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Life after Grief

It’s been over a year since I lost my mom and eight months since I lost my dad. Days pass and that longing ache of missing them never fades. They are with me forever.

I can tell you that the past year was a blur and that it took a very long time to truly come to terms with this significant loss in my life. I can only tell you that grief is a process and that each person handles it differently and at their own speed. Mine was dial-up. It took the understanding that I am not the only one in this world who has experienced such pain, and with this knowledge, I’ve learned to cope. I am not alone; we are all connected. We, all of us, have unfortunately experienced loss.

I am now beginning the next chapter in my life without their guidance – it’s an odd feeling to walk in this world without them nearby to catch me in case I fall. No matter what age you are, the comfort of your parents’ presence is like a bowl of chicken soup when you’re sick. They are a roaring fire on a cold winter’s day. A ray of sunshine when there has been nothing but rain. But with their loss comes knowledge: I have learned more empathy for those who grieve. I have gained more compassion for others. I understand the undeniable and unconditional love parents feel for their children. These are gifts, and although these cherished attributes come at a price, I am thankful. Appreciative that I am a better person for having gone through what I have and for now having a better understanding of others. If you grieve, know that you will be blessed with gifts, as well.

Although your loved ones leave this world physically, parts of them will always remain. A smile. A laugh. A saying. These little aspects leave their lasting imprint. I was at the dentist recently (have you ever had a crown? ugh) and talked with the dental assistant about her grandmother who had meant so much to her. She said her mother often told her she was just like her grandmother and said things only her grandmother would have said. And I smiled at her, understanding her joy. A part of them never leaves you. You are a reflection of them.

There are times when I talk with my sister and I’ll think I’m talking to my mom. Or, times when my husband will say I sound or act just like my dad. There are times when I feel like my mom and I smile, knowing she’s with me. That my parents are with me forever in my heart. They’ve never left me.

If you have experienced loss, know that they will remain with you. That they will carry on through you. They are a part of you and you will keep their memory and who they were alive to share with others. That is a gift, indeed.

 

Confessions Of An Organ Donor is now available for purchase!

It’s release day for Confessions Of An Organ Donor! I’m so excited for you to read this and hope you enjoy it!

Here’s the buy link: goo.gl/EkfboR

Synopsis: The last time Trip Wentworth saw the inside of a public school he was six-years-old. Sadly, he’s spent the last twelve years with a private tutor, living the life of a recluse. He wants to fit in, but it’s not easy being the only guy in school who has problems standing on two feet.

On his first day, he meets BB and Millicent, who help guide him through the social awkwardness of high school and give him a peek at what he’s been missing in the real world. It’s not long before his newfound friends ask him to do the unimaginable, and Trip readily accepts. Eager to finally take a leap, Trip and his duo of quirky friends embark on an outrageous mission. For Trip, the journey and their time together show him what it really means to be alive.


 

Sneak Peek at Confessions Of An Organ Donor

Sneak Peek from Confessions Of An Organ Donor, releasing June 21st.

Prologue

“Irregardless”: it’s not a word, even though Webster says it is, and this guy who’s rambling like a derailed train has said it three times now. He’s also said “supposedbly,” which we all know isn’t a word, either. Strange that people say these kinds of things. In this day and age, it’s not hard to Google something on the internet to guarantee you don’t sound like an idiot.

You can call me Ishmael. Not really. I just finished reading Moby Dick and think the opening line is overrated. I’m in the minority on this one, since all of those literary scholars rate it as one of the best opening lines in literature. What do they know? Not sure what they’re comparing it to, but I don’t see it. Anyway, I digress. You can call me anything you want, but I may not answer.

My name is Beckett Wentworth – the third, mind you. Everyone calls me Trip, because, well, for obvious reasons. Maybe it’s not obvious to you. The name Trip comes from triple, and I’m (waves) the third. At least I’m not a Trey. One out of five children is named Trey, at least according to Them. You know, the elusive Them.

This guy is a chatterbox. I know I should be paying attention to him—he’s giving me, well, all of us, a stern lecture— but he lost me at the third “irregardless.”

“This is a very serious matter. I don’t think you kids realize that,” he says.

A kid is a baby goat. Not a human guy or a human girl. Why do people insist on calling other human beings by that term? Did you know that a mother goat will communicate with her baby by bleating? It’s a unique call that only the two share. Can you imagine if humans did this? Sometimes I wish I had my own special calling mechanism. I guess that’s what cell phones are for, with the variety of ringtones. My mother doesn’t know this but I use “The Imperial March” for her.

