It’s a time of excess and giving thanks and sharing. The excess will be in the food, the giving of thanks will be throughout the weekend as everyone in my house shares the things they are particularly thankful for this year. Every year the kids surprise me. Sure we had years where the best thing was Santa Clause hadn’t had a heart attack and would be returning to the house in a few years.
But lately it’s been great to see the kids mature and grow. In the past, it was always my house that the neighbour kids collected at. The nights were full of sleepovers and X-box rages going on. The kitchen was always being raided by the starving monsters at all hours of the night.
As the kids grew up, I thought things would change. And they have…somewhat. Now the kids bring friends of their own. Groups come just to meet Nick’s Mom (Me), and they bring girlfriends because they want me to meet the special people in their lives.
Yes, there will be the traditional turkey dinner at my house and a few guests…or spares as I call them. Because at this time of year, more than any other, I collect what tends to be single males that have no family to go home to. They all tend to be young – as in the age of my older sons. University kids that are away from home over the holidays tend to collect around my always laden table.
I’m not complaining. I love seeing healthy young men clean their plates off, hoping for more. This year it won’t be any different. I have a 35 lb turkey in my refrigerator, 20 lbs of potatoes to peel for the creamy parmesan mashed taties, 10 lbs of yams to bake, stuffing to make, litres of gravy to create and the standard Brussel sprouts – that EVERYONE hates – but me! Then there’s the desserts…pumpkin cheesecake, pecan pumpkin pie and carrot cake for those odd individuals who don’t adore pumpkin like the rest of my family.
There is also a special atmosphere around happy people. And a happy family. And it was many years of opening my doors to my kids’ friends that brought about my latest YA book. I have a lot of good memories over the last 20 years and hadn’t realized how much I’d drawn on them for this story.
Gem Stone is about friends. The way they pull together, band together, work together, and become so much more. This story isn’t about romance, although there is a titch of that in there. It’s also not just a mystery or an adventure – although it is both of those. The way Gemma and her friends interact, how their pasts (all juvie kids) have created the people they are in the story is…well…different. This story pulled into place (after much tugging) in the usual way, but ended up with something ‘extra’ that’s hard to define. It’s always been a favorite story of mine. It really is special.
Gemma takes her camera everywhere. From juvie hall to a halfway home, the new hobby gives her a focus she’d never had before and… hope in a future. Until she takes pictures of something that could get her killed.
And not just her…after she and another juvie girl are chased by a stranger to the halfway home that same night, the other girl goes missing and Gemma knows she needs help. But who can she trust?
Not the authorities that’s for sure. Trusting them is impossible for a girl with her damaged history, and besides who cares about a troubled kid…especially when trouble just naturally seems to find her.
This book isn’t coming out until next week, but there is nothing like being happy and content to make us want to share. So I will be giving away a digital copy of this YA hot off the press!