Twelve Minutes


“Jeff?” My heart froze in my chest spreading and icy chill across my skin. I rose from the couch slowly because, I don’t know, maybe if I moved with caution this wouldn’t be real.

“What’s going on?” I asked watching him come down from the stairs mirroring back my wide eyed stare. He mumbled something inaudible and went back to his phone before walking outside.

I stood in the middle of the room, frozen in confusion, or maybe it was panic. If panic can root you in place while simultaneously swirling nothing through your mind like the howl of the wind, then it was panic.

“Okay guys, we’re going upstairs for a minute,” I turned to my kids and scooped up my son in my arms.

“Why?” My daughter asked. “After Barbie is over.”

“No, no. Now,” I said grabbing a bag from the laundry room, and setting my son down. I mindlessly began filling it with snacks from the pantry; granola bars, fruit pouches, mac n’cheese. I briefly looked down at my bins of hurricane kits, but thought,  no. Too big. I can’t carry, Calder. I continued to fill it searching my mind for what we would need for a few hours, or days? Would I need this food for days?

“Mom, what’s going on?” My daughter’s little panicked voice spoke behind me, but I didn’t answer. I hadn’t yet wrapped my own head around what was going on, let alone how to explain to my children that a missile was coming at us. I reached back into the pantry and grabbed a case of olives along with a box of Capri Sun. In the helplessness of it all, I could only get snacks. I couldn’t save my children, I couldn’t promise them safety, I couldn’t explain to them the political mess that had lead us to the moment we would all die together, but I could get them food. So I did.

“Okay, lets go upstairs.” I said to her and picked up my son in one arm. My husband came back in then, still looking just as forlorn as when he’d stepped outside to seek answers.

“Let’s get in my truck.” His keys jingled nervously in his fingers.

Stay inside, my head told me. We haven’t the time to go. “Okay.” I said trusting his judgment. I now know he was going to search out a brick building on base for us, knowing this would be the safest of all, if at all safe.

“Mom?” My daughter started crying behind me as I rushed up the stairs to grab pillows for the closet. They’ll shoot it down, I told myself, they’ll shoot it down before it gets here.

We’re a military family, stationed in Pearl Harbor, my husband, a Nuke. We’ve had countless conversations about the what if’s of this exact moment, and he’s assured me countless times that our military would shoot it down. They’d risk their own lives for ours. I trust him, I trust them. They’ll shoot it down . The words of assurance, hope even, sifted through the fog of my mind.

“Mom! I’m not going in there until you tell me what’s going on!” My daughter pointed to the closet with trembling lips, her eyes wide and dewey with fear.

“A storm is coming.” I told her rubbing my hand across her messy hair from the peaceful sleep she was in just two hours ago.  I made the decision to lie. She was only six. She’s always experienced emotions strongly, contained various anxieties, and this truth was too much. “We have to stay away from the windows for a while. That’s all.”

“In the closet? Mom you’re scaring me,” her little voice cracked following me around back and forth from room to room upstairs. I mindlessly gathered towels, pillows, threw the bag of snacks I gathered from the kitchen on a shelf in the closet.

“It’s the safest spot.” I told her before wandering to my bedroom. Some people panic, some act calmly and swiftly, I apparently wander in crisis. I wandered in those five minutes it took to get from warning to closet. I think I was waiting for it to not be real, but it was. It was not a drill.

I called my mom, told her what was happening so she heard it from us before the news. I told her we loved her. I answered a call from my cousin who lives on island and told her to go into a closet until we knew more, told her we loved her.

A knock on our front door broke my mindless march. Opening the screen my neighbor said “It’s not real. I called my boss. It’s a false alarm,” he stood breathing heavy with his hands in the air, nodded, and ran across the street to the next neighbor.

I looked at my husband waiting for his confirmation.  He said, “Let’s just go to the closet and wait for official word.” I nodded and felt my knees tremble. Not in the way they do when you’re about to speak in public, or not in the way they jitter when you’re anxiously waiting for a roller coaster, but in a new way. A way that made me feel like I wasn’t even attached to my legs anymore. A slight ghost of a tremble that that disconnected my body from my soul.

We ran upstairs into the closet with my crying daughter just as the sirens began. This is real, I finally let myself think, and stopped it there. What was happening, what was going to happen, I didn’t cross that boundary in my brain.

