Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Book Giveaway...And The Story Behind The Story

Available on Amazon
Hello Everyone,

This one is for my literary novel "Oh, That I Had Wings" which some of you have already read. For those that haven't, this is your chance to own a free copy. This is a love story/drama set before, during, and after WW1.

The contest starts today and ends November 15th, which gives everyone plenty of time to enter. If you'd like to enter, just send me your email info and I will add your name to the list of contestants. Good luck to everyone, and if you need more info, just drop me a line.

The Story Behind The Story...

I didn't intend to write this book, and that's the truth. It wrote itself, and if you're wondering what the heck I'm talking about, I'll tell you. A few years ago, I started writing a little tale called "Finding Grace," about a young woman who flees her abusive home life in search of something better. But as I was writing that story, the background story kept getting in the way. Grace had an older brother named Jack, with his own story, and no matter how I tried to keep his story minimal, it just couldn't be contained. So I had to give Jack his own book. And it turned out to be much more than I anticipated...

Jack's story is not a true story, but it is very much inspired by real life. In many ways, Jack is modeled after my father. My dear old dad doesn't think he's anyone to be inspired by, but I beg to differ. He grew up in a tiny little Kentucky town that doesn't even appear on most maps. He was the third child and second son, born in a house made out of railroad ties. Not long after dad was born, my grandfather sold a car a few cows to buy a tiny little house down the road and that's where my dad grew up. They had no electricity, no indoor plumbing or heating, and the house was very cramped after my dad's two younger brothers were born. In all there were five kids...Ellen was the oldest and the only girl. Then it was Dewey, my dad, Roger, and Donald.

The stories I've been told about living in that house...MAN, there are a lot of them. In the winter, without running water, they had to use a wash bucket that sometimes froze during the night. They had to break the ice and use the cold water to wash. To keep their feet warm at night, they heated up bricks and wrapped them in rags, or they would heat up earthenware jugs, and put them between their feet while they slept. When the weather was decent, they bathed in the creek. Maybe I'm spoiled by modern living, but I can't imagine such primitive bathing. I LOVE my shower. But I digress...

Aside from living without modern conveniences, they lived in a male-dominated society in a town ruled by religion. My grandfather was like most men of the time and place. He ruled with an iron fist, and he was not shy about punishing his children either in public or in private. If you've ever played with the limb of a tree and heard it make that swishing sound as it cuts the air, just try to imagine being hit with it. Just thinking about it gives me the creeps...

Dad was lucky in one way. He was stubborn, and he grew up with a bit of a temper. And he was a big guy, so when he got in a fight he always won. But he wasn't a bully. Because of my grandfather, he HATED bullies and he would beat the crap out of them if they asked for it. Once, when he was playing king of the mountain at school, another kid tried to push him off the he broke the kid's arm. I don't know if he really meant to do that, but others kids knew not to mess with him. Eventually his temper turned on my grandfather. One day, when my dad was sixteen, he threatened to kill him. My grandmother talked him out of it, but not long after that, dad joined the Army. My grandmother was very upset by the idea of him leaving, but he didn't blink an eye. He spent six years in the military. He became a drill sear gent and served a tour of duty in Vietnam. After he came back, he and my mother got married and they've been together for 43 years.

They stayed in Kentucky for a few years, but eventually they left and moved up north. Eventually they had my older sister, and then me, and then my younger sister. We grew up in a small house in a small town just outside of Chicago. It wasn't a perfect childhood, but then again, is anyone's childhood perfect? My parents have been the best they can be, and my dad has always been my role model. If ever there was a copy of a child and parent, it's me and him. We look alike, we talk alike. We're both middle children with that classic middle-child syndrome. But if there is a difference between us, it's that I have mostly happy memories of growing up. And much to dad's credit, he never tried to breed a hatred in me of my grandfather or my grandmother. We went to see them all the time, occasionally on weekends and always at Thanksgiving and Easter. When I was a kid, I never saw the dark side of my grandfather, and being in that little town never gave me anything but happiness.

I thought it was fascinating to be in a place where everything shut down at dark...where they only had four TV channels and every meal was eaten around the kitchen table. I have fond memories of being in the chicken coop with my grandmother and holding warm, fuzzy little chicks. I played in the barn and the hayloft. I climbed trees and fences, and I went swimming in the swimming hole. At night, we would sit out on the porch and look up at the stars. Needless to say, it was idyllic for me. How boring it was to come home to the suburbs of Chicago. I was always ready to get back on the road "Down Home" as my parents called it.

As an adult, I'm aware of how much my views have changed. I no longer wear rose-colored glasses. I know now that I was shielded from certain realities. But I am thankful for being allowed to see both sides. I like to think my mind is much sharper, my views more open, and my imagination brighter because of it. I know he would call me crazy for saying this, but I owe my dad an awful lot. In some ways, I think he created the writer in me.

Thanks, Dad. You're the best, whether you want to admit it or not.


  1. Thank you for sharing this. It is interesting to hear how a book comes about, and to get a glimpse into the author's life. I am sure your dad would be/is honored that he was your inspiration. :-)

  2. Lol. He's embarassed by the idea of being an inspiration. My mother read the book and mentioned that she could see him in it, and he turned all red. I think he wanted to run and hide.

    He can't handle being the center of attention. He's convinced that he's not very worthy of praise, even though everyone adores him. I guess it's because, as a kid, he was always told how worthless he was. But we keep showering him with praise no matter how much he shies away from it. :)

  3. Great giveaway! I'd love to be entered.

    Please count me in. Thanks.

    avalonne83 [at] yahoo [dot] it

  4. Please enter me in this contest too. I would like to write about my father too! Maybe this
    book will inspire me to start.


  5. Please enter me as well.
    I lost my dad 5 years ago and miss him every day.

  6. Please count me in as I would love to read this.


  7. This brought tears to my eyes, our families have much in common or perhaps it is because of the traditional southern past.

  8. This sounds like a wonderful story. I would love to read it!

  9. I guess I'd be very moved at reading this. I loved listening to my grandfather telling about his war experiences. He was my first history teacher.
    May I be entered too?

  10. I was fascinated by what you told about your dad. I will be very happy to read the write he made you to be.
    Congratulations and, by the way, I'm Maria Beatrice and my email is:

  11. Thanks for a great giveaway! Would love to read this. By the way "Coat of Many Colors" is one of my favorite songs!

    stilettostorytime at gmail dot com

  12. I was really interested in your description of your dad and how he influenced your book.

    It has really made me want to read what you wrote.

    If the giveaway is open worldwide, please enter me.

    Thank you.

    Carol T

    budytho {at} gmailDOT com

  13. Sounds wonderful. Count me in. =)

  14. It really is strange that good parents seldom regard themselves as heroes when they truly are. To bring you up to respect those around you when their experiences have been so negative growing up, shows a strength of character that is nothing short of heroic. Congratulations on your wonderful luck! I realize that I have been just as lucky!