open.” He examined one carefully as if inspecting it for further hazards. “These things should come with warning labels.” He turned to Danny. “Guess we’d bet­ter go get that wood.” He crossed the room, dragging the dog along with him. “We’ll have to hurry. Your aunt’s not safe here, and I don’t know how long this dog’s going to last with me dragging him through the snow.”

Maddy hurried over to Michael and pried the dog loose while Muffin sat up and begged for attention as well. Holding Rambo by the collar, she watched the two men bundle up and pull on the wading boots. She couldn’t help thinking how much Michael resembled the man she’d fallen in love with more than six years earlier. Of course, that was before he’d become con­sumed with his job, before he’d forgotten how to laugh and have fun.

She prayed the roads would be cleared soon.

Before she fell in love with Michael all over again.

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Laughing Out Loud

Friday, December 26th, 2014

I know that I’ve been MIA for quite some time now. As someone who is trying to pass herself off as a comedy writer, I debated sharing “non-comedic” information; but I hope to reach out to those of you who might need a bit of Christmas cheer in your stocking.


 After a long battle, I lost my mom—my best friend—to cancer on March 25, 2011. The details aren’t important. What is important is how I got through it and how others who have written to me got through tough times as well.

We looked for reasons to laugh.

I published my first book in 1987, and since that time I have received hundreds of letters from readers who have suffered hardships—illness, death, divorce, unemployment—you name it, and they thanked me for making them laugh during those bleak periods.

When it was time for me to move on, I could not wrap my head around writing a 90K-100K word book. Fortunately, I was offered a position with a very nice agent; critiquing, line-editing, and mentoring new authors, which I did for a couple of years. I’m glad I had the opportunity because anyone who has ever tried to write a book knows how isolating the task. That was the last thing I needed. I found working with new authors very therapeutic, and I made a number of friends in the process.

Once I decided it was time to get back to the business of writing, I discovered the market had changed drastically and e-books were very popular. So I pulled out a couple of old romances and began the process of updating, revising, polishing, and more revising. At times it was tedious, but I realized something I had forgotten. I was pretty damn funny. As in laugh-out-loud, belly-busting, stitch-in-the-side funny. It sort of made up for all those blasted revisions. (Big eye-roll.)

It felt good to laugh. It felt wonderful! The dark clouds above me parted, and I was suddenly surrounded by pure sunshine. (Okay, I’m exaggerating. The only thing that reminds me of pure sunshine is laundry detergent with a bleach alternative, but this is my article, even if some of it is over-the-top.)

My romances will never earn a Pulitzer or hit the NY Times, but they weren’t meant to. They were written to entertain.

I was so thrilled to realize I had not forgotten to smile or laugh that I purchased a whole slew of old Archie and Jughead comic books! I put them in a basket beside my bed, and I actually read them. What a great idea! Instead of watching the eleven o’clock news and hearing all the awful stories—believe me, those stories will still be there in the morning—I had a blast reading about Archie, Jughead, Betty, and Veronica.

Despite times of sorrow, we eventually have to get back to the task of living our lives. I don’t know about you, but I would rather do it with a smile on my face.

I Am Back!

Saturday, December 20th, 2014

After a lengthy absence, I’m excited to announce my upcoming e-book, See Bride Run! It’s a hilarious story about an adorable young woman who will do anything—and I mean anything—to get out of marrying a man she does not love. It will be available just in time for Christmas, exclusively at Amazon. The print version will follow on its heels so if you’re looking for a stocking stuffer, look no farther! In February, just in time for Valentine’s Day, please look for Tall, Dark, & Bad. I know how much you readers love Bad Boys! Long before I began writing the Full House series with Janet Evanovich and my Crazy series for Berkley Jove, I wrote almost 30 funny romances for Bantam Books’ Loveswept line. The books, approximately 60,000 words, have been “lovingly” updated, revised, and polished for your reading pleasure; and will be re-released over the next couple of years, along with a brand new series I’m writing that takes place in South Carolina’s Lowcountry. Be sure to check my website where I will announce upcoming titles. In the meantime, I’m sending you many warm holiday hugs. I hope this is your best Christmas ever!

Barbie Turns 50 Today

Monday, March 9th, 2009

I just have to tell everyone — Barbie turned 50 years old today. Can you believe that _itch still fits in the clothes she wore at 20?

