It doesn't seem real that four years ago I was preparing to tell you goodbye. The biggest gut wrenching moment of my life. They say you always remember where you were, what you were doing, and how you felt when a personal tragedy strikes. And, they're not wrong. I remember every detail down to the minute of my last day with you. How I watched you slip away from us. Your last words. Your last breath at 5:00 am on February 20th, 2015. The way I felt when I knew I had to walk out of that ICU room, leaving you behind. How I would have to hold our family together as we grieved. The flurry of emotions and feelings that hit so hard every year on this day.
The day I lost my dad. My hero.
So much has changed since that day. I learned just how much I was like you. How I still catch myself calling you to tell you about my day on the way home from work or when shit hits the fan. But, I think the thing that hurts the most is knowing just how not ready I was to lose you. I knew you were suffering, and that letting you go was the best thing we could do for you, but there isn't a single time that this date rolls around on the calendar that I second guess myself. I knew for weeks before the day came that your time was limited. That your body was going to fail you when you still wanted to fight a disease that had already won by the time you were diagnosed. That we were going to lose the cornerstone of our family, and that all I could do is watch from the sidelines praying for a miracle that I knew would never come. And, I think you knew too. It wasn't until after you were gone that things we had talked about on one of my nights at the hospital that I realized that you were preparing me to replace you. To be that cornerstone to keep us going. A responsibility that I didn't want, but accepted when you took your last breathe. And four years later, I still stand tall at my post when all I want to do is buckle at the knees under the weight. But, I preserve. For you. For Mom. For our family. I stand watch for us all.
I love you, Dad.
Which of these dirty-mouthed bikers will be your soulmate?
Think you know the men of the Heaven's Rejects series? New to the series and curious to see which one of them you'll like the most before you dive in? Take the quiz now!
Here we go!
Question #1: Someone cuts you off in traffic. How do you respond?
A. Grumble under your breath.
B. Slash their tires when they stop for gas.
C. Hack the traffic cameras and issue them a ticket.
D. Yell and scream at them.
Question #2: A storm knocks out your power. What is your favorite thing to do to pass the time?
A. Spend time with your family.
B. Sit and brood because you have better shit to do than to wait on the power company to fix it.
C. Continue playing your video game on your laptop because you have enough external battery charger to power a small country for a day.
D. Do the horizontal mambo.
Question #3: What is your favorite cuss word?
B. I don't have a favorite. I use them all. In one sentence if necessary.
C. Sweet Zombie Jesus.
Question #4: What nickname would you give your significant other?
C. You don't want to know. Trust me.
Question #5: Craziest place you've screwed around
A. My Desk
B. Back of my truck at the airport
C. Someone else's office
D. Nowhere is safe.
Let's see which of the guys you've paired up with.
If you answered mostly A's, Raze is your soulmate.
Raze is not only the club president, but he'll boss your around too. Despite his alpha male tendencies, he is a family man, and does what it takes to protect his family. Blood or no blood. He was born to lead, and will keep you on your toes with his bossy demands.
If you answered mostly B's, Ratchet is your soulmate.
Ratchet is the brooding club enforcer. He takes his job very seriously and does what he needs to do to protect his club family. His demons often come out to play, but once you're one of his inner circle, he will kill anyone who hurts you.
If you answered mostly C's, Voodoo is your soulmate.
Voodoo is the nerdy tech guru for the club. There is nothing he can't hack. No information he can't find, and no pop culture reference he won't fit into the conversation some how. If Voodoo's eyes don't draw you in, his sense of humor will.
If you answered mostly D's, Hero is your soulmate.
Hero is the overly suspicious vice-president. He's slow to trust and very guarded. His mind often gets in the way of his heart and he makes snap judgement that often come to bite him in the ass later. His scarred body matches his fragile soul, but when he loves, he loves hard and never lets go.
Which one did you get? Comment Below!
Birthdays. How I loathe thee.
One year older. One year closer to the grave.
When I was young, all I wanted was to be older.
Now that I am older, all I want is my youth back.
But I have traded it all in.
Now my back hurts all the time.
I have bills to pay.
I don’t like strangers on my lawn.
Come back youth.
