Pandemonium During a Pandemic

If anyone had asked me a year ago…even six months ago…what I would be doing during a quarantine, I would have scoffed at the improbably ludicrous scenario. Yet, here we are, facing a time when the improbable is real and the upheaval of daily life is unprecedented in our lifetime.

We have been sheltered from the harsh realities of how quickly the world that we know can be turned upside down. What was once frowned upon is now common. Children attending virtual classes, college students doing course work through real-time online videos and lectures. All parents are teachers and all teachers are students of technology.

NY Corona Virus When I was in school (Yes, I’m dating myself and I don’t care.) There were no computers. There was mimeograph machines and ditto copiers. If you had a good week, you got to help out in the office on Friday and catch a buzz from the smell of the chemicals. Ah, the simple times of getting high. But I digress.

Now I have to learn how to maneuver through Messenger, Zoom, WebEx, Go To Meetings, and a hundred other sites all meant to make our social distancing life less lonely. Less depressing. Less toxic. Because, let’s face it, we’re social beings. Never meant to live in solitude for extended periods of time. Never to go without those hugs we love, hearing the laughter of friends and family. I miss my posse. So much so, we do virtual dinners twice a week. It’s not the same as being in a room with people whose company you love. The fun part was learning I’m not the only one technically challenged. Some dinners run late.TechnicalDifficulties-1

And touch. I miss touching. I’m a tactile person. I prefer paperbacks to ebooks. Make lists on paper rather than on my phone. I crochet and sew and do things with my hands. Thank the Universe that I do. Writing would be difficult without touching. Oh, there are definitely people who dictate and then put the final touches on their work at the keyboard. I tried it once. It’s hard, and I didn’t like it.

But when I push all the less important stuff out of my mind, sit in the quiet, and concentrate on the meaning of it all, I find being on pause isn’t so horrible. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not signing up for prolonged solitude and social distancing. My job has me working from home, I am not a happy camper. I like people. Well…most anyway. the others I tolerate. I like the stimulation of watching and listening to strangers, and learning things outside of my home environment. I jumped for joy at the opportunity to get groceries. I haven’t been out of the house for a week. I love my wife, but we enjoy separate activities and have different interests. That’s not a bad thing. I think it makes the times we are together better.

Hoarding TPAnd what the hell was the mass hysteria over toilet paper. Let me tell you, if you need that much fucking toilet paper, you need to see a specialist. Then there was the butter, flour, sugar scare. “OMG…I’m going to have to stay home for weeks. I need to bake my ass off.” Why? It’s not like you’re going to have company or go to parties. I shake my head. Watch the shelves and get what I need. If there are only two of something, I consider if I really need it, or take one. Pandemonium reigns.

This isn’t meant to downplay the seriousness of the virus. I know people who have had it. Who have lost friends and loved ones. But even I can only deal with so much doom and gloom. I need a mental break from it all. Need to breathe. Need to not panic in the face of chaos.

What’s the moral of this rant. Nothing. Nada. Zip. I just find the things people do…or don’t do…funny, interesting, head-shaking material. It’ll all fodder for a book some day. Stay safe, be well. Most of all, take care of each other. In the end, human kindness is the best defense we have in this world.

person holding multi colored heart shaped ornament

Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on


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A new year, a new adventure…

The year 2019 left without much fanfare, though I can’t say I’m sorry to see it go. It’s been a year of rushing and running, and while I function well under deadlines and the demands of having a full-time job, as well as a full-time writing career (at least I like to think so) it’s felt a bit like the slick of a knife’s edge along my skin.

christmas-home-decor-ideas-in-traditional-red-and-green-5-554x738I love the excitement of Christmas, usually. The lights and colors and good tidings. The smiles and laughter and hugs. This year, not so much. It felt like too much. Too much work. Too much to do. Too many lists. Too much of…well, everything. Sadness crept in with thoughts of my father (You left too soon, Dad.) and of how much he loved the holidays and everything around it. As I baked treats, I thought of how I had kept going without seeing him all these years, and how I had let go of family traditions, when my parents home was filled with relatives till it was busting at the seams. Good memories. And a lot of love.

As I wiped away the tears, I decided it was time to make my own traditions. Ones that my nieces may someday fondly remember, and in the future pick up the torch to create their own traditions. When it was time for the family gathering, I pushed past sorrows and regrets down deep, and clung to the here and now. We laughed and joked. We ate and played games. And we shared the love of family that has been a tradition in households the world-wide for generations before me, and hopefully, for generations after.

