The Changing of Time

When I was young, summer lasted for ages. Endless, languid days were spent frolicking on freshly cut grass, inhaling the fragrance of mower clippings, on our backs, hands shielding faces from the sun, identifying shapes of clouds against pool-blue skies. The perpetual excitement that arose as music from the ice cream truck grew louder culminated in a reward of ice pops dribbling down our arms in the heat because we couldn’t eat them fast enough. I swear it didn’t get dark until 9:30 p.m. in the 70’s. And no, I didn’t live in Alaska. 

We lived entire lifetimes in three months. 

As a mother to two young boys, the season felt extended as well. With no school schedules to fall back on, it was a challenge to keep these energetic beings busy on hot days. Parks and pools with friends, beach outings followed by thorough bath times trying to extract sand from tiny crevices, catching fireflies in the yard. All of us finally dropping into slumber only to start over again at the crack of dawn with What are we doing today, Mommy?  And if it rained? Oy.

Fun? For sure. Long? Definitely.

Now, our grown boys make their own schedules, leaving my husband and I to embrace the warm months ourselves. But the new pace of the solstice moon is relentless. Where once upon a time days lasted weeks, and weeks, months, now, our callous attitudes have us declare the summer almost over by July fourth.

The hands of the clock have grown stronger – this new strength moving time with merciless speed. Days bleed into each other until, without warning, leaves are burnt oranges and reds whirling in the wind of autumn and we have little to show for the warm season. Summers that long ago brought us joy and freedom are now fragments of time, gone too soon. 

We’re at the point in our journey where we’re peering over that proverbial hill. On the other side, life is supposed to take on a leisurely pace. We’ll stress less, eventually work less, and maybe, maybe, the clock will slow down once again. I hope so.

Truce!

In summer, we like to be outside enjoying the warm weather in the backyard. Especially this year, having just come out of a Netflix-heavy winter, it’s the first in a long time we have no travel plans.

July, though, was a rainy month. During a particularly wet evening, my husband suggested we sit out on our covered front porch. With a bottle of red and two rocking chairs, we watched the rain, listened to the soothing sounds of rolling thunder, and talked for hours.

It was wonderful.

Two nights later, more rain. Back to the porch, to the music of raindrops on dogwood leaves, on warm bricks along the walkway, to the clink of glasses as we toasted to the end of another day.

Truce, we say, our toast ever since I laughingly fumbled my words earlier in the season.

It’s been a strange fifteen months. We’re still adjusting to the changes in our world: working from home, fewer outings with friends, continuous together time.

We broke our quick tradition the following evening, sitting on the rockers when orange and pink replaced the gray sky. As the sky darkened, we watched fireflies dot the front lawn, the baby rabbits that seemed to have materialized this summer more than any other, graze the grass. Maybe we didn’t notice them in the past because we were too busy. Running out. Away on vacations. On the couch.

A car drove by. Neighbors walked their dog past.

“What do you think people are saying about us?” my husband asked as the Shepard pulled the couple along.

“There are those alcoholics who think they live in Brooklyn.”

He sipped. “You think?”

“No. They’re saying can you believe those old people still enjoy each other’s company?”

The truth is, we don’t care. We have a lot to celebrate: summer, marriage, friendship. Life.

A few weeks ago, during another night on the porch, a friend passed by on his way home from work, saw us and stopped. He sprinted up the driveway, dodging raindrops. We poured him a glass of wine and caught up. When his suit dried, he left us to continue home.

It’s August already. Things are moving fast, so we’re making every effort not to. If we’ve learned nothing else from the past year, it’s that slowing down is a good thing. Do what brings you joy.

Sitting on the porch in the rain with my husband brings me joy.

I put dinner in the oven the other night. He walked into the kitchen. “Is that thunder?”

We stopped to listen. I smiled.

“I’ll get the glasses.”

Thank you

Hi Everyone,

Happy summer! I hope you’re enjoying the warm weather. I worked on my garden this past weekend. My veggies and herbs are coming along nicely. It brings me such joy to  watch the plants grow and change as the season progresses.

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Speaking of gardening, my new book, Seasons Out of Timehas been out for one month already! So, I thought I’d take this opportunity to express my gratitude to all of you who have reached out via Facebook, email, Instagram, and text, to offer support and praise of the story. After months and months of working on it, your kind words mean everything. I want you to know I cherish every note and message.

