Ellwyn’s Blog

Book Review Of Women Who March By: Adena Raub Dershowitz

Author: Adena Raub Dershowitz

Illustrator: Heather Workman

Publisher: Adena Dershowitz

ISBN: 9780692053782

Length: 28 pages

A child-friendly story of the 2017 Women’s March with an inclusive message.

Through simple rhyme, Dershowitz, presents a complex topic about a historical day in an easy to understand format for children. The illustrations and verse enable the reader to effortlessly journey with the character as she marches through the pages, while teaching us about diversity and inclusiveness.

Not only does the book pay tribute to this important day in a respectful and thoughtful way, the events are presented accurately: the signs, the flags, the messages, the unity of people, from all walks of life, lifting up their voices to demand equality and fair treatment for everyone, as well as, drawing attention to the rapid environmental changes we are experiencing; I witnessed similar sights at many marches.

One unifying theme I particularly enjoyed, was the encouragement of children to get involved in the political process and the list of age-appropriate ways for them to accomplish this task. I feel this expectation offers wonderful validation to children as citizens of the world.

Another element I appreciated was the suggestion that children ask questions. In an age where facts have been diminished or downright ignored, it is crucial that children learn to think for themselves.

Heather Workman’s soft-hued illustrations are charming, appealing, diverse, and offer a wonderful element to the book. Children will enjoy viewing the positive images of people of all colors smiling and working together to make the world a better place.

As an early childhood teacher, I would definitely use this book for social studies lessons on cooperation, acceptance, social activism, and current events followed by the meaningful conversations this book so clearly provides. I highly recommend!

Women Who March on Amazon.

I received a complimentary copy of this book for an honest review.

Interview With Author Carla Vergot

Recently, I had the good fortune to get to know author, Carla Vergot, a little better. Carla grew up in the great state of North Carolina, but now  lives with her very loving and very supportive husband in Virginia.

She is a self-employed author with a B.A in Language Arts, Writing, and Editing and a Master’s Degree in Education and Special Education.

She enjoys driving Jeeps off road  and visiting graveyards. An honest woman who speaks her mind, she is superstitious, witty, and pays special attention to the details in her writing.

 

Photo courtesy of: Carla Vergot

Her debut novel, Lily Barlow, The Mystery of Jane Dough is set for a December 4, 2018 release.

Now that you’ve been introduced to Carla, let’s get to know a little more about this busy woman.

Hello, Carla, and welcome. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.

Thank you for having me.

Q.  What inspired you to be a writer?

A.  As a kid, I wanted to be an artist, go to Paris, and paint the Eiffel Tower. When I realized I couldn’t draw, sketch or paint, I was bummed I’d never be an artist. At that point in my life, someone told me writing is painting with words. I’ve been painting ever since.

Q.  Is writing your full-time profession?

A.  Yes. I was teaching special education when my husband encouraged me to take a sabbatical to write the book I always wanted to write. Upon completion, I loved it so much, I resigned from teaching and started working on Book 2 in the series.

Q.  Have you won any awards?

A.  Not for my writing. Come to think of it, not for anything else either. Although, I think I deserve Best Hill Climb on a Bike and Best Use of Blue Painter’s Tape.

Q.  How long have you been writing?

A.  I got a degree in Language Arts, Writing & Editing from North Carolina State in 1990, so on and off since then.

Q.  How many books have you written?

A.  One book so far, but it’s freakin’ awesome! It’s the first in a series, and I have started on the second book.

Q.  Which genre do you write for?

A.  I think the best description is women’s fiction. I’ve been calling my story a low country boil of mystery, comedy and romance. None of those three categories by itself represents the novel, though.

Q.  What do you find most rewarding about writing in this genre?

A.  I like exploring humor in my stories, and other genres don’t always lend themselves to a funny storyline.

Q.  What do you find most challenging?

A.   My biggest challenge is moving the story forward without a formal outline. I often don’t know what will happen next, until the characters work it out for me. Aside from that, the technology piece has been challenging for me. I’m not a very savvy computer person to begin with so things like building a website are exhausting (both for me and for the friend who has to answer all my technology questions).

