Excerpts of the Novel 40 Something

Here a list of excerpts from the series 40 Something, a story about 5 women juggling careers, kids, family, and men. It’s a story about life, love, marriage, dating, divorce, technology, and finding oneself.

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There Must be More to Life

In the first chapter of the series, Justine contemplates about life at 40 and wonders if she’s missed something.

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Online Dating Surprises: 

After being married for almost 20 years, Sophie has started dating again. She has her first date with a man she met online and he’s sent her a text to confirm.

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Date Night with Hubby

Rose is getting ready for a date night with her husband Gus. Will she be ready in time?

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Chicklit man hater

Date Changes his Mind

Charlie is excited about going to dinner with a man she met online, but did he change his mind or did she make a mistake?

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Birthday party

It’s Just a Birthday Party

Justine’s son has been invited to an epic birthday party that makes her feel inferior as a mother. Is it really just a birthday party?

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Teenagers, Can I Give them Away?

Rose contemplates life with four teenagers in the house and wonders what happened to the wonderful, cute, and obedience children she once had.

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FWBs Are Fun

Lindsay’s thoughts on friends with benefits arrangements and how they fit into her dating life.

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Interested in getting an electronic copy to review on a blog, Goodreads.com, or Amazon leave a comment.

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Alone and Unloved

Recently separated Sophie is scared and alone. Will she find love again or is she, as her abusive ex claims, unlovable?

Click to read excerpt

Ebooks

Paperback

Includes all 4 ebooks copy-of-40something-6


Photo on 2014-04-17 at 12.25 PM

In her new Chicklit novel, Shannon Peel is exploring what it means to be a 40 something woman in the 21st Century. Each of the 5 women are personalities that we as woman are made up of in various degrees. We are too complex to be just one. 

For more about this novel and her YA Novel, THIRTEEN, go to www.shannonpeel.com 

For more about this novel and her YA Novel, THIRTEEN, go to www.shannonpeel.com 

Online Dating Surprises

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Finding herself single after almost 20 years of marriage, Sophie is trying her hand at Online Dating. She’s new and unsure about what is appropriate, what isn’t, and shocked by what she encounters. Follow her and her friends as they navigate life in the 21st Century.

Excerpt from 40 Something. A book about life, family, children, marriage, dating, careers, rivals, sisters, friends, technology, abuse, love, and so much more.


Sophie & Dating

It is so weird to be dating again.

I haven’t dated since the early 90s.

It’s so different now.

Before a guy would pick you up in a bar, coffee shop or at school now, my friends tell me that is not how things work. Charlie says that no matter where you go, men don’t come up and talk to women. Go to a bar and no one says boo. Go to a coffee shop and all you get is coffee. Go to the park and nothing. I’m not sure if Charlie is right, but I haven’t met a man in the real world.

It’s all online now.

This online dating thing is a bit addictive. I spend so much time going through profiles to find the ones I like, I hardly get anything done. I read the guy’s message. I think about what to say. I type mine. Then I wait for his response. You’d think I’d get stuff done while I wait, but no, I don’t. I look at other profiles. I have conversations with other men. It’s kinda cool actually. I mean, I get to chat with guys I’d never dare talk to in the real world.

We spend hours messaging back and forth to each other. It feels like a waste of time because we never make any plans to meet, just message back and forth. Once they get to know me and my situation they aren’t too interested in anything real.

A date for dinner tonight.

It’s my first date.

Charlie was kinda pissed when I told her it was for dinner. She said I should only go for coffee because he might be a bore and I’d want to escape. Lindsay thinks she’s just jealous because I got a dinner date and Charlie doesn’t get asked out for dinner or even coffee.

Charlie is amazing. I wish I was more like her. I don’t understand why she’s single and has so many problems with men.

She is much prettier than me. Her face is very pretty. If she’d exercise and lose a bit of weight she’d be a knock out. Her body has a nice hourglass shape with really big boobs. I’ve got nothing for a chest, I could be a boy I’m so flat. She’s so smart. Has a good job and is so confident about everything. I don’t know why she can’t find a guy.

