A look back at the creation of Mistress and Master of Restraint series. I began writing Restraint, exactly one year ago… Wow. Time feels as if it flies by, but in reality, it’s burst of speed and moments where it slows to a crawl. When I remember my journey, some moments jump out at me, while other mute to the background.
Restraint was meant to be a novella at most. When it was completed, I thought it was over. I’d left it open to interpretation so that if I decided to enter that world again, I could. But I tied it up enough that readers would be satisfied.
Restraint was the first book that I’d completed.
It was the first book I had the nerve to publish.
It was totally unexpected. I was writing a fantasy novel. I remember waking up one morning with an idea. Huh? A book about a BDSM club? Really? Can I do that? Do I dare to even talk about it? I excitedly started writing. I wrote Restraint while my grandmother was staying with us. I wrote a dirty, sick and twisted book while sitting on the sofa next to my 93 yr old grandma. I shit you not!
I’d caught the writing bug after I published Restraint. Unleashed was written in a heartbeat. I was sad to see it end. So sad, in fact, that I couldn’t end it. Finally, inspiration struck. Who said I had to end it? I decided on a continual series narrated by different characters.
I published Unleashed and I still didn’t talk about it. It was like my books were some dirty secret I hid with the skeletons in my closet.
I started on Dexter. He was the obvious choice being that he was the nexus to several sets of characters. Midway through Dexter, Dalton was screaming at me. He was next, but he didn’t want to wait his turn. I wrote half of Dalton when Dexter was only a quarter finished. I wrote both books simultaneously. I published them both on my 34th birthday.
Still not talking about it. Still blushing when people ask what I do for a living. My mom was still smoothing it over, neglecting the fact that I write Dark Erotica.
Queen was next, but I knew Jack-shit about her. I knew her name, that’s it. On a long cross-country trip, I started Cortez (40 K that will hit the garbage when I butcher it) Suddenly, I knew who Queen was. One book turned into 3, with an omnibus edition.
Midway through book 3 of Queen’s, M&M #7… Dead-end. Good Girl was born to help me relax and lighten the dark within me. I proceeded to rewrite, restructure, re-edit, reformate, and butcher all the books from the very beginning. 7 books. Some major changes occurred.
After Checkmate, I was lost. I set up for a huge beginning on KING and I didn’t know how to write it… I didn’t want to let the readers down.
Good Girl again… I published it and began Widow. I was so enthusiastic about Widow, that I outlined Wayward.
The day I scheduled to start writing on Widow again, after a two week break, lightning struck. The most amazing thing happened; my mind cleared enough to allow new information to filter in. You can become blind in your writing, where you see only one possible path, but it’s not the right one. I knew the direction to take King.
KING is an important book and it was scaring me that I couldn’t do it. I’m not sure how I did it, or if the readers will enjoy it, but it flawlessly fused all the books together. What you thought you knew, you didn’t. KING has the foundation Restraint wasn’t. KING WILL hold the rest of the series without fail. I’m feeling closed-lipped about it. I want it to be a surprise.
One year since the conception of Restraint. I’m writing M&M #8- almost 40k (93 manuscript pages) in 4 days. I know the path that the next few books will take. The next books in the series will be: Faithless, M&M #9 (Syn). Untitled #10 (Cortez) and I believe #11 will be dedicated to Levi Wilson.
The series will maintain its dark edge, but it’s darker now. Mystery and intrigue. I’m curious to see where this takes me. We’ll see.
Happy conception, Restraint!!! Your 1st birthday is quickly approaching- April 24th.
In case you were wondering, when someone asks what I write, I proudly tell them. If anyone calls my books smut, I let the bitch-monster out. Be forewarned.
This is a quick Work in progress update since a large amount of readers have flocked to my blog wondering when KING will be released.
I’m halfway through Widow. Widow has a cover and a final outline. I guesstimate 3 weeks of writing time, a few weeks of beta reads, and a late March release.
I’d wanted to be a rockstar and have KING or Wayward released by the year anniversary of Restraint, April 24th. That would have put me at 11 full-length novels published within a year’s time. I’ll stick with 10. 10 books, almost 750,000 words is good enough of an accomplishment. I’m not going to rush my work. This was one of my resolutions.
