A Slice of Orange


My Last First Date: Better Late Than Never

June 7, 2007 by in category Last First Date tagged as

By Gillian Doyle

Friday the 13th was my lucky day. In the final minutes of my last day of a two-week stint as an office temp, Mr. Tall and Gorgeous asked me out on our first date–a concert on Sunday, the 15th.

On Saturday, my dad’s Chicago cousin and her family came to stay with us in L.A., eager to see all the tourist traps. I must have been drifting through some sort of euphoric fog because I have no memory of their visit.

Except on that fateful First-Date Sunday.

My dad had taken his relatives to an amusement park for the entire day and were not expecting to come home until late in the evening. Of course I didn’t go because of the BIG DATE.

At five o’clock, I was dressed to kill and ready for the doorbell to ring, wondering if Mr. First Date would have trouble finding my address. Our house was on a very busy four-lane boulevard. It was also so close to the freeway on-ramp that cars accelerated like a jet taking off from LAX. It was so bad that first-time visitors to our house had been known to whiz by with the flow of traffic and find themselves in the next suburb in the blink of an eye.

I had stomach-churning visions of Mr. Dreamy Date, dazed and confused in Pico Rivera, searching helplessly for an opportunity to turn around (not an easy trick), then finally heading back toward my house, only to discover the impracticality of parking across the street. Over on that side, the off-ramp from the freeway shot Indy drivers onto the boulevard faster than the Jet pilots on my side. NO one crossed those lanes on foot.

Okay, so now the guy was ten minutes late. Maybe he’d made a second pass and missed again. Maybe I should’ve told him to come around to the alley where everyone else parked.

Nooooo…Mr. Knight-in-Shining-Armor’s first impression of my humble abode would NOT be a pot-holed alley lined with graffiti-scrawled cinderblock walls and smelly trash cans.

Twenty minutes late.

Oh dear lord, please don’t let this be happening.

It’s bad enough to be stood up, but worse if it’s a FIRST date! What could be worse than that? Being stood up when your dad has his Illinois cousin visiting so that your personal mortification becomes a pathetic anecdote spread throughout the entire family, far and wide, retold at holiday dinners in Chicago and beyond!

Thirty minutes late.

I heard voices at the back door. My dad and his relatives were home early!

Panic! I had honestly expected to be long gone when they came back – either on my date or … well, anywhere else but home so I didn’t have to face them.

As they came in the kitchen, I glanced around. No where to run. No where to hide. Oh good god, why me? WHY ME?

I think I had been wearing a red dress. I don’t know for sure. I just remember thinking as the heat rose to my cheeks that the bright pink flush of embarrassment might not be noticeable. Maybe they’d think it was the glow off the dress. Yeah-right.

Needless to say, everyone stopped when they saw me. Their smiles froze. Awkward silence. Then hellos all around. They shuffled into the living room, saying what a great time was had by all at the amusement park, and it was too bad I’d missed it. And had they realized I’d still be here when they got back, they would’ve insisted that I come along in the first place.

Yeah, well…I did have a date to get ready for.

Ah-yes, “the date”. (Did I detect a wink between my dad’s cousin and her husband?)

Then she said, sweet as you please, with a tad of empathy thrown in, “Looks like you’ve been stood up.”


I know I didn’t say this out loud because there were no gasps of shock and their eyes didn’t pop out.

Instead, I kept my smile firmly in place. Still, I have no recollection of anything else I may have said or done as the minutes ticked by.

Finally the doorbell rang.

Saved – literally! — by the bell.

And, yes, we had gotten our wires crossed. According to him, he was right on time. (I soon learned he was—and still is– a man of his word and always, ALWAYS on time!)

Our date was a John Denver concert under the stars at the (then) open-air Universal Amphitheater. The music was wonderful, the night perfect. It was just chilly enough to snuggle together for warmth. Many years later we met John briefly through friends, and had the opportunity to thank him for making our first date so memorable.

As time went by, I realized that my dad had brought his relatives home early for personal reasons. He had been eager to meet this young man that his little girl was going to marry someday.

Multi-published author Gillian Doyle writes paranormal suspense. She invites you to drop by at her blog and say hello.

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My Last First Date: Next Time, You Pick the Movie

June 5, 2007 by in category Archives tagged as

Oh, my goodness. It truly was one of those “across the crowded room” moments that singers sing about. But the truth of it was…Tim had been High School Football Team Captain and Boyfriend of the Head Cheeleader/Homecoming Queen, and I had been an honor-roll dork who edited the yearbook. True, four years had passed since graduation. College had been good to me, but the dork-factor is a hard one to lose. And Tim was already one smokin‘ fireman…

It was a mini-reunion Christmas party when our eyes met across the pool table. Actually, I was semi-comotose on a couch. Not alcohol; I was recovering from a cute little bout of pneumonia. Right then he came over to sit beside me. Fate. Karma. Serendipity. God’s will. What ever you call it, and I knew I needed to see him again. And again. Since these were the days when dinosaurs walked the earth and “nice girls” didn’t ask guys out other than to be your plus-one at your cousin’s wedding, I had to quickly concoct something to ensure future contact. And so I did. I announced to everybody present that the next bash was to be on New Years Eve at my apartment. Tim agreed to be there. With a sigh of relief, I contented myself that I’d see him again in just ten days.

But he woke me up the next morning, asking me out on a date. A date! I’d probably been on a hundred such things, but this one, with somebody I’d known for years but didn’t know at all, was the most unnerving. I knew it had to be one special event, so I picked a sure thing for a first date, a Burt Reynolds movie. He was popular at the time, a man’s sort of man as well as eye candy for me. The perfect combo.


