At first glance, I realize these might seem incongruous, but I assure you, there’s a story there.
So many of you know that my Dad died this past June. He was sick for a long time and I really thought that I’d mourned him through his illness (Parkinson’s took him before it took him, so I felt like he’d been gone for a much longer time than he’d been). A month before my dad, my Aunt Camille died (she was my grandmother’s sister, and the last of her brothers and sisters—the end of an era for sure). And then, just about a month ago, my uncle (his mom and my grandmother were sisters) got the flu. Except…it wasn’t. It was stage 4 lung cancer. And in less than two weeks, he was gone.
My uncle was a cool guy. His friends called him a gambler and a rambler, and I think if you’re going to have a good life, a fun life, his was the one to have. He was a gambler. A bar owner. A coach. And a teacher. In my town, the strip of bars was famous. In high school, I’d chalk my license and sneak in. My uncle was rarely there, but the one time he was, he hugged me and then said, “If the police raid us, hide in the bathroom or have one of the bouncers throw you over the back wall.”
At that wake and funeral, I saw all those bouncers. From 25 years ago. And I’ve never in my life seen a church so filled. Students he’d taught 30 years earlier were there —that’s how much of an impact he made. He coached people who told us that he was the only guy who ever gave them a chance and put them in the game. He was the guy who, up till two weeks before his death was still going to the student’s houses who’d been suspended to teach them. As a (former) teacher myself, I know that any teacher who can do that, who can walk into some of the worst areas in his city and have people open doors to him is a special person.
But my family’s shrinking and it’s horrifying. I keep seeing cousins I grew up with at wakes. And we keep saying, “this is not where I want to see you,” and it’s like, we’re all so busy. It’s very different from the way we grew up, where our parents used to make sure they got together (which meant we saw our cousins all the time.) And then I think I finally took the past month or so to mourn my dad properly. I’m a little better (well, some days better than others but hey…)
Now, since you sat through all that, you get the Sopranos and historical romance portion of the post.
So we’re sitting at the wake and Zoo’s like, “There’s Big P*ssy.” And really, that’s not something you randomly hear at wakes. But there he was, in real life and with a group of friends from my hometown. I didn’t realize he owned a bar called the Crazy Horse in my town.
And my uncle’s ex-wife comes up to me and Zoo and she’s like, “Someone said, “Big P*ssy’s here—I never watched the Sopranos, so I thought they were talking about a woman.”
Yeah, you always need that kind of levity at a wake.
And finally, I’m at the restaurant, post-funeral. And the cookies are served. Finally. And then my cousin’s like, “My MIL wants to meet you—she found out you’re an author.”
And I’m thinking, “this shit never goes well” but I go with her to meet the MIL anyway. And I say hi and the first thing she says to me? “Do you write historicals? I like historicals.”
(For the record, Zoo says he heard this across the restaurant and choked. Mainly because my mother always tells people she doesn’t read my books because she only reads historicals. Of course, she used to tell people that I wrote “Navy SEAL Chick Lit” at one point too.)
So I’m just like, “No, not historicals. Mainly military romance.”
“I like Elizabeth George too.”
Me: “Yes, I like her work too.” (And thinking, why the fuck am I here, because I left the cookies at my table. The good bakery cookies)
Her: So are your books in stores?
Her: I’d like to read one. Can you give my DIL a book for me?
Me: Sure, I have author copies. (Sure, because I’ll just give all my author copies away)
Her: I only want one though. Let’s start with one.
Me: (Where are the cookies?!)
Woman’s daughter / friend / someone who will probably read this at some point *waves*: My friend writes books all the time but she never finishes. Can she contact you about how to finish a book?
Me: Sure. (Mentally begging Zoo to save me and bring me cookies.)
So that’s where I’ve been – going to funerals, eating cookies and basically being semi-paralyzed at everything that’s been happening. Haven’t been able to write (until tonight. Literally, tonight). And yeah, I’ll update you soon about If I Ever (gonna be pushed back a month or two but you’ll have it by latest, December and everything else seems to still be thankfully on track. And No Boundaries comes out November 4th, not the 18th, so hey…)
Oh, and HOLD THE LINE (aka novella in the Danger Zone antho is up for pre-order on Amazon (and yes, it will be available other places!)
Remember a while back when I was writing the novella for the military m/m boxed set and then I couldn’t do it because of scheduling? Well, turns out another writing buddy of mine had asked a while back if I had a military story for an antho she was in. It’s mainly m/f stories and when I asked them if they’d mind an m/m addition, they were very cool with it. So even though I think it comes out around the same time as the original antho, I actually got the extra month and a half I needed to write it. And all the money from the antho goes to a military charity — and when I put the novella out myself post-antho, same deal. Again, more on that later because holy hell, I’ve written a missive here.
I owe people things…books, emails, etc. I’ll get there. Just go easy on me…