I’ve written two or three different posts this week, but none of them have felt like the right thing to say. It’s been a week of highs and lows points. We’ve had life changing decisions to make, a celebration of my birthday and 8th wedding anniversary, and a loss that will cut us deeply in the years to come. It’s the kind of week that you consider spending it at the bottom of a bottle of whiskey to get through it. But, whiskey only mutes the pain and sadness for so long.
When the fuzzy haze disappears, the pain and sadness of loss are still there.
The decisions you may be forced to make because of the selfish and irrational people are still there. Your life is still there.
Life doesn’t stop when your world comes crashing down around you in one foul swoop. In fact, life still keeps kicking you when you are down. You consider staying there on the ground, hoping that life will leave you alone, but it doesn’t. You only have one choice.
Get back up.
Get back up, and fight for what you want. Go toe to toe with life. Make those hard decisions, and pray like hell that they are the right ones. If they aren’t, get back up and find a different path. Mourn your losses, and find strength in their memories to keep going forward. And lastly, cut those toxic people out of your life. Wash away their taint from your skin. Find your new normal, and never fucking look back.
It's been exactly a week since I returned home from Motorcycles, Mobsters, and Mayhem, and the book signing hangover is still lingering. It's a weekend that will forever be one of my favorite signings ever. So many of my closest author, reader, and book professional friends were there. Save one, Miss Nikki, but we'll be doing our damnedest to remedying that next year. It was a weekend of laughs, drinks, weird AF conversations, googling that may have put us on the FBI watch list, and renewing old friendships and making new ones.
In short, it was exactly what I needed to renew my love for this community. From the beginning to the end of the signing, people were lined up to see the Dirty Bitches, and to pick up Winter's 4,000 pre-orders. Right, Julie? Despite the hotness of the room, the crowded rows, and the lack of a chance to run to the restroom, it was one of the best signings that I have ever been to. I was able to meet so many of my readers and bloggers that I have talked to over the years face to face. It was simply spectacular.
But the problem comes in as you're packing up to go home. My least favorite activity after a signing weekend. You're forced to leave behind all that fun and return back to the normal portion of your life. Well for me, as normal as it can be because well, it's me. This time the hangover has refused to let go. It's like the ex who keeps on linger long after you break up, hoping you'll change your mind about the final decision of your relationship. Just go already right? Not a chance. Not this time. It was too good of a time to just go fading away.
Instead, I am trying to funnel all of those feelings back into writing. I have four projects that need to be started ASAP, and what better way to do it than use my signing hangover to do it because the more books I get out, the more signings I can attend.
The race to write is on...only 2ish months to my last signing of the year!
P.S Here are a few photos from last weekend!
Y'all. Seriously. You have no idea how excited I am about this signing. The GIF above is not even close to the way I feel right now.
This is the signing weekend that I have been wishing would arrive for months. It's not just that it's another signing, and don't get me wrong, all signings are great. But MMM is a gathering like none other before it. It's all the bad boy alpha male bikers, mobsters, and chaos stirring authors all under one roof. So many of the women attending with me are my idols, and I am almost positive that for the first time in my life that I will be rendered speechless. It's the chance of a lifetime and I am so glad to be a part of it.
For those of you I will see this weekend, a fair warning. This girl is locked and loaded for the best damn signing weekend of my life, and hope you are, too. If I'm a new to you author, stop by and chat. I have lots of swag and giveaways going on. I'm not a shy person. Like seriously. Not shy at all.
That being said....
My book babies are packed and ready to rock n' roll my way to Cincinnati tomorrow morning, but are my clothes packed? Hell no. Maybe I should get that finished or this weekend will be even crazier than I imagined. LOL
I want to start off my apologizing for the lack of weekly posts the last two weeks. With vacation and MMM looming, all of my free time has been sucked into the black hole of adulthood. Not fun, I know. But... it's finally here! Vacation begins in T-minus 12 hours from now. Like wheels up. In the air. Goodbye, Indiana. Hello, Southern California. Avelyn is going to Hollywood.