Sitting in the closet not more than a few minutes I realized our twelve minutes were up. Way up.

Or phones pinged again, messages streaming through effortlessly into our make shift bunker of storage bins and golf clubs. That’s when my husband said with relief in his voice “It’s a false alarm, all these messages. It’s a mistake.” I believed him. I trust him with our lives. I believed him. My own relief, having waited for this, flooded over me, gushing into my extremities leaving me feeling limp and unable to rise from the floor.

“The storm is over, baby,” I said to my daughter, “We’re okay.”

We are okay, but the storm isn’t over. As I sit here now, watching The Polar Express with my son while my daughter and her friend dress their Barbie’s in the other room,  I can’t help but think about how lucky we are. That very well could not have been a false alarm.

I’m thankful I was with my family. I’m thankful I chose to spend the day before playing with my son on the beach rather than mopping the floor. I’m regretful that we spent an hour arguing with my daughter over her uneaten dinner the night before and sent her to bed crying rather than snuggling up and reading a story together. I’m regretful that I fell asleep in my son’s bed the night before, and missed out on my  nightly Jimmy Fallon watching date with my husband.

At the end of the twelve minutes, the extra twenty pounds I’ve gained in the last six years of being a mother didn’t matter; only that I was a mother did. The car in my driveway, the clothes in my closet,  the gadgets scattered around my house, none of it mattered. I didn’t fear losing any of it. I only feared for my people.  I only wanted what could never be replaced.



A year ago I started writing Lennon’s book, Truth in Grace Notes. I was pregnant, tired, and basically forcing this book. I wanted it out before the baby came, and didn’t want to leave readers waiting too long.

What was created was 60k words of a book that wasn’t Lennon. Was is good? Meh, maybe? It wasn’t her though. When it came time to start sharing the cover, book the editor, book the PR, I just couldn’t do it. I wasn’t happy with the book.

When I published Truth in Wildflowers, I was happy, even in awe at the fact that I’d completed it. I loved August. I loved Kensie. I loved their story. When I published Truth in Watercolors, same thing. I LOVED Wes and Capri. They were magic at my fingertips. Then came Lennon, and publishing time. I didn’t love it, didn’t love her or Milo, or them together, and I decided I wouldn’t publish for the sake of getting a book out. I couldn’t publish a book that didn’t have my heart.

So. I waited. I had a baby. I waited. Finally, it hit me. Lennon’s story. She began to talk, and no wonder that first book didn’t work out because it is NOTHING like what she wants me to write. Sorry, yo. So now, I have begun Lennon’s book again. It will publish almost two years after Watercolors when I’m sure my characters have become a distant memory to many readers, but it will be Lenno.n. That is what matters.

❤ Stay tuned…lennon-gypsie-teaser

Truth in Wildflowers Thanksgiving Excerpt

He nodded at the table, “brought the goods.” About ten liters of coke and a giant pile of king sized candy bars sat on the kitchen table. Before I could ask why it looked like he robbed a gas station a loud pounding reverberated through the house from the front door.


I peeked through the peephole and saw a mop of bright red. The second I unlocked the door Lennon pushed herself into the house with her little arms overflowing in bags of chips and peanuts. “Is there a sale at AM PM?” I asked trying to help her catch the bags that were falling from her arms when Wes swooped in and took the junk food from the both of us carrying into the kitchen.


“Ha, you try to find a place to get food on Thanksgiving night.”


“What?” I asked her completely confused about what was going on here.


“Ask your lover,” she said patting me on the shoulder before making her way into the kitchen with Wes. “He’s a very convincing man.” She yelled at me from behind her before I heard her scolding Wes for already opening a Snickers.


I shook my head trying to make sense of our two friends sitting in the kitchen with a pile of gas station junk food when I heard the doorknob jiggle again. I turned in time to see Capri breeze in with a tray of coffee and a bright smile on her face. “Happy Thanksgiving.” She said coming towards me, but was quickly interceded by Wes taking the coffee out of her hands.


She stammered a thank you to him and then came up to give me a hug. “What’s going on?” I asked her still squished in her embrace. That’s when I heard the front door click shut. Capri pulled away and smiled at August who had just walked in with a bag of gummy bears. I had to raise my eyebrow at that making him laugh.

“Just hanging out.” August said looking a little unsure.


