No Redheads Allowed

He’d left her house just in time, recognizing how close he’d been to allowing his passions to take control. She’d seemed willing. But his voice of reason told him that she wasn’t that kind of woman. She was the put a ring on it first kind.

Why was he even thinking of what kind of woman she was? She wasn’t his type. Period. He buried the idea of rings beneath a mountain of logic and the images of flour footprints on the floor and a rusty car named Alice.

He sat at his desk, gazing unseeingly at the bowed heads of his students as they concentrated on an impromptu writing assignment. They knew better than to bother him with questions. He’d been morose and grumpy all day. He’d scolded Ben Howard for losing his homework without the usual wink to lighten the reprimand. And Ellie Winslow had barely escaped his ire. He scowled at her bent head, the sight of her frizzy copper hair—almost the same color as her aunt’s—only making him more irritable. He should transfer her to Ms. Lowenstein’s class. Ellie was the root cause of all his trouble, the little sneak. Lying to him about her grandmother. He wondered if Polly had given her niece a lecture yet. The girl had been even quieter than usual today, so maybe Polly had.

Twice now he’d been hoodwinked by a redhead in his classroom. First Ellie, with her mischievous lies, then Polly, employing her infectious smile and pretty, twinkling brown eyes to lure him into agreeing to read her book. He was going to establish a new school policy: No Redheads Allowed in Joe Matthews’s Classroom.

From Her Ordinary Joe
Copyright © 2014 Margaret Desmond

This post is in response to the Daily Prompt: Infect


A load of malarkey

He thought she was crying. Polly lifted her head from the table, took one look at his befuddled expression, and threw her head back, gales of laughter pealing forth. She felt her face turning bright red. She was laughing so hard, she really did start to cry.

Joe, biting his lip in halfhearted irritation, presented her with his handkerchief for the second time of their acquaintance. This made her laugh even more. She buried her face in the handkerchief, inhaling the faint scent of sandalwood. From the corner of her eye she watched him sit down across from her.

She held his handkerchief to her face for a while longer, knowing her cheeks were as red as a beet. “That girl,” she finally managed to say from behind the cotton screen. “I wouldn’t be surprised if she b-becomes an actress someday. To make you fall for a load of m-malarkey like that!”

Another peal of laughter followed. Joe wasn’t laughing, but she could see that he was amused. Finally, she calmed down. She wiped a residual tear from her eye with one corner of the handkerchief before tucking it into her pocket. “I bet you think we really are crazy now,” she said.

“At the moment I’m just relieved that your mother isn’t dying after all. I like her.”

Polly gave a small hiccup of laughter. “I don’t know why you would. Unless you enjoy being manipulated. Watch out, Joe. She’s going to take over where Ellie left off, unless I’m able to drum it into her skull that you’re not the type of man I’d even remotely consider marrying. If I ever marry.”

From Her Ordinary Joe
Copyright © 2014 Margaret Desmond

This post is in response to the Daily Prompt: Laughter

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A conversation in the garden

“How’s that new student of yours doing?” her neighbor asked too casually as he shook out the dirt from a head of lettuce.

“He’s amazing,” she enthused. “Sam has wonderful musical expression. He’s a special little boy.”

“I haven’t seen that guardian of his around,” the old man fished.

Lindy turned her head away, pretending interest in a butterfly that fluttered amidst the late-blooming roses. She hadn’t seen Devin either. Not since two Sundays ago when she’d met his girlfriend. Or, was she his fiancée? Janelle had implied as much, although Devin had introduced her only as a “friend.” If she really was his fiancée, then Lindy wished him luck. It’d taken less than five minutes of conversation with the other woman for Lindy to figure out that Janelle was the type who was only interested in a man’s wealth and the expensive things that he could buy for her. And if Lindy could see that so quickly, why couldn’t he? Men, she thought, were so blind, especially when caught in the web of a pretty woman who knew how to flaunt her feminine assets.

From The Return of Devin Wakefield
Copyright © 2018 Margaret Desmond

This post is in response to the Daily Prompt: Flaunt


Thank you, Catholic School

This past week, I’ve been editing my latest book. Being an Indie Author, I don’t have the budget at this time to afford an editor. And, as much as I’d love to hand over the task to a professional while I move on to my next project, I think I’ve done a pretty darn good job editing my own books, both the grammar and the content. I have learned how to “kill my darlings.” And that’s not easy! I haven’t received a single book review that complained about poor writing and/or grammar. And that’s thanks, in part, to Catholic school. Of course, I didn’t think so during the time I was attending Catholic school. I’d much rather have been at the public school because they had cool classes like Drama and Band. My little school couldn’t afford those luxuries. I think a good portion of the tuition money was funding the monsignor’s drinking habits, but I digress.

Anyway, as I was editing my new book, I had visions of diagramming sentences on a green chalkboard in fifth grade. And sixth grade. And seventh grade. I recall spending a week or so on sentence diagrams in my Freshman English class. At that time, I didn’t know that the practice of sentence diagramming had been virtually eliminated from the public school system. Today, there’s not one mention of it in the Common Core.

Do YOU know what sentence diagramming is? Were you taught this in school?

The design firm Pop Chart Lab has taken the first lines of famous novels and diagrammed those sentences. 

I guess some kids found the process frustrating. Not me. I LOVED it. Maybe that’s because I love WORDS in general. Reading them. Writing them. As soon as I learned how to write, I spent hours putting words together on paper in a way that told a story that made my mom smile.  (Diagram that sentence). How lucky I was to attend a school that taught ‘old school.’

So, thank you Sister Rose, Sister Muriel, Sister Julie and Sister Pat. I bet you’re all living it up in heaven, those golden rulers at the ready to smack some wayward angel-in-training on the back of the hand.

Oh, and I DO believe in the Oxford Comma. Thanks for that, too!

Happy Reading!

P.S. If you enjoy my writing style, you might enjoy my books. Sweet (not treacly!), Clean, Old-Fashioned Romance with endearing characters and a good dose of humor.

Book Cover Reveal and Contest

Book Three in my King’s Valley Romance Series will be available for pre-order in just a few days! I’m so pleased with the final cover. I didn’t want to stray from the design of the first two books. TRODW_b_500I think all books in a series should have the same cover format for consistency. Don’t you? Anyway, the couple on the cover are exactly how I imagined my Hero and heroine. From the backside. Haha! I don’t know about you, dear reader, but I prefer romance book covers that don’t show too much (if  anything at all) of the main characters’ faces. I’d rather leave that to my imagination.

By the way, Book Four in this series is heading your way this May.  Oh, did I mention that I’m giving away one signed print edition of The Return of Devin Wakefield?

Enter Here! [Contest has ended] The only requirement is that you follow my blog. And why wouldn’t you? Then you’ll be the first to know about future contests, giveaways, sneak peeks, and other fun stuff, including fascinating (no, really) insights into the life of a romance writer.

Happy Reading!

UPDATE 3/22/2018  Congrats to Lindsey on winning one free print edition of this book! I am amazed that her name is so close to the name of the heroine in the book: Lindy. It was meant to be!