For some reason, this spread on my publisher’s website fills me with wonder. That’s my book there, I keep telling myself. My book, that I wrote. That’s my name on the cover. Those are my thoughts, dreams, fears and joys folded into its pages. Does it ever get old? I hope not. If you’re a writer and want to know more about DartFrogPlus, visit their site:

https://dartfrogbooks.com/

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And by the way…that’s MY book!

Run, Writer, Run!

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When I started out to write fiction, I knew it all. After all, I had graduated with a BA in English, thank you very much, and therefore I knew lots of things. I knew that life is run by rules, and there are no exceptions to these rules.

Forrest Gump, one of the world’s great philosophers, knew this. He followed nature’s rules, didn’t he? When he got tired, he slept. When he got hungry, he ate. When he had to go, you know, he went. And he was happy.

It’s no different in English. I knew the rules, and I was proud of them.

Always use a semicolon to separate two complete clauses. There is no deviating from this rule.

Always allow two spaces after said semicolon, or a period, or a colon. Again, it’s the rule, dammit—no deviation.

A sentence must have a subject and a predicate. Every first grader knows this, duh. Anything else is a fragment, and against the rules of English and perhaps World Law.

All characters—ALL CHARACTERS!—in a story must use correct grammatical structure when speaking. Contractions are the devil. (All right, even I knew that one was probably kind of stupid, and I may even have made it up, but it was a rule.)

The point of view of each character must be explored in depth, even if multiple characters are thinking things at the same time. That’s the way life is.

Don’t put ideas into your reader’s head. If a character is angry, tell them he’s angry. Don’t spend valuable sentences describing how he looks or acts, that’s just confusing. For example, how much better to say “John was angry”, than “A flush worked its way up John’s face and his eyes flashed sparks.” I mean really. Maybe he’s just sick.

And then I joined The Write Practice and began meeting people who threw around words like “head-hopping”, and “show, don’t tell”. They told me I was using too many semi-colons (was that even possible?) and that it was much more interesting to let the reader figure out how John was feeling than just to tell him. Sacrilege!

But my new-found friends were writers, and like Forrest Gump they knew something I didn’t.

Life is like a box of chocolates. There’s no rule that says you have to like them all, or that they all have to be the same. And after a bit of huffing and puffing on my part I began to notice things. Like, my stories were a bit stilted and formal. My characters all sounded the same. No one cared if John was angry. I didn’t care if John was angry. So many thoughts revolving around in people’s heads were making my readers’ heads swim. Semi-colons were cropping up in my writing like dandelions.

And something happened. A feeling of lethargy began to work its way into my mind as I read my own work, and I wanted nothing more than to put the story down and take a nap. Translation: I was bored. With myself. (See what I did there? That was a fragment, and the world survived.)

This journey from first short story to published novel has taken its toll on my BA. I’ve learned that if a character lives in a trailer in rural Alabama and has no formal education, he’s not likely to say “I do not believe that you are correct, John.” If he did, a flush would rise in John’s face and he’d yell, “Hey, you messin’ with me?”

I’ve learned that a character should probably keep his thoughts to himself until it’s his turn to have a point of view.

I’ve learned that understanding the craft of writing takes a lifetime.

I’ve learned that I’m free to make mistakes, and fix them, and make some more. The world will not fall apart if my sentences are not grammatically correct, and many times they shouldn’t be.

Like young Forrest, I’ve shed my grammar brace and now I’m running full speed into my writing future. A flush is rising into my face and my eyes are flashing. A grin is spreading across my features as I contemplate the possibilities inherent in the art of writing fiction.

Writing is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re going to get. And that’s just fine. Thanks, Forrest.

Image by Emma Frances Logan: https://unsplash.com/@emmafranceslogan

On Writing Paranormal Fiction

Writing fiction with paranormal elements can be tricky, especially in a modern setting. You want your readers to suspend their disbelief and just go with the story. You don’t want them to roll their eyes because the concept of your paranormal world is too far-fetched. Today we’re talking with paranormal romance writer M MacKinnon to get her take on writing paranormal fiction.

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(An interview with Sarah Gribble of The Write Practice)

Paranormal elements in a story should be necessary and seem natural within the confines of the setting and plot. The paranormal should fit in because it feels right and makes sense for the plot of the story, not because you’re trying to jump on a popular trend.

