I'm a writer of Young Adult, Women's, and Contemporary fiction, an eclectic reader, and book promoter. I love to share good books and book deals with others who love to read. I'm also a founder and manager for AlzAuthors, the global community of authors writing about Alzheimer's and dementia. When I'm not living my writer life I'm a nurse at an upstate New York community college. In the evenings you'll find me reading a good book on my Kindle or searching for something compelling to watch on Netflix. Please follow my adventures in publishing. And friend and follow me on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. Note: I am an Amazon Associate and may receive a small commission from book sales.
Have you ever been wrong about someone? Juno was wrong about Winnie Crouch. Before moving in with the Crouch family, Juno thought Winnie and her husband, Nigel, had the perfect marriage, the perfect son—the perfect life. Only now that she’s living in their beautiful house, she sees the cracks in the crumbling facade are too deep to ignore. Still, she isn’t one to judge. After her grim diagnosis, the retired therapist simply wants a place to live out the rest of her days in peace.
But that peace is shattered the day Juno overhears a chilling conversation between Winnie and Nigel… She shouldn’t get involved. She really shouldn’t. But this could be her chance to make a few things right. Because if you thought Juno didn’t have a secret of her own, then you were wrong about her, too.
From the wickedly dark mind of bestselling author Tarryn Fisher, The Wrong Family is a taut new thriller that’s riddled with twists in all the right places.
This is my first book by this author and I’m hooked. It was a quick read that had me thinking and wondering about the crawl spaces in my own house: Is anybody in there? The Crouch family is so self-absorbed and overconfident they notice nothing odd going on in their hall closet, that a stranger has taken up residence there, privy to every conversation. Juno, their unknown squatter, eventually acts upon their most secret secrets, setting off a deadly chain of events. Could this really happen? I easily suspended my disbelief because the author had me questioning every plot element as I turned the pages. Who is Juno? What happened to her that she’s living in secret in someone else’s house? What’s wrong with Dakota? And what did Winnie do that messed up her marriage? So many questions, all wrapped up neatly in the end. Recommended for those who enjoy suspenseful dramas.
Tarryn Fisher is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author. She lives in Seattle with her children and husband. Her heart is dark but she loves you with it anyway. Tarryn is the founder of Guise of the Villain, a fashion blog, and has written twelve published novels. Tarryn is a Slytherin.
The end of life comes in many ways, some expected, some totally unexpected. I have witnessed both. I wonder which is best, and for who, and why, as if an answer exists.
In my family, an early death is not uncommon, especially on my father’s side. Many of his 11 siblings passed before I came along: brother Victor at just 25; sister Helen at 27; brother Chester at 34, sister Gladys at 39. My dad died at 45. Others lived only into their 60’s. I’m told they contracted rheumatic fever during an outbreak in Boston in the 1930’s, which resulted in rheumatic heart disease, leaving them all vulnerable to valvular disease, heart failure, heart attacks, and cardiac arrest.
Most of these deaths were unexpected, in spite of our knowing the decedent had a heart condition. But they were not senseless. “They had heart trouble. What a shame.” Sad but not surprising: In their day, most people did not survive a heart attack. Cardiac care is much improved since then. People live a lot longer with “heart trouble.”
When my brother Vic died following an inexplicable motorcycle accident last summer, my brother Kenn asked, “Didn’t we already go through this with Daddy?” He went into cardiac arrest following a heart attack. Vic’s was a sudden death too, on the Fourth of July, a beautiful summer day, perfect. He had recently made some major life changes to fulfill a dream and was as happy as I’d ever seen him. We’d hosted a barbecue at my house that day with my husband’s family, the first time we’d gathered in many months due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We stayed outdoors the whole time, enjoying the holiday, oblivious as we celebrated that our lives had taken a tragic turn due to an accident on a winding Vermont highway almost 300 miles away.
The call came: Vic and Deanna were in a motorcycle accident. They passed away. “Are you kidding?” was my first reaction to the friend who relayed this news, a reflex response. Of course he wasn’t. Why would anyone kid about something so serious? But it was unbelievable. And senseless. Vic didn’t have a motorcycle at the time (he was riding a friend’s). A bike ride wasn’t part of that weekend’s plans. Why was he even on a motorcycle? His partner Deanna was on the back of the bike. I’m told it was her first motorcycle ride. Why didn’t she stay behind? These thoughts tormented me for days and still do. We have so many unanswered questions. And like my father’s death, it was sudden, and the suddenness made it so much worse. Vic was just 57.
