Wednesday, April 29, 2009

On that note

Grief and loss seem to be the topics for this week, so I think we'll keep that going. Grief and loss are difficult for me to write in fiction, it's too close to home. I feel everything that I write so vividly, that I relive what ever I happen to be writing about at the time. What I'm writing, I'm feeling.

In Venus In Furs, as the plan goes right now, my killer has three victims (besides the main character). I have not been able to write anything about it yet, because I'm not ready. I'm not ready to go through that yet. I know I will. I have to, if I ever want to get the story finished.

But it's something that is going to have to wait a while. Until I'm ready.


Tuesday, April 28, 2009


People say change is good. It gives us a chance to evolve, grow into something more, but it's never easy. I've had a lot of changes personally and professionally in my life over the last two years. Some were life-altering in the worst of ways, but good did come from them. Others had the same effect, but were the realization of dreams.

I hate saying good-bye and watching comrades drift away, but with their abscence comes new opportunity. We hope to add another permanent blogger to our group here. When its confirmed, one of us will post her welcome. On that note, we are open for guest bloggers on Fridays. You may email me at if you're interested in blogging with us. In the meantime, Barb and J.K., we wish you all the best with your future endeavors. Be blessed.

Have no fear, like the die-hard I am, I'll be around here forever. (Hey! Who was that running out screaming!) Next week, back to your regularly scheduled paranormal posts.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Battling through the blahs

As I sit at my desk, looking out the window at even more SNOW, my mind is feeling pretty empty.

I should be filling this space with something witty.  I should be doing edits on Ghost Mountain.  I should be working on the next book.  I should be reviewing pages for my critique partner, since we are scheduled to meet in a few hours.  I should be showering.

Instead, I sit here.  Not really doing much.

Normally, I would chalk it up to being lazy.  Or the weather.  (Have I ever mentioned how much I truly hate snow?)  But I think I've narrowed down the reason for my blahs.  


Let me explain.  I had to announce three deaths last week for an organization I'm involved in.  Each of those deaths required me to attend (at the very least) a memorial service/viewing.  When you can see and communicate with spirits, the funeral home isn't on your "favorite places to spend an hour" list.  I'm sure it's even worse for those who are more empathic then I am.  Thankfully, none of these people were related, and they all were in their 80's, so it wasn't a "shocking" thing.  Still, it wasn't easy -- for their loved ones or for me.

Anyway, I managed to do the memorials and ever since have been really down.  

And now we will be missing one of our bloggers.  (No, nothing bad happened to her, she just opted out of the blog to focus on other things.)  

Another loss.

So I sit at my desk, praying for warmer weather and bluer skies.  For the health, wealth, and happiness of my friends and their families.  For an end to loss.

Don't get me wrong, I know that loss is necessary for growth.  I know that "dead leaves" must be picked for new ones to flourish.  But I'm ready for that phase to be over.  

OK, I've whined enough...  now, back to work!


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

It makes life worth living!

**Side note, thanks Nichole for using my suggestion for this weeks topic. Now if I don't write something really good I'm going to look like crap :P **

There is a difference between what a person does for a living and what they do to LIVE. When you do something for a living, it's what you do simply because society demands it. it's something to pay the bills. Were all familiar with the old stereotype of the guy who goes off to a dead end job, hating every moment of it, simply because he's got a family at home depending on him. That is working for a living; doing something you don't WANT to do, but something you HAVE to do. But what you do to live.... that is totally different. If you do something to live... it's what you do to make your soul sing. It's something that if you didn't do it, you wouldn't be a complete person. There would be something so vital missing in your very make up that you aren't YOU.

I do one thing for a living. I don't recommend it to anyone; and by gods if I could get paid the same amount to do something else I'd jump ship so fast that my boss' head would spin. When ever someone asks me if my job is hiring I always ask them if they like humanity and want it to continue. If they answer yes, this job isn't for them. But I do it. I do it because I have a mortgage payment. I do it because I have a stepdaughter that needs a good role model on what it is to be a strong woman who is a productive member of society. (Don't get me started on that one, just ask Nichole) I do it 100% because it pays me, and it pays well, enough to cover my bills, and lets face it, right now that's nothing to sneeze at.

