Coupon Code LC43V for a FREE ebook copy of "Minutes Of Mayhem," has been extended through Dec. 31st!
Believe it or not, I'm more excited to have as many people as possible see that tree, than read my book! I'm just drawn to that incredible image, and think about it a lot. I'm debating having it made into a large print for my living room. Just think how old that tree must be? Up close, you could see it had survived a fire at some point. Just an awesome looking bit of nature, that's for sure. If it wasn't for the horrid drive to get up there, I would go back just to take some more pictures!
Have a great day, and please pass this along!
Saturday, June 14, 2014
Recently redid the cover for one of my books, and LOVE how it came out! This picture was taken with a cellphone!! The tree sits at the top of a cliff in the ghost town of Silver City, Idaho. After a short hike, I sat on the tree roots to rest while my daughter explored the graveyard. The Travel Channel had mentioned Silver City on a recent show (wish they would have mentioned 4 wheel drive is helpful to get there). No electricity, snowed in during winter, with outhouses throughout, the town has an official winter population of 2.
If you're interested, get a free ebook copy of this book at Smashwords.com. using coupon code LC43V which expires July 9th. Feel free to pass the coupon on, too, and reviews are always welcome.
Posted by M.T.O'Neil, indie author at 4:13 PM
Monday, August 20, 2012
She sat in her recliner, watching a couple of squirrels play in the lower limbs of the tree outside the front window. She could remember when her late husband had first planted it, thirty-five years earlier. The boys had been small then, thrilled with all the space they had to play in, inside and out. The house wasn't a big one, but it had seemed that way to them after the confines of the small apartment they had all previously known as home.
She longed for those simple days again. She hadn't really appreciated her life then, not like she did now, looking back. The things that had seemed so all important then, really hadn't been. Now, all she really had to look forward to, was death. She was old. What else was there left to look forward to?
Ironic, she though. Back then she could remember chiding herself for having worried so much about what others had thought of her back in her junior high days. She could even remember discussing with her husband how clueless they both had been about real life at age thirteen. For her, it had been the humiliation of wearing generic jeans, instead of the popular name brands. She couldn't remember for sure, after all these years, but she seemed to recall her husband talking about the short haircuts his mother had insisted on, at a time when longer locks were more hip. Whatever it was, they had both laughed about how truly inconsequential such concerns had been, when compared to the real life issues of paying bills and parenting.
The same was true now, she realized. Those bill paying issues especially. Important, yes, but not so much as other things. Parenting? Important, too, but such an honor it had been. She had focused on it as a chore in those days. How wrong she had been! She wondered, these days, if that lack of patience she had shown with her sons back then, had impacted their personalities. They were both good men, though they weren't both successful.
She smiled, recalling Don's surprise visit earlier that day. He took care of everything for her, the kinds of things her husband once had. She didn't need to worry about paying bills or doing taxes, thanks to Don. He regularly called, and the long phone conversations she'd have with him made up for the lack of visits over the years. He lived on the other side of the country with his family, and she had always hated flying, so things had just worked out the way they had. She knew he loved her, and she knew he cared. Certainly his coming on the spur of the moment today had confirmed that.
She hadn't realized how her stressful mood had come through in their last conversation. Life with Doug was nothing but a daily strain, but she would make an effort to cover her feelings in the future. Her older son had taken a lot of knocks in life, and he just needed some time to get back on his feet. His daily drinking was a concern, but she knew he would eventually get over that. It was just a phase. He'd been hurt badly by women, and had come back home to nurse his wounds. She would never throw the poor child out, which Don had suggested doing.
She took a deep sigh, looking forward to going to look at nursing homes with her younger son the next day, as he had planned. The decision was hers, he had told her (and she would certainly decline), but she had agreed to go look with him, so he would think she was really giving it some consideration. It would be nice to get out, too, to some place other than a doctor's office.
She sighed again, realizing that real worries in life were for those you loved. Though she'd been thrilled to see Don, Doug had been very unwelcoming. He had picked petty arguments with his younger brother the entire time he had been there. Doug had felt threatened, she realized, and it had to be because he had nowhere else to go. She couldn't expect Don to understand that helplessness his brother felt. Don had a good job, a loving family, and a beautiful home. Doug had nothing but heartache and disappointment in his past.
Tomorrow, perhaps, her boys would get along a little better. Don had gone to check in at his motel, and Doug had taken the car to see his friend, Steve. She knew he wouldn't be home until the early morning hours.
