Sunday, December 28, 2014

Traditional vs Independent

As this year draws to a close and we all prepare for the new year I have been looking back over everything that has happened and it has gotten me thinking about my next steps. Like many I know I have been preparing my goals and resolutions lists for the coming year and on those lists there are the typical health and wealth targets as well of course as my professional aspirations. While making my list, which I have found posting them helps keep me accountable, I came across my list from last year.

At this time last year I was just as ambitious in my goal setting as I have been this year. I had all the bills set out that I was going to pay off, I lined up several 5K runs and set a number of bike rides to participate in, I had a list of submissions and drafts of writings I would complete and I was dedicated to getting my candy company up and running.

I love the candy and baking that I do but I found as the year began that my heart really was more devoted to my writing. It came more naturally and I found my passion lay among the pages not wrapped in chocolate. I still bake and make my desserts but it is definitely more of a hobby. I had planned to submit some my children's books but I am still stuck on how exactly to do that so that got pushed back and is now a side project for this year. And the book I had planned to write needs to be heavily researched and therefore I ended up working on a few others instead.

I did however manage to hold my first novel in my hands this year, published through an indie publisher Pure Ice. I never thought I would go the route of indie / self-publishing because I will admit I looked down on it. Anyone can write something and self-publish and that made me think of it as less than quality. I have even now seen numerous works that support that theory and I have not completely gotten past it. There are those however that I have found that take it very seriously.

These authors edit, rewrite, send out for beta readers and then rewrite again before ever considering pushing publish and those artists I have the utmost respect for. I have learned just how difficult it is as an unknown author to get your name out there. I joined the world of twitter, created a few Facebook pages dedicated to my writing work and have made this blog which I am not ashamed to admit I am still in the learning stages of growing.

So as I look forward to 2015 I have asked myself, do I plan to continue in this indie publishing game or do I want to try to follow the traditional publishing route? I have seen arguments for both and I can see each side very clearly. I have decided that I will actually be, at least in a way, attempting both. I have dreamed of doing a traditional contract for most of my life and I feel I do have pieces that would be good enough to be accepted. I also believe that what I have learned about self promotion would help in my ability to gain a contract by demonstrating my dedication to marketing.

I however would never want to leave the indie publishing world I have joined nor the friends that have been so instrumental in helping me see the larger publishing picture that I was too narrow minded to notice before. I have my charity series that will always and forever be through the inspiring Rock & Roll Saved My Soul. I could never walk away from that. My novels and children's books I hope will be a mixture of traditional and indie published works that I can one day promote side by side.

It is my hope that one day my notoriety will be enough that I can help others the way my newly found friends have helped me.

Saturday, December 27, 2014


I have been watching a show called Trip Flip recently where a Travel Channel personality named Burt wanders around convincing people to randomly say yes to adventures of a lifetime. I am beyond envious of the people on the show and it makes me want to go out and create my own adventures. I came up with the idea of starting an interactive adventure blog and youtube show that would capture me doing all kinds of interesting and challenging things around the world.

I wanted to involve the adventure of Trip Flip, the interactiveness of people challenging me like Man vs Food and my own love of travel and writing. I am not sure however if it is a workable idea at the moment seeing as how I have no start up capital to fund the trips and adventures though if I see I have a backing I will work on ways to fund raise and get going. 

I do have the heart of an explorer. I made a list of numerous activities I could do to get started and then would take on challenges from followers as well. Some of the things I have done but would love to do again include skydiving, snorkeling the Whitsunday Islands and Caribbean, surfing, rock climbing rappelling among others. I love to explore and want to experience things all over the world. There is, however, one glaring concern from family and friends in this endeavor.

I am tremendously ambitious but equally clumsy. Case in point is that just a few days ago on Christmas afternoon I went sledding for the first time in years. As I jumped onto the saucer for the first hill I felt the cold of the snow biting at me through my thin knit gloves. The wind dancing through my hair and I could see my breath coming out in puffs of steam. I also realized, much too late, that I could see a dip with an icy ledge at the bottom of the hill.

I attempted the maneuver any child of snow is taught at a young age, roll to the side then retrieve the sled after it stops. I was moving too quickly to make it off though and I hit the ledge on the right side of my body with brutal force. I lost my left shoe, hat and phone in the impact and then lost consciousness for a few seconds as well. I have a severe concussion and so am resting while I write. As I recover I question my desire to take on dangerous activities but they are in my heart and as I am writing one of my current stories it occurs to me that I can use the sensations I experienced from sledding as part of a car crash scene.

Everything in my life as always found a way to inspire another aspect as well. I am looking forward to getting some of my current projects wrapped up so I may take on the next challenge. Who knows maybe that adventure blog is still waiting in the wings.

Sunday, December 21, 2014

My Rescuers

I have been enjoying the holidays and the creative process of making my holiday treats for the past few weeks. I have spent time with family and friends while of course having to make time for the obligation of my jobs as well. Yet overall I can say it has been a wonderfully relaxing time.

Now I am looking toward the new years as most do when we reach the last week or two of December. I no longer make resolutions though I am always working on a list of goals to accomplish. I posted within the last week of some of the categories I focus on when making these goals such as health and wellness, writing and publishing and as nearly everyone I know financial.

The one I am focusing on right now however is the writing, editing, submitting and publishing category. I have dreamed for years of becoming a successful writer. For me that simply means I can produce quality work that people are interested in reading and it makes enough money to help keep me from having to work a second job.

I am proud of the fact I have completed three full length novels through the November writing challenge known as Nanowrimo. I feel more comfortable creating stories of that length though over the past year I have submitted for a few anthologies and even created a short story based on a character from one of my current works. I would like to do more short stories and collections in the future as well.

The short story Survivor that I wrote however was intensely personal and caused a very dramatic emotional breakdown. It was based strongly on the story of how I first got PTSD. What I went through I did not register at the time but having to relive it was a powerful and terrible experience. The novel involving Jasmine, the character in Survivor is called Sharing Strength and has not been completed yet. It is one of two I am working on simultaneously right now.

I have been in therapy and I have anti-anxiety medications I take when needed but I also have four wonderful secret weapons that help calm me down when I am struggling. Many people have therapy dogs, I have four beautiful therapy cats. They cuddle with me and their warm purring brings me back to earth. They are all rescues and my heart and soul. I will be relying on them deeply as I go into this book with the finish line in sight. They rescued me, who helps you?

Saturday, December 20, 2014


As a writer I can say that everyday has the ability to be a creative day for me. I make up characters, design stories and do my best to take readers on a journey with their heads as well as their hearts. I love that part of my life and push to be more involved with it each and every day. However it is not the only way I create.

When I was young I dreamt of being an artist. I wanted to sculpt, paint, sketch and build but as it turns out I have a dramatic lack of natural talent nor the eye for such innovations. I had a potter's wheel, paints and canvas as well as clay, easels, brushes even legos and an erector set but everything sat staring at me with no communication for inspiration.

