Name: Kim Tracy Prince
Web Site: http://www.kimtracyprince.com/about-me/
Bio: I am a writer. Most of my material is on the web, but the best stuff is still in my journal under the bed.
Posts by ktprince:
Frosted Cowboy, the debut novel by Charlene A. Ross, is released today. Buy it on Amazon.com for an entertaining lighthearted read!
Sometimes you want to live a fabulous life vicariously through a character in the pages of a story that leads you confidently through its ups and downs and twists and turns. Sometimes you want to be entertained, to love a character lightly, to root for her and not worry that she’s going to experience the darkest side of what humanity has to offer. Sometimes you just want to laugh. Thank goodness for stories like this.
And thank goodness for Frosted Cowboy, a delightful debut novel that follows aspiring fashion designer Laney – 32 years old, recently single, recently unemployed – through a year in her life when she struggles to find herself. But this is no slog through despair.
Laney is a regular gal from the suburbs, trying to make her way among socialites and quasi-celebrities in Hollywood. Meanwhile, although she still stings from the rejection of having her boyfriend of 7 years cheat on her, Laney juggles the attentions of two hot young firemen and a not-gay massage therapist/aspiring screenwriter. Her sassy wit makes her attractive to many of the men she meets in her new life, but she has no idea. She’s just being herself.
The language in Frosted Cowboy is kicky and fun, and Laney’s observations of the people she meets are often scathing even as they flow by so easily that you might miss their humor. Laney is plucky and self-deprecating and bitingly funny, prone to speaking in asides and parentheses and multiply-hyphenated phrases. In a scene where she prepares to weather New Year’s Eve alone:
I’m looking forward to my food orgy and girl-so-obviously-gets-boy-despite-all-obstacles-because-she-looks-like/is-Katherine Heigl-Rachel McAdams-Amanda Seyfried movie fest.
I love the way the author describes the food Laney eats and the outfits she wears, little details that make her come alive. I read an advance copy of this novel on the Kindle app from Amazon, which is a departure for me since I am a die-hard paper book reader. I worried that it might distance me from the story a bit, but since the author guides the reader through with such a confident hand, I found myself flicking through page after page, eager to find out what was coming next.
It’s a sweet, happy story with enough roadblocks in Laney’s way to give her chances to exceed her own expectations of herself. There’s sex and rock and roll. No drugs, but plenty of wine and margaritas and the eponymous Frosted Cowboy, a trendy cocktail whose recipe is provided at the end of the novel. Once you make it to the end of the story and you’re sad it’s over, a Frosted Cowboy will perk you right up again. Cheers!
I mean, in case you were wondering.
I have had many hours to myself since the kids went back to school. At least…12. Or maybe more. That doesn’t sound like a lot to people who don’t have kids. But to people who do? Twelve (or more) hours alone is an eternity. How productive I will be! you think. In fact, I will FINISH that novel! January will be my bitch!
If you are a writer like that, I envy you.
So here’s how it works for me. (I’m writing this to purge my busy monkey mind, and also in case I ever publish this or any book, and want to look back at my process, and reassure myself that yes, it can be done, even with my weird brain.)
Sit down at the desk. Open the manuscript. See the words that are already there. Marvel. “Did I really write that?” Despair because I can’t think of more words that are that good. Realize that these are song lyrics I quoted when I was writing the first draft. Sigh.
Scroll down a bit. Read words that are not very good. I mean, words are words, but these words, in this combination, are simply awful. Delete them. Feel regret. Hit CTRL-Z. Resolve to come back to them to make them better.
Scroll down some more. See words that are placeholders like “[Look up name of muscle in arm.]” Decide that now is the right time to look up the name of that muscle. Remember that I have a yellowed, half-finished copy of The Anatomy Coloring Book downstairs on the bookshelf. Who cares if it’s 30 years old? Has human anatomy changed that much in three decades? Go downstairs. Get a snack. Check in with my children. Feel a twinge of guilt because they are each mesmerized by screens. Discover one of them is trying to learn HTML. Feel a little better. Go back upstairs with coloring book.
