Thursday, 17 February 2011

Guest L.J. Holmes

Hey, everyone! Please welcome L.J. Holmes to my blog! Take it away, L.J.!

What a pleasure it is to be here. Thank you for your invitation.

Not many people know that the apartment complex where I live decided a few years back to paint all of our fire hydrants. (They’ve since gone back to the “average”.) It was a bit of a shock when I stepped out the first time—see, there’s a fire hydrant about THIS far from my entrance door—so it wasn’t like the fire hydrant could hide its new persona. Seeing the fire hydrant bedecked as a Dalmatian fire dog made me think about my Dad…and boy do I have stories to tell you all about my Dad.

I grew up with my Dad active in the volunteer fire company. He was—and boy are you going to love this—the FIRE POLICE CHIEF! Why are you going to love this? Well, Dad was not the most, uhm, obedient, I suppose would be the best description, of fire safety codes that the rest of us have to adhere to during emergencies. Dad was following the fire engine to a three-alarm blaze about a mile and a half from our home. I was about eight, maybe nine at the time.

Dad used his own car. I’m not sure exactly what Dad was doing—some suspected he hadn’t pushed the connection for his fire-lights into the cigarette lighter socket so was jiggling it and looking down when it happened while driving one handed…or maybe with his knees.

At the end of the road we live on, is—surprise, surprise— a stop sign. Even with the whirly lights and the siren woof woofing, they DO stop to make sure the rest of you do what the law requires of you… So, picture a fire engine, men in their heavy fire gear clinging to the back of the truck, the stop sign, and my Dad coming up behind them, the FIRE POLICE CHIEF, his attention not up there, but down there.

Dad drove his car right on up the back side of the fire truck so his Mercury hood ornament was kissing the dancing emergency lights for all it was worth. For those of you who never saw the hood ornament on older Mercury cars, picture the Roman god Mercury who used to be the Greek god Hermes. With Mercury’s winged sandals dancing a merry jig with the flashing fire lights, my Dad, his nose plastered to his dashboard and eyes peeking sheepishly at his newest creation, THAT’S the picture that made the daily newspaper and it WAS a classic. For all I know, it may still be hanging in the back room at the firehouse.

I’d like to say that was the ONLY questionable adventure my Dad had with his pyromania, but like George Washington and his cherry tree decapitation, I cannot tell a lie.

My Dad was one of those Jack-Of-All-Trades who thought he’d mastered them all…unfortunately, reality differed with him.

Let me share the time my Dad decided to, uhm, dispose of a hornets’ nest. The nest was growing, quite spectacularly, from the eaves under the porch portico that led off the laundry room doorway. Everyone knows that you do not dispose of hornets’ nests before twilight because the buzzers are out inserting their stingers into anyone who gets on their bad side up until some inner clock tells them it’s time to return to the nest and resurface those stingers for the next day.

Twilight, when the day meets on the horizon with the night that is about to send everyone into starlight time…and, of course, the best time to exterminate an entire nest of nasty stingers; I DO include Dad in that.

Armed with a can of gasoline and a spray nozzle, Dad soaks that sucker until it is absolutely drenched. The scritch of the match was quiet compared to the WHOOSH that exploded the second the match hit the nest…oh, and the portico along with the porch. See, you’re supposed to knock the nest from the house before igniting it.

I watched the entire porch and a good three quarters of the back wall feed the flames before the fire company—yep, the very same one—arrived to put out the damage my Jack-Of-All-Trades and master-of-none FIRE POLICE CHIEF DAD gave birth to.

In Dad’s “real” job, the one he did when not strutting his FIRE POLICE CHIEF badge around, he serviced and repaired oil burners, commercial and residential. Every year as the fall approached, Dad went around the neighborhood, reminding everyone to schedule having their oil burners cleaned and made ready. It was a religion to him.

I don’t actually remember which month it was, although it WAS cold. Later I would be told it happened at the stroke of midnight, but I was still a kid and had been sleeping quite soundly when the front chimney, the one only this far from my bed, blew up taking a good chunk of the house’s innards with it.

