I Read the News Today, Oh Boy… @meganslayer #iamwriting #iamthinking


There are times in my life when I’ve wanted to stick my neck out and others when I haven’t. Most of the time when I want to say something about topics that might get me into trouble, I stay silent. I figure no one wants to hear some of my ramblings because they are, well, ramblings. Other times, I can’t be quiet.

I won’t name names and I won’t allow negative comments so just don’t try, okay?

So here’s a little story.

When I started writing, you subbed to a publisher and hoped they’d help you do the promotion, but you busted your buns to promote, too. Some of us are good at it. Some of us aren’t. I’m somewhere in the middle.

Where there for a while, the thing to do was to put tags on your books on that super ginormous website that sells books and more. (I said wasn’t naming names.) So everyone ran that way. We put tags on our books. Not a bad idea really. I mean, if your book has a vampire, then that’s a good thing to tag. Or if it’s got a menage…tag it. Someone might like your books, but if they aren’t in the mood for a menage, it’s better to warn them. Right? Right.

But then the trend turned to adding the names of other authors in your tags. Your book is like such-and-so? Tag them. That way when readers search for that author’s books, they’ll get yours, too. Okay if the authors tagging each other are OKAY with that practice, but if you’re randomly tagging some very big author because you want your name found when someone is looking for THAT author…IMHO, not cool. So everyone ran that way. They’d tag super big name authors with their books in the hopes it would boost their sales. I never did this because I thought, my book has nothing to do with that person’s book, so why link them? And if, by chance, that author SAW my books and liked them, I’d rather THEY tell people they liked the book rather than me forcing it and upsetting the author.

Then that big and ginormous site that sells books and more decided that wasn’t good, tagging authors. It was kiboshed. Not bad, really. Makes us honest. Then as a collective, we authors went searching for the next big thing to help us promote. That social media site that involves faces was used. Like parties where we’d get together and like each other. Not bad, really, because I probably would’ve liked those pages anyway. But see, the big and ginormous site that sells books and more figured out we were connected that way. We liked each other. Well, duh. Authors, for the most part, do like each other. For the most part we like to help each other out. But the big and ginormous site that sells books and more decided we couldn’t like each other and review for each other because, well, we wouldn’t be partial.

So the like and share parties went by the wayside, just like the tagging situation. Then there was the party. Throw a party on the social media site that involves faces and get everyone to participate. Big prizes involved. Great. I rather liked the parties. I learned about new books, shared hot guy pictures and had fun. Then someone got the idea to tag everyone in the social media orbit, which meant a whole lot of people who didn’t want to be invited to the party were. This made lots of people mad. The big and ginormous site that sells books and more got involved, too. Again, they saw we were friends and having fun together. So the parties went by the wayside.

There have been blog hops and blog tours, social media hops and mass friendings, mass followings, jumping on a certain promotional site because a few people hit really big with their advertising, but that advertising is super select and crazy expensive, so only those with a tad more income or those who were willing to gamble could do it–if they were approved. But then those, like with a lot of other stuff, went by the wayside. The key is, look popular so you will get others to pay attention and buy your books. Be the dog that jumps the highest so everyone sees him or her first.

Then there were the big box sets that helped to manipulate the rankings and get people on lists. The box set might hit the list, but the authors involved would automatically claim they’d hit the list. Technically, THEY hadn’t. The box set had. Have they hit the lists since? In most cases, no. But having those letters saying you’d hit a list were seen to help with sales. When there wasn’t manipulation, it did. People said, this hit a list, it must be good. But like all good things, the lists and rankings were manipulated, screwed with and generally diluted so much by the box sets and so many authors putting the wording that THEY had hit the lists, that they mean nothing. There are readers who won’t read a book that has the the special letters on it because they can’t trust the author actually made the list on their own. But this was the thing to do. Get on the list any way you can and make it look like you’re super popular, so you can sell more books. Any way you can do it, sell those books. Write garbage that’s not edited and pushed out so fast other people would pass out, just so you can make a buck. Yeah, that happens.

