Thursday, September 18, 2014

My Thoughts on Suicide

Yesterday, the counselor at the middle school in CO where most of my children attended (until we moved to Texas) passed away tragically from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. This has devastated the community that we called home for so many years. This counselor was well-loved and had positively impacted many, many lives in the 15 years that he worked in the school district. He had helped so many students during their own dark times to find the light again. He will be greatly missed. He leaves behind a wife and two children.

Losing anyone we love to death is heart-breaking and hard to deal with, but losing someone to suicide adds another layer. Not only do we mourn the loss of the one we loved, but we may be left with feelings of regret, guilt, and anger.

I read many posts when Robin Williams died. One post in particular called him selfish to take his own life. I think one of the mistakes we make, as we try to make sense out of a senseless situation, is projecting our own life experiences onto someone else. We wonder how anyone could leave his or her spouse, children, parents, etc. We try to assign our own feelings to someone else. We simply cannot do that. Of course, anyone in his right mind would never, ever subject his loved ones to the pain and agony that comes with losing a loved one. No one would ever want to thrust feelings of guilt and remorse on the people he loved most.

But that's the thing. Someone who is in the frame of mind to take his own life, isn't in the same frame of mind as someone who isn't. He is not thinking rationally. He is not thinking about the long-term effects. He is not thinking about what his death will mean for those around him. Or perhaps he thinks life without him will be better for his loved ones. At any rate, we who are not suffering in this way cannot assign our own frame of reference to someone who is. We do not know what someone else is going through, We do not know the pain or the suffering or the agony that person may be enduring, even if that person appears to be fine.

Robin Williams seemed to have it all. Fame, fortune, an adoring fan base. The counselor at school lived his life to help others navigate treacherous waters of sadness and depression. He was married, had children, had a steady job, and lived in a beautiful subdivision. He was not on the radar as someone who was in desperate need of help, at least not to the general public.

We all have "stuff." We all have trials we've lived through. Some of those trials have been more public than others. Some of us share our trials and some of us don't. Some of us know when to seek help. Others don't. Some of us hide pain on a daily basis.

We cannot stand in judgment of those who end their lives, because we are not them. We do not know what is in their minds or in their hearts. Only a loving Heavenly Father can do that. We cannot condemn them to an everlasting hell because that is not our job or our role. We cannot judge others, because we do not know their hearts, their desires, their intents. We only know our own.

Suicide is still a taboo subject. We don't talk about it. Those who've been affected by it may feel a stigma and feel that the death of their loved one is different than a death from a car accident or an illness. They may feel shame and embarrassment because our society earmarks suicide as something "different" and it makes people uncomfortable to speak about it. And the cycle continues. We see suicide as something different, so those affected feel different. However the death occurred, it is still a death. People have lost a loved one. They are in pain. They are suffering. It doesn't matter how that loved one died. We need to offer support, love, and sympathy to those affected.

Suicide can also incite deep guilt because the death could have been prevented. We feel helpless and wonder what we could have done. But we cannot play the blame game. "Why didn't I see it?" "Why didn't I go talk to her?" "Why didn't I call the doctor?" "What if I'd gone to see him that day?" "What if I'd put that gun away?" "What if I'd been a better husband, wife, brother, sister, mother, father, friend?" Most of the time, those who have determined to commit suicide have thought about it and kept it a secret from those closest to them. It does no good to immerse ourselves in guilt.

What can we do? What can we learn? Maybe to be a little kinder. To be a little softer. To remember that we have no idea what someone is going through. We see what others want us to see, because people hide the dark parts of themselves. People hide the pain. The suffering.

We need to love one another. We need to be gentler. We need to treat others the way we want to be treated. We need to help those we meet along our path. We need to leave the world better than we found it. We need to reach out and comfort each other. Be patient with each other. Remember that we are all struggling along this path of life. Just because we don't have the same struggles, or just because we haven't made those struggles public, does not mean we don't have them.