I then took to the stage where while my lack of talent was diminished slightly in the realm of acting I did have a shine for dance. I studied ballet for many years while darling in various forms of ballroom, lyrical and jazz. I even had a few misadventures in tap though that one, quite happily for my parents, never truly caught on. Still it was a world I lived in for a long time and was happy to call it home.

While dance satisfied my performance art desires there was still the part of me that wanted to create something tangible. I needed to make something I could show off for my friends and family and that they could enjoy with me. That is when I got more into my family holiday tradition of making chocolate candy. 

I have been creating the basic solids and suckers since I was a very young. As I got older we taught ourselves to make cremes, peanut butter cups, chocolate covered cherries and my personal favorite to make are the caramel turtles. I paint with the different colored chocolate make the shells and fill them then create gift boxes for those that I love. As the years have gone on I have developed even more in my candy skills as well.

In the picture at the top there are two of my favorite creations, a three dimensional tree with each layer filled with a different type of creme or other surprise. The other is also three dimensional and is a sleigh complete with chocolate bows inside to represent presents. The last few years I have also gotten into tempering my chocolate to give it a better luster for presentation sake. 

What do you do to bring out your creative side?

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Getting Ready for the New Year

As I have gone through the last few years I have been making goals instead of resolutions. I have made a number of them over the last two and I am proud to say that I have completed the majority of them. There are still a few however that have nagged at me and I am once again preparing my list for the year to come with those same goals.

The first thing I try to focus on as a goal is my health. I have suffered immensely in that respect. Numerous trips to the hospital, medications galore and stress breaking my spirit. One of the biggest things I need to work on is being active. I struggle to go to the gym because I need something to actually train for and not just get on a treadmill or try to just lift some weights without having a sense of direction.

I am a competitive person so I have definitely noticed that the classes are the better route for me to workout. With other people around me pushing themselves to complete the exercises, to add weight or increase speed I cannot help but do my best to prove I can keep up. I have found that picking things like the Spartan Race obstacle course or finishing the seventy five mile Viva Bike Vegas give me the drive to go harder and farther in my training. I am still pushing hard to lose the last of my weight, get toned and improve my overall health through the exercising and hopefully constantly working to eat healthier as well.

The other goal that I am adding once again is my financial one. I have chosen a number of bills that need to be paid off in order to secure financial freedom as well as be able to invest further in my writing. In order to make this happen I took on a second job over two years ago. I have mapped it out now though and I am deeply focused on making 2015 the year I achieve this dream and can finally get some time to work on my other goals.

The last and, for me, the most important one is getting more of my books published and getting more projects written. I have learned more than I could have expected from being an Indie author this year but I have always dreamed of having a traditional contract with a large publishing house and I am going to be making a drive to make it a reality this coming year. Rescue Me becoming a better known charity series is another check on the list.

What are some of your goals for the upcoming year?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Internal Control

Yesterday I wrote about my struggles to focus on my writing when I am constantly being distracted by other hobbies and obligations. I deal with this A.D.D. everyday and it can make my desire to become a successful writer extremely difficult. I do want to become a success and I am trying as hard as I can to make connections as well as set up events in order to make that happen.

While I have my obligations such as day jobs and my distractions like the hobbies I discussed yesterday I find that as I am staring into the tragedy that is my office I have even more concerns holding me back. I hope I am not alone in some of these as I may seek a writer support group after I am done.

Concern number one is simple, I am exceptionally unorganized. I will create a system that works temporarily but because I love to write in various locations at at differing times of day having the office set up a certain way becomes unnecessary and in many ways hindering to me. I enjoy a sort of organized chaos but it is difficult to manage and therefore evolves into a constant state of updating and I dedicate time to the files and organization of the office instead of my writing.

The second worry is promotion. I am still in the very early stages of learning how to best promote myself and my work and while I of course can craft words to convey a message, I am working as a writer after all, I am far better in person when it comes to making a connection. I have always enjoyed shaking hands, putting on presentations and even public speaking. I am a performer at heart and I can find common bonds well when speaking to people making them not only comrades in business but usually friends on a more personal level as well.

The last and greatest concern I face is the writing itself. Once I get past the time needed for promotion and I have my office in a working state for the time being I find myself lost in a sea of half crafted ideas and vocal characters all screaming from different stories to be heard simultaneously. I feel torn as I try to give each of them time and I write out the outlines and create project lists on my whiteboard. I read and research and when I sit down to work on one piece of another finally I find that inevitably that will be the set of characters that have gone quiet.

I am learning and I am working very hard to manage this but I wonder, do any other authors experience these issues as well?

Sunday, December 14, 2014


I have been gone for quite some time and so I am feeling a little lost coming back to my blog. I have wanted so much to write inspirational pieces and start dialogues with those that read my work but as I am still unknown I have only a limited reach. I managed to get through nanowrimo which is one of my favorite things I participate in every year. I successfully completed the forty six mile honor ride bicycle tour for injured veterans. I even managed to make all of my holiday candy.

It was as I was boxing up the candy and writing out my christmas cards that I had a small realization. I go through Facebook and see all of the writers I am friends with and they are sharing all of the writing and reading they are doing each and every day. I admire them for that. They are focused and dedicated to their craft in a way I feel I have not been. I post about seeing shows, doing rides and training for obstacle courses. I am always trying something new or talking to someone I have never met. I spend a lot of time on my hobbies and exploring new ones. I put priority on updating my house as well as completing random projects. And of course lets not forget that I spend a large amount of time dealing cards at two different casinos.

It is exhausting and makes me feel as though I am not cut out for the craft I love so much. I refuse to give up my training because being in shape and doing the courses is an accomplishment I hold dear to my heart. I need to jobs to pay bills and get ahead a little so quitting isn't an option at this point. I love my hobbies because they give me writing material but I have made the decision to limit the time spent on them so that I can push forward with my writing more. I am looking at conferences and conventions, more live events and any networking opportunities that may arise. I would love input from anyone that has attended such events as to what I should expect and the best approach I can use.

This picture is from a few years ago before I started working out. I was unhealthy and relatively unhappy. As scary as it is to look at for me I have to acknowledge that I am the one on the left. I hid away from the world as often as possible. I ate to kill my feelings and it took several hospital visits to make me realize the severity of what I was doing to myself. That picture was taken in Australia during a volunteer trip and a life changing event for me.

It was the first time I stepped out of my comfort zone in years and when I began to lose the weight and gain a little confidence is when I went back to writing. I had shelved a project for almost a decade convinced it wasn't good enough. It has now been published and was released earlier this year. It gave me an additional boost to keep going.

I train to stay in shape and maintain the confidence it brings me every time I cross a finish line. I write because it fills my heart. My goal is to be able to make it down to one dealing job and focus more time and energy into my writing so I can ear my additional income that way. It isn't about the money it is about fulfilling my passion but I need to pay bills of course haha.

