10 Letters

Letter to a Book Character (Letter Challenge #4)

This week I take on the 4th topic in Jenny In Neverland‘s letter writing challenge: Letter to a Book Character. I am using this subject to give you additional insight into one of my book’s own characters, Emmett Bailey. If you have read Chapter 1, you know that Emmett is an imposing figure who does not require words to instill fear in others. He is large, stoic, intimidating, and bald. In my mind, he looks something like Dwayne Johnson (aka “The Rock”). You also know that he spent some time in prison. While serving time, Emmett received this letter from his then girlfriend, who was pregnant with their child when Emmett was arrested. This letter will be referenced in the book, as it serves as a catalyst for some of Emmett’s motives. The full contents of the letter, however, will only be available here.


Dear Emmett,
I was hesitant to send you this letter. Ultimately, I decided that you deserved to know. I gave birth to our child last month. You have a son. He came 3 days before his due date. He was a healthy 8 lbs, 11 oz, and just over 21″ long at birth. He gets bigger every day. He already sleeps through the night too. He certainly favors you, Emmett. He is quiet like his father too. However, unlike you, he is a happy boy. He does not experience the nightmares that you did. Of course, he is an innocent; his conscience is still clean. As his mother, I intend to keep it that way. I know it will pain you to not know his name, but I have been advised to withhold that information. I hope the enclosed photograph brings you comfort. I took it of our boy just last week. Cherish it, Emmett, for I do not intend to send another.

As I write, I can predict the fury rising in you. You have to understand, it is that rage from which I wish to shield our son. I so foolishly believed that I could change you. I thought if I loved you enough, the darkness in your heart would find light. I clung to the hope that you could love me enough to leave your old life behind. It broke my heart to betray you. However, when I became pregnant, any desire I had to change you became a mother’s instinct to protect my child from you. I do regret handing evidence over to that agent. I saw an opportunity to make a safe, clean break from you and I took it. I didn’t see another way. I am sorry that I’m the reason you are behind bars. Our son will only know about the best parts of you, I promise. He will be raised to believe that his father was a good man who died before he was born. The FBI is working to relocate us before you are released. Please do not look for us when you get out.

Emmett, there is more. It sickens me to tell you, but you must know. Erica is dead. Your sister passed away from a heroin overdose. She relapsed after you went away. Your grandparents begged her to get help, but as you know, she only ever seemed to respond to you. She told them she was untouchable and laughed in their faces. She was found outside a clinic just a few days ago with a needle dangling from her left arm. Someone dumped her there and left. There was nothing the doctors could do. She was already gone. I am so sorry, Emmett, so deeply sorry.

Your grandparents drove all the way to the facility to break the news to your mother in person. She didn’t believe them and demanded to see you upon hearing of Erica’s death. They had to tell your mom where you are and why you couldn’t be there. She became agitated and violent. The stress and perceived loss of both of her children resulted in a significant setback. She began engaging the voices again. Your mother has had to be sedated and restrained. I hope you can find a way to reach out to her. Your grandmother and grandfather are staying close to her for the time being, but she needs to hear from you.

No doubt this letter has left you reeling. Before you lash out, please look at the angelic, peaceful face of your son. Though you will never know him, I challenge you to live a life that would make him proud to call you “Dad”. Remember that the choices you make now will determine how much time you have to spend there. I know you are in pain. I also know your first instinct will be to inflict that pain on someone else. I hope you find the will to resist that temptation. You have a mother who desperately needs her son. Don’t do anything that will keep you from her any longer than you have to be.

You will find this hard to believe, but I do love you, Emmett. You gave me a wonderful gift. I will provide our son with the best life possible; I swear to it.

Take care,


Sleepy baby

Haven’t read the first chapter yet? Check it out here: Novel

Letter to My Online Friend (Letter Challenge #3)

This week’s edition of Jenny In Neverland‘s letter writing challenge centers around a letter to a friend that you have never met in person. Check out her post here Letter Challenge #3. I had trouble narrowing down the recipient for my contribution. I’ve received so much support from my WordPress family. From feedback, to pointers, to re-blogs and shares … I am blown away by the support I find here.

So, how did I decide? I began drafting this post right before I left for vacation last week. I typed, I deleted, I re-typed, then just saved a draft and took off. Two days into my trip, I received a message from one online friend in particular. Immediately it occurred to me, “Of course, THAT’S who my letter should be to!”


