Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Letters From Heaven...little update...

It’s been a long weekend; the fun is over, and it’s time to buckle down and get back to work. Being the workaholic that I am, I hardly enjoyed my forced weekend off. You’re probably wondering how was it forced? First, there was a 70’s party on Saturday that I had to attend (my son-in-law’s BD); then, my oldest daughter decides she’s going to have a cookout the very next day (Sunday): No rest for the weary! Two days off that I desperately didn’t need, and couldn’t afford! So, here I am now playing catch-up; hope I actually get caught up!
On top of all that, I’m out the door this weekend; going out of town to my granddaughter’s H.S. Graduation (more time to be lost from editing)! Now, you see why it took me so many years to write this book in the first place? These life interruptions are constant and often.  And, I won’t even mention the phone! 
I hope everyone had a great holiday.  I will be keeping you update on what I’m doing and from where.  You can always follow my movements on Facebook and keep up with me on Twitter.  Until next time, Peace, Joy and Happiness!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

What Would YOU Do?...

Somewhere in America, a woman is raped every 2 minutes, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.  It’s not just little girls being snatched on their way to school anymore, or little boys being sweet-talked into an alley by an older boy; it’s far bigger, far more insidious than that! Our society is being raped on an inter-continental scale, far greater than our finite minds could even have imagined 15 or 20 years ago. We tend to speak of our ancestors turning over in their graves for some of the things we’ve imagined to do (and, indeed, DO), but we don’t have to go nearly that far back anymore. I can assure you, the turning over in the grave is now of massive proportion! What am I talking about? I’m talking about Human Trafficking across borders…from one country to another to another. Women, Men and CHILDREN who are stolen from their homes—their cities, their states, their COUNTRIES—to make a profit via sex (and in other cases, drugs) for men and women without hearts or souls! And, what really blows my mind (besides the sheer sickness and tragedy of it all), is that the people who do this sees themselves as normal family men and women trying to make a living. That’s what they call make money off of the backs of little girls and little boys! (Ok…I’ve got to move on to my point because I’m getting angry just writing this!). 
Letters From Heaven is a story born of tragedy, but steeped in love and triumph. The story is based around a little girl conceived by rape (and of another race), born into an aristocratic family, to a young mother who refused to give her up. Unfortunately, the mother will die a few years after giving birth; thus, leaving her daughter with an eclectic group of people that will do anything from showering her with love, treating her like she's invisible, to torturing her almost to death! 
This is the 1st in a series of 3 books with many colorful characters fighting their own demons their own way, but they all learn—ok, not all, there’s always one who just refuses to learn and will, eventually, pay the cost for not learning (oh, well)—and are better for it in the end. 
Oh, and the secrets! Everybody has a secret!  Good, juicy secrets! I mean…if Wendy Williams (How you duwin?) was reviewing and gossiping about “characters” instead of real people, these characters would be first in line…just saying.
Anyway, I did promise you the Prologue to my book a while back, so here it is.  Also, as we all know, rape is a very serious issue (and, not at all to be taken lightly), and because the main character in my book was conceived by raped, I will be donating a percentage (%) of my earnings via Letters From Heaven to The Polaris Project (www.polarisproject.org). Let’s do our part to help stop human trafficking: Lets do it NOW!


