Monica and Grandma Pam
My heart is broken. Not because I lost one of the most important people of my life today, but because the loss of my mother is especially hard on my teenage daughter, Monica. I know my mother is no longer suffering, no longer in pain. She’s in peace now. But hearing my daughter cry while she’s doing dishes is killing me. Monica was the first grandchild, spoiled beyond all reason. She and my mother were very close. The younger two kids are sad but dealing in their own way. Angela, the 5-year-old has been asking a million questions about death, which I try to answer as honestly as possible, but because I’ve never died myself, can only guess at some of the answers. She did help me out, though, by telling our two dogs that grandma was dead and never coming back.
I’m thankful to have an amazing support system to lean on. My only sister is there for me and I for her. Our family has rallied behind us offering advice, a shoulder to cry on, and a giant ham (Thanks, Laurie.)
My mom was the strongest woman I knew. After my father got sick(er) while we lived in Alaska, my mother stepped up and ran our pizza restaurant with only a twelve-year-old me to help most times. My aunt and grandpa pitched in, too, but the responsibility was all on her. And the restaurant wasn’t even her dream, but my father’s. After he died, she raised two girls on her own, making sure we had everything we needed. Personally, I think she did a stellar job.
So now as I remember my mother, I let the good times we had come to the forefront: all the swim meets she always helped out at, the conversations we shared as we made dinner together, and watching her read books to her grandchildren. She’ll be sorely missed.
In her memory, I’m donating all of January’s profits from my books, Pucker Up and The Tenth Life of Mr. Whiskers, to a diabetes research charity. Hug the ones you love today for you never know if they’ll be there tomorrow.
My short story, The Tenth Life of Mr. Whiskers, is free today at Amazon. So grab your brand-spankin’ new Kindle and download it today. It’s a fun little story about a witch who needs to bring her boss’s cat back to life so she won’t lose her job. Of course, everything that can go wrong, does. It’s laugh-out-loud funny.
On another note, I hope everyone is recovering well from their Christmas holiday. The past couple days have been busy, but joyful. Now, as I gaze around my mess of a house—bits of wrapping paper and cardboard, half-eaten cookies, and pieces to new games scattered all over the floor—I just want to crawl back into bed until 2013. Let someone else clean it up. That would be a much appreciated present for this worn-out mom, although my Severus Snape replica wand is pretty cool. Too bad I can’t make it work.
One of the best parts of Christmas day was surprising my teenage daughter with her new iPhone 4. We had her convinced she wasn’t getting it. Then, right before dinner, we gave it to her. I had my sister-in-law sit next to her and answer the phone when I called from another room. She hands it to her saying “It’s for you.” Confused, my daughter answers it and I ask over the line “How do you like your new phone?” She went nuts. Tears in her eyes, she practically mowed me down giving me a hug. The huge smile that lingered on her face the rest of the night was the best gift of all.
What special gift did you give or receive this Christmas?
This is my favorite time of year because I love to give gifts and do nice things for my friends , family, and perfect strangers. Yes, I’m the person that instead of giving money to the person on the street with their hand out, I invite them to McDonald’s for a hamburger and conversation. Of course, most people just want the money, but I did have a nice chat with a homeless man over coffee at the downtown bus terminal once.
So this year, I thought I’d do something for the masses: make my short story, The Tenth Life of Mr. Whiskers, FREE on Amazon on December 25th and 26th. Don’t have a Kindle? They have an app for that. If your sense of humor is a bit on the twisted side, like mine, you’ll love this story. It’s about a witch who needs to bring her boss’ dead cat back to life but nothing goes right. If you enjoy the story, tell your friends. If you don’t, tell your enemies. Let’s share the joy with as many people in the world as possible.
On another note, Alan Rickman, if you’re reading this, Merry Christmas from your number one fan. And now that I have your attention,when is your movie, Gambit, coming to the US? I’m dying to see it and not just because your naked in some scenes, though that is a big part of it. It’s going on my list.
So, Merry Christmas everyone! Be safe, be joyful, and happy reading!
The short story I have been working on for the past 4 months, The Tenth Life of Mr. Whiskers, is almost done. Yay! The plan is to have it available by Christmas. Here’s the blurb:
Mr. Whiskers is dead—muerto—shuffled off his mortal coil.
All Laney had to do was watch the store and feed the cat. Too bad she hadn’t known there was a cat.
She has a plan, though. An obscure spell contains the power to grant life, only long enough to save her job, and her vacation in Paris. Just because she botches the simplest of spells doesn’t mean she can’t control complicated magic, right?
The mysterious new guy at school, Kody, goes along for the ride; providing emotional support and, well, let’s be honest, he’s just hot.
After struggling through the spell—when nothing seems to be going right—they find that giving Mr. Whiskers a tenth life turns out to be more than they bargained for.
I had a blast writing this story and my critique group enjoyed reading it. They laughed in all the right places, thank goodness. It always makes me nervous when I bring a submission in to my group, worried they won’t laugh when I want them to. Or laugh when I don’t want them to.
Writing is such a personal craft. Even with a work of fiction with a variety of characters and events, a writer still puts so much of themselves into every scene. Having other people read your work and then critique takes a lot of guts. But, that’s how we grow and learn and become the best writers we can. Though it is hard work, I’m loving the journey to the New York Times Bestsellers List. I’ll get there someday.
Now that our Little League’s Fall Ball season is over, so is my reading time. I was the mom sitting in the bleachers with her nose in a book, only putting it down to cheer when her son was up to bat. Or I read during the hour long practice every Tuesday evening, as long as I left the youngest at home. I also read while I waited in the car for my daughter to get out of marching band practice. But that’s over for the year, too.
Now that I don’t have an excuse to get away from my computer and out of the house like before, how will I get any reading done? I’m currently working on a short story I hope to have published by the end of the year, so taking time away from that is difficult. But I them I downloaded the Kindle app to my PC so I can read ebooks on my computer, WHILE I write. Whoo hoo!
Right now I’m reading Poetic Trash by my good friend, Kody Kline. As a woman, I find it extremely fascinating to get inside the mind of a 18-22 year old man. As it turns out, they’re not that much different from us. Who knew? The book is full of poems and thoughts full of angst and romance, anger and enlightenment. All beautifully written. One of my favorite poems is The Tattoo I Will Never Get. Here is an excerpt from that piece:
Red ribbon in her hair/Pale white skin softer than velvet/Ruby red lips never have I kissed/The rockabilly girl I’ll never be with/Slender frame with tattoos she calls her life/At the center of supple breasts is her broken heart/How it is I wish I could be the one to make it heal/She has fled to the night/I sit here and think/She’s the tattoo I will never get.
I think we all have that tattoo that we’ll never get, which makes it all the more beautiful. The only problem with my new set-up of reading on the computer is that I get sucked into whatever book I’m on that sometimes I forget to go back to my writing. Oops.
So, how do you make time for reading and what are you reading right now?