My phone just whistled to let me know I have a text message.

It’s from Al. He’s the one I’m meeting for dinner tonight.

Al: Hey we still on for tonight?

Me: Yes. I can’t wait.

Al: I’m getting off earlier so we can meet at 6.

Me: Sure.

Al: Great. What are you going to wear? Something sexy?

Me: I don’t know yet.

I have a cute dress that I picked up from a thrift store yesterday after we made the date. It cost me $25. I really shouldn’t have bought it, I shouldn’t be wasting money on dresses and stuff.

Al: I like a woman in a dress.

Me: Oh

Al: And high heels

Me: OK

Al: I love the colour red.

Me: Oh

Al: Are you going to want to kiss me?

Me: I don’t know. Maybe.

Al: Maybe? Ah come on hun. You’ll kiss me.

Me: Maybe. I have to go. I have things to do.

Al: Ok babe. I’ll kiss you lots tonight.

Me: See you tonight.

I don’t know him. I don’t know if I’m going to want to kiss him. But I guess. I mean he is buying me dinner. Maybe I will want to kiss him. I don’t know. I wish he didn’t go on like that. It makes me uncomfortable. What’s one kiss?

I guess I’ll find out tonight. I better get going, I do have a lot to do before tonight.

My phone beeps with a text message. It’s from Al and there is a pic.

Oh my god.

I drop my phone.

What the hell?

The phone whistles with a text again. I’m scared to look. It might be another pic. What if my kids had my phone? I cringe. It whistles again. I pick it up and check the messages from Al.

It’s another pic and message. I’m freaking out. I don’t know what to do.

Al: What do you think hun? You like?

Me: Why did you send that?

Al: It’s fun. Send me a couple of you spread open for me.

Me: No. NO. no.

Al: Hun it’s all good. It’s just flirting. We’re adults.

Me: I don’t think so and I’m not sure I want to meet.

Al: I was just testing you. Seeing what kind of gal you are. I like that you won’t.

Me: OK?

Al: You a good girl and I like that. I’ll see you tonight. Can’t wait.

Me: Ok.

I delete the photos of his naked, standing to attention thingy. I can’t believe he sent that to me. I don’t even know the guy and he sends me that. Why the hell did he send me that?

Read More Excerpts

Ebooks

 

Paperback

Includes all 4 ebooks and a bonus episode.

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Who is the story about?

Sophie is one of five central characters.

The Jaded one  – The one who is bitter about men

The Romantic one  – The one who is happily married

The Fun one – The one who parties and loves men

The Tragic one – The one who is hurting and lost

These are the characters I am starting with. I will draw from my life experience and the stories I read, am told, and other share with me to define the characters and their journey through life.

What do you think?  Am I missing someone? Is there a type of relationship or woman that you think I need to explore and add to the group?



Photo on 2014-04-17 at 12.25 PM

In her new Chicklit novel, Shannon Peel is exploring what it means to be a 40 something woman in the 21st Century. Each of the 5 women are personalities that we as woman are made up of in various degrees. We are too complex to be just one. 

For more about this novel and her YA Novel, THIRTEEN, go to www.shannonpeel.com 

Lists and Chores

Excerpt from Book 4 of 40 Something, coming out in November 2016

Rose

copy-of-40something-6To Do List

  • Coffee with the girls at 11
  • School meeting at 1
  • Grocery shopping
  • Pick up Aiden and Jessica at 3
  • Make a roast for dinner
  • Put on a load of towels
  • Pay the bills

I bite on the end of the pen and twirl it along my lips. I know I’m forgetting something. I reach for the oversized calendar, where all the kid’s appointments are written out in different colours. It is filled with words; pink one’s for Alexis, red ones for Isabella, blue ones for Aiden and the odd purple word for Jessica.

