Sunday, December 18, 2011

Writing Epiphanies

Dang epiphanies, you make so much work for me.

Yet I can’t ignore you.

I have two recently completed novels that are in the edit stage and I was hard at work when, bam, an epiphany hit. It probably wouldn’t have been too bad, except that the epiphany had nothing to do with those two manuscripts. It had to do with another completed work that was sitting on a back burner while I focused on my two more recent ones.

Now I’ve done it.

So I’m currently working through edits, getting reader feedback and trying not to think about that book I started and am 25k words into. I’m not succeeding on the last one, I must say.

My writing brain is in overload, and for some sick and strange reason, I’m loving it!

On top of all the work I seem to be making for myself, it’s the holidays. Which means kids out of school, which means less writing time. That’s kind of bumming me out, and yet I feel no less compelled in my writing frenzy.



Have you ever had a writing high? The words flowing like mad and editing calling to you like a siren song? Was it a total rush or did it compound into a terrible strain?



I gotta say, I’m feeling the rush and it feels good.



Happy reading, writing and editing everyone!

Merry Christmas to all and to all a good write!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Calling All YA Beta Readers

If you follow my blog you probably know that I have two completed manuscripts, one with a first edit under its belt, the other awaiting a first edit. I have some great beta readers, and I'm on their reading schedules, but will need to wait my turn (shucks.)

Being a writer, I'm a little less than patient when it comes to knowing the outcome, so I'm turning to you. HELP!

Can you help me connect with YA beta readers? Do you have experience with some that have impressed you and they're looking for the next read? Are you yourself a beta?

I mainly write Paranormal YA Romance. Book 1 is a ghost story and book 2 is about a Scottish wolf clan. I can give further details if someone wants to connect with me. I'm looking for any review level, overall plot and story line, all the way to line by line review.

You can connect with me by leaving a blog comment or on twitter @geistwrite

Please, help out a writer in need this holiday season... read a book (or recommend someone who can ;)


Thank you!

Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Absent Minded Blogger

I know, I know, I let another laps happen.

So instead of blogging about something writer-ish I’ll just blog about my writing, because I’m kind of excited about it.

In October I started writing my Ghost Story, which I finished at the end of November. I was really excited about this story. It was the first one I’d written like it and it was way more fun than I even anticipated. I love these characters and kind of fell in love with writing ghosts.

However… I was almost done with my ghosts when I began dreaming about a certain story that takes place in modern day Scotland. It’s one that had been brewing in the back of my mind over the past year and suddenly it sank its teeth in and wouldn’t let go. I did make it wait until I had gotten The End on my ghosts before I started to ‘jot down some ideas’ one day. Well, that day was 13 days ago and I’m nearing the end of the story now. Yeah, wow, that was a rush! I’ve never typed so fast or so consistently. The story is fast paced and it felt like the typing was matching it. Now all I need is to finish it by Saturday and it will have gone from idea to The End in 15 days. I want to try because I can’t even believe I did it myself.

In the meantime, I finally managed to break away from Scotland long enough to do first edits with my ghosts, so now they’re ready for my readers. I sent it out to two of them today!

Now, I must shoot for that 15 day goal, just so I can say I’ve done it. Of course tonight my mind is a bit mushy and this post is the most it has mustered.

At least you all know where I’ve been and why I’ve been blog-quiet.

I love both of my latest works and am hoping for some good, clear feedback that will point to one of them as my next potential for agent fishing. A couple good rounds of editing and I think either of them could be contenders. Of course, they are my babies, so I could be a slight bit prejudice, but I have a really great feeling none the less.



So, I’m curious, what’s the fastest that one of your works has gone from idea to The End?

Did you try to make it happen, or did it surprise you like a lightning bolt of inspiration?

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Lure of the Paranormal

Paranormal is here to stay, because we are drawn to it. I began as a vampire fan oh so long ago, then there was Frankenstein’s Monster, moving on I became fond of wolves and even sprites on an occasion. Recently I discovered an untapped interest in things that are ghostly, but even as I’m busy writing a story about those ghosts my mind has been engaged in an idea that came to mind some time before, of a hairier nature. So as I’m writing what could become my favorite work to date, about ghosts, I’m dreaming about wolves once more.

That got me thinking about this strange lure to the paranormal. What exactly draws us into these tales?

Well first off it’s the paranormal part, they are a little like us, only not. They are relatable because of the ‘possibility’ and yet something inside us says ‘no, not really.’ We accept them because of the last part, we embrace them because of the first. Each one represents its own separate draw too.

Vampires are seductive.

Ghosts are sultry.

Wolves are just plain hot.

Sprites are mischievous and youthful.

Zombies are our fears.

Angels are our hopes but can turn on a dime.

It makes perfect sense then. Although I am thoroughly engrossed and captivated by my ghosts, those dang wolves are just so hot, how can I not dream about them?

I think the paranormal can tackle our worst fears while staying enough out of touch with our lives that we can walk away unscathed by the new ideas which are sparked. I think it can also captivate the highest ideals of our dreams, taking us to a place where the truth can raise us higher than what we sometimes believe.

They are us, only the lows are deeper and the highs are soaring. They are us, scarred and yet unscathed. They allow life and death and possibility to be viewed from a whole new angle, without infringing on our reality. People tend to be more comfortable with that.

Maybe that’s why I like paranormal too. I have my beliefs and they are well defined. People think I shouldn’t be able to write about characters that think differently than I do. But why not? I think it’s wonderful to see life from another perspective. I think that opening up your mind to another idea doesn’t have to mean discarding your own ideas. I think faith is nothing if never tested and what better way to test it than posing questions which you yourself have no answer to? Paranormal characters steal my heart because of their struggles, their hopes, their fears and their great promise. Sounds a lot like people to me, only slightly different. How can I condemn my fellow man when I can fall in love with a vampire? It all comes down to how well I know their story, doesn’t it?



Tell me, what kind of paranormal characters capture your mind, and why?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Where do you find your peace?

Peace

What does peace mean to you?
Is it quiet, calm, rest?
Is it the place where turmoil and tribulation cease?
Is it something you hope for but never feel like you quite achieve except in infinitesimal moments in time?

I think most of us long for peace. Even those who thrive on being busy must still hope for tranquility in their lives in one form or another.

But what is it we're really looking for when we wait for peace to come?

Where I live we have floating bridges that span a large lake. Invariably when I cross those bridges I'm reminded of peace and what it really means, not what I hope for or expect, but how it actually works.

