I have a sophmore and a senior. We’ve been doing our very best in how we deal with non-traditional schooling. We recently learned that our city will be offering hybrid classes beginning in April. I am the type of parent … Continue reading
I was born to a young mother who was alone, beside herself, and scared. My biological father chose drugs and alcohol over me. My mother did the very best with the circumstances she was given. She married a physically and emotionally abusive man who spent years hurting both of us. He was a military man and we moved around frequently. We lived in Bamberg, Germany for a few years before coming back to the states. I don’t recall much from those years and those things I do recall were not nice memories.
I was fortunate enough to be able to live with my grandparents for a time and they taught instilled into me a passion for reading and writing at the tender age of three. I remember reading from small, fat comic books about Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, Scrooge McDuck and his three nephews, and putting words together with flashcards. I recall staring into my grandmother’s gigantic dollhouse and dreaming up the perfect life for myself. Though I couldn’t touch the pieces, I imagined the little dolls moving around, talking, and being the perfect family.
I was five years old when I told a sixteen year old girl, my mother’s friend’s daughter, about the sexual abuse. I was five years old when I showed the therapist with dolls the things that had happened to me. I was five years old when everything changed. My mother took my little brother and moved into a safehouse for women and children. I was too old, in school, and lived with my other grandparents.
My mother, with community resources, moved us to another city, and together, we began our new family. Starting a new school at six years old was very scary. Throughout the coming years I made friends but continued to carry a big secret. One which I never fully processed through. So I learned how to process events in my life by playing Barbie dolls and writing stories. My first story was written when I was eight. It was a combination of Curious George and Shirley Temple.
Following years, moving into teen years, I experienced more trauma. I turned to inappropriate coping mechanisms, but continued writing. When I was in sixth grade, I wrote a story about a brother who’d gotten AIDS and how his sister was handling the news. This won me an award at Western Kentucky University. It was the moment I knew that writing was a talent, a gift, and an appropriate manner to share my feelings and still being safe.
When I was fifteen, I found myself in a very toxic relationship which propelled me down many dark paths. Paths that would follow me for decades. While I found richness, goodness, and happiness in my life, still, the darkness, the secrets, were very much there under the surface. I continued with my writing however I was stuck in a ‘start a story’ mode and for the life of me, I could never see the words, ‘the end’ to anything.
I attempted NaNoWriMo so many times only to fail. By this time, I was married, had children, and was going to college. College was the one thing I felt I could do right. I was able to get my BA in Interdisciplinary Humanities and Psychology and into my MA in Professional Counseling courses. Still I’d never fully processed my past traumas and was very critical and negative towards myself. Working towards my MA made me really learn a lot and it helped me immensely. So much that I finally opened the drawers that were locked deep inside the mind, hidden in the chained, locked, impenetrable doors of the mind.
I suffered a mental breakdown.
I made it through. Stronger. Surrounded by loved ones, I paced myself and learned to love myself. I found out that my writing could be better. I found my stories could be bigger. I found out that I could write, ‘the end’. I had finished my first novel. And then with NaNoWriMo, I finished three more novels. I pitched one of my stories to an editor and they loved it. (It fell through when the editor left for personal reasons, so I had to start back at the beginning.) At the point, I was fueled with love and admiration for myself, for what I’d overcome that I didn’t let it get me down.
My best friend and writing partner passed away. I was lost again. And I left my writing. I put it aside, mourning the death of my friend and partner. I raced into my new career as a professional counselor, put my all into it, helping families learn communication skills, de-escalation skills, emotion regulation and coping skills. I helped bring families together, stronger, and I love doing so. Unfortunately, the life of a counselor, I found I had so much documentation to focus on. So much time spent in front of the computer, and it zapped all motivation to write creatively.
Then Covid hit. You’d think I’d have so much more time to be creative, but instead, I focused on being gentle towards myself, focus on my family, and self-healing. It’s been a year now since Covid became a thing and I am only now finding in me a place to want, a desire to write. My characters are talking again. My stories are calling out to me.
