Wednesday, October 17, 2018

My Guest, Rachel Brimble

I'm so pleased to welcome Rachel Brimble to my blog today. She has a new book out that looks fantastic!


First, let's get to know her a bit. She was kind enough to answer some questions.

Welcome, Rachel! People often ask about author's writing styles or schedules. What is yours? 

I’m not sure a writer can actually define their writing style – it’s a question of doing what feels natural to them and never trying to write in someone else’s style. That never works!
As for my schedule, I’m lucky enough to be able to write full-time so I treat it as I would any other job. I work 8.30am to 5.30pm every day with a lunch break and a couple of dog walks in between. I try not to work at the weekend. Not that it always works out that way…

I totally know what you mean. I try to do the same thing, like you say, when it works. How about your location. Where do you actually write?

I have my own home office which I love! The walls are painted a pale blue which is supposed to be calming and good for concentration. I sit at a huge white desk surrounded by white bookshelves bulging with fiction and research books. My office is my happy place!

Sounds lovely! Do you write linearly or not?

Absolutely! I have writer friends who can go back and forth with their timelines but my brain just doesn’t work that way. I start at the beginning and work straight through to The End. In fact, I try to write the first draft without looking back at all! For me, it’s the best way for guaranteed words every day.

What sort of other activities keep you from actually writing?

Social media…this is my real time suck and one that I, unfortunately, enjoy far too much. Also, I love my TV dramas and knitting which tend to go hand in hand.

Those are great ways to procrastinate. :) Do you have support, either from family and friends or a writing group?

I’ve been writing for over thirteen years and built up a fabulous network of writer friends (Jennifer included!) who I can call on when I’m struggling or have news to celebrate. I also have three critique partners whom I’ve been working with for years – they are my absolute support. I’d be lost without them.

Aw, love you, Rachel! And my critique partners are amazing too! How long does it normally take you to write a novel?

I like to have six months from idea to finished draft – this is my comfortable time span but as the publishing world grows ever more competitive, I am trying to increase my output without burning out completely. Although I have writer friends a lot more prolific than me, I’m still trying to figure out how they manage it.

Who or what are your inspirations?

My author idols are Nora Roberts, Jill Shalvis and Jodi Picoult – I love and admire their work for different reasons but they are totally my ‘go to’ authors. As for inspirations of spirit and strength, my mother, female entrepreneurs and Oprah.

If there’s a single aspect to writing that really frustrates you, what is it?

Ideas and plotting! Every writer (every person, in fact!) can have a spark of an idea but the problem comes with stretching that idea to an 90,000 + word novel. I have a whole file filled with one sentence ideas but fleshing out those ideas is always my problem. Writing never gets easier, I’m afraid.

No, it really doesn't. Given unlimited resources, what would be your ideal writing environment?

Ooh, great question! My husband is a semi-professional singer so I sometimes daydream that when the kids are grown, he’ll get a job singing on a cruise ship and I can spend all day writing while we travel the world. Sounds good, right?

That sounds so good! And I think you need to bring an American friend with you, just because! Tell me about your latest book.

The Mistress of Pennington’s is the first book in an ongoing series set in Bath’s finest department store. I loved the TV shows The Paradise and Mr Selfridge but something was always missing for me. Once I came to the conclusion that I wanted to know more about the women in the series,I then had the idea for a series theme of ‘female empowerment’.

The Mistress of Pennington’s is about women in business, book 2 (A Rebel At Pennington’s – coming Feb 2019) is about women’s suffrage and book 3 is about the stigma of divorce in the early 20thcentury.

Love, love, love the premise of this series! Do you have a favorite character and if so, who and why?

Elizabeth Pennington, the heroine, is absolutely my favourite character – she is strong and determined, but also warm and caring which, I think, is a wonderful way for anyone to be, whether male or female. She was an absolute joy to write and often I heard her so clearly, it was like taking dictation when she spoke. The best thing about writing a series is you can continue living with the characters you love and get rid of the ones that you don’t, lol!

