Thursday, October 23, 2014

Project Firebird Book Blast & Giveaway


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Nick will be awarding a $20 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

About the Book:
Don’t ask Leo Lloyd-Jones. Ask him how to steal a car, or why he got excluded from every school in Salford, but don’t come to him for help. This whole thing must be a daft mistake – and if anyone finds out, he’s done for.

Earth is on a deadly collision course that nothing can prevent. The only real hope is Project Firebird, deep inside a blast-proof bunker that shelters the brightest and bravest young people. Leo has got mixed up with the likes of Rhys Carnarvon, the celebrated teenage polar explorer, and other child prodigies chosen to keep the flame of civilisation.

Among them is the streetwise Paige Harris, a girl Leo likes a lot (but not in that way). Paige is desperate to rescue her little sister from London before the catastrophe strikes. But no-one is crazy enough to try that. Almost no-one.
Buy the book at Amazon.  

GIVEAWAY: 

Nick will be awarding a $20 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Just click on the link to register to win!  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Enjoy an excerpt:

Kian tried to break the ice by spinning the bottle.

‘Okay.’ His eyes flickered at Lucy. ‘Next question. Who do we think is the prettiest girl in the room?’

Lucy blushed at once. Isabel looked merely curious, perhaps forgetting that she herself was a girl. But Paige shifted on her beanbag chair and turned her face away. Leo had to feel a bit sorry for her. Great though she was to have around, no-one’s choice was ever going to be Paige, in his expert opinion. He realised that the bottleneck had stopped on him again.

‘Truth or dare!’ said Kian. ‘Who’s prettiest?’

‘The bottle seems to think it’s me.’

‘Only ’cos it’s drunk,’ Lucy smirked.

‘Prettiest girl. Come on,’ said Kian.

Leo laughed. ‘That’s easy.’

It was now. Their three supervisors had appeared in the lounge: David followed by Lenka and the long-haired Chris. Even in workaday jeans and her very uncool Firebird Foundation t-shirt, Lenka remained drop-dead gorgeous. She might have been a Hollywood actress relaxing between takes. The noise levels plunged as most of the boys stopped talking. Rhys pretended to throw a glass of water over Leo.

‘She’s too old for you.’

Leo shook his head. ‘Age can’t stop true love. See the way she looks at me.’

‘You mean like she’s about to be sick?’

‘She’s playing hard to get.’

‘So that’ll be game, set and match to her,’ said Rhys.

Leo gave him a friendly dead arm.

About the Author: Nick Green lives in the UK. He is the author of seven fiction books to date, including the middle-grade CAT KIN trilogy published by Strident. His other books include THE STORM BOTTLE, a fantasy adventure about the dolphins of Bermuda, and most recently the FIREBIRD trilogy, a YA science fiction epic.

www.nickgreenbooks.com
https://www.goodreads.com/nickgreen_catkin


 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Good Faith


This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Prizes will be awarded via Rafflecopter as follows:

GRAND PRIZE: Kindle Fire pre-loaded with all Liz Tri-Desitny titles
FIRST PRIZE: $50 Amazon Gift Card
SECOND PRIZE: $25 Amazon Gift Card
THIRD PRIZE: full ebook set of STEWART REALTY SERIES up to Good Faith (8 books in all including the prequel House Rules)

Strong personalities—volatile marriages—stressful careers—conflicting goals—difficult children.

Contemporary challenges facing close-knit families form the crucible that forges a new generation.

Brandis, Gabriel, Blair and Lillian emerge from the entanglement of their parents’ longstanding emotional connections, but one’s star will burn brighter – and hotter – than the others.

With a personality that consumes everyone and everything in its path, Brandis Gordon struggles to maintain control as he ricochets between wild success and miserable failure. His life proves how even the strongest relationships can be strangled by the ties that bind.

Brandis and Gabe Frietag are as close as any brothers, bound by both loyalty and fierce rivalry. The strength of their ultimate alliance is tested time and again by Brandis’ choices.

Companions from birth, Blair Frietag and Lillian Robinson share loner tendencies, but come to rely on each other through adolescence. As they mature, both are forced to confront their feelings for the men they knew as boys.

