Thursday, February 23, 2012

I fail

I'm a HUGE FAIL!! I cannot believe that I didn't blog last week, especially because it was a massive release week for me. I had four stories come out. Two Mia Watts books and two Katie Blu books. To make up for lost time, I'm going to post the info here for you along with a link to a crazy-good review.

This is the overriding premise of this series:

Mommy's Little Series

Mommy, an immortal mother-thug, only wants to help when wayward paranormals wander into her diner…

Mommy's Little Shapeshifter, Mia Watts

Benny is a shape-shifting Corgi with a problem. He’d like nothing more than to get doggy-style with Dieter. But Dieter is a strapping German Sheppard. Besides the whole logistical problem, there’s the matter of Benny’s shyness. But Mommy has just dragged him across the park lawn, so he’d better think fast.

Mommy's Little Succubus, Katie Blu

Succubus Liza needs to earn her wings. But what’s a klutzy, bespectacled girl to do when she’s born without the seductress gene—and that’s the only way she can earn her demon wings?

Fortunately for Liza, Mommy has a solution, and he’s chained up in her dungeon.

Mommy's Little Mummy, Mia Watts

Licenius has been the Roman ambassador to Egypt for the past four years. His Egyptian counterpart, Remmao, and he are trapped in the middle when Cleopatra is murdered. The last thing Licenius remembers is Remmao’s sweet kiss…when he wakes up two thousand years later.

It seems Remmao has betrayed him. And now Mommy says that he must eat, drink and fuck in the next twenty-four hours or lose a second chance at life.

Mommy's Little Zombie, Katie Blu

It’s the anniversary of Lyric’s rising and Mommy has a surprise for her: Magic sex from recovering mummy, Brian. If it all goes without a hitch, she’ll become immortal…but brain-chomping instincts are hard to squash and Lyric is thinking about head.

I was pleased as peaches to see a review by Bobby over at BookWenches. Follow the link because y'all, it's freakin' awesome!

And if any of these books interests you, check out and look at last week's releases on the home page. Thanks!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Blown Away

I've been living in Lubbock, Texas for the past few weeks. It's weird to actually live in a place that you've only visited before. The area is flat and dry...and WINDY. Yesterday morning, my daughter and I headed off to the grocery store for essentials. It was cold and definitely breezy but, let me tell you, by the time we'd finished up, gale force winds struck. The skies were dark with dirt and dust. Think Dust Bowl from the 1930's. Crazy. Most of you know I'm from Abilene and we definitely have our 'dirty dusty weather moments' but this was nuts.

By the time we reached my daughter's place, gusts were up to 60 miles per hour and getting our booty inside was an iffy proposition. Several times the lid of my trunk blew down, konking us in the head. Yowww. My daughter is a little thing and it didn't take long to realize that I needed to take up the job of moving everything inside. I managed, just barely, and believe me...I'm NOT a dainty flower. It was tricky. Once it was done, we decided to hunker in for the rest of the day. By the time the ten o'clock news rolled around we learned the winds had knocked down power lines and literally pushed 18-wheelers off area roads. Pretty dangerous stuff.

This Lubbock living could take some serious getting used to.

Growing up in tornado alley, I became used to seeing this kind of stuff and, in fact, have always been rather fascinated by extreme weather. I've seen chicken coops tossed around (complete with feathers flying). I've seen the after-effects for tornadoes that ravaged towns, destroying both homes and businesses. For a brief time, I lived in Houston and survived Hurricane Alicia.  Hey, I'm sure we all have stories to tell about crazy weather experiences, don't we?

In other news: Working on edits for Tinderbox (a story in the Ellora's Cave anthology Something Wicked This Way Comes, Vol 2). I've heard this may release in April. Yay!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Living In Glass Houses

There are days that I just want to slap someone. Today is one of those days. I don’t know if any of you have heard about the sheriff in Arizona—the one who made himself famous for being so outspoken on immigration and allowed himself to be John McCain’s poster boy for the whole “build the danged fence” ad—but I just read about it last night before I went to bed. And well, I just think the man needs slapping!

