Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Storm Damage

It took me more than a year to write and six months to edit, but it’s finally here: STORM DAMAGE. Storm Damage is the sequel to my first novel, The Gathering Storm, that I published on Kindle in 2011. I should have had this one out sooner but I’m going to use my children’s book, Solar System Forecast, published in 2012, as the excuse for why this one was a bit of a wait.

The title for Storm Damage comes from the after effects of what was wrought by the choices made in The Gathering Storm. Evelyn’s entrance into the family could be seen as a long-lost addition or as her having wedged her way in, depending on the perspective of the family member. Even though her intentions were innocent, her choice of a mate and even her mere existence are a heartache for her new mother-in-law and brother-in-law. But they are not the only ones who find themselves damaged in the new book; because even those for whom the sun seems to shine more brightly will find dark days ahead.

To illustrate the theme of storm damage, a quick excerpt from the book:

“Before her was a stunning and breathtaking sight. She inhaled sharply, drawing the cold air into her lungs. An enormous oak tree towered in the clearing, but its once majestic form had been partially dismembered, probably in the great wind storm of a few months before. Its midsection had been cleaved in two, and the two halves of the tree seemed to be barely held together by its thick base. The tree’s beauty and strength had been shattered, but it was still alive and had been left in the garden as a memory of the storm. The tree looked grotesque among all the surrounding beauty.

There, sitting on a bench beneath the tree, was…”

 You get the idea.

Even though this book was just published, the real work begins now. I have at least one more book to write to complete Evelyn’s saga. It’s time for me to go back to 1912 and pick up where I last left Evelyn. Wish us strength, we’re going to need it.
The second book in the story of Evelyn is Storm Damage.

The first book in the story of Evelyn is The Gathering Storm.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Words that Last Forever

We have no control over other people’s memories. We never know which of our actions and words, whether positive or negative, will have the biggest impact on people. Often it’s not the moments you expect. The closer you are to someone the more memories you have to choose from and therefore the more obscure the moment might be.

My grandmother is about to turn 95. When I think back on my memories of her, my mind always rests on the same moment first. It is a moment no one else would ever remember because it was so unimportant. I was probably around 20, riding in the backseat of the car while my mother was driving and my grandmother was the passenger in the front. We were on the highway, driving home, and it was late in the day. A flock of birds appeared over one of the farm fields and looped through the air. My grandmother called out with excitement, “Look at those birds! Just a ribbon of them!”

It’s so simple and inconsequential, yet it’s what I remember first. Her love of nature was encapsulated in that moment, but what really struck me was that I found it to be quite a poetic exclamation to be made on the spot. I was majoring in English at the time and therefore felt a special connection to people who could reveal the world to others in a more descriptive way. But there are two other traits she showed with that simple exclamation that I admire very much in people. One is to be able to be fascinated by the small things in life and find wonder in everyday objects. The other is to show enthusiasmfor anything at all, really. Seeing someone who is enthusiastic about something is to see someone who is in love with life.

I’m sure my mother has no recollection of this moment even though she was there. Neither would my grandmother if she were still able to think as clearly as she once could. But even at the time she would never have thought that those two sentences would be the memory that I forever connect to her when I think of her.

Sometimes the most easily recalled memory of someone is a good one. Sometimes it’s not. The best we can do is keep in mind that the times when we don’t realize people are even listening to us might be the moments they remember forever.

My grandma and me on my first birthday