But it's not what I do to live.

The things I do to live are many. And taken as a small piece of the whole, they don't seem like a lot. But to me, they are huge, and important, and if any one of them are missing... I'm not myself. I'm like an anemic copy that looks like me, talks like me, but somehow just isn't the same. Only a few people can tell the difference; my husband, my mother, my sister. But those who can tell, know immediately that something is wrong, that I'm missing something.

These are the things I do to live: I sew. I LOVE to sew. Any day not spent at my sewing machine is a day wasted. Not to toot my own horn, but I create art from something as simple as fabric. (OK, so that's a little horn tooting, I'm alright with that) I practice yoga. Bikram yoga, Hatha yoga, Power yoga, I love them all. Unless I've tried to turn myself into a pretzel at least once a week, something is wrong. I write. I've got one book (children's book, as yet unpublished) under my belt, and I'm working on my second (big kids book, so far unwritten... I'm having plot problems, give me a break). While I might not sit and write every day, no day goes by that I don't sit with my eyes closed and work on the story line. The characters become very real for me, and I have to cultivate my relationship with them just as much as I have to with "real" people. I bake. I make a gingerbread cookie that will make a grown man fall to his knees and cry.

Yes, that list seems at first glance to be me saying how wonderful I am. And it is a little. (hey, somebody has got to stroke my ego, may as well be me) These are the things I'm passionate about. The things I NEED TO DO TO LIVE. I practice them, I do them as often as possible.

Because I need to. To live.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

For a living? Or to live?...

A lot of people ask me "What do you do for a living?" Now, I usually take this question as "What do you do to pay bills and keep your kids from dying of starvation?" Answer? I work in an office, at a computer, doing computer and filing stuff. Essentially, I am a secretary. I like it because I am able to do some form of writing there and I didn't have to go to college to get there. (Nothing against college. Everyone should try to do that, but it wasn't for me.) That's not who I am at the heart of it.

Now if they had asked "What do you do to live?" I'd have given a different answer. I write. When I sick and dead on my feet, I write. When I'm depressed or stressed, I write. When the words won't come, I read for others. I'm blessed, so I give back by judging for others. I appreciate others hard work by reviewing. I have too. These things are as much a part of me as my green eyes or Scot-Irish heritage. Those who love me, know and understand this.

Do what you do for a living, but don't let living take your life. Laughter is a great medicine, but sadness withers the soul. Make your soul happy.

A last note to share- My daughter made jv cheerleader. She's been trying for three years. Perserverance pays!


Monday, April 20, 2009

Chocolate, writing, breathing.... necessary to sustain life!

A few days a week, I stumble out of the house before I'm fully awake.  My hair is pulled back in the ugliest pony-tail you've ever seen.  I don't bother with makeup and I'm lucky if my clothes match.  I'm on my way to water aerobics.

I don't do it because it's something I particularly like.  In fact, I'd much rather stay home and read a book or knit some socks.  But I go because it's good for me.  And because I'm a self-professed chocoholic.

Writing is just the opposite.  I'm not sure it's an activity that is physically good for me, but it sure helps my attitude toward life!  When I don't write, I get cranky.  When I do write, I'm more relaxed and feel that I've accomplished something.

I go to the gym because it's what I need to do.  Sort of like paying bills.  To me, it's a necessary evil.  

I write because, as William Kent Krueger once said, "I can't NOT write."  It's all I've done my entire life -- from keeping a diary (which I'm sure Heather read!) to working on the school paper and yearbook to joining the military JUST to work on the base newspapers.  No part of my life has been without writing.  It's as much a part of me as breathing.

What about you?  For writers, why do you write?  If writing isn't your thing, what do you live to do?  I want to know!


Sunday, April 19, 2009

Topic of the Week

The difference between "what you do for a living" and "what you do to live"?

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Where the mind wanders, I follow

I usually get my ideas from the weird places that my mind wanders to. My train of thought tends to skip around on the tracks a lot. Seriously, I can go from thinking about tacos to wondering the half life of cobalt in 10 seconds flat.

The idea for Venus In Furs came from my own facination with ware-creatures. I'm one of those silly people that honestly believe that it's possible to change into another creature, or at the very least, that other creatures besides monkey's are our ancestors. Think about it, how many people have you looked at and thought "Gee, I wonder if there's horse in that Gene Pool?"

