Special Guest Author---Liv Rancourt!

Hey gang! I've been given the honor and absolute privilege of having awesome author, Liv Rancourt, on my blog today! Not only is she a fellow author but she's also a fellow music-lover--check out her post below:

Confessions of a SongPop Addict…

Thanks, Melissa, for giving me a chance to make a guest appearance on your blog. I really appreciate the opportunity to connect with your readers.
As I was scrolling through some of your older posts, I noticed that you occasionally write about music, specifically, rock n’ roll. I’m a pretty big music fan, too. In fact, one of my recent blog posts was a compilation of several of my fave Halloween tunes. I will confess, though, that I’d have a difficult time of it if you made me pick my favorite kind of music. I like them all!
Well, most of them, anyway. Which probably explains why I’m such an incredible SongPop addict. Do you know what SongPop is? It’s one of those Facebook games that annoying people send you invites to, sorta like Farmville or WordsWithFriends. The difference is, SongPop is actually fun.
It’s like Name That Tune, except you challenge your opponents one-on-one, trying to score points. The key is to have a fast trigger finger and an encyclopedic knowledge of music.
Yeah, well, I’m not sure I qualify as “encyclopedic”, but I can handle most any category you throw at me, and half the fun is scoring enough points to buy new categories. I have Jazz, Blues, New Wave, Punk Rock, and nine or ten others. Today’s acquisition: Musicals!
So if you’ve got some time to kill and think you know a little about music, look me up on Facebook and send me a SongPop challenge. I’m always up for a game! 
In the meantime, keep reading for a short excerpt from my newest release, The Santa Drag. It’s a chick-lit short story with a twist, and of course, a happy ending.

Things aren’t always what they seem, and this shopping mall Santa has secrets only her true love can reveal.

On a particularly busy Saturday, I was tired and thinking more about a double shot of espresso than I was about the pile of kids who wanted to sit in my lap. The weak winter sun was making its circle over the atrium where the Christmas Village was set up, and my roommate Shauna was buzzing by every so often to giggle at me from the sidelines. She was trying to get all of her Christmas shopping done in one day, which was a good trick for someone with as many fertile brothers and sisters as she had.
“Come sit on Santa’s lap.” Maya, the photographer and kid-wrangler, invited the next kid in line approach my golden throne. Well, it was fake gold, but the kids didn’t know that.
“No,” said a little girl with a stubborn crease between her brows. She was dressed in Seattle’s version of Christmas formal, a stiff, red velvet dress, likely made from organic fabric dyed with beets and rose hips. On her feet were two-toned leather MaryJanes that probably cost sixty-five dollars. At least the green corkscrew ribbons tied around her blond pigtails looked like they belonged on a child. I made myself as approachable as possible, getting down to her level and producing a big smile.
“Come on, Thula,” her mother said, tapping one French manicured nail on her cell phone. “Go sit up there with Santa so we can take your picture.” She sounded as if this was just one more thing to knock off the list.
“It’s okay, sweetie.” Maya put on her encouraging smile. Maya was a tiny thing, barely bigger than most of the kids we saw, with long dark hair, a tiny gold hoop pierced through one nostril, and bugged-out eyes that looked like they’d been molded out of chocolate. She was non-threatening as an adult could possibly be. The kid stared at her and bit down on her bottom lip. At least she wasn’t crying. Yet.
 “You want to come tell Santa what to bring you for Christmas?” I kept my voice pitched down somewhere under my sternum. It helped that I had one of those raspy lady voices that earned me a permanent spot in the tenor section whenever I sang in choir.
Sometimes less is more when you’re dealing with preschoolers. We went back and forth for several minutes until  the kid went from biting her bottom lip to letting it pooch out and tremble. Never a good sign. Finally, after a ton of coaxing, she was more-or-less close to me,  squatting down on the other side of one of the big pretend presents that ringed my throne. That was good enough for her mom, and Maya snapped a picture.
When she was done, the little girl glared at me from behind the big, glossy red ribbon that topped the present. “Bring me a baby brother,” she bellowed and took off running..
Mom’s glare was meaner than the kid’s had been. Hey, it’s not like I made any promises.
The kid ran full tilt past the pseudo-Tyrolean houses that made the Village, and out through the crowds of shoppers. She stopped in the middle of an open space and cut loose, her sobs echoing around the smoky glass dome that covered us. We could hear her carrying on until she and her mom got swallowed up by the Ross store at the end of the north hallway. The whole place fell into a bit of a hush when she was gone, as  everyone exhaled in relief. This close to Christmas, none of us needed a crying child to ratchet up the stress level.
A young mother was next in line. She came into the Christmas Village and positioned a slightly damp baby on my lap, moving as if something hurt. The baby was so young that Mom still looked a little pregnant under her loose denim-blue shirt. Or maybe she was already pregnant with number two. I’m not so good with the principles of baby production. Well, I understand the basic concepts, but haven’t had that many opportunities to put them into practice.
The brief quiet was interrupted by a yodeling squeal that I recognized. I stared into the crowd until I caught Maya looking at me funny. I stuck on a smile as close to my normal, jolly-Santa shtick as I could get, and she settled back down behind her camera. The reason for my roommate Shauna’s squeal had me completely rattled. In the two or three beats I’d looked out from behind my wire-rimmed glasses as Mack-the-girl, I’d seen Shauna giving someone a big hug. A really handsome someone. Joe McBride. Joseph Timothy McBride. The actor. The real-life, got a soap opera gig and several commercials and you saw him in Scream 2 actor. The only guy I ever really loved.

Ooh, now she’s got a problem! Will Mack turn all Creepy-Kringle? Will Joe recognize her? What’s a Santa to do?  ;)

The Santa Drag is available from Still Moments Publishing, Smashwords, and Amazon.


  1. Thanks again for the guest shot, Melissa, and for your kind words. Everybody needs a little creepy-Kringle in their life.

  2. Oh-oh! Looks like Santa got some problems, will have to find out. Great post as always. Yes, music is my love too, but there's some I just won't listen. Like rap or any head banging stuff. Not too crazy about old music either. My ex loved Crosby, Still & Nash. Dragged me to three of their concerts, I was bored to tears. Made me listen to James Taylor zzzzzzzzzzzzz

  3. As a songpop victim of Liv's trigger finger and vast knowledge of music, I can tell you it's a great game.

    Nice excerpt from Santa Drag. Good luck.

  4. OMG CS&N? BORING! and James Taylor is just as bad. I'll listen to rap before I'll listen to a lot of that self-important '70s stuff.
    Thanks Zrinka!

  5. Oh, hey now, I'm your victim as often as the opposite, Deb. It seems to alternate on a weekly basis. More than once I've seen you get an answer right and thought, "How the hell did she know THAT song?"
    Thanks for checking in.