Monday, August 24, 2015

Holding On & Letting Go

I cradled your hand.
He cradled your head.
We’ll cradle your heart.

When I laid my head on my pillow Saturday night, for the first time in eighteen years, five months and twelve days I didn’t know exactly where you were. Revisiting the final moments before I left you at college for the first time brought tears to my eyes and the watershed would go on for hours that night and bleed into the next day.

Intellectually I knew there were other short periods of time, times when you went to sleep away camp or leadership camp, when I didn’t know where you were at any given moment. During those short experiments, I knew you were coming back. This time I had to accept that you were on a road of your own making, enveloped in the first phase of your own life journey. An excursion filled with dreams and decisions that are rooted in a story we started long ago but that only you get to write the important chapters too.

I cried some more, feeling as if I’d lost you. I mean, I knew physically where I’d dropped you off. I had the empty boxes, the leftover bedding wrappings, and the dwindling bank account to prove that it really happened, that you were living on your own. It was as if by depositing you in that tiny room the size of a walk in closet that I’d given you to the world.

There’s no other way to describe the overwhelming feeling in the pit of my stomach, it is nostalgia tinged with acute loss. Not a loss as severe as some, but where’s the roadmap for what we’re going through? And today, in the light of the day after, I realize that the pieces and elements of this loss may last the rest of my life. You will never be completely and utterly ours, you are your own person.

What are the stages of letting go? How to you give up the child you’ve created out of love, the child you’ve dedicated eighteen years to making strong, resilient and capable to the world with only the whisper of hope that the world will embrace her in a kind and gentle way?

In the weeks leading up to our separation, all I could think about was the day you were born and that when they put you in my arms you raised a tiny fist. Less than twenty-four hours after your birth we brought you home from the hospital. You hadn’t made more than a peep in the hospital nursery and all the nurses commented on how good you were compared to the boy babies who all cried in unison. I should have known that was the first example of the determined personality just waiting to shine through. No, you would not follow the boys and cry, you’d cry and fuss on your own terms or not at all. Once we were home you were hungry, nothing else would soothe you and with my lactation production not up to your standards you let everyone know you were not pleased with the shabby accommodations.

The only way we could get you to stop crying was to hold you, so your dad sat on the corner of our bed and held you. I can still see his large hands, one cradling your head and the other cupping your tiny body. Exhausted, I fell asleep, lactation production really takes it out of you. I woke up five hours later with your daddy still sitting in the exact same spot, his hands in the exact same position. He hadn’t moved, afraid if he did that one or both of us would wake up.

Sometimes I watch your dad when he’s looking at you, seeing the young woman you’ve become and I know he wishes he could protect you the way he did that night for the rest of your life. In some ways, we both wish we could go back to the beginning and do all those little things that you never knew about over again because many of them molded you into the kind, thoughtful, loving person you are today.

There were many sleepless nights with you, when being held was the only consolation that you’d accept. No one held you with more dedication than your father, walking in circles with you cradled in a papoose. Then you discovered the binky and things became better for us, easier, but still determined to feel secure, you always had one in your mouth and another one in that small fist, so the back-up-binky and it’s many shenanigans began. Frankly, I thought I’d never pry those tiny security objects loose from your skillful hands. They held you safely assured until you were about three years old when the binky bugs came for them. You didn’t seem especially phased by the tiny holes the binky bugs mysteriously ‘ate’ into the rubber nipple, making the sucking action obsolete. You didn’t even cry. Surrendering the plastic covers of the binkies when all the rubber had been ‘eaten’ away by the binky bugs, one scissor clip at a time. But by this time you’d found the power of your own words, the inexhaustible lure of questions you posed and let’s not forget the inexplicable power that Pokemon held over you.

In your quest for the world to lean your way there were little hiccups along the way, the intolerable Mrs. H., the substitute teacher, you just couldn’t deal with on Halloween in second grade. Of course I came to school and saw you through it, holding your hand and reassuring you. The disappointment when you weren’t put on a sports team in junior high, only to play that sport in high school, starting out on JV as a Freshman and playing at the varsity level three years as an all conference athlete. And finally, your last colossal melt down, funny, but that was about food too! Because you were determined to have BBQ shrimp as your first meal on our vacation to South Carolina and the four star restaurant at Biltmore didn’t have it! You spent a considerable amount of time throwing a tantrum in the bathroom. I went down to the bathroom and found you talking to yourself, giving yourself a pep talk about the fact that the battle wasn’t over. I laughed about it then, but now looking back it reveals something about you that is your core strength. You are the MOST strong-minded person I’ve ever met, you set a goal and you see it through, and the most awesome thing is that you’re not afraid to stop along the way and help others, you’re not self-centered or destructive about it. You just put one foot in front of the other until you meet the goal and you never complain along the way because you’re to busy giving yourself a pep talk to bother with anything negative.

