Sunday, May 25, 2014

New Blog Tour

I'd like to thank Marta Merajver-Kurlat, author of Just Toss the Ashes, asked me to participate in this blog tour. To read her post, click on
I've been asked to respond to the following questions about My Main Character in a  work in progress.
1. What is the name of your character? Is he/she fictional or a historic person.
My main character in this mostly non-fictional slice of life collection of short stories is myself, around the ages of 30 to 50, showing the humorous escapades in my life as well as the devastating ones.
2.When and where are the stories set?
The stories take place mainly in Williamsport, Pennsylvania and later in Staten Island, New York over a span of 25 years. This covers the pre-teen and teenage years of my six children, into the years of my 10 grandchildren.
3. What should we know about him/her?
After a turbulent childhood, and the divorce of my parents, I elope at the age of 17 with my high school sweetheart. We have many great years which I journal, until the great sadness in our lives. My accounts in these slice of life pieces reflect the strength and humor of my entire family during the times when most of my kids are teenagers, which gives me much material for my stories. As a young mother, I find endurance and patience in dealing with this, along with a few ghosts as house guests.
4.What is the main conflict? what messes up his/her life.
The main conflict is losing one of the children to a vehicular homicide DWI death. At that time in our lives the music died. My husband is away a lot, working long hours so it is left to me to help my family and myself travel through grief to the other side of sorrow. When my oldest daughter marries and bears a son on the very same date as her sister's death, this sets the catalyst for healing, bringing laughter and joy back into our lives. Nine more grandchildren over the next ten years from my children collectively, once again become fodder for my slice of life stories.
5. What is the personal goal of the character?
 These stories and my award winning memoir, . . . And the Whippoorwill Sang is the legacy I leave my family, friends and the one we loved and lost. Through the slice of life stories in my present work, myself, my husband, my children and grandchildren, relatives and friends will be able to look back in time to grand times, sad times and a future full of promise. This book also has some short multi-genre fiction, essays and poems, but the theme running through the entire book is love, laughter and survival.
6. Is there a working title for this collection, and can we read more about it?
The working title for this collection of stories is, "Heartbeats . . . Slices of Life." Some of these stories are published in award winning anthologies and on my blog. The following excerpt  is from one of the funnier pieces:
Tomatoes and Teenagers 
        Raising children is a lot like growing tomatoes.  Good food, fresh air and sunshine, enough liquids, and what do you get?  With tomatoes, a crop envied by neighbors, with children you get teenagers. Now a tomato is a tomato, but no one raising a baby ever expects a teenager.
      I had six children, five of them teenagers at the same time. During their pre-teen years my children were too embarrassed by puberty and braces to be much of a problem; except for the boys, but that’s another story. Erupting pimples, chronic clumsiness and oily, lifeless hair kept them in line. I was surprised they ever left the house.
            Most parents are in their late forties when their children become teenagers, putting them at a distinctive disadvantage. Teenagers are in their prime-- fit, tightly muscled, and sharp-minded, untainted by the debilitating shades of middle age.  And who gets to control these powerhouses of raging hormones?  Tired, worn-out parents whose once starry eyes have faded, or at least been fitted for glasses.   
        I often considered the pros and cons of moving away without leaving them a forwarding address. The day my children graduated from bicycles to automobiles I joined a meditation class.  One of them misjudged the garage door by two feet and bent the chassis on the car I had hopes of owning until retirement.  Grounding this child was a punishment I hardly deserved.  He sulked in his room, un bathed and sullen, blasting me into early deafness with his stereo. I heard enough Elvis to be an impersonator myself.
            My teenagers always sensed when they had pushed me to my limit.  The house would be mysteriously cleaned. Hand-picked wild flowers would be placed on the table and the dishes done without argument, which meant someone had done something very wrong or very expensive. They were lovable, beautiful, and exasperating, the definition of a teenager. They could be perfect angels or something out of the “Exorcist,” and make the change with lightning swiftness.
            High school graduation was my favorite event. Another teenager was on the road to maturity.  Of course a rose never comes without a thorn. The thorn in my side was the senior prom, every parent’s nightmare. I stared wide-eyed at my female child, standing before me in a fitted, low-cut gown that made me wince.  “I won't be too late, Mom,” she said and smiled a woman’s smile. I recognized that smile. I had used it successfully most of my life.  My sons’ proms were no less nerve-wracking.  I sat poised on the couch half the night, expecting momentarily to hear that they had been arrested. 
            It must be true that God never puts more on parents than they can bear.  Just about the time I was at the end of my rope, raising what appeared to be young  people, but I was never sure, one by one my teenagers approached adulthood. They were almost human now, almost responsible adults. The tomatoes mellowed into a sauce fit for kings. 
      My teenagers, reared with love, stamped with morality, were ready in the years ahead, to become the parents of children. Children who would one day (and this is how I know there is a God) become TEENAGERS!
 7. When can we expect the book collection to be published.
Since the stories have all been published in magazines and newspapers, I'm expecting a publication date within a few months. 

I've invited the two people below to my blog, along with the hopes that you will visit their blogs after reading their wonderful bios. Their links are below and they will be posting next Monday on their blogs.
Lori Foroozandeh
I wrote my book, "Lori's Song' due to personal tragedies that have pretty much followed me throughout life.  At 6months old I was adopted after being severely abused
by my birth parents, I had cigarette burns all over my body.  Then at 11 I was molested by my adoptive brother.  At 15 I emancipated myself from my family to get away from my brother...I got married.  That marriage lasted until my sister slept with my husband.  Then I joined the army, had a baby and married my recruiter, that marriage ended when once more my sister slept with my husband.  
Finally I met Mohammad who was my third husband and the love of my life or so I thought.  He turned out to be a terrorist and I didn't know it until we went to Iran.
Once in Iran you need your husbands written permission to leave the country.  That was when my life fell apart and became meaningful all at the same time.  Finally after four years in Iran, the day after 911 we tried to leave the country and was imprisoned by soldiers who kept us in a POW type camp for six weeks.  We were raped, beaten and starved due to either being American or having ties to America.  I finally escaped with a girl from Bahrain.  I don't want to spoil the story so you will have to read it to find out more.  I thank you for taking your time to read this.  
LINKS: (DISCOVERY CHANNEL/ go to 28 minute mark)
Cherreye  S. Jasquez PHD

Author Cherrye S. Vasquez is a public school administrator and an adjunct professor. She is a Doctor of Philosophy in Curriculum & Instruction; a Master of Education in Special Education; and a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Pathology/Audiology. Vasquez specializes in Multi-cultural education and holds certifications in Early Childhood Handicapped, Mid-Management and Educational Diagnostician.
Vasquez' platform topics center on diversity and bullying issues.  It is her desire for children to realize that they are very important and unique.  Vasquez believes that all children should learn about each other's similarities as well as differences.  She maintains that when children learn from one another they also learn that others are just as unique, beautiful, and important as they are. Children will become more diversified in their communities, and in our schools while learning and engaging in activities that can be useful in their own lives.



  1. Micki,

    You certainly know how to bring humor into your stories.

    I love this one as you've used similes and metaphors (tomatoes) describing the growing up life of your beautiful children.

    I can't wait to read this book.


  2. Hi,

    I know your book, Heartbeats...Slices of Life, is going to be a winner. If it is written with the same acuity and humor that you wrote, And The Whippoorwill Sang, then my prognosis is that it will have an exceptionally well reception, and I for one am looking forward to reading it.

    All the best my dear friend. I know you can do it and wish you the stamina and determination and strength you need to finish your project.


  3. Hi Cherreye,
    I'm so glad you enjoyed reading about my work in progress. Your opinion as a well-received children's writer mean a great deal to me.

    thank you,


    Thanks, Pat,

    Coming from someone with your writing skills, that is a high compliment and I appreciate your words and your visit. I'm going to hold you to your prognosis!

    Much love, Micki

  4. I can't wait to read more. Tell me when the book will be out !

  5. Micki, Tomatoes and Teenagers sounds like one of the most original approaches to the hard task of raising children. What I most love about your post is that rare wisdom characterizing the whole of your writing, never devoid of the right dose of humor that perfectly fits the serious subjects you regale us with.
    Looking forward to a new volume by one of my (few) favorite writers!

  6. Thank you for sharing your delightful story about tomatoes and teenagers. Every word you wrote is SO true! I'm looking forward to reading your entire collection.

  7. Micki, as usual, you had my sides hurting from laughing! I love the way you write and can't wait for the new collection! I am one of your biggest fans :-)

  8. You certainly have a way with words, dear lady! I especially loved the comparison of worn-down/out parents being forced to control our children at their fittest and most rebellious. Seemed rather unjust after you clarified the situation...

    You also clarified a great deal about parenthood in your first book. I laughed and cried through "And the Whippoorwill Sang" and fully believe from the excerpt above that your next book will command the same responses. You are fortunate to have so many subjects (those 10 especially!) to draw your material from. But then, you are just reaping the love you sowed!

  9. Thanks, Anonymous, I'll make sure you get the first copy :).


    Thank you Marta, I can't seem to stay serious in a topic, except the tragic ones.Humor and pathos walk a fine line together. I think you will like most of my new book.That was a lovely tribute and I appreciate it.


    Hi Sandy, I'm so glad you stopped by and enjoyed the post. Glad to see I'm not alone with the world's worst teenagers :).


    Hi Sharla, so happy to see you here and I'm glad you found humor in this slice of life. You're also one of my favorite fans!!


  10. This is a great idea. I loved your interview questions. I've read your book and loved it so much I read it, over the past few years, about three times. Great work.

  11. Very well written and interesting as always.

  12. Thanks, Pat, I think you may be the only one who's read my book as many times as me!

    Hi Trish,
    Thanks for dropping by and for your kind words.


  13. Micki you have done such a wonderful job and I would recommend your book to anyone and everyone. You had such a beautiful relationship with your daughter, and the way you dealt with things would make her proud. And not just make her proud, she IS PROUD. She looks down on you everyday, so you both are blessed to have such respect and love for one another. Your book was sad, funny, confusing at times, it was just everything that a mother should feel at a time like this. I love you Micki and your such a mentor to me!! Marta is coming :)

  14. Thank you, LOri for your lovely words. I feel a kinship with you due to your suffering and will always be a friend.

    Hugs, Micki