Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Library's Makeover

I changed the cover of my mystery, A Rhyme’s Library. Not everyone is happy about the change. My husband likes the old cover, but my daughter likes the new. I like the old cover because I love the hand. But in the online thumbnail, you can’t even see the hand.

I also love my new cover. This is my daughter, Natalie. Isn't she beautiful? To  me, the new cover says chick book, which is what I'm trying to say. I also think it's a better fit with the blurb. 

Crazy Aunt Charlotte is missing again. Blair Rhyme, Rose Arbor’s young librarian, doesn’t bother to check Charlotte’s regular haunts -- the Veteran’s of Foreign Wars lodge, the Four H-Club, or the bins behind Milton’s Fish shop – because Charlotte is dead. Blair discovered her body among the boxes of what-nots and whatevers in the library’s basement. Unfortunately, when she returns to the library with the police Charlotte is missing. Again. 

Desperate to prove that she doesn’t share her aunt’s mental illness and that Charlotte really has been murdered, Blair tangles with a former lover, a disturbingly handsome stranger and a wacky cast of Rose Arbor characters.

At first Blair tries to dismiss the skin-pricking sensation of being watched, but as small disturbances grow increasingly threatening, she must confront the enemies, real or imagined, that drove her aunt to madness and death in the Rhyme’s Library.

What do you think? Which do you prefer?

Monday, October 29, 2012

My Freebie Experiment So Far

A few weeks ago I whacked my book, Stealing Mercy, to free. I posted about this decision and you can read about it here.

This is/was an experiment. This summer I lowered Mercy to .99 cents when I participated in a group promotion. It took weeks for it to fall to .99 cents and then after the promo when I tried raising the price, again it took weeks and weeks. I honestly didn’t know if Amazon would ever drop the price to free even though it was free on all the other e-readers. But on Thursday morning when I woke up and checked my Amazon page, Stealing Mercy was not only free, it was also ranked #38 on Amazon’s historical romance list. I watched it throughout the day as it moved from 38 to 30 to 17 to 7 to 5 to 3. Currently, it’s #1 in historical romance and #7 overall.

I am not putting Mercy into the kindle select program, so I don’t know why Amazon would go out of its way to promote me. It had 12 reviews, but one of them disappeared. I don’t know why that particular review went astray, but since I have heard of it happening to other authors, I can only scratch my head in wonderment. I’ve been doing that a lot for the past few days. I now have 13 reviews.

I managed to let a few online promotional sites (like 3) know about Mercy’s freedom, but since we had out of town guests staying with us for the last few days I don’t know how, or if, they have featured Mercy in anyway. What I’m saying is—I really don’t know why Mercy is doing so well. I wish I could point a finger and say, ah-ha—well, no wonder. How did I miss this gem of marketing brilliance before? Now all of my books will sell like hot coals on a cold winter night because I’ve learned the secret.

But I haven’t learned the secret. Here are a few of my marketing attempts:

I have a blog

I participate on a group blog

Occasionally I make comments on the writer’s cafe kindle boards. I usually really enjoy this. I find the writers to be witty, intelligent and for the most part, generous, helpful and kind. To my amazement, I have found that when I start a thread (conversation) my comment will get thousands of views. The first time I commented in the writer’s cafĂ©, I had over 500 visitors on my blog that day. Go figure.

I belong to several online writers’ groups. I rarely comment on them, but I love to read and learn. I am lucky to “know” them, even if I wouldn’t recognize any of them if I passed them on the street.

I try to take advantage of every free promotional opportunity I stumble across. Today, for example, my novel The Rhyme’s Library is featured on Predatory Ethics. http://mad-gods.com/blog/?p=2101
In short—I’m lucky. I’ve always known this to be true. My husband claims I’m the luckiest person he knows. My three day ‘sales’ was at 9,000 when I left for church. I thought maybe I’ll be over 10,000 by the time I get home. I now have close to 20,000.

Why would I give my book away for free? Because I want readers to love Stealing Mercy so much that they'll rush out and buy my other books. Maybe that won't happen. Maybe there is a group of readers who only read free books. The proof is in the pie. (Mercy, my protagonist in Stealing Mercy, is a pie maker.)

