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Random Things or Summertime Sadness!

Thursday, July 11th, 2019

A year and a half ago, a few days before Christmas, my father died. It was awful. It is awful. I struggle with that loss. Maybe this isn’t the greatest way to start this post? Oh, well! Onward. In my book One of the Guys, Toni Valentine’s father has died and she too struggles with it. It sucks.

Death tends to force reflection and lesson-learning, so here are a few observations about grief and death and horrible stuff like that:

  1. Happy moments feel sad. Yep. This is a thing. As my kids grow, I often think, “Man, my dad’s missing this.” There I am, in the middle of a July 4th celebration, sun bright, sprinkler on, laughter all around me, feeling sad. Gross, right? It’s okay though. The sadness mixes with the happy stuff; it doesn’t overwrite it. Eventually I think we all get to a point where sadness tries to slither into everything because we’ve lost something, tinting moments with her blue shade, and we learn to accept her presence and even say, “Fine. Come on in, Sadness. It’s a beautiful day today. Have a seat. Be quiet. I want to hear the laughter.”
  2. No one knows what to say…that’s okay. Yeah, we don’t know what to say. It’s weird, right? Shouldn’t we have that figured out by now? Death isn’t, like, new. What do you say to someone when they’ve experienced huge and awful loss? The reason we don’t know what to say or do is because there’s nothing we can say or do that will make it better. We’ve got to sit in the pain. Personally, I felt like acknowledgement was enough. Like, don’t pretend it didn’t happen, don’t avoid it, don’t pretend everything’s fine. Don’t act like someone should get it over it, no matter how much time has passed. I mean, it would be cool if there was a magic spell to make it feel better. One word, one flick of the wand, something. There isn’t. Acknowledgement is the best thing — for me. It could be different for someone else, but I like a simple, “I see your pain. I’m sorry.”
  3. My dad will miss my next book. I’ve been working on a new book for some time now and when I’m finished (I think I can, I think I can) he’s going to miss it. This sucks. I hate it.
  4. Life goes on, but nothing remains the same, including you. Death changes the living, you know. Sigh.

There you go, folks! A super duper happy-go-lucky post for the summer! I think it’s important to remember that even during these bright summer days, don’t feel ashamed if you have Sadness inviting herself over, for whatever reason, as long as she doesn’t overwrite all the good stuff…because the good stuff, it’s still there, bobbing to the surface, always.

If you want to read more, please check out
https://www.spencerhillpress.com/lisa-aldin/ .

RANDOM THINGS OR A WITCHY WRITER?

Thursday, February 7th, 2019

Hi everyone, and thanks to Spencer Hill Press for inviting me to write a post for their Random Things blog! My name is Jennifer Murgia, and I write Young Adult thrillers. My Spencer Hill Press titles are FOREST OF WHISPERS and its sequel, CASTLE OF SIGHS—17th century Bavarian witch thrillers! The duology begins with the tale of Rune, a girl raised in the Black Forest of Germany, who, upon her sixteenth birthday, hears the whispers of her long-dead mother who seeks vengeance on those who burned her at the stake. It’s chock-full of mystery, bloodshed, the plague, imprisonment, and, of course, witchcraft!

Random things you might not know about me:
1. In 2012, I co-founded a teen book festival. YA FEST PA is held annually in Easton, PA at the Palmer Branch of the Easton Area Public Library. Coordinating this spectacular event takes a good 8 months out of the year, and what started off as a small, homegrown book festival has become the only YA book festival in the Lehigh Valley, one of the largest on the east coast, and draws Young Adult authors from around the world! If you’re looking to visit Pennsylvania this coming August, then set aside a few hours to drop in on YA FEST 2019! Our line-up of amazing attendees can be found here: www.yafestpa.com
2. Creative people are notoriously scattered, right? I am. My closets are shameful. But when it comes to keeping track of my life there’s no better place than on paper. I admit, I’m a fanatical planner and list keeper. I must leave dozens of To Do lists around my house and (no lie) keep 2 planners and a calendar up-to-date each day. From family appointments, grocery lists, things to remember, and upcoming book releases (and a festival to plan!) I have to keep track of things! My favorite is the Bullet Keeper.
3. I collect antique jewelry. Most have been passed down in my family, but I love finding new pieces and wondering what secrets they keep!
4. I have one itty bitty tiny tattoo—of an ampersand on my right inner arm. I’ve always wanted a tattoo but firmly believe that if you’re going to be inked, it should mean something. When I first began my publishing journey, I naturally looked forward to what the future held in store for me. I wanted to finish my book. Get it published. See it on a shelf. I wanted a wonderful agent to represent me. I think it’s human nature to always “want more” and to strive for your dreams. That’s when I knew the ampersand (“AND” symbol) fit me in more ways than one. It’s a reminder that there IS more waiting for me. That it’s ok to never be satisfied and to stretch my creative capabilities in search of happiness. There is always a next chapter waiting to be written. I wanted the tattoo in a spot where I would see it every day and it is, facing me, not outward for anyone else. It’s a reminder of who I am and who I want to be.

Thank you, Spencer Hill Press for featuring me on your blog! Visit my website at www.jennifermurgia.com for more info on my books!