I can totally relate to the technology challenge. Luckily, I also have a wonderful friend who helps me with my website.

Q.  What are you working on now?

A.  I’d like to say that Book 2 has my full attention, but in reality, there’s so much that goes into promoting a book once you write it—building an online community, establishing social media platforms, scheduling engagements, blogging… I guess it’s fair to say I’m promoting the first book while writing the second.

Q.  What has been your most rewarding experience since publishing your work?

A.  I partnered with Jesse Krieger at Lifestyle Entrepreneurs Press to publish my book. This past May, Jesse invited me to attend Book Expo 2018 in NYC with four other authors. I was signing Advance Reader Copies of my book in close proximity to big name authors like Nicholas Sparks. It was incredibly fulfilling and an experience I’ll never forget.

                    Wow! Nicholas Sparks!

Q.  What advice would you give to authors just starting out?

A.  Don’t be afraid of the hybrid publishing model (in between traditional publishing and self publishing). However, if you chose this route, interview your hybrid publisher very carefully, because they do not all offer the same level of service, professionalism or attention to detail.

Q.  Is there anything else you’d like your readers to know about you?

A.  My story has a little something for everyone, and it doesn’t require a big commitment. Think of it as a Jell-o shooter—it goes down easy, it’ll make you laugh, and at the end of it, you’ll say, “Well, that was fun.”

Q.  Do you have a website/facebook page, etc?

A.  I would love for y’all to visit my website at CarlaVergot.com and sign up for my newsletter. I haven’t figured out how to send one out yet, but I will! My Facebook account is https://www.facebook.com/carla.vergot.1.

Links

CarlaVergot.com

https://www.facebook.com/carla.vergot.1

https://publishizer.com/lily-barlow/

The Publishizer campaign started yesterday (9-11-18). I believe it runs for 30  days. By way of promoting advance sales of the book, readers can purchase packages that include things like signed copies, a sneak peek at Book 2, and an original story by me.

Thank you, Carla, for spending time with us and sharing your story. We wish you lots of luck in the future and continued success!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interview With Author Jensen Reed

Jensen Reed and I took some time this week to discuss her busy life and ever-growing publishing accomplishments.

A full-time mom by day, she burns the midnight oil to run her newly co-founded publishing company, Pixie Forest Publishing, and doing what she loves most (besides loving her children)—writing.

Originally from Nebraska, Jensen grew up on large ranch helping her family run a horse rescue for nearly a decade. This altruistic spirit has carried over into her writing career.

Jensen is committed to helping promote other authors and offering them support and inspiration in their writing endeavors. A self-proclaimed nerd, some of Jensen’s favorite books include Wheel of Time Series, Throne of Glass Series, Darwath Trilogy and Harry Potter.

Author Jensen Reed
Photo courtesy of: Jensen Reed

Now that you’ve been introduced to Jensen, let’s get to know a little more about this busy woman.

Hello, Jensen, and welcome. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.

Thank you for having me.

Q.  What inspired you to become a writer?

A.  I have always loved words. I love weaving them together and making a story flow.

Q.  You seem to enjoy compiling anthologies.  How many include your work?

A.  I’m published in five with three more coming out soon.

Q.  How long have you been writing?

A.  I wrote poetry in Jr. High and published some in high school. I’ve been writing fiction for about ten years now.

Q.   How many books have you written?

A.  I have written one book three times. HA.  I am editing that and writing book two of the zombie series now.  I have a TON of flash fiction and short stories written and a handful published.