This brings me to now. Some authors have tried unorthodox tactics to get those books sold. It’s not new. I can’t imagine why those sticky wall-walker thingys were used to get me to buy a book, but an author tried it. I can’t remember the author or the book, so I’m guessing it didn’t work. I’ve been given condoms to promote a book, bookmarks, free downloads, gift cards, pie servers, back scratchers, rulers, tons of pens (which I LOVE), notebooks, and so much more…just to get me to buy a book. I’ve seen contests for huge gift cards, purses, clutches, tablets, watches, you name it…just to get me to buy a book.

But the thing that seems to work…for many…is controversy. Yep. An author might opt to put the word out that their book is banned. OMG, my book has been banned by the big and ginormous site that sells books and more. I won’t say WHY, but it’s been banned. An author might try the social media route: OMG I’ve been jailed by that social media site that deals with faces and, poor me, I can’t promote. Help me! Because the author and reader society is fabulous, we come to their aid. I’ve done it. I bet you have, too. Then there’s the name route. OMG that author’s name is close to mine. I don’t like it. I’m going to bully you to change it.

Riddle me this…if I’m writing under my real name (which I do) and it’s close to someone else’s name (Which it’s not – I mean, no one in their right mind or planning stages decides they want a Z name for their pen name and if they do, then they’re not thinking clearly), then other than getting a pen name (which I’ve done), how can they function as an author? They can’t control what they were named by their parents. If your name is Ahnn Ryce and you want to write under that, then that’s your prerogative. There are authors with the same name in pronunciation, but not spelling, all over the writing community. It happens. There are only so many ways to spell Stephen or King and if you happen to be that person named Steven King and you want to write a book, then you should be able to. I don’t know how many Nori Robards there are out there, but it happens.

Now we’re at a slippery slope. So there can only be one Lewis Carroll? There can only be one Mary Shelley? I think not. It’s tough.

But the controversy can be what drives a career. Think about a certain book that involved a slew of one color and a red room. First, the controversy about the topic, BDSM, isn’t new, but it wasn’t super mainstream. Then the topic switched to whether or not the BDSM was truly consensual. It got people talking and DIDN’T prevent them from buying the book. In many cases, MORE people bought the books. It skyrocketed that author’s career. Now how many books have words from those titles in their titles? I’m guessing quite a few.

Authors look at trends and try to go with them, copy them, or at least get ahead of them. Which brings me to the controversy over a certain word. If everyone who had a book with GRAY, GREY or MR. in it was prevented from publishing with those titles, we’d have a lot fewer books. If everyone who ever had a book with the word VAMPIRE in it was prevented from publishing it with said title because that word were used by someone else, then we’d have a whole lot fewer vampire books. I seem to recall that certain book that involved a slew of one color and a red room was a fan fiction of a vampire book involving sparkles. But you never heard the author of the vampire book with sparkles make a big deal about the fan fic. Nope.  And if she did, then it didn’t last long.

Think about how many books have song titles as their titles. I’m guilty of that. I’ve got lots of books that are song titles. Those can’t be copyrighted. I’m guessing there are many books called, “The Dance” and many songs by that title, too. So they all come up when you search for “The Dance”. Great. That person might find three other songs/books/etc that they like just as much and they might buy them ALL. Readers aren’t stupid. Yes, we get confused sometimes, but we’re smart and pay attention. If I’m looking for that book that involved a slew of one color and a red room and while I’m searching find another book with the same theme, I’m likely to pick up BOTH books. Maybe I don’t find the original book, but I might. I tend to buy more than one book and keep looking until I find the one I want.

That’s the thing. No matter what the time or the idea, someone will try something to get you to buy the book. Someone will try like hell to get you to pay attention. That’s the thing. We’re all promoting and sometimes it feels like we’re screaming into the collective void to get readers to notice. That’s why we gravitate toward trinkets and gimmicks and sometimes controversy.

I realize this is a long post and you’re probably tired by now reading it. You might have had your brain boggled or you’re angry. It happens. I don’t agree with the course of things concerning the latest controversy, but I have to believe this will pass. Just like the others, this will blow over and the next big controversy will arise. It always does. That’s one thing about the publishing industry–until books are dead, it will keep cycling. What’s popular today will be out tomorrow and will come back around in a while.

My suggestion? Just do your thing and promote how you feel comfortable promoting. If you can look yourself in the mirror and feel comfortable with what you’ve done, then that’s good for you. I want to look at myself and have a clear conscience. But that’s just me.

