Bottle Blues

I’ve spent the last two days trying to make a rather dry subject seem interesting.  Assigned topics are never as exciting as the subjects that we would choose on our own.  I wouldn’t have selected the topic of alcoholism and it’s effects on the families even though I have experience with it.  My father was an alcoholic, and I watched it destroy his health.  The effects it had in family dynamics can be attested to first hand, yet it’s one of those subjects that I don’t like to talk about.

I loved my father and he was never a violent drunk.  I am often very reserved in sharing personal information about myself and my family, because I don’t want to ever disrespect them in any way.  I understand why he started drinking, why he continued to drink, and I understand  the long reaching effects it had on our family.

I”m faced with research facts and medical documentation of symptoms that I experienced first hand.  For me this is a particularly difficult assignment because of the emotional pain behind it.  That’s the most devastating part of alcoholism that is never  considered in the younger “party” days.

My dad was a WWII veteran.  He went in on D-Day and lived first hand through horrors that were far greater than could be shown in the movie Saving Private Ryan.  He was in an Engineer corp on the front lines of battle throughout the European theatre. When most of our soldiers came home, the Engineer Corp stayed behind to clean up Auschwitz, Nuremberg, Dakow, and such. He saw depths of human despair that most of us will never experience.  I don’t begrudge him coping with those horrors through alcohol.  If it were today, doctors would overmedicate him and claim post traumatic stress disorder.  But that’s not how the heroes of World War II handled it.  They resumed life the best they knew how, jumped in with both feet and worked hard in their jobs to support their booming families.

Dad will always be a hero in my book.  He was a sweet gentle man who was slow to anger, and approached life with humor! He was a quiet unassuming man who stood 5’7″, but in my book he was a giant.

Over the years the alcoholism progressed, and he stayed comfortably numb most of the time. Between my siblings and myself, we exhibit every potential symptom of children of alcoholics.  Understanding is often the first step to freedom. The 12 step program that many help groups offer are great tools to achieve this freedom.

This assignment has hit a little too close to home with me, and as I begin to churn the facts, my emotions pour onto the page.  The loss of my father, the respect I will always have for him despite his problems with alcohol overshadow my words. Personal slant – uh yeah, I’d say so.  Personal experience pieces often sell.  I’m concerned that when it comes to matters of the heart, and especially when it concerns my father, this 48-year-old woman is reduced to that 7-year-old girl in pig tails running along behind daddy, trying to keep up with his strides.

How well this one will sell when the main emphasis is put on the emotional fallout rather than the clinical issues remains to be seen.

What gives you an edge over the competition to sell articles?  Your slant, or unique perspective.  How you convey the gleaned knowledge, the volumes of research and combine them into a winning recipe depends on you writer’s voice. Yet, it can’t be too personal or readers won’t relate.

It’s different for fiction than it is for nonfiction.  My nonfiction voice tends to fluctuate between an intelligent midwestern American voice of experience, and the sagacious wit which I often approach life with.  On occasion the two combine for a truly unique perspective on a chosen topic.  there’s not much opportunity for humor in this current piece, and I”m concerned that any intelligence fled the moment the emotions began to rise.

However, an assignment often means a guaranteed sale.  YEAH!  So, there’s hope yet that the editor may indeed accept it, or ask for a  revision without a complete rejection.

Writing from the heart can be deeply satisfying, yet emotionally draining.  If it’s truly from the heart it will carry impact to the reader.  It will grip them, until they feel the choking sensation rising within themselves.  Maybe one of their loved ones is experiencing the hell of alcoholism, or maybe it will bring conviction to their own drinking and help them see it through someone elses eyes.

An alcoholic never intends to harm those around them. In my dad’s case, it was to numb the pain, a self-administered medication.  How could I possibly fault him for alcoholism when I’ve done the same thing to myself with food?  In my case I can recover from the extra pounds with minimal damage.  It wasn’t the case for my father, it ruined his liver and his heart an eventually was the cause of his death.

I hope this piece does get published and that it has an impact on someone.  Many tears were shed in writing a 2500 word article on a topic I would not have chosen. I’ve put more energy into this piece than I thought I would, and it has been strangely cathartic. I’m also hoping this one gets published for the effort it has taken me.  I may not have sweated but it sure involved many tears.

