Never Give Up

Four days ago, I reached a life long dream.  I had a book signing for MY book.  I wrote it.  It is published.  Those things are part of my dream, but the ultimate thing I always imagined was being able to walk into MY library {where I have gone since I was a little girl} and find MY book on the shelf.  Four days ago, that happened-sort of.

You see, the book IS in the library system. It IS technically there.  The difference?  When I went for my book signing, I was looking for my book on the shelf and it wasn’t there. Why?  Because it had been checked out!  MY BOOK WAS CHECKED OUT OF MY LIBRARY!  Nothing will ever replace that feeling. Nothing. Check that off my bucket list!

Throughout this experience, one thing has become very clear.  You must NEVER give up on your dreams. NEVER.  It is never too late to accomplish those things that are important to you. I am living proof.

I didn’t get my first college degree until I was in my 50s. And I didn’t publish my first book until I was in my 60s, even though I have been writing my entire life.  I have published non-fiction articles, short stories and even had a small newspaper column for a while.  But my dream was to write a book.

This book took more than 20 years to complete-research, navigating life, you name it, but I stuck with it because it is a story that needed to be written.  It was deep inside me and had to come out.

But it doesn’t have to be a book. It can be any dream.  Never EVER allow life to stop you.  Your dreams might have to be put on hold from time to time, but never give them up.  NEVER.

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It’s About to be Out There!

One week from today, August 3rd, I will hold my first book signing! All my life I have dreamed of doing this. I have dreamed of a story I wrote being out there and available for others to read. I have read SO many books over the years and I always dreamed of my name being on a book and now that time has come. While it is a really cool thing to actually sell my work, I am looking more forward to having my friends join me for this event. That support is unbelievably important.
Letters to Sarah is the result of years of research and work. This book is just the first of a series where Mary, the main character, tells us-through her journal entries-about her family, her life and the world around her beginning in 1910. Mary and her family are, of course, fictional characters, but the history she relates about the world around her is true and real. It is OUR history seen through Mary’s eyes.
Each book in this series will cover a decade in Mary’s life and will remind us of events which have formed us as a people, a nation and a world.
With the publication of Book One, I find my emotions are jumbled and unsure. I wonder if all authors feel this way with the first book. It is an extremely surreal thing to have someone purchase a book I wrote and want me to sign it. For so many years, I have written short stories and articles,etc., and most of them have been for my own benefit and for my own eyes, but now my words, my efforts, my years of work are out in the world for public consumption and it is like watching your child go off to school for the first time or off to spend the summer at camp. They are away from you and out of your influence. My book is now in the universe beyond my control. It is out there for anyone and everyone to read and critique. That is a terribly frightening thing.
It is also what I wanted. I have stories and characters buried deep inside me just screaming to get out. Mary and her universe have found their way out.
As I said in the beginning, I have dreamed of this my entire life.
I began writing before I knew how. At 5 or 6, I would tell my Mother I needed to write a story. She would drop whatever she was doing, grab a pencil and paper and write whatever I dictated. I am sure it was no more than a sentence or two, but she did it.
Once I learned to write, it was off to the races. I never stopped writing. Over the years, I have written some truly terrible things.. badly written, horribly constructed, etc., but I never gave up my dream.
So, the message is that you must never give up on your dreams. NEVER. It is never too late. No matter what your dream, if you want it badly enough, you can make it happen. I am now living proof.

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Published AT LAST!

Book One of my series, Letters to Sarah, has been published at last!!  It is available NOW on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble and can be ordered through your favorite book store.

In Letters to Sarah, you will meet Mary Addison. The year is 1910 and Mary is 14 years old. She has an ideal life.  Mary and her sister, Sarah-who is 2 years older- are as close as sisters could ever be. They share everything.

But, suddenly, tragedy strikes-not once, but again and again-turning Mary’s life upside down.  How Mary copes with her tragedy is to write letters. In these letters, Mary tells us of her own life, but also tells us of our own history as it unfolds.

In this series, you will come to know Mary, her family and your own past.

-This is an easy read, and SO interesting. ~J.S.

-This book is not just for girls.  I love it. ~D.M.