You see, on one side of the bridge the water will be choppy, rough, storm like as it batters the bridge. On the other side the water is smooth, calm, pristine. There I am in the middle of these two contrasting scenes, on the 'buffer' between turmoil and peace. That's when I'm reminded that peace isn't the removal of turmoil and tension from the day to day world we're in, it's the buffer that protects us from the chaos which would otherwise beat upon us. The turmoil is there, I can see it, I can feel it just beyond my reach, but it can no longer control me. That is peace.

Peace isn't that place where the storm doesn't exist, it's the shelter to keep us safe in the middle of it.

Maybe there are lots of ways you find peace in your life. Maybe when you write it creates a bubble like peace about you. Maybe your home or family or faith bring the calm of peace to your heart. Maybe solitude brings you peace, or you find yours in the company of others. Working at something you love, or something that comes natural to you can be a source of peace. Complicated things can make you feel calm inside, and so can things which turn off your brain for a while.

So...

Where do you find your peace?

And what do you do with it?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

The Query Rite of Passage

I think I finally get it. I never understood or agreed with the whole query process.

I mean, we’re writers, we write, lots and lots of words. We don’t describe something in one sentence, if we did that we’d never complete a whole novel, just short stories. Therefore it always seemed unfair to me to make us take a novel and put a spin on it and try to get someone to read it. That’s for marketing people, not writers!

I’m not good at marketing me, can you tell? I read all the posts on how to write a query, I studied all the guidelines, I followed all the ‘right’ tweeters. I tried really, Really, REALLY hard.

I failed miserably.

Hence, I was upset with the process. It’s just unfair to make us write a couple sentences and then accept us with open arms or behead us based on that. It’s a NOVEL people! 60-100 thousand words! That’s what it takes to ‘describe’ my story.

I went through the range of emotions, anger, fear, anticipation, regret, desperation, you name it, I felt it. Yet still, I did not understand.

Why do they do this to us? Why?

Well, you know what? I think they do it on purpose. I think they know we might be a ‘best seller’ and we might have amazing ideas or be blessed with great writing prowess. I think they know they might pass up a great thing, but I think they’re ok with that.

I think a query is a rite of passage and mastering it is a step we have to go through to achieve a transition in our writing careers.

They know we stink at writing queries. In fact, someone naturally good at writing them might not be able to write a good novel if they tried. The two skills are vastly different. Yet they are both skills.

Maybe that’s why they have a hard time defining their rejections some times. They know it, we’re just not ready. We haven’t mastered this step, and we need to before we go on.

We have to develop the query writing skill. We have to learn that much about marketing and hook, audience and publishing in order to aide them in selling our book. If we can’t be molded into a good query writer then how can they teach us about all the hoops we’ll have to jump through to gain access into the publishing world?



What does the query process teach us as writers?

            - the publishing industry is subjective

            - we need to handle rejection and keep on writing

            - we need to be willing to alter things about our writing

            - we have to be willing to work in ways that are less comfortable than writing

            - we have to face the public, and sometimes it’s on their terms

            - there’s an audience for our writing and we must know that audience

            - sometimes life’s just not fair

            - know how to find the hook in your book

            - write with your heart, sell with your head

            - you’re not as unique as you think you are

            - even artist must jump through hoops now and then

I could go on, but I’ll let you do that for me. Comment on this blog with what you think the query process teaches writers. There are dozens of lessons to be learned out there in the trenches, share yours with us.





By the way, I think writers are stubborn. Yes, it’s true, my kids didn’t just get that trait from my husband.

We have to be a bit stubborn. We have to be able to say ‘I love this story’ whether or not any publisher is buying vampire-outerspace-drama stories right now. We have to be stubborn enough to get over that place in the middle of a book where you lose direction, forget where you’re going and persist, not giving up on that book. We have to be stubborn enough to think that an agent will select us after having sent out 30, 60, 120 queries. We have to be stubborn enough to not give up on the 100 thousand words we spent time writing, and editing, and be willing to start on another 100 thousand once again. We have to believe in what we do, no matter who doesn’t, because lots of people won’t.

It took me a while to reach the point at which I could accept the query process.

It’s hard to teach a stubborn writer a new trick, but I’m learning!



So now, tell us, what do you think the query process teaches writers?

Thank you!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

The Greatest Compliment

As a writer, especially one that is yet unpublished, there are many accolades we can seek, dream about, hope for, aspire to. Then we have these moments which bring us back to our senses and make us love what we do again.

I gave my niece a copy of one of my books several months ago. She read it in one weekend, cover to cover (well, minus the covers, but you know…) Her mom told me that had never happened before. She’s not an avid reader and most writers can’t keep her attention through a whole book, in fact it isn’t often she makes it clear through to the end. Wow, that is what I call a great compliment. That means there is something different about my book, about my writing, which she hasn’t seen yet. That reminds me why I write these stories in my head.

I was just in contact with her mom who was asking me about what I was writing. I have another more recently completed work, but it’s an adult book, not so much for a junior high age. My niece is disappointed. She’s still thinking about my book. She wants more. She wants to read something, anything, by me!

Wake up call!

When I’m dead and gone I don’t so much care that my name lives on forever. I’ll have other things I’m occupied with and that will be of little concern to me I’m sure. Yet, I want to be published. Why? It’s a question writers get asked a lot and we usually have a different answer for it each time we’re asked.

So, why do I want to become published? Why do I keep trying when writing itself is so much simpler than the business of publication?

I love books. Books were important in my teenage years, they helped me to become me, and a better read and deeper thinking me. The thought that a story I love, a story I sat down and poured out of my tired, raw, imagination might do the same thing for another kid like me, I like that. If it happens once, it was worth it. If it happens more, all the better. If no one remembers my name ten years after they read my book, that’s ok. If they never forget how it made them think or feel, that is everything!

I write my stories so I can give back to all those authors who came before me. Yes, there are hundreds upon thousands of books already out there to read. But maybe my book will resonate with that one mind the others can’t reach, maybe it already has.

That is why I write.

That is the greatest compliment any writer can receive.

My niece wants to read more. My niece wants to read more that I write. So, I will write more and more and more.

I write for the ones who want to read, because somebody wrote for me, and I’m so glad they did.



Thank you J, you’ve made my career!

Ghostly Giveaway Winners

Yes, All Hallows Eve has passed and The Feast of All Saints is upon us.

That must mean it’s time to give stuff away!



I loved the ghostly recommendations that all the commenters left on my blog. More Than You Know is now in my Amazon cart as we speak!



Now I get to announce the winners of my Ghostly Giveaway 2011…



Melissa Crytzer Fry… Bone Chillers

Blackest Night Reads… Turn of the Screw

GMR… Nightmare Before Christmas (the book)



But wait… I still have one item that needs a good home!