Head scratching continues.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


Stealing Mercy is #30 on Amazon's Historical Romance list!

It’s free! Here's the link--just in case you want to download it or tell your friends or anything like that.


Monday, October 22, 2012

A Fifty Shades of Grey Rant

I learned a hard lesson when I was in seventh grade and a teacher caught me passing notes with my friend, Samantha. Sammy and I had devised a code and we communicated without words. We drew pictures. I admit that I still occasionally do this today. I pass out thank you cards with a hand drawn picture of a tank and a sheep on it. (Tank ewe) There’s a piece of my thirteen year old self that still thinks that drawn pictures are clever.

Unfortunately, Sammy and I were decidedly  not clever in Mrs. Murdock’s English class when Sammy dropped my note and Mrs. Murdock picked it up, read it and immediately left the room.

I loved Mrs. Murdock and until that moment, I had thought she liked me, so as soon as class was over I approached her, apologized and asked for my note back.

“It was so cute, I had to share it,” she told me, looking at me with innocent eyes while lying through her teeth.

Sammy and I spent the lunch hour debating on whether or not Mrs. Murdock had been able to break our code. We convinced ourselves that she hadn’t and we had no reason to fear. But looking back I know we were wrong because a few hours later, Leslie, a girl from our class and the subject of our note, disappeared and never returned. I don’t know if what I had written/drawn was the reason Leslie was expelled from school and later sent to juvie hall, but I was grateful that I wasn’t beaten to a pulp by Leslie or her friends seeking retribution. (A fear that Sammy and I carried around for a number of weeks.)

We were stupid to think Mrs. Murdock hadn’t been able to read our code and even stupider to write something down without thinking through the consequences. (Although I’m sure Leslie deserved whatever punishment the Arlington School district dished out.)

Art and our children are our only means of immortality. If we create nothing, nothing is what’s left after we’re gone. If we create something meaningful, it will last and people will be talking about it for much longer than a lunch hour. Maybe our children and our grandchildren will be talking about it, and therefore us, after we’re no longer around to defend or explain ourselves and what we had made.

Which makes me wonder—what will E.L James’s children or grandchildren have to say about her books? Because, once something has been written down, it can’t be taken back. There aren’t enough erasers in the world to wipe out that grey and is that really how she wants to be remembered? I’m sure James is a decent person and in her hopefully long and wealthy life, she’ll accomplish many things, but the truth is, in the (rear) end, unless she does something amazingly spectacular, she’s going to be remembered and immortalized by Fifty Shades of Grey.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Mommy Issues. We All Have Them.

Floyd swore at his mom and Blair swiveled to watch the parent child drama.
            Emily shook her finger at him. “Don’t you take the tone with me! Blair and I won’t be putting up with your machismo.”
            “Aw, Ma—”
            “Stop it, Floyd. Charlotte was one of my closest friends.”
            Alec broke in, “They can go with me.”
            Floyd lowered his eyebrows at Alec. “I don’t think we’ve met.”
             “Come on, Blair, Alec, we’re wasting time.” Emily turned and marched toward the grove of Aspens. Blair breathed into the scarf she had tucked into her jacket. The escaping breath formed a small cloud in the cold morning air. She watched Alec introduce himself to Floyd and then followed Emily’s resolute march.
            Behind her, she heard Floyd ask wearily, “Do you have a mother?”
            Alec laughed. “Doesn’t everyone?”
            “Some more than others,” Floyd said.
From The Rhyme’s Library

Last week I took an outline for my new novel to my critique group. Melanie (who I have to point out is also a motherless daughter) asked, even before I began, “Is there a mom?”
Which is a fair question. I’ve written eight novels and published three and guess what? No moms.
My mom died when I was fifteen and she was sick by the time I was 11. Living with my mom wasn’t a happy experience because I have very few memories of her being healthy or happy.

As a mom of six children, I know it’s hard to being a mom. Even when you are healthy and happy, being a mom can be challenging. I can’t imagine being a mom when your body is full of cancer and chemo is racing through your blood and your hair is falling out and your breasts have been replaced by grafted skin that is routinely scorched by radiation…well, maybe I can imagine it, because I witnessed it. Twice. First my mom and then only five years later, my stepmother who was diagnosed with breast cancer six weeks before my wedding.

