This is exciting, right? A copy of the new cover for my new book, Wanna Bet (some tweaking will apply). Three years of writing, many rejections and tons of edits later, and there it is, my second book. Look! I did this. Exciting, right? Um, sure, but someone is missing in this celebration which sucks.
Wanna Bet is due out soon and in my life before Peter died, when I got this attachment to an email, I would have jumped up and down, squealed, did a happy dance and then sent the copy this cover to Peter. He would have been the first one I shared this with. And he would have been excited, in a Peter sort of way. But he wasn’t there to hit send.
It’s a great cover, and I hope people think it’s even a better book. I like the legs and the colors and oh, right, the motorcycle wheel. Yeah, I didn’t notice the wheel until a day after the mock-up was sent to me. I was showing a co-worker it, and as I showed her everything I said, “oh, and the motorcycle wheel is a great…”. My words dropped, my stomach clenched, tears fell and misery blanketed over me like a scratchy woolen one. Peter died on a motorcycle.
Funny, in a sad way, how life changes so suddenly. A few months ago, while Wanna Bet was in edits, when Peter was alive, I gave the artist a description of the book and suggestions with about twelve things I want to see on the cover based on the storyline. Obviously, one of them was a motorcycle. And now, ironically, there’s the wheel, front and center on the book, while Peter is gone from all areas in my life.
As I sat with this information at work that day, while I answered phone calls and scheduled fire engines to block parties, I obsessed about the cover and the motorcycle wheel on it. I had a mental pep talk to myself that this is what I’ve always wanted. This was my second book. Wanna Bet is a manifestation of my passion, a passion Peter supported and encouraged…in his own way. (Remember, he wasn’t a wordsmith.) I should be proud of myself. I should rejoice. I should look at this as a bright spot in the six-week dark hole I’ve been living in. And in the midst of all my thoughts, one popped out – the motorcycle wheel is a symbol, a representation, of Peter being with me while I ride this ride of my new part of my life.
Maybe I over-reached in trying to find any meaning in a confusing time and it is nothing more than a coincidence. Maybe it’s okay if I think this as long as it gives me peace, maybe even a bit of joy. Maybe I’m grasping at the happiness straw because I need to hold to something, anything right now and that’s okay. Maybe, my mind and emotions are all muddled and nonsensical because of my chaos and my unhappiness and my grief. Or maybe it is truly a sign because life is full of signs if we look for them and read them.
Whatever the case, this is the cover of my new book. It needs some tweaking, but here is it. The one person I would want to share this is above everyone else, is not here and I can’t share it with him. In my haunted house of grief, I am finding my way out to the sun of true enjoy for this moment. It’s hard when the overwhelming and the sadness keep popping out at me. Once the book comes out, I may be closer to the exit of this house. Peter would have wanted me too. He would have smiled his crooked smile, beamed pride out of his green eyes and told everyone about the cover. And he so would not want me to sit still and grieve. He wouldn’t want any of this to be about him. So that’s what I need to hang onto as I maneuver my way through toward pride and, yeah, alright, excitement, in my new book.
I write romantic comedy. I followed the old adage of writing what you know and I knew romance because Peter showed me romance. I knew fun because he showed me fun. I knew love because he showed me love. I knew love scenes because…okay, I’ll stop there. You get the point. He was my muse. He will always be my muse with every romantic comedy book I write. And that is what I have to remember as I celebrate this small light in my dark grief.
I will leave you with my dedication, as it appears in my book, my new book, Wanna Bet:
This book is dedicated to the man who called me a creative writer with “all the voices” in my head, my husband, Peter. Even in your death, you will forever
remain my romantic muse.