There’s hope in the days ahead. I’m not oblivious to the world’s turmoil. It’s stares me in the face every day. But there’s also much to be grateful for in my small part of this planet, where I surround myself with as many good and nurturing people as I can, and try to give back as much as I take.

So for 2020, the year of duplicity, my goal is to find balance. My balance. Where the fulcrum swings equally with purpose and surety. Where I see as much as being seen. Where I can be open about what I need, and who I am, and give the same in return.

May you find your balance this year, and at the center of it all, may you know you are loved.

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It does get better…

I’ll admit I wasn’t always an out and proud lesbian. I was naive for a good part of the first decade of embracing the real me. I’m not sure why I thought there were so few of us that I needed to stay in my small circle. Then there was The L Word, and books, and…oh, look…more people who didn’t fit into a conventional box, whatever that is or was. And…wow. Just wow.

It wasn’t long after that I decided to try writing. If you’ve read my previous posts, you know it was a passion I couldn’t ignore. Now I’m living a dream come true. Honestly, I had always hoped I’d be published, but I wasn’t holding my breath. The words kept coming anyway, so I wrote. One book, then two, then it morphed into dozens. I recently reread one of my first novel. It needs work. Lots and lots of work. That’s okay. When retirement finally comes, I’ll have projects to keep me busy.

Hard Body FinalMeanwhile, my first erotic short, “Hard Body” is making its debut July 1, 2019. It’s an e-book only, with steamy sex. Too much for paper. The glue would melt.

I have a confession to make. There’s quite a bit of me in this work. Being perfect isn’t possible in our world. Someone will always want more from us. That doesn’t mean we don’t deserve what we desire. We just have to believe…and trust. Like this character finally did. Not always easy, but necessary.

This author thing is just the icing on the cake I was already enjoying every fucking day. Yes, I am. I will continue to live a life that is up to me to make fuller (I don’t know if that’s possible, but I won’t know if I never try.), and richer, and more than a little satisfying. I’m already blessed beyond words by my wife, family, friends, and my publisher.

Where The Lies Hide 300 DPI (Final Cover)

Yet, there’s still more to share. I have another novel (number 3), Where the Lies Hide, coming out August 1, 2019 (available for early release exclusively with Bold Stroke Books and you can pre-order now).

It’s another romantic intrigue. I’ve enjoyed crafting a dual story arc, one intrigue and one romance, but it’s a lot of work, and this is the second one I’ve done. I’ve decided to go back to contemporary romance. I need a little break from the intrigue part. Give my brain a rest. Love is a little easier to imagine.

I think you get where this blog was going.

It just keeps getting better and better. It can for you, too. Whatever you want…go for it. With every single breath you take and with all that you are. Desire it. Picture it. Ask the Universe for it. It’s right there. It’s not going to happen overnight. It’s going to happen exactly at the perfect moment. Trust. Be ready. You’re in for one hell of a wild ride.


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And then there was…

Even with the numerous writing projects on my plate, I always have time to dabble in a short story here and there.

This past fall, I entered a piece to a call for submission and it was accepted…my first published erotic short in the Bold Strokes Books anthology, Escape to Pleasure: Lesbian Traveescape-to-pleasure-lesbian-travel-erotical Erotica. I’m not sure why I chose to write about a hiker on the Appalachian Trail, but that’s what happened, so I went with it.  “On Her Trail” is a solid story and the sex is hot. Two integral components to any erotic short. It was a fun piece to write and it whet my appetite to attempt more. So I did.

I banged out several stories. Some will sit and never see print, but others are worthy…their day in the light will come. And then there was the day I was procrastinating when to get on with actually working on a project with a looming deadline, but instead, what did I do? I wrote an erotic short. Of course.

Hard Body was a cathartic piece. In the current social culture that is attempting to bury all the progress (though still not nearly enough) we’ve made as a community and confirming we are an integral part of society, I was feeling a bit down-trodden, and my self-image was battered by the words of hate and loathing being perpetrated by someone who is supposed to lead our nation into the direction our country has always stood for—diversity—and with it, the ability to embrace each individual as they are.

I’ve battled with body image all my life. I’m too short, too large, too opinionated, too out spoken. Those labels often led to feeling unworthy, undesirable, unwanted…un everything. Creatively, I wanted to fix that. To change not only how I saw myself, but to attempt to change how others saw me and thousands of individuals who battle with the scars of childhood, that turn into festering sores in adulthood.

First thought, we…as women…are way too hard on ourselves. Being a Virgo, that triples for me. I am my toughest critic. Second, there are those who desire every shape and size, every characteristic we possess. We aren’t meant to please everyone and neither should we want to. We only need to please ourselves. The rest will follow in its own time.

