Friday, October 19, 2018

Ok. I get it. I suck.

At least, apparently I suck writing about straight people.

Sorry, Mom.  I'll write you another novel another time, under another name maybe.

Wolves' Blood is going to be removed from Amazon for renovations.  I will reimagine our heroine and make her into a hero.  Because I'm flexible that way, and I'm pretty sure Gideon Summers is, too.   Plus, Lia was always edgy enough to switch hit, and I think she might get a kick out of becoming a boy.  So when you next see that story, it'll have a new cover, new title, and new protagonist.

Part of me would like to just leave it up as is and shrug--oh, well, you win some, you lose some.  But honestly that damn story took too long to write (five drafts!  90,000 words!), and I like the actual premise too much to let it die being read by only two people.  Speaking of which, hey, two people, whoever you are, thanks!  Hugs!

Ok, so one more try.  Back to work.  Assuming my dog moves over and shares my own goddamn desk chair with me.




Cheers.

Literally.  Where's the vodka?

Monday, September 17, 2018

Don't You Ever Write About Straight People?

My mother used to ask me that.  She never actually told me that I shouldn't, as a female, be writing about gay males.  Though she believed on and off again that homosexuality was a sin against God, it probably bothered her more that I'm pagan than that I write about gay rocks stars.  Still, she was a voracious reader of romance novels, and I think she wanted to read something of mine without being weirded out because two guys were "doing it."  Also, she seemed to think I'd make more money if I wrote about straight people.  ;)

My answer to whether I ever wrote about straight people was usually evasive.  I always have written heterosexual romances.  But my first novel being a gay love story, it seemed logical to me to continue in that vein when I was working on a story I planned to publish.  LGBT culture attracts me, or maybe a better way to put it is that it speaks to me, to something in me I can't quite define.  I'm primarily straight in this life, but I've always felt that in another life I was a shy gay man who never got his shit together enough to be happy in his own skin.  I'm left with an eroded past self, the ghost of which is still present through all the other layers of me.  Not quite accessible.  But still seeking expression.

And really, I try to just write the characters as they appear to me.  If a gay werewolf pops into my head, he's getting a gay romance.  If a kinky-but-straight witch starts swimming through my brain, she gets a kinky-but-straight romance.  Simple as that.  The gay ones just get published more often, because I'm a creature who loves familiarity, and hates taking chances.

Also, it's always seemed like a lot of work to publish a straight romance.  So many writers use different names to separate their gay work rom their hetero work.  And obviously that's fine, but I just didn't think I had the energy for yet another personality.

Then my mom died.  And I have so many fucking regrets about her death, about her life, that this one thing--don't you ever write about straight people?--suddenly seems like such a simple thing.  I can't go back in time and be a nicer person when she was driving me crazy.  I can't go back and dig the time out of my schedule to take her on more day trips, or stop griping at her for her love of Hallmark movies turned up to deafening volumes.  But I can write a goddamn romance novel she might actually have enjoyed reading.

Although she'd probably be unhappy that my protagonist is a little bit of a junky, and a lot of a bitch.  But what can I say?  I like my girls crazy, damaged, and nasty AF.

And so that is the explanation for why a male/female romance novel is suddenly appearing under my name.  Ironically it's a story I wrote almost ten years ago as a cute little novella.  It went up online at FictionPress, and some people said they liked it.  Enough people that I always thought I'd like to redo the story as it deserved, someday.  And now someday is today.

Tomorrow actually.  Wolves' Blood releases tomorrow on Amazon for all you kindle readers.  And ironically it fits perfectly into the New Berlin universe.

I hope some of you enjoy it.  And don't worry; I am not turning into a different kind of writer.  Just letting ya'll see a different side of me.  Meantime, hard at work on the next New Berlin story, about a stoic fallen angel and the glittery cross-dressing exotic dancer he falls in love with.  And possibly the final installment of The Hunting will sort itself out before next year.  You never know.  Miracles happen.

