Category Archives: Memoir

Guest post by Amy McCorkle for Feb. 3

Dear Daniel,amyat275

 

Different people have shaped me over the years. I think it should be obvious by now confrontational tones or people I don’t do well with. It just exacerbates every negative attribute I have. But some people have had a dual effect on me.

When I was seventeen years old I think I had one of the most stressful jobs ever. I worked for Daniel T. Taylor III. He is a local attorney who’d argued before the Supreme Court—and won. He hired me as a runner. I had no car. Hell, I didn’t even have a driver’s license. It was my first summer job, and honestly, as hard as it was, and as crazy (in a good way) that he was, I learned a great deal. And when he paid me a compliment at the end of the summer I was touched. But man was I relieved when I walked out of his office for the last time.

That being said, I want to say I learned what the words ‘work ethic’ meant. I didn’t know how to take shorthand. I still don’t, but I fashioned my own ‘short hand’ when he would dictate memos. I was constantly screwing them up. And he wasn’t the most patient man. But he taught me the meaning of the word professionalism. To address someone as Doctor when someone was a doctor, not as Mr. And to respect those around me.

I had me run errands on foot in an area that I was sure to get lost in. And I did. But I figured it out. He gave me enough rope to hang myself with and more often than not I was able to avoid that particular messy situation.

I answered phones. I went to court. On more than one occasion he made me want to cry. But I don’t hold that against him, he made his clients cry too.

Of course, while working for him I gained like twenty pounds. Which, at any age isn’t good, and as seventeen year old is horrible.

Which brings me to this. He taught me a work ethic is invaluable. That loyalty is irreplaceable. And that respecting those in positions of authority can be a good thing as well as something you might question your sanity over lol.

And then there’s that matter of the twenty pounds. I had field hockey practice and marching band to start with that year. It was horrendous.

Although, when I look back at those pictures now I see how pretty I really was. Funny how we see ourselves. I saw myself as this bloated, ugly, piece of shit back then. All of my sisters were thin, so I thought that equaled pretty. Not that my biological father did my self-esteem any good on that front.

So back on the wagon. I’m eating real food, not the shakes. And I plan on getting exercise. Real exercise. I’ve already built up and endurance. Not much of one. But it might make the walk to and from the Covention Center to the hotel during Fandom Fest/Fright Night easier to handle.

Talking to Mr. Taylor today (yes, the crazy old coot is still alive) made me reflect upon all of this stuff. He really was a great guy. Maybe not someone I’d want to work for again. And when I think about it I worked my first job as a server at a Derby party. The Kentucky Derby that is. He had rich people and important people there. Sometimes the same. Other times they were not.

And let me tell you, a bunch of rich, drunk people singing and playing the piano, *snicker. They went on and on about how great they sounded. From one of the few sober people at the party, the truth was anything but. However, that being said, they were all nice to me. Especially the Human Rights lawyers who took on pro bono death penalty cases. I was only sixteen years old and they listened to me like my opinion mattered.

That taught me a profound lesson. Everyone, no matter what their station in life. With money, without money, white collar, blue collar, or poverty stricken, we all mattered. I was fortunate enough to live in a house at that point. My family’s trailer days behind us. But we didn’t live in the best of neighborhoods. Honestly, I still don’t.

Of course I dream of living in a nice neighborhood. In a nice home with a finished basement. I also dream of owning a car. Of any kind. But disability and thirty-five dollar quarterly royalty check ain’t gonna make that happen.

So I do the one thing I know I’m good at. I work. I write. And I promote my brand. Eventually, if the story is good enough, I know I’ll breakthrough.

 

Sincerely,

Amy McCorkle

LtDebook

  1. At http://letters-todaniel.blogspot.com

http://twitter.com/letterstodaniel

https://www.facebook.com/amy.l.mccorkle.5

http://instagram/letterstodaniel

https://www.facebook.com/letterstodaniel/

 

Buy links:

 

http://www.amazon.com/Letters-Daniel-Amy-Leigh-McCorkle-ebook/dp/B01A1V35IQ/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1453256095&sr=1-1&keywords=letters+to+daniel+amy

 

Available on Amazon in Print as well.