Hard Body is a self-pleasing, soul-bearing, sexually intense and steaming hot erotic short. It provided an avenue to my questioning self that, no matter what I might have felt throughout the course of my so-far life, I am vital. I am sensual. I am desired. And that’s all I need to be…is me.

To women everywhere, celebrate who you are. You were put on this earth for a reason. You are destined for greatness. Allow your beauty to shine through. And maybe, just maybe, that ultimate fantasy you’ve denied existed your entire life will come to fruition. But only if you let it. It’s up to you to push away self-doubt. Be confident. Be sexy. Be who you were always meant to be.

Stay tuned. Hard Body my just serve as the impetus to let you see how perception of ourselves can flip on a dime. Being turned on in the process is just a little bonus. kissing emoji

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When it gets even better…

It’s hard to believe just nine months ago I had my first novel, Epicurean Delights, published by Bold Strokes Books. Now there’s a second one, Stroke of Fate, ready for exclusive early release in Provincetown for Women’s Week (BSB release is November 1, 2018).

Finalized Cover - Stroke of FateWhile I loved my debut, this one is a bit different in that it’s a romantic intrigue with a few twists and turns. Set around our nation’s Capital, it lends to insight into what “theoretically” happens behind the scenes. It also delves into the psyche of each character and what motivates them.

Jade is an author of lesbian romance, intrigue, and erotica. She is suddenly skyrocketed into the limelight when her latest novel hits the NY Times best sellers list. But fame comes with a price.

Sean Moore, an androgynous former member of the Secret Service, is the perfect person to keep Jade safe. She’s a character you can seek your teeth into (lightly at first). She’s always held high standards and is ethically above reproach, but she’s finding it difficult to hold that line after meeting Jade Rivers.

This was a fun endeavor for me. Not only because I loved everything about this story, but I also had the pleasure of working with my editor, Victoria Villasenor. She pushed me to be better, dig deeper, answer questions I hadn’t considered, and hone my craft to a higher standard. Thanks, Vic.

Then there is the extraordinary copy editor, Cindy Cresap, whose sharp eye catches all the “little things” I missed along the way.

Life has so much to offer, and I am in gratitude for the opportunity to share my work with you, faithful readers, and pull you along on this fantastic, magical ride. Stay tuned. There’s more in the works from me and my hope is that you enjoy each one.

Until next time…Renee

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So, now what?

When the stars align and your dream, one you’ve held on to for years, becomes real rather than fantasy—the world is brighter. Sights and sounds converge into a symphony, like a masterpiece of music.

And the days and weeks and months rush by in a blur of activity. Communications and editing and deadlines. Then there’s promotional and postings and keeping up on everything. Oh, yeah. I need a Twitter account. What? I don’t Twit. No, no. My friend laughed. It’s Tweet. See. Okay, so there’s that and my web site. My goodness, I need to get something up there, too.

My author copies arrive. I’m beside myself with joy. I dance around. Don’t forget to bring your pen and bookmarks wherever you go, because your friends and acquaintances are eager to support your endeavor and they want their copies of my book signed. By me. Really?

Iepicurean-delightst’s a little overwhelming. I was delusional, thinking all (ha,ha…not as easy as you might think) I had to do was write a decent story, find out if my manuscript was accepted, and get the editing done. On time. Luckily, I’m a little OCD when it comes to deadlines. I’ve always considered myself an excellent student, so submitting ahead of schedule was no surprise. Everything that followed—that was a surprise.

But I wouldn’t give up one single minute of this journey. It is everything I ever imagined, and so much more. The outpouring of love and support leaves me speechless. The encouragement and guidance from fellow authors, a blessing. And my publisher…Bold Strokes Books,  comprises a team of caring individuals who welcomed me with open arms into the BSB family. They are an extraordinary group who are always available to answer my unending newbie questions. I have a lot of them.

Long nights, isolates weekends, and I love the results. I think I do pretty well fitting everything in. I have a busy life. It’s full and rich and fun. Laughter and love abound.

So, now what? People ask. I’m working on number two, Stroke of Fate. And there’s a proposal on the table for number three, then there will be a fourth, and with a little bit of luck and a lot of work, it won’t end. Ever.


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And then it happened…

I’ve always been a ‘glass half-full’ kind of gal, so it stands to reason I see things a little differently.

I believe the Universe is powerful. I believe we are meant to be happy. To feel love, and to dream, and to achieve all we set out to do. And I believe the way for us to get there is to trust it will be, if we can just let go. I know this is true because it has happened for me.

