Guest Blogger: Rochelle Staab

Greetings from a bar stool at the Tiki Hut on a starlit beach near Los Angeles. I’m Liz Cooper, L.A. psychologist and sometimes sleuth, sitting as close as I can get to the bartender mixing Tipsy Tequila Cocoa*. Swathed from my ponytail to my Uggs in layers of white cotton, a wool scarf, jeans, and my old U of I college varsity jacket, my nose is cold, and I’m egg-nogged, gifted, caroled, red-and-greened, and It’s A Wonderful Life’d out. California born, I consider forty degrees at the beach a frostbite alert but beneath the portable heater at the hut, I’m content and surrounded by people I adore.

On Christmas morning, my Dad surprised Mom with tickets for a New Year’s Eve Mexican cruise, meaning for once in my thirty-eight years I can celebrate my New Year’s Eve singing “Auld Lang Syne” somewhere other than the annual party at my parents’ house. I’m planning on a midnight kiss I’ll remember all year.

Undaunted by Dad’s shift in plans, Mom switched gears and gathered a group for a New Year’s Eve-Eve-Eve-Eve party at the Pacific Ocean. The waxing crescent moon above me punctuates the night sky with a lustrous apostrophe. Laughter mixes with the sound of waves lapping to shore. At the end of the bar, mini-cheeseburgers are disappearing fast off bamboo trays. My best friend Robin, looking like a marshmallow in need of toasting, shivers on the stool beside me with her arms crossed over her chest and mittened hands tucked under the armpits of her white puff coat.

Mom, in a full-length, cream-colored woolen cape, passes out paper and pens, asking her guests to circle the bonfire on the sand. “To bid bon voyage to 2011, I want everyone to write down what you’ll leave behind, plus your resolutions for 2012. When you’re done, throw your paper into the bonfire for the universe to look after, and then we’ll toast to the year ahead.”

My fingers sufficiently warmed by a second cup of spiked cocoa, I plop on a blanket near the roaring fire, write and then read my list to Robin. “I’m leaving behind Jarret.” Whoa. Why, after being divorced for three years, is my ex on any list I make? “No, wait. Do-over. I’m leaving behind cellulite. I intend to go to the gym in 2012.”

Robin laughs. “Both lumps are squatters. Once exes and cellulite settle in, they don’t leave. But I think it’ll be easier for you to lose the ex than to ditch the cellulite, Liz. Sorry.”

“I’m motivated.” I smile, glancing toward the hut across the sand. Nick—my reason to be in shape and the focus of my midnight kiss—is at the bar with my brother. “Oh, and I’m leaving behind anything to do with crime, unless—”

“Trust me.” Robin puts up her hands. “Trouble is on my leave-behind list too. What are your resolutions? Aside from keeping Nick busy, of course.”

“Easy. Laugh more. Love more. Give more.” I toss my list into the fire and watch it burn. Yes, I believe 2012 will be a good year. What else could happen?

= = = = = = = = = =

Carol, thank you so much for inviting Liz and me to cozy up Under the Tiki Hut today. The start of a new year brings opportunity for new beginnings and do-overs. My goal for 2012 is better time management (can someone sell me extra hours? Please?) To end 2011 in style, I’m giving away a copy of WHO DO, VOODOO? to a lucky commenter. For a chance to win, share one personal goal you’d like to accomplish in 2012. U.S. residents only, please. Good luck everyone, and all the best for a very HAPPY NEW YEAR!

= = = = = = = = = =

Rochelle Staab, a former award-winning radio programmer and music industry marketing executive, blended her fascination with the supernatural and her love for mystery in WHO DO, VOODOO? the bestselling first novel in her Mind for Murder Mystery series for Berkley Prime Crime. BRUJA BROUHAHA, the second novel in the series will be released in August 2012.


Mason Canyon said…
Rochelle, it's always fun to catch up with Liz and the gang. Hope everyone has a joyous and Happy New Year.

Carol, thanks for hosting Rochelle.

Now I'm off to find out more about this Tipsy Tequila Cocoa. Yum!

Thoughts in Progress
Think I need a big bonfire this year!
Rochelle Staab said…
I probably do too, Alex. I haven't made my list yet but I know procrastination will be on the leave-behinds. More sleep will be on my resolutions :)

Thanks for stopping by. Happy 2012!
Tiffinie Helmer said…
Rochelle, you had me at spiked cocoa! Love the bonfire idea. I'm going to give it a try and see if I can't get rid of some soul-sucking things too. Personal goal this year is the same as yours: time management or a way to score more time, which I guess is the same thing. Between the writing and my pottery, kids, hubby, and working retail, the sands in my hour glass are empty. Need to buy more sand.
Anonymous said…
That cocoa looks divine. Great post, too.