I find today’s date and … Why I don’t check the calendar, before making my daily to do, list is beyond me. Isabella has a dentist appointment after school and Aiden has a football game at a school in the next town over. I scratch out picking him up at 3 and text Jessica to tell her I won’t be able to pick her up from school. I add pick up Isabella and take her to the dentist for 3:30 onto the list, then, pick Aiden up at 6 from the school.

If I throw the sauce together now and dump it in the slow cooker, I’ll only need to make the pasta when I get home. I text all the kids and Gus, Dinner @ 7.

Having dinner, as a family, every day is important.

As if on cue Alexis texts, I have a class tonight. I slam my thumbs onto the letters as I text back, why isn’t it on the calendar? She answers back with a quick, why does it matter? I respond with It just does.

I don’t expect her to respond, and she doesn’t.

I reach for a pile of different coloured pads of paper. A different colour for each of the children and Gus’ Honey Do List. I divide up the various chores between the children and make notes about those things that need to be brought to their attention, like Isabella not picking up her clothes off the bathroom floor – again – or Aiden leaving his skateboard at the bottom of the stairs – again. One day these messages will get through those thick skulls.

I look at the items on the lists. All the mundane chores, which I know I’ll end up doing because they are all too busy to help out. The excuses are endless: Too tired. Have too much homework. Have to be somewhere else. Forgot to do it. They always have a reason why they don’t complete their tasks and the work falls to me.

Over the years I’ve tried different incentive and punishment ideas to get the kids to do their chores. It lasts for all of a week, if I’m really lucky, then it’s back to me doing everything again. When I think about the planning, keeping track, and cost associated with each failed idea, I cringe. It’s so much easier to do the work myself, than to try to get them to do any of it.

Anger descends onto my shoulders and I clench my teeth. There is so much to do and no matter how much I run around cleaning up after everyone, when I turn around, it looks like I’ve done nothing. Absolutely nothing. Most times when I look behind me, the mess is bigger than the one I’d just cleaned up. I look at the pad’s of paper with the lists laid out in front of me, each item yelling to be completed first. Why do I even bother? I know I’m going to end up doing every chore on those lists. Still, maybe one day, hell will freeze over and God willing, they will complete one item written out. I keep hoping.

Maybe I should go on strike.

An image of garbage flowing out of the windows and doors, flashes in my mind’s eye. Piles of laundry, dirty dishes, and stuff strewn around the place becoming the stuff of horror movies. I feel overwhelmed by the thought and all energy drains away, leaving a deep tiredness behind.

I don’t have time to be tired.

I get up. Best to keep moving. I have to deal with the pile of dirty dishes on the counter. Who was supposed to empty and fill the dishwasher last night? I glance at yesterday’s chore lists as I open the dishwasher and proceed to empty it of clean dishes to make way for the dirty ones. Aiden. I don’t think that boy knows how to empty the dishwasher, let alone fill it.

My phone’s alarm starts beeping, interrupting me. It’s ten thirty and I need to be leaving the house in 10 minutes. I quickly finish up and start the dishwasher before heading out the door.

Always so much to do and nothing ever gets done.

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Birthday party

Click image for Pirate Birthday Invitations

Purpose of this Blog

This blog is a look at the characters in a new novel about being a 40+ year old woman in today’s world. The novel, like all literature, draws from real life but embellishes it, changes it, and merges it together with fantasy. You won’t find a 100% true story on the blog or in the novel. I welcomes any parenting or dating stories you would like to share for the book, but please understand the story will only be a jump off point as I’m not about to publish anything exactly as it happened. Email her today at Shannonpeel01[ at ]gmail [.com]

Photo on 2014-04-17 at 12.25 PMShannon Peel is the author of THIRTEEN a book about a boy and his mom caught behind enemy lines when soldiers attack their North American hometown. The story asks the question, what if it happened here?

For more information check out her website. www.shannonpeel.com

There Must be More to Life

Excerpt from 40 Something. A book about life, family, children, marriage, dating, careers, rivals, sisters, friends, technology, abuse, love, and so much more.