“You’re in a lot of trouble,” he adds with a hardening glare from his beady brown (or hazel, I can’t tell) eyes. His eyes squish into his round, puffy cheeks.

I think we all know we’re in trouble – no need to state the obvious. It’s not often (let’s say never) I find myself sitting in an interrogation room with two police officers playing good cop/bad cop (just like the cheesy 1980s cop dramas), treating me like I’m some sort of vandal hoodlum who goes around causing a ruckus. They’re even recording us. Millicent has waved at the camera at least three times now, which made Puffy Cheeks irate.

I knew there would be trouble the moment Millicent Huxley entered my life. Sounds cliché, doesn’t it? It’s like a line from one of those 1930s movies. I picture myself wearing a fedora, talking real fast, and referring to ladies as “dames” with “gams.”

You know when your instincts tell you to run for the hills? Yeah, that’s what mine told me when I met her. But I still got sucked into her like a vortex. Bad pun, but Millicent is like that: she lures you in. You want to breathe the air she’s breathing. Maybe being the most gorgeous, yet bizarre girl I’ve ever met has something to do with it. All I know is I wouldn’t be sitting here with two trigger-finger cops if it weren’t for her.

“You don’t have any proof that we’ve done anything wrong,” Millicent says.

The one cop laughs in a smirky, grate-on-your-nerves kind of way. “I’d say that stolen casket in your truck bed is proof enough.”

 

Content owned and copyrighted by author Shannon McCrimmon – cannot be reproduced with permission from the author.

Confessions Of An Organ Donor

I hope that headline piques your interest. It’s the title of my upcoming novel, which is scheduled for release on June 21st. Confessions Of An Organ Donor is a YA coming of age novel told from Trip Wentworth’s point of view. It’s the first time I’ve written a book where the main character is a guy, and I have to tell you, I loved writing from his perspective! Keep on reading to see a snippet from the novel. Look for more sneak peeks in the weeks to come.

Synopsis: The last time Trip Wentworth saw the inside of a public school he was six-years-old. Sadly, he’s spent the last twelve years with a private tutor, living the life of a recluse. He wants to fit in, but it’s not easy being the only guy in school who has problems standing on two feet.

On his first day, he meets BB and Millicent, who help guide him through the social awkwardness of high school and give him a peek at what he’s been missing in the real world. It’s not long before his newfound friends ask him to do the unimaginable, and Trip readily accepts. Eager to finally take a leap, Trip and his duo of quirky friends embark on an outrageous mission. For Trip, the journey and their time together show him what it really means to be alive.

Snippet from Confessions Of An Organ Donor: 

I knew there would be trouble the moment Millicent Huxley entered my life. Sounds cliché, doesn’t it? It’s like a line from one of those 1930s movies. I picture myself wearing a fedora, talking real fast, and referring to ladies as “dames” with “gams.”

You know when your instincts tell you to run for the hills? Yeah, that’s what mine told me when I met her. But I still got sucked into her like a vortex. Bad pun, but Millicent is like that: she lures you in. You want to breathe the air she’s breathing. Maybe being the most gorgeous, yet bizarre girl I’ve ever met has something to do with it. All I know is I wouldn’t be sitting here with two trigger-finger cops if it weren’t for her.

Copyrighted material owned by author Shannon McCrimmon – cannot be reproduced without the author’s permission.

Unconditional Love

I have become a savant in the art of grieving. It’s not something I had hoped to excel in; it just happened.

This has been a year. (Sigh).

First I lost my mom; then I lost my dad. And now there is a void.

My sister aptly said to me, “Our parents were the people we knew would always love us no matter what we did.” Sure your siblings, your spouse, your close friends love you, but the love your parents have for you is purely unconditional. It’s a special kind of love.

It’s unfortunate I understand my parents completely now that they’ve passed. But sometimes it takes a tragedy to make one see things clearly. If I could, I’d call them up and say, “Hey, remember all those times I thought I knew better? Well, I was wrong!”

Hindsight is always 20/20 vision.

I could spend hours talking about Mom and Dad. I could tell you that my dad was a happy man, that he was gentle and beloved by many. I could tell you that my mom was strong, that she loved with all of her being, and that she made you feel like you were the most important person in the world. I could tell you how amazing my parents’ love was for each other. I could go on and on, singing their praises.

All of the sympathy cards talk about how the memories won’t die, etc., etc. It’s true; my memories of them will not fade, but you know what else lives on? Aspects of their personality, their values, who they were, these things, they live on through me. I am frugal like my dad. I am strong like my mom. My outlook on life is like my dad’s. I love like my mom. I have a sense of humor like my dad. I help others like my mom did. I believe in kindness and treating others like I want to be treated – which was a value my parents’ instilled in me.