 

Pixie Forest Publishing
Photo courtesy of: Jensen Reed

Q.  Can you tell us a little about your publishing company, Pixie Forest Publishing.  I love the name by the way.

A.  Thanks and of course! It began in April 2018 when my partner-in-crime Donise Sheppard and I got to talking about anthologies and how we both have always loved the idea of creating our own. Our main focus is our writers, our contributors. We feel writers should always be paid for their hard work, so we work hard to ensure they are!

Q.  You write for several different genres: romance, horror, dark fantasy, and YA.  Which genre is the easiest for you to write? Which is the most challenging?

A.  I LOVE this question. I feel like it really just depends on the story. I dabble in so many because they just come to me. I have all of the above genres on my blog under “flash fiction”. My published ones are mostly horror though. I don’t really write sci-fi, just because I’m not inspired? Though I love to watch sci-fi movies with my husband.

Q.  What are you working on now?

A.  Revising Ranch, the first book in my Refuge Series. Writing Recourse, book two. Also working on the plot for the short story I will be putting into Pixie Forest Publishing’s second anthology that is modern fantasy themed. Plus I run several writing groups (Writing Bad, Writing Bad Promotions, Never-Ending Nano to name a few) and a parenting one that has been going longer than the writing ones.

Whew! I told you guys she was a busy woman!

Cocky Tales
Photo courtesy of: Jensen Reed

 

Q.  What has been your most rewarding experience since publishing your work?

A.  Holding a book in my hand and seeing my name in it.  MY words! IN A BOOK.  It’s…indescribable. Being able to stack all five books (and knowing I have three more coming out soon) and see them is just happy making. Ha, Ha!

Q.  What advice would you give to authors just starting out?

A.  Don’t stop writing. Find a tribe of betas who like your style and understand it, and keep  them. Use them. Show support to others in the writing community and it will come back to you. PFP wouldn’t be where it is now if we didn’t show support to our followers and contributors.

Q.  Is there anything else you’d like your readers to know about?

A.  I am a huge nerd. Doctor Who, Supernatural, Harry Potter, Battlestar Galactica, Buffy, and  on and on and on. If you find a meme or something and want someone to squee or cry with you, share it with me! Tag me on Instagram or Twitter or Facebook, I don’t care. I love sharing the nerdiness with other nerds.

Q. Do you have a website/facebook page, etc?

A.  Hahahaha, I have like twelve since I admin everything for Pixie Forest and Writing Bad.

Author page: https://www.facebook.com/authorjensenreed/

Blog: https://authorjensenreed.wordpress.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/authorjensenreed/?hl=en

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AuthrJensenReed

I am on Goodreads and Amazon too!

 

Pixie Forest Publishing links

Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/pixieforestpub/

Website www.pixieforestpublishing.com

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/pixieforestpublishing/

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/pixieforestpublishing/?hl=en

Twitter https://twitter.com/pixieforestpub

 

Writing Bad

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WritingBad/

Groups: https://www.facebook.com/groups/WritingBad/

Promo: https://www.facebook.com/groups/writingbadpromos/

Website: www.writingbad.org

Twitter: https://twitter.com/WritingBadAdmin

Thank you, Jensen, for spending time with us and sharing your story.  We wish you lots of luck in the future and continued success!

Author Jensen Reed
Photo courtesy of: Jensen Reed

 

Interview With Children’s Author Dianna Wyles

I recently had the good fortune of interviewing author Dianna Wyles.  A native of Northern California, Dianna is a Christian writer with two book publishing credits to her name: Heart Blessings: A Children’s Seek and Find and Beautiful Blessings & Babbling Brooks. Through her books, Dianna hopes to inspire a positive attitude and a gratefulness for life.

When she isn’t writing, Diana teaches, actively participates in the worldwide online ministry, Refreshing Hope Ministries, blogs, meditates, pursues her passion for photography, and spends time outdoors. Diana has a powerful belief in God that has nurtured her creative spirit.

Now that you’ve been introduced to Dianna, let’s get to know a little bit more about this busy woman.

Hello, Diana. Welcome to Lemon Drop Literary. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.


Hi, Ellwyn. Thank you for having me.