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Paperback

Justine

Was there ever a time when it was simple to be a 40 Something woman?

Was it easier back in the day when everyone knew their place? When men were men and women were women? Did that made it simpler. I hope not, because if life was easier, better, more productive back in the day, what was the point of struggling for feminism and equality?

It’s just that, it doesn’t always feel like our lives are better. There is more pressure, more stress, and more responsibility. It feels like something is missing. Like this can’t be all there is to life? Like it’s all one big revolving wheel that goes nowhere. Take my life. Every morning at our house is exactly the same:

“Mom where are my shirts?” My daughter Emma asks.

“Shirts? In your closet?” I reply.

“No.”

“Folded in a basket?”

“No.”

“Damn. Are you sure?”

“Ya. Never mind I found them.”

“Where?”

“Wet and stinky in the washing machine. When did you wash them?”

I try to think. I can’t really remember when I did.

“Do you have a dirty one that you can wear?”

Sending my daughter to school in dirty clothes, what would my mother say? Thing is I know exactly what she’d say, she told me just last week.

“You just need to do things during work breaks. You work from home, how hard can it be to stop, take a break, switch out the laundry, do a load of dishes, sweep the floor, then go back to work?”

It is a good question. I generally don’t take breaks, and if I do, I’m surfing the net, grabbing a coffee, getting a bite to eat or checking my social media. I don’t really think to do the laundry. Hence my daughter yelling at me about how hard done by she is because she has to wear a shirt she already wore to school. Heaven help us, what will the kids think? What will her teachers think? Will they call social services if her shirt gets dirty enough?

My husband comes down to save the day. He does this a lot. He’d grabbed a couple of clean

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Ebook

shirts she doesn’t like, out of her dresser, walked into the kitchen and said,

“Your choice, the dirty one, one of these, a smelly one, or you could just go in your bra. Up to you.”

I choke on my coffee. ‘And if she’d chosen to go in her bra, then what?’ She doesn’t. She just says Daaaad in that oh you’re so embarrassing way teen girls have and grabs a clean one out of his hand.

“I’ll go run the load, pour me a cup of coffee” he says and disappears into the laundry room.

My gawd, I can’t even imagine what my great-grandmother did before washing machines were invented. I turn, pour my husband a cup of coffee, add two teaspoons of sugar, and pop a bagel into the toaster for his breakfast.

I’ve filled the dishwasher and am just turning it on, when I feel his strong arms wrap around me from behind. I lean into him. It feels so normal.

“Yuck.”

Our ten-year-old son’s voice interrupts us and I am twirled around to face my husband who kisses me, while our son makes fake gagging noises. The kiss is just a passionless peck, normal, boring. He did it to gross out our son more than to kiss me.

“Your coffee, kind sir.”

“Sugar?”

I look at him, shake my head, and turn to butter his bagel.

“Gus and Rose’s place Sunday afternoon?” He asks and I nod. “Girls’ night after?” I nod again. “And I’m stuck babysitting?”

“Parenting dear. It’s called parenting when the kids are yours.”

“Are you sure they’re mine.”

“Positive.”

That’s a typical morning. Every day it’s the same. A chore I forgot to do, my husband swooping in to fix things, my kids needing something or disapproving of something I did or didn’t do. Each day is pretty much the same; chores, kids, work, bed. Always the same. Perfectly the same. Perfect. The perfect life.
I am forty years old. I have a wonderful, loving husband, two well-adjusted kids, a gorgeous home in suburbia, and a career. I have a good life and I feel like I am missing something, like I’ve forgotten something, did something wrong.

Did my mother feel this way? Did my grandmother? Did my great-grandmother? Did my grandmother ever forget to switch over the wash and have to wash the load two more times before it made it into the dryer? Did she own a dryer? Did she have to run her kids around from one activity to the next? Help them with homework more advanced than when she’d gone to school? Did she feel the pressure of friends, family and society to be perfect? Did she always feel judged? Did she ever look at her life and wonder if she made the right choices?

copy-of-copy-of-40-10Will it be different when my daughter is forty?

