I have a long morning ahead. It’s either wash and fold the laundry or sit here in front of my computer waiting for my publisher to send me her decision about the title of my next book. I looked up Blood Sisters and discovered that not one but two other Blood Sisters have been published in the last year or so. Mine would be the third, triplets, too many for folks to page through looking for a family saga rather than a murder mystery. I complained, but to late. That day I got the proof copy of MY Blood Sisters in the mail, great cover and 181 pages, to read and correct.

Which I did immediately. I stuck a little tab on a page whenever I found an error, sometimes mine, most often in the typesetting. My book bristled with tabs when I finished. The next morning, I sent an email with the page numbers and the errors to my publisher. That’s why I’m sitting here twitching. I’m waiting for the next step in this process, if not a new title, at least the receipt of the ARCs for the finished book.

ARCs are the e-version of the review copy, just about as perfect as it can be, to be once more looked at, and then, in the next breath, sent to book reviewers who will read the book and maybe write a critique to their blogs, to Amazon, to B&N, etc. When this gets rolling, my book will be available on line and in paperback so that I can carry copies to local bookstores and ask that they place them on their shelves. And offer me a chance to sign, read, and …

I’m getting a headache thinking about all this. Instead of dwelling on the underside of being an author, I’m going to send you a bit of Blood Sisters, or whatever it will be called. Enjoy.

I close my eyes, my lips. Only my nostrils move as they take in what air is left. Soon, I think. Plastic film stretches taut against my cheeks. Now, I think.

A scream slices through soothing fog, forces my eyes to open.

“Mom! Mom!”

I am rolled over. Cool air floods across my face. Not now. You were supposed to come home at dinner time.

I watch my son’s face crunch into its usual confusion. “We got finished early. Why are you laying down on the grass?” I feel his arm slip under my neck as I struggle to sit up. “Why did you put on that grocery bag?”

My head on his shoulder, I smell the sweat his anxiety has stirred up. I find the strength to lie. “It was just an accident.” Shreds of plastic dangle from my neck like a tired lei, red duct tape cuts into my chin. No sense trying to tear off the tape. “Go inside and get the kitchen scissors. Be careful.”

Jimmy releases me. I hear his heavy feet on the porch steps. In a moment he’s back, the tool’s sharp ends point at my throat.

“Slowly, Jimmy. Keep the scissors away from me and make little cuts in the tape until we can tear this off.”

I watch as he fumbles with the wrinkled plastic, brings the blades inches away from my skin. “Careful, Jimmy.” I choke back a gurgle of unexpected laughter. I might want to die, but I don’t want to be murdered.

I hear a click. Then another. “I’m doing it, Mom!” I push the scissors away, grip at the tape on each side of his snips and rip it in two. I am released from its chokehold. “You did good, Jimmy.” I sit up, pick up the remnants of my failed plan, and hand the torn plastic, the tape, the note to my son. “Put these in the garbage can, please, while I fold up the blanket and then we’ll go inside and you can tell me about work today.”

Nothing has changed. I am still a mother of a damaged son, the wife of a damaged man, living a life empty of hope.