Conversely, in 2017 we lost another family member after he endured a vicious cancer that took him in less than two years. He had surgeries, chemo, radiation, everything, and yet succumbed. As the weeks ticked on and the outcome looked bleak we prepared ourselves for the phone call, but at the same time prayed and hoped for a miracle. Where life exists, so does hope. But we knew days before his death there would be no miracle, and I was at work when I got the call. I expected it, but still felt as though the floor dropped out from under me.
And I wonder: Is it better to know ahead of time, to prepare yourself for loss, or is it better to be blissfully unaware of impending doom and get the news like a gut punch, jolting you out of your world? And who benefits either way: you or the decedent?
I’ve heard people say it’s best to simply die in your sleep, in an instant, no warning. That might be better for the decedent but for those left to mourn it’s horrible. There’s no closure, too much unsaid and undone.
In my nursing career I witnessed hundreds of people suffer a slow, painful death, hanging on to the last possible moment, until nothing remained of them. Believe me: the will to live is the strongest force in life. People can endure tremendous physical challenges. But this leads to anticipatory grief, which can last months if not years, and places a tremendous strain on all involved. The upside is time to plan for the end, to sort things out, to make amends, to say goodbye, to say “I love you” one last time. Is this better?
Is anything “better” about any of this?
Please take this journey with me. We can communicate with one another in the comments, perhaps find healing together. Subscribe to this blog to receive email notifications of new posts. Thank you.
Where did Narnia come from? The answer will change EVERYTHING. Coming October 19, 2021
Once Upon A Wardrobe
From the New York Times bestselling author of Becoming Mrs. Lewis comes another tenderly imagined and enchanting story that pulls back the curtain on the early life of C. S. Lewis.
Megs Devonshire is brilliant with numbers and equations, on a scholarship at Oxford, and dreams of solving the greatest mysteries of physics. She prefers the dependability of facts—except for one: the younger brother she loves with all her heart doesn’t have long to live.
When George becomes captivated by a copy of a brand-new book called The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and begs her to find out where Narnia came from, there’s no way she can refuse. Despite her timidity about approaching the famous author, Megs soon finds herself taking tea with the Oxford don and his own brother, imploring them for answers.
What she receives instead are more stories . . . stories of Jack Lewis’s life, which she takes home to George.
Why won’t Mr. Lewis just tell her plainly what George wants to know? The answer will reveal to Meg many truths that science and math cannot, and the gift she thought she was giving to her brother—the story behind Narnia—turns out to be his gift to her, instead: hope.
Patti Callahan Henry is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of sixteen novels and a podcast host. She is the recipient of The Christy Award — A 2019 Winner “Book of the Year”; The Harper Lee Distinguished Writer of the Year for 2020 and the Alabama Library Association Book of the Year for 2019. She is the co-host and co-creator of the popular weekly online Friends and Fiction live web show and podcast. A full-time author and mother of three children, she now resides in both Mountain Brook, Alabama, and Bluffton, South Carolina with her husband.
#1 bestselling author Lisa Scottoline offers a sweeping and shattering epic of historical fiction fueled by shocking true events, the tale of a love triangle that unfolds in the heart of Rome…in the creeping shadow of fascism.
What war destroys, only love can heal.
Elisabetta, Marco, and Sandro grow up as the best of friends despite their differences. Elisabetta is a feisty beauty who dreams of becoming a novelist; Marco the brash and athletic son in a family of professional cyclists; and Sandro a Jewish mathematics prodigy, kind-hearted and thoughtful, the son of a lawyer and a doctor. Their friendship blossoms to love, with both Sandro and Marco hoping to win Elisabetta’s heart. But in the autumn of 1937, all of that begins to change as Mussolini asserts his power, aligning Italy’s Fascists with Hitler’s Nazis and altering the very laws that govern Rome. In time, everything that the three hold dear–their families, their homes, and their connection to one another–is tested in ways they never could have imagined.
