Tag Archives: coming of age

Going Home, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Welcome all you caregivers, and children who are now taking care of their parents. You’ve landed on Lisa Burton Radio, the only show that brings you characters from the books you love. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl. My special guest today is Michelle DePalma. She has an elderly parent who requires round-the-clock care. “Welcome to the show, Michelle.”

“Thanks so much for having me, Lisa. I admit I was a little apprehensive about being interviewed by a robot. I didn’t know what to expect. But you seem pretty normal to me. At least, as normal as any of us can be…”

“My bio indicates that Two Wells, Texas is a very small town. The kind of place it’s good to be from, if you know what I mean. Something has pulled you back to Two Wells. Can you tell us about that?”

“Certainly. Two Wells was founded during the East Texas oil boom, and a lot of its residents see it as the center of the universe; they’ve never left. People I grew up with have changed very little since we were in high school. Two Wells is very clique-y. My parents moved there from New York when I was five years old. In the 1960s when I grew up, even though the Civil War had been over for 100 years, the citizens of Two Wells never really accepted the outcome. Because I was a Yankee, as well as a shy, studious kid, I didn’t fit in. My mom didn’t believe me when I told her the kids—and even my teachers–picked on me for being a Yankee, but it was true.

“I got out of Two Wells as soon as I was able. My parents stayed, so I could never escape it completely. Lately, I’ve been back there a lot—every couple of weeks.”

“And the increased visits have to do with your mother, Lola’s, health?”

“Yes, my mom has had a lot of health problems lately. Last year, she had breast cancer surgery and I swear, I don’t think she ever got the anesthesia out of her system. She went to a nursing home for several months to recover, and she seemed to have lost the will to live. She wouldn’t eat, she wouldn’t do her physical therapy. My brother and I figured she’d be happier at home, so we got her out of there. But she needs round-the-clock caregivers… Sorry… In the past few months, we’ve noticed her memory is really bad. She can’t remember what she had for lunch or how to put her clothes on right. You can have a rational conversation with her and five minutes later, she can’t remember a word of it. You have to start all over… Sorry…I don’t know how this happened. I guess we’ve been absorbed in our own lives, not paying enough attention to her. Our dad died, Mom got a boyfriend, then he died… she’s always been so self-sufficient. Never asked for our help. Sorry…it’s just hard to think of my mother this way… that she might have…Alzheimer’s.”

“It’s okay. Take your time. Tell us what you found when you visited Lola.”

“I hadn’t been home for a few weeks, not since before the attacks of September 11. My husband Roberto and I both work for an airline, and life had been crazy. But I was finally able to take a couple days off to fly back to Two Wells and check on Mom.

“I walked in the front door and there was Mom, standing over the body of a young woman sprawled on the tile floor. I figured out it was Brittany Landers, one of Mom’s caregivers. There was blood… too much blood. Brittany’s skin had this grayish-blue color…she did not look good. She wasn’t breathing. I couldn’t find a pulse.

Mom just stared at us. I asked her what happened, but she didn’t answer.

“I asked her if she’d called 911 yet, but she just looked at me as if that was the craziest idea she’d ever heard.

“I ran to the phone in the kitchen and dialed 911, and the dispatcher told me to start CPR, which I did. But it didn’t help.

“The paramedics got there really fast, but they couldn’t revive her, either. Brittany was dead.

Then the cops came. Keith Matthews and Greg Dobbins… I hadn’t seen those jerks since our ten-year high school reunion. I couldn’t believe it, but they thought my mother had killed Brittany!”

“That’s horrible. Is Lola strong enough to do something like that? I mean, she’s elderly now.”

“My mom probably weighs less than ninety pounds. She can’t even wear her rings anymore, because they just fall off her fingers.

“Her caregivers tell me she’s surprisingly strong for her frail appearance, and she’s very possessive of her things. Brittany was bludgeoned to death with a brass pagoda, an heirloom that has been in my mother’s family for decades. But I know Mom is incapable of killing anyone. She may be forgetful, but she knows right from wrong!”

