"We're always in the
midst of a chase.

Going after a dream...

Chasing a fantasy...

And making it a
reality.

This is what I write
about.

Life is about the chase."

~ Rachelle

March 2008 – Archive

Five years ago, I was rushing out the door at my dad’s house when he stopped me.

“Rachelle, there’s something I need to tell you. Do you have a minute?” His somber look and serious tone sent my heart racing – and my mind scrambling to identify the latest family crisis.

“Sure,” I said with a tremor in my voice.

He shook his head sadly. “It’s a shame the way you look when you leave the house.”

I struggled to wipe the images of cancer-ridden loved-ones from my mind. “Huh?”

“You’re an attractive woman. You should be a clothes-horse, but instead…”

As he went on, I looked down at myself, as if for the first time. Some sort of wrinkled pea green waterproof hikingEnsemble at Dad’s pants, covered with pockets and zippers, hung from my hips like jeans worn by boys and rappers. The resemblance was unintentional, as they were men’s pants – about three sizes too big. Equally big and shapeless, was a long-sleeve, royal blue t-shirt that reached my thighs.

I put a hand to my head, readjusting the black Nike baseball cap that I’d removed from my dad’s Goodwill stack. Excluding my bangs, it completely covered my hair. Throw in the three year old glasses, the total lack of make-up, and …

He was right. I looked awful. My parents had taught my siblings and me to always leave the house looking our best, but I’d been the only one to consistently fail this lesson.

“Here, Rachelle.”

His voice, now laden with sympathy, jerked my attention to him – and the money in his outstretched hand. Heat burned my face. Humiliation flickered through my body.

Though I didn’t accept my dad’s gift, I did follow his advice. I consulted an image consultant, who showed me the basics of make-up, the colors that looked good on me, and the clothing cuts appropriate for my body. While I’d never been a fashion disaster (when I made the effort to look good, that is), I was delighted with the improvement in my appearance.

Gray JacketUntil yesterday.

As I stood in the center of Chronicle Books, flipping through Brenda Kinsel’s Fashion Makeover: 30 Days to Diva Style!, my attention once again turned to what I was wearing: Sketchers tennis shoes; big-legged black “dressy” sweat pants; tan zippered sweater from four seasons ago; a man’s XL charcoal jacket (a castoff of my bother’s); two year old glasses…

I picked up Ms. Kinsel’s book and rushed to the register. This time, I’m going to address the problem before my dad notices my relapse. And who knows? I might just share my results with you, too.

One of my dating-related New Year’s Resolutions is to work on being more “approachable” to men. Like, smiling at a guy I’m attracted to. Or initiating polite conversation with a man I think is hot.

I’m a whiz at doing these things if I’m not attracted to a guy.

Well, today, I resolved to change that.

The sun was shining. People filled the sidewalks. Conversation and laughter wafted through the air. Spring had sprung and I was feeling happy and confident, bordering on cocky. Until I saw H.I.M, standing outside one of my favorite coffee shops.

Photo of Actor Benjamin Bratt His dark brown hair, a tad too long, was combed back from his face. A neat mustache and goatee, sprinkled with a strand or two of gray, framed his sexy lips. The tip of a triangular tattoo traveled up his neck, ending near his jaw. His tall, toned body, encased in drab brown, transformed his Muni bus driver uniform into designer clothing.

He looked like no San Francisco transportation worker I’d ever seen. His bad boy image was totally at odds with his profession. And, for the first time I can remember, I experienced that “raw energy” emanating from a man that I thought only existed between the pages of the books I write.

Feeling shell shocked, I totally forgot to invoke I Am Approachable Rule #1: Smile.

As his friend held the door open for me, I thanked him, and went inside. I dropped my backpack at an available table and then joined them in line. All the while, my heart raced and my mind scrambled to come up with a witty I Am Approachable line.

Mr. Sexy ordered his coffee drink, his deep voice sending heat to my stomach.

I remained silent, dumbstruck.

When the owner handed him a paper cup overflowing with foam, he politely asked her to scoop it all off. “I’ll get it in my moustache,” he added.

My tongue became unstuck. Remembering I Am Approachable Rule #2: Say Something, I said with a chuckle, “Then you can do one of those milk commercials.” (Okay, so it was a weak opening line. But you gotta give me points for hormonal distress!)

He returned my chuckle without turning around, giving me a side glimpse of dazzling white teeth.

And then he was gone.

The conversation behind the counter invaded my hormone-induced coma.

“I would do anything to be on his bus,” said one.

“He can take me anywhere,” said another.

Feigning nonchalance, I asked, “Do you know him?”

“He’s filming Mission Street Rhapsody nearby. That’s Benjamin Bratt.”

I frowned. “Who’s Benjamin Bratt?”

At their incredulous looks, I took my latte and slunk to my table. Booting up my laptop, I Googled ‘Benjamin Bratt’ and then clicked on the link: http://www.askmen.com/men/apr00/20_benjamin_bratt.html.

My mouth dropped open.

That was Benjamin Bratt? Sandra Bullock’s love interest in Miss Congeniality? Julia Roberts (ex?)boyfriend? But, most importantly, he was the guy I had lusted after in Love in the Time of Cholera last November?

A sense of pride buzzed through me. Okay, so maybe he hadn’t noticed me. And I probably wouldn’t have said a thing, had I known who he was. But I’d inadvertently practiced my New Year’s Resolution on the Benjamin Bratt.

Confidence and cockiness returned to my chest. Mr. Bratt today. Who would be tomorrow? :-)

Blogging Tips Book CoverOn 3/8/08, I spoke about online promotion with Lorelle VanFossen and Tom Johnson at the San Francisco Romance Writers of America monthly meeting.

Afterwards, I had lunch with Lorelle and discovered that, not only is she an expert on blogging, she’s also a wonderful, dynamic, and generous person. And, she gave me three copies of her book – Blogging Tips: What Bloggers Won’t Tell You About Blogging – to give away.

Want to win a copy? If so…

Please leave a comment here and tell me what you like or dislike to read about in blogs – and you’ll automatically be entered in a drawing for a free copy.

As many of you know, I do not blog consistently. Many times, it’s because I don’t know what to say. Sure, I can – and do – share amusing vignettes, contest and book news, but … is this what my readers want to hear?

Please help me give you the news that you want to read

The second annual SOBCon08 is “the Biz School for Bloggers.” For three days in May, guest speakers will discuss the nuts and bolts of successful blogging. And I really want to go! So…

To help me help you, all I need is for you to click HERE by 3/15/08 to visit the SOBCon site.

Thank you in advance for your help! And, perhaps I’ve piqued your interest in attending the conference…?


 

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