WHAT’S IN A NUMBER?

From left, Route 66er, birthday girl, me, hostess – plus Libby and Chewy

Birthdays mark the passage of time, and with each celebration of my friends, I wonder why do we bother with numbers? It seems to mean less and less. This weekend marked one such celebration when I realized I was surrounded by vital, thriving, funny, and loving women and men who were all hurtling toward seventy–some had even surpassed that milestone.

The image of seventy in my youth meant something different than it does today as I’m looking down the barrel at it. It seems unimaginable that the majority of my friends are now over sixty, and in a few short months, I will wake up in bed next to a seventy-year-old man! Not one of those folks fit into that former image of what I imagined life at seventy would look like.

Then it meant closing in on an ending. Today, it means starting something new or doing something just because we can. It means saying whatever pops in our head and being allowed, in most cases, to do it without censorship.

Here’s a sampling of some of the folks at the party yesterday.

The birthday girl turned sixty-nine yesterday. She was late to the party because she’d just biked thirty miles earlier in the day and rushed home to shower before arriving. Last month, we hiked six miles with her over rough terrain in south Georgia when we visited an elephant refuge. Last week she visited the Smoky Mountains and hiked miles along the Appalachian Trail. Besides that, she laughs often.

Another friend will turn seventy in August. She plans to celebrate by taking a month to drive Route 66 from Chicago to LA as a way to celebrate her life and experience new and exciting places. She is active in the community and travels as much as she can.

The over seventy hostess will turn seventy-five this summer, and she was busy planning how she would celebrate. She just came back from a tour of Italy and travels extensively with friends and family. She gardens and works out at the gym nearly every day.

My husband will turn seventy in October. He’s outside right now building a fence in our backyard. The spring garden is planted, and next month he’ll go to our cabin in the mountains and put in the summer garden. We kayaked last weekend, and each morning, we walk around our neighborhood. He also golfs and does all the heavy lifting around the house. And he still enjoys acting like a kid. Yesterday, it was making some letters on his shirt fold over so it displayed the word, “sex.” The only one at the party who noticed was the birthday girl, and she laughed at his silliness. I rolled my eyes, but secretly was proud of him for having fun.

Another woman I met for the first time yesterday, but I hope to see her again soon. She delighted me. On her seventieth birthday, she took her grandsons to the Grand Canyon. Recently, she won first place in the bench press in the Senior Olympics here in town. She had us in stitches about her travels and life as a septuagenarian.

Not only are my friends active, they are fun. We have the best stories to tell–decades worth. And as we age, I swear we become even funnier with each telling. Maybe it’s because as some memories fade, we’re no longer afraid to embellish to make the stories memorable for someone else. Who cares? It’s the essence of an experience that really matters in the end.

I know too many “kids” in their thirties and forties who seem older than my friends and me. They are bogged down with life and worry about every little detail. Will it rain? Is that road too narrow? How much do I weigh? When will we earn enough? I suppose I might have been that way at one time when there were too many responsibilities and too many people depended on me getting things done and getting them done correctly.

So what’s in a number? Very little these days.

By the way, I turn sixty-five in December, which means I was the baby at this party.

Writing Again with Pleasure

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Cross Creek

Patience. Faith. And a little bit of nature.

A few weeks ago, I admitted I hadn’t been writing. It must have done the trick because soon after I sat myself down in the chair, bed, couch, recliner–wherever it felt right–and picked back up with Love on Track.

Some bits of inspiration have come from enjoying the beauty of a winter in Florida by kayaking and hiking. For me, connecting with nature restores me and gives me hope. The best of all the paddles occurred when I went to Cross Creek and toured Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings home where she wrote The Yearling, South Moon Under, and Cross Creek to mention just a few of her many books. I’ve visited the place, now a Florida State Park, previously, but this time I ventured out onto the actual Creek in my kayak.

