The Son of My Heart – Excerpt from Mothers of Angels

“…people die twice: when they physically die,
and when we stop telling stories about them.”

Carol LaChapelle, from Finding Your Voice Telling Your Stories

This has been a favorite quote of mine for many years. I used to think of it as I’d write my ancestors stories, feeling a satisfaction that I was keeping their memories alive. But the people we want to keep alive in this one small way aren’t always our ancestors. Sometimes they’re our children.

In Mothers of Angels, due to be released at the end of the month, over twenty authors gather in a collaborated effort to pay tribute to children that have gone from this earthly plane far too soon. Some were children that never drew breath, or lived long enough to learn what sandy soil feels like beneath a bare foot. Others brightened their family’s lives – yet were taken when they were still learning to live the life of a growing child, never getting the chance to become an adult, to drive, to vote, to get a job and earn a living. Other tales are shared of children that became adults – in the turning-18, legal sense – yet, they too never had the chance to show the world what they could become. Our babies, no matter their age, no matter if they had children of their own, are still are babies. They aren’t supposed to die before we do.

Despite the pain we feel as parents that lost our angels too soon, despite the difficult journey we travel as we learn to live and love again, beauty remains from the short lives of our angels. We remember their smiles, their cheerfulness, and their sweet spirits. They left tracks on our hearts. They leave the world with lessons and a legacy.

As parents, we learn to live with a new normal. Our lives will never be the same. We all grieve differently. The circumstances of each child’s death are all different. Tips and advice for newly grieving parents are included in this book, along with resources for further help and consolation.

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Through the month of May, you can get your copy of Mothers of Angels at a special pre-publication price of $9.99 (regularly priced $15.99) or get a PDF for $4.99 the week of May 28th, before the book is available on Amazon.

Here is an excerpt from Mothers of Angels, The Son of My Heart.


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In Memory of
Mark Aland Gloyd
November 25, 1981 – December 28, 2004

The Son of My Heart

By Trisha Faye

The beginning of the end is so vivid in my memory. The rest of the journey as we watched Mark’s young life trail to a close isn’t near as clear – most likely because I’ve semi-blocked out the painful months that followed.

Mark became my son the easy way. I didn’t birth him. I didn’t potty train him. I didn’t teach him how to tie his shoes. When I met Mark, he was 16 years old and already driving. Another plus. I didn’t have to navigate the treacherous waters of being a parent of a just learning driver!

This third son of mine was just older than my two boys. One of my favorite pictures is Mark starting to back out of the driveway on the first day of school. Chris, was a freshman that year and Mark drove them both to the high school. Justin was still in junior high and had to suffer by walking the few blocks to the junior high. In the picture, Chris throws up his hands in mock embarrassment – Oh no! Mom’s taking another picture. Meanwhile, Mark, enjoying his role of chauffeur was grinning from ear to ear.

Thus began the journey of Mark blending right into this family of sorts. Older than my boys for a few years, with his youthful zest for life and his spirit, he and the boys soon bonded into my trio of offspring. He and Chris being closer in age were especially close, while Justin was closer in age to Mark’s sisters.

Mark was his dad’s Mini-Me. Those two were so close. I remember back and it’s just like yesterday when he’d amble into the house, harassing his dad – most often on purpose, just to see if he could get a rise out of Dennis. Mark was a Police Explorer for many years and loved every moment of it. His favorite show was COPS and Walker: Texas Ranger. I couldn’t begin to count the hours that he and his dad sat on the sofa watching every episode they could. All I need to hear is a few bars and ‘bad boys…bad boys…what’cha gonna do?’ comes hurling through my mind, taking me back to the years before the horror.

The beginning of the end. Chris had graduated by this time and moved in with his dad, Greg; the two working together as electricians. They took Mark on, who basked in his new role of learning the electrical trade. With the early mornings required at construction sites, Mark often spent most of the week there to avoid the hour-long drive up and down the hill to his grandparents.

In August 2005, Mark got sick. He was so sick he couldn’t work and couldn’t even drive to come visit his dad and I. His dad, Chris and Greg all urged Mark to go to the doctor. Stubborn kid. He wouldn’t go. After a few more days, Greg called me. “Mark needs to get to a doctor.”

I called Mark’s cell phone. “Your dad and I are coming to pick you up. We’re taking you to Urgent Care.”

He couldn’t argue with me. Sick boys can’t argue with their mama’s – even if we’re not the one that gave birth to them. We carted him to Urgent Care where the diagnosis was a kidney infection, potentially more serious because he only had one kidney. The doctor prescribed medication and he had to go to his primary doctor the next day. The primary doctor gave him another prescription and then wanted some lab work done after 4-5 days

Since we lived a block from the hospital, the night before Mark’s blood work, he spent the night with us. That early evening Dennis and I were sitting on the front porch chatting while Mark showered. I heard the screen door open and looked up to see a bare-chested young man standing there in his boxer shorts.

“Is one leg bigger than the other?” he asked.

I swiveled my head and about fell off my chair. His left leg looked like a telephone pole.