I sat through the harrowing adventures of four hapless canoers, kind of regretting I hadn’t picked a comedy, when we came to the Main Event featuring poor Ned Beatty. Dork Alert: at that moment, I realized that either Tim would never speak to me again…or he’d love me forever.

Fortunately, he selected the last choice. If you haven’t seen the classic movie, rent it and remind yourself that this was some fool’s first date choice. But it must have spun some kind of magic. We never dated anybody else after seeing it, and it’s now thirty-three years, two kids and one grandson later.

A Southern California native, Tanya Hanson honed her writing skills during the fifteen years she taught high school English. She’s published in Western Romance but the sophomore slump has been a long one, yet she (and her amazing critique partner, multi-pubbed and best selling author Charlene Sands) refuse to give up!

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My Last First Date: Lost at Howard Johnson’s

June 4, 2007 by in category Archives tagged as
By Jacqueline Diamond

I nearly lost my husband at Howard Johnson’s.

We met at a singles event and arranged to get together the following Saturday. As a fledgling reporter, I’d somehow snagged two free passes to Disneyland. They didn’t include the parking and, being young and cheap, we didn’t want to pay to park two cars. So we arranged to meet at a nearby Howard Johnson’s where we could leave one for free.

That was in the days before cell phones, but what’s the big deal with meeting somebody in front of a hotel?

Problem: He assumed we were meeting in front of the restaurant. I assumed in front of the lobby. Or maybe I’ve got that backwards. Anyway, you couldn’t see one place from the other.

I waited. And waited. Even went to a phone booth and called his house, but no one answered.

Was this guy just another unreliable jerk? I honestly didn’t think so. Fortunately, I hung around just a little longer and Kurt, having the same positive expectations about me, decided to take a final swing through the parking lot in his pickup.

Hooray! We were delighted to see each other. And we had a great date. Ate dinner overlooking Pirates of the Caribbean (that was included with the free passes. Otherwise, we’d have dined on hot dogs). Went on the Matterhorn and hollered all the way down.

We’ll celebrate our 29th anniversary in October.

Jackie Diamond Hyman (w/a Jacqueline Diamond) is the award-winning author of more than 75 novels. Her first e-book, Touch Me In the Dark, was released last month by Triskelion Publishing. You can find her at www.jacquelinediamond.com.

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Tell us about your last first date!

May 31, 2007 by in category Archives tagged as

Today I met the boy I’m going to marry….

OCC member and USA Today Bestselling author Susan Mallery wants to hear the stories of your last first date for the latest contest on our blog, A Slice of Orange.

She’s looking for stories of the first time you went on a date with your spouse or main squeeze. We want it all! The good, the bad, the funny, the romantic!

Contest runs from June 4 until June 15. Blogs will be posted every day, including weekends. Susan will judge all entries and announce the top three on June 22.

The first place winner will receive a signed copy of Susan’s June release, Her Last First Date, and a Starbucks gift card.

Send your submissions* to Louise Knott Ahern at louise@theworkingwriter.com. Please include your full name, address and phone number so we may contact you if you win. (Address and contact info will not be posted on the blog.)

*A Slice of Orange editors reserve the right to edit or reject submissions.

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Words of Wisdom from the Writers Rock Critique Group

May 27, 2007 by in category Archives tagged as

Blog #1: What’s in a Name? or Brainstorming Blitz

When Sandy first asked us as a critique group if we would be interested in contributing blogs for the OCC website, we scratched our collective heads. We being me, Barb DeLong, along with Jann Audiss, Cathy Oliver and our newest CG member, Johna Machak. What would we write about? Would anyone be interested in what we have to say? Who are we, anyway?

We decided to discuss all this over dinner and drinks that very evening at the Taps Fish House and Brewery in Brea. As the meal progressed, we came up with possible subjects for future blogs. Yes, we decided we might actually have a few words to say from time to time, and yes, perhaps because we’re ever so witty and wise, someone might actually enjoy reading them. But first and foremost we needed to name our critique group. It had to be something clever and upbeat. Hmmm . . .

What better way to come up with that definitive name than to brainstorm. As most of you know, brainstorming is a fabulous tool that writers use to list all the possible and impossible plots, scenes, consequences, etc., that will aid the writer in finding that perfect happening, that perfect thing, that will set her book apart from the rest. I pulled the napkin out from under my lemon drop martini and scrounged a pen.

We started off staidly enough with The Creative Quills (too stuffy, sounds historical), The Bookworms (Cathy wasn’t going to be any darned animal), The Red Liners (too harsh), The Wordsmiths (hard to say), The Prose Polishers (ditto). O-kay. This was good. We were all contributing, throwing stuff out there. One admonition: no comments on the names until we were through. Brainstorming means get it down, no matter how bad or good or improbable. Or inappropriate. I grabbed another napkin. Drinks all around.

The Word Pro’s (copyrighted, I think), Word Divas (not bad), Words R Us (can’t get that R to go backward), The Book Babes (Cathy wasn’t going to be any darned babe), Happy Hour Critique Group (now we were getting somewhere). Oops, we just couldn’t help it – the comments and snickers continued.

The Drama Queens (we laughed till we cried), the Quivering Quills (Jann passed out the tissues), The Query Dearies (my fave). By that time we’d begun disturbing the other diners. The waiters gave us dirty looks. We decided to continue this brainstorming activity on-line, where we could make all the noise we wanted.

Well, one month and one dining experience later, we settled on the Writers Rock Critique Group. For now. Subject to change without notice. So, brainstorming is a great tool. Enjoy it over dinner and drinks. Just bring lots of tissues and a designated driver. A notebook is optional. After all, they have plenty of napkins.

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