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Monday, April 19, 2010


April 19, 1995. In the long heartbeat between 9:02 a.m. and 9:03 a.m., fate irrevocably changed my life. At the time, I was a forensic fire photographer attached to the airport fire department. That morning, I was home. A day off. A day to relax, do some housework, and to noodle around with a story floating in my imagination.

I've written my whole life. In my twenties, I tried a few magazine contests, wrote some dreadful novels, and worked on other careers. In my thirties, I wrote several novels that weren't bad at all and I actively pursued publication. Those novels weren't quite good enough. Marriage. Motherhood. A change in careers. I still wrote fiction—some finished, some not—but most of my writing veered into the technical realms of fire and law enforcement. In the back of my mind, I figured I'd pursue publication again. Sometime. Later. In the future. Time and The Future seemed so nebulous. I had all the time in the world.

Time. Time metered out by heartbeats. Tick-tock. Time clicking by in seconds.

The TV droned in the den as I poured another cup of coffee. Morning news switched to daytime programming. 9:00 a.m. The washing machine chugged, the swish of clothes a comforting sound. My two dogs, a Siberian Husky and a retired Search-and-Rescue Rottweiler, jumped to attention, staring out the back sliding glass door. I stared at them. A heartbeat. Two. More. The air boomed around me, actually rattling the glass in my house. I abandoned my coffee cup, sprinted to the bedroom and pulled on my work uniform—dark blue BDUs and boots. As I darted back through the house, I caught the breaking news report. I truly believed an airliner had crashed. I almost wish it had. The helicopter for one of the local news channels circled downtown Oklahoma City. The Murrah Federal Building looked like a giant had carved out a section of it. I was in my car and halfway there when my pager went off. My department was assigned to triage at the nearest hospital. I was ordered to the scene.

For the next two weeks, I did my job. I photographed. I documented. I shut off emotions and thought, relying completely on instinct. Later, the stories emerged. Those who lived and those who died were separated by a heartbeat.

Thump. Thump. Thumpity-thump. Blood pumping through a racing heart. Life. Death a heartbeat away.

My beloved father-in-law should have been in that building for a meeting with US-DOT—United States Department of Transportation. A phone call from the director of ODOT kept him at his desk ten minutes longer. His colleague, already in the US-DOT conference room, sat down facing the windows. The meeting started at 8:55.

Tick. Tick. Tick. Minutes slip away.

At 9:02, the front of the building disappeared. The difference between life and death depended on the choice of seats. Those with their backs to the windows disappeared in a wave of dust and destruction. Wives and husbands, mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters said goodbye that morning for the last time. Forever, in the space of sixty heartbeats, turned to never.

Later, when I could deal with the enormity of the event, could sort through the overwhelming emotions locked in my chest, I knew I didn't have forever. Dreams died in the sweep of a second hand on a clock that day. Fifteen years ago. Today. Fifteen years ago, I determined to make my dream come true. I would be a published author. Ten days ago, my debut novel, FAERIE FATE, released from The Wild Rose Press. Don't let your dreams lie fallow. Don't believe there's always tomorrow. Don't ever let those you care about leave without expressing your love for them. Those are the lessons I learned from April 19th.

In FAERIE FATE, both time and fate have their place. In FAERIE FATE, a woman and a man get the opportunity to do it over again, to get it right. In the real world, we don't always have that chance. Love and laugh and live to your fullest.

Available now from The Wild Rose Press: FAERIE FATE by Silver James

If you could go back, do it over again, would you take a chance to find true love? What if you had no choice?

On her fiftieth birthday, the faerie catapult Rebecca Miller a thousand years into the past to find her happily ever after with Ciaran MacDermot, Chief of Clann MacDermot, the last Fenian warrior in his line. In the twenty-first century, Becca is old enough to be Ciaran’s mother. In the tenth, she’s young enough to be his bride.

The fae forgot to mention one slight stipulation. The lovers must be bound before the Festival of Light, or Becca will forever disappear into Tir Nan Óg, the faerie Land of the Ever Young. Will they discover the binding words before time runs out and they’re torn apart forever? Or will their eternal love defeat their Faerie Fate?

Without the words, history is doomed to repeat itself.


The little clock she’d received as a present on her twenty-fifth birthday whirred and chimed the time. One small, tinkling chime. Two. Finally, twelve in all. Midnight between March twentieth and March twenty-first. The vernal equinox. The day when light and dark, good and evil, love and hate all balanced on the finely tuned axis of mother earth.

