Tag Archive | Satellite Of Love

Missing children


The stern tone of Mrs. D’Amato came though the phone. “Mr. Benedict, yelling is not going to help.”

“You lost my fucking children.”

Lisa grabbed her purse. Virginia and Saeed parted for her to get through the door. Through the phone she could hear the conversation on the other end like she was already there.

“Your children are not objects that can be moved around like furniture as you like. They move on their own.”

“You can’t talk to me like that.”

“No sir, you can’t talk to us like that. Now give me the phone so I can talk to the boys custodial parent before I have to have security waste time on you that would be better spent looking for your sons.”

Thank God Stevie’s teacher was married to a rock star. She was not impressed or intimidated by Jared. In the background, Lisa could hear Miss Perkins sobbing.


So, I was writing this scene and is there any scenario more terrifying to a parent (or teacher) than having kids disappear? I have had kids get picked up from school under odd circumstances (see my free read It’s a Beautiful Day In the Neighborhood) and that weekend sucked until I saw that little girl walk into school the following week. For the scene, I had the complication of Lisa’s ex-husband picking the boys up and discovering them gone. He’s a jackass and I knew I needed someone to stand up to him.  Then it dawned on me, I have a character who was an elementary teacher and as the wife of a rock star she would be in the perfect position to deal with Jared’s ranting. I also wondered what happened to her. Maureen loved teaching and I couldn’t imagine that she would have walked away no matter how wealthy her husband was. And that’s why Maureen D’Amato ended up teaching Lisa’s son.


Video Friday

You know that first scene where Maureen is obsessing about Bear maybe being a serial killer and how she’s going to end up rolled up in a rug? That came from this song. Her being chopped up into little pieces was edited out of the book. A tad gruesome for me.

Mom’s panic attack


Maureen let him escort her to the car and open the door. Panic crawled through her chest. Tony had a son going into second grade next year. If he didn’t like her dating his brother, he might talk to other parents. If enough of them decided they didn’t want their child in her class the school board might not renew her contract. That was probably a lot of wild paranoia, but having a class full of kids with hostile parents wasn’t. Linda had a pack of them this year in third grade and they were making her life hell. Two years ago Jenny Gilchrist had six kids fail and those kids’ parents drove her so crazy she ended up in the hospital with panic attacks and quit at the end of the year.

Nothing galvanizes a person quite like having a sibling a call to say, “I don’t want to worry you, but Mom was taken to the hospital today.” Several years before she retired my mom (yes, I am a second generation teacher) had a number of students failing her elementary class. The grade she taught was high stakes because it was the year before the state tests are administered so kids who aren’t going to hack it, aren’t getting out of third grade. Their parents disagreed. Stridently. My mom had taught for almost 30 year at this point, over half of it in third grade. She knew her stuff. They harassed her so much about it that toward the end of the year, in the middle an assembly, my mother passed out cold on the floor.

Turned out Mom had had a panic attack from the stress and an overabundance of coffee. (My mom loves her coffee.) She wore a heart monitor for a day, failed the kids anyway and carried on for three more years before she retired.

So, is the scenario Maureen cooks up possible? Likely? That little heart attack I had when my sister called that day says yes.

Please remember, when you have a disagreement with your child’s teacher, that teacher may be somebody’s mother too. Keep civil, gather your evidence (because not all teachers are as excellent as my mom) and take it to the principal if you can’t get satisfaction from the teacher.

Why Michael is my favorite member of Touchstone.

Micheal “Bear” D’Amato was the third member of Touchstone that I “met.” He’s exuberant and fun, and something of a disaster maker. He’s also something of a tramp. All those women were throwing themselves at him, what was he supposed to do? I always had the impression that he is a Taurus. Earthy, stubborn, and indulgent. He will definitely stick around during a fight, which is good because he probably started it.

No, I don’t know how he got the nickname, but I was there when he got the alternate nickname of “Pooh Bear” which he has yet to live down.

Satellite Of Love Is Here!


This is your chance to win a $100 Amazon gift certificate for doing something you would probably do anyway, with smaller more immediate prizes along the way. Here’s how:

Part 1: Social Media Contest

Enter by posting a link to the book page to whatever social media platform you like. No Facebook Shares allowed because Facebook is poopy that way. Take a screen shot of your post and leave it up. Send the screen shot of the post to christabellemaurice@gmail.com with “Drawn To the Media” in the subject line.

Deadline: April 6. And I do mean period.

Drawing to be held April 7. I will write all the entries on little slips of paper and chuck those papers into the big pink bowl I use to transport my signature corn and lentil salad to any potluck I am invited to and, with a flourish, I will cover my eyes and draw one out. I would use my mixing bowl, but it’s stainless steel and the corn and lentil salad has salsa in it so I’m afraid it will react.


  1. One entry per social media account per hour. If you have the burning desire to repost and reenter every hour 24 hours a day for the entire seven days, go ahead. It will radically increase your chances of winning, but you will be very tired. Just remember, no shares.
  2. The winning entry will be removed from the final drawing (keep reading), which just means you should enter repeatedly.
  3. You absolutely must have “Drawn To the Media” in the subject line or I will probably delete your entry thinking it’s spam. Capitalization is not important though I do appreciate attention to detail.