I ask any of my friends that may read this to continue to share my work as well as my blog and start conversations that I may learn from and be able to grow as a writer. I want to create the works that you can't wait to read and I can only get better so please help me to learn. Thank you.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Choosing A Name

Today I was doing the thing I always do when I need to write, especially when I am behind on my goals, searching the internet for things that will distract me. One of the things I can came across was a  random list of names. It was supposedly the top fifteen names for each gender of people that are crazy. It is completely made up and only posted for laughs but it got me thinking.

I let my characters name themselves. If I am writing and I need to call a character something and they have yet to tell me what it is I will simply use a filler but eventually they let me in on the secret and I know what to call them. Some writers name their characters after people in their lives while others will research trying to find names that mean something profound in order to help demonstrate traits they feel their characters possess.

I have tried to look up names through several different sites and books and while I have found some inspiration it still comes down to what the characters want. For some of them they will give me a hint but other times they refuse to talk to me until I am able to find the proper thing to call them. Even though I allow my characters to choose for themselves I have occasionally looked up what the names mean.

A few I have used are:

Daniel - meaning God is my judge and that knowing right and wrong is so fitting being that he is a police officer

Persyphone - spelled differently ut it means to destroy and while she does not destroy anyone or anything in the book based around her it is the first book in a series that ends in the destruction of many

Rebeccah - it means a snare and she is a living trap for people, she is powerful and used to getting her way but if she is crossed she will stop at nothing to catch you and punish you to her own satisfaction

When I was looking up some of the names it made me think about some advice I was given when I was young. My name Renee is a name of french origin meaning reborn. Because of this I was always told I never had to worry if I got stuck in a rut in life I could alway be reborn and change myself to become who and what I want to be.

I got stuck at one point and recalling that advice I have pushed to reinvent myself. I am still working on it but it makes me curious what does your name mean? Is it fitting? Have you ever gotten advice or followed a path based on that meaning? If you are a writer and have to name your characters what process do you use?

Monday, November 17, 2014

Making Decisions

I have been working hard on my writing for Nanowrimo. With working two jobs and trying to make time for family and friends it has been difficult and I have fallen behind. I am still quite focused on accomplishing the word count goal of fifty thousand words by the end of the month and am doing my best to catch up some here and there though it can be frustrating.

Unfortunately aside from work schedules I have had to take care of another pressing topic recently, my health. Working three to four double shifts per week can be very taxing.  For someone with numerous health issues like myself it can be downright debilitating. I am exhausted all of the time. I struggle to sleep, to wake up and to concentrate on any task big or small. I find myself getting stressed out to the point of panic attacks and have even made a trip to the hospital because of it.

This stress has taken a large toll on writing. I have not been able to concentrate on the story. I find myself dozing off even though I am behind and desperate to catch up. I get lost when I sit down to read what I have so far in order to pick back up. My mind wanders in search of rest and relaxation but it never finds what it wants. Even on days off I have pushed myself so far that I am unable to unwind enough to focus.

Then there is the physical. I am a table games dealer. I stand for to full eight hour shifts the majority of the week. Yes I do get several breaks and that helps but I have previous injuries to my knees, back and neck that are definitely feeling the strain. I have been able to fight through this for quite awhile but it has gotten to the point that my lackluster health is threatening my continued employment.

I have unfortunately had to leave early or call in sick so often at my second job that I am at risk of losing the job all together. At the same time I am mere months from paying off the bills that require me to have the position in the first place. I am torn about whether I so sacrifice getting ahead financially in order to improve my health or sacrifice wellness to pay off some bills.

All of this weighs on me as I sit at my desk to write. I find the need to make decisions becomes a pressing concern in m stories now because my personal life is so wrapped up in them. I have to choose the right path for health and financial wellbeing. I need to concentrate on my characters and I need to make sure that my priorities outside of my job are in order as well. It becomes increasingly difficult to accomplish everything I have set out to do when I set such ambitious goals but sometimes things need to be cut and I am still learning at the age of thirty one just how to make those choices.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Something Different

Recently I have been focusing on work and trying to catch up on my writing but today I have thought about very little other than relationships and plans we make for the future. I have been married twice in my past both ending in the same way. The divorces were friendly and efficient causing no alarm or stress other than the expected heartbreak for the loss of my marriage.

I grew up thinking that what I really wanted was all the things society told me I should want. I needed a house and a nice car and a husband that could provide for me. I should be a good house wife and while I work my job I also needed to clean and cook and take care of him. We were meant to build a life together and settle down. 

I attempted to do it. I married a man that wanted nothing more than to settle down and create a life together. We bought a house and made plans to continue accumulating all of the possessions that are supposed to make up a life. We attended family functions and went on a couple small vacations. It was the life that we were supposed to have but it lacked love and passion. It was completely dry.

Then I met a man that was full of the passion I had been missing. He was spontaneous and caring, adventurous and funny. He was intelligent and most of all he loved me. We traveled and talked about moving to a new city, something I had always wanted to do. We felt like we could talk to each other about anything. Our wedding was unique and he spoiled me rotten. Unfortunately I had several traumatic events I was dealing with and was completely incapable of being the wife he deserved.

After we separated I moved from BFE Michigan to Las Vegas Nevada in an effort to find myself. I have come a long way and have made some wonderful friends, landed a job I love and begun working on accomplishing my dreams. I am very proud of the things I have done but it also got me thinking about what I am looking for the future. 

I have come to the conclusion that while I believe in marriage I do not need it. I have thought about the desire people have to settle down but to me it feels like settling. I do not want to be content and just make my way through day after day. I want adventure and pursuit of happiness not complacency. A partner for these explorations of life would be awesome but it is not a requirement. I could be perfectly happy doing these things myself. 

I know it isn't writing related but it definitely places a role in the things I write, especially in the love scenes. I write about people that are there for each other and care for one another but mostly they are partners not a dominant and submissive. For me that is the most important part. Having someone that accepts you and doesn't expect you to live up to their standards but instead understands that everyone handles things in their own way. I hope that one day I have that partner.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Making the Effort

According to the word count chart for Nanowrimo I should be well into double digits by now. I, however, like everyone else have a real life outside of writing. In the last week I had a book release for my charity book which has been an incredibly important endeavor for me. It went well but understandably it took up the day and therefore I was unable to get anything accomplished on day one.

Day two I did write and made progress hitting just over the target word count for the first day. At least I had a start. Then on days three, four, and five I worked back to back double shifts. Between waking up at 1:30am in order to drive to my first job and not returning home from the second until nearly 9:00 pm I was completely exhausted. I also had to get a few hours of sleep when I could so writing any additional words at that point was simply out of the question.

Along came Thursday the sixth and low and behold a beautiful day off. My boyfriend was also off that day but had made plans with friends in order to give me time for some much needed rest and then some writing time. Yet as we all know best laid plans and all, so as it happens I slept as much as my body would allow and awoke to a screaming migraine that managed to hold on until well into the early evening. I got zero words written that day as well.

Friday came and went with a shift at one of my jobs and a quick stop to a Marine club to celebrate the kick off of Veteran's day weekend, my boyfriend is a veteran. Saturday was our annual bike ride in honor of wounded veterans. We rode forty six miles and I managed to dislocate my knee having to reset mid ride. After that was the visit to the air show at our local Air Force base before retiring for the night in an effort to regain some strength. Again no progress made.