-I already read it and there were tears. ~N.L.Letters_To_Sarah_Cover_for_Kindle

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I Think of You and I Wonder

I think of you each morning when I wake. I wonder what you would be doing, were you here. I think of you as I begin my day. I wonder how you would spend your day. I think of you as I prepare my breakfast. I think of you as I chop my eggs into tiny pieces. You did that for me when I was small. I wonder if you would remember doing so.
I think of you as I get dressed. I wonder what you would think of the fashions as they have changed over the years. I wonder if you would be into fashion. I wonder what are your favorite colors. I wonder if you would prefer heels or flats. I wonder what sort of purse you would carry. I wonder if you would wear perfume. I wonder what scent it would be. I wonder if you would dress up each time you left the house or would you be comfortable and casual.
I think of you as I go through the day. I wonder what you would think of the changes in our world. I wonder what you would think of who we have become. I wonder what you would think of our country and our leaders. I wonder if you would give it thought or if you would simply live your life and hope for the best. I wonder if you would have always been a stay at home Mom or would you have, at some point, had a job.
I think of you as I eat my lunch. I wonder what sort of snacks you would enjoy. I wonder if you would prefer sandwiches. I wonder what would be your favorite type. I wonder if you would still prepare food from scratch or would you have given in to frozen food or pre-packaged.
I think of you as my afternoon moves into evening. I wonder if you would spend time out of doors or would you prefer the quiet of your home. I wonder if you would have a garden and I wonder if you would plant vegetables. I wonder if you would have a pet and what it would be.
I think of you as I prepare supper. I wonder what you would prepare. I wonder if you would still make home-made noodles. I wonder if you would prepare ham and beans and cornbread with fried potatoes. I wonder if there would be sliced tomatoes on the table. I wonder if you would put a plate of bread on the table as you once did. I wonder what your preferred drink would be. I wonder if you would drink iced tea. I wonder if you would still drink coffee. I wonder if you would still cook for all of us. I wonder if our Sundays would be spent with you over a big dinner.
I think of you in the evening as I watch television. I wonder what you would think of television now. I wonder what your choices would be. I wonder if you would still watch soap operas-or your shows, as you always called them.
I think of you as I prepare for bed. I wonder if you would sleep well each night. I wonder if your mind would be calm and I wonder if you would be content. I wonder if you would mind that I called each evening to check on you and to be certain you were alright.
I think of you as I fall asleep. I wonder what you would think of me and the life I have led. I wonder if you would be proud. I wonder if you would understand.
I think of you when I look at my own grandchildren. I wonder at the relationship you would have shared with them. I wonder at the abundance of love you would have shown.
Most of all, I wonder what life would have been had you not been taken from us so long ago. I wonder if we would have felt more secure and confident to follow our dreams and talents. I wonder what we would have accomplished. I never, however, wonder if you would have loved us. I think of you and I think of how loved I felt. I think of you and I remember the security and the promise.
I wonder if I have passed that sense of love and belonging to my own children. I think of you, my dear mother, and I wonder…..