I know, right? What are you working on now?

Right now, I am working on the first draft of book 3 which will be a Christmas 2019 book – I am enjoying it, albeit, I am struggling with the heroine’s motivation for some of her actions. Having said that, this is what writing is…hard work and exploration! As this is the first draft I won’t start panicking as everything can be fixed in the following drafts. The good thing is, I am back with Elizabeth and Joseph (the hero from The Mistress of Pennington’s) and loving their company!

And now that I've whet your appetite, here's more information about Rachel's book. 


1910 – A compelling tale of female empowerment in Bath's leading department store. Perfect for the fans of the TV series Mr Selfridge and The Paradise.
Elizabeth Pennington should be the rightful heir of Bath's premier department store through her enterprising schemes and dogged hard work. Her father, Edward Pennington, believes his daughter lacks the business acumen to run his empire and is resolute a man will succeed him.
Determined to break from her father's iron-clad hold and prove she is worthy of inheriting the store, Elizabeth forms an unlikely alliance with ambitious and charismatic master glove-maker Joseph Carter. United they forge forward to bring Pennington's into a new decade, embracing woman's equality and progression whilst trying not to mix business and pleasure.
Can this dream team thwart Edward Pennington's plans for the store? Or will Edward prove himself an unshakeable force who will ultimately ruin both Elizabeth and Joseph?

Buy Links:
Amazon US: http://a.co/3OFh9JK


In January 2018, she signed a four-book deal with Aria Fiction for a new Edwardian series set in Bath’s finest department store. The first book, The Mistress of Pennington’s released July 2018.
Rachel is a member of the Romantic Novelists Association and Romance Writers of America, and was selected to mentor the Superromance finalist of So You Think You Can Write 2014 contest. When she isn’t writing, you’ll find Rachel with her head in a book or walking the beautiful English countryside with her family. Her dream place to live is Bourton-on-the-Water in South West England.
She likes nothing more than connecting and chatting with her readers and fellow romance writers. Rachel would love to hear from you!
Links:
Amazon Author Page:
Goodreads:
Bookbub:

Monday, October 15, 2018

Bucks County Book Fest


Yesterday I attended a book festival in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. I purchased a vendor table, found a partner to share it with me, and hoped to sell my books. I didn’t know what to expect since it was the first year of the festival, so I didn’t know the track record or what types of people attended the festival, so my hopes were fairly restrained.

It was fantastic!

Now, I have to confess, my bar for being impressed was pretty low. The last book festival I attended resulted in men propositioning me and asking if I sold condoms, so pretty much anything without that would be awesome. 

But this really was.

First of all, I met my tent partner for the first time and she and her husband were so nice! Her name is Tracey Lyons and she writes sweet historical novels, so if that’s your thing, you can check her out here. It was nice having someone to share the tent with. She reminded me to hand out swag to people even if they weren’t purchasing anything (something I always forget to do) and I chatted people up and explained what we both wrote. Also, they provided the pop-up tent, so it was one less thing for me to schlep.

Second, the people who were walking around really did like romance. Or at least, they didn’t turn their noses up at it. There was a nice variety to the vendors so we had all different types of authors selling their books and lots of people came by to chat. The one woman who was a little snooty about romance books always ending with the couple getting together was suitably chastised when I compared them to mysteries where the crime is always solved.

Third, I sold books! And I met people who run book clubs and who write book blogs, so my name is getting out there. Some people who I didn’t know even said they’d heard of me (I refrained from asking, “Are you sure?”).

And one of my favorite mystery authors came by to find me and say hello. She and I are Facebook friends and this is the first time we’ve attended the same event. It was really nice to meet her—she’s just as friendly in person—and her books are fantastic! If you like mysteries set in New York in the 1930s, check her out here.

So, it was a terrific event and I’m really glad I participated. It even gave me a bit of a boost emotionally, which I sorely needed. Can’t wait for next year!


AVAILABLE FOR PREORDER NOW!

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Stephen King On Serial Killers & His Latest Book

Where Did It Come From?