Tim Burton playing cards are still up for grabs!

They will go to the first commenter on this post to say… Send me the cards!

Give me a way to reach you and you win, that simple.



Thank you everyone!

Look out next year because I plan on making the Ghostly Giveaway my annual Halloween tradition.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Ghostly Giveaway

Have you entered my Ghostly Giveaway yet? Closes on Halloween night.

Book prizes
Tim Burton prizes
Fun cool stuff all pictured to right of blog posts.

Check out my original post and comment to win!!

Tell your friends, tell your mom, tell your kids teachers!!! You could win free stuff too!

Thank you and happy haunting (and reading/writing).

Friday, October 14, 2011

Twisting and Turning Suspense – A Review of Jennifer Hillier’s CREEP

When I was about half way through CREEP I felt like I’d been watching CSI and taking an advanced psychology course all at the same time. Some serious research had to go into writing this novel and I was impressed with the detail and how it slowly unraveled for the reader.

I, being an avid long time fan of Law and Order, could feel a twist coming in the air. It was just the feel of the writing that made me know something would happen, there was something under the surface of these characters. Try as I might though, I would not be able to predict what that would be until the characters themselves began guessing at it.

The twists and turns which came at the end all played in perfectly. They were unexpected, yet made complete sense. I for one was glad at who was left standing and who wasn’t, plus the extra one standing left that little bit of room for a follow up book… when can we expect that Jennifer, because we know it’s not over?

The style of writing was easy to read while at the same time delivering a lot of information. It was explicit where it needed to be, but never for mere effect, I liked that. What begins as simple, average people, making usual mistakes and misjudgments, quickly turns into something that is multilayered and complex.

Oh, by the way, creep is a total understatement! In fact, the mere thought of the existence of such characters makes one’s skin crawl. An ‘innocent’ affair is never really innocent, but after reading CREEP you just may think of affairs as the riskiest business one can possibly consider.



Thank you Jennifer for a great read! I look forward to more and know you’re busy at work weaving more tales for us.



Interested in CREEP? There’s a link at the bottom of the page, I suggest you get your copy today!

Zombies? No, no, no, It’s Death and Love and Eternity: A Review of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s HANDLING THE UNDEAD

Loved this book.

I think calling it a 'horror' book is a bit misleading. It is more of a look at how society handles the subject of death, its fear and intolerance that can lead to its own destruction. There is very little that is graphic or typical 'horror'.

That said, it is an amazing book which deals with the subject of mortality and afterlife in a unique and multi-faceted way. The way we love, the way we grieve, the way we die, is all interwoven in letting go or holding on, squelching or freeing the soul.

The view of a mindless innocence that can turn into unremorseful destruction in the presence of hatred is also a powerful subject in the book, and one that might not be anticipated.

We all see death in our own way, some might see it as a moving on to something more, a release and relief from the turmoil of life, but most see it as a frightening unknown. I love how he represents death that way, seen differently by all, not just a ‘fear’, but an image of its meaning.

I would recommend this read to almost anyone, just don't be expecting horror movie zombies or fast paced killing at every turn. It'll make you think, not scream.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Ghostly Giveaway

My most recent projects have been centered around one theme… GHOSTS

I have a novel in the works and a short story, plus my MG novel has some ghostly elements to it as well. This is new territory for me and one that I am really enjoying writing.



Therefore, since my mind is on ghosts and All Hallow’s Eve is approaching, I think a Ghostly Giveaway is in order.

The items up for grabs are…

            Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas (book)

            Bone Chillers ice cube tray

            Tip Burton playing cards

            Henry James’ The Turn of the Screw (and other short novels)

The links to these items can be found to the right so you can take a closer look, or order them if you just can’t wait to win.



Now, what do YOU have to do to win?

Pretty easy really…

You have from now until Halloween Night, that’s right, October 31st, 2011, at one minute to midnight (otherwise Halloween will be over, you know) to leave a comment on this post sharing with us your favorite GHOST story or movie. (you can tell us why you like it too)

If you follow this blog or follow me on twitter you can have a second chance to win. Just mention how you follow me and don’t forget to leave a way to contact you with your comment.

Winners will be chosen by random org and announced on this blog by November 1st.



Thank you for sharing your favorite GHOSTS with us and good luck guys and ghouls!

There are Excuses and Then There’s Life

I am a writer.

I am also a wife, mother, volunteer, daughter, chef, maid, chauffer, landscaper, nurse…

I’m sure there are a lot of writers who find that time is the least plentiful writing tool which they have. It’s also the most difficult one to procure more of.

Time is the main reason I’ve almost given up on writing several times recently. But as most of you know, declaring ‘I’m quitting’ and actually stopping the stories from flowing through your brain are two different things.

I can’t quit, even if I stop, I still can’t quit.

I don’t want to quit either. I love writing stories and in my completely overwhelming real life, it is the one outlet I crave endlessly.

I just feel better when I’m writing, therefore I come back from writing being a better, stress relieved me.

The problem is, I have one child in grade school (including homework, soccer games, practices, productions, field trips, reading…) and one at home (nearing that no-nap point which happens two years before school is a possibility.) My kids are my priority. They are my job. My job is leaving me less and less free time of any sort.

This will change in the next few years and I’ll potentially have some school hours free to do my ‘other job’ of writing. But those hours aren’t available at this time.

So now I’m left with after-bedtime hours… oh wait, I have a husband. I was actually making stellar progress on my latest WIP when I realized that my husband was getting about zero percent of my time. This is a less than ideal situation. Perhaps if I had actually been published I could justify this at least a certain percent of the time, but as is, it was just not working well.

What I’m left with is about two hours a day to divide amongst house, shopping, blogging, writing, reading, volunteering, and any other projects I take on.

This is the point at which I almost declare I’m quitting. But I can’t, you know.

I stop and say to myself, this time will pass, the schedules will change, and if I’ve learned anything from life, it will happen far more quickly than I can believe. So… relax!

Maybe two hours isn’t a lot, but it’s something. Maybe between everything else, I can only write once a week, but it’s something. These stories in my head aren’t going anywhere, unless I get senile, which is a possibility but I don’t think I’ll remember to be upset about it at that point.

Relax! I have to be content to write what I can, when I can. Savor the moments I have and remind myself these are not excuses, they are life. I have to live every part of my life, otherwise what will I have to inspire me to write anyway?

There will be times I can afford to power through a book in a month, but if it’s not this month or this year, that’s ok. I’m dedicated to this writing stuff and I’ll find the time to get these stories out of my head. I need to trust myself and not make it all or nothing.

