Thursday, March 8, 2012

Things I Love Thursday: Perfume

Ok, so I promised I would do better about posting to the blog. Problem is, even though I talk constantly with my Facebook friends, I get here and I can't think of anything interesting to say! Of course, it's entirely possible I don't say anything interesting on Facebook either! But I thought perhaps I'd start off with something fun. Perfume.

I love perfume. I think every woman ought to have a signature scent. I smell Emeraude and I think of my grandmother. White Linen smells like my mom. My best friend is Chanel No5. I spent much of my 20s looking for that perfect scent that said "me". If I found something I liked, they often discontinued it. Sometimes a scent that smelled wonderful on someone else, like Clinique's Happy, didn't smell as great on my own skin. And sometimes I fell in love with a fragrance and my boyfriend hated it... which sort of defeats the purpose, doesn't it? He and I went round and round about perfume for several years. Either I loved it and he didn't, or he loved it and I didn't. Victoria's Secret used to make a pear scent that one of my co-workers came in wearing one day. I thought it was wonderful and spent a good portion of my paycheck that week on Pear Glace perfume, lotion and soap, only to find that he couldn't stand the smell of it! (My co-worker's boyfriend had the same reaction to it, by the way... go figure!) Finally, I said, "It's Christmas. Go to Victoria's Secret and Bath & Body Works and pick out something YOU like the smell of. Anything but Happy Daisy. That smells like a funeral." Naturally, when he got there all he could remember was Happy Daisy and I got-- I kid you not-- a bucket-load of that as my Christmas present!

I had about given up on finding my own signature scent when I wandered into a little shop that sold handmade soaps and perfume oils. I always thought that perfume oils were used to make a fragrance and I had no idea that you could actually use them directly on your skin as perfume! I picked a lovely honeysuckle (always one of my favorite scents) and the lady showed me how to fill the roll-on bottle (like a lip gloss) and use it on your pulse points. A little bit goes a long way with perfume oil.

Honeysuckle, one of my favorite parts of spring on the farm.

My boyfriend loved it (finally! success!) and I got many compliments on it. I remember being in an auto parts store one afternoon and a man actually calling his wife over to smell me! That was a hoot and sent me right back to the store to buy an enormous bottle of this wonderful honeysuckle-- a wise move, since shortly thereafter the store went out of business and I have no idea who the manufacturer of my signature scent is! You don't have to use a lot when you use perfume oil, so that large bottle has lasted for years. I'm still on the hunt for a honeysuckle oil that compares and several years ago I started adding 1/3 sweet pea oil to the mix, partly to prolong my precious reserve of honeysuckle and partly to honor the passing of one of my favorite cows, Sweet Pea.

The scent from perfume oils lasts longer than spray perfume, it's far less expensive and one ounce can last you for years... but the best part is that you can play around and mix your own scent! I love the fact that no one in the world smells like me. I get the sweet pea for my mixture from Aroma Haven. They have hundreds of scents available and you can spend hours searching through their list! They used to sell the roll-on bottles, but for some reason they stopped carrying them. You can find them many places, though, including Amazon. I love the roll-on bottles because they're easy to use, you don't spray everyone when you put your perfume on, and they're small enough to slip in your pocket.

So, ladies and gentlemen, do you have a signature scent?

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Where's Cin Craven?

Hello Everyone!

For those of you who don't follow me on Facebook, last September my 16-year-old Jack Russell, Piglet, fell ill. She was diagnosed with renal failure and I firmly believe she also experienced a series of small strokes.

I don't think she really felt bad most of the time, but she lost the instinct to lick and had to have her food and water given to her via syringe. Needless to say, taking care of her was the only thing I did and the only thing on my mind for three solid months. I couldn't concentrate on anything else. I lost her the day before Christmas Eve. She was the sweetest, most wonderful and generous dog I've ever had the privilege to know and I miss her like crazy. I had had her since she was 6-weeks-old and she was the mother to my other three Jack Russells. Her loss has left a very big hole in all our lives.