Mostly my husband and I paddled in silence in awe of the drooping live oaks with branches free from leaves but not the Spanish moss which gives rural north Florida its special charm even in the dead of winter. But still flowers bloomed on the banks, birds flew and fed nearby, and fishermen in simple boats lazily floated on the crossroad between two large lakes, Lochloosa and Orange.

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J.T. Glisson in The Creek says the name “Cross Creek” may be because its the path joining the two lakes. But then again, he speculates it could come from the attitude of its residents. We didn’t find that to be true.

Click here to download two of my essays about Rawlings and her inspiration for my writing life. And happy Valentine’s Day and happy reading and writing.

 

 

Happy 2019

Paddling My Way to a New Year

dsc04099We spent New Year’s Day kayaking on the Econofina River in north Florida. The day was foggy, and we got lost in the reeds, but we returned home refreshed and ready to begin
2019. Nature restores me and gives me hope.

While I’m enjoying kayaking, yoga, golf, and volunteering, my writing life appears to be on hiatus. It didn’t ask me permission because the writing muse can be fickle and sporadic. Instead of crying, I’m reading–I’m making a dent in the TBR pile on my nightstand and on my Kindle–I still read from both as the spirit moves me or as my circumstances permit.

I hope 2019 has begun in a positive way for you, and I hope you’re reading as well. When I do get back in the writing saddle, it will be to finish Love on Track (Rivals in Love Book 3) and Four Women and a Man (women’s fiction). If you haven’t read the first book in my Rivals series or Behind the Love series, here’s your chance to start for free this week. One series is sweet, the other is steamy, so hopefully there’s something for all!

Happy New Year to you all. And please leave a comment. I love to hear from
you.

Kindle (3)Love on Trial, Rivals in Love Book 1

Download on Kindle for FREE – January 21-25
Sweet contemporary romance

Two lawyers on opposite sides of the aisle despise one
another…at first. Start reading your copy of Love on Trial to
begin reading about the Crandalls of Chicago and their attempts to find love.

 

 

BTA Cover SmallestBehind the Altar, Behind the Love Book 1

Download on Kindle for FREE – January 21-25
Steamy contemporary romance

A tattoo artist on a Harley. A do-gooder beauty. A forbidden passion. Behind the Altar is the first novel in the Behind the Love contemporary romance series that features sizzling
attractions, dramatic confrontations, and intertwined and complicated lives. Set in the fictional small town of Victory, Florida, friends fight and love and form families of their own choosing.

#NewRelease from P.C. Zick

 

This month as summer wanes, I have two books I’ve re-released as my own.

Originally, I wrote these books for Amazon’s Kindle Worlds as a part of Melissa Foster’s Remington World. This meant that Amazon owned the rights until they stopped publishing them. In July, they ended the Kindle Worlds program and returned rights to the Kindle World author, Melissa Foster. Melissa, the sweetie that she is, gave us all our books back if we revised them to remove all mention of her “world.”

That’s what I did and now I have these books back as my own, and it only feels right. I went into the writing of them knowing I wouldn’t own them. I saw it as a great way to work on the craft and earn some money, so it’s a bonus to now have them in my own yard.

And to celebrate, this month I’m running some specials on them. Plus, they are both in Kindle Unlimited.

LoveontheWindCoverOriginal

#99cents – August 15-29

Love on the Wind – A Montauk Romance Book One – 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 ghosts from Jeff’s traumatic past. When a summer storm rolls in at the nearly complete house, they’re forced to deal with the past before it shakes and cracks the very foundation they’ve built.

Misunderstanding and stubborn personalities threaten to rip apart the fledgling relationship until both Kiley and Jeff learn to trust one another.

Download for 99 cents until August 29!

Jingle Bell Love – A Montauk Romance Book Two – Denny’s wife—the only woman he’s

JingleBellCoverOriginal

#FREE – August 27-31

ever loved—died the year before and his friends are intent on finding him a new love. Jill’s first experience with love in college left her skeptical that she would ever be able to find love.

