Monday, December 19, 2016

What is my dream trying to tell me?

I can't - no, I refuse to imagine a life without dreams! I'm not just talking about goals and aspirations. I'm also referring to the dreams that grace (or haunt) our sleeping hours. If it weren't for these subconscious musings, many of the stories I have in my "to be written" queue would not be possible. But, not all of my dreams result in stories. In fact, many of my dreams leave me with only one waking thought... Huh?

There are people who believe very strongly that there is a deeper meaning to the dreams we have. There was one occasion, after overhearing me describe a dream about looking into a cracked mirror, a co-worker said, "That means that you are either suffering with vanity of a lack of self esteem." Sure, I can see that, I suppose. Though I took it to mean that I was living in a home of perpetual disrepair. I owned a fixer-upper at the time. Oh wait, I'm inhabiting another one now. But, I digress.

There was a time when I really wanted to know the deeper meaning of my dreams - convinced that they possessed answers to the questions burning in my heart. But it has long since been my belief that, for the most part, dreams offer us an escape from life or suffering or, well, reality. And, sometimes dreams are just an intricate story, woven by our mind, to deal with something happening on the other side of consciousness. Like the sound of someone snoring next to you...

So here's a dream for you... I'm walking through a posh department store in search of a bathroom. I ask various people, including some rather snobbish sales associates, but all they do is point. So I walk in the specified direction, but everywhere I expect to find a restroom, I simply wind up in another department. I finally come around a rack of clothes and see a shiny white porcelain toilet sitting there in plain site. "This can't be the bathroom, right?", I asked myself as I looked around at the other shoppers who seemed unaffected by the toilet sitting there for all to see.

Hoping this was just an odd display, I moved along - continuing my search. As I walked into the shoe department, there it was... another "public" bathroom. Department after department, it was the same thing. It was becoming painfully clear. If I needed a bathroom, I was going to have to go where everyone could watch.

So, what did this dream mean? Am I afraid of exposing myself in public? Do I dream of having a toilet in my closet so I can admire my clothes and shoes while I go? Do posh department stores make me uneasy? Well, since I no longer work with an interpreter of dreams, I may never know. All I can tell you is, when I woke from that dream, there was only one lingering thought going through my mind - "I have to pee!"

*Note: My sister in law inspired this latest thought of mine when she posted about a strange dream she had where she traveled through a labyrinth of bathrooms in search of a clean toilet. In reading her post, I was relieved that I wasn't the only one to have these kinds of dreams. I guess that means one of two things - I'm either not weird or I'm not alone in being so.

Friday, September 23, 2016

When a writer isn't writing...

Unfortunately, I suffer from a widespread ailment that many writers suffer... a full-time job. While I consider myself very fortunate to have a job, I often daydream of life very differently. Of course, it goes without saying that I envision myself in my office most days typing away on my latest novel. But, it doesn't end there. I have so many other interests and hobbies that I wish I had more time to pursue as well.

So, what does a writer do when they're not writing? Well, I can't speak for everyone, but I can tell you what I do. I bake. I craft. I read. I attempt to promote my books (never was a good salesperson). I ride horses... Well, you get the idea.

My latest venture (and what has allowed me to shamefully neglect my blog) has been finishing my basement. Yep, I'm building the walls myself! Our basement started out as one big open space. But, when I'm done with it, there will be six rooms consisting of a craft room, sewing room, workout room, napping room (too small to be called a bedroom, haha!), bathroom and living area complete with a little kitchenette.

Sure I have tons of interests aside from writing. But, believe it or not, I'm still conjuring up stories even when I'm hammering nails into 2x4's or galloping along on horseback. These hobbies are responsible for most of what I dream up - offering inspiration in unexpected ways. And though I'm guilty of jumping around from one interest to another, I couldn't possibly imagine life any differently. Well, except for maybe having more time to do everything!

Friday, May 27, 2016

Immortal Enemy

I was armed and I was lethal. I had only one thing on my mind... to mow down my enemy with brute force! Looking out along the field, the site was menacing. There were literally thousands of them. But I was determined. They have lived to threaten me far too long and the day had come to lay them down, once and for all!

Without hesitation, I charged, slashing through them like a blade through wind. Their life giving fluids splattered my face, but the moisture was inviting on this warm dry day. They had no defenses but for a few strategically placed land mines. Yet, with my keen senses, I could sniff them out a mile away.

Fortified with deep rooted hatred, I was an unstoppable force. I slashed to the left of me and chopped to the right for what seemed hours. And just when my strength was about to fail me, it was all over. Wiping my brow and taking a deep satisfying breath, I looked out once more to the battlefield and smiled. Sure, their seed may one day rise against me, but as for them... those weeds would bother me no more!

More stories like this one:

Monday, April 25, 2016

Full Bloom

So, it's been a while since I've posted anything to my blog and it's for good reason. I'm so excited to be finished with book two of my Flower Child series titled Full Bloom. It is due for release in eBook format on May 20th with a paperback edition to be released shortly thereafter. To celebrate, the eBook for Flower Child is free through April 27th.

Full Bloom continues the story of Breanna Kinsley. Picking up where Flower Child left off, Breanna discovers that there is more to Sebastian's past than she thought. But will these secrets be enough to destroy the relationship she so longed for?

If learning she is part of a secret world of healers and protectors isn’t enough, she is confronted with what it means to be the best and last of her kind. Being hunted for her powers keeps Breanna looking over her shoulder while her new friends try to protect her. But when it seems Sebastian has betrayed her, Breanna takes matters into her own hands. Did she do the right thing? Or would she have been better off trusting her guardian in spite of the many secrets he’s keeping from her?

Here’s a sneak peak of the introduction to Full Bloom

Sometimes secrets can be good things. Like your mom not telling you what she got for your birthday, or being an anonymous benefactor to someone in need. These kinds of secrets are kept without malice. They serve to benefit others, inflicting neither hurt nor pain.
Other times, secrets can be bad – serving only as a means of prolonging the inevitable. Like, when you do something wrong, but let someone else take the blame. You’re not lying – you’re just withholding information. You know they’ll find out sooner or later, and when they do, the consequences could be worse than if you’d come out and told them in the first place. Though it would seem you’re benefiting by not getting caught, this kind of secret profits no one in the end.
But I’m not talking about any of those types of secrets. I’m talking about the deep, lonely secrets that you keep - the kind that you bury away from everyone, even yourself - too ashamed for anyone to discover it. They eat away at your soul, trying to escape. They burn fear into your mind, singeing your every thought. What if they find out? What if they already know?
You turn to lies to protect the truth. You hurt the ones you love, but yourself even more. You know you’d feel enormous relief if you could just tell someone. But your pride becomes your worst enemy – never faltering, denying you from easing your burden. Refusing to let the truth come out, you see this inner torment as a small price to pay if it can spare you your dignity. So you’re left with no other alternative. You must take this secret to the grave. But, what happens if you never die?


Thursday, March 31, 2016

Writer's Block? Or is it distraction?

I, like many writers out there, have had my bouts with writer's block. But, so far, they have been infrequent. My real problem is all of the distractions that either derail my thought process or prevent me from writing altogether. So now, I'm beginning to question if I've actually suffered writers block at all.
Okay, to the Googles...

writer's block
1. the condition of being unable to think of what to write or how to proceed with writing.

1. a thing that prevents someone from giving full attention to something else. 

Ah, okay. That helps. I think it's important to understand the difference between writer's block and distraction because one of them may very well be avoidable (well, in theory that is).

My distractions, for the most part, are self inflicted. I simply have too many interests. Did I really just confess that? Don't tell my husband! It's true though - I enjoy a wide range of things. My hobbies include writing, baking, reading, woodworking, horses, crafting, spending time with family, Netflix & chill, etc, etc. (No, this isn't copied from my profile on Coffee Loves Bagel. I don't have a profile, silly! :) )

For many writers, they can use their interests as inspiration for their stories. I haven't quite found where any of my interests fit with my characters. Well, not anything I can do in real life anyway. I write fantasy. Besides, though I do all sorts of things, I still think myself rather dull and I'm pretty sure nobody would be interested in reading my life story. I digress...

I think, if I really analyzed my writing process, I would have to conclude that I've never truly experienced writer's block. I always have ideas for things to write. What I often lack is focus. Too often I'm thinking up great scenes for books I haven't even begun to write. Not helpful when I'm still trying to get my second book through final editing :(

It also hasn't helped that I've been working on projects for my sister's wedding and renovating two houses - the one I live in and the one I'm selling. Sure, I'll probably get a better offer when I sell the old house, and my current home will be all the better by my efforts. But, meanwhile, my second book is getting cold and lonely.

When I can sit down and write, I'm thinking about all of the things I have to do. I start to feel guilty working on my book when I should be working on my "to do" list. So, it's Distractions = 1, Writing = 0. Could this be an avoidable situation? Absolutely! Why? How? Well, because I'm the one "inventing" my distractions and, if I would just stop making more work for myself, I'd have more time to write.