You’re like your daddy sitting on the edge of the bed, focused on the goal of waiting for the new day when the crying will be over. Waiting for the next opportunity to present itself, to prove your unwavering adaptability and drive. I can be content in the fact that I know you won’t let yourself down, you know where you’re going and you know where you’ve come from and we’ll always be here, our arms open wide to hold you when you’re just not sure.

So I’m letting go a bit at a time, I’m lessoning the touch. But I hope you can feel it, our love, on you today all those miles away, just as you felt it cradling you that night eighteen years ago.

Love you,
Mom & Dad

Wednesday, July 1, 2015


There is one bookshelf, more than any other, that I’d love to see my books on. A shelf at the Chicago Public Library. My love affair with libraries started when I was a child growing up in the Chicago and continues today because every city I visit I try to check out the library. The library was a refuge for me. It was a place where I could go and not only feel safe, but I was surrounded by worlds and dreams that at that time I felt out of my realm of possibility.

The Chicago Public Library is the public library system serving the City of Chicago. It consists of 79 branches, including a central library, two regional libraries, and branches distributed throughout the city.

The American Library Association reports the library holding 5,721,334 volumes, making it the 30th largest library system in the United States by volumes held. The library is the second largest public library system in the Midwest, after the Detroit Public Library.

In the aftermath of the 1871 Great Chicago Fire, Londoner A.H. Burgess, with the aid of Thomas Hughes, drew up what would be called the "English Book Donation," which proposed that England should provide a free library to the burnt-out city. Burgess wrote on December 7, 1871 in the London Daily News: "I propose that England should present a Free Library to Chicago, to remain there as a mark of sympathy now, and a keepsake and a token of true brotherly kindness forever..." After circulating requests for donations throughout English society, the project donated 8,000 books. Private donors included Queen Victoria, Benjamin Disraeli, Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Robert Browning, John Stuart Mill, John Ruskin, and Matthew Arnold.

Chicago city leaders petitioned Mayor Joseph Medill to hold a meeting and establish the library. This led to the Illinois Library Act of 1872, which allowed Illinois cities to establish tax-supported libraries. In 1897 the Central Library was opened, pictured above. Designed by the Boston firm of Shepley, Rutan and Coolidge in the same neoclassical style as their design for the Art Institute, it was located on Michigan Avenue between Washington and Randolph Streets on land donated by the Grand Army of the Republic, a Civil War Veterans group. The central library remained at this location for the next 96 years. It is now the Chicago Cultural Center and one of the most beautiful and visited landmarks in Chicago, housing the largest Tiffany’s dome in the world (see below). It's free to visitors so if you come to Chicago make sure you put it on your itinerary.

In 1991, the Harold Washington Library Center, Chicago's new central library, named for the late mayor, opened to the public. It was the world's largest municipal public library at the time of its opening. It is accessible from the Brown, Orange, Purple, and Pink Line trains at the "Library" stop, from the Blue Line at the "LaSalle" and "Jackson" stops, as well as from the Red Line at the "Jackson" stop. Harold Washington Library

If you plan a visit to the city and have a rainy afternoon, plan a stop at both the new and old central libraries. You won’t be disappointed and make sure you check and see if I made it to the shelves because that's where most of my dreams started.

Monday, June 15, 2015


I think everyone should have... person you can always count on. The person you can turn too in a time of trouble or loss. The person you know will always be there for you. This isn't a 'just in case' in the sense of a back up plan, but JUST IN CASE as in the real deal. A person who'll do anything for you no questions asked. It's the kind of just in case that's a daunting responsibility and requires the person to be solely committed to another person's happiness.

But the question isn't more complicated than that, the question is who can you always depend on? Who is the one person in the world who'll always be there for you? 

Who is your JUST IN CASE?

