by Joyce Lamb)
Hospice helped Lady Wild author Maire Claremont through hard times not once but twice, and now she wants to give something in return …
Maire: Almost exactly 12 years ago my father had a flu he couldn't shake. We didn't think too much of it until after several weeks of not feeling great, he was completely uninterested in having a slice of his birthday cake. A sweets man to the core, we all knew something was wrong. Big-time. The next two months were a mix of tests and anxiety, culminating in that horrible moment in the doctor's office when my father looked into my eyes and chose to do chemotherapy because he saw my absolute terror. He'd been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer with less than a year to live. My mother was awesome. Loving, fierce, supportive. She was a rock. But all her strength couldn't change that that one round of chemo was a nightmare and when he went back they told him nope, his cells weren't in good shape. Chemo wasn't even going to prolong his life.
Less than three months later, my father had gone to God. His illness was quick but brutal. And the one thing that made it all bearable was hospice. They came in and helped pay for his copious amounts of pain pills and finally morphine. Without hospice's help, we never could have afforded the medication. But beyond just costs, they also brought nurses and counselors and spiritual aid. Because of hospice, my father closed his eyes, slipping into a coma, the day after my birthday, and one week later passed in absolute peace. At home.
My father was the world to me and after his death, it was a very tough time for myself and my mother. I was writing and the spring after my father died, I met the amazing Delilah Marvelle, who is like my sister now. My critique partner and friend through thick and thin, she helped me move on from my dad's death and she was also there when two years ago, my mother discovered that breast cancer had metastasized to her bones.
Yes. I was staring cancer in the face again. Another loved one in its cruel grip. Right around this time, I met Jenn LeBlanc, author and photographer. We immediately hit it off, but also, we had something in common. Her mother had died on hospice care, and Jenn was always there for me. A call. A coffee. A late-night visit. I was very blessed to find such a friend.
At first, with my mother there had been some hope, but that hope disintegrated quickly and as my mother faded over several months, hospice stepped in. Our nurse was incredibly kind and patient. Her eyes always spoke volumes of love and peace. Our counselor, whose mother had also died on hospice, did everything she could to make my mother's passing one full of acceptance and ease. And I, as my mother's primary caretaker, was given a few hours to myself once or twice a week, which is so huge. I loved and still do love my mother beyond all imagining, but day-in-and-day-out care of someone who can no longer take care of one's self is exhausting. Hospice gave me time to prepare myself for my mother's passing. And when her time did come, she was surrounded by care, support, and the knowledge that everything was being taken care.
When my mother was dying, I began writing Lady Wild. Many moments in the novel are inspired by my experiences with my mom. I wanted to write a story that would revel in love and also follow the loss of a loved one. Every night, I wrote beside my mom, and we'd chat. I'd climb into bed with her and read her her favorite books and hold her. She'd hold me and sometimes we'd just say nothing, knowing that the physical safety of her arms would soon be gone. But the beautiful thing is my mom, my biggest cheerleader, is with me today, over the moon that I'm doing something positive in her and my father's memory.
Death and dying is a very tough thing, and it's often avoided in our society. We focus on cures rather than ends and in many ways, thank goodness! We want to find those cures, but for many people a cure will never come. They must face the end. They must face their fears. And they must find the ability to let go. Hospice specializes in helping terminally ill people and their families make this transition. So, with this novella I'm hoping to raise $10,000 to donate to hospice. If you can pick up Lady Wild, thank you. Every little bit helps to ease another person's passing, making it one of dignity and love.
I need to thank Jenn LeBlanc, who was with me the night before my mother died and came to her funeral. Jenn also donated the fabulous cover image. Delilah Marvelle has been a rock in my life for over a decade now. She's held my hand and in this, she did the amazing cover design and also converted Lady Wild for me as a donation to the cause. Joyce Lamb, a kind and wonderful woman, who I am certain is a superhero in disguise, donated the edit for Lady Wild. And I'd also like to thank Eloisa James, who wrote Paris in Love, which got me through some very dark moments. Her kind e-mails and sharing of her own experiences meant the world to me.
Here's the blurb about Lady Wild:
Victorian England is about to go wild …
Lady Ophelia longs to be independent, daring and bold, but her mother's illness has stolen the last of her creative fire. Condemned to an isolated country cottage after the death of her idealistic father, she and her mother are forsaken by family and all of society. Disappointed by those she once trusted, Lady Ophelia lovingly nurses her dying mother knowing that her own dreams of being an artist will never be realized. That is until she meets a devilish aristocrat who reawakens her desire to be wild.
Viscount Stark has never known love. Reputed to be a rebel and a rake by all, at heart he is anything but. When he meets Lady Ophelia, he is struck by her haunting presence, dignity, and honor. Will he continue to play his wicked games and risk ruining the last of Lady Ophelia's wounded heart? Or will he dare to be the gentleman he always wanted to be and unveil a love he never thought possible?
You can buy Lady Wild at Amazon and other book e-tailers for 99 cents to help Maire reach her $10,000 goal. Find out more at maireclaremont.com.