Add to that my debilitating writer's block and I'll be honest with you all, I have mentally composed a letter to my readers over the last several months saying that whatever talent I once possessed was just gone.

And then I was driving along last Saturday night, headed to Olive Garden for a dinner with my best friend to celebrate Singles Awareness Day (aka Valentine's Day), minding my own business, when I suddenly had An Idea. That Idea has percolated in my head this week into a full-blown story for book four! You have no idea how nice it is to finally have them running around in my head again. It's been kind of a shock and a little bit overwhelming!

I always basically knew what I wanted to accomplish with the next book, I just didn't have an actual plot. I had a whole lot of blank white screen, though, and absolutely nothing flowing to fill it up! At the moment I'm trying to figure out how all these new ideas fit in with the rest of the series and how I want everything to end up. I will never be a chess player because I can't think several moves ahead (in writing, or in life) but I've gotten far enough into this series that I have to stop and do that now. I don't want to get to book six and think, "Oh, crap, I shouldn't have done that in book four." Or worse, "I should have done that in book four and I didn't." But we finally have a story and the muse is talking to me! I just have to find the time to write now. Winter is a very hard time to do that with my farm chores. I'm at the barn taking care of my animals a good portion of the daylight hours and by the time the sun sets, I'm exhausted. My fingers are itching to get into this story, though, so hopefully I'll have some good news for you all soon!

As always, the best way to keep up with me is on Facebook. I'm going to try to do better about posting to the blog, but I am on Facebook every day. It's sort of my lifeline to the outside world and we have a lot of fun there.

Thank you so much to each and every one of you for your support and encouragement. You really do keep me going when I want to give up!!

Best wishes to us all for an early spring,
Jenna


Monday, August 8, 2011

You Know You Read Too Much PNR/UF (or watch too much Buffy) When…

This is a guest blog I did that used to be on the RomCon website. I thought I'd repost it here for those of you who missed it the first time.

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I write paranormal romance. Even before I started writing it, I devoured the genre. My bookcases are filled with PNR and urban fantasy and I have watched more Buffy the Vampire Slayer than any sane person would be comfortable admitting to. Over the years I have come to believe that this has skewed my perception of the world a bit.

The first time I realized that I was reading entirely too many vampire books was when my friend Jamie went out of town and I agreed to stop by her house on my way home from work every night to feed her kitties. So here I am, walking up to a secluded cabin on top of a mountain in Middle-of-Nowhere, Georgia, my path lit only by the headlights of my car, and do you think I was worried about getting attacked by a man-eating bear or slaughtered by some redneck serial-killer rapist? Nope. What was going through my head was, “Geez, I wish I had a stake. Why the heck isn’t there anything wooden and pointy in this yard?”

The second time was a year or so later when I made a trip out to Seattle to visit Jamie after her move to the west coast. After having spent several enjoyable hours walking through Pike Place Market, we decided to take a few pictures of the sunset and then have dinner. In a stroke of “genius” that nowhere near reflected our combined IQs, we ducked out a back door, thinking that we’d get to the pier quicker by walking around the building instead of navigating the throngs of people that filled the market. As the door closed behind us it was like stepping into another world— gone were the shouting vendors and screaming children and suddenly Jamie and I found ourselves alone in a dark, eerily quiet cobblestone alley sandwiched between two tall buildings. After we’d passed the third shadowy doorway the folly of our grand plan suddenly struck me, but not in the way you might think. No, being mugged never entered my head. Instead, I stopped short, grabbed Jamie’s arm, and said, “Holy crap! We’re vampire food! We’re those stupid girls who take a shortcut through the dark alley and get eaten by vampires!” See, I’m telling you, way too much Buffy.

