Friday, December 1, 2017

On the Edge of Tomorrow - an Anthology


Gritty, Realistic, Raw: ON THE EDGE OF TOMORROW, a YA Anthology
Published by BHC Press


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Amazon  B&N   Kobo   iTunes

Everyday, teens face real issues such as coping with loss, dysfunctional families, challenges of transgender, and surviving high school.  ON THE EDGE OF TOMORROW tackles these issues, reminding teens they aren’t alone and that the struggle is real.

Gritty, realistic, raw… Nine authors get real and dish up some of the best young adult fiction around. From family issues to teens struggling to find themselves, this collection offers a great escape, reminding teens they aren’t alone, and that hope can be found within.

Featuring:
“Love in Death” by Emerald Barnes; “A Sister’s Love” by Elise Manion; “Tender is the Deception” by award-winning author Tracy Hewitt Meyer; “And Then I Blinked” by award-winning author Caytlyn Brooke; “Trial” by Jean Booth; “So, it Ends Here” by Sara Daniell; “Twelve Months” by Landen West; “Puppets” by Margaret Nerz Iribarne; and “The Paternal Order of Dominic” by John Darryl Winston.

Edited by Tracy Hewitt Meyer and Sara Daniell, ON THE EDGE OF TOMORROW is published December 1st, 2017 by BHC Press, 220 pp., and is available in hardcover (978-1-946006-59-2), softcover (978-1-947727-19-9) and ebook at fine retailers everywhere. Books may also be ordered through Ingram, OverDrive, or direct from the publisher.

Visit the publisher’s website for additional book information as well as other available titles at http://www.bhcpress.com/.

BHC Press donates a portion of every book sale of ON THE EDGE OF TOMORROW to RIF (Reading is Fundamental) for the first year of publication.

About BHC Press:
BHC Press is an alternative publisher of general fiction and nonfiction hardcover, trade, and ebooks for both YA and adults.