Somewhere between the tangle of good memories and bad, independence and addiction, optimism and despair, the intertwined destinies of the new generation finally collide, leaving some stronger, others broken, but none unscathed.

As a chronicle of three families navigating the minefields of teen years into the turbulence of young adulthood, Good Faith holds up a literary mirror to contemporary life with joys and temptations unflinchingly reflected. Its fresh, real-life voice portrays the sheer volatility of human nature, complete with the hopes, dreams, and unexpected setbacks of marriage, parenthood and “coming of age.”
Giveaway:

Enter to win a Kindle Fire, a $50 Amazon GC, a $25 Amazon GC, or a set of Steward Realty Series – a Rafflecopter giveaway.  


Enjoy an excerpt:

That morning his father had roused him from a sound sleep. He’d blinked, confused, by the angle of the sunlight. He rarely slept much past eight since he usually had some sort of training or the other.

“Let’s go son. Time for lunch.”

Brandis had dragged himself up, his limbs feeling like they weighed a thousand pounds each. His brain buzzed with a strange sort of energy, his typical state, and not at all welcome considering it normally didn’t hit him until later in the day. The conversation his father began as soon as they were seated at their usual diner did not help.

“So, listen, Brandis. These girls…Katie’s friends from college….”

Brandis sipped his ice water, waiting for his father to finish the thought. His heart pounded, and his face flushed hot with embarrassment.

Jack sighed, as if exasperated that Brandis didn’t pick up the thread on his own, leaving him to carry on with the awkwardness about to ensue. Then he leveled his gaze, his face open, not angry or judgmental. “I think that you may be in for some…I mean, they’re…shit.”

“If you are gonna tell me where babies come from again,” Brandis said, after deciding to ease his father’s obvious distress. He cocked an eyebrow and half a smile. Jack seemed to relax somewhat as Brandis continued. “Don’t bother. I already know.”

He flashed his brightest smile up at the middle-aged woman who stood at their table, coffee pot in hand. She blinked rapidly at him, and at that precise moment, Brandis got his first flash of…something…about his power. Up until now he’d merely been “Brandis the trouble maker, the causer of strife.” Suddenly, he felt strong, amazingly so, stronger than even the man sitting across from him, a taller, older version of himself. His body tingled all over, as he tested the smile out again on the woman, making her slop some coffee out onto the table. His father frowned, but then chuckled as the woman walked away after they gave their orders.

“Son,” he said, leaning back and cradling the coffee mug to his chest. “Your adventure has only just begun.”

“Huh?” Brandis picked up his cup but didn’t drink any. He hated coffee, but had ordered it in a burst of need to be more like Jack. As he sipped the bitter stuff, he was transported back years before when he and his dad would spend every single Saturday morning together, eating breakfast at this very diner. He had adored the man, he remembered distinctly. His chest hurt at the simplicity of their relationship then. He looked away from Jack’s deep blue, knowing gaze.

The subject changed of its own accord, and Brandis let it. Although part of him wanted to ask for advice, a much bigger part would not allow the words past his lips.

They ate, discussing the upcoming football season and Brandis’ part in it. The recruiting company Jack had contracted last year to video his every move would start up with the first game. He’d made varsity again, technically as backup quarterback to a senior boy. Brandis didn’t see this as a setback and had every intention of starting under center by the second or third game.

Finally, when they pushed their empty plates back and sat looking at each other, Brandis felt more comfortable in his father’s presence than he had been in a long time. Jack said, “I am pretty sure at least one of those girls sleeping in the basement is determined to change the status of your virginity for you probably as soon as tonight.”

Brandis choked on the last sip of lukewarm coffee. His face burned, and his body tingled again. “I’m…it’s…uh….” He clutched the napkin in his lap unable to meet his father’s eyes.

“No need to say anything. Let’s just say your mother is an astute reader of female intent. While I was busy admiring your sister’s friend’s ass, she apparently read the girl’s mind or something.” Brandis’ face flushed even hotter.

He resisted the urge to protest, to proclaim his innocence of such things. Because he wanted it back—those mornings between them, father and son, man and boy, not this awkward, man and almost-man bullshit. Because while the thought of one of his sister’s college friends popping his cherry remained a pleasant fantasy, it also made him feel older than he wanted to be right then.

