Here We Go

Six months {or so} ago, I released my first book, Letters to Sarah-Book One.  That day, I was breathless and stunned and feeling a bit out of body.  I had worked for many, many years to reach that point and there it was.  A book that had been such a part of my life, my heart, my very existence, for so long was now out there in the universe for all to see.  Whatever talent I had was out there, but so was whatever faults in writing and whatever quirks.  Everyone would see, to their own judgement, if my words actually deserved to be on paper.  

The result and the response have been wonderful.  Book sales have been encouraging, of course.  People will not spend their hard earned money on nonsense, as a rule, so for them to spend it on a book I wrote is such an honor for me.  It is also a responsibility.

Once the initial euphoria began to fade from that initial book release, it settled in on me that I now had a greater responsibility.  Those who bought and read the first book were now waiting for Book Two in order to further follow Mary’s story.  I no longer had a choice about writing this story.

Through the years, I have written enough short stories, character sketches, paragraphs and possible books to fill a semi, I’m certain, but those were all for my eyes and those were all tucked away for the time they MIGHT become something more.  No one ever knew of their existence except me.  Now, Letters to Sarah, came along and changed everything.

With the release of Letters to Sarah, what I wrote was open to public view and opinion. Those are things I welcomed then and still do.  But it also changed my life in subtle ways.

My name and my work is ‘out there’.  Because of that, I have a ‘brand’. I have an obligation to present myself in such a way that is far more public than it has ever been.  What I post online, how I act in public, the persona I put forth at all times now becomes important…even in my small town way.

There are young people, I now realize, who are watching and listening and it is incumbent upon me to take that very seriously.  It is vital for me to put forth thoughts, ideas, and words that are encouraging and enlightening and helpful in some way.  None of that is a burden, however.   Those are the things I have always strived toward.  I have not always succeeded, but I have strived.

So, with Letters to Sarah-Book One out there in the hands of so many people, my life has changed.  It is about to change yet again. Because, you see, today-December 15th, 2017-Letters to Sarah-Book Two is released to the public.  Today, Mary’s story continues. Today, more of my heart and soul is put out there for everyone to see and read and hold in their hearts and hands.  I only hope I am worthy.

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Real is Unreal

Tomorrow I have a book signing at a Barnes and Noble store.  

I have had book signings before this, but they were local and I knew most of the wonderful people who came.  But this one is not local.  This one makes my hands shake.  This one makes my insecurities peek over the edge.

Writing is to put your inner soul and your heart right out there.  Many times, what you have written stays in the drawer. When most of the people who bought my book were friends and family,  I was reassured and my confidence was greatly boosted.  My words, my efforts were out there for others to see and read and evaluate.  This time, that is all changed.

Tomorrow, I will be in a venue where I know almost no one.  I will have my book out there for total strangers to look at and purchase, or smile that polite smile that says “Isn’t that cute.” and then walk away.  That is fine. But once strangers buy my work, my heart and soul are out there for the masses to know…to evaluate…and to walk on, if they see fit.

My work is no longer my own at that point.  These characters and this concept become a part of that outside world instead of a safe and secure escape for me.   THAT is why my hands shake.

I wanted this.  I have strived for this my entire life.  I have had this goal in my mind and in my heart for as long as I can remember.  I am up for it. I am more than ready to accept all criticisms and critiques. I am more than aware that you can’t please everyone and not everyone will like my work. That’s cool.  I don’t like everything I read either.  I am good with all that.  Let’s face it, I welcome rejection letters.  Why?

When I receive those rejection letters, just as when I receive any constructive criticism of my writing, I do so with the understanding it means I put it out there. I didn’t just write something and throw it in a drawer-never to see the light of day.  I put this out there knowing it could be called any number of things-from brilliant to cool to fun to lame to silly and to really bad.  I get it.

But if I hadn’t put it out there, I could not live with myself.  I would not be true to myself.

So, tomorrow, I will take my box of books and my supply of pens and I will set up at Barnes and Noble and I will HOPE that I have a good reception. I will HOPE that the people like my book as much as I like bringing it to them.

Then-on to the next step.