By then everyone will probably just swallow a pill and say, “that’s dinner.” So, if women have more time because they don’t have to cook, will life be any different? Or will my daughter be looking at forty saying, I think I forgot to do something.


More Excerpts

Date Night With Hubby 

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Sophie gets a Surprise from an Online Date

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Why FWBs are a Good Option

hungover chicklit novel

Ebooks

Paperback

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Shannon Peel (6)

Photo on 2014-04-17 at 12.25 PM

Shannon Peel is the author of 40 Something, Captive, and  THIRTEEN. For more information check out her website.www.shannonpeel.com

Alone and Unloved

Excerpt from the book 40 Something about 5 women juggling careers, kids, family, and men. Based on true stories about life, marriage, dating, careers, rivals, sisters, friends, technology, abuse, love, and so much more.

Sophie 

I am unwanted.

I am unworthy.

I will never be loved.

These words keep going around and around in my head. Repeating themselves over and over. It’s like there is a demon talking inside my mind and it won’t shut up. It won’t stop. It’s incessant. I just want it to be silent so I can think, so I can sleep, so I can move on. How can I move on when I feel so alone? The pain inside is palpable. Every word stabs at me. Every realization rips me apart. I want to cry, scream, beat something, the pain is brutal and it won’t go away. It burns in my throat and behind my eyes. It rips at my heart. It leaves an empty hole beneath my breastbone. Everything hurts. A deep tired ache with every nerve on fire to remind me I’m alone.

I will always be alone.

Forever alone.

I’m damaged goods.

Craig found someone to love him. He found love, so, he must have been right when he said that I was the reason our marriage didn’t work, that I’m not good enough to love. He treats her with respect. He cares about her wants and needs. He never cared about mine. I was nothing but a burden to him. A responsibility he no longer wanted. I didn’t matter. What I wanted didn’t matter. Who I am didn’t matter. My happiness never mattered. All that mattered was him.

My kids need me.

I need to focus all my energy and attention on them. I’m a mother. Mothers don’t date. Mothers don’t go to bars. Mothers don’t have sex with men that aren’t their kid’s fathers. Mothers are good. I’m only a mother.

I’m a single mother.

Single.

Alone.

My mother couldn’t love me. My husband couldn’t love me. I am unworthy of love, I know that, every guy can see that. They’ll know. I’ll just get rejected. I don’t want to date. I don’t want to be thrown away again.

Men don’t talk to me. Men talk to Lindsay because she’s gorgeous, fun, and happy. She doesn’t have all the problems I have. Men talk to Charlie because she is smart, successful and interesting. She doesn’t have all the insecurities I have. Men see them. Men don’t see me.

Unwanted.

Invisible.

Worthless.

Lindsay wants me to go to some shindig with her tonight. I don’t want to go. Maybe I should tell her I’m sick. Who am I kidding? I’ll go. Even though I don’t want to. I’ll go because she asked me to. I never say no. I never do what I want. I don’t know. I’ll go. I don’t want to stay home. I don’t want to go. I just. Oh, I don’t know. I don’t know what I want.

Maybe I should ask Craig what I should do. He always told me what to do. I’m lost without him.

I better get ready. Lindsay will be ready to go soon. She won’t let me stay home. Damn. Why don’t I know what I want?

I am unlovable.

I am unwanted.

I am alone.

The pain is sharp and it cuts into my soul, shredding it to pieces.

 

Why do we Shame Each Other

shame


 

Ebooks                                             Paperback

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Purpose of this Blog

This blog is a look at the characters in a new novel about being a 40+ year old woman in today’s world. The novel, like all literature, draws from real life but embellishes it, changes it, and merges it together with fantasy. You won’t find a 100% true story on the blog or in the novel. I welcome any parenting or dating stories you would like to share for the book, but please understand the story will only be a jump off point as I’m not about to publish anything exactly as it happened. Email me today at Shannonpeel01[ at ]gmail [.com]

And yes…. Dating stories about women behaving badly are welcome too, as my characters are flawed and handicapped when it comes to dating.