This whole topic came up during a recent discussion on my Facebook page when I was relating the story of how one night I’d nearly been eaten by a werewolf in my own front yard. Well, ok, it turned out not to be a werewolf after all. It was actually two baby deer happily cavorting in the tall grass of our front pasture. In my own defense, though, it was so dark I couldn’t see anything and upon hearing something thundering in my direction through the underbrush werewolf somehow seemed more reasonable to me than deer or coyote. Now, maybe this problem is just in my own warped brain, but maybe there are others like me out there. So I’d love to open the discussion up for anyone who’s brave enough to join in with their own version of “You Know You Read Too Much PNR/UF (or watch too much Buffy) When…”



Interview from dirtysexybooks.com


This interview was once posted at Rebecca Baumann's dirtysexybooks.com. Unfortunately, Rebecca has closed down her blog (we'll miss you!) to pursue other projects, so I've reposted the interview here.
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Greetings Jenna! Thank you so much for giving me an opportunity to pick your brain here on Dirty Sexy Books.
Thank you for asking me, Rebecca! It’s a pleasure to be able to come talk to you and your readers about the series.


I've read a lot of vampires stories, but the Cin Craven series is one of the very few that skips forward a significant amount of time with each installment. How did you come up with this concept? Will there be a point where a Cin Craven book catches up to the present?
When I started writing I’d read a lot of paranormal romance and urban fantasy series set in the present day. There were all these wonderful modern-day vampires that had centuries of stories behind them and I thought it was a shame that we never got to hear those stories, except perhaps in flashbacks. I really wanted to read a series that started at the beginning of a vampire’s “afterlife” and worked its way up to the present day, but I couldn’t find one. So I wrote one. Eventually Cin will catch up to the present day, but I think there are a lot of fun and interesting time periods for her to go through first.


While I enjoy the novelty of Cin's dual nature, being both a witch and a vampire, I sometimes wonder if it makes her too powerful. I naturally want to root for the underdog in a story, but I automatically think anyone going up against Cin is toast. Is there a villain out there that can best her?
Oh, definitely. She’s going to meet someone in book four who will knock her down a peg or two. After the events in Bound by Sin she’s very confident in her power and her ability to be the baddest thing out there. As a writer, well, when that happens to your character you’ve got to pull the rug out from under them a bit. Looking back, the twentieth century is probably not going to be counted among Cin’s favorites. She’s going to have some major problems with Michael and with her magic, but eventually she’ll be the baddest thing out there again… just with a lot better understanding and respect for herself, her power, and her love for Michael.


I've always admired Michael's skill with a sword, and his reputation as 'The Archangel of the Righteous,' but as the series keeps creeping forward, will his skill become too antiquated? Will Michael lose his edge in another 50 years?
No, I think my vampires are pretty much going to keep their swords. Guns don’t kill my vampires, but a sharp sword will decapitate one, so it’s still the most effective weapon they can carry. I have a line in my novella in the Huntress anthology where Cin says: “As a rule, vampires, especially the older ones, don’t like guns. They seem to view them as cheating. If you can’t win a fight by your own physical strength and skill with a sword, then you deserve to lose.” Of course, she says this as she’s strapping on a Smith & Wesson. Cin seems to insist on being a gun-girl, which irritates me to no end because I am most definitely not and firearms aren’t really something I’m intimately familiar with. However, I’m sure some of my younger vampires will, at times, carry guns. I can imagine Justine and Michael in shoulder holsters, but I don’t think we’ll ever see Devlin packin’ heat. The big fights are probably always going to come down to swords and magic, but a well-placed bullet is certainly a good way to piss off your enemy.


Not many paranormal romance authors keep the focus on the same couple over multiple books. Is it getting harder or easier to write about Cin and Michael's relationship?
I know Cin and Michael well enough to not have a problem writing their relationship. Where it gets sticky is walking that fine line between creating enough conflict to keep their relationship real and interesting, and not creating so much that they’re constantly fighting, breaking up, and getting back together. I think a lot of people have enough of that in their real lives and they don’t want to read about it in their fiction as well. However, Cin and Michael have been together for decades and will be together for centuries to come and their relationship isn’t always going to be roses and puppy dogs. I think that having the two of them constantly at odds isn’t any more realistic than having them eternally happy and I hope I can do justice to their story. They’re going to have conflict and they’re going to fight, I just don’t want it to be so frequent that readers think, “Why are these two together at all?” Sometimes I just want Michael to be supportive-husband-guy while Cin learns what she needs to learn from a certain period in her life.


