Author Sibling Rivalry Chronicles

I never thought that sibling rivalry was going to be an issue in my writing life.

Trisha Faye has been writing for the past ten to twelve years. Mostly about people and places of the past, some of a more inspirational nature. When I wanted to branch out into children’s stories, I didn’t want the writing to be a jumbled mix, so Jasper Lynn was created.

Jasper Lynn had a few short stories published on a children’s ezine – a piece here and there. Then in 2020 Jasper Lynn branched into books. Two books were published – A Gift from the Heart and This and That. Then Covid shut us down and Jasper Lynn got quiet. (I think she went and hid under the covers with a stack of books and a flashlight.)

Now, Jasper Lynn is back. She just finished the first book in a Cousins Time Traveling Adventure series – Stars in the Sky. But now, this little sister of Trisha Faye is starting to get sassy and I’m about ready to send her back to her room.

Take yesterday’s conversation for example.

JASPER LYNN: Yippee! I sold four books this week!

TRISHA FAYE: That’s wonderful! Congratulations. I’m so happy for you!

JL (While turning cartwheels in the middle of the living room) Sooooo…how many books did YOU sell this week?

TF: I’m not sure. I haven’t looked. I don’t check every day you know.

JL: So….go look.

TF: (Sighing and rolling her eyes) Okay…okay. Hold your horses. Let me look.

TF checks the computer and looks up – Well, I only sold one book this week.

JL (Sticking out her tongue and sending raspberries to TF) Neener, neener, neerer….I sold more books this week than YOU did!

Sigh….ornery little sisters…what is one to do? I might get even though. Next time Jasper Lynn wants a candy bar, I might make her buy her own. After all, she’s the one raking in the big bucks now, right?

A – Anthologies

It’s April! You know what that means. No, not spring. Although that’s an extra benefit. April – it’s the month of the A to Z Blog Challenge! And on that note, here we go. We’re off and running. This month I’ll be sharing some ‘Behind the Scene’ moments of my writing journey.

A: Anthologies

Compiling and self-publishing an anthology was never one of my writing goals. I’ve been included in several other anthologies, but it wasn’t a project that called out to me. But somehow, without an anthology even being one of my goals, I ended up publishing four of them – four years in a row!

In 2016, I was trying to think of what to get my mother for her birthday that year. She was turning 80, and as is the case with many mothers of that age, she didn’t really need anything. She certainly didn’t need another set of bath towels, or trinkets to gather dust. A book – I could write a book featuring her. But that task didn’t come with any clear inspiration for which direction to go. Somehow, I thought of making it an anthology with stories from other writers about their mothers too. I’d include a story about my own mom and have a picture on the front that had me as a baby sitting on her lap. And In Celebration of Mothers was born.

I put out the call and offered an nominal amount as payment for inclusion. Because, as an author myself trying to make a little money from the craft, I couldn’t produce an anthology where the other contributors weren’t compensated. For Mom’s birthday that year her gift was being the subject of a book.

The next year, 2017, I employed the same strategy to feature my sister, for her birthday (which was a long, long way from 80!) In Celebration of Sisters featured one of my favorite pictures of us, taken at one of Mom’s beloved theme parties from several years earlier.

Now that I had two anthologies ‘under my belt’, the following year I put out another one. This was one I’ actually had been thinking of for some time. I’d wanted to write the story of my stepson’s death, too young age of 23. But I didn’t want to write the entire book about him. Including stories from other parents to honor these children – these angels – was the perfect vehicle for this. In 2018 and 2019, Mothers of Angels and Mothers of Angels 2 were born.

Right now, there aren’t any new anthologies in my writing plans. I am so, so far from even approaching a break-even point from any of these four books. But to be honest, much of that is probably my own fault. I’m not an aggressive marketer. So, I’m not out there pitching ‘buy my book’ – ‘buy my book’. Usually once a book is done, I’m onto the next project and putting my energies into writing the next creation. But that’s okay, because the greatest benefit I received from this is one I didn’t expect – I made some wonderful friends. I connected with people that never would have crossed my path because of the distance in our lives. And these friendships have continued on through the years. Even though I ended up spending far more money than I ever made back from the books, I still came out the winner, because you can’t put a price on friendship.