# # #
Media Contact:
Joni Firestone
248-982-9068
books@bhcpress.com

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Kitten Rescue

Last weekend was quite the adventure in our house. Hubs and I decided that we were going to have a stay-at-home weekend because we've had a lot going on with projects and activities lately, and I've been sick. So Friday, we were watching a movie on the couch when Orion comes tearing through the living room. He tried to jump between the two couches and scared Saphyra. They argued, and Orion went to the back door where he immediately became poofy. His tail fluffed up, the fur on his back stuck on its end, and he was fixated on something in our fenced-in backyard. I went to pet him and make sure Saphyra didn't hurt him when I saw his strange behavior. Looking at where he was staring, I saw a tiny little ball of black fluff on top of our retaining wall.
"Babe," I said, pausing to get hubs attention. "I think there's a kitten in the backyard."
"What? No way," he replied, getting off the couch.
I went to put some shoes on as he walked outside - barefoot. Now, this may not be a big deal to most of you, but our backyard is dirt with the occasional sagebrush and goathead bush. And if you've ever stepped on a goathead, you know that stepping in a lego minefield is preferable.
I come outside to him trying to lure the kitten down from the hill.
"I thought it was a cat and she got her head stuck in one of the holes, but you're right. It's a kitten," he said with a soothing voice so as to not scare the kitten. "Grab some gushy food for her."
I rush into the house, grab a can of gushy food, and rush back out, opening it so the kitten can hear the sound of food opening and smell the fresh treats. She wasn't having anything to do with either of us - food or no. But the neighbor's dog heard us.
"I'm going to try and coax her down so she doesn't run through the hole in the fence." He explained as he slowly moved to corral her toward me. I placed the can on the ledge and got up to catch her. We ended up nabbing her just as the dog started barking.
And then we heard the screams.
Loud cat screams could be heard between scuffles, growling, and more barking. I thought it was the kitten's mother and she was being mauled to death. Hubs jumped over the fence.
"I can't know it died," I yell with a hitch in my voice. I could feel my heart breaking and knew if he told me the cat was dead, I'd have nightmares for weeks, replaying what we could've done differently to save her. I couldn't know she died. He was about to jump over the next fence, to the yard where the dog was, when the owners came out.
"No! Drop it! Stop!" We could hear them yelling at the dog, hear the dog refusing to follow direction. I listened helplessly as they wrestled with their insubordinate dog to get him to release the cat and move away.
"I'm going to come over and get the kitten, is that okay?" Hubs asks over the other neighbor's fence.
My stomach hits the floor. It was a kitten. No way is it still alive. Not with the noise we heard. Tears welled up in the back of my eyes, but I couldn't lose it - we had a rescue to attempt.
Rather than entice the neighbor's dog into attacking him, hubs jumped back over our fence and came inside. We put the first kitten into our spare room with the food, grabbed a pillowcase, he put on shoes and new socks, and we ran out the door. Driving around the block to the house that had the kitten, we quickly knocked on their door, knowing every minute counted, especially when we didn't know the status of the kitten's health.
The family let us in, through their house and into the backyard where we could see the kitten huddled against the filthy doghouse. The father and teenager were trying to get the kitten, but had been unsuccessful.
"You need gloves," he said to me as I walked over. "She keeps trying to attack me."
"I'll be ok," I replied, looking at the tiny ball of bloody fluff. Quickly, I reached out, grabbed her up, and wrapped her into the pillowcase. "Lift up the house so we can make sure there aren't any more."
The guys tilted the house and I swiftly assessed it - no more kittens. "Ok. It's clear. Thanks."
They put the house down and we hurried home. Hubs went to do another check for kittens in our backyard while I took the new one into the bathroom to clean her up and assess the damage. She was covered in poop, dirt, twigs, stickers, and blood. I washed her off as best I could in the warm sink water, combing out debris and checking her little body for punctures or breaks. She seemed okay. Terrified, but okay.
"How is she?" Hubs asks as he poked his head into the bathroom.
"I'm not sure, but she isn't bleeding and nothing seems broken," I reply. "Can you hand me a towel?"
He hands me a big towel we use to dry our cats. I dry off the kitten, being careful of her boney body, still checking to see that she's okay. We bring her into the room where her sister's hiding. I place her gently on the floor to see if she can move - she runs to hide in the corner under the cat tree.
"Okay, nothing seems broken, she's not bleeding, and she's walking. I think she's okay, but we should monitor her." I explain to the hubs, even though I know he already knows all this. It makes me feel better to say it aloud. "I don't know that a trip to kitty ER would be helpful at this point." Kitty ER is an hour away and cats are resilient, I remind myself.
"Holy crap. Did you see how much the black one ate?" Hubs says as he brings the half-eaten can of food over.
"Wow. She was starving." I reply, looking at the can and back at the kitten. Her body from shoulder to hip was the size of that can, and she'd eaten half of it. "What are we going to do with them? I can't do long-haired cats, and I don't know that our cats will be okay with them."
"I don't know. Don't you have a friend that fosters?"
I picked up the one that I'd cleaned and nestled her under my shirt, against my chest. It's the second warmest part of my body, and the only place I could put her and still move about. She almost immediately fell asleep. Placing her sister next to her for warmth, she fell asleep too. I melted.
Calling my friend, we made arrangements for her to take them the next night and she told me how to care for them in the meantime as it's been 10 years since I've been around kittens.
We had to bottle feed the grey one that night. She was in too much pain and shock to do anything but lay in my shirt and drink from the bottle. The next day, they were both eating gushy food and exploring the room, but the grey one still preferred sleeping on my chest over anything else. A few hours before we were scheduled to leave, we placed them back in the room and I ugly cried against hubs shoulder.
"Babe, we're doing the right thing." He explained, rubbing my hair. "I want to just say, let's keep them, but that wouldn't be what's best for them. It would just be the easy thing now. She's going to take good care of them, and they're going to be adopted into a good home. We just have to believe that."
"I" - sob - "know," I blew my nose. "I know that, I'm okay with it all. It just hurts. And I want to be the one who hears their first purrs, who sees them play, to watch them grow into spoiled, fat cats. But I can't, and I know that."
We spent the next few hours scouring the neighborhood for their mother and other kittens to no avail. Returning to the house, we brought them back out to the living room to get love, explore, and snuggle before taking them to my friend's house.
Currently, they're playing, purring, and doing all the things spoiled kittens should be doing while in the care of my dear friend. They will spend the time they need with her, see the vet, get spayed, and be adopted together.

Smokey in my shirt
Soot and angry Princess

Hubs and Soot
Smokey and Soot after rescue



Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Dreams are Stranger Than Fiction

Greetings! I know I've been absent for a bit, I've missed you, but it couldn't be helped. I'm excited to share one of the many things I've been working on - the cover reveal for the new Anthology I'm in with 13 other amazing authors!!

I'll wait while you finish your "squee" of delight.

Dreams are Stranger Than Fiction
What happens when you go into the contents of a writer's dreams? Chaos. That's why 14 authors have teamed up to share their deepest, strangest, and sometimes disturbing stories straight from the confines of their fast asleep mind. 