I think everyone should have one person in the world that they can totally count on. Most people start out with two, but for some of us we only get one and others aren't so lucky and they might not have any. I guess it wasn't in the cards for me, I never had two, but I've always had at least one. When I was a child it was my grandmother, I grew up with a mentally ill mother and a father I've never known. My grandmother was from the South and I can't imagine what her life was like moving from rural Alabama to Chicago in the sixties. In some ways this book is an homage to her and the southern roots that my feet are buried in. As an adult I found my other JUST IN CASE in my husband, he's my best friend and the one person who I know who'll always be there for me. I've tested him enough over the years to be certain of my claim.

This question of who is your just in case is the crux of my new book JUST IN CASE. The answer for Scarlett Marbry is Revell Marshall and they have a complex history and a love that somehow manages to survive. It's the story of a young woman struggling to uncover the secrets of her mother's past that just happens to be tangled up with Revell's fathers fate. These secrets are buried deep in the red clay soil of the small town of Crossroads, Alabama. It's Scarlett's journey of self-discovery and love, the kind of love that surpasses time and doesn't diminish with distance. Scarlett realizes that while taking care of yourself is a wonderful skill set, learning that you can utterly put your life in another person's hands is the way in which she wants to love. And if the person you entrust is your JUST IN CASE he or she will not only care for it, but treasure it. Revell believes this is the way in which we are all intended to live and he's happy to show her the way.

I hope this story serves as a reminder to find your just in case person and cherish them. Remember to be that special someone that others can depend on too. You never know when someone else will need you JUST IN CASE.


On sale for 99c until June 27th


Leave a comment telling me who your JUST IN CASE person is and I'll select one person to win an autographed paperback copy of JUST IN CASE. (US residents for paperback & international residents can win an ebook copy)











Who is your JUST IN CASE?

WIN A $75 dollar Charming Charlie Gift Card

Tuesday, April 28, 2015


Sandy toes and salty kisses....

You might think a Windy City writer doesn't know much about the beach, but you'd be wrong. Chicago is on the Great Lakes and we have wonderful beaches along both the north and south shores of Lake Michigan. I grew up in the city and the place everyone wanted to be was at North Avenue Beach. Now I live about a mile from Sunrise Beach and Park on the North Shore.

The beautiful thing about Sunrise Beach is that it's very quiet and peaceful. There is a huge bluff that overlooks the beach and traffic and cars remain above and you have to walk about two stories down to the beach. It's nestled into this lovely little cove.

 "In1876 Solomon Thatcher, Chicago business man & minister described Lake Bluff; "A paradise complete with its ravine and running brook; its bluff and beach; its wooded parks." So what's the best thing to do at this little piece of paradise??? Read a book of course. 

I'm doing a little giveaway with the help of some other Romance and Paranormal authors. We're giving away 18+ ebooks. All you have to do to be entered to win is follow the link in the RAFFLECOPTER to YouTube and click on the share button to share our Beach Reads video.

"You all want to know what is my dream? Very Simple. To walk along the beach, holding the hand of my lover." Michelle Bachele

Leave a comment where your favorite beach is. Thanks for stopping by & Happy Beach Reading!

Friday, March 13, 2015

??? Friggatriskaidekaphobia ???


Ever suffer from friggatriskaidekaphobia? Me neither, but friggatriskaidekaphobia is a fear of Friday the 13th Frigga is the name of the Norse goddess for whom "Friday" is named and triskaidekaphobia meaning fear of the number thirteen.
Records of the superstition are rarely found before the 20th century, when it became common. So why do people think Friday the 13th is a fateful day? It’s probably the combination of two older superstitions: thirteen is an unlucky number and Friday is an unlucky day.

In numerology, the number twelve is considered the number of completeness, the twelve months of the year, twelve hours of the clock, twelve gods of Olympus, twelve Apostles, etc. Whereas the number thirteen was considered irregular, breaking this rule of completeness. Another superstition, thought by some to derive from a Norse myth is that having thirteen people seated at a table will result in the death of one of the diners.

So here’s the thing, my birthday is on the 13th, though not on a Friday. I’ve always considered 13 my lucky number because I was born at 13:13 p.m., the 13th hour and the 13th minute of the 13th day. I also have five brothers and sisters who were all born on the 13th   day of their birth months. So the 13th seems like a very blessed number to me.
Please leave a comment with your lucky number and are you superstitious about it? And more importantly, do you suffer from friggatriskaidekaphobia???

