Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Meet Travis: Breakfast with the Characters

Today I offer you a second story to get to know Molly and Travis Tipton, main characters in Breathing on Her Own. Be sure to share this link on Facebook, Twitter, or by email to your friends. Let me know you did it and you may win a $5 gift card to either Target or Starbucks. Be sure to tell me via email (I’ll not share that info with anyone—but I can’t get the info from the blog site.) Congrats to Brenda Webb for winning last week's drawing!


Molly Tipton rolled over and pulled the soft blanket up over her ears to ward off the penetrating chill of winter. “Why can’t we turn the heat up a smidge?” she murmured in her husband’s ear.
            “Because we’re being energy efficient, remember? What time is it anyway?”
            Molly rolled back to look at the alarm clock on her nightstand. “Half past seven,” she answered sleepily.
            “What?” Travis jumped out of bed as Molly did a double take on the clock. “I have a meeting in an hour.
Molly was close behind him. “I have a conference call. That dumb clock. It has a mind of it’s own.”
Travis jumped in the shower off their bedroom so Molly dashed into what they still called “the girls bath.” Their older daughter, Laney, had been married for nearly ten years and Lissa, now twenty-three years old, had been away at college for five. Within the year, she would graduate, move home, and likely reclaim the second bathroom as her own.
“No time for breakfast, Molls. I’ll just grab something on the way.”
Molly looked at the clock on the dashboard as she pulled her Honda out just a minute before Travis. Out the door in less than twenty minutes. Her mother’s voice in her head scolded her for leaving with her hair still wet. “You’ll catch your death of cold.” Molly turned the heater up and aimed all the vents toward her wet head.
A quick trip through McDonald’s drive-thru window for a breakfast sandwich and coffee would still put her at work before the conference call. Molly made the turn. She noticed Travis in her rearview mirror follow her to the restaurant. Great minds. Getting up late, a rushed start, now a fast food breakfast. Not the best way to begin a workweek on a dreary day in January.
Molly reached for her cell phone. It wasn’t in her purse. Again. For the third time in two weeks she left it plugged in the charging station. “Why have cell phone if you never have it with you?” Travis complained. Why indeed. She only hoped he didn’t try to call her now.
“That will be three-eighty-nine,” an older woman informed her at the window.
Molly looked at the money in her hand. “Tell me, what did the good looking man behind me order?”
“Same as you, except he added a juice.”
“Here,” Molly handed over a ten. “I want to pay for his breakfast too. Just tell him the woman in the red Honda thinks he’s good looking and wouldn’t mind meeting him. Tell him to be here tomorrow. Same place, same time.”
The gray-headed cashier snickered. “Okay. Will do.”

Molly made it to her office with time to spare. She knew Travis had a full day of meetings as well. She was anxious to hear what he thought of her treating him to breakfast but as the day progressed, work took over.
On her way home, she picked up a roasted chicken at the store. Add that to some veggies and pasta and Travis would be surprised. She was putting together a white sauce for the pasta when her husband pulled into the garage.
Travis came up behind her. He wrapped his arms around her waist. “Hey good-lookin’.”
Molly tilted her head. “Hi, there. Dinner is almost ready.”
“Can’t beat breakfast.”
Molly turned. “So you got it. What did she say?”
“She leaned out of the window, her arms crossed and said, ‘Your money’s no good here, sailor.’ Then she pointed to your car and said, ‘The woman in that little red car says she thinks you’re good lookin’ and she wouldn’t mind meetin’ ya’.”
Molly laughed at Travis’s impersonation of the sweet cashier.
“Yep. And then she told me you said you would be willing to meet me there tomorrow if I was interested.”
Molly turned to stir the sauce. “So what did you say?”
“I said, ‘Oh, that happens to me all the time.’”
Molly made a face. “You didn’t.”
“I did. Molly Tipton, have I told you lately how much I love you?” Travis turned Molly back to him and kissed her hard. “You made my day. That’s why at lunch, I bought us a little gift.”
“A present?” Molly turned the burner off and set the pan on the side. “What is it?”
“A little something for both of us. But you can open it.” Travis went around the corner of the kitchen and pulled out a shopping bag from the hallway. “Don’t mind the wrapping.”

Molly sat down like a child at Christmas and peeked inside the plastic bag.
“Oh, Travis, an AM/FM clock radio. Just what I’ve always wanted.”
“Good. But be sure to set it for 6:30am. I want to get to McDonald’s early. I have  date.”

Okay, yes. This is based on a true story. I really bought my husband’s breakfast. The woman at the window actually said, “Your money’s no good here, sailor.” And Tom replied with, “That happens to me all the time.” Real life. Fiction. Where does one stop and the other begin?

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Meet Molly

Breathing on Her Own is scheduled for release March 25, 2014

I’m inviting you to be a part of the kick-off! For the next four weeks, I will post short vignettes allowing you to peek into the lives of the main characters of the book…a sort of prequel to the book.

Now for the fun part…repost, tweet (#breathingonherown), pin, or email this link to your friends. Use whatever social network suits you best. 

Email me at and tell me how you shared the link. I will enter your name in a drawing and give away a $5 gift card each week from those persons who email me. Drawing is on Tuesday evening at 10:00pm. 