It was not my face that my mother saw on that unnaturally cold September day, but the face of a cruel and savage stranger.  It was the day that she gave birth to me, the day that she chose to keep me and see that face for the rest of her life. 
I will never know why she chose to make such an incredible sacrifice under the most deplorable of circumstances, but I would come to know that she lived with no regrets of it.  She would defend my very existence—time and again, declaring that I was but a delicate flower born from the twisted root of a poisonous plant, and would further argue that even some poisons are used in healing.  But her family would hear none of it and I was not to be accepted.  To them I was everything but a healing balm—my innocence lending them no comfort to my presence.  I was an abomination, plain and simple—a child born out of the malice of rape and rage; a mockery of decent, civilized folk.  And as my grandmother would so callously put it, “…not to mention, a horse of a different color!”
 But to my mother, I was beautiful.  I was the absolute sunshine of her life and she loved me more than anything.  She saw nothing different or lacking in me; all she saw was her precious baby girl who happened to have creamy caramel-colored skin,  and crinkly hair the color of gold.  As far as my mother was concerned, there was nothing more to see…and nothing more to be said of it. I was hers and she was mine, and the two of us would endure and conquer any and everything together…even until the day that death would come and do us part.
 Little did we know on that unnaturally cold September day that her death would soon eclipse my birth, and—little did we know—that from my unseemly beginnings to her fragile ending, a bond of love would be forged so powerful and so strong as to transcend the boundaries of life and death, to reach far into the distance of time and space…to live forever in the heart of a little girl.
This is my mother’s story, and these are my Letters from Heaven.
Now that you have read the the Prologue to my book, I want you to consider and write back to me your thoughts on this issue:  What would YOU do in a similar situation? 
I've been asked if the book is based on me or my life: No, it isn't.  But, as a writer we're taught to write what you know about.  Having worked in the fields of Social Work, Mental Health, Corrections, and as a Pastor, I've come across all type of people in all type of situations. I don't just write about what I know, I write about what touches me...what pulls at my heart strings.
Thanks for dropping by: Feel free to leave a comment, and don't forget to check out the Polaris Project @ www.polarisproject.org. A worthy project for a worthy cause!  And, in the meantime...Live...Laugh...Love!  

Friday, May 25, 2012

From Tragedy to Fiction...Lemonade Maker!