Call me morbid, by all means, but the world of serial killers has always fascinated me. It must run in my family because my daughter is in her last year of university studying criminal psychology. A good friend is also a psychologist, and his wife is a renowned sport psychologist, and they have all been a good source of research. 

When I write a story about one, I like to ‘get inside’ the killers head and show the reader how and why they became that way; let’s face it, it doesn’t just happen that a ‘normal’ person wakes up one day and decides to kill people. While I don’t like to glamorize it, I do like to show their human side, and get the reader to invest in the character.

The killer in this book, PPP says in one of his memoir entries: “who knows where random flashes of inspiration comes from?” The line sums up the essence of where this book originated. I was driving along one day, not thinking anything specific, certainly not what was my next book going to be about, because I was writing like crazy Thirty-Three Days. Suddenly into my head popped a random thought: ‘I was five years old when I first saw someone bleed out.’

I’ve never seen anyone ‘bleed out’ at any age, let alone at five years old. Furthermore, ‘bleed out’ is not an expression I’d ever use so my mind started racing…..who saw it, why did they see it, and why would they say it? Coincidently, I’d been thinking about writing a long story about four people whose lives become entwined: a cop who has had an affair who is paired with a glamorous, female criminal psychologist hunting a horrific serial murderer, and the effect of their desire for each other on their respective partners. I even knew the era it would be set in, because I had wanted to remind readers of something that happened years ago, which most have forgotten. There was a serious belief that life as we knew it, would come to an end, and there was even some panic among people as the year 2000 approached and brought with it the Y2K bug.  

So, these three things permeated in my brain and I knew to tell the story I envisaged for these four characters, one book would not be enough, but three would be just about perfect.  And so, the plan of a trilogy was born and I called it Three Deadly Glimpses. The idea was that in addition to my central theme I provide the reader with glimpses into the psyche of three people who become serial killers.

My writing habit is to write each morning (and a lot of nights). I get up at 5.30 every morning and write like crazy before I have to leave for my day job (I’m a manager for a Kia car dealership) My process is to write chronologically. While I have a firm direction in mind, I NEVER think about the ending before I get there, and what I find is: I want to write to find out what happens next. 

For me, writing is all about bringing to life characters, getting the reader to invest in them, and even care for them. And, if I achieve that, then I can put those ordinary characters into extraordinary situations. Glimpse, at its core is about desire. The effect that sexual desire can have on the marriages of the protagonists, it’s also about Pat’s desire to use her abilities on the front line of a major police investigation to catch a murderer. Also, of course it’s about the skewed desire that a serial killer has, to murder his victims.

The Deadly Glimpses Trilogy.

Book 1: Glimpse, Memoir of a Serial Killer.

Blurb: 

In 1999 Australia, Sergeant Rick McCoy investigates the murder of a woman found packed inside a suitcase. 

The Killer abducts another victim and threatens to dismember her slowly. His life is further complicated by a marriage in tatters. Frustrated at every turn, he is paired with glamorous Criminal Psychologist and profiler, Patricia Holmes. 

While trying to rebuild his marriage, he finds himself in a desperate race against time to free the victim and fight his desire for his new partner.

Glimpse, Memoir of a Serial Killer is available at Amazon: http://a.co/d/1uPIKNt

Stephen B King
Australian Author
www.stephen-b-king.com
email: stephenk8@me.com
Twitter: @StephenBKing1
Facebook: @stephenbkingauthor

Forever Night
Domin8
The Vigilante Taxi
Burial Ground
Repo
Published by The Wild Rose Press:
Thirty-Three Days
PastedGraphic-9.tiff

Coming soon: The Deadly Glimpses Trilogy:
Glimpse, Memoir of a Serial Killer
Glimpse, The Beautiful Deaths
Glimpse, The Tender Killer


Monday, October 8, 2018

Unplugging

I was off the grid for almost four days and it was amazing! 