I noticed that Justine and Devlin didn't appear very much in this installment. I enjoyed the novella that told their story (in the Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance), but will they ever get their 'own' book?
Yes, Devlin and Justine took a bit of a powder in this book. I ended up with so many characters once Cin and Michael got to Georgia that I really didn’t have anything for them to do. I hadn’t intended for Cin and Justine to have that spat at the beginning of the book, but once I started writing the scene that was really the only way it could go. Add to that the trouble getting in and out of Savannah’s harbor and the only logical way to get everyone out of America once the story had run its course was to have Devlin and Justine leave Cin and Michael there and come back for them later. So that all worked out well, even though it wasn’t exactly what I intended from the outset. They’ll all be back together in the next book, though.
I’m glad you enjoyed Devlin and Justine’s story. The Mammoth books are intended to give readers a small taste of different authors’ styles and it’s not easy to fit a satisfactory story into 8,000-10,000 words. I’m not sure if they’ll ever have their own full-length novel. There are so many characters that I could spin off into another series and I’ll just have to see which one screams at me the loudest when this one is finished!


Okay, I can't resist asking if Cin and Michael will stay in America for the next book, or if they'll go back to Europe? Are there any teasers you can share?
They will be in America for the next book. Book four finds The Righteous in the Roaring 20s where they attempt to run a vampire speakeasy during Prohibition, deal with the Mafia, and bring the American vampires together under the rule of the High King. I’m having a lot of fun with gangsters, Tommy Guns, and (finally) cars!



Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Newsletter from July 2011

Hello Friends!


I hope everyone is doing well and keeping cool this summer! I know it's been a while since you've heard from me and I wanted to send out a mailing with some news.

St Martin's Press won't be publishing any more of the Cin Craven series. The books got great reviews (and I heartily and humbly thank all the readers and bloggers who took their time and energy to write them), but sales were not what we'd all hoped for. In fact, my agent advised me that if I wanted to continue writing, I would need not only a new idea but a new pen name as well. As you can imagine, that was more than a little depressing! I wasn't even sure I wanted to continue writing at that point, but I've had such an outpouring of support from my wonderful readers that I can't just abandon Cin and her story. I'm now looking forward to finishing the series the way I want to write it and putting the novels out as independent releases. I expect to do this mostly through ebooks, but I will make the novels available in print editions as well. Print-on-demand books are incredibly expensive to produce, but I promise I will do my best to find a self-publisher with the best pricing and distribution options for you! If you have an e-reader, though, you won't see any increase in price without a publishing house behind me. I am hoping to get the next novel out around Christmas. I know it's been a long time between books but, to be honest with you, I believe that if you're going to do something, you do your very best and I didn't feel that I could do that until recently. Certain events just sucked all the joy out of writing for me and I was so burned out for a while that Cin stopped talking to me entirely. I'm trying very hard to get things back on track for you, though, and I want all of you who have emailed me or posted on Facebook to know how much your support means to me. I really loved writing these books and I'm looking forward to writing more for you!

In the meantime, if you haven't had the opportunity to read the two short stories from the Mammoth anthologies, they are now available for download as single stories on ebook. Right now you can find them on Smashwords.com but they should be available at your favorite ebook website any day now. If you've already read the Mammoth anthologies, then there isn't anything new in these editions. I retained the rights for these stories and they're simply reprints.

“The Eternal Warrior” from the Mammoth Book of Irish Romance can be found here:
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/73955

“The Righteous” from the Mammoth Book of Vampire Romance can be found here:
http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/71459

Also, for those of you who waited so patiently for Bound by Sin to come out on Kindle, I just noticed that it's finally available! I don't know why that took so long and it's completely inexcusable, but there was some sort of miscommunication between Amazon and the publisher which I had no control over. My editor was aware that it didn't come out on Kindle when the print version came out, and beyond that there was nothing I could do about it. My apologies to all my Kindle readers!!

