My Sexy Saturday

ARe-Carson-LoveCharm03-CarlottaLove Charm for Carlotta

Short Story in Love Charm Series

Blurb: Carlotta doesn’t believe in love charms. Especially not when the bad boy hockey player from her past suddenly re-appears in her life. Has the love charm brought him back to her? She doesn’t intend to find out. But, in the small town island atmosphere of Martha’s Vineyard, it’s hard to escape your past. Do people change, or will she be courting heartbreak again if she  succumbs once more to her high school sweetheart?

Excerpt: “I told you to wait for me, Carlotta.” Jace stepped closer.

“Forever?”

“If that’s what it took.” His deep voice melted over her.

“Did you wait for me?” she whispered.

“I’m here now.” His lips touched hers, a feather of a kiss.

She inhaled his scent, all heat and man and always, even in the spring, with a hint of ice in his essence. He would never live in a warm climate. If he had children, he’d be a hockey coach, surrounded by other ex-players who loved the game, its speed, the edge of violence, and the boisterous camaraderie.

“Carlotta,” he murmured, his lips nuzzling her ear. “I missed you.”

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Sneak Peek Sunday at Carly Carson

Eclipse 200x300Eclipse of the HeartNew Release

Six Sentence Sunday

Amanda opened her eyes to see Logan rise to his feet. Alarm barreled through her. Was he done with her? Would he make another of his abrupt departures? She glanced up at him, barely aware of what she was doing.

“That’s quite an effective look of appeal,” Logan said, his voice low. “I think I’m flattered.”

She tried to clear her thoughts. “I should be going home, I think.”

He chuckled. “Your words lack a certain note of conviction.”

“Are you done with dessert?”

“The ice cream is all gone, I’m afraid.” He bent over and scooped her up in his arms. “But licking is still on the menu.”

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Frog Dissection-Has Feminism Made Any Progress?

frogRomance novels have made great strides in portraying females as strong people who must participate in saving the day. We rarely see helpless heroines saved by manly men. But have people changed so much in real life?

I try very hard to raise my children without stereotypes and to encourage my girls to be interested in all avenues of study and to consider all types of careers. But…

Yesterday, was the day in freshman biology that my daughter had been dreading all year. They had to dissect a frog. They always choose their own partners for lab. The boys had paired up among themselves weeks ago for the frog lab. (They weren’t going to do all the work for these squeamish girls.) The girls had wailed and moaned for weeks.

My daughter threw up before class, just to get ready. (She actually brought a toothbrush and toothpaste to school, giving new meaning to the phrase ‘prepared for class’.)

She arrived in class and decided to ask the one boy who’s her friend to be her partner. (Never mind that everyone was already paired up.) He said sure, but he had to admit he might get queasy and need help. She ditched him pronto (and reported that he did get lightheaded later on, thereby embarrassing himself).

She contemplated another boy, Joe. Even though she’s barely ever spoken to Joe,  she knew he was the one boy who would do the work on his own. Desperate times call for desperate measures. She asked him to be her partner. (At least she’s not a shrinking violet in the boy department.) He agreed.

Joe’s original partner said, “Hey, what about me?”

Joe said, “Sorry, I’m working with her.” (Girls rule.)

Meanwhile, my daughter had abandoned her friend, a girl with whom she’d been partnered for every lab the entire year. (Did I raise her?) That girl and another began crying (!?!) when they realized they had no one to lean on. The teacher finally had to assign them to a couple of boys and allow groups of three.

The class started the job. My daughter said her goal was to do nothing and look at nothing. (This is honors biology, BTW.)

The next exciting moment arrived when a girl fainted, sliding down to the floor in a swoon worthy of a 19th century heroine. (No stigma of shame assigned to her.) They revived the girl and she and her female partner decamped for the nurse.

Now as my daughter is telling this tale, I’m thinking, Whatever happened to women’s lib? It’s the 21st century and these girls are behaving no better than I did back in the dark ages, when, I am sorry to report, I somehow managed to escape dissecting the frog. How hard can I be on my daughter, when I know exactly how she feels? But I have to try. Women need to be positive about science.

I say to her, “The girls didn’t make a good showing for themselves.”
She says, “At least I helped Joe pin the frog to the board.”
I say, “That’s good.”
She adds, “By handing him the pins.”

The frog had still better be the prince, and not the biology lesson.

crown

London in Pictures

side entrance-fortnum & masonLondon is one of the world’s great cities, with something for everyone. In honor of the Olympics, I’m sharing some pictures of London sights.

If you’re a foodie, London might not be your first thought. But their food markets are wonderful. Fortnum & Mason is a well-known store with exquisite windows and food displays. The first picture on this blog is the side entrance, and gives you an idea of the uniquely British decoration. The Royal Family does business with this store.