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No, this is not me. A lovely reader sent this. I so want to be there. 

Hearing from you is my favorite part of this whole journey, so please keep the messages and pictures coming. And let me know how you’re doing, your plans for the summer. If you’re growing a garden, share a picture. We can root for each other. 🙂

I have a favor to ask. If you’ve read Seasons Out of Time and enjoyed it, may I ask that you spare a minute to post an honest review on Amazon, Goodreads, or Barnes & Noble, etc, so that others may find it? Reviews are so incredibly important to authors. They are the best way to get the word out about a book. You don’t have to be prophetic, just speak from the heart. A sentence or two is all you need. This is a judge-free zone. I promise.

Finally, I am so happy to share the new covers for Both Sides of Love and Letting Go. My fantabulous graphic artist, Suzanne Fyhrie Parrott, designed them. Here is Suzanne’s link. Though I love the originals, we felt it was time for an update.

 

Well, that’s it for now. I wish you a safe, happy summer. Hope to hear from you!

Love, Kim

 

 

Messages

Every day for the past several weeks, a cardinal flies to the weeping cherry tree just outside of my dining room window where I work. He flits happily among the gently swinging branches, his vibrant red feathers a glorious contrast to the lime green leaves that quiver in his wake.

Each day, I watch him while he visits, mesmerized, unable to do much else until he  leaves for another destination. I’d never seen him before this spring, though he may have been here before. Cardinals are non-migratory birds that mate for life and put down roots, so he must have settled nearby. Until now, I’d been too busy to notice.

Now, I wait for him, and each day I’m rewarded. I watch him jump and flit and play among the swaying leaves in the tree outside my window. I listen to his song and wonder who he is serenading, peering out through the glass in search of his lucky mate.

Many believe cardinals deliver messages from loved ones who have passed, to let us know they are with us and watching over us. I take comfort in this thought. But to me, he is also a sign of life, of beauty, and joy. Especially now. I’m transfixed. IMG_7425

Life, beauty, and joy. It’s all around us. We just have to pay attention.

Gardening & Life

Hello! I hope you’re all doing well and keeping safe. I woke up this morning to sunshine and warm air. Here in the Northeast, Spring has arrived! You know what that means… Time to bring these babies outside.

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In the past, I’d been too busy with work, family, and writing to pre-plan a garden. I was the one scrambling late in the season, running to the garden center to pick up infant crops to plant out back.

This year, well, you know what happened. We’ve been sheltered in place, doing the best we can while staying safely at home for the past 8 weeks. Suddenly, I have time to think, and to consider my garden. So, with the bug from last year’s successful harvest of my first seeded sunflower (pic right), I dedicated a sunny space in the living room, bought some soil, pots, and seeds, and started my very first indoor “victory” garden.

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The most beautiful thing I’d ever grown (other than my boys)

Every morning, I checked on my pots, marveled at the sprouted greens through the soil, and enjoyed watching their growth. Watering them daily and adjusting their position throughout the day to get the most sunlight became routine, calming, predictable. I found my rhythm.

But, as plants and flowers tend to do, they’ve outgrown their small pots and they’re ready for the great outdoors. I need to let them go, allow them to plant roots outside where they belong, and do what they do best: provide beauty, food, and thrive.

As in life, the rhythms we find change. We settle into a comfortable routine only to face the next phase of our lives.

Parenting is like planting, but waaaay more terrifying. We raise these children, and before we’re ready, they leave, searching for their place in the world. We’re left to face our days without them. We adjust.

In Seasons Out of Time, which comes out next Friday, Heather Harrison just dropped her only child at college hundreds of miles away, and she too faces the next phase of her life. No longer a wife, or a full-time mom, she must re-define who she is and how she’ll fill the long, empty days ahead.

And so begins her journey of self-discovery in the most unconventional way.

SoT

This gorgeous cover was designed by my talented designer and friend, Suzanne Fyhrie Parrott of First Steps Publishing

Have you pre-ordered your ebook? If you do, it will arrive on your kindle Friday, May 22nd  in time for the holiday weekend. The paperback version will be available to order that day too. Here’s the link: Amazon

I’m excited, nervous, and hopeful that you’ll love the story as much as I do.

Until then, I wish you health, peace, and sunshine.

