Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Poetry Corner: A Song For You

I want to write  a song for you
flowing words that are so true
I want to find the words to say
I want you to be happy every day.

I want to find what's really best,
not just "Do what's right" like the rest.

I want you to know how I feel,
I wish I could make it real.

Do you love her oh so much?
Do you long for her tender touch?
Do you want to take her in your life?
Or is it for the child, you make her your wife?

Listen to me, please, I care
I want to save you from the bare
lonely times that lie ahead
if the two of you should wed.
Without love, you'll never make it.
You'll combine your lives and in the end break it.

But if she loves you as I do
and if you think you love her too
Then I'll write another song for you
A song to praise your hearts so true.

But if you can't, or if you won't
Then I suggest that you don't.
Do what's best for you both.
Don't ruin your lives with a noble oath.
A life without love will be  lonely and hard.
A sacred marriage will be terribly marred.

I want to write  a song for you
flowing words that are so true
I want to find the words to say
I want you to be happy every day.

I wrote this poem for friend who knocked a girl up. They hadn't been dating. They had just gotten together at a party. He was a really good friend and even at my young age, I knew how hard divorce was for the whole family. When he told me that they were getting married, I was horrified. I knew he didn't love her. I was pretty sure she didn't love him.

After I gave my friend this poem, I never heard or spoke with him again. I don't know how their relationship turned out.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

On Being Happy- Cleaning

This is something I have been struggling with lately.  I feel like I am constantly struggling to balance everything. I know what I want, I know how I want things to be, I can see the happy life.... and yet, despite putting all these steps in place to get there I find myself... Not happy.

I am constantly feeling overwhelmed, like a failure, and cannot seem to get everyone on board. See, in my world of  "happy" I am trying to balance my job, career, family, husband, house, and living.  I have an obsessive need to plan. For there to be enough time to achieve everything, everyone has to pitch in. And they don't. And then I get overwhelmed. I am going to be running some posts on finding this happiness. Today, we are going to talk about finding happiness around one of the most obvious problems: Cleaning.

There are all these cutsey quips online about a messy house is a happy house, and other ridiculous nonsense like this:

And so my children are right, I am a horrible mom because I cannot live like this. And it is not just because I am neurotic about wanting a clean house. I literally get sick if my house is dirty. I am allergic to dust. I cannot breathe when my carpets aren't vacuumed regularly. But everyone else in my house is just fine with the mess, unless they are busy yelling and blaming each other.

And my house is never clean, and I am not happy.

And when momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.

I have tried to back off. I have tried the tackle-it- all myself approach, but it just makes me more mad because there are a million other things I would rather be doing than cleaning house. I don't enjoy cleaning house (I envy those who say that they do.) But it is something that needs to be done. There is a reason they call it a chore. But in my house everyone seems to think I have unreasonable standards. I have tried paying for chores, I have tried no fun til chores are done, I have tried "family cleaning time" which just turns into family fighting time. I have tried everything there is to try. I have explained the importance of cleaning, that I can't do it all myself, that I need everyone to contribute. And I will get a bit of compliance for a time.... and then no one wants to do their part.

How do I survive when I am the only one in the house that needs it clean? How do you find the way to being happy living in mess and unable to breath?

Am I just neurotic? Are my problems breathing all in my head? Or should I focus on cleaning and let go of the other things I want, because being healthy is an important part of being happy. I can't be healthy in a dirty house. Let other stuff go.

This is going to be a long saga of trying to find a way to be happy. Solving each problem in turn, I hope will allow me to achieve my end results.

Would love your thoughts on this struggle. Feel free to comment below.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Poetry Corner: Was it a Midlife Crisis?

Life is a ribbon
Artwork courtesy of Graphicstock
that threads on and on.
Some parts are fine silk,
and some are torn.

There are jewels in the garden,
with which to adorn.
But sometimes our ribbons
get bunched and get scrunched.
Sometimes they wrap 'round us
and pull us down.

Down into inky black despair.
You're alone and empty,
have nowhere to go.
You just want to lie down and die.

But that is never an option.
You must keep living
and going on
and eventually
You will have to stand up.

Stand back up and face the world again.
So what are you waiting for?
Just do it

Yeah, not sure when I wrote this, or what inspired it. It wasn't for a class assignment, I am fairly certain. I am guessing it was during a very difficult time in my life. Probably either High school graduation, or when I was trying to determine what to pick as a major when I realized I wouldn't make a living as an actor.... So I decided to become an author... go figure.  At least I got a great degree that gave me lots of job options as well as helping me with my career.