I am back from two weeks of book signings — during which time I was forced to wear makeup and pantyhose — and I’d like to thank those who showed up. One reader brought me home made candy so many thanks to PJ for that! Now get this: We left Alpharetta, Georgia, bound for Lithonia, Georgia, on Sunday, March 1st and hit a snow storm! Actually, it was a blizzard! I’m not exaggerating! I always said if I wore makeup and pantyhose hell would freeze over so I’m sort of thinking I had something to do with that snow storm.

Although I’ll have to go to a couple of signings at the end of the month, I am SO GLAD to be home. I missed my pets, even the dachshund with the flatulence problem. He is sprawled across my feet as I sit here and type this. Every time he farts I spray him with Lysol. I’m not sure it’s good for his fur, but it keeps me from barfing on my keyboard.

So now I have two weeks to finish my book. There is also a box of unopened chocolate in the house, left over from boxes I purchased for bookstore sellers. I hope all of you will keep me in your thoughts and prayers as I try to stay out of it.

Big warm hug to everyone!

Top Ten Things I Resolve

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

Okay, so I’m a little late with my resolutions, but I wanted to have time to think them over carefully. So here they are! 

1. I will no longer bring chocolate into the house and ask someone to hide it from me because I end up blowing a whole day trying to find it once they leave.


2. I’m going to start bingeing on bean sprouts.
 

3. I will not buy cakes, pies, or donuts for unexpected guests because I never have guests. I don’t  even have friends. Hell, I don’t even know the names of my neighbors, and I’ve lived in the same house for six years. They don’t knock on my door and ask for favors like they do the others on my street. Probably because I have a sign on my door that says, “Please don’t ring doorbell.” 

 4. I will no longer fake orgasms so I don’t hurt the other person’s feelings. In fact, I may buy pepper spray because if I don’t have an orgasm somebody is going to pay.

 5. I’m going to stop trying to think of ways to break up CNN’s Dr.Sanjay Gupta’s marriage in hopes he’ll want me. 

6. I’m going to stop wearing my expensive underwear if I don’t have “plans” for the evening. 

7. I’m going to buy that gadget from Walter Drake that vibrates and promises to ease muscle pain because I think it really has other uses.

8. I’m not going to put up with my Dachshund’s flatulence problems any longer. I’m going to ask the vet to show me, once and for all, how to express his anal glands. Maybe. Also, to pay him back for waking me too early in the morning? I’m going to wake him up every time he takes a nap. 

9. I’m not going to answer the phone when my mother calls me at 6:00 AM in the morning. I’m going to wait until she calls again at 6:30 and tell her I just got home after a late night. Also, I’m going to run my errands after dark when, according to my mother, all the serial killers are on the prowl. 

10. I’ll start a wild rumor about myself so I’ll sound exciting.

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Just Me and My Christmas Tree

Sunday, January 4th, 2009

            Okay, it’s January 3rd, and I still haven’t taken my tree down. I don’t WANT to take it down because it’s the most beautiful tree in the world. Okay, maybe the White House has a prettier tree, but mine would probably come in a close second.

I put up my tree after Thanksgiving, but, really, who has time to enjoy a Christmas tree when there are gifts to buy and wrap, and when the family is trying to decide where to congregate at Christmas? It isn’t until after the New Year has come and gone that we actually take a deep breath and say, “Whew!”

So here I am. The presents have been exchanged, the guests are gone. Finally, I’m able to sip my morning coffee quietly in front of a roaring fire and gaze at my beautiful tree. I can relax and enjoy the memories of this recent holiday season and those long past. At night I can pile fat marshmallows in a cup of hot chocolate, sit on my overstuffed sofa wrapped in a thick throw, and enjoy it all over again.

The thing about Christmas trees, all bright and shiny, is they lift our spirits and warm our hearts. At least for me. I feel more hopeful about the future. And, here’s the cool thing: I am able to make memories of those moments I spend alone, just me and my Christmas tree. The world’s concerns slip away for a while, and the hard edges of fret and worry grow soft and fuzzy. For just a small moment in time, my little space in the world experiences peace on earth.

Finding the “Merry” in Christmas

Friday, December 12th, 2008

 

Well, if you’re like me, you’re having a difficult time finding a reason to be merry this Christmas. All you have to do is turn on the news channels to find out our country is in deep doodoo. 

Finally, I decided to stop watching the news for a while, get away from all the doom and gloom. 

It’s not that easy to find uplifting shows right now. I don’t want to watch “CSI,” “Forensic Files,” or “Snapped,” because I don’t want to see all the blood and guts. Same thing with the bio and history channel. The bio channel seems intent on covering the lives of bloody kings and various other rulers. I don’t want to be reminded what a monster Hilter was. 

