Cheryl Shireman's Life is But a Dream is the next book to be featured on The Summer Book Club. So let's here a bit more from Cheryl...

BURNED MY BRA FOR THIS? ONE WOMAN’S FANTASY

I’m a Baby Boomer. Which means that I remember bell-bottoms, Happy Days, and having only three channels on the television. I played Donny Osmond albums on a record player. My parents watched Gunsmoke, and on Sunday nights we all watched The Wonderful World of Disney. In the living room. Together. On the only television we owned. Imagine that! I remember the first time I saw Bonanza in color. I remember the first time I heard about remote controls for televisions. The whole idea seemed ridiculous. With three channels, really, how often would it be needed? I remember the Watergate hearings playing on the television when I came home from school. 

I also remember watching feminists (does anyone use that word anymore?) burn their bras and march for equal rights. I grew up believing that a woman deserves equal pay for equal work and that a woman is not defined by the man she marries or by the children she gives birth to. In fact, we were told that both men and children were optional. The idea seemed revolutionary at the time. It still does. Women were mad as hell and they weren’t taking it anymore. We called it Women’s Liberation, and though it was never said, it was certainly implied (and believed in most circles) that a woman who did not work was a bit inferior to a career woman. That was when such women were called housewives and not “stay at home” moms. Women were divided into two groups – those who worked and those who didn’t. Back then, no one thought that staying home and taking care of a family and home was work. The women of my generation wanted more, demanded more, and believed we were entitled to just that – more. We sometimes looked at our own mothers, most of whom did not have real jobs, as women who simply did not understand that there was more to life than being a mother. If truth be told, we thought they were a bit simple-minded and we secretly vowed to do more with our lives.

And yet…as this Baby Boomer looks at her life, I realize nothing I have ever done, or will ever do, is as important as being a mother. Not career, volunteer work, graduate school, or any creative pursuit. Nothing else even comes close to being a mother. Period.

One of my children lives half an hour away, another is one state away, and the third is on the other side of the world in Denmark. Yesterday, my husband and I spent the entire day with our two-year-old granddaughter. She then spent the night. As I write this, I hear her gentle breathing in the baby monitor positioned atop the table close to where I sit.

To say that my children, and now my granddaughter, have filled my life with love and joy is an understatement. As children, they expanded my heart in ways I could never have imagined. For the first time in my life, I not only understood, but received unconditional love. As adults, they are three people that I know I can always count on. They will always be there for me. Just as I will always be there for them. Can you say the same about your career?

There used to be a tv show called Fantasy Island. People visited the island and lived out their fantasies – no matter how wild (okay, not that wild – this was primetime family tv in the seventies). Not too long ago, my husband and I had a discussion about that old tv show and asked each other – What would your fantasy be? Mine was easy. If I could have a Fantasy Island day, I would relive one day with my children. My son would be 10, which would make my daughters 4 and 2. We would spend the day doing whatever they wanted. Going to the park, going to the movies, playing games, baking cookies, or just sitting on the floor playing with Legos and Barbies. I would hug them a lot. And kiss the tops of their heads. And take tons of pictures. I wouldn’t cook. I wouldn’t clean. And I wouldn’t worry about my career.

I would watch my son show his younger sisters how to do things, like he always did in his older brother sort of way. I would watch my 2 year-old daughter follow her older 4 year-old sister around the room, shadowing her every move. Just as she did, even through their college years when they shared an apartment near Indiana University. I would watch the older sister taking care of her younger sister, as if she were her baby. Which is what she called her when she was born – my baby.

Bedtime would be later than usual on that fantasy night. I would tuck them into their beds, fresh from baths and smelling of shampoo. The girls smelling like baby lotion. My son would hug me goodnight with his long skinny arms and tell me he loves me. And I would feel the truth in that. I would tuck in my girls and tell them it is time to go to sleep. I would take extra care in covering the older girl’s feet, because she always kicked her blankets off during the night. I would kiss the baby and hold her a little longer, because I would know that, as I type this she is in Denmark which makes visiting tough.

And, as I walk down the hall and turn out the lights, I would call out to all of them, as I always did… “Goodnight. Love you. Sweet dreams. See you in the morning.”

And that would be my fantasy day. Oddly enough, it has nothing to do with my career as a writer. Even though being a writer has always been my dream. My first novel, Life is But a Dream, was published earlier this year. The main character, Grace Adams, is a woman facing an empty nest and the possible demise of her marriage. Grace withdraws to a secluded lake cabin to redefine her life and try to find a reason to continue living. While at the lake, Grace not only finds renewed purpose and hope, but when things take a turn for the worse at the lake, she finds a strength she never knew she possessed. The novel is thought-provoking, sometimes frightening, and often funny (just like life). It is also, very definitely, fiction.

Even though my “nest” is empty, I am enjoying this time and this new focus on my career. I am not suicidal or lacking in purpose. My husband and I both work from home (he designs websites), we live on a lake, and our schedule is our own. It is truly a wonderful time in our lives. Sometimes I have popcorn for dinner. Enough said.