While Widow is hanging out with my girls, being read, edited, & critiqued, I’m writing up a rough outline for Wayward. Wayward is the 3rd novel in the Playroom series featuring the point of views of Augustus Kline, Robin Prynne, & Isis Mason. I have a general idea of what needs written and a firm vision of the book cover. I already have the Untitled 4th book in the Playroom series spinning in my mind, it will be in the pov of our Willow-Monster/Good girl, our wounded Officer Devon Mason, and our stud/f*ckface- Kieren Mason.
KING! There will be KING! Whitt will have his chance at a happily ever after. I begin writing KING sometime mid-March. I need to reiterate- KING isn’t the Final book in the M&M of Restraint series. I’ve seen countless reviews stating they are waiting for the final book in the series and countless search terms directing readers to my site asking when KING or when the final book is released. There will be many, many more books in this series. I created a large universe with many characters that need their chance to express their stories and I won’t finish until every last one of them has spoken.
KING is a transition for the series and I’m on the fence of what direction I want to go. The book is the foundation of the rest of the series and it’s pivotal that I create a solid base- a base that Restraint wasn’t.
The Playroom, however, will be less than a 10 book series. The main characters surrounding the Webster/Mason union will have a book, but the supporting cast of characters will not. It’s doubtful I will change my mind on this.
Search terms are a handy tool. It allows me to know what brings viewers to my website. I will say that there are a few of you naughty, naughty bad monsters looking for free reads. A lot of read ‘Erica Chilson PDF free’ has popped up recently. Firstly, I’ve never published my work in PDF- mobi & epub only. Secondly, if you would like a copy, please contact me. I will refer you to my giveaways or I may feel charitable and email you a copy. Please do not try to pirate my work- it’s naughty!
Another viewer was searching for more info on Katya/Cortez/Ezra. Katya may or may not receive another chance to voice her thoughts. It’s doubtful at this point. She may or may not have a POV in future books. Cortez & Ezra will each get their own books. They have a huge backstory to tell. In fact, Cortez’s book will be after KING. I’ve written a large portion of it already.
Here is how my future endeavors look:
Cortez (Late summer/early fall)
Untitled Playroom #4 (Fall/Winter)
That is firm. It’s up in the air after that, especially since it will be nearly a year from now before I finish off that list. I’m not sure who will get to be in the next M&M book. Perhaps, Syn. Playroom #5 will be one of the characters from #4.
If you’d like more info, comment on this posting or shoot me an email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Off to fill out my jury duty questionnaire, answer some correspondence, make dinner, and hopefully read something while watching Homeland.
I’ll be back to my Wicked Writing ways next week!!!
~Happy Wicked Reading~
This is a combination venting post about the perils of the internet, my never-ending day job, and my shortcomings.
A strong need to hibernate has taken hold of me. Do you ever feel like everyone and everything is slowly leaching away your soul? I get like this from time to time. I have so many balls in the air that I’m waiting for them to drop onto my face and break my nose.
It’s been almost two weeks since I’ve written & a week since I’ve been in the land of technology. My laptop greeted me moments ago like an eager puppy waiting for its master. A fierce anxiety overcame me as I logged on today. You have no idea how much time you spend on the internet until you step back for a few days. I’m not addicted by any means. The hiatus made me realize that it felt like a job- a constant job. As I sat in my healing hibernation I felt as if I had something I needed to do. This overwhelming sense that I was forgetting my duties has plagued me for the past week.
It made me realize that my job isn’t keeping up with all of these pages and the people that frequent them. I have other jobs that I perform on a daily basis. The trill of my cell phone, tethering me to a constant barrage of potential tenants, is driving me insane. Between emails, notifications from all of my websites, and that heinous ringtone that rings when people without common decency call after 10 p.m. & before 7 a.m., I’m going batshit. Something has to give. I stepped away from the internet.
Even now, my cell is making a konking sound ever time I get a new notification on Facebook, whether it’s my personal page or the varying pages & group I run. I want to scream. I bet it’s made that noise 10 times in the past 2 minutes. Oh, lookie there, a bell tone for the email alert! Yes, I could silence the dang thing, but I have calls I have to receive & tenant applications being sent to me via email.
Back in January I had county Jury Duty hanging over my head. No big deal since it was 30 minutes from my home & It was only the one time. I was in the middle of a 4 book release & the holidays since I was notified around Thanksgiving that I had this hanging over my head. Always in the back of my mind when I had so very much to do, and all at once. I had a reprieve that allowed me to take a huge gulp of air- allowed me to get all that I had to do, accomplished.