Voices, strange with lilting accents, whispered somewhere in the darkness of her dream.


“She sleeps,” said a soft voice, feminine, one Becca didn’t recognize.

“Aye.” The second voice was deep, male, arrogant.

“Will she remember?”

“Nay, she’ll not.”

“How then will she know what to do?”

“She’ll know.” He sounded confident.

“What of him?”

“Aye, he’ll definitely know now. He should have known the last time, but she was too afraid, and he was too full of himself.”

“What is so different this time?” She was skeptical.

“She was young then, not matched well to him. Now, she’s no young soul. She’s had all those lives without him, the lonely nights, and the ache in her heart for all time. This time, she has courage born in the fires of suffering. She’ll know not to run from him, but to him.”

“You’re sure with the knowing of it this time?”


“And, if it doesn’t work?”

“Ciaran dies. Again.”

A sharp intake of breath came from the woman. “That cannot happen. Too much went wrong the first time.”


Be sure to come visit me at


Janet said...

I am sipping my morning coffee and gooseflesh pimples my arms. I've heard you speak of this disaster before, Silver - but not to this extent. I can't imagine what you went through in order to do your job. I can't imagine the destruction and loss of life. My thoughts are with you today - and those who lost loved ones and whose lives were changed in a heartbeat.

Thank you seems inappropriate in light of the solemn memory - but thanks for reminding us that life is short and we don't control the future. Thanks for reminding us to live our dreams and love our friends and families.

A heart beat.

ev said...

Last year Silver took me on a tour of the Memorial. I like to think we bonded over that. We shared our stories from OKC and 9/11 and TWA flight 800, both of which I had worked.

I have learned that same lesson- live for now and always let those you love know it. And never part angry, even if it's just for the day. You may not get a chance to say you're sorry and tell them you love them again.

Liza said...

As I watched the news this morning, they showed the footage from 15 years ago and my first thought were of you Silver. Said a prayer for you while they were still doing the story.

ashlynnpearce said...

How brave of you to be there helping those who needed it so much. This day also changed my life. I found out I was pregnant with my first child, this day, 15 years ago.

Amazing what this day taught so many. I'm so proud of you for helping so many. *hugs*

LDee said...

Like Janet, I had goose bumps reading this blog. I don't think anyone that has lost someone in a blink of an eye doesn't realize how fragile life is but I tend to forget. Thanks for the reminder that I need to live each second.

Paula R said...

Hey Silver, my heart goes out to you today. I remember you mentioning this date when we last spoke, but never with this much detail and emotion. I sit here now with tears in my eyes, remembering where I was on that date.

I have been trying to live my day every minute at a time, and so far it is going okay. I feel like I am accomplishing something, and those I care about know. Life is very unpredictable, and no one is promised tomorrow.

Peace and love,
Paula R.

Linda Andrews said...

What a beautiful post and a moving excerpt.

My children always laugh that I walk their father out to the car and kiss him goodbye, waiting until he's out of sight before I go back inside. But I'd rather their teasing than regret not saying goodbye properly.

Silver James said...

Thanks, all of you, for dropping by today. I appreciate the good thoughts, wishes, and for understanding my message. Live large, love tremendously, and work to make your dreams come true!

Angela Kay Austin said...

Silver, your post was incredibly thoughtful and feeling. I can't imagine surviving such a catastrophic event.

Your postshould remind everyone to live in the now. Nothing is ever promised.


Mazouz said...

Thirty three years ago on April 19th, I gave birth to my first son. So I experience mixed signals, and memories of that day over the years.

Your message is ever so poignant and a reminder to live every day to its fullest. I believe as you do in not wasting a minute and I'm greatful I could be part of helping you fulfill one of your dreams.

Congratulations on the release of your book and thank you for sharing the heartrending story of your experience on that fateful April 19th.

Frances Sevilla

Silver James said...

Angela, thank you for stopping by. The day changed so many lives in such dramatic ways. My journey has been easy compared to them. Life is to be lived to the fullest. Enjoy it!

Silver James said...

Fran! *waves* My favorite editor! Thank you for peeking in. Happy slightly-belated birthday to your son. I've met several people in the last 15 years with birthdays or children's birthdays on the 19th. And thank you very much for your faith and belief in my writing ability and the stories I try to tell.