She would enjoy the time she would spend with her visiting son, but there was no way she would agree to move from her home. Doug still needed her. At least she still had a purpose in life, she decided.
Don unpacked the remains of his suitcase, hanging his clothes up in the small closet in the motel room. Though he'd only arrived that day, he was already eager to go home. It had been depressing to go back to his childhood home. His mother's appearance had been somewhat shocking. Talking to her on the phone, he always tended to picture her as he remembered her. Her voice still sounded the same. In person, though, he could see how much she'd aged. The hair completely gray now, and the face visibly wrinkled in spite of her excess weight, he'd been surprised to see the difficulty she had in simply walking from one room to the next.
It explained the lack of cleanliness in the once spotless home he'd grown up in. It was clear his brother, Doug, took no part in doing housework. Or yard work, either, he thought bitterly. The lawn he remembered his father laboring over every Saturday, was now overgrown with weeds. Were it not for the car parked in his mother's driveway, one would think the home was abandoned by its appearance.
He sat down on the edge of the bed and picked up the phone to call Dana. He needed to hear her voice, and hoped she was somewhere that she would be able to answer her cellphone.
She answered on the second ring. “Hi, Honey. How did it go?”
He tried to keep the sarcasm out of his voice as he answered, “Great. She agreed to go look with me tomorrow.”
“I think it was more for show.”
“Was Doug any help?”
“Are you kidding me?” he answered incredulously. “You should see the place. Trust me, that lazy brother of mine is no help to anyone.”
“How did he take the news about trying to move her into a retirement home?”
“Acted insulted, basically. Feels he's doing a great job of taking care of her. What he believes he's doing to help is beyond me. It was awful, Dana, just filthy and awful.”
“If you're right, and she won't agree, what are you going to do?”
“I figured I'd look into some house cleaning and lawn care services, so at least she doesn't have to live like she is now.”
“What about the car?”
“Didn't broach that subject yet. With either of them. Actually, given the way Doug acted today, I think I might be better off taking the car and then tell him. I don't know. He isn't the brother I remember, Dana. He really isn't.”
“I'm sorry, Honey,” she murmured, not sure what she could say to make him feel better.
Don was silent a moment, before changing the subject. “Any word on Jenny?”
“She's doing better, but they still don't know what's wrong. They're going to release her from the hospital again.”
“Maybe she'll continue to get better, Dana. Maybe she won't relapse again.”
“If only they knew what was wrong with her, that's the problem.” Dana felt a little guilty that she and her sister were so close, while Don and his brother were nearly estranged.
“They'll find something, Dana. She's going to be okay.”
“I thought I'd take some freezer casseroles over for them, so they don't need to worry about cooking or anything else for awhile.”
“That's a great idea. Hey, make that chicken tortilla casserole of yours! That's one of your best ones.”
“Thank you . . . . . is that hint for when you come back?”
“Could be,” he answered, grinning.
“I miss you already.”
“I miss you, too.”
A few minutes later he hung up the phone and picked up the phone book to look for local housekeeping services. He'd gather the phone numbers he might need to call the next day, before heading out someplace to get a bite to eat. It had been a long day.
Posted by M.T.O'Neil, indie author at 9:33 AM
Sunday, August 12, 2012
“It's what she doesn't say, that bothers me.” Don closed his cellphone and set it down on the end table, concern creasing his forehead.
“I think you worry too much,” his wife responded. “You do a lot more than most kids do for their parents.”
“She belongs in a home.”
“She doesn't want to be in one.”
“But she needs to be. It's only because of Doug that she won't agree to it.”
“Honey, maybe your brother is doing a lot more for her than you think.”
He looked at his wife with a mixture of sorrow and pity. “I know you want to believe that, Dana, but I know better. He may talk a good talk, but it's all lies. Always has been.”
“Maybe he's changed.”
“Maybe the tooth fairy will pay for Mom's new dentures.” He stood up, gazing out the front window at some boys playing outside. He remembered when he and his older brother had done the same, so many years ago. Doug had been his hero then, more inspiring to him than any comic book super hero. But he did recall the older boy had a penchant for lying, even then.
“Don, what exactly is it that she said? Or didn't say, as you put it?”
“She took a cab to the appointment. Said Doug lost his license, because of the last DUI.”
“Well, then, what's wrong with that? She can't drive herself anymore.”
“He didn't go with her, Dana. Mom said he was busy.”
“Maybe he was.”