Instead of the routine blood work, Mark ended up at the hospital having a battery of tests done. It turned out that he had a large tumor in his left, upper thigh. The mass had put pressure on a vein, which formed a “rather large” blood clot, which caused the swelling. They inserted a filter for the blood clot and started blood thinners. Less than 24-hours later we got the devastating news that the tumor was malignant and the lives of three families changed in an instant.

Cancer is not a death sentence anymore. Many people survive and thrive and live to an old age after a cancer diagnosis. And many don’t. Mark was one of the statistics. In August he was a young man. By Christmas of that year, the family was taking turns spending time with him in the hospital, knowing he wouldn’t make it to the approaching New Year. Just barely after midnight on December 27th, Mark’s mom, his dad, and I sat around him holding his hands until his struggle was over, a month after his 23rd birthday. He fought for four months. The longest months – and the shortest months – of our lives.

Fortunately for us, we had the best support possible. My friend Becky, lost her precious Sarah at the young age of 24 just three years earlier. She and Herlin were amazing. They knew what to do. They knew what to say. They knew what not to say. Immediate family and other close friends were also terrific. I don’t know how people without an emotional support system get through trauma like this by themselves.

But yet, even with all the pain, tears, and grief, there were still a few who didn’t understand. “But he’s not your real son,” I heard more than once. A year later I refused to go to the work Christmas party, because the one year anniversary, marked by a major holiday, was just as painful as if we were experiencing this loss and death for the first time. And there were those few who still didn’t get it. I’d like to be mean and think ‘Wait until it happens to you. Then you’ll understand.’ But I can’t. I couldn’t wish this on anyone.

It was many years before I could find joy in Christmas again. Chris got a tattoo on his arm honoring Mark. After all his years of being the big brother, he finally got a big brother – and then he lost him.

In 2012, a friend went through her files of emails that she’d kept. She painstakingly cut her email address out the copies and returned the emails to her friends. In the stack she gave to me, I found a few emails that I’d sent her in 2004 as we were traveling this rocky path with Mark. It was interesting to see a lot of the details that I’d pushed out of my mind.

On December 22, 2004, I’d updated her on what was happening. I won’t share it all here. But on December 3rd, he’d finished another round of chemo. On December 8th, things took a turn for the worse. Back to the hospital we went. Another surgery. More transfusions. Then to isolation. Then to ICU.

With all this going on, we still had four other children to think of, my two sons and Dennis’ two daughters. They were devastated too, but as parents, you still try to make things ‘normal.’ At the end of the email I closed with:

“We did get a tree Monday afternoon, although it’s still sitting there undecorated. There are packages wrapped, but no holiday decorations other than my string of Christmas cards draped across the wall. It appears to be Christmas, and the calendar pages say that it will be here in three more days…but it just doesn’t seem to be Christmas. Regardless of all the “STUFF” (and you know I really meant another word) that we’re going through over here, we are thinking of you all and wishing you all the best. Thank you for your support over the past few months and we appreciate all those that have kept us in your prayers. It really has helped to have so many shoulders through all this.”

Life does go on, whether we want it to or not. At first, you don’t see how it’s possible. I remember the morning after my brother died at age 35. I remember waking up and seeing the sunshine and thinking, ‘How dare it! How dare the sun continues to shine on a day like today?’ But it does. And we go on. One step in front of the other. And now, it’s been 14 years since Mark’s soul left his earthly body.

Yet all it takes is one song, one television program, a COPS show, an unexpected rerun of Walker: Texas Ranger. I remember the passing gas and bathroom jokes he used to make in typical boyhood fashion. Or I hear a Fleetwood Mac song and remember the day when Mark walked in the house (early 2000-something) so excited about this ‘new’ band he’d just heard…and there I am – sent right back in time to the days before the unthinkable happened.

I lost my son. I didn’t carry him in my belly for nine months. I didn’t watch him learn to toddle around. I wasn’t there for his first day of kindergarten. But he was still my son, my third son that I got the easy way. He stole my heart and will have a piece of it for the rest of my life. Until I see you again one day, (singing along) you ‘bad boy…bad boy…’

One Liner Wednesday #1linerWeds

One Liner Wednesday has a fun new badge for the next year.



My one line for the day…Oneliner2

Want to participate in One Liner Wednesday? Check it out here.


The House on the Cover of Newberry Sin – C. Hope Clark guest post

Join us today as we get a sneak peek into what goes on behind the making of a great cover for a new mystery book. When C. Hope Clark shared the news of her newest mystery, Newberry Sin, I was excited. But the phenomenal cover and the glorious historic-era house gracing it fascinated me. For our Trisha Faye followers, she shares the story behind how this cover about, followed by a short snippet from Newberry Sin.

Stop by and leave a comment for Hope. Let her know how you like this new cover. Then hop on over and check out some of her mysteries. Personally, I think they’re great. I can’t wait to get my copy of Newberry Sin and add it her other books on my bookshelf.

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The House on the Cover of Newberry Sin

By C. Hope Clark

My fourth Carolina Slade Mystery is set in a homespun, tiny Southern town called Newberry, once again dropping my hard-headed protagonist into a mission over her head. With blackmailed sex in the mystery, I juxtaposed the contrast of a Mayberry-sounding name with SIN in the title, hoping to create some magnetic attraction.

