I haven’t been posting much the last few days. Lots going on around here. Where to start? Well, HiJinx finally left me. She has been GREAT since my last posting. Full of energy, happy and content. When she went down she went down fast. Dr. Donna came to the house and helped her over the Bridge. She is such a wonderful veterinarian, so kind and caring about all of “her” babies. Jinx will be back with me in a few days, her ashes to join the others on my mantelpiece. I miss her terribly, but she went calmly, and I couldn’t stand to see her fall further until she was in too much pain. Isn’t it odd, how it is perfectly fine to put down a pet, but your family members? They are forced to suffer horribly just to make us feel better. Sigh.
Let’s see. I had to replant my seeds because of a snowstorm last month. They were coming up well – – until I went to bed on Friday and woke up Saturday to four inches of snow and the flats buried. Gag. Well well well. So much for a garden this year, I suppose. I have been building the beds up, however. My neighbor, Ruth, came down and helped me get it started. We aren’t just throwing in purchased dirt. Instead, I laid cardboard in layers on the bottom. When you review products for Amazon there are a lot of cardboard boxes. So, layers! The next layer is tree cuttings, including big chunks of wood, limbs, and the layers of bark that have built up under the stacks of tree cuttings. The method is called Sheet Mulching or Lasagna Gardening. You layer in the “big stuff” then compost, horse manure, straw, weeds (yes weeds! Pull them up and toss them in, as long as they haven’t gone to seed) whatever you have on hand. I have two compost piles that were here even before I moved in (wow. 2007.) that I have continuously added stuff to. Grass cutting, food wastes, even paper towels go in there. Needless to say, opening up the cages left me with GREAT compost! I will be opening and using both of them, and I started a new one off to the side, so free soil! I need more horse manure – there is a stables just around the block, so I am going to try emailing them and see if I can come get some. Of course, I will have to walk over with my wheelbarrow… LOL. Maybe I can rent a pickup from U-Haul and fill it up? My back is feeling better and I have been doing my exercises – OH! And I have lost ten pounds, so that helps as well. Go, Me. Still have quite a ways to go, but hey, not bad huh?
I also cleaned house (not bad, huh?) so that helps with the feeling down over losing my baby girl. Pft. I am a horrible cook, and a terrible housekeeper – I accept that about me – hee hee! Oh, but I did make bread! I used to cook, really well, but it isn’t like riding a bicycle – you do forget how. I dug in my cookbook collection (yes, I have one, even though I no longer cook) and pulled out Bernard Clayton’s New Complete Book of Breads. I used to use the book all the time – baking bread was my stress relief during a very difficult time in my life. Pfeffernus Brot, Coconut Banana Bread, Galette de Gannat, and Brioche. Those were my favorites judging from the stains on the pages! This time I used a recipe called Pain Battu Au Fromage, or Cheese Batter Bread. Batter bread means that it is really easy to do, even though it uses yeast (my long-time enemy!) and it is great to use for a base for other breads. I made the batter without the cheese, then made two different ones – one with sharp cheddar cheese, bacon and sun-dried tomato (Great sandwich bread!) and another with dried apricot, dried cranberry and pecans. That one I poured chocolate chips on top of… umm. I didn’t add any sugar, so it isn’t sweet at all, but the fruit flavours come through.
So, I have edits to do so I better get back to work. Michael Angel’s next Dayna Chrissie book is on my desk (Woo Hoo!) and I am completely enjoying it!
So, today was the day I picked up Colin’s ashes from the funeral home. My best friend, gone forever. And when you don’t have a lot of those, you cherish every one you have.
I leave the house under grey skies, and the bottom falls out. By the time I get to the funeral home I can barely see past the hood of the car. Lightning, thunder, flooding, you name it. My Boxer, HiJinx, is with me, and she is shaking like a leaf. And of course, I left my driving glasses at home, so it is a real pain in the backside to drive anyway. Then add in the flooding…. sigh.
Picked up Colin’s ashes at the funeral home, sobbing like a baby, but I also have to drop off stuff in Golden, so I do that. Not fun getting home through the storm.