Cheers, and peace out, yo.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

A Blog Post Written on May 29th and Not Posted

Joy to the world ~ I have a new release out today.  Iron and Bone, my first novel since 2015's Sweet.  It has all the elements I love.  Virgins, hellhounds, slaves breaking their chains, and true love.  I'm proud of this novel.  It might not be the most amazing thing I've ever written (I say this about every single thing I've ever written), but I'm happy with the end result.  And I hope readers are, too.

But I just can't get excited.  Maybe because the last time I posted on this blog about Iron and Bone, it was seven in the morning on April twenty-seventh.  Twelve hours later, I sat on my living room loveseat (which is stained with rat piss and sangria and waiting to go in the dumpster as soon as a replacement arrives), putting the finishing touches on the manuscript and uploading the final version to Kindle.  This was about ten minutes after I got off the phone with Hospice care.  My mother hadn't spoken in coherent words all day, for the first time ever.  She wasn't eating or drinking.  That was ok, because even though I had to work the next morning, hospice had promised to send a nurse over to check on her.  Except now she was moaning, wouldn't stop, and didn't seem to know when I was standing beside her talking to her.  So I called her nurse to say hey, she's in pain, should I be giving her something?  The nurse said I should give her morphone, because honey, you shouldn't have to listen to that all night.  I thanked her and hung up, thinking, honey, I lived in the Bronx and I can listen to anything all night, I don't want my fucking mother to be lying there in pain unable to tell me she's in fucking pain.  Before I hung up, the nurse said, it sounds like she's "transitioning" and the end will probably come in 24-48 hours.

So nothing was changing immediately, my mom didn't know if I was in the room or not, and I still had to work the next morning.  Might as well finish up the manuscript, pretend I couldn't hear the moaning, and get shit done.  Because I AM NOT good with sick people.  Give me a sick rat, I'll cup in my hands and kiss its head and feed it pureed sweet potato until the end comes.  Give me back my dead dog, and I'll stroke her soft golden ears until she goes cold.  But a human is hot yet clammy, prone to strings of saliva and gurgling noises and unsettling changes in the color of skin.  I'm a germaphobe, afraid only of human germs.

My mother died two hours later.  I was in the room, holding her hand.  Afraid to touch her anywhere else.  Wanting desperately to do something and not knowing what, afraid to get to close, afraid to be there at all.

Have you seen the 2004 Dawn of the Dead?  There's an obese woman who dies on screen.  Her skin changes color; she looks gelatinous and see-through and wrong.  This is what dead actually looks like.  It looks like your mother changing color in front of you.  Like labored breaths that catch and hold, and you wait wait wait for the next breath, and it comes, and then you wait wait wait for the next breath, and finally it comes, and the pauses get longer, and finally the next breath doesn't come.  And by that time the color is all shadow and wax.

And when it's finally over and you're waiting for the nurses and the funeral home, all you can think is that you didn't do enough.  I didn't do enough to make this easy on her.  It's not a stupid thing to think, just the truth.  I am not good with sick people.  Dying people.  I want to have done so much better for her, supported her through this.  But if you sent me back in time, I would do just as bad a job, always afraid to get to close.

Time passes, faster than you might think.  There are things I can't bring myself to do.  Like watch the last few episodes in the first season of Queer as Folk.  Which I started watching to encourage my mother to go to bed on those nights when she seemed intent on staying awake forever.  The plan backfired.  She got interested and started looking forward to each episode.  She didn't like Brian Kinney.  I was waiting for that last episode where Brain shows up at Justin's prom to see if she changed her mind.  She said he'd never stay with Justin.  I looked forward to proving her wrong.

But I've managed to clear out her room, throw away boxes and boxes of the useless kitsch she collected over 64 years.  And discovered that it's too hard to throw away some items, even if I hate them.  Because she loved them, and suddenly that seems to mean something.