“So, I bought a box of condoms this morning,” Jack went on. “Put some downstairs in the side table drawer and the rest in your room. Use them please.” He sipped the last of his coffee, looked as if he were about to get up, then leaned forward, touching Brandis’ wrist. “Have fun. Don’t be an asshole to women. Let every experience teach you…something. Because you are nothing as a man if you don’t learn from every woman you…love.” Jack looked out the window onto the nearly empty parking lot. Then he turned back, tightened his grip on his son’s arm. “God, you are so…young.” His face fell a moment, then he perked up again, his eyes twinkling. “Okay, so, your mother told me to tell you not to let them corrupt you. But all I’m gonna say is this: always wear protection, no matter what, no matter how much you don’t want to. And don’t let your mom catch you in the act. I’ll handle her otherwise.”

Then he let go, stood and smiled, draping a friendly arm around Brandis’ shoulders as they exited the restaurant.

“You really didn’t tell me you were admiring Katie’s friend’s ass, did you, Dad?”

“No, son. I most certainly did not. You obviously misheard me.” Jack winked as he stood by the passenger’s side of his classic Corvette convertible and tossed the keys to Brandis. “Remember what I told you. Don’t ride my clutch.”

About the Author:
Amazon best-selling author, beer blogger and beer marketing expert, mom of three, and soccer fan, Liz Crowe lives Ann Arbor. She has decades of experience in sales and fund raising, plus an eight-year stint as a three-continent, ex-pat trailing spouse.

Her early forays into the publishing world led to a groundbreaking fiction subgenre, “Romance for Real Life,” which has gained thousands of fans and followers interested less in the “HEA” and more in the “WHA” (“What Happens After?”). More recently she is garnering even more fans across genres with her latest novels, which are more character-driven fiction, while remaining very much “real life.”

With stories set in the not-so-common worlds of breweries, on the soccer pitch, in successful real estate offices and at times in exotic locales like Istanbul, Turkey, her books are unique and told with a fresh voice. The Liz Crowe backlist has something for any reader seeking complex storylines with humor and complete casts of characters that will delight, frustrate and linger in the imagination long after the book is finished.

www.lizcrowe.com
www.brewingpasssion.com
www.facebook.com/lizcroweauthor
www.facebook.com/groups/lizcrowefans
www.twitter.com/beerwencha2
www.a2beerwench.com
www.amazon.com/Liz-Crowe/e/B00573TC7M

Buy the book at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords, Kobo, iTunes

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And Justice for Some (Isobel Spice, #3) Review & Giveaway



And Justice for Some
by Joanne Sydney Lessner

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

BLURB:

Dinner theater can be a death sentence—literally.

Actress Isobel Spice and her best friend Delphi Kramer are thrilled to finally have an opportunity to perform together, even if it’s just a cheesy interactive murder mystery at a judge’s lifetime achievement dinner. But when Isobel’s dramatic death scene is upstaged by a real murder and Delphi is left holding the still-smoking gun, Isobel drops the role of victim and assumes the role of detective. With the help of her precocious brother Percival and her reluctant temp agent James Cooke, Isobel peels back layers of deception to reveal a shocking abuse of power—and no shortage of suspects eager to deliver justice to a man who denied it to so many.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 Giveaway: 

Joanne will be awarding a $30 Amazon GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter between this tour and the Book Blast Tour, here:  a Rafflecopter giveaway

Don't forget to stop by the other book tours for more chances to win: 

September 30th:

October 7th: 

October 14th: 
 