Since I wrote this poem, I have gone through a lot of ups and downs in my life. Some have been so hard that I didn't think I could keep going on. Some have been so painful that I thought it would be easier to just curl up and die. And here I still am, pushing for what I want, fighting for my dreams.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Poetry Corner: Deceived

Starry Night o'er a sleepy town.
The day is done, the sun gone down.

Stars twinkle in the night,
but not every night is right.

Horror sneaks about in this town,
with the peaceful stars shining softly down.

What horror could stalk on this pleasant night?
The twisted brain of a man not quite right.

This was another creative writing class project. We were asked to write a poem related to Van Gogh's Starry Night. I have to be honest, when I was young I thought Van Gogh must have been on drugs and it kept me from trying drugs (true story.) As I got older, I began to wonder what the world saw in this artist. (I still wonder). Now I look at his art and I wonder if he was on drugs, if he had something different with his brain that led him to see the world this way, or if he was just REALLY good at snowing the public of his time into considering him a great artist and somehow that misconception stuck.  I know third graders who can create better artwork. If I posted one of Van Gogh's less known pieces of art as a cover, I would get tons of well-meaning advice suggesting that I "hire a professional" to re-work my cover.

Thinking of Van Gogh makes me wonder about some indie authors who have had success with books that I considered poorly written, badly edited, or just straight up ripped off from other authors. At least Van Gogh was original.  And that makes me wonder about the masses who flocked to these unnamed books. Are they on drugs? Is there something different about their brains? Did these authors find a magical way to fool the masses into believing these books were great art? Will that misconception stand the test of time?

Or maybe my brain is the one that is off.
I digress...

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Update on the Homefront

Things are about to get very exciting. I have in my hands Lynette White's Enemy Unmasked, and am beginning edits tonight! She is releasing in July so I will have my hands full getting her to market in time. But I am excited for the challenge.

I am also going to be gearing up to edit Hell School: Fresh Meat for a September release, as I don't want to be rushed between Lynette's release and my own.

I also have the sequel for The Hunters demanding to be put to paper. It has started haunting my dreams so I best stop ignoring that.

What does all this mean for my lovely readers?

Well, you will probably be seeing more posts about editing... and less book reviews. I am bummed too, believe me. But at the same time, it is refreshing to get back to editing!

You will also be seeing a lot more of my poetry posts as they are quicker and easier, given the important stuff is already written.

If you need me, please be patient. Things are going to be a bit crazy busy around here!

Friday, April 17, 2015

Poetry Corner: Wedding in White

When I dream at night
I dream of a wedding in white.
When I work through the day,
I keep that dream with me to stay.

When I say white, I don't just mean the dress.
I want my husband and me wrapped in cleanliness.
Full of chastity and sparkling pure
Brimming with innocence, yet sure.

To be a virgin is, to me
more than just vocabulary.
I don't just say I will, I do it.
In all I do, I try to prove it.

Artwork courtesy of Graphicstock

A sacred marriage that will last more than life.
When my husband will take me and make me his wife.
My purity is worth so much more
than to give it up young and lose what's in store.

So why be a virgin?Why should I care?
Why won't I do all that I dare?
Why won't I leave life while I'm young.
Kick up my heals at wickedness unsung.

Because I know that pleasure's not all,
that life is more than just having a ball.
I know that through Christ, marriage is forever
and I'll not risk losing that joy, no never.

I wrote this my senior year of high school. I feel so jaded looking back at this. My life didn't play out the way I dreamed it would back then. I made some stupid mistakes, some bad choices. My husband did too, before we met. We've paid for those mistakes over and over again. But we love each other. We've worked through the mistakes we have made together, and we have worked hard to build a life together. We are still paying for some of those mistakes, but we take responsibility for what we did.

Reading this makes me want to cry. How different our lives could have been if we had been like this when we had met. But then part of me knows that he wasn't raised with this expectation of life. If I had stayed on that path, we never would have gotten together.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Writer's Corner: Why do I Write?

This is something I have been debating lately and it is kind of a long debate. Because there are many facets to this question. The first, and most obvious, is the very literal question at hand, and the answer is fairly simple. I write because I have all these ideas that bounce around inside of me, desperate to get free and if I do not write them down I truly believe that they would drive me mad. It is cathartic, it is a release. The thrill of creating something without the morning sickness that plagued me all through my pregnancy.

