#BeWow Wednesday – What Makes Me Happy

More than a blog post, this is a series of photos of what makes me smile. I hope you enjoy them!

flashlight feeding sunset Renn Fest Baileys travel Cafe Du Monde kids Crabs Rumby Friends books Food Dumplings Ballet Sweeties2pool

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It’s the #Holiday #Season So You Know What That means….

Really cute children doing really adorable things!

If you’ve been with me at least since this time last year, these two cookie monsters might look familiar. Two of Baltimore’s finest little cooks are at it again for the 2014 round of cookie baking! I give you Granddaughter #1 (the eldest) and Great Nephew Ryder, ready for some cookie baking!

This is definitely a bit of a mixture of holiday cheers. I hope you enjoy them!

I’ve also thrown in a few unrelated bonus baby photos because…well…my grandbabies are so awesome!!! 

Es and Ry

2014 Baking session 2

2014 Baking sessionMy coworker is a Lego Maniac…we certainly don’t mind his decorating style!
2014 legos3 2014 legos2 2014 legos

Breakfast with the family and with Santa! Breakfast santa 2014 2014 Breakfast santa

Crazy and cute cousins!Kiddies 2014 2014 Santa tree Santa breakfast 2014 Santa
Babies in the bubbles…just because they’re big brown eyes will steal your heart.
Bathies2 Bathies1

We adults like a little party time too…

Partytime

And a yummy breakfast for the morning after a night out…shared of course with two of my favorite people lol

Anna and Kristof breakfast

I Surrender

Life gets to us all sometimes and I am certainly no exception to the rule.

Instead of working myself to death and worrying about things I can’t control, I’m trying a not so new technique for a few days but it’s something I’m very unaccustomed to…letting go.

Have you ever tried to screw the lid back on a jar or bottle and for some reason, the threads won’t line up and you keep unscrewing it and screwing it back on, only have to repeat this again and again?

Yeah, that’s how my head feels lately in relation to my neck.

I’ve been somewhat disappointed in the performance of my newest novel. However, I’d be an ignorant clod if I didn’t appreciate the fact that I even exist and am able to read, write and breathe at all.

  • I’m grateful to have the opportunity to publish.
  • I’m grateful for those who support me.
  • I’m thankful for those who take time out of their lives to remind me why I do the things I do and why I work so hard.
  • I’m thankful to have a day job I love and enjoy going to each day and that it keeps my lights on and puts food on my table as I pursue this crazy dream.
  • I’m grateful for those who have taken time out of their lives to read anything I have written.
  • I’m thankful for my wonderful family and friends just for being who they are.
  • I accept the fact that as long as I stay focused and work hard, my day will come. 
  • I also accept the fact that the universe is in control and regardless of what I do, this spark will ignite when the time is right. I just need to be patient and wait my turn.

Surrender

 

You’re Nobody ‘Till Somebody Loves You

you-own-everything-that-happened-to-you-tell-your-stories

***Updated***

Everything written here is true to the best of my knowledge. All of these statements came directly from my mother or other family members.

Ever since I was a little girl, I was told who my grandfather was, what he did for a living and why he wasn’t in our lives. It didn’t really matter to me as he had died when I was too young to even know what a grandfather was. As a small child, I never questioned or challenged this explanation. I never really thought about it much to be honest, until I was older and my mother and her family explained more to me about it and the who’s and why’s of the whole saga that was my mother’s birth and early childhood. I’m sure there’s even more to this story but I will share with you what was passed down to me, as this is the “rest of the story” as “they” say.

My mother was born on August 12, 1923 in Toledo Ohio. All of her mother’s family were nestled in the Alleghany Mountains in Nanticoke, PA and had been since shortly after they arrived in America from Cardiff Wales in the late nineteenth century. They were coal miners. They were hard working, honest, first and second generation Americans and proud of it.

My grandmother was ahead of her time. Perhaps even a little too far ahead when it came to a slightly younger but very talented young man, whom she apparently had quite an attraction to and whom obviously felt the same way about her. This younger man was an accomplished musician and was for the most part self-taught and yet as a teen, he worked in the Pennsylvania coal mines. Not for long though. He was on his way to bigger and better things. However, one night or day or afternoon in December of 1922, he assisted my grandmother in conceiving a child who would end up being my mother, nine months later.