Love, Kim

 

 

To Say Goodbye

We never quite know what our last words will be to those we love. We part ways with a hug, a kiss, or a wave, without a second thought.

You left us a few days ago, during this strange time, and we weren’t there to say Goodbye. Instead, we’re left with mixed emotions: sadness, frustration, regret, and love.

There are things I want to say. I’m sorry. I’m sorry everyone who loved you couldn’t be by your side during your last days.

If I knew our last conversation would be our last, I would have said, Thank you.

Thank you for being the kind, humble, and giving man that you were.
Thank you for loving my children.
Thank you for teaching my husband how to sail, and for countless days on the water all those summers ago.
Thank you for sharing stories of your youth, and teaching us the history of our town.
Thank you for loving my mother for the past twenty-five years.
Thank you for sharing your family with our family.
Thank you for the wonderful memories that we have to hold onto.

As you sail into the setting sun, with the warm wind at your back, I pray you are at peace.

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James I. Baylis 1930- 2020

What to Read

Hi Again! I hope you’re all doing well. I had posted the sale of one of my books last weekend on Facebook (Both Sides of Love for .99 until tomorrow!) and promised to return with other book recommendations.

For me, reading is a great escape, and there’s no better time than now to lose yourself in stories. The following is a small list of books I’ve read recently and would highly recommend:

The Alice Network, by Kate Quinn

The Glass Lake, by Maeve Binchy

What The Wind Knows, by Amy Harmon

Stay, by Catherine Ryan Hyde

The Chain, by Adrian McKinty

Life and Other Inconveniences, (or any book) by Kristan Higgins

And check out these wonderful stories, by self-published authors like myself:

I was lucky enough to discover Lucy Mitchell’s blog a few years ago: BlondeWriteMore. Her weekly posts about life and writing are humorous, entertaining and uplifting. Instructions For Falling In Love Again is her first novel and, like Lucy, is filled with laughter and heart.

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Finding Edward is the third installment of the Save Me series, by Suzanne McKenna Link. Saving Toby and Keeping Claudia, the first two books in the trilogy, take the reader on a heartfelt and emotional journey of a young man struggling with his past and the love of a girl who just might save him. Finding Edward, which can be read as a stand-alone, follows Edward Rudack as he searches for a father he never knew he had – in beautiful Italy. I had the pleasure of reading an advanced reader copy and just loved it. It will be out March 31st and is available for pre-order on Amazon.

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If you have any books to recommend, please pass them along.

Stay healthy and I look forward to speaking with you again soon.

~Kimberly

The Song

Happy Birthday to you.

Happy Birthday to you.

Happy Birthday dear….Everyone,

Happy Birthday to you…

I wash my hands so often lately, I can’t get the song out of my head.

It’s been a while since my last post and for that, I apologize. However, I feel compelled to come out and say hello, to let you know I’m thinking of you, and I hope you’re all doing okay during these trying times.

We may be social distancing (I hope), but we’re united. It’s evident in the beautiful posts and videos I see, of people around the world sharing music, poems, messages of joy, and hope.

We’ll get through this together. Spring will be here soon. And when it arrives, may it bring a new appreciation for the lives we live, for those we love, and for all we have.

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If you’d like to talk or share anything at all, I’m here. Let me know how you’re doing.

And don’t forget to sing the Happy Birthday Song while you wash your hands. It is, after all, a song about life.

~Kimberly xo

Moving on

For the first years of my son’s life, he was my shadow. On any given day, you’d find him on my hip, or on my lap, or hugging a leg. When I walked away, he followed. When I went out with my husband or friends, he cried. When he woke up in the morning, or from a nap, he called for me. It was endearing, exhausting, and short-lived (if you consider three years short).

About 13 years ago, both of my boys wrestled. For a few months in the winter, I brought them to practice at the high school. I sat in the hall waiting for one, then the other, to enjoy rolling around on thick, smelly mats in the gym with their peers. 

One evening I was with my younger son, my shadow, waiting for the older one to finish his practice when a coach came out of the gym with a large box. He placed the box on the floor and asked me if I would help him to hand out tournament t-shirts to the players as they left. 

Of course, I agreed. 

As each boy came out, I found his size and gave it to him. To do this, I had to lean over and reach inside the box which caused my sweater to rise a few inches above my waist exposing my lower back. Each time this happened, I felt a small hand pull the sweater down to cover me. My son was almost five years old then. 

