TRAVELS ON ROUTE 66

Put down the pen someone else gave you.
No one ever drafted a life worth living on borrowed ink.
Jack Kerouac
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The Road Where Fiction and Reality Collide

By P.C. Zick (Originally appeared on Stacy Eaton’s blog Authors from Everywhere )

Jack Kerouac’s On the Road inspired me to take my own journey down the Mother Road in 2007. I knew I’d write something about the trip, but I wasn’t sure what it would be. I wrote some articles for the magazine where I worked at the time, but they were nonfiction travelogue pieces. They didn’t convey some of the hilarity and magic that happened when my friend and our two daughters hit Route 66, starting in Chicago and ending in L.A. nine years ago.

A year after the journey, I decided that fiction would be my vehicle for capturing the essence of the trip. I changed all the specifics, of course, but the spirit of that journey remained as I wrote Live from the Road, my tribute to Jack Kerouac and all road warriors who know the essence of any trip lies in the journey and not necessarily the destination.

The real story behind the novel Live from the Road began one night over a couple of beers at a local bar. It took more than a year to plan and pull off.

“You know what I’ve always wanted to do?” I asked my friend Joy one rainy night as we sat commiserating about our complacent lives. “I’ve always wanted to travel Route 66 from Chicago to L.A. But I’ve never found anyone who wanted to accompany me.”

“You’ve found her now,” Joy said, and thus began more than a year of plotting and planning our escape from our lives for more than two weeks on the road.

Romantic visions of Jack Kerouac and the open road, John Steinbeck and a dog named Charley, neon lights and roadside motels clouded our minds as the mundane details of the trip threatened to intrude on our starry-eyed dreams.

Our daughters, both in their twenties, asked if they could join us. We were astounded.

“Why would you want to spend your summer vacation with two middle-aged women?” I asked my daughter Anna.

“It’ll be a blast,” she said.

Joy’s daughter Hillary said something similar, and so we became a foursome of road warriors ready to set forth on one of the most historic roads in the world.

Simply saying “Route 66” conjures up visions of greasy hamburgers, neon signs flashing “No Vacancy,” characters out of a Sam Shepard play, and, of course, freedom to disappear into the gut of this country. Even though the trip occurred years ago, those visions still reverberate within my soul.

My journal became my companion on the trip, as well as emails sent to friends and family whenever we had the Internet. Serendipity and downright foolishness collided into one of the most memorable trips of my life.

Soon after the trip, I began writing the fictional version using the seeds of events from the journey. All I had to do was take a small event from the real trip and amplify it into a golden nugget of a story. Amazingly, there were many stories that never came close to appearing in the book because they were just too outlandish. Those stories remain sacred, only to be pulled out when the four of us reunite to reminisce.

Live from the Road—my fourth novel—became the first book I published as an Indie Author in 2012. My other books had been published traditionally. I even had an agent for a bit before becoming disillusioned with the world of publishing. This road trip novel also marked my return to writing in a very different world from the one I’d known. Since its publication, I’ve written nine more novels, with four more simmering on the back burner in my mind.

The characters from Live from the Road always repeat one ridiculous axiom throughout the story:  “Always head in the direction we’re going.”

That’s exactly what I continue to do every day as a writer. The world of writing and publishing is undergoing a revolution right now, and I’m happy to be a part of it. As I head in the direction I’m going, I’m writing and loving every minute of the trip.

May all your journeys be fruitful. And if you need to be reminded of the importance of enjoying the ride on the way to your journey, give Live from the Road a read. If nothing else, you laugh at the antics.

Excerpt from Live from the Road

 Chapter 1 – Lake Michigan to the Pacific

Route 66 – just the name conjures up visions of flashing neon motel signs, convertibles filled with carefree travelers, Jack Kerouac-like adventures, and John Steinbeck writing odes to a dog. Route 66 connotes movement toward unparalleled scenery, unexpected miracles, and dreams come true.