The next deeper version of the question would be why do I write and publish? This becomes a bit more complicated. I think it comes down to the old adage, if a tree falls in the woods, and no one is there to hear it, does it really make a sound? I put so much energy into creating this remarkable world, and extraordinary characters (at least to me) of course I want to share it with everyone I meet. Much like I want to share great books I read, movies I have seen, etc. I am not content just to create, I need it out there in the world.

Which leads to the last question I must ask. Why do I spend hours each week working on writing, promotion, spend money advertising, and pushing to be seen and known as a writer? It certainly isn't for the money (I know,I just did my taxes for the third year in a row and my writing "hobby" costs more than any of my husband's hobbies.)If it is for vanity, that is a fail as well. Yes, I have enjoyed some great reviews, but I still wallow in anonymity.  I am pushing the boulder up hill with no idea how far I still have to go to reach the mountain peak.

 And yet, I still manage to convince my family to bear with me on this crazy ride, pushing for more money for marketing, wondering if I can hire a publicist, should I hire a marketing professional, how can I afford to go on tour, and a dozen other thoughts on promotion that aren't practical given how little I am selling.

Which again leads me back to the question: Why do I write? Why do I keep fighting this uphill battle? Why do I keep taking 15-20 hours a week away from my family, chores, health and life? Why do I keep "investing" (yes, I use this term ironically) money into these projects? What is my ultimate goal?

Well, my ultimate goal is to write. I write to be read. Is everything else worth it? That is still up for debate.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Poetry Corner: Balance

Life and tragedy
Image Courtesy of Graphic Stock
for those who think,
is more like comedy
on the brink.

Feeling is pain
and thinking is lonely.
I stand in the rain
and ponder it slowly.

We should listen to Socrates;
find balance in life.
It will give us more easy
and a lot less strife.

Ever been so overwhelmed that you had to laugh to keep from crying? Yeah, me too. A lot. Did you know scientific studies show that those who think more are less likely to be happy? Ah, to have the simple life. Even as a teenager I thought too much. Even as a teenager I struggled with finding balance. Life would be easier if I stopped thinking so much and just accepted things the way they are. I have never found balance. All that wisdom wasted.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Writer's Corner: Where's my Zombie?.

I have a small confession... One I am ashamed to admit. I am done with Zombies.

What?!?! I know, right. Me, who raised her children with the threat "If you did that in a Zombie Apocalypse, you would be dead." Me, who before it was cool to like zombies, often day dreamed of a Zombie Apocalypse. Me, who has written three different versions of a book about a Zombie-like apocalypse, who owns Zombie flux, Zombie munchkin and loves watching her husband play DayZ.

And even now, if there is a Zombie movie or TV show, I feel a compulsive need to watch it. But lately I have been disappointed.

And I don't know that it is solely because Zombies have been "overdone". I think it is because it has been so overdone that people are taking liberties with the concept of Zombies.

First there was 28 Days Later. Arguably one of my favorite Zombie movies, because it was the first time I found Zombies scary. Before that (another secret confession) I enjoyed Zombie movies because it basically gave me permission to enjoy killing masses of stupid people... er, I mean Zombies ;)

Then there was the Resident Evil movies that I thoroughly enjoyed, even though the "infection" crossed the species barrier and we needed to kill animals. (I know, PETA would love me! Ok with killing people, but not animals... but I digress.) It at least had a sound basis in the fact that the virus was man-made and manipulated to cross the species barrier.

Then there was My Boyfriend's Back, Shawn of the Dead, and Fido all turning Zombies into an intentional comedy with still blood and gore and stupid people dying but at the same time stupid people living... and that kind of annoyed me. Yes, I know looking back at George Ramiro's work it was kind of bound to happen, but he wasn't trying to make it funny. It just so happened that there were funny things in it.

Then came Walking Dead (and to be fair, I have watched every episode and will continue to do so until they kill Daryl.) When did the concept of Zombies become more about the survivors than the Zombies? It was an interesting and refreshing view.... for about a minute. Now I am just wondering how some of these people have survived this long. Seriously, the whole joy of Zombie movies was watching the stupid people die. I did get perverse pleasure in seeing Rick cap the wife beater, but wouldn't it have been more amusing to watch him eaten by a female zombie?

Then there was Warm Bodies where a Zombie becomes a romantic interest and regains his humanity...

Now there is a new series: I Zombie, about a young doctor, turned Zombie, who becomes a coroner's assistant so she can eat the brains of already dead people. But she is virtually normal as long as she
can maintain eating human brains.... she is even, dare I say it, sexy in a goth/ emo kind of way.