Paranormal fiction is a genre I fell in love with at a young age, so I was super excited to talk with this month’s interviewee to discuss how she developed her paranormal romance series, The Highland Spirits Series.

M MacKinnon is the author of The Comyn’s Curse, a paranormal romance set in Scotland. She began her writing career with Downton Abbey fanfiction. Eventually, she found The Write Practice and completed the first draft of her novel in our 100 Day Book course last year. The Comyn’s Curse is out in select bookstores and online merchants as of today.

You can get in touch with M MacKinnon via her website (where she offers a free short story for signing up for her email list), Facebook, or Twitter.

Now let’s dive into MacKinnon’s paranormal world!

Congratulations on the release of your first novel, The Comyn’s Curse! Tell me a little about the book and the series it opens.

I had no idea what paranormal romance is. After my first stay (a month) in Inverness, Scotland, I came home with a driving urge to write something about the magic of the Scottish Highlands. I did some research on legends and found the legend of the handless ghost who is said to haunt Rait Castle, near Nairn.

Something about the one paragraph synopsis (it was all I could find anywhere) called to me, and I became quite irate on behalf of the ghost. She had no name and in some tales wasn’t even a woman! So I decided to write her story, give her a name and a romance, and draw a parallel between the woman who had lived and died in 1442 and a fictional American girl from New Jersey, who is her descendant.

The book is my love affair with Scotland, its history and mysteries.

Part way through the plotting of The Comyn’s Curse, I knew that there would have to be more—the story just had to continue. So I decided to make it a trilogy and dedicate the next two novels to Aubrey’s two best friends who had supported her through her travails.

The second features her friend Kate, a police detective, and the third is about her friend Colleen, a nurse. Each will have a real legend from the past, each will involve the girls traveling to Scotland and finding love in the Highlands, and each will have a mystery and danger beyond the ghost story. The Piper’s Warning, Kate’s story, is in second-draft phase, and The Healer’s Legacy, Colleen’s tale, is plotted and about three chapters in.

I’m glad I made the decision, because I love my characters, including my ghosts, and I want to do right by them.

The novel takes place primarily in Scotland. I know you visited the country to do research. Can you talk about your research process a bit? fullsizeoutput_980

 I really didn’t start my research until I came home, because the idea for the story didn’t come until then, but I was able to incorporate a lot of information gleaned as a tourist and quite a bit from the books I bought while there. I’m a huge history nut, and I tend to haunt bookstores (See what I did there?)

My research on Rait, a ruined hall castle outside Nairn, came about first through a Facebook group called “Save Rait Castle”. When we went back last August for our second visit, I went first to the members of that group, who are passionate about the preservation of what’s left of the castle, and asked if anyone would be willing to guide my husband and me on a pilgrimage to the castle.

We met a wonderful Scottish gentleman named Victor Cameron, who has an acknowledgement in the book, got to know him, and spent an amazing day touring the castle I had written about for almost four months! A truly emotional experience. In fact, I stood in the doorway of the castle and cried.

If you couldn’t’t have visited, how would you have gone about researching?

I would have had to rely on the library and my bookstores, as well as social media sites like the one I found. I probably wouldn’t have written a book based in Scotland, though, if I hadn’t been there to experience its magic.

The Comyn’s Curse is a paranormal romance novel that has a backdrop containing real places and current events. Ho do you weave paranormal elements into a modern story? What techniques do you use to walk that fine line between a reader’s suspended disbelief and being too far-fetched?

Well, I knew I needed to have a modern romance in order to make the story click, and I wanted to make the life (or afterlife) of my ghost a bit more pleasant than history did. So I decided to create a parallel between the two main characters in the book, with Aubrey, my protagonist, unknowingly being the descendant of the Rait Castle ghost. The curse was created in order to give a reason for the ghost to be hanging around, with Aubrey being the solution she has sought for almost seven hundred years.

I had both my modern protagonist and her ultimate love interest come together in a purely normal way, but then find the each was descended from one of the lovers of the past. The paths of both couples intersected at key points in the book.

What made you decide to include paranormal elements in this story? Did you want to go in that direction from the start?

Yes, the story started with the real legend of the ghost with no hands. I couldn’t find any more than a paragraph on her, anywhere, but something about her fate called to me and I felt I had to give her a better story than she had received in that one paragraph.