Did I mention they weren’t married? Did I mention that it was relayed to me by my mother by way of her mother and later confirmed by me through passport records found on Ancestry.com, that this young man’s parents were not fond of the idea of him having a child out-of-wedlock and therefore, he suddenly came upon the opportunity to marry someone else and was on a plane to Europe in what seemed like a whirlwind, with a fabulous opportunity to study music?

Well good for him right?

My grandmother was single and pregnant in 1923. Not so good for her. Luckily, she was a lovely young woman and as it was explained to me, a very nice young man who was a friend, with an already established family business and an already established affection for my dear grandmother, agreed to marry her and give my mother a “name” as they used to say. However, my grandmother ended up leaving her little home town anyway and moving with an aunt in Toledo…where nobody knew her.

That’s just how it was done in those days.

From this point on, I only know bits and pieces but I’m sharing them with you now. My grandmother worked nights and sometimes days and nights and she boarded my mother with babysitters. Apparently, throughout the years, they moved around quite a bit and then finally ended up in Detroit, MI for a while. My grandmother always had diamonds, furs and beautiful clothes. My mother truly did not want for anything. If you’re wondering how my grandmother could afford all of this on the salary of a hostess or coat check girl in a nightclub, you’d be correct to wonder.

As I said, she was quite the “looker” and was never at a loss for male companionship but much of these “gifts” were coming from one source and as much as it may pain some people to know these things, just because you don’t want to believe something is true, doesn’t make it a lie.

My grandfather was not only subsidizing my mother and grandmother’s living expenses, he was seeing them fairly regular on his travels around the country with his band. He was even inviting them to come and “stay” in whatever town he was in at the moment; usually New York. He was writing some of his most famous songs – about my grandmother. How do I know this? I know because my grandmother, my mother, my mother’s cousins all knew him and knew the truth about my mother’s birth and they told me. None of these women have ever lied to me but unfortunately now, all I have are letters and memoirs of first hand accounts of these truths as they’ve all passed on.

My mother told me of once when she was very young, playing in the front yard of one of her babysitters and in her words. “a big black touring car pulled up and some men got out. Then, I saw a man on crutches getting out of the car and he began talking to me and telling me he had been in a very bad car accident. He asked me if I wanted to come and live with him. Just then, my babysitter came screaming out of the house and snatched me up! Later, I overheard her telling my mother that a man had come and was trying to steal me away.”

They moved soon after that.

The stories of my mother were so bittersweet. She never knew that this man was her biological father until she was twenty-one years old. They didn’t speak of these things in those days “don’t ya know.” She only knew him as my grandmother’s “friend from home.” When my Mother and Grandmother would visit, he’d take them back stage and introduce them…as a friend from back home and her child. My mother recalls some very unfriendly glances and a feeling of not being welcome on more than one occasion by a woman, who was most likely my grandfather’s wife and rightfully so I’d guess.

For my mother, the happiest days of her life were spent in Nanticoke, PA, where she moved when she was a freshman in high school. Detroit had proven to be a dangerous place for a single woman and young girl and my grandmother felt it much better for my mother that she finish school “back home” with her cousins. However, my grandmother missed the bright lights and the big city and moved on, leaving my mother with her sister Mae and her husband, to finish school with her cousins. It was the best thing she ever did for my mother.

Her father popped in and out of her life with gifts or little bits of money but still, she only thought of him as a family friend. He’d show up at her aunt Mae’s with his band and entourage for a good homemade meal and apple pie and then be on his way to New York or Philadelphia or wherever he was doing his next show. I think that took a lot of nerve.

When my mother was twenty-one, she was “in the family way” with her first child. Naturally, the prospect of becoming a mother herself led her to begin to ask questions of “what if?” Her husband had left to go fight Hitler so she again moved home to Nanticoke to stay with her Aunt Mae to await the birth of her first child. One night after dinner, she and her cousins and her Aunts were all cleaning up after dinner. As they all stood in the kitchen washing dishes, my mother was speaking to them about how much she adored this man and how all of her life she had wished he was her father. She of course had always worn the name of the man who gave it to her but she never knew him and I believe that deep down in her heart, she already knew the truth, even before her Aunt Annie spoke up abruptly, “I’ve had about enough of this! Russ Morgan IS your father!” Aunt Annie was apparently the family equivalent of Maury Povitch in her day.