I shared my room with my grandmother, who quickly got us both out of there, down the stairs and out the door. My dad was already out on the stone driveway, his boxers at half mast, looking up at his creation with a somber look upon his face, that turned to something else…embarrassed bluster?...when the fire engine pulled into our driveway and once more put out the flames spewing from the house of the FIRE POLICE CHIEF. (Not sure if the bluster was because of another fire at our house or because he was out there in his boxer shorts… I know for me, THAT was more traumatizing than the explosion.)

Looking back, I cannot help wondering why they did not retire my dad. The only excuse I can come up with is it was an ALL volunteer fire company…any volunteer, even one as creatively incompetent as my Dad, was better than NO volunteer.

One of these days, I am going to have to write a book about Dad. I KNOW you’d love hearing about Dad deciding to cut his own asbestos siding and then attaching it to the house so crookedly a lightning bolt could get beneath it and set fire to that whole side of the house. And there’s the bag of oil dry in the garage attic that another hornets’ nest claimed ownership of. Oh, and the BATS, and when Dad decided he could install central air conditioning all by himself…BIG holes (measuring was for amateurs, Dad determined, quite sagely).

We had creatures visiting inside from those big holes that don’t usually have access to your house’s innards…but then Dad was quite content to make entryways large enough to welcome them without any problems. For them. At least now you know why I have this permanent tic in my left eye.

But let me tell you about the two books I HAVE written.

My current book is just out called Forever With You and released from the Muse It Publishing, Inc.’s HOT Side Muse It Hot on February 1st, 2011!

This is my all-time favorite story so far. Coryne is a Family Court Lawyer suddenly with money and a need to have a custom designed cabin built on land she owns in the mountain. Keith Patterson, owner of Patterson Construction shows up, and the sight of him stirs long-dormant feelings Coryne does not want to deal with. Besides, he’s too gorgeous by half to actually come through on what she needs. Her coworkers convince her Keith can come through, though, so she takes a chance and hires the eye candy delicious torment.

She sets up a camping trailer so she’s on the spot to oversee the progress…probably not one of her wisest choices. Each day is a struggle to resist the lure of Keith’s sexy body and her reaction to it. Torture; pure unmitigated torture. Will Coryne maintain control?

There is a surprise ending you will not see coming, one that will remain with you long after you have finished this very short story.

My second book will be out on March 1st, 2011, again from the Muse It Hot side of the Muse Publishing, Inc. This one is called The Pendulum Swings.

It’s sort of a Time Travel. It DOES have Ancient Egypt and Rome as a backdrop for the heroine, and eventually the hero too, but not until he’s done the wild thing with a very seductive fireplace.

But I am jumping ahead of the story a bit.

She wakes in a room with weird things she has never seen before—and for that matter, she doesn’t recognize her own hand either.

He enters this strange room, a snarling mass of a man who is hunky but not particularly liking what he sees in her. In fact, he seems to hate her.

He calls her “Joanna”? She has no idea what a “Joanna” is but gathers it is supposed to be her. She quickly denies it.

He tosses the word, “amnesia” at her with such derision, it must be about as desirable as sand fleas or the plague.

She does not understand what she’s done to make him loathe her, and now that she thinks on it, who the devil is she?

Whoever she is, she has a long journey ahead of her, and hopefully along the way she’ll be able to figure out how she came to be this woman he so obviously abhors before she loses all hope.

If you want to learn more about that seductive fireplace, Best Selling Author, and my magnificently talented daughter, Kat Holmes, interviewed Ms. Marble on her own site a while back. It’s an intriguing interview that required Kat actually going on a road trip. The link is:

As for me, well, I have a whole lot of blogspots because I do something I call COVER BLOGS, that one of my fellow Muse Authors calls STATIONARY TRAILERS. I have three set up exclusively for Muse authors, one that is for Muse authors and others with publishers other than Muse, and another that I call my TOOTING HORN that I use to post all kinds of self-boasting stuff about me and my daughter Kat. Boasting doesn’t come easy so had to set up a spot just for that purpose.

