Introducing ‘Quirky’

Hello Dear Readers!

So I’ve been hinting around that I’ve been writing my first novel and I’m coming kind of close to finishing my rough draft of the story.

I’m praying that if I can pick up the pace some I will be able to release it by Christmas time.  Yay me!!!

So my story is about a woman named Andrea Sylvan. She’s a lot like me. She is in here early 30’s, active in her church, and an army brat.  Andrea however has the misfortune of having some interesting character traits like walking into doorways, talking to herself out loud, and my favorite using interesting catch phrases when she injures herself.

(To all my friends who know me, don’t let anyone know that I actually do those things too. I’m trying to look sophisticated right now.)

Anyway, this book is about Andrea and her love life and some of the interesting situations she gets herself into.  She has been in a two year on again off again relationship with a guy named Andrew. When the book opens she has just had another fight with him.

Andrea also has a wonderful family and a best friend named Mya. Mya is a character that I created only because every girl needs a best friend in these books but she has quickly become one of my favorite characters.  In fact, I think she will get a book as soon as I’m finished with Andrea’s story.

Oh my! I’ve told you all of this but I haven’t told you the working title yet!

Right now the title of my story is Highlights of a Quirky Courtship.

So now I’m going to give you a taste of my creation.

Here is the rough draft of the first chapter.

I hope you enjoy and if you have any comments please feel free to leave them here or send me an email shinekar79@gmail.com.

Smooches,

Shineka

Highlights of a Quirky Courtship

Chapter 1

Andrea

“I can’t stand you!”  I slammed the door and walked away.  What is it about that man that really gets to me anyway? I mean I’m 33 years old, nice body (at least I’ve been told that by a few admirers), beautiful brown eyes and shoulder length black hair.  I have a brain, a decent job, and I love God with all of my being.  So why do I let Andrew get away with his crap!?!

Who am I you ask?  I’m the nut who keeps letting that, that man back into my life like a sucker!  My name is Andrea Sylvan.

I’ve been dating Andrew Byers off and on for the past two years with nothing to show for it but headaches and occasional bouts of indigestion. I tend to eat a little too much when I’m upset. He was supposed to be my knight in shining armor when I met him at church a few years back.  He’s a tall, deep chocolate brother with an engineering degree.  You don’t find too many of them in my neck of the woods.

Anyway, getting back to my present drama with Andrew we were supposed to be going to a family gathering at my folk’s house. As always he had found a way to weasel out of it with another “work emergency”.

Maybe it really was an emergency, but I doubted it.  Andrew has been working at the local power plant for about six years now and if any of the stories he tells me  are true, then, I guess it is likely that an emergency may be possible.  I just hated the thought of going to my sister’s graduation celebration alone.

I love my family but they were starting to put pressure on me to get married or move on from Andrew.  My mom has been looking for grandchildren for a while now and according to her, I wasn’t “a spring chicken” anymore.

My mother, Melissa Sylvan, has always been an interesting character.  She’s about five feet nine and slightly on the plus side weight wise.  She is also full of wisdom and has the most interesting way of looking at life.  I think that comes from being a military wife for about half her life.  When the Army said move you packed up and went, no questions asked. Since dad had to usually move there first, she was the one in charge of getting everything together and packed up to go to our next duty station.

My mother is also very old school when it comes to raising children.  Once I had a teacher that called my mom the “Drill Sergeant”.  Melissa didn’t play when it came to school work and making sure we behaved at school or in public in general.

Now my dad on the other hand, Sergeant Major Chris Sylvan, could have cared less if I got married anytime soon.  I was his little girl and as far as he was concerned, there wasn’t a man alive good enough for me.  Dads are just funny that way I guess.  I think he liked Andrew to some extent, but I knew he wasn’t a big fan of his either.