And don’t even talk to me about watching “Animal Planet” or similar shows because there is always some lion or tiger chasing a rabbit who doesn’t stand a chance; and if you don’t change the channel quickly enough you’ll have to watch “the kill,” which includes tearing the poor rabbit to smithereens. Then there’s some kind of planet-type channel where we’re told how our earth is in peril, and all the polar bears are dying. How depressing!  

It’s not that I don’t care. I care very much; but after a while I begin to feel helpless and hopeless. 

No wonder so many Americans are hooked on “American Idol,” and “Dancing with the Stars.” 

Thank God for the Hallmark channel! They’re running Christmas movies this month. Last night I watched three “feel good” movies back-to-back, and I awoke this morning feeling upbeat. I even put up my Christmas tree! 

But I have to confess, I almost didn’t bother. I was so bogged down with all the bad stuff that’s happening in the world I thought, why bother? Then, I realized that it was not all about me and my worries. Although Christmas sometimes feels too materialistic, it reminded me that I can still find joy, no matter what the doomsayers are predicting.  

The cool thing about this country is how determined us Americans are. We’re a bunch that, when challenged with a recession, we still cling to hope. Just like everyone else I’ve been affected by our troubled economy. Christmas is not going to be elaborate this year for our family, but for some reason I don’t care. We will give what we can. Like the rest of the country we will find at least one or two reasons to be grateful. If you’re having trouble finding that reason, make a gratitude list. I’ll bet, like me, you’ll find blessings in even the most difficult times. Americans never give up. What an awesome country we live in!

The doctor is in…

Monday, January 7th, 2008

 
The doctor is in…
 
I hope you guys on meds didn’t drink on New Year’s Eve.  You don’t want to mix Haldol with Smirnoff.  I tried that once and ended up butt-naked in a cowboy bar.  Just kidding.  Actually, I haven’t drank since I puked in my hair in 2002.  That wasn’t the worst of it.  My friends got mad at me for wasting good scotch.  Now I drink Starbucks just so I can stay up until midnight.  Yep, life doesn’t get anymore exciting than that! 
 
Here’s hoping we all have less “issues” in 2008.

New Year’s Resolutions

Sunday, December 30th, 2007

New Year’s Resolutions
 
Okay, time for those New Year’s resolutions.  If you’re like me your list is written on a scroll.  The problem with these lists is that they point out what we feel is WRONG or LACKING and what we want to CHANGE about ourselves.
Trust me, once I get started, I can find a whole lot of things wrong with me.  I end up beating myself up!
 
I think we should change the rules in 2008.  Instead of writing about those things we want to change, how about we list what we’re doing RIGHT!  Just think what a list like that is going to do to that little voice in your head that finds one reason after another to criticize you. 
 
I know that, despite my flaws, I can find SOMETHING really good about myself.  Something I don’t want to change.  I’m going to concentrate on that in 2008 instead of going on a fault-finding mission.
 
Really, can you think of a better way to start a brand new year than giving yourself a big hug for all the great things you do?
 
 
 

Let’s talk about who sends cards at Christmas…

Friday, December 28th, 2007

Okay, group, just when I thought I was out of things to complain about at Christmas, blam!, another one hit me squarely in the face.
 
Let’s talk about those who send cards letting us know that, instead of buying us a gift, they chose to use the money to make a donation to some cause we’ve never heard of.  In other words, we did OUR part and bought THEM a present, but they decided to send what should have been OURS to protect the soon-to-be-extinct Hubba-Hubba monkey located deep within the Amazon Rain Forest.
 
Yeah, riiight! 
 
I think I’d like to see the receipt.  And while we’re at it, I want to know why moi isn’t getting the tax writeoff.  That was MY donation.  I didn’t get my usual gift from Bath and Body because this person felt it was important to spare another species of monkey when there are only like six million species in the Amazon jungle to begin with, and now I don’t even get to claim it on my income tax!  What’s with that?
 
Next year I’m going to make up a cause and tell everyone that’s where the money for their Christmas gift went.  Maybe I’ll ask for donations.  I’ll tell people I’m trying to save some rare species of butterfly because everybody loves butterflies, and then I’m going to stash every bit of that money into Charlotte Hughes’s cosmetic surgery fund.  Hello tummy tuck, liposuction, and mini facelift!  Hello to regular botox treatments.
 
Monkeys are a dime a dozen.  There is only one ME.  What was that?  I think I just heard a collective sigh of relief out there.