Tag Archive for: Echelon

A Dad’s View of Mother’s Day

Austin S. Camacho is the author of the fast-paced Hannibal Jones mystery series, starting with Blood and Bone (Echelon, 2006). His newest book, Successfully Marketing Your Novel in the 21st Century (Intrigue Publishing), was published in April. Visit Austin’s web site at www.ascamacho.com.

Considering the name of this blog site and the holiday coming up in a couple of days, I kind of knew what I had to write about today. That was a little intimidating. After all, what’s left to say about Mother’s Day? But then my lovely wife Denise bailed me out, as she so often does, with this comment about this weekend’s special day:

“I don’t mean to make it sound like I don’t appreciate it, it’s just that sometimes the kids make me feel pretty unimportant in their lives and on this particular day it would be nice if they made an effort. Sounds pretty selfish I guess, but I think all moms want to feel special on Mother’s Day. Do you feel the same about Father’s Day? Does it matter to you at all?”

Well, her question about Father’s Day got me thinking. After a while I realized that at one time Father’s Day was very important to me. I remember wanting so badly for my little girls to realize how hard I worked at raising them. Not just the canoe trips or Disney World tickets, but the skinned knee tending, tolerating the slumber parties, the days I turned a blind eye to small misdemeanors and the nights I chased the bad boys away.

Of course, they never did appreciate all I did, not until years after I was finished doing all I could for them. And why should they? After all, my love was never unconditional, the way my wife’s is. I criticized the goofy hair styles, crazy fashions and shady friends. She, God bless her, accepted them exactly as they were, and loved them for exactly who they were.

Today, I’m not really being a dad to those kids. They’re on their own, using the tools I gave them to build their own lives. The old dog has learned, and I no longer expect kids to appreciate the work I put into them. Besides, I’m not really a friend to them the way my wife is. I think maybe fathers can be friends or they can be teachers and caretakers. We men just don’t have the goods to be both at once. And I think that maybe, just maybe, that’s what makes mothers so special. You see, even the best of men can only be in one place at a time. Only your mother can lead you, stand beside you, and get behind you, all at the same time.

On the other hand, it seems to me that guys don’t care that much about getting gifts and such either. The only thing I’d really appreciate on a day like Father’s Day would be for the kids to just call or come by and say thank you for trying and for caring what happens to them. The rest is form and artifice, like Christmas wrap and tinsel, which also mean very little to me. And I know that makes me a Scrooge and ruins it for everyone else, so I try to keep it to myself.

By the same token, Mom will make every flower, every card, every little gift bought with your allowance seem like solid gold and just what she was praying for. She’ll make you feel good just by appreciating your effort and a little thought. And I can’t say how much of that reaction is for your benefit, how much of it is tradition, and how much is Christmas wrap and tinsel.

But, just in case, no matter what else we do, we should all be sure to go to Mom on Sunday and say thank you for trying and for caring.

It’s a small price, I think, for unconditional love.

Austin Camacho

Too Much of a Good Thing … is Filling My House

I’m Amy Alessio, a YA librarian and an author. I was delighted to meet half of the fabulous Evelyn David team at the Love is Murder conference. I told her to hurry up with the next book, and she suggested I help with a guest blog spot.

I have my own blog on Vintage Cookbooks to share my addiction to old cookbooks, and I have fun failing to make some of the old creations. (Think lots of lard.) I also blog for the Love is Murder conference and for Echelon Press’s Teen Scene.

Blogging is an excellent way to procrastinate writing my own fiction. I have some librarian books published and I have a short story published in The Heat of the Moment, an anthology by Echelon Press which benefits the victims of the CA wildfires (anthology pictured on the nightstand). My YA mystery is with an agent.

I read almost as voraciously as I eat baked goods. In addition to books I review for Teenreads.com and Crimespree magazine, I bring home several books a week from the library. To narrow it down, I love romance, mysteries, especially those with Chicago authors like Michael Black, J.A. Konrath, Tom Keevers and Julie Hyzy, fantasy, teen books, any kind of chick lit, anything with a librarian character or by a librarian, anything written up in People magazine, anything with food on the cover and maybe the occasional non-fiction. Cookbooks also of course.

This week I’ve had the flu, so I’ve been reading 3-4 books a day. Yes, even with my four year old at home some of those days. It’s amazing how much you can read during a Backyardigans episode. Sounds like a dream, right? One was a romance anthology on chocolate. Another was the new Carole Matthews Chocolate Lovers Club or something like that – it had to go back before I ate it. I also read Mary Kay Andrews’ new one about two cooks who fall in love, complete with tomato soup cake recipe. Yesterday I broke down and made a chocolate cake. Really – you can’t read that stuff forever and not eat something really naughty.

I’m also reading Kate MacAllister’s Aisling Grey series. I like the occasional paranormal romance, like a MaryJanice Davidson, or Jayne Ann Krentz/Jayne Castle (who used to be a librarian), but I think this is my first dragon series. These are great spicy fun. I think she’s writing mystery under a pseudonym too. Having a pseudonym is like waving a red flag in front of a librarian, by the way. We love tricky questions.

So you see it’s imperative that I have an entire library at home. On top of the nightstand is what I want to read soon. In the nightstand are my all time favs and autographed books. Under the bed are mainly YA I want to read less soon. Then – there are the 300 cookbooks. They are in 5 locations, that I can remember, in the house. Most of those cost very little at antique or used book stores. Who else would want a Blender or Meat Stretcher cookbook from 1970?

It’s interesting that while my son is adopted, he has similar book habits. Next to his bed is the first pile, photographed here. Then there’s the dresser and the bookshelf. He may have to clean them up soon, though – to make room for more of my cookbooks!

How many books are in your nightstand? Ok, now how many are hidden in your house?

Amy Alessio