So with that in mind, I got in my car and started driving to my sister’s party alone.

~~~~~

“Hey Sis!” my sister Cynthia called out to me as I walked into the back yard.  I looked at her with pride.  My little sister was all grown up and getting ready to go out into the world.  Well, college anyway.  Five feet five, skinny as a rail, but she did have some curves about her, and her long black hair and brown eyes would definitely catch some guy’s eye at UGA.  Cynthia is out going but has the driest sense of humor of anyone I know, but I loved her all the same.

“Hi there, Valedictorian! Girl, I’m so proud of you” Yep that’s right, my sis is a genius as well.

“Andrea, where’s Andy?”  Andrew hated to be called Andy and Cynthia knew it. She always did like pushing his buttons.

“Andrew is at the plant.  He said something about it being an Emergency,” Cynthia and I both rolled our eyes.  She knew as well as I did that that was probably not true.

From behind me a voice called, “Nena, where have you been?”  I turned to find my best friend Mya Parker coming up behind me with two cups in her hands.

Mya was Mya.  That was the best way to describe her.  She was half black, half Puerto Rican… and all crazy!  We worked together at one of the local high schools in Augusta, GA.  She taught Spanish and I taught American history.  Now Mya was a stunner.  I never understood how that girl was still single.  Long wavy black hair; pretty brown eyes that were always ready to laugh, and a body that showed both sides of her ethnic roots: big butt, big breasts, and long legs.  The girl was a straight ten.  I’m surprised I hadn’t developed a complex just being her friend for the last eight years.

“Hey, My!  Andrew and I got into another fight,” I said as I took one of the cups from her and gave her a hug.

“Another one! Girl, when are you two gonna get your acts together?”  I laugh.

“Honey, only God himself knows the answer to that one.”  Mya laughs in return.

“I take it since I don’t see him here that’s what the fight was about?”  Mya quips

“You’ve got it.  Work emergency supposedly,” I shrug and roll my eyes again.

We laugh again and all three of us walk towards the food tables.

Now my family doesn’t play when it comes to food.  By the pool was a long table stacked high with ribs, chicken, burgers, hotdogs, my mother’s award winning potato salad, corn, a huge garden salad, macaroni and cheese, and every other barbecue and picnic food known to man.  Of course on a separate table was a large sheet cake with my sister’s face on it.  The cake was definitely my dad’s idea.  I laugh to myself when I see it.

My dad loved his family and did some funny things to show it.  Cynthia would never have thought about putting her face on a cake, but Sergeant Major Chris Sylvan would.

“There’s my girl!” I turned to find my dad manning the grill and enjoying the company of some of our friends and neighbors.

“Hey Dad! How have you been?” I say as I give my dad a big squeeze.

“Where’s Mr. Wonderful?”

“Andrew says he’s sorry but he has to go into work all of sudden.”  I tried to keep my face straight as I say it but I could never hide my true feeling from my dad. He can always read me like a book. He saw hurt and disappointment in my eyes

Dad gives me a squeeze, a peck on the cheek, and says softly, “I’m sure he truly wanted to be here.”  Then he pats my arm and gives me one of those “everything is gonna be okay” smiles he is known for.

I smile at him.  As far as I’m concerned my dad was magical when it comes to making me feel better.

~~~~

 Later that afternoon I was helping to restock some of the food on the table.  As I was coming out of the kitchen with a big dish of baked beans I glanced back over my shoulder to make sure I hadn’t left the stove on.  All of a sudden, I walked smack into a tall Adonis of a man … spilling the beans all over him!

“Oh no! I’m so sorry,” I said as I tried to grab some towels to clean up the mess.

“No problem,” the Adonis said, “I was looking for some more beans anyway,” he says with a slight chuckle.  I look into his beautiful hazel eyes and my heart stops for a half second.

“Now this is a fine specimen of a man,” I think to myself.

“Are you okay?” he asked. I had been staring for a while I guess and I had to shake my head to try and get my thoughts in order.

“Yes Adonis, I’m just fine.” I say dreamily.

“Adonis?” He gives me a funny look. I gasp when I realize what I said. “I mean I’m good thanks.”

With some definite embarrassment, I try to shake his hand and introduce myself.  “I’m Andrea. Again I’m  so sorry about your shirt.”

He takes my hand and says, “Hi Andrea, I’m Lt. Byron Johnson. Please don’t worry about the shirt.”

Lt. Byron Johnson. Tall, skin the color of caramel, hazel eyes and a beautiful smile. Girl, I think I just fell in love.

“Andrea! Hurry up with the beans everyone is waiting for them,” I hear Mya say as she comes through the door.

“What are you doing in here? Gloria Dios! What a mess … and aren’t you cute,” she tells Byron as she looks him up and down.

Byron laughs and I quickly make introductions.