{Book One now available on Amazon,com and can be ordered through your favorite bookseller.   Book Two release-DECEMBER 15}

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If I was that sort of person I would have done it long ago-back when the bullying started. I would have done it that first time I was used and discarded. I would have done it when I was first told how worthless and stupid I was. I would have done it when the ones I trusted first started to leave me. I didn’t do it then so I won’t do it now that the last of my trust has been stolen. I won’t do it-but I understand it.

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A movie came out the year I was born. That movie was THEM.

This movie starred James Whitmore, Joan Weldon and James Arness and is all about giant ants.. giants because of nuclear testing or some such thing.  But when I was a child, I didn’t CARE why they were giants.

In the beginning of this movie, the policeman {James Whitmore} finds a little girl about 6 years old wandering the desert in a catatonic state. 

THAT first scene with that little girl terrified me as a child.  That little girl was wandering all alone out there and if those policemen hadn’t just happened to be checking out a call, and if they hadn’t just HAPPENED to glance out into the desert as they were driving, they might never have seen that tiny little girl and she would have died. 

I don’t know how old I was when I first saw this movie, but I remember how it made me feel. I remember thinking how scared I would be if I were to be alone somewhere like that. I remember how terrified the little girl was when she caught a whiff of the acid smell given off by those giant ants.  I remember how I kept thinking she was completely alone because here parents were gone. 

I consider that I was very young at the time, but still was thinking about things that were never really addressed in that movie… her parents being killed, the silliness of the basic premise of giant ants, etc., but I also remember being deeply affected by her fear and by her being alone, and why, now that we mention it, were they camping in the middle of the desert with no water or electricity or anything nearby?

Now, as  and adult, I always seem to watch movies and ponder the questions most others probably don’t.. for instance, one of my favorite movies is The Last Starfighter.  What happened AFTER Alex and Maggie left for the stars?  Did Louis grow up to be like his brother?  Did they ever catch Zur?

Or even in Star Wars-Leia and Han and Luke had barely met and they were already addressing one another as though they had known one another forever.  Anakin built C3P0 and yet, Darth Vader doesn’t seem to recognize him at all.  Uncle Owen BUYS him from the Jawa and doesn’t recognize him OR R2D2.  What is in the water in that galaxy?

Or Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone-when Snape is putting Harry down for not paying attention the first time they meet, why didn’t Harry just show him his notes where he was copying down what Snape was saying?

Yes, I get that I am seeing all this through an adult’s eyes now, and I DO tend to be logical and practical and “persnickety” about details, but all those things go through my mind.  I find myself attempting to rewrite various scenes in many movies I watch.  I find myself trying to accept plots which are too ridiculous for words..  then I remind myself I love Harry Potter and I love Star Wars and I love science fiction for all their unrealistic and nonsensical ideas and plots.

But NONE of them has hit me where I live..deep in the heart of fear…like THEM.

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The Far Side of Lonely

It came upon her like the proverbial ton of bricks, and to further the cliche, it came out of nowhere.

She had been involved with him for 8 years.  For the most part, their relationship was one of close friendship, but there were times when it deepened.  There was no question of the feelings involved-at least not on her part. She had always been straightforward and sincere in her feelings. She had never been one to play games. She could not be coy. She did not know how to be anything other than what she was-open and honest.  So there was no question he knew her feelings.  He had expressed his own in such a way that left her with no doubts.  Until that one ugly day.

Her telephone rang and, even though she had no reason to expect it, she felt a darkness about to smother her before she ever answered that telephone.

Twenty minutes later, she was on the floor, on her knees, sobbing so hard she could barely breathe.  Out of nowhere, he had told her quite simply “thank you for your friendship. I have met someone else.”

She had a loud ringing in her head and she couldn’t stand.  This was not the man she had always known.  This was not the man who had expressed affection for her only a week or two before.  He had been dishonest with here then…how long had he been so?  How long had his “other” relationship been going on?

As time went on, she thought of so many things he had said in the past, so many of his actions and so many of her own.  Had she truly been that blind?

Finally, she was able to calm her emotions enough to try and look at her situation with a more reasonable eye and a touch of logic.  What she came to realize was that she had spent years of her life being in love with someone who did not exist.  She was certain she had placed him on some sort of pedestal and he did not belong there.  No one did.

