Today is the official launch day for my fifth women’s fiction novel, Family Charms. The journey to this story began when I was four years old and I took my first plane ride. My mother was leaving my father and going to stay with family and I presume start a new life. Within a year, my two sisters and I were back in Oklahoma and my paternal grandparents became our legal guardians. I’d be lying if I said life was peachy-keen after. On the outside, yes! Food, clothing, housing, love, vacations, love. But inside I was full of anxiety (I plucked out my right eyebrow before I slept each night) and worry that I would also lose my grandparents. Like Marlo, the big sis in the book, I worried about my sisters (which led to nagging them, too) and had a lot of fear about losing my husband when we first got married. Maybe not quite to the level of Marlo. (Mine wasn’t a worry about him cheating, but being hurt.) I did have some anxiety about having children of my own due to an unease about some DNA screw-up that would make me less of a good mother. (Which is why I wrote The Stork Reality.)
All stories begin with a “what if.” In this case, I thought, “what if the oldest sister got a letter in the mail from her mother, whom they hadn’t heard from in twenty years? What if Elizabeth (the mother) invited them on a trip around the world to see where she’s been? To walk in their mother’s shoes to understand her past before the girls agree to a reunion?”
The story is fictionalized (and I’ve never traveled around the world), but the raw emotions are very real. My middle sister read an early copy of the book and she felt like I handled all three characters well. I suppose that’s the review I cared about the most because we’ve lived with the fallout from what happens when you lose a primary caregiver in your “formative years.”
Something struck me as I re-read the book the last week in one sitting, and that’s how far I have come in my spiritual journey. Though the book is not religious at all, it does have pieces of spiritual legends and rituals from Christian to Mayan to African and Buddhism. I love researching other cultures and was thrilled that it weaved so well into their story. While in some respects I am Marlo, it’s best to say I *was* Marlo because I have come so far in dealing with any fears and anxieties I’ve had. And yet we are all still a work in progress.
Our childhood definitely shapes who we become – the good and the bad – and I’m thankful my journey has led me to this writing career and to you. I hope readers will enjoy the theme of sisterhood, family bonds, forgiveness and not judging others unless we’ve walked in their shoes.
If you’re in Oklahoma City, Wichita, Tulsa or Dallas, I hope you’ll consider bringing the “sisters” in your life to one of my book parties. Getting together with those you love is so important and due to technology we don’t connect in real life as much as we used to. Early sisterhood editions of the paperback will be available for $10 (and I’ll gift you the ebook, too!) and all of my other print books will be discounted. PLUS, I’ll bring some Buzz Book authors’ titles: TMI MOM by Heather Davis (will be at the Tulsa party!) PR ROCK STAR by Cyndy Hoenig and DANCE MOM SURVIVAL GUIDE I co-wrote with Jill Martin and Mari Farthing writing as Mari Hestekin in the SOMETHING WICKED anthology (all three at the OKC party). In Wichita, Buzz author Dani Stone (NEXT LEFT, SLEIGH RIDE) will be my special guest.
ABOUT THE BOOK
What if your mother left and you didn’t hear from her for 20 years?
Marlo came home from school one day to find her mother gone. Twenty years later, she gets a letter from Elizabeth inviting her three daughters on a trip around the world to see where she’s been the last 20 years – and what kept her away. What follows is an emotional ride for a family torn apart by abandonment, infidelity, cancer and a fear of commitment. Marlo, Taryn and Amelia are three sisters as different as they come, but united in their feelings of betrayal. Is it ever too late to trust in love?
Where to buy:
Amazon: Trade paperback and #Kindle
Barnes and Noble: #nook
Thanks to all the readers (and friends/family!) who came to my first #flytour party in Woodward, OK and thanks to K-101 radio and the Woodward News for the lovely press. A writer’s life requires generous support of readers and the community. I’m forever grateful.