Thanks for dropping by today and listening.  I’d appreciate any comments you wish to share on the subject!

Research Sucks! (You In)

I know this is a really geeky thing to say, but when I was in college and had to write essays and term papers, it was the fun part of class.  I realize for most of the world this is not the case, but it’s really in the perspective of how you look at it.  I approach my research like I’m solving a Nancy Drew mystery.

For my U.S. History class I had to write the obligatory term papers on the Civil War.  Everyone had to, but I relished it.  It may help that my parents were history buffs and I grew up with war memorabilia from the Civil War, World War I and my dad’s memorabilia from World War II.

There are several historic Civil War sites in our area and Herculaneum, Missouri played an essential part in the Civil War.  Lead shot for cannonballs was produced at the Herculaneum shot tower for the Civil War.  First paper covered –  I received an A and comments about such a remote reference that played a significant part of history.  Whatever, I grew up there!  Second term paper had to be about one of the battles.   Never fear, junior sleuth Ellie (maiden name used) Mack was hot on the trail with a vivid imagination.

While many of my class mates chose Gettysburg, and Harper’s Ferry I chose the Battle of Antietam, it was also known as the Battle of Sharpsburg in the South.  Near the town of Sharpsburg, Maryland and Antietam Creek, it was the first major battle in the Civil War to take place on Union soil.  The main distinction of Antietam was that it was the bloodiest single-day battle in American history with approximately 23,000 casualties.

For a brief description of the battle, if you happen to be interested go to Wikipedia and read the summary of Antietam. I”m not going to go into that detail because that’s not my main point.  My point is, the strategy and drama that led to that day, and took place during September 17th, was far more exciting than the works of fiction that I was reading at the time. The term paper I turned in was filled with fantastic detail of the strategy, and the facts that despite the Union army’s greater numbers they were outwitted by General Robert E. Lee.  My retelling of the horror on the battlefield was filled with graphic sensory details.  I received another A, but the instructor commented that I shouldn’t have been as detailed in my descriptions.  It left him feeling ill.

Shouldn’t an essay on the horrors of war leave you feeling a bit green?  Shouldn’t it turn your stomach that 23,000 people died violent deaths, many lingering for days?  War is never a pretty thing and the politics that lead to the deaths of brave soldiers is an insidious evil.  Most of these young men were under the age of 19.  I suppose it was a good thing that I wasn’t required to make a political statement on my views.

Why in the world am I bringing this stuff up? Research.

Back then I did it because I had to for my term papers.  When I worked for the Defense department, I did it for national security.  Talk about some paper chases  – I could tell you some tales about that, but then I’d have to kill you.  Best if we don’t go there.  Now here’s the shocker, for years I’ve done it for pleasure.

What? What kind of sick puppy am I anyway?  I know it seems weird but that’s part of the magical mystery in being a writer.  I have volumes on all things medieval. I have a complete set of World War II books covering everything from weaponry, aircraft, personal accounts, and detailed historical accounts of battles and military strategies.

Here in St. Louis they just had their annual super used book sale.  I love this day, I come home with as many books as I can possibly find.  OH, the kids and hubs get a few as well.  I buy books the way other women buy clothes.

Herbal remedies come in handy for medieval medical practices.  Celtic mythology is very helpful in understanding medieval society.  Tomes on history, and geography help with place names and locations.  Even if you are making up your town name, it’s good to know a bit about the region where you’re planning on founding your town.  Remember, the devil is in the details and if you have your details wrong, smart readers will know that you cut corners on your research.

There is one downside to research though, that I will admit.  I can get lost in a library for hours.  I get sucked into the internet web of easily accessible fun facts that are available with a simple click.  Research can easily propel you into a vortex known as a disruption in the space-time continuum.  Somewhere, you entered a time portal for a few minutes and came out on the other side hours later.

When I open my books on medieval weaponry and warfare, somewhere between the covers  is one of these portals.  I flip a few pages and the next thing I know hours have passed.  It happens and it’s very real.  Just ask any writer, and however sheepish the answer, even if they hem-haw around for a while they’ll eventually admit to being sucked into these idp’s –  Inter-dimentional portals.  You have just enetered the Research Zone.

And you thought the Twilight Zone was scary.



Puppet Masters

A fiction writer starts out as god in their created universe. It’s an ego thing really, and all about the illusion of control.  We create fictional characters to fit into our fictional worlds and begin to manipulate them like puppets on a stage.