So, even though I am a mom and I mostly love being a mom, my protagonists, up until soon, haven’t had moms. Because I’m not sure I know how to write a healthy mom daughter relationship…even though I adore my daughters and I like to think we have healthy relationships.

When I was about thirty I remember thinking that all of my friends had strange relationships with their moms. Even though their moms would make them cry, say hateful things about their husbands and criticize how they raised their kids, kept their house, what they did or did not eat and how they practiced their faith, occasionally my friends would say things like, I just really need my mom, or I wish my mom would come and stay. And I would think…huh. Like I said, it wasn’t until I was about thirty when I realized that my friends weren’t weird—I was weird. Not having a mom put me in a small, wounded category. I am a motherless daughter. It’s all I know.

In a few weeks I’ll begin a new novel and this time my protagonist will have a mom., because writing can do things like that for you. It can take you to places you have never been before. I won’t write about being a teenage girl living alone with grieving parents. That’s not a story anyone would want to read and certainly a story I don’t want to tell. No one wants to read about vomit, fainting spells, and hysteria. And I certainly don’t want to relive it. Why would I? But what I can do is bundle all those emotions, dig deep to where they can be universally applied and share them so that  they will resonate with someone who needs to know that there is an upside to pain. And when someone asks, “Do you have a mother?” I can answer, “Doesn’t everyone?” while all the time knowing, “Some of us more than others.”

Friday, October 19, 2012

Keep Your Head Up

It's one of those days when I'd rather chop the deadheads off my roses than write. One of those days when every sentence needs to be reworked and even the three letter words look like they’re spelled wrong. But now that my roses are pruned to sticks and my garden beds are weed free, it’s time to get my head up and my fingers back on the keyboard.  
But I can’t. I’m paralyzed. At times like this, I often go online and I’m rarely disappointed. Here’s some of the inspiration I found today. (The following are quotes stolen from online writing forums--not my own words. Remember, everything that I'm writing today is stupid, mechanically wrong and misspelled, because it's one of those days.)

A few years ago--when digital publishing was but a blip on the radar--I was discussing the future of books with my hubby. He's one of those computer types with all this techie foresight. He said that within several years very, very few books, if any, would be traditionally published. Digital would be the way to go, leaving no need for publishers. The readers will decide what they want to read. (I was surprise by these predictions at the time!)
And then he said... those authors who consistently provide well written books will rise to the top.
So simple, but true.
Consistently provide well written books and your audience will find you!

I think it's like every new thing, first laughed at, then takes off, then swamped, then it stabilizes. It's like most of the rest of the internet, webcomics, forums, cookery sites, and the rest. They all had a point where the market was over saturated for a year or so, then those who just saw it as an easy-in left and it stabilized somewhat. Though I think in the next year or two we might see some interesting attitude changes to e-books.
We'll probably see a lull (or continue to see one), but I think we'll be better off in the end. Books aren't a zero-sum game. We aren't selling houses or cars that last people ten or twenty years or more. A book--even the likes of George Martin's bug squashers--are only good for, at most, a few weeks of entertainment. After that, the reader must go out and find more. And, using Martin as an example, they're not going to wait until the middle of the next decade to read again.

So, the competition might be high and sales might shrink, but I'm optimistic in the long term. As the lines between self-pub, small press, and trad publishing become blurred, people will be more willing to branch out and find the things that interest them, regardless of the source (and so long as it's well-written and to their liking).

Hunker down and get those books written. Expand your front and back lists. The next few years are going to be interesting, I think.

Every rainbow needs the rain…

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Playing Blog Tag

What is a blog tag? A friendly blogger tags you with questions and in turn, you tag others.

What is the working title of your book?  The Rhyme’s Library

Where did the idea come from for the book?  I’m a loser…meaning that I’m constantly losing things. I really hate this about myself, wish I was more organized and more focused, less head in the clouds and more head in the moment. And I thought about what it would be like to lose someone, of something…and of course, we lose people and relationships all the time. The Rhyme’s Library is about a librarian who loses her aunt’s dead body.

