The Story Behind My Book

I’ve been reticent to make this known but Gasping for Air is based on true events. Back in 2014, my second youngest brother drowned while at the beach with friends. Some sections are closer to the true story than others. Some things were simplified, others were changed to make for a better story, and some things were omitted because of other reasons.

The opening line, “When I die, just bury me in a cardboard box” was something my brother actually said two days before he died and I’ll never forget it.

Ironically, the day he died I had gone to the Post Office and picked up a box of copies of my novel Breaking Free which had been released a little over a month prior.

Writing this novel was therapeutic for me in a way and it helped spark my creative juices again in regards to writing. I tried starting on my next novel several months after he died but I couldn’t concentrate and had no motivation to do it.

When I got the idea for this novel, it was going to be about a young woman who loses her brother but it wasn’t originally going to be so closely tied to my story. After my brother died, I realized there wasn’t much out there in fiction and non-fiction related to losing a sibling, especially in young adulthood. There is a lot out there about a parent losing a child and vice versa but not about losing a sibling. I would find the occasional book that mentioned a child losing a sibling or an adult in the late stages of life losing a sibling but nothing in between.

The grief one faces after losing a sibling is often unrecognized or overlooked as everyone focuses on the parents and the spouse and children if they have them.

This book was my way of being heard and giving voice to the grief I faced during that time.

Gasping for Air giveaway

Comment or share this post to be entered to win 1 of 2 autographed copies of my book Gasping for Air. If you share this post, let me know you’ve shared it or click here to enter via RaffleCopter.


The Life of Anne Lily on hold

I’m sorry to those who were looking forward to another installment of The Life of Anne Lily.

November was a really busy month for me and I didn’t get to write as much as I would have liked. This has led me to the decision to put a pause on the short story series so I can focus my attention solely on the novel that is scheduled to come out in early 2019.

I hope you will forgive me for having to stop the series after only two stories. My wish is that I’ll continue the series in the future.

Please come back and visit this site occasionally. I might be posting my thoughts and other various things about my new novel.

Also look for announcements about the novel release close to the end of next year.

The First and Last Ride

Nice horsies.

I watched the horses as they nibbled on some grass. Mommy held my hand so I couldn’t run up to them.

Mommy and Daddy said I was big enough to ride one this year.

Pulling on Mommy’s hand, I tried to get her to walk faster.

This was one of the best parts about coming to Sunshower Lake – the animal farm.

A sheep fell over and I giggled.

I was finally going to get to ride a horse. I couldn’t wait.

One horse lifted its head and looked right at me. It wanted me to ride it too. I could tell.

My view of the horses was blocked when a man squatted in front of me.

“Do you want to ride a horse?”

“Yes!” I squealed. I almost jumped up and down I was so excited.

The man smiled. He had a nice smile but I wanted to see the horses. He turned to my brother, Neil. He had gotten to ride the horses last year and the year before that and the year before that. Now, it was my turn.

“Do want to lead the horse?”

Neil smiled. “Sure.”

I shook with excitement as I watched the man walk up to one of the horses.

“Go on, Anne.” Mom touched my shoulder.

I stared wide-eyed at the big horse as I made my way closer. It was so big. It was as tall as the man.

“Are you ready?”

I nodded my head.

The man grabbed me at the waist and lifted me onto the horse’s back. He showed me where to put my hands to hold on.

The horse seemed bigger from up here but it could have been my imagination. I was good at imagining things.

Neil grabbed the reins and the man showed him how to get the horse moving.

The animal shifted beneath me and I giggled. I was doing it! I was riding a horse!

My little body swayed with the horse. Neil led the horse around the yard with me giggling.

This was the best!

I was getting to ride a horse instead of just looking at them and reading about them.


Neil made the horse turn for another lap. A woman with a bright pink hat came into view.

The horse started lifting its front legs.

I felt myself slipping. I tried to hold on while Neil lost grip of the rope.

The next thing I knew, I was on the ground on my back.

I started crying. My back and bum hurt.

Mommy grabbed me. I wrapped my arms around her neck and clung to her.

It was a bad horsie.

I didn’t even want to look at the horse anymore.

“I’m sorry. The horse must have spooked from the woman’s fluorescent hat.” The man with the nice smile now held the horse’s rope. The horse was standing behind him with all four feet on the ground. “Go inside and get her checked out.”

Mommy was rubbing my back. It felt nice. My tears slowly stopped and I stuck my thumb in my mouth.