Clean vs Dirty by @meganslayer #iamwriting #iamthinking #writing

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I did an author event recently where a participating author spoke about her writing. Cool, right? Sure. I enjoyed her presentation. I bought a few of her books.

But something she said stuck with me. It’s still stuck in my head, to be honest. She mentioned she writes sweet because she wanted to write something her peers and family wouldn’t be ashamed of knowing she’d written. Something clean.

Initially, I thought I’m not ashamed – I mean, I write what I think is at the best of my ability. Who would want to sell stuff that’s not their best? Not me. We all want to do our best.

But I knew what she really meant. Clean writing is better than dirty. If you write clean then you have nothing to be ashamed of. People won’t look down on you for what you’ve penned. What if you’re writing something with sex? According to her mentality, then you should hide it and it’s shameful.

I’m not ashamed of what I write and well, much of what I write isn’t clean. Far from it. I’ve penned some clean reads, but for me, dirty is more fun. I’m not going to lie and say that’s not me on that story. If it’s clean or dirty, then fine. I wrote it.

Everyone likes what they like—me included. Sometimes I want a clean read, but most of the time I want something a lot hotter. I don’t care who knows what’s on my kindle because that’s my tastes. If you’re all for clean reads, then that’s great. If not, that’s great, too. I want everyone to be an individual and read the heat level that makes them happy.

Are my peers ashamed of my writing because it’s dirty? I don’t know. Are they ashamed because they might believe it’s not my best? Hey, it happens. Either way, it’s fine. I do what I think is my best and want my readers to be happy. Isn’t that supposed to be the plan? It is for me and I’m good with it.



My Grandmother Used to Say… #patience with @meganslayer #iamwriting #iamthinking #reminiscing

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My grandmother’s been through a lot in the last year. My grandfather passed away a year ago on Sunday. It’s been tough. He was the cornerstone of the family. He laughed loudest, stood mostly the tallest and was just an all-around wonderful guy.

One of the things she says to me often and has since his passing has been patience. It’s hard. I know. Patience with others, patience with yourself. Patience. I’m horrible with patience. So I asked her, okay, why be patient? Sometimes isn’t it good to be pushy?

Her answer: sure, there are times to be pushy, but there are times to just wait. It’s tough to wait, but you never know what will happen next. You might wish you hadn’t rushed. You might realize you missed something awesome because you rushed. Plus, when you’re patient you get to experience things you might not otherwise.

She’s right.

In the last year, I’ve tried to be more positive. I know I haven’t always succeeded. I get frustrated and it’s hard. But I try to be a positive force. I try to realize the people here right now might not be tomorrow. I can attest to that being tough. In the last three or so days, I’ve lost one member of my graduating class. I don’t know what happened, but she’s a great person and at least she’s in Heaven walking with Elvis, her idol. In these last three days, a guy I had a major crush on and was friends with–he taught me how to fight. He said, if you’re going to defend yourself, then do it right. I’ve never forgotten what he said. He was killed in a car crash. My heart hurts for both people. It’s been too fast. Too soon.

So my complaining about patience and not wanting to wait for a response from someone is truly small potatoes compared to what the families of these people are going through…what my grandmother is going through.

So yeah, patience. It’s tough, but it’s important. I’m glad she’s trying to club me over the head with this point. I love Grandma. ❤

Pardon My Antsiness… with @MeganSlayer #iamwriting #iamwaiting #needchillpills #worry #worrying

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I’ve got a secret. I do. I’m horrible at waiting. HAWRRIBLE. I really am. Christmas is like a fresh kind of hell. I can’t wait for that day. I want Christmas to be like 25 days long so I don’t have to wait.

Okay, I’m kind of  a brat that way. I know. It happens. This post is my way of ranting without getting into too much trouble.

You see…one of the hardest parts of being a writer is waiting. Waiting for edits, waiting for art, waiting for the release day….waiting for an acceptance or rejection. It’s tough. If you’re not a waiting kind of person…which I’m not…it’s murder. I don’t know how some authors do it. I mean, I don’t. How do you put a submission out of your mind?