Now for the first story…

New Year's Eve 

Molly pulled the pan of brownies out of the oven. “When Laney asked if we were busy for the evening, I thought she was inviting us to a New Year’s celebration.”
“Just as well,” Travis said. “I’d rather keep our grandkids than spend all night awake waiting for a ball to drop on television. M-m-m, those smell great.”
“Hold your horses, Travis Tipton. They have to cool.”
“How long?”
“About as long as it takes for Hunter and Ellie to get here.” Molly turned to face her husband. “I picked up ice cream and chocolate fudge topping at the store, too.”

A smile spread across Travis’s face. “See? Isn’t this better than any old party to welcome in the New Year?” He put his arms around her waist.

Molly slipped her arms around him. “Remember when we were in Tahoe for New Year’s Eve and we watched the New York broadcast?”

Travis laughed. “The girls thought it was midnight and went to bed without a whimper.”

“Well, don’t count on Hunter and Ellie being as cooperative tonight. Hunter is determined to stay up all night. Ellie wants to see the ball drop, but I guarantee she’ll crash around ten.”

The front door opened letting in a gust of the cold winter wind and two giggling children. “Grams! Grandpa!” Laney and Rob followed close behind, shivering. Laney grabbed the jackets off of the floor, shook them free of snow and hung them in the hall closet while her family raced ahead into the kitchen.

“Something smells good.” Rob said. “Looks like the real party’s here.”
“Grams made brownies. We’re going to have ice cream and brownies,” five-year-old Ellie told her dad. Travis picked up his granddaughter and gave her a hug.
“So where is this party you two are going to?” Molly asked.
“Remember Laney’s friend, Andrea from college?”

Molly remembered. A cold chill ran up her spine. Andrea and Tori had been Laney’s best friends in college. A bad influence. A bad crowd. What kind of party was this anyway?

“Will there be…”
“…other people there you know?” Travis interrupted. He shot her a look that warned her to be careful what she said.
“A few, I guess. I know her husband, Evan. He’s a good guy.”
“Where do they live?” Molly asked.
“Who?” Laney asked, coming into the room. “Where does who live?”
“Andrea. Rob said the party’s at her house.”
“They live out past Milford.” Laney called to her two children to take their overnight bags upstairs.
“Well be careful out there,” Travis advised. “There’ll be a lot of crazy people on the road tonight and with the snow and all, it could get messy.”

As predicted, Ellie was asleep by ten. Travis carried her upstairs to the room his daughters had once shared. He watched as Molly tucked Ellie in. “Bring back memories?”

“Sweet memories.” The two stood at the door in silence for a moment, reliving the days Laney and Lissa whispered their own good nights in this very room. Molly rested her head against her husband’s chest. “I worry about Laney being out tonight.”

“You mean with drunk drivers ringing in the New Year and the like?”
“That, and…well, this party they’re at. It’s at Andrea’s. I’m sure there’ll be drinking. You remember what happened when they were in college. Besides that, I have this feeling…”

“Your intuition flaring up again?” Travis laughed. “Look, Molls, first, you can’t assume there’s drinking because of what happened over ten years ago. Second, Rob and Laney are adults. You can’t live their lives for them. And if you’re worried, then pray about it. I’m going back downstairs. I told Hunter we’d play a video game and maybe watch a movie.”
“Have fun. I’m going to bed.” She kissed her husband goodnight. “See you next year.” How can I not worry?

Molly lay in bed and willed herself to sleep, but it didn’t come. I should have told them to call when they got home. Strains of music filtered up from the man-cave where Travis and Hunter were racing jet skis around a virtual track on the big screen TV. How could he do that? How could he play as if he didn’t have a worry in the world.

Andrea. Andrea had seemed like such a sweet girl. Maybe she was, too. At least until she met Tori. Yep. Tori was the real problem. She was self-centered and strong willed. Worse yet, Tori was wild. The kind of person who gave the college a reputation for being a party school. If the party Andrea was throwing tonight was anything like the ones the girls attended in college, Molly had plenty to worry about. Maybe it was intuition. Maybe it was common sense.

Sleep was not to be found. Molly looked at the clock. 11:48.  Molly headed downstairs to join Travis and Hunter welcome in the New Year.

“You didn’t get much rest last night,” Travis said the as he poured himself a second cup of coffee the next morning. “I figured you’d sleep in.”

Molly pulled a yellow mug from the cabinet. “I couldn’t. I just kept thinking about Laney and Rob and kept praying they were okay.”

“They’re okay. Laney texted to say they’ll pick the kids up around eleven. You prayed for the wrong child.”
“Lissa. She called this morning. She was helping at the church youth group overnighter and when she left the parking lot this morning, she slid on a patch of ice and hit a tree.”

Molly pulled her hand to her heart. “Is she okay?”

“She’s fine. Dented her fender. One of the guys there, a Mark somebody, followed her home to make sure everything was okay.”

“Praise God! But Travis, you have to admit my intuition worked. I just had the wrong daughter.” Molly put her coffee down. “And don’t laugh at me. I can’t help it. A car accident is every mother’s nightmare.”