Posts Tagged ‘ twins ’

Love, Loss, Birth and Death: ‘Both Sides Now’ Shows One Mom’s Strength

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

Nancy Sharp is the author of a highly praised new book, Both Sides Now: A True Story of Love, Loss, and Bold Living.

Check out her heartbreaking yet totally inspiring memoir that she excerpts below:

“Imagine giving birth to twins, your first children. This is the miracle you and your husband have been waiting for, babies to affirm the future. It’s hard to describe the joy and release the two of you feel. Now imagine this: hours later, with you still in your hospital robe, your husband receives a surprise phone call from his neuro-oncologist. His voice cracks when he answers and you know immediately the news is bad from the way he slumps onto the hospital bed, turning his face from you.

Everything blurs in that instant, and while you should be the one consoling your husband, he’s the one trying to calm you. You are wild with post-pregnancy hormones, wild from fear.

How is it that a person holds life and death in the same moment?

This exact scenario happened to me on May 20, 2001. I’d just delivered twins, a girl Rebecca, and a boy Casey. Like many multiples, the twins were born prematurely, at 30 weeks. They were too tiny and frail to hold so they lay in incubators in the neonatal intensive unit at New York Cornell Hospital (check name). With the babies’ needs being met, and our immediate worry over their well being quelled, finally, my husband Brett and I had a quiet moment to ourselves. We nuzzled on my twin size hospital bed, dozing comfortably in one another’s arms.

That’s when the call came, jolting us from our dreams. Brett’s brain cancer had returned. The routine MRI he’d taken only a few days before revealed that there was a tumor in his brain and now down his spine, too.

These were terribly unlucky odds: new life and certain death all at the same time.

Fortunately, Brett lived until the twins were two and a half years old. We stayed put in New York City, trying to go forward but remaining horribly stuck in the past. We needed to make a bold change.

Which is how I decided in 2006, with the twins getting ready for kindergarten, that we would start anew in Denver, Colorado, a place Brett and I had always been drawn to. The Rocky Mountains offered a sense of permanence and peace. Besides, my college roommate and her family lived in Denver.

That brave decision led to so many others: buying a house on my own, selecting a school for the twins, making new friends, and even, risking love again by reaching out to a widowed TV anchor with two boys who was featured in a local magazine as one Denver’s most eligible singles. We wound up getting married and blending our families.

What I know today is that bold living has been at the heart of every rewarding thing that has ever happened to me. In spite of what life throws our way, it’s up to us to make the moments count. Are you daring enough to live the life you want to lead? Beauty and opportunity are abundant; take the time to see them.”

I wish you bold living.

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Mom Who’s a Priest Writes a Sexy Vampire Novel: Author Amber Belldene Talks About ‘Blood Vine’

Friday, January 11th, 2013

When I heard an Episcopal priest with young twins was writing a sexy vampire novel, I was thirsty for more. Amber Belldene‘s racy paranormal romance called Blood Vine came out this week, and right now it’s only $3.99 for Amazon Kindle. Thank God. Now there’s something better to read than 50 Shades of Grey.

I wanted to know more about how this busy, talented woman pulled off parenting, preaching and erotic writing, so I asked to fill me in on her secrets. Here is the scoop on life, religion and romance from Amber Belldene:

“My debut novel Blood Vine is a racy paranormal romance. I describe it as vanilla with a little chocolate sauce, including a male/male romantic subplot. The book is set on a winery in Sonoma County, California. It’s a vampire story with a few unique twists. My vampires are from Croatia, so I’ve woven history and culture into the plot. Over the series, I’ll be looking at deep emotional themes–Blood Vine’s theme is nostalgia. Some of my readers have described the book as on the literary side of romance, which is a great compliment because that’s the type I love to read.

I was inspired to write this book after becoming a bit of a romance junkie when I was pregnant with my twins. I went on early maternity leave, couldn’t sleep, and read hundreds of paranormal and historical novels. At first, they were a guilty pleasures, and I thought a lot about why I loved them. Then, I began to wonder if I could pen one too. Shortly after that, the setting and premise of the story came to me, and I started writing.

At first it was a lark, but it quickly consumed me, and I received lots of encouragement from the friends and writers who generously read my first drafts. When I began to take Blood Vine and my passion for writing seriously, I had to figure out where it fit in my life as a working mom of twins, and as an Episcopal priest.

On the personal side, writing takes up all my spare time. For now, I’ve given up my hobbies of knitting, gardening, and cooking. I try to exercise, but not nearly enough. Balancing my author life with my family life is my most challenging work-in-progress and much harder than the writing itself. But I’m fortunate to have a husband who supports my dream.

As a priest who writes romance, I’ve chosen to take a pen name. I’ve also had to articulate exactly what I believe about sex, and why racy books aren’t sinful. In my opinion, sex is a holy expression of love and intimacy. Physical pleasure is a gift, and so is the pleasure of a good read. My colleagues and superiors have been supportive all the way, joining with me in fruitful theological discussions. My books aren’t religious, but writing them has truly helped me grow spiritually.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m biting. I can’t wait to read her 290-page book.

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Hot Release: ‘Where We Belong’ by Emily Giffin

Tuesday, July 24th, 2012

Emily Giffin, at left, blazed onto the book scene with her quirky, emotional and unpredictable novel called Something Borrowed in 2004. The story–about a 30-year-old who falls in love with her best friend’s fiance–became a bestseller and a movie with Kate Hudson. It also brought hot, smart, sexy Dex into the fictional world.

Since then, Giffin has written five more fun, popular chick lit books. The latest one, Where We Belong comes out today. In it, a 30-something woman has a great career and boyfriend when her 18-year-old daughter–a secret no one knows about–shows up at her front door. As we all know, keeping secrets can get very complicated.

I have a lot in common with Giffin. We both lived and loved in New York City before we got married; we have twins plus a younger kid around the same ages; and we’re both writers. See, we’re just alike! Except somehow I missed my name on the bestseller list–I’m still working on that.

I had the chance to email Giffin questions about how she manages her busy life. Newsflash: She hasn’t finished her daughter’s baby book either. She’s human like the rest of us.

Me: Where We Belong is a touching book about secrets, love found and lost, and of course, family ties. What inspired you to write it?


EG: At its heart, the book is about secrets and what happens to us and those closest to us when we keep them.  I’ve always been intrigued by the power of secrets and the questions surrounding them. When is it justifiable to keep them from the ones we love? And does keeping them irrevocably change who we are? Adoption (under the secretive circumstances inWhere We Belong) seemed to be a great way to explore some of these broader themes.
Me: You’re a busy, famous writer these days–and you deserve every accolade. But when things get hectic, what’s your favorite way to relax and unwind?

EG: It’s a funny thing–when I’m crazed with work, spending time with my children relaxes me. Yet, at the end of a long weekend with them, the very thing I need to relax is a little work and time away from them! I think it’s important to try to be present with whatever it is you’re doing. And if you can’t be present, take a break. For true downtime, I enjoy going for light runs, having drinks with friends and going to the movies with my husband.
Me: Parents readers, like me, have so many big dreams and plans (in addition to being the best moms we can be). We have books we want to write, projects we’d like to see through and business we’d love to start. What is your advice for getting started on a dream project and–gulp–finishing it?
EG: Just take it one step, one day at a time. Often I feel that projects overwhelm us when we look at how many hours are involved until completion. But just getting started is usually not that difficult. And yet … I still haven’t begun my daughter Harriet’s baby book and she is five!
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