I will write. Maybe it will be a little at a time, but I will write.



On a side note… If I’m reading your book and you wonder, two months later, why I haven’t mentioned it, it’s probably because that two hours a day thing has left me with little reading time. I did however just go from three books on my ‘reading right now’ pile, to only two! Which ones are they? Deadworld by J.N.Duncan and Creep by Jennifer Hillier. Don’t worry… I’m reading, and so far I’m really impressed by both these books! In fact, if you follow the links at the bottom of this blog you can get them for yourselves! I’ll review each as soon as finish.



Thanks to all the writers and readers I know who keep the support network strong come rain or come shine!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

My Chrysalis - Thoughts on Handling the Undead

We had two caterpillars we found within days of each other. They ate strawberry leaves and flowers and crawled around contentedly for days.

Then they began to slow down a little, the time of change was steadily approaching.

One caterpillar began to violently contort itself, twisting and turning, writhing in seeming agony. While the other quietly crawled under a piece of bark with little fanfare.

I watched the caterpillar that fought and contorted itself for days. It's apparent pain made me ache inside. "I'm glad I don't have to metamorphosis, it appears to be painful!" I remarked on several occasions as I waited to see the skin split open and a chrysalis take the place of the old caterpillar skin. It never happened though. After days of twisting and turning it slowly came to rest and then dried up, never changing into what it was always destined to become.

Meanwhile, the other caterpillar which had quietly disappeared, never came back out. Fearing the worst, I peeked under the bark. There, attached secure and out of sight, is a chrysalis, inside of which a huge and life altering change is happening.

I was still thinking I was glad I wasn't a caterpillar when I finished reading Handling the Undead. All of the sudden I realized, I am that caterpillar. Crawling around I gather everything I need to complete this life, enter my chrysalis and become what I was always intended to be. So, when I reach that point where the outer must be released, shed away, will I be the caterpillar who twists and writhes in the agony of the unknown, or the one that accepts its condition and embraces the change it has prepared for in every physical sense?

The first one nullifies its own existence. What, after all, was the point of the eating, the crawling, and the pain of change, if in the end you fight it and die, giving up all claim to the future you might have had?

The second one, however, takes upon itself a new life, a rebirth. While that new life is as yet not understood, it is the purpose and fulfillment of the first, giving meaning to every struggle, hope, need, that was encountered in that first stage.

The pain we perceive in the ending of a phase and stepping out into the unknown is just that, perceived. If we let the pain overwhelm us with fear and turn away at the last moment in fear then we risk giving up the very thing for which we were made.

Even I have always seen death as a stepping away from the known and into the darkness of a new light. This isn't exactly what I feel now. I feel the place inside of me where the new is contained within the old. It has always been there, waiting quietly, preparing. The thing which I am, the thing which I will become and have always been, is alive in me now. I must nourish that, preparing to shed the old flesh in which it is growing more and more confined every moment. The pain of time grows tight within the flesh and it is then that the flesh must give way and free the spirit to be that which it was made to be.



(by the way, I'll post a review of Handling the Undead soon... How can I not after that read)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Synopsis Short-Circuit


Writing a synopsis is not exactly my cup of tea.

I should say, it’s a nightmare beyond comprehension.

The problem lies in the fact that I had this story to tell and the only way I could tell it adequately was to spend 70-90,000 words doing that very thing. Now, once I have all those words down and have completed necessary revisions and edits, I feel my story is polished and as perfect as I can make it. That’s when someone wants me to describe it in 500 words.

Well, ok, but see, if I could have told this story in 500 words, I would have. Really. It took a considerable amount of time to write and edit those 70-90k words and now you want me to sum it all up in 500.

I understand the value of a synopsis, I do. I just find it a gut wrenching experience to write one.



It’s like this…

You hear that a Mr Leonardo da Vinci made a little painting called the Mona Lisa. You’re interested in this painting, but you don’t know if it will be worth your time and effort to actually travel to see it. Instead you ask him to send you an example, three brushstrokes, that are ‘similar’ to the Mona Lisa. You will use those brush strokes to determine if it’s worth your while to then view it.



Ok, I’m not da Vinci and my writing may not be any Mona Lisa, but I’ve spent considerable time, effort, and a little part of myself to create my ‘work of art’. It’s a hard thing to do to then pick those three brush strokes, carefully put them on paper, and present them in lieu of all the time and effort you put into the original piece.

Not impossible, but not easy.



So, to all those out there who may run into a synopsis I have painfully created, please bear in mind, it is a fraction of the whole. It’s an oyster without her pearl, the Mona Lisa without her smile (or her whole face for that matter), a commercial and nothing more.

I try to make it the best commercial I can, but there are so many layers to tear away, so many details to be left out. It’s like picking the cutest part of your baby and only sending out photos of that part. So if you get a nose, a very cute nose, remember the whole that you’re not yet seeing.

Thank you!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

A Box of Inspiration


A box of inspiration...


A small box filled with a mishmash of toys. Pirates and action heroes, skeletons and spiders. An afternoon of adventure with a six year old's imagination. These things inspired an idea that developed into a story that is currently one of the two WIPs vying for my limited time and typing skills.


Something that looks more like an iSpy picture than a plotline, inspired a writer's mind to work overtime. It also got me thinking about the varied sources of my writing inspiration, and when that crazy thing called muse can strike.

Inspiration.


It can come in many forms and be called many things. Maybe you see it as your muse, your friend, a whisper in the wind, or divine inspiration.


Maybe it calls to you in the middle of the night or nags at you like a buzzing fly for weeks on end until you can no longer ignore it. It may come like a lightning bolt, all at once, or be as painful and slow to draw out as a well rooted tooth.

It's that conversation with a friend that sparks an idea, that stranger who catches your eye and lingers on in your imagination. Or is it that childhood memory that made a forever impression? Perhaps another writer got your imagination working overtime, or a movie morphed into something new in your dreams.

No matter how it comes, where it's from, or what you call it, inspiration is what every writer lives to feel. That spark, which starts a story which compels us to finish it. It is at times a blessing, treasured and praised. It can also be a curse, a nagging, unavoidable obsession which cannot be quenched without labor pains and long nights of toil.

Inspiration.


It comes when you least expect it. You must capture it and hold onto it, lest it vanish like a dream in the morning light. Because you never know, this inspiration may be the one. The one to inspire others, the one to cut through boundaries and take on a life of its own. The one, the story which must be told.