Photo on 2014-04-17 at 12.25 PMShannon Peel is the author of THIRTEEN a book about a boy and his mom caught behind enemy lines when soldiers attack their North American hometown. The story asks the question, what if it happened here?

For more information check out her website.www.shannonpeel.com

Why FWBs Are A Good Option

Warning this post talks about sex. Shhh don’t tell anyone. Worse, it talks about casual sex with FWBs. I know shame on me. If you find this post offensive. Do not start reading the 40 Something series.

Lindsay, a character from the series, wanted to share her thoughts on FWBs and why she uses them. This is a work of fiction and in no way are a reflection of my personal opinions.

Lindsay is a Character

I can’t get enough sex. I love sex. My body craves it, needs it, demands it.

I love men. I love everything about them. The way they smell. The way they feel wrapped around me. The way they sound. The way they taste. I can’t get enough of them.

Most of the men I meet online are not boyfriend material. They are emotionally closed off. They have demanding careers. They are looking for a specific woman and I’m not it. I’m seeking a certain kind of man and they aren’t it. There are so many reasons why he isn’t the one. That doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun.

Some men are studs some are duds.

I’d rather have sex right away and find out if he’s a dud or a stud. No use getting all emotionally entangled to find out he isn’t any good in the sac.

The young boys are too inexperienced and insecure to know how to please a woman, however they are teachable and when you teach them they are like rabbits. I don’t mind being their Mrs. Robinson. I just don’t want to be teaching a young buck long term. What can a boy give me besides a never ending F***? Not much.

The guys in their mid life crisis phase are too selfish to be good lovers. They don’t care if you’re having fun. They just want get themselves off. A selfish lover is the worst kind and if I come across one, it’s never a repeat engagement, no matter how much he calls me the next day.

Older men know how to please a woman, they just don’t have the stamina to keep up. That might be why they spend so much time on foreplay and using their fingers to do mind blowing things. Mind blowing. They are creative, however, they can’t exactly keep it hard and I like a large, thick, hard… Well you know.

When I find a guy who knows what he’s doing in the bedroom, one who can blow my mind, I keep him around, even if he isn’t boyfriend material outside it.

That’s why I have more than one FWB. You know, friend with benefits. A guy you call up and go over to his place to hang out and get f***** right. Where when you leave, your not expecting him to call the next day because quite frankly, you don’t want him to.

Take Mark, my favourite FWB.

He’s about 56 years old and owns some kind of business, don’t ask, I don’t care what he does. He lives down the street from me in a beautiful condo overlooking the bay. He has great taste in art and an Interior Decorator to die for. In fact, I stole her to give my place a much needed face lift.

Marc isn’t interested in falling in love. He doesn’t want a girlfriend. He definitely does not want a wife. He likes his place and his life just the way it is. Drama and problem free.

I love his c****. I’m not too crazy about him. He only talks about himself and doesn’t much care about my life or making sure I’m happy. Satisfied yes, happy, no. His number one rule – Keep your problems at the door.

Why do I bother hanging out with Mark? He’s hot. He’s sexy. And when I leave his place, I can barely walk and I’m intoxicated from the amount of released chemicals pumping through my system.

I don’t love Mark, don’t even like him much, but I sure love getting F***** by him.

I have a few guys like this, each one f***s me a different way. Some are better than others. Each one fulfills a different fantasy.

What’s wrong with that?

Your Thoughts

Back to the author of the series….

Thanks for your thoughts Lindsay. Personally, I do not use FWBs. I’m not emotionally detached enough or masculine enough to survive such an arrangement. I know this about myself. I do know some women who are quite happy with these types of arrangements. It’s part of their dating game plan and it works for them.

That’s the great thing about people, we’re all different.