Last week, I visited friends in the middle of nowhere. One of the things she likes best about the place is that there is no Internet, even though her family keeps threatening to get it. She loves going off the grid. 

I wasn’t so sure. I’d never been completely out of touch from my family before and with things that have been going on lately, I was nervous, despite the fact that there was a landline phone for emergency use.

Let me tell you, it was fantastic. I’ll be the first to admit that I cheated. I was able to find two small spots in the house where if I positioned my phone just right, I could occasionally get cell service. I used it to check in with my husband to make sure life was still continuing—it was, even though he kept things from me that would have made me worry. I could also use it if I walked up the hill a few hundred yards, or when we went out to eat (or to Boathenge). But I found I really didn’t want to.

In fact, I didn’t want to come back on the grid. The peace of not being connected, of not worrying about what I was missing, since I couldn’t do anything about it anyway, was rejuvenating. Not only did my family have to deal without me—which they were perfectly capable of—but I didn’t have that knee-jerk “oh my god what is wrong” reaction I get whenever I get a text or a phone call. For the first time in months, I was able to breathe.

My attention span was better too. I held better conversations. I read books without stopping every chapter to check on something—other than the location of the sun or the ripples in the water. I’m pretty sure my low blood pressure went even lower. It was beautiful.

Returning to civilization was jarring. Suddenly, I heard about everything I missed. My to-do list expanded in a burst and I had to reassure people that they had indeed survived without me and could do it again.

Now I’m wondering if and when I can.




Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Welcome Leslie Scott

I’m not a blogger at heart, truly I’m not. If you look at my website you’ll see I’m long overdue on updates. I’d much rather be writing fiction. There it is, nothing fancy or nefarious. I like writing about make-believe people in fantastical places doing things I’d only dreamed of. 
It’s usually my standard assumption that all of you would rather read about my make-believe worlds than my real one. Which, to be honest, is rather boring. Eat. Sleep. Write. Homeschool/teach. Write. Eat again. Sleep—you get the picture. 
I’m here today to pique your interest in my newest release, Two Hearts, One Stone. My first ever Cowboy Contemporary Romance. And also, because I would much rather be different—it’s set in a part of the world where most people don’t know the different between ranching and farming so we raise all our horses on, you guessed it, horse farms. My apologies in advance, take it up with the Alabama and Georgia cowboys, not the writer. 
One of the senior editors at my publisher hosted a chat one night about contemporary westerns and their popularity. She was talking about how those who wrote such stories should try to be different. Newbie writer over here went, “Oh, me, I can be different!” And thus spawned the idea for this little project of mine. 
Which is strange, because Two Hearts, One Stone is much more modern romance-like than my debut novel (the New Adult Romance, The Finish Linealso from The Wild Rose Press). But it’s different because I based the characters and lifestyle off of people I know, that I’ve met. 
I had a friend whose last name takes prominence in this story (he’ll know if he reads it). He made his living for a long time, teaching the country club set how to show their expensive horses. He was attractive, funny, and nothing like the cowboys in the romance novels I’d read—yet exactly the same. And thus, from him, was born my idea for Stone Dempsey.  
A Georgia bred horse trainer, who has more cowboy in his little finger than my bestie who lives in Montana (okay so she’s a girl and married to a Special Agent—that’s a completely different story, isn’t it?). But still, Stone for me is a representation of the cowboys I grew I up and the ones who taught me to ride.  
So much so, that if I could spend a day with any character in this book, it would be my hero. Every day I sat down to write I took a ride with Stone Dempsey, each day made me happier than the day before. I hope after reading this you feel the same. 
~ Leslie 
Blurb: 
Horse trainer Stone Dempsey’s life is all about the ride—with horses and women. He uses his equine talents to impress the country club set and earn money for Smoky Mountain Reining Horses. When his drug-addicted sister deposits her sick baby on his doorstep, he’s suddenly saddled with real responsibility. 
Dr. Emmersyn Cole’s goal of starting a practice in her favorite place on earth is finally coming to fruition and she is not going to be sidetracked. Everything is going great until Stone swaggers into her life, half-dressed with a smile that could melt her insides. She's determined to keep her distance…until he rushes into her grandfather’s home, clutching a feverish baby, terrified and vulnerable, and her heart’s hard shell begins to crack.
In only a few short weeks, Stone’s wayward heart suddenly relies on two women—one who needs him—and one that he might not be able to live without. 