The next week will be filled with fun events and time with our niece and friends, but more importantly, I am going to be unplugged. That means outside of a post here or there, you will not find me on social media. It's high time I took a little time back for myself and remember how to relax. It's been so long that my days and weeks weren't meticulously planned with to-do lists and tasks. The effect of it all is weighing down the muse that I desperately need to be working right now.
See y'all in a week!
Oh, and before I forget, Dirty Bitches MC releases this Friday. You should totally check it out. I dare you to ride with the Dirty Bitches :)
Ah, Stress. My dear, old friend that never seems to leave. Much like that one person in your life that doesn’t take the damn hint that you are really ready to be away from them, but just keeps on going and going. You know the one, right? Yeah, you do. You’re thinking about that person or situation right now.
Well, that situation for me as a dual vocational author, meaning I have a full-time job on top of writing, is nearly an everyday occurrence. Finding the time to write or even finding my muse proves difficult on the best of days. You can plan all you want to sit down and right, but life has a funny way of figuring out your plan and taking a baseball bat to it on the 11th hour of your timeline. Trust me. It happens to all of us. Happened to me last week. Still trying to get over the effects of it even with a vacation in the middle of it.
But stress can always be a motivator as in my aforementioned case about last week. Let me set the picture.
You’re an author. *Hi Author!*
You’ve been kicked in the teeth with personnel issues at work, a death in the family, and trying to balance one family event after another.
Your normal on top of it, planner self doesn’t realize that a deadline is much closer than you originally thought it was. Like… 2 days until it’s due closer.
You have that freak out moment.
“How in the hell am I going to do this? I only have one chapter written.”
That is quickly followed by the sense of utter dread and despair.
“You’re such a failure. How could you not realize this? Maybe I should just quit. I’m not cut out for this. ”
Then it hits. The determination to try your best and get those words put onto paper.
You go without sleep.
You load yourself up on so much caffeine that you have no idea how your blood hasn’t turned into one big soda fountain of Coca-Cola.
You work your ever loving ass off until you finally type the magic words.
An entire day ahead of schedule.
While I used to think of stress as a bad thing, last week it worked in my favor. I made my deadline. Something that I thought was impossible, but I did it. Though I have to totally have to admit that stress in my day job wears me out more than I would like and could never be considered a motivational tool. It did motivate me this time. It made my creative juices flow knowing that others depended on me to get my story done.
Is that story perfect? Hell no. It’s not even remotely like I thought it would be, but the finishing touches can be added during the editing. The important thing is that I did what I promised to do, and got the job done. Is this something that I think will happen every time? Hell no. I know that I may not always find success in every deadline I come across, but last week? Yeah, I totally rocked that deadline’s world.
Now, onto to the next one, which I definitely wrote down like a million and one times in my new author planner. Because, well, #stressgoals.
See you all next week. Happy reading!
Oh yeah. You read that right. If I had to give this week a chapter title, no sleep until New Jersey aptly describes the bat shit crazy life I’ve been living this week.
For the first time in my life, I had a writing deadline, and one that was much sooner than I had originally thought. Fourteen days to write a story turned into two. Two work days to write a minimum of 20,000 words. It was pure chaos. I wrote until I couldn’t keep my eyes open and my head throbbed before going to sleep and doing it all again. For someone who hates procrastination, I learned an important lesson. Write down the deadline correctly. Thankfully I had most of the story plotted and the words were coming easily. I finished it in just 36 hours and spent most of today editing. It may not be perfect right now, but that’s why we have editors and beta readers. Two jobs that authors should cling to when you’re doubting yourself or writing at a much faster pace than you are used to doing. Now that it is all said and done, DEADLINES SUCK! This is a lesson that I will never forget. Though I may have completed it on time, the stress and lack of sleep has made me realize that I am not made for last minute musing.
But there’s an upside. A light at the end of the tunnel. A pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. I leave on vacation tomorrow for a long weekend pre-California vacation vacation with two very good friends to Atlantic City. I’ve never seen the Atlantic Ocean nor have I ever traveled to this particular part of the country. For whatever reason, we tend to flock to the Southwest or deep south when we travel. A vacation blunder that I am so excited to change. Atlantic City is just a stepping stone for all of the places that I am looking forward to visit in the next few years, especially Salem, MA, which is on both my husband and I’s bucket list trips.
