Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Please help me welcome Marie Force - she wants to know "Do You Sweat the Small Stuff?"

Marie Force is guest blogging today - let's give her a warm welcome and see if you can top her messy room horror story below! There's a prize for two readers who comment! Personally, I think I could give her some serious competition with my daughter Kelsey's room, but I'm not sure I can even talk about it without getting teary! (sniff) Welcome, Marie!

Do You Sweat the Small Stuff?
I have a 14-year-old daughter who started high school this fall, was quickly elected class president, and has been caught up in all things high school ever since. We just survived our first spirit week and homecoming weekend, complete with the dance “pre-party” at our house. The open invite went out to the freshmen class, and we ended up with about 60 kids, who were beautifully dressed and even more beautifully behaved—at least while they were with us! My daughter is a great kid with one notable character flaw (other than the teenager attitude, which I’m told will pass—years from now...). Her room is a disaster area. I’m not talking messy. No, I’m talking central landfill.
Now, we run a pretty tight ship around here. My husband is retired from the Navy, and is neat to a fault. In other words, he cleans up after me, which is highly irritating! We’re on her about the room all the time. In the interest of full disclosure, I have to confess that my teenage bedroom was just like hers. (Shhh, don’t tell her.) My mother used to say that when I cut tags off new clothes, I dropped them on the floor. Guilty as charged. Let’s just say my apple didn’t fall far from the tree in that regard. My mother used to muck out our rooms when we were at school and told us much later that we never once asked for anything she chucked. She was very proud of that track record. Toward the end of her life, she made this startling pronouncement: “I wish I’d spent less time haggling my kids about their rooms. They both grew up to have lovely homes.” Stop the presses!
This past summer, my cousin heard me griping about my kids’ rooms and reminded me of my mother’s famous words. I sent her a “shut up now please” glare, which only egged her on. “Emily, Jake, come here,” she said, a glint of the devil in her eye. “I have something very important to tell you—something your grandmother would want you to know.” Fink. I revoked her maid-of-honor for life status after this incident. (In truth, that’s about the fifth time her status has been revoked for bad behavior.)
My mother died five years ago at 67 after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer. I think her message was clear: life is short, don’t sweat the small stuff. I agree with her for the most part, but when the landfill bedroom begins to creep into the hallway, am I not supposed to react? If I live by my mother’s credo, the answer is no. What about if rodents take up residence in there? Ignore it? (Update: Emily spent eight hours cleaning the landfill on Sunday—we suspect this was a thank-you for hosting the party the night before, but we can’t be certain because we didn’t dare ask what brought this on. All we know is we can see the floor again. Sing halleluiah! We’re enjoying it while it lasts. . .)
I make a concerted effort not to sweat the small stuff in the rest of my life, but in my books, I’m all about the tiny moments that send shock waves rippling through ordinary lives. A single look, a snippet of conversation, a brief encounter, and life is never again the same. In “Line of Scrimmage,” I featured a flashback to the moment a decade earlier when Ryan first spotted Susannah at a campus hangout. The University of Florida’s star quarterback was forever changed by that brief meeting with a woman who had no idea who he was—and didn’t much care when she found out he was a “stah,” as we say in New England. A conversation in an airport while awaiting a delayed flight changes the lives of Michael and Juliana in “Love at First Flight.” Life plans fly out the window, and everything they know for certain is upended. A series of small moments becomes a tsunami that takes them on a ride they could never have imagined, ending in a happily ever after they fight hard to achieve. It doesn’t take a “big dramatic event” to change a life. I wrote a book recently about a guy who accidentally knocks a woman off her bike and then insists on caring for her until she’s recovered. He steps off a curb and finds true love. Could it be any simpler?
Do you sweat the small stuff in your life? How do you feel about small moments vs. big moments in romance novels? Are your kids’ rooms a mess? (Tell me the truth!) One final kid room story. . . Years ago, when we lived in Florida, the kids had vanity sinks with drawers on either side. I opened the drawers in Emily’s room one day to find Pop Tarts stashed on both sides. Now, if you can top that, you might win a copy of one of my books. I’ll be giving away a signed copy of each book, so in honor of Halloween week, let me hear your horror stories!


