Thursday, December 31, 2009

The Benefactor Receives 5 Stars and a Top Pick Rating by Night Owl Reviews

What a way to ring in the New Year! I was notified of this review minutes before heading out the door to celebrate. Needless to say, there were many beaming faces around the laptop tonight and two reasons to drink champagne.


Here's what reviewer, Diana Coyle, had to say:

All I can say about this story is, “WOW!!!” This was a powerful story that grabbed me from the first page and had me on a roller coaster ride until the very last sentence. Ms. Dempsey packed this story with raw emotions and I just couldn’t help but feel terrible for Kate....I’m new to Ms. Dempsey and her writing, but I can tell you that I am her #1 fan now. I eagerly look forward to reading more from this author as soon as possible. Keep the stories coming, Ms. Dempsey!

Read the full review here.

I received my first review on Thanksgiving morning and this last one on New Year's Eve. Some kind of holiday pattern, maybe? Whatever it takes! Let's go Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. YEAH!!!!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

4-Book Rating for The Benefactor from Long and Short Reviews

What a great Thanksgiving gift! And definitely something to be thankful for.

I just got my first, official review from Long and Short Reviews. They gave The Benefactor a 4-book rating.

Click here to read the complete review. I've pasted in part of it below.


The “Everything’s Coming Up Roses” beginning of The Benefactor is deceptive. Suspense creeps in early when Kate Barrett’s “secret friend” sends a gift to her new apartment before she moves in and even before her name is listed at the new address.

As the plot takes twists and turns with layer after layer of Kate’s past life being peeled away, she feels off balance and must re-evaluate past events while moving along at warp speed in her new job at eTown Technology. Kate, bright, college-educated, and dedicated is on the fast track to success.

Michael Callaghan, owner of eTown Technology, watches Kate and encourages her to make the most of her talents. He rewards her with promotions and pay. He stays in the background with Frank Tarantino being the visible “boss” up to a point. However, Michael exerts pressure when Frank steps over the line with Kate. Michael’s past also had layers to it that he does not reveal. His anonymous philanthropic works take on new meaning as the layers of his past begin to peel away. The Benefactor, a story about a quest for redemption and about the power of forgiveness, lures the reader in.

The secondary characters help develop the complexities in the story and add some interesting insights into the various ways people cope with their circumstances—circumstances that cannot always be seen as just black or white, the shades of grey in between must be considered.

Margaret Reyes Dempsey’s unobtrusive writing style makes the story flow and propels the reader along with a mixture of bumps and smoothness along the way that keeps the reader’s interest fully engaged.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Book Launch Party for The Benefactor

My book launch party was last night and it was an amazing evening. There was a cocktail party for guests of the hotel before my event began. The general manager suggested I get there early to set up and meet some of them. He had displayed the book signing poster in the lobby during the week, sent emails to the guests, and a telephone broadcast to the rooms inviting them down for happy hour and the book signing. About fifty people showed up and as I set up, 19 of them came over to chat and buy books, which totally shocked me. I was shaking a bit when I signed that first book in the presence of a stranger. I had already signed a bunch of pre-orders for the launch party, but I was by myself for those. :-)

At 7:00 PM, my family and friends arrived (about 100 people). It was a magical night. Everyone was so excited. There was a constant line at the signing table. A local paper had printed an article about the book launch and someone actually brought a copy of that for me to autograph along with the book. In addition to the food and drinks that were served, my mom brought in 100 casatelli, a Sicilian dessert, which is described on pages 106-107 of The Benefactor. We put up a sign with that information, along with a description of the dessert (pastry dough filled with sweetened ricotta, shaved chocolate, and a touch of cinnamon, fried or baked, and dusted with powdered sugar).


To be honest, I never imagined that my book launch party would go the way it did. In fact, just that morning I'd burrowed deeper under the covers in total avoidance mode, incredibly nervous and not knowing what to expect. But when guests began arriving and I felt the energy in the room and saw how starry-eyed some of my friends and family were, it all started to feel real in a good way. I had a hard time falling asleep after such an energizing night. I'll never forget it. Thank you everyone for making it a dream come true.

[Visit the Gallery Page of my website to see photos from the event.]



Monday, October 26, 2009

Be-uh He-uh: Successful book promotion may require some form of refrigeration

[I'll get to the translation of Be-uh He-uh in a moment for any out-of-towners.]