Upon drying the dishes, my Mother, heavy with child took a walk to the home of the man who gave her a name and boldly knocked on his front door. She was coolly greeted by the woman of the house, who had apparently received a phone call in regards to my mother’s visit, while she strolled alone through the quiet Mayberryesque streets of Nanticoke to face her destiny.

“I know why you’re here. No. Tommy Davis is not your father. Russell Morgan is.” was all the woman said.

My mother was oddly relieved and elated all at once. Her heart and her instincts had been correct all along. All she needed was DNA proof. Unfortunately, the real Maury wasn’t available and neither was DNA testing. However, the resemblance, the support, the obvious continued affection toward her mother, the dance lessons, the backstage passes, the hotels and the intangible human connection rushed over her. She finally asked her mother. The answer was of course, “yes.”

My mother idolized this man. She adored him. She loved him. She worshiped him. She had his picture by her bed side. She listened to his record albums until the day she died, regardless of his abandonment and much worse. Even during the darkest bewildered hours of her progressing Alzheimer’s and dementia, she asked me to not forget to pick up the ticket’s for his show because he was coming to town.

Unfortunately, my mother isn’t listed in any bio, liner note or memoir. My mother has never been acknowledged by his “family” as a legitimate child or even a possible love child. She was even called an obsessed fan at one point when my sister and I took her to see her father’s band in the 80’s when they came to Baltimore on tour. Her father had long since passed away but the music lived on and still does to this day. I’ll admit, we were furious over this. All my mother wanted was to meet her younger brother. He was very polite and even posed for photos with her but he did not then, nor has he or any of his kin ever thought of her as anything more than that “obsessed” fan.

When my mother became bed ridden, I reached out to her brother and received several responses from his daughter. I was less than kind in my first e-mail but later apologized. I hadn’t stopped to think that perhaps they thought I wanted something from them other than just the acknowledgement of my mother’s birth. At her request, I forwarded post cards, photographs and whatever else I had. Yes, I even saved my mother’s hair brush in case they wanted that DNA after all.

I’ve recently had my DNA tested by Ancestry.com. Low and behold, a second cousin did as well and showed up as an “extremely likely” match. We share a common grandparent by the name of Russ Morgan. She may have no clue who I am or my entire side of the family but I did reach out to her via Ancestry. My hope is that with this new information…DNA which as far as I know cannot lie, my sweet mother will at last be given the acknowledgement she has long deserved.

I still don’t want anything from them. I just want my mother’s story told.

For the most part, I just told it.

Did I mention I have a son who is sixteen? He is extremely gifted in music and for the most part is self taught and has already started to compose his own music. He picked up a saxophone 18 months ago and joined his high school marching and jazz bands as a junior. He is a senior in high school this year and guess what?

He’s the Drum Major and the leader of the band. I only wish my mother was alive today to live this with us but I know she’s watching and she will eternally have backstage passes.

Lunch Time Rambles and Brain Scrambles – I Know I Know I Know

I know I started a new page today but as always, there are a lot of irons in the fire and I’m doing my best to keep up.

I advertised a contest the other night but I’m going to share it again because I seem to have this knack for posting blogs at all of the WRONG times of the day. So much for my amazing marketing training and experience. Sometimes I still fly by the seat of my pants with a great idea when I should be more strategic in my choices and times to share.

FREE STUFF CONTEST!!! CLICK HERE!!!

gift cardSWAG

 

As of right now, NanoWrimo is a bust. I’ve tried so hard to stay on track but with so much of my free time (what little of it there is after my other obligations) spent on marketing my current novel, The Blue Diamond – The Razor’s Edge, I can’t for the life of me remember why I even agreed to do this damn writing contest. Every time I sit down to write it’s a contest to be able to put words in a row without something distracting me or someone entering the room to tell me something that just can’t wait–like “Hey, what’s for dinner?”

So like, now I have to feed you?! Didn’t you eat yesterday?!