I am currently writing a novel (which is therapeutic for grieving). I never planned to create characters like my parents, but as I write, I see minor aspects of them in my main characters. So, they live on through my word. That’s a powerful gift.

I’d like you to know that my mother and father were great people. They were honest and cared for others. They were kind-hearted and hardworking. And best of all, they loved without condition.

If your parents are still alive, call them and tell them you appreciate them. Hug them. Ask them to go out for lunch. Show them you love them. But most importantly, tell them what they mean to you.

If you’re grieving, I’m sorry. I know what you are feeling and it takes time to overcome such sorrow. Your heart will mend in time. Find what helps you cope. For me, it’s writing and helping others. Each person deals in their own way, just like our grieving process.

The photo below was the last photo I took of my parents and me. Little did I know that this would be the last time we’d go out together. I had such a special time with them on this day. We ate lunch, then ventured to get ice cream, and then hung out at their house. I cherish this memory and am thankful I had this time with them.

Time is precious. Treat it with care and appreciate each and every moment. Love with all that you have and remember, you are who you are because of who raised you. 

Deep Thoughts…. but not with Jack Handy.

I do a lot of thinking when I drive. Thankfully, I live in an area where there is not much traffic. God help me when the day comes where this changes. Anyway, this tranquility on the road offers me the ability to think, to come up with new ideas, to create, etc. That said, here are a few thoughts I had today while driving around town running errands.

  1. If you are at a fast food establishment and can walk, don’t go through Drive Thru. Get out of your car and place your order inside that restaurant. Your limbs and body will thank you in the long run.
  2. Smile at random strangers. You never know, one of them might be having a bad day and your simple gesture could make all the difference.
  3. Turn up the volume on your radio and sing at the top of your lungs. Pretend you’re in a rock band. It’s fun, trust me.
  4. If you’re angry about something, ask yourself why. You might discover it all has to do with you.
  5. Don’t have expectations because you’ll always be disappointed.
  6. Find a new recipe and cook that meal. Go outside of your comfort zone. Cook something difficult or try food from another culture.
  7. Don’t judge someone for what they believe. Just like you, they think they’re right.
  8. Hug your loved one. It’s good for your blood pressure.
  9. Try an activity you’ve always wanted to, whether it’s tap dancing, Yoga, ballet. It’s your life and a little self-challenge is always good for the soul.
  10. Be happy with who you are. It’s okay if everyone doesn’t like you.

Grief – an unfortunate part of life…

Grief. There’s nothing good about it, Charlie Brown. Death is a sad (heartbreaking) but true aspect of life. With life comes loss. With happiness comes sadness. Blah, blah, blah. Those Zen philosophical mantras aren’t comforting during the grieving process. It’s easier to say these things than to go through the experience. Words are just words, aren’t they? We all know that death is a part of life, yet when that moment happens, when the person we love passes, we find it’s pretty darn hard to cope. (Ask me how many times I’ve broken down into tears). We all cope differently. There’s those five stages everyone talks about, but things just don’t happen in life that way. Nope. I know I didn’t follow the rulebook on those stages. Matter of fact, I think I went from denial straight to anger then to bargaining, and then the ultimate sadness kicked in. It hit me: she was gone and wasn’t ever coming back. Read more →

Writing Tips

I’m not a planner. I like to go with the flow and see how things unroll. I am like that in life, and I’m like that with writing. I know many writers who outline their entire novel – chapter by chapter. The aspect of this terrifies me. Before I begin a novel, I have a general idea of what the novel is about and where it’s headed (beginning, middle, and ending) but the rest happens as I write. By the same token, I’m sure my method  would frighten the Type A’s out there. To each her own. What works for some won’t work for others. And my pantser style works for me.

On various occasions, I’ve been asked to speak to writers groups. This is one of those instances when I can say with all sincerity, “It’s an honor to be asked.” There are lots of writers out there, and to be chosen out of many to offer some advice, well, like I said, it’s a compliment. That said, I don’t plan what I’m going to say before I go. I’m not a list maker. I know what the crux of my statement will be, but beyond that, it’s anyone’s guess.

I’ll be speaking to a young writers group later this week, which got me thinking (insert lightbulb and angelic music) that I should have some tips for them to refer to if they need advice in case I forget to address it since I won’t be outlining my speech. Of course when I say “advice” all I can picture is Lucy from Peanuts in her cardboard booth offer Chuck advice for five cents. Geez, I hope my advice is worth more than that. With the invention of self-publishing tools such as Amazon, IBooks, Nook, Kobo, Wattpad, etc., the market has changed significantly, and stories which would have only been seen by a few set of eyes are now available to the masses. Potentially, these aspiring novelists I will be speaking to will become authors thanks to these outlets. How awesome! How exciting!