My book, The Benefactor, was released by The Wild Rose Press last week. For the past few months I've been gazing into space and doing research on the best places to promote a book. Believe it or not, a bookstore is not that place. One local, independent store told a fellow writer that she should set the retail price and they'd take half. Only bad thing was it cost her $3 more than that "half price" to purchase the books at her special discount from her publisher. So, for the privilege of sitting at their store, it would cost her $3 per book (and that's not even factoring in the cost of shipping the books to her).

Discouraged by her news, I thought maybe a few local writers could pool their funds and get a table at the mall one day during the holiday season. How much could it be? I'll tell you. One table for one Saturday between Thanksgiving and Christmas costs $800. You'd have to sell a lot of books to just break even.

Joking around, I told one of my writer friends that we should get a table in the meat aisle of our local warehouse club store. There'd be plenty of people shopping for the holidays. He told me he'd already been turned down. At first, I thought he was pulling my leg. But no. He'd gone to the store where he had shopped for years and the manager was very excited about having a book signing there for him. But when the request made it to the "powers that be," the answer was a resounding, "Nay!"

With disbelief that a writer wouldn't even be welcome to sit in front of the frozen turkeys, but feeling that I was onto something, I spent a few more hours gazing into space, brainstorming with myself. Maybe it's that the Yankees have made it into the World Series, but those guys at the stadium who walk around with the cases of beer cans sitting in ice, screaming "Be-uh He-uh" (that's Beer Here for those of you not from the Metro New York area), suddenly came to mind. Maybe they had room in their beer cases for my romantic suspense novel. The odds are that at least some of the women sitting in the stands are glazed over and there only to impress their dates. They could get started reading immediately and maybe create a buzz in the stands. Though in New York, creating the wrong kind of buzz will get a hot dog thrown at you...or worse. Still, a bit of mustard never hurt anyone.

My mind continued on. What about those guys with the coolers heaved on their shoulders selling cold drinks on the beach? "Ice cold water, iced tea, The Benefactor, ice cold water, iced tea, The Benefactor." It has a nice ring to it, don't you think? And there are plenty of women on the beach, some perhaps in need of a good read.

Then this idea popped into my head...a truck rounds the corner, its bell ringing and the warped strains of "Turkey in the Straw" playing. Children run from their homes. It's the ice cream guy. He reaches into the freezer, pulls out a bomb pop for little Johnny, and The Benefactor for his mom.

Refrigeration, I tell you. Successful book promotion will undoubtedly come down to some form of refrigeration. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

It's Here!!!!

I got word today that my book, The Benefactor, was available for author purchase, which was a great relief since, against advice, I have optimistically scheduled events and was starting to get a bit worried about having the books in time. When I arrived at my publisher's site, I saw that it's available for EVERYONE to purchase. A month early. Yay? Yay. YAY!!!!!!!

I imagine it will be a few weeks before The Benefactor is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc., but for now, it can be purchased at
The Wild Rose Press.

You can also check out my
website for the latest information.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Vistaprint - Are you feeling lucky?

[Note: If you're not in the market for business cards and post cards, you might want to skip this one.]

Just placed my first order with Vistaprint. I'd read everyone's comments on Inked-In about how you sign up and they keep sending you deals. But until you actually place your first order, you have no idea just what it's like, and how it's geared very strongly to your gambling sense of adventure. Case in point, I need tons of business cards and post cards for my upcoming book release. My family alone will clean me out of hundreds of them. My release date also happens to be closing in. And so my dilemma was, do I order everything I need now, or order part of what I need and hope Vistaprint sends me a better deal tomorrow to place an additional order.

Knowing I was going to pick the slowest shipping method (21 days) because I get really cheap when it comes to shipping, I figured I didn't have much time to screw around with winning the Vistaprint lottery. So, I placed my full order. Upon hitting the submit button, a screen pops up indicating you have 10 minutes to add the following to your order with FREE shipping. One of the items was additional post cards; the other, additional business cards. I opted for the business cards--another 500 cards, color printing on both sides, for three bucks. Can't beat that. Once I'd ordered that, ANOTHER screen popped up with additional items and another 10 minute decision period. I decided it was time to log out.

So, the question is, should I have ordered fewer items to start? Would the offer that popped up have been as generous or is it based on your initial order? I have no idea. But I'm sure there's a study to be done here. I just don't have the time for it.

One word of advice: If you're someone who will worry until your order arrives about how the cards will look, order the pdf proof for $1.99 before you submit your order. The sense of security it provides is well worth the cost.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

1st Anniversary of My Blog

Today is the first anniversary of this blog and I've been thinking about all that's happened over the course of the year. It reminds me of the importance of being open to people and reaching out to others. Nothing good happens if you sit alone in your home day after day. Read on to see what I mean.

