Check out Joanie's Books
After 12-year old Mar’s father unfortunately dies in a car crash during the Christmas holidays, she not only has to recuperate, but also has to live with her mentally ill mother without the calming presence of her beloved dad. Fast forward three years and Mar is now 15-years old. Because Mar had blocked out her dad’s death, she’s never really admitted to herself that he’s gone forever, let alone acknowledged or visited his gravesite. She suddenly decides to take a 14-hour journey on a Greyhound bus to finally visit her dad’s grave and to face the truth: that her dad is really gone. Will Mar finally get the closure she so desperately seeks?
This is a touching short story about grief, loss, acceptance and forgiveness. It’s about the comfort of a gifted Christmas angel. It’s about the miracle of healing and unconditional love.
If you’ve already met Marlee in Lunchtime Eavesdropper, you’ll recognize that this is her backstory. After reading Save an Angel’s Kiss for Me, you’ll find that maybe Marlee’s not really that crazy after all, but simply broken and undeniably human, complete with flaws. You might just learn to love her.
About Joanie Chevalier
Hi! I was born in the L.A. area and our family moved up and down the West Coast for most of my childhood, finally settling in Washington State when I was about 12. After living many years in Washington State where it is gray and drizzly 350 days of the year (might be an exaggeration but it's close!), I finally decided I needed more vitamin D and moved to the San Francisco Bay area. I pay more taxes in California but I call it the "Sun Tax," so it's okay! Since I didn't know anyone when I moved here, I decided that I would write in (all) my spare time. My writing continually gets interrupted with a full-time job as a litigation legal secretary in San Francisco. I love camping in my teardrop trailer in and around California, as well as all the surrounding states where I have found beautiful camping sites and National Parks. I'm lucky that I have one fantastic boyfriend who loves traveling with me, and I live with my son, an awkward teenage boy/man who does laundry when he can't find anything clean to wear from his floor.
I have many stories in my head that are unwritten, so stay tuned! I might even try my hand at a horror story that I’ve been thinking about. I love reading stories of horror and sci-fi, so why don’t try to write one?
If you enjoy humor, visit my author page for articles I’ve written for thespoof.com.
My short story Finding Brother will soon be published in an analogy, due out by the end of 2015. I’ll tell you a secret: if you want to read the story now, visit my website and click on the magic link. Finding Brother is a story about a sister who is on the umpteenth search for her bipolar, drug-addicted adult brother on the request of their mother. She is torn between the inner conflict of being hurt and disappointed with him and the memories and love for him as he used to be.
My dream is “retiring” and spending time travelling and writing. Fairy Godmother, if you’re listening, please make this dream come true!
Excerpt from Save an Angel's Kiss for Me
On the way home from Auntie's house, dad was a little quieter than usual, but he still played "who can tally up the most out-of-state license plates" game. Mostly though we listened to the radio and he hummed along, deep in thought.
A few hours into the drive, he suddenly pulled off the highway at a rest area and said he needed a break. He bought me a soda and chips from the vending machine and we sat at a picnic table. I looked around at a few other families there, and my eyes caught sight of a family enjoying a picnic at a table nearby.
They seemed so normal, so loving. How I would love to have a brother or a sister to share secrets with.
"How did you like our visit Mar? Did you have fun?"
Dad wore his sunglasses so that I couldn't see his eyes, and he seemed a little down. Not his usual, jovial self. I'm sure he must have felt down before of course. He wasn’t a super hero like I made him out to be. Deep down, I realized that he’s just a human being like the rest of us.
He had never led on whenever he felt down. He knew how to deal with it. Years later I came to the conclusion that maybe it was because he realized that he was the only one holding us together. That was his job. To keep it together for us, pretend that everything was okay so that we could be held together. Dad was the glue to the broken pieces of our family. He was the anchor to our shipwreck.
I kept up the charade of normalcy for dad.
"Yeah! I love that family!" I couldn't help but giggle at the thought of one of my cousins sneaking beers into the backyard, and how I had gagged after taking a taste. It was the first time I'd ever sampled beer. Of course Charlie bragged that he did it all the time.
"Mar, you know your mother loves you, don't you?"
Where this came from I didn't know, and I was nervous as to where this was going. I don’t like lead-ins. I’d rather have someone shoot from the hip and get it over with, then at least I’d know what I was dealing with.
Dad cleared his throat. It was obvious that he wanted to tell me something, but I couldn't figure out what it could be. I answered his question in my head.
No, I actually didn't know that my mother loved me. Maybe cleaning meant love? She was always cleaning. What would I know? I’ve often seen other mothers hug their kids at the drop-off curb at school. I think she hugged me once, but she flinched whenever I hugged her, so I had become conditioned not to give her hugs. It was like it hurt her skin to hug.
"Mar, it's going to be difficult in the upcoming months. I know you’re young, but you’re also mature in so many other ways for your age..."
I glanced over to the family sitting at the table next to us. I almost wanted to be part of that normal family, laughing and punching my brother playfully in the arm. I wanted my mom and dad sitting across from us like that family, giggling at something we had said. Heck, I would even settle for my mom pouring me lemonade into a paper cup like that mom was doing.
Had my mother ever poured me lemonade into a small paper cup designed with African violets? I doubted it. I’d even settle for any cup, heck, even a creepy Styrofoam cup where anything you drank from it tasted like chalk and bits of it ended up floating around in your drink.
It wasn’t the first time I’d realized that I’d received the booby prize in the mom department.
Dad glanced over at the family too for a second. What was he thinking? Was he wishing he was over there too? Was he wishing that his wife laughed and poured lemonade into paper cups and handed out bologna sandwiches with not a care in the world?
"I'm divorcing your mom," he spat out suddenly, like vomit.