Sunday, September 07, 2014

Personal Post

Hello, dear friends, 

The last few months have been a whirlwind of finalizing various sundry items for the finished book, FORBIDDEN (Harpercollins, November 4, 2014), including an Author's Note about the history and research of the novel, drafting Book 2, launching my new Scholastic middle-grade, THE TIME OF THE FIREFLIES with two bookstore launch parties, Teacher's Guides, Book Trailers, Book Club Cards, BEA, ALA, a writing retreat in Taos New Mexico with my local writing buddies, Carolee DeanLauren Bjorkman, and Kersten Hamilton,      who is the brains behind our retreat. (And I apologize because I'm horrible at posting pictures of these events here on my blog. Go to my Facebook albums to see if you're curious or interested:

--AND trying to keep up with Twitter, Facebook, blog reading, giveaways, putting together an East Coast book tour for FORBIDDEN, my YASI group, Author School Visits, writing presentations, Power Points, guest posts, interviews - and family stuff including health issues for my son and husband. Whew. 

And then in mid-August during a dozen deadlines, we were suddenly called to Arizona to visit my husband's mother who was getting quite elderly and frail. On the third day after our arrival, she passed away, her hands in ours. We stayed on for another week to arrange the funeral and await an onslaught of family. Which was great. We love seeing everyone, all the aunts and uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters, etc.

The funeral was lovely and heartfelt with so many great stories of an amazing woman who was widowed at that age of 40 with 5 sons, taught school, built her own house in the mountains after she retired, and quilted, sewed, knitted, crocheted, an avalanche of pieces - in the hundreds, while gardening and growing an orchard of trees, and maintaining an active life in her church.

I love this picture of her when she as 17 years old before WWII broke out. 

This is what I wrote on Facebook: 

"Carmel Frost Little, March 29, 1919 - August 17, 2014. Mom slipped away from us about 4:45 pm on Sunday afternoon. Rusty was holding her hand and her granddaughter Pauline on her other side. I was at the foot if the bed and we were quietly chatting. All weekend she had been determinedly trying to read my new book, but was too weak to hold it up. We had just moved her from her easy chair in the living room and getting her ready for bed. There are tears and an emptiness in our hearts and in this home. She had been widowed for 55 years and raised 5 boys on a teachers salary. My husband is the youngest and inherited her dry wit. This lovely picture of her was taken in 1936 when she was 17 years old. She has a photo album chock full of pictures of family and friends from the 30s and 40s and 50s. Priceless! God bless you in your joyful reunion with your husband, parents and siblings on the other side, Mom! We love you and already miss you dreadfully."

With my son's open heart surgery last Fall, my youngest brother passing away from brain cancer the previous December, my sister's husband completely debilitated by a major stroke at a young age, and now the passing of my mother-in-law, as well as various other challenges my family has undergone in only the last three years we feel a bit numb. But life and the living marches us on despite grief and weary hearts. There are still babies and toddlers to hug and love and read to, important, fulfilling work to do, friends who cherish us, and a large extended family who helps us heal our hearts. 

Despite hardship, grief, time constraints, craziness, a perpetually messy house with 8 people living here, life is a blessing and I'm grateful to God and my Savior for my family, my health, my home, my friends, books, flowers, birds outside the windows, the beauty of mountains and oceans, a writing cottage! - and freedom in this blessed land of ours. 

August's YA Debut Year Celebration Winner will be announced tomorrow as well as the New September Giveaway - and lots more very exciting news coming this week! Please stay tuned!

And thanks for reading my sporadic blog. I appreciate you all. 


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