Wasn’t it Shakespeare that referenced all the world’s a stage and we but players on it ?  I believe it was: All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players; They have their exits and their entrances, And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages.

The expression of the world being a stage goes back to Roman times, but Shakespeare gets credit for it.  This is what we start off doing as writers.  We set our stage and move our characters about, creating a powerful euphoria of being god of our universe.  Then, if we’ve done a good job as a writer our characters begin to rebel against their strings.  They don’t like the scenario you’ve come up with and protest your ministrations.

For nonwriters, this type of discussion can be disturbing and makes them think us writers are all nuts!  We’re not by the way, or at least not entirely.

Some writers claim it’s writer’s block, but I have a different philosophy.  When my characters have become more person than caricature, they start showing their personality.  For instance  Kyle, the leading man in Faere Guardian, is very particular about his clothes.  He doesn’t think he is, but when I put him in an Armani suit, he fidgeted and messed with his tie.  His stance was uncomfortable and a scowl quickly developed making deep furrows in his brow.  Of course what else would you expect from a brooding Scot?

However, when I put him in more relaxed attire such as khakis and a polo, he was quite comfortable and the scowl lines disappeared.  Of course that’s also part of being a writer, cueing off the subtleties of your creations.  I could easily ignore his discomfort and force a certain look, but then that would be counterproductive to the point.

Sometimes I wonder if it’ not a matter of developing your characters, but learning the characters that come to you.  Just like our real life friends, we have to learn their personalities, and determine how they react to the scenarios they are put in.  If we are the puppet masters of our creations, doesn’t that imply that they are flat characters that we can manipulate to our whims, and not take regard of the characters goals and desires?

In essence, we are not to be puppet masters, but rather stewards of our created worlds.  We work our magic like a  conductor directs a symphonic orchestra, building to a crescendo in one area while subsiding in another. Just as the orchestra needs to practice before a concert, a good writer often has to rewrite or revise a first draft.  Those subtle undertones that are going on behind the main melody will soon overtake the melody and make a tumultuous statement, building to that pinnacle moment.

That’s the goal of a writer, to be a masterful storyteller, not just a puppet master.  There are plenty of examples of bad writing out there.  I don’t want mine to be one of them.  Of course based on my rantings here, I’m sure there are those who are already decided that I don’t have the talent.  That’s ok, you can write your own blog in your style.  In the meantime, I”m passionaltely pursuing my dreams in the way I know how, and learning more along the way!


Creating Success

Success rarely just happens.  I remember as a child singing along with Doris Day as she sang “Que sera, sera”.  I bought into that philosophy of life and  it dumped me in an ocean full of sharks.

When I let life just happen, it took a downhill turn, to the path of least resistance.  Status quo was an intolerable existence for me.  The majority of people live their lives in this fashion – passively allowing things to just carry them downstream.  I think this is why so many people are unhappy as well.  Just my personal philosophy, based on observations.

In this year of change, I have reevaluated where I am and where I want to be.  I”m not exactly sure what “success” will look like in the final outcome, but I can tell you that it isn’t where I am now.  Where I am now is a little further along the road to success than I was at the beginning of the year.  Progress is important to keeping your motivation!

Progress helps increase your confidence.  For example progress in an exercise program builds your motivation to keep going.  A good measure is to take an assessment test before beginning, then after about a month, and the next month, and so on.  When I first started my workout, I could only last 15 minutes on an elliptical.  Each week, I’d bump it up just a few minutes and before you knew it, I was doing 45 minutes.  That is progress!  Each little milestone you pass, creates a feeling that you will achieve success.  In this area I have a pretty clear vision of what my success will look like, and I’m not there yet.  I”m working on it though, and although I’m currently sidelined due to a knee injury; I haven’t quit.  I can do this, it isn’t too difficult.  I”m in no shape to run a marathon, but I’m no longer going to eliminate the possibility in my future.  Three years ago, my attitude was there’s no way I could ever do that.  Now, I’m seeing how it could be possible.  That’s progress.

Ultimately, it comes down to choices.  You can choose to coast along and let life happen, or you can take control and steer your own destiny.

Creating success starts first in the mind.  The first choice is if you are going to let life happen or create success for yourself.  I’ve tried the first one and didn’t like it. Now, I”m working on the second choice.  I’m liking this one much better already!