All this time he has portrayed himself as being this major conservative dude, family-values-kind- of-guy, and now he has admitted he is gay. Not that a gay man can’t have family values, just not the kind of family values that conservative politics claims to be right. The one-man-one-woman kind of family values.

Hmmm… The reporter who broke the story is now speaking out because she’s concerned that everyone is focusing on his homosexuality rather than the real reason she outed him.

It seems that he had a Mexican boyfriend, and the boyfriend is saying that the sheriff threatened him with deportation IF he revealed the affair. The boyfriend had pics and texts and emails to back him up on the actual affair, but it’s unclear if he had any that would prove the threats. So the sheriff was forced to admit he is gay.

Now while I somewhat agree with the reporter—at least I agree that more focus should be placed on an officer of the law possibly threatening someone—I also have to say that the fact he is gay and has been hiding it is a major issue as well. Why? The man portrayed himself as a big conservative, and we all know that conservative politics does not exactly champion gay rights. So the sheriff has been living a lie in more ways than one. And a lie is a lie any way you cut it.

Can you be gay and also be a conservative? Well, I guess so. Sort of. I’m a bit of a political junkie. I started out as a major bleeding-heart liberal. Over time, however, my views changed. If pushed, I say I’m a moderate, but the truth is, I’m all over the place. I’m a big believer in the military, for instance. I think we need to keep a big military budget. I support this because I think it’s genuinely needed in order to secure the freedoms we all enjoy in this country. Do I believe in every single military action/decision? No. But overall, I’m pro-military. Period. And that, my friends, is a conservative viewpoint. On the flip side, I am pro-choice. And that is a very liberal viewpoint. Then there are the gray areas—capital punishment, for example. I have a lot of trouble with that one sometimes.

The point I’m trying to make is yeah, I guess you can be gay and still have conservative viewpoints. Just like I can be liberal on some issues and conservative on others. But…hmmm…

When it comes to personal issues of freedom—the legislation of what a chosen few believe to be moral—I draw the line. I could never support any candidate who didn’t support gay rights even if I agreed with that candidate on other conservative issues. Personal freedom is what our country is all about first and foremost. Simply put, it’s why we are all here. Freedom of speech, religion, press, etc. To hopefully live and love as we please.

So how can a gay man support candidates—or in this case be a conservative candidate for Congress (yep, he is running for Congress in a very conservative district)—and KNOW…absolutely KNOW…that his conservative brethren would, for the most part, not support his right to live and love as he pleases? What would happen IF he had been elected and served in Congress and all of this had never been brought to light? Would he support gay rights in Congress despite what the conservative platform dictates? I don’t think so. It’s my understanding that throughout the congressional campaign he has not taken a stand on any gay issues.

Sex scandals. We’ve damn sure seen enough of them, haven’t we? And I’ve always said that I don’t care what a man (or woman) does in their bedroom. For the most part—for the MOST part—it has nothing to do with how they govern. But there are instances in which their indiscretions do reveal just how dumb they are. It’s one thing to have an affair just for the sake of sex and sex alone—Bill Clinton, JFK, etc. (I honestly don’t think that Monica or Marilyn had any impact on important votes or policy, LOL)—but it’s another thing if an affair can somehow impact the way a lawmaker votes or doesn’t vote. And in the instance of this sheriff, now congressional candidate, he screwed up big time.

You know the guy could have had a very real impact on our world had he “listed” himself as a conservative gay man. I could see that. Maybe he could have helped soften the conservative viewpoint on gay rights. Who knows? And since he is trying his best to turn the focus of all this on the fact that he is gay and denying that he threatened his lover, maybe he now sees the error of his ways and understands that he could really do some good in this world just by being honest.

