Monday, September 15, 2014

Another Way to Beat Cancer!

The very sweet Michael Di Gesu is hosting a special hop for fellow blogger, Melissa Bradley, who is in the midst of a fight with cancer. You can help support Melissa by making a donation to her Go Fund Me account that has been set up to help cover medical expenses. Contributions to today 's hop will be included in an anthology which will be sold to also help raise money.  Micheal and Melissa have my permission to use this post however they see fit.

I must add some prayers and hugs for Melissa. She's kicking cancer in the pants...so you go girl!!!

                                          ********

I wanted to write my brother's triumph story, because cancer isn't what it used to be. More and more people are survivors. That's the story I wanted to tell. A story about how he battled cancer. And won.

The story would begin with my brother admitting he had the flu. He was tired, run down and finally willing to see a doctor. X-rays showed a mass. And when I say mass, I mean a football-sized tumor situated between his heart and lung.

Surgery was scheduled and a very unhappy Grub (my family has a tendency toward odd nicknames) was trying to wrap his brain around his rapidly changing world. He didn't have the flu. And he couldn't be fixed with rest and an antibiotic.

He had cancer.

He was only 46. A paramedic fireman with four little kids. He had a good life. He was happy and funny. He was the kind of guy who would let his girls paint his nails and add rollers to his hair and then "forget" they were there and go to the 7-11 down the road to get a cup of coffee while his kids hooted with delight.

This wasn't fair. He didn't have time to be sick; no time to battle cancer.

But he would do what he had to do. He checked into a local hospital. They were going to see about removing the tumor. We prayed the tumor was growing from the lung...people live all the time with one lung, right?

But fate wasn't cutting him any slack. His surgery was a fail. The tumor was growing from the heart, and if they cut it out...well, not too many people are living without a heart.

The local hospital recommended transport to the Cleveland Clinic, but we were warned- he'd probably not survive the ambulance ride. He was in bad shape. They were honestly amazed he'd lived as long as he had with the tumor. It was huge.

He did survive the ride, but Cleveland Clinic offered no more hope. It only got worse. He was diagnosed with Angiosarcoma, a very rare, very aggressive form of cancer. Basically, anywhere he had blood flow, there could be a tumor.

My brother, still naive to this whole cancer business, asked if he should stop smoking. The doctor told him not to worry about it, if he found it relaxing, there was no need to add stress to his life by trying to quit.

I knew then, he was screwed.

The story of triumph was going dark. 

How much time? The tumors were highly vascular and could break off or rupture and he could go at any time. But the internet said a year, maybe five...I couldn't help but argue. The poor young doc just shrugged and nodded...I suppose he wasn't going to complete rob us of hope.


Now, I won't lie and say my brother didn't have his moments of anger and sadness. He had a good life- kids he was crazy about...a wife he loved to taunt..a job that he looked forward to going to. I mean, come on...it wasn't fair!

Where the hell was the triumph? 

My brother lived for months, not days. And in that time, he entertained friends. When visitors came, my brother made the coffee insisting that even people with cancer had to be gracious...no one likes an a**hole, not even a pitiful one. 

He kept his sense of humor, though I found little funny about his "Dead man walking" line. 

And he found deeper truths. People loved him. They begged him...name a place he wanted to go and they would send him, but he knew...no place was as beautiful as home. No event as spectacular as watching his kids come off the school bus. 

My brother died in October 2006. His final evening was spent watching an episode of The Crocodile Hunter with my other brother, Dennis. Dennis told me Grub watched the episode of Steve, the Crock Hunter, poking at rattle snakes and Grub told him-  no wonder the crazy bastard was killed by an animal...he was insane! Dennis laughed and told him the Crock Hunter was probably going to meet him at The Pearly Gates and bitch slap him for the comment.

Then Grub went to sleep. Simple as that. Closed his eyes and slipped away.

As I write this, I still get mad. I still wish my brother had been one of the many who call themselves cured. But he's not. But I long ago realized...my brother never lost his humor, his humanity, or his spirit. 

He had cancer, but it didn't have him. 

As my big brother explained to me-

I've lived my life on hot dogs, cigarettes, and no more than four hours of sleep a night. It's no wonder I have cancer. The amazing thing is I didn't get it sooner. How the hell can I bitch? Little kids get cancer. Now, those are the poor little SOB's you should feel bad for. People prodding them with needles and crap...and they don't even know why. No, I'm not happy about taking a dirt bath, but there are worse things happening in this world. 

My big brother is my hero. He went through hell, but he came out an angel.


My brother (Ken, AKA Grub) doing what he loved most...
spending time with his kids.
Tabitha, Taylor, Bart, and MacKenzie,
Summer 1999



Friday, September 12, 2014

This and That...

