#WATWB – We are the World Blogfest – #SmartApp to Pinpoint Your Location

Welcome to the July edition of #WATWB – We are the World Blogfest. The last Friday of each month, a group of writers post a ‘feel good’ article on some of the good things going on in the world to deflect from some of the negativity.

 

For this edition, I want to share a potentially, life-saving app I discovered on Goodnet.org. This app can pinpoint any location in the world and help save lives! The ‘what3words’ app is not only useful for seeking help if you are lost or can’t find a random entrance, even into an event arena, but has many more uses too. You can share an image by adding the 3 words address on any photo you have, pinpoint your exact location for sending SOS message shares, or even just to mark a location which an address alone isn’t specific enough for, such as, for deliveries when you have a non-specific address – or even if you are homeless and live in a tent! You don’t even have to download the app if you don’t have a mobile phone, just go over to what3words.com and you can send a location through an email link.

 

“The app is the brainchild of the West London company founder Chris Sheldrick who grew up in a rural area according to the BBCdue to the postal delivery problems his family experienced when he was growing up.”

“The app makers were so sure that the app will save lives – and it has – that they made it available free of charge for charities, development agencies, and emergency rescue services. The United Nations integrated the solution into its disaster response tracking system so that medical aid can arrive at the correct shelter in refugee camps.”

 

From the App:

Use what3words to:

– Help emergency services know exactly where to find you
– Plan exact meet-up locations
– Tell car breakdown services where you are
– Navigate to any destination easily
– Save your favourite memorable spots – a viewpoint, waterfall or proposal location
– Save key locations, from incident reporting to delivery entrances
– Help people find your business or Airbnb
– Guide people to accessible entrances.

 

Please head over to Goodnet to read the full article, and don’t forget to download the app!

 

This month’s WATWB is hosted by:

If you’d like to join our group and add a positive post, please share your post link in our WATWB Facebook group.

 

©DGKaye2021

 

 

Writer’s Tips – #Canva Animation, #BookBub, KDP Tools, Famous Writer Advice, Slash Your #Wordcount

Welcome to the July issue of Writer’s Tips. In this edition we have tips on animation text for Canva, Lessons for Authors, How to Slash your Wordcount, Why some writers quit writing, and the new KDP tool for authors, and tips for promoting on BookBub.

 

Natalie Ducey is back with another fab tutorial on how to animate text using Canva

https://natalieducey.com/2021/06/29/how-to-create-animated-typewriter-text-in-canva-for-free/

 

How to be an Everyday Star Writer, and advice from famous writers, by Ruth Harris at the blog of Anne R. Allen

How to be an Everyday Star: Lessons From 4 Famous Authors

 

Fantasy author Diana Peach shares her experience with promoting her books on BookBub

https://mythsofthemirror.com/2021/07/14/my-bookbub-experience-and-a-few-tips/comment-page-1/#comment-87956

 

Kathy Steinemann with Part 7 of her Slash Your Word Count series

https://kathysteinemann.com/Musings/word-count-7/#comment-9653

 

Jacqui Murray at Worddreams with some valid examples of writing that may deter readers to continue reading

https://worddreams.wordpress.com/2021/07/07/iwsg-july-4/

 

Just a couple days ago (around July 12 – July 14, 2021), KDP added a new marketing tool to the KDP interface. It’s called A+ Content. It’s NOW available to KDP users. You can access the feature from a couple different places from within your KDP dashboard

KDP Has Added A New Marketing Tool, It’s Called A+ Content!

 

Here is the direct page to Amazon’s KDP new author tool

https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/G8EP5W6H9CY7T8GS#marketplaces

 

I hope you enjoyed and found something useful from this edition of Writer’s Tips.

 

©DGKaye2021

 

 

 

Sunday Book Review – The Heart Stone by Judith Barrow – WWI #FamilySaga

Welcome to my Sunday Book Review. Since my husband’s passing I have had difficulties reading books for pleasure. My focus has solely been on surviving grief and reading many recommended books along the way that I ran to in search of some kind of comfort.  Regular ‘programmed’ reading had taken a big back seat, which leaves me well behind my reading goals, but I’m thrilled to share my first book review for a book I began reading during my husband’s illness and had to abandon, but have recently completed reading – The Heart Stone by Judith Barrow. I loved all books I’ve read by Judith, and this one didn’t disappoint. The lull in completing to read this book was due to my grief, in no way a reflection of my interest in the book. Read my 5 Star review below.