As anti-Semitism takes legal root and World War II erupts, the threesome realizes that Mussolini was only the beginning. The Nazis invade Rome, and with their occupation come new atrocities against the city’s Jews, culminating in a final, horrific betrayal. Against this backdrop, the intertwined fates of Elisabetta, Marco, Sandro, and their families will be decided, in a heartbreaking story of both the best and the worst that the world has to offer.
Unfolding over decades, Eternal is a tale of loyalty and loss, family and food, love and war–all set in one of the world’s most beautiful cities at its darkest moment. This moving novel will be forever etched in the hearts and minds of readers.
Lisa’s writing career began with her first novel, Everywhere That Mary Went, published in 1994 by HarperCollins Publishers. The novel became a bestseller and was nominated for the Edgar Award, the most prestigious award given in crime fiction, awarded by the Mystery Writers of America. Lisa’s second novel, Final Appeal, was also nominated for and received an Edgar Award. Since then she has written 32 novels, all of which have appeared on bestseller lists, including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Entertainment Weekly, and Publisher’s Weekly.
Lisa and her daughter Francesca also write a Sunday humor column, Chick Wit, for the Philadelphia Inquirer. These stories have been collected in a New York Times bestselling series of books including the most recent, I See Life Through Rosé-Colored Glasses. Scottoline presently has 30 million copies in print in the United States, not including audio, e-book and various large print editions. Internationally, Lisa is published in 35 countries.
Missing someone is its own painful loss. A passing thought or memory of a loved one no longer here can trigger overwhelming feelings of longing and sadness. When there are a number of lost loved ones a myriad of memories can launch an afternoon of despair, turn a sunny day into a morass of depression, stop you short.
I try not to miss my missing loved ones.
Outside forces sometimes make this impossible.
Pop-up photos in my FacebookFeed
Some Facebook genius probably thinks they’re making my day by showing me random photos in my feed. If it exists in my account I must want to see it, right? Except sometimes these photos are of someone I’ve lost, someone I’m missing, someone I’m mourning, and seeing their beloved face on my screen when I don’t expect to can be a shock, sending my day spinning into emotional chaos.
Pop-up photos on my iPhone
Same thing with my iPhone. Pictures I’m not expecting show up and, depending on my mood, or the day, make me cry, or smile.
I suppose there is a way to control these pop-ups on Facebook and on my iPhone but I don’t have time to figure it out. If you know how please share the trick.
Random Acts of Memory
Occasionally a random glimpse of a piece of a person reminds me of someone I’ve lost:
A man’s freckled arm resting on the frame of his car’s window as we pass each other sparks memories of my father.
An elderly woman’s hooded brown eyes evoke memories of my mother.
The sight of fresh snowfall in the morning awakens thoughts of my brother Vic, who loved taking out his snowmobiles in New Hampshire’s White Mountains.
“Don’t Be Sad, Don’t Cry”
Many years ago, I sat at the kitchen table with my mom just talking over coffee, as we always did. It was not a serious conversation. We were laughing, reminiscing, planning and plotting what fun thing we’d do next. She suddenly grabbed my hand and said, “Look at me. Listen to what I have to say.” The mood grew serious. She had my undivided attention. “When I die,” she said, grasping my hand, “don’t be sad, don’t cry for me, because I’ll be with Jesus, and I’ve been waiting for that all of my life.”
Mom was a devout Catholic: 12 years of parochial school, daily mass for years. She often said she’d wished she’d been a nun. She was very close to the Lord. Death did not frighten her. She saw it as a necessary route to the afterlife.
At her funeral I shared this story with those who attended. It surprised no one. Everyone knew of her unshakeable faith. And from that day on when I find myself tearing up from missing her or distracted by a sweet memory, I go back to those words, and heed her instructions: “Don’t be sad. Don’t cry.”
Sometimes it works. Most times I’m filled with an emptiness, a sense of loss. Mom died at age 91. My dad died at 45. She lived twice as long as he did, and yet it wasn’t enough. At her funeral my youngest brother said, “Maybe I’m selfish but I want more. I want more time with my mom. I know we had more than most people get, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting even more.”
It’s only human nature to want more time with those we love.