Harrods, the department store has beautiful displays of food to eat there or to go. Check out the candy display and this fanciful cake. Harrod's candy display (2)The cake is actually for sale for 2,000 British pounds, about $3,000 US.

Last, but not least, for you pet lovers, Harrods has an adorable pet shop.

Harrod's pet store-dog 1

See more of my London pictures here.

 

 

London for Tourists

London has amazing historical sites that you shouldn’t miss.

Photo of Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey

Here’s Westminster Abbey. My kids wanted to go inside because that’s where the marriage of Kate and William took place. Hubby and I had already been in, so we decided to walk over to the War Rooms which have been preserved intact from WW 2.

This is where Churchill and his top war ministers lived while London was being bombed. It’s all underground, quite tiny and spartan. The kitchen gives you a good idea of how they lived.Photo of kitchen in Churchill's underground bunker After the war ended, they discovered the underground bunker was not properly constructed and never would have survived a direct hit from a German bomb. But, for the duration of the war, they at least thought they were safe there.

Our reward for taking in some history is that we saw the Queen drive by in a big caravan of limos. This was in June of 2011 and she was celebrating her birthday. There was no one around because she was merely on her way to Buckingham Palace 2Buckingham Palace, where they were having ceremonies. We didn’t tell our kids. They would have been so disappointed to have missed her.

Traveling for Water Fun

Hawaii 010Everyone loves vacations in sunny beach locations. But even when the beach beckons, my family would rather be active. Water sports are a lot of fun and can be tailored to all different ages.

The picture to the left is Hanelai Bay in Hawaii, famous on the Island of Oahu for its snorkeling. My family has snorkeled in many spots; it’s a good sport even for youngish children as long as you find a sheltered area. One of my kids recently became scuba certified and I would love to do that. But she has more time than I do.

This next picture is jet skiing, also in Hawaii. Hawaii 011It’s not my favorite sport, though many people love it. The last time I was on a jet ski was in Puerto Rico where we were vacationing with many of my husband’s friends. He felt compelled to race with one of them on the jet ski (which was also transporting moi). I was so mad at him, I made him stop the machine and I jumped off and swam to shore. He’s crazy and I’m sane (and he’s also not here to dispute my facts). That was it for me and the jet ski.

I used to love Sunfish sailing when I was younger, though I’m not a huge fan of regular sailboats. The fun part about a Sunfish (at least the way we played with it) is that it tips over constantly. I much preferred being tipped into the water than flying over it. I don’t know why.

Skiing – A Great Family Sport

skiingSkiing is a great sport – you’re outdoors, getting exercise, enjoying beautiful scenery, and having a few thrills! But it’s also cold.

Our home ski mountain is a small area with one main lift. You are bound to know people in the lift line because it’s such a small area. Usually, you identify your friends by knowing something specific about their snow gear – the helmet, the bright jacket, whatever they wear regularly.

So I was standing in the back of the line with a couple of my kids and someone at the front of the line was waving wildly and shouting hello back to me. She was dressed in a full snowsuit, plus ski hat, neck warmer, and goggles. There’s not much of the human to see.

I said to my kids, “That person seems to think she knows me. I don’t have a clue who she is.”

The kids answered, “Mom, that’s your sister.”

(It was. In my defense, she has a lot of different outerwear.)

Another story is from possibly the coldest day I’ve ever skied. My kids had a ski race at Killington mountain (in Vermont). It was -16 Fahrenheit at the base, but the ski races carry on, regardless of the weather. So two of my kids, about 8 and 10, were riding on a triple chair, with their friend who was 9 in the middle spot. It’s a ten to fifteen minute ride to the top. They were completely covered, including face masks, helmets and goggles, but they still didn’t want to move.

They got near the top and my oldest said, “I’m frozen solid. I can’t move.”

The youngest said, “I’m frozen too.”

The oldest said, “Erin (the friend), aren’t you cold?”

“Erin fell off at the bottom,” reported the youngest.

The oldest hadn’t even noticed. You just don’t move. You freeze and you suffer.

(Erin was rescued by her dad and my husband who were following the kids on the chair lift.)

Then you stand near the top of the mountain waiting for your turn to ski down, doing the run as fast as you possibly can. Why is this fun?

It just is. It’s a great family sport.

The Naked Male Tour of Austria

Photo of St. Gilgen, AustriaI did not go to Austria to view naked men. That was just a side benefit of my trip.