That's part of the problem of having a brain that dosen't shut off. it's constantly hoping from one topic to another. Makes it very hard to concentrate.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Errant thoughts and ideas...

My mind doesn't just wander, it skips along the path to nowhere tossing daffoldils. For instance, I had Monday off from work, thus my crazy brain thinks its Tuesday today. Hence the late post.
My ideas come from all sorts of places. Errant words picked up in a shopping mall, a book in the display window, a song on the radio, dreams. A lot of them come from dreams. That's your muse working. Mine is being very cooperative lately. Don't be afraid to skip down the garden path of your thoughts.


Monday, April 13, 2009

Hello? Ideas? I'm waiting for you!

We've talked a lot about various aspects of our writing, but I don't think we've ever discussed where we get our ideas.  

Mine come from a variety of places.  The idea for Ghost Mountain came from the fact I often wonder where to stash bodies and Devils Tower seemed an ideal location.  

The sequel, tentatively titled Let Sleeping Bears Lay, takes place at Bear Butte (another 
Lakota Holy Site in the Black Hills).  The idea for thi
s one came from a few real life events.  First, for 
those who don't know the Biker Culture, Western South Dakota and Eastern Wyoming have more than 50,000 visitors in one week every August.  The Sturgis Rally is HUGE and crime always goes up during it.  (Hey, if your town of 6,700 people suddenly boomed that much in a week, crime would go up there, too!)

Second, last year there was a shooting during the rally.  No, that doesn't actually happen very often.  (The crime surge usually involves things like "Drunk and Disorderly," "Indecent Exposure," "Driving Under the Influence"  -- basically petty stuff as far as crime goes.)

So, with some creative license on my part, the idea for  Let Sleeping Bears Lay will come from the news.  From real-life events.  

Not all of our stories are like that.  Many of my short stories are under the "what if" category.  Others are (as my Dad would say) "pure BS."

Tom Clancy is quoted as saying:  “The difference between fiction and reality? Fiction has to make sense.”  Even in our paranormal worlds, there needs to be a level of believability, right?

Which stories do you enjoy more?  Ones where you can say "yeah, that could happen?" Or the ones that take you so far from your day-to-day that you know it's fiction?  I'd like to know!


Thursday, April 9, 2009

A Flash Fiction Piece

Magic Circles

"She wouldn't have wanted this," Ellen said.

Gary sat next to his wife's hospital bed, head in his hands, fingers entwined in his thick blond hair, itching to yank it out.

"Gary, you have to sign the form." Ellen's hand was gently touching his shoulder. He could barely hear the raspy voice of his mother-in-law over the drumming of machines and the soft beep of the monitor.

"Gary... "

Gary stood up and walked out of the room without saying a word.

He wasn't ready to let her go. What did it all mean, if he let her life slip away before any of Casey's dreams had been met? They had only been married seven years, though they had known each other all their lives. They had never been to Europe, never opened the bakery she wanted, never even had kids yet.

She was only twenty-eight years old, for crissakes!

He understood what the doctors explained. That her head had struck the dashboard in such a way that left her brain swollen and bleeding. By the time they got her to the ER, the scans showed little activity. If she ever made it out of the coma, she would essentially be a vegetable.

Still, there was always hope. Wasn't there?

He remembered the day Casey got the job driving the elementary school bus. She was so excited. Her pale, freckled skin flushed from the August sun as she breezed through the kitchen of their apartment with a bag of groceries.

"The best part is it fits well into my class schedule and it won't interfere with my job at the restaurant," she told Gary as she put the butter and the sugar on the counter. "I get to be around kids all day, and honey, I met some of them. They are such little angels." Then she pulled out a cookie sheet and said, "Peanut butter kiss -- your favorite. I'm making a batch for the kids tomorrow."

Casey made a batch of cookies every day for the next three months for her "little angels".

Gary wondered if they missed her now, if the kids asked about Miss Casey, as they called her. If they knew that her actions that day -- swerving to avoid the jack-knifed semi before hitting the oak tree -- saved their lives.

"Have you seen my magic bracelets?"