 

 

The Heart Stone by [Judith Barrow]

Get This Book on Amazon!

 

Blurb:

1914. Everything changes for Jessie on a day trip to Blackpool. She realises her feelings for Arthur are far more than friendship. And just as they are travelling home, war is declared.

Arthur lies about his age to join his Pals’ Regiment. Jessie’s widowed mother is so frightened, she agrees to marry Amos Morgan. Only Jessie can see how vicious he is. When he turns on her, Arthur’s mother is the only person to help her, the two women drawn together by Jessie’s deepest secret.

Facing a desperate choice between love and safety, will Jessie trust the right people? Can she learn to trust herself?

 

My 5 Star Review:

This is a beautifully written heartfelt story that takes place during the beginnings of World War I through 1921. It’s the story of love and war and the people whose lives are affected, painted beautifully with imagery and prose by this talented writer who is known for her heart-wrenching family saga historical fiction storytelling. It’s a story about struggles, love, hatred, abuse, survival, and highlighting the strength of the women left to endure.

Jessie and Arthur are best friends since childhood, now teenagers at the tender age of 16, who’ve discovered their friendship has blossomed into true love, Arthur decides he must enlist to join the war, despite his not being of legal age yet.

Jessie’s widowed mom runs a bakery and Jessie works alongside her mom to run the store, but at the news of upcoming war, quite a few bakers enlisted, leaving mom with the decision to marry Amos Morgan, head baker, who Jessie detests and remains puzzled why her mother would succumb to allowing Amos into the family business by marrying him.

In her own worries, Jessie and Arthur’s friendship turns into a romantic relationship just before Arthur announces he’s enlisted – under-aged, but the thrill of asserting his manhood calls, and he volunteers to join the fight with his country, England. This decision leaves Jessie distraught and tightening her bond with Arthur’s widowed mom, Edna, as they can share their worries and commiserate together.

Months pass no word from Arthur, but Jessie, now pregnant from their last goodbye stint continues to visit the the heart stone up the hill where they declared their undying love forever before Arthur left. Meanwhile, Amos the pig, married to Jessie’s mother, finds every opportunity to ‘touch’ Jessie. This was enough for her to revolt and move into Arthur’s mother’s home with her as a safe place and company to raise the baby.

Time passes and there’s no word from Arthur, but Jessie keeps in touch with her friend Clara, married to Stanley, Arthur’s best friend who also enlisted for war. Stanley eventually returns home – in a wheelchair, but home. Jessie travels to visit them in hopes to discover some news about Arthur.

Back at the bakery, Jessie’s mom falls ill and becomes bedridden, putting more pressure on Jessie at work – and more time around the pig, Mr. Morgan. After mum passes, Morgan takes over the bakery, even though it is rightfully in mum’s will left to Jessie, and that presents another interesting tidbit as to how he took over and what happened after; karma perhaps? And then suddenly, another baker, ‘old’ friend of Jessie’s, Bob Cleg, proclaims a sudden desire for Jessie. Somehow these two end up married – not in a good way, and a lot more dramatic things happen along the book to keep us turning the pages, and alas, Arthur returns home! This changes the dynamic of things to come now that Jessie is unhappily married to a man she can’t stand and the love of her life returns. And to find out what happens next, you are going to want to read this book!

©DGKaye2021

 

 

 

Grief Diaries – Dimes from Heaven. So, Where are You? – Grave Decorating

Dimes from Heaven, So where are you already?

 

I heard when you find dimes, your lost loved one is around. I came across three while cleaning out our large rented condo to move to a smaller one. And then, nothing.

 

Moving sucked whatever life I had left in me – to the bone. It wasn’t enough I lost you and my heart and soul were broken, but I’m physically broken from the new record breaking most horrendous move I’ve ever endured; and you know we had plenty of horrors with our many moves together – not to mention, I had you, my strong, handsome handyman to do the grueling things and heavy lifting, and to hang a million things I asked of you. You never denied me. We were so good together.