We started our vacation in Vienna. The city provides a wealth of inspiration for a writer, with everything from richly decorated historical buildings to fabulous baroque art and even the Lipizzaner horses (amazing show and the riders…yum). Most every restaurant and cafe has outdoor tables and the city is full of charming side streets and entire city blocks that are vehicle free. Vienna is a walker’s and bicyclist’s paradise in many parts of the city. In the Spittleberg district (where 18th century men could “enjoy life to the full outside their home”) we had drinks one evening at an outdoor cafe on one of these cafe-lined side streets. Totally romantic. I went inside to use the ladies room (identified by the bra on the door).

As I was washing my hands, I looked up where I expected the mirror over the sinks to be. What I saw, however, was two young men doing their business about two feet from my nose. In place of a wall above the sinks, there was a large, empty glass fish tank (immaculately clean) which occupied the space between the men’s and ladies’ bathrooms. One could scarcely avoid the “view”.

I was shocked, but it’s great for a story tidbit. Dibs, ladies. I reported back to hubby who said that women are total voyeurs, but they don’t want to admit it. Are they? I have to say, I wouldn’t have looked intentionally. One has to keep in mind that all kinds of guys use the facilities.

We moved on to Salzburg, a unique city that has been carefully maintained to retain much of the beauty and charm of the past. Photo of alley in Salzburg, Austria(Mozart was born and raised in the yellow house on the left.) However, the old city has been given over almost entirely to shopping, and chain stores abound. We accidentally stumbled upon the Mirabell gardens where (supposedly) the original Maria von Trapp and her stepchildren could be seen singing and dancing around the fountain. What we saw was my next naked man, a fellow who was strolling inside the fountain pool, attempting to hang onto his shorts. But he lost the battle just as we walked by and we were successfully mooned. You know, I bet the children were a lot more charming.

Next we drove up into the lake district for some hiking. When we passed by Lake Mondsee (also a setting for The Sound of Music movie) hubby noticed a nude beach. We did not even take a peek (having learned in our travels that there is rarely a person on a nude beach you want to see, well, naked).

But we did not escape the lady sitting on a bench on the regular beach who was changing her clothes. Took off her bathing suit top as we approached and, by the time we were walking by, she was in the process of removing the bottom. Okay, that’s the naked lady story. Off subject.

We drove into the Austrian Alps on the Grossglockner High Alpine Road, a white-knuckle ride up to the highest mountains in Austria. This road hugs the Alps, ascends to more than eight thousand feet in the course of 30 miles, and was lined with bicyclists making the ascent. Can we say fit men? Unfortunately, none of them removed their clothes for my enjoyment. When we got to the top, however, there was a male hiker disrobing. Standing right there in the parking lot, with dozens of people milling around. He stripped himself naked to change his outfit. I don’t know why, though it’s not the first time I’ve seen such a thing. However, he wasn’t hot. Not that I looked.

Our last night in Austria taught me, oddly enough, why everyone wants to know what a Scotsman has under his kilt. It is well worth knowing about. Now, I am happily married and can’t take advantage of this knowledge. But, if you’re not, get yourself over to Scotland.

So, here’s the tale. We were at Octoberfest in Salzburg.  Photo of Oktoberfest band in Salzburg(Technically, it’s a religious type holiday in Austria, but even the Austrians admitted it was hard to tell the difference.) As you see from the picture, they gather in large groups to drink excellent beer, sing along to an oompha band, and dress in native costume. (Think flowered dirndl dresses with aprons for the women and leather shorts and checked shirts for the men.)Photo of people at Oktoberfest

The sight of two Scotsmen in full kilted gear added to the festive atmosphere. Added considerably, as you will see.

Everyone sits at big picnic tables family style, that is, wherever you find a seat. The Scotsmen were at the table next to mine, and I was keeping a casual eye on them. (Yup, casual.)

Though we were all eating dinner, it was still full daylight. They were bantering with an Austrian woman at my table, laughing and having a grand time (in German).

The Scots guys stood up, still joking with her, when suddenly one of them simply pulled up his kilt and exposed his wares for the Austrian lady.

That’s right. He wore not a stitch under that kilt and not only that, he was shaved as bald as a robin’s egg. No, dinosaur egg would be a better simile. Because that man had a set of pipes…whew, I’m still agog. It’s amazing how shock immobilizes you, and yet allows you to focus intently.

He dropped the kilt and the Austrian lady and I started to cry.

No. No. We didn’t. She blushed brighter than the red stripes on the tent. (We think she had dared him to do it.) I managed to close my mouth and tell my husband what had happened. The man sitting next to me and I laughed for ten minutes (though he was blushing). It was so unexpected. The two Scotsmen sat back down and within five minutes, there were two young women sitting across from them (coincidentally, I’m sure.)

Well, in the US, that stunt would probably cost him a night in jail. But the Europeans are much more casual about public nudity. ♥    ♥    ♥    ♥    ♥

Carly’s Books

 

D is for Dancing

Dancing comes in as many forms as there are cultures on the planet. But, in every form, dancing  expresses emotion. Whether it’s the joy of warriors after a successful hunt, the dramatic beauty of ballet, or the sexual display of couples attracted to each other, dance covers a wide range.

