Book 5 cover reveal coming next week!

By Wednesday I’ll have completed the cover for Book 5: Safety Assured Leaving East of Medicetti! 

Interestingly, I’m using my oldest son on the cover, the one I wrote about earlier  who’s been ill with a strange viral infection for the past week and a half, and now a secondary bacterial infection. After three hospital visits, he’s finally on the mend.

Just a couple of days before he fell ill, we did his preliminary photo shoot. I told him that past experience showed we’d need to do a second shoot, because even though I took fifty shots of him, I’d realize they were all wrong, and we’d have to redo them. And perhaps a third time. (Maybe this is why my family is reluctant to dress up for my book covers?)

Well, after going through his photos, I realized they were pretty good, and I didn’t need to redo them after all. Good thing, because being ill has taken a toll on him, and it’d be a few weeks before he’d be back in shape.  Tig as Peto (First off, he’d have to shave his two weeks’ beard growth, and that would nearly kill him. I purposely took pictures of him right after he got home from the army, so that he’d still be clean shaven. I didn’t need Goatee-Man on the cover, although he pulls off that look pretty well.)

I changed his eye color, turning his dark brown eyes to light gray. (Any ideas who he’s going to be when his editing’s all finished?)

I did the same thing to his brother, who I used on the cover of Book 2: Soldier at the Door. It’s strange how merely changing one’s eye color suddenly changes the whole person. Both of my sons have very dark brown eyes, but not here. They’re no longer my boys, but new characters.

Bubba with blue eyes

(This change to blue eyes still creeps me out.)

While the rest of my family groans quietly before agreeing to be on my covers (they work for cookies, fortunately) my 8-year-old daughter, however, is DYING to be on a cover, so I may have to write a small book, just for her. (Working title: The Life and Times of a 3rd Grade Narcissist.)

 

 

Book 5 teaser–Avalanche on a sunny day

Ever have one of those days/weeks/years, where you were hoping for a sunny day, but instead were buried under a ton of freezing cold snow?

Why is it so hard, on those avalanche days, to remember the snow is only a temporary condition? That the financial/medical/emotional/housing crisis that consumes you today will eventually melt away, and you’ll be left in sunshine? At least, eventually.

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And there’s no St. Bernard in sight . . .

This is one of those avalanche months for me: our employment isn’t where it needs to be to sustain us, we’ve had some flooding disasters in our basement requiring repairs and replacements (our deductible is so high we’ll have to cover it ourselves), and for the past week my very healthy and active adult son has been in and out of the ER battling a high fever and various infections, and no one can pinpoint the cause, despite the many expensive tests they’ve run. And, because he was just released from active duty in the army and doesn’t have a job yet, he doesn’t currently have health insurance. I was reminded of that fact when I went to pick up his prescription this morning. Bizarrely, a month ago, his younger brother, on an LDS mission in Oklahoma/Texas, came down with viral meningitis and was hospitalized for five days, with daily treatments for another week. (I need an extended warranty on my adult sons; theirs is expiring, I fear.) Pile on top of all that some personal epic failures where I handled some problems poorly this week, and I feel like I’m suffocating.

Sometimes I think part of the reason I’m encountering these avalanches is because I’m so close to finishing Book 5–Safety Assured Leaving East of Medicetti. There are principles and ideals in this book that have weighed heavily on my mind for literally decades, and I didn’t know how to share them until I began this series. Getting this book out feels very important. I’m still plugging along at it, when I find a few minutes here and there, getting all the thousands of remaining details fixed and nailed into place, but without the usual joy I experience when I’m close to releasing a book. I apologize to it each day when I sit down to my laptop that I’m editing with a dull heart.

Which, in a way, I know is stupid; downright stupid! We’ve faced greater challenges before! Years ago we lost a home, had to live with relatives, and were even homeless for a time! We spent four months living in a condemned house! (It was torn down after we moved out; rumor has it someone kicked the foundation and it fell on its own.)

We’ve weathered job losses, financial disasters, car accidents, and emotional distress, and lived to chuckle about it. Sunny days returned!

So why, oh why, is it so hard to remember those sunny days–sunny weeks and even months–on avalanche days? Why do we frequently sit down in despair certain that this time there’ll be no deliverance? That the months and even years it’ll take to come back from this latest disaster will be the ones that finish us off for good?

Why can’t I remember, for example, that less than a year after we lost our house, we were able to purchase a brand new one for an incredibly low price? And when we sold it five years later, the profits wiped out another debt we’d been carrying for years?

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This was my front yard two weeks ago. A week later it was 75 degrees.

Today I’m trying to remember those sunny days, ones that were suddenly so hot and bright that the remaining snows vanished before the day was over, and I found myself breathing easier.