“Mya, this is Lt. Johnson.  We sort of had a collision on the way to the backyard.  Could you tell everyone that it’s gonna be a few minutes while I clean this up?”

Mya gives me a wink and says, “Sure thing,” and saunters out the door with a decided swing in her hips.

I turned back to Byron and offer to help him clean up.  I show him where the bathroom is and tell him if he hands me his shirt I’ll at least give it a good rinsing to try and keep the stain from setting.

When he hands me his shirt I know there was no way of cleaning it enough for him to continue wearing it through the rest of the party.

“I’m going to go to my parents’ room and see if I can find one of my dad’s shirts for you to borrow.”

“Are you Sgt. Major Sylvan’s daughter?” Byron asks through the door.

“I’m one of them.” I answer as I start walking towards my parents’ bedroom. “Give me just a moment while I go look in their closet.”

Now my dad has his own unique style all his own so finding a shirt that would fit Byron was going to be an interesting challenge.  My dad’s closet is a curious mix of classic 70’s attire, loud urban wear, and Hawaiian luau shirts.  I did say his tastes were unique right?

As I looked through my dad’s clothes I landed on a shirt I had given him a few years back for Father’s Day, a classic Ralph Lauren Polo shirt in navy blue.  It still looked new.  It had been a feeble attempt on my part to try and inject a bit of normalcy into his closet.  Good thing he has to wear a uniform for a living.

I took the shirt off the hanger and walked back to the bathroom.  “Byron I have a shirt for you to borrow.” I say as I knock on the door.

He opens the door and takes the shirt from me.

“Thanks Andrea.” I have to avert my eyes before he notices me staring at him again.  The man had a chest that only came from extensive time in the gym, and I have always liked muscles on a man.

“No problem.” I say as I clear my throat and turn to walk away. “I’ll see you outside.”

I turn, and hoping I am making a graceful exit when; all of a sudden … I slip on some of the beans that are still on the floor.

Advertisements

I’m too young for Senility!

Happy Monday Readers!

So interesting title right? Of course there is a story to go along with it.  Now I usually like to do something inspirational on Mondays to start out the week but this experience just happened to me so I had to tell you all about it.

I have always been bad with names but I’ve always prided myself on at least being able to place a person’s face and where I know them from.

Lately it seems I’m not doing so well with that.

Just today I had an ex-coworker come up to me and start having a conversation with me. I slightly recognized her face but I had no clue of why I knew her. Worse yet she remembered me.

I also have a very expressive face. So you can literally see me thinking who is this person and why do I know her?

Finally she took pity on me and said we used to work together at ….

Talk about wanting to fall through the floor. Once she told me that I finally realized who she was. This was a person I had actually talked to from time to time.

I mean real conversations not just stuff in passing.

Man I might need some vitamins or something.

Anyway!

To all my long-lost friends that I haven’t seen in a while. Please forgive me if I look at you very confused. I promise if you give me a moment, a hint, or both I will eventually remember you.

Just pray for me.

Smooches,

Shineka

Drinking after Jesus

Hello Readers!

It’s Thursday again and as what seems to be a trend I’ve started I want to tell you a little story that is both funny but gives a little insight into me and the way my mind works.

I was out with friends last night after bible study and some how we started talking about sharing drinks. To which I mad a face that showed I was definitely not in favor of such a thing.

In fact my whole body just sort of curled up with my facial features. Think Golem from Lord of the Rings and that basically describes the way my body language took shape.

My friends laughed at me and asked me why I would have a problem sharing a drink with someone I knew.

I proceeded to tell them about how when I and two of my other siblings were younger how my mom would buy a happy meal and we had to split it between the three of us.  Now the ages in approximation were me at 10 my brother at 6 and my sister at 2.  With that  in mind you can only guess the backwash that would occur, especially with a two-year old!

From that young age I swore up and down I would never share another drink in my life if I could help it.

In fact, I have been known to go thirsty than share a drink with a very close friend.

I know it doesn’t make sense to too many people but that is just how I feel.

One friend was like but when you meet your husband you are gonna kiss him right? So what’s the difference between kissing him and sharing a drink with him? I told her I had no problem with kissing but the thought of drinking after someone just made me want to gag. (physically and literally)

Then from there we started talking about communion and the other friend stated that the first communion was a cup shared between Jesus and the disciples.  She then proceeds to ask would I share a cup with Jesus?