My best friend Sally and I heaped all those expectations on our own personal journey down Route 66 – the road Steinbeck dubbed the “Mother Road.” I’m sure the author never envisioned “mothers” such as us hitting the road to discover our own meanings of life. When our grown daughters decided they wanted to join us on our journey, we welcomed them aboard. From the beginning, I heaped plenty of expectations on that glory road. I’d been numb for five years, and I suspected my daughter lived in the same limbo. With Sally and her daughter, Ramona, as our companions, I hoped CC and I would be able to peer into the abyss of our sadness created when my son Sean died five years earlier. Whatever happened, I knew with a certainty my life would change during and after this trip. I never predicted it would turn all four lives upside down. It’s probably not surprising – the path Route 66 followed carried many lost and broken souls from the displaced Native Americans on the Trail of Tears to the Dust Bowl victims of the 1930s. Even Jack Kerouac faced his share of demons while traveling the Mother Road.

The road’s original goal – to link Lake Michigan to the Pacific Ocean 2,400 miles away – still remains, even though most of the original road does not. The four of us raced toward the charm of Route 66. We yearned to discover its magic as the glory road leading to salvation and the Shangri-La of America – California. We found the road paved, not in gold, but in broken pieces of asphalt and towns killed by the interstate. But amid the actual reality of the road, we found moments of inspiration and serendipity.

After months of planning, we flew from our homes in Florida to Chicago in early June 2007. When we landed at O’Hare Airport, I looked at my daughter CC with her backpack and sleeping bag on her back, torn black T-shirt advertising Eraserhead, dyed-red and spiked hair, and I knew the years had sped by faster than I ever knew possible. Recently divorced from her father, I was beginning a new era in my life as a 50-year-old single woman. I stared at CC, attempting to put it all together in my mind. Even though I didn’t look it, I felt as if I was the same age as my 25-year-old daughter waiting for her luggage to appear on the carousel. Was this really the baby I nestled at my breast all those years ago?

“Mom, watch out,” CC said as I almost backed into a stroller being pushed by a toddler. I looked down into the face of a tiny baby sleeping peacefully as the older sibling attempted to maneuver around the people waiting for the bags.

“I’m sorry,” I said to the mother walking behind the stroller and watching both her children carefully. “I wasn’t paying attention.”

“That’s all right,” she said. “I really shouldn’t let her do it, but she insists on doing everything herself.”

“Really? I wonder what it would be like to have a child like that,” I said as I pointed my thumb at CC. “This one has always done exactly what I have said.” I rolled my eyes.

The mother smiled at me, and then took in CC’s hair and torn shirt. She quickly looked down at her own daughter and then at the baby sleeping in the stroller.

“Enjoy them now,” I said. “They grow up so fast you won’t believe it, and then they’re gone.”
I turned away quickly so she wouldn’t notice the sudden tears forming. The words slipped out of my mouth without thinking much about them. Only when I heard them out loud did I realize what I’d said. CC was right next to me, but her brother Sean was not and never would be there again. I wanted to chase after that mother and tell her not only to enjoy, but also to hold onto them for as long as she could. It could be over in the time it took to tie their shoes.

“You okay, Mom?” CC asked. She was looking at me intently.

“Fine, fine. I was just remembering you and Sean at that age. It’s over so quickly.” I was fighting to keep control there in the middle of the airport.

“This trip is going to be good for all of us,” she said.

She gave me a quick hug, unusual for my daughter who usually abhorred physical displays of emotion. Luckily one of our bags appeared right then, and the moment passed.

Sally and her daughter Ramona stood on the other side of the carousal. I saw Sally’s bag with the pink ribbons on the handle go by. It was a gorilla of a suitcase – very hard to miss. Sally said she’d rather have one large suitcase rather than the smaller two or three bags the rest of us carried. Problem was she couldn’t get it off the carousal, so Ramona was left to recover it while her two bags passed by unnoticed. Thank goodness the gorilla had wheels.

Once we picked up our rental, a red mini-van, we loaded all of our belongings in the back. CC was the packer in the crew, and she told Sally that her bag would always have to go in first because it was too big to go on top of any of the other bags.

Sally took the driver’s seat – she always drove, and I never argued. It was her way of maintaining control. I took shotgun with the maps and directions and Route 66 books. It actually worked out better this way. I liked giving directions as much as Sally liked driving the engine. Ramona would be our tour guide as she read from the Route 66 books we’d been collecting over the past year of planning for this adventure.

“First stop is Wal-Mart for a cooler and two tents,” Sally announced. “Everyone keep your eyes peeled for a good exit.”