Letters From Heaven was born out of a tragedy that took place more than thirty years ago. I was a young mother with a house full of small children and an absent husband (real talk, truth time!). Due to my separation and financial situation, I suffered severe and deep depression. Nevertheless, I had little people depending on me: I didn’t have time for a “breakdown” or depression. And, if you know anything about the Christian community, they expect you to just “smile” and get over it, as though Christians aren’t suppose to have feelings like everyone else! In addition to this, I had taken on college and was in my sophomore year, so I truly didn’t have time for depression: I fought it tooth and nail! Now, here it was summer, I was alone (my husband was with someone else), and I was lost in my bedroom and couldn’t seem to get it together, no matter how hard I tried. I didn’t have a mother who cared, I had a mother-in-law who meant well in her advice, but was sometimes wish-washy (one moment she'd say take him back, don't let someone else have him; the next moment she'd say, kick him out and don't let him back in until he gets his act together), and my grandfather was too old for me to burden with these kind of problems (I thought)...was so alone! So, I hid away in my bedroom…away from my children, away from myself, away from the world! I hated living in this darkness, but I couldn’t get out; I couldn’t shake it off! My children would come and peep at me. My oldest daughter would bring me coffee and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, which I couldn’t eat; my oldest son would bring me hot tea and buttered toast. This went on for about a month, with my older children watching over the younger ones: Keeping them clean and feeding them. I watched and monitored their activity from my bedroom. Listen, I know how bad this all sounds; I know how dreadful it all was…I know because it was my life, and I was barely living it! And, the fact that my children were living it with me was ripping me apart! And, yes, I was praying! I prayed feverishly all this time, like my life depended on it, but my prayers seemed to go unheard…unanswered…ignored, even. Of course, God never ignores you, but life can make it seem that way at times!
I’ve always prided myself on being a strong person (believe me, you have no idea [but, that’s another book…wink, wink!]), so on Saturday, June, 30, 1979 (after a month of severe, debilitating depression) I forced myself to bathe, dress, do my hair; get my children clean, fed, and dressed, and set out to visit some relatives we hadn’t seen in a while and go to the Park, which I really wasn't up for, but knew the children needed. Unfortunately, we never made it to the park. During a stop at my mother’s house (whom I was never very close to, but not because I didn’t want to be…again, another story for another time!), my son (who was 3 yrs. 8 mos. old) was hit and killed by a speeding car that had failed to stop at the stop sign at the corner before proceeding. It must have taken the medics half and hour or so to get to us. My immediate thought had been to pick my son up and take him to the ER, which was only about 8 minutes away from where we were, but my stepfather wouldn’t let me. He convinced me I could do more harm to him if I moved him: I regret not taking him to the ER to this day! I couldn’t seem to get anyone to call 911, so I had to leave my son in the street to call them myself! This is the weird thing: The call wouldn’t go through, initially. I tried about 3 times before it finally went through. I kept getting a “dead” tone at first! And, no, I wasn’t miss-dialing! I wasn’t! I am very calm and clear-headed in a crisis: I fall apart later! Anyway, after getting through to 911, I rushed back outside to my son who died in my arms about 5 min before the fire truck arrived: He never did regain consciousness. Now, this is where the weirdness about all this comes in: I had almost lost this son before to Spinal Meningitis when he was 7 months old, but he survived (barely). After his death, I was looking through his things, and for the 1st time I noticed the card they give you to show at the window (for visitors to see the baby) that has the baby’s date of birth on it, had his date of birth as October 10, 1979. He was born October 10, 1975. This is handwritten on the card in ink.  My question is…who makes a 4-year mistake like that?  At the end of the year?  And, they wrote this the day he was born!  And, even I – the MOTHER – didn’t notice this until a few months after he had passed! How weird is that?  Was the universe trying to tell me something when he was born that I overlooked? And, to tell you the truth, had I noticed that on his birth card from the beginning, it would have messed with my head a bit, and I’m sure I would have kept and extra eye out for him!
You would think that one so young wouldn’t know anything about being a Christian, but he did: He did!  He use to get my spoons and go to the middle of the playground in our court (in front of our home, in our apartment complex) and preach to everyone who passed by, young and old, alike.  And, we couldn’t stop him! Believe me, we tried! His preschool teachers told me (at his funeral) that he used to take the plastic utensils, and climb up in the chairs and preach to the other kids while they ate their lunch at preschool: I never knew any of this! But, that’s who my son was.
So, where does Letters From Heaven come in? From the pain of losing my son. It was all I could think about…day in and day out! Grief consumed me! Not the boo-hoo, feel sorry for yourself kind, NO! It was the ‘Where is my son, really, kind; ‘Is there really a heaven’ kind; ‘Is there really life after death’ kind! Already an avid reader, I was now devouring every book I could find written on Life After Death--Christian and Non-Christian. I needed to KNOW!  I NEEDED ANSWERS! My son was gone and I wanted to know WHERE! I needed to know if there really even was a where!
As I began to read various books on different people accounts of their “trips” to both heaven and hell, I knew (without a shadow of doubt) my son was in Good Hands. I knew, but my foundation had been shaken to the core, and I just needed reassurance and I received it. Letters From Heaven is my therapeutic gift from God. I woke up one morning and it’s like, someone was dictating something to me. I was trying to tune my ear to hear what was being said and I heard words pouring into my ear. Then I heard, Letters From Heaven. I said, "What?...What is Letters From Heaven?" I knew who was talking to me; I was quite used to His Voice. Then, He reminded me that I had asked Him for a good book to write, and here it was. The story continued to pour “into” me. I grabbed some paper from the side of my bed and a pen, and started writing what I was “hearing.” I know…I know…this sounds way out there, but it’s the honest-to-God truth!  
Anyway, it’s been a journey and I wouldn’t it trade for anything. Now, I invite you on the next part of this journey with me…a journey of hope, a journey of courage, a journey of possibilities. It’s true...life can throw you some lemons (even, some rotten ones), but throw your head back, and let’s get ready to make lots of lemonade! Oh, just throw the rotten ones back! LOL!

Friday, May 18, 2012

Letters From Who...From Where...?

I'm sure you've been saying to yourself, "What is this 'Letters From Heaven' about, anyway?" When is she going to get on with it already!! I don't blame you, and you've been more than patient. And, who needs another "preachy" book, anyway! Right? Yep, I knew that's what you were thinking! God forbid that a Christian should write anything but Christian stuff! In fact, that's what all my friends thought as well, and had the nerve to kind of shun away--and frown their noses--whenever I said it wasn't a Christian book.  I mean, you would've thought I'd grown horns right before their eyes! Not write a Christian book...shame on me!  Needless to say, I survived their fiery judgment (though, I do think they've silently reserved a tiny spot in hell for me just in case I've taken the book too far off the deep end...wherever that is!).  And, some of them...they're not even going to read the book; they're just going to pick it up to scan it for cuss/curse (however you want to say it) words and "dirty" stuff...yeah, you know what kind of dirty stuff I mean! Oh, yeah, I KNOW people! I have a degree in people. No...I really DO have a degree in people, so nothing they do surprise or amaze me.  But, I love them just the same. They are what make like so interesting and give me something to write about the the next go round. No, I'm just kidding. Maybe.