It feels like the destruction of Vampires. Taking what is supposed to be a warning to society, (Take your pick: stop being a part of the stupid masses, or people will want to kill you, Beware the stupid masses destroying your ability to think for yourself. Stay out of graveyards, whatever message you want to take as a warning.) and turning our monsters into sexualized "hip" cannon fodder to pull in the masses.

and yet, I still feel drawn. I have become a Zombie.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Poetry Corner: Rocks. Tonic. Juice. Magic.

Image Courtesy of Graphicstock
I see the rocks below,
the tonic heals my soul.
The juice of Life makes me whole.
It's magic.

This was another one for class. We drew four random words from a hat and had to make a poem around them. The title is the four words. Think how many ways this could / would have gone if any other 17 year old got a hold of those words!! I had a unique view even back then.

Friday, April 3, 2015

Fresh Meat: Character Introduction: The Trio

The Trio are based on my real best friends throughout high school.  They were the most wonderful boon when I was thrown to the wind and dragged to live in a state that I knew nothing about. They quickly corrected the misconceptions I had about the South. They were smart, kind, quirky, and made that four years of mostly hell bearable.
The Three Musketeers by SacredLugia on DeviantArt

Misty was the little bookworm, like me, and we would talk forever about our latest reads.

Jill was the tomboy, practicing martial arts and ready to kick everyone's ass.

April was the preacher's daughter and accepting of my morals, if not always my religion.

Sadly, we have lost touch over the years. We are all Facebook friends, and I was so proud when one published a book a couple of years ago. Unfortunately they are much like other people who you accept friend requests from that you haven't seen much since high school. Every now and again I see a post, but I don't know the context, am not really a part of their lives.

The book is a work of fiction and so very few of the interactions between the friends actually happened, but they are in the spirit of who we were and how our friendship worked. I had other friends throughout high school, but most of them get relegated to the personality of the trio who they fit most, because a reader would have difficulty keeping all of those "side characters" straight. But these three wonderful women were worthy of representing all of my friends who helped me through the most traumatic experience of my life and helped me forge the mettle to be strong enough not only to survive, but to thrive.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Book review: The Road of Darkness by Zoe Ambler

I really want to enjoy this book.... and I must have, because I finished it eagerly in one day, despite having a lot of house work and several chapters I was supposed to edit... Yeah. I couldn't put it down. It is the story of a young woman from New Orleans who was raised by a voodoo-practicing slave-nanny and ends up getting changed into a vampire because she snuck off to buy some supplies for her own voodoo practices.

Her soul is given to Baron Samedi and we get to see her go through history learning to survive and thrive as a vampire. There are exciting introductions to different species of vampires, to other supernatural creatures, and to demons. The book has so much to love....

But the author rushes through telling us bits that would have been much more interesting shown; rushing through bits and pieces that although not strictly relevant to the plot, were much more interesting.... Well, and to be fair, would have been relevant to the plot because the plot plays out like an autobiography. There isn't really a plot. We are simply following Addison's life, or unlife as it were. Spending more time on interesting and relevant pieces would have been good.

I have to say something about the writing. Usually I am a major stickler for poor writing. There are six books that I have not finished reading in my life. One just recently was made into a major motion picture. Because of that, it gave me pause to say anything. Clearly there is a large mass of readers who don't care.... and there is another book that was made into a motion picture recently that is grammatically well written and I have spent almost three months trying to get through, so I obviously enjoyed this error-riddled book more than those other book which shall remain nameless...

But as a writer, I cannot bring myself not to discuss it. This author is the perfect example of a writer who is a master story teller, but would benefit SO MUCH from having an editor. She did a fantastic job with writing in dialect. And someone obviously did some work editing (though it wasn't obvious until I got to the last handful of chapters where it really fell apart!) but I know high schoolers who could have done a better job editing. Seriously.

There were a couple of pet peeves that really drove me nuts, that could have been fixed by a best friend reading through and wouldn't have cost the author a penny. (It is per se, not per say. You start a new paragraph when you change speakers, and spell check is a must!! In this modern age, there is no excuse for misspelled words. Homophone errors, perhaps, but not straight up misspelled words!)

But really every author should have a professional editor. I provide editing for other authors, and I hire someone to edit my books. Even if you do not have a budget to have the book edited, there are ways to trade favors with other authors, give new editors a chance to build their chops, get beta readers, so many options.  I hope the author does that. Pull the book and get some people to read it. Polish this diamond in the rough and buff that baby straight up because I really want to read this series!!!