That being said, I should probably get my bag packed. I hope you all enjoy your weekend and be on the lookout for posts and pictures from our trip.
See you all next week!
I have to admit right off the bat that the solemn under tones from last week’s post will be continuing this week. This week has been hard on me for multiple reasons. Stress at work, illness, a death in the family, and one of the holidays that I dread the most is looming over me.
Losing Glen’s Aunt, and my childhood neighbor has taken a far greater toll than I can imagine. Her death wasn’t unexpected, but the suddenness of it has taken the entire family by shock. She wasn’t a saint, but she was who she wanted to be. No holds barred. She was a cornerstone of my husband’s family that will greatly be missed.
But it’s not just her death weighing on me.
I find myself being sucked back into the swirling emotional rollercoaster that was my father’s funeral. For the first time in nearly three years, I have to walk back into the same funeral home where I last looked upon my father’s face. Sure, I could stay home, but I need to support my husband and extended family. I have to pull up my big girl panties and grit my teeth when I cross that threshold. Will it be hard? Fuck yes, it will be, but for him and his family, I am going to do my best. That’s all I can do.
But I think in that thought lies the heart of my sadness this week. Sunday marks the 4th Father’s Day I have spent without my dad. There’s an old saying about time healing all wounds, but that’s bullshit. At least for me. Every day is struggle missing him. My dad, much like Glen’s Aunt, wasn’t a saint. He was hard on me growing up, and I hated him for so much of childhood for his tough love approach. It wouldn’t be until he was gone that I truly appreciated the gift that he gave me.
He made me strong enough to handle anything.
He made me a woman that other people turn to when they are in trouble.
He gave me life skills and a good work ethic to make sure my family would never go hungry.
My dad is the reason for all of that. Something that I wish I could go back and tell him. Along with so many other things.
I miss his laugh.
I miss seeing his name pop up on my phone every night after I left for work to chat on our commutes home.
I miss those stupid goddamn e-mails he used to send to annoy me.
The list could go on and on, but the tears streaming down my face right now as I write this are reminders that despite all the bad times with him, I still loved him. He wasn’t perfect, but neither am I.
I have my flaws just like he did, many of which I think I inherited from him, or so my mom says. And I tend to agree with her.
But, that’s what makes me, well, me. I wouldn’t change it for the world because it reminds me that I am human. I make mistakes. I say stupid shit that gets me into trouble, but it’s the real me. A me I want to be proud of.
So before this goes off the rails even more, I want to close this out by wishing those who are celebrating with their dads this week, a Happy Father’s Day. For those like me, it won’t be easy, but cling to those memories in your grief and remember to try to smile.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad.
I love you.
A word made up of ten letters that carries insurmountable pain and sadness to those inflicted.
A word that so many treats as something dirty and unwanted, sweeping it under the rug and out of sight.
A word that has hit home for the entire world this week with the news of fashion icon Kate Spade and restauranteur Anthony Boudain’s death.
As high profile as their deaths are to the world, there are many others who will never make the headlines when they take their own life. Countless people each day lose their battle with depression, sadness, or mental illness, taking their own lives and leaving people behind who will never understand to pick up the pieces. Left behind with few answers, and so many questions as to whether or not they could have prevented losing them. The short answer is never definitive. So often those who are considering suicide struggle in silence.
Suicide is an epidemic and trend that we, as society, are faced with more and more each day. It’s an ugly truth that no one wants to talk about, but that ends here. If we don't talk about it, the epidemic will continue at a relentless pace. Now is not the time to keep to the shadows and speaking about the darkness and sadness in murmured whispers. We need to #getloud and seek out those who may be battling in silence. I beg of you to seek help. Open up to a friend, a counselor, a minister, or even a stranger. The darkness of the world is filled with pain, but please find an outlet before considering taking your life. There are people who who may lean on your that you may never know until it's too late.
I want to close today by sharing information about where you can seek help. It’s a phone call away, and I hope that if you’re reading this and have thought about committing suicide that you will call not only for yourself, but for those you may be leaving behind.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
We can all help prevent suicide. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.
Phone Number: 1-800-273-8255