In addition to being a published author, you are also a teacher.  Why did you pursue a career in education?

I became an early educator years ago. When my own children were old enough for school I loved helping in their kindergarten classes so much that I started taking classes to become a teacher.


What grade do you currently teach?


I teach Preschool. This year I’m teaching three and four-year olds, but I have experience with ages ranging from birth to 12 years.

How has your teaching experience influenced your writing?


Well, since I am a Preschool teacher, it seemed easiest to format a children’s book. As a teacher I understand how important it is for children to have a high self-esteem, as well as, to be trained in coping skills and healthy life choices.

Inviting children to find the good in their daily lives is a wonderful way to cultivate the important attribute of gratitude. My intent was to create something that is simple and childlike in format, yet ageless in content and inspiration. I think both of my books deliver powerful inspiration in a way all ages can understand and appreciate.

What inspired you to become a writer?

I was going through a season of struggle with multiple family illnesses, eventual loss, grief and into healing. I meditated and prayed my way through that time! In one particular meditation (I always meditate on God’s Goodness, Love, Peace, and Healing for all) when I was done, everywhere I looked I saw hearts…in the sky, in the trees, on the rocks…everywhere!

I felt like I had just been hugged by God and a sense of peace beyond understanding came over me.  I still see those hearts each day.

Tell me a little about how you wrote your first book?

Heart Blessings: A Children’s Seek and Find came to me after praying a lot about the writer’s block I was having. I was trying to write an adult inspirational book describing my experiences and how blessed it all leaves me feeling.

It took about an hour to put together and then about three to four months to format and perfect.

I my opinion, it was a gift from our loving Heavenly Father for me to share with the world; to teach from a very young age, that if you search out His blessings daily, He will not disappoint you.

Your books have a strong spiritual theme. Can you tell us how your beliefs have impacted your writing?

I am a Preschool teacher and a photographer in search of God’s blessing in everything. I enjoy spending time hiking, birding, mining and taking pictures in the great outdoors. I use this time to reconnect with our Lord through his beauty and wonder.

Humbled and amazed by the beautiful signs and gifts given by God, I have a unique gift of seeing heart blessings in nature and my surroundings. I love to capture these heart blessings with my camera and share them with others to strengthen faith and give hope where needed.

I am a naturalist by nature. I love God, family, kids, hearts, wildlife, and all things related to these subjects.

It is my heart’s desire for my books to somehow show God’s beauty and wonder to a world that has yet to meet our awesome creator, and to touch the hearts of those who already call him Father.

What are you working on now?

I have a third children’s book in the works. It’s a counting book where we count heart rocks, but I must admit to writer’s block with the formatting section of this project. I promise I will get past my block and publish, Counting Blessings 1, 2, 3, Rock Hearts, Rock Hearts, Can You See?

Can you tell us about this upcoming book?


In the book my grandchildren and husband go on an adventure to find and count heart rocks. It’s a fun rhyming book where counting your blessings is the name of the game. Look for it in the near future!

What has been your most rewarding experience since publishing your work?


I think giving my books to people in need has been my most rewarding experience. My vision is to take my books to hospitals in my area like Shriner’s and UC Davis Children’s Hospital, to read and gift to children battling serious illnesses.

I’m still working on that vision, but I have sent copies to of my books to people battling cancer and other serious health concerns.

That my books can bring peace and hope has been a great blessing.

What advice would you give to writer’s just starting out?

Just write! Write about things that have meaning to you. Write about your passions. Write because you have something to say! Write because you can. Most importantly, never stop believing in yourself and your dreams! Just write!

Is there anything else you’d like your readers to know about you?

I am an active member of Refreshing Hope Ministries, a worldwide online ministry system where I lead a photography group called, “Creation Photographers”, a private group for victims of abuse called, “Haven of Hope”, and I write a blog now and then. Our wonderful Pastor Dion Todd leads a live interactive service each week, as well as, daily devotions, a prayer team, and so much more! Come check out our ministry at https://www.refreshinghope.org/.


