A Little About Fathers

Daddy cropped March 27 is always a poignant anniversary. It was Easter Sunday morning the year my sister and I learned the heartbreaking news our dad had suffered a sudden heart attack and was no longer with us.

The news dropped me to my knees.

My dad shaped who I am. He instilled in me the belief I can do anything I set my mind to, but not to think too highly of myself. He penciled out on paper his sheep business and taught me about making profits, and how to have integrity in the process. Nearly every greeting card was inscribed “To my Partner and Daughter.”

Most of all, he adored me.

I believe I am valuable because my daddy showed me every day I was special and that I mattered.

Me - Version 2 To some, Elwin Coates was just a sheepherder . . . in my eyes, he was a king. 

 

 

274776_Gilbert_sliders2 In WHERE RIVERS PART Dr. Juliet Ryan’s self-esteem is easily rocked, especially in her professional life when others don’t value her advice. She struggles with the aftermath of a rocky relationship with her father, believing at her core that she didn’t matter to him. He put his own selfish needs before her own, and the effect on his daughter was profound.

Those who have already read the story saw how unexpected circumstances recalibrated Juliet’s life . . . and most especially the relationship with her father.  They both got a second chance.

What readers are saying:

“Thank you for writing with integrity, using strong, flawed characters, and making redemption possible. Hope flows from that.”    ~ Sharon P.

“This was a very captivating story.”    ~ Ros L.

“Something about this book just pulls you in and wont let go.”    ~ Mary F.

Bad Bosses

XX This is the image of an easily recognizable celebrity, Sharon Stone. When writing WHERE RIVERS PART I used this photo while imagining the character, Alexa Carmichael, the once beautiful, but aging woman executive who came up through the ranks when women often hit a glass ceiling. Think of the woman in The Devil Wears Prada…..failed marriages and family life in the ditch because of her ambition. A woman who drives a black Aston Martin and who will sell out anything and anyone to succeed.

For those of you who have read WHERE RIVERS PART you know what happened when  protagonist, Dr. Juliet Ryan, tangled with her. And, it wasn’t pretty!

As a former legal professional who served for years in law firm settings and for the Department of Justice, I’ve worked with my share of bosses–good and bad. Nothing surpasses an experience where you work alongside a person who supervises your work, respects and treats you as a valuable member of the team, and compensates you accordingly with praise and monetary gain. (a few have even lent me and my family use of their vacation homes non grata!)

On the converse, I’ve also worked with a few doozies! In work environments everywhere you’ll find people in upper level positions who are power hungry, who believe the people reporting to them are less valuable to the effort and who are threatened by anyone else’s success.

I’ve had phones thrown at me. I’ve been screamed at. I’ve even been promised a huge bonus that never came. (Shocking….I know!)

Some of you have your own war stories about working with bosses, good and bad. I’d like to hear them in the comments (keep identities anonymous please).  So, share! Tell us about your boss experiences. Are you a boss? Tell us about that!

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An Easter Message

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This is the ocean view I gazed at on Easter morning, eight years ago. Something caused me to wake in the pre-dawn hours and I grabbed my Bible and nestled on the sofa in our hotel room for my own private worship service.

 

Less than four hours later, I got the call.

“I’m sorry, Kellie. It’s your dad,” a close friend whispered over the phone. “He’s gone.”

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Some of you have faced losing someone you love. You know what I felt in those next seconds. The instant regret at not having a chance to say goodbye. To tell him what he meant to me. The crippling pain knowing I couldn’t simply call him. He was no longer there.

People who knew me in my younger days shake their confused heads when they learn I’ve become a Christian. Images of me winning at beer pong and (well, let’s skip that part) still wander through their minds. “Kellie? She’s a Christian now?”

 

My debut novel, MOTHER OF PEARL, asks an important question.

Is death the end?

Because of what happened on that first Easter, I have the hope of seeing my dad again. That’s worth living my life differently. It’s worth having people think I’m small-minded, not open to progressive social ideas. It’s worth bending my knee and submitting my will to His.

It’s not religion. It’s climbing into Jesus’ lap, recognizing I don’t belong there, but knowing I’m welcome and loved by the one who made me.

If there was a Facebook emblem I could post on my profile page this week that said I’m a Christian, I’d sign up. Not to be divisive, but to acknowledge my faith. It’s not about me judging others, or acting better than anyone. It’s simply saying I know where I’m going after I die . . . and I’m grateful.

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MOTHER OF PEARL is the story of a mother who risks everything for her daughter. Available at your favorite bookstore, or at Amazon.

 

A Christmas Wish for my Readers

I LOVE CHRISTMAS!

There, I’ve said it. No holiday brings me more joy than the celebration of the Savior’s birth.

As a child, I grew up in a wintery wonderland not far from Sun Valley, Idaho. Close your eyes a minute and imagine riding on a sleigh pulled by horses over glistening snow. Or, think about a Christmas afternoon spent on a frozen lake showing off new ice skates.

Back then, I couldn’t imagine a fake tree. Every year my dad would pile kids from neighboring ranches into his truck and we’d go cut trees.  Ladies from down the road made popcorn balls and Mom filled my sock with yummy hard ribbon candy and orange jelly wedges on Christmas morning.

My childhood holidays were magical.

Now, I live in Dallas.

No snow.

No real tree.

My parents have passed on and my sister lives hundreds of miles away.

But, this year I look forward to something very special. Something that almost tops my childhood memories.

There’s a furry spring horse that whinnys and makes clopping sounds when you press his ear waiting by our tree.

On Christmas morning, my husband and I will watch our little two-year-old grandson climb up and take the ride of his life.

I can hardly wait.

Tell me . . .  what are you excited about this season?

 

WISHING MY READERS A MERRY CHRISTMAS!  

MAY THE LIGHT OF THE SEASON FIND ROOM IN YOUR HEART. 

When the Heart Breaks

I started (and stopped) this blog post several times. You see, I’ve had a bit of a hard week. I lost something I loved very much. And, writing is hard when your eyes keep tearing up.

Last Thursday, my 2.7 pound Yorkie slipped into our pool and drowned. My husband found her. We were both devastated. While not on the tragedy level of losing a family member, little Ava was deeply tucked inside our hearts, and the unexpected goodbye sliced our emotions like a knife.

Even so, I’ll find my footing again. Despite the hurt, the days ahead will grow steadily brighter.

Until then, I can’t help but ponder how often women face unexpected, life-changing misfortune. Someone out there lost her job this week, or received a foreclosure notice. Another gal signed divorce papers. Perhaps one of you opened the door to a law enforcement officer with bad news.

No one escapes the hard things in life.

And, when we encounter these situations . . . where do we turn?

 

 

MOTHER OF PEARL (Abingdon Press) follows the story of Barrie Graeber, a mother who faces incredible loss, and who discovers she must recognize her own vulnerability and learn to trust in something much bigger.

Releases SEPT 1, 2012.