On Death and Dying

Twenty years ago, I wouldn’t have thought I’d be sitting in a hotel in Huntsville, Alabama thinking about my final exit from this earth. Yet, while my grandson is enjoying his first experience at Space Camp, I am pounding out a proposal for a new work of non-fiction that has to do with dying. Those that know me, really know me, understand I have no fear of dying. And I am just crazy enough to be able to say it! My peace about dying is assured.

Why am I blogging about it? Because I am beginning to find humor in all that remains to be done! I swear since I have been born, I have been on one big run. From a child, I remember being told to “slow down.” But when you are “wired” for speed, you can’t slow down, just like if you are “wired” to laugh when you are afraid or are being yelled at. (Yes, I do that, as well.) You can imagine as I approach a BIG birthday, why the thought of dying and death crosses my mind a little more often than it used to. It seems I am racing toward a finish line with no ability to slow time down. I’m feeling out of control. (Which I am.)

Every ache and pain that arises out of nowhere is a constant reminder of how much I need to get done before I go. I know my days are numbered but do I really want to leave my closets and cupboards in such disarray for my son and his wife to clean out?  I can hear my daughter-in-law’s voice when she arrives at my stuffed closet and pulls out that Little House on the Prairie dress I have saved for forty-seven years. She’ll probably say “Really? Bless her heart.” Those words will reverberate in my ears until I clean that closet.  She won’t get that was the dress I wore on the day I told my beloved father-in-law I was pregnant. She won’t understand that he’d laughed with delight, but told me he’d figured as much because the dress made me look like I was already nine months pregnant. I was briefly crushed as I thought that calico dress made me look really pretty. When he died of a heart attack a few days later, I could never let that ugly dress go. I have it still, a reminder of a father who loved me.

So I think. Will the toilet be clean should an EMT have to use it when they come get me? Should I shave my legs should one of them pat my skin while we ride to the hospital or morgue? Maybe it’s time to cut my hair really short as someone could run their fingers through it to help me look more presentable as I waste away in a hospital bed.

Then there is the eyebrow situation. Maybe I should take my good friend’s advice and just get them tattooed on. With my luck, I’d have a beautician who paid more attention to her cell phone than my face and I’d end up with brows that looked like I was always asking a question.

I don’t want anyone fighting over my fur coats. Or jewelry. My daughter-in-law will take anyone out when it comes to diamonds. We are bling girls, her and I. But she hates fur so they will be distributed as promised….maybe. She loves animals and without my unwritten will they might get tossed.

How will my son find the passwords to all my social media sites? If he can’t find them will his friends forever remember me by that one photo posting mistake where I’m on top of a table, and my dress is pulled up over my head?

Have I made my wished known about burial or will I be relegated to the burn barrel and Bic lighter my son has threatened for years?

Will anyone have anything good to say about me or will they only remember I talked too much?  Did I make a difference in anyone’s life? Is being prepared on the inside enough to eliminate the chaos I may leave for others on the outside? Will my clutter be forgiven?

Just thinking……and laughing inside! Got to run now.  After all, it’s what I do!

 

The “Free Book Download” Glitch

Seems that all things don’t go as planned. We thought the Amazon free download was to go live December 25-29, 2014 only to find out it had not been scheduled as planned…..SOOOOOOO….there will now be TWO chances to download The Button Legacy: Emily’s Inheritance for FREE!

 

Tell your friends that The Button Legacy: Emily’s Inheritance can be downloaded for free on…

*January 20, 21 & 22

AND

*February 9 & 10

 

Take advantage of sharing this with your friends and family! When you are done reading it, please take a moment to write a short review, as it so helps the author! Thank you!

The Button Legacy: Emily’s Inheritance On Sale 7-24 to 7-28 on Amazon

For those who wish to grab a copy of my least release, The Button Legacy: Emily’s Inheritance, now is the time! Amazon is running a Kindle deal at just .99 cents from July 24 through July 28!

When you are finished reading it, don’t forget to post a review, as authors everywhere so appreciate the words of their readers!