Winner will receive $10 Amazon gift certificate via email probably on the 8th, but definitely within a week.

This contest will repeat with the release of each of the 6 titles in the series.

Part 2: Review Contest

Enter by posting reviews of the book to any review site you choose. Posting the same review to different sites is acceptable, but only one review per site will be accepted. Good, bad or indifferent, it does not matter. Send a link to your review to christabellemaurice@gmail.com with “Drawn to the Reviews” in the subject line.

Deadline: April 14.

Drawing to be held April 15 by the same exhaustive method described above.


  1. You must purchase your own book. If you received the book from my publisher, sorry but you are disqualified. (But feel free to enter the social media contest!)
  2. One entry per reviewer per review site, though you can cut and paste the same review to all the review sites you can find if you so choose.
  3. Honest reviews, repeat, honest reviews, at least 6 sentences long that contain enough information so that I know you read the book. I have pretty good radar and thick skin.
  4. Again the winning entry will be removed from the final drawing (keep reading.)

Winner will receive $25 Amazon gift certificate via email probably on the 16th, but definitely within a week.

This contest will also repeat with the release of each of the 6 titles in the series.

Part 3: The $100 Amazon gift certificate contest you read all this way to find out about

All remaining entries from all 12 contests (e.g. entries that have not already won) will be dumped into a giant barrel, swished around, and one will be chosen. The final drawing will be held 2 weeks and 1 day after the last book, Keep Coming Back To Love, is released.  (Just a few seconds after the winning review is drawn, I dare say.) I cannot tell you when the last book will be released. I wish I could, but the editorial calendar is way, way beyond my realm of influence.

Winner will receive a $100 Amazon gift certificate via email within a week. If for some reason Amazon has gone out of business, we’ll find a reasonable substitute. The apocalypse, like the editorial calendar, is out of my control.

Email addresses will not be sold or given to any other entity. The only real intent in collecting them is to notify winners and issue prizes. I may use them to tip you off you when the next book is coming out so you can gear up to enter all over again, or I may go through a patch of severe disorganization and not. I suggest, if you are really invested in finding out news, that you like my Facebook page because, as my family will tell you, that’s the only place I can reliably be found.

Good luck and happy reading!

It Starts

“Where do you get your ideas?”

Every author dreads this question. From conversation I get the impression that most authors dread it because the answer is too complicated. Don’t get me wrong. If I’m fresh out of edits or, God forbid, just finished writing the first draft, then yes, the answer is complicated. The male lead is 10% this guy I dated in college and 30% someone else and the balance is made up from snips of conversations and inspiration (that occasionally surprises me.) The female lead is the same stew of character traits and guesswork. The plot starts someplace logical and then usually takes off like a fire hose on full power with just little old me hanging on for dear life. It’s kind of embarrassing to admit that I have no idea what’s going to happen from paragraph to paragraph in the story I’m writing.

However, I love learning the connections between things. One of my very favorite shows ever is James Burke’s Connections (the first series more than the second.) I love knowing how things connect. This series came about more or less because I wanted to know how things connected. How did these men in this band work together? Where did they come from? Thus the series was born.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. I’m supposed to be talking about the origin of this book and these two people.

I wrote the first book in the series first. Had it published even. While I was working through the edits I started thinking about the other guys. No, that’s not right. It didn’t start there.

It started when I was in college sitting through boring required liberal arts classes. I had two choices: write or pick at my split ends. Not that I didn’t find things in the class interesting, but it was a huge lecture hall with a professor droning on at the front at a pace better suited to the very slowest student in the room. So I started writing in the margins of my notebooks. (Does that tell you how long ago it was? Notebooks.) I would write in tiny cramped print, two lines of text per line of margin, the thrilling adventures of Jason Callisto and his best friend and bass player, Brian Ellis. The drummer’s name was Bear. The keyboardist’s name was Leo and the singer had no name because he wasn’t especially important. I filled the margins of many notebooks.

Years pass.

I write and publish a couple of books under another name. They’re good. Well reviewed, solid books. My heart was in them. But I needed to branch out and my boys were always there. I also decided I needed to practice writing sex scenes. Don’t laugh. It’s very difficult!

Who better to practice sex scenes on than a rock star? So I wrote the second book in the series. It was published by another house under a different title and during the editing phase I was thinking about the characters. Specifically I started thinking about what the circumstances would have to be for Bear to have dumped a Coke over Jason’s head during the tour. What kind of person resorts to that instead of punching him or retaliating in some other way?

The band members were sitting around the dinner table talking after Jason and Cassie got together and someone asked, “How did you meet Maureen, anyway?” What, you thought the characters stopped when the book ended? No, mon ami, they are there, going about their lives in my head as long as we all shall live. So somebody asked and Bear answered, “Her brakes were squeaking and she brought the car into my brother’s garage to get them fixed.”

And there it was. The origin of Satellite Of Love, and the origin of Drawn To the Rhythm.