What are some of the simplest, strangest, most unexpected things which have inspired your writing? Do they haunt you, slowly developing into something tangible, or strike in the dead of night, like a dream you never quite awaken from?


What's your inspiration?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Great Expectations, or Expectations of Greatness?

When I wake up and my husband is away on a trip I get up with ease and take care of the kids, no matter how early or how tired I am. I may be groggy or wishing for a few extra moments of sleep, but I'm generally resigned and content in doing what I need to do.

When my husband's home and it's the weekend and I've gotten up early for days in a row, I approach the dawn with an entirely different outlook. I'm tired, I want to sleep in, I can barely raise my head off the bed, and I am crabby. Why? What's the difference shifting that morning wake up from contented to discontent?

It's expectations.

In life there are so many instances where what we are told to expect affects our outlook. A situation we would normally accept can turn into unacceptable in an instant if society tells us we deserve something better.

The world just keeps raising the bar and at some point we won't be able to keep up. We have luxuries beyond what could have been imagined 100 years ago, and yet we are restless and discontent, always striving for that something more.

Expectations can drive us forward in innovative and beneficial ways. They spur on development, inventiveness, and achievement. They take mankind from the cave of ignorance to the great towers of knowledge.

However, expectations can also tear us down as individuals, crippling us with a feverish discontentment that turns us bitter with greed and vanity. Suddenly we believe everything we are told we deserve, everything we must posses, every way we should be treated. We stop being an integral part of our own destiny and blame the world for things that never fall at our feet.

The characters of my latest WIP are dealing with expectations and the discontentment they can create. They've been taught by society to expect it all, because they deserve it all, but they might lose out on something very real and life altering if they buy into the promises that no one can deliver.

My characters have me thinking a lot about my expectations and how I let them shape my mood, alter my attitude and eventually control the amount of joy in my life.

Do I have great expectations that will inspire me to discover great things, or do I have expectations of greatness which will never be achievable and lead only to a bitter unrest?

Do expectations drive you forward or hold you down?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Writing Blogging Benefits

...say that five times fast.

I recently realized one of the benefits I get out of blogging as a writer. It has nothing to do with networking or getting my name out there in any way, but everything to do with writing itself.

After an extended lapse from my laptop (by this I can mean a week or even two) cracking open the old computer and getting back into the flow of writing seems to take time. At moments like these the necessity of keeping up with writing blog posts may seem like an effort. At first glance it serves only to take time away from my novel writing. Once I sit down to write that necessary post however, I find a direct benefit can come from all that typing. Blogging can be a lot like tapping a vein. The 'forced' writing makes me think about my writing, makes me find the emotions behind my writing, and gets the old typing fingers warmed up.

Through this one act I not only connect to the writing community, I reconnect to my own writing desires, stretch my typing muscles, then suddenly, strangely, I'm ready to start up again right where I left off.

In short, I blog because it makes me a better writer.

Are you a writer who blogs? Why? What does blogging do for you as a writer?
Are you a writer that reads writer's blogs? Why? What is it that you take away from the musings of other blogging writers?

Happy reading, writing, and blogging everyone!

Friday, August 5, 2011

Before I Decided to Become a Writer


I was a much more diligent writer before I decided to become a writer. When it was only me, a pad of paper and a nice black pen, I wrote my story every time a new scene played out in my head. In the car, in the tub, in the middle of the night. There was my pen and paper and I wrote, just so I could get past that scene and find my way to the ending. I wanted to know the ending.

Sure, it took 3 years, but I ended up with two manuscripts and characters I love to this day. I wonder if it's because I wasn't writing a novel, I was just telling myself a story.

Then I decided to become a writer, like edit and type and pursue publishing.

Now I can write a book in a couple months and edit it in a couple more. In six months I can have what it first took me four years to achieve. Yet somehow the entire process has become so much more complicated. Instead of flipping through the last couple pages of notepad and start writing I must wait to have 'alone' time, fire up the laptop, read the last chapter (or the whole WIP if it's been a while), replay my recent scenes in my head and begin typing. By that time it's either midnight or someone has put an end to my 'alone' time and I wrap up with a whole lot of nothing.

I must say, when I do write, I mean really write, I mean power through 4k words a day until I have a cool 90k MS, it is way 'better' writing than what was on that notepad I started with. My writing is improving, but not my diligence. I suppose that happens when one turns a love into a job, or a potential job at least. I try to remind myself of those 4 years before I had any polished MSs. At worst, with all the delays and distractions, I'm beating that rate at least. Besides, when I stop being a 'free agent' and actually find an agent, perhaps 'alone' time will become 'work' time and will be easier to achieve, or maybe staying up till 3am will feel more justified. Either way, this writer is keeping on the typing on, even when I disappear for months at a time.

Maybe I'm not writing on that old pad of paper every free moment I get, but those scenes still play in my head and are much more patient at awaiting my writing them these days. Power typing has replaced 'just a minute' jotting, but I'm still getting to that ending, one word at a time.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

In Praise of The Magic Tree House

My Kindergartener was a new reader when we first discovered The Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne.  He was still transitioning into reading alone and had really done well on his comprehension.  He was ready for something a bit longer, stories with more depth.  That’s when I discovered the first Magic Tree House books.  I read a couple to him and he enjoyed them.  Soon he was actually waking up early and laying in his bed reading them by himself.  To be more accurate, he was devouring them.  He couldn’t get enough of these stories.  When I pulled out the next boxed set of four books you would have sworn it was Christmas morning.  Within days he was begging for the next one, and believe me, it didn’t take much begging for me to pull out the next set.

He just turned six and reads two or more of the books per day, we’re on #36 and he’s the one worrying about how many are left in the series and whether she’ll write more in time for him to continue.  My new reader has the reading bug and I know I owe a great deal of thanks to Ms Osborne for creating a series with that impact.  I think it wasn’t until I was a pre teen reading The Chronicles of Narnia that I felt what he’s feeling now.  That urgency for the next adventure, the need to know the next part of the story, the longing to spend time with those friends between the pages.  The love of books that never lets you go.

I’m a writer myself, so you can imagine the thrill in seeing his love of books take off so early.  There is nowhere you can’t go with a great story, nothing you can’t conquer.  What better way to help our children’s imaginations and potentials soar than helping them discover the possibilities a good book can offer. 

I applaud Ms Osborne for the wonderful potential she has tapped by discovering these adventures for our children.  A writer that can make history as exciting as fantasy is a treasure to us all.  I’ve put my money where my mouth is and continue to invest in this series.  I hope as an author she is reaping the rewards of a craft well honed, but what she has done is more than monetary rewards can sum up.  She’s tapped into the earliest of reading potentials and struck a chord there which will change how children think and feel and view their very own potential.  She has brought to them a love that will see them through every phase of their lives, the love of reading.