Guess what the mailman delivered today? Any takers?
A Middle Court Jury Duty summons!! Yup, we aren’t talking a one-time shot. Nope, a month-long, all of April, on-call duty to the great Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Here is 40 bucks if you are called upon. But hey, enjoy three hours a day gone to sucking the gas from your tank. Hmm… I’ll be in the hole after that 40 bucks is spent at Kwikfill. Not to mention the fact that I won’t be working while I do this, which will put me behind schedule and in the hole even farther.
Here’s the real great thing. My parents are pissed at me.
One thing that I am highly ashamed of is the fact that I don’t drive. I have the ability & know how. I hate it with a passion. I’ll be truthful. It’s an illogical fear, but what fear is ever logical. So here is the thing. If I can’t somehow manage to get out of this shit, my parents will have to pick up for my failings- again. Guilt, shame, and disgust are filling me at the moment- all directed at yours truly.
I get to fret over this until April & then I get to fret over it every Friday as I call in for duty, hoping like hell I get the reprieve I’m looking for. I get to feel like shit if I am called in and my parents have to pick up for my shortcomings. It makes me feel out of control & anyone who’s read my writing knows what a bitter pill that is for me to swallow.
I am in hibernating mode trying to get this anxiety under control & this was dropped into my lap earlier today. So as those notifications keep clicking on my cell & the browser is flashing, I want to scream. Oh, ring-ring, the trill of my phone is yanking my leash!
I’m back- another dead-end, going nowhere conversation that I have to hold with total strangers who think that I need to converse past- you’ve got to be f*cking kidding me! Back again. Telemarketer this time on the home phone. Anyway, professional conversations are great, it’s the ones that chat with me like I’m their long-lost buddy, bleeding ten, fifteen, minutes increments of my life away. Once or twice a day would be great. It’s the days when it’s 20 or more- before you know it, 3 hours of your life is gone that you will never get back as you struggle to deal with all the sordid tales you had to ingest.
I know I’m a bitch. I get it. Hence the hibernation. But until you have a cell to your ear listening to one person’s life history while your home phone is ringing, your laptop is tinging from messenger, a person is talking to you in the living room, and the cat has lost its ever loving mind thinking it’s din-din and yowling, don’t call me a bitch.
Then it’s the showing days where you wait for hours and no one shows up. The special cases that couldn’t make it to the appointed time and you meet them off your schedule… and they stand you up. I love the ones that call me days later pretending that we never had an appointment. Photographic memory remembers your number and she unleashes the bitch-Monster by politely informing you that if you miss an appointment without calling to cancel that you aren’t responsible enough to live on your own.
I will say something that will anger a huge population and I’m going to say it anyway. One of the apartments I’m showing is high-end: 4 bed, 2 bath, 2 living spaces. I’ve had people call who are on assistance that have one child or are single (meaning once person in this apartment) and want the great state of New York to pay for this apartment. It is great for a family with two or three kids. I don’t think it would be fair to saddle the state when you only need a two bedroom at most. It’s not about the assistance, it’s that why should you get to live somewhere that far above your means, space-wise. I sleep in a 9X11 bedroom <- that’s all the personal space I get. You don’t need four bedrooms for just yourself, if you’re not paying for yourself. *gets off soapbox* This is wearing on me, hearing these lifestories that people regale me with like I’m a bartender at a cry-in-your-beer dive. This is why I can’t write. This is why the internet is throbbing like a sore tooth for me.
My whole being feels like a throbbing tooth. I’m on the verge of screaming. The phone calls, the showings, the stress of yet another f*cking jury duty summons, the constant barrage of news my father listens to that makes me feel like Armageddon is upon us, and life and its struggles are getting to me.
I just want to scream, ‘Shut the f*ck up!‘ In fact, I’ve had my characters do just that for me in the past. Regina got to scream that very phrase. If only I had preternatural abilities, ‘cuz that huge tv would be blown up via my mind the instant it’s turned on.