Friday, October 17, 2014


When witches go riding,
and black cats are seen,
the moon laughs and whispers,
'tis near Halloween.
~Author Unknown

I wanted to do something a little different for my front stoop this Halloween. I've done more traditional topiaries in past years and the photo to the left is last years candy corn topiaries. The directions for building a standard topiary is located below.

SUPPLIES: You'll need 3 pumpkins in large, medium, & small sizes, wooden/bamboo kebab skewers, hammer & decorative accents, i.e. fall leaves, beads or garland.

Make sure the bottom pumpkin, or the largest one is large enough to fit into the bottom of your urn tightly, at least part of its weight should rest in the soil. Place the base pumpkin in the urn, you do not have to cut or gut this pumpkin and do no remove its stem.

Select your middle pumpkin, make sure you have one with a nice stem, cut a circle in the BOTTOM of the pumpkin large enough that it can fit over the stem of the base pumpkin, remove all the seeds and guts from the pumpkin. Now place this second pumpkin on top of the base pumpkin and hammer the long kebab skewers into the second pumpkin until the skewer reaches the base pumpkin. Take your time and hammer the skewer all the way in, it will secure the second pumpkin to the base pumpkin. I usually use about six skewers around the perimeter.

Now repeat the same process to secure the top pumpkin as you did for the middle one, cutting out the BOTTOM and gutting it before securing this top pumpkin to the middle one with skewers. Now add plastic leaves, cattails, branches or Halloween tinsel around the base and fall colored garland for the in between layers. 

Once you have the topiary built you can decorate it. The first step was to add the witches hair I used the purple/glitter spray with spiral ends from the floral department. The spray comes about 3 feet long so I had to trim them down to about 10-12 inches. 

I used these greening pins to attach the hair to the pumpkin. You can find greening pins in the floral department of any craft store. It was easy to press the greening pins into the pumpkin most of the way and then you can use a hammer to secure them all the way into the pumpkin.

Next, I attached the Witch's hat that I found at Michaels using the same  pins. Then I added the spiders with webs for the witch's eyes and another spider for the mouth.

I added this wire enforced garland in between the pumpkins layers to dress the pumpkin topiary. Adding a witches broom with a holiday message for the final touch.

I used 21" wide mesh ribbon to make the swag for the base of the pumpkins.  I gathered the fabric in my hand, twisting the pipe cleaner around the gathered fabric to make the swags. I used the same greening pins to attach the swag to the base of the bottom pumpkin.

The finished product! I hope you enjoyed this DIY project. 

Please leave me a comment to be entered to win a paperback copy of both of these spooky stories. I'll pick a single winner of both titles on November 1, 2014 from all comments. 
U.S. residents only.
Download it FREE now!


Friday, October 10, 2014


I searched by full blood moon and couldn't find a Halloween fireplace screen to complete my Halloween mantel. So I decided to construct my own. This is my family room, the focal point of the room is this wall with the fireplace. I constructed the metal fireplace screen from several items I put together from a home decorating store and a few craft supplies. The whole project cost less than   $30 and I'm really thrilled with it.

Below is a close up of the completed screen against a white wall by itself so you can see it better.

I found the above metal spider webs with black spiders on them at Gordmans. I thought since they were lightweight they'd could be bound together with metal wire and make the screen. I removed the rings at the bottom of the webs by using a pair of pliers to bend them off.

I wanted to make the spiders on the webs stand out so I painted them with craft paint and then sprinkled them with glitter in a matching color. Here's how they turned out. 

For the bases I located these pumpkin tea light holders also at Gordmans. The bottoms of these pumpkins are freestanding and I thought they'd make a great base for the screen.

After the spiders' paint dried I assembled the three webs using black 16 gauge permanently colored copper wire. (I found this with the jewelry supplies at Michaels) Then I attached the screen to the two bases uses the same jewelry wire, wire cutters, and pliers.

Then I added some additional metal spiders (Joanne Fabrics) to finish the screen. Here's another shot of the finished product with a nice fire behind it!

If you're looking for something spooky to snuggle up by the fireplace this Halloween, feel free to check out my two paranormal romances. For all those Trick-or-Treaters out there Descent of Blood is FREE!

Please leave me a comment on this DIY project. I'll be checking back for questions. Happy reading, reviewing & crafting to you!