Remembering on Memorial Weekend

 

Keaton with buddies on fun run.A funny story came up at the memorial for my cousins’ son, Cpl. Keaton Coffey (US Marine Corps). Though the story is not related to surfboards, this picture (with Keaton clowning on the far right) best illustrates the mood. A fellow Marine, Keaton’s roommate, repeated it to the hundreds upon hundreds packed into the church that day to honor a fallen hero. It was about a time when the Marine had gone on leave one weekend, and when he came back, he said, he caught Keaton red-handed, eating his last piece of cake, a coveted slice he’d looked forward to. The Marine was incredulous and said something to the effect of, “Really, dude? You’re eating my cake?” And Keaton, his mouth full, simply replied, “But it tastes really good with milk.”

The story struck a chord–for several reasons. It was a moment of levity amidst so much pain; it showed Keaton’s sense of humor, the dry wit that mirrors that of his dad, a former firefighter; but more than anything, how even the simplest moments can end up taking on so much meaning, becoming forever engrained in our memories.

Keaton and Brittany.It’s hard to believe three years have passed since Keaton was killed, in Afghanistan, in the line of duty. He had so much to live for… just 22 years old… only two months shy of his wedding to Brittany Dygert… the only son, the only child of Grant and Inger Coffey. Keaton was so proud of what he’d accomplished as a Marine. Its beyond painful, even now, to contemplate the loss, to those who loved him so deeply and to his country.

 

Keaton Coffey with his dog Denny.I love this picture too, because it shows how much even his dog, Denny, adored him. Look at that paw stretched around Keaton’s shoulder! The pair were a team, trained to go first into danger to sniff out explosives and save countless other lives. But danger was everywhere in Afghanistan. As it turns out, it was a bullet and not an explosive that killed Keaton. Denny survived, and, thankfully, my cousin, Grant, Keaton’s dad, and his mom, Inger, have the option of taking Denny in his twilight years as their pet.

 

Keaton Coffey honored.The day Keaton was laid to rest whole communities lined the streets near Boring, Oregon, his hometown, for the procession. The sight of it and the throngs of Marines in uniform, veterans on motorcycles, firefighters and fire trucks at the funeral nearly brought me to my knees. Keaton was a beloved son, a source of pride, one of their own.

But Keaton is also one of yours, in the end, whether you knew him or not, for he gave everything in service to you and his country.

On this Memorial Day weekend, I’m glad you took a moment to read this and remember Keaton, and if you’d like to extend a hand in his memory, give to Wounded Warrior Project and/or Keaton’s Memorial Scholarship Fund.

It was May 24th three years ago, a few days shy of Memorial Day, that we lost him. For that reason, Memorial Day and Memorial Weekend have taken on new meaning. I trust, as do his parents, that Keaton is now at peace, smiling down on us. And so does the Marine buddy, once miffed at Keaton over something as mundane as a slice of dessert. As he said to Keaton at the memorial, he’d see him again one day, and then he admonished him, “Save me a piece of cake.”

 

Help me find the girl on my cover!

The God of Sno Cone Blue with BRAG Medallion.

In all likelihood, she’s years older and has no idea she’s there. How cool would it be to find her on social media? Please share this–or if you recognize her, let her know I’d like to connect. I’d love to send copies of the novel to her, and if she’s willing, post an interview. Wouldn’t you like to know if you were on a book cover?

She modeled for the photograph and I bought the rights to use it, but it’s doubtful she knows it ended up representing the main character on a book cover–with one of her eyes changed to blue!

 

Who is she?

It’s been a year since the novel was published and many people have asked that question, so I thought it’d be fun to try to find her based on the photo, (especially since I don’t know her name!) She’s on the cover of the novel, The God of Sno Cone Blue should be on her bookshelf.

Besides sending her complimentary signed copies of the book, I’d love to request an interview (keeping her privacy and safety in mind). Who is the real person behind the representation of my main character, Grace? Is she a reader? Where is she now? How much older is she? Did she have any idea she was on a book cover?

An update on the novel

The God of Sno Cone Blue continues to be well received: 64 reviews so far on Amazon for a rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars–yay! And I’m still making author visits to book clubs, 30 so far and counting. (Leave a message on my Contact Page if you’d like to schedule a book club visit or Skype session.) However, because I’m self published and the sole marketer, a limited number of people know about the book. And, while it’s available on Amazon worldwide, the majority of its readers are in the Pacific Northwest. So, sharing this post not only helps find the girl on the cover, it will also help Sno Cone Blue find a broader audience.

Speaking of signed copies

Based on requests from readers (particularly for Mother’s Day), I’m also offering signed copies of the novel (along with a matching bookmark). If you’d like one (or more) please share this post and send a check to the address below, made out to yours truly in the amount of $12 per copy (US only). Provided you live in the United States, I will cover the cost to mail the book (signed to whomever you’d like) to your address. If you are outside of the United States, drop me a note on my Contact Page first and I’ll check the additional mailing cost and get back to you.

Marcia Coffey Turnquist

PO Box 205

North Plains, Oregon 97133

Thank you

With any luck this post will go viral and we’ll find “Grace.” In the meantime, thank you so much for supporting this effort! It will be interesting to see if we’re successful and how long it might take.

A California writer and former prosecutor reviews Sno Cone Blue!

