Monday, December 17, 2018

Twins, the Holiday, and Pushing Laundry Up the Steps

I’d like to start out this blog with holiday news on the family front.  My daughter, Jessica, and her husband, Josh, have struggled for years to have a baby.  In the end, they went in-vitro and discovered that they were going to have twins.  An ultrasound told them that the kiddos were a boy and a girl.  Due date scheduled for the middle of January.

My oldest son, Tom, and his wife, Gillian, have two sons (my grandsons) Henry, twelve, and Jake, ten, whom I adore.  They’re smart, athletic, and funny as hell. Tom and Gillian are wonderful parents and it shows in their kids.

But we doubled the amount of grandkids around here when my daughter went into early labor last week and delivered Caroline Elise, 4lb 9 oz, and Thomas Frederick, 4lb 8 oz, 22 minutes later.  Both children are doing well but they will be in the NICU while they finish “cooking”.

I got the call after midnight from my son-in-law about the delivery.  When I heard they’d named the boy ‘Thomas’, I sat down at the kitchen table with a scotch in my hand and tears in my eyes.

And I about lost it when I heard the girl was named ‘Caroline’.

A little back story: I was a single dad from the time my daughter was thirteen. Jessica and I learned a lot together.  I didn’t know anything about shopping for groceries or cooking, but Jess and I learned it together.  Now, I love cooking.  I make mention of that in an earlier blog.  It’s really the main reason Cindy married me.  I do all the cooking.

In my first Geneva Chase book, Random Road, I introduce Kevin Bell, Geneva’s love interest.  He’s a single dad raising a thirteen year old girl named Caroline.  I had written Caroline with my own daughter in mind.

And now Caroline is real.

Switching gears:
Two days ago, Frankie Y. Bailey wrote an excellent blog about how she imagined her characters would spend their holiday. 

In Graveyard Bay, scheduled for release in July of 2019, the novel takes place the week before Christmas. I can’t say a whole lot about how Geneva Chase, Caroline Bell, and Mike Dillon spend their holiday, but if you’ve read the first twobooks in the series, you know it isn’t all decorations, sugar plum fairies, and boughs of holly.  It’s more guns, murder, whips and chains.

Good holiday fun.

The time of year that I begin writing a book has been the time of year the story takes place. In Random Road the story is told in the heat of July.  That worked for me on a number of levels.  A lot of the action takes place outside but the hottest scenes are in the bedroom.  Summer was perfect, plus that’s when I wrote the opening scene.

The second book, Darkness Lane, takes place prior to Halloween.  I love that time of year.  It’s autumn, the trees are resplendent, there’s a bite in the air, and it’s spooky.  Scenes in that book unfold in a dark forest, an old theater, and a haunted house.

Establishing the time of year and the location gives me the opportunity to afford the reader details that help make the book more real.  I use sounds, sights, and most importantly, scents in my descriptions. Holiday time has such wonderful scents—Christmas trees, baking cookies, cinnamon, roasting chestnuts (especially in New York).

Some smells are nearly universal in how they trigger memories.  For example, the holiday scents I mentioned in the prior paragraph.  The smells of a pizzeria—garlic, tomatoes, peppers.  The scents of a walk through a forest in autumn—decomposing leaves, damp earth, the smoke from wood fires in distant fireplaces. All of them are relatable to readers.

Okay, I’ve rambled enough.  I’m heading out to buy last minute presents.  But before that, I’m checking out photos of the kiddos again.

One last thing, I’ll leave you with a Facebook post by my son about Jake and Henry:

After comparing the 10 year old to Sisyphus as he was pushing two baskets of clothes up the stairs one step at a time, he gets to the top and says to his brother, "help me, I'm dying"

His brother, like the rest of the family, well schooled in the nihilistic fact that our long trek towards death begins the moment we're born, responds, "we all are."

I've raised them well.

Cheers and Happy Holiday.


Anna said...

Congratulations on the new grandchildren! Babies are wonderful, and growing children are a steady source of amazement.

Frankie Bailey is sure to be gracious, but as a mere lurker in this neighborhood, I'll be blunt: Get to know your neighbors, man!

Anna said...

Good fix, Thomas!

Sybil Johnson said...

Congrats on the new grandkids.

Thomas Kies said...

Thank you, Anna!!!!!

Frankie Y. Bailey said...

I checked in late today and missed the problem, but I'm sure I would indeed have been gracious about whatever it was :)

Thank you for mentioning, Anna. Don't worry about it, Thomas.

And, Thomas, congratulations on the twins! What a lovely December surprise!

Agree with you completely about seasons. Autumn is my favorite season. I have a book set on Halloween (A Dead Man's Honor). It was not only fun to write it during that season, but also a great plot device (a Halloween party that brought all of my suspects together).

Donis Casey said...

Beautiful story, Thomas, and congratulations!

Lord Mark said...
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