Sure, some things have to be done - they must take first priority. But, some distractions can very well wait their turn! It's all a matter of setting my priorities and focusing my energy to doing one thing at a time and doing it well. Am I going to give up all of my other hobbies entirely? No, ain't gonna happen. I just need to organize my time better. Oh, and figure out a way to earn a living from my writing so that I can quit my job!

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

The Power of Words

I've never been what I'd call a poet. Oh sure, I can make things rhyme if I give it some time (haha!). But, I am well aware that it takes more than that to write a good poem. And, just because it rhymes, doesn't mean it's worth the ink it was written in.

Take the first poem I ever wrote, for example:
I like Easter because we hide eggs
and it makes me move my legs
If this poem had a scent, it would be likened to a stinky cheese and a high school gym locker. But hey, I was only seven when I wrote it. Proof that I was not a child prodigy, yes. But, I was kind of a cute kid and I think that made up for it.

You would think, with poetry skills like that, I would have given it up altogether, right? Well, not exactly. Though very rare, I do like to play around with poems. Sometimes the words flood in - words that don't quite qualify as a story, but shouldn't be left to wonder aimlessly through my mind. So, I put them on paper that I may see them and keep an eye on them.

Words can be tricky characters. You never know when they'll change or evolve into something else entirely. They start out as a passing thought and, before you know it, demand your full attention. If you don't write them down, they could take you over entirely - consume you.

Oops, I got off on a bit of a dramatic tangent. What was I talking about? Oh yeah, poetry...

Well, though I see myself as a novelist, poetry certainly has it's place in my stories. They may not be short verses dedicated to a theme, but rather, poetic words woven in to highlight a mood or scene. I love the challenge of trying to lure a reader into the heart and mind of my characters.

Poetry grabs the reader. It provides depth to emotion and meaning to dialog - giving it volume and shape. With the right words, a story can truly come to life. So, while it is unlikely that I'll ever publish a book of poems, I will always write with my "inner poet" sitting comfortably on my shoulder.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Devil in My Ear

"You do know you're not very good, don't you?" came his calm, baritone voice, smooth as the finest silk.

He was so well spoken - so artful and articulate. His voice, merely one of his vices, was enough to entice anyone to listen. Soft, yet commanding - as if he spoke only truth and wisdom.

“I’m good enough,” I argued, though perhaps with little credence.

Why do I always answer back? I take up his words like bread crumbs all the while knowing they only lead to more abuse – more sadness. But stubbornness is my vice.

“Hmm, perhaps. But you’ll mess up,” he chuckled, sending fire through my veins to warm my cheeks. “You’ll be an embarrassment to yourself and all who know you.”

He always knew the chinks in my armor – aiming his worded dagger with skill and precision. It’s true. I feared failure above most anything. The only anxiety to equal it was that of losing the respect of others.

The tip pierced a place not yet healed from the last wound, bringing moisture to my eyes. Too easily I could give in to self-doubt. Years of his abuse made sure of that. But was it fair to believe the worst of my friends and family? Would they be so fickle?

Clearing my throat, I replied, “Everyone makes mistakes. It’s how we learn to improve.”

“Then your ‘lessons’, as you call them, are piling up.”

He always had a “come back” – always another weapon to brandish.

“My dear, honestly, why do you punish yourself?” he sighed, as if he truly cared anything for my suffering. “Why keep grasping for something your arms are too short to reach?”

The simple truth? I often wondered myself why I refused to give up. With every obstacle cleared only to be presented with another, who wouldn’t, in their right mind, resign?

As often as this question came up, the answer was firmly planted inside me. To quit would deny me everything my heart held fast to. In the end, my dreams were mine alone. Nothing, and no one, could take them from me.

Normally, this would be the point in this recurring debate where I would say nothing. Never quite as clever as him, I could seldom find the words that spoke from my soul. But, today was different. Our many unwelcome conversations prepared me for this.

Choking back the tears, I lifted my head high - looking at my dreams lingering like clouds over my head.

“I reach for what I cannot touch, knowing that I may never embrace it, but believing that I will be rewarded for my effort.”

Anticipating a harsh rebuttal, I was not prepared for what he would say next... nothing. The weight of his defeat lay heavy by his stillness. Could this be true? Had I finally spoken the words to silence him on this matter?

With nothing more than the faint whisper of his retreat, I sat alone, enjoying my peaceful thoughts. Though I knew he would be back, and no doubt too soon, I celebrated with a self-satisfied smile at my tiny victory.