The hardest part is changing mind sets.  We grow up with a certain mind-set, and learned behavior that we accept.  Go to any local factory and observe the workers.  The vast majority have settled into the “life happens” philosophy and they are working for their paycheck to enjoy the next weekend, the next family vacation, to pay off their bills, or  a variety of other things.   Getting our mindsets turned around is a miracle within itself.  Creating a vision, allowing yourself to hope once again, and setting your sights higher is a major step in achieving success.

There’s so much more to life than that!  I like this new aspect of letting myself dream.  The excitement  that is inherent in any new project stimulates the motivation, and the motivation keeps  me going in a forward direction.  The forward direction is moving me to crossing the finish line step by step.  One step followed by another and  before I know it, I’ve passed the halfway mark.  It starts getting exciting!

Whether you are a mom, an attorney, a football coach, a nurse, or a writer you can achieve success.  It’s a really simple two-part plan that is easy to tailor to your own needs, and follow.

STEP 1:  Make a PLan

Whatever your plan is, write it down.  By writing it down it gives a sense of accountability.  Hold yourself accountable to achieve your own dreams, and if you’re bold enough post them publicly to have others hold you accountable.  Figure out what you have to do to achieve your plan by making it a SMART goal.  Break it down into achievable steps that you can implement.  Remember, the journey of a 1000 miles begins with the first step.

STEP 2: Work the PLan

Yep, it’s just that simple.  Start doing the things you need to achieve your goals.  Whatever you do, do it well.  Give it your best effort!  If your goal is to be the best mom to your children then give it everything you’ve got.  If your goal is to be the best football coach then give it your best effort.  Do the things you need to do to achieve your goals, and by giving your best effort it will give you the sense of accomplishment of a job well done.  that gives you momentum for the next time.

My father used to always say  “Anything worth having is worth working for” and “If you’re going to do it, do it right!”   Whether you are building your marriage, your abs, your business, or a career these two expressions apply.  It’s going to take work to get to the top and achieve success.

Without applied effort, the six-pack abs end up looking like a keg.

Here’s a little secret: the majority of the world is content with status quo.  If you are one of the 15% that dream of a better life you’re already ahead of 85% of the population.  If you write down your goals, you’re in the top 3%, and if you take it to the next level of applying concerted effort in achieving those dreams, you are in the top 1.5% of the world’s population!

While my friends and family are relaxing on their tubes floating down the lazy river of life, I’m paddling my canoe fast and furious upstream against the current. It’s hard work, but worth it in the end.  I hope some of you will join me!




My kids love to watch Scooby Doo. What would they have done without Velma’s Brain?  Did they ever run out of Scooby snacks?  In Scooby Doo the ghost was always uncovered as a villain posing as a ghost.

Abbott and Costello dealt with their fair share of ghosts and goblins in between meeting Frankenstein, Dracula and the Wolfman.  I still love watching these old black and white movies on occasion.  We used to have Sunday afternoon movie matinée when I was growing up.  Creature from the Black Lagoon scared me every time!  I would lay in the floor on my stomach, head propped up with my hands, and watch.  It didn’t help that my older brothers would sneak up and scare the daylights out of me.

During the 80’s Ghostbusters burst onto the scene.  Love that movie!  There are so many funny lines from that movie, such as “Listen, you smell that?”  As I’ll be stuck on the sofa all weekend, we may just have to watch this one!  Sounds like a plan to me.  While my friends are in the theater watching The Hunger Games, me and my leg brace will be reclining at home watching a movie marathon.

Have you ever watched Ghosthunters?  These guys are nuts!  They went to Edinburgh Castle, actually beneath the castle.  Mary King’s Close was buried under the Royal Exchange, which is part of the Royal Mile.  Overcrowding and unsanitary living conditions contributed to the large number of plague victims in this area.  The underground catacombs of this area is said to be one of the most haunted areas in the world.

Across the world, stories of ghosts are common. Some places like Edinburgh, give guided ghost walks to fascinated tourists.

As if a ghost is going to perform on command like a cabaret show!

Some people buy into the ghost thing wholeheartedly, and others are more skeptical.  Whichever side of the fence you fall on, ghosts have made for good storytelling over the years.  Whether it’s Scooby and Shaggy or Professor Venkman, ghosts are good business.