I've added a Twitter account to my social media sites, but I confess I don't really "get" Twitter, so I rarely use it. The best way to keep in touch with me is through Facebook. I post pretty much on a daily basis there and we have a lot of fun!

Thank you again to all of you for your support. I hope you all have a wonderful summer (don't forget the sunscreen) and I wish you the very best!
Jenna

Friday, May 14, 2010

Sometimes cleavage is a very useful thing....

Sometimes cleavage is a very useful thing. I don’t mean just when you can use it to get a man to move heavy objects for you or hand you that item you can’t quite reach off the top shelf in the grocery store. Or to get out of a speeding ticket (so I hear… this has never worked for me). Cleavage is also a handy place to carry things. I once smuggled a sprig of lavender out of Cawdor Castle’s gardens in my cleavage. I’ve carried my cell phone, cash money, and, yes, even baby animals in there!


A few years ago one of my sister’s cats brought her a live and unharmed baby squirrel. We thought raising it would be a good experience for my nieces. For some reason, however, I ended up having to squirrel sit every time Sister had to go somewhere. My cats and dogs were enormously interested in the smell of this small aquarium Sister had set up as little Skippy’s house and I was afraid they might form a raiding party the minute my back was turned. Sister had told me to put him someplace warm, since baby squirrels were unable to regulate their own body heat and required warmth from their mom. Figuring I’d take care of both issues with one grand idea, I took Skippy out of his cage and slipped him down inside my bra! He nestled quite happily in there and none of the dogs or cats had any idea where he was. When he’d get a little too warm this tiny nose would pop out, or sometimes his whole head, but he was always quite happy to hang out in there.

After a few days we became concerned that the cats may have gotten the mama squirrel and there was a nest of orphaned babies up in that tree. You could kind of tell where little Skippy had come from by the feline audience hanging out at the base of the tree, just waiting for someone to toss them something new to play with! So we called our Tree Guy, Randall, who was just the nicest man you’d ever want to meet. He had helped us clear out the mess from the tornado and he agreed to come out and climb the tree and look in the nest for us. It was, thankfully, empty. When Randall got his feet on solid ground again, he was shaking his head.

“I can’t believe I came out here and climbed all the way up there just to look for a nest of baby tree rats!” he said good-naturedly.

Mom and Sister and I had been standing below, watching, and Randall didn’t know it but I’d had Skippy in my shirt the whole time. I have about 20 men’s cotton v-necked t-shirts that I wear around the farm. It’s sort of my farm uniform. I walked up to Randall and pulled the neck of my t-shirt down and leaned over, showing him dear little Skippy, contentedly peeking out from between my breasts.

“But Randall,” I said. “He’s just so cute!”

The poor guy turned bright red. He didn’t charge us for the visit.





So last night I was a little late getting to the barn, but nothing that a bit of hurry-up wouldn’t fix. I was efficiently going about my evening chores, standing outside at the water spigot to fill up Old Meg’s bucket. (Meg is my eldest ewe and she prefers hose water to sink water, thank you very much!) I had her bucket about halfway full when some movement caught the corner of my eye and it suddenly became One of Those Evenings. From the tree line next to the barn comes this little bird. Y’all know the song “You Can Fly” from Peter Pan, right? Everyone sing along with the baby bird now…

“I can fly! I can fly! I can fly! I can fly! I can….” WHAM! Barn.

The little dude flew right into the side of the big red barn and I’ll be damned if George Earnest didn’t just happen to be there to pounce on him the minute he hit the ground! The bird is screaming at whoever will listen, I’m screaming at George, George is looking for an escape route… and so I turned the hose on him! Well, he decided the bird wasn’t worth getting soaked over, promptly dropped it, and I jumped in and scooped it up.