Get completely overwhelmed by names of nerves and muscles. Wasn’t I going to be a doctor someday? Tell self that yes, that was true, before childbirth killed the brain cells in my brain that were really smart. Find the muscle name I was looking for. Type that into the manuscript where the placeholder was. Victory!
Scroll down some more. Find another hole where I have to look up something. Look that up that thing. Fall down internet rabbit hole and come back, several Facebook messages with friends I adore later, and write a few sentences.
Remember that there is a scene in which a character makes tiramisu. Resolve to make tiramisu so I can know what the fuck I’m talking about. Google recipe for tiramisu. Read all about tiramisu and become accidental armchair expert about tiramisu.
Don’t make tiramisu. Today.
…This process continues, and this is how it goes on most days. Every so often, magic and miracles and rainbow kitten unicorns happen and I sit for an uninterrupted length of time and type and type and cry and laugh, just like Diane Keaton in that movie where she lives in the most amazing house right on the beach and she gets to date Keanu Reeves and Jack Nicholson at the same time and also crank out a Tony-award winning play. (Yes, JUST like that.) And maybe what I type turns out to be something that really sucks, but that few hours, or even part of one hour, when I’m writing like that? And feeling like that?
That. That is why I do it.
That’s why people pay small fortunes and drive through snowstorms and risk frostbite and torn ACL’s to ski. Why they challenge the great ocean to not kill them so they can surf. Why they jump out of airplanes, charm snakes, wave big red blankets at bulls.
For the thrill of it. And yes, it’s a thrill. Super nerdy, solitary, and bizarre. But there it is.
I blog more often at Agoura Hills Mom now, since that’s where more event-related and newsworthy posts fit and I seem to have more of those than deep, insightful reflections, which is the kind of material I post here. But of course, I like that stuff better, and in reviewing what I’ve published here over the last year, I noted a few that I really like.
So, if you’re just popping in here for the first time, or if you’re back after a long time away, these are the few posts that I feel are best representative of this blog as it is now. Click on the titles to read.
This morning I stood in the empty amphitheatre at my boys’ elementary school, listening to the morning announcements with tears in my eyes.
I have a standing meeting with the principal every Tuesday. We wait until the morning dropoff madness is over, until the kids are settled into their classrooms, and the bustle in the front office has died down. We review upcoming events, staff needs, news to share with parents.
This morning wasn’t like other Tuesdays. I started getting texts from other parents before 7AM. “LAUSD is shut down today because of a bomb threat. Are we open?”
As a PTA president, I have no clue. People think I have the information, but I’m just as in the dark as they are. Luckily, I have a good connection with our principal, who is in her first year at our school. I can text her. It’s like a direct connection to The Boss.
First I checked all online sources of information I could think of. There was no additional news beside the simple fact: Los Angeles Unified School District board member Steve Zimmer received an email last night about a “safety threat” to the district. Law enforcement and city and school officials took it seriously, and closed all 900 schools in the district, affecting 600,000 students and their families, and the staff who work there.
Naturally, since our school district is immediately adjacent, everyone wonders: is our school affected? What do we do? Should I keep my children home? But our district hadn’t posted anything yet, so reluctantly, I texted the principal. I didn’t want to add to the chaos I imagined she was experiencing.
Luckily she knew an answer was on the way. Our superintendent released a statement: we are open. We are safe. Sheriffs will be patrolling every school today, just in case.
So I sent my kids to school. Before they left, I told them about their neighboring district shutting down, because I knew they’d hear about it. They were unconcerned. “Does this mean you’ll give me a ride today?” asked Brady.
Not a chance. I’m just not that way. I felt in my heart that they would be safe.
But then I headed to school, and when I got there, the public spaces on campus were empty, as usual for that time. Class had started. The parking lot had more available spaces than usual. Twelve percent of parents chose to keep their students home from school today.