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More of the Same

It was a shock when things changed, but then it always feels that way. Especially when that change creeps up and takes you completely by surprise. This time, the change had been skulking on the edges for years until, finally, the catalyst came.
Normal life, for most people, consisted of work during the long daylight hours and community interaction in the short dusk hours. Sleep was generally taken quickly, but more was not needed. The people had heard of lands where people worked shorter hours and slept longer, but that seemed outrageous to the people. They had occupied their lives in the same general way for generations. This way of life worked well for the people and none saw reason for change.
Occasionally, one of the people would stray from the normal way of things, but were either drawn back into the group or they were cast out. This community could not survive members who uspet the normal way of things. This community derived it’s success on everyone following the same path. It was a peaceful and sufficient way of life.
But, as with all things, eventually change does creep in. Sometimes, the people were met with sudden change, as with the weather becoming drastic or if one of the people died without warning. But this time, none of the people saw it coming.
In hindsight, it was there all along. In hindsight, they should have seen it coming.
In the beginning, it was small changes in procedure. The basic laws of the community were changed in small enough ways as not to be noticed. Then, certain members of the community were slightly restricted in ways they lived and worked. Then, more of the community members found their basic rights restricted in even more ways-their everyday lives altered slightly. It was all so subtle that the people simply adapted without realizing they were doing so.
Finally, when the people had adapted to a point of no return, the culprit dropped the final bomb.
Bajal Komhinigh had been an assistant in the community for many years. She had assisted in every area and made herself necessary in many ways. She had quietly and systematically changed procedures for many departments without anyone realizing until she was the only one who knew the procedure and she was the only one who knew how to complete many of the necessary details for life in the community to move ahead as needed. This took Bajal several years of careful planning.
Now was the time, she felt, to reach her goal.
On this balmy evening, the community council was to meet and choose a new leader. Bajal was confident of her placement in that position because she had carefully managed the changing of the procedures and requirements until only she would be eligible. Bajal had to laugh at the ease of her work. She had never once been questioned or confronted on any of the things she did.
Confidently, Bajal entered the council chambers early. She carefuly placed all the seating in it’s proper order. She placed the evening’s procedures and schedule before each seat and then prepared the hot, dark drink everyone preferred.
As the people began to arrive, Bajal had completed preperations and was now greeting them all with her usual smile. She was greeted warmly by each of the people as they all saw her as a friend and a vital member of their community.
When the council meeting began, the subject of a new leader was addressed immediately. When the present leader began to ask for volunteers, Bajal knew her time had come. She stood and informed the council that simply asking for volunteers was not possible. She informed them they should check the laws. The secretary to the council glanced over the booklet to see Bajal was right. Only members of the community who had served the community council for a sufficient amount of time and had not previously held one of the governing positions could be considered. There were only two of the people who qualified-Bajal and Pritimer Sojank. Pritimer was of extreme age and never left his dwelling now. So it became a non-issue that Bajal was asked to serve as community leader. She, of course, accepted.
Bajal took her place at the council table and gave thanks for her new position. She then turned to the council and informed them their services were no longer needed because, if they would read the laws, she had the authority to dismiss all of them and run the council herself-alone. She was now doing so. She stood waiting until all 6 council members, stunned and unable to speak, stepped away from the table.
When everyone had settled in the gallery, Bajal faced the crowd of people.
She informed them there would no longer be community donation to those who did not participate in the growing and gathering. She informed them they were no longer allowed to leave the community without her express permission, and, finally, she informed them that anyone who broke rules in any way would be, without warning, detained in a locked area to be built immediately.
Bajal had completed the rewriting of the laws in such a way that anyone who opposed her or spoke against her would be guilty of breaking rules and would be imprisoned.
As the people quietly stumbled from the council room, she smiled. These people had been so easily led to their own defeat.

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Rooney, Zoe and the Purple Alien