In May of 2008, I was reading my Washington University in St. Louis Alumni Magazine when I noticed a blurb about a fellow alum who had just had a book published. Her name was Julie Compton, and though I didn't know her at school, I was really excited about her news. I sent her an email congratulating her (this is the reaching out to others part), which set off a chain of events I never could have predicted.

  • Julie responded and we began an email correspondence.
  • I visited her blog and was inspired to start a blog of my own.
  • It was either on her blog or website that I noticed a link for Inked-In, a social networking site for writers, artists, and musicians.
  • I joined Inked-In and that site became the outlet for a lot of pent-up creativity, not to mention the exciting exchanges with other crazy, creative types.
  • In the meantime, I bought a copy of Julie's book, Tell No Lies, and started reading. I enjoyed it so much, I sent her an email detailing my thoughts.
  • After several emails back and forth, Julie asked if I would be interested in becoming her beta reader. Hell, yeah!
  • Shortly thereafter, I found out that my novel, The Benefactor, was being considered for publication. I needed to get it in as good shape as possible before submitting it in its entirety to the requesting editor. Guess who helped me out with that. That's right--Julie's advice and editing tips were invaluable and will provide a foundation to make my next book better than it would have been.
  • Meanwhile, I was making lots of new friends at Inked-In. As a result of joining, I met a fellow novelist (and screenwriter) from the UK, Richard Lamb, with whom I am now collaborating on my next novel, a romantic comedy.
  • In his previous life, Richard was a graphic artist and he generously offered his assistance in coming up with the cover concept for The Benefactor.
  • As if things couldn't get more exciting, I was talking to Jennifer Greenhill-Taylor, a new friend and one of the founders of Inked-In (along with Joseph Reed Hayes), and by the end of the conversation we had decided to book a trip to Scotland with some of our other writer friends. For ten days in August, I'll be living in a former 17th century church that has been converted into a beautiful residence. It'll be great to meet everyone face-to-face (Skype isn't quite the same thing) and we'll also do some planning and scouting for a possible group writing venture.
  • The months were quickly ticking by, and I suddenly realized I needed a website for my book launch. Once again, Richard stepped up and offered his assistance. I'm hoping to announce the new site by the end of the summer.

It has been a whirlwind of a year--a year that would have been radically different had I not met Julie Compton.

I've always been a bit envious of aggressive networkers. I just don't have that in me. But sometimes a simple hello is all it takes to make new friends and spark a chain of magical events.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Picking Gravel out of my Knees

I was sitting at the baseball field the other day, working on my new novel, while my son's team practiced before the game. Behind me, a conversation caught my attention. One of Jon's teammates walked off the field to tell his dad he'd just been hit by the ball. As he rubbed the front of his thigh, his father asked, "Are you okay? Are you sure? Does it hurt? Are you sure you're okay? You okay, buddy? Are you going to be okay? You sure?" I couldn't help smiling at the way things have changed over the course of my almost 44 years on earth. Men have experienced exponential growth in sensitivity. Sometimes I wonder if it's too much.

A memory came to mind. I was about five years old. My dad had taken me to the park and plopped me on a swing. But not the baby swings--the ones for older kids. In those days, the seats weren't made from flexible rubber; they were thick planks of metal. So there I sat, swinging away, without the requisite crash helmet, elbow and knee pads, heart protector, harness, and other equipment we tend to use on our kids these days. Also, let me add that the material on the ground was not rubber or some other shock-absorbing substance--it was concrete. As I pumped my skinny legs and soared higher and higher, a breeze whipped up and my long hair flew across my face. What did I do? I let go of the swing to push back my hair and ended up flying off the back and hitting the cement wall behind the swing set. (I like to think that after I hit the wall, I slowly slid down it like a cartoon character.) My dad, who was talking to another parent, made his way over to me. Let me be generous and say he walked briskly, but it was certainly not the frantic sprint we see nowadays when a parent is trying to get to an injured child. I was by this time bawling my eyes out. What did my dad do? After he saw I wasn't seriously injured, he laughed and told me I was fine.