Even the castle is forgotten by many Scots who live very near it; they’d never heard of Rait Castle in the bookstore at the local Inverness mall! It just seemed wrong. I’ve righted history, and I think the ghost is very grateful.

Do you like to stay within paranormal canon, or make up your own ‘rules’ for your paranormal elements?

 Well, funny you should ask! The first (and only!) time I pitched the book was to a young agent who told me that she didn’t think my book was paranormal romance at all, and she should know because she dealt primarily with that genre.

I was fairly devastated because I suddenly felt “genre-less,” but other authors told me to stick with my own thoughts on my own story, and fortunately I did. I was somewhat relieved to see in the Kirkus review that my work was a “pleasing cross-genre novel” that had “something for everyone.”  It explained a lot.

 That’s tough to hear that from an agent. Did you think of cutting the paranormal elements to make it “fit” better in a genre?

No, I was never going to give up my ghost! I just felt that it was my fault that I hadn’t sold the concept in a pitch which lasted five minutes. The whole idea of trying to sell a book which includes history, romance, ghosts, and conspiracy in a few minutes was daunting, and frankly, I thought it was ridiculous.

What I did think about was how to find the genre in which the story fit best, and as I said to that agent, “well, it has ghosts, and romance, doesn’t it? How can that not be paranormal?”

She had no answer, which was fine with me.

Is there anything about writing the paranormal that was more difficult than sticking to reality?

 No, since the paranormal part of the story was actually real history, that was the easiest part. Making it fit the modern era was a bit more difficult, but as soon as I met Aubrey, my protagonist, everything fell into place. It just seemed right.

 You also have some espionage and mystery thrown in there. Can you talk about your plotting process?

I decided fairly early in the plotting that I would have not only the parallel stories of the past and present romances, but a mystery as well, because . . . well, I love mysteries. So I researched Brexit and invented a villain who was conspiring to undermine the new surge toward a second referendum for Scottish independence in the wake of Brexit.

I decided to structure the novel into “books” or parts, each beginning with a short piece from 1442, then two modern chapters, a modern “conspiracy” chapter from the POV [point of view] of the antagonist, and then two more modern chapters. The three stories parallel each other until the end, when they all come together in a climactic series of events.

 What’s one thing you’ve struggled with in your writing and how did you overcome it?

I think the main struggles have been with the mechanics faced by beginning authors, such as head-hopping, show don’t tell, and over-use of proper English. (I was an English major, and the idea of not using semicolons when two independent clauses are put together was very difficult to overcome at first!)

I also tend to edit as I go, rather than just writing and then going back to it later, which can cause thesaurus headaches and insomnia as I lie there rewriting in the darkness, but I’m not sure that’s such a bad thing. I suspect it’s just my style.

 Any other advice you’d like to give aspiring writers out there?

 Any chance you have to join a writer’s group like The Write Practice, any courses like 100 Day Book or NaNoWriMo, DO IT! Don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t have it in you, or that your story shouldn’t be told. Find a good editor and be accepting of his/her advice—there’s a reason they’re in that business.

My most fervent advice is to find other authors and share, critique and allow yourself to be critiqued. The more you help others with their writing, the more they’ll invest in yours, and everybody wins! I’ve made some amazing friends doing this, and I don’t think I’d be looking at the launch of my first novel in a three book series without them.

What’s next for you?

 After the launch of The Comyn’s Curse, I’ll refine and submit The Piper’s Warning, probably this summer. While that is going on I’ll dive back in head first to The Healer’s Legacy.

I have a YA fantasy novel, Slither, which is five chapters in and waiting patiently on the shelf for this Scottish stuff to be finished (I haven’t the heart to tell those characters that it may never be finished), and I fully intend to get back to that at some point.

I do think that fantasy and paranormal romance are my forte, but I’ll be staying in that genre, but I love mystery and may someday write a thriller too. Who knows? It’s part of the joy of writing, isn’t it?

Sarah Gribble

Sarah Gribble is the best-selling author of dozens of short stories that explore uncomfortable situations, basic fears, and the general awe and fascination of the unknown. She’s currently cooking up more ways to freak you out and working on a novel.

Follow her @sarahstypos or join her email list for free scares at https://sarah-gribble.com.

The Comyn’s Curse is now available!