I’m reading many books about how people get through this most painful heart-wrenching time in life and survive from not dying from a broken heart. It always makes me think of my dad when I’m in my deepest moments of a new wave of grief; I always said he died of a broken heart because my mother crushed him so many times. I can feel how this could happen.

I just need to start feeling your presence, like I can sometimes when I feel my dad and aunt around. I know their signals when they are around. I need to sense your presence and have a visit to help calm my fears. I need to know you’re okay, you know, like the story I told you many times, about the one and only time I went to visit my dad in heaven and saw his light and spoke with him? I’m waiting for that time again with you.

In the meantime, after visiting your grave two weeks ago, I Couldn’t Find You?

I promised myself when I got this place sorted after the big bad move, I was going to come visit our grave. I hesitated a few times because I felt the need to be close to you here. Even though I ‘think’ you are around me, but no concrete evidence to appease me yet, I felt I needed to visit your grave to see if I felt closer to you there. It was a beautiful sunny day and I hadn’t been out in many, and my (our) new apartment is a bit too dreary for me, which adds to the grief I live daily. But I digress, so I was feeling like I had to test my feelings I get when ‘I think’ you are around at home, to see how I will feel at the cemetery being physically closer to you – Only I Couldn’t Find You.

Omg, I took in some beautiful warm sunshine as I walked around the graves and looked for that beautiful big tree that was kind of a landmark, but everything looked so different without snow. And many more graves and headstones have been added.

I walked around and called out to you loud and clear, “Puppy, where are you?” And I didn’t feel a thing, and just wasn’t sure exactly where you were since they laid the grass and there’s no marker. I was sure then that your presence is felt more in our home than at the cemetery.

I got back in the car and drove around to the office. The woman seemed warm when she asked if she could help me, and I told her I can’t find my husband – our grave. I waited while she went to check out ‘our’ neighbors on file so I could find you and handed me a paper with a few names in our row. And I found you!

The grass hasn’t fully mended yet. All the things left there from last time were gone. Before grass was laid, the grave was a pile of dirt with all the flowers and ribbons from your coffin piled on top. It’s a barren looking grave at the moment. I assessed and made a list of what to buy to ‘spruce’ up the area and remind others that there is someone under the grass.

I wanted something symbolic to leave there as a marker until the headstone is made, which apparently takes 4 months to make and that will be perfect. I want to make you a big unveiling when this damn Covid thing is over and done with – or, at least, under control because I want the many people who would have been at your funeral to be there this time. So no rush. If things are calmed down by end of year I’ll arrange it then. If not, it can wait til April, your one year. And I will be arranging it all on my own, for that is how I live now, on my own.

I got back in the car to drive home and turned back on the radio when I started the car. I hadn’t listened to it on the way down because I was on speaker phone with my friend Alison during the drive. Well, on came Johnny Cash – one of your all-time favorites. Mysteriously, the station was tuned into the 50s channel, which you know I alwayssssssss made you change because I don’t like that era of music. We’d compromise, I’d give up my 70s channel and you’d give up the 50s and we’d listen to the 60s together in the car. So what was up with that? I never turn the 50s on in my car! That was you, I know. 🌺

Update: I gathered some beautiful rocks, ordered paint markers and sealant and made my own decorations for you. I placed a small planter of baby roses, a plaque, several loving rocks and butterfly stakes around the grave. I couldn’t have you lying there incognito with no name and no recognition, so as usual, I fixed up your spot.

Graveside design

 

©DGKaye2021

 

Sunday Book Review – On Grief & Grieving – Elisabeth Kubler-Ross & David Kessler

My Sunday Book Review is for Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross and David Kessler’s, On Grief & Grieving – Finding the Meaning of Grief Through the Five stages of Loss.

As many of you know, after losing my husband three months ago and moving very recently, I haven’t had a lot of time to read, and when I do read it’s comfort and information I crave to learn in this new journey of onehalfness I’m wading through. I know these books I’m trying to read right now may not be everyone’s genre, but it’s a bridge that we’ll all have to cross at some points of our lives, if we haven’t already, and it’s good for people to learn what to expect, find that you are not crazy, and even if you aren’t a griever, will learn what goes on with a loved one when they grieve.