Laurie D. said...

Good morning, everyone, and a big welcome to Marie! It's a little quiet this morning, but things should pick up once readers get some caffeine!

Thanks so much for being here today! First off, my condolences on losing your mother so young. But I love that you can smile at her motherly wisdom!

As for daughters and their messy rooms, you don't want to get me started! My youngest, who's away at college, has an absolute sty of a bedroom. At home that is, at school, her half of the dorm room is always neat and tidy.

Anonymous said...

Hi Marie and Laurie,

I'm afraid I'm also guilty of the "not up to mom's standards of clean" for my room growing up.

As for my teenage boys, I really don't want to go in their room and see what is lurking. Some days I think my oldest one is in the middle of some kind of biology experiment.

I do try to remember that life is short though and you have to pick your battles (if only my husband could learn this). It doesn't always work and I charge straight ahead like Patton, but I do try. *g*

Laura J.

Stacy~ said...

Morning Laurie & Marie! Great post :)

Marie, I'm sorry you lost your mom so young. Though nothing can be as bad as losing a loved one, I'm sure she left you with a lot of strength and courage to perservere.

Yes, I definitely sweat the small stuff and let it stress me out. I think because I haven't had a lot of difficult times in my life, it's made me more likely to get crazy about stuff when I should just let it go. I'm getting better with age though LOL.

As for romances, when I was younger, I was definitely all about the grand gesture. But being older, and hopefully wiser and more perceptive, I definitely understand the value of those small, personal gestures. They can mean so much more than a big moment. And ever so much more romantic :)

Lisa F. said...

OMG, my youngest hoards food too! When we get brave enough to enter his room, which is awfully messy, I can usually find some type of snack in his nightstand. I don't buy junk so he gets it from school and hides it in his room.

My middle son keeps his room spotless while oldest is in between.

We offer a $5 weekly allowance if they have kept their rooms clean, dirty clothes put in the laundry room daily, clean clothes picked up off the couch before they go to bed, breakfast dishes loaded into the dishwasher, and they are ready to leave on time in the mornings. Middle son is the only one to ever receive his allowance!

I think all the small gestures are much more important than one grand gesture. Not to say I don't appreciate all of them!

My husband told us about a story growing up. He was about 10 or so and his dad had told him that times were hard and they were going to have to cut back so my husband began stashing cans of food under his bed in case they couldn't afford to buy food one day. It just goes to show how literal kids are.

Anonymous said...

I am quietly in agreement. My Mom died at 61 of ALS, and she said the same thing. I have 4 daughters, and only 1 keeps a clean room. I am constantly reminding them to pick up the floor, so I can at least do the laundry. We live in an old house and I saw a mouse in one of the rooms! They know I will not come in until it is picked up! So the floors have appeared once again.
I like the small moments in novels, they seem easier to relate to. Thanks for the post!

Janice Maynard said...

Welcome, Marie! Our older daughter was always the messy one in high school. We asked that she keep the floor visible, and her solution was to chuck it all in the closet. One day (either by parental decree or because she was in an organizational mood), she decided to take everything out of her closet and clean. She found evidence that a mouse had been eating her cassette tapes and chewing on something that might have been a fruit roll up. Ick!

Caroline was so grossed out that she improved with no further nagging. :)


Marie Force said...

Ohhh, I like some of these strategies and stories! The $5 incentive is a good one! Although, I doubt either of my kids would earn it. My son thinks his doorway is the best place to pile the laundry. He says he's trying to make it easier for me to collect it. :-) A for effort there! Love the mouse story, too! Maybe I should set some free in Emily's room. That would get her attention--and since we too live in this old house, we have a few in residence that I could relocate. Hmmmm....