I need to write to have my release, but I can’t since I need total peace and quiet or screaming music. I can’t have either since I have to listen for the trill of the cell. I also need concentration. The way I’m living right now is constant, chaotic interruptions of the every thirty seconds kind- like the took a bath and have 3 voicemails kind- like the asshole who called me at 10:30 night and it was a mild-mannered girl or the dude who called at a quarter of 7 in the morning. Where were these people raised? I have a rule that I live by: unless it’s an emergency, don’t call before 9 a.m. or after 8 p.m. I don’t know you, why are you calling me when I’m in bed like a dang bootie-call? It was an instant automatic no on them. I didn’t give them appointment. I have horror stories of these tenants at 4 a.m. telling me the garbage man didn’t take their garbage or the doorbell doesn’t work. I shit you not!
I’ve hibernated as a means of distraction since I can’t write. I’ve been watching all the television shows I’ve missed in the past year: Shameless, Homeland, Breaking Bad, Dexter… waiting on the final season of Weeds. I’ve been reading like a crazy person as well. I need to find an inner-calm to drown out the feeling that I have 50 infants suckling at my teats.
I’m in reread mode. The comfort of the familiar. I’ve already read it before so I know what to expect. It’s just enough to keep me entertained while half watching tv at the same time. I can’t be committed to even reading new material because of the interruptions. My job isn’t 9-5, it’s whenever the hell anyone feels like bothering me. I can’t wait for this ride to be over & I hope that all 14 units are filled and happy for at least a year after this, with no failing water heaters or blown out pilot lights.
…. An hour later with multiple interruptions of chaos…. The ‘rents are home from work & brought me all the new applications. After hearing multiple, ‘Tell them to f*ck off or to drag your ass to jury duty,’ via my father because he doesn’t want inconvenienced. That scream is firmly lodged deep in my throat. Hopefully my ailing 93 year old Grandmother, who needs constant care-taking, will be a viable excuse to get out of duty. I’d do anything to avoid the rest of my father’s pissed off wrath.
Deep breath while Daddy-o is sucked back into the news that is argumentatively belting in its HD glory, & a huge need to find a one bedroom hovel and hide out for the rest of my days… A girl can dream of a quiet, chaotic-free future.
After reading through the rental applications… One lucky thing in my favor… I believe the huge apartment has found its new family. *Cheers* *Pops Cork on the Champagne* *Breathes deeply*
I found something interesting. I read on my laptop and on my cell all the time. My reread brought me back to my bookshelves. I realized something. When I read on my laptop: the email, Facebook, and messenger is right there, interrupting me more thoroughly than my cell phone. When reading on my cell the same issues impact me. I hadn’t realized how much I was missing out on until I was yanked into a paperback that couldn’t notify me every thirty seconds. No sounds, no flashing browsers, no pop-ups from sugarsync or messenger, no notifications scrolling across the top of my cell. Just me, the story, and a book in my hand. There is a huge disconnect with ebooks. I read them constantly, hell, I write them, but the ability to connect is in direct correlation to the interruptions of the internet.
This has brought me to two decisions: I will publish my works in paper & I am going to limit my time on the internet. When I return to writing in a few days, I’m turning off the notifications that interrupt me. I will be limiting my interactions on various sites. I need this to concentrate on my work, on my future of chaotic-free-ness. I will miss those friends I’ve made. I will still reply to comments, messages, and emails, but not immediately. I will limit myself to my pages a few times per week. I feel guilty over this, but I need control over my life- some form, any form, of control.
Facebook isn’t my job- Goodreads isn’t my job. My websites are my job, but not my FB pages and groups. My job is writing and fostering an environment that feeds the muse. My job is being a daughter to my parents and doing all the chores that entails, be it ignoring AI as some chick sings poorly, grating on my nerves, or dealing with vacant apartments. Something has to give when I’m torn into a thousand different directions & that something is the one that doesn’t pay my bills or put a roof over my head.
I’d apologize for my snarly bear routine, but I won’t. This is just another facet of me. Proof that all authors are humans. I remember reading status updates and blog posting of my favorite authors and being in awe of all amazing things they performed. I would rather tell my readers the truth. I am just like you, struggling through life looking for my own path.
My personality is quiet, contemplative. I am easy to laugh and difficult to anger. But my Kryptonite, my Achilles heel, is chaos & noise. It makes me feel like a wounded animal. I want to hide and lash out when someone gets too close. Today is one of those days & I fear it will continue to be that way until I can get a moments’ peace inside my own mind since the life around me is never calm.