“For God's sake, Dana, the man lives there rent free. The least he could do, is go with her when she needs to go places. She wouldn't say what he was busy doing, but he wasn't at home.”
“How do you know?”
“She let that slip, then wanted to change the subject. Doesn't ever want to say anything against her precious, oldest child.”
“Don. . . “
“Dana, you know I'm right. It's not a jealousy thing, no matter what you may think. I'm willing to bet he was drinking his afternoon away.”
“Don't assume . . .”
“Probably drove the car there, too. I don't picture him walking through the neighborhood, and there isn't a bus that goes through it.”
“If you really believe that, Don, then maybe it's time to sell the car. You do have power of attorney over everything.”
He smiled over at his wife, grateful. “You read my mind. I was just thinking the same thing.”
“Do you think she'll be upset?”
“Only if my brother puts her up to it. I can take care of everything from here, though, and I'll make the arrangements for the car to be picked up before I tell them.”
She looked down at her lap for a moment, carefully choosing her words before speaking again. “You realize you could have her put in a home whether she wants to go or not, don't you? If you really think that's what's best?”
He took a deep breath. “I don't want my mother to hate me, and that's also a decision I could never make without physically being there. I do understand her wanting her independence, but I truly believe that if Doug weren't there, she would be more receptive to the whole idea.”
“Maybe you ought to consider going out to visit. We can't all go, I know, but maybe you should. It might be a little easier to handle the car situation, too.”
“Might be a good idea,” he mused.
Don reflected over the last phone conversation. His mother had sounded strained, but insisted she was fine. He was well aware of her deteriorating health, but it was something else in her voice that had bothered him. A tenseness.
He made a point of talking to her at least twice a month, sent money every month, and occasionally spoke with his brother as well. He handled all of her bills and finances, the money he sent going into a checking account strictly for groceries and everyday needs. He knew she spent a lot more than he would have expected, even considering Doug's presence, but he suspected she gave him an allowance of his own. That was her option to do so, of course. Still, seeing things in person, especially during an unannounced visit, might give him a truer picture than he could gain through phone calls and paperwork.
“Really, Don, I think you should. You'll feel better about any decisions you make.”
“Maybe I can get her to really consider a retirement home. I need to talk to Doug, too. The sooner he realizes that he can't live with her forever, the better.”
When Doug had first moved back in with Mom, they had understood it to be just a temporary situation. His fiance had thrown him out, and although Doug had made himself out to be the victim, Don was sure it had been justified. Two failed marriages and an arrest record tended to discredit any explanations his brother had provided. Still, Mom would always believe her eldest son was perfect, no matter what the facts might be.
“I'm surprised he hasn't moved out and gotten a life of his own.”
“You don't know my brother very well, do you?”
“Maybe not,” she conceded. “It doesn't matter, Don. You do what needs to be done. I trust your judgment, and deep down, your mother does, too.”
“I really appreciate your understanding, Dana. It would be so much easier if she lived close by, like your parents do.”
“But she doesn't, so if you need to go, then you need to go.”
Grateful of his wife's support, worried about what he might discover if he went, but determined to do the best he could for his mother's welfare, Don nodded in silent agreement. He cast another wistful glance at the boys playing outside.
“You know, I may not know your brother very well, but something I do know, ” she said slowly, as she got up and came over to hug her husband, “is that I got the best one of her boys!”
In spite of himself, Don grinned. “I got pretty lucky myself. I should thank your parents sometime.”
He stroked her cheek gently before turning his head to kiss her. Nineteen years of marriage, three kids of their own, and they still enjoyed each other in every way. He had been lucky to find her, and sometimes did feel a little pity for his older brother. With a good woman behind him, perhaps Doug would have turned out a bit differently.
Dana pulled back, smiling up at her husband. “We do have the house to ourselves tonight, you know,” she reminded him, eyes twinkling.
Don raised an eyebrow, chuckling quietly. “And I hear there's nothing on t.v. worth watching.”
“Guess we'll have to find something to keep us busy.”
“Apparently so. . . . .any suggestions?”
“I was hoping you might have some ideas.”
“Oh, I have ideas. . . .”
They were both giggling like high school students when the catchy melody of Dana's cellphone interrupted them. Recognizing the tune, knowing who was calling, she answered it quickly, watching Don's face as she listened to the caller.
“Jenny's back in the hospital,” she mouthed to him, as her eyes began to fill with tears.
Have a good week, and Chapter Four will be available next Monday!
Posted by M.T.O'Neil, indie author at 11:20 PM