Some good thinking, ladies! Thanks for sharing. I feel less alone in the sty known as my house! OH and did I mention I work full-time from home? So me and the mess get to spend the day together! YAY!

Marie Force said...

PS, I also meant to say thank you for the condolences on my mom. Five years later, it's still a raw wound. There's never a good time to lose your mom. A friend of mine is going through it now, and it's so hard. She asked me how long it takes to feel better. I said, not quite there yet. Sigh...

Laurie D. said...

Thank you all for stopping by! I think we learn to "sweat" those small details a little more as we age and begin to realize that there are waaay worse things that could be going on in our lives!

Those small gestures in a romance are like the icing on the cake, IMO. The grand gesture is nice, but those little details are like when your kids hug you for no reason or your husband leaves you a nice note. We're a family of sticky notes - they're all over the house, especially when there's an occasion that merits a little extra "I love you" or "I'm thinking of you."

Kara C said...

My son started high school this year and is sophmore pres. I didn't know at the time that meant I would be so heavily involved in all things high school! It's been fun though.
I've learned through the kids I work with that life is too short to sweat the small stuff, and most of the time I remember that even when looking at my sons' rooms.
One day my 15 year old was watching tv in my 8 year old's room, much to my younger son's dismay. When I asked the older son why he wasn't in his own room, he said, "Have you been in there lately? It's gross." Had to laugh! The room was too bad even for him.
I'm so glad you are blogging here today. It gives me the chance to tell you how much I enjoy your work. I liked Line of Scrimmage very much ,but LOVED Love at First Flight. In fact, I gave it to a friend to read, and haven't seen it since! Since I had every intention of putting it on my keeper shelf, I really must begin hassling my friend for it! Anyway, have a great Halloween, and thanks for the great reads.

Marie Force said...

Kara, that story about your son watching TV in his brother's room made me laugh out loud! Don't you just want to say--CAN YOU SEE THE IRONY IN THIS SITUATION???

Thanks so much for the kind words about my books. And thank you also for passing them on to other readers. I hope you get your copy back!! I'm honored to make your keeper shelf.

Sandi said...

Sorry to hear about the loss of your mom at an early age. My mom is 81 and fortunately still going strong. Even though we're often at odds I can't imagine not being able to talk to her when I want to.

When my oldest was younger he had a loft bed. He used to stuff his clean clothes all around the edges of the matress. I couldn't see them. Then I would see him wearing awful things, and would be like you have a closetful of better cleaner clothes and he'd be like no I don't. Then I'd discover the clothes. I would always try to instill the wisdom that to hide them so successfully was really more time consuming than just putting them neatly away.

To this day he is still a slob. I recently spent about a hour trying to clean his room. I made I think 2 bags of trash, and a huge pile of things for him to sort, but you could see the floor thanks to my washing and drying the hundreds(well, not really) loads of laundry, and my husband being willing to brave the closet and dresser to put them away. Richard returned home, and within a few minutes the room was again a disaster. When I think of Richard i think of Pig Pen from the Peanuts cartoons...dirt just seems to follow him.

As for food...I will often hear someone saying you ate my.... This annoys me. I'm like any food brought into this house belongs to anyone who lives here or comes to visit. The exception might be chocolate, but if they're willing to risk their lives to eat my chocolate who am I to stop them! Murder maybe, but stop no...after all if they're dead I might have clean rooms and more space for books!

As for the rest of the house? I won't win any domestic diva awards, but the dishes are done, and the rest of the laundry with the exception of Richard's (because I make him do his own after learning he wouldn't put it away and mixed it up with the dirty stuff anyway) is all done..the dogs are housebroken, as are the no potty accident. What more should I be expecting?

Marie Force said...

You are waging a war, not a battle, from what I hear! I agree with you about the chocolate--my kids recently discovered my hiding spot of many years and wiped me out. I went ballistic!!!!!! I don't think they'll do that again, but now I have to find a new spot. That one was soooo good--in a big bowl on a high shelf no one ever uses. I'm STILL doing the laundry from Emily's big room clean the other day! She found TONS of things she'd forgotten all about!