What I don’t understand and never will is why anyone sends naughty pics of themselves or emails over the Internet or in text and think they will never see the light of day?  Especially if you’re running for public office or are a famous person. Jeez. That in itself sort of sabotages credibility. I mean, doesn’t it kind of prove that the person has bad judgment?

I guess some people like playing with fire. But I still subscribe to what my granny always said: “People who live in glass houses should never throw rocks.”

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I love Danny Trejo. I claim to have a PhD in Danny Trejo studies. That's not true, because that's not a real major. But if it was, I would be the professor. And every student in class. I would be the dean of Danny Trejo University, and I would probably be the target of wacky hijinks perpetrated by a brash, anti-social fraternity on campus. In my imagination, this fraternity is lead by the late Rodney Dangerfield, my second favorite person in the universe next to Danny Trejo.

I think the reason I love Danny Trejo so much is his back story. Without going into too much detail, dude had a rough life. Like, real rough. But those first tumultuous chapters of his life didn't set the tone for the entire story. Now, he's a Hollywood action hero, at an age when most actors are thinking about retiring and doing only the occasional, emasculating romantic comedy. I'm looking at you, Jack Nicholson.

Well, as you know, yesterday was Anna Howard Shaw day. Or, Valentine's Day, if you buy into that malarky. I know, I know. I write romances, so how can I reject the most romantic of holidays. Plainly put, I don't find expected romance all that damned romantic. Yesterday, though, I believed in the beauty of love. Because I received (after requesting it via twitter) a heartwarming Valentine gift from my friend Jill. She made me Danny Trejo Valentines. And I'm posting them here for you to enjoy:

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Loving Bliss available Today!

Happy Valentine Day to all you little cupids out there. Yes, today is the day for love but it is also a great day to READ about love. Can't tell you how happy I am to have a new book releasing today. Yes, it's a super shorty one but that's okay. Not a bad way to fill an hour, I'm thinkin', considering all the lunches and dinners with sweeties, school valentine's parties, smelling flowers etc. Who has the time for heavy reading on a day like this?

Loving Bliss is one of seven stories written by the Sassy Seven for Decadent Publishing's The Edge line. We were tickled to pieces to be part of this and we all just sincerely hope you like each and every offering.

Buy it Here!

Loving Bliss
The Edge Series
Even a rough, tough, badass former Marine knows that Valentine’s Day is the perfect time for a little seduction. So after a stop at Valentino’s Wine and Gourmet Food Shoppe and armed with a decadent bottle of chocolate wine, Noble Loving tracks down Bliss Harper, the star of his most wicked fantasies. His sexy business partner should be firmly off limits, but he’s sick of playing by the rules. Time for some new ones. It’ll take a slow hand and some hot loving to convince the lady she belongs to him, but this Marine is up for the challenge.


Instant heat from the cozy fireplace chased over his chilled limbs. Noble set the bag that bore the logo of Valentino’s Wine and Gourmet Food Shoppe on a handy dandy entry table and shrugged out of his coat. It was Valentine’s Day in the hub of American Democracy and tonight he had plans. Big Plans. Enticing Bliss into making things about more than “business” between them was his top priority. At the moment she sat curled up on the couch, the laptop screen throwing light over her pale blonde hair and delicate face. He’d never been a big fan of short hair on a woman, but the pixie cut she sported framed her beguiling features to perfection. Tinker Bell turned seductress. Intelligent, hazel eyes, partially obscured by the lenses of her glasses were narrowed in concentration but then she looked up. An adorable one-sided smile tilted her lips as her eyes swept him slowly. “Well, now. Don’t you look like a man who needs some warmin’ up.”

Noble flat out forgot to breathe.

She was a true Georgia peach with a voice like melted honey and he’d bet his last nickel those southern men were all crying in their beer over losing her to chilly Washington DC. And, hopefully, to him. Bliss was a fine specimen of a woman, hotter than a July afternoon and sweet enough to make him want to check her blood sugar levels. And her intellect? Well, that was pretty damn spectacular, too. He’d always been a sucker for smarts and she had plenty of them.

