Who Wants To See My Book’s Cover?

Do you want to see the cover of All’s Fair in Lust & War? You know, that Harlequin KISS book I wrote that will be published on September 1?

You know you do.

Ready? Here we go.

sneak preview of all's fair in lust & war

Wait? What?

Don’t worry. That’s not the whole thing. But if you want to see it, you need to head over to my new Author Blog. That’s right, I’m getting all fancy on you.

Mostly that’s so I can keep spilling my guts over here without worrying,  but also because, you know. I’m a Published Author. I’ve got to have a Platform. So I can Sell Books.

What’s with the random capitalization? I have no idea. I’m just tired.

Anyway, go check it out. Over there. Please?

 

Unexpected Grief.

Every good bye could be the last one. Treat it accordingly.

The last time I saw him, it was my brother’s birthday. He’d kept us laughing all evening with his sly jokes, and had affectionately called me 3.14 (his childhood nickname for me) at least once. I rolled my eyes, of course, but I didn’t mind. It was our thing.

He eventually got up to leave, and as usual, I made myself scarce so as to avoid the teen-like awkwardness that always comes over me when there’s a lot of hugging going on.

I wish I had hugged him good bye.

I probably never even told him I loved him. I don’t think it ever occurred to me to do so.

I wish I had. I hope he knew.

Last week, he chose to leave this world forever. No one even knew he was thinking about it. No one realized how much pain he was in or how much anguish his self deprecating manner and easy smile was covering up.

I wish he had let us know.  I wish he would have let us help. We could have helped. I would have helped.

But he didn’t. So instead, I’m searching my memories, looking for clues.

I remember riding around on his shoulders when I was very small, feeling like I could touch the sky. I remember how he forced the others to let me have a turn while playing Atari games, defending me when no one else would. I remember being excited to watch MTV  together when it was still shiny and new,  and how incredibly worldly he seemed when he drove off into the night on his moped.

But I don’t ever remember seeing him sad.

I never had a clue. Now all I’ve got is grief punching me in the stomach and guilt swirling through my brain.

I hope wherever he is, he’s at peace and his pain is gone. But I wish with all my heart that he hadn’t taken that step. He never gave us a chance. It wasn’t fair.

So, internet? If I could give you one piece of advice, it would be this: never, ever take the ones you love for granted. Make sure they know how you feel. Make sure they know they can talk to you. And when in doubt? Go in for a hug.

 

 

 

 

 

I Remember When She Was My Hero

I remember dancing through the warm summer grass,  my heart singing a happy tune as I listened to my grandma chatter.

“I’m here with my pride and joy,” she said to the gravestone as she pulled at the weeds obscuring its face. “She reminds me a lot of you. Oh, how you would have loved her.”

a single dandelion

Then she fell silent, and although I didn’t understand why, I knew she was sad. Quickly, I pulled a dandelion and danced over to where she was kneeling. I didn’t know what to say, so I just held it out to her.

“For me?” she said in a high falsetto. “Oh, thank you, honey.”

She hugged me tight and by the time she let go, her smile was back in place. And when I saw it, I knew all was right in the world again.

I cherished the time I spent with her. She taught me how to play war (the card game). She introduced me to the delicious concoction that is jello with a dollop of cool whip on top. She even taught me a little bit about what it meant to be a woman.

To this day, whenever I begin to dot foundation on my neck, I hear her say, “Always make sure your makeup goes all the way down to your collar. Otherwise you look unfinished.”

She wore dresses and heels, and her shoes always matched her purse. To a little girl still enamored with dress-up, her wardrobe was a dream come true.

Even then, I knew that her arrival made my mom anxious, and that she wasn’t always nice to her only daughter. But I was her Pride and Joy. The female grand baby (her only girl grandchild) that arrived a mere nine months after her husband’s death.

I could do no wrong.

But then I began to grow up. And I didn’t do so gracefully. Nope. I was chubby, had zits and braces,  and an awkward sense of style to boot. I still preferred the dresses and skirts I’d worn as a young kid, but teens didn’t dress that way, so I never felt right in my clothes. Or looked right, really.

And when that happened? I began to feel the bite of her tongue.

Eventually, the hero worship faded. I began to resent her for the pain she brought to my mother. I spent less and less time with her, until, as an adult, our only contact was quarterly phone calls and an annual Christmas visit.

But that day in the graveyard stuck in my memory. I’ll never forget the way I felt that day. The way I loved that day.

A part of me never stopped loving her that way.

And so now, knowing she lies in a hospital bed, her body seemingly giving up, I can’t help but mourn for the life that’s not yet gone.

She’ll be 92 in the morning. She’s lived a long, full life. It’s understandable if she’s ready to leave this world.

But the little girl I was is crying inconsolably inside. She doesn’t want to let her go.

She was my very first hero.

I can’t quite imagine a world without her in it.

 

Photo credit: Charles Harvey, Flickr

 

 

 

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