After settling in our hotel, we decided we would walk toward Lake Michigan and find a place for dinner and whatever else might grab our attention.

The full moon directed us downtown. We crossed over the Chicago River, reveling in Chicago’s architecture. Some dubbed it the capital of architecture and the birthplace of the skyscraper. Studs Terkel called it a “city of men.” And as I looked up at the dizzying heights of the buildings surrounding us, I could see why. We stopped often for pictures, asking people we passed on the sidewalk to snap a shot or two.

We didn’t know where we were headed until Ramona spotted a banner waving in the breeze over a balcony railing, advertising “Rooftop Dining.”

“That looks like the perfect place,” Ramona said as she pointed to the sign. “It’s even got a view of the Sears Tower.”

A small elevator meant for two people opened up in the lobby.

“Come on, Mom,” Ramona said when Sally hesitated to crowd into the small cubicle. “It’s just a short ride to the rooftop.”

“All right, but I’m finding stairs for the trip down,” Sally said.

Sally hated small confined places, but we crowded around her and exchanged one-liners until we spewed out to the rooftop, where a waiter stood ready for the energy of four females set loose on the road for several weeks of freedom. Freedom is just another word for doing whatever we pleased.

“I’d like to hear some blues or jazz tonight,” I told Sally as we waited to be seated. The full moon began its ascent over Chicago’s skyscrapers, providing a soft glow over our already glowing faces. “Johnny and I came here twice, but he never liked going to clubs.”

“Then we’ll do it tonight,” Sally said. “Anything is possible.”

“Do you really believe that?” I asked. Sally’s perpetual optimism never failed to amaze me.
“I have no choice but to believe it,” Sally said. “It’s the only way I can get up every morning and remain positive.”

The waiter, young, handsome and very Jamaican, was actually the bartender, but he had to fill in for the usual Friday night waitress.

“She had quite a hangover from last night,” he said. “So I’m going to sit you beautiful ladies right here where you’ll notice there’s an extra chair just for me.”

“I don’t believe it!” Sally said. “They have hot dogs on the menu.”

“Mom, you’re not going to order a hot dog on our one night in Chicago,” Ramona said.

“I most certainly am,” Sally said. “And I’d like us all to make a pact. No criticizing each other for just being ourselves.”

Ramona shrugged and CC rolled her eyes, but eventually both of them agreed. Then they all looked at me.

“It’s a part of my personality to make fun,” I said. “Does that count as criticizing?”

“You know what I mean,” Sally said. “If I want to eat five hot dogs for dinner no one is allowed to say anything.”

“What if it gives you gas and makes the rest of us sick? Can we say something to you then?” I asked.
Now it was Sally’s turn to roll her eyes. She ordered the hot dog with everything except sauerkraut.
“Does that mean I can’t tease you about all the hand lotion you put on your hands?” CC asked me.
“I have no idea what you mean,” I said as I reached around to my purse hanging from my chair to see if I had a bottle of Aveeno ready to apply when I was alone.

Our substitute waiter messed up the drink orders, but he was so cute and funny we forgave him. We ended up with an extra drink or two, mixing our red wines with the whites. Two margaritas, one with salt and the other without, magically appeared when no one had even ordered a margarita. It was that kind of night. The margarita glasses soon stood empty on a table overflowing with dirty dishes and empty glasses.

“So where can we hear some live music tonight?” Sally asked our bartender-turned-waiter. “We have a need of the blues.”

“You ladies couldn’t be blue if you held your breath for two days,” our fantasy man said. Even I laughed at that corny line.

He told us to head down to Buddy Guy’s Legends. Buddy Guy – the bluesman who inspired Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton – had a club on Wabash a few blocks away.

“Buddy sometimes sits in on a set or two, but no one knows when,” our waiter/bartender said. “He even comes here for dinner once in awhile.”

We didn’t care if Buddy was in the house or not; we just wanted to hear music live in Chicago. Sally and I headed to the bathrooms on the top floor while CC and Ramona raced down the four flights of stairs to the lobby.

All the toilets in the bathroom were close to overflowing. I chose the least full one which meant there was an inch from the water level to the top of the toilet. After I finished, I attempted to flush, and so did four other women who had come in behind us. The water in the bowl gurgled but didn’t go down. I shrugged my shoulders and left the stall. As Sally and I stood at the sink washing our hands, water began seeping out of all five stalls.