 

Amy McCorkle is an award winning and bestselling author, blogger, screenwriter and filmmaker with 10 Amazon Bestselling titles including the #1 Bella Morte: Beginnings. A 2015 Epic Finalist with a small collection of letters from the blog. This landed her an agent and she went on to collect all the letters one large volume and receive a blurb from bestselling author and producer Joel Eisenberg. Her documentary based on the letters has gone on to screen at 5 film festivals and win awards at 3 of them.

 

Memories of Paris

A recent post by Sydney Bristol on Shelley Munro’s blog brought back memories of Paris.

 

I have visited Paris several times, but this particular trip I was with my then-boyfriend. Before we left, I collected a list of things NOT to say in French:

Un petit coin is a euphemism for bathroom

Sortir is another way to describe sleeping with someone (and not just spending the night). A friend made this mistake when telling her French grandparents she was about to go out to eat.

Je suis pleine is another way to say I’m knocked up. Oh, yes, and if you’re knocked up in British-speak, you’re tired.

 

Paris Sunset from the Louvre window

Paris Sunset from the Louvre window (Photo credit: Dimitry B)

 

We visited London, then went on to Paris, where a cousin was doing research for her PhD Thesis in History at the Sorbonne.  I was using a diaphram at the time. The blasted thing sprang a hole in London, so we trotted down to a pharmacy and bought a condom (protective).
Then we went on to Paris, where I developed a nasty cold and runny nose (J’ai le nez qui coule) (ou, j’avais, because right now I’m cold-free). The expression in French is almost the same as in English — in French one has the nose that runs (flows).

 

Then we ran out of condoms, so I asked my cousin what the word was in French:

 

Me: How do you say condom in French?
K: I don’t know. I’ve never had to buy one.
Me: But aren’t you and Jean-Paul (K’s French boyfriend) …
K: Yes, but Jean-Paul buys them.
Me: Aren’t we meeting him for lunch?
K: Yes.
Me: Well, I’m going to ask him what the word is. (un protectif).

Notice how close the word is to the  British equivalent. Aren’t languages fun?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Story Behind Don’t Look Back, Agnes and In This House

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The story behind Don’t Look Back, Agnes and In This House
by Kathryn Meyer Griffith

You Tube Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3q9rZryFMo
Eternal Press Buy Link: http://www.eternalpress.biz/people.php?author=422

The older I get, the more I like to reminisce and write about what I’m going through at any particular time. I guess it’s an age thing. So many of my stories and novels come about because of what I’m actually experiencing in my real life at the time. Not all, but some.
But my novella, Don’t Look Back, Agnes is definitely one such story.

At the end of 1998 my beloved father, the very heart (along with my mother’s mother, Grandmother Fehrt, who was also much loved) of my large family, passed away after a short but heartbreaking battle with lung cancer. He’d been a cigarette smoker his whole life so it wasn’t a complete shock that it ended up killing him. Yet the suddenness and the swiftness of his departure devastated my six siblings, my mother, grandmother, and me. It was a very dark time for us.

To complicate the matter, my brothers and sisters, myself included, were in our forties and working hard at our lives, our families and jobs, but my grandmother and mother were left living alone together and neither one drove; so both needed constant care and attention. My grandmother was in her eighties and my mother in her late sixties; though my grandmother was fairly healthy (she was spunky lady, with a zest for life, who’d emigrated from Austria as a child) my mother was already in a wheelchair, crippled from bad ankle surgeries, debilitating osteoarthritis and a host of heart related problems.

The first thing the family had to do was move them into town, nearer to some of us, and out of the country where they’d been living in the new sprawling house my father had built them just the year before. It was too hard caring for them way out there and the house was too big, too expensive. Boy, that was fun. They had so much stuff, so many memories to dispose of and cry over. We settled them in a small ranch house in town and life went on. Or tried to.

Now, I loved my mother and grandmother dearly but taking care of them was often difficult. Each needed concentrated care, love, endless visits to the doctor, prescriptions fulfilled and, as time went on, housekeeping and grocery shopping help–and finally, someone to do their bills, my mother becoming too disoriented and sick to any longer do any of those chores. For a long time, years, my grandmother stepped up, even at her age, and became my mother’s constant nurse and helper. Their two Social Security checks combined were just enough for them to live on. It was a thin line they had to tread and we tried to help them every step of the way.