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The Comyn’s Curse, first novel in the Highland Spirits series, is now out and available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and in select bookstores. I want to thank my publisher, DartFrogPlus, for bringing my dream to fruition.

Aubrey’s story would not have been possible without the unfailing help of my editor, Megan McKeever of New York Book Editors https://nybookeditors.com, or the tireless work of DartFrog.

As a part of the DartFrog commitment, I met an amazing marketing expert who has become a friend. Suanne Laqueur led me through the maze of Facebook author pages, mail campaigns, and Book Funnel accounts, explaining with incredible patience what had been a foreign language before.

I would be remiss if I did not give credit to an amazing group of writers and beta readers at The Write Practice: https://thewritepractice.com. Without their support and sincere editing help, the book might never have happened.

You can find the early reviews and more information on how to get a copy of The Comyn’s Curse on the front page of this website.

Books coming in the series:

The Piper’s Warning – Kate’s story

The Healer’s Legacy – Colleen’s story

Weird Events, Season 1

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The sequence of events chronicled below actually happened (correction: is happening)
to someone I know well. Sound familiar to anyone? You can’t make this stuff up, but I may use it in a story someday.

OK. I had an ah… interesting morning. I had to appear in county court at 8:30am after getting home about midnight and getting to sleep after 1am.

Last October: Pulled over for not stopping at a crosswalk.
– was told it’s “Pedestrian Awareness Month” – plainclothes cop was hiding on the curb at night (a revenue trap – there were four other cars pulled over at the same time)
– I couldn’t find my registration immediately so the cop who pulled me over went back to his car to write me up for it.
– when he returned, I had found it and showed it to him. He said it was too late (first weird thing)
– he said  ‘don’t worry it’s just a fixit ticket and all you have to do is take it to the sheriff’s station with proof of registration and they’ll sign off on it. No charge on the crosswalk violation.
– I said ‘great, station is right by my house. I’ll stop on the way home.’
– He said ’no, that would look suspicious. Do it in the morning.’ (second weird thing)
Next morning:
– stopped at Sheriff station and got it signed off (took like an hour)
– they told me I would have to mail in the $25 fee with citations do it at the courthouse
– I went to the courthouse immediately – was told it was not yet in the system so I couldn’t pay it
One week later:
– went to PO and sent money order with signed off citation
One month later:
– received citation and money order back with explanation it was still wasn’t in the system (third weird thing)
Over  the next few months I would check online and it would never be found in the system.
One month ago:
– received a Failure to Appear citation with a charge of $800 to pay off the whole thing or appear in court. I’d never received a summons. (fourth weird thing)
Next day:
– went to the courthouse and showed clerk the signed off ticket and the returned attempted payment
– was told he could reduce the payment to $400 or I could talk to the judge and maybe he’d dismiss it
This morning:
– appeared before the judge (who’d demonstrated severely assholish behavior for the past hour to everyone else)
– told him that it was a false charge and I’d never received a summons to appear.
– he said you don’t actually get a summons – you get it if you make no effort to resolve and pay for the citation
– told him I’d made many attempts, showed him the returned attempted payment as an example
– He said I had a choice to plead guilty and pay the $400 or go to trial
I pled not fucking guilty and my trial date is set for October.
Wonder what wonders await in season 2?

In Memory

This is a tribute to Colette, who during her short time on this earth changed the lives of those around her.  She left us wondering why such things are allowed to happen, why scientists in all their learned wisdom can’t solve these medical mysteries. It was written when those of us who loved her were forced to watch that which we had denied for so long come to pass.

A lovely young woman is leaving us.

She is a fighter, a beautiful, wild spirit, a joy to those fortunate enough to know her.

She has cystic fibrosis, and has known her whole life that she will die young.

The hospital visits, the cleansing of the lungs that gives a briefer respite each time, the endless medications; these have taken their toll.

The determination to live a normal life; the celebration of each day lived…the triumph of college, love, work; these have shaped a life worth living.

She is 22 years old, and she is tired. Tired of being sick. Tired of waiting for a cure that doesn’t come. Tired of the pity. She’s ready to go, but it is just so hard to let her.

She is the strongest person I have ever known, and the world has been blessed for a brief moment by her presence in it.

She is loved, and those who are loved by others never truly die. Live on, sweetheart.

The Twelve Days of Writing

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On the first day of writing my muse did give to me

A laptop to set on my knee.