“Quick, let’s get out of here,” I said, not bothering to dry my hands so we could beat the other women to the small elevator.

I pulled Sally’s arm, and we ran. We jumped in the small box before Sally could change her mind.
As the door began closing, a hand reached out and shoved the door open. A small black man wearing a beret and a Hawaiian shirt entered the elevator behind us.

Sally grabbed her mouth and began gagging.

“Something the matter?” the man asked as the doors shut on the three of us now crammed together in the small space.

“We just had a trauma in the bathroom, and she’s claustrophobic,” I said.

“This place is notorious for overflowing toilets, and this elevator is more like a moving shoe box. Where are you two lovely ladies headed tonight?” he asked.

“We’re going to a club,” I said. Sally stood mute with her hand still firmly clasped over her mouth. “Some place down on Wabash.”

The elevator made a rumbling sound, and then jerked to a stop. Nothing happened for a few seconds. Sally moaned next to me.

“Now isn’t that something? I happen to own a place down on Wabash. Place called Legends. Ever heard of it?”

“That’s where we’re going!” I said. “Then you must be Buddy Guy.” I held out my hand, but Sally did not because she now had both hands over her mouth.

“The one and the same.” He clasped my hand then pulled me close for a hug as the doors opened onto the lobby where Ramona and CC stood waiting.

Buddy Guy continued holding me as Sally hurled chunks of undigested hot dog across the small lobby. CC and Ramona jumped out of the line of fire just in time.

“Been a long time since I had that effect on a woman,” Buddy said as Sally gasped for air and fell out of the elevator.

“Been a long time since I’ve done that,” Sally said as she reached for Kleenex in her purse. “I’m so sorry. Did I get it on anyone?”

“No, Mom, you hurled a pretty clean shot out the door,” Ramona said. “Not badly done either.”

“Route 66 here we come. This trip is off to a rip-roaring start,” I said as we headed out into the night with Buddy Guy as our very own personal escort. “I hope the old road can withstand the onslaught.”

“I’m sure you ladies will do it justice in the best tradition of road warriors everywhere,” Buddy said.

“On the road again, just can’t wait to get on the road again,” CC sang. “The life I love is making music with my friends. And I can’t wait to get on the road again.”

“You can really sing,” Buddy said. “You in a band?”

“Not really,” CC said. “Just fool around sometimes.”

“Let’s get you fooling around some tonight then,” he said.

The moon, large and orange, illuminated us in soft natural light as the lights of downtown led the way. The city of men merged with nature as we marched toward Lake Michigan.

“Ever notice how when the moon is larger, it’s actually smaller,” Sally announced.

Somehow, it made perfect sense on a night when sense had nothing to do with anything at all.

 

Also available in paperback!

 

EY WADE RELEASES TWO BOOKS #NEWRELEASE

typewriterI love helping my fellow authors celebrate their new releases, so today I’m happy to announce that Ey Wade released two novels this month. Both of them could be classified as political intrigue with a touch of romance. Or perhaps a bit more than a touch of romance. Judge for yourself with these excerpts!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ribbonandbellfinal cvrRibbons & Belle 

Gorgeous, dedicated fertility counselor Tyson Ribbons, has admired and loved embryologist, Anabelle “Belle” Lee for a long time. When she comes in for counseling he fights everything within him not to deter her from her plans.

Doesn’t stop his heart from wishing it could be him fulfilling her desire.

Anabelle Lee, mourning her inability to have a child of her own, suffered through two miscarriages, a heartbreaking late-term abortion, and a soul-crushing divorce. As an embryologist, she has protected the potential life of many frozen specimens and lived envious of the women choosing InVitro fertilization as their form of reproduction.

After a bit of encouragement from her best friend, and counseling from the very perfect Dr. Ribbons, Anabelle takes steps to fulfill her desire to become a mother.

Problem is, the announcement brings more of a shock than a gift.

Excerpt from Ribbons & Belle 

Anabelle Lee carefully slotted the test tubes into their assigned spots. The gray matter rising from the liquid nitrogen in the vacuum lined tanks, gave her the urge to cough, but she dared not. Any amount of germs had the potential of contamination and death to the minute life forms. At least, that’s how she felt.