It's National Literacy Month! 
Celebrate with a new book :) 

I'm not really here today. I'm out and about on mom missions- you know...cooking food for team feeds, picking up boy #2 from college, and heading to southern West Virginia for a football game. (Are you impressed that I wrote this days before and, God willing, it posted while I slept?)

Now, I don't want you guys to get bored, so here's a few things to keep you busy!

We have hops coming:

Time is running out to join this one! The Big C Hop is September 15. It's hosted by Michael Di Gesu to help fellow blogger Melissa Bradley.


Got a favorite movie, song, or book that just doesn't get the love? Show it some with Alex's Underrated Treasures Blog Hop on September 22.


Want to tell the world who your hero is this year? Joy Campbell is hosting the Who's Your Hero? Hop on October 20.

That not enough for you?

Really want to dig into your creative/smarty pants side? Write a piece to be included in the
Insecure Writer's Support Group Guide!



·         The three topics will be writing, publishing, and marketing. Please let us know what category your submission falls under.
·         Each contribution needs to be between 200 and 1000 words. Give us your best tip or procedure. The essay can include bullet points, top ten lists, and recommendations. (Websites, software, books, etc.) We’re trying to keep it simple, so no images.
·         If it’s under 300 words, you can post it for your October 1 IWSG post. Once you have posted, go to this page at the site and submit your link: http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/p/iwsg-guide-to-publishing-and-beyond.html (With almost three hundred members, we don’t want to miss someone’s submission.)
·         If over 300 words, please email it directly to  TheIWSG@gmail.com  or alexjcavanaugh@earthlink.net
·         Please use fresh material – no recycled blog posts. Also state that you give us permission to use it in the book and note which topic it falls under. (We will only edit for misspellings and grammar mistakes.)
·         All submissions need to be sent or posted by October 2, 2014.
·         To submit, you must be a current IWSG member, IWSG Facebook member, or confirmed follower of the IWSG website. This book needs to represent the group.



And y'all don't forget to enter our SHELFIE Blogfest! It's easy!
The list of entries is growing...and you know you don't want to miss out! 
You have until  Monday, October 6th to post a picture of your shelfie!
Then let one of us knowHeather M. Gardner,Christine Rains, Vikki Biram, CD Coffelt, M.J. Fifield, Elizabeth Seckman, and Rena Rocford and we'll make sure you're down for the prize and some kudos!








Before you go...

Let's give three cheers to Chrys Fey and her new book, 30 Seconds

When Officer Blake Herro agreed to go undercover in the Mob, he thought he understood the risks. But he's made mistakes and now an innocent woman has become their target. He's determined to protect her at all costs.

The Mob's death threat turns Dr. Dani Hart's life upside down, but there is one danger she doesn’t anticipate. As she's dodging bullets, she's falling in love with Blake. With danger all around them, will she and Blake survive and have a happy ending, or will the Mob make good on their threat?

Amazon US: Purchase Here 



*I did turn off comments...you can spend that time hopping. 

Monday, September 8, 2014

For Tina Downey



In honor of our friend and fellow wordsmith, Tina Downey, bloggers will be gathering sunflowers and posting them today.

I was browsing the internet, looking for a perennial I could plant and enjoy year after year as a reminder of Tina's joy, zest, and wonderful attitude. 

I found a Maximillian Sunflower from Gurney's that promises to grow, bloom, and spread one season after another. And as a bonus, it's supposed to be hardy and thrive in poor soil with almost no attention. 

Just like a good friendship. 

I was excited to find something so perfect! I'd have a flower to post today and enjoy later.

What I got wasn't a plant but this:


A hideous tangle of roots.

Great, I thought. Everyone else will have pretty flowers...I have roots. 

But then I remembered a Sunday school lesson.

To teach children about resurrection, I'd buy marigold seeds.

I'd ask the kids if they looked alive...or even like a flower. 

They all agreed, the seeds were dead. 

Then we'd plant them, water them, give them sun and soon they had a shoot and later a bloom. 

In death, we don't always see the potential. That the human body is simply a seed for something better; something eternal. 

So, I will plant my roots and know...next summer they will grow and smile down on me. 

And I will think of Tina....



A college fund has been set up in Tina's honor for her children. If you could help, no matter how big, or how small, it's appreciated. Tina Downey College Fund


Friday, September 5, 2014

Cats in the House!

Yee haw! M Pax is selling me some real estate in her fictitious town of Settler, Oregon. Why, I haven't been this excited since I was offered some swamp land in Florida!

Little ole me gets to own my own little piece of a make believe place. 

I feel a little teary eyed. 

Now, I visited the town in my imagination, looking for just the right piece of property. 

And I think I found it!

My very own cat house!