Flash forward three years. I'd received a bicycle for my birthday. After a few weeks of training wheels, Dad decided it was time for me to really learn how to ride. We made our way to the Department of Transportation's lot around the corner, which was covered in gravel. Dad started me off riding, holding the back of my seat, and things were looking good. But then he let go, and suddenly I was wobbling back and forth, back and forth, forgetting I could back pedal to brake, forgetting I could just put my feet down. Instead, I jerked the handlebars and ended up toppling over. Dad made his way over--briskly, as I mentioned before. I sat there--come on, you know--bawling my eyes out, with gravel stuck in my bloody knees. What did Dad do? He picked most of it out and then...laughed and told me I was fine. Then, he plopped me back on the bike, totally ignoring my screaming protests, and we did it again and again until I got it right.

A few months later, it was time to learn how to swim. After sinking and coming up sputtering to face my laughing father, I'd had enough. I knew how this was going to end and I wasn't having it. To this day, I can swing real high and ride a bike, but I can't swim, something I regret.

So what were the pros and cons of my dad's methods. On the plus side, I ended up being a really tough kid who grew into a tough woman. There's not much I think I can't do. On the other side, I grew up feeling my pain was not always properly acknowledged. It wasn't until I became a parent and realized how heartbreakingly adorable a curled, trembling lip is that I understood that Dad hadn't been laughing at me. Maybe he thought that laughing would shorten the amount of time I spent crying.

On the opposite end of the spectrum is that father who seemed to dwell a bit too long, despite his kid's claims that he was okay. Will that kid learn toughness, will he become a hypochondriac because of the overreaction of his father? Who knows?

I think somewhere between laughing at the gravel in your kids' knees and coddling them to excess lies a happy medium. With that said, I'm not sure I always get it right with my own son. I can't wait to read his blogs about me. :-D

[My husband thinks this blog sounds a bit harsh, but my dad will...LAUGH when he reads it. We tend to speak our minds in my family. He's heard me complain time and time again about his parenting methods (and how totally different he is as a grandfather), but he also remembers that I once announced at a large, family gathering when I was very young that if we were on a desert island and I suddenly came down with appendicitis, I would trust him to remove my appendix. I don't remember him laughing then--beaming was more like it. Happy Father's Day, Pupsley. I'd still let you take out my appendix. :-D]





Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Let's Make a Deal

The year is 1974. The place is Hollywood, California. The weather is "hot as hell." But you don't mind. You've stood in line for three hours in the hopes that you'll make it through the doors. You're wearing an orange and yellow Hawaiian shirt, a brown fedora, a hot pink feather boa, green and blue plaid golf pants, and Keds hi-top sneakers in traditional white.

The doors open and people start filing in. You breathe a sigh of relief when you are counted as one of the studio audience, but relief soon turns to dismay when you see how far back your seat is. Before you get worked up about it, the lights come on, announcer Jay Stewart starts revving up the viewers, and then Monty himself walks out onto the stage. It's a whirlwind, people are screaming, deals are offered, decisions are made. And then, suddenly, he's standing next to you, every piece of hair perfectly shellacked in place.

He asks the next question and your eyes widen a bit. You rip open that massive, leopard-print tote bag hanging over your arm and start rifling through dental floss, Phillip's head screwdriver, tea bags, acorns, seashells, a lock of hair, a kazoo, and there it is...a pair of false teeth. You pull it out and wave it in the air. Monty doesn't even have to move. He's talking to you now and you feel a bit like Ralph Kramden on the $99,000 Answer episode. Hum-a-na-hum-a-na-hum-a-na.

Carol Merrill, that model with the legs up to here, walks into the aisle carrying a small table with a box on top of it. Monty offers you what is in that box or what is behind Curtain #1. You think a moment. Something big could be behind that curtain, but then again good things come in small packages. For all you know, Jay Stewart is sitting on an old tractor with a few bales of hay behind that curtain. You choose the box.

Carol flashes her trademark smile and her eyes twinkle. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? She lifts the top off the box and inside is an envelope. You realize you're holding your breath, but as long as they reveal the contents of that envelope within the next four minutes, you'll be okay. A long, shiny, red fingernail slips under the flap. A piece of card stock with fancy lettering on it is extracted. Monty tells you you've just won $500 per week for the rest of your life.

We're not talking quit-your-drag-of-a-job, life-changing moment here. But just the other day you were saying how much better life would be if you had a few extra bucks to eliminate the fear of the unknown. $500 a week for life is the answer to that prayer.

But it's not over.

Monty is offering another deal. Keep the contents of that box or trade it for what's behind Curtain #1. You feel the rush of adrenaline in your veins. Do you trade the sure thing for the unknown? Do you trade what was good enough just a day ago for the hope of something even better? Do you trade guaranteed stability for the possibility of something previously unimaginable?