When Denny and Jill find themselves lustfully drawn to one another, they’re ashamed of their secret encounters. When friends suspect there might be something between them, they disapprove. Unsure of how they feel about one another, the attraction continues. To keep things on the downlow, they hatch a pact to be friends with secret benefits. When those benefits explode into something more than primal urges, one of them breaks the pact, and the whole affair and friendship ends up unraveling as the holiday season approaches. This steamy romance jingles all the bells for the Christmas season.

Download for FREE August 27-31.

One Series and a Multitude of Lessons | Romance University

A multitude of lessons fell into my lap when I decided to challenge myself to try something new. But nothing says I can’t go back to the literary fiction where I began my journey twenty years ago. It’s never too late to realize the biggest limitation to my writing career had been sitting at my very own desk—me.

Source: One Series and a Multitude of Lessons | Romance University

GRATITUDE – GIVEAWAYS AND GREAT DEALS

FacebookCoverNewHello all – I’m pleased to announce some wonderful opportunities for loading up your Kindles for the holidays. If you’re a reader, nothing beats the stress of the season than getting lost in a great novel. Here’s your opportunity with some freebies, some great deals, and the chance to win some great prizes!

I wish all of my followers in the United States a wonderful Thanksgiving with friends, family and good food. This year, no matter where we live, giving thanks and
gratitude will help us move forward into a healing and healthy 2018.

To show my gratitude, I have some great books–some discounted and some
free–along with some fantastic GIVEAWAYS you don’t want to miss.

I send you my best wishes for a happy end of the year,
P.C. Zick

BTA Cover SmallestBehind the Altar
FREE FREE FREE FREE November 15-19
A tattoo artist on a Harley. A do-gooder beauty. A
forbidden passion.
Leah Bryant lives a quiet life helping others. When her future mother-in-law, Geraldine, threatens her causes, she’s left confused by the hypocrisy and befuddled by a stranger who roars into town on a Harley.
FREE ON AMAZON
Click on image to enter

 

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eNovel Authors at Work is proud to introduce you to
fkbt, owned by Michael Gallagher, the #1 ranked blog in
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standards. We are delighted to showcase fkbt’s
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for your ebook reading pleasure.
ENTER TO WIN TODAY

JackieThe Sheriff’s Woman by Jackie Weger
FREE FREE FREE
Sheriff Garrett Stark had his eye on Rachel Cameron
for years. But she was married. Now she’s not. Garrett
is ready to make his move, but Rachel wants Garrett to
mind his own business. So. He does. His business is
Rachel and he’s all in.
AMAZON SPECIAL FREE for a limited time

AuroraGrand Master’s Pawn by Aurora Springer
FREE FREE FREE
One young woman challenges the secret rulers of the
galaxy, and risks a perilous love.
Reminiscent of the science fiction stories of Andre
Norton, Violet’s perilous adventures are sweetened by
romance and a sprinkle of laughter.
AMAZON SPECIAL FREE for a limited time

LapeFoolproof by A.J. Lape
FREE FREE FREE
Darcy Walker gets into high cotton trouble again when
she agrees to help a guy friend at a speed dating event.
She’s got a dead body, a cop breathing down her neck,
and a hot, stubborn boyfriend. Darcy is at her wit’s end,
but nothing is Foolproof.
FREE NEW RELEASE

 

 

FasanoFollowing his Heart by Donna Fasano
99 cents on Amazon
What readers are saying…
“I loved the story behind the love story.”~ avp
“I loved it, read it all at one sitting.”~avp
“Fantastic book written in such a beautiful way.”~avp
AMAZON SPECIAL – 99 cents

 

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ENTER TO WIN TODAY

PiperBeneath the Shady Tree by Piper Templeton
99 cents on Amazon
Payton Montgomery wishes she could remember her
early childhood; Joel McIntyre wishes he could forget.
Could their shared early past reveal secrets that will set
them free?
AMAZON SPECIAL – 99 cents

 

 

 