Then, the UPS man comes. Now, don’t get me wrong, he is a sweetie. He has been my UPS man for years, and he is always cheerful. But today? Well, hell. I set up an account with UPS a few days ago, and had a package for him to go to Bob Bird in Canada. Bob bought the ereader cover that I had on the site the other day and I had it all nicely packaged. But. . . for some reason, UPS decided that they wouldn’t send along a label!!! HUH?? They ALWAYS send along a label!!! I set the box out and they pick it up and it gets where it is going . . . so, what the fuck????
Contacted UPS – well, since I have my own account now instead of Etsy or Amazon, I don’t GET labels!!!!
Oh, and, BTW??? Stuff it up your butt if you think you are getting a refund!!!
I. WILL. NEVER. USE. UPS. AGAIN!!!!!!
Grabbed my package and headed to the post office. Yep. Still raining like the end of times . . .
Get there, and realize…. the postal code isn’t on the sheet I printed out.
Bashes head on counter.
And USPS DOESN’T HAVE A LISTING OF CANADIAN ZIP CODES!!!!
Well, fuck me sideways!
So, back to the house in the driving rain, with a stopover at Walmart for a new two-tier Lazy Susan for the kitchen (yes, I am left handed and the teakettle steams off to the right. Fine. Get over it. The Rubbermaid melted. The new Walmart special is bamboo, I bet it can take what I dish out.) Oh, and the liquor store, because no matter that I try not to drink, being that I suffer from (as you all know) serious depression, I really need wine – and LOTS of it…..
Oh, and I decided to do something other than my Yellow Tail Shiraz Cabernet – though in several years of wine tastings I usually come back to that one. Found a Fantini Farnese Montepulciano that is a bit dry, very intensely fruity, and yes, very almost gone already…. will be returning to this Italian Winery again.
So, here I sit, having gone to the USPS site and gotten EXACTLY WHAT I WANTED EXACTLY THE WAY I WANTED IT…. I have a new Lazy Susan, four bags of Halloween chocolate (no, there will be NO trick-or-treater’s, that shit is all mine!) a tummy warmed by Montepulciano, and my best friend’s ashes sitting here on my desk.
Everyone knows I would never let my depression interrupt my editing (Promise, Marcel!) but when I finish this glass? Yep. I’m going to bed and listening to Passenger’s Whisper and passing out. Tom0rrow has GOT to be a better day!
I was going to post a rant, because I dropped my Nook on the floor, face down, and the glass shattered like spun sugar. Well, I have insurance (I never get electronics without the insurance – thank goodness! This is my second Nook in a couple of months – the last one the battery was no good on, but it was covered by warranty – but the “Drop” insurance will come in really handy on this little ‘boo-boo.’
So I sat down to write, and just now found out about the passing of one of my heroes, Robin Williams. Maybe “hero” isn’t the right word for you – but whenever I was really, really down, or in excruciating pain (don’t EVER let anyone tell you chemo isn’t painful) he could make me laugh.
It is ironic that he left us due to his devastating problems with depression and substance abuse. But his generation, which is my generation as well, has always had problems with depression and substance abuse. What a terrible thing to happen to an amazing man. We just never know what is behind the mask, and how our icons suffer, no matter how popular or well loved they are.
We were raised in a time when depression was shameful – it wasn’t talked about, wasn’t treated and wasn’t understood. So, we self-medicated with alcohol, drugs and self destructive behavior. And sometimes, we can’t get over it – can’t get past the pain and shame and addictions. No matter how much we may be loved, the demons still live in our heads, eating away at our hearts, minds and souls.
Robin Williams is such a loss to the world. His humour brought us joy. How sad that it didn’t bring him joy as well.
None of us are who we were. Do you think I’m the same person I was before seeing my best friend killed? Before stepping over Marishka’s body and the bodies of her murdered children? Before seeing you face down in the dirt? Do you think I don’t see corpses in my sleep? Do you think that hasn’t changed me?” – Hope Shane, Reckless Endangerment by Amber Lee Easton
Hello All. As is easy to tell from my last blog post and others, I am deeply interested in finding ways to help injured war veterans and their families. As such, I try to nudge my readers to pay attention, to learn about things like PTSD and the horrors and devastation of war. It isn’t just the bodies of those who fight for us that are injured. Minds and souls are often damaged beyond repair. Families break apart, soldiers return from war only to realize that they are no longer able to function in society, tortured by their memories. Suicide is common, as is winding up on the streets, living in alleyways and suffering even more pain as the very country they served turns their back on them.
