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Angel Sometimes

“Writing Strong Women” exists to encourage and support positive social change for women by creating mutual empowerment. I hope you find something helpful on your journey. I encourage you to forward it to other women. ~~Sylvia Dickey Smith


Helen Ginger and I have been friends for several years, although we don’t seem to find the time to get together nearly as much as we’d both like. Time gets away from all of us. Helen is a strong woman. I admire and respect anything she touches. She has been a tremendous support through my writing efforts and gives of her time most freely. I knew she had been writing the novel, Angel Sometimes. I am thrilled the book is now complete and available for purchase.

Since she is such a strong woman, I had no doubt her female lead would be strong–or would get there before the story ended. I am delighted to welcome her as our guest blogger today. At the bottom of the post there are links to her website, and how to purchase her book should you so desire.

Here’s Helen

Angel started talking to me years ago. I dreamed about her, couldn’t get her to leave me alone. So I began to write the story of this 12-year-old girl. Around that same time, the Brown Foundation awarded me a fellowship to spend four weeks at the Vermont Studio Center. By the time those weeks were up, I’d written almost a full book … of her as a twelve year old. I knew her. I knew what happened to change her life. I knew why she’d been abandoned on the streets 800 miles from her home. I also knew it wasn’t her full story.

So I began to write her as a 22-year-old. Because of all that I had already written, I knew Angel. She was strong. She cared and looked out for others. Angel was a survivor. Even when she was very close to dying, she didn’t give up.

People have asked if her life is mine. This is her story, her truth, although there are bits and pieces of me in her. Angel’s childhood home was mine when I was a child, including the drive-in theater and a mother who worked as the projectionist. The woods where Angel played as a child are from my childhood. She swims as a mermaid as did I for three years in college. While the setting of her childhood is similar to mine, her life is very different.

Angel was on the streets of South Padre when she was 12. At 16, she hitchhiked to Austin. After months on the streets there, she found a Help Wanted sign in the window of a bar/restaurant. She asked the owner to hire her. He told her she was too young. Every morning she waited for him to open. Every day he said no. On her 17th birthday, he said yes. He had no idea how close she was to dying.

Angel may have told her story to me, but she speaks to everyone. You can survive when bad or even horrific things happen to you. You can help yourself by helping others. The old saying is true. Put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward.

Angel has taken a break in talking to me. But I’m leaving the door open and lights on, hoping she’ll come by to tell me what happens next.


Helen Ginger was born in Georgia, but at age ten, her mother moved the family to Texas. Helen’s been there ever since, laying down roots and picking up stories. “My mother moved around a lot, from Austin to Luling to Lockhart to places in-between. One time while in college, I drove home to see her and my younger sister. They were gone. No forwarding address. People are aghast when I tell that story, but it wasn’t a big deal. I eventually found her.” As far back as Helen can remember, she’s always written: angst-filled stories in high school; short stories and poetry in college; mysteries, mainstream fiction, even technical books, three of which have been published by TSTC Publishing. Helen lives in a small town just outside of Austin, Texas. From her office window, she sees birds, deer, squirrels, road runners, foxes, cats, and rabbits. You can find Helen on Amazon, her blog, website, Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. You can also sign up for her weekly newsletter for writers, which has been going out for 13 years.

15 Comments Post a comment
  1. “Put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward.” That’s true no matter what age, isn’t it?

    August 28, 2012
    • It is, Dani, especially for us as adults. You’d hope that children wouldn’t have that truth, though.

      August 28, 2012
  2. Sylvia, thank you so much for allowing me to post on your blog – and to tell Angel’s story and how she came into being.

    August 28, 2012
    • My pleasure, Helen! So looking forward to making the time to read it! Whirlwind trip! But I do have it on my Ipad ready to go!

      August 28, 2012
  3. I like that she worked as a mermaid as well. Your mermaid stories are great!

    August 28, 2012
    • Thank you Alex. Angel’s beginning to whisper in my ear again, but I don’t think the next book will have much to do with swimming as a mermaid.

      August 28, 2012
  4. Angel sounds like a wonderfully, complicated and strong young woman. I envy people who have lived lots of places though it probably wasn’t fun to change schools all the time.

    August 28, 2012
  5. Wow–Angel IS a strong woman! And so are you. I would have freaked out if I’d come home from college to find my mother gone–of course, that would have been out of character for my mother, so that makes a difference. Still, it takes nerves of steel to find no home and no forwarding address and hang cool about it.

    No wonder Angel wants to talk to you!

    August 28, 2012
  6. You’re probably right, Marian. Angel and I are sort of soul sisters.

    August 28, 2012
  7. Helen, I am so glad that Angel is talking to you again. After reading this first book, I suspected that she could come back in a new story. I think these characters that stay with us for so long do need our attention.

    I agree with Marian, I would have freaked if my mother just disappeared like that. She wasn’t June Cleaver by any means, but at least she never ran away.

    August 29, 2012
  8. I like how you used your own insights and experiences to inform your character’s. 🙂 Congratulations on the release!

    August 29, 2012
    • Elizabeth, I find writing so much more profound when writers use their own insights and experience! Me, too!

      August 29, 2012
  9. Ann #

    It’s amazing how characters come alive isn’t it? Sometimes they surprise you and turn out to be nothing like you first thought.

    August 29, 2012

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