But, would my current life be as wonderful if I had not pursued career and graduate school and developed the skills I am using now? Probably not. I managed to combine work and school and motherhood. I believed I could have it all, and do it all, but to be honest – the kids always came first. And being a mother is the strongest and best part of my identity. It is the thing I am most proud of. My greatest achievement. And, once in a while, I miss those days when toys where scattered across the floor, the washer was always running, and we bought eight gallons of milk a week.

If you have children at home, cherish those simple every-day moments with them. They really will be gone in the blink of an eye – sooner than you can possibly imagine. Get off of your computer. Now. Go sit on the floor and play a game. Pop some popcorn, put on one of their favorite movies, and cuddle up on the couch. Live that “fantasy” right now. You will never be able to recapture these moments again. Enjoy them now. There is no greater gift than the love of your children. Spend the rest of your day letting it pour over you. And pour your love right back over them.

As I type this, I can hear my granddaughter waking up. I am shutting my computer off, too. Right now, I am going to go upstairs and scoop her up from her crib. She will probably wrap her little arms around my neck and ask, “Play blocks, Bomb Bomb?”

And we will play blocks.

Cheryl Shireman is the author of Life is But a Dream which can be purchased as an ebook for 99 cents at Amazon US Amazon UK  Barnes&Noble  or as a paperback for 11.99 at the Amazon locations. Learn more about Cheryl at her website and blog at http://www.cherylshireman.com or by following her on Twitterhttp://www.twitter.com/cherylshireman or on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/cherylshireman or her books pagehttp://www.facebook.com/cherylshiremanbooks 
She will be doing a live Facebook chat on Saturday July 9th at 4:30 p.m. Eastern time athttp://www.facebook.com/summerbookclub  Please join us with your questions for Cheryl!

 

The Summer Book Club 


Remember when going on vacation meant filling your suitcase with hefty volumes that threatened to tip you over the baggage allowance limit? The last minute dash into the airport bookshop and the desperate quest to find something to entertain you on the plane and the beach? 

Thanks to the Kindle and other e-readers, those days are gone. What to take? How do you choose from the hundreds of thousands of books available?

Along with some fellow Indie Authors, we set up the Kindle Summer Book Club to help you overcome that tricky problem this summer, whether you’re going away or relaxing in the garden. We handpicked eight books to entertain, thrill and enlighten you; make you laugh or shiver with fear. The eight authors in this anthology are all ‘indie’ writers who took their destiny into their own hands and self-published. All enjoy considerable success on Amazon, selling many thousands of copies and pulling in great reviews.

In this book you will find exclusive short stories and articles from these authors along with first chapters from each of the eight books specially selected for the Club. If you like what you read, all the books are available on Amazon right now.

Each week during the summer of 2011, the Club will feature a different book from one of the participating authors, from a range of genres to suit all tastes from thriller to romance to paranormal. 

All authors’ royalties from the sale of this book go to help victims of the recent tornado that hit Joplin Missouri. We will donate all royalties to a fund supporting members of staff at the Joplin Public Library. 


The Books of THE KINDLE SUMMER BOOK CLUB 

THE SHOP, J. Carson Black. In this pulse-pounding US bestseller, the murder of a celebrity in Aspen sets the table for an orgy of death, destruction and infamy, revealing a shadowy conspiracy going to the very heart of the United States government. 

SUGAR AND SPICE (US EDITION), Saffina Desforges. Would you trust a convicted sex offender to help you find your daughter's killer? The groundbreaking debut UK crime novel that dares to tackle the last taboo - now recreated for the US.

KILLING CUPID, Mark Edwards & Louise Voss. Alex is obsessed with his writing tutor, Siobhan. He stalks her, breaks into her house, hides in her wardrobe...But when he loses interest Siobhan decides to take revenge. By the UK No.1 authors of CATCH YOUR DEATH.

BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR, Sibel Hodge. Armed with cool sarcasm and uncontrollable hair, feisty insurance investigator Amber Fox is back in a new mystery combining murder and mayhem with romance and chicklit…

NOT WHAT SHE SEEMS, Victorine Lieske. Steven Ashton, a billionaire from New York, and Emily Grant, on the run from the law...and when they meet he can’t help falling for her. What he doesn’t know is that interfering in her life will put his own life in danger.

TO KILL A WARLOCK, H.P. Mallory. Dulcie O’Neil is a fairy. When a warlock is murdered and Dulcie was the last person to see him alive, she must uncover the truth. First in the new urban fantasy series from the bestselling author of Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble.

DISINTEGRATION, Scott Nicholson. When a fire destroys his home and kills his daughter, Jacob Wells enters a downward spiral that draws him ever closer to the past he thought was dead and buried. A shocking psychological thriller from the author of Liquid Fear.

LIFE IS BUT A DREAM, Cheryl Shireman. A story about the power of love, the devastating consequences of depression, and the strength of the human spirit. A woman goes alone to a secluded cabin to rethink her life in the stunning debut novel from a talented new writer.


The Kindle Summer Book Club is available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.ukAnd it's now FREE onSmashwords!
 

You can also find 
The Kindle Summer Book Club on Facebook. Join in the fun! Chat and interact with the authors and readers.

Happy Summer Reading!

Sibel XX