I haven’t read this book, but as I was checking my messages on Twitter, I came across Amber Lea Easton and her book, Reckless Endangerment. Reading what the book was about, I knew it had to join my To Be Read shelf. Here is the blurb and an excerpt. If you get a chance to read it, or if you already have, please shoot me an email and let me know what you thought about it, and I will do the same when I get a chance to read it myself.
Reckless Endangerment Blurb:
Heroes come in many forms–soldiers who fall and rise and ordinary people doing extraordinary things. Sometimes heroes fall and take the ones they love down with them. Colonel Michael Cedars and reporter Hope Shane fell in love in a war zone, but then the world blew up, and splintered their lives in two.
Michael Cedars returns home from Afghanistan wounded and unsure where he fits in this ‘new normal’ of civilian life. Unsure if he’ll walk again, he questions his abilities as a man, husband, and father. Accustomed to giving orders, he’s thrown into a world where he doesn’t know the rules anymore and no one is respecting the officer in the room.
Hope isn’t one who gives up easily—not on her marriage and not on the innocent victims of a human trafficking ring she’s investigating. As the danger of her story intensifies, she struggles with her own post-traumatic stress disorder and a husband who resists her love.
Danger intensifies as Hope searches for truth and justice. Everyone she loves is at risk. Will her reckless pursuit of the human trafficking ring jeopardize their lives?
Michael knows she needs him, but doubts his ability to be the hero she still believes him to be. Is he still the man she married or has he become a liability that could get her killed?
Although this book is marketed as romantic suspense it also covers some serious issues, such as people trafficking and post-traumatic stress disorder, adding further depth to a book that is rich in plot and personal conflict already. Nothing prepared me for the literary quality of this novel. Regular romance and suspense fans get more than enough here to be satisfied by the great chemistry between the main characters and the intriguing story lines. However, if you – like myself – want a little bit more out of a book than you will find it in the well-handled and insightful passages about trafficking and PSD, issues that are handled with care rather than in an exploitative or decorative manner.
Easton clearly cares about what she writes and it pays dividends, her book is surprisingly impressive and certainly recommended.
5.0 out of 5 stars
Gritty At Times, Realistic, With An Immensely Satisfying Romance and Mystery
By J. Faltys “Joder”
By the end of Reckless Endangerment I can sum it up by saying it’s Triple-H……heartbreaking, heartwarming, and heart-pounding. It’s full of likable and fully fleshed-out characters, realistically depicted issues related to the aftermath of war, and it presented a fast-paced mystery surrounding human trafficking that kept me on the edge of my seat. It shows that atrocities not only occur in faraway lands but outside our front door as well. As two people deal both mentally and physically with the hand war dealt them it’s only through love and acceptance that true healing can begin and a HEA can be fully achieved
5.0 out of 5 stars
I love this book! The author did a great job of writing a contemporary novel with all the twists and turns that make it impossible for you to put the book down!! I am really impressed with the author’s use of hard hitting problems facing today’s society and integrating them into the story line. This is not just another cookie cutter, predictable romance!! I highly recommend this book for all who looking for a novel with a little something extra!
Excerpt From Reckless Endangerment:
“I’m sick of not having a say in what I do or don’t do. You can’t do this. Just because I’m trapped in this chair doesn’t mean I don’t have a say about my life and I want you out of it. Get the hell out and leave me alone. I don’t want to be married to you and, unless something’s changed in the good ol’ USA, you can’t stop me from divorcing you. Listen closely, babe. I. Don’t. Want. You.”
Rage consumed him. Rage for what could have been, what should have been, for a life lost. Rage for everyone acting like he had no rights anymore, like he couldn’t make his own decisions. He tossed the wedding ring and pictures across the room.
Looking horrified, she covered her mouth with her hands and walked to where the frames smashed against the floor. As she bent, her bag spilled, contents ranging from liquid soap to a flashlight scattered across the tile. She fell to her knees, hands shaking as she scooped up the items. Broken glass crunched beneath her. Hair shielded her face from view, but he knew she cried.
He remembered another time with her on her knees when that bag had saved his sanity. Bombs had rocked the walls. Blood had dripped into his eyes. Dizziness weakened his legs. From that bag, she’d retrieved bandages, protein bars, and bottles of water. He had thanked God for her and that oversized bag.
