Tag Archive | Send Me an Angel

Love Me Tender is Here!

When I was working on Keep Coming Back To Love I knew Candy had an assistant, but when they appeared at Angie and Alan’s backyard party in Try a Little Tenderness lo and behold the assistant had been promoted to publicist (Ty didn’t know when he was on the phone with her at the hospital.) She was also Indian (which was a surprise to me.) As Ryan and Taylor’s story progressed, it became clear that Ryan’s friend Mick was a lot more messed up by their sordid past and that Sarina had to be his soulmate.

Then I started their book and there were more fun surprises in store for me. (Honestly, you’d think I didn’t make these people up.) Chief among those delights was seeing Candy from a different angle. In Keep Coming Back To Love, she grew from teen girl to grown woman, but that story was all about her feelings for Ty. In this book, she is a mentor to Sarina and she’s awesome! Sarina’s parents are really fun too. They’re wise in ways that Sarina doesn’t appreciate yet. They’re also a little ridiculous. Sarina thinks they’re not ambitious, but look at their hobbies! Her mother builds doll houses—elaborate, wired for electricity—doll houses. And she builds a train set to the same scale as the doll house. Sarina’s father likes to cook and sew. He made Sarina a Belle costume when she was a little girl. His cooking is terrible because he doesn’t pay attention to the details, but also because he’s trying to make things that are way beyond his capabilities. They are both very ambitious, just not about their jobs.

Getting to see Mick learn that all relationships aren’t like the twisted relationship he had with Mrs. Spencer was painful though. He really does not understand and there are several scenes where he and Sarina are talking but they are not having the same conversation. When the realization did dawn, it was uplifting. Sarina needed to learn it wasn’t all about her. At the beginning of the book, she feels like it is (and in many ways it is.) As things progress, she’s trying to figure out Mick through the lens of it being about her, and failing, until she finds out about Mick’s trauma. In that moment, she finally becomes the person she’s been working toward the entire book.

I think readers of the Drawn To the Rhythm and Rock And Roll State Of Mind series will enjoy this a bit more because there are so many cameos. Readers of Keep Coming Back To Love will especially enjoy seeing what was going on while Candy was catatonic in the hospital when June got sick. It can be read without having read the other books, but I enjoy spotting those kinds of references so I can’t help but put them in myself. (Castle and the Firefly references anyone?)

Pssst – here’s that excerpt:

“So this time I was wrong. How many times has that happened?”

“I don’t know because I always did what you thought was right. Maybe you were wrong before and we lost chances to get out of the hole we were in because you didn’t want any of us to reach out and take the help that was offered.”

“We don’t need to argue about this.” Gale stepped between them.

“Really? That about Lisa?” Ryan glared at both of them.

Gale tensed. “Don’t mention Lisa.”

Alan and Angie

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She pointed across the yard to where her husband Alan was tossing his daughter into the air. “His press now shows him to be a happy family man, which he is, but eight years ago he wrapped his Porsche around a utility pole during a car chase and he was so high at the time it took four officers to take him down. Nobody talks about it anymore.”

“I don’t remember that,” Ryan said.

“It was all over the news,” Gale said. “I remember.”

“Do you remember Logan Callahan and Suzette Bazian’s sex video?” Angie asked. “Because Suzi is married to Brian Ellis and Logan is around here someplace because Touchstone management handles them now, too.”

 

Alan and Angie’s story is in Send Me an Angel. Suzi and Brian’s (and Logan’s) story is in Let Me Be the One. One of the lovely things about writing a series is getting to revisit old friends and see how they’re doing after I put them through so much torment in their books.

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Alan Quits Smoking

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Fumbling for his pack of cigarettes, he hit the ignition. Reaching for his lighter on the dash, he caught her sour expression. “What?”

“I’m not big on smokers.”

He turned to look at her. Her expression was back to neutral again when she met his gaze. “You don’t smoke?”

“No, but it’s your car. Don’t let me stop you.”

“I don’t want you to be uncomfortable.” He shoved the cigarette back in the pack. “Where do you live?”

 

 

Once upon a time, when I was a stupid college girl, I knew a guy. Actually I knew two guys. Well, to be honest, there were six of them, but I only went out with two. My group of four girlfriends met this group of six guys one night at a club and we all hit it off. I developed a major thing for a tall blond drink of water who promptly developed a thing for one of my friends. It was okay because one of the other guys had a thing for me and being young and stupid, I encouraged it. Guy two had just gotten out of the military, was really nice, and really, well, nice, but he smoked which I didn’t like. I never told him and I didn’t make an issue of it. He wasn’t my boyfriend after all.