R: Regrets

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R: Regrets

You know you’re old when your regrets overcome your dreams.

It is utterly false and cruelly arbitrary to put all the play and learning into childhood, all the work into middle age, and all the regrets into old age.

Margaret Mead

I’d never thought of it in this way, but after reading Margaret Mead’s wise words, it seems she’s right. Life does tend to get lumped into these three stages. As I’m nearing the outer edges of the ‘working through middle age’ stage, I don’t want to slide into an old age full of regrets.

Yes, there are some things I didn’t do earlier, and some things I couldn’t do. But I don’t want to turn into one of those cantankerous, grouchy ‘old’ people.

I think of a little video clip I saw on Facebook a few days ago. Irene O’Shea, is an Australian woman who just celebrated her 102nd birthday with her third skydive. She celebrated her 100th birthday with her first jump and has celebrated each birthday since, first giving her the title of world’s oldest woman skydiver, and this last jump giving her claim to world’s oldest skydiver.

O’Shea’s daughter died from Motor Neuron Disease (MND) ten years ago. She is skydiving to raise awareness and funding for the MND Association of South Australia. I don’t think that O’Shea is a woman that is living her life with regrets. I want to have her attitude as I get older, trying new things and living without regrets.

https://people.com/human-interest/irene-oshea-oldest-skydiver-102-years-old/

Q: Quite True

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Q: Quite True

Growing old isn’t so bad when you consider the alternative.
Author unknown

This is such a true statement. Because as much as we (I) can mumble, grumble, and complain about getting older – I’d still much rather age and get to a very old age, than go with the alternative.

Although it’s a given that one day each of us will be leaving this earthly planet, we don’t want to get there too soon. We want to have as long a life as possible, enjoying our time here with family and friends. So in looking at the two doors that are available to us each day – one opens to a day older and closer to old age, while the other one is a direct transport to a heavenly sphere – I’ll take the doorway that leads to growing older as long as I possibly can.

P: Pendulum of Age

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P: Pendulum of Age

At 8 yrs of age, we can’t wait to be 10; there are two digits.
At 10 yrs of age, we can’t wait to be 13; officially a teenager.
At 13 yrs of age, we can’t wait to be 16; the age which we can drive.
At 16 yrs of age, we can’t wait to be 18; legally an adult, able to vote.
At 18 yrs of age, we can’t wait to be 21;
legally able to purchase and consume alcoholic beverages.
After 21 yrs of age, we forget our age.

 

There it goes, the pendulum swinging in one direction. Get older, get older, get older. We were never old enough. We always wanted that next birthday – then the next one. Just a little older. Just a few years more. We can’t wait. Hurry and get here. Hurry! Hurry!

And then…without warning…the pendulum swings in the other direction.

Now we have enough years. We want to go back. We want the numbers to start decreasing, not increasing. Wait! Slow down! Don’t go so fast.

It’s to no avail. The pendulum swings in the direction it’s going to. We have no say in the matter.

It’s funny though, how rare is the person that’s perfectly content with wherever they are on the spectrum of the pendulum swing.

O: Old Age – Not a New Concern

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O: Old Age – Not a New Concern

I admit that I am an old man.
I read my years in my mirror,
others read them on my brow. ~
Francesco Petrarca (Petrarch), letter, c.1366–1367, translated by Morris Bishop, 1966

I found it interesting that over 650 years ago, Francesco these words about admitting to being an old man. It seems that concerns about ageing are not something new. Now, I have to admit, that taken out of context of the rest of the letter, I really don’t know if he was fretting about his age, or simply acknowledging a fact. He possibly wasn’t concerned or worried about it at all. It could merely be a statement that he is now old. That he sees his years in the mirror, while others see them on his brow.

Which isn’t anything new. I’m often surprised when I see the woman in the mirror staring back at me and I often don’t immediately recognize her. Especially if it’s on one of those days where my mind still feels as if I’m a young (or at least youngish) girl – and possible the rock and roll is blasting. (Interesting side note – my music is now called ‘classic’. It’s not ‘oldies’ any more. Oldies was my mother’s music.)

I have to admire Francesco’s direct statement – I admit that I am an old man.