Bliss uncurled her long legs from the sofa to peer at him over the tops of the dark frames of her glasses. Her smile widened. She removed the eyewear sending them sliding across the surface of the coffee table then stood to give him an utterly wicked look. “Why don’t you come over here by the fire and we’ll get you comfy.”

Noble’s cock twitched. The hot-buttered-sex quality of the invitation had him yearning to slip her pencil thin black skirt over her hips and down those ultra-long legs. He reached into the temporarily abandoned sack and pulled out a wrapped bundle of bright red Gerbera daisies, a single crystal flute, and a chilled bottle.

Bliss’s pretty eyes widened.

“Happy Valentine’s Day, sweetheart.”

Friday, February 10, 2012

New release - Heart Signs!

I've been MIA a bit...for some good and not-so-good reasons. The good? Okay, forget good. The AMAZING? My first sexy contemporary novella, No Dress Required, hit #1 on Barnes and Noble's Romance bestseller list. The not-so-good that may, hopefully, turn out to be great? I got laid off on Tuesday. Which means...da dum...for the first time, I'm now a full-time writer. Not sure how long that blissful state will last, but to make sure I can extend it as long as possible, I need to finish my darn book! Need Me, book #3 in the Unveiled series at Ellora's Cave, is thisclose to being done. Can't wait to turn it into my editor within the next week!

In the meantime, I thought I'd post the blurb and buy link to my latest release, HEART SIGNS, which released at Ellora's Cave last Friday. This one's a bit different from my usual in that the first full love scene comes at the very end of the book. There's a ton of emotion and sexual tension throughout, but Sam and Rory take a little time to get to their HEA. :) Hope you'll check it out! (And yep, my hero Sam is as lusciously bald as the model on the cover!)

Heart Signs Buy Link: Click HERE

The heart has a language all its own…
Rory Fowler has taken Sam Miller’s billboard orders for the last two years, but they aren’t to advertise, they’re love notes to his wife. Sam’s most recent billboard about his wife’s passing hits Rory hard. When she calls Sam to offer condolences, it sets off an unexpected chain of events that ends with Rory in Sam’s apartment—and his arms.
Reading Sam’s love letters tugs Rory into the romance between him and his estranged, now-deceased, wife. Their lives soon intertwine so completely that Rory wonders how she’ll ever forget the man who makes poetry out of emotions she’s fought to dismiss. And plays her body even more skillfully than he writes love notes.
Consumed by guilt and grief, Sam is shocked by the feelings Rory arouses in him, sexually and otherwise. Now he’s not thinking about yesterday as much as he’s looking forward to tomorrow. He’s just not sure if he’s capable of moving on…or if the woman who helped him find the will to really live again will be by his side.

There's an excerpt too on Ellora's Cave's site if you'd like to give it a look.

So...what are you reading right now? Or, if you're pressed for time like I am, what do you WISH you were reading? Happy weekend!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Happy Birthday

I have this publisher that I'll be loyal to forever. This month is their fifth anniversary in business, and I couldn't be more proud. They started in 2007 as three women at a writer's conference, frustrated by the way authors were treated in the industry. Especially at the time, when ebooks were relatively new to the public, authors were in a rush to produce while companies pretty much treated them like machines.

In their effort to give the author a voice in every aspect of the creative process, to stand up for the little author, and to maintain its boutique size to keep quality intact, Leigh, Jess, and Tiff created Resplendence Publishing.

It was after a purchased series of mine (under yet another pen name) fell through late 2007, that I submitted my work to Resplendence on a suggestion by Mona Risk. They picked me up with a three book series deal and I was off and running. They've stood by me every step of the way, through evolution of identity, to personal needs.

