Tammy Maas, author of the book A Complicated Life in a Small Town.
When I completed the manuscript for A Complicated Life in a Small Town I sent parts of it off to 8 publishers at 10:00pm on a Saturday night. I was excited but knew that the odds of getting a reply anytime soon were slim. Most publishers send an automated reply stating they will get back to you in 3-6 months and if you don’t hear back from them then too bad so sad for you.
Within thirty minutes I had a reply from Rainstorm Press, a real live person sent the message and it wasn’t an automated reply. He wanted to see my full manuscript. This was the stuff dreams were made of. Within seven days I had a contract and the rest is history. My novella was published in late February and is available on Amazon.
The road to hell really is paved with good intentions. Bitter that she was robbed of her childhood, at age eighteen, Lydia Lawson severed all communication ties with her alcoholic parents. Her father commits suicide one year after she leaves home. Twenty-three years later she receives word that her mother is dead and that she has inherited more than just the family home. Lily, a twenty-one-year-old, morbidly obese half-sister with Prader-Willi Syndrome, is found in the basement, too big to move out of the home. Lydia sets out on a life-changing journey trying to help Lily, trying to find Lily s father and trying to find herself. In the interim, she falls in love with Tommy Porter who remains with her right up to the climatic, mind-blowing reveal at the end.
Tommy Porter was chief of police in the small town of Monticello, Iowa. He had been on the force for over twenty years and had seen a lot of things, but today he had a real head-scratcher. At 8:15 a.m. there was a 9-1-1 call from the home of Frannie Lawson on RR #5. The voice on the other end was claiming to be Frannie’s daughter, and she said her mother was sick. Tommy knew Frannie’s only daughter, Lydia, had left home years ago and completely cut off communication with her parents. Her father died less than a year after she left, and Lydia didn’t even bother to come home for his funeral. Why was she back in town all of a sudden? What was wrong with Frannie? This didn’t make sense to Tommy, but with sirens blaring he raced to the Lawson home.
It was a three-mile drive, mostly gravel that Tommy remembered quite well. He dated Lydia in high school. As he navigated the windy, dusty, road he remembered what a free spirit she was and wondered how her life turned out. He still had the prom picture in his wallet. She wore a short, navy blue, strapless dress covered with sequins. Her curly strawberry-blonde hair was pinned up on top of her head. Her eyes were like sparkling emeralds, and they danced and shined when she spoke to him, her face so full of expression. His heart still skipped a beat when he thought about her.
Tommy could now see the house through the trees just up the road. It was an old brick two-story house, covered with vines a mile or so off the road. The yard was immaculate, heavy blossoms overflowing the flowerbeds and onto the sides of the brick path leading to the house. A small, red, weathered wooden barn was just feet from the house. The grass looked like it had just been mowed. There weren’t any cars in the driveway. The wooden porch swing was gently swinging in the cool summer breeze.
Tommy arrived first on the scene and slid on the gravel as he entered the drive. He ran along the brick path and jumped over the three steps leading up the porch. After swinging open the screen door, he tried the front door but couldn’t get in; it was locked. He yelled out Frannie’s name and pounded with both fists on the huge wooden door, but no one answered. He tried to look in the windows but the curtains were closed. He couldn’t see anything.
He ran around to the back door as the ambulance pulled into the driveway. He pounded with both fists on the backdoor and still didn’t get a response so he opened the screen door and hit the glass in the window of the back door with the butt of his gun. The glass shattered and fell onto the black and white checkered tile floor below. Tommy reached in and unlocked the door, being careful not to cut himself on the jagged glass. He jogged through the kitchen and living room to the front door where the paramedics were waiting, turned the deadbolt and opened the door.
They were too late; it appeared that Frannie had died in her sleep. One of the paramedics pointed to a monitor on Frannie’s nightstand and asked if there was a baby in the house. Tommy picked it up; it had video and sound. He could hear faint sobbing but wasn’t sure of what he was seeing.
He yelled out, “Lydia…Lydia, is that you? Where are you?”
He checked the other rooms on the first level and then ran up the narrow staircase and swept the upstairs but found nothing. He opened the basement door and was overcome by an unpleasant stench. He put his hand over his mouth and made his way down the steps.
“Lydia, where are you?”
“I’m not Lydia,” he heard the sobbing voice say. “I am Lily May. Happiness, sweetness and tears of the Virgin Mary, I am the sister of Jesus.”
Tommy went around the corner and couldn’t believe what he was seeing. There was a morbidly obese woman lying on a king sized mattress covered with a rainbow sheet. A noose like rope was hanging above her. The room was painted light purple, and there were teen posters hanging on the wall. The smell of feces and urine was so horrific he couldn’t take one more step forward. His eyes were beginning to burn. “Where’s Mama? I need Mama.” she cried.
Thank you for stopping by, Tammy!