Wednesday morning, Rooney woke up and refused to open his eyes because he didn’t want it to be Wednesday. Rooney had a math test at school and he wasn’t ready. Rooney was never ready for math. He was always ready for science and history but never math. Math was dumb, Rooney thought.
“KAM! Get up now or you will miss the bus!” Rooney’s mom called from down the hall. Rooney’s real name was Kamren but everyone called him Rooney. He forgot why because they had always called him Rooney…everyone except his Mom. When he asked her why, she told him, “I named you Kamren when you were born and I will always call you Kamren.” That was Mom for you.
Rooney rolled out of bed and was dressed in his jeans and Batman tee shirt before he really had his eyes open. He knew Mom would send him back to brush his hair and put on his socks and shoes, but he headed for the kitchen anyway. Rooney took two steps into the kitchen and Mom sighed loudly.
“Kam, shoes, socks and hair.” Growling, Rooney turned and went back to his room. Fifteen minutes later, because he had to search for the second shoe, he was back in the kitchen and sitting in front of a bowl of steaming oatmeal. When Mom wasn’t looking, Rooney added on three scoops of sugar and stirred quickly before she turned around to tell him that was too much sugar.
Rooney ate breakfast in record time and was out the door only a moment before the bus stopped for him. His best friend, Andy, had saved the usual seat and poked Rooney in the arm as always.
“You ready for math?” Andy wanted to know.
“Are you kidding? I don’t like math. Why do they teach math in the third grade anyway? We don’t need it.” Rooney grumbled. Andy just shook his head to agree.
After school, Rooney stepped off the bus and ran up the drive to the kitchen door. He knew Mom would have a treat and he was anxious to share his news. He burst into the room and received his usual hug from his Mom before he could say a word.
“Mom! Stop!” She chuckled, kissed him on the cheek and asked about his day.
“You will never guess! I got a B on the math test!” Rooney was shaking with excitement.
“Of course you did. I knew you would do well.” How could Mom be so calm? He had a B…in MATH!
Rooney wolfed down his cookies and milk before changing into his play clothes and headed out the door. He and Andy were going to hunt for spies. They had decided there were spies in the woods behind Rooney’s house. But before he could escape his yard, Mom called him back.
“Kamren, I have to run over to your Aunt Rachel’s for a minute. I need to you keep an eye on your sister.”
Nothing could have irritated Rooney more. His sister was the biggest pain in the world. Zoe was 8 years old and mean. Rooney thought she was the meanest person on the whole planet. She liked to take his cars and play with them! What girl played with cars that way? She always hung around when Rooney was playing a video game. What girl did that? She followed him around everywhere if he wasn’t tricky. She was mean.
“But, Mom, I’m supposed to meet Andy!” He insisted.
“I know, Honey, and you can meet Andy in a bit. Just stay with your sister for a few minutes. I will be right back.”
Rooney walked as slowly as possible back to the house where he found Zoe standing in the kitchen munching on a cookie. She always ate slowly. She was mean. Rooney stood in the doorway staring at his sister. She just smiled back at him. She was mean.
“What were you going to do?” She asked him.
“I am going to meet Andy and we are going to find the spies that live back in the woods.” Rooney reached for a cookie but they weren’t there.
“You ate the last one??” Rooney yelled at Zoe.
“No. Mama put them away. She said you eat too many cookies and it isn’t good for you.” Zoe grinned at him. She was mean. “I want to go with you to find the spies.”
Rooney’s mouth fell open. “YOU? You aren’t going with us. NO!”
“Why not? I can help. But I think you are wrong about the spies.” Zoe talked as though she knew. She was mean.
“You don’t know what you are talking about. Why do you think we are wrong?” Rooney asked even though he didn’t want to.
“Because I have been watching the woods and I think there are aliens in there…not spies.” Zoe always seemed so certain. She was mean.
“Aliens? That’s just dumb. There’s no such thing as aliens. Don’t be so dumb.” Rooney was disgusted. She was mean.
“No? Then why do I keep seeing a purple light back there? Spies don’t make a purple light, you know. Aliens make purple lights. It’s the ship, you know. The ship glows at night and it’s purple.” Zoe always sounded like she knew. She was mean.
“That’s just… just… dumb. What kind of aliens?” Rooney hadn’t wanted to ask but it just slipped out. Maybe Zoe was an alien. She was mean.
Zoe looked at him like he was being dumb.
“I don’t know, do I? wow. How could I know what kind of alien? We won’t know till we go look.” Zoe always sounded like their Mom. She was mean.
Rooney wanted to tell her to be quiet and go away, but he couldn’t. Maybe there WERE aliens and they were controlling him? Maybe Zoe was right. NO! He would NEVER tell HER she was right, but maybe.. just maybe. Finally, even though it was giving him a headache to think about, he looked at his mean sister.
“Ok, come on, but you stay out of the way! You hear? Don’t be a pain, or you will go home.” Rooney ordered. She was so mean.
Zoe smiled and headed for the door.
A few minutes later, after leaving a note for Mom and then explaining to Andy that Zoe had to come along and she thought there were aliens, the trio set out for the woods. Rooney was annoyed that Andy thought Zoe’s idea about aliens was great. She was mean.
The three of them searched for what seemed like hours without finding aliens OR spies and were about to go back home when Zoe squealed. Rooney hurried to where she was. She was mean but she was his sister and Mom would ground him forever if something happened to Zoe.
Zoe pointed behind him. Turning around, Rooney saw a purple light shining through the trees. She was right! Aliens! Wow, Zoe was mean.
The three stood for a long while not quite sure what to do, until Zoe started walking toward the light.
“Zoe! Stop!” Rooney whispered to her. Zoe waved her hand at him and kept walking. Andy hurried to keep up with her so Rooney had no choice but to join them. He pulled on Zoe’s arm and told her to slow down. The three of them hid behind trees as they moved forward until, finally, there it was, right in front of them.
Zoe stepped out from behind the tree and stood with her mouth open. The boys followed her a moment later.
There in front of them was a glass square with a bright purple light glowing from inside it. There were smaller white lights around the edges.
Andy whispered, “What is it?”
Rooney could only shake his head.
Zoe started to move toward the glass square but Rooney grabbed her arm.
“You can’t go near it!” He wouldn’t let go of her.
At that point, one side of the glass square opened. Taht was all it took. Andy squeaked and turned to run. Rooney and Zoe followed right on his heels.
Once back in the house, Zoe was as calm as she could be.
“We can go back tomorrow. It’s Saturday and we can find out just what that thing is.”
Zoe started humming that annoying song from television and skipped from the room. She was so mean.