It's available for pre-order now, releasing on December 20, 2017. 

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Reflections

I have got to say that this year has been crazy. Not all bad or good, just crazy. I'm hoping that next year will mellow out a little for me and if I can push my luck, it'll bring a lot more joy with it than the past two years have brought.
I know some of you have been wondering what happened to me - I was posting quite often and then seemed to have disappeared. Well, life. In August I got really sick. I was having rather intense abdominal pain every time I ate or drank anything - including water. My symptoms stumped even the head of the Gastrointestinal facility I went to. We decided that for lack of anything else to do, I should get rid of my gallbladder. So, right before Halloween I had surgery.
I felt back to normal almost immediately, except for some small adjustments that no one really tells you about until after you have the surgery and are experiencing "busters in-and-out."
So, while adjusting to that, Thanksgiving comes and goes, sharing with me a wonderful sinus infection. The antibiotics throw my body completely back to square one, and just before Christmas I started putting it back in place.
With all that going on, I'm waiting for my editor to get back to me with the final edits for Choice, I've been slowly working on Convergence, started a new non-fiction short, and have changed the setting for The Head Hunter and have been working on that rather intensely. I'm hoping that 2017 will see at lest 3 releases for you to enjoy. That's my goal, and as long as things progress as they have the last half of this year, it should be attainable.
I hope you all have a wonderful holiday season and may 2017 find you in good spirits with reasons to be positive. <3
~Jean

Thursday, December 22, 2016

Positivity

I have a friend who's in the hospital. He's one of the most ridiculous (in a good way) people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing.
A few years ago, he found himself in rehab trying to learn to walk with an amputated leg. Being a good friend, I wanted to let him know I was there for him, I cared, and help if he needed anything. I was a bundle of nerves as I went to his room. Losing a limb can change a person. He'd always been positive and silly, but would this make him depressed? Would he be angry? Or could we joke and would he find the pirate hat I had in the car as funny as he used to?
Walking into his room, he was just finishing his jello and greeted me with a hearty "argh!" We talked, laughed, and while he did admit to feeling sad about losing his limb, he thought the whole pirate angle was hilarious. Said he'd get a fake parrot for the next time he had to meet with PT. Months later, he got a tattoo on his other leg with a finger pointing to the stump and above it read "I'm with Stumpy."
Last week he lost the other leg.
This was after he lost his dog of 10 years, his step-father passed before that, and two weeks prior to surgery, his mom had a stroke. I thought for sure he'd be sucking on a bullet. Nope. I walked in and he greeted me with a big smile. "Hey skinny! How you doing?" (I've lost weight in the past few months - not on purpose) "Those better not have cost you very much." He sends me an accusing glare as I hand him a stuffed cat with about 10 balloons pinned to it.
I shake it off, knowing he'd look at them and smile a little when I left, so they were worth the ridiculous fee the hospital charges. We talked for a while, catching up on things and he was telling me the various things he could envision as he looked at the watercolor flower painting on his wall. His doc came in to talk about pain meds and left. After she left, he looked at me and said, "well, I always did admire Lt. Dan."
It took me a second, and then we just laughed and laughed.
I left, amazed that someone could still maintain their sense of humor and positive outlook in life after all that had happened. He's crazy, and humbles me almost every time we talk. I want to be that positive light in someones life.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Family


I am so excited and nervous to meet my uncle next month. He called today to let me know that he's gotten his tickets and will be here for a work conference and would like to finally meet face-to-face. This past year has been surreal because family I never thought I'd know, contacted us. 
Let me rewind a bit. My mom was adopted and never knew her birth family. I always knew that I might have more family out in the ether that I may or may not ever meet. When dating, it was always in the back of my mind; I prayed I wasn't accidentally kissing my cousin - ew. Years went by, I got married, and the family question faded into the background; except on the rare occasion that someone wanted family history for some reason or another. 
My sister-in-law lost her brother and went on a rampage about how important family bonds were. Said I should be doing anything and everything I could to find my mom's birth parents. It opened the old questions and old wounds. We had never really been accepted in my mom's adoptive family. Never really in any of our family, if I'm being honest. There was always that undercurrent of - something. It was an unspoken barrier that I knew at an early age that I'd never overcome. So I always kept my distance, kept quiet, to myself, and tried not to let being the black sheep bother me. I have relationships with my family members now, it's easier to maintain now that communication has been relegated to fb, texts, and the occasional face time. No more awkward family reunions, or really many family gatherings at all. And when there are, it's easy just to showcase the positive in life. 
So, a few months ago, my mom was contacted by her younger brother. She gave him my info, and we've all been dealing with the discovery of family. I started understanding my sister-in-law's obsession with family, and I've been struggling to put into words why knowing them has been so important. 
Will it change my day-to-day life? No. 
I was trying to discuss it with my husband, who I thought would understand as he doesn't really know much of his family either, but nope. He just doesn't care to have more people in his life. He's content with his little circle of life, his routine, and has no desire to change it. He asked me, "What's getting to know them going to do? Add people to your Christmas Card list?"
And it really hit me that - no. Knowing them won't alter my life in a dramatic life-changing scene like you see in the movies. That's not the point. It's family. It's a chance to truly be accepted for who I am, not what people want me to be - by family, not friends. And while having him accept me or not won't change anything in my life, the little girl in me craves it. It answers some questions as to why we are the way we are, history, genetics. It's important in a thousand different ways, yet vastly unimportant. It was Schrodinger's Cat, and now the box has been opened. Does it truly change anything, knowing if the cat was alive or dead? Not really - unless it was your cat.
I just needed to vent. To try to explain away confusing emotions without hiding. 