The God of Sno Cone Blue with BRAG Medallion.The latest about my novel appears online at The Review:

…rarely have I  found a piece of literary fiction as compelling as The God of Sno Cone Blue, a B.R.A.G. Medallion honoree. As suggested by the title, the book is a masterpiece of visual imagery but it is also a penetrating commentary on the human condition. It is a showpiece not only in the quality of its writing but in the author’s management of its sensitive content.

 

The reviewer goes on to say

When I learned it had been a selection of the Mother and Daughter Book Club, I was apprehensive it was going to be a two-hankie family saga, but it is far more complex than an intrusion into the misadventures of a dysfunctional family. It is a two-tiered mystery with a built-in tragic love story. Thanks to the author’s wordsmithing, none of the twists in plot seem contrived. Since one level of the story unfolds in the form of letters sent at intervals from a long-dead mother to her coming-of-age daughter, I expected a heavy dose of the paranormal. However, while the novel is highly inspirational it is not fantasy. The God of Sno Cone Blue is not a ghost story. Its devils are flesh and blood.

The writer is no slouch

Linda Root is the reviewer, a fascinating woman I would love to meet. As you’ll find online, she is the distinguished prosecutor of 140 trials, two of which became featured episodes of the TV series The Prosecutors and Arrest and Trial. She’s also the author of several historical fiction novels (see links below), has taught writing at the law school level, and writes reviews (along with other accomplished authors) for The Review.

Her writeup on Sno Cone Blue is not only thoughtful and lengthy, but also beautifully written with fine literary sense. Rather than attempt to paraphrase, I’ll include another excerpt from her review of my book.

More from Linda

While Grace is always the focus of the plot, both her story and her mother’s are populated with rich characters of considerable complexity, including one of the most despicable villainesses in my wide reading and personal experiences. The author’s mastery of the descriptive phrase allows the most jaded reader to build an almost uncanny desire to see Sharon and her progeny avenged.

It’s hard to know what to say except that I am deeply honored.

If you’d like to read the entire review, you’ll find it, plus The Review’s giveaway of a signed copy of Sno Cone Blue here. If you’d like to see more about Linda and her books, access her Amazon author page. Are you in a book club that would like a personal author visit or Skype? Just drop me a line on my Contact Page.

–Thanks for reading and, as usual, your comments are welcome! Just click Leave a reply below.–

Sno Cone Blue highlighted in another newspaper!

Southeast Examiner article on The God of Sno Cone Blue.“The emotional tug makes it an ideal book club read,” says The Southeast Examiner, and the words ring true as I continue visiting with book clubs. (Drop me a line if you’d like to schedule a Skype or personal author visit.) As the article points out, the success of The God of Sno Cone Blue “has been largely through word of mouth.” And what better way?

I talked with reporter Midge Pierce Continue reading

KXL stories on Sno Cone Blue!

Rosemary Reynolds at KXL radio station.In case you missed it on Portland’s KXL Radio, here’s the audio of Rosemary Reynolds’ coverage. She filed two reports, short and sweet, on The God of Sno Cone Blue. Continue reading

Sno Cone Blue on Portland radio!

Rosemary Reynolds at KXL radio station.Tune in to KXL (FM News 101) this Thanksgiving Day afternoon for a story on The God of Sno Cone Blue. I had a great time talking with veteran radio reporter Rosemary Reynolds about my novel, her voice so familiar, it was like chatting with an old friend. Continue reading

All I need to know I learned at the market

View of a holiday market with jewelry.The best lesson? How to see “No” as a positive, and I mean a really big positive. I’m talking sales and marketing, looking for a job or, heck, even finding a spouse (if you happen to be looking for one). Continue reading

My first blog interviews!

The God of Sno Cone Blue with BRAG Medallion.What is it about my novel that embarrassed me? Where does the weird title come from? Does the reference to God mean it’s “religious”? The answers to these questions–if you’re curious–can be found in two online interviews, my very first (and second) blog interviews.

Both are active websites that not only interview authors but also post extended reviews on books. The most recent interview is a companion site to indieBRAG, the independent reviewer that awarded The God of Sno Cone Blue 5-stars and a BRAG Medallion and that currently features the novel on its home page. Continue reading

A reason to BRAG

The God of Sno Cone Blue with BRAG Medallion.The God of Sno Cone Blue has won its first award! It’s called the B.R.A.G. Medallion and comes with a shiny gold icon for the cover and a 5-star endorsement backed by a whole team of reviewers.

As a B.R.A.G. Medallion Honoree, my novel is now on the indieBRAG home page (see the link below) which I’m naturally thrilled about. What’s more, I got a personal note from IndieBRAG’s president explaining how she was so intrigued by my book, that while her reviewer still had it, she started reading another copy. She loved it so much she began chatting about it to others at indieBRAG before she could reveal the title! Continue reading

Where did the years go?

Empty suitcase.So, it’s down to this. Empty suitcase, empty Kleenex, empty nest. But how can empty be the right word, when I’m so filled with emotion? My husband Ed and I are back home now after delivering our “baby” to college–more than 1700 miles away. Chicago may feel distant, but her brother is even farther, having left just this week to study abroad in Nottingham, England. I haven’t checked the exact miles, but it’s eight hours ahead of us, so he’ll often be sleeping while we’re awake and vice versa.

Empty seats at the table

So here, we are: braced for a Thanksgiving missing both of them. Continue reading