TraciForever by the Sea by Traci Hall
FREE FREE FREE
What readers are saying….
“Captivating from the start and very difficult to put
down.”~avp
Captivating from the start and very difficult to put
down.”~avp
“Sinead and Christian seem so real, I can almost be
there with them”~avp
AMAZON SPECIAL 99 Cents

 

Amy

Pineapple Mystery Box by Amy Vansant
99 cents on Amazon
What Readers are saying…
“He didn’t mean to kill her.” Boom! You’re hooked.
Funny & witty.” ~avp
“It’s never dull in Pineapple Port. A mystery/humor
series and I love it.” ~avp
AMAZON SPECIAL – 99 cents

 

DahlkeDead Red Mystery Series + 2 bonus books by RP Dahlke
FREE FREE FREE
Police ask Lalla Bains why an elderly widowed piano teacher, who couldn’t see beyond the hood ornament, is found strapped in the driver’s seat in Lalla’s vintage Cadillac. Dead. Lalla is gonna find the answer.
AMAZON SPECIAL FREE for a limited time

 

 

 

 

 

 

fkbt graphicblog

Shades of Love – #SOL #NewRelease #99cents

It’s an exciting day! The box set, Shades of Love, with ten different authors and ten different novels, releases today. Many of the books have never been released before and you can download the whole set for only 99 cents on Amazon or read for free in Kindle Unlimited. Enjoy!

Title: Shades of Love Box Set
Authors: Reana Malori, Suzette Riddick, J.L. Campbell, Annamaria Bazzi, Janae Keyes, Toye Lawson-Brown, P.C. Zick, Hebby Roman, Caroline Bell Foster, Stacy-Deanne
Genre: Multicultural Romance
Release Date: Novmeber 7, 2017

Whether prince or pauper, beauty or beast, cupid entangles unsuspecting hearts. From the exchange of a glance to the throes of romance, follow these couples as they discover that love has no limits. Indulge your taste for adventure with ten diverse tales from familiar and exotic parts of the globe. Shades of Love is brought to you by a select group of award-winning and best-selling writers, whose stories feature couples who close the cultural divide through their love.
In the melting pot of cultures, love knows no boundaries. Immerse yourself in ten breathtaking stories.

Claiming Lana – Reana Malori 
Jake Bradford and Lana Miller are two strong-willed people who seem to be sworn enemies. That all changes in the blink of an eye when they’re thrown together for an important project. When passion simmers just under the surface, the outcome is not what either of them could have expected, but exactly what they needed.

Caliente Nights – Suzette Riddick 
Nursery school teacher Jeanette Adams and athlete Alonzo Castro are immediately attracted to each other. He is aware of his Cuban mother’s disapproval, but it’s not enough to keep him from pursuing the African American beauty.

The Blind Shot – J.L. Campbell
Kofi Danquah and Regina Chu are from different sides of the globe, but find each other in a foreign land. As their relationship goes from platonic to passionate, their families’ opposition also increases … but Kofi and Regina want what comes naturally and they won’t be denied.

When East Meets West – Annamaria Bazzi
Winter Portobello, a coed from a faith-based Italian family, falls in love with a fellow student, Samir Chamas, a Lebanese immigrant. Together, Samir and Winter must prove their love to be as strong as the hearts that bind them, despite the cultural and religious differences that threaten to destroy the Chamas family.

Would Smell As Sweet – Janae Keyes
Sick of feeling like a prisoner in her own home, Shayna moves to the small town of Cotton Springs, Texas. She puts the pieces of her life back together and finds romance, but Happily Ever After only lasts until Shayna’s stalker finds her hiding place and turns her dream into a nightmare.

Postcards from Havana – Toye-Lawson Brown
Arlene Joy never expected to win a five-day trip to Havana, Cuba. After meeting Arlene at a fiesta, Vincenté Martinez is happy he came home.

Third Base – P.C. Zick
Baseball star Tomas Vegas loses focus on his game when he meets Adriana Moretti from a tight-knit Italian family. When she falls for the handsome Puerto Rican, their families attempt to pull them apart, which only brings them closer together.