Last week we dropped this son at college for the first time. We found his room, unpacked his belongings, made his bed, set up his television, and too soon, said goodbye. 

I’m not sure why that memory, so clear in my mind, came to me. I can’t remember what I did yesterday. But I grabbed it, reliving the moment outside of that gym. Last week, I walked away from this child who used to pull down the back of my sweater so my skin wouldn’t show. I walked away and he didn’t follow, or cry, or call for me. 

My heart is full of small, yet significant memories such as this, and to know I can draw upon them when I need brings me comfort. 

This is the beginning of a new stage for us. And maybe, just maybe, the memories we’ve made over the years, the ones I hold like treasures, will make the moving on hurt less.

This is the face I saw at college drop-off 

 

2018, Bookish Year in Review

I hope you all enjoyed the holidays. As we welcome in the new year, I want to take a moment to reflect on all book-related things that I experienced in 2018 and the gratitude I feel for all of the support I’ve received from family, friends and readers.

I met two of my idols this year. In May, Adriana Trigiani, author of Lucia, Lucia and The Shoemaker’s Wife, among many others, spoke at the retirement community where my mom and mother-in-law live. Adriana was a burst of bright energy, funny, engaging and so friendly. I listened, raptured, as she spoke of the women in her family and how important women are to storytelling.

Adriana & me

In August, I met the wonderful Kristan Higgins, who I discovered a few years ago and who is my favorite author and social media personality. I fangirled all over her. “You’re my favorite person I’ve never met,” is what I said when I faced her. Yep, I did. And I meant it. If you haven’t had the pleasure of reading her books and enjoy humorous, romantic, tug-at-the-heartstring stories, treat yourself in 2019.

Kristan & me

With the release of The Fabric Of Us in October, I had the privilege and the pleasure of enjoying three book club meetings to discuss it. The first was a complete surprise. My own book club, aptly called “Lit Ladies”, surprised me by reading it without telling me. I love these women. They continue to support me and each other.

Lit Ladies

The next book club was put together by my “first friend” in life, Katie, who donned her Wonder Woman suit to orchestrate and mediate her first book club, specifically to get my book read. She managed to coax over forty women to join this club, which she named Baby Steps Book Club powered by The Association of Adults Who are Realistic People (BSBC powered by AARP). I write fiction, but I can’t make this up. The goal of this new club is to support new and lesser-known, local authors. She found a venue to accommodate the group and in November, we had our first meeting. Almost thirty women showed up, including several old friends. Katie has never been in a book club, but put this evening together beautifully. Did I mention she had a Power Point presentation? Like I said, Wonder Woman.

Katie & me at the first meeting of BSBC
BSBC

The group below read The Fabric Of Us and asked me to join them in December. The women were warm, welcoming and I had the best time. Yes, that is a dessert (Tower of Shame) on the table in front of us.

My new friends

I managed to finish another manuscript this year. At present, it has no title and is still in the beginning stages of life. Here is the gist of what it’s about:

Sort of…

Finally, if you’re looking for something to read, here is a list of books I really enjoyed this year. I recommend all of them.

  • Lucia, Lucia by Adriana Trigiani
  • Now That You Mention It by Kristan Higgins
  • Good Luck With That by Kristan Higgins
  • The Girl He Used To Know by Tracey Garvis Graves
  • Eleanor Elephant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
  • Need To Know by Karen Cleveland
  • The Two-Family House by Lynda Cohen Luigman
  • Beartown by Fredrick Backman
  • Pachinko by Min Jin Lee
  • Woman Last Seen In Her Thirties by Camille Pagan
  • Educated by Tara Westover
  • Etched in Sand: A True Story Of Five Siblings Who Survived an Unspeakable Childhood on Long Island by Regina Calcaterra
  • Saving Toby (Toby & Claudia book 1) by Suzanne McKenna Link
  • Keeping Claudia (Toby & Claudia book 2) by Suzanne McKenna Link
  • Glitter and Glue: A Memoir by Kelly Corrigan

Thank you to my readers who reached out to say a kind word about my books – you have no idea what it means to me. And to my friends and family, for your continued love and support. I am so fortunate and grateful for each of you.

I wish you a peaceful, healthy New Year. And if you have a minute, let me know how your year was and what you hope to find in 2019. I’m all ears.

~Kimberly xo