The central coast of California's yearly
rainfall averages about 20 inches, and Christmas day is usually warm and sunny.
So it is hard to imagine on Christmas Eve in 1846 a rainstorm heavy enough to kill horses almost devastated Fremont’s battalion as they marched over the Santa Ynez Mountains during the Mexican- American War.
José spent that unhappy night sheltered
from this terrible storm in a cold, dark cave.
After his parents separated, Christmas for Tim McGrew was not happy either.
Geema pulled a fluttery-winged angel out of the box and held it up to the light. It looked like a huge, silver firefly. “This wishing angel belongs on the top. Every Christmas, Pop always topped the tree with it to wish on. Tim-Tom, you’re the man in the family now, so it’s your job.”
A baseball-sized lump felt stuck in my throat. Me? I’m just a kid. I wasn’t supposed to be the man in the family? Not me. Dad should be here.
Geema’s hair was twisted in a crazy topknot and decorated with a blue Christmas bow. She smiled at me, but her eyes looked kind of sad. She must miss Pop. My chest ached where my heart was supposed to be, and I took a deep breath, swallowed the glob of anger, and went to get a stepladder.
As I climbed up, Geema steadied the ladder and handed me the angel. “Make sure it’s straight,” Betz said. With four women bossing me, I fastened the angel on the twiggy top.
I clambered down and then took the stepladder back to the hall closet where Pop’s old jacket was hanging. The smell of his pipe tobacco still clung to the sleeve. If Pop were here, he’d know what to do about Dad.
What was up with Dad anyway? Didn’t he miss us? He was away on the road a lot, but our family was always together on Christmas. He’d drive us around the neighborhood with my sisters “oohing” and “ahhing” over the bright Christmas lights, the rearing reindeer, and the Santas and elves.
In the living room, the string of lights was plugged in, and the tree shimmered red, blue and green. On top, the angel’s silvery wings glowed. I squeezed my eyes shut and wished that Dad and Mom would get back together, and we’d be a family again.
Find my books on Amazon
Or Whimsical Publicaitons
I had a wonderful time at the Nipomo Library visiting with family and friends who helped me celebrate the release of my latest young adult novel, Remedy.
Thank you, Beverly Stowe McClure, for tagging me to participate in The Next Big Thing Blog Hop. The hop rules require me to answer 10 predetermined questions, and then at the bottom of my post, I’ve listed authors who will answer the same ten questions on their blogs next Wednesday.
What is the title of your latest book?
My young adult novel Remedy was just released in September.
Where did the idea come from for Remedy?
I once wrote and illustrated a story for one of my riding students who owned a miniature burro. That story led me to write and illustrate the DANA Burro Picture Book Series.
Then I went to see the wild burros when the Bureau of Land Management brought them to a nearby town to be adopted. They were charming and inspired me to write Remedy.
What genre does your book fall under?
Remedy is a YA family/animal story told from two points of view, boy and burro.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Thirteen-year-old Tim and feisty Laney should be played by new, unknown actors. Glenn Close or maybe Cher would be perfect for the role of the whacky, psychic grandma.
What is the one-sentence synopsis of Remedy?
Tim McGrew thought things couldn’t get worse--until his family moves to his grandparent’s remote ranch on Nowhere Mountain.
Who published your book?
Both my young adult novels are published by Whimsical
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
At least a year. I write slowly, and my characters evolve as I write. My stories are set aside for a few months, revised many times, and shared with my critique group before I submit them to my publisher.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
The dog in Because of Winn-Dixie filled a void in India Opal’s life like the burro did in Tim’s. And the offbeat grandmother in A
Year Down Yonder made me laugh. Tim’s grandmother is a hoot too.
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
Animals play big roles in all my stories. I’m inspired by the horses and all the wonderful pets I’ve known. Over the years, they have brought me joy, and comforted me if I felt lonely or sad. When I was about seven-years-old, I was attacked by a vicious dog, and our family’s loyal dog Puppy saved me from being torn to shreds. So it's easy to understand why animals hold a special place in my heart.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
Remedy’s cover is so charming. The wise-eyed burro, cute dog, and sulky-faced boy invite the reader to pick up the book.
Next Wednesday check out these author's blogs to find out about their Next Big Thing.
My friend and fellow YA author, Beverly Stowe McClure, kindly
included me in her wonderful blog.
Check it out at: