What's the Big Deal About Family: by A B Plum
I grew up in a family of greats.
Grandparents. Aunts and uncles. First, second, and third cousins. My mother’s half brothers. In-laws and out-laws.
Gossip during interminable games of Canasta entertained the adults at regular Saturday night card games. Ghosts stories, usually based on figments of family lore, scared exhausted kids to sleep.
So whenever I start writing a new novel, I’m never surprised family figures into the heart of the story. Fear of abandonment and unlovability always haunt at least one of my main characters.
In my new psychological thriller, The Early Years, Book 1 of The MisFit Series, eleven-year-old Michael Romanov can’t understand why his mother would rather cuddle a cobra than meet his gaze.
What’s wrong with him? He’s super smart. Good looking. Well spoken. No physical deformities. Doesn’t torture cats or tear off the wings of insects. How could he possibly be unlovable from birth?
When he retaliates against his brother’s bullying and his mother’s neglect, he teeters on the thin line between redeemable and doomed. Can family save him?
Two weeks after the scene at my mother’s, I still had received no communications from my father. My inference?
He didn’t give a damn.
She didn’t contact him.
The latter seemed unlikely. Highly unlikely. Completely unlikely.
My hunch was she’d sent him a letter bordering on hysteria. Accusing me and Dimitri of annoying her? Provoking her? Threatening her? She was divorcing my father, but she undoubtedly made demands . . . demands he couldn’t satisfy at that moment wherever he was. He’d take care of me when he returned.
His silence emboldened me. He’d always given in to her, the bitch. Took her side against me. Capitulated to her every whim.
And where had it gotten him?
She publicly humiliated him . . . slutting around with a lesser man. Shutting him out of her life after the death of Alexei. Demanding he remove me and Dimitri from her life because of our offensive natures.
What kind of mother abandons her surviving child?
Scary comic books, nineteenth century American literature (especially Poe, Hawthorne, and James), plus every genre in-between have influenced AB’s writing. Teaching adolescent boys and working with high-testosterone Silicon Valley tekkies opened up new insights into neuroanatomy and behavioral psychology. She lives in the shadow of Google, writes and walks daily. She participates in a brain-building aerobic dance class three times a week.
Find her blogging every second Tuesday: thestilettogang.blogspot.com/
Go here to buy The Early Years on Amazon: amzn.com/B01MPY736B
Overwhelmed by The Overwhelm
It takes a village to do many things besides raise a child.
Trying to self-publish on Amazon certainly takes a village. Though Forbes reported Amazon employees now number around 250,000—more like a thousand villages. Those employees live and work around the world. Their grasp of the multitude of tasks necessary to self-publish borders on astonishing. The ones I spoke with had a good command of English. Not a single one of them used overwhelm as a noun.
The overwhelm appears quite often in book-marketing podcats, webinars, and presentations. After all the gray cells I fried trying to grasp the self-publishing fundamentals, I thought maybe I’d stepped into a parallel universe.
But . . . every dictionary and on-line thesaurus gave overwhelm as a verb and/or an adjective. Silly or not, I was relieved. Words are the tools I use every day to describe, entertain, and convey emotions. I like putting my characters in a position of feeling drowned by circumstances and situations they can’t control.
Sometimes that feeling leaves characters (and us) feeling so lost that we feel defeated. When I give them too many things going wrong or too many distractions or too much inundating them, overwhelmed describes their state.
So, maybe my frustrations, insecurities, and roller-coaster ups and downs with the Amazon villagers gives me a bit of insight into the overwhelm.