Now, I don’t know if I could make that same bold statement. At sixty I don’t feel as if I’m ‘old’. I’m definitely old-er. Much older than the youngster once prancing about the yard in her brand new coveted white go-go boots, singing ‘These boots are made for walking.’ Older than the brash, young 18-year old I once was. Older than the 30-year old young mother.

I suppose it’s all relative. To my sons, who are now the 30-year old fathers, I’m possibly old. To the grade school child next door, I’m most definitely old. To my 70-year old dear friend, or my 82-year old mother – nope, still a young whipper-snapper.

Guess you know who I’ll be hanging around with as often as I can!

N: Not Your Age

N: Not Your Age

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You are not your age. We are not our age. I am not my age.

No, we are all much more than that. Our age is simply a tick mark on the calendar. It is nothing that defines us.

At which point I’m going to stop reflecting on this so that Erin’s words can ring true in our hearts.

M: Maturity

This year as the A to Z Blog Challenge celebrates its 10th anniversary, and I’m working on my book (and attitude) about Embracing 60, I’m sharing some A – Z posts about ageing – some of them humorous, some of them serious.

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M: Maturity

A man’s age is something impressive, it sums up his life: maturity reached slowly and against many obstacles, illnesses cured, griefs and despairs overcome, and unconscious risks taken; maturity formed through so many desires, hopes, regrets, forgotten things, loves. A man’s age represents a fine cargo of experiences and memories.

~Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Wartime Writings 1939-1944,
translated from French by Norah Purcell

A man’s age represents a fine cargo of experiences and memories. What a beautiful thought. Somehow I tend to look at the obstacles, griefs, and despairs in life and see them as a negative – things to muddle through and ‘survive’. Yes, I’ve become more mature through these experiences, but I’ve never given them the credit for adding this depth to my life. When I look at the past through this lens, I realize that all the events and happenings that I’ve labeled as negative can truly be counted as blessings.

This slow ageing through the years, like a fine wine mellowing in its oak cask is a fine cargo I can boast of – it’s not something to bemoan and whine about.

I’ll claim the maturity that is mine, which I’ve earned through these past sixty years, while acknowledging that life is not yet over and there is still much to learn, enjoy, and embrace.

F: Fountain of Youth

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This year as the A to Z Blog Challenge celebrates its 10th anniversary, and I’m working on my book (and attitude) about Embracing 60, I’m sharing some A – Z posts about ageing – some of them humorous, some of them serious.

 

There is a fountain of youth: it is your mind, your talents, the creativity you bring to your life and the lives of people you love. When you learn to tap this source, you will truly have defeated age.

Sophia Loren

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So many of us are looking for the elixir of life, hoping for a magic pill, or a mysterious and undiscovered fountain of youth to make us young again. And here all along the mystical fountain of youth lives inside of each of us. Our mind. Our talents. Our creativity.

Everyone has the ability to tap into this inner source. Unfortunately, many won’t. Some refuse to look inside. Some refuse to acknowledge that this ability is even possible. But others will. I don’t know if doing so truly means we have defeated age, or that we simply get to a point where age doesn’t matter. The life we live each day and our attitude becomes the important issues, not what date is on the calendar.

D: Dyeing Laughing

AtoZ2019tenthAnn

You know you’ve reached middle age when a doctor, not a policeman, tells you to slow down, all you exercise are your prerogatives and it takes you longer to rest than to get tired.
~Author Unknown

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Some of this humor hit too close to home. Especially the last part – taking longer to rest than to get tired. I was someone that used to fight naps with a passion. My mom always caught me reading under the covers and she reminds me often of how I would fight naps. Now I joke – I take it all back. I want my naps now!

And I’m also discovering that I need to exercise more than just my prerogatives if I want to maintain an energy level to keep me going throughout the day.

But even though some of this may be nearer to the truth than I’d like, I’m still enjoying reading this and laughing about it. After all, the old adage that ‘laughter is the best medicine’ seems to be validated.

Deepak Chopra, along with many others, says the healthiest response to life is laughter. Laughter brings many benefits to our lives, besides being more than just a light hearted chuckle about our ageing. The Chopra Center states that laughter can reduce stress, boost immunity, increase resilience, combat depression and relieve pain.

If a good laugh can do that, then I’m all for it – even if the laughs come from looking at ageing.

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