I’ve been an Indie author (sounds so rogue, doesn’t it) since 2012. These are some things I’ve either learned or observed the past five years. Take these tips and do as you wish.

1) If you plan to self-publish, hire an editor. Your friend of a friend who knows where to insert commas isn’t enough. Hire a professional. Before you hire them, do some research. Ask for a list of writers who have used their services. Ask for a sample of their work to see their editing process. Comparison shop. Just hire an editor.

2) Pay a graphic designer to design your book cover. Don’t think that taking one measly class in Adobe Photoshop is enough to make you a book cover designer. It’s not. A poorly designed book cover sends the wrong message. Your novel could be a work of art on the inside, but it won’t translate as such if the cover isn’t designed well.

3) Find beta readers who will offer you constructive feedback and won’t sugar coat things. These beta readers should read your genre. They should be readers who can offer you an honest opinion about your novel. They should want to help you not hurt you. There is a difference.

4) Don’t use social media as a tool for “Me! Me! Me!” There’s nothing more annoying than people who talk of nothing else but themselves. Socialize. It’s okay to tell others about your book, but don’t make it your only message. Share things about yourself other than your writing. Let people get to know you and get to know them, too. Think of it as a first date. Imagine if the other person was talking only about themselves and how great they were at writing the entire night and didn’t ask you one question. Annoying, right? Don’t be that person. Share the love. If you discover a great read, tell others about it. If you have an Indie author friend with a new book release, share that with others. Sharing is caring.

5) Make sure your inner-circle is supportive of your efforts. Writing is a lonely business. You need to be around people who will lift you up.

6) Theodore Roosevelt said, “Comparison is the thief of joy.” Do not compare yourself to others. So what if they’re getting more reviews or selling more books. It doesn’t matter what they do. What matters is what you do. Are you writing from your heart? Are you proud of your novel? Did you enjoy writing it?

7) Critics exist. Sometimes a critical review can make you a better writer. I’ve learned from a few. Sometimes you just have to let the criticism roll off of your shoulders. Never, and I mean this, never engage in dialogue with a reviewer. This is tacky and unprofessional. So they didn’t like your book, move on. It happens to the best of us:)

8) Trolls exist. Don’t let them get to you.

9) Appreciate your bloggers. Send them some love. Write them a thank you note. Send them a signed copy of your book. Bloggers receive countless review requests. The fact that they chose to review your book should make you feel special.

10) This is a personal decision, but I don’t negatively rate or write negative reviews for books I’ve read that I didn’t love. Just because a book wasn’t right for me doesn’t mean it isn’t perfect for someone else. I realize the blood, sweat and tears the author put into their work and don’t want to diminish that. To me, it’s professional courtesy. But, like I said, this is a personal decision.

11) Do your research on self-publishing. Read! Read! Read! You can ask other Indie authors about their experiences, but make sure to do your own research.

12) Write and read all of the time. Even when you don’t feel like writing, write. Something. Anything. Just write. Read. Reading makes you a better writer. Read books by authors you admire. Read for fun. Read to learn. Just read.

I won’t have a 13th tip because I’m superstitious. I hope this advice helps. Feel free to contact me if you have other questions, and write on!

Don’t Talk, I Love You is now available for purchase!

It’s release day! Here’s the link to buy Don’t Talk, I Love You: goo.gl/uaTFiL  If you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, you can grab it for free!

Kindle Press didn’t select me. No worries, though. I’m happy I tried it (What’s life without risks, right?), that it was viewed by new potential readers, and that it stayed on the “hot list” for 1/3 of a time:) — that’s all because of you!!! To everyone who nominated it, thank you so much!  Side note: Writing this book was one of the most enjoyable experiences of my writing career. I’ve never laughed so hard while writing:)

Synopsis: Recent college graduate Hadley Echols finally has a job. Her first priority – find an affordable place to live. She thinks it’s hopeless until she sees an ad that at first seems like a joke: “THREE MONKS SEEK ROOMMATE.” She doesn’t know anything about monks, only that her new roomies are on a vow of silence and only communicate via text. Then there’s the slight problem of her finding one of them irresistible. To make matters worse, her new boss might be Satan incognito and her ex-flame is back.

 

A feisty brunette falls for a monk…

Did that headline grab your attention? I hope so:)  Don’t Talk, I Love You is my latest novel, and I can’t wait for you to read it. However…. it’s not available for purchase yet. Read more →