Mommy carried me inside the cabin-like building and a woman met us.

“She’s alright. She’s just a little shocked and scared.” Mommy talked to the woman and continued rubbing my back.

The woman looked at me. “Are you okay, Sweetie?”

I nodded my head against Mommy’s shoulder.

The woman kept talking. “Do you want a chocolate bar?”

Chocolate bar?

I removed my thumb from my mouth and nodded. I liked chocolate.

“Which one would you like?”

Mmmm…which one?

I pointed to an Oh Henry! bar. She handed it to me and I ripped it open.

Yummy! I shoved the chocolate into my mouth.

Mommy carried me outside.

Another little girl was riding the horse now.

I didn’t want to ride a horse again.


What’s that? It’s not a cat. It’s not a dog. What is it?

It was black and white and furry. I watched it move. Maybe I could pet it.

I forgot about my ball and walked towards it.

Its fur looked really soft. Maybe it would be as soft as my dogs’.

I lifted my hand to pet it.


It bit me!

I started crying.

The animal bit me!

It was a bad animal. It wasn’t friendly like my dogs.

The bad animal ran away.

“What’s wrong, Sweetie? What happened?” Mommy’s face appeared in front of mine.

I held out my hand to her.

“The cat bit me!”

“The cat? What cat?”

“She means the skunk.” My brother Matt came closer. He held my ball.

“Skunk!” Mommy picked me up and carried me into the house. It felt nice to be in her arms but my fingers still hurt.

“Neil, Anne’s been bitten by a skunk and I need to get her to the hospital. Can you come and look after Matt and Joel?”

Who was Mommy talking to? I didn’t want to go to the hospital. The man was going to stick me with something. He always did. And it hurt.

“Okay, great. Thanks.”

Mommy hung up the phone and looked at me.

Maybe if I stuck my fingers in my mouth they would stop hurting.

Mommy grabbed my hand. “Don’t suck on your fingers, Anne. We need to find something to wrap your fingers to stop the bleeding.”

I stuck my thumb on my other hand in my mouth and started sucking.

“Matt, can you get me the bandages.”

Mommy grabbed something from Matt’s hand. She put bandages on my fingers. I couldn’t see the bite marks anymore.

The door to the house creaked open. I looked up from my fingers.


I ran to him and he picked me up. “Grampa, look at my fingers!”

“Enough of that. We need to go.” Mommy grabbed me from Grampa. “Thank you for coming, Neil.”

My baby brother started crying. Grampa went to pick him up.

Mommy turned and started walking. I couldn’t see Grampa anymore. No! I don’t want to go! Grampa just got here!

I kicked Mommy but she didn’t let go. She continued carrying me away from Grampa.

Mommy locked me in the car. I couldn’t move.

Mommy backed the car out. My ball was on the grass now. I wanted to play with my ball. But I couldn’t get free.

I knew where we were going. I didn’t want to go. I stuck my thumb back in my mouth and sucked.

I held onto Mommy when she freed me from the car. Couldn’t we go home? My fingers didn’t hurt as much.

I was still clinging to Mommy when the man with the white coat came in.

Mommy talked to the man. I sucked on my thumb and stared at the wall. Maybe he would forget I was here.

“Let’s have a look-see.”

The man grabbed my hand.

I sucked harder on my thumb. The man was looking at my hand. He ripped off the bandages.

“We’re going to have to give her shots in case the skunk had rabies.”

Shots! I don’t want shots!

The man took me from Mommy and laid me on a bed on my tummy.

I couldn’t see what he was doing. How big is the shot? How much will it hurt?

I continued to suck my thumb.

The man pulled down my pants and my big kid pants.


Now my bum hurt.

He put something on my bum and pulled up my big kid pants and other pants.

Mommy picked me up again.

The man in the white coat had something in his hand. A sucker!

“You were a brave little girl.”

I grabbed the sucker from his hand.

Mommy grabbed it from me and pulled something off of it. She handed it back to me. I plopped it into my mouth and sucked. Mmmm…lemon.

Mommy trapped me in the car again. I had my sucker. I was happy.

Mommy let me out when we got home. I ran to Grampa. I showed him my sucker. “I got a sucker cuz I didn’t cry. They shot my bum.”

“Did they now?” Grampa picked me up.

Matt ran to Mommy. “Guess what Grampa did!”

Joel started crying. Mommy walked to him and picked him up. She turned back to Matt. “What did Grandpa do?”

“Grampa killed the skunk with a pitchfork!”