I no longer write to heal myself. I write to help others heal.
Since I previously blogged about having recently finished re-reading The Dark Half by Stephen King, I figured I would share a little about my journey.
A brief summary of the story: Thad has been writing under a pseudonym, George Stark, for a number of years. He’s tired of it and when a journalist threatens to expose Thad’s pen name, it is the perfect solution to end Stark. The alter ego takes on a life of his own after Thad ‘kills and buries’ Stark. Stark begins killing off people and Thad is seen as a suspect for all the crimes. (Click image for direct book synopsis from his website.
Many people complain of King being ‘wordy’ with his tales, and sure, I could agree. However, I felt this book was much more tight. King kept the action moving pretty decently and for the most part, not a lot of going on and on with backstories or descriptions. King also didn’t spend an overwhelming amount of time having the reader to really get to know the characters as he frequently does. In fact, I felt there were parts where I wouldn’t have minded being given more. (I’m just greedy and needy with supporting characters.) If I had any main critiques about anything, Thad’s wife was my least favorite character, especially at the end. I can’t say exactly what it was about her that I didn’t like. Maybe it was how she lacked trust in Thad to be able to come through for the family. King did write enough of her throughout the book that led me to believe that had faith in her husband so the climax and ending…it was lacking for me in regards to her.
I was absolutely thinking the entire way through the book, “how the hell is Thad going to take care of things?” All the way through, I was constantly thinking about how it was going to end; how King could find an ending that would satisfy me. No complaints here. He did well.
If you aren’t a fan on King’s methods and manner of word vomit, as I’ve heard people call it, this might just be a good starter book for you. It’s at times a bit gruesome as Stark is a killer. A very good killer. Thad is very realistic, has qualities of realness that people can connect with and empathize. If you are a writer of fiction, this is certainly one for you. Reading it will cause you to think about yourself as a writer, force you to ask questions about yourself and your craft, and you may just see some similar traits.
All in all, I’d give this book 4/5 Stars
In writing, I constantly try to learn and improve myself and sharpen my tools. Often I learn from reading from other writers. Recently I finished reading The Dark Half by Stephen King. I’d read it a long time ago but happened to get it for free and dived into it again. The story is about a writer who’s ‘killed’ off the identity he took on to write a particular series and the ramifications of doing so. It’s a great read if you’re looking for something for yourself. After finishing it, I had many thoughts about myself. For example, do I take on a different identity/personality when I am writing certain stories. I feel like we all put on a special ‘cloak’ that changes us when we are writing. Especially if we are writing something difficult.
As I write this now, it comes to my kind of my character Tarra, from my fantasy series. She’s an orphaned teen who is coming into herself, her powers as a mage, and her personal struggles of losing her parents. When writing her portions, I find I cling to the younger me, perhaps my inner child maybe. When I’m writing Anna, I am pulling on the life of a young, single lady who has strong emotions and desires.
In King’s book, he writes of the authors’Third eye’ and I loved reading about it and could absolutely feel that. As a writer, I do feel like it takes a third eye to create the illusions I do. Creating worlds, characters that spring to life, it is MAGIC. And magical. I can only hope that magic transfers appropriately to the reader.
I’m currently learning from Jerry B. Jenkins writers guild and love it. I’m focusing on increasing my brand currently while also learning to write more tightly. I’ve been out of the field for a while so these lessons are certainly helping me.
What are you doing with your passions lately? I’d love to see some pictures, read some passages, or whatever it is you are helping to fulfill your life. Even if it’s gardening, singing, cooking, WHATEVER it may be. Please drop a line and share!
Possible trigger warnings It’s been a bit of time since I last blogged. Three days shy of an entire year. Obviously a lot has changed in our world. I’d like to say a lot has changed for me as well, … Continue reading
Shaken (Mind Reader #1)
by Susan Hatler
I scrolled through the books on my Kindle and blindly chose this book to read. It was a generously ‘free’ download I’d acquired a while back ago. (Not sure exact date). It goes for $3.99 currently on Amazon. I strongly believe it would be a well-enjoyed $3.99 although it would be even better at $2.99 IMO (in my opinion) because it wasn’t all that long a novel.