So I find myself standing there with a wet cat glaring at me, a baby bird in one hand, and a running hose in the other. I just sort of shook my head and thought yep, this is my life. I shut the hose off, walked into the barn (George hot on my heels, just in case I dropped something), baby bird in hand, called my mom and said, “Well, you’re not gonna believe this shit!”

Now I’m really running late getting everything ready for the sheep to come in for the night. I have no idea where this little Tufted Titmouse baby came from, no idea if he’s hurt, or what the heck I’m supposed to do with him! And it’s getting dark and I don’t really have time to figure it out. I knew he was scared because I could feel his little heart just hammering in my hand, but I checked him over and didn’t see any blood on him and his wings appeared to be ok. I was pretty sure hitting the barn had rung his little bell, though. So I did the only thing I could think of— I tucked him in my bra and went about my chores. When Mom and Dad got to the barn I was dishing up feed and Mom asked me what I’d done with the baby bird.

I said, “Look, mom! I have a Tufted Titmouse between my titties!”



That pretty much had us giggling on and off for the next hour. I took him to the house and put him in a box out on the screen porch where he’d be safe from the kitties and decided I’d figure out what to do with him in the morning.

Well, this morning he was flying all over the porch, trying to get out! I was so relieved that neither the barn nor the cat had hurt him. I took him down to the barn with me and walked up into the tree line where he’d come from, deciding that if I put him on a safe branch he’d eventually figure out where home was. Well, that idea lasted about as long as it took to get him settled on the branch. He just looked so tiny and frightened, I couldn't stand it!

I said, “Aw, crap, dude! What am I going to do with you?”



As visions of raising this baby bird to maturity in my bra ran through my head, I scooped him off the branch and walked along with him in my hand, I suppoe hoping I'd just happen to run across a flock of Tufted Titmice. When I ran out of trees I decided to cross a bit of open pasture and check out the woods. I was getting really disheartened when he suddenly heard a familiar voice. That little head popped up and he started chirping his little guts out! And then I could hear Mama Bird talking back to him! He started wiggling and wanting to fly away, but I kept a firm hold on him, wanting to get closer to wherever his mom was before I let him loose. I finally found her in the trees just at the edge of the woods, and boy was she pissed!

I opened my hand and the baby flew off, making his way very well up into a tree. And then he flew to another tree in the absolute wrong direction! I just about pulled my hair out in frustration, but his mom came and found him. She swooped down and bitched at him some more and then flew back to her original tree. I could just hear it: “Oh my God! Where have you been? I’ve been worried sick, do you hear me? Sick! You are in big trouble, young man! Staying out all night and coming home smelling of human! Just you wait until you father gets home!” The little baby flew over to her (“But Ma!!!!”) and the last I saw of them they were sitting together on the same tree branch. I cannot believe that with all the trees and all the acres we have on this farm he and I managed to find one little Tufted Titmouse Mama!!

Let’s just hope the little guy has learned his lesson and stays away from the barn!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Vodka is the Devil

Disclaimer: I do have permission to tell this story from all the drunks involved … mostly, I think, because they don’t remember it!


Before I start in on the complete disaster that was my friend Marie’s birthday party Saturday night, let me tell you that considering how we met, nothing that happens when we’re together should surprise me. I met Marie in probably freshman year of high school when I accidently went out with her boyfriend. How does that happen, you might ask? (And she did!) Well, I knew this boy from the school bus. He lived down the street from me and we used to talk on the ride home every day. One evening he calls me and asks if I want to go to the movies with him and some friends from the neighborhood. Now, I didn’t have any interest in this boy as possible boyfriend material, but it sounded a lot more interesting than staying home. Someone’s dad drove us to the mall, we saw the movie, came home, end of story.

Until I got to homeroom Monday morning and this girl comes up to me and says, “Marie is pissed and she’s gonna kick your ass.”

I said, “Who the hell is Marie and why would she want to kick my ass?”

She said, “Because you went out with her boyfriend Saturday night.”

I said, “I did what?”

