Saturday, September 22, 2018

Inspiration

The other day I was asked what inspired me to write.

Sheesh, I'm 42 --- how am I supposed to remember my original inspiration???

I was either in third or fourth grade when I decided I wanted to be an author.  I'm not sure which grade, because I have a very distinct memory of telling the third-grade teacher Mr. Burger how I wanted to be an author when I grew up because I had to repeat myself and change the word from author to writer because I must have had enough of a speech impediment that author came out sounding like Arthur.

But the fourth grade is when I really remember my first writing attempts. I forget the exact assignment, but I wrote a short story for it. It was in the vein of Trixie Belden mysteries I was reading about that time. I tried writing grownup characters, however, and Mr. Haflett gave me a grade in the B range for it (I don't remember if it was a B+, B, OR B- ...it was a looong time ago!!) How silly it must have been though, much like the Indiana Jones novelette I wrote much later.

I was also writing fan fiction in fourth grade. Airwolf, because I think I had a crush on Stringfellow Hawke AKA Jan-Michael Vincent. I remember getting in trouble with a couple of classmates because I had used their names (Sorry guys, I had crushes on you two too and didn't know what to do about it...what can I say? I was 9.) I'm just glad that not only have I matured enough to create original and unique characters...but have also learned to write better villains so I don't have to call them "Bad John" to let readers know they're the villain. Thank all the writing Gods for the Random Name Generators!!

And I never stopped writing.

Sometime after my father first started having trouble with his health (appendicitis led to scar tissue which led to obstructed bowels which led to him stroking out on the operating table) I was introduced to the Star Wars universe. It was a universe I could escape into and did so frequently. As well as the Star Trek universe and Indiana Jones. I worked on my Star Wars novel all through middle school and high school (I kept having to adjust it as new books began hitting the market in 1991.) I did complete it, a few months after graduating. And it was lost over time.

I always had story ideas when I was younger. Was constantly writing them down to get to someday (I don't even know what happened to those notebooks - things get lost every time you move). Then, it was a way to escape the seriousness of my existence. It was hard growing up with a sick father. It was just hard growing up and writing was my way of dealing with it.

There are other worlds in my head, and characters who fill them. A movie plays in my head with narration and if I don't write them down, they keep me up at night and distract me during the day. Of course, new scenes replace the written ones even as they're being written. They overlap and repeat and fall into order repeatedly.

Writing is the only way I can make sense of the madness in my head. Madness, anxiety, depression., pain, grief, insecurities, questions, and What-If?'s. Writing holds the monsters at bay, even if it doesn't tame them.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

As Time Goes By

The New Colossus
By Emma Lazarus, 1883
Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
"Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"
I am struggling today, as many are. Many have more reason than I.

I lost no one I knew seventeen years ago. I was a couch observer, crying as people I did not know plummeted to their death as they tried to escape the horror of the burning building. Shocked beyond words, beyond tears as the Twin Towers fell. I'm not even sure I registered the attack on the Pentagon that day, or the crash in the Pennsylvania field, until much later.

What can I say to honor them today? What can I do? I feel compelled to do something, say something.

They are strangers to me. But I mourn for them as though they are family.

Perhaps on this one day, this is what we are. Family. Whether we lost someone we knew or not. Because we all lost something that day. Innocence, peace, security.

I cannot fathom how it has been seventeen years since...wasn't it just yesterday?




Tuesday, September 4, 2018

What's the Deal with the Daisies?

Symbolism can be a tricky thing sometimes.

Today I was asked whether the daisies in my stories represent love and fertility. To which I replied, 'no, childhood innocence'.

And then I googled it to make sure I knew what I was talking about! And learned we were both correct. The Anglo-Saxon symbolism, in a nutshell, is innocence and gentleness. In Norse mythology, they do indeed represent love, sensuality, and fertility.

Given how much the theme of childhood innocence runs in my novels, I think it's safe to say my intended symbolism is far more Anglo-Saxon than Norse. They are one of the flowers many country children pick for their mother's, probably next to dandelions and cornflowers. I didn't google that particular stat, because I'm just going by what my siblings and I gathered for our mother as children (although I'm fairly certain we used to pick her daffodils too)

They are associated almost solely with my female lead. They are the flowers Angela was picking for her mother to atone for fighting with her brother on the day he died, almost before her eyes. He didn't actually pass away until after he was in the ambulance and had been assured his sister was unharmed, but it is a fact Angela never learns and so lives believing she witnessed his death. It is the first step of her loss of innocence.

It was in a field of daisies Angela played in as a four-year-old when she was technically dead. When she met the Christ of my series. A gentle and kind man who played tag with her, let her crown him with a daisy chain, who spoke to her like she mattered -- kind of like how I always thought Mr. Rogers was talking to me as a child watching Mr. Roger's Neighborhood.

Daisies are the flowers Craig gives her while she is still in the hospital recovering from pneumonia. Upon seeing all the flowers others had already sent her, he felt guilty for not thinking of giving her flowers himself. So he asks her what her favorite flower is. And vows to keep in her fresh supply for the rest of her life, in part to make up for his awkwardness at the beginning of their relationship.

