Monday, April 30, 2012


So, what was happening on April 30 in Year One of the Tabor Heights books?

"So, Max, how does it feel, being the boss while your parents are in the hospital?

Tony stopped short, just before coming around the corner to the front of the theater. So did Max and Steve. The three of them carried gardening tools, to do some quick work on the landscaping around the front door and the sidewalk from the parking lot, before tonight's performance.

The male voice asking the question came from around the corner. Max's frown showed she was just as confused as Tony. Steve moved first, taking two steps to the corner and looking around it. He looked back, scowling, and gestured for Max and Tony to step up next to him.

"I should have known," Max muttered.

Tony repressed a growl, and silently echoed the sentiment. Jake stood on the front steps of the theater, very obviously giving an interview to three strangers with cameras and tape recorders.

"You can't let him get away with it," Steve said.

"He's right." Tony exchanged a glance with Steve. What was the next step for Jake, after digging through Max's private paperwork and now pretending to be her and giving interviews to the paparazzi who wouldn't take a hint and leave?

"The last thing I need..." She clenched her jaw, nodded sharply, and stomped around the side of the theater to the front step. "Jake Holt, why aren't you getting into costume and makeup? You have some lines to go over. You don't want to mess up your scene in act three again, like you did last night, do you?"

"Who's Jake Holt?" the first speaker said. He glanced back and forth between Max and Jake, who turned dark red, shaking his head, sputtering and getting no words out.

"He is. Jake Holt. He's part of the ensemble here at my family's theater. Right now he's playing Lucentio in Taming of the Shrew. There are still tickets available, if you're interested in some culture." She took up a wide-legged stance on the grass, arms crossed, holding pruning shears in one hand and a garden claw in the other.

"Your family?" the woman in the trio said. She held out a tape recorder. "So you're the mysterious Maureen?"

"No, that's Maxine. Maxine Randolph. I'm the oldest, named for my mom's Aunt Maxine. My brothers are Joseph and Jeremiah."

"But the woman over there said your name was Maureen." She gestured in the general direction of Mrs. Pluch's house.

"Don't pass it around, but she's a couple bricks shy of a full load." Max gestured with the weeding claw, just in time to mess up the photo the man on the right tried to snap of her. Tony muffled a chuckle at her impeccable timing. "Jake, what are you doing standing there when I gave you an order? I'm the director, remember?"

"Only as long as your dad is in the hospital," Jake snarled.

Someone in the trio laughed, and didn't make an effort to muffle the sound. Tony decided now might be a good time to join Max and give some moral support. He stepped up next to her before he realized Steve had stayed around the corner, in hiding.

"Just shows you're not up on the news," Tony said. "Joel came home today. Ah, no," he hurried to say, when the three paparazzi turned as one and took steps toward the front door of the house, "nobody is allowed in the house. The big boss needs his rest before tonight's performance. Which you need to get ready for," he added, glaring pointedly at Jake.

Tony hated that little smirk and nod that Jake gave him as he turned to head into the theater. The point he made was that he listened to Tony, but not Max. The three intruders clearly caught on to the power play.

"Who are you?" the woman asked, holding her tape recorder nearly in Tony's face.

"Tony Martin. Max's writing partner. We write romances under the pen name of Antonia Maxwell." He muffled laughter when the interest that sparked at his second statement died as soon as the word 'romances' left his lips.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Welcome to the launch of TABOR HEIGHTS TODAY

This is the home of "all things Tabor Heights."

Inspirational romance, set in the fictional town of Tabor Heights, Ohio: A Friendly Little Town on Ohio's North Coast, where Sweet Romance is Always in the Air.

Published by Desert Breeze Publishing.

Today is April 29.

What was happening on April 29 in Tabor Heights?

From Behind the Scenes:

"Emergency," Steve hissed as he passed Tony, heading for the ladder up into the side loft. "Audrey's getting flowers tonight." He tipped his head toward the corner where Max and Bekka took turns monitoring all the backstage chatter and handling emergencies.
Tony stood for several moments, staring at the table and the two dark heads bent over the clipboard with the lighting and sound cues before he realized what he didn't see. The paper-wrapped bouquet of Max's flowers had vanished. He had put it there after the curtain went up, while Max helped Lynette sew up a last-minute tear in Morgan's costume. He had exchanged a grin with Bekka, pressed a finger to his lips for silence, and went to his first duty station.
Something told him Max hadn't stashed her flowers when she found them. Meaning she hadn't found them.
Tony put down the stool he had brought over to the wings, set it out of the path of traffic, and trotted around behind the curtains to the door into the Green Room. Then it occurred to him to wonder how Steve knew those flowers were from him, specifically. It bothered him for about two seconds, to think that the newcomer paid that much attention to the comings and goings in the theater. Especially anything having to do with Max.
He found the bouquet sitting at Audrey's usual seat in the long row of makeup tables. A torn piece of paper with her name scribbled on it was tucked into the folds of the paper wrapping. Tony would recognize Jake's scrawl anywhere. Eyes narrowed, he carefully tugged the paper out, crumpled it and put it in his pocket, then unrolled the paper wrapping. His card for Max was still inside, among the stems and baby's breath. Not only was Jake a thief, he was a sloppy thief.
What was ironic was that the flowers wouldn't soften Audrey toward Jake at all. He seemed to think that since he was the handsomest guy in the cast and Audrey was the prettiest girl, it automatically meant they belonged together. After nearly two years of productions -- and Jake being slapped down consistently every time he made a claim on her -- Audrey's irritation had congealed into disgust. And Jake appeared totally oblivious to Audrey's attitude toward him. Tony supposed that appearances were more important to Jake than anything else, including being comfortable and friendly with someone.
Appearances were so important, now Jake resorted to stealing someone else's flowers, to take credit for them with Audrey. Tony enjoyed the thought of Jake's consternation when those flowers would show up on Max's table again.
"I'll keep watch," Steve said, when Tony returned backstage.
"Thanks, but Bekka can do that." He offered a grin and fought down the image of Steve being there, holding the flowers to hand to Max when she returned to her station after the latest emergency. It was ridiculous to think Steve would try to get into Max's good graces through lying, but what did he really know about the guy?
"I wondered where those went," Bekka whispered, when Tony put the bouquet down. A shout erupted from onstage and they both paused a few moments to watch the action as Morgan chased Gretchen around the stage, both of them snarling and hurling Shakespearean quips at each other, to the delight of the audience. "Do I tell Max they're from you?" she said, when the scene came to an end and Gretchen slumped to the floor, dazed, while Morgan strutted offstage and the audience roared laughing applause.
"How well can you imitate Sergeant Schultz?" He hated that momentary blank look on Bekka's face. Nothing like throwing out a cultural reference, and realizing that no one caught it because it was before their time. Tony happened to love Hogan's Heroes re-runs.
"Sieg heil, mine Kommandant," she muttered, in a passable German accent. "I know nuthink!"
Tony sauntered over to his next station. It gave him a good vantage point to watch when Max came back to the desk to see the bouquet. Then the pantomime of Bekka playing dumb and gesturing all around backstage, indicating she hadn't seen the flowers arrive. There was just enough light backstage for him to see Max's sudden stillness and her smile when she found the note from the secret admirer with the flowers.
Maybe just hinting that someone cared was a slow start, but Tony knew better than to drop the bombshell of his feelings on her while all her energy went to getting her family through this crisis. But there was no reason not to let Max know she was admired and someone cared about her, specifically.