But I want to focus on dance as one of the best ways to flirt. It’s romantic, intimate and fun.

The flirting starts before you’re even on the dance floor. If you’re the brave sort, you can always ask the guy to dance (just don’t forget how much they like the chase). But if you want him to approach, you can’t just sit there daydreaming. You need to establish eye contact (3-5 seconds; no staring) and give him a smile. Studies have shown that most men only approach women who’ve already initiated contact through subtle invitations like this. Even though the guys don’t realize that’s why they’ve decided to approach you. Yes, it’s odd, I know. They think they are the brave ones.

Okay, you’re dancing. I hope you have some sense of rhythm, even if he doesn’t. Start your moves (and read my post on C is for Confidence if you’re lacking in that department). It’s here.

And here’s a key element in cementing your partner’s interest. Be sure you make periodic eye contact with the guy whose attention you’re seeking. Don’t let your eyes dart all over the room as if the place is on fire and you need the exit. If you look like you’re scoping out some more appealing target, he may decide to do the same. You don’t have to be brazen, but don’t be shy, either. Let this guy know that these moves are for him.

Second, even though most dancing today is non-contact dancing, you can still use your dance moves to sneak in some flirtatious touching. Rest your hand lightly on his forearm to get his attention when you want to speak or point something out to him. Accidentally brush his elbow or shoulder when the opportunity arises. (No grabbing; no groping.) Touching him is flirting, even if it appears to be done accidentally. He will get the subliminal message. People touch people they like.

Now of course if you have the opportunity for some “slow” dancing, touching is taken to a new level. Now you get to experience that sublime sensation of his arms around you, his body close to yours. (Those prim Europeans who banned the waltz knew what they were doing.)

You get to decide how intimate your touching will be, and you can send all the messages you want. Obviously, the closer you allow your bodies to get, the greater the interest you are showing. But if you want to flirt, don’t plaster yourself all over him. Give him a chance to smell your perfume, to feel your hand in his. Give him the thrill of the chase by not letting him pull you quite as close as he wants to. Engage his brain by making him strategize how he can succeed with you.

Most of all, have fun!!! Remember guys are visual. Dancing is a very visual way to attract him.

Bicycling in Amsterdam

 

bicycle-2-kids-1024x768What is the most common mode of transportation in Amsterdam? If you looked at the picture, you know the answer. A bicycle.

As a city reclaimed from the ocean, Amsterdam is totally flat. Therefore, bicycling is easy, and everyone does it. You will see chic ladies in high heels and skirts, businessmen in suits and ties, senior citizens, and kids of all ages, including teens in social groups.

The authorities have encouraged the practice by building bike paths everywhere there is a road. Bicyclists also have the right of way over anyone else, including pedestrians. Which means walking can be hazardous. Each road consists of the car roadway, a paved bike path, and a sidewalk. Major streets also include tram tracks. Oftentimes, all these things are on the same level, with little to mark one lane from a different one, not even a curb.

Whatever method you are using to get around, you need to be very careful as people and cars come from all directions. Cars often park on the sidewalks, which forces pedestrians onto the bike path, and bicyclists will not be happy to see you there.

bicycle-2-kids-150x150

Notice the two children on the bike on the picture to the left. It is common to see a parent moving his or her children around this way. Below is an alternative method, with the child in a box up front.

bicycle 1You will see people holding up umbrellas in the rain, texting, talking on their phones. People ride on the back of the bike. Even adults. I loved this shot of an older couple. The woman is pedaling along and the well-dressed man is enjoying the ride.bicycle - older couple-AmsterdamYou may have noticed one unusual fact about bicyclists in the Netherlands (versus the US). No one is wearing a helmet. No one. I never saw a single helmet on a bicyclist in Amsterdam. Not even toddlers in the little boxes attached to the front. But I did see my first bicycle garage. The bike garage is right over a canal. How cool is that?Bike Park- Amsterdam

ETA: I almost forgot to mention the scooters zipping around! They apparently can go on either the bike path or the road. But Amsterdam is a very safe city traffic-wise. I did a little research. Approximately 200 people per year die in bike accidents in The Netherlands, with an average of only 6 per year in Amsterdam. http://www.tobysterling.net/2007/12/bike-accident-deaths-in-amsterdam-and.html

Death in traffic accidents overall is the lowest in Europe at 45 deaths per million inhabitants per year vs. the comparable US rate of 147 deaths per million and the European rate of 90 deaths per million. (credit Toby Sterling). So I guess that’s why they don’t feel the need for helmets.

Which is your favorite photo?

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