I began writing again in 2008. Serious writing. It wasn’t good, although at the time I thought it was great. I’ve learned so much since then. Each time I start a story, I see more.  I feel more. I can tell when a scene is lacking and I sense what’s wrong. So I work on making it a little cleaner, a little better. Writing is a process, as well as a craft. Some authors are born story tellers and some authors have really good stories to tell. The hard part is getting it down on paper so that you, the reader, not only enjoy it but also understands what I, the author, am trying to convey with words. It’s not as easy as it sounds. Language alone is limited in the way we use it to share what we want to say. What is in our mind and heart. What our dreams and desires are playing out on the page. How to do it and do it well is part of my journey. I think it’s a shared journey among writers everywhere. It’s the stuff that turns mere words into emotions you experience for yourself with every turn of the page. Joy, pain, heartache, passion, and a host of others.

My first submission was rejected. I cried. I took writing classes and English refresher courses and kept writing. My second submission was closer. There were technical flaws and points that needed addressing. Some I understood how to fix, others I did not. So there were more classes and more research, and a force that kept me going in pursuit of knowledge. I am passionate about writing. I am driven to write. Sure, I felt a little deflated at times. I even walked away from it for more than a year, convinced I didn’t have what it takes to be an author. A really good author. But it called to me. In one form or another, it always has. My fingers itched. I blew the dust off the pages and took a breath.

Friends (Thank you Cathy and Gina.) recently gave me a gift. A harbinger of things to come. It’s a charm bracelet that has a charm, ‘you only fail if you stop writing’. Nothing could be truer.

Last year, I pitched a first-draft manuscript during the Golden Crown Literary Society Annual Conference. I was encouraged by the feedback, knowing there was more work to be done, and that was okay. A few months later, after more encouragement (Thank you Kris and Maggie.), I submitted the manuscript to Bold Strokes Books. I couldn’t help having a panicky feeling when I finally hit the send button. It was a good story, one I felt was fairly well written and told with…what you ask? What else? Passion.

Once it was out the virtual door, I trusted. I asked the Universe to make it happen. I let it go. I waited. And then it did happen. There were a few questions I needed to answer and a few details to work out, but a week later I was under contract to have my first novel, Epicurean Delights published.

I cannot begin to describe the rush of emotions I felt when I read that email the first, second, and third time. My heart raced. This was it. All the hours of writing. All the days of neglected things that needed attention, including my wife, friends, and family…culminated in the one word I focused all of my being on—accepted. Being a published author was no longer just a dream. It was a reality. My reality. Just for me. I’d given myself the best gift. I’d given myself permission to follow my passion.

In the months and years ahead, you’ll be seeing more of me.  I’ve been writing with gusto these last eight years and I’ve had a lot to tell. Some full-length novels, a few novellas, and a couple dozen shorts. They will be the best I have inside of me and the best to be nurtured from me with the help of an amazing staff.

Come back often. I’ll be here. And remember…you owe it to yourself to pursue your dreams. Give yourself the gift. You deserve it. Peace, love, and light…



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First, let me apologize for being gone so long. One thing leads to another and time flies by.

I’d like to share my thoughts on how much I am awed and inspired by the vast capacity humans have for showing each other kindness and love. I know it’s not a topic often discussed. In fact, we mostly hear and read about just the opposite. How selfish human nature can be. The key word being “can.” It’s a choice.

I am blessed to have witnessed both. Yes. Both. Because without one, there would be no measurement for the other. Some are forms of Paying it Forward, which coincidentally is one of my all time favorite movies. Tears flowed freely the first time I saw it. They still do every time I see it. Such a simple concept. It spoke to my soul and asked the one constant question – “What does kindness cost?” Do you know? Continue reading

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Holidays are such fun…

Welcome to my blog!

I looked up the meaning of the word blog to be sure I understood the context of the posting. What I learned was a blog can be virtually anything—a topic, an opinion, an internal discussion, a pondering, or just a plain old rambling. I also learned that a “good” blog allows others to comment; so far, so good. Let’s get blogging!

I’ve read a lot of blogs lately, some good and others not so much so. Some were self-centered, some were expressions of an opinion, some were helpful, and some were ramblings on a particular subject. So therein lays the rub. What do I want my first blog to be about? Continue reading

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Welcome To My New Website!

Hi There, and Welcome!

I am so excited about my new website, and will be posting additional examples of my stories soon.  Please, let me hear from you, and what kind of stories you would like to see in the future.  I look forward to hearing from you.

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