I hear cat houses are very popular out west, so I figure this little doozy should rake me in the money!

I'm sure it won't be easy, I figure there will be cat fights and Toms sniffing around, but you have to be understanding of our furry, alley crawling friends. 

I was telling an uppity eastern friend of mine about my plan and she was like, "You're starting a house of ill repute?"

And I said, "Sure, I ain't got anything against sick pussy-cats."

If you're ever in Settler- stop by my cat house, the Napping Sun Inn.

*Settler is the fun and imaginary town created by the fabulous M. Pax to celebrate the launch of her new series. Rifters is the first book and Mary is offering it for free!

(A free book and a cat house- all in one post?!)

Get your FREE copy HERE!!


Check out some fabulous give aways HERE!

M. Pax is a science fiction writer who often keeps her head in the clouds looking at stars and writing fantastic stories.


And speaking of cats....

Kyra Lennon is hosting a blog hop to benefit a fur real cat house. You know the kind where they shelter and care for stray and unwanted felines?

Geesh...gutter brains...what's wrong with you?

So, here is my entry, which Kyra has the right to do whatever she darn well feels like doing with it.

Mayzie Cat Seckman
Eight years ago, on a warm spring evening, my kids were out playing with the neighborhood kids. It had been one of those perfect days. Sun was bright, but not harsh and roasting. Breeze was sweet. The grass was still tender. 

The whole day went by. Not once did they whine for video games, ask for snacks, or call me down to referee a single dispute. 

It was like a scene from Stepfordville. 

But all good things come to an end, so as night started to fall, I called the kids in, told the neighbor kids to head home. 

There was whispering, but no movement. 

I called again.

Still nothing. 

Suddenly, I'm pretty certain...they've busted something expensive. Maybe a basketball through the neighbor's window? Busted my husband's car head light? 

I wasn't sure what, but I knew...something was up.

I called again. This time with my mom voice.

Chattering and whispers answered back- "You go", "No, you go", "It's your fault!"

Finally, the lone girl in the 6th Street hood stepped forward. "I'm sorry Mrs. Seckman. He said he'd be right back."

"Right back? What do you mean?" My heart did that flip flop thing- was there a kid missing? Did a stranger poach one out of the herd? 

"Well, Mrs. Seckman," Amanda said cautiously as she climbed the hill. "This old man stopped by earlier and asked us to watch his kitten, and he said he'd be right back. And he never did."

From behind her back, she pulled a little gray and white puff of fur. 

"Do you think he got lost?"

No, I thought, I think he is a maniacal, yet extremely clever turd. 

In West Virginia, cat dumping isn't unusual. People toss them along the sides of roads, onto to farmer's fields, and sadly, sometimes in the river. 

But this is the first I ever heard of someone ditching one on a group of little kids playing in the street.

I walked away, with the kitten, thinking there was a special corner in Hell for cat dumpers.

My husband was adamant...no more animals. Two dogs, a hamster, and a frog...that's more than enough. 

The kitten could sleep on the porch until a better home was found. 

Fortunately for the kitten, she was small enough to fit in a pocket...and evidently a little boy's pocket is a better home than a cold, dark porch.

My husband knew he was beaten. He knew the freshly named "Mayzie" (because she arrived in May) was fast becoming the newest member of the Seckman house hold. I mean those that have been named cannot ever go unnamed again, right?
Get more info HERE!

As for the cat ditcher. whom my dear husband wanted to cast curses upon? Rumor has it the old fella and his wife were clients at a treatment center down the street from our house. His wife was failing, and it was recommended she go to a nursing home. The husband said he would go with her, but he had a little problem. A much beloved four legged, meowing problem. He told the workers he had to be sure the little creature had a good home, so off he went. 

Up a hill and down a street, where he found a gaggle of big hearted urchins who quickly promised to take care of his kitten until he got back home. 

It's been eight years. We're still waiting. 

photo credit: pjmorse via photopin cc

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Gosh Golly Gee...IWSG is 3!


Happy #3 IWSG!!
Who'd have guessed we've been commiserating as a group for a whole three years!

Thanks to the Ninja Master,  Alex Cavanaugh for getting us all together. And thanks to this month's helper ninjas:


 My Baffling Brain, Mark Koopmans, Shah Wharton, and Sheena-Kay Graham.
* No Mr. Koopmans, you cannot keep the ninja suit. Put on your grass skirt, your coconut bra, and behave!


Sign up for the IWSG Here!

Now. Let's talk insecurity.

Ever get the feeling it will never get any better?

I keep thinking...next week I will be better organized, less busy.

Then next week comes and I'm just as busy, and I think...next week.

That will be the better week.

But weeks come and go, and I am always just as scattered as the one before it.

