Scattered Pieces Released by Webfoot Publishing

It seems fitting and somewhat ironic that in announcing the publication of Scattered Pieces, I should think back upon my life. Perhaps all lives are scattered pieces, pieces dealt to us by fate, and the pieces we chose to play in such and such a way.

In my story, Katie Harris looks back to assemble the scattered pieces of her past. Katie’s life was marked early when her little brother, the mischievous Jimmy, wiggled away from her at a Cleveland train station.  His disappearance marked Katie and her parents with what might be a brand that says: LOST. AT FAULT.

As I write that, I think I might bear a similar mark. LOST. TWO SONS. Though I never consciously plotted Katie’s story using my personal history, it may have been at the core of my disseminating dream. My dream: a little boy waits with his father outside a train station. As a spectator, I see the father bring the boy inside. But two menacing figures accost them and the child vanishes.

This was the first dream. The second began after I went back to sleep. This time I’m at an airport, sitting on an outside bench.  A little girl wheels an empty baby buggy toward me. “I’m looking for him,” she says, and walks toward an airplane waiting on the tarmac. Waking again, I reviewed the two dreams, and Scattered Pieces began to take shape in my mind.

As Katie’s life of trauma, love, and mystery unfolded, Lisa Nowak was one of my best pre-beta readers.  Her enthusiasm for Scattered Pieces culminated this week with its publication through Lisa’s company, Webfoot Publishing. Besides having stepped into the world of publishing, Lisa is also the author of the YA series Full Throttle , beginning with Running Wide Open, a coming of age story set against an exciting background of stock car racing.

I want to thank Lisa and Webfoot Publishing for making this dream a reality. And the awesome ladies of Chrysalis who listened and commented, week after week, during it’s initial reading.

Scattered Pieces can be found for the low price of $2.99 in e-book format at Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, and on Kindle at Amazon.  The print version will be available sometime in November. If you’re interested in reading it and letting me know of any typos you spot, I’ll send you a free copy. Just leave a comment below.

Published in: on September 12, 2011 at 10:46 am  Comments (11)  
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Joseph Kelly, A Son Remembered

Anniversaries mark not only the happy times in life.  They also mark days or hours when lives are changed forever.  Twenty-eight years ago on September 4th, I received the phone call that every parent dreads.  “Joe is dead,” said the voice on the other end of the line. He had been killed in a motorcycle accident, and if I let myself remember, the shock still sends waves of disbelief through my heart.

But on this day, I want to introduce Joe to those of you who never knew him. I remember him on April 29, 1983, his last birthday on earth. The picture I snapped was of Joe holding his adoring little brother.  On the table is a frosted cake and a vase of red tulips and lavender lilacs.  “What is your ambition,” I asked, “now that you’re twenty-one.”

After a quick but serious pause, he said, “I don’t really have any plans.  But I’ve always wanted to reach twenty-one.  I’m a man now, and that’s enough.”  In retrospect, his words seem prophetic.

Joe, the youngest of my first three children, was a sensitive youngster with a tender heart.  At age seven, he railed at his older brother for wrecking a spider web, reminding him how long it took the spider to make it.  He defended younger children being threatened by playground bullies, a protective trait he never lost.  But there are too many memories to write here.  That would require a book.  So I will content myself with two.

Joe was about ten years old.  The children, I thought, were asleep, when I heard someone crying.  Going to the boys’ room, I found Joe sobbing softly in his bed.  Coaxing him downstairs to the family room, we sat before the fireplace where the dying fire still glowed red and gold.  Snuggled in my arms, he explained the reason for his heartbreak.  “I was thinking,” he said, “that someday we won’t all be here.  We’ll be away from each other, and nothing will ever be the same.”  I don’t recall what words of comfort I offered, but I will never forget what he said.

The day following his funeral service, his girlfriend, a beautiful, silver-haired blond girl came to see me.  This is one of the stories she told.  “Joe and I had a special tree,” she said, blinking hard to keep her tears in check.  “It was in a little park near Lloyd Center.  One night Joe took me for a walk there because it was our anniversary.  We’d been going together for six months.  He told me to look up, so I did.  I saw the stars coming out, but he wanted me to look more closely.  Then I saw the twinkle of something tied high in the branches of our tree.  ‘What is it,’ I asked and he smiled.  ‘Something for you.’  He’d been carrying a round leather case with him.  He opened it now and took out a fishing rod.  Putting the sections together made it long enough to reach into the tree.  When he brought the twinkling object down, I saw it was a golden promise ring hung from a ribbon.”

My Joseph was a romantic. He was handsome, kind, and funny.  He could tell jokes that made you laugh.  He could relate a story so poignant it would make you cry.  So today as I brought flowers to the place where his ashes are interred and looked at beautiful young face smiling from the photo beneath his name, I still could not believe he has truly departed from this world.

What do you say to a loved one who passed on?  Can he or she hear what you say?  Can they see your face as you say it?  Nevertheless, I turned my gaze to the clear blue sky and asked that however far he has traveled in that mysterious realm that awaits us all, that he return to greet me as I cross that boundary.  I could almost see him, a glowing figure surrounded by a nimbus of light, a vision to sustain me until that wondrous day.

As I write these lines, my classical radio station begins Danny Boy, one of the songs played at Joe’s service.  A message?  I’d like to think so.

Published in: on September 4, 2011 at 4:48 pm  Comments (35)  
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