October 21:  
Our Families Adventure

~~~~~~~~~~~~~
My Impressions:
I love mysteries that have strong female characters with wit and humor. After reading the first book in this series: The Temporary Detective, I knew when I saw the 3rd I could not turn it down. The Isoble Spice series has been a treat to read. Although And Justice For Some is the third book in the series, you do not have to read the first two to be able to follow along. The author does a great job of getting the reader caught up by giving enough background information on each of the characters without rehashing the entire story for those who have read the previous books. 

What I really enjoyed about this book is that it is told not just from the main characters point of view, Isobel Spice, but also from a secondary character, James. All of the characters are well developed and once again we see Isobel's brother Percival working along side Isobel and James. I love whodunit books and trying to solve the mystery along the characters. What makes this book great is it is a whodunit wrapped up inside a dinner murder mystery show that Isobel and her best friend Delphi are involved in.

Joanne does a great job  of giving us the download on how murder mystery dinners work and how we can construct our own by reading this book-if that should be your desire. I enjoy Isobel. She has a strong sense of justice and good prevailing over evil. It did not surprise me to see her conduct her own murder investigation, despite the police presence. I keep waiting for the romance between James and Isobel to explode, but nothing yet other then some strong chemistry, fireworks and tension between these two. 

If you love mystery, plot twists, action and excitement than this is the book for you! Fast paced, engaging, great characters, hilarious and quirky make this an excellent choice for a weekend read.


Excerpt:

Practically before the last word was out of Delphi’s mouth, the crack of the gunshot ricocheted off the walls. Isobel smacked her hand to her chest and felt the blood packet burst against her blouse. Someone shrieked behind her as she staggered forward onto the dance floor. The Brioschi burbled up from her throat, foaming out the corners of her mouth and down her face. She spun around, arms flailing, eyes closed. More shrieks erupted around her.

Yup, she thought with satisfaction, definitely memorable.

She finally collapsed on the floor, limbs splayed, and after a few full-body spasms, settled into a position she could hold until Peter lifted her into the fireman’s carry.

She strained to hear Andrew’s line, “You just shot my wife,” but she was distracted by the sound of a glass shattering somewhere to her left. Somebody kicked her arm, but she held still, determined to be a convincing corpse. A pungent tang of gunpowder tickled her nose. Funny, she hadn’t noticed that when they were practicing. And…was that someone crying?

Suddenly, she felt Peter’s stubble scrape her cheek as he hissed in her ear, “Get up. Get up!”

He tried to yank her into a sitting position, but the sharp movement made her choke on the still-fizzing Brioschi. She knelt on all fours, hacking and heaving until her eyes finally stopped tearing.

“You see?” she heaved. “That’s why I wanted to practice…”

Her words died in her throat as she got to her feet. Two Hostelry security guards gripped Delphi’s shoulders, pinning her arms behind her back. Delphi’s mouth was frozen open in horror. Slowly, Isobel turned and looked behind her.




~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Joanne Sydney Lessner is the author of BloodWrites Award-Winner The Temporary Detective (Dulcet Press, 2012), which introduces Isobel Spice, aspiring actress and resourceful office temp turned amateur sleuth. Isobel’s adventures continue in the novels Bad Publicity (Dulcet Press, 2013) and And Justice for Some (Dulcet Press, 2014). The Ghosts’ High Noon (Dulcet Press, 2014), an Isobel Spice short story, is available on http://joannesydneylessner.com as a free download. Inspired by the true story of the world’s most expensive bottle of wine, Joanne’s debut novel Pandora’s Bottle (Flint Mine Press, 2010) was named one of the top five books of 2010 by Paperback Dolls. Her play, Critical Mass, winner of the 2009 Heiress Productions Playwriting Competition, received its New York premiere at the Lion Theatre on Theatre Row in October 2010. She has written the book and lyrics to several musicals with her husband, composer/conductor Joshua Rosenblum, including the cult hit Fermat’s Last Tango, which received its Off-Broadway premiere at the York Theatre Company in November 2000, and Einstein’s Dreams, based on the celebrated novel by Alan Lightman. They are currently developing a musical based on Wilkie Collins’s The Haunted Hotel for the Signature Theatre Company in Arlington, Virginia. Joanne is also a regular contributing writer to Opera News.
           
To connect with the author online:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads




Bad Taste in Men


Title: Bad Taste in Men
Author: Lana Cooper
Publisher: Delightfully Dysfunctional Books
Pages: 352