So now Iron and Bone is out.  And I'm glad it's out, glad the writing of it is over.  But I can't seem to bring myself to get excited about it, or to get nervous about how people will like it.  Maybe they'll hate it and it'll get horrible reviews if any.  But really in my head it's always a doomed book.  Far too connected to anticipated death and waiting for that very last breath to stop.


Friday, April 27, 2018

Coming Soon: Another New Berlin Novel

And here is the proof that Iron and Bone, which has spun out from a short story into a novelette into an official novel, is actually going to arrive in the world someday.  Ladies and gents and whatevs, we have a cover:




Here's a teaser from chapter one (though you will have to momentarily bear with  Matthew's version of an exciting day ;)

___________________________

IRON & BONE (excerpt)
_______________________


The office had three gray walls, no natural light, and just enough space for a filing cabinet, a desk, and a rolling chair. The chair had two broken casters, and no longer rolled.  Whenever Matthew moved in the chair, it made a soft, dragging sound.

The only other sounds in the office were the clicking of Matthew’s fingers across the computer keyboard, and the susurration of his own breath.  He was a quiet breather; the noise was all but inaudible.

He had once asked if he might bring in a small radio to play while he worked.  His employer had rejected him curtly:  Absolutely not.  Whether he was worried the radio would distract Matthew or if the man simply found music distasteful, Matthew didn’t know, and had better sense than to inquire.

So he worked in silence, tallying the receipts from his employer’s four shops, including The Gem Shoppe, where his tiny office was located opposite from his employer’s much larger one.  Eight hours a day of compiling figures into Quickbooks and running reports of monthly profits and losses.  It was dull work, especially now that tax season was over. Matthew found himself missing the volume of paperwork that passed across his desk in early spring, all the 1099s that had to be mailed by end of January, and then the start of federal forms, February and March consumed by the search for every single tax deduction that could possibly lower his employer’s due.  He never felt so happily busy as he did during tax season, the mad rustle of paper its own cheerful song.

It was Monday now, and nearly noon.  Matthew had sorted the receipts for two stores already, The Gem Shoppe and Green Herbal.  Three more store remained to be sorted before the close of business.  It was the same every Monday.  He arrived at five minutes to nine, and the store was already unlocked. In the main display room, the crystal specimens were set out on stretches of black velvet, and in Matthew’s office, five identical boxes of receipts waited.

There was no sign of his employer, but Matthew knew Mr. Dietrich was there; he was always there.  Usually in his office, but sometimes surveying the contents of the walk-in vault.  Matthew seldom had reason to be in the vault, and preferred it that way.  There was a chill in the room that made his bones ache. The silence there felt different than other silences.  It had a waiting quality about it.  Matthew couldn’t begin to imagine what the vault was waiting for, but he doubted it was anything good.

There was still time before lunch to begin a new box of receipts.  He opened the next in line, which had come from Mr. Dietrich’s pet shop, Familiar. Matthew had a difficult time picturing his employer as the owner of a pet shop.  It didn’t seem to fit the man.  When he was still new, he’d made the mistake of asking about that, about why Mr. Dietrich spread himself so widely in his business ventures.  The gem shop, the pet shop, the health food store, the café, and most bizarrely, the matchmaking service.  Was there a connection between them, he had wondered?

Victor Dietrich had fixed him with such a cold look that Matthew felt a ball of ice form in the pit of his stomach.  “My interests are my own, Mr. Goode,” the man said in his hard, flat voice, “and your job description does not include questioning those interests if you wish to have a job at all.”

Matthew had never mentioned it again.  Because of course he very much wished to have a job, even if it wasn’t particularly a dream job.  The wage was adequate (though barely).  And he liked the regularity of his days, knowing what to expect, and that he would not be pressured into taking on extra work.  His previous employer had been a small business owner who expected him to grow with the business, to take on more and more responsibilities and make decisions that affected growth and direction.  The pressure had been incredibly stressful. He much preferred Mr. Dietrich’s ways, frosty and controlling.  Mr. Dietrich would never permit, much less expect Matthew to begin setting policy on his own.