The Best Game – Hebby Roman
After years apart, Liana De Leon and Damian Escobedo meet again in their San Antonio hometown. Liana wants to escape her high-profile life, but coming home isn’t working out the way she planned. Instead of the quiet life she envisions, the city’s most eligible bachelor is set on winning her heart and making all her dreams come true. 

Small Town Boy – Caroline Bell-Foster
They were first loves, but tragedy struck before Kerry and Noah could explore where the future would take them. Years later, can the British politician and the American County singer ever re-connect?

Sometimes Money Ain’t Enough – Stacey-Deanne 
Raquel Hood has everything a woman could want; money, beauty, and an entire town under her command. But after meeting Tobias, Raquel realizes that sometimes money ain’t enough.

    
    
“Good morning, Arlene. Vince kindly invited me to tag along. It’ll only take a minute,” Josie says as she gets off the couch and scampers into the bedroom.

I sit on the couch and cross my legs, folding my hands over my knee. “How are you, Vince?”

“Good, now that I see you again.” He moves over to the couch and takes my hand in his. “Last night was not long enough for me to get to know you.”

His deep, piercing stare is doing weird things to my stomach. It’s so dark, almost as dark as his hair. The man is a walking poster of fineness. I snap back to reality. “I enjoyed myself. Can’t wait to see what you have in store for me today.”

“After we eat, the whole day is open to do whatever you want. If you like beaches, I would love to take you to the stunning coast of Playas del Este. There are beautiful beaches that I think you’ll love.”

I feel that same smile from last night returning to curl my lips. “I’d love to go exploring with you.”

Reana Malori is an Amazon Top 100 bestselling author of sensual and contemporary romance. She hopes to weave stories that pull the reader into her world and helps them to share in her universe, even if only for a short time. Her stories feature women you’d love to hangout with and men who love them with everything they have. Sign up Reana’s newsletter or visit her website.
Suzette Riddick enjoys writing romance novels with real life situations readers can relate to. She’s an Amazon bestselling author of African American Romance. In 2013 she was nominated for an Emma Award and was a featured author in USA Today ~ Happy Ever After. To learn more about Suzette and her books visit her website.
J.L. Campbell is an award-winning, Jamaican author who writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, sweet romance, women’s fiction, as well as new and young adult novels. She is a certified editor, who also writes non-fiction. Visit her on the web at www.joylcampbell.com or lrd.to/JLCampbell
Annamaria Bazzi – Love is an important part of life, not just something to be experienced but also to be read. After thirty-one years of marriage, and still going strong, Annamaria Bazzi believes in the happily ever after. This strong belief transcends into her romance novels—every person deserves his and her own happy ever after. Annamaria writes contemporary romances to bring new love experiences to her readers. She also writes young adult sci-fi/fantasy and dabbles in paranormal short stories. Visit her website.
Janae Keyes – Janae Keyes is an American mom, wife, and hopeless romantic living in Europe. She loves to explore various cultures coming together through the magic of love. Residing in a suburb of Brussels, Belgium, with her husband and daughter, Janae loves to share her passion for romance with others. To learn more about Janae, visit her website.
Toye-Lawson Brown is an Amazon bestselling author of multicultural romance novels. In 2014 she was nominated by the B.R.A.B Book Club for Breakout Author of the Year.
P.C. Zick – Bestselling and award-winning author, P.C. Zick, creates contemporary romances with a social consciousness. She describes herself as a storyteller no matter what she writes. Strong female leads, handsome and heroic men, and descriptive settings grace more than a dozen published novels. Visit her website.
Hebby Roman is a New York traditionally published, small-press published, and Indie published #1 Amazon best-selling author of both historical and contemporary romances. Her book, BORDER HEAT, was a Los Angeles Times Book Festival selection. She has been a RONE Finalist three times and in three different categories. Visit her website or Facebook.
Caroline Bell Foster is an internationally bestselling, multi award-winning British author of diverse romantic fiction and named as one of the most influential people in culture & entertainment in the East Midlands, England. To learn more about Caroline please visit her website.
Stacy-Deanne (Dee-Anne) is an award-winning author of sensual romantic suspense, contemporary romance, and women’s fiction books. She’s written Amazon Top 100 bestsellers, and her work has been praised and reviewed in USA Today numerously. Stacy’s books are full of passion, thrills, intriguing characters and so much emotion you can’t get enough! If you want something different and unpredictable then definitely check out her work. Sign up for Stacy’s mailing list: http://bit.ly/2h5Uqei

