Bad Parent, Good Lesson

india men temple
Indian men intemple (Photo credit: FriskoDude)

It’s Father’s Day, one of what I call “Hallmark holidays”, or when the card, candy, and floral merchants rub their hands together in anticipation of the commerce to come. Or used to. Does anyone besides my aunt in India send cards anymore? In the case of fathers, perhaps it’s the razor and tie manufacturers.

And in the world of social media, changing one’s profile photo seems to suffice for any number of family friendly holidays.

Whether Facebook, Twitter, or the blogosphere, there are effusive, superlative compliments about the men in people’s lives from childhood who were paragons of virtue.

Maybe there are men out there that are that good. I didn’t have one in my life as a child or teenager.

What I realize in retrospect is that sometimes having a void in your life makes you stronger. You don’t have that shepherding influence so you develop your self-leadership much earlier. Of course, I spent my 20s wishing this weren’t so, that I had it easier as my friends in suburbia had.

Now in my 30s it’s worth it to know I married a man who will be a different sort of presence in the lives of my boys. And somehow, that’s enough.

Did you have a strong male role model in your life? Or are you being that light to someone now? Shine on.


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Love Your Neighbor or Even a Stranger

When I was a graduate teaching assistant, I had a small speech I would give before Valentine’s Day. “A day when men hate women for being materialistic and women hate men for being unoriginal.”

“Bitter,” a blonde undergrad muttered underneath her breath from the front row. “I’m not,” I insisted. “I resent the pressure to spend money by florists, stationery makers, and chocolatiers.”

I went to a women’s college (which now admits men, the subject of my first novel, Saving Peace). Valentine’s Day was more like a week. Special long tables were brought into the foyer to handle all the flowers, teddy bears, and gifts, people were sending to students on campus. The pressure to avoid this part of a small campus was so great, the “Peanut” program sprang up. You gave your peanut a small treat everyday and on the final day, at the end of the week, revealed your secret identity.

Yes, that’s how fragile women are around Valentine’s Day.

LIITA3I’m pleased this year to say that my short story “Food” is including in the collection Love is in the Air: Seasonal Short Stories. Proceeds from this collection of 13 stories by 13 authors will go towards the Diabetes UK charity.

The best way to celebrate love is to show kindness, not only to those who love, but those who need it. Check out the excerpts from a few of the stories below and consider giving this unique title as a gift to a friend or true love.


EXCERPT from Michael J Holley’s story:

Standing at the top of the narrow, contemporary staircase provided Emily with her first view of it down below.

It looked as though it was highlighted in Technicolor compared with the doormat and Habitat umbrella stand that was stood next to it.  The crimson shade of red offended her senses at this time of the morning and her heart sank.  What kind of a moron has played a joke on her this time, she thought to herself as she carefully padded down the open slatted stairs?

EXCERPT from Sonia Wright’s story:

Sonia Wright
Sonia Wright

Throughout tea the conversation was polite but uncomfortable. Adam’s father tried to make the occasion light hearted by adding the odd joke. Mother on the other hand showed her instant dislike for Ramona by making snide remarks about the way she dressed.  Ramona saw a future battle looming on the horizon with this lady, but it will keep until Adam had become her husband.



Vanessa Wester

Excerpt from “Careless Cupid” by Vanessa Wester:

Celina watched her assignment. She had obviously picked the short straw on this one.  Seriously, this one had no chance of luring any female attention – none at all. She could see potential. Yet, the way he stared at the floor all the time, the shabby loosely fitting and badly tailored grey suit, and that hair… the hair was wrong on so many levels.


Excerpt from James Smith’s story:

James Smtih
James Smith


I laugh along with Neil, although I don’t find anything Max has just said remotely amusing.  Over the next ten minutes, different men join the group, but the words used in their greetings are frighteningly similar, it appears that these men are deeply unhappy with their lives. “Still at least we have team building,” states Neil.