This is my way of saying that if you’d like to chat with me via FB, GR, email, or via the websites it may be a few days before I respond. It’s not that I don’t value our conversations, it’s that I want to come to you when I’m in a pleasant mood.
Hell, in the past few minutes I’ve answered 3 more calls & a few, ‘Hey, can you do this for me?’ while listening to Nicki Minaj’s atrocious voice. I’ve called and confirmed our new tenant and tried to call back an applicant, whose phone has been shut off. Boy, that is a huge indicator, right there.
A few more weeks of this North Eastern weather and I can run outside to serenity.
I may run and never look back…
This post has absolutely nothing to do with writing, or maybe it has everything to do with writing…. These thoughts and feelings fuel my emotions- emotions that fill me with words until they overflow into novels. If you look closely, you’ll see me in every word I write. Every character has a facet of my being, and every storyline is either something I wish to happen or fear will happen or have had happen.
Family and friends look at me sideways when I tell them the genre I write in. Here is this former housewife, slightly chubby and quiet to the extreme, that writes erotica- primarily erotica that is very dark. A lot of Huh? looks are tossed my way. I don’t exactly exude sex and torture. It is the control, the boundaries, the rules, that appeal to this girl. I write strong, flawed characters because I am one.
The big day of love begins in a few short hours. Lovers everywhere scramble to show their significant other how much they care or want them. Then there are the singles who feel pressure because they are alone as they sniffle over their cartons of ice cream. I am on the opposite extreme. This realist, who doesn’t have a romantic bone in her body(maybe it bled out of me with my naivete & innocence & my faith) finds the entire premise to be total bullshit. I hear the sighs and whispered Bitter bitch coming from you all. It’s not that. I’m not bitter at all- cautious. I find it to be phony, fake, a scam that we pull on the ones we are trying to attract. Why not show your lover you love them every day or on a day of little importance?
I will not join my brethren this year. I haven’t for many years, especially when I was a coupled person. I embrace my singledom with a grin on my face. I was thinking today of how much I love my parents. I love the fact that tomorrow night I will be sitting with the two people who love me unconditionally as we do the dorky shit. There is no pretense with us. I have no image to project. We’re going to sit on our asses and watch Shameless or whatever is on the dvr. I may read a book while Mom surfs the net and Dad watches reruns of old westerns- later on I’ll be asked if I want a Popsicle. But we love each other, and I’m okay with this. I will never have to question motives or emotions- their love is infinite.
See… this girl remembers what the pressure felt like. It is a pressure I would do anything in the entire world to avoid.
Today I was reminiscing about Valentine’s Day growing up. I remember the mailboxes we would decorate (loved crafting those ugly creations). You would get cards and over-analyze if a boy liked you. It was sweet and innocent and nice. High School was fun, too. We had these construction paper lips with our names on them that we attached to our shirts. If someone of the opposite sex got you to talk they took your lips. I loved filling my chest with all of those lips. Hahaha, no, *totally shaking my head right now* I wasn’t a player. It took a lot of work earning my lips back, & I am competitive, so I kept the spoils of war. We also had roses. You could buy someone a rose and have them delivered to them throughout the day.
My first real Valentine’s Day should have been a tip-off of how my life was going to progress. Senior year I received a rose, wasn’t my first, but most important. He poofed on me- disappeared- left the school. He was my boyfriend off and on since sixth grade. We were on- on for a very long time. I found out later that he left to arrange a party at his house, one I wasn’t invited to. The rose someone else bought when he bummed the money off of them. It was a distraction so that I didn’t know he was partying without me(not the last time either). I will never forget the look of horror and pity on my English teacher’s face when he overheard this sordid tale…. Hell, if that didn’t start the downward spiral of disrespect that I rode for the next decade and a half, I don’t know what did. Btw, each Valentine’s day was progressively worse after that one.
No, not bitter- realistic. Now I face a new challenge. I don’t know if the unconditional embrace of my parents or the horrors of the past keep me from seeking the attention of the opposite sex. My parents have to love me. They shelter me, feed me, hug me, and tell me they love me. They support me in all that I do. They truly want the best for me. What man could compete with that? They have to love me because they created me and I feel the same way about them. It’s not an umbilical cord sort of issue. I wouldn’t bawl and scream if I moved out. I’d miss the hell out of them, but I’d lived apart from them for 13 years. It’s not the safety of their warm embrace, it’s the imprint of pain on my soul.