The small voice seemed to come from nowhere and Gary was embarrassed that he jumped.

The little girl next to him was wearing a Wonder Woman costume. She had flame-red hair and heavy eyes.

Gary looked around, searching for a parent, not recognizing this wing of the hospital. He hadn't realized he had wandered that far off.

"No, sweetie, I haven't."

The little girl frowned. She couldn't have been more than eight years old. "I need my magic bracelets," she said, looking up at Gary as if he were wearing a cape himself and could summon super-powers at will.

If only...

Gary knelt down. "I'll help you look, okay?"

The little girl nodded.

"What's your name?"


"Okay, Diana, where did you last see your magic bracelets?"

Diana cocked her head and fumbled with her cape.

"Don't know."

"Well." Gary glanced around. Still no parent, but he spotted a drinking fountain and a vending machine near the waiting room. "Did you get a drink of water?"


"Watch TV?"


"Go to the bathroom?"


Then the little girl's eyes lit up and she said, "I got to ride on the elevator."

"Well, that's a start."

Gary and Diana walked towards the elevator. He wasn't crazy about watching out for a strange kid. Her parents were probably worried sick and they probably wouldn't be too thrilled if he took their daughter on the elevator.

"Diana, maybe we should call a nurse. Maybe she knows where your magic bracelets are."

"No!" Diana screamed, tears threatening to fall. "You have to help, because I need them for my Mommy and only the Queen and the Princess can touch them or they lose their powers!" She grabbed his hand.

Heads turned their way and Gary gave an uncomfortable smile to patients and hospital personnel.

"Okay, Diana."

They continued walking towards the elevator when a bulky man rushed from the chapel situated across the hall.

"Diana! You scared me to death." He hurried towards them and hugged the little girl. He stood to face Gary.

"Hi. I'm sorry about that. She's quick, this one."

"That's okay. You have a beautiful daughter," Gary said, glancing at Diana.

"Oh, she's not mine. She's my sister's kid." The man said. Then to Diana he said, "Hey munchkin, you left your bracelets at the alter."

Diana smacked her forehead and ran into the chapel.

The man stared after his niece and said, "It breaks my heart, watching her try to stay strong."

"Is her mother ill?" Gary asked.

"It's her heart. She's always had trouble, but it's getting worse. She needs a transplant." The man ran his hand over his face. "My sister is everything to Diana. I don't know what she'll do without her."

Diana smiled as she pushed open the chapel doors and flashed her magic bracelets.

In that moment, Gary knew exactly how to make all his wife's dreams come true.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

I don't really remember my first paranormal experience. it's just one of those things that's just always been there, in the background. Seeing people and things that no one else can, feeling things no one else feels... that's just part of how i grew up. If i have to pin point my first concrete memory of what i could sense and what others couldn't, it would have to be the blue doll.

Nichole and I lived with our parents in an apartment building in Ralston, a suburb of Omaha (which has since been swallowed up whole). I remember playing in our bedroom with this pretty hand made blue doll. I played with it all afternoon, put it up on a shelf, but when I came back into the room a moment later, it was gone. My mother had couldn't help me find it, because she'd never given me or even seen the doll. Kind of a lot of weirdness for a 5 year old to process.


ps. sorry this is so short today, but it's late (for me) and I need to go to sleep

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A ghost story...

Just for fun...
When the baby cries...
Mary was ending her eighth month of pregnacy when her husband Thomas lost his job as the school music teacher. Unable to find more work in their small town, the young couple along with their two-year-old daughter was forced to move to the bigger city of Decatur, Alabama to look for work. Thomas had been given no severance pay. He had no savings and so took the first job he could find, selling insurance door to door within the city.

The family rented a small house in what appeared to be a nice neighborhood with alot of options for kids. The house had a big yard with this huge tire swing. All in all they couldn't believe their luck. Mary loved her little house and happily began preparing for the birth of her second daughter. Thomas hated it there and spent every moment he could away.

