Monday, June 12, 2017

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

That moment when...

....One of your publishers emails you to tell you that your book hit #5 on their best seller list....


Yup. That's Keeping Secrets in Seattle in case you haven't seen it yet.


Want to grab a copy for yourself? CLICK HERE AND HAPPY READING!

xoxo
Brooke

Monday, June 5, 2017

Something I've always wanted to try...

...I've always had a long list of things to try in my lifetime. I've managed to knock a few of those things off of the list in recent years. For instance, traveling to a developing country...

Boracay, Christmas 2016...this is the day before I almost died from the worst infection ever known to man. :)


Eating octopus...

Octopus is a popular ingredient here in South Korea. I've grown quite fond of it. 


Going white water rafting...

I went with my family a few years ago, and it was way more fun (and a lot less terrifying) than I expected it to be.


Teaching a workshop at my favorite writer's conference...

My workshop in 2016 was The Art of Romantic Comedy...my workshop for 2017:  The Art of the PG13 Bedroom Scene Done Right. 


(Doing that again next October.)

And having dead skin eaten off of the bottom of my feet by fish...

Did it....ended up hating it....never doing it again....


But I still have a list of things I'd like to do someday. I'd like to build a treehouse for my kids or grandkids.

Of course most of the work would be up to my husband on this one...


I'd like to meet Steven Tyler.

Seriously. So cool.


I'd like to see one of my books made into a movie. Which one? No idea....



I'd like to go HERE with my husband and no children...

Literally a dream come true....


And I'd like to learn how to ballroom dance.



What have YOU always wanted to try?

xoxo
Brooke


Sunday, June 4, 2017

We did a thing this weekend.

My oldest son graduated from high school this weekend.



It was awesome. He won an award for Service Learning. And he wore a bow tie to stand out amongst his classmates. He's very comfortable with himself, and very inspiring.



I'm so excited to watch him move on to the next phase of his life. What a kid. :)

xoxo
Brooke

Friday, May 26, 2017

Worth the effort.

I get my blog post ideas from the AnnDee Ellis 8 Minute Memoir and she never fails to give me something to write about. She has quickly become one of my favorite blogs to follow.

Today I am writing about something that is tiring, exhausting, and difficult...but utterly worth the effort. At first I considered writing about something super poignant. Like marriage, motherhood, family life, or my career. And while these things are absolutely worthwhile...I wanted to keep things light today. So I chose.....



Chicken and Dumplings. American style.

Not this:



THIS:



Oh, yes. My family loves my chicken and dumplings. I do, too. I'm not an especially good cook. And most of the time, I simply cook to sustain life. But occasionally I cook something that really rocks. I've got about five recipes that I keep in my rotation, and the one I usually go for when someone gets sick and my help...is chicken and dumplings. First, because it's amazing. And second, because it feeds a lot of people. And third, because it's all homey and delicious, and it makes people feel all warm and fuzzy. It's like a trip to grandma's house. Back at the farm. You see where I'm going with this...

The only thing about chicken and dumplings is...it takes forever to make. (It it's made correctly.) You have to boil a whole chicken for no less than two hours. You have to cook it with an onion (skins and all,) and celery and carrots. Then you have to let it cool, and pick all the yummy meat off of the bones. Then you thicken the delicious broth (referred to as "liquid gold" in our house) and boil the dollops of bisquick....and ahhhhhhhh....perfection. But only after about three hours of work.

In a nutshell: it's a pain in the a** to make.



But totally worth the effort.

I'm pretty sure it will cure cancer. Maybe not. But in case I get any more butt tumors the size of wine corks in my rectum.............I'll keep the recipe on hand. :)



What do you make that is a total pain in the keister, but totally worth the effort?

xoxo
Brooke Moss

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Still haven't read...

Apples & Oranges? Check out an excerpt here:



“I think he’s gay.” I threw a handful of shelled peas into the bowl with more strength than I anticipated, and they rolled back out the other side.
            “Easy there, turbo.” Lexie looked at me with raised eyebrows.
When I’d marched into work three hours later than promised, she’d been ready to live up to her redheaded reputation. I could practically smell the curse words in the air. But one look at my blackened feet and sweat-soaked blouse, and her anger quickly melted into amusement. Apparently riding a city bus back to work without shoes or my blessed iPhone was punishment enough, and she’d promptly handed me a water bottle. Now we were working into the evening to get ready for an event the next day.
“You know, just because a man doesn’t roll over and let you scratch his belly the minute you look at him doesn’t make him gay,” Candace said, picking up the stray peas.
I raised an eyebrow. “It wasn’t his belly I was planning on scratching.”
She was usually the voice of reason between the three of us, mostly because she was the mother of three kids and constantly broke up fights between the little buggers. But she had the whole cooperation thing down pat, compared to Lexie and me. You see, Lexie had only been married to Fletcher about a year, and she and her husband had a blended family with two kids. The closest I’d ever been to an altar was standing in as my mother’s maid-of-honor in her fourth wedding.
Or was that her sixth? Oh, well. It didn’t really matter.
Usually at the first sign of contention in a relationship, I was out the door, a habit Candace had been trying to break me of for years. Especially when I dated Lexie’s husband, Fletcher. Yeah. I dated Doctor Fletcher Haybee before Lexie married him. It sounds weirder than it actually was. The man wouldn’t lay a hand on me, because he was so obsessed with my waif-like friend, and by the time we broke up, I was so sexually frustrated, I would’ve made out with a bum.
I didn’t. But I could have.
Lexie plopped another basket of fresh sugar snap peas in front of me. “Maybe he just wasn’t interested.”
“That never happens.” I pointed an empty pod at her. When she smiled innocently at me over her shoulder, I added, “Until Fletcher came along. Damn him.”
            She giggled. “He threw off your mojo.”

Tossing a handful of pods over my head, I groaned dramatically. I was good at dramatic. “He did! Don’t you understand how frustrating that is?”


Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Someday it will all make sense.

It's been a weird few years. Starting with the loss of our daughter, followed quickly by alopecia and then moving abroad, and then topping it all off with my dad's death last winter and a cancer scare....things in my life have been discombobulating, to put it mildly. I've often found myself looking around at my surroundings and thinking "What the hell is going on?? When will I catch my breath?"



As I've mentioned before, I have a lot of trepidation about going back to the USA for the summer. It is always very stressful and expensive, not to mention melodramatic and mentally exhausting. This summer is fixing to be a doozy. Thanks, Life. Much appreciated.

Needless to say, I've been feeling the uncomfortable under-skin itch of stress and anxiety niggling at me. I still function. Put on hair and makeup every day. Get up, teach seminary, make breakfast and lunch for my kids, get them out the door on time, get to work and put in a full day of writing, editing, and social media time. I would say that I have "high functioning anxiety," if that is an actual thing. And impending summers always make it worse.



But on Sunday of this last week, something happened that gave me just a wee bit of reassurance. You see, when we moved abroad, it was only going to be for three years. I didn't bring very many books at all. Mostly just scriptures, and church based materials I might need--which turned out to be smart, as I wound up being called as a seminary teacher, but, I digress...

I also packed a sexual education book. I bought it when my teenagers were little, and would sit down with them individually. We would read the book together, then answer questions, and have a conversation about sex, where babies come from, good touch/bad touch, etc. My teenagers hated being forced to read the books when they were 9 and 10, but were ultimately grateful that I'd opened up communication about things they'd previously considered too taboo to speak about out loud. As they grew older, and their kid brother, Charlie, my ten year old, grew and developed, they would tease him about the inevitable "book" and how mom would eventually get him and trap him and force him to read it.




As we'd been packing to move abroad, I'd grabbed that book out of my bedroom drawer, and thrown it into one of our suitcases to bring to South Korea, knowing that my two youngest boys would come of age while we were there--and that I would likely need to read the dreaded book with them. When we arrived in our apartment abroad, I'd unpacked it and slid it into a drawer for safekeeping. I hadn't even cracked that book open since reading it to my daughter at age nine, who is now nearly sixteen.

So when I pulled out the book this past Sunday, and a picture fell out of it and fluttered to the floor, my heart caught. I hadn't physically opened that book, not even to casually look at the pictures (cartoon drawings of dancing eggs, sperm, uteruses, and penises aren't my thing,) in many years, and I certainly hadn't tucked any photographs between its pages. In fact, the picture tucked in there was a photograph of my father, fly fishing (of course) with a catch on his line. He's smiling--something he didn't do much at all, which is sad, because he had such a great grin--and dressed just as I remembered him. Jeans and a worn flannel shirt. :)



When we'd packed up our house in Spokane, Washington, I'd packed that photograph with all of our others. It had been in a small metal frame for as long as I can remember, probably since I was in my teens, and I'd tossed it into a box with all our hundreds of other framed photographs. I remember doing it. And yet, somehow it wound up in that stupid book my kids hate, out of its frame.

Let me back up even further....about a week or two ago, I was talking to my dad. Yes, I realize he's dead, but I enjoy talking to him as if he's in the room every once in a while. Sometimes when my kids are acting like animals I will make a Jim Halpert face at one of the corners of the room, like this:



Because I like to think my dad in Spirit form can see me, and is sniggering at how poorly my children are behaving, (Paybacks, and all that) I will make the face and occasionally joke around with him when I am alone in our apartment. Well, the other day, I decided to offer him a challenge. I asked him to haunt me a little. To turn a lamp on, or to move a throw pillow. To do something to let me know he's still around. Because while I know he is...I still sometimes crave reassurance. When nothing happened, I jokingly called him an "amateur" and went on about my business, not thinking much about it.

And then the picture fluttered out of the book. See?? Proof. Exactly as I'd asked for it. But rather than turning a light on and off or making "wwwwwoooooooooooooooo......" sounds as I'm trying to go to sleep, my dad just sent my favorite picture to me to remind me that yes, he's here. And no, he's no amateur. It felt to me like he was saying "Hi, Bear. I'm still here. Hang in there."

(Bear was his nickname for me. It caught on, and most of the grown ups in my life called me Bear as I was growing up. As a teenager, I hated it, because teenagers hate everything about their parents, but as a 41 year old woman who misses her dad, I like it now.)

Anyway....



Sometimes I cannot wrap my head around some of the things I've been through in my adult life. Divorce, custody battles, dealing with someone who is mentally ill, raising kids alone, poverty, remarriage, having an autistic child, being a foster parent, losing a child, PTSD, career setbacks, alopecia, moving abroad, racism, prejudice against my political and religious beliefs, losing an estranged parent, having a cancer scare... So much to process, so  much to be strong for, so many people relying on me. It's all very heavy. Occasionally the weight makes my knees buckle.

And then these little things happen, and I am reminded that:

And--if even for just a little while--I am strengthened enough to go on. This time it came in the form of an old photograph that fell out of an old sex ed book my children detest. It makes me laugh. My dad knows just how to make me laugh.

Oh, and I've also learned not to challenge a dead person to haunt you. Because they will.

xoxo
Brooke