Do you have a website/facebook page?


You can find my books on Amazon.

Book Review of the Big, Bad, Sad, Mad Meany

The Big, Bad, Sad, Mad Meany, by Mary Griffith Chalupsky, is a rhyming story about a group of rodents living happily together in a dumpster. Everything changes one day when a large rat named Tim comes along and takes over.

Tim uses his great size and weight to intimidate the smaller rodents into following his rules and giving him their food. While Tim languishes about growing fatter, the other rodents are forced to do all the work.

Anyone who questions Tim’s harsh actions is punished, sometimes severely. Things become very grim for the rodents, who long for a hero to save them from their predicament with Tim.

One night Tim holds a Ball and another, larger rat named Marco shows up.  Marco chastises Tim for his bullish behavior and tells him he must respect everyone or leave the dumpster.

The rodents applaud Marco’s heroism and once again the dumpster becomes a blissful place with enough food and equality for all.

I enjoyed the moral presented in The Big, Bad, Sad, Mad Meany, that everyone is equal and bullying is wrong. The illustrations by Yuffie Yuliana added a colorful element that reinforced the actions and emotions of the characters.

Reading a book like this is a great way to introduce young readers to a difficult social issue like bullying. It can also spark meaningful conversations between parents and their children or teachers and their students.

In terms of content, I felt the resolution to the characters’ problems was a bit too easy, and didn’t allow them any control of their situation. I would have liked to see the smaller rodents be more self-reliant in solving their problems with Tim, rather than waiting around for a hero to rescue them.

Often in life, we have to be our own hero.

Children need to be taught the skills to advocate for their own safety and well-being. They must learn to speak-up for themselves by asking a grown-up they trust for help or by working together with peers to find a fair and just resolution to their problem.

All in all, The Big Bad, Sad, Mad Meany is a story with a good premise and a positive message.

 

Hauntingly Good Reads Giveaway

Hauntingly Good Reads

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Aunt Neny from Claremore Little Free Library Read Kamyla Chung and the Creepy-Crawlies

Click the link to hear a lively reading of Kamyla Chung and the Creepy-Crawlies!

One Way Ticket

I sat on the elevated train staring down at the city below; an old patchwork quilt, each cross-stitched intersection frayed and worn through. Countless abandoned buildings covered in graffiti flashed through the window. Broken glass hung from window frames like jagged icicles, mounds of debris littered the vacant lots, and drug dealers stood on street corners, waiting to mete out their latest fix.

The recorded voice announced our stop and the train screamed to a halt. “This is our stop,” I told my younger sister Tiffany.

The train doors slid open and we trudged down the metal steps, the humidity causing our clothes to stick to us before we reached the bottommost stair.

Tiffany wrinkled her nose. The strong smell of urine had become more pungent with the heat. A hot day in the city, in the old neighborhood Tiffany and I had briefly lived in after our parent’s divorce.

I noticed Tiffany’s electric blue high-tops bounding onto the asphalt and shook my head. They clashed with the drab scenery surrounding us, standing out like a floodlight in the dark. “I can’t believe you wore those.”

Tiffany shot her tongue out at me and smudged my brand new running shoes with one of her sneakers.

I jumped aside. “Hey, watch it. Oh, come on!” The pristine, white leather had a black smudge covering the tip like an ugly bruise. I wiped at the blemish cursing, knowing it wouldn’t come off, and was immediately proven correct. I stood back up giving her a hard look.

Avoiding my eye, Tiffany smirked and looked with expectation at the crowd of bustling commuters. People hurried past us, rushing towards buses that sped away, leaving behind billowing clouds of gray smoke. Forgetting my shoes, I joined Tiffany in searching for the woman we were supposed to meet.

“She’s not here,” I said.

“We just haven’t spotted her yet,” Tiffany replied, her coffee eyes scanning every face in the place.