And that’s why we miss them. We miss that lost time. And as time moves on and our loved ones recede into the backstory of our lives, we reflect on their lives and our love, and eventually find joy amid the sadness.
Please take this journey with me. We can communicate with one another in the comments, perhaps find healing together. Subscribe to this blog to receive email notifications of new posts. Thank you.
One of my favorite authors has released a new book! Patti Callahan Henry (The Bookshop on Water’s End,The Favorite Daughter) has finally released Surviving Savannah.
About the Book
It was called “The Titanic of the South.” The luxury steamship sank in 1838 with Savannah’s elite on board; through time, their fates were forgotten–until the wreck was found, and now their story is finally being told in this breathtaking novel from the New York Times bestselling author of Becoming Mrs. Lewis.
When Savannah history professor Everly Winthrop is asked to guest-curate a new museum collection focusing on artifacts recovered from the steamship Pulaski, she’s shocked. The ship sank after a boiler explosion in 1838, and the wreckage was just discovered, 180 years later. Everly can’t resist the opportunity to try to solve some of the mysteries and myths surrounding the devastating night of its sinking.
Everly’s research leads her to the astounding history of a family of eleven who boarded the Pulaski together, and the extraordinary stories of two women from this family: a known survivor, Augusta Longstreet, and her niece, Lilly Forsyth, who was never found, along with her child. These aristocratic women were part of Savannah’s society, but when the ship exploded, each was faced with difficult and heartbreaking decisions. This is a moving and powerful exploration of what women will do to endure in the face of tragedy, the role fate plays, and the myriad ways we survive the surviving.
Patti Callahan Henry is a New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of fifteen novels, including the (Historical Fiction), BECOMING MRS. LEWIS—The Improbable Love Story of Joy Davidman and C.S. Lewis (writing as Patti Callahan).
In addition, she is the recipient of The Christy Award—A 2019 Winner “Book of the Year”; The Harper Lee Distinguished Writer of the Year for 2020 and the Alabama Library Association Book of the Year for 2019.
In March of 2021, a new historical fiction novel — SURVIVING SAVANNAH based on the true story of the Steamship Pulaski wreck will be released.
The author is also the host of the popular seven-part original “Behind the Scenes of Becoming Mrs. Lewis Podcast Series” launched, October 2019. The podcast audiobook collection including bonus material was released in January 2020, and available now. The new expanded BECOMING MRS. LEWIS paperback edition was released on March 24, 2020, and available now.
Patti Callahan is the co-host and co-creator of the popular weekly Friends and Fiction Facebook Live Show and podcast, featuring the five bestselling authors Mary Kay Andrews, Kristy Woodson Harvey, Kristin Harmel, and Mary Alice Monroe with endless stories, special guests, and a way to connect readers and writers.
THE FAVORITE DAUGHTER (writing as Patti Callahan Henry—Southern Contemporary Fiction) was launched in June 2019, and THE PERFECT LOVE SONG—A Christmas Holiday novella released October 2019, and available now.
A full-time author and mother of three children, she now resides in both Mountain Brook, Alabama and Bluffton, South Carolina with her husband.
Anne-Marie Meyer’s Magnolia at Midnight, The Red Stiletto Book Club, 4
A story about breaking through barriers, discovering your worth, and finding a place to belong.
Welcome to Magnolia
Victoria is no longer mayor, a sentiment that she is still trying to get used to saying. After the inauguration of the new mayor, she’s pretty sure that she has reached bottom–until her parents inform her that they are selling their house in Magnolia and she has a week to find a new place to live.
Even though she poses the job opening as a desperate need for help at the inn, Victoria decides to take it as a temporary job until she can get on her feet. After all, she’s a Holt and Holt’s don’t need handouts.
They also don’t need the sexy chef that doesn’t seem to want to leave her alone and is breaking down all the walls she’s put up.
Fiona knows that something is wrong with her mom and the coffee shop. Ever since she moved back to Magnolia with her son, Fiona has sensed that something was off. It wasn’t until she discovered the eviction notice that she realized just how bad things had gotten.
After a pow-wow with the Red Stiletto ladies, Shari convinces her to drive to Nashville in search of Blake’s father and the child support he’s never sent.