Her stories are crafted intelligently, with words to grow on.  They are exciting, but not frightening.  They teach without telling, but by showing and feeling.  If you have kids who are beginning to take off in their reading skills and it’s time for chapter books I cannot recommend this series enough.  The Magic Tree House is where my son goes to grow and learn, explore and have many adventures.

Thank you, Mary Pope Osborne, for your dedication to this series and to the children who wait anxiously for each new adventure in it.  We’re catching up with you, maybe it’s time to invest in some of those Research Guides and Fact Trackers now, so we can hang in there while we wait for the next installments in your amazing series.



Go buy these books!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Yankee Doodle Dandy

My grandmother was born on the 5th of July. She's had to compete with parades and fireworks and BBQ's her whole life. She also grew up in Seattle, WA. Throughout her childhood she remembers big 4th celebrations planned, traveling to the islands, family galore, and her birthday somewhere in the afterthoughts. Since it was Seattle, she also remembers rain. Lots of rain. Rain, rain, rain right up to the 6th of July, when summer would start.
All her anticipation would mount, then fizzle out along with the sparklers in the rain. Then there was her birthday, otherwise known as the day traveling back home with everyone soggy and tired.
As you can probably tell she's handled 92 years of this in classic Grandma fashion, drilling her sad story into our heads year after year.
I finally realized why she's always had such an issue with red white and blue things, like banners and tshirts and fluttering flags. She's jealous of the USA. I guess it's hard to share your birthday with an entire country.

Happy 92, Grandma... At least it's sunny!

She's a Yankee Doodle Dandy, well, almost.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Exercising The Writer Way

I’ve learned through the course of my sometimes busy, always unexpected, and insanely scheduled life that writing is a lot like exercise.
I never have enough time to do it.
There will always be10 things that feel like a higher priority.
Sometimes the motivation isn’t there.
I always feel better when I make time to devote to it.

When, for one reason or another, or twenty others, I haven’t written in a while, it feels so hard to find the day and time available to fire up the old laptop and get to it.  Where do I begin?  How do I begin?  Where did I even leave off last?
Once I actually sit down in the peace of some stolen solitude and begin the process of reading/writing/editing/plotting, I am invigorated.  Every time I begin again I am reminded why I began in the first place.  I love writing.  I love all the places my writing takes me.  I love the feeling of being transported to new and unexpected places and even more, the knowledge they were somehow a part of me all along.  It’s like reading a book, only more personal, because I feel every moment of it, even the ones no one will ever read.  I never regret a single moment spent writing.
I tell you all this as a yet unpublished writer.  No one is paying me to do what I do.  No one would have to.  (Although I sure wouldn’t be opposed to the idea.)  I love writing.  It’s not my day job, although I don’t get a paycheck for that one either.  It’s more of a night job actually, but calling it a job isn’t exactly accurate.  It’s become a whole lot more like exercise.  It’s not exactly like air, because I could live without it, just not quite as well or full.  Doing it just helps me be a better me.  I feel better, I think better, I’m more content, I’m less frustrated and I live a little fuller. 
So why do I forget that when I get pulled away from it for a week?  Suddenly it’s so hard to get back into, when it is exactly what I need to pull me through.
Some people run triathlons, some people climb the world’s highest peaks, or sky dive or surf. 
I write novels.

(Oh, I exercise too and it always feels good as well, just not as good as writing does.)

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Breaking Up Really Is Hard To Do

Dear Times…
I didn’t want to have to come right out and tell you these things, but you’ve left me no choice.  I thought you’d get the hint when I never picked up your phone calls, week after week, month after month, but obviously subtlety is not going to work with you.
I called to cancel my service because I actually did not want to receive the paper any more.  I wasn’t teasing you or trying to get a better rate out of it.  I honestly did want to break it off with you.  No mistake, no momentary weakness, no ‘game’ I was playing.
When you began calling less than a week after our break up I thought it was quite sad desperate of you, but I figured I’d just not answer and you’d get the hint soon enough.  Now that months have gone by and you’re still calling me on a regular, near daily, basis, I see you’ve gone from pathetic to stalking.  Yes, if you were my ex, this would be stalking.
So here it is, just so there is no confusion about my true feelings and intentions.
I do not like your stories.  Your coverage on every piece is one sided and uninformative.  You are self absorbed in a world that is full of important news.  You go out of your way to insight problems instead of working toward resolutions.  You play on the vulnerability of readers, and to be quite honest, you’re coupons aren’t that great either.
There, I said it.
I didn’t want to have to do that to you, but what choice did you leave me with?
No, calling at a different time of the day will not elicit a different response.  You should know that, you’ve tried every imaginable time aside from midnight, on many occasions.
Give up already!
I’m not coming back to you.
Stop calling me.  It’s really not helping your case.  It’s bugging the heck out of me and making me even more certain than ever just how glad I am to be rid of you.
We’re through.
You just have to accept that.
Goodbye paper.
I mean it.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Writing Method

Writers like to talk about, compare, test out writing methods. I think that when it comes down to it writing methods are as unique as every novel written. Can there really be a right and wrong? If it gets you to that place where the stories live then it must be right.

So, how would I sum up my writing method? I like to be alone in complete stillness. Then I say to all those voices in my head, "Please carry on, ignore me and this laptop, I'm just here to observe". Then I write down everything they show me, tell each other, see and feel.

I'll admit, there are a couple flaws in this method. First, I can never type as quick as they talk, so I have to ask them to repeat a lot of things for me. Second, their stories never seem to end. Even when the novel wraps up, they go on and I want to know the rest of their story. Like good friends, it's hard to let them go.

How about you? How would you sum up your writing method?

Well, whatever it is, enjoy every moment!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Writing and Editing and Blogging… Oh My!


My blogging has taken a back seat lately.  To all those who stop by to peruse my writer-ly commentary I do apologize for this.  I would love to tell you it was because of some wonderful writing or editing break through that has captivated my attention and launched me into a new chapter in my writer’s journey.  I can’t.
All I can say is, life.  Yes, life can be filled with distractions pulling me away from my writing and editing and yes, agggg, my social media as well.  I’m still here and plugging away.  Tonight I have some time.  Really!  Time!  I can write or edit with this time.  If I don’t write or edit at some point then it’s fairly hard to continue posting a blog dedicated to my writing ventures.

Tonight I shall keep my blog post short and direct a question to you.
Whether you read or write or edit or blog…
What priorities get in the way of your ‘work’? 
And…
What priorities are you willing to let fall behind for those precious stolen moments to ‘work’?