I looked at her and said, “Only if Jesus let me drink out the cup first.”

What can I say? I was traumatized by that experience as a child!

Course my mom denies to this day that she did that but there is at least one sibling who can corroborate my story and we both know the truth!

LOL!

Smooches,

Shineka

Global Ventures

Hello Readers!

Last year I was blessed to participate in a life changing experience . I was able to go on my first mission trip to the country of Guatemala.

I went with an organization called Global Ventures led by an awesome husband and wife team, John and Martine Smithwick.

During the ten days we were there I met some wonderful people who I still consider great friends to this day but the thing that made it even more awesome was the fact that I was able to tap into some skills that I didn’t even know I possessed. I got to sing, I preached, and I even danced a little (very little).

The part that made it even more wonderful was knowing that I was able to make an impact in sombodies life and show them that someone does care about them and that Jesus loved them enough to send a crazy woman from Augusta, GA down to let them know of his goodness and mercy.

Now of course you don’t have to go to another part of the world to let someone know how special they are.  You can do that right where you are.

Start with your neighbor, or your co-worker. If you are a student try one of your classmates or even your best friend.

I hope you have a Happy Monday.

Smooches,

Shineka

P.S. Here is a video of some of our group auditioning to entertain the crowds before the crusades were started. I hope you enjoy the footage of some of the truly talented people I was able to meet. I’m in the footage too but please don’t judge my lack of talent. LOL

Global Ventures Website

Weird Things Happen!

Hi Readers!

So I was told my last post and video was a little emotional (Kristy), so I wanted to end the week with a giggle, laugh, and a guffaw.

One of my favorite comediennes is Chonda Pierce.

She has a tendency to have some strange things happen to her. I found this video and decided to share with you all.

Next time you think you are having a bad day just watch this video. I promise it will make you laugh.

Smooches,

Shineka

Random Acts of Kindness!

Hello Readers!

It’s Monday again!

Since I’m still trying to get the hang of posting twice a week, work on my first novel, work a full time job, and work with all the plethora of groups I participate in at church I sometimes forget to take a breather and enjoy life.

For those of you who have a mate and kids I’m sure you probably feel the same way I do times ten!

Every once and a while though I try to remember to look out for others and perform a random act of kindness.

The story I have to tell you though is not an act I performed but of one someone performed for me.

Yesterday, I went to church and enjoyed a wonderful service. Afterwards a couple of friends and I decided to go out to lunch at O’Charleys.  We arrived and were seated shortly and were just having a good time talking, fellowshipping, and encouraging each other.

We noticed a few other members from our church there and waved at a few of them.

When it came time for us to receive our checks our waitress told us not to worry about it because our checks had already been paid!

You should have seen the looks on our faces. We were totally dumbfounded!

I’ve only had that experience once before in my life and my other two friends couldn’t think of a time when it had ever happened to them.

It turns out that one of the families we had seen in the restaurant decided to pick up our check for us.

Do you know we each walked out of that restaurant feeling so loved.

I don’t know about you but I know having a random act of kindness performed for you can really make your day.

I also know that performing them for someone else is just the icing on the cake for me.

So I say at least one day a week, if you can, try and perform a random act of kindness for someone to help brighten their day.

Smooches,

Shineka

 

What song gets you ready for the day?

Hello Readers!

Have you ever had one of those days when you really need a pick me up but coffee isn’t what you want or need. Then all of a sudden a song pops in your head that makes a smile start to form on your mouth.

After a while you start doing a little dance to the song in your head. Your day then starts to brighten and everything seems to go right with your world again.

Now if you are of the cool set of people running around on the earth you are laughing and acting like you would never do something like that.

However if you are of the dorky set, as I am, you know exactly what I’m talking about.

Now of course the music doesn’t always have to be in your head it can play on the radio or a music video but the effect on your day is still the same.

You have a little extra pep in your step, a smile on your face, and lightness to your day.

Have you ever noticed how music can help set your mood?

Right now the song that is helping me to get my days started is by Martha Munizzi and its called “Make it Loud”

The rhythm just makes me want to get up and dance.  I’m listening to it and I just can’t be still.

So what song is your “I’m ready to take on the day song”?

Comment and let me know.

Smooches,

Shineka