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Mary’s Heart

Mary’s Heart

by Rebecca Carpenterchristmas tree

Mary sat in the dark room and stared as the Christmas tree lights blinked from white to blue to multi-colored—unwrapped presents spilling from under the branches. Located near the top, a hand-made star shimmered silver on one side, gold on the other, the inscription “Manney – 2016” written in black permanent marker along the edge. She approached, touching the ornament as if it were made of glass. Rough glitter met her fingertips—soothing, calming.  A tear slipped down her cheek.

From behind, strong arms wrapped her waist, and warm lips pressed against her neck. “Come to bed, love,” her husband Joe whispered in her ear. “You know we have to get up early to meet with the donor-recipient’s family.”

Mary crossed her arms over his and squeezed. “Not yet.”

He kissed her cheek. “Soon, then.” With drooped shoulders, he shuffled to the hallway.

Mary removed the star ornament and clasped it to her chest. “Do you think he’ll accept our boy’s heart?”

Joe paused but didn’t turn back. “That’s up to his body … but I hope so.” Footfalls faded, but a heart-wrenching wail echoed through the house.

Mary dropped to her knees. Tears gushed in a raging, torrential river that shook her entire frame. How in the world would she ever get through the pain—fill the void that replaced her beating heart?

Her hands grasped a package, rending it until the box ripped and a Superman shirt with attached cape slipped out. With a gleam in her eyes, she lifted the garment. “Daddy wanted you to wear a nice suit, but I think this is much better. Superman was your favorite hero, and now you get to be someone’s hero.” She folded the shirt and lovingly placed it in her lap.

Between two gift bags, a small, square box wrapped in brown paper with a hand-drawn Christmas tree caught her eye: “To Mom, Love Manney” scribbled on the tag. With trembling hands, she parted the bags and clasped the box, meticulously tracing the letters with her fingertip before unwrapping the gift, careful to preserve the paper in its perfect form.

Inside, a white jewelry box beckoned to be opened. She inhaled a deep breath and lifted the lid. A folded note lay on top, hiding the contents. Unfolding the creases, Mary revealed a cut-out heart.paper heart

Dear Mommy,

You always say I’m your heart, so now you can have me with you all the time. Hope you like the necklace.

I love you!!!!!!!!!

Love,

Manney

P.S. Daddy helped me spell all the words.

 

A whimper, long and guttural filled the room. Mary pressed the note to her lips, kissing the paper, wishing more than anything it was her son’s face. Placing the paper on his Superman shirt, she returned to the box and fingered the silver necklace with heart locket, peeling apart the edges to reveal a headshot of Manney—his wide, front-toothless grin the most beautiful thing she’d ever seen. She removed the necklace from the packaging and clasped it around her neck, the locket resting directly over her heart.GUEST_310cda83-2e7b-455a-b447-d5160ca3ab09

Warmth seared under the metal, a faint beating reacting to the glimmer of hope and healing.

The tree lights switched from white to blue to multi-colored, each reflecting off the heart that she now wore on the outside—at least for a while.

 

 

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New Release Sale!

BB2 release graphic 2

Buy BUTTERFLY BLOOD on Amazon for only $0.99 from August 27th – 31st): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DYLLVDX/

And BUTTERFLY BONES is FREE on Amazon from August 27-31): https://www.amazon.com/Butterfly-Bones-Coming-Age-METAMORPHOSIS-ebook/dp/B01M1E9854/

 

 

 

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Butterfly Bones and Butterfly Blood are on Sale!

 

 

AD 4Buy BUTTERFLY BLOOD on Amazon for only $0.99 from August 27th – 31st): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DYLLVDX/

ad 1
And BUTTERFLY BONES is FREE on Amazon from August 27-31): https://www.amazon.com/Butterfly-Bones-Coming-Age-METAMORPHOSIS-ebook/dp/B01M1E9854/

 

 

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Amazing sale on The Metamorphosis Series

 

 

ad 3Buy BUTTERFLY BLOOD on Amazon for only $0.99 from August 27th – 31st): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DYLLVDX/
Previous Book in the Series (click on image for Goodreads link):

And BUTTERFLY BONES is FREE on Amazon from August 27-31): https://www.amazon.com/Butterfly-Bones-Coming-Age-METAMORPHOSIS-ebook/dp/B01M1E9854/

 

 

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Sale! Butterfly Bones and Butterfly Blood

ad 5Buy BUTTERFLY BLOOD on Amazon for only $0.99 from August 27th – 31st): https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DYLLVDX/
Previous Book in the Series (click on image for Goodreads link):

And BUTTERFLY BONES is FREE on Amazon from August 27-31): https://www.amazon.com/Butterfly-Bones-Coming-Age-METAMORPHOSIS-ebook/dp/B01M1E9854/

 

 

birthday memories · Life experiences · Writer · YA Author

Pierced Ears, Blue Shoes, and a Punch to the Gut

It’s Lakewater Press’s 2nd birthday, so to help celebrate my awesome publisher’s big day, we have been asked to share our favorite birthday memories.

