Wednesday, 29 October 2008

Words Fail Me...

... but I'm going to try anyway.

Since my nephew Brandon went missing, our family has been in the center of a whirlwind of shock, concern, dismay, media attention and controversy. It's not over by a long shot -- Brandon's parents will continue to push for an investigation of Brandon's online activities. They are convinced he is holed up somewhere, being told he's a "Pinball Wizard." Maybe his captors are telling him his parents hate him, don't want to talk to him. Maybe he wants to contact home, but he can't.

I refuse to believe he's hurt, abused or lying in a ditch somewhere. My mind cannot process that. I hold the same hope that authorities will flush out the people who lured him away with promises of money and status.

Old friends and new have dropped by to offer condolences, hope and prayers. I can't begin to express my gratitude.

In the meantime, I must tear myself away from obsessing over every breaking story. (Some online discussions infuriate me and I wish I could reach out through cyberspace and slap some of those people upside the head. They don't know this family. I do.)

Although I feel I'm in a holding pattern, I must go on with my life. I feel like I'm not allowed to laugh at a joke or smile at my colleagues. It feels strange.

This is a writing blog. I have to get back to the task at hand. While I pursue my latest career, a piece of myself will still hold vigil for Brandon. Until he is found, he will always be on my mind.

If I receive any breaking news, I will be sure to tell you right away.

Now, I'll try to change the subject...

Ravenous Romance has offered me a contract for The Toast Bitches. Those bitches (the characters, not the publisher) have been roaming around in my head for a long time, and it's time to unleash them on the world. I'll be busy cranking out a hot, sexy manuscript.

Sheesh. Wish me luck.

Saturday, 25 October 2008

A Missing Boy

My husband and I drove north and exited Highway 11 to join the searchers that were organized at a park on Ridge Road and Line 8. As we proceeded along Ridge Road, we noticed the Oro-Medonte walking trail cross the road several times. We also notice five or six groups of volunteers along the roadside, poking through the patches of long dried grass for signs of Brandon.

We overshot the sideroad and turned around. Just north of Ridge Road on Line 8, we found Burl's Creek Family Event Park, where volunteers gathered to find my nephew, Brandon Crisp.

Tents were set up, and several school buses were parked alongside over a hundred cars and vans. We searched and found Anna and Steve almost immediately. Steve was talking to a news photographer, so we approached Anna and each gave her a big hug. Their daughter Natasha stood nearby, her face pinched with old and new tears. I wrapped my arms around her.

The volunteers were incredible. Yellow school buses sent loads of searchers to designated groups along the regional roads and trails, dropping them off with an experienced searcher. Many members of the search groups worked for Metroland, the media group that employs Brandon's mom and myself. They were so positive and supportive.

A man with a grey beard and a Tilley-type hat stood near one of the buses. He was introduced to Angelika and I as Terry Grant, the host of a show called Man Tracker. He is based in western Canada with a show that features tracking human competitors through rough terrain.

He had flown here to offer his support, and was very kind. Wow.

As he talked to us, a camera appeared and a fluffy boom mike hovered above our heads. I hope I didn't say anything to embarrass my kids.

Later, we went to Brandon's parents' house to regroup. A local restaurant delivered a lovely spread - wings, salad, cheese and crackers. We all stood around the kitchen island, discussing the various possibilities in the ongoing investigation.

I thank everyone for their incredible support and good wishes. I hope we wake up from this nightmare soon.

Monday, 20 October 2008

We Interrupt Our Regular Blogging...

I don't normally use this blog for personal concerns, but this time I feel it's necessary to get the word out to as many people as possible.

My 15-year-old nephew Brandon Crisp has been missing for a week. On Thanksgiving Monday he had an argument with his parents over his obsessive on-line video game use, and his parents took away his X-Box.

As a result, he took off from his home in northeast Barrie, Ontario. He hasn't been seen since. I found out about this late Friday night, and have since kept in contact with his parents during this ordeal.

A flyer campaign last week brought no leads, so the media stepped in. After a few online news reports from The Star and our Metroland papers, local television stations asked for help this weekend.

His bicycle was seen mid-week at the side of a walking trail north of Barrie, but wasn't reported until after it was taken by unknown parties. There was a ground and air search in the rural area northeast of the city yesterday (Sunday) and several unconfirmed sightings.

My sister in law phoned this morning to tell us the Barrie police are now treating this as an abduction.

If anyone in the Barrie area sees their kid with a Huffy yellow and black mountain bike, call Barrie police. If they see anyone acting suspiciously, call police. If your kid is taking extra dinner to his room, investigate.

Here's the latest online news report.

For those who can't directly help, a few prayers would be nice.

Edited to add: According to news reports, authorities still don't suspect foul play, but they're concerned about his safety, considering the cold nights in the past week.

I can't seem to post a comment this morning, so I'll edit my post:

Anyway, I was saying to anon, that would be awesome if you volunteer. The police aren't allowing civilian searches at the moment, but anyone with a cottage in the area should check their attics and such.

The fact that a witness saw him walking the trail after he ditched the bike gives me assurance that he wasn't picked up by someone with a car.

Still in a holding pattern...

Friday, 17 October 2008

Typing furiously

I pitched my idea for The Toast Bitches (love that title - you can't have it) to an e-pub and they want to see a manuscript. Problem is, I haven't written it yet. D'ya think I can knock off three chapters in a week?

Same pub, different work - I recently signed a contract with them for my short story If The Shoe Fits, which will appear in their upcoming anthology, Sex and Shoes (December). I'll provide details when it's up on their website.

Tuesday, 7 October 2008


When I was eight or nine years old, I gazed at the blue sky through a high window in my bedroom and wished I could fly through that window and end up a couple of years in the past. I wished fervently that I could have done things differently, already knowing my future in a life that was so brief, yet seemed so long at the time.

I don't know what triggered such a need to be elsewhere, or elsewhen. Perhaps I was mad at my parents for uprooting me again. Maybe I lacked friends at the time. All I knew was that I wanted to try again, maybe to speak to that boy I liked, or to stand up for myself in a schoolyard altercation.

Now that I'm older and only slightly wiser, I look back at the vast expanse of years in my past, and realize I'm just past the halfway point of what I hope will be an optimistically distant future. Would I have done things differently if I knew where I was today? Whatever decisions I made in the past, I think I'd be as happy as I am today. Maybe not the same kind of happy, but still happy.

Would you have done things differently if given a do-over? Are we hard wired to be the people we are today, or does fate deal a different hand with each shuffle of the cards?