What genre does your book fall under? Mystery with a dash of romance

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition? I have their pictures on my pinterest board (so fun-- check it out http://pinterest.com/kristinetate/rose-arbor-a-series-of-mystery-and-romance/)

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book? It’s murder by the book when a small town librarian loses her crazy aunt’s dead body.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? I’m an indie author (so that my books will be around for my great-grandchildren to read.)

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? I spent three years writing The Rhyme’s Library and then it spent five years sitting in a drawer. I resurrected it, spit and polished it and in August I published it.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? I’m a big fan of Mary Stewart and Barbara Michaels. I also love Lauren Willig and Sarah Addison Allen

Who or What inspired you to write this book? I’m not sure, but when I started I was talking a class at a local college from a brilliant writer and I wanted to knock his socks off. The class started without about 50 people and the teacher was so brutal, that by the end of the semester there were only 15 who remained. I never asked, but since I took the class repeatedly, and witnessed the same pattern over and over again, I began to suspect that he intentionally bullied people so that they would drop the class. After my first critique, I went out to my car to cry. After that short bout of self pity, I decided that I would learn everything I could, that I was stronger than him and if he could help my writing, I would stay. I know of several best selling writers that are survivors of his class.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest? This is a word-person type book. Every chapter begins with a word of the day—so if you like words (and if you have been reading this long, I assume that you do) you will like The Rhyme’s Library. Also, all of my Rose Arbor books are set in my home town of Arlington, Washington (aka Rose Arbor.) I like to think that maybe someday, the local merchants will thank me for driving my loyal readers to Arlington’s main street.

Here are the links to a few of my talented friends' blogs:
Gail Zuniga www.gailzuniga.blogspot.com
Lizanne B. Sowards http://shadowsofmontsegur.blogspot.com/
Victoria https://www.facebook.com/ArchangelPhotos?fref=ts
Claudine http://yournestdesign.blogspot.com/2012/07/charcoal-gray-master-suite.html
http://authorsofmainstreet.wordpress.com/ (I'll admit that I'm cheating with this one. I'm one of the thirteen authors that contribute to this blog.)

Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Seagull

Yesterday after a long walk on the beach, my husband stopped to wash off his feet in a pool of water, because he is the sort that likes everything just so,and dislikes getting sand between his toes and his sandals. Never mind that's why sandals are called sandals--so they can be sandy. Larry placed his sandals next to the pool of water and stooped down to wash his feet. While he was hunched over, a seagull flew overhead and pooped right beside him. The poop splattered onto his hair. As much as Larry dislikes sand between his toes, he dislikes seagull poop in his hair even more. He quickly forgot about his sandy toes, and went into the surf to rinse out his hair. His hair was now poop-free, but wet. When it dried it was stiff with salt and every time I  looked at him I wanted to laugh, again, because it was impossible to look at his funky hair and not remember his look of shock when the poop hit. (Mean, I know.)

Yesterday was a reminder that even when you try to do everything just right, a seagull might bomb by and just maybe you'll have to spend the rest of the afternoon with stiff, funky hair. And how maybe you work really hard to get your toes sand free, thinking that this is important, until  you have poop in your hair and the sand between your toes just doesn't matter anymore.

Life is like that. We were in Oceanside at sunset and the sky was pinky orange and the clouds were huge and there was a band playing on the pier and children laughing and splashing in the water, and a collection of shells and pebbles at our feet and all the world seemed perfect, until the seagull came by. But there will be always seagulls. Maybe laughing isn't mean. Maybe it's the very best thing to do.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Stealing Mercy Goes Free

When my friend Jacqueline Diamond made her novel Leaps and Bounds free she had over 30 thousand downloads. Since I want to do everything just like Jackie, I wanted to do that, too. But I didn’t want to use a book in my Rose Arbor series and since I was frustrated with my current work in progress, Losing Penny, I decided to revamp Hailey’s Comments, a novel I had written about five years ago. Hailey was a quarter finalist in the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Writing contest, and was reviewed by Publisher's Weekly, so I have some faith in it. My goal was to spit and polish Hailey’s Comments, run a three to five day free promo  and then put it in the kindle select program.