It is a YA genre novel and one that was decently written. Kylie, the protagonist in the book is in the beginning not very bright IMO. I struggled with the first four or five pages because it seemed ‘off’ but I pushed through the early beginning and am glad I did. Kylie is a neat character with sarcasm, honest emotions, and is entertaining to say the least. The reader gets to see her at her worst and best and for that the character was a solid A for me. Continue reading
Unspoken by Kerrigan Byrne
Warning: This is a novella, not a novel. It’s total length is about 60 pages give or take a few.
I’ll admit I normally read the book blurb as well as others’ reviews before I go and decide to read a book. That doesn’t mean I won’t read it at all though. That was the case for this book. I saw a number of poor reviews; many citing extreme erotica and redundant sex scenes. They may have been talking about the trilogy as a whole or maybe not. Who knows. I do know that there were no explicit sex scenes. I have read a lot of erotica and this was not erotica. It did showcase a very touching sexual scene but the words were not vulgar and the scene not explicit. It was written with good taste IMO and I wanted to clarify with the people who are reading those reviews that the truth of the matter was: 2 sex scenes and nothing lewd. Continue reading
Coming Home (Jackson Falls #1)
by Laurie Breton
There are some books that are just so easy to put down and get back to life’s chores, work, my own writing, and all the other fuss. This was most definitely not one of those books. From the moment I turned to the first page I was totally and wholly and irrationally absorbed into Danny and Casey and Rob. The story was wrote with such detail and such emotion I can’t help but again express my fondness for the story. An entire lifetime in in the pages of this book; from the moment Casey made the decision that forever set her on a course of living a life as a rock star’s wife to that moment when she finally gave in to the horrible truth of what her life had become.
The writer really knows how to tug at one’s emotions as she told of how the three lives were intertwined and how of the complicated decisions they make, often sacrificing their own happiness for their love of another. It was easy to forget this was just a story and much better than sitting in a movie theater. The characters were 3D…coming off the page and making incredible marks on my heart. Continue reading
Book Review: The Blue Blazes
The Blue Blazes (Mookie Pearl #1)
by Chuck Wendig
Oh how good it is to be back in Wendig’s realm! Man, I can’t begin to say how glad I was to open up his newest novel The Blue Blazes.
From the beginning, the first words, the novel was intriguing and made me want to crack open an online mythology course and learn more of this world but I’m way too busy reading Wendig’s novel right now to do that! LOL I did allow myself to do a bit of research on some names and found some interesting stuff. But that’s for me to know and you to find out.
Brilliant opening to the novel. Mookie Pearl is a huge monster of a man and is taken down so very easy…by none other than Nora. But she doesn’t go by that these days, at least not on the streets. No, his daughter goes by the name Persephone . And that’s just the first chapter. Already I am loving the names and the connections to the Underworld. And I am curious as to how the ‘descent and the Underworld connects to Mookie. And even though his daughter takes him down, it is only briefly and I soon learn that however someone might go about taking him down…you can’t take him down for long and like hell are you gonna take him out. Continue reading
Blakewood by Sable Grey
Immediately upon opening this novel I was quickly pulled into the story. The author has a very excellent way of grabbing the reader’s attention. This immediately begins my rating at a 9. Let’s see where we go from there…
Elizabeth is a confident, headstrong woman who knows what she wants. She has expectations (even if they are somewhat…this is all I’ll get and I’ll be satisfied with it kind of feel to it) She goes into this new job as a governess and accepts her role immediately. However there are odd things, unique person’s who she can’t help but be curious about.
She meets two men, very different from each other and yet there is a very intense connection between the two that she just can’t seem to understand or shake. Of course, with all the thrills of ‘two guys and a girl’ story lines, this is very much that storyline. Continue reading