 

 

Blurb:

Shortly before her death in 2004, Elisabeth Kübler-Ross and David Kessler, her collaborator, completed the manuscript for this, her final book. On Grief and Grieving is a fitting completion to her work. Thirty-six years and sixteen books ago, Kübler-Ross’s groundbreaking On Death and Dying changed the way we talk about the end of life. Now On Grief and Grieving will profoundly influence the way we experience the process of grief.
On Death and Dying began as a theoretical book, an interdisciplinary study of our fear of death and our inevitable acceptance of it. It introduced the world to the now-famous five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. On Grief and Grieving applies these stages to the process of grieving and weaves together theory, inspiration, and practical advice, all based on Kübler-Ross’s and Kessler’s professional and personal experiences, and is filled with brief, topic-driven stories. It includes sections on sadness, hauntings, dreams, coping, children, healing, isolation, and even the subject of sex during grief.
“I know death is close,” Kübler-Ross says at the end of the book, “but not quite yet. I lie here like so many people over the years, in a bed surrounded by flowers and looking out a big window….I now know that the purpose of my life is more than these stages….It is not just about the life lost but also the life lived.”
In one of their final writing sessions, Kübler-Ross told Kessler, “The last nine years have taught me patience, and the weaker and more bed-bound I become, the more I’m learning about receiving love.”
On Grief and Grieving is Elisabeth Kübler-Ross’s final legacy, one that brings her life’s work profoundly full circle.

 

My 5 Star Review:

Anticipatory grief – knowing your loved one is going to die, and fearing in silence without wanting to talk to anyone in this mode.

I learned this ‘pre-grief’ grieving before I learned about the mourning grief aftermath. Kubler-Ross calls it anticipatory grief – “When a loved one has to go through anticipatory grief in order to prepare for the final separation from this world, we have to go through it too.” Only, we, the ones left behind have to live it twice. There is no one response to loss and grief that two people will share. Every grief is unique as the relationship the griever shared with their lost loved one.

This book was confirming as it goes through the stages of grieving, and more about grief, and how it forever changes us.

Maria Shriver wrote a most beautiful Foreword for the anniversary edition of this book. She states that in her lifetime she has come to know grief only too well coming from the Kennedy family, and says, “We are a grief-illiterate nation.” She continues by saying that Dr. Ross and Kessler teach us how to grieve in this book and goes on to tell us that where she came from, nobody outwardly showed or talked about their grief. She attests to Dr. Ross’s book helping her through, stating, “When you’re grieving, sometimes your only constant companion is a book.” Shriver continues to say, “We live in a society where everyone wants us to get back to normal as soon as possible. . . but it doesn’t work that way.” “We find hope in other people’s journeys.”

This book is a great companion to grief. In it, Dr. Ross shares her stories and stages of grief and goes into them with her own experiences and sharing stories of others she witnessed as she studied many people on their last journey before death. She takes us into specific losses and incidence and how the left loved ones endured the stages of grief. In working with the dying, Ross gave voice to all who couldn’t speak for themselves. But from this book, I choose to share a list of poignant sentences that rang true and comforting to me as I proceed through my own grief for the recent loss of my husband.

“There is a saying that if your writing doesn’t keep you up at night, it will never keep anyone else up at night either. In creating this book I often felt that if it didn’t make us cry, if it didn’t help us heal our own grief, it would never help anyone else.” ~ Dr. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross

Elisabeth always said, “Listen to the dying. They will tell you everything you need to know about when they are dying.”

“Denial and shock help us to cope and make survival possible. . . it’s nature’s way of letting in only as much as we can handle.” “These feelings are important; they are the psyche’s protective mechanisms.”

“The will to save a life is not the power to stop a death.”

Dr. Ross takes us through the five stages of grief: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance.

Loss: “An unimaginable, indescribable loss has taken place. It has inficted a wound so deep that numbness and excruciating pain are the material of which it is made.”

She goes on to talk about how grief overtakes us at a moment’s notice – and will continue to. And tells us that after our loss, the need to feel our loved one around is important. And the need to be able to talk about the lost loved one becomes dire for the one(s) left behind. Our stories of grief contain an enormous amount of pain, often too much for one person to carry. By sharing our stories, we ease the pain – just a little. Survivor’s guilt kicks in for many, (I can attest to this). Elisabeth tells us, once you have loved and lost, you will never be the same. I’m already there.