I'm also aiming for better time management. I did improve in that area this year, but I hope to do better next.

Happy New Year, Rochelle and Carol.
irishoma said…
What a fun post! The cocoa looks divine.

One of my goals for 2012 is devote more time to exercising my muscles--physical, writing, and spiritual.

Have a great year!

Donna v.
Anonymous said…
I like the thought of "leave-behinds" rather than resolutions. It feels like jettisoning the things that don't work, rather than chastizing myself for the stuff I didn't accomplish. :) Now I'm gonna celebrate with some of that cocoa!

Donna Cummings
Rochelle Staab said…
Tiffinie and Medeia, a click of the cocoa mug to you for a year of time well spent. We can try, right?
Donna V., I love your balance!
Donna C., :) I'm with you. Adding guilt to my "see-ya" list.
Thank you all for stopping by!
Talking of resolutions I am not making any.
Most enjoyable post to read.

My resolution is to feed my soul more than my mouth--and to finish the sequel to Child of the Mountains. Of course, the way I keep resolutions, I might as well throw this in a fire. ;-)

Is it really colder in LA than GA right now?

Tami Brothers said…
Love the idea of tossing away the old into a big ol' bon fire. I think that would be a most excellent idea for a New Year’s eve party this year. Lord knows I have enough wood and enough "old" to fuel it. :)

One of my goals for this coming year is to focus more on my writing. I know I say this every year, but this year I've already put a plan into motion with three (yes THREE) two month long classes starting in January. Go big or go home is my motto.

Headed over to grab some of that cocoa and I'll even check out that book. Voodoo. Gotta love it. :)

Rochelle Staab said…
Yvonne, thank you for stopping by and Happy 2012!

Marilyn, L.A. is cold early mornings and late evenings (35-40ish) but right now the temp is 70 and we're expecting 80 degree days this weekend. Los Angeles always rallies the good weather for the nationally televised Rose Bowl. I think a warm sunny day for the parade and the game is in the city Charter. Is it balmy in Georgia too? Best of luck with your writing. I'm right there with you.

Tami, I'm envious—I adore writing classes. What a perfect way to kick off next year's writing routine. Go BIG!
Janet, said…
I enjoyed reading your post. My resolution is to keep sending in my manuscripts and to get an acceptance this year!
Rochelle Staab said…
Thank you, Janet! Wishing you good writing and good fortune with your queries.
Nezzy said…
I love it!!! The bonfire experience is just a wonderful idea.

I've had students and my Kids Church write their problems down on paper and then wade it up to throw it in the trash.

You have yourself a fantastic 2012 sweetie.

God bless ya! :o)
Rochelle Staab said…
Thank you, Nezzy, and the same to you. What a fabulous, clever idea for the children, too.
Nezzy said…
Our blue heeler is eight months old and has chewed up everything. My soaker hoses, my solar light 'round the walkway into the cottage garden. Chewed a corner off the house. She pulled stuff out from under my car. I've let her drag all sorts of stuff into my usually perfect yard to keep her occupied but she just keeps on chewin'.

Her only salvation is that she is wonderful heardin' cattle.

Hubs keep sayin' she'll grow outta bein' so spastic but I don't know....I didn't. Heeehehhee!!!

God bless ya Hon! :o)
Carol Kilgore said…
Nezzy, ours ate his 6' leather leash. Chews up Kong toys. Still at age 3. Last spring he tried to herd ducks - did pretty good until Daddy Duck showed up. Has a LOUD voice and loves to sing.
Carol Kilgore said…
Rochelle - Thanks so much for guest blogging with me. I hope you had fun.

And welcome to all the new faces who dropped by. The door's always open. Oh, wait ... there aren't any doors.
Rochelle Staab said…
Carol, I had a blast. Thank you so much for everything! I'll drop all the names in the magical winner machine and post the lucky winner's name in the morning.

May 2012 be the year all of our hopes and dreams are fulfilled. Pass the spiked cocoa!
Rochelle Staab said…
Congratulations our winner, Tami Brothers!
Tami, please drop me an email with your address to: and I will send your copy of WHO DO, VOODOO? I hope you enjoy the read :)

And thank you again to Carol and everyone who stopped by to comment. I wish you all a very Happy New Year!
Carol Kilgore said…
Congratulations, Tami. And Happy New Year to you, too, Rochelle!
This was a hoot! I look forward to reading more of your work!