Matthew created a new Exel sheet, copying the format from the week before, and began entering the pet shop’s sales.  Briefly and solely for his own curiosity, he glanced at the “items” sold on each receipt.

One black kitten.

Six cane toads.

Two crows.

One white kitten.

It was, Matthew had decided a long time ago, a very odd pet shop.

The bell over the front door chimed, echoing down the short hallway where Matthew’s door stood open (per Mr. Dietrich’s order). He glanced out the door, forgetting for a moment the quandary of how one might make a pet of a three week old Komodo dragon, and hoping for a customer.  Not that Mr. Dietrich would ever let him speak to the customers, of course. But sometimes he called Matthew out to ring up sales.  Mr. Dietrich had a deep aversion to processing credit cards.

It wasn’t a customer.  It was McCarthy.

Matthew’s heart executed a peculiar vault and flip worthy of any Olympic gymnast, and then settled into a fluttery beat.  The office seemed suddenly warm, spring creeping in from outside as if it simply couldn’t be kept out any longer; perhaps it had come in with McCarthy.

What Matthew knew about the man called McCarthy he could count on three fingers.  First, that his favorite color must have been black, just like Mr. Dietrich, because that was all either of them ever wore.  But where the color (or lack thereof) made their employer appear somewhat corpselike, McCarthy seemed to have been born to it.  The soft black leather of his high-collared coat perfectly matched his hair, which was drawn into a long braid that hung halfway down his back.  Black jeans seemed molded to him, showing every inch of long legs, muscled thighs. His gloves, too, were black, and also the aviator sunglasses perched on the bridge of his fine aquiline nose. All that darkness ought to have made his white skin look far too pale, and it waspale; but the stark contrast was outlandishly appealing.  Matthew thought.

Second, whatever work McCarthy did for Mr. Dietrich, it was dangerous.  Every time he appeared at The Gem Shoppe he had some new scar, or limp.  Frequently his lovely coat, so soft it seemed to fold around him like wings, had been damaged.  Though he seemed to have an endless supply of them, changing one out for another by the next visit.  Like the ruined coats, his scars had usually also disappeared by the next time Matthew saw him.

The third thing Matthew knew, and perhaps the most important thing, was that he would never in his lifetime meet a man more perfectly devastating to his senses than the man called McCarthy.  Or a man more terribly out of his league.

The front door fell shut.  Tinted glass cut off the impression of warmth and overcast skies, and the brief lift in the air flattened again.  The gems on their shelves went on sparkling, impossibly bright. McCarthy ignored the gems and the empty show room and stalked toward the hall, shiny black boots utterly silent.

Matthew looked quickly back down at his desk, trying to remember which entry he’d been in the middle of so that he could resume his absorption in it.  He couldn’t for the life of him recall.

“Good morning, Matthew.”

A cool shadow fell across the desk.  McCarthy smelled like the threat of rain, and he was tall enough to fill the doorway completely.  His voice was dark as midnight, smooth as silk, warmer than his shadow.

Without looking up, Matthew said, “Good morning… McCarthy.”  As always, with that little pause.  Because after six years of working at The Gem Shoppe, he still wasn’t sure if McCarthy was a first name or a last name.  McCarthy had never volunteered more, and neither had their mutual employer.

Good morning, in fact, was the extent of their typical conversation, with the occasional notation on the weather.

McCarthy’s shadow lingered.  Matthew wondered if he was about to comment on the approaching hurricane, early for the season.  Perhaps McCarthy had weekend plans that would now be ruined by wind and rain.

Yet the other man remained silent.  When Matthew glanced up, he found McCarthy frowning down at the stack of receipts on the desk.