Finally came Sunday and another full day off. I sat down in my chair readied my hands above the keys and watched an episode of Numbers on television. Home simply wouldn't work so I packed up my computer and files and headed to a coffee shop a few miles away. I took up residence in one of the chairs and managed to get my word count up to a respectable eighty one hundred words. Today I made the same trek but with little results. I have struggled desperately adding a mere thousand words.

This is where things could get dicey. I could give up because I am only about halfway to where I should be and quickly closing in on the halfway point of the month. I could get discouraged by all the people I see saying they want to change their goals and not go for the full fifty thousand. I could make excuses about working too much and having no time to keep up. These are all things I could do.

Instead I am writing. I plan all the times I can write and I make a promise to myself to get it done. I need a jolt I grab the coffee, a little concentration I get a writing buddy if I need an escape from distraction I plug in my headphones and hit the library. This is a marathon and I am in it for the long haul. I may struggle, I may slip but I look at my goals of publishing and telling the stories that are important to me and the one thing I don't see written on that list is giving up.

Writing might be a solitary activity. My characters live in my head and tell their stories to me but at no point do I ever think that I am alone. I have a network of support between my writing buddies, my family and friends and with great appreciation, my readers. I have laughed and cried with them. I have asked advice and given sneak peeks. I have listened to critiques and shared secrets my characters whisper in my head.

Whenever you feel like giving up, and now going through the middle of the month it can be truly tempting, I ask you to give the respect that your characters deserve and make the valiant effort to push on. Use the support laid out. Read the pep talks and post to the group. Attend the write ins if you are able or organize a sprint or two online. Share your successes and slip ups with us we have all been there and will high five or comfort you in your times as we travel the literary path together.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Under Pressure

We are six days into the wonderful writing challenge known as nanowrimo. I got to do a book release on the first day so I figured I would catch up on day two. I did write a little more than the day one target word count but I was unable to complete my initial goal. I still was determined though.

I then went into tree days of double shifts causing me to not be able to write at all. In fact I struggled just to sleep and make it through day after day. I did my best to be entertaining at work keeping the guests playing the blackjack and poker games I was dealing. I feel I was able to do well securing compliments from several of the customers.

My bosses and friends were all happy I made it through but at the same time they were concerned about me and my lack of sleep. I was also worried. I have worked doubles in the past but I have put pressure on myself to work as many shifts as possible while also crossing the finish line on both my nano project as well as my additional book I was requested to draft.

As I tried to sleep in this morning and then fought a migraine all day I could think of nothing else other than I needed to be writing. This got me thinking about pressure and how much we do to ourselves. It is a great thing to be ambitious. We always want to push ourselves to be the best version possible. What isn't fair though is when we set unrealistic expectations. Even worse is when we start to see our worth in relation to those expectations.

If I say that the only way this month has been a success and therefore I am a success is to complete all of my working shifts, charity bike ride, fulfill thanksgiving traditions and write both drafts for my books then I am putting myself in a nearly impossible situation. We push ourselves so hard and so far that some times we get stretched beyond our limits.

It is important that we have a support system in place to see us through the difficult times as well as celebrate the accomplishments regardless of size. Setting priorities is also something we must make time for. For me I have to concentrate on work before writings as it is the obligation that supplies the financial support for me to pursue my passion of writing. My health is another consideration I have to put at the top of the list.

I have struggled for years to make sure I don't fall victim to these issues. I have extreme expectations of myself and I currently remain undeterred in my goals but I am working hard to also keep my focus on my priorities and understand that it is ok to fall short on my writing if need be. I am reaching out for the support not only of my friends and family but also the writing community for support as well as understanding that we are all a part of this incredible world that we build and share. I am here for you and am grateful for everything we have done together.

Thursday, October 30, 2014

In The Countdown

Tomorrow is my first full day off for over a week now. I should be sleeping in, straightening up my house and, of course, preparing for my writing challenges ahead. Instead I have plans from six in the morning until saturday night.

I will be doing the chores and taking care of the personal things I have had to put off for the last seven days. I will also be working on my office and making sure I am ready for NaNo to start including hopefully attending the kick off party for my local region. But most of all I will be doing one of my favorite things in the entire world, celebrating Halloween.

When it comes to everything we do each and every day it is incredibly important to make time for ourselves. We need to take time away from obligations, even self imposed ones. We have to make sure we have fun. Moments like that can lead to less stress and improved health. they can give us perspective when life seems overwhelming and most of all I truly believe we all need to have a good time.

When we smile, laugh and enjoy ourselves it releases our brains to wander. Those are the times that we can have our ah ha moments. We can understand what has been nagging at us and we can open up to getting the breakthroughs that have been avoiding us. No matter how hard we try sometimes we cannot make a certain connection but as soon as we let go it can find us.

I am looking forward to the magic of Halloween and to finding ways to take small me time breaks for the next month and would love to hear how others unwind and take time to enjoy the non writing side of life.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Getting Started

With nanowrimo just around the corner I have been thinking about a number of things. Like many participants I have focused on the aspects of research and outlining. I have figured out what type of story I wanted to write and created the file I always try to make in order to keep all of the randomness in my head gathered in one central location.

I made the list of all items I was somewhat unsure of and began going through reference books and scouring the internet through a variety of search engines and websites. I will still have a large amount of revisions to complete once I have written the original draft through the process of the nano challenge but I am feeling quite confident in my ability to get the story created.

Every story that I write has that ah ha moment when I am thinking about something either small in regard to the story or having entirely to do with other things in general. I will be talking to someone or reading an article or possibly even just watching a sitcom on television and all of a sudden things will snap into place that have been holding me up for a while.

For my current project I was driving back from a camping trip when all of a sudden the monotony of the road and the passing desert landscape made my mind wander. Before I realized it I was watching the movie in my head, narrated by the main character. She showed me her entire story and gave me glimpses of the next books in the series as well.

While I have thought about all of these things I have also found my mind lingering over the actual nano process itself as well. We start talking and sharing ideas a few weeks in advance. We switch profile pictures and become increasingly active in our online and local writers groups. We chat and speculate about all the different times we have attempted this in the past or ask questions because it is our first try.

The knots in our stomachs twist, the butterflies float unsteadily, our nerves fray in anticipation. The last week is agony as we long to et our fingers dance across our keyboards or fill the pages of our notebooks running our pens dry in the name of creation. We talk endlessly about our hunger to make it to midnight on November 1st but for me it always starts the same way.

I have everything planned out. I know what I am going to write. I have the chart of all the word counts I need to achieve each day and then when I turn on my computer and open that beautiful new word document I find that I am immediately intimidated by the empty page. The daunting first sentence that leads to the rest of the story.

It takes so much for me to overcome this initial task. I finally am able to each year. There are times though that just opening the novel and setting the scene can take a day or two on their own. It is the first of many times that the insecurities will try and poke their heads up and break my determination. Next up is the inner editor that must be banished to her corner and told to mind her own business.