And it was again a field of daisies she was in as a new bride when Angela was in a coma after being abducted from in front of what was to be her new home with her husband. When Christ helps Angela come to the decision to return to the mortal realm, she asks him how to get back. He leads her to the edge of her 'reality', where the field of daisies blends into and is swallowed up by the desert of Craig's Dragon Dream. The lonely barren land where the Dragon hunts him and the only solace is the oasis that is Angela. At this point, Angela doesn't understand all this at this point...just knows that the barren desert is where she needs to go to be reunited with her love. So she willingly gives up the innocence of the field of daisies.

Driven home by the breaking of the vase of daises when her father slams the truck to a stop (in the middle of the infamous Simmons Crossroads). Confused by the world she returned to, Angela requests to be taken back to her family's farm to begin her recovery. And her father unthinkingly takes her home via the Crossroads, as it is the quickest route. It is close to the spot where the accident claiming her brother's life took place, as well as the crashing of the van carrying Angela...given that her heart stopped before they had her loaded in the ambulance, she did indeed die in this intersection. So, when her father takes this route - it triggers a violent flashback of the event in Angela. He doesn't notice right away, but when he does, he slams on the brakes and the vase of daisies fall and break.

Unlike my male lead, Craig, who lost his innocence pretty much all at once, Angela loses hers in stages. Some we learn about in The Farmer's Daughter (starting with the cold manner she learns she's adopted, to her brother's death) While other events are not so clear...for example - what happened at her senior prom? Because she definitely gives off mixed messages about it. Was her ex the one tormenting her in her apartment by moving things around? Who was watching her through the windows?

Those things aren't wrapped up neatly by the end of The Farmer's Daughter or even Ring of Fire...although we see more of her movement away from the innocent to the...not so innocent by the end of Ring of Fire. Which is probably why none of the daisies are in pristine condition in the pictures I take for possible book covers...life/nature is hard on innocence...with the exception of the three on the banner picture above.

I don't want to give away too many series secrets, so I'd better wrap this up!

Hopefully, The Farmer's Daughter will be ready for re-release soon. {Keeps fingers crossed}

Much love to all.

Monday, August 20, 2018

When Words Fail

One of the hardest things for me to deal with when I'm depressed is when people ask me what's wrong.

Granted, the person in question is my husband, but he's not the first one to ever ask me this question when I've admitted to being depressed before.

Many people don't understand. Sometimes there is absolutely nothing wrong in a person's life when they're dealing with depression.

Other times...it's everything. Everything is wrong. And you know it's not really everything, it's just your perspective about everything...but that doesn't change your perspective, it just makes the depression worse because you feel it's your own damn fault. Which isn't true, and you know it's not true, but you can't convince yourself to FEEL that it's not true.

Because sometimes life is hard, other people fail you, things don't go as planned and everything you had all figured out suddenly needs to be rearranged and you have to start all over again. I guess better now than twenty years from now.

On the bright side, I have finished my re-write of my second novel. And my re-edit. I'm not ready to re-release the first two novels yet. I'm still frustrated with CreateSpace but I'll get it figured out. So...I'm going to let those two novels sit while I see how much of the third I can get hammered out before I need to shift gears in my life.

I just needed to vent. Thanks for reading.

Hope you all have a good week.

Much love.

p.s. I'm also very itchy. idk if it's the depression or if I'm having an allergic reaction to life

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Slipping!

The road in front of the trailer park where I live
Nowhere near as bad as '11
When both lanes were shut down
I am slipping this week! I didn't even post my usual Wordless Wednesday. But then it's been an off week here.

Our area of the US received days of rain, which ended up resulting in flooding. Depending on location, it was either more or less severe than the floods of both 1972 and 2011 when Tropical Depression Lee waltzed through. The flood of '72 was the remains of Hurricane Agnes.

This year's flooding was not the result of anything like that...it was just a normal Low-pressure system that stalled over our region here in NY and PA. Every time I checked the radar for this storm, all the rain was doing was moving in a counter-clockwise spiral.

The worst part is, the storm stalled after other little storms had already moved through and left damage from flash-flooding. One area library had to close back in the beginning of August because of water damage. They hadn't even finished with the clean-up when this latest storm hit...and I was dismayed at what ended up happening to this library.


I don't like sharing pictures I haven't taken, so I've provided the link to a public Facebook post of the damage.

Bridges are out, roads are still closed.

I haven't gone out investigating, I have been content to stay out of the way and look at Facebook posts of other's less fortunate than I. C.P. Stringham has had to evacuate from her house several different times over the course of this crazy wet summer.

The only ones liking this weather!
On a personal note, my blood sugars are good enough that I have been given permission by my doctor to drop one of my meds. Next Sunday will be the last day I give myself the weekly shot I've been doing for a few months. Once I can get health insurance again, I can have my A1C numbers taken. I still have to take the two pills, but if the numbers stay good...things are looking good for more reductions. Mostly just being hyper-vigilant on the foods I eat and when I eat them.

Which means I dream about stupid things like making recipes my friends on Facebook share...like the Oreo filled, candy bar topped brownies. You'd think that would be the best place to indulge in forbidden foods right, right? Well, the worst part of the dream...was that I didn't even get to taste them! Better luck next time I guess!

Until next time, stay dry!

Much love! :)