Things go from bad to worse once they get there. Dave’s not interested in helping and being in the city she once called home is dredging up a ton of old memories. Now she’s worried she doesn’t have the strength to stand her ground and protect her son.
Magnolia at Midnight will capture you from page one. It will show you the power of friendship and the strength you have inside.
Anne-Marie Meyer lives south of the Twin Cities in MN. She spends her days with her knight in shining armor, four princes, and a baby princess. When she’s not running after her kids, she’s dreaming up romantic stories. She loves to take her favorite moments in the books and movies she loves and tries to figure out a way to make them new and fresh. Join her newsletter at anne-mariemeyer.com
A birthday is just a date on the calendar, but every date is someone’s birthday somewhere. When that someone is no longer with us their absence can turn the day into one of sadness. Remembering our loved one, the life they lived, the happiness they brought, and the love they shared, can make all the difference.
Today is my father’s birthday. He would have been 90 years old. Celebrating his birthday is bittersweet because any thought of him evokes sadness and grief, but on the other side there’s joy in remembering the life and love we shared.
I unexpectedly lost him at the tender age of 15 when he succumbed to a heart attack one lazy Sunday morning at home, and life was never the same. As a teen, I was aware of heart attacks and knew they were bad, but I had no idea of the extensive damage they caused, not only to the one who’s heart was attacked but to the devastated family left behind. It’s been a lifelong lesson in loss that started too early.
Our Shared Birthdays
Dad and I celebrated our birthdays together because mine is on the 17th. He called me his “birthday present.” We were born 30 years apart and are the only members of my nuclear family born in winter. Everyone else has a summer birthday, three of them just two weeks apart. Lots of parties in July! But in the dead of winter only he and I shared the joys of birthday cake and presents together and it was very special. I think of him today and reminisce on what a gift he was not only to me but to everyone who had the privilege to know him.
Ted “Bunky” Kasica was a good man. It’s been 44 years since he passed and I don’t think anyone who loved him ever got over it. In honor of his birthday I’d like to tell you about him.
A Military Man
Dad was the 11th of twelve children born to Polish immigrants in South Boston. His own father unexpectedly died when he was just three years old. He never finished high school but enlisted in the United States Army, where he served as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division. In spite of his humble roots, his early life was one grand adventure. The Army took him out of South Boston and stationed him in Germany and Austria. His love for that life is clearly documented in the few photographs I have of him as a young soldier: Parachuting out of airplanes, skiing in Austria, and competing as an amateur lightweight boxer. We have more photos of my father from this stage of his life than what came after. Back in the ’60’s and ‘70’s people didn’t always have a camera at hand and we were too busy experiencing life to document it. I still haven’t figured out if that’s good or bad, but I wish we had more photos of him.
Once home from the Army he soon met my mother and fell in love, married, and settled down at the age of 28 to a quiet life as a cabinetmaker, with four children, a mortgage, and heart trouble. I never knew exactly what the problem was but he was on Digoxin and saw a cardiologist so it most likely wasn’t good. His family suffered rheumatic fever when he was a child and most were left with heart damage, so maybe that was it. When I developed Wolf Parkinson White syndrome in my 40’s my electrophysiologist surmised that’s probably what killed my dad. We will never know, and there’s no use wasting time wondering about it.
A Family Man
My father was a man who loved his family, his children, and spent all of his time with us. He was an avid fisherman and loved boats. His skill as a cabinetmaker allowed him to refurbish a couple of old wrecks and we spent many evenings and weekends skimming a pond, bass fishing. Other nights we swam in his favorite fishing holes while he fished from shore, casting for catfish. Winter presented no obstacles, because he loved to ice fish, and I recall many afternoons out on the ice practicing my skating in the bitter cold while he dangled for a catch.
My mother worked nights and Dad watched over us. We played games, swam in the city pool, worked in his wood shop, tended to his garden, and listened to Red Sox and Bruins games, or the classical music he loved: Bach, Beethoven, Mozart. I grew up in a musical house. The last gift he gave me was an acoustic guitar, and he took me for lessons every Thursday night. It was precious time alone with him, sharing something we both loved. Foolishly, I gave up on the guitar shortly after he passed. I’ve regretted it ever since.