Anyone who knows me knows that I’m naked without my earrings.  And I’m not a studs girl. What’s the point of wearing something you can barely see? I’m a “the bigger the better” hoops girl.

hoop earrings

So my most memorable birthday is my 14th, the day I anticipated from the time I was little—the day I could join the throng of girls with pierced ears.  In my eyes, earrings were a symbol of maturity, beauty, and a little defiance too. Putting holes in one’s body was still considered taboo to many people, a downright sin to others. But I didn’t care what other people thought, this was my right-of-passage to endless ear fashion, and I couldn’t wait.

Lucky for me, my 14th birthday fell on a weekday, so Mom took me to the mall the weekend before to indulge in some early birthday shopping and to receive the present I had waited for my whole life. Not only was I getting my ears pierced, the coveted act was happening four days early. The anticipation I felt while I sat in the chair, waiting for “the gun”  piercing gunto shoot a piercing stud through my lobes, rivaled any Christmas morning. I was gonna rock those earrings, right along with my 80s hair and Levi’s 501, buttonfly jeans. Life was good.

Waltzing in the door to my home, I never felt prettier. I had on new blue flats, just like my older sister’s, a new outfit in a bag, and bling in my earlobes. I tucked my hair behind my ears, strode up the stairs to the upper level, and was met by a glaring sister. She took one look at my shoes and punched me in the gut.

punched in the gut

“Get those off,” she cried. “I never gave you permission to wear my shoes.”

With tears streaming down my cheeks, I clutched my stomach and yelled that these were my shoes, just bought for my birthday.

She took one look at my ears and glared. “Well that’s what you get for getting your ears pierced early.”

I don’t remember if she got into trouble, but she definitely felt justice was served. The pain was worth it. I had joined the ranks of women all over the world who donned glorious earrings. My life would forever be changed, my lobes forever decorated in metallic glory.birthday cake

 

 

Happy birthday to me! And a very special happy birthday to Lakewater Press!

 

 

Rebecca Carpenter

Author of the award winning YA, Butterfly Bones

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Lakewater Press Holiday Blog Hop and Giveaway (Day 12): Susan Pape

 

For the holiday season, we at Lakewater Press thought it would be a good time to share who we are with a little holiday blog hop.

Between December 1 and the 24th we’ll share holiday interviews with our authors and the Lakewater Press staff. It’s an excellent opportunity for us to get to know each other a little better, and to give our readers a peek behind the scenes–or pages!

Perhaps you’ll even find a new blog to follow, or your next favorite book!

(Be sure to read all the way to the bottom for our holiday giveaway!!)

Today’s interviewee:

Name and LWP affiliation: Susan Pape, Author

Your blog (url): www.bookloversbooklist.wordpress.com

Where do you live? I live on the site of an old lunatic asylum (yes, it really was called that) in Menston, between Ilkley and Leeds in West Yorkshire.

What are your chances of having snow on Christmas Day? It’s possible that Ilkley Moor (behind our house) could get a light dusting…but I don’t remember ever having ‘proper’ snow on Christmas Day in West Yorkshire.

Do you have any favorite holiday traditions? My favourite Christmasses were spent with some really good friends who lived in a converted station near Saddleworth Moor. We played games, took part in a pantomime written by the host, tried to look serious during The Queen’s broadcast, and sat down for lunch and all the trimmings – that lasted from about 1pm until 9pm. I also love being away at Christmas – Florence was a wonderful place to be, and then Cambodia/Vietnam more recently.

Egg nog: Yes or No? Ergh…no!

Are you an artistic gift wrapper or a basic “paper & tape” warrior? Basic, I’m afraid. I’ve tried to do those classy, neatly tucked corners, but they fail me every time.

Do you have any special holiday memories that include books? Are there any specific titles you remember? Christmas seems to be a time of giving ‘joke’ or ‘improving’ books. The joke books go straight on to the shelf in the downstairs lavvy and the improving ones (Shakespearian Tragedies; London Architecture and Tony Benn’s Diaries) get put in the pile for the charity shop.

What is your earliest book-related memory? My parents were not great readers (other than Reader’s Digest) but they did have a shelf full of Graham Greene so I worked my way through those until I was old enough to get my own library card. Not entirely sure it was suitable reading for a child.