Laurie D. said...

After reading some of the stories you gals have posted, I'm not quite so mortified by my daughter's room! I've never told her about the times I've come out of there with trash bags full of stuff - stuff that she hasn't even missed. Maybe it's time for another trip into "the sty" to see what I can throw away. Stop frowning at me please, I never pitch anything that could possibly have any sentimental value. I'm not totally cruel!

Laurie D. said...

I'm intrigued by the recent book - about the guy knocking the woman off bike and then caring for her - sounds wonderful!

Can you tell us what's up next for you or what you have in the works?

Sandi said...

When Brian was 13 my friend from England came to spend a night with us. He was embarrassed because he still slept with his "bear blankie" he put it in a trash bag and threw it away. He wouldn't let me go rescue it and hide it in the garage, and I was upset because it had been his since he was a newborn.

I too have taken stuff and "trashed" it before anyone has been around to check out what treasures are gone....and just like the majority of you no one has ever asked for a thing!

Marie Force said...

Not sure yet what's next, but I hope to know something soon. It's always hurry up and wait in publishing! The book you mentioned, Laurie, is one of my favorites. I really hope to sell it someday!

STACY said...

I struggle with this everyday. My daughter is only six and although I have not found her stash of pop tarts yet I have found lots of empty wrappers, gummy bears and an empty yogurt comtainer (the go gurt kind) until her pillow and mattress!!! I just keep thing it will get better but after reading your info I am not so sure! Cant wait to read you stuff! If Lori recommends you I am reading your work! Good luck! :)

Stacy S said...

I call my son pigpen. He just turned 13. Sometimes he will clean his room really good ( if he is trying to butter us up ). Now when I was little I hated my mom's meatloaf. When it was always time for us to clean my room she would find it wrapped up in a drawer or toybox. She evenually stopped making me eat it!

Virginia said...

My son's room is a pig pen when he is at home. He is in college now so not so bad I cleaned it up when he left. Sometimes the little thing bother me more then the big things, like my hubby never picking up after his self. Like drink cans and trash, this just bugs me and no matter what I say he still does it.

Judy F said...

Hey Marie.... I was glad I pimped Line of Scrimmage to Laurie. I was so... You have to read this book.

My brothers were pigs growing up. My oldest would have dishes etc up in his room. If we were running low on glasses you would check his room first. Funny thing is his daughter is the same way. John was ragging on her and I just kept laughing.

I think I am fairly neat but I don't always pick things up right away.

I can't wait for your next book.

how is the exercising coming or should I not ask?

I have had a time of it this week with having a cold. Just don't have the energy to do any exercising.


Barbara said...

Hi Marie and Laurie-

I was an only child and don't remember my mom getting on me too much about keeping my room neat. My room wasn't pristine by any means but it really isn't an issue.

My thing now is my desk. I can not have a desk that is all in order. I am a piler and have piles of stuff out all the if you cak me to find something I can find it usually pretty quickly so my clutter is also my organization.

Overall I don't sweat the small stuff.

Your books look interesting. I will have to pick one up soon. Thanks for blogging today.

Jane said...

Hi Marie,
I try not to sweat the small stuff, but I always end up doing it. When I'm running a little behind, I'm stressing if I'll catch the train. I'm always trying to make sure I get all my errands done(buy groceries, pay the bills, go to the post office.)

Judy F said...

I don't sweat the small stuff much anymore. With my parents health being what it is. I have more important things to worry about.

Sorry about losing your mom so young.

Marie Force said...

Sounds like we ALL have messy kids! Damn them! You know, it's funny, I know I'll miss Emily's messy room when she goes to college. But PLEASE, I'll pay you not to tell her that!

Judy, thanks so much for pimping me to Laurie. I'm here today because she was so NICE to me on Romancing the Blog where she gave a lovely shout out to Line of Scrimmage in her guest blog. With friends like that (and you, Judy) I feel like a very lucky author indeed. I hope to be able to tell you soon what's next. Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Laurie D. said...

