“I have been thrilled with my experience under the guidance of your self-publishing company Outskirts Press from day one. Also, you have such a fantastic array of packages that would help anyone promote their book. When my book was delivered and I held it in my hands I was so overwhelmed, I cried.”
Brenda Ratajczak was born during the “Great Appalachian Storm” in the winter of 1950. It was a long and difficult labor at Saint Joseph Hospital in Buckhannon, West Virginia. Nuns prayed for the family. Just a year later her sister was born. Brenda’s mother suffered with severe schizophrenia and her father was an alcoholic. The illnesses of her parents were life-threatening. “There was so much abuse, fear and neglect”. Brenda started writing at a very young age. Her writing was her way of dealing with this life. “Glimpses of Hell” is a difficult work in progress. Thank God for summers on her grandparents’ farm. She wrote of the adventures and happiness she experienced in this loving and nurturing environment. Her book “Snippets of Heaven” is her first to be published. Brenda has been married three times, in her words “to very different, exciting, and interesting men. Each taught me so much.” “I very deeply loved them at some point in my life.” The men that she loved prompted her latest book “Loves Passion and Pain”. Motherhood was her greatest joy, expressed in her years of poetry. “I was blessed beyond words to be the mother of four wonderful children.” Two of her children have passed away long before their mother who loved them. “I often feel that I have to live for three, myself and my two children gone before me.” “I refuse to be broken by their loss. I thank God that I had them and draw strength from my memories of them.” Brenda has taken up golf and shooting sporting clays in the last few years. “You have to step away from computers. Sunshine and fresh air are my elixir.” Most recently she has added hula hooping to her exercise and weight training regimen. “Life is so short. Stay active, healthy, try new things and thank God every day.”
This book of stories, “Snippets of Heaven”, is a labor of love, a project of the heart. I visited my grandparents’ farm every year of my young life until I was well into my teens. My visits inspired these stories, and these stories influenced my life. When I was a child, there was no electricity connected to the farm or running water into the farmhouse. There was no furnace to keep the house warm during cold winter nights or an air conditioner to cool the farmhouse when the summer days grew hot. I wanted to share these stories with my grandchildren. My grandchildren live in a very different world than what I knew as a child. I will travel back in time and visit the farm I so loved. I will meander up the road and down the holler. I will wander through the yard within the white picket fence and visit each room of the house again. I will remember the animals and explore the acres in that wild and beautiful farm country. I will simply tell the stories that I recall or retell stories that were told to me by my family. The stories are true. I did change the ending to three of the stories as one was too graphic, one was too heartbreaking, and one was just so violent. There are so many stories that come to mind that I would like to share. The stories are dear to my heart. These stories are a part of who I am and why I am.