“So what do the police think?”

“You don’t want to know what the police think. They’re looking for easy closure to the case, and Mom is the most likely suspect. She was alone in the house when Brittany was attacked. Obviously, someone else was there, but Mom can’t remember anything about what happened that day.

“My old best friend, Elaine, came over to help me talk to Mom. Elaine never left Two Wells like I did, and she’s more chummy these days with my mother than I am. Made me feel like the lousy, uncaring daughter that I am.

“Elaine’s been married three times and has two kids by two different husbands. And it turns out she’s now dating Keith Matthews, one of the cops who’s investigating Brittany’s death. Keith was in the popular crowd! He never would have given one of us outcasts the time of day when we were in high school!

“But anyway, since Keith thinks Mom killed Brittany, Elaine assumes he’s right and tried to get Mom to confess.

“Keith completely ignored me when I showed him what I found in our yard–the business card of his former wife, Mary Lynn Hodges. New real estate agent. Self-righteous, stuck-up head cheerleader, wealthy Two Wells founder’s daughter. What was she doing at our house? The cops need to look at all the evidence.

“Of course, there’s the matter of the home equity loan papers that came in the mail… I don’t understand how Brittany got Mom to sign them, but it looks like Brittany was ripping her off. Now I don’t feel so sorry that Brittany is dead, but the cops think they might have a motive for murder…

“To make matters worse, there’s Giovanna.”

“Wait, who’s Giovanna?”

“Long story, but in the midst of all this chaos, trying to assume the role of caregiver and prove my mother’s innocence, I found out I’m a grandmother! I feel like I cheated somehow. Me, a grandmother! I never even raised a child.

“So I guess you’re wondering how that happened.

“When I was seventeen, I was dating Percy, a dreamy college guy who had me under his thumb. (He later turned out to be an abusive, manipulative philanderer, but we’re getting off track here.) Anyway, I got pregnant. Percy didn’t want to marry me—told me I’d never be good enough to be his wife–and I had no desire to become a mother at seventeen. Even in my naïve state, I must have realized marrying him and keeping the baby would be a disaster. (I wasn’t smart enough to dump Percy for a few more years, but at least the break was clean when I finally got the courage.)

“So, I went away to a home for unwed mothers and gave the baby up for adoption. Never looked back. Never told anyone outside my immediate family. Not even Roberto, my husband. I thought there was no need.

“But this week, Isabella found me. She was married to the son I gave up for adoption. They had a daughter. Giovanna. She’s ten, and Mom calls her “Michelle” sometimes, because there’s a photo of me on the mantle that looks just like Giovanna does now.”

“So in a perfect world, Mom is proven innocent, and your husband never finds out about the child you put up for adoption all those years ago.”

“It’s not a perfect world, though. Roberto’s on his way to Two Wells, and I won’t be able to hide Isabella and Giovanna from him. And I don’t want to. They’re my family, my glimpse of “the road not taken.” I just hope he understands. And that I can prove Mom didn’t kill Brittany before it’s too late.”

“It’s all so tragic. I wish we had more time, but we need to wrap this up. Any last thoughts for our listeners today?”

“Almost six million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s today, and it’s the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. We still don’t know how to prevent it, and there’s no cure. I know I’m not alone helplessly watching a loved one being robbed of her memories and the skills for daily living, but that’s not exactly comforting.”

“We wish you, and Lola, the best of luck. Listeners can learn more by picking up the book, Going Home, by Sharon Marchisello. I’ll post all the info on the website after I go off the air.

“Please consider using those sharing buttons today. It helps spread the word for my guests, and I know Sharon and Michelle would do it for you, when your character appears on the next Lisa Burton Radio.”