I loved someone once, with every fiber of my being. No, I don’t love them now. I harbor no ill will or need to see them, hear from them, speak to them, or even hear their name. I no longer feel the anger or pain when someone mentions their name. I’m proud to say that sometimes I don’t even register that they’re being spoken about. But the memories remain the same. No matter how deep I bury those f*ckers, something triggers them- hence the Valentine’s memory today.
The painful imprint is this. I’ve been thinking of this lately- a lot. When you form a union with someone it is permanent yet not. The first time I broke up with my husband I was blindsided, tossed from my home with the clothes on my back and a bye-bye, don’t come back! I realized the comfort would never be there for me again. The union is false. With one word from him, the life as I knew it crumbled. My home was no longer my home, my nieces and nephews no longer mine. The family I called the other half of my life was no longer mine, either. That family was in my life from the time I was twelve years old. Those kids I knew in utero. Doesn’t matter- they aren’t my blood- I was an invited guest into their family, and the moment he didn’t want me there, I was gone from their lives.
The security was breached. My outlook on life was skewed. I went back, fool that I was. It was the ultimate closure. I was in a home that wasn’t mine, no matter what the deed said. It didn’t matter that I helped pay for the home, cleaned it, refurbished it, or lived in it. It didn’t matter that the items in the home were bought by me or for me as a gift. They were his the moment I vacated, and he didn’t hesitate for a moment to tell me this.
Just try to image this feeling. You’re on your sofa right now, comfy and secure. The sofa you researched online, the sofa you helped pick out at the store, helped arrange when it was delivered, helped pay for, cleaned, and rested on. Now imagine that it’s not really yours at all. It’s theirs. Now imagine this feeling for every item inside and out of your home, and the home itself. And your partner- he/she isn’t yours either. Because a union needs both parties to be in agreement. Imagine being told this day in and day out. Now imagine how you felt when your partner told you he f*cked someone on that sofa… and he told you this as you sat on it, as he wore a sadistic grin of spiteful pleasure.
Now imagine the pleasure you felt as you showed no true reaction- no tears, no screams of outrage, no cracks in your perfectly constructed emotional facade.
This is truth and a euphemism all in one. He f*cked all over my life while I lived it.
When I left for good, it was on my terms. It was my decision. The powerlessness was gone, even in the face of losing everything that I’d called my own from the time I was 18. I promised myself that everything of mine was mine from that moment on. If it was a gift or bought by me, I was gripping onto it with the tips of my fingernails. I know that rightfully that was my home, those were my belongings, but I wanted nothing that was tainted with the imprint of the emotions and memories, or of HIM!
I will never be powerless again. I embrace my parents’ warmth for this reason. It is without demand and expectation. It is endless. They don’t give a shit what I say or do as long as I respect them and myself. I don’t think I can give myself over to another person. It’s like handling a live grenade while they keep the pin. I don’t know if I can be with someone that can physically hurt me from our size difference. At 5’1″, I know they will be bigger than me. I don’t know if I can trust someone who has the mental fortitude to destroy me or the mental capacity to harm my emotions. I’ve already lived through every abuse there is. I’m no victim, but I’m not a stupid shit, either. Na-uh!
I’m not writing this as a horror story or cautionary tale. It is reality. At any given time, your Valentine can just say bye-bye! Poof goes your home, life as you knew it, friends that you believed were yours, and the family you were a part of. Now why the hell would I put myself through that again? I was a fool once. This chick is smart- no repeat offender, here! I hear the rumbles of finding true love and all that bullshit that we surround ourselves with as a false security blanket. Hell, those fabulous parents I speak of, they have been together since they were 14-15, had two kids, and have been married for 39 years this June. I’ve had a great example to follow and I still refuse to buy into the blind faith of another human being.
I just want real! I want someone who shows me every day that I matter. Not tosses me a card out of duty and the next day calls me a bitch and roughs me up. Nothing says I love you like being demeaned to the level of a wild animal. Oh, but here is some fake sentiment!
This chick is happy that she doesn’t have a Valentine to manipulate and twist her emotions. I won’t be sitting with a carton of ice cream woe-is-me-ing into a tissue. I’ll be sitting in my chair grinning at Shameless with my folks- now that is unconditional love at its finest!