On the second day of writing my muse did give to me

Two typing hands, and a laptop to set on my knee.

On the third day of writing my muse did give to me

A lovely Scrivener app, 

Two typing hands, 

And a laptop to set on my knee.

On the fourth day of writing my muse did give to me

Four hours alone,

A lovely Scrivener app, 

Two typing hands,

And a laptop to set on my knee.

On the fifth day of writing my muse did give to me

FIVE CUPS OF COFFEE!

Four hours alone,

A lovely Scrivener app, 

Two typing hands,

And a laptop to set on my knee.

On the sixth day of writing my muse did give to me

Six grammar errors…

FIVE CUPS OF COFFEE!

Four hours alone,

A lovely Scrivener app, 

Two typing hands,

And a laptop to set on my knee.

On the seventh day of writing my muse did give to me

Seven engaging characters,

Six grammar errors…

FIVE CUPS OF COFFEE!

Four hours alone,

A lovely Scrivener app, 

Two typing hands,

And a laptop to set on my knee.

On the eighth day of writing my muse did give to me

Eight possible titles,

Seven engaging characters,

Six grammar errors…

FIVE CUPS OF COFFEE!

Four hours alone,

A lovely Scrivener app, 

Two typing hands,

And a laptop to set on my knee.

On the ninth day of writing my muse did give to me,

Nine POV switches,

Eight possible titles,

Seven engaging characters,

Six grammar errors…

FIVE CUPS OF COFFEE!

Four hours alone,

A lovely Scrivener app, 

Two typing hands,

And a laptop to set on my knee.

On the tenth day of writing my muse did give to me

Ten sticky plot points,

Nine POV switches,

Eight possible titles,

Seven engaging characters,

Six grammar errors…

FIVE CUPS OF COFFEE!

Four hours alone,

A lovely Scrivener app, 

Two typing hands,

And a laptop to set on my knee.

On the eleventh day of writing my muse did give to me

Eleven sips of Scotch,

Ten sticky plot points,

Nine POV switches,

Eight possible titles,

Seven engaging characters,

Six grammar errors…

FIVE CUPS OF COFFEE!

Four hours alone,

A lovely Scrivener app, 

Two typing hands,

And a laptop to set on my knee.

On the twelfth day of writing my muse abandoned me,

Who knows where she can be?

Oh, well, I’m a writer.  I still have—

Eleven sips of Scotch,

Ten sticky plot points,

Nine POV switches,

Eight possible titles,

Seven engaging characters,

Six grammar errors…

FIVE CUPS OF COFFEE!

Four hours alone,

A lovely Scrivener app, 

Two typing hands,

And a laptop to set on my knee!

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to Writers Everywhere!

 

“Whiskey Dreams” is on Amazon!

Please download and leave a review.  A review on Amazon…Ahh, yes.

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“You made me feel the pain of being young. The terror of helplessness when your kids get into something. The wistful pleasure of romance and the desire to have it be that way again.” Michael McShane, author, “Quaoar and Tukupar Itar”

This story is well-written and engaging. It hooked me right away, and I read faster and faster to find out what would happen. Susan Liddle, author, “Lady Luck Meets her Match”

They say our lives flash before our eyes just before we are about to die. You take this premise and run with it and I loved the surprising direction it went in. Wouldn’t we all like to have a second chance? Wouldn’t we all like to return to the past and fix our mistakes?… An uplifting story on the theme of regrets.”  Susan Zenker, author, “Puppy Love”

 

In Defense of the Semicolon

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I love the semicolon.  I adore that unprepossessing little mark that situates itself between clauses that could very well stand on their own but just aren’t sure they can pull it off without help.  Honest and brave, the semicolon—a true diplomat.  

“Yes, sir,” it says.  I am fully aware that you are a clause of complete thought, having a subject and a verb, and are therefore worthy of the greatest respect.  But you see, sir, this clause coming along right behind you has something to add.  It complements you;  it makes you look good. (See what I did there?)

The semicolon is well aware that it must share the burden with its cousins, the flighty comma, the rigid period, the dreamy ellipsis and the flashy dash.  It is told, by writers who have achieved great success by ignoring it, that it is unnecessary, superfluous, and stuffy.  Any number of words quite hurtful to a mark of distinction that seeks only to serve the larger narrative.  