Dear Steven,

When I first met you on Twitter, you were that funny Jake Gyllenhaal look-alike who had recently published “This is What Saved Me”, a book of poetry, and just happened to share the same first name as my first-born. I had recently started my WordPress blog, and you just happened to have a very popular blog here as well, SFoxWriting’s Blog. I knew immediately that you were different from the other contacts I had made, despite the fact that you lived on the other side of an ocean.

From the start it was clear that you genuinely meant it when you said that you strived to help other writers. Through you I have met so many wonderful storytellers, poets, bloggers and friends. My blog was in its infancy when I accepted your “Alphabet Challenge”. Over the course of those 26 days, my readership nearly tripled. It certainly helped when you re-blogged one post of mine in particular. To this day, that post remains my most popular. Oh, and during that time, I also learned that not only do you share a name with my son, but you are the same age too. It surprised me only because you had already achieved so much.

You helped me set a solid foundation for what I was looking to accomplish here on WordPress. You could very well have said, “Good luck, happy writing, and good-bye”. That has not been the case. It’s not just me either. I have seen you answer questions for and offer suggestions to dozens of writers. From “Help! I need a topic idea!” to “Help! I’m having technical difficulties” to “How do I attract new followers?”, you’ve made time for many.

So of course, when you saw my Facebook post last week referencing my frustration over titling my novel, you stepped up and offered to help. You probably don’t realize this, but you were the very first person to whom I’ve revealed any book secrets, other than the first chapter. Not even my husband knows what happens next! I am so glad that I did because within a couple of days, you sent me a list of 10 outstanding title ideas. Even as I type this I shake my head in disbelief. I’m not sure where you find the time in the day to work, write, blog, and help so many others to do the same.

OK, you’re probably reading this thinking, “Yeah, I know all of this, I was there.”, so here’s the point: Thank you ~ from the bottom of my heart, THANK YOU. I already know that your name will appear in my book’s “Acknowledgements” page. I know your reasons for helping aren’t so you’ll be appreciated publicly but anything less seems inadequate. If there is ever anything I can do help you with any of your writing projects, I hope you will ask. Until then, keep blogging, PLEASE keep writing poetry, and keep working on that book. I look forward to reading more of it.

Write on!




Image from flickr.com

Letter to My Future Grandchild (Letter Challenge #2)

Here is letter 2 of 10 in Jenny In Neverland‘s letter writing challenge. Technically I am taking liberties with this week’s topic. The subject is actually “Letter to your children or future children” (see Jenny’s sweet post here: Letter Challenge #2). I have children, 3 to be exact. They are all in the present and there will be no more in the future. Of my 3 children, 2 are adults. I could write them a letter, and I think they’d love it. However, I’ve been sharing my stories and wisdom (for what it’s worth) with them since they were born. It’s time to reach the next generation. Grandbaby #1 is due this November. This letter is for him/her.


Hey Lil’ Thumper!

It’s your Gigi, aka “fun grandma”. So why is Gigi calling you “Thumper”? Well, because it’s better than “Nugget”. See, we won’t find out until this Friday, June 27, 2014 whether you are a boy or a girl. When I first learned that you were coming, rather than say “he/she”, I referred to you as Nugget. A few weeks ago, your Mom and Dad let me crash one of your doctor’s appointments. I got to hear your heartbeat. I decided you sounded more like a Thumper than a Nugget. Gigi is a little silly, but by the time you can read this, you will already know that.

Lucky for you, little one, I learned how to be a grandma from the best. Both my Minga and my Grandma, your great-great grandmas, were excellent role models. I will take my favorite things from childhood and pass them on to you. I was never much of a breakfast eater, unless I was at my Minga’s house. She always had the good stuff. Even better, she would make me anything I wanted. Yep, whatever I chose for breakfast, that’s what we would all eat. It wasn’t like at home where you have to eat whatever Mom & Dad put in front of you. She was really good at back rubs too. We watched Tigers Baseball and I would tell her “tickle my back”, then “scratch my back”, and finally, “rub my back”. There is a proper order to these things, not many people know that. Good thing I had Minga and you have me.