His eyes were indigo.  Matthew had only been near enough to him to make out their true color once or twice.  From any distance, they simply looked black.

“Christ.  The dragon sold already.”

Matthew blinked, and then remembered the pet shop. “Ah, yes.  The Komodo.  For nine thousand nine hundred ninety-nine dollars.  Plus tax, of course.”

McCarthy lifted a gloved hand absently to his jaw. “He should have doubled it.  The thing’s too much trouble to restock.”

His jaw was smooth and unmarked now, but Matthew recalled a week earlier when McCarthy had come in with a vicious festering wound there that appeared in the shape of a bite.

McCarthy shook his head as he stepped back out of the office.  An errant lock of coal black hair brushed his cheek, softening for a moment the unyielding lines of his face.  Matthew’s heart startled again.  He tried to formulate a response, any response, but between the lock of hair, the scent of leather, and the notion that McCarthy might actually have gone off to some sweltering island to procure that lizard, he was stuck.

He was still stuck when McCarthy paused again, just outside the door, and glanced back.  “By the way—happy birthday, Matthew.”

Matthew blinked again, rapidly.

“Thank you,” he said a full minute later, but by that time of course, McCarthy had gone.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Something New

Winter has done it's best to knock me on my writerly butt, but alas, I'm back up and pounding the keyboard.  When I'm not getting sucked into my new favorite hobby of embroidery.  Just give me my old lady badge already, okay?  I forfeit youth.

Anyway, lots of stories in the pipeline.  The one that doesn't spill oil in your prettiest puddle.  First up is another faerie story set in, you guessed it, New Berlin!  Matthew Goode is a third (or fourth or fifth, he's really not sure) generation fey descendant who's having some trouble with his personal life. Which is to say he doesn't have one.  What he does have is a crappy job keeping the books for an ungrateful employer, and a crush on his employer's rough-and-tumble errand boy, McCarthy.  Of course Matthew knows he'd never have a chance with a man like that.  He's a nice shy boy, maybe a little on the boring side.  He understands most men aren't attracted to the quiet, dull type.  Which is why he's never tried too hard to find one.  What the hay.  He's got a pet parakeet named Delilah and she could shit all over any human man.

And then Delilah dies.  Matthew goes off the deep end.  Demands a raise, gets turned down for a raise, steals a gemstone worth millions of dollars, and tries to run away to start a new life in England, where boring men like him meet each other over cups of Earl Grey every day.

What Matthew doesn't know:  His employer is a powerful witch not know for being merciful.  His crush, McCarthy, is actually one of the dark fey, a changeling adopted by the witch a hundred years ago and serving as his enforcer ever since.  And then gemstone he stole?  It's a magical talisman beyond any price tag, and the witch wants it back.  Now.

Who better to send after an errant fey than one of the dark fey?  Unless that dark fey has a soft spot for nervous reclusive bookkeepers harboring secret dirty fantasies.

If revisions go well, Iron & Bone will be publishing with a real cover in late spring/early summer of this year.  In the meantime, you can check out the in progress second draft at either FictionPress https://www.fictionpress.com/u/384634/LFBlake or Wattpad https://www.wattpad.com/user/lfblake.


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Valentine's Day

Life goes on.  People live, in a manner of speaking that other people might not call living at all.  And caretakers, I have a new respect for caretakers.  It is a job that can ruin you, husk you out like rotten corn until the good parts of yourself are dust and only hard crunchy bits of cob remain.  Not everyone can do it, and when you come to terms with the fact you can no longer care, you're haunted by the possibility of being a terrible person.

I refuse to descend into depression on a manufactured holiday which I would likely feel more charitable toward if I were not spending it alone, fighting off a cold, and waiting to be called at any moment into my mother's bedroom to empty her catheter bag.  I resent these impositions.  I am a terrible person.