This jerk had conveniently forgotten to mention the fact that he had a girlfriend. So I went and talked to Marie and we squared things up. And then we hunted this boy down and clouded up and rained all over his parade! It was a bonding moment because I don’t even remember his name but Marie and I have been friends ever since. And so I can say with all the love of twenty-plus years of friendship behind us…. the bitch can’t hold her liquor!

I tell her this (in between the 900 times she drunkenly tells me she loves me) every time she goes out on the town. Marie has three children and on the rare occasions she gets a kitchen pass to go out, she really goes all out! The dear girl doesn’t understand the concept of pacing herself. I knew this, of course, when I bought the birthday card that I brought to the party she was having at a local bar (which shall remain nameless) this past Saturday night. It had a picture of yard flamingos on the front of it and the picture was taken from such an angle that you’d have to be lying down, looking up at them. The card said:

If this is the first thing you see the morning after your birthday celebration, you may want to ask yourself these important questions: Am I naked? Is this my front yard? Who are these people and why are their necks so long?

I had no idea when I bought it how apt that would become! I showed up to the bar about10:30 since evening farm chores always make me late getting out. I knew Marie was already there with our friend Misty and Tanya, who I hadn’t previously met. I had Marie’s card and a bouquet of lollipops, but I couldn’t find Marie or Misty anywhere. Finally Misty wanders into the bar, beer in hand, and tells me that she thinks Marie is outside. So off I go and finally find her out front, already looking a bit bedraggled and green.

“Jenna,” she says, all drunk and slurry. “I’m in trouble.”

“Why are you in trouble, Marie?”

“I think I’m gonna be sick. Go get Misty for me.”

Ok, so back I go into the bar and return moments later with Misty in tow. I should have known Misty had had a couple too many herself when the following conversation went something like this:

Marie: “Misty, I’m gonna throw up.”

Misty: “No, you won’t. Come back inside and dance and you’ll feel better.”

(Seriously? That’s your plan?)

Me: “I really don’t think that’s a good idea. If she has to throw up we don’t want her puking in the bar, do we?”

Misty: “Jenna, I can’t handle throwing up.”

Me: “Well neither can I! Marie, if I walk you up the hill so you can throw up in the privacy of the bushes, will you be ok then?”

Marie: “Yeah.”

So Misty goes back into the bar and Marie and I head off across the parking lot. In an effort to safeguard Marie’s vanity, I figured the bushes were a better place for this business than the bathroom or, from the looks of her, right in front of the door to the bar. I walked her across this little access road to a nice concrete drainage ditch and told her to have at it.

Now, I’m a farm girl and I have a really high ick factor. I’ve been elbow deep in nasty stuff that would make you gag just to hear me tell it-- and then gone directly home and eaten dinner! But there are three things I cannot handle: childbirth, either human or animal; human poop (boy was I ever glad when the nieces were out of diapers!); and human vomit.

I gag just walking into a public restroom, so you know I was pleased to hear Marie say, “Jenna, don’t leave me.”

“I’m not going to leave you,” I promised, “but I can’t watch you throw up or I’m going to be throwing up too. So I’m just going to be right over there and I’ll come get you when you’re done. Are you going to be ok?”

“Ok.”

Well, ok then.

Turning around, I’d taken about two steps when I heard WHAM! I spun around to see Marie sort of rolling down the concrete drainage ditch! I ran over, stopped the rolling, and got her into a sitting position. She’s crying and I’m pushing her hair out of her face and then I see it… blood just pouring out of her mouth!

“Oh my god!” I yelled. “Do you still have your teeth?” And then, “Honey, spit out the blood. No, not on your jeans, on the pavement. Do you still have your teeth??”

When I’d established that she’d cut her lip but still had her teeth, I told her to stay put and I ran back down the hill to the bar. I still had her damned card and lollipops in my hand so I left them with the cop at the door and told him what had happened. There was a city police officer there talking to him and apparently he went out to check on her because by the time I’d run to the bathroom and gotten paper towels, run into the bar and gotten Misty, and we got back outside the ambulance was pulling up. I will say one thing for Marie, she knows how to cause a scene! We had two cop cars, one ambulance, three paramedics, me, Misty, Tanya and at least one member of the house band standing there watching her cry and bleed. The paramedics got her cleaned up and put an ice pack on her mouth and that’s when things just got silly.