I've enjoyed reading everyone's "horror" stories! Some worse than others, but all fun! My house is far from immaculate, but we notice a huge difference in how much stuff is left lying around when Kelsey is away at school! Bless her heart, for being so tiny she sure can drag out (and leave out) a ton of stuff!

Thank you all for taking the time to stop by and share your stories!

Marie, I can't wait to hear what's coming next for you. I was so thankful that Judy "made" me read LINE OF SCRIMMAGE! I loved it so much that I immediately bought a copy to keep! I've read it so many times - not always in its entirety - sometimes I just read the parts that give a little tugging catch in your chest.

I'll let you draw names whenever you like, Marie. It might be a little early yet for readers in the western half of the country, but I'll leave it up to you. I'm excited for whoever the winners are - they're going to happy readers!

Marie Force said...

That's really nice to hear, Laurie. I'm so glad LOS has given you the warm fuzzies. I LOVED writing Ryan. Everything out of his mouth cracked me up. He was dumb like a fox! ;-) I love to talk about my characters as real people because that's what they become to me. I imagine what Ryan says are his own words, not mine. There's a little glimpse inside the crazy mind of a writer for you!

Judy, I meant to say earlier that my exercise program went BUST when I broke a rib last week, falling out of my car into the driveway. Go ahead and laugh, it's pretty damned funny! Yes, i was stone cold sober, and the same laptop on which I pen my books caught me in the rib with karate chopping action and caused the break. (The laptop is fine and that's all that matters!) Now, I haven't had this medically confirmed b/c I figure I'd be risking swine flu exposure in the ER to be told there's nothing they can do for a busted rib, but based on the pain there is NO DOUBT in my mind that it's broken! So no running for me and the kids for a while, but we'll get back on the program as soon as I can breathe again! Don't ask me how this accident occurred. I can't explain how I went from the car to the driveway without putting my feet down first! LOL

I'll pick the winners in the AM, Laurie, if that's okay! Thanks so much for having me. This was so fun!

Laurie D. said...

Morning will be great, Marie! Thanks so very much for being here today, it was great fun!

Hugs to you on the ribs. My hub fell in the shower about three weeks ago and landed on his side on the side of the tub - like you, he probably broke some ribs. He refused to go to the dr. or hospital too b/c he didn't think they would do anything. One spot is still extremely tender, but the bruising is finally fading from black to a rainbow of colors.

Judy F said...

Oh no Marie. I have had similar accidents (not that bad though) that you have no clue how it happens. I am sorry to hear that you got hurt.

Laurie, I hope Tim is feeling better. Hugs

Karin said...

Oh, I definitely sweat the small stuff and have for as long as I can remember - just ask my parents. I've actually made myself by stressing over things without really knowing why. *sigh*

I think both small moments and big moments are necessary because it's the combination of the two that make life what it is. I'm glad that there are both in romance novels.

robynl said...

I do sweat the small stuff; just tonight after we had supper in the living room(I know!!!) I said to dh to make sure he took his dishes into the kitchen, took the cotton batton and tape to the garbage that he pulled off his arm after having a blood test today and harped on him for the millionth time in 20 years. It will not change much but I still harp and sweat.
The boys' rooms were a disaster. When I met dh the youngest son's room was this: no sheet on mattress and the quilts thrown on the floor; clothes strewn everywhere with only one item in the closet - a shirt on a hanger.

After we married I went up to the boys' room one day and began to check under the beds. Lo and behold I found everything under there but the one thing that made me raise my eyebrows was a package of chocolate fudge cookies; what the heck were they doing there and where did they come from? I used to pull all items out from under the beds and leave them in the middle of the floor and when they got home from school it might serve to make them think 'maybe we should clean up'. The next time I checked under the beds the same things and possibly more was there.

Laurie said...