There came a day when boy one had a falling out with my friend. She wasn’t really my friend, just a friend of a friend. Sort of like an extra who shows up for two or three episodes of a show or a red shirt on Star Trek. The falling out happened on a night that boy two wasn’t with the group and I was right there to soothe boy one’s broken heart. Boy one and boy two were friends. Since elementary school friends, along with the other four guys in the group. Word got around.

The week following the break up and soothing, both groups encountered boy two sitting alone near where we always sat at the club, smoking. I went to chat with him and commented on the cigarette. He said he’d only quit because I didn’t like it and said (sincerely) that he hoped I’d be happy with boy one. He stopped hanging out with the group after that. I still feel like a heel.

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Alan’s OCD Dental Routine

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She stroked her fingers across his smooth chest. His tone was odd. She couldn’t tell if he wanted her to stay or not. “You don’t mind me staying the night do you?”

“Well, I have to brush my teeth.”

She propped herself up on her arm so she could see his face. The nightlight cast enough light for her to see his unease. Was this some kind of OCD thing he’d picked up in rehab to replace his habit? Was he going to be brushing his teeth until his gums bled? “Okay.”

 

I have a great dentist. He is an amateur archeologist who digs for dinosaur bones every summer in Utah. He and his wife wanted a big family so in addition to their two biological children they adopted four from overseas before it was trendy. They wanted to be involved with this family so they set up his office in a former house. The downstairs was remodeled into offices and the kids and their nanny spent the day upstairs. He’s the go-to dentist for many of the developmentally delayed adults in the area because he’s so good with them. So when my dentist said to use special toothpicks to push my gums down, I said, yes sir.

A couple of years later I was teaching kindergarten in Korea and I swear one of my mothers had a budget for monthly teacher gifts. She have myself, my co-teacher and our assistant approximately $50 in gifts every month like clockwork. One month the gift was an electric toothbrush (this was years ago when they were very expensive.) I still have it.

During my time in the UAE, I went to the dentist and asked about a cleaning as I had not had one in years. They said, why would you do that? They also didn’t use anesthetic unless absolutely necessary so the work I did have to have done was painful and I avoided repeating it.

Last year I managed to schedule a dentist appointment with my fantastic dentist here in the US after not getting to one for 6 or more years and guess how many cavities I had. None.

So the OCD brushing, flossing and picking that Alan does in the book is actually excellent dental care recommended by my amazing dentist.

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Alan’s Sponsor

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Marty started out as Randolph Mantooth if he had gone down a very dark path while simultaneously being much more successful. Alan needed a sponsor and it seemed logical that his sponsor would also be in show business. Plus, anytime I can model a character on Randolph Mantooth, I’m happy. Because I also bear a life long crush on Marty Milner, who starred on another Mark V show, Adam 12, I stuck him with the name Marty. He really wasn’t supposed to be that big a character, but I needed something to go right for poor Angie late in the story and since I had this television producer roaming around I roped him, putting Angie on his radar for a part in the sci fi show he’s shooting in Vancouver.

 

By now it’s pretty obvious I watch too much television. Marty’s show that he’s developing and starting to shoot by the end of the story is based heavily on Stargate SG-1. I really loved the character of Dr. Frazier on SG-1 and still cry every time I watch the episode where she dies. (Is that a spoiler? Sorry.) I liked it so much that I’ve hunted down other movies and shows that the actress, Teryl Rothery, has been in. My favorite has to be the Hallmark Christmas movie Battle of the Bulbs. She was also good in the Sy Fy Channel series Eureka in the one episode she appeared in.

 

So thanks to Alan needing a sponsor I got to write Randolph Mantooth, with a nod to Marty Milner, helping out my heroine by giving her Teryl Rothery’s recurring part in a show very much, but not exactly like Stargate SG-1.

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What I’m Watching: Celebrity Rehab

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Send Me an Angel was heavily influenced by this show, particularly season 2. I always had a fondness for Steven Adler, but at the outset I thought my hatred of Tawny Kittaen ould ruin it for me. I can’t really put my finger on when I started hating her, but it was well before she was in the news for beating her husband. In fact, not long before that she was on the cover of Cleveland Magazine with the husband she was beating, photographed as a happy couple and she had lipstick on her teeth. I took great joy in that. Especially after I found out from the photographer what a nightmare she was to work with. I happened to be working for a rival magazine, so I knew the photographer and got the inside scoop.