“Oh please,“ I heard Lennon yell from within the kitchen. “He called me and told me that if I didn’t show up here in thirty minutes with something to eat that he would replace my Austin Carlisle poster with giant pictures of Wes while I slept.” I looked at August in confusion.


“Damn,“ Wes said in the kitchen, “now, that’s a good morning.” I heard a smack followed by a grunt.


“He called up all of us and asked to meet you here for Thanksgiving Dinner.” Capri grinned at me and then touched my arm as she walked passed me into the kitchen. I looked up at August who raised his eyebrows in a grin at me.


“You called them?” I asked


“ Yeah.” He looked down and shuffled his feet.


“And asked them to bring some of my favorite junk food?” Was he real?


“Yeah.” He shrugged his shoulders and peered up at me bashfully.


“Why?” I knew he and Capri already celebrated their Thanksgiving with his parents, and Lennon said she was going to her uncle’s house. I couldn’t wrap my mind around them coming here after it was all said and done.


August shrugged his shoulders again. “I wanted you to have a nice Thanksgiving, with people who love you and want to be with you.” I lowered my eyes and felt my heart swell to proportions that I couldn’t contain. It overflowed with gratitude and love for these people, for August. It poured out of the corners of my eyes and streamed down my face.

Removed Watercolors Scene :Wes and a dog


“Stay right here. I don’t want Brohan to attack you.” Wes wiggled his way into the tiny slit of his door one side of his body at a time. Who the heck is Brohan, and more importantly, I should be worried about him attacking me.

“Shit, fuck Bro. Get down. No. Sit. Down. Down. Down. Down. Sit.” Wes shouted from the other side of the door and I quickly figured out who, or what Brohan was. I opened the door and followed in behind him.

“A dog whisperer you are not.” I said standing in Wes’ apartment doorway smiling at the site in front of me. Wes stood arms wide and legs apart shimmying from side to side directing his four-legged friend.

“C no! Go back outside!” Wes shouted at me, but it was too late. Brohan dodged his master and ambled towards me tripping over his oversized paws. I scurried back towards the door, but moved much too late. Before I could even take a second step Brohan leapt into my shins head first sending me tumbling to the ground over him. He proceeded to lick and clobber all over me as I lie under him on the wood floor.

“Bro! No Bro!” Wes shouted grabbing Brohan’s collar and pulling him off of me. He held Brohan with one hand and helped me up with the other. “C, I’m so sorry. He’s still in training.”

I laughed and let go of Wes’ hand to straighten out my hair and dress. “When did you get a dog?” I asked and Wes’ shoulders fell in relief when he saw how unaffected I was by the mutt. As overwhelming as my welcome was, he really was a cute dog. A puppy obviously, maybe a pit mix of some sort with short ears and a blue coloring to his short fur.

Wes pet the dog’s head and let go of his collar when he lied down next to Wes’ side. “About a week ago. A customer of mine tied him up out front when he came in for a touch up. Bro here was not happy, howling and chewing at his collar. The dude told me he was probably going to return him to the pound by the end of the week. I couldn’t stand that. I mean he’s just a puppy ya know? You can’t give up on him yet. So I told the dude I’d take him.”

I watched Wes affectionately scratch behind Brohan’s ears and the dog looked up at him with squinty eyes and I swear a smile on his face. “That’s really great Wes, really sweet. Isn’t it hard having a dog in an apartment though?” My heart melted and slithered through my veins at the thought of Wes rescuing a dog and taking him on as his own.

“Yeah,” Wes said laughing and rubbing his hands down his face. “Bro gets into everything. He’s already eaten three pairs of my converse and yesterday I found him working on the corner of the wall. The fuckin’ wall C! I know it’s temporary though, just his puppy phase ya know? Most days he’s with me at the shop anyway.”

I smiled at the thought of Wes driving Bro in his car with the top down to work for the day. I’m sure August isn’t around much lately now that he’s with Kensie. It made me happy to know Wes had a new buddy to hang out with. Even if that buddy was currently wrapped around my legs and thrusting vigorously. “Uh Wes.” I stifled my laugh and shuffled my legs to get Bro off of me.

“Huh?” He said and I looked up to find his eyes fixated on me with a stare that stole my next words from my lips. There was something soft in his stare. I’d never seen him look at me in such a way before. After as few slobbery huffs Wes blinked and looked down towards Bro. “Fuck, Bro. No Bro!” He ran over and pulled Brohan off me yet again by the collar. “Dude, you’re a little clumsy in your delivery. Slow and steady yo, slow and steady.”