Speaking of yesterday…

Since yesterday I’ve been having an all out battle with these new book ideas when I’m currently ALREADY writing three. This pushy beast won’t leave me alone. I already have the title, a few of the characters and even the damn synopsis in my head and get this…IT’S A CONTEMPORARY, THRILLER, SUSPENSE ROMANCE! 

island

Just between us, I may need some serious help or at the very least, an intervention before I just run away somewhere and hide for a year and write all of this out of my head. 80 words a minute just isn’t going to cut it–3 hours a night or not. This just cannot be done because well, the whole “I have a real life too,” thing.

However, The book I have been working on for NanoWrimo is shaping up nicely and I do believe I can finish it by January. This one is a stand alone novel…for now. No promises of any future installments. This all depends of course on how much I love the characters and want them to live on…oh who the hell am I kidding? 

Next, I’d like to congratulate the winner of the Tome Tender – The Blue Diamond $10.00 Amazon gift card give-awayFelicia S. I’ve already sent Felicia her gift card and may she enjoy it!

Next Subject…are you still with me?

Last week I tried several different book marketing sites and the results were pretty okay. No, I couldn’t get past 23K on Amazon and I didn’t sell a boat load of books but for my investment, it didn’t suck.

Here is a link to one of the sites I used and so far, I really do like this one. It’s called AskDavid.

I swear I’m almost done…

I was totally out of my mind this past weekend but I had to carry on and keep on trucking, although I wasted quite a bit of time and energy on self doubt, confusion and anxiety. However, a very dear friend of mine reminded me why I am a writer and that I’m not some hack…I may actually be really good and the time is just around the corner when I can finally live out my dream full time. Sometimes I have to look at this and I feel a little better about my talent and abilities.

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Please do not judge those things by some of my blog posts. Here is where I blow off steam and just let everything hang out and what not.

Oh forget I said that. No matter what I write I WROTE IT. So there!

Thank you and enjoy the rest of your day!

Weekend Update – Book Signing Success – No Rest for the Weary

Yesterday I was blessed to finally have my book signing / pirate party / meet and greet for The Blue Diamond – The Razor’s Edge.

I didn’t expect a huge turnout so I only brought 20 books…I sold and signed them all. 🙂

Here are a few pics from the event. I’ll admit it was fun to dress up and play Ivory for the afternoon and I brought along my crew of cousins to lend a hand…fast forward the fabulous foursome about twenty years..lol

 

Yours Truly

Yours Truly

Pirate Party3

Setting up the Room Pirate Style

Pirate Party4

The Crew’s eatin’ good today!

Pirate Party6

All gone. 🙂

Pirate Party7

Major Booty up for grabs!

Pirate Party8

This basket was HUGE! Filled with more treasure than you could shake a dagger at!

Pirate Party9

Another happy winner!

 

My amazingly supportive family and friends. These women are the definition of soul-mates. Can you figure out who’s who of the crew?

These are what you call FRIENDS.

These are what you call FRIENDS.

If I were ever to run away and become a pirate, these are the first three women I’d sign on as crew members. They are amazing beta readers. They organized this book signing down to the decorations and door prizes. They did set up and clean up and worked as cashiers, sold raffle tickets and handled the security…well, they made me feel secure in knowing they always have my back and support my goals 100%.

After the signing, we let the good times keep on rolling and a few of us headed out for the rest of the evening to hear my brother-in-law’s band, Shaky Magoo. I ran into so many old friends I couldn’t keep up with trying to speak to each one individually but I found myself wrapped up in the arms of so many of my old pals I was warm and fuzzy from head to toe all night. Sorry for the fuzzy pics though. I guess how I was feeling spilled over into my iPhone.

Shaky3 Shaky4 Shaky2 Shaky1

Shaky5

My favorite dentist with her arm in the air. It was fun seeing her out of the office. She’s a blast!

Then it was up early this morning for breakfast with this cutie and back to the usual grind of grocery shopping and laundry.

Breakfast

Then, later, a couple of hours with these two cherubs of love and joy.

Twinnies

Not to sound like a whiner but after my usual week of work, babysitting and daily writer dream pursuits…it’s fair to say I’ve had no rest what-so-ever this weekend and there isn’t any in sight.

Nothing new here!

Thanks for stopping by…see you next time!

Tata

Thanks to my friend Bobby Duncan for taking this very nice photo of me last weekend while I was helping my husband DJ a wedding.