For me, the stories aren’t my babies. They’re like paintings or drawings. They’re something I created. My work. I want them to be received well, don’t get me wrong. But they’re work. The thing is, I can’t figure out how to separate myself from the hope they’ll be accepted. I know going in that not every book will be accepted. It happens. It’s part of the business.

Still, I’m not great at wondering while the submission is out there floating around the slush piles or email folders…wherever it ends up.

Anyone have an idea for how to not lose my mind while waiting? I’ve tried writing. Trust me. That’s helped, but I can’t write 24-7. Life won’t let me. If you’ve got suggestions, I’m all ears. Hit me with your best suggestions for filling the void while waiting.

My Grandmother Used to Say… with @meganslayer #advice #grandmother #mygrandmotherusedtosay #iamwriting

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My grandmother used to say if you tear it down, I’ll help you build it back up. It’s funny. I haven’t thought about my great grandmother in a while. Sounds terrible, but I’ve had a week. I happened on a photo of her and the memories of going to her house, playing and rolling down the hill in the back yard came to mind.

My great grandmother was the type of person who loved disorder.It might not seem like a good thing, but when we went to her house,  the grandkids were encouraged to have fun and make a mess. Want to play in the sink? Have at it. Want to build with the blocks, then knock it down? Let me help. Want to dig in the dirt? Spin on the swing? I’m right there.  That’s the kind of person she was.

She loved to read my books, too. She had every one that was in print. Loved them. She’d tell me there was no shame in reading romance. “If there’s a fire in the oven, then there’s no crime in stoking it.” Coming from my grandmother, it was a little strange, but knowing her…I got it. She liked to live like it was her last day. She’d have fun, embrace life and enjoy what she was doing.

She’d help us build back up after things crumbled. She taught me to stand on my own and to have fun. Don’t get caught up in small stuff and bogged down. Do your own thing and be your own person. If there’s a disaster, help build it back up. Help build everyone around you up. Don’t be afraid of what might happen or what could happen and experience life.

I’m all for that. Life doesn’t last forever, so I’m here to embrace what I can. ❤

Choosing to Be Happy with @meganslayer #choosinghappy #bestlife #positive

CalmThere are just certain things that make a body wonder. Two days ago, the tot’s pet fish passed. Some have already told me, it’s just a fish. It’s not like it was a cat or dog or something. The thing is, this was tot’s pet. He was responsible for the fish. He’d talk to it, feed it, change the water, read to it…and it was his. Poor kid was devastated. Still is, but who can blame him?

We put down my orange cat before Christmas and it was tough. Broke my heart because he was my baby. I still feel like a heel for putting him down, even though he was failing and wouldn’t have made it through the night. So I get why tot feels destroyed.

But the passings got me thinking. I’ve been down in the dumps since Tuesday when I had to tell the tot about his fish. Just…made me depressed. I gave myself Tuesday and yesterday to feel cruddy. I mean, you need time, right?

I made a decision last night. I can’t just be blah. I can’t. It’s not me. So, I’m choosing positivity. I know, I know. Everyone does. It’s a thing. But I like to put a positive spin on what’s happening. Not the edits I want? Well, at least I have the edits and can get them done. Stuff like that. I’m choosing to just be happy. We only get one life (so I’m told) so I’m making the best of it. 🙂

Those Pesky Characters with @meganslayer #characters #iamwriting

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I am very much a pantser. I tend to let the story go where it will and clean up afterwards. I know that sounds kind of irresponsible. It’s true. The thing is… my characters are the drivers in the story. If they decide to zig, then I have to zig with them. I’ve tried to zag when they zig and it didn’t work.

I’ve had characters who have changed personality through the story. One example is in my recent book, Finding Michael. Tristan is a writer. He has a very high opinion of himself. He’s a playboy. But he grows through the story. He has a few realizations through the book that I didn’t see coming. Instead of arguing with him, I let him go and the realizations made sense the more I went. Fighting what he wanted to do, which I tried, didn’t help. He argued with me, too.

I’ve had entire stories, like Tristan’s planned out. Like written all out in a notebook, 40,000 words done, planned out. I knew where I was going with the story and started moving what was in the notebook to the computer. Between the notebook and computer, the characters change. They evolve. I like it. I want them to grow. Just because I might have liked the original idea doesn’t mean the way they’re moving forward isn’t good. Most of the time, it’s great. The changes show me more of who the characters are.

