Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day 2009

This was a tough day to get through. We lost my mom two weeks ago and it was hard to know I couldn't see her today. We went to church and then took flowers to the cemetary. It was sad, but I got through it with no tears, and I know she'd be proud of me.
At 94, my mom had lived quite an amazing life. At least it seemed amazing to me. She was born of immigrant Italian parents who came through Ellis Island, before WW I. I remember when 9 years ago, how excited she was to see the dawning of a new century and new millenium. Having lived on a family farm and through the Great Depression, she was the queen of recycling before it was ever cool. We didn't throw things away because we, or someone we knew, might need them someday. That trait often drove me nuts, especially when I had to try to clean the house, but I find I now have to fight the urge to keep "stuff" just because I might need it someday.

My mom was a young wife and mother during the hard WWII years (I was a boomer and came along later.), and she worked in the war plants, keeping the family farm from falling into foreclosure. She cared not only for her children but her parents and worked while the men were away, just as so many women of her time did. She later raised her daughters as a single mother when she was widowed, and she did a pretty darn good job of it! She was the mother of three, grandmother to 14, great-grandmother of 38 and great-great grandmother of 14.

Mom taught us lots of valuable lessons such as:

No one is better than you, and you're no better than anyone else.

Perseverance is next to godliness, and the only way you fail is if you don't try.

Go through the water where it is the shallowest (or as they say today, take the path of least resistance.)

You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

You don't need money to be happy, but it helps.

They're lessons that have served me well in my writing life, and I know she was always proud of my accomplishments. She taught me the love of reading, and I will always remember how we loved our romance novels. Mom loved the gothic romances of Victoria Holt and Phyllis Whitney, as well as Barbara Cartland's regencies. She read the inspirational novels of Janette Oake and Catherine Marshall's "Christy," but also the Appalachian crime mystery novels of Sharyn McCrumb. I remember she would often read until the wee hours when a book was too good to put down, and I don't know how many times she'd read the Bible. When her eyes failed her in recent years and she could no longer read, it was a huge loss for her. Now that she's in heaven, it's my sincere hope that there are plenty of books, and she can now read them all to her heart's content.

So here's a heartfelt wish to all the amazing women who went before us--Happy Mother's Day, and may we your daughters be as strong as you were in facing whatever life gives us.

May 10, 2009

Saturday, May 2, 2009

May 1 Release Day for Chance's Return!

May 1 was the release day for Chance's Return, the story of young widow Casey Girard and ex-rodeo champ Chance McCord. It was released from White Rose Publishing yesterday. While it's been up in print on Amazon and Barnes and Noble for a few weeks, this is the official and digital release for my inspirational contemporary western romance. Here is a short excerpt:

Chapter 1

"Chance McCord pushed back his hat with his thumb and lifted his weary gaze to the mountains up ahead. In the past half-hour, storm clouds had amassed over the Tetons, staining the sky a violent shade of purple. Thunder rolled across the valley, setting a nearby bunch of Herefords lowing nervously and a jackrabbit scurrying for cover. In a minute, it was going to pour buckets.

Chance didn’t mind the rain. The stretch of Wyoming highway shimmered under a sun that burned mighty hot and dry for this early in the summer, and he would welcome a rush of cool mountain air right about now. He just hated for his saddle to get wet. A fine cutting saddle, it had been a parting gift from his buddy Hank and, since the truck broke down outside of Boulder, one of the few possessions of any value Chance had left in the world. He’d thumbed the rest of the way and wished now he hadn’t asked the semi driver to let him out ten miles back. Did he think walking would make things easier? Give him more time to think about what he faced? He’d had plenty of time to think— five long years—and nothing in his mind had changed. Maybe walking was a form of retribution.A way to make amends. In truth, Chance knew it was just another effort to put off the inevitable.

He reached into his shirt pocket, drawing out a tattered photograph. He always carried it with him,right over his heart. As he studied the photo now, a memory pierced him so swift it took his breath away.Lately, those memories had begun to fade, taking with them some of the pain, but today he held onto the pain so he wouldn’t forget. Thunder rumbled again, and he slipped the photo back into its place, making sure his dusty denim jacket covered it. He lifted the saddle and rested it against his hip. The town of Jefferson Falls lay up ahead. He could sit out the storm there, but he’d never make it in time to beat the rain. He knew too well how fast storms moved out of the mountains, and this one wasn’t wasting any time.The wind picked up and sent a scraggly tumbleweed skittering across the pavement. Chance raised his face to feel the breath of the mountains on his damp brow. Then with a heavy sigh he pulled the brim of his Stetson low over his forehead, shifted the weightof the saddle, slung his duffel bag over his shoulder, and prepared to be drenched."

I hope you will enjoy Chance and Casey's story. Please leave a comment here, and I will enter your name into a drawing for a free digital copy of my book. Wishing you Happy May Day (a bit late!) and happy spring.