A Working Man
My dad went to work every day, six days a week, to a job he didn’t always want to go to, but he shouldered his responsibilities like a man and made sure a paycheck came home with him every Friday night. He was a daily presence in his children’s lives, doling out love and fun generously, and discipline reluctantly. He shared what he loved with us, and taught us an appreciation for many precious things: Nature, music, family. He gave of himself, his time, and his talents. Toys and trinkets would never make up for his loss.
A Great Man
We thought we’d have him forever. His death was a shock. But he left us with something not everyone gets, no matter how long they have their father: The blueprint for how to be a a good person, a great man.
On this day I carry him in my thoughts and heart, sharing my memories with the world because you didn’t have to know him to know he was special, and although he is no longer with us I celebrate his birthday.
Happy Birthday in Heaven, Dad!
About This Series
This is a new series for this blog. The last few months – no, the last few years – have been difficult for me. There’s been a lot of loss and change, most of it unexpected, some of it for good reasons. I’m generally an optimistic person but even I have my breaking point. I’ve run into it a few times lately. This has left my mind churning and I find myself with so much to say, so much to work out. Writing has always been a means to my seeking clarity, so I decided to use my blog to figure things out. Welcome to The Grief Diary. Please take this journey with me. We can communicate with one another in the comments, perhaps find healing together. Subscribe to this blog to receive email notifications of new posts. Thank you.
Ruth Ann Talley works at the Sweetwater mill that’s now a Confederate factory. Her pa and brother are dead, food is scarce, and the Yankees are closing in on Atlanta. She’ll probably never live to have a family of her own, but she won’t give up on the Cause.
Lieutenant Jonah Baker is tempted to abscond from his new assignment until he crosses paths with Ruth Ann. His departed best friend’s sister has grown into a fearless, beautiful woman, but she’s as patriotic and independent as he is disillusioned. No matter how often Jonah warns her the factory is not worth fighting for, Ruth Ann can’t be convinced to take her mother and siblings and run away.
When Ruth Ann finds herself face to face with the Yankee Army, she realizes she should have never fought for a cause she didn’t understand, while Jonah must decide between what is honorable and true, and what to do about the woman who stole his heart.
Danielle Thorne is the author of classic romance and adventure in several genres. She loves Jane Austen, pirates, beaches, cookies, cats, dogs, and long naps. She doesn’t like phone calls or sushi. A graduate of BYU-Idaho, Danielle saw early work published by Arts and Prose Magazine, Mississippi Crow, The Nantahala Review, StorySouth, and… you get the idea. Besides writing, she’s edited for both Solstice and Desert Breeze Publishing. Her growing blog, The Balanced Writer, focuses on writing, life, and the pursuit of peace and happiness. Currently, Danielle freelances as a non-fiction author while waiting to hear from readers like you through her website. During free time, which means when Netflix is down, she combs through feedback and offers virtual hugs for reviews. Her next historical romance is coming soon.
The dramatic continuation of the Emerald Cove saga from USA Today Bestselling Author Lilly Mirren.
Moving to the Cove gave Rebecca De Vries a place to hide from her abusive ex. Now that he’s in jail, she can get back to living her life as a police officer in her adopted hometown working alongside her intractable but very attractive boss, Franklin.
When Franklin’s ex-fiancee comes back to town it will disrupt everything developing between the two of them.
Cindy’s ex-husband has returned to the Cove as well, along with the woman he left her for. And it isn’t long before his presence disrupts Cindy’s burgeoning relationship with the town doctor, his former best friend. A face-off with the girlfriend throws Cindy into a tailspin, but in the end she’ll have to make a decision about what, or who, is more important to her.
Meg and Brad get some good news, but with his paraplegia they’ll learn once again that nothing is as easy now as they’d hoped it would be.
Please note: This book is the third installment in the ongoing Emerald Cove saga.
Lilly Mirren is a USA Today Bestselling author. She lives in Brisbane, Australia with her husband and three children.
She always dreamed of being a writer and is now living that dream. When she’s not writing, she’s chasing her children, doing housework or spending time with friends.
Her books combine heartwarming storylines with achingly realistic characters readers can’t get enough of. Her debut series, The Waratah Inn, set in the delightful Cabarita Beach, hit the USA Today Bestseller list and since then, has touched the hearts of hundreds of thousands of readers across the globe.