Closing the lid to the container, she pushed the required buttons, locked the precious vials and lowered them to safety. With one last look over her shoulder before leaving the room, Anabelle sighed and closed the door. She hadn’t realized she was crying until her friend and fellow embryologists, slid a wad of Kleenex into her hands.

“Belle, why do you do this to yourself? I just don’t understand. No one coming in here deserves a child more than you. You know all of the risks, you see the donor lists and can have your pick. Call your gyne for counseling and set yourself up for In Vitro or artificial insemination.”

“I want to, but I don’t want to be disappointed. I’m not sure I’m ready for another heartache.”

“I can understand your feelings after everything you’ve been through and that sorry-assed husband of yours leaving right after you lost the baby. He didn’t even hang around long enough to see her buried. But that was three years ago. He’s moved on with life, married someone else and has a baby of his own. You deserve that same kind of happiness.

Go out, pick you a live body and either get you some and have you a baby or count up your pennies and splurge on a test tube. Here,” Sunny riffled through the pockets of her scrubs, pulling out hands full of change and paraphernalia, sorting through to put the coins on the desk and push in Belle’s direction.“Here’re seventy-five cents, to start the fund.”

Belle choked and giggled at the same time, which ended up sounding like an animal being tortured and caused her to end up wobbling in her chair and banging against the desk from laughter.

“God, you’re so crass, Sunny. You make it sound as if I’m walking into the cosmetic aisle of any mass market store and picking out a tube of lipstick.”

“Well, having the right tube is just as important as having the perfect shade of color on your lips. You know, that batch you just locked into that frozen pits of a tundra, does have one of the best specimens. Or you can simply pluck him from his office, drug him, take him home, and tuck him into your bed. Not to sleep of course. The two…”

“Stop, that’s just a stupid rumor, I’m sure. Something to keep the nurses speculating. Anyway, we practically work together. I can’t use him like that.” Annabelle straightened herself under the desk and began ticking the keys of the computer. “Besides, who says he would go anywhere with me?”

Click here to purchase on Amazon.

Ey Wade's ~Ismet's Honor.coverIsmet’s Honor

Sunny Verdi Reyes, has always wanted the “good life.” Husband, home, lot’s of children. After cheering on her best friend and fellow embryologist Belle, through her successful quest for her dream, she wanted those things even more.

Unfortunately, Sunny broke the heart of her fantasy years earlier and it would take more than wishful thinking to get him back.

At 17, unable to voice his opinion against an unwanted abortion, Ismet Honorable O’Neal ran from the girl who killed his dream of the perfect life and the white picket fence.

Now he spends his time aiding other men in being the voice in the lives of their children.

Years later, he returns and Sunny is waiting.

She’s going to need more than the love in her eyes to repair the fences.

 Excerpt from Ismet’s Honor 

Three of the five containers of infant formula slipped from his grasp, falling with the weight of bricks on the ends of his loafers. The pain to his toes, nothing when compared with the unexpected sharpness stabbing his chest.

He froze, listening to her voice as he eavesdropped on her one-sided conversation.

“Belle, will you stop talking? All I asked was what size should I get? I didn’t ask for a commentary or a price list on the gifts I’ve already bought for my godchildren. Furthermore…”

Her voice slowly faded away, dragging Ismet’s composure with it. He stood, shaking like a leaf and peering between the columns of baby diapers and infant paraphernalia at the woman who had crushed his soul, years previously.

Without conscious thought, Ismet found himself scurrying through the doors of the supermarket and into his car. The task of purchasing supplies for the childcare center, completely forgotten. His main focus, to put as much distance to his memories and reality as possible.

Which wasn’t far. He pulled the car over as soon as he could find a safe spot. Resting his forehead on the steering wheel.

He hadn’t expected the sight of Sunny to impact him so hard. After all, he hadn’t seen her in ten years but would know her anywhere.

She was more mature- at least her body was, but the voice was still the same. As was his reaction to her. Heart palpitations, joy, lust and retreat. Yes, same-o-same-o.