What is your opinion on the topic?  Put in the comments section.

Read more Excerpts


Ebooks                                             Paperback

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Love, Can I Chose Not to Need it?

you are lovely (1)_Fotor

Purpose of this Blog

This blog is a look at the characters in a new series about being a 40+ year old woman in today’s world. This novel takes from real life, stories women have shared, stories men have shared, books I have read, movies I have watched. It takes all the information and merges it, mixes, it, embellishes it. You won’t find a 100% true story on the blog or in the novel.

I welcome any 40 Something stories you would like to share for the book, but please understand the story will only be a jump off point for the characters as I’m not about to publish anything exactly as it happened.

Email me today at Shannonpeel01[ at ]gmail [.com]

And yes…. Dating stories about women behaving badly are welcome too, as my characters are flawed and handicapped when it comes to dating.

Photo on 2014-04-17 at 12.25 PMShannon Peel is the author of THIRTEEN a book about a boy and his mom caught behind enemy lines when soldiers attack their North American hometown. The story asks the question, what if it happened here?

For more information check out her website.www.shannonpeel.com

It’s Just a Birthday Party

Excerpt from the book 40 Something about 5 women juggling careers, kids, family, and men.

copy-of-40something-6
Click for Paperback

Justine

Harper came home from school waiving an invitation to his best friend, Jack’s, 10th birthday party. Every year this kid’s mom goes all out. The lady is Martha Stewart on steroids. My kid’s are lucky if I remember to pick up the cake on the way to whatever venue I booked for their party. This woman transforms her home into party central and makes the whole thing an experience.

For the kid’s 6th birthday she made these pop up pirate invitations. She made them. The kids were supposed to dress up like pirates. That’s right, a costume. It wasn’t good enough to just show up with a gift, I had to figure out a costume for the event. Worse, I was expected to stay because it was a big person event too. I’m not one for socializing and thankfully costumes were optional for adults.

As soon as we get there she hands Harper an old looking aged piece of paper. It’s a letter written, in calligraphy, that says:

Blackbeard the pirate has stolen Captain Jack’s treasure and he needs your help to find it. Meet him on his ship below the tavern where the world’s best chili is made. On the way you will need to find a few things to help Captain Jack battle Blackbeard.

Great. A treasure hunt.

No, correction. A scavenger hunt.

Harper drags me down the stairs to the basement where a ship has been constructed out of large cardboard boxes. The floor is covered in blue tarps secured down with large stones and there is even a mermaid swimming in the water. To get onto the ship Harper had to walk the plank. A balance beam made out of wood and about a foot off the ground.

This is not a birthday party. It is a theatrical production.Pirate Birthday Party

“Wow. Can you believe this party?” Christine leans over and whispers in my ear. “I thought last year’s Thomas the Train party was over the top. Kathleen out did herself this time.”

“I know. Harper is going to want something like this. Is the whole class here?”

“Yep. Along with a few more.”

I can feel a head ache coming on already just from the thought of all the work that has gone into this day. I don’t understand how she does it or even why she does it. All that work for a party that lasts what, 3 hours? She must be exhausted by the end of the day.

“I don’t know about you Justine, but I think this calls for a bowl of wine, coming?”

I follow Christine back up the stairs to the kitchen which has been converted into a pirate like pub with a wench and bartender.

“Arr Matey what ye be wanting?”

“Two glasses of white wine.” Christine orders and the bartender, Kathleen’s brother, places two half full glasses on the kitchen island’s eating bar. I take a few sips and smile conspiratorially at Christine. “Let’s go outside.”

The deck was even decorated to make it appear like an extension of the pirate’s pub.

“How much do you think she spends on these things?” I ask Christine.

“A few hundred dollars and weeks of work. I saw Rose in the grocery store the other day, she seems to be doing well.” I nod. “Any chance her and Gus are on the outs?”