You ask me this question 20 years ago and I might have gambled and picked the curtain. Now I'm not so sure. What about you?


Note: If you live in a part of the world where $500/week would mean a huge change in your life (alas, on Long Island, this is not the case), then lower the amount to something that would bring a bit of comfort but not have the sky rockets shooting off before your eyes and then answer the question.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Beyond the Sea: An Inked-In Collaboration

This blog is a collaboration between Richard Lamb and Margaret Reyes Dempsey discussing their collaboration.

Or

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love Other Writers

Margaret: It seems membership is increasing at Inked-In. I'm sure many people join just to see what it's all about, as I did back in July. I never dreamed it would turn into a collaboration with a fellow writer on the other side of the Atlantic. I'm always up for a challenge, so when Richard said, "Hey, we should write something together," I immediately agreed. We had hit it off socially and admired each other's writing. He was a "long-winded" screenwriter who thought he might be better at novels. I was a "woman of few words" novelist who thought screenwriting might be a better match. (When it comes to talking, it's actually the reverse.) In the end, we decided on a novel, hoping our styles would meet somewhere in the middle.

Richard: Truth be told, I’ve never been much of a collaborator. When I was at Art College and I found myself having to do a group project, I would invariably come to blows with everyone else and then lose interest because they weren’t doing things the way I thought they should be done. I wanted total autonomy over all my projects or I simply lost enthusiasm for them. I’ve always been something of a loner, most especially when it comes to creative endeavours. So no one was more surprised than I when I suggested to Margaret that we collaborate on a novel together. We’d met on Inked-In a few months earlier and quickly discovered that we had a lot in common, both personally and creatively. So as far as whims go, it seemed like a fairly logical one. Which is more than can be said for most of my whims.

Margaret: Of course, I had reservations. As similar as we were in some ways, we couldn't be more different in how we approached the writing process. There were also difficulties (putting it very mildly) with misunderstandings due to American versus British English, not to mention the trouble you can get in with inflectionless forms of communication like online chat. What we did have in common, though, was the ability to duke it out and get on with the work. Well, eventually get on with the work, that is.

Richard: We came up with our idea in short order and quickly realised that we had something that was pretty original in its approach and execution. That gave us the initial buzz to get started and five months on we are still hammering away at it. Well, sort of. Maybe hammering isn’t the right word. Light tapping might be better.

Margaret: There were a few months when I was immersed in edits for my soon-to-be-released novel. But the real reason it took so long to get in the flow was the difference in our approach to writing. Richard is a spontaneous, "without a plan" kind of writer and I like to have a loose outline of where I'm heading (otherwise my finished project ends up looking like little Jimmy going from Point A to Point B in the Family Circus cartoons).

Richard: Okay, so there have been lapses in motivation along the way. On both sides. There have been times when Margaret has accelerated past me and times when I have accelerated past her. There have been many times when other projects have dragged us away (Margaret’s soon to be published novel is the prime example) and certainly times when we have become frustrated with ourselves and, from time to time, each other. However, I have not once lost interest in it and I have never really found myself wanting to reach across the Atlantic and strangle Margaret. Not in relation to this book anyway.

Margaret: In time, Richard began to see that his approach wouldn't work in a collaboration. After all, we couldn't read each other's minds and the type of novel we're writing demands consistency. We compromised by discussing individual chapters as we went along. Then we finished chapter four and got stuck again. Finally, Richard suggested that we plot the whole thing out so we knew where we were going. Wow, what a great idea. Wish I had thought of that. ;-)

Richard: I’ve been surprised how easily we have worked together. We complement each other creatively and I’ve even enjoyed Margaret’s little brainstorming sessions, a concept which I have usually found extremely tedious in the past. In fact, we spent God knows how many hours brainstorming almost the whole thing over the last few days. It was exhausting but surprisingly satisfying.

Margaret: So, the last two days have been a whirlwind of activity. We spent hours on the phone plotting out the novel (me on my lounge chair sitting out in the sun on a mild New York spring day; Richard on his sofa under an English night sky). It was exhilarating and grueling at the same time. But in the end, we had something amazing that we both really liked. We'll see where it goes.

Richard: I guess the secret of this collaboration’s success is the way in which we complement each other. Sometimes I need to be told to write less and sometimes Margaret needs to be told to write more. Together we find a common ground where I think something very special will be produced.

Note: Inked-In is an online social network for writers, artists, and musicians.