I will give her the reading glasses and red pen in order to go crazy starting in december but she is required to hide away during November. It is all about letting things flow. Sometimes when we let go and lose ourselves in the story we discover things about our characters and the story itself that we never knew existed. Other times we are simply stumped and have to take a step away for a few hours.

I am excited for the upcoming challenge and I cannot wait to join my fellow wrimos as we conquer our fears and insecurities to create stories that may start out as ramblings but hold the potential to become incredible novels we can share with the world. I would love to hear how others deal with the trepidations of the beginning of the month and nano.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Gearing Up

It is one week before Halloween and while most of us are putting the finishing touches on our costumes and finalizing plans for parties or trick or treating, those of us doing Nanowrimo have a slightly different set of priorities. For us we are putting the finishing touches on our outlines and storyboards and finalizing any research we may be doing.

Left over candy will become brain food down the road. Coffee will be purchased in bulk and thousands of us will invade cafes and coffee shops all over the world. Note pads will be filled and computer keys will click out word ofter word. We are writers united in our challenge to create.

We all have our own circumstances that we deal with. Many of us have jobs or school. We are all across the age spectrum. Some of us have families to care for while others are just kids ourselves. There are a significant number of differences but we all have the same goal and the same passion.

For me I have my struggles. I work as a dealer in two separate casinos at times working double shifts on back to back days causing me to have no more than 3-4 hours of sleep while pushing my body to the limit as well as having to maintain my mind being able to entertain anyone that may sit down at my table. I promote my currently published novel as well as my soon to be released charity book.

I will be doing a launch event that will include media and an adoption event for animals with local shelters and rescues. It is a cause I believe in deeply and am proud to support but it is also time consuming. I have to contact everyone, plan the event, handle the press, attend the event and do any follow up needed.

I have a charity bike ride to support wounded veterans that will take me 40 miles around the beautiful city of Las Vegas as well as continuing my training for the Spartan Race and other obstacle courses in the spring. And of course we can't forget that at some point I will have to eat and sleep.

But mostly this time is about the writing and I am attempting to push myself beyond anything I thought I could have done in this aspect as well. Not only do I have my nano novel that I will be completing Welcome to Syn, but I am also hoping desperately to accomplish the novel my potential agent requested Chocolate Covered Cherries.

Welcome to Syn I have until the stroke of midnight on November 30th to write, verify and submit. Chocolate Covered Cherries must be emailed of as a draft by 4:30pm central time on November 29th. I will be taking on two genres I have no experience or very little experience in writing. I will creating the beginning of two different series and submitting both for different types of consideration. I apologize in advance if I am a little strung out and I also ask anyone that may be willing to be a partner writer if they could help.

I will need a shoulder to cry on, a coach to push me, a cheerleader to root me on and most importantly someone to celebrate with when I cross the finish line. While I will be updating throughout the course of the month I am not sure how frequently so I will see everyone on the other side!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Welcome To Syn

They crept through the darkness. Following single file, the girls skirted the edge of the clearing creeping silently through the night. They paused there peering through the bushes. The light coming from the center of the field reflected back in each of their eyes.

The men gathered among the weeds were unaware of their audience. They were entirely focused on the task they had in front of them. The punishment of the witch. She had been caught redhanded seducing one of the most powerful men in the town. She had been tried and convicted and now she had been sentenced to burn for her sins.

The girls observed the scene from their hideout. They stood solemn guard. This was a night they knew would change their lives. The two oldest girls exchanged looks. This was it. They nodded to one another before gathering the others close. It was designed to make sure all of them knew exactly what was happening but also they needed to protect them.

The men had been standing in a tight knot but now with the prisoner securely restrained they widened their circle. Flanking to the sides they revealed the large pile of debris she stood upon. The smell of turpentine filled the air. The witches in nearby Salem had been hung but at John Campbell's insistence  this particular creature would be burned in order to keep her from reaching out from beyond the grave. He had made a strong case for leaving no trace of her and the evil she had inflicted upon them.

The girls watched in horror as the men regarded the witch. They wanted to run and hide but found themselves frozen in the moment. Again the two oldest crowded the younger ones between them. They could hear the whispers between the men. There was a hate there that they truly couldn't understand. How could they have convicted her without a true trial? How could they be so callous?

"What say you witch? Any last words?" John Campbell commanded the attention of the men.

"What have I to say now? I have told you of my innocence. I have proclaimed to the world what happened but you refuse to know truth when you hear it. I shall die an innocent woman and the blood on your hands will never wash away."

With that she stood tall and looked her accuser directly in the eye.  John Campbell walked close leaning in so only she could hear him. The rest of the man found themselves holding their collective breath fearing she would cast a spell on him. "I told you that you would succumb to my power. You fought me and this is your punishment. I will always be the victor, never question me."

He stepped back. She squared her shoulders and tok a deep breath. it came out in a plume of steam in the crisp air. "You have condemned me for a lie. You will know pain. You will know vengeance. Your peace ends now and your lives will shortly follow."

John Campbell regarded her with the same smug look he had given at her trial. It was the first time she felt her heart race. She had accepted that she was going to die. But it was him defeating her that made her so angry. He looked up at her and while keeping her gaze steady, eye contact for eye contact he once again commanded the men around him, "light it."

They charged forward eager to send this demon back to hell. As the kindling scattered about her lit and smoke climbed into the air she looked into the woods. It was then, for the first and last time that she saw the girls. The flames licked up her skirts eating into her flesh. she writhed in agony, screaming. The girls maintained the vigil. It didn't take long for the screams to fall silent again but they would ring in their hearts for eternity.

The men stood for a moment longer making sure that nothing remained of her before extinguishing the last of the flames. They shook hands calmly congratulating themselves on removing the terrible threat from their midst. Now they moved on heading to take care of the last of the concerns from this terrible affair.

In the trees the girls stood helplessly but resiliently waiting for the men to leave. They looked at one another in the moonlight making a vow that the vengeance promised would be delivered. They would keep her promise and they would all pay.

Monday, October 20, 2014

Excerpt from Sharing Strength

“No, though there are several situations that can lead to the diagnosis as you are all evidence of. I was referring to the ways people react to the assistance and resources available. There are of course support groups like this one and qualified therapists that are there for you to talk to but it is also important that you have a personal network of support.”
  At that Rachel sighed. Everyone turned to look at her causing her to swipe a few tears away hurriedly. They waited but she said nothing. Even when Jasmine nudged her with her elbow she remained silent. Making yet another mental note about the poor young girl Dr. Kurtsman moved on.

“There are also a number of people that are diagnosed but do not understand exactly what the disorder is. They feel that asking for help is a sign of weakness. They feel like people will look down on them and therefore decide it is either a misdiagnosis or that they are strong enough to handle it alone.”

This time all eyes turned to Brian. He scoffed at the sudden attention folding his arms protectively over his chest and defiantly looking each person back making individual eye contact. Each and every one of the backed down in turn until he came to Kyle. He held the stare returning the contempt with his own frustration. The tension between them was thick. Rachel shifted uncomfortably breaking the stalemate as they both looked at her.

