Today is both bittersweet and joyful. My mom died 5 years ago today from lung cancer. She was my biggest cheer leader when it came to my writing. I miss her so much. At the same time, my books are doing well–something that would make her so proud. So today, I celebrate her life and my books. She’d be thrilled with that, I think. Looking back, I know my mom was a huge influence on why I write. Mom was a reader. She loved reading mysteries and romances. She passed that love to me. Though she wasn’t as big into fantasy and sci-fi– she did enjoy some of them- which I devoured readily. What she didn’t like was me stealing her romance novels when she wasn’t looking. I look back at that time and I laugh. From my mom’s Harlequins to her Silhouettes, I borrowed them all. I loved her Second Chance at Love books. Loved them tons. They were a bit more erotic and were more realistic to what men and women did for jobs. I liked that a lot. Then there were the Candlelight Romances. *sighs* My mom also got me hooked on Rex Stout’s mysteries, the Nero Wolfe series. I am a die hard Archie Goodwin lover. That man is just– *sigh*. When it was done for television with Timothy Hutton as Archie, I fell in love again. It was fantastic. Absolutely fantastic. Even my mom loved it. I brought her every episode for her to watch. It was our bonding besides the mystery books I also brought for her. 

So, you can wonder– did my mom ever read my books? The answer is yes. She actually read a couple of my books. The comments she made were both thought provoking and funny. The second thing she did was demand to be put into a book. Which I did do. Then she read that book. She thought her character was QUITE like how she was in person. She patted my head and told me I was a good daughter. You can’t ask for much more than that. I look back today on that and it brings tears to my eyes. I miss that. I want to tell her how much her belief in me meant so much. How it helped to push me to write better, write more and to push the boundaries in areas where people might not have thought to do so. My mom had her areas where you did not go, but to me, I went there anyway because as I pointed out to her, “There is always a place to be explored and to find a way to heal the hurt. Even if you don’t like it, it might help someone else.” And it’s been proven true time and again to me. 

Which is why I’m working so hard on bringing my books out and moving forward in my life. My mom would be happy to see my writing out there. She’d be thrilled to know I’m getting married to my male. She’d like him had she had a chance to really meet him. I think they’d have been close. The funniest part of them all, I think she would have pushed for me to self publish long before I had considered doing it myself. But then again, my mom thought of those things and in some areas had bravery where I lack. She made me braver and stronger when she was alive. Through her, I learned a lot about myself and about the world. In fact, I learned my jewelry making skills from her. (I grew up making jewelry at her side!) My artsy fartsy ways– all her. But it’s her love of the written word that I’m so grateful for today. 

Mom, I miss you. It’s been five years since you left this plane of existence. I know you watch over all of us. Sometimes you laugh at our antics, sometimes you wince. There are times when I swear I can hear your laughter on the wind. I miss you every day. I might always think on you with the pain I used to, but you wouldn’t want that from me. I’ve healed and become better than that. But today, today I hurt. Today, my books remind me of you.

Love Games reminds me of you sitting down and playing Dungeons and Dragons with my high school friends and I. I’m laughing right now. You asked why we talk out what we’re doing, how we’re doing it and the use of the little statues. *chuckles* Yet, you actually took the time to learn more about the game that I enjoyed so much and still do! 

Treaty of Desire reminds me of when we watched Robin of Sherwood on cable. I was so obsessed over the show, and you let me. You made sure I didn’t miss an episode and I’m still grateful to this day. I now own all the shows on DVD and I still re-watch them. The fascination of that time period and the magick in a time that many people didn’t consider magickal– *sigh* I love it. Love it. I’m just happy you understood me enough to let me have that. 

Match Game: Ghost Style is from when I was a little and we used to watch both Match Game and Love, American Style. I loved both the game show and the show that ended up bringing about Happy Days. You enjoyed the fun shows and we had a lot of laughs together as a family then. But I think you enjoyed the fact that I got a lot of the adult points that should have gone over my head, but didn’t. I liked the fact that you didn’t call me on it. It’s one reason I love this book– it brings back that time for me. That time of innuendo and misdirection. 

Mark of the Blood is one of the first books you ever read of mine. You were really impressed. You also made comments that embarrassed me but amazed me that you could be that open. I will never forget that, Mom. Thank you. You and I loved Forever Knight and so when I started this series, I knew you’d enjoy it. That you got the scope I was reaching for and at the same time, get the humour I was injecting– I appreciated it more than you know. I’m sorry you won’t be here to see the entire series–but know you’re in every book. 

Cupid Shoots, She Scores is a book you never got to see, but I had talked about the concept of this book before with you. You were iffy on it, but you agreed with the concept being important. To me, that made all the difference in the world. Plus, you liked the sci fi part and the sex toys were cool. How many people could say that about their parents?  :mrgreen:

I miss you, Jean Witkus. You were my mom, my friend and my cheer leader. You supported my writing romance when others thought it was stupid. You knew I wanted to write happy endings for all people– even in various genres. You didn’t think it was stupid, you thought it showed love for others who didn’t know what love was. No matter how tough you had it in your life, you gave what love you could to me and my sisters. I’m sorry you are gone. You’re missing so much– but you’re never ever forgotten. I will love you always and forever Mom.