When I went into the hospital a year ago, they were the voices cautioning me to rest, sending me a personal gift and checking in on me. Why? Because although I was their author, they'd become friends of mine. Even now, five years after their birth, they want to know how their authors are. They want to care about them. When I went through divorce and drove across the nation, it was Tiff's house I stayed at overnight with my two little girls and my cat. When I wasn't sure I could make it writing full-time, they opened opportunities up for me and supported my energies in seeking additional publishers to put out my work and expand my readership.

They care and in an industry that sometimes forgets that writers are a little bit neurotic in their lonely pursuit of the perfect manuscript, I call them a blessing.

Happy birthday, Resplendence. Jess, Tiff, and Leigh, you persevered when others thought you'd fail. You've weathered the storm of misplaced speculation, and you've handled it all with grace. You've truly been a lifesaver to me.


Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Top 5 Fictional Character Deaths That Destroyed My Soul

I'm an emotional person, regardless of what my enemies might scream in the face my cold, merciless fury. This extends to fiction. It has to, if I'm going to do my job as a writer. Being able to put myself in the shoes of a character helps me craft more believable conflicts and heartaches before my characters can get their HEA. But what really pisses me off is that some people, some horrible, awful, terrible, mean, butt hole people, don't let the characters get their HEA. Sometimes, they just straight up kill them.

Because this post is going to be all about characters I love who have died and left me with a gaping hole in my still beating heart, pumping gallons of blood and gore all over the place, there are going to be spoilers. Since I'm nice, be aware that there will be spoilers for the following movies/tv shows/books after the jump. If you click anyway, it's your funeral. So, last warning, if you click the jump, the following tv shows/books/movies WILL be spoilered for you:

The Green Mile (book and movie)
Buffy The Vampire Slayer (comic books)
The Walking Dead (tv show)
A Song of Ice and Fire
Atonement (book and movie)

Monday, February 6, 2012

Pen Names and Sensual Authors

Are erotic romance authors as sensual as the characters in their books? I had a reader ask me the other day if I was. After I stopped blushing, (YEP! I blush. Lol) I gave the question some real thought.

The truth is that I’m just plain not sure. How can that be? What I write is a direct product of my mind. Shouldn’t I know? All I do know for a fact is that I’ve never had any complaints from the male species. LOL At least not complaints of a “bedroom nature”.

I had a man tell me once that there was no such thing as bad sex. He said that he got off every single time and, of course, the only foreplay he required was to simply know he was about to get some. LOL Yep, he was one of those kind of men. Regardless, I liked him. He was funny.

But what has sensuality got to do with sex?

Everything and nothing.

Strictly defined, sensuality is basically engaging your senses for the purpose of enjoyment or gratification. You could feast on a bowl of juicy red strawberries and say it was a sensual experience. It’s all about what you experience through your senses.

As writers, one of the things we are supposed to do is put the reader in the scene. I like the idea of putting the reader in the shoes of my characters. So how do we do that? Well, first off we paint a picture for them. We use descriptors to let the reader “feel” their surroundings. But more importantly, we consult our characters’ senses. What are they seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, smelling…and thinking? If we let the reader in on all this then the reader can indeed walk in the shoes of our characters.

A lot of times I write about things I’ve never personally experienced. And that’s where imagination and—well, what I’d like to think of as talent—come into play. In my most recent release, Strip Down from Ellora’s Cave, I had a scene in which my two main characters watched a man and a woman have sex, and then they allowed themselves to be watched. Realistically speaking, that’s not something I’d ever do. In Scarlet Memoir, a book soon to be released from Ellora’s Cave, there is a scene with wax play. And WOW! When I read it back to myself? We’re talking hot, hot scene in more ways than one.

But am I personally, in real life, going to allow some dude—even one I’m madly in love with—to drip hot candle wax on my nips? HELL NO!!! My nips are precious, delicate. NO HOT WAX!!!

So does that make me less sensual than my characters? Nope. Just means I have a great imagination and can make a loaf of bread seem sexy as hell! Damn sure sensual. LOL Erotic romance is all about slowing down the scenery and making it real. Give the readers DETAIL. Make it last.

