BIO: Paulette Mahurin is an international best selling literary fiction and historical fiction novelist. She lives with her husband Terry and two dogs, Max and Bella, in Ventura County, California. She grew up in West Los Angeles and attended UCLA, where she received a Master’s Degree in Science. Her first novel, The Persecution of Mildred Dunlap, made it to Amazon bestseller lists and won awards, including best historical fiction 2012 in Turning the Pages Magazine. Her second novel, His Name Was Ben, originally written as an award winning short story while she was in college and later expanded into a novel, rose to bestseller lists its second week out. Her third novel, To Live Out Loud, won international critical acclaim and made it to multiple sites as favorite read book of 2015. Her fourth book, The Seven Year Dress, made it to the bestseller lists for literary fiction and historical fiction on Amazon U.S., Amazon U.K. and Amazon Australia. Her fifth book, The Day I Saw The Hummingbird, was released in 2017 to rave reviews. Her sixth novel, A Different Kind of Angel, is due to be released in the summer of 2018. Semi-retired, she continues to work part-time as a Nurse Practitioner in Ventura County. When she’s not writing, she does pro-bono consultation work with women with cancer, works in the Westminster Free Clinic as a volunteer provider, volunteers as a mediator in the Ventura County Courthouse for small claims cases, and involves herself, along with her husband, in dog rescue. Profits from her books go to help rescue dogs from kill shelters.
I JUST WANT TO CRY I just want to cry to relieve this ache in my chest that feels like my heart will burst. The Thomas fires have devastated parts of my town, people’s lives, animals’ lives, and left us remaining in an unrelenting hill of toxic smoke. We evacuated for five days and upon returning are pretty much home bound with our HEPA filters running day and night. Masks don our faces when we dare to venture out into the ash falling snow. I’m fixated on facebook where reports are posted and networking occurs. It is here, during this time, that we are experiencing the best of the human condition: the heroic firefighters working round the clock; the selfless people reaching out to strangers albeit neighbors in this small town to help in any way they can (giving money, clothes, food, opening their homes, etc.); acts of kindness large and small that leave me breathless. And we see some of the worst of the human condition: looting, employers firing their workers without cause, etc. Last night a woman posted on Facebook, in one of the network groups (there are many), that her husband lost his job and they have four children with nothing to give them for Christmas. She left her phone number. I phoned her and said I’d like to give you some money for your children for Christmas. I told her we don’t have children and I’d like to adopt them for the holidays. She, her husband, and their four adorable young ones came to our home last night and we handed her an envelope and all of them chocolate bars we had in the house. The kids were quiet to begin with but by the end of the evening they were running around the entire house in circles, giggling and playing. Then the spontaneous hugs and kisses came. The littlest girl grabbed my legs in a hug before she left. I can still feel the warmth of that moment. I can still feel the love we shared with complete strangers who, for a brief moment in time, became family. The fire still surrounds Ojai in parts and ash filled smoke lingers in the air as the flames move up the coast toward Santa Barbara. My heart still aches and I still want to cry for all of those impacted and suffering, despite their smiles, despite their incredible resilience, despite their best attempts to rise up in gratitude for being alive because underneath is the lurking impact of the trauma we all share.