So... Sylvia Plath on Valentine's Day.  That's all I have the energy for.  The poetry and anger of Otep got me through depression in my early twenties, kicked my ass out of apathy, into righteous fury.  But today is not a day for rage.  It's a day for tulips.



...

I didn’t want any flowers, I only wanted
To lie with my hands turned up and be utterly empty.
How free it is, you have no idea how free——
The peacefulness is so big it dazes you,
And it asks nothing, a name tag, a few trinkets.
It is what the dead close on, finally; I imagine them   
Shutting their mouths on it, like a Communion tablet.   

The tulips are too red in the first place, they hurt me.
Even through the gift paper I could hear them breathe   
Lightly, through their white swaddlings, like an awful baby.   
Their redness talks to my wound, it corresponds.
They are subtle : they seem to float, though they weigh me down,   
Upsetting me with their sudden tongues and their color,   
A dozen red lead sinkers round my neck.

Nobody watched me before, now I am watched.   
The tulips turn to me, and the window behind me
Where once a day the light slowly widens and slowly thins,   
And I see myself, flat, ridiculous, a cut-paper shadow   
Between the eye of the sun and the eyes of the tulips,   
And I have no face, I have wanted to efface myself.   
The vivid tulips eat my oxygen.

Before they came the air was calm enough,
Coming and going, breath by breath, without any fuss.   
Then the tulips filled it up like a loud noise.
Now the air snags and eddies round them the way a river   
Snags and eddies round a sunken rust-red engine.   
They concentrate my attention, that was happy   
Playing and resting without committing itself.

The walls, also, seem to be warming themselves.
The tulips should be behind bars like dangerous animals;   
They are opening like the mouth of some great African cat,   
And I am aware of my heart: it opens and closes
Its bowl of red blooms out of sheer love of me.
The water I taste is warm and salt, like the sea,
And comes from a country far away as health.

~Tulips (abbreviated), Sylvia Plath


Saturday, January 13, 2018

Death Comes In Threes

It occurs to me that could be a good idea for a paranormal novel.  Death Comes In Threes.  Zombie ménage à trois perhaps.

Maybe someday.  For today it's just me babbling about things I can't say anywhere else, so please feel free to stop reading now, because nothing good will come of this post.  There's no takeaway here.

But it's a new year, right?  The old shit is supposed to be over, we're in a fresh new start...  To me it feels like the old shit is just rolling right into the new and forming one massive shitstain of a snowball.

I guess I still haven't gotten over the death of my dog.  Maybe because she felt more like a daughter to me, snotty attitude and all.  I'm sure she got the attitude from me.  As well as the anti-social, don't-touch-me, feed-me-now, yes-I-will-damn-well-pee-where-I-please stuff.  Because she was a nice, sweet girl when she arrived at eight weeks old.  She arrived when I was twenty-one, my young-mother baby, and she was supposed to hang out for a good long time.  Not turn up sick before she hit ten, go into the vet for an inspection and never come back home.  Not my beautiful bitchy girl who had me wrapped around her finger, and who I would traded places with in a heartbeat.

And yet.

Fast forward a couple of months and I get a call at work.  Apparently my grandfather's been found facedown on his living room floor and he's likely been there a couple days.  The funeral home is real impressed with themselves for "getting as much of him out of the carpet as we did."

I've never been close to this particular grandfather.  He was artistic, which I admire, and I loved his pottery.  But in his old age he always seemed deeply bitter at not having made a name for himself in the art world.  And frankly it never looked like he was trying that hard.  Which of course makes me worry I'm not trying hard enough (to be a writer, to be an artist), and I'll end up just like him.  But then again, the man told me to "put a lid on it" when I was five - "it" being a can of Pringles, and the meaning that I was a loud eater and likely to get as fat as my mother.  So.

But then we had to tell my grandmother.  His wife of seventy years, currently in a nursing home and not likely to ever leave.  And she kept forgetting who'd died and crying over her obese but still alive border collie.  So even if the dead relative doesn't make you sob, the living one probably will.