Memories

As I get older, I realize just what a gift memory is. I also realize that my memory isn't what it once was (and I'm only 43!). Pregnancy and motherhood have a way of permanently reserving a portion of your brain. However, I'm grateful for the section they've left for my personal use. And there's nothing like a good memory--especially one that is older and whose reality has mellowed with age so that what remains is sweeter than what originally existed.

Elizabeth Barrett Browning said "Light tomorrow with today!" To me that means to live well and make good memories. Don't waste time journaling every detail, don't see your vacation through the lens of a camera, don't watch your child grow up through the end of a video recorder. Live life to its fullest, immersed completely--even in the seemingly mundane moments for that is where the best future memories often reside.

In another blog, I mentioned feeling guilty for not "documenting" Jon's life as much as I "should." But recently I watched some old home movies and realized that my parents had captured my entire childhood in about 3 hours of footage. That was more than enough to jog my memory and fill in the empty pieces. If every detail had been captured, if I had lived like the character Truman with every minute recorded, there would be no creativity permitted in the selected recollections. Life would have been reduced to a series of stage directions presented in the past tense.

Monday, March 9, 2009

The Benefactor - Coming Soon...

My publisher has just added my novel, The Benefactor, to the Coming Soon section of their website. In the publishing world, "coming soon" means "in about a year." My release date is January 22, 2010.

Update: The release has been moved up to November 13, 2009.

Benefactor - Coming Soon...



Sunday, March 8, 2009

In the Moment

A forty-year-old woman sits looking at photos of a twenty-year-old woman. She thinks to herself how beautiful the younger woman is with her flawless skin, perfect shape, and healthy glow. She compares it to how she looks with her cellulite and excessive curves, some in the wrong places. She wrinkles her nose.

A sixty-year-old woman sits looking at photos of a forty-year-old woman. She thinks to herself how beautiful the younger woman is with her womanly curves, the trophies of motherhood. She compares it to how she looks with her wrinkled and saggy skin. She wrinkles her nose.

An eighty-year-old woman sits looking at photos of a sixty-year-old woman. She thinks to herself how beautiful the younger woman is with expressive laugh lines around her mouth and eyes, the evidence of a happy life etched on her face. She compares it to how she looks with her stooped body that feels every ache and pain. She wrinkles her nose.

And then she realizes that she has spent her entire life wrinkling her nose at how she looks in the present and looking back with longing at her younger self who she did not appreciate at the time. She wishes now that she had loved herself more. There's always today.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Fear Through the Ages

I was mostly a fearless kid. In fact, I can remember only two times I felt fearful--one dealing with deep water (still a fear to this day) and another when some kids threatened to kick my ass after school (I talked my way out of it). In all other matters I was a risk taker, not afraid to fail, pretty damn confident that I was going to turn out all right. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't Evil Knievel--I was wired more for cerebral than for physical pursuits--though there was that day with the motorcycles, jumping ditches at the lots.

In my twenties this fearlessness continued. I spoke my mind, interviewed for jobs I wanted but didn't have the skills for and got them, quit a well-paying job to start my own business. There was never a moment's doubt while I was going through all these things. I was like a superhero who couldn't be struck down.

And then the thirties arrived and self-knowledge tangoed into the room. The real stuff, not the fa├žade. I realized that I was actually a very fearful person all along but had covered it up with toughness and an "attack before you are attacked" attitude. In much deeper journaling sessions than I had ever tackled, I uncovered fear upon fear. I thought it was good at the time to have done that--to know who I really was, to know I wasn't the image I had projected.

When I got pregnant with my son, all kinds of crazy hormones got added to the mix. There was such a mellowing of me with motherhood that I almost didn't recognize myself anymore. The hard candy shell cracked and the chewy, emotional center dripped out and gooed things up. Having come from a family where "you don't let 'em see you cry," this new me felt uncomfortable. And then there were the fears. Let's face it, there are no fears like the ones you have for a child.

Eventually, I came to embrace the more emotional me. Having a child made me a much more empathetic person. I didn't just use logic to work through a problem; I began taking people's feelings into account. And then the forties rolled in. How's this for reality?

I'M FUCKING AFRAID...

And sometimes those fears are debilitating. They cause me to be cautious and second guess...they cause me to look longingly over my shoulder at the younger me who didn't know herself better.

It seems inevitable that each year will get worse. There will be fears about health, disability, loss, death, finances, and a whole new generation of loved ones. Will I stop taking the very risks that brought me my biggest successes? Will I stay indoors for fear that a falling brick will land on my head? I'm not sure. I'll ponder these and other questions while I bungee jump off my roof.


Motley Crue - Afraid