Suicide affects all of us in a profound way. Some of us are affected more intimately than others. True healing comes from God. From trusting in His love and allowing Him to comfort us in these times. We may not be able to understand why someone would commit suicide, but we can do a better job of talking about it and allowing those who've been the most affected to feel our love and compassion. We can do a better job of not casting aspersions on those who commit suicide and alienating their loved ones. We can do a better job of loving each other.

Monday, September 15, 2014

My Grandmother's "Visions"

I was talking to my paternal grandmother last night. She is 99 years old. 99. Wow. I think her longevity is due to her heritage--she is one-half Italian.

About fifteen years ago, she began suffering from macular degeneration. She was very upset because she'd always been such an avid reader. Unfortunately, there isn't much that can be done to reverse this condition. She's been able to keep it at bay, but she's had to adjust her life. She now listens to the radio and depends on phone calls to keep her updated. When I visit her, she can see me, but only if the light is just right and she's close enough to me.

Some weeks back, after she went to bed, she thought she saw people in her room. Naturally, it scared her, but she couldn't prove anyone had been in her room. Her next thought was that she was going crazy, so she didn't want to tell anyone about it. After several experiences, she finally told someone.

Turns out, no one was visiting her room after hours and she isn't crazy. There's actually a condition called the Charles Bonnet Syndrome in which people who are visually impaired experience complex visual hallucinations. It's a real thing.

Isn't that fascinating? You can learn more here about the Charles Bonnet Syndrome, if you are interested. It usually occurs in the elderly and they are reluctant to talk about it because they think it means they are going insane.

People who lose a limb often experience phantom pain and sensations where the limb once was and perhaps this is what happens to those who've lost their vision.

The good news is my grandmother was checked out by a neurosurgeon and she's fine. She's not crazy. But discovering this syndrome has certainly given me some food for thought for a future novel.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Stung by Amazon: An Open Letter to Jeff Bezos

Mr. Bezos,

I have always been an Amazon cheerleader. I have been a customer for more than 15 years. I have ordered thousands of dollars worth of products over the years and have been happy with the customer service.

Until now.

As a traditionally published author who decided to go the indie route, my natural choice was to publish with Amazon since I had previously had such good experiences. I published Imperfect Love on March 1. 2014. My book has hit the bestsellers lists on different occasions and was in the Top 10 in a few categories.

Imagine my surprise when I checked on my book on September 5, 2014 and found it was suddenly not available. I sent an email query to ask why. I received an answer that it was a glitch and would be fixed soon. On September 6th it was still not available. I sent another email and received the same generic response. On September 7th it was still not available. The morning of September 8th I called Amazon to try to sort it out since sending emails didn't seem to elicit much help. I was told that there is no direct line to KDP and no phone support. The customer service rep offered to send an email with my concerns.

Thanks, but I'd already done that.

Finally, later on September 8th my book was for sale again. I contacted Amazon to ask for some compensation for lost sales by way of advertising my book somehow in hopes of getting some sales to regain its sales rank. I was told that Amazon will not do anything to make up for the time my book was not available.Period.

Amazon was responsible for the glitch, but I'm the one that got stung.

I realize I'm merely a nobody author. I realize my sales aren't earth-shattering. I realize that my sales certainly won't make or break Amazon, but I lost sales. My book lost its ranking. What if I had invested in a promotion, which I've done numerous times, and found my book wasn't for sale? Would I just be out all that money? How can I trust Amazon to have my book for sale in the future and that it won't be a victim of some glitch in your software?

I am so disappointed that Amazon won't make this right. I am disappointed that I don't matter. I am disappointed that I'd be treated like this after all the money I have spent at Amazon.

I thought Amazon was better than this.

A Very Disappointed Customer

Friday, July 4, 2014

Summer Book Trek

My newest novel, Imperfect Love, is on sale July 1st through midnight July 7th for only $.99. What a deal, right? I'm sponsoring the Summer Book Trek over at New LDS Fiction and if you read Imperfect Love you get a bunch of extra points.