As always, thank you for stopping by!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Literary Agent to Author (or) Author to Literary Agent

Ever since I began my research into the ins and outs publishing I’ve noticed something about the world of literary agents that has left me perplexed and at times uneasy.
There are many literary agents who are also authors.  Now, which came first I cannot always tell.  Sometimes this feels like a conflict of interest to me, yet at others I can see how it might be an asset as well.  I think the deciding factor has to do with a couple details, which came first and what they’re publishing.
Let’s look at a couple different scenarios…
If the agent was an agent before becoming an author and the genre has to do with non-fiction publishing advice, I can totally see that working.  However, if they’re an agent and then somewhere along the line write a novel and get it published, I can’t help but say “huh?” 
Did they have to go through the query process and find an agent to represent them, or did they skip that and submit directly to publishers?  When do they find time to write, edit, and publish a novel while also being an agent to clients?  Will their focus be on one or the other in the future? 
This scenario leaves me with questions, and I’m not sure exactly how to feel about it.
Now let’s look at the opposite view.  Say an author of fiction or non-fiction who isn’t the type of writer to churn out one or two MS’s a year decides that they’d love to use their literary skills and connections to help others reach their publishing goals.  Ok, I can totally see how having gone through the process would help in your entire understanding of writing, writers and publishing.  I feel like this might be an asset as an agent.  I still can’t help but wonder how one might juggle the two jobs, but then lots of people do handle two jobs at once without issues.

After weighing the pros and cons of having an agent that’s published themselves I’m still not quite sure how I feel about it.  I’d love them to understand me as a writer, my processes, my struggles and my journey.  I honestly don’t know how I could do both jobs without one getting in the way of the other though.  How would my writing affect the way I represented other writing?  How would my agenting affect how and what I wrote?  I’m not sure I could separate the two and do either justice in the end.

So I’m curious.  How do you feel about agents that are authors or authors who turn into agents?  Do you think the jobs can co-mingle?  Do you have an agent/author?  How does that affect the way they represent you?
I’d love to hear your take on this subject, because I’m truly undecided.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Fall

The Fall
(A short drama about life and death and the spaces in-between)

I sat staring out at the rain falling steady on the wet asphalt.  Every twenty minutes or so another car would pass, spraying a glistening wave up under the yellow street light.  I was mesmerized by the drops that looked suspended in time under that glow.  Finally faint reddish light began to filter up from the horizon.  A grey, drizzly morning was beginning, half a world away from everything I once knew.  The glow on the horizon quickly disappeared into the thick layer of clouds.
Sunrise had been this brilliant glow, shining light into a previously dark world.  It gave an instant form and meaning to everything which had been hidden and lost.  Then that beautiful promise, that brilliant hope of a bright future, was put out, like turning off a switch.  The grey nothingness swallowed it whole, leaving only the dark misery of half light; worse than darkness.  At least in the dark black of night there had been the hope of a beauty to behold once the light finally did shine, but after the brilliant light is revealed and then so abruptly extinguished, all hope fades eternally and only misery is left behind.  Eternal grayness, the void of all hope.
My heart sank.  My soul gasped, but could no longer find the strength to breathe.  In this miserable endless world, where was the hope for me?  Some would say that I’d lived through so much already, why crack now?  Why not face this loss just like I had faced the rest of my life before it?  This was different though.   Before, my life was in the dark, living with that ever present hope of finding light.  Then my sunrise came and HE filled my world with brilliance and color.  I could see everything, even see myself for the first time.  Then the sudden engulfing grey stole my sun and left the eternal nothingness in which I now found myself drowning. 
I had to get out!  There must be a way out of the grey and back into the light.  But how?
What if my body drained slowly of its life?  Could I make my system so weak that it couldn’t heal itself?
That was it!  No one had to be involved and there needn’t be any big public witness of my demise.  Slow and methodical.  Hey, it’s worth a try, what’s the worst that could happen?  I actually chuckled to myself, then quickly covered my mouth.  “No one would even have to know!”  I said in the faintest whisper.  “It would make sense.  Of course I look bad, I’ve been through a great loss.  No one will even notice me fading away.  Then maybe ‘poof’ I’ll just disappear.”
I gathered up my bag and went into the bathroom.  Pulling out everything I thought I might need, I began to prepare.  I ran a hot bath, as hot as the old water heater would produce.  Pulled out a white tee and tore it into shreds.  I looked around for ointment and then the final necessity, my army knife.  Opening the small silver blade, I looked at my reflection in its narrow mirrored surface.  I didn’t recognize me.  Worn and tired, pale and ghostlike.  That’s what I was, a ghost left to wander the earth long after my life had ended.  I needed to set my spirit free to go toward whatever light waited for me.
I checked the lock, climbed into the tub and then slowly pressed the reflective silver edge into the skin inside my left wrist.  It took some doing, my flesh was stronger than I had imagined, but I finally broke through and saw the deep red oozing out next to the flash of silver.  I sunk my arm deep into the hot water to quicken the flow, then decided I better do the other wrist too, before I became too weak or dizzy to finish the job.  When it was done I sat and watched the red trail waft out into the thin water and slowly disperse, like the trail behind a jet on a cloudless day.
It was amazing to me how little it hurt, even as I watched the life oozing out of me, I felt only numbness and a distance from the pain I should be feeling.  It was as if I watched it all play out on some computer model, detached and unflinching.  Only a dull thudding sensation, like a tiny heartbeat in my flesh, made me aware it was indeed me who was cut and bleeding.
I was so enthralled watching the current of the water pull my life away with it that I barely noticed my head drooping and my eyes getting steadily heavier.  The last thing I wanted at this moment was to lose consciousness.  That would ruin everything and cost me more than I was willing to pay.
I put a good amount of ointment on each wound and tightly bound it with strips of t-shirt.  Finally, with great relief, things began to even out.  As I rose slowly to my feet an unexpected effect rushed over me.  My stomach churned and I lunged for the toilet just in time for a great nausea to hit me like a fist.  The life poured out of me in even greater force than it had right after I learned of HIS fate.  The nausea left me in a knot on the floor gasping for air.  My body burned and ached and I struggled to keep back the darkness and focus my eyes.
“What’s going on?  Are you ok?”  A sleepy whisper at the door.
My voice was weak and thick, but I forced it out.  “I’m ok.  Sorry.  Just a little sick to my stomach.  Don’t worry.  It’s passing.”  I wondered how convincing I was as I lay on the grimy bathroom floor, a tub ringed with blood and my arms wrapped in bloody cloths.
“Are you sure?  Do you need help?”
“No, I’m fine.  Just need a little time.”
“Ok.”  Footsteps moved away from the door.
Thank goodness!  I laid there on the cold floor until I felt I could attempt to move again.  This time I was able to move without the nausea, but the slightest motion caused my head to spin and my vision to blur.  I slowly cleaned myself up and after that I tackled the mess in the room.  It took too long and required all my strength just to keep focused through the clean up.  After everything was back in place I tossed all the bloody towels into my backpack and put on a big black hoodie which hung down over my hands and covered up any signs of my self-injury. 
I opened the door into the dimly lit room, not certain of what lies I’d have to produce there.  No movement, so I jotted down a note saying I would be back later and quickly slipped out unnoticed and unquestioned.  The grey sky was still drizzling, yet the glare it created seemed too strong for my weak eyes.  I let my hair fall forward and trudged down the street, my gaze on the pavement.