So, with love, sometimes desperation, and some bickering every so often between us siblings as to who would do what when, we took care of them and their whole household, their house. There were many late night runs to hospital emergency rooms, or long stays, and rehab centers for my mother, who steadily over the next nine years grew worse. By the end of 2005 it seemed we were always at the hospital with mom or grandma. My mom had her heart troubles, high blood pressure and medication problems, and my grandmother broke her hip. One thing after another. It was exhausting at times. Who’d ever think two sick old ladies could need so much care?

Then my grandmother got really ill and was rushed to the hospital. She needed emergency surgery and afterwards was in intensive care for a month…never recovered…then sadly joined our grandfather in the next life. We were all so broken hearted.

That left our mother, all alone, without enough money to live on (her Social Security meager; no savings), and unable to care for herself or her three cats. Born an only child, she was a demanding sort of woman, almost childlike in her unending need for attention and devotion. She was terrified of going to a nursing home so the family did what we could to keep her in her own home as long as possible. My brother got her a reverse mortgage on her house and we all chipped in financially whenever and however we could. We fought the good fight but there came a day where mom got so sick, was rushed to the hospital so often, needed so much constant supervision, that my siblings and I had to admit defeat…mom had to go into a nursing home or one of us had to move in with her, which wasn’t feasible. We were married with families.

So a nursing home it was. We picked out a newly opened one in town, the nicest we could find, and the next time mom got sick we moved her into it for her recovery. Then told her the truth. The house was up for sale and the cats had been placed in new homes. I even took one, Patches (the cat in the story), because it was old and no one wanted her. My husband and I already had two cats but it was something I had to do…for mom. She really loved that cat as she’d really loved her home. But poor Patches, probably pining for her mistress and her old life, only lasted five months. I lied to my mother for months afterwards, afraid to tell her that the old cat had died (mom had always said that when Patches died, she’d die) and it broke my heart when I finally had to tell her. Mom had come to our house for a family Thanksgiving and I couldn’t hide the fact that Patches was no longer there. Oh, that was hard. Telling her.

If anyone has ever put a parent or relative into a nursing home, they know the heartbreak it causes all around. My mother was inconsolable and my guilt was awful. But, as sick as mom had become, with so many prescriptions each day, hospital visits, and how most days she couldn’t even get out of bed or get to the bathroom, clean or feed herself…we had no choice. She stayed in that nursing home – although it was a bright cheery place with kind people running it – until she died two years later. The hardest two years of my life. I visited her often, shopped for her and kept her company. Decorated her room so it looked like a home. Brought her special lunches and little gifts. Fancy quilts and stuffed cats. It still broke my heart.

I began writing the novella, Don’t Look Back, Agnes, while she was there. A ghost story centered around a young woman who’s forced by grim circumstances into returning to her haunted, and deadly, childhood home because her mother is ill in a nursing home and needs her. Looking back now, I can see it was also my way of dealing with the nursing home guilt…of wishing for a different ending to mom’s life than what had occurred. Writing the story was my therapy. I cried all my sorrow out into those words and prayed to be forgiven for putting my mother into such a place.

Even In This House, the bonus short story included because it’s also a ghostly tale, deals with old age and the passing of all a person (or a couple in this instance) ever knew or loved as time and their lives slip away, as it must always do. At the same time I was writing the Agnes story I read an article in the newspaper about this old man who was the last resident of a neighborhood that had been systematically bought out and emptied by an iron smelter plant. He was the last one living there in the last house. He spoke of his loneliness since his wife had died; about her. Their past. It sparked the idea for In This House. Both stories deal with responsibility, sacrifice and…love. Love for a mate, for an aging parent, children, and a way of life or the loss of one’s independence that we all in the end have to relinquish in one way or another. Life’s sorrows faced with a brave smile to cover the tears.

I hope the two stories help anyone going through what I was going through in those difficult years. If they do, then the words have done their job.

