Porch Music – Coming August 2022!
Porch Music will be released August 2022 from TouchPoint Press.
A portrait of a family descended from Florida’s Seminole Tribe paints secrets too dangerous to reveal. All sixteen-year-old Rose has is what she carries: a pillowcase of clothes, her boyfriend’s unborn child, and a heart full of shame. In the face of 1952’s strict moral code, Seminole matriarch Ma-Ki Ebbing embraces Rose. Ma-Ki, on the fringe of society, clings to her Native American traditions and secrets surrounding her husband’s murder while her adult children are unraveling.
The Ebbing women band together, marching through a chorus of grit and grind to unite a family once rendered powerless by a people who invaded their land. Will the tragic death of one of her daughters cause Ma-Ki to identify the villain and embrace Rose’s newfound faith?
Sky Kiss will be released from TouchPoint Press.
Sergeant Kate Wesson’s abrupt departure from the Air Force leaves an affair of the heart suspended in midair. Regardless of her success in the civilian world, Kate cannot forget tanker pilot Flynn Murray. The romance survives a decade before the two go their separate ways. When Kate learns about a plane crash involving Flynn, unanswered questions haunt her. Locked in a toxic marriage, Kate lacks freedom to work through her grief. Kate dares to become single again in spite of limited funds and a neurological disorder. Investigating the crash, she uncovers what she has forgotten, the catalyst that propelled her from active duty. Will Kate have the courage to reach into the past and chart a new course?
Excerpts from Porch Music
We meet Janie in this passage of Porch Music. The twelve-year-old stands outside a dance hall in Middleburg, Florida, on a hot summer evening in 1952.
“Weave the ring…” Tucker yells out his next call. The dancers pick up the pace a little, and a bunch of old ladies sitting together in folding chairs and facing the floor, fan themselves. Old men stand in the corner, cigarette smoke puffing from their thin, wrinkly lips. Bare yellow light bulbs hang from ceiling cords. Whew, Junior’s is one ugly joint. Maybe when grown-ups are having fun, they don’t care about how things look.
With his guitar propped up against the colonial blue clapboard wall, Daddy sits with us on the porch of the dance hall. He watches while Kenny and Benny, who’ve been out of diapers near about a year, tussle from one spot to another. Every now and then Daddy gives me a wink and warns me about drinking too much bellywash. That’s what he calls Coca-cola. I tip my head far back, drink the last drop of the cold, sassy liquid, and set the bottle on the floor.
Here is a peak at sixteen-year-old Rose’s life, from chapter two, Mother Nature.
Momma stands at the stove, getting dinner ready for Papa and my big brothers. They come home from the fields every day, a few minutes past noon, tuckered out from farming. I’m a wondering if it be worse than washing dishes and clothes all day long. Our wringer is wore slap out, like everything else we got around here. Crammed full of diapers, it jitterbugs across the porch. You know, that old machine’s a lot like Momma. When it gets in a cranky mood, it shakes the whole house. But that washer is the onliest help I got, so I yank another diaper through the Maytag.
This excerpt is from Ma-Ki, a Seminole matriarch narrator. Ma-ki is actually “half Seminole, half white.” Tayki means “woman” in the Miccosukee language, spoken by the Seminole Tribe. In this passage, Ma-Ki (also known as Ma) talks to Rose, whom we met as she used her family’s wringer washing machine to do their laundry.
“Love is powerful, Rose. It can heal if you let it, one step at a time. Young tayki, we took a step today, doctoring them blisters. Them feet are important. A woman can’t make her footprint without them. And know this: it’s footprints the eye ain’t able to see that matters most.” Taking more clean cloths, I sit in the kitchen chair and put them in my lap. Bending down, I lift her right foot.
“Ma, do you talk much using them Seminole words?”
“I used to know more, but I ain’t spoke it in a while. I can’t recollect how to string together a sentence, but being half-white comes in handy. I speak English. Near about everybody understands me when I talk.”
Music featured in Porch Music
Some songs hold a universal note, appealing to almost everyone in some way. “You Are My Sunshine” is one of those tunes, and it is featured in the early pages of “Porch Music.” Janie’s mother, Bessie, sings it to thirteen-year-old Janie. Although the young teen believes she has outgrown this song, she keeps her thoughts private.
Like fictional character Janie, so many of us of have heard our mothers or grandmothers sing the chorus of “You Are My Sunshine.” More than eighty years after it was recorded, the song airs on a television commercial today, sung by icon Johnny Cash. The chorus wraps around our souls, reassuring us that no matter what, we belong to someone.
The stanzas tell us, though, about unrequited love, the kind of pain that occurs when love flows out of us but stops at the door of another person’s heart. Whether we feel romantic love or affection for a family member, sometimes love stops on a dime. We face rejection, and the lament contained in “You Are My Sunshine” becomes part of who we are. How comforting it is, though, to remember maternal love, the belonging that lasts forever.
Covered by more artists than any of us can name, the lament was written by Jimmie Davis and Charles Mitchell in 1940. Jimmie’s version can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ckKeQNCyPBU
A native Floridian, Kathy Gilbert Maresca grew up with a grandmother of Seminole heritage. Kathy served in the Air Force, at the Academy cadet chapel and then at a special operations command. read more
Pain affects our relationships, our work, our finances, and our sense of well being. Illness can be an isolating experience. Even when people surround us, we often feel alone because others do not seem to understand our situation. Sometimes God seems far away, almost as though He has forgotten us. God has not forgotten you. As you walk a path to find healing, it is not uncommon for fear and depression to emerge. Sometimes it seems that all possibilities for recovery are gone, hope exists. Our goal is that you will find hope, comfort through your faith in God and validation by communicating with others who have shared similar experiences. Read more about Kathy’s experiences in her blog. For more about disability and loss, visit that page.