There’s been a recent influx of ghost stories in the paranormal romance  genre.   Here’s a problem: how does the hero and heroine interact when one of them is a ghost? I”m not currently writing a ghost story, but I won’t rule it out in the future.  The idea of solving the abundance of problems for a ghost/human relationship is intriguing.  Sounds like a challenge to me!

Well if you’re not going to write a story about ghosts why are you blogging about them?  I”m so glad you asked.  Opportunity  is knocking all the time.

My daughter had to do some research on ghosts for a term paper.  One of her books caught my interest and I started flipping through it.  I found some interesting “ghost busting” ideas, and jotted some things down in my handy-dandy notebook.  Yes, the old-fashioned spiral kind made from tree pulp that require an ink pen and actual writing.  For anyone that thinks they have writer’s block, you should try this.  I have three or four notebooks filled with seemingly useless information.  At least that’s what my husband thought when he flipped through one that was filled with all things medieval, Knights Templar, Hospitallers, and weaponry.  Interesting facts that won’t help me in my day-to-day life, but is rich fertile  soil for a writer’s idea garden.

In the back section of this 5 subject notebook, It’s all about things that go bump in the dark and the supernatural.  Ghosts, phantoms, apparitions, and famous ghosts around the world are noted.  Famous haunted places, and potentially haunted areas are jotted down with web addresses for further investigations if I so choose.  Ley lines, and places that ghosts are commonly seen are marked in order of interest.

I left room for some more notes on one section marked Magical Hours.  Charm hours, chakras, dreams, and psychometry are discussed.  My Irish Grandmother told me about chime hours and the knowing.  I will have to investigate these other things further as I really don’t understand them.

I’m not going off the deep end into some crazy ghost hunting paranormal adventure just yet though.  In fact it was a welcomed distraction from my current blitzkrieg of writing.  I mentioned that I’ve been experiencing the writer’s high –  when the writing flows in golden prose.  I haven’t crossed the finish line yet, but I had to take a time out.

A little diversion in one area allows the energy bar to replenish in my dragon arena.  You may have noticed before I mentioned the knee brace, I had to see the orthopedic surgeon this morning.  I injured my knee a few weeks ago.  A large tear in the meniscus and a torn ligament have kept me hobbling around here uncomfortably.  This morning the doctor drained 50 cc’s of fluid from my knee and decided I needed a brace on it to keep it immobilized, and crutches to take the weight off of my leg.  Hence the lounging on the sofa over the weekend while watching a movie marathon.

A little ghostly diversion today doesn’t really matter since I”ll be spending some quality time with my laptop over the weekend.  Rendezvous with a dragon, hmm possibly another title for the future.  I’ll just add that to my spiral notebook.

Has a ghost tale ever inspired you to write your own  story?  Do you believe, disbelieve in ghosts?  Leave me a comment and let me know!  Have a great weekend and write on!


Monsters From the ID

One of the best science fiction movies of the 50’s is arguably Forbidden Planet.  Many of the 50’s movies were cheesy with visible strings, plastic rockets, cheesier costumes, and poor acting.  Forbidden Planet stands out by a mile with state of the art technology for the time. Any good science fiction work will accomplish one thing: make us look introspectively at ourselves.

The storyline of Forbidden Planet, for those not familiar is an adaptation of The Tempest by William Shakespeare.  This is one of my all time favorite movies!

So what do monsters from the ID have to do with the connection in my brain?  Hang on we’ll get there.  Enjoy the scenery along the way.

I was watching – sort of – Burn Notice on tv while I was writing.  I was having a continued flash of my “rockin’ it”  writing that I blogged about yesterday, and only occasionally glanced at the tv.  Anyone else need background noise?  Michael Weston always comes out on top in each episode, yet the bigger  fight of discovering who burned him has continued to elude him.  That got my little brain in high gear, as my villain is hell-bent on his path of destruction.  He is so focused on destroying his nemesis – my hero – that he fails to see the bigger picture.  Suddenly I was engrossed in the show and well, the actor is attractive anyway.  My gears are turning, I”m taking mental notes as Michael does what he does best, all the while explaining to the viewers what he’s doing.  I nudged my  cantankerous villain to pay attention here, maybe things won’t have to end poorly for him.