I have a daughter who is now 26 . She would clean her room by shoving everything under her bed. After a traumatic experience with a spider bite, she went to work on cleaning her room. She's married now, her place is so clean. She puts me to shame. I also have 3 sons who attend UF in Gainesville so I was attracted to the UF quarterback tie-in as Tim Tebow is so popular and such a role model. I have a gross/funny story involving our play kitchen. They kid's would make meals for each other with my daughter usually being the care giver. One day she went through the laundry basket filled with fake food and dishes and discovered a Jif peanut butter jar filled with urine! GROSS! None of her 3 brothers ever owned up to it!
I love sports so both of your books sound fabulous!
I always love Laurie's recommendations!!

Marie Force said...

You all have definitely made me feel better about Emily's room. I think messiness is as hard-wired into their DNA as crappy attitudes when they are teenagers! She had already talked back to me at 7:15 am! Just another day in paradise. Although, right now I will take all the attitude they wish to dish out as long as they remain healthy. Scary, scary times!

YES, GO GATORS! Our friends in Florida have made my son a HUGE Gator fan. They talk to him after every game. Although, I will say there's more Tom Brady than Tim Tebow in Ryan. Tim hadn't burst onto the scene yet when I wrote Line of Scrimmage.

Thanks to everyone for showing up to play the last two days. I appreciate your comments and excitement about my books. The winners are....

Kara C wins a signed copy of Love at First Flight for her keeper shelf because her story about her son watching TV in his brother's room made me laugh out loud! TOO FUNNY! Thank you for passing on your copy of L@FF! Now you get a new and better one!

Stacy S, hiding meatloaf in your room takes the cake! You win the signed copy of Line of Scrimmage.

Contact me at to claim your prizes and to everyone else, email me to be added to my mailing list for news of upcoming books.

Many thanks again to Laurie for having me!

Laurie D. said...

Ok, I'm still a little weak over Laurie's finding urine in a peanut butter jar! Crazy boys! Makes me even more thankful I had girls! lol

Congrats to Kara and Stacy on their wins! I promise you'll both love your books! Marie is a real talent at writing womens' fiction and I'm excited to see what's up next from her.

Thanks to all who took the time to stop by and share your stories, and extra special thanks to Marie for being here and injecting a little fun into our Wednesday!

Marie Force said...

Hi again,
I got good news today that I sold my book See You Next Time to Sourcebooks. Not sure when it will be out, but here's what it's about:

See You Next Time
Everybody loves a hero. And that's the problem. . .

Hero pilot Cole Langston is learning to live with—and enjoy—his newfound fame and the rabid female attention that comes with it until a lucky punch knocks some sense into him and opens his eyes to true love.

When his copilot suffers a heart attack in flight, Cole lands the jetliner in a blizzard and revives the stricken captain. Catapulted to national hero status, Cole has more women vying for his attention than he knows what to do with. They all have one thing in common: they try without success to bring this happy-go-lucky pilot down to earth. Then comes an airport altercation, a punch to the face, and the lovely Olivia—a shy, timid artist who does what no other woman has ever managed to do: steal Cole's well-protected heart. With women coming on to him everywhere they go, Olivia struggles to believe that Cole is ready for a committed relationship. His biggest problem is getting rid of all his extra ladies before the only one he wants figures out that she's one of many.

This one is TRES sexy! :-)

Will keep you posted when I know more! Thanks for all the support and I hope you'll enjoy this new book!

ddurance said...

Marie, you wouldn't even want to see my kid's rooms. My daughter, who will soon be thirteen, supposedly cleaned up and mysteriously stacked junk waist high in front of her closet. Now, I have to wonder, what she's hiding in there. lol


Anonymous said...

Hello every one, i just want to share a few testimony about how my marriage got saved by . I had a fight with my husband and he got mad at me and decided to bring in another woman, i know i did wrong and was scared of loosing him, when he brought in another woman to the house, i thought i have lost him already and that was when i had to use spell and i was amazed the way the spell turned the table around and made my husband start chasing me and want to be with me again. am so happy now that my husband is back to me and me alone