Friday, March 27, 2015
Shiver has gained some mild controversy on some of the real-life aspects. People either love it or they could have done without it. And I understand that completely. But I wanted to tell a little bit about my story that may help people understand why I wrote what I did. And why I wrote it the way that I did. Whether it worked or not is up to you. :)
That second part? The part that could have been it’s own book? I thought about it. I almost did write a separate novel. But then I realized that there’s not a complete story, because there’s no end. I think most parents can identify with that, and from the messages I’ve received (and loved), certainly parents who have a child with special needs will understand.
It’s all about my little boy.
Shiver is largely a true story. I made it a bit more dramatic, more relevant and concise, and truly it took my husband YEARS to propose to me, much to my chagrin. But the overall story—it happened. And I wanted to do it justice. It’s no secret that the story follows Lissa and Ethan past the HEA and into real life. It was very intentional. My point was to show this very authentic, very true couple dealing with… life. Life is not easy. No one ever said it would be. We simply have moments.
My husband and I got married and I was pregnant a ridiculously short time later. We were happy and excited and scared and unprepared. The usual. There were complications. They were monitored. But at the end of the day, we still weren’t prepared.
We had a son who was not well, from day one. Even six years, multiple scopings, 2 PICC lines, a G-tube, thousands of therapy hours—some wasted, some not—raising our own food, and milking our own goats later, we’ve done everything we could semi-reasonably do. And we tend to skate the edge of reasonable anyway.
Things have been good. I usually say great but in real life terms… good. We had our daughter while I was still feeding our son through a tube. Because we somehow felt that was great and we were ready.
But now that boy is almost seven. And that little girl is almost four. We’ve been managing. I’ve been able to rejoin our business, and I realized how much I missed out on. When I met my husband, I did work for him, just like Lissa. Back then we ran things together, but then I dropped off to manage our son. I dropped off everything to manage our son.
We should have been torn apart. We should have fought, because we did (do) have different views and ideas on how to manage and how to treat. But instead we talked and huffed and at the end of the different views, we had the same final vision. And that was our child thriving. Getting to that has required compromising.
On the vision? Maybe. If you need to think of it that way. On the definition? Sure. The definition of life and health and the most hated word for a medically complicated child: THRIVE.
Why am I stuck on all this today?
Because of this week.
We’ve been doing pretty well the past two years. Not perfect, but managing. I’m really fucking good at managing. Not everything is inside my range of control though. I hate to admit that.
My family got sick, like pretty much everyone’s has this winter. The flu bug is a bitch, and we’ve successfully avoided her for a good while. This time we weren’t so lucky. We all got it, and my son could only handle so much. We tried everything to keep from going to the hospital. We haven’t had a stay in over two years. That’s a lot when you’ve lived there in the past. It was the hardest decision to go. And I needed my husband for that. I wanted to fix it myself, like I’d fixed so much. I’ve had problems with the medical system, serious problems. But they win in life saving techniques. I know that.
So we went. We went for “typical kid” fluids, thinking that would be that. Within hours we were discussing blood transfusions, PICC lines, weekly iron transfusions, bone marrow, etc, etc.
Sadly, it was familiar. I wasn’t even that alarmed. I was resigned. This was our normal, even though we’d had a break. I’m comfortable walking the halls in my treaded socks. I love the late night conversations with the lab technicians about their pet crows who talk and get licked by dogs. When the ER nurse who helped admit us comes to visit several days later, I will burst into tears and hug her. I’ll never forget those hours I spent waiting, and the time she spent chatting with me when she needed her own outlet. All it takes is a little kindness and some humans.
I love humans and that’s why I write about them. It may not be your perfect romance, but it’s romantic and it’s human.
My greatest inspiration into the reality of life, but the best of humans, is my son. This small boy who has dealt with more than anyone should. The one who asks for a snuggle, who smiles and kisses my cheek when he wakes up protecting his IV, who laughs at the crazy pet crow story, even after a traumatic blood draw and an understandable mistrust of all things white coat. Who tells me he loves me and loves spending time with me, even in the worst of circumstances. When that ‘I love you’ clearly conveys the depth of his gratefulness and understanding in his parents being there for him and trying to help. His longing for us to all be together. His little sister’s brave front and small but meaningful teariness at having to go home at night separated.