“So what makes you qualified as a therapist for this group anyway?” Brian wasn’t ready to end his attention. He was feeling very aggressive and since he had the command of the room he figured knocking the doctor down a peg or two would be a great way to prove that he and everyone else here was wasting their time. “What kind of tragedy or loss have you ever had to deal with?”

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Following My Passion

As I am planning all of the organization that I need to do and focusing on accomplishing the chores around my house I find myself torn. I work two different dealing jobs in order to try and get ahead of medical and credit card bills yet I feel like there never seems to be any headway made. I push myself to the point I am concerned about my health yet I have no choice but to push in order to make the money to try and get to the point I will be financially set to go down to one job.

It is a terrible catch 22 that I find myself in. I have to work in order to afford the bills yet the health and stress issues created by pushing my body so hard cause more bills so I fall back behind. I also take care of things around the house and while I am fortunate enough to have help with the chores and with a few of the bills it is still difficult to get it all accomplished.

I also have talked to several physicians about ways to improve my health. The one thing I have noticed as well as have been advised is that when I workout I feel much better. But along with the chores and the two jobs I struggle to find the time or energy to exercise too. I still do my best to get a short workout in when I can but sleep definitely wins out more often than I would prefer.

The entire reason I do any of this though is so that I can have time, money and freedom to follow my true passion of writing. I need to have the bills paid so I have the basic necessities like home, food and clothing. I need to have the time to dedicate to writing and promoting. I also need money in order to promote. I must travel, create events, hold signings and giveaways which also needs finances.

Following my passion is the most important thing in the world to me I just hope my body holds up long enough to make sure I can truly follow my heart.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Day of Reflection

So I have been off work for a few days working to get my emotions and mental stability in check. I love what I do for a living and I would rarely be excited about having time off unless for a vacation but in this case it was a matter of necessity and I am truly grateful that I work for a company that has bent over backwards in order to make everything ok for me.

In the time I have been off though I have had time to reflect. I thought about all of the things that brought on the anxiety attack and while I am thrilled I completed my story and sent it off I am still dealing with the constant concern instilled in me that what I shared will not be well received. I am also stressed thinking about letting people I don't know into one of the most intimate and terrifying moments of my life. It is one of the most important things I have been through that shaped my psyche and made me feel the way I do each and everyday.

Not so many years ago I stayed in my apartment petrified of the world beyond my door. I was unable to do anything alone and yet if I was around people I was concerned I would say or do the wrong thing. I always worried that people would make fun of me and even though no one really noticed me at gatherings I was still scared. I struggled with depression and anxiety. I was too nervous to be noticed but I was also depressed that no one cared that I was around. It was a battle each and everyday.

I thought hard about that this morning as I enjoyed the Family, Fur and Fun Festival. I attended on my own talking to people and petting their dogs while promoting my upcoming charity book. It is going to be released in two weeks and I was looking for a location to hold a launch party. Every aspect of that I thought about knowing I wouldn't have been able to accomplish any of it. I never would have made it out of the house let alone all the way to a festival filled with strangers.

I gave myself a tiny mental high five as I promoted a book I never would have been able to complete feeling like I wasn't good enough. I handed out business cards and met some wonderful people eager to assist with the launch of my book. I was thrilled to have gone and appreciated the door without feeling like I needed to run away.

I still wake up every day and tell myself I AM good enough. I AM smart enough. I AM good at my job. A job that involves a large amount of performance which is also something I wouldn't have been able to fathom. It hurts many days to remember what I am fighting. I push myself to get past my fears. Everyday I tell myself I am worth it. With medication and the help of family, friends and a very qualified therapist I am happy to see how far I have come and to know how far I still could go.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Getting Prepared

I am getting very excited about the Nanowrimo writing challenge coming up in two weeks. I have been talking about the upcoming book I will be attempting and I don't have a lot to add to what I have already said about the book. But in this case I am focusing on the preparations.

Last year I was unsure if I was going to do nano and therefore I wasn't prepared for what I would write. November third came and I made the official decision to throw my hat in the ring and give it a shot. I was extremely concerned about my chances being so different from 2011 when I had entered and completed Never Give Up.

In the case of Never Give Up I had been working on the idea for about a decade. I found the urgency given by the looming deadline to be a tremendous motivator. It gave me the push I hadn't had before. However last year when I made the choice to try it again I didn't have a story idea waiting in the wings ready to jump out and take over the pages.

I announced I would be joining nano on November 3rd but then I sat there staring at my screen. I had no clue what to write. I went home and walked into my office looking at all of the books I had to read and the reference books that adorned my office desk. Finally I opened up my file cabinet and began leafing through my papers. I came to a file simply called to be used and found a short story that had accidentally been placed to be used later on.

Breathe was a short story I had written previously. It was designed to be simply that, a short story. I figured though that it would be a blast to see if I had the ability and creativity to expand the story into a full length novel. Once I chose the story I figured I was set, I couldn't have been more wrong. I struggled intensely.

I was taking a seven page story and attempting to grow it out to 50,000 words or about one hundred seventy pages. It was coming entirely from my imagination and I was just not able to find a connection with my characters. Between the lack of understanding of the characters and the time restraints from working my day job I quickly found myself falling behind drastically. At one point during the month I was over 13,000 words behind.

I stayed dedicated and went to the library or focused in my home office. I made up the deficit and forged the needed connection with the characters taking me from being days behind and ending with me finishing a day early making me a two time nanowrimo winner. The high I experienced the first time was incredible but to truly concept and create a story exclusively from my mind was a whole new level.

Now this year I am preparing to take on a different kind of challenge. I am writing a story that I have not totally story boarded. It is all imagined with no link to me or my life making it far more like Breathe than Never Give Up. The additional element is that it is a supernatural fantasy which is a genre I have never written before. Moreover it is the first book in a series, also something I have never attempted. I usually write stand alone novels.

I am excited about challenging myself, about doing something that makes me nervous. I am not sure I can do this but it will be a great accomplishment if I do, and more importantly a chance to prove to myself that I can grow as an artist. I look forward to sharing my continuing adventures with everyone soon.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Taking it Personally

I have written before about the fact that I use my personal experiences in my writing. There are many writers that despise the saying "write what you know" but for me it is an excellent jumping off point. I have also shared the fact that I have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Earlier this year I began an ambitious and hopefully therapeutic project called Sharing Strength.

Sharing Strength follows a support group for people diagnosed with PTSD for various reasons. They are all broken people that need support and a place to feel safe. Some of them take the group and advice to heart others struggle more. As I have been writing the book I have gotten to know the characters as I do with all of my stories. Two of the characters, the young women, have parts of me in them. Each carries the burden of having experienced one of the reasons I was diagnosed so many years ago.

One of them, Jasmine, is the survivor of an abusive relationship and I have tried to be true to my experience in order to heal as I got the chance to right some wrongs between the ending of her story and mine. I shared the full background of Jasmine in a short story called survivor and I am tremendously proud of it. I am also extremely proud of her for making it through everything she experienced.