Misty says, “Damn it, Jenna, I left her with you. You were supposed to take care of her.”

“Hell, I just got here!” I said. “I didn’t know she was that drunk. What have you been feeding her?”

“She’s had the same thing I had. And I had two beers on top of her!”

“Two beers on top of her? Really?” I said. “Misty, I didn’t know you two were like that!”

And, of course, some male in the group commented on how he would have liked to have seen that.

That got me one hell of a smack on the arm from Misty. And then Marie started hurling. Tanya, bless her heart, sat behind her and held her hair. Misty and I, good friends that we are, had to walk down the hill a ways until she was done. We decided we needed to tie her hair back with something but, go figure, neither the cop nor the paramedics had a scrunchie. I went back into the bar and managed to come up with a rubber band. Pulling her hair back and wrapping the rubber band around it, I said, “Boy, she’s gonna be pissed in the morning when she sees her face and then can’t get this rubber band out of her hair.”

Now, apparently there’s paperwork to be filled out when the ambulance has to come for you, so while I was bending Marie’s glasses back into something that resembled what they’d looked like before she took a nosedive into concrete, the paramedics started asking the pertinent questions like what’s her address? Hell, I didn’t know.

So Misty crouches down and yells at Marie, “Marie, what’s your address?”

We got her address and all the important stuff down and then the paramedic decided to get funny and asked her blood type.

Misty yells into Marie’s face, “What’s your blood type?” And then looks up at us and says quite earnestly, “I think it’s vodka and Monster.”

That, of course, sent us all into giggles.

Now, at this point the cop tells us we’re going to have to get her out of the street because if they get another call they can’t leave us all on the side of the road. I pointed out that it was hardly a “road” since there were only a few houses up there and I doubted anyone was going to come barreling down it in the middle of the night and hit us, but he insisted. The birthday party had a designated driver coming to pick them up at close, but no one other than me had a vehicle there. We’d called someone to come get Marie and take her back to the house, but in the meantime we had to put her somewhere.

I said she was definitely not getting in my truck because she was alternately semi-conscious, wanting to lay down and go to sleep, or throwing her guts up and there was no way I was cleaning barf out of my truck. We decided that maybe we could lay her down in the bed of the truck, though I wasn’t sure how the hell we were going to get her up in there. I pulled the truck up to where she was, though, and two of the paramedics and Tanya’s brother lifted her up onto the tailgate. Then we sort of rolled her and… smushed her… into the bed of the truck (I remember saying at one point, “Jesus, it’s like a dead freakin’ deer in the back of my truck!”) and put the tailgate up so she didn’t fall out. The paramedics got her a pillow and a blanket out of the ambulance and we covered her up. And then we all suddenly found ourselves with nothing to do but lean up against the bed of my truck and watch her sleep it off.

At which point Misty and I told her, “Happy birthday, Marie! We love you!”

And then we took pictures because we’re good friends and we knew she’d want something other than a busted lip to remember her birthday by!

That's the cop with the flashlight. I'm standing next to him in the dark tank top. The green wristband is Misty. The clipboard is one of the paramedics. Marie, of course, is the dead deer under the blanket!


She was out like a light until her ride showed up, and then there was more hurling. I think the girl threw up things she ate in high school! Misty and I once again found ourselves standing on the other side of the truck, taking deep breaths and gagging and telling each other we were horrible friends.

Misty said, “You realize if we’re ever drunk enough to throw up, no one’s going to help us!”

Tanya, I still don’t really know you, but if I am ever that drunk I hope you’re there! You were a rock, girl!

So Sunday morning I get up from the barn to find a voicemail on my phone from Misty that went something like this: “Hey Jenna. Marie is ok. We were wondering if you’d call us back and tell us what happened.”

Well, girls… that’s what happened!