Written by the author Kathryn Meyer Griffith this nineteenth day of December 2011

****
A writer for 40 years I’ve had 14 novels and 8 short stories published with Zebra Books, Leisure Books, Avalon Books, the Wild Rose Press, damnation Books and Eternal Press since 1984. And my romantic end-of-the-world horror novel THE LAST VAMPIRE-Revised Author’s Edition is a 2012 EPIC EBOOK AWARDS FINALIST NOMINEE.
My books (most out again from Damnation Books and Eternal Press): Evil Stalks the Night, The Heart of the Rose, Blood Forge, Vampire Blood, The Last Vampire, Witches, The Nameless One short story, The Calling, Scraps of Paper, All Things Slip Away, Egyptian Heart, Winter’s Journey, The Ice Bridge, Don’t Look Back, Agnes novella, In This House short story, BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons, The Woman in Crimson, The Guide to Writing Paranormal Fiction: Volume 1 (I did the Introduction) ***

Guest Post by Kathryn Meyer Griffith: Christmas Memories

Christmas Memories
By author Kathryn Meyer Griffith

Kathryn Meyer Griffith


My real childhood Christmas memories, in fact most of my holiday memories, essentially began in my ninth year. Oh, I have memories, scattered and muted, of earlier times but none as crystalized as those after that year. That’s because months earlier on a sultry hot August day around my ninth birthday I almost died; the whole experience changed my young life forever from that time on.

It was early August 1959 – a terribly hot and long summer pre-air-conditioning – and I lived with my six siblings, mother and father, in a rambling run-down house near St. Louis. We didn’t have much money or material possessions, wore hand-me-downs and sometimes we didn’t have lunch money or even a working telephone. Our utilities were often cut off for lack of payment, things would disappear from the house and into the pawn shop and a car would one day be ours and the next not. But we had each other and…love.

My maternal grandmother, Mary Fehrt (joy bringer and storyteller of her generation) was always there for us when it came to providing the things we desperately needed; care packages of food and cash. As much as they could give because they weren’t rich either, but frugal; both worked long grueling hours at a dry cleaner. They’d gone through the Great Depression and could stretch a dollar. I always thought it ironic they’d responsibly had just one child, my mother, Delores, but she gave them seven grandchildren. I thought of my family as a modern day Walton’s. Heck, we even had a writer John Boy (me…though I was an artist and a singer with my brother Jim before I became one) and a musician, Jason (my brother Jim), a loving mother and father and a generous grandmother and grandfather. We were poor but happy. A good hearted family.

Anyway, that August I got sick. My side hurt and I lay moaning on the couch for three days while my mother and father agonized if I should be taken to the ER. Money we didn’t have. In the end, my mother won out and they took me. I had a bad case of appendicitis and the doctors, as they rushed me into the operating room, told my parents if they’d waited another hour the appendix would have burst and I might have died. Died.

Thank God, I didn’t. Afterwards I languished in a hot hospital room (I can still smell the antiseptic, bloodied bandages and feel the pain of the stitches to this day). Ech.

My ninth birthday was two days after I returned home and my family, relieved I was alive, showered me with gifts. A brownie camera. Art supplies. Homemade cake and ice cream. Everyone was there. I, for once, was the center of attention and loved it. I look back now and realize that was the beginning of wanting to be different, to stand out, make a difference in the world, to shine, and shortly after that I began drawing pictures and singing with my brother on the rusted backyard swing set.

The holidays that year were different for me and my family as well. Thanksgiving was full of grateful laughter, a huge roasted turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes and marshmallows (my favorite) and lots of my father’s special treats, nuts and tangerines. I was acutely aware of everything. I was looking at the world through new eyes and was excited at the life I’d been given back. Happy. Thankful for my loving family.

Christmas was a child’s sweet fantasy. Christmas Eve, as the snowflakes, the temperature and the night’s amethyst twilight fell, my brothers, sisters, mother, father and I piled into my Dad’s big Buick and drove through the woods and neighborhoods of twinkling lit up houses to our grandmother and grandfather’s house. We usually stayed home on Christmas Eve and opened our presents the next morning when our grandparents arrived. Not that year. Dad and mom announced it was special and we were going to grandma’s house. Opening our presents there that night. Yippee! What child didn’t want presents early. Sooner the better.