Excerpt:
His upper lip curled into a snarl, but it did little to dampen her flourishing attraction. She took a step forward and sucked her bottom lip between her teeth. Ready to do just about anything to wipe the forlorn look from his face.
That’s how he does it.
Without even trying, he’d reined her in like his horses. She stood closer, at ease, and far too eager to please him. When she lifted her gaze to his, the slow burn of tension-laced desire beckoned her.
“Oh no you don’t.” Emmy took two dramatic steps backward.
His laugh in response wrought a heat in her cheeks. Annoyed with her behavior, she fisted her hands on her hips and spun away. She was an intelligent, highly educated, independent woman. Absolutely not the sort to get sucked into the Stone Dempsey tractor beam of sex and debauchery. 
She only managed half the length of the barn when, abruptly, he stopped laughing.
“Emmersyn.”
Had the sound of her name ever held such a heated promise?



Kindle:  https://amzn.to/2McJvS5
Nook:  http://bit.ly/2MtQkPA


Leslie Scott Biography
Leslie spends most days attempting to wrangle the voices in her head and often wishes she could clone herself so that their stories get told faster. She loves words, romance, and characters that feel like family and spends almost all of her free time with her own family; including a boisterous eleven year old that she homeschools and an assorted cast of rescue pets. She lives her own happily ever after with her soul mate and best friend in the northern part of Alabama and hopes you enjoy reading her stories as much as she enjoys writing them. 

Leslie Scott on the internet:

Youtube Playlists: http://bit.ly/2O6IDea

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Welcome to Cyndie Zahner

The inspiration behind my writing… 

From childhood…
I love words. As a child, I dawdled over words too long and, consequently, was a slow reader.
I grew up and still live in Erie, Pennsylvania. My parents were hard workers. My dad had three jobs and owned a small paint distributorship. My mother managed that store. I had one sibling, a brother eleven years older than me, who married when I was nine. So, a good part of my younger years I spent alone. Creating characters and writing stories was my solution to lonely rainy summer days when kids in the neighborhood stayed inside.
In high school, an English teacher, Mrs. Patricia Root, introduced me to the classics and after that, reading and writing became my passion. I enrolled in college as an English major, yet the summer before my freshman year, I worked at a local store as a sales clerk alongside four women with English degrees. Worried I’d still be working retail after graduation, I changed my major from English to Accounting but never lost my love of words. While working in the business world, I wrote grants and contributed occasional financial and women’s articles to local magazines and newspapers.
As an adult… 
I fell in love and married my soul mate, Jeff, and now we have three adult children and one grandchild. They are my life, but they live far from Jeff and I. Hence, I have fallen back to spending time creating characters and stories.
In 2015 I began looking at life differently after my brother and his wife were diagnosed with early-onset dementia and Alzheimer’s. They moved into a nursing home and I realized just how precious and fleeting life can be. During that very emotional time, my wonderful husband pulled me aside and said, “Quit your job. You’re a writer.” So. I did. After twenty years of working for the City of Erie, I picked up my purse one day and quietly walked away. I never went back. I began my career as a novelist.
Other inspirations for my novel, The Suicide Gene
First, my grandfather Frank Gifford (Frank Merle Gifford, not THE Frank Gifford) suffered from depression. His wife underwent surgery for a growth on her spine and after the procedure, she was paralyzed. (I actually patterned a part of my second book, Dream Wide Awake, after this incident.) After six years of being bedridden, my grandmother passed away and my grandfather became so depressed he attempted suicide. Because we had so much depression in my mother’s family, I began to wonder: Is there a suicide gene?   
Second, my brother and sister-in-law’s situation inspired me to have Emma’s mother suffer from Alzheimer’s. I simply wanted to shine a faint light on how hard this disease is.   
Third, small pieces of my life are entwined in this book:
Sharon, the secretary, is patterned after a sweet, wonderful secretary in my hometown. Her name is actually Sharon and she is one of the most giving people I know. I thought she would make the perfect mothering secretary for Emma.
One of Emma’s running friends, Carol, grew from the personality of one of my own running friends—also named Carol. She is our running pack’s go-to person. Smart, sensible, Christian, and everyone’s sounding board. She is a minor character. 
Finally, while he was named Gifford after my grandfather, Attorney Gifford John Johnson was patterned after my own son, Attorney Zachary John Zahner. I intended for Giff to be a minor character—someone for the main character’s best friend to fall in love with. But of course, I liked him so much I thought Emma would certainly fall in love with him. (I will never again pattern a character after a child or grandchild. You love them too much and can’t allow anything bad to happen to them.)  
The touchy suicide topic…
More than three years ago, I had the idea of beginning a novel with the suicide of an identical twin. Since then the suicide topic has grown. As if Thirteen Reasons Why wasn’t controversial enough, on September 26th, one week after my book hit the market, another TV series, A Million Little Things, began with a suicide.
This new show has the premise: friendship isn’t one thing, it’s a million little things, and friends may be the one thing to save them from themselves. While The Suicide Gene is totally fictional and was inspired mostly by my crazy imagination and a little by my life, it suggests a similar idea that environmental factors (certainly friendships) can influence depression. 