And so it waits.  Knowing that writers love to string thoughts together, it sits on the grammar shelf gathering dust, waiting for those two perfect clauses to come calling. 

The comma has no such detractors.  It is considered the epitome of good writing to insert commas into one’s writing regardless of the clausibility of the series.  I point to the following as my exhibit A: 

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to Heaven, we were all going direct the other way—in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison.

Now, no one would argue that A Tale of Two Cities is among the world’s great books, or have the temerity to suggest that Charles Dickens might have a teensy comma problem.  But if I wrote that particular paragraph, I would be accused of running my sentences together without appropriate punctuation.  I humbly suggest that a semicolon or a period or two might not have gone amiss.

And speaking of the period—I have nothing against that little dot.  What would our writing be like if we could never stop for breath?  It is important.  It is necessary.  It just. has. too. much. power.  It does not equivocate.  It demands a full stop, and there is no further discussion.  I just sometimes feel that I don’t want to smell the brake dust while reading a passage.  I just want to slow down, give it some thought, and then move on in the dance of words.

The ellipsis…ahh, the ellipsis…that is in a different category altogether…I am quite fond of the ellipsis myself…it signals a cessation of thought, speech, breathing…sometimes the very heartbeat of the reader…as though the author wished for her writing to be the last thing experienced this side of the veil… it can therefore be dangerous and should not be attempted by the amateur…

Which brings me to the dash family.  The hyphen, the en dash, and the em dash are all cousins, but their uses vary greatly—I will be speaking of the em dash here—the one that just eliminates large pieces of thought—a bigger bully or lazier punctuation mark I have never seen since—well, you get the picture.  In the words of our period, enough. said.

So, I will now return to my defense of that most abused of all punctuation marks, the semicolon;  it seems to get a bad rap;  I do not know why;  there is a pause in the narrative;  the reader, however, can expect the passage to end at some point;  all clauses are connected by some fundamental purpose;  the meaning is complementary and clear;  in short, the semicolon is my hero.

I have been told that I overuse the semicolon;  I don’t know why.  It is a wonderful little tool…I have forgotten how many times I’ve needed it to express—the meaning should be clear, and I don’t. want. to. give. it. up. 

Disclaimer:  No punctuation marks were injured during the writing of this essay, although several were annoyed.

Sister

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I had to write something for a family member as an assignment for my Story Cartel on Becoming Writer (The Write Practice).  After sending it to my sister I published it in the cartel workshop, and now I’m putting it here, because…well, just because.

Sister

I wanted a sister, and my mother refused to produce one.

It wasn’t that I was an only child.  No such luck.  She had three more after me…all boys.  I was gracious after the first one (well, I was two, so pretty mindless about it then), and I gave her a pass after the second, but when she came home from the hospital with the third boy, I just lost it.  

“Take it back!”  I screamed, melting down into a lovely tantrum which contained all the despair and frustration of having to share my life with yet another boy.  “I told you I didn’t want another brother!  Take it back to the hospital and don’t come back without a girl!”  As if any sensible infant, girl or boy, would want to live in a home with a screaming banshee in it.  But my poor third brother had no choice, and I wasn’t in charge after all, so in he came.

Four years later, the law of averages finally kicking in, my mother had a girl. Too little, too late.   I was twelve years old by then, way too ancient to bond with an infant.  She was cute, and cuddly, and I got to change all the diapers I wanted.  Turns out girl diapers aren’t much different than boy diapers when all is said and done.  They all stink.  And I was into school stuff by then;  no time for a baby of any sex.  She grew up closer to the brothers than to me, and I had a pre-teen and then a teenage life to lead, so I didn’t mind much.  

I went off to college, where I met my future husband, and saw my sister as if through a glass darkly, in little snippets of visits during holidays.  After I was married I moved away, and saw her even less.  The sister I’d wanted so badly was a stranger.

Then something happened.  My sister grew up, and that magic that shrinks the years between began to bring us closer together.  We were both adults;  we had things to talk about.  And I found that my sister was a real person, a human being who was actually much like me.  We shared a wry sense of humor, we could both be bitches at times—don’t ask the brothers how many times—and we realised that we liked each other.

We live across the country from each other now;  I have kids and she has dogs.  But when we get together, the magic is there.  We laugh, sometimes we cry, we bake brownies and eat chips…we love.

I have a sister.