“I’ll make sure I call next time,” she said in rushed, quiet voice, “wouldn’t want to inconvenience you.”
“I’m sorry.” He dropped his hands to the arms of the chair and stared at her bent head. “I don’t know how to handle any of this anymore, Hope, especially you.”
She froze at his words. “Especially me, huh? I’m the one constant in your life, if you haven’t figured that out yet. Despite all the bullshit, here I am. Me, stupid me, still needing you as much today as I did a year ago.”
His chest caved in at the sight of her eyes glistening with tears. He wanted to take it back, every word.
“I don’t know how to do this, how to be married, how to be back in the States, how to be a civilian again, how not to walk,” he admitted.
“You break my heart,” she whispered.
“How could I possibly break your heart?”
“By not seeing how strong you are, how much you mean to everyone in your life, how worthy you are to be alive, how heroic you’ve been, how much I love you.”
“Don’t say that.”
“Maybe I need to stop trying to hold on. Maybe you’re right.” Sighing, her shoulders slumped. “We were this close,” she held her fingers an inch apart, “to having a life together when everything blew up in our faces. Literally. What else do I have to lose, right? I already lost my dignity when I begged those damn bureaucrats to let me see you in Germany. And when I say begged, I mean I begged, pleaded, bartered, whatever I could possibly say or do to get in and they told me that you,” she pointed at him, “said no, you told them I lied about being married to you. McGee backed you up. I looked like a fool and a liar.”
“I’m sorry,” he whispered.
“Now you’re doing it again, denying me. You’d rather sit in this place alone than admit to the world that I’m your wife. It’s true.” She nodded, gaze gluing him in place. “I gave up my everything for you. My life. My pride. My dignity. I gave it all up for you.”
“Why?” he choked out the question. “I did everything to get you to let me go. I don’t want you to give up anything for me; can’t you see that? You were born to be in the spotlight, dodging bullets, charming your way into and out of trouble. I’m an anchor to you now; you know it but refuse to admit it. I want you to forget me. Why won’t you let me go?”
She closed her eyes, face tilted toward the ceiling. “Because maybe I went crazy over there. Maybe we weren’t this close,” again with the fingers, “to having a life together. Maybe we were already there. Maybe it wasn’t conventional, but it was real, it was us. Maybe I misunderstood sex for more. Maybe I thought that our wedding meant as much to you as it did to me. Maybe I’m the biggest fool to walk planet earth.”
“But now I’m broken so…”
“Yeah, that’s right.” Nodding, she looked away and brushed the back of her hand over her eyes. “And I’m too shallow to be the person you need, right? Too superficial? I know the truth. I know that you should be capable of limited mobility, that you are not trapped in that chair, that you have sensations in your right leg and have even managed to stand for a brief period of time here and there. Didn’t you think I’d do some research on your injuries? I may have kept my distance, but I have a knack for getting people to talk to me, remember? Yes, you’re in a wheelchair, but your situation isn’t hopeless. You’re the one who gave up, but for the life of me I don’t know why. It’s not like you. You’re a goddamn colonel in the Marine Corps. You don’t surrender, so what’s going on with you?”
Her words stung. He had heard them for months now and he didn’t know the answer. He couldn’t explain anything to anyone, not even himself.
Amber Lea Easton is a multi-published fiction and nonfiction author. Smart is sexy, according to Easton, which is why she writes about strong female characters who have their flaws and challenges but ultimately persevere. She currently has six contemporary romance and romantic suspense novels out in the world: Kiss Me Slowly, Riptide, Reckless Endangerment, Anonymity, In Between, and Dancing Barefoot. Her memoir, Free Fall, is dedicated to suicide prevention, awareness, and helping others navigate the dark journey of grief.
In addition, Easton works as an editor, freelance journalist, and professional speaker. She speaks on subjects ranging from writing to widowhood. Some of her videos on romance writing have appeared on the international Writers & Authors television network. Current radio appearances are linked via her author website, http://www.amberleaeaston.com.
Easton currently lives with her two teenagers in the Colorado Rocky Mountains where she gives thanks daily for the gorgeous view outside her window. She finds inspiration from traveling, the people she meets, nature and life’s twists and turns. At the end of the day, as long as she’s writing, she considers herself simply to be “a lucky lady liv’n the dream.”