***

Michelle DePalma expects to jet home for a routine visit to Two Wells, Texas, to check on her elderly mother, Lola Hanson, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. She walks in to find her mother hovering over the dead body of her caregiver, unable to offer a straight answer about what happened. Lola is quickly labeled a suspect, and Michelle must stay in her hometown much longer than planned to help unravel the mystery and clear her mother’s name. Going Home was inspired by the author’s own mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s, which prompted her to wonder what it would be like to interview a witness who could not rely on her memory.

Pick up your copy at the following locations:

https://www.sunburypressstore.com/Going-Home-9781620064382.htm

https://www.amazon.com/Going-Home-Sharon-Marchisello-ebook/dp/B00MPOQKL2

 

Sharon Marchisello has written fiction all her life, but Going Home is her first published novel. She has written travel articles, corporate training manuals, and a personal finance e-book, Live Cheaply, Be Happy, Grow Wealthy. She earned a Masters in Professional Writing from the University of Southern California and is an active member of Atlanta Sisters in Crime, where she contributed a short story to their anthology, Mystery, Atlanta Style. Going Home was inspired by her mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s, which prompted her to wonder what it would be like to interview a witness unable to rely on her memory.

You can find Sharon at the following social media sites:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/4297807.Sharon_Marchisello

https://smarchisello.wordpress.com/

https://twitter.com/SLMarchisello

https://www.facebook.com/SLMarchisello/

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Beyond Barlow, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Hello all you Lost Boys and Merry Men, you misplaced children of all stripes. You’ve landed on Lisa Burton Radio, the only show out there bringing you the characters from the stories you love. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and today my special guest is Ford Barlow, he’s a runaway stepchild who falls in with a group similar to himself. “Welcome to the show, Ford.”

“Are you…are you of the gods…from out there?”

“In a manner of speaking. And where are you currently?”

“Right here. I mean, in the woods. I wanted to get away from the others for a bit, ya know? And I found this totem in this glade. I’ve never seen one like this before, with lady parts and all.”

“Oh yeah. Now please speak clearly into the ears of the magic totem. Now, Ford, what would make a young man leave his home so suddenly?”

“Well, I’m ashamed to say I made a bad mistake, you see, and someone got hurt, well, killed if I’m honest. I didn’t mean to! It just happened, so I had to leave. I took to these woods and been here ever since.”

“But I understand you’re not living like an animal. There are others in the forest. What can you tell our listeners… um, the spirit thingies about them?”

“Oh yeah! I met these folks ‘bout my age. They call themselves the Wayward Boys and they took me in, treat me good.”

“Camping out with your buds, and living off the land doesn’t sound so bad.”

“No, it ain’t so bad at all. We got along all right, but sometimes are better than others. Winter’s awful hard. Cold cuts right through to the bone and there’s never enough to eat. Whenever we wasn’t all bundled up in our hideout, we’d be out sniffing ‘bout the towns for this and that. I’m ashamed to admit, ma’am or mistress, we take from others now and again when needs must. But I tell you true, it’s not by want, not on my part. All I want’s to get my father’s axe back to him. I took it when I wasn’t thinking straight and, well, I just want him to know I’m better than that.”

“That’s kind of a deep well. Could you maybe slip back one night and leave a note tied around the axe handle?”

“Well, I can’t write and neither can any the Boys, and we don’t have nothing to write with even if we could. And besides, there’s something creeping around out there just now, something nobody’s ever seen before. It’s like demon’s magic or something. Don’t know what it is, but it ain’t good.”

“Ford, I really hope you can find closure with your father somehow. You have to remember that life goes on though. What do you think your future holds?”

“Don’t know…You’re of the gods, maybe you could tell me!”

“Well, um. I guess you have to accept your circumstances and make the best life you can. If you don’t like something, change it.”

“That would be nice… The Boys want to keep me around and I don’t know how I’d get away. Even if I did, where would I go? I couldn’t go back home. They don’t want me back.”

“That’s a problem, for sure. Maybe you can work your way up in the group and find a new life somewhere else?”

“Hmmm, that’s a thought maybe!”

“Any final thought for the, um, spirits today?”