On Isolation: “You were with someone, now you’re not.”

“The only way out is through it.”

“The trouble is that in grief, a moment feels like a year, and a year feels like an eternity.”

“Why do we find nothing unusual about talking to an unborn child in utero, but if we talk to the deceased, people might think we’re crazy?”

The most difficult job of all was packing up my beloved’s belongings.

Dr. Ross goes into how difficult holidays become for mourners. Birthdays, anniversaries, death anniversaries, Christmas, and the like will never be the same and are often marked with sorrow instead.

She offers ideas to comfort, such as writing our feelings, writing to our loved one to express what’s left inside us. Writing is a therapy for many.

“You don’t ever bring the grief over a loved one to a close.”

“There is no better or worse death. Loss is loss and the grief that follows is a subjective pain that only we will know.”

“To avoid the pain and the loss would be to avoid the love and life we shared.”

“Death is a line, a heartbreaking dividing line between the world we and our loved one lived in and the world where they now are.”

“Grief is the intense emotional response to the pain of a loss. It is the reflection of a connection that has been broken. Most important, grief is an emotional, spiritual, and psychological journey to healing.”

“The reality is you will grieve forever.You will not ‘get over’ the loss of a loved one; you will learn to live with it. You will heal, and you will rebuild yourself around the loss you you have suffered.”

This book has been a comfort to many, as the almost 2000 reviews will state. Dr. Ross breaks down the process in bite-sized and life altering moments and helps us grasp all that’s involved in this grueling journey of grief in efforts to lay out what we can expect to endure, why, and how going through the stages take us into an eventual path to ‘healing’, which will never be a complete healing journey, but more about how to learn to live through and navigate the waves of grief that will continue to swell as long as we remain on this earth.

 

©DGKaye2021

 

 

 

 

Moving – Closure and Erasure, and #Grieving

I recently did the big move two Saturdays ago. It was a horrendous journey from the getgo. Barely two weeks had passed after my husband’s death when I was informed there was a one bedroom coming available in July. I probably wasn’t in my rightest mind, but I did know I didn’t want to pay exuberant rent living alone in the big place, so I agreed to take the early departure.

 

But before any packing could be done, I had to go through a lifetime of everything we owned. I had to downsize to at least half of everything – furniture, clothes, shoes, and other assorted big things taking up space. I barely had time to mourn over the seperation of the so many things that have been a part of my life, our life, for decades. But there was no choice. And there was barely a helping hand to help me sort out our life and condense it into boxes and smaller spaces. Trauma teaches us just how many are really in our life, and how many actually give a shit. I found out – not many.

I was referred to the clown movers by ‘a friend’ in my building. My good friend Vinnie had brought me over a large moving trolley a month before the move, telling me to use it to transport stuff downstairs as soon as I got the keys early. I did many loads and unloads, alone, and by the time moving day came, it should have been a four hour deal. Only, the mover guys came with no moving tools, didn’t bother taking a shower before coming to our air-conditioned building that was working overtime with some of the worst humidity from a temporary heatwave that hit on moving day, making the breathing more unbearable – even through a mask. These clowns needed me to guide and babysit them, so there was no way I could be down in the new place doing anything constructive. You may be wondering, so no, NOBODY came to help me on moving day.

After over ten hours of moving, scraping, dragging my furniture up and down hallways, I fired them at almost 9pm. My bones all felt broken, and I fell into a very dark place. It wouldn’t be until the Monday, two days later that the cavalry – my good friends Vinnie, Tonie and Alison showed up to help turn my place into a home. There were a few more visits over the last two weeks from my lovely friends, as everyone is busy and has their own life issues to deal with, but I learned a lot. And I couldn’t help thinking about a famous quote from Maya Angelou – “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.”