Do you write/work during the holidays? Newspapers don’t stop for the holidays so a skeleton staff was always needed to be available on Christmas Day – and throughout the holiday period. When I worked on newspapers, it was usually down to staff without kids to work over the holidays – and that was usually me. I didn’t mind too much as I could take time off in lieu when life returned to normal after the Xmas excesses.

Sue and I at an author talk we did recently

Can you share what you’re working on now? Book Three in the Friends trilogy that Sue Featherstone and I are writing together. So many ideas are bubbling right now – and I can hardly believe this will be the end of the road for the two main characters, Teri and Lee.

What are your goals for 2018? To finish writing the third book in the Friends trilogy and then complete the murder mystery that Sue and I have already started. It takes us out of our comfort genre, so please, wish us luck.

 

The decorations in a Cambodian hotel

 

 

 

me and hubby at a masked Christmas dinner

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading “Lakewater Press Holiday Blog Hop and Giveaway (Day 12): Susan Pape”

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Lakewater Press Holiday Blog Hop and Giveaway (Day 11): Sue Featherstone

 

For the holiday season, we at Lakewater Press thought it would be a good time to share who we are with a little holiday blog hop.

Between December 1 and the 24th we’ll share holiday interviews with our authors and the Lakewater Press staff. It’s an excellent opportunity for us to get to know each other a little better, and to give our readers a peek behind the scenes–or pages!

Perhaps you’ll even find a new blog to follow, or your next favorite book!

(Be sure to read all the way to the bottom for our holiday giveaway!!)

 

Today’s interviewee:

Name and LWP affiliation: Sue Featherstone (author)

Your blog (url): bookloversbooklist.com

Where do you live? I live in Wakefield, just a stone’s throw from Yorkshire Sculpture Park, the UK’s leading outdoor art gallery, and the award-winning Hepworth Gallery, which together with their sister galleries – Leeds Art Gallery and the Henry Moore Institute, both in Leeds – constitute the Yorkshire Sculpture Triangle.

The Hepworth, which has been described as the museum everyone would want on their doorstep, is artistically inspiring but I prefer YSP.

Set in 500 acres of parkland, just a mile-and-a-bit up the road from me, it’s home to one of the largest outdoor collections of Henry Moore bronzes.

Frankly, some of them are a bit weird – but, unlike other outdoor art galleries, the park hosts a changing programme of exhibitions so there’s always something new to see. And, come spring, nothing beats a stroll through the beautiful bluebell woods.

Find out more at: http://www.ysculpture.co.uk

What are your chances of having snow on Christmas Day? Hopefully, slim to non-existent: other parts of the UK (Scotland, for instance) often get snow in December but, thankfully, it’s fairly rare in my part of Yorkshire. I understand the bookies have offered odds of 4/5 on a white Christmas but it’s not a bet I’m prepared to risk.

Do you have any favorite holiday traditions? Santa always used to leave a little note for my daughters thanking them for his mince pie and sherry. It was years before they recognised my handwriting…

Egg nog: Yes or No? Hmmm…egg nog is not very big in the UK although we do have an Irish cream liquer which is similar but not as virulently yellow. And tastes better too. It can be drunk neat at room temperature or some people like to add it to their coffee. I prefer it in a long tumbler, chilled with a couple of ice cubes. Oooh, I think I wouldn’t mind a glass right now.

Are you an artistic gift wrapper or a basic “paper & tape” warrior? Definitely a warrior rather than an artist. Prettily wrapped gifts are a joy to behold but, honestly, I just can’t be bothered. Life is too short to stuff a mushroom and it’s also too short to fiddle around with Christmas bows and ribbons.

My copy of Sad Cypress is a bit dog-eared now but still a favourite read

Do you have any special holiday memories that include books? Are there any specific titles you remember? Books are a very personal thing and, I think, a difficult gift to get right. One woman’s good read is someone else’s charity shop donation. Take Great Expectations by Charles Dickens, for instance, which I was given as a child. Please, take it: I still think it’s a huge shame Magwitch didn’t bop Pip on the head and spare us all the agony of his interminable wittering.

What is your earliest book-related memory? Well, my earliest memories of reading are at the breakfast table: corn, sugar, salt, niacin, riboflavin, thiamine…the contents of a packet of Corn Flakes. Otherwise I loved almost anything by Enid Blyton – wouldn’t you have liked to be a pupil at Malory Towers too? I also enjoyed Noel Streatfeild (Ballet Shoes, The Painted Garden), Jane Shaw (the Susan books) and Elinor Brent Dyer (the Chalet School series). As I got older I started to read some of the books on my dad’s bookshelves – Erle Stanley Gardner (Perry Mason), Agatha Christie (Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple) and Nevil Shute (The Chequer Board and A Town like Alice). My first Christie read was Sad Cypress, which I still regard as one of her best murder mysteries.