To me, that is love and that is romance. It is human and imperfect. But at the root is love, in any form. Real, true love.
And thanks for reading, if you made it to the end, because writing this was successful therapy for me. #moneysaved (see, I can't stay serious for long)
Monday, December 8, 2014
Author: CM Foss
Release Date: February 2015
I was never your typical girl. I didn’t grow up with the warm and fuzzies and I didn’t need them. Love wasn’t something I could wrap my mind around, and so I didn’t. I knew what I was good at. I was a great friend, had a passion for healing others, and a way with horses. I could be all those things at the same time without ever discussing my own feelings.
I’ve been told I have a way with words, able to talk myself into or out of just about anything, and anyone. It’s one reason I managed the family racehorse business so well. I could wine and dine with the best of them, selling bloodlines and high-priced stallion services over a five-course dinner. Talk was not cheap in my world.
Young and carefree, living worlds apart, they indulged in what seemed like the perfect fling.
Until Lawrence decided he wanted more.
Until Steph’s careful world fell apart.
Until they had to decide if love was worth the fight.
I tried to be discreet but all sound, including his laugh, faded away as I met Lawrence’s eyes from across the room. Both of us were frozen, stricken, and drawing the attention of our tables. A stunning girl seated next to him had her mouth set in a grim line, irritation evident on her features. I broke away from his gaze and pushed my chair back suddenly, excusing myself to use the restroom. Justin was staring daggers at me but I needed some air. My heart was racing and it hadn’t been used in several months, so it wasn’t used to the exertion.
I saw Lawrence stand out of the corner of my eye and knew he was going to follow me. I was pretty sure everyone else noticed too.
I hurried out onto the front porch, sucking in a breath of cold air as I leaned back against the door, until it nudged me forward. Without looking, I stepped carefully in my heels across the wooden boards and leaned against a post at the front steps, listening to Lawrence’s slow footfalls as he approached.
He didn’t say anything. I simply felt his fingers pick the hair up off my back, smoothing through the ends and letting it fall. My heart was still racing, my breathing erratic. He stood close. I could feel his heat at my back. But he didn’t touch me anymore.
“How long did that take you?” he asked.
I felt a small bubble of laughter rise in my chest at his first question.
“Hours,” I responded.
“I didn’t recognize you at first. I noticed you, as I walked in from behind. I saw a beautiful, bored girl, but I never imagined it was you.”
Tears pricked my eyes at his words and I tried to hide my sniffle by taking long, deep breaths.
“Why are you crying?” he asked.
“I don’t know!” I cried out, covering my mouth with my hands when I realized how loud I’d been.
Lawrence took my arm and gently turned me to face him. Even in the dimness of the porch light I could see his blue eyes studying me. I couldn’t tell if he liked what he saw.
He shook his head. “I don’t like it.”
Well, that answered my question.
He brought a hand back up to my hair and ran his fingers through it again, his brows furrowed.
“It’s just hair.” I shrugged. “It’ll go right back to curly.”
He dropped his hand to my hip and I shouldn’t have been able to feel the heat from his palm, but I did. And I shouldn’t have liked it. But I did.
I had no idea what to say. So many things had happened, so much time had passed. And yet, suddenly it didn’t seem like it had been that long.
Our moment was broken by the front door swinging open and Justin leaning out, clearing his throat.
“Excuse me,” he said, his voice laced with restrained irritation. “If you two are finished, I need Stephanie back at my table.”
I stared at Lawrence a moment longer before stepping away. As I turned to walk back to Justin, Lawrence let his hand sweep from my hip, across my abdomen to the other side, leaving a trail of heat in its wake. I watched Justin’s eyes narrow at the move and my step faltered long enough for Lawrence to whisper in my ear.
“I don’t think we’re quite finished.”
I live in beautiful Northern Virginia with my incredible husband, two awesome kids, three dogs, and two budgies. My husband and I both grew up riding and competing horses and have our own equestrian operation that we run together. In my spare time, I read through the hundreds of stories awaiting me on my e-reader.
My love of books started early, and my mom used to ration my reading time so I didn't go through them too quickly. I love all things romantic, whether it's dark or light or silly or dirty, but I really love a happy ending!
In my small moments of quiet time, you'll find me sipping on wine and reading while any movie where people randomly burst into song or dance plays in the background.