I shook my head. In spite of my resolve not to hope she was there, my heart drummed an anxious rhythm against my chest. Tiffany, even more wound up than me, cracked her chewing gum, sounding more like an elephant devouring peanuts than a fourteen-year old girl.

I stole the letter clenched in her hand and scanned the loopy script written there. A pang of longing I hadn’t expected to feel hit me when I saw it.

“Are you sure you’re supposed to meet her here?” My voice was rough with an emotion I didn’t want to feel.

Concerned, Tiffany shot me a look, but I ignored her, not wanting to confess my weakness, and focused on the letter. That chapter of my life and the pain that went with it was behind me, but I couldn’t help feeling a powerful, residual ache at the memories that were resurfacing.

Reading the letter, a mixture of anger and pity for Tiffany bubbled up inside me. Anger that she had allowed this drama back into our lives again, and pity that she still needed a connection to the person responsible for so many of our hardships.

“Yes, Zak, for the hundreth time, I’m sure,” she replied, snatching back the letter with a cold stare and a scowl.

She flipped open a compact mirror and admired the blue streaks that ran through her shag hair cut like ribbons on a birthday present. She was just about to paint her lips the same shade when I ripped the stick from her hand. “Aren’t you a little young to be wearing this stuff?”

Tiffany frowned at me. “I’m a freshman now. Dad said I could wear it when I started high-school.”

“It’s only July. School hasn’t started yet,” I quipped, waving the lipstick just beyond her reach.

Instead of reaching up for it, Tiffany punched my arm. It didn’t hurt, but she looked so pathetic that I gave it back, feeling a little ashamed of myself for taunting her, then I remembered the black smudge she’d just planted on my shoe and I didn’t feel as bad.

Without applying any of the lipstick, she shoved it in her duffle bag. “What are you so grumpy for?”

I knew she was right, but I lied anyway. “I am not grumpy.” There was some truth to the statement. I wasn’t grumpy, we were grumpy.

“Could have fooled me.”

Ever since our estranged mother’s letter had arrived last week I had been on edge, barking at people louder than the dog. It had been ten years since we had seen the woman who had birthed us into the world.

During that time, Dad had remarried a woman named Denise. She made him happy, she made us all happy, giving us what we needed needed — selfless love and understanding.

Though Tiffany was reluctant to agree with me, I felt that Denise was our real mom. She was the one who went to all of my soccer games and Tiffany’s swimming competitions.

She was also the one who had stood vigil at my hospital bed when my appendix had ruptured, gave me spontaneous tips about what girls like, and why it was so hard for me to understand them sometimes.

When the letter had first arrived, I had felt dregs of emotion stirring in me, my rebellious heart starting to get excited that she had finally reached out to us after all these years. Quick witted logic had shot through my sudden, irrational reaction, forcing me to remember when she had left  Tiffany and I at the DHS office and walking away like she didn’t know us.

I can still feel the disbelief and confusion as she hurried through the glass doors, ignoring my screams that she take us with her. It had taken Dad weeks to find us and get us back home with him.

Another fruitless glance and I snapped at Tiffany. “I told you this was a bad idea.” I swallowed the lump in my throat, my insides coiling like barbed wire.

Red-faced, Tiffany retorted, “I didn’t ask you to come.”

“Oh yeah, like I was really going to let you come down here by yourself. You’re lucky I didn’t tell Dad and Denise what you were up to.”

I had sworn that if she ever came back, I would never see my mother again, but I had insisted on escorting Tiffany to the bus station. I didn’t want her coming to this place alone.

Loathe to admit my hypocritical nature, I also ached to see my mother’s face again, to feel her embrace me, and to hear her voice saying my name. I wanted to show her how much I’d grown and make her regret ever leaving. So like an idiot, I led Tiffany to the appointed meeting place, sat down on a bench beside her, and waited.

