Blood ties

Clarissa Drew pulled her dress tight over her rounding belly. “This fits too well,” she muttered.

Her husband went on shaving. “It’s driving me crazy.”

“My dress?”

“No. You know.”

“Owen, he’s not some Dickensian waif you can pluck up like Oliver Twist. He’s your nephew. He has parents.”

Horrible parents.”

His parents.”

“They aren’t fit! God only knows what the kid sees. Pot, sex, meth, whatever walks in that trailer door.” Owen drew an even line through the foam on his cheek and shook the razor in the sink.

“You don’t know that.”

“You mean I can’t prove it.”

“Same thing.”  Clarissa let go of the dress to rub his shoulders.… Read the rest

Guest Post: The Color of Hope

Oh - and he's an awesomesauce nature photographer

Oh – and he’s an awesomesauce nature photographer

My husband has got, bar none, the coolest friends. He’s not a party animal, and he only connects with a few people. But when he does, it’s a lifetime bond. And they keep cropping up. Seriously. We’ve been married eleven years now, and just last year we found a college buddy of his on Facebook.

Randal Horobik works for a newspaper in Wyoming, and he coaches the high school NFL team. (That’s National Forensics League to the underinformed, and NO Forensics doesn’t have to mean Kay Scarpetta’s on line one.) Not surprising, since he and Scott did speech and debate together in their Wooster Years.… Read the rest


This morning, my children are safe and in school. But before I dropped them off, I read about four children who have died. One death was buffered by time, another was agonizingly fresh, and two more happened on a preschool bus in Carollton, Kentucky. These losses rattled me, not because they were mine, but because in my bipolar brain, there is only a short walk between the things I fear and the things that others live.

Each loss calls to mind another. I think about my best friend’s little sister, who died at fifteen, and I remember a student of mine whose son narrowly escaped drowning.… Read the rest