My cheeks flared with the knowledge of the advice Wes was giving to his pup. Wes giving his dog sex advice should have disturbed me, but I found myself envisioning slow and steady with Wes. Suddenly I had the urge to wrap myself around Wes’ legs and mimic Brohan’s skills. I watched Wes guide Brohan away from me and lifted my long hair off my neck to catch some air.

Truth in Wildflowers Prologue

For those who haven’t met August and Kensie yet, here is a look at the Prologue of Truth in Wildflowers. Enjoy 🙂



Blurred. Black, and grey, maybe some white, but mostly black. There’s a lot of black. My converse blur below me set amidst a pile of bottles on the dry dirt. I should have never come here. I‘m not blind to the power of this place. I didn’t flee here to find any peace in my hell. I came here to add to the flames. I didn’t care much for improving my mood. How could I? My mom told me to stay present. Whatever that means. She encouraged me to take the time I need to grieve, but that people needed me. I call bullshit. The one whom truly ever needed me isn’t here. No one needs me. I don’t even need myself. What good is a guy who can’t save the people he loves? I failed her.

“Dude.” Wes’s shoes crunched up the path behind me. “The dirt field and that six hundred and seventy two pack treating you alright?” He sat down beside me on the bench and patted my shoulder causing my limp body to sway.

“No.” I shrugged my shoulders at him. Getting drunk sounded like a fantastic idea when the service ended, now not so much. I still remembered it all. I still felt it all. Only now my singed soul blurred a little to the left.

I held my shit together since the night of the accident trying to be the strong one. Spouting words of consolation and promising some sick divine plan in this hell. The moment the casket descended into the ground and disappeared in the grass that façade crumbled. My lungs collapsed with my heart folding in on itself. I suffocated on my grief. Thick dark hands enveloped my throat and squeezed tight until my eyes watered. The bastard choked any purpose of living out of me.

“I’m not sure what to say here.” Wes held out a pack of gummy bears, but I declined.

“Nothing.” I preferred the silence. I liked being wrapped in the isolation more than token words of sympathy. Sorry? The word and the lowered eyes accompanying it made my stomach churn. I’m not deserving of compassion or hope to heal. What I deserve, is to feel the bone crushing pain to remind me of how I fucked up.

The weather at the service was abnormally windy. The scent of freshly cut grass mixed with cheap cologne assaulted me with blow after blow. Life. I fled. Familiar voices rapped in the wind at my back, but I didn’t stop. I ran until I reached the stagnant space of my car where the wind couldn’t pummel me and the grass couldn’t nauseate me. I yearned to be roused from my nightmare. I needed to wake up to the hillside covered in color and life, but when I got here I received a sucker punch in the form of dirt, miles and miles of dirt. No color, and no life.

We sat in uncomfortable silence when Wes leaned down to the rocky soil below us. Out of the corner of my eye I caught him twirling a dandelion in his fingers. I chanced a glance at the flower and followed its fluttered decent to the ground as his fingers let go.

“Come on.” Wes stood up and dusted off his black pants. He looked ridiculous in them. He shouldn’t have dressed up. I didn’t. “I’m going to go find a trash can for all these.“ He kicked a glass bottle. The empty vessel rolled across the dirt until it was stopped abruptly by a rock. “Then I’m taking you home.”

“I can’t go home.” I couldn’t face any reminders of my life being taken away. My entire life gone, but I was still living. The twisted world cursed me.

“Alright dude,” Wes said. “You can crash with me as long as you need too, but we need to get out of here. We are taking this day by day, and this day is about done.” He cocked his head towards the sun beginning its decent below the hill.

I nodded and stood up on swaying legs, but only because I had to piss. Days, the beginnings, the ends, the in-betweens, they didn’t mean anything to me anymore. The days were just heartless bastards.

A Truth in Wildflowers Halloween

“How much longer till your lover comes out? I wanna to get goin already?” Lennon asked aiming her bow and arrow towards Wes. She decided to go as Katniss this year. She had Capri paint flames all over her costume turning the black bodysuit into more of a work of art. It was stunning.

“ I can go check on him?” I offered. August was tight lipped about his costume this year not mentioning a word to me. Even now, he had me waiting out here with everyone until he was ready to head to the party at Tommy’s.