I’ve had a couple characters grow through a series and now that I’m at the third book of the Picture Me series, I’m seeing just how original and more themselves they are becoming. It’s refreshing and challenging, but a good challenge.

I’d rather have the characters be themselves and evolve with the story, rather than have them be static. I’d rather be pushed as an author. I like growing in my profession and writing.

A Little Story with @meganslayer #relivingthepast #bullies #nomore #bekind

I want to tell you a little story, it’s a true one, from my childhood. It’s actually from my teen years, but someone told me once that’s part of childhood. Don’t tell my teen that–he swears he’s not a child. But this story involves my freshman year of school.

When I was in high school, think Freaks and Geeks time, we were required to take 2 semesters of gym class over the course of the first two years. I hate gym. I don’t like to run. Don’t like to sweat and I’m not the most coordinated kid out there. I’m still not. But I was required to take gym.

One girl, I’ll call her Alice, didn’t like me. I don’t know why. To this day, I can’t remember why. I will admit I had a bit of a snob complex. Broken HeartNot because we had money. We didn’t. But because I liked being right. Sounds silly now. But I liked doing things the right way. Have a deadline for a paper? I’ll get mine in a day before because it’s the right thing to do. Need a ride? I’ll give you a life because it’s the right thing to do. That sort of action. Get good grades because…you guessed it…it’s the right thing to do.

So Alice is in my gym class. She’s a grade ahead of me and much more athletically talented than I ever will be. I believe she played basketball for the school. Bu she hated me. I mean HATED. I don’t know why. Really. I tried to avoid her whenever possible because I didn’t like conflict. Oh, I could be a moody teen when I wanted, but I did then and still do tend to avoid conflict.

But she sought me out. If we were changing in the locker room – why the room was always dimly lit, I’ll never know – but she’d made comments. She’d mention my underdevelopment or my sometimes ratty clothes (I said we weren’t exactly well off), or my hair. She loved to insult my hair. I let it grow way out until it was past my butt. Then around grade 8, I cut most of it off. I got tired of the endless shampooing and drying. I hated wearing it mostly in a braid because there was too much of it to do much with. I’ll agree the haircut I got wasn’t great. It was a bowl cut back when those things were cool. Looking back, I wish I hadn’t thought it was so neat. But that’s another story for another day.

Alice knew I wasn’t confident. I’ve had body issues all my life. She knew where to jab to make the most impression. I remember being told I should shave my head and start over again because it might improve my looks. I have thin eyebrows. Always have. She’d leave me little notes on the desk we shared in American History class that mentioned my lack of eyebrows and how it made me ugly. I hated going to that class and I love history. I hated gym, too, and now I had dual reasons for it.

We were in gym and she’d given me the latest insult about my outfit being uncool – I was wearing flannel before flannel was a thing. It was warm and we had flannels. Shrugs. Anyway, she’d insulted me, then left a note in my gym locker. She wanted me to die. She’d told me plenty of times I should kill myself because the world didn’t want to look at me and I did my best to brush it off. I said I don’t like confrontation. But this note really got to me.

She threatened to beat the living hell out of me. Granted, she was a rough kid. She liked to fight. No, she loved it. But this was going too far. Beating the hell out of someone…

Who does that? Over your looks? It was common then as much as it is now. I tried to block out how the note made me feel, but I couldn’t. I didn’t want to rock the boat, mostly because I thought she really would beat me up and I don’t know how to fight. I don’t remember if I gave the note to my mother or if she found it, but she ended up with it and was pissed. Like, went right to the school and marched into the principal’s office that day pissed. I was mortified. I just knew Alice would find out – mostly because she’d get into trouble – and would follow through on her threat.

Things did happen. I was hauled down to the principal’s office and accused of causing the argument. If I hadn’t provoked her – I was never told HOW I’d done it, but I’d brought it on myself – then she wouldn’t have had to retaliate. We were told to make amends and to stay away from each other. My classes were changed so we didn’t run into each other.

I’ll admit, I’ve stuck up for myself a few times and I don’t always back down, but in this instance, I did. I was a coward. I didn’t want to get my face mashed over someone having a problem with it. I didn’t try to kill myself, but I tried any and all means to get out of gym class and any other event that brought me in Alice’s circles. I hated the person I saw when I looked in the mirror because I thought, if she finds fault with me, then others do, too. If there are faults, then I’m less of a person.