I force a laugh while shaking my head. Every single woman, and a few married ones, I know ask me regularly if there is any chance that Gus will be single. A few are even bold enough to ask how my marriage is holding up in hopes that Gary will be a free agent soon. I bet a few of them have considered offering up a sacrifice to the gods asking for me to die, leaving Gary a grieving widow. And very single.

“A girl can always dream.”

“How is the hunt for the new man coming?”

It’s her turn to laugh and her laugh is genuine.

“It’s not. I swear there are no decent single men out there. You won the lotto when you snagged Gary. I went on this one date, if you can even call it that, and the guy shows up at the coffee shop and he’s 20 years older than his photos and the age on his profile.”

“What? Why would he do that?”

“Cause he can. Thinks that if younger women just meet him and see how charming he is they will over look the lie. He even asked me what I thought of him. I told him that he didn’t look anything like his photos and that I didn’t appreciate the bait and switch because it makes him look a liar.”

“You didn’t?”

“Yep I did. He asked for the bill, threw it at me and said he’d buy dinner next time and walked out.”

“What did he expect you to say?”

“Probably that he was great, even though he was 20 years older than I thought he was, and could we go back to his place. The idiot.”

“I thought only women lied about their age.”

“So did I. Apparently, not. Men are just as delusional and vain.”

“Christine, Justine, hello. I think there’s a bad joke in there.”

“Gwentine, have a seat.” Christine says and I hold up my glass of wine to Gwen in a cheers motion. “Maybe we can start a trend.”

“Or a band.” I say.

“So what do you two think of all this?” Gwen asks.

We go over our opinions of the lavish event as others join us. The consensus is that it sets the bar high, but the kids love it and Kathleen enjoys doing it so, all is good. Yeah, until our kid’s next birthday party when they want a big production too.

The little pirates have come out of the basement and Kathleen’s husband leads them on the scavenger hunt around the neighbourhood to find clue after clue, hidden in the parks, neighbours yards, and even the local convenience store for a slushie in special take home pirate cups.

“Hey ladies can you give me a hand?” Kathleen asks.

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“Sure.” We all say together.

So while the kids were out scavenging, we took all the gifts and hid them in the backyard play structure. We then used fabric to transform the structure into a pirate ship and hoisted the pirate flag.

When the kid’s get back they have a second treasure hunt to find out what Blackbeard did with the presents. This time they had to go through an obstacle course in the backyard, play a game of throw the cannon ball (water balloons), buy swords with the items found in the scavenger hunt and then have a sword fight with the adults to defeat Blackbeard, (the kid’s dad in costume) in order to get the presents back.

By the end I was exhausted from all the noise, talking, and kids hyped up on candy treasure, flavoured gelatine, and ice cream cake. Harper had so much fun it’s all he talked about it for months. He begged me for something just as cool as Jack’s birthday party. He got laser tag.

This year the theme is Video Games. No costumes, I guess the boys are getting too big for that. There are going to be multiple video game tournaments with lots of prizes. That’s what Harper tells me. They even rented some big screen and two or three big screen TVs so multiple games can be going on. It’s enough to make my head hurt thinking about it. How much noise can 4 video game systems make? Maybe I should buy some earplugs.

Charlie’s Date Changes is Mind

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Purpose of this Blog

This blog is a look at the characters in a new novel about being a 40+ year old woman in today’s world. The novel, like all literature, draws from real life but embellishes it, changes it, and merges it together with fantasy. You won’t find a 100% true story on the blog or in the novel. I welcomes any parenting or dating stories you would like to share for the book, but please understand the story will only be a jump off point as I’m not about to publish anything exactly as it happened. Email her today at Shannonpeel01[ at ]gmail [.com]

And yes…. Dating stories about women behaving badly are welcome too, as my characters are flawed and handicapped when it comes to dating.

Photo on 2014-04-17 at 12.25 PMShannon Peel is the author of THIRTEEN a book about a boy and his mom caught behind enemy lines when soldiers attack their North American hometown. The story asks the question, what if it happened here?

For more information check out her website. www.shannonpeel.com