The last time he’d seen her, he’d run. Ran from her, his home, and what had become the end of his life. That night was the death of his dreams. A night he’d done his best to keep buried. Seeing her, unearthed all of that. He was shaken to his roots and his mind reflected the turmoil. Spilling its secrets…

–“You really gonna let her make you do this? You gonna let her kill our baby?”

“I don’t have a choice. She’s my momma. I’ve only been sixteen two weeks and here I am pregnant with a baby. Met, what can I do with a baby? How can I finish school? Go to college? I can’t be a mom, right now.”

“I thought you loved me. Wanted our baby.”

“I do.”

At the touch of her hands on his shoulder, he shook it off. The contact seeming to burn him with desire and freeze his heart at the same time. This was the person, who, in one night soared him to the sky with the announcement she was pregnant and then casually tossed him to the pits of hell with the plans for an abortion.

She sat quietly. Gaze transfixed to the movements of her fingers in her lap, while he opened the door of the car and went to sit on its hood. With every step, he wanted to fall apart.

There was nothing he could do. Nothing or no one able to help him. Sunny was right, they couldn’t go above her mother’s demands. If only it were possible to make her carry the baby and then give it to me. Would she even contemplate the thought?

With a small turn of his head, he glanced in her direction. There she sat, stone-faced in the car. He wondered if she truly cared. If the whispers of love she’d mouthed for years was simply the fantasy of a teenage girl deep in the throes of her first relationship. Did she even care for him with the same intensity he had for her? From the corner of his eyes, he watched Sunny staring, as if she were unable to move and join him.

The hurt was a physical tearing in his chest that radiated in his back. It wasn’t possible Sunny felt anywhere near as helpless and devastated as he was feeling. She had the upper hand. It was her body, her child- until it was dead. The finality took the last bit of strength from his body and he fell across the hood of the car, crying loudly in despair. The deep sobs tearing his heart apart.

The thud of the metal hitting metal roused him from is misery. A simple hug would’ve meant a lot. A word of comfort or remorse would’ve been a balm to his spirit. Instead, he watched her shoulder her purse and without a glance in his direction, she strolled up the concrete path to her mother’s house. The taps of her heels as they walked the sidewalk to the front door, the closing snap- an end to his wishful dreams. Each a part of the collection of sounds that echoed in his nightmares for years.

Click here to purchase on Amazon.

91yqrsvxbgl-_sy200_About Ey Wade: Ey considers herself to be a caged in frustrated author of thought provoking, mind bending books in several genres. She is the mother of three adult daughters that were previously home-schooled and the drooling ‘Lovey’ to a little boy. Ey was born in Texas and reared as an Army brat. There is the constant need to speak, so writing and telling stories is the way she chooses to socialize.

Website: http://wade-inpublishing.com 

Twitter: http://twitter.com/@jumpouttheboat

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/eywade2

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/itsmeeywade/

Amazon Central Author Page: http://bit.ly/EyWade-Amz

Goodreads: http://bit.ly/EyonGReads

 

WRITING AWAY THE GRIEF

MayaQuoteWriting serves as my salve for grief. And today, I write to overcome the sadness threatening to envelop me. 

The mass shooting in Orlando hit me hard. Maybe because I lived near Orlando for thirty years. Maybe because the death of so many in one place horrified me. Maybe because someone with mental health issues purchased an assault weapon days before. Maybe because hatred could be so strong toward people of a particular race, religion, or sexual orientation that it caused so many people to die–people who were simply enjoying a good time together. 

Maybe all of the above made me cry for two days afterward anytime I saw media coverage. My heart is heavy and my prayers are for all the victims, survivors, and their loved ones.

Years ago, during the first wave of the AIDs epidemic in this country, I watched as friends and relatives ran away the gay community. Sons and daughters were left to die alone from a disease that had yet to find drugs to fight it. It happened in my own family. My uncle and aunt refused to go to their son’s bedside or to even attend his funeral all because they couldn’t accept him and his choices. His story haunted me for years until I decided to put it all together in a fictional format, in hopes of showing others how incredibly fruitless it is to shun our loved ones.

The story involves my cousin, who did everything he could to prove to himself and his parents that he wasn’t homosexual. He married twice, but both marriages ended after only a couple of years, the first one worse than the second. The first wife took their son away and had my cousin sign away his rights of parenthood.