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Unsolvable

Rachel Morgan lost her heart when she was 17 years old. She lost it in a split second. All it took was for Daniel Rowan to look at her and smile. In that moment, something told Rachel her life would never be the same and she was right.

Rachel and Daniel very soon began to date. They spent as much time together as possible, that was until their parents decided they were spending too much time together-that they were too serious-that they could not possible know what was best for them. So Rachel and Daniel were separated.

Rachel was devastated. She knew she could not persuade her parents but she tried…and failed. So life went on and Rachel tried to go on living her life without Daniel. She eventually began dating other young men but they weren’t Daniel. Her heart wasn’t in any of those relationships because Daniel still owned that heart.

Finally, after graduation and after a bit of college and working, married…not from love but because she felt lonely and she thought it was expected. She tried to make it work, but it never did. The marriage ended and Rachel concentrated on a new job.

It was while Rachel was at her job and concentrating on her job when someone tapped her on the shoulder. Rachel turned to come face to face with Daniel. Her heart pounded and she couldn’t catch her breath. He was even more handsome than she remembered and his smile even more dazzling to her. She hadn’t know he worked for the same company.

After that, Daniel would come to talk with Rachel each evening. Those talks made her love going to work. She could barely wait to go to work. Daniel, once again, brightened her life. But reality held an ugly cloud over it all. Daniel had married and was married still. That reality kept Rachel from being completely happy, of course, but she still thrived on just seeing Daniel again.

Then, one night just as she was leaving work, a supervisor informed her that her temporary position was being terminated and she need not come back. Rachel frantically looked around for Daniel but he was nowhere in sight. She couldn’t tell him. He wouldn’t know until he came in the next night and she didn’t show. She had no way of telling him.

Rachel told herself it was for the best. It was a situation that had no positive side. She dealt with sadness and she dealt with missing him for some time afterward, but ultimately had to move on. So she went through her life trying to forget that her heart still remained with Daniel.

Time went by and Rachel married a second time. Again, she had no heart to give to the marriage and that fact eventually took it’s toll, ending that marriage as well. For a long time, she was certain something was wrong with her that she couldn’t make a marriage work. But that wasn’t the case. The fact was, Rachel couldn’t love someone else when her heart was already taken.

Many times, Rachel tried to tell herself she was romanticizing the entire situation-that she was imagining things-that she was living in the past and wasting her life because of it. But she simply could not deny the hold that her feelings for Daniel kept on her. So Rachel realized she could not have a relationship with anyone and went on to try and live a life by herself…until life intervened once again.

That afternoon, Rachel was on her computer when a name jumped out at her. Daniel Rowan. She told herself it could not possibly be him, it had been so many years. The odds were too much, but Rachel ignored her logic and reached out to that name. When the answer to her message arrived, Rachel was afraid to look. She hesitated for hours. When she finally looked, her heart pounded and her breath refused to come. It was him. After all these years, here he was and happy to hear from her. Rachel was in tears, but she was also afraid that the dreams she had kept deep inside since she was 17 would be dashed.

Rachel and Daniel chatted a while and it was as if no time had passed. They still had so much in common and they still felt as they had all those years ago…but Daniel had married a second time. As much as Rachel loved him still, she knew she would never ask anything of him he could not give..BECAUSE she loved him she would never ask such a thing. Neither of them would go down that path.

Rachel could only ever speak for herself, of course, but her heart had always been, and would always be, Daniels. She would always love him as she had her entire adult life. But Rachel was a realist and knew her life was not to be the fairy tale she had always envisioned. No life ever was. So she cherished the friendship with Daniel that had always been there. She reminded herself that there were no fairy tales and life nearly never works out as we might hope.

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