But let’s not confuse sensuality with different ways of doing it. It’s the way you enjoy it. How it makes you feel. How you make your partner feel that makes you sensual. So why different positions, situations, locations? Why show readers sexual scenarios that might not be the norm in their bedroom or our own? To engage the reader. Broaden their knowledge. Reinforce their fantasies—let them know we think about these things, too! We share a bit of ourselves with those who read our stories.

But just because we all share some of the same sexual fantasies it doesn’t mean we should act on them—or at least some of them. Lol Fantasy is fantasy. I sometimes fantasize I should be ruler of the world. Yep! I think I could straighten out a lot of things. LOL But should I try for that? Hell no. Gives me a headache just thinking about taking over the world. Lol Some women fantasize about something as simple as picking up a guy in a bar—sex with a stranger. Should they? Well, that happens quite a bit all over the world. Do I recommend it? No. Why? It can be dangerous. We all know that.

Let’s face it. Fantasies are just that. Fantasies. Acting on them doesn’t necessarily prove sensuality. But simply having them is very sensual. At least to me. LOL So do I advocate NEVER acting on a fantasy? Oh hell no. lol I simply say you should be careful.

To me, sex is most sensual when shared with someone you care about. Sex without emotion isn’t good—but that’s just the way I look at sex. Millions of people have sex all of the time without any emotional attachments. It’s just not for me. And that’s why I write romance.

Love is always at the center.

Now, by nature I’m a pretty reserved individual. I’ve even said on occasion that I’m kind of shy. And I’ve been laughed at for saying that, too. LOL Well, as we all know, it’s a helluva lot easier to jump online and talk trash and open up than it is in real life sometimes. No, I’m not a prude. If I were, I couldn’t write what I write. But I am a private person which is why I use a pen name. There are a few tried and true friends on the Internet that know my real name and even know what I really look like.

I’ve had requests from readers for pictures and even my mailing address. I’ve always declined to give out that information. Will I ever reveal my real name? No. Never. That’s a done deal with me. Unless I get to know someone incredibly well, that is. How about pics? As of now I still have a kid in high school. I seriously doubt I will post any public pics of myself until he’s out of school and maybe not even then. I’m not sure there is even a need. If I end up needing to do book signings? Then maybe. If I end up at a convention? Maybe. But for now? No.

I write about love and sexual fantasies. Maybe…just maybe…maintaining a little mystery for the author is just what the doctor ordered. LOL

I’ll be offline most of the day as I have some business appointments. I’ll check in later and see what everyone thinks of pen names and author sensuality. In the meantime, I hope everyone is happily reading, writing, and editing. Until later…

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Two Things...

Two things greeted me this morning as I drove my kids to school. Both were on the radio. The first was the morning show screeching to "crate the baby" over a song;s lyrics that kept saying, "shock the monkey" in the background. Now, normally, I'd think this was a sign. A sign that I need more coffee and should probably wake up before hurtling down the road at forty-five miles per hour with my precious cargo.

The second thing was as I was dropping my older daughter off, science project in hand. Rhianna came on the radio belting out about finding "love in a hopeless place". Oh, honey, we know already. But that's okay, you keep repeating that line over and over again until it sinks in. Because, Rhianna dear, if you keep going back to Chris Brown-abuser, then you are indeed finding your love in a hopeless place.

So I pulled the car over and slapped myself a few times. Sadly, I was already awake.

And this is when I realized that after not writing a word in almost half a month, I needed to shock my own damn monkey and get back into gear. I should crate my inner baby because she's only throwing tantrums, and I need to start looking for heroes who are in hopeless places and need some lovin'. Only then will I get my creative juices flowing again.

See? There was a segue! Betcha didn't think I could pull that one out of my well-sculpted ass (hey, this is fantasy, right?).