Through my journey of grief, I haven’t been working on a book, heck, I haven’t been writing regularly, but I have been writing. I found myself writing snippets of life and what I learned and felt through the days of my husband’s illness, through his dying days, and the emotional fallout afterwards that I continue to live daily. Late at night is when my inspirational moments of recall become crystal clear, and I write these thoughts down in one Word doc that will surely become elaborated on and condensed into a book – eventually – when I regain my balance and begin to stomach rereading the enormity of my life this past year. But in the interim, I will share snippets of my thoughts, here on my blog:

 

Closure Erasure

I scream at the top of my lungs when the pain gets too much. I have to release it or I may just spontaneously combust. Since the day you went away I have been running on auto pilot. From the shock of your death to making funeral arrangements, to burying you, to trying to swallow the five lonely weeks you lived from your death edict diagnosis.

The paper work, the banks, investments, will, and income tax to be done too, kept me in a tailspin between tears. Then, the last thing in the world on my mind was moving, yet, I knew I had to. We had planned to move in the early fall before we even knew how very sick you were. What I really wanted to do when you died was lay in bed with covers over my head, for however long I wanted to – days? Weeks? Who knows how long I’d allow myself. But it was as if you intervened when I surprisingly found out in gest there was a smaller unit in the same building. I truly believe you made that happen. But in the midst of the madness of preparing for this 180 degree move for me, it felt more like a total 360.

Life was a merry-go-round of fun, spontaneity, and love. We traveled, we laughed, and we loved, and we had a great life. Once again, I’m suddenly on my own and moving back to a one bedroom apartment, like I did when I left home at eighteen. Only then, it was exciting and freeing. This time it’s painful and lonely.

I’ve given all your belongings to your family, as I was forced to take on the ‘cleaning out’ process as half our stuff would not fit the new place. In the span of my life taking a 180, losing you, and clearing out our life, every picture, sock, piece of furniture, had me and you all over it. A monumental task that I still to this day, do not know how I had the strength to keep moving through while my heart is shattered. But I did. And often I felt I wasn’t even in my own body. Like some invisible force was keeping me going – like a friend calling to offer a hand just at the right moment -like my bestie Zan who still calls me twice a day from the other side of the world, because other than you, my love, there is nobody left living on this planet earth who loves me to nth degree and unconditionally, but Zan.

Erasure and closure everywhere I look. Bare walls embedded with leftover nails sticking out the walls from photos and mirrors now sold or packed away are what reflect back to me now. I think about how many homes we’ve built and sold and downsized each time, yet, we kept so much, like the huge two shopping bags full of every card for every occasion we’d ever given each other in our almost twenty-five years together. When I was getting rid of a lot of things, someone remarked to me that I should toss those bags too. I told her what they were and she remarked they’re no good to me now. Did you hear that? They are ever more important to me now. And one day, when my heart is ready to smile about our good times, I’d like to look back at those cards and smile in my heart again.

 

©DGKaye2021

 

“You’re allowed to change your mind about the people and things you want in your life. You’re allowed to adjust your values and preferences as you get older and wiser. You’re allowed to evolve and be a different person today than you were yesterday. This is your life.” ~ Unknown wordables.

 

 

Sunday Movie Review – #Documentary – Lady Boss, Jackie Collins

Welcome to my Sunday Movie Review. When I came across this doc about the life and career of best selling, unconventional author, Jackie Collins – younger sister to the actress Joan Collins, I knew I had to watch it. From her agent, Morton Janklow, “Some authors use their words so eloquently – and Jackie isn’t one of them.”

 

Jackie Collins

 

I was hooked on Collins’ books since the eighties. I didn’t realize she began publishing her first book in 1967 – The World is Full of Married Men, and readers both, loved and hated her. Collins wrote boldly of the world she did research in – her sister’s world of hollywood and their sins and secrets. She transformed her research into many books, a simple formula – she based her stories on real life people and called it fiction. How could we as writers, possibly not incorporate some of ourselves and observances into our writing?

Jackie wrote revolutionary novels placing female sexuality at the heart of her stories.

I could identify with so much of Jackie’s life – both personally and as a writer. And in those roaring 80s, I throughly enjoyed reading many of her books – especially the Lucky, Lady Boss series.