So, I ask you...when does it become easy? When will I think- I've got this?

Thanks in advance for the pick me up and/or commiseration.

                                                              *******
Now for some news and reminders:


Healing Summer has a new cover...it's on its 3rd. Coincidence that it falls on the ISWG #3?
Yes. 
It's also on sale. 
Marked down from 3.99 to .99...knocked off 3 dollars just for the IWSG #3, right?
No. Not really. But it is on sale. And you can get your copy HERE!

                                                                        
                                             *******
Don't forget!!


Sign up to honor Tina Here


And now through October 6th you can post your picture of your shelfie.

This is my dream shelfie. My hubs doesn't share my vision. I see a work of art; a thing of beauty. He sees a whole weekend of work.

I'll post my real my real shelfie later.
(I need more time to dust it!)

All you have to do is post a shelfie and you can add your name to the Rafflecopter for a prize package worth, um, well, it's less than a million and more than nothing!
Get more Info Here!!

photo credit: Michal Hvorecky via photopin cc photo credit: EJP Photo via photopin

Friday, August 29, 2014

Remembering....

Remember:
Some problems are bigger than others.
Absentmindedness can come naturally to me. In my frenzy to do too many things at once, I sometimes drop balls all over (the juggling sort, I assure you). Two weeks ago, I cleaned out my mom's freezer (remember, she got married and ran away to Alaska?) because I promised her I would get her house shut down for the winter. 

Anyhow, while separating frozen food into bags (fruits & vegies and meats don't mingle until they are in the pan, right?) I set a package of steaks on the pantry shelf. 

Then I left.

A week later, I cam back to mow and there was a funky smell in the house. I checked the freezer and assumed the melted water was going bad. So, I scrubbed it out and left. 

This week when I went to mow, the house smelled worse. I searched the pantry, and there I found the culprit. A package of steaks rotting on the shelf. By the time I got that scrubbed up, it was getting dark, but I came to mow, so I mowed.

It was a cloudy evening, so darkness was thick quickly. As I mowed, I couldn't really tell if I was keeping my lines straight, so I imagine there are plenty of missed strips of grass. 

With that, I can officially say- I gave my mother's yard its first mowhawk.

Why am I telling you this? 

Because I also forgot to give the fabulous Rachel Schieffelbein  some cover lovin' on her new book coming out in September. Rachel's stories are always good reads, so I look forward to this one.

So without further ado, here it is!


Erwin is in hell--- Locked in his high school with his ex-girlfriend, her new pain-in-the-ass boyfriend, and a handful of others while zombies claw at the doors trying to fight their way in.

The bright light in the dark is Sylvia, whose strength helps hold Erwin together
when everything is falling apart.

When they realize the school is no longer safe,
Erwin is determined to keep the group together and get them all to safety.
But he can’t save everyone.


Release day is September 17th.
Don't forget to add it to your Goodreads list!

And don't forget this. It's never too late to remember a friend. Join the blogosphere on September 8th in a cyber memorial for Tina. 


In memory of Tina Downey, the A to Z Team is hosting a sunflower tribute on September 8, 2014 – Remembering Tina Downey.

Prior to that date, purchase or plant a sunflower in her honor. (If you have to resort to plastic, that’s cool.) Take a photo of your sunflower and post in in her memory on Monday, September 8. Tina loved her sunflowers, and we want to splash the blogging world with sunflowers that day and honor a truly amazing woman who was friend and family to so many.

You can sign up now or add your link when you post your sunflower.

Please help us spread the word! Let’s brighten the Internet with sunflowers the way Tina brightened the lives of so many.






photo credit: JD Hancock via photopin cc

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Me and My Shelfie*

How could you ever look any more prettier* than when standing in front of your fancy book shelf? And how could you ever get any more connecteder* to blog buddies than by snapping a selfie...or a SHLEFIE and sharing them with each other? 

Hops are cool. All the popular bloggers are doing it. At that lady of hipsterness, Tara Tyler, is the kooool kid in charge of this one. Come one. You know you want to do it...


Dates: Now thru Monday, Oct 6
Entries: Take a picture of you and your book(s) - your favorites or your own novels. Or you can just arrange the books in a special way and take the picture - but you do get extra points for being in the photo.
Formats: Tweet, Facebook, Blog - just make sure to include a link(s) to each.

The lovely co-hosts, co-conspirators and contributors: Heather M. Gardner,Christine RainsVikki BiramCD CoffeltM.J. FifieldElizabeth Seckman, and Rena Rocford

But that's not all - check out the fabulous prizes! It's easy and profitable! I hope you'll join us and spread the word =)

*All grammar errors were made in earnest. Just because I wanted to and I am the boss of this place. 

a Rafflecopter giveaway