I do believe my novel will generate questions about genetic links. Today, our DNA secrets seem to be as close as a stroke on our keyboard and $69 bucks. We need more research, compassion, and funding for mental health issues in our nation. What a better world we would live in if we could eliminate this horrid problem that strikes so many families.

Author Bio

Cyndie "CJ" Zahner is a digital-book hoarder, lover of can't-put-down books, runner, author, and Mensa wannabe. That last trait explains the inspiration for her first novel, The Suicide Gene. Her second book, Dream Wide Awake, was inspired during long runs on Presque Isle State Park in her hometown of Erie, Pennsylvania. She is a proud mother of three and an even prouder grandmother of one.

Before becoming a novelist, CJ worked as a grant and freelance writer. Her articles varied from business to women’s health to the paranormal. Her most popular articles can be found on her website at 
www.cjzahner.com
In 2015, she resigned from her full- and part-time jobs to write novels. Now, she rises before dawn, writes, runs, and smiles much. She completed The Suicide Gene and Dream Wide Awake, and is nearing completion of two other novels, Within the Setting Sun and The Dream Snatchers. 

A hard worker and story lover, CJ Zahner is determined to read, write, and run happily ever after.

Links

Author Links:
Author website:                                   www.cjzahner.comor www.cyndiezahner.com
Facebook:                              https://www.facebook.com/authorcjzahner/
Twitter:                                                      https://twitter.com/TweetyZ
Instagram:                             https://www.instagram.com/cjzahner/
Amazon:                                  https://www.amazon.com/CJ-Zahner/e/B07G9KLT5L/
Goodreads:                           https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18283247.C_J_Zahner
BookBub:                                https://www.bookbub.com/authors/cj-zahner
Athletchic.com blog:      https://athletchic.com/
Purchase Links:
Author website:                                   www.cjzahner.comor https://cyndiezahner.com/
The Wild Rose Press:      http://bit.ly/WRPCJZSG
Amazon:                                  http://bit.ly/AMSGene
Barnes and Noble             http://bit.ly/BandNSGene

Blurb

She thought they were her siblings. By the time she realized they weren’t, one of them was dead.

Doctor Emma Kerr had no right counseling them. Adopted and her birth records lost, she believed she was born a McKinney. Her face, intelligence, and depression resembled theirs. For years people mistook her for their sister. So, she devised a plan. What begins as a scheme to counsel the McKinney family and determine if they are blood relatives, quickly causes Emma to wonder if she had truly done the manipulating. Is someone following her?
Now Emma clamors to escape the McKinney world of domination and deception.
Is she Mathew McKinney’s sister? She can’t be. Is he in love with her? He can’t be. Then how do he and his sisters know more about her than she knows herself? This is a game to them. Is the game Suicide? Or Murder?