He hissed at me and went back to his plans of destruction.  He really should have paid attention, it would have helped him in the end.

OK, hang on because we’re jumping tracks for a moment.  My daughter had a friend over, and the discussion came up about writing.  My ears of course perked right up. The younger daughter prepared a snack – toast with Nutella on it.  I couldn’t resist.

I asked the girl ” Did my daughter tell you what happened to Kyle when I gave him hazelnuts?”  (For those who don’t know Nutella is made of hazelnuts and cocoa) This led into the conversation about how Kyle (my hero from first WIP – FAERE GUARDIAN) had a severe allergic reaction to nuts and ended up in ICU from anaphylaxis.  He also received blunt trauma to the head, but that’s a different matter.

She looked at the snack and set it back on her plate.  My daughter explained that Kyle was a character in my book.  A few minutes later, she asked me what some of my hobbies were.  “Devising take over the world plots and the demise of my perceived enemies.”  OK, in my defense I was deep in the zone of my villain’s motives and frame of mind.

I hope I didn’t scare her too badly.  I think the awkward laugh after my statement might  have been over the top.  Later when I took her home, I had a chance to talk with the girl’s mother.  We hit it off pretty well.  We talked about our geekiness and about the sci-fi things we liked; the Doctor Who marathons, the Red Dwarf series, and Star Trek conventions.  I explained to her mother that I was a writer and I maybe might have scared her daughter earlier.  As I explained it to the mother, I think she understood but I’m not convinced that my daughter’s friend will be returning to my home.

OK, back on original track now.  The conversation with this teenage girl came to my mind as I’m watching Michael Weston get out of yet another impossible situation, and glanced internally at the villain I had created in my ID.  He had a long way to go to be truly scary.  I thought about the exchange with my daughter’s friend, and laughed.  Pretty sad when a midwest housewife was scarier than a villainous dragon.

It was time to go to my think spot.  He had to be more.  Had to go deeper, darker, scarier to get a villain that was not just fun house scary, but your worst nightmare come to life scary.  I have had some intense nightmares, so I started looking there.  What is it that  makes something scary?  What characteristics make a really bad villain?  What motive would my villain have to have to psychologically terrorize my reader?  Don’t worry, I don’t unleash his specific brand of madness on the readers, but I want them to get a glimpse of his potential.

Master of the macabre, Stephen King made his name by employing the psychological terror in his work.  The monsters from the ID are truly the most terrifying things we can imagine.  Hmmm, I had to take a break from my writing.  It was time to probe the other 90% of my brain and breathe some truly frightening  ideas into my character.  He really should have paid attention earlier.

Victims of abuse or torture become immune to the fear after a while.  A victim can be turned to an abuser when a line is crossed.  Such is the case with my villain.  Erik’s mother was a bit of a sociopathic dragon you see.  She inflicted her specific poison upon Erik for years contributing to his psychopathic tendencies.  Of course madness is genetically inherited in some instances as well.  There’s a certain amount of sympathy you can’t help but feel for the child that was Erik, the formative years of a young dragon being tormented and poisoned by an insane mother.  It was all very sad, it turned him into a true monster.

For the good of all humanity whether it be in the dragon realm or human realm, monster’s simply can’t be allowed to terrorize and destroy the harmonic balance of the universe.

No power in the ‘verse can stop me now that I’ve unleashed my monster from the ID.  MWAHAHAHA!

Rockin’ It!

Yesterdays post of Vampires! was cathartic for me.  I’m ecstatic at the feedback I’ve received.  It’s a great feeling to know that there are other people dealing with the same issues, and satisfying to hear that they’ve dealt with the same things.

It’s always a hard decision to cut someone  off even if they are detrimental to your own success.  It was a move that needed to be made and even though I felt guilty for doing it, it was cleansing almost instantaneously.  It cleared the cobwebs and dust out of those cluttered corners of my mind, allowing me to focus once again on my passion – my writing.

I started slow, I had to get re-aquainted with my heroine and hero.  I’d been preoccupied and neglecting them due to my vampire relationship.  I made apologies, reconnected and gave them my undivided attention.  It was awkward for the first twenty minutes.  I was feeling doubtful, uncomfortable, like the employee that got promoted then demoted back to the original position.