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SHADES OF LOVE – #NEW RELEASE #ROMANCE

I’m happy to announce the release of a new box set in collaboration with nine other authors. The box set may be pre-ordered now for $0.99. Release date is November 7. It is also in Kindle Unlimited so KU members can read for free!

newsletter header

Shades of Love

Love knows no boundaries and bridges the gap between creed and culture.

Whether prince or pauper, beauty or beast, cupid entangles unsuspecting hearts. From the exchange of a glance to the throes of romance, follow these couples as they discover that love has no limits. Indulge your taste for adventure with ten diverse tales from familiar and exotic parts of the globe.

Shades of Love is brought to you by a select group of ten award-winning and best-selling writers, whose stories feature couples who close the cultural divide through their love.

Synopsis of

CoverImage.png

1

CLAIMING LANA, Reana Malori. Sworn enemies or passionate lovers? When forced to work together, Jake and Lana find just what they need.

CALIENTE NIGHTS, Suzette Riddick. One Cuban. One African American. Will attraction win out?

THE BLIND SHOT, J.L. Campbell. Strangers in a strange land can’t help what happens naturally despite opposition to their love.

WHEN EAST MEETS WEST, Annamaria Bazzi. Italian and Lebanese cultures clash into love.

WOULD SMELL AS SWEET, Janae Keyes. A passionate thrillercan one stalker end the perfect romance?

POSTCARDS FROM HAVANA, Toye-Lawson Brown. A trip to Cuba and a return to home bring a couple to their destiny.

THIRD BASE, P.C. Zick. Puerto Rican and Italian cultures collide but can’t stop the passion.

THE BEST GAME, Hebby Roman. A return home starts the chase to make romantic dreams come true.

SMALL TOWN BOY, Caroline Bell-Foster. First loves reunite despite conflicting careers.

SOMETIMES MONEY AIN’T ENOUGH, Stacy-Deanne. A powerful woman finds out money can’t buy love.

2

Reana Malori is an Amazon Top 100 bestselling author of sensual and contemporary romance. She weaves stories that pull the reader into her world and to share in her universe, even if only for a short time. Her stories feature women you’d love to hang out with and men who love them with everything they have.

WebsiteNewsletter

Suzette Riddick enjoys writing romance novels with real life situations readers can relate to. She’s an Amazon bestselling author of African American Romance. In 2013, she was nominated for an Emma Award and was a featured author in USA Today ~ Happy Ever After.

Website

J.L. Campbell is an award-winning, Jamaican author who writes contemporary romance, romantic suspense, sweet romance, women’s fiction, as well as new and young adult novels. She is a certified editor, who also writes non-fiction.

NewsletterFacebook

Annamaria Bazzi – Love is an important part of life, not just something to be experienced but also to be read. After thirty-one years of marriage, and still going strong, Annamaria Bazzi believes in the happily ever after. This strong belief transcends into her romance novels—every person deserves his and her own happy ever after. Annamaria writes contemporary romances to bring new love experiences to her readers. She also writes young adult sci-fi/fantasy and dabbles in paranormal short stories.

Facebook

Janae Keyes – Janae Keyes is an American mom, wife, and hopeless romantic living in Europe. She loves to explore various cultures coming together through the magic of love. Residing in a suburb of Brussels, Belgium, with her husband and daughter, Janae loves to share her passion for romance with others.

