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I never realized what a good mom I had until I became a mom myself. This is always the way, isn’t it? A really great mom makes mothering look so effortless that her kids don’t even realize how hard she’s trying.

My mother gave me a priceless gift by nurturing my gifts. At the age of three, I was already dictating stories. According to my mother, I’d tell her, "Now, write this down…" and would proceed to relate a rambling tale, which she transcribed faithfully, word for word, and saved for some unknown someday, never dreaming it was the start of a lifelong career. In this way, I learned the power of the written word. Thanks to my mom, I can pinpoint the first time I took pen in hand–January 14, 1962. I was three years old, and she’d probably given me a church collection envelope to keep me quiet during Mass:

I soon progressed to illustrated stories with a paranormal bent. My mother shared her observations with her own mom, who lived in another state:

Sometimes my mom would fill in the story, labeling the hieroglyphics:

By the age of eight, I was into self-publishing. My mentor was Mrs. Green at School Eleven. And again, it was my mom who kept this early effort. She seemed to know I was passionate about storytelling:

And that’s the simplicity and the genius of mothering–to recognize your child’s gifts and passions, and to nurture them without judgment. My mom made it look easy, and I know now it couldn’t have been.

My own daughter, Elizabeth, had gifts and passions of her own, and I hope I sent her out into the world filled with confidence and excitement. The three of us–my mom, my daughter, myself–are still incredibly close, and there is a sense of history circling through the generations.

The Goodbye Quilt is my tribute to any parent who has ever struggled with letting go of a beloved child. As Linda, the book’s narrator, points out, it’s not a transition we mark with a celebration of any kind. No one brings you a tuna casserole or sends you a card of commiseration. Greeting car companies never created a "Have a Happy Post-Motherhood" card. It’s a silent passage, the exodus of the offspring from the nest, and that never seemed right to me. It’s a huge change for the entire family, and as such, deserves to be marked in some way. In the book, Linda has the idea of creating a memory quilt made up of bits and pieces of Molly’s childhood–a piece from a favorite dress, an award ribbon, a bit of a costume. What she discovers in the course of creating this piece is something all mothers learn–that her work is never really finished.

Visit me on the web .

In Hong Kong! Somebody pinch me!

an appropriate conclusion to this leg of my magical mystery tour….we shared a bottle of Veuve Clicquot. You do know "veuve" means widow. Fascinating woman, you should google her.

well, aside from putting my elbow in the dinner plate, I am doing much better. thanks to all for the notes and good wishes.

had a bit too much fun on the skateboard…

…out my window this morning. Melbourne, you are SUCH a fun city!

They always make things such fun! Here are the crew from Harlequin Australia/NZ (and Lucy from the UK on the right) at the Roaring 20s party they sponsored for the conference here in marvelous Melbourne. God I love having fun with people who make books. 🙂

Of OZ. Love Australia. Here are my liast-minute things. No idea why I’m bringing a bubble-blowing wand I got at a wedding, but it might come in handy if I need to summon Glinda. The cupcake is actually a Betsey Johnson necklace. Oh, and that mess in the top right corner? That’s right, it’s my manuscript. CAN I BE DONE?

Ooooh, I feel so of the moment! Not only am I hosting a "Mad Men" themed party to benefit the critters…there is now a line of clothing out just to make the evening perfect! C’mon people, you know you want to join in the fun. And look the part!

Join me on Facebook. You won’t be sorry.

I tend to spontaneously give stuff away to readers and libraries. Join the fun here. Really.

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August 2011