After that night, I continued to bleed out regularly and had it down to a routine.  My wounds never healed, so it was easy to start and became easier to stop as well.  I usually got nauseous after, but my body handled it better all the time.  I have to admit I was looking more pale and frail every time, but then, that was just my painful broken heart, wasn’t it? 
I should have known the crash would come soon enough.
This time I waited in my room until I knew the house was empty.  I opened up the moist wounds until the flesh was raw and bled freely.  Running some warm water in the sink I kept the blood flowing.  My head felt light and there was a strong tug at my ever slowing heart.  Since I knew I was alone for as long as I needed I decided to drain them a little more than usual.  The lightheaded feeling was such a contrast to the growing numbness I felt in my empty, bitter heart.  I craved the cut, the ache, the tug at my heart  I felt each time.  For a brief moment I could feel myself teetering on the edge of life and death and that moment was the only time I really felt alive again.  Alive, but with a glimmer of hope as I felt nearer to HIM and farther away from this painful existence.  I closed my eyes and savored that moment.
Paradise!  I was there again, in HIS arms.  We were in a place where nothing could ever come between us.
A small click interrupted my moment and brought me back to here and now.  The front door had opened and I heard voices that abruptly stopped when they entered.  Oh shoot!  But, why were they back?  I grabbed a towel and tried to stop the flow from my wrists.  It’s ok, don’t panic!  The door’s locked and they’ll ignore this like always.  I tried reasoning in my unsteady brain as I frantically applied pressure to my arms.
I scrambled, but it wasn’t enough.  The locked door burst open and I jumped, scattering my bindings around me.  “Damn it!  What the hell do you think you’re doing?”  Fire flashed in the eyes that accused me.
I was already quite weak and my head was spinning.  This sudden fear pushed me over the edge and nausea raced through me.
 “Is this what you want?  To die!”  The words were cutting, yet true.
Suddenly everything went dark.

I blinked hard.  My eyes were blinded by the harsh fluorescent light against the white tile floor.  Pain tore through me and I winced.  Where was I?  Where was HE?  I blinked again and saw the blood smeared around me.  The wave of memories flooded over me and I got caught in their undertow as they swept me back trough time.  Pain, blood, numbness, then back to the news!  Gone?  No, no!  This can’t be true.  The memories continued to flow back to the night, the cliff, the fall.  No!
My eyes darted back and forth, viewing the images in my head.  The reality was overwhelming, the pain obliterating.  I closed my eyes hard against that truth, but the images played on before me and brought all the contrasting fresh emotions with them.  Pain, just too much pain.
Opening my eyes to the present,  I lay there in my pool of blood and memories.
I sat up, thinking of the misery I’d inflicted on all those around me.  About half an hour later I was able to get myself up off the floor as I weakly staggered to the sink.  I knew I had to tackle the mess of a girl in the mirror before facing anyone again.  I looked bad.  Death warmed over would be a vast improvement.  My eyes were dark, my skin a pale grey, and the whites of my eyes were pink and blotchy.  Thank goodness for make-up.
How many times would I destroy their world along with mine?  How do I convince them to run away from the wreck I had become and reclaim their lives?  How do I tell them I’m sorry when I’m so numb inside that I can barely comprehend my own physical pain, let alone the emotional suffering I caused and endured?
When I slowly emerged from the bathroom we looked at each other and there was nothing left to say.  I felt my old life being severed from me and was acutely aware how much it would be hurting me if I wasn’t already so dead inside.  Like the removal of an infected limb, perhaps this was the only way to insure the survival of the whole?  Perhaps in time I too could find a way to live despite being less than whole.
 “Tell me you’ll be ok.  Lie to me if you have to, but I need to hear you say it.”
“I’ll be ok.”  Was it a lie or the truth?  I guess it depends on what you mean by ok.
There was another long silence.  “Why didn’t you tell me what you were going through?”
“Would you have believed me?”
“Maybe?”
“Would you have been able to help me?”
“No, but maybe I wouldn’t have made it worse.”
“Maybe I needed you to.  I don’t begin to know what to do, but I know it won’t happen again.  I see it’s no good now.  It didn’t take away my pain, it only spread it.”
“Good.”
I turned to go, feeling the absence of anything I could say to heal the wounds I had caused.  Arms quickly caught me and pulled me back, tight and close.  I realized how little touch of any sort I’d allowed since the fall that had taken HIM away.  It felt suddenly amazingly warm and comforting in that embrace.  Just in time to lose it.  Maybe that’s why I let it feel so good, there was no risk of it being available again.
“You have a choice to make.  You can live or you can die.  I hope you choose life.”  The words challenged me and convicted me.
For the first time I really saw myself as eternally separated from HIM.  Would I choose to live this life eternally or die here eternally?  The road ahead was clear and the fork in it loomed before me.  What would I choose?  Life?  Death?  Either way I’d be alone. 
I nodded, understanding clearly that I didn’t know what my choice would be right here and now.  A tender kiss touched my forehead.  “Choose life.”  Dark and sad eyes looked into mine, then disappeared quickly as the heavy door slammed shut.
Now I must find my path.
Life or death, alone.
Life or death?
                I sat for too long pondering my choice and a life more resilient than I wished it could be.  All along there was only one answer for me, and I knew it, once I realized where to look for it.  Hidden there, underneath all the layers of pain, it lay dormant and waiting.
I tried choosing death and had lost everything left in my life that mattered.  Now I must choose life.
But how do you walk out of the mist of death and back into the light of life when there’s such an empty gaping hole in you and your body and soul are so utterly numb?
All you can do is take one step.
One step away from the cliff.  One step away from the fall.