Saturday, December 3, 2016

My special little princess

My oldest cat is the most annoying, adorable little pile of fur you'd ever want to strangle. Most days she tries every possible way to purr her little body as close to me or my hubs as she can. If she's awake, you can usually hear her purr from the moment you enter the living room to the moment another cat enters her six-foot visual radius. Then the most god-awful growl/yowl emits from her throat, making you think that in seconds she may be torn to shreds.
Damona is fourteen and absolutely hates cats.
I've tried explaining to her that she, herself, is a cat, but she'll have none of that. We've come to a compromise, however. She will tolerate, even play with, the black cats in our house. But any of the others that come anywhere near here - beware. The screech of impending death will emit; interrupting whatever it is anyone in the house was doing, inciting a sliver of panic that she may, in fact, be facing her last moments on Earth. When said cat moves on to whatever it is they were doing in the first place, she will quiet down, hunkering in her cat-cube-of-safety until a cat-free human settles on the couch.
Another part of our truce is her room. Yes. You read that right. My 14-year-old cat has her own human-sized room, and has had this room all to herself for years. She has everything a cat could ever dream of in this room - a pillow snuggled on a shelf under the desk, a window seat, cat scratch post, cat condo, litter box, food, water, and a large dog bed complete with blankets. Each night as I go to bed, I gather her up, trying to avoid her claws as she reaches to cling to me - there may be an evil cat in the room that I didn't see, just waiting for the split second they need to rip her to shreds. I take her over to the hubs and he gives her kisses. We then traverse through the terrifying house, narrowly making it down the hallway of doom into her bedroom. Here I have to let her see the vast open space so she knows that none of the evil creatures have followed us into her sanctuary. Only then can I place her delicately upon her fluffy dog bed so that she can saunter toward her food dish.
Her night-light doubles as a wax-burner, keeping her room smelling like fruit or some random flower she's never seen. Fulfilling my nightly duties, I am dismissed so the delicate princess can nom her food in privacy. I turn off the light, closing the door until it clicks closed.
In the morning I open it and let her out. Usually I have to retrieve her from wherever she decided to curl up and take her back out to her perch in the living room. Lord forbid I leave her to traverse the hallway of doom by herself! Keep in mind, that three feet from her perch is another litter box, food, water, and my couch. (I'm insanely clean and no, you can't smell cat crap when you sit on my couch - that would be beyond disgusting!) Usually the other cats come out for breakfast (which is in the other room, but still visible from her perch) and then go immediately back to the king-sized tempurpedic bed and pass out until we come home from work.
They all have such a hard life.
Over the past couple of months, she's been increasingly annoying in her bedroom, and the hubs has been opening her door when he comes to bed so that he can actually sleep without hearing the song of her people. She's actually gotten to where she doesn't even want to go to her room - she wants to stay out in the living room and sleep on her perch. Rather than argue, we thought that maybe she was getting over her strange paranoia and hatred of cats, so we've been letting her be a "big girl" and rule the house as she sees fit.
I got home today, sat on my spot on the couch, and smelled something I hate - cat pee. The litter box was clean, the couch unsoiled, and I crawled around on hands and knees looking for where she had her "accident." I finally found it on the folded blanket she slept on the previous night. She has now been thrown (figuratively, not actually thrown) into her dungeonous room, where she is meowing, scratching, and whining at the door; and the rest of our house is being scrubbed with bleach - just in case.
Exactly what I wanted to do on my Friday night.