In retrospect, it’s stupid. I’m not less of a person because she didn’t like me. That was on her. I never should’ve given her power over me, but I did. Once you’re bullied, you don’t forget it. I can’t say I’ve been perfect. I’m human. There are some people I just don’t get along with. That said, I’ve tried to take the high road and avoid them. You can’t get into trouble if you’re not around what causes you to get in trouble, right? Or I try to keep a stiff upper lip and be nice, even when I don’t feel that way. I’ve been catty. It happens. Doesn’t make up for my behavior to say it happens. I’m human. I make mistakes. I’d like to think the same goes for Alice. Maybe when she looks back on that incident, she’d like to do it differently. Maybe she doesn’t think about me at all. I don’t know.

I guess my point is no matter how nice or sweet you think you are, there will always be people who don’t like you. No matter how catty you are, it’s not right. You might think your actions aren’t doing harm, but you never know just how deep those cuts go. You may never find out.  You might have said something that was totally innocent and not intended to be mean, but was taken out of context and ruins a relationship. It happens. It’s not right and not fair, but it happens.

We’ve only got so much time on this planet. Why not make the most of it and live in harmony? Simply put, don’t be a dick.

I Get Knocked Down…But I Get Up Again with @meganslayer #iamwriting #iamthinking #randomthoughts


Sometimes it seems like writing feels like working in a vacuum. Like you’re doing your own thing and it’s a wonder if anyone notices. Like you’re doing this awesome thing and you’re in your own bubble.

A lot of times, writing is like that. Like right now… I’m working on this blog post and I’m sitting alone in my office. I’ve got a movie running in the background and music playing on my laptop. Sometimes I think I should get a commission from the Marvel Universe because I’ve watched the movies so many times.

But I’m still working on my own. I can’t stand when there are other people in my space when I’m writing. Can’t. Drives me nuts. I think it’s because I get the feeling they want my attention and I need to devote my attention to the story. Okay, you’re probably wondering why I said that. I have a movie and music going. My attention is kind of everywhere.

Yes and no. I’m in my own little world. I hear the music and can glance up to watch the movie, but I’m focused on the story.  It’s great. I’m creating a world, getting lost in it and hanging out with my book friends. Like I said, it’s great.

But the thing is…writing isn’t totally in a vacuum. I need my friends. I need to hear we’re in this together. I need to know I’m not the only one with writer’s block or whatever. Sometimes I do want to talk to people. I want to know whatever I’m doing isn’t for naught.

So while it might feel like I’m in a bubble, I’m not. I’ve got friends and readers who rock, plus a family that’s a fabulous support system. I’m not alone and I’ve got one of the coolest jobs out there.

My Grandmother Used to Say… with @meganslayer #grandmother #advice #holidays

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The holidays can be a tough time. So many people to see and places to be. The spring tends to be easier, but not always. I know, because of DH’s schedule, what holidays I can attend and which ones we won’t be able to because there isn’t time. Or because we’ve decided to have just our family, not the extended one.  It happens. One year we might be able to make it to all the big gatherings and the next…none. It’s not fun. My grandfather passed last year and it’s getting close to the anniversary of that, so I do want to be around the extended family. But it’s not always feasible.

My grandmother used to say (and still does), just tell the boss your grandmother wants you to be there and to give you the time off. If that doesn’t work, then cry. If that doesn’t work, then let me cry and I’ll get your boss to let you have time off.

I love my grandmother, but crying doesn’t always get the job done. Sometimes you’ve just gotta bite the bullet and do the job. You’ve got to go to work. I get her meaning though. She wants us to be there. It’s not the same without all the cousins around. Plus, you don’t know how long you’ve got to have those people around. It’s tough.

Some days I get frustrated. I know she’ll say she’ll volunteer to talk to the boss so we can be there. Some days it’s funny. Other days, it’s frustrating. But I understand. I’m going to be a grandmother some day (I assume) and I’ll probably be the same way. But who knows.

Considering it’s almost a year since my grandfather passed and I’m sure this will be tough for my grandmother, I just might have to find a way to be at Easter after all.