I walked into the school, noticing the relative emptiness. The sweet voices of the 5th graders making morning announcements reverberated against the cement walls. And then the principal herself chimed in: “We are safe. We care about you. We are doing everything we can to make sure you stay safe.”
In that moment I imagined the empty campus of Sandy Hook Elementary School after the shooting three years ago yesterday. I remembered the terror I felt, the searing empathy for the families of that community. How I snuggled in bed with Kyle that night, face puffy from crying all day.
Are they safe?
A news reporter paraphrased the LAUSD superintendent’s statement: “We are taking an abundance of caution” in shutting down so many schools. The board member asked for the cooperation of everyone in Los Angeles, since this shutdown is affecting the entire city. Nothing is more important than the safety of the students, they said.
As I listened to the children’s voices, the principal assuring everyone that the school is safe, and looking around at the empty spaces at the school, I felt it more than ever: my children are my heart, walking around outside my body. Every time a terrible thing happens, my instinct is to hold them closer, to retreat to the safest place. But that’s not something I can do every day.
I’m the mom who lets them ride to school on their bikes. I delight in the old-school parenting vibe of it all, when they come in the door after school, dumping their backpacks not where they are meant to be stored. I suppose it’s a false sense of comfort I have settled into.
But how do you prepare for something bad to happen? Even if I keep them home from school on a dubious “safety threat day,” what about tomorrow?
My abundance of caution isn’t physical – it’s an anxiety I feel every day. They’re growing up, they’re learning about the world, they’re growing away from me. I do the best I can, together with my husband, to lead by example, to set boundaries, to teach them to be careful, yet encourage them to live their fullest lives.
We have to be careful, yes, but we have to live. I hope the city of LA and all the students and families can recover from this bizarre day quickly. I hope the threat is found and obliterated, and the people behind it are punished, and that the world sees it, and takes note.
Meanwhile, I can’t wait to hear the thud of the backpacks on the floor, and to remind the boys to wash their hands. I can’t wait for them to come home.
This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #MadeWithA2Milk #CollectiveBias
One of my favorite meals to make for my family is pancakes – in fact I used to make them for dinner at least one night a week, especially when the boys had late sports practices. The sad part was that I couldn’t eat the pancakes, too. I am sensitive to dairy, and everyone knows pancakes need milk in them.
I was pleased to discover that The a2 Milk Company™ makes the only fluid milk sold in the US that is free of the A1 protein, which is a protein made by domesticated cows that can irritate some people’s digestive systems, causing bloating and discomfort.
You can buy a2 Milk® at Ralph’s for $4.49 per half gallon – click here for a coupon!
The a2 Milk Company™ has carefully selected cows that produce milk with only the A2 protein. They actually have The a2 System™, the process they use to establish a True a2™ certified herd, that is kept separate from the other cows to make sure the milk they produce is free of the A1 protein. Their milk is growth-hormone and antibiotic-free, too.
My family tried a2 Milk® and I made these tummy-friendly pancakes with a delicious holiday-time flavor AND a cute presentation. We all enjoyed the rich, sweet taste of the milk. My younger son took a big sip, exclaimed surprise since it was so different from the milk he drank before, and then gulped the rest of the glass right down!
Tummy-Friendly Reindeer Pancakes
Beat milk, egg, pumpkin and vanilla together in a medium bowl. In a separate bowl, combine sugar and baking mix. Stir the wet ingredients into the dry with a wooden spoon until they are just combined.
Heat a teaspoon of olive oil on a skillet at medium heat, swirl it around the surface with a spatula to coat. When skillet is hot drop batter by the large spoonful to create small circles. Cook for approximately 2 minutes or until the top bubbles, then flip. Cook until the second side is golden brown.
Bacon for the antlers
Dairy-free chocolate chips (or blueberries) for the eyes
Raspberry for the nose
“Glue” eyes and nose to the pancakes with a little smear of pumpkin butter
I am happy to report that everyone’s tummies, even mine, were comfortably full after eating these pancakes. They might make a return appearance on Christmas morning!
If you are interested in trying a2 Milk® click here to find out where to buy it!