Handbags, Books...Whatever

Handbags, Books...Whatever (http://www.vickibatman.blogspot.com) is the website of Vicki Batman, sassy writer of sexy and funny fiction. Handbag lover. Avid Jazzerciser. Mahjong player. Yoga practioner. Movie fan. Book devourer. Choc-aholic. Best Mom ever. And adores Handsome.

Monday, February 12, 2018

Handbag and Book: guest #author Jan O'Hara w a sentimental #handbag and her book-Cold and Hottie #readromance #MFRWauthor

My carpetbag isn't the most attractive, is it? Yet of all the carrying implements in my house, it's the one for which I have the most sentimental attachment.

I love this bag because I carried it during my childhood during the rare exotic trips we took as a family.

I am a child of two teachers who were careful with their money. When I was growing up, there was no such thing as choosing to eat out when you could cook, or moteling when you could camp. Oh, I'm not complaining. That model of self-sufficiency has been an asset to me my entire life.

But once a year we'd abandon frugality, and I, along with my siblings, would pack a carpetbag full of clothing and books. We'd board a train for a daylong trip through the Rockies, bound for Golden, BC. There, we'd dine in restaurants, sleep in a modest hotel, then rise and make the reverse trip home.

I look at my humble bag and remember family laughter, the rare sense of cutting loose, and even the thrill of danger. You see, there's a point in that journey to Golden where the train enters two spiral tunnels, each over half a mile in length. For breathless minutes you could see nothing but darkness and feel the immensity of the mountain surrounding you. I was always a little uncertain about whether I'd make it out the other side.
Speaking of love and trips tinged with foreboding, meet the heroine in my latest offering, Cold and Hottie. Liv is about to be reunited with her ex during a teambuilding exercise in Jamaica. Only he’s the man she done wrong…and he just became her boss. Oops.

At 4:37 p.m. on Friday, after weeks of dread and just when I’ve convinced myself I’ve been spared, a dossier bearing the title Jamaica lands on my desk. Tucker had probably been aiming for my in-basket, but since he’s standing in my doorway and the basket is overflowing, the folder tips over the edge and continues its horizontal motion. It comes to rest on the refinery drawings I’ve been marking up, the right lower edge touching a pump that needs modernization.

When I find my voice I say, “You’re kidding me.”
Tucker’s smile is his signature blend of cynicism and amusement. “If you pull yourself together and need to talk, I’ll be in my office for another five minutes.” He pivots on a well-shod foot and vanishes from sight.
I turn the pencil in my hand and use the eraser to tease out the top sheaf of paper, willing this to be one of his practical jokes. Easy enough to put a label on a folder and pack it with documents destined for the shredder. Then to stand in the hall just out of sight, ready to pop in with a, Haha, Liv, got you good this time.

Alas, this evening brings no such luck. For there in black and white, issued in the name of one Olivia Prosser, is an e-ticket for this coming Monday morning. I’m flying from Columbus to Kingston, via Atlanta.
I use the pencil to extract the next sheaf. Apparently the resort and I have corresponded, most recently when I confirmed an ocean-facing, non-smoking room with a king-sized bed.
At least I was smart enough to avoid having a roommate.
I close my eyes and bend forward to clunk my head repeatedly on my desk. Having seen fellow staffers open their envelopes, I don’t need to examine the rest of the paperwork to know what it contains. There will be a shiny brochure on the all-inclusive resort’s amenities. (Seven pools! Six restaurants featuring international cuisine! Unlimited soft drinks and booze in your room’s mini-fridge!) There will be a listing of optional paid activities, both inside the resort and on the island. Finally, there will be the handout delineating the source of my dry mouth and blossoming headache.
I don’t need to look at the handout but…I stop banging my head and do it anyway, because some masochistic impulses can’t be resisted.
Three months ago, the company I work for, HMZ Consulting, was purchased by Wakefield Enterprises. When I say “purchased,” I really mean “swallowed whole.” We were the krill to Wakefield’s blue whale. Now the time has come for us to “harmonize our corporate cultures.” Accordingly, for the past several months, select employees within my office have been receiving invitations to the upcoming retreat in Jamaica. Once trained in the ways of the mothership, they—and I guess that includes me now—will return as ambassadors to the home office, where we will spread the ways of enlightenment.
Most of the five-day retreat will be run by Wakefield’s second-in-command, Yolanda Perez. The brochure photo shows a woman in her early forties with tight black braids and a confident smile. She’s a psychologist, reportedly half-crazy in her own right, and the rumors about her outdoor group exercises are downright intimidating.
Then there’s the CEO, Finnegan Wakefield. I don’t know if his photo has been retouched, but thirty-four looks good on him. Even better than twenty-four did, if that’s possible.
Finn is giving the Tuesday noon keynote—one hour is his full commitment for the entire program. Depending upon how he receives me, that one hour could be all it takes to upend my life.

Find Cold and Hottie at: Amazon

Find Jan O'Hara's at: Website

Jan, I just love this cover and your handbag! Thank you for being with me today.


Melissa Keir said...

What a great story about your bag. I love that it's lasted so long! I love your cover and wish you all the best.

Jan O'Hara (Tartitude) said...

Thank you so much, Melissa.

And the funny thing is, I recently had the carpetbag hung on a banister during a family dinner. To a person, all my siblings exclaimed over it with great fondness.

M. Jane Colette said...

I re-read Hottie & Coldie again the other day during out deep freeze to take myself to Jamaica for a couple of hours. :) I have this carpet bag I inherited from my grandmother... that my daughter now uses for ferrying her ice skates in!! This post made me all nostalgic...

Vicki Batman, sassy writer of sexy and funny fiction, blogger at Handbags, Books...Whatever said...

Hi, Jane! I've never had a carpet bag bag. I have one made from needlepoint scraps that I just love. Thanks for visiting with Jan today.

Jan O'Hara (Tartitude) said...

M. Jane, I'm honored! And that's neat about your daughter, and that we have carpetbags in common.

Angela Adams said...

A lovely, sentimental journey, Jan. Thanks for sharing.

Jan O'Hara (Tartitude) said...

My pleasure, Angela. Thank you for reading.

Roxy Boroughs said...

I, too, have a favorite carpet bag I take everywhere. Great for carrying books.

Vicki Batman, sassy writer of sexy and funny fiction, blogger at Handbags, Books...Whatever said...

Hi, Roxy and thanks for visiting with Jan today. With two of you saying how much you like carpet bags, I'm off to see what's online. Thanks for the suggestions. vb

Jan O'Hara (Tartitude) said...

Roxy, really? How interesting. I haven't seen anyone else carrying a carpetbag in years.

Vicki, I hope you found something fun. And thank you for hosting me today. You gave me an enjoyable trip down memory lane.

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