It was snowing heavily by the time we drove into their driveway and I can still see what I saw as a child as I walked wide-eyed into grandma’s house (my grandmother loved the holidays and had twinkling Christmas lights, the big fat old-fashioned bulbs, strung along the front of their house and there were decorated Christmas trees in every room). My grandmother had outdone herself and there wasn’t corner of her home that wasn’t full of Christmas.

We traipsed downstairs and into a Christmas wonderland. Grandpa had gone out and cut a huge pine tree that stood at the end of their 50’s remodeled basement in all its glory. On its fragrant limbs hung hundreds of cherished family heirloom ornaments and beneath it were piles of brightly wrapped presents, more than I’d ever seen in my life, and a miniature Christmas village with a tiny train that chugged noisily around a little metal track, blowing its whistle. The whole glittering sight took my breath away.
They made us kids sit on the floor and handed out our presents one by one. Grandma and grandpa had gone overboard, as always, and I remember sitting there unwrapping present after present and crying because I’d gotten so many of the things I’d wanted. A large drawing tablet. Colored pencils. Pastels. A watercolor set. A sparkly (some of you remember those don’t you?) paint-by-number of winter sunsets. A new blouse. A big bag of my favorite nuts, cashews. All for me. I was in seventh heaven. The other kids did pretty well, too. By today’s standards, nothing much, but small trucks, cars, new clothes and dolls meant a lot to us.

I gave my grandmother and grandfather a set of porcelain fishes; my mother an inexpensive necklace and father some gloves. My brothers, sisters and I had gone out on a cold night days earlier to the local five and dime and picked out what we could afford, not much, but it was given from the heart. After the gifts we sat down at the long table full of grandma’s delicious food and ate, laughed, and made memories as the snow continued to drift outside the windows. Later, stuffed, content and exhausted mom and dad loaded us all into the Buick and slowly drove us home on the slick streets. Magic. I’ll never forget that night and the joy of my large family. The love. It’d sustain us through the hard and bad times to come and to this day gives me a smile and a catch in my throat whenever my thoughts touch it. Merry Christmas everyone! ***

Written a lifetime away on this nineteenth October day of 2011 by author Kathryn Meyer Griffith

Kathryn Meyer Griffith has been writing for nearly forty years and has published 14 novels and 7 short stories since 1984 with Zebra Books, Leisure Books, Avalon Books, The Wild Rose Press, Damnation Books and Eternal Press in the horror, romantic paranormal, suspense and murder mystery genres. Learn more about her at www.myspace.com/kathrynmeyergriffith or www.authorsden.com/kathrynmeyergriffith or www.bebo.com/kathrynmeyerG and http://www.facebook.com/#!/profile.php?id=1019954486
Her published novels & short stories:
Evil Stalks the Night (Leisure 1984; Damnation Books 2012)
The Heart of the Rose (Leisure 1985; Eternal Press Author’s Revised Edition 2010)
Blood Forge (Leisure 1989; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition out Februry 2012)
Vampire Blood (Zebra 1991; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition out July 2011)
The Last Vampire (Zebra 1992; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition 2010)
Witches (Zebra 1993; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition 2011)
The Nameless One (short story 1993 Zebra Anthology Dark Seductions;
Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition 2011)
The Calling (Zebra 1994; Damnation Books Author’s Revised Edition out October 2011)
Scraps of Paper (Avalon Books Murder Mystery 2003)
All Things Slip Away (Avalon Books Murder Mystery 2006)
Egyptian Heart (The Wild Rose Press, 2007; Author’s Revised Edition 2011)
Winter’s Journey (The Wild Rose Press 2008; Author’s Revised Edition 2011)
The Ice Bridge (The Wild Rose Press 2008; Author’s Revised Edition 2011)
Don’t Look Back, Agnes short story (2008; ghostly short story Eternal Press Jan. 2012)
In This House (ghostly short story 2008; Eternal Press January 2012)
BEFORE THE END: A Time of Demons (Damnation Books June 2010)
The Woman in Crimson (Damnation Books 2010)
The Complete Guide to Writing Paranormal Novels: Volume 1 2011 (Kathryn wrote the foreward)