Website

Toye-Lawson Brown is an Amazon bestselling author of multicultural romance novels. In 2014 she was nominated by the B.R.A.B Book Club for Breakout Author of the Year.

Website

P.C. Zick – Bestselling and award-winning author, P.C. Zick, creates contemporary romances with a social consciousness. She describes herself as a storyteller no matter what she writes. Strong female leads, handsome and heroic men, and descriptive settings grace more than a dozen published novels.

WebsiteNewsletter

Hebby Roman is a New York traditionally published, small-press published, and Indie published #1 Amazon best-selling author of both historical and contemporary romances. Her book, BORDER HEAT, was a Los Angeles Times Book Festival selection. She has been a RONE Finalist three times and in three different categories.

WebsiteFacebook

Caroline Bell Foster is an internationally bestselling, multi award-winning British author of diverse romantic fiction and named as one of the most influential people in culture & entertainment in the East Midlands, England.

Website

Stacy-Deanne (Dee-Anne) is an award-winning author of sensual romantic suspense, contemporary romance, and women’s fiction books. She’s written Amazon Top 100 bestsellers, and her work has been praised and reviewed in USA Today numerously. Stacy’s books are full of passion, thrills, intriguing characters and so much emotion you can’t get enough! If you want something different and unpredictable then definitely check out her work.

WebsiteNewsletter

Synopsis of

LIFE PASSES AND ANOTHER REPLACES IT

gg 14

Today marks the 36th anniversary of my father’s death.

He passed away around noon on August 29, 1981. I find it difficult to comprehend–how could it be so long ago when it seems as if we last spoke only yesterday? But it has been that long. Recently, I wrote about the months leading up to his death because of the serendipity of life. I’m honored to have been a part of the circle of life as my family struggled to accept the passing of our leader. Here’s the story of that time.

I love you, Dad, and always will.

THE CIRCLE OF LIFE

Written in 2017

One week in May in 1981, my family went from the depths of sorrow to the heights of joy.

It all began on Mother’s Day. But, in actuality, serendipitous events swirled behind the scenes unbeknownst to us gathered at my parents’ house to celebrate my mother. I had been married for a year, and our carefully plotted life did not include children …not yet. We had other things to accomplish first.

We posed for various photos, and in all of them, my father is pale, and his shoulders droop. He had been suffering from a nasty cold for weeks and he’d been unable to shake it.

“We’ll call the doctor tomorrow,” my mother assured me. “Don’t worry. He probably just needs some vitamins.”

The next day my mother called after his appointment.

“The doctor wants to run some tests.” No. I didn’t want this news, and I certainly didn’t need to hear the rest. “The doctor wants them done in the hospital.”

We had a diagnosis within days of his hospitalization.

Liver cancer. Three months to live at the most so far had the cancer advanced. They could only give him small doses of chemotherapy, which would allow us the summer with him. It wasn’t a cure, the doctor warned. It was simply a prolonging of the inevitable. The cancer had progressed speedily without detection, and within days, my father faced the end of his life.

I cried with my mother and my brothers. I threw up. Then I cried some more. We all hugged and wept. And when I wasn’t doing all those things, I longed to crawl in bed and sleep. Grief gripped me, but I fought to remain strong. My mother found me in the waiting room of the hospital nearly asleep one afternoon.

“Could you be pregnant?” my mother asked exactly one week after Mother’s Day.

“No way.” I huffed at the question. Pregnancy wasn’t in the plans. “Why would you ask me that?”

“Every time someone hugs you, you cringe as if your breasts are tender. Same thing always happened to me during the first months of my pregnancies with you five kids.”

I looked at my mother. Could she be losing her mind over the grief of losing her husband of forty-five years? I certainly questioned her grip on reality. How could she be thinking of my tender breasts at a time like this?

Tender breasts. That gave me pause. My breasts had been terribly sensitive during all the hugs and embraces during the past few days—meaningful hugs from my aunts to convey their sympathy.