I had to walk away for a bit.  In fact, I took it outdoors to a park.  A fruit slushy, a notebook and a couple of pens – different colors of course, and I was ready for the self talk.  I think the fresh air really helped clear my mind. I began jotting down notes, which led to more notes.  My thoughts began to link together, like a crocheted afghan.

Let me explain:  weaving combines many threads laced together.  Crocheting has one thread that builds upon itself, interlocking  each row onto the next, building precepts upon precepts, until the final project is a warm fuzzy blanket with intricate details. It’s also similar to a Celtic design that is a continuous design, showing no beginning or end but flows together  in a delightful design.

I had one ear bud in listening to some tunage, while I could still hear my surroundings.

Stronger by Kelly Clarkson played. Determinate by Lemonade Mouth was followed by Pearl Jam, Lenny Kravits and some Aerosmith.  I made some more notes, a giddiness coming over me at the simplistic yet seemingly complex story line created a picture in my head.

Hit Me With Your Best Shot  put some steel in my heroine’s spine. Skillet, Linkin Park, and  Evanescence contributed in cheering me forward.  But when Ann and Nancy Wilson from Heart started belting out Kick It Out; suddenly all pistons were firing and the gears were meshing. I was rockin’ it!  OK, well the groups were rockin’ the music and their music was rockin’ my muse. The eighties music brought back memories of fun times and a lighter outlook on life.   I glanced at my phone for the time, then flipped through my pages of notes.  I had twelve pages of hand written notes, laced with circles doodles, arrows, numbers linking points and underlined passages. It was now time to pick up the kids and go home to carry on with family life until I could rendezvous with my laptop.

Excitement buzzed in my ear – no wait that was a wasp.  Excitement coursed through my veins, my fingers itching to tap the keys, I gathered my things and walked back to my car.

It was a couple of hours later when I got to sit down with my laptop and put the pieces together in my story.  The words flowed from my brain through my fingers over my keyboard in  a magical way.  I was in the zone!  I haven’t been in the zone like that for nearly a month.  Everything was coming together, the words, the characters, the sensory descriptions; all of them cooperating as the scene built to a symphonic crescendo, chiming the climax like that last note that rings through the concert hall.

A perfect moment when the doubts and the “head gremlins” were silenced.  I was breathing in short little pants, as my fingers stilled, allowing my eyes to skim the words I’d just composed.  I had rocked it!  Fist pump!!

It’s times like this when I know that I know I’m a writer, and that one day I will achieve the success in my writing. I will achieve my dreams.



For all the Bram Stoker fans, Anne Rice fans, True Blood fans and the Twilight fans, sorry but this one’s not for you.  The vampires to which I refer are the bloodsuckers that are very real.  Every one of us knows at least one.

They are clever, hiding in plain sight.  I”m not sure how many I had encountered in my life up to my first discovery, but I know they were there.  My first discovery took a very long while, as  conventional society doesn’t recognize their existence.  True blood suckers that drain our life-force, the leeches of society.

I’m talking about the downers, the dream stealers, the whiners, and time stealers.  My first discovery was a time stealer.  She wanted more and more of my time.  After spending time with her I felt drained, exhausted and couldn’t quite figure out what was wrong.  There were signs along the way, I just ignored them.  One of the down sides to being an eternal optimist is that I tend to be too naive and trusting.

The pieces started coming together though and I started seeing the bigger picture.  There was the constant complaining, bashing her husband, and fault-finding in numerous people.  She didn’t want to get better, and was pulling me down every time I was around her.  After a couple of years I had to cut her off.  It worked out conveniently when I went to work full-time.  I felt guilty at first, but honestly after getting that particular brand of poison out of my system I felt better.  No hard feelings, I just can’t hang around with her.

Over the course of years there have been many people who I’ve crossed paths with that were  vampires.  The hardest ones for me are the one in my own family.  It’s more complicated to cut ties with family.  Family has always been an important part of my life.  After my mother’s death, the vampire nature manifested in blood relatives.  It was ugly, but I survived.  You find out who people really are when pressure is applied.  I discovered that the already strained relations weren’t what I thought they were.  I still see them on occasion.

Presently, I’ve been dealing with a special breed of blood sucker.  Someone that I thought was a friend turned out to be pure arsenic.  I gave plenty of chances, even forgiving when they blasted me for no reason other than they were feeling down.  When it progressed into attacking my character and hurling insults I cut them loose.