Genre: Humorous Nonfiction
Format: Paperback/Kindle
Purchase: AMAZON, Kindle, IndieBound, The Book Depository

About the Book:

Have you ever felt like even Mother Theresa has got more game than you?
If you have, you'd be in the same boat as geeky, awkward metalhead Nova Porter.
Bad Taste In Men follows Nova from her prepubescent years through young adulthood and her attempts at getting dudes to dig her. 

Juggling self-esteem issues, small town outsider status, and questionable taste in guys, Nova is looking for love in all the wrong places - like the food court at the mall. Nova's circle of friends and her strange(ly) endearing family more than make up for what her love life lacks. 

Along the way, Nova alternately plays the roles of hero and villain, mastermind and stooge; picking up far more valuable life lessons than numbers for her little black book.
One part chick lit for tomboys and one part Freaks and Geeks for kids who came of age in the mid-'90s, Bad Taste In Men is loaded (like a freight train) with pop cultural references and crude humor. 

From getting laughed at by your crush to being stood up (twice!) by a guy with one eye, Bad Taste In Men showcases the humor and humiliation that accompanies the search for love (or at least "like") as a small-town teenage outcast, managing to wring heart-warming sweetness from angsty adolescent memories - and jokes about barf and poop.

My Impressions:

 I loved this book. It was hysterical and sadly too easy to relate too in parts. The book reads like a dairy which keeps you engaged and wanting more. I got a huge kick out of all the references to the 80's and 90's since I grew up in that era. Reading about Nova was interesting to say the least. Tales of puberty, sexual awakening and following along the many different dating adventures, her sexual identity crisis, pick up lines, and the like made for laugh out loud enjoyment that most women can relate to in some fashion.

This was a fast, easy to read book that left you wanting more. Very entertaining and well wrote. This is one of those books that you can read time and again and not get bored with. It’s also, one of those great books to pass along to your best friend so you can laugh about it together. I cannot wait to read more from this author. Bad Taste in Men was just a delight all the way through.

About the Author
Lana Cooper was born and raised in Scranton, PA and currently resides in Philadelphia. A graduate of Temple University, she doesn't usually talk about herself in the first person, but makes an exception when writing an author bio. Cooper has written extensively on a variety of pop culture topics and has been a critic for such sites as PopMatters and Ghouls On Film. She's also written news stories for EDGE Media, a leading nationwide network devoted to LGBT news and issues. Cooper enjoys spending time with her family, reading comic books, books with lots of words and no pictures, and avoiding eye-contact with strangers on public transportation. "Bad Taste In Men" is her first full-length novel.
Her latest book is the humorous nonfiction, Bad Taste in Men.

For More Information


FIRST CHAPTER REVEALS:

First Chapter:
When I was eight years old, I thought I was a lesbian. In an era where prepubescent girls simultaneously played with Barbies and lusted after Garanimals-wearing boys whose testicles had yet to descend, I wondered why I didn't get hot for the jocks of my male playmates, failing to take our mutual affinity for G.I. Joe and wrestling at more than face value. Most girls my age talked constantly about boys they thought were cute. I didn't get it. Boys were my friends, not objects of lust.
The only guy whose name I ever scribbled on my notebook preceded by an "I heart" was Freddy Krueger. I didn't want to marry Freddy; I just admired his sense of humor and style.
I assumed since I wasn't boy-crazy like most of my female contemporaries, I must be gay.
AIDS had recently become a hot topic with the deaths of Liberace and Rock Hudson. On one of the rare occasions where my family and I went out to eat, I recalled overhearing another patron's conversation: "I never knew Rock Hudson was a faggot!"
Growing up in Fletcher, Pennsylvania – a backwards small town with about three black people, a handful of Latinos, and where being different in any way made you a target for abuse – I wondered if being gay was a bad thing.
During our formative years, my younger brother Orion and I could already attest to what it was like to be different. Amidst the bulk of Bobs and abundance of Amandas in Fletcher, being named "Orion" and "Nova" was the equivalent of walking around with a "kick me" sign.
Our parents were much more open-minded than your average Fletcherites. Mom spent her college years in Philadelphia. As a young woman, she sang at Atlantic City's Steel Pier and performed in Summer Stock theatre. After college, she moved back to Fletcher to teach high school English. She quit teaching after my brother was born and it wasn't until we were both in high school that Mom went back.