But then, my handsome charismatic cousin continued on his path to please his parents who measured success by who you knew and how much you made. Soon after the divorce, he began dating a beauty pageant queen from Wisconsin. When his then-girlfriend, Terry Anne Meeuwsen, was crowned Miss America in 1973, my aunt and uncle were beside themselves with pride for their only child. The pride continued to the Christmas wedding. My parents didn’t attend because they couldn’t afford the proper clothes for the event.

I found an article today in the Ocala Star Banner, giving a nod to the pride they felt. Click here to see.

However, the fairy tale wedding didn’t last very long, and he moved to California. Stories of his lymph node cancer drifted to me only after I would inquire about Tom’s well being. They didn’t go to his side, and it didn’t take a genius to know why and to understand what the euphemism “lymphoma” meant.

“He’s recovering now,” my aunt told me one day, as my uncle remained silent. It was their way of telling me they didn’t want to discuss him . Within a few months they had an update.

My cousin had died in California. His partner called asking my aunt and uncle to attend the memorial service. They refused despite their ability to very well afford a trip from Florida to California. The partner sent them a poem about Tom. I never saw it until after my uncle died, and my aunt presented it to me. She asked me to take it and keep it safe. She couldn’t look at it, but she didn’t want it destroyed either.

As an author, I eventually wrote about my cousin in my second novel, A Lethal Legacy. It was with the writing of this novel that I finally understood what writers meant when they said, “being in the flow” of a piece of writing. As I wrote the death scene, I closed my eyes and tears streamed down my face. My fingers flew across the keyboard without my knowledge. I was lost in the writing. Twenty years later, I still seek those moments of the “flow.” 

Here’s the scene from A Lethal Legacy that gave me the first glimpse into the healing effect writing has on my soul. Today, I continue that legacy. 

LETHAL_LEGACY_KINDLEI slowly rose from my bed to get dressed. I would not let Gary die alone like my father. He would have those who loved him the most near him as we tried to make his passage from this world a safe one. After a lifetime of suffering, it was the least he deserved.

“Where’s Claire?” I asked Rick when I passed him in the hallway on my way to Gary’s room.

“Sitting by his bed. She won’t leave him now. His breathing has already started to change. There’s a rattle,” he said.

“Let’s go. From now on, we should always stay there with Claire, I think.”

“I agree,” Rick said.

We remained with Gary for the rest of the night. It was excruciating to sit in that room. We waited after each loud breath for the next one, dreading it, yet hoping it would come. As the night wore on, the breathing became more irregular.

Finally, around dawn with the new day emerging outside the shaded window of the bedroom, Gary took one last gasp of air, but he never let it out. He had gone from us, just as the night had slipped away, with little fanfare.

The first cry came from Rick who began rocking back and forth in his chair next to the bed. Claire had positioned herself on the other side standing near the head of the bed resting her cheek on Gary’s forehead as he breathed for the last time. The tears slid down her face as I went to stand next to her, trying not to let the sob escape from my throat. We stood motionless for an eternity each thinking our private thoughts of the man who could finally rest in peace in a place where demons no longer tortured young men, where fathers cared, and where acceptance came as naturally as living on this earth.

June 15 and 16 – A Lethal Legacy may be downloaded for free on Amazon by clicking here.

ROMANTIC PICKS #BEACHREAD #CONTEMPORARYROMANCE Love On The Wind by P.C. Zick

Just saw this post on Romantic Picks! Love it.

ROMANTIC PICKS

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Six years of traveling for her television series has left host Kiley Nelson longing for a place to call her own. Spending a weekend at her girlfriend’s beach house is the perfect reprieve, especially when she purchases property to finally settle down. But her peaceful escape is shaken when she smashes into a car containing the sinfully sexy and infuriated passenger, Jeff Hammond, who immediately melts her heart.

Jeff, staying at his friend’s Montauk home to relax after a trying week of building a home for a spoiled diva, doesn’t count on sharing his weekend with the flaky, yet incredibly sexy, Kiley. He agrees to build her house, despite the tug on his heart as Kiley turns him on in every delicious way.

Passionate weekends and shared dreams begin to shape the house they start to build together. As their relationship deepens, so do the wounds from past hurts, rousing…

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