There are lots and lots of great books to read and participating in the Summer Book Trek is a great way to find new books as well as enter to win some fantastic prizes.

You can also like Summer Book Trek on Facebook to get updated information.

Come on over. Find great books. Pass the word about the Summer Book Trek and, if you don't mind, about my book being on sale. That'd be awesome!!


Here is the link to purchase. Word of mouth is the best form of advertising!

Friday, May 23, 2014

On SALE: Imperfect Love

My newest novel, Imperfect Love is on SALE today, tomorrow, and Saturday for $.99. That's right. Only $.99. Can you beat a deal like that?

If you've been thinking about purchasing it, this would be an excellent time because it's on sale. I'd love to get this book on the Top 100 list at Amazon and will love you forever if you help me by purchasing it today. Please pass the information on to any readers you think might enjoy it. Thanks!!! You can purchase
Imperfect Love at Amazon.
You can also click on the image to purchase.

Here is the back cover copy:

Lauren Wilson is well on her way to her happily-ever-after. She’s passionate about her career as a middle school English teacher, she adores her handsome, hard-working husband, and with a baby finally on the way, her perfect life is within her grasp.

But then a devastating test result changes everything.

Forced to choose between her baby and her husband, Lauren makes the only decision she can live with, and she returns to her small hometown in hopes of rebuilding her shattered life.

Ethan Campbell is a gifted photographer who travels the world and has no desire to settle down. When his mother dies, he must go home to settle her estate. Then it’s back to exciting adventures across the globe. 

When Lauren crosses paths with Ethan, her teenage crush, old feelings resurface—feelings she’s not prepared to face. Will Lauren have the courage to trust again or will she spend her life alone?

Imperfect Love is a story about sacrifice, healing, second chances, and discovering that although love isn’t always perfect, sometimes it’s the imperfect love that’s the sweetest of all.

Thanks for your help!!

Thursday, May 22, 2014


Do you love to read? Are you looking for some awesome books at discounted prices? Then you'll be interested in this ENORMOUS event for readers! Fantastic, clean novels in every genre by your favorite authors!

Don't miss out on this amazing event! Tell your friends! Come visit Bookmarked Bargains. Register to win a Reader's Party Pack.

Reader’s Party Pack: $160 value. Designed for readers. Organize your electronic library full of fantastic adventures in a chic *messenger bag. Are you always on the go? Sneak a peek at the cliffhanger from your latest book while exercising or cooking dinner when you use a handy *ebook stand. Stay up reading in bed with a *fuzzy blanket (choose your own color), a *stackable pillow, a mug of *hot chocolate, *a big bag of M&Ms, and a *reading light. Everything a reader needs to enjoy a good book!

3 Day SALE! Ebooks by your favorite authors at great prices. Visit Bookmarked Bargains to find romance, historical fiction, suspense, fantasy. Whatever genre you like to read, we have a bargain for you!

My book, Imperfect Love, is also on sale for $.99.

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Bookmarked Bargains Event Tomorrow

If you love to read, you'll want to check out TOMORROW. We will have lots and lots of books on SALE. and you can register to win a Reader's Party Pack.

Reader’s Party Pack: $160 value. Designed for readers. Organize your electronic library full of fantastic adventures in a chic *messenger bag. Are you always on the go? Sneak a peek at the cliffhanger from your latest book while exercising or cooking dinner when you use a handy *ebook stand. Stay up reading in bed with a *fuzzy blanket (choose your own color), a *stackable pillow, a mug of *hot chocolate, *a big bag of M&Ms, and a *reading light. Everything a reader needs to enjoy a good book!

Don't forget. TOMORROW. We'll have a BIG SALE on ebooks by your favorite authors.Mark your calendar. You won't want to miss this 3-day promotion,. May 22-24.

My book, Imperfect Love, will also be on sale for $.99. (I'm hoping to propel my book onto the Top 100 list at Amazon, because that would be awesome!).

Tell your friends!! Thanks!!!