I will give you the links to my main Muse sites and the one for everyone. They are:

My e-mail is: (Spatz is my baby kitty, and a co-star in one of my upcoming stories…June 1st, 2011 In From The Cold)

My author’s page at Muse Publishing, Inc. is

The direct buy page for Forever With You

At $1.99 a true bargain.

The Pendulum Swings


Julie Eberhart Painter said...

I was especially fireaphobic when the kids were 3, 4, and 6, so we had periodic fire drills in our ranch house in Dayton, Ohio.

One day, during an "excersize", the neighbors came running to see our fire because everyone was yelling, "The Painters are jumping out of their windows.

We gave up practicing in that neighborhood.

Julie Eberhart Painter

Heather Haven said...

Lin, darling, I see where you get your own colorful character from. Your father and his stories are a hoot. maybe you need to do a memoir one of these days! Would love to read it.

Lin said...

Julie, I am giving you a grimacing smile. When I was I guess twelve, my parents had driven to the hardware store in the nearest town about eight miles away.

I was you typical bookworm/nerd. There I was sitting at the ktichen table when a word popped into my head that I just had to write out to see if it looked as right on paper as it did in my head.

Well, it did. So happy with the results, I left the paper on the table and marched myself up to my room where I lost myself in the new Nancy Drew I had bought the day before.

My mother screeching and my dad thunder through the house yelling for my name with frantic concern in his ever increasing decibels finally reached into my involvement with Nancy's latest mystery.

I tossed the book carefully, onto my bed and rushed out my door nearly smacking into my on-charging Dad.

"WHAT?" I blustered.

"Where is is?" Dad bellowed. My Dad was only 5'8" tall but he could really bellow.

"What?" I repeated ingenuously. He then informed me they'd read my message, the one I'd left on the kitchen where was it/

OOOPS! What had I written?

Just a word...a big word, but I guess if you're parents who come home and see this word and no one answers their yells, it might cause stress. The word?

C-A-T-A-S-T-R-O-P-H-E of course without the hyphens.


You would love hearing about how my dad mowed grass. We had two acres and yes, he had a top of the line riding tractor with all the big boy toy attachments, but Dad...well, he has his own way of SAVORING the mowing experience.

I'll save that for another time.

Kat said...

Ahh dear old gramps. The man was a walking disaster.:-)

Lin said...

His heart was in a...strange place. Kat, you want to tell one and all about Gramp's intriguing method for mowing the two acres?

Kat said...

Well apparently he was so enamored with his wife......that to ensure he'd have to spend as little time as possible with her he'd mow the yard with tweezers. No joke he really did that. Why didn't they divorce you wonder? She was catholic. No divorce allowed. And she was wealthy. No way would he give up the money.

Lisabet Sarai said...

Hi, Lin,

Great, although cringe-worthy, stories. Your dad sounds downright dangerous!

Good luck with your books. They sound intensely romantic!


Joylene Butler said...

What a fascinating story, L.J.. I would dearly love to hear more about your dad. He sounds like a wonderful character. What made him tick? That's what I'd like to know. Best of luck with your new book.

Ainsley Turner-McCall said...

ahh what a wonderful story & dad

Lin said...


I don't know that anyone ever actually figured out what made my dad tick. I've speculated it might have had something to do with growing up in a household with three sisters and no brothers. Now one would think that would give him an advantage, but his eildest sister, my Aunt Stella, was one of the very first women's wrestlers in the Country. Aunt Stella's choice of words left I think even my Dad uncomfortable. I say that because unless Dad was angry, he never used foul language around us. Aunt Stella was not so circumspect.

With the wisdom of maturity under my belt, and the fact that Aunt Stella never married, I wonder if she was not into men. Please do not misunderstand, if Aunt Stella leaned towards her own gender, she did not flaunt it. This would have been back in the forites and fifties. Certainly not a time to wave your gender-differentiated flag.

I do remember her being the only person who could actually make my Dad cowl.

Dad was not much of an insider person. Except to eat, watch TV until he'd nod off, and sleep, he really didn't like being inside the house much. As Kat commented, he really didn't like spending time with my Mom...unless he was chasing her around the kitchen table...we thought they were playing a bizarre version of Ring-a-round-the-rosey...Dad and Mom really didn't share a lot of time together.