A month later Mary gave birth to a beautiful baby girl and her dream house changed. Thomas grew hateful, almost abusive to Mary. The house was always cold no matter how high she turned up the furnace. Molly, the little girl, started throwing fits. One afternoon Mary was washing dishes when the child began thrashing on the floor screaming. "off me, Mommy!"
Glasses flew off the counter of their own accord. Pictures fell off the wall. Nothing calmed the little girl. The baby started crying. Finally exasperated, Mary threw the water in her drinking glass in Molly's face. She stopped. 'Bad things, Mommy!" she cried.
That night Molly sleep walked into the baby's room. Mary found her in the crib with a hammer. "No, Mommy. black thing get sissy! I not hurt her, promise." Mary was so afraid she started sleeping with both girls and kept her bedroom door locked.

The next evening while Mary was at work, Thomas was minding the girls. HE'd fallen asleep with the baby on the couch while Molly watched tv. The baby cried, waking him, but his baby wasn't crying. He grabbed the girls, didn't even bother to get a bottle or diapers, and ran to the neighbors. The family moved to another town and tried to forget the house and their experiences. It wasn't until a month or so later they learned the story of the house.

Severals years earlier a man came home to find his wife packing preparing to leave him. He had been an abuser and she had finally woken up to the fact he might kill their newborn. She tried to placate him, promised to stay. He killed her in front of the fireplace, while the baby cried in the nursery. Then he hung himself in the tree that held the tire swing. The baby survived and was raised by a cousin. To this day the house has never been lived in again.

And thats the story of my 'terrible twos' !


Monday, April 6, 2009

Ghosts and Spirits and Angels! Oh my!

What was your first clue that ghosts existed?  Was it that "funny feeling" when you walked past a cemetery?  Or that feeling of being watched in a dark alley?

Mine was right around my 13th birthday.  Now, I'm sure there were experiences before and I know there have been many since, but it's the birthday one that stands out in my mind.

Picture, if you will (insert Twilight Zone music here), a group of girls.  Mostly between the ages of 12 and 14.  A slumber party and too much pizza.  At some point we started telling ghost stories.  One of the stories -- probably mine -- had to do with the Ouija board my dad received as a birthday present when he was about that age.  The board had told of his aunt's upcoming nuptials.  Years later, it told the number of times my parents would change their wedding date.

The board was eerily accurate both times.  

This, of course, led to us giggly girls to want to play with the board.  (NOTE:  I don't need anyone to tell me the evils of using Ouija boards or to explain that the board is a portal to the "dark side" or even to reiterate that it isn't a toy, despite how the Hasbro toy company markets the board.)  So Dad got the board out for us.  

We had no idea what we were doing.  I remember saying a quick, silent prayer that only good spirits would contact us.  I didn't want my birthday party ruined by a jerk spirit!

We lit some candles for effect and sat around the coffee table holding hands.  We even allowed my little sister and her friend (invited purely to keep my sister out of our hair!) to participate.  The moment the circle was completed, though, a gust of wind blew the candles out -- cracking one of the votive holders, even!  The temperature seemed to drop.

That may not seem amazing to you, dear reader, but my birthday is the middle of August, and Nebraska summers can be a lot of things but cold and windy aren't usually among them.  Oh, did I mention that the wind blew from wall to wall?  And there were no open windows -- the air conditioner was on?  When we turned on the light, the bulb burnt out!  

Coincidence?  Maybe.  I didn't think so then and I don't think so now.

I remember my sister crying.  To this day, I don't think she's used any type of spirit board again.  For me, the experience opened my eyes to the unexplained.

I've grown since then.  I'm more careful about using spirit boards.  I won't say I don't use them anymore, but I certainly don't treat them as toys.  And I'm very careful about teaching others to use them.

What about you?  When did you first discover the paranormal?


Thursday, April 2, 2009

CR@PBALLS!!!! I missed again

anyone who's known me for over a week know's how bad my memory is. sorry. again.


I used to be able to say that I worked 100% on my laptop. And to be honest, I got a lot done. But recently my wage-slavery mandated that we couldn't bring in outside computers, so I haven't been able to bring it. Nothing is getting written.

I've recently started brining a notebook and pen with me, and I've gotten at least a new paragraph and a bit of the timeline done. I guess that's a plus.

Interview with my furkids

My friend A.S. King, is promoting her new book, Dust of 100 Dogs and for fun, she interviews pooches for her blog. Read about Thor and Gaea here.