The time passed slowly, seconds melted into minutes, until finally an hour had gone by. While Tiffany dug around in her duffle bag, I couldn’t help staring at a piece of chewing gum on the ground. All I kept thinking was, if someone steps on that it’s going to stick to the bottom of their shoe, just like we’re stuck here waiting for a woman who’s not coming.

“That’s it,” I snarled, inwardly reaffirming my vow to never let my mother do this to me or Tiffany again. “We’re leaving.”

Tiffany paused and looked up from her bag, unfathomable sadness on her face. “Let’s give her a couple more minutes,” she pleaded, “She may have gotten lost.”

I could tell by the look of defeat in her eyes, that Tiffany knew it was pointless to wait, but the desperation in her voice held me fast. I nodded. “Two more minutes and then we’re out of here.”

“Okay,” Tiffany whispered, eyeing the crowd. A second later, Tiffany was on her feet, her face beaming as she shouted, “Mom!”

My traitor stomach leapt as I saw the profile of the woman Tiffany had spotted, a pretty face with a pointed nose and waves of long, brown hair framing the sides. I couldn’t believe it, was that really her? The woman heard Tiffany’s cry and turned reflexively toward us. I got a good look at her and my heart sank, it wasn’t our mother. The woman gave us a quick smile, then looked away, and jogged toward her bus.

I turned to Tiffany. Silent tears slid down her cheeks. I wrapped her up in a tight hug. “Come on. Let’s call Denise to pick us up. She may be a nag sometimes, but she’s always there when we need her.”

Tiffany gave a small nod and leaned into me as we walked. I called Denise and told her where we were. She didn’t ask any questions or scold me for taking Tiffany into such a rough neighborhood. I think she knew from my voice that I was upset and not able to talk.

As Tiffany and I slowly made our way through the station toward the terminal building, Denise’s face drifted through the crowd of people, a sad smile tugging at her lips.

“Mom,” Tiffany cried running to Denise and embracing her.

“I’m so sorry she didn’t come.”

Tiffany pulled back, shocked. “How did you know?”

Denise gave her a moms-always-know look. “I saw the letter on the kitchen table yesterday.”

“Oh,” Tiffany said, sheepishly, “I don’t remember leaving it there. Sorry we didn’t tell you.”

“No more secrets,” Denise said with a knowing glance at me.

I acknowledged my tip off with a small smirk. Hoping my parents would see the letter, I had placed it on the table before I’d gone to bed the night before, and slipped it back into Tiffany’s bag before she’d woken up. After all the separation anxiety Tiffany had suffered from our mother abandoning us, I thought Dad and Denise should know what was going on.

“No more secrets,” Tiffany agreed.

Denise smiled.

We strolled toward our minivan with the large stickers on the front bumper reading, Soccer Mom and Swimming Coach. I let Tiffany ride shotgun and climbed into the back, stretching out across the seat.

I couldn’t help thinking about my mother. I hated her for forgetting Tiffany and me again. But, at least this time I was better prepared for the outcome and able to help Tiffany deal with the disappointment. It also made me realize that although I couldn’t control what my other had done to me, I could control how I handled it.

While Tiffany and Denise chatted about their upcoming ‘girl’s day’, I began to doze off, the last bits of anger and resentment melting away, when I suddenly remembered that it was Saturday–our ice-cream parlor day. Corny, but it had become a tradition in our family and who doesn’t like chocolate fudge sundaes?

Denise remembered, too because she caught my eye in the rear view mirror and said, “Who wants ice-cream?”

Tiffany turned around in her seat and looked at me. “I do,” we chimed in unison.

Denise laughed.

If anything, this experience with my mother has taught me one thing: Life is like a bus ride.

Some passengers were like my mother and wanted a one way ticket, an easy way out of a situation that they couldn’t handle. Others preferred a round trip, an opportunity to separate themselves from a difficult situation for a bit and then return to deal with it.

As for me, well I hate riding the bus, but it might be fun to drive it.