“I just want to give my thanks for the help of the gods.”

“Thanks for, you know, entertaining the spirits today, Ford.

“If you want to read more about Ford and his friends, pick up a copy of Beyond Barlow, by Jason R. Koivu. I’ll post all the deets on the website. Please use those sharing buttons today to help spread the word. I know Jason would do it for you, and we could probably trick Ford into doing the same. For Lisa Burton Radio, I’m Lisa Burton.”

***

blurb

Ford Barlow is banished from his home and the clansmen he loves after a tragic accident forces him into joining a band of thieving boys. Adventure and fun abound and it seems Ford has found a perfectly fine new home until a mysterious massacre chases the boys away from their beloved woodland hideaway. They pass through a magical and dangerous forest into the arms of conniving bandits. These vicious men and his conscience push Ford to the brink of his moral limits in Beyond Barlow.

Review snippet

“The story was so full of twists and turns that I had trouble putting it down…” – Jasmin Brooks, Amazon user

You can pick up a copy of Beyond Barlow right here.

You can catch up with Jason at jasonrkoivu@mail.com, or on his website.

 

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Wren, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Hello all you diva’s and superstars. Welcome to another edition of Lisa Burton Radio, the only show that interviews the characters from the books you love. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl, and today we’re going to try something a little bit different.

I receive mail, and sometimes we read them on the air as kind of an advice column. This one sparked my interest. We have someone calling herself Aunt Char, and she’s worried about her niece, Wren.

I heard a show recently where the radio host called someone up, and that’s just what we’re going to do. Just bear with me while I dial the number.

“Good morning, Char speaking.”

“Hello, this is Lisa Burton, and you’re on the air right now. Is this Aunt Char?”

“I just told you my name is Char. I was hoping that you would call. I have waited all week. I even made Byron, that’s my husband, shave and put on church shirts every morning. I have on my best dress today–it’s blue. Blue brings out the color in my eyes and high-lights in my hair. I’m a natural blonde, you know. But you sure took your time calling–I mailed the postcard last Friday. Maybe I should talk to someone down at the Post Office. Well, better late than never.”

“That’s right, I received your post card and wanted to talk to you about it. So why are you worried about Wren?”

“Well, Wren has a lovely singing voice. She gets that from me. She got the lead in a summer musical at her school–beating out other girls who are older. But my sister sent Wren to Mama’s and Papa’s place for the summer. Wren was really upset, and I can’t blame her.”

“Sometimes kids have to spend the summer with relatives. That’s nothing completely new. I understand why she might be upset, but maybe there is something there she can participate in locally.”

“My sister Willow had surgery for breast cancer, and then had to have chemotherapy. Wren is old enough to stay home and help her mama. Coddling her by sending her to be a guest in someone’s home all summer will ruin her. She should be cooking meals and keeping the house clean and seeing that her mother gets enough rest. She could still have time for the musical. Instead, I had to go help my sister–drove all the way to Colorado.

“And when I got there, Wren could not get away from home fast enough. I tried to help her with some tips on breathing and enunciation and important singing techniques, but she just got sassy.”

“Cancer is terrifying, so I understand if Wren is a little bit worried. Her mother is in bad shape, and Wren might be staying much longer than the summer if things go wrong. Maybe Wren needs a little support to work through things.”

“Well, the goats and chickens and alpacas aren’t going to help Wren with her singing. I know–there is nothing there but mud and poop and hard work. Just look at my parents–they should be retired and having fun, but all they do is work, work, work. It was not a good place for me with my talents, and it is not the right place for Wren. All she does is mope around and try to get a cell phone signal, so she can talk with her friends at home.”

“I’m sure your parents love Wren dearly. Taking care of animals is good for her to learn, but I understand her desire for something more. I’m sure your parents are just as worried about your sister.”

“They know how to cope. When I was quite young, I went through my own bout of cancer, and I am still kicking. But I could never have children of my own. So there is only Wren.”