Lennon darted her eyes at me, but kept her toy weapon focused on Wes. “Not a chance. With you dressed like that we’d be waiting a lot longer, and I’m not interested in hearing your sex noises tonight.”

I rolled my eyes ignoring her. My costume wasn’t anything overtly sexual, but the concept itself would win August over for sure. I had on red teddy bear ears, a red tank, red shorts, and red fishnets topped off with a pair of Capri’s red heels. I was going as August’s favorite candy, a red gummy bear. “I don’t know what’s taking him so long.” I said feeling my cheeks heating to a shade that matched my outfit perfectly I’m sure. Thinking back to what we were doing, I decided it wasn’t a good idea that I go check on him after all.

“Stop pointing that thing at me.” Wes griped at Lennon from where he proudly stood in the kitchen with a beer in hand.

“I can’t decided if I should shoot you simply because you annoy me, or if I should shoot you because of that costume.” Lennon said letting down her weapon, but keeping a contemplative stare on Wes.

He straightened his shoulders proudly under the scrutiny, “My costume is badass. The ladies at Tommy’s aren’t gonna be able to keep their eyes off me. “ He said turning towards the doorway and flexing his hips rapidly at it.

I couldn’t help the giggle that escaped me at the sight of Wes in his sex kitten costume mock humping the doorframe. Capri shot me a dirty look from where she sat on August’s couch dressed in a silver mini dress, a Hershey kiss apparently. “Don’t encourage him.” She said disgustedly, but I’m sure it was the comment about the ladies at the club that had her more irritated than his antics. God help those women if they laid a hand on Wes tonight. Capri was looking extra feisty tonight.

“You have to admit. His costume is pretty creative.” I shrugged at her apologetically. Wes was wearing nothing more than a pair of cat ears, black track pants with a tail attached to the back, and black Chucks. With the tuft of blonde hair on his head styled perfectly messy, and his tattoos on display over his well-toned body, I had no doubt the ladies would flock. “He may even earn a few new followers tonight.” I said smirking at Capri causing her to huff and shift her glare towards the front door.

“Yo Augustus!” Wes yelled towards the hallway. “C’mon homie. Your girl won’t stop checkin’ me out. I’m feeling a little violated out here.” Wes winked at me and flashed a double set of dimples.

“Shut up Wes.” August’s voice came from down the hallway. “I’m ready. Push play for me will ya?” Play? I was about to ask Wes what August was up to, when he reached over to the iPod on the table.

“Oh god, not again.” Capri sighed from the couch.

Lennon laughed and high fived Wes who was standing next to her now, “Yesss.” For such a tiny little thing that laugh had a way of filling up a place. It had a new chime to it now too. More of a cheerful, truly happy laugh that the somewhat bitter laced laugh I’d first come to know. Catching onto the happy vibe, I started smiling too when August made his appearance.

Genuwine’s My Pony rose above Lennon’s laugh that echoed off the walls of August’s tiny house. He was wearing nothing more than a zip up hoodie, unzipped of course, a pair of loose grey sweat pants, a red baseball cap on backwards, and tennis shoes. My man was Channing Tatum a la Magic Mike.

My laughed joined in with Lennon’s who had added a few catcalls to the mix. August strutted his way towards me rolling his body disjointedly. I think he meant to have his solid stomach ripple, but with his special brand of dancing, they just hobbled.

Lennon approached August and stuffed a dollar bill in his waistband, followed by Wes. August smacked Wes’ hand before he could make contact and shoved him away. “Dude?” Wes held his hands up in defeat and took a few steps back.

“Hey pretty girl.” August smiled and traced his eyes down my body. A shiver followed his stare down, and back up leaving a fresh coat of chill pumps on my skin in its wake. When his eyes refocused on mine the chocolate brown was nearly overtaken by a deep molten color. “I like your costume.” He said aloud, and then leaned in closer. “ I’ll have a taste when we get home.” He pulled back and waggled his eyes at me.

I rolled my eyes at him, but before I could respond he dropped down to the ground in front of me. The move was so sudden I took a startled step back. My jaw lost all control and fell open. There, on the ground in front of me, was August…humping it.

“Yeah buddy!” Wes cheered on.

“My eyes.” Capri whined.

“Holy shit.” Lennon laughed, “That’s your man Kens.” I laughed along with her. Yep, that was my man, my sweet and sexy man.