She had held him in such high regard. She had respected him and admired him. She had been devoted and sincere and loyal to him. Even now, she looked for extenuating circumstances to explain his unusual behavior.  But the fact was, he was not the man she had always thought him to be.  That knowledge all by itself was the devastating blow.

She was sad that he had betrayed the trust they had seemed to share, of course, but to find out she had spent so long caring so deeply for someone who simply didn’t exist, tore her heart apart.  It tore apart her trust and her faith in people.  If he could turn out to be one who would turn so easily, what would strangers do?  Was there such a thing anymore as trust and faith and loyalty?  She doubted it. She questioned it.  And with each doubt and question came one more step to loneliness.

Being alone does not make one lonely, that she knew from experience. It was having no one who cared for the simplest things she did or said that made her lonely. It was having something monumental to share-and having no one with whom she could share…no one who would sit and listen to what mattered to her or to what upset her and offer a consoling hand or a shoulder.

She knew lonely, now more than ever.  It was this far side of loneliness that would define her now, she was certain.

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Just a quick idea…

This is a quick paragraph or two of an idea…  please tell me what you think.  

The air felt thick. She breathed heavily while walking across the old street. Weeds grew up through the cracks in what had once been a busy roadway-before The Fall. She looked down the street at the rusted shells of vehicles that were also-slowly-being claimed by nature. She had been alone for so long she had forgotten the sound of other voices. She regularly spoke aloud so she wouldn’t lose her own ability to speak. She spoke to buildings. She spoke to plants. She spoke to animals and she spoke to nothing.

She vaguely remembered others. She vaguely remembered being with other people, the sound of their voices and she remembered, more vividly, The Fall and the resulting terror and panic.  Then, just as suddenly as it began, it ended. And she was alone.

She seemed to remember being called Abigail. She called herself by that name just in case it was the right name.

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Time for stream of thought

I am working on my third book, but I just don’t feel it tonight. But I needed to write something…anything.  I started a couple of things-short story-character sketch-whatever came to mind, but nothing really inspired me to continue , so here I am doing a bit of stream of thought writing. That normally clears my head enough to concentrate on my projects.  

I have shared my habit of doing stream of thought with those who ask about my writing habits. I am told it was helpful to them also and I am glad for that. All I know is that I must write SOMETHING.  Every single day, something pours from my brain-sometimes it is decent and begs to be expanded and worked on, while other times something comes out that is pure crap.  That happens more than I would like to admit.

Speaking of crap, I recently looked through some notebooks from about 30 years ago. It is writing that I hope no one on this planet EVER sees. I don’t even know why I am keeping it except, perhaps, to show me how far I have come. Maybe it is to remind me what NOT to do. Maybe it is just that somewhere in there is a spark of an idea that, if handled properly, could be something to share. I don’t know. I just keep all those blasted notebooks.

I keep too much stuff, I think. I have kept every paper I wrote for every single class in college. Why am I keeping all those things?  Ok, I have no papers from the algebra classes, but I was just pleased to pass those things without imploding. Math is NOT my thing.  But I have several papers from my various psychology classes that I won’t ever part with because they not only came from a lot of research and they are subjects I want to remember, but they are also inspirations for characters to come.

Then there are my philosophy papers. I loved, loved LOVED philosophy.  My professor and I had some wonderful exchanges. I admired him for his intelligence and his broad scope of interests which were shared in the class, but I also admired his willingness to accept ideas and philosophies with which he might not agree. In fact, he encouraged free thinking and abstract opinions. He encouraged thinking outside the norm and coming at a subject from a completely unusual perspective. I loved that about the class.  I could think my own way. I could explain my thinking and my perspective and not feel I was being judged or graded for it.

Beyond that, of course, I dearly loved all my English classes-except, perhaps, the grammar part. I will never understand about diagramming sentences.  I learned it all and passed the tests, but once the class was over, it all flew out of my head.  I wonder why that is?  Probably because, as I believe, our brains retain those things that interest us.  That may be why I remember so many goofball trivia things-especially where history is concerned.

I suppose it just matters that we have interests, right? We all do. We have interests and passions that drive us…each to our own end.  Maybe the trick is to realize what our own passion really is, then follow it. Do what is necessary to reach our own personal goals.

Ok, that is my ‘sermon’ and my stream of thought pile of nonsense.   Try it sometime.  It helps to clear the cobwebs.   ~N~

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