“I’m so sorry for your loss. It probably doesn’t help, but robot girls can’t bear children either.”

“There’s no comparison. But we got on with life, and Wren needs to do the same thing –  regardless of the outcome. I mean, I love my sister and am sure she will recover, but we should make sure to have a plan for Wren.”

“Well, I’m so glad Wren has someone like you to help break up the doldrums of milking goats and feeling like free farm labor. Maybe you can introduce her to some locals that are more her age.”

“She should meet some nice church kids, but she does not seem to like them. Spends most of her time with kids she met at the park–writing poetry and going for hikes. I don’t think they are a good influence. It’s a good thing I am back in town, so I can introduce her to the right people.  I had a tea at my house, but Wren ended up pouting in the kitchen when I asked her to let the grownups talk without her.

“One day she sassed me outright, and when I corrected her, she said she never wanted to be like me. She even slammed the door. Came around a few days later to apologize, and she said she wanted to be able to sing just like me. So I started her with voice lessons. She shows promise even if she is not grateful.”

“Aunt Char, thank you for taking my call today. Any last thoughts for our listeners?”

“Well, I guess we worry about those we love and want the best for them. That’s what I want for Wren. Even if she is sassy.”

“You can read all about Wren and Aunt Char in the book Wren, by Alice Longaker. I’ll post all the details on the website.

“Don’t forget to use those sharing buttons today. I’m sure Alice and Aunt Char would do it for you, when your character is on the show.

“For Lisa Burton Radio, I’m Lisa Burton.”

***

Blurb

Wren’s summer plans crash with the news of her mother’s diagnosis of Breast Cancer. While her mother focuses on healing, Wren is sent to spend the summer with her grandparents in the Ozark Mountains of Arkansas.

The not-so-typical grandparents are aging hippies with goats, chickens, and alpacas as companions. With new friends, increased independence, and acres of woods to explore, Wren tries to discover what she wants to do when she is grown—an archaeologist, or ranger, perhaps a writer or a singer?

Without cell phone reception or internet access, Wren feels detached from those back home. Chiggers bite. Spiders lurk. An owl calls outside of Wren’s window. Sometimes Wren gets scared. Yet, even in bleak sorrow and loss, Wren can see that life does not have to be perfect to be good.

Title; Wren

Genre: Middle-Grade fiction

Release date: April 2017

Audience: Middle-Grade Girls

Where to Order:

Black Rose Writing: http://www.blackrosewriting.com/childrens-booksya/wren

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Wren-Alice-Longaker/dp/1612968546

Barnes & Noble:

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/wren-alice-longaker/1126086449

Biography

Although she writes in many forms, Alice Longaker is first of all a poet. Her job is to see the wonder of something newly made from old patterns.

A self-professed late bloomer, she obtained a master’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado. She wandered through a library career—the solitude of cataloging, the austere aisles of a research library, and a boisterous children’s library.

Alice then taught research, composition, literature, and Intensive English to college students throughout Colorado. She currently dabbles in tutoring international students, and heeding the ‘call of stories,’ she writes. New projects include a collection of lyrical essays, poetry, and perhaps sequels to WREN.

Links

Website for youth: WREN: https://wrenbyalicelongaker.wordpress.com

Facebook author page: Alice Longaker-Author https://www.facebook.com/alicelongakercolorado

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/longakeralley

Twitter: Alice Longaker: https://twitter.com/AliceLongaker

Organizations

Northern Colorado Writers: http://www.northerncoloradowriters.com

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I have the Book of the Moment

It’s a huge honor to have Will O’ the Wisp as the “Book of the Moment” over at Venture Galleries.

Will O’ The Wisp by C. S. Boyack

Will O' The Wisp by C. S. BoyackPurchase:

  • Buy for Kindle

This book goes beyond YA and should be enjoyable for anyone who loves a terrific plot that is beautifully written.

There is something evil up Bergamot Holler, and it’s been targeting the Hall family for generations.

Read on here

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