 

 

My 5 Star Review:

This was a wonderful documentary on the life of controversial author, Jackie Collins. Jackie was the younger sister of the famous Joan Collins. Joan was a natural beauty, and Jackie was not. Their father was in the entertainment business and wasted no time getting his pretty daughter Joan into movies. Jackie, more plain looking was happy to scribble writings about all she observed. Jackie seemed the underdog to her sister who had all the fame and fuss around her, but Jackie loved her sister and was thrilled to be invited to all the Hollywood parties her sister invited her to. This is when Jackie realized that her ‘scribbles’ could take on some serious meaning if she wrote books about Hollywood stars with all the gossip and information she garnered by becoming part of her sister’s circles. She preferred to call those outings – research.

Jackie’s women were all strong women in her books. Her writing began to empower housewives who were reading her books since the late 60s where sex talk was still taboo – for the most part. Her stories were rally calls for women to wake up and be all they can be. Many women fans adored her, while many others shunned her publicly when she was doing the talk show circuit. They bashed her for her raw smut, as many liked to call it. But Jackie stood her ground and continued to write for the millions of fans who did appreciate her candor. Many male writers felt threatened by her bold sex stories.

Jackie turned her plain old self into her own branding. Hanging out with the Hollywood crowd inspired her to fix her nose and have a little face construction. She began wearing sassy and bold clothes and did a lot of marketing her books on her own to gain momentum and brand herself as a strong, powerful woman. She was married three times – once to her first abusive husband that she empowered herself to leave in the middle of the night, while inspiring many other women to get out of abusive relationships.

Her second marriage to Oscar was the spark in her life. Til that point, Jackie had written numerous books she started and abandoned. Oscar pushed her to finish just one book, and the rest was history. He was her biggest supporter and loved her unconditionally. Jackie had kept a diary of much of her life – a treasure trove of life that became weaved into all her books.

Collins protested that men shouldn’t think they are the only ones to write about sex and love scenes. One of her best selling series was Lady Boss, where Lucky Santangelo was the lead strong woman. Her background stemmed from her mafia father Gino Santangelo. This series was all made into movies. Juicy movies I might add. Jackie’s husband Oscar adored her and dubbed her, the Harold Robbins of women.

In the late 80s, at the height of her fame, Oscar was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He chose not to tell anyone and knowing he was on borrowed time wanted to leave his wife a beautiful legacy home and began building it. Sadly, it was Jackie and her kids who ultimately moved into it as Oscar didn’t live through the completion. Jackie kept up face on camera, but she was devastated by the loss of her beloved husband.

By the time the 90s rolled around, people’s attitudes were changing about women’s rights and sexual freedom. Jackie lived in her beautiful house and kept her nose to the grindstone writing to fill her empty broken heart.

Somehow, Jackie met a third husband, which nobody approved of. Her own daughters (who were narrating the documentary), questioned why she would marry such an ill-tempered and abusive man. Frank was relentless trying to win over Jackie’s affections. Sadly, she couldn’t ‘read between the lines’ and found herself trapped with a bully. But as karma made it, a few years later Frank died from brain cancer. Jackie assured everyone she would never marry again.

Jackie’s mother died of cancer, and her first husband wound up committing suicide. And not long after the last two husbands passed, Jackie herself detected a lump in her breast and decided not to do a damn thing about it – no treatments to ravage whatever time she had left. Jackie wrote feverently, writing her own ending her own way. Jackie lived six more years after being diagnosed with stage IV breast cancer and having no treatments, as well as telling nobody. Until two weeks before her death, she finally told her sister Joan. Born October 4th, 1937, Jackie died on September 19th, 2015, two weeks before her 78th birthday.

 

From her agent, Morton Janklow: “Jackie was a great storyteller, and that’s better than being a great writer.”

Author Dominick Dunne: “And although she was a “great partygoer”, he says, she went to them “more as an observer than participant”, using them as part of her research.”

“Write about what you know”, Collins said at a writer’s conference. “I love what I do. I fall in love with my characters. They become me, and I become them.”

Collins fictionalized parts of her own life to construct her Hollywood stories.

Jackie wrote 32 books and sold over 500 million copies! Eight of her books were turned into movies and miniseries. She did play in some small acting roles in the 50s, but writing was in her veins.

 

Read more about Jackie’s life on her website.

You can watch a short clip here from Jackie.

Visit Jackie’s author page and many books.

 

©DGKaye2021