Enjoy!

Ginger

 

Who Has Influenced You Along Your Writing Road?

A long time ago, in a far away place…. okay, so it was ten or so years ago in Washington, D.C. I attended a writers retreat, Algonkian Conferences, put on by a man called Michael Neff. I arrived at Dulles Airport after dark and took a cab to the cabin  located in a state park not far from D.C. For a moment, I thought the cab driver was taking me somewhere to kill me, as I had no idea as to where I was going. We wound our way through tall pines with no other humans in sight. I found myself praying out loud. He didn’t kill me, but over the next couple of days, I wondered if it would have been less painful than my insecurities during that retreat. Ten students, both male and female, shared two five bedroom cabins along the edge of the Potomac River. It was lovely and we were all hopeful that our writing would be grandly praised. We spent a full week there, writing, critiquing, and string meals. The first day or two, Michael Neff listened to our works, gave us homework and explained the difficult road that might lie ahead, as many writers give up after a retreat, or worse yet,  just don’t show up to their desks to write. He pushed us to limits we didn’t know we had. His sharing of his professional information and resources,  helped us band together.  He supported us with such zeal it made me feel like we could take on a dissident country. Every day we swore we were going to work harder to make him proud. The next day, armed with new work, we’d read, listen to his wisdom and revise the work for the next day.He’d push us again, stretching us to go beyond the limits we had arrived with. Though we loved him dearly, we’d sometimes giggle at the idea of setting him afloat down the Potomac tied to a donut raft. It took us the entire week to realize the enormous value of what he was teaching us. We didn’t know anything! We were cocky, over confident and just too green to realize we didn’t know what we didn’t know! Many weeks later, Neff’s wisdom sunk in. I came to realize that Michael Neff was the first of many mentors to give me good, sound advice, advice that moved me step-by-step to where I am today. A year later, because of Michael Neff,  I attended and pitched a book at a New York Pitch Conference. It was a book I hadn’t even written! With my pitch, I got a manuscript request from two publishers for a book that didn’t even exist! What I learned from the conference and from Michael, was how far I yet had to go. From there, I began to focus on the craft of writing, obtaining my M.F.A. Shortly after graduation, my first novel was published and I haven’t looked back. In July, Vox Dei, a  Christian imprint of Booktrope Publishing released my third novel, The Button Legacy: Emily’s Inheritance.

Today, I just wrote THE END on my first mystery, all because I took the first step at Michael Neff’s Algonkin Retreat! For that, I will be ever grateful to Michael Neff. He made an enormous difference in my writing career!

It is funny how people come and go in your life, influencing you without you even understanding the effect they have had. I don’t know why this hit me today, but it did. It also caused me to reflect on those who have had a spiritual influence on me, as well. My grandfather, John Lovean, my brothers, Kent and Milton and my older sister, Sue have been influencers in both my private and public lives. Thanks to all of you for making me see beyond what this life has brought me here on earth. You led me to the gift of eternal life. For more information on Michael Neff’s New York Pitch Conference see http://algonkianconferences.com/index.htm

A Simpleton’s Guide to Making a Book Trailer

Book Trailers are all the rage right now, so with the upcoming release of The Button Legacy: Emily’s Inheritance, I thought I would try one!

I am technically challenged, but didn’t want to pay a fortune to have someone do a book trailer for me that might not be exactly how I wanted the book trailer to feel. I’m a touchy-feely kind of person and I wanted that to come across in the music and the photos I used.

So here it is. The Simpleton’s Guide to building your own book trailer. I hope it might help another writer as they struggle to find their way in this noisy world of publishing.

 

1. I went to animoto and opened a free account. (Note that the free account gives you 30 seconds of photos, video & music.)

2. I choose a background (Rustic.)

3. I followed the directions and downloaded personal photographs, paintings and free stock photos I found on the web.

4. I choose a song that matched the theme of my book.

5. When the book trailer didn’t seem as long as I wanted, I paid $30 to upgrade for a year.

6. I added more photos and then previewed the piece.

*** All of this took me about 3 hours. The second one I built took less than 30 minutes. You know what I mean. Don’t get discouraged, the end product is lovely!