Dad grew up in Baltimore and spent much of his own youth as a touring musician before settling down in a factory job in Fletcher. The faint trace of Southern accent he harbored earned him the nickname "Grits" from his co-workers. Even after putting down stakes in Fletcher, Dad never totally lost his accent, or his love of music. He and Mom met playing in a local Top 40 / standards band that gigged at supper clubs in the area. Whether he was on the road or living in Fletcher, Dad marched beat of his own drum. Culturally, he identified as half-Jewish, one-quarter Cherokee, and 100% loud n' proud of his heritage. In terms of faith, Dad took the "super sampler" approach to religion, embracing Judaism, Wicca, Methodist Christianity and Catholicism all at once. "They're all the same thing," he opined. "Just different trimmings."
On the flipside, Mom was as die-hard Catholic as they come. Yet, despite her Catholic upbringing, nothing fazed her. An accomplished pianist herself, Mom's Holy Trinity consisted of Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, and Liberace. While "The Killer"'s hetero-status was confirmed in spades, the jury was still out on Little Richard. The question of Liberace's sexuality wasn't answered until his untimely death. But did it matter who was gay or who was straight when you listened to any of these men play?
Our family lived in a two-bedroom rental home on the far edge of Fletcher. Growing up, there were very few kids in our neighborhood. Sharing a room and a mutual disdain for one another for the first ten years of our lives, my brother and I were still each other's only game in town. Like it or not, if I had a secret I absolutely needed to tell someone, that someone was Orion.
"Orion?" I whispered one night across the several foot divide between our twin beds. "Can I tell you a secret?" I paused for dramatic effect as my brother glanced over at me. "I think I'm gay."
My brother broke into a fit of convulsive laughter after promising he wouldn't tell Mom and Dad.
Orion usually blabbed anything I confided in him to Mom. I can chalk up my misplaced trust in him to an altruistic need to hope for the best in others, but I was probably only slightly less gullible as a kid than I am now as an adult.
While I wasn't present for the actual act of my brother diming my midnight confession to Mom, I can only imagine how it all went down: Orion, grinning like a bowl cut-wearing imp, tugging at the hem of Mom's skirt and lisping through a sparsely populated mouth of baby teeth: "Mom! Guessth what? Nova told me she thinksth she'sth gay! Because she doesthn't like boysth! Justht as friendsth! Haaahaaaahaaa!" As my brother cackled maniacally, I imagined Mom picking him up in a big hug, laughing along with her youngest child and applauding this resourcefulness that would provide her with solid entertainment at my expense and a reliable means of keeping tabs on her firstborn's antics.
One morning, as Mom was doing my hair, she broached the subject to me in a calm, pleasant, motherly manner. "So, you really think that you're gay?" I was too stunned to hear Mom ask that loaded question to realize that my brother had ratted me out.
I blurted it all out from there, telling Mom that I thought I might be gay because I didn't like boys. All the other girls at school talked about the boys they thought were cute and I didn't think any of them were cute. "Cute" was a term reserved for my stuffed animals, not my male classmates. Was there something wrong with me because I didn't like boys except as friends?
Mom asked me if I was attracted to girls, to which I replied, "No." I wasn't attracted to anyone. She laughed and asked me if I knew what being gay meant. I told her that I guessed that it meant when a girl likes girls instead of boys and boys like boys instead of liking girls. I also asked if this was a bad thing, judging by the tone in most Fletcherite's voices whenever they uttered the words "lezzie" or "faggot" – like when the news reported Liberace's death.
Mom explained that being gay was far from being a bad thing. Prompted by the slander hurled at her personal hero, the likeable Liberace who merged classical piano with boogie-woogie, Mom proceeded to give me the most beautiful lesson in tolerance and steering clear of bigotry.
She took off one of her rings and showed it to me. "See these little cuts across the surface of the jewel? Those are called 'facets.' Each gem is made up of hundreds of tiny facets that make it sparkle. Each is an important part of the whole gem, but one facet isn't the whole jewel. Liberace being gay was just one facet of who he was. He was also a great pianist, a decent enough actor, and a nice person who gave to many different charities. And that's what made him sparkle. Everyone is like a gem and has different facets that make us sparkle. You're a funny little girl with a bright imagination. That's part of what makes you sparkle. So, remember, it's all about 'facets'… not 'faggots.'"
Mom would later make fun of me mercilessly whenever she found out about any crushes I had later on in life, but I could forgive every minute she mocked me because she imparted such a wonderful, moving, life lesson that stuck with me ever since.