It may sound like I”m being harsh, I”m not.  I”ve been such a people pleaser before that I”ve allowed abusive behaviour.  I”m sure there are psychological reasons why I do this but I’m trying to take back my life now.  I”m working on achieving my dreams and not sitting on the sidelines any longer.

Why does it take me so long to recognize  vampire behaviour?  Because essentially there is that inner belief that everyone else thinks the same as I do.  It’s heartbreaking when you realize that not only is that not true, but some are vicious and downright mean!

Why do I allow it to continue for so long before I cut them loose?  I don’t know. I”m working on that one.  I will say that the first one took me three years to cut off, this latest one has only been six months.  I think that’s progress.

In the online world of Facebook; there are many pretenders. I belong to a fan group online that the players post fake pictures of the characters they are pretending to be.  This is known going in and it’s purely for fun!  However in other circuits where you are assuming that the people are being honest it makes me angry when I discover that their entire profile is nothing but lies.  There are certain reasons for anonymity and I understand that.  However, the personality of the poser comes out eventually.  It’s just a matter of time.

The true vampires are out there everyday, all around us.  You’ll know who they are if you would just stop a moment and be honest with yourself.  Are they constantly criticizing?  Are they complaining about everything? Are they unhappy in their own lives? Do they dump their emotional garbage on you?  Do they ever really listen to what you have to say? Summon up your inner Van Helsing and stake those suckers before they destroy you!

I’m on a path of achieving my dreams – I’ve stated that before.  I’ve wasted many years of my life by not getting in the game and giving up on my dreams.  Vampires will gladly help you delay progression towards your goals. You hear their faint whispers of “come to the dark side”.  They’ll coax you down a dark path and isolate you where they can attack.  Linger there long enough and they’ll drain you dry.

As one of my favorite authors would say “Stay to the light”!

Confessions of A Killer

Springtime! The garden departments are overflowing with a variety of plant  starts. From twenty varieties of tomatoes to flowers of every shade; a paradise  of flora awaits.

I’m drawn like a moth to a flame. The scent of peat mixed with the delicate  fragrance of flower blossoms create a euphoria that I’m unable to resist.

I drool over begonias, loading them into a plastic tray. My heart races at  the vibrant pinks of Dianthus. Beads of sweat dot my upper lip as I brush my  hands over the supposedly hardy geraniums. Giddiness overwhelms rational thought  as I load multiple trays of beautiful starts into my cart.

Then, it happens. I never intend for it to, it just does.

Once home my true nature manifests. I am a cold-blooded plant killer – yes, a  plant sadist. I try every year to make appealing arrangements like my neighbors.  The outcome is always the same: They end up dead.

If they require full sun, they end up in shade. If they require shade, they  get the full sun. If they require little water, I drown them. Those requiring lots  of water shrivel immediately.

I spend hundreds of dollars to buy plants that will beautify our home, only  to end up with dull lifeless carcasses. The remains of previous victims are  scattered across our back patio as harbingers of the new plants eventual fate.  My conscious efforts to nurture them are overruled by unconscious murderous  tendencies.

If you could hear their little voices, there would be tiny little screams  from my cart. I try – honestly, I do – to make them thrive. It only gives them  false hope, putting off their inevitable fate. Eventually, they die. Not a quick  death, but rather a slow tortuous agonizing demise.

Some people have a green thumb, mine’s black. The black thumb of death. I  can’t seem to stop. I’ve killed cactus, ferns, various flowers, and even a  mother-in-laws-tongue. Someone told me they would never die, even if you  neglected them forever. It took a while, but I killed them.

Ironically, I can grow a vegetable garden. If I can get them in the ground,  they stand a fair chance of survival. But then there are the horn worms, aphids,  and squash bugs vying for their lives. Eventually, the stress wears them down,  and they surrender to the gaping maw of death that taunts their very  existence.

My husband spotted the trays in the shopping cart and pleaded to stop the  senseless brutality; to give the poor plants a chance and put them back. I  conceded when I spotted two bright pink azalea bushes that were beckoning.

I needed something to replace the dead viburnum at the end of the driveway.  As I placed the trays back on the shelves, they seemed to be drooping. Maybe it  was just my imagination.

As we paid the cashier, my husband asked if she could hear the screaming.

Oh,  the horror!