Hailey is currently being edited and I’m pretty close to achieving my goal, but, sadly, the rumor is things have changed. According to online author forums, authors aren’t getting the traction out of Amazon select promos that they once were. Downloads are dwindling due to the glut of freebies. I see a window of opportunity slowly closing…I can’t hurry the editing process and even after Hailey comes back from the editor, after I’ve gone through it not once, but twice (which I’ve learned from sad experience is necessary and even then it’s usually not as clean as I’d like) to be listed on many of the online promo sites Hailey will need reviews—the more the better. And that can’t be hurried either. It takes about 7 hours to read my novels. Asking someone to read and review my book in a chop, chop fashion…well, I won’t do it.

After a restless, sleepless night I’ve decided to make Stealing Mercy, because:
She’s been edited repeatedly—every time anyone has caught an error and let me know, I’ve fixed the problem.

Although Rose Arbor is mentioned in the side story of Stealing Mercy, I didn’t include it in the Rose Arbor series because the bulk of the story takes place in 1889 Seattle, about twenty years before the incorporation of Arlington, Washington—my home town which I’ve fictionalized into Rose Arbor.

Stealing Mercy has a 4.5 star average and twelve reviews, making her eligible on many, if not most, promo sites. And here’s the kicker—friends that I asked to read and review Stealing Mercy almost all gave her a 4 star rating. Random readers who found and read the book on their own gave her 5 stars. I think that my friends are 1. Mostly writers and therefore not the average readers and 2. Wanted to be unbiased. While random readers who took the time to review it, honestly loved it—or why else review it? Those are the reviews I want—the kind I can’t ask for, the kind I can only hope for.

I can’t fully execute my plan because I can’t place Stealing Mercy in the kindle select program. It has the first chapter of A Ghost of a Second Chance at the end and that is a kindle select no-no. I could try and remove it, but I’m not going to.

I have a new game plan. I’ve discounted Stealing Mercy to free on Smashwords. It may take weeks for it to trickle to the other venues and for Amazon to price match. I have a list of promo sites that I’ll contact as soon as I see that Mercy is free on Amazon. She’ll remain free until Hailey’s Comments is ready for the world and the kindle select program (meaning she’s been edited and reviewed numerous times.) Losing  Penny will go to the editor at the end of the month. While Penny is at the editor, I plan on uploading my young adult novel, Beyond the Fortune Teller’s Tent (written two years ago) a few chapters at a time on Wattpad.

It’s a hefty game plan switch. There might be detours and distractions, like a son returning from a mission and starting college, my twin daughters’ graduating from high school and starting college, a trip to China and heaven only knows what else.

Please wish me well…and let me know what you’re up to so that I can wish you the same.

Friday, October 5, 2012

Staying True to Your Author Brand and JK Rowling

I recently read a blog post that made me think.

David Farland’s Daily Kick in the Pants—Defining Yourself
“It’s always good before you begin to write to really understand who your audience is and that they’re needs are, so that you can better meet those needs. But it’s also important to understand who you are as an author, and what it is that you want to achieve.”

“For example, Dan Wells mentioned that he wanted to be the “Stephen King of young adult fiction.” When his first novel, I AM NOT A SERIAL KILLER came out, it earned him huge advances overseas and led to the start of a brilliant career.http://www.davidfarland.com/writing_tips/?a=142

I want to be “A contemporary Mary Stewart, writing suspenseful women’s fiction with a touch of romance and magic.” I loved her books when I was a kid and I still do. And I think that's important, too--that teenagers and grandmas can read my books without flinching. I love the exotic locals, the mystery, suspense, romance and the touch of magic.

 I also love Debbie Macomber's small town series and I've tried to emulate her, too. Small town in the Pacific Northwest and a cast of characters who interact with each other. Of course, I hope that once a reader reads one book, she'll want to read another, even though the stories are stand-alones and independent. Can I create a Mary Stewart/Debbie Macomber hybrid? I already have.

And just like I think it's important to have an author's brand, I think it's even more important to have a moral code that anyone that knows you will recognize and respect--because they know and love you. They trust you to be the same person, today and tomorrow and in any given situation.