Today I’m trying to remember that while sometimes winter holds on, and on, and on, I can’t ever remember a year when spring and summer didn’t come. They do, eventually. Never as soon as we want them to, but the sunny days do return.

Eventually.

In the meantime, I need to quit my brooding and find a shovel . . .

 

(By the way– I still have some free magnets and book marks to give away! Just send me your mailing address, and I’ll send you my thanks for your support. If you want last year’s magnets too, let me know in the message below. I have a couple left.)

 

Book 5 teaser–Embrace hugging only figuratively

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Just give us a warning first, please

I’m not entirely sure why some people are huggers and others aren’t.

For the record, I’m not a hugger. Embracing someone else creates an intimacy that makes me very uncomfortable. I guess it’s because I don’t know what it means. I have some extended family who hug all the time, and when I’m around them I brace for impact.

I’m not that big of a hugger with my kids, either. When they’re little, sure—lots of cuddles. But when they get bigger, something changes and we quit. When I pick up my kids from the airport after they’ve been gone for a long time, we have to negotiate that hug because it’s not natural. Same when my kids go back to college. We do the hug, and it’s an awkward sight, I’m sure. I show affection through attention, talking, food, service, but not hugging.

So when less intimate acquaintances move in for that embrace, I panic. What do you want?! What does this mean?! What level of friendship do you require of me now?! Why are you touching me?!

If you’re a hugger, can you help Perrin and I understand why? Seriously, we have no idea what it means . . .

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(Also, remember to fill out the form below if you want a free magnet and bookmark. I’ll start mailing them out next week, and I promise I will do NOTHING else with your address. I just want to say thanks for your support. I also still have a couple of magnets from last year’s promotion; let me know if you want those, too.)

Thank You-Giveaway time! Free swag!

THIS IS AN OLD GIVEAWAY, FROM 4 MONTHS AGO; There is no more free stuff. 

Book 5, Safety Assured Leaving East of Medicetti, is getting closer to being published! It’ll be out before the end of May. 

I’m having so much fun working on the cover and finalizing edits that I want to thank you for your support and patience by hosting another giveaway. For until they run out, I’ll mail you a book mark and a magnet, just for the asking.

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(These will be collector’s items some day, folks.)

I designed the magnet for my own selfish use–I tend to forget things, so my fridge now has reminders like this:

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(Although I don’t think my 8-year-old wants me to remember this.)

Isn’t that awesome? And cool? Don’t you want a magnet and bookmark?

Then just fill out the form below. I promise I will never use your name and address for anything else but sending you free swag. Your information is safe with me (primarily because I tend to lose addresses right after I write them down).

I also have a limited amount of the magnets I gave away last time (I really should clean off my desk more often, to see what else is hiding under the baskets I never use). If you want a set of these older magnet as well, let me know. I’ll be giving them away until they’re gone.

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(Yep. Got these on  my fridge as well.)

So fill out the form below (and let me know if you want last year’s magnet, too, if still available) with your full address, and I’ll get them in the mail to you. And yes, I will ship internationally.

THIS IS AN OLD GIVEAWAY–NO LONGER AVAILABLE!

Thank you again for your support and patience, and I’ll keep you posted as to when Book 5 is published!

Book 5 Teaser–Life’s a test, not a holiday

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My mantra . . .

This is what I chant to myself when the kitchen pipe leaks, and black mold destroys the drywall and carpeting in my son’s basement bedroom . . .

When our two ancient vans have one problem after another after another . . .

When my plans for the day get blown out of the water by a minor crisis, so that the next day I have twice as much to take care of, until another small disaster hits, which means the day after that will be three times as busy . . .

When finances take a hit, when goals get delayed, and deadlines loom, when hurdles get larger, and rewards grow smaller, and the world mocks and rages and derides . . .

Or when I can’t even resolve the little things, like finding comfortable shoes for my huge and wide man-feet, or hemming my daughter’s prom dress by the weekend, or taking my preschooler on a walk to the park, that’s when I remember . . .

Oh, that’s right. I’m not here on vacation. I’m here on a lifelong test.

(I could, however, use a ten minute break . . . )

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Book 5 Teaser–We’re letting the bullies take charge

In America I feel like we’re facing an election of bullies. Having to choose a president from among the name-callers, threat-issuers, and truth-manglers is like being offered, for our last meal, something from the dumpster behind a toxic waste disposal company.

We’re increasingly becoming a nation of whining children, reluctant to take responsibility for our choices, and instead want someone else to call every shot, from cradle to grave. To surrender so easily our freedoms which, two-hundred-forty years ago, we raged a war over, is a manifestation of our willfully growing stupidity.

We want to follow our impulses, without any consequences.

We want to indulge ourselves, without any thought for others.

We’ve increasingly decided we don’t want God to govern us, and since we won’t control ourselves, we’re letting the bullies take over. 

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