Which reminds me. I went to the doctor yesterday. She says I'm a mess. She did it with a smile so I think she's being very sweet. Still, a professional took a good look at me and decided my body wasn't so sound. Considering that this is the same woman who warned me less than twelve hours before I went to the ER last summer, that I might be in the ER soon, I think I'll listen to her.

I think pills are a sign of aging. Yes, it totally has to do with that paragraph up there! Just hang on a sec. You see, the older we get the more meds or herbals we seem to need in order to remember what it feels like to be younger. And when even the meds don't work any more, what do we do? We take Ginkgo so that it boosts our memories and we force ourselves to remember how good we no longer feel.

Sigh. What a viscious cycle. What I need right now is a way to remember the plot I wanted to write next. Does that mean I need Ginkgo, or some monkey shocking? I dunno. I just don't know.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I'm not just an author. I'm the preschool Oprah.

My daughter recently started preschool. She's really enjoying being around kids her age (my son is nine, and she's three), and she loves her teachers and likes taking a break from me three days a week. I know she enjoys the break, because she told me, when last night she tearfully begged me not to come to her school today to be the class helper: "I don't want you to come to my school, mommy! That's my time away from you!"

After I pinkie swore that I would not cramp her style, and that she didn't even have to talk to me if she didn't want to, she relented and agreed that I could, indeed, be the preschool helper.

Let me tell you something about me and children. I think kids are pretty awesome. But I don't think I've ever been a kid in my entire life. When I was about five, a boy asked me to play doctor, and I, not understanding that "playing doctor" is a game of exploration and titillation, told him he had esophageal cancer and needed chemotherapy. I spent my childhood mostly around adults and teenagers. So, I've never related to children very well. The idea of spending three hours in a room full of eighteen three-year-olds is a terrifying prospect to me, like unto staring into the untempered schism.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that preschool is not the nightmare void of madness I'd expected it to be. There was a lot of snot. And a bathroom accident. Those things, I suppose I should have expected. I ran a paint station, where the kids painted a picture of a tooth with a toothbrush. It wasn't terribly hard, and it definitely helped that I had a little girl who sat next to me, prompting me with, "You forgot to talk about the root of the tooth," and "You can't say deciduous, he won't know what that means." I learned what kind of toothpaste and toothbrush every kid had. I'm actually astonished that there are toothbrushes for so many different characters, although I doubt the veracity of one claim, as it came from the same boy who insisted that he'd once killed a cheetah.

Slowly, the kids would just open up about something crazy and totally unconnected with painting or teeth. One boy told me that his mom is mean, then went on to describe said meanness, which I assure you, to a three-year-old, was horrific. Games where put on shelves, high up, where they cannot be reached. This cruel and unusual punishment was inflicted upon the poor child for simply being naughty! I assured him that his mom wasn't mean, she was just doing her job, because there have to be consequences in life. He nodded sagely, as if understanding every word, then said, "What's consequences mean?"

A little girl opened up about her struggles with thumb-sucking. She talked the way people talk in drug counseling: "I know I can't, because see, my teeth keep going backward, and I know they put the cream on my thumb that tastes so nasty, but I feel like I'm going to just start sucking my thumb and I can't help it!"

Another boy expressed his frustration with mothers the world over for their choice in favorite Star Wars characters: "Moms always like Han Solo best, because he's handsome. Luke is better!"

By the time snack time had rolled around, I had started thinking to myself, "wow, kids have just as many problems as we do." While it might not be as hard to quit sucking your thumb as it would be to kick heroin cold turkey, that kid was struggling with the same emotions of any addict. And the kid who who couldn't understand why anyone would like Han Solo when Luke Skywalker is clearly better... how is that different from grown ups arguing over politics on facebook?

So, my daughter and I have reached an accord, because now she realizes that mommy isn't going to cramp her style at school, and I don't dread next month's helper day quite as much as I was before this one. I think I might actually look forward to it.