The only problem of sharing her story was that it meant sharing mine and I have spent half of my life working hard to bury the memories. It destroyed me to go through it the first time and it devastated me to relive it. Over the last two days I have suffered one of the worst flashback / nightmare infested nights and panic attack times of my life. I had a complete melt down while trying to do my job. For the first time in nearly a decade I felt out of control and honestly afraid to be alone.

I am doing better but still struggling today and I am just hoping I can make it through the rest of Sharing Strength without having another anxiety attack. I believe in this book and I hope it can help people that are suffering like me. I want people that have this disorder to understand that they are not alone and that it is not about being weak. At the same time I found myself feeling exactly like that so I am doing everything in my power to help my own problems as well as reach out to others feeling the same way I have and currently do.

Creating New Worlds

I belong to a large number of writers groups online and I have been enjoying deeply seeing all the posts about the upcoming Nanowrimo writing session. For those that aren't familiar with Nanowrimo I will happily share an overview. Nanowrimo stands for NAtional NOvel WRIting MOnth and it is a self imposed competition. The tag line, at least when I began several years ago, was 30 days and nights of writing reckless abandon. We start on November 1st at midnight and write an average of 1667 words per day in order to complete the challenge of 50,000 words in a 30 day period.

We pick a story, sometimes we have researched it, outlined and storyboarded it even concerted our characters. Sometimes it is just an idea that strikes us and we give it our best shot. Then by 11:59pm on November 30th we copy and paste the story into the verifier on the Nanowrimo website and if it is determined that we completed the challenge then we are declared a winner.

My first year competing I worked on a story I had been planning and hoping to write for nearly a decade but I couldn't get past my writers block. The looming deadline gave me a push I didn't have before and when I was finally able to turn off that pesky inner editor and just focus on getting the words down I was able to open up and listen to the characters as they told me their true story. I had been trying to control them and that is why it wasn't working.

Now for the first time I am researching the background for my book. I am creating a novel that is far outside my general comfort zone for writing. I have always stayed in a drama or romance genre and it has flowed well. Most of my stories have had elements of my life and experiences in them, though one came completely from my imagination. Even the one I invented was set in the real world and was a romance novel at the end.

The book I am planning to write this year is a tremendous leap. I will be writing a historical fantasy novel set during the Salem Witch Trials. I need to research the time period to make sure my language and references make sense. I have to learn about witchcraft and how to make it believable in the realm of what I will be using it for. These are going to be much more adult than books I have written in the past. They involve seduction along with the magic and I need to not only create believable witches but vixens able to seduce and destroy with a visual but not raunchy level of sex.

The last part of this that makes me say I am taking a leap is that Welcome to Syn is the first book in a series of eight books. I have always created stand alone stories. I have been persuaded to write another book that will go hand in hand with my recently published Never Give Up that is the story of another character from that book but I still view that differently than a series. I also have not written it yet. So again this will be the first time I create something knowing that moving forward there is more to the story.

I am scared in a way but if I can make this series into what I picture it to be and I can expand my genre horizons then perhaps someday I can truly reach out and create a book that is set in my very own world.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Feeling Consumed

I was watching an episode of Criminal Minds earlier. I have always loved the cerebral level of the show and have found the quotes inspiring. The quote that ended the episode I was watching was from J.C. Watts. "It doesn't take a lot of strength to hang on. It takes a lot of strength to let go."

I have been told for so long that I am strong but this quote exposes the exact reason I am actually extremely weak. I do not hold grudges and I do not hang on to petty insults or injustices. However I have never been able to get past certain events. I hang on because I am comfortable in the pain and because the result of going through those experiences is that there a many things I no longer have faith in I struggle to think I even could move on.

I think about the things I have gone through and yes they have been painful but I see others suffering and I think if they can move on and let go why can't I? Why am I unable to let it go and truly get a fresh start? I buried everything for so long as a way to cope but in truth that only made it worse. I still have nightmares more often than not. I still break into cold sweats and have anxiety that comes up for no reason I can justify.

I hang on to things I cannot change and I know that letting go would bring relief and happiness so that I could finally have some closure. Yet the knowledge does nothing. My heart insists on hanging on. I cry often, hurt daily and cannot find the words to explain why. There is only one thing I can come up with, I don't understand living beyond the pain.

I have lost faith. I try desperately to be an optimistic person. I put on a smile and dance to the music. I go to work and enjoy my job. I live day to day with someone that cares deeply for me and I for him yet when people question when we may marry I recoil. I have lost faith. I earn money for a life I am not completely sure will ever exist. I live in the moment keeping myself busy so that I don't have to think about the future yet my past inhabits everything I think and feel. It is like being haunted by myself.

I want to let go. I want to show strength but as it turns out I am still weak. Without my faith in my own ability I am not sure I will ever truly overcome.

Next Steps

I read recently that Stephen King had several projects going simultaneously when he was first starting out. He would submit to magazines, agents and anywhere else he could find. Yet while he was waiting to hear back he wouldn't just kick up his feet watching the mailbox. He would send it off then  head back to the keyboard and keep working on his next story.

I am attempting to take a page from that book. I have pieces in several anthologies as a way to constantly get my name out there as well as practice my skills. I try my hand at numerous genres, lengths and points of view while also attempting to reach audiences I may not have previously encountered.

To keep my skills up for the promotion side I am working hard to make connections for my debut novel as well as getting the information out about my charity series. I have been very fortunate to have so much support for the charity books that I can allow some of my supporters to help with the marketing.

Yet it is the original part of this I come back to time and time again. Several projects at once while submitting for publish. Self publishing and being an indie author has become a much larger thing than it was in the past and I am working to understand that. For me I have learned a great deal from being an indie author but I still crave the acceptance of a traditional publishing house.

I want to finish a manuscript and send it off to my agent and get some feedback for revisions before it is sent off to the publisher. I want to go on a traditional book tour and sign a contract that I would want to have a lawyer take a look at first. I want the more traditional version of success and while I am more than willing to put in the leg work to achieve it I have always found that having a large and connected team to assist in such endeavors can make all the difference. So now in light of the decision to go for multiple projects and submit until I am accepted I must get back to the office.

Real life inspiration

I have always written poetry, short stories and now full length novels that draw upon my life. Some good, quite a bit not so great. The pain I have experienced has been a tremendous source for me as a writer. Now as I work on romance novels I am wondering if I should continue this tradition or attempt to draw solely from my imagination.

There is conflict in any story and for that I feel that I can continue to pull from my experience but for the happily ever after part I may have to go off script from my real life. I am not married though I was, I do not have a family but I know many people that tell me life is not complete without a child to pass on family traditions to.

So do I create my characters purely from imagination telling stories that I myself would want to read or do I take the tales of loss and right the wrongs creating the love story I wish I could live out in my own life? It is a difficult thing as a writer to make that decision and of course some times it is made for you by the characters anyway.