Even though I came away with a greater understanding of myself and people in general from our little heart-to-heart, I think Mom was relieved that I wasn't interested in dating just yet. She was happy that I was more interested in watching horror movies and playing with toys like a prepubescent kid should.
Mom's relief was short-lived. The following year, at the age of nine, it happened.
I came home from school, not looking any different than I did the day before. "Guess what I got today?"
"An 'A'?" Her tone lacked the excited surprise of a parent whose little underachiever was finally catapulted into the rarified stratosphere of third grade academia. This was more the nonchalance of a parent who expects nothing less from her child.
"Nope," I replied. "I got my period."
Ding, ding, ding! We have a winner! Mom certainly wasn't expecting to hear that. At worst, she may have anticipated that I had received a dreaded B-minus on a book report or test – not that her eldest child would be receiving a lifetime's worth of tickets to monthly gigs by Alexander's Rag Time Band at Snatch Stadium before she turned ten.
"Are you scared?" she asked me.
"Not really. I guess this just means I'm not a little girl anymore?" The words came out with mixed feelings, more sadness than any grain of fear, probably mirroring Mom's own feelings. If there was one thing I was grateful for, it was that my parents – for all their foul language, loud arguments, and crude humor – never talked down to me or my brother as kids.
Mom, in particular, spoke to my brother and me like we were "little adults." The fact that our parents ensured we were both capable of comprehending intellectual conversation as well as discussing the finer points of Sesame Street made us much more well-rounded and resilient individuals.
I had already been preconditioned to hearing the term "period." Mom explained that it was a girls-only thing that involved painless bleeding from the area where you pee and mild stomach cramps. Periods also involved these hilarious wads of cotton known as "Kotex" that strapped into your underpants so you didn't get gross blood stains all over your clothes.
Apparently, having one's period also involved a superhuman ability to excuse bitchy behavior, judging by the way that Dad would snarl, "What are you, on your period or something?" whenever Mom would issue one of her biting, sarcastic remarks in his direction.
Mom had already made me well-aware of the concept of "the period," although she had left out the more adult points regarding reproduction. Fortunately (or unfortunately, depending upon how you look at it), I had already been given some insight into the whole sordid process by a classmate.
At school, there was a slut that I was friends with who would describe her tawdry exploits in great detail. (Don't lie. You probably had at least one "slut friend" growing up, too.) I would get an earful from Slut Friend about her uber-romantic evenings with older boys, most of which involved getting felt up on hayrides. Although Slut Friend had already failed third grade twice before, she was still well beyond her years in terms of carnal knowledge.
Mom was relieved that she didn't have to explain the logistics of intercourse to me, since Slut Friend already did. Still, I sensed sadness in Mom's voice as she recounted the workings of the female reproduction system, that having a period meant that you could get pregnant. While I knew that babies didn't come from the stork, Mom dropped the bomb that they don't come out of the mother's stomach, either – unless they had a Cesarean section. When I found out the exact area that they squirmed out of, I confided in Mom, "That's alright; I didn't want to have babies anyway." Mom offered that the birthing process really wasn't as bad as many women make it out to be.
"It's like taking a really big, really hard shit… only from where you pee." And thus, that was how the miracle of childbirth was explained to me by my mother. Her frank, take-no-prisoners explanation was made even funnier when I considered Mom's typically ladylike demeanor and thin, blonde frame. Her take on childbirth didn't have quite the philosophical allure of her speech on facets, but achieved its aim as an adequate descriptor of labor without actually having to go through it.
The rest of puberty's accoutrements soon followed and I developed quite a set of hooters for a 10 year old. I was still "one of the guys," although a few scumbags would occasionally ask, "Can I see them?" to which I would immediately answer with a closed fist to the jaw.
It wasn't until two years later that my elementary school decided to bring in a so-called expert to lecture at an all-girls assembly about the "Wonders of Womanhood." My male friends encouraged me to go to the seminar to procure pamphlets and other "products" to be mined for comedic value and humiliation at the expense of some of the other girls in our class.
I didn't go. There was no need to. I already knew the score. Besides, no motivational menstruational speaker could ever explain it as well or as memorable as Mom did.

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