But what to do with the cover?

The Slade series has a brand, each book with a different color theme but depicting a rural view sans people. Striking views with mysterious auras. A strong sense of setting pulling on the reader.

My publisher handles covers, but this time I had no idea what to expect.

Suddenly I get a call from the publisher, out of the blue. “Do you have any pictures of Newberry?”

I glanced at the clock. Four thirty in the afternoon. A beautiful, loud, bright shining sunny day. Newberry was forty minutes away. Could I pull this off?

No makeup and my hair barely combed, I threw on shoes with my sweats and t-shirt, grabbed a jacket and camera, and flew to that cute little town without a clue what to take pictures of.

So I took pictures of everything.

The Confederate cemetery, the opera house, Main Street, an old diner resembling the one in the story. Town square with gas lights around its border.

I hunted down a desolate dirt road for a historic site, Tarleton’s Tea Table Rock, hoping to capture its creepy, Revolutionary War feel only to hit a pothole I didn’t think was all that deep, splashing red wet mud from hood to tailgate of my car. Had to stop and drag out a limb from under the car, pretending I wasn’t really checking for a flat tire.

And I laid on the ground to capture angles of the AM radio station on the outskirts of town. Not that I’m a professional with my Nikon, but hey, everybody else takes pictures standing up.

And old white Southern houses. The town was rife with them. Most with American and South Carolina flags flying, the evening sun rebounding off the whiteness in spots, causing shadows in others. Postcard material.

Then I rushed home and emailed 70 pictures, praying someone had enough creative genius on the other end to make one of them work.

The cover caught my breath when it arrived in my email. The artist chose one of the white houses and painted in azaleas and redbud trees, taking out the plain green shrubs. Deep, smothering, gray, rain-filled clouds replaced what had been a bright sunny day. Eeriness in lieu of quaint.

I’ve already received emails and one particularly frantic Facebook message asking me how I selected that address, and if I knew who owned that house. Had I’d used its history in my story. Potential readers were already second-guessing how relevant the house was to the title. What SIN took place in that particular NEWBERRY house, and how much had I infused history into my mystery.

Of course, I assured people the house was snapped at random, and I knew nothing of its past. But still, I can’t help but softly smile at how it all pulled together . . . and the impact it was already making.

Almost makes me wonder if there IS a story behind that house.



Beneath an idyllic veneer of Southern country charm, the town of Newberry hides secrets that may have led to murder.

When a local landowner’s body, with pants down, is found near Tarleton’s Tea Table Rock—a notorious rendezvous spot, federal investigator Carolina Slade senses a chance to get back into the field again. Just as she discovers what might be a nasty pattern of fraud and blackmail, her petty boss reassigns her fledgling case to her close friend and least qualified person in their office.

Forced to coach an investigation from the sidelines, Slade struggles with the twin demons of professional jealousy and unplanned pregnancy. Something is rotten in Newberry. Her personal life is spiraling out of control. She can’t protect her co-worker. And Wayne Largo complicates everything when the feds step in after it becomes clear that Slade is right.

One wrong move, and Slade may lose everything. Yet it’s practically out of her hands . . . unless she finds a way to take this case back without getting killed.
Author C. Hope Clark, an award-winning writer of two mystery series (Carolina Slade and the Edisto Island mysteries), founded, which Writer’s Digest has recognized in its annual 101 Best Web Sites for Writers for almost two decades. Hope is married to a 30-year veteran of federal law enforcement, a Senior Special Agent, now a private investigator. They live in South Carolina, on the banks of Lake Murray. Hope is ever hard at work on the next novel, and you can visit her at


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I strode up to the deputy, attempting to get a word in edgewise between the two. When Lottie took a breath, I slipped in my question. “Where’s the farmer’s vehicle?”

They both hushed. He wasn’t surprised. She suddenly realized my point. He’d met someone elsewhere then come out here . . . the other person taking off most likely when Hoyt decided to meet his Maker instead.

“Did he have all his clothes on?” she asked.

My, my, what led her to say that? Apparently, Lottie was already deep in to something I wanted to learn more about.

“You know I can’t tell you details about the body,” he replied.

Which meant no clothes in most folk’s language. I took note.

Lottie clicked her tongue. “It was a matter of time,” she said. “Just a matter of time.” She tugged my sleeve. “Glad you were here today, Miss Investigator. I’ve been meaning to call you about this.”

About what? I wasn’t sure this was Agriculture’s jurisdiction, but with Hoyt being a farmer, I’d go with it as long as I could. Or at least until my boss heard about it.

“Trust me,” she said. “Hoyt wouldn’t have died except for you federal agriculture people. It’s your problem through and through.” She smacked my shoulder. “Welcome to Newberry, child.”

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One Liner Wednesday


Today I’m participating in One Liner Wednesday, hosted by Linda G. Hill. Check it out and try it too. It’s fun. But even better, it’s easy!


May 2018

Past blogs