What amazed me while watching the show was that while I continued to hate Tawny, I didn’t dislike Julie (Tawny Kittaen’s real first name.) By the end of the series, I felt bad for Julie.

I still don’t like Tawny.

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Broken Birds

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Through the glass door, he saw Angie running a vacuum and talking to a little girl with dark skin and long glossy curls who looked about Terry’s age. She wore a yellow apron over jeans and a white t-shirt and had her hair in a ponytail. Yesterday, she’d been dressed up and made up, but she looked even prettier like this. She looked really comfortable with the kid too. He grabbed the door and yanked. His fingers slipped off the handle. The nail on his middle finger snagged and sharp pain jabbed underneath.

“Son of a bitch.” He inspected the finger. The nail had torn down below the quick and was bleeding at the corner.

The door flew open, smacking him in the head.

“Ow.” He jerked back a step, reaching for the spot where he’d been hit. This was not the way he’d wanted to arrive.

The little girl Angie had been talking to clapped her hands over her mouth. “I’m sorry,” she wailed.

“Alan, what happened?”

“I was only trying to help.” The little girl grabbed Angie’s hand, her voice panicked. “You said he was your friend. I was only opening the door.”

“It’s okay, Jaz.” Angie patted the little girl with one hand while reaching out for Alan with the other. “What happened?”

 

For a brief time, I worked in a day care and it was the single most depressing job I ever had. The girl I based Jasmin on actually did live with her aunt because her mother had fooled around with the aunt’s husband to get pregnant, then the mother ODed and the husband/father went to jail. Another girl had the most terrific temper. It was some kind of chemical imbalance and when she lost it, she was dangerous. I could help her control the temper, but it was hard work that required me to be entirely focused on her and ignoring the other 11 kids in my care for the duration. Another girl was the oldest of three, but her younger siblings were to the current husband and her father wasn’t in the picture. She lived Cinderella. A three year old at the center bonded with me and would scream if I left the room and she wasn’t allowed to go with me. I had the 6-12 class, but I frequently had this one little girl along just to keep peace. This adorable doll-like child never spoke and rarely smiled. Her mother had been diagnosed schizophrenic shortly after the child’s birth. The parents lost the kids to foster care and they ended up being bounced from relative to relative. Her older brother, who was five at the time, never shut up. And then there was the day that one of the kids I considered average announced that her father had died the day before. He had abandoned the family years before and she didn’t know how to grieve for a man she didn’t know.

I tend to attract the broken birds when I teach, but this job had so many.

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Video Friday: Stagefright

Alan’s addiction originated as a deep seated stagefright. Steve Clark and my ex-husband also suffered from crippling stagefright so I got to see it up close and personal. My ex-husband eventually started taking a prescription drug that helped him deal with the anxiety, but he had been self medicating with whiskey previous to that. He was headed down the path of alcoholism, but I encouraged him to see a therapist and, shockingly, he listened.

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Origin of Send Me an Angel

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I’ve had a long running interest in addiction and recovery starting with alcoholic grandfathers. My paternal grandfather, according to all reports, was a gentle drunk. He came home from work every night and drank until bed. He died when I was three so the only memory I have of him is his funeral. My maternal grandfather was a mean drunk. My mother has only recently begun telling stories about how she grew up and they are completely at odds with the man I remember. Of course by the time I came along, he had mellowed and my uncle had stood up to him. I do remember him drinking a lot. When I was little, every time he opened a beer he would give me the tab (yes, it was that long ago) if I took the first sip. I hated the taste, but I wanted those tabs and I had enough to make necklaces with.

When I went to college, I was the designated driver because I didn’t drink. The fact that both my grandfathers were alcoholics and my early aversion therapy thanks to my maternal grandfather left me with zero desire to drink. However, my penchant for hanging out with musicians in bars, meant that I had a lot of contact with drinkers and drug users. Then I moved to Akron, right into the neighborhood where Alcoholics Anonymous was born. Every June, on Dr. Bob’s birthday, the city is overrun with recovering alcoholics and drug users. It’s quite the event.

Those interests, along with my running interest in musicians, led to this story. No one moment of epiphany. Lots of little moments and pieces that added up to be greater than their sum.

Alan’s story breaks my heart. I so wanted him to be happy that when it came time for him to find out the truth about Angie, I hated myself for putting him in the way of it.

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