My Grandma was “crumby”. No, I’m not being mean. After a long day of making candy, Grandma and I would climb into bed with arms full of cookies and crackers to watch TV. She was just as messy an eater as I was. By the time we finished our snacks, the bed would be full of crumbs. Grandma would tease and say, “you’re such a crumby grandkid.” In turn I would tell her, “you’re a crumby grandma!” I can’t wait to watch movies in bed with MY crumby grandkid! I hope one day you have siblings and/or cousins that can join us for sleepovers too. Just like my sister and I did, we will lay in bed and take turns making up stories. Your great-aunt Carly always threw some storyline involving poop in there. Grandma was cool so she didn’t get in trouble. We would just laugh and laugh. I can’t wait to hear the sound of your laughter!

When I think of the fun and joy you will bring into my life one day soon, I get a little teary eyed. Don’t think much of it. It’s something grown-ups do, cry when we’re happy. I look forward to the day we all get to meet you. I want to count your 10 fingers, nibble your 10 toes, kiss your chubby cheeks, smell your baby smell, and savor tiny cuddles. I can’t wait to read you bedtime stories. I’m already working on writing you one too. Your Mom & Dad, uncles, grandmas and grandpas, great-grandparents, great-great grandparents, great aunts & great uncles, and all of the family in between are also giddy with excitement. You’re already loved and adored, and we don’t even know your name yet.

Prepare to be spoiled, kiddo.




If you missed my first post in this challenge: Letter to an Alien (Letter Challenge #1)

Image from http://www.grandmaandgrandpagifts.com/

Letter to an Alien (Letter Challenge #1)

Jenny at Jenny In Neverland came up with a great blog challenge. She came up with a list of 10 recipients. Each Tuesday her blog will feature a letter to that recipient. She kicked the challenge off yesterday with the topic “Letter #1: An alien” (Letter Challenge #1). I am excited to participate!

Here is my first letter in the series. Please note, this letter does not reflect my true beliefs or views. It is PURELY SATIRICAL. Imagine an alien family (outer space alien, to be clear) has moved into your neighborhood. Most people would be curious. They would want to learn more about intergalactic culture, even befriend these new beings. They would want to help incorporate their customs into our society to make them feel welcome. In return, those same human beings would likely teach the aliens what we know about our origins and civilization. Indeed, most would proceed with open minds and open hearts. However, how long do you think it would take for one of your more intolerant, closed-minded neighbors to pen something like this? Ok, it probably wouldn’t be this exactly, but you get the idea…

Dear Alien,
Though we have never met face-to-face, I have a bone to pick with you. Among my peers I am known for always being on the cutting edge of the latest technologies. I have all of the newest electronics. I obtain my devices before they hit the market. My televisions are larger. My portables are smaller. My computers are faster. My phones are smarter. Now you appear on the scene and render my collection obsolete. I demand that you cease utilizing any technology available only to you while you are on my planet. There is an order to be followed in this society. I don’t care where you fall in line, as long as it is behind me.

I saw your children at the bus stop this morning. They don’t seem to be fitting in with the other kids. Perhaps they would have an easier time if you made them look a bit more normal. We live in a culture where there is an expectation to adhere to a standard. Those who do not fit within the constraints of what is predetermined to be conventional find ways to alter their appearance. They wear make-up, false fingernails and eyelashes, hair extensions, girdles, high heels and fashionable clothing to look like everyone else. If you don’t get your bald daughter a wig, she will never make friends here. At least get her a hat so others who pass through our community don’t notice that it is suddenly brimming with freaks. I hate to think of what that would do to our home values.

By the way, on Earth, we drive cars. We do not pilot spacecraft. The use of private jetliners is reserved for the elite on this planet. While the nouveau rich have regrettably infiltrated the ranks of the wealthy, to be elite your family must have possessed a fortune for generations. You and yours have not been here long enough to be considered part of that club. Also, we fill our cars with gasoline. If self-charging, solar vehicles such as yours become mainstream, it will cost a lot of folks, friends of mine, their vast fortunes. Here, big oil tells us where we will get our power and who will provide it. It is not the other way around. You are setting us up for mutiny by bucking this trend.

Speaking of your vehicle, the last time your son launched that spacecraft, he branded my yard. I have enclosed a bill for repairs, both labor and supplies. I also expect you to pay punitive damages. My lawn was once the envy of the neighborhood. Because of your carelessness, my neighbors have begun to laugh and scoff at my imperfect landscape. It was difficult to put a value on my pain and suffering, but $100,000 U.S. dollars should suffice. I appreciate your immediate attention to this situation.

If you don’t like it, maybe you should move home.

Citizen of an Intolerant, Dick Measuring, Me-First Society