Anyway, you'd like to know where the idea for Letters From Heaven come from: It was actually born from a personal tragedy that happened to my family and me some years ago. This is how I like to tell it:

        It was the summer of “79” that I came face to face with the cold reality of the bitter pain of
          death. It was the day that I watched in frozen horror as a car sped out of nowhere and
          pummeled into the body of my three and a half year old son, dragging him half a block
          away from home...a lifetime away from me.  It was that day that I began my solemn
          quest into the uncharted realm of life after death...searching for hope in the face of

           It was that long-ago summer when my son's death was still burning in our souls, and the 
           pain of it still simmered in the air, that I came to understand the often-spoken words of 
           Mama Louise, a loquacious black woman born and raised in the old south. She'd say (just
          as matter-of-fact as if she was speaking the pure gospel), "Death...that's the easy part,
          it's living that's so hard!"

         Mama Louise wasn't there to comfort me with these words in the summer of "79."  No, it
         would be much later that I'd come to appreciate her salty wisdom and her way of peppering
         it with bits of raw truth.  It wouldn't be until the winter of 2003 that I'd first meet this brash
         and sassy old woman, and not until I'd create her in my debuting novel, Letters From

Thursday, May 10, 2012

I'm Back...Working Harder Than Ever!

Ok, so there's no excuse: I've absolutely been missing in action, and I humbly ask your forgiveness. All I can do is promise that this won't happen again unless, 1. I'm dead, 2. I'm in a coma, 3. I'm in a hospital without computer and no one will bring it to me...so, there you have it!

An awful lot has happened since November (the last time I posted).  My ex-pastor (whom I gave my life to Christ under in 1971) passed: Right in his pulpit after preaching his Sunday sermon. Being a retired pastor myself, I knew he wouldn't have wanted to go any other way! That's how a soldier for Christ does it! Then, my 38 year old daughter visited death...was right at his door! I won't get into the hows and whys right now, but it was more than a bit much. The doctors gave her 24 to 48 hours to live when her husband got her to the ER.  But, I wasn't haven't it. With all of us Christian in that ER--her aunts, uncle, everybody--surely we could call down heaven to save my daughter...right? Her aunt turn to me, let out a sigh and say to me, "All we can hope for is that she goes peacefully." Wait...is that funeral music I hear playing in the ER?! Are you serious! I mean, really...did she really say that to me?! I had to get up and get out of there as fast as I could! And, I'm mad because I can't even move very fast...I have to hobble out! I didn't want my daughter to DIE IN PEACE!!! I DIDN'T WANT HER TO DIE AT ALL!!!!!!!!!! I hobbled to my car and started talking to God on behalf of my daughter: Just little ole me and her husband...who I asked to come with me! I had to get away from those religious people and have a serious one on one with my Father! When I went back into my daughter's room--this is the honest to God truth--she acted like someone had just given her a life transfusion! She was a little perky, when she had been totally lifeless at first! Needless to say, she's alive and getting better by the day, but she was left blind; however, even her sight is trying to come back slowly.

Then, I became ill with a virus I got from the hospital from going to see her everyday: The Norovirus.  It was supposed to last about a week and it took me out for 6 weeks! So, a lot was going on; and during this time, I started editing (seriously) Letters From Heaven.  But, I also learned something with all of this going on: I HATE BLOGGING! There...I've said it, and the world didn't come to and end!

I love writing...poetry, fiction, non-fiction, even term-papers!...but I hate blogging! It's like...what do I talk about? But, then it came to me...I write about social issues (in fiction, yes), but still social issues; so I've decided, that's what I'll blog about! Whatever is going on at the time I'm blogging, that's what I'll talk about. Hey, that should be interesting! So, let's see how that works out. In the meantime, back to Letters From Heaven. I will be needing reviews and all the help I can get for a first time publishing venture, so don't hesitate to offer advice. Until the next time...Live...Laugh...Love! Oh, and thank you for your patience!