My mother smiled at me—the first smile I’d seen in a week of tears.

All my symptoms, suddenly took on a new significance. I couldn’t keep food down. I felt nauseous all day. And then I remembered the most important one of all. My period was two weeks late.

The next day I went to the clinic to be tested. In those days, we didn’t have the pee sticks purchased at the corner drugstore. I had to pee in a cup and wait hours for the results. I filled out a form when I arrived. The final question asked on the little piece of paper, “What will you do if you’re pregnant?”

Suddenly, the last thing I wanted before that moment became the thing I wanted more than anything else. I knew exactly what to write on the form.

“I’ll scream for joy.” Loudly.

Not only were there no quick tests in 1981, there were no cell phones, either. I called the clinic later in the day from a pay phone.

When the nurse came on the line, I impatiently went through all the details of my life to assure them of my identity. Finally, I finished.

“Well, Patricia, you can start screaming,” the nurse said.

We raced to the hospital where my father lay waiting for his first treatment. We wanted him to hear the news before anyone else.

“You’re going to be a grandfather once again.” I stood at the head of my father’s bed. His eyes filled with tears, and I heard my mother gasp.

The door opened, and my father’s cousin walked in the door.

“How are you, Harmon?” she asked.

“I’m going to have a granddaughter,” he announced. Loud and clear. We all laughed that he’d decided the sex of the child only six weeks into its gestation.

We brought my father home soon afterward. Between my brothers and mother, we rotated shifts of caring for my father. As my father’s cancer ate at his liver and the chemo prolonged his life for a few weeks, he lost his hair and his body mass. I would sit by his bed and read his favorite Bible verses to him. He reminded me of a newborn. Perhaps it was my pregnancy that made me think this way. But the skin on his face grew softer and shinier. When the pain killers worked, he lay in repose with a slight smile and blue-veined lids that reminded me of the fetus pictures I studied as my pregnancy progressed.

He did not want to talk about my pregnancy. At first, it hurt me. But then one afternoon, sitting by his side, I realized he didn’t want to talk about it because he knew he would never meet the child growing inside of me.

I sat by his bedside in those final days, watching his face change from a man dying of cancer to the face of innocence. I put my hand on his and the other hand on my belly. The life cycle beat through me to my father and to my child.

One cloudy morning in August, my father’s breathing became labored. Then, the breathing suddenly stopped. My champion and my hero was gone.

Sobbing, I walked outside. As I stepped onto the back stoop, the sun came out from the clouds and a swoosh of movement somersaulted in my womb. My baby moved inside of me for the first time.

My family assured me it had happened because of my grief.

But I knew better. And five months later, I knew for sure.

From the moment, my father made his pronouncement that I carried a girl, I always believed the same thing. I wouldn’t even consider a boy’s name.

On January 26, 1982, I pushed a baby out of my womb. When the crying bundle was placed on my chest, I discovered that my father had known what others had not.

“Welcome, Anna Christina,” I said to the granddaughter of my father. I had named her after his mother.

The birth of Anna was a serendipitous event, and one that brought much joy for my mother. Her grieving was lessened as she held the new life within hours of Anna’s birth.

Now thirty-five years later, I still feel my father’s presence. Anna, an artist, often does self-portraits, and every one of them resembles the face of my father. That’s not her intention, but she tells me it always ends up that way.

Recently, I showed a friend a photo of my father as a young man.

“It’s Anna!” my friend exclaimed.

Yes, it is. And the circle of life continues.

§§§

ECLECTIC LEANINGS final

This essay is one of dozens in my collection of writings, which I’ve spent the summer putting together in one slender volume.

On September 5, 2017, Eclectic Leanings – Musing from a Writer’s Soul will be released. The book is a collection of my columns, essays, articles, and short stories and represents the breadth of my writing career over the past twenty years. The book is available for pre-order now on Amazon.

Click here to pre-order a copy of Eclectic Leanings.