The rest of the family is out there now, picking over his belongings, by which I'm sure I mean they're cleaning.  And they want me to come collect mementos, and I can't even begin to.  Not only because it feels hideously morbid to me (and I'm a pretty goddamn morbid person).  But mostly because my mother's in the next bedroom dying, and I just can't seem to find my energy.

When I say she's dying I think I really mean it.  She's said she's dying since I was twelve, but last year, shortly after the sneaky bitch convinced me we should get an apartment together, so that she could escape the physical rehab facility where she was trapped, shit got real.  Lots of emergency 911 calls, followed by enrollment in in-home hospice care.  Hospice, you know, where patients get six months or less to live.

Some people die on hospice.  Others get better.  Despite failing heart, kidneys, eyes, and just about everything else, my angry, bitter-to-be-alive amputee of a mother thrived.  Healthier than ever.  Never going to die.

Then she got the flu.

And now her heart appears to be giving out.  Five days and she hasn't gotten out of bed.  She doesn't eat.  She barely drinks.  And in two days she hasn't once turned on the television to blast my brains out with Murder She Wrote or Quincy or Little House on the Prairie or any of that crap that makes me contemplate murder suicides.  She sleeps.  She mumbles to the imaginary possum on her bedroom wall.  (I jest not.)  Her body fills up with fluid until she looks like a beached whale, and when she wakes up, she doesn't know what day it is or why I have to leave her to go groom dogs at the shop or why on earth I want her to take her heart pills or drink some goddamn ginger ale.

Her doctor says she might surprise us and turn it around.  But her doctor also says this could be the beginning of the end.  And it will go fast, doc says.  But how fast is fast?  Days?  Apparently more than that.  A week, two, a month?  How long can you survive on one can of diet sprite a day?

I love my mother.  I hate my mother.  These are feelings I've lived with all my life, and I have no clue how to resolve them now.  I don't want her to die, because we just starting streaming iZombie from the first season, and she still hasn't seen how Game of Thrones ends.  The Bachelor just started for christ's sake.

I want her to die, because she's been in limbo for so long, and I know she believes in god and that she's going to heaven, and I want that for her even if it's all bullshit to me.

I want her to live, because she trapped me in this expensive apartment that I hate and can't afford on my own, and where the hell am I supposed to find a house for rent that will take me with two dogs, two ferrets, two rats, and four fish tanks, and yes I'm aware I created this particular dilemma all on my own.

I want her to live, because I have a new dog, adopted from one of my clients, and I want my new girl to have a grandmother.  I want my boy Jasper, who loves his grandma probably more than he does me, to keep getting his morning petting sessions and all the yummy people food she sneaks him.  I want to hear her bitching again about how Jasper leaves all his favorite balls right in front of her walker as gifts to her and she always thinks she's going to step on them and fall, even though she never actually lifts her feet high enough off the ground to step on a fucking gumdrop.

I want her to die, because I'm sick to death of living with my angry, sick mother, and I'm ready to be a fucking adult living in my own home, alone, without falling over walkers and wheelchairs and ugly ass furniture I can't stand and listening to that tv going day and night, day and night, until I want to scream.

I want her to live because she's my mom.  And even if there are a lot of ways she failed me as a mother, she always loved me.  And I love her.

My new novel was supposed to be finished a week ago, but I can't seem to write more than twenty words a day on it.  All my jewelry orders are overdue.  I burst into tears for no reason in the middle of every groom, and the dogs look at me like I'm nuts, dear jesus, why are they stuck with the nutso groomer and maybe a little nip would snap me out of it?

And I have no idea what to do.  None whatsoever.

Except wait.  And do nothing.

And now - just fucking now while my finger is hovering over the publish button - I hear her rasping and muttering to herself in her empty bedroom, and she says, "I love you, [Lydia].  I always have, I always will."

Fuck.  Me.