What you may not know about the cover designer of the Haunting Danielle series…

Some of you may be familiar with the professional cover designer, Elizabeth Mackey, of Elizabeth Mackey Cover design. If you are an author, maybe you’ve used her or have heard of her. If you are a reader, I suspect you have read at least one of the authors she’s designed covers for. You can check her website and see if you notice a familiar cover or author.

Elizabeth was a fine artist before she went into cover design. She graduated with honors from the Art Institute of California, San Diego, earning a Bachelors of Science Degree in Graphic Design. and has been in this business for over fifteen years. She not only designs the covers for all my books, she created the artwork for Marlow House, along with many of the silhouettes that show up in the various covers in the Haunting Danielle series.

Oh, did I mention, Elizabeth is my daughter?

Authors who work with Elizabeth know her husband is in the Coast Guard, and this means they move every four years or so. They are currently in the middle of a transfer. They left their home in Kodiak, Alaska, and are heading to California, where her husband will be stationed next.

Lucky for me, while traveling down from Alaska, Elizabeth’s family stopped by our Holmestead in Oregon and stayed for two nights.  Her family includes a husband, daughter, son, cat, and dog. 

While the visit was short, it was incredibly sweet, and we had an amazing time. Yesterday morning I went with my daughter and grandkids to visit Mom at the care home. Originally, we had considered bringing Mom home for the day, but decided against it, since Mom has just settled in and we were afraid to disrupt her routine since she seems so content now. I believe our decision was the right one.

We stayed for just under two hours, and my son surprised me by popping in to see Mom while we were there.  I decided to share two photos we took during the visit. One shows four generation of women in our family. The second shows Mom with her two eldest grandkids, my son and daughter (Elizabeth).  

I think Mom’s smile says it all.

Hello stranger!

My last blog post was almost three months ago—just days after the release of my last book, The Ghost and the Wedding Crasher. Since that time, I’ve been scarce on social media. But I had a good reason.

As some of you know, I had been the fulltime caregiver of my now 95-year-old mother, since 2019. She has vascular dementia. But about two years ago, just as we were preparing to move from Arizona to Oregon, I was told I needed knee replacement surgery. Because of the move, we decided to put off the surgery until we settled in our new home.

One thing I realized as my mother declined, there was no way I could go through surgery and deal with rehab while being her fulltime caregiver.  Initially my sister and daughter planned to come down and help with mom for a few weeks each, but then my sis broke her hip, and had her own surgery and rehab to deal with. Then the hospital cancelled my January surgery because of staffing issues, and they moved my surgery date to May 3.

I came to realize fate was trying to tell me something. I know my kids and the rest of my family were—it was time to find a place for Mom.

So, after I released my last book in March, I started on a mission to find a safe place for Mom. That’s pretty much what I was doing in April, and why I was rarely on social media.

We moved mom into her new home on May 1 and two days later I had my surgery. To say it was an emotional rollercoaster with Mom would be a vast understatement. But I will discuss more about that in a future blog post.

One thing I realize, I was foolish to think I could continue to care for Mom while dealing with my own recovery. While my surgery went well, and it’s been a little over seven weeks now, I am no way back to normal. Not even close. I struggle to get any quality sleep, I’m still in physical therapy, in pain, and I have been having some abnormal heart rate issues I have to address. I am in no shape to take care of my Mom.

I know some people might suggest I could hire someone to come in and help, but the fact is, we have a small two-bedroom house and two dogs which would make it both chaotic and crowded, and we couldn’t hire someone to spend the night—and when someone has dementia, they often get up in the middle of the night and require assistance.  

I haven’t done much in the last seven plus weeks except try to heal. My energy level is on empty. But, I do Facetime with my Mom every day (as does my sister.) I also visit Mom once a week, where I stay with her for about 4-5 hours at a time. She has a double bed, so during my visits, the two of us lounge on her bed, hold hands, and chat. In retrospect, this has provided us with some quality time.

My next book, The Ghost and the Twins, is slated for release the end of October. The audiobook for my last book, Ghost and the Wedding Crasher,  will also be released by Tantor Media around that same time.

While I haven’t had the energy to engage in social media, I’ve still managed to put out my Haunting Danielle newsletter, yet not as frequently as I normally do.

But I have been thinking about Walt and Danielle. One thing I have been doing during my rehab—re-reading the series. Even authors need to be reminded of the series of events in the books they write, especially when they are part of a 30 plus book series!

But before I close, I want to explain the above photo. In my last post, I shared a photo of our vegetable garden. I managed to get it planted before my surgery. It’s primarily a salad garden—since I knew I wouldn’t be able to care for it properly during my recovery.  Hubby has been watering during the dry days, and my daughter-in-law helps with the harvesting and other tasks.  

I hope to be a regular on social media again in the near future. Take care!

Where to put your elderly parent: your home or care home?

SONY DSCSome people call us saints. Some people call us crazy. The fact is, we are just doing what many families do—being there for each other.

I’ll be sixty in November. My husband started collecting Social Security last year. He decided to take it early, at sixty-two. Our eldest celebrated his 35th birthday this week—making me feel even older.

It’s been years since one of our two kids lived with us. Both are married and doing exceedingly well in their careers. Our daughter is a talented graphic designer and our son just received another promotion in management with the company he works for.

Unlike some people we know, who complain about their adult kids moving back home, or having to help raise their grandchildren, we haven’t had those problems. We’ve been blessed with self sufficient, hard working children.

This doesn’t mean Don and I can take off and enjoy our golden years. Did I mention our mothers live with us? Both of them. His and mine. The ladies are each 86 years old. Now you understand what I meant about saints and crazy.

After we moved into this house we added a sitting area to one of the bedrooms, where my mother resides. A couple of years ago we built a guest house on our property for my mother-in-law. Fortunately the ladies are relatively healthy and are capable of taking care of their personal needs, however they no longer drive.

While both ladies are for now self sufficient, the situation has significantly clipped our wings. Don and I long to sell the house and move closer to our kids, but we can’t see how to maneuver such a move without displacing the moms.

Last month Don ended up in the hospital with an infection in his artificial knee. The knee was not the culprit, just where the infection settled. After emergency surgery, Don had to undergo six weeks of in-home IV treatment, which I administered.

The medical ordeal was a wakeup call—reminding us how quickly the years are slipping by. We’ve been spending the last few weeks trying to figure out how to enjoy our years, while not abandoning our mothers.

One option is purchasing an RV—something that will enable Don and me to escape for weeks at a time, and then return to home base and check on the moms, before taking off again.

Let’s see if we can pull this off.

(Photo: MIL cottage under construction 2012)