Excerpt

Chapter 1
Wednesday, May 13, 2015

The Funeral Parlor.

The face in the casket was her own. It nearly freaked her out.
She stood between her brother and sister, knees wobbling. Her high-necked dress clung to her skin, choking her throat, squeezing her long, slender body tighter and tighter until she felt her lungs might explode. Damn panic attacks.
Her siblings moved closer, tightening their grip on her when they heard her struggling to breathe. Together their tall frames—movie-star handsome—melded into a dark mass at the foot of the casket. It took all the energy the three of them could muster to keep her upright.
“Are you okay?” Melanie asked her.
She nodded.
“Try not to embarrass yourself,” Matt whispered.
Again, a nod.
She wasn’t sure she could get through the day without fainting. There were no breaks at a funeral, and she just wanted to get away from the grim whispery-whirrs of the bereaved and the sickeningly-sweet waft of the flowers. But she couldn’t leave. Matt would kill her and, besides, she had no cigarettes. Her sister was her supplier. Now she’s dead.
The parade of mourners stretched out of the room and down the hall and it was only 2:05. Some faces in line she didn’t recognize, which infuriated her. Her sister had no real friends. Nosy bastards. They just want to know what happened.
She tried to ignore surrounding conversations and remain composed. But like Medusa’s venomous mane, muffled words of hand-covered comments serpentined toward her from all directions. She couldn’t block them. They echoed in her head like garbled phrases over a worn intercom. “Why did she do it?” “Like her mother.” “Was it suicide?”
That last question nearly sent her to her knees. Her body sagged. Melanie caught her and Matt pulled her close, so she could lean on him until it passed.
“Don’t look if looking makes you queasy,” Melanie told her, but her glance drifted back to her sister’s pasty face. That’s what I would look like if I were dead.
She, herself, had considered suicide for so long it was hard to believe she still feared death. She hated funerals, could barely walk through the front door of a funeral home without hyperventilating. Yet, she had to go to this one. Her own identical twin sister lie in that ugly copper box, her head sunk low in billowing white silk.
“I’m sorry for the three of you.” Her aunt Carol’s hoarse voice coaxed her attention from the coffin. Notably thinner—grief now topping her midmorning chemotherapy cocktail,— her aunt dabbed a tissue at tear-stained cheeks. She was in the third round with breast cancer and getting her butt kicked. “I can’t believe this is happening to our family again. Did you know she was that bad?”
“Well.” Melanie paused. “She’s always had those tendencies, but we thought—with the counseling—she was doing better.”
“Counseling?” Aunt Carol’s cheeks pinked.
“Yes,” Matt said. “Six months ago we started seeing a psychiatrist—all four of us.”
“We thought a counselor might help,” sweet Melanie continued. “We decided maybe we did have some baggage about Mom’s—” She took a deep breath. Her gaze moved to her sister.
Don’t say it, Mel, don’t say suicide.
“Death.” Melanie looked away.
“How horrible.” Aunt Carol straightened. She appeared appalled. “You should sue him—that counselor.”
“Her.” Matt shook his head, eyes glaring. “She’s a psychiatrist.”
“We will sue her.” The twin’s voice rose, but she stopped, glanced at Matt, and tightened her jaw. “She didn’t give a damn about us. Now my sister is dead. She’ll pay.”
It happened then—at 2:10 p.m. She felt Matt’s piercing gaze and watched as he released his grip on her arm. Her aunt Carol became so emotional that Matt had to help her to the back of the room. Family members congregated there amidst her wild sobs while Matt held her, and a rush of people came toward her and Melanie at the casket. One after another. Melanie let go of her, too, and she had to stand on her own.
For the first time in her life, she was alone.