Do you write/work during the holidays? Yes – if the writing itch needs scratching, I scratch.

Can you share what you’re working on now? I was lucky enough to sell my first short story to People’s Friend, a UK fiction magazine, a few weeks ago. It will be published in their Christmas special – in 2018. I can’t wait.

The fiction editor was very encouraging and I’m hoping to write, and sell, more stories this year. I’ve got a couple of ideas bubbling away right now.

And Susan and I are in the early stages of drafting the final instalment of our Friends trilogy. We’ve also started a murder mystery but I’m not completely happy with the way it’s going and a re-think is needed. (Must make sure I mention this to Susan before she reads it here!)

What are your goals for 2018? Professionally, I want to get the Friends trilogy wrapped up and then to knock the murder mystery into shape. I like the characters we’ve created – they have a lot of potential for development but I’m not sure we’re making the best use of them. So, there’s food for thought there. I also want to work on my short story writing and I’d like to do a bit of freelance journalism too. Personally, apart from planning a trip to Australia to visit my youngest daughter, a couple of camping holidays in France and a spa trip with my eldest daughter I’m open to suggestions. Any ideas?

The view across Lac Hourtin: we’ll be holidaying nearby this summer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Continue reading “Lakewater Press Holiday Blog Hop and Giveaway (Day 11): Sue Featherstone”

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Lakewater Press Holiday Blog Hop and Giveaway (Day 10): Samantha Alban

 

 

For the holiday season, we at Lakewater Press thought it would be a good time to share who we are with a little holiday blog hop.

Between December 1 and the 24th we’ll share holiday interviews with our authors and the Lakewater Press staff. It’s an excellent opportunity for us to get to know each other a little better, and to give our readers a peek behind the scenes–or pages!

Perhaps you’ll even find a new blog to follow, or your next favorite book!

(Be sure to read all the way to the bottom for our holiday giveaway!!)

 

Today’s interviewee:

Name and LWP affiliation: Samantha Alban, Staff (Assistant Editor)

Your blog (url): www.scalban.wordpress.com

Where do you live? Sonoma County, California

What are your chances of having snow on Christmas Day? Most likely 0%, but who knows…this year has been full of weather surprises!

Do you have any favorite holiday traditions? I love setting up the train around my Christmas tree. Last year I even bought liquid smoke for it! I was heartbroken when it broke down and I spent days trying to troubleshoot and fix the problem. After the fourth (I think) day, I finally got it working! I was so excited, I totally forgot about the liquid smoke and didn’t even find the bottle until after I had taken it down for the year. So this year, it’s all about getting that train running WITH the liquid smoke 🙂

Eggnog: Yes or No? YES!!!! (but, I drink Coconut Milk “Egg” Nog).

Are you an artistic gift wrapper or a basic “paper & tape” warrior? Nothing says a traditional

Christmas like brown wrapping with a simple red bow. I call it “simple chic.”

Do you have any special holiday memories that include books? Are there any specific titles you remember? I always try to give a book to someone every holiday season. I could spend hours in a bookstore and even though books are available for purchase online, I still love walking into a decorated bookstore during the holiday season. And spending the time in the store, looking through all the titles and trying to find the perfect one for someone else to love and enjoy is something that I’ve always done and still love to do.

What is your earliest book-related memory? I grew up surrounded by books. I devoured them as a child. I had my own bookshelf since I can remember and it’s always been stuffed with books. I LOVED all my series books, as a child. In elementary school, I had all My Babysitter’s Club, my Nancy Drew’s, my Sweet Valley High’s, and all of my Christopher Pike’s and later on, all my King’s and Rice and Twain and Dicken’s books all along the shelves squeezed in between all my classics. My most favorite thing to do, after dusting my room (my most hated chore), was to take them all off the shelf and reorganize them. I know, mucho nerdy.

Do you write/work during the holidays? I write all year round, so yeah, I usually squeeze in a bit of time on a holiday.

Can you share what you’re working on now? I’d love to. Right now I have mucho projects, but I’m really excited about this YA magical realism I’m working on called THE MIRROR WALKER. It’s about this girl with a special ability to travel through mirrors to other worlds. (Ed. note: Samantha writes as S.C. Alban)

What are your goals for 2018? Yikes, I’ve got so many! Let’s see…to publish Book 3 in The Strega Series (Death Before Dying), clean up my 2 YA novels for querying, find two amazing books I can suggest to the Lakewater Press list, tackle a new WIP I’ve been stewing on for a while, and snag agent representation (hey, dream big or go home, right?)

 

Continue reading “Lakewater Press Holiday Blog Hop and Giveaway (Day 10): Samantha Alban”