Click on this link and tell me what YOU think about the results!

 

Ginger

Yes, Ms. Bonet, I Do Remember You!

I am sitting at my writing desk fumbling with an aqua-colored  button given to me by a thin, aged woman I met one winter day on my way to Chicago several years ago. We were sitting side-by-side on a United 737 airplane when I saw the button fall from her hand knit sweater into her lap. She hadn’t noticed it and when she crossed her legs it fell to the floor. I patted the floor to retrieve the tiny bit of plastic and placed in to her trembling hand. I complimented her on her sweater, as I had never seen such a delicate weave or color before. One thing led to another and soon we were chatting about how the sweater came to be.

Her name was Yvette Bonet. She shared with me that the sweater was almost seventy-years-old, passed down from her grandmother to her mother and then to her. She had owned it since she was sixteen, a gift passed to her on that special birthday. The wool was angora, imported from France and dyed the pale aqua by a clothier in Paris. My eyes ran over the covering again, seeking ordinary pilling to a small hole that might give away the garment’s age, but their was none to be found. The buttons I thought were plastic, were actually dyed bone, craftsman carved and held in place by strings made of leather.

I watched her as she wove the leather of that missing button through her fingers and listened as she told me about her journey from France to the United States wearing that very sweater. Her eyes teared as she talked about leaving her beloved country, knowing again she would never see the grandmother she had come to love.

I shared the fact that the color of the buttons reminded me of a favorite aunt’s kitchen table. As we spoke, I found myself closing my eyes and swore I could still smell the six-inch high, fresh rolls that seemed to emerge from my aunt’s kitchen any time a neighbor or friend arrived. I knew the warm butter mixed with homemade jam would drop from my lips at any moment.  In that short journey, this stranger and I shared vivid memories of the bright moments the color of those tiny buttons evoked.

As we hugged each other goodbye, she placed the tiny bone button in my hand. “You gave me back the memories I thought were lost. Remember me with this,” she said as we parted.  “I have no children to pass this on to, but you will remember me, won’t you?”

God is so faithful in the way he has given me out-of-the-blue recollections of so many people I have travelled with over the years. Yes, Miss Bonet, I do remember you.

I push back my office chair and smile at this tiny aqua-colored button that rolls in my hand. It is a good memory.

I Found a Button

I reflect on my past a lot. Not the bad parts, as I try to let those dark moments go. Instead, I stop often to remember the people, places and things that influenced me. For those who have read Run, River Currents, it goes without saying how the place of Plaster Rock, New Brunswick made a mark on my life. But, you may not know that it was a tiny button I found on a journey to Italy that started me on a path to my upcoming release, The Button Legacy-Emily’s Inheritance. 

I was in the small town of Vinci, home to Leonardo de Vinci. The others travelers had decided to visit de Vinci’s Museum, but I was feeling restless and decides to roam the small village while they toured the site. I remember strolling down a short hill lined with stone walls that overlooked a spectacular valley. The sight caught me off guard and I stopped to take in the grandeur that surrounded me. A moment later an old woman on a bicycle sped by, her front basket filled with fresh flowers. I remember feeling so lucky as to be able to enjoy such a cultural banquet. Knowing that my fellow sojourners would soon be emerging from the museum, I started back up the hill. tripping over the uneven stone sidewalk and dropping to the ground. I glance around hoping no one saw my clumsiness. As I put my hands on the sidewalk to raise up, I saw a small red button to my left. I picked it up, palming it until I was again on my feet.

For the balance of my walk up the hill, I let the small round circle turn over in my hand. It was then that the remembrance of my grandparents button box came to mind. It was there that the stories from my youth wove there way into The Button Legacy-Emily’s Inheritance. Funny how such simple things in life turn into stories, isn’t it?

Do you have a story that came to life from a life experience? Share it, won’t you?