I think that's why the world is so disappointed with JK Rowling. And no, I didn't read her book. I really, really wanted to until I read the reviews. And I'm probably being wildly presumptuous to speak in behalf of the world--but honestly, is there anyone not disappointed? I haven't heard one kind word about her book, unless it was from her. And maybe I'm being unfair by criticizing a book I didn't read, but I'm not interested in " swearwords, rape, racism, pornography, self-harm, suicide, domestic violence, heroin and marijuana use, a character who contemplates child abuse, and graphic descriptions of sex." I'm just not. It doesn't matter how much I loved Harry, I won't pick up A Casual Vancancy, because it sounds too much like it's title--vacant.

And I know that an author isn't her characters and she doesn't live her character's circumstances, but I wonder-- do the differences in Rowling's first Harry Potter book and her latest in anyway reflect the differences in her life experiences? What, other than the fame and money, has changed in her life that prompted such a radical deviation? Of course, only she can answer that. At this point I could rant about the dangers of wealth, abundance and fame, but I won't. Back on track--

As a Harry reader and fan, I feel betrayed. I expected something from Rowling and she delivered something else entirely. It was like getting on a plane to France and being detoured to Death Valley.

And so as I navigate my own authorship and life, I need to remember the lesson I learned from a book I never read, the lesson I'm sure Rowling never meant to teach--stay in touch with who you really are, whether you are writing a book or buying a head of lettuce. Anything else will be nothing but a big fat disappointment.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The First and Last Line of Your Novel

The first and last line of your novel is really the first impression and, hopefully, the lasting impression. The first line should make you say—and then what happened? And the last line should propel you to the author’s blog in search of his/her next novel.

Here are the first and last lines of my  three published novels.

New York City’s night noises seeped through the wall chinks and window: the jingle of horse harnesses, the stomping of hooves, the mournful howl of a dog, but one noise, a noise that didn’t belong, jarred Mercy awake.
 “Mistletoe,” he said, just before he made proper use of it.
From Stealing Mercy.

The Chinook wind stirred the fallen leaves and tossed them around the deserted street.
In her life-time she would never see Sid or Madeleine again, but she saw them every hour of every day in her children’s eyes.
From A Ghost of a Second Chance

Blair brought her finger down on a random word.
She’d be crazy not to.
From The Rhyme’s Library

But what about the between the first and the last lines? What happens then? What fills up all the blank pages?

And what about the gap between where we are and where we want to be? Or where we thought we’d be? Shouldn’t there be a road map somewhere that says You are currently here and here is the path that leads you to where you want to go.

Sometimes, but usually not, we can look at where we are and know where we are headed. And it’s scary to realize—This isn’t it. I thought I wanted this, but I don’t. Why did I work so hard to get here? And maybe it would be gratifying to look back at where we came from and see where we are, but for me, it’s a lot like climbing a mountain. We move minute by minute, one step at a time, with an occasional vista point that takes our breath with the view. And yet the destination still isn’t exactly clear.

I am not my mother, nor am I my mother-in-law, aunt, step-mother or any one of my sisters. My husband is not my dad, nor is he like his dad. He is nothing like his brothers and he is a very different creature from my brothers. When we were raising our children, our goals were very similar to our parents and our siblings, now that our children are raised, that really isn’t any longer true. The between from where we are and where are going is like a walk in an unknown wood. And because no one we know has actually arrived at where we want to go, we’re not sure we’ll like it once we arrive. It would be helpful if someone from the top would say, hurry up—it’s great up here. But I’m wondering where is here? And how do I hurry to an unknown place when I don’t know which road to take?

But maybe it’s like writing a novel. I write the first line, which is followed by the next, and the next and the next until I reach the end. I know the story structure. I love the characters—I’m emotionally invested in each of them. And since I believe in a loving God and a life beyond this one, I’m sure of a happy ending…so maybe all that’s between doesn't really matter so much. Maybe I’m happier walking a road, destination unknown.

The Dash
By Linda Ellis

I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend.
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning…to the end.

He noted that first came the date of her birth
And spoke of the following date with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years.

For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth
And now only those who love her
Know what that little line is worth.

For it matters not, how much we own,
The cars…the house…the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash.

So think about this long and hard;
Are there things you’d like to change?
For you never know how much time is left
That can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough
To consider what’s true and real
And always try to understand
The way other people feel.

And be less quick to anger
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we never loved before.

If we treat each other with respect
And more often wear a smile…
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while.

So when your eulogy is read
With your life’s actions to rehash
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?