It is tempting to take the story of a failed relationship and tell it the way it should have gone. the first part is already created for you and if there were parts that didn't go so well you can call cut and go back to revise them. then you take the characters and help them see the error of their ways in order to help them find a way back to the love they once shared ultimately leaving them contently in each other's arms.

Yet doing that is more of a way to just hold on to the past and not a creative outlet. I prefer to challenge myself as a writer but there are times when my personal life sneaks in. For the romance series I hope that I draw from my imagination but I get the very distinct feeling that my life will be creeping in there occasionally as well, at least for the first book in the series.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Character Profile - Jessica Wyland

I have been asked by an agent to create the rough draft of a romance novel by the end of October. I felt like I would be able to do this since I have participated in Nanowrimo for years always completing my goal. I just focused on the characters figuring they would tell me their story. I created a basic outline, I named the two main characters and figured out what they did for a living. And then I asked them to tell me the story.

That was the last time I heard form them. I learned quite a bit about Jessica's background but she is not being very talkative. I decided maybe if I could do a Character Profile on her and introduce her then maybe it would wake her up and get her talking. She is quiet by nature but as the one meant to record her story I need to break the silence.

Jessica Wyland is twenty six years old and is starting over after a painful divorce. She had worked for a retail shop just making ends meet when she was married and had been satisfied with her life because she had loved her husband and they had planned a family. After the plan fell apart soon the marriage followed and she decided to take a leap of faith and moved overseas to study baking and candy making.

She does exceptionally well in class and is offered a position at the school but decides to return to the united states to open her own shop. Because she went through the painful divorce she decided to set up her store a few states away so she was close to family but still in a place of her own. She is noticed immediately when she moves to Lynwood because it is a tiny town and she is a beautiful. She catches the eye of several men but while she smiles and if flattered by the attention she doesn't believe in love anymore.

She opens and is doing great until she gets a customer that has a very special request. She maintains her composure and professionalism during the consultation but afterward she breaks down. For the first time she confides in someone in the town opening up about her past. The man she befriends has already fallen for her and does his best to show her that love and a life she gave up on is still possible and worth the risk.

Will she believe him? Will she find a way to love again and share her life with him? I cannot air to talk to her and find out.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Saying goodbye

Is it easier to write an emotional charged scene when you are still caught up in the feeling or when you have recovered somewhat and are, in theory, strong enough to handle it? Understandably when we are in the midst of an emotional grip we can clearly express what is happening to us. We can state with certainly the way our dart races, our breath catches in our throat. We can experience the sweat breaking out on our brow and share the cluttered thought jumbling in our brains.

Yet after a time that we can recover then we can look back and when she describe the shaky breathing we won't necessarily have to go through it again. Panic won't set in when we talk about the beating of our heart and the sweat pouring down is just a memory. We are disconnected making the scatter of thoughts more easily collected and organized. There are pros and cons to either time.

In dealing with a personal trauma I wish I could have written back when I was going through the drama because it may have given me an outlet that would have helped significantly instead of burying the feelings tormenting me day and night. I may have recovered more quickly and the potential strength it may have provided could have meant escaping long before things turned as physical as they did.

I am now looking back. I am writing a few stories involving a situation I went through and while I am taken back to the place and time that everything occurred I know I am not living it again and that I am safe. I have found a way to try and deal with it by acknowledging the pain and attempting through my own creations to right a wrong. It is in this matter though I am not sure if I am succeeding or failing.

I have not hidden in any way that in one of my current projects Sharing Strength that not all of my characters survive the book. I never announced who it is that is gone by the end but it is known throughout that one or more do not make it. This is my concern. There are several characters in the book and a number of them are based on me or close friends and family that have struggled with this affliction.

Because I know them inside and out it tears me apart to know I have to kill a character. I am correcting what went wrong for others but in a sense I know these characters in a real and fictional way making it in a sense killing myself regardless of who the character is actually based upon.  For this I am hurting. I ache with a pain and frustration I cannot explain because it is something I have never experienced before.

I have killed off secondary characters in previous stories, at times in gruesome fashion. But I have never taken a character so developed and essential to the plot and destroyed them. It is my sheer hope that what they represent both in life and in death with translate allowing their message to live on in their absence and making it a life given instead of taken.

They deserve so much, I simply hope to do them justice.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Missing my Dad

When I was younger and first began writing I would write poetry that merely was considered a poem because it had rhythm and some of the words would rhyme. I eventually evolved these into slightly more advanced versions but there was still no message worth imparting. I struggled because I wanted to write something people would remember and not just because it was so bad you couldn't forget it.

As I moved into my teenage years I hit the excitement and humiliation of puberty. This sparked an inspiration I never expected. The pain and frustration that comes from being bullied, embarrassed constantly and heartbroken daily gave me the emotional connection with my writing I had been missing. I wasn't popular, in fact I had very few friends at all. I was involved in many sports and activities but I also suffered from intense insecurities and shyness. 

I wasn't very good at expressing how I felt to the couple of people I knew that would care to listen but I found that I could easily tell the pages of a journal what was going on in my life. There are a few things even my journal was never told because I was trying to deny them even to myself but for the most part my writing became my way of sharing my pain, frustration and occasionally my celebrations as well.

I wrote in third person creating stories based on what I experienced but many times I would change the ending to something good making it the result I wished for instead of the sorrow of reality. One day I was having a particularly hard time and chose to write during class. My teacher believed I was writing a note to send to another classmate and took my notebook away. She kept it and after she gave the assignment she sat down at her desk and read through what I had written. She began to cry. 

It was my final class of the day and she asked me to stay after so she could speak to me about my story. She didn't connect that I was writing about myself, to her it was just a sad story. She did tell me that she thought what I was working on was very well written and asked if I would be willing to share it with the class the next day. I had never read my work aloud to anyone so I was a little concerned but she was very insistent so I agreed.

The next day I went to the podium set up at the front and slowly read what I had written. Because she had taken the story from me before I could finish it I had to end with to be continued. I looked at the notebook the entire time I was speaking afraid to see the laughter and boredom coming from my classmates. Yet when I finished I looked into their faces and I saw a few wipe away tears, some were watching me closely and one raised her hand to ask what happened next. They were hanging on my every word. I finished the story over the weekend and shared the end on monday receiving a standing ovation for my efforts.

It was incredible. The feeling of being able to share my feelings but mask them through the art of the written word gave me an outlet I had craved. It also gave me confidence to know I was good at something and that people would wait to see what I had come up with. They looked forward to the weekly sharing when I would get up and take them on a journey. I began to write stories that weren't totally based on my life and what came from my imagination was received just as well if not more so.

My emotions have alway fueled my creations which is most likely the reason behind the genres I write most often. In that spirit I am sure that this weekend will be an inspired time but personally a very painful one as well. This weekend is the anniversary of losing the most important man in my life, my father. We may not have always been close and we argued a